Myanmar, also known as Burma, is located in Asia, bordered by China, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, India and the Andaman Sea.
Our first stop on our trip to Myanmar was Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar with a population of 1.2 Million. Some of the highlights of Mandalay started with a visit to the night market.
Filled with all kinds of exotic fruits, vegetables and fish, it runs only at night so that the produce and fish are always freshly delivered from port. Shop owners from all around visit this market to buy for their stores.
Another highlight of our stop in Mandalay was a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, also called the Mahamuni Buddha Temple. This pagoda is home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha images which, over the years, have been covered with gold leaf giving it an almost ‘lumpy’ texture.
Just across the Irrawaddy River, Sagaing is home to over 600 white painted Pagodas and Monasteries. This is the religious center of Myanmar with over 3000 monks and 100 meditation centers.
For the perfect way to end this portion of the journey, we visited Mandalay Hill at sunset for a spectacular view and wonderful photos!
Our next stop was Bagan, my absolute favorite! On the first day, we started our tour with our own Vespas - such a fun, unique way to experience the city. It also allowed us to visit the ancient pagodas easily. Beginning with a ride along New Bagan’s main road; we eventually passed through Tharabar Gate, venturing into the archaeological zone. We visited a few of Bagan’s main temples including Dhammayangyi - the largest built by King Narathu in the 12th century, and Ananda - famous for its four Buddha images. We climbed to the top of the temple for an incredible view of the pagodas in the distance.
After our bike ride we continued by bus to Shwe Hlaing. The people here make their living producing various items from the toddy palm trees. We observed traditional production of palm toddy—from the collecting of the liquid to the creating of the drinks and sugars.
A couple of hours before sunset, we went on a leisurely ride by horse cart throughout the Bagan archeological area. We went through the village to see how the locals live and stopped at an elevated temple where we got fantastic views of the sunset with the most amazing back drop.
From Bagan we flew to Heho to begin our journey to Inle Lake. We arrived in the morning in time to visit the Nyaung Shwe morning market where locals gather every morning to buy and sell fresh produce from the lake and its surroundings.
We continued by local trishaw down to the bustling canal, a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come in to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to the markets around the country. We watched as baskets laden with produce were transferred from boats to trucks and bikes.
We hopped back on the trishaw for a stop at the ‘tomato house’, a warehouse-like structure where the tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale. I have never seen so many tomatoes!
The next morning, we boarded boats for the ride to Inle Lake. It was about a one hour ride by boat to reach our destination. Once we arrived we took turns kayaking through the canals of Inle Lake, passing by stilted homes and lake side pagodas. This was the first time that the locals were taking our pictures instead of the reverse! I don’t think they had ever seen people kayaking thru the Canals before. We visited a local village and had tea with the locals, and we also got to view the various industries in the area.
From here we left the Kayaks behind and took the motor boats down a small canal leading to the Pa-oh village of In Dein. We explored the area on foot, strolling around the village and wandering through the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area. One of the most amazing things that I saw in Inle Lake is how they grow the tomatoes right in the lake, it was fantastic!
From Inle Lake we flew to the largest city in Myanmar, Yangon. This city has a population of over 5 million. Unfortunatly we really did not have enough time here. The major site is the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear, the local legend states that the original structure was built 2500 years ago then renovated several times until taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 8-sided central stupa is 99 meters tall and gilded with gold leaf and is surrounded by 64 smaller stupas. We visited this just prior to sunset - watching this as the sun set was really an awesome experience.
Our time in Myanmar was coming to an end. I truly enjoyed my visit to Myanmar and really loved the people of Myanmar. While my trip was by land, I think the best way to visit Myanmar is by River Cruise. There are numerous luxury cruise lines to consider, such as AmaWaterways, Belmond and Sanctuary. These all combine the cruise with a land stay for the ultimate combination of experiencing the wonders of Myanmar while still enjoying the luxury of the ship.
Click below to view river cruises through Myanmar, and contact me to book!
In August we took a family trip with our adult children to Belize. There were six of us, so we rented a three-bedroom Villa at the Belizean Cove Estates. This eight-unit villa complex is located in Ambergris Caye, just north of the main town of San Pedro. The island is the largest belonging to Belize and also the most popular to visit.
We really loved the accommodations at the Belizean Cove Estates. The complex is on the Caribbean Sea with our villa opening up to the beautiful pool overlooking the Sea. Our villa gave us the space we needed, while also allowing us to be able to hang out together. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly. They even assisted us by having groceries in our villa upon our arrival. The three-bedroom villa also has a full kitchen, stocked with cooking essentials such as pots, pans, utensils, and spices.
While the island has water taxis that you can take to get around, we chose to rent a six-seater golf cart because the water taxis go by a schedule, which can be limiting.
Most nights we went into town for dinner, exploring different restaurants. We enjoyed sampling different menus and loved the atmosphere in town.
One night we decided to buy lobster tails from the local fishermen outside of our villa and grilled them, proving to be a very inexpensive, yet excellent decision.
The Caribbean in general has been having a problem with Sargassum Seaweed in the past year or so. Belize has also suffered from the seaweed problem. Sargassum is a vine-like, floating algae that circulates throughout the Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic. This forms the nearly 2 million-square-mile Sargasso Sea. The seaweed often washes up on beaches in the Gulf, the southern U.S. Atlantic coast, and the northern Caribbean in managable quantities in spring and summer, however, it has been showing up in larger amounts in the Caribbean in the last year. The Belizian Cove Estates did a good job keeping our beach clean. However, the island was affected by this because the seaweed brings with it a foul sulferic smell, and the beaches were not really swimmable.
We found that there was a beach on the other side of the island that was not affected by this. This beach was called the secret beach because it was really hard to find. We took a rough ride in the golf cart to find this beach, as the terrain is bumpy because the roads aren’t paved.
The beach, however, was crystal clear. You could go way out and the water remained shallow and clear. We loved this beach! We spent an afternoon there, floating in the mellow waters. On the way we stopped at the Las Terrazas Resort, which is the Virtuoso property on Ambergris Caye. I toured the hotel and really liked it. I highly recommend this property as well as the Belizean Cove depending on your needs.
Another excursion that we really enjoyed was snorkeling on the barrier reef. This was amazing! We saw so much, such as: Barracuda, Grouper, Eel, huge sea turtles, Stingrays, and Manatees. The most exciting was swimming with the sharks—the guides even assisted us in holding the nurse sharks! I asked why they don’t bite and was told that these sharks are slower than other sharks and that since the water is crystal clear they know that we are not their food. This was truly an amazing day for us.
Belize is a fun destination that offers active adventure, great food, and plenty of sun and relaxation.
I just returned from an amazing trip to Indonesia and Hong Kong. What a contrast between the two places. We flew into Denpasar, Bali. When traveling to Bali it is well worth the few extra dollars to have a VIP arrival in which they escort you through customs and you avoid the lines.
We stayed in a private villa in Umalas near Semanyak for the first night. We shopped and had lunch in Semanyak the next day, I loved this area. I recommend staying in this area for the beach, nightlife and great stores. Mama San is a great restaurant for lunch or dinner and Biasya is a great store that has hand-made linen and cotton clothes that are really great quality for a very reasonable price.
From there we transferred to the Bulgari Hotel in Uluwatu. This is a 6 star property that is beautiful but very secluded. I recommend this for honeymooners or if you just want to get away and have total relaxation.
From here we hired a driver and a guide for the day to visit Ubud. This is an area in the mountains that is known as the Bali Art Capital. It overlooks the rice fields and the views are spectacular. Ubud is an area that you would want to spend a few days in to really get the flavor of the area. The next day we departed Bali for our big adventure. We left the luxury behind and swapped it for adventure, culture and one of the most amazing experiences of my life!
We flew into Maumere which is located on the Northeast side of the island. From there we traveled all the way to Labuan Bajo, which is all the way to the Northwest side of the island. The many stops along the way made me fall in love with this beautiful and untouched treasure! Our first stop was Kelimutu. We stayed in an Eco Lodge in Moni which was a 2 hour drive from the airport. On my way there the first thing that I noticed is that Flores is a magnificent island that is so mountainous. It reminded me of an untouched paradise. It is very rich with resources. They grow Macadamia Nuts, coffee, cloves, cocoa, vanilla, candlenuts, cashew nuts, and seaweed. There are also many rice fields, flora, fauna, mangroves and rainforests. The beaches are so untouched and crystal clear. We left before sunrise to visit Mt. Kelimutu. This is a volcano that is now extinct (it last erupted in 1886) but it has formed a series of three crater lakes that are colored from a brilliant aquamarine, to ochre red to chocolate brown. It was quite a climb up steep steps to the top, but the reward was such a magnificent view. You could almost feel the ancestral spirits in this most magical place.
On the way to Bajawa we visited the colorful market of Boawae where we purchased passion fruit, tomatoes, bananas and carrots. In Bajawa we visited the coffee plantation and the first traditional village of Bena. This village is famous for its impressive stone formations, ancestral shrines, Ngadanese-style houses and for its traditional way of life. It is like stepping back in time. You see the women doing their traditional weaving; you see the coffee beans drying and the fires going to do the cooking. I was so surprised to find out that the majority of people on the island of Flores are Catholic. Our next adventure was to actually climb the mountain to stay in the traditional village of Belaragi. I really went to my edge climbing this mountain. It was an hour climb and it was very hot and humid, I thought I was not going to make it. As a matter of fact when I saw the last incline and did not realize that this was the last one I hopped on the back of a motorcycle to make it to the top.
We were special guests in this village for the night. They were preparing a feast for us and they were going to have a special ceremony to honor our visit. We were so hot when we finally made it to the top of the mountain that we took showers in their outhouse shower. The shower consisted of a brick well filled with mountain water and a scoop for the water. The toilet was in the ground in the outhouse next to the shower. They used an open fire to cook and kerosene lamps for light. They kept the animals that they ate in the village as well. When we all congregated in the main hut for the ceremony we noticed a live chicken in the corner. We all looked at each other and started to laugh nervously thinking “are they going to kill this chicken?” We all said no, they can’t. Wrong!! As part of the ceremony they killed the chicken and showed us the heart and the intestines to let us know that this is a good sacrifice. It was almost enough to make me a vegetarian, but the meal was wonderful and the people of this village were so welcoming and fun. The next morning the women made us coffee and they made a wonderful breakfast for us before we began our hike down the mountain. When we hit the bottom and saw that undiscovered beach, we changed our plans and all jumped in to the water for a much needed refreshing swim!
Our next stop was the city of Ruteng, where we stayed in the Catholic Monastery overnight. The highlight here was a visit to the bakery. We were greeted by college students that were studying English. They came right up to us to see if we would talk with them. We sat and had coffee with the owner of the shop and all the college kids and talked. It was so much fun! The funniest thing about the baked goods, were that they all looked so good and different from each other, however, they all tasted like sponge cake.
We were then off to Labuan Bajo where we were rewarded with a nice hotel with a great pool for the night. The next morning we were off by boat to Rinca and Komodo Island to see the Komodo dragons. Our home for the next two days was a sailboat that looked like a Pirate Ship named “Plantaran Felicia.” The first meal was lunch and the cooking was fantastic!! After lunch we went to the reef to snorkel. Flores has a magnificent coral reef with some of the most beautiful and exotic fish in the world. It is a diver’s paradise and it did not let us down. After our snorkel adventure we visited the island of Rinca which is famous for the population of the Komodo dragon as well as wild pigs, buffalos and birds. We took a trek with the ranger to see these amazing lizards. We saw them right away; we even saw two of them have a fight. It was like nothing that I have ever seen before. After dinner we went by speed boat to view an island that was totally tree covered. As the sun set a bat flew out, then another, then thousands of bats flew over our boat. We were told that they do this every night and then return before sunrise the next day. It reminded me of the movie “The Birds”.
The next day we were off again to snorkel the reef and to see Red beach. It got the name because of the red coral mixed in with the white sand. After lunch we set off to see the Manta Rays. The water was so rough that I got separated from my group. They saw at least 20 of them but I unfortunately did not. We were off to Komodo to see more Komodo dragons. We were very lucky to see that a group of lizard’s had killed a wild pig and were feasting on this. It is unusual to see this. One of the lizard’s started running toward our group and we all had a scare but they were more interested in the wild pig so back to feasting.
The trip had so many special aspects to it. It was such an amazing experience to visit with the tribe. Seeing the Komodo dragon and the reef was also so incredible. This trip is not for everyone. The accommodations were very basic and it was a lot of climbing. We overlooked this because the experience was so awesome!! We ended our trip in Hong Kong, back to the Luxury of the Grand Hyatt. This was a great way to end the trip. We shopped till we dropped and ate the best Chinese and Thai food ever. This is a trip that I will never forget, and when I think of the people of Flores I will think of a diamond in the rough!!
I just returned from an amazing trip to South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. I loved the diversity of this trip. We visited beautiful cities, countryside, the falls and the bush. Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever seen. It is on the Waterfront and has views of the Mountains in the background. We drove down to Cape Point and the scenery was so beautiful on the way. The white and sandy beaches were on one side, while the majestic mountain range was on the other side. As we traveled up the mountain the view of the beach was spectacular. We saw baboons on the side of the road and we visited a colony of penguins at Boulders Beach. Cape Point is the southwesternmost point of Africa; just beautiful. We stayed at the Cape Grace hotel which is in the best location in Capetown. Right on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. The waterfront has lots of shops and restaurants and activity going on. Because of the location this is one of the best hotels in Cape Town. From here we visited the wine country which is also beautiful country with Mountains and such greenery. Stellenbosch is South Africa's second oldest town. This is a University town today and also has galleries shops and wine. They have red and white and their own version of Champagne. We stayed in Franschhoek which is a lovely small town with cute shops and hotels. Our hotel was Le Quartier Francais Auberge, which is a Relais and Chateaux. I loved this property. It is small and very European. Our room was very large and we had our own butler here as well. The restaurant is one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. We enjoyed small plates and shared everything. The food and wine was amazing!! After enjoying the city of Cape Town the wine and food of Franschhoek we flew to Kruger National Park to see what Africa is known for- the animals. Our first night on Safari we stayed at Mala Mala. This is one of the original Camps and needs to be refurbished. However, this was one of the most exciting days we had on Safari. Our guide Matt was fantastic and we saw so many amazing animals in their natural habitat here. We followed a pack of wild dogs as they hunted an impala. We flew threw the bush in our land rover and thought we were going to see a kill. At the last minute the dogs changed their mind and let the impala escape!! We saw a herd of Elephant and Giraffe here; hippos and Rhinos as well. From here we moved to Lion Sands River Lodge. This was a really beautiful property that I would highly recommend. We saw our first sightings of Lions here and a Hippo that was standing in the water but was dead. There were crocodiles coming out of its mouth. I can't believe that I thought this was really cool! From Mala Mala we flew to Zambia to see Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls is one of the 7 Natural wonders of the world. It is the only waterfall that instead of the water flowing away it goes in an opposite direction. The force of the falls is so great that you can see smoke coming from the falls. The African name Mosi-Oa-Tunya means "the Smoke that Thunders." This describes the huge spirals of spray that can be seen for many miles. I loved the beautiful rainbow that can be seen at the falls, it really reminded me that this is an amazing wonder of our world!!
We flew to Siem Reap from Bangkok and when we started our decent all I could see was water. It looked like a huge swamp. I immediately got afraid of Malaria and all the diseases that I was going to get. Just so you know I did not get any diseases and was so elated to experience this amazing place! Once we arrived at the airport, I could see that in fact there was land in Siem Reap. We arrived during the Monsoon season and they had been having so much rain that there was heavy flooding in Siem Reap. As we drove through the small town there was water covering all the main streets. The first thing that hit me was that everyone was either riding a bicycle or a motorcycle and on some of the motorcycles there were three or even four people on board. There were very few cars. After checking in to our lovely hotel, the Borei Angkor Resort and Spa, we left by tuk tuk to visit Angkor Wat. A tuk tuk is a motorcycle with a cart on the back that seats two to four people. This is the
most common mode of transportation here. Angkor Wat was built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, it is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing the Mount Meru, home of the gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Moreover, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. The Temple is on a terrace that is raised higher than the city. It is made up of three rectangular Galleries rising to a central tower, each level is higher than the last. The outer gallery, the central gallery and the inner gallery. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkor temples, Angkor Wat is orientated to the west; scholars disagree as to the significance
of this. As well as for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, the temple is admired for its extensive bas-reliefs and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls.
We visited Angkor Wat late in the day and stayed through sunset. This is such a spiritual place and I loved the fact that we were basically there alone at the most amazing part of the temples called The Bayon Temple.
The giant stone faces are amazing as are the other carvings which are so intricate. These images depict real life scenes from the historical sea battle between the Khmer and Cham, to carvings of everyday life such as market scenes, cockfights, and child birth. The other area that I loved was called Ta Prohm. This area was covered by the jungle and the temples still have trees growing right into them. It is amazing to see the huge roots of the trees covering the temple. We went back the next morning at Sunrise and visited
the main temple and watched the sun come up and the reflection of the temple in the water that surrounds it.
The other highlight of Siem Reap was visiting the Buddhist Monks and being blessed by them. We brought gifts of food and water and presented them with this. The Monks only eat two meals a day and only eat what is provided to them. After the blessing the head monk did a special blessing to each of us to ask for safe travels for our group. What I took away from Siem Reap was that the temples are an incredible accomplishment and Siem Reap is such a spiritual place to visit and a once in a lifetime experience!
On our way to visit Cambodia, we stopped in Bangkok for three days. I really loved the fast pace of the city as well as the friendly locals.
As traffic can be a problem we used the subway and skytrain to get around, both easy and safe to use.
With two full days in the city, we enjoyed shopping, sightseeing, and of course, eating - my three favorite things to do!
We started our day with a visit to Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn which was built in the first half of the 19th century by King Rama. We visited the hustle bustle of China Town, then on to see the amazing reclining gold Buddha at Wat Pho - the largest temple.
From here we visited the Grand Palace and Wat Prakeaw, which was built in 1782, was the home of the king for 150 years. We enjoyed the beautiful, intricate architecture and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
Bangkok also has so many things to shop for. They are known for their silk, silver, gold, hand made paper and beyond. With a wonderful weekend market as well as a night market during the week, the city is truly a shopper's paradise. A shopper is in heaven here. The main shopping area is on Silom Road.
We stayed at a fabulous hotel called the Sukhothai. Our room was wonderful with a sitting area, work area and a huge bathroom with two of everything. The staff was great, they could not do enough for you. Breakfast was included and was such a huge spread of all kinds of food.
I really liked the location of our hotel. You could walk to Silom Road and there are great restaurants right near the hotel. The Banyon Tree is down the street and is a great place to go for drinks on the top floor for a great view of the
We had dinner in the best Thai Restaurant in Bangkok called Nom at the Metropole Hotel which is also just down the street from our Hotel.
Bangkok is an exciting city and a must on your list of places to go.
We have now visited Nevis three times and we recently stayed at the Four Seasons Nevis. Since our last stay Nevis was hit pretty hard by a Hurricane, causing the property to close for a time, but it has since re-opened and is even better than before.
While there are some flights that go into Nevis, it is hard to connect so most people fly to St. Kitts, then take the Four Seasons Boat transfer from there. Once on the boat you will be greeted with drinks and a warm towel! The ride is pleasant and when you arrive at the dock of the Four Seasons you are welcomed and escorted directly to your room...say goodbye to checking in at the desk!
I loved our room. It was very roomy with a sitting area and a wonderful big bathroom. We had a nice porch outside with a table and a lounge chair, so we could eat breakfast and relax outside. They even had real cream for our coffee in the room. But the most important part was that the bed was very comfortable!
We took full advantage of the hammocks that are scattered around the beautiful grounds. There is nothing like breathing in the ocean air as you relax in a hammock! To me, what differentiates Four Seasons from other luxury properties is the staff's attention to detail. From getting to know you, to assisting you with whatever you need, they were always there. One thing that really amazed me was that if a hotel employee was passing you in their motorized cart while you were walking, they would stop so there was quiet for you to pass. They really pulled out all the stops to make sure it was full relaxation all the time.
We spent a lot of time at the spa. With individual little cottage rooms for your massage, a quiet pool and a waterfall hot tub, we felt so pampered. The treatments were wonderful and so
relaxing, but it was also great to spend time at even when we were not enjoying a treatment!
For the active guests, they had numerous tennis courts, and a beautiful golf course with stunning vies and monkeys in the trees! They also offer a very reasonably-priced golf outing.
Though we spent most of our time at the gorgeous beach, the property also has a few different pools, one of which is a quiet adults-only pool. Feeling hot? The staff comes by periodically with fruit and sprays you with Evian mist to keep you cool!. There is a raft that you can swim out to and the water is crystal clear. I could stay out there all day with a book and be happy.
There are a few restaurant options right at the hotel, as well as some great restaurants on the island.
And after dinner, make sure to visit Sunshines Beach Bar and grill to try their famous rum punch drink called "The Killer Bee". But watch out: If you have more than one, you may not make it back to the hotel! We had a lot of fun here, meeting interesting people at their big bon fire, including a group of kids that were on the semester at sea program.
If you are traveling with your kids they have a wonderful kids program at the Four Seasons. This is a great vacation for the whole family or for a romantic getaway!
Looking to travel to Four Seasons Nevis or any other Four Season Properties? As a Four Seasons Preferred agent, I can provide you with free breakfast for two daily, up to $100 meal, spa or golf credit, upgrade at check-in, complimentary high-speed Internet, late check-in / early check-out! Contact me for more information.
I highly recommend Nevis and the Four Seasons for a trip that you will never forget!
For my last romantic getaway with my husband we decided to try a Sandals property. We are not buffet people and we like to snack, so I had to be selective of the all inclusive property that I chose. Some properties have a lot of buffets and not much else.
We decided to go to Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica. I had wanted to go to Jamaica because it is a beautiful Island and Sandals Whitehouse looked really nice to me. It was a newer property in the Sandals family and has the largest pool in Jamaica.
We went to South Beach first for a few days. We stayed at the Loews South Beach Hotel, which is also a great hotel. We then proceeded to Montego Bay where we were met and transferred for the 1 ½ hour trip to Whitehouse. The trip was not bad because it is very scenic and a really beautiful drive.
Once we arrived at the resort we were whisked off to our room which was at the very end of the buildings. We decided that this was a good thing so that we were forced to walk after eating all that great food. We loved the room. All the rooms at Sandals Whitehouse have an ocean view and a balcony. We spent time on our balcony daily because the view was so beautiful.
The Beach was magnificent, white sand and over 2 miles of beach. The water was so clear and inviting. We also had a view of the pool. They have 4 pools scattered thru the resort. The main pool is near the village square. The resort resembled a European village with fountains, piazzas and gardens all around. They had a French, Italian and Dutch village. The property was so lush with beautiful flowers and a great view of mountains in the background.
The beach here spoiled us, we absolutely loved it. Every day we found a hammock and lounge chair and spent the day at the beach. I made friends with the bartender at the pool near our room and he made me different drinks every day to take to the beach. We also liked walking on the Beach. We took the beach route to the village center every day. It was good exercise and it was beautiful.
They had a wonderful French bakery that we visited daily for our midday snacks, because you know how important snacks are to us. They have seven restaurants and you should make reservations right away so that you can try all the different restaurants during your stay. Our favorite was Giussepe’s, which of course was Italian.
I really enjoyed this resort because you could be busy with all kinds of water sports such as kayaking, waterskiing, sailing, scuba, beach volleyball and on and on. Or you can be like us and do nothing and love it. They also have a spa that you could visit, however this is an extra charge. I felt that it was way overpriced and did not use it. At night they had a piano bar and different shows and events on different nights. They even had an Amphitheatre.
I would recommend this resort for a romantic getaway, honeymoon or destination wedding. It is a good value if you participate in all the extra activities. It also helps to budget your money because almost everything is included in the price. You do not have to worry about carrying your money around with you.
For years, we had viewed the travel magazines and read the descriptions of French Polynesia. Having traveled extensively throughout the world, it was time to see first-hand what the travel writers and the early world explorers raved about. Our trip to Tahiti and Bora Bora turned out to be everything we expected and more. The flawless trip was arranged by Judy Schwartz after thoroughly investigating numerous travel agents geared toward a luxury travel experience.
If you are flying from the East Coast, I highly recommend a layover in LA coming and going for one night each direction to make the trip easier. That made a world of difference and was definitely worth the added expense. The Air Tahiti Nui flight from LAX to Papeete was flawless and took 8 ½ hours. We were greeted at the airport and taken to a private limousine to spend the first night at the Intercontinental Hotel minutes from the airport. Word of caution: the airport in Papeete is not air conditioned and is very humid/hot. Mosquitoes are bountiful. I recommend that you use Deep Woods Off wipes before landing on your arms, neck and legs, or a 100% DEET spray.
Following a wonderful (but short) evening at the Intercontinental, we grabbed an early breakfast and headed back to the airport for the short flight to Bora Bora on a 50-passenger prop plane. Take your camera and try to sit on the left hand side of the plane. You won’t be disappointed in the stellar views since the plane flies very low for the entire trip. You will get some outstanding photos.
Our resort, the Four Seasons, was located about 15 minutes from the Bora Bora airport. The FS staff greeted us and took us to the resort for what was truly the most remarkable property I have encountered in the world. We were taken to our room by the staff (via golf cart) and the room was spotless. Everything was top-shelf and it was worth the extra money we paid for the plunge pool on our deck. We spent at least half the time on the deck and near the plunge pool. The service at the hotel was impeccable.
Would we go again? Yes. If you are looking for night-life, this is not the place to go. If you are looking to de-stress, relax, read and enjoy the most beautiful, unspoiled water in the world, race to book a trip to this fantastic island. It is an experience that we will never forget.
Peru ranks amongst the world’s great centers of ancient civilization with remains which fascinate travelers and archaeologists alike. Peru is one of the most diverse countries due to the climatic, natural and cultural variation of its regions, which include coast, sierra and jungles. Peru’s people (all 23 million of them) are largely descendants of Spanish settlers and native Inca and pre-Inca cultures. Today there are three national languages: Spanish, and the native Quechua and Aymara, reflecting the native Indian and Spanish roots that cultivate modern Peruvian society.
Top Peru Attractions
There is no shortage of things to see in Peru. Certainly, you could spend weeks or months exploring this diverse country, but most tours are slightly less intensive. With limited time, the following sites should most definitely be included on your “must see” list.
Machu Picchu was built by the Incas over 500 years ago and is Peru’s most visited tourist attraction with over 500,000 people each year, and a U.N. Heritage site. The city is a wondrous man-made city tucked in the middle of a tropical mountain forest. Machu Piccu is above the cloudline at 7,000 feet above sea level and is remarkable intact with the stone walls, temples and lush green terraces. Views from Machu Picchu are spectacular as the ancient city overlooks a canyon on the Urubamba river and the Andes mountains, as well as lots of greenery from the Amazon basin.
Cuzco is a quaint town that sits about 75 miles above Machu Picchu and is usually the starting point for the train that leads down to Machu Picchu. For all intents and purposes, the only way to get there is by plane. This small city has a decided mystical feeling and transports you back to Incan times. The town is small and easily accessible. Two of the highlights of the town are the Temple of San Blas and the Church of LaMerced—a stunning cathedral. Surprisingly, shopping is a great experience and allows you to pick up some fleece sweaters, jackets, and blankets at bargain prices—provided your bartering skills are up to speed. Occasionally, if you are lucky, you will witness the Peruvian military marching at the Plaza de Armas.
Lima is the capitol of Peru and has a large city feel; yet still maintains its connection with the distant past. The city sits high atop the Pacific Ocean and during the winter, dense fog and chilly air are common. However in the summer months (winter in the US), the city sparkles in the sun and hundreds of thousands will flood the beaches. Being the capitol, many, if not most, of the buildings are governmental, yet there are still plenty of museums and historical sites throughout the city. The city is a true study in opposites. Paved highways and quaint cobblestone streets. Large modern buildings and ancient Catholic churches. Modern businessmen in three piece suits and modest merchants in traditional Incan garb. Lima is a city which will not disappoint.
I love every destination that I have traveled to. I love to meet the people, experience the culture, eat the food, see the sights, and of course, my favorite thing to do is shop! One of my all time favorite destinations is Italy. Every city is so different, each boasting their unique crafts. Venice is known for their distinct Venetian glass, Florence for the wonderful butter soft leather and gold, Milan for the high fashion, Pompeii for the cameos.
If I had to choose one favorite Italian city? Positano. A small city nestled on the Amalfi Coast, it is a summer haven for the locals and travelers. The picturesque town is built in the mountains and overlooks the sea, and olives, lemons and bougainvillea can be found growing. We stayed at Il San Pietro Di Positano, a Relais & Chateaux hotel. All Relais & Chateaux hotels and Inns were once castles or historic landmarks, and most are well known for their wonderful restaurants and wine cellars.
Starting out as a private villa, San Pietro now has 57 rooms, is surrounded by lemon groves, and offers breathtaking views up and down the coast. From panoramic bathrooms to hand crafted local tiles, private terraces with stunning views of the water or the mountains, each room is special. The hotel sits atop a huge cliff close to 800 steps down to the beach, to a sun deck that you have to see to believe (of course you can take the elevator if you want). If you are not planning to stay here, you must come for lunch or dinner in their outdoor restaurant!
Have fun getting lost through the windy streets of Positano as you visit the local shops, antique stores and art galleries. From Positano you can visit Capri and Anacapri by hovercraft, visit the amazing Pompeii and stop in Sorrento on the way; they have an inlaid wood factory that you can actually watch them make the furniture there.
Be sure to bring your camera, a big appetite, and lots of money to spend!