Archive | May 30, 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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Ms Johnnie Wright
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