Juxtaposed alongside the gleaming modern high-rises of Panama City in Panama is now one of the world’s most important protected sites for birds. In conjunction with World Wetlands Day on February 2, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela approved a law officially creating the Panama Bay Wetland Wildlife Refuge.
The broad, sweeping Bay of Panama is a huge five-million-acre expanse of estuaries, mangroves, swamp forests, freshwater pools and intertidal mudflats that is a stopover site for two million migrating shorebirds every year. This critical bird habitat on the western coast of Panama shelters 30 percent of the global population of Western Sandpiper, approximately 20 percent of the world population of Semipalmated Plover, and 34 other North American migratory bird species, according to the Audubon Society.
The Upper Bay of Panama is one of the most important links in the chain of wetlands for migratory shorebirds in the Americas. In 2005, the area was designated a part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. Many birds travel from as far as Alaska to winter in the Bay of Panama, or stop to rest there before heading farther south.
All over the world on February 14, people exchange cards, flowers, candy and gifts with their loved ones for Valentine’s Day. But who is St. Valentine, and where did these amorous traditions come from?
In the 5th century, two martyred saints named Valentine became the origin for the Christian celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. One St. Valentine performed marriages for young lovers in secret before he was killed; another St. Valentine, sentenced to death, wrote his love a last letter from prison signed “From your Valentine” – an expression still used today. The ancient Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia, was celebrated in the middle of February. Hence, Christian and ancient Roman traditions merged to create the celebration on February 14 known as St. Valentine’s Day.
The first record of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day comes after a poem by medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer, written around 1375, was published. The popular poem, written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, refers to February 14 as the day birds and humans come together to find a mate. At the time, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, thus sparking the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
El Salvador is a small, independent and free country placed between Honduras and Guatemala in Central America, it has a tropical climate with marked wet and dry seasons. Spanish is the official language spoken by all inhabitants.
The capital is San Salvador, a modern city with large boulevards, many monuments, outdoor markets, museums, fun nightlife and other cultural buildings to visit. The only international airport is Comalapa, which is about 25 miles southeast of San Salvador.
Its tourism scenery is kind of different from other Central American countries, because of its geographic size and urbanization; there are specific destinations to enjoy with this Central America travel package like ecotourism, or archaeological locations.
However, most tourists seek out for El Salvador’s beaches and nightlife. Surfing for example, is a natural tourism sector that has become popular; surfers visit many beaches on the coast of La Libertad and the east end of the country, with surfing spots in El Salvador that are not really crowded.
In El Salvador there is a variety of tourist activities to enjoy such as beach hotels, nightlife clubs and delicious restaurants, kayaking, diving centers, surf schools and many attractions that invite you to enjoy the Salvadoran coast.
Something unique you can’t miss when you visit Dominical Beach.
Bahía Ballena (Whale Bay) is located in the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, within the canton of Osa. It’s only 15 minutes south of the town that is very well known for surfers: Dominical. Surrounded by a majestic natural splendor of the southern Pacific region, Dominical town offers its visitors this God’s breathtaking and exclusive nature’s spot.
The main reason for this given name comes from the giant sandbar whale- like tail pattern, when seen from above, formed during low tide at the north end of the Ballena Marine National Park beach.
Sharing a length of about 2296 feet and a width of 820 feet, it is the world’s third largest sandbank. People easily walk to the end of this sand formation without any trouble during any time of the year. You just have to be sure it’s low tide time so you can make your walk back without any mayor difficulties.
Due to its perfect location on the Pacific Ocean, whales from the north and south come to give birth here. Bahía Ballena offers then, not one but two whale watching seasons throughout the year. The Southern Humpback whales come to the national park between mid-July to October late, and then from mid-December through late March it’s the turn of the Northern Humpback Whales.
This time of year people everywhere in the northern hemisphere are seeking sun, warm climates and places to rest and relax from busy lives and work.
Costa Rica in Central America is a top destination for winter sun-seekers. More than 2 million tourists traveled to Costa Rica in 2013 for some of the best beaches, extraordinary wildlife, and stunning rainforest, cloud forest, volcanoes and more.
Here are a few ideas for beach vacations and rainforest trips in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica beach vacations
Punta Islita on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is a secluded paradise of fiery sunsets, warm ocean breezes, deserted tropical beaches and friendly communities. The award-winning Punta Islita Hotel combines luxurious comfort with environmental protection.
Visit one of Costa Rica’s most famous national parks at Manuel Antonio on the Central Pacific Coast. You will enjoy beautiful white sand beaches, protected coves perfect for snorkeling and swimming, long open beaches good for surfing, and meandering trails great for spotting wildlife like white-faced monkeys, iguanas, sloths and toucans.
The one-day tour to the beautiful white sand beach of Tortuga Island in the Nicoya Gulf is world class. You get an island cruise on a luxury catamaran, a day on a pristine tropical island, activities like snorkeling and kayaking, and all-inclusive food and drink.
Christmas is one of the most important holidays in Central America. Some of the most elaborate traditional Christmas celebrations take place in the seven countries of Central America. Besides bright cheery lights, Nativity scenes, Christmas trees and other holiday decorations, read on for more about each country’s unique festivity.
Christmas Celebrations in Central America
In Costa Rica, roads, shops and houses are beautifully decorated at least a month before Christmas. Lavish dinners accompany Christmas Eve celebrations, traditionally with roasted pork leg and tamales. In Costa Rica it’s not Santa Claus who brings the Christmas gifts; they are instead brought by Baby Jesus on the night before Christmas called “La Noche Buena” (the Good Night). While children are sleeping, parents place Baby Jesus in the Nativity scene manger and set out gifts. In the morning, the family gathers to thank Baby Jesus for their blessings and then open gifts.
Known as the adventure capital of Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna area definitely have a lot of adventures to offer thrill-seekers.
Alejandro Rodriguez Guerrero, Tourism Assistant at Central America Experience, recently spent a day in Costa Rica’s adventure tour capital checking out some of the newest tours being offered by Costa Rica Sky Adventures.
The hottest new extreme adventure tour to premiere in Costa Rica is Flyboarding. Invented in 2011 by French jet-ski racing champion, Franky Zapata, a Flyboard® is like a wakeboard with water jets underneath that propel the rider through the air and water. A rider can fly up to 15 meters in the air or flip, dive and pirouette through the water like a dolphin. In only three years, Flyboarding has become a major international water sport with competitions around the globe.