Turks and Caicos National Parks

            More famous for its glorious beaches, cool tropical climate and many luxury hotels, Turks and Caicos has long been the chosen destination for get away from it all travellers. The best places to stay in Turks and Caicos can be easily found by searching online. There is much more however to these beautiful islands than just lying on the beach sipping mojitos and taking advantage of the spa treatments on offer at the hotel. Turks and Caicos, for the more adventurous amongst you, has many national parks including a number of marine parks. Below is a few you might want to consider if the sunbathing gets a little boring.

turks-and-caicos-2

            The 6532 acre Princess Alexandria National Park combines both a coastal and marine protected area. Mainly comprising of the Grace Bay Beach area on the island of Providenciales where most of the tourist industry is located was declared a National Park in 1992. The Northern Barrier Reef is very popular with scuba divers and snorkelers as are Bight Reef and Smiths Reef. There is also an iguana sanctuary here at Little Island Cay.

Much smaller at only 480 acres is the South Caicos island Admiral Cockburn National Park. Named after the Admiral of the British navy Sir George Cockburn the Commander-in –Chief of the British Colonial West Indies station, it is made up of three small cays and two marine parks. Six Hills Cays and Long Cay are thin strips of uninhabited limestone cliffs and buffs whereas Middleton Cay is made up of coastal mangroves. The marine parks are the popular dive sites of Shark Bay, unusually named as sharks are rarely seen, and East Bay which is more famous for its kite boarding.

The Columbus Landfall National Park is located on the island of Grand Turk, the administrative capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and named after the famous explorers first visit there in 1492. Essentially a marine park it has the worlds third longest barrier reef and is therefore excellent for scuba diving and for those not qualified superb snorkeling. The reef has plenty of exotic marine life and coral and also has a ‘wall’, the famous underwater cliffs that drop off the ocean floor, in this case to two thousand meters. A little further away is an ancient shipwreck believed to be one of Columbus’ ships, the Nina, although this is yet to be proven.

With many more than be fitted in here the National Parks of Turks and Caicos are well worth exploring if time away from beach life is what you are looking for. There’s nothing quite like exploring nature in all it’s glory and then kicking back with a cocktail on the beach reflecting on the amazing sites you have seen. Lounging on the beach is of course essential while on any holiday in the Caribbean but if you can pair that by wondering around spectacular National Parks, you’re on to an absolute winner!

If you’ve been to the Turks and Caicos National Parks then please let us know what you thought. Type your thoughts into the comment section below guys!

Backpackers Delight With Groupon Coupons

Folks living on the frugal side desire the deal 24/7. They love an alternative to having to pay upfront for their discount. Although any deal is on their radar, they just feel more relaxed if there is no initial spend for it.  Groupon Coupons is just such a deal offering site and a big time & money saver for you.  It is your direct link to savings with coupon savings selections from over 9,500 stores of all varieties representing at last count over 79,000 plus coupons.

Groupon has been very busy developing ways to save you money and get the save to you readily and easily even on your mobile device. Regular Groupon as we all know it is already a huge success offering products, services, accommodations and events for less when you take advantage of a pay upfront deal with a vendor. You have the ability to simply scan your mobile device to redeem your purchase.

Here are a few characteristics of Groupon Coupons you will enjoy.  It is a free site with Daily Top Coupons & Offers. The magnificent search option allows you to target a specific store, location, item and or event. You will be able to see how many others have taken advantage of the coupon. That’s kind of a compare notes function. You will be able to take advantage of some scrumptious deals with Groupon Coupons through the simple entry of promo code. Check it out today and let the savings begin.

 

Why Don’t You Visit Romania For a Change?

While in Europe, you will be covered in visit opportunities from all sides – the Old World is filled with unique sights to see and a long history to explore. But there is a part that is most often left aside – and it’s a pity, because it has things that are worthy of attention, like its untouched wilderness, its medieval castles, its caves and its culture. Besides its prices are often friendly, and its people are welcoming and open. Here are some tips on what to see and try when visiting Romania.

1. Vadu Crisului Cave in the Western Carpathian, Bihor county

A cave that is very easy to access – its mouth is located just a few yards away from the train station. There is a symbolic entry fee you have to pay to get in. A large portion of the cave was explored and made accessible for visitors, but there are still many unexplored tunnels in the cave system. What makes this cave special is that it has a spring inside, with its water being clean enough to be drunk without any filtering. It also has one of the richest cave fauna in Europe.

Despite being away from civilization, the area of the cave has acceptable mobile signal, so you can even play at the red flush online casino after you visit it.

2. The Scărișoara Glacier Cave

Harder to access, but it’s definitely worth it. The Scărișoara Glacier Cave is only accessible by car or by hiking to it from the nearby settlement of Gârda de Sus, Alba County. It is the largest ice cave in Romania’s Apuseni Mountains. The ice cave was formed 3500 years ago, during the glaciations, when these mountains were covered by snow and ice, although the exact date when the cave was discovered is still unknown. Today the surrounding mountains are all green, but when you descend into the cave you step into a world of ice. The temperatures are up to just +1°C in the summer – imagine the experience of descending into a 60 meter shaft and going from +30°C to +1°C in a matter of minutes. It’s a wonderful experience, worth trying once.

3. The Ghețarul de la Focul Viu Cave

Located in the Bihor Mountains, on the Valea Galbenă, close to the Piatra Galbenii peak and the Cuculeul de Fier peak, at an altitude of 1.165 meters. Visiting this ice cave will take you on a journey through forest roads, as it is again only accessible by road (not by train). What makes this glacier cave special is that it has a hole in its roof, allowing the sunlight to access the interior – and the sights can be wonderful during the day. Perfect for photography enthusiasts.

Top 4 Places You Should Visit in Prague

Three decades ago, Prague was a mystery for travelers in Europe. Today the city stands proudly as one of the most popular destinations, drawing about 4 million visitors each year. Staying at a former monastery or palazzo turned five-star hotel or partying the night away at ‘Onetime’ nuclear bunker, you are surely going to understand that in Prague, the unconventional is conventional. Prague is also blessed with century long fascinating history. Art Nouveau, Romanesque and Baroque architecture on top of the scores of churches makes Prague one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern and Central Europe having also a wide array of tourist attractions to suit a wide range of tastes and interests. It is also a truly cosmopolitan city where pleasure seekers and culture buffs mingle happily in Gothic cathedrals and chic cafés. Here is our list of 4 must visit places in Prague that you can’t afford to miss out on.

Photo: Greg Wass

Old Town Square

Old town square, along with its world famous astronomical clock is Prague’s most popular sight. Old Town Square’s astronomical clock is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world. It was originally installed in 1410, but the clock has been bettered over the centuries. Old Town Square is located between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge and is the hub of the city’s life and culture. It also offers a great selection of restaurants and shops so if you’re lucky or plan ahead you can also catch a seasonal festival on this historic square.

Charles Bridge

This 600 year-old Bridge connects Old Town and Lesser Town over the Vltava River. It is the top most iconic landmark of Prague. King Charles IV commissioned this bridge in 1357, which was originally a wooden structure and unfortunately got washed away during a bad flood being later replaced with the stone structure it now boasts. Thirty Baroque statues line the sides of the pedestrian bridge (15 on either side). Musicians and performance artists can be seen along with the myriad of vendor stalls. Charles Bridge is a bustling, busy area and you are never going to find the bridge devoid of people. However if you visit this place at dawn or in the evening, you will witness fewer crowd.

Prague Castle

Prague Castle is one of the biggest attractions you will see in Prague. The castle buildings span centuries and consist of St. Vitus Church and the Golden Lane. You need several hours if you plan to thoroughly explore this beautiful Castle. It is one of the biggest castles in the world measuring around 570 meters in length and roughly about 130 meters wide.

Municipal House

Municipal House in Old Town Prague, is beautiful both inside and out. It was originally built to be an administrative and cultural centre. Formerly an army barracks, it was demolished as part of the Czech National Revival celebrations. The building began construction in 1906 and Municipal House was opened in 1912.

 

Photo: Roman Boed

Petrin

With an Eiffel – like tower on top, the Petrin Watchtower is a 63.5 metre high steel framework tower in Prague. Petrin Watchtower offers a stunning 360° view of the city from top and is made from recycled railroad tracks. Set in the grounds of the Petrin Park it looks great all year round.

Best Islands to Visit in Greece

Greece, albeit its current issues as a nation, is one of the most beautiful countries that there is in the world. It does have an unfair advantage though. Greece is home to thousands of islands that are all as scenic and as beautiful as you could ever imagine. Many of these islands are small spots of concentrated paradise. With literally thousands to choose from, its hard to pick exactly which island would best for your holiday. So here is a quick guide to a few of the countries best islands to visit and soak up some Grecian culture.

Chios

This is a tiny island near Turkey, just a short boat ride away in fact. Chios is the perfect island for sightseeing, especially for someone who loves ancient history. In the center of the island is Nea Moni. Nea Moni is an 11th century monastery that is still in pretty good shape considering how long its been around! You can also make your way to the south of the island to see ancient medieval villages and the walls and towers that once protected them.

Skiathos

If you love taking holiday to explore a bit of nature, then this is the island for you. This northern island is a home to plenty of beautiful sandy beaches and pine covered hills. There is a nature conservatory on the island and there is plenty of wildlife to look in on as you walk around the forest trails. You can also see monasteries, Byzantine churches, and visit plenty of museums.

Rhodes

Another island near Turkey is Rhodes. This island is the perfect mix of history and relaxing holiday. Rhodes is known for its historic Old Town, Temple of Apollo, the Governor’s Palace, the Rhodes Footbridge, and the Acropolis of Lindos just to name a few. But it isn’t all about history for a holiday on this island. There are plenty of beachfront resorts to take in the sun and small villages to get some modern Greek culture in.

Crete

This is largest of all of the Greek islands. This may also be the island that has the most variety of activities and things to do. There are several options for hiking, bike riding, swimming, gorge trekking, and much more. As any part of Greece there is also great history to experience. You can visit Knossos Palace from the Minoan civilization and several archaeological sites scattered throughout the island. Crete flights are not hard to find either. If you can find a cheap Crete flight, why not go?

Santorini

Maybe the most famous of the Greek islands, Santorini speaks for itself. The whitewashed buildings set against the back drop of a deep blue ocean set the stage for a dramatic view that is hard to believe is real. The cobblestone streets of the city are lined with cafes and tavernas filled with Greeks doing what they do best, enjoying life.

 

 

How To Have A Truly Relaxing Holiday

There seems to be an unspoken agreement amongst western consumers – we can never admit that there’s anything stressful about being on holiday. It’s fine to moan all the way to the airport, for the duration of the flight and all the way back from the airport too, just as long as you don’t confess to one moment of stress during your dream weekend in paradise.

images (27)

It feels ungrateful somehow – there could be lightening storms for two weeks and we’d still make an effort to see the sights. If you’ve waited all year for a fortnight in the sun, you’ve got to enjoy it and that’s that. The reality can be a little different – there are lots of stressful things about going on holiday, says Independent journalist Howard Jacobson. The key to having a good time is managing these things, so here are some tips and tricks that you can use to make sure that you have a truly relaxing holiday.

Pick The Right Season – you have nobody to blame but yourself, if you accidentally end up picking the rainiest month of the year for your trip. There is a vast wealth of climate data available online, so make sure that you pick the right season for your chosen destination. Whilst travelling out of season might be cheaper, is it worth two weeks stuck inside a hotel room during the wettest part of the year? You can’t plan for unexpected showers, but you can give yourself the best possible shot at a sunny, relaxing beach holiday, say the experts at ToUncertainyAndBeyond.com.

Have A Relaxing Flight – if you must travel a significant distance to your chosen airport, why not consider staying in a nearby hotel on the night preceding your outbound flight? It is bound to eradicate a lot of stress and worry – you will be able to get up, grab your suitcase and step right into the airport. Plus, you’ll get to start your holiday one day early. There’s nothing quite like twenty four hour room service and a luxurious queen sized bed to make your forget your travel worries. Visit Direct Asia for more information and advice on finding the right travel insurance for your next trip.

Bring Your Own Sunscreen – the price of sunscreen overseas is bound to be at least twice the cost as it is at home – it is a guarantee. There is a very good reason why overseas vendors can get away with charging tourists so much for the essentials. It’s precisely because they’re supposed to be essentials – if you arrive at your chosen destination without them, it won’t be long before you realise your mistake. For those travelling to hotter climates, there is nothing more important than sunscreen, says Best Health journalist Lisa Evans.

Rainy Day Entertainment – if you want to avoid the rainy day blues, make sure that you pack some indoor entertainment. Hopefully, you won’t need it but you can’t predict or change the weather – it is a good idea to be prepared for all circumstances. This rainy day entertainment doesn’t have to be anything sophisticated – it can take the form of board games, electronic books, portable movies or even a pack of playing cards. If you’re prepared for all eventualities, you’ll never have any reason to get stressed out or unhappy.

 

Author Bio: Anna Gleeson is a freelance journalist currently living in Thailand. She recommends Direct Asia for more information and advice on how to have a truly relaxing holiday. Anna can usually be found enjoying a cocktail on the beach after work.

 

The Dramatic Eruption Which Preserved History

There is something fairly foreboding about a volcano, especially one that is not extinct and hasn’t erupted for seventy years. When will it go again you may be thinking? Vesuvius and the wonderfully preserved ruins of Pompeii receive huge numbers of tourists each year and if you are considering an Italian holiday you should look at Naples and its surroundings very closely indeed.

aaaaa

There is the richness that can be found throughout Italy, the wonderful Italian cuisine that has evolved over the years based upon olive oil and locally produced fresh produce. No other city though can offer you the chance of going to see such a famous volcano.

Pompei and Pompeii

If your base is Naples, one of the tours you should certainly do is a trip that incorporates the modern town of Pompei, the ruins of Pompeii and Vesuvius itself. Pompei gets tourists in its own right. It is where many go to pay their respects to the Madonna in a place where a 19th century miracle cured a child suffering from epilepsy. Many hope for similar miracles to cure their ailments and the revenue they have brought to the town has been most welcome.

International travellers may concentrate more on the Roman ruins. Daily life in ancient Rome is portrayed in the Antiquarium di Boscoreale with a whole variety of exhibits. They range from fishing rods to dormice cages. The riches of Pompeii are held in many museums in the world and as a result photographs of exhibits held elsewhere are also displayed on the walls.

The eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD had the benefit of preserving Pompeii far better than the weather worn remains in Rome. The frescoes still adorn the walls of the buildings which are largely complete. The excavation project is far from complete and fairly recently a large frescoed leisure complex was found when roadwork was being done on a local motorway.

Vesuvius

It is certainly worth taking one of the many official tours from Naples because you can then be certain of getting official and accurate information on what you are seeing rather than rely on local guides who are not always as knowledgeable as they seem.

Vesuvius was probably 600 metres higher before the 79AD eruption. It was green and well vegetated; it would not really appear to be much of a threat. It is a rich and fertile area that today’s population use to their benefit; all 700,000 of them that would be close enough if another eruption occurred.

Further afield

If you decide to mix your enjoyment of Naples to see other attractions you may also decide to go down to Capri or Sorrento neither of which are quite as chaotic as Naples and there is time to relax away from the bustle and just take in the surroundings over a coffee. This is a beautiful and dramatic coastline and well worth the effort to jump aboard a tour to let the locals show you its delights.

Image attributed to         Commons.wikimedia.org Pastorius

Ideas for casino holidays

While at one time it was suggested that the rise of online casinos might lead to the death of land-based ones, in fact all it seems to have done is increased the section of the populace interested in playing casino games.

images (11)

 

The result of this is that people are viewing vacations as an opportunity to visit some of the best casinos around the world, and resorts offering these are now holiday hot spots. Of course one of the top ones will always be Las Vegas, as this is one of the gaming centres of the world and boasts stunning casinos like the MGM Grand and the Bellagio, but it is far from the only casino vacation option you have.
Indeed just within the United States there are plenty of other great places to spend a gambling holiday, from the unofficial ‘rival’ to Vegas – Reno – to New Orleans and Connecticut. Yes, you heard that right: Connecticut. This is not somewhere many traditionally associate with the thrills of all night casino games, but nowadays it is home to two of the best casinos in America.

If you want size, the Foxwoods establishment is the largest in the world, while if you want style and class, the Mohegan Sun Casino will deliver amply on both counts. If you aren’t planning on spending 100% of your time in these casinos though, it might be an idea to save travelling costs and play online blackjack, as Connecticut really doesn’t have much else to offer.
New Orleans in Louisiana is another great option for those looking for alternatives to Las Vegas within America and – unlike Connecticut – choosing New Orleans for your casino vacation will ensure that you also get to experience other entertainment options, like music, as well. Indeed most probably still associate New Orleans more with music, but vacationers there have the option of gambling on one of the casino riverboats, which cruise down the Mississippi. Thus you get to play all the casino games you want, with a side order of romance that is unique to this particular locale, and there is a dash of this in the hearts of most amateur gamblers.

Smarter Tourism

Momondo.com is a travel search engine based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The site was launched in 2006 with the objective of providing travellers with a greater variety of options on flights. Since its initial launch, Momondo has expanded its offer to include train journeys, holiday rentals (including villas and apartments both direct from the owner and via real estate agencies), hotel accommodation, and car rental services.
Unlike some of the bigger comparison sites (such as Expedia, Kayak, and Skyscanner), travellers can use Momondo to search for charter, low-cost, and regional flights. Another feature that distinguishes Momondo from other travel flight aggregator websites is that when you perform a search in Momondo, all results are displayed in a single page. Momondo’s robots search for the best results from over 800 individual sites (travel agencies, airlines to travel websites) and has been designed so that users do not have to deal with multiple new browser windows displaying different search results.

Some of Momondo’s key features include the site’s Flight Insight tool, which can help travellers find the most convenient route by showing up to 6 variables that can affect the price and availability of flights on a given date. Momondo users can modify their search according to variables like seasonality, day of the week, the time left until a flight’s departure, airline, airport of departure, and time of the day.

c

Flight shown: New York to London

d

Travellers can also use the price calendar option if their dates are flexible and want to find when the cheapest flights depart. Another interesting feature is Momondo’s rating system. When users search for a flight on Momondo, the results will be listed with a rating between 1 and 10, which is based on the price-flying time ratio.

For added convenience, the prices of goods and services are quoted in the currency of the destination country, although they can be modified, as the site operates in 27 currencies. To facilitate its use by travellers from all over the world, Momondo is a multilingual platform operating in 18 languages, from English to Russian, including Turkish, Chinese, and Norwegian.

Momondo users also have the option of registering to receive daily fare alerts on their preferred routes (left), and because user friendliness matters, Momondo has been developed to be fully functional on desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones. For best results, mobile users can download the free Momondo app, which allows them to browse travel products and make bookings on the go.

Driving Italy’s Spectacular Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is considered to be one of the most scenic stretches of coastline in Italy. There are impressive mountains, turquoise waters, attractive villages and beautiful gardens. Driving along the coastal road is an excellent way to see this part of the country.

download (28)
Ravello, Amalfi and Positano are among the towns that you can visit while driving along the coast.

Ravello

Ravello is an attractive town which is located on the cliffs above Amalfi. There are wonderful views from the town, as well as a magnificent cathedral and some pleasant gardens.

Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo are the most famous gardens in Ravello. They both offer excellent panoramic views to enjoy while walking among the tropical plants.

You can also visit Ceramiche d’Arte Carmela, which sells some beautiful ceramics. Ravello is famous for ceramics, so you will find several shops selling brightly painted pottery.

Amalfi

After visiting Ravello, you can drive to Amalfi. The Duomo di Sant’Andrea is one of the highlights of the town. This impressive cathedral has been remodelled several times, but the 11th century Byzantine doors remain. You can take a self-guided door around the cathedral and cloisters.

When you have visited the cathedral, you may like to explore the shops and cafés in the town.

If you want to get away from the busy town for a while, you can visit Valle della Ferriere and take a walk to the waterfall.

Positano

When you have left Amalfi, you can continue west to Positano. This town is well known for having expensive boutiques and shops. There is also a good choice of places to eat, including some reasonably priced options.

There are several churches that you can visit in Positano, such as the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta e Cripta Medievale. This beautiful church is near to the sea, so you will need to walk down some cobblestones to get there as the road does not stretch this far. There is a crypt under the church, where you can learn about the history of the building.

Exploring the Amalfi Coast by road will give you the opportunity to see some stunning scenery. Car rental companies, such as National Car Hire, can be found in the area, so it should be easy to hire a car for the journey.

Although driving along the Amalfi Coast can be a rewarding experience, some of the roads can be challenging. The roads are very narrow in places, so there is not always room for two vehicles to pass each other. If you meet a bus or a coach, you will need to reverse until the road becomes wide enough for the vehicle to get past. There are also sheer drops at one side of the road. There are barriers, but those who are afraid of heights may find the experience a little daunting.

Despite the challenges, the Amalfi Coast is well worth a visit. You can see some wonderful views and visit some attractive and charming villages. The Amalfi Coast is considered to be an area of exceptional beauty.