I was there when they started poppingup guanacaste area for tourism, did some financing of AC units from Miami to supply the construction of hotels etc. It has become quite a bit of hit area now, on the Pacific, near punta arenas and jaco beaches is very nice.
Costa Rica tourism will tell you more now at the official site
hope it helps
The capital can't be off the beaten path, of course. But we saw that the attitude of first world tourists towards capitals in general was very... um... un-nice. It's funny how people want the exotic and insist on not looking out for similarities. Every country wants a New York City in its territory! And if that sounds bad for Europeans and US-people, Western Culture is to blame, we shouldn't be sold so much cultural industry products made in First World.
That said, San Salvador is MUCH MORE than a hub for beaches 'n' stuff the First World used to have before destroying everything to put up parking lots. Nightlife, museums, cultural life and restaurants are great draws to El Salvador's capital, and people stop there for a few days...
While everybody else uses this city as a stop before heading to the parks, we though that spending a day strolling down the streets of lovely Liberia was a good idea. We were well rewarded. The original architecture is well preserved, specially on Calle Real. Nice pictures, some chat with people from the place and a travel companion for the next three days were our prizes...
More on my Liberia/Rincón de La Vieja pages.
Monkey Bay Lodge was a surprise in the trip. I'll tell the story in my page about it (look for under Belmopán). It's ecotourism as usual. But Matt and Marga, the expats who own the place, are great: they give you thehints, introduce you to other guests and help you join the activities university students are involved with, like the canoeing expedition we took while we were there...
San Rafael del Norte is a great little town. Not much happens, people say buenos días when you pass by, and, for Spanish speakers, are always ready to tell you something. Still, there's a lot to see besides people. Sandino's house is an excellent museum on Sandinismo, there's a water park in th outskirts and a lovel church in the centre of the town. Additionally, according to the caretaker of the Sandino Museum, there's a foreign tourist a day in the city.
More precise information in my page about San Rafael.
Gracias, Lempira has been investing much in the development of tourism, which is a nice thing, once this Departamento is one of the poorest in the country, and the activity can bring good revenues for the region. Tourists started trickling, but you can still catch a glimpse of regular everyday life. Gracias can be considered an off the beaten path destination, since the preference of the tourist crowd is still the northern seaside.
A very beautiful and even more off the beaten path destination is the little town of La Campa, where you can get to visit traditional potters like Doña Desideria, as well as a great (though small) museum of Lenca pottery.
More details about both destinations can be found in my pages about Gracias and La Campa.
It seems many cruiselines have their own private beaches which you'll visit sometime while you're at sea. Royal Caribbean offered Labadee, Haiti--a virtual paradise. I'm sure unlike anything the typical Haitian gets to experience.
We arrived by tender and were welcomed to the beat of island music. Since we were among the first to leave the ship, we had our pick of shady spots in which to set up our lounge chairs.
Several old ruins which could be seen along the shore became background to the beachgoers, making quite a contrast.
The first order of business was to rent two floats and snorkeling gear. Our grandson was eager to snorkel and this was his first chance to do so.
The water in several shades of blue, green and torquoise was clear as crystal. Small white fish danced around our feet as we eased ourselves into the smooth water, for there were no waves here.
Please see my additional pics:
picture 2 A musical welcome
picture 3 The ruins and the beach
picture 4 Heading to the bbq
picture 5 Whirling Haitian dancers
After some length of time, we were called to a bbq for lunch while Haitian dancers spun to music and acrobats propelled themselves into the air. A man from this troup who had come from Cap Haitien, ignited a torch and ran it up and down various parts of his body. I didn't care for this demonstration, but I did enjoy the energy from the dancers and acrobats.
Snorkeling was offered at just about every port, so our grandson tried this sport out at Labadee. This location also had parasailing and jetskis available.
Although we planted ourselves on the first beach, a water playground for kids was located further up the shore which looked like it would have been alot of fun.
After the BBQ, we discovered a surfing beach with a large sign announcing the possible appearance of sharks, barracutas, jellyfish, sea urchins and other creatures (picture 2). No, don't think so! Since calmer seas appealed to us, we returned to our original beach.
A 'market area' near the BBQ hut carried carved wooden masks and figures, straw handbags or totes and paintings which were for sale (picture 3)
If anyone is looking for a back to basic Volunteer opportunity in Jiquilillo a small village in northwestern Pacific Nicaragua check this out. Rancho Esperanza, www.rancho.esperanza.bvg3.com, is offering volunteer opportunities within the village. The hostel is located in a small remote village "off the gringo trail." You will most likely have the 5 miles beach to yourself with the exception of the local villagers who are fishing. This place is amazing. Check out the website. Geered towards the typical backpacker the hostel is slightly rustic but completely family friendly!!!!!!!
As part of our Stingray City and City Excursion on Grand Cayman, we also visited a small town called, you guessed it, HELL. The place was named HELL because the man who was the first to see the area said, "This looks like HELL!" Thus name stuck.
It does look like hell; it's simply black, ugy rock in weird configurations and swampy water. There is a grocery store, a post office, and a small restaurant.
We, of course, purchased post cards so they would be stamped and post marked from HELL! I send post cards to several people, and they got a big "kick" out of it.
The Photograph my sister took of me in front of the post office and the tourist-type sign declaring that this is HELL.
Some of the big ships, better known as mass market cruises, cannot get in and out of some of the smaller ports that places like the Caribbean or Alaska offer.
There are many yachts that offer ports like St. Barths that most ships can't get to because of it's size. Though small ships are not for everyone the cruise industry has many varities to choose from.
This is paradise so take lots of photos! The more you explore the better your chances are of getting the best photos. So make sure you give your self plenty of time to just walk around or take a bike ride, taking with the locals can be a lot of fun too.
One of my most favorite trips to the Caribbean was on board the Mandalay sailing ship from Windjammer...
It's certainly off the beaten path and it's a highly unique way to experience the smaller islands and cayes of the Caribbean.
I also had a great time with all the other passengers on board. There is a free atmosphere and a comraderie on board.
I bought this Coconut lotion just for this trip so I could smell like a Pina Colada at all times. After using it my first day, I placed it on the top shelf of the medicine cabinet and forgot where it was and am just too f'ing short to see it! I looked and looked all over for it and lamented it's loss several times a day. Finally, while packing up to leave, my taller roommate found it! So.... I thought it appropriate to take this Ransom style picture of it.
El Salvador Spanish Schools http://Salvaspan.com
El Salvador Spanish Schools offers courses in Santa Ana, San Salvador, and in Puerto La Libertad, a coastal surfing destination. We offer Spanish language instruction at all levels, and our basic
lesson plan consists of twenty hours of study a week, four hours a day. You will be given a placement exam upon your arrival to determine your level of instruction. Our class size is limited to 8 students.
Quotes from some of our students:
“I forgot to mention how fabulous my homestay family is. Karina and Santiago and Sarita and baby Samantha are warm, bright, friendly, and easy going. I`ve been in 6 homestays in other countries, and this was the best by far.
Thanks, Tara Williams"
We are a unique program in that we offer students the option of studying in La Libertad, in the coffee country of Santa Ana, or with the Escuela Cuzcatlan in the capitol, San Salvador. You can study at one, two, or all three locations, which allows you to really get to know the country.
Our program is designed around a full-immersion pedagogy, which includes intensive Spanish instruction and the chance to put what you learn into practice through a homestay with a Salvadoran family. Students also have the option of a hotel or rental apartment.
We also offer three excursions per week to Mayan ruins, waterfalls, highland coffee villages, volcanoes, and museums. Flexible scheduling options, private tutoring, and one-on-one classes are available, and discounts are available for groups.
Our instructors are experienced language teachers with degrees from the national universities, and Director Nelson Pacheco is bilingual and has nine years of teaching experience. He is available to facilitate your visit, helping with tasks which are difficult for foreigners, such as renting a house or car, making travel arrangements, or just getting your food the way you like it.
Also feel free to call or email us if you have any questions.
I could have chosen Okay but some problems, but I still think it falls too short to express how...more
Stayed here for annual holiday in October 2001. First time in carribean and definately not the last....more
This has been a spa resort where guests can enjoy the therapeutic effects of the therman waters...more