Posts Tagged travel
This article is the last in a three part series starting with a seven-day vacation in Rincon, Puerto Rico: Exloring the Area〈〈Click link. Exploring and touring the surfing town of Rincon, I enjoy uncovering the details of beaches, dining, and adventure. The second article called Click link〉〉Side trips from the Town of Rincon, Puerto Rico, shares information short drives to surrounding areas and attractions. It highlights the place I personally enjoyed the most.
La Cueva del Indio has caves and isolated beaches an hour and a half north of Rincon in the town of Arecibo. If you are a nature lover and like to do some intermediate hiking, this is the place for scenic picture taking and amusement. You know you are getting close when you catch a glimpse of the tallest sculpture in the US – the 360’ Christopher Columbus sculpture named “Birth of the New World”.
Take your hiking sandals or sneakers and a couple bottles of water. Most attractions in Puerto Rico are no charge, but it is five dollars to park so have cash on hand and leave early if you like to enjoy a sense of privacy. You will get some vague directions that turn out to be accurate as you head through some ruined buildings and toward the limestone cliffs in search of caves. As you walk, you will see holes down into caves that vary in size. The craggy and volcanic- looking limestone rock is treacherous and children should be watched very closely. There is one much larger opening that is marked and leads to a wooden ladder. The ladder goes down into the cave where there is plenty of light from the other natural “skylights” above.
Inside you will see petroglyph cave drawings, a sand covered floor surrounding large rocks that lead into other areas with pools of water. Blue crabs scurry around and hide as soon as they see you. Climb up some of the interior rocks and you will notice a bat or two flying around near the cave ceiling. When waves hit the exterior cliffs, there is a spot that bubbles up from the floor and forms a small stream. The rocks are a beautiful purple near the base and in the water.
Once out of the cave, continue along the ridge and look out at the ocean and across the neighboring cliff formations that create arches and bridges of stone etched by the tides. One of the coves here is the scene of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie and you can imagine a cast and crew navigating the rocks and water to get a shot that captures the more eerie and dangerous qualities of the film.
Find an orange cone that marks a hidden trail and hike through the tropical plants to find yet another rocky cliff leading to a view of two crescent beaches. Navigate the rocks until you get to the sand and remove your shoes. This beach has grainy waterlogged sand that you will sink into at the water’s edge by about 4 inches. The softer dry sand further from the water is still hard to walk in after hiking the cliffs.
Strip to a bathing suit and carry your clothes and shoes to continue comfortably. Enjoy the beach and tidal pools while noticing the tiny snail and hermit crab shells that cover everything. Watch the birds and listen to the waves hitting the rocks.
These beaches back up to another resort and picnic area accessed from the road and there is a private home on the end owned by the same individual as the La Cueva del Indio site. The land connects to a third beach that you can walk as well and you will see a few bulky beach tables and chairs cemented into the ground.
The trek back feels easier after enjoying the beach. Finish this day with a rum drink in hand and a view of the sunset!
The hiking takes you to areas that less adventurous people might miss. Always have shoes with a good tread, a change of clothes to keep dry, and extra water bottles when in more remote areas. The safety and security are lax, so plan ahead when it comes to personal items. Keep them in a backpack on your person or in the trunk of your car out of site.
This was my favorite experience of the entire seven-day trip, but I thoroughly enjoyed Puerto Rico’s range of activities: beaches, restaurants, shopping, and historical sites. I challenge myself to find photo opportunities beyond the usual vacation images. I was not disappointed while hiking through caves, then standing high on the cliffs with views of rock bridges and arches, and enjoying beaches with incredible scenery.
As a reminder, this article is the third in a series about my vacation to Rincon, Puerto Rico in November and day trips from the Rincon area (links provided in the first paragraph above). The privacy I experienced at this beach is partly seasonal and because I visited the area from 9am until noon. More tourists were arriving as I left.
I am happy to explain how Dreamtrips Travel Club has encouraged me to explore my world and share the experience with others. My blue “You Should Be Here Sign” is a club gift for joining. For information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may have missed the main article leading up to this one called Click link〉〉Rincon, Puerto Rico: Exploring the Area, this article is about day trips I took just outside of Rincon. After covering the best parts of town, I had to share the surrounding attractions in another travel piece. I will also remind anyone starting with this story that the trip was taken shortly after Thanksgiving, the peak season was over, and the weather hovering in the mid-80s…
Boating, Fishing, and Snorkeling in La Parguera
We headed out to La Parguera, about an hour away, to Gina @ Johnny’s boat rentals, where we rented two small open skiffs to ride to a nearby cove and snorkel and fish with friends who had done the same.
On the way, we passed small painted cottages on stilts with covered boat slips and grabbed our cameras. We passed a dock where iguanas came to beg for food from tourists, providing another photo opportunity.
After spending the day in water so clear you could see the color of the sand at your feet and the fish swimming by, we reluctantly left, but detoured through the mangrove forest over the water, in and out of other secluded fishing spots, through tropical tunnels of bird inhabited greenery and twisted tree limbs. If you book a tour in the evening, you can visit one of the islands bioluminescent bays. The best time to go is when there is a new moon for greater visibility.
Jobos Beach in Isabela
Another day was spent about a half hour north of Rincon at Jobos Beach to see the crashing waves on the rocks of a popular surfing beach in Isabela. Once a beach primarily accessible to those living in the area, it is now under construction, with new hotels and restaurants making parking a bit of a struggle. Park along the main road or pay $5 in a local resident’s lot.
You can trek the volcanic and plutonic rock to the top of a cliff and watch the ocean waves make contact and spray seafoam in the air. You are safe in a pair of flip flops, but bare feet would be ill-advised and seriously slow you down. The beach is the typically soft sand found on most of the area beaches and the water is easily accessed for swimming.
There are Spanish style eateries to visit along the beachfront here serving local fare. The construction will likely end up commercializing the area and taking some of the native feel away. New hotels mean new restaurants and activities, but there is a cost. Puerto Rico’s economy is not the best and additional tourism dollars can help. Keep an eye on this transitioning area and see what unfolds.
Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo
Puerto Rico has salt flats near the beach in an 1800-acre reserve in Playa Sucia – La Playuela – in Cabo Rojo. The name means “dirty beach” but it is anything but unkempt. Heading south, it takes a little over an hour to get there. Then you will drive on a white sand and salt road riddled with potholes and pools of water through indigenous trees and brush for about a mile to reach a secluded beach area perfect for picnicking. The low-lying trees create a canopy to find shade from the sun. The sand is soft and white and the water is clear blue for miles.
This is where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. On one end of the beach are trails to take you along the ridgeline of limestone cliffs until you reach a jetty of rock and natural bridges for some excellent views of the entire area including the lighthouse and observatory. You will see lizards on the path and big blue crabs climbing the rock formations near the water; a spectacular site as waves crash into the cliffs are viewed from above. An unusual number of butterflies gather here that are attracted by the salt and natural plant life.
Los Morillos Lighthouse on the other side of the beach is accessible by walking up the long gravel drive to the top of the cliffs or by shuttle bus. There is a tourist center where you can get water, read about the history of the reserve, salt crystals, and the lighthouse, and purchase local crafts made as you watch; items like jewelry, hammocks, and artwork. Outside, get as close as you dare to the edge of the cliffs to capture this dramatic view. There are no safety barriers. You would not be the first person to fall, be wary.
Gozalandia Falls in San Sebastian
With all the cliffs around the island of Puerto Rico, it makes sense to search for waterfalls like the Gozalandia Falls in San Sebastian about 45 minutes away. Be prepared, you will find steep dirt road access to the parking area and it gets even steeper when hiking on foot to the waterfall area. It used to be downright dangerous, but the park added cement steps with railings and walkways to viewing areas in 2010. Wear comfortable shoes and prepare to get wet. Hiking-style sandals with straps would be recommended for traction, to protect your feet, and dry quickly.
The falls empty into a swimming hole before continuing down the rocky river bed. A recent rain will make the 50’ falls even more amazing. The water in November, after some pretty heavy rains, was still comfortable for swimming. Even though the weather was mid-80s, it was a little cooler in the shade of the trees. We spotted a drone or two taking photos above our heads to get some crazy angles.
Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla
We just had to see what the fuss was about at Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla. A half hour north of Rincon, local fishermen paint their boats in bright colors, load up their gear, push their boats off the beach and into the ocean to fish for the day. On their return, there is no dock to tie up to so they get a running start and head full tilt to crash onto the beach as far as they can go before dragging the boat onto rollers and hauling it up further to unload their catch.
There is a long cement pier on one end with a strange bright yellow metal doorway to nowhere. You can walk through it and continue down the pier. You may see a man surrounded by pelicans. Some train them for taking pictures with tourists and it is probably the closest look you can get to a wild pelican.
Look for a rock wall with the national flag painted on it near a path up the rock face that has crumbled from weather. A vendor style food stand is located just off the parking lot. This is a watersport beach and considered a great spot for Scuba diving. The beach is wide for sunbathing, but not for swimming.
Each of these sites is a personal experience I will treasure. Puerto Rico is loaded with other activities, beaches, restaurants, shopping, and historical sites. They provided countless opportunities for extreme picture taking.
I have one more location to share that had so many things to see and explore, I put a third article together titled, Aricebo, Puerto Rico: The Caves of La Cuerva del Indio.〈〈Click link.
La Cueva del Indio is a hiking excursion through caves to see views of rock bridges and arches and find isolated beaches with incredible scenery. The tallest statue in the US is visible as you approach the town of Arecibo.
Dreamtrips Travel Club has encouraged me to plan more travel. I am expanding my mind, experiences, and culture everywhere I go; I am determined to work on my bucket list of destinations now, while I’m healthy. I would be happy to share information about it with you. Leave your contact information on the site or contact me by email at email@example.com.
If you are a true “newbie” to cruising vacations, you may want to get familiar with some nautical terms. The placement of your temporary abode is as important as choosing the right ship. Locations to choose from include the interior (no window), ocean view, balcony, upper and lower decks, midship, aft (back of the ship), forward (front of the ship), starboard (when facing the front of the ship is the left side) and port (right side). With these things in mind, consider the following:
- Take a look at the deck plans to get familiar with the locations. Ideally, you want to make sure you aren’t near high-traffic areas with elevators, buffet restaurants, or children’s activity centers.
- If it’s a one-way trip, find out which side of the ship will be facing land and be sure to get the view you want.
- Suites in the front of the ship have great views, but you will feel more of the movement of the waves in that location especially on higher decks.
- Cabins in the back can have larger balconies, but you will feel more vibration from the mechanics of the ship.
- Suites with outside or balcony views at bargain prices might have obstructed views. Ask about the view.
It is common to get automatic cabin upgrades, so ask about promotions especially with Carnival, MSC, Holland America or Norwegian. Even if you’ve already booked, check two to three months before departure for reduced fairs and upgrades.
Another money saving tip:
Traveling as a group is a great way to save money. Dreamtrips.com and WorldVentures.com have perfected the bulk buying process. Contact an agent at WorldVentures.com to discover any cruise deals they can offer your party.
Share the research and assign an itinerary for each person at different ports of call. Meet up pre-cruise to share activity options or hand the entire process off to the Dreamtrips.com concierge service and let them build the excitement of your upcoming adventures.
The larger cruise ships can be like floating cities, so it’s easy to lose each other. Be sure to pre-arrange meeting points and times to keep in touch with members of the group.
Remember your phone will be on airplane mode to avoid roaming charges and Wifi is expensive due to the use of satellites for service.
Please leave a comment if this article was helpful or you are looking for more information.
Be armed with some basic tips regarding cruise line reservations. The more you know ahead of time, the easier the planning process will be and the greater the experience. Nothing is worse than unexpected disappointments that could have been avoided.
- Booking six to nine months in advance of your planned departure date gets you better deals.
- Plan to book in September when all the major cruise lines release new itineraries and offers.
- Consider taking a short trip for your first cruise. There is more to choose from January to April.
- Repositioning cruises (when ships change their seasonal itineraries) can be heavily discounted because they only sail one-way with no stops. Remember to factor in your flight home.
- Use a travel agent or WorldVentures.com travel consultant with Dreamtrips.com concierge reservation and travel information services. They will narrow down the right cruise based on your needs and access better offers than booking directly. Get more details on Dreamtrips.com at Lifestyle Entrepreneur travel blog or WorldVentures.com and talk to a consultant.
- Before traveling, research ports and activities. You can save money when you book independently, but make sure you are back in time for departure. Ships do not wait for guests to return to the ship.
- If the cruise line books these activities for you, book them early because excursions fill up quickly.
- When arriving at your final destination, you may need to kill some spare time before a flight home. Book a short sightseeing tour if you have time. Your luggage will often go straight to the airport leaving you free to roam about.
- When checking in at the ship, there will be heavy crowds for the first few hours as they board. Get there two hours ahead to avoid lines.
- You can more easily enjoy the pool and promenade decks along with other facilities by skipping excursion trips on port day when everyone else exits the ship.
- Book meals coinciding with theater shows for more space and time to eat.
- Travel light, save your back and additional luggage charges and take advantage of onboard laundry service.
- Remember to pack a swimsuit and change of clothes in your carry-on luggage for the first day aboard because it takes some time for luggage to arrive at your cabin.
- Using the internet on a ship is slow and expensive. Find a café with free Wifi when you dock if you need to use it. If you research before leaving, you may use authentic local restaurants with beautiful views instead.
- Your mobile phone needs to be on airplane mode to avoid roaming charges while away.
- Food on cruise ships is decadent, so be careful and count calories, use the stairs instead of the elevator, and use the onboard gym facilities.
Karabin, L. 2015. LiveShareTravel, Liberating luxury for the smart traveler, http://livesharetravel.com/23711/cruise-packing-list/
If you haven’t already heard of WorldVentures, it is a privately held seller of vacation and entertainment club memberships and one of the fastest growing direct selling companies today. What has set them apart from other companies in the industry so far is that they’ve chosen to promote living a lifestyle that most people have been putting off until retirement due to time and money constraints. They are now introducing something that will advance them further into their niche by developing a technology through the growing mobile-commerce market.
They’ve connected with Nxt-ID to create a wireless smart card for their members based on Nxt-IDs Wocket. It’s a smart wallet that securely stores all credit card and discount cards in one place. If you are familiar with password-saving software like Dashlane and LastPass, then you understand how utterly convenient this will be to use. If you are not, these software apps allow you to store all passwords in a single dashboard with one master password that accesses them all, automatically logs you in, and provides additional security features. This was the first thing that crossed my mind as a quick analogy; one card, all data in one place, easier to secure, and easier to use.
Of course, Dreamtrips members will have this card integrated with the Dreamtrips App to earn points toward free vacations. They will also get to earn points at restaurants as well as points currently earned while online shopping. Not only will they get discounted travel around the world, but they will travel more securely. Members will be introduced to the exclusive club concept at the WorldVentures UNITED annual conference in Orlando, Jan. 15-17.
What is the technology for?
- Replace all cards in your wallet
- Store all data for credit cards, loyalty cards, and records, and be used anywhere payment can be made with a credit card
- Added identity protection while traveling
- Allow Members to earn points at select restaurants worldwide to use towards DreamTrips vacations
- Encourage more social engagement with DreamTrips Members worldwide through its wireless App and card communication features
Do you have to represent the company in order to use this perk?
NO. There has always been the option to join Dreamtrips for travel discounts only. There is no obligation to sell or share your club membership with anyone. Your membership fees are credited dollar for dollar and are available at the end of the year to use toward vacations. You will have access to this new technology too. The concierge service that builds your trip itinerary for you is worth the membership fee alone.
However, this strategy will enhance WorldVenture’s mission to make it even easier for independent-thinking entrepreneurs to build businesses based on a lifestyle of freedom and fulfillment. “In this high-tech, hyper-connected world, we are enabling people to use technology in a more powerful and compelling way,” said Wayne Nugent, World Ventures Co-founder and Chief Visionary Officer. “And our Independent Representatives will be able to bring this exciting new innovation to travelers all over the world, making their experiences richer, safer, and more engaging and rewarding.”
WorldVentures is now a technology company using direct marketing to bring exciting innovations, business opportunities, and personal experiences to its members.
About WorldVentures : http://www.worldventures.com
SOURCE NXT-ID, Inc., WorldVentures and Nxt-ID Form Strategic Alliance to Create Next Generation Smart Card, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/worldventures-and-nxt-id-form-strategic-alliance-to-create-next-generation-smart-card-564105621.html
It is time to have a serious talk about the American fear of taking paid vacation days. Its starts by making a firm resolve not to let another year go by without making travel plans. Every other country in the world knows how to put work on hold long enough to rejuvenate soul and return to work with a happier and healthier attitude. Where did we go so wrong as a nation?
In 1992, Juliet Schor wrote a book called The Overworked American. This problem has been around and documented for at least 23 years. It has gotten far worse now that we have smart phones and social media to keep us connected to our jobs 24/7. That’s a lot of extra unpaid time for most of us by the way….kudos for volunteering your time to big corporations with no regard for your personal wellbeing. You are not alone.
- According to the US State Department, 1/3 of the population has a passport, but few are using them.
- A study by the US Travel Association states Americans Accumulated 429 million unused paid days off in 2014.
- The same study determined that the average 20 days of paid vacation per year dropped to 16 days after 2001 wasting $52.4 billion in paid benefits.
- The Center for Economic Policy and Research found that theUS is the only rich nation without legally mandated vacations for employees.
These statistics have no rationale. Other countries go to work, take a leisurely stroll home, pick up a few items needed for dinner on the way, and proceed to enjoy their evening. They are not interested in working harder to obtain more material stuff and they are not afraid to take the entire month of July off to spend with family, experience new cultures, learn new things and meet new people. Taking time off does not mean you’re a terrible worker, it means you’re a smart one. Be as crazy and driven about your work as you want, but take the time for paid vacation and a much needed break to reconnect with reality.
As a content writer, I am hearing about reaching out to solve consumer needs and problems, altruistic behavior being put before the company bottom line, using trust and honesty to engage people, and improving quality of life. Whether a hard-working, low level employee or corporate executive, you too qualify as consumers and are, in fact, people. Take your given vacation days and return to us a better version of the person your boss and staff rely on.
Do I need to remind anyone that our economy recently collapsed over materialistic greed and a lack of empathy for the hard work done by the majority of middle class Americans? The same people who worked themselves to death in order to retire one day and finally have the time to see the world and all its promise. Go now while you still can. Our Western peers are:
- France mandates 30 days of paid vacation annually
- Austria commands 22 days off plus 13 paid holidays
- Sweden has CEOs considering asix-hour work day, get 25 days off each year
- Skift report shows that 51 percent of Americans didn’t takea single vacation day in 2014.
Sadly, fear is a motivator: the fear of getting behind in work or being replaceable. But a survey by The Creative Group shows 40 percent of executives thought their employees would be more productive if they took their vacations and only 9 percent said they believed productivity would decrease. Also, if employees took one more day of earned leave a year, the US economy would benefit in sales to the tune of $73 billion. Guilt assuaged.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain.
The American ‘all or nothing’ attitude describes how we eat, drink, spend, and work. Taking time off would increase our mental health, our understanding of ourselves, families, and other cultures. Vacations have been known to actually reduce the risk of heart disease and even recharge the brain. We have over 195 countries on the planet to explore.
To learn more about how to travel more often no matter your budget, go to VacationSooner.com and then contact me for more information.
Dannen-Redman, L., 2015. Conde Nast Traveler, At Home in the World, Why Are Americans So Afraid of Vacation? http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2015-12-21/why-are-americans-so-afraid-of-vacation?mbid=nl_122715_Daily&CNDID=25398595&spMailingID=8382749&spUserID=MTAyNjE4ODE2MjUyS0&spJobID=822901407&spReportId=ODIyOTAxNDA3S0
1. They learn to connect with others and have them naturally gravitate toward them
The personality of a traveler welcomes adventure and other people with open arms. A natural curiosity establishes a desire to get to know others and learn how to connect comfortably with anyone.
2. They learn to remove perceived barriers between themselves and other nationalities, races, religions, cultures and languages
Travelers become genuinely open-minded and accepting of what makes everyone different. Conversations focus on sharing and listening, not debating opinions on right and wrong.
3. They see things that inspire gratitude and contentment
Experiencing the local cultures outside of hotels and resorts opens a traveler’s eyes to harsh realities like extreme poverty, generating true appreciation for life.
4. Their experiences ensure that conversation is never dull
Travelers are able to relate what they see and do with enthusiasm, sparking new trains of thought. The inspiration to learn and teach fresh ideas is derived from the people and places they have been.
5. They dare to be different
Curiosity makes people unique when the focus is removed from what collective society deems mainstream. Being authentic becomes more important and necessary in the people with whom they relate.
6. They live in the present
The most important day in a traveler’s life becomes today. We’ve all heard that keys to happiness include letting go of the past and not thinking too far ahead. Travelers can go one day to the next and, when discovering something new, take spontaneous action.
7. They love life
Many people want to let go of the regular working world in order to see something incredible or have new experiences, but they are unable to get past barriers in their finances, lifestyle, and mindset. Others don’t like to travel at all. Adventure seekers need to pursue places, people, cultures, and landscapes to apply the knowledge to their own life. Every day has the potential for epiphany.
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Finch, H., 2015. Why People Who Travel Make Amazing Friends. http://storyv.com/why-people-who-travel-are-amazing-friends/