Archives for February 2015

Xcaret Underground River

So I’ve managed to avoid making any blog posts that revolved around theme parks, or major structures built simply for tourist attractions, and I guess it was inevitable. And this particular inevitability comes in the form of the Xcaret Underground River.

While the rivers were originally naturally formed underground rivers leading to the ocean off the coast of Mexico, they were purchased in the eighties to be transformed into a tourist attraction that exceeded expectations. The park itself has many other attractions, including aquariums and bat caves, bird and butterfly pavilions, green houses and animal sanctuaries. But of course what I’m most interested in, is snorkeling in the rivers.

Xcaret 2

There are three rivers that can be chosen, each about 600 meters long and going no deeper than 1.60 meters. The rivers pass by Mayan cenotes, rock formations, and marine fossils. At the end of the rivers as they flow into the ocean, there is mangroves inhabited by pink flamingos. The history behind the tunnels and springs is fantastic, and even though it may be a tourist attraction with very little substance left, the idea of it is just so cool.

Xcaret 1

Not to mention beautiful.

At the end of the rivers you can snorkel coral reefs off of the beach, or swim with the dolphins. You can go scuba diving, and farther along the beach there is a manatee sanctuary. Essentially, it’s a very well stocked very exciting theme park, and honestly I would be completely up for visiting, even if it has been called a ‘Disneyfied ecopark’, because who doesn’t love a little bit of commercial tourism. There’s a reason things like these get popular, and it was about time this blog featured something a little more commercial.

Anyways, here’s a video if you’ve got an interest in seeing what this is all about. I know I sure did.



The Fontana di Trevi

In honor of the trip I’m planing to take this summer to Italy I’ve decided to make this weeks post on one of the more famous attractions in the capital city of Rome. The Trevi Fountain was originally apart of the Roman Empire’s complex and advanced aqueduct system. After the fall of the empire and the invasion of the Ostrogoths most of the system and fountains were destroyed, it wasn’t until many years later that the popes of Vatican City began to rebuild the fountains in spectacular displays of art and architecture.

Trevi Fountain

Every single day the huge fountain spills out 80,000 cubic meters of water into the surrounding pool. Standing as the main focal point of the statues is the god Ocean, though it is sometimes mistaken as Neptune. As for the other marble statues, each represents minor gods or goddesses like Abundance or Health.

One of the more famous myths following the Trevi Fountain is the throwing of a coin into the pool’s water to ensure ones return to Rome. While the practice of tossing money into bodies of water originates with the Roman’s suspecting that the offering would make the gods of water bless their journeys, it has become a world wide practice to do so in any fountain. The legend states that you must through the coin over your left shoulder with your right hand to make sure that your return to Rome is immanent. The whole thing is fun for tourists, but it is also a great revenue for the city, which collects about 3,000 Euros a day for the fountains upkeep, and other projects.

I hope to make this beautiful fountain a stop on my trip to one of the great cities of the world, and I have every intention of throwing in my own coin, though I’m not sure I completely believe the superstition myself.




Wild Atlantic Way

While I usually chose a specific place to concentrate on for this blog, I’ve decided instead to take a bit of a turn and devote this week’s post to an entire country. It may be because I hold my own personal inclination for Ireland that has let me chose the whole island as opposed to one specific place, but either way this is something I don’t think should be overlooked by anyone with even the slightest interest in the land of the lucky. The Wild Atlantic Way is the worlds longest coastal road, extending 1,600 miles from county Derry (the very top of the country) to county Cork (the very bottom).

Wild Atlantic Way

The route can take as little as 11 days, though it is recommended to spend a little more time enjoying the peace and beauty of the Atlantic ocean and the country’s seaside. You’ll pass through small towns and open lands, and along the way you can enjoy many different experiences. In county Kerry you can go on dolphin cruises, to spot wildlife, or if you’re more interested in viewing the animals at a closer level you can rent kayaks and experience the ocean up close and personal. In Cork, if you haven’t had your fill of wildlife, there is a chance to go whale watching, on a sunrise or sunset tour. Along the road you’ll pass through Galway, and The Cliffs of Moher, The Blarney Stone and old castles, a countryside you can only imagine, and if you’re lucky, you may even get a few sunny days.

While my personal preference will always lie with the midlands of Ireland, the chance to see one of the world’s most breathtaking coasts for such a distance is one that shouldn’t be passed up. But for those of us that can’t spend weeks on end traveling a countryside, this video will simply have to hold us over for now.



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