Spring fever is over and summer is almost here. That means many people are anxiously anticipating their summer vacation. In fact, most have already finished the planning process and are just waiting to head off. Haven’t planned anything yet? Check out the these fantastic last-minute summer destinations and see if any of them grab your attention. [Read more…]
With so many low-cost flights to Tenerife, there’s never been a better time than now to soak up the sun in the Canary Islands. There are also plenty of attractions to explore, from awe-inspiring natural wonders to historic sites and hair-raising watersports. For those planning to visit for the first time, this handy guide is here to help you out. [Read more…]
For centuries, the Island of Capri, Italy has been the playground for emperors and billionaires alike. And, it’s easy to see why. With its turquoise waters, dramatic cliffs, and breathtaking views, Capri is easily one of the most beautiful places in the world. The fresh scent of lemon groves fills the air, while movie stars and business moguls move around without so much as a second glance in their direction. But Capri isn’t just for the wealthy. This island of pleasure makes a perfect day trip for any traveler near Rome or the Amalfi Coast.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Southern California for the first time. I know, I know. It’s hard to believe that we’d never been there before, but it is true. Frankly, it is a long way from our home base in Indiana, and we’ve never really had any reason to go to California. So, we decided to tack some extra time onto the end of our trip to Las Vegas and head to sunny Laguna Beach for a few days.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to like SoCal. Personally, I could never figure out what all the hype was about. I’ve been a lot of beautiful places in my life, and Southern California just didn’t seem to be burning a hole in my pocket.
After landing in L.A. and spending the afternoon there, I was really starting to wonder what the big deal was. We spent some time meandering through Hollywood and Beverly Hills, but the neighborhoods and houses weren’t any nicer than a lot of the places near where we live.
Then, there is the traffic. If there’s one thing (other than movies…and smog) that L.A. is famous for, it is this. Trying to get out of L.A. was pretty much a nightmare. Where we come from, driving 40 miles should take 40 minutes to an hour, tops. Our little trek to Laguna Beach took us about 2 hours. Oi!
However, once we made it into Orange County, the traffic began to subside and the natural beauty of the area took our breath away. After exiting I-5 onto CA-133, we could barely contain our excitement. As we began our downward descent into Laguna Beach, we were blown away by the scenic hills and cliffs surrounding the town. Winding our way down to the beach, we immediately felt at home with Laguna’s artsy vibe. We hit the “T” at CA-1 and spotted our hotel, The Inn at Laguna Beach. [Read more…]
Panama City Beach, Florida is the self-appointed home to the most “beautiful beaches in the world” – and they just may be right! Although the wonderful waters of the “Emerald Coast” can’t quite compete with the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, there is no place on Earth with more exquisite beaches. Located on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, travelers from around the globe come to this Florida panhandle city to enjoy the lovely weather and the sugary white beaches that you just can’t find anywhere but the northern Gulf Coast. And, typically, where there are tourists, there is great food. In a city filled with excellent restaurants, the best of the best is FireFly. [Read more…]
Heading down the little hill and curving road to Crocus Bay in Anguilla, you will see the Cebleu Villas and Beach Resort at the bottom of the hill. Before it, on the ocean side, there is a little gravel parking lot next to a blue building. Park your car there and step out, taking in the gorgeous view as you do. Next to the beach, there is a large tamarind tree, stretching out and shading two picnic tables. A collection of locals, mostly of the senior variety, will be chatting and relaxing in the sun. Stapled to the tree are two business permits. Just before the tree there is a building which features two outdoor showers.
One of the fellows sitting beneath the tree is named Calvin. If he’s not there, someone will tell you where he is. Calvin has a small metal boat, which he will use to shuttle you out and around the point, dropping you off in secluded Little Bay, with its crescent of sand, picturesque view and amazing snorkeling. On the way, Calvin might point out some sea turtles for you, turning the outboard motor off to try to keep them near for just a few seconds more. The trip, there and back, will run you $15 per person and takes all of ten minutes.
Of course, you can also rent kayaks and make your way over to Little Bay, though the rates can vary and tend to be rather pricey. Sailboats and diving boats stop further out, and private power boats can also come close to the Anguilla shore and anchor further out. There is also a rope to climb down into Little Bay, but it is quite a rock face, making it difficult to get down with anything more than a small backpack.
Take your snorkeling gear, lunch or snacks, plenty of sunscreen, plenty of water, drinks and an umbrella for shade, if you have one. Rash guards are also a very good idea, to help prevent sunburns. Make sure that you keep your food closed up in your bag, or the local lizards might try to join you for your picnic.
Looking out to the ocean, there is a cave on the right, toward the point, which you can climb in to, though be careful not to cut your feet in the process. Heading to the right, there is a large rock that some climb with a rope and jump off, at least twenty feet high, down into the water. At the point, there is a large rock in the water, and the whole rocky shoreline provides delightful snorkeling. Most of the rocks have worn away below the water level, so make sure you do not knock your head because what you are seeing is very different from what’s above your head! From Little Bay you can also snorkel your way along the left, finding oodles of colorful fish.
Little Bay offers a secluded, gorgeous beach full of amazing sand with stunning snorkeling. The water-only access means that you will only have to share the beach with a handful of other people. It is one of the slightly more hidden gems, but a brilliant gem indeed, in Anguilla.
This week, the Russian city of Sochi will open its doors to all of the world as the games of the 22nd Winter Olympiad begin. The Russian resort city is the first subtropical city to host the winter games, yet all the buzz has been about security concerns and stray dogs. Lost in all of the bad press lies a jewel of a city just waiting to be discovered. [Read more…]