From Praia Vermelha, the visitants take the first tram links to the Urca hill, and from there, a second tram takes them until the top of the Sugar loaf hill, it stays 396 meters of the sea level. Different histories justify the name of this touristic side; the most popular says that during the centuries XVI and XVIII, at the peak of the production of sugar cane, the producers stored sugar blocks in little boxes to be exported, and the resemblance of the object with Sugar loaf mountain gave origin to the name.
Inaugurated in 1912, the little tram of the Sugar loaf was the first Brazilian cable car and the third in the world, linking the Urca hill to the Sugar loaf mountain. Since then, more than 40 million of people have already used that cable cars.
From the high of the two mountains revels a gorgeous landscapes of the city, including the Botafogo cave, Copacabana edge and the entrance of Guanabara bay. In the summer, the amphitheater, located in the top of Urca hill is a stage for shows and night events, joining fun and a wonderful visual of lights of the city.
The place is opened to the public for didactic visitation guided by technicians, with carefully elaborated tracks, showing aspects of typical ecosystems: paludosa forest, restingas, swamps, beach, sea rocks and Tabuleiro forest. Various uncommun attractives of the landscape provide a pleasant sightseeing pleasure and direct contact with the nature, good of seeing, feeling, to hear and to smell.
Open in 1961, the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in Alto Paraíso de Goiás, aims to protect a portion of the Brazilian Cerrado. In 2001, the Park was declared a Natural Heritage by Unesco. With almost 66 thousand hectares, it is home to beautiful waterfalls, natural pools and rock formations (some with more than a billion years). It is the brightest point seen from Earth’s orbit, according to Nasa, because of its quartz crystals.
Birds are always present: parakeets, toucans, macaws, among others. Wildlife includes armadillos, veados-campeiros, jaguars, among others, and, on the Park’s trails, you can find a diverse flora.
The Park’s main attractions are its waterfalls, such as the Prata and Santa Bárbara. The trails (Sete Quedas, dos Saltos, dos Cânions and da Seriema) also attract those who like to walk among nature. Each trail has different degrees of difficulty, ranging from 230 m (track with accessibility) to 23.5 Km.
Get up before dawn to enjoy the show just as the sun rises, with the craters of El Tatio as the main attraction. Located 4,200 meters above sea level, its fumaroles (smoke from the geysers) create amazing white steam columns which are at their best between 6 and 7 in the morning.
On your morning outing see how the local endemic wildlife (viscachas, vicunas, nandues) and other birds leave their hiding spots, looking for their breakfast among the yaretas (fern like plants) and giant cacti. Tired? Finish your day in the healing hot springs that the destination offers.
The peculiar rocky formations and dunes of Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) and the changing colours of Mars Valley (Valle de Marte) and the Salt Mountains are an attraction that you can’t miss while visiting the Atacama Desert. At night, both places become the most romantic spot for stargazing.
Found just a few minutes from San Pedro de Atacama, you can get to these mystical settings on bike, trek around them and enjoy sandboarding on the dunes. Visit them and appreciate the overwhelming shadows that the desert displays.
Recently, Santiago Tourist was invited to take a tour with Turistik, a local tour company. They’re best known for their red, double-decker red buses and innovative hop on – hop off touristic route of Santiago.
The logistics of the ascent foresee some essential actions regarding the weather, the apparel, the mountain gear and the trails that must be covered along the steep volcanic hillsides.
Covering the distance from the base to the summit of the Lanín Volcano is a challenge many sportspeople want to face at some point in their lives. The circumstances in Junín de los Andes are ideal to go through such memorable experience. Even though the mountain features steep sides, the hardest hardship is presented when it comes to caution about the wind and visibility.
To the Southeast of the Quetrihué Peninsula, lies a natural treasure of the Los Arrayanes National Park. On the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, about 12 hectares concentrate magnificent giant myrtaceous bushes, best known as myrtles.
From the mapuche term ketri, “myrtle” and hué, “site”, the forest of the peninsula has certain features that make it unique in the world: its specimens reach over 15 meters of height and 400 years of age. As ancient as they are beautiful, their thick trunks are covered by soft thin sheets that make up the cold bark dyed in a delicate cinnamon color.
Chiloé National Park is dominated by the Valdivian rain forest with a dense forest formed by trees, Evergreen, shrubs and climbing plants. In addition to the vegetation, its main attractions are the Cucao Lake, coastal dunes, and colonies of sea lions.
This park is situated in the western region of the Isla Grande de Chiloé, which is an extension of the divided coastal mountain range. Created in 1982, the park has an area of 43,057 hectares (94,725 acres) divided into two areas: Chepu (in the district of Ancud) and Abtao, which belongs to the districts of Castro, Chonchi, and Dalcahue.
The most attractive places in the park are the following: the Chanquín area, where lake Cucao and the coastal dunes are located; the mouth of the Abtao river and its diverse vegetation; Metalqui island and its colony of sea lions; the easily accessible Huelde lake and the Cole-Cole area, located north of Punta Huentemó, where there is a beach suitable for fishing, walking, and horseback riding.
Cherry Tree Hill is eight hundred and fifty (850) ft above sea level and is actually an intrinsic part of the formidable St. Nicholas Abbey of the same parish. Actually due to the size of the St. Nicholas Abbey property, Cherry Tree Hill actually borders, St. Peter and St. Andrew. Many, many years ago, the drive on either side to get to it was flanked by cherry trees, thus the reason for its name; however these were replaced with mahogany trees which line the road up to this day. The change was instigated by The Treaty of Paris in 1763.
Visiting St Lucia is certainly a must- do experience all its own, but what you do while you are there will make a big difference in how you remember the island.
The Pitons, St Lucia’s two volcanic mountains, are certainly some of the island’s best features, and a Gros Piton hike is an experience unlike any other. Gros Piton stands a remarkable 2,619 feet above sea level, and coupled with Petit Piton, it is the hallmark of St Lucia’s western coast. From the peak, you can see not only the gorgeous waters of the Caribbean, but a vast portion of the island itself.
A Gros Piton hike tour is the only way to see the island from this vantage point, and the experience you will have standing at the top makes it absolutely worthwhile. When you decide to climb Gros Piton, you will experience the literal definition of high adventure. While it is possible to climb both Gros Piton and Petit Piton, only the former is legally sanctioned by the government of St Lucia. Petit Piton is much steeper and more dangerous, while Gros Piton offers safe hiking and a much more astonishing view. The ascent can be a bit steep in some parts, but the hike is not too difficult for most travelers.
Are you looking for an adventure that is beyond compare? Are you daring, brave, and willing to scale a mountain where you often find yourself with nothing but roots or ropes to hold onto? Hiking Petit Piton is not for the faint of heart, but for those real adventure seekers out there, Real St Lucia Tours can make your dream of a Petit Piton tour a reality.
When you choose Real St Lucia Tours for your Piton hike, you will travel with an experienced guide. The climb itself is quite difficult, but you will find yourself surrounded by lush rainforests and the view from the top is one that simply can't be rivaled. From the majesty of Soufriere and Gros Piton to the lush blue waters beneath you, you will definitely want to bring a camera on this adventure so that you can take photos from the summit.
Hiking Petit Piton is a challenge unlike any other, but it is also one of the most rewarding adventures of a lifetime. If you are an experienced climber looking for some real adventure while in St Lucia, contact Real St Lucia Tours today to set up a hike. You certainly won't regret your decision once you see the view from the top!
The Diamond Falls are consistently described as one of the natural wonders of St Lucia.
Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens, a six acre multi-award winning tourism site, is an attractive, alluring and peaceful retreat from the outside world. Enjoy the beauty and sultry warmth of the tropics whilst walking through lush fertile vegetation and marvelling at the diverse range of tropical flowers and plant life. You have just stepped into a world with a breathtaking waterfall, hot mineral springs fill the historical baths with age old medicinal waters and flora and fauna abounds.
The Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens is both a historic and a naturally beautiful site. A haven for birds and insects, which gives one a true nature experience not to be duplicated anywhere within the Caribbean.
Just under four miles south of Castries lies a place that has been called "the most beautiful in the Caribbean" by none other than James Michener, who wrote a sweeping chronicle of the islands in 1989. Marigot Bay is a hurricane hole, sheltered in the worst of weather by the steep hillsides that surround its small, deep harbour.
Chicamocha National Park in Panachi, about 50km from Bucaramanga, to see the world’s longest cable cart. This cart is no less than 6 km long and contains 39 cabins, each of which has a capacity of eight passengers. The system covers the entire Chicamocha canyon from La Mesa de los Santos to Panachi and includes three stations in between, allowing people to get out for a moment and enjoy the park by foot.
San Gil, 96 km from Bucaramanga, you can discover other extreme sports. Rafting is one of its most popular activities here with experienced guides offering several trips on the rivers. The excursions which take place on either the Fonce or Suarez river offer adventurers differing levels of difficulty, making use of rafts, kayaks or hydrospeed - a form of river bodyboarding.
The small town of Guatape is a colourful and tranquil pueblito (small town) perfect to enjoy a day trip (or two) from Medellin. Whilst the town is famous for the colourful designs on the facades of the houses it’s probably more recognisable in promotional material for the the large rock “El Penol” which you can climb to get an amazing view of the surrounding man-made lagoons.
Small historical town located just 2 hours from Medellin. It was the capital of the region before the control of power was shifted to Medellin. If you’re interested in colonial architecture, white-washed walls, weathered churches (like The Catedral de Santa Fe de Antioquia, located in the main plaza) and old town squares then Santa Fe is a perfect day trip from Medellin.
Boavista contains a real desert in the northwestern part of the island, the Viana desert. Just one kilometer long and about 5 km long, it is characterized by a light sand mixed with grains of black earth. The ocean winds continuously transport huge volumes of sand from the African continent, depositing them on the island of Boavista due to the conformation of the land and the proximity to the mainland. This sand creates real desert dunes, interspersed with a sparse vegetation and some very dark volcanic rocks. The result of this phenomenon is a rainbow of colors and the rapid passage of clouds projects onto the ground an alternation of almost hypnotic light and shadow.
The lunar landscape, amplified by the total lack of artificial sounds, makes this place an obligatory stopping point: it is possible to walk without difficulty, in the tranquility of being a few steps from civilization, without the danger of encountering poisonous animals or quicksand.
The Colón and Bolivar peaks the highest points of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (at 5,775 and 5560 meters above sea level, respectively) and are considered sacred places by the ancient Tayrona culture, whose descendants are responsible for ensuring for environmental balance of this zone.
The Metropolitan National Park is a 232 hectares forest located in Panama City. Some of the tree species that you can admire here are the wild cashew, luehea semannii, gumbo-limbo, guanacaste and yellow mombin, amongst others.
In the mountains of the district of Coclé lies the small town El Valle de Antón, known as the second largest inhabited volcano crater. Once a crater lake it became home to Indians from the surrounding mountains. The microclima here, next to the cloud forest created amazing varieties of flora and fauna.
Also El Valle is one of the best places in Panama for watching tropical birds. You will find them in the valley and in the cloud forest of the Gaital Monument.
Jamaica's World Heritage Site, the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, is one of the richest biodiversity sites in the world and a nature-lover’s paradise. It is home to over 1,300 flowering plant species, the largest butterfly in the Americas - the 6-inch Giant Swallowtail and over 200 species of native and migratory birds.
The award-winning Croydon Plantation is a working estate nestled in the foothills of the Catadupa Mountains and offers visitors breath-taking, panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors are invited to take in the rich history of the plantation, which is the birthplace of Samuel Sharpe, one of Jamaica's national heroes. Tours operate on Tuesdays to Fridays and offer the opportunity to taste many different varieties of pineapple and citrus fruits. Sample exotic and delicious fruit and the juices made from them. This tour also includes a delicious feast of barbequed lunch served with world-famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.
The best views of Cape Town are from the Table Mountain Cableway, a unique and 87-year- old method of seeing the wonders of the city. Travel up to the summit of the majestic flat-topped mountain and be astounded by vistas of the Mother City, Robben Island and the Peninsula.
Regarded as one of the great botanic gardens of the world, Kirstenbosch – or rather, the land on which it sits — was bequeathed to the government by Cecil John Rhodes.
Situated on the slopes of Table Mountain, a mere 13km from the city centre, Kirstenbosch includes a fragrance garden, a medicinal garden, a garden that features 2500 species of plants found on the Cape Peninsula, a Protea garden (best seen in spring!), a braille trail, and a cycad amphitheatre. There is also a glasshouse – the Botanical Society Conservatory – which houses plants from the continent’s more arid regions.
If you have little ones, you simply must take them to see the cycad amphitheatre. Dotted among the cycads are life-sized anatomically correct sculptures of dinosaurs and a pterosaur! Kirstenbosch also features a sculpture garden, where you’ll find an ever-changing exhibition of African stone sculptures, and bronze animal sculptures by Dylan Lewis. Your kids will also enjoy a walk along the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway – affectionately known as the Boomslang. This 130-metre steel-and-timber bridge snakes its way through and over the trees of the Arboretum, providing stunning views of the Garden and the Cape Flats.
Jump into a pool of refreshing mountain water and escape the city just an hour outside of Cape Town when you hike to Crystal Pools near Gordon’s Bay. By “refreshing”, of course, we mean quite cold—in true Cape Town fashion. But after 45 minutes to an hour of hiking at the Steenbras Nature Reserve, it comes as sweet relief from the heat.
The first pool is about 45 minutes from the start of the trail and you can stop here for a snack or break in the shade. For some serious swimming and kloofing opportunities, it’s best to hold out for the second pool, which is another ten to fifteen minutes up. There is also a waterfall, which you can stand below and enjoy an open-air cold shower. It’s only a 2km hike, but your legs will beg to differ. It starts out fairly easy but the climb gets tough. If you’re up for the challenge you can keep going after the second pool to the third pool that offers more swimming opportunities and an excellent view of the area.
You can not miss that wonderful National Park. You will enjoy landscapes that will seem like another planet. You will breathe the pure air of the highest peak in Spain. You will walk among the volcanic lava and you will feel tiny when you see the impressive environment declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS) is recognized internationally as the world’s first jaguar preserve. It is also known for its spectacular waterfalls, mountain views, nature trails, and rich diversity of neotropical birds. The tracks of wildcats, tapir, deer, and other wildlife are often seen on hiking trails or along the bank of South Stann Creek.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is a reservoir for biodiversity. Hundreds of species of plants with exotic leaves and flowers, colorful insects, singing birds, furry mammals, scaly reptiles, and wide-eyed amphibians live in this complex tropical forest community. Each one has a function that serves the community as a whole. Each one is adapted to the conditions that make the community unique. The mosaic of ecosystems in this rugged landscape suggests the limited extent of our knowledge of the Sanctuary’s biodiversity.
The following is a first person account of one woman’s visit to explore the mysterious cave of the Maya underworld at Actun Tunichil Muknal – also known as the ATM Cave. This attraction is located in the western part of the country and is one of the more interesting places to visit.
The ATM cave is a hiking and adventure experience with the added dimension of being an educational trip for those interested in archaeology. Here you will find Maya artefacts just the way they were left by the Mayas hundreds of years ago. The cave is ranked as one of the Top Ten Caves Of The World by the National Geographic Society. National Geographic and the Discovery Channels and History have done documentaries on this spectacular cave.
Guanacaste National Park (GNP) is a popular getaway, located only two miles from the capital city of Belmopan at the confluence of the Belize River and Roaring Creek. The park’s small size of 50 acres allows visitors to observe wildlife and tropical vegetation readily.
At GNP, it is easy to learn about plants and their traditional uses, fungus farming leaf-cutter ants, or the mini-ecosystem inside a bromeliad. Its habitat is known as a secondary broadleaf forest, which benefits many birds and wildlife, including the shy and secretive “tiger cat” or Jaguarundi and Black howler monkeys.
Visitors can enjoy various recreational and educational activities throughout the year at GNP. The park provides a picnic area, interpretive displays, two miles of maintained trails, a bird watching deck, and a clean swimming area. It is a perfect environment for a class field trip or family gathering.
A short drive from Tampa, beautiful Honeymoon Island offers visitors an escape from the bustle of city life.
One of Florida’s best-loved state parks, Honeymoon Island has more than four miles of beach to explore along with a three-mile trail through one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests. Looking skyward, eagles, osprey and great horned owls can be seen, while ground animals include gopher tortoises, raccoons and armadillos. A trip to the Rotary Centennial Nature Center helps educate visitors about the park’s history and natural resources. Find out how Honeymoon Island received its name!
Swimming, fishing, shelling, hiking and bicycling are all popular activities that make Honeymoon Island State Park an ideal getaway. The park is also the ferry terminal for access to another unspoiled state park, Caladesi Island.
The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is an area of outstanding universal value. Its complex of fossil-bearing caves contains a superbly preserved record of the stages in the evolution of humankind over the past 4-million years. It's the world's richest early hominin site and is home to around 40% of the world's known human-ancestor fossils.
The area is also home to a diversity of birds, animals and plants, some of which are rare or endangered.