Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ambergris Museum

Its place in the Ancient Mayan world, how the Island became a pirates' refuge, the founding of San Pedro out of the terror of civil war, life in a sleepy fishing village. In the early 1990s, after twenty years of tourism on the Island, a group of San Pedranos recognizing the need to preserve their island heritage, came up with the idea of the Ambergris Museum. The aim was to collect the history of Ambergris Caye, both ancient and recent, both material and oral, and then to present the story for residents and visitors. The Museum is proud to exhibit several fine examples of Mayan ceramics found on the Caye. These beautiful vessels from Belize's Archaeology Department are once more on the island where they were used centuries ago. The island held an important place in the network of Maya trading routes, and the exhibit includes flint tools, obsidian and pottery all of which originated on the Central American mainland. Skeletal remains have also been found, and the Museum displays fascinating examples of dental mutilation; a practice common amongst the Maya. Collections of early glass bottles, silver coins and shot represent the period in the 17th and 18th centuries when the island was a retreat for pirates and buccaneers.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Costa Rica Travel Guide

Costa Rica's national parks are its greatest glory. The Costa Rican authorities have set aside one-third of the country as protected areas, and dozens of private wilderness reserves have helped elevate Costa Rica to star status for ecotourism. The country has a stunning variety of landscapes, microclimates, and flora and fauna, and nature lovers will not be disappointed by the superb wildlife viewing. Visitors looking for an active holiday are spoilt for choice, with options from whitewater rafting to surfing. In urban areas, the country's Spanish heritage provides the main features of interest, although sites are relatively few.

Columbus landed in what is now Costa Rica in 1501. Under the rule of General Tomas Guardia between 1870 and 1882, Costa Rica developed many of its principal modern characteristics, notably the minimal role of the Catholic Church in secular matters and an adherence to the principles of democracy. Throughout the 20th century, Costa Rica has enjoyed peace and a steady growth in prosperity, with the notable exception of a civil war in 1948, which followed a disputed presidential election. Significantly, Costa Rica is the only country in the region to have abolished the national army.

In recent times, one of the most prominent political figures has been current President Oscar Arias Sanchez, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for successfully bringing warring parties elsewhere in Central America to the negotiating table.

Ambergris Caye

Seeing is Belizin' in beautiful Ambergris, the country's largest caye.
Coconut-palm-fringed Ambergris Caye comes with one big recommendation: it's the island that Madonna sings of in 'La Isla Bonita'. Located 58km (36mi) north of Belize City, it's awash with colorful, sandy streets and offers sun-drenched days, filled with activity, by turquoise seas.

As the country's top island destination, the best time of year to visit Ambergris Caye is during the dry season (December to May). The wet season (June to November), which is also hurricane season, is not so wet it spoils your holiday, but it's always nicer to relax out of the pouring rain.
Tourist hoardes arrive in the two weeks each side of Christmas and Easter. Considering Ambergris Caye is the most popular of the cayes, book accommodation in advance. During these periods, be aware that prices are at their highest.

There are festivities aplenty around Fiesta de Carnaval (February/March), Holy Week (March/April) and from Christmas to New Year. If you're planning your trip around these times, bring your party shoes as it's all about music, dancing and fun!

For a truly low-key start to the day, be breakfasting in Estel's by the Sea, a sandy-floored seafront restaurant where you can build your own breakfast from a staggering array of options. There's plenty to do on Ambergris, and if feeling active, the choice is going snorkeling or diving the reef, or hiring a windsurfer, sailboat or kitesurfer. If in the mood for something a little more relaxed, catch a water taxi up to one of the northern resorts for lunch and some sea-gazing from a deckchair. Mata Chica and Portofino - both up here - have two of the best restaurants on the island. Back in town, try to make it for happy hour at the beachside Cannibal's Bar, which attracts a good mix of tourists, expats and locals. More drinks and some live music are on the cards at Fido's, from where it's a short walk to Mango's, an award-winning restaurant that's one of the best in Belize. The bar out the front of the Jaguar's Temple always gets a good crowd, and the disco inside heats up around 11.00. For more dance floor action, head down south to Deja Vu, where the party starts later, but often goes until the wee hours.

Travel between Belize City and Ambergris Caye's town of San Pedro is quick and easy, though you'll certainly get windswept on the 90-minute water-taxi journey.

Maya Island Air and Tropic Air run flights to/from San Pedro and Belize City (15-20min), Caye Caulker (10min) and Corozal (25min).

Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association runs boats between San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Belize City. Boats to Belize City (1-1.5hr), go via Caye Caulker (35min). The Thunderbolt, departing from San Pedro's lagoon-side dock, travels to Corozal (2hr), and stops at Sarteneja. It also goes to Belize City via Caulker.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Panama Travel Post Card

Found A Video on You Tube about Panama Travel Video Post Card to give you guys an idea on Panama Travel Adventure. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Panama Adventure!

Some come for business.

Others come to retire.

However out of all the different people who come to Panama, there are those in that group who also come for much more: the adventures. And you can find your share of adventure here. There are 14 national parks in Panama covering an area of roughly 22% of the country. This is quite an area when you consider that 30% of the country is still covered by jungle. What probably appeals most to the adventure seeker here is the fact that Panama is still a simple land having not been polluted by mankind. There are many unexplored trails in the forests and something new to see just about every day.

One tour company, Wildland Adventures, offers these types of adventurous excursions into the rain forests that the entire family can enjoy. Remember that the jungle is a very beautiful place yet most of us do not realize just how dangerous this place can be. This is the wild and do not forget it. This is why it is especially advisable that you have an experienced tour guide lead you through this environment.

You might be the adventure seeker who wants to go through a little "survival." These courses may exist in Panama but one of the tours we found was through the densest jungle in Panama: the Darien. The message on that particular web page said the tour was no longer offered. Tourists may not have a thorough understanding of just how harsh this environment was for the pioneers who built the Canal.But you don't really need to rough it with a survival tour. There are plenty of Panama adventures such as bicycle tours, Rainforest tours, and ExtremePanama.com even offers a cave tour. How exciting to see the wildlife in their natural habitat.

Honduras Adventure

Probably the most popular adventure backpackers like to take is to the Copan Ruins. Copan is rich in history from the Ancient Mayan culture.If you like the uniqueness and appeal of Caribbean music, then the Black Garifuna towns play Punta music quite frequently. There is also a rich pirate history in this area too as pirates tried to rob the gold and silver discoveries from the Spaniards. You will find pirate historical sites on the Bay Islands. Plus, on the Bay Islands, you can catch up on your scuba diving and snorkeling. There are rainforest adventures where wildlife live such as the Jaguar and Tapir. And one must adventure into the Rio Platano Biosphere where nature is protected and preserved.

There are all sorts of kayaking adventures in Honduras. In fact, a company called Rios Honduras runs adventure tours and they have a contact address in Eagle, Colorado. They have developed a set of trips with a wide variety of choices for adventurers to explore Honduras. Their packages range from touring the ancient Mayan Ruins to Caribbean getaways. They have scuba packages for those interested and a Surf and Turf package that takes you kayaking through the world's largest barrier reef.

Colombia Adventures!

There is no shortage of Colombia adventures in this land of diverse geography from one extreme to the other. Probably the most fascinating of all the adventures are those that take you through the jungles to places like Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) and those along the Amazon River. Ciudad Perdida is an ancient city built somewhere between the eighth and fourteenth centuries. It has circular stone terraces covered by jungle foliage. The views from this city are said to be breathtaking. But do not attempt to get their on your own. You are going to need a guide. You can arrange for treks from some of the hostels in Taganga or Santa Marta. The Turcol Travel Agency in Santa Marta also offers treks to the Ciudad Perdida. While Ciudad Perdida tour sounds very exciting, it must be noted that this is a somewhat dangerous tour in terms of the threat of violence. The city lies in a national park known as the Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria. The U.S. is not allowed to sponsor drug crop aerial fumigations so, as you an imagine, those conducting illegal drug activities want to be in this area to avoid being tracked by anti-drug forces. There have been instances where hikers were kidnapped by rebel insurgents. At one time, trek guides would not take Americans but reportedly that has changed now.
Mantaraya Tours offers a tour on the northern or tropical part of the Amazon in Colombia. This is a fully-guided tour that takes you through an ecosystem of swamps and vegetation in the jungle where you can see pink dolphins, jaguars, otters, and manatees. In the canopy part of the jungle tour you will see all sorts of lizards, monkeys, birds, and bugs.