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Back in the 1600s, during the Spanish colonial period, a number of Jesuit missions were founded in the northern province of Misiones, near the border with Brazil. At one point, over 3,000 Indigenous people lived in the mission, but as the Jesuits left the country, the buildings fell into ruins. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the San Ignacio Mini are the largest and still best-preserved mission ruins in the country. The original mission – built in red-brown stone in a style known as Guaraní Baroque -– was massive and included a monastery, a cabildo (administrative office), a cemetery, and a number of living spaces. The mission’s church, which measured 74 meters long by 24 meters wide, is the best-preserved part of the ruins. A small on-site museum tells the story of the mission, and there’s a scale model of the original San Ignacio Mini.
This quirky Caribbean Island leaves many first-time visitors perplexed. For starters, it’s far closer to Nicaragua than Colombia. Then there’s the fact that its residents don’t speak Spanish but rather an English Creole. Of course, none of that really matters when you find yourself sunning on the most stunning beaches under the Colombian flag. Little more than a dollop of golden sands and perky palms, this isolated island is the jewel of the UNESCO-protected Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, with some of the world’s greatest marine biodiversity just waiting to be explored. You’ll need to first stop on the more popular San Andrés Island and catch a short hopper plane or three-hour catamaran ride to reach Providencia. Once here, you’ll find the largest collection of cottages and hotels in the small hamlet of Aguadulce on the stunning west coast of the island.
One of the highlights of eastern Cuba is beautiful Baracoa, the oldest city in the country. It was founded in 1511 in the province of Guantanamo, and construction began on the first church here around that time. Cut off from much of the outside world until the 1960s, when the La Farola highway was built, the city still has a remote feel. Today, visitors come here for the charming colonial architecture and lush countryside, where waterfalls and pretty beaches provide a cool counterpoint to the steamy jungle. The flat-topped peak of El Yunque presides over all this tropical beauty, beckoning hikers to take the guided ascent to its 589-meter summit. The hillside is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve where rare birds and plants thrive. To really appreciate the spectacular scenery, take a drive down the winding La Farola highway, a 49-kilometer stretch from Baracoa over the mountains to Cajobabo. The Museo Municipal is also worth a look. Housed in the Fuerte Matachin military fortress, it provides a glimpse of Baracoa’s fascinating history, and the fort itself offers great views over the bay.
Cast all of your outdated ideas aside, like drug wars and gangsters, and you’ll find that Colombia is a nation brimming with confidence and rushing headfirst into a more peaceful and prosperous future. In this land of contrasts, you’ll encounter snowcapped Andean peaks, tropical Amazonian jungles, turquoise Caribbean coasts, and two sun-kissed deserts. You’ll also find a host of spectacular attractions at the places in between, from the magic of Cartagena and the buzz of Medellin to the quiet colonial villages of Salento and Mompox. Above all else, the famous Colombian hospitality will undoubtedly find you coming back for more. Find the best places to visit with our list of the top attractions in Colombia.
This is my first two years as a digital nomad. It’s more of a diary entry and it’s intended to show you, my readers, that there’s a big wide world out there to explore. And that you needn’t be chained to a desk working a traditional 9-5 job. The notion that you can only work in a specific office at certain times of the day is old fashioned. We’re in a digital age and the internet has made the world of work far more flexible. If you want to be a ‘digital nomad’ you just need to think outside the box. And the first step is realising that the things chaining you to your job or city are of your own making. They’re a product of your own choices to date. You can consciously make different choices. Find even more details at https://inlovelyblue.com/.
The stunning Iguazú Falls lie along Argentina’s border with Brazil, with Iguazu National Park on the Argentinian side and Iguaçu National Park on the Brazilian side. Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these huge waterfalls are undoubtedly one of the most spectacular sights in South America. Visitors can get quite close to these thundering falls thanks to a network of easily accessible walkways and viewing platforms designed to provide the best possible views, including some at the bottom of the falls, an area known as the Devil’s Throat. Iguazu is, in fact, made up of between 150 to 300 individual falls along its nearly three-kilometer edge, a number that changes depending on the season, varying in height between 60 to 82 meters and each as spectacular as the next. Served by an international airport in Argentina (and one in neighboring Brazil), it’s relatively easy to visit, particularly if flying from Buenos Aires.
Exploring the town of Trinidad, Cuba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is like stepping back in time. The beautifully restored buildings and cobblestone streets in the city center exude a quaint colonial feel. Much of the architecture dates from the 17th to the 19th centuries, when Trinidad prospered from both the sugar and slave trades. Today, Trinidad is one of the best cities in Cuba to visit, apart from Havana. You can soak up its lively ambience in the cobblestone Plaza Mayor, the city’s central square. Above the square stands the neoclassical Church of the Holy Trinity (Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad). Other Trinidad highlights are the Church and Monastery of Saint Francis (Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco), with its distinctive bell tower; the Museum of Colonial Architecture (Museo de Arquitectura Colonial); the art gallery at the Casa de Aldeman Ortiz; and the Palacio Brunet, a grand home built in 1812 and still featuring original frescoes and marble floors. East of Trinidad, on the road to Sancti Spiritus, the lush World Heritage-listed Valle de los Ingenios contains numerous relics and monuments from the 19th century, when the sugar cane plantations and mills flourished. One of the best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba is simply drive or horseback ride through the beautiful scenery of green sugar cane fields, palm trees, and mountains.