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Add Penguins to your Itinerary in Antarctica

Ever since the release of the 2005 Oscar-winning French documentary, March of the Penguins, travelers have been gaga over penguins, showing up on bucket lists the world over. South America and Antarctica are of course much more than penguins, but if you believe, as many people do, that you may only make one big trip to these continents, it is possible to include a destination or two to glimpse, or even better, walk among these fascinating creatures.

The National Parks of West Costa Rica

Except for the surfers who find the waves and lack of crowds to their liking, the national parks of on the furthest reaches of the Guanacaste region remain mostly off the beaten track for most travelers on Costa Rica tours. Closer to the capital, on the edge of Guanacaste in Alajuela Province, it is just the opposite, attracting many visitors who travel to Costa Rica. Three of the parks, Santa Rosa, Guanacaste and Rincon de la Vieja plus other reserves in the area form a 403,000-acre UNESCO World Heritage Site.

An Introduction to the National Parks of Costa Rica

Though Argentina and Costa Rica contain about the same number of national parks, Argentina is the size of India and Costa Rica the size of West Virginia, explaining why hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts flock to this little bio-diverse country in Central America. Four of Costa Rica’s national parks fall within UNESCO World Heritage Sites; two contain RAMSAR-designated wetland sites of international importance.

The Northest Regions of Argentina

The Northeast contains two sub-regions, the Chaco and Mesopotamia. The Chaco includes the provinces of Formosa, Chaco and Santa Fe. Mesopotamia, meaning "land between rivers" includes the provinces of Misiones and Corrientes, the country's most easterly provinces that border Paraguay and Brazil, and Entre Rios Province to the south along the border with Uruguay. The region is rich with Jesuit history, contains the birthplace of famed liberator, Jose de San Martin, and is where Che Guevera spent his youth. Agriculture is still economically important on the plains of Santa Fe Province where in previous centuries, European immigrants converted open spaces to wheat fields. Yerba mate is cultivated in the mountainous areas of Misiones Province.

Scuba Diving in the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands have been called one of the "seven underwater wonders of the world" and for good reason. The diversity of species unique to the islands, pollution-free waters and many reefs and sheltered bays make the Galapagos a diving dream-come-true. Southern Explorations makes Galapagos diving easy. With expert dive masters and personally-inspected well-equipped boats the underwater world of the Galapagos makes for an unforgettable diving vacation. 

Panama Hats, The Prelude

The Panama is a hat of many names, though Ecuador hat is not one of them. The hat is sometimes referred to as a Montecristi, one of the historically important towns in the coastal province of Manabi where the Ecuador straw hat originated. Montecristi continues to be a term synonymous with the highest of quality in Panama hats just as the Cuenca straw hat is named for another important city with a long tradition of weaving, denoting a fine straw hat but not as fine as the Montecristi.

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