Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Maraú - enroute via Salvador

How does one get to Peninsula de Maraú, known for having one of the top ten beaches in Brazil? 

I chose the "long route" on this trip, as I needed to stop in Salvador, capital of Bahia. 

Day 1 was in Pituba area, which is in the northern part of town. Long beaches, açai shops along the streets, and evening bars to watch soccer while the rush hour traffic mellows down.

Day 2 was in Pelourinho, the colonial part of town, re-built for tourism. It is very worthwhile, with an array of museums and live music options -- especially on Tuesdays. 

Day 3 was the trip to Maraú -- heading to the ferry boat terminal which crosses the Todos Santos Bay for 1hr, and overland to the maritime town of Camamu about 3hrs. Usually at this point I'd take a boat across the bay to Barra Grande, the "village" on the end of the Peninsula, but instead we took the car around to the so-called highway, BR-030. It is a 23 mile dirt road which alternates between smooth grading and horrendous mud-slick potholes, depending on the amount of rain and time since the government machines last graded the road. Luckily, we were only going half-way, just past the municipal center of Maraú, and the trip took 1hrs of bumpiness, only. 

It is a tiring voyage, but the rewards are in the scenery, which slowly becomes more magnificent...

in Pituba area, on the northern part of Salvador

Pelourinho, as seen from Museu Jorge Amado

An artist in a painting shops along the street

The Lacerda elevator which leads from Pelourinho to the harbor

BR-030 "highway" that goes up the Peninsula

Sunset is always spectacular with lakes glimmering next to the roadway

Perhaps next time, I'll probably take the "short route"! That will be via the regional airport of Ilhéus, which is 2hrs from the Peninsula.

also published on maraupeninsula.blogspot.com

Friday, June 15, 2012

Brazil tops Global Price Index

After the 2008 crash in real estate prices, it appears that South America is far outpacing North America and even Asia, in terms of re-gaining market strength. 

According to the country-by-country chart, the high performers - Brazil and Colombia - are pulling the average up.  But where do Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Panama rank, I wonder?

Brazil is leading the pack by a long shot.  The data is apparently skewed, since it is the only country whose figures are based on "asking prices"; nevertheless, it signals the real estate market in Brazil is very strong.

How long will the Brazilian growth spurt last?  Will the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics keep the economic flywheel coasting?  Speculation may be driving prices high, but infrastructure investments and a spiraling rise in middle class suggest the economy will sustain this for awhile yet.

Source: http://my.knightfrank.com/research-reports/global-house-price-index.aspx

Monday, April 30, 2012

Report: Green Spotlight on Mexico's Tourism Plans

« Build, Baby, Build ! »  Perhaps it’s not about drilling, but about building, when it comes to Mexico’s tourism planning.

The enthusiastic, all-chips-in approach of some players in the oil industry likewise applies to large-scale resort development, a formula begun with the success of Cancun, and replicated around the country and overseas.

President Felipe Calderon has set ambitious targets for tourism development in Mexico, as described in the previous post.  How will this fit into the sustainability agenda professed by their National Accord for Tourism?  How can they guide their growth so that it has long-term value ?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Will Mexico make a Classy Comeback?

Roughly translated as "no problem, leave it for tomorrow", vacationers and retirees love Mexico's mañana attitude. But to keep tourism dollars rolling in, President Felipe Calderon is not letting that relaxed attitude take hold - at least not at the planning and policy levels.

The country's position has fallen from the world's 7th to 10th place in global tourist arrivals in the last 15 years. Complications with the US-European recession and the drug cartels have contributed to this drop. President Calderon is adamant he can reverse this trend. Very soon.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cataviña and the Water-collecting Cacti: rainwater harvesting

Near the town of Cataviña, central Baja, in one of the most ecologically diverse deserts in the whole world, the Valle de los Cirios.  Dark silhouettes of 40-foot-tall cardon cacti lay in front of the bright setting sun.

The blooming desert was buzzing earlier with bees and hummingbirds, but they are now asleep.  A lush desert flora surrounds me. Although the word “lush” is usually reserved for green jungles — not dry, bleak deserts — this is no ordinary desert. Despite being water-starved, it is vibrant and colorful, and offers an impressive and natural lesson in water management.

[This post is from the Voyage of Kiri, an educational trip about sustainable development and climate adaptation in Mexico's coastline. For more information see www.voyageofkiri.com]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Certification: a trendy but tricky practice

When Coastal EcoVentures first started thinking about how to positively impact tourism development practices in coastal Mexico, one obvious option was to develop a certification standard.

In a world of greenwashing, certifications can be powerful and important signals of quality to consumers, while providing a valuable point of differentiation and isolating mechanism to businesses in crowded markets in which every competitor seems to be making green claims.

But actually securing the intended environmental benefits via certification is harder than it may seem, as evidenced by a new study from RFF that finds only limited evidence of successful certification schemes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Balancing tourists and turtles in Costa Rica

Turtles are often a draw in coastal tourism destinations. As popularity grows, though, pressure to develop more tourist accommodations creates a conflict with the need to protect the turtles’ sensitive beach habitats.

A recent paper in Conservation and Society – ‘Tourists and turtles: Searching for a balance in Tortuguero, Costa Rica’ – examines several aspects of ecotourism in Tortuguero, Costa Rica. The results raise some interesting questions about balancing the trade-offs between access to ecotourism destinations and protecting the very natural resources that tourists have traveled to see.