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Aruba is an island of paradox. Despite the presence of numerous luxury resorts and gourmet restaurants, much of Aruba remains uninhabited. For the tourist, this simply means there is more to explore. For example, nearly 20% of the island is devoted to the sprawling Arikok National Park. Inside and outside the park, you will find gorgeous views, unique historical landmarks and ecological wonders. The roads winding through Arubas distinctive desert landscape offer visitors a c...

Jeep Rental Versus Taxi In Aruba

Jeep Rental Versus Taxi In ArubaAruba is an island of paradox. Despite the presence of numerous luxury resorts and gourmet restaurants, much of Aruba remains uninhabited. For the tourist, this simply means there is more to explore. For example, nearly 20% of the island is devoted to the sprawling Arikok National Park. Inside and outside the park, you will find gorgeous views, unique historical landmarks and ecological wonders. The roads winding through Arubas distinctive desert landscape offer visitors a chance to enjoy the hidden Caribbean without the crowds. Jeep rentals and taxi tours are the most popular ways to explore this islands outer reaches and each have their benefits. This article should help you decide which method of travel is right for you. Like anywhere else, you can certainly rent a car during your vacation in Aruba. Yet, an average car rental wont allow you to traverse many of Arubas most interesting and scenic paths. Throughout the interior of the island and along the northern coast, you will be able to navigate dirt roads providing excellent views and wonderful wildlife watching opportunities. Furthermore, you wont be bothered by many other travelers in these less-populated areas. Jeep rentals are typically affordable, too usually between $55 and $70 per day with discounts available for 3-day and 1-week rentals. If you intend to go it alone with a jeep rental, keep in mind that most roads will be dusty, unpaved and unmarked. However, this shouldnt discourage you. Start with a good map of the islands roads and enjoy your time away from the hustle and bustle. But if you do get lost, sometimes that can be almost as much fun.If you are concerned about driving around Aruba on your own, it is also possible to travel with a jeep safari where you will drive amongst several other vehicles and a guide. If you think you need help finding certain attractions or dont feel entirely confident with your off-road driving skills, this might be a good option. Yet, keep in mind that such jeep groups require you to move with a crowd, something that many visitors and jeep enthusiasts hope to avoid. If you decide to rent a jeep or travel with a jeep safari, consider making reservations beforehand to ensure you get your 4x4 of choice. As fun as a jeep rental might sound, taxis certainly have their benefits in Aruba. All taxi fares are flat rate in Aruba, so you will never have to worry about the meter or having to haggle with your driver. Most cab drivers are well versed in local history and certainly know their way around the island. In fact, all cab drivers have participated in the governments tourism awareness program. Drivers are always flexible and can offer you private tours of the island, based on your sightseeing suggestions. Such tours can last anywhere from a few hours to all day. Taxis also operate throughout the night in Aruba to get you home safely from any bar, casino or nightclub. Fares are between $10-20 between the airport and most resorts on the island, with set rates comparable to jeep rentals for driving tours. All drivers own their own taxis and you can find any size vehicle for your family, from luxury cars to large vans. If you plan on taking a taxi tour, prepare yourself for a strong dose of friendly Caribbean attitude and some fascinating stories. It has been claimed in numerous guide books that all of Aruba can be explored in half a day. For a true explorer, that certainly wont be the case. Try to spend some time at each site, enjoy the view and the privacy. Once you get outside Arubas Hotel Zone and the capital city, you will certainly realize there is plenty to see. If you have the time, experience the best of both worlds take a guided tour and then spend more time exploring sites of interest on your own. However you decide to explore Aruba, you wont be disappointed.

Air Travel Tips For Parents With Small Children

Air Travel Tips For Parents With Small Children

Airline travel today is a lot different than it used to be, with new rules and regulations, as well as security alerts and procedures. For parents who are traveling with small children, air travel can be a nightmare if you are not careful. Not too long ago, Delta asked a mother to leave the plane because she was a mother and she was breast feeding her infant child. That was the woman's only crime but she was forced off the plane by Delta authorities because another passenger thought that a natural beautiful bond between parent and child was obscene. Apparently Delta agreed with the passenger who complained, because the mother was not allowed to take the flight.In the current world today, parents can no longer depend on airline personnel to use common sense, because apparently some people just do not have any. If you are traveling with small children, there are some tips to follow to try and make your airline travel as hassle free as possible. There are rules and regulations concerning what is allowed in your carry on luggage, and the limit for liquids is two ounces. For formula and expressed breast milk, this limit does not apply and you can carry enough of these in your carry on bag to last for the duration of the flight. The breast milk or formula must be kept separate from the other carry on liquids, and you must declare to security personnel what the liquid is and why it is needed. The exception only applies to the maximum amount that could be needed for your travel, so you could not take four gallons of formula or expressed breast milk for a two hour flight.For parents who have small children who still use diapers, most airport bathrooms have changing stations, and you may bring diapers as well as wipes, small bottles of lotion and baby oil, and any other necessary supplies. Just make sure that the bottles are two ounces or less, not bigger bottles that are half empty. If your child is a toddler, it is also a good idea to bring books and toys to amuse them. Ever since 9/11, security checkpoints are slow, and passengers must be at the airport hours early, so make sure that you have something to keep your child amused and happy.

Saturnia And Terme Di Saturnia

Saturnia And Terme Di Saturnia

Forgotten for several centuries, Saturnia (http://www.tuttosaturnia.com)is today, home to some of the most beautiful thermal springs in the world. Located in southern Tuscany, Saturnia is part of the Maremma, a secluded natural paradise. Long neglected by vacationers for the grandeur of Florence and Siena, the Maremma (http://www.bellamaremma.com) is an untouched countryside of immaculate beauty, where the small towns are sparsely populated and filled with rich traditions and enthralling histories. Saturnia itself is a charming medieval village, surrounded by olive groves and thick Mediterranean vegetation. Rich in Estruscan remains; Saturnia is a place of great cultural and historical splendour and is also recognised for the high standard of its local cuisine.Established in the second half of the 19th century, the thermal springs of Saturnia are famed for both their beauty and healing properties. Each year thousands of people flock to enjoy the waters which maintain a constant luxurious temperature of 37C. Close to the town, the thermal waters are channeled into a series of natural pools carved out of rock and fed by a magnificent waterfall. This remarkable pool provides the perfect scenery for a relaxing bath, where guests can simply envelope themselves in the beauty of nature, enjoying the warm water surrounded by a rich green countryside and calmed by the sounds of the cascading waterfall.For visitors who want to treat themselves, the Health Spa in Saturnia is open all year round and provides an all over pampering experience. Here the thermal springs are transformed into well maintained pools, perfect for children and adults alike. Guests can also enjoy the circulation walks, saunas, tanning beds, facials, the gymnasium, massages and various kinds of therapy including physiotherapy and mud therapy.The presence of sulphur in the water means the thermal springs of Saturnia have numerous health benefits. Whilst providing a lovely hot bath, the springs can also cure various illnesses and ailments, and are extremely beneficial for the respiratory system and skin.In recent times people have come from all over the world to bath in the pure waters of the thermal springs of Terme di Saturnia(http://www.terme-di-saturnia.info). The splendour of the baths are complimented by the sheer beauty of the surrounding unspoiled countryside and together they create a truly unforgettable holiday experience.

Bahia Honda Florida State Park: One Of The Best Beaches In The World

Bahia Honda Florida State Park:  One Of The Best Beaches In The World

Did you know that Florida is home to over 150 state parks? One of the most uniquely beautiful is Bahia Honda, located in the Florida Keys. Home to one of the best beaches in the United States and the entire world, Bahia Honda welcomes thousands of visitors each year.As with a lot of the best places to visit in Florida, we once again must pause and thank Henry Flagler for putting this beautiful landmark on the destination list of many travelers to the Sunshine State. During the construction of the Florida East Coast Railroad, Flagler witnessed Bahia Honda Key transform from an uninhabited island, to a must see for all visitors that come to the Florida Keys. The FEC Railroad is still there and although no longer in use, remains available for photographs. Those who set foot onto Bahia Honda Key will quickly take note of its beautiful white sand, picnic areas, and places to snorkel and enjoy the Gulf of Mexico. In the evening, folks enjoy the picturesque sunsets, reflected off of the deep blue water of the Gulf.Whether its an active stay, such as those looking to swim or snorkel, or a relaxing stay on the beaches, Bahia Honda State Park offers lots of options to visitors. The nature center will help to identify the large amount of sea-faring birds and animals as well as introduce visitors to the vegetation and environmental elements of the Key.If youre on your way to Key West and have chosen to drive from Floridas mainland, then we would highly recommend you pack a lunch and stop at Bahia Honda and treat yourself to beachfront seating! Once finished, you will have about a 45-minute drive to Key West.As a Florida State Park, Bahia Honda is open from 8:00 am until dusk every day. There is a small fee for admission, depending on your mode of transportation as well as other fees for those wishing to rent equipment or in need of lodging.For those who are looking for a perfect spot to tie the knot, the sunset and Flaglers FEC Railroad bridge make for a good backdrop for all your matrimonial needs. Bahia Honda is one of Floridas best places to visit, for residents and tourists alike.

New Zealand: Unique Nature Thrills

Some of the most novel vacation experiences in the world may be found in New Zealand. All things are possible in this country so well-endowed by Nature. The only limitation may be your time. "New Zealand" can easily fill up vacations that last for several months and you will not even find yourself doing the same thing twice during that period. But for those on limited time, you will have to give serious thought in planning your holiday to get the most out of your trip.A vacation in New Zealand means traveling to the other end of the earth so you should make the most of it. New Zealand is everything you have heard about, and many things more besides. New Zealand means unspoiled nature from volcanoes to glaciers, stunning scenery, with just the right touch of interesting history.Special TreatsA unique New Zealand tourist treat is cave tubing in the dark Ruakuri Caves. It starts innocuously enough, with a rubber tires inflated inner tube to serve as your flotation device. Everything changes afterwards as you ride through roaring rapids, slip through tight crevices, and plummet down waterfalls while the limestone walls are bathed in the eerie light produced by innumerable glowworms. The thrilling ride is also known as black-water rafting and (so far) can be enjoyed only in New Zealand.For those who have secretly longed to be a race-car driver, here is a way to indulge that dream. You can join New Zealands Kiwi Car Rally, one of the most popular sports events. You will compete against professional drivers. Not immediately, though, because you undergo one weeks training guided by a coach. After training, you don safety gear, seated in a real race car, and assigned a team manager. Then, you start racing in a one- or two-day endurance even over flat and hilly roads covered with snow, mud and gravel.What else to doNew Zealand has two main islands, North Island and South Island. It is difficult to explore the best of both islands if you spend less than a month in the country. You would be better off focusing on one island (the South offers more variety) or a particular region, if you have limited time. The best regions to see are Rotorua, Taupo and Ruapehu in the North Island, and Otago, Fiordland and Nelson/Marlborough in the South Island.On the North Island, you can visit the Bay of Islands for dolphin-watching. Visit Rotorua for two days to take in volcanic scenery or varied marine life in the Bay of Plenty, then head on to Taupo, making sure to drop by the Wai-o-tapu Thermal Reserve along the road. You should not miss Huka Falls and a dip in the hot pool of the plentiful thermal resorts. You can take a cruise on Lake Taupo or go to the Waitomo Caves for dark-water rafting. There is also the Tongariro Crossing to negotiate, if you are fit enough for a full day walk. The major cities in the North Island are Wellington, and the capital, Auckland.On the South Island, take a trip out to the Marlborough Sounds for more dolphin-watching or kayaking. There are several vineyards you can visit. At Nelson, you can make your way to the Abel Tasman National Park or the Nelson Lakes National Park, near Franz Josef on the west coast. In Franz Josef, you can try the glacier walk or take a look at scenic Mount Cook. If you proceed to Wanaka, you can go exploring canyons or do some breath-taking skydiving. At Queenstown, you may consider the Shotover Jet or take a plunge on the bungee. You should spend a day in Christchurch, the biggest city on the South Island, before you head back to Auckland for your flight out.Best time to goThe warm months in Nature Thrills are between November and April, and this is the best time for outdoor trips. If you want to avoid crowds not only other tourists but also local folks try not to visit key sites from mid-December to early February. However, these months are also filled with wine festivals, concerts, and sports events, so you could miss out on some beautiful cultural sights.The slightly cooler transition months of October/November and April/May may be the best times to visit. Winter is June to August, so if you prefer winter activities, take these months for skiing.Planning your tripThree weeks is the usual quick trip people spend in "Nature Thrills" . The official websites of major towns and cities give you plenty of information to make good plans, but dont try to fit too many places and things into a short time. For clothes, you can pack as little as possible; in this country, anything casual is fine.Youll need some warm clothes if you go hiking, and be sure to have a waterproof jacket or raincoat as the weather can change very quickly. If you plan to spend some time camping, a three-season sleeping bag should do fine. Make sure your camping gear is clean when you arrive at Auckland international airport. There may be inspections and disinfections by the agriculture ministry on your gear the country is a big producer of cattle and sheep, and these need protection from pestilence.

Hello From Ottawa - Confederation Park Celebrates Winterlude

Confederation Park is one of the main centres of Ottawa's Winterlude Festival, and what was excellent for us was that we were staying right across the street at the Lord Elgin Hotel. So all we had to do was literally cross the street and we were right in the heart of the action.Winterlude is Ottawa's winter festival, organized by the National Capital Commission. It brings together exciting events and activities for the whole family and most of the activities are free of charge. Naturally, Winterlude is a big draw for tourists: last year the festival attractived approximately 650,000 visitors.You would think that Ottawa is a city of bureaucrats, who maintain a stiff upper lip at all times. Far from it, as we had already seen during our Friday night outing to Fat Tuesdays in the ByWard Market, Ottawans know how to party and Winterlude is a 2 week long excuse for everyone to get out and celebrate winter.Winterlude is hosted throughout the entire city, so here is a summary of some of the main Winterlude Locations:Confederation Park is hosting the Casino du Lac-Leamy Crystal Garden, an outdoor entertainment venue that includes the Crystal Lounge, a variety of food vendors and outdoor sculptures.When we headed out on Saturday morning, we walked right into the ice carving competition where 7 or 8 ice carvers were working on frozen blocks of ice, using a variety of electric and hand tools to give shape to the creatures of their imagination.Chain saws were being used, electrical grinding tools and hand chisels slowly but surely created recognizeable objects. Teddy bears, choo-choo trains and cartoon characters were coming to life right in front of our very eyes.Confederation Park also hosts the Fire and Ice Culinary Demonstrations, and renowned chefs and media personalities compete for the Winterlude Ice Chef titles.Another Winterlude location just minutes away is the American Express Snowbowl, a stage located right in front of the Government Conference Centre. This year's lineup includes Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, Mes Aeux, Jully Black, Doba Caracol, Daniel Lanois and many more.On our way back from Darcy McGee's on Saturday evening we walked down to Confederation Park and on to the American Express Snowbowl and caught a bit of a live concert. The stage was set against the National Conference Centre and was beautifully illuminated in orange, pink and purple shades and the crowd was enjoying the live music.The Rideau Canal Skateway is another official Winterlude location. This past weekend I had a chance to experience the Canal myself, and on a beautiful crisp winter day, it was an exhiliariting experience to glide almost weightlessly across the frozen expanse of the 7.8 km long "Rideau Canal" , indeed the world's largest natural ice skating surface, according to the Guiness Book of World Records.The Rideau Canal Skateway itself hosts a variety of activities: you can get a taste of Aboriginal culture, traditions and cuisine at the Pig Island Aboriginal Village. The Canadian Tire JumpStart Activity Centre at Fifth Avenue allows children to test their hockey skills and they can also try out the Jumpai trampoline system. Union Station at Rideau Street provides a 1920s ambience: the history of the railway yards on the banks of the Rideau River is recounted on displays and interpretive panels.This past Saturday, the 26th Annual Bed Race on Dow's Lake combined athleticism, ingenous engineering and fundraising for a great day of charity and hilarity.Another opportunity for fundraising is coming up on February 19, 2006, when Canadian Tire invities you to participate in the Great Skate from 11 am to 3 pm on the Rideau Canal Skateway on Fifth Avenue. Proceeds will go to Canadian Tire JumpStart, a charitable program created by the Canadian Tire Foundation for Families that helps kids in financial need participate in organized sports and recreation.On the other side of the Ottawa River in Hull, Quebec, is Jacques-Cartier Park, official location of Snowflake Kingdom and another official Winterlude site. It offers the Ice Hogs Winter Sports Adventure, individual slides of different slopes which will provide fun to the whole family.Northern Place is a snow shelter and presents the enchanting world of Aboriginal cultures with aboriginal shows and traditional demonstrations. The Ice Hog Amphitheatre is home to the Ice Hog's Walkabout, and in case you didn't know, the Ice Hogs are Winterlude's official mascots. Children can get a hug from one of their favourite mascots - Mama, Papa, Noumi and Nouma. The Snowflake Kingdom also presents "Exprience Maneige", an opportunity for 5 to 8 year old children to go downhill skiing.And a restaurant festival preceeds Winterlude. This year Taste of Winterlude was held from January 20 to February 2, 2006, where many popular restaurants in Ottawa-Gatineau served up their specialties in affordable prix-fix menu format. We missed the restaurant festival, but good food was not lacking during our past 2 days in Ottawa. Our enjoyable dinners at Fat Tuesdays and Darcy McGee's gave us a sample of some of the culinary treats on offer in Ottawa.Winterlude offers a wide variety of activities, and fortunately this past weekend we had a chance to participate in just a few. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope to come back to Ottawa for another festival, maybe even the famous Tulip Festival this coming May.......

Summary

Aruba is an island of paradox. Despite the presence of numerous luxury resorts and gourmet restaurants, much of Aruba remains uninhabited. For the tourist, this simply means there is more to explore. For example, nearly 20% of the island is devoted to the sprawling Arikok National Park. Inside and outside the park, you will find gorgeous views, unique historical landmarks and ecological wonders. The roads winding through Arubas distinctive desert landscape offer visitors a c...