Following on from the previous blog article that showcased our top 5 winter sun destinations across Central & South America, we wanted to show you all that these beautiful locations have to offer. Each destination has its cup full of heavenly and tropical beaches, with its white sand, palm trees, and of course turquoise water. Apart from enjoying these exquisite beaches there is more to these locations that just the beach making these destinations even better than their picture-perfect images. Here is a list of the top 5 activities in our winter sun destinations further proving that each location has more than just its beautiful looks going for it!
Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Ambergris Caye, Belize
The 65 square mile Hol Chan Marine Reserve located at the southern tip of Ambergris Caye is one of Belize’s most celebrated sites. With spectacular coral formations and colorful marine life, not to mention the clear warm waters, makes exploring this underwater world an incredible and unforgettable experience. Snorkel at the ready, you will be able to explore the Hol Chan Cut with its channel walls covered with bright corals and offering a home to an amazing variety of tropical fish. As well as the reefs of Hol Chan, the marine reserve also has sea-grass beds and mangroves that provide a habitat for nurse sharks and stingrays. Known as Shark Ray Alley the sharks calmly circle around and below you whilst the stingrays elegantly glide under you ensuring that you get a unique up close and personal experience with both species.
Tamar Turtle Project in Praia do Forte, Brazil
Created in 1980, the Tamar Turtle Project is one of the most successful marine conservation projects in the world, serving as a model for other countries wishing to do the same. Highlighted due to involving the local coastal communities Tamar has a network of 23 bases throughout Brazil. At the main headquarters of Tamar in Praia do Forte you can make the most of a guided tour of this incredible conservation center. Alternatively if you are looking for a more in-depth look at the work Tamar does you can go on a themed tour that concentrates on a specific aspect such as major threats to the turtle’s survival. If you are lucky enough to visit the center during the breeding season, you can monitor the management of the nests and beaches. As the eggs hatch, you will be able to watch as the turtle hatchlings scurry into the warm waters of Praia do Forte for the first time. Going to visit this project is a fantastic and worthwhile addition to your time spent in Praia do Forte and it provides a great insight into the successful local and national conservation project plus you get to see adorable turtles!
Dolphin Watching in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Just as you jumped with excitement when you arrived at Fernando de Noronha, it seems that this same feeling is transferred to the many dolphins that surround this archipelago and its islands. Fernando de Noronha is one of the best places in the world to observe Rotifer Dolphins which provide a spectacular performance as they jump and rotate their bodies outside the water. At Baia dos Porcos (Bay of Pigs), these beautiful dolphins can be seen in their natural habitat spinning through the air. The waters are supposed to be the most important breeding ground for dolphins globally which has led to this bay being known as Baia dos Golfinhos or Bay of Dolphins. The best time to watch their acrobatics is at sunrise as the calm waters of the Bay of Dolphins attracts them usually in large numbers. To protect the dolphins, boats are prohibited from approaching the bay as it forms part of the National Marine Park. However, by making your way along the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Dolphins you can watch their acrobatic performances and is a great way to start your day on Fernando de Noronha; just don’t forget your binoculars!
Tapirandú Fort in Morro de São Paulo, Brazil
Even though the exotic beaches of Morro de São Paulo can be difficult to resist, this beautiful beach town has a rich history and a number of historical monuments to discover. The fortress of Morro de São Paulo, Fortaleza de Tapirandú and its portico were constructed to prevent Dutch invasions and protect the Baia de Todos os Santos. During this period, it was considered one of the strongest and largest fortifications in Brazil with its construction taking almost a century. Aside from being a national heritage site it is also one of the best places to observe the breathtaking sunsets and it is sometimes possible to see from the fort, dolphins jumping out of the water close to the shore.
Kayaking through the Jungle in Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Leave the beautiful white sandy beaches and head into the Nicoya Peninsula jungle as you begin to explore the diverse wildlife along the Buena Vista River. As you jump into your kayak, your tour guide and wildlife expert will begin to point out the different birdlife. From blue herons to spoonbills, bird lovers will be spoilt for choice as you mark off your list of exotic birds. For those wishing to encounter the jungle whilst in Costa Rica, this is the perfect opportunity to learn about its ecosystem and environment whilst being able to see the wonderful bright colors of the jungle and wildlife. Weaving through narrow mangrove tunnels allows you to time to enjoy the exquisite sounds of the jungle, just make sure to keep one eye on what’s in front of your kayak so that you don’t bump into a passing crocodile.