Category Archive : Tours Travel

Located on the tip of Captiva Island in southwest Florida, the South Seas Island Resort has weathered hurricanes, an influx of tourists, and a recent renovation to preserve its well-earned reputation as an exclusive island destination.

The 330-acre complex is the former site of a copra and linden plantation started by Clarence Chadwick, an inventor and itinerant farmer. In 1924, Chadwick owned 400 acres on the north end of Captiva and built several houses as accommodation for his workers. At one point, his plantation was the largest lime producer in the world. In 1930, Chadwick grew tired of the business and worked with his wife and brother to turn the settlement of workers’ houses into a viable resort. Today, many of its towering coconut palms still stand, framing the resort and providing a lush tropical welcome to visitors. Accommodations are distributed throughout the grounds in low-rise buildings with hotel rooms, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom suites, and private homes. Because the resort occupies the entire north end of Captiva, a free trolley travels back and forth through the mangrove forests that dot the property, as well as into town at designated times.

The 2 1/2 miles of sugary beach, steps from homes and condos within the complex, are the defining feature of South Seas. Strolling along the shell-strewn beach is a peaceful escape for even the most weary of travelers. The beach was renovated after the devastation of Hurricane Charlie in 2005. In fact, the entire resort recently underwent a $ 140 million renovation. Rooms, from standard hotel rooms to one-, two-, and three-bedroom beach villas and private homes, were newly decorated in a West Indian style with bamboo and teak furnishings, plush bedding, and spacious bathrooms. The pool area now features two new lagoon-style pools with a cabana complex and large sun deck, fountains, and hot tub / spa. The complex includes 18 outdoor heated pools in total, spread over the different accommodation villages, as well as the Beach Villas.

Manatee are a common sight to be had near the elegant marina facing the South Seas. The yacht harbor serves as a starting point for scenic day cruises to Cabbage Key and Useppa, as well as shelling, dolphin watching, and other boat excursions. Boating enthusiasts can reach the resort by water, as the marina accommodates boats up to 120 feet.

Perhaps the best kept secret on the South Seas is its magnificent tennis facilities. Services include daily clinics for all levels, one-on-one private lessons with an accomplished professional, endurance workshops, and clinics that provide instruction on how to play doubles. The complex has 19 courts in total, four of which are illuminated for playing at night. The carefully designed golf course completes the country club experience, but retains the island’s secluded and tranquil feel. A recent New York Times travel and leisure article called the South Seas golf course “one of the most scenic 9 holes” in the world. After a vigorous round of golf, guests can dine at one of the hotel’s three restaurants, including room service delivered to the condos, or take advantage of the many offerings in town and nearby Sanibel.

While South Seas has always catered to families, its recent update included an expansion of its children’s programs and facilities. The kids’ club theme parties and other educational camps are divided into programs for teens and children ages 4-12. Past programs have included shell hikes, water games, pirate hunting, and kayaking programs, among others.

While Captiva is famous for its beaches and shelling, its unspoiled wildlife has provided lasting comfort for many visitors. Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote her famous “Gifts from the Sea” while on vacation on Captiva. Captiva is one of the few remaining regions where rare birds such as opsrey, bald eagle and blue herons can be seen in their natural habitat. The nearby wildlife refuge is home to more than 300 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 30 types of animals – species that a visitor cannot normally see in such an intimate setting. Miles of winding bike and jogging trails allow visitors to experience Captiva’s sheer beauty at a languid pace.

While many delighted guests have described the South Seas as seemingly “the end of the world,” the recently redesigned resort has retained its unspoiled hideaway status while offering new levels of amenities and services for families of all ages.

Gibraltar Holidays

Located at the southern tip of Spain, the famous and picturesque island, Gibraltar is basically an overseas of the United Kingdom. It is usually placed at the western entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. The British claimed the island in 1973 and today it is an international port and tourist hot spot, famous for vacations, short city breaks, and as a destination for weddings and honeymoons. There are many travel agencies that offer cheap flights to Gibraltar. Book a cheap hotel and flight package for your next Gibraltar vacation. But before that, let’s play around the island.

Rock of Gibraltar

Gibraltar’s main tourist attraction is “The Rock” and it is nice. The Rock of Gibraltar is a considerable subject for botanists and bird watchers, but it also endows tourists with tourist actions such as prominent semi-wild apes, caves, tunnels, large military canyons, and many more sites of historical and geological interest. It has a very famous tunnel known as “labyrinth”. Cable cars are used to reach the top of the rock.

Gibraltar hotels

Gibraltar has a diverse range of cheap and luxurious hotels, offering the best services to their guests. You can get very cheap and discounted rates for some of the best Gibraltar hotels for your short city break at “”. They have contracted rates for most Gibraltar hotels and claim to offer cheaper rates than anyone else. The most privileged hotels in Gibraltar are: The Rock Hotel, The Eliott Hotel, The Caleta Hotel, The Bristol Hotel, The Queen Hotel, The Continental Hotel and The Cannon Hotel.

Duty free shopping in Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a famous shopping destination as it is one of the few VAT-free shopping destinations in Europe, offering its visitors a wide range of duty-free products. The best thing about shopping in Gibraltar is that you don’t even have to exchange currency to buy, so you don’t have to play with foreign currencies! With exactly the same value, the British pound and the Gibraltar pound are acceptable forms of payment at all points of sale. So shop the island on your next Gibraltar vacation.

Gibraltar sightseeing tour

The places you must see on your Gibraltar vacation are The Rock, Europa Point, Sailing Trip, Cable Cars, Dolphin Safaris, Botanical Gardens, City Gates and Fortifications, Catalan Bay. Those who are interested in natural history related to the sea, rocks, land or plants will enjoy a feast in Gibraltar as the island is very rich in such things all year round. For the convenience of visitors, some travel agents organize day trips to Gibraltar that include a short visit in minimal time by taxi or coach so that tourists can spend their maximum time observing the many sights.

What to do in Gibraltar

There are certain native areas such as Rock Apes, excursions with dolphins in the Bay of Gibraltar and other marine mammals including the Pilot Whales of the Strait, which always attract tourists and which are worth visiting on a Gibraltar vacation. For bird lovers and bird watchers, there are several different species including prey, storks, vultures, songbirds, and seabirds. In the spring season beautiful butterflies emerge that make the island a beautiful natural wildlife paradise. There is so much to see in Gib while on your Gibraltar vacation. The botanical garden is the combination of aesthetic beauty, a very quiet area full of colorful fountains, ponds and waterfalls. There is a Catalan bay, a small town on the east side of the rock where you can enjoy fishing and traditional sailing. Although it is a town, but Catalan Bay has a beach, pubs and restaurants, etc.

Flights to Gibraltar

With airlines starting new routes to Gibraltar, there is now a good option for cheap flights to Gibraltar. Keep an eye out for regular free night deals and other money-saving deals when you book online! Plan your Gibraltar vacation now while airfares are still low and the city remains intact before the hordes of tourists and deer discover this new destination.

Traveling on a budget is very rewarding. Who needs 5-star hotels, fancy restaurants, and expensive extras? I found that my favorite vacation spots are close to home, on American soil. Since I had such positive experiences, I wanted to share some of my favorite places with you. While I didn’t have to clean up my savings account or go broke for these unique “on a budget” destinations, they were worth every penny I spent. Here are 5 of my best places to travel, whether you’re on a budget or not.

1. Arizona
This American hot spot is a great place to go whenever you can. We all know the power of experiencing the Grand Canyon, but there’s so much more, whether it’s spring, summer, fall, or winter, Arizona gets a leg up on me from the amazing weather to the variety of affordable things to see and do. It can be very hot, so pack some casual clothing. because if you’re like me, the best place to be is outside. The state has done an incredible job creating hiking trails, botanical gardens, camping, outdoor tours, and other nature-loving excursions. The state is full of big cities and small towns full of art, culture and history and delicious food. For example, Tucson, Arizona is steeped in Mexican and Southwestern heritage. There is little to no entrance fee to see places like Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park and then head to Sedona, Arizona for a chance to see more than 100 art galleries and events happening all the time. They are amazing sites to see if you are an art enthusiast or not.

2. Baltimore, MD
I have visited Baltimore many times and it is by far one of my favorite places to see. The seafood is fresh and delicious, like all dishes in town, and for those of us on a budget, a dollar is very, very long. Steamed crabs are like no other in the world. The National Aquarium is beautifully located on the Baltimore Harbor and a day there is a day well spent. The beautiful and familiar sights, smells and sounds are one of a kind! The Harborplace and the Gallery is located near the harbor and offers an amazing shopping and dining mecca where you can select whatever is right for your wallet and taste. Depending on the time of year (remember Baltimore is cold in winter) there is even free entertainment. The American Visionary Art Museum is well worth the short trip from the harbor. They charge a fee to enter, but the building itself and the property are filled with sculptures and art to view for free. And there are many other museums to visit during your stay in this family-friendly city.

3. Hershey, PA
Hershey, Pennsylvania has become one of the most popular destinations in our country and offers many free and inexpensive activities. There’s a world-class amusement park, an infamous day spa that can be pricey, but there’s plenty of memorable affordable things to do too. Hershey Chocolate World, is a walk that is located on the grounds of Hershey Park but it is completely free. It is a wonderful historical walk that is both fun and educational. If you are traveling with children, they will receive a free candy sample at the end of the trip, where they will drop it off directly at the gift shop. There is also the Hershey Streetcar that will transport you around the city with kiss-shaped lights lining the streets. It was started by Milton Hershey while planning the city and continues to this day … well worth your time. If you have the time (and I suggest you do) visit ZooAmerica, Hershey Gardens, Milton Hershey School, and other great museums located in Hershey, PA.

4. Dallas, TX
In a city known for everything great, the cost to visit is not that bad. We had a bit of an adventurous spirit, so we booked a City PASS that offered discounted prices on some of the most popular attractions in the city. We couldn’t get to all of them, but we did see the George W. Bush Library and Museum (he was the president) and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Great for adding a bit of culture to your vacation. My travel companions enjoy visiting zoos, so we went to the amazing Dallas Zoo and met two beautiful African elephants and fed a giraffe. There are so many family oriented events and presentations at this zoo, you may have to stay more than a day. The Dallas Farmers Market is a must see market. The extremely memorable food, vendors, and experience is like no other market I have ever visited. If you go, have a street taco at La Ventana or a pork-filled tamale at El Mero Mero. I must mention the Trinity River Audubon Center for all hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. This urban hardwood forest is an escape from the city to distinctive Texas terrain.

5. Nashville, TN
Nashville, the home of country music, American history, and much, much to see and do. First, the must-see of all the must-sees is the Country Music Hall of Fame and the infamous Grand Ole Opry. Just the view from the outside of these famous buildings is a must see. When you’re feeling full of country music, head out and walk around the beautiful college campuses of Vanderbilt University and Belmont University or head to the Adventure Science Center or the Belmont Mansion and spend the afternoon learning something new. The campuses are steeped in history and tradition and are a perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. And we haven’t even mentioned Nashville food. Nashville has to be a melting pot of kitchens. There are all kinds of dishes to satisfy any palate. My favorites were found in food trucks that offered fast, delicious, inexpensive takeout meals. If you have room for cake, I recommend the peach or walnut.

Not surprising at all, as summer is the time when people make travel plans to sunny and sandy beaches. The preparations aren’t just limited to booking air tickets and beachfront accommodations. You also need to get in shape.

“I have been out of shape for over a month,” says a stenographer. The answer is not rigorous diet and training.

It is surgery. At some point, back liposuction was the buzzword for those who wanted to lose a few pounds quickly. In this procedure, a doctor has patients go under a needle, inserts a cannula under the skin to suction fat from a target area.

Today, for people looking for a body contour, there are other options too. Laser technology has minimized the need for invasive surgical procedures.

Today, around the world, more and more people are undergoing laser treatment to remove scars, pigmentation, and acne.

A system called CoolSculpting is catching on. Manufactured and sold by Zeltics Inc., it has received approval for use in the United States by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Simply put, it is a fat freezing procedure that uses controlled cooling to shed stubborn fat that refuses to respond to diet and exercise.

Several cosmetic surgeons attest that the results are proven, noticeable, and long-lasting.

These are some of the key features of this innovative procedure on the market:

• This FDA approved fat reduction procedure uses precisely controlled cooling to target fat cells.

• It is not an answer for obesity. Rather, CoolSculpting targets areas like the back, fat, bra curls, stomach curls, and love handles.

To explain this procedure more simply, use rounded paddles, chosen from four sizes, to suck up grease like a vacuum cleaner. The patient sits in an inclined chair for approximately 2 hours, while the cooling panels crystallize the fat cells.

According to a physician who specializes in body contouring surgery, “people tolerate mild discomfort very well.” He further adds: “The sucking and cooling sensations eventually disappear.”

Some cosmetic surgeons even go to the extreme of saying that their patients while undergoing surgery, working on their laptops, reading or enjoying a movie.

But is this procedure for everyone?

For people who are considering body contouring surgery, specialists say that this procedure is only for those looking for slight improvements.

CoolSculpting is not a major fat removal procedure like liposuction.

Some of the things doctors look for in their patients include:

• Your age and skin quality.

• Is the skin likely to rebound?

• How thick the fabric is. This is because the suction panel will only be able to treat tissue that it can access.

The good news is that the procedure is non-invasive, the risks are comparatively very low.

For patients, what matters is choosing the right doctor.

Last summer I had the opportunity to take an aerial tour of Yosemite with my flying friend, Larry Jobe. What visions! While a small craft airplane is not my idea of ​​safe transportation and certainly not a method of tourism that I consider natural, it was incredibly wonderful.

We started at the small Pine Mountain Lake airport and followed Hwy 120 towards Yosemite. Parallel to the Tuolumne Canyon, we apparently floated into the park and headed straight for Half Dome. In what seemed like seconds before kissing each other’s faces, we turned around and glided gently over Yosemite Valley with unique views of El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls.

Sentinel Dome, a hike that starts a little before Glacier Point seems like a wonderful place to hike, offering 360 views of the Yosemite and Sierra Nevada peaks … and not that many people either because it’s not directly on the road .

Swooping back through the valley, we turned Half Dome. Surprisingly, from this point of view, the huge rock is actually quite narrow, and more of a wedge than a dome. The cables don’t go up the rear, but the north side edge, nothing I had anticipated.

We follow the Merced River into the Little Yosemite Valley from one hiking camp to the next. I was only remotely aware of this visitor experience, but what a wonderful deal. Hikers can reserve space in the field camps and have all food and water services and sleeping cabins at their disposal to make their hiking days more enjoyable without the need to carry a large load to eat / sleep for a week . There are 6 cabins of this type that lead one through the most beautiful and quite remote parts of the park. From the air we could often see the campgrounds and the trails along the rivers.

We continued over the Tioga Pass and got to see a distant Mono Lake and the decent one off Highway 120 at Lee Vining.

Completing our tour, he took us to the southern parts of the Emigrant Wilderness; at Hetch Hetchy, Lake Eleanor and Cherry Lake; all of the man-made lakes that support the San Francisco water system. Then we drove around Groveland and landed safely.

If you decide to take an aerial tour of Yosemite, you can expect this vision at different times of the year. It’s also true for a ground-level visit to Yosemite:

  • Spring: Raging waterfalls, lots of bright green growth, high-altitude snow
  • Summer: A browning of the green areas, some water still falling, an intense green of the pines.
  • Fall: Rare and few waterfalls, golden wheat color in green areas, very little snow
  • Winter: A wispy white land of wonders, bright blue skies, some light water falls.

There were a handful of controlled burns, so the air wasn’t crystal clear, but the memories will be!

I must admit I only asked Larry once if he thought I was high enough not to hit the sloping mountain and only once did I notice that if I slowed down a bit I could wash my hands in the river just below us. But the funniest thing was when, all of a sudden, I found myself sitting in the middle of a super breeze. I had nothing to attribute all this wind to and decided that the plane had chosen this inopportune moment to take off and I was the only one who knew. Larry could feel my tension and was calmly explaining that the turbulence was Mother Nature’s burp or something. I had to ask for his hand and show him that his plane had blown a hole somewhere and had an air leak. He calmly turned off the air conditioning and everything was fine in my world again.

It’s summer in pre-WWII Virginia, and living is easy and hot as flames.

Where do you go to escape the heat?

Moore’s Lake!

The popular swimming hole just off US Route One between Richmond and Petersburg was the most refreshing haven from the humidity and sweltering dog days west of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It was a mecca for locals seeking a few hours of blessed relief and a major vacation destination for tourists from all over the state. People were drawn to its huge sandy beach, the water slides, the high diving board where giggling girls congregated to watch the boys show off, and the adjacent ballroom that filled the night air with melodies of Big Band. Everyone who entered the bathhouse received a distinctive pin, which they then used to claim their clothing after swimming. Today, brass pins are appreciated by many veterans who use them as lapel ornaments.

Tommy Crump, whose parents bought the lake and the surrounding cabins after working for several years for RD Moore, the original owner, recalls that hundreds of families from as far away as North Carolina returned year after year. People driving from the north to Florida soon realized that it was the ideal overnight stop for both commuters and comings. For the locals, Moore’s Lake was the place to be and to be seen. It was inevitable that sunny afternoons and moonlit nights were responsible for untold romances. Many flourished in marriage.

The sturdy brick and stone cabins Moore built in 1929 were the epitome of luxury when George and Lena Crump took over the business. They quickly modernized them even further by adding bathrooms. As the Depression subsided and tourists clamored to enjoy its comforts and jungle setting, they built more cabins in the fragrant woods to reach 38. By 1941, they had erected a restaurant and their own comfortable brick house on the property. .

When World War II broke out and Camp Lee was reactivated in nearby Petersburg (renamed Fort Lee in 1950), some of the servicemen stationed there brought their families and accommodated them in cabins on Moore’s Lake. Several of his wives found work as waitresses at the busy restaurant that served three meals every day to cabin guests, local residents and defense workers commuting to work at nearby military installations. To defray the expenses, the older children of the service families who stayed there contributed to the war effort by becoming useful as bus boys, dishwashers, gardeners and lifeguards.

Tommy Crump, now 68, was a boy back then. He was closely supervised by a babysitter as he rode his trike through the picturesque streets to claim a tasty treat from the kitchen of the restaurant that served guests at Moore’s Brick Cottages and Moore’s Lake. Growing up in the spacious home her parents built, she learned to swim in the lake and to appreciate the beauty and unique setting of the property. It was only natural that she never strayed, but chose to stay and raise her own children there.

In 1970, he and his wife bought the cabins, the adjacent gas station, and the restaurant. Dubbed Sylvester’s, the restaurant was destined to become the most popular for miles around. Along with a delicious prime rib dinner that drew crowds, the menu featured hearty seafood, savory soups, “croissant-wiches,” stuffed potatoes, and delicious homemade desserts, including a double chocolate silk cake and a hot fruit shoe store.

Moore’s brick homes thrived until the construction of nearby Interstate 95 lured cars and trucks away from the venerable Jefferson Davis Highway, thus cementing the fate of the operation. With the advent of high-speed roads across the country, families discovered the appeal of the open road. No longer content with vacationing just a short drive from home, tourists rushed from Boston to Miami in a fraction of the time they could navigate the outdated two-lane highway. When large motels and hotels sprang up along the Interstate to serve long-distance travelers, it wasn’t long before Moore’s Brick Cottages became superfluous. The buildings were in poor condition and those who came to swim risked without lifeguards on duty. Today, the lake is little more than a neglected neighborhood swimming hole.

Sylvester’s, however, continued to prosper. It serves a loyal local clientele until December 2004, when Tommy Crump sold the property to a developer. The office park and retail businesses emerging from the devastated land will serve the City of Chester. Tommy watched with tearful eyes as all but two of the quaint cabins were demolished and their rubble used as fill for the parking lot.

“I feel an obligation to save these last two as part of history,” he says. “I’m keeping one for myself and moving it to my property along the James River. I hope someone, or some interested organization, will take the other and keep it for posterity.”

With no candidates yet, time is running out. Soon, only the ghosts of happy days gone by loom over the property that is still protected by giant, fragrant trees awaiting destruction in the name of progress.

If a long weekend is coming up and you want to take advantage of that extra day off, why not go on a trip for a few days? What good is staying home when there are so many places waiting to be explored? These days, traveling doesn’t involve a lot of advance planning. You can put together a two or three day itinerary very easily. There may also be some last minute deals for you to take advantage of. Where should you go Here are some of the best weekend getaways right now (national):

Tucson, Arizona

If you don’t mind the desert heat, Tucson is a nice and affordable place to visit. There is much to do outdoors, such as visiting Saguaro National Park and visiting the Historic Quarter. Head to the Arizona Desert Museum – Sonora to see native plants and animals in a stunning landscape. It is VERY easy to find a good hotel in this city for less than $ 100 a night.

Kansas City, MO

Right in the middle of the United States, Kansas City is an affordable destination that offers plenty of fun for a weekend getaway. Many of the attractions, such as the art museum, are free to visit. If you’re a sports fan, head over to Kauffman Stadium or Arrowhead Stadium to catch a game.

Austin, TX

One of the best weekend getaways in Texas is the city of Austin. It’s especially fun to visit if you love music. On Sixth Street you will find famous bands and new bands performing their best songs. Go to the Austin Zoo if you want to see all kinds of creatures: scaly, furry, and feathered. There are many budget hotels with free breakfast.

Here are some of the best weekend getaways in international destinations:

Guadalajara Mexico

This is an inexpensive destination if you are flying from one of the major cities in the US There is no shortage of affordable accommodation. It’s generally cheaper if you opt for a vacation package that includes airfare and a hotel room. There are lots of fun things to do, like exploring cultural institutions like the Huichol Wixarica Museum in Zapopan or the Clemente Orozco Museum.

Brussels, Belgium

Airlines like WOWAir offer affordable airfare to European destinations. Brussels, in particular, is an affordable getaway, with over 500 hotels. It’s easy to find a four-star hotel for $ 100 or less a night. This beautiful and historic city is definitely worth a visit.

Santo Domingo Dominican Republic

While there are many affordable destinations in the Caribbean, the best weekend getaways right now are in Santo Domingo. Airfare, accommodation, food, and activities will fit any budget. This city is a mix of modern Latin flair and old world charm. You’ll find an incredible mix of historic forts and palaces mixed with 21st century shopping and nightlife.

Let travel websites be your main source for the best weekend getaways and travel discounts. Whether you already have a destination in mind or want to explore all the current offers, there may be a discount code online that you can use to save even more.

Almost everyone in the country loves a good steak, especially one of the best steakhouse in the area. However, many meat fans have extremely different feelings about what constitutes the best steakhouse. Let’s take a look at many of the different aspects of barbecue and help you find the best option for your preference.

To begin with, quality is always an important factor. A good steakhouse should have the best quality meat, sourced from the best cattle farms. While we all want the right quality beef, the perceived high quality automatically comes at a high price. The steakhouse you would expect to have the best beef may not, and you are probably paying for the restaurant name and presentation. A small and relatively unknown steakhouse might be the best in terms of quality meat.

The second most important factor is the way it is prepared. No matter how good a steak is, if it’s not cooked the way you love it, you won’t enjoy it. The best steakhouse will always cook it to your wishes, and higher-class steakhouses will generally take the steak back and re-prepare it if it wasn’t to your specifications, while smaller or more conventional, non-specialty steakhouses would not give such a guarantee . If you are the type of customer who only prefers rare steaks, for example, being served a medium steak is unacceptable. Any restaurant that can claim to be the best steakhouse will have to prepare its steaks to the taste of its customers.

After the preparations, presentation is very important for any steakhouse. The presentation is everything from the exterior of the chophouse, to the material of the cloth and napkins, to the plates and cutlery used for eating. A steakhouse that claims to be the best cannot serve drinks to its visitors in slim, inexpensive glasses. Presentation is very important to some diners but not others, so consider how important you find linen napkins.

Variety is imperative for a steakhouse that claims to be the best steakhouse in a city. Strip, sirloin, and fillet must be available, as a minimum. Once those bases have been covered, the sides should include all tastes as well as the availability of beverages, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Desserts and entrees, two parts of a meal that are often overlooked, must also offer a wide variety and satisfy various tastes and preferences. A wide variety offers something for everyone, and the best steakhouse must have done it.

Finally, there is the service. Nobody goes to what they think is the best steakhouse and is met with inferior service. Customers trust waiters and kitchen staff to deliver what they asked for, with incredible service. Many diners do not have the patience to wait long periods for their food or drink, especially if it is a common or simple order. A good steakhouse will have an efficient service staff attentive to the needs of the customer.

A great way to find really good steak places in your city is to do your search online. These days, there are quite a few restaurant review sites where you can enter the name of your particular city, state or region and they will give you results based on your location. Not only can you see where the restaurant is near you, but you can also read the actual customer reviews and experiences of the restaurants in question. I use these sites religiously when looking for new restaurants in my hometown of Memphis.

Ultimately, when looking for the best steakhouse, think about what you really want from a dining experience and judge based on that, rather than simply looking for what you perceive to be best. Above all, have fun looking for it!

The Riviera Maya, or Riviera Maya in Spanish, is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico. The Riviera Maya is the official name for a stretch of coastal land from southern Cancun to Tulum. It includes the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. This area of ​​coastline covers 130 km (81 miles), not including the Reserve. It includes many small towns and hideaways, as well as natural parks and large resorts, including luxury resorts with 5 or more stars. The largest towns are Puerto Morelos and Puerto Aventuras. These are lesser known but equally valuable vacation spots. Hideouts include Punta Bete, Xpu-Ha, Paamul, and Punta Allen. The main cities in this stretch include Playa del Carmen, Akumal and Tulum. Cancun and the island of Cozumel are just minutes away by car or ferry. As you can imagine, there are many things to do for vacationers of all tastes. Whether you want to relax on the beach, snorkel in the crystal blue waters, shop for souvenirs, visit historical or nature reserves, or eat at a host of restaurants, the Riviera Maya will more than fulfill your vacation wish.

A lot to do

Swimming with the dolphins – Dolphin Discovery (998 / 887-0207) is located on Treasure Island on the Isla Mujeres side, in front of Cancun. Up to six people can swim with two dolphins and a trainer. Another option is Xel-Há (998 / 883-3293), a theme park in Puerto Juárez. For less than $ 90 USD per person, you can swim for 30 minutes in a natural habitat environment called a dolphinarium.

Diving – Isla Mujeres is located near one of the many coral reefs, and the area is popular for its snorkeling and diving. The most popular area for snorkeling is El Garrafón National Park. Another popular place is Bahía de Mujeres.

Scuba diving – By far the most popular destination is Cozumel. It is among the top five dive destinations. But don’t forget your dive card and dive log. Dive shops will rent you equipment, but they won’t take you by boat until you show some documentation. You can save money by getting a dive package along with your hotel stay. Cozumel has many places to dive. Some of the most famous are Palancar Reef, Muro Santa Rosa, San Francisco Reef, and Yucab Reef. The Gran Maya coral reef is also impressive.

Wildlife – No, not the all night party type, but nature reserves is what we are talking about here. South of Cancun, near the Mayan ruins of Tulum, is the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Here you can enjoy wildlife in its natural habitat. Activities include kayaking, fly fishing, and educational programs. On Isla Mujeres, you may want to visit the Turtle Sanctuary, a reserve dedicated to preserving the turtles of the Caribbean Sea and educating the public about them.

Beaches – Playa del Carmen offers the same quality of beaches as Cancun with fewer crowds, although it is growing in popularity. Few minutes by ferry will take you to the island of Cozumel which has wonderful beaches such as Playa San Francisco and Playa Palancar.

Swimming – If you are in Isla Mujeres, we recommend Playa Norte. Anywhere there is a great beach in the Riviera Maya, you will find a great swimming experience.

To fish – Riviera Maya offers a great fishing experience. To arrange a fishing day, contact the Tourist Cooperative Society. Alternatively, your travel agent can organize a fishing excursion for you. The best months to fish are from April to September.

Museums and Mayan ruins – On rainy afternoons, you may want to visit a museum or two. In Cazumel, the Museum of the Island of Cozumel is worth a visit. The Mayan ruins are definitely worth a visit when you are in the Riviera Maya. A notable place is the Ruins of Tulum, a Mayan fortress city overlooking the Caribbean. These are located thirteen kilometers (8 miles) south of Xel-ha.

There are too many activities in the Riviera Maya to be able to list them all in a short article like this one. In the near future, look for more articles dedicated to one or a few destinations in the Riviera Maya.

If you end up going to the Riviera Maya, we hope you have a great time there.

People ask me all the time what are the best things to see and do in Guatemala. I made a list and limited myself to the top 10 things to see and do, and ranked them by distance from Guatemala City. To maximize your travel time, pick a must-see destination and start expanding to destinations around your chosen area. There’s a lot to keep one busy for a long time, here are my top 10 things to do in Guatemala (for families) and plan your vacation around:

1. Visit the La Aurora National Zoo. A surprisingly good zoo in Guatemala City, ideal if you are traveling with children. Driving time: 5-20 minutes from within the city depending on your location.

2. Visit Antigua Guatemala. See the colonial architecture and walk the cobbled streets. Even better if you can attend the Holy Week processions (book the hotel in advance). Driving time: 45 minutes from the capital.

3. Go up to the Pacaya Volcano. As close as possible to a live volcano that spews lava. Driving time: 45 minutes from the city.

4. Explore Lake Atitlán. Surrounded by volcanoes, it is believed to be the most beautiful lake in the world. I agree. Driving time: 2 – 2:30 hours from Guatemala City.

5. Visit the beaches. You get a 2 for 1 here. Monterrico and its black sand beaches are to the west. Great place to relax. Playa Blanca in Izabal, and its traditional white sand

the beaches are to the east. If you are in Izabal, visit the Castillo de San Felipe (Castillo de San Felipe), an old Spanish fort. Very scenic, on the water and well cared for. Driving time to Monterrico: 2 – 2:30 hours from Guatemala City. Driving time to Izabal: 4 hours from Guatemala City.

6. Shop at the Chichicastenango market. Open on Thursdays and Sundays, the Chichi market is the largest handicraft market in the world. Haggling is accepted and encouraged. Buy your souvenirs here. Driving time: 3 – 3:30 hours from Guatemala City.

7. Visit the IRTRA parks in Retalhuleu. Disney / Water Park destination in Central America. The children will have a great time. Stay at IRTRA’s affordable hostels and enjoy their spas, restaurants, tennis courts, swimming pools, bowling and other adult amenities. The grounds are incredibly well cared for and you will enjoy peacocks strutting all over the hostel complex. Driving time: 3 – 3:30 hours from Guatemala City.

8. Take a walk around Xela. A piece of Europe in Central America. It competes with Antigua for its sheer beauty and as a destination to learn Spanish in its many schools. Safe to walk at night, its beautiful architecture (and international cuisine) can be enjoyed at any time. Driving time: 4 – 4:30 hours from Guatemala City.

9. Explore Semuc Champey. Enjoy tranquil rock pools filled with turquoise blue waters and explore incredible caves by candlelight. You won’t find a single image online that does it justice. It’s that impressive in person. Driving time: Approximately 5 hours from Guatemala City.

10. Visit the Tikal National Park. Last but not least. See the impressive Mayan temples, right in the middle of the jungle. Ponder if the end of the world starts here in 2012. Driving time: 8 hours from Guatemala City (flying to Flores airport from Guatemala City is the frequently chosen route to save time).

There is much more to mention. Ecotourism is huge here, for example, it’s hard to limit it to ten things, but these will get you started.