Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Holiday in Paphos, Cyprus

Situated in the South-west of Cyprus, Paphos has an interesting harbour with lots of fishing and pleasure boats and the Saturday market in the old town should not be missed. Just inland are three championship golf courses, where slightly cooler temperatures mean that you can tee off comfortably throughout the year. Other sights include the Tomb of the Kings and the Paphos mosaics. A few kilometres to the north, Coral Bay has an excellent beach, while Peyia is a firm favourite with many visitors. For a quiet, low-key holiday you could head a little further north to the Akamas peninsula, famous for its turtles, and the very pleasant fishing village of Latchi.
Situated 2 miles south of Paphos town, Kato Paphos was an important port during the 4th Century BC. The whole area is scattered with remains of the past and is an archaeological paradise for any visitor. The tourist area of Kato Paphos stretches along a shoreline boulevard from the large hotels to the east of the resort to the harbour, and then from the harbour along the coast on the Kings Road to the Tomb of the Kings. The distance from one end to the other takes just over an hour to walk, which has resulted in the formation of two distinguishable tourist areas namely the harbour area and the Tomb of the Kings area.
The majority of the holiday accommodation in the harbour area is situated in Universal Gardens, a 10-15 minute walk inland. There is a beach within walking distance of the harbour and Universal Gardens.
Places of Interest
The Harbour
Full of colourful fishing boats and yachts from all over Europe.
St Paul’s Pillar
Situated to the west of Ayia Kyriaki Church, the pillars were named after St Pauls visit to Paphos in 45 AD
Paphos Museum
Attractive collection of Cypriot antiquities from the Paphos area, dating from the Neolithic Age to 1700 AD.
The Mosaics of Paphos
House of Dionysos, House of Theseus and the recently excavated House of Aion. The amazing mosaic floors, of these 3rd century AD noblemen's villas, are considered among the finest in the Eastern Mediterranean. They mostly depict scenes from Greek mythology and are beautifully executed.
Paphos Medieval Castle
Originally built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbour, it was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century, then dismantled by the Venetians in 1570, who found themselves unable to defend it against the Ottomans, who in their turn restored and strengthened it after they captured the island.
Paphos Odeon
A small 2nd century Odeon entirely built of limestone blocks. It was uncovered by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities in 1973 and is now regularly used for musical and theatrical performances.
Theoskepasti Church
Theoskepasti means 'Veiled by God' and according to tradition, God sent down a fog to protect the original church during the Arab raids. The modern church was built in 1923.
Restaurant Recommendations
Close to the Alexander the Great Hotel. This is probably the best restaurant in Pafos and you must book in advance. It is the ideal place for a special occasion and prices are similar to top restaurants in the UK. Tel: 00357 26912588
Situated opposite Theoskepastis church, just off Bar Street. A quality Italian restaurant with good service.
One of the best meze houses and great food at reasonable prices. They also offer all of the local main courses as starters so it is a great place to experiment. Closed on Monday and only open in the evenings.
A traditional Cypriot restaurant with Greek dancers. The 18-course meze is very good value and food from the grill is also good. Opposite the Robin Hood on Bar Street.
A quality curry house opposite the Alexander the Great Hotel
A traditional Cypriot restaurant with friendly service
varied menu with reasonable prices. Near the Amathus Beach hotel
Excellent French restaurant but can be expensive. Near the Avanti hotel
Varied menu and often have 3-course offers. Near the Avanti hotel
Classy French restaurant but expensive. Near the Amathus Beach hotel
Classy modern European. Near the Amathus Beach hotel
Deep Blue
Excellent fish restaurant
La Spaghetteria
A popular Italian Restaurant with a varied selection of dishes
One of the best Chinese restaurants in Paphos. Same road as Alexander the Great on left from harbour.
Situated 2 miles south of Paphos town, Kato Paphos was an important port during the 4th Century BC. The whole area is scattered with remains of the past and is an archaeological paradise for any visitor. The tourist area of Kato Paphos stretches along a shoreline boulevard from the large hotels to the east of the resort to the harbour, and then from the harbour along the coast on the Kings Road to the Tomb of the Kings. The distance from one end to the other takes just over an hour to walk, which has resulted in the formation of two distinguishable tourist areas namely the harbour area and the Tomb of the Kings area.
Stretching for two miles from the Catacombs to the Tomb of the Kings the holiday accommodation is on either side of the costal road. Walking distance to the harbour is from 15-30 minutes and this area is very close to the beach.
Places of Interest
Tombs of the Kings
Wide area containing underground tombs carved out of solid rock dating to 4th century BC, many decorated with Doric pillars. Whether Kings were buried here or not, the magnificence of the tombs gave the locality its name.
Restaurant Recommendations
Fat Mama’s
The fillet steak is superb and the portions are massive. The restaurant offers “entertainment” throughout your meal. You can’t book so just turn up.
Peach Blossom
Excellent Chinese/Japanese/Thai Restaurant. One of the best in Paphos. Opposite Fat Mamas
Another excellent Chinese restaurant
Classy modern European restaurant
Offers local and international cuisine and is reasonably priced
Coral Bay is 10km from Kato Paphos and has developed into a tourist area and holiday village with houses owned by locals as well as many British, who have established a well organised community. There are a number of tavernas and restaurants and the sandy beaches are some of the best in the area. The water is very shallow so it is ideal for young children and non-swimmers and there is a wealth of water sports facilities on the beach.
Places of Interest
An early bronze age settlement which was fortified and believed to be a major disembarkation point for the first Greek settlers to the island.
Restaurant Recommendations
Coral King
Situated in the heart of Coral Bay this restaurant offer a lovely setting with efficient, friendly waiter service
Located near Avakas Gorge. In the summer you can sit out in the sun on the top of a mountain with a cool breeze blowing through the vines. Viklari is made out of the remains of an old castle (The Last Castle) with grape vines hanging above your head. The grapes are served as a desert if you want them. The food is mainly Cypriot salads and BBQ'S-absolutely delicious! A very nice restaurant! It is advisable to try to get here with an off-road vehicle. Open in season, but probably best to telephone first on 26 991088 or 99 489000.
Phideas Tavern
Is a must for any visit to Coral Bay. Your host will be Phideas, an evenings entertainment in himself. As you will see when you walk through his door, he has a collection of tea towels from around the world, so if you are coming pack a tea towel with some sort of local design in your suitcase, he will get you to personally sign it before hanging it with the hundreds of others he has in his collection. The food is meze, which means he will bring you various Cypriot dishes one after another until you tell him to stop, you get everything from salads, cheeses, grilled meats, sausages, it's truly an experience to remember!!
The picturesque village of Peyia tumbles down a hillside overlooking the sea. The village has a church and some interesting little houses and is of Byzantine origin. Most of the accommodation in Peyia are villas situated between the village and Coral Bay.
Places of Interest
Jail Pub
Situated in the village and used to be a regional prison in Ottoman times
Restaurant Recommendations
Serves a good fixed meze
Generous-portioned appetizers and nearly always full
The village of Yeroskipou is 2km from Kato Paphos. The worship of Aphrodite brought great importance to this village where her Holy Gardens (Yieros Kipos) was where pilgrims stopped to relax before continuing there journey to the Holy Temple of Paleapaphos. The village square, with cafes and souvenir shops, is always busy with people.
Places of Interest
Folk Art Museum
The name of the village comes from the Greek word "Hieroskepos", the sacred Garden of Aphrodite. Fascinating collection of Cyprus folk arts and crafts gathered together in the house known as Hadjismith.
Ayia Paraskevi Church
One of the most interesting and attractive Byzantine Churches on the island, dating to the 10th century, with a vaulted basilica, a nave and two aisles surmounted by five domes, with later frescoes dating to the 15th century.
Restaurant Recommendations
Seven St Georges Tavern
Experience a truly authentic Cypriot evening (closed Monday)
The village is 5km from Kato Paphos and is where ancient tombs were found. It is located just off the coastal road to Coral Bay. Many properties in the village have sea views.
Places of Interest
Panayia Khryseleousa Church
Dating back to the 13th century and one of the rarest of its type in Cyprus
Restaurant Recommendations
Petros the owner also cooks and waits. Very pleasant service which opens from breakfast till late into the night. A few tables situated outside on the small balcony. Menu is typical Cypriot but you can also pop in there during the day to make a special request or ask Mrs.Petros to make a vegetarian dish. Very reasonably priced and good village wine.
Railway Tavern
Good British pub food
The village is 7km from Kato Paphos and was built in the middle ages as an agricultural estate, although remains have been found of even earlier civilisations. It is a centre for banana plantations and similar to Chlorakas, is just off the coastal road with sea views.
Places of Interest
Banana plantation
Stretching along the coastline between the village and the sea
Restaurant Recommendations
The Pithary
In the village with an extensive international menu
Apothiki (The Old Barn Tavern)
a rustic-looking place, but good food, including a fantastic meze
Lovely food and atmosphere. Booking is essential
The village is 6km from Kato Paphos and in the spring the countryside around the village is full of wild flowers and cyclamen. Many properties in the village have sea views.
Places of Interest
Church of Panagia Chrydeleousa
Dating back to the 12th century contains wall paintings of the 12th to 16th century
Restaurant Recommendations
Big Brother Tavern
Traditional food in a friendly environment
Latchi a picturesque fishing village situated on the North West Coast. Before tourism had discovered Latchi its main industry apart from fishing was the exportation of sea sponges. The main focal point of Latchi is the fishing harbour sporting fishing boats bobbing gently on the clear waters weighed down with nets, wicker baskets and the catch of the day. Fresh fish can be sampled in one of the many small stone build tavernas surrounding the harbour; a popular eating place for the locals. Sun worshippers and beach goers will appreciate the sandy/pebbly beaches nestling on the Akamas National Park. Cool waters and gentle summer breezes. By night Latchi becomes a hive of activity with night cruises, local discothèque and a selection of bars and restaurants to choose from.
Places of Interest
Baths of Aphrodite
A small semi-cave draped with cool vegetation. Water drips from a spring at the top into a pool of water. It is believed that bathing in the pool would bestow eternal youth, but unfortunately it is not permitted to enter the water
Latchi Harbour
Populated with small fishing boats this is slowly becoming one of the most important attractions of the Paphos district
Restaurant Recommendations
Yangos and Peter's
The oldest restaurant in Latchi serving fresh seafood
Traditional Cypriot restaurant
Traditional Cypriot restaurant in Polis old town
Traditional Cypriot restaurant in Polis old town
This country town derives its name from the Greek word for city, and is the shortened version of Polis Chrysohou, which translated, means “the City of the Golden Land” thus named for the fertile land surrounding the river Chrysochou. There are no large hotels so travellers can step into a world away from the usual tourist attractions and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this small but attractive village. The main feature of Polis has to be the village square boasting cobbled streets, souvenir shops, banks, jewellers, chemists and bars where thirsty travellers can sample locally made wines, including Command aria a sweet dessert wine favoured by “Richard the Lion Heart” and used as a holy communion wine. Traditional restaurants surrounding the square offer tantalising home baked cuisine. Ice cream parlours, tiny coffee shops are a few of the delights on offer in Polis. Walking enthusiasts will love the many walks available in the area.
Places of Interest
The Archaeological Museum
Two galleries worth of grave finds from nearby Marion and Arsine
Adios Andronicus
A little sixteenth century church
Restaurant Recommendations
A family tavern offering good maze
Moustakallis Tavern
For a good Souvla off the Polis Square just say the word Moustakallis and you're there!
Mylos Tavern
Mylos Restaurant in Pano Gialia welcomes you to a traditional Cyprus Taverna. Mylos is one of those hidden tavernas you must discover and visit in your quest for the real Cyprus
Savvas Bar
For a good breakfast try this restaurant in Polis square. Savvas and Demetris offer various local, continental and of course for the shy, English breakfast.
Situated 1500m from Latchi, the inland turning leads to a hillside village dotted with luxury villas. The village is famous for its Easter Sunday Festival.
Places of Interest
Petratis Gorge
Famous for its bat cave (one of two caverns here) filmed by David Attenborough in 1985
Restaurant Recommendations
The Stone Tavern
Assorted oven dishes, roasts and meze
Situated on the coast 7km north of Polis Argaka is a small traditional Cypriot farming village with a church and a few tavernas. The nearest beach is a short walk from all of our properties and the popular resorts of Latchi and Polis are a short drive away
Places of Interest
Ayios Merkourios Monastery
Agia Harbour
Restaurant Recommendations
Lizas Place Tavern
This tavern is only 500meters from the villas offering local Cuisine in a nice atmosphere.
Cyprus is the new jewel in the crown for golfers seeking golfing breaks in the warmth of the eastern Mediterranean. It offers golfers challenging world-class championship courses, top quality hotels, safety, warm hospitality and almost year round sunshine. There are currently three golf courses within a short drive of Paphos.
Aphrodite Hills Golf Club
This spectacular Resort Course designed by Cabell Robinson really puts Cyprus on the golfing map. It is located on two stunning plateaus with views of the Med. Its fantastic condition provides for a great golfing experience. Must play course when in Cyprus - on a par with top resort courses in Europe. 20km from Kato Paphos.
Par: 71, Yardage: 6815, Maximum handicap: 28
Tsada Golf Club
Founded in 1994 on the hills of Tsada, the Tsada Golf Club is set in the grounds of a 12th century monastery, in a gentle valley. Situated on the outskirts of Paphos on an altitude of 550m above sea level, it ensures cool breezes during the summer months. From the 7th tee a monk can often be seen in the garden of the monastery. The course, designed by Donald Steel in two loops of nine, reveals the subtle hand of a man who always allows a course to blend into its natural surroundings. 10km from Paphos.
Par: 72, Yardage: 6060, Maximum handicap: 28
Secret Valley Golf Club
It lies in a scenic valley with grand trees adding to the course`s maturity and the beautiful scalped natural rock formations offer panoramic views to the golfer. It`s believed that the course lies by "Petra tou Romiou" the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.
The front nine offers four holes for warming up, two birdie opportunities and a dog leg. The back nine plays longer than the first nine and the challenge starts immediately - no warm-up holes on this side. 18km from Paphos.
Par: 72, Yardage: 6120, Maximum handicap: 28
Paphos makes a good destination for divers and Paphos Lettings recommends leading dive centre Cydive. Cydive has been established in Paphos for over 25 years and was the first dive centre in Cyprus to achieve PADI IDC five-star accreditation.
Cydive offer a wide range of dives, training courses and packages including diving for children. They visit over 50 dive sites throughout the year and at any one time they have 24 unique sites in their fortnightly timetable.
Cyprus is a good place to learn to dive with some basic sites on offer, as well as progression onto the simple wrecks then onto the more adventurous wreck, cave and tunnel and night dives. Most dive sites are only a few minutes boat journey and there are a number of shore dives available. The Zenobia is one of the best wreck dives in the world and the wreck is worth a trip to Cyprus for alone. There are also sites where artefacts such as Roman pottery can be found on the seabed.
Please call us on 08700 429147 or email at address below to receive a 5% discount and a representative from Cydive will contact you.
It has to rate as one of the strangest places to find a ski run, but Mt Olympos, the highest point on Cyprus, boasts not one but four pistes. In addition, there are three T-bar ski lifts, a ski school, a shop hiring out skis and boots and a restaurant. Nobody comes to Cyprus specifically to ski, but if you are here at the right time of year (December to February) and fancy a quick slalom in between the islands more traditional sights, it is certainly a unique place in which to strap on the skis.
Hera - 350m long - Beginner
Aphrodite - 150m long - Beginner
Hermes - 150m long - Intermediate
Zeus - 500m long - Advanced
At both the North Face (Zeus lift) and especially the Sun Valley area of the resort, there is ski equipment rental via the Cyprus Ski Club. It pays to get there early as the rental equipment ranges from excellent high quality latest models to mediocre relics of 20+ years ago, and on busy weekends they all go pretty fast!
A daily ski-pass costs around CY£13, Lessons CY£11 and equipment hire CY£10
Located close to the sea front within the tourist area of Kato Paphos. Nestling amidst 3500sqm of landscaped grounds, it allows comfortable spread of its wide range of attractions, facilities and food & beverage outlets. Perfect engineering and the latest technology guarantees a high level of safety and water hygiene. There are all types of water slides, shutes and even kamikaze style slides for those who enjoy speed. If you prefer taking life at a more leisurely pace, that is equally possible on the `Lazy River` and as water fun is hungry work, there are plenty of places to enjoy a snack and cool drink before going on your favourite ride - just one more time…
Paphos offers a number of walks the most popular of which are as follows:
The Aphrodite Trail – 7.5km – 3 hours duration
Starts at the Baths of Aphrodite with views of Polis and the Paphos Forest.
The Adonis Trail - 7.5km – 3 hours duration
Starts at the Baths of Aphrodite with views of Lara, Tzioni and Karavopetres beaches.
The Smigies Trail - 2.5km – 1-hour duration or 5km – 2-hour duration
Starts at Neo Chorio with views east of Polis Chrysochous Bay, Latchi, Pachyammos and Paphos Forest.
Pissouromouttis Trail – 3km – 1.5 hours duration
Starts at Neo Chorio with views of Polis Bay and the beaches of the Akamas.
Kathikas Trail - 2km - 1-hour duration
Starts near Kathikas and passes a stone-built fountain and the chapel at Agia Marina
The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (Tel 020 7569 8800) publish a guide called Nature Trails which lists a number of other trails on the island.
There is karting in Kato Paphos (near the water park) and in Coral bay.

Colin Hall is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Paphos Lettings who are experts in arranging tailor-made accommodation in Paphos, Cyprus
For more information on Paphos, Cyprus or to book holiday accommodation visit our website:

Waddesdon Manor and Garden, Buckinghamshire

A popular tour when visiting the south of England is to Waddesdon Manor near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild created Waddesdon Manor in 1874. His love of France and French art is instantly obvious by the startling sight, confronted by first time visitors to Waddesdon, of an extravagantly turreted chateau in the French Renaissance style sitting on a hilltop in rural Buckinghamshire. However it is not only the exterior of Waddesdon Manor that is stunning. The Rothschilds were the greatest collectors of the 19th century and inside the house you can see one of the finest collections of French 18th century decorative arts in the world.
Going round the house you get a glimpse of a way of life most of us can only dream of. Waddesdon was always intended as a venue to entertain and give pleasure to friends during ‘Saturday to Monday’ parties. Highlights of which would be tours of the house and the garden both of which reflect the personality of the Baron and his penchant for gimmicks and novelties. The number of rooms open to the public is one of the best things about visiting this house. Unlike some stately homes where you can only visit 3 or 4 rooms, at Waddesdon you can really let the imagination run riot and entertain thoughts of how it would be to be a guest of Baron Ferdinand as large parts of the house are open to view The only disappointment, to my mind, is that there are no kitchens open as I always find the kitchens a fascinating part of the history of a house.
You really do need a full day to visit Waddesdon Manor because as well as the house, which takes a good two hours plus to do justice there are many features to view outdoors. When Baron Rothschild arrived at Waddesdon the site was totally bare, in his own words, “There was not a bush to be seen, nor was there a bird to be heard” This is hard to believe now as six years later it had been completely transformed. Although a French Landscape architect, Elie Laine, helped him in the layout of the hard landscaping many of the planting schemes were designed by Ferdinand. This results in an intriguing mixture of French formality and English romantic parkland. On arriving at Waddesdon, as you walk up the hill toward the Manor, carefully sited gaps in the planting reveal glimpses of the lovely Buckinghamshire countryside. Even in the garden Ferdinand’s love of object d’art is reflected in his collection of sculptures, which are placed throughout the garden. Ferdinand built the cast iron Aviary before 1889 to house his collection of exotic birds, from all over the world, including ibises, flamingos and African cranes. This Aviary was restored in 2003 and now houses a breeding pair of Rothschild Mynahs, a species that became extinct in the wild as recently as 2004.
No visit to Waddesdon would be complete with a visit to the Stables restaurant, which boasts a menu, which is not vast but includes a regularly changing selection of well-cooked meals.
As well as all this, Waddesdon also host special monthly events such as a Fine Food and Wine fare in May where 25 producers from across the country sell the highest quality food, wines and spirits in the Old Coach House at the Stables. There are regular wine tasting days where Waddesdon’s own Master of Wine uses 6 wines to introduce guests to the pleasure of wine tasting. For those hardy enough to get up for a 6.30 a.m. start there are regular early morning wildlife walks where you can enjoy a peaceful walk through the grounds looking for Waddesdon Wildlife before returning to the Manor Restaurant for breakfast.
Waddesdon Manor is a gem and well worth a visit if touring England in the area around Buckinghamshire.

Susan Robson provides catered accommodation and personal tours to stately homes and gardens in the south central area of England. (

Riviera Maya, Mexico – Paradise Defined

The Riviera Maya on the Caribbean coast was a secret getaway to paradise for many years. No longer. Now it is considered one of the finest beach areas in the world.
Riviera Maya
Located on the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo, the Riviera Maya is jaw dropping beautiful. Although the area was only known to a select few for years, the last 10 years has seen a boom in tourism and resorts. Depending on your personal views, this is or isn’t a good development.
The best-known destination in the area is the beach town of Cancun. From Cancun, you can travel to the south down the beaches. Since the Riviera is not a defined area, it is generally agreed the town of Tulum is the southernmost point. Regardless of how you definite it, the beaches along the coast have something for everyone.
Top Locations
Although everyone has different views, Cancun is as good a place to start as anywhere. If you want to cram as much as possible into your vacation, this is the place. From loafing on the beach to snorkeling and jet skiing, your beach needs will be satisfied. If you prefer an adventure, you can head inland to see Mayan ruins or take jungle tours. The downside of Cancun, on the other hand, is it tends to be a bit crowded and lacks the “authentic Mexican feel.”
To get a better feel for the local culture, you should consider heading down the coast to explore the little towns dotting the coast. In places such as Tulum and Xpu-Ha, you can experience the laid back Mexican culture while staying in cheap cabanas. It’s a slow life, but truly amazing. Have you seen Corona Beer commercials showing people on the beach on thought, “Where is that?” This is the place.
The Riviera Maya is an incredibly beautiful collection of beaches. Next time you get a hankering for a beach vacation, check out this paradise.

Rick Chapo is with - makers of travel journals. Writing journals are perfect travel accessories. Visit to read more travel articles and travelogues.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Travel to South America: How to Start

You set your mind and you're ready to travel to South America, a magical place of immense beauty where myth and legend continue to walk hand in hand. I've traveled 18 months in South America and can give you some tips on how to prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure.
Common Sense
We all hear the unpleasant stories and South America has a fame of being dangerous. I traveled thousands of miles traversing cities, jungles, islands and mountains. I survived 6 weeks in a street child care center in the favelas of Salvador da Bahía (Brazil) and had the party of a lifetime during carnival. Nothing, I repeat, nothing happened. Use your common sense. Avoid badly lit streets at night and if your sixth sense is giving you the "something is wrong" sign then take a taxi to your destination.
Travel Guide Book
The first thing that you will need is a travel guide book. It will be your best companion in your search for adventure. I can highly recommend Lonely Planet´s South America on a Shoestring to get you started. The book covers all you need to know to get the most out of your trip and is ideal to plan your journey ahead. I've used the guide extensively during my 18 month adventure. They offer excellent separate travel guides of all the countries (besides using the Lonely Planet Shoestring I've used their separate travel guides of Peru and Brazil). Their guides are the most popular among backpackers.
Other popular guides are The Rough Guide to South America and the South American Handbook. Ideal, but not practical because you want to travel light, would be to enjoy the adventure with a Lonely Planet and either the Rough Guide or the Handbook.
Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese
The most rewarding thing for me was the fact that you can travel in a huge continent like South America with only 2 languages. Spanish and Portuguese. If you plan to travel just for a few weeks you can invest in a Spanish and/or Brazilian Portuguese Phrase Book. English is not widely spoken and even a basic knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese makes the trip so much more rewarding (they're extremely willing to help you, so don't worry, be happy).
If on the other hand you're planning to travel for a few months I can highly recommend taking a language course. Ideal would be in a school in South America (I took lessons in Quito, Ecuador, and had a private teacher for $2.50/h).
Walking Shoes
South America's nature is overwhelming. You'll walk for many hours day after day. It would be a shame to walk in the footsteps of the Incas with blisters on your feet. My biggest recommendation is to invest in high quality walking shoes with Gore-Tex.
Health Vaccinations
Yellow Fever (if you plan to go to the Amazon Basin), Typhoid (consists of two injections taken 4 weeks apart), Diphtheria-Tetanus, Polio, Cholera (only when necessary), Smallpox
Medical Kit:
Depending on what you plan to do you can include the following: Antiseptic cream, aspirin, lomotil for diarrhea, antibiotics, throat lozenges, ear and eye drops, antacid tablets, motion sickness medication, alcohol swabs, water purifier, lip salve, foot and groin powder, thermometer (in a case), surgical tape, assorted sticky plasters, gauze, bandages, butterfly closures, scissors and last but not least, first-aid booklet
Note: malaria pills are required in the amazon basin, please be aware that those pills are very strong and you should check with your doctor before departure
Traveling Gear
Obviously a high quality backpack is a must. Choose the type that has different compartments that can be opened separately. Very handy if you need something quickly. Travel as light as possible. A heavy backpack is destined to undermine your traveling pleasure.
Depends on where you go. If it's the mountains and the jungle, get some quality clothing from home. If it's the beach, buy your t-shirts there (cheap).
Camping and Climbing Gear:
You can rent camping and climbing material in South America but the quality may be questionable. Always check the material. Bring your own gear if possible. I traveled 18 months with my own tent and various camping utensils.
Pictures are something personal. Some people just want some snap shots, others want to publish in the National Geographic. All my pictures were taken with a cheap Nikon F50 camera. Have a look at some amazing photographs at
I had two zoom lenses, a 35-80 mm. and a 70-210mm. I also dragged a tripod and an excellent flash with me. I used FUJI slides (100 ASA) but you definitely need 200 to 400 ASA if you plan to go to the jungle. A polarize filter enhances the colours tremendously on sunny days.
South America will embrace you with open arms. It's nature, people and history is overwhelming. With the right preparation and set of mind you're ready for an unforgettable adventure.

Mark Van Overmeire is a passionate musician, photographer and traveler. He has traveled extensively in South America and Southeast Asia.
After spending 4 years in South America he released his critically acclaimed CD Impresiones, a musical adventure traveling from world to jazz, from folk to classical, from ambient to soundtrack. The 6 compositions on Impresiones were composed, arranged and produced by Mark.
As a passionalte traveler Mark has been able to shoot many wonderful photographs and various pictures have been published in magazines and websites. You can visit his portfolio at
Mark founded Travel Amazing South America, a travel website at on June 2005. Travel Amazing South America offers many wonderful photographs, stories and tips for a journey to south america.

A Cruising Honeymoon

Today more than ever newly married couples of all ages are opting for cruise honeymoons. What could be better after months and months of high-stress and preparation of the wedding than for the couple to be able to lay back, relax and not have to think of anything other than each other? No cares about anything. It's all been done for you. Along with being a carefree vacation choice cruises are generally very affordable. Lodging, entertainment, food and all shipboard activities included in the price.

Some cruise ships even offer romantic honeymoon packages. Imagine a private oasis for the two of you. Arriving in your room to find a bottle of champagne, flowers and gourmet nibbles. Make time to have a romantic massage for two, how about the honeymoon table specially set aside in the dining room? How about a pampering facial, manicure and pedicure for the bride? Most cruise ships also offer complimentary sessions for hair and make up, depending on the package you choose.

The most difficult decision about the cruise could be one that takes place months before the cruise itself. It's the decision of which cruise to take. This would depend of course on the couple and their interests. The Caribbean is a very popular honeymoon cruse destination, along with Hawaii and Mexico. What could be more romantic than walking hand in hand with sweet warm tropical breezes blowing and a full moon shining overhead?

Cruises are the ultimate all inclusive honeymoon. You unpack one time, and have six or seven or even more days of cruising from port to port shopping and exploring each one. You can take the excursions offered by the cruise line or do some exploring on your own. Your time is your own, and this is the true beauty of a cruise. You have no where in particular to go, and all day to get there. You can sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, relax by the pool all day and go dancing into the wee hours of the night.

Hana Lee

This article courtesy of

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Top City Museums In Spain

Spain, with its myriad of influences and epic history, is a country with a diverse gamut of sights and sounds to offer its 45 million tourists who visit every year. An area where this can be seen in particular is in its museums and galleries, a rich history of art and culture has left Spain a huge legacy in this department with names such as Dali, Picasso and Miro leading the list:
Guggenheim, Bilbao:
Now one of the most easily recognised buildings in Europe, the Guggenheim in Bilbao is a work of art itself. Opened in 1997 and designed by American architect Frank O. Gehry, the museum has been a lynchpin for the city’s redevelopment programme and in many ways the museum symbolises the new, modern Bilbao.
Standing right in the city centre alongside the river the museum offers 11,000 sqm of exhibition space over three galleries. The museum has a body of permanent work always on display as well as large exhibitions which run for months at a time. Currently on View is the “Aztec Empire” comprising of a huge body of work from the pre-columbian civilization. Previous exhibitions have encompassed an eclectic blend of art with work from the likes of Matisse, Michelangelo, Reubens and Warhol having graced its corridors.
Dali Theatre-Museum, Figueres
Located in Figueres, the Dali Theatre-Museum is the broadest collection of his work in the world tracing his first artistic forays, the surrealist period and even including some of the last works painted before his death. Figueres also happens to be Dali’s hometown and the decision to build the museum from the ruins of the town’s Spanish civil war-damaged theatre, didn’t seem like a difficult one. Indeed, it was here as a boy where Dali first had the chance to display his work so is a fitting place to exhibit the cream of his life’s work. Dali himself supervised the building and creation of the museum turning it into a huge surrealist playground. Dali also created some works specifically for the museum itself – the “Mae West Room”, the “Wind Palace Room” and the “Monument to Francesc Pujols and the Rainy Cadillac” are larger than life and superb examples of Dali’s fertile imagination.
Reina Sofia, Madrid
One of Madrid’s most celebrated museums, the Reina Sofia houses a huge collection of contemporary art. Once the city’s San Carlos hospital, the museum was originally founded in 1986 but underwent a serious revamp in 1990 at the hands of British architect, Ian Ritchie. They envisioned creating something to rival the Tate in London and the Pompidou centre in Paris, and, with 36,000 sqm of exhibition space, it’s one of the world’s largest museums and an extremely impressive place. The most famous painting housed there is undoubtedly Picasso’s Guernica, an immense cubist work and war protest and probably the great painter’s most famous work. Visitors can also see the many preliminary sketches that he made for the work. Other great Spanish artists on display are Dali, Miro and Orteiz to name but a few as well as Spain’s most important artists of the last 20 years.
Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona
One of Spain’s most important artists and often overlooked due to the lure of Picasso and Dali, the Fundacio Joan Miro in the Montjuic area of Barcelona is well worth a visit. Spacious and set in its own grounds, the museum is a step away from the regular metropolitan museums and galleries – the white building built around an internal courtyard is typically Mediterranean. Huge amounts of natural light help to bring Miro’s surrealist works to life and the museum also houses some of his sculptures and ceramic works as well as the paintings he’s more famous for. The museum also has a permanent exhibition space in which the foundation gives special attention to Spain’s more experimental artists – not everyone’s cup of tea, granted, but worth a look if you’re visiting the museum.

Mike McDougall has five years experience working as a travel writer and marketeer. He is currenlty working to provide additional content for, a Spanish language school with an excellent presence in Spain and Latin America.

Isla Mujeres, Mexico – The Island of Women

Isla Mujeres in Mexico is a great way to escape the tourist crush in Cancun. Roughly 9 miles offshore, the island contains the Mexican beach culture of a bygone era. Oh, and the name translates to “The Island of Women.”
Isla Mujeres
First things first, the Island of Women is not populated with more, different or any other classification of women than you would normally find in Mexico. Okay, there is a Bay of Women, but don’t go there. Instead, Isla Mujeres is simply a stunningly beautiful island.
Snorkeling and Diving
El Garrafon National Underwater Park is located on the southwest end of the Island. If you’re interested in underwater fun, this park provides tremendous visibility in warm water. Unfortunately, a private company now runs the park. This, of course, means you have to pay to enter and the tranquil area has a definite touristy feel with kayaks and other water toys for rent. Still, the park is very large and your experience shouldn’t be overly impacted.
If you’re looking for more of a beach town feel, the northern tip of the island should be your destination. Playa Norte’ offers nice beaches, restaurants, hotels and more or less everything you could need. Head out on Zacil Ha road and you can find some fairly isolated beaches.
If total isolation is your thing, there are plenty of remote beach areas on the island. Walk south from Playa Pescador and you’ll leave humanity behind. The same is true if you head north from Playa Lancheros. Just grab a map of the island or ask a local for directions.
Getting There
Isla Mujeres has an airport, but traveling by boat from Cancun is cheaper. There are numerous public ferries traveling to the island. Getting back and forth is no problem. Just make sure you check the schedule for return trips.
Although Isla Mujeres doesn’t live up to its name, there is definite beauty to be found. If you vacation in Cancun, make sure you visit the island for a one-day getaway.

Rick Chapo is with - makers of travel journals. Writing journals are perfect travel accessories. Visit to read more travel articles and travelogues.

The Best Time To Go To Disney World

When deciding on the best time for you and your family to visit Disney World, the main issue is usually the crowds. When visiting any major theme park, you are going to experience large crowds; And since Disney World is the most popular theme park in the world, there is hardly a day at the park without large crowds. If you do your research, you can find certain times of the year, January and September for example, that are less busy at Disney World. Even though you may enjoy shorter lines during these times, there are downsides to going at these less busy times of the year. For one, Disney has more festivities planned during certain times of the year like Christmas and New Years. For many people, it is worth fighting the crowds to be at Disney World during these times of major festivities.
Crowds are not the only factor when deciding on the best time to visit Disney World. It is also a good idea to take the weather into account. Many people assume that any time of the year is perfect weather in Florida but that is definitely not the case. The summer time can bring extreme heat and severe thunderstorms to the Orlando area that can ruin your day at Disney World. The brief showers are usually a great time to go inside and take a break. Some of the best weather at Disney World comes in the evening with mild temperatures so make sure to rest up during the day so you’re ready to go out at night.
Other tips to keep in mind when planning a trip to Disney World:
- If you are ok with taking your kids out of school for a trip, do it! Any time other kids are at school is a great time to go to Disney World because you can expect smaller crowds and shorter lines
- Keep a close eye on park opening and closing times so you can take advantage of late nights and early starts
- Two weeks after the Thanksgiving holiday is a great time to go to Disney World because the crowds are minimal and the Christmas decorations are already up.
So when is the best time to go to Disney World? When it’s called the happiest place on Earth, every day of the year is the best time to go.

Ryan Bowman is the webmaster for, your portal for everything Disney on the internet. Going to Disney World? Find the best time to visit at