In the northeast Caribbean, the island of St Martin is a mixture of sophisticated restaurants, stunning beaches and rural charm. The island is divided between two nations, with the more populous Southern part owned by the Netherlands (Sint Maarten) and the larger, less populous North owned by France (Saint Martin).
The Dutch side of the island is well known for buzzing nightlife, quavaberry drinks, casinos and gorgeous beaches. The quieter French side is home to exquisite, but moderately priced, restaurants, nude beaches and duty free shopping.
The dual nationality of the island makes for some great …
Continue reading Travel Photo: St Martin’s Rural Charm
We were told this would be the most amazing salmon run in 100 years, but nothing prepared us for the incredible sight of British Columbia’s Adams River teeming with thousands of crimson red Sockeye salmon thrashing and heaving their way upstream.
Millions of salmon return to their spawning beds in the Adams River each year. Fighting their way from the Pacific ocean, the salmon swim 400 kms (250 miles) upstream, all to lay their eggs and die in the river they hatched from four years before.
After all this, only one of 4,000 eggs lives to be an adult. Those that survive make their way to the Pacific, where they live until they repeat the cycle and return to the river four years later. It’s not fully understood how the salmon navigate back to their river of birth.
The photos are from the salmon run in 2010, which saw over 100 million salmon. This was the single largest salmon run of this century, dwarfing …
Continue reading Watching the Salmon Run of the Century at the Adams River, British Columbia
Chiang Mai’s Buddhist temples are some of the oldest in Thailand. Open to the public, they’re great examples of Thai architecture, and a wonderful way to see true Thai culture and history.
Doi Suthep can be seen from almost anywhere in Chiang Mai, clinging to the mountainside close to the summit of Doi Suthep hill. Doi Suthep temple was built under King Geu Na in the late 14th century.
It’s believed that striking the bells will bring good luck.
Legend holds that the temple’s site was chosen by a sacred white elephant charging through the forest. King Geu Na ordered the temple built where the …
Continue reading Travel Photo: Bells at Wat Pharathat Doi Suthep Temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Some days, like today, when I need some inspiration, I like to take out my travel quote collection.
Hopefully, they give you a smile, or even inspire your adventure.
1. Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen. Benjamin Disraeli
2. When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in. D. H. Lawrence
3. Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it. Cesare Pavese
4. No matter how you travel, it’s still you going. Jeff Goldblum
Continue reading Great Travel Quotes – What’s Your Favorite?
If you’ve got a burning desire to outdo everyone at your next family reunion, TripAdvisor’s TripWow may just be the slideshow for you.
TripWow’s free, and much more than your boring PowerPoint style slideshow. Admittedly, it’s pretty over the top, but you can create a flashy mashup of your travel photos online in just a few minutes, complete with maps and music.
The process is pretty simple. Go to TripWow, and choose your slideshow theme, photos and music. You can use your own music, if you prefer, and grab your photos from your computer, Picasa or Flickr.
Once your slideshow is done, you have the option to share on Facebook, by email, Twitter or MySpace (really? MySpace?).
Continue reading How To Make A Free and Flashy Travel Slideshow With TripWow
Marina Bay, in the sovereign city-state of Singapore, is a vibrant section of the city that includes the diversified Central Area or CBD (Central Business District). It is a 24/7 lit up wonderland that includes 3 1/2 kms of paths along the Waterfront Promenade, numerous hotels, commercial shops, high end residential buildings and lots of entertainment options.
Home to the famous Merlion and Marina Centre, this area of the city is well lit up regardless of the hour. The lights and views (especially at night) almost put Las Vegas’ neon strip to shame and are a pride for all who live there.
Singapore has one of the busiest water ports in the world and the city-state uses water as a backdrop to highlight it’s success at every opportunity. Whether you’re walking down the Promenade, sipping a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel (home of the Singapore Sling) or marvelling at the creative wonder of The Helix Bridge you’ll feel…
Continue reading Travel Photo: Marina Bay at Night, Singapore
When Charles and I first started our travels, we lived the typical backpacker’s lifestyle, staying in hostels and eating out every night. Now that we’re a family of four on the road for months at a time, we find we need more space and privacy.
As a family, we use vacation home rentals whenever we stay somewhere for more than a night or two. They’re cheaper than hotels, and have a ton of space and amenities (and personality!) that hotels don’t offer. We’ve rented vacation homes with gourmet kitchens, amazing swimming pools, and top quality linens at far less than half the cost of a hotel.
During our side trip to Disney World, we decided to stay in Kissimmee, Florida. Kissimmee’s a short 20 minute drive to the Disney World resort, and offers a big variety of homes for rent. We thought a Kissimmee vacation rental would give us some peace and quiet, but be close enough to Disney World to make it an easy drive.
We splurged a bit for an awesome four bed, three bath townhouse in Kissimmee’s Club Cortile with all the bells and whistles (pool, tennis courts, movie theatre, high speed internet) for $590 for six nights, including all taxes and cleaning fees.
Continue reading Top 10 Tips for Finding an Awesome Kissimmee Vacation Rental
The Marlborough Sounds on the South Island of New Zealand are a boaters and nature lovers paradise. With over 4,000 km² of islands, sounds and peninsulas, it’s coastline is so jagged that it actually contains 1/5 of New Zealand’s total coastline. The areas rugged beauty and natural wonder attract tourists all year long. From the large ferry terminal in Picton to the smaller leisure craft marina and town of Waikawa the area is teeming with boating and hiking possibilities.
Some of New Zealand’s most famous and picturesque hikes like the Queen Charlotte Track can be found in this region. The Queen Charlotte Track is considered to be one of the best hiking tracks in the world and is definitely the most accessible with a variety of accommodations along the way. There’s even a water transport service that will ferry your luggage (or yourself if you’re too tired) to your next destination each night if you don’t feel like carrying a backpack. Most people can walk the 71km track in 3 or 4 days, however with a little planning you can start or stop anywhere you feel like.
As well as the ferry terminal to Wellington, Picton is the start of both the Main North Line Railway and the State Highway. From Picton you can jump on a ferry to the North Island, hop aboard a train south to Christchurch or start your South Island tour in the vehicle of your choice. It doesn’t get much greener or wilder…
Continue reading Travel Photo: Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand
Eating out in Playa del Carmen can be expensive. Many of Playa’s restaurants, especially those on Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) cater to the tourist crowd. While some are fantastic, they cater almost exclusively to tourists, and the prices reflect it.
Since we were in town for a couple of months, we spent some time finding out where the locals go for a taste of the real and affordable Playa del Carmen. This is in no way a complete list of Playa’s restaurants, but they are some of our favorites. Feel free to check any of them the next time you’re down there.
Best Breakfast: La Cueva Del Chango
With it’s unique garden style patio, and turtle and poi pond under a concrete canopy fitted with glass bottles to let in the sun, La Cueva Del Chango was by far our favorite breakfast place. The decor definitely makes the place stand out, however the food was delicious and a decent price as well. The kids loved walking around and watching the turtles. Their french toast was Charles’ favorite, but Micki and kids loved their granola concoction.
Calle 38 North between 5th and 10th
Best Pizza: Pizza Bella Vita
When we first arrived and asked people for suggestions on restaurants this place came up more than once. Seems that it was on everyone’s favorite list. After trying it for ourselves it quickly became a regular staple. Only a block from Mamitas Beach, we either stopped here before heading to the beach or on our way back. The pizza melted in your mouth and the calzones were incredibly light and crunchy. The place is run by a young Italian owner and is fairly new. They have some odd topping selections, but after trying most of them out you can’t go…
Continue reading Best of Playa Del Carmen Restaurants
The island of Boracay in the Philippines is considered by many to be one of the nicest beach destinations in the world. It routinely makes it into the top 10 beach lists year after year. After a few moments walking the length of it’s three main beaches you’ll quickly understand why.
Yapak Beach (Puka Shell Beach) on the northern side is special because it’s entirely made up of white puka shells. Though this creates a slightly rougher sand compared to the famous white powder on White Beach, the color of the azure water and the quiet isolation easily make up for it.
The throngs of people that spend their waking hours walking up and down amazing White Beach or Kite Boarding on the windy Bolabog Beach rarely venture to this quiet area that is every bit as nice as it’s siblings. To get there you can…
Continue reading Travel Photo: Yapak Beach (Puka Shell Beach), Boracay, Philippines