Archive | May 2014

Cancun – Beyond the Beach!!

VolkswagonWhen you think of Cancun, do you think of Adventure Travel?  Many people associate Cancun with the beaches and swim up bars but have no idea of the numerous activities available in and around the Cancun area.  Activities from diving with whale sharks, or underwater sculpture gardens to zip-lining  or biking through the jungle to repelling in cenotes.

Cenotes are natural sinkholes that feed underground streams and rivers and are located throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. On the Route of the Cenotes, you’ll find an ecological park called Jungle and several other cenotes.  With the many cenotes to choose from it may be a tough decision.  I’d recommend spending a day on the Ruta De Los Cenotes.

Another excellent day adventure is Xcaret, an amazing archaeological park in the Riviera Maya area.  Enjoy jaguars, monkeys, Mayan culture, underground rivers, butterfly pavillion,

swimming with the dolphins or sharks, wine tasting in a lava cave, a massage and more!!  If the activities aren’t enough, enjoy one of the shows, including Xcaret Mexico Espectacular, one of the most famous shows in Mexico. Maybe you need 2 days here!

Do you like a little off-road adventure?  Can you see yourself entering the jungle in an all-terrain Mercedes-Benz Unimog’s. Imagine zooming over lush jungle and lagoons on a series of exciting zip lines; doing a rappel descent into crystal clear cenotes and snorkeling in the underground rivers and caverns; canoe paddling on breathtaking fresh water lagoons; biking through jungle paths to visit local fauna.

Are you a birdwatcher?  Isla Contoy boasts more than 150 migrating and resident bird species as well as a nesting place for sea turtles.  Only 200 visitors are allowed on the island

each day in order to preserve the islands eco-system. You can also go snorkeling and have a nice picnic lunch while you’re on the island.

Because of the natural reef being threatened by tourist and hurricanes, two Underwater Sculpture Gardens have been created for divers pleasure. The sculptures have been made from a special concrete to attract coral.  You’ll find everything from a VW Beetle to a man watching TV.

 

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The Most Unique Cruise Ship Features!

Coastal Vacations Travel - DFI - Christian Team

Cruise.9Back in the golden day of cruising, travelers could barely believe their eyes when they stepped aboard a luxury cruise liner and found fully equipped gymnasiums, relaxing Turkish baths, and even well stocked libraries and outdoor, European-style cafes. Of course, all of these features, and indeed much, much more, are pretty standard across the board now, with most of us expecting high-end restaurants, shopping malls and casinos at the very least when taking a cruise. With the bar being well and truly raised, cruise companies around the world are seeking out new features that will make their ships stand out over all others and what the industry is starting to see on the newer ships, and on those that have been recently renovated, is a level of excitement and a level of utter luxury that has simply never before been seen at sea.

North Star, Quantum of the Seas, Royal…

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Maui Travel Tips

??????????????????????Maui is not nearly as large as the Big Island, nor is it as small as Lanai, as bustling as Oahu or as quiet as Kauai. For many Hawaii vacationers, Maui is just right — offering a taste of just about everything the Aloha State has to offer, from impressive wildlife to intriguing history and culture. While on a visit here, you can shimmy alongside professional hula dancers, golf along coastal fairways, snorkel alongside five different types of sea turtles or simply lounge along some of Hawaii’s most notable beaches.

One of the archipelago’s most popular tourism spots, Maui can be found sandwiched between the Big Island and the much tinier Molokai. Maui is divided into five distinct regions: Many travelers base themselves along the coasts of South Maui (home to the famous Wailea Beach) or West Maui, where the sands of Kaanipali Beach and the music from the Old Lahaina Luau are located. But the rest of the island should not be missed. Travel along the Road to Hana to experience East Maui’s scenic coastline, explore Haleakala — the world’s largest dormant volcano — in the Upcountry, and explore the former tribal battlegrounds of Central Maui’s Iao Valley State Park.

Maui Culture & Customs

Maui is a great place to go if you’re looking to learn more about Hawaii history and culture. In fact, legend has it that it was honokalani_black_sand_beach_in_the_wainapanapa_state_parkthe demigod, Maui, who pulled the islands from the sea and lassoed the sun from the top of Haleakala. Travelers who are interested in learning more about island lore will have plenty of opportunities to do so: A visit to the scenic Iao Valley will offer a glimpse of the tumultuous era of tribal warfare, while a stroll through the small town of Lahaina will yield a glimpse of Hawaii’s whaling, plantation and trade history.

Today, Maui is one of America’s most popular vacation destinations — probably because it’s so drastically different from any place on the mainland. Vacationers will find all the makings of contemporary luxury at the island’s resorts, but outside the hotel areas, the relaxed “Aloha spirit” permeates. If you’re looking to blend in with the locals, you simply need to loosen up: Pack T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops (as well as some light layers) for everyday wear and tone down the road rage (no honking here).

Folklore still plays a large role in day-to-day life, with residents paying tribute to various gods and goddesses in a number of ways — most notably hula dancing. Although visitors to the island see hula performances as entertainment, they are also a type of prayer and should be respected.

Other cultural traditions continue to influence everyday life in Maui, one of the most noticable being language. Unlike many other states, Hawaii has two official languages: English and Hawaiian, which is a member of the Polynesian language family. Though you won’t have any trouble finding English-speakers, you’ll benefit from learning a few basic Hawaiian phrases; “Aloha” means both “hello” and “goodbye,” and “mahalo” means “thank you.”

sunbathing_on_kaanapali_beach

The arts are a mainstay on the island, with numerous festivals — like the one held twice a month in Lahaina’s Banyan Tree Park — showcasing works by regional craftspeople. And throughout the year, Maui honors its vibrant culture through events like the Maui Steel Guitar Festival and the East Maui Taro Festival (both held in April).

If you’re more interested in discovering Maui’s natural wonders than its heritage, you’ll find plenty of places to do so — from flower-filled jungles to underwater reefs teeming with aquatic life. However, it’s important that you leave the island as you found it. Resist the urge to collect living souvenirs or to have a one-on-one encounter with local wildlife, as these could result in hefty fines or even jail time.

Maui Dining

Maui is quickly earning a reputation as a foodie destination: The island’s restaurant scene is as diverse as its visitors with restaurants serving food from around the world. But as long as you’re here, you may as well get a taste of the local cuisine.

Like the rest of America, Maui is on board with the local food movement — here, you’ll find plates piled high with freshly caught fish and regional produce. To find these ingredients prepared in the island way, you’ll want to stray from resort-heavy areas. Maui’s towns (and its countryside) brim with local mom-and-pop joints serving such specialties as pork roasted in banana leaves, poi (ground taro root) and haupia, a creamy coconut custard. If you’re not quite sure where to start your culinary tour, ask some local residents for recommendations.

One very popular — and very economical — way to get your fill of Hawaiian cuisine is to eat big around noon. Many local eateries served what’s called a “plate lunch,” which comes piled high with some sort of protein (usually beef, pork or fish), rice and/or macaroni salad and some sort of pickled vegetable. This tradition formed on the sugar plantations, where workers would gather for lunch and share their food. Today, it’s common to see residents and visitors alike chowing down on the mountainous servings dished out by plate lunch restaurants and stands.

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Take an Amazing Amazon Cruise in Style and Luxury..

For those travelers who are becoming increasingly bored with the seemingly endless cruising holidays available today, there is a truly unique alternative… a luxury Amazon river cruise. Embark on the voyage of a lifetime, sailing the earth’s mightiest river and the world’s last unexplored wilderness – the Amazon.

Amazon river cruise

The very first luxury vessel in the region, the Aqua Amazon caters to the most discriminating and adventurous of world travelers, providing an unforgettable journey into areas penetrated by only a privileged few. The Aqua affords the opportunity to truly “get away from it all” and explore the unexplored; without abandoning the comforts, security, and five-star luxuries which are now expected.  As your ship docks along the river, knowledgeable and experienced naturalists will take you into remote estuaries in the Peruvian rain forest and the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. As you explore these pristine wilderness areas teaming with wildlife, you will encounter local people living in villages as they have for centuries. And when the day’s sightseeing is over, the comforts of your luxury floating hotel will await you.

Amazon river cruise

Immerse yourself in the remarkable scenes and sounds of the rainforest, its people, cultures and exotic wildlife. The largest tropical rainforest on earth, the Amazon encompasses 4 million sq miles throughout South America, and an Amazon River cruise gives you a unique insight into this great wilderness. Every single traveler has fantasized about trekking through the Amazon rainforest or waking up to the call of a thousand birds – this is the chance to indulge that fantasy!

A seven night Amazon River luxury cruise on the Aqua begins in the remote colonial city of Iquitos (Peru) and transports guests in exceptional comfort deep into the Amazon rainforest, along the Ucayali River, the Amazon’s largest tributary, as well as other neighboring rivers (the Yarapa and Dorado), each one rich in vibrant wildlife and thriving rainforests. Perhaps go fishing for the many species of Amazon fish, or explore into the dense jungle on foot in search of three-toed sloths, toucans, macaws then come back to the comfort of our skiffs to meet taricaya turtles in their natural habitat and hunt for endangered pink dolphins, unique to the Amazon.

Amazon river cruise

Custom built specifically for Amazon cruising, the 40m Aqua river boat comfortably accommodates up to 24 guests in 12 exterior suites measuring 240 sq ft, and all with large panoramic windows. All suites are fully air-conditioned, superbly finished in natural materials and have en suite private lounging and stone bathrooms. All are available as twins or king sizes double.

Whilst every day on this luxury cruise is packed with excursions, you can instead opt to spend the day lounging on the sun deck, seeing all the sights without even stepping ashore. This outdoor lounge features ample sun chairs and a deck Jacuzzi to cool off. In the evening, retire indoors to the spacious luxury living room finished with wood flooring and soft lighting…relax with a glass of wine in comfort amongst the plethora of plump couches, and watch the captivating landscape pass you by through panoramic floor to ceiling windows.

Amazon river cruise

All meals, bar, excursions, park fees, and transfers are included in a standard package. Spacious and indulgent, yet intimate enough to feel entirely exclusive, the Aqua incorporates generous living space with the ability to truly explore the unexplored regions of the River Amazon.
Source: Luxury Travel Blog

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5 Best Luxury Hotels in Scotsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale is a sunny destination with luxurious accommodations, over 100 art galleries, plentiful outdoor activities and more than 600 restaurants. It offers something for everyone – outdoors enthusiasts, shoppers, golfers, families, foodies, and those looking to lounge by the pool and hit the spa.

The Valley of the Sun was once a popular hideaway for the old Hollywood crowd, and remains a hotspot for visitors looking for down time in a unique and convenient location. Situated in central Arizona in the Sonoran desert with Phoenix to the West and the McDowell Mountains to the east, Scottsdale offers easy access to the state’s biggest attractions. The city continually ranks as a top community for business and leisure.

Here are five luxury resorts, each offering their own special magic. During the summer, prices are drastically reduced, often to half the normal rate or more, so you can get a lot of bang for you buck if you’re willing to brave the heat.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

The wonderful thing about the Four Seasons is that the answer to everything is: Yes. May I have this? Yes. Can I do that? Yes. The other wonderful things are the atmosphere and the food, which are both fantastic.

Four Seasons Scottsdale dusk

Proof, an American Canteen, is a family friendly restaurant with a fun menu that offers both home-style comfort food and healthy fare made with quality local and organic ingredients. It’s worth getting on a plane to eat Chef Jesse’s breakfast of huevos rancheros, blueberry buttermilk pancakes that melt in your mouth and freshly pressed green juice. Lunch and dinner are also fabulous–the Arizona Salad is a must.

The ambiance at the Four Seasons Scottsdale is tranquil and elegant and very southwestern with beautiful views of the Sonoran Desert from a small village of casitas. You can access numerous trails from the hotel or nearby, including Pinnacle Peak, The Marcus Landslide Interpretive Trail, and Brown’s Ranch Trailhead at McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Get a Healing Hiker’s massage at the spa post-hike, or relax by the pool in a complimentary cabana while the kids are at the (also complimentary) kids club.

For those who enjoy golf, the resort is adjacent to the renowned Weiskopf-designed golf courses of Troon North. Two 18-hole courses offer one of Scottsdale’s top golfing experiences.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa

Sanctuary is an appropriate name because Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain is a desert oasis that feels like a soothing hideaway. Located in Paradise Valley on the north slope of Camelback Mountain, it’s a 53-acre resort that feels intimate and quiet.

Sanctuary Camelback

Modern with gorgeous views and pops of bright green throughout the property, cozy casitas blend the rustic charm with comfortable contemporary decor. Hummingbirds are all over this property and you can spot them fluttering around the beautifully groomed grounds filled with colorful flowers. In the morning, you can sit on your private patio and enjoy a coffee and take in the scenery. Life seems to move slower at this resort and it’s a welcome respite.

Sanctuary’s Asian inspired spa is one of the best in town and the Wild Lime Blossom Massage is divine. Relax poolside after a spa visit and enjoy a cold glass of signature basil-cucumber lemonade. The infinity pool is especially beautiful at night with views of twinkling city lights mixed with mountain and palm tree silhouettes. The Praying Monk, a rock formation visible from all over the property, is an appropriate landmark for such a tranquil and soul-feeding place.

Hotel Valley Ho

For a hip, retro chic and wholly unique hotel experience check out Valley Ho where you almost expect the Rat Pack to saunter through the doors at any moment. Mid-century-modern architecture and bright colors create a festive atmosphere, and its convenient location in historic Old Town is perfect for walking to a variety of shops and restaurants.

Valley Ho Loft Suite

This vintage property, which opened in 1956, feels ultra fresh and modern. It’s like stepping simultaneously into the past and future blending Frank Sinatra with the Jetsons. It was an old Hollywood hangout back in the day, hosting stars like Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis, Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood.

You see a lot of brown and beige in Scottsdale and Valley Ho’s turquoise blue, orange and yellow are fabulously refreshing. Book a Tower Loft Suite for swanky luxury that makes you feel like a rock star.  A quiet lap pool that lights up in glowing purple at night is a welcome surprise for swimmers while the more up-tempo round OH Pool is a fun place to grab a cocktail and socialize.

The food at ZuZu is excellent and all the more enjoyable sitting outside by the tiki style lava fire pit. They use fresh local ingredients and the taste comes through. The other thing that shines is the exceptionally cheerful staff. It’s a locally owned and managed hotel and you get a family run vibe throughout the hotel.

A visit to VH Spa for Vitality + Health is a must. It’s small, not like the mega spas, and this makes for a more personalized experience. The decor is colorful with soothing blues. If you’re not staying here, it’s worth stopping by for a meal at ZuZu and signature Hammam spa treatment, but once you see this property, you might want to book a room.

The Phoenician

You walk into this hotel to a grand Italian marble entrance with sweeping views of Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Papago Mountain. This is an SPG Luxury Collection hotel, so it will feel familiar to the Starwood crowd. President Obama, JLo, and other celebrities have stayed at the Phonecian and it has a palatial regal ambiance that you’d imagine would appeal to dignitaries and movie stars.

Phonecian Mother of Pearl pool

This is a family friendly hotel and really shines in accommodating children. The Funician Kids Club is a bright, colorful kids club that features a big aquarium and fun Mathew Lew artwork on the walls–we’re talking hip raccoons with headphones. This particular kids club goes over the top, giving each kiddo their own quality Funician backpack with goodies inside. Children are offered meals, and a variety of activities inside and outdoors so adults can enjoy the pool, spa, or afternoon tea.

For relaxing poolside, a sunny yellow cabana at the more secluded million-dollar Mother of Pearl serenity pool is the way to go.

Fairmont Gold at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Another family oriented luxury hotel, the Fairmont Princess offers five swimming pools, two water slides, marshmallow roasting, on site fishing and the Trailblazer Kids Club. This is a mega resort and staying in Fairmont Gold, essentially a hotel within a hotel, offers a more luxurious and intimate experience.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Two restaurants on site offer good dinner options. Dine at celebrity Chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak for a sexy southwestern atmosphere, excellent food and outdoor dining in a cactus-adorned terrace. It’s a place to linger. The chef sends out random tastes of food and the ambiance invites conversation. La Hacienda offers a more home-style atmosphere and is famous for their tequila and flaming coffee drinks. The Organic Margarita made with agave and lime might spoil you for all future margaritas.

Guests and locals love the spa at this hotel. Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa is a grandiose 44,000 square foot spa with a waterfall grotto and rooftop pool. Their patented Novo Glow facial is a great refresher after spending time in the desert and you can unwind with some prickly pear lemonade by the secluded pool post-treatment.

 

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Coastal Travel Vacations Business Opportunity and Products

The Coastal Vacations Business Opportunity and Products

CV.AD.Capture.PageThe Coastal Vacations Business Opportunity travel package comes with all that you need to like traveling around the world. You’ll have access to apartment rental stays for as much as 85% off rack rates, hotel stays for taxes on the room, all-inclusive beach resorts around the world, and plenty more! This is a travel package like no other! Here are three main characteristics of the packages :

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The numbers do not lie, and we will present and your sponsor will help close all of your sales too! The Coastal Vacations Business Opportunity, CV.LazyRiver.Kidswith the assistance of experienced presenters and first class internet sites present for you while your sponsors are rewarded greatly to help close your prospects. It is the best combination for home based business success.

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The Coastal Vacations Business Opportunity is an opportunity to change your way of life and eventually do all the stuff that you wish to do and basically can have the money to do it. You can check out this opportunity by Clicking Here.

Any serious opportunity hunter should definitely check into The Coastal Travel Vacations Business Opportunity.

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Traveling With Your Kids Doesn’t Have to Be a Hassle!

key_art_travel_with_kids

(RNN) – It’s time to make summer vacation plans and families who will be traveling with children have more to consider when making their plans. But traveling with youngsters doesn’t have to be a hassle. Several experts share some tips that will help make all aspects of your trip with your children easier.

Preparing for the trip

Start out by getting your kids involved in planning and packing for the trip.

“Preparation is the key,” Cynthia Edwards, professor of psychology at Meredith College said via email. “Involving kids (of whatever age) in that preparation will give them ownership, teach them planning skills and help them mentally prepare and anticipate the event.”

Make a list of those ‘must pack’ items that you want to be certain to bring on your trip. Travel expert and Director of Marketing for WanderWe.com Allison McGuire says sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, prescription and OTC medicine and EpiPens are just a few items you don’t want to forget at home.

If you’re driving, she suggests researching the route to your destination to find seasonal events or historical sites that your family might enjoy. This will help break the monotony of a long car trip.

For families with small kids, try to avoid road trips longer than 500 miles.”Having children sit still for much longer can be challenging and potentially take away from the fun of the vacation,” McGuire said.

If you’re bringing a baby on vacation, Bob Diener, co-founder of getaroom.com, says don’t assume you will find diapers, wipes and other travel-childrensupplies that you need. Bring your own and make sure you have enough for the duration of the trip.

When you get ready to book rooms, be sure to check the hotel’s kid policy beforehand.

“Every hotel has a different policy regarding allowing kids to stay free, some as high as 19,” Diener said. “But some charge for ages two and above.”

If you plan on flying, remember that children younger than 2 years old do not need a ticket for most domestic carriers, but they’ll have to sit on a parent’s lap, Warren Chang, vice president and general manager of fly.com, says. Just be sure to ask first.

Kids who are traveling overseas must have a passport, regardless of age. Keep in mind that it takes roughly four to eight weeks for routine passport request to be processed.

A fun way to get kids excited for an overseas trip is to get some foreign currency from your local bank before the trip, Chang says.

Advice columnist April Masini says that for family vacations, it’s a must to plan on having both structured and unstructured time once you’re at your destination. It’s important not to over schedule a vacation, but having too much unstructured time could result in bored kids. And let’s face it, vacations should be fun for all.

On the road

Traveling by car can be tough on kids since they have to be cooped up and buckled in for long stretches of time. Some kids take well to car travel, napping, listening to music or playing games, but others aren’t as easily pacified. Having plenty of distractions and snacks on hand is vital to making a road trip go smoothly.

Mina Olivera, co-founder of Novica, suggests bringing gift-wrapped toys on trips. Whether you’re flying or driving, this gives the kids something to look forward to, especially when they get bored. Try to borrow the toys from friends or relatives in order to save money.

Electronics are a great way to occupy time while on the road. Load the devices with favorite videos, music and even download some new apps. Make sure everything is fully charged and be sure to bring along car chargers.

But don’t just rely on electronics to keep your kids occupied in the car. For some family bonding, McGuire suggests playing interactive games like I Spy, The License Plate Game and 20 Questions. When a parent needs some quiet time, have a Silence Contest, where the person who keeps quiet the longest gets a prize.

Make regular stops along the way to allow everyone to get out and stretch their legs. And on long road trips, seek out a playground to give kids a chance to burn off some energy.

Children’s health advocate Merilee A. Kern is the author of Making Healthy Choices – A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids. She suggests bringing a hula hoop or jump rope along to help kids burn off a little steam, especially if there isn’t a playground nearby. Walking or running, dancing, yoga and stretching are all great activities to get kids moving whether they’re at a rest stop or in a hotel room.

In the air

Travel Tips With Kids

Keeping younger kids occupied on a flight can be quite the task for parents. No one wants to be the parent with the screaming kids on a plane.

With that in mind, Olivera says to try to get your family get onboard last, so that the kids won’t have to wait as long for takeoff.

She also stresses to her kids that planes are for sleeping and encourages them to sleep on the plane so that when they wake up, they will be in a new place. It may not work for all children, but it’s worth a try.

Have as many toys and snacks as possible with you on the plane to keep the children occupied. It’s also a good idea to bring a child’s favorite blanket or stuffed animal for comfort, Chang said. It will help them relax and sleep easier.

Also be sure to have gum or hard candy for older kids if they have trouble with air pressure in their ears. Younger kids should be encouraged to take a bottle, pacifier or breast feed in order to avoid or soothe ear pain.

Eating on the road

It’s a difficult task to eat healthy foods while on vacation and snacks are a big part of taking trips with kids.

Kern says it’s easy to prepare healthy, travel friendly snacks. Prewashed fresh fruit and dried fruits are a hit with kids. Roasted nuts, popcorn, string cheese, pretzels and baked chips are also healthy snacks that are easily portable.

At mealtimes, she says that parents should steer children toward the more nutritious menu selections available at sit-down restaurants and fast food places. Most restaurants offer grilled or baked items and will even prepare food to your specifications.

Marnie Swedberg, author and mommy mentor, has a great suggestion for eating healthy while on the road: swing by a buffet for cheap, healthy meals that will please even the fussiest eater.

“Unknown to many, most buffets offer ‘to-go’ containers charged by the pound,” Swedberg said. “American buffets offer excellent salad bars while Asian buffets specialize in cooked vegetables. By requiring kids to fill their box with food, they’ll eat in no less than five colors. You can grab and go for typically $2 to $5 per person.”

You and your family should stick with your normal meal times as much as possible while on vacation. This helps keep your internal clock on track and helps prevent you from overeating.

At your destination

Once you arrive at your destination, give your kids time to stretch out and let off a little steam before going about the business of unpacking and getting ready for activities.

Keep in mind that new places can sometimes be overwhelming to some kids, so give them time to adjust before jumping into activities.

And finally, try to plan your trip so that you arrive home near the kid’s bedtime, so they can just go on to bed. “The next morning, ask them about their favorite parts of the trip,” McGuire said. “You may be surprised by their answers.”

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

Source: WMBF News

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