19 dhj 2007

Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur and ecotourism

Ecotourism and Nicaragua

Nicaragua has 3 main region known for ecotoursm - the Pacific region, Central region and Atlantic region. Nicaragua has 78 protected areas representing 20 percent of it landmass, 7% of the world's biodiversity, home to Bosawas in Northern Nicaragua with the largest rainforest north of the Amazon, the largest lake in Central America, Lake Cocibolca with tourists flocking to Ometepe, a large volcanic island formed by two volcanoes in Lake Cocibolca, Charco Verde Nature Reserve which boasts of great diversity of flora and fauna, has some 700 species of birds, more species of trees, birds, and insects than all of Europe put together plus many areas with claims to unspoiled natural beauty.

In addition to these, Nicaragua has one of the lowest crime rate in Latin America and what may consider an additional attraction, still the least visited country in the Central America.

Popular cities in Nicaragua

While the colonial city of Granada was rated the most popular city for tourist by the Ministry of Tourism of Nicaragua, other popular cities include León, Masaya, Rivas and San Juan del Sur.

San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur sunset and fishing boats photo uploaded to Flickr by Bruce Thomson


San Juan del Sur, a fishing town, is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in south-west Nicaragua at a crescent-shaped bay. It is only 1 1/2 hours from the colonial city of Granada. San Juan del Sur popular with tourists as it has many beautiful beaches which are great for deep sea fishing, surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling. For those who do not like crowds, this is paradise.

If you prefer land based activities, you can go hiking to the volcanic hilltops which on a clear day, you can get spectacular views all the way to Costa Rica. Or just enjoy the San Juan del Sur’s carefree Pacific lifestyle, nap in a hammock, woof down sea food fresh from the fishing boats, watch sea turtles waddle lay eggs at nearby La Flor beach in late autumn.

Accommodation in Nicaragua, San Jan del Sur

Because of low tourist traffic, you can enjoy bargain vacation at San Juan del Sur. For accommodation, there are many comfortable Nicaragua Hotels and San Juan del Sur Hotel. For more information on its location, surf ove to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. May I wish you an enjoyable vacation at San Juan del Sur.

21 tet 2007

Ecotourism and Investment in New Zealand

New Zealand is really a unique place on earth. There is nothing similar to what you can find in New Zealand. Think kiwi (small flightless birds), kiwifruit (fruit of Actinidia deliciosa and hybrids. Actually, it is native to southern China but made popular and commercialised by New Zealanders), Maori and its culture (first thing that comes to my mind is a warlike warrior with tongue sticking out), all kinds of amazing birds and a unique flora. There are no wild animals and no snakes that attack people in New Zealand.

Admittedly, much of its bush cover, lowland forests and wetlands have been destroyed, but there are still have many unspoiled, unsettled, and even some unmapped areas of wild country ideal for ecotourism. For activities, you can go for whale watching in Kaikoura, go bush walking in the Waitakere ranges, try sea-kayaking at Abel Tasman National Park, visit the albatross colony and penguins at Taiaroa Head on Otago Peninsula, look at dolphins swimming playfully at Bay of Islands, walk on a deserted beach, visit the Waipoua Forest walk in Northland, go seal-watching at Kaikoura, go diving to see the Rainbow Warrior wreck in Matauri Bay, explore coastal wildlife and rain forest of the Catlins area, observe penguins at Nugget Point, visit the Fiordland National Park, see rare and endangered birds in Auckland and seals and dolphins in Westland. There is endless things you can do in New Zealand.

Tourism is a major foreign revenue earner for New Zealand. You may want to consider looking for property for sale in New Zealand to take advantage of this. A good alternative to consider is Birkenhead property, which is located located on the north shore of the Waitemata Harbour just four kilometres northwest of the Auckland city center.

Another promising area is property Nelson. Nelson is practically at the center of New Zealand at the southern shore of Tasman Bay and the northern tip of the South Island.

Many people want to holiday in New Zealand for extended periods or even migrate there permanently. My former colleague migrated there immediately after his retirement with his entire family. Why is New Zealand so popular? Well, it has a pleasant temperate climate, unspoilt diverse scenery, great surfing and skiing opportunities plus a relatively low cost of living.

Are you tempted? I am.

1 tet 2007

Ecotourism in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the largest country and has the largest rain forests in Central America. Located just 11 degrees north of the Equator, it has a tropical climate. Its series of volcanoes and mountain ranges form a divide between the wet Atlantic Ocean and the dry Pacific Ocean and Nicaragua is also wedged between Northern America and Southern America. Because of these factors, the habitats are diverse, ranging from savanna-like plains to dry tropical forest, sub-montane tropical forest to rain forest or cloud forest. In terms of aquatic habitats, there is also great variety on both Caribbean and Pacific Coasts, volcanic crater lakes, and the largest bodies of fresh water in Latin America. It is one of the most biologically diverse areas of the world and represent an ideal destination for nature lovers. New species being discovered almost everyday.

If you are not that adventurous as to track deep into the forest, there is always Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. It is located on the southern shores of Lake Managua (Lake Xolotlán). The topography is varied, it has naturally fertile soils with abundant rain and water sources supporting a great variety of flora, many species trees, some of which you cannot find in any other part of the world. Among them are royal palms, chilamates, ceibos, genizaros, pinuelas, pochotes, tiguilotes and Nicaragua's national tree, the madroño. There is also the Tiscapa Lagoon Natural Reserve.

Because of past instability, revolution, and civil wars, much of the natural forest remained untouched (barring logging), making it a heaven for ecotourism. The infrastructure for ecotourism, unfortunately, is also poorly developed. This may be a curse as well as a blessing, for you can invest in Nicaragua for a song. Nicaragua Real Estate described it well. They compare buying properties in Nicaragua to buying beach front properties with stunning ocean views in Malibu or San Diego 100 years ago at amazingly low prices. You may not get such opportunities in the future.

Buying properties is not like buying McDonald beefburgers. It is way more complicated, involving financing and legal issues. Nicaragua Property has devoted a whole page on that at Buying Nicaragua Properties: Legal Process.

If you are not into investing, but only going to Nicaragua for a vacation, Nicaragua vacation Rentals can help you find your dream holiday accommodation.

13 sht 2007

Enironmentally friendly accommodation

The majority of visitors to this site are from the United States of America, and for the sake of the environment, if you plan to vacation in another place, it would be preferable to chose a place near to your home so as to shorten the journey. It is a good thing that this worldwide online accommodation booking site list all the 51 states of America. Not only that, they have special categories of hotels such as eco green lodging which is most relevant to what this site is all about.

In addition to category of hotels that have adopted environmentally friendly practices, they also have other special categories such as spa resorts, yoga retreats and a few others, even a haunted hotels!!! category for the brave ones.

Unfortunately for our one and only Spaceship Earth which still have no lifeboat, either hotels in the United States have not taken to environmentally friendly practices on a wide scale, or for reasons of their own, are not listing their environmentally friendly hotels with this site because I checked quite a number of America's state, but all those I checked had no environmentally friendly hotel listed. I can't check all the 51 states, so if you happened to be staying in one of those states listed and you check your state, you may just find something. Further, things are not static, and I am sure operators of this site are hard at work, and hopefully before 31st December, 2008, you will find such American eco green lodgings listed in the site without any problem.

Why before 31st December, 2008, you may ask. Simple. With the Special Offer Code SPC7258603, you can get $10.00 off for reservations over $100. But this special offer is not forever. You have until 31st December, 2008 to make use of it.

10 sht 2007

Ecotourism in Sarasota County, Florida, United States of America

Sarasota County is in Florida, in the south eastern part of United States with its administration seat in Sarasota. It has 2 state parks and have very good beaches. It also has many barrier islands, one of which, Siesta Key
, have one of the best beaches in the United States. More about that later. This a haven for diverse wildlife including ducks, warblers, hawks, ospreys, meadowlarks, herons, ibis, wading birds, waterfowl, migrating birds, wild turkeys, snow geese, bald eagles, hummingbirds, falcons, etc. Dolphins and manatees are aplenty in Sarasota. There used to be plenty of turtles laying eggs on its beaches, but unfortunately the are now few and far in between. But there are conservation efforts going on.

It has Florida's biggest and oldest state parks - the Myakka River State Park. It has excellent hiking trails. The Myakka River, fondly called "Florida Wild and Scenic Myakka River", flows through its woodlands, wetlands and prairies. It is good for wildlife observation and you can go hiking and fishing, among other eco friendly activities. There are canopy walkway for you to take to the treetops and view foliage, twigs, birds, caterpillars, and insects at the tree tops, plus get spectacular views of the entire park.

The other state park is the Oscar Scherer State Park. Its habitats include pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods and the hardwood hammock plus varieties of other plants like wild grape, blueberry, cabbage palm, persimmon, prickly pear cactuses, coontie, wax myrtle, mangrove trees and giant leather ferns. You can see rabbits, river otters, bobcats, foxes, indigo snakes, alligators, gopher tortoises and gopher frogs in the state park.

A walk on its beaches can be considered an ecotour for you are likely to find prehistoric sharks' teeth and marine fossils washed up to its beaches from the sparkling ocean water.

If you are a bird watcher, the place to go is the Celery Fields, a low, marshy area drained to grow celery. Its deep lakes attracts many bird species. It is also a site of archaeological findings.

If fine beaches is what you are looking for, head for Siesta Key, a 8 mile long barrier island off Sarasota on Florida’s West Gulf Coast, famous for its white 99% quartz sand beaches. The white sand is very reflective and deflects off the heat from the sunlight so that the beach feels cool and comfortable. The most famous and popular is Siesta Key Beach where the sand is finest. It is one of the best beaches in the United States and have plenty of awards to prove it. However, if privacy and being away from the crowd is what you value, there is Crescent Beach and Turtle beach.

Siesta Key also has lush foliage, mature trees and tropical flowering shrubs, wild sea oats. Its mangroves is a habitat for diverse native birds. In its sparkling green ocean water are dolphins, manatees and other aquatic wildlife.

If you plan to go to Siesta Key, you can do it on line at accommodations, where you can find a variety of choices, including hotels, motels, apartments, condominiums, beach resorts and houses, cottages and suites.

6 sht 2007

Siesta Key, Florida, United States of America

Siesta Key has the word "Key" in it, but don't get confused and think that it is located in Florida Keys. Siesta Key is actually a barrier island off of the central western coast of Florida situated between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, just below Tampa. A portion of it lies within the city boundary of Sarasota. It is famous for its beaches, especially Siesta Beach, a long stretch of 99% pure white quartz sand with a texture like refined sugar, and which never feels hot. The beach has won for itself numerous awards including being named the “Best Overall” in the "1987 International Sand Contest", the “Best Sand Beach in America 2004” by the Travel Channel, rated one of the best for walking by National Geographic Traveler, ranked third in the Top 10 US beaches in a poll by USA Today.com reader poll ranked and voted Number 3 in its list of Top 10 U.S. beaches Best Beach 2000 by Florida Living Magazine.

There are other beaches like Crescent Beach and Turtle beach, but are not as popular as Siesta Beach. There are lifeguards on Siesta Beach all year round, but Turtle Beach has no lifeguard. However, you can be sure of getting a parking space on Turtle Beach. They all can be referred to as a crystal beaches because the beaches consists of quartz crystals. There are people who believe that quartz crystals have physical, mental or emotional healing properties, but these are not backed by any scientific studies.

Siesta Key is covered by lush tropical foliage and inhabited by wild rabbits, herons, wild parrots and other native birds, gulls, terns, plovers, pelicans, egrets, herons, ibis, spoonbills, storks, cranes, manatees, dolphins and an estimated 1000 species of fish in the Gulf, bays, lakes, rivers and streams.

If you plan to visit Siesta Key, various kinds of accommodations are available, including hotels, motels, apartments, condominiums, beach resorts and houses, cottages and suites.

31 gsh 2007

Fort Myers Beach, Kissimmee and Panama City Beach for ecotourism

Florida is a lush region with undiscovered areas that will attract environmentally responsible travelers who may come here for activities related to nature like fishing, hiking, biking, hunting, bird watching, photography, boating, canoeing, kayaking and swimming. There may be some particular regions that may interest them:

Kissimmee, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida, has lots of wetlands which is very important for the environment, regulating the river flow, filtering pollutants, is a spawning zones for many species of fish and provide a habitat for a great diversity of life forms. It has also been credited to help prevent floods, absorbing a great volume of flood water. However, the local people took up airboating and retired folk from colder climates came with motorboats, upsetting the balance of nature in the Kissimmee watershed. In 1981, the Resources Rivers Act directed the district and others to provide recreation in "an environmentally acceptable manner" and later a project to restore the Kissimmee River and the associated wetlands was initiated.

Pay a visit to Kissimee to see how they restored the Kissimmee River and the wetlands associated with it. There is also a nearby Lake Kissimmee State Park for nature lovers. Kissimmee is also near to many famous themed park, especially the Walt Disney world Resort which is withih a short drive.These themed parks are enjoyed both by children as well as adult. This means you can kill more than 2 birds with one stone.

For your accommodation needs, visit Kissimmee vacation rentals.

Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach surrounded by a lush region known with well known great biodiversity one of the six most important places for diverse and rare species in the US. Panama City Beach, located in the Panhandle has an assemblage of plants and animals that occurs nowhere else on earth. There are a number of places which will be of interest to nature lovers:

St. Andrews State Recreation Area

This park has rolling, white sand dunes separated by either pinewoods or marshes. There are many dunes covered with sea oats while dunes farther inland are populated with sand pines, scrub oaks, rosemary and other hardy plants that help prevent soil erosion. There are freshwater and saltwater marshes teeming with wildlife and birds. The Button Bush Marsh is frequented by a variety of birds including herons and ibis.

There are many trails for hikers. A popular trial for hikers is the Blue Heron Trail take will take you through various plant communities. There is also the Gator Lake Trail good for spotting alligators and a variety of waterfowl, wading birds and other small animals.

Shell Island

Shell Island is a 700 acre pristine and undeveloped barrier island providing a great spot for sun bathing and for collecting shells. There is an interesting Water Planet's "Swim with the dolphins" program on Shell Island. Swimming is therapeutic and it is said to be able to cure mild to moderate depression. You can snorkel on the shoals where the grass beds are. The seagrass beds are where many marine life starts.

You can find all kinds of lifeforms there including the horseshoe crab (which is actually not a crab but an Arthropod) and is one of the oldest animals on earth. Others include the Blue Crab which is the most common edible crab in Florida, the Stone Crab which is reddish brown and the largest of the mud crabs (harvesting of this crab is regulated), the Ghost Crab (so called because it is difficult to see due to its sandy color and also because it is active at night), the Horse Conk, the largest conch in the world, the Sand Dollar (Phylum Echinodermata) which consist of mainly a hard shell and very little live tissue, The Starfish (Asteroidea) with 5 points and neither head nor tail, right nor left and can move in any direction without turning, the Sea Hare(Aplysia brasiliana) which looks like the garden slugs. the jellyfish and the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) one of the larges birds whose span of the wings can reach 2 1/2 m with a dark brown body, a massive nozzle and a throat in the shape of pocket and the Armadillo.

Like to visit Panama City Beach? Get your accommodation from Panama City beach vacation homes

Fort Myers Beach

Sea turtles come to Fort Myers beach to nest from May 1 to October 31 which have been officially declared as the Sea Turtle Nesting Season. And for this season, these are the conditions set via public notice regarding beach furniture. Summary: "All beach furniture and equipment must be removed by 9pm every evening to behind the permanent dune line or 200 feet from the mean high tide line whichever applicable. shall not be set out in the morning before 8:00 AM or before completion of daily monitoring for turtle nesting activity by Turtle Time, a non-profit organization authorized by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to conduct daily sea turtle nesting monitoring." So Fort Myers Beach is one area you can observe turtle laying eggs, something that is getting rare.

There is the Lovers Key State Park is especially known for its gulf and estuary bird life.

There is also the 12 mile long Sanibel island, known for ecotourism, whose 6,000 residents fiercely protect its natural beauty. You can find bike paths but no chain restaurants or structures taller than the tallest palm tree. There is the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, with more than 5,200 acres of mangrove ecology ands home to manatees, alligators, otters and other creatures.

North Captiva Island is known for its known for its dazzling white sand beaches, lush tropical vegetation and shelling with thousands of perfectly shaped shells along the shoreline. There are no cars on North Captiva Island. Other activities available on North Captiva include boating, fishing, nature walks, birdwatching, biking and diving. Note that nude bathing is popular on one side of the island and you may want to avoid that part if you have children with you.

The seven-mile-long Estero Island is a protected island with abundant population of dolphin, manatees, and other marine life. Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area is a popular sandbar for birds making rest stops from a major flyway. For a boardwalk trail into mangrove and gumbo limbo forest, go to Matanzas Pass Preserve. At the northern tip of Estero Island is Bowditch Point Regional Preserve whose beach is a shelter for gulls, terns, sandpipers, and many number of other shorebirds.

For a diversion from nature, you may want to pay a visit to the well preserved winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford in Fort Myers itself along along the Caloosahatchee River. Edison had a love exotic plants. The prolific inventor had a huge botanical garden, and brought in plants from all over the world. There is now a 400-foot wide Banyan tree from Calcutta, India. in his garden.

Book your accommodation online from Fort Myers Beach vacation rentals.

16 kor 2007

Ecotourism and Eco tourism, which one is better.

Tried to find some article which discuss which is better (more widely used term) but couldn't find any. So did the next best thing, googled "ecotourism", "eco tourism" and "eco-tourism". Result of the "test":

Results 1 - 10 of about 5,310,000 for ecotourism
Results 1 - 10 of about 2,360,000 for eco tourism
Results 1 - 10 of about 5,290,000

The blog title stay as "Enviroment and Ecotourism".

10 kor 2007

Sydney and ecotourism

What can one write about ecotourism in Sydney? For one, there is the Sydney Wildlife World right in the heart of Darling Harbour. It houses a large variety of native Australian plants and animals, nine different habitats, exhibits replicating some Austrialian ecosystem and you can see Australian animals in their natural environment. You may even get the unique experience of holding a cockroach as big as your hand if that is your idea of fun. Get to see the Cassowary, a flightless bird that had been observed to attack humans and listed in the Guinness World Records as the world's most dangerous bird. Get to see the Rock Wallabies and the Koala, Australia’s cute national icon. Observe Australian birds such as the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Galah and Red Tail Black Cockatoo.

If you are prepared to travel approximately 100 kilometres, you can visit the Blue Mountains which is located west of Sydney. It got its name from the blueish tinge when viewed at a distance. This is caused by the release of volatile oils from eucalyptus forests. Blue Mountains has been included on the World Heritage list by UNESCO. You can go for day walks, overnight hikes and wilderness treks.

If you want to visit the Sydney Wildlife World which is in the heart of Darling Harbour, you may want to stay in Darling Harbour Hotels. If you do so, you can also enjoy other attractions of Darling Harbour like the Chinese Garden of Friendship which was a gift to Sydney from its Chinese sister city of Guangdong and was designed in China to celebrate the Australian Bicentenary. The Garden embody principles dating back to the 5th century. You can also visit the Sydney Aquarium which is one of the largest aquariums in the world. It display more than 5000 different Australian fish in their natural habitats. Experience "walking on the ocean floor" by going through 145m of acrylic underwater tunnels. Get to see Water Screen displays during the evening, hear music and see laser images projected onto water fountains.

If you want to stay nearer to Sydney City Center, try Central Sydney Hotels. You can also look for hotels in other part of Sydney from Sydney Accomodation.

7 kor 2007

Johannesburg and ecotourism

Johannesburg has been called the Cradle of Humankind, but it can also be a destination for ecotourism. The Kruger National Park extending over 18,989 square km. is one of the greatest natural sanctuaries in the world to Africa’s wildlife including elephants, buffaloes, lions, antelopes, zebras, black rhinoceros, cheetahs, giraffes, hippopotamus, impalas, leopards, reedbucks, nyalas, spotted hyenas, tsessebes, warthogs, waterbucks, etc. There are also 1,982 species of plants and 517 species of birds.

The Kruger National Park is a 5 hours drive from Johannesburg. If this long, daunting drive is too much for you, you can opt to fly. There are daily flights from Johannesburg International Airport to Eastgate (Hoedspruit) Airport by SA Express (Hoedspruit) or SA Airlink (Phalaborwa). You can also charter flights. Eastgate Airport (Hoedspruit) is 74 km from Phalaborwa Gate, 68 km from Orpen Gate, 93 km from Hazyview and 147 km from Nelspruit.

There are also much things to see, African cultures to savour in Johannesburg itself. If you plan a trip to Johannesburg, you will obviously need accommodation, which would be wise to book ahead of your arrival. Hotels in Johannesburg is a site you can chose and book accommodation online, especially if you are on a budget. If you plan to fly to the Kruger National Park, you may want to look for Hotels near Johannesburg Airport. This site have a Lowest Rate Guarantee. According to what is stated in the guarantee, if you find a rate lower than the best available from Cheaperthanhotels.com Internet rate on another web site for the same hotel/accommodation, on the same dates and advise us within 24 hours of booking your room(s) with them, they will honour that rate for the night(s) for which the lower rate was found and refund you the difference.

19 qer 2007

Hawaii and ecotourism

Hawaii pali or cliffsHawaii promote itself as a destination for ecotourism. In Hawaii, you have many opportunities to encounter with nature and the unique and interesting Hawaiian culture. Enjoy the natural wonders, living culture of Hawaii and experience the raw beauty of a Pacific Island. You can go hiking, boating, snorkeling, whale watching, swim with the dolphins, observe the incredible flora and fauna of Hawaii.

An interesting Hawaiian tradition you can enjoy is the luau, a feast to celebrate accomplishments, honor important people and commemorate important events. The central feature of the luau is the imu, an underground oven fabricated by making a shallow pit lined with stones. A whole pig (puaa) wrapped in banana leaves is placed in the center of the pit. This plus the laulau (bundles of side dishes) are covered with more layers of banana leaves, ginger leaves and a coating of earth. The oven is fired up and after 4 hours, the coverings are removed and the luau begins. It is traditional for a luau to be accompanied by poi, the local starch.

Another well known part of the Hawaiian culture are the hula and the lei. The hula is a Hawaiian dance where every movement has a specific meaning, for example, a movement may imitate a shark, the true hula dancer believes he or she becomes the shark. The costumes of the hula dancers consists of leis for the head and shoulders, pau or skirt (made out of tapa), and kupea or anklets fashioned out of dog-teeth or whale bone.

Hawaii consists of 6 (some says 8) main island and one of the interesting one is Kauai. If you stay in one of the Kauai Condos, you will be just steps away from the majestic Na Pali coast, a natural wonder and a State Park. Pali are cliffs with rugged, deep and narrow valleys ending abruptly at the sea. Waterfalls and swift flowing streams continuously cut into these narrow valleys while the sea carves cliffs at their mouths. There are many interesting trails and beaches such as the the Kalalau Trail, the Ke'e beach to Hanakapi'ai trail, the Hanakapi'ai to Hanakoa trail and the Hanakoa to Kalalau beach trail.

Hawaiian Beach Rentals, a convenient site to chose and book accommodation online don't just offer condominiums. If condominiums are not in your menu, you can also chose a villa, cottage, etc. from Kauai Vacation Rentals or a hotel from Kauai Hotels.

17 qer 2007

How environmentally-friendly is ecotourism?

The web definition of ecotourism is "travel undertaken to witness sites or regions of unique natural or ecologic quality, or the provision of services to facilitate such travel". It is also known by many other names - nature tourism, low impact tourism, green tourism, bio-tourism, and ecologically responsible tourism. What I see missing is the burning of depleting fossil fuel and the CO2 emission caused by the often long journey to participate is the so called ecotourism. For example, a journey of 10,000 kilometers uses about 700 liters of fuel per person and an estimated of about 2 tons of carbon dioxide. However, such travel also involve emission of water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, soot particles, sulphate aerosols and nitrogen oxides.

Water vapor also act as a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide by forming clouds that insulate the earth and contributing to global warming, leave condensation trails behind which can persist as cirrus clouds.

There are however hundreds of websites that helps travellers offset carbon emissions from their travel. Just try typing "carbon emission calculator" or "carbon offset" into the search box above. These sites help find projects involving renewable energy, energy efficiency, methane capture or forestry to ‘offset’ the emissions.

Hotels in ecotourism sites can adopt green practices such as:

* rerouting waste water to irrigate their golf courses and salvaging the sludge to use as fertilizer
* reducing laundry water temperatures from 90 °C to 60 °C
* replacing incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lamps
* installing low-flow shower heads and low-flow toilets
* offering a sheet and towel reuse program whereby guests have their linens exchanged every two to three days instead of daily
* installing solar panels to heat water
* implementing a hotel-wide recycling program
* and replacing individual soaps and lotions with wall dispensers.

These practices not only contribute to the preservation of the environment, but the hotels can get considerable savings that can range from several thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

However, ecotourism have other detrimental effects on the environment. Ecotourism activities may disturb fauna and flora. Even "environmentally-friendly" activities like a nature hike can be ecologically destructive. Wildlife viewing may scare away animals and disrupt their feeding and nesting sites, or get them used to the presence of people. Motor vehicles criss-cross the park as tour drivers search for rare species. Roads disrupt the grass cover with serious consequences on plant and animal species.These vehicles frequently drive off-track and harass the wildlife.

To be viable, ecotourism sites need to have a high volumn of tourists which translate to higher pressure on the environment. Affluent ecotourists results in the development of destructive markets in wildlife souvenirs, such as the sale of coral trinkets and animal products.

Help the world with eco tourism

Help the world with eco tourism
By: Evan Moss

Most people these days try to take action towards saving the environment. Whether it be recycling your bottles and cans, using a compost bin, or offsetting their compost balance, and some even refusing to fly.

But don't just limit your good work to while you're at home, make sure that you follow through while on holiday too.

Here are just a few suggestions from us to get you started:

• Research and book your holiday online: travel brochures are produced by the many travel companies in the millions each year for us to look through. Rather than taking a pile of these from your travel agent, do your browsing online and only print out the pages you need
• Offset your carbon footprint when flying: we're not saying don't travel but we are saying that you do it responsibly and this includes paying to offset the amount of carbon produced when you fly. Go to climatecare.org or carbonneutral.com for details
• Prepare your house: Before you go away, make sure to turn off all your appliances. Don't leave them on standby. Also remember to cancel your delivered newspapers to ensure your home is left empty and efficient.
• Packing: the heavier the plane the more fuel it will use so take care when packing – do you really need to take an iron or a hairdryer if they are able to be borrowed locally?
• Babies and toddlers: leave the buggy at home and save the hassle and extra weight of transporting it by using a sling or backpack-style child carrier. Also take your own disposable nappies as it can be difficult to find environmentally-friendly ones overseas
• In your accommodation: just as you would at home make sure that lights, tvs, airconditioning etc are turned off when not needed. And forego freshly laundered towels every day
• Sun care: Use natural products or locally produced ones, natural and organic options are kinder to your skin and the environment
• Leisure time: Where it is possible, try hiring a bicycle, or use public transport rather than hiring a car. If you must hire a car, join one of the carbon neutral schemes such as Avis and Alamo. Digital cameras are more eco-friendly than film-based ones and if you go diving remember it's a case of look but don't touch where the coral is concerned
• Recycle, reuse, reduce: Litter on beaches is one of the tourism industry's biggest issues so make sure that you take all rubbish away with you and recycle it where possible
• Do as the locals do: Enrich your travel experience by supporting the local economy. Drink regional wine, beer and liquors and avoid imported international brands and their associated air miles.

Article Source: Article Bazaar

Get holiday insurance from the AA. Different types of travel insurance included are annual cover single trip cover, winter sports cover, golf holiday insurance

16 qer 2007

The Alaska Adventure

The Alaska Adventure
by: Jonathon Hardcastle

Six months ago, one of my best friends called me to announce that she was going to visit Alaska and participate in a hiking group adventure! I admired her enthusiasm and her ability to overcome with ease any usual reservations one would experience when thinking of exploring an unknown land surrounded by strangers. Although my schedule did not allow me to accept her invitation and join this one-in-a-lifetime excursion, I decided to research on the opportunities Alaska gives to interested individuals and why would it pay off for someone to spend his or her summer vacations on a snow land.

Located on the northwest tier of North America and being the largest U.S. state in area, although the least populated one, Alaska is one of the greatest places one could visit to get a sense of nature's wilderness. Apart from seafood exports, Alaska's economy depends on industries such as natural resource, extraction, shipping and transportation. Recently, Alaska has been enjoying a great increase in its tourism sector. Visitors from around the globe have been allured by Alaska's beauty and decided to discover this land's amazing scenery of calm lakes and snowy mountain tops. Since Alaska is arguably the least-connected U.S. state in terms of road transportation, it offers a great opportunity, for those willing to explore the unknown, to visit its immense landscape by using one of the "alternative" ways of traveling. Backpacking, hiking and climbing, kayaking, rafting, cruising, dogsled riding, and camping or RV touring, can offer to visitors the chance to perform a number of outdoor activities, like bear watching, birding, fishing, flight seeing, glacier viewing, hunting and wildlife viewing. Alaska constitutes one of the most adventurous places one could visit and people that have explored this icy place on earth stated that its ecotourism is beyond compare.

"North to the Future" is the official state motto of Alaska, portraying this land as one of promise. If you hope that one of these days you will be given a chance to expose your eyes to Alaska's beauty, stop wishing and act. The Internet offers some amazing deals for you and your friends to enjoy again nature in its fullest and special packages can accommodate your needs and fulfill your wishes. You should always consider visiting a new place during your vacations. Why not exploring one of the purest places on this planet? Alaska is not just another place for you to engage in any outdoor activities. Some believe that it is THE place!

About The Author
Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles for Outdoor Talk - In addition, Jonathon also writes articles for Recreation Source and Totally Travelling

15 qer 2007

Samoa, Heart of Polynesia

Samoa, Heart of Polynesia
by: David Stanley

The islands of Samoa are emerging as an exciting new South Pacific travel destination between Hawaii and New Zealand. This "Heart of Polynesia" is politically split into two distinct entities 80 miles apart. The country Samoa is a former German colony, captured by New Zealand in 1914 and granted independence in 1962. In 1997 the name was changed from Western Samoa to Samoa.

American Samoa is the only U.S. territory south of the equator. Annexed by the United States for use as a naval base in 1900, the territory no longer has any military significance. Instead, Pago Pago currently hosts the StarKist and "Chicken of the Sea" tuna canneries, making it the most important commercial fishing port under the American flag.

The Samoan environment is tropically lush, with green volcanic peaks plunging to brilliant coral reefs, an ecotourism paradise still unspoiled by mass tourism. Visitors often stay in open Samoan beach houses called fale (pronounced FAH-lay) and adopt the laidback local lifestyle. Swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, deep sea fishing, and hiking opportunities are all close at hand.

Samoan culture is alive and strong, and local traditions can add another fascinating layer to your travel experience. Most Samoans are subsistence farmers who reside in small villages governed by chiefs (matai). The egalitarian ideals of this communal society place loyalty to family and religion above all. Visitors can sample this culture at the weekly "fiafia" island night dance shows staged at most of the larger hotels and beach resorts. Buffets of authentic Samoan dishes are an essential part of these events.

Samoa's climate is sultry, alternately sunny and rainy, but always hot and humid. Cooling sea breezes make the shoreline the best place to be yearround. The nicest months weatherwise are May to September, "winter" south of the equator. The rainy season runs from November to April, with increasingly intense hurricanes sweeping in due to global warming. Yet you can get long spells of bright sunny weather even during the "rainy" season, and Samoa's excellent Vailima beer (created by German brewmasters) tastes best at this time of year.

Most visitors spend their time in independent Samoa, which is considerably bigger and less expensive than American Samoa. However the rugged scenic beauty of Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa, should not be missed. In recent years some of the most strikingly beautiful parts of the territory have been incorporated into American Samoa National Park. There's great hiking on Tutuila and wonderful snorkeling on Ofu in the seldom visited Manua Group.

Traditional Samoan culture is largely based on oratory, and it's no accident that several literary legends originated here. Robert Louis Stevenson spent the last five years of his life in Samoa and is buried on a hilltop above Apia, the capital. His mansion is now a museum dedicated to the author. Somerset Maugham's short story "Rain" about Sadie Thompson and the repressed missionary thrown together in a guesthouse at Pago Pago, American Samoa, has been adapted by Hollywood several times. The original guesthouse still exists, now an upscale restaurant and inn. In "Tales of the South Pacific," James A. Michener based the prototype of his character Bloody Mary on an Apia hotelkeeper named Aggie Grey, whose family still operates Samoa's largest resorts. Michener's book was later made into the musical "South Pacific."

Getting to Samoa is easy with direct flights from Hawaii and Los Angeles on Hawaiian Airlines, Polynesian Airlines, and Air New Zealand. Local ferries and small commuter planes ply frequently between the islands, and getting around by public bus or rental car is no challenge. Visas are not required by most visitors for entry to either Samoa, although a passport and onward plane ticket are mandatory.

About The Author

David Stanley is the author of Moon Handbooks South Pacific South Pacific which has a chapter on Samoa. His online guide to Samoa may be perused at Online guide to Samoa.

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, so long as the byline and resource box are included. Please do not use this article without the byline and resource box. Many thanks!

14 qer 2007

Buying Property in Trinidad and Tobago

Buying Property in Trinidad and Tobago by Nicholas Marr

Overseas buyers searching for luxury property in the Caribbean should take a good look at Tobago. This small island has so many benefits that overseas investors have been buying land in Tobago at an alarming rate. The Trinidad and Tobago Government have now started a licensing system to monitor international buyers so that the small island does not become so expensive that local people could not buy property on their island. So why is Tobago so popular?



Tobago is still an unspoilt place of natural beauty eco tourism alongside beach holiday is part of its attraction. Real estate in Tobago is still relatively inexpensive compared to islands such as Barbados for example. The tropical climate, easy access and strong, well-rounded economy combine to make it one of the best investments in the Caribbean.



The process of buying land and property in Trinidad and Tobago is straightforward and similar to many other Caribbean nations. Foreigners and foreign companies may purchase up to one acre of residential land and/or up to five acres of commercial land without applying for a license. Any purchases over these amounts and you must apply for an Alien Landholder License through the government.



When you find your desired property and agree on terms with the seller, you both sign a Sales Agreement. The buyer pays a 10% deposit to be held in escrow and the contract is binding on both parties. Traditionally the final payment is paid on closing 90 days from the signing of the Sales Agreement to allow time for all the necessary searches and records work.



After signing the Sales Agreement, the buyer instructs a local lawyer to perform a title search. At the same time, your lawyer should conduct a record search from the utilities and Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) and make sure all taxes are paid. Getting clearance from WASA is probably the longest part of this process, and can take as long as six weeks. It will also cost TT$ 575 for the certificate. Once the title of the property is verified and all records checked, you may proceed to closing.



Closing Fees include a Stamp Duty, any legal fees, typically 1-2%, and insurance costs for the dwelling. A Memorandum of Stamp Duty should go to the Board of Inland Revenue for assessment of Stamp Duty prior to closing so you will know how much to pay. After closing you take the memorandum to the Board of Inland Revenue and pay the duty. Upon payment, the Memorandum of Transfer is stamped and you can now present this for registration with the Land Registry.



The Land Registry prepares a Return of Ownership form, showing change in ownership for paying property taxes. This document is filed with the District Revenue Office and you are done



Nicholas Marr is a lifetime property investor and CEO of Marr International Ltd a UK based property marketing company that is responsible for the international real estate web site at http://www.homesgofast.com




Article Source: ArticleBazaar.net

8 qer 2007

Bahamas Paradise

Bahamas Paradise
By: cretu remus

The Bahamas is an archipelago of some 700 islands and cays in the Atlantic Ocean between Florida and Hispaniola. Sun, sand, and sea are merely perimeters of the Islands of the Bahamas. Christopher Columbus's first landfall in the New World in 1492 is believed to have been on the island of San Salvador (also called Watling's Island), in the southeastern Bahamas. The climate is tropical marine moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream and it’s perfect for sun vacation all year long. The islands are less than 10 miles from the south Florida coast, closer than other Caribbean destinations, and can be reached quickly and easily either by air or by sea. Lots of large airlines have flights to Bahamas, and also several charter airlines can drop you there. Frequent flights are available to Nassau, Freeport, and the Out Islands.

There are a lot of things to do in this tropical paradise. Anyone in search of the perfect beach should start here. The relatively small islands offers amazing beaches like Treasure Cay Beach considered by National Geographic one of the best in the world or like Pink Sands Beach rated as one of the Caribbean's best beaches by Caribbean Travel and Life magazine. If you get bored you can explore the amazing reefs, wrecks, and coral walls of Atlantic. There are numerous companies the offers dive and snorkel trips. Also let's not forget about dolphin encounters adventures. For fishermen the Bahamas islands are a true paradise. The Bahamas islands are among the premier destinations in the world for sport fishing including bone fishing and fly fishing. The Andros Island is also called The Bahamas Bone Fishing Capital and there are numerous guides and fishing lounges in the area. The islands are surrounded by hundreds of miles of soft and hard bottom flats, creek channels and ocean drop off. You can catch jacks, barracudas and many more species.

Sailing finds an ideal location in The Bahamas. Each major island hosts its own regatta. The contests are taking place in late summer; the best are to be found on Exuma, Long Island, Nassau/Paradise Island or Freeport/Lucaya.

Also the islands are a great place for birding. One of the top destinations for ecotourism is Abaco National Park. The park is located in the southern part of Great Abaco Island in Bahamas between Hole in the Wall and Crossing Rocks. You can expect to see warblers, yellowthroats, West Indian woodpeckers, swallows and Cuban Emeralds and also hardwood forests, nature trails and wild Atlantic coast scenery, and fauna include butterflies, egrets, herons, spoonbills and rare hummingbirds. You can explore the natural beauty of these islands by plane or by bicycle. Or you can chose a round of golf, a set of tennis, or a visit to any of the island's shopping arcades or casinos.

Many people get married in this tropical paradise. Just image you and your life partner on a pristine beach. Many hotels offer event spaces and they will also help you with your paper works and weeding planning. Bahamian culture is a mixture of African, European and indigenous forms. The most famous export is a rhythmic form of music called junknaoo. The diverse cultural history of The Bahamas nurtures an equally diverse calendar of festivals. The Junkanoo Summer Festival will show you a part of the Bahamian culture and at that time you can party Bahamian style with the locals dancing in the streets. An unforgettable way to experience Bahamian culture is through cuisine. Seafood is the staple of the Bahamian diet and no matter where you are you will find plenty of restaurants serving Bahamian cuisine and fresh local seafood.

Bahamas attractions include various historical places. Fort Charlotte, Fort Fincastle and Fort Montage from New Providence are one of the main historical attractions and will show you how life was 300 yeas ago. For golf lovers Bahamas offers various courses designed by some of the best in the business. Many of these golf courses offers full satisfaction and amazing ocean views .If you like party until late you have plenty of nightclubs at your disposal. You can enjoy a variety of sports from tennis to cricket. Cricket is the national sports and s season runs March through November and you can watch the games every Saturday and Sunday at Haynes Oval on West Bay Street, on Nassau/Nassau/Paradise Island.

This was just a very short description of Bahamas. The sun, the ocean and the beaches make the islands a perfect destination for your vacations. You can find many information over the internet and see just a small part of the islands beauty. For the real thing go visit Bahamas.

Article Source: Article Bazaar

Cretu Remus is passionate of traveling who fail in love with Bahamas.Find out more about Bahamas by visiting the bahamas vacation directory which is at Directory Bahamas Onweb

7 qer 2007

Costa Rica: Land of Natural Wonders

Costa Rica: Land of Natural Wonders
by: Andy Bezara

Costa Rica is a small country - just 75 mi/120 km separates the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean Sea at the narrowest spot - Costa Rica still has some of the most diverse scenery in the world. Its coasts have both sandy beaches and marshy swamps, while its interior is dotted with volcanoes, dense with rain forests and abundant with unusual flora.

When you are planning your Costa Rica vacation, make sure to visit destinations like Monteverde Cloud Forest, Corcovado National Park, Tortuguero National Park or Manuel Antonio National Park. In addition, you will enjoy in your Costa Rica vacation, a wide range of adventure travel activities, including scuba diving, hiking around the Arenal Volcano area, and exploring the dense tropical rainforests.

What to do? Where to do? Fly through the rain-forest canopy on a zip line? Go white-water rafting? Climb a volcano? Laze on a white-sand beach in guanacaste and manuel antonio national park on the pacific coast or Limon on the caribbean coast? Check out colorful marine life while snorkeling? Or try to hook one on a deep-sea fishing excursion?

Costa Rica offers plenty of pleasant choices like these, especially if you're interested in nature and outdoor activities. That's why so many people have chosen to go there: In the past decade, the number of visitors has quadrupled, and tourism has become a big part of the nation's economy. Costa Rica is practically synonymous with ecotourism - travel that incorporates education about the environment and promotes preservation of natural resources. The country has a large number of national parks and nature preserves that boast a rich array of birds, mammals, reptiles and rain-forest plants. The variety of birds, in particular, is astounding: Some 850 species are packed into a relatively small area, a bird watcher paradise. Approximately 25% of the country's land has been set aside in protected areas, earning Costa Rica a reputation as an environmentally sensitive country and leader in ecological conservation.

The country has excellent conditions for a number of adventure sports, among them surfing, river rafting, hiking and scuba diving, wind surfing and mountain bike.Those who prefer a less strenuous vacation can view more than 50 volcanoes (Poas volcano, Rincon de la Vieja volcano, Irazu volcano and Arenal volcano) take boat trips down jungle rivers and float through the treetops in the world's first Rain Forest Aerial Tram, visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Tortuga Island, The Cafe Britt Coffee tour

About The Author

Andy Bezara
Visit My Travel to Costa
Rica
and find the most wonderful Costa Rica vacation packages
info@mytraveltocostarica.com

1 qer 2007

Hawaii Vacations

Hawaii Vacations
by: Sara Chambers

One of the most popular tourist destinations in both the United States and throughout the world is Hawaii. Hawaii is a state consisting of islands. These include Hawaii, known as the Big Island, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai. The attractions available on these six islands range from adventure attractions and ecotourism, to historical places to see and wild nightlife.

Another great reason to go to the beautiful State of Hawaii is the gorgeous beaches available. Maui itself offers 80 beaches sitting 120 miles of coastline. The southwest region of Maui includes lovely white beaches. Oahu, on the other hand, offers 130 beaches. Sandy Beach is a great place to enjoy sand and sun, while Hanauma Bay offers a great place to snorkel.

One of the most fascinating attractions to see on the ecotourism front of Hawaii’s Big Island is Mount Kilauea and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Visiting this National Park will put you face to face with the elements. Hiking, walking, and driving through this Park, you will see Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Within the state park, you can enjoy the Crater Rim Drive, stopping at Steaming Bluff, the Halemaumau Overlook, the Devastation Trail and many more enticing monuments of Mother Nature.

In addition to beaches and volcanoes, there are also multiple adventure opportunities to enjoy. Whether it is ATV rides, airplane tours, skydiving, or windsurfing, there is plenty of adventure to enjoy on the Hawaii islands. In addition to these items, you can enjoy parasailing, snorkeling, sailing, sailplane rides and surfing. There are even shark encounters to be had. Specifically found on Oahu, shark excursion tours leave the Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor for two hour tours. During this tour, individuals have the ability to feel the thrill of coming close to sharks in a shark cage.

Finally, there are the historical and cultural aspects of Hawaii. You can visit Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. You can also visit Polynesian Culture Center, the Royal Palace, Queen Emma's Palace and Bishop Museum. There are also historic sugar plantations and ancient Hawaiian Temple Sites to investigate. For a taste of modern Hawaiian culture, you can enjoy the traditional Luaus. Be prepared for fish, roasted pig, sweet potatoes and many more delicious foods. Save room for desserts.

Vacations in the beautiful land of Hawaii include more than just fun in the sun. Here you can enjoy the thrills that come with adrenaline and nature, or relax in the sun and water that surrounds you. Take the time to experience a culture that you have never experienced before. All of these options exist in the beautiful six islands of Hawaii.

About The Author

Sara Chambers is a marketing consultant and an internet content manager for Hawaii Vacation Blog.

17 maj 2007

Presenting: Danielle Weiss Talks About Sustainable Tourism

Presenting: Danielle Weiss Talks About Sustainable Tourism
by: Susanne Pacher

Danielle Weiss is the Sustainable Travel Coordinator for G.A.P Adventures, Canada's largest adventure travel company and winner of many distinguished entrepreneurial and travel industry awards. I am also happy to say that G.A.P is also the sponsor of our first travel story contest who has generously provided the top prize for our contest: an amazing adventure expedition cruise through the Amazon.

G.A.P Adventures is a very unique travel company that combines small group adventure tours with concepts of environmental sustainability and social conscience.

Danielle is also one of the main people behind the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization that was developed by G.A.P Adventures as a way to give back to the people and places they visit on our tours. Danielle herself is an avid traveller and in her personal interview she shares her personal stories of how travel changed her life.

I had a chance to ask Danielle about "sustainable tourism" and what all of us can do to minimize our impact on the communities we come in touch with. Here are her insights:

1. Please tell us more about "Sustainable Tourism", what is it?

I would define Sustainable Tourism as tourism that has minimal impact on the environment, respects local people and cultures, offers economic benefit to locally owned businesses and incorporates community-based ecotourism projects.

2. What does it mean to be a "Responsible Tour Operator"?

Being a Responsible tourism means being committed to offering low-impact tours that benefit traveller and host alike. G.A.P Adventures is an example of a company that prides itself on being a responsible operator. We work with local communities, businesses and individuals to develop sustainable tourism opportunities that help local economies while minimizing negative environmental and cultural impacts. We travel in small groups, use local transportation and stay in locally-owned accommodations.

Part of G.A.P's operating philosophy is to respect the communities in which we operate. G.A.P does this by acting in a manner that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible. While our sustainable tourism policies are constantly evolving, our commitment to socially conscious, grassroots style travel has never changed. In recognition of our efforts in the area of social responsibility, G.A.P won the Ethics in Action Award. We are proud of our reputation, the work we do with local communities and the style of travel we offer to our passengers.

3. What are "Ecotourism Operator Standards"?

With the help of Conservation International, G.A.P Adventures developed a set of Ecotourism standards which act as a code-of-conduct to ensure that we act responsibly at all levels of the company. Every year these standards are re-examined and, where appropriate, targets are raised or new standards are added.

- Company-wide policies:

1 Use of local transportation

2 All G.A.P Adventures staff and partners are aware and knowledgeable of the Standards program.

3 Reduce, Reuse (and Recycle whenever possible).

4 Annual contribution to conservation and community development NGOs (non-governmental organizations).

- Marketing:

1 Promote Standards in all marketing campaigns.

2 Marketing materials: Brochure contains at least 20% post-consumer recycled paper. Newsletter to remain online.

- Tour Operation:

1 Visit at least one officially established protected area on each tour and provide information on such areas to our clients.

2 Provide employment and/or business opportunities to local people.

3 Suppliers are encouraged to improve their own environmental/social standards.

4 Maximum group size is 12 passengers on all G.A.P Tour Leader-led tours. G.A.P ensures that local operators and other travellers are aware of the benefits of conducting small-group tours.

5 No use of suppliers who support exploitative practices. For example, we don't condone selling endangered species products, harming threatened habitats or prostitution.

- Tour Leaders:

1 Tour Leaders are fluent in English and Spanish.

2 Tour Leaders receive special training in low-impact travel and are selected based on their knowledge, commitment to and awareness of sustainable travel. Tour Leaders must possess First Aid and CPR certification upon being hired.

3 Tour leaders are encouraged to research eco-friendly operators, accommodation, and possible projects that can be incorporated into our tours.

- Accommodation:

1 All hotels have less than 40 rooms, except joining and departure points, which have less than 100. Otherwise, the best feasible option is employed. Best feasible option means that if there is an alternative that is a more responsible option in terms of the social and natural environment, this can be taken.

2 The majority of accommodation is locally owned.

4. What makes travelling with G.A.P Adventures unique in the context of sustainable tourism?

Travelling responsibly as a passenger on a G.A.P Adventures tour results in a more enjoyable and authentic travel experience. We believe that tourism should be about interacting with other cultures, not exploiting them. This means travelling with local people on public buses rather than looking at them through the window of a private tour bus; and staying at a small, locally- owned guesthouse rather than a large, foreign-owned hotel. It also means travelling in small groups that are less intrusive and offer more opportunity for local interaction.

5. What does being a "Responsible Traveller" entail?

As a traveller, you can do a lot to help ensure that tourism in developing countries remains a positive experience for everyone. The following guidelines offer suggestions for low-impact and culturally sensitive travel:

- Stay on the trail

Straying from the trail while hiking can cause erosion and other environmentally harmful impacts.

- Respect the wildlife

Viewing animals from a safe distance is fine; touching, feeding, or cornering them is not.

- Respect endangered species

Do not buy products that exploit wildlife, aid in habitat destruction, or come from endangered species.

- Do not litter

This is one time when the old adage "When in Rome, do as the Romans" doesn't apply. Even if you see a local person littering, set an example and dispose of your garbage appropriately.

- Reduce waste

Recycling is extremely limited or non-existent in most developing countries. Avoid products with excess packaging; opt for beverages in glass bottles as they tend to be re-used.

Danielle, kayaking in Patagonia, Chile

- Protect local water systems

Use only biodegradable soaps and shampoos while camping. Avoid sunblock while snorkelling as the chemicals are harmful to the coral reef - wear a T-shirt instead.

- Respect cultural differences

Local customs and traditions may be different from our own. Take the time to learn what behaviour is acceptable and what isn't.

- Take photos with care

Always ask permission to take photos of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. If you do take a photo, offer to send copies back to them and make sure to follow through with your promise. If your subject wants immediate compensation in return for the photo taken, offering a piece of fruit or bread, or a souvenir from your home are ways to do it.

- Learn a few phrases

Take the time to learn about the country you are visiting. Learning about the customs and a few words in the local language can go a long way and is appreciated by the local people. It also makes your interactions more meaningful and memorable.

- Giving gifts

G.A.P highly discourages offering money to people begging on the streets of Latin America. Parents often send their children out into the streets, since a child can make more than their parents make begging on the street. This promotes further dependency and encourages more parents to send out their children. Instead, we would suggest offering a piece of bread or fruit.

- Support Local Artisans

Support local artists and artisans by purchasing locally made goods. Many communities sell handmade crafts that you may purchase while on tour. You may also ask your Tour Leader for recommendations about where to find local markets, stores and cooperatives.

6. Please tell us more about Planeterra as well as about your Community Projects?

The Planeterra Foundation is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of community projects, local organizations and international charities.

The Planeterra Foundation was developed by G.A.P Adventures, and provides us as a company, our travellers and other donors with a way to give back to the people and places we visit on our tours.

G.A.P Adventures pays all administration costs and matches each donation dollar-for-dollar so that 100% of each donation goes to support Planeterra projects. By identifying projects and organizations that specialize in different areas, our donors are provided with a variety of worthwhile projects to choose from and support. Based on the individual needs of each project, resources are delivered on an annual basis in the form of funds and/or materials.

We support a number of community projects throughout Latin America which our travellers are given the opportunity to visit while on our tours. These projects focus on the areas of health, education childcare, women's projects, wildlife conservation and the development of community-based ecotourism.

To learn more about the individual community projects that we support please visit:

http://www.planeterra.org/community.html

7. Why did G.A.P Adventures become so committed to the concept of sustainable tourism?

Planeterra is a labour of love and a dream that has come together after years of planning. As a company that strives to give back to local communities, developing our own foundation has long been on the agenda and is now a reality. We have been very successful as a company and part of our mission statement is to never forget what really makes our company and programs great.

Bruce Poon Tip, G.A.P Adventures' founder and C.E.O. has the following to say about his company's commitment to sustainable tourism:

"It's about community, people and cultural exchange. It is our duty to show ultimate respect for the privilege we all have with modern international travel. In appreciation of the people and places that have provided us with unforgettable memories and experiences, we encourage you to help us give back to the country in which you have travelled. We ensure that 100% of your donation goes back to the people and supports community development with the goal of promoting long-term sustainability. It is my duty as the founder and CEO of G.A.P Adventures, to help preserve our planet, her people and to make sure her treasures are around for the next generation of eager travellers and wide-eyed explorers."

8. What additional sustainable tourism initiatives are you working on?

a) Raising $100,000 to help build a home for street kids in Peru

Every year donations made to the Planeterra Foundation are dispersed amongst the community projects and international charities that we support. In addition to raising funds for the various local projects and charities we support, the Planeterra Foundation currently has a goal of raising $100,000 which will be used to purchase land and build a home for street children in Cusco, Peru.

We are working together with Inti Runakunaq Wasin (IRW), Quechua for "house of the people of the sun", a local non-profit organization that acts as a haven for children who live in extreme poverty. IRW currently rents a small apartment space and is operated by a group of social workers, teachers and other professionals who volunteer their time to provide support programs for children and their families. Children are given the opportunity to voluntarily drop-in and participate in a variety of classes and workshops that teach them valuable skills including reading, writing, carpentry, handicrafts, shoe repair, cooking, music and English.

IRW currently works with 50 children but have a goal of establishing a bigger home outside of Cuzco in order to provide services to more children in need. The Planeterra Foundation is organizing fundraising events and is relying on matched donations from travellers and other donors in order to make this dream a reality.

b) Upcoming Fundraising Events

We have just recently hired a full-time Fundraiser, Elinor Schwob, who comes to us with 15 years of fundraising experience. With Elinor's help we aim to raise a minimum of $250,000 for our projects in 2006 through matched donations from travellers and some exciting fundraising events. We will continually be updating the Planeterra Events page with information about these events:

www.planeterra.org/support.html

c) New Volunteer Tours

For many people, travelling is about gaining an understanding and appreciation of new cultures and developing relationships with local people. This year we have developed a new style of tour that incorporates a volunteer component so that travellers have the opportunity to help improve the basic living conditions of the local people while having an unforgettable cultural experience. In 2006 our goal is to research and develop more of these types of tours.

PROJECT PERU

Travellers have the opportunity to work alongside local host families to build a Peruvian cooking stove. Without the help of travellers that want to make a difference, these communities do not have the resources to build safe and clean cooking stoves for themselves. Benefits of the stove include the removal of smoke from the kitchen, a 50% reduction in wood used and the reduction of eye and lung infections especially among women and children. Travellers will also have the opportunity to visit Cusco, a women's weaving project in the Sacred Valley and the lost city of Machu Picchu .

For more information about this tour please visit Project Peru

PROJECT GUATEMALA

Working alongside members of the community and international volunteers travellers will participate in a project that provides villagers with clean drinking water in Guatemala 's eastern highlands. Travellers may also have the opportunity participate in other cultural aspects of village life such as learning to make tortillas with the women, helping with the corn harvest, and teaching English to the children. We will also visit the colonial town of Antigua , relax on the shores of Lake Atitlan and explore the colourful Sunday market in Chichicastenango.

For more information about this tour please visit Project Guatemala

No training or special skills are required, just a desire to help make a difference.

3) Planeterra in Africa

In 2006, we will be expanding the scope of Planeterra to support community and conservation projects in Africa.

Danielle, I appreciate that you took your time to educate us about the concept of sustainable tourism and what all of us can do to show respect to the people and places that we have the privilege to visit. Good luck with your work for the Planeterra Foundation......

About The Author

Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions (Travel and Transition). Travel and Transitions deals with unconventional travel and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travellers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features. You will also find stories about life and the transitions that we face as we go through our own personal life-long journeys.

Submit your own travel stories in our first travel story contest (Contest) and have a chance to win an amazing adventure cruise on the Amazon River.

"Life is a Journey Explore New Horizons".

The story with photos is published at Stories and Photos (Orlando Regional History Center)

Susanne Pacher sq@travelandtransitions.com

1 maj 2007

Discover The Beauty Of Paradise And Aloha With A Hawaiian Vacation On The Islands

Discover The Beauty Of Paradise And Aloha With A Hawaiian Vacation On The Islands
by: Dean Shainin

So what is a Hawaiian vacation really all about? The following article includes some fascinating information about vacation info you can use, not just some sales pitch to get you to purchase something.

Discovering the finest of Hawaii could take several vacations. Or you could ask the nearby residents for their individual favorites. From picturesque and cultural attractions to grand places to eat and lodge.

You might believe Hawaiians would be tired of "aloha". The salutation is far and wide, from TV and publication advertisements to license plates to the sides of jetliners. Yet the word is quiet significant because Hawaii's background remains strong enough to divert corporate sloganeering.

Every vacationer that visits Hawaii swiftly falls in love with the loveliness of the islands and the locals are just as susceptible.

Hawaiian ecotourism is now as hot as stem from Kilauea Volcano. Planeloads of travelers turn up in Hawaii to kayak, whale watch, hike, or bike the islands.

The first location to discover knowledge on sites and tours is from the Hawaii Ecotourism Association. Other commendable resources are the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club and the Sierra Club's Hawaii chapter.

English is uniformly spoken in the 50th state, but Hawaiian words and expressions are second-hand by islanders more than most mainlanders realize. Once considered a societal hindrance, Hawaiian is making a comeback in the islands.

Now that we've covered those aspects, let's turn to some of the other factors that you may want to look into.

Hawaii Vacation Attractions You May Want To Consider

Similar the dawning of a new earth, Haleakala Volcano, on Maui, reveals its irregular features at sunrise, a display that prompts travelers to brave the chill.

For a windsurfers delight, check out the wild surf off Maui's Ho' okipa Beach. This is a beach windsurfers travel for thousands of mile to surf.

The Waimea Canyon is a spectacular way to see what the islands looked like before they were touched by man. The loveliness is breathtaking and surreal.

Most significant for a grand Hawaii vacation, visitors need to resolve precisely what kind of involvement they desire. Is it extravagance you are after? Are you looking for economy? Do you desire an ocean or a mountain view? Interest and wallets direct the selection of lodgings.

Hawaii is not just a giant beach. Individuals fall short to realize that the state is uncommonly mixed. The location you stay can be anything you desire. There are lavish "peel-me-a-grape" resorts like the romantic Hyatt Regency on Kauai, and then you have these funky motels with tiki torches where you'd insist that Elvis is going to step through the doors any second.

Places To Lodge While On Vacation In Hawaii

Innumerable travelers avoid hotels to spend their vacation in hidden condos or roomer quarters. Such home-style accommodations can be a grand way to practice the islands daily rhythms. A lot of locals believe so. Numerous vacationers believe "what's the point" of staying in a enormous resort with thousands of other travelers? It actually depends upon what you want out of your Hawaii vacation involvement.

To find home-style accommodations you can merely check the internet with the islands designation, followed by "vacation rental" or "B&B". There are also scores of vacation rental agencies that will supply you some listings that fit your style.

Remember to take the time to ask what types of amenities are accessible and what are the rescinding fees?

Your local travel agent can assist you with a vacation package if you are fascinated in an all extensive vacation in a luxury resort. Again, be sure to know what you're paying for before you book reservations for your Hawaiian vacation.

It never hurts to be well-informed with the latest on travel and vacations. Compare what you've learned here to future articles so that you can stay alert to changes in the area of Hawaiian vacations.

Copyright 2006 Dean Shainin

About The Author

Dean Shainin is the owner of http://vacations.deans-knowledgebase.com. View his recommended sources for the best vacation and travel companies online. Grab free valuable guides, plans and vacation offers for that perfect vacation.

17 pri 2007

Costa Rica, a Paradise for Eco-Tourism

Costa Rica, a Paradise for Eco-Tourism
by: Clint Leung

For those who would like a destination for eco-tourism, Costa Rica is hard to beat. For a little country in Central America that’s only 19,730 square miles, there’s definitely a lot to see and do there. Costa Rica means ‘rich coast’ in Spanish, which is the country’s official language. Located between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south, Costa Rica is one of the most stable and prosperous of all Latin American countries. There are tropical beach resorts on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the country for sun vacationers but the main attraction of Costa Rica is the eco-tourism. For example, there is a wider variety of bird species in Costa Rica alone than in all of Europe and North America.

Surprisingly, there are diverse eco-systems and microclimates within Costa Rica. In addition to the coastal beaches, there are dense jungles and rain forests with a wide variety of fauna. Some of these forests are referred to as cloud forests because of the moisture of the mists that linger among the trees in some parts. One forest has a cable car set up so that tourists can observe the plant and animal life at the treetop levels. For the more adventurous types, there is a place where one can swing from tree to tree using a network of rope attachments. There are also dry forests as well as colder barren volcanic tundras. Quite extreme changes in microclimate can be observed even within 30 minutes of travel. Some parts of the country have canal systems similar to those found in the Amazon and a few rivers offer excellent white water rafting.

There are several volcanoes within the country and the extinct ones are easily accessible since they are tourist attractions. A few have beautiful turquoise color lakes that have formed in the craters at the top of such volcanoes. One of the more famous active volcanoes is Arenal where visitors can safely watch the eruptions from a nearby facility that has outdoor hot springs naturally heated by the mountain.

In addition to the many different birds that can be sighted, there is a wide number of other exotic wildlife including monkeys, sloths, jaguars, bats and reptiles that can be seen during one of the many available nature tours. Every year, there are sea turtles that come to certain beaches to nest and this event attracts many nature lovers. The wildlife in Costa Rica is not only rich on land or the air but also in the surrounding oceans. For scuba divers, Costa Rica offers excellent diving opportunities and they are quite different from the waters in the Caribbean. The higher amounts of plankton in the local seas attract more numbers of large marine animals than can be found in the Caribbean.

Coffee and bananas are some of the main exports for Costa Rica. For coffee lovers, this is the place to sample some of the best in the world although it should be warned that the locals like their coffee quite strong. Tours in the valleys will often go past numerous coffee plantations.

Most tourists will fly into the capital city of San Jose. Although there is some nice colonial architecture to see in San Jose, it’s not one of the nicer places to stay in Costa Rica. The city is noisy and polluted but relatively safe. One can use San Jose as a base for many day trips to the various rain forests, volcanoes and beaches. Travelers can also fly into Liberia which is a town in the north part of the country. This is a much quieter region and close to many of the northern resorts. One option that many travelers take is to rent a vehicle and tour the country on their own. However, the roads of Costa Rica are not the best with lots of potholes and mudslides are common during the wet season from June to November. If renting a vehicle, a 4x4 is definitely recommended.

There is so much to see and do in Costa Rica that many visitors return to see parts of the country that they missed before. The country is easily the most popular destination to visit in Central America. Costa Rica now has tourist offices set up in North America for those who want further information.

About The Author

Clint Leung owner of Free Spirit Activewear (Free Spirit Ativewear) , an online retailer/designer specializing in premium quality activewear with specialty sports themes including scuba diving and martial arts. Free Spirit Activewear has numerous information resource articles on specialty sports as well as free eCards.

9 pri 2007

More Than Spring Break in Cancún

More Than Spring Break in Cancún
by: Jennifer Smith

For years vacationers have been drawn to the beautiful scenery that Cancún has to offer. There is, after all, a reason why the Mexican government chose this coastal city to be its tourist flagship. Blue waters, white sands, and plenty of room for development meant that Cancún was the perfect place to draw in visitors.

Image and Reality

Cancún's popularity with American travelers – meaning English is widely spoken and popular chain stores and restaurants can be found there – and relatively low costs has helped it to become a haven for spring breakers, and has become better known as a party spot than the escape it was designed to be. Still, many vacationers looking for a resort location that is perfect for honeymoons or other peaceful getaways also consider Cancún.

How can honeymooners mix with the out-all-night lifestyle Cancún is becoming so well-known for? The simple answer is that Cancún has come to be the name used for the entire Caribbean coast of Mexico's Yucatán peninsula. The Yucatán peninsula contains the state of Quintana Roo, where Cancún resides. In fact, so do fascinating Mayan ruins and wide stretches of nearly untouched beaches. Cancún isn't the only place travelers may choose to visit in the Mexican Caribbean.

Plenty of Places to Go

Cozumel is an island off the coast that is home to a small city and an airport, but there you'll find plenty of world-class snorkeling and diving on the world's second largest reef. Mayans held this island as the sacred home of the fertility goddess Ixchel, and now it houses ruins for visitors to explore. Isla Mujeres is another popular island just miles away from Cancún in the Caribbean Sea; you'll find the ruins of many Spanish galleons sunk just off its coast.

The ruins at Tulum are some of the most famous in Mexico. Here travelers can see a holy Mayan city and visit “The Castle.” This fortress is built on a bluff overlooking the ocean, offering spectacular sights for visitors willing to take the trip. Unlike the hustle and bustle of Cancún, this area is a haven for backpackers and ecologically-oriented travelers.

Those looking for something upscale and secluded, on the other hand, may want to consider the area known as the Mayan Riviera. It's called by several variations of this name, such as the Riviera Maya, and stretches along the coast from Cancún to Tulum. Areas like Playa del Carmen are a part of this beautiful coastline. Often rental villas with private slices of beach line the shores here instead of sprawling hotel and resort complexes. Some areas of the Mayan Riviera, such as Xel Ha and Akumal, are also known for their eco-tourism opportunities.

So, while it's easy to see why students may enjoy the wilder side in the city of Cancún, it's not difficult to understand how travelers can find the perfect honeymoon escape and family travel in the area as well. Mexico's Caribbean coast has much more to offer than just Cancún, though the city has become a figurehead for their tourism.

About The Author

Jennifer Smith writes for Cancun Guide, Virgin Islands Guide, and other Segisys travel Web sites.

© 2005, Interactive Internet Websites, Inc.

Article may only be reprinted if it is not modified in any way, and if all links remain live.

17 mar 2007

Uganda Travel: The Pearl Of Africa Reborn

Uganda Travel: The Pearl Of Africa Reborn
by: Robert Muhoho

Uganda is a land of breathtaking contrast. Right from the border with Kenya in the east to that with the giant Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the west, the landscape and vegetation can be described as a kaleidoscope of tantalizing beauty. Winston Churchill, one of the United Kingdom’s great historical figures, summed Uganda in four words: ‘The Pearl of Africa’.

Though it is often easy to look over the country’s shoulder to its not too glamorous past, one thing that Uganda’s hospitality industry has learnt from its troubled history is flexibility. Holidaying in Uganda can be a memorable affair for all categories of regional tourists, be they budget, economy or high spending tourists.

Deciding on a holiday destination

A first time traveler to Uganda is most certainly spoilt for choice, particularly if the tourist is from Kenya. Uganda can be accessed through air (Entebbe International Airport), road via Malaba or Busia border entry points or even through Lake Victoria although it’s mostly regular business people who prefer this route. Entry and exit formalities for East African nationals have been simplified. The decision on holidaying in Uganda is usually motivated by a number of factors prominent among them flexibility of budget, refreshing experience and the warmth of the people.

Uganda excels in all the listed factors. The hospitality industry has evolved rapidly over the last decade, catering for all classes of visitors while offering nothing short of value for money. The Uganda experience is truly refreshing, be it in bird-watching, nature walks or cultural tourism. The communities are welcoming, with both urban and rural folks radiating warmth, although just as in any society there are bound to be some green flies in the visitor’s ointment.

Special Interest Tourism

Uganda has a well-established special interest tourism structure that has attracted tourists from not only Western Europe but also Africa and Asia. The special interest tourism areas are nature walks, gorilla trekking, bird-watching, mountain biking, sport fishing and white water rafting.

Eco-tourism has come of age internationally, for guests who prefer nature ‘as it was’ without the distortions of social economic transformation. Uganda offers new nature trails in virtually all protected areas. Tourists can walk with guides to view at close range some of the many endangered species for which the country is famous. These include the mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, the red and white colobus and blue tailed monkeys. The country is filled with birds, butterflies and rare plants that one can sample during nature walks.

Bird-watching

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has put in place new bird sanctuaries at strategic sites, including Lake George and Edward. A new survey on Uganda wildlife indicates that there are at least 335 species of birds and more than 144 species of butterflies at Kabale Forest National Park. Among the rare birds are the red-winged francolin, red-chested fluiftail, white-napped pigeon, African pitta, joyful greenbul, grey-winged robin, Abyssinian ground thrush, grey-crested flycatcher and the masked and the black-capped apalises. The Budongo Forest is one of the places where a thriving community eco-tourism takes place.

Mountain biking

Several areas are a haven for mountain bikers. These include Rukungiri, and Kabale districts in the west, Mbale and Kapchorwa districts in the east, local mountain bike trails are mapped out to assist tourists, but they have to bring their own bikes.

Sport fishing and white water rafting

Uganda offers a great opportunity for sports anglers. The ferocious tiger fish is common in Lake Albert, in the west Nile region, while catfish and tilapia abound in the all waters of Uganda. However, the most popular fish is the Nile perch with a record catch of over 100 kilogrammes. The fish species is abundant in Lake Victoria and River Nile. Through efforts of tour and travel firms, white water rafting has become a popular sport, with more than 500 tourists participating every month.

Camp safari

It is prudent to choose a camp safari if you decide to visit some of Uganda’s exotic special interest tourism areas. This will enable you to fully enjoy the flora and fauna of the country. Uganda’s waters teem with fish while over 200 bird species thrive in national parks and protected areas. Uganda’s ‘Pearl of Africa’ tag is best appreciated by visiting some of the country’s tourist site.

Inns of Uganda

For the discerning tourist, a trip to Inns of Uganda would be ideal to discover the Pearl of Africa’s best-kept open secret. Inns of Uganda, with two camps – Nile Safari Camp and Jacana Safari Lodge – offer the ideal setting. The two camps are accessible by road but guests can fly to Pakuba where Inns of Uganda staff will be on hand to receive them. Visitors can view birds as the y move towards the Nile Safari Camp along the banks of river Nile in north-western Uganda. Nile Safari Camp boasts 12 rooms and a swimming pool with impressive, professionally done interior design. The elaborate and environment –friendly design ensures that a holiday package here adds value and quality to the lives of people who visit the camps.

At Jacana Safari Lodge, in the vast Queen Elizabeth National Park, guests can have a lifetime experience of low-impact water activity on boating trips in which they view birds, chimpanzees, monitor lizards and hippos. This camp shows the visitor the essence of visiting Uganda. The cuisine at the camps blends perfectly with the excellent and pleasant nature of the staff.

Jacana is built with materials derived from the immediate environment in line with Inns of Uganda’s ecotourism campaign. The lodge has 15 chalets, swimming pool, sauna, sundowner and dinner pontoon. The surroundings fit well with the structures adopted by the two camps. For instance, the lodge literally grows out of the forest with a tree house-like appearance. The scenery and congeniality of the camps’ staff together with Inns of Uganda’s ability to blend the natural environment with the design of the camps offer guests a memorable safari.

About The Author
Robert Muhoho is a tour consultant in Kenya and has planned business and vacation safaris for over 10,000 tourists in the East African region. He is a tour operation- major and involved in National tourism policy development in Kenya.

For more information please visit:
Landmarks Safaris
East Africa Safari

7 mar 2007

Place Where The Sun Rises - South Africa

Place Where The Sun Rises - South Africa
by: Gerald Crawford

Welcome to Mpumalanga in South Africa.

If you like to visit the worlds most famous game reserve, climb the worlds third-highest canyon, explore the worlds oldest cave and spend the night in the worlds best private game lodges, Mpumalangas the place to come to!

Mpumalanga, which means 'place where the sun rises in the local languages of Siswati and Zulu is one of South Africas tourism hotspots, loved by both local and international visitors for its beauty and diversity. This province is home to The Kruger National Park (big five country), exquisite panoramic views, mountains, rivers, caves, trout fishing and birding opportunities, eco-tourism, adventure holidays and the rich offerings of the local Ndebele and Swazi cultures.

Mpumalanga is bordered by Mozambique and Swaziland in the east, and Gauteng in the west. It is situated mainly on the high plateau grasslands of the Middleveld, which roll eastwards for hundreds of kilometres. In the northeast, the land rises towards mountain peaks and then terminates in an immense escarpment. In some places, this escarpment plunges hundreds of meters down to the low-lying area known as the Lowveld. Even though it is one of the smaller provinces (79 490 km2 in surface area), Mpumalanga is home to some three million people.

The Mpumalanga climate is a summer rainfall area with hot summers, especially in the Lowveld regions. Mild in winter, it can become very cold in the Highveld areas.

The tourism possibilities of this province are as diverse as the landscape itself. As the safari capital of the country, the major draw card to the area is the world-famous Kruger National Park. Mpumalanga has a lot more to offer than the big five it is a scenically magnificent province and boasts a rich cultural heartland where visitors can embrace the warm hearted spirit of Africa. Forests, pristine waters and trout fishing opportunities abound and there is no shortage of adventure activities, such as rock-climbing, abseiling and other high-adrenalin activities, on offer.

Major attractions in the area:

The Kruger National Park

One of the major tourist attractions of the country, the Kruger National Park is among South Africas finest assets. Well-equipped to offer big five safaris, the park includes a large number of accommodation options, Ranging from some of the best private game lodges in the world to very affordable rest camps. This famous park boasts over 140 species of mammals and over 500 species of birds, not to mention a wide variety of amphibians, reptiles, flora and fauna. A wildlife wonderland, this enormous sanctuary is a must-see for any and every visitor to South Africa.

Best Game Lodges in the World

A number of private camps and lodges are on offer in the areas surrounding the Kruger National Park. The Sabi Sands is renowned for being home to some of the best African game lodges in the world, bar none. These lodges are known worldwide for their exclusivity and top-of-the-range accommodation. Here, private safaris are simply par for the course, conducted by qualified rangers in open-air vehicles. These lodges are all about attention to detail, personal service and a true Out of Africa experience in unique comfort.

Big Catch Country

The perfect getaway for fly-fishing enthusiasts, Dullstroom and surrounds offer fantastic accommodation including everything from five-star hotels to modest Bed and Breakfast establishments. The spectacular beauty of the area and its many lakes makes Dullstroom the perfect weekend getaway spot. A number of quaint restaurants and pubs dot the area.

Gold-diggers delight

Return to the gold rush days of South Africa. The little town of Pilgrims Rest offers a step backwards into South Africas history, complete with themed museums, and restored buildings and the notorious Victorian-inspired Royal Hotel. The area is a favorite for overseas and local visitors and is well-equipped to handle all of the attention with a good offering of restaurants, bars and reasonably priced accommodation available.

Best Pancakes in Africa

A short drive from Pilgrims Rest lies Graskop, famous for its scenic waterfall and for Harries Pancake Shop, known to serve up the best pancakes this side of the Kruger National Park. It is an established tradition to stop off here for a favorite sweet or savory pancake en route to the Blyde River Canyon. A vibrant artist community exists in and around the area, and curio shopping opportunities abound.

Green Belt

The green belt of Sabie offers a wonderful base to explore Mpumalangas Escarpment. This is the centre of South Africas forestry region and boasts excellent lodges, bed-and-breakfast establishments as well as a rather fine backpackers lodge. Although the pace in Sabie is rather laid back, there are a number of activities and day trips for the adventure seeker. Mountain-biking, horse-trails, hiking trails and river rafting are all offer. There are also fabulous bird-watching options. If youre happy to keep a slower pace, simply sit back and let the peaceful forests fortify the soul.

Views from Paradise

One of the most scenic views in South Africa is undoubtedly offered up at the famous Blyde River Canyon this colossal canyon is famous for its dramatic window on the world. Here, camera-touting visitors love to visit the Gods Window ledge, Bourkes Luck Potholes and the Three Rondavels all of which offer breathtaking panoramas. The Mac-Mac Falls and Lisbon Falls are also a keen favorite for visitors to Mpumalanga.

Arts and Culture

Explore the local Shangaan culture at the famous Shangana Cultural Village, a short hop away from the town of Hazyview. The user-friendly cultural village offers visitors the opportunity to interact with the local Shangaan people and to enjoy a taste of traditional cuisine. The Nyani Shangaan Cultural Village is also an option, as is Matsulu Village a traditional Ndebele Village.

About The Author
Gerald Crawford was born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail Address: gerald@12234455.co.za Website Address: http://www.12234455.co.za
 

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