Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Condo and Home Rental Features in Akumal, Mexico

Staying in a hotel or resort is a wonderful choice for any vacation, but home and condo rentals offer a number of other features in Akumal, Mexico. Many of the benefits, though, include the privacy that you are afforded during your stay. In fact, privacy is among the top features for a home and condo rental.

One of the most important home rental features that you will find is the ability to have multiple bedrooms. Whether you want two, three, four, or more bedrooms, you can find homes or condos that provide those options for you. This is most beneficial for families who want the space and privacy they need to fully enjoy their vacation.

Similar to the number of bedrooms, home and condo rentals also provide multiple bathrooms. Including both full and half baths, there are plenty of baths for everyone in your group to get ready each day. Most home and condo rentals feature fully furnished kitchens, provide all linens and towels for your stay.

Indoor features include satellite television, wireless connections for laptops, computers with Internet capabilities, and stereo/radio systems. For those who enjoy the outdoors, many home rental features include the use of a swimming pool, kayaks, sunbathing, and much more. They can even be found on the white sandy beaches with amazing ocean views. An outdoor shower can help everyone clean up before heading into the house.

If you are looking for a little more luxury, some home rentals features in Akumal include air conditioning, maid service, and even complimentary massages. To determine what you need, you can conduct researches on home rentals to see what is available, what those features add to the cost of your rental, and much more.

Finding your accommodations is one of the most important steps for planning your vacation in Akumal, Mexico. Given the outdoor beauty in Akumal, you may not believe that you require many of these features, but depending on the length of your stay, you will soon find out that these home rental features will make the difference between a good and a great vacation.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Best Time to Travel to Akumal Mexico

Like many other vacation spots in the world, Akumal and the Riviera Maya region definitely has it high season and low season for travel. This is based mainly on the fact that this region of the Yucatan does not have the traditional four seasons, but two – rainy season and dry season.

Obviously, high season is when dry season is happening. Dry season begins in the middle of December and lasts through April. The weather is pleasant, with the average temperature being 80 degrees and every day is sunny. It’s almost guaranteed the every day will be a beach day, diving day or day for exploring the jungles and ruins of the area. It’s also guaranteed that hotel rooms and villa rentals are a lot higher in high season, and shop owners are less likely to want to bargain when selling their wares.

Low season is rainy season and that lasts from late April through November. It used to be the case that accommodations during low season were much cheaper to come by in Akumal and throughout the region because of rainy season, but with the area’s increasing popularity, hotels and other accommodations are less likely to come down too much in price as people are willing to chance taking the trip during low season. You will still have less crowds and it will be easier to find accommodation during the low season. However, extreme discounts like 50% off on hotels and other accommodations are a thing of the past.

There are deals to be found during low season if you are willing to take the chance on the fact that there will be rainy weather, and when there is no rain, temperatures can soar to a sweltering 110 degrees. There are fewer tourists in town during low season as compared to high season, so this can make access to the jungle tours, ruins, accommodations and wildlife preserves a little easier. While fewer hotels are slashing their prices during low season, there are cheap accommodations that can be found if you do a little homework.

If water temperature is important to you, traveling during low season may be a better option. While the weather during high season is dry and pleasant, many find the water temperature of the ocean too cold to comfortably swim and snorkel in. The low season offers hotter temperatures and the water is a lot warmer. People who want to take advantage of swimming in the natural sinkholes known as cenotes will appreciate an icy dip in these fresh water sources that dot the landscape surrounding Akumal. They can be refreshing on a hot 100 degree day, but may be too cold for bathers in the high season.

Choosing when the best time to travel to Akumal depends on your preference. High season offers sunny weather, dry conditions but very cold water for swimming. Low season offers extremely hot temperatures and the possibility of a lot of rain, but warm water for swimming and snorkeling. Whichever season you travel to Akumal in, you are bound to enjoy this beautiful town located in the Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula. For more information on hotels and lodging in Akumal, visit HotelsCombined.com.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Beautiful Newfoundland Canada

Newfoundland is one of the beautiful provinces in Canada and has become a vacation spot for anyone who loves to participate in all that nature has to offer. There are several outdoors activities that the whole family can become involved in and fully enjoy including skiing and hiking.

Hiking is at its finest in the Newfoundland province. You can hike the Trans Canada Trial which leads to every province in Canada. The Tans Canada Trail is over twenty thousand kilometers long so you will probably only want to hike a very small portion of that trail.

Skiing has always been and still is one of the sports that make Newfoundland a distinctive destination in Canada. There are many different areas that are open in the cooler months for skiing including the Marble Mountain area in Steady Brook. There is even a snow school for anyone who has not had skiing experience to learn the ropes involved in this sport.

Skiing takes on a new life in the beautiful mountains of Canada which are filled with all of the traditional foods and culture of the country. Moose is a particularly interesting food and certainly something that the adventurous members of your family will enjoy trying at least once.

If you are in Newfoundland on a hiking trip then you will encounter some of the various wildlife first hand as you wander around the region. Moose are the most common animals that one finds in the area although there are plenty of birds and small mammals there to observe.

The Gos Morne National Park offers hundreds of animals including bears and fish that make their home in the Newfoundland area. You will also want to spend some time observing the birds of the area since there are over two hundred different varieties in the park.

The cities of Newfoundland are quaint and offer a wide variety of home cooked meals for everyone to enjoy. The specialties of the region include the traditional fish and chips as well as a wide variety of seafood dishes. The town of St. Johns is a must visit in Newfoundland since it boasts a traditional Irish atmosphere that is unique to the region. St. Johns offers charming bed and breakfast lodging that will make even the most cautious traveler feel right at home since the people in the town are just as friendly as the friends you already have.

Newfoundland is a wonderful place to visit offering both sports activities and wonderful homemade foods and crafts that will tempt you to extend your trip for an extra week or so.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Experience the Wonders of the Riviera Maya

The Mexican Caribbean has long been a popular destination for tourists with Cozumel, Cancun and Playa de Carmen booming with tourism and nightlife. While many people enjoy the exciting pace of these popular destinations, they also enjoy paying a visit to the small, laid back town of Akumal, known for its quaint shops and restaurants, the best snorkeling and diving in the region, and its jungles and Mayan ruins that harkens back to the days when Akumal was a major trade route for this ancient civilization.

A day trip to Akumal is only 20 minutes away from Playa de Carmen and offers quieter beaches, unspoiled ecological sights and some of the best diving in the world. Day tours can be arranged from Cancun and other destinations in the region and is the perfect opportunity to escape the overcrowded beaches of the more bustling resort towns. You can explore the lush jungles and the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, which is conveniently located just 20 minutes away. Exploring the jungle and the Mayan ruins can give you a taste of the ancient civilization that once thrived here and see a part of Riviera Maya that you can’t see in Cancun or Playa de Carmen.

Akumal is a diver and snorkeler paradise and has the world’s second largest reef located just off its coast. Cancun does not offer much in the way of diving and snorkeling, but Akumal has many opportunities to explore shipwrecks, caves and the largest number of cenotes on the Yucatan peninsula. Cenotes are naturally occurring sinkholes that dot the landscape surrounding Akumal. The Mayans believed them to be sacred, and they still provide fresh water swimming, diving and snorkeling today. They have many underwater cave diving experiences that hardcore diving enthusiasts or even the novice diver are bound to find fascinating.

A day trip to Akumal offers travelers the opportunity to explore the turtle beaches, the natural habitat of several species of sea turtles who come from the sea in April to nest and leave with their hatchlings in November. Akumal is a town that prides itself of its ecological heritage and preservation of natural marine habitats. It’s the perfect day trip excursion for the ecotourist, with a large natural aquarium where you can observe marine life in their natural protected habitat.

The quaint town of Akumal offers shops and restaurants that are sure to please any traveler. With the beaches and bays within walking distance, you can buy Mayan crafts and dine on traditional Mayan cuisine. Spending a day exploring Akumal and its pristine beaches and beautiful jungles may lead the day tripper to consider Akumal as a destination for a longer stay in the future.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Beautiful Alberta, Canada

Alberta, Canada is a wonderful travel destination that is relatively close to home. You will love the fact that most of the inhabitants speak English and that there here you can find all of the amenities that you are familiar with. If you are traveling to Alberta in the winter however you will definitely want to make sure that you bring all of your warmest winter gear along.

Alberta is a wonderful place to travel when you want to experience the outdoors lifestyle found in North America. There are several camping sites which are great for complete family trips. You will find that there are several lakes and rivers in the area as well.

After you have spent some enjoyable time fishing and camping you can head to the Rockies which lie in the Alberta region for some simple or complex hiking experiences. If you are an inexperienced hiker you will want to hire a guide to assist you on your first hiking trip into the Rockies. The wonderful feel of the Rockies and the plains of Alberta are deeply intertwined in the cities as well. The main cities of Alberta offer many parks and rivers that snake through the cities borders. You can wander through several national parks in the Alberta region including the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

The climate in Alberta is temperate with very cold winters and hot summer seasons. If you travel to Alberta in the summer months you will still need to bring along some warm clothes especially if you are spending your evenings camping. The nights in the region are known to be especially cool and you will want to be prepared for this weather. The mountainous areas around the Rockies are particularly cool as is the areas around the rivers and lakes of Alberta.

The cities found in Alberta are considered some of the safest locations in the world with a relatively low crime rate. There are many hotels, shopping malls and restaurants in the city of Edmonton which is the capital of the province. Edmonton is home to over thirty plus yearly festivals which feature everything from music events to sports activities.

The city of Edmonton offers a variety of wildlife and nature exhibits such as zoos and parks which tend to line the valley. The river flowing through the valley is boasted as one of the cleanest and most ecologically green in the continent especially since Edmonton has begun to engage in more Earth friendly practices.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

The Centro Ecologico Akumal and the Place of the Turtle

Akumal is home to beautiful beaches, resorts and some of the best diving in the world. It is also a place that takes great pride in their ecological achievement and their preservation of natural habitats for turtles and other marine wildlife. The Centro Ecologico Akumal (CEA) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to preserving and protecting the ecosystem of Akumal from unsustainable development. They offer educational programs and volunteer opportunities for students and eco travelers who want to observe marine wildlife in their natural habitats and help maintain the integrity of the natural surroundings.

Akumal is known as the place of the turtle, and its turtle beaches are the temporary home to sea turtles that come to nest. The Centro Ecologico Akumal protects the natural habitat of the sea turtle and the greater Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Tourists will see a variety of sea turtles nesting, and eating along the beaches. The turtle beaches stretch from Half Moon Bay, Akumal Bay to Jade Beach, and there are plenty of opportunities to observe these turtles in their natural habitat.

The Centro Ecologico Akumal offers turtle walks and tours, as well as volunteer opportunities to preserve recently redeveloped wetlands, preserving the mangroves and aiding researchers and scientists as they study the coral reefs and natural habitats of Akumal.

Turtle season refers to when the Green and Loggerhead turtles come to Akumal to lay their eggs and nest. The season runs from April when the turtles come to shore, to November when they and their hatchlings return to sea. The Centro Ecologico Akumal has a turtle protection program that tourists can get involved in and it is a true wonder of nature to witness the nesting and hatching of a whole new generation of sea turtles. Tourists and residents alike take pride in the ecological integrity that Akumal offers, and there is a lot of dedication to these gentle, lovable sea creatures who have chosen Akumal as their place to create new life.

The Centro Ecologico Akumal offers tourists a chance to participate in the betterment of the environment through its many educational and volunteer programs. If you are looking to take a vacation to make a difference, Akumal may just be the perfect ecotourism destination for you. You can be an active participant in maintaining and preserving the integrity of the sea turtle habitats, as well as explore the ecological wonders of this region of the Yucatan Peninsula.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Touring the Mayan Ruins of the Riviera Maya

A trip to Akumal and the Riviera Maya region of Mexico would not be complete without a visit to one of the numerous Mayan ruins in the area. This area is steeped in the history of this ancient civilization that still influences the art, cuisine and culture of the region today. Akumal and its surroundings were important trade routes for the Mayans and archaeologists are continuing to uncover many ruins of this once mighty civilization.

One of the most popular ruins to visit not only near Akumal but in all of Mexico is Tulum. There are also the Coba and Xel-Ha which are all conveniently located not far from Akumal and other areas in the Riviera Maya region. They are accessible by car or if you prefer, you can arrange to take a tour bus.

One of the biggest secrets to really enjoying the Mayan ruins in Tulum is to get there early in the day. The ruins open at 8:00 a.m., long before the sweltering heat of the midday sun. Most of the tour buses don’t arrive that early, so if you want to spend some quiet time taking in the site, you can rent a car and get there early in the morning. The tranquility coupled with the milder temperature will help you really enjoy the beauty and wonder of these ancient ruins.

Arriving early means you can explore a little bit on your own before taking a guided tour. The beauty of the ruins of Tulum are that they are situated on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean, and you can take the steps down to a pristine private beach and enjoy some serene time before you take a more formal tour and learn about the ancient civilization that once thrived in this region. To really enjoy having some private time, get there early and get to the ticket counter as soon as possible so you can really enjoy the cliffs and beaches amidst the ruins.

Tour buses arrive at 9 a.m. and if you prefer that route, you can take a guided tour of the ruins. Each of the ruins are marked with plaques in several languages so you can take a self guided tour, or hire a tour guide to get some real insight to the Mayan culture and the history behind these majestic ruins. Tour guides are available just outside the ruins and most of them are multilingual so you can find one that speaks your language and can give you a full tour of the ruins and answer any questions you may have. You can also tour the ruins on your own. The ruins at Tulum has a bookstore where you can purchase a book about the ruins and guide yourself through the ruins. Either way, a tour of the Mayan ruins of this region is a must-see on any itinerary.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Exotic Singapore

The island city/nation of Singapore's name literally means 'Lion City'. It is a modern nation which features tall skyscrapers and a huge manufacturing district.

The country is a wonderful mix of modern society and the traditional Chinese culture even though many of its historic buildings were destroyed in WWII.

Singapore is a popular travel destination with over 10 million visitors a year making tourism one of Singapore's larger industries. The well-known Orchard Road shopping district a popular tourist stop. The government has legalised gambling and two casino have opened. Food is one of the best attractions found in Singapore. These foods are happily offered from various street vendors and restaurants at all hours around the clock. You can try the local favorites or if you desire you can locate a café that caters to Westerners. Singaporean cuisine is an example of cultural diffusion and diversity in Singapore, with a fusion of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Tamil influences. Cuisine has also been heavily promoted as an attraction for tourists, with a Singapore Food Festival in July of each year.

Singapore is also a a medical tourism hub — about 200,000 foreigners seek high quality, low cost medical care in the country each year.

Uniquely, Singapore is one of the few countries in the world which has no interior fresh water supply at all. The island instead purchases its water from other nearby countries or uses rainwater that has been treated for its water supply.

The climate of Singapore is tropical with rains that occur on a daily basis. You should not let the rains hamper your travels however since most of the storms are very short lived and sunshine prevails in only a short period of time. The heaviest rains occur in the winter months which are when the monsoon rains come to the Southeastern Asian countries.

Singapore is very hot and humid and you should use sunscreen or carry an umbrella to protect yourself from the both the sun and the rains. Luckily, there are many indoors activities available in the Singapore area including shopping and dining centers.

Singapore offers a wide variety of ethnic people, diverse religions and even varied national holidays that reflect these diverse people’s cultures and values. The Lunar New Year is perhaps the most celebrated holiday of each year particularly enjoyable in the larger cities of the nation.

Singapore is one of the strictest nations about the importation of goods through customs and has restrictions about small items such as chewing gum to a strict death penalty if you import drugs into the country. Some media such as magazines and movies may also be subject to seizure. Other than the strict customs requirements of Singapore you should experience very little trouble entering the country. You can easily choose a fourteen day stay although United States citizens can be allowed up to a ninety day stay at a time.

Here you can experience all the traditional activities usually associated with an island in the city of Singapore including snorkeling and diving. You may decide to take one of the guided tours of the city since they are offered several times a day from various locations within the city.

Most of the people in Singapore understand English so you will be able to find your way around the country fairly easily particularly if you are in a tourist area of the city.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

International Passport Control and Customs

When you travel abroad or even to a neighboring country on the North America continent you will have to pass through the customs department. Typically once your airplane lands or before you cross the border you will need to declare anything that you are carrying into or out of the country.

You should always have your passport with you as well as some documentation for any expensive products which you may be carrying with you. When you initially arrive in your destination country you can request a special form that is used to declare what items you may have already purchased from home and are merely carrying them with you. If you can not prove that you have purchased your items in your home country then you may possibly have to pay a duty fee for those items or even worse you may have to leave them at the airport. It is always a good idea to take copies of your receipts for those items with you or some proof of insurance on your expensive goods.

You will be required to declare all of the things that you have purchased on your trip from countries abroad. There is a limit to how much you can spend without penalty and that limit will vary depending upon which country you visit. You can ask ahead of time what this limit is so that you will be prepared to pay a duty should you find that you spent too much.

You are not allowed to take some things with you on your flight overseas. The rules have been changing continuously since the airlines as well as the government have tightened all security efforts. The basic standards are no uncooked food, weapons or unvaccinated pets will be allowed through customs.

If you do need to take your pet with you make sure that you have some kind of proof about their vaccinations being current. You should also avoid taking any kind of illegal substances with you since the penalty can be severe in some overseas countries.

You will also want to make sure that you have a doctor’s prescription for any kind of prescribed medications that you are hand carrying with you on your flight. If you do not have the correct paperwork you may not be allowed to take your prescription drugs with you.

Anything that is made with natural products such as seashells or natural fiber products such as hay will not be permitted through customs. Living organisms can sometimes survive in these products and overseas transport of them can cause serious problems in the ecosystems.

Traveling should be an enjoyable, rejuvenating experience. Know the rules before you go so your trip will be hassle free. It is not about what you see as much as what you discover, experience and remember for the rest of your life.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Natural Beauty of New Zealand

New Zealand is a beautiful country with a diverse geography. There are glaciers, mountains and even volcanoes which make up the landscape of the islands of New Zealand. The beautiful mountains are almost always topped with snow caps accentuating the beauty of the rivers and lakes of this region of the world.

New Zealand also boasts a diverse culture with both indigenous and immigrant population. There are cities which thrive in the New Zealand Northern Island and small communities which lay off of the beaten paths on the smaller New Zealand islands.

There are plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy in New Zealand. You can take advantage of the wonderful natural scenery and go on a guided tour of the mountains or glaciers or you can kayak the beautiful rivers of the area watching for the wildlife.

New Zealand is the home for many varieties of whales, dolphins and a vast selection of interesting birds. Typically, you will want someone to show you where to see these wonderful animals although you can venture out on your own if you so wish. Cave diving is an especially popular sport for those who are looking for a new means of adventure. You can have a guide teach you the basics and then experience the adventure for yourself in a short period of time.

Once you have explored the natural beauty of New Zealand you may want to venture into the cities of Auckland and Wellington for shopping, dining and partake of their various cultural events.

New Zealand is home to several large cities including Auckland. Here you will find museums and shopping malls along with all of the great traditional food of New Zealand. Maori culture is also shown in exhibits located in the local museums of Auckland and featuring an abundance of ancient artifacts and modern information on the lifestyle of the Maori.

Auckland offers traditional entertainment as well and includes casinos and sightseeing tours of the area. If you wish to see all of Auckland in one trip then you will definitely want to visit Sky City. Sky City is an enormous glass tower which overlooks the entire city.

If you want to experience the natural beauty of New Zealand without all of the hassle then you may choose to visit one of the smaller islands. Stewart Island is a pristine picture of New Zealand forests at their prime. The island is mostly undeveloped and is the home of the famous New Zealand bird the kiwi.

You can sit back and enjoy the aurora australis on this small island making it the perfect spot for a camping adventure in New Zealand.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Join the Jet Set in Acapulco, Mexico

You would be hard pressed to locate anyone who has not heard of Acapulco, Mexico. This popular Mexican town is the birthplace behind Mexico’s growing tourist industry. Prior to the creation of Cancun this town represented the ultimate location for beach related fun and excitement.

As an experienced traveler and writer of my adventures people always ask me if the magic is still there in Acapulco and I have to reply with a large “Yes”. This famous Mexican resort has much to offer the traveler in the way of luxury accommodations.

The town was once a small fishing village that comprised a natural harbor which was isolated by its surrounding jungle. Today is appears that its beaches extend indefinitely in all directions making Acapulco one of Mexico’s more popular beach resorts. The city may not be as modern as other resort areas nearby but it has managed to retain its charm and excitement with its abundant supply of cliff divers, it glamorous four star hotels and its modern disco nightlife.

Acapulco at one time was considered the Mecca of the jet set crowd. Many people can recall the movie made in the 60’s with the same name and featuring the King of Rock – Elvis. These are the same fans who now have been returning every year for 30 years now in support of their previous life style.

Since Acapulco is now the number two vacation resort in Mexico a visitor can find some real deals on their purchases at the local markets. For the most part the prices are lower then one would find in other areas of Mexico.

Would I return to Acapulco for a vacation? You bet I would! Here you can enjoy the endless beaches with their warm white sand or perhaps you would like to visit one of the charming restaurants located in the hearty of the city. If the nightlife is your passion then you have come to the right place as Acapulco is the classic nightlife capital of Mexico.

When driving around the city you must remember that within Costera Miguel Aleman which is the main street of the city the house numbers mean nothing what so ever. It is not unusual to find house number 200 residing directly next to house number 4201 while house number 1999 may be several miles further down the road. This makes it very important when obtaining addresses to get the beach name as well.

Yes without a doubt Acapulco is worth the time and effort to schedule a visit. It is an older resort and represents the classic Mexican paradise. Have a great time there.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

The Beaches of Cozumel

The island of Cozumel lies just off the coast of the Riviera Maya and offers you an incredible getaway for your vacation. You can easily visit the island on day trips by using the ferry service from other areas like Cancun, Puerto Aventuras and others. However, you can also choose to stay on the island. The town of San Miguel is home to numerous hotels, while the island is dotted with numerous resorts for your enjoyment.

You will enjoy some of the most amazing beaches in the world, as well as pristine jungles and even Mayan ruins on the island. Most of the sandy beaches are located on the eastern side of the island, looking out over the open Caribbean. The other shores are rockier, though you can find secluded beaches and inlets for exploration.

Palancar Beach – The beach offers white sand and easy access to the ocean. You will also find scuba and snorkeling gear for rent, as well as beach chairs and a restaurant for your dining pleasure.

Playa Sol – This beach is one of the most popular on the island. Horseback riding, scuba and snorkeling, a swimming pool, restaurant, Jet Ski rentals and more make this a great place for fun in the sun. This is one of the more crowded beaches on the island, as well.

San Francisco Beach – Snorkeling equipment is available for rent, and a restaurant is available for dining. You will also find that this is a perfect beach for family oriented fun and games in the sand.

Villa Blanca – Located just outside of San Miguel, this beach is another popular beach on the island. Numerous diving equipment rentals are available nearby. However, if you are looking for seclusion, this is not the beach for you.

Playa Bonita – This beautiful beach offers you beach chairs and a restaurant for your enjoyment. If you are looking for a smaller crowd of tourists, this is a great option.

Play Punta Moreno – The beach here is more secluded than others surrounding the island. You will find a great place to relax in the sun and splash in the waves, with few interruptions or other tourists.

Numerous other beaches exist on the island. However, one note on the eastside beaches – during the summer, these beaches are home to nesting sea turtles, making them much more secluded. Treating the turtles and their nests with respect is important.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Top Travel Destinations in Mexico

Cities like Acapulco, Cancun, Cozumel, and Puerto Vallarta have made many people realize that you can travel to Mexico with little problems or trouble. More importantly, these cities, as well as Los Cabos, Mazatlan, and Veracruz allow for the perfect couples or family retreats during vacation time.

When you want to travel to Mexico, Cancun is one of the top destinations. Located on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun provides several lagoons and sand bars, as well as gourmet restaurants, shopping attractions, and several ways to enjoy the ocean.

Cozumel is another popular place to travel in Mexico. Cozumel is well-known for being the largest island of the Mexican Caribbean. The Palancar Reef and the ocean floor around the island are perfect for divers, skin divers, and cruise ship guests that travel to Mexico for fun and sun.

The white sandy beaches of Acapulco are just one of the reasons why millions of people travel to Mexico each year. A sanctuary for the rich and famous, Acapulco is known for the glitz and glamour that it provides.

Guadalajara, which is second largest place to travel to in Mexico, is a largely economical and political city. It is also full of beautiful and historic buildings that display the history and culture of Guadalajara.

Two of the fastest growing places to travel in Mexico are Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Originally a haven for pirates, Los Cabos each offer a different type of environment for guests to enjoy. Cabo San Lucas has stylish hotels and condos with a number of sport fishing and water sports. San Jose del Cabo, however, is a quieter environment filled with beaches, golf, and shopping galore.

Puerto Vallarta has everything that you need when you travel to Mexico. It has multiple restaurant, golf, tennis, mountain biking, snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding, and everything that you need to do while enjoying your time and travels.

Also a popular tourist location, Veracruz is also one of the oldest cities. Activities like the country’s Carnaval, local museums, the open-air markets, and much more provide plenty of things to keep you busy while on your trip.

No matter where you go or what you do, when you travel to Mexico you can have as relaxing, active, or cultural experience as you like. You can also visit historic buildings, listen to the music, and enjoy the beauty of any area of Mexico.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Restaurants of Akumal, Mexico

A Candid Review of Akumal's Eateries

We take a look at all the places to eat in the town of Akumal, Mexico. All are owned by locals who also operate them. These are just our opinions... other people's opinions may vary!

Lol-Ha on Akumal Bay
Our favorite! The Beach Bar has a large palapa style outside dining area surrounded by palms with a great ocean view and cool ocean breeze. The menu offers a wide selection of well prepared foods. For more elegant dining, the main dining area offers a beautiful indoor dining room and a full menu. Their breakfast is a delight. The staff are friendly and helpful. Friday Happy Hour is a Local's Favorite. The Lol-Ha Pizzeria offers freshly baked pizzas. Located on the right just inside the arch in central Akumal.

La Buena Vida, "The Good Life"
This restaurant has a gorgeous view of Half Moon Bay. The shrimp tacos are wonderful! The beach bar has swings instead of bar stools. A fun “night life” place that rocks from Happy Hour to closing everyday. Wednesday is karaoke night. Dining on the beach or upstairs in the dining room. They have a gift shop across the street with some fun stuff for sale. It's located on the beach road in the north of Akumal.

Cueva de Pescador, "The Cave of the Fisherman"--Freshest fish in Akumal! Pescador is a seafood restaurant offering local fresh seafood caught by their own boats daily. Grouper, Red Snapper, Boquinete (a local favorite), Atun (Tuna) and Dorado (Mahi Mahi) are usually available depending on the season.It is owned by Carlos Danú, a professional fisherman in Akumal since 1982, who for a fee will take you fishing and cook your catch for dinner! We have fished with Carlos several times. Always fun and inexpensive compared to the States. Book fishing trips at the resturant. Located on the left in the center of Akumal.

Turtle Bay Bakery & Cafe. They bake their own breads, cakes, cookies and pastries daily. Come early for the best selection. Their breakfast is a treat. Open for breakfast andlunch. Dinner in the high season. Located in the center of Akumal behind Cueva de Pescador.

La Lunita, an intimate beach cafe serves contemporary style Mexican cuisine. Indoor or beach seating. La Lunita is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the winter. Dinner only summer and fall. It's located in Hacienda Las Tortugas condos on Half Moon Bay in north Akumal.

Que Onda! specializes in Italian cuisine and is personally attended by owners.. Enjoy fresh pastas made daily in house and a nice selection of Italian wines. Enjoy dining in a beautiful garden setting and with an illuminated pool. Que Onda is located in a tropical garden setting at the north end of Akumal near Yal-ku Lagoon.

Loncheria Akumalito is a small breakfast/lunch bar located next to Super Chomak Grocery. It is inexpensive with simple, delicious meals.

Lucy's Kitchen Shrimp Tacos and handmade gormet ice cream. Located by the basketball courts on the left before you go through the arch.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Bahama Islands Junkanoo Summer Festival

Every interesting locality has their own precise celebrations and indigenous events which visitor flock to witness and the Bahamas are no exception. The Bahamas at first appears to be a passive and isolated location far away from the bustling behavior of the everyday life in the big city. However upon closer assessment the islands are in reality swarming with a profusion of activities and events for visitors of all ages.

It doesn’t matter if you are in search of family fun or various nightlife events, you can find them here in the Bahamas. Each of the islands have their own activities to occupy any idol hours for those who seek them. Water related sports and events are readily available here and you can be assured that you will find some of the finest fishing in the world on any of the Bahamas Islands, diving that is unmatched by any other location, and boating fit for the fussiest of captains.

Of all the events found on these Caribbean paradises, you can find the islands most talked about cultural festival known as “Junkanoo”. Even the Junkanoo has evolved into an even larger even called the Junkanoo Summer Festival. This exciting event usually runs from June to August and is celebrated concurrently on Nassau/Paradise Island, The Exumas, The Abacos as well as the Grand Bahama Island.

On the Nassau/Paradise Island you will discover all the familiar components that are usually found in the "Junkanoo in June". In addition they have added some additional features and surprises to make the celebration even more exciting and fun. The heritage and cultural explosion that is held every Saturday evening features many local musical talents and includes several theatrical performances, some local cultural demonstrations, tasty native dishes complete with tropical drinks and the Kid’s Camp which is centered around the younger generation.

Additional local events include Tuesday performances of the Bahamian Sketch Comedy groups, a Royal Poinciana Friday Tea Party held at the historical British Colonial Hilton and the National Youth Choir’s Saturday evening Concert.

Junkanoo represents Bahamas greatest cultural event scheduled for the year. Although known worldwide and familiar to many this event is strictly about the Bahamas and covers various aspects of this distinct cultural exponent.

Each of the major Junkanoo groups derives their funds from corporate sponsors. Of particular interest is the huge cost associated with this event which is usually upwards of $40,000 to $100,000. Many local corporations provide both financial and other support for the activities. These companies range from Aquapure Water Limited, Sun International, Shell Bahamas Limited and Colombian Emeralds International.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Amazing Catacombs in Paris France

Prior to 1810 the Paris catacombs were known as Paris’ Montrouge stone quarries. As with any large city graveyards began to quickly run out of burial space thus an alternative means of disposing of bodies was necessary. Here you can now walk within a maze of the Paris underground tunnels complete with storage alcoves which go up at least 20 feet and contain millions of bones. The various sides of these bone piles possess designs which have been arranged with the skulls in a sort of pattern.

Existing twenty meters underground one can find over 6 million former residents of Paris on exhibit. Among these bones of the deceased are many illustrated texts which create a macabre atmosphere while describe countless chilling events in the chronicles of Paris. It is here that several Hollywood movies have taken their cue and novels abound concerning the essence of the catacombs.

During the 2nd World War this series of underground caves were exploited as hideaways for members of the French Resistance movement. With its large area of coverage and its secretive entrances these catacombs proved to be an immense benefit.

The catacombs are unlike anything you may have seen previously. In a single word they are simply “Amazing”. Although ones first impression is to be astounded after a while it all appears to be the same. With 6 million bones in plan sight the complete outlook tends to give a spooky type of sight and since they have only a single way to escape you are left with no other alternative other then to keep walking. The entrance is easily reached via the Paris metro.

When you first arrive at the entrance to the catacombs you just may miss it since it is nothing more then a green color metal hut. You will transcend many flights of stairs to reach the visitor layer. These very steps may pose a problem for the elderly people should they be out of shape. The total number of steps is approximately 80 layers when descending into the tunnel and about 200 when coming back up. The exit steps are arranged in a small spiral. You will walk in a long expanse of dark musty tunnel prior to arriving at the bone collections. Most of the passageways are rather narrow and it will seem like they never end.

If you are a photographer you will be quickly cautioned that no sort of flash photography will be allowed in the catacombs.

Given an opportunity to visit this section of Paris, I would highly recommend this fascinating experience as one you should see. It represents an awesome chance to witness the thousands of year old caves while strolling past rows upon rows of human bones. Don’t miss this tour by any means.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Akumal, Mexico

When traveling to Akumal Mexico one nearly passes this small quiet village by without realizing that it is actually one of the Caribbean coast’s best locations for diving and snorkeling on the Yucatan Peninsula. Akumal is located a mere 65 miles to the south of the Cancun resort area and 50 miles from the Mexican airport. It may be small but it is the ideal vacation get away for families or divers who wish to escape the daily rush of Mexico’s often crowded beaches. Located in Akumal are two very tranquil bays as well as the Yalku Lagoon which is perfect for family swimming or snorkeling. The area boasts of 30 beautiful reef sites that are ideal for diving while the beautiful white sandy beaches invite one to enjoy the relaxing Mexican sun.

There is an abundance of accommodations in Akumal, five different restaurants which offer local and European Fare, several grocery stores, a few boutiques or gift shops plus an excellent Dive Shop. Most of these attractions are within a 15 minute walk of one and other. The best part of this small village is that should you be interested in snorkeling, diving, fishing or merely relaxing in the warm Mexican sun you will find you can walk to the various locations although buses and taxis are readily available should you desire them.

The temperatures in Akumal range around 80 degree during September to April and during the rest of the year you can expect 90 degree temperatures. The area receives a gentle sea breeze from the nearby Caribbean and during the winter season you may require a sweater in the evenings.

The local dive shop will setup your equipment and have it ready for your dive when you arrive at the dock. They have all the necessary diving equipment you will need at reasonable rental rates. You will be provided with an 80 cu. Ft aluminum tank which is filled to approximately 3000 psi. You will board one of the 28 foot open panga boats docked nearby. The dives are generally limited to eight people plus the dive master and the ships captain. Should you happen to be part of a larger group you can easily make special arrangements for all members to dive.

Most of the arranged dives are drift dives which take place over very stunning and colorful coral reefs. The typically currents are weak in this area and water temperature hover around 82 degree. The underwater visibility in the area can reach 50 feet up to 150 feet depending upon the weather. A light wet suit is recommended during the winter season.

If you are seeking a pristine location with clear water and an abundance of undersea life to view during your next dive adventure then Akumal Mexico is the place you just may be dreaming about.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury District

Ask any “60’s Child” what comes to mind when you mention San Francisco and they are certain to say “Haight-Ashbury District”. Should any area of this old city evoke various images of the 60’s this area has to be the one to do it. Here the beginning of the Hippy culture was growing by leaps and bounds as the flower children were selling their wares on the busy street, one could smell of incense burning on every corner and the wild tie dyed clothing that was so popular at the time.

A brisk walk around the block would reveal smoke shops and many Eastern influenced outlets which bore names such as “Dreams of Kathmandu”, “The Love of Ganesha” and “Pipe Dreams”. Unfortunately, these relics of the 60’s are all but forgotten and have left the scene forever. The Haight district of today presents a completely new image compared to what it was 50 years ago. The area now boasts of exclusive boutiques, several high priced clothing shops, many second hand stores, and cafes with modern internet connections as well as an abundance of restaurants featuring great tasting foods from all reaches of the continent. The Haight district of yester-years has now become highly commercial.

A walk along Haight avenue reveals the changes that have been made to date and the new clientele that populates the avenue. These new customers range from Neo-punks out for fun, the club kids looking for things to do, various fashionites with time on their hands, tourists who hope to catch a glimpse of the long gone 60’s and the normal neighborhood folks all feel comfortable here. They may be here to obtaining a new body piercing, perhaps to grab a Mexican burrito, maybe they are looking for a new music CD or just out for a cup of espresso at the corner café.

Keep in mind that there are two different areas of Haight. You have Upper Haight that stretches from Masonic to Stanyan. This is the commercial shopping zone while Lower Haight is a more diverse type of neighborhood. While it displays an alternative nightlife lifestyle with bars having names like Noc Noc or Mad Dog as well as the more popular clubs such as The Top or Nickies. It is now a magnet for DJ’s and attracts those who are seeking dance music - record shops or clubs such as The Top.

During the day the attitude around the Haight is basically laid back and it appears that many people are merely hanging around the cafes or bookstores. The area has its share of panhandlers and tourists. The weekends in the area can get very crowded with the shoppers out in full force during the day and the bar goers roaming around at night. You can notice a lot of the homeless people camping near the entrance to the Golden Gate Park where they hang out around Upper Haight area however should you walk by them they merely request some change or provide you with a friendly smile.

If you are a fan of the 60’s you just may be a bit disappointed in your visit here however if you search you are sure to find many interesting things to do and places to visit while in the Haight-Ashbury district. It is worth the trip.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Discover China's Ancient History and Scenic Beauty

In the event you are seriously considering escaping your daily grind at the office and departing upon an exciting and challenging vacation the only problem you may encounter is where you wish to travel to. Amongst the places you may possibly consider is the ancient and exciting country of China. China has a long history dating back thousands of years and represents a unique and varied lifestyle vastly different from our own way of living.

Perhaps you are already aware that China is home to the rare but amazing giant pandas. The pandas are considered to be one of China’s national treasures and these creatures are adored by both the young and old from all parts of the globe. Many people visit China every year for the sole purpose of seeing the Giant Pandas in person. The giant pandas can be readily found in the Chinese states of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi.

While visiting this amazing country you must make sure you stop at the Giant Panda Museum. The Giant Panda Museum was established in the year 1993 in order to advance the scientific studies associated with the Panda and to educate the public concerning the various issues which relate to protection of wild species and their environment. This museum is slightly different then any found in the western world. The Giant Panda Museum is known to be the world’s only museum which is firmly dedicated to endangered and rare animals only.

When you visit the Giant Panda Museum in China you will notice they have three main exhibition areas which are named the butterfly Hall, the Giant Panda Hall and the Vertebrate Hall. The walls of the museum are filled with a variety of interesting and informative posters and pictures of various animals.

After spending time at the museum your next stop should be Beijing. In Beijing you can easily discover an abundance of activities created to keep you and your family occupied for hours at a time. The Forbidden City in China is a magnificent structure and is known to be the world’s largest Imperial Palace. This palace currently consists of 8000 rooms however during its lifetime the palace once amassed over 9,999 rooms. Due to wars and natural disasters the last room count was reduced to a mere 8000. Surrounding the palace you will discover a moat that is over 18 feet deep accompanied by a wall that is over 33 feet high.

Beijing over the centuries has served as the capital city of many dynasties including the Ming, Yuan and Qing. Apart from the imperial palace we have mentioned you will also find many royal mausoleums like the Ming Tombs, Western Qing Tombs and the Eastern Qing Tombs.

China is a different world then what we know and it possesses many attractions which draw people from the far reaches of the globe.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Puerto Vallarta - The Jewel of Mexico

While the Caribbean coast of Mexico offers you great destinations like Cozumel, Cancun and Playa del Carmen, the west coast provides you with even more enjoyment. The jewel of the west coast is Puerto Vallarta. You will find amazingly warm people, fantastic living and the best way to relax on your tropical vacation.

The city of Puerto Vallarta lies nestled against the splendor of the Pacific Ocean. You will find wide expanses of sandy beach, numerous options for chartering boats for scuba and fishing as well as some of the best shopping and dining in Mexico. Why take a trip to the city? You'll experience the wonder and beauty of this pristine area firsthand.

The Ocean – Here, the Pacific Ocean is largely calm and undisturbed. You will enjoy access to aquamarine waters and much more. Just offshore, you will find incredible coral reefs, home to hundreds of species of fish and other marine life. You will also find numerous ways in which to explore those reefs. A scuba diving trip can be one of the best things for your vacation.

If you prefer to spend your time above water, rather than below, consider chartering a fishing trip. You can catch numerous species of game fish in the crystalline waters, providing you with an incredible outing during your stay.

The City – You'll find numerous ways in which to while away your time in the city. November through May, you can experience the thrill of bull fighting, while you can stroll through some of the world's most impressive art galleries any time of year. Dining is another thing that the city takes very seriously. You will find everything from Sushi to steaks and traditional Mexican cuisine. No matter what your taste buds crave, you will find it here.

If you demand entertainment, the nights in Puerto Vallarta come alive with music, light, laughter and life. Hot Latin beats and incredible music help you dance the night away. You will find international music, as well. November sees numerous festivals in the city, with fireworks and a pervasive festive atmosphere, though the city is a live with entertainment year round.

Family Fun – If you are looking for things to do with the family, Puerto Vallarta offers you that, as well. You can enjoy canopy tours out of the city, taking you through the jungle canopy on a zip line. Visit any of the numerous water parks in the city or heat to a Mexican fiesta for great fun.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Puerto Aventuras – Adventure and Beauty

Traveling to Mexico's Caribbean coast is an exciting, exotic trip. You will find numerous cities and towns offer you fun and enjoyment. While cities like Cancun are obvious choices, the Riviera Maya offers many more options. Puerto Aventuras is one of the little known destinations in the area, offering you numerous ways in which to enjoy yourself.

Puerto Aventuras is a marina community, built around a spectacular deepwater marina. If you are sailing down the coast, this makes a safe harbor for your stay. You'll also find that the area is convenient to Cancun and all the rest of the Riviera Maya. A short trip down the coast is all it takes to find the best resort community in the region.

The community is home to numerous hotels and resorts, bungalows and condominiums. You will find no shortage of accommodations here. In addition, the area boasts numerous ways to enjoy your stay. The 9-hole golf course is a great way to enjoy a day in the tropical sun, while the tennis courts and other sporting options provide you with even more enjoyment.

One of the most popular ways to enjoy the area is sailing aboard a catamaran. You will find several companies and private operators offering charter trips. You can combine these trips with snorkeling, scuba diving and coastal exploration, as well. Deep-sea fishing trips are available and allow you to tackle numerous species of game fish for your enjoyment.

The marina, itself, is home to a large amount of enjoyment. You will find several options for shopping, from handicrafts to upscale shops. In addition, the marina disco is a great place to have fun once the sun goes down. Dining options around the marina run the gamut from traditional Mexican cuisine to island fare and even international dishes.

Alternatively, you can head out to Dos Ojos and other cenotes on the area. These freshwater sinkholes offer you diving, swimming and even underwater cave exploration. Filled with unique wildlife and stunning beauty, exploring cenotes has long been a popular way to enjoy the area. There are several national parks around the area offering you exploration of pristine jungle and seascapes. X'caret, Tres Rios and X'puha are nature theme parks in the area, combining the energy of a theme park with the spectacular beauty of the area. You will find an incredible array of attractions in the area for your enjoyment.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Party Down in Cancun, Mexico!

Many American’s make a yearly pilgrimage to the beautiful area of Mexico known as Cancun. Cancun is only a few hundred feet from the countries most beautiful beaches and proudly boasts of some of the most modern hotel facilities one can find. It has the most entertaining social clubs and bars on the coast and the area has created the largest mall in Mexico.

As a city, Cancun is fairly young. A mere 35 years ago this area was nothing more then a small sandy barrier until someone devised a plan to develop the spot into a vacation paradise for the 21st century traveler. Cancun is now a medium size city featuring classy resort hotels, entertainment clubs and large modern malls filled with items from every corner of the globe. The city has something to offer everyone from all day parties on the beach to the tranquility of an isolated island.

At Cancun you can find everything your heart desires from the chic to the laidback style, from rock to techno or from old style Mexican food to the cheeseburgers that the youths so eagerly demand. In Cancun all tastes are welcomed and nurtured so is it any wonder that this tropical paradise is Mexico’s most famous resort.

Foremost of importance and renowned are Cancun’s popular sandy beaches. These gorgeous beaches consist of beautiful white sand silhouetted in a background of warm, turquoise waters from the surrounding Caribbean Sea. It is virtually impossible to not enjoy the beaches even if you do not enter the crystal clear waters. Here you can put on a swimsuit or bikini and bask in the rich Mexican sunshine.

Even topless bathing is quietly accepted in specific areas of Cancun as well as some of the associated areas along the Mayan Rivera. Keep in mind if you are so inclined that total nudity is not only rarely seen but also very illegal.

Most of the resorts and hotels are located in what is known as the Hotel Zone. This is a long strip of the island where you can find various lodgings. Kukulcan Boulevard is the only thoroughfare street in the area. Located on the western portion of the island is Laguna Nichupte. This is a rather large lagoon which houses hundreds of marinas, various waterfront restaurants, several shopping malls, quality golf courses, some small islands and sunsets as you have never viewed before.

For an interesting time in the sun plan your next vacation to the most beautiful tourist destination within Mexico. Visit Cancun for all your vacationing fun.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Find Paradise in Akumal, Mexico

If you have ever visited Cancun Mexico then you surely must have gone to beautiful Akumal. This lovely Mexican city is a mere hour and ten minutes from the bustling Cancun. It is located along the Mexican Caribbean coast on the Yucatan peninsula.

This highly secret location has been considered one of Mexico’s hidden hideaways for many years. Its values were discovered only by visitors who dared to travel along the Mexican coastline in an effort to discover adventure at its finest. However, once this modern day secret had been discovered many tourists and travelers to the Yucatan area have found that they are drawn back year after year to this magical tropical paradise. In Akumal the environment is considered precious and all efforts are expended to maintain this pristine setting. If you are in search of a virgin landscape then this is the place for you to go.

Akumal is the center for the Centro Ecológico de Akumal which is a non-profit group whose purpose is to protect the environment and conduct ecologically friendly marine research and education. They fully support the protection of the sea turtle population within the area.

A walk though Akumal is similar to walking within a small eco-friendly community. With its length of sandy white beach, its pathways lined with swaying palm trees, the warm sun as well as the sound of the gently beating surf one tends to feel that they have landed on a tropical paradise. Within Akumal you can find three beautiful bays. This jewel of the Caribbean boasts the half Moon bay, the greater Akumal bay as well as the Aventuras Akumal bay. All are great locations for snorkeling or scuba diving. All three of Akumal’s bays feature a tropical reef that is begging for the underwater explorer to investigate its charm. Nearby you can find the beautiful Yal-ku Lagoon that proudly displays its calm, clear water and a popular beach front at the Akumal Bay.

Within the small confines of Akumal you will discover hidden restaurants which feature an abundance of locally caught seafood, quaint little out-of-the-way gift shops made for the curious visitor, several dive shops with an array of excellent equipment and family centered grocery stores. The nightlife is vivid and produces many fun filled beach bars which can be found at the Lol-ha and La Buena Vida.

Several additional attractions are but a skip and a jump from Akumal. You are in quick access to Jade Beach, Aventuras Akumal and South Akumal. All are merely a few minutes to the south from central Akumal. For a fun filled visit whether it is at night or during the daytime Aural offers the adventurous traveler a new insight into Mexican holidays.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Blizzard Beach in Orlando

Blizzard Beach? Where in the world is Blizzard Beach? Are you one of those people who has not heard of Blizzard Beach? Well, let me tell you about this crowning jewel of Orlando Florida and my trip to this exciting resort.

I discovered that Blizzard Beach was the only place in the state of Florida where I could find snow everywhere however I observed no ice what-so-ever. Blizzard Beach is a 66 acre plot of land developed as a water adventure park and located at Orlando’s Disney World Resort.

Only at Blizzard Beach did I experience a water park that appeared as a ski resort amidst a tropical lagoon. Blizzard Beach developed when a freak winter storm deposited snow upon the western portion of Disney World’s property. With this idea in mind the management at Disney World developed the first Floridian snow ski resort.

Unfortunately, the planned did not quit develop as expected. The hot Florida temperatures soared higher and higher causing the ice and snow to quickly began to melt and disappear. The resort operators closed down shop just as quickly as they had opened their doors. Rumor has it that one of the operators noticed a small alligator sliding down the ice slopes and an idea was born. The operator realized that the melted snow created a very tall, fast and exciting water filled toboggan and ski run. As a result of these observations a ski resort and water adventure park developed and was born. The park was located north of the Disney All Star Resorts.

During my visit to the park I was greeted by the amazing views of "skiers" that were sliding down the side of a 90 foot snow crested mountain known as Mt. Gushmore. Mt. Gushmore is home to the parks newest waterslide affectionately called Downhill Double Dipper. This is the only side by side water slide which stands 50 feet in height and 200 feet in length. I ended up traveling 25 miles per hour caught in its twisting turns before finally being deposited through a shower of water. It also features a slalom course, both a water sled run and a toboggan slide. The 120 foot long Summit Plummet is the highlight of this theme park. This plummet is the nation's fastest and tallest free fall slide around.

Once I tired of the slides, I visited Teamboat Springs which brags as being the world's longest white water rafting ride anywhere. They take up to a family of six in a raft down the twisting 1200 foot water falls. Nearby I discovered the Toboggan Racer. This is an eight lane water slide which sends the guests racing over several exciting dips as they quickly descend the snow covered slope.

Don’t think for one moment that the fun ends here for included in these 66 acres of land are the Snow Stormers, the Runoff Rapids and the Chair Lift. If you plan a trip to Orlando and specifically to the Disney World Resorts you should especially make plans to see Blizzard Park.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Exploring Argentina

Argentina is located on the southern tip of South America and offers tourists a wide variety of travel destinations. Argentina is home to an amazing geographical landscape including glaciers, rainforests, mountains and cities that offer infinite opportunities for exploration and adventure.

If you decide to explore Argentina you should bring a selection of clothing that will work in both warn and cool climates. If you are planning to hike or ski in the Andes you will need warm clothing but if you are planning to visit the tropical lowlands you may wish to just pack a few warmer items for the cool nights.

Argentina boasts the tallest mountain peak in the Americas; Cerro Aconcagua which stands at 6,960 meters above sea level. Whether you want to hike the Andes in Patagonia or go skiing it makes no difference. The country provides the perfect setting for a vacation full of activities.

Mountain resorts are available for skiers and hikers alike and mountain resorts are spread throughout the Andes so you can choose the resort that suits your needs best easily. If you choose to hike in a non-resort area make sure you have a guide to show you the ropes of hiking in the Andes since it is easy to get lost or trapped in unsafe conditions.

If you are in the mood for city life Buenos Aires is a fabulous city to spend your vacation in. Buenos Aires is a modern city that offers shopping, cultural events and historical museums that offer a look into life in Argentina. Buenos Aires has a population of over 10 million people and has a warm, rainy climate. The main language spoken in Buenos Aires is Spanish a language that many of us are familiar with.

Buenos Aires is also home to the Colon Theatre which is world famous for the music performances that take place there. The Colon Theatre presents all different types of music including orchestra performances and opera. You may also visit botanical gardens, zoos and parks that are known around the world for their beauty.

No trip to Argentina is complete without a visit to the Los Glaciares National Park located in the Santa Cruz province. You can hike on the glacier on a guided tour as well as view the glacier from a boat that gives you a greater understanding of how enormous the glacier really is. The Los Glaciares National Park is also home to many birds, animals and plants that set Argentina apart from other travel destinations.

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vacation Rentals by Owner

When planning your next vacation, regardless of where you may be going, you may wish to consider leasing a private home or villa. Renting a vacation home may be a very cost effective means of taking your vacation. It is definitely an attractive alternative to a motel or hotel for an extended vacation. In addition, should you be traveling with several people in your party it is without a doubt the least expensive choice.

When comparing a private villa or home, the motel or hotel can appear impersonal and cold not nearly as inviting. Here are a few tips on leasing your first vacation rental home.

Start by determining the number of people who will be going on the trip. The number people and their ages help determin which house to rent. Many owners do not cherish the thought of renting their home to families with many young children or to a group of partying college students because of possible damage to their property.

Next get on your computer and search for "(the town you want to visit) house for rent". Do some serious search engine work involving the area in which you will be vacationing. Check on the various properties in the area. You will find an amazing array of choices! In many popular vacation sposts there are literally hundreds to choose among. On the web will be able to see pictures of the homes and villas as well as information about the surrounding vicinity. Or glance through the classified section of a newspaper in the area for information relating to the leasing of summer homes. These reviews will also provide you with a feel for what is available as well as the prices that prevail in the area.

You can also contact the homeowners association which governs any of the condos or rental homes which you may be considering renting. There is a good chance that they may be able to place you in contact with various homeowners who might have a vacancy in their rentals. You can also obtain a copy of the rules and regulations which governs that particular community.

You may want to keep in mind that many homeowners in order to protect their property from damages will require that you leave a security deposit when renting their home. Usually, once you have checked out and the owner or his agent has inspected the property and found it to be acceptable your deposit will be refunded.

The summer months are usually the busiest at beach, while the winter months are the busiest at tropical locations and ski resorts and the homes naturally will be more costly and scarce during this "high season" so you can expect to pay more and should make reservations early for accomodations in the peak seasons. Otherwise, you might have to rent a less desirable home instead of the one you want.

Once you rent a home or villa and experience the fun you can have with the whole group under one roof, you well may say "This was the best vacation we have ever taken!".

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Friday, July 25, 2008

What to Look for in a Travel Agent

Most travel agents are in the business to not only make money but to also serve their fellow travelers. Many of the current travel agents are themselves a previous traveler who enjoyed the experiences and wanted to help make others trips just as or more enjoyable.

When you select a travel agent be sure that the person is truly interested in the travel industry and not just the money which they can make from it. According to the latest estimates provided the travel industry has become one of the world's largest growing occupations today.

Keep in mind that a well versed travel agent is worth their weight in gold. They should be intimate with subjects such as touring, hospitality services, lodging, air travel, airport operation, cruises and theme parks. A well rounded agent is a valuable asset to an organization. If you sense that your travel agent feels that he can make a difference in whether you have an enjoyable trip or not then you have found a jewel in the making. A good agent specially one specializing in leisure travel should want to help their clients to learn about various cultures and they should be willing to go to all lengths to achieve this result.

Ensure that the agent you select has the necessary talent to be in that positions, the energy to obtain the needed information for you should you require additional data and a good work ethics. Keep in mind that our current work at home society has enable tens of thousands of travel agents to literally work from their home. Don’t underestimate these work at home people for they put just as much effort into satisfying their customers as does one with a store front shop. In some cases since their overhead is lower you stand a good chance to gain from lower ticket prices. These agents are well worth checking out.

Often times a travel agent will specialize in a particular sort of travel such as singles travel reservations or elderly travel plans or perhaps their specialty is in a particular region or a lifestyle. Occasionally you may want to partake of some of these great savings that this type of agent can offer you. Get to know them as a professional acquaintance and you will be glad you did.

If you happen to be interested in taking a cruise with or without any specialized requirements your travel agent should be able to handle this request with no difficulty. Whether the cruise you are interested in is a luxury cruise, a barge cruise or a river cruise they can handle it all. Usually you can contact them by e-mail or by phone to learn more about the programs they are currently offering.

Perhaps you do not care so much for an ocean cruise but would rather prefer a land vacation. Possibly you have always dreamed of visiting Tahiti. If so then now is the time to sit down and discuss all your desires with your travel agent. They can make a difference in whether your trip is enjoyable or one that you can not wait to get home for.

Visit our Travel and Vacation Directory at http://vacationsurfer.net/.
This article is sponsored by a house for rent in Akumal http://akumalvacation.com/.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mexico's Day of the Dead

No discussion of Mexico can be accomplished without bringing up the acclaimed Day of the Dead. Most Americans are familiar with this holiday in Mexico as it is portrayed in the various cinema horror movies however nothing could be further from the truth.

The early Spanish Conquistadors that landed in Mexico were very amazed at a native practice which appeared to mock the concept of death. This was a practice that had been followed for at least 3000 years.

Although the Spanish attempted to eradicate this ancient custom they had no luck what-so-ever in doing away with it. This ritual is commonly known as the Día de los Muertos, or in English as the Day of the Dead.

This ritual has prompt celebrations all around the country of Mexico and is enjoyed by both the young and the old. Although the catholic theology has attempted to merge the ideas of the Dia de los Muertos with the mainstream religion it still maintains its basic principles of it’s Aztec roots with its use of skulls and associated paraphernalia.

A visit to Mexico during the month of November will reveal people donning various wooden skull masks commonly known as calacas and you can readily see these people dancing in honor of their relatives which have past on. Many homes have altars created within and these wooden skulls will ultimately end up being placed upon them as a dedication to these dead ancestors.

To watch these activities is truly an interesting experience. Sugar skulls inscribed with the names of the various dead relatives upon the forehead are literally eaten by one of the relatives.

The Aztecs kept human skulls as a sort of trophy and would display them during these rituals. These skulls symbolized both death and rebirth combined. The human skulls honored the dead which the Aztecs believed would come back during the month long celebration to visit the deceased family.

Interestingly, unlike the conquering Spanish who generally viewed death as life’s final end the Aztec natives viewed the situation as a continuation of our present life. Therefore, instead of developing a fear of death the natives embraced it to the fullest. Their philosophy was that our present life was merely a dream and only when we experience death did we become truly awake.

Needless to say the Spaniards considered this death ritual as sacrilegious and perceived the Aztecs as pagan and barbaric. During their attempts to convert the natives to their religion they made every effort they could to crush the beliefs in this ritual. However the Aztec belief simply refused to go away and continued to our present day.

Today this celebration is honored on the Christian day known as All Saints' Day or All Souls' Day which is the first of November. If you plan to visit Mexico during these days you owe it to yourself to view these interesting and colorful festivals.

If you would like more information and travel links, visit our Travel Directory at http://vacationsurfer.net/
This article brought to you by http://akumalvacation.com/

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Travel - Add URL, Submit URL, Free Reciprocal Link

Add your link or URL to our Travel & Vacation Directory - Increase Traffic and get better search engine rankings

Why use a Travel Directory?

Our Travel Directory is a human edited SEO friendly Vacation Guide. It is not a dump from the Dmoz but is a group of quality links to Travel websites and travel articles arranged in a country by country manner. . We have included a few broader categories such as "Travel Guides" and "Travel Directories".

Our guide will help the travler in planning their next trip or vacation.

If you have a travel related site you can:

- Add your site to our Travel Directory. Click on the link and Fill out the form.
- Upon review and acceptance, we will email you.
- Non-travel related sites will not be approved.
We are your marketing partner. We promote our directory on a continuing basis to ensure the maximum number visitors. You benefit from our marketing efforts without having to spend any effort or money. With our Travel Directory you choose your own title and description.

If you would like more information visit our Travel & Vacation Directory at http://vacationsurfer.net/ and add your travel site's link while you are there.

Passport Photos

US Passport Information

We can’t all be great photographers however when dealing with the State Department for US Passport Photos certain guidelines and requirements are necessary. These rules for passport photos must be followed or your customers request for a passport will be denied.

As with any field of endeavor today the field of the photographer has seen various advances and changes resulting from technological progression. These various advances have resulted in changes in the way that our current passport or visa photos are not only taken but also the way in which the United States Department of State now processes these photos. I have taken the liberty in this article to explain a few hints mainly for the photographer but they apply equally to the customer to ensure a speedy passport process.

It is important that when a photo is made that this photo be a true and accurately image of the passport applicant. The photo must be completely free of any sort of defect which would be cause for rejection and ultimately result in undo delays. Producing a good quality photo will result in the rapid processing of the documents and a very satisfied customer.

As with any subject of a technical nature taking a passport photo will require specific setup routines. A successfully produced photo begins with the application of proper lighting being cast upon the subject.

You should position the light sources onto both sides of your photographic subject in order to avoid the creation of shadows on the person’s face. I would recommend the use of a light source situation in such a manner as to illuminate the background directly behind the subject as well. This procedure will avoid the creation of shadows from developing within the background of the photo.

The next important item to cover would be the position of the camera in reference to the subject. You would be wise to place your camera approximately four feet in front of the subject you are photographing. The camera should be positioned at eye level with the subject and it goes without saying that the subject should be facing the camera directly. Do not ever consider a side view or a slightly angled view. We are dealing here with technical photographic content and not creative images.

When considering the print qualities of the photograph be sure you fully understand that each end product will be only 2 inches by 2 inches square. It used to be that passport photos needed to be in black and white, however they are usually accepted as color these days. They should be printed upon a thin photo paper.

Above all ensure that you produce a clear print with no blurring of any sort. Never retouch or enhance a photo. If necessary re-shoot the picture. As a photographer if you follow these simple steps you can ensure that your customer receives their passport without undo delays.

If you would like more information and travel links, visit our Travel Directory at http://vacationsurfer.net/ and add your travel site's link while you are there.
This article sponsored by our home for rent in Akumal Mexico http://akumalvacation.com/.

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