Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Best Miami Beaches

Miami’s beaches offer a great opportunity to get some exercise or just enjoy some time in the sun! In this article, I take a look at a few of my favorite beaches, including a couple of lesser-used spots where you’ll be able to avoid the tourist crowd.

1. South Beach

Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau
South Beach is the quintessential Miami beach experience. It’s the place to see and be seen and show off the product of months in the gym. South Beach isn’t clothing optional, but topless bathing is permitted. My husband loves to run on the paved jogging path that borders South Beach. The beach is located on Ocean Drive, across the street from many of Miami Beach’s famous nightclubs.

2. Virginia Key Beach

Marc Averette
Virginia Key Beach is one of the most interesting beaches in South Florida. It’s located right off the Rickenbacker Causeway (on both the north and south sides) near the Miami Seaquarium. The location makes for easy access and some areas become crowded, but there are plenty of secluded spots (such as the one shown in the photo) if you’re willing to explore a bit. Don’t be surprised if you see me when you visit. I love to take my black lab for a walk/swim on the only area beach that allows leashed dogs.

3. Haulover Beach

Lyndi & Jason
Haulover Beach, located on Miami Beach between Sunny Isles Beach and Bal Harbour, is known around the world as Miami’s only legal "clothing optional" nude beach. If you’re skittish about shedding your swimsuit, never fear. The beach offers traditional sunbathing as well and the nude beach is clearly marked to avoid accidents! Haulover Beach is a fantastic surfing spot.


4. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Florida Department of Parks and Recreation
Bill Baggs State Park, located on the south end of Key Biscayne, is home to the famous Cape Florida lighthouse. The park provides sunbathing, swimming and history in the same spot! You can spend some time on the beach and enjoy a guided tour of the lighthouse. Fishing is also allowed from the seawall. The park also hosts Boater’s Grill, a full service restaurant.


5. Homestead Bayfront Park and Marina

Homestead Bayfront Park is a great option if you’re looking to avoid the tourist scene. Located in the southern portion of Miami Dade County, Bayfront Park offers swimming and boating options with a full-service marina. It’s located at 9698 SW North Canal Drive.

American Airlines Parent Seeks Chapter 11 Protection

Carrier will continue to operate flights, honor tickets and take reservations while it reorganizes.

FORT WORTH, Texas  American Airlines and its parent company are filing for bankruptcy protection as they try to cut costs and unload massive debt built up by years of high fuel prices and labor struggles. There will no impact on travelers for now.
The nation's third-largest airline also said Tuesday that CEO Gerard Arpey had stepped down and was replaced by company president Thomas W. Horton.
AMR Corp. has continued to lose money while other U.S. airlines returned to profitability in the last two years.
Horton said the board of directors unanimously decided to file for bankruptcy after meeting Monday in New York and again by conference call on Monday night.
American said it would operate normally while it reorganizes in bankruptcy. The airline said it would continue to operate flights, honor tickets and take reservations. It said the AAdvantage frequent-flier program would not be affected.
Flight schedule to be reduced "modestly"
Horton said, however, that as the company goes through a restructuring it will probably reduce the flight schedule "modestly," with corresponding cuts in jobs.
The company will delay the spin-off of its regional airline operation, American Eagle, which was expected in early 2012. AMR Eagle Holding Corp. also filed for bankruptcy.
American was the only major U.S. airline that didn't file for bankruptcy protection in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks that triggered a deep slump in the airline industry. The last major airline to file for bankruptcy protection was Delta in 2005.
Speculation about an AMR bankruptcy grew in recent weeks, however, as negotiations with pilots and other workers over cost-saving labor contracts seemed to stall. The company said that labor-contract rules forced it to spend at least $600 million more per year than other airlines.
Horton said, however, that there was no single factor that led to the bankruptcy filing. He said the company needed to cut costs in view of the weak global economy and high, volatile fuel prices. The average price of jet fuel has risen more than 50 percent in the past five years.
Formerly the world's biggest airline
American was the world's biggest airline as recently as 2008, but has fallen behind United and Delta after those two companies bought other airlines.
Fort Worth-based AMR lost $162 million in the third quarter and has posted losses in 14 of the last 16 quarters.
AMR has about $4 billion in cash and has announced plans to order 460 new narrow-body planes used primarily in the U.S., plus other jets for longer flights.
American was founded in 1930 from the combination of more than 80 smaller carriers. It now flies about 240,000 passengers per day and has about 78,000 employees.
The airline operates out of five major hubs in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, and Miami. It has major international partnerships with British Airways and Japan Airlines.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New 7 Wonders of Nature Announced

After a two-year global voting period, the provisional winners of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature” contest have been announced. Among the top choices: Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls and Table Mountain. See all the winners in our new slide show, 7 New Wonders of Nature.
At the outset of the contest, the organizer of the poll, a Swiss-based group called New7Wonders Foundation, said it expected more than 1 billion people to vote. Means of voting included online, via phone or text message. In the days leading up to the final tally, Twitter was abuzz with urgings from tourism groups and citizens alike to “keep voting.” Indeed, while the foundation claims to have measures in place to prevent voting twice – through registration on its website, for example – the poll was decidedly a popularity contest, driven by those with an internet connection or a phone. The foundation called the results provisional; upon validation and verification, final results will be announced in early 2012.
In researching this story, we also unearthed some controversy behind the initiative. UNESCO, for one, distanced itself from the foundation’s campaign in 2007, claiming “no comparison” to the campaign and the “scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List.” Travel blogger Red Hunt posted a critical account of the competition, claiming a “seedy side of what the New 7 Wonders of Nature is all about,” and suggesting participating sights were forced to pay fees far beyond the initial $200 contest entry fee.
Controversy aside, we opted to publish the winning list not only because these are indeed natural wonders in our eyes, but also because as travelers, we’ve experienced some of these places and others top our must-see lists. They’re probably on many of your bucket lists, too, and we hope our gallery of gorgeous photos provides you the inspiration to finally start planning a visit.


World’s most secluded hotels

One of my favorite things when traveling is discovering a place that is truly off the beaten path, one that makes you feel like you (and a handful of other travelers) are the only people on Earth. Not many places can claim to be ultra-remote, while also offering the services and little luxuries that make a vacation memorable. (Sure, there are plenty of remote spots to be discovered if you don’t mind hiking and camping, but roughing it for a week is another vacation entirely!)
We’ve searched the globe for 12 hotels that are super secluded: Yes, they’re harder to get to than just a quick flight and an airport shuttle. They are tucked away in quiet parts of the world, and one is literally at the end of a continent. They all offer experiences you can’t get anywhere else, so if you’re ready to really, really get away from it all, take a look at the new Bing Travel slide show, Secluded Hotels, and pack your bags.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Florida Islands: Introduction

Beach chairs & umbrella, Fort Myers Beach, Fla. (© Ian Dagnall/Alamy)
If you’re thinking about a trip to the islands but don’t have a passport, focus on Florida. The Sunshine State is home to thousands of islands, aka "keys," "cays," "atolls" and "islets." The Florida Keys alone have 1,700 islands, and the misnamed "Ten Thousand Islands" on Florida’s southwestern coast contain hundreds of islands and mangrove islets.
Estero Island (you probably know it better as Fort Myers Beach) and so many of the other strands that make Florida so enticing in the winter are actually just across a bridge or a causeway from the mainland.  

Dolphin interacting with visitors, Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Fla. (© steve bly/Alamy)
 The reason to visit Grassy Key, a speck of an island north of Marathon is the Dolphin Research Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating dolphins, whales, manatees and sea lions. The center offers a variety of programs that allow adults and supervised children to touch, train, play with, swim with and even paint a T-shirt with an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Best of Vegas

What is the best of Vegas? Why waste your time with the mediocre when you can go to the very best that Las Vegas has to offer. From the best shows and restaurants to the best place to have seafood and burgers, it's all right here in the Best of Vegas.

1. The Best Things To Do in Vegas

Walk down the Las Vegas strip from any point and you will be pulled and pushed in every direction with options. Should you see a show? Should you have a fine dining experience? Should you visit the Grand Canyon, jump off a building, relax at a pool or dance until the sun comes up? It's a tough choice when trying to find a few things to do in Las Vegas. If you are struggling with trying to sort through all your options I have come up with a few of my "Best Things To Do in Las Vegas."

2. Best Restaurants in Las Vegas

This is tough to narrow down but you might be forced to try more than a few restaurants to truly understand what the very best in Las Vegas is. I could eat the meatloaf at Spago every day of the week, I could have a Margarita and a burger at Margaritaville in an instant and I never turn down the opportunity to indulge in some Vodka and plenty of hearty Russian fare at Red Square at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

3. The Best Hotels in Las Vegas

Hotel in Las Vegas are massive and full of so much to do. So how do you find the best hotels in Las Vegas? Consider what you you really want from the place where you'll drop your bags and you will find the best hotel in Las Vegas.

4. The Best Shows in Las Vegas

With so many to choose from Las Vega has the best shows on the planet. These five shows represent the cream of the crop, however, on any given night the entertainment in Las Vegas is the best anywhere. Anyway yo want to be entertained, Las Vegas does it.

5. The Best Pools in Las Vegas

For a good portion of the year you can bask in the sun in the best pools in Las Vegas. Cook until you're golden tan and then get a spa treatment to scrape the dead skin off your body. Waterfalls, lazy rivers and plenty of pretty people make these pools irresistible.

6. The Best Clubs in Las Vegas

Late night Las Vegas is where the fun really gets going. The best places to party after hours are exactly what you'll need. Stay out until the sun comes up and then do it all over again!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

'Tis the Season for European Christmas Markets

Cities from Paris to Passau are gearing up for visitors and shoppers, but will the European financial crisis take the holiday cheer out of European Christmas markets this year?

It's a scene played out all over Europe as the holidays approach: The air is cold, the sky is bright and snow crunches underfoot as crowds make their way through rows of little wooden structures that look like storybook houses with sloping roofs and rustic trim, each one offering some treasure that's beautiful, fun or delicious.
Chatter, laughter and music waft through the air, mixing with the smells of gingerbread, grilled meats and cookies as shoppers browse among the carved toys, small musical instruments, ornaments, handcrafted clothing, homemade soap, candles and hand-blown glass.

Millions of people — both locals and visitors — attend annual Christmas markets in cities all over Europe each year. They're not only tourist attractions, but they're also big business for local economies. But will the European financial crisis be the Grinch that steals the holiday spirit from the continent's Christmas markets?

Slovak economist Vladimir Vano, in Bratislava, says probably not. The Volksbank Slovakia chief financial analyst says if anything, it may enhance the experience because "the main draw of these markets isn't just the buying and selling of wares."

He says they're really an old version of our modern online social networks — a place to connect. In times of trouble, he adds, people want that connection to be more personal. They want to hold hands or talk face-to-face as they enjoy activities with their family and friends. If you add in the nostalgic spirit of the holidays, you have what he calls "behavior economics," and that could keep the Christmas markets strong this year.

But that's not the only factor. Vano says some potential vendors may decide it's more important than ever to invest the several thousand dollars it takes to rent a seller's stall. According to Jozsef Molnar, managing director of the Budapest Tourism office in Hungary, vendors pay about $3,500 to set up for six weeks at his city's main market and they usually take home something in the neighborhood of $14,000.

Spaces are limited, but some municipalities across Europe are opening up a few more this year, hoping that more vendors offering a greater variety of merchandise may in turn attract even larger crowds.

Of the nearly 600,000 visitors who attend the Budapest Christmas market at Vorosmarty Square each year, 30 to 40 percent are foreigners, according to Molnar. That means revenue for hotels, restaurants and other segments of the travel industry in addition to income for the vendors and the markets.

Vorosmarty is a lovely location that offers a giant Christmas tree, nativity scenes and a unique Advent calendar that opens up in the windows of the historic Gerbeaud confectionary. The merchandise is quite good. Sellers are judged by experts representing craftsmen and folk artists, and only those of high skill are allowed to set up shop. But quality doesn't come cheap. You could pay hundreds of dollars for a nativity set, $40 to $60 for a woman's hand-styled woven hat or less for small trinkets.

Food is also top notch. One favorite is the chimney cake, a delicacy once made by wrapping dough around actual chimney pipes. Now the dough is wrapped around something that looks like a large, slightly V-shaped rolling pin. It's sprinkled with sugar or slathered in butter or honey, cooked on hot coals, then twisted off the pin, wrapped in paper and devoured by appreciative customers.

Another outstanding market is Vienna's huge Christkindlmarkt, which usually ranks as one of Europe's best. It's well-organized, beautiful, set in Rathausplatz, the plaza in front of the Rathaus (city hall) and the quality of goods is first-rate. You'll find excellent hand-blown glass, cute carved toys and musical instruments, ceramics, and lovely clothing items.

Space is set aside inside the Rathaus for special children's activities like cookie-making and crafts, including handmade Christmas ornaments. Outside, sellers offer warm handmade clothing, toys and Christmas decorations. Shoppers sip hot punch made from fruit, rum, wine and spices as they browse.

Herbert Gindl, with the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, predicts the event will attract a few million visitors, 500,000 of them from abroad.

Salzburg, Austria, offers a different look for its market. The city, located at the foot of the Alps, is Mozart's hometown and his image appears all over — including on Mozart chocolates. "The Sound of Music" was filmed here and there are movie-themed tours available.

Salzburg's Christmas market, located along the streets of the historic part of town, can get very crowded, but it's a fun kind of hustle and bustle that includes street musicians, guided tour groups, and formal choral presentations. Painted tins, homemade soaps and snow globes are mixed in with the usual crafted items.

The main Christmas markets in Bratislava, Slovakia, are located in beautiful public squares around the city. You'll find handmade pottery and wooden decorations often in the design of fish. That's because carp is a traditional dish during Slovak Christmastime. Food and drinks served at the markets include tasty potato crepes with jam and poppy seeds and a honey wine similar to mead.

In Paris at Christmastime, it seems like the whole city twinkles with 300 illuminated sites, including lit-up bridges and the Eiffel Tower. Markets are scattered all over the various districts, but one of the prettiest is found along the Champs Elysees, where decorations, handcrafts, food, clothing and mulled wine can be found in dozens of wooden chalets.
Germany is famous for its many markets, including those in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Dresden and Nuremberg. But markets in small towns like pretty Passau also have charm.

Passau is where I had my first cup of glühwein, a traditional hot spiced wine drink that's perfect for warming up cold hands and bellies. In many places, it's served with an extra shot of rum. Mine came in a souvenir mug. You're charged a few euros for the drink and container. You can either keep the mug or get a refund for turning it back in.

The Passau market isn't as large as some others but it isn't as crowded, either. It's in a beautiful historic setting near St. Stephen's Cathedral, known for its enormous pipe organ and holiday concerts.

As I sipped my glühwein and walked among the stalls, I found a mixture of items for sale. Some were obvious cheaper imports, but many were handmade, such as the carved wooden "smokers" — incense holders designed to look like little men smoking pipes.

In Britain, like other places, each market has its own personality. There's a "Dickens Christmas at Rochester Castle" in Kent that's small but nice. The castle lit up at night makes a pretty backdrop. Other markets use a Victorian theme and some specialize in German or other European goods; some have street performers in costume. The merchandise can be very good, especially textiles, artwork and jewelry. Food and drink includes spiced wines, teas, roasted chestnuts, sausages and baked goods.

In terms of trip-planning to see Europe's holiday markets, timing varies by individual location but most open in late or mid-November, a month or more ahead of Christmas. Some tour operators offer organized trips to markets in several different places; they include transportation, hotels and some meals. You can also find European river cruises offering excursions to Christmas markets. If you're traveling independently, remember that hotels near markets may fill up quickly at holiday time.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Worlds away in Kathmandu, Nepal

Picturesque Kathmandu, Nepal, is a fabled city that has long ranked among the most exotic in the world in many travelers' minds. It's also the starting point for many a journey through Nepal, although it's quite an adventure in itself. Christa Gockel, a resident of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, visited Kathmandu in 2008 while on holiday in the country. "Kathmandu is the first place you see when you come to Nepal," she said. This photo shows Durbar Square in Patan, one of three such plazas in the Kathmandu Valley. They stand as legacies of the Old World, and are at the heart of Nepal's cultural and spiritual spheres.  

Picturesque Kathmandu, Nepal, is a fabled city that has long ranked among the most exotic in the world in many travelers' minds. It's also the starting point for many a journey through Nepal, although it's quite an adventure in itself. Christa Gockel, a resident of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, visited Kathmandu in 2008 while on holiday in the country. "Kathmandu is the first place you see when you come to Nepal," she said. This photo shows Durbar Square in Patan, one of three such plazas in the Kathmandu Valley. They stand as legacies of the Old World, and are at the heart of Nepal's cultural and spiritual spheres.

Colorful cultural explorations in Kathmandu

Finding Leonardo da Vinci's Florence

Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence's skyline is punctuated by the iconic rooftops of historic buildings. The most recognizable is the large terracotta dome of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence's cathedral, commonly known as the Duomo.
(CNN) -- Known as the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence is a culture-rich city in the heart of Tuscany, Italy.
Over the centuries, it has been home to Renaissance masters Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Michelangelo, Dante and Brunelleschi, who have left their legacy in a trove of art and architecture that is world renowned.
It is this rich legacy that inspires art-lovers to visit, and in summer the city is crammed with tourists determined to make the most of the city's treasures.
While small, Florence contains a quarter of the planet's UNESCO world heritage sites, which can be overwhelming for first-time visitors.
With this ratio of classics-per-square-meter, it's impossible to see everything in one visit -- but here is a selection of CNN's cultural highlights.
One of the oldest art museums in the Western world, the Uffizi Gallery is unmissable
A good starting point is Florence's cathedral, The Duomo (Piazza del Duomo), whose teracotta-and-white dome dominates the city's skyline. The building's ornate facade is decorated in pink, white and green marble. Inside, however, the cathedral is refreshingly simple.
The 700-step climb up the inside of the dome -- architect Brunelleschi's 15th-century feat of engineering -- is not for the faint-hearted, but the views from the cupola are well worth it.
Also in the cathedral square is Giotto's Campanile, a belltower that soars into the Tuscan sky. With its magnificent statues, rich relief carvings and strong design, it exemplifies Renaissance architecture. If heights don't make you dizzy, iyou'll also get a great view of the city from the top.
One of the oldest art museums in the Western world, the Uffizi Gallery is unmissable. Come here for a who's who of Renaissance art: As well as da Vinci's "Annunciation" and "The Adoration of the Magi," the gallery houses "The Baptism of Christ," attributed to Verrocchio and da Vinci, as well as numerous works by Giotto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Rafael, Titian and Tintoretto -- truly a visual feast.
Some believe that the Palazzo Vecchio conceals a hidden treasure. It is thought that da Vinci's "The Battle of Anghiari" could lie hidden behind one of Vasari's frescoes, not least because Vasari, who greatly admired da Vinci's work, has included the words "Seek and you shall find" in one of his paintings. Forensic art historian Maurizio Seracicin is using infra-red rays to see if it's there.
Take a trip back to the Middle Ages by listening to San Miniato's Benedictine monks sing Gregorian chants during vespers at Florence's oldest church
Michelangelo's sculpture "David" takes pride of place at the Accademia Gallery, where you can also find Botticelli's "Madonna and Child." For more sculpture, head to the Bargello National Museum, where you'll find an impressive array of works by Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Verrocchio, Michelangelo and Cellini.
At the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci, visitors flock to see life-size models of the artist's ideas and inventions, from a glider to a tank, all carved from wood. It's a great place to appreciate the range of Leonardo's creativity.
If you're footsore and feeling overwhelmed after racing around the key cultural sights, it might be time to head away from the crowds.
Over the Roman Ponte Vecchio Bridge, famously lined by jewelry shops, is the Pitti Palace, seat of the Dukes of Tuscany, and rising up behind it are the exquisite Boboli Gardens. Take a picnic and climb up to the top, then congratulate yourself on escaping the crush and admire the view.
Alternatively, take a trip back to the Middle Ages by listening to San Miniato's Benedictine monks sing Gregorian chants during vespers at Florence's oldest church, dating back to the 11th century. It's another spot that affords great views, as it sits at one of the highest points in Florence.
Florence is also strongly associated with Italian fashion. Gucci, Pucci and Cavalli were founded here, as was Ferragamo, while Prada, Chanel, Armani and others retain a strong presence in the city. The glossy boutiques can be found on Via Tornabuoni -- or you can follow the fashionistas and pick up some cut-price designer treats at the thriving designer outlets on the outskirts of Florence.
And if you are looking for something more offbeat, try the Museo La Specola, a zoology museum where you can find eerily accurate wax models of corpses, a multitude of stuffed animals and other Victorian museum curiosities.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Tourism Destination Dolpa

Dolpa or Dolpo was popularized by the film “Caravan” which showcases the extraordinary untouched beauty of the region. It is remote and fascinating, confined by the Dhaulagiri range in the south and east, the mountains Sisne and Kanjiroba in the west and Tibet towards the north. Lake Phoksundo with its turquoise waters is the major attraction in Dolpa. The people of Dolpa generally settle at altitudes of 3,660m to 4,070 m and these are probably the highest settlements in the world. Closely linked with Tibet, these people speak Tibetan and have strong Mongoloid features. There are 130 gompas in Dolpa which speaks volumes for the religious nature of its inhabitants.


Sagarmatha National Park of Nepal

Unique among natural heritage sites world-wide is the Sagarmatha National Park, which includes Mt. Everest (8,848 m) and other high peaks such as Lhotse Shar, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, Pumori, Kangtega, Gyachung Kang, Thamserku and Kwangde. Located North-east of Kathmandu, Sagarmatha National Park is 1,148 sq km. in area and consists of the upper catchment areas of the Dudh Koshi, Bhote Koshi and the Imja Khola rivers. Much of the park lies above 3,000m. Sagarmatha is rugged, with deep gorges, glaciers and unnegotiable ice and rock faces. Locally known as the 'Khumbu', it is the home of the famous Sherpa people. The Sherpas make a living by farming barley and potatoes and graze their yaks in high altitude pastures. Young Sherpas have also made their name in mountaineering and the trekking industry has of late become the community's economic mainstay. In 1979 the park was declared a World Heritage Site.
Trees such as rhododendron, birch, blue pine, juniper and silver fir are found up to an altitude of 4,000 meters above which they give way to scrub and alpine plants. In late spring and summer, the hillsides around the villages of Namche Bazaar, Khumjung, Thyangboche and Thame are a riot of colours with several species of rhododendon in bloom. Wildlife most likely to be seen in Sagarmatha are the Himalaya tahr, ghoral, musk deer, pikka (mouse hare) weasel and occasionally jackal. Other rarely seen animals are Himalayan black bear, wolf, lynx and snow leopard. Birds commonly seen are Impeyan pheasant, blood pheasant, snow cock, snow pigeon, red billed and yellow billed chough, Himalayan griffin vulture and lammergeier.
Entry Fee Per Person Per Entry:

For Nepalese Nationals, Free
For SAARC Nationals, Rs. 100/-
For Other Foreign Nationals, Rs. 1,000/-

All of Khumbu is road-less, all travel and exploration must be undertaken on foot. Quick access are by helicopter at the Syangboche and via the Lukla airstrip from where the park head-office at Namche Bazaar is a two-day walk. Alternative approaches are from Jiri in the south-west and through Arun Valley in the south-east. Namche is 10 to 12 days trek on both these approaches. The best time to visit is in October and November and from March to May when days are warm and clear. However night temperatures can reach zero levels. A two to three-week stay in the park is ideal and the best areas to visit are Gokyo Valley, Lobuche-Kala Pattar-Base Camp, Chukung Valley and Thame valley. Travellers should come with camping, food and fuel support to enable them to move freely although room and board are available in most villages. To enjoy the visit thoroughly it is best to arrange services of guides and porters with government registered outfitters in Kathmandu.


Entrance fee not required for children under 10 yearsPark
Entrance fees is regulated by Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (Phone: 4220850). Entrance fees for mountain National Parks can be paid at ACAP counter (Phone: 4222406) at Sanchaykosh building in Thamel, Kathmandu, or at the Park gate. For other National Parks entrance fees are to be paid at the Park gate  


The Finest Beaches in Mauritius

The dream destination of Mauritius is popular all over the world. As soon as November kicks in, travel agents start advertising their unique deals in Mauritius and showing off their offers in one of the most exciting travel hotspots in the world. There are many reasons to visit the small but endlessly thrilling island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean with frequently quotes ones being its great weather all year round, its numerous tourist attractions, and the truly multicultural nature of the Mauritian population.
However, the one thing that makes Mauritius so special is the beauty of its beaches which rank among the finest in the world. Although the islands of Seychelles and Maldives are renowned for their magnificent beaches, Mauritius is not far behind. In fact, Mauritius is known to attract more tourists overall because it is a relative cheap destination compared to the Seychelles and Maldives islands. In spite of its small size, Mauritius also offers quite a number of superb beaches, which can often confuse tourists going there for a short vacation. This article looks at the finest beaches in Mauritius.

Flic en Flac

The Flic en Flac beach is found on the western coast of Mauritius and is generally regarded as a must-see beach on the island. Unlike the other Mauritian beaches, it is also quite large and thus often packed with both local visitors and tourists as it is one of the most popular attractions in the island. The town of Flic en Flac itself mainly caters to tourists, which is why you will always find it packed with people. One of the nicest things about Flic en Flac is that the lagoon is almost always calm thanks to its coral reefs.


As far as sheer beauty is concerned, the beach of Pereybere is much more impressive than Flic en Flac but it is however let down by its small size. With its splendid white sand and deep blue lagoon, Pereybere is nevertheless one of the finest attractions in Mauritius. The Pereybere beach is also very ideally located on the north coast of Mauritius where most of the biggest hotels in the island are located. It is a few minutes from Grand Baie, another town that focuses on entertainment for tourists.
Due to the small size of the beach, it is a good idea to go there as early as possible if you want the nicest spots. Another exciting thing about Pereybere is that there are tons of things do you around the beach and it is also a renowned diving spot.

Trou aux Biches

The beach of Trou aux Biches,which is located to the north west of the island, is another fine beach that has received much acclaim since Mauritius become such a sought destination. The Trou aux Biches beach is perfect for couples and honeymooners as it tends to attract less people. Like the Pereybere beach, it is quite small but makes up for its shortcomings with a crystal clear sea surrounded by coral reefs.
As mentioned earlier, these are only the three finest beaches in Mauritius. There are in fact several beaches throughout the island. Moreover, each hotel usually has its own private beach. However, in most cases, these beaches are extremely small. While it is entirely possible to stick to these private hotel beaches, the public beaches are must better and are part of what makes Mauritius such an enjoyable destination.


Travel in Hungary free pocket travel guide of Budapest

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and the country’s principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial and transportation centre. The official language spoken is Hungarian. Budapest has approximately 1.7 million inhabitants. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with the amalgamation on 17 November 1873 of right-bank (west) Buda and Óbuda together with Pest on the left bank. It is the ninth largest city in the European Union.
Those who love travelling light, those with a sense for adventure, those who love flexibility in their trips, those who like meeting locals and travelling slow and low… those are Flashbooking happy travellers!
Flashbooking chose to provide backpackers, students and families with a list of budget selected and independent accommodations worldwide, mostly run by locals, in order to promote an alternative tourism respectful of cultures and different societies. For this and other reasons Flashbooking is becoming a recognized source of information and services for who loves creating a trip by him/herself and book bed nights securely online.
Flashbooking cheap lodging solutions are all available for online bookings and divided by Countries. Travellers have free access to the updated list of Europe hostels and budget hotels, North and South America hostels, Caribbean and Central America hostels as well as for Asia cheap accommodations, Oceania youth hostels and Africa hostels.
Flashbooking’s happy travellers can book their rooms and beds not only in cheap hotels or cheap hostel Budapest but also consider other budget accommodations in Bed and Breakfast, Guesthouses, Campsites, apartments, farm houses and much more.
Flashbooking accommodation database is easily available online and comes completed with all relevant information about youth hostel and hotel location and map, description, services, hostel contacts, customer ratings, six pictures and updated prices inclusive of taxes and services together with instant real availability.
Having the reservation final price is also convenient as it does give the transparency our users pretend while booking. Having the final total amount of your booking means you do not have to worry about other extra surprises!
With the monthly newsletter, Flashbooking puts at travellers, students, volunteers free disposal some useful pocket travel guides of major European cities: the Amsterdam City guide, the London City guide, the Prague City guide, the Paris City guide, the Rome City guide, the Florence City guide, and the freshly issued Budapest City guide!! For the Budapest travel guide Flashbooking staff efforts concentrate on making it simple to read dividing the Budapest centre in different districts with their relevant amenities.
Other reasons to chose Flashbooking? Flashbooking helps you saving money with a special promotion that allows travellers to earn money and credits of 1,5 euros by inviting other friends to subscribe and receive the monthly newsletter, rich of information about hostel and hotel deals. For each friend that sings up, our travellers get 1,50 euros: it is possible to earn up to 40 euros! These credits are immediately registered in the user’s personal online account ‘My Booking’ and at the reach of 40 euros they are automatically deducted to pay your online hostel reservations!!!
Budapest is renown for its open and friendly international people, art museums and Art Galleries, the sea, the movida and cheap lodgings, classic itineraries and a lot more to make a visit worth wise.
In general, Flashbooking guides have been written for giving the essential information about the most visited cities in the world and in particular for any traveller or first-time visitor. For a short visit, a week-end, a city break, these free pocket guides are useful printable and downloadable tools available online.
Flashbooking policy tends to privilege small and family-run hotels in order to promote an alternative tourism respectful of cultures and different societies.
So mates, we are looking forward to finding you THE budget accommodation that meets your needs and pocket for your next trip!
Last but not least, if you wish to help us, you can either give your personal ratings of some accommodations, lodgings, cheap hotel Budapest, youth hostels and budget small hotels where you stayed, or enlarging the hostel offer by reporting some new hostel contacts!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Belize Responsible Traveler Guide

Being a young and sparsely populated country, Belize is currently trailing established countries like Costa Rica and New Zealand as top eco-destinations around the world. However, more and more individuals are visiting Belize as they learn about its diverse cultures, the ancient Maya pyramids and ceremonial caves, the countless cayes and atolls that dot the coast, the iconic Blue Hole and Great Barrier Reef, and the various rivers and waterfalls that nourish it’s rainforests. If you plan to visit, help take care of this eco-paradise by being a Belize responsible traveler.
Try to learn a little of Belize’s local language
English is Belize’s official language but natives mostly speak Creole with each other. Try to learn the basic common words and don’t worry if you have a terrible accent, having an interest and getting involved is what matters most. Try an easy phrase such as “Weh di goan?” (What’s going on?) or “Tings haad out yah!” (We are going through rough times!). Making the natives smile is always a great way to break the ice and it can also be a good opportunity to build long lasting relationships.
Appreciate and respect cultural attire, religion and beliefs
Things such as clothing, traditions and lifestyle are very important to keep cultures intact, you help by respecting each culture’s uniqueness. When visiting the Barton Creek Cave for example, you must pass a small Mennonite community, women are asked not to wear over revealing bathing suits since the young teenage boys are not used to that. Another example would be that guests ought to be respectful whenever touring the ancient Maya pyramids and ceremonial caves, given that they are still sacred to the Maya.
Embracing environmental stewardship
Cherishing nature is fundamental in ensuring the preservation of the natural environment. Whenever in Belize, visit as many natural attractions and protected areas as you can, the park fee is a contribution that goes straight to the conservation efforts of these places. Also, try not to disturb or harm the wildlife. Never participate in buying products of endangered wildlife, remember, there must be a demand for the supply side to exist. And killing animals such as frogs for example can set ecosystems off balance, resulting in an infestation of flies and mosquitoes.
Support local Belize products and services
By supporting local businesses, an individual directly contributes to Belize’s growing economy. This is important because buying locally allows for a greater multiplier effect. Local hotels and tour operators economically provide for many families which in return spend their money throughout the community. Through eco-tourism for example, and eco resort in the Cayo District named The Lodge at Chaa Creek hires over 125 staff from predominantly two small villages. This resort has only 23 palm-thatched cottages in a 365 acre private nature reserve.
Support responsible tourism
Make it a preference to support Belizean businesses that endorse and carry out responsible tourism. Do a little research before visiting and find out if they truly practice what they preach: are they eco-friendly certified, employ local staff, have environmental awareness programs, fund conservation efforts, and are doing community outreach? Research conducted previous to your travels is essential to exclude the naysayers who join the green marketing scheme.

For information on Chaa Creek:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Vacation with celebrities

Our taste for celebrity news seems insatiable. When the Kardashian family opens a boutique retail store in Las Vegas this week featuring playing cards and novelty gambling chips, it makes the Associated Press wire.
Kardashian devotees, however, might be disappointed to learn that neither Kim, Kourtney nor Khloe will be present when "Kardashian Khaos" opens its doors at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. D’oh!
Fortunately for the star struck, the travel industry boasts a wealth of opportunities to actually meet celebrities and have conversations with them. Rob Kardashian, currently starring in “Dancing With the Stars,” will host a New Year’s Eve bash in Vegas this year. Celebrity chef Art Smith, who tended to Oprah’s dietary needs for 10 years, will escort a March cruise in the South Pacific. If your taste in celebrities runs more toward the cerebral, you may be pleased to know you can mingle with Ken Burns in Yellowstone and Jared Diamond (“Guns, Germs and Steel”) in Asia.
Who else can you mingle with? A famous actress, perhaps? A famed oceanographer? A scientist who discovered a famous fossil? Find out in Bing Travel’s new slide show, Vacation With Celebrities.
Which celebrity would you like to travel with? Post a comment for other travelers below.

America’s busiest airports

Anyone who has traveled through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport knows it’s crowded – as in 90 million passengers a year crowded. That’s a lot of people squeezed together into narrow hallways, coffee lines, bathroom lines and boarding areas. During the holidays airports like Atlanta, JFK, LAX and Chicago’s O’Hare can feel even more crowded, as the number of people flying jumps and delays due to weather become more likely. Anyone else get the uneasy feeling that the October snowstorm on the East Coast could be just the start of another wild winter?
So, what’s a traveler to do? Information is power to saving your sanity when stuck at an airport, whether it’s for an hour, or – god forbid – longer. With this in mind, we asked travel expert Harriet Baskas to give us some practical tips for surviving a delay in the 13 busiest airports in the country. (She should know, as the author of the travel blog StuckAtTheAirport.com.) Where to eat, where to entertain restless kids, where to find the best public art – even spas and napping spots – she’s got you covered in the new slide show America’s Busiest Airports.
As a bonus, Bing Maps has announced a handy new feature for travelers: airport maps. We’ve included terminal maps in our slide show so you can find your way from check-in to boarding door with relative ease.
Happy Travels!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Top 5 Travel Attractions of Geneva, Switzerland

 by: Geobeats

ArticleCity.com Videos

Take a tour of the top 5 attractions of Geneva, Switzerland.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mexican Insurance For All Travelers to Mexico

If you plan on traveling to Mexico in the near future, then you are going to be in store for an amazing adventure. Whether you are hoping to explore some exciting history in various hotspots around the country or you are looking for a relaxing vacation in Baja, you will surely be able to find the vacation you are looking for in the diverse nation of Mexico. Unfortunately, no matter what you do or where you go, you are always going to be at risk. In other words, accidents happen no matter where you are. If you are in a car accident in Mexico, you are going to wish you had Mexican insurance. 

Many people may be stopping here and wondering why the car insurance they already have is not good enough. The truth is that US insurance, as well as auto insurance from other countries, is not valid in Mexico. This means that if you plan on driving in Mexico, you should be prepared for the worst by obtaining Mexican insurance. In Mexico, the law states that you need to have financial responsibility for an auto accident, even if you are not the responsible party. This means that you must have the amount of money needed to cover the auto damage on the other vehicle. Since most people don’t carry this kind of money around with them, Mexican auto insurance is your only option. 

If you are worried about the price of Mexican insurance, you can stop worrying since you can actually save quite a bit of money by taking care of this problem online. You will find that Mexico auto insurance for your trip to Baja or anywhere else in Mexico is much cheaper than the insurance you are paying at home. You will also enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that you have insurance to cover you, should you get into trouble when you are in Mexico. This is the only way to feel completely secure, even when the worst does happen. 

If budgeting a trip to Mexico, you should list Mexican insurance at the top of your expenses. It can be frightening to find yourself in trouble in a country with a strange culture and a language you may not be fluent in. When you have insurance, you will know that you have a first class service on your side. Consider Mexican auto insurance your safety net should the worst happen while you are traveling.

Article source

Free Attractions In Las Vegas

by: Andrea Ivey

Las Vegas, the Entertainment Capital of the globe, has lots of free attractions for everyone. Famous for shopping, gambling, top notch restaurants, amusement and lively night life, Las Vegas is the 28th most densely populated city in the United States of America. You don’t need to worry about your budget as the city offers lots of free things to do. You can enjoy lots of free attractions in Las Vegas that comprise great places, parks, museums, shows and much more. 

The wide availability of free attractions in Las Vegas makes this superb, lively city a grand place to chill out without spending a fortune. If you are looking for free things to do in Las Vegas, this article will help you a lot. Some of top notch places to visit in Las Vegas for free or for a really cheap price are as follows: 

Anderson Dairy 

This grand place (Anderson Dairy) has been attracting tourists in addition to the city’s inhabitants since 1907. At Anderson Dairy, you can enjoy guided trips of the plant without spending any money. In addition, you can also enjoy a delicious and yummy ice cream treat free of cost. 

Marjorie Barrick Museum 

Established in 1969, this antique repository offers opportunities to get familiar with the local cultures of the southwest US as well as Mesoamerica. From the survival arts of the Southern Paiute to the impressive and extravagant weaving of the Navajo and attractive monument of the Hopi, the displays aid the visitors to notify not only the charisma of objects but their individual and sacred importance. 

Wetlands Park 

This is an astonishing place for bird watching and leisure activities. The superb, astounding park is a home to numerous types of animals as well as birds. The Wetlands Park has on foot trails, secondary trails, ponds and bird seeing places. 

Liberace Museum 

Among free attraction in Las Vegas, Liberace Museum is one of the major attractions. This depositary demands a small entry charge. You can spend lots of time basking the surprises of this great place. The Museum has many things to exhibit comprising momentous pianos, traditional car compilation and exceptional antique works. 

Circus Circus Casino 

Enter the circus tent and get amused by free circus acts at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino. Beginning at 11:00 a.m. each day, you can enjoy some unmatched circus plays here. Performances consist of mid-air shows, swing performers and jocks. This is among one of the best free activities for kids in Las Vegas. 

Arts District 

Las Vegas's downtown Arts District is jam-packed with creative activities. This district has lots of artists' studios in addition to picture galleries. You need not pay any entry fee. It is open to everybody every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Apart from these attractions, Las Vegas has much more to offer for a budget friendly vacation.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

World's Coolest Travel Jobs: Photographer

Bob Krist in front of Skogarfoss waterfall in Iceland (© Peggy Krist)

Name: Bob Krist, New Hope, Pa.

Occupation: Freelance multimedia journalist specializing in editorial and travel; instructor; video producer.
Coolness factor: “I get to go to places and really experience the way people live, not just go sightseeing. So much of what we do today that is labeled as "travel" is no more than sightseeing, i.e., there's the Taj Mahal, there's the famous fort. You see things, but you don't experience them. I've been lucky enough to have lots of opportunities to get a bit more immersed in the cultures I'm visiting and documenting.”
Over-the-top experience: “Recently, I went to Senegal, in West Africa, to document the work of a group of American doctors who were teaching new surgical techniques to African doctors. We went way out into the backcountry, to small villages and rural clinics, places that rarely see one doctor, let alone a bunch of them. One day, in the operating room in this small clinic, there was a total blackout and the docs finished their day of surgery using two small LED video lights I had with me. It was an amazing day to see these docs working eight hours in the blazing heat by the light of a little video lamp. Those guys are dedicated, and the people were so grateful to see them. It was incredible.”

How can I do it? “Unfortunately, the state of the magazine business today is not the same as it was when I broke in and did most of my work. But today I advise young shooters to become totally fluent in all forms of digital and analog communication — writing, stills, audio, video, editing — because the new paradigm is going to involve more than stills.”


World's Coolest Travel Jobs: Traveling Scuba Instructor

PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer Theresa Kaplan exploring the underwater world in Utila, Honduras. (Courtesy PADI)

Who hasn’t dreamed of traveling the world and getting paid for it? Meet 12 people who have turned the dream into reality.

Name: Theresa Kaplan, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
Occupation: PADI diving specialist and communications manager
Coolness factor: “My job allows me to travel often and scuba dive in some of the most serene and beautiful locations. Because I oversee the PADI Diving Society, I join in on exclusive diving trips. This year, we traveled to Curacao for a seven-day trip of diving, meeting new people and having fun. In past years, I have had the opportunity to dive in Grand Cayman, Fiji, Bonaire and more.”
Over-the-top experience: Diving or snorkeling with whale sharks, animals that are larger than a school bus.
How can I do it? “Anyone can become a [Professional Association of Diving Instructors] professional, so long as he or she completes their certification and the appropriate advanced-level courses. To start, visit PADI.com and sign up for PADI e-Learning. After completing the online course, one must complete a number of confined water dives followed by open water dives under the guidance of a PADI instructor.”
Text by Robin Dalmas, Bing Travel; photo editing by Jake Clifford. www.bing.com/travel


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...