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Top 5 Best Beaches In Cantabria Spain

Many travellers are starting to realise that the most popular tourist beaches of Spain are overcrowded, overbuilt and often overhyped. Hot, hectic and heaving with the annual tourist masses, the traditional ‘costas’ to the south are losing their appeal for the more discerning traveller.

On the plus side, with regular ferry crossings to Spain up for grabs from so many UK ports, Brits in growing numbers are discovering the hidden highlights of Spain’s north. A region notable for its unique culture and reliable summer climate, domestic and international tourists alike are setting their sights on the Costa de Cantabria.

But it’s not just the weather and the culture that are bringing those in the know the way of Cantabria. Instead, it’s the way in which the region is also home to some of the best beaches in the whole of Spain.

You might not have time to check them all out during a single trip, but give priority to the following top-picks and you won’t be disappointed:

Playa de la Arnia

Playa de la Arnia.

Situated approximately 15 minutes by car to the west of Santander, Playa de la Arnia (see here on Trip Advisor) is tricky to find but definitely worth the hunt. For first-timers, it isn’t unusual for it to take close to an hour to actually find the place – it isn’t what you would call well signposted. On the plus side, this keeps it nice and quiet throughout much of the season – particularly during the late spring and early autumn. The rock formations make for a very attractive setting while the water is warm, calm and shallow. A great beach for families, though it’s worth bearing in mind that there are no real facilities available at the beach itself – hence the importance of packing a picnic.

Playa de Amió

Playa de Amió

Just a little further to the west – approximately 30 minutes by car from Santander – you’ll find Playa de Amió. Once again, you’ll need to plan your journey in advance as it isn’t signposted very well from any major roads serving the area. Another extremely popular choice for families with young children, the dramatic rocky outcrops keep the water well protected and therefore calm throughout the year. The waters are also consistently warm and shallow, making them perfect for swimming and general relaxation. Facilities are a little more plentiful by comparison, which include a very popular café perched on top of the nearby cliff and the usual toilet and shower facilities. However, Playa de Amió like many similar remote beaches does not have a lifeguard patrol.

Playa Berellin

Playa Berellin

If willing to travel a little further – though still only about 45 minutes to the west of Santander – you’ll find yourself at a beach that looks more like a Thai island than a coastal resort in Europe. Getting there is a bit of a challenge and you’ll need to be prepared for a walk of about 15 to 20 minutes, given the way in which the car park is absolutely tiny with space for no more than about 10 cars. Nevertheless, the tiny golden-sand beach itself there is quite beautiful to look at, with a range of inlets and coves that are constantly changing as the tide comes in and out. Facilities are relatively limited though more than acceptable, comprising a small kiosk and a shower. As there’s a freshwater stream that joins the sea here, the water temperature tends to be on the chilly side and the local contingency of marine life abundant. Needless to say therefore, this is definitely the kind of place you won’t want to forget your snorkel or underwater camera!

Playa Meron

Playa Meron

If you’re looking for the kind of beach that’s a little more generous in terms of facilities, Playa Meron could be the place to head. It’s a little more commercialised and certainly bigger, stretching for approximately 2.5 kilometres with plenty of rocks and sand dunes to explore. It does also get a little busier, but nonetheless has a much stronger supply of restaurants, cafés, parking facilities and so on. It is also home to several great surf schools and is never short on the kinds of waves that pull in surfers from all over the country.

Playa El Rosal

Playa El Rosal

Last but not least, Playa El Rosal is also enormously popular among surfers, with its reliably warm waters and meticulously clean sands.  Whether or not you actually intend to get wet, Playa El Rosal is always worth checking out and has a longstanding reputation among families with kids of all ages.

Wanderlust on a Budget – 6 Stunning Global Destinations That Won’t Break the Bank

Travel doesn’t have to be a distant dream when you are working on a tight budget. Everyone deserves that little getaway break every now and then.

Here are six stunning destinations that won’t break the piggy bank.

1. Budapest HungaryBudapest Hungary

As far as holiday destinations go Hungary is often underrated. Budapest has some of the cheapest holidays available, and you are guaranteed to get more from those pennies than you expected. Budapest boasts some of the most extraordinary architecture and scenery, best observed from a boat tour along the Danube River, as well as some fantastic patisseries to keep your belly happy as you stroll through the city; you are definitely in for a sweet treat. To top it off you can visit their popular coffee houses for a cup of Joe that you will never forget. For £1 beers, you’ll never want to leave!

2. GreeceGreece

Currently recovering from the recent financial crisis gorgeous Greece is a budget holiday heaven. Holiday accommodation is typically inexpensive in the less cosmopolitan side of town, while the popular island of Mykonos is still quite pricey. If you are looking for a cheaper island alternative, you can opt for the quiet island of Pyros for the relaxation and tranquility you deserve on a Grecian holiday.

If your Greek holiday sounds more like dancing all night while putting back some cheap and tasty shooters then head over to the island of los for all-nighters abound. Take advantage of this while you can, and enjoy a breath-taking holiday.

3. Sri LankaSri Lanka

For that paradise getaway you would never expect, find it in Sri Lanka. Not only known for their world-renowned cricket teams, their pristine white beaches and gorgeous mountain ranges are sure to impress even the seasoned traveler.

For less than £30 a day you can have the luxury holiday abroad you have been dreaming of. There is the option of both beachside Hotels and hidden cottages on the mountainside. Known for their Buddhist culture you can explore temples and monasteries and dine on the best fish curries you have ever tasted.

4. CubaCuba

If you are looking spicy salsa and exhilarating carnivals then Havana, Cuba, is definitely your travel on a budget go-to destination.

Known for its fascinating history and diverse cityscape, scintillating Cuba is an exciting holiday location. For a holiday that won’t bankrupt, you definitely need to visit this Caribbean island.

 

5. Istanbul Turkey

Istanbul Turkey

For a relaxing and quiet holiday, this is the place you want to be. Visit the historical landmarks, take a traditional Istanbul passenger ferryboat through the city or bask on a street side terrace sampling the country’s finest food, this is one place you can go to hide away from all the worries life throws at you.  Plan your budget and you can make this an unforgettable adventure.

6.EgyptEgypt

Ever wanted to roam the valley of kings or see a mummy in its tomb? Though you may not see Brendan Frasier battling a swarm of reanimated mummies, Egypt is every young at heart’s favorite adventure come true. For a surprisingly affordable adventure, you can visit the pyramids and the absorb the rich history this ancient country has to offer, combined with a visit to the Nile or some amazing desert feasts you will leave Egypt feeling like modern day pharaoh.

The Most Up and Coming Cultural Hotspots in Africa

Africa as a travel destination has regained some popularity over the last few years. There is no longer the misconception that the everyday person rides along the streets on elephants and or gets chased down by lions (though they might do in some very remote regions). The infrastructure and business economy have boomed in many of the large and prosperous cities placing them as strong presences in global trade with their own unique identity. Trade aside; rich African cultural heritages are a great drawing card in terms of tourism.

1. Accra, Ghana Accra, Ghana

has built itself up from the starting points of a tiny village, to a bustling city with a mind of its own. This city has strong cultural beliefs, which tie into everything they do. For the traveler interested in a more holistic adventure a visit to some local children’s reading centers or immersing themselves in traditional festivals that provide insight and understanding of the culture can provide just that. The people of Ghana are tightknit communities who make you feel welcome from the moment you arrive. Walking through the streets is sure to stimulate the senses as street vendors peddle their delicious food and produce as well as enjoy the unique buildings and architecture. Accra will definitely make you feel one with vibrant energy and creative spirit of the country.

2. Gaborone, BotswanaGaborone, Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana has become a destination of choice for travelers interested in history and culture and has pushed itself to be seen. With its national monuments and cultural diversity, it is truly a remarkable place to visit. The Three Chiefs Monument sums up its history and beliefs beautifully in a few simple words: “boitshoko, maikarabelo, boipuso, botshabelo, bogaka,” meaning “endurance, global responsibility, independence, refuge and heroism;” words to live by.

3. Newtown, South AfricaNewtown, South Africa

Found in the city of in Johannesburg is considered a major contender as a cultural hotspot. Home and inspiration to the artistic and creative minds of South Africa, much of the area has been renovated and reconstituted for museums and studios with an abundance of thrift shops, street stalls, and visual delights. Newtown is fast becoming a tourist favorite on their journeys through South Africa’s Mother city. South Africa has 12 official languages and many well-engrained and diverse cultural identities.

Another favorite in South Africa is Braamfontein, a region that has undergone many a facelift reflecting the great changes in political and cultural history of the nation. You can see old bus depots become restaurants and markets become open-air theaters. The vibrancy and ethnicity of this area has attracted a lot of attention and is a go-to spot to look at the deeper stories of the city and the country as a whole.Braamfontein

This being said, every country could be considered a cultural “hotspot” in its own right. Each place has a story to tell, a rich cultural history molded by religion and transitions from traditional to modern livelihoods. Truly it is the people that create those hotspots, by recognizing these points of rich heritage, showing an interest in other people’s stories and creating an atmosphere of intrigue and curiosity. A journey through Africa is sure to quench your interest in culture, allowing many opportunities to show respect to those who were there before us and the legacy created.

The Best Places in the World to Go for a Surfing Vacation

Where there is coastline, there are waves. However, there are some places on earth where the shape of the geography and weather conditions are particularly conducive to forming great waves. Surfing is a healthy outdoor activity which is further enhanced by the surrounding countryside. Here are 3 places in completely different parts of the globe where these factors come together beautifully.

New ZealandNew Zealand

New Zealand is in the South Pacific Ocean. As an island, there is swell from all angles. In the South and to the West there are waves all year round and during the summer months, there are plenty of waves in the North. So In New Zealand, every day is a great day to surf.

People have been surfing around New Zealand for a really long time so the sport is well established. The city beaches have good waves and you can always find a local guide to show you the more remote areas. As the island is not huge you never have to go too far to get to the sea. Of course, there are waves all along the coast but there are several well known “hot” surf spots. Some of the best known include:

1. RaglanRaglan

known for its laid back atmosphere and Bohemian lifestyle. Here you will find some of the longest best left-hand point waves in the world. The untouched countryside lends a magnificent backdrop.

2. Sandy baySandy bay new zealand

on the North coast where you will find masses of clean waves in a stunning setting. Surfing lifestyle is quite established here and you can easily find someone to give you lessons and surfboards to rent are easy to come by.

MadagascarMadagascar

Also an island, so there are many miles of coastline with consistently great waves all year round particularly good from April to October. The surf possibilities are largely unexplored but these great wave forms have been reported by some of the experienced surfers who recommend Madagascar as an unrivaled surf adventure.

There are some fantastic places which are accessible only by boat. However, there are waves for all levels of surfing skill. There are deserted white beaches with uncrowded waves. You will however need to be aware of sharks who share the sea here.

There are a couple of local companies who specialise in surf tours namely Boogie Pilgrim and Madagascar surf tours. Search for these, they will be able to give you some great advice.

ChileChile

It is possible to find surf in Chile all months except for the winter months of July and August. The sea is clean but very cold and a wetsuit will be required.

Surfing only become popular here during the 1970’s and is rapidly gaining popularity As Chile has a coastline of about 4000 miles, there are plenty of places where one can find awesome waves mostly lefts, it’s a goofy foot paradise.

In the North, there is dry desert with rocky bases. This landform produces powerful hollow waves. The central region, closer to Santiago, is much more accessible and you could experience regular 15 foot waves and often waves up to 25 feet roll in. The land is largely pristine and untouched and quite magnificent.

So, keep the sunscreen on, pack your board and head for the beach. Keep safe, respect local traditions and preserve the environment.

Top 5 Destinations For an Icy Cold Trip

Somewhere in the world it is cold. Just the word “cold” turns people off the idea of visiting a place but let’s be honest; we have all seen some amazing snowy photos in our time. People should try to embrace it. Trips are most certainly not all about going to warm places and sitting on a beach- well, not every time. Sometimes, the most beautiful destinations are caked in the white stuff. Some of the coolest photos show a glaze of icicles and huge glaciers.

In this article, Agness and Cez of eTramping travel blog will showcase to you their TOP FIVE places to visit to experience what any others will miss out on; visiting the most beautiful icy cold destinations the human eyes will ever see. They personally love to travel in winter, so you might beware plenty of enthusiasm!

1. Svalbard, Norway

With a name that sounds like it came straight out of a Lord Of The Rings novel, Svalbard is a collection of islands situated north of Norway, tucked in between the Arctic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea. Largely unpopulated across all islands, some have “nature reserve” status and offer so much potential for the more adventurous traveller. The higher mountain tops are permanently under snow and there are plenty of cool glaciers to check out for those who love an upward trek. If you time it right, you may catch a midnight sun (April to August) or a polar night (October to February) in your Svalbard trip. They will certainly add character to your trip!

Svalbard, Norway

There are plenty of ways of getting around each of the islands, but the postal service boat trips or Svalbard Cruises are the best ways. Most people there speak English very well, so communication will not be an issue. The best part of these trips can include a possibility of seeing a Polar Bear family finding its way through the craggy mountains. Not only that, there may also be an abundance of other remarkable wildlife in their natural habitat. Be sure to keep an eye out for Puffins, Humpback Whales, Orcas, polar foxes and many more.
One other interesting fact: any human artifacts left lying around from before 1946 must be left alone, as the law states. You may stumble across an old mining entrance, or a random spade on your travels.  It is best to not touch them!

2. Harbin, China

Harbin is home to the Ice and Snow Festival, where the most incredible ice sculptures are showcased to those that visit. Popular throughout January, Harbin is the perfect icy getaway for those wanting to numb their New Year Blues. This expedition is becoming more and more popular every year as competition grows from participants around the world. There is no doubt you will wowed by the high quality of these sculptures and their intricate and accurate cuts, not to mention the sizes! It has been known that an Ice Castle was showcased here once, standing at a whopping forty-eight metres high! There are smaller, less hectic shows on Sun Island, although the name doesn’t reflect the temperatures. Be sure to pack strategically, as it can get super cold here during this time of the year.

Harbin, China

There is plenty to keep you occupied other than the ice sculptures. Ice-skating and sight-seeing are two very popular things to do, as the architecture here is a mixture of Russian influence and neo-classical streets, which makes for an interesting mixture of styles. Plenty of history to be learned!

3. Barrow, Alaska

This part of the US is unique because it stretches far north of the Arctic Circle. Not only that but it is surprisingly diverse with culture. You will probably hear several languages spoken around you in any given day. Nevertheless, the majority of the population are of Eskimo heritage and the locals have gone to great lengths to preserve their natural way of life. Therefore you will find plenty of points of interest, where you will learn of the evolution and hardships of a very unique group of people.  In fact, the more interest you show, the more welcome you will feel. Barrow Beach is a very photogenic area, with the added possibility of sighting some polar bears in their natural habitat. You may even see them in the middle of a seal hunt! It is best to keep a whole day free for this part of the trip, as you will have a chance to relax and take in your surroundings.

Barrow, Alaska

Temperatures in Barrow can get frightfully cold (lows of -50 degrees Celsius) but there is plenty of landscape to explore.

4. Patagonia, South America

This is quite simply a matchless part of the world, because of its incredible exploration opportunities. Shared by Chile and Argentina, the western part mixes with the Andes and give you awe-inspiring trek routes and the most beautiful nature experiences you may ever have.  The Moreno Glacier is certainly worth a visit due to its vastness and photo opportunities. The eastern stretches of Patagonia have cool views of the Atlantic Ocean. The north collides with dry and humid desert land and Pampas lowlands. It has everything! It is such a huge, desolate area, a playground for trekkers and adventure seekers to enjoy.

Patagonia, South America

What is even more distinctive is the local dialect. Welsh, you may wonder? Yes, one of the larger settlements in these parts are Welsh Argentinian. You will meet the kindest, most humble people on your trip here, people will drop everything to help you along your way.

Patagonia is actually proudly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will most likely mix with some fantastic wildlife, such as sea lions, dolphins and penguins on the coast, and witness endangered Pumas and other such animals in the mountains.

5. Swiss Alps

You know where this is going- get your skis ready! Aside from the amazing skiing experiences (if skiing takes your fancy- or snowboarding, for that matter), there are plenty of quaint, fairytale-like villages to explore, such as Saas Fee and Wengen.

Swiss Alps

They offer sweet, alpine views, amazing hot meals, and are great places to base yourself as you explore the local skiing culture. Stay warm with some local Fondue, and mix with families and lone-travellers from all around the world. Make sure you bring a GoPro or something similar, for those winding alpine slopes!

There are also some fantastic mountaineering climbs on offer across the region. Plenty of choices include Matterhorn, Breithorn and Castor. If you enjoy challenging yourself to adventurous treks, you are in for a treat! The views are breath-taking, the glaciers are looming.  Further down the mountains you will find wondrous gorges and national parks to gaze upon, so take a spare memory card for your camera!

The Most Magical Family Vacation Destinations in Europe

Traveling across the Atlantic may be the most magical experience you’ve ever had in years.  Not only is Europe the destination of choice for honeymooners or singles in search of a little romance, but it’s become the choice for wide-eyed, dropped jawed parents with kids.

Let’s look at just 5 exquisite destinations in Europe that will you’re your trip from mediocre to unforgettable.

1. Copenhagen, DenmarkCopenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is Denmark’s capital, as it’s filled with magical wonders and ‘under the sea’ adventures. The Blue Planet is the National Aquarium and the largest aquarium in Northern Europe. Instead of mindless wondering, your kids will experience an educational tour that stimulates their young scientific minds and will also have you captivated. Then there’s the National Museum, Rosenberg Castle, Tivoli Gardens and the iconic Little Mermaid bronze sculpture.

2. Amsterdam, NetherlandsAmsterdam, Netherlands

The first thought that runs through the minds of adults is ‘no-way’!  It may surprise you but Amsterdam is a quiet city to enjoy as a family.  It a good option to hop on a tram and head towards the Rijksmuseum.  This spectacular museum comprises of the largest collection of Dutch art.  Get off the road and onto the Canal Cruise for a different perspective of Amsterdam.  Observe the houseboats and narrow side-by-side homes that line the canal on all sides. Then there’s Rembrandtplein; Jordaan neighborhood and Dam Square.  The infamous Red Light District might not be a good idea after dark especially if you have kids with you.  However, the attractions of the previous sites would be enough to have your kids exhausted by nightfall.

3. Paris, FranceParis, France

Visit the famous Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Chateau de Versailles.  Luxembourg Gardens will provide your kids endless fun with boat rides and carousel rides.  All these mind-boggling sites will make you wish you were a kid again.  You can also take advantage of booking e-tickets or simply plan your program with the Welcome to Paris multilingual program available in the App Store and Google play.  Finally, Paris is known as the ‘City of Love’ so wind down your visit to this city with a glass of wine and a lot of romance.

4. Reykjavik, IcelandReykjavik, Iceland

Being the world’s northernmost capital, Reykjavik offers fascinating geographic wonders.  It’s a place to experience geothermal springs, dress up in Viking armor or even view some of the largest mammals on Earth close up.  This city is a dream for parents as Reykjavik is known to be safe, clean and family friendly.

5. London, EnglandLondon, England

Childhood memories are brought back to life in London, the birthplace of classics like Peter Pan, Paddington Bear, and Winnie-the-Pooh.  When you think you’ve gotten over the dizziness of your childhood memories, turn your attention to the London Eye (the iconic riverside observation wheel), Buckingham Palace (home of the British Queen), Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral.  The entertainment list in London is endless from Trafalgar Square to National Galleries and don’t forget the London Bridge Experience.

To wet your appetite, let me just leave you with the thought that your journey does not have to end here.  There is still Barcelona (Spain), Vienna (Austria), Rome (Italy), Berlin (Germany) and Lisbon (Portugal) that fall into the balance of the top 10 cities to visit in Europe.

The 10 Travel Destinations you Need To Put on Your Bucket List

It’s a great big, beautiful world out there, with so many choices of stunning travel destinations that it’s not easy deciding where to set your sights when seeking the adventure of a lifetime. Not everyone has the luxury of regular travel to glamorous destinations, so for those of us who aim to see at least one magical place before it’s too late, narrowing your options down to just one or two choices can be quite tough. If indecision is standing in the way of your dreams then let’s simplify the choice for you; we’ve handpicked 10 breathtaking destinations which you absolutely must see in your lifetime.

1. Touring Through the Alhambra in Granada, SpainAlhambra in Granada, Spain

The Alhambra is a palace in Granada which dates as far back as 889 AD. The Moors gave it a renovation in the 11th Century, making it a rich historical and cultural experience. This historical monument’s architecture is beautifully intricate and lavishly decorated, guaranteed to both fascinate and inspire.

2. Sledding or Snowboarding down an Active Volcano in NicaraguaVolcano Boarding

Are you a sledding or snowboarding enthusiast? Well, you haven’t lived until you have tried your hand at volcano boarding at Cerro Negro, an active volcano located just outside of León in Nicaragua. The volcano requires a 2388 foot hike up loose, penny-sized volcanic rock, which you then sled or snowboard downhill at a thrilling 30 mph!

3. Go Swimming In Iceland, in the Blue LagoonBlue Lagoon

In a lava field in Southwest Iceland found approximately an hour away from the capital Reyjavík is a geothermal 100°F spa known as the Blue Lagoon. The man-made lagoon appears blue when the sunlight hits it due to its rich silica content, and it also contains algae and mineral contents which are purported to have many healing properties. It is fed by geothermal seawater. 279

4. Releasing a Candle in Thailand during the Yi Peng FestivalYi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai

The Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand is a religious ceremony celebrated by the Thai people in which they release glowing lanterns into the sky and make a wish as they pay homage to the Buddha. A week later a second lantern release festival is hosted to give the foreigners a turn to participate, along with fireworks and colorful parades running through the city all through the weekend.

5. Diving with Crocodiles in Wild AfricaDiving with Crocodiles in Wild Africa

If you’re looking for a destination that offers you the chance to be really brave, then travel down to South Africa and meet one of the most terrifying ancient creatures on earth. Crocs have 4 times the bite pressure of the great white shark, getting up close and personal will be the most intense things you will ever experience. You can dive with Nile crocodiles in a bite-proof cage at the Cango Wildlife ranch in Oudtshoorn, South Africa.

6. Exploring the Wildlife of the Galápagos IslandsGalapagos Iceland

The Galápagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Island. Charles Darwin, the evolutionary theorist, spent many years in Ecuador studying the Islands’ vast number of species which are totally unique to the island. See creatures you won’t find anywhere else, like giant tortoises, tiny penguins, and blue-footed boobies.

7. Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, TurkeyHot Air Ballooning

How better to enjoy Turkeys panoramic vistas, the charming hoodoos, and the balmy weather than in a hot-air balloon floating in the sky? In Cappadocia the sky is littered with them.

8. Wondering Through Japan’s Sagano Bamboo ForestSagano Bamboo Forest

Japan’s Sagano Bamboo Forest sits just outside of Kyoto. Take a walk through a magical world of the bamboo stalks towering abundantly and majestically above you, creaking spookily in the wind.

9. Swinging in Ecuador at the End Of The WorldSwinging in Ecuador

The ‘end of the world’ refers to La Casa del Arbol in Baños, Ecuador. Here you’ll find a tree house, which is actually a seismic monitoring station, with a non-acrophobes swing which hangs over the crater of an active stratovolcana called Mount Tungarahua.

10. Cruising through Vietnam’s Hạ Long BayCruising through Vietnam’s Hạ Long Bay

Picture a bay of emerald green waters dotted with towering limestone rainforest islands. The Gulf of Tonkin’s Hạ Long Bay features over 1600 generally uninhabited islets and islands, making it an ideal tourist destination for outdoor appreciators such as hikers, rock climbers, and scuba divers.

The 10 Best Getaway Beach Resorts around the World

Everyone fantasizes about the ultimate beach holiday; the stuff dreams are made of. The perfect pearly white sands, crystal clear blue waters, the scenery set with perfect palm trees blowing in the wind near rustic beach huts.

We have compiled a list of some of the most inviting beach resorts that have caught the eye of many a dreamer.

Rosalie Bay Resort, DominicaRosalie Bay Resort, Dominica

Perfect surroundings from gardens to mountains and miles of coastline – it doesn’t get any better. Here you can hike to the second largest volcanic heated body of water, enjoy a relaxing spa treatment and take sunset walks along the shore. This is one of the most spectacular beachside resorts on the Atlantic Ocean.

Peter Island, British Virgin IslandsPeter Island Resort

Peter Island Resort is the only one on the entire island, if you are looking for a break from anything remotely resembling city living then this is definitely the place to for you. The resort boasts a one of a kind spa for those looking for a relaxing massage, cleansing, and some aromatherapy as well as private plunge pools when you are looking to cool off.

Costa Alegre, MexicoCosta Alegre

It is no coincidence that the name translates to “cheerful coast.” This getaway at El Tamarindo resort is breathtaking. Few places can compete with the pristine green lawns, brilliant blue waters, and pure white sand. This stunning resort boasts a purifying treatment spa as well as some of the best seafood available to tantalize your taste buds.

Gold Coast, BarbadosSandy Lane Resort

Lavish resorts don’t come close to the Sandy Lane Resort on the Gold Coast of Barbados. Here there are stretches of beachfront as far as the eye can see, water as clear as glass and luxuries as you have never experienced before. They even have their own full golf course carved out a limestone quarry. Need we say more?

Four Seasons Resort, BaliFour Seasons Resort

What would a holiday be without the Four Seasons Group? Boasting Infinity Jacuzzis and their own cooking school you can have your cake and eat it, on the holiday, in Bali. How perfect could it get?

Rayavadee Krabi, ThailandRayavadee Krabi, Thailand

Who would have thought that your beach holiday could include elephant rides? Well here is one resort that can make that dream come true. Aside from that, you can climb 1000 steps to the temple at Tiger Cave or just simply drink in the sunshine while lying on the sandy white beaches enjoying the scenery of the mangrove forest engulfing the island.

Letaha Island and Resort, Raiatea, French PolynesiaLetaha Island and Resort

Enjoy spending time in the luxury cabins that are built over the turquoise ocean waters. Submerge your life in the ocean lifestyle and explore incredible pearl farms and snorkel through coral forests; this is the full package, you won’t find anywhere closer to the sea!

Hacienda Encantada Resort and Spa, Cabo, San LucasHacienda Encantada Resort and Spa

This stunning resort boasts a lost city feel with gorgeous stone-faced buildings, perfect dipping pools, and awe-inspiring scenery. The resort has five unique on-site restaurants so you will never feel the need to leave the comfort of the resort in this all intoxicating paradise, though Cabo does have some amazing experiences awaiting the wander lusting traveler.

Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa, PhilippinesShangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa

This optimizes all that a beach resort holiday should be. Only accessible by sea and the only resort on the island with everything you could possibly need, sun beds, seashells, day spas and absolutely delicious food. Who said perfect wasn’t possible?

Couples Swept Away Resort, Negril JamaicaCouples Swept Away Resort, Negril Jamaica

With everything aimed at sun and water this resort has it covered. Their incredible pool scenery is something out of a fairytale. You won’t believe it with your own eyes. Gorgeous! There is just no other word to describe it.

The 6 Most Spiritual Journeys Around the World You Can Embark On

If you are in a place in your life where you need to take some time off to assess where you are and who you are in life and where you fit into this big wide world, then you are ripe for a spiritual journey. The aim is not to find the answer but rather to keep asking questions, to keep seeking the next adventure. Each journey is unique and there is no wrong way to get it done but we have selected some good places to start.

If you are ready to embark on a life-changing pilgrimage then fear not, there are destinations that will blow your mind and need not kill your bank account. You can go on the most spiritually significant trip you will ever experience with memories you will never forget. Here are 6 stunning metaphysical destinations for you to set your sights on.

1. IndiaIndia

India is a spiritual hub of many major religions and can be a spectacular experience for the spiritually-minded, giving you an opportunity to learn about Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. One awe-inspiring place to check out is Rishikesh, a city which sits alongside the Himalayas, which has attracted many spiritual leaders who have established yoga retreats and ashrams.

You can also travel to the Source of the Ganges, the holiest river of Hinduism, which begins in Uttar Pradesh in the Himalayan peaks and runs all the way over 2000km into the Bay of Bengal. Regarded as the Holiest of Holies, many thousands of Hindus make their way to the source near Gangotri every year on a spiritual pilgrimage.

2. JapanJapan

Japan is the home of many zen gardens, shrines, and temples and makes a stunning spiritual journey destination if you are looking for inner peace. Take a look at the 88 Temple Circuit on Shikoku Island. The island houses 88 temples, representing all of the evil human passions which Buddhist doctrine outline. The aim of traveling this circuit is to free yourself from each of these passions one by one.

The circuit, which begins at Tokushima, is a 1500km route and was traditionally walked, despite the fact that some of the temples are as many as 100kms apart. These days however, it is totally acceptable to complete this pilgrimage on the tour bus, most of which do the circuit clockwise.

3. PeruPeru

Travel to Peru to see Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Here you will get a glimpse into the legendary Incas and their link to star travelers. You odyssey can include a chance to see some of the most awe-inspiring locations in the world, like Ollantaytamo, Saqsayhuaman, the Andes Mountains, Lake Titicaca and the magnificent Amazon Rainforest.

4. StonehengeStonehenge

Stonehenge is regarded as one of the greatest mysteries of mankind and is one of the most magnetically charged locations on the globe. No other place in history has ever generated as much mystery and speculation as these stones, the sheer size of which will have you in complete awe.

5. BaliBali

Bali can be one of the most spiritually rewarding and renewing destinations you can embark on a spiritual odyssey to. Known for its yoga retreats, healthy organic eating, and spiritual healers, your spiritual journey offers you a chance to heal, to release, to grow and to surrender your stress on a beautiful island firmly rooted in the quest for continued spiritual growth and the practice of mediation.

6. SedonaSedona

Known for its spiritual energy, Sedona in Arizona, USA is home to many shamans, reiki healers, and psychics. If you love hiking, star gazing and getting as close to nature as possible then Sedona is just the place for you.

Backpacking Through Asia – The Adventure of a Lifetime

Asia is a continent that is truly remarkable for a number of reasons. The abundance of culture and amazing landscapes make it the perfect place to go backpacking. On top of that, backpacking in Asia is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to travel. Finding a starting point for your adventures will be the least of your concerns as there are numerous spots that have peaked interest across the world. Here are a few backpacker favorites:

Thailand Thailand

Thailand is known for offering a top class backpacking experience. It will most certainly be easy to travel lightly there as the weather conditions in this tropical paradise call for minimal layers. There are few people who have any critiques of their experience in Thailand as there is plenty of things to do no matter what type of activities you enjoy.

People who are out there for the cultural experience can visit mesmerizing ancient temples. There is also a number of fascinating museums like the National Museum of Royal Barges in Bangkok. On the other hand, one can spend countless hours swimming in the warm ocean if they have a bit more energy to kill.

VietnamVietnam

Just next door to Thailand is scenic Vietnam. One of the perks of traveling in Asia is that traveling from one country to the next is not much of a hassle. This is because many of the south-eastern countries of Asia are incredibly small in comparison to the likes of America. To put that into perspective a single state in the US, Texas, is larger than the whole of Vietnam. That does not mean that Vietnam has nothing to offer.

An interesting aspect of the Vietnamese experience is traveling on a motorcycle. This has become a popular form of transport in the country. Backpackers often travel from Hanoi to Saigon and whether they are on a motorcycle or not, the mountains, waterfalls and friendly locals make it a worthwhile experience.

ChinaChina

Thailand and Vietnam are two of the most visited countries for backpackers because of their beauty and affordability. However, China might be a good idea for a backpacker who wants a truly world class adventure and has a bit more money to spend. China’s capital, Beijing, is home to the legendary Great Wall of China.

Hiking this world-renowned landmark would be a life changing experience for anyone trying to have a memorable trip. Nevertheless, backpacking isn’t all about the outdoor experiences. China’s cosmopolitan lifestyle is just as inviting for any shoppers out there. The Beijing Yintai Center, one of China’s most popular malls, is over 1 million square feet.

Being aware of the amazing places to backpack in Asia is truly exciting, but in order to make sure you have the best time possible remember to consider your options. If you want your adventure to last a couple of weeks, or even months, then consider staying in hostels or camping as a form of accommodation. Some of the best experiences come from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and if that means sleeping under stars once or twice it can still be a wonderful time.

Another seemingly obvious idea is to maintain a budget. Each day in Asia will be so much better if you have allocated enough money towards it. On the topic of planning it’s best to be sure of what you will be doing each day. If you doubt you’ll be able to do it on your own, then consider joining a planned tour with a travel agency.

7 of the Best Shopping Vacation Spots you can Visit

Very few things in life are as satisfying as a vacation. Well deserved (or not), nothing quite beats packing your bags and being on your way to your holiday destination. The only thing that tops going on vacation, is shopping while on vacation. So if you always leave extra room in your luggage or are blessed enough to come back home with an extra bag- then here is a quick guide to the world’s seven best shopping vacation spots you can visit.

5 Winter Sports Destinations to Die For

It’s never too early (nor too late) to start planning your next winter break, and lovers of all things white and wonderful are in for a treat when they visit any of these top worldwide winter sports destinations.

North America
Park City Mountain ResortPark City Mountain Resort

According to ZRankings, the authority on such things in the United States, Park City Mountain Resort in Utah topped the list of desirable ski destinations for 2016. This winter favorite is nestled in 7300 acres of prime snow-sports real estate with opportunities for both slope and cross-country skiing. Add to this, wonderful scenic beauty, easy accessibility from Salt Lake City International airport and thrilling off-piste activities and you have a winning formula for your next winter vacation.

Apart from skiing, activities include a unique zip line, sleigh rides, cross-country snowshoe trails and thrilling coaster rides through the snow.

RevelstokeRevelstoke

Across the border in Canada, you can’t go wrong at rustic Revelstoke, where steep and open powder faces beckon to the skiing enthusiast. The pistes are long and well maintained and you can even try out over 500 000 acres of pristine heli-skiing terrain, or some awesome tree skiing.

Revelstoke town is a laid-back place to relax after a thrilling day on the slopes where you can choose from a small selection of friendly bars and restaurants to while away the evenings.

This resort is remote and exclusive, perfect for those who dislike queues and crowds.

Europe

This chilly continent is well known for winter-sports destinations par excellence, and it is difficult to choose just a few from the many wonderful Meribel ski resorts available.

Meribel, FranceMeribel

Located in the famous Three Valleys ski domain, this area is a delight for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, with a fantastic range of terrain, and great opportunities for après-ski adventures.

Several bars and restaurants dotted along the slopes offer refreshment and amusement for those who want to tag along on foot, or by means of the gondolas, with their skiing-buddies. Nearby, the Olympic district of Chaudanne also offers a full-size ice rink, spa, indoor climbing wall and swimming pool for non-skiing days. You will find no shortage of places to sample fine French cuisine or enjoy a night on the town here either.

Zermatt, SwitzerlandZermatt, Switzerland

What better way to spend your winter vacation than in the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn, which lends its silhouette to Toblerone chocolates? Zermatt is awash with winter sporting adventures from advanced skiing to sightseeing from thrilling lookout points high up on the slopes.

Staying at this exclusive ski-resort can be expensive, but it is well worth saving your pennies to partake in the ultra-luxurious in-house facilities such as shops, cafés, restaurants, bars, spas, swimming pools, squash, indoor tennis courts, ice rinks, bowling alleys, and gyms.

St Anton, AustriaSt Anton, Austria

St Anton is famous as a party paradise for winter-sports lovers. Here you can let your hair down to the tune of local oompah bands, DJ’s and live acts, dine in jovial restaurants and shop until you drop in quaint tourist stores.

When you take to the slopes however, this resort means business. Try out the challenging routes on the slopes of the well-known Gampen and Kapall Mountains or the notorious peaks of Galzig and the Valluga for some of the world’s most exciting skiing challenges.

These are just a few of our best options for a winter vacation beyond compare, what are your favorites?

Why Key Largo is better than Key West for Scuba Diving

Key Largo, Florida is the first of the many Florida Keys and often overlooked by tourists. Perhaps it is because of the news media and Hollywood productions that highlight Key West more than Key Largo, but everyone thinks that Key West is the place to go for diving. There are certainly lots of reasons to visit Key West.

    • Ernest Hemingway
    • Wyland Gallery
    • The few Florida Keys beaches
    • 20 annual events
    • Old Town architecture
    • Diving
Key West Scuba Diving

Key West Scuba Diving

Key West is also full of various bars, restaurants, and an accepting population of all people. Fort Zachary Taylor, Key West Lighthouse, and West Martello Tower are just a few of the attractions.

For scuba diving, you need to know your stuff. The reefs in Key West are on walls, which can be over 200 feet deep. As a diver, you need to be able to keep your wits about you, pay attention to your depth and enjoy the beauty. While beautiful, Key West is also over populated with divers. For decades, everyone traveled to the reefs as the only Florida Keys dive place to truly go. Now, you have hundreds of visitors a year, some damaged areas of the reef walls, and most wreck dives are below 80 feet.

If you want to scuba dive with nothing in mind, but the beauty, then it has to be Key Largo. Sure, you are going to check your gauges to determine if you are going the proper direction, have plenty of air, and dive safe. But, with diving in Key Largo, you have more time underwater. Many of the dive locations are 20 to 30 feet down to the bottom when you want to dive reefs or wrecks.

You can choose the USS Spiegel Grove or USS Duane for deep dives, but Eagle Ray Alley, Benwood Wreck, Christ of the Abyss, and City of Washington are all within 20 to 30 feet depths.

The water is so clear in Key Largo, on most days that you can see the dive boat without having to go to the surface, in the event you get a little disoriented in the alleys or along the wrecks’.

There have been days, when the head of the Christ Statute is almost above the surface, as well as some of the reefs.

Since everyone tends to overlook Key Largo for diving and heads straight to Key West, you can expect plenty of days when you can dive with 10 to 20 people on your tour boat, and maybe 100 in the water versus triple that number in Key West.

Besides the scuba diving, Key Largo has its own charm. As a beautiful town, where the highway is often surrounded by water and mangroves on both sides, you can truly see the ocean, gulf, and the beauty of living on a strip of land. There are plenty of equally great restaurants for dining that are more affordable than Key West, ensuring you can fulfill your craving for seafood and fish after your morning and afternoon dives. You can even throw in a night dive because you know you will have the dive time left over after the shallow 30 foot dive you do earlier in the day.

Visiting San Antonio – You Can See More Than The Alamo

San Antonio, Texas is known first and foremost for the Alamo. The Battle of the Alamo, which occurred in 1836, was an important event in Texas history. In fact, the Texas army was able to defeat the Mexican army due to the Battle of the Alamo. It was a fight that ended in Crockett, Bowie, and Travis dying and perhaps becoming three of the most famous men in this period of history. Bowie is known for the knives named after him and Crockett was known as a folk hero and adventurer.

The Alamo has since been repaired after the fight left it nearly decimated. You can take tours of the inside and outside landscape, enjoying the history as told by Texans. But, there is much more than just the Alamo to see while you are in San Antonio.

Here are the top three places you will also want to go:

  1. Fiesta Texas

    Fiesta Texas Park

    Fiesta Texas Park

    This is an adventure park and part of the Six Flags brand name. Fiesta Texas has had a reputation as one of the best parks in the United States for roller coasters and they have not lost this deserved praise. In 1992 the Rattler was opened as the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the entire world. It stood 179 feet tall at the highest point, with a first drop of 166 feet, and a speed of 73 miles per hour. In just two years, it had to be reduced to 124 feet for the drop, to lessen the speed to 65 miles per hour. Unfortunately, the wooden coaster is no longer, having been replaced by the Iron Rattler. Today it has a 171 foot drop, returning it to its former glory, as well as 70 miles per hour. It is safer, but still an amazing ride. Besides the numerous roller coasters, there are water rides, and special Texan based entertainments like 1800s style restaurants.

  2. Sea World

    SeaWorld San Antonio

    SeaWorld San Antonio

    for those who want to learn about the ocean and its many creatures, there is Sea World. Here, the folks take care of their animals and love what they do. San Antonio has been the top go to park for Sea World Camps for young want to be biologists, as well as hundreds of visitors wishing to know more about sea life.

  3. The Riverwalk

    The Riverwalk san antonio

    The Riverwalk san antonio

    Downtown San Antonio is home to the Riverwalk, where you can find numerous restaurants, shops, and an unrivaled ambiance. The city offers canal tours of the river, which runs through and under the Riverwalk Mall. Along the river is the Aztec on the River, International Center, Arneson River Theater, and Torch of Friendship. You can also enjoy a stop at the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum Texas Ranger Museum, which is just one block from the river on the corner of College and North Presa.

San Antonio has a different charm than other Texan cities. It has a sophistication that rivals Charleston, South Carolina, and Savanah, Georgia.

Vancouver, BC – When to Go and What to See

Vancouver, British Columbia is a city filled with history, beauty, and activities for all ages. Whether you wish to take a tour of the city by horse drawn carriage or a harbor cruise to get a different perspective, you can. For your holiday to Vancouver, it is important to plan correctly.

Vancouver’s northwestern location makes the winters cold and snowy, and the summers warm and enjoyable. However, it is also a part of the North American temperate rainforest, so there are many gray, drizzly days. The best time to visit to avoid most of the rainy weather and have a sunny day or three is late spring/early summer. In May, June, and early July you can expect the days to be filled with more sun than sprinkling rain. If you wish to avoid the many tourists who flock to Vancouver and find a more affordable trip to Canada, consider September. You may find more gray days, but fewer tourists will be around than in the spring and summer months.

Where to start? There are too many beautiful places to see in Vancouver to enjoy it all in one week or even two, but perhaps these highlights will solve your desires to enjoy Vancouver until your next vacation.

  1. Capilano Suspension Bridge

    Capilano Suspension Bridge

    Capilano Suspension Bridge

    Even if you have a dislike for heights, this is a must see. The suspension bridge is 450 feet long and 230 feet above the Capilano River. The canyon is filled with lush fir trees and fern plants. The bridge is just a part of the Treetops Adventure and a Cliffwalk you can take.

  2. Vancouver Aquarium

    Vancouver Aquarium

    Vancouver Aquarium

    This next adventure is perfect for anyone who loves ocean mammals, whether you are a kid or an adult. The aquarium has more than 50,000 species from the Amazon to the Arctic. They offer a dolphin, beluga whale, and sea otter shows, as well as some hands-on animal encounters.

  3. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

    Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

    Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

    The Chinese Garden is one of the most beautiful gardens created in North America, bringing a piece of Chinese history and meditation to the continent. It is an authentic garden and well kept. Here you can walk along beautifully manicured pathways, feel relaxed with the many water, rock, and plant features, as well as the Chinese architecture.

  4. Science World

    Science World

    Science World

    It is more than a science museum. In fact, it is one of the coolest science based activities in the world. Their exhibitions offer science demonstrations, immersive IMAX films, and shows in the Science Theater. They have a dome that hosts science and technology exhibits for all ages. You can also explore Nanoscience.

  5. Grouse Mountain

    Grouse Mountain

    Grouse Mountain

    if you take a land tour and a harbor tour, then you don’t want to miss out on the Grouse Mountain tour. It is a memorable adventure using a tram that starts 20 minutes outside of downtown and takes you up to the top of the mountain.

Vancouver, BC has more attractions than just these, from skiing in winter to numerous museums that you may also want to add to your list.