In this week’s 123RF World Travel Guide series, begin your journey by finding love in the romantic “Venice of China”. Next, feast your eyes on the bougainvillea balconies, brightly colored buildings and pretty plazas of Colombia’s Cartagena.
Following that, explore nature at its best, deep into the depths of Costa Rica’s Irazu volcano. Finally, travel to Croatia and have your pick from over 1000 stunning islands to indulge into your wildest Mediterranean wanderlust fantasies.
Looking for a place to pop the question? Zhouzhuang may be the best spot to do so! Image courtesy of hbsjzyjh@123RF.
This superpower of a country has timelessly ranked as the world’s dominant force. From the magnificent Great Wall and the ancient Forbidden City to the hustle and bustle of Shanghai and Beijing, China has seamlessly combined the old with the new into an irresistible concoction, ready to be enjoyed by every traveler. China’s sublime landscapes make it a heaven for photography enthusiasts. Armed with breathtaking views at every step, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is an unmissable spot for trekking in southeastern China. The Baishuitai is unlike anything else with the sacred White Water Terrace as the best of the bunch.
The 123RF World Travel Guide ranks the Yungang Caves as the nation’s best spot for imperious Buddhist cave art. The 50,000 over statues and celestial beings were inspired by the Indians, Persians and Romans – an absolute dream for archaeologists. This imperial nation also has something in store for love birds with the serene water town of Zhouzhuang. Dubbed the “Venice of China”, the well preserved town is a perfect spot to wander into hidden alleyways and take in the nostalgia of this beautiful setting.
The fascinating Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is built almost 200 meters underground in a former salt mine.
Colombia is buzzing. And it’s time for the world to take notice. Bogota’s boom surely has had a major hand in this. The town is now thriving with a revolving culinary scene, quirky cafes and exceptional street art. However, Colombia also brilliantly retains its nostalgic charm with Cartagena. The jewel in the nation’s crown is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in the continent. The town’s bougainvillea balconies, brightly colored buildings, pretty plazas and a maze of cobbled alleys promises to serenade you like a smooth Latin lover.
In addition, Colombia’s allure runs deep into earth’s core with a subterranean salt cathedral. Situated in the quiet town of Zipaquira, this one time salt mine is now a Catholic religious sight. The nation also homes one of the prettiest national parks in its northern wilderness. The Tayrona National Park has everything you want from a Caribbean getaway – sandy beaches, clear waters and inviting lagoons. Finally, the 123RF World Travel Guide recommends to end your stay on a high note by spending a night or two in Escobar’s lavish penthouse!
Be sure to check out Moya’s beautiful beaches when you’re visiting the Comoros.
Nestled between Madagascar and Mozambique, Comoros is a little known archipelago that oozes with a tropical charm. The Grande Comore is home to the capital city, Moroni. The southern part of the city holds the Karthala volcano, with its peak seemingly lost in the clouds. Meanwhile, life is extremely laid back in the old town, with winding lanes and a bare minimum functional port. For those looking to take a dip, head for the beaches at the Prophet’s Hole. Legend has it, the Prophet Muhammed hid from pirates behind the rocks in the bay.
But the best of the beaches lies in Moheli. This 123RF World Travel Guide pick accommodates a turtle nesting site and a pristine marine park. For the best experience, opt to stay in the wonderful Laka Lodge. Situated in the village of Nioumachoua, the private beach and snorkeling equipment makes this a winner for every traveler, while keeping the budget happy.
Although the national parks are often open all year long, do stay up to date on the closing of some parks due to security concerns.
The Republic of Congo is on the verge of becoming one of the best ecotourism destinations in Africa. The Odzala-Kokoua National Park offers travelers to comfortably explore the life in Congo’s basin. Crystal-clear streams, lush rainforests, and vast savanna make up the park, along with the elusive gorillas. The tracking expedition offers the best way to get up close with these magnificent beasts.
Meanwhile, the sandy beaches and spectacular views of the Atlantic Coast make Cote Sauvage a must visit. The powerful waves is a big hit for surfers looking to haul their boards into the ocean. While you’re here, spend some time to explore the Congolese capital of Brazzaville. The vibrant arts and culture scene, along with beautiful views of the Congo River certainly is a feast for your eyes and lenses.
40. Costa Rica
The main crater of Poas Volcano is well worth a visit for ecotourism enthusiasts.
This peaceful Latin American gem is well on its way to the tourist trail even though its considered expensive by its neighboring standards. However, its stunning landscapes are well worth a visit. The volcanoes are the best of Costa Rica’s ecotourism ventures, with Irazu being the pick of the bunch. It’s beautiful crater lakes which alternates between emerald green and crimson red is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
The 123RF World Travel Guide suggests diving further into Costa Rica’s mesmerizing sights with a trip to Llanos des Cortes. This spectacular waterfall cascades into a serene pond and it comes with a sandy-beach like feature. Thus, making it perfect to take a break. For the best experience, head to the back and chill by the rocks while enjoying the waterfall curtain. Alternatively, head to Puerto Viejo for a dose of the Rastafarian life. The intoxicating vibes of this small beach side town makes this a perfect party spot for backpackers.
41. Ivory Coast
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is the largest church in the world. Image courtesy of Fabian Plock@123RF.
The Ivory Coast has gained a reputation for being one of the most developed African country. However, this tropical paradise has gained its fame, without having to sacrifice on its identity. At the heart of this resurgence is Yamoussoukro. The capital city is home to the exquisite Basilica which impressively mirrors the Vatican’s Saint Peter, along with a series of lively markets. However, the 123RF World Travel Guide believes Ivory Coast’s heart and soul lie in its former capital of Abidjan.
The home of the nation’s most famous son, Didier Drogba, Abidjan accommodates a fine collection of trendy bars, quirky cafes and vibrant markets. If you’re looking to get your tan on, then consider a trip to Assinie beach. Its calming waters and tranquil surroundings make this a favorite getaway for Abidjan’s rich and famous. Finally, end your trip with a visit to Grand Bassam. This UNESCO World Heritage Site oozes with a French colonial charm and a nonchalant atmosphere, perfect for anyone who wants to get in touch with Ivory Coast’s history.
The Plitvice National Park offers a fantastic respite from the occasionally overcrowded Croatian towns.
The 123RF World Travel Guide favors Croatia as the place to turn your wildest Mediterranean fantasies into reality. The nation’s sparkling coastline is arguably the biggest allure for tourists. With over a 1000 gorgeous islands, finding one that suits your dreamy getaway is no easy task. Dotted with pebbled beaches and tiny settlements, Cres is the best island for escaping the crowds. Meanwhile, head to Pag and its Zrce beach for a wild party in its top rated, open air, beach side clubbing scene. However, Hvar remains to be the pick of the islands. It brilliantly combines the best of any holiday – beautiful beaches, boozy drinks, and amazing sights. Therefore, it is no surprise to see both the backpackers and the rich and famous flocking the island.
However, don’t let these Croatian islands to steal all the glory. The towns of Split, Zagreb, and Dubrovnik are each embellished with the world’s best architecture. To compress these stunning sights into a mere paragraph would be a serious crime, one that needs to be punished by ‘The Mountain’. This pearl of the Adriatic is also home to the pristine Plitvice National Park. The beautiful cascading waterfall amid exotic flora and calming lakes proves there is so much more to Croatia than HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Next up on our 123RF World Travel Guide, join us as we learn to rumba on the streets of Cuba and explore the Mad Max like Lac Abbe in Djibouti. Alternatively, catch up on our previous series which took a dip into the calming waters of Cabo Verde and explored the mysteries of Chile’s Easter Island.
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