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According to the popular 1960 beach movie, Fort Lauderdale is “where the boys are.” The city’s reputation as America’s Spring Break capital, however, has been replaced with the more favorable image of a prime family tourist destination, attracting more than 10 million visitors annually. The most popular beach resort in Florida is even more rightly famed as the “Yachting Capital of the World,” with more than 40,000 registered crafts calling its waters home. The city also prides itself on being the “Venice of America” with more than 300 miles of navigable waterways. Fort Lauderdale boasts world-class theaters, museums, sightseeing, and shopping.
One of the more interesting cities on your itinerary steeped in history. This was the transit port for all the wealth Spain derived from South America. The famous “Old City” is comprised of 12 square blocks filled with attractions, boutiques and restaurants.
Throughout Colombia, the Spanish Empire’s influence in the New World is self-evident. Its fortress walls, quaint narrow streets, and balconied houses are all vivid reminders of Spain’s hold on Cartagena and throughout the Caribbean and South America. This is the land of El Dorado and flamboyant adventurers in search of the ever-elusive gold. Cartagena’s well-constructed fortifications defended its borders against seafaring pirates whose attacks lasted for more than 200 years. Today this modern and bustling city, seaport, and commercial center still boasts much of its original colonial architecture. Your journey here will provide you with a significant link to the region’s grand past.
**Please note that passengers may encounter numerous local vendors at various tourist locations and may find them to be persistent in their sales offers.
Cruising through the Panama Canal will be one of the unforgettable experiences of your voyage.
It takes approximately eight hours to navigate the 50-mile waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, allowing you to experience firsthand one of the engineering marvels of the 20th century. Completed in 1914, the canal marks the culmination of a dream born in 1513, when Balboa became the first European to cross the Isthmus of Panama and sight the Pacific. In 1880 Ferdinand de Lesseps and the French Canal company, builders of the Suez Canal, began construction in Panama, only to be defeated by disease, staggering cost overruns, and massive engineering problems. The French sold their claim and properties to the United States for $40 million, a staggering loss of $247 million on their investment. The United States began construction in 1904, completing the project in 10 years at a cost of $387 million. Building the canal meant solving three problems: engineering, sanitation, and organization. The project, for example, required carving a channel through the Continental Divide and creating the then-largest man-made lake ever built, as well as defeating yellow fever and other tropical maladies. The United States oversaw the operation of the Panama Canal until December 31, 1999, when the Republic of Panama assumed responsibility for the canal’s administration. The Panamanian government controls the canal through the Panama Canal Authority, an independent government agency created for the purpose of managing the canal.
Fuerte Amador, situated at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, is a man-made peninsula extending out into the Pacific Ocean.
The one-mile causeway was created by connecting four small islands with rocks excavated from the Panama Canal. There are several shops, restaurants, and other specialty stores centered around a large marina that serves as a tender dock. The causeway also affords a panoramic view of Panama City’s impressive skyline and serves as the home for the Smithsonian Institute of Tropical Research.
To Spanish explorers, the rumors of gold and vast riches could only mean that this section of Central America was the costa rica – the “Rich Coast.”
Hailed as the Switzerland of the Americas, Costa Rica occupies a unique position, lying between two oceans and two continents. On both coasts, tropical rainforests rise to the mountains of the interior, many of which soar over 13,000 feet above sea level. In the west, a seemingly endless succession of brown-sand beaches forms the nation’s Pacific coast. Puntarenas is your gateway to Costa Rica’s wonders – and to its capital city of San Jose.
Nicaragua is the largest Central American nation and has stunning landscapes, vast cultural treasures, and an intriguing history.
Until recent times Nicaragua was unfortunately known for the civil war (Sandinistas and Contras) that raged from the late 70s through much of the 80s. Today, the soldiers and guerrillas have given way sightseeing in a beautiful country. From strolling the cobblestone streets of colonial Granada on Lake Nicaragua, to exploring one of the many volcanoes, Nicaragua has something for even the most seasoned traveler.
This small beach and fishing village is perfectly situated at the foothills of the Sierra Madre and the Pacific coastline, providing over 20 miles of unspoiled beaches to explore. For an unforgettable adventure, go in search of the secret coves and hidden lagoons within its nine bays. These nine bays bordered by 36 golden-sand beaches form the beautiful Las Bahias de Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca.
Puerto Vallarta is a resort town on Mexico’s Pacific coast, in Jalisco state. It is known for its beaches, water sports and nightlife scene. Its cobblestone center is home to the ornate Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church, boutique shops and a range of restaurants and bars.
The City of Angels always hovers between dream and reality. Once a near-forgotten colonial outpost, the pueblo metamorphosed into an agrarian paradise before reinventing itself as a movie colony. Perhaps no other city owes so much to the technological innovations of the 20th century, from the automobile to the airplane. Little wonder that LA is oft described as the “dream machine.” In LA, reinvention is a way of life. Yet this talent for change has created a city with a rich ethnic diversity and a sizzling culture. LA is the source for trends that migrate across the country and then the world. Where else can you enjoy a Thai taco or munch on a kosher burrito? Or travel from downtown’s high rises to the beaches of Malibu, shopping in Beverly Hills along the way?
Los Angeles is a port of embarkation and disembarkation for some cruises.
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