El Hierro, Canary Islands

The Volcanic Rim of the Canaries and the Old World


Garoe Tree
The Miraculous Garoe Tree, El Hierro's historic water source.
Lava Dip
Friends bathe on the volcanic beach of Tacoron, south of El Hierro.
Juniper or Sabina
A juniper tree twisted by the force of the trade winds that lash the Canary Islands.
West Esplanade
Clients on the terrace of the Mirador de La Peña restaurant-bar, created by César Manrique.
Orchilla Colors
Desert shrubs on the slope before the Orchilla crater.
El Golfo's open air
Guests enjoy the incredible view of El Golfo from a balcony at the Mirador de La Peña.
Donkey Herreño
Donkey confined by a secular wall of El Hierro.
Cactus on Lava
A cactus emerges from the lava in the Geopark that occupies much of the volcanic south of El Hierro.
Orchilla West
The setting is beyond the Orchilla lighthouse and the tip with the same name.
Today of Fireba
Visitors admire the Hoya de Fireba crater.
Orchilla twilight
Cliffs at one end of Valle de El Golfo.
Rope Lava
Encordoada Lava enriches the Southern Geopark of El Hierro.
Hermitage of La Peña
The bright yellow of the hermitage of La Pena, over the Valle del Golfo
tacoron for two
Couple has fun on a surfboard on the volcanic beach of Tacoronon, south of El Hierro.
Time Sculpture
Geological cut from the top of the Valle del Golfo.
Viewpoint of La Peña
The characteristic architecture of César Manrique, at the Mirador de la Peña, above the Valle del Golfo.
The Ultimate European South
La restinga, the southernmost village of El Hierro and southernmost in Europe.
Viewpoint of La Peña II
Architectural detail of the Mirador de La Peña.
El Valle del Golfo
Unusual view over the Valle del Golfo, with the Atlantic in the background.
Today of Fireba
The crater of Hoya de Fireba, one of hundreds on the island of El Hierro.
Until Columbus arrived in the Americas, El Hierro was seen as the threshold of the known world and, for a time, the Meridian that delimited it. Half a millennium later, the last western island of the Canaries is teeming with exuberant volcanism.

On an island like El Hierro, neither the Atlantic nor the volcanoes and lava disappear for long.

We turn our back on the capital of Vila de Valverde. We walked away along a half-country half-wild road, with a floor of a mixture of sand and ash scattered a little everywhere.

Andrea Armas, hostess in Hierro, makes the observation: “want to bet? Let's run into my colleague. It's time for her to leave and she goes home this way.” In fact, a few hundred meters ahead, the prediction is confirmed. Andrea greets her colleague and keeps her in a short conversation on occasion.

In fact, were it not for the recent promotion of La Graciosa to the eighth Canary Island, El Hierro would be the smallest in the archipelago. And yet, it could never have housed and satisfied the two civilizations that, it is estimated that from 1405 onwards, confronted each other in it.

Andrea takes us to the Garoé Tree Interpretation Center.

Inland, it enlightens us on the importance of that shady tree, the slopes around it and the moment when the Europeans reached the coast of El Hierro.

Garoé Tree, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

The Miraculous Garoe Tree, El Hierro's historic water source.

The Miraculous Garoé Tree and the Inevitable Occupation of the European Conquerors

Since at least the first half of the XNUMXth century, Castilians, Aragonese, Galicians, Catalans, Portuguese and others sought to explore the archipelago and claim the riches they could find there.

In 1405, when Lanzarote and Fuerteventura were conquered from the Majos (Maxos) indigenous people, Norman Jean de Bethencourt turned to El Hierro.

When disembarking, he found no resistance. It is likely that the Bimbache natives of El Hierro already feared the incursions of bearded navigators arriving in large boats.

Accordingly, when they spotted them approaching the coast, they had taken refuge in the only place on the island where they could survive: the top of the Garoé tree and caves around the slope, a set that the Andalusian Franciscan Juan de Abréu Galindo nicknamed him Tigulahe, but today, in El Hierro, no one seems to know him by that name.

At the time, this was the only permanent and reliable source of water, fed by the damp mist that the trade winds carry there, held back by flooded pits, foliage and a dense network of roots that intertwine between these pits.

For some time, the water source of the Garoé – which means river or lake in the Berber dialect – allowed the Bimbaches – also of Berber origin – to avoid contact with the men of Bethencourt and hope that the dryness in the rest of the island would force them to disband.

This retreat was possible for some time. When the settlers returned with reinforcements, the Bimbaches were no longer able to hide. Apart from surrendering to their fate as slaves, they were still forced to share their precious water with invaders.

The most famous local legend adds a flurry of romance to the story.

The Legend of Passion and Betrayal of Agarfa and Tincos

Andrea tells us that, according to legend, the Europeans found the hiding place of the Bimbaches because, somewhere in the story, Agarfa, a native young woman, had fallen in love with Tincos, an Andalusian soldier.

The traitor Agarfa thus revealed the hiding place of her own. Caused the capture of Armiche, the mencey (king) of the Bimbaches and made possible the occupation of El Hierro by the Spanish Crown. If more melodrama lacked, he ended up dying at the hands of the beloved conqueror.

We inaugurated a short trip to the northwest side of the island, still with our backs to the Villa de Valverde that the colonists later founded, the smallest capital of the Canaries and the only one removed from the seafront.

Iglesia de La Concepcion, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

The Iglesia de la Concepción has long blessed Valverde the capital of El Hierro.

El Hierro has always been one of the most remote and unprotected islands. At a time when the attacks of the Berber pirates followed one another - and also tormented the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira – remove the villa in elevation it will have left the Norman and Castilian settlers a little more rested. This, while pirates and other enemies remained the colonists' main concern, of course. This was not always the case.

We return to the asphalt. We cross the rural scenery of the interior of the island and the Barrancos de La Pasada and Los Muertos, this one, already in the middle of Camiño de La Pena.

We stop again at the yellow Chapel of the Virgen de La Peña, the Canarian incarnation of the Virgin Mary, patron of Fuerteventura.

From there, the Camiño de Jinama departs, one of the routes used for centuries by the inhabitants of El Hierro, a trail more than goats, especially on windy and bad weather, treacherous and deadly.

The Unforgettable Amazement of Valle de El Golfo

We approached the wall that closed the road in front of the hermitage. Unexpectedly, in the glimpse that followed, El Hierro granted us an amazement that we will forever cherish in our memory

Forward, downward, a massive slope stretched obliquely from the top of the island to the Atlantic in a jagged lava fajã.

El Golfo, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

Unusual view over the Valle del Golfo, with the Atlantic in the background.

With the almost setting sun, peeking out from behind a blanket of clouds, overflown by kestrels with an eye on everything, in the company of indifferent goats, the scene dazzled us. And we had no idea of ​​the sweeping event that gave rise to it.

The Youngest and Most Active Volcanism in the Canary Islands

It is estimated that El Hierro emerged from the Atlantic about 1.2 million years ago. It is thus one of the youngest and most volcanic islands in the Canary Islands. Your intense volcanism it is well expressed in its 500 open craters and around 300 others covered by lava flows has shaped and continues to shape the island.

When it rose from the sea, it is believed that the result of three major eruptions, El Hierro was crowned by a cone high above 2000 meters, 500 meters above the current zenith.

What is left of this cone, today, the main volcano on the island, is called Tanganasoga, a term with obvious origins of bimbach.

In the millions of years that have passed, several downfalls have followed each other. The last one, 15 thousand years ago, gave rise to an avalanche with a volume between 150 and 180km3 and the panorama of Valle de El Golfo that kept us incredulous.

Terrace of the Mirador de La Peña, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

Guests enjoy the incredible view of El Golfo from a balcony at the Mirador de La Peña.

In the 80s, using architectural and cultural elements from El Hierro, and as a tribute to the geological sumptuousness of the view, the multifaceted artist Cesar Manrique endowed a section of the seafront at Risco de Tibataje with an elegant Mirador de La Peña.

In addition to a viewpoint, this monument is also a café-restaurant-terrace where we had the privilege of dining.

In the meantime, the sun sank into the ocean. Turning on the electric lights reinforced the row of houses and the pattern of winters (greenhouses) of bananas that sat on the solid lava below.

Jinama and his Camiño. A Vertiginous Way of Life

The villages of El Golfo and the Camiño de Jinama that leads there from the highlands of the north of the island were created as a result of the “changes”.

This expression translates a transhumance that took place twice a year: once in winter, so that the animals could take advantage of the pastures. Another, in midsummer, according to the vintage.

El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

Donkey confined by a secular wall of El Hierro.

The Camiño de Jinama was, therefore, going up and down again and again, on foot, on a donkey and in the carriage of other animals essential to rural life.

Its preponderance lasted until, at least, 1950, when the current HI-5 road was inaugurated, connecting the various villages established there, Frontera, Sabinosa, Llanillos, Merese, Toscas, Tigaday, Belgaras.

Row of houses in El Golfo, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

Casario de Frontera and several other villages along the road that crosses the El Golfo valley.

The twilight faded. He left El Golfo signaled by the mottle of its little lights. Shortly afterwards, we retired to the shelter we had on the island, also lit by them.

We welcomed the following morning as a continuation of the island charm in which El Hierro kept us. We pass by the viewpoint of La Llania. From there, above a lush laurisilva forest, we can see El Golfo from a more centralized perspective of its semi-boiler.

The Volcanic Domain that the Herrenhos Continue to Challenge

Next, we spy on Hoya de Fireba, another crater. Unusual as it may seem, from then onwards, the volcanic degree of El Hierro only increased.

El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

Visitors admire the Hoya de Fireba crater.

Andrea leads us below the southern tip of the island, in search of the facilities of the island's Geopark, so decreed by UNESCO for geological merits that hardly deserved discussion.

At one point, we found ourselves surrounded by a sea of ​​solidified lava, in such a profusion of craters and chimneys that it seemed impossible to pinpoint which ones were responsible for the massive flood that extended to the southern depths of El Hierro.

Stringed Lava, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

Encordoada Lava enriches the Southern Geopark of El Hierro.

We took refuge from the oven heat in the refrigerated interior of the center. There we watched video excerpts of the last scare because, even made by Hierro, many inhabitants of the island passed by.

2011-2012 and the Volcanic Activity that Threatened to Expel the Natives

In October 2011, similar to what happened in 1957-58 with the Capelinhos volcano in Faial, an underwater eruption about 2km south of La Restinga, gained dimension and impetus, at times, with water jets that reached 10 to 15 meters high.

The 600 inhabitants of the village were evacuated.

Meanwhile, carbon dioxide emissions from the Tanganasoga volcano and earthquakes have increased. The authorities feared another collapse of the El Golfo slope and even new eruptions of an emerging chimney in that part of the island.

Families were also evacuated from there. the authorities prepared for the worst. And to evacuate all the inhabitants of El Hierro.

After a fluctuation in activity, finally, in March 2012, despite the opinion of several volcanologists, the authorities declared the eruption extinct.

Since then, there have been some outbreaks of activity but nothing to generate the panic of 2011. El Hierro has resumed his life.

La Restinga: a Hot Southern Threshold of Europe

From the Geopark facilities, we descend to La Restinga, once a fishing village with the emblematic status of the extreme south of Europe, but to which the transparency of the sea and underwater ecosystems attracted hordes of divers eager to explore the volcanic Atlantic offshore.

La Restinga, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

La restinga, the southernmost village of El Hierro and southernmost in Europe.

We lacked the time.

Having lunch at one of the local restaurants, we pass by Tacoron Beach, a natural cove cut into the lava expanse of southern El Hierro. There, we dived for a few laps of relaxation, which refreshed us from the brazier that continued to envelop us.

El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

Friends bathe on the volcanic beach of Tacoron, south of El Hierro.

We zigzagged back to the HI-410 road that departed from there towards the far west of the island. In El Julan, we confirmed that, below and around, we had only solid lava.

We pass by the sanctuary of Our Lady of Los Reyes. From that far-fetched church, we advance to El Sabinar where we praise the notorious savannahs of El Hierro, junipers that the mighty Alisios helped twist in a profusion of incredible plant waves.

El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

A juniper tree twisted by the force of the trade winds that lash the Canary Islands.

Punta de Orchilla and its Lighthouse at the Old End of the World

The sun was again insinuating itself to the horizon. With the minutes counted to reach Punta de Orchilla in time for its disappearance, we hurried as far as the vertiginous road allowed, aware of the eminence of the old Meridian point, in force in El Hierro for over 200 years.

Transferred in 1884 to Greenwich, so this, instead of Orchilla's, has the correct coordinates.

We anticipate the sunset long enough to walk around and enjoy the backwater of the eponymous lighthouse, considered the most remote in Spain.

Soon, we installed ourselves next to a cross detached from the high threshold of the tip, in honor of the souls who crossed the Atlantic. On the verge of another smaller cross that immortalizes Carmelo Heredia Olmos, the first lighthouse keeper to light the Orchilla lighthouse, in 1933.

Orchilla, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

Silhouetted by the grave of Carmelo Heredia Olmos, the first lighthouse keeper at the Orchilla lighthouse.

The setting turns the cross and the tower of Orchilla into silhouettes. When darkness sets in, the lighthouse's greenish light signals the civilizational fringe of El Hierro in the Atlantic and in the world.

Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

Fuerteventura's Atlantic Ventura

The Romans knew the Canaries as the lucky islands. Fuerteventura, preserves many of the attributes of that time. Its perfect beaches for the windsurf and the kite-surfing or just for bathing, they justify successive “invasions” by the sun-hungry northern peoples. In the volcanic and rugged interior, the bastion of the island's indigenous and colonial cultures remains. We started to unravel it along its long south.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands

To César Manrique what is César Manrique's

By itself, Lanzarote would always be a Canaria by itself, but it is almost impossible to explore it without discovering the restless and activist genius of one of its prodigal sons. César Manrique passed away nearly thirty years ago. The prolific work he left shines on the lava of the volcanic island that saw him born.
La Palma, Canary IslandsSpain (España)

The Most Mediatic of the Cataclysms to Happen

The BBC reported that the collapse of a volcanic slope on the island of La Palma could generate a mega-tsunami. Whenever the area's volcanic activity increases, the media take the opportunity to scare the world.
Chã das Caldeiras, Fogo Island Cape Verde

A "French" Clan at the Mercy of Fire

In 1870, a Count born in Grenoble on his way to Brazilian exile, made a stopover in Cape Verde where native beauties tied him to the island of Fogo. Two of his children settled in the middle of the volcano's crater and continued to raise offspring there. Not even the destruction caused by the recent eruptions deters the prolific Montrond from the “county” they founded in Chã das Caldeiras.    
Cidade Velha, Cape Verde

Cidade Velha: the Ancient of the Tropico-Colonial Cities

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island of salt, Cape Verde

The Salt of the Island of Sal

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Boa Vista Island, Cape Verde

Boa Vista Island: Atlantic waves, Dunas do Sara

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Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde

Santa Maria and the Atlantic Blessing of Sal

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Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Up and Down the Estrada da Corda

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Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Around the Fogo Island

Time and the laws of geomorphology dictated that the volcano-island of Fogo rounded off like no other in Cape Verde. Discovering this exuberant Macaronesian archipelago, we circled around it against the clock. We are dazzled in the same direction.
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

São Nicolau: Pilgrimage to Terra di Sodade

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Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo, Above a Sea of ​​Clouds

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Valencia to Xativa, Spain (España)

Across Iberia

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Matarraña to Alcanar, Spain (España)

A Medieval Spain

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La Graciosa, Canary Islands

The Most Graceful of the Canary Islands

Until 2018, the smallest of the inhabited Canaries did not count for the archipelago. Arriving in La Graciosa, we discover the insular charm of the now eighth island.
PN Timanfaya, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

PN Timanfaya and the Fire Mountains of Lanzarote

Between 1730 and 1736, out of nowhere, dozens of volcanoes in Lanzarote erupted successively. The massive amount of lava they released buried several villages and forced almost half of the inhabitants to emigrate. The legacy of this cataclysm is the current Martian setting of the exuberant PN Timanfaya.
Tenerife, Canary Islands

The Volcano that Haunts the Atlantic

At 3718m, El Teide is the roof of the Canaries and Spain. Not only. If measured from the ocean floor (7500 m), only two mountains are more pronounced. The Guanche natives considered it the home of Guayota, their devil. Anyone traveling to Tenerife knows that old Teide is everywhere.
La Palma, Canary Islands

The "Isla Bonita" of the Canary Islands

In 1986 Madonna Louise Ciccone launched a hit that popularized the attraction exerted by a island imaginary. Ambergris Caye, in Belize, reaped benefits. On this side of the Atlantic, the palmeros that's how they see their real and stunning Canaria.
Vegueta, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Around the Heart of the Royal Canaries

The old and majestic Vegueta de Las Palmas district stands out in the long and complex Hispanization of the Canaries. After a long period of noble expeditions, the final conquest of Gran Canaria and the remaining islands of the archipelago began there, under the command of the monarchs of Castile and Aragon.
Tenerife, Canary Islands

East of White Mountain Island

The almost triangular Tenerife has its center dominated by the majestic volcano Teide. At its eastern end, there is another rugged domain, even so, the place of the island's capital and other unavoidable villages, with mysterious forests and incredible abrupt coastlines.
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Safari
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

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Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 14th - Muktinath to Kagbeni, Nepal

On the Other Side of the Pass

After the demanding crossing of Thorong La, we recover in the cozy village of Muktinath. The next morning we proceed back to lower altitudes. On the way to the ancient kingdom of Upper Mustang and the village of Kagbeni that serves as its gateway.
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Architecture & Design
Miami beach, USA

The Beach of All Vanities

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Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Adventure
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

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Big Freedia: in Bounce Mode

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Dusk in Itzamna Park, Izamal, Mexico
Cities
Izamal, Mexico

The Holy, Yellow and Beautiful Mexican City

Until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, Izamal was a center of worship for the supreme Mayan god Itzamná and Kinich Kakmó, the one of the sun. Gradually, the invaders razed the various pyramids of the natives. In its place, they built a large Franciscan convent and a prolific colonial houses, with the same solar tone in which the now Catholic city shines.
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Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

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Sport
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

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Traveling
DMZ, Dora - South Korea

The Line of No Return

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North Island, New Zealand, Maori, Surfing time
Ethnic
North Island, New Zealand

Journey along the Path of Maority

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Rainbow in the Grand Canyon, an example of prodigious photographic light
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
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And Light was made on Earth. Know how to use it.

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Riders cross the Ponte do Carmo, Pirenópolis, Goiás, Brazil
History
Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Polis in the South American Pyrenees

Mines of Nossa Senhora do Rosário da Meia Ponte were erected by Portuguese pioneers, in the peak of the Gold Cycle. Out of nostalgia, probably Catalan emigrants called the mountains around the Pyrenees. In 1890, already in an era of independence and countless Hellenizations of its cities, Brazilians named this colonial city Pirenópolis.
Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa the Empire of the Sun, Japan
Islands
Okinawa, Japan

The Little Empire of the Sun

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Winter White
Oulu, Finland

Oulu: an Ode to Winter

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José Saramago in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, Glorieta de Saramago
Literature
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

In 1993, frustrated by the Portuguese government's disregard for his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”, Saramago moved with his wife Pilar del Río to Lanzarote. Back on this somewhat extraterrestrial Canary Island, we visited his home. And the refuge from the portuguese censorship that haunted the writer.
Cachena cow in Valdreu, Terras de Bouro, Portugal
Nature
Campos do GerêsTerras de Bouro, Portugal

Through the Campos do Gerês and the Terras de Bouro

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Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Lion, Elephants, PN Hwange, Zimbabwe
Natural Parks
PN Hwange, Zimbabwe

The Legacy of the Late Cecil Lion

On July 1, 2015, Walter Palmer, a dentist and trophy hunter from Minnesota killed Cecil, Zimbabwe's most famous lion. The slaughter generated a viral wave of outrage. As we saw in PN Hwange, nearly two years later, Cecil's descendants thrive.
Praslin Island, Cocos from the Sea, Seychelles, Eden Cove
UNESCO World Heritage

Praslin, Seychelles

 

The Eden of the Enigmatic Coco-de-Mer

For centuries, Arab and European sailors believed that the largest seed in the world, which they found on the coasts of the Indian Ocean in the shape of a woman's voluptuous hips, came from a mythical tree at the bottom of the oceans. The sensual island that always generated them left us ecstatic.
Correspondence verification
Characters
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Glass Bottom Boats, Kabira Bay, Ishigaki
Beaches
Ishigaki, Japan

The Exotic Japanese Tropics

Ishigaki is one of the last islands in the stepping stone that stretches between Honshu and Taiwan. Ishigakijima is home to some of the most amazing beaches and coastal scenery in these parts of the Pacific Ocean. More and more Japanese who visit them enjoy them with little or no bathing.
Candia, Tooth of Buddha, Ceylon, lake
Religion
Kandy, Sri Lanka

The Dental Root of Sinhalese Buddhism

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End of the World Train, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On Rails
Ushuaia, Argentina

Last Station: End of the World

Until 1947, the Tren del Fin del Mundo made countless trips for the inmates of the Ushuaia prison to cut firewood. Today, passengers are different, but no other train goes further south.
Christian believers leaving a church, Upolu, Western Samoa
Society
Upolu, Samoa  

The Broken Heart of Polynesia

The imagery of the paradisiacal South Pacific is unquestionable in Samoa, but its tropical beauty does not pay the bills for either the nation or the inhabitants. Anyone who visits this archipelago finds a people divided between subjecting themselves to tradition and the financial stagnation or uprooting themselves in countries with broader horizons.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge, Bahia
Wildlife
Gandoca-Manzanillo (Wildlife Refuge), Costa Rica

The Caribbean Hideaway of Gandoca-Manzanillo

At the bottom of its southeastern coast, on the outskirts of Panama, the “Tica” nation protects a patch of jungle, swamps and the Caribbean Sea. As well as a providential wildlife refuge, Gandoca-Manzanillo is a stunning tropical Eden.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.