Showing posts with label Islands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Islands. Show all posts

Your Guide to Great Places to go Snorkeling in the Maldives

The Maldives are well-known for their pristine white sandy beaches, but they also top the popularity list for snorkelers and scuba divers. The scenery below the water offers vistas with numerous caves and cliff sides, interesting coral arrangements and a wide assortment of colorful marine life. Deep water snorkeling is a must if you want to see a more varied underwater landscape that invites larger marine life, like manta rays and white-tip sharks.

Snorkeling off North Malé Atoll 

With Maldive's International Airport located on North Malé Atoll, diving here may be the first activity on the agenda. The dive sites are rich and varied, including great underwater scenery with overhangs, steep drops, caves, and a great variety of marine life from parrot fish to barracudas. There are also many shipwrecks that have become artificial reefs. 

Most of the sites here are only suitable for the strongest snorkelers, due to the dive depths and the fast-moving currents. It's safest to snorkel off a boat within a group. Luckily for the snorkeler, the water in the Maldives allows for good visibility. 

The Banana Reef is a banana-shaped inner dive site off the south-east side of North Malé Atoll. Treacherous currents can make snorkeling here difficult, but strong snorkelers will find an untouched reef wall that is as rich in sea life as it is in colorful corals. The reef depth is from 15' to 120' in some areas. The water is very clear with good visibility. 

Sunlight Thila is actually a combination of two outer reefs located in the south-east waters of the atoll. The reefs draw giant manta rays that feed on the plankton that is carried north by the sea. This site has a sandy bottom with a variety of sea grasses. It's possible to sit on the sea floor as the rays circle above. This is a popular site for snorkelers and scuba divers, primarily to view the manta rays. The site has a depth of approximately 15' to 50'. 

The Okabe is an inner reserve on the south-east side of the atoll within the Kalhi Channel. It is an extremely popular site due to the massive formations of coral rocks which bring barracudas, oriental sweetlips, jacks, batfish, sharks and many other species of marine life. It's a popular dive site, but the depth in some areas is about 75'. 

Reefs Less-Traveled 

Huvadhoo Atoll is the second largest atoll in the archipelago. It is known for being untouched, and semi-deserted. With over 200 tiny islands in the atoll, it offers an abundance of rich reef life, interesting underwater scenery, and colorful coral. Snorkelers can expect to see a huge variety of marine life from angel fish to stingrays. There are a number of guided tours to this southern atoll. They offer drift snorkeling at Villingili Kandu to view the green turtles, and Kodedhu Kandu to see barracuda. The reefs include stunning corals and sea fans. 

Lammu Atoll is dotted with uninhabited islands, each with barrier coral reefs and shallow lagoons. They are perfect dive sites for the snorkeler. Vadinolhu Kandu is a great spot to see a large collection of marine life in one place. At Kolhumadulu Atoll, you can view dolphins at Thuvaroo Island and Halksbill turtles at Olhugiri. 

The best atolls to snorkel in the Maldives have reefs with several channels and large lagoons, but for snorkeling in deep water, it's advantageous to join a dive expedition. Many resorts offer day trips out to sea for the more adventurous snorkelers. You'll be diving with well-trained snorkelers who knows what lies beneath the water and will ensure you are safe in the environment.

Post contributed by Gemma Hobbs on behalf of Cover-More

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Caroline Islands - Tourist Attractions , General Info

Caroline Islands is among the most remote islands on earth and is considered to be one of very few remaining 'near-pristine tropical islands' boasting unspoiled beauty, heavy vegetation, rich wildlife, numerous spectacular waterfalls, long mangroves, enchanting rainforests and historical ruins and most of all very clear water ideal for snorkeling, awesome fishing, surfing, diving and kite surfing.

Caroline Island or Caroline Atoll (also known as Millenium Island), lies near the southeastern end of the Line Islands covering a total land mass of 1,199 sq km. The archipelago comprises about half a thousand volcanic and coral islands in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean, north of New Guinea and east of the Philippines.

Major islands are Palau (Belau), Yap, Chuuk (Truk Lagoon), Pohnpei (Ponape) and Kosrae, fertile and rich in minerals. The inhabitants of the islands are mostly Micronesians and Polynesians. Other significant population includes Japanese and Filipinos. Geographically part of the Caroline Island chain in the Pacific Ocean, Palau became independent as the Republic of Palau in 1994. 

The archipelago of Palau is famous for the Rock Islands where you will find stunning marine environment that over the years has dazzled tourists from different corners of the world to experience some of the world's best scuba diving. Palau also boasts a wealth of endemic birds, plants, mammals and amphibians. In the upland forests of Palau the most diverse species in Micronesia are found including six native palm species.

Caroline Islands, Or New Philippines, an archipelago of Oceania, between the Philippines, the Ladrones, the Marshall islands, and Papua. They lie between lat. 3° and 12° N. and lon. 135° and 165° E.; area, 1,000 sq. m.; pop. about 28,000. They are divided into numerous groups. The westernmost of these, the Pelew, consists of seven large and a number of small islands, all of coralline formation. They are generally flat, and afford no secure anchorage. N. E. of these is the group of Yap, the principal island of which is mountainous and rich in precious metals. 

Caroline Islands map
 The islands of Egoi, resembling the Pelew in surface and formation, lie E. of Yap; they are fertile and partly inhabited. Other groups are the Swede islands, the Lutke, and the Seniavin islands. The easternmost island, called Ualan, is 24 m. in circumference, and has abundant supplies of water, fruit, and fish. The climate is mild and agreeable. The inhabitants, most of whom are of the Malay race, are generally fishermen, and make excellent sailors. - The Carolines were discovered in 1543 by Lopez de Villa-lobos, and were named in honor of Charles V. Nominally they belong to Spain and form part of the government of the Philippines, but they have no Spanish settlements.

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Martinique - Caribbean paradise island

Martinique or the so-called Madinina, Island of Flowers by the locals, is a wonderful French-Caribbean mountainous island blessed with a plethora of spectacular white sandy beaches, an abundance of colorful blooms on the hillsides, crystal-clear waters protected by coral reef barriers, beautiful gardens and plantations as well as a variety of ecotourism activities, including inexpensive guided hikes, exceptional canoeing sites, exceptional routes and fantastic trails.


The capital, Fort-de France, offers fine restaurants, chic shops, vibrant nightlife, "must see" attractions, like La Savane, a broad garden featuring many palms and mangos, Jardin De Balata, a tropical botanical park, containing a profusion of shrubs, flowers and trees, and much more, as well as several accommodation options to suit any travel style and budget.

Things to do in Martinique

Martinique waters offer warm temperatures (80 to 86°F), whatever the depth is an array of colors, exceptional visibility and calm conditions. The variety of colors comes from the corals, sponges, gorgona, anemone and the numerous small Caribbean fish. They all twirl all around the diver, giving him/her an explosive show of color!

Explore the little Pompeii of the Caribbean, near Saint Pierre, classified city of Art and History. Go for a dive “through time”, and explore the shipwrecks of ships sunk by the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelee in 1902…. A medical certificate is required in order to go scuba diving. In general, initiation lessons are provided at hotel pools. Experienced divers only need to present their license. Suggested dive locations: shipwrecks off the coast of Saint-Pierre, or the magical coral reefs off the Caribbean coast.

Martinique offers many sports and activities that will delight both adults and children. From mountain trails to scenic beaches and unique adventure parks, you can hike, ride, slide, fish, sail, swim, work out—or just work on your tan—when you make Martinique the destination for your vacation. An overview of the multitude of sports that vacationers can enjoy in Martinique includes: golf, tennis, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, canyoning, flying, quad and buggy racing, fishing, surfing, water skiing, jet skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing and yachting.

During the four-day holiday of Carnival festivities, activity on the island nearly comes to a standstill. Preparations begin as early as Epiphany Sunday with the election of the Carnival Queens, and last until the day before Fat Sunday (dimanche gras). The parades and parties start on Big Sunday and finish on Ash Wednesday when the carnival effigy, the “Vaval” King, is burned.

Martinique is rich with entertainment. Whether you experience a Creole-inspired dance performance or an upbeat nightclub with techno beats, a visit to Martinique almost always includes a lot of partying. The majority of clubs and bars are located in Fort-de-France, but visitors can also enjoy themselves in “hip” venues located in smaller towns where the setting can be a charming hotel bar or a beachfront restaurant with live music and dancing. A variety of music styles can be found including Zouk, Reggae, Jazz, Hip Hop, French Pop and International Techno.

There are many cultural celebrations throughout the year in Martinique. Particularly popular are the patron-saint celebrations, which are held in every Martinique town over the course of the year. These are occasions for games, performances, events, tradition and folklore. As a general rule, the highlight of these celebrations is over the weekend.

Located in the heart of the Caribbean archipelago, Martinique is one of the Windward islands in the Lesser Antilles group. Its eastern coastline borders the Atlantic Ocean while its western coast is flanked by the Caribbean Sea. The island is 4 350 miles away from France, 1 950 miles from New York and 275 miles from the closest South American coastline.  The closest neighboring islands are to the north: Dominica, 16 miles away, Guadeloupe, 75 miles away, and to the south: Saint Lucia, 23 miles away. Martinique is equidistant from the coasts of Venezuela and Haiti and Dominican Republic (497 miles).

Martinique map
Martinique has a surface area of 425 square miles. At its greatest length and width it measures 50 miles and 24 miles, respectively. The rugged mountainous landscape to the north is geologically young. Mount Pelée is the island’s highest peak, culminating at 4 500 feet. The north is characterized by dense forests, rivers and waterfalls. In the center, the Lamentin Plain transitions to the south’s gentler and geologically older landscape of rolling hills. The southern coast is dotted with many picturesque bays and coves. In the southernmost part of the island, a savanna of petrified trees is an unusual geological sight. 

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Haiti - Travel Guide & Tourist Attractions

WARNING: Effects of the January 2010 earthquake, political tension, and high crime have resulted in travel advisories being issued by foreign governments. Infrastructure may be damaged or inadequate, and looting, intermittent roadblocks set by armed gangs, violent crime including kidnapping, car-jacking, and assault remain commonplace. In addition, a cholera pestilence threatens Port-au-Prince as of October 2010.

Once the New World's richest tourist destinations in the Caribbean and the 'crown jewel' of the French overseas empire, Haiti is now home to apparent poverty because of its political instability and a lack of tourism infrastructure. Haiti is blessed with spectacular scenic mountains and a beautiful, untouched coastline, perfect haven for sun-worshippers and adventure lovers. The beaches in Haiti are things of beauty featuring an experience of a different kind, at least bringing you close to the nature.

Haiti boasts beaches ranging from lovely palm-fringed beaches near the capital to black sand beaches near Jacmel, one of the important cities in Haiti. The unspoiled pristine reefs and caves are ideal for scuba diving, offering a dazzling selection of underwater world.

The geography of Haiti is quite interesting and makes a good read. Located between the North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea on Hispaniola Island, the mountainous Haiti is the third largest Caribbean island, covering an overall area of 27,750 sq km and sharing the island with another nation, the Dominican Republic. The terrain is mountainous featuring small plains and river valleys.

Despite the ordeals that Haitians have endured over the years, the country has maintained a welcoming and proud spirit. We can only hope that this spirit will sustain the people of Haiti through their latest trials, and that Haiti can finally emerge from its murky past and tragic present.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Tourists who are unsettled by grinding poverty probably should visit elsewhere. However, for those with patience and an open mind, Haiti reveals a rich culture that is unique among post-colonial nations. 

Haiti is on the western part of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Greater Antilles. Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic (the latter shares a 360-kilometre (224 mi) border with Haiti).

Haiti map
Haiti at its closest point is only about 45 nautical miles (83 km; 52 mi) away from Cuba and has the second longest coastline (1,771 km/1,100 mi) in the Greater Antilles, Cuba having the longest. The country lies mostly between latitudes 18° and 20°N (Tortuga island lies just north of 20°), and longitudes 71° and 75°W. Haiti's terrain consists mainly of rugged mountains interspersed with small coastal plains and river valleys.

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Guyana - Travel Guide

Welcome to Guyana, a splendid getaway, where the Caribbean meets South America! Blessed with spectacular unspoiled beauty, natural tropical wilderness, innumerable creeks and tumbling rivers, dozens of fantastic waterfalls, high floral and faunal biodiversity, Guyana invites all venturesome travelers to discover and experience one of the most exciting spots on God's earth.

Guyana is geographically part of the Neotropics, an area that includes Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America, and which accounts for a quarter of the world's bird species. Guyana is fortunate to be home to more than 800 of these species. The country is geographically divided into three main natural regions, the Coastlands, the Rainforest and the Savannahs. Where the birdlife is concerned, these regions provide distinctly different habitats, each with its own diverse array of species.

According to many top Neotropical birdwatchers, Guyana is one of the best places in South America to see several highly sought-after species of Cotingas, including Crimson Fruitcrow, Guianan Red-Cotinga, Dusky Purpletuft, Capuchinbird, and Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock. After a one-week birdwatching trip through Guyana, during which the group saw 11 species of Cotingas, the writer Simon Papps declared Guyana as, "Cotinga Central" in the February 2007 issue of Birdwatch magazine. In Guyana there are 16 different species of Cotingas, and birdwatchers have a great chance of seeing many of them.

The Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola rupicola) is one of those uniquely plumed birds that can be easily identified by birders of all levels. It could also be considered the face of Guyana, and with the male's brilliant orange colorings, complete with an attention-grabbing Mohawk, it's no wonder it graces the covers of so many tourism brochures. Guianan Cock-of-the-Rocks are polygamous; an attribute that has given rise to a unique courtship performance that is one of their most recognizable behaviors.

With weights reaching 18 pounds, a wingspan of more than six feet, and a healthy diet of mammals including sloths and monkeys, the world's largest eagle is often referred to as the "flying wolf." Harpy Eagles (Harpia Harpyja) are becoming increasingly rare in the wild, but Guyana still provides a refuge for this endangered species. In fact, Guyana's relatively large population of Harpy Eagles caught the attention of National Geographic who filmed the documentary, Flight of the Harpy Eagle, in Guyana.

The Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is a strange primitive bird. Its plump body and reddish-brown feathers may not appear antediluvian, but the bird's blood-red eyes set in patches of bright blue skin and unruly crest of long feathers are throwbacks to another time. The Hoatzin is such a bizarre species that after being shuffled through several bird orders, including the Gruiformes, Galliformes, and the Cuculiformes, researchers eventually put it in its own order: the Opisthocomidae.

Guyana is an amazing blend of the Caribbean and South America. The name Guyana is an Amerindian word meaning "Land of Many Waters". Guyana offers a distinct tourism product, consisting of vast open spaces, savannahs, pristine rainforests, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, bountiful wildlife, numerous species of flora, a variety of fauna, spectacular birdlife and most of all the hospitality of the Guyanese people.

This beautiful country is a tropical paradise and has much to offer; adventure, tranquility, history, beauty, nature and an inimitable blend of warm and friendly people with the richness of many cultures.You can always feel the Guyanese rhythm in the country side. Most of our people live and dwell along the coast which is a strip of land lying six feet below the level of the Atlantic. Farming and fishing is the main source of income amongst many Guyanese living on the coastal belt.

Georgetown the Capital of Guyana is a garden by itself with its flora and fauna blended nicely together; more than 200 species of birds can be found in the capital alone; gardens, parks, zoo, museums and an array of historical buildings including the St Georges Cathedral purportedly the tallest wooden building in the world.

Guyana is South America's little-known curiosity that lies between Suriname, Brazil and Venezuela. It is the only English speaking country in South America and covers an area of 83,000 square miles. Guyana has three distinct Geographical zones: the coastal belt, the forested and mountainous regions and the savannas. The coastal belt accounts for 4% of the land mass in Guyana where 90% of the country's population is found.From the coast, the landscape rises to the mountain ranges and high plateaux, an area rich in minerals that spawned the age-old belief that Guyana is the site of El Dorado, 'the lost city of gold'. Further south are the savannas, the North and South Rupununi.

The country can be divided into five natural regions; a narrow and fertile marshy plain along the Atlantic coast (low coastal plain) where most of the population lives; a white sand belt more inland (hilly sand and clay region), containing most of Guyana's mineral deposits; the dense rain forests (Forested Highland Region) in the southern part of the country; the desert savannah in the southern west; and the smallest interior lowlands (interior savannah) consisting mostly of mountains that gradually rise to the Brazilian border.

Guyana map
Some of Guyana's highest mountains are Mount Ayanganna (2,042 metres / 6,699 feet), Monte Caburaí (1,465 metres / 4,806 feet) and Mount Roraima (2,810 metres / 9,219 feet – the highest mountain in Guyana) on the Brazil-Guyana-Venezuela tripoint border, part of the Pakaraima range. Mount Roraima and Guyana's table-top mountains (tepuis) are said to have been the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel The Lost World. There are also many volcanic escarpments and waterfalls, including Kaieteur Falls. North of the Rupununi River lies the Rupununi savannah, south of which lie the Kanuku Mountains.

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