honeymoon-tropical-destination

Why Choose a Honeymoon in Costa Rica

According to a national Costa Rican news weekly, El Financiero, about 10.7% or 166,000 tourists in 2012 came to honeymoon in Costa Rica. In 2011, Brides magazine and the Signature Travel Network ranked Costa Rica in the top 10 of honeymoon destinations. Furthermore, couples who come to honeymoon in Costa Rica stay on average twice as long as those going anywhere else. Why is Costa Rica on the short list of so many couples? One reason is that many choose to get married in Costa Rica and have their honeymoon at the same time. Combining the two, a Costa Rica wedding and honeymoon, has many benefits. The primary benefits being the savings in cost and a much more relaxed atmosphere. Imagine starting your honeymoon the night of your wedding. No need to make special arrangements, pay, pack and wait for a separate trip. Of course, you can do this at any destination wedding, right? So what makes Costa Rica so special and unique?

Unique Location and Size

Costa Rica has a unique position in Central America, located between Nicaragua and Panama. It’s natural wonders, such as the rainforest and active volcanoes, draw travelers from all over the globe. Costa Rica is a favorite destination for eco-tourism, surfing, and wildlife lovers. Many couples who choose to get married here already have visited the country at least on one occasion and fell in love with it, or have been convinced by someone they trust who has visited Costa Rica and fallen in love with it. In any case, someone has fallen in love with and/or in Costa Rica.

Because of the size of the country, you can visit any part of Costa Rica quite easily from the capital, San Jose. This makes transporting yourself and guests quite quick, no need for connecting local flights (although this is an option to some places). Additionally, if you want to have your wedding at one location and honeymoon at another, this can be easily accommodated. Some couples choose to break up their honeymoon even more by spending few days at different locations. You can have your wedding at the beach, spend first few days of your honeymoon there, then opt to go to a volcano for a dip in volcano-warmed hot springs, then visit a rainforest, come back to the beach, and finally head home. In Costa Rica, traveling between all of these spots is possible within a single visit and a short span of time.

Stability, Security and Friendly Locals

Costa Rica has a long history of having a stable democratic government and without a standing army. This has led the way for Costa Rica to avoid internal turmoils and civil battles that have sadly plagued other countries in Central and South America. Over the decades the tourism industry has flourished in Costa Rica as a result and has become its leading source of revenue. Many of its neighbors have taken note and are trying to copy Costa Rica by developing tourism within their own respective countries.

The destination wedding and honeymoon industry has also matured to a great extent and offers all the standard services and perks you can enjoy anywhere. From rustic boutique hotels to luxury all inclusive five star resorts, Costa Rica caters to every whim and preference. The Costa Rican people have a reputation of being happy and very warm to foreigners. Their famous saying, “Pura Vida”, is also an attitude toward life in general. “Pura vida” means “pure life” and is used synonymously with “hi” and “bye”.

When and Where to Go

You can travel to Costa Rica any time of the year. The best time for your Costa Rica honeymoon is during the dry season between December and May. If you are looking for better rates then you can look at November or June which are just before and just after the busy tourist season. Lowest prices are generally found in the off-season or the so-called Green Season. During this time there is more rain but the rain is tropical with heavy downpour but not lasting more than a few hours. This means that you can usually get half day of sunshine each day on average.

For beach and ocean lovers, the best honeymoon destinations in Costa Rica are on the Pacific Ocean side in Guanacaste or Puntarenas. However, if you choose just to stay near the beach then you are missing on some of Costa Rica’s most romantic honeymoon spots. These include places such as Volcano Arenal where you can enjoy a romantic dip in volcano-heated thermal springs, or Talamanca Mountains that drape with cloud forest, waterfalls and other natural wonders. For a truly romantic experience you can stay at one of the many fine boutique hotels in Costa Rica. These hotels are small and most integrate very well into the natural surroundings and offer much more privacy than the larger all inclusive hotels and resorts.

The mention of vacationing in California effortlessly evokes the thought of Los Angeles and for a good reason. For decades, LA has earned the title ëentertainment capital of the worldí due to the location of Hollywood in its heart. It is thus logical that a tour of the city comes naturally to most visitors of California and if you have been thinking of a place to visit with family, then this diverse city will definitely satiate your curiosity. Not only will you be at the heart of one of the most populated metropolitans n the world, but also one of the most diverse cities in the US. These factors make it an ideal place to get a wide range of attractions to suit every visitor. If the travel bug is already itching, here are 5 free things to do in Los Angeles; Griffith Observatory They say that there is nothing as spectacular as an aerial view of your favorite city and at the Griffith observatory; you will get a sweeping view of the city of angels which will no doubt leave you awestruck.  Using a large telescope, you will even be able to locate some of the favorite spots which you only get to see in movies. Inside the planetarium, you will also find a free astronomy museum and this is rated as an attraction suitable for any age.  Hollywood Walk of Fame If you are a movie lover, you might have heard the mention of your favorite start receiving this great honor. This is where you will get to see pinkish stars on the floor each representing movie greats such as scarlet Johnson and Matt Damon. It will definitely bring you closer to the cinema world as you walk around the 15 city blocks looking for your favorite movie actorís place of honor. It is very exciting every time you recognize a familiar name on the side walk and it will take you back to the movies you liked best. In addition, it is a great place to mingle with people. So, start your search among the 2,400 starts on the terrazzo. Chinatown The mention of LA cannot be complete without a mention of Chinatown. It is a great way of sampling the famed diversity of LA as you learn a few things about Chinese culture from food, festivals such as the moon event, and ping-pong tournaments among other things. From the central plaza, you will observe the statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen and you can start the journey by popping into phoenix bakery one of the oldest in Chinatown. California Science Centre If you have a knack for science, then this is the place to be and in fact, even your kids will love it. It features innovative and interactive exhibits some of which you might never have an idea they existed. So, let your mind roam and observe another realm altogether.  Outdoors Santa Monica Pier If you like breathing fresh air, take a walk down the Santa Monica Pier and observe artists in their element along the way. Whatís more, the solar powered Ferris wheel offers your kids an opportunity to enjoy themselves. The amusement park is also ideal for unwinding and having fun. To state that these 5 free things to do in Los Angeles do not even scratch the surface of the long list is an understatement. There is a plethora of activities to keep you busy without dipping into your pocket.

Free Things to Do In Los Angeles

The mention of vacationing in California effortlessly evokes the thought of Los Angeles and for a good reason. For decades, LA has earned the title entertainment capital of the world due to the location of Hollywood in its heart. It is thus logical that a tour of the city comes naturally to most visitors of California and if you have been thinking of a place to visit with family, then this diverse city will definitely satiate your curiosity. Not only will you be at the heart of one of the most populated metropolitans n the world, but also one of the most diverse cities in the US. These factors make it an ideal place to get a wide range of attractions to suit every visitor. If the travel bug is already itching, here are 5 free things to do in Los Angeles;

Griffith Observatory
They say that there is nothing as spectacular as an aerial view of your favorite city and at the Griffith observatory; you will get a sweeping view of the city of angels which will no doubt leave you awestruck.  Using a large telescope, you will even be able to locate some of the favorite spots which you only get to see in movies. Inside the planetarium, you will also find a free astronomy museum and this is rated as an attraction suitable for any age.

Hollywood Walk of Fame
If you are a movie lover, you might have heard the mention of your favorite start receiving this great honor. This is where you will get to see pinkish stars on the floor each representing movie greats such as scarlet Johnson and Matt Damon. It will definitely bring you closer to the cinema world as you walk around the 15 city blocks looking for your favorite movie actorís place of honor. It is very exciting every time you recognize a familiar name on the side walk and it will take you back to the movies you liked best. In addition, it is a great place to mingle with people. So, start your search among the 2,400 starts on the terrazzo.

Chinatown
The mention of LA cannot be complete without a mention of Chinatown. It is a great way of sampling the famed diversity of LA as you learn a few things about Chinese culture from food, festivals such as the moon event, and ping-pong tournaments among other things. From the central plaza, you will observe the statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen and you can start the journey by popping into phoenix bakery one of the oldest in Chinatown.

California Science Centre
If you have a knack for science, then this is the place to be and in fact, even your kids will love it. It features innovative and interactive exhibits some of which you might never have an idea they existed. So, let your mind roam and observe another realm altogether.

Outdoors Santa Monica Pier
If you like breathing fresh air, take a walk down the Santa Monica Pier and observe artists in their element along the way. Whatís more, the solar powered Ferris wheel offers your kids an opportunity to enjoy themselves. The amusement park is also ideal for unwinding and having fun.
To state that these 5 free things to do in Los Angeles do not even scratch the surface of the long list is an understatement. There is a plethora of activities to keep you busy without dipping into your pocket.

airport-dawn-travelers

Flying Like a Pro

The days of luxurious airline travel may be over, but that doesn’t mean travelers must forfeit all comfort once they begin a trip. Having a pre-flight routine is crucial, as is keeping stress levels in check should the unexpected come up. Here are five air travel tips to make a flight not only more comfortable, but easier on the bank account as well.

1. Arrive early. The last thing you want to encounter entering an airport is a long line at check-in, but it’s a reality that is becoming more and more frequent. The wait time at security can sometimes surpass an hour at busy airports, so it is best to arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight, three hours before an international one. Keep a good frame of mind. Remember that a hundred years ago, none of this was possible, and a horse-and-buggy trip was the only means available to travel long distances across open land. Some experienced travelers just accept long waits and show up more than three hours before any flight, with a book in hand and a relaxed state of mind.

2. Bring your own food. By spending 10 minutes preparing your own meal at home, you get to save money and eat what you want. Wrapping the food in aluminum foil works best to keep most things fresh for a few hours. Favorite sandwiches include peanut butter and jelly; bacon, lettuce, and tomato; ham and cheese; and turkey and Swiss. Add some fruit and protein to complete a solid meal. Good options are bananas, apples, oranges, peanuts, almonds, and cashews. The idea is not for it to be a feast, just enough to get you to your destination and avoid the overpriced airport food. Bringing a reusable water bottle also saves time and money; and staying hydrated during a flight is always a good idea.

3. Use the restroom just before boarding. Isn’t it strange how, as soon as the fasten-seat-belt sign has been turned off, at least one person gets up to use the toilet? You can make your flight more comfortable by planning beforehand and using the facilities near the boarding gate. Also, it’s wise not to drink too much water just before departure. Rather, keep a water bottle handy throughout the flight.

4. Have something to do. Use the duration of the flight to unplug. Take out a book or magazine to rest the eyes. Before the flight, write down a few important quotations or something else to study. Then use the time for reflection and deep thought. An hour or two of uninterrupted concentration can do wonders for a stressed-out mind, and flying gives you the perfect opportunity to zone out and do nothing. If you’re eyes need a break, try closing them and listening to music with an mP3 player.

5. Research your destination airport. What’s the best way to get to your hotel? Usually, the most reliable information can be found on the airport’s own website. Every airport has one, with practical advice on public transportation (if available) and taxi services. Some cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco, offer such great public transportation connections that cabs may turn out to be a pricey hassle. Know before you go which option works best for you.

Airline fares will always fluctuate, but the way you travel doesn’t have to. Plan before your trip, pack a pre-made meal, arrive early, and do online research about the airport at which you’ll be arriving. After a few trips, these air travel tips can help anyone fly like a pro.

ancient-architecture-art-paris-france

Paris Attractions for Sports Fans

Paris has plenty for the sports aficionado to do and see. Whether your game is tennis, football, cycling, horse racing, golf or rugby, you will find something special among the numerous prestigious sporting events held in Paris throughout the year.

Spectating Paris Sports

If football is your cup of tea, visit the famous Parc des Princes to watch newly rich Paris Saint-Germain and their top striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action. Standard tickets for matches in the French Ligue 1 can be snapped up at about 50 euros; for a weightier price (500+ euros), you can enjoy a VIP match day experience, including sought-after seats in a luxurious director’s box.

The Parc Des Princes is not the only football stadium in France’s capital; the Stade de France, an 82,000-capacity stadium built for the 1998 World Cup Finals, is also in the city. Here, one can watch games featuring the French national team, as well as important domestic games such as the French Cup final. The stadium is also the stomping ground of the city’s two biggest rugby clubs, Stade Francais and Metro 92.

If football doesn’t tickle your fancy, another significant Parisian sporting event is the final stage of the Tour de France, which takes place every year and concludes on the Champs-Élysées. Tickets are best secured through tour operators or official Tour de France providers; but even with a ticket, be sure to arrive early for the event, or else gaining a good view might prove problematic.

If you prefer a dash of tennis, consider attending the Roland Garros Tennis Tournament in June. France’s primary grand-slam event allows you to catch a glimpse of top tennis stars, such as Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer. Just as for Wimbledon, tickets for the event can be expensive, but are nevertheless worth the splurge if you’re big on the sport.

Participating in Sport in Paris

If you prefer to don your shorts and get involved in sport, you might like to imitate the Tour de France riders and hop on a bicycle for a glide around the city. To do so without having to bring your own bike, visit one of the Velib bike-rental stations located at regular intervals throughout the city. Bikes can be rented at one location and dropped off at another, making this a convenient way to get about. Indeed, this is a healthy alternative to the ever-busy underground system, and will allow you to move quickly between top tourist spots such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.

If you’re a keen golfer, you’ll find the city and its surrounds are not short of quality courses. The pick of the lot is the Paris International Golf Club, located just to the north of the city near the forests of Montmorency. With its undulating terrain and plethora of water features, the course is a challenge, and will deliver hours of fun to all golf-lovers, no matter the handicap.

beach-california-couple

Southern California Daycation

Editor’s note: These suggestions can also be used by visitors to Southern California

Summer is past, and school is back in session.  You deserve a break, but it is still hard to find a lot of recreational time.  Why not give yourself a day off with a Southern California Daycation?  No other place offers all the possibilities for a full day of fun and relaxation as the Golden State.  Within easy reach of your home is a variety of restaurants, theme parks, museums, shopping, beaches, desert fun–the choices are virtually endless.  One excellent day’s getaway is the beach area around Los Angeles.  If you can get a friend or two to join you, the day will be even more enjoyable.

A first-class way to start your day is by slipping over to Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant in Buena Park for a breakfast that will carry you through the morning and well into lunch.  An especially good choice is a piece of Knott’s signature fried chicken, O’Brien potatoes, biscuits, coffee, and juice.

If, however, you want to make an early start and feel like putting off breakfast for an hour, follow I-5 up to Los Angeles and then take the westbound Santa Monica freeway to Santa Monica.  If traffic is slow, just use that time to anticipate your day’s adventure.  Take the freeway all the way to its end (any further, and you’ll drive into the Pacific Ocean) and find a convenient parking space.  The parking garage at Second and Arizona gives two hours of free parking and is close to a great restaurant, Ye Olde King’s Head British Pub.  At $9.95, the “Queen Size” is hard to beat.  It comes with your choice of fried bread or toast, two eggs, a strip of bacon, one banger (sausage), English baked beans, grilled tomatoes, and breakfast potatoes.  Add a pot of tea, and you will swear you have spent your morning in the English countryside.

After such a filling introduction to your day, get ready to burn some calories.  With the ocean so close by, that’s the natural place to go.  Catch Ocean Blvd. and take the ramp down to PCH1.  Park your car, and you’ll be set.  You can either visit the Santa Monica Pier and enjoy its world famous Ferris wheel, cross the beach to the oceanside and spend the morning tanning and splashing in the surf, or strap on some skates and follow the bike path up to Malibu or down to Venice.  If skating is not your thing, rent a bike or just take a casual stroll.

As midday nears, you might want to go shopping, at Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade with its wide variety of stores and restaurants.  Usually, street performers add some entertainment to your day.  If Third Street does not meet all your shopping needs, close by is Santa Monica Place, recently remodeled.  Either way, you will have a pleasant afternoon and likely find some new treasures to help you remember your day.  Incidentally, if you make your day’s getaway on Wednesday in spring through fall, Third Street Promenade hosts a really nice farmers’ market.

If time permits, and you would like to add some culture to your day, drive up the 405 to the Getty Center.  You can spend a couple hours there marveling at their classical, permanent collection, or catch one of their special exhibits.  The Getty Center is quite a beautiful, relaxing spot. It is only accessible from their parking lot by taking a short, yet enjoyable tram ride.  Be sure to bring a camera.  The grounds are picturesque, and you will especially enjoy viewing the Pacific Ocean to your west and Los Angeles to your east.

Finally, it’s time to go home.  But your Daycation will not be complete without one last splurge.  Drive a few miles up Santa Monica Blvd. to the Century City Shopping Center (10250 Santa Monica Blvd.) and drop into Gulfstream for an end-of-day treat.  They serve the best lemon meringue pie you are ever likely to have.  Enjoy it with a cup of coffee or tea, and you will decide that you have to make this a regular part of your itinerary.

As your day approaches its end, take the drive back to Orange County and share your experience with your friends and family.  Your next getaway might take you in a different direction.  You may even decide to stay close to home.  But your day of adventure will remind you why you decided to live in Southern California in the first place.  Where else can you fill your day with such a diversity of recreation, shopping, and dining?  Southern California–there is simply no other place like it.

beach-beautiful-woman-traveling

Safe Travel Tips for Smart Women

When you plan carefully, a vacation abroad can be a happy, exciting and memorable experience. Unfortunately, things don’t always go quite as you hoped they would. If you make careless decisions while on vacation overseas, you could find yourself in a dangerous and unpleasant situation. Unfortunately, this is especially true if you happen to be female. When travelling overseas, all women should take certain precautionary measures in order to ensure that their vacation is pleasant.

Dress Down

When you are on vacation abroad, you may feel the urge to dress up in good clothes and nice jewelry in order to feel glamorous in an unusual setting. When you’re in a foreign country, you should always dress down. Leave your expensive jewelry at home. Instead wear silver or junk jewelry. Avoid packing clothes with expensive designer labels. Instead pack clothes from regular department stores.  Try not to wear clothing that might provoke undue attention. Wearing clothing that is sexually provocative in the wrong setting, for example, could easily lead to rather an unpleasant situation.

Don’t Get Too Drunk

If ever you get so drunk that you are incapable of making rational decisions, then you put yourself at risk. This is true regardless of what country you happen to be in. Of course there is nothing wrong with having a few drinks and letting your hair down while on vacation. However, you should stop when you know you’ve had enough. Watch your drinks very carefully. Avoid accepting drinks from strangers.

Travelers Checks and Credit Cards

When you travel overseas, it is important to ensure that you have access to extra cash if you should need it. That’s why you should always try to bring travelers checks and at least one credit card when you vacation abroad.  Doing this ensures that you will have access to money should there be any kind of unexpected expense to pay. You will also be covered in the event that you lose your cash.

Passport and Money

It is not a good idea to carry your passport with you when you go out and about overseas. Similarly, it’s unwise to carry lots of credit cards or large amounts of cash on your person. When you are on vacation abroad, store most of your cash, your credit cards, and your passport in the hotel safe. Only carry as much money as you will need on your person. Carry photo copies of your passport.  By taking these precautions, you can ensure that you won’t be left stranded and without money in the event that you are mugged.

Purses

Thieves are often drawn to purses, fanny packs and bags that are worn externally. For this reason, you might want to avoid keeping your cash in your purse or bag while on vacation overseas. If you are mugged, it is always better to give the mugger your purse or bag than risk being attacked.  Giving up your bag to a mugger isn’t such a big deal when you know there is nothing of great value in it.

Your Cell Phone

Being able to call for help in an emergency situation can mean the difference between life and death. Hence it’s always prudent to contact your cell phone service provider prior to going on vacation overseas to ask them about their international voice and data plan. Most cell phone providers will let their customers use their cell phones abroad for an additional fee when notified in advance. If you have your cell phone with you on vacation abroad, you’ll be able to call for help or contact your loved ones should you need them for any reason.

Other Precautions

Before embarking on a vacation overseas, you should check to see if you will need any vaccinations. Doing this will help you to avoid contracting any type of serious disease. It’s also wise to check the government website for any travel warning before proceeding with your trip. By doing this, you can find out whether your destination is considered too dangerous to travel to at the present time.