.All Trips / Central America/Caribbean / Costa Rica

Street Art, San Jose, Costa Rica

00 Around San Jose (201)

San Jose, the capital and most populous city in Costa Rica, is not a very memorable or beautiful place. There are, of course, a few interesting buildings and museums and some decent restaurants worth visiting. But the warm humid climate, earthquakes, and robust termite population have destroyed many of the city’s historic sites. It’s not a filthy city like Delhi, but not neat and clean either. The sidewalks and roadways are among the most uneven I’ve ever walked in a major metropolis.

Street art, San Jose

Street art, San Jose

My wife and I explored San Jose for several days and were impressed by some of the art we discovered while walking the streets. Mostly these were painted murals — some very beautiful and imaginative — but also with …

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.All Trips / Central America/Caribbean / Costa Rica

Poas Volcano, Costa Rica

00 Poas Volcano

Poas is one of many volcanoes in Costa Rica, although it’s only one of three which are still considered active. Poas Volcano National Park is situated atop a mountain, at 2,708-metre (8,885 ft), and is located in central Costa Rica a few hours drive through the scenic hills north of San Jose.
Poas Volcano has erupted 40 times since 1828, including in April 2017 when visitors and nearby residents required evacuation. The area around the volcano was closed for nearly a year and a half. The activity of the volcano diminished with the passing months, and monitoring equipment and safety shelters were thought to provide adequate safety. The park reopened to visitation in September 1, 2018, but visits are limited to …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 17, 2017: Streets of Old San Juan


A day to explore the lovely streets of Old San Juan is simply not enough time. The colors, sights, architecture, cafes and general ambience invite one to linger and even to get lost while wandering the streets and lanes. Situated near a wonderful old fortress, Old San Juan is not to be missed.

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“Pic of the Week”, February 12, 2016: Leaving San Juan

Caribbean cruise 2007 263

San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a beautiful place to vacation.  Besides enjoyment of it’s warm climate, it’s a treat to walk down the colorful streets and explore the neighborhoods of the old town.  Unless you’ve come to San Juan from the sea, you’ll never see what may perhaps be its greatest scene — an overview of the old fort (Castillo, or El Morro) guarding the harbor’s entrance, with the colorful city as a backdrop.

These were the views as our cruise ship left the Bay of San Juan.  A storm was gathering as we left the port and headed to sea, past the well-positioned fort.  The air was warm and the breeze caused by the ship’s movement was welcome.  …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 29, 2016: At Port, Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands


The pretty small city of Charlotte Amalie has a great natural harbor, making it a very popular destination centuries ago for the Pirates of the Caribbean (the real ones, not the Disney type).  You can still find some remnants of the pirate days in the city, but today the gold in town comes from tourists.  The harbor is packed with large cruise ships that flood the island with thousands of visitors every day.  As night falls, the crowds return to the ships and head off, opening dock slots for new ships to repeat the process the next day.

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.All Trips / Central America/Caribbean / Peru / South America

The floating islands of Lake Titicaca, Peru

04 Peru 1995 121 Lake Titicaca, Uros Islands

I don’t anywhere people live on floating islands except for the Uros Islands of Lake Titicaca, a large lake straddling Peru and Bolivia (the Peruvians like to say they got the “titi” part, while the Bolivians got the “caca”).   It’s the most voluminous lake in South America and is considered the highest navigable — by a large ship — lake in the world, having a surface elevation of 3,812 m or 12,507 ft.  

The Uros natives of the lake are a pre-Incan people who live on forty-two floating islands.  They had a unique language (which has been lost for centuries) and obviously a unique way of living.  They historically moved to the floating islands for defensive purposes.  Some of the islands …

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“Pic of the Week”. July 18, 2014: St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Cockburn Town, Grand Turk


Small Cockburn Town, on the island of Grand Turk, is the capitol of the Turks and Caicos Islands.  A small sparsely populated island, we visited it one day during a Carribean cruise.

One building that caught my eye along Front Street, on the waterfront, was this small Anglican Church.  Built in 1899, and having survived hurricanes, it has a pleasing look.  With its fresh white-painted walls contrasted by its red shutters and trim, St. Mary the Virgin is a colorful landmark.  As I was snapping photos of the church, a horse-drawn carriage passed us.  A reminder that life on this island definitely moves at a slower pace.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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