Archive for December, 2009

Cayman Islands: A Major Caribbean Destination

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

4Officially a British overseas territory, the Cayman Islands are located in the Western Caribbean Sea and are a popular vacation destination among tourists worldwide. The islands are made up by the Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman and are located ninety miles south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. These islands are a major financial centre in the Caribbean and provide tourists with excellent attractions, water activities, and numerous Cayman Islands vacation rentals to choose from. Weather is almost perfect year-round, with relatively dry winters and nightlife and restaurants are very varied.

Things to do at the Cayman Islands

Besides being a famous diving spot, Cayman Islands also offer tourists numerous attractions that vary from beachside activities to museums, cruises, undersea tours, horseback riding and many festivals ideal for families and kids. All beaches here are public and feature incredible views, white sands and clear waters. The Seven Mile beach is perfect for those who like sports or simply relax and watch the waves roll in. The Public Beach offers changing rooms and restrooms as well as a wonderful playground for kids to enjoy. If you want to get away from crowds head to Spotts Beach and if you are looking for shallow waters for children, Rum Point is an option

If you are eager to learn about the colorful sea life of the Caribbean you might want to visit the Boatswain’s Beach on Grand Cayman. This picturesque place is home to the Turtle Farm, a family park where you can learn about all life stages of sea turtles, walk through the aviary and see a shark in the predator tank.

If you prefer nightlife, Cayman Islands offer great alternatives. There are numerous bars and clubs where you can dance the night away, listen to jazz, folk or rock and sip a delicious cocktail with friends. There are also numerous places where you can watch a game with a cold beer or if you want something a little more sophisticated you can also go on a romantic sunset cruise with your special someone.

One thing is certain; vacationing in the Cayman Islands will provide a unique experience where you can mix day fun activities and nightlife parties with the pleasure of simply sitting back relaxing and not doing a single thing!

Common Tourist Scams around the World – Second Part

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

4Tourists are often common targets of scam and rip-off artists who take advantage of their relaxed attitude during vacation. Scams are very varied and some are more popular in certain areas than in others. Here is a second part to our blog post “The Most Common Traveling Scams.”

Gipsy Baby Toss Scam

This scam is very common in Eastern Europe and in Italy. A gipsy woman carrying a baby in a blanket approaches you. She then, tosses the baby in your arms while others grab your purse or anything of value that you may have on you amid the confusion. You will later on discover that the baby is really a doll.

The Flowers Lady

This scam is fairly simple and common especially in restaurants with non-cover dining spaces. While distracted couples enjoy their meal, a flower lady approaches to sell flowers, and starts complementing the lady at the table. While all this happens the scammer quickly grabs any valuable you might have put on top of the table such as ipod, cel or camera.

The Mustard Trick

This scam is somewhat similar to the others in that the point of it is to distract the victim while grabbing his/her belongings. Someone “accidentally” squirts mustard on your shirt while eating a hot dog. He apologizes and tries to clean your shirt while somebody else is walking off with your carry-ons.

The Bracelet Scam

Someone approaches you offering directions and ties a bracelet around your wrist in a double knot. He then asks for payment and if you refuse to pay he starts creaming that you’re stealing the bracelet. Many end up paying the bracelet.

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Tuscany: Where Art Meets Nature

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

4A region in Italy with an area of 22,990 square kilometers, Tuscany is a tourist destination widely known for its beautiful landscapes and artistic legacy. Some of its localities have been established as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the historical center of Florence, Siena and Pienza among others. Travelers who decide to visit Tuscany can expect to taste incredible food and excellent local wines, enjoy beautiful beaches and astonishing architecture. There is also a wide range of Tuscany vacation rentals options that vary from expensive hotels to charming and affordable bed and breakfasts and inns to suit any budget.

The province of Arezzo is composed by its capital city Arezzo, and the cities of Castiglion Fiorentino, Cavriglia, Cortona, Lucigano, Montevarchi and Poppi. Travelers spending time in this province will benefit from a variety of entertainment alternatives. Arezzo, the capital, is home to the Arezzo Festival, an annual summer theatre festival where emerging professional and university-based performance groups from all over the world showcase their abilities. If you are visiting Cortona get ready to enjoy magnificent panoramas and visit museums. If you head to Castiglion Fiorentino, don’t miss the tower of the ancient castle, “Torre del Cassero,” and the town’s beautiful medieval walls.

If the province of Florence is in your plans, you will be pleased with the city’s cultural, artistic and architectural feel. The city was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and there are numerous museums such as the Academia Gallery, home of the famous David, masterpiece of Michelangelo, and the Institute and Museum of the History of Science. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Gotto’s tower, Ponte Veccino and Santa Croce are other popular touristic destinations. If you like outdoor activities, some of the most popular include climbing the Duomo or Campanile, visiting the Boboli Gardens, which provide excellent views of the city of Firenze, and enjoying the street performers by the Uffizi in front of the Palazo Vecchio.

If you enjoy wine and are knowledgeable about this topic, your best bet is to visit the regions of Chianti, Montalcino and Montepulciano.  In the last fourty years, the Tuscan wine industry has evolved significantly resulting in what is called the Super Tuscan Wine. If wine is not your area of expertise but you like cooking, another popular activity in Tuscan is taking week-long cooking classes in the countryside with accommodation in a villa from the 19th century.

Costa Rica: The Perfect Destination for Nature Lovers

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Located in Central America and bordering Nicaragua and Panama; Costa Rica is a rich country worth visiting if you enjoy nature encounters, outdoor activities and friendly people. Costa Rica, which in Spanish means “Rich Coast” has diverse landscapes, and flora and fauna that will captivate even most experienced travelers. Although a small country, it is divided into six different regions each very unique.

Caribbean Costa Rica
This region of Costa Rica is perhaps the least visited of the country mainly due to its relative isolation and mosquitoes. Some of the regions of interest in this area include Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, a small coastal town in the province of Limon popular with surfers and backpackers and Totuguero, one of the most remote places in Costa Rica only accessible via boat or plane.

Guanacaste is one of the most popular touristic regions of Costa Rica. It is covered by dry tropical forest and visitors will find numerous all inclusive resorts and Costa Rica vacation rentals in this area. There is an international airport in Liberia, the region’s most important city and places of interest include Tamarindo, popular among couples and families, Nosara with access to great beaches and Playa Carrillo a post-card perfect beach accessible only by paved road.

Central Valley

This is one of the most populated areas of Costa Rica. Visitors can expect to find an international airport, the Juan Santamaria International Airport in Alajuela; the Irazu volcano in Cartago downtown and one of the most famous of the country, the beautiful small mountain town of Santa Elena with its orchid garden and butterfly garden, and the capital city San Jose with its numerous museums, gardens and excellent nightlife.

Central Pacific
Surfing enthusiasts and nature lovers will have a blast in this area of Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s central pacific is home to Manuel Antonio and its famous natural park; Jaco, one of the largest tourist towns with beautiful beaches and the premier surfing spot of Mal Pais.

Plains of the North
The Plains of the North are famous for the Arenal volcano and its surroundings. Popular towns include La Fortuna, at the foot of the volcano, San Ramon, Tilaran and Los Chiles.

South Costa Rica
One of the most biodiverse environments of the planet, South Costa Rica is home to the Osa Peninsula, a magical untouched place perfect for those who enjoy nature at its fullest.

Thailand: A Land to be Discovered

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

An independent country located in Southeast Asia, Thailand is a magical place with thousands of things to offer. It is the 50th largest country in the world and it is divided into five geographic regions.

Northern Thailand

Due to its cooler climate this part of Thailand is popular during the months of December and January. It is the birthplace of the 4earliest Thai civilization and offers visitors great options as far as culture, festivals and archeology. One of the most famous festivals is the annual Songkran Festival. People of Northern Thailand speak their own Thai dialect called Kham Meaung and are known for being very hospitable and friendly. Many tourists visiting this area make Chiang Mai their base for visiting ethnic tribes. There are 17 provinces in this area of Thailand which include Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phichit, Uthai Thani, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Sukhothai, and Uttaradit.

Central and Eastern Thailand

The country’s most fertile area, the Central and Eastern Coast of Thailand are home to 26 provinces including Bangkok. Visitors of a Thailand vacation rental will enjoy kilometers of beautiful coastline on the east and great history and culture in the central region with numerous ancient temples, battlefields and ruins. Some of the most popular touristic destinations for beach lovers include Pattaya, located 150 km south-east of Bangkok and the islands of Ko Samet and Ko Chang. For untouched sceneries a good idea is visiting the Ko Chang National Park near the Cambodian border.

5Northeastern Thailand

Often overlooked by tourists, the Northeastern part of Thailand also known as Isan or Isaan, offers those who decide to visit it a multicultural experience where Laos, Cambodia and Thailand meet. It is composed by 19 provinces which include Amnat Charoen and Buriram among others and it is a great destination if you hate crowds and popular tourisitc areas. It offers isolation; however it is greatly underdeveloped which means it is one of the poorest regions of Thailand. The local dialect is the Isaan dialect but Thai is used in schools and many people are bilingual or multilingual.

South Thailand

Southern Thailand is one of the most popular areas of Thailand among tourists. It is home to countless resorts which face the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. It is composed by 14 provinces and numerous islands and beaches. Although some parts of this area were hit hard by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, all infrastructures has been repaired.

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