Merry Christmas From The Caribbean
Well, I'm off to the Caribbean for the holiday. Below is just a little preview of a few destinations I will be visiting. I'll be reporting back in a little over 10 days. Ciao for now!
Cartagena's old city is its principal attraction, particularly the inner walled town, consisting of the historical districts of El Centro and San Diego. It's one of finest examples of preserved colonial architecture in the Americas, packed with churches, monasteries, plazas, palaces and mansions with their famous overhanging balconies and shady patios. The best way to experience the Old Town is to wander in leisurely fashion, savoring the architectural details, street life and local snacks along the way. Nighttime adds a whole different dimension.
One of the world’s greatest marvels, the Panama Canal stretches 80 km from Panama City on the Pacific side to Colón on the Atlantic side. Around 14,500 vessels pass through each year, and ships worldwide have traditionally been built with the dimensions of the canal’s original locks (330m long and 33.5m wide) in mind. The canal has three sets of double locks: Miraflores and Pedro Miguel on the Pacific side and Gatún on the Atlantic. Between the locks, ships pass through a huge artificial lake, Lago Gatún, created by the Gatún Dam across the Río Chagres, and the Culebra Cut, a 12.7km trough through the mountains. With each ship's passage, a staggering 197 million liters of fresh water is released into the ocean.
If marketing experts could draw up an ideal destination, Costa Rica might be it. The 'rich coast' has earned its name and stands apart from its Central American neighbors on the cutting edge of so many trends: surfing, farm-to-table restaurants, and sustainable tourism. Developing infrastructure is balanced by green energy such as wind and hydro. One of the world's most biodiverse countries, with half a million species – from insects to the giant anteaters that devour them – it also protects one-quarter of its wild lands through law. Rainforest hikes and brisk high-altitude trails, rushing white-water rapids and warm-water, world-class surfing: Costa Rica offers a dizzying suite of outdoor adventures in every shape and size – from the squeal-inducing rush of a canopy zipline to a sun-dazed afternoon at the beach. A recent study showed that many Costa Ricans live longer, healthier lives than people on the rest of the planet, and it all comes down to pura vida (pure life), a term you'll hear everywhere.
To most of the world, Grand Cayman is the Cayman Islands, a glitzy shopping mecca and global financial center where resorts line the fabulous white-sand Seven Mile Beach and the wealthy from around the world spend time sipping cocktails and discreetly playing with their millions. It does have another side – literally. If you head east, you can escape the cruise-ship crowds, experience local culture, discover underwater marvels and explore the undeveloped interior.
Descriptions borrowed from Lonely Planet.
Cheers, Now Get Lost!