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CARNIVAL JOURNEYS - PANAL CANA

Carnival Pride

Departure date: 31.10.2021
Sailing duration, days: 14
Cruise heading: PANAMA CANAL
  • Photos
Day Date Port, Country Arrival Departure
1 day 31.10.2021 Sunday 18:00
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BALTIMORE

The largest U.S. seaport in the Mid-Atlantic, Baltimore may be famous for its Maryland crabs and seafood, but it offers more to see and do than dining on crab cakes. From the breathtaking views of the skyline atop the Baltimore World Trade Center, to the rare wonders at the National Aquarium, to the delightful street performers along the waterfront, Baltimore boasts civic pride and offers both a modern, hip vibe and a good dose of history. No wonder it’s affectionately nicknamed “Charm City.” And attention shoppers: Forbes named Baltimore the 3rd Best Place to Shop in the U.S. in 2010.

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USA

General information

Capital: Washington, DC
Government: Federal Republic
Currency: US Dollar ($)
Area total: 9,826,675km²
water: 664,709km²
land: 9,161,966km²
Population: 316,451,000 (2013 estimate)
Language: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census) Religion: Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)
Electricity: 120V, 60Hz
Country code: +1
Internet TLD: .us, .edu, .gov, .mil (most sites use .com, .net, .org)
Time Zone: UTC -4 to UTC -10
Emergencies: dial 911

The United States of America is a large country in North America, often referred to as the "USA", the "US", the "United States", "America", or simply "the States". It is home to the world's third-largest population, with over 310 million people. It includes both densely populated cities with sprawling suburbs, and vast, uninhabited and naturally beautiful areas.

With its history of mass immigration dating from the 17th century, it is a "melting pot" of cultures from around the world and plays a dominant role in the world's cultural landscape. It is famous for its wide array of popular tourist destinations, ranging from the skyscrapers of Manhattan and Chicago, to the natural wonders of Yellowstone and Alaska, to the warm, sunny beaches of Florida, Hawaii and Southern California.

The United States is not the America of television and the movies. It is large, complex, and diverse, with several distinct regional identities. Due to the vast distances involved, traveling between regions can be time-consuming and expensive.

Geography

The contiguous United States (called CONUS by US military personnel) or the "Lower 48" (the 48 states other than Alaska and Hawaii) is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, with much of the population living on the two coasts. Its land borders are shared with Canada to the north, and Mexico to the south. The US also shares maritime borders with Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

The country has three major mountain ranges. The Appalachians extend from Canada to the state of Alabama, a few hundred miles west of the Atlantic Ocean. They are the oldest of the three mountain ranges and offer spectacular sightseeing and excellent camping spots. The Rockies are, on average, the highest in North America, extending from Alaska to New Mexico, with many areas protected as national parks. They offer hiking, camping, skiing, and sightseeing opportunities. The combined Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges are the youngest. The Sierras extend across the "backbone" of California, with sites such as Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park; the Sierras transition at their northern end into the even younger volcanic Cascade range, with some of the highest points in the country. The Great Lakes define much of the border between the eastern United States and Canada. More inland seas than lakes, they were formed by the pressure of glaciers retreating north at the end of the last Ice Age. The five lakes span hundreds of miles, bordering the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, and their shores vary from pristine wilderness areas to industrial "rust belt" cities. They are the second-largest bodies of freshwater in the world, after the polar ice caps.

Climate

The overall climate is temperate, with notable exceptions. Alaska is cold and dominated by Arctic tundra, while Hawaii and South Florida are tropical. The Great Plains are dry, flat and grassy, turning into arid desert in the far West and Mediterranean along the California coast.

In the winter, the northern and mid-western major cities can see as much as 2 feet (61 cm) of snowfall in one day, with cold temperatures. Summers are humid, but mild. Temperatures over 100°F (38°C) sometimes invade the Midwest and Great Plains. Some areas in the northern plains can experience cold temperatures of -30°F (-34°C) during the winter. Temperatures below 0°F (-18°C) sometimes reach as far south as Oklahoma.

The climate of the South also varies. In the summer, it is hot and humid, but from October through April the weather can range from 60°F (15°C) to short cold spells of 20°F (-7°C) or so.

The Great Plains and Midwestern states also experience tornadoes from the late spring to early fall, earlier in the south and later in the north. States along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico, may experience hurricanes between June and November. These intense and dangerous storms frequently miss the US mainland, but evacuations are often ordered and should be heeded. The Rockies are cold and snowy. Some parts of the Rockies see over 500 inches (12 m) of snow in a season. Even during the summer, temperatures are cool in the mountains, and snow can fall nearly year-round. It is dangerous to go up in the mountains unprepared in the winter and the roads through them can get very icy.

The deserts of the Southwest are hot and dry during the summer, with temperatures often exceeding 100°F (38°C). Thunderstorms can be expected in the southwest frequently from July through September. Winters are mild, and snow is unusual. Average annual precipitation is low, usually less than 10 inches (25 cm).

Cool and damp weather is common in the coastal northwest (Oregon and Washington west of the Cascade Range, and the northern part of California west of the Coast Ranges/Cascades). Rain is most frequent in winter, snow is rare, especially along the coast, and extreme temperatures are uncommon. Rain falls almost exclusively from late fall through early spring along the coast. East of the Cascades, the northwest is considerably drier. Much of the inland northwest is either semi-arid or desert, though altitude and weather patterns may result in wetter climates in some areas.

Northeastern and cities of the Upper South are known for summers with temperatures reaching into the 90's (32°C) or more, with extremely high humidity, usually over 80%. This can be a drastic change from the Southwest. High humidity means that the temperature can feel hotter than actual readings. The Northeast also experiences snow, and at least once every few years there will be a dumping of the white stuff in enormous quantities.

Culture

The United States is made up of many diverse ethnic groups and its culture varies greatly across the vast area of the country and even within cities - a city like New York will have dozens, if not hundreds, of different ethnicities represented within a neighborhood. Despite this difference, there exists a strong sense of national identity and certain predominant cultural traits. Generally, Americans tend to believe strongly in personal responsibility and that an individual determines his or her own success or failure, but it is important to note that there are many exceptions and that a nation as diverse as the United States has literally thousands of distinct cultural traditions. One will find Mississippi in the South to be very different culturally from Massachusetts in the North.

Natural scenery

From the spectacular glaciers of Alaska to the wooded, weathered peaks of Appalachia; from the otherworldly desertscapes of the Southwest to the vast waters of the Great Lakes; few other countries have as wide a variety of natural scenery as the United States does.

America's National Parks are a great place to start. Yellowstone National Park was the first true National Park in the world, and it remains one of the most famous, but there are 57 others. The Grand Canyon is possibly the world's most spectacular gorge; Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park are both home to the world's largest living organisms, the Giant Sequoia; Redwood National park has the tallest, the Coast Redwood; Glacier National Park is home to majestic glacier-carved mountains; Canyonlands National Park could easily be mistaken for Mars; and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park features abundant wildlife among beautifully forested mountains. And the national parks aren't just for sightseeing, either; each has plenty of outdoors activities as well.

Still, the National Parks are just the beginning. The National Park Service also operates National Monuments, National Memorials, National Historic Sites, National Seashores, National Heritage Areas... the list goes on (and on). And each state has its own state parks that can be just as good as the federal versions. Most all of these destinations, federal or state, have an admission fee, but it all goes toward maintenance and operations of the parks, and the rewards are well worth it.

Those aren't your only options, though. Many of America's natural treasures can be seen without passing through admission gates. The world-famous Niagara Falls straddle the border between Canada and the U.S.; the American side lets you get right up next to the onrush and feel the power that has shaped the Niagara gorge. The "purple majesty" of the Rocky Mountains can be seen for hundreds of miles in any direction, while the placid coastal areas of the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic have relaxed Americans for generations. And, although they are very different from each other, Hawaii and Alaska are perhaps the two most scenic states; they don't just have attractions—they are attractions.

Historical attractions

Americans often have a misconception of their country as having little history. The US does indeed have a tremendous wealth of historical attractions—more than enough to fill months of history-centric touring.

The prehistory of the continent can indeed be a little hard to uncover, as most of the Native American tribes did not build permanent settlements. But particularly in the West, you will find magnificent cliff dwellings at sites such as Mesa Verde, as well as near-ubiquitous rock paintings. The Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. is another great place to start learning about America's culture before the arrival of European colonists.

As the first part of the country to be colonized by Europeans, the eastern states of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South have more than their fair share of sites from early American history. The first successful British colony on the continent was at Jamestown, Virginia, although the settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts, may loom larger in the nation's mind.

In the eighteenth century, major centers of commerce developed in Philadelphia and Boston, and as the colonies grew in size, wealth, and self-confidence, relations with Great Britain became strained, culminating in the Boston Tea Party and the ensuing Revolutionary War...

Monuments and architecture

Americans have never shied away from heroic feats of engineering, and many of them are among the country's biggest tourist attractions.

Washington, D.C., as the nation's capital, has more monuments and statuary than you could see in a day, but do be sure to visit the Washington Monument (the world's tallest obelisk), the stately Lincoln Memorial, and the incredibly moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The city's architecture is also an attraction—the Capitol Building and the White House are two of the most iconic buildings in the country and often serve to represent the whole nation to the world.

Actually, a number of American cities have world-renowned skylines, perhaps none moreso than the concrete canyons of Manhattan, part of New York City. The site of the destroyed World Trade Center towers remains a gaping wound in Manhattan's vista, however America's tallest building, the new 1 World Trade Center, now stands adjacent to the site of the former towers. Also, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building stand tall, as they have for almost a century. Chicago, where the skyscraper was invented, is home to the country's single tallest building, the (former) Sears Tower, and an awful lot of other really tall buildings. Other skylines worth seeing include San Francisco (with the Golden Gate Bridge), Seattle (including the Space Needle), Miami, and Pittsburgh.

Some human constructions transcend skyline, though, and become iconic symbols in their own right. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Statue of Liberty in Manhattan, the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, and even the fountains of the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas all draw visitors to their respective cities. Even the incredible Mount Rushmore, located far from any major city, still attracts two million visitors each year.

Museums and galleries

In the US, there's a museum for practically everything. From toys to priceless artifacts, from entertainment legends to dinosaur bones—nearly every city in the country has a museum worth visiting.

The highest concentrations of these museums are found in the largest cities, of course, but none compare to Washington, D.C., home to the Smithsonian Institution. With almost twenty independent museums, most of them located on the National Mall, the Smithsonian is the foremost curator of American history and achievement. The most popular of the Smithsonian museums are the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of Natural History, but any of the Smithsonian museums would be a great way to spend an afternoon—and they're all 100% free.

New York City also has an outstanding array of world-class museums, including the Guggenheim Museum, the American Museum of Natural History,the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

You could spend weeks exploring the cultural institutions just in D.C. and the Big Apple, but here's a small fraction of the other great museums you'd be missing:

  • Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh
  • Children's Museum of Indianapolis — Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Exploratorium — San Francisco
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame — Los Angeles
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium — Monterey, California
  • Museum of Science & Industry — Chicago
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — Springfield, Massachusetts
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore — Baltimore, Maryland
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum — Cooperstown, New York
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame — Canton, Ohio
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum — Cleveland, Ohio
  • San Diego Zoo — San Diego, California
  • Strong National Museum of Play — Rochester, New York

Itineraries

Here is a handful of itineraries spanning regions across the United States:

  • Appalachian Trail — a foot trail along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine
  • Braddock Expedition — traces the French-Indian War route of British General Edward Braddock (and a younger George Washington) from Alexandria, Virginia through Cumberland, Maryland to the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh.
  • The Jazz Track — a nation-wide tour of the most important clubs in jazz history and in jazz performance today
  • Lewis and Clark Trail — retrace the northwest route of the great American explorers along the Missouri River
  • Route 66 — tour the iconic historic highway running from Chicago to Los Angeles
  • Santa Fe Trail — a historic southwest settler route from Missouri to Santa Fe
  • Touring Shaker country — takes you to one current and eight former Shaker religious communities in the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Midwest regions of the United States.
  • U.S. Highway 1 — traveling along the east coast from Maine to Florida.

Contacts

Emergency Services

United rescue — 911
2 day 01.11.2021 Monday
FUN DAY AT SEA
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3 day 02.11.2021 Tuesday
FUN DAY AT SEA
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4 day 03.11.2021 Wednesday 9:00 18:00
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GRAND TURK

Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos, may be small, but it’s packed with scenic punch and historic charm. Carnival® cruises to Grand Turk deliver you to an enchanted island outpost dotted with old windmills, grassy trails, and picture-perfect beaches. Discover an oasis of green set in aquamarine seas ringed by a pristine coral reef and the steep wall of the continental shelf with cruises to Grand Turk.

  • Swim in the sparkling turquoise seas off Governor’s Beach.
  • Snorkel or dive the coral reefs fringing Grand Turk.
  • Tour historic Cockburn Town and the old salinas (salt pans).
  • Feel the velvety touch of a stingray’s wings in Gibbs Cay.
  • Shop for duty-free jewelry and local crafts in the colorful Grand Turk Cruise Center.

General administration of the port Grand Turk:
Butterfield Square, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
tel.: (+649) 941-31-48; fax: (+649) 941-42-13

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TURKS AND CAICOS ISLAND

General information

Capital: Cockburn Town, Grand Turk
Government: overseas territory of United Kingdom
Currency: US dollar (USD)
Area: 430 sq km
Population: 25,738 (July 2002 est.)
Language: English (official)
Religion: Baptist 40%, Methodist 16%, Anglican 18%, Church of God 12%, other 14%
Electricity: 110V/60Hz (North American plug)
Country code: +649
Internet TLD: .tc
Time Zone: UTC -5

The Turks and Caicos Islands are only 37 miles long, and all together consist of 40 islands and cays. There are two main islands, Grand Turk (Turks Islands) and Providenciales (Caicos Islands). These islands are 575 miles south-east from Florida. Turks and Caicos is technically located in the Atlantic Ocean and not the Caribbean Sea. There are approximately 31,000 residents (2012 census) and they welcome about 450,000 Air travel and 650,00 Cruise ship tourists per year.

The currency used in the island is the US dollar and the spoken language is English. Daylight savings time is observed and they are in the Eastern Time Zone.

Climate

The Turks and Caicos Islands are arid compared with many other islands in the Caribbean.

During the summer months (June to November) the temperatures range from the high 80's and low 90's to the high 70's. Also in the summer, there is barely any humidity and the temperatures barely go above the mid-90's due to the continually circulating winds. The water is also averages at about 84°F.

In the winter (December to May) the weather is generally in the high 70's - mid 80's range. The water temperature during these months is around 75°F to 80°F.

The island gets less than 50 inches of rainfall a year. Most rainfall occurs during the hurricane months of summer. Sunshine and breezy cooling winds are the norm in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Get around

Taxis are widely available at all airports and seaports as well as throughout the island. Many of the taxis drivers can also act as a personal tour guide and show you undiscovered island attractions.

Rental cars, motor scooters and jeeps are available in Providenciales and Grand Turk. There is a government tax for all hired cars ($15) and motor scooters ($5). Major rental companies include, Avis, Budget, Hertz, Rent a Buggy, National, and Tropical Auto Rental. When in Salt Cay, you can rent a golf cart! North and Middle Caicos have their own rental companies you can use, as well as, Grand Turk. If interested Bicycles are almost always available at all locations. Remember, in Turks and Caicos, you are to drive on the LEFT side of the road.

Stay safe

Turks and Caicos have one of the lowest crime rates and highest crime-solved rates in the Caribbean. Any problems that occur should be reported to the Royal Turks and Caicos Police immediately. While the islands are extremely safe, make sure to exercise common sense. Don't leave valuables in plain view, and always lock your car when leaving it, and lock your dwelling (hotel) when you are not in it. By taking simple precautions it will prevent the loss of cash, jewelry and identification. Thieves target mopeds and motorcycles, so be sure that you lock yours up properly. Also, be aware that Islanders can be very aggressive drivers, so it is best to use caution when crossing or driving on the roads.

Stay healthy

Recently, a modern hospital system was built on the islands that is managed by InterHealth Canada. The facilities are located on Providenciales (Cheshire Hall Medical Centre) and Grand Turk (Cockburn Town Medical Centre). These health centers include emergency centers, dental care, dialysis, internal medicine, surgical, othopaedic, obstetric and endoscopic procedures, physiotherapy and diagnostic imaging. Currently the islands are working on getting in-home hospice care. There are also many community cares throughout the islands.

The Turks and Caicos have a few fresh water reserves at ground level. Therefore, most water comes from either wells or cisterns that have collected rainwater. Cistern water is almost always safe to drink, but unless well water is purified, it could be contaminated or have unpleasant taste. It is generally a good idea to use bottled water when possible, but tap water can be used if necessary. The beaches are very soft and warm and welcoming.

Respect

Islanders are very kind people and believe in practicing good manners and exercising respect. Greeting people with a friendly saying such as"Hello" and "Good Afternoon."

Shorts are to be worn in town and on the beach during the day. because it is so sunny, it is advised to wear sunglasses and sunhats. In the evening, specifically winter, you are advised to wear a light sweater or jacket. When eating, it is not formal but you are expected to dress nicely (men- polos and dress shorts, women- dresses or dress slacks).

Also, public nudity is illegal all throughout the island.

In recent years, there has been talk about a union with Canada. Many islanders are bitterly divided on the subject, and awkward situations can arise when the subject is brought up. It is best to avoid this subject unless you're with friends and family whom you know.

Contacts

The Russian Embassy in London:
13, Kensington Place Gardens, London W8 4QS
Tel.: (44-207) 229-2666, 229-7281, Fax: (44-207) 229-5804
Consular Section:
5, Kensington Place Gardens, London W8 4QS
Tel.: (44-207) 229-8027, Fax: (44-207) 229-3215

Emergency services

The headquarters of the police - 946-4259
Rescue service - 911
5 day 04.11.2021 Thursday 7:00 15:00
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AMBER COVE

In this world full of information on just about everything, Amber Cove is a throwback — it’s the kind of quiet little spot you won’t find on most maps. But you will find it — brimming with bars and pools, plus opportunities for lounging and shopping — to be the gateway to island paradise, Dominican-style. Beyond Amber Cove is Puerto Plata, a town that began life as the first European settlement in the Americas. Its founder? Oh, just a guy named Christopher Columbus… so you know that arriving by sea is the ultimate way to get here.

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DOMINICAN REBUBLIC

General information

Capital: Santo Domingo
Government: Representative democracy
Currency: Dominican peso (DOP)
Area total: 48,730 km2
land: 48,380 km2
water: 350 km2
Population: 9,904,000 (2008 est.)
Language: Spanish
Religion: Roman Catholic 95%
Electricity: 110/60Hz (USA plug)
Country code: +1-809 +1-829 +1-849
Internet TLD: .do
Time Zone: UTC/GMT -4 hours
Emergencies: dial 911 or 112

The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean country that occupies the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The western one-third of Hispaniola is occupied by the country of Haiti. To the north lies the North Atlantic Ocean, while the Caribbean Sea lies to the south.

As part of the Caribbean the Dominican Republic has the North Atlantic Ocean lying to its north and the Caribbean Sea to its south. It's situated on the island of Hispaniola and occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island while Haiti occupies the western third.

After attaining independence in 1844 the Dominican Republic endured many years of largely non-representative rule until Joaquin Balaguer became president in 1966 holding office until 1996. Today regular elections are held and the Dominican Republic now has an impressive and fast growing economy with tourism playing a major role.

For the adventure tourist this Caribbean country offers a diverse countryside comprising tropical rainforests, arid desert expanses, alpine ranges and steamy mangrove swamps. It's a playground for trekkers, mountain bike enthusiasts and water-sport junkies.

The northern and eastern coasts are dotted with many luxurious resorts however the Dominican Republic has much more to offer than this. There is the wonderful Caribbean music and dance, exotic foods and drink, popular local baseball games, and the remarkable colonial architecture found in the capital Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial. There are also sugar plantations, small quaint villages and wonderful mountain retreats to explore and enjoy in Jarabacoa and Constanza. If you're looking for a hassle free holiday that's big on relaxation then the Dominican Republic is the place to be!

History

Explored and claimed by Columbus on his first voyage on December 5th, 1492, the island of Quisqueya, named by Columbus as La Hispaniola, became a springboard for Spanish conquest of the Caribbean and the American mainland. The island was first inhabited by the Taínos and Caribes. The first ones were very friendly and the second were cannibals, an Arawakan-speaking people who had arrived around 10,000 BC. Within a few short years following the arrival of European explorers, the population of Tainos had significantly been reduced by the Spanish conquerors. Based on Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (Tratado de las Indias) between 1492 and 1498 the Spanish conquerors killed around 100,000 Taínos.

The first European settlement founded on the America continent was on La Isabela, Puerto Plata (19º53'15.08" N 71º04'48.41" W) founded in 1493 using a XV century style. The City of Santo Domingo was founded by Bartolomé Colón, on 5 Aug, 1496 and later that was moved by Frey Nicolás de Ovando to the west side of Ozama river in 1502.

In 1606, the King of Spain ordered the depopulation of the west part of the island due to high rates of piracy and smuggling. That measure was the cause of French invasion and, after that, the rise of the Republic of Haiti.

In 1697, Spain recognized French dominion over the western third of the island, which in 1804 became Haiti. The remainder of the island, by then known as Santo Domingo, sought to gain its own independence in 1821, but was conquered and ruled by the Haitians for 22 years; it finally attained independence as the Dominican Republic in 1844.

A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative, rule for much of its subsequent history was brought to an end in 1966 when Joaquin Balaguer became president. He maintained a tight grip on power for most of the next 30 years when international reaction to flawed elections forced him to curtail his term in 1996. Since then, regular competitive elections have been held in which opposition candidates have won the presidency. The Dominican economy has had one of the fastest growth rates in the hemisphere.

Climate

Tropical maritime with little seasonal temperature variation. There is a seasonal variation in rainfall. The island lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and is subject to severe storms from June to October. It experiences occasional flooding and periodic droughts.

Landscape

Rugged highlands and mountains with fertile valleys interspersed.

Stay safe

The Dominican Republic is generally a safe country. Although the major cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago have experienced the growth of a thriving middle class, construction booms and reached a high level of cosmopolitanism, the Dominican Republic remains a third world country and poverty is still rampant so you need to take common sense precautions:

Try to avoid being alone in cities as muggings are fairly common.

Very few streets are lit after dark, even in the capital of Santo Domingo. Those that are lit are subject to routine power outages.

Wild dogs are common throughout the country but largely ignore people (feeding these dogs is not recommended as this may induce aggressive behavior).

Western travelers should dress casually and remove rings and other jewelry when away from tourist destinations, but common tourist destinations, particularly the more expensive and the luxury hotels and areas, are very safe.

Sex tourism is prevalent in the Puerto Plata province of the country, so you may be hassled by young men or women trying to offer you 'services'. A firm 'No' is good enough. The age of consent is 18, and tourists who have sex with minors may also be prosecuted by their home country.

There are no laws dictating the maximum amount of alcohol that can be drunk prior to driving. However, there is a 0.05% limit for professional drivers. Be wary of vehicles, especially during the late evening, as there is a much higher possibility at that time that the driver is intoxicated. It is illegal for tourists and visitors to drink and drive and you may be penalized for doing so.

The level of professionalism of the National Police is somewhat debatable. To protect income from tourism, the government has established the Politur or "tourist police" for the safety of foreign tourists. Travelers should contact this agency if any problems are encountered as they will have a much more positive response than with the national police.

Avoid the following neighborhoods in Santo Domingo: Capotillo, 24 de Abril, Gualey, Guachupita, Ensanche Luperon, Domingo Savio, Maria Auxiliadora, Villa Consuelo, Los Alcarrizos (and all of their subneighborhoods), La Puya, El Manguito, La Yuca, Santa Barbara, Los Tres Brazos. If you have to go there for some reason, be polite, mind your own business and try to be polite as posible If someone is talking to you. If you do that, there will be no problem. In Santo Domingo, I recommend to stay in Zona Metropolitana (Piantini, Naco, Evaristo Morales, etc.) and Zona Colonial (exluding Santa Barbara) you will have a lot of fun

Remember that both 911 and 112 are both used as Emergency Telephone Numbers in the Dominican Republic except 911 is only available within the Santo Domingo Area and it's reliability is unknown

Stay healthy

Malaria can be a rare issue around rainforests if travelers don't take protective measures such as repellents against mosquito bites. No cases have been reportedover the past 8 years within the tourist areas. Be sure to consult with a physician before departure.

There is a risk of dengue fever which is contracted through mosquitoes that bite during the day and during some seasons of the year. No vaccine is available, so again using mosquito repellent is advisable.

Many of the local foods are safe to eat including the meats, fruits, and vegetables.

Visitors, however, should not drink any of the local water and should stay with bottled water or other beverages. It is important for visitors to stay hydrated in the hot, humid climate. Sunburn and sun poisoning are a great risk. The sun is very bright here. Use at least SPF30 sunblock. Limit sun exposure.

The country's adult HIV/AIDS prevalence is reaching 2.0% or 1 in 50 adults, which is almost 3 times higher than the USA.

Respect

Dominicans are kind and peaceful people. Attempts at speaking Spanish are a good sign of respect for the local people. Be polite, show respect, and do your best to speak the language, and you will be treated with kindness.

Avoid talking about Haiti. Although relations have improved, many Dominicans, particularly of the older generations, harbor resentment towards Haitians. Santo Domingo was invaded and occupied by Haiti for a good part of the 19th century, and the Dominican Republic actually fought its first war of independence against Haiti, not Spain, after which the Dominican Republic faced several other invasions from its neighbor.

In the 20th century, Trujillo's dictatorship massacred tens of thousands of Haitians in the 1930's, which fueled into the resentment between both nations. Nowadays, about a million Haitians live in the Dominican Republic, most of them illegally. Some Dominicans' opinions towards illegal immigrants from Haiti are similar to some Americans' attitudes towards Mexican illegal immigrants, with the major difference that, unlike the US, the Dominican Republic is a small and poor country by world standards. Gang wars can erupt along the border, so stay cautious and be sensitive.

Still, the issues remain very complex and Dominicans often find their position to be misunderstood by foreigners. For example, Dominican Republic was the first country to come to Haiti's aid in the 2010 Haitian earthquake and has made impressive efforts to help its neighbor during this crisis. This shows that despite their historical, linguistic, religious, cultural and racial differences, Haitians and Dominicans still consider each other to be brotherly, yet proudly independent, nations.

When staying at the luxury resorts or really any place in the Dominican Republic, it is advisable to tip for most services. The Dominican Republic is still a fairly poor country and tipping the people who serve you helps them be treated well.

Emergency services

Rescue - 911
6 day 05.11.2021 Friday
FUN DAY AT SEA
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7 day 06.11.2021 Saturday 9:00 17:00
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SANTA MARTA

The oldest city in Colombia, romantic Santa Marta is fringed by beautiful beaches and the stunning mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range. Ancient ruins take cover in the lush mangrove forests of Tayrona National Park, the perfect spot for a day hike. Snorkel along vibrant reefs, then make your way to a café for a multicultural meal that incorporates the flavors of Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. When the sun goes down, the nightlife kicks up its heels in the bars and discos of the Parque de Los Novios.

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COLOMBIA

General information

Capital: Bogotá
Government: Republic
Currency: Colombian Peso (COP)
Area total: 1,138,910 km2
water: 100,210 km2
land: 1,038,700 km2
Population: 45,393,050 (March 2010 est.)
Language: Spanish (official), indigenous languages in tribal regions
Religion: Roman Catholic 90%
Country code: +57
Internet TLD: .co
Time Zone: UTC -5

Colombia - Twice the size of France, and with a diversity of landscapes and cultures that would be hard to find even in countries five times its size, Colombia should by all rights be one of the world's top travel destinations.

Pick a climate, and it's yours—if you find the light jacket weather of Bogotá cold, drive an hour down through the mountains and sunbathe next to the pool of your rented hacienda. If you don't want to sit still, head off into the Amazon or any of the country's other many inland jungles, snow-capped volcanoes, rocky deserts, endless plains, lush valleys, coffee plantations, alpine lakes, deserted beaches.

For culture, intellectual Bogotá might lead the rest of Latin America in experimental theater, indie-rock, and just sheer volume of bookstores, but you could also get a completely alien education in an Amazonian malocca, or you could delve into the huge Latin music scene of salsa and cumbia, with the most exciting dance display being the enormous Carnival of Barranquilla.

For history, wander the narrow streets of South America's original capital in Bogotá, check out old Spanish colonial provincial retreats like Villa de Leyva, trek through the thick jungle-covered mountains of the northeast to the Lost City of the Tayrona Indians. Walk the walls of Cartagena's achingly beautiful old city, looking over the fortified ramparts upon which the colonial history of South America pivoted.

For nightlife, hot Cali is today's world capital of salsa, claiming that competitive distinction even over Colombia's other vibrant big city party scenes, which keep the music going long into the small hours of the morning.

For dining, you'll find everything from the ubiquitous cheap, delicious Colombian home-style meals to world-class upscale and modern culinary arts in the big cities, with cuisines from all corners of the world represented.

And for relaxing, there are gorgeous tropical beaches along Colombia's Caribbean and Pacific coasts, but you can find even more laidback and peaceful retreats on the idyllic and unspoilt Caribbean island of Providencia.

The political violence has subsided substantially throughout the majority of the country and savvy travelers have already flocked here from around the world—come before everyone else catches on!

Colombia is the only country in South America with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea as well as the country with the world's second most biodiversity. Lying to the south of Panama, Colombia controls the land access between Central and South America. With Panama to the north, Colombia is surrounded by Venezuela to the east, Brazil to the southeast, and Ecuador and Peru to the south west. The country was named in honor of Christopher Columbus, following the Italian version of his name (Cristoforo Colombo). Although Columbus never actually set foot on the current Colombian territory, in his fourth voyage he visited Panama, which was part of Colombia until 1903.

Traveling in Colombia is definitely worthwhile. From Bogota, with a temperate climate 2,600 m (8,530 ft) above sea level and at a constant temperature of 19 degrees Celsius, a drive of one or two hours North, South, East or West can take you to landscapes which are as diverse as they are beautiful. To historic city centres and towns, modern and energetic party cities, oriental plains which stretch out far beyond the horizon with little modulation. rugged contours of the higher Andean region, the Guajira peninsula and its desert, idylic beaches, the tropical jungle of the Amazon and the Choco with abundant flora and fauna, snowy peaks and volcanoes, ancient ruins, the Magdalena River valley and its hot weather, beautiful coral reefs and an abundant underwater marine life together with pleasant relaxed tropical islands, and the ability to rest and relax in a privately rented hacienda that lets you have and enjoy these treasures to yourself. Such a diversity comes in with an equal diverse amount of traditions and foods. Colombia is one of the equatorial countries of the world, but unique in its extreme topography and abundance of water and has something for everyone.

Climate

Take your pick, really. Colombia is an equatorial country with amazing variance in altitude, so it's going to be pretty whatever temperature you like best all year long somewhere! The climate is tropical along the coast, eastern plains, and Amazon; cold in the highlands with periodic droughts. Lacking the usual seasons, Colombians normally refer to rainy seasons as winter—but the differences in terrain and altitude mean the rainy seasons are different in every corner of the country!

The one downside to all this climactic diversity, though, is that you'll have to bring a fair amount of different clothes if you plan to travel extensively. Cities in the center like Bogota and those to the north in Boyaca can potentially reach temperatures below 0° Celsius, so bring a coat. Some mountains are also covered in snow year-long. Cities along the Caribbean coast like Cartagena, Barranquilla, and Santa Marta are hot and humid, while some cities at mid-altitude in the Andes like Medellin (the City of Eternal Spring), Manizales, and other cities in the Coffee Triangle region have beautiful temperate weather always.

Terrain

Flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains

Natural hazards: highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes. Recent volcanic disaster occurred in Armero, 1985. 25,000 people were buried by lahars that the Nevado del Ruiz produced.

Highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m (18,950 ft) of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The mountain is part of the world's highest coastal range. Nearby Pico Simon Bolivar has the same elevation

History

Colombia was originally inhabited by numerous, major indigenous cultures like the Muisca and the Tayrona. The area that now is Colombia was colonised by the Spanish when America was 'discovered' by Europeans. The process of colonisation radically altered the social structures of the areas and through war and disease brought by the Spanish, the indigenous populations shrank dramatically in size and their numbers dwindle since then. The Spanish brought European settlers and African slaves, while most of the population in the colony was of mixed Spanish and Indigenous ancestry. The country became independent from Spain in 1810. It was one of the five countries liberated by Simon Bolivar (the others being Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia). Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama then formed the first Republic of Colombia. Ecuador and Venezuela declared their independence from Colombia in 1830. Panama declared its independence from Colombia in 1903. The history of the country in the years to come following independence was marked by several civil wars. The legacy of these conflicts, together with troublesome social issues, early state repression against rural communities and peasants and world polarisation caused by the Cold War culminated in a communist insurgent campaign by the FARC and the ELN to overthrow the Colombian Government. Although the movement lacks the military strength or popular support necessary to overthrow the government. The years during the conflict were marked by heavy fighting between the communist guerrillas, the Colombian state and military, right-wing paramilitaries and several drug cartels gave the country a terrible reputation. In the years following 2002 the safety has been improving throughout the country. In 2012 the government and the FARC started peace talks aiming at ending the 50 year old Civil War to an end once and for all. Colombia is currently in a process of recovery, and this country is creating an economy thriving and attractive to many national and international investors. Ending the conflict, high income inequalities and rebuilding itself from the legacy of war are some of the issues that confront the country.

Stay safe

Colombia has suffered from a terrible reputation as a dangerous and violent country but the situation has improved dramatically since the '80s and '90s. Colombia is on the path to recovery, and Colombians are very proud of the progress they have made.

The security situation differs greatly throughout the country currently. Most jungle regions are not safe to visit, but the area around Leticia is very safe, and the areas around Santa Marta are OK. No one should visit the Darien Gap at the border with Panama (in the north of Choco), as well as Putumayo and Caqueta, which are very dangerous, active conflict zones. Other departments with significant rural violence include the departments of Choco, Cauca, and Valle del Cauca; eastern Meta, Vichada, and Arauca in the east; and all Amazonian departments except for Amazonas. That's not to say that these departments are totally off-limits—just be sure you are either traveling with locals who know the area, or sticking to cities and tourist destinations.

Landmines

As of 2010 Colombia has the second highest amount of land mines in the world, only Afghanistan has more. So don't walk around blithely through the countryside without consulting locals. Land mines are found in 31 out of Colombia's 32 departments, and new ones are planted every day by guerrillas, paramilitaries, and drug traffickers.

Paramilitaries

There was an agreement in 2005 with the government which resulted in the disarmament of some of the paramilitaries. Paramilitaries however are still active in drug business, extortion rackets, and as a political force. They do not target tourists specifically, but running up against an illegal rural roadblock in more dangerous departments is possible.

Kidnappings

At the end of the 90s and in the early 2000s, kidnapping became one of the most cost-effective ways of financing for the guerrillas of the FARC and the ELN and other armed groups but, thanks to improvements in security and the progressive weakening of the guerrillas, criminal organizations, and other armed groups, the number of kidnappings in Colombia has been constantly declining. 3,000 Kidnappings took place in 2000 while 229 cases occurred in 2011. The number of kidnappings continues to decline. Kidnappings are still a problem in some southern departments like Valle del Cauca, Cauca, and Caqueta. Colombia happily no longer has the highest rate of kidnappings in the world.

Guerrillas

The guerrilla movements which includes FARC and ELN guerrillas are still operational, though they are greatly weakened compared to the 1990s as the Colombian army has killed most of their leaders. These guerrillas operate mainly in rural parts of southern, southeastern and nortwestern Colombia, although they have a presence in 30 out of the country's 32 departments. Big cities hardly ever see guerrilla activity these days. River police, highway police, newspapers, and fellow travelers can be a useful source of information off-the-beaten-path.

Crime

The crime rate in Colombia has been significantly reduced since its peak in the late '80s and '90s. However, major urban centers and the countryside Colombia still have very high violent crime rates, comparable to blighted cities in the United States, and crime has has been on the increase in recent years. In the downtown areas of most cities (which rarely coincides with the wealthy parts of town) violent crime is not rare; poor sections of cities can be quite dangerous for someone unfamiliar with their surroundings. Taxi crime is a very serious danger in major cities, so always request taxis by phone, rather than hailing them off the street—it costs the same and your call will be answered rapidly. Official taxi ranks are safe as well (airports, bus terminals, shopping malls).

Drugs

Local consumption is low, and penalties are draconian, owing to the nation's well-known largely successful fight against some of history's most powerful and dangerous traffickers. Cocaine manufactured in Colombia was historically mostly consumed in the US and the EU, and the United States of America is still the world's largest consumer of illegal drugs. Remember that the drug trade in Colombia has ruined many innocent citizens' lives and dragged the country's reputation through the mud.

The Colombian government has a strong commitment to fight drug production and trade. A previous president, Alvaro Uribe, with significant aid from the US government, led a policy of massively destroying drug plantations using chemical defoliants, achieving a great decrease in cocaine production. Thanks to this, White House drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske announced that Colombia is no longer the world's biggest producer of cocaine.

Marijuana is illegal. Police will tolerate you having a few grams of this particular drug on your person, but you are flirting with danger if you carry much more. Especially in small towns, it is not always the police you have to deal with, but vigilantes. They often keep the peace in towns, and they have a very severe way of dealing with problems. Given Colombia's increasing aggression toward combating the drug trade, drug offenses are not treated lightly. If you are caught by the authorities possessing a controlled substance, expect serious problems.

Scopolamine is an extremely dangerous drug from an Andean flowering tree, which is almost exclusively used for crime. Essentially a mind control drug (once experimented with as an interrogation device by the CIA), victims become extremely open to suggestion and are "talked into" ATM withdrawals, turning over belongings, letting criminals into their apartments, etc., all while maintaining an outward appearance of more or less sobriety. After affects include near total amnesia of what happened, as well as potential for serious medical problems. The most talked about method of getting drugged with scopolamine is that of powder blown off paper, e.g., someone walks up to you (with cotton balls in their nose to prevent blowback) and asks for help with a map, before blowing the drugs into your face. But by far the most common method is by drugging drinks at a bar. To be especially safe, abandon drinks if they've been left unattended. While a pretty rare problem, it's an awful scary one, and happens most often of all in strip clubs.

Stay healthy

Drink only bottled water outside the major cities. The water in major cities is safe. Most drinking water in people's homes is of the purified variety that comes in huge multi-gallon plastic bags (which you can find at any little grocery store). The coffee's delicious, though, so why not just start that habit!

Tropical diseases are a concern in lowland parts of the country, and more so outside of major cities. Mosquitos carry malaria, Yellow fever, and Dengue, and infection rates are similar to other lowland parts of South America (i.e., much lower than in sub-Saharan Africa). Yellow fever has a vaccine, so get it—it's required for entry to many national parks, anyway. Dengue is not preventable beyond avoiding mosquito bites, so using bug spray regularly in lowland rural areas is good sense.

Malaria is the one that can kill you within 24 hours of infection, so trips outside Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, and the Andean region warrant use of antimalarials, which can be bought very cheaply without a prescription from a drogueria, which are everywhere in any city of any size throughout the country. Ask for Doxycicline tablets at a dosage of 100 mg, with the number being 30 days plus the number of days in a malarial area (so you can start 1-2 days in advance, and take it daily continuing for 4 weeks past the end of your trip). The phrase you want is: doxyciclina, cien miligramas, [number] pastillas. Using some bug spray in the evening serves as a bit of extra protection.

Respect

Colombians are acutely aware of their country's bad reputation, and tactless remarks about the history of violence might earn you a snide remark (likely regarding your country of origin) and an abrupt end to the conversation. However, Colombians eventually become willing to discuss these topics once they feel comfortable enough with someone.

Colombians are more formal than much of Latin America. Make a point to say "please" ("Por favor" or "Hagame el favor") and "thank you" ("muchas gracias") for anything, to anyone. When addressed, the proper response is "?Senora?" or "?Senor?" In parts of the country (especially Boyaca) Colombians can be formal to the point of anachronism, calling strangers "Su merced" (your Mercy!) in place of usted. The one (much) more informal part of the country is along the Caribbean coast, where referring to people just as "chico" can be more the norm—but take your cues from those around you.

Race is not a hot issue in Colombia, since whites, criollos, and mestizos (mixed race) blend naturally with natives and Afro-Colombians in everyday life (education, living, politics, marriage). Differences between white foreigners are not dwelled upon: expect to be called "gringo" even if you are, say, Russian. Unless context includes anger, it's not meant to be offensive. If you are black, you will probably be referred to as "negro" or "moreno," which also are not considered at all offensive. Asians are usually called "chino" (Chinese), regardless of actual background. Confusingly, Colombians also occasionally refer to children as chinos ("kids"); this use comes from Chibcha, an indigenous language. Even more confusingly, Colombians refer to blondes and redheads as "monos" (monkeys). It sounds offensive, but actually ranges from neutral to affectionate.

Colombians have the mannerism of pointing to objects with their chins; pointing to a person or even an object with your finger can be considered rude. Avoid indicating a person's height using your hand palm down, as this is considered reserved for animals or inanimate objects. If you must, use your palm facing sidewards with the bottom of the hand expressing the height.

Colombians dance a lot. Anyone will be glad to teach you how to dance, and they will not expect you to do it correctly, since they have been practicing every weekend for most of their lives. Colombian night life centers mostly on dancing, and bars where people sit or stand are less common outside major cities.

Despite the sensual movements, dancing is normally not intended as flirtation. Here you could find salsa being danced at a children's "pinata" party, or even at parties for older people. North Americans and Europeans could find this odd or confusing because of the use of salsa and Latin rhythms in their countries. A Colombian dancing innocently could be misinterpreted, and in general, Colombian women or men are not "easy" just because of the way they dance. It is applied in the same way as in Brazil—an almost-naked "garota" dancing samba in the carnival is not inviting you to have sex with her but inviting you to enjoy, to be happy, to join in the celebration, to join the exuberant shedding of inhibitions.

Regarding religion, most Colombians are Catholic, and it?s important to them to keep certain ceremonies and respect for all things related to religion. You could visit great architectural churches, even going inside, but taking pictures may be considered disrespectful during a mass celebration. Young people are more open to learning about other religions and debate on this subject, and you may even find a lot of them who may consider themselves as lapsed, non-practicing Catholics or even non-religious.

Emergency services

United Rescue service - 119 or 112
Police - 156
Fire service - 119
Ambulance - 132
GAULA (Organization against kidnapping) - 165
8 day 07.11.2021 Sunday 8:00 17:00
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CARTAGENA

Charming Cartagena is one of the most fascinating towns in South America. The old city, almost completely surrounded by lagoons, bays and the Caribbean Sea, is still girded by its 17th-century fortifications. Once these guarded the gold and treasures of the New World, bound for Spain; now they shelter ornate churches and convents, the dramatic Palace of the Inquisition, and other historic gems.

General administration of the port Cartagena:
Manga Terminal Maritimo, Cartagena A.A 7954, Colombia
tel.: (+57-5) 660-80-71; fax: (+57-5) 650-22-39

X
COLOMBIA

General information

Capital: Bogotá
Government: Republic
Currency: Colombian Peso (COP)
Area total: 1,138,910 km2
water: 100,210 km2
land: 1,038,700 km2
Population: 45,393,050 (March 2010 est.)
Language: Spanish (official), indigenous languages in tribal regions
Religion: Roman Catholic 90%
Country code: +57
Internet TLD: .co
Time Zone: UTC -5

Colombia - Twice the size of France, and with a diversity of landscapes and cultures that would be hard to find even in countries five times its size, Colombia should by all rights be one of the world's top travel destinations.

Pick a climate, and it's yours—if you find the light jacket weather of Bogotá cold, drive an hour down through the mountains and sunbathe next to the pool of your rented hacienda. If you don't want to sit still, head off into the Amazon or any of the country's other many inland jungles, snow-capped volcanoes, rocky deserts, endless plains, lush valleys, coffee plantations, alpine lakes, deserted beaches.

For culture, intellectual Bogotá might lead the rest of Latin America in experimental theater, indie-rock, and just sheer volume of bookstores, but you could also get a completely alien education in an Amazonian malocca, or you could delve into the huge Latin music scene of salsa and cumbia, with the most exciting dance display being the enormous Carnival of Barranquilla.

For history, wander the narrow streets of South America's original capital in Bogotá, check out old Spanish colonial provincial retreats like Villa de Leyva, trek through the thick jungle-covered mountains of the northeast to the Lost City of the Tayrona Indians. Walk the walls of Cartagena's achingly beautiful old city, looking over the fortified ramparts upon which the colonial history of South America pivoted.

For nightlife, hot Cali is today's world capital of salsa, claiming that competitive distinction even over Colombia's other vibrant big city party scenes, which keep the music going long into the small hours of the morning.

For dining, you'll find everything from the ubiquitous cheap, delicious Colombian home-style meals to world-class upscale and modern culinary arts in the big cities, with cuisines from all corners of the world represented.

And for relaxing, there are gorgeous tropical beaches along Colombia's Caribbean and Pacific coasts, but you can find even more laidback and peaceful retreats on the idyllic and unspoilt Caribbean island of Providencia.

The political violence has subsided substantially throughout the majority of the country and savvy travelers have already flocked here from around the world—come before everyone else catches on!

Colombia is the only country in South America with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea as well as the country with the world's second most biodiversity. Lying to the south of Panama, Colombia controls the land access between Central and South America. With Panama to the north, Colombia is surrounded by Venezuela to the east, Brazil to the southeast, and Ecuador and Peru to the south west. The country was named in honor of Christopher Columbus, following the Italian version of his name (Cristoforo Colombo). Although Columbus never actually set foot on the current Colombian territory, in his fourth voyage he visited Panama, which was part of Colombia until 1903.

Traveling in Colombia is definitely worthwhile. From Bogota, with a temperate climate 2,600 m (8,530 ft) above sea level and at a constant temperature of 19 degrees Celsius, a drive of one or two hours North, South, East or West can take you to landscapes which are as diverse as they are beautiful. To historic city centres and towns, modern and energetic party cities, oriental plains which stretch out far beyond the horizon with little modulation. rugged contours of the higher Andean region, the Guajira peninsula and its desert, idylic beaches, the tropical jungle of the Amazon and the Choco with abundant flora and fauna, snowy peaks and volcanoes, ancient ruins, the Magdalena River valley and its hot weather, beautiful coral reefs and an abundant underwater marine life together with pleasant relaxed tropical islands, and the ability to rest and relax in a privately rented hacienda that lets you have and enjoy these treasures to yourself. Such a diversity comes in with an equal diverse amount of traditions and foods. Colombia is one of the equatorial countries of the world, but unique in its extreme topography and abundance of water and has something for everyone.

Climate

Take your pick, really. Colombia is an equatorial country with amazing variance in altitude, so it's going to be pretty whatever temperature you like best all year long somewhere! The climate is tropical along the coast, eastern plains, and Amazon; cold in the highlands with periodic droughts. Lacking the usual seasons, Colombians normally refer to rainy seasons as winter—but the differences in terrain and altitude mean the rainy seasons are different in every corner of the country!

The one downside to all this climactic diversity, though, is that you'll have to bring a fair amount of different clothes if you plan to travel extensively. Cities in the center like Bogota and those to the north in Boyaca can potentially reach temperatures below 0° Celsius, so bring a coat. Some mountains are also covered in snow year-long. Cities along the Caribbean coast like Cartagena, Barranquilla, and Santa Marta are hot and humid, while some cities at mid-altitude in the Andes like Medellin (the City of Eternal Spring), Manizales, and other cities in the Coffee Triangle region have beautiful temperate weather always.

Terrain

Flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains

Natural hazards: highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes. Recent volcanic disaster occurred in Armero, 1985. 25,000 people were buried by lahars that the Nevado del Ruiz produced.

Highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m (18,950 ft) of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The mountain is part of the world's highest coastal range. Nearby Pico Simon Bolivar has the same elevation

History

Colombia was originally inhabited by numerous, major indigenous cultures like the Muisca and the Tayrona. The area that now is Colombia was colonised by the Spanish when America was 'discovered' by Europeans. The process of colonisation radically altered the social structures of the areas and through war and disease brought by the Spanish, the indigenous populations shrank dramatically in size and their numbers dwindle since then. The Spanish brought European settlers and African slaves, while most of the population in the colony was of mixed Spanish and Indigenous ancestry. The country became independent from Spain in 1810. It was one of the five countries liberated by Simon Bolivar (the others being Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia). Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama then formed the first Republic of Colombia. Ecuador and Venezuela declared their independence from Colombia in 1830. Panama declared its independence from Colombia in 1903. The history of the country in the years to come following independence was marked by several civil wars. The legacy of these conflicts, together with troublesome social issues, early state repression against rural communities and peasants and world polarisation caused by the Cold War culminated in a communist insurgent campaign by the FARC and the ELN to overthrow the Colombian Government. Although the movement lacks the military strength or popular support necessary to overthrow the government. The years during the conflict were marked by heavy fighting between the communist guerrillas, the Colombian state and military, right-wing paramilitaries and several drug cartels gave the country a terrible reputation. In the years following 2002 the safety has been improving throughout the country. In 2012 the government and the FARC started peace talks aiming at ending the 50 year old Civil War to an end once and for all. Colombia is currently in a process of recovery, and this country is creating an economy thriving and attractive to many national and international investors. Ending the conflict, high income inequalities and rebuilding itself from the legacy of war are some of the issues that confront the country.

Stay safe

Colombia has suffered from a terrible reputation as a dangerous and violent country but the situation has improved dramatically since the '80s and '90s. Colombia is on the path to recovery, and Colombians are very proud of the progress they have made.

The security situation differs greatly throughout the country currently. Most jungle regions are not safe to visit, but the area around Leticia is very safe, and the areas around Santa Marta are OK. No one should visit the Darien Gap at the border with Panama (in the north of Choco), as well as Putumayo and Caqueta, which are very dangerous, active conflict zones. Other departments with significant rural violence include the departments of Choco, Cauca, and Valle del Cauca; eastern Meta, Vichada, and Arauca in the east; and all Amazonian departments except for Amazonas. That's not to say that these departments are totally off-limits—just be sure you are either traveling with locals who know the area, or sticking to cities and tourist destinations.

Landmines

As of 2010 Colombia has the second highest amount of land mines in the world, only Afghanistan has more. So don't walk around blithely through the countryside without consulting locals. Land mines are found in 31 out of Colombia's 32 departments, and new ones are planted every day by guerrillas, paramilitaries, and drug traffickers.

Paramilitaries

There was an agreement in 2005 with the government which resulted in the disarmament of some of the paramilitaries. Paramilitaries however are still active in drug business, extortion rackets, and as a political force. They do not target tourists specifically, but running up against an illegal rural roadblock in more dangerous departments is possible.

Kidnappings

At the end of the 90s and in the early 2000s, kidnapping became one of the most cost-effective ways of financing for the guerrillas of the FARC and the ELN and other armed groups but, thanks to improvements in security and the progressive weakening of the guerrillas, criminal organizations, and other armed groups, the number of kidnappings in Colombia has been constantly declining. 3,000 Kidnappings took place in 2000 while 229 cases occurred in 2011. The number of kidnappings continues to decline. Kidnappings are still a problem in some southern departments like Valle del Cauca, Cauca, and Caqueta. Colombia happily no longer has the highest rate of kidnappings in the world.

Guerrillas

The guerrilla movements which includes FARC and ELN guerrillas are still operational, though they are greatly weakened compared to the 1990s as the Colombian army has killed most of their leaders. These guerrillas operate mainly in rural parts of southern, southeastern and nortwestern Colombia, although they have a presence in 30 out of the country's 32 departments. Big cities hardly ever see guerrilla activity these days. River police, highway police, newspapers, and fellow travelers can be a useful source of information off-the-beaten-path.

Crime

The crime rate in Colombia has been significantly reduced since its peak in the late '80s and '90s. However, major urban centers and the countryside Colombia still have very high violent crime rates, comparable to blighted cities in the United States, and crime has has been on the increase in recent years. In the downtown areas of most cities (which rarely coincides with the wealthy parts of town) violent crime is not rare; poor sections of cities can be quite dangerous for someone unfamiliar with their surroundings. Taxi crime is a very serious danger in major cities, so always request taxis by phone, rather than hailing them off the street—it costs the same and your call will be answered rapidly. Official taxi ranks are safe as well (airports, bus terminals, shopping malls).

Drugs

Local consumption is low, and penalties are draconian, owing to the nation's well-known largely successful fight against some of history's most powerful and dangerous traffickers. Cocaine manufactured in Colombia was historically mostly consumed in the US and the EU, and the United States of America is still the world's largest consumer of illegal drugs. Remember that the drug trade in Colombia has ruined many innocent citizens' lives and dragged the country's reputation through the mud.

The Colombian government has a strong commitment to fight drug production and trade. A previous president, Alvaro Uribe, with significant aid from the US government, led a policy of massively destroying drug plantations using chemical defoliants, achieving a great decrease in cocaine production. Thanks to this, White House drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske announced that Colombia is no longer the world's biggest producer of cocaine.

Marijuana is illegal. Police will tolerate you having a few grams of this particular drug on your person, but you are flirting with danger if you carry much more. Especially in small towns, it is not always the police you have to deal with, but vigilantes. They often keep the peace in towns, and they have a very severe way of dealing with problems. Given Colombia's increasing aggression toward combating the drug trade, drug offenses are not treated lightly. If you are caught by the authorities possessing a controlled substance, expect serious problems.

Scopolamine is an extremely dangerous drug from an Andean flowering tree, which is almost exclusively used for crime. Essentially a mind control drug (once experimented with as an interrogation device by the CIA), victims become extremely open to suggestion and are "talked into" ATM withdrawals, turning over belongings, letting criminals into their apartments, etc., all while maintaining an outward appearance of more or less sobriety. After affects include near total amnesia of what happened, as well as potential for serious medical problems. The most talked about method of getting drugged with scopolamine is that of powder blown off paper, e.g., someone walks up to you (with cotton balls in their nose to prevent blowback) and asks for help with a map, before blowing the drugs into your face. But by far the most common method is by drugging drinks at a bar. To be especially safe, abandon drinks if they've been left unattended. While a pretty rare problem, it's an awful scary one, and happens most often of all in strip clubs.

Stay healthy

Drink only bottled water outside the major cities. The water in major cities is safe. Most drinking water in people's homes is of the purified variety that comes in huge multi-gallon plastic bags (which you can find at any little grocery store). The coffee's delicious, though, so why not just start that habit!

Tropical diseases are a concern in lowland parts of the country, and more so outside of major cities. Mosquitos carry malaria, Yellow fever, and Dengue, and infection rates are similar to other lowland parts of South America (i.e., much lower than in sub-Saharan Africa). Yellow fever has a vaccine, so get it—it's required for entry to many national parks, anyway. Dengue is not preventable beyond avoiding mosquito bites, so using bug spray regularly in lowland rural areas is good sense.

Malaria is the one that can kill you within 24 hours of infection, so trips outside Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, and the Andean region warrant use of antimalarials, which can be bought very cheaply without a prescription from a drogueria, which are everywhere in any city of any size throughout the country. Ask for Doxycicline tablets at a dosage of 100 mg, with the number being 30 days plus the number of days in a malarial area (so you can start 1-2 days in advance, and take it daily continuing for 4 weeks past the end of your trip). The phrase you want is: doxyciclina, cien miligramas, [number] pastillas. Using some bug spray in the evening serves as a bit of extra protection.

Respect

Colombians are acutely aware of their country's bad reputation, and tactless remarks about the history of violence might earn you a snide remark (likely regarding your country of origin) and an abrupt end to the conversation. However, Colombians eventually become willing to discuss these topics once they feel comfortable enough with someone.

Colombians are more formal than much of Latin America. Make a point to say "please" ("Por favor" or "Hagame el favor") and "thank you" ("muchas gracias") for anything, to anyone. When addressed, the proper response is "?Senora?" or "?Senor?" In parts of the country (especially Boyaca) Colombians can be formal to the point of anachronism, calling strangers "Su merced" (your Mercy!) in place of usted. The one (much) more informal part of the country is along the Caribbean coast, where referring to people just as "chico" can be more the norm—but take your cues from those around you.

Race is not a hot issue in Colombia, since whites, criollos, and mestizos (mixed race) blend naturally with natives and Afro-Colombians in everyday life (education, living, politics, marriage). Differences between white foreigners are not dwelled upon: expect to be called "gringo" even if you are, say, Russian. Unless context includes anger, it's not meant to be offensive. If you are black, you will probably be referred to as "negro" or "moreno," which also are not considered at all offensive. Asians are usually called "chino" (Chinese), regardless of actual background. Confusingly, Colombians also occasionally refer to children as chinos ("kids"); this use comes from Chibcha, an indigenous language. Even more confusingly, Colombians refer to blondes and redheads as "monos" (monkeys). It sounds offensive, but actually ranges from neutral to affectionate.

Colombians have the mannerism of pointing to objects with their chins; pointing to a person or even an object with your finger can be considered rude. Avoid indicating a person's height using your hand palm down, as this is considered reserved for animals or inanimate objects. If you must, use your palm facing sidewards with the bottom of the hand expressing the height.

Colombians dance a lot. Anyone will be glad to teach you how to dance, and they will not expect you to do it correctly, since they have been practicing every weekend for most of their lives. Colombian night life centers mostly on dancing, and bars where people sit or stand are less common outside major cities.

Despite the sensual movements, dancing is normally not intended as flirtation. Here you could find salsa being danced at a children's "pinata" party, or even at parties for older people. North Americans and Europeans could find this odd or confusing because of the use of salsa and Latin rhythms in their countries. A Colombian dancing innocently could be misinterpreted, and in general, Colombian women or men are not "easy" just because of the way they dance. It is applied in the same way as in Brazil—an almost-naked "garota" dancing samba in the carnival is not inviting you to have sex with her but inviting you to enjoy, to be happy, to join in the celebration, to join the exuberant shedding of inhibitions.

Regarding religion, most Colombians are Catholic, and it?s important to them to keep certain ceremonies and respect for all things related to religion. You could visit great architectural churches, even going inside, but taking pictures may be considered disrespectful during a mass celebration. Young people are more open to learning about other religions and debate on this subject, and you may even find a lot of them who may consider themselves as lapsed, non-practicing Catholics or even non-religious.

Emergency services

United Rescue service - 119 or 112
Police - 156
Fire service - 119
Ambulance - 132
GAULA (Organization against kidnapping) - 165
9 day 08.11.2021 Monday
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PANAMA CANAL PARTIAL TRANSIT
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10 day 09.11.2021 Tuesday 8:00 17:00
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LIMON

The Port Terminal of Limón (Spanish: Terminal Portuaria de Limón), adjacent to the city of Limón, is one of the seaports in the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

The port was officially established in 1852, during the government of Juan Rafael Mora Porras, but it was not linked to the capital, San José, or to the rest of the country until the 1890s, when the construction of the railroad to the Atlantic was finished by the United States businessman Minor C. Keith.

Limón (Spanish for "lemon"), is the capital city and main hub of Limón province, as well as of the cantón (county) of Limón in Costa Rica. It has a population of about 60,000 (including surrounding towns), and is home of a multicultural community. Part of the community traces its roots to Italian, Jamaican and Chinese laborers who worked on a late nineteenth-century railroad project that connected San José to Puerto Limón. Until 1948, the Costa Rican government did not recognize Afro-Caribbean people as citizens and restricted their movement outside Limón province. As a result of this "travel ban", this Afro-Caribbean population became firmly established in the region, which influenced the decision to not move even after it was legally permitted. The Afro-Caribbean community speaks Spanish and Limonese Creole, a creole of English.

Puerto Limón contains two port terminals, Limón and Moín, which permit the shipment of Costa Rican exports as well as the anchoring of cruise ships. Health care is provided for the city by Hospital Dr. Tony Facio Castro. Two small islands, Uvita Island and Isla de Pájaros, are just offshore.

Limón features a tropical rainforest climate under Köppen’s climate classification. Average temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the year averaging around 25 degrees Celsius. Common to all cities with this climate, Limón has no discernable dry season. Its driest month (September) averages roughly 160 mm of precipitation while the wettest month (December) averages just above 400 mm of rain. Limon averages nearly 3,400 mm of precipitation annually.

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COSTA RICA

General information

Capital: San Jose
Government: Democratic Republic
Currency: Costa Rican colón (?,CRC)
Area: 51,100 km2
Population: 4,301,712 (2011 Census)
Language: Spanish (official), Limonese Creole (Mekatelyu) spoken in Limón Province
Religion: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, other Protestant 0.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%
Country code: +506
Time Zone: CST(UTC -6)

Costa Rica (i/?ko?st? ?ri?k?/), officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: Costa Rica or República de Costa Rica, pronounced [re?puβlika ðe ?kosta ?rika]) is a small country in Central America bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

Since the late 1980s Costa Rica became a popular nature travel destination, and its main competitive advantage is its well-established system of national parks and protected areas, covering around 23.4% of the country's land area, the largest in the world as a percentage of the country's territory, and home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, in a country that has only 0.03% of the world's landmass, but that is estimated to contain 5% of the world's biodiversity. The country also has plenty of world renowned beaches, both in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, within short travel distances between both coasts both by air and land, and also several active volcanoes that can be visited with safety.

By the early 1990s, Costa Rica became known as the poster child of ecotourism. According to the Costa Rican Tourism Board, 46% of international tourists visiting the country in 2009 engaged in activities related to ecotourism, including trekking, flora, fauna, and bird watching, and visits to rural communities. However, most visitors look for adventure activities, which Costa Rica offers as well. Costa Rica was included by Ethical Traveler magazine in the 2011 and the 2012 list of The Developing World's 10 Best Ethical Destinations.

Costa Rica historically managed to stay away from the political turmoil and violence from which neighbouring nations still suffer. The nation constitutionally abolished its army permanently in the 1940s. It has also managed to be the only Latin American country included in the list of the world's 22 oldest democracies, paying homage to its stance as a peaceful and politically stable nation. Costa Rica has also consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, and is cited by the UNDP as one of the countries that has attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels.

Costa Rica is ranked third in the world and first among the Americas in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index. And the New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the happiest nation in the world, both in 2009 and in 2012. This same organization (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the "greenest" country in the world.

This nation has bewilderingly diverse culture, climates, flora, fauna, and landscapes. From rain forests, to dry tropical and temperate forests, to volcanoes, to Caribbean and Pacific beaches, to high mountains, and marshy lowlands.

History

Costa Rica constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949.

Geography

Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus, lying between latitudes 8° and 12°N, and longitudes 82° and 86°W. It has a total of 1,290 kilometres (800 mi) of coastline, 212 km (132 mi) on the Caribbean coast and 1,016 km (631 mi) on the Pacific.

Costa Rica also borders Nicaragua to the north (309 km or 192 mi of border) and Panama to the south-southeast (639 km or 397 mi of border). In total, Costa Rica comprises 51,100 square kilometres (19,700 sq mi) plus 589 square kilometres (227 sq mi) of territorial waters.

The highest point in the country is Cerro Chirripo, at 3,819 metres (12,530 ft); it is the fifth highest peak in Central America. The highest volcano in the country is the Irazu Volcano (3,431 m or 11,257 ft). The largest lake in Costa Rica is Lake Arenal.

Costa Rica also comprises several islands. Cocos Island (24 square kilometres / 9.3 square miles) stands out because of its distance from the continental landmass, 300 mi (480 km) from Puntarenas, but Calero Island is the largest island of the country (151.6 square kilometres / 58.5 square miles).

Near 25% of Costa Rica's national territory is protected by SINAC (the National System of Conservation Areas), which oversees all of the country's protected areas.

Flora and fauna

Costa Rica is one of the world's most popular destinations for eco-tourists because of its biodiversity. Costa Rica possesses the greatest density of species in the world, and around 25% of its national territory is protected by a system of conservation areas and national parks. It has been stated in various places that Costa Rica may contain as much as 6% of the world's plant and animal species in an area the combined size of the U.S. states of Vermont and New Hampshire. Both tropical plant and animal species abound in Costa Rica. Some of the more impressive plants range from huge ficus trees with epiphytes abounding on their limbs to approximately 1500 different orchids. The animals are equally as impressive, whether it's a jaguar (the largest cat in the New World), the ever-elusive Margay, or the wonderful birds like the green or scarlet macaws (lapas in Costa Rican Spanish.) The amphibians are also quite impressive; the poison dart frogs with their bright colors are bound to catch your attention, or the giant cane toads.

Climate

Because Costa Rica is located between eight and 12 degrees north of the Equator, the climate is Tropical year round. However, the country has many microclimates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and by the geography of each particular region.

Costa Rica's seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period and not to the four seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. The year can be split into two periods, the dry season known to the residents as summer, and the rainy season, known locally as winter. The "summer" or dry season goes from December to April, and "winter" or rainy season goes from May to November, which almost coincides with the List of Atlantic hurricane seasons, and during this time, it rains constantly in some regions.

The location receiving the most rain is the Caribbean slopes of the Central Cordillera mountains, with an annual rainfall of over 5000 mm. Humidity is also higher on the Caribbean side than on the Pacific side. The mean annual temperature on the coastal lowlands is around 27°C, 20°C in the main populated areas of the Central Cordillera, and below 10°C on the summits of the highest mountains.

Talk

Spanish is the official and most spoken language in Costa Rica. All major newspapers and official business are conducted in Spanish. English is used widely in most areas, especially those frequented by tourists, and information for visitors is often bilingual or even exclusively in English. A number of businesses operated by European proprietors can accommodate guests in Spanish, English and their native languages.

Some Costa Rican colloquial expressions:

  • Mae or sometimes "Maje" is used akin to the American English word 'dude'. Generally spoken among the male population, or among friends. It is as informal as the word 'dude'. Mae is mostly used by the younger population and Maje by the older population. It is pronounced 'maheh'.
  • Pura vida, literally translated as "pure life," is an expression common to Costa Rica. It can be used in several contexts, as an expression of enthusiasm, agreement, or salutation. It's pronounced 'poora veeda'.
  • Tuanis, means "OK" or "cool." Was believed to be taken from English phrase "too nice", but it is actually a word borrowed from the Codigo Malespin, a code developed for communication during the various Central American civil wars in the XIX century.

A prevalent version of slang in Costa Rica, and other regions of Latin America, is called "pachuco", "pachuquismo" or "costarriquenismo" and is used by all social classes (to some degree), however, it can be at times vulgar and is considered an informal way of speaking.

For the word "you", (singular informal form), Instead of "tu", most people of the Central Valley use "vos" (as in "vos sos" - you are) which is also common to other Latin nations (Argentina, Uruguay), but the word "usted" is prominent in south Pacific Costa Rica and preferred over "vos". Either way, formal Spanish is understood and you may use any form of the word "you" you consider proper.

Costa Ricans tend to use the term Regalame, literally "gift me", instead of "get me". An example is when a Costa Rican says: "regalame la cuenta", literrally "gift me the bill", which is unusual to other Spanish speaking countries, however, it is a very common Costa Rican term. Another such case might be when Costa Ricans go out to buy something, in which case they might use the term this way: "Regaleme un confite y una Coca", literally, "Gift me a piece of candy and a Coke", but it is understood that the person asking is going to buy said things and is not expecting the other to gift him or her those things. A more precise phrase in standard Spanish would be: "Me vende un confite y una Coca", meaning: "Sell me a piece of candy and a Coke".

Limonense Creole (Mekatelyu)

As well as Costa Rican Spanish, there is also an English-based Creole language spoken in Limon Province on the Caribbean Sea coast of Costa Rica. It is called Limonese Creole or Mekatelyu. This Creole language is similar to varieties such as Colon Creole, Miskito Coastal Creole, Belizean Kriol language, and San Andres and Providencia Creole. The name Mekatelyu is a transliteration of the phrase "make I tell you", or in standard English "let me tell you".

Stay healthy

Costa Rica has one of the highest levels of social care in the world. Its doctors are known worldwide as some of the best. Many people from U.S, Canada and Europe go there to be treated, not only because the quality of the service but for the cost. First class Hospitals can be found in the capital. There is a public/private hospital system. There is excellent care in each. The public system has much longer waits, while the private system has shorter waits. If you are unfortunate enough to have a very sick child requiring hospitalization, the child will be transferred to the only children's hospital in CR, located in the capital. This children's hospital is public.

There have been outbreaks of dengue fever in some areas of the country and an outbreak of malaria was reported in November 2006 from the province of Limon but just a few cases. Protection against mosquito bites is very important, wearing lightweight long pants, long sleeved shirts and using insect repellents with high concentrations of DEET is recommended by the CDC. If you are going to be in very rural areas known to be malaria-infested areas, you might want to consider an anti-malarial med. However, most travelers to Costa Rica do just fine with updated childhood immunizations and taking preventative measures against mosquito bites (rather than take anti-malarial medication).

Tap water in urban areas of the country is almost always safe to drink. However, being cautious may be in order in rural areas with questionable water sources.

Stay safe

With 1.9 million travelers visiting Costa Rica annually, travel is quite popular and common. Still, travelers to Costa Rica should exercise caution. The emergency number in Costa Rica is 911.

  • Traffic in Costa Rica is dangerous, so be careful. Pedestrians in general do not have the right of way. Roads in rural areas may also tend to have many potholes. Driving at night is not recommended.
  • Use common sense. Do not leave valuables in plain view in a car or leave your wallet on the beach when going into the water. Close the car windows and lock the car or other things that you might not do in your own country.
  • In the cities, robbery at knife point is not altogether uncommon.
  • The capital of San Jose is usually packed with foot traffic during any part of the day. However the streets rapidly become deserted shortly after dark when the public buses stop running. It is extremely dangerous to be walking in San Jose after dark when there is no foot traffic, and if you find yourself in this situation, it is recommended you find a taxi to go to wherever you need to go.
  • Buses and bus stops - especially those destined for San Jose - are frequent locations for robbery. Any bus rider who falls asleep has a good chance of waking up and finding his baggage missing. Don't trust anyone on the buses to watch your things, especially near San Jose.
  • Like any other tourist destination, watch out for pickpockets.
  • Purse snatching, armed robberies and car-jacking have been on the rise lately. Stay alert and protect your valuables at all times, especially in the San Jose area.
  • "Smash and grabs" of car windows do happen, so do not leave valuables in your vehicle, or if you must, make sure they are not visible.
  • Another common robbery scheme includes slashing your tires, then when you stop to fix the flat, one or two "friendly" people stop to help and instead grab what valuables they can.
  • If you are motioned to pull over by anyone, do not do so until you are at a well-lit and safe place.
  • Make use of hostel or hotel lock boxes if they are really secure – this is great when you want to swim or kick back and really not worry.
  • On a long trip, it's advised that you make back-up CDs (or DVDs) of your digital photos and send a copy back home. In the event that you are robbed, you will thank yourself!
  • When encountering a new currency, learn the exchange rate from a reliable source (online ahead of time or a local bank, preferably) and create a little cheat sheet converting it to US dollars or the other Central American currency you are comfortable with. Travel with small denominations of US dollars (crisp 1s, 5s, 10s) as back-up... usually you'll be able to use them if you run out of local currency.
  • Go to a bank to change money when possible and practical. If you find yourself needing to use the services of a person who is a money changer (Sunday morning at the border, for instance) make sure to have your own calculator. Do not trust money changers and their doctored calculators, change the least amount of money possible and take a hard look at the bills – there's lots of false ones out there. Always insist that your change be in small bills – you'll lose more at one time if a large bill is false, plus large bills are hard to change (even the equivalent of $20 USD in Costa Rica or $5 USD in Nicaragua can be difficult in some small towns, believe it or not!) Money changers do not use the official exchange rate - you are better off going to a state owned bank to exchange your currency at no fee.
  • Do not exchange money at the San Jose airport in the luggage area. The exchange rate used there is not the official rate and you will get a lot fewer colones. However there is a bank upstairs that has fair rates, it is next to where you pay your departure tax.
  • Traveling alone is fine and generally safe in Costa Rica, but carefully consider what kind of risks (if any) you are willing to take. Always hike with other people and try to explore a new city with other people. On solo forays, if you feel uncomfortable seek out a group of other people (both women and men). A well lighted place with people you can trust is always a plus. A busy restaurant or hostel is a great source of local info as well as a great place to relax and recharge.

Emergency services

Rescue - 911 (only in San Jose) or 122
Police - 117
Fire service - 118
Traffic police - 222-93-30 or 222-92-45
11 day 10.11.2021 Wednesday
FUN DAY AT SEA
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12 day 11.11.2021 Thursday 8:00 16:00
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MAHOGANY BAY

Once famous as a hideout for pirates, the island is now a paradise for divers exploring the rich coral reef. Dive into its intense blue waters.

There are various ways of experiencing this fascinating place. You can choose between a quiet guided walk through the jungle of the Carambola Botanical Garden or spend the day on Roatan’s most exclusive beach! You can also admire the splendours of the coral reef from one of the glass-bottomed boats which leave from Half Moon Bay.

General administration of the port Coxen Hole:
Coxen Hole, Honduras
tel.: (+504-4) 344-902; fax: (+504-4)344-448

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HONDURAS

General information

Capital: Tegucigalpa
Government: democratic constitutional republic
Currency: lempira (HNL)
Area: 112,090 sq km
Population: 7,326,496 (July 2006 est.)
Language: Spanish, Amerindian dialects
Religion: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority
Electricity: 110V/60Hz (two-prong North American plug)
Country code: +504
Internet TLD: .hn
Time Zone: UTC -6

Honduras is the second biggest country in Central America. It has colonial villages (Gracias, Comayagua), ancient Maya ruins (Copan), natural parks (Moskitia), and a Pacific and Caribbean coastline and the Bay Islands, with great beaches and coral reefs where snorkeling and diving are exceptional by any standard. The country is bordered by Guatemala to the northwest, El Salvador to the south and Nicaragua to the southeast.

Good amenities can be found in cities like Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Tela, Utila, Roatán and at Copan, but elsewhere conditions can be quite basic, especially in the rural areas.

You can find good hotels even in small towns if you are willing to pay a bit more (Honduras is not really an expensive country). Nevertheless a visit is worthwhile, especially to the ancient Maya ruins in Copán, the colonial towns of Gracias and Comayagua, and the fantastic Caribbean Coast.

History

During the first millennium, Honduras was inhabited by the Maya civilization in the western part and other Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures in the rest. Columbus first explored the country in 1502, and Honduras became a Spanish colony. Honduras, with four other Central American nations, declared its independence from Spain on September 15, 1821 to form a federation of Central American states. In 1838, Honduras left the federation and became independent. Political unrest rocked Honduras in the early 1900s, resulting in an occupation by U.S. Marines. Dictator Gen. Tiburcio Carias Andino established a strong government in 1932.

In 1969, El Salvador invaded Honduras after Honduran landowners deported several thousand Salvadorans. Five thousand people ultimately died in what is called “the football war” because it broke out during a soccer game between the two countries. By threatening economic sanctions and military intervention, the Organization of American States (OAS) induced El Salvador to withdraw.

After two and one-half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras was a haven for the anti-Communist contras fighting the Sandinista government of Nicaragua and an ally to Salvadoran government forces fighting against leftist guerrillas. The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused almost $1 billion in damage, affecting seriously the development of the country and its vital infrastructure.

Climate

Honduras is hot and humid almost year-round. Temperatures vary by altitude rather than season. The average high temperature nationwide is 32°C (90°F) and the average low is 20°C (68°F). Temperatures are coolest in mountain areas. The Caribbean coast can experience a lot of rain, the heaviest being from September to February. In Tegucigalpa, the capital, the climate remains more temperate and the dry season takes place from December to May. The capital can get chilly between December and January when the temperature in the city hovers around 23°C (73°F).

Terrain

Honduras consists of a mountainous interior with narrow coastal plains. The Pacific coast is short but the Caribbean coastline is long, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast. The land experiences frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes. Highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 meters.

Stay safe

Use common sense at night. Foreigners are sometimes robbed on the streets of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula at night by thieves who stake out areas in front of tourist hotels. When taking a taxi in Tegucigalpa make sure the windows are not tinted, and check for radio dispatched walkie talkies as people have been robbed at gun or knife point. Dangerous areas are isolated from tourist destinations. Crime has been reduced in recent years compared to right after Hurricane Mitch, but does still impact tourist areas in the large cities. Use caution when traveling alone in Honduras, at night its best to take a radio dispatched taxi no matter what part you're in.

Stay healthy

Purified water is used in big-city hotels and restaurants, but bottled water is definitely recommended for outlying areas.

Malaria occurs in rural areas, Roatán and other Bay Islands.

Dengue fever is endemic in both urban and rural areas.

It is not recommended to buy much food in the streets (people who are selling food just by the sidewalk). Remember Honduran food can be spicy too, so be careful if you are not used to it.

Many travel agencies and different places will tell you that Honduras is a dangerous country concerning illnesses, this is not true. People are just as ill all over Latin America (nothing out of what is normal), just take the necessary precautions. HIV is a problem in Honduras so be careful as you would in your own country. Carry a first aid kit and have contact phone numbers with you.

If hiking or spending significant time in the great outdoors, be prepared for a wide range of natural threats and nuisances including snakes, spiders, scorpions, and mosquitoes. On the upside, however, you can actually pick fruit off the trees.

Respect

Despite violence and widespread poverty, Hondurans are friendly people who appreciate a respectful manner. As well as this it is important to greet and even introduce yourself if you are asking a question to a stranger. Of course, like any other country, if you do need to ask a question from a stranger be careful but most of the time Hondurans will be friendly and more than happy to help you.

Emergency services

Cruz Roja (Red Cross) - 195
Fire service - 198
Police - 199
13 day 12.11.2021 Friday 10:00 18:00
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COZUMEL

Make a splash with Carnival cruises to Cozumel, a Caribbean island perched atop a coral reef. Cruises to Cozumel, Mexico, dock at the island’s heart—just minutes from San Miguel’s seafront shops and the white sand beach at Chankanaab National Park. Drift among star corals and sea fans on a Cozumel diving excursion or simply kick back on the beach beneath your own palm palapa as the turquoise waves roll in.

  • Cruise to Cozumel for a scuba diving adventure along the Great Mesoamerican Reef.
  • Enjoy a leisurely day of snorkeling with iridescent fish at Chankanaab National Park.
  • Swim with dolphins at Dolphinaris.

General administration of the port Cozumel:
Calle 22 de Enero No. 261, Col. Centro., Chetumal, Quintana Roo 77000, Mexico
тел.: (+52-983) 832-61-01; факс: (+52-983) 832-11-06

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MEXICO

General information

Capital: Mexico City (Distrito Federal)
Government: Federal Republic
Currency: Mexican Peso (MXN)
Area total: 1,964,375 km2
water: 20,430 km2
land: 1,943,945 km2
Population: 106,202,903 (July 2006 est.)
Language: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages
Religion: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%, other 5%
Electricity: 127V/60Hz
Country code: +52
Internet TLD: .mx
Time Zone: UTC −6 to UTC −8

Mexico (Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos), is a country in North America, lying between the United States of America to the north, and Guatemala and Belize to the southeast. Its extensive coastlines include the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Mexico has pleasant and warm weather, unique food, art and archeology, pyramids, museums, Haciendas, 6,000 miles of shoreline, superb architecture and 21st century cities, weather from snow mountains in the Sierras, to rainy jungles in the Southeast and desert in the Northwest, numerous golf courses, excellent fishing, and world-class destinations like Acapulco, Cancun, Cozumel, Los Cabos, and Mazatlan. Mexico is ranked 7th major destination for foreign visitors, according to WTO.

Mexico is one of the most popular tourist countries on the planet. Much of the tourist industry is centered around the beach resorts as well as the altiplano in the central part of the country. Visiting the northern interior allows visitors to get off the beaten path a bit. American tourists tend to predominate on the Baja peninsula and the more modern beach resorts (Cancún and Puerto Vallarta), while European tourists congregate around the smaller resort areas in the south like Playa del Carmen and colonial towns like San Cristobal de las Casas and Guanajuato.

Climate

Mexico uses the metric system for all measurements. All weather forecasts are in Celsius (°C).

The climate varies dramatically across Mexico's vast landscape. In the northernmost area of the Baja Peninsula, on the Pacific coast, the climate is Mediterranean, whereas the climate is arid on the other side of the peninsula, facing the Sea of Cortez. As you go south on the Baja Peninsula, the climate changes to become a subtropical sub-arid/semi-arid climate, until ou reach La Paz and Cabo, which has a unique tropical desert climate. On the mainland, the northern area of Mexico tends to be mountainous and chilly, and the lower areas have an arid climate. A tropical climate prevails from around the Tampico area down to Cancun, as well as the adjacent side on the Pacific.

Landscape

High, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; temperate plains with grasslands and Mezquite trees in the northeast, desert and even more rugged mountains in the northwest, tropical rainforests in the south and southeast {Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán y Quintana Roo} semiarid in places like {Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí} and temperate coniferous and deciduous forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}.

Stay safe

According to the statistics last published by the Mexican government in late 2011, 47,515 people were killed in narcotics-related violence in Mexico between December 1, 2006 and September 30, 2011, with 12,903 narcotics-related homicides in the first nine months of 2011 alone. While most of those killed in narcotics-related violence have been members of TCOs, innocent persons have also been killed. Advisory Issued: 20-November-2012

Mexico's emergency number is 066, call this number for any emergency service: such as police, medical, fire, etc.

In most of the cities, location is very important as security changes from place to place. Areas close to downtown (centro) are safer to walk at night, especially on the "Plaza", "Zocalo" or "Jardin" (main square) and areas nearby. Stay in populated areas, avoid poor neighborhoods, especially at night, and don't walk there at any time if you are alone. Vicious beatings have been reported at resorts by people who have travelled alone, so stay alert for any suspicious-looking individual.

Since 2006 violence related to drug cartels has become an issue; see Drug Traffic Issues below.

Political violence in Chiapas and Oaxaca has abated in recent years, and is far less of a threat than drug related crime. However, keep in mind that Mexican authorities do not look approvingly on foreigners who participate in demonstrations (even peaceful ones) or voice support for groups such as the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional and its leader, Subcomandante Marcos, even if their images and slogans are commonly sold on t-shirts and caps in markets.

As in any city, do not wave cash or credit cards around. Use them discreetly and put them away as quickly as possible.

The Mexican legal system was until recently under Napoleonic code, but if you ever find yourself in trouble with the law in Mexico, the punishments are a lot more severe than in many other countries.

Beggars are not usually a threat, but you will find lots in urban areas. Avoid being surrounded by them as some can pickpocket your goods. Giving away two pesos quickly can get you out of such troubles (but may also attract other beggars). Most poor and homeless Mexicans prefer to sell trinkets, gum, sing, or provide some meager service than beg outright.

In other cities, such as Guadalajara and Mexico City, are safer than most places in Mexico. However, caution is still recommended.

Drug Traffic Issues

Understand that the country is going through a transitionary period. After president Felipe Calderon came to power in 2006, he declared war on the drug cartels, and they have waged war in turn against the government (and more often, among each other). If you are going into Mexico, avoid bringing up this issue with your hosts or Mexican friends. They are quite aware of their country's numerous problems and do not need a foreigner to remind them.

Some Mexican northern and border cities such as Tijuana, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Chihuahua, Culiacan, Durango, and Juarez can be dangerous if you are not familiar with them, especially at night. Most crime in the northern cities is related to the drug trade and/or police corruption. However, since law enforcement figures are so overwhelmed or involved in the drug business themselves, many northern border towns that were previously somewhat dangerous to begin with are now a hotbed for criminals to act with impunity. Ciudad Juarez, in particular, bears the brunt of this violence, with nearly a fourth of Mexico's overall murders, and travel there should be undertaken only for very important reasons and with extreme caution.

Away from the northern states, cartel-related violence is centered in specific areas, including the Pacific Coast states of Michoacan and Guerrero. However, exercise caution in any major city, especially at night or in high crime areas.

Note that for the most part tourists and travelers are of no interest to the drug cartels. Many popular tourist destinations like Oaxaca, Guanajuato, Los Cabos, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Merida and Guadalajara are largely unaffected by this, simply because there are no borders there. Ciudad Juarez is currently a primary battleground in the drug war, and while foreign travelers are not often targeted here, the presence of two warring cartels, many small opportunistic gangs, and armed police and soldiers has created a chaotic situation to say the least.

Although rarely surprising, the drug violence's new victim is Monterrey. The city at one point was crowned the safest city in Latin America, and the hard-working environment and entrepreneurial spirit was what defined the city for most Mexicans. Today, it has been the latest city to fall into the hands of the drug gangs, and deadly shootouts existed even in broad daylight. People have been kidnapped even in broad daylight in high-profile upscale hotels. The situation has dramatically changed since 2011, but the city has still not fully recovered.

Strangely, Mexico City is the safest city in regard to drug-related violence, and people go there to seek refuge from the border violence because many politicians and the military are there.

Consumption of drugs is not recommended while you are in Mexico because although possession of small amounts of all major narcotics has been decriminalized, consumption in public areas will get you a fine and will most likely get you in trouble with the police. The army also sets up random checkpoints throughout all major highways in search of narcotics and weapons. Drug consumption is also frowned upon by a large percentage of the population.

Since the current drug war began in 2006, there has been occasional wild speculation in the North American English-language media about the risk that Mexico could become a "failed state" controlled directly by one or more drug cartels, with the obvious corollary that U.S. citizens would have to be evacuated with U.S. military assistance (as actually occurred in Liberia in 1990, Sierra Leone in 1992, Albania in 1997, Lebanon in 2006, and Haiti in 2010). As a result, most U.S. border states have publicly acknowledged preparing detailed contingency plans for that possibility, which would require the deployment of a massive number of National Guard troops to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and deal with thousands of Mexican refugees seeking asylum in the U.S.

However, apart from the notorious exception of a single elite military unit that changed sides and became the Los Zetas cartel, the vast majority of Mexican military and police units continue to demonstrate their loyalty to the democratically elected federal government in Mexico City. As of 2012, only three state governments (out of 31 states) are thought to have been compromised by the cartels (according to the Los Angeles Times). Furthermore, as of 2013, the country's security situation has improved significantly under President Enrique Pena Nieto, to the extent where heavily armed soldiers are not frequently seen as they used to be in major tourist areas like Los Cabos and Cancun. Thus, the actual probability of an unexpected regime change occurring during your visit is extremely low and should not discourage you from visiting Mexico.

Advice for the Beach

Jellyfish stings: vinegar or mustard on the skin, take some to the beach with you.

Stingray stings: water as hot as you can bear - the heat deactivates the poison.

Sunburns: Bring sunscreen if going to beaches because you might not find it available in some areas.

Riptides: Very dangerous, particularly during and after storms. Try to swim parallel to the beach even as you are being dragged out; eventually the tide will let go of you and then you can swim back to shore. Do not tire yourself out by trying to swim to shore as the tide is pulling you out, as you will not have the energy to swim back to shore after the tide has let go of you.

Public transportation

When in major cities – especially Mexico City – is better to play it safe with taxis. The best options are to phone a taxi company, request that your hotel or restaurant call a taxi for you or pick up a Taxi from an established post ("Taxi de Sitio"). Also taxis can be stopped in the middle of the street, which is OK for most of the country, but particularly unsafe in Mexico City.

As chaotic as it might be sometimes, the subway (Metro) is the best way to move around in Mexico City: it's cheap (3 pesos for a ticket as of October, 2012), safe, has a large network covering almost anywhere you'd want to go in the city and it's extremely fast, compared to any on-street transportation, since it doesn't have to bear with the constant traffic jams. If you've never been in a crowded subway, avoid peak hours (usually from 06:00-09:00 and 17:00-20:00) and do your homework: check first what line (linea) and station (estacion) you want to go to and the address of the place you're trying to reach. Your hotel can give you this information, and maps of the subway system are available on the internet and at the stations. Most stations also have maps of the vicinity.

Avoid taking the subway at late hours of the night, but during the day many stations are patrolled by police officers and the subway is safer than taking the public bus, your major concern in the subway are pickpockets; so keep your important belongings and wallets in a safe place.

If your are travelling by bus do not put your valuables in your big bag in the storage room of the bus. If the police or the military controls the luggage they might take out what they need. Especially in Night Buses when passengers are most likely asleep. The use of a money belt (worn underneath the clothes and out of sight) is highly recommended.

Driving

All distances on the signboards and speed limits are in kilometers.

Gas is also sold by the litre, not by the gallon, and it's a little bit cheaper than in the United States.

If driving in from the USA, always purchase Mexican liability insurance (legal defense coverage recommended) before crossing the border or immediately after crossing. When you are paying for your temporary import permit (for going beyond border areas), often in the same building there are several stalls selling Mexican auto insurance. Even if your American (or Canadian, etc.) insurance covers your vehicle in Mexico, it cannot (by Mexican law) cover liability (i.e. hitting something or injuring someone). You will probably spend time in a Mexican jail if you have an accident without it. And even if your own insurance does (in theory) provide liability coverage in Mexico -- you'll be filing your claim from behind bars! Don't risk it, get Mexican auto insurance.

Never drive above the speed limit or run stop signs/red lights as Mexican police will use any excuse to pull over tourists and give you a ticket. If pulled over by a police officer soliciting a bribe, do not pay the amount requested, but pull out USD$50 or 500 pesos(NO MAMES), and explain that it is all you have. This technique has worked in the past (but it does not work in Mexico City), but it is corruption. Corruption also is a crime in Mexico, so make a conscious choice. The fine for speeding could be as much as US$100, depending on the city.

As of April 2011, police across the country are cracking down on drunken driving, particularly in Mexico City, the larger cities and the beach resorts. There are random checkpoints throughout the country in which every driver has to stop and take an automated inebriation test. If you fail, you will end up in a Mexican prison. If you wouldn't drive drunk back home, don't do it in Mexico.

You will mostly find beggars and windshield cleaners in some red lights; having your windows closed at all times is especially recommendable in some areas of Mexico City. The windshield cleaners will try to clean yours: a strong and firm "NO" is suggested.

Stay healthy

Some parts of Mexico are known for traveler's diarrhea that it is often called "Montezuma's Revenge" (Venganza de Moctezuma). The reason for this is not so much the spicy food but the contamination of the water supply in some of the poorer zones in Mexico. In most of the small towns that are less industrialized, only the poorest Mexicans will drink tap water. The best policy is to only drink bottled or purified water, both of which are readily available. Be sure to specify bottled water in restaurants and avoid ice (which is often not made from purified water). Just like in the USA, in most major Mexican cities the water is purified at the cities' water company. In most restaurants in these poor zones, the only water served comes from large jugs of purified water. If you get sick, visit your local clinic as soon as possible. There is medicine available that will counter the bacteria.

Medicine in urban areas is highly developed, public hospitals are just as good as public hospitals in US, and just as the American public hospitals, they are always full. It's recommended going to private hospitals for faster service.

Before traveling to rural areas of Mexico, it might be a good idea to obtain anti-malarial medications from your health care provider.

It is strongly advised that the traveler be sure that any meats they are consuming have been thoroughly cooked due to an increasing rate of roundworm infections, particularly in the Acapulco area.

Along with the risk for malaria, mosquitoes have also been known to carry the West Nile virus. Be sure to bring an effective insect repellent, preferably one that contains the ingredient DEET.

The rate of AIDS/HIV infection in Mexico is lower than in the US, France and most Latin American nations.

As with any western location, cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome have been reported throughout Mexico. This is an acute, rare (but often fatal) illness for which there is no known cure. The virus is believed to be present in animal feces, particularly feces from members of the rodent family. Therefore, do not wander into animal dens and be especially careful when entering enclosed spaces that are not well ventilated and lack sunlight.

Vaccination against Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid fever is recommended.

If you are bitten by an animal, assume that the animal was carrying rabies and seek medical attention immediately for treatment.

In remote areas, carry a first aid kit, aspirin, and other related items are sold without medical prescription.

Respect

Mexicans have a somewhat relaxed sense of time so be patient. Arriving 15 minutes late is common.

When anyone, even a total stranger, sneezes, you always say "?salud!" ("bless you!" or more literally, "your health!"): otherwise, it is considered rude. In rural areas, particularly in the Mexican heartland (Jalisco, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, etc.), the even more pious "Jesus te bendiga" (May Jesus bless you) will follow a sneeze.

The great majority of the population is and traditionally has been Roman Catholic, and there is still a strong following of this faith among Mexicans from all socioeconomic backgrounds. However, missionary activity from the US made a sizable Protestant community, and even the smallest towns seem to have an Evangelical or Pentecostal church. One of the world's largest communities of Jehovah's Witnesses also resides in Mexico. Smaller communities, like Mormons and Jews also live in small concentrated areas throughout the Republic.

In many respects, Mexico is still a developing country, and attitudes towards LGBT travelers can at times be hostile. However, Mexico City legalized same-sex marriage and the supreme court ruled that these marriages must be recognized by all states in the rest of the republic, thus tacitly making same-sex marriage legal in the whole country (provided the wedding takes place in Mexico City). Just as it is not wholly accepted in the rural United States or rural Canada, it is not accepted in rural Mexico. But within cities, there is a much more relaxed atmosphere.

When entering churches, always take off any sunglasses, caps or hats. Wearing shorts is rarely a problem, but still wear a sweatshirt or sweater to your waist to avoid showing too much skin, which could be disrespectful in such places. However, away from the beaches, or northern areas, shorts are very rarely worn by Mexicans on the street and thus will attract more attention to you and make you stand out as a foreigner.

Respect Mexico's laws. Some foreigners feel that Mexico is a place where laws can be broken and the police bribed at all times. Corruption may be common among Mexican police and public figures, but since it is a problem that Mexican society has recently recognized and has been trying hard to fix, when foreign nationals behave in a manner which shows expectancy of this easy bribery, it is considered extremely disrespectful, and so it could be used as excuse for the police to give you "a respect lesson." Remember, offering a bribe to an official could get you into trouble.

Like in other countries; politics, economics and history are very delicate issues, yet in Mexico they are also considered good conversation pieces when conversing with foreigners. Just like in Europe, Canada and the US, Mexico's democracy is vibrant and diverse, and people have a variety of opinions. As Mexico only recently became a true viable democracy, however, there is an eagerness on behalf of Mexicans to share their opinions and political ideas with you. Common sense applies like it does in your country: If you don't know enough about Mexico's political landscape, ask as many questions as you like but avoid making any strong statements.

Many US citizens (and to a lesser extent other foreigners) make careless mistakes in conversations with Mexicans. Mexicans, while strong and hardy people can be very sensitive people when it comes to their country. Avoid saying anything that will make it seem as if you think Mexico is inferior to your home country. Do not assume that because you are a US citizen, you are an immediate target for kidnapping, since the vast majority of victims are Mexicans. Do not be overly cautious, especially if you have hosts that are taking care of you and know where to go and not to go. It will just insult your host and they will assume you do not respect Mexico or that you do not trust them.

Avoid talking about Mexico's flaws. Avoid talking about illegal immigration to the US, the drug trade, the risk of a coup d'etat, or any other contentious issue; Mexicans are well aware of their country's problems and want to forget about them once a while. Instead, talk about the good things of Mexico: the food, the friendly people, the scenery. This will make you a very good friend in a country that can seem menacing to take on by yourself.

As a general rule, wealth and social status are historically tied to European ancestry and skin color. On the one hand, overt expressions of racism (i.e., racist slurs) are not too common in Mexico, but on the other hand, the country is still about 40 years behind the United States in terms of diversity sensitivity. For example, although the majority of Mexico's population are not of solely European ancestry (they are mostly mestizo or Indian), you will immediately notice that the country's movies, television, and advertising are overwhelmingly dominated by persons of European descent. That is, Mexico has not participated in the dialogue that has been going since the 1960s in the United States about developing media products that make at least a token attempt to reflect the true racial and ethnic diversity of the country for which they are produced.

Mexican society is sharply divided by social class, with the rich, middle class, and poor often living very separate lives, and can have very distinct cultures. Social practices or tastes of one social group may not be shared by all classes. Clubs, bars, and restaurants may cater largely to one crowd or another, and a wealthier person or tourist may feel out of place or received unwanted attention in a working class cantina; a poor looking person may be blatantly refused service or get unfriendly stares at an exclusive establishment.

There are many words in the country according for ethnic background:

Do not be offended to be called a "guero(a)" (blonde) and its diminutive form "guerito(a)" (blondie), as its a common way for the average Mexican citizens to refer mostly to Caucasian people, including white Mexicans. The words "gringo" and its synonym "gabacho" are used regardless of the actual nationality of the tourists and should not they be taken as offensive nouns. Actually, they are often used as terms of affection.

If you are East Asian, you will be referred to as "Chino(a)" (Chinese) and its diminuitive form "chinito(a)" regardless of whether you are Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, etc. Exceptions are in the capital, Mexicali, and in Monterrey, where a decent-sized Korean community does exist.

If you are black, "negro(a)" or "negrito(a)" may seem harsh, especially if you are from the US, but it is not a swear word. Although there are few black people in Mexico in many regions of the country (except in on the east and west coasts in the south), Mexicans, especially the younger generations, are not hateful. In fact, a revolutionary who later became the second president was a mulatto (a man of mixed European and African descent), Vicente Guerrero.

Historically, all Middle Easterners were refered to as "turcos" (even if they were from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, etc).

If you try to use your Spanish to address people be careful about the use of "tu" (informal, friendly, and called tutear; which is a verb, to call someone "tu") and "usted" (formal, respectful) forms. Using "tu" can be demeaning to people, since this is the form normally used for addressing children or close friends. For foreigners, the best way to deal with the "tu" and "usted" problem is to address people using "usted" until invited to say "tu", or until addressed by the first name. Doing so will look perhaps a shade old-fashioned but always respectful, while doing otherwise can be pretty rude and embarrassing in some situations. Always use the "usted" form to a law enforcement officer (or other person of authority), even if he may use the "tu" form to talk to you.

Use "usted" unless the person is genuinely your friend, the person is under 16, or the person tells you explicitly to use "tu".

People address each other depending on their social status, age and frienship. To refer to a woman always call her "senorita" (Miss) unless you are sure that she is married, then you call her "senora" (Mrs). When talking to an older man use "senor" irrespective of his marital status. If you want to call a waiter address him as "joven" which means "young man". You may call someone by his professional tittle ("ingeniero", "arquitecto" "doctor" "oficial", etc). Actually Mexican people will use the "tu" and the "usted", "first name" or "surname" depending on their relationship, and the code is not easy to learn.

While the word "guey" is equivalent to "dude" or "mate" among young people, it is still considered extremely vulgar among people older than you. This abrasive term of endearment is used only between people who have achieved a certain level of trust so avoid using it.

In Mexico "estupido" means far, far worse than "stupid" in English.

Due to the highly matriarchal nature of Mexican culture, the combination of words "tu madre" (your mother) is cacophonous and taken offensively by residents, regardless of age or gender. If you must use it, remember to replace it with "su senora madre" at formal situations or the sweeter "tu mama" at informal ones. Never ever use strong language when talking to a female.

There is a strong degree of male courteousness towards women. This is manifested in standing up when a lady enters a room, opening or holding a door, conceding preference or rights of way, giving up a seat, offering a hand when stepping down from a steep step, etc. It is generally reserved for older women, or females of great power, merit and social stature. Rejecting these types of friendly gestures is considered arrogant or rude.

Contact

You can call from public phones using prepaid tel. cards tarjetas ladatel, bought at magazine stalls. Cards can be purchased in 30, 50 or 100 pesos denominations. The rate to call the US is roughly equivalent to $0.50 US per minute. Beware these are different than tarjetas amigo, viva, or unefon: they are for cellphones.

Some areas have only a few internet cafes; in others, they are plentiful. Common fees vary from 7 pesos/hour to 20 pesos/hour. Currently, most of the internet cafes offer calls to the US for a better rate than a payphone, usually via VoIP.

If you have an unlocked GSM phone, you can buy a prepaid SIM card in Mexico and have a local mobile phone number for use in cases of emergency. ROAMFREE Mobile provides free travel phones with good coverage throughout the country and you can get a SIM card for $150 pesos with $100 pesos talk time, look them up on the Internet before you leave. If you have an iPhone, you should purchase a package of data with ROAMFREE Mobile, as pay-as-you-go internet is extremely expensive.

It is often far cheaper than what hotels will charge you and incoming calls may also be free under certain schemes. Mexico operates on the same GSM frequency as the United States, 1900 Mhz. Wireless Internet connections are available in almost every major restaurant, hotel, and shopping mall in the big cities.

If you're staying for over a week and don't have a unlocked phone, it might be a good idea to buy a cheap
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Tel.: (52-55) 527-313-05, 551-608-70, 527-148-56, Fax: (52-55) 527-315-45

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General information

Capital: Washington, DC
Government: Federal Republic
Currency: US Dollar ($)
Area total: 9,826,675km²
water: 664,709km²
land: 9,161,966km²
Population: 316,451,000 (2013 estimate)
Language: English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census) Religion: Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)
Electricity: 120V, 60Hz
Country code: +1
Internet TLD: .us, .edu, .gov, .mil (most sites use .com, .net, .org)
Time Zone: UTC -4 to UTC -10
Emergencies: dial 911

The United States of America is a large country in North America, often referred to as the "USA", the "US", the "United States", "America", or simply "the States". It is home to the world's third-largest population, with over 310 million people. It includes both densely populated cities with sprawling suburbs, and vast, uninhabited and naturally beautiful areas.

With its history of mass immigration dating from the 17th century, it is a "melting pot" of cultures from around the world and plays a dominant role in the world's cultural landscape. It is famous for its wide array of popular tourist destinations, ranging from the skyscrapers of Manhattan and Chicago, to the natural wonders of Yellowstone and Alaska, to the warm, sunny beaches of Florida, Hawaii and Southern California.

The United States is not the America of television and the movies. It is large, complex, and diverse, with several distinct regional identities. Due to the vast distances involved, traveling between regions can be time-consuming and expensive.

Geography

The contiguous United States (called CONUS by US military personnel) or the "Lower 48" (the 48 states other than Alaska and Hawaii) is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, with much of the population living on the two coasts. Its land borders are shared with Canada to the north, and Mexico to the south. The US also shares maritime borders with Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

The country has three major mountain ranges. The Appalachians extend from Canada to the state of Alabama, a few hundred miles west of the Atlantic Ocean. They are the oldest of the three mountain ranges and offer spectacular sightseeing and excellent camping spots. The Rockies are, on average, the highest in North America, extending from Alaska to New Mexico, with many areas protected as national parks. They offer hiking, camping, skiing, and sightseeing opportunities. The combined Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges are the youngest. The Sierras extend across the "backbone" of California, with sites such as Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park; the Sierras transition at their northern end into the even younger volcanic Cascade range, with some of the highest points in the country. The Great Lakes define much of the border between the eastern United States and Canada. More inland seas than lakes, they were formed by the pressure of glaciers retreating north at the end of the last Ice Age. The five lakes span hundreds of miles, bordering the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, and their shores vary from pristine wilderness areas to industrial "rust belt" cities. They are the second-largest bodies of freshwater in the world, after the polar ice caps.

Climate

The overall climate is temperate, with notable exceptions. Alaska is cold and dominated by Arctic tundra, while Hawaii and South Florida are tropical. The Great Plains are dry, flat and grassy, turning into arid desert in the far West and Mediterranean along the California coast.

In the winter, the northern and mid-western major cities can see as much as 2 feet (61 cm) of snowfall in one day, with cold temperatures. Summers are humid, but mild. Temperatures over 100°F (38°C) sometimes invade the Midwest and Great Plains. Some areas in the northern plains can experience cold temperatures of -30°F (-34°C) during the winter. Temperatures below 0°F (-18°C) sometimes reach as far south as Oklahoma.

The climate of the South also varies. In the summer, it is hot and humid, but from October through April the weather can range from 60°F (15°C) to short cold spells of 20°F (-7°C) or so.

The Great Plains and Midwestern states also experience tornadoes from the late spring to early fall, earlier in the south and later in the north. States along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico, may experience hurricanes between June and November. These intense and dangerous storms frequently miss the US mainland, but evacuations are often ordered and should be heeded. The Rockies are cold and snowy. Some parts of the Rockies see over 500 inches (12 m) of snow in a season. Even during the summer, temperatures are cool in the mountains, and snow can fall nearly year-round. It is dangerous to go up in the mountains unprepared in the winter and the roads through them can get very icy.

The deserts of the Southwest are hot and dry during the summer, with temperatures often exceeding 100°F (38°C). Thunderstorms can be expected in the southwest frequently from July through September. Winters are mild, and snow is unusual. Average annual precipitation is low, usually less than 10 inches (25 cm).

Cool and damp weather is common in the coastal northwest (Oregon and Washington west of the Cascade Range, and the northern part of California west of the Coast Ranges/Cascades). Rain is most frequent in winter, snow is rare, especially along the coast, and extreme temperatures are uncommon. Rain falls almost exclusively from late fall through early spring along the coast. East of the Cascades, the northwest is considerably drier. Much of the inland northwest is either semi-arid or desert, though altitude and weather patterns may result in wetter climates in some areas.

Northeastern and cities of the Upper South are known for summers with temperatures reaching into the 90's (32°C) or more, with extremely high humidity, usually over 80%. This can be a drastic change from the Southwest. High humidity means that the temperature can feel hotter than actual readings. The Northeast also experiences snow, and at least once every few years there will be a dumping of the white stuff in enormous quantities.

Culture

The United States is made up of many diverse ethnic groups and its culture varies greatly across the vast area of the country and even within cities - a city like New York will have dozens, if not hundreds, of different ethnicities represented within a neighborhood. Despite this difference, there exists a strong sense of national identity and certain predominant cultural traits. Generally, Americans tend to believe strongly in personal responsibility and that an individual determines his or her own success or failure, but it is important to note that there are many exceptions and that a nation as diverse as the United States has literally thousands of distinct cultural traditions. One will find Mississippi in the South to be very different culturally from Massachusetts in the North.

Natural scenery

From the spectacular glaciers of Alaska to the wooded, weathered peaks of Appalachia; from the otherworldly desertscapes of the Southwest to the vast waters of the Great Lakes; few other countries have as wide a variety of natural scenery as the United States does.

America's National Parks are a great place to start. Yellowstone National Park was the first true National Park in the world, and it remains one of the most famous, but there are 57 others. The Grand Canyon is possibly the world's most spectacular gorge; Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park are both home to the world's largest living organisms, the Giant Sequoia; Redwood National park has the tallest, the Coast Redwood; Glacier National Park is home to majestic glacier-carved mountains; Canyonlands National Park could easily be mistaken for Mars; and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park features abundant wildlife among beautifully forested mountains. And the national parks aren't just for sightseeing, either; each has plenty of outdoors activities as well.

Still, the National Parks are just the beginning. The National Park Service also operates National Monuments, National Memorials, National Historic Sites, National Seashores, National Heritage Areas... the list goes on (and on). And each state has its own state parks that can be just as good as the federal versions. Most all of these destinations, federal or state, have an admission fee, but it all goes toward maintenance and operations of the parks, and the rewards are well worth it.

Those aren't your only options, though. Many of America's natural treasures can be seen without passing through admission gates. The world-famous Niagara Falls straddle the border between Canada and the U.S.; the American side lets you get right up next to the onrush and feel the power that has shaped the Niagara gorge. The "purple majesty" of the Rocky Mountains can be seen for hundreds of miles in any direction, while the placid coastal areas of the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic have relaxed Americans for generations. And, although they are very different from each other, Hawaii and Alaska are perhaps the two most scenic states; they don't just have attractions—they are attractions.

Historical attractions

Americans often have a misconception of their country as having little history. The US does indeed have a tremendous wealth of historical attractions—more than enough to fill months of history-centric touring.

The prehistory of the continent can indeed be a little hard to uncover, as most of the Native American tribes did not build permanent settlements. But particularly in the West, you will find magnificent cliff dwellings at sites such as Mesa Verde, as well as near-ubiquitous rock paintings. The Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. is another great place to start learning about America's culture before the arrival of European colonists.

As the first part of the country to be colonized by Europeans, the eastern states of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South have more than their fair share of sites from early American history. The first successful British colony on the continent was at Jamestown, Virginia, although the settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts, may loom larger in the nation's mind.

In the eighteenth century, major centers of commerce developed in Philadelphia and Boston, and as the colonies grew in size, wealth, and self-confidence, relations with Great Britain became strained, culminating in the Boston Tea Party and the ensuing Revolutionary War...

Monuments and architecture

Americans have never shied away from heroic feats of engineering, and many of them are among the country's biggest tourist attractions.

Washington, D.C., as the nation's capital, has more monuments and statuary than you could see in a day, but do be sure to visit the Washington Monument (the world's tallest obelisk), the stately Lincoln Memorial, and the incredibly moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The city's architecture is also an attraction—the Capitol Building and the White House are two of the most iconic buildings in the country and often serve to represent the whole nation to the world.

Actually, a number of American cities have world-renowned skylines, perhaps none moreso than the concrete canyons of Manhattan, part of New York City. The site of the destroyed World Trade Center towers remains a gaping wound in Manhattan's vista, however America's tallest building, the new 1 World Trade Center, now stands adjacent to the site of the former towers. Also, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building stand tall, as they have for almost a century. Chicago, where the skyscraper was invented, is home to the country's single tallest building, the (former) Sears Tower, and an awful lot of other really tall buildings. Other skylines worth seeing include San Francisco (with the Golden Gate Bridge), Seattle (including the Space Needle), Miami, and Pittsburgh.

Some human constructions transcend skyline, though, and become iconic symbols in their own right. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Statue of Liberty in Manhattan, the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, and even the fountains of the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas all draw visitors to their respective cities. Even the incredible Mount Rushmore, located far from any major city, still attracts two million visitors each year.

Museums and galleries

In the US, there's a museum for practically everything. From toys to priceless artifacts, from entertainment legends to dinosaur bones—nearly every city in the country has a museum worth visiting.

The highest concentrations of these museums are found in the largest cities, of course, but none compare to Washington, D.C., home to the Smithsonian Institution. With almost twenty independent museums, most of them located on the National Mall, the Smithsonian is the foremost curator of American history and achievement. The most popular of the Smithsonian museums are the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the National Museum of Natural History, but any of the Smithsonian museums would be a great way to spend an afternoon—and they're all 100% free.

New York City also has an outstanding array of world-class museums, including the Guggenheim Museum, the American Museum of Natural History,the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

You could spend weeks exploring the cultural institutions just in D.C. and the Big Apple, but here's a small fraction of the other great museums you'd be missing:

  • Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh
  • Children's Museum of Indianapolis — Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Exploratorium — San Francisco
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame — Los Angeles
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium — Monterey, California
  • Museum of Science & Industry — Chicago
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — Springfield, Massachusetts
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore — Baltimore, Maryland
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum — Cooperstown, New York
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame — Canton, Ohio
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum — Cleveland, Ohio
  • San Diego Zoo — San Diego, California
  • Strong National Museum of Play — Rochester, New York

Itineraries

Here is a handful of itineraries spanning regions across the United States:

  • Appalachian Trail — a foot trail along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine
  • Braddock Expedition — traces the French-Indian War route of British General Edward Braddock (and a younger George Washington) from Alexandria, Virginia through Cumberland, Maryland to the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh.
  • The Jazz Track — a nation-wide tour of the most important clubs in jazz history and in jazz performance today
  • Lewis and Clark Trail — retrace the northwest route of the great American explorers along the Missouri River
  • Route 66 — tour the iconic historic highway running from Chicago to Los Angeles
  • Santa Fe Trail — a historic southwest settler route from Missouri to Santa Fe
  • Touring Shaker country — takes you to one current and eight former Shaker religious communities in the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Midwest regions of the United States.
  • U.S. Highway 1 — traveling along the east coast from Maine to Florida.

Contacts

Emergency Services

United rescue — 911
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Cabine
Cost
The price per passenger based on double occupancy in a cabin for each category cabins.
IS - Inside (Guaranteed)
from $1,049.00
Interior cabin
from $1,099.00
Interior
from $1,099.00
Interior cabin
from $1,109.00
Interior cabin
from $1,114.00
Interior cabin
from $1,124.00
Interior with Window (Obstructed View)
from $1,144.00
OV - Ocean view (Guaranteed)
from $1,199.00
Ocean View
from $1,249.00
BL - Balcony (Guaranteed)
from $1,429.00
Balcony (obstructed views)
from $1,479.00
Balcony cabin
from $1,549.00
Balcony cabin
from $1,549.00
Balcony cabin
from $1,559.00
Balcony cabin
from $1,569.00
Balcony cabin
from $1,579.00
Balcony cabin
from $1,589.00
Extended Balcony
from $1,594.00
Extended Balcony
from $1,599.00
Aft-View Extended Balcony
from $1,629.00
Aft-View Extended Balcony
from $1,714.00
Premium Balcony (Obstructed View)
from $1,784.00
Premium Balcony
from $1,924.00
Ocean suite
from $2,739.00
Junior Suite
from $2,725.00
Vista suite
from $3,229.00
Grand suite
from $3,369.00
Carnival Pride
Year of built: 2001
Year of reconstruction: 2011
Length: 292.6 meters
Width: 32.2 meters
Cruising speed: 22 knots
Displacement: 88,500 tons
Passenger capacity:: 2,124
Onboard crew: 930
Number of cabins: 1,062
Number of passenger decks: 12

* Dear visitors! All descriptions, cabin photographs and ship infrastructure are showed for informational purposes only and may differ from the actual.

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Deck: PROMENADE
Description: So maybe you’ve had sushi on a cruise before, but you’ve never had it like this. Introducing Wasabi Sushi Bar, the next-generation onboard seafood-and-soy-sauce spot.
Deck: PROMENADE
Description: Enjoy decadent and undeniably delicious dining in the Napoleon Club Restaurant. Choose Early (6 p.m.), Late (8:15 p.m.) or Your Time (5:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) dining and feast on the ultimate culinary delights.
Deck: PROMENADE
Description: Normandie Restaurant has a large menu will be presented hot and cold meals and snacks, salads and soups. Also you will enjoy signature steaks, chicken and pasta, and enjoy the incredible taste of original desserts.
Deck: LIDO
Description: When you coming to a restaurant would you like to choose their own table? Then do not pass by a great restaurant Mermaid's Grand Restaurant, where your meal is depends entirely on you! Choose any liked the dish and an appetizer from the "buffet" and have a seat at the table that you liked. Came with their children? Fine! La Playa Grand Restaurant have a great children's menu, which includes spaghetti, pizza, hot dogs, fresh fruit, fruit drinks and all kinds of desserts.
Deck: SUN
Description: Hope you packed a big appetite. Dig into a juicy steak in our most sophisticated setting.
Description: Hungry, but don’t feel like leaving your stateroom? Relax. Our complimentary room service is available 24 hours a day.
Interior cabin
Interior
Interior cabin
Interior cabin
Interior cabin
Interior with Window (Obstructed View)
Ocean View
Balcony (obstructed views)
Balcony cabin
Balcony cabin
Balcony cabin
Balcony cabin
Balcony cabin
Balcony cabin
Extended Balcony
Extended Balcony
Aft-View Extended Balcony
Aft-View Extended Balcony
Premium Balcony (Obstructed View)
Premium Balcony
Ocean suite
Junior Suite
Vista suite
Grand suite

Cabins

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Interior cabin
Ocean View

Infrastructure

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Butterflies Lounge

CLOUD 9 SPA


This two-deck spa features both exclusive spa staterooms and an extensive range of top-quality facilities and treatments in an elegant, tranquil setting.

You will love the massages, and enjoy being soothed with emollients, renewed with defoliants, and even relaxed with hot stones or aromatherapy. And yes... men love being pampered too.

  • Acupuncture
  • Massages
  • Body Wraps and Slimming Treatments
  • Thalassotherapy Pool (available on select ships)
  • Facial Treatments
  • Tooth Whitening
  • Men's Services
  • Special Spa Packages
  • Steam Rooms
  • Water Therapies
  • Thermal Suites

HAIR & BEAUTY SALON

Our European-style salon is staffed with trained professionals who specialize in pampering you and bringing out all your best features. Whether it’s a glamorous up do for evening or just a great cut, new color or deep conditioning for your hair and scalp, our staff is here to make it happen. Don’t forget to give your hands and feet some attention with a luxurious manicure and pedicure. You’ll be feeling brand-new from head to pampered toe in no time.


MEN'S SERVICES

Our salon offers a variety of treatments for men, including haircuts, shaves, manicures, pedicures, facials and hairstyling. Thinking of darkening that grey? Consider us your onboard experts. If it’s total relaxation you're looking for, book a massage to work out those aches and pains, and schedule a little time in the steam room or sauna to feel your worries melt away. And if calling it the "salon" makes you feel weird, feel free to call it the "barbershop." We're cool with that, too.

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