Whitewater Thrills in Costa Rica

by Rick Chapo

If you have never been to Costa Rica, you are missing out. It is an amazing country where you can grab your kayak and explore to your hearts desire.

Whitewater Thrills in Costa Rica

Kayaking is not restricted to spots in the United States. There are many places in the world that offer excellent kayaking areas, including many of the countries on the continent of South America/Latin America. As much of Latin America is coastal, it offers an excellent, warm weather place to try sea kayaking. Kayaking in Costa Rica can be a perfect way to enjoy the diverse culture and scenery of this Latin country.

Kayaking originated in North America and Greenland, where Inuit and Aleut hunters developed these lightweight portable boats in order to go fishing and hunting in the colder regions of the world. Kayaks, with their covered canoe styling and splash skirt that keeps water off of the paddler in the cockpit, offer a great alternative to traditional ways of boating around the world. The fact that a kayak is essentially made as a single person mode of transportation (although some kayaks are built for two or three) makes it a great way to experience a water area in a solitary way, or in a group with a tour.

One of the best resources for kayaking in Costa Rica is the company known as Rios Tropicales. This company has been in existence for over 20 years, and offers travelers a great way to experience both the river kayaking and sea kayaking available in Costa Rica. Rios Tropicales also offers what they call an “Eco-Adventure Playground” on the banks of the Pacuare River – where you can explore both the river areas in a kayak, as well as a jungle area for hiking and even zip lines that cross the river.

Rios Tropicales cautions that you should bring your own gear, because although they do rent kayaks to tourists who wish to experience the kayaking here, they do not have gear such as life jackets and other necessities available. Most of the kayaking in Costa Rica in this particular area is rated a level III or level IV on the International Scale of River Difficulty, meaning that river kayaking here should not be attempted by boaters who do not know how to handle heavy rapids, and open canoe paddling will not be possible.

Of course, sea kayaking is also available from Rios Tropicales, in Costa Rica – this country has over 800 miles of total shoreline for boaters to enjoy. Whether you choose to go on the open sea or on the many rivers in this tropical paradise, one thing is sure: you’re going to love kayaking in Costa Rica.

About the Author

Rick Chapo is with NomadJournals.com – makers of paddle sports journals for preserving your experiences in the outdoors.

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    Travel Solo But Never Alone

    Galapagos Islands are the perfect destination for nature and Wildlife lovers

    Article by Henry Arnault

    If you are looking to explore nature during your Ecuador travel be sure to include a trip to the beautiful Galapagos Islands. Located 650 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Islands are the perfect destination for nature and wildlife lovers. The variety of unique flora and fauna found in this archipelago is best explored on a Galapagos cruise. Galapagos cruises depart daily and take you to a variety of different islands so you can truly grasp the diversity of the Galapagos. Galapagos cruise itineraries vary between operators as there are many options for your cruise destinations and activities.

    An island included in almost all Galapagos cruise itineraries is Santa Cruz, and for good reason, it has a variety of activities for all travelers. The island is perfect for exploration on foot, as you can walk the trails and come to hidden lagoons. A visit the nearby tortoise breeding center home to the Galapagos tortoise is a must. On the north shore of the island you will also find beautiful white sand beaches and black lagoons, perfect for snorkeling. For those looking to take some photos, the Santa Cruz highlands give you a great vantage point to see the island’s picturesque rolling hills, volcano cones, and lush greenery. Also located on the island is the Charles Darwin Station sure to be included in your itinerary.

    Espanola Island is perfect for land and water exploration. If you are visiting Suarez point you are sure to see a variety of bird species on land and soaring in the skies above. A visit to Gardner Bay is also a great opportunity to see bird life, as well as it is perfect for snorkeling. Take a dip in the bay or snorkel and you are sure to enjoy the underwater creatures that occupy these waters, from sharks to sea lions you will see an assortment of sea creatures here.
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    Floreana is another island often visited by travelers, as its Cormorant point, is the perfect place to spot flamingos lounging at a hidden lagoon. The island also boasts a spectacular white sand beach which is a popular nesting spot for turtles. Also found on the island is a look out at Baroness Observatory, where you will have beautiful views of the island.

    If you find yourself at Isabela Island you are in for a treat. The island is home to vast array of wildlife as well as it is home to on land attractions. The Wall of Tears can be found on Isabela, this wall constructed of lava blocks, was built by prisoners that originally inhabited the island. Another attraction on the island is the Sierra Negra Volcano where travelers can explore the crater and receive spectacular views of the island. If you are looking to spot some wildlife, Isabela provides plenty of opportunities. The shallow waters surrounding the island are full or sea lions, sea rays, and white-tipped reef sharks. On land you will be able to spot pelicans, Galapagos turtles, and even the Galapagos penguin!

    The many islands that make up the Galapagos are full of spectacular plant and wildlife. Explore a variety of terrains and snorkel with the many underwater creatures during your Galapagos Cruise. A trip to the Galapagos Islands is the perfect complement to your Ecuador travel.

    About the Author

    This article about adding a Galapagos cruise to your Ecuador travel plans was written by a travel expert at Ecuador For Less providing fully customizable Ecuador vacations. Ecuador For Less is part of the Latin America For Less family, offering an array of South America vacation packages to destinations across Latin America, including Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile and Bolivia.

    Use and distribution of this article is subject to our Publisher Guidelines
    whereby the original author’s information and copyright must be included.&#

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    Travel Solo But Never Alone

    Patagonias geography offers countless adventure opportunities

    Article by Henry Arnault

    No matter how popular it is with travelers, the vastness of Patagonia continues to establish the area as one of the wildest in the world. The incredible arctic landscapes are to die for, and the geography offers countless adventure opportunities for the best adrenaline rushes. Among coveted destinations such as Puerto Madryn, El Calafate, El Chalten, and Ushuaia, Barioloche is highly suggested stop for any Argentina vacation.

    Bariloche is one of the more northern cities in Argentina’s Patagonia, making it much easier to access and pair with the country’s other top sights such as Mendoza, Buenos Aires, and Córdoba. Situated at the country’s western border, Barioloche is also easy to get to from southern Chile. The population is a modestly little more than 100,000 and was once a major vacation spot for wealthy, elite Argentines. Today, it is frequented by people of all levels and backgrounds, predominantly Europeans and Brazilians. What do they do in Bariloche? Ski! Cerro Catedral boasts itself as the largest ski center in South America, and the best time to visit is during the Argentine winter, which is actually the summer season in the northern hemisphere. The resort is a mere 12 miles from Bariloche, making it a great daytrip or weekend retreat if you are short on time.

    Another popular pastime for visitors to this area of Patagonia is trekking. There are a number of fantastic peaks to ascend to get grand panoramic views of Bariloche and its surrounding lands. Cerro Campanario is good for mixed groups; the active can hike to the summit, and those who would rather take it easy can enjoy the ski lift. Cerro Frey is another high point to visit, largely regarded as one of the best journeys around Bariloche. Finally, Cerro Tronador hosts what is known as a black glacier, and a wonderful waterfall. This national park is truly delightful and the light hike to the main sights are all incredibly scenic, so be sure to bring your camera! Overall, trekking around this region is stunning and breathtaking from any and all angles.

     

    Additional trips one could embark on as part of Argentina travel packages are to the Llao Llao Peninsula for spectacular views of Lago Moreno Oueste, Nahuel Huapi National Park for a day of unbelievable beauty, and Circuito Chico for biking around the nearby lakes, villages, and more. The city also has museums to suit your tastes, such as the Museo de la Patagonia which presents and explains this part of Patagonia’s heritage and status.

    About the Author

    This article about Bariloche in Argentina’s Patagonia was written by a travel expert at Argentina For Less who specializes in helping you organize best value Argentina travel packages as part of your fully customizable Argentina vacation.

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    Romantic Trips To Machu Picchu

    There are plenty of honeymoon destinations that are designed especially for couples that are taking their first steps in life as a family, but you should spend some time deciding which would be the best destination for you and your partner to travel to. Even if you are not looking for a honeymoon destination, but for a special place to spend some romantic, quality time with your better half, Machu Picchu is the ideal spot. This particular destination in South America offers plenty of romantic opportunities for couples and is renowned worldwide.

    The history of Machu Picchu is rich and interesting, and if you travel looking at the historical value of the destination, you will not be disappointed. The Peru area where Machu Picchu is located, the Vicalamba valley, is an ideal location as it is separated from the rest of the country. Newlyweds travel here each year to enjoy the exotic views as well as the other things Machu Picchu has to offer to romantic couples. If you are the adventurous type, you will certainly love the area for the great opportunities offered to outdoor sports lovers.

    You can arrive to Machu Picchu by place or by train. Here is a list of great spots to visit if you choose to spend your vacation in Machu Picchu.

    A great place to visit in Machu Picchu is the Solar Observatory. Once a complex structure made entirely of stone, the observatory is mostly in ruins, but still preserves the same magnificent feeling making a very intense impression on travelers.

    Right next to the observatory you will find the Caretaker’s House. This old monument is often visited by people that want to get acquainted with the important sites in Machu Picchu.

    As Machu Picchu is an Inca site in Peru, you should not miss out on the opportunity to visit the old houses dating back to ancient times. Inca’s House is an incredible place where you and your beloved will become enthralled with each other and the city. You can spend many hours walking through the ancient ruins and imagining how people lived there once upon a time. The place is crowded with religious spots such as temples and churches. People coming here often say that the serenity of the place makes them feel calm inside and helps them get their own thoughts in order. If you and your spouse have taken a break from the bustling city life this is the place to be, as there could be no more secluded place than this one.

    When you are looking for a romantic getaway, consider Machu Picchu. It is a place like no other and a great place to spend your honeymoon. Considered to be “The Lost City of the Incas,” the place is packed with history and mystery. Take a walk around the ruins with your spouse next to you and you will feel like stepping foot into an entire different reality.

    Romantic Trips to Machu Picchu is a travel guide from Tripopedia, a travel encyclopedia. Learn about things to do, places to see and places to eat in Machu Picchu.

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    Holidays to Machu Picchu – A Brief Guide

    The Ruins of the Citadel

    Photographs of the citadel just don’t do it justice. Only people who take holidays to Machu Picchu will be able to properly understand the height at which the ruins hang in the mountainside. At an altitude of 2430 metres, the city achieves an amazing perspective over the valley below, with breathtaking views in all directions.

    You will marvel that the Incas were able to build a citadel in such steep inclines in the mountain, which also takes the name Machu Picchu. Tours here will lead you up the terraced hillside into the buildings constructed without mortar from carved bricks, and using rudimentary tools. The Incas were able to incorporate irrigation channels that still run spring water along its terraces.

    After the occupation of Peru by the Spanish Conquistadors, the city was abandoned and forgotten, becoming the “Lost City of the Incas“. Since it was rediscovered in 1911 – centuries later – it has become one of South America’s most important tourist attractions, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. But now, because of its popularity, Machu Picchu tours are restricted in how many people they are allowed to bring to the site. This is part of a new conservation statute to try to curb the effect the vast volume of tourists has had on this historical wonder, and reduce the impact thousands of footsteps make on the paths and trails of the Lost City.

     

     

    Getting to Machu Picchu

    There are a variety of options for getting to the citadel with a number of Machu Picchu tours. You can get to the area by train or bus, on foot, or a combination of these. The journey up the mountain is a great opportunity to get an impression of the landscape and a feel for the Inca territory.

    The views from the train, as it winds and ascends through the mists, can be spectacular, but the most intimate sense of this region of Peru will come from trekking under your own power up an Inca trail. Tours start from several locations, depending on how strenuous you want your walk to be and long you would like to spend in the mountain environment. Some Inca trail tours start and finish in the city of Cuzco fifty miles away, others incorporate other mountains and valleys.

    There are a several tailor-made Inca trail tours which combine trekking with the bus and train making holidays to Machu Picchu into complete experiences. Porters, cooks, guides and transportation will be included.

    Where to Stay

    The Hotel Inkaterra Machu Picchu is a good place from which to start your Machu Picchu tours. It is conveniently positioned among large private gardens at the foot of the mountain, in a village called Aguas Calientes, which is where the train stops. In the luxury hotel’s ‘cloud forest’ garden you could find any of hundreds of species of orchids, birds and butterflies. The ruins are just a fifteen minute bus ride away.

    If that’s not close enough for you, there’s the option of spending some time on your Machu Picchu vacations at a small hotel at the ruins themselves. The accommodation, called the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, is decorated in Peruvian style, but its main appeal is the view, and the opportunity to better imagine the tranquillity and isolation of the lost city by seeing the site without the tourist crowds.

    However long you spend at this wonder of the world, your holidays to Machu Picchu are certain to be memorable.

    Louise Mumford is a holiday specialist at South American Experience, a company that specialises in tailor-made arrangements for South America Holidays, including holidays to Machu Picchu and Inca trail tours. Our dedicated team has two decades of first-hand experience in the Latin America region.

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    Costa Rica offers amazing adventures and exotic landscapes

    Article by Di Gioacchino

    For those looking for the ultimate adventure vacation whether it is by one’s self or with one’s family, look no further then the beautiful and exotic country of Costa Rica, with its golden sand beaches, active volcanoes, lush dense rain and cloud forests, and amazing vibrant seaside towns. With something for everyone, this tiny Central American country has today become one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations, with plenty to do and much to see.

    Offering fantastic adventure vacations for one and all, Costa Rica combines a laidback lifestyle with stunning natural beauty and a friendly local Tico population to provide a truly memorable and unforgettable holiday. With an impressive wealth of national parks, which cover more than a quarter of the country’s land surface, Costa Rica provides adventure lover’s with a thrilling stage; hosting everything from mountain biking to white water rafting, and jungle treks to canopy and rappeling tours of the verdant forests here. For those who enjoy the ocean in all its glory, Costa Rica has some of the best surf breaks and swells in the world, with incredible snorkeling and underwater diving opportunities as well.
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    For those who enjoy endless meandering trials set amidst some of the most lush and magnificent forests, Costa Rica has some incredible hiking and trekking possibilities. Visit the beautiful Manuel Antonio National Park or take a hike in the wonderful Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja to become truly one with nature. However, if you prefer you can visit the secluded and remote jungles of the Corcovado National Park, which is home to the last remaining coastal Pacific rainforest.

    White water river rafting and kayaking opportunities are also abound in Costa Rica. Kayak out in the open ocean or raft down the roaring rapids of the Rio’s Pacuare, Revenatzon and Naranjo for wild ride. But if surfing is your thing, then head on down to the fantastic beaches that Costa Rica has on offer. Visit the Salsa Brava, Ollie’s Point, Witches Rock, Pavones or Playa Hermosa in Puntarenas for some of the most superb surf breaks in the world.
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    To explore some of Costa Rica’s most gorgeous sceneries underwater, dive along the coast off Bahia Drake or Drake Bay or visit the lovely Isla del Ca• o, home to some of the most fabulous underwater and marine life in the country. Along the Guanacaste Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula excellent snorkeling opportunities can be found at Playas del Coco, Playa Ocotal and Playa Hermosa. And if all this is not enough, try rappeling down some of Costa Rica’s beautiful waterfalls around the areas of Puerto Jimenez and Cabo Matapalo.

    As you can see Costa Rica’s versatility not only extends to its landscape, but its fantastic adventure opportunities as well. So come on down to this gorgeous tropical country to experience Pura Vida or the ‘Pure Life’ and have the adventure of a lifetime!

    About the Author

    Stefano Di Gioacchino is a writer and colaborator for Costa Rica Real Estate, Consultores ambientales Costa Rica, Panama Real Estate and Constructora en Costa Rica

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    Hummingbirds of Peru

    Article by Laurel

    Who has not been enchanted by photos or sightings of these iridescent mini-rockets of energy known as hummingbirds? They were described by the Aztec as tiny suns, and have been accorded their place in legend, story and song throughout the centuries. People have called them flying jewels; most male hummingbirds possess iridescent gorgets, or throat feathers, whose colors shift depending on the sunlight shining on them. Additionally, many species also have exotic crowns, distinctive tails, and sparkling iridescent wings.

    Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world, ranging in size from the Bee Hummingbird, at 5.7 cm, to the Giant Hummingbird, at 21.6 cm. Hummingbirds are among the most skilled fliers of all avian species. They can fly backward, hover, fly straight up, and quickly change direction.

    Hummingbirds are pollinators. They drink nectar from flowers with their long tongues, and some catch insects as well, snatching them midair as they fly. Many have bills that are perfectly adapted to particular species of flowers, so that the plant and the hummingbird have an interdependent relationship that is mutually beneficial to both species.

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    There are over 300 species of hummingbirds in the world. They are native to the Americas, with most species found in South America. Peru has over 118 species of hummingbirds, or colibris, which translates as “Birds of the Sun God.” In Quechua they are known as Q’inti (pronounced Keen-tee). According to one Quechua legend, when all the Earth was suffering from lack of water, and the People, animals and plants were all dying, a tiny hummingbird arose from the last flor de Cantu, and implored the God Waitapallana to save the land and its creatures. Even though he died in the process, the hummingbird accomplished his mission, as two great crystal teardrops fell from Waitapallana’s eyes when he saw the devastation on Earth. These tears awoke the serpent, Amaru, who was dreaming at the bottom of a lake, and who, upon shaking his great wings, brought rain back to the Earth.

    Some hummingbird species found in Peru are: the Sparkling Violet Ear, Giant Hummingbird, Green-tailed trainbearer, Booted Racket-tail, Long-tailed Sylph and White-bellied Woodstar.

    In addition to being a haven for hummingbirds, Peru is the second most diverse country on Earth for bird species in general, with 1,710 species at last count, and more continuing to be discovered.

    Kuoda Tours brings birding enthusiasts to habitats in the jungle, forests and mountains, where they can enjoy the incredible diversity of bird life in Peru.

    About the Author

    Please visit http://www.inturkuoda.com

    Born in the US, Laurel has lived in Peru for three years. She is a bilingual travel design specialist and has traveled throughout much of South America. She has a strong interest in eco-tourism and voluntourism and loves nature, traveling and writing.

      The Historical Highlights of Peru

      Cuzco

      Often the starting point for South America tours because of its proximity to Machu Picchu, the city of Cuzco consists of Inca roots combined with colonial Spanish influences. Before the Spanish arrived, this city was the capital of the Inca Empire for over three hundred years, and has now been named this the Historical Capital of Peru. What this means for tourists is a flood of culture to absorb from the two complementary architectural styles: cathedrals, temples museums, markets, and the nearby ruins of the Sacsayhuamán fortress, are all worth investigating.

      Machu Picchu

      Not far from Cuzco is the essential destination for all South America holidays. The ruined city of Machu Picchu was recently voted one of the new wonders of the world and one of the most visited tourist sights in South America. Tourshere will lead you up carved steps and terraced hillside to a once secret city cradled in the Machu Picchu Mountain. Here, you can look down on the valley 2350 meters below and imagine the isolation of the people who lived here before its discovery. There’s the option to make a day trip here by train, or even by helicopter, whereas the more energetic tourists might choose to walk the Inca trail for a few days through the Andes and arrive at the Lost City under their own power.

      Arequipa

      Some say this is the prettiest city in Peru. Arequipa is home to many temples, elegant houses and palaces, which earn it the name “Ciudad Blanca” meaning “White City“. The architecture in its historic centre integrates European and native characteristics, and has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Coming here as part of your South America Holidays will mean a tour of Santa Catalina, a convent that was closed to the world for 400 years. It was built in 1579 and was once a place of quiet seclusion and prayer; now the convent serves as an art gallery, with only about twenty nuns remaining on the complex. A tour of the galleries and refurbished buildings is like a step back in time, and takes only a little more than an hour.

      Nazca

      In the Nazca desert, towards the south of Peru, are a series of astonishing engravings in the desert floor. These engravings (known as ‘geoglyphs’) take the form of geometric patterns and animals, some up to two hundred metres across. They were constructed by an ancient culture that exposed the pale bedrock of the desert by carefully moving and removing stones. Many good South America Holidayswill have the option of taking a flight over these patterns, enabling passengers to get a sense of the scale and artistry of these signals to the sky.

      Louise Mumford is a holiday specialist at South American Experience, a company that specializes in tailor-made arrangements for South America Holidays. Our dedicated team has two decades of first-hand experience in the Latin America region.