Category: Travel Guides

New York inside: museums, bars, historic houses and other 8 proposals to get to know it

Eleven ideas to explore every corner of the Big Apple and discover it, even when the weather does not accompany it. How to take advantage of the enormous cultural and gastronomic proposal beyond the inclement weather

New York has it all. And although sometimes the weather plays a trick on a vacation getaway, there’s no need to worry, because changing the plans in the city does not mean staying locked in the hotel looking at the walls.

Here, some ideas on how to take advantage of the enormous cultural, attractions and gastronomic proposal beyond the inclemency of the weather.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, better known as "The Met", is located on the mythical Fifth Avenue of the city and some of its rooms overlook Central Park.  There are charity events and the most important galas in the country (Getty Images)

To visit a museum

New York is a city that will house unique and world-class museums and institutions. One could spend all day admiring the fabulous works of art and design or the wonders of the natural world. Many of them offer free entrance at the Museum of the 9/11 Memorial, on Tuesdays from 17 to 20hrs or the MOMA on Sundays from 4 to 8 pm, and others for payment but all to benefit to keep it, such as the MET (Metropolitan Museum located on 5 Ave and 82 st) or the Natural History Museum (American Museum of Natural History on 79 st and Central Park).

The MOMA in New York was founded in 1929. Glaze and light colors characterize this modern jewel of the Big Apple (Getty Images)

Go shopping

The city of New York has some of the best shopping options in the world. Bergdorf Goodman, with its imposing store on Fifth Avenue and 57st, Bloomingdale’s, at 3 Ave and 59 st, Macy’s, at 34 st and 7 ave in Herald Square for classic department stores, or Brookfield Place and The Shops at Columbus Circle to know other collections.

The facade of the main store of the multi-brand "Macy's" a fashion icon that brings together the best of fashion, decoration and beauty in a single space.  It is located in Herald Square on 34 st and Broadway (Getty Images)

Sport in Chelsea Piers

At the Golf Club of Chelsea Piers, you can play golf protected from rain and cold all year round. The Golf Club in Chelsea Piers is an excellent option when the weather does not accompany. In addition to the Golf Club, the Chelsea Piers Sports Center offers a variety of activities without prior reservation, and also does not require membership, such as ice skating and bowling.

The Golf Club and Sports Center in Chelsea Piers next to the Empire State Building (Getty Images)

Watch a movie

Even a visit to the cinema in New York is an experience different from other cities. Alternative theaters like the Angelika Film Center and the Landmark Sunshine Cinema, for example, project films outside the commercial circuit (foreign documentaries and films, among others) that are not found in a typical complex. The same happens in the cinema of the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Landmark Sunshine Cinema is located at 143 E Houston St

To combine a dinner with the movie, the Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg is recommended. There, waiters serve the dishes on special tables right in front of the seat. Those who are fascinated by the history of cinema can head to Astoria, Queens, home of the fabulous Museum of the Moving Image.

Play in the bars

The nightlife of New York is not just lounges and clubs to dance. There are several places that combine fun and games with amazing music and drinks for adults. Brooklyn Bowl, in Williamsburg, is a clear example. This bowling site serves Blue Ribbon food and also offers live concerts by local groups and renowned artists (Guns N ‘Roses and Robert Plant, for example, have played here).

In Gowanus, Brooklyn neighborhood, the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club offers tropical cocktails, food trucks and even an occasional restaurant. Among other places, it is also worth mentioning Barcade – a bar full of gaming machines – Spin – a nightclub with table tennis – and Full Circle Bar, where you can have fun playing classic skeeball.

Brooklyn Bowl an ideal place to go if the days do not go with the weather.  Located at 61 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, there you can try exquisite signature drinks and bowling with friends and family

Travel by train around the world

The phrase that says that in New York City you can see the world for the price of a subway trip is well known. That is not far from the truth in certain lines, such as train 7, which runs from Times Square to Flushing, Queens, along with a route that is sometimes referred to as the “International Express.” This line rises most of the way, so it offers a view of the different neighborhoods that it crosses.

There are numerous international dining options along the 7, or you can visit the New World Mall food court, just a few steps from the final stop of the line in Queens (Flushing – Main Street). With more than two dozen Asian food stalls to choose from, it can be an experience unlike any other.

Visit the United Nations

The tickets are necessary for a visit from Monday to Friday (and include a guided tour), but can be purchased with relatively short notice. On weekends the visitor center is usually open for walking, but there are no guided tours.

On the façade of the United Nations (UN) building the flags are constantly flying.  It is located on Avenue 1 and 42st (Getty Images)

Ferry to Staten Island

Take advantage of the free ferry ride to Staten Island and enjoy wonderful views of both the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.

Visit the Grand Central Terminal

This building is, undoubtedly, an emblematic and unmissable site of New York. There you can take a self-guided tour or a 75-minute circuit run by one of the experts at the transit center. There are several dining options on the lower level Dining Concourse, including the classic Oyster Bar. For those who want a cocktail, there is the elegant Campbell Apartment, formerly the private office and lounge of the 20s tycoon, John W. Campbell.

"Grand Central", a must-see if you visit New York.  Located on the 42st is the transportation route that connects the city with others (Getty Images)

Visit the historic houses

The city is known for its skyscrapers, but its historic homes offer the opportunity to travel back in time to a rich cultural past. Preserved in bucolic settings in the city’s parks and located in the five districts, the houses have great architecture, beautiful gardens, farms and stunning views.

One afternoon in the library

Take a book, magazine, newspaper, tablet, phone or tablet, and read it in one of the majestic public reading rooms of the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library.

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The secrets of Amantani, the fantastic island more than 4,000 meters above sea level

The largest island on the Peruvian side of Titicaca is a haven of tranquility and bucolic landscapes still unknown to most travelers. In her millenarian traditions are conserved and the possibility of knowing an authentic life in the community. A tour of this oasis on the heights

When it is about to rain in Amantaní, as in almost all parts of the world, its inhabitants run to take refuge in their homes. The difference is that, on an island at 4,000 meters above sea level, clouds charged with thunder are not a distant threat in the sky but one at eye level.

Along the cobbled paths that go up and down the mountain, they return with short, quick steps, men carrying bags on their backs with tools to till the field and women who do the same with the harvest. Some have the column as a bandoneon rickety weight and over the years, but their blouses, white and flowers embroidered by themselves, remain pristine.

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To get here you need to navigate Lake Titicaca from the port of Puno, in Peru, for about three and a half hours. The other option is to go by land from Juliaca to the Chifrón dock, in Capachica, and there take a boat that takes about 40 minutes on its way to the island.

In the rainy season (from November to April) and with a storm on the door, the boats that usually move locals and travelers around the island decide not to leave. The swell of the highest navigable lake in the world became angry. Walking in the open field to the opposite coast is the only way, with this climate, to return from Pueblo to Occosuyo. The other option is on the back of a donkey.

In the Plaza de Armas, a paved rectangle in the middle of the town where the municipality, the school, the church and some wineries coexist, night falls and the first drops also fall. Everything, except the La Plaza Bar, where a pile lantern provides some light, is dark. Those who still remain in the street illuminate their steps with a lantern tied to the head. They look like fireflies flying over the vegetation. In Amantani, loading one is almost as important as wearing shoes. On the island, there is practically no electricity.

It is in these minutes of waiting where one feels the rhythm and dynamics among the inhabitants of the Town: time seems eternal, the few who are sheltered in the bar, talk, and smile, look with kindness.

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On the island, there is only one hotel and it is luxury; Exclusive for those willing to spend more than 400 USD per person per night. The most affordable and popular option is to stay in the houses of the commoners, made of adobe and quincha, and in which, in general, offer full board based on Andean products. Some of them receive passengers directly or by agencies, and others by rotation established by local tourism associations.

Becoming a guide is essential. Between the rays, a fearsome but fascinating landscape is glimpsed. Witnessing this manifestation of nature closely allows us to get a little closer to the animistic beliefs of the Incas.

According to Andean mythology, from Lake Titicaca emerged the sons of the Sun God, Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo, who founded the Sun Empire. In the same Amantaní, there are several landmarks that celebrate the Andean cosmovision. One is the Pachamama ceremonial center, at the highest point of the island and on top of the Llaquistiti hill, dedicated to the feminine gender. The other is the Pachatata, representative of the masculine, and is in front of him, on the hill of Coanos.

Since pre-Inca times, every third Thursday of January, both are opened -on the only time in the year- to carry out the oldest and most original festival of the lake, a ritual of adoration to Mother Earth and Father Sky, the fruitful duality Andean. An offering so that the harvest of the year is good. Outside of that date, however, travelers are invited to climb to contemplate the sunset. The Coanos is a natural viewpoint from where you get to see the Cordillera Real and Copacabana, in Bolivia.

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On this closed night the view only reaches to the tip of the feet, but with each new lightning, the horizon is lit. The terraces with crops of potatoes, corn, geese, quinoa, peas, and beans light up behind them, bathed in a violet hue. Many of these terraces were built during the pre-Hispanic era. The animals – sheep and cattle – are hidden; kept in their pens, almost always close to the houses.

That is what the ten communities that inhabit Amantaní are dedicated to agriculture, livestock and artisanal fishing. There are about 4 thousand people who work cooperatively and provide mutual assistance. When staying with local families, the traveler witnesses it: he shares his activities, rituals and participates in folkloric clubs. With some effort, he also learns Quechua, the first language of the Amantaneños.

In the 9 kilometers of the surface that the island has, there is no police presence. The communal justice is the one that watches over the tranquility of its inhabitants.

When crossing the openings one does not feel more fear than that of exposure to nature. While outside the storm is unleashed, inside, the cold and altitude sickness is cured by taking a tea of muña, that plant that recommends the ancestral knowledge of Amantani.

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Gulf of Chiriquí, the best-kept secret of tourism in Panama

Located in the Pacific Northwest of Panama, the gulf is home to the National Marine Park, created to protect an area of more than 150 km²

The Gulf of Chiriquí, with its dozens of islands of volcanic origin and secluded beaches of white sand, leafy mangroves and a reef barrier considered one of the most preserved in Central America, is one of Panama’s best-kept secrets.

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Located in the Pacific Northwest of Panama, near the border with Costa Rica, the gulf is home to the Marino National Park, created in 1994 to protect an area of more than 150 km², and includes the Paridas Islands, easily accessible from Boca Chica, a small port situated just over an hour from the city of David.

There are two dozen islands with dense forests and several islets and lizards where thousands of sea turtles of various species nest from the beginning of July. And there can also gather dozens of humpback whales and pilots in their breeding season (between August and December), away from the pressure of the flow of ships en route to the Panama Canal.

It is in the gulf that are the Dry Islands, a dozen small extensions of private property, but whose beaches, publicly owned, can be reached by sea, in any of the boats that offer sightseeing from Boca Chica itself or any one of the coastal hotels.

Captain Chichi, a veteran of sports fishing, the master of a generation of navigators in the Gulf, told Efe that the Gulf of Chiriquí is one of the best places in the world to catch the marlin, with 200 kilos.

These fish are the stars of a marine fauna that in the Gulf includes species such as the gigantic 20 kg snapper (specimens that are up to 50 years of age, since they add up to almost a pound of weight for each year of life).

But there is also room for dolphins, sea bats, hammerhead sharks, white-tipped reef sharks, and all species that take refuge in the coral, including colorful parrot fish and trumpet fish, easily visible in waters that pass from turquoise blue to celestial in a range of continuous hues.

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The clear and generally calm waters make the islands an excellent place to practice snorkeling, as well as being privileged for bird watching. In a single day, you can see 50 different species in the surroundings of Cala Mía, an ecological hotel located on Boca Brava island where the dawn is marked by the cries of black howler monkeys.

In its surroundings are nesting eagles, hawks, various species of hummingbird and you can easily find stints, potatoes, and tanagers.

The islands alternate forests, lonely beaches, and mangroves, now protected after decades of devastation, which create sea lanes through which raccoons, squirrels, and monkeys, among other species of mammals, circulate.

The silence of practically uninhabited islands where a tropical climate predominates adds to the lack of light to allow better observation of a night sky in which the name of the Milky Way acquires its full dimension.

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Florida surpasses hurricane and records tourist record in 2017

The impact of the Irma represented a loss with visitor spending of $ 1.5 billion, with 1.1 billion allocated to national visitors and another 400 million to foreigners.

The state of Florida, in the United States, established, in 2017, a new tourist record despite the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. In all, the country registered the arrival of 116.5 million national and international visitors, 3.6% more than in 2016, Governor Rick Scott said today (20).

Of the total number of visitors, 102.3 million came from other states and 3.5 million came from Canada.

The number of shipments in the 18 most important airports in the Sunshine State increased by 4.1% over the previous year, totaling 87.2 million passengers, according to data released by Visit Florida, state.

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“Today, I am proud to announce that Florida continues to set records, welcoming more than 116 million visitors by 2017,” Scott told a news conference in Naples on the southwest coast of the state.

According to the governor, the numbers are “great news”, “especially” for the 1.4 million jobs that depend on the tourism industry.

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Florida thus establishes a new record, despite the loss of 1.8 million visitors because of Hurricane Irma, who went by the State in September 2016 and caused great destruction, especially in the Florida Keys (archipelago of about 1700 islands on the southern tip of the peninsula), according to a report prepared for Visit Florida.

In fact, it is estimated that Florida received 34.9 million visitors in the last four months of 2017; were it not for the impact of the hurricane, it is estimated that the final figure could reach 36.7 million visitors.

The impact of the Irma represented a loss with visitor spending of $ 1.5 billion, with 1.1 billion allocated to national visitors and another 400 million to foreigners.

In total, the number of hotel rooms reserved during the fourth quarter of 2017 grew by 8.1%, compared to the same per

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France to tighten sanctions on holiday rentals

The fines will go from 5 thousand to 10 thousand euros for the owners who do not fulfill their obligations and will be created others for the platforms – until now exempted -, that will go from 10 thousand to 50 thousand euros.

The French government is preparing a housing bill that will tighten sanctions on platforms such as Airbnb and landlords who fail to comply with the rules governing tourist property rentals.

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The Secretary of State responsible for these issues, Julien Denormandie, justified this tightening of sanctions because the rules “are not respected enough” in an interview with the channel “France 2”.

Denormandie referred in particular to the rule that since 1 December requires anyone who proposes a tourist rental of a furnished property to register and submit the registration number in the advertisement.

The purpose of this identification is to be able to verify that this property is not rented for more than 120 days to the year since to surpass this threshold requires to modify the procedure and to declare like a commercial company.

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The fines will go from 5 thousand to 10 thousand euros for the owners who do not fulfill their obligations and will be created others for the platforms – until now exempted -, that will go from 10 thousand to 50 thousand euros.

Denormandie considered positive the development of so-called collaborative rental platforms but warned that they could not comply with the law.

The secretary assured that the goal is not to prevent the business of these companies, “but there are rules that have to be respected and when they are not, there are sanctions.”

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Bar table used by Obama in the bar turns tourist spot in Vietnam

Obama’s visit to Vietnam came in 2016 and generated high expectations in the country, where he was hailed by thousands of people almost as an idol.

Excited by the interest of tourists and the curious, the owners of the Bun Cha Huong Lien bar in Hanoi turned the table where former President Barack Obama and New York chef Anthony Bourdain dined in 2016.

The owners put the table, the two blue plastic benches they sat on, the utensils used, a saucepan and two bottles of beer the same as Obama and Bourdain consumed. The dinner, which consisted of a plate of pasta with pork, remained for posterity in images made by the channel “CNN”.

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Since the image of the then president with a beer in hand during the official visit to Vietnam rolled the world, this small bar, better known among the residents of the region, became a place of pilgrimage of curious and tourists, more attracted by the history of the place than by the gastronomy itself.

The donuts were quick to create a ” special Obama menu “: a plate of ‘buncha’ (pork, rice noodles and fish sauce), fried Vietnamese rolls and a Hanoi Beer, the local beer. In an interview with the Vietnamese channel “Kenh 14”, Nguyen Thi Lien, one of the owners, said that the idea of exposing the table inside a glass was not yours, but some customers so that Obama’s visit would be eternalized.

“We came up with a good idea. Also, since there is only table and stools in there, it does not take up much space and does not detract from the business. We just want to show appreciation for the visit. It’s not an advertising strategy, “she told portal” Soha.vn “.

As proof that the intention is not fame, Lien revealed that in the past two years has received several offers from collectors wanting to acquire the objects in question, but she always refuses to sell.

“For us, Obama is a good man and, despite several people coming in contact, we can not sell these objects, ” he said.

She stated that the glass was installed in February, but had no repercussions until this week a photo has spread to social networks.

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Some netizens criticize. Others have argued and said it is a way to continue to explore Obama’s visit commercially.

Some people, on the other hand, see the decision as a way to celebrate a historic moment and wonder why it took nearly two years to expose the “famous” dinner.

The restaurant was also decorated with several pictures of Obama talking to Bourdain and alongside some clients who were in the place on the day of the visit of the former president, who appeared by surprise. The images came to Bourdain, who shared the picture on Instagram himself on the 12th, with the caption: “I’m not sure how I feel about it.”

Obama’s historic visit to Vietnam came in May 2016, in the last year of his second term, and raised great expectations in the country, where he was hailed by thousands of people almost as an idol.

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Picasso or Goya fill the walls of a French museum hidden among the rocks

The walls and the stone floor of “Carrières de Lumières”, an old rock quarry in the south of France, today serve as a canvas for the works of Picasso, Goya or Sorolla, projected on a large scale to the rhythm of music for Immerse visitors in Spanish painting.

This interactive exhibition that houses the town of Baux-de-Provence (southeast of France) uses a hundred projectors, to show pictures by Goya, Rusiñol, Zuloaga or Sorolla and a tour of the work of Pablo Picasso.

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During the thirty minutes of the show, visitors will be able to observe and step on the works of art, which are projected on walls and floors to achieve a “total immersion” effect.

The experience begins with images of Picasso’s life that follow each other while “Asturias”, the famous composition of the Spanish pianist Isaac Albéniz, which, like the rest of the soundtrack, is reproduced on vinyl to achieve “the texture and the flavor “of another era, explained one of the filmmakers, Gianfranco Iannuzzi.

Along the 16-meter-high limestone walls, paintings such as “El quitasol” by Goya, “María la guapa” by Sorolla, and numerous creations by the artist from Málaga such as “Las señoritas de Avignon” or “Guernica” Grays contrast with the bright colors that prevail in the exhibition “Picasso and the Spanish masters”.

A part of the exhibition, open to the public until January 2019, is dedicated to the portraits of women that the painter made throughout his life and that reflect all the pictorial styles through which he passed, “from the voluptuous curves to the sharp angles “, in the words of the organizers.

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The place where is since 2012 “Carrières de Lumières” was known as “Val d’Enfer” (Valley of Hell) by the peculiar shapes of its rocks, which were exploited for years to extract the limestone that was used in various buildings .

Already in 1959, the artist Jean Cocteau recorded his film “Le Testament d’Orphée” between these immense walls, and from 1976 the site began to host shows of light and sound.

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Paris receives a record of tourists in 2017 and gives by overcome terrorist crisis

Index last year hit historic mark and represented growth after two consecutive declines

The city of Paris and its region had a record number of tourists in 2017, with 33.8 million customers in hotels, 9.5% more than in 2016, overcoming the drop in the previous two years due to the jihadist attacks.

The Regional Tourism Committee (CRT) said in a statement that this recovery is due both to the increase in international clientele (13.7%) and national (5.9%).

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In total, it surpasses by 3.4% the number of 2011, considered so far the reference tourist year, with 32.7 million tourists.

The CRT, according to its analysis, says the increase is explained: “both by the context and by the unprecedented efforts made to restore confidence to tourists.”

Americans, British, Chinese, Germans, and Spaniards re-formed the top five nationalities in 2017, but the most outstanding annual increase of 32.8% was that of the Japanese, who ranked 10th.

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The average occupancy rate of hotels (73.2%) also registered a large increase.

The CRT predicts that by 2018 the upward trend will continue, taking into account the air reservations destined for Paris airports, and estimates that in the coming months of March and May a total increase of 11.4% is possible.

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Argentinean Ecoparque tries to change paradigms with the help of “animal trainers”

“Today, zoos tend to be ecoparques, it is no longer an exhibition of animals and ready,” said the coordinator of the “animal trainers.”

The personal trainers do not act only in gyms; in Argentina they are also in zoos, working to keep the animals in good condition and helping in the transfer of the animals to other spaces, a vital work for the creation of the Ecoparque of Buenos Aires.

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Currently, about 100 instructors are supervised in the animal behavior sector of Ecoparque – one of the most popular in Argentina – by María Eugenia Dahdah. According to the coordinator, “animal trainers” are fundamental for animals to become accustomed to the presence of veterinarians, what they are going to eat and the spaces they will occupy in the “paradigm” change that is being experienced by one who, with more than 100 years of history, is the oldest zoo in the city.

Since 2016, these 16.7 hectares are being rebuilt to fit the animal life and transmit to the visitors the new message: the main one is animal conservation, so, the show ended.

“Today, zoos tend to be ecoparques, it is no longer an exhibition of animals and ready,” clarified Maria Eugenia.

This work, which in her opinion is “what the public knows least,” will allow offering environments ideal to the size that each species needs, with the appropriate stimuli and where they can develop all the behaviors they would have in life in the forest. Once this mission is in place, the management of the place wants to re-educate the public about the animals and continue with the work of genebank.

The behavioral area has a team of veterinarians, biologists, and environmental science technicians to coordinate the activities that caregivers do every day.

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“When we know that an animal will be transferred, whether in or out of the park, we talk to the caretakers and from there we begin to see which infrastructure we have to build and what elements are needed,” said Maria Eugenia.

Some activities include getting them to get on the scale, trust the caregivers and get in the box for transportation.

The former zoo of Buenos Aires acts specifically as ” place of passage ” and rescue of animals that belonged to private collectors. According to the coordinator, the problems of animal trafficking and the practice of transforming wild animals into pet animals that persists in Argentina are “very serious”, which means that afterward many cannot be reinserted in the woods and have to stay in Ecoparque.

For María Eugenia, education is the key to changing people’s perception of animal care and the role of zoos and eco parks.

“If we are a place that will receive animals, we will do the rehabilitation, release them and do a follow-up work so that this does not continue to happen,” he said.

Ecoparque has gone through “a very significant change” and has already transferred 370 animals to shrines and other centers around the world. The expectation is that of the almost 1,000 animals that the space shelters today only remain 200 until the year 2023, date of total opening.

The species that will remain will be autochthonous (so that people know the regional fauna ), rescued from the traffic or wounds and those that could not be returned to the environment due to health issues.

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Ten must-see destinations to travel in 2018

“From almost every continent, ten countries attract attention and inspire travelers.”

The list Best in Travel 2018 of Lonely Planet, largest publisher of world travel guides, chose ten must-see countries to visit this year. All destinations fulfill a number of criteria such as event celebrations, which can generate news for travelers, or places that are unfairly not so prominent, according to the publisher. Based on these categories that are analyzed by travel experts, the list has selected ten countries, ten cities and ten regions for travelers on call to be inspired. And to begin the year, EFETur replies some tips on the ten countries chosen by Lonely Planet. Check out:

Chile

The Chilean capital, Santiago; the romantic, bohemian and coastal Valparaiso; the vineyards of the Casablanca Valley; the Patagonia or the Atacama desert are some of the urban and natural beauties of the Latin country, which has several reasons to head this classification. In addition, this year, Chile celebrates 200 years of its independence and can offer interesting regional feasts to experience.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.  Photograph.  Elena Tornero

Among the tips highlighted by Best in Travel 2018 are an itinerary through the Andean country with some different experiences, such as making the five-day W route through Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia; visit Easter Island to see the striking moai statues; or use the “San Pedro do Atacama oasis as a base” to visit volcanoes, flamingos lakes and other places in the “driest polar desert in the world”.

South Korea

High mountains, 2,400 kilometers of coastline or urban centers, such as Seoul and Busan, coexist with the traditional culture of South Korea, “a wonder almost unknown,” according to Lonely Planet, which in addition to a two-week travel itinerary proposes a series of visits and activities in the country that will host the 2018 Winter Games.

Sungnyemun Gate in Seoul, South Korea Photo: EFE / Jeon Heon-Kyun.

For example, “strolling through a hanok “, a traditional Korean village with a long history located between the Gyeongbokgung palaces, Changdokkgung and the royal shrine of Jongmyo, to sample regional cuisine such as bibimbap, seafood tarts, accompanied with white wine from makgeollí rice

Portugal

The Best Travel Guide 2018 ranked Portugal as a country that “fled the shadow of its neighbor, Spain, and focuses the spotlight as a dynamic center of art, culture, and gastronomy.” Other highlights are accessibility to natural treasures, secular traditions, and avant-garde passion.

View of Lisbon.  EFE / Manuel De Almeida.

The itinerary proposed by the guide begins in Oporto, goes through Lisbon and stops in Évora, before arriving in the Algarve and ending the tour in the historic citadel of Sagres.

According to Lonely Planet, it is essential to visit the Douro Valley wineries, “the oldest wine region in the world”, as well as a stroll through the forests and castles of Sintra.

Djibouti

This small country of fewer than one million inhabitants in northeastern Africa, on the one hand, overlooks the ocean and, on the other hand, has a border with Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. The most striking attraction is nature, because “it is in the process of cracking because of the three divergent tectonic plates.” Hence the landscapes of its deserts, releasing steam and luster that the large crystals of salt provide on the shores of its deep lakes.

A market in Djibouti.  Photo: EFE / Mazen Mahdi.

The incredible seabed, such as Ghoubbet Bay, dive among the whale sharks. One of the proposed routes indicates start by the capital, travel to the extraterrestrial landscape of Lake Abbé and then go to the crystalline shores of Lake Assal, and then go to the bay of Ghoubbet to end with a passage through the massif of Goda.

New Zealand

In 2018, the Pike29 Memorial Track is inaugurated, a new Great Walk, the first to join this network of routes, the Great Walks, which for decades took travelers “to some of the most extraordinary wilderness on the planet.”

Snow-capped mountains in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand.  Photo: EFE / Kim Ludbrook.

Its proximity to the Pacific Ring of Fire makes New Zealand a more than special destination. “It’s a fast place where you can live the best adventures at your own pace,” as Best in Travel 2018 mentions. Enjoy the urban environment of Auckland; the bubbling neighborhood of sultry Rotorua; Nelson; Wellington; driving on Route 6 and crossing the Aorakil National Park Mount Cook to end in Queenstown is the itinerary proposed by Lonely Planet. Among the essential experiences is the new Great Walk, as well as canoe trip along the river route along the Whanganui River, or see “the sunset over Lake Waikaremoana”.

Malta

Image of the island of Gozo with the church Ta 'Pinu in the background.  Photo: Efetur / Cedida by Tourism of Malta.

The Maltese capital, Valletta, is set to begin in 2018, where it will reign as the European Capital of Culture. A reason to add Malta to the special destinations for 2018. The archipelago is a treasure chest, a product of a long history accompanied by the Mediterranean Sea and the sun of its privileged climate. A one-week trip to Malta, should be, according to the Best in Travel 2018, with a few days in Valletta; a visit to Hypogeum (underground structure of about 5,000 years); Boat trip to the Blue Grotto; a time to beach in Golden Bay, for example, and visit in the cities of Mdina and Rabat, finalizing the itinerary in Island Gozo.

Georgia

The city of Mtsjeta, in Georgia, declared a World Heritage Site.  Photo: EFE / Misha Vignanski.

In 1918, 100 years ago, this Caucasian country became independent of Russia. Its long history and its spectacular territory, “amazing economic value” and that citizens of several countries “can visit Georgia without a visa for a whole year” are the other attractions that make this place worthy of occupying the number 7 post in this ranking The traveler is discovering on his journey “Orthodox churches on top of high mountains, medieval monasteries surrounded by green valleys and towns carved out of cliffs,” summarizes Lonely Planet. Essential in Georgia are the 15 monasteries excavated on the slopes of the caves of Davit Gareja, on the border with Azerbaijan. There is also the medieval town of Vardzia and Kazbegi, a village that is the starting point for excursions through the Upper Caucasus.

Mauricio Islands

Beach in Mauritius.  Photo: Efetur / Beatriz Mapelli.

Impossible to talk about the island without falling into the clichés. It is an idyllic setting with sapphire waters. It is a melting pot of cultures (there is a European past, its inhabitants are African, its vast colony is of Indian origin) and its coral reefs are a paradise for diving and snorkeling. This year, the site commemorates the 50th anniversary of its independence, another reason to visit it, and it offers the best resorts and other landscapes away from the beach that are worthwhile, such as the Black River Gorges National Park and the Land of the Seven Colors or the wooded zones and the plantations of cane. In the tips proposed by Lonely Planet, there is also the Grand Baie; the côte souvage, the village of Chamaret (entrance to the aforementioned National Park) and the leafy Île aux Aigrettes.

China

The Great Wall, one of China's biggest attractions.  Photo: EFE / How Hwee Young.

It is very complicated to summarize in a few paragraphs the reasons why one should visit this enormous country, but one of them is undoubtedly his recent commitment to modernity and technology. According to Lonely Planet, the idea is to spend a month in the country, starting with the capital, Beijing, with visits to the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City and an excursion to the Great Wall. A bullet train journey to reach Xian can be a unique experience. The publisher’s script also indicates visiting Shanghai, one of the country’s finest examples of modernity, as well as taking in the views of the world’s highest point and picturesque rural areas of Yuanyang and its rice plantations. Finally, you will love Hong Kong.

South Africa

Chapman Peak, in the Table Mountain National Park, in Cape Town (South Africa).  Photo: EFE / Nic Bothma.

Wildlife, beaches, and mountains also feature the South African landscape, also remembered by Nelson Mandela, whose centenary is celebrated in 2018 with a special program of events that will appeal to visitors. It is impressive, according to Lonely Planet, to take a photo safari through the Kruger National Park; visit the remote Wild Coast and immerse yourself in the country’s past at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and on Robben Island where Mandela spent most of his time in prison. On the 15-day itinerary proposed by the Best in Travel 2018, in addition to Cape Town, it is included on the Hermanus tour to see the whales. Important not to forget the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park; swim with sharks at the Protea Banks and visit Johannesburg. Not to mention, of course, the Kruger National Park.

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