Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Located in the "corridor" between the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, this resort is the largest beach retreat in Los Cabos, with more than 300 rooms and one of the largest hotel pools in Mexico. However, many travelers are attracted to the Melia's greens, not its deep blue. Nearby, the "El Dorado" and the "Cabo Real," designed by Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones, respectively, offer professional-grade links, as well as phenomenal views of the Pacific Ocean.Curves are what seem to define the Westin Regina - from the enormous, shapely, terracotta building to the undulating shapes of its seven pools. When building this resort, designers tried to follow the natural contours of the coastline, creating a getaway that is in tune with land and the ocean. Guest rooms also received a local touch, and are decorated in traditional bright colors and accented with Mexican handicrafts. Not surprisingly, activities at the Westin Regina reflect a "back to nature" ethos, with swimming, snorkeling and horseback riding the most popular distractions.
Mexico's southwest coast is home to the Camino Real Las Hadas, a resort whose beach was made famous by Bo Derek in the film 10. Luckily, Hollywood didn't spoil this magical stretch of shore, enabling Las Hadas to retain its romantic, tropical charm. Moorish-style white stucco architecture and palm-fringed walkways make Las Hadas a tropical paradise, while its private beach and marina add an understated elegance. All the guest rooms have terraces, and each of the five suites has a private plunge pool. Most spectacular is the Minaret Suite, which has unmatched views of the Mexican Riviera.
Awarded the coveted AAA five-diamond rating seven years in a row, the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach is tops in terms of service and accommodations. Even though it's just a stroll from the non-stop entertainment along Cancun's strip, the Fiesta Americana offers its own exhaustive roster of activities, including swimming, snorkeling and jet skiing. Guests who prefer to take it easy can enjoy ocean views from any of the resort's 602 rooms, or enjoy a gourmet meal at La Joya, the first restaurant in Cancun to score a five-diamond rating from AAA.
Acapulco is known for its cliff divers, its swank high rises and the Acapulco Princess. This 1,019-room mega-resort, designed to resemble an Aztec temple, lays claim to seven restaurants, seven bars, seven tennis courts, five pools, an 18-hole golf course, a shopping arcade and a recently inaugurated fitness center. Despite the grand surroundings, however, guest rooms are intimate. Tropical foliage, cane furniture, tasteful decor in muted tones of green and beige and private terraces with views of the Sierra Madre mountains or the Pacific Ocean create a peaceful atmosphere amid the hustle and bustle of the resort.
Carved out of a coconut plantation, the Westin Regina Puerto Vallarta is a lush paradise. From the guest rooms, which are decorated in vivid mosaics, to the 600 coconut palms clustered on the resort's 21 acres, the Westin Regina oozes Mexico. The resort is one of the newest in Puerto Vallarta, but it maintains a classic charm. Golfing, boating, deep-sea fishing and scuba diving are just a few of the activities available.
With only 31 suites and 25 guest rooms, the Casa Del Mar Golf Resort & Spa proves that less is definitely more. Travelers wishing to escape the crowds, but still enjoy a tropical-resort atmosphere, will revel in the relative calm found in the Casa del Mar's six pools, verdant gardens and first-class beauty salon and spa. And, unlike larger resorts, Casa del Mar boasts two staff members per guest, ensuring that each patron receives superb service. Other luxuries include the Robert Trent Jones golf course, on-site tennis courts and private beach access.
Surrounded by the jungle, the mountains and the sea, La Jolla makes the most of its natural environment. Adventurous travelers can take part in the resort's many organized excursions, including mountain biking, kayaking, snorkeling, horseback riding and deep-sea fishing. On the premises, guests can take a dip in one of La Jolla's three pools, play tennis, shop or relax with a spa treatment. Families are also catered to at La Jolla de Mismaloya, as evidenced by a myriad of activities suitable for kids and adults.
Travelers can expect exquisite cuisine, elegant decor and a Mediterranean-style flair at the French-run Le Meridien Resort & Spa. Like its Cancun neighbors, Le Meridien offers guests the opportunity to swim in cascading pools, play a round of golf at area courses or laze around on sugary beaches. But it's Le Meridien's Spa del Mar that keeps guests coming back. Just about every treatment and facility is available at the resort's 15,000-square foot spa, including hydrotherapy, massage, facials, Swiss showers, cold plunge pools and steam rooms.
Situated on its own island between the Laguna Navidad and the Pacific Ocean, the Isla Navidad offers the best of both worlds. On the one hand, the resort is completely secluded and self-contained, making for an utterly romantic atmosphere. On the other, Isla Navidad boasts luxurious facilities, including a country club with a 27-hole, championship-par golf course, a yacht marina, three pools, tennis courts and two restaurants. To top it all off, the resort has at least 200 brands of tequila and an in-house master cigar maker, in case travelers feel the need to celebrate such a choice, tropical location.
Love is in the air at the Royal Hideaway Playacar in the ever-popular Mayan Riviera. The resort is one of the few in the world to be honored with the AAA 5 Diamond Award, a testament to its phenomenal service (2.2 employees for every guest) and refined setting. During the day, guests feast on fresh guacamole and frozen cocktails alongside the cascading infinity pool. This snack is just a prelude to a gourmet meal at 1 of the 6 restaurants serving European, Asian, Italian and, of course, Mexican food.
Kerala is absolutely a admirable destination for all types of travelers. The abode is abounding of admirable day-tripper destinations. The abode assemblage a abundant breeze of travelers from altered genitalia of the world. The abode has array of traveling options including beaches, backwaters, crude centers, waterfalls, houseboats, ayurvedic spas, museums, forts & palaces, acropolis stations, wildlife and actual monuments.
All these adorable abode absolutely makes the day-tripper to tie with it Although the accompaniment of Kerala offers so abounding options to the travelers but the highlight of Kerala tourism has to be its backwaters and beaches. It is a arrangement of commutual rivers, canals, and lakes. There is a advanced ambit of bank and backwaters destination in the accompaniment are Fort Kochi, Fort Bekal, Kumarakom, Kovalam, Varkala, and Kuttanad abounding more. One cannot alike anticipate of finishing his/her indian bout and after exploring its admirable beaches and backwaters.
Monday, April 29, 2013
They have withstood the onslaught of marching armies, they have been like trophies for rulers, and several well-known forts in India are now reliving their glorious past through a 26-episode documentary series "Bharat ke Burj".
Historic forts to come alive again
Golconda Fort in Andhra Pradesh.
Produced and directed by leading Chandigarh-based theatre personality Gurcharan Singh Chani and his son Gyandev Singh, the series aims to tell the story of 26 forts that have been part of India's rich history and their rulers.
"The series has been such a great learning experience for us while making it. Many myths about the forts, which are centuries old, have been broken," Chani, who spent nearly three-and-a-half years in research and shooting with his son, told IANS here.
"Forts like Kalinjar (Uttar Pradesh), Chittor (Rajasthan), Gingee (Tamil Nadu) and Golconda (Andhra Pradesh) have been like trophies which various rulers always wanted to conquer. Some of the most famous battles and lives of dynasties and rulers have revolved around these forts," Chani said.
The documentary series, being telecast on national broadcaster Doordarshan since last month, features forts ranging from Qila Mubarak in Punjab's Patiala to those down south in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
A short 45 minutes drive from Taipei, Jiaoxi is a haven for a Japanese-style hot spring bathing houses.
Jiaoxi’s unique hot springs are odourless and colourless. The hot springs looks like normal water, yet it is rich in minerals. I was amazed how smooth my skin and hair felt after a soak in the Jiaoxi hot spring waters.
The Senlin Fenglu, which literally means ‘forest baths’ in Japanese, opened in January 2011. It is part of the Jiaoxi Hot Springs Park complex. There are three different hot spring baths within the Hot Springs Park. The first are a collection of thermal pools right near the Tourist Information Centre where you can stick your feet in for free. This is lots of fun, especially if you don’t have a lot of time, and there are usually several groups soaking their feet. But of course nothing beats the real hot springs bathing experience.
It costs NTD150 to enter the Japanese-designed baths. They are separate male and female baths, and unlike the usual practice for Japanese-style segregated bathing, patrons must wear bathing suits and bathing caps. The pools are set amongst subtropical gardens, and from the main pool you could gaze undisturbed on the verdant hills rising up behind Jiaoxi. The Japanese-themed wooden architecture was classic and uncluttered, with only a few natural-style jets that complemented rather than distracted from the relaxation theme.
Senlin Fenglu sets a limit of 80 patrons at a time to each bathing house. Yet it rarely gets that busy. Most of the times you would practically have the place to yourselves. It was a weekday, but staff told us it is usually very quiet on weekends, too, because most visitors have not yet heard of these baths, or mistake them for the other, more open baths. The Yilan Government has not yet developed a website to promote the baths, although there are some pictures if you search hard enough on their websites.
And food options for afterwards? The staff at the bathing house said Evergreen does a good quality lunch buffet for NTD500, and a good value afternoon tea coffee and cake combo for NTD160. But if you are after something more local, do what we did and try hard-boiled eggs cooked in hot spring water or thick noodle soup called geng. There are also some park benches and seats inside, so you can take some snacks with in case the hunger pangs hit during a long hot-spring bathing session.
For more comprehensive version of this article, visit here.
For more ideas on luxury travel, visit oneluxurytravel.com.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Directly facing spectacular ocean sunsets, Taman Ahimsa retreat is a rare combination of sustainable luxury based on the Balinese philosophy,Tri Hita Karana, thus creating a harmony among Human, God and Nature to be experienced in this "Garden of Peace." This eco-conscious ' retreat by the sea' is designed to enhance the gentle surroundings with the natural elements for a stay that is intended not only for a valuable holiday in Bali, but to create an organic, integral experience for contemplation, rejuvenation and nurturing among friends and family.
This stunning master bedroom accessed via a wooden bridge over a Balinese pond offers guests the ultimate of romance. This bedroom represents a combination of the yellow Solar-Plexus and the Crown Chakras, linking self esteem, intuition and a connection with spirit. Its graceful boat-shaped curves, combined with a high ceiling and 12 metre squared space graciously houses a 2.3 metre-wide bed and royal mosquitto net canape.
This master bedroom features handmade soft furnishings, a large dressing area with fitted wardrobes, air conditioning as well as a private terrace. The large ensuite semi open-air bathroom incorporates a slate paved floor and a bamboo ceiling, and is bordered by a lovely garden. This romantic bathroom is fitted with a huge hollowed out river rock tub, twin river rock washbasins, and a standing rainshower.
This large air-conditioned bedroom follows a violet color theme, representative of the Crown Chakra, meaning oneness with the infinite - peace and wisdom. The room is furnished with a super-king rattan bed and built-in wardrobes. The ensuite bathroom is fitted with a terrazzo bathtub, river rock washbasin, and a walk-in rainshower. A TV room is positioned next to the bedroom and creates the feeling of a large suite. There are stunning panoramic views from the terrace. This is an ideal family area as it is linked to the bedroom next door by a charming bridge.
This air-conditioned bedroom has an oval roof reminiscent of the hull of a ship, with sliding glass doors at front and windows that wrap around the sides. It is furnished with a king size bed and follows a blue color theme representing the Throat Chakra and the expression of truth through the power of the spoken word. A round window behind the bed looks into the dressing room, and behind this is a bathroom with a recycled ironwood floor. The bathroom is fitted with an over sized terrazzo bathtub, a glass walled shower, and a river rock basin on a tamarind wood vanity stand. There is a sweet balcony at the front for private relaxation.
This circular air-conditioned bedroom is designed in the shape of a sacred spiral. It is located close to the main living and dining pavilion and follows a green theme representative of the Heart Chakra and the expression of love. It is furnished with a king bed and features a small dressing area with fitted wardrobes, as well as a private terrace, hidden by short hedges. The beautiful ensuite garden bathroom is fitted with a hollowed out river rock bathtub, twin river rock washbasins, and a standing rainshower.
This circular air-conditioned bedroom is designed in the shape of a sacred spiral. It follows an indigo theme representative of the Third Eye Chakra, the channel of intuition. It is furnished with a king bed and features a small dressing area with fitted wardrobes. The ensuite garden bathroom is fitted with a hollowed out river rock bathtub, twin river rock washbasins, and a standing rainshower. There is also a private terrace, hidden by short hedges and shrubs; no bedroom is overlooked by any of the other buildings.
This circular air-conditioned bedroom is designed in the shape of a sacred spiral. It follows an orange theme representative of the Sacral Chakra - the utilization of creative forces in all aspects of being. It is furnished with a king bed and features a small dressing area with fitted wardrobes, as well as a private terrace, hidden by short hedges and shrubs. The ensuite garden bathroom is fitted with a hollowed out river rock bathtub, twin river rock washbasins, and a standing rainshower.
This circular air-conditioned bedroom is designed in the shape of a sacred spiral and positioned closest - of all the bedrooms - to the beach. It follows a red theme representative of the Base Chakra, the ground spirit force of the body and the ability to work lovingly on the physical plane. It is furnished with a king bed and features a small dressing area with fitted wardrobes, as well as a private terrace, hidden by short hedges and shrubs. The ensuite garden bathroom is fitted with a hollowed out river rock bathtub, twin river rock washbasins, and a standing rainshower.
One enters Taman Ahimsa into a boat-like shaped bamboo facade living area with comfortable interior design of recycled wood furniture and Indonesian batik pillows. It is connected to a large dining area. This gracious living area is located in the main two-storey pavilion, which presides over the entire property.
There are two sitting areas facing the gardens and sea, one is an elevated section with two antique daybeds, a chair and a coffee table, while at the lower level are two long built-in couches facing the garden and sea, as well as a magnificent antique low table, created from an old wooden boat, complete with six chairs. On the other side of this level is an open-air deck, with a frangipani tree growing through the floor. Walls and ceilings in this building are lined with bamboo.
The dining room is incorporated in the elevated open plan living area with lovely views of the garden. It is furnished with a huge wooden dining table that seats 14, over which dangles a pair of exquisitely designed copper lanterns. Adjacent to this is an antique hand-carved wooden window panel, which frames the cooking area of the gourmet kitchen.
The TV room is located upstairs, between the large bedroom and the terrace. This spacious sitting room has a recycled ironwood floor, and comfortable rattan furnishings, as well as a 37" TV and DVD player.
SERVICE & FACILITIES
Swimming Pool Area
The freeform 20-metre swimming pool is lined with green Java stone, and bordered by an ironwood deck furnished with over-sized rattan sun beds and umbrellas. It employs a low-to-no chemical ozone system that is soft on the earth and gentle on the skin. There is a large poolside lounge area here with connecting second pool dining area with kitchen and sitting area - ideal for leisure breakfasts, lunches, afternoon tea and sunset gatherings. It also doubles as a yoga/martial arts studio. Two 'bales' or relaxation pavilions are in this area for therapeutic massages that can be arranged with some of the best masseurs on the island.
Positioned in the garden is a meditation circle marked by 16 stones and is available for guests' use. Special meditation ceremonies can be arranged in this site.
In a corner of the garden, immediately beside the beach, is a delightful elevated massage pavilion with antique wooden paneling, originally an old Javanese Joglo. This is one of several spots for a therapeutic massage, which can be arranged with a Balinese healer.
The enchanting garden meanders down to the swimming pool and beach, via stone pathways. The rolling lawns are dotted with palms and punctuated with lily ponds and lanterns, fragrant flowering trees and giant taro leaves, creating a stunning garden of peace, 'Taman Ahimsa,'where one can discover spaces created for retreat.
The spacious gourmet kitchen is conveniently positioned next to the dining area and is fully equipped with ample modern appliances and amenities - everything that the cooks need in order to prepare fresh, wholesome cuisine, using primarily organic vegetables and fruits, ayurvedic ingredients and fresh fish caught daily by our local fisherman.
The training of the staff and service at Taman Ahimsa is based on the philosophy of the home and with an experienced anticipation of the needs of guests visiting Bali. There is an onsite manager to directly communicate any requests from guests, ranging from restaurant reservations to horse riding, surfing, cycling, fishing, rafting, hiking and unique cultural experiences. Taman Ahimsa is supported by a carefully selected team of well-trained, friendly staff. Our team includes two cooks, six housekeepers, four security guards operating on a 24-hour shift basis, one on-site engineering and maintenance technician, two gardeners and a supervisor.
- Wireless internet access
- iPod Readers/speaker system in every room
- Private office available upon request
- Safety deposit box in each bedroom
- Satellite-channel TV and DVD player in TV room
Taman Ahimsa is located on Bali's southwest coast, within the beautiful agricultural belt between Canggu and Tanah Lot; an area that is home to some of the most luxurious private residences on the island. The approach to the retreat is along a quiet winding road through a traditional Balinese village. The narrow streets are bordered by rice fields and punctuated by holy banyan trees, and colourful temple ceremonies are a common sight.
Remarkably laidback and undeveloped, this tranquil out-of-town setting offers the double attraction of being relatively close to everything that guests might need, while also offering visitors a privileged insight into the traditions of rural Bali. The rugged beach is renowned for its world-class surf breaks. Glorious coastline views extend all the way down to Uluwatu on the island's extreme southwest peninsula, and the legendary sunsets here are among the best in Bali. The trendy Seminyak area, 30 minutes' drive away, offers a wide choice of international restaurants and elegant boutiques.
Taman Ahimsa is approximately 50 minutes' drive from Bali's International Airport and ten minutes from Nirwana Golf Course, designed by Greg Norman and renowned as one of the best golf courses in Asia. Next to the golf course is Tanah Lot, Bali's most dramatic and venerated sea temple, which is probably the most photographed sight in Bali, perched on a spectacular, wave-lashed rock just at the edge of the glistening shoreline. The majority of the island's shopping, theme parks and tourist attractions are also within easy reach.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Travel and tourism are often used interchangeably as both have similar meanings. For last few decades, this industry has experienced an up market. There are several reasons for this development one of which is surely the better economic conditions of people. The developments in technology like transportation and other areas too have contributed to the development of this industry.
Travel and tourism has developed as a huge business industry in almost all parts of the world but as far as India is concerned the country has seen tremendous changes in recent years in this regard. India has always been one travel destination that people wanted to explore the most. People not only from country within but also from overseas have always been very fond of India and its travel attractions.
India has a rich cultural heritage that has always been a major tourist attraction for overseas people. There are some very beautiful places to visit in India like Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Kerala, and many more. There are several tourists' attractions like historic monuments, nature tourism, wildlife, hill stations, beaches and lots more to explore.
As far as the kinds of tourism in India are concerned then there are several available. Given below are a few of the examples:
o Adventure tourism
o Wildlife tourism
o Medical tourism
o Pilgrimage tourism
o Eco tourism
o Cultural tourism
All these types of tourism have marked great growth in last few decades. Now the Indian Government too is paying extreme attention in this direction and is trying to develop India as one of the most explored travel destinations.
There are several sources available now that help one know about the best travel destinations not only in India but also in all other parts of the world. There are whole lots of travel websites ready to help the tourists and there are also various other things like the travel publications and others to help the people. People can seek help out of all these sources and then there are also other people like travel agents who are also very beneficial.
All these sources together help people get the best deal as they also offer various attractive packages and people may chose out of them as per their choice & convenience. All one needs to do is to be aware of all the possible sources and the personal requirements & affordability.
Welcome to Unique Safaris, a unique luxury tour provider that caters for and tailors personalised safari package tour in style and comfort.
There are only a few places on earth that is as magnificent as the east coast of Sotuh Africa. Unique Safari would take you to enjoy the best of both worlds in your grand African tour : visiting the wildlife among the bushes as well as the beaches!
So how will the luxury come to play? Well, for instance, your guides are qualified field and marine explorers who will make your South African experience more enjoyable and memorable with their top-notch expertise. Imagine yourself everythingfeasting your eyes with extraordinary view, from lush greeneries - home to graceful gazelles and captivating cheetahs - to pristine white beaches - where the transluscent emerald waters barely conceal the colourful coral reefs and marine life underneath.
Come nighttime, enjoy the luxury of five-star resorts with outstanding services only fit for the royalties. From pampering spa massages to gourmet cuisine, you will lavish only in the very best of South African palaces.
As for the transportation, they are able to provide you with a luxurious 8-seater bus that will transfer you smoothly to any destination you have in mind.
With Unique Safari, you will indulge in plentiful options that will cover everything you need to know about South Africa. The privilege is yours to alter and modify your tour according to your wishes and demands!
For more ideas and advices on luxury travel, visit oneluxurytravel.com.
Friday, April 26, 2013
1. The Baths – Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Snorkeling, caves, grotto’s and beautiful sandy beaches are what you can expect at The Baths in BVI. The giant boulders have created a type of maze to walk through.
2. Flamenco Beach – Culebra Island, Puerto Rico
Tropical forests, beaches, nature, turtles. What more could you want from an exotic island. Much of Culebra Island is protected, for wildlife, plants, and historic monuments.
3. Flic en Flac – Mauritius
Flic en Flac is a small village on the West Coast of Mauritius. Of course, it has the required white sand beaches, and it also has a blue lagoon.
4. Copacabana – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Before you start trying to sing some Barry Manilow, this isn’t the nightclub, but the beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is the opposite of a quiet village, and is one of the party capitals of the world.
5. Playa Tamarindo – Costa Rica
If you want to get away, go to Playa Tamarindo Costa Rica. The jungle looks like it comes right up to the beach. The sea turtles love it so much, they come back every year to make more sea turtles.
Source : www.beachbumparadise.com
The will be newly-wed royal couple William and Kate are going to spend their honeymoon at divine Lizard Island Resort.
Lizard Island is truly secluded from the rest of the world. The Lizard Island Resort is located right on the Great Barrier Reef, with 24 powdery-white beaches and 40 luxurious suites.
Dining is one of the Great Barrier Reef hotel’s many pleasures. Ospreys Restaurant embodies the resort's understated elegance. The menu, which changes daily, is fresh and creative, showcasing the finest local produce and freshest seafood.
In the 2010 US Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice Award (Category 'Top 20 Resorts Oceania') Lizard Island ranks 8th. Lizard Island was voted second in the category 'Best Australian Resort' in the 2009 Gold List Awards. In 2008 Lizard Island was voted as the top hotel in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific and one of the top 100 hotels and resorts in the world at the Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards.
Lizard Islandis accessible by air from Cairns Airport in northern Queensland, Australia. Cairns Airport is accessible from all major Australian airports and directly from some cities in Asia.
Follow the royal couple footsteps at your own cost.
It will cost you roughly about USD 58 000 to go on Prince William and Kate Middleton's honeymoon.
A business-class, round-trip flight from New York's JFK to Cairns could run you $21,999.
But if you don't mind sitting in coach for 28 hours, you can find one for around two grand. (And yes, before you point it out in the comments -- we realize the royals aren't flying commercial.) Springing for the most-expensive flight will get you as close as possible to recreating their experience.
For more ideas on luxury travel, visit our website here.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
This is a guest post by Tim Leffel, a travel destinations expert who has dispatched articles from five continents over a period close to two decades.
Think world travel needs to be expensive? Think again…
Enter Tim LeffelLike an annoying house guest who keeps packing but doesn’t leave, this recession keeps dragging on. That downsized international vacation can still be exotic though—if you pick the right destination. Or if you really want to alter your finances for the better, move to one of these places as an expat.
The dollar is in healthier shape than it has been many times in the past in relation to the euro and pound sterling, but a trip to one of Western Europe’s capitals still feels like a shopping trip to Tiffany’s. Australia is not much better, and a trip to Japan could drain your whole life savings in a week.
Here’s a better idea: go someplace where your travel dollars are still worth a bundle.
Below are some of the best deals on the planet right now, destinations that are relatively easy for travelers and also easy on the wallet.
Despite having some of the world’s best-known monuments, Egypt struggles to fill its abundant hotels. With less-than-wealthy locals far outnumbering the tourists, it’s easy to find a bargain meal or a guide or taxi driver. (They’ll find you whether you need them or not.) Admission prices for the ancient pyramids and temples are reasonable, generally ranging from $3 to $14.
Sample deals: a first-class train ticket from Cairo to Luxor for $17; a Nile-view deluxe double room in Luxor for $60 with breakfast; a private room by the sea in Dahab for under $20; entrance to the Nubia Museum in Aswan for $4; a falafel sandwich at a Cairo street stall for 40 cents. There’s no great independent travel site for the whole country but Egypt’s official tourism site is better than most.
This Southeast Asian nation is one of the most diverse and attractive destinations in the world, with a long string of volcanic islands and a range of topography and culture. It could also be the best value on the planet, with cheap hotels going for $5 a night, often right beside great snorkeling spots. Bali is the most developed island, but even there you can find plenty of deals. On Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi, however, it’s easy to branch out like an intrepid explorer or get pampered on the cheap in the most popular spots.
Sample deals: a double room with pool and breakfast in Yogyakarta, Java for under $20; a five-day small ship cruise between Lombok and Flores islands via Komodo for $200 per person including meals; a first-class train seat from Jakarta to Yogyakarta for $25; an hour-long massage for $8-$15; a day’s motorbike rental on Bali for $10. Indo.com has a good listing of mid-range hotels in Bali and some other areas while the official Indonesia tourism site has travel info and enticing photos of the diverse islands.
In mid-2008, the peso was at 10 to the dollar. Now it’s close to 13. That’s a discount of more than 25 percent in a country that was already a deal. Plus Swine Flu followed by drug gang violence on the U.S. border has meant that travelers have tremendous bargaining power on hotels and tours. To find the best values, visit the historic colonial cities or beach areas where Americans don’t outnumber the locals. (As in places where there’s no Señor Frog’s in sight.)
Sample deals: a three-course lunch at a market stand for $4; nice hotels in centuries-old colonial buildings for under $75 double with breakfast and Wi-Fi; a round of Negra Modelos for five at nearly any bar, including gratis snacks, for $10; and some of the nicest deluxe buses in the hemisphere for $6 to $8 per hour of travel. It’s a big, diverse country, but here’s an extensive set of links and the best books on one page: Mexico travel resources from Travelers-tool-kit.com.
Few people knew anything about this country until it was all over the news last year when the president got forced out of office. You can find fabulous deals on scuba diving packages on Roatan Island. This Caribbean island sits next to the second-longest coral reef in the world, and every hotel seems to offer attractive package plans no matter the season. On the mainland you’ve got tropical national parks, the rugged Moskito Coast, and Copán, one of the key Mayan sites in the Americas and a great little colonial town.
Sample deals: $35 white-water rafting trips; weeklong learn-to-dive packages with room, breakfast, and transfers for under $600; a cold coconut with a straw for 40 cents; and admission to the Copán archeological park for $10. For more info, see the Honduras Tips site or Roatan Online, or see more travel prices in Honduras here.
This is only a shade farther to fly than Mexico, but it is a truly exotic destination. The descendants of the Mayans still dress in traditional clothing in the villages surrounding stunning Lake Atitlán. The Spanish colonial buildings in the city of Antigua are older than anything left standing in our historic city districts. The sprawling archeological park of Tikal is the granddaddy of Mayan ruins, and still surrounded by jungle.
Sample deals: taxis in Antigua for $4; great hotels with a view on Lake Atitlán for $60 a night; a week of private Spanish lessons including homestay starting at $180; a zipline canopy tour near Tikal for $30; three pounds of bananas or avocados for a dollar. La Ruta Maya Online is the best resource for hotels, tours, and Spanish language schools.
Machu Picchu alone is worth the journey, but it’s just the start in this value-packed country. Inca ruins are scattered all around the Sacred Valley, and Cuzco is one of the most attractive cities in South America. There is also hiking in the Andes, admiring colonial architecture on the streets of Arequipa, trips through the Amazon, boating across the highest lake in the world, and flying over the strange Nazca lines.
Sample deals: Bus from Arequipa to Colca Canyon – $6; a big traditional lunch and a beer for $7; simple restaurant meal in the countryside $6 for two; entrance to the Inca Museum in Cuzco for $1.50; cheap single room or hostel bed $4-$10; airport taxi in Cusco $4. Andean Travel Web is an exhaustive resource site for trekking info, hotels that are a good value, and general travel info.
As with Honduras and Mexico, visitor numbers plunged when Bangkok was all over the news recently, so there are plenty of deals on airfare, tours, and hotels. This is a popular destination for travelers of all budget levels. Thailand continues to be one of the best bargains in the world in terms of hotel prices, and with a well-developed infrastructure, it’s easy to get around and see what you want to see, be it historic ruins, Buddhist temples, or tropical beaches.
Sample deals: a standard double at a true 5-star hotel in Bangkok for $250 or less per night—or a cheap place to flop down and sleep for 1/20th of that price; admission to the main ruins in Sukothai for under $2; a first-class round-trip sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for about $40; a Skytrain ticket across Bangkok for about $1.30. The hands-down best travel resource for Thailand is . They also put out some great iPhone/iPad apps on specific regions and islands.
8. Czech Republic
In much of Europe, prices in the big cities are often double what you find in the countryside. This is especially true in Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic, where vacationers on quick weekend breaks have driven up hotel and restaurant prices in Prague. In the smaller towns and cities, however, the country is one of Europe’s remaining great values. Castles on hill crests, some of the world’s best beer for a dollar or so in a pub, and winding cobblestone streets without crowds—Ye Olde Europe without the new Europe prices.
Stay in exotic hotels, travel with your family and see the world.