Archive for April, 2011
Brazil is known for its sandy beaches, beautiful people, and wild nightlife. The combined force of these elements reaches fabulous peak in Salvador. Salvador is the capital of the state of Bahia, and this city knows how to have a good time. As early as the 17th century, Bahia de Todos os Santos (the Bay of All Saints, which the city of Salvador overlooks) was called e de Quase Todos os Pecados, meaning “and of Nearly All The Sins” because of its reputation for debauchery.
Today it’s a fun, funky town in a stunning tropical setting, but it does have a party scene that is unique in Brazil. Unlike in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, you won’t find a trendy party scene here. Salvador isn’t known for its hip nightclubs and bars. The best parties here take place in outdoor spaces or in the street, and nobody cares how you’re dressed – shorts and sandals will do. This carefree spirit can beas intoxicating as the free-flowing drinks.
Salvador is the oldest city in Brazil and was the country’s capital for over 200 years, until it was replaced by Rio de Janeiro in 1763. The state of Bahia then went into decline because it was isolated from Brazil’s prosperous south. But in Bahia, the melting pot of Africans in exile meanwhile developed a fascinating culture. The music, dance, cuisine, and religion that developed are unique to this part of Brazil, and have stronger ties to Africa than most other places in the Americas. Approximately 4.5 million African slaves were brought to Brazil, and today, more than 80% of the Bahia population has African ancestry. On the sugarcane plantations of Bahia’s interior, samba evolved from African rhythms similar to the way that blues developed on cotton plantations in America’s South.
Salvador’s music industry revolves around Carnival. Celebrated every year in February with a million people singing, dancing, drinking, and partying for six days and nights on the street.
Afro-Brazilian tourism, ignored by decades, has come far. The state government has assigned a department to promote tourism in Bahia and Salvador to order to show the world this area’s fascinating heritage. A trip to Brazil will be greatly enhanced by a tour to Salvador. In addition to the area’s fascinating and lively culture, you are sure to enjoy the 30 plus miles (50 km) of beaches, which are perfect for snorkeling, sailing, and surfing.
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Costa Rica could have been just a blip on the map; occupying just 0.03 percent of the world’s surface, this tiny Central American country makes up in sheer natural splendor what it lacks in size. The country has incredible biodiversity, 762 miles of gorgeous coastlines, magnificent scenery, and a citizenry who prizes and protects its environment. Costa Rica’s advantageous position between the warm Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean and abundant blessings of flora and fauna are bolstered by social and political stability and an intense desire to preserve and maintain the land.
There’s no reason why you can’t have the time of your life while preserving and maintaining! Costa Rica has beaches the rest of the world envies; with nearly year-round warm water and sunshine, the beaches are as pristine as they are welcoming. The country’s Ecological Blue Flag award further ensures guests that the beaches are safe, clean, and the perfect spot for your vacation. Enjoy dazzling water, exploring coral reefs, surfing, and fishing. Hike through mangrove forests, go for a horseback ride, and enjoy both the placid Pacific and beautiful Caribbean in the same day.
Costa Rica boasts 20 natural parks, 8 biological reserves, 13 active volcanoes, and numerous protected areas; remember, all this is within about 51,000 square kilometers! You don’t have to be a passive observer to this beautiful country’s grandeur; you can experience it, live it. See rock and lava erupt from the Arenal Volcano; walk through the dry forests, rainforests, and cloud forest; look for manatee, crocodiles, monkeys, and other exotic beasts; bungee jump off a bridge and hurtle down towards the Colorado River; kayak through waters that are as challenging as they are beautiful. Adventure is so much more rewarding when you can do it with such a stunning backdrop.
While the beauty of Costa Rica was developed over thousands of years, it is the culture of the people that helps keep the beauty as pristine and untouched as possible. The country is incredibly diverse, with a great blend of European and indigenous influences that are reflected in everything from the architecture to the food. Their national pride shines through in their commitment to biodiversity, eco-travel, and making sure that the land they are so proud of is not left dirtied under their watch.
Visiting Costa Rica is an experience of a lifetime; one of the most beautiful, and progressive, countries in the world, its natural beauty is only rivaled by the great people you will find there.
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