Posted by: RasmaSandra | March 23, 2018

Fantastic Barbados


Barbados is an eastern Caribbean island and an independent British Commonwealth nation. Local traditions include afternoon tea and the national sport is cricket.

The Port City Bridgetown

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Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados and is a port city located on the southwest coast of the island. It was named for the native Amerindian Bridge that crosses the mouth of the Constitution River. This river divides Bridgetown into two.

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The Barbados Garrison was the largest in the British colonies during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was established as the military headquarters for the Imperial Forces in 1780. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It includes many historic attractions.

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St. Ann’s Fort dating from 1705 can be toured.

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The George Washington House is a Georgian-style mansion where the first President of the U.S. stayed in 1751.

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The Barbados National Armory offers a large collection of 17th century iron cannons.

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The Barbados Museum traces the history of the island through exhibits and galleries. Here visitors can learn more about the island’s history. There are displays on Amerindian and African culture. The museum also features European decorative arts, a children’s gallery and a collection of antique maps, prints and paintings. The national history section offers a look at the island’s ecology, with exhibits on the flora and fauna of Barbados. There is a research library, gift shop and cafe also on the premises.

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The oval green space of the  Savannah was once the parade grounds and today is a popular park. There is a jogging track and a venue for sporting events and horse races.


You’ll find the impressive neo-Gothic Parliament Buildings at the top of Broad Street. These are also known as the Public Buildings and are important landmarks in Bridgetown. They were constructed of coral limestone between 1870 and 1874 to house the Barbados Parliament which is the third oldest in the Commonwealth. There are stained glass windows that depict British monarchs. The east wing is home to the Senate and House of Assembly and the west wing with the clock tower is home to government offices, the National Gallery and the Parliament Museum.

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You’ll find the National Heroes Square between the Inner Basin of the Constitution River and the Parliament Buildings. Formerly it was known as Trafalgar Square and is home to three significant memorials.

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The first is an obelisk-shaped cenotaph, a memorial to the Barbadians killed in the two World Wars.

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The second is a bronze statue of Lord Horatio Nelson. It marks the city center and was erected in 1813.

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The third is a clamshell-shaped fountain to commemorate the first piped water in Bridgetown.

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St. Michael’s Cathedral is located two blocks from the National Heroes Square. It was built of coral stone in 1789. It has lovely stained-glass windows, a tower, and many arched windows.

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Some of the highlights in the interior include the baptismal font, dating to the 1600s and the roof over the altar that resembles an inverted boat prow.

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Nidhe Israel Synagogue dates back to 1654 and is one of the oldest synagogues in the Western Hemisphere. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. When a hurricane destroyed the original structure the new building was built in 1833. Interesting features include the marble accents and mahogany furniture. The tombstones in the adjacent cemetery date from the 1630s. In the small museum, you can find out about the history of the Jewish community in Barbados and the key role they played in the sugar industry.

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Queen’s Park was once the grounds of the 18th century home of the commander of British Troops in Barbados. Today the park plays host to local festivals and event.

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In the Georgian-style Queen’s Park House is a theater and art gallery. To the east of the building is a children’s playground around a giant baobab tree with a 180meter circumference.

Taking a Look at Barbados

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Crane Beach has amazing pink coral sand. It is one of the most popular beaches in Barbados. Cruise ships land here. You can surf and sunbathe.

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A luxury hotel overlooks the beach. It is known as The Crane and is the oldest hotel in Barbados.

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The village of Bathsheba is the central point for tourist attractions on the Atlantic east coast. You can see the Andromeda Tropical Botanic Gardens and Flower Forest.

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The Bathsheba Beach is also referred to as the Soup Bowl. There are large rock formations that stand up like giant mushrooms in the sea. It is a great place for surfing.

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The Andromeda Botanic Gardens specialize in tropical plants from all around the world. They have a scenic location on a hillside that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Of interest are breadfruit trees and large bearded fig trees which once covered the island in vast forests. This could have interested Portuguese sailors to name the island Barbados, meaning the bearded ones. The gardens are also a great place for bird watching.

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The Flower Forest is located in the hills of central Barbados. It includes 53 acres of forests and tropical flora on the grounds of a former sugar plantation. You can stroll along the well-marked trails through lush foliage. Among the highlights are lovely palms, gingers, and orchids. There is a small cafe for snacks.

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Hunte’s Gardens includes ten acres of tropical plants on the lush slopes of Saint Joseph Parish. There are paths that lead into a gully where you can see terraced greenery on many different levels. You’ll delight in palms, papyrus, orchids and crotons. There are benches for relaxing and classical music fills the air.

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The Gun Hill Signal Station was built in 1818 and signaled the approach of enemy ships. It lies on the highland of St. George.

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On the lower part of the hill is a lion sculpture carved by a British soldier from a single boulder in the 19th century.

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The Barbados Wildlife Reserve is located opposite Farley Hill. Here you’ll find shady paths through the mahogany forest that is home to deer, agoutis, tortoises, iguanas and many tropical birds.

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Wild green monkey, imported from Africa by early settlers can be seen at dawn and dusk. There are many lovely orchids on display.

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Welchman Hall Gully was formed when the roof of a series of caves collapsed. It is now home to over 200 species of tropical plants among them wild ginger and bamboo. There are stairs that lead to a scenic overlook and you might see green monkey frolicking in the ravine.

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Harrison’s Cave is a crystallized limestone cavern with streams, waterfalls, cascades and deep pools. You can take a tour by electric tram. There are lights illuminating the impressive stalactites, stalagmites, and cascading waters. Near the cave is a visitor center that displays Arawak Indian artifacts.

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St. Nicholas Abbey, with three gables that are shaped like wishbones in the Jacobean style, was once part of a giant sugar cane plantation and a small refinery. It is one of the three known remaining buildings. There are lovely gardens with rustic ruins of the farm buildings and an old windmill. The abbey has upstairs fireplaces and on the ground floor, there is a fine collection of furniture, many made from mahogany and cane. At the end of the tour you can view a family holiday film from the 1930s showing the sea voyage to Barbados from England and life on the former plantation.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | March 21, 2018

Exploring the Dominican Republic


Sharing the island of Hispaniola with Haiti is the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic. It is known for its beaches, resorts, and golf. The nation is a mix of rainforest, savannah, and highlands.

The Beauty of Santo Domingo

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The capital Santo Domingo is one of the Caribbean’s oldest cities.

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Catedral Primada de America the first stone of this cathedral was set in 1514 by Diego Columbus, who was the son of the great explorer. This is the oldest standing cathedral in the Western hemisphere. The vault of the church is Gothic, the arches Romanesque and the ornamentation Baroque. Among the cathedral more impressive features is the amazing vaulted ceiling and its 14 interior chapels. An audio guide is available in different languages.

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Parque Colon is a historic park next to the cathedral has several trees and a large statue of Admiral Columbus. Here you can people watch and see thousands of pigeons.

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Parque Mirador del Sur – on top of a huge limestone ridge you can see a long tree-lined corridor. This park has many caves with some of them as large as airplane hangars. One of these caves has been made into a restaurant.

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There are many paths for walking and jogging. The eastern end of the park many people after work gather for free dance classes in Zumba fitness.

Fortaleza Ozama is the oldest colonial military edifice in the New World. It is located at the meeting of the Rio Ozama and the Caribbean. Over the centuries this fort served as a military garrison and prison and has flown the flag of many different countries. Public tours are available with multilingual guides.

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The oldest building is the Torre Del Homenaje or Tower of Homage. The walls are 2m-thick and contain many riflemen’s embrasures. The rooftop lookout offers 360-degree views of the city.

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To the right is the El Polvorin or Powder House. Over the door is the statue of St. Barbara the patron saint of the artillery.

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Along the fort’s riverside are two rows of cannons. These were the first line of defense for the city’s port.

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On the esplanade is a bronze statue of Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, military chronicler of the New World.

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Faro a Colon is a massive monument located on the east side of the Rio Ozama. Its cement flanks stand 10 stories high and form the shape of a cross. At the intersection of the cross arms is a tomb that is guarded by white-uniformed soldiers and supposedly contains the remains of Columbus.

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Inside is a long series of exhibition halls that display documents related to the voyages of Columbus and the exploration and conquest of the Americas.  There are displays of photos and artifacts from indigenous Latin American communities. High-power lights on the roof can project a white cross in the sky.

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Palacio National is the Dominican seat of government. It was designed by Italian architect Guido D’Alessandro. The building was built of Samana roseate marble in a neo-Classical style. There is mahogany furniture, paintings from prominent Dominican artists, lovely gold inlaid mirrors and imported crystal.

It is used as an executive and administrative office building. In the Room of the Caryatids, you can see 44 sculpted draped women that rise like columns among French mirrors and Baccarat chandeliers.It is not regularly open to the public but tours can be had by appointment.

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Jardin Botanico National offers aquatic plants, orchids, bromeliads, ferns, palm tree, a Japanese garden and so much more. Exhibits in the Ecological Museum explain the country’s ecosystems among them mangroves and could forests.

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An open-air trolley takes visitors on a half-hour ride about the park. Many different events are hosted like an orchid exhibition and competition in March and a bonsai exhibition in April.

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Museo de las Casas Reales was built in the Renaissance style during the 16th century. For a long time, it was the seat of Spanish authority for the Caribbean region. Today it showcases colonial-period objects among them treasures that were recovered from sunken Spanish galleons. Rooms have period furnishings.

On walls, you can find great maps of various voyages made by European explorers and conquistadors. There is an impressive antique weaponry collection on display. An audio guide is available in different languages including English.

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Los Tres Ojos consists of three humid caverns with dark blue lagoons that are connected by stalactite-filled passages. At the entrance, a long stairway takes visitors down a narrow tunnel in the rock and a cement path leads through the caves. At the third Ojo, visitors can hire a small boat to visit a fourth Ojo, that is a lovely lake beneath open sky and filled with fish. Of interest is that on certain days a man who locals call “cave tarzan” accepts tips and then climbs the cave walls and plunges 20 ft. into the water. Visitors are not allowed to swim here.

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Plaza Espana is a large open area in front of the Alcazar de Colon. It was revamped in the 1990s in honor of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ New World discovery.

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Along the northwest side is Calle la Atarzana which is fronted by many restaurants housed in buildings that once served as warehouses in the 16th and 17th centuries.

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Amber World Museum features an impressive collection of amber from all around the world. The exhibits have information in both English and Spanish. They tell about the prehistoric origins of amber, Dominican mining processes and its present-day value to science and the world of art. You can purchase amber jewelry in the gift shop.

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Puerta del Conde gate was named for the Count of Penalba, Bernardo de Meneses y Bracamonte, who succeeded in defending Santo Domingo against 13,000 invading British troops in 1655. Atop of the gate, the first Dominican flag was raised.

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Inside Parque Independencia you’ll find the Altar de la Patria, a mausoleum,

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holding the remains of three national heroes – Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sanchez, and Ramon Matias Mella.

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Panteon Nacional is a Jesuit church built in 1747 and is used as a mausoleum. Many of the country’s most illustrious persons are honored here, their remains sealed behind two marble walls. The building with its neo-Classical facade was constructed with large limestone blocks. There are armed soldiers at the entrance.

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Museo de Arte Moderno the permanent collection includes paintings and a few sculptures by the Dominican Republic’s best-known modern artists. There are also temporary exhibits.

The Dominican Republic

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Eastern National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here visitors can see hundreds of species of plants and animals among them 112 species of birds. The reserve also includes one of the Caribbean’s largest marine parks with an immense coral reef system.

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There are four species of sea turtles as well as manatees, bottlenose dolphins and many different tropical fish.

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The park is also the habitat of the rare paloma coronita or crowned or white-headed dove and the rhinoceros iguana. There is great diving and snorkeling. Visitors can see pre-Columbian art in the system of caves or can relax on some of the remote beaches.

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Punta Cana is one of the most popular tourist areas located on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic. There are many resorts and lovely beaches. You can visit the fishing village of El Macao. Its public beach is a popular surfing spot.

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On the southeast coast, you’ll find La Romana. It is home to the lovely Altos de Chavon, a replica of a 16th-century artisans’ village and one of the best places to shop for crafts. Visitors can stay at the luxurious Casa de Campo resort that includes several hotels, landscaped gardens, a riding school, polo ground and tennis courts. It also boasts of having one of the top golf courses in the Caribbean.

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Samana Bay has many islets and palm-lined beaches. It is a haven for marine animals. During January and February, you can see humpback whales that calve here. It includes Parque Nacional Los Haitises that is an ecological wonderland of jungle-covered islands and thick mangrove forests. There are unique rock formations emerging from the sea and bird-filled caves.

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Of wonder, is the Salto El Limon waterfall. One of the most picturesque beaches in the country is Playa Rincon. Among the activities, you can participate in here are horseback riding, hiking, biking, and birding.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | March 18, 2018

Amazing Haiti


In our armchair travels we have been exploring the Central American countries and now we take a hop about some more Caribbean countries. Our first stop is Haiti a country that shares the Hispaniola Island with the Dominican Republic to its east. Even though it is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake there are many places to explore and things to see.

The Capital Port-au-Prince

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Port-au-Prince the capital of Haiti is located on the Gulf of Gonave. All about the city you can see colorful gingerbread-style houses from the turn of the 19th century.

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Grand Rue Artists is where you can see the amazing artwork. Artists have found a place among junkyards and body shops where they take scraps and found objects and turn them into works of art. Founder and elder member artist Andre Eugene sculpts in wood, plastic and car parts and another artist Jean Herard Celeur also creates larger than life statues from different scrap parts.

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Musee du Pantheon National has found its home in a large concrete building that is topped with white cones and mosaic decorations. Here is an extensive collection that pertains to national history. The exhibits are dedicated to the native Tainos tribes of the island, rooms that tell the stories of the Spanish and French invasions and others that reveal the plight of Haitian independence in the 1800s. Among the highlights is the anchor from the exploring ship belonging to Christopher Columbus.

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Barbancourt Rum Distillery welcomes visitors on Fridays from November to May. The tour offers the history of rum in the region and includes an explanation of the aging and distillation processes. The favorite of the company is the Estate Reserve Rum that has been aged 15 years and can be sampled and purchased.

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Maison Dufort is a recently restored gingerbread-style home that is open to the public. It is a great example of Haiti’s unusual architecture.

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Champs de Mars are a series of parks that have been split by wide boulevards


and make up the Place des Heros de l’Independence. This area greatly suffered during the earthquake and has been closed off.

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This is where you can find several statues of Haiti’s founding fathersToussaint Louverture,

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Jean-Jacques Dessalines on horseback,

Monument to a founding father of independent Haiti, Alexandre Pétion

Alexander Petion,

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and Henri Christophe.

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There is also the iconic statue The Marron Inconnu of an unknown slave blowing a conch-shell trumpet. Once the last of the rubble gets removed the area will again be opened to the public.

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Marche de Fer the market was constructed in 1889 and is a red-metal structure. Here you can purchase food, art and voodoo paraphernalia. The southern hall offers all kinds of food with incredible scents. The northern hall offers a giant craft market.

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Parque Historique de la Canne a Sucre a sugar mill that has become a museum. Many of the exhibits are open air and are surrounded by colonial-style buildings that consist of factories and shops. There is a collection of sugar cane presses, boilers and part of the aqueduct that was used to drive the mills.

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You can see the narrow-gauge railway that carried sugarcane to the factories. The park here is an outdoor venue for concerts and every October hosts the Artisanat en Fete, Haiti’s largest crafts fair.

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Fort Jacques was erected following independence in 1804. It was built by Alexandre Petion and named in honor of Jean Jacques Dessalines. It offers great views over Port-au-Prince.

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Plage Publique is a popular beach between the Kaliko Beach Club and Wahoo Bay. Here you can relax or play in the sun. There are food sellers, you can get drinks and there are sound systems.

Exploring Haiti

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La Citadelle la Ferriere is a colossal fortress that clings to the ridges of Bonnet a L’Eveque Mountain. It was built by Haitian slave rebels in the early 19th century intended as protection again French invasion. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Sans-Souci Palace found in the northern hill not far from the Citadelle. It was once home to Henri Christophe, the Haitian king, and leader during the independence wars against the French. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and its great halls and grounds can be toured. Visitors can see the spot where King Henri committed suicide with a silver bullet in 1820.

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Lovely Jamel is another UNESCO World Heritage site that is the main hub of arts and crafts in Haiti. Visitors can see boutique galleries and many souvenir emporiums. The town also has a pretty municipal beach and promenade with palm trees and seafood grilling.

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Close-by is the Bassin Bleu. This cataract is part of the Petite Riviere that runs through the southern mountains. A few tour groups go each day to see glimmering plunge pools and little grottos and caves. It is enjoyable to swim in the midst of the tropical jungle with ferns and orchids.

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Saut-d’Eau is known for its natural beauty and for its religious significance. These falls come flowing down in two mighty streams through the lush tropical greenery. It is held in high esteem by local Voodooists and by Catholics who come to them in a mass pilgrimage each July.

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Visitors are in awe of the colossal Massif de la Selle, where the legendary Furcy Forest can be found.

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It cascades down the ridges and peaks that rise over 2,500 meters above the Caribbean Sea. It is famed for its pine forests, wooded trails, and breathtaking views.

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Pic la Selle is the highest point in Haiti’s Chaine de la Selle and is one of the highest in the entire Caribbean region. It towers over all, close to the border with the Dominican Republic. There are many accessible tracks and trekking trails.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | March 15, 2018

The Beauty of Panama

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The Panama Canal is among the world’s greatest feats of engineering. Visitors have the choice of taking a partial or complete crossing of the canal. Crossing take four to eight hours. Visitors can explore the canal by visiting the Miraflores Locks Museum. At the restaurant on top of the museum, you can watch the transiting vessels in the canal below.

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Playa Las Lajas is a lovely beach extending for over 13 km along the Gulf of Chiriqui on the Pacific Coast. There is little current and ideal water temperatures. People enjoy swimming and bodysurfing. At the end of the road, you’ll find rustic shacks and cheap restaurants.

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Isla Taboga located about 20 km from Panama City is a great place to find sandy beaches. People can ride Jet Ski speedboats and take fishing charters. This lovely village was settled by the Spanish in 1515.

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It is home to the second-oldest church in the western hemisphere. Wander the narrow streets and relax at the few restaurants. From the top of the island, you can get fantastic views of Panama City.

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The Pearl Islands were populated by indigenous people until the Spanish Conquistadors came. These islands were featured on the reality TV show Survivor. Here you can find lush forests surrounded by white sand beaches. The most developed of the islands is Contadora Island with some resorts and an airstrip. Visitors can charter private yachts for cruising and exploring the islands.

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The Amador Causeway connects the three islands by the Panama Canal entrance to the mainland. From the causeway, you can get great views of Panama City

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and the Bridge of the Americas. People enjoy jogging, biking or rollerblading down the causeway.

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Near the small town of Cero Punto you’ll find one of Panama’s most beautiful trails Sendero Los Quetzales. This is a 9 km route that takes between four to seven hours.

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The trail takes you through the cloud forest of Parque Nacional Volcan Bari the follows along the Rio Caldera, crossing it several times. The trail ends in the mountains above Boquete and can also be hiked in reverse. It is recommended to hire a guide or join a tour.

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Santa Catalina offers world-class surfing. It is located on the Chiriqui Gulf. The lovely beach is surrounded by jungle forests.

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The San Blas Islands in eastern Panama are the best place to explore the rich culture of the indigenous people, the Kuna. You’ll find that they are friendly and welcoming. On each island, you’ll find a member of the tribe who will let you use the island for the day for a nominal fee.

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The island of Coiba is the largest island in the Coiba National Marine Park as well as the largest in all of Central America.

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Here you can find over 800 species of marine life. This is one of the best places for snorkeling and scuba diving on the Pacific coast.

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Bocas del Toro is the capital of the Bocas del Toro Province. It has become a popular spot for scuba divers. The coral reef is home to colorful tropical fish. It was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502 and has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Panama. There are beaches and lush rainforests.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | March 12, 2018

Amazing Panama City


Our armchair travels have taken us to Panama which is the country on the isthmus that links Central and South America. The Panama Canal is an amazing feat of human engineering and links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

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Our first stop is Panama City, the capital of Panama. It is a modern city that has been framed by the Pacific Ocean and the Panama Canal.


BioMuseo this fascinating museum was designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. It is an impressive sight with crumpled multicolor forms. There are great exhibits. The permanent exhibition is Panama: Bridge of Life. Eight galleries tell visitors about the origin of the Panamanian isthmus and its huge impact on the planet’s biodiversity. The museum is on the Causeway. Audio guides come in five languages.

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Museo de Arte Contemporaneo is a privately owned museum featuring a great collection of Panamanian art. Artwork by Latin American artists and at times a temporary exhibition featuring a foreign or national artist.

Panama Viejo was founded on August 15, 1519, by Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias de Avila. It was the first European settlement along the Pacific. It flourished for 150 years until Captain Henry Morgan sacked the city. Today much of the old city lies buried under a poor residential neighborhood but the ruins are worth seeing.

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In the old days, those who were in power resided at the Casa Reales or Royal Houses. This complex is ringed by timber ramparts and separated from the city proper by a moat. Within the complex were the customs house, the royal treasury, a prison and the governor’s house. Now only scattered walls remain of these structures.

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The Cathedral of Our Lady of Asunción was built between 1619 and 1626 and it’s the best-preserved building of the ruins. It was designed with two side chapels to give the cathedral a cross-like shape. Since the facade is gone only the walls now remain.

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To the north of the cathedral, you can see the massive ruins of Casa Alarcon, the town’s best-preserved and largest known private residence dating back to the 1640s.

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The best-preserved church here is the Church and Convent of St. Dominic.

 Also visible are the ruins of the Iglesia y Convento de la Compania de Jesus.

Other ruins include the Hospital de San Juan de Dios, the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, and the Iglesia y Convento de La Merced.

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You will also see the Puente del Matadero or Bridge of the Slaughterhouse. This is an over-restored stone bridge.

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A more significant bridge is the Puente del Rey built in 1627 and has become a landmark. It well could be the oldest standing bridge in the Americas.

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Museo del Canal Interoceanico this museum has found its home in a building that once served as the headquarters for the original French canal company. It is more commonly referred to as The Panama Canal Museum and offers impressive exhibits on the famous waterway. The signs are in Spanish but English-speaking guides and audio tours are available.

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Parque Natural Metropolitano is a lovely park that sits on a hill north of downtown. It has vast expanses of tropical semi-deciduous forest. It is a great way to escape from the city. There are two main walking trails, the Nature Trail and the Titi Monkey Trail and they join to form one long loop. On the loop, a 150m high lookout offers fantastic views of Panama City, the bay, and the canal.

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Mammals you’ll encounter in the park include titi monkeys, anteaters, sloths and white-tailed deer. Among reptiles are iguanas, turtles, and tortoises. Over 250 bird species make their home here. In the Rio Curundu that runs along the eastern side of the park are fish and shrimp.

The park was the site of an important battle during the U.S. invasion to oust Manuel Noriega and the concrete structures just past the entrance are of historical significance. These were used during WW II as a testing and assembly plant for aircraft engines.

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A crane was set up in the park by an international team of scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute or STRI to study forest canopy, which is home to a complete ecosystem 30m to 50m above the ground. Now visitors can go up on the crane to get a completely different view of the rainforest.

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Centro Natural Punta Culebra is an informative marine museum that features two small aquariums and a nature trail leading through a dry forest with sloths and iguanas. There are signs in English and Spanish.

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One aquarium has fish from the Pacific and the other from the Caribbean. In a small six-sided building are exhibits on the history of Panama’s indigenous cultures. On the outside are large illustrations of vessels that let visitors look through a telescope and identify the types of ships waiting to transit the canal.

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Panama Canal Murals these murals by notable artist William B. Van Ingen depict the story of the monumental efforts to build the Panama Canal. You can find them in the Panama Canal Administration Building. These paintings have the distinction of being the largest group of murals by an American artist on display outside of the U.S.

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The white-domed Baha’i House of Worship is the mother temple for all of Latin America. It sits on the crest of a hill on the northeastern outskirts of the city, looking like a giant egg. On Sunday mornings readings from the Baha’i writings are held in both English and Spanish.

American Trade Hall, Casco Viejo, Panama

American Trade Hall was once the headquarters of the First National City Bank of New York and was the place where much of the financing of the Panama Canal came from. Today it offers cultural events. Visitors admire the Art Deco architecture.

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Plaza de Francia is a lovely plaza that pays homage to the French role in the construction of the canal.

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Its large stone tablets and statues are dedicated to the memory of the 22,000 workers who died trying to build the canal.

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Iglesia de San Jose protects the famous Altar de Oro or Golden Alter. This is the only relic salvaged after Panama Viejo was sacked.

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Teatro Nacional was built in 1907.

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The interior is magnificent with red and gold decorations and a ceiling mural by Roberto Lewis, one of Panama’s finest painters. There is also an impressive chandelier.

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Parque Recreativo Omar is the biggest park in the city. It is usually filled with people walking and jogging and children playing.

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Plaza de la Independencia is the place where Panama declared its independence from Columbia on November 3, 1903.

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Cathedral Metropolitana is the headquarters of the Panama archdiocese.


Paseo las Bovedas an esplanade that runs along the top ofpan bovedas the seawall that was built by the Spanish to protect the city.

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From here you can see the Puente de las Americas that arches over the waterway and the ships lining up to enter the canals.

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The Palacio de las Garzas got its name from

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the great white herons that live here. On the upper floor is the residence of the President of Panama.

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Balboa Statue is a well-known landmark in the city. It was sculpted by Miguel Blan and Mariano Benlliure. The statue overlooks the Bahia de Panama. It was a gift from Spain.

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World Trade Center is located in the financial district. The two towers were built in 1996.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | March 9, 2018

Visiting Nicaragua


Our armchair travels have taken us to the Central American country Nicaragua. It sits between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is a country known for its terrain of lakes, volcanoes, and beaches.

Exploring the Capital

 nic man

The capital city Managua is located on the north shore of Lake Managua.

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Puerto Salvador Allende is the revamped port area in Managua. This lakefront complex is enjoyed by both locals and tourists. There are many restaurants to relax in, paths for enjoyable strolls and playgrounds for children. The sunset views over the lake are awesome.

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Antigua Catedral once impressive and majestic is today just a shell of its former self. It was shattered by the 1972 earthquake. Today it stands beautiful and serene with stone angels watching over it but empty and left only to be gazed upon.

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Huellas de Acahualinca is an architectural site that was discovered by miners in 1874. There are fossilized tracks that record the passage of men, women, children as well as birds, raccoons, and deer across the muddy shores of Lago De Managua all dating back some 6000 years.

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Museo Nacional is the national museum and is housed in the Palacio de la Cultura y Biblioteca Nacional. Here visitors can learn about Nicaragua from the formation of lakes and volcanoes to gold mines and by pre-Columbian statuary and one of the best pottery collections in the country. There are exhibits from the Spanish-colonial period. Above the main staircase, you can see a mural of revolutionary movements in the Americas created by Mexican artist Arnold Belkin.

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Catedral Metropolitana is an impressive Managua landmark, opening its doors in 1993. Its 63 cupolas symbolize Nicaragua’s 63 Catholic churches.

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Arboretum Nacional are lovely gardens which feature over 200 species of plants and are divided into Nicaragua’s five major life zones. With your fee, you get a guided tour. You will see madrino, the national tree and sacuanjoche, the national flower.

nic carmen

Parque El Carmen is a lovely park where people can relax surrounded by greenery. There are a playground and a kiosk that sells snacks and cold drinks. Take the time to look around the opulent homes in this area.

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Parque Japones is a pleasant Japanese-style park with lots of trees, paths for walking and children’s playgrounds.

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Codice Espacio Cultural is the best place to see great contemporary art.

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Malecon is a pier which has benefited from the Puerto Salvador Allende tourist complex at its base. The area is popular with local families on weekends.

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National Assembly Pedestrian Walk is the place to go to see open-air exhibits on Nicaragua’s history. You can see historic photos of Sandino and pre-earthquake photos of Managua.

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Plaza de la Revolucion is an open plaza that was inaugurated in 1899 by the national hero and original anti-American General Jose Santos Zelaya. On the northeast side of the plaza is the tomb of Sandinista commander Carlos Fonseca.

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Parque Historico Nacional Loma de Tiscapa is a park that is home to Managua’s most recognizable landmark, Sandino’s somber silhouette. This national historic park was once the site of the Casa Presidencial, where Sandino and his men were executed in 1934. The parking structure here was for decades one of Nicaragua’s most notorious prisons.

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Parque de la Paz Is Managua’s Peace Park with its signature lighthouse. The park was inaugurated in 1990 by then President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. They interred machine guns, pistols and a tank in concrete so symbolically burying Nicaragua’s bellicose past.

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Monumento a Ruben Dario can be found on the lakeside of Plaza de la Revolucion. It offers the likeness of Nicaragua’s favorite son.

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Teatro Nacional Ruben Dario is an oblong structure near the lake where you can get a feel of Nicaraguan art and culture.

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Monumento Roosevelt was constructed in 1939 and offers wonderful lake views. It is a memorial to all those who were killed in the revolution.

Monumento de Montoya

Estatua de Montoya is a statue dedicated to national hero Ramon Montoya, a Nicaraguan soldier, who died at the age of 14 in 1907.

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Monumento al Trabajador Nicaraguense is a monument to Nicaraguan workers.

Looking at Nicaragua

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When visiting the country city of Granada you’ll get a real feel of Nicaraguan history. The city is located on the northwest coast of Lake Nicaragua and is the oldest city in Central America. It offers visitors impressive colonial architecture, authentic Nicaraguan shops, horse-drawn carriages and historic cafes.

nic ometepa

Ometepe Island consists of two active volcanoes surrounded by lush tropical forest right in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. It is said that the island has been inhabited since 2000 – 2500 B.C. You can canoe through lagoons and rivers, ride horseback, bicycle to lovely white sand beaches or take a bus from village to village.

nic leon

Leon is the second largest city in Nicaragua located along the Chiquito River. You can see some impressive Spanish colonial architecture

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and it is home to the Cathedral of Assumption which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was built between 1706 and 1740. The original city of Leon was

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established in 1524 but after an eruption of the Momotombo volcano inhabitants abandoned the city in 1610. Afterward, Leon was moved next to the indigenous town of Subtiana.

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Today the ruins of the old city, known as Leon Viejo, have a cellar where the remains of Leon’s founder can be found. This archeological site was also declared a World Heritage site.

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Corn Island can be found 45 miles off the Caribbean shore of Nicaragua. It is a tiny island that is a lovely tropical paradise. English is the first language. Visitors enjoy scuba diving and deep sea fishing.

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San Juan del Sur is the most popular beach destination in Nicaragua. All the beaches are lapped by warm water. There is great surfing. Here you’ll find the second-largest statue of Jesus in the world.

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Masaya Volcan National Park is home to the Masaya volcano. This national park was one of the first in the country, established in 1979. There are 20km of scenic roads and trails. You can see two impressive volcanoes and five formidable craters that continuously emit smoke and sulfur gasses. The indigenous Chorotega tribe refer to the Masaya volcano as Popogatepe – “mountain that burns”. They believed that the eruptions were a sign of anger from the gods and human sacrifices were offered. The Spanish conquerors named it La Boca del Infierno or the mouth of hell. Thinking it would exorcise the devil from the volcano they placed a cross on the crater during the 16th century.

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Today this national park is home to various vegetation and animals among them coyotes, skunks, raccoons, possums, iguanas, and monkeys. In the Tzinaconostoc Cave hundreds of bats live and underground tunnels were formed by lava streams with unusual rock formations.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | March 4, 2018

Beautiful Honduras


Honduras is a Central American country that has coastlines with the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. There is an amazing tropical rainforest near Guatemala. You’ll be amazed by the fascinating Bay Islands. This is a diving destination which is part of the 1,000km-long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

Interesting Tegucigalpa

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Tegucigalpa is the capital of Honduras. It sits in a central valley that is surrounded by mountains.

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Museo para la Identidad Nacional is the finest museum in the city. It has found its home in the renovated, former Palace of Ministries. The museum offers a look into the nation’s history and identity through a series of modern exhibits. Even though the displays are in Spanish there are free guided tours available in English. Four times a day the 3D film Tour of the Copan Ruins is shown.  

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 Centro de la Cultura Garinagu de Honduras is located right on the Parque Morazan. Here you’ll find handicrafts, clothing, and tools on display. There is a library and information about the Garifuna people. You can get information here about where the Garifuna dance troupes are performing their very athletic and incredible dance moves.

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Basilica de Suyapa is the most important church in Tegucigalpa as well as in all of Honduras. La Virgen de Suyapa is the patron saint of Honduras. In 1982 a papal decree made her the patron saint of all Central America. The basilica is known for its large stained glass windows.

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Iglesia Los Dolores is an impressive church and offers some religious art. The facade of the church has figures which represent the Passion of Christ. You can see his un-seamed cloak, the rooster that crowed three times and all of these are crowned by the symbol of the sun.

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At the center of the city is Plaza Morazan also referred to as Parque Central. Here you can people watch and mingle.

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There is a statue of former President Francisco Morazan on horseback right in the center.

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Iglesia La Merced in 1847 the La Merced Convent was converted to house Hondura’s first university. Later it became the country’s national gallery until 2015. This building is worth taking a look at and has impressive paintings inside.

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Palacio Legislativo is a unique modern building on stilts. This is where Congress meets.

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Monumento a La Paz can be found in the city’s largest park. It was erected in 1996 in the name of the eternal peace between the “fraternal nations of Central America”.

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Monumento a Simon Bolivar is a monument to Latin America’s great liberator. It is located at a busy junction in the city’s well-to-do Colonia Palmira area.

Exploring Honduras

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The largest and most developed of the Bay Islands is Roatan. Today it is a cruise ship port and popular tourist spot. In the center of the island is a mountainous backbone and coral reefs line its shores. Visitors enjoy diving, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing.

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The beaches are lovely and one of the best is West Bay Beach.  You’ll enjoy crystal clear waters and swaying palms and there are lots of shops and restaurants nearby.

The cultural center of Roatan is the small community of Sandy Bay. Among the top attractions here are:

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The Roatan Institute of Marine Sciences with dolphin encounters. Found on the northwest coast at Anthony’s Key Resort. It educates visitors about marine ecology and offers encounters with dolphins in a natural lagoon. You can enjoy swimming and snorkeling with dolphins. Those studying to be marine biologists can sign-up for the “Dolphin Trainer for a Day” program and at the end perform their own dolphin show.

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The Carambola Gardens is a favorite among nature lovers.

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The Roatan Marine Park has great snorkeling.

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At the Roatan Butterfly Garden, you’ll find butterfly species native to Honduras and the Bay Islands.

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French Harbor is Roatan’s biggest fishing port.

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A popular site here is Arch’s Iguana and Marine Park.

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Copan Ruins Archeological Site is the most studied Maya city in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It dates back to almost 2,000 years. The site is famous for the stelae and altars, scattered around the immense plaza.

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Other highlights here include the ball court, the Hieroglyphic Stairway, an impressive temple, holding the longest known Mayan text

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and the Acropolis which features carved reliefs of the 16 kings of Copan.

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Not far from the site is the Museum of Mayan Sculpture, displaying a series of original pieces of sculpture, stelae, and altars that were recovered here. The museum tunnels through a hillside, opening up into a vast sunlit open space. The highlight here is the impressive Rosalila Temple.

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Utila is the most budget-friendly of the Bay Islands. Backpackers love this island. The main settlement is Utila Town. Visitors enjoy the beaches and snorkeling in the lagoon.

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You can enjoy diving or swim with whale sharks.

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Little French Key is an eco-friendly tropical paradise. You can find hammocks strung between coconut palms, crystal clear waters and great snorkeling. There is a white sand beach with kayaks and chaise lounges. Restaurants offer fresh seafood. Take the time to visit the wildlife sanctuary where you can see rescue animals like monkeys, deer, and toucans.

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La Tigra National Park is an unspoiled park that preserves a lush cloud forest that is home to ocelots, pumas, and monkeys. There are over 200 bird species among them toucans, trogons, and quetzal. There are well-marked hiking trails that take you through thick forest. At the visitor center, you can get maps and park information. If you prefer you can arrange for a guide. This is one of the most visited parks in Honduras.

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Lancetilla Botanical Gardens are the second largest tropical botanical gardens in the world. They were established in 1926. There are wonderful groves of trees from Central America and other tropical regions. Here you can find over 200 species of tropical birds due to the abundance of fruit trees. There are many lovely paths such as one that leads you through a tunnel of bamboo trees to a swimming hole in the Lancetilla River.

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Carambola Botanical Gardens & Trails offer trails winding through forests of fruit trees, palms, ferns, orchids, spices, and mahogany. Follow the mountain paths to get awesome views out over the Caribbean. It is possible to see jumping dolphins. There are many colorful birds and you can see Roatan Anoli lizards and parades of leafcutter ants. Within the gardens you/’ll find Iguana Wall a sheer section of cliff that is a breeding area for iguanas and parrots.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 28, 2018

Amazing Guatemala


Guatemala is a Central American country located south of Mexico. it offers visitors volcanoes, rainforests and ancient Mayan sites.

City Known for its Mayan Sites 

guat guat

Guatemala City the capital of Guatemala is known for its Mayan history. It is located at a high altitude and surrounded by volcanoes.

guat central

Parque Central the city’s central plaza is a great place to begin your travels to other Zona 1 sites.

guat centario

During the daytime, both Parque Central and the adjoining Parque Centenario are great places to people watch, enjoy the sun, and buy ice cream from the ice cream vendors. 

guat palacio natcional

Palacio Nacional de la Cultura is located o the north side of Parque Central. This is an impressive presidential palace that was built between 1936 and 1943. This is the third palace to stand on this site. It was constructed in different styles like Spanish Renaissance and neo-Classical. Today it is a museum and some ceremonial events are held here.

guat palacio natcional chandelier

Visitors can get a guided tour also available in English. You’ll see gleaming brass, polished wood, carved stone and frescoed arches. There is an optimal mural of Guatemalan history by Alberto Galvez Suarez above the main staircase. In the reception hall is a two-ton gold, bronze, and Bohemian-crystal chandelier. In the banqueting hall, you can see stained-glass panels. There is an interesting view of the city from the presidential balcony.

guat palacio-nacional hands

In the western courtyard, the Patio de la Paz is a monument depicting two hands and stands where Guatemala’s Peace Accords were signed in 1996. At 11 AM each day a military guard changes the rose held in the hands. The rose from the previous day is tossed among the women spectators.

guat museo-miraflores

Museo Miraflores is an impressive modern museum sandwiched between two shopping malls, a few kilometers out of the city. Downstairs you’ll find objects that were found at Kaminaljuyu (an ancient Mayan city). There are trade route maps that show the site’s importance. Upstairs are displays of textiles and indigenous clothing that have been separated by region from around the country. There are signs in both English and Spanish.

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Outback is a lovely grassy area with paths to walk and benches to sit on.

guat kam

Parque Arqueologico Kaminaljuyu here you’ll find remnants of one of the first important cities in the Maya region. The park is located 4km west of the city center. From about 400 BC to AD 100 ancient Kaminaljuyu had thousands of residents and many temples.

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There are large-scale carvings and this ancient city has a literate elite before anywhere else in the Maya world. It fell into ruin under the hands of invaders from Teotihuacan in central Mexico. Today you can just see a small portion of the ancient city and a good many of the remnants consist of grassy mounds. To the left of the entrance is La Acropolis, where you can explore excavations of a ball court and talud-tablero buildings from AD 450 to 550. Across the road are two burial statues from the late pre-Classic era.


guat ixchel

Museo Ixchel was named for the Maya goddess of the moon, women, reproduction, and textiles. There are photos and exhibits of indigenous costumes and other crafts that show the traditional arts. Guided tours are available in English or Spanish. There is also a section for children, a cafe, a shop and a library.

guat relief

Mapa en Relieve north of Zona 1, is Zona 2 which is a middle-class residential district. It is worth stopping by here to see the huge open-air map of Guatemala that shows the country at a scale of 1:10,000. Its vertical scale is exaggerated to 1:2000 to make the volcanoes and mountains appear to be higher and steeper.

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It was constructed in 1905 under the direction of Francisco Vela and fully restored and re-painted in 1999. It is just a short walk from Parque Central.

guat metropolitana

Catedral Metropolitana faces Parque Central and was constructed between `782 and 1815. In 1867 the towers were completed. It is a lovely building that has survived many earthquakes.

guat casa mima

Casa MIMA is a museum and cultural center dating from the late 1800s. The owners of the house were collectors who collected items of French neo-Rococo, Chinese and art deco as well as indigenous artifacts. It has been set up as a functioning house that is filled with curios and furniture spanning the centuries.

guat art

Museo Nacional de Arte is home to a collection of 20th-century Guatemalan art that includes the artworks of well-known Guatemalan artists like Carlos Merida, Carlos Valente, and Humberto Gavarito.

guat zoo

La Aurora Zoo is a large zoological park and one of the best zoos in Central America. It was established in 1924. It is divided into different regions of the world.

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In the Africa section, you can see zebras, lions, buffalos and three species of Asian monkeys like the howlers. Other sections are Asia, America, and Oceania.

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You can stroll through the landscaped gardens and relax in the shade of the trees. There are games for children and a small theater. You can enjoy dining at the restaurants.

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Jardin Botanico is a large and lush botanic garden on the northern edge of Zona 10. It was the first botanic garden in Central America and is the only one in Guatemala. Here you can find over 1,400 varieties of local and exotic plants among them many endangered species. All the exhibits are labeled in their common name in Spanish and scientific name in Latin.

guat banco

Banco de Guatemala is an impressive bank building that features relief sculptures by Dagoberto Vasquez that depict the country’s history.

guat centro civico

Centro Civico found in Zona 4 it is a set of large government and institutional buildings that were built during the 1950s and 1960s. One is the headquarters of INGUAT the Guatemalan tourist institute that is home to the city’s main tourist office.

guat reform

Torre del Reformador is a medium-scale reproduction of the Eiffel Tower sitting in the middle of Zone 9.

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Near Centro Civico is the Palacio de Justicia.

Traveling in Guatemala

guat tikal

Tikal a well-preserved ruined city can be found in the humid jungle of northern Guatemala, near the Belize border. It was occupied between 600 BC and AD 900. Here you can see over 3,000 structures from pyramids to temples to plazas and an acropolis. For over a thousand years it was one of the most important urban Mayan centers.

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Today it is one of the largest Mayan archeological sites of its time period still in existence. You can see steep pyramids rising above the jungle and see birds, monkeys, and other wildlife. The ruins are encompassed by the Tikal National Park a biosphere reserve that protects the rainforest and wildlife habitat.

guat antigua

Antigua is one of the highlights in Guatemala. It sits surrounded by volcanoes. You can see cobbled streets and old colonial buildings. The city offers museums for visitors and lovely old convents to explore. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

guat lake-atitlan

Lake Atitlan is a lovely lake that sits at 1,538 meters above sea level and is surrounded by hills and volcanoes. It was formed in a volcanic crater. Along its shore are quaint villages.

guat lake atitian pan

The main entry point is the city of Panajachel. Its main street is lined by vendors selling all kinds of goods. Boats line up here to take visitors to the village by the lake.

guat que

Quetzaltenango is the second-largest city in Guatemala and is the commercial center of southwestern Guatemala. It is also referred to as Xela.

guat que volcan taj

The town’s major sites are the Parque Centro America and the buildings that surround it. Its cathedral dates from the 19th century. Many visitors come here to study Spanish. You can take hikes in the nearby mountains and walk up Volcan Tajumulco, the highest peak in Central America. It is also a base for excursions to the nearby villages that have hot springs and sell handicrafts.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 25, 2018

Interesting El Salvador


In our armchair travels, we’ve arrived in El Salvador, a small country in Central America. Now this country might not have gotten a place on your travel wish lists but take a closer look at it and see that it does deserve to be noticed. You can find Pacific Ocean beaches, enjoy surfing, marvel at rainforests with waterfalls and fascinating cities and towns. So sit back and enjoy the tour.

El Salvador’s Largest City

el san salvador 

San Salvador is not only the largest city but also the capital of this country. It is the country’s political, cultural, educational and financial center.

el rosario entrance

Iglesia El Rosario is a wonderful church that was designed by sculptor Ruben Martinez and completed in 1971.


It can be looked at as the finest church in Central America with an arched roof and natural light that reflects like a rainbow across the altar and shines off the metal and rock.

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The most dramatic effect of light occurs in the late afternoon. It is the final resting place of Padre Delgado who was the Father of Central American Independence.

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Catedral Metropolitana is the most significant landmark in San Salvador and faces

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the Plaza Barrios. It is the final resting place of Archbishop Oscar A. Romero who always criticized the government from his pulpit at the height of the Civil War. As a result, he was assassinated while giving mass at a nearby hospital.

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Even earthquakes have not been able to destroy the blue-and-yellow-checked dome which is an everlasting symbol of national pride.

el laguna

Jardin Botanico La Laguna delights visitors with moss-covered bridges, pebbled paths, and small waterfalls which are home to frogs, turtles, and fish.

el laguna turtle

The fascinating thing is that this botanical garden is found at the bottom of a volcanic crater from which you can see many Salvadoran plant species come to life.

el arbol

El Arbol de Dios or God’s Tree is an institute that is dedicated to the artwork of world-famous painter Fernando Llort.

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On display are some sophisticated pieces that differ from his better-known wood paintings. You can find artwork for sale at reasonable prices as well.

el arte

Museo de Arte de El Salvador offers an impressive collection of sketches and paintings that track the development of prominent local and foreign artists. There is a small restaurant on the premises and on Sundays the museum is free.

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The museum is located up the hill behind the large Monumento a la Revolucion.

 el Palacio_Nacional_de_San_Salvador

The Palacio Nacional was built in the early 20th century of Italian marble. Until the 1986 earthquake, it was the government headquarters. Many of the rooms still have remnants of the early governance.

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There is a delightful courtyard.

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It is located on the west side of Plaza Barrios.

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On the south end of Plaza Barrios is the impressive Biblioteca Nacional.

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Teatro National was renovated in the French Classical-style in the mid-20th century.

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The Gothic towers of the Iglesia El Calvario are quite impressive and there is a lovely interior.

Taking a Look at El Salvador


Northwest of San Salvador you’ll find La Palma which is the town where national artist Fernando Llort taught.

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He captured the hearts of the El Salvadoran people and turned La Palma into a nationally recognized artistic hub. Today many of the residents practice Llort’s artistic style.La Palma is worth a visit for its many galleries and workshops and wonderful artistic heritage. You can find quaint Llort-inspired souvenirs. Stop by the mosaic Central Park.

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Suchitoto is one of the few towns in El Salvador that still retains its colonial architecture. Here you can find lovely panoramic views and quaint cobblestone streets.

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One of its most popular sites is the Museo de los Recuerdos Alejandro Coto, offering beautiful grounds, colonial architecture, great views and classic fountains as well as one of the country’s most impressive art collections.

el waterfall

Further down the road, you’ll find the 39-foot tall Los Tercios Waterfall

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and the Aqua Calienter with hot springs.

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Joya de Ceren is a well-preserved Mayan village. This village was abandoned during the eruption of Laguna de Caldera in 640 AD.

el joya

The town was buried under volcanic ash and it wasn’t until 1976 that it was discovered.


Santa Ana is the second largest city in El Salvador.

el santa ana cathedral

It’s a beautiful city with an early 20th-century neo-Gothic cathedral,

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Teatro de Santa Ana an elaborately decorated theater

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and Parque Libertad, a picturesque main square.

el tazumal

Tazumal was founded around 400 AD. It’s a unique cluster of step pyramids among which the tallest reaches up to 75 feet in height (the largest in the country). Its autonomous status lasted up to the time when the Spanish forces moved into El Salvador in the 1520s, after which the local people were conquered and exploited.

el tazumal boggs museum

Visit the on-site Stanley H. Boggs Museum which displays artifacts that were uncovered during the excavation. You can see incense burners, potter, and statues reflection the past of Tazumal. The most notable item in the museum is the Stone of Victories statue.

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Lago de Coatepeque or Caldera Coatepeque is a lake that is located right in the heart of a volcanic crater. It is one of the largest lakes in El Salvador. It was formed nearly 72,000 years ago by a series of violent eruptions and volcanic collapses.

Lago de Coatepeque

There are pristine waters great for swimming. You can participate in many water sports like jet skiing and scuba diving. Visitors enjoy taking a ferry ride to Teopan Island, in the center of the lake, motorboat excursions, and lake tours.

el cerre verde

Cerre Verde National Park is home to three amazing volcanoes – Izalco, Santa Ana and Cerro Verde. This is the place you can find one of the country’s few cloud forests and has a great hiking trail. The Window to Nature Trail will take you through the oldest forest in the park, through the crater and past century-old trees. There is amazing flora and fauna, guided bird watching, horseback riding tour and great views of the volcanoes.

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Except for Cerro Verde the other two volcanoes have a long history of eruptions. Izalco was once referred to as the “Lighthouse of the Pacific” and Santa Ana is one of the most popular climbs in the country and is the most active of the three.

el libertad

La Libertad or Freedom is a small port that was named after El Salvador gained independence from Spain. Here you can find a quaint port and some of the best beaches for shore angling and surfing. You can join organized fishing trips.

el costa

Costa del Sol a sandy beach just 30 minutes from the San Salvador Airport is becoming a popular tourist spot. It has been divided into three sections – San Marcellino, Los Blancos and Costa del Sol, a wide beach popular for sporting events.

el estuary

One of the highlights of the area is a mangrove boat tour of the Jaltepeque estuary. This is a protected area that is home to various bird and fish species.  A three-hour boat ride from La Puntilla takes visitors through mangrove tunnels and to where the country’s longest river, Rio Lempe, meets the Pacific Ocean.

el atlantis

Another popular attraction is Atlantis Water Park with activities like slides, swimming pools, and floating rides.

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El Tunco is one of the most popular of the northern coastal towns. It was named after the “pig-shaped” rock off its coast.

el tunco


Surfers love this place and can take surf classes and rent boards. There are plenty of boutiques, restaurants, and cafes.

el san miguel

San Miguel is the country’s largest and most populated city. There are many great landmarks in the historical downtown

el san miguel cathedral

among them the 19th-century Cathedral

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and Francisco Gavidia Theater. Take a look at the action at the San Miguel Market. 

el san vincente volcano

Visitors love to take a look at the San Vicente Volcano with some challenging hiking trails.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 21, 2018

Traveling in Costa Rica


rica manuel national

Visitors enjoy seeing the wildlife and enjoying the beaches at Manuel Antonio National Park. The park has endless stretches of sand and dense forest.

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Guided walks are available through the park. Even on your own, you’ll have fun spotting howler monkeys,  squirrel monkey, capuchins, sloths and many different types of birds.

rica manuel antonio

You’ll also enjoy taking a look at the small town of Manuel Antonio. There is a lovely oceanfront beach where you can see soccer games and surfers enjoying the waves. You can wander through the stores on the hillside and relax at the restaurants.

rica arenal

The Arenal Volcano National Park is located in the rugged Cordillera de Tilaran and is one of the top volcano viewing areas in the country. The main attraction here is the Arenal Volcano that reaches 1,633 meters. It was dormant from 1500 AD until a massive eruption occurred on July 29, 1968, killing 82 people and destroying two villages. Ever since there has been regular volcanic activity.

rica arenal toucan

The park is also well-known for its wide range of biodiversity with about half of all Costa Rican birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.

rica arenal observatory

The Arenal Observatory Lodge was established in 1987 and is the only lodge within the Arenal Volcano National Park boundaries. It is located on a macadamia nut farm on the south side of the volcano.

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From the lodge, visitors can get awesome views of the volcano and Arenal Lake. There are numerous hiking trails which lead to waterfalls or old and recent lava flows.

The Cloud Forests have become popular ecotourism destinations in Costa Rica. Here visitors can see unique plants and wildlife. There are clouds covering the forests that provide moisture. There is also plenty of bird watching to do in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

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and the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.

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You can see all kinds of mammals and amphibians. There are jaguars, pumas, monkeys and even frogs among others. One of the best ways to see everything is to take an organized hike. There are also canopy tours.

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The two main tourist centers are Monteverde and Santa Elena offering accommodation, restaurants, shops and art galleries.

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If you’re looking for a tropical backpacker’s haven head for Dominical. You’ll find dirt streets, lovely beaches, cheap accommodation, open-air restaurants and an easy kind of lifestyle. It is loved by surfers. If you prefer you can find small luxury inns and bed and breakfast place on the outskirts or in the hill that overlooks the town. You can see howler monkeys and toucans.

The town is known for its wide stretch of open beach, with shady trees and vendors who set up tables and sell crafts.

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Tamarindo on the Nicoya Peninsula is a great place for surfing and relaxing on the beach. This was once a fishing village that turned into a tourist haven. Visitors can find great accommodation and good food. The town stretches along the Tamarindo Beach. For surfers, the biggest waves can be caught in November and December. The area around here is known for its eco-friendly adventures. Some of the activities here include snorkeling, diving, horseback riding, zip-lining and turtle watching. Nearby you’ll find Playa Grande which is one of Costa Rica’s most important nesting grounds for leatherback turtles. In October and March over 100 turtles can be found nesting and laying their eggs overnight.

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Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast can be accessed only by boat or plane. This is an important breeding ground for the green sea turtle and turtle watching is one of the top activities here. There are many beaches but they are not suitable for swimming since the currents are rough and strong. Sharks come around too. There are hiking trails and you can take boat rides along the canals. Visitors enjoy seeing the monkeys, sloths, and kinkajous.

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Other wildlife includes peccaries, tapirs, freshwater turtles, lizards, snakes, frogs, and toads.

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In the far south of Costa Rica, you’ll find the remote Osa Peninsula. This is the place where you can find some of Central America’s best stretches of coastal rainforest. Some of the popular activities are diving, snorkeling, and fishing. Puerto Jimenez is the area’s largest town.

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Corcovado National Park was established in 1975 and protects what is looked at as the best remaining stretch of Pacific coastal rainforest in Central America. There is an extensive trail system and visitors enjoy taking long-distance hikes.

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The Irazu Volcano is the highest active volcano in Costa Rica at 3,342 meters. The summit of the volcano is a lunar-like landscape with craters. Marked trails lead to the craters.

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Braulio Carrillo National Park there are rugged mountains, waterfalls, canyons, dormant volcanoes and virgin rainforest. It is close to the main gateway of Costa Rica and here you can see unique plants and wildlife. There is the Barva Volcano and the Caribbean lowlands. You can see jaguars, pumas, tapirs, sloths, and monkeys. Among bird species, there are the Quetzal the national bird, toucans, and eagles.

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The Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is the main attraction in the park. The last time the volcano erupted was in 2011 so the hiking trails to the top are not open. There are plenty of trails that lead to waterfalls and hot spring. You can see tapirs, sloths, monkeys, jaguars, puma, and ocelot.

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