• Coastline in Central America

    Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to Visit in Latin America

    UNESCO World Heritage sites are irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration that represent our legacy from the past, what we live with today and what we pass on to future generations. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/latin-america-tours/" target="_blank">Latin America</a> contains a wealth of these phenomenal sites, both natural and manmade, that make up our world&#39;s most impressive cultural and natural heritage. The aim is to encourage regions to preserve and protect parts of our history while promoting tourism as a sustainable way to take in the magnificence our world has to offer. To help you get the most out of your next trip to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/latin-america-tours/" target="_blank">Central or South America</a>, we&#39;ve created a roundup of our top 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites you can&#39;t miss! <br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">#</a></b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank"><b>1 Machu Picchu, Peru</b></a><br>Perhaps one of the most famous archeological UNESCO sites in the world, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a> sits high in the Andes Mountain range surrounded by tropical forests and towering peaks. This pearl of the Incan Empire is a popular tourist destination for a reason. It defies belief with amazing architectural achievements, surrounding natural beauty and spiritual significance. Explore the ancient Incan ruins while breathing in the tremendous isolation and preservation of this incredible ancient kingdom deep in the Peruvian mountains. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Man taking a picture at Machu Picchu" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9uV" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, Belize" target="_blank"><b>#2 Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System</b><b>, Belize</b></a><br>Belize&#39;s extensive reef system is considered one of the largest barrier reefs in the northern hemisphere. This impressive coast is home to hundreds of sand cays, mangrove forests, lagoons and several endangered species who call this reef home. During your time here, cruise on a Catamaran, snorkel in the best spots in the reef system, and kayak on turquoise water at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank">Ambergris Caye</a> to fully experience the wonder this UNESCO World Heritage Site has to offer. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Young girl Kayaking in Belize" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9t8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#3 Tikal National Park, Guatemala</b></a><br>Tikal National Park is surrounded by a tropical jungle and is home to the tallest pyramid in the Western Hemisphere that was once one of the most important spiritual sites to the ancient Mayan civilization. The ceremonial center and ruins of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank">Xunantunich</a> display the fascinating and mystifying culture of the Mayan civilization that once called this countryside home from 6th century B.C. to the 10th century A.D. This important reserve also contains unspoiled biological and ecological habitats that will amaze along with impressive wildlife like howler monkeys and colorful birds that can be spotted in the treetops. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/belize-guatemala-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Xunantunich ruins, Guatemala" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-atacama-easter-island-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><b>#4 Rapa Nui National Park (Easter Island), Chile</b></a><br>Easter Island, also known as Isla de Pascua or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-atacama-easter-island-walking-tour/" target="_blank">Rapa Nui</a> by the Spanish and Polynesian is one of the most spectacular and alluring sites on earth. This sacred Polynesian settlement is famous for its enigmatic giant stone figures built centuries ago. These massive &quot;<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-atacama-easter-island-walking-tour/" target="_blank">Moai</a>&quot; figures are a mystery to historians and remain one of the only links to the ancient culture and tradition embedded in this gorgeous island. Visit Rapa Nui to revel in the park&#39;s beauty and its stone sculptures that act as a testimony to an isolated cultural evolution.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-atacama-easter-island-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="Easter Island Moais" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tI" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">#5 Galápagos Islands</a></b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><b>, Ecuador</b></a><br>The <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">Galápagos Islands</a> are a volcanic archipelago drifting in isolation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, brimming with incredible wildlife that once inspired Charles Darwin&#39;s theory of evolution. Walking amongst the wildlife and spotting the islands&#39; Big Five (giant land tortoises, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, penguins, and marine iguanas) will delight all visitors and provide a real live exhibition of evolution before your very eyes. This island is one of the last unspoiled places on earth where man has respected the boundaries of mother nature and is a treasure in the middle of the Pacific worth visiting.  <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Young boy taking a picture of a seal on a beach" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tN" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank">#6 Los Glaciares National Park</a> (<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank">Chile </a>&amp; <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/argentina/" target="_blank">Argentina</a>)</b><br>Located in the picturesque region of Patagonia in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank">Chile </a>&amp; <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/argentina/" target="_blank">Argentina</a>, Los Glaciares National Park is an area of exceptional beauty with rugged mountains, glacial lakes and a variety of stunning natural sites. Hikers flock here to explore the hundreds of trails while others seek silence and solitude among the remote valleys where views stretch for miles.<br><br><b><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-solar-eclipse-2020-tour/" target="_blank">Solar Eclipse Sidenote:</a> </b>On December 14, 2020, the day will turn to instant night in one of the few places on land where the total eclipse of the sun will be visible. It is a once-in-a-lifetime sight to see! <a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-solar-eclipse-2020-tour/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys</a> is offering a special <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/chile-solar-eclipse-2020-tour/" target="_blank">2020 Total Solar Eclipse tour</a> to view this incredible moment while perched atop a Chilean mountainside. <br><br><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/chile/" target="_blank"><img alt="Woman near a lake in Patagonia" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9uQ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/colombia-cultural-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><b>#7 Town of Cartagena, Columbia</b></a><br>Cartagena is the perfect Caribbean city overflowing with history and enchanting beauty thanks to some of the world&#39;s best-preserved colonial architecture lining the streets. This colorful town is wonderfully walkable and chock-full of cobbled streets draped in bougainvillea where current residents live in close quarters with traditions of the past that linger in this port city. Dominating this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the nearby <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/colombia-cultural-walking-tour/" target="_blank">San Felipe Castle</a>, boasting over 500 years of defending the ancient city from pirates and foreign invasions <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/colombia-cultural-walking-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="Colorful street in Cartagena" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank">#8 La Amistad National Park,</a></b><a href="http://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank"><b> Panama</b></a><br>This massive national park, on the border between Panama and Costa Rica, contains lush tropical rainforests and unique fauna and flora interbred between the biospheres of North and South America. Arguably, one of the best ways to see this biosphere reserve is to walk <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank">El Retoño trail</a> and learn about one of the highest and wildest non-volcanic mountain ranges in Central America. As you explore the lush ecosystem of the park, look up and search for the incredible variety of birds ranging from Quetzals to Tapaculos, and Flycatchers.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/panama-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Waterfall in Panama" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"><b>#9 Old Havana and its Fortification System, Cuba</b></a><br>Old Havana (<i><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">La Habana Vieja</a>) </i>describes the most central and original portion of the Havana, Cuba. This 500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site is the original <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">heart of Havana</a>, built by the Spanish, burned to the ground by pirates, and is still considered a fine district of baroque and neoclassic buildings with great architectural character you can&#39;t find elsewhere. Explore the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Plaza de Armas</a>, Castillo del Morro, and Museum of the Revolution to learn more about the rich history and culture of this precious island. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"><img alt="Old Havana street and Capitolo" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9u1" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-travel/" target="_blank"><b>#10 Viñales</b> <b>Valley, Cuba</b></a><br>With its fertile soil, favorable climate, and wide valleys, this area in western Cuba is known for its tobacco cultivation and high rising cliffs that surround the valley. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-travel/" target="_blank">Parque Nacional Viñales</a> is located in the Pinar del Rio province and the dramatic cliffs surrounding the valley hold numerous caves full of dripstone and ancient rock art from past inhabitants. Enjoy the abundance of greenery in this province and learn of the traditional methods of agriculture that have survived here unchanged for several centuries.   <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-travel/" target="_blank"><img alt="Landscape of Viñales Valley" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATY5&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9tm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>If you&#39;re interested in visiting one or more of these iconic locations, check out the different trips offered by <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/latin-america-tours/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys to Central &amp; South America</a> to explore some of the worlds most culturally and naturally stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

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  • Streets of Trinidad, Cuba

    6 Ways to Experience Cuban Culture

    <p>With the normalization of relations between the Unites States and Cuba, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/travel-to-cuba-now/" target="_blank">now is a great time to plan your Cuba vacation</a>. Here are six things to do for the best sightseeing and cultural experience in Cuba.</p> <h3>1. WATCH STREET PERFORMERS</h3> <p>Dressed in colorful costumes and shaking to the beat of the conga, these performers take over the streets of Old Havana daily. Be sure to catch at least one performance while you’re there. Jump up and join in the fun!<br><br><img alt="Cuban playing drums" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rY2" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <h3>2. CRUISE THROUGH THE VIÑALES VALLEY COUNTRYSIDE</h3> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba-travel/" target="_blank">The Viñales Valley offers dramatic views of rocky outcroppings surrounded by lush mountains.</a> You’ll see tobacco fields and witness traditional farming methods in action including oxen pulling rickety carts and hardened farmers cutting leaves by hand.<br><br><img alt="Vinales Valley" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rYH" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <h3>3. TAKE A RIDE IN A VINTAGE CAR</h3> <p>Take a short two-hour tour in the city or an all-day affair in the Viñales Valley. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Drivers are knowledgeable about Cuban history, customs and culture</a><br><br><img alt="Classic car" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rZ0" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <h3>4. PEOPLE WATCH AT PLAZA VIEJA</h3> <p>Formerly used primarily for military exercises, this lovely plaza is now home to restaurants, cafes, bars and even a microbrewery. The architecture is eclectic and colorful and the stained-glass windows will certainly catch your attention.<br><br><img alt="Man playing guitar" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rYW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <h3>5.SAMPLE STREET FOOD </h3> <p>You’ll find a wide variety of street food in Havana. Don’t miss the traditional <i>bocadito de jamon</i> (cured bacon and ham sandwich), <i>chicharritas de platano</i> (thin slices of fried plantain) and <i>pan con lechon</i> (roast pork sandwiches sprinkled with pork juices). Top off your delicious meal with sweet churros.<br><br><img alt="Cuban street vendor" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rYb" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <h3>6. TAKE A DIVE</h3> <p>Akin to its culture, Cuba’s coral reefs seem trapped in time. They are unspoiled and healthier than any other reefs in the Caribbean. You can see goliath groupers, whale sharks and hundreds of other fish in this decadent and brightly colored seascape.<br><br><img alt="Snorkeling" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lY&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002rYg" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p><b>TRAVEL TIPS FOR THE NEW CUBA</b></p> <ul><li>Be sure your travel purpose falls within one of the 12 approved categories, have a schedule of activities and keep your receipts. The easiest way to ensure you’re in compliance with the most current rules is to use a tour company that makes the arrangements for you.</li><li>You may return to the U.S. with no more than $400 in souvenirs including up to $100 in alcohol and/or tobacco products.</li><li><i>Casas particulares</i>, or bed-and-breakfasts, are great places to stay to be immersed in Cuban culture. There are many options in Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos.</li><li>Carry cash. ATMs are scarce and most businesses do not accept credit cards. Check the exchange rate before you go, British pounds and euros often have a better rate than U.S. dollars.</li><li>Check with your cell phone carrier in advance to see what your options are for using your phone. Verizon is currently offering roaming service, and other carriers seem poised to hop on the bandwagon.</li><li>WiFi is spotty at best and often you have to pay for it — and it’s not cheap. You might just plan to unplug and enjoy the trip.</li></ul> <p><a href="https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_new.pdf" target="_blank">For more info, check out this document from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.</a></p>

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  • Classic Convertibles in Havana, Cuba

    Travel to Cuba - NOW!

    <h2>IT STILL FEELS LIKE 1959 IN CUBA, BUT FOR HOW MUCH LONGER?</h2>   <p>“I didn’t realize when I boarded that plane in Miami that it was actually a time machine,” Sue Pannill says of her Classic Journeys trip to Cuba last December. “We got on in the 21st century and deplaned in Havana into 1959.”</p> <p>Her initial impression sounds more like <i>Twilight Zone</i> than <i>Back to the Future</i>, but Sue quickly warmed to the charms of this island country. “Yes, Cuba was gritty, faded and decrepit,” she says. “And I still can’t believe how fast I fell in love with it all.”</p> <p>And yet, you know what they say about love: It’s complicated. Sue delights in talking about doing the mambo (or was it a salsa?). She’s poetic about watching the rising sun strike the limestone mogotes in the Valle de Viñales. If you’re looking for a convert to smooth, aged Cuban rum, she’s your woman. An avid fan of contemporary art, she delighted in Havana’s Museum of Fine Arts and is thrilled by the work she bought from an artist in his studio.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"><img alt="Vinales Valley" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9eD" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p>But, running through her list of memorable experiences, she stops short. It was as if expressing too much fun and fascination with the Cuban experience gives her pause. “We’re used to having everything at our fingertips, and it’s humbling to see how Cubans make do and are so very good-natured about it,” she says.</p> <p>And there it is: the understandable quandary that thoughtful visitors almost always raise. First, you hear a certain fascination and respect for the resourceful, ramshackle Cuba of today. And then it’s tempered by the sincere hope that things will change for the good of Cuban people. You somehow wish that both could happen, but you know that surely they won’t.</p> <p>Lettuce and carrots are a good example. “The produce is all organic, and it tastes fantastic,” Sue raves. But then we compare notes on the farmer who was recently quoted as saying, “Of course, we’re organic farmers. We can’t find or afford agricultural chemicals.” Do you begrudge a farmer the chance to increase his yield and income? Will something be lost if and when that day comes along? So much politics, economics and history are riding on those veggies. The people-to-people contact on a Classic Journeys trip stimulates conversations like that, as well as lively interaction among fellow guests, guides and the Cubans themselves.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"><img alt="Farm in Cuba" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oq8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p>“The way I like to put it is that Classic Journeys embedded us to give us more of a sense of what is really happening in the culture,” Sue says. She praises local guide Manuel for his role, too. A university professor of history and linguistics, he impressed her as a non-stop font of information. But even more than that, “he took the temperature of our group and made sure we got a chance to see and do things that really mattered to us.” The irony is that today a professor in Cuba can earn more money in the tourist industry than from a government income. We hope that the changes to come will allow him to pursue his original calling, but we’d miss the opportunity to explore his homeland with him.</p> <p>When asked if she’d go back to Cuba, Sue Pannill’s response is measured. “I don’t really feel I’ve left Cuba yet,” she says. “I don’t know how long the things I saw in Cuba will last, but I know this experience will last in my mind for always.”</p> <p>In a nutshell, that’s why so many people are heading to Cuba now. It’s still 1959 just 90 miles south of Miami, but the clock is ticking. Normalization looks to be the next tipping point for an island altered so many times before by conquest, war and revolution. History—exciting, unpredictable, thought-provoking history—is happening right now, and there will never be a better opportunity to see it for yourself.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank"><img alt="Havana Waterfront" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7mS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f9eI" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <p><b>GO!</b><br> </p>

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