Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Discover: Kurumba Maldives

Voted to be the #1 all-inclusive resort in the world by readers of TripAdvisor, Kurumba Maldives is a chic luxury resort on a private island in the Indian Ocean.

Why Kurumba Maldives? Because it offers more of everything...more to do, more restaurants, more entertainment, and even more time, as it's just a 10-minute boat ride from the airport. "A little slice of heaven" and "paradise on earth" are just a few of the comments from readers.

Let's take a look at what makes the Kurumba Maldives such a prestigious tropical paradise, besides the azure water and powdery white sand, that is...

Ranging from guest rooms to villas and residences for up to 8 people, the stylish rooms offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning and minibars. Some provide ocean views, and private Jacuzzis, gardens and pools. Room service is available 24-hours.

Kurumba Maldives offers it's guest the choice of 8 restaurants, including a cafe, a beach bar and upscale Middle-Eastern dining, as well as 2 over-the-water dining experiences. Guests can also partake in wine tasting or cocktail making classes.

There's an elegant spa offering an array of beauty and massage treatments, plus there are also yoga and tai chi classes, along with a gym that's open 24/7. When it comes to activities at Karumba Maldives, it's almost impossible to be bored - unless you want to be. The resort provides opportunities to enjoy wake boarding, kayaking, windsurfing and parasailing, along with scuba diving and snorkelling.

Kurumba Maldives is also known for offering unique experiences including picnicking on a sandbar, taking a sunset jazz cruise and a sightseeing seaplane ride. Of course, you can take a standard glass-bottom boat ride, go sport fishing, get up-close-and-personal with dolphins, or take a island tour. Not that anything is standard at Kurumba Maldives...

For more information or to make your reservation, visit Kurumba Maldives

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Friday, February 5, 2016

It's Mardi Gras Time in New Orleans!

Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of those fun events that everyone should attend at least once in their lifetime! A combination of statewide parties, celebrations, parades and just plain craziness, Mardi Gras is truly an event not to be missed.

Even though the 2016 parades began on January 23rd, don't worry, there's still time to partake in this years' festivities as the celebrations don't hit a fever pitch until Fat Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

So what's Mardi Gras all about? Let's take a look...Organized parade groups, known as krewes, ride high atop their flamboyant floats while throws (trinkets, necklaces, cups & coveted commemorative doubloons) are flung out into the flailing arms of the rambunctious crowds. It's not uncommon for one krewe of only 200 hundred members to have over 3,000 parade participants!

Photo: Pat Garin
During Mardi Gras, parade royalty will attend various bal masque (masquerade parties). King cakes will be savoured - they're a traditional brioche pastry baked in a crown-like circle, decorated in Mardi Gras colors, and with a plastic baby (or prize) inside - the lucky person who finds the baby is the next person to hold a king cake party. Mass quantities of alcohol will be consumed. And finally, Rex, the King of Mardi Gras Carnival, will be crowned on Fat Tuesday. 

Check out these fun facts about Mardi Gras in New Orleans:
  • more than 500,000 King Cakes are sold during Mardi Gras
  • Carnival colors are purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power)
  • the oldest Krewe of Comus was founded in 1857
  • 95% of the areas' 35,000 hotel rooms will be full!
  • the largest Mardi Gras bead producer sells 1 billion strings each year!
  • just prior to Fat Tuesday, the super parades (krewes such as Endymion & Bacchus) will toss 1.5 million cups & 2.5 million doubloons into the parade crowds

Photo: Pat Garin
Mardi Gras 2016 celebrations will culminate until the grand finale on Fat Tuesday, February 9, 2016, when the non-stop partying on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter comes to an abrupt end at midnight. 

Happy Fat Tuesday everyone - it's Mardi Gras Time in New Orleans!!

For more information on Mardi Gras festivities including the 2016 Parade Schedule, visit the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.


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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Discover the Beaches of Greece: Thessaloniki

Renowned worldwide for it's over 6,000 islands, beaches and idyllic seaside resorts, Greece is a beautiful country that comprises unique and wide-ranging landscapes, so much so that tourism represents more than 50% of the national Greek economy.

There are numerous famous beaches and islands in Greece, some of which include Corfu, Crete, Santorini, Mykonos and Kos. One of the most popular and largest cities to visit in the Greek Islands is Thessaloniki, on the Thermaic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. 

Many tourists choose the beaches of Thessaloniki for swimming, as the Thessaloniki coastline is extremely varied and features numerous places to enjoy the fine sand and to swim in the crystal clear, warm water.

The most popular Thessaloniki beaches include Asprovalta, Epanomi, Nea Mihaniona, Agia Triada, Nei Epivates, Perea and Aretsou. The beaches of Thessaloniki are seasonal, and are usually open from the beginning of May until the end of September. The beach resorts offer numerous facilities including volleyball courts, changing cabins, tennis courts, bars, childrens' playgrounds, restaurants and even supermarkets.

The most famous beach in Thessaloniki is Agia Triada Beach. It’s 30 minutes away from the city and it attracts thousands of tourists in the summer time. The visitors come here to see the wonderful sunsets, to swim and to sunbathe. The European Union awarded a Blue Flag to this beach, meaning that it has all the facilities necessary for a top beach. Some of the features at Agia Triada Beach include restaurants, taverns and hotels, as well as sunbathing areas umbrellas. The crystal clear water in this region is perfect for swimming.

Another very beautiful destination is Asprovalta Beach. It is 2 km long and it’s situated pretty far from Thessaloniki, but the beach is well worth the drive. Asprovalta Beach has wide sand bands and it conveys a youthful vibe. There are several clubs and bars near the beach where the tourists and locals can have fun until the wee hours of the morning. Asprovalta Beach is great for enjoying sports such as beach volleyball, fishing, water skiing and sailing.

A real natural beauty is Nei Epivates Palirria Beach. While the beach is small at only 200 meters, it’s very picturesque and charming. It's surrounded by large trees, which is quite unique for many Greek beaches. People who come here choose to swim, surf and sunbathe. An interesting feature is the outdoor cinema that's open during the summer months.

Two other impressive beaches in Greece are Epanomi Beach and Perea Beach. Epanomi Beach is extremely crowded during the summer months but offers numerous restaurants, taverns and accommodation options. Perea Beach is a popular resort, with a beach that's wide and long, and is surrounded by lovely landscapes and has countless tourist facilities. It’s also known for its somewhat wild and crazy nightlife.

Other Greek beaches that are well worth visiting are Angelochori Beach, Galaxis Beach, Richios Beach, Milies Beach and Stavros Beach. No matter what beach you choose to enjoy in Greece, make sure to have fun, take full advantage of the weather and warm water, and to wear your sunscreen ;)

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Check out my photographer friends' new book:

David Huffman’s Travel With Your Camera—Know Before You Go™

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