Category Archives: South America

wonders of the world

10 Wonders of the World

The wonders of the world have been presented in various media with different listings, but there is a common agreement regarding seven of them, featuring in the “the 7 wonders of the world.”

However, taking the wonders of all ages into consideration, here are guest writer Gabriella Reznick’s top wonders of the world.

10. Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

This is the only wonder of the ancient world that is still standing, and it is great in every aspect. Built over 20 years (2580-2560 B.C.), the pyramid held the record for the tallest man-made structure in the world (at 480.6 feet) for over 3800 years.
wonders of the world

9. Stonehenge, United Kingdom

Composing of large stones that are in a standing position, and form a circle, Stonehenge is believed to have been built around 2500 B.C. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Recent studies have led archaeologists to believe that it was used as a burial site in its time.

8. Golden Gate Bridge, USA

Completed in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is an engineering marvel for its times and can be considered a wonder of the world. Connecting San Francisco to San Marino, the Golden Gate Bridge is considered by the Frommers Travel Guide as “possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed bridge in the world.”

7. Machu Picchu, Peru

The literal translation of Machu Picchu is “Old Mountain.” It is located 2430 meters above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. It is believed to be a Inca site.

6. Mount Everest, Nepal

Though not man-made, the absolutely amazing peak of Mount Everest certainly deserves a place in the top 10 wonders of the world, as a natural wonder. Standing at 8848 meters tall, it is the highest peak in the world above sea level, and was first conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

5. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Certainly one of the most known structures in the world, the leaning Tower of Pisa is indeed a leaning structure, standing at 55.86 meters tall. The Tower used to lean by 5.5 degrees, but restoration work carried out between 1991 and 2000 has reduced that angle to 3.99 degrees.

4. Chichen Itza, Mexico

Meaning “at the mouth of the well of the Itza”, Chichen Itza is a large site built by the Mayans, and consists of many stone buildings; all of which are under various stages of preservation. All structures are connected by a network of roads that were formerly paved, called sacbeob. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is monitored by the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Mexico.

3. The Coliseum, Italy

The Coliseum is a massive structure, which is actually an amphitheatre, and is the largest ever built in Italian history. The Coliseum is elliptical in shape and is capable of seating 50,000 people! Though damaged partially by massive earthquakes and stone-robbers, this marvelous feat of Roman engineering has stood to survive all the tough times, and is a must visit.

2. The Taj Mahal, India

The Taj Mahal, meaning “crown of buildings”, is a breath-taking structure made of marble, and is located in India. Built over 30 years, the Taj Mahal comprises of a dome mausoleum, and also has the shrines of its creator, the emperor Shah Jahan and his wife, Mumtaz Begum, in whose memory the structure was actually built. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Taj Mahal is a symbol of iconic beauty and love.

1. The Great Wall of China, China

This structure is also one of the most famous ones in the world. Built originally to protect the northern borders of China against attacks, the Great Wall is actually a collection of walls built across centuries by many dynasties. The whole series, collectively called the Great Wall, spans 8851.8 kilometers, and is a fascinating wonder.

Gabriella plans to visit all of the world’s wonders and blog about them at World Wonders but tells us that her site isn’t ready yet. If you would like to guest blog or submit your own list of wonders at Vagobond, submit your travel story, list, or tips for review using the button at the top of the page.

cc image of Gulfoss, Iceland courtesy of Bryan Pocious

5 of the World’s Most Amazing Waterfalls

How does one decide which waterfalls are the most amazing in the world? Is it the tallest, the widest, the fastest, or the most scenic? There are just so many to choose from. Check out My Adventure Store tour and be blown away by the magnificent waterfalls that grace our planet.

Victoria Falls, Zambia

cc image of victoria falls courtesy of ebel on FlickrVictoria Falls means “the smoke that thunders” in the language of the Kololo Tribe. It is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. When David Livingstone first stumbled upon it in 1885 he was completely awestruck by its beauty, describing the falls as “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”

The waterfall is where the Zambezi Rivers drops over a 108 metre vertical wall into a narrow gorge below. The fall at its widest is 1.7 kilometres across. Such is the intensity of the falls that mist can be seen several kilometres away. Pure majesty!

Angel Falls, Venezuela

The Angel Falls are the tallest in the world, dropping an amazing 979 metres from a table top mountain. The falls are frequently shrouded in clouds adding to their mystique and beauty. Getting to the falls is quite an adventure; you will travel by boat for four hours and then a take a 90 minute uphill climb. When you finally spy the falls after all that hard work you will be exhilarated. They are breathtaking.

Iguazu Falls, Brazil

The Iguazu falls are beyond compare. They are made up of 275 different waterfalls across an area of 3 kilometres. The combined flow of water is nature at its most powerful: around 1000 cubic metres per second! Nothing can prepare you for the sense of grandeur that the waterfalls evoke. It is an incredibly energising place; watching the sheer volume of water fall is awe inspiring. There is an abundance of wildlife around the falls, including banded-tail coaties, parrots, toucans and butterflies.

Gullfoss, Iceland

cc image of Gulfoss, Iceland courtesy of Bryan PociousGullfoss means “Golden Falls’ and is arguably Iceland’s most popular waterfall. Gullfoss is unique in that features two separate drops, one a short distance from the first, at right angles to each other. The falls produce glorious sprays of mist that are rainbow filled in certain lights. The Hvita River from whence the falls come is glacial and the colour of the falling water reflects its’ origins. The first drop is 11 metres and the next around 13 metres.

Yosemite Falls, USA

Yosemite Falls are the iconic symbol of the beautiful Yosemite National Park in California. The waterfall drops in three points: the Upper Fall plunges 435 metres; the next drop known as the Middle Cascades, tumbles a further 200 metres; followed by the last drop, The

Lower Fall, which drops a final 100 metres. The Yosemite falls are one of the tallest in the world. The double attraction of the falls is that they are easy to access and stunningly beautiful. The makes them once of the most popular waterfalls to visitors from all over the world.

5 Reasons to Visit Costa Rica

Costa Rica Volcano photo via CC license by dotpitch via flickrLet’s face it, holidays to Costa Rica aren’t the most convenient in the world if you’re travelling from the UK.

You can’t fly direct, so the only way to get there is to travel via Spain or the USA, which is a notoriously frustrating place to transit through, thanks to its over-zealous security officials and lengthy queues.

Therefore, you need a few compelling reasons to book a trip there online  and then travel practically halfway around the world to begin your getaway. Well, here are five of them for you:

 1. To stand in the shadow of a volcano

While the UK might be able to boast some impressive mountains, one thing it can’t offer is volcanoes – something Costa Rica has in abundance. One of the most spectacular is Arenal, which is located within its very own national park.

This perfectly shaped conical giant stretches some 5,500 ft into the sky, and is a breathtaking sight from whatever angle you look. It’s also the main source of entertainment in the region, whether you are walking across its solidified lava flows, riding across its slopes on horseback or bathing in its hot springs.

2. To leave footprints on a palm-fringed beach

Although Bournemouth has a few palm trees, its beach isn’t exactly tranquil and certainly not tropical.

Costa Rica, on the other hand, has some simply stunning strips of sand, backed by palm trees and lush rainforests and lapped by water that’s practically bath temperature.

You’ll find many of the finest beaches in Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast. I forgot to mention Costa Rica has not one but two coastlines, the other being on the Caribbean no less.

3. To see the world’s most beautiful bird

Granted, there is some wonderful birdlife in the UK: kingfishers, puffins and golden eagles can captivate any twitcher.

However, no bird comes close to Costa Rica’s resplendent quetzal in terms of sheer beauty. With its huge, flowing tail feathers, iridescent green and red body, and spiky mohawk haircut, this bird looks ready for the catwalk.

And as if the quetzal wasn’t enough, Costa Rica is also home to the keel-billed toucan and the blue-crowned motmot – just two more of many stunningly colourful birds living in the cloud forests of Monteverde.

4. To zipline above the rainforest

If the sight of toucans and the like soaring over the treetops makes you wish you could sprout a pair of wings, Costa Rica has the next best thing: ziplining.

Climb into your harness, clip in and hang on as you fly above the canopy at speeds of up to 50mph as high as 300ft in the air. Exhilarating, breathtaking and fun-filled, ziplining will be one of the highlights of your trip.

5. To surf without a wetsuit

Along with ziplining, one of Costa Rica’s most popular activities is surfing. And no wonder.

With conditions to suit all abilities, from rolling breakers that are perfect for learners to overhead barrels for the pros; stunning scenery (as mentioned above); and water that’s as warm as a bath (no need for a wetsuit here), there’s so many reasons to paddle out in Costa Rica.

It’s easy to see why the national catchphrase is pura vida – the pure life.