Hoewel tokkelbanen langs de boomtoppen met duizelingwekkende vaart hun charme hebben, kunt u ook op andere manieren de prachtige wildernis van Costa Rica verkennen. Wat veel toeristen niet weten is dat het leven van het regenwoud zich voornamelijk afspeelt in de dikke bladerwereld bovenin het woud, als samenspel van zon en mogelijkheden.
De meeste vogels, apen, grote miereneters, luiaards, slangen en amfibieën in Costa Rica brengen het grootste deel van hun leven door in de verre boomtoppen, op veilige afstand van camera’s of jeugdige fotografen. Wilt u de dieren echt goed bekijken, dan zult u zelf de boom in moeten.
Dat kan met de 16 elegante Arenal hangbruggen. Soms liggen deze over bergkloven, op andere plekken hoog boven de jungle. Ze vormen een kronkelig wandelpad over een lengte van 2,6 km over de steile omgeving.
The swanky beachfront suburb of Miraflores is one of Lima’s most sought-after zip codes.
Miraflores is where you’ll find Lima’s best restaurants, shops and hotels, plus the waterfront mansions and high-rise towers of the city’s movers and shakers. It’s also home to lovely parks and gardens, beaches and promenades.
Some ancient history remains in Miraflores, including the Huaca Pucllana, the remains of a pre-Inca mud-brick temple.
Paragliders come to Miraflores to leap off the area’s rocky cliffs over the sea. The beaches are popular, but the coast tends to be rocky rather than sandy and the better beaches lie further south.
Keeping a watchful eye over the people of Rio de Janeiro, the Statue of Christ the Redeemer (or Cristo Redentor) sits atop Corcovado 2,300 feet (700 meters) above the city. It was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
The largest art deco statue in the world, it is 130 ft (39 m) tall and the arms measure 98 ft (30 m) across. Made of reinforced concrete and sandstone the statue was unveiled in 1931.
On a clear day the views from the base of the statue are fantastic. At night the statue is lit up and seemingly hovers over the city as the mountain it stands on is dark. If it is cloudy the clouds light up and the effect can be quite spectacular and ethereal.
Copocabana Beach, or Praia de Copacabana, is the Rio de Janeiro of the tourist brochures and deservedly so. It’s a breath-taking 2.5mi (4.5 km) stretch of bright sand that’s filled with people luxuriating in the sun and soaking up the atmosphere.
As night descends the lights go on and football is played until the wee hours. Other groups start singing and dancing and still others are just there to check each other out. The busy sidewalks can get seedy at night so take care.
Behind it rise the Sugarloaf and Morro de Leme and in between is one of the world’s most densely populated residential areas.It is possible to visit Rio and never leave Copacabana, many hotels are situated here and there are plenty of restaurants and bars and some decent shopping.
The stunning beach gets divided up depending on the interests of the beachgoers. There is the family section, the gay section, the ageing-intellectual section and so on; you’ll soon find where you feel comfortable.
At night the beach is lit up and families come to the beach with their barbeques and cook dinner while others come down to watch the sunset.
Ipanema means “bad, dangerous waters” in Indian and it is indeed a good idea to only swim in the designated areas where the locals are swimming as the waves can be big and the undertow strong.
In het drukke Rio de Janeiro is de Jardim Botanico een idyllische en rustgevende plek. In deze botanische tuinen kun je de pracht van planten uit de Amazone en uit andere delen van de wereld zien.
Er zijn meer dan 5.500 verschillende soorten planten. Hier zijn ook de eerste thee, kruidnagels en kaneel te vinden die naar Brazilië werden verscheept om te acclimatiseren. Hoogtepunten zijn het meer met de immense waterlelies, de orchideeën en de Japanse Tuin.
De tuinen zijn in 1808 aangelegd door prins Dom João en worden zowel voor onderzoek als voor recreatie gebruikt. Vanaf de ingang wandel je via Avenue of Royal Palms, waar 134 grote palmen staan, zo de tuinen in.
Toen Portugese zeevaarders in 1502 de Guanabara Bay in gingen, zagen ze de rots Pedra da Gavea en dachten ze dat dit een zeil van een groot schip was. Daardoor heeft deze berg nu zijn naam. De granieten top prijkt 844 meter boven de zee en komt onderaan helemaal in het water uit.
De Pedra da Gavea, onder beheer van Tijuca National Park, heeft een uitdagende, maar goed gemarkeerde wandelroute naar de top, van waar u uitzichten heeft die zich kunnen meten met die van Sugarloaf en Corcovado. De complete wandeling duurt zo’n zes uur.
Plaza de Mayo is Buenos Aires’ political heart, first mapped out in 1580. Today, the grassy, treed plaza attracts visitors with cameras and relaxing locals, and is also the venue for rallies and gatherings.
The center of the plaza features an obelisk called the Pirámide de Mayo, erected to commemorate independence from Spain. Grand 19th century buildings line the plaza, but the colonial arches that once circled the plaza are long gone. Nearby are the city council buildings known as the Cabildo, the Casa Rosada government buildings and fine bank buildings.
The Magic Water Circuit, located within the Parque de la Reserva, provides a fun and family-friendly option for those looking for something inexpensive to do in Lima. The municipal project—a series of 12 fountains choreographed to music and lights—was inaugurated in 2007 and has since become a favorite attraction in the capital city among locals and visitors alike.
While the fountains are open Wednesday through Sunday, beginning in the late afternoon, they’re undeniably most impressive at night, when the lights and laser effects are most visible. Each of the fountains has a different theme, and some are interactive (you’ll get wet), making them a huge hit with kids. The Maze of the Dream (Laberinto del Ensueño) is a major highlight of the Magic Water Circuit and challenges visitors to find their way to an inner circle through a maze made from vertical walls of water. After dark, the Fantasia Fountain (Fuente de la Fantasía) entertains with a choreographed show.
The ritzy Recoleta neighborhood draws visitors in the numbers for a wander through Buenos Aires’ up-market residential streets and public parks.
For most visitors, the main attraction is the Recoleta Cemetery, an ornate necropolis so large it’s like a mini city of states and marble sarcophagi. One of the most famous tombs is that of Eva Peron (Evita).
The enclave also attracts thousands of people for its weekend crafts market, held on Plaza Francia outside the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar.
Museums and art galleries, lovely plazas and parklands are another feature of Recoleta.
Hoewel het wellicht vreemd is dat een van de belangrijkste toeristische trekpleisters van Buenos Aires een begraafplaats is, is La Recoleta geen gewone begraafplaats. Met een grote omliggende muur en een prachtige entree met zuilen is La Recoleta een van de mooiste begraafplaatsen ter wereld. Het is een glorieuze ‘Dodenstad’ waar een aantal van de meest prominente politieke, militaire en artistieke personen begraven liggen.
Er zijn meer dan 6.400 graven, gerangschikt in strakke rijen met bomen en voorzien van prachtige grafmonumenten, marmeren beelden en grote bronzen mausoleums. Noemenswaardige plekken zijn het grote witte graf van krantenmagnaat José C. Paz, met een tweetal prachtige Rubensachtige engelen, de opvallende tombe van de voormalige Argentijnse president Carlos Pellegrini, met een groot beeld van de controversiële leider er bovenop en de suggestieve beelden van twee huilende weduwes bij de tombe van kolonel Falcón.
Since 1908, the Colon Theatre (or Teatro Colón) has set the benchmark for gilded magnificence and the ultimate theater experience.
One of the world’s top five opera houses, the luxurious seven-story building seats 2,500 theater-goers on plush red velvet chairs on tiers of gilded balconies rising to giddying heights.
Guided tours highlight the gilt interior, chandeliers, illuminated dome and ceremonial staircases.
See what’s coming up on the theater’s schedule of performances, from opera and ballet to classical concerts.
Located just up the coast from Lima, the seafront town of Callao has been Peru’s most important port since the colonial era and remains the capital’s principal cruise port, receiving thousands of annual visitors. With easy transport links to the center of Lima, most cruise travelers find themselves heading straight into the city, but there are still a few worthwhile attractions to visit in Callao itself.
Explore the imposing Real Felipe Fortress, built during colonial times to protect the shores from pirate invasions and named after King Felipe V of Spain; hit the beach at La Punta; or discover Callao’s rich maritime history with a visit to the Abtao Submarine Museum and the Naval Museum. Callao is also the starting point for cruises to the Pacific islands of Palomino, Cabinzas and El Frontón, renowned for their variety of birdlife and sea lion colonies and a popular day trip from Lima.
Separating Montevideo’s Old Town and downtown areas, this popular plaza in Montevideo is thought to be the city’s most important, especially since buildings like the country’s oldest theater, the Solis Theatre, and the President of Uruguay’s workplaces, Estevez Palace and the Executive Tower reside here. One very interesting site to see is the 56-foot statue of Jose Gervasio Artigas riding a horse. Artigas was a soldier who fought for equality and democracy and later became Uruguay’s national hero. Underground are Artigas’ remains, which are guarded 24-hours a day.
A trip to Plaza Independencia will allow you to visit his mausoleum, which is open to the public, and give you the chance to read interesting information about his life, printed on the surrounding walls. The mausoleum is located in the center of the square, under the monument, and is open Monday from 12pm to 6pm and Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm.
The modern city of Lima is dotted with historic ruins and sacred sites, known as huacas, and the imposing archeological site of Huaca Pucllana is one of the city’s largest and most important ancient monuments, located in the coastal Miraflores district. Built around 500 A.D, the complex was once an administrative and ceremonial center of the indigenous Lima Culture civilization, constructed from hand-made adobe bricks and dominated by a 22-meter tall central pyramid.
The impressive pre-Incan ruins are now a popular tourist attraction, affording unique views from the top of the central mound and dramatically floodlit in the evening hours. There’s also an on-site museum displaying artifacts like tools, ceramics and textiles unearthed during excavations, a workshop area displaying ancient textile and ceramic making techniques, a small park growing key plants used by the Lima Culture people and a spectacularly sited restaurant that looks out over the ruins.
Panama City's oldest surviving neighborhood is also its most defensible, a tejas-tiled cluster of primly painted colonial buildings at the tip of a heavily fortified peninsula. These ramparts successfully protected the first Spanish settlement on the Pacific Coast, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After decades of neglect, Casco Viejo is finally being revitalized. New hotels and restaurants, some quite elegant, are occupying the centuries-old buildings. Iconic landmarks like El Arco Chato (Flat Arch), which may date to neighborhood's founding in 1671; the 1798 Metropolitan Cathedral; and many other pretty plazas, palaces, markets, and gold-gilt churches have been refurbished, as have the narrow streets, draped in flowery French balconies, which connect them. Well worth a wander.
While the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema offer a lot to see and there is always something going on, sometimes visitors find themselves in need of a break from the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro. Grumari Beach is one of those beaches that is still a real insider tip and since it can only be reached by car, it is not very well known by tourists. Here, you can enjoy peace and tranquility surrounded by rolling hills and deep green Atlantic rainforest. The powdery sand along the 3 kilometer long beach is a bit darker, which, combined with the wild landscape, creates a stunning backdrop for this day trip.
Just like the adjoining Prainha Beach, Grumari Beach is part of a nature reserve and still very off the beaten track. Accordingly, visitors are predominantly locals and the signs of mass tourism have not yet manifested. The bay is very clean and pristine and can often be found completely deserted during the week.
Though the Brazilians boast of their outstanding views over the falls, Argentina is blessed with about 80% of Iguazu, lovingly threaded by several kilometers of paved trails and catwalks that could keep you occupied for three days. A free "jungle train" connects several trailheads.
The Upper Circuit Trail offers outstanding views over Mbigua Falls and the undulating Iguazu River, before dropping toward misty Bernabe Mendez Falls. The Lower Circuit Trail has more views, as well as access to motorboat trips under the falls, whitewater rafting, and a free ferry to Isla San Martin, with even more to explore. Whatever you do, don't miss the vistas over Garganta del Diablo. No matter where you trek, you will get soaking wet. And that's not a bad thing on a hot summer day in Argentina. Though Puerto Iguazu, 17km (10mi) from the park, is the smallest of the three cities here at the triple border between Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, it has a great deal to offer tourists.
The highlight of any trip to Iguazu Falls is this massive complex of cascades that form a narrow chasm some 150m (500ft) long and 80m (262ft) high. The roaring falls and veils of spray create an awesome, full-sensory experience, which can be enjoyed from any number of vantage points.
The postcard-perfect view is from the Brazilian side, at the top of a 2km (1.2mi) trail ending in an elevator trip to the top of this natural wonder. To explore the falls up close, however, you'll need to take the Devil's Throat catwalks skipping across the deceptively calm waters atop the roaring falls. From there, you can watch as millions of liters of water drain violently into the river below.
Serious fans can splash out on a helicopter ride above the falls, available next to the visitors center on the Brazilian side.
Dedicated to Lima’s lovers, Love Park (Parque del Amor) understandably attracts couples who come to enjoy the Pacific Ocean views, especially around sunset. Located in the Miraflores district, the park bears a resemblance to Park Güell in Barcelona, thanks to the colorful mosaic walls displaying quotes on love spread throughout.
At the center of the park stands a sculpture by Victor Delfín entitled El Beso (The Kiss), unveiled in 1993 and still the best known work by the Peruvian artist. If you’re in Lima for Valentine’s Day, head to Love Park to watch young couples compete in a longest kiss contest staged by the statue.