Nature

On my trip to Mexico, Chiapas totally conquered me.
Not only for the particular atmosphere in San Cristóbal de Las Casas or for the teachings of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
The nature of the southernmost State of Mexico is incredible.
Forests, jungles, woods, waterfalls, rivers and caves are the natural habitat of parrots, toucans, monkeys, crocodiles.

 

Canyon-Rio-La-Venta

CANYON DEL RIO LA VENTA

If you want to avoid the tourist crowds in the more famous Sumidero Canyon, you have to go without regrets to the Rio La Venta Canyon.

 

Chiapas, Mexico: Rio La Venta Canyon

 

This canyon, more suitable if yout like trekking and exploration, is 50 miles long and its walls are up to 1300 ft high.
Going down 750 steps you get to the river that generated it, also reaching the beautiful Aguacero waterfall, 230 ft high.

 

Chiapas, Mexico: Aguacero Waterfall

 

Inside the canyon there are many caves, used by pre-Hispanic populations both as a refuge and for ceremonies.
In the most remote area of ​​the canyon, known as “Sacred Canyon” and reachable with a trek of several days, the river allows kayaking and rafting excursions.

 

Chiapas, Mexico: Rio La Venta Cave

SIMA DE LAS COTORRAS (CHASM OF THE PARROTS)

Thousands of parrots live inside this impressive natural cavity, 460 ft deep and 525 ft in diameter.

 

Chiapas-Mexico-Sima-de-las-Cotorras-

 

I recommend sleeping in the nearby stone huts, to see the incredible exit of thousands of parrots from inside at sunrise.
After this show you could walk safely around the pit or rappel deep into the cavity.

 

Chiapas-Mexico-Sima-de-las-Cotorras-walk

 

 

Chiapas-Mexico-Sima-de-las-Cotorras-rappelling

 

In this way you reach a cave on whose internal walls there are various pre-Hispanic paintings.

 

Chiapas-Mexico-Sima-de-las-Cotorras-cave-paintings

 

 

Chiapas-Mexico-Sima-de-las-Cotorras-cavity

 

I had never made a descent with the rope and being suspended there was very nice.
The descent was quiet and fun… but I still remember the effort to go up.

 

Chiapas-Mexico-Sima-de-las-Cotorras-go-up

 

At sunset, the parrots come back to the chasm and you see their return.
They are very faithful animals and their couples are forever.
So is exciting to note how they always move in pairs.
Alone parrots are those who have not yet found company or have lost it and will still remain faithful to the end.

THE MAYA JUNGLE

The Mayan cities have left me speechless.
To be clear, for me they are much more beautiful than Machu Picchu.

This not only for the beauty of the buildings, but for the nature that surrounds, hides and protects them.
Most of Palenque‘s buildings are still buried under tropical vegetation.
But this isn’t a problem for the splendor that we see.

 

Chiapas - Mexico - Palenque

 

The same about Yaxchilan, an archaeological site on the border with Guatemala.

 

Chiapas - Mexico - Yaxchilan

 

You can even get here only by sailing on the historic Usumacinta River, the longest and most flowable river in Central America.

 

Chiapas - Mexico - Usumacinta River

 

These areas are obviously the natural habitat of many animals.

 

Chiapas - Mexico - Monkey in Yaxchilan

 

 

monkey-mexico-yaxchilan

 

Tucano-Mexico-Yaxchilan-Maya

 

crocodile-Mexico-yaxchilan

Before start this travel, crossing the geographical limit of the 80th parallel North was one of the objective of my trip.
Knowing that I could swim in the icy waters of the Arctic Sea at Magdalenfjorden, made this expedition day on the Hurtigruten. Read more

After the polar expedition with the Hurtigruten, up to overcome the 80th parallel north, I chose the excursion from Longyearbyen to Pyramiden and the Nordenskiöldbree glacier, as the last chanse to see animals, absent in the previous days.
And incredibly it was the perfect choice.

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I have always liked geography and I often find myself digging into memories looking for unusual and unknown destinations for future trips.
It is in one of these researches that the Svalbard Islands have become the enlightening destination.

The islands under the Norwegian flag, often even hidden by the arm of the earth’s axis in the globe, are the northernmost inhabited lands on our planet..

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NATURE OF THE CAUSEWAY

The Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO heritage site since 1986, is an expanse of about 40,000 basaltic columns, mostly hexagonal, up to 28 meters high..
Science teaches us that over 60 million years ago, a submarine volcanic eruption brought to the surface a large lava mass that, in contact with wind and sea, cooled quickly, solidifying, contracting and generating the cracks that gave rise to these particular columns.

This is the Giant’s Causeway, constantly changing because column movements.

 

THE LEGEND OF THE GIANT

Obviously this particular place can inspire a lot of legends.
One of the more known is about Fionn mac Cumhaill (name often Anglicanized in Finn McCool).
The gentle Irish giant built the road to reach Scotland and fights against rival giant Benandonner.
After building the causeway, tired from the great work, Fionn fell asleep.
he next morning, Fionn’s wife, Oonagh, found her husband snoring and heard the thunderous sound of Benandonner’s footsteps crossing the causeway. He was really huge and Fionn would have no hope of defeating him.
So Oonagh decided to put a nightgown on Fionn asleep to make him look like a child.
When Benandonner arrived home, he asked to meet the cowardly rival but Oonagh asked him not to scream or he would wake his son.
Benandonner, seeing the size of the “child”, worried about how great Fionn could be and so, frightened, he fled to Scotland destroying the causeway behind him.

VISIT THE GIANT’S CAUSEWAY

The entrance fee costs £ 10, including the multilingual audio guide necessary to understand the origin of this particular site and the legends that surround it.
You can reach the columns either with a panoramic walk or with a bus (for a fee).
At the Visitor Center, sustainable and with an original structure that brings back to the basaltic columns, there is a bar and a souvenir shop.

 

HOW TO GET

Car

Outside the visitor center, big parking is available

Public transport

If you don’t have a car, public transports are a great way to come here.
Spending £ 17 for the iLink Zone4 allows to use trains and buses for 24 hours.

The city of Coleraine is the hub of connections with Belfast (buses 218) and Derry (buses 234).
From here you get on bus 172, direction Ballycastle, and get out at The Giant’s Causeway stop, 150 meters from the entrance to the Visitor Center.

Guun Galuut Nature Reserve

I think the real Mongolia is far away from the capital Ulaan Baatar.
Walking for about 3 hours along the dirt roads that pass, without signs, among the green and uninhabited hills, you come to the Guun Galuut nature reserve.

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