Friday, November 20, 2009

Florida Alligator Hunt!

Wanna go alligator hunting? Then head for the Florida Everglades. If you are an outdoors type person and you enjoy the sport of hunting as I do, you should sign up for one of the alligator hunts that are available.

These hunts will provide you with a full time, very experienced guide that has accumulated many years of familiarity in this type of work. Often times the guides that you get have been active hunters and fishermen in the state of Florida for several decades and have handled many alligator hunts over the years.

Usually the programs are conducted on private land such as cattle ranches, sugar cane and farm operations as well as around the citrus groves. Many of the guides have access to leased wetlands which are the preferred habitat of alligators. In addition you can find several that offer legal hunts conducted on either private or public waters located on federal or state owned land.

If you should elect to participate in one of the public water hunts that are conducted through out the state on a variety of public rivers, lakes or wetlands you will find that these hunts are encouraged by the Florida conservation commission. This commission designates what areas the hunting can be conducted on. Naturally state permits are required and the state provides over four-thousand Alligator permits annually. Keep in mind that these permits are generally issued on a first come - first serve basis.

The hunts are usually conducted around the Southern Florida area near Lake Okeechobee or in the Florida Everglades depending upon the permit obtained. The only time that these public hunts are conducted is during the months of August to November of each year.

In order to add to the excitement of the hunt they are usually conducted in the evening and by airboat. The guide will arrange all the necessary paperwork such as the permits, licenses and tags while all that is required from you is to be there. The legal weapons that can be used for these hunts are bows and crossbow, harpoons and a bang stick.

Depending upon the type of weather for the evening of the hunt the client should see several hundred different alligators on their airboat trip. Since most of these hunts are close up you are certain to experience a thrilling adventure that will last you a lifetime.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Orleans, Louisiana

Of all the cities in Louisiana there can be no doubt that the most popular one of all has to be New Orleans. The city is prominently known worldwide for its historic architecture, fantastic food and its Bourbon Street nightlife. And over the years I have enjoyed them all numerous times.

However, recently we are all familiar with the devastating effects that Hurricane Katrina has had on the city and the people themselves. When visiting New Orleans you can see how these proud people are slowly putting their life back together again in an effort to normalize their day to day activities.

It is hard for us to imagine the emotional upset that these people have gone through. I can not even begin to think of sitting on the roof to my home waiting for someone to possibly rescue me as the water levels continue to rise. It was devastating enough for me to watch the situations unfold on the television let alone to be there in person. However, they are proud and strong people and are making a great comeback.

Don’t just make a quick glance at the devastation but take one of the Hurricane Katrina Tours. Here you can be presented with an opportunity to experience firsthand what this horrid weather phenomenon has done to this city. This demoralizing natural disaster can be followed from its entry into the city to its hasty exit as well. You will be afforded the opportunity to follow the New Orleans timeline of events as your knowledgeable tour guide explains each location to you.

The Katrina tour begins with a normal New Orleans where you learn about it rich history and get to sample some of its excellent culture. You will visit the colorful French quarter which is located along the banks of the mighty Mississippi river. Your tour guide will take you past the actual levy that drowned the city in water during the hurricane and resulted in the devastation which displaced thousands of New Orleans residents to areas across the country.

Your guide will recount the chronology of events which led up to the actual hurricane as well as the days after. The tour will take you for a view of all the major areas that were damaged as a result of the hurricane such as Lakeview, New Orleans East, Genrilly and St. Bernard.

This particular tour will instill a new found perspective on the events which occurred as a result of the hurricane several years ago. The complete tour will last for approximately 3 hours and is well worth the time to travel around the city. This is a popular attraction to the city and when planning your visit you may wish to confirm reservations for the tour prior to arrival.

Travel Links

Monday, October 19, 2009

Atomic, Idaho

Our recent trip through Idaho took us into some very interesting areas. Along the way we chanced upon the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot, an actual drive in movie theater that features the world’s largest potato in the city of Driggs but the most impressive item that we encountered on our trip was the small former nuclear town located at Atomic, Idaho. This town was directly on US 26 as we headed west out of Idaho Falls.

I had to search my memory high and low trying to determine when and where the government conducted any of its earlier nuclear experiment in Idaho. Previously Atomic City was known as Midway more then likely due to its location between the towns of Arco and Blackfoot. Initially the town was home for the government’s experimental breeder reactor and it is the site of the first nuclear reactor to ever generate electricity. The nearby Pickle's Place cafe is the home of the "Atomic Burger".

Atomic City was once the most impressive city actively promoting a nuclear future however today it is nearly a ghost town and the only remains of its past glory lies in its name. There are currently only about 25 people that still reside in the town for most of the population has long ago moved elsewhere or past away. Those families that remain are retired and therefore do not need to actively work. The main street of town remains unpaved since there are not enough citizens to actually accumulate the necessary funds to repair public roads and streets. Since the median income of the town is less then $10,000 dollars it certainly doesn’t have any extra money to go around.

This isolated ghost town has an old gas station which no longer is permitted to sell gas due to the underground tank regulations established by the government. It also has a post office as well a local bar. The old abandoned Atomic City Raceway is now nothing more then weeds although occasionally in the summer you may find a few stock car races taking place. If you are a photo nut then you will certainly enjoy the many opportunities to take pictures of the past age signs that are abound as you enter the town.

As we entered the ghost town we saw several of the locals that were casually sitting on their porch and they waved to us in a friendly manner from their double wide trailer. We stopped to talk to several of the locals and they certainly seemed friendly enough in fact they even offered us a cool beer from their nearby cooler which we graciously accepted.

Although there really is nothing of value to see here it is well worth the drive merely to talk to some of the local citizens and get a different view on the area.

Vacation and Travel Links

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Lighthouses of Delaware

Since the state of Delaware is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean one can discover a vast assortment of lighthouses if you look closely. In the Lewes, Delaware area you can find boat tours that have been put together with the specific purpose of visiting the many lighthouses that have been protecting ships for over 100 years. The tour around the Cape May lighthouse area generally lasts for 7 hours. It is in all reality a multi-lighthouse tour of the area as you get to visit nine of the most popular lighthouses between New Jersey and Delaware. Those lighthouses include the Cape May lighthouse, the inner and outer breakwater lighthouses, Brandywine lighthouse, Miah Maul lighthouse, Fourteen Foot lighthouse, Elbow of Crossedge, Ship John Shoal and the Crossledge lighthouse. In total there are nine lighthouses that you will get to see on the grand tour.

The tours are generally conducted aboard very luxurious ships with cushioned seating and plenty of air conditioning or heated cabin space. The upper decks are usually partially covered as well and present a wondrous view of the surrounding ocean.

What could be better then to enjoy your breakfast on one of these cruise ships as you slowly pass one of the lighthouses that is on your itinerary? You and your family can sit and enjoy a delightful meal of Danish, Bagels, Donuts, Toast, Tea, Coffee, and Hot Chocolate and of course Juice. According to the time of your tours departure it is possible that you will be able to enjoy a lunch consisting of a Cheese or Veggie Tray as well as a selection of fresh local fruit and a variety of sandwiches. At certain times of the day hot menus are readily available for those who so desire then and are composed of Spiced Pork Tenderloin or Stuffed Tilapia. Eating on your lighthouse cruise is a culinary delight.

The series of lighthouses that you will see during the cruise were constructed between the 19th and the 20th Century. All the lighthouses are still intact and fully operational although they are unmanned and completely automated at this time. Many of them are constructed on pedestals and the nearest land can not be seen from the lighthouses.

All the trips include the necessary narratives to further explain the area and the lighthouses. Here is your opportunity to enjoy a visit to the first state and indulge in some great photos to enhance your album when you get home.

Travel and Vacation Links.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kayacking the Colorado

No trip to Colorado would be complete without doing a little bit of Kayaking on the famous Colorado River. The only problem in my case was that we had never done such a thing before and had no idea how to even go about doing it.

After setting up our camp for the next couple of evenings we proceeded to check out the other camps that we saw around the area. The people were friendly and a few of them were even planning to do a little kayaking themselves. When they saw that we expressed an interest in the activity as well, the conversations began to flow even easier.

I explained to them that we were basically a kayaking greenhorns and after the laughter cleared they explained that many of the people who arrive in the area had never before been in a kayak so the idea was not foreign to the class instructors. They explained where we could go to receive beginner instructions and even to rent the necessary equipment for the trip.

That afternoon we followed their instructions and approached one of the many kayak training centers around the river. The owner understood completely what my predicament was and offered many valuable suggestions. Within his shop were a vast array of gear designed specifically for kayaking and upon leaving all we had to do was bring a swim suit and a towel.

The lessons were scheduled to begin the following morning and we arrived bright and early waiting patiently for our instructor to get to work. The kayaking lessons covered safety on the water, paddle skills that are required as well as the necessary outfitting techniques for this water sport.

My classes were conducted with what is generally referred to as a “duckie”. These are nothing more then inflatable kayaks which are used exclusively for the training classes. we must admit that we often times felt a slight bit silly taking the same classes that several 11 year olds were completing but at least we were learning the fundamentals properly.

In case you are wondering about the location of the classes. We were not actually taking our classes on the river but rather in a very large pool. Colorado offers kayak classes year round and uses common swimming pools as a place of instruction. According to when and where you sign up you can perhaps find classes that are developed for group instruction, a one on one tutoring or like we did in the open pool session which was available for everyone.

The instructors were well certified in whitewater kayaking and the program was more then adequate for our needs. If we had been more experienced we would have signed up for the more advanced courses. Who knows maybe the next trip we will further develop our kayaking skills.

Akumal, Mexico Villa for Rent

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Congratulations to our Entrecard Top Droppers for August!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Last Day in the Kootenays

We had a busy last day in the Kootenays. After a hardy breakfast we cranked up the SeaDoos and headed across the lake. It was fun riding along the shore and seeing the cliffs and giant boulders. There were no houses on that side of the lake. When we came to a large stream that emptied into the lake the temperature dropped 20 degrees. The crystal clear stream was runoff from a nearby glacier.

On returning to the house we packed the Jeep with a picnic lunch and headed into the mountains. The logging road followed a mountain stream for a while before turning up the mountain. There were many switchback and hairpin turns as we climbed and passing other cars was difficult on the narrow road. Fortunately, there were very few cars and no logging trucks. The wild flowers were in full bloom and gorgeous. We looked for bears and elk but only caught a glimpse of a few deer. As we neared the summit there was a small flat area with a picnic table. Perfect! The dogs enjoyed the trip up the mountain and had a great time exploring while we ate. After a lunch we headed back down the mountain. It's amazing how much steeper the road looks going down rather than up.

For dinner we drove down to Gray Creek where their friends owned a bed and breakfast with a charming restaurant and 10 cabins on the lake. The sun was just setting behind the mountain as we began dinner on the deck overlooking the lake. Susan had rack of lamb, our friends had the grilled prawn and I had a steak. The wife had baked each individual's bread in a 4" terracotta flower pot. It was unique, beautiful and delicious. It was a pretty amazing operation with the man and his wife as the only employees and they have done this for the last ten years. He was the chef and she was the waitress. He doubles as the handyman and she is also the maid. She gets up every morning and bakes fresh muffins for the guests and leaves the hot muffins hanging on each door. With hot coffee and muffins I might not get up for breakfast. They then cook each guest a full breakfast in the restaurant. Breakfast and dinner are included in the rate and the food is fabulous. They are booked solid and are only are open the 5 summer months so they have the rest of the year to relax. They are quite environmentally conscious and this is a picture of their house with a dirt roof. That is one of their pet goats 'mowing' the roof!

We have had a wonderful time in the Kootenays and hate to leave but it's up early tomorrow to catch the 7:10am ferry. Thanks to our friends for inviting us up!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nelson, British Columbia, Canada

We awoke to a beautiful clear morning. A perfect day for a 30 minute boat trip to Nelson, a town of about 10,000 located at the end of the west arm of Kootenay Lake. After breakfast we boarded our friends 28' Bennington pontoon deck boat. The boat rode like a dream even when crossing other boat wakes. We were cruising along at 25 mph when a bunch of kids in a ski boat came upon us going full speed at about 40 mph. When they were just about even with us our friend eased his throttle up a little to match their speed. After a few seconds he pushed it full forward and it felt like we were shot out of a gun. The look on the kids faces was priceless! Turns out he had replaced the factory engine with a big block V-8 and added a turbocharger and some racing mods. It topped out at 63mph on the GPS. His neighbors call the boat 'The Flying Bedstead".

When we arrived at Nelson we walked around town and had a great lunch at a cafe overlooking the lake. Nelson is known as a cultural centre. The town has many good restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, shops, art galleries and the restored Capitol Theatre, a hub for the performing arts. Nelson, the "Number One Small Town Arts Community in Canada" is home to a large and diverse artisan community. During the summer art exhibits are held throughout the downtown area with refreshments, musicians and artwork. Nelson also has regular farmer's markets where local artisans can be found selling a unique and diverse variety of fruits, vegetables, arts, crafts and imports. Nelson is a well-known for it's alternative lifestyles. Many American draft dodgers settled in Nelson during the Vietnam War era and became permanent residents. Hemp clothes and cannabis-related products are readily available in local stores.

After lunch I drove the boat back home, arriving just in time for an afternoon nap.

Tomorrow we go on a picnic in the mountains...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kootenay Lake, British Columbia, Canada

After leaving Coeur d'Alene we enjoyed the scenic 4 hour drive up to Kootenay Lake to spend a few days with our friends. The Corvette got another fun workout with the winding mountain roads.

Kootenay is one of the largest natural lakes in British Columbia, about 100 km in length and varying from 3 to 5 km in wide. The water is crystal clear and over 400' deep at some points. In 1947 the free auto ferry terminal moved from Gray Creek to Kootenay Bay and soon the highway, which was part of the Trans Canada Highway, was paved through to the ferry landing.With the new upgraded highway and with increased traffic along came cabins, restaurants and a gas station and garage. Today, Kootenay Bay continues to offer hospitality to the traveling public, and is home to about 100 people.

After spending a few days in July visiting Dallas, TX and staying with our son in his new house in University Park and then with friends in their beautiful new house on Lake Ray Hubbard we continue with our Grand Tour of Spectacular Homes. This luxurious log style house has a huge great room complete with a giant stone fireplace, bar, two sitting areas, a 70" flat screen TV, a projection TV and regulation pool table. It has 5 bedrooms, 6 baths and a gourmet kitchen plus a full basement. Not bad for a lake house! And did I mention the view? Wow!

Another couple joined us for dinner that night. Our hostess prepared Coquilles St. Jacques and followed up with a beef tenderloin. For dessert we had a homemade brownie with ice cream and fresh berries. We enjoyed a nightcap and headed to bed.

Tomorrow we take the deckboat to Nelson...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Beautiful Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

After leaving the Spokane airport we motored down Interstate 90 to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. We had decided to spend the night there after the long flight and to split up the 5 hour drive to Kootnay Lake. After checking in at the Hampton Inn we drove around town. The town is surrounded by forests and mountains and sits in a spectacular setting on the north shore of one of America's most beautiful lakes, Lake Coeur d'Alene. It is no wonder that Coeur d'Alene has been called the "Playground of the Northwest". It seemed like everyone was sailing, boating, skiing or swimming, trying to take advantage of the beautiful summer day. And there are two major ski resorts in the nearby mountains for winter fun.

We had an early dinner at Beverly's on the 7th floor of the huge Coeur d'Alene Resort. As you can see the view was fantastic. We sat at one of the tables by the window and enjoyed watching the boaters come in to the dock and the kids jumping off the 20' rock cliffs into the lake. There were also several double decker boats offering dinner cruises for the tourists.

Although Beverly's is a five star restaurant their food was well above our expectations. The desk clerk at the Hampton had given us a couple of free Beverly drink tickets and while we were enjoying our before dinner drinks the chef sent out a couple of lobster corndogs. They were a small piece of lobster on a stick, dipped in corndog batter and fried just like corndogs at the carnival. Never seen anything like them but the were delicious!

Beverly's has a several thousand bottle floor-to-ceiling wine display with a two million dollar wine inventory, so needless to say we ordered a bottle of our favorite Ken Wright Abbott Claim Vineyard pinot noir for dinner. They had three different vintages on the wine list!

I started out with their Sweet Onion Soup which was the best, richest French Onion Soup I have ever tasted and Susan had the Caesar Salad with shaved Parmesan-Reggiano cheese. For the main course Susan had the rack of lamb and I ordered the Muscovy Duck prepared three ways- Chinese five-spice roasted breast, caramelized leg and seared foie gras on jasmine rice.

We thought we were through but then out came a complimentary dessert. It was absolutely unique. Continuing with the carnival theme they made a hollow tower of cotton candy and inside the tower was a scoop of homemade blueberry ice cream with a birthday candle on it. By then it was dark and the candle flickered through the cotton candy in a charming way. We had to eat our way through the cotton candy to get to the ice cream. Tough job but we did it!

Coeur d'Alene is a fascinating place to visit and Beverly's a delightful dining experience. Highly recommended.

Travel Links

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thank you, Hertz!

After arriving in Spokane, WA we picked up our luggage and headed to the Hertz car rental counter. We had a free upgrade deal so we decided on a Cadillac DTS. The Manager was kind enough to walk us out to our car and along the way we passed this fly yellow Corvette. We both said at the same time, "How about swapping for this car?". And believe it or not, she said "OK". So we get this fun convertible at a great price! And then it hit us. We've got enough luggage to fill up a pickup truck. After much repacking, stuffing things in every nook, filling up behind the seats, putting a suitcase on the console between us and putting the rest under our feet we got it all in somehow. You should have seen the look on the customs officer at the Canadian border! We looked just like the Clampetts.

Driving the crooked roads in the Canadian Rockies is fantastic! The car corners and accelerates like a dream. It almost makes us feel young again. And if anybody from Hertz is reading this, I really didn't go as fast as your GPS says I did.

Seriously, if you ever need a car rental, check out Hertz. There's a reason they are #1.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Internet @ 36,000 feet

Well, this is a first for me. We're flying to Spokane, WA today where we are going to rent a car and drive to Canada to visit friends at their mountain cabin on beautiful Kootenay Lake in British Columbia. We're Delta Frequent Fliers and they sent me a free pass to try their GoGo system which provides DSL in-flight. So here I am 7 miles above the earth posting to this blog. It works quite well.

I'll try to post a couple of times while on the trip so you can enjoy what we are seeing. We are taking it easy and spending tonight in Coeur d' Alene, ID. Hope I can pronounce Coeur d' Alene correctly if I have to ask directions!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Congratulations to our Entrecard Top Droppers for July!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Arkansas' Mount Magazine State Park

One of the more interesting places to visit within the state of Arkansas is the Mount Magazine State Park. Located in the beautiful Ozark National Forest, Mount Magazine is Arkansas' highest mountain. Last April my wife and I decided it was time for a mini-vacation. This was not unusual as we continuously indulged ourselves with mini-vacations all around the United States.

For this escape we decided that we would like to visit the state of Arkansas since the last time we had been there was in 1989 and that was merely passing through. When we arrived in the state our first choice of sights to see was at the beautiful Magazine State park. Every thing about this location and the trip was simply beautiful. The ride was extremely pleasant, the weather held out and proved to be a blessing, and the people were exceptionally friendly and helpful.

We decided that instead of staying in the park's first class lodge we would simply pitch our tent and enjoy the abundance sights and sounds of the wild open air. The tent tended to flap in the howling April winds but fortunately it remained firmly in place.

The following day the weather was still a bit windy and rained on and off however it soon cleared away and we decided to take a short hike into the North Rim Trail. Since we had totally lost track of time until it was too late we finally realized we had ventured onto a two mile trail. During our stroll back to camp we chanced upon some of the areas wildlife. We viewed several lizards crossing our path as well as three snakes that slowly watched us as we past by them. Upon noticing the snakes my wife let out a screech and yelled.

"My God there are three snakes!"

The snakes paid no attention to her but went right on sunning themselves on the moss-covered rock where they laid. They were a beautiful green shade and from what I would guess they were harmless Green Snakes.

Further along the pathway we encountered numerous native violets and an occasional bloodroot on each side of us. It was the attractiveness of the plant life that made our trip back to camp worthwhile as it revealed an abundance of wildflowers along the banks of the small gorgeous streams that passing slowly by us. We would occasionally stop and admire the many flowers which grew along the paths we were taking. It may have been a long venture but as long as we followed the signs with the red hiking man clearly on them we were well on our way back to camp. During this extended walk back to the camp we both visualized the inviting campfire with a Rib eye steak sizzling in the pan.

All in all the entire trip was enjoyable and we look forward to another exciting visit to the park in the years to come.

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Akumal Pueblo

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Explore Alaska

When planning a trip to the state of Alaska there is many ways that you can go about it. You can visit this state by way of auto, ship or plane. In the event that you want to gain as much time on your vacation as you possibly can you may wish to consider traveling by plane.

The country is still a mystery to the majority of Americans who have never been there however, when the subject is mentioned to those people who have traveled to Americans last frontier they will readily relate to you how beautiful the landscape is, the abundance of wildlife and the more simplistic manner of living that exists there. I'll never forget the moose, bears and bald eagles. The scenery is fantastic and the fishing great! What more can I say?

Flying has an added benefit as well since you will be traveling over the landscape and not merely on it. Most visitors to this state will tell you that the best way to really see Alaska is from the air. Aboard a prop-plane you are afforded unequaled views of many remote villages located along your route, the abundance of fishing locations as well as the wondrous terrain of the area.

Flying into the area is generally very easy as you merely have to book a flight to Anchorage with one of the major airlines. From here you can venture out to various parts of the state and embrace its sheer beauty.

If you are not the adventurous type of individual you can still enjoy your vacation in the wilds of Alaska. However, you will find that if you are the outdoor kind of person this is certainly a great area of the nation to enjoy your activities in. In order to fully appreciate the Alaskan areas you have to actually visit them. Words alone can not explain all that the state has to offer in the way of tourist activities.

Its vastness alone is beyond ones imagination. Just imagine a state that could place 425 plots the size of Rhode Island into its interior. The weather in this state can vary greatly due to its vast size. You may encounter some areas with 80 degree temperatures while at the same time find others that are experiencing -50 degree. Some areas of the state have a well defined four season year while further north you find only a winter and summer season.

The best times of the year to visit Alaska are during the June to August time frame. Although you will generally find that the prices during this time are rather high it offers the best opportunities that the state has to provide. Less expensive rates are available during the wintertime if you happen to enjoy the associated winter like sports.

Generally autos have no problems getting around the towns of Alaska however some people prefer to travel by way of water or air. As a matter of fact there are actually locations in the state where it is impossible to get to other then by air. The state capital of Juneau is accessible only by air or by water. There are several major cruise lines which offer Alaskan tours while pointing out the major attractions along the way.

Visit our Travel Links site.

Akumal, Mexico

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Beautiful Belize

If you are ready for the ultimate tropical getaway then pack your bags and head to Belize. Belize is home to everything from beautiful beaches to ancient ruins and is steeped in cultural history that everyone can enjoy. Next time you are ready to escape winter or when you are simply ready for a change of scene Belize can offer you a wide range of activities for those who desire to relax and enjoy the atmosphere as well as for those who are ready to go out and see what the area has to offer.

Most of us dream of spending our vacation days lounging upon a warm beach or snorkeling and enjoying the ocean with its underwater inhabitants. Belize is home to a massive barrier reef which has caused most of the country’s coast to be bordered by mangrove swamps, but you can find great ocean adventures on Ambergris Caye.

Belize beaches are also thought to be among the safest since the barrier reef protects them. The barrier reef is also home to countless ocean inhabitants while representing the second largest in the world. While you may not find endless stretches of white, sandy beaches in Belize you will find amazing snorkeling and diving which definitely makes up for the lack of sand.

The most famous Mayan ruins in Belize are found in Altun Ha, a site that has significant local history. The Altun Ha ruins date back to 250 A.D. and are even featured prominently upon the national currency of Belize. If you are going to Belize just to see the ruins you may enjoy going on one of the tours that visit several ruin locations within the country.

If you are more adventurous, you may want to go on a guided tour of the forests of Belize. It is still common for new ruins to be found in the deep jungles but don’t attempt to go out into the rainforest alone. Getting lost in the jungle is easy especially if you haven’t had extensive experience traveling through the jungle.

Another great adventure that Belize is famous for is hiking. You can hike to one of the many caves located deep in the mountains of which Actun Tunichil Muknal cave is one of Belize’s’ best. You can hike to the cave and explore the inside. Inside the cave there are magnificent limestone formations and even opportunities for swimming in the mineral spring. There have been over fourteen skeletons found in the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves along with ancient pottery and artifacts.

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This article is sponsored by our house for rent in Akumal, Mexico, just a couple of hours north of Belize.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

Guess what's cooking... BBQ Baby Back Ribs, corn on the cob,
field peas, coleslaw, potato chips, home grown tomatoes, and dessert
is homemade Vanilla Custard Ice Cream!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Crococun Zoo Cancun Mexico

No trip to the Cancun area of Mexico can be complete unless you make a side trip to the famous Crococun zoo. This is especially true if you happen to be traveling with small children.

The park was primarily established as a crocodile farm 20 years previously. Its specific purpose was to farm bred crocodiles for commercial purposes. During the 1988 hurricane Gilbert which struck the area Crococun was practically destroyed however as they rebuilt the reserve it started to take more of a nature preserve shape then that of a farm. Noticing this ex-farm slowly drifted from a commercial venture to that of a conservationist project the owners decided that this was a good thing and changed the complete concept of the organization. It was no longer a commercial venture but rather more of a conservation preserve. Today the zoo acts as a means of promoting and protecting many of Mexico’s endangered species. Some of the species of crocs which are raised here are eventually released back to the wild as part of the zoos conservation project. Not only does the location foster area animals but it presents a vast selection of marine and plant conservation as well.

The zoo’s mission is to inspire and to educate people towards making intelligent choices when it comes to the environment and conservation of the various animals, the habitat and the creature’s natural environment. Their major goal is to increase the dwindling croc population while at the same time teaching the next generation of citizens why this
Species is important for our way of life. Instructions are provided so that people can see how these animals should be properly cared for. The zoo desires to eventually become the areas leader in the conservation and protection of the various local wild species found in the region.

A visit to this zoo will likely provide some very lasting impressions for you and your family. These memories will become treasured moments fro your children as well as for you. This animal sanctuary has established several excellent tours that provide some great insights into the life and actions of the animals which they care for. In some cases, it is even possible for the children to actually touch and hold some of the smaller zoo creatures.

The zoo has been credited with saving many of the countries crocodile population that would normally have been killed as a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some of their croc residents have been transferred from the Sian Kaan Reserve as well as those that have been discovered and caught wondering around in residential areas.

As one rides the bus on route 307 towards the zoo a watchful eye can readily catch one or two of the large Yucatan Howler Monkeys gracefully playing at the top of the trees along the highway. These large animals leap from tree to tree as if they had wings. It is interesting to think about these wild creatures being a mere 50 from a major highway.

The monkeys found in the zoo represent those species that have been rescued by the authorities from private homes or those that were captured illegally. One can not merely place wild animals back into the wild after being taken as babies into ones home. The zoo serves as a half way house where these monkeys can be protected and nurtured until such time as they can return to their natural habitat.

So if you are interested in the wonders of nature then a visit to the Crococum Zoo is just what you need.

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Akumal Villa for Rent

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tips for Traveling with Children

I have personally made many trips both across the great American continent as well as to Europe, Asia and the Caribbean with children. Each trip was really an enjoyable adventure but if not planned properly it can become a living nightmare. The key is basically how well you as the adult can prepare before hand for the upcoming trip.

Being a lifelong traveler gave my family a rare opportunity to tour extensively. We have traveled by just about every conceivable way possible. Auto, motor home, airplane and ship. Initially we made many mistakes and we naturally learned from those mistakes to prevent them from reoccurring. I would now like to tell to you a few of the tips that we picked up over the years.

If you plan to be traveling any long distances by car you may wish to keep the following information clearly in mind... get as organized as you possibly can. If your travel itinerary calls for motel stops overnight you may wish to provide each child with a separate overnight bag of their own. This simple act encourages the child to develop a little responsibility for their own possessions as well as making them think they are grown up. My wife keeps a heavy duty plastic bag specifically for the dirty laundry. You don’t want to place the dirty clothes on top of the clean ones.

The amount of time you will be traveling will actually determine the number of clothing outfits that you should take with you. Sitting in a car for any length of time is certainly a reason to have a daily change of clothing. You should ensure that each member of your party has plenty of extra clothing in the event of accidents.

I have a 12 volt cooler that we always take some snacks, sandwiches and drinks with us. This keeps us from having to eat the fast foods along the way. In addition, we can eat smaller quantities and not feel as bloated as we travel. You save money and eat healthier. If we are traveling for an extra long distance we will try to have a good, balanced meal at the end of the days travel.

Our Garmin GPS is programmed to tell us when to take a rest break and believe me there are many times that we look forward to those breaks. When traveling with children you must plan for rest stops every couple hours so that they can visit the bathrooms and also to allow them and the driver to get out and stretch their legs a bit.

When we came back from California several years ago we drove our motor home all the way. It was a real enjoyable trip since we made sure to plan our evening stops before dark. This provided us with ample time to get the RV setup and to actually enjoy the areas where we stopped. A swimming pool and play ground are essential if you are traveling with kids. The average driving time for long trips should not exceed 8 to 10 hours.

Keep plenty of games, books and movies in the car for the children to enjoy. We always take the laptop or GameBoy for the kids to play with as we travel. If the battery gets low we merely plug it into one of the inexpensive power converters that converts the 12 volt car battery to 110 volts AC. It doesn’t take long for the laptop battery to get recharged.

So as you can tell with the proper planning you can enjoy traveling with children and have a pleasant vacation yourself to boot.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Time to Visit Jolly Ole London England

As my aircraft completed its final approach to Heathrow Airport, I glanced out of the porthole to scrutinize this area of London prior to making our landing. The grass below was a very green shade such as I no longer visualized in America. It tended to endow a calming impact as we descended the cloud cover of the airport.

If you have never traveled to England and London in particular you are in for a pleasurable surprise. Not only are the people exceptionally friendly and cordial but the city itself presents a majestic attitude. Whether you are married with a family or a single young person there are always many events to keep you occupied.

If you happen to be married and bringing your family to London for the first time there are several family orientated areas that are always at the top of the children’s list of “To Do’s”.

The first item is the London Zoo. This biological collection has over 12000 species of mammals, reptiles, birds, insects and fish. Here at the zoo you can witness the world’s largest lizard in existence, the Komodo dragon. During their feeding time you will be amazed at how they rip their food apart in an effort to eat it as fast as they can. When you visit the zoo at feeding time the keepers will enlighten you many interesting facts concerning the various animals on display. It tends to keep children occupied for hours at a time.

Within the city of London you can visit the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood. This house maintains a collection of various toys, a large collection of dolls plus the dolls' houses, many children's dress-up costumes and a vast selection of antique nursery items. On the weekend they host a selection of programs specifically geared to young people. It is well worth a visit with your children.

The Science Museum located in London proper holds one of the world's most comprehensive collections of science, medicine and technology memorabilia. The major features include the Space Gallery where future astronauts can witness the US Apollo 10 command module. Nearby in the Welcome Wing you can enjoy “Digitopolis”, an interesting and entertaining glance at the state of modern technology with the IMAX cinema. The interactive Launch Pad is always popular with children of all ages.

The various activities and events could go on endlessly for London as this is truly a city of activity and enjoyable activities at that. Don’t pass up the opportunity to take your children to London with you on a vacation as there are plenty of things for them to do.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Australia Visit the Zoo Down Under

If you have never traveled to Australia then I would like to recommend that you visit this wonderful and exciting country. Australia happens to be a country of contrasts. The scenery in Australia is completely different then what one finds elsewhere around the globe. Once you landing Australia you will quickly discover that there exists and endless supply of exciting places for you to visit. One particularly popular attraction is the Australian Zoo.

If you have never heard of the Australian Zoo then you should really research it as this is one of the finest zoological attractions in the world. The Australia Zoo is located in Queensland near Australia’s Glass House Mountains. This is actually a private zoo owned by Terri Irwin. Terri Irwin is the widow of the late Steve Irwin better known as the Crocodile hunter.

You would be hard pressed to locate anyone who has not heard of the Crocodile Hunter television series. Steve Irwin was commonly known as the crocodile hunter on this popular television series which appeared not only in Australia but was a popular series here in America as well. The Crocodile Hunter is what made the Australian Zoo so popular. The Zoo was first opened in the year 1970 by Lyn and Bob Irwin when at the time it was commonly refered to as the Beerwah Reptile Park.

In 1991 Steve Irwin took on the management responsibility for the zoo and in 1992 the zoo was renamed Australia Zoo. If you are an animal lover then you are certain to enjoy this beautiful collection of Australia animals and reptiles. Amongst the collection of reptiles in captivity at the Australia Zoo you will discover iguanas, bearded dragons and different types of monitors, snakes and a vast assortment of other reptiles. In addition you will find the zoo is home to Kangaroos, monkeys and other native Australian animals. Nor can we forget to include the crocodiles which make their home on the grounds of the Australia Zoo.

At one time the Australia Zoo was the home to a Galapagos Tortoise who’s named was Harriet. Harriet was claim to fame was that she was known for being the oldest chelonian in existence. Harriet died on June 23 of 2006 and at the time of her death she was 176 years old.

We firmly believe that one of the reasons that Australia is such a great place to visit is because of the famous Australia Zoo. However, don’t expect to spend all your time at the zoo since after your visit there you are certain to want to enjoy the additional attractions found around the country of Australia. You and your family can readily count on your visit to Australia as being fun and exciting.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Aruba is One Happy Island

Although many of us have heard songs which relate to Aruba many of us have never actually traveled to this Caribbean island. If you have never been to Aruba then you should plan a trip in the near future.

Aruba is a small island found in the heart of the Caribbean Sea only 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela. It's one of the ABC islands with neighboring Bonaire, and CuraƧao being the other two. Known by many as “one happy island”, Aruba is a genuinely happy place and the local citizens are truly happy that you are there. It's our favorite Caribbean island destination! Countless individuals from around the world venture to Aruba in order to get away from their normal hectic life style for a short period of time.

Apart from the beauty often associated with the island of Aruba you will quickly discover an abundance of gambling casinos. In Aruba there are many tournament style games which are popular with not only the locals but the tourists as well. If your form of entertainment lies in Casinos then you will find that Casinos in Aruba are open both day and night and a few are actually in operation 24 hours per day. Some of the casinos open their doors at 11:00 am in the morning providing slot fun for many visitors and later in the day around 1 PM they begin the other gambling games.

When you are gambling in Aruba you will be gambling using U.S. currency. You will find a large number of different casinos located inside the various hotels within the capital of Oranjestad. Most hotel casinos provide slots as well as table games for their customers. They have table games which include blackjack, Roulette, craps and baccarat. Most also have live bingo. Many have regularly scheduled tournaments, so if you like to gamble contact them for the tournament dates.

Should you be involved with live music you can readily find live bands performing at the major hotels in Aruba. During specific times they will host slot tournaments and provide weekly blackjack challenges. The Seaport Casino along with The Renaissance Crystal are casinos which remain open both day and night. These never closing game houses provide 780 always occupied slot machines for the gaming public to enjoy.

Throughout Aruba you will discover many additional types of casinos which provide groups of fun and excitement. There are other casinos which are located in the hotels of the island such as the Radisson Resort.

When you are visiting Aruba you should not focus strictly upon the casinos as there are other exciting places in and around Aruba such as their beautiful sandy beaches or perhaps the various shops located on the island. If you enjoy the experience of shopping then you will find some unique and fascinating shops in Aruba. Many visitors never leave their hotels along the western shores where the white beaches slope gently toward the calm transparent turquoise of the Caribbean, but the desert like interior and rugged northeastern coast has their own beauty.

In the end when it is all over and your vacation has ended when you return home you will be able to relate many interesting tales to your family and friends. This can truly be a vacation of a life time.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

UAE - Playground of the Middle East

The United Arab Emirates is a constitutional federation of seven emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The two states known as Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the most famous of the UAE because of their phenomenal growth development in recent years. This development was aimed at not only placing the two states at the forefront of the tourist trade but for also putting them in the front lines of the Midwestern nations. Bordered by several major gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar the immediate area has a history which is rich in tribal war and upheaval. UAE’s aims have been to downgrade its past and attract tourists into their country while presenting a positive side of the gulf countries.

The UAE has everything needed for an unforgettable vacation, sun, sand, sea, sports, unbeatable shopping, top-class hotels and restaurants, an ancient and traditional culture, and a safe and welcoming environment. Dubai represents the leading tourist destination and is the home for many state of the art and extremely luxurious upscale hotels and city skyscrapers. Dubai has already actually established its own airline which tends to cater towards visitors and tourists that arrive in the country. It is known as the Etihad. Abu Dhabi is oozing with modernization and development is continually taking place as the area grows and prospers. Modern skyscrapers have become commonplace sights within the city and represents significant achievements for the country as a whole. Although both of these cities have pushed greatly to become a modern 20th century refuge for tourists they have both succeeded in still preserving the various traces of their past which is meant to serve as a reminder for its people of where they have originated from.

There are several important and noteworthy attractions within the UAE which should not be past up on any visit to the area. Foremost are the 200 Islands which are located in Abu Dhabi including Belghilam Island. This island is famous as a breeding ground for many families of gazelle. You should naturally ride a boat around the islands and discover what each island has to offer to its annual visitors. You can readily find a very wide stretch of coastline that is available for the sea loving visitors near the harbor of Dibba ad Khor Kalba. Perhaps you and your family would care to visit the Palm Island of Dubai which is believed to be very visible even when the island is viewed from the moon. You can experience a certain amount of personal pride as you set foot upon the Palm Island as this island is considered to be the world’s largest manmade island in existence.

Te counties of the UAE are placing a high priority on future development but at the same time rediscovering their past through archaeology, restoring old buildings, building museums and establishing indigenous wildlife parks.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Travel to Turkey

The country of Turkey has been rated one of the most visited places in the modern world. Most avid travelers and adventurers have found that this country has much to offer in the way of exciting activities and unending adventures centered upon the traveler. Within the defines of its borders you can discover a mix of traditional culture and modern day living which makes this country a really fascinating one to understand and even more so to explore. I am certain that Turkey will become one of your most memorable and interesting travels that you have ever completed.

Turkey’s rich Muslim culture, their historical battlegrounds and the great palaces has demonstrated the quality displayed all across the country. A quick glance at the cities will reveal that this is truly the land that has witnessed Alexander the Greats triumph over Achilles during the Trojan War. It has also hosted the Ottoman Empire’s battles which have greatly helped to shape the world as we know it. These features are particularly important in terms of the development of modern civilizations.

Upon arriving in Turkey you will be welcomed and amazed with the kind, friendly and warm attitude of the Turkish people. Aside from the rich Muslim culture Turkey is known for its famous delicacies and its fantastic cuisines which are prominently made by its famous Turkish chefs. Every tourist who visits Turkey agrees that the food in this country is nothing short of superb.

Yachting and the renowned white water rafting are one of the recommended activities that are usually reserved for tourist who demonstrate a love of water sports. For the adventurous people who travel to Turkey mountain climbing, bicycle riding, hiking on one of the many trails or skiing offer unlimited fun for all. You should not miss the world famous hot air balloon show that is displayed annually. Apart from these activities you can readily investigate the various tourist sights such as the great mosque structures or perhaps ride the gullet which is Turkey’s traditional boat.

Turkey will not only amaze you with its rich history but will engage you with many unusual activities which offer its tourists and travelers an abundance of entertaining activities to fill your many waking hours. From the start of your day and on into the wee hours of the night you cannot get enough things to do nor places to visit in this wonderful country.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Beautiful Little Uruguay

South America’s smallest Spanish speaking country is known as Uruguay. This may be the reason that most tourists have overlooked the country in the past. However to not include Uruguay on your travel itinerary would be a drastic error on your part for you would be passing up a travel paradise. Uruguay has lots to offer the visiting tourist especially for those travelers who appreciate the vivid nightlife that the country has to offer. Once you have arrived and related to this small country you will quickly agree that Uruguay is one of the countries which is certainly worth exploring and is particularly nice to discover.

Modernization has taken its toil in this hospitable country. The people in this land have been enjoying the high standards of their living however perhaps since is low key and the country has not invested heavily in advertising funds most people are unaware as to what the country really has to offer. As a result of this lack of proper advertising Uruguay has lost a considerable amount of the tourist trade to it neighbors Argentina and Brazil. Never the less one should seriously consider a visit to this small nation when planning your next South American trip or vacation.

Here in Uruguay you can readily discover a lost feeling of tranquility and enjoy a relaxed vacation along the countries long stretch of sandy white beaches and partake of its related beach activities. You can feel the fresh wind slapping gently upon your face while you engage in some enjoyable horse back riding. Here you can take advantage of the laid back vacation style and truly experience the various cultures and daily life of the people in this friendly country.

Although Uruguayans share a Spanish cultural background, about 25% of the people are of Italian heritage. Many are Roman Catholic although most Uruguayans do not actively practice a religion. Church and state are officially separated.

Uruguay has a high literacy rate, large urban middle class, and relatively even income distribution. The standard of living there compares favorably with that of most other Latin American countries. Montevideo, with about 1.3 million inhabitants, is the only large city. During the past twenty years, an estimated 500,000 Uruguayans have emigrated, principally to Argentina and Spain. As a result of the low birth rate, high life expectancy, and relatively high rate of emigration of younger people, Uruguay's population is quite mature.

Some must see places in the country of Uruguay are within Montevideo the country’s capital and they including the breathtaking 17th century Colonial port or the Punta del Este which is a very fashionable and trendy beach resort. You and your family can explore and enjoy Uruguay’s’ long stretch of Atlantic coastlines, lagoons and their famous sand dunes which surely will take your breath away. You will quickly run through roll after roll of film in your camera as you try to take as many of these breathtaking photos as you possibly can. Your camera simply cannot get enough pictures of the beautiful scenery. The fun and adventure will never stop in this place as you relax in one of Uruguay’s many hot springs such as is found in nearby Salto. Nearby you can party the entire night till your hearts desire within the Gaucho country.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Georgia on My Mind

If you are in the process of planning for an upcoming vacation you may have a few ideas as to where you intend to go. If not, then you should give a bit of consideration to vacationing in the state of Georgia. This vacation destination has much to offer the visiting tourist. Just give the state the chance to show you what it has available.

We have been to Atlanta many times and it is always exciting. Atlanta's major league sports teams offer year 'round attractions. Something is always in season! We have attended several college football events in the Georgia Dome. Always a fun weekend. There is a world class aquarium next to the convention center. And the kids always enjoy Six Flags Over Georgia.

As an example I would like to provide you with a short glimpse of what this small state actual can provide. Foremost in my mind is the opportunity to experience the most amazing adventure that you may ever have. The states activities are just about endless with its vast landscapes and inviting scenery that is certain to present rest and relaxation for the weariest of visitors. You can readily discover many relaxing activities such as hiking, cycling or even boating. Least of all let us not downsize the entertainment aspect associated with the state. Georgia nightlife represents a very vibrant side of the state with energetic or relaxing music as well as places to experience some undiscovered fine dining. These are all yours for the mere visit to the fine sate of Georgia. If you happen to be traveling with your family you will find an abundance of fun and exciting activities in the various amusement parks around the state, various tourist attractions such as zoos, resorts and museums. The list is actually too numerous to mention all of them here.

If you are up to the action and looking for some real fun you might wish to check out some of the small towns within this state for the various festivals and their monthly events. Take some time to mingle with both the other visitors as well as the locals. This is a sure fire means to get around to knowing the people and to acquire and insight into the local culture and history.

Generally you will find that there is something in this state for everyone. Actually this is a state where not only will vacationers find something to occupy their time but in the event that you may be planning a business meeting here your gathering will surely be a great success. You can readily find many different convention centers in Georgia which offer state of the art accommodations and facilities.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Perfect Villa Rental in Akumal

Akumal VacationExperience the vacation of your life in our private home that's right on the beach in South Akumal, Mexico. Our villa is truly a "house in paradise". The dazzling sun, blue water, sea wind and verdant jungle vegetation is breath taking. Walk through the orchid and bougainvillea filled main garden into a real Mexican home!

Villa Paraiso, a luxurious villa located right on the Akumal coast only 62 miles south of the Cancun airport, is the ideal location to spend your vacation with family and friends. It is a dream vacation home, located inside a secure gated community.

The property is surrounded by jungle foliage and white sandy beaches, complimented by the emerald clear waters of the Caribbean. Windows abound in the home, which offer breathtaking ocean panoramas and natural lighting from virtually anywhere in and around the villa.

Villa Paraiso is the perfect resting ground after a fun day of shopping, diving, snorkeling and dining in Akumal. These are all popular tourist activities in the Mayan Riviera, though a day of rest and relaxation on the beach might be preferable!

There is a new Robert Trent Jones 27 hole championship golf course, opening in the Summer of 2009 directly across the highway from the house. This beautiful golf course is open to the public, so bring your clubs! There is also a 9 hole Par 3 course and a practice course located there. Twelve miles north is Puertos Aventuras, where another 9 hole golf course awaits you.

Adventurous spirits will like a trip to see the Mayan ruins of Tulum only 6 miles away from the villa. Tulum offers a unique view into the lives and buildings of the elite Mayan civilization members. In contrast to the delicate carvings and superb architecture, the thick surrounding walls speak to the city’s resistance to influence from outsiders over several thousand years.

The home is equipped with central air conditioning, which is unusual for Akumal. A backyard pool and Jacuzzi allow visitors to relax and sun on the deck.

Upstairs, a wet bar is available to mix a delicious drink made with local tropical fruits. Downstairs, the breakfast bar, dining room and fully-stocked kitchen allow for comfortable dining. You can use the fully equipped gourmet kitchen to prepare your meals or have our chef prepare them for you.

In order to stay connected with the outside world, satellite flat screen TV and unlimited free long distance phone calls are furnished. A stereo, DVR player, CD player and high speed Wi-Fi service also allows you to entertain and work if needed.

Two electronic safes protect your valuables while away from the villa, though a private security service goes a long way in preventing unexpected occurrences. A daily maid service ensures you are never required to work while visiting Akumal.

Linens and towels are provided for all everyone up to a maximum of 8 guests. Ceiling fans are helpful in circulating the cool air from the central service for a relaxing effect after a day in the hot sun.

Outside, a barbecue grill allows you to grill for all and invite guests to enjoy a quiet evening at “home”! An outdoor shower also enables you to rinse off after a day of lounging in the sun, or just take a shower surrounded by nature.

Two free in house massages, hammocks and kayaks are all available to guests of Villa Paraiso to create the ultimate dream vacation package!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Peaceful Manitoba, Canada

Manitoba, Canada is one of the more peaceful of the Canadian provinces with many large open areas perfect for outdoor activities or simply for exploration. You will find a diverse landscape in Manitoba region which features a desert and even sub-arctic regions. Manitoba has all the requirements of a memorable vacation — four different seasons of sunshine, nature perserved from the ravages of industrialization and the love of life and culture by citizens who enjoy sharing their country with travlers.

Manitoba is a fun province to vacation if want to enjoy the pleasures associated with nature. There are several native animal species which will make your trip more enjoyable if you see the animals in their usual habitat. While the nature lovers in the family check out the wildlife the other members can tour the forests and rivers of the area. There are several kind of animals which every member of the family will enjoy watching including whale and moose. You should be careful in the northern areas of Manitoba since there are polar bears and large moose present which could present a hazard or danger to you.

If you want more adventures than animal watching would give you then you can enjoy in a wide variety of sports or camping activities that are offered in Manitoba. The largest event of the region is the summer festival which honors the regions history. This festival is commonly known and referred to as Folklorama. Here you will experience the energy of Folklorama, the largest and longest running multicultural event of its kind in the world! From traditional home-cooked meals to electrifying nightly performances by local, national and international entertainers, Folklorama will create a lasting memory as you tour the 44 cultural pavilions. Take home a souvinier of your visit by shopping at the booths found in each pavilion.

There are many cultural activities in Winnipeg the capital city of the ProvinceManitoba. There are zoos, museums, pro hockey and even ballet and opera performances available throughout the year in Winnipeg. Art galleries are available the year round and are especially enjoyable when the weather has turned too cold to properly enjoy the outdoors. If you are in the mood for fine dining or shopping while in Winnipeg then you will not be disappointed. There are several shopping centers which are filled with the most popular stores in Canada.

The outdoors is the main puropse of many trips to Manitoba. There are many different ways to enjoy the outdoors including camping and hiking in the Arctic region of Manitoba. You will discover several national parks in the province which offer fine camping facilities or you can choose to go boating on one of the participate in the water sports of the region. You will usually want to reserve the water sports activities for the warmer summer months since Manitoba can be quite cold during its winter months. The resort towns in Manitoba area have boats that you can rent complete with guides or you can venture out into the rivers and lakes on your own. Fishing is also a common pasttime in the area in warm weather.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a U.S. law that requires all visitors, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, to present a valid passport or other approved secure document when entering the United States from within the western hemisphere.

M Gravlee is a travel writer based out of Akumal, Mexico.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Learn More About Beautiful Xel-Ha

Xel-Ha photo by ®oberto

Xel-Ha is a world famous eco-park located north of Tulum, about 15 minutes from our house in Akumal. It's located on the eastern coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula, the location of the Mayans in ancient times.

Multiple leisure, ecological and natural attractions offer activities for the entire family. The delightful open-sea aquarium allows you to view sea life in its natural abode unchanged and not bothered.

Swimming with the dolphins is also a popular activity for visitors and it is not found easily in most places. Animal and nature people like to spend time in the water with these gentle mammals, and they will have a great story to bring back to their family and friends!

Snorkeling is also ideal in the local lagoon. The coral is dead there, but regular feeding keeps the many types of beautiful fish coming back for more. Some snorkelers will have another person feed the fish so they can see the fish from below.

There is a river which starts in a natural spring, and inner tubes are available to float down the stream. This is a relaxing complement to an afternoon nap in a hammock on one of the sandy beaches.

More adventurous spirits can climb up and dive from the high cliffs in Xel-Ha, touring the Mayan cave, and viewing the adjent Xel-Ha ruins. These ruins are largely untouched and totally original, with a unique view into the history and architectural contributions of the Mayans.

Hammock Island, Xpa, Bay of Caprices and The Beach are favorite areas for those who want to rest and experience the leisurely activities at Xel-Ha. Chacah Garden, the Mayan Wall, the Apiary and Plant Nursery provide unique natural locations for fauna lovers. Many examples of nature are also seen at the Inlet, El Dorado Cavern, Ixchel’s Gulf, the Mayan Cave, Chaac Mangal, and many lakes.

When staying in Akumal, Xel-Ha is an easy day trip that will please the entire family and offer plenty of varying activities for all. Tickets are affordable. Xel-Ha is a one of a kind eco-park with things to do centering around relaxation, fun and exploring historical and natural wonders.

People who like water will enjoy the inner tube ride, cliff diving and snorkeling in the lagoon. Naturalists will enjoy swimming with the dolphins and exploring the many forms of plant and animal life there, and those curious about the historical roots of the Yucatan Peninsula have plenty of opportunity to visit the Mayan ruins and see the architectural influences of that era.

Our kids and grandchildren usually plan on spending the entire day at Xel-Ha every time they visit Akumal. There is so much to do they never get tired of going back. They enjoy riding a bicycle through a path in the jungle, jumping off the cliffs into the limpid blue sea, swimming with the dolphins, and walking through stingrays on the bottom of the sea.

This is th first year they signed up for the Sea Trek. They wore a futuristic underwater helmet that looks like deep-sea diving equipment. Sea Trek required no previous training , diving or otherwise. Experts will be close at hand at all times during the walk, aiding them in every way and easing any concerns about the aquatic walk of your life. Everyone says it was a walk they would remember forever!

We highly recommend you visit Xel-Ha on your next trip to Akumal.

M Gravlee is a travel writer based out of Akumal, Mexico.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

6 Ways to Save on Your Vacation

Most people today often find that the act of going to a new and exotic location for various leisure activities is a much anticipated happening. Whether the trip is for a summer vacation, a ski trip or for that matter any special trip you need only to decide that it would be a good time to go on a trip and simply pack up. The problem is that can be an costly proposition. Not everybody can afford to purchase an airplane ticket or can they afford to stay in a deluxe hotel or in many cases they just do not have the required money to spend when they arrive at their chosen destination for their planned trip. If you know where to look for it traveling need not be expensive. If this idea interests you then you should read on.

1. Use the 'net! People with access to the Internet will find it very easy to search for discount travel offerings ranging from airlines, motels, villas for rent, cruises or even automobile rentals. Almost all tourist related businesses every where now have a web site so that you can go to and get the desired information prior to actually finishing your travel plans. You can always call the sellers directly and obtain additional information.

2. Be flexible about the day and time you travel. During the slow days of the week you can easily find many special deals or discount prices for both airline tickets and places to stay. Airlines may have seven or eight flights to your destination on a particular day. If you have to leave in the morning, check out the three or four departures that leave in the morning. Since airlines charge for tickets according to the availability of seats on the plane, changing your time by just one hour or so may save you a large amount of money.

3. You can also save is by traveling with a group such as a tour group, travel group or travel club. Group travel is usually arranged ahead of time by travel agencies. They purchase in bulk, often chartering a whole airplane and booking a large block of rooms to get the very lowest price.

4. Book early! Make your travel plans well in advance. Book your cruise a year in advance for the best discounts, and get the lowest rail fares just after the holidays. If you make your arrangements several months before you travel you typically get your choice of flights and rooms at the lowest rates.

5. Travel during the off-season. For example, go to the Caribbean and Mexico in the summer because in the winter rates for accommodations and plane fares go up. Caribbean cruises are less expensive when you go in the fall versus winter or spring. Hawaii is least expensive from mid-September to mid-December. Europe's best deals are offered between Thanksgiving and Easter when the Europeans are not on vacation.

6. In a foreign country exchange money at a local bank for the best conversion. ATMs affiliated with major credit card companies are great, but watch out for foreign ATMs. While they usually won't charge you a fee, your bank may charge you one! Learn your bank's policies before you travel.

These are but a few of the many ways you can make your vacation less expensive. All you need to do is be resourceful and pick the best time to travel and you can have that dream vacation that you have wanted so long without destroying your family budget.

M Gravlee is a travel writer based out of Akumal, Mexico.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Link Building with a Entrecard Daily Drop List

Travel on the TideI'm a frequent Entrecard Dropper. I usually drop over 200 cards a day and tend to drop on sites who reciprocate. While not everybody you drop on always drops back on you, I receive a great deal of traffic from Entrecard. BigDaddyRichard came up with list of frequent droppers who reciprocate. This list will definitely improve the drop rate on your blog.

BigDaddyRichard says:

"I prepared a list of 200 of dropaholics like me who I have proven not to miss a chance to drop back ec credits on you if you happen to drop some on them. I'd like to share this list with you just in case you have not prepared one yet for yourself. I thought I can be of help to other entrecarders by sharing this list with everyone.

"While preparing this list, an idea struck me - I figured the list can be the start of a link building network among Entrecarders! It will not only provide entrecarders with immediate links but the network of linkages has the potential to continually grow and improve your ranking as well as your Technorati Authority."

"Here is how I envision the scheme to work. First, to join, you need to copy the list below and add your own site to the list. Publish the list (which now includes your site) in a post similar to this one. If your site is already on this list, then just go ahead and publish the list in a post. Encourage your blogger friends join and do the same thing. As more and more bloggers add themselves to the list, the bigger your link base becomes."

"In the future, in order not to occupy too much space in your blog, I shall place the list in a scrolling widget once the number of participating sites nears 400 or more. Of course, you are free to start your own list if you wish, but if you opt to be part of my list, you need to let me know via a comment on this post or an email message through Entrecard so I can include you in updating the widget every time a new blogger joins the network. Every time a blogger publishes the list in a post, it viewed as a blog reaction by search engines and by Technorati. If the linkages mushrooms, your page rank as well as your Technorati Authority will zoom up with it."

"Don't waste time. No need to buy links or do cumbersome solicitations. A little typing and a little copy and paste is all that it will take! "

So just go to and sign up and get dropping!

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