South American Travel Series (Sponsored by Worldspan Travel)
Cigars, Buena Vista Social Club, Moros y Cristianos and Mojito are some of the images that come to one’s mind when one is asked to visualize Cuba. Cuba is indeed an enchanting island that will surprise you in many different ways. As legend insinuates that the exquisiteness of the Cuban cigar is the direct result of it being rolled on the thighs of beautiful Cuban women, there might indeed be a grain of truth in it but you will just have to find this out yourself. The Cubans have always been known for the musical prowess with great artists like Gloria Estefan, Pitbull and of course, the Buena Vista Social Club claiming ancestry from this beautiful island. Habana Vieja or Old Havana, founded 501 years ago, is populated by both Spaniards and Cubans alike with stately mansions, parks, museums and beautiful cathedrals. And speaking of cathedrals, the “Catedral de San Cristóbal” is the most imposing and delightful Baroque cathedral. Walk around this city and one can see locals sipping the refreshing Mojito- a thirst-quenching concoction of mint, rum and lime and feasting on the simple but delectable Moros y Cristianos- black beans and rice cooked with lard, cured meat and a symphony of aromatics.
COSTA RICACosta Rica, whose inhabitants are affectionately called “Ticos”, is one of the few countries on planet earth that’s both green and “Gandhian”! Green because this country manages to harvest 98% of its energy from renewable sources and Gandhian because it doesn’t have an army. This sort of attitude also ensures that this tropical country stays a pristine green with beautiful national parks, the largest being “La Amistad Internacional” or “Parque Nacional” which is located in the capital city, San Jose itself. Then there is the breathtaking young and active Arenal Volcano, a delight for all nature lovers. For a switch of scenery, one can simply go right back to San Jose that has the perfect blend of Spanish nostalgia from centuries of colonialism and American dynamism. To satiate hungry pangs, there is the delicious, “Arroz con Pollo” which is chicken with rice, chickpeas and cilantro. To Costa Ricans, their country is “pura vida” and you will agree too.
COLOMBIAColombia has its ambassadors and they represent their beautiful country the best when they cooed, “En Barranquilla, se balla asi.” The world-famous Shakira song “Hips Don’t Lie” explains the way they move in her home city, Barranquilla. Famed for its melodic Spanish which makes a request for food in a restaurant sound more like Romeo’s ode to Juliet, the Colombian “Español” is seduction itself. Bogota, the capital, is located on the Andes range, enjoys a spring-like temperature year long and is one of the cities that draws you in. Try visiting the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the Botero Museum, Plaza Bolivar and not be captivated by this beautiful city. Another gem is the Museum of Gold. Cartagena which is a port city is “caliente” for all the right reasons. With heavy African influences seen most evidently in Cumbia – a Colombian dance, Cartagena also boasts jewels such as the San Felipe de Baranjas Castle and a delectable seafood cuisine. Also called the Emerald of America, Cartagena’s lively art scene will add a touch of Colombian spice to your living spaces. And just when everything simmers, sit yourself down with a view of the ocean and enjoy a beautiful cup of coffee à la Colombian.
About Worldspan Travel
Worldspan Travel, with over 40 years of travel experience, delivers this and more. Experience any of our Viva Cuba, Viva Mexico Tour or our Taste of Latin America Tour or even our South America Tour from MYR 10,000 per person includes accommodation, full board meals and all domestic flights within the South America. Tel: +603-6201 2511.