Panama is a small country situated at the southern end of the Central American isthmus. Rightly famous for its 82km ship canal running from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean, it is very much more than just this. With a booming economy and a growing tourist industry it offers you history, pristine rainforests with abundant wildlife and indigenous tribes and Panama City – three cities in one. This is a year round destination with tropical weather throughout the year and a dry season that runs from November to April.
Panama City firstly offers you the ancient ruined part known as La Vieja, the original Spanish city that they burned down when the Spanish authorities heard that Henry Morgan was on his way to capture the city. Casco Antiguo grew up a short distance from the original and still has a very Spanish feel to it. Home to boutique hotels, interesting bars and restaurants it is a place to explore and enjoy yourself. Finally there is the modern skyscraper city that is lively and with some interesting architecture.
Away from the city you could transit the Panama Canal as an experience or just visit the locks at Miraflores which house a museum on the construction of the first Canal and a cafe with views over the lock so that you can watch the precision needed for large ships navigating their ways to and from the Caribbean and Pacific. The second Canal is already in operation and again worth viewing as it takes larger vessels along it.
Just a short distance from the city, you could be climbing into a powered dugout boat and racing up a fast river deep in the rainforest to meet the indigenous tribe that lives here. Enjoy time learning how they exist in the forest, their tribal structure, their herbal medicines, their arts and craft and even a dance or two. Perhaps include trek through the cloud forest at Boquete looking at the truly colourful flora and bird life.
In addition you could be lazing on the palm fringed white sandy beaches of Bocas del Toro. Here the waters are clear – ideal for swimming, diving and snorkelling.
All in all there are plenty of reasons to holiday in Panama or combine it with a trip to Costa Rica.
The largest of the Caribbean Islands, Cuba has much to offer for those travellers that have an interest in history, current and ancient, music, architecture and stunning beaches. Add in friendly people, varied and interesting scenery and direct flights and it is a great destination for most at reasonable prices.
This is a Third World country with 97% literacy and one of the best health services anywhere. Doctors and nurses and the chief export of Cuba. But money is scarce so do not be surprised that all of the roads have potholes that rival African ones. Of course cigars feature heavily in the economy as does sugar but tourism is very much a prime industry and a hope for their future. The horse, oxen and mule are still very much in evidence. For every cowboy you saw in the USA there are 5,000 Cuban ones and they do truly work on the land.
Because the US has enforced an embargo on Cuba for the past 55 years things have to last, be renewed, worked around etc. There are 75,000 old cars still running and they cannot be exported. Many are in a really good state and fun to ride in. The iconic photo of an ancient Buick, Ford or Chevy outside an ancient Spanish colonial era building is one that you will keep taking.
Things are changing slowly, so do not delay too long before heading out there.
Photograph by kind permission of UnCruise Adventures
Don’t forget we will be at Destinations Show at Olympia, London, on February 02, 03, 04 and 05. Find us on Stand AC32 which we are sharing with the American company Uncruise Adventures. Most of the team will be there over the 4 days and would love to see a friendly face or two. This is one of the biggest travel shows in the U.K and a great place to find new destinations and experiences that would suit you. If you have a particular place in mind for your holiday next year (or the year after) give us a call to book an appointment with our team expert for that part of the world. However we will be very pleased to see you as and when you are free.
One of our favorite little B&B boutique hotels ‘The Platinum Pebble’ in Cape Cod, New England, USA have written the following article about being on Cape Cod –
The best place to stay on Cape Cod means different things to different travelers. Why are you traveling and what do you enjoy on holiday? For us, the best place to stay is where we have the best access to explore our new surroundings. We live like a local in our travels and soak up as much as we can as we discover the best of where we happen to be. Harwich drew us like a bonfire with its central Cape location, direct access to the beach and bike trails, farm to table restaurants, almost everything is walkable, and Provincetown is the same distance as Falmouth so we can easily explore the entire Cape. Now our goal is to bring it to our Guests via customized itineraries so your vacation is everything it should be.
Picture courtesy of Angie Watson
Two of our favorite places to visit on the Cape are Provincetown and Falmouth but, the distance between the two is a couple hours…more in High Season. When we first came to Cape Cod we chose Harwich because it opens up both sides of the Cape without too much wasted travel time in between. For us, the decision was easy because we like to see it all! As an unintended consequence we found that Harwich is also about the same distance to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket with drive and ferry time considered. For travelers searching for the best place to stay on Cape Cod, it’s about making this a vacation of your dreams…what is important to you is what defines where you should be.
To decide on the best place to stay on Cape Cod, access and walkability were high on our list. Harwich has it all and we have discovered that having very little time to spend enjoying the best place on Earth (as Innkeepers) we are glad to have easy access to nearly everything when we do get a breather.
For more information on making Cape Cod part of your bespoke tailor made holiday to the USA then please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email: email@example.com
There is plenty to do in New York City from shopping along some of the most famous streets in the world, going to the top of iconic skyscrapers, heading across the river to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to browsing through all the various markets. The attractions are legion but if you are willing to travel a short distance out then there is even more to offer.
Join a tour, drive yourself or take the train and taxi to the following attractions which are just a couple of hours away from downtown NY. Overlooking the Hudson River is the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and a guided tour and tour of the garden will leave you far more knowledgeable about this historic President. The first presidential library is located here and gives you details of this particular era. Just a short drive further along brings you to the Vanderbilt Mansion. Full of stunning art, furniture and surrounded by national parkland, you soon understand why they lived here.
Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis
While in this area why not visit the Culinary Institute of America where students will give you a guided tour of the facilities and finish of dining at one of four restaurants found here. The food is excellent, as you would expect, and the prices very reasonable.
Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis
To stretch your legs, head to Poughkeepsie and the New York State Park found here. One of the key attractions is the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. This crosses over the Hudson River and is over 2 kms long.
For those interested in history (and flying) then make your way to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome which is home to a huge collection of 1900 – 1939 aeroplanes, cars, motorcycles and their memorabilia. From June to October there is an air show every weekend (weather permitting) with vintage aircrafts flying including WW1 German Fokker planes. For those intrepid enough, you can take to the skies in a biplane ride any day of the week.
A wonderful way to see this beautiful and interesting part of New York State.
Good News – Cathay Pacific has announced that they will be launching a new service offering direct flights from Gatwick to Hong Kong four times a week. This is in addition to their longstanding routes between Heathrow and Hong Kong, and between Manchester and Hong Kong.
This new route is great news for those living in the South East wishing to visit Australia and New Zealand, as there will be connections through to key hubs in both countries from Hong Kong.
The new service is due to commence in September 2016 with Cathay Pacific’s new Airbus A350-900 with refreshed Business Class cabin and new Premium Economy Class seats.
Hong Kong makes a great stopover location, as well as a holiday destination in its own right. For more information on this, and how these flights could work well for your future holiday plans, give us a call on 01323 446550, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New England is perhaps most famous for the wonderful colours of its fall foliage; forests of maple trees don their autumn mantle of reds and gold in the transition from summer to the snows of the winter months. However, a visit to the New England States of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut has far more to commend it than simply experiencing Mother Nature’s awesome autumn splendour. Well known for its variety of accommodation from the small B&B’s, to Inns and larger luxury properties, as well as the sandy beaches of Cape Cod, the more rugged scenery of the Maine coastline dotted with colourful lighthouses and the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, there is something for everyone in New England. We can help you tailor your plans to fit the time you have available, your expectations and budget. We pride ourselves on helping you achieve your dreams, not simply selling you a holiday.
If you would like to see the amazing fall colours this year then you need to book soon or alternatively start thinking about making this part of your next years holiday. Please contact us to help make your bespoke, tailor made holiday really special and one to remember – Tel: 01323 446550 or email email@example.com
Two of the two favourite destinations in Southern Africa – The Okavango Delta in Botswana and Cape Town in South Africa – have just become easier to connect. Airlink, a regional South African domiciled airline, has now put in place direct flights between Cape Town and Maun, the gateway to the Okavango.
These flights are currently flying 5 times a week but will increase in number as we move in to the peak season. This helps you maximise your time in your favourite destinations and reduces time spent in airport lounges.
Departing mid-morning from Cape Town and arriving in Maun early afternoon means that you could be at your lodge in good time to sip your sundowner after having had a game drive in your chosen Okavango destination.
On the reverse journey the flight leaves early afternoon and arrives in Cape Town mid afternoon. This allows you time to unpack at your hotel and watch the sun set over TableMountain or the Atlantic, having been out on a game drive that morning.
This itinerary explores Southern Florida and is great for both families and couples. In this itinerary we discover the southern Florida coasts between Miami and Tampa, and give suggestions of destinations to add if time allows.
The state of Florida brings plenty of sunshine, pristine beaches and natural beauty. Enjoy all of this as a stand alone road trip, or add in a visit to some of the world famous theme parks in the state. Florida truly does have it all.
Day 1: Miami
Day 3: Key West
Day 5: Islamorada
Day 6: Naples
Day 8: Gulf Coast
Day 12: Depart Tampa
Southern Florida Road Trip
The state of Florida brings plenty of sunshine, pristine beaches and natural beauty. Enjoy all of this as a stand alone road trip, or add in a visit to some of the world famous theme parks in the state. Florida truly does have it all. Visit between November and May for sunny days and mild winter and spring temperatures. Summers are hot and humid with chances of tropical storms.
In this itinerary we discover the southern Florida coasts between Miami and Tampa, and give suggestions of destinations to add if time allows.
Day 1 Miami
Today arrive in Miami. Whilst here don’t miss Miami Beach’s Art Deco Historic District, with it’s gorgeous array of buildings, the trendy nightlife of South Beach, hotels of Miami Beach and the historic hideaways of Coral Gables.
2 nights Miami Beach
Day 3 Key West
Drive the length of the Florida Keys today to Key West, Florida’s southernmost subtropical region, which is located closer to Cuba than Miami, visit the streets lined with palms, mansions and tin-roofed conch houses that were home to names such as Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams.
2 nights Key West
Day 5 Islamorada
Return north along the Keys to Islamorada – an island paradise for you to explore and relax at.
1 night Islamorada
Day 6 Naples
Leaving the Keys behind, your next destination is Naples, located on the Gulf of Mexico in the south west of the state. Shopping is a treat at the many boutiques found along Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South. Also visit the numerous art galleries of this historic downtown area and enjoy dining whilst overlooking the water.
2 nights Naples
Day 8 Gulf Coast
Continue north along the Gulf Coast, exploring beaches and towns as you go. Choose to spend the next four nights in one of the towns or beachfront locations along this coast. Peaceful Sanibel Island, cultural and eclectic Sarasota, laid back AnnaMariaIsland and bustling Clearwater are just a few to choose from – we’ll help to find the perfect location for you.
4 nights Gulf Coast
Day 12 Depart Tampa
A shorter drive today as you head for Tampa airport for your flight home.
For families and the young at heart, world famous theme parks await you in the Orlando area – Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld to name just a few plus a short drive brings you to attractions such as the Kennedy Space Centre. Add time here to experience the fun before returning from Orlando International airport.
Orlando and the Gulf Coast has an array of private homes available for rental making a fantastic great value option for families and larger groups of travellers. Ask us for more details.
Picture courtesy of Visit Florida
Picture courtesy of Visit Florida
Picture courtesy of Visit Florida
When visiting Florida, especially if your itinerary includes Naples, a trip to the everglades is a must. You could take a trip on and airboat or join a wildlife tour to see the crocs.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to Ottawa for the 37th opening ceremony of Winterlude festival. This is Ottawa’s celebration of winter and all the activities and events on offer between January 30th and February 16th 2015.
It started on Friday January 30th with open air performances and music in Confederation Park-Crystal Garden. This was also the beginning of the Ice-Carving competition. The carvers had until 12noon on Sunday to complete their master pieces and wow they were all amazing. How they can create these magnificent sculptures out of blocks of ice is unbelievable. Ice sculptures could also be found outside all of the official Winterlude hotels.
The world’s largest skating rink, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is here in Ottawa. The Rideau Canal Skate way is open from January to late February (weather permitting). Hire skates or a sled from one of the huts on the canal or take your own. Access to the canal is free for anyone to use so don’t miss out; just wrap up warm as it was -25 when we visited. To help warm up try one of Ottawa’s famous BeaverTails (a pastry in the shape of a Beaver tail.), my favourite had to be the Maple Syrup topping.
Visit Jacques Cartier Park-Snowflake Kingdom with its super slides and magnificent snow sculptures. Race your friends down the slides or visit the Extreme Zone with its Zip line, maze, go-karts and adventure course. In the evenings it lights up with special effects and DJ rhythms. Look out for the Ice-Hog family as they are known to hang out here.
Along with all of the outdoor activities on offer there are events happening in many of Ottawa’s fascinating museums, and a good opportunity to grab a hot drink and defrost.
For further details please call us on 01323 446550 or Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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