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San Francisco’s bounty overflows. Everywhere you look, every place you go, there’s something to see or something interesting to do. The “City by the Bay” combines a splendid setting with cultural and historical elements, making San Francisco one of the finest and most beloved cities in the world.
Visitors to San Francisco find themselves faced with very difficult decisions – what to see and do first. There are so many possibilities that its virtually impossible to see and do everything in one visit. The city itself is relatively small; many of the areas of interest are in close proximity of each other. From downtown to Chinatown and from North Beach to Fisherman’s Wharf, there are numerous historical monuments, modern buildings, Victorian masterpieces, museums, parks, gardens and ethnic neighborhoods. Its no wonder that San Francisco captures the heart of all who visit.
Monterey is a city on California’s rugged central coast. Its Cannery Row, one-time center of the sardine-packing industry, was immortalized by novelist John Steinbeck. Today, it’s a popular strip of gift shops, seafood restaurants and bars in converted factories. Also famous is Monterey Bay Aquarium, with thousands of marine animals and plants on display in underwater and interactive exhibits
Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the Channel Islands, off the coast of Southern California. Its many sea caves include the vast Painted Cave, on the northwestern side. The island has many trails, including around Scorpion Canyon, with opportunities to see the island scrub jays. Scorpion Beach features kelp forests. Smugglers Cove has tide pools. Cavern Point offers Pacific Ocean views and seasonal whale sightings.
Found at the tip of Baja California, Cabo San Lucas is where the desert meets the ocean. Although it has received a makeover of modern Americana in recent years, this place is still a world away from everywhere else in Mexico. A trip to Cabo (the San Lucas is optional) will not leave you disappointed. With swaying palm trees, turquoise seas and long ribbons of white sand, this is a resort that ticks every box: great food, great nightlight which equal great times – for some.
Others may prefer to scratch the surface just a bit deeper and travel along the peninsula that is known for its dramatic scenery of desert terrain and rugged coastline marked by many unusual formations. The sweeping views of the bay are simply sensational. A quick turn inward takes you to San Jose del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas’ older and more grown up sister. Offering a very much calmer and much more authentic atmosphere, just half an hour along the coast leaves you in its desert terrain, and leaves a very different impression from the lively beachfront bars and cafes of San Lucas. Perhaps one of the most stunning ways to see Cabo though is from the water. With the Arco de Cabo San Lucas featuring highly on many must-see lists, a trip around the bay is a must. The braver among you might also like to indulge their inner adrenalin junkie and swim with whale sharks – a memorable and totally risk-free experience if there ever was one. End your day of sightseeing with a fabulous sunset, a (tequila) sunrise in hand, watching the fishermen come home from their adventures.
La Paz, in Bolivia, is the highest administrative capital in the world, resting on the Andes’ Altiplano plateau at more than 3,500m above sea level. It stretches to El Alto city in the highlands, with snow-capped, 6,438m-high Mt. Illimani as its backdrop. The city’s dramatic setting can be taken in during rides on Mi Teleférico, the aerial cable car system.
Isla Espíritu Santo is an island in the Gulf of California, off the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. It is separated from Isla Partida by a narrow canal. Together, the islands are part of La Paz Municipality and are both a short boat trip from La Paz on the Baja California Peninsula.
Isla San Francisco is a small island on the eastern coast of Baja California Sur. With an arc so perfect it appears manmade, Isla San Francisco has a stunningly beautiful desert beach on its south-western side. The view from the south-western shore is a protected bay with azure ocean to the front and painted mountains, stark cactus and desert all around. There are 10 species of reptile on Isla San Francisco, including the Isla San Francisco Whiptail.
Located in the center of Mexico’s Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is one of the country’s most picturesque cities and holiday destinations. Its cobblestone streets and red-roofed, white adobe-style buildings nestle between palm-covered mountains and the vast Banderas Bay. Stretches of white sand beaches are among the best in Mexico and the climate is consistently warm and sunny. For years, vacationers who had discovered the beauty of Puerto Vallarta tried to keep the “good news” from spreading. The arrival of a major film company and two of the world’s best-known stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, changed Puerto Vallarta from a laid-back town to a famous getaway destination almost overnight.
In addition to its visual appeal, Puerto Vallarta offers a variety of cultural entertainment and a lively nightlife. Take time to see the sights of the city. Downtown spreads around the small Isla Cuale, which lies in the middle of the Cuale River; the heart of the city is a few blocks north around the Municipal Square. A crown-topped cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, rises behind the square; a wide seaside promenade, known as the Malecon, hugs the oceanfront. A seahorse statue welcomes visitors to the downtown beach area. The statue and the prominent church tower have become symbols of Puerto Vallarta, or PV as locals call their town for short.
Puerto Vallarta grew from an existing fishing village with a history dating back some 100 years. Because of its veritable heritage as a Mexican pueblo, the town tends to offer more of the country’s artistic and cultural tradition than other Mexican resorts. The origin of the charro (traditional costume), the national beverage tequila and the typical music of the mariachi bands are credited to Puerto Vallarta. It is considered the most Mexican of all the country’s resort towns.
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