• Group kayaking, Alaska

    10 Best Places to Kayak Around the World

    <p>Kayaking is a fantastic experience for all ages and skill sets, especially when you&#39;re in a faraway land! Imagine yourself gliding through the towering limestone islands of Halong Bay; floating under the Punt-du-Gard in France; or drifting on the crystal clear waters of Belize, teeming with wildlife underneath. Grab your paddle and brace yourself for a good time, here are the 10 best places to kayak around the world. </p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatiafamily/" target="_blank"><b>#10 CROATIA</b></a></p><p>Kayak in the uninhabited waters of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatiafamily/" target="_blank">Lokrum island</a>. This place is magical! You can explore caves and remote beaches... oh, and did we mention the water visibility is 30 feet deep! </p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/croatiafamily/" target="_blank"><img src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATbi&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9zG" alt="Group kayaking off coast of Croatia"></img></a></p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaskafamily/" target="_blank"><b>#9 ALASKA</b></a></p><p>In <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaskafamily/" target="_blank">Thumb Cove</a> three glaciers spill right into the waters. Here, you can find yourself gliding alongside sea otters and sea lions. If you&#39;re lucky, you might even spot mountain goats or a black bear on shore! For a special treat, beach your kayaks in Emerald Green Cove for a short hike to a hidden waterfall.</p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/alaskafamily/" target="_blank"><img src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATbi&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fB7H" alt="Kayaking in Alaska"></img></a></p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/puget-sound-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#8 PUGET SOUND</b></a></p><p>Go sea kayaking, off the west coast of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/puget-sound-tours/" target="_blank">San Juan Island</a>. This is prime Orca whale territory and if you’ve ever dreamed of seeing the great mammals up close, you are in for an incredible experience.</p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/puget-sound-tours/" target="_blank"><img src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATbi&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9wv" alt="Group kayaking on calm waters"></img></a></p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#7 BELIZE</b></a></p><p>Hop into a kayak and head out into the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank">Ambergris Caye</a>, which sits adjacent to the world&#39;s second largest barrier reef. While exploring the waters you can see the incredible wildlife and reefs beneath you and even jump out of your kayak for some snorkeling in the crystal clear warm waters.</p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank"><img src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATbi&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9wg" alt="Young boy kayaking in clear waters"></img></a></p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfifamily/" target="_blank"><b>#6 AMALFI</b></a></p><p>Explore the cobalt blue waters and coastal architecture of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfifamily/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a>. From your kayak, admire the gorgeous views of the cliffside village of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfifamily/" target="_blank">Positano</a>.</p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfifamily/" target="_blank"><img src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATbi&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000fB72" alt="Amalfi Kayak"></img></a></p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#5 COSTA RICA</b></a></p><p>Slip into a kayak for a guided paddle through the lagoons and creeks of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank">Tortuguero River</a>. Along the way keep an eye out for white-faced capuchin monkeys, black river turtles, crocodiles, macaws, and the long-legged anhinga birds.</p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank"><img src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATbi&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9wl" alt="Group kayaking in a forest"></img></a></p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provencefamily/" target="_blank"><b>#4 PROVENCE</b></a></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provencefamily/" target="_blank">The Pont-du-Gard</a> was built over 2,000 years ago and was both a bridge and an aqueduct. Today it is one of the remaining Roman wonders of Provence. It stands over 150 feet tall, and paddling right up alongside it is one of the most incredible sites you&#39;ll ever see. </p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/provencefamily/" target="_blank"><img src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATbi&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9wH" alt="Kayakers in front of the Pont du Gard Aqueduct"></img></a></p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#3 NORWAY</b></a></p><p>Head into the Jostedalen valley, where you&#39;ll kayak and explore the glacier-fed lake – which is tinted a very vivid blue.  </p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank"><img src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATbi&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9wW" alt="Woman kayaking near a glacier"></img></a></p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/indochina-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#2 VIETNAM</b></a></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/indochina-tours/" target="_blank">Halong Bay</a>, considered Vietnam&#39;s eighth wonder of the world, is where 3,000 limestone islands pepper the waters. Exploring the bay in a kayak is an incredible way to easily navigate between and admire the islands.  </p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/indochina-tours/" target="_blank"><img src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATbi&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9w2" alt="Woman kayaking near islands in Halong Bay"></img></a></p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#1 GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS</b></a></p><p>The Galápagos Islands are one of the best places in the world to visit for anyone who wants to see wildlife. Here you&#39;ll be able to kayak with sea lions, green sea turtles and marine iguanas while keeping your eyes sharp for blue-footed boobies in the trees along the shores or as they hover over the sea and dive for fish.</p><p><br></p><p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATbi&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9wM" alt="Man and Woman kayaking with seals"></img></a></p><p><br></p><p>Join us for one of these adventures! On a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/dates/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys </a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com" target="_blank">trip</a>, kayaking is just one of many unforgettable experiences.  </p>

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  • Ceviche

    Tastes of Latin America: Whose Ceviche Is Best?

    If you’ve spent any time in Latin America, you know that the nearly every country, from as far north as Mexico to as far south as Tierra del Fuego in Chile, brags about their ceviche, with several claiming it as their national dish. At Classic Journeys, we travel on our stomachs. And with trips throughout Central and South America, we’ve tasted every ceviche recipe and had every one of our fiercely proud local guides explain with great passion why their ceviche recipes are the best. <br><br>Typically made from fresh raw fish cured in lemon or lime juice, and spiced with ají, chili peppers and seasonings that often include onions, salt, and coriander, ceviche is not cooked and so must be prepared and eaten fresh. (So truly sea to table). We love that it is usually accompanied by side dishes that are very local to the place where you are eating it, such as sweet potato, corn, avocado, or banana. And even better, it’s truly a window into cultures, as the origin is hotly debated up and down the Pacific coast of Latin America. <br><br>Here, we’ve given your mind, body and palate a bit of culinary escapism by asking our guides and chefs in every Classic Journeys Latin American country along the Pacific coast to share their favorite ceviche recipe and to tell us why theirs is best. Buen provecho!<br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/peru/" target="_blank">Peru</a> </b><br><img alt="Peru local guide luxury walking culture tours" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Fn9k&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lWWa" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Why Is Peruvian Ceviche Best?<br><br><i>Many countries will claim that their ceviche is the best, but only Peru claims it as the national dish. Additionally, as one of our Peruvian guides, Marisol, says, “We have archeological records that show us that ceviche may have been consumed in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Peru</a> nearly two thousand years ago. And later, when Lima held a dominant position as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru, it meant that popular dishes like ceviche were brought to other Spanish colonies. So, our ceviche is the heart and soul of everyone else’s ceviche! The most important ingredients? Peru&#39;s famous Lech de Tigre marinade and key limes!”</i><br><br>Serves 4-6<br><br>Ingredients: <br><br>For the Leche de Tigre (Peruvian marinade)<br>1 cup of fresh key lime juice<br>3 garlic cloves, chopped<br>1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro<br>1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger<br>1 small onion, chopped<br>½ cup fish stock or clam juice <br>2 teaspoons Kosher salt<br><br>For the ceviche<br>1 pound of fresh fish (fluke / flounder / sole / halibut / escolar) cut into ½ inch cubes<br>1 sweet potato<br>½ cup of sweetcorn<br>½ habanero chile, seeded and halved lengthways<br>1 small onion, thinly sliced<br>Kosher salt<br>Cilantro leaves to garnish<br><br>Method:<br>For the Leche de Tigre - <br>Use a blender to puree the key lime juice, cilantro leaves, ginger, garlic and chilli with a handful of ice cubes. <br>Add the chopped union and blend, then strain through a sieve, collecting the liquid in a bowl. <br>Stir in fish stock / clam juice and add salt. Chill in fridge.<br><br>For the ceviche - <br>Cook the sweet potato whole, then leave to chill. <br>Cook the corn and leave to chill. <br>Take a large bowl and rub the sides with the cut chili. <br>Add the fish, leche de tigre, ¾ of the onion, and a handful of ice cubes, then stir together. Leave for 5 minutes, then remove the ice.<br>Gently stir in the potato (scoop out small balls with a spoon) and corn.<br>Season to taste.<br>Serve into small bowls, pouring over the juices left in the big bowl.<br>Garnish with remaining ¼ of onion and cilantro leaves. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/ecuador/" target="_blank"><b>Ecuador</b></a><br><img alt="Luxury guatemala tour guide galapagos" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Fn9k&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lWa8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Why Is Ecuadorian Ceviche Best? <i>Ecuadorian ceviche has a citrusy tang to it that makes it stand apart from other ceviche. Traditionally, it’s served sprinkled with toasted corn and eaten with plantain chips. Classic Journeys naturalist guide on Isabela Island, Sebastian, is not only expert on the birds, plants, animals and sea life; his grandfather was the president of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ecuador-tours/" target="_blank">Ecuador</a>! So he’s justifiable proud of the country’s ceviche and why he thinks it’s best. “Well, we marinate the onion in lime juice and combine orange juice. Plus, we have the best shrimp in the world! It all adds up to create the best ceviche ever!”</i><br><br>Serves 4-6<br><br>Ingredients:<br><br>1 pound of shrimp <br>1 red onion, thinly sliced<br>1 cup of fresh lime juice <br>1 cup of fresh orange juice <br>2 cloves of garlic <br>2 bay leaves <br>1 x 15oz can of chopped tomatoes <br>1 handful of cilantro leaves, chopped<br>1 teaspoon of mustard <br>Green plantain chips or ‘chifles’ <br>1 cup of toasted corn <br>Salt &amp; pepper to taste <br><br>Method:<br><br>Thinly slice the onion and place in a bowl, then cover with the fresh lime juice. Let it soak for a good hour or more.  <br>Mix the chopped tomatoes, orange juice and mustard, then refrigerate. <br>Boil the shrimp in water, with the bay leaves and garlic cloves.<br>Once cooked, remove from the heat and add ice to cool the water, then refrigerate.<br>When everything is nicely chilled, mix it all together.<br>Serve in individual bowls and add toasted corn on top.<br>To eat, scoop up the ceviche with green plantain chips (we call them chifles).<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/guatemala/" target="_blank"><b>Guatemala</b></a><br><img alt="Guatemalan ceviche recipe" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Fn9k&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lWaw" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Why Is Guatemalan Ceviche Best? <br><br><i>The Guatemalans swear by a particular ingredient... “Our secret is Worcestershire sauce!”, shares Classic Journeys expert local, Marlon. “It makes Guatemalan ceviche the best in the world. The other secret is eating your ceviche with the Guatemalan beer, Gallo. If you can’t get Gallo beer, Cerveza Modelo Especial is a good alternative.” Who does he make his ceviche for? His wife, who he calls Princess Evelin, with this backstory. I was visiting the dentist, which in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/guatemala-tours/" target="_blank">Guatemala</a> is considered a luxury. I arrived for my first visit and was immediately fascinated by the beauty of the young secretary at the clinic. That same day the dentist convinced me to sign a contract for two years to receive an unnecessary orthodontic treatment (braces), which I didn’t really need. But this meant I could keep going back to the office. I Intentionally forgot the date of the next appointment so that the secretary had to call me to reschedule and we would begin to slowly talk about non-dental things. Soon we began to go out for dinners and other dates, and I made her my ceviche. Six months later she became my girlfriend and in 2012 we got married. Did she marry me for myself or my ceviche?”</i><br><br>Serves 4-6<br><br>Ingredients: <br><br>12 shrimp<br>1 cup of crab meat<br>½ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice<br>3 tomatoes, chopped <br>2 garlic cloves, chopped<br>1 small red onion<br>½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves<br>1 teaspoon of soy sauce<br>1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce<br>¼ cup of tomato juice<br>Salt to taste<br>1 avocado<br>Hot sauce<br><br>Method:<br><br>Cook the shrimp in pan of water, then place in iced water.<br>When cool, cut the shrimp into smaller pieces. <br>Soak the onion in a bowl of water and salt (about 2 cups water to ½ teaspoon salt). After 10 minutes, strain and rinse.<br>Mix together the shrimp, crab meat, cilantro, garlic, soy sauce, tomato juice, lime juice and don’t forget the Worcestershire sauce!<br>Refrigerate for an hour.<br>Add chopped avocado and serve, with hot sauce! <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/colombia/" target="_blank"><b>Colombia<br><img alt="Colombia local guide luxury walking culture tours" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Fn9k&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lWWf" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b></a><br><br>Why Is Colombian Ceviche Best?<i> <br><br>Served fresh on Colombian beachfronts, this ceviche is marvelously simple to make, and most recipes only need a few ingredients that you’ll probably already have in your fridge. Most commonly, shrimp serves as the staple seafood but if you can get your hands on some fresh seabass, it’s absolutely delicious. “Ketchup! It may sound like something you would put on a burger rather than seafood,” says Ana Maria in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/colombia-tours/" target="_blank">Colombia</a>. “But trust me, it tastes better than any other ceviche you will ever eat!”</i><br><br>Serves 4-6<br><br>Ingredients:<br><br>1 pound of shrimp<br>1 small red onion, sliced <br>Half a cup of fresh parsley <br>2 garlic cloves, chopped<br>1 cup of fresh lime juice <br>1 cup of ketchup <br>1 tablespoon of mayonnaise <br>Hot sauce (to taste)<br>1 tablespoon of olive oil <br>Saltine crackers <br><br>Method:<br><br>Mix together the ketchup, mayonnaise, olive oil, lime juice and most of the parsley (save some to garnish!)<br>Boil the shrimp, then drop into ice water. <br>Combine the shrimp, onion and garlic with the sauce. <br>Add hot sauce, salt and pepper to your taste. <br>Put in the fridge for an hour.<br>Serve in small bowls, with the rest of the parsley leaves sprinkled on top. Eat with saltine crackers!<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/costa-rica/" target="_blank"><b>Costa Rica<br><img alt="Costa Rica local guide luxury walking culture tours" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Fn9k&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lWWk" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b></a><br><br>Why Is Costa Rican Ceviche Best? <br><br><i>In Costa Rica, ceviche is traditionally made with sea bass or mahi mahi, incorporating bell peppers and hot pepper. “Tico’s LOVE ceviche, it’s best served on a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank">Costa Rica</a> beach! You can eat it with tortilla chips, or a soft flour tortilla like a burrito,” shares long-time Classic Journeys tour leader and naturalist, Kenneth.</i><br><br>Ingredients:<br><br>1 pound sea bass / mahi mahi, chopped into cubes <br>1 cup fresh lemon / lime juice <br>1 small red onion, chopped<br>1 garlic clove, minced <br>Handful of cilantro leaves (Tito’s call this coriander)<br>1 chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped <br>1 bell pepper, chopped into small squares<br><br>Method:<br><br>It’s simple, just mix everything together!<br>Put it in the fridge–at least for an hour, or overnight.<br>Scoop up your ceviche with tortilla chips, or crumble some on top and eat with a spoon. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/chile/" target="_blank"><b>Chile</b></a><br><img alt="Chile local guide luxury walking culture tours" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Fn9k&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lWWp" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Why Is Chilean Ceviche Best? <i>You can recognize Chilean Ceviche by its meticulously diced ingredients. From the fish to the bell peppers, everything is chopped into tiny pieces, before being infused with spicy, citrusy flavors. “Grapefruit juice is our secret to giving ceviche in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-tours/" target="_blank">Chile</a> the extra kick! Rule number one is to use fresh fish. Rule two, we like to chop everything into the smallest pieces possible. After that, it’s hard to go wrong!” Classic Journeys tour leader, Andres, knows a thing or two about fresh fish. In addition to being one of the top cultural guides in the country, he is an expert mountaineer, is an accomplished fly fishing guide, and managed a fishing lodge for many years.</i><br><br>Serves 4-6<br><br>Ingredients:<br><br>1 pound of white fish, diced into small pieces (about a quarter inch) <br>1 lemon, juiced<br>1 grapefruit, juiced<br>1 lemon, cut into wedges  <br>2 cloves of garlic, crushed <br>Half of a yellow onion, diced <br>1 cup of cucumber, diced<br>1 green bell pepper, diced <br>½ cup of cilantro, chopped <br>½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper <br>½ teaspoon of paprika <br>Salt and pepper<br>Tortilla chips<br><br>Method:<br><br>Pour the fresh lemon and grapefruit juice over the fish. <br>Put into the fridge for an hour at least. <br>Add onion, peppers, cucumber, garlic, cilantro, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper. <br>Put it all back into the fridge for 30 minutes to one hour. <br>Serve in bowls, with a lemon wedge! Scoop up with tortilla chips. <br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/panama/" target="_blank"><b>Panama</b></a><br><img alt="Luxury walking culture tour guide" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Fn9k&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lWaD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Why Is Panamanian Ceviche Best? <br><br><i>Grapefruit and celery are two essential ingredients in Panamanian ceviche, and most natives will tell you to use lemon juice, instead of lime. “Ceviche is a staple in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank">Panama</a>, we have it every week at least,” says Classic Journeys man-in-the-know and resident naturalist, Beny. “I’ll go to the local fish market early in the morning and collect whatever looks good to me, then mix everything together and enjoy it as the sun sets that evening.”</i><br><br>Serves 4-6<br><br>Ingredients: <br><br>1 pound of fresh fish (red snapper, rockfish, cod or something similar) chopped into small pieces<br>¼ cup of cilantro<br>½ cup of lemon juice <br>1 habanero pepper, finely chopped <br>2 cloves of garlic, crushed<br>1 small yellow onion, chopped<br>1 small red bell pepper, chopped<br>1 grapefruit, cut into wedges<br>1 celery stalk, finely chopped<br>Hot sauce<br><br>Method:<br><br>Marinate the fish with lime juice, onions, cilantro, garlic for 6-12 hours.<br>Mix in celery and pepper.<br>Serve with grapefruit and hot sauce.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/belize/" target="_blank"><b>Belize<br><img alt="Belize local guide luxury walking culture tours" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002Fn9k&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lWWu" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></b></a><br><br>Why Is Belizean Ceviche Best? <br><br><i>Belizean ceviche features chunks of raw fish mixed into a fresh salsa. Conch is the nation’s favorite choice of seafood in ceviche, but you can swap that for shrimp, lobster or any other seafood. Steve is the captain of the catamaran Classic Journeys charters for guests private exploration of Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Alley. He says, “We love raw fish in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank">Belize</a>, and conch is the best, I catch it myself so it couldn&#39;t be fresher! Growing up, sometimes we would have it made with cooked chicken feet!”</i><br><br>Serves 4-6<br><br>Ingredients:<br><br>1 pound of raw conch, trimmed, peeled, cut into cubes (or swap for shrimp or your favorite raw fish)<br>4 tomatoes, diced <br>1 onion, diced <br>6 limes, juiced <br>1 habanero pepper, diced<br>1 cup of cilantro , chopped<br><br>Method:<br><br>Wash then cut the conch (or whatever seafood you choose) into bite-sized chunks.<br>Soak it in the lime juice for at least 1 hour. <br>Make a salsa with the tomatoes, onion, pepper, cilantro, salt and lime juice.<br>Mix in the seafood. <br>Eat with corn tortillas!

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  • Coffee

    Coffee: A Modern Necessity Becomes a Source of National Pride

    Quick quiz: what’s the world’s most used mind-altering drug—used by more than 90% of all humans—and also served to children?<br> <br>If you contemplated that question over a cup of coffee and then guessed caffeine, you win; doubly! Now more than 500 years old, coffee is at its historical peak in terms of acceptance and desirability. For most of its history, it’s been looked on with confusion, suspicion and, to a degree, even disgust.<br> <br>Why? And why now is it such it such a source of national pride for so many nations that grow the beans that are in such high demand?<br> <br>Coffee likely started in Ethiopia in the 15th century and made its way to Mecca in the 16th century. From there, Europeans encountered it for the first time on trading missions. Within a century, it was so established in the Ottoman empire that it was considered the ‘perfect symbol of Islam’. As it worked its way west into Britain, women in London claimed that it made men lazy and impotent.<br> <br>All that changed in the US in the early 1900’s when Brazilian coffee growers and American coffee roasters joined efforts to promote coffee. Drawing on the research funded by Coca-Cola and undertaken by an MIT professor, they found that caffeine increased the body’s capacity for cognitive and muscular function within 15 minutes of intake. And with that, an industry was born!<br> <br>Now that coffee is so popular, with Americans consuming 400 million cups a day, there is a race for national pride and market share among coffee growing nations of the world. Since Classic Journeys operates trips in more than a dozen coffee growing countries, we convened our own focus group of our expert local guides. We asked them to share the story behind their country’s history of coffee and what makes their coffee best.<br> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/costa-rica/" target="_blank"><b>Costa Rica</b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/costa-rica/" target="_blank"><img alt="Is Costa Rica coffee the best in the world?" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PYoW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrLS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>In Costa Rica, coffee farming techniques have been passed down through generations since the 1700’s. The mountainous terrain, cloud forest climates and volcanic ash in the soil combine to create incredible coffee beans—the Tarrazu region in particular is thought to create some of the finest coffee on earth. In 2012, the “Costa Rica Finca Palmilera” coffee became the most expensive coffee sold in Starbucks at $7 a cup! <br><br>Why is Costa Rica’s coffee the best? <br><br><i>“Tico’s have been growing coffee for hundreds of years, it’s in our blood! Plus, it’s actually illegal to have bad coffee in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank">Costa Rica</a>! In 1989, our government passed a law banning bad coffee beans. Everything we grow must be 100% Arabica. Traditionally, Tico’s brew our coffee using a “chorreador”—a “coffee sock”—which filters the grains into a mug, ” says Classic Journeys tico guide, Kenneth.</i><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/guatemala/" target="_blank">Guatemala</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/guatemala/" target="_blank"><img alt="Is Guatemala coffee the best in the world?" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PYoW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrH2" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>Guatemala is a world-famous coffee grower, with over 100,000 producers. The oldest estates can be found in Antigua, and the highest in Huehuetenango. <br><br>Why is Guatemala’s coffee the best? <br><br><i>Rather than a few small, specific areas, huge expanses of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/guatemala-tours/" target="_blank">Guatemala</a> are suited to coffee growing, shares guide Marlon. “We have rich soil and a humid climate. Guatemalan Peaberry is the cream of our coffee crop. The peaberry is a round, pea-shaped coffee bean that makes up 5% of the overall harvest. While the other 95% of that harvest will taste great, the peaberry is even better than great. We take the best harvest, then extract the peaberries from that harvest and it results in some wonderful coffee.”</i><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/peru/" target="_blank">Peru</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/peru/" target="_blank"><img alt="Is Peru coffee the best in the world?" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PYoW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrGI" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>Peru might not be the first nation you think of when it comes to coffee growers, but it’s actually an old-hand in the industry, with farms existing on the Inca highlands since the 1700’s. Dozens of small, family-run farms grow pure Arabica beans, resulting in a light, mild and aromatic roast.<br><br>Why is Peru’s coffee the best? <br><br><i>We are the underdogs! We don’t have the reputation of Colombia,” says Classic Journeys guide Marisol, “but coffee growing is still an integral part of the culture and history of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Peru</a>. Our coffee has a rich, chocolatey taste and of course everyone loves chocolate!”</i><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/colombia/" target="_blank">Colombia</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/colombia/" target="_blank"><img alt="Is Colombia coffee the best in the world?" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PYoW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrGS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>Colombia has a mild, rainy climate that allows for two harvests a year. This along with nutritious volcanic soil and age-old farming techniques enables the country to produce coffee of exceedingly high quality (always Arabica) and in large quantities. Colombia is best known for its dark roast, which makes the most delicious espressos. <br><br>Why is Colombia’s coffee the best? <br><br><i>“Every Colombian coffee bean is hand-picked, and every coffee harvester knows how to identify the very best beans. It’s in our nature! Any beans that don’t meet our high standards are made into Tinto coffee, which translated means “inky water, “, explains local guide Ana. “This isn’t gourmet coffee but if you come to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/colombia-tours/" target="_blank">Colombia</a> you must try it, it is a strong part of our culture!”</i><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/havana/" target="_blank">Cuba</a></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/cuba/" target="_blank"><img alt="Is Cuba coffee the best in the world?" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PYoW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrIE" style="height: 666px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Cuban coffee used to be a massive export, before the US Government placed a trade embargo on Cuban goods in 1961. The nation has cultivated Arabica and Robusta beans for around two centuries, mostly in the Sierra Maestra mountains of eastern Cuba and the Escambray Mountains of central Cuba.  <br><br>Why is Cuba’s coffee the best? <br><br><i>“Cuban coffee is delicious! Here is how we like to drink what we call a Cafecito: take our strong, bitter coffee beans and make an espresso. Whisk together a teaspoon of espresso and teaspoon of sugar, then add the rest of the espresso. The result is strong and sweet and a Cuban favorite,” says guide Audrey who loved the coffee so much that she moved from the US to Havana, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Cuba</a> in 2008. </i><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/india/" target="_blank">India</a> </b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/india/" target="_blank"><img alt="Is India coffee the best in the world?" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PYoW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrGc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>India may be better known as a tea-producing nation, but it’s one of the world’s top producers of coffee too. In fact, it has actually been growing coffee longer than it’s been growing tea. Legend has it that a pilgrim named Baba Budan smuggled seven coffee beans from Yemen in the 17th century, then planted them in Karnataka. Karnataka is the main coffee-growing area to this day. <br><br>Why is India’s coffee the best?<br><br><i>Classic Journeys guide and Delhi native Vinay tells us, “<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/india-tours/" target="_blank">India</a>’s coffee is the greatest because of our Monsooned Malabar bean. We take our coffee beans, pile them up and then expose them to monsoon winds that blow in from the Arabian sea. This makes the beans swell up which leads to a mellow, earthy flavor.” </i><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/ecuador/" target="_blank">Ecuador</a> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/ecuador/" target="_blank"><img alt="Is Ecuador coffee the best in the world?" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PYoW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrGd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>Coffee came to Ecuador in the early nineteenth century and for a while was the country’s top export. Grown on small, family run plants in the shade of avocado and guava trees.<br><br>Why is Ecuador’s coffee the best?<br><br><i>“Everyone says higher altitude creates better coffee and yes, a lot of our coffee does grow high on mountains and tastes delicious. However, we also grow our coffee on the lower slopes of the Andes and even near the coast, shares naturalist guide and Quito resident, Sebastian.” I love the coffee beans produced in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ecuador-tours/" target="_blank">Galapagos</a> islands of San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz, where the ocean breeze and volcanic ash in the soil help produce unforgettable flavors.”</i><br><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/brazil/" target="_blank">Brazil</a> <br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/brazil/" target="_blank"><img alt="Is Brazil coffee the best in the world?" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PYoW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrGr" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>The origin of Brazil’s coffee is a tale of stolen hearts and stolen seeds... Coffee was a hot commodity in 1727. So much so that the Portuguese, keen to grow coffee in Brazil, commissioned a sergeant to steal the seeds from French Guiana. His name was Francisco de Melo Palheta and he achieved his goal by wooing the governor’s wife, who smuggled the seeds in a bouquet she handed to him in a banquet. Brazil now has ten thousand square miles of coffee plantations, producing a rich, caramel-flavored bean that has earned worldwide renown. <br><br>Why is Brazil’s coffee the best? <br><br><i>&quot;The legend of how we got coffee in the first place certainly gives it extra flavor!&quot; Victoria, our Brazilian guide. &quot;Our climate and land are perfect for coffee growing and we use careful techniques, passed through the ages. Our coffee is so good that Frank Sinatra sang about it!&quot;:<br><br>“Way down among Brazilians,<br>Coffee beans grow by the billions,<br>So they’ve got to find those extra cups to fill.<br>They’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.”</i><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/thailand/" target="_blank">Thailand</a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/thailand/" target="_blank"><img alt="Is Thailand coffee the best in the world?" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PYoW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrK0" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></b><br>One of the newer coffee-growing countries, Thailand introduced coffee plantations in 1969 as an attempt to divert the opium trade to a sustainable, legitimate source of income for locals. It was a success and business is booming, with Robusta beans grown in the south and Arabica to the north, where Chang Mai play’s coffee capital. Beans are traditionally hand-picked when ripe, then dried in the sunshine.<br><br>Why is Thailand&#39;s coffee the best? <br><i> <br>&quot;The coffee production trade has transformed <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/thailand-tours/" target="_blank">Thailand</a>&#39;s economy,&quot; says Classic Journeys guide in Thailand, Oomi. &quot;We grow all kinds of varieties and the market is steadily growing; craft coffee has become a real craze here. My favorite is the Thai Iced Coffee, a mix of coffee, condensed milk, cream, salt and ice. You can’t beat it on a hot day!&quot;</i><br><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/panama/" target="_blank"><b>Panama</b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/panama/" target="_blank"><img alt="Is Panama coffee the best in the world?" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002PYoW&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000nrGD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Panama produces less than 1% of the world coffee market, but that tiny percentage includes the incredibly sought-after Geisha bean, which is notoriously hard to grow and harvest but fabulously delicious. Boquete, Volcán &amp; Renacimiento are the main regions for coffee farming in Panama. <br><br>Why is Panama’s coffee the best? <br><br><i>Naturalist guide Beny lets us in on their secret, “The volcanic ash that naturally occurs in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank">Panama</a> soil produces these amazing nutrients that make the plants thrive. Then we have the Bajareque mist that blows over the mountains, keeping the air fresh and humid. For other countries, the Geisha bean is too tricky to produce but we know the secrets!” </i><br> 

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