Tours Travel

A place in Florida: Margaritaville is more of an attitude than a place

A place in Florida: Margaritaville is more of an attitude than a place

There’s a place in Florida they call Margaritaville. It is more about a song, a singer, an attitude and a lifestyle than an alcoholic beverage.

  • The song, of course, is Margaritaville.
  • The singer, of course, is Jimmy Buffett.
  • The attitude, of course, is live and let live.
  • The lifestyle, of course, could be called chic beach bum.

Key West has been Margaritaville since Buffett, a transplanted Mississippian, turned the city into ‘Parrothead Capital of the US’ in 1977 with his wildly popular album. Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes Buffett has turned the song into a cult following of Parrotheads that brings in more than $ 100 million a year.

And this place in Florida, so as not to belittle its first ‘favorite sons’ of Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams and President Harry Truman, will be forever grateful. Jimmy Buffett is possibly the biggest draw Key West has ever had.

At one of his 20-30 concerts a year, Buffett was quoted as saying: ‘People ask me exactly where Margaritaville is. I say where you want me to be. If their songs are of any measure, I would want them to be on the beach, an easy and free lifestyle so popular in the Florida Keys. Buffett, now in his 60s, now lives on the beach (and tony) of Palm Beach.

The prevailing attitude in this part of Florida is to live and let live. Over the past half century, the city has become a beacon for the gay and lesbian community, which holds a nine-day Gay Pride Festival each spring.

The only time in recent memory the city was enraged was when the US Border Patrol put up a barricade on US Highway 1 in 1982 to search northbound traffic for illegal drugs and immigrants. The feds didn’t think about how that would affect tourism revenue (which, unsurprisingly, plummeted), and the city was furious.

Time to protest! In typical Keys fashion, the City Council declared the Keys’ independence, calling it República de la Concha. Of course, it was all a trick. After a minute of secession, the mayor surrendered to a Naval Air Station officer and asked him for a billion dollars in “foreign aid.”

The trick was successful. The barricade was removed. But the Conch Republic name lives on in the hearts of many residents of the Keys.

Strait tourists don’t seem to care about the city’s reputation as a “rainbow” city. They keep coming, drawn by magnets like the Hemingway House and Museum, the Conch Train Tour, the Old Town Trolley, the Aquarium, the Shipwreck Historeum Museum, the Butterfly & Nature Conservancy, the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, and the Little White House.

Harry Truman liked Key West. While he was president, he spent 175 days in the Little White House, which today is Florida’s only presidential museum. It has been visited by many presidents.

In recent years, salvaged shipwreck treasures have become a major attraction, as displayed at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.

Almost no one who comes to Key West for the first time misses the “Southernmost Point of the USA.” That’s the inscription on the buoy at the corner of South and Whitehead streets in Key West. But did you know that it really isn’t? This is why:

The true southernmost point is on the Marina property west of the buoy marker. But a tourist attraction cannot be visited on the Marina property, so the buoy will have to be enough, someone decided long ago. He took me there! And we won’t talk about the islands to the south and west of Key West.

If you don’t fly into Key West International Airport, it’s a long drive from Miami (130 miles). But it is a memorable trip down the Overseas Highway, especially when crossing the Seven Mile Bridge. On both sides, as far as the eye can see, there is nothing but water. It is like being in a boat on wheels.

The Overseas Highway was built over the track and bridges of the Overseas Railroad, which Henry Flagler built in the early 1900s. But the Labor Day hurricane in 1935 almost destroyed part of the platform, so the railroad sold it and the bridges to the state. The federal government built the Overseas Highway and completed it in 1938.

As you travel US 1 towards Key West (assuming you started in Miami), you will see Mile Markers to tell you how far you are from Key West. They’re a useful throwback to ‘Flagler’s Folly,’ as their railroad was called, and form the basis of the house numbering system in this Florida location.

Key West? You’ll know you’re headed in the right direction when you arrive at Mile Marker 100 near the Key Largo Post Office. When you get to Mile Marker 0 near the Key West Post Office, you’ll know you’re there.

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5 Holiday Weight Loss Tips and Your Reality Checks

Finding it nearly impossible to stay conscious and conflicted about weight and nutrition on vacation? Of course yes. More than half of all Americans are overweight – you are not alone.

However, a new government study might give you a glimmer of hope: The study shows that Americans only earn about a pound during the holidays. The study found that the people who participated were influenced by two main factors during the holidays: the level of hunger and the level of activity. In other words: Those who reported being less active or hungrier during the holidays had the most weight gain.

So common sense says, if you can focus on dealing with those two things, you’ll probably win your personal battle to lose weight at parties. At the very least, you will gain if you don’t add more weight to what is already waiting to be removed.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of weight gain,” says Dr. Samuel Klein, Director of the Washington University Center for Human Nutrition in St. Louis, MO. “Avoiding weight gain is much easier and better than gaining weight and then trying to lose weight.”

So the answer seems simple: eat less and exercise more. The reality of the implementation, of course, is much more difficult.

The good news is that most people overestimate the amount of weight they have gained on vacation. Less than 10% gain 5 pounds or more.

The bad news is: the small amount of weight gained is never lost. One pound of weight gain is a fairly small amount, but since it is generally not lost again: the weight accumulates over time, leading to obesity.

Now we all know that there are tons of tips about this time of year, designed to help us avoid gaining that extra pound or two while on vacation. Unfortunately, what is generally not talked about is: The reality of stress and the daily situations of the holidays. Let’s explore the tips … along with their reality checks … in depth:

Weight Loss Tip 1: Stay Active. The best thing to do is try to stick to your normal schedule and routine.

Christmas Reality Check: It’s hard enough to have some kind of decent routine in the busy months of November and December. Busy people tend to sacrifice yoga classes, long walks, and gym visits because they need time for extra things like decorating the house, cooking, cleaning before visitors arrive, and of course, shopping.

The good news: Walking around the mall and shops is great exercise, as is cleaning the house. In addition to those activities, the decoration can also be quite intensive: you are going up and down to hang things; lift, load and drag boxes out of storage; fold, twist and turn to make everything look perfect. So don’t beat yourself up for not going to the gym … you’re doing a lot of activity and everything helps!

Weight Loss Tip 2: Don’t let yourself get too hungry. If you go to a party and starve, everything will look even more delicious than usual. And of course, you will eat a lot more for that. Try to start each day with a good, solid breakfast, especially something with protein. And when you’re at the party, try chewing on the veggies to make you feel full. These two things will help keep your hunger in check, and in turn, help you refrain from “gorging yourself” on anything you see just because you’re hungry.

Christmas Reality Check: We are all very busy during the holidays, and it is not always possible to remember to eat, let alone eat well, especially in the morning when we have already fallen asleep and are now late for everything. And eating healthy at a party isn’t always possible either: not everyone in this country serves vegetable dishes, salads, or fruit bowls. Sometimes the only thing on the site is rubbish: chips, candy, and cookies.

Here’s a suggestion: Try bringing your own vegetable plate to a party where you know one won’t be available. A quick and easy way to do this is to simply buy a bag or two of pre-cut veggies and a ranch-style salad dressing. Alternatively, eat a decent meal before going to the party. Don’t overdo it, but don’t make it a light snack either. Eating first will help you ‘nibble’ a bit on the worst Christmas treats on offer.

Weight Loss Tip 3: Stay Away From Food. Literally. Just stay away from the buffet table, snacks, or treats … and you’ll be fine.

Christmas Reality Check: In most cases, food is everywhere. And even if it’s not right in front of your face, you sure can smell it! Trying to just “stay away from it” is quite unrealistic and may seem like torture to some of us. And for most people: when you can’t have something, you want it even more. So trying to stay away from food will likely only cause you to overindulge worse than it would have otherwise.

Try this instead: Allow yourself what you want. But with a catch. First: take only half the amount you normally would. And take only one meal. Eat it and enjoy it without guilt. Then wait a full 20-30 minutes before getting anything else. Then repeat the process: one item, half the serving size as you normally would, enjoy it without feeling guilty, then wait before you get something else.

Allowing yourself to eat removes the “I can’t have it (and therefore I’m more determined to have it)” mentality. It allows you to enjoy good food and holidays, without punishing yourself. This is healthy and can help enormously with the way you view food and eating in general. However, taking just half will help you avoid as many calories, fat, sugar, or other bad things that you normally avoid. And then waiting 20-30 minutes before getting anything else will help your body figure out when you’ve had enough … or too much. Therefore, you are much less likely to overdo things and feel physically bad later.

Weight Loss Tip 4: Wear cloths that are slightly snug. This should help you feel full faster and prevent you from eating too much food.

Christmas Reality Check: We want to wear looser clothes because we can’t wait to eat all that great food! Yes, wearing something tight can help us never come back for a second helping of potatoes … or it could ruin our favorite outfit.

In the end, how you approach this advice is up to you and only you. Make your decision and be happy with it.

Weight Loss Tip 5: Keep portions small. Try to eat salads and greens, and have only small amounts of anything else.

Holiday Reality Check: Taking just a small amount of anything will put you in the no-have state of mind that was mentioned above. You will feel as if you cannot have something and you will want it even more.

Instead, try the tip outlined above: take half the size you would normally take. Trying to eat just one small bite of cake will whet your appetite for more, but having a whole piece is a bit of a stretch, especially if there are 5 different cakes for you to try. Instead, try actual sampling: cut a piece half the normal size. This allows you to have a “full slice” and more than several small bites. Then wait about 20 minutes before you go and try the next cake. Even if you end up eating a little of the 5 cakes, by having a half serving of each, you have drastically reduced the number of calories, carbohydrates, and sugars compared to what you would have consumed with whole slices. And you will still feel full and satiated, rather than deprived and resentful.

So there you have it: 5 different and common tips for losing weight and eating during the holidays, followed by the reality check of each, and a suggested compromise that should help you enjoy the holidays to the fullest, without depriving yourself of the excellent food that we all see. forward to.

Whatever you decide to do, remember to have Happy Holidays!

Tours Travel

Luxury hotels: the five most expensive in the world

Staying in an expensive hotel is one of life’s little luxuries, and for some, a luxury hotel means more than just accommodation with a spa and room service. With suites that take up an entire floor and penthouses with private elevators, some hotels take the word “luxury” to a whole new level.

Royal Penthouse Suite, President Wilson Hotel, Geneva

A night in the Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson Hotel will cost you $ 53,000 for one night’s stay. With its own private elevator, there are four bedrooms, six marble-decorated bathrooms, your own personal cocktail lounge, and incredible views through bulletproof glass over Lake Geneva, Mont Blanc, and the city. There are marble and hardwood floors throughout the living room and library, and there is a dining room with a mahogany table that sets twenty-six. For visiting celebrities and heads of state, there is also top-notch security.

Hugh Hefner Sky Villa, Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas

This suite was built to model the original Playboy mansion and is the ultimate bachelor house. A night at Sky Villa will cost you $ 40,000, although it cost approximately $ 10 million to build. The villa is two stories high and has a glass elevator, 24-hour butler service, a spa that extends over the hotel, a revolving bed under a mirrored ceiling, a spa and massage room, a gym, a poker table, fireplace and pop-up plasma screen televisions. There are three rooms, so when you arrive in Las Vegas with your friends for that bachelor party, this is the place to stay.

Ty Warner Penthouse, Four Seasons Hotel, New York

The Four Seasons is the tallest hotel in the world and from this suite located on the 52nd floor you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city through the floor-to-ceiling windows. With nine rooms that have woven mother-of-pearl, gold, and platinum fabrics included in their decor, you’ll pay $ 34,000 per night. Be attended by a 24-hour butler, use the personal trainer or simply enjoy the waterfall in the Zen Room. There is a library with a grand piano and a Rolls Royce waiting to take you where you want to go.

Villa La Capula Suite, Westin Excelsior, Rome

This suite is over 6000 square feet with additional balconies and terraces. It is a two-bedroom suite, which can be converted into five bedrooms if desired, and costs $ 29,000 a night. With its traditional Roman interior, it underwent a $ 7 million renovation. There is a private kitchen, a dining room with an antique chandelier, a library, a private cinema, and your own display case with over 150 wines to choose from.

Presidential Suite, Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

For $ 25,000 a night, enjoy the Presidential Suite on the 53rd floor, with stunning views of the Roppongi Hills and the exterior gardens of the Imperial Palace. Sleep in a king-size four-poster bed, enjoy the large marble bathroom with the large flat-screen TV, and have access to a fitness center and indoor pool.

Tours Travel

Top Ten Tips for the Best Road Trip Ever

There is nothing more fun than an old fashioned road trip. I love to hit the road and explore our country. Now, I have been a “road traveler” for some time and while I love air travel, I love road trips because this is how you can really experience the country. So it’s time to whip up your favorite tunes and snacks and plan your open road trip adventure with these ten easy road trip tips.

1. Plan your trip. First, you must determine where you are going to go and then plan your trip. Planning doesn’t have to be time consuming, but you do need to know the route you are going to drive and the points of interest along the way that you will want to stop and explore. Half the fun of a road trip is seeing the sites along the way. I like MapQuest my trip and have it as my main plan of attack for my road trip. GPS is very popular these days and I recommend them, but you can’t always rely on them when you hit construction zones or accidents on your trip. This is why it is essential that you have a real map with you of the areas you will be traveling to and that you plan alternative routes if necessary.

2. Make your hotel reservations BEFORE you go. Part of the fun when traveling on the road is stopping where your heart desires, but there is nothing worse than the “no place at the inn” experience on a road trip. You may not realize that there is a “Comic Book Trade Fair”, a “Strawberry Festival” or a convention in town while you are visiting and there are no rooms available. If you don’t make your reservations in advance, not only do you risk having to sleep in your car, but you also can’t manage your road trip budget effectively. If you’re traveling with your family or a group of friends, consider staying in an all-suite hotel or even renting a timeshare – a great option for families traveling by road. Did you know that 90 percent of people who own a timeshare don’t use it on a regular basis? Many great deals can be found at some of the larger hotel chains that offer timeshares and many of them even have a washer and dryer. For my road trip to Scottsdale, I booked a fantastic one-bedroom suite with a kitchenette at a timeshare property directly through the hotel for just $ 100 a night, tax included, at the Sheraton Desert Oasis Villas.

3. Tune up your car before you go or consider renting a car. One week before your road trip, take your car in for tune-up and ask your mechanic to make sure your car fluids are full, the air pressure in your tires is the best for driving on the road, and Any other necessary concerns regarding your vehicles are addressed. If you need to fix something, it’s best to do it somewhere you can trust before your road trip. In addition, it can be more expensive when it is a must-have situation. Also, be sure to pack road safety equipment in case of emergency. For me, that kit includes my American Automobile Association membership card (Premier Membership). If you have a car that is no longer under warranty or has automatic roadside assistance, then an American Automobile Association membership is a must as it will save you a fortune in the unfortunate event that you have a breakdown and have to tow your car. If you are concerned that your current vehicle is not “road trip worthy,” then you may consider renting a vehicle for your road trip. I did this for my trip to Arizona as I found a great deal on a rental car and had peace of mind from my road trip.

4. Pack your own food and plan a picnic. I used to be addicted to stopping at fast food places on a road trip. There was something I found fun about a trip, but I’ve since learned that I prefer to pack my own food for my trip. Not only does it keep me eating healthier, but it also saves me money, especially if you travel with your family. Also, if you plan ahead, you may find that there is a great stop for a scenic picnic on your travels and packing a picnic is much better than flying the drive-through. If you make a stop, either for a picnic or to explore a cool sight along the way.

5. Bring great music or audio books! Music is truly the soundtrack to our lives and every road trip needs a soundtrack. I think of my trip to Seattle every time I hear a Phil Collins song from “No Jacket Required” because that was the main music I was listening to on that trip. I think of the island in the Bahamas harbor and the incredible walks on the Pink Sands beach every time I listen to music by Wilson Phillips. It’s like having a theme song for every vacation, but listening to the music even today will evoke fun memories of wonderful travels. I also love catching up on books that I would like to read, but are somehow easier to listen to. That’s where audio books come in and you can download them to your mp3 player, iPhone, or other PDA device. !

6. Don’t forget to pack a bag to eliminate boredom for children. One thing I have learned from Emily Kaufman’s production of the TV series “The Travel Mom” ​​is that if you are traveling with children, you need to make sure you have enough to entertain them during your road trip. She calls this the bag of boredom. Don’t forget to bring some kid-friendly music your kids like along with fun travel games including magnetic board games. DVD players are an option for really long trips and as long as your child isn’t prone to car sickness. Of course, electronic games will keep your children busy, but I encourage you to limit your time with these toys, especially if you are traveling through large scenic areas. It’s a great opportunity to bond as a family, and the memories of your child’s journey will be lost if lost on a Game Boy.

7. Remember, a road trip is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. One of my all-time favorite road trips was the day my niece, Jessica, and I drove 52 lovely miles on the “Road to Hana” on the island of Maui in Hawaii. I will never forget that the guide said, “Remember, Hana is not a destination, it is a journey.” Hana is about 52 miles from Kahului, however a typical trip to Hana takes at least three hours as the road is very winding with roughly 620 curves over 59 bridges, 46 of which have only one lane. This enchanting road trip is a memorable journey that winds through a lush tropical rain forest that is surrounded by waterfalls, black sand beaches, scenic lava cliffs, fresh fruit stands, and tropical hillsides. Jessica and I stopped at least ten times, including a picnic stop on that black sand beach. We took photos next to waterfalls, delicious fruit stands, and beautiful tropical flower gardens. You should try your road trip the same way we did our Road to Hana – enjoy your road trip as a journey, not a destination.

8. Take advantage of every stop. I like to plan my stops for gas, food, and restrooms so that I can use my time efficiently and not waste time making three stops instead of one. Probably the most important thing is that every time you stop, make sure everyone in the car uses the bathroom (even if they think they don’t have to at the time). This will reduce the stops you make just for that purpose. Also, if you are traveling with kids and you just need to make a stop to go to the bathroom, I recommend stopping at a Starbucks. Parents can have iced coffee or tea, restrooms are clean, and there aren’t many distractions for kids (like toys to buy) that a truck stop or gas station might have. Use the Starbucks store locator on their website to help you plan your stops before you go. Be a “good egg” and make a purchase at Starbucks while you’re there.

9. Avoid trouble. When you are on a road trip, you must be cautious on the streets. Don’t become a target of a crime by leaving your valuables in your car seat (DVD players, Game Boys, etc.) and don’t advertise that you are on a road trip with pillows and blankets everywhere. When you park your car, hide your valuables and road trip comforts. If you’re proactive in keeping your “I’m on a road trip” clues clearly hidden, any thieves or troublemakers should walk past your car. Another smart consideration on the street is to always park where there is good light and foot traffic, and make sure the windows are up and the doors locked every time you get out of the car. You can also buy items like “the Club” if you like that extra insurance for security. Finally, when you drive, watch your speed. Speeding gives you the opportunity to get a ticket and, more importantly, decreases your time to react if the need arises. If you are the driver, you are responsible for your passengers. When you see signs that say, “Speed ​​limits apply by photo,” believe them. Other good driving tips include avoiding rush hour, especially in larger cities, and whenever possible, taking turns driving with other people in the car. You will also want to avoid driving at night if you are unfamiliar with your surroundings.

10. Get a Go to the city card and save up to 55% on attractions and theme parks at your vacation destination. Last year, I flew my 8-year-old niece, Alexis, and my 10-year-old nephew, Tyler, to Los Angeles for their spring break (using Southwest Airlines Reward Miles, of course) and we took a road trip down . to San Diego. That’s when I discovered the Go City Card to save money in San Diego. With this card, I saved hundreds of dollars on tickets to Legoland, the wildlife park, the San Diego Zoo, and other attractions, including a whale watching in the Pacific Ocean, just by purchasing a Go San Diego card.

Instead of paying individually for each local attraction, you pay one price for up to 40 attractions (depending on which city you visit) and can create your own experience, tailoring your activities based on what you like to do, while enjoying tremendous savings. . For example, with the Go Los Angeles Card, you can choose one, two, three, five or seven-day cards at a low price and prepaid to get access to 40 included attractions. This saves up to 55% compared to buying tickets directly at Universal Studios Hollywood, LEGOLAND California, Knott’s Berry Farm, Paramount Studios, Queen Mary and many more attractions. Go to city cards They are available in many cities and vacation destinations in the US, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Honolulu, Orlando, Miami, Seattle, Blue Ridge, and even Toronto.

Final tips: Don’t forget your cell phone and make sure you have “hands free” when using it while driving. In many states, it is the law, but it is also dangerous. Always use your cell phone “hands-free” when driving. Don’t forget to update the software on your mobile phone before you leave because you don’t want to be charged higher rates for roaming charges. Finally, it is a good idea to email a copy of your itinerary to other family members or friends in case of an emergency; this is especially a good idea for women traveling together. Now, drive safe and have fun!

You can get more details on my website at

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Chicken tastes like it was born in sauce

When people ask me to think of my favorite restaurant, for whatever reason, I inevitably think of Gardens of Taxco first. I don’t go very often, really just for special meals, but my memory just doesn’t miss all the colors and flavors that this amazing West Hollywood spot has to offer.

Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who loves the Gardens of Taxco, so parking can be a bit of a hassle. There is a small lot in front of the restaurant that is almost always full and street parking can be tricky in this neighborhood. Your best bet is to go ahead and pay the $ 4 for valet parking. I promise you, it’s worth it.

Gardens of Taxco serves the most amazing and hearty five-course traditional Mexican food you will ever taste. The flavors are so delicate and unusual that they look nothing like the watered-down greasy nonsense found on popular, flavorless chains. Even before your entrée, they bring appetizers of spicy pickled vegetables and fresh tortilla chips with homemade salsa, a quesadilla with Oaxacan cheese and homemade guacamole, a tempting enchilada, and a spicy soup. And the dessert (cherry banana cream pudding and a complimentary glass of sherry) is so rich that even if it’s full, it will leave you room.

While every offering at Gardens of Taxco is wonderfully seasoned and authentic in flavor, what is not to be missed is any plate with mole. The mole served in this excellent restaurant is unlike anything you have ever dreamed of and, as the human menu narrates, it is “the best mole in town.”

Gardens of Taxco offers a variety of wines and beers to pair with a Mexican palette and sangria daiquiris by the pitcher to keep the party going.

The atmosphere here is difficult to define. Small tables and booths scattered throughout the restaurant in low light, with capacity for large parties and intimate dates.

You will feel transported to a strange and resplendent land with a fusion of Spanish and Mexican decoration. The atmosphere is lively

without being too loud or boisterous and the traveling mariachi softly playing his guitar makes Gardens of Taxco a romantic place to bring a date. There are no menus, there is simply a man, who has been there since the opening day, who recites the menu like an epic poem and designs the dinner delicacies around his personal tastes.

You won’t know what to expect when you walk through the door – the atmosphere is whimsical, yet gloomy, lively, and refined. Just know that you will be treated like a VIP and savor every bite of the delicate and unique cuisine.

Gardens of Taxco

1113 North Harper Ave.

West Hollywood, CA 90046

(323) 654-1746

Tuesday to Thursday, Sunday: 4:30 pm to 11 pm

Friday / Saturday: 4:30 pm-midnight (reservations recommended on weekends)

PS Since I’m always one of those looking for a discount, I’m not ashamed to promote Garden’s version of an “Early Bird” special. If you go Tuesday through Friday before 7pm, you can have this amazing five-course meal at half price. Visit their website for details on the coupons they offer.

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welcome to the Jungle

Aquamarine waters help drain tension as you glide above the treetops along the Belizean coast. The 12-seat single-propeller Cessna lands on the worn and bumpy paved runway just 100 yards out flanked by water at the landing and stopping points. One tight change of course and you’re heading to a local airport the size of a postage stamp. Within minutes the fresh and local produce and mail are loaded, your pilot signs the sign-in sheet and manifest, and you’re getting ready to take off on the long driveway. During this short landing until take off time, native animals are known to graze on the runway, locals will have to chase them away.

Two more landings and twenty minutes later you will land in the small town of Punta Gorda, surrounded by spectacular views of the protected and private rainforest. A secluded resort nestles among little traveled nature trails, wild shrubbery, hidden caves, tropical waterways, and centuries-old archaeological sites. Your professional guide will pick you up and take you to the resort for a refreshing, fruity drink. In your spare time, stroll down the stone walkway, among hummingbirds and tropical flora, to its two-story, hand-carved and built cabins, filled with terraces and beds with mosquito nets.

Enjoy a morning bike ride on the nature trail with your guide and picnic lunches. Visit the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Ballum Na, in Indian Creek, where you can see a beautiful and shiny toucan, a pair of jaguars, and a black howler monkey, which will hold your hand with its soft little hands as it hangs on its tail. .

There are two nearby archaeological sites documented from 790 BC. C. Nim Li Punit (Big Hat) was discovered in the eighties, where 26 stelae were unearthed. These stelae are believed to be monuments representing his life. A religious neighborhood is located on top of the rock formations. This pyramid-style construction was made without any mortar. A grassy area in the middle seemed to be a popular sport with two men and a ball.

Later, hop into a canoe or kayak and then enjoy a leisurely paddle on the Golden Stream River, through one of the few natural rainforests in the world. Your guide will point out various birds, flora, fauna and any animals that you may find; the golden and white anteater, sea otters or bats sleeping on a tree trunk. Vines hang peacefully over the trees and cross the narrow channel, while night bats sleep in a ceiber tree on the shore. The river bed is littered with debris from leaves and branches that recycle life. A sea otter basks on a rock ahead while a snake bird dives for fish.

Welcome to Jungle Camp, the jungle of Belize. Tall, arthritic-looking redwoods reach for the sky and provide an ecosystem for some jungle dwellers. A clear, unspoiled stream takes visitors from the uncivilized world to remote areas of the jungle by canoe and kayak. Beautiful and unusual flowers and plants, as well as some spiders and snakes, quietly make this their home. An easy and rewarding paddle welcomes you to a private sanctuary where tropical colored toucans, dancing butterflies and black howler monkeys peacefully cohabit.

A canopied maze with about a dozen thatched huts sits 20 feet above the ground, quietly hidden in the jungle.

A moist, green, and woody scent wafts below your nostrils. A narrow band of light is barely visible on the canopy of the trees; ceiber, palm and redwoods. In the distance, the morning songs of the kingfisher and hummingbirds sing along the river. Your flashlight beam picks up something on the ground. In the soft earth there are footprints. Cool, after rain, one after another down the trail. Upon closer inspection, you can make out the definition of these heavy but clear footprints. A jaguar prowls near the camp. Other smaller footprints are that of the Tapir, the national animal.

The jungle, or shrub as the locals call it, is home to nearly 600 species of exotic birds, mammals, and plants.

Paddle or ride a motorboat out of the jungle to Moho Caye. Your private oasis awaits you. Watch dolphins play nearby as you dock on the sandy beach. Some mangroves and pine trees provide shade for well-camouflaged iguanas and visiting humans. Beautiful shells line the path to your thatched roof tent / cabin. Relax on your private deck in an Adirondack chair or in the handcrafted redwood dining room. I breathe for man and nature. Miles of blue-green ocean to the east towards sunrise and dormant mountains to the west.

From cave exploration and jungle hikes to diving with porpoises, stingrays, and close to the largest natural reef, come see the world through emerald lenses.

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Healthy eating at fast food places: are you kidding me?

Is it possible to eat healthy in a fast food restaurant? Big name chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell want you to think that. All of these restaurants offer some type of “healthy” alternative on the menu to appeal to those who are watching their weight or just want better options. But how healthy are these options? It depends on what you order, of course.

Aside from some options that can be quite healthy, such as salads, other options that may seem wise may not be as good as they seem. Also avoid ordering anything in a large size, as this quickly adds additional calories and fat. Many foods also include additional sugars that add calories quickly.


The salads and salad dressings at McDonalds are quite low in calories and fat. A salad with dressing can go up to 500 or more calories, but this is much lower than other options. However, salads do not necessarily mean that the nutritional value is high. Many salads are made with iceberg lettuce, which is mostly water. However, if you are trying to control your weight and have no other options, a salad may be a good option. You probably won’t feel full, so snacking ahead of time can be a good option to avoid other temptations while you’re there.

Other options that seem like healthy alternatives can be misleading. Whether a food is fried or broiled will also have a great effect. But simply choosing between beef and chicken, for example, may not be enough. The Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich has 680 calories compared to Big Mac’s 560. The key is to look for grilled alternatives and avoid tempting sides, like fries or desserts.


If you are opting for a salad, choose wisely. Just because a menu item includes the word “salad” doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Wendy’s taco salad, for example, has almost 400 calories if you just look at the basic salad ingredients; Throw in the extras that come with it, and the total is nearly 700 calories. This is about a third of a day’s total on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Even a seemingly healthy baked potato with broccoli and cheese has 340 calories.

If you’re hungry, it can be very difficult to avoid the temptations of the fast food restaurant. This can be dangerous because of the feeling of added fat and calories. If you fall for the temptation at Wendy’s and order some “large” fries, you will consume an additional 590 calories and 28 grams of fat.

What about alternatives like low-fat strawberry flavored yogurt? The yogurt itself has 200 calories, and the granola topping that comes with it has an additional 110 calories. By comparison, an average cup of store-bought low-fat yogurt will have around 100 calories.

Burger King

Burger King offers a variety of dining options through its website for those looking for carbs, fat, or calories. Many listed salads have between 10 and 13 grams of fat, or between 90 and 117 calories from fat. Salads fall in the 400 total calorie range. The toppings will add another 70 to 270 calories, for a total of up to nearly 700 calories. Again, this is almost a third of a day’s total caloric intake. The original Whopper sandwich with everything in it has about the same number of calories. Depending on the salad and dressing chosen, the salad option may have more total fat than the Whopper. In other words, eating a “healthy” salad instead of a sandwich may not provide the benefits you are looking for.

Taco bell

Taco Bell offers “Fresco Style” options that have less than ten grams of fat per serving. This results in the removal of cheeses and sauces from the product. This style can reduce your total fat and calorie intake. Many items on the Fresco Style menu have less than 400 calories. The key to ordering via this method is knowing which Fresco Style items are available and which are not. Most articles offer this option, but many do not. Ask before ordering.

One last word of caution when it comes to fast food: Even when the options are low in fat and calories, many are very high in sodium and low in fiber. Total nutritional value is an issue. Cooking methods, such as frying or leaving food under hot lamps for long periods, can dramatically reduce the nutritional value of a food. So what is the end result? While the occasional visit to a fast food restaurant can be enjoyable and won’t create too many negative side effects, the idea that “healthy” alternatives at fast food chains are actually “healthy” is questionable.

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Condos offer luxury and great investment potential

Not your typical vacation home

What could be more perfect than owning a luxury vacation home in an iconic resort and receiving rental income when you’re not using it? Condo hotels are the newest trend in vacation home ownership. Live in it when you are there; rent it when you are not.

So how do condo hotels differ from owning a traditional vacation condo or apartment? These are not your typical second homes. They are fabulously furnished condominium suites in some of the most famous hotels and resorts in the country. The properties are usually large luxury hotels operated by big names like Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Sonesta, Starwood or Hilton. Prices range from $ 200,000 to over $ 1 million for premium properties.

Generate income to defray mortgage costs

How do condo owners find tenants? This is what makes the show so appealing. When the owners do not use their unit, it is included in the hotel’s rental program. By capitalizing on a hotel’s name recognition, advertising, national affiliations, centralized reservation system, and management expertise, unit owners generally receive a higher level of rental income than they would from a rental home. traditional holiday. In addition, the hotel is in charge of dealing with tenants, as well as cleaning and maintenance of the condominium units. Speak without complications!

The real draw of condo hotels is appreciation

While it is good to receive rental income from your vacation home, the most important factor from an investment point of view is its appreciation. Condo units have appreciated at a much faster rate than single family homes and condos in the same areas.

Most condo hotels are purchased directly from the developer. With limited inventory, condo hotel units have been moving at lightning speed. In fact, almost all condo hotels sell out before construction, long before a single shovel of dirt has been turned over. And as is the case in any situation where supply is largely outpaced by demand, condo hotel owners have seen tremendous appreciation in their units.

World-famous resorts attract international attention

Most condo hotels are located in seasonal tourist areas. South Florida, particularly Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, is one of the most popular markets in the country with world-famous properties like Fontainbleau, Canyon Ranch Living, and Trump International at the helm. Las Vegas and some of the Caribbean islands are also popular condo hotel destinations.

Who buys? The answer, in a nutshell, is for everyone. That is, investors and vacationers who recognize the appreciation potential of an income-generating vacation home. That appeal isn’t limited to American buyers. The concept of condo hotels has had international appeal with buyers from Latin America and Europe competing with Americans for the best properties.


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Niagara Falls Discounts: How To Find Great Deals During Your Vacation

No matter where you travel to in the world, everyone wants to find the best deals and rates during their trip to help make vacations a little easier on their pockets.

More than 11 million people visit Niagara Falls each year, and of these, millions stay in local hotels for several days, take many tours of iconic landmarks, and also tour the many attractions in the area. If these visitors schedule their vacations at the right time and search in the right places, they may be able to take advantage of the special offers and discounts available to them.

Below, I have listed some of the most popular ways to find great deals while visiting Niagara Falls.

Discount out of season: Niagara Falls are a year-round destination. There are many things to do and see in each season and although tourism is greatest in the summer months, there are still a significant number of visitors during the other months.

Many establishments such as restaurants, hotels, and attractions see the number of visitors that travel to the Falls in the off-season months and have decided to stay open year-round and offer lower rates instead of closing for the winter.

This is great news for anyone traveling to Niagara Falls during the fall, winter, and spring months. When booking your trip through a hotel website, many will have their winter price already included in the price. For restaurants, it is a good idea to call ahead and ask what deals they are offering and to make reservations. Some venues may not offer specific off-season deals, but instead create a full menu with the lowest prices listed. The same goes for city attractions.

Attractions pass: For quite some time now, the Niagara Parks Commission, the company that manages many of the attractions at Niagara Falls, has offered what’s called the Adventure Pass. There are actually two passes, one for winter and one for summer, and both offer a great deal on various attractions in Niagara parks.

  • The Winter Pass: The Winter Pass will allow visitors instant access to Niagara’s Fury, the Butterfly Conservatory, and Journey Behind the Falls. This pass will save adults just over $ 20 and kids $ 11 cheaper.
  • Summer Adventure Pass: With more attractions open to the public in the summer, this pass is even better, offering better deals on more things like Maid of the Mist, Whirlpool Aero Car, Journey behind the falls, and Butterfly Conservatory. Savings are comparable to the winter pass.

Hotel offers: If you plan to stay in a hotel during your visit, you may want to compare prices and see which ones offer the best deals. Most will offer a package of some kind, but the price of the package and what it offers will depend on the hotel you choose.

Most hotels will offer lower rates during the fall and winter months, some even lower their prices by as much as $ 200 compared to their peak season.

Other offers include free parking, free or discounted dinners, free shows like the Greg Frewin Magic show or the “Oh Canada Eh!” dinner theater and show. Other hotels affiliated with the Fallsview Casino Resort may offer guest pickup services and even casino game chips as an incentive to stay.

These offers are not always advertised on their sites and can only be taken advantage of if you call the hotel directly and ask.

Local rates: This is something that is never advertised but known to many in the area. The so-called local rates are a small way for the various hotels, restaurants and attractions to give back to the community in which they are located. With it, local residents can often see an attraction, eat at a restaurant, and even stay in a hotel if they wish for slightly lower rates than normal. These rates generally do not apply during the absolute peak season, but are generally a great way to see and do things at the falls for a cheaper rate.

If you know someone who lives in the Niagara area, they may be able to help you get into some of the attractions at discounted rates as long as you are not traveling during peak hours and there are no more than 4 or 5 of you in at the time. .

Visitors Center: A great way to find deals at Niagara Falls is to visit one of the provided Visitor Centers. Here you will be able to speak with a person knowledgeable in the area and you will also be able to find many coupons or urgent offers for various restaurants and attractions. Many offers are only valid for the specific days you are visiting and therefore a visit to one of these centers will give you the best access to these offers.

Remember to have fun. The goal of visiting a new place for the first time is to enjoy the experience and enjoy a place that you have never been before. If you can’t find a deal at every attraction or restaurant you visit, don’t worry, you’ll still have fun and get memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy!

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Coming Soon: $ 30 Billion in New Las Vegas Hotels

Las Vegas has been referred to as one of the modern wonders of the world, and for good reason. Gone are the days when Las Vegas was a cheesy, seedy place filled with casinos and endless Elvis memorabilia. Today, Las Vegas is an ultra-modern party city that is fast becoming luxurious, with more attractions per square mile than anywhere else in the world, and hotels and casinos that simply take your breath away.

Even more remarkable is the scale of the remodel that is taking place within 3.5 miles of the Las Vegas Strip. More than $ 30 billion is being injected into developing new mega hotels that make existing ones look like sheds. If you’ve never been to Las Vegas before, go now for a glimpse of 20th century Vegas before the 21st century arrives.

The birth of Las Vegas

Las Vegas, as we know it today, has its roots in 1941, when El Rancho, the first hotel-casino on the Strip, opened its doors. The success of El Rancho spurred the first construction boom on the Strip in the late 1940s and early 1950s, with the construction of legendary casinos such as Flamingo, Desert Inn, The Sands, The Tropicana and The Stardust. all hastily built to capitalize on the huge profits gambling brought to the city. Needless to say, these early casinos were owned by the mob, and Vegas really earned its reputation as the City of Sin.

The 1960s: Howard Hughes and the end of the mob

The presence of the mob in Las Vegas declined with the arrival of Howard Hughes in 1966, who, over the next four years, bought out many of the mobsters. First the Desert Inn, then the Sands and the Frontier, plus several smaller casinos, all became the property of Hughes. His presence in the city encouraged other legitimate entrepreneurs to follow suit and also invest in the city. The most prominent was billionaire Kirk Kirkorian, who built the International (now the Las Vegas Hilton) in 1968, followed by the MGM Grand in 1973. Hughes furiously competed with Kirkorian and built the Landmark Hotel, a 346-foot monstrosity that took ten years to build. complete. build, it never made any money, but it was taller than Kirkorian’s International Hotel, which was everything Hughes was after.

The 1990s: the rise of mega-resorts

However, after the opening of the MGM Grand, construction on the strip stalled. It wasn’t until 1986 that work began on the next great new hotel. The Mirage, a $ 630 million hotel and casino built by Steve Wynn, was a big gamble as he had to make $ 1 million a day just to pay off the debt incurred to build it. However, its opening in 1989 brought great success and helped usher in the next big wave of construction in the city: the rise of Mega-Resorts.

In 1990, Circus Circus Enterprises built the 3,991-room camelot-themed Excalibur hotel on the South Strip for $ 290 million. At the time, the Excalibur was the largest hotel in the world, but this record would not last long. Just three years later, Kirk Kirkorian, who had sold his existing MGM Grand (later renamed Bally’s), built another MGM Grand across from Excalibur with more than 5,000 rooms.

1993, the opening year of the new MGM Grand, was a watershed year for Las Vegas. The Dunes Hotel collapsed, Steve Wynn’s new 2,885-room Treasure Island Hotel opened, and Circus Circus Enterprises (now called Mandalay Resort Group) opened the new 4,407-room Luxor Hotel, designed as a gigantic black hollow pyramid. The era of the themed mega-resort had really arrived in Las Vegas, as these hotels were followed by Stratosphere, New York New York, Paris, and The Venetian, which opened in the 1990s.

However, it was not just themed resorts that were opening. Las Vegas was also turning upscale, with more upscale and non-themed hotels, such as Mandalay Bay and Bellagio, also opening during this period. At $ 1.7 billion, Wynn’s The Bellagio was the most expensive hotel ever built in Las Vegas and set the standard for the next construction boom that would begin in the early 2000s.

However, all this construction had come at a cost to old Las Vegas. The Sands was demolished to make way for The Venetian, The Dunes gave way to The Bellagio, while Landmark, Hughes’s failed attempt to beat Kirkorian, was demolished to become a parking lot for the Las Vegas Convention Center. Las Vegas was never sentimental!

Coming Soon: $ 30 Billion in New Las Vegas Hotels

The five years from 2000 to 2005 saw another brief pause in construction. However, this came to an end in 2005, with the opening of the new Wynn Las Vegas, a $ 2.7 billion luxury hotel with 2,716 rooms. The Wynn was built on the site of the old Desert Inn, which Wynn had demolished in 2001, just four years after a $ 200 million renovation and expansion of the old hotel.

The Wynn follows in the footsteps of the Bellagio by being a high quality luxury hotel. Its success has helped spark the biggest construction boom Las Vegas has ever seen, with the last of the old hotels falling like dominoes, and new super-luxurious, multi-billion dollar hotels taking their place. Las Vegas is transforming like no other city in the world.

In the two years since the Wynn first opened, five new mega-hotels have begun construction, each of which makes the Wynn seem cheap in comparison. Between 2007 and 2010, the following mega-resorts will open:

  • The Encore at Wynn, a 2,054-room $ 1.74 billion sister hotel to the Wynn that will soar to 653 feet
  • The palazzo, a $ 1.8 billion, 3,025-room hotel that will be a sister hotel to The Venetian. With more than 7,000 rooms between them, the new Venetian / Palazzo complex will become the largest hotel in the world.
  • Echelon Place, a $ 4 billion hotel, casino and condo complex, currently being built on the ashes of the old Stardust (which collapsed in early 2007)
  • Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a $ 3 billion hotel being built across from Circus Circus that will rise 63 stories high
  • City Center Project, a $ 7.7 billion hotel complex comprising more than 7,000 hotel rooms, located between New York New York and Monte Carlo.

These hotels are currently under construction and will open between early 2008 and 2010. However, they are by no means the end of the story. Hotels that are about to begin construction include The Plaza, a $ 5 billion hotel to be built on the New Frontier site, which will collapse later in 2007; and the Crown Las Vegas, a new hotel that will be built next to the Fontainebleau and that will rise to an incredible 1,888 feet. Additionally, MGM Mirage, the company behind Project CityCenter, plans to build another mega-resort of a similar scale north of Circus Circus, while Steve Wynn has plans to rebuild the golf course behind The Wynn, and turn it into, yes, in another multi-million dollar hotel!

In all, more than $ 30 billion is being injected into Las Vegas, making it the largest construction boom in the city’s already stellar history. If you’ve never been to Las Vegas before, go now for a glimpse of 20th century Vegas before the 21st century rushes in and transforms you forever.