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.

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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.

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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.

ricas playa grande turtle

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.

rica rincon

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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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 18, 2018

Sensational San Jose

costa

We’ve arrived in Costa Rica, a rugged country with rainforests in Central America with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific.  The country is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity.

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Its capital is San Jose, sitting in the Central Valley region with the Talamanca Mountains to the south and volcanoes to the north.

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Plaza de la Cultura is a concrete plaza right in the heart of downtown. Here you can people watch while enjoying the sunshine. There are juggling clowns to entertain and vendors selling wares.

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Teatro Nacional is located on the southern side of the Plaza de la Cultura. It was constructed in 1897 and has a neo-Classical facade that is flanked by statues of Beethoven and famous 17th-century Spanish dramatist Claderon de la Barca. You’ll be impressed by the marble lobby and the auditorium that is lined with paintings, depicting 19th-century life. There are hourly tours available and you can relax in the cafe.

costa jade

Museo de Jade is home to the world’s largest collection of American jade. There are five floors offering seven exhibits. You can see nearly 7000 finely carved, well-conserved pieces, from translucent jade carvings that depict fertility goddesses, shamans, frogs and snakes to amazing ceramics including a unique ceramic head that displays a row of serrated teeth. There is a museum cafe.

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Museo de Oro Pre-Colombino y Numismatica is a three-in-one museum with an extensive collection of Costa Rica’s most priceless pieces of pre-Columbian gold and other artifacts among them historical currency and some contemporary regional art. The museum is located underneath the Plaza de la Cultura.

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Museo Nacional de Costa Rica is entered through a lovely glassed-in atrium that houses an exotic butterfly garden. You can see exhibits of pre-Columbian pieces as well as artifacts from the colony and the early republic. All of these are housed in the old Bellavista Fortress which once served historically as the army headquarters and saw fierce fighting in the 1948 civil war. Here President Jose Figueres Ferrer announced in 1949 that he was abolishing the country’s military. Among the most notable pieces here is the fountain pen that Figueres used to sign the 1949 constitution.

The period galleries in the northeast corner feature turn-of-the-20th-century furnishings and decor from the time that these rooms served as the private residences of the fort’s various commanders.

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Barrio Amon is a pleasant and historic neighborhood. Here you can find a cluster of coffee grower mansions that were constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of the historic buildings have been converted into hotels, restaurants, and offices. This is a key arts center.

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Museo de los Ninos & Galeria Nacional is two museums in one. It has found its home in an old penitentiary that was built in 1909. It is part children’s museum and part art gallery. Small children love the hands-on exhibits relating to science, geography and natural history. Adults enjoy the contemporary art displayed in abandoned prison cells.

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Parque Nacional is one of the nicest green spaces in the city. There are shady spots to relax and benches to sit on.

costa Monumento_Nacional_SJCR

At the center is the Monumento Nacional, a 1953 statue that depicts the Central American nations driving out North American filibuster William Walker. There are other monuments that are devoted to Latin American historical figures among them Cuban poet, essayist and revolutionary Jose Marti, Mexican independence figure Miguel Hidalgo and 18th-century Venezuelan humanist Andres Bello.

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Across the street stands the Asamblea Legislativa, with an important statue of Juan Santamaria, the young man who helped get Walker out of Costa Rica.

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Refugio Herpetologico de Costa Rica where you can see on display snakes, turtles, caimans and a large crocodile.

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There are also some resident spiders and capuchin monkeys and a couple of ocelots.

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Catedral Metropolitana was built in 1871. It has a neo-Classical interior with colorful Spanish-tile floors, stained glass windows and a Christ figure. On the north side of the nave, you’ll find a recumbent Christ, dating back to 1878 that draws devout Ticos, who come to pray and deposit pleas that have been written on small slips of paper.

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Parque Morazan was named for Francisco Morazin, the 19th century general who attempted to unite the Central American nations under a single flag. This park gets illuminated in the evenings.

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At the center is the Temple de Musica, a concrete bandstand that serves as an unofficial symbol of San Jose.

costa teatro popularo

Teatro Melico Salazar is located on the north side of Parque Central and was built in 1928 in Beaux-Arts style. It was named after Costa Rican tenor Melico Salazar, who performed internationally. It was the site of the 2002 presidential inauguration and regularly hosts plays, concerts and other cultural events.

costa spiro

Spirogyra Jardin de Mariposas is home to over 30 species of butterfly including the luminescent blue morpho – in plant-filled enclosures.

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Monumento Leon Cortes this bronze statue of the 1930s Costa Rican president stands at the eastern entrance to La Sabana Park.

 

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 15, 2018

Amazing Belize

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Belize offers many adventures where you can commune with nature and enjoy hiking. kayaking, fishing, and many other exciting things.

The Capital City Belmopan

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Belmopan offers many adventures and national parks to explore nearby.

In the city take a walk through Market Square to see the local shops and enjoy some fine dining.

Independence Square is where you’ll find the prime minister’s offices and the National Assembly Building.

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The National Assembly Building of Belize is located in the heart of Belmopan and is home to the two houses of Parliament – the House of Representatives and the Senate. This building was designed to look like a Mayan temple.

belize blue hole swimming

Blue Hole National Park includes St. Herman’s Cave which is one of the few caves in Belize that tourists can visit independently. You can rent flashlights at the visitors center. There is a path that leads 200 yards into the cave alongside an underground river. On the way back go along Highland Trail with rope guides for some spectacular views. If you prefer a longer hike take the three-hour trail from Crystal Cave.

The Blue Hole also has a 25ft.-deep swimming hole.

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Guanacaste National Park is Belize’s smallest national park.

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It was named for the giant Guanacaste tree on the southwestern edge. The park is framed by Roaring Creek and the Belize River. There are two miles of hiking trails with many local trees and colorful birds. The best time for birding here is in the winter when migrants arrive from North America. Guanacaste Trail has a timber deck leading down to the river where there is a deep waterhole for swimming.

belize price

George Price Center for Peace & Development is a museum and conference center, celebrating the life of Belize’s beloved statesman and first prime minister after independence, George Price. There are photos and information panels and an archive of documents and letters written by Price.

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Barquedier Waterfall is a wonderful waterfall that cascades down into a swimming hole.

belize zoo

The Belize Zoo was established in 1983. Today it is the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center and exhibits more than 175 animals that represent over 45 native species.

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There are summer camps, teacher and tour guide workshops and student career training.

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Leaving Belmopan behind we can explore Ambergris Caye.  It is right off the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and is the largest of Belize’s 200 caves and a prime tourist destination. Here saltwater fly fishing enthusiasts come here to cast lines for bonefish, tarpon, snook, and barracuda.

belize chan

Off the coast, you’ll find Hol Chan Marine Reserve one of the most visited diving and snorkeling sites. It is one of the seven reserves within the Belize Barrier Reef system. 

Among the top attractions in the reserve are Cat’s Eye, a crescent-shaped sinkhole

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Shark Ray Alley where divers have the chance to get close to nurse sharks and southern stingrays.

belize san pedro

San Pedro is the island’s main town and fishing village with colorful clapboard houses. Transport is mainly by golf carts and bikes.

The Ambergris Museum and Cultural Center offers the island’s history from the ancient Mayan traders to the present day.

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Lighthouse Reef Atoll is a great place for nature lovers and divers. Six cayes surround a lagoon with white-sand beaches, coconut palms, and coral formations.

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Here you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage site the Great Blue Hole, a natural monument. When divers plunge into this sinkhole they can see unique limestone stalactites that protrude from the steep walls and schools of reef sharks.

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The most visited caye is the Half Moon Caye. Also a World Heritage site, the Half Moon Caye Natural Monument is a bird sanctuary sheltering a colony of about 4,000 red-footed boobies and other species.

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There are nature trails that lead to observation platforms offering bird’s eye views of nesting boobies and frigate birds.

Visitors also enjoy exploring the island’s lighthouse and relaxing on the lovely beaches.

belize palencia

Placencia is a popular fishing village and beach resort. Travelers enjoy the white-sand beaches, kayaking, diving and snorkeling and the fresh seafood restaurants.

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Laughing Bird Caye National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site with hiking trails and coral reefs. Popular activities are swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and diving.

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You can have an exciting adventure cruising through the mangroves on the Monkey River where you can see birds, howler monkeys, and crocodiles.

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Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary is where you’ll find a tropical forest with an interesting array of wildlife like jaguars, ocelots, pumas, anteaters, tapirs, monkeys and snakes. There are also many birds such as toucans and scarlet macaws.

belize cocks

A great way to explore the sanctuary is walking the trails. One of the most popular is the Waterfall Trail with a cascade and swimming hole. There are guided tours available.

belize lamanal

Lamanal Archaeological Reserve is found in the lush jungle on the banks of New River. Lamanal is the most famous archaeological site in northern Belize and is one of its largest ceremonial centers. The name means “submerged crocodile” in the Mayan language. There are several ruined churches here and the archaeological site features over 900 structures as well as a museum with exhibits of pottery, figurines and jade jewelry.

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Among the highlights are the Mask Temple,

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Temple of the Jaguar

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and the High Temple, which can be climbed for panoramic jungle views.

belize caracol

Caracol Natural Monument Reservation sits on the Vaca Plateau, 152 meters above sea level. Caracol is the largest archaeological site in Belize. The ruins of this Mayan city are found deep in the jungles of the Chiquibul National Park near the Guatemalan border.

belize pyramid

An interesting feature is the 43-meter high Caana (Sky Palace) Pyramid, Caracol’s tallest structure. It is also the tallest human-made structure in all of Belize and offers fantastic views of the site and surrounding jungle. Among the ruins, you can find big cats, howler monkeys and birds like toucans. Beyond here are a series of limestone karat caves which are believed to be the largest of their kind in the Western Hemisphere.

 

http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/belize-biz.htm

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 12, 2018

Two Fantastic Cities in Belize

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The greatest thing about an armchair travel blog is that you can just pinpoint a place anywhere in the world and just hop on over there through the Internet. So now that we have enjoyed touring South America and some of the Caribbean Islands close to there.We have arrived in Central America. The first country that we will take a look at is Belize so sit back, get comfortable and hope you enjoy the tour.

School of creole wrasse

Belize is a nation on the eastern coast of Central America. On the east side the country you’ll find the Caribbean Sea and on the west side dense jungle. Offshore is the huge Belize Barrier Reef with hundreds of low-lying islands known as cayes with an abundance of marine life.

Beautiful Belize City

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Belize City is a port city that has been divided into north and south banks by the Haulover Creek, opening into the Caribbean Sea.

belize museum

Museum of Belize is a modern museum that gives visitors an overview of the story of this city. It has found its home in the country’s former main jail dating back to 1857. The museum has preserved one cell in its original state, complete with graffiti from inmates. You can see amazing historical photos and documents from the colonial and independence eras.

Upstairs in the Maya Treasures section, there are impressive examples of Maya jade as well as ceramics and sculpture. There are also lots of informative models and explanations of the main Maya sites around the country. In other sections, you can see Belize’s colorful postage stamps and displays on insect life.

belize swing bridge

Swing Bridge is crossed by many people every day. It is said to be the only remaining manually operated bridge of its type in the world. The bridge is a product of Liverpool’s ironworks and was installed in 1923. Today it is rarely opened except if tall boats need to pass by. From the bridge, Haulover Creek is a lovely sight with many small yachts and fishing boats at anchor.

belize st. johns

 

Close to the Government House, you’ll find St. John’s Cathedral which is the oldest Anglican church in Central America. It was built by slave labor between 1812 and 1820 using bricks that came from Britain as ballast. Inside you can see the ancient pipe organ and Baymen-era tombstones that tell the history of the early days of Belize.

belize government house

Government House is an impressive two-story wooden colonial mansion that was the residence of Britain’s superintendents and governors of Belize from 1814 until 1996. After renovations, it has become the Belize House of Culture. It is one of the oldest houses in Belize and visitors enjoy seeing the historical exhibits, displays of modern Belizean art and the grassy gardens. It was here that at midnight on September 21, 1981, the Union Jack was ceremonially replaced by the Belizean flag to mark the birth of independent Belize. In the garden is displayed the tender from Baron Bliss’ yacht.

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Image Factory is the country’s most innovative and exciting art gallery. You can find new exhibits most months of artwork by Belizean artists. Opening receptions are held early in the month on the deck, overlooking Haulover Creek.

belize BTL

BTL Park is a lovely waterside recreation area with food huts that sell local and international cuisine. There is a playground and a walled-in sandy area with access to water. Concerts and cultural events are held here.

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Take a look at the impressive Court House that was built in 1926 as the headquarters for Belize’s colonial administrators. Today it still serves administrative and judicial functions.

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Right across from the Court House you’ll find Battlefield Park where people love to relax.

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Baron Bliss Tomb is located at the tip of the Fort George peninsula. It is the final resting place of Belize’s most famous benefactor.

belize lighthouse

Next to it is Fort George Lighthouse that guides boats into Haulover Creek. It was built with funds from the Baron Bliss estate.

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In downtown, you’ll find a simple Hindu temple that serves Belize’s growing Indian community.

 Sensational San Ignacio

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San Ignacio is a town in the Cayo  District of western Belize, on the banks of the Macal River. This town is linked to the town of Santa Elena by the metal suspension Hawksworth Bridge.

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Green Iguana Conservation Project this is an excellent program that collects and hatches iguana eggs and raises reptiles till they are past their most vulnerable age. Afterward, the iguanas are released into the wild. Visitors get guided tours were they have the opportunity to handle and pet the iguanas. They also learn a lot about them, their habits and life cycle. During the tour, you also get to follow the medicinal jungle trail, winding through the jungle.

belize cahal pech

Cahal Pech is the oldest-known Maya site in the Belize River Valley. It was settled between 1500 and 1000 BC. The visitor’s center explains its history. Cahal Pech is Mopan and Yucatec Mayan for Place of Ticks. This was a nickname given in the 1950s because the pastures here were grazed by tick-infested cattle.

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Today tourists enjoy seeing this shady area with many trees. Its core area has seven interconnected plazas with Plaza B being the largest. Structure A-1, near Plaza A has the site’s tallest temple.

belize branch mouth

Branch Mouth is the meeting place of the Mopan River, coming from Guatemala and the Macal River, flowing down from Mountain Pine Ridge. The confluence of these rivers forms the beginning of the Belize River. It is a great place for swimming and a rope-pulled boat can get you to the other side of the river.

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Town Hall landmark

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St. Andrew’s Anglican Church

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Sacred Heart Church landmark

 

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 8, 2018

The Fabulous Falkland Islands

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The Falkland Islands or Islas Malvinas are a remote South Atlantic archipelago. One of their closest neighbors is the South America country of Argentina.

The Capital

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Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands is located on East Falkland. The city has lovely homes painted in bright colors. Most overlook the picturesque Stanley Harbor. There is a certain British style to Stanley with iconic red phone boxes and some old inns.

Among the highlights:

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Jubilee Villas that were built in 1887 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

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The Tabernacle is a Victorian church built in 1892.

Christ Church Cathedral and the Whalebone Arch

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Little Christ Church Cathedral is the world’s southernmost Anglican cathedral. It is one of the few stone buildings in the Falkland Islands.

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Whalebone Arch is unique and made from the jaws of two massive blue whales. It was created in 1933 to commemorate the centenary of British rule.

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The Falkland Islands Museum is located in Britannia House which is a building that was used by the Argentine Air Force during the conflict in 1982. Here visitors can learn about the region’s maritime history as well as its military history.

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The Historic Dockyard Museum relating maritime history, flora, fauna and geology. There are special exhibits on the 1982 war. The buildings making up the museum are some of the oldest in Stanley. They include recreations of the old printing office, telephone exchange, smithy and a wash-house.

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Gypsy Cove is home to Magellanic penguins, black-crowned night herons, rock cormorants and many small birds. There are a lot of wildflowers and native tussac grass.

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The old cemetery in Stanley has many interesting tombstones. The Cross of Sacrifice, on the north side of the cemetery, is a memorial to the Falkland Islanders killed in WW I and WW II.

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Another military monument is Victory Green, a WW II memorial and the scene of an annual parade on the Queen’s Birthday.

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The Battle Memorial stands on the grounds of Government House, commemoration the famous sea battle in 1941 between the German and British navies.

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The 1982 Liberation Monuments in tribute to the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives during the Falklands War.

West Falkland

West Falkland Island has a rich biodiversity with 163 varieties of plants and 21 types of land birds.

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The main settlement is Port Howard which is a major sheep farming community. It’s a great place to explore on foot.

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Hikers enjoy Mount Maria, the island’s third highest peak. It’s also a great fishing destination, particularly for trout.

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Sea Lion Island is the most southern inhabited island in the Falklands.

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Visitors enjoy seeing the elephant seals, sea lions, penguins and shore, and seabirds.

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Offshore you can see orcas.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 6, 2018

Terrific Trinidad and Tobago

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Trinidad and Tobago is a dual-island Caribbean nation near Venezuela.

Port of Spain Trinidad

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Port of Spain located on the northeast coast of Trinidad is the capital of Trinidad and Tobago. It has impressive colonial-style architecture. On the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday the capital comes alive with Carnival, where everyone wears colorful costumes, listens to calypso and soca rhythms and simply enjoys themselves.

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National Museum and Art Gallery is housed in a classic colonial building. It offers exhibits that range from Amerindian settlers to African slaves and indentured Indians. On the top floor, the rotating collection of artwork is one of the highlights and is a great introduction to the Trinibago art scene.

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Queen’s Park Savannah is a lovely park in Port of Spain. At one time it was part of a sugar plantation and also home to a racecourse. This is a public park that is encircled by a 3.7km perimeter road which the locals refer to as the world’s largest roundabout. You can see people playing cricket and football while joggers run about the path. Vendors sell cold coconut water.

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Emperor Valley Zoo is a small zoo full of interesting animals. You can see indigenous red howler monkeys, ocelots, birds, and snakes native to Trinidad and Tobago.

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In a newly landscaped section, the new residents are sea otters. flamingos and there’s a butterfly park. Some of the larger residents are the giraffes, warthogs and Bengal tigers.

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Botanical Gardens are lovely with exotic trees and plants. For visitors, there are paths for strolling. The gardens date back to 1818.

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Woodford Square in the center of downtown Port of Spain is a grassy square with a fountain and ornate bandstand. It has a “Speakers Corner” where people can express themselves. There are many impressive buildings surrounding the square.

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Red House stands by Woodford Square. It is an impressive Renaissance-style parliament building dating back to 1903. Ancient Amerindian skeletons were found in the foundations during restoration. At its main entrance, an eternal flame burns to commemorate the lives lost in the Islamic coup of 1990.

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Holy Trinity Cathedral is majestic and built in Gothic style. It is located on the south side of Woodford Square dating from 1818.This is an Anglican church with an impressive ceiling that is supported by an elaborate system of mahogany hammer beams. There are stained-glass windows. There is also a marble monument to Sir Ralph Woodford, the British governor who was responsible for the construction of the cathedral.

Waterfront Park sits opposite Independence Square.

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It is surrounded by high-rise offices of the International Waterfront Center

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and by the Hyatt Regency. The park offers visitors waterfalls and manicured landscaping.

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Stollmeyer’s Castle has battlemented turrets. This is an amazing Scottish Baroque castle. It was modeled after the British Queen’s home at Balmoral.

Exploring Trinidad

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Caroni Bird Sanctuary has a series of mangrove-lined waterways and is the nesting place of the scarlet ibis, the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago.

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Other species of wildlife here include herons, egrets, cormorants, tree boas, anteaters, and caimans.

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Bird lovers really enjoy the Asa Wright Nature Center & Lodge which has 1,500 acres of dense forest in the Arima and Aripo Valleys.

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You can see hummingbirds, woodcreepers, pygmy owls, trogons and the rare nocturnal oilbird. Visitors can sign up for a birding tour, have lunch or high tea on the verandah or stay at one of the cottages.

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Income from guests funds conservation of the surrounding forest, new land purchases, and environmental educational programs.

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Yerette Hummingbird Sanctuary is deep in the Maracas Valley. Visitors can see hummingbirds feed.

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The red-roofed church tower of Mount St. Benedict Monastery rises above the Northern Range Hills. It is one of the most striking landmarks east of Port of Spain. This community was established in 1912 by Benedictine monks and the monastery is the largest and oldest in the Caribbean. It is a complex of religious buildings, a farm, a rehabilitation center and guesthouse. The monastery is known for its yogurt, which is shipped to supermarkets across the country.

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 Nariva Swamp on the east coast of Trinidad covers about 60 sq.km. of freshwater wetland that is inhabited by anacondas and some manatees.

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Rio Seco Waterfall is in northeast Trinidad. Once you pass the bridge over the Rio Seco you can find it by a signposted trail leading inland. There is a swimming hole and waterfall surrounded by a rainforest. You can take a hike along a signposted path.

tri waterloo temple

Waterloo Temple was built by indentured laborer Sewdass Sadhu. This lovely place is surrounded by the shallow waters of the Paria Gulf at high tide and there are prayer flags fluttering in the air.

tri pitch lake

Pitch Lake could just be Trinidad’s greatest oddity, a bubbling black “lake”. It is a 40-hectare expanse of asphalt and is about 75m deep at the center. Hot bitumen is continuously replenished from a subterranean fault. It is one of the only three asphalt lakes in the world and has the single largest supply of natural bitumen.

Looking at Tobago

toba pigeon

Pigeon Point is the most beautiful beach on Tobago. It has white-sands and aqua seas. It is also referred to as the Pigeon Point Heritage Park and has snack bars, shops, change room and thatch-covered seating. You can rent sun loungers. Boats are available for snorkeling trips to Buccoo Reef and a swim at Nylon Pool, a meter-deep offshore sandbar and resembles a giant swimming pool.

toba little tobago

Little Tobago Island also known as Bird of Paradise Island is an uninhabited bird sanctuary with trails with great views. You can get the most awesome views from the hills that overlook the seaward direction.

toba little tobago red-footed_booby_3

There are red-footed boobies and frigate birds in large flocks. You can also see red-billed tropical birds, Audubon’s shearwaters, laughing gulls and sooty terns. Visitors can take tours on glass-bottomed boats.

toba george fort

Fort King George was built in the 1780s overlooking Scarborough Bay. It offers great views of the town. There are remnants of the original brick and stone walls, an early prison, the officers’ mess, several canons

toba george fort lighthouse

and a lighthouse. Also on the grounds,

toba george museum

The Tobago Museum which displays collections of antique maps, African art, Amerindian artifacts, coins, and shells.

toba pirates bay

Past Charlotteville’s pier is a dirt track that leads to concrete steps that descend to Pirate’s Bay. Here you can go snorkeling and there is a fantastic beach. People enjoy picnicking and playing beach football.

toba adventure 2

Adventure Farm and Nature Reserve is a working organic estate. You can find many bird species here

toba adventure

and lots of hummingbirds that enjoy clustering around the bird feeders at the main house. There are marked trails for hiking around the estate.

toba argyle

Argyle Falls is a 54m waterfall on the Argyle River and is Tobago’s highest.

toba argyle 2

There are three falls cascading down at distinct levels, each with its own pool of spring water where you can go swimming.

toba cocao 2

Tobago Cocoa Estate sits in the hills above Argyle Falls. There are hour-long plantation tours. The tours end with a taste of this award-winning chocolate.

 

 

http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/trinidad-and-tobago-tri.htm

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/trinidad-tobago/attractions/a/poi-sig/358182

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | February 3, 2018

Beautiful Curacao

curacao

Curacao is a Dutch Caribbean island that is known for its beaches and coral reefs full of marine life.

The Capital Willemstad

curacao will

The capital of the island is Willemstad and is a UNESCO Heritage site. It is a charming city with elegant Dutch homes and the pastel-painted terraces of the Flemish-style townhouses.

The two historic halves of Willemstadt city – the Otrobanda and Punta are connected by a series of pontoon boardwalks. The structure started out as a toll bridge and was originally built in 1888. The amazing bridge swings to the side so ships can pass by. It is a unique landmark and has become known as “Our Swinging Old Lady”.

Die Queen-Emma-Bridge, oder „Koningin Emma Brug“, verbindet seit dem Jahr 1888 die beiden Stadtteile Punda und Otrabanda in Willemstad, Curaçao

Queen Emma Bridge spans the Sint Annabaai. When this pontoon bridge is open, two free public ferries shuttle passengers back and forth between Punta and Otrobanda.

 curacao kura hulanda

Museum Kura Hulanda has found its home in a 19th-century merchant’s house and slave quarters. The museum documents the brutal history of slavery in the New World. There is also an amazing collection of art and artifacts from West Africa among them a sculpture garden that showcases the significant African influences on Caribbean culture.

curacao landhui

Gallery Alma Blou is located in Landhuis Habaai a 17th-century plantation house. Here visitors can see the largest collection of artwork by local artists in the city. The exhibits are rotating and you can also see sculptures in the courtyard and gardens.

curacao floating

Floating Market is a colorful array of melons, papayas, tomatoes and many other items on sale. Vendors sail 70km from Venezuela to sell their wares.

curacao chabo

Landhuis Chobolobo is the distillery that produces Blue Curacao. Actually, this liqueur is produced in five different colors. It is made from the peels of Valencia oranges. Visitors can learn about the history and production process. At the gift shop, you can sample the goods.

curacao miami

Miami Building is a wonderful example of beautifully preserved art-deco architecture.

curacao fort amsterdam

Fort Amsterdam dates back to the 17th century. Today it is home to government offices. Inside the large courtyard, you can see the rich colors of Dutch colonial architecture.

Die Fortkerk innerhalb der Mauern von Fort Amsterdam in Willemstad ist gleichzeitig mit der Festung das älteste Gebäude auf Curaçao

The only building open to the public here is the 1769 church, Fortkirche, which is the oldest church on the island. Inside you can see the original pulpit and Governor’s pew along with other historic items on display in the small museum.

curacoa chris

Christoffel National Park stretches for 4,500 acres of land. You can see bats flying through the divi-divi trees. Rising above the park is Christoffel Mountain. Here visitors can hike and take a walk up to the summit of the mountain.

curacao chris now

Visitors can see the cottontails and rare deer. There is the beauty of the scented Lady of the Night, a lovely orchid and you can see hummingbirds.

Savonet Museum

In the park is the Savonet Museum where visitors can learn about the history of Curacao and the ABC Islands. It is located in a restored plantation building that was once part of the Savonet Plantation and is one of the oldest on the island.

curacao shete

Shete Boka National Park is found on the northern side of the island by the Caribbean Sea among cactus-covered hills. This is an area known for turtle nesting. Here visitors can see the endangered green sea turtle and other ocean creatures.

curacao shete turtle

You can climb the rugged cliffs and hike along the Wandomi Trail or Pistol Trail. Coral reefs hold squid and pipefish. You can recline and rest on loungers on the beach. You can see many colorful fishing boats.

Klein Curacao

Klein Curacao is a tiny island in the Caribbean between southern Curacao and Bonaire. You can see thatched tropical shacks and bobbing fishing boats.

curacao blue bay 2

Blauwbaai or Blue Bay is a popular and lovely little beach. It is fringed by palm gardens and little cliffs. Here you can enjoy sunbathing and beachcombing. For snorkelers, there are schools of multi-colored tropical fish. People enjoy swimming here.

 

 

https://www.thecrazytourist.com/15-best-things-curacao/

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/curacao/willemstad/attractions/a/poi-sig/357963

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 31, 2018

Amazing Aruba

aruba

Our armchair travels took us through the South American countries and now we’ll be taking a look at the Caribbean islands nearby. Our first stop will be Aruba, so pull up your armchair, sit back and enjoy.

aruba flamingos

Aruba is a tiny Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela. The island offers dry, sunny weather and lovely beaches. There are constant trade winds with cooling breezes and this causes the divi-divi trees to slope southwesterly. Languages spoken here are English, Dutch, and Spanish as well as the local tongue Papiamento.

aruba beach

Aruba offers lots of lovely beaches. Among the favorites are Eagle Beach and Palm Beach. You’ll find great swimming and snorkeling at Malmok Beach and secluded Arashi Beach. Other beaches are great for windsurfers and kite surfers.

aruba baby beach

For swimmers that are just beginning to learn a favorite is Baby Beach where there is a shallow basin and calm waters.

aruba orange

Oranjestad is a beautiful city, cruise port and the capital of Aruba. Here you can see impressive Dutch colonial architecture. There are many shops, restaurants, museums, and galleries to visit.

aruba willie

One of the main attractions is Wilhelmina Park on the waterfront. It is particularly lovely in June, September, and October when many plants are in bloom.

aruba fort zoutman tower

King Willem III Tower at Fort Zoutman was built as a lighthouse and a vantage point for spotting pirates. It is home to the Aruba Historical Museum that displays artifacts about the history of this island.

aruba butterfly farm

Other highlights of the city include the National Archaeological Museum, Aruba Aloe Factory, Access Art Gallery, Butterfly Farm, Numismatic Museum and the harbor market.

aruba arikok 2

A wonderful place to visit is the Arikok National Park with cacti-covered landscapes, caves, sand dunes and unusual rock formations. Visitors can see large boulders with Indian paintings.

aruba arikok casibari

The Casibari Boulders are strewn about the dry shrub.

aruba arikok natural bridge 2

Wave erosion carved the 30-meter Natural Bridge at Anicouri. It is a wonderful place for picnics.

aruba arikok bush

On the picturesque waterfront, you can see the Bushiribana Ruins. These are the remains of a 19th-century gold smelter.

aruba arikok goat

Within the park, you can see creatures like parakeets, goats, lizards, snakes, and iguanas. Visitors can explore the park hiking the many trails, horseback riding or by jeep.

aruba arikok cave

Near the Fontein Cave and Blue Lagoon is an impressive stretch of coast with huge sand dunes. It is a wonderful place to picnic but swimming is too dangerous.

aruba california

California Lighthouse at the northern tip of the island is pictured on many Aruban postcards and tourist brochures. The lighthouse was named for the S.S. California, that sunk off the coast here.

aruba california goats

The surrounding area is rugged and you can see sand dunes, cacti, and grazing goats. The lighthouse is an amazing site but is closed to the public. A lovely time to visit is during sunset. You can dine at the nearby restaurant.

aruba alto vista

A well-known Aruba landmark is the small Alto Vista Chapel also known as the Pilgrim’s Church.

aruba alto vista 2

This chapel was built in 1750 by the Spanish missionary, Domingo Antonio Silvestre. Alto Vista translates to “highest view” in Spanish. The chapel sits high on a hill offering fantastic views. The Stations of the Cross mark the road to the chapel.

aruba antilla

Aruba is known for its great wreck diving. Divers can see many sunken vessels from tugboats to cargo ships. The Antilia Caribbean’s largest wreck can be seen between Arashi and Malmock. Other popular wrecks include the 250-foot former concrete freighter Jane Sea and the oil tanker Pedernales. There are many coral reefs to delight in.

aruba submarine.jpg

Visitors can board the Atlantis Submarine to view marine life, coral formations, and shipwrecks.

aruba natural pool 2

The Natural Pool is a protected swimming hole. Here visitors can swim and snorkel. The swimming hole is best accessed by four-wheel-drive vehicle down a rugged road. There are horse riding and ATV tours available.

aruba rancho

Rancho Daimari offers scenic horseback tours. The ranch is by Daimari Beach which is the site of a former coconut plantation dating back to the 17th century.

aruba animal garden

The non-profit Phillip’s Animal Garden is a sanctuary and rehabilitation center for over 52 species of animals. There are snakes, kangaroos, monkeys, and ocelots.

aruba animal garden 2

This has become a popular tourist attraction. There are educational and interactive tours available. Visitors can touch and feed some of the animals. All the fund go to the welfare of the animals.

aruba de palm

De Palm Island is just a five-minute ferry ride from the mainland. Here visitors can swim, snorkel and zip around on banana boats.

aruba de palm 2

On land, they can enjoy beach volleyball, basketball, bingo, salsa lessons and card games. Families with children can enjoy the small water park.

 

http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/aruba-aru.htm

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 27, 2018

Venturing Through Venezuela

View over the Orinocco river

In the very heart of Venezuela, you’ll see tabletop mountains rising like giant monoliths above the surrounding landscape and in the midst of it all the amazing Angel Falls. This is the highest waterfall in the world dropping down 979 meters and has become one of the highlights of a visit to South America.

venez angel falls

You’ll see this incredible sight in Canaima National Park. Even though the falls are difficult to access you can arrange for a flight over the falls. The best time to visit is during the rainy season between May and November when there is plenty of water and the falls don’t disappear into the mist before they reach the bottom. During the dry season, the fall might be just a mere trickle.

venez angel falls 2

Angel Falls is usually visited by either taking a sightseeing flight or a three-day boat trip that begins in the town of Canaima. The boat trip includes a hike through the jungle at the base of the falls. Flight over the falls depart from various towns and cities.

venez la gran sabana 2

Canaima National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Closely associated with Angel Falls and the town of Canaima. The park also includes the high plateau of La Gran Sabana. There are over 100 tabletop mountains, rising more than 1,000 meters above the savannahs.

The highlights here are the numerous waterfalls particularly the Gran Sabana near the Brazilian border. Visitors enjoy swimming at the base of the waterfalls.

venez roraima

Both nature lovers and adventure seekers enjoy the table-top mountain of Roraima. It is like a fascinating island in the sky with strange rock formations, waterfalls, and meat-eating plants.

venez roraima 3

This is one of the highest tepuis in Canaima National Park. It is one of the most easily accessible and a popular hiking destination. Hikers must be aware that up above it is often cloudy, misty or raining.

venez los roque 2

Travelers flock to the beautiful chain of islands 160 km north of the central coast of Venezuela. The archipelago is Los Roques National Park. Here you’ll find the small seaside fishing village of Gran Roque, on the island of the same name which is the main settlement with single story homes painted in bright colors. The buildings stretch along the beachfront. One of the highlights is the little island of Cayo de Aqua which can be reached by boat and is one of Venezuela’s most beautiful beaches its sparkling waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

The islands are usually reached by aircraft from Caracas and the airport is in Gran Roque. Boats can be chartered to explore the surrounding islands, go diving or take a snorkeling trip.

venez margarita

Isla de Margarita lies about 40 km north of the mainland. It is one of Venezuela’s major tourist destinations for those seeking the sun. The main attractions are the beautiful sandy beaches. You can reach the island by charter flight or by ferry.

venez margarita Porlamar.JPG

Porlamar is the main city on the island. Many of the beaches offer hotels and restaurants.

venez morrocoy

Morrocoy National Park is located about a two-hour drive west of Caracas. It is known for its white-sand beaches and coral reef. One of the main activities is diving or you can spend a day on the beach.

venez morrocoy flamingos

The park is also home to many birds such as osprey, parrots, flamingo and scarlet ibis. The park is accessible by boat service and can get very busy during holidays.

venez orinoco 3

The Orinoco Delta in the northeast of Venezuela has a completely different landscape from other parts of the country.

venez orinoco monkeys

The river delta is home to all kinds of wildlife such as monkeys, macaws, and piranhas. There are riverside lodges for visitors and boats to get a look at the wildlife and visit the local Warao people. There are camps that offer night safaris.

venez medanos

Medanos de Coro National Park offers rolling sand dunes. These sand dunes are known as medanos and they roll across the landscape. Some of them can reach a height of 40 meters. Within the hills are lagoons.

venez mochima 3

Mochima National Park covers a part of the coast and a chain of offshore islands east of Puerto La Cruz to Cumana. The beaches are the main attraction and people enjoy diving.

venez mochima birds

The mainland part of the park can be explored by car or bus stopping at small villages otherwise it is explored by boat.

 

http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/venezuela-ven.htm

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 24, 2018

Three Wonderful Cities of Venezuela

View over the Orinocco river

Venezuela is a country on the northern coast of South America. There are tropical resort islands along the Caribbean coast including Isla de Margarita and the Los Roques archipelago. 

Maracaibo

ven mar

Maracaibo is located in northwestern Venezuela and is the capital of Zulia state. It is the center of Venezuela’s oil industry.

ven mar catedral

Catedral dates back to the 19th century. The most revered image in the cathedral is the Cristo Negro or Cristo de Gibralter, The image is to the left of the high altar.

ven casa_de_la_capitulacic3b3n

Casa de la Capitulacion dates back to the late 18th century. It was here that the Spaniards who were defeated in the naval battle of Lago de Maracaibo signed the act of capitulation on August 3, 1823, sealing the independence of Gran Colombia. It is the only residential colonial building remaining in the city. It has been fitted with period furniture and decorated with paintings of heroes of the War of Independence.

ven urdaneta

Museo Urdaneta is a museum dedicated to Maracaibo-born General Rafael Urdaneta, the city’s greatest independence hero. Here you can see a collection of objects, documents, paintings and other memorabilia that is related to the general and the events of the period.

ven santa barbara

Iglesia de Santa Barbara is a blue-colored neo-Gothic church.

ven aquamania

Vereda del Lago lakeshore features the Aquamania water park. There is also a paintball court.

ven mar palacio

Palacio de Gobierno is a mid-19th-century palace also known as the Palacio de las Aguilas or Palace of the Eagles due to the two condors on its roof.

Valencia

ven aqua

Aquarium and Zoo is the main attraction in Valencia. At present, it is the largest aquarium in Latin America. There is a large collection of native fish from numerous countries among them piranhas and eels from around Venezuela. You can enjoy a show by freshwater Amazon dolphins.

Tapirs are seen at the Zulia's Metropolitan Zoological Park in Maracaibo

There is a play area for children and a small zoo with pumas, monkeys, tapirs, turtles, caimans, exotic birds and snakes.

ven dunas 2

Dunas Park is a popular amusement park on the northern end of Valencia. There are many fairground attractions for children. One of the highlights is the huge miniature golf course. There is also a water park.

Visitors can ride a train around the park, ride go-karts, go bowling and enjoy other activities. Plenty of amusement park food and drink.

ven casupo 2

Cerro Casupo Municipal Park is a public park on the north-western side of Valencia. The park has rolling hills, grassy clearings, and hiking trails. People enjoy walking the woodland trails and riverside paths. You can also enjoy a picnic.

ven plaza bolivar 

Plaza Bolivar forms the heart of historic Valencia. It is surrounded by many impressive architectural buildings like the city’s cathedral. This busy public square is named in honor of Simon Bolivar the great political and military leader.

ven val marble

It is home to a prominent marble column, towering some 10 meters high and was erected at the end of the 19th century.

ven penalvar

Parque Penalver is a great park for walking and there are plenty of benches and recreational activities. Here you’ll find a statue to its namesake, Fernando Penalver, a famous independence leader, known for his part in the War of Independence.

ven horse 2

The Hipodromo Nacional de Valencia is found on the outskirts of the city. It is one of the biggest horse racing tracks in the country. It was established in the 1970s. Besides weekly horse racing, the track is also used for training and other equestrian-related events.

The Capital Caracas

ven car 

Caracas is the capital of Venezuela and is a commercial and cultural center.

ven car contemporary

Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas is the best contemporary art museum in the country. Here you’ll find a dozen halls on five levels with artwork by many prominent Venezuelan artists. There are paintings by international artists as well such as Picasso, Chagall, and others.

ven san francisco

The Church of San Francisco was built in the 1570s and remodeled during the 17th and 18th centuries. The church has a neo-Classical facade. There are gilded Baroque altarpieces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the right-hand aisle is a statue of San Onofre, a most venerated saint due to his miraculous powers of bringing health, happiness and a good job.

ven car catedral

Catedral on the eastern side of Plaza Bolivar was rebuilt from 1665 to 1713. Here you’ll find dazzling gilded altars and elaborate side chapels. The most famous is that of the Bolivar family which is recognizable by a modern sculpture of The Liberator mourning his parents and bride.

Bolivar Mausoleum

Simon Bolivar Mausoleum was opened in 2013.It is an impressive structure.

ven car plaza bolivar

Plaza Bolivar is a leafy square in the heart of the Old Town. It is often full of people and children. Vendors sell lemonade and shaved ices. Here you can see African tulip trees and jacarandas. Golden cherubs are around the fountains at each corner of the square.

ven car plaza bolivar statue

In the center is an equestrian monument to Bolivar.

CONCEJO MUNICIPAL DE CARACAS

Concejo Municipal on the southern side of Plaza Bolivar. The city hall was built by Caracas bishops from 1641 to 1696. Today it is the seat of the Municipal Council and part of it is open to the public.

 ven car national art

Glaeria de Arte Nacional is the largest museum in Venezuela and opened to the public in 2009. Visitors can see a selection of the 7000 piece art collection, representing five centuries of Venezuelan art. One of the highlights is Arturo Michelena’s portrayal of Francisco Miranda – Miranda en La Carraca 1896.

ven car bello

Museo de Bellas Artes is a lovely museum housed in two buildings. One is a modern six-story building and the other a graceful building in the neo-Classical style with courtyard, pond and weeping willow. The museum features permanent exhibitions from Egypt and China. There are temporary exhibitions in 18 galleries. A little shop sells contemporary art and crafts.

ven car bolivar house

Casa Natal de Bolivar Simon Bolivar’s birthplace. There are huge paintings by Tito Salas that depict Bolivar’s heroic battles and scenes from his life.

ven car general 2

Parque Generalismo Francisco de Miranda created from a former coffee plantation. It is the largest park in Caracas. Walking through the park you can note that many of the trees and plants are labeled.

ven car general snake

Visitors enjoy the snake house, aviary and cactus garden.

ven car general planetario

On weekends you can enjoy the astral display in the Planetario Humboldt.

ven car museo sacro.JPG

Museo Sacro de Caracas this museum is housed in a colonial building built upon the site of an old cathedral cemetery. It displays a collection of religious art. Through the low doorway into the old ecclesiastical prison, visitors can see the sealed niches where lie the remains of early church leaders. The museum also plays host to concerts and recitals. In a former chapel is a cafe.

van car assembly

 

Asamblea Nacional the National Assembly occupies the entire block just southwest of Plaza Bolivar. This two-building complex was built on the site of a convent. On weekends its open to the public.

ven car pant national

Panteon Nacional the entire central nave is dedicated to national hero Simon Bolivar. His bronze sarcophagus is placed on the chancel and the path to reach his tomb is covered by a ceiling full of paintings depicting Bolivar’s life. This artwork was done by Tito Salas in the 1930s.

ven car colonial

Museo de Arte Colonial considered being one of the finest museums in Latin America. It is housed in an impressive country mansion known as Quinta de Anauco. It has a charming patio and lush, shady gardens. A ball was held here in honor of Simon Bolivar on his last night in Caracas.

van car teresa

The Complejo Cultural Teresa Carreno is a modern performing arts center that opened in 1983. It has a huge main auditorium, a theater and side hall the hosts concerts, ballets, plays and recitals by local and visiting performers.

ven car santa capilla

Iglesia Santa Capilla a neo-Gothic church modeled after the Sainte Chapelle of Paris. It was built on the site of the first mass celebrated after the foundation of the town.

ven car central park

Parque Central is located right in the heart of the city. It includes some of the cities best museums and the country’s tallest skyscrapers.

 

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/venezuela/maracaibo/attractions/a/poi-sig/1007053

http://www.world-guides.com/latin-america/venezuela/carabobo/valencia/valencia_attractions.html

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