Category: Caribbean and Central America

Nicaragua Geography and Climate

Nicaragua Geography and Climate

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, bordering Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country has coastline to the Caribbean Sea as well as to the Pacific Ocean. During the 16th century, the Spanish Empire colonized the region. Nicaragua gained its independence from Spain in 1821 and since then the country has gone through periods of political unrest. Today, the country is a democratic republic and in recent years there has been political stability and economic growth. In 2012, a population of about 6 million was reached, and the population consists of Indians from the Mosquito coast, Europeans, Africans, Asians and people from the Middle East. The capital is Managua and is the third largest city in the country. The official language is Spanish, but there are also other languages ​​such as the Native American languages ​​used by various Native American tribes.

Because it has such a large mix of culture and tradition, the country has great diversity in art and literature. Famous Nicaraguan poets and writers include Rubén Darío, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, and Ernesto Cardenal. Nicaragua is also on its way to becoming a very popular tourist destination, which depends a lot on the beautiful tropical climate and on exciting environments with active volcanoes.

Geography and climate

The country’s geography consists of three main zones, namely the lowlands of the Pacific Ocean, the central highlands and the lowlands of the Caribbean Sea. On the Pacific side, there are the two largest freshwater lakes in Central America, Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua. Around these lakes there are fertile plains with soil enriched by ash from nearby volcanoes. Lake Nicaragua is Central America’s largest source of freshwater and here is the unusual freshwater shark that has been named the Nicaragua shark. Nicaragua has natural resources in the form of silver, gold, copper, zinc, lead, tungsten, timber and fish. In the parts of the country that are at lower altitudes, the climate is tropical and when you reach higher altitudes, it becomes cooler and drier.

According to bridgat.com, Nicaragua is often hit by natural disasters in the form of earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and severe storms. There are also problems with polluted water and deforestation leading to soil erosion. One fifth of the country has been set aside as protected areas and nature reserves.

Tourism

Today, tourism is very important to Nicaragua’s economy and this is an area that is only growing. Many tourists come from the United States and some stay and settle in Nicaragua. You also get visits from other parts of Central America, from South America and from Europe. Popular tourist destinations are Granada León, Masaya, Rivas, San Juan del Sur and the Corn Islands. The concept of ecotourism is also being developed, which attracts many to come and visit the country. Of course, many also come to enjoy the beaches which are well suited for surfing.

Nicaragua Geography

Sights of Panama

Sights of Panama

You can see the famous Panama Canal, and at the same time the enchanting rainforests that surround it, by visiting the Soberanía National Park or National Park Soberanía. Here you can get acquainted with the flora and fauna of Panama, go kayaking on Gatun Lake and the Chagres River, on the banks of which, by the way, there is an ethnic village of the Embera people. The world famous nature trail through the park called Pipeline Road is also located in Soberania Park, this is the best place to observe the life of wild animals and birds in the region. The largest and busiest ports in the world are located in Panama. You can be impressed by the abundance of ships and goods from all over the world and feel the unique port atmosphere in the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks. Here you can also learn the history of the construction and development of the Panama Canal and even ride along it. In the capital of the Republic, Panama City, do not miss the opportunity to visit the old quarter of Casco Antigua, full of colonial architecture in a mixed Havana and New Orleans style. And the Place de France also offers beautiful panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean! Causeway Dam is the meeting place for everyone and everything in Panama City, where most of the restaurants and other institutions of the capital are concentrated. Views of skyscrapers on the one hand and hundreds of ships in the Gulf of Panama on the other make everyone come here: both citizens and foreign tourists. Don’t miss Ankon Hill, home to rare agoutis and exotic toucans, and Panama la Vieia, the first colonial settlement now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can and should plunge into the cultural environment of Panama in the Sun Blas archipelago, where the ethnic minorities of Kuna Yala and Embera live. San Blas includes 360 coral islands in the Caribbean Sea, where these peoples manage to maintain their usual way of life for more than a century. The Internet, Coca-Cola and advertising for them will be nothing more than incomprehensible words.

National cuisine of Panama

According to calculatorinc, traditional Panamanian cuisine is rooted in Central American traditions and combines Indian and Spanish flavors. The main ingredients, without which it is impossible to imagine the local cuisine of Panama, are rice, corn, legumes, meat, onions, vegetables and herbs. A separate role is assigned to the national cuisine and seafood, because the country is located off the coast of two oceans at once! Among the characteristic features of serving dishes in Panama, it is worth mentioning a small amount of spices in dishes (hot and spicy sauces are served separately), an abundance of vegetable salads, as well as replacing ordinary dishes with tortillas, in which food is directly laid out. The most common dishes of Panamanian cuisine include rice with beef “arros-con-carne” – pork with corn or potatoes in banana leaves, scrambled eggs – “juevos revueltos”, “paella” – rice with seafood, “fufu” bananas and sea fish stewed in coke milk, fried and then chilled fish fillet “escabeche” and much more. All this is used with all kinds of cakes, such as “tortilla de mais” or “plantan tortillas”. Strong Panamanian coffee is the talk of the town, here it is drunk around the clock after each meal and between them, served with a jug of milk. Numerous desserts are called upon to offset coffee bitterness: vanilla tres leche pie, pi de lemon pie with lemons, el carmelho – a fruit pie, as well as bananas with vanilla and cinnamon, fried dough with ohaldres jam and coconut meringue plantain tortillas. The local drink “chichas de papaya” made from fresh papaya juice and pineapple is also very popular. The most common alcoholic drinks are Abuelo rum.

Transport

There are no direct flights to Panama from Russia, but the country is connected by air with several dozen countries, so you can use one of the transit options. For example, you can fly to Panama with a transfer in London or one of the US cities. There is also a land option: through Costa Rica, there are three border crossings open to international buses and other transport: Paso Canoas, Sabalito and Sixaola. Getting through Colombia to Panama is possible only formally, the border here is difficult to pass. Panama’s main airport is Tocumen or Tocumen International Airport (PTY), located 24 km east of Panama City, where most international flights arrive. Domestic flights in Panama are provided by three local airlines: Aeroperlas, Copa Airlines and Air Panama. Flights are usually very inexpensive, but there is a high probability of an unexpected cancellation or rescheduling of the flight. The most common type of transport in the country is buses: intercity (with air conditioning) and urban (more often without them). They connect all settlements of the country and areas in large cities. The main bus station, Albrook Bus Station, is located in Panama City. Some of the Panama Islands can be reached by sea, but be careful, many ships are smuggling. Taxis are available only in major cities, the price is negotiable, which should be discussed before the start of the trip. To avoid theft and other crimes, it is recommended to use the services of official branded taxis only. The cost of a trip from Tocumen Airport to Panama City is about $20. To rent a car, you will need an international driver’s license and a credit card as a deposit. For safety reasons, do not leave the car unattended, close all doors and windows, and do not leave anything of value inside. Panama is famous for its quality roads, the best in Latin America. From east to west, the Pan-American Highway runs through the country, no less high-quality roads pass from it to the coasts.

Sights of Panama

Guadeloupe and Dominica Trips

Guadeloupe and Dominica Trips

There is hardly any other place where nature could be greener or the beaches more dreamy. Guadeloupe and Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic!) Are true wonders of vegetation and proof that greener than green is possible. It grows and blooms from every corner, numerous birds sing their songs in the trees and there is plenty of fruit – every market on the islands overshadows most of what has been known so far.

A tropical, colored piece of France

Musically, the islands also have their own direction. The ” Ka “, a hand drum from Africa, has proven itself to this day as THE instrument and you can hear the rhythmic sounds all over Guadeloupe. The drum is also an object of the island’s rich history and is a symbol of the abolition of slavery. If you don’t just want to linger on the dream beaches of the islands, you will find a large piece of history, lots of untouched nature and extremely friendly people here.

Travel information in brief

When is the best time to travel?

The weather in Dominica is very tropical. There is abundant rainfall all year round, especially in the interior of the island. The rainy season is from June to October, and hurricanes can also occur during this time. Heavy rains occur, especially in the mountainous inland regions. The annual average temperature is 27 ° C. Guadeloupe, on the other hand, has a subtropical climate that is tempered by the trade winds. The rainy season lasts from May to November, but cyclones also occur here frequently during this time. The slightly cooler dry season covers the months of November to April.

What currency do you pay with?

The currency of Dominica is the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD). You can get this in exchange for common currencies in hotels and most banks. However, some banks only change US dollars. The credit card (MasterCard, Visa) is widely used as a means of payment and you can also use it to withdraw money from the machine. Since Guadeloupe is part of France, the currency of Guadeloupe is the euro. So there is no need to change money here. With a VISA card you will have few problems paying. Most international credit cards, which you can also use to withdraw cash from the machine, are also accepted.

Which vaccinations do you need?

No vaccinations are required for travelers from Germany. When entering from yellow fever endemic areas, a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for both island states. The Federal Foreign Office also recommends refreshing the standard vaccinations in accordance with the Robert Koch Institute. A vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended as a travel vaccination, and hepatitis B and typhoid fever for long-term stays. Remember to get all vaccinations in good time and consult your doctor.

How does the entry / visa work?

German nationals can enter the French overseas department of Guadeloupe with a valid passport or ID card without a visa. However, if the flight route includes a stopover outside of the Caribbean islands belonging to the French overseas territories (currently e.g. Condor from Martinique via Tobago), ID checks may be carried out there. In this case, a passport that is valid for at least 6 months is required. German citizens do not need a visa to enter Dominica for a stay of up to 90 days. You need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months to enter the country. Every traveler, including children, needs their own identification document.

Guadeloupe & Dominica – more than just a destination in the Caribbean

The Guadeloupe archipelago and the island of Dominica offer countless opportunities to experience unforgettable moments. With its offshore islands, Guadeloupe looks like a butterfly surrounded by 6 fireflies from a bird’s eye view. An arm of the sea, the “salty river” divides the island into two parts, the predominantly agricultural Grande-Terre with its white sandy beaches and the green paradise of Basse-Terre.

Dominica, on the other hand, is the most pristine Antilles island and the last Caribbean Indians have their habitat here. When it comes to paradisiacal beaches, the island lags a little behind its neighbor Guadeloupe, but it makes up for it with a fascinating underwater world that is among the best in the world and is one of the largest natural paradises in the entire Caribbean.

Dominica Trips

How to Get to Jamaica

How to Get to Jamaica

Jamaica arrival

Airplane: the national airline in Jamaica is Air Jamaica. She flies mainly from London (Great Britain) to Jamaica. Air Jamaica flies to numerous Caribbean destinations from Montego Bay (Antigua, St. Lucia, Bonaire, Bahamas, Barbados, Havana, Grenada, Curaçao, Santo Domingo and the Turks and Caicos Islands). Many of these flights are served by Air Jamaica’s national airline Air Jamaica Express.

The airline Caribbean Airlines also flies from London to Jamaica with a stopover in Antigua is inserted. Lufthansa flies from Germany (Frankfurt) to Jamaica (stopover in Miami, USA). British Airways flies from several German airports as well as Vienna and Zurich to Jamaica (stopover in London-Gatwick).

Iberia (from Vienna, Düsseldorf, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Hamburg to Montego Bay), LTU (from Düsseldorf to Montego Bay), Martinair (from Amsterdam to Montego Bay) and Aeroflot (from Ireland to Montego Bay) also fly from Europe.
Other airlines that offer flights to Jamaica include American Airlines, US Airways, BWIA West Indies Airways, Cubana, Cayman Airways, Air Canada, COPA Airlines, International AirLink and Northwest Airlines.
Condor offers cheap flights to Jamaica (Montego Bay) from airports in Germany. In the US, the most popular flights to Jamaica are from Miami and New York.

Within the Caribbean fly ALM / Dutch Caribbean (between Montego Bay and Kingston and Curacao), BWIA (Kingston to Antigua, Barbados and Trinidad), Cayman Airways (between Kingston and Montego Bay and Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac) and Sky King (between Kingston and the Turks and Caicos Islands).

There are charter flights to Jamaica from the USA, Canada, Great Britain and Europe. The prices are often cheaper than on scheduled flights, but there is also a lack of flexibility to change flight times.

Airports: Jamaica has two international airports in Kingston and Montego Bay.

According to commit4fitness, most passengers in Jamaica arrive at Donald Sangster International Airport (MBJ), about 2 miles north of Montego Bay. There is the possibility of renting a rental car.

The international airport Norman Manley International Airport (KIN) is 17 km south-east of Kingston. From here both buses and taxis go to the city center, the journey time is around half an hour. However, it is also possible to rent a rental car.

Cruises: Every year more than 800,000 passengers come to Jamaica on cruise ships, making the country one of the world’s most popular cruise destinations.
The visits are usually limited to a day’s stay either in Ocho Rios or Montego Bay, from 2009 the port of Falmouth will also be used. Most cruises last one to two weeks and also call at other destinations in the western Caribbean, such as Progreso and Cozumel in Mexico, Key West, Grand Cayman and Miami.

Some of the cruise lines that offer cruises to Jamaica include Celebrety Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, and Costa Cruise Lines.

Several cargo ships on the route between North America and Europe also anchor in Jamaica, some also take paying passengers on board.
A helpful book on being able to ride on cargo ships is Ford’s Freighter Travel Guide.

Yacht : Many sailors come to Jamaica from North America. However, there is a risk of hurricanes in mid to late summer.
Upon arrival in Jamaica, you will have to go through the formalities with Customs and Immigration in either Montego Bay (Montego Bay Yacht Club), Kingston (Jamaica Royal Yacht Club, Port Royal), Ocho Rios (St. Ann’s Bay) or the West Harbor in Port Antonio.

Jamaica entry requirements

Passport:
is a general requirement for traveling to Jamaica. Of the passport(or the temporary passport) must be valid at least until the end of the planned stay in Jamaica. A return or onward ticket is required for entry by plane.

Visa:
For tourist trips with a maximum stay of 90 days in Jamaica, citizens of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Turkey do not have a visa.

Citizens of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Turkey do not need a visa for business trips with a maximum stay of 30 days in Jamaica. If you are planning a business trip to Jamaica for more than 30 days, you can apply for a visa at the relevant Jamaican embassy (see Jamaica – important addresses).

An extension of the stay is also possible in Jamaica, the application is submitted to the responsible immigration authority.

Entry with children:
For accompanying children, the same visa requirements apply as for their parents. Every child needs their own travel document, which will last at least until the end of the plannedStayis valid in Jamaica.

Germany: The German child ID card with photo (up to the age of 16) or a separate passport is accepted. Child ID cards are no longer issued in Germany, existing child ID cards remain valid until the expiry date.

Austria: separate passport for children.

Switzerland: separate passport for children.

Adequate funds:
Foreign visitors must have sufficient funds for their trip. Vaccinations: You can find detailed information on recommended and required vaccinations for traveling to Jamaica in the chapter Jamaica – Health and Diseases. Entry with pets:

Dogs and cats are not allowed to be brought into Jamaica from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Birds are generally not allowed to enter Jamaica.

How to Get to Jamaica

Information about Cuba

Information about Cuba

Feel the Cuban warmth and rhythm of atmospheric Havana and the relaxed atmosphere of the countless exotic beaches that surround the island. In the soul of the Cubans there is not only the lively salsa music and fast-paced dance, but also the joy of life itself.

On this page you will find practical information and facts about Cuba.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT TRAVELING IN CUBA

Climate and best travel time
Cuba has a tropical climate and can be visited all year round. The annual average temperature varies from 20 to 28 degrees. The best time to visit the country is between November and April, when the weather is mostly dry and the risk of hurricanes is lowest. Between April and November it is rainy season and hurricane season in Cuba, but that should not deter anyone from traveling to the country. It does not rain constantly and even if the temperatures are high it does not feel uncomfortable because the island is narrow and it constantly flows in cooling air currents from the sea. Visit thedresswizard.com for best time to travel to Cuba.

Our recommendations on when it is best to travel to Cuba are based on how the climate has been last year. The weather in Cuba can be very variable and unpredictable and therefore our recommendations should only be seen as an indication.

Accommodation
We recommend that you try to stay in a “Casa Particular” on your travels – it is accommodation in private rooms in a private home or with an ordinary family. It is often the cheapest but also the best way to experience Cuba.

Money
There are two currencies in the country, Cuban pesos (Cup) and pesos convertibles (CUC). These are pesos convertibles that you get paid out when you as a tourist exchange currency at the bank. Cuban pesos are the local currency that Cubans receive in salary.
We recommend that you bring euros to Cuba in cash. It is the cheapest currency to exchange for pesos convertibles.
Visa cards are accepted at banks and exchange offices (Casas de Cambio) as well as at state-owned hotels. However, please note that a change fee is often charged on your Visa card. In addition, it is not possible to withdraw money at all banks with foreign cards and it can be difficult to find ATMs. Passports must be shown when you want to withdraw money with your Visa card.

Visa
conditions NOTE! The visa rules can be changed at short notice, so We recommend that you check the current conditions at the country’s embassy. The following information may change.

We are approved by the Cuban state to issue visas for Swedish travelers to Cuba. If you book a package trip with us, a 30-day tourist visa (Tarjeta del Turista) is included. The visa is issued only in connection with a booking of at least two nights, which is a requirement of the Cuban state.
Passports must be valid for at least three months after the end of the trip. You must always have your “Tarjeta del Turista” with you during your stay in Cuba. Contact us for more information about visas.

Sickness insurance
As of May 1, 2010, the Cuban authorities have introduced a requirement for valid travel health insurance for entry into Cuba. Proof of valid travel health insurance in English or insurance certificate issued by an insurance company must be presented upon entry. Travelers who do not have travel insurance on arrival in Cuba must purchase insurance at the airport, port or marina.

Also pay special attention to the fact that not all insurance companies have been approved by the Cuban authorities.

European belongs to the companies approved by the Cuban authorities in accordance with the documentation requirements, and is on the Cuban embassy’s lists of approved travel insurance companies. European also issues documentation in English to all travelers traveling to Cuba.

Transportation
It is relatively expensive for foreigners to travel around Cuba.

Bus Bus
companies that focus on tourists work well. Video entertainment and air conditioning raise the price. You can choose between the Viazul and Astro buses. The astro buses are of a slightly lower standard. It is highly recommended that tickets be purchased a few days in advance or to arrive at the ticket office very early before departure. The buses stop for meals and it is not necessary to bring your own food.

Train
Trains are generally cheaper and slower than buses. Train tickets are purchased at the train station in the “LADIS” hatch and paid for in cash. Lighter dishes can be bought, but bring some food yourself as the trains can sometimes be many hours late. The tracks run from east to west and from north to south. The trains can recommend for long journeys, especially at night because the seats are large and comfortable – and there is plenty of legroom.

Car
There can be great benefits to renting a car. Your own car not only saves you time on transport, but you also have total freedom to reach places that cannot be reached by local transport. One-way rental is possible for an additional fee. Visa cards can be used at the Servi-Cupet petrol stations in all major cities. The road network in Cuba is well developed, but in many places the maintenance is poor. Except on motorways, it is not possible to maintain a speed of more than 60-70 km / h due to many holes in the asphalt. Always bring a spare wheel in the boot! Please note that on the motorways, in contrast to in Sweden, all means of transport are allowed, including bicycles and horse-drawn carriages.

We recommend that you bring a map or download maps that you can use offline.

Taxi
The worse the condition – the cheaper, is the basic rule of taxis. Alternatively, you can travel with the private “black” taxis without taximeters and without signs. Here you have to bargain on the price. If you are four people who are going on a longer trip, it often pays to share a “black” taxi instead of taking the bus.

Flights
It can be very time-saving to fly domestically, but book well in advance and expect overbookings and delays.

Tip
In most countries, tips are part of the salaries of employees in the service industry. Therefore, it is good practice (and sometimes directly necessary) to give tips to, for example, cleaning staff, waiters, guides, drivers, etc. depending on the country you are visiting. Therefore, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with how much is normally given in tips and to whom before you embark on your journey. Find information on tips in Lonely Planet’s guidebooks.

Wages in Cuba are generally low and it is therefore a really good idea to always leave tips. Just giving a little coin to someone who shows the way can be a great joy. In addition to tips, it is a good idea to bring some gifts for those you visit. This can be pencils and crayons, clothes, sweets and not least soap.

FACTS

CAPITAL: HAVANA

LANGUAGE: SPANISH

CLIMATE: TROPICAL

CURRENCY: CUBAN PESOS AND CONVERTIBLE PESOS

RELIGION: CATHOLICISM

INFORMATION CUBA

Cuba’s soul
Cuba is poor and worn but at the same time magnificently rich and prosperous. Cubans are curious and hospitable and despite the moderate lifestyle, Cubans exude an infectious zest for life. To really enjoy Cuba’s warm soul, you have to live in the country’s different and very relaxing pace and pace. Once the pace has been found, salsa, rum and cigar are the next step into the happy Cuban lifestyle.

Nightlife and pride
In Cuba, life is lived on the streets with the old charming Spanish colonial-style buildings. The streets are full of life, unless Fidel Castro’s speeches are broadcast, baseball is played in the stadium, or the daily episode of a South American television series (telenovela) is broadcast, music is heard from every street corner, dominoes are played in the shade of trees, cigars are smoked the benches and there is a lively discussion about Cuba before and after the revolution. Most Cubans notice a certain pride in the revolution, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and the other comrades. But many Cubans are also very curious about the world outside the island.

Scenic pearl
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean. But the island is affordable whether you cycle, drive or take the train around the island. Everywhere, the dark red earth is seen as a sign of the lush Caribbean nature. Sugarcane plantations and banana plantations, orchid oases and not least some of the world’s best beaches make Cuba an interesting and beautiful experience.

Information about Cuba

Tikal National Park (World Heritage)

Tikal National Park (World Heritage)

The ruined city of the same name, located in the Tikal National Park, is one of the most famous Mayan sites with more than 3000 temples, palaces and residential buildings. The Maya left the place more than 1000 years ago. The national park covers an area of ​​575 km² and has the largest area of ​​tropical rainforest in Central America. Visit behealthybytomorrow.com for Guatemala travel package.

Tikal National Park: facts

Official title: Tikal National Park
Cultural and natural monument since 1955 national park with 576 km²; about 4,000 temples, palaces, multi-storey houses as an expression of urban prosperity and dynastic power; i.a. the central acropolis with five courtyards and the 9,300 m² “Great Square” with buildings that are on the axes of the cardinal points; one of the most important Central American ecosystems with more than 2000 plant species, including 300 tree species such as mahogany and chicozapote
continent America
country Guatemala, Peten
location northeast of Guatemala City
appointment 1979
meaning one of the most important Mayan sites and with 221 km² the largest area of ​​tropical rainforest in Guatemala and Central America

Tikal National Park: history

2nd century BC Chr.-9. Century AD Settlement under 39 generations of rulers, including 219-38 reign of Yax Moch Xoc
682 Ah Cacao (Ha Sawa Chaan K’awil) coming to power
1848 Report of the governor of the Péten province on Tikal
1881/82 Visit and research work by Maya researcher Alfred Percival Maudslay
1950-61 extensive exposures
1979-85 Uncovering »Mundo Perdido«
Flora and fauna: 54 species of mammals, including Predators such as puma, ocelot, jaguar, and jaguarundi; Mantled howler and Geoffrey spider monkeys, Central American tapirs, whiskered and collar peccaries, white-tailed deer; Nine-banded armadillo; Giant and pygmy anteater and three-toed sloth; 333 species of birds such as red macaws and 38 species of snakes such as the poisonous coral snake

Jungle concert in the Mayan cosmos

Morning haze rises and is driven away by the slowly rising sun. The jungle “sweats out” the night moisture, or so it seems. Birds start their morning concert, the hunters of the night retreat into the undergrowth. The first warming rays of the sun drive away the night coolness. A symphony of never-before-heard jungle noises mixes with the still life of the rainforest. Happy who managed to climb a Mayan pyramid at this early hour and watch the sunrise over Tikal. In the early morning, the visitor still has what was once the largest city of the Mayas to himself. From here the Mayan cosmos was ruled, here priests and princes sat high up in their temples and determined the fate of thousands of subjects. In the heyday, up to 55,000 people are said to have lived here. Certainly it took very careful planning to keep them all busy and fed. Possibly the lack of food in particular was the cause of the sudden demise of the Mayan culture, but that is still only a guess. Several thousand buildings – temples, palaces, pyramids, shrines and ball courts – were built by the Mayans of Tikal, but most of them are still hidden under the dense green of the jungle and can only be seen as earth-covered hills. After the residents suddenly gave up the city, it fell into disrepair and eventually became part of a rampant rainforest. Possibly the lack of food in particular was the cause of the sudden demise of the Mayan culture, but that is still only a guess. Several thousand buildings – temples, palaces, pyramids, shrines and ball courts – were built by the Mayans of Tikal, but most of them are still hidden under the dense green of the jungle and can only be seen as earth-covered hills. After the residents suddenly gave up the city, it fell into disrepair and eventually became part of a rampant rainforest. Possibly the lack of food in particular was the cause of the sudden demise of the Mayan culture, but that is still only a guess. Several thousand buildings – temples, palaces, pyramids, shrines and ball courts – were built by the Mayans of Tikal, but most of them are still hidden under the dense green of the jungle and can only be seen as earth-covered hills. After the residents suddenly gave up the city, it fell into disrepair and eventually became part of a rampant rainforest.

Just the sheer size of the ruins of Tikal over 16 square kilometers gives an idea of ​​its past size. No other Maya facility that has been researched to date offers anything like it. While other Mayan ruins have been completely exposed, the ruins of Tikal rise here and there from the green of the forest. Colorful feathered macaws screech in the lush green rainforest. Apparently forgetting the force of gravity, spider monkeys jump through the treetops with ease. Isolated jaguars roam largely unnoticed. In muggy weather, numerous visitors marvel at the impressive stoneware in the jungle – a real sweaty undertaking.

The most impressive buildings are around the Gran Plaza, the former center of power. Two large, steep pyramids rise on the east and west sides. The 45 meter high “Temple of the Great Jaguar”, also known as “Temple I”, is a majestic sight. The ruler Ah Cacao was immortalized in it around 700 AD. After his death he was buried in a ruler’s crypt under the pyramid, which contained valuable grave goods such as a jade mask that was only discovered in 1963.

Ah Cacao also had the “Temple of the Masks” opposite, “Temple II” built. Two masks that adorn the steep staircase gave the building its name. There is a kind of temple attachment at the top. A mural showing the execution of a prisoner could once be admired here. The north side of the large square is bounded by the “Acrópolis del Norte”, the northern acropolis, which was originally formed by 16 temples. The pictorial characters on several steles, which have been damaged by the dampness of the jungle, are barely recognizable.

Behind the “Temple of Masks” a 300 meter long path leads through the jungle to the “Lost World” – “Mundo Perdido”. The oldest, restored pyramid, the “Gran Pirámide”, with its 35 meters, only slightly towers over the foliage roof of the jungle. Steep stairs lead up on each side of this square structure. After the efforts of the ascent, you will be rewarded with a wonderful view over the former center of power of the Maya. The eye wanders over isolated gray spots of color that stand out against the omnipresent green. The panoramic view from the much higher »Temple IV« remains even more lasting. This almost 65 meter high “Temple of the Two-Headed Serpent” (“Serpiente Bicéfala”) is today the tallest “ancient building” in Central America.

Tikal National Park (World Heritage)

World Bank Business

World Bank Business

The business

The main purpose of the World Bank is to promote sustainable economic growth in order to reduce poverty in the recipient countries. This is done by offering loans and guarantees, as well as providing support in the form of analysis and advice. The bank is the world’s largest financier of development aid.

Projects supported by the World Bank can focus on, for example, education, health care, road construction, environmental protection or reforms of the financial sector and public administration.

The Bank works closely with the governments of the recipient countries, but also with non-governmental organizations and with other international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the various UN specialized agencies and regional development banks.

The World Bank’s support for a country is based on an analysis of the causes of poverty in a recipient country. Based on the analysis, the World Bank then, in dialogue with the country’s government, develops a tailor-made assistance program that is described in so-called Country Assistance Strategies (CAS). The help can consist of financial support, advice or technical assistance.

Investments are made on the basis of achieving growth by building competence among representatives of the state and government, creating a functioning rule of law, developing stable financial systems and fighting corruption.

According to six strategic goals developed by Robert Zoellick, World Bank Governor 2007-2012, the work will focus on helping the poorest countries (mainly in Africa), preventing conflicts and supporting reconstruction in failing states, supporting middle-income countries as a majority of the world’s poor live there., safeguard public and public goods (not least the environment), expand cooperation with the Arab world, which is found to be poorly integrated into the world economy, and provide expertise and expertise.

Lending

The World Bank lends money to long-term development projects aimed at fighting poverty and creating growth. The bank is involved in approximately 1,700 projects in developing countries.

Middle-income countries can apply for loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which is part of the World Bank. Middle-income countries include countries with a national income per capita between about $ 1,000 and $ 12,000 a year. The recipient country pays interest on the loan, which is repaid within 15 years. The first five years are usually free of charge. Projects must have a good chance of becoming profitable.

The International Development Fund (IDA), which is also part of the World Bank, provides long-term loans to the poorest countries. The loans are given on very favorable terms, which means that they are virtually exempt from interest and have a long repayment period, between 20 and 40 years, of which the first 10 years are amortization-free. However, the projects financed by IDA must also be considered commercially profitable. Thus, IDA’s lending deviates from pure development assistance activities.

Some countries, especially small island states, which have higher incomes may also borrow from IDA as their credit rating is too low for IBRD loans. Other countries have such a low income that they qualify for IDA loans, but still a high enough credit rating to be able to borrow from the IBRD as well. The latter include India, Pakistan and Indonesia. A total of 78 countries qualified for IDA credits in 2009.

To obtain a loan through IDA, a country must develop a credible strategy for combating poverty, a so-called PRSP (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper; see also IMF: Progress). At the same time, IDA offers a special loan credit PRSC (Poverty Reduction Support Credit) which is given in parallel with the IMF’s so-called PRGF loan (see IMF: Progress) and which, like the latter, will support various structural and social reforms.

In 2008, the World Bank lent a total of $ 24.7 billion to 298 projects. The IBRD accounted for 13.5 billion, of which a third went to Latin America and the Caribbean and almost as much to countries in Europe and Central Asia. Of the $ 11.2 billion that IDA portioned out, just under a third was grants and the rest loans. Half of IDA’s money went to sub-Saharan Africa and a quarter to southern Asia.

External cooperation

According to commit4fitness, the World Bank works closely with the IMF, not least with regard to the HIPC initiative (see Progress). A 2007 report stated that there is room to strengthen cooperation, not least to better manage crisis situations, coordinate technical assistance and clarify the roles of the two institutions in the work of developing financial sectors. The Bank also works closely with a number of other UN agencies that also work to combat poverty in the world.

In addition to lending from the IBRD and IDA budgets, the World Bank also manages trust funds for assistance to particularly high-priority development needs. These funds are financed outside the World Bank’s own resources, mostly through contributions from about ten countries. The funds include multi-billion initiatives such as HIPC and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFTAM), as well as a wide range of smaller and more specialized projects.

The World Bank contributes to about 170 regional and global partnerships, often with similar purposes. In 2000, the Bank initiated an international collaboration between educational institutes in developing countries, the Global Development Learning Network. Co-financing of specific projects also occurs.

Technical assistance and research

An increasingly important part of the World Bank’s activities is technical assistance. This is given, among other things, in the form of the economic country analyzes that form the basis for designing aid programs for the recipient countries. Often, certain parts of the loans from IBRD and IDA are set aside for counseling, training and other forms of knowledge transfer. Technical assistance is also provided in the form of training in financial management and project analysis for officials from the member states’ public administrations.

The World Bank’s research forms the basis for how its work is designed and how the Bank prioritises the areas to be supported. The bank conducts a number of different research projects in different subject areas and regions. In addition to country analyzes, regional analyzes are produced each year that address various themes, such as regional trade, income distribution and work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

In addition, the bank issues several reports. One example is the annual World Development Report, which analyzes obstacles to development in the world and provides recommendations for how to bridge them. Another annual report is Poverty Reduction and the World Bank, which examines the effects of the World Bank’s efforts to reduce poverty.

World Bank Business

Caribbean Travel

Caribbean Travel

Travel to Bonaire

Travel to Bonaire

Bonaire – The diving paradise with an adventure profile! The Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire is known as the divers’ paradise. The island has relatively few beaches but is perfect for you who are looking for an active and close to nature holiday. Here also rests a calm and welcoming atmosphere. If you want to experience diving and snorkeling, Bonaire is a given alternative. Here you will also find a wide range of other outdoor activities such as cycling adventures, horse riding, kayaking and windsurfing. For longer excursions on the island you usually need a rental car.

Travel to Barbados

Travel to Barbados

For many people, Barbados has always been the epitome of a Caribbean island paradise. Here you will find fantastic beaches and the friendliest people imaginable. The nature is magnificent and along the coast you will find not only beautiful beaches but also dramatic rock formations and wonderful coves. Barbados has many faces and is a complete destination for those who love exciting nature experiences, but the island is also an excellent destination for those who may just want to take it easy in the shade of a palm tree. In Barbados there is really something for everyone – for those who like nightlife and Caribbean tones, the bar and restaurant life is well developed and for those who like to move around, there is a large selection of water sports activities. If you want to see a little more of the local life on the island, it is also perfectly possible to use the local buses.

For those interested in nature, the stalactite cave Harrison Cave with waterfalls and underground lakes is well worth a visit. Those interested in food and drink can take advantage of the Mount Gay rum distillery, which produces what many consider to be one of the world’s best rums. Those who love water sports can, for example, visit Silver Sands Beach on the south coast, which is windsurfers’ favorite beach. There is so much to do in Barbados! Those who want a little variety from beach life can also visit the capital Bridgetown, which is not bigger than you have time to explore it during a day trip.

As one of Caribbean countries defined by Countryaah, Barbados was once a British colony but is today an independent island state. However, some British phenomena such as cricket, horse racing and afternoon tea are still very popular, which gives the island’s cultural life a special charm. Barbados has a rich history, wonderful nature, well-developed service and a welcoming atmosphere – all the ingredients that make for a successful holiday!

Travel to Aruba

Travel to Aruba

With its palm-lined white beaches, turquoise waters and gentle sea breezes, Aruba is a dream destination for many Swedes. Here you will find a place in the sun with sparkling beaches and crystal clear water – Aruba really lives up to its reputation as a Caribbean paradise. It is sunny all year round and the water rarely gets colder than 25 degrees. Hurricanes and thunderstorms are uncommon and precipitation is low. Anyone who longs for sun, swimming and heat can travel here at any time during the year.

Arubas has a rather varied history and possesses a diversity that is reflected in the local cuisine, architecture and the warm, friendly population. The island’s first inhabitants belonged to the Arawaki tribe from the South American mainland, but over the centuries, people from different parts of the world have come to populate Aruba, as well as elsewhere in the Caribbean archipelago. Before the Dutch takeover in the 1630s, the island belonged to Spain. In the early 19th century, Aruba was also occasionally occupied by Britain. However, the official language of the island is Dutch because the island still belongs to the Netherlands, even though Aruba today has a far-reaching independence.

Aruba’s flag shows a white-edged red four-pointed star against a blue background with two horizontal yellow stripes at the bottom. The red star symbolizes the island itself surrounded by blue water. The yellow ribbons symbolize abundance, the red color of the star represents love and its white edges the chalk-white beaches that surround the island. Love lined with white beaches in a turquoise sea – it’s Aruba.

Travel to Antigua

Travel to Antigua

The Caribbean island of Antigua is known for its beautiful white beaches and turquoise waters. There are 365 beaches and during your holiday you will surely find your own favorite. Antigua, with its long white beaches and crystal clear waters, is a favorite destination for honeymooners. The island is truly something of a “tropical paradise” and the beaches lack the crowds you often find on the Mediterranean. Antigua is also suitable for families with children and there is plenty to do on the island – in addition to relaxing on one of the divinely beautiful beaches. Why not try kitesurfing, jet skiing, snorkeling, deep sea fishing or canoeing? You can also rent a car and discover the island on your own. Antigua is also an exciting island for the historically interested. In the surroundings of English Harbor on the southern part of the island you will find, for example, Nelson ‘ s Dockyard which was an English naval shipyard in the 18th century. Nelson’s Dockyard is located in a national park that also includes the Shirley Heights cliff from which you get a completely wonderful view of the surroundings. The British influence is evident on the island and villages and bays bear names reminiscent of Britain. About half of the island’s 60,000 inhabitants live in the pleasant capital St Johns, which is a fairly small town that is also well suited for exploring on foot. There are many boutiques and wine bars where you can slip in for a glass. By the harbor is the popular Redcliffe Quay with its cozy restaurants, small shops and bars. At the end of Market Street you will find the lively and colorful market filled with exotic fruits, vegetables and fresh fish.

Travel to Anguilla

Travel to Anguilla

The Caribbean island of Anguilla is a true paradise island for anyone seeking peace and quiet in the beautiful Caribbean archipelago. Here you will find chalk-white beaches and small cozy restaurants that, among other things, serve the island’s main delicacy – lobster. Here you can take the day as it comes and enjoy the gentle breeze from the sea. In addition to its pristine beaches and stunning coral reefs, Anguilla is also known for its relaxed and hospitable population. Anguilla is one of the least exploited islands in the Caribbean and hotels and restaurants maintain a very high standard. Therefore, a stay in Anguilla makes for a wonderful experience.

Anguilla is just a 20-minute boat ride from the island of St Martin (Sint Maarten), where the region’s international airport is located. From St. Martin, ferries to Anguilla run every half hour for most of the day. The largest city and also the capital of Anguilla is called The Valley. However, this is not a major metropolis. Entertainment and shopping are instead mostly scattered on the island, often adjacent to the beaches and hotels.