domenica 30 gennaio 2011

Canary Islands - Fuerteventura Island

Fuerteventura, a Spanish island, is one of the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa.
It is the second largest of the Canary Islands, after Tenerife.  The Canary Islands obtained the right to self-govern in 1912.   
In 1927, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote became part of the province of Gran Canaria. Tourism arrived in the mid-1960s with the building of the present airport at El Mattoral and the first tourist hotels.Since the island is close to Africa, many illegal African immigrants try to enter the European Union through it, by a dangerous boat trip from Morocco.  Located just 100 kilometres off the coast of North Africa, it is the second biggest of the islands, after Tenerife, and has the longest beaches in the archipelago. The island is a destination for sun, beach and watersports enthusiasts. It lies on the same latitude as Florida and Mexico and temperatures here rarely fall below 18 °C or rise above 24 °C . There are no fewer than 152 beaches along its coastline - 50 kilometres of fine, white sand and 25 kilometres of black volcanic shingle.  The climate on Fuerteventura is pleasant throughout the year. The island is also often referred to as the island of eternal spring. The sea adjusts the temperature making the hot Sahara winds blow away from the island. The island's name in English translates as 'strong fortune' or 'strong wind', the Spanish word for wind being 'viento'. The economy of Fuerteventura is mainly based on tourism. Other main industries are fishing and agriculture (cereals and vegetables). The summer Trade Winds and winter swells of the Atlantic make this a year-round surfers' paradise. Sailors, scuba divers and big-game fishermen are all drawn to these clear blue Atlantic waters where whales, dolphins, marlin and turtles are all common sights. With many hills present through out the Island, hikers are also attracted to this Island.

Cyclades islands - Mykonos

The Cyclades  is a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece.
They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around (κυκλάς) the sacred island of Delos. The Cyclades is where the native Greek breed of cat (the Aegean cat) first came from. The Cyclades comprise about 220 islands, the major ones being Amorgós, Anáfē, Ándros, Antíparos, Dēlos, Eschátē, Íos, Kéa, Kímōlos, Kýthnos, Mēlos, Mýkonos, Náxos, Páros, Folégandros, Sérifos, Sífnos, Síkinos, Sýros, Tēnos, and Thēra or Santoríni. Most of the smaller islands are uninhabited.  The islands are peaks of a submerged mountainous terrain, with the exception of two volcanic islands, Milos and Santorini (Thera). The climate is generally dry and mild, but with the exception of Naxos the soil is not very fertile: agricultural produce includes wine, fruit, wheat, olive oil, and tobacco. Cooler temperatures are in higher elevations and mainly do not receive wintry weather. 


Mykonos is a Greek island and a top tourist destination, renowned for its cosmopolitan character which attracts large numbers of tourists. The island is part of the Cyclades. It has little natural fresh water and relies on the desalination of sea water in order to meet the needs of its population. There are 9,320 inhabitants  most of whom live in the largest town, Mykonos, also known as Chora (i.e. the Town in Greek) .Mykonos is one of the most cosmopolitan islands in Greece, known for its diverse and intense nightlife as evidenced by a vast number of bars and nightclubs. Mykonos is also known for its sandy beaches. The island has an international airport, and is a frequent destination for cruise ships.In Greek mythology Mykonos was the location of the battle between Zeus and the Titans, and the island was named in honor of Apollo's grandson Mykons. The nightlife of Mykonos is marketed as among the best in Europe. During the summer Mykonos attracts the top producers and DJs in dance, to its renowned clubs and beach bars. Mykonos nightlife focuses mainly on beach bars rather than clubs, yet a number of notable clubs can be found throughout the island. Well-known nightclubs are Space Dance, Paradise and the gay bar Pierro's. Famous beach bars are Cavo Paradiso, Super Paradise and Tropicana.

Sharm el-Sheikh

Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea.
Sharm el-Sheikh is sometimes called the "City of Peace", referring to the large number of international peace conferences that have been held there.  Before 1967 Sharm el-Sheikh was little more than an occasional base of operations for local fishermen.  The average temperatures during the winter months (November to March) range from 15 to 35 degrees Celsius (59-95°F) and during the summer months (April to October) from 20 to 45 degrees.Sharm el-Sheikh was formerly a port, but commercial shipping has been greatly reduced as the result of strict environmental laws introduced in the 1990s.Sharm el-Sheikh's major industry is foreign and domestic tourism, owing to its dramatic landscape, year-round dry and temperate climate and long stretches of natural beaches. Its waters are clear and calm for most of the year and have become popular for various watersports, particularly recreational scuba diving and snorkeling which some consider to be among the best in the world.There is great scope for scientific tourism with diversity in marine life species; 250 different coral reefs and 1000 species of fish.These natural resources, together with its proximity to European tourism markets, have stimulated the rapid growth of tourism that the region is currently experiencing. Sharm el-Sheikh has also become a favourite spot for Scuba divers from around the world. Being situated near to the Red Sea, it provides some of the most stunning underwater scenery and warm water making this an ideal place to dive. Visitors to Sharm el-Sheikh can experience a variety of water and activities. Beach seekers find many activities such as diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, kitesurfing, para-sailing, boating, and canoeing.

Red Sea

The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The sea is the habitat of over 1,000 invertebrate species, and 200 soft and hard corals. It is the world's northernmost tropical sea. It is theorized that it was named so because it borders the Egyptian Desert, which the ancient Egyptians called the Dashret or "red land"; therefore it would have been the sea of the red land.The Red Sea is one of four seas named in English after common color terms — the others being the Black Sea, the White Sea and the Yellow Sea. The climate of the Red Sea is the result of two distinct monsoon seasons; a northeasterly monsoon and a southwesterly monsoon. Very high surface temperatures coupled with high salinities makes this one of the hottest and saltiest bodies of seawater in the world. The average surface water temperature of the Red Sea during the summer is about 26 °C. The Red Sea is one of the most saline bodies of water in the world, due to high evaporation.The Red Sea was formed by Arabia splitting from Africa due to movement of the Red Sea Rift.The sea is still widening and it is considered that the sea will become an ocean in time.The Red Sea is a rich and diverse ecosystem. More than 1200 species of fish  have been recorded in the Red Sea, and around 10% of these are found nowhere else. This also includes 42 species of deepwater fish. The rich diversity is in part due to the 2,000 km  of coral reef extending along its coastline; these fringing reefs are 5000–7000 years old and are largely formed of stony acropora and porites corals. The reefs form platforms and sometimes lagoons along the coast and occasional other features such as cylinders (such as the Blue Hole (Red Sea) at Dahab). These coastal reefs are also visited by pelagic species of red sea fish, including some of the 44 species of shark. The special biodiversity of the area is recognized by the Egyptian government, who set up the Ras Mohammed National Park in 1983. The rules and regulations governing this area protect local marine life, which has become a major draw for diving enthusiasts.Other marine habitats include sea grass beds, salt pans, mangroves and salt marshes.

sabato 29 gennaio 2011


The Republic of Madagascar is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. The main island, also called Madagascar, is the fourth-largest island in the world.
Malagasy, the Austronesian language spoken by the vast majority of the population, is the national language and one of the official languages. The other official languages are French (official since independence) and English.
The primary religions are Malagasy mythology and Christianity, but adherents to other faiths, Islam in particular, are found throughout the country.
Madagascar is home to as many as 12,000 of the world's plant species. 
Madagascar is the world's 46th-largest country and the fourth-largest island. It is slightly larger than France, and is one of 11 distinct physiographic provinces of the South African Platform physiographic division. 
There are two seasons: a hot rainy season from November to April and a cooler dry season from May to October. Southeastern trade winds predominate, and the island occasionally experiences cyclones. Madagascar was divided into six autonomous provinces and subdivided into 22 regions . Although the present head of state is self-proclaimed, Madagascar is usually a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Madagascar is head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Agriculture, including fishing and forestry, is a mainstay of the economy. Major exports are coffee, vanilla (Madagascar is the world's largest producer and exporter of vanilla), sugarcane, cloves, cocoa, rice, cassava (tapioca), beans, bananas, peanuts and livestock products.  Madagascar's sources of growth are tourism; textile and light manufacturing exports (notably through the EPZs); agricultural products; and mining. Madagascar is the world's leading producer of vanilla and accounts for about half the world's export market. Tourism targets the niche eco-tourism market, capitalizing on Madagascar's unique biodiversity, unspoiled natural habitats, national parks and lemur species. Several major projects are underway in the mining and oil and gas sectors that, if successful, will give a significant boost to the Malagasy economy.  Madagascar's population is predominantly of mixed Austronesian  and African origin. Today about 45% of the Malagasy are Christian, divided almost evenly between Catholics and Protestants.  Many of the Christian churches are influential in politics. The best example of this is the Malagasy Council of Churches comprising the four oldest and most prominent Christian denominations (Roman Catholic, Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar, Lutheran, and Anglican).  A significant proportion of the adult population is illiterate.  Malagasy culture reflects a blend of Southeast Asian, Arab, African and European influences.
The Malagasy language is of Malayo-Polynesian origin and is generally spoken throughout the island. Madagascar is a francophone country, and French is spoken among the educated population. English, although still rare, is becoming more widely spoken, and in 2003 the government began a pilot project of introducing the teaching of English into the primary grades of 44 schools.

mercoledì 26 gennaio 2011


Zanzibar  is a semi-autonomous part of the United Republic of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja (the main island, informally referred to as Zanzibar), and Pemba.
Other nearby island countries and territories include Comoros and Mayotte to the south, Mauritius and Réunion to the far southeast, and the Seychelles Island.
The capital of Zanzibar, located on the island of Unguja, is Zanzibar City.   Zanzibar's main industries are spices, raffia, and tourism. In particular, the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper. For this reason, the islands, together with Tanzania's Mafia Island, are sometimes called the Spice Islands.    
Zanzibar has a government of national unity, with the current president of Zanzibar being Ali Mohamed Shein, since 1st November 2010. As a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, Zanzibar has its own government.  Zanzibar is a mainly low lying island, with its highest point at 120 meters.   
It is characterised by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs, and the magic of historic Stone Town - said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. The coral reefs that surround the East Coast are rich in marine diversity. The heat of summer is seasonally often cooled by windy conditions, resulting in sea breezes, particularly on the North and East coasts. Being near to the equator, the islands are warm all year round, but officially, summer and winter peak in December and June respectively.
Rare native animals include the Zanzibar leopard, which is critically endangered and possibly extinct.  The most commonly practised religion is Islam. About 95% of Zanzibar's population follow the laws of Islam. Its history was influenced by the Arabs and the Indian mainland people. The remaining are Christians. 
Zanzibar exports spices, seaweed and fine raffia. It also has a large fishing and dugout canoe production. Tourism is a major foreign currency earner. Zanzibar's economy is based primarily on the production of cloves (90% grown on the island of Pemba), the principal foreign exchange earner. Exports have suffered with the downturn in the clove market. Tourism is a promising sector with a number of new hotels and resorts having been built in recent years.
The island's manufacturing sector is limited mainly to import substitution industries, such as cigarettes, shoes, and processed agricultural products. In 2000 there were 207 government schools and 118 privately owned schools in Zanzibar. There are also two universities and one college: Zanzibar University, the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA). Zanzibar now has an improved and thriving sea transport network, by which public owned ships and private speed boats serve the ports of Zanzibar, which was renovated by the help of European Union. The energy sector in Zanzibar consists of unreliable electric power, petroleum and petroleum products; it is also supplemented by firewood and its related products. Coal and gas are rarely used for either domestic and industrial purposes. Zanzibar's local people are from a mixture of ethnic backgrounds, indicative of its colourful history. Zanzibaris speak Swahili (known locally as Kiswahili), a language which is spoken extensively in East Africa. Zanzibar's most famous event is the Zanzibar International Film Festival, also known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries.

martedì 25 gennaio 2011

Hawaï islands

Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states  and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It occupies most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii’s natural beauty, warm tropical climate, inviting waters and waves, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike. Due to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaii has many North American and Asian influences along with its own vibrant native culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu.
Hawaii is the only state of the United States that:
  • is not geographically located in North America
  • grows coffee
  • is completely surrounded by water
  • is entirely an archipelago
  • has a royal palace
  • does not have a straight line in its state boundary
Hawaii has more endangered species and has lost a higher percentage of its endemic species than any other U.S. state.
Several areas in Hawaii are under the protection of the National Park Service. Hawaii has two national parks.
Hawaii’s climate is typical for the tropics, although temperatures and humidity tend to be a bit less extreme due to near-constant trade winds from the east. Local climates vary considerably on each island, grossly divisible into windward and leeward  areas based upon location relative to the higher mountains. Hawaii is one of four states that were independent prior to becoming part of the United States. Hawaii has a de facto population of over 1.3 million due to large military and tourist populations. The State of Hawaii has two official languages recognized in its 1978 constitution: English and Hawaiian.  In addition, 2.6% of the state's residents speak Spanish; 1.6% speak other Indo-European languages. The history of Hawaii can be traced through a succession of dominant industries: sandalwood, whaling, sugarcane (see Sugar plantations in Hawaii), pineapple, military, tourism, and education. Since statehood in 1959, tourism has been the largest industry, contributing 24.3% of the Gross State Product. Food exports include coffee (see coffee production in Hawaii), macadamia nuts, pineapple, livestock, and sugarcane. The aboriginal culture of Hawaii is Polynesian. Hawaii represents the northernmost extension of the vast Polynesian triangle of the south and central Pacific Ocean. While traditional Hawaiian culture remains only as vestiges in modern Hawaiian society, there are reenactments of the ceremonies and traditions throughout the islands.Graduates of secondary schools in Hawaii often enter directly into the work force. Some attend colleges and universities on the mainland or other countries, and the rest attend an institution of higher learning in Hawaii.The state government of Hawaii is modeled after the federal government with adaptations originating from the kingdom era of Hawaiian history. As codified in the Constitution of Hawaii, there are three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial.

Philippines Islands

 The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. 
Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. 
The Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country. An additional 11 million Filipinos live overseas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. The United States retained sovereignty over the islands until the end of World War II when the Philippines gained independence. 
The Philippines is a constitutional republic with a presidential system of government. It is governed as a unitary state.  
The Philippines' international relations are based on trade with other nations and the well-being of the 11 million overseas Filipinos living outside the country.Relations with other nations are generally positive. Shared democratic values ease relations with Western and European countries while similar economic concerns help in relations with other developing countries. Historical ties and cultural similarities also serve as a bridge in relations with Spain and Latin America.  
Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, mineral deposits are abundant. The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa and one of the largest copper deposits in the world. It is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc. The Philippines' rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures. It is one of the ten most biologically mega-diverse countries.The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate and is usually hot and humid. Temperatures usually range from 21°C  to 32°C although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits. Major trading partners include China, Japan, the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia. Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso. According to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Filipino and English are the official languages. Filipino is a de facto version of Tagalog, spoken mainly in Metro Manila and other urban regions. Both Filipino and English are used in government, education, print, broadcast media, and business.More than 90% of the population are Christians. Philippine traditional religions are still practiced by many aboriginal and tribal groups, often syncretized with Christianity and Islam. The transportation infrastructure in the country is relatively underdeveloped. Philippine culture is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The Philippines exhibits aspects found in other Asian countries with a Malay heritage, yet its culture also displays a significant amount of Spanish and American influences. One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish names and surnames among Filipinos. However, a Spanish name and surname does not necessarily denote Spanish ancestry.Philippine cuisine has evolved over several centuries from its Malayo-Polynesian origins to become a mixed cuisine with many Hispanic, Chinese, American, and other Asian influences that have been adapted to local ingredients and the Filipino palate to create distinctively Filipino dishes.



Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia comprises 17,000 islands. It is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an elected legislature and president. The nation's capital city is Jakarta. The Indonesian archipelago has been an important trade region since at least the 7th century. Across its many islands, Indonesia consists of distinct ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups. The Javanese are the largest—and the politically dominant—ethnic group. Indonesia has developed a shared identity defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism. Administratively, Indonesia consists of 33 provinces, five of which have special status. Each province has its own political legislature and governor. Indonesia consists of 17,508 islands. The largest are Java, Sumatra, Borneo (shared with Brunei and Malaysia), New Guinea (shared with Papua New Guinea), and Sulawesi. Lying along the equator, Indonesia has a tropical climate, with two distinct monsoonal wet and dry seasons. Temperatures vary little throughout the year; the average daily temperature range of Jakarta is 26–30 °C. Indonesia's size, tropical climate, and archipelagic geography, support the world's second highest level of biodiversity (after Brazil), and its flora and fauna is a mixture of Asian and Australasian species. The country has extensive natural resources, including crude oil, natural gas, tin, copper, and gold. Indonesia's major imports include machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, and foodstuffs. The official national language, Indonesian, is universally taught in schools, and consequently is spoken by nearly every Indonesian. It is the language of business, politics, national media, education, and academia. Indonesia has around 300 ethnic groups, each with cultural identities developed over centuries, and influenced by Indian, Arabic, Chinese, and European sources. Indonesian cuisine varies by region and is based on Chinese, European, Middle Eastern, and Indian precedents. Rice is the main staple food and is served with side dishes of meat and vegetables. Spices (notably chili), coconut milk, fish and chicken are fundamental ingredients.

lunedì 24 gennaio 2011

Bahamas Islands

The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a country consisting of 29 islands.  It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States.
Geographically, the Bahamas lie in the same island chain as Cuba.  The Bahamas were the site of Columbus' first landfall in the New World in 1492. 
The climate of the Bahamas is subtropical to tropical, and is moderated significantly by the waters of the Gulf Stream, particularly in winter. Conversely, this often proves very dangerous in the summer and autumn, when hurricanes pass near or through the islands. The Bahamas is a sovereign independent nation. Political and legal traditions closely follow those of the United Kingdom and the Westminster system. The Bahamas is a parliamentary democracy with two main parties.  Tourism generates about half of all jobs, but the number of visitors has dropped significantly since the beginning of the global economic downturn during the last quarter of 2008. The colours embodied in the design of the Bahamian flag symbolise the image and aspirations of the people of the Bahamas; the design reflects aspects of the natural environment (sun, sand, and sea) and the economic and social development. The yellow elder was chosen as the national flower of the Bahamas because it is native to the Bahama Islands, and it blooms throughout the year.  One of the most prosperous countries in the Caribbean region, the Bahamas relies on tourism to generate most of its economic activity. Tourism as an industry not only accounts for over 60 percent of the Bahamian GDP, but provides jobs for more than half the country's workforce.  In the less developed outer islands, handicrafts include basketry made from palm fronds. This material, commonly called "straw", is plaited into hats and bags that are popular tourist items.


Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia. It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories.
The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. Malaysia is located near the equator and has a tropical climate. It has a biodiverse range of flora and fauna, and is considered one of the 17 megadiverse countries. Malaysia contains numerous islands, the largest of which is Labuan. The local climate is equatorial and characterised by the annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons. The temperature is moderated by the presence of the surrounding oceans. Humidity is usually high. Kuala Lumpur is the official capital and the largest city in Malaysia. Putrajaya is the federal administrative capital. Although many executive and judicial branches of the federal government have moved there (to ease growing congestion within Kuala Lumpur), Kuala Lumpur is still recognised as the country's legislative capital since it houses the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia. It is also the main commercial and financial centre of the country.
Malaysia's foreign policy is based on the principle of neutrality and maintaining peaceful relations with all countries, regardless of their political system, and to further develop relations with other countries in the region. It attaches a high priority to the security and stability of Southeast Asia, and has tried to strengthen relations with other Islamic states.
Malaysia is a relatively open state-oriented and newly industrialised market economy. The state plays a significant but declining role in guiding economic activity through macroeconomic plans. Malaysia is an exporter of natural and agricultural resources, the most valuable exported resource being petroleum. At one time, it was the largest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil in the world. Manufacturing has a large influence in the country's economy, although Malaysia’s economic structure has been moving away from it. tourism has become Malaysia’s third largest source of income from foreign exchange, although it is threatened by the negative effects of the growing industrial economy, with large amounts of air and water pollution along with deforestation affecting tourism.


One man's dream

seychelles islands

Seychelles Islands

Seychelles, officially the Republic of Seychelles, is an island country spanning an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. 
Nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius and Réunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest. An island nation, Seychelles is located to the northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km east of Kenya.  The climate is equable although quite humid, as the islands are small. The temperature varies little throughout the year. During the plantation era, cinnamon, vanilla, and copra were the chief exports. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force, compared to agriculture which today employs about 3% of the labour force. Despite the growth of tourism, farming and fishing continue to employ some people, as do industries that process coconuts and vanilla. The prime agricultural products currently produced in the Seychelles include sweet potatoes, vanilla, coconuts, and cinnamon. These products provide much of the economic support of the locals. Frozen and canned fish, copra, cinnamon, and vanilla are the main export commodities of the islands. In recent years the government has encouraged foreign investment in order to upgrade hotels and other services. These incentives have given rise to an enormous amount of investment in real estate projects and new resort properties.
The music of Seychelles is diverse. The folk music of the islands incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion, including African rhythms, aesthetic and instrumentation - such as the zez and the bom (known in Brazil as berimbau), European contredanse, polka and mazurka, French folk and pop and other pan-African genres, and Polynesian, Indian and Arcadian music.
The marine life around the islands, especially the more remote coral islands, can be spectacular. More than 1,000 species of fish have been recorded.

domenica 23 gennaio 2011

Mauritius Island

 Mauritius,  officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean. The British took control during the Napoleonic Wars and Mauritius became independent from the UK in 1968.
The main languages spoken in Mauritius are Mauritian Creole, French and English. English is the only official language but the lingua franca is Mauritian Creole and the newspapers and television programmes are usually in French. Mauritius does not have a standing army. All military, police, and security functions are carried out by 10,000 active-duty personnel. The local climate is tropical, modified by southeast trade winds; there is a warm, dry winter from May to November and a hot, wet, and humid summer from November to May. Anti-cyclones affect the country during May to September. Cyclones affect the country during November–April. The environment in Mauritius is typically tropical in the coastal regions with forests in the mountainous areas. Seasonal cyclones are destructive to the flora and fauna, however they recover quickly. The island of Mauritius itself is divided into nine districts. Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial, and tourist sectors. The economy is mainly dependent on sugarcane plantations, tourism, textiles, and services, but other sectors such as seafood processing, information technology and medical tourism are rapidly developing as well. In order to provide locals with access to imports at lower prices and attract more tourists going to Singapore and Dubai, Mauritius is gearing towards becoming a duty-free island within the next four years. Mauritius is one country that has achieved successful economic and human development with a dual-track approach to economic liberalisation, whereby poorer sections of society have participated in its economic growth. The only available means of inland public transport, so far, are via taxi cabs and buses.
The Mauritian Constitution makes no mention of an official language and its one million citizens speak mostly Mauritian Creole, a French-based creole, English and French. It is only in the Parliament that the official language is English but any member of the National Assembly can still address the chair in French.

Maldive Islands


The Maldives, officially Republic of Maldives, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls.
It stands in the Laccadive Sea. The Republic of Maldives's capital and largest city is Malé. The reef is composed of coral debris and living coral. This acts as a natural barrier against the sea, forming lagoons. Other islands, set at a distance and parallel to the reef, have their own protective fringe of reef. An opening in the surrounding coral barrier allows access to the calmer lagoon waters.
The Indian Ocean has a great effect on the climate of the country by acting as a heat buffer, absorbing, storing, and slowly releasing the tropical heat. The temperature of Maldives ranges between 24 °C and 33 °C throughout the year.   
Maldives is a presidential republic, with the President as head of government and head of state. The President heads the executive branch and appoints the cabinet which is approved by the People's Majlis (Parliament). 
The development of tourism has fostered the overall growth of the country's economy. It has created direct and indirect employment and income generation opportunities in other related industries. The first tourist resorts were opened in 1972 with Bandos island resort and Kurumba Village.
Tourism is also the country's biggest foreign currency earner and the single largest contributor to the GDP. Today, there are 89 resorts in the Maldives with a bed capacity of over 17,000, providing facilities for tourists. Practically all visitors arrive at Malé International Airport, located on Hulhulé Island, which is next to the capital Malé. The airport is served by a wide array of flights to India, Sri Lanka, Doha, Dubai and major airports in South-East Asia, as well as an increasing number of charters from Europe.
Maldivian culture is heavily influenced by geographical proximity to Sri Lanka and southern India.
The official and common language is Dhivehi, an Indo-European language.

sabato 22 gennaio 2011

Bora Bora Island

Bora Bora is an island in the group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the Pacific Ocean. The original name of the island in the Tahitian language might be better rendered as Pora Pora, meaning "First Born".
The island, located about 230 kilometres northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano rising to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu.
Bora Bora is a major international tourist destination, famous for its aqua-centric luxury resorts. The island is served by Bora Bora Airport on Motu Mete in the north, next to the St Regis Resort, with Air Tahiti providing daily flights to and from Papeete on Tahiti.
Produce of the island is mostly limited to what can be obtained from the sea and the plentiful coconut trees, which were historically of economic importance for copra.
Today the island is mainly dependent on tourism. Over the last few years several resorts have been built on motu (small islands) surrounding the lagoon. Thirty years ago, Hotel Bora Bora built the first over-the-water bungalows on stilts over the lagoon and today, over-water bungalows are a standard feature of most Bora Bora resorts. 
Most of the tourist destinations are aquacentric; however it is possible to visit attractions on land such as WWII cannons. Air Tahiti has five or six flights daily to the Bora Bora Airport on Motu Mute from Tahiti (as well as from other islands).
Although French and Tahitian are the main languages spoken by the inhabitants, people in contact with tourists generally have some command of English. Most visitors to Bora Bora are American, Japanese, or European.
Rental cars and bicycles are the recommended method of transport. There are also small fun-cars for hire in Vaitape. Bora Bora is predestined for snorkeling and scuba diving in and around its lagoon. Many species of sharks and rays inhabit the surrounding body of water. There are a few dive operators on the island offering manta ray dives and also shark-feeding dives.
Accommodation on Bora Bora consists of a number of high-end resorts ranging from modern hotels to motus (small islands) with private bungalows built on stilts over the lagoon.
The island is 44-square kilometres in size, with a population of 4,650. It is an overseas territory of France and French is the official language; Tahitian and some English is also spoken.
Travel around Bora Bora is limited to bus and bicycle. To reach Bora Bora you can either fly from Tahiti's Faaa airport, or take the inter-island ferry.

French Polynesia :Tahiti

Tahiti is the largest island in the group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs.
The capital, Papeete, is located on the northwest coast with the only international airport in the region, Faa'a International Airport, situated 5 km  from the town centre. 
French is the only official language although the Tahitian language  is widely spoken. Tahiti is the highest and largest island in French Polynesia. November to April is the wet season, the wettest month of which is January.   The average temperatures ranges between 21°C  and 31°C  with little seasonal variation. In 1946, Tahiti and the whole of French Polynesia became a Territoire d'outre-mer (French overseas territory). Tahitians were granted French citizenship.In 2003, French Polynesia's status was changed to that of Collectivité d'outre-mer (French overseas community).
French painter Paul Gauguin lived on Tahiti in the 1890s and painted many Tahitian subjects. Papeari has a small Gauguin museum.
Tahitians are French citizens with complete civil and political rights. French is the official language but Tahitian and French are both in use.
Tahiti is part of French Polynesia. French Polynesia is a semi-autonomous territory of France with its own assembly, president, budget and laws. France's influence is limited to subsidies, education and security.
Tourism is a significant industry, mostly for the islands of Bora Bora and Moorea.
After the establishment of the CEP (Centre d'Experimentation du Pacifique) in 1963, the standard of living in French Polynesia increased considerably and many Polynesians abandoned traditional activities and emigrated to the urban centre of Papeete. Even though the standard of living is elevated (due mainly to France's FDI investment), the economy is reliant on imports.
Black pearl farming is also a substantial source of revenues, most of the pearls being exported to Japan, Europe and the US. Tahiti also exports vanilla, fruits, flowers, monoi, fish, copra oil, and noni.
Tahitian cultures included an oral tradition that included mythology of various gods and beliefs as well as ancient traditions such as tattooing and navigation.
One of the most widely recognised images of the islands is the world famous Tahitian dance. The ʻōteʻa, sometimes written as otea, is a traditional dance from Tahiti, where the dancers, standing in several rows, execute different figures. 
Tahiti hosts a French university, the University of French Polynesia.
Because of the large distances separating one island to the others, flying definitively constitutes one of the major means of transportations to reach Tahiti and then travel between each islands. The only international airport is located in Tahiti in Faaa district, just 5 km away from downtown Papeete. It was built in the 60’ to support the economical and social changes that were occurred at that time. Today, Tahiti Faaa airport welcomes as much as 7 different airlines and is connected to the rest of the world through direct flights to the destinations listed below. The airport features 3 terminals : International Arrivals ; International Departures and Domestic flights. 
The Tahiti Faa'a International airport is managed by Setil Airport company and is a lazy feeling, medium sized, well organized, clean business center where several large international carriers as well as the smaller inter-island and charter companies provide flying services to the French Polynesian Islands. 

Fiji Islands

The climate in Fiji is tropical marine and warm most of the year round with minimal extremes. The warm season is from November till April and the cooler season May to October. Temperature in the cool season still averages 22 °C.
Rainfall is variable, the warmer season experiences heavier rainfall, especially inland. Winds are moderate, though cyclones occur about once a year (10–12 times per decade).
Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the more developed of the Pacific island economies, though still with a large subsistence sector. Natural resources include timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower.
The tourism sector recovered quickly, however, with visitor arrivals reaching pre-coup levels again during 2002, which has since resulted in a modest economic recovery.
Trade and investment with Fiji has been criticized due to the country's military dictatorship.
Fiji's culture is a rich mosaic of indigenous, Indian, Chinese and European traditions, comprising social polity, language, food (based mainly from the sea, casava, dalo & other vegetables), costume, belief systems, architecture, arts, craft, music, dance and sports.
The indigenous culture is very much active and living, and is a part of everyday life for the majority of the population. However, it has evolved with the introduction of old cultures like the Indian and Chinese ones, as well as a large influence from Europe, and from various Pacific neighbours of Fiji, mainly the Tongan and Samoan. The culture of Fiji has created a unique communal and national identity.
Fiji has a significant amount of tourism and many people go to the Nadi and Denarau islands. The biggest sources of international visitors by country are Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Fiji has a significant amount of soft coral reefs, and scuba diving is a common tourist activity. More budget resorts are being opened in remote areas, which provides more tourism opportunities.
The Fiji Islands developed many languages, some similar and some very different. Missionaries in the 1840s chose the language of one island off the southeast of the main island of Viti Levu, to be the official language of Fiji.The national sport of Fiji is considered to be rugby union.
Association football is also popular in Fiji which participates in the Oceania Football Confederation.
English is an official language and is the language of instruction in education, and is spoken by most in Nadi, Suva and any other major tourist area. On a few of the less touristy islands, English may be spoken with some difficulty. Fijian or Hindustani (Hindi/Urdu) is spoken by most adults and children, and learning even a few key phrases will help you gain the respect of the locals.

New Caledonia

New Caledonia is considered one of the world's most critically endangered and botanically most important hotspots. Unlike many of the Pacific Islands, which are of relatively recent volcanic origin, New Caledonia is part of Zealandia, a fragment of the ancient Gondwana super-continent.
The country still shelters an extraordinary diversity of unique, endemic, and extremely primitive plants and animals of Gondwanan origin, as well as the second largest coral reef in the world.
Fossil and subfossil remains reveal that large terrestrial animals once inhabited the island but became extinct during the Holocene prior to European arrival. These include the horned turtle Meiolania, the crocodile Mekosuchus, monitor lizards and a variety of flightless birds, the largest of which was Sylviornis.
The islands contain two precipitation zones: Higher-rainfall areas (located on the Loyalty Islands, Isle of Pines (Île des Pins), and on the eastern side of Grande Terre) which support New Caledonia rain forests, and a more arid region, home to the now exceedingly endangered New Caledonia dry forests, located in the rain shadow on the western side of Grande Terre.
French is the official language of New Caledonia as in the rest of the French Republic.Europeans settled on the dry west coast of Grande Terre, leaving the east (as well as the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines) to the Kanaks, and resulting in an ethno-cultural division which coincides with the natural one. Extensive farming by Europeans in the dry forest areas, has caused these forest ecosystems to virtually disappear.
New Caledonian soils contain a considerable wealth of industrially critical elements and minerals, including about one-quarter of the world's nickel resources. Mining is therefore a significant industry that greatly benefits the territory's economy.
Tourism is playing an increasingly important role in the economy of New Caledonia. Most tourists come from France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

The Solomon Islands

The Salomon Islands is a small atoll of the British Indian Ocean Territory.
It is located in the Northeast of the Chagos Archipelago, between Blenheim Reef and Peros Banhos. The main islands in the group are Île Boddam.
There is a passage into the lagoon, named Baie de Salomon, on the Northern side, between Île Anglaise and Île de la Passe. The Salomon Islands are one of the favorite anchoring spots for itinerant yachtsmen passing through the Chagos. Now uninhabited, the islands are overrun by low jungle between the coconut trees and it is hard to find the traces of the former settlements.
This atoll was settled in the last half of the 18th century by coconut plantation workers from Mauritius (then known as Île de France). Little is known about the condition of the workers who were mostly of African origin. Most probably they lived in conditions close to slavery. The company exploiting the plantation was called the Chagos Agalega Company.
The inhabitants of the Salomon Islands, numbering about 400, were forcefully evicted by the British and resettled in Mauritius.
The individual islets of the atoll are, starting in the North, clockwise:
  1. Île de la Passe
  2. Île Mapou
  3. Île Takamaka
  4. Île Fouquet
  5. Île Sepulture
  6. Île Jacobin
  7. Île du Sel
  8. Île Poule
  9. Île Boddam
  10. Île Diable
  11. Île Anglaise

Barbados Island

Barbados is an island nation of the Lesser Antilles.
It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic Ocean and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea.
Once a Portuguese territorial possession known as Los Barbados, in 1625 it became an English, and later a British, colony.
In 1966, Barbados became an independent nation and Commonwealth realm, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. Barbados is one of the Caribbean's leading tourist destinations and is the most developed island in the region.The reason for the later name Barbados is controversial. The Portuguese, en route to Brazil, were the first Europeans to come upon the island, and they named it Barbados. The word Barbados means "bearded ones", but it is a matter of conjecture whether "bearded" refers to the long, hanging roots of the bearded fig-tree, indigenous to the island.
Barbados has been an independent country since 30 November 1966. It functions as a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, modelled on the British Westminster system.
Barbados functions as a two-party system, the two dominant parties being the ruling Democratic Labour Party and the opposition, Barbados Labour Party.
Laws are passed by the Barbadian Parliament, whereby upon their passage, are given official vice-regal assent by the Governor-General to become law.
In Barbados, camouflage clothing is reserved for military use and forbidden for civilians to wear.
Trade policy has also sought to protect a small number of domestic activities, mostly food production, from foreign competition, while recognizing that most domestic needs are best met by imports.
The climate is moderate tropical, with a wet season (June–November) and a more dry season (December–May).
Barbados is divided into eleven parishes.
Barbados is the 51st richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross domestic product) per capita, has a well-developed mixed economy, and a moderately high standard of living. According to the World Bank, Barbados is classified as being in its 66 top High income economies of the world.
The island of Barbados's lone airport is the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) It receives daily flights by several major airlines from points around the globe, as well as several smaller regional commercial airlines and charters.
Due to its relatively high levels of development and its favourable location, Barbados has become one of the prime tourist destinations in the Caribbean. Numerous internationally known hotels offering world-class accommodation can be found on the island. Time-shares are available, and many of the smaller local hotels and private villas which dot the island have space available if booked in advance. The southern and western coasts of Barbados are popular, with the calm light blue Caribbean Sea and their fine white and pinkish sandy beaches. Along the island's east coast, which faces the Atlantic Ocean, there are tumbling waves which are perfect for light surfing. Some areas remain risky due to under-tow currents.
Shopping districts are popular in Barbados, with ample duty-free shopping. There is also a festive night-life in mainly tourist areas such as the Saint Lawrence Gap. Other attractions include wildlife reserves, jewelry stores, scuba diving, helicopter rides, golf, festivals (the largest being the annual Crop Over festival July/Aug), sightseeing, cave exploration, exotic drinks and fine clothes shopping.
English is the root official language of Barbados, and is used for communications, administration, and public services all over the island. In its capacity as the official language of the country, the standard of English tends to conform to the vocabulary, pronunciations, spellings, and conventions akin to, but not exactly the same as, those of British English.