Tag Archive | attractions

7 Amazing Sights to See in Central America!

Despite Mexico’s soaring popularity as a holiday destination, the rest of Central America seems to have fallen by the wayside. Years of turmoil may have put visitors off, but there are so many sites to see from the Caribbean coast to the Pacific Ring of Fire that have gone unnoticed. Here are 7 places to add to your bucket list.

Semuc Champey, Lanquin, Guatemala

Nestled in the mountains of Guatemala’s Alta Veraspaz region, Semuc Champey really is a sight to behold. A natural water park of clear, cold pools, winding caves and gentle rivers, you could easily spend a couple of days here. Take a tour through the Lanquin cave system and tube down the river before climbing the mountainside to take in the view.

Semuc Champey

Tikal, near Flores, Guatemala

Whilst Chichen Itza holds the title of most famous Mayan site, Tikal is arguably the most impressive. Once a sprawling city, it is now a mass of deep jungle with stone temples perforating the canopy. There are so brilliant local guides who will show all the secrets of the place – from the acoustics of the temples to the trees used to create weapons.

Tikal

Copan, Honduras

Copan is another Mayan site worthy of more visitors. Once ruled over by Mayan ruler and fan of the arts 18 Rabbit, Copan is home to some incredible works of Mayan sculpture from detailed stelae to the amazing Hieroglyphic staircase.

Copan

The Great Blue Hole, Belize

Famous amongst divers, The Great Blue Hole is an underwater sinkhole some 300m across. Situated in the middle of Lighthouse Reef it offers great snorkeling opportunities, too, and a chance to meet some very friendly stingrays.

Blue Hole

Ik Kil Cenote, Yucatan, Mexico

There are thousands of cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, but this one is something special. A cenote is formed when the roof of a cave collapses, exposing the pool inside, and Ik Kil is a perfect example of this. Stairs lead down to the pool, and you can swim beneath the lush vegetation growing from the walls.

Ik Kil Cenote

Leon, Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a country with a turbulent past, and nowhere is this more visible than in the city of Leon. It was originally built in 1524 but abandoned some 100 years later after a series of earthquakes decimated the region. Modern Leon lies 30km from this original site, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Leon, Nicaragua

Pacaya Volcano, Antigua, Guatemala

Whilst the city of Antigua in Guatemala offers plenty for travelers to see and do, one cannot miss a hike to the summit of active volcano Pacaya – that is, if it isn’t erupting. At ‘quiet’ times, local guides lead groups to the crater and if the volcano is behaving well, you can even poke the lava with a long stick. If not, then the climb is worth it for the views alone.

Pacaya Volcano

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5 Reasons to Ski the Sierra Nevada This Winter

A ski holiday is not the first thing people usually think of when considering a visit to Andalucia; however, the Sierra Nevada ski resort is for many reasons a terrific alternative to the Alps and other European ski destinations. With world-class slopes and facilities, this site overlooking the Mediterranean sea and the culture rich city of Granada played host to the FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Cup Super finals in March of this year and is already slated to host the World Championships in 2017. With the top station sitting 3300 meters high and a ski-able vertical drop of 1200 meters, this resort is no joke.

Sierra Nevada Spain

Consider five reasons to book your ski holiday in the Sierra Nevada this season:

The sun

This is still sunny Andalucia after all, and the Sierra Nevada ski resort is in fact the southernmost ski resort in Europe. It’s also the sunniest ski resort in Europe with more than 80% sunny days during the ski season. You can see the Mediterranean from the slopes on a clear day, and as the beach at Motril is within about 45 minutes drive from the resort, you can even ski and take in the sun on the beach all in the same day.

The Sulayr Snow Park

In preparation for hosting the freestyle ski and snowboard World Cup in March, 2013, the Sierra Nevada resort expanded the already impressive Sulayr Snow Park with nine brand new features to bring the number of jumps, rails, half-pipes and various other obstacles up to 70. Forty-six of these can be done consecutively in what is now Europe’s longest such run. There is a dedicated “Kidspark” within the zone and practice areas for intermediates to provide a safe as well as fun environment for freestylers of all ages and skill levels.

Fewer crowds and virtually endless off-piste slopes

The resort still seems to cater more to local patrons than for weeklong holiday makers, which means that on weekdays the crowds are often very thin, and even on weekends long queues for the lifts are rare. The Spanish habit of siesta still plays a role as well, so the midday slopes are even more luxuriously unoccupied.

But for those who really want to get away from the crowds, the entirety of the Sierra Nevada resort sits above the tree line so with a good snow it is possible to ski virtually the entire mountain. However, such off-piste excursions are not advisable for any but the most knowledgeable and expert skiers. Avalanche prevention measures off-piste are minimal, but with a bit of information and advice there are vast areas of skiable, natural mountainscapes.

Proximity to diverse attractions

It is often the case that the best ski resorts are so remote that it’s not possible to explore the region beyond the slopes. Again the Sierra Nevada resort offers a stark contrast. The resort itself is known for a livelier-than-most nightlife, but with such proximity to the historic city of Granada and the World Heritage site of the Alhambra at only about 20 kilometres away, it’s not so much of a possibility as a must. Malaga, at about 160km is also workable on a day trip and half of that is coastline for any desired beach stops. Cordoba and the Mezquita are also about a two-hour drive from Granada (a train also runs) offering further World Heritage sites and deep cultural explorations.

Length of the season

The Sierra Nevada ski resort is usually open from late November to early May, making it one of the longest non-glacial ski seasons in Europe. There are fewer than 50 ski resorts in the world open in May for late season skiing and the Sierra Nevada is one of them. The slopes are now already open for 2013, with the first skiers and snowboarders carving up the fresh snow from 23 November. That gives you a full six months to plan and schedule your visit this season!

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Gatlinburg, TN and Coastal Travel Vacations

Welcome to Gatlinburg.com

Gatlinburg.Fall.Colors.TownHere’s where you can find mountains of information, including information about places to stay, dine, camp and shop. We’ve also included feature sections on Great Smoky Mountains National Park, romance and weddings, an Outdoor Guide and the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Loop.

Our quaint mountain resort often welcomes over 35,000 people a night, so hospitality and service are second nature to us. Take your pick from a wide variety of Gatlinburg hotels, motels, condos, cabins and more.

Somewhere between the first ride and the last hike on the gorgeous Smoky Mountain hiking trails, it will dawn on you. You’re getting a true mountain experience. Gatlinburg really is the perfect place for your family vacation in Tennessee.

Surrounded by the Smokies

We’re surrounded by Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most popular and visited national park. Whether you stay for two days or two weeks, it will be a vacation in Tennessee you’ll remember for a lifetime. Most visitors come back for Smoky Mountain getaways again and again. What starts with parents or grandparents becomes a family tradition.

Gatlinburg.Picture.Frame

Nothing can prepare you for the awe-inspiring beauty of the Smokies. You’ve seen the sunrise, but have you seen the sun reflecting off a forest rolling as far as the eye can see? Ever see fireflies by the millions as they blink in sync? Perhaps you’ve tasted freshly grilled trout, but have you eaten one that you pulled fresh from a stream? Smoky Mountains National Park offers more than 800 miles of scenic hiking trails, horseback riding, back-country camping, trout fishing and endless family fun.

There’s no better place to appreciate the changing seasons. The greens of spring and summer, the vivid colors of autumn and the snow-capped peaks of winter make Smoky Mountain getaways in Gatlinburg a colorful affair in every season.

Super shopping, Appalachian arts and crafts and attractions downtown

As if the area’s natural beauty isn’t enough, the Gatlinburg shopping scene is home to more than 450 unique shops in Gatlinburg.2.Bldgsdowntown Gatlinburg and along the 8-mile Arts and Crafts Loop. You’ll see mountain handiwork at its best, created by skillful hands using simple tools. The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community is recognized internationally as the largest group of independent artisans in North America. The community features artisans who whittle, carve, cast, sew, weave and transform raw elements into works of wonder, art and function.

Back in town, there’s no limit of Gatlinburg attractions. Play miniature golf, view sharks from the underwater tunnel, ride America’s longest aerial tram, visit the unique museums, experience a live-action adventure or take on the video arcades. When you get hungry, choose from every kind of dining experience, ranging from national restaurant chains, local cafes with mountain-style cooking and delicious gourmet meals.

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