Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast (III)

Author: George Augustine

Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast (III)

The eastern US offers plenty of vacation destinations that you and your family may want to consider this coming year. From Maine and the cool waters of the Northern Atlantic to the majestic Gulf of Mexico and the towns that dot its perfect sandy beaches, and every place in between, there are beach towns that have become quite good at catering to those looking for the good-life along the sea.


5. Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast: Singer Island / West Palm Beach, Florida — Heading down the Atlantic coast of Florida travelers come upon the West Palm Beach area. For over one hundred years, the rich and famous have migrated to South Florida, with West Palm Beach and Singer Island being two of their favorite destinations. Singer Island, which is located just north of West Palm Beach, was named in honor of the Singer sewing machine family Beautiful white beaches play host to high-end resorts like the Marriott Resort and the Beaches Resort & Spa along the eastern shore of Singer Island. On the western side of the island, the marina region has some cool restaurants and libation-stations. Moving south into West Palm Beach, the vibe changes from laid back to energetic. Developed in 2000, City Place brought life back into what was a struggling downtown area in the 80s and 905. Complete with popular restaurants, clubs, and theaters, City Place also has high-end condos sitting above the businesses on street level. Just a few blocks away is the famous "Rodeo Drive of the South," otherwise known in West Palm Beach as Worth Avenue. Over the next few blocks sits high-end restaurants, exclusive designer stores, and everything else that screams elegance. With winter temperatures hovering around 75 and summer highs reaching into the 90s, the Singer Island / West Palm Beach region is one of the finest locations to enjoy everything that is "beach life."


6. Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast: South Padre Island, Texas— Known for its dolphin watching, extensive water sports, and just plain old fun in the sun, South Padre Island is enjoyed by millions each year. A traditional college Spring Break destination during March and April, the island welcomes families to its shores the rest of the year. Situated along the Gulf of Mexico, South Padre Island experiences subtropical temperatures most of the year with winter highs near 70, and summer temps reaching into the mid-90s. Resort hotels, condominiums, and single-family residences line the shore of the Gulf. One of America's most impressive waterparks is located on South Padre Island. The Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark draws thousands of visitors every year who want to experience some of the most amazing water rides to be found anywhere. South Padre Island has been a victim of many storms over the years, but time after time this beach paradise has righted itself and come back even stronger And with that in mind, "SPI" is experiencing a popularity growth like never before, and it's quite easy to see why.



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy (VII)

Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Lancelot – Small family hotel, Great location


This family-owned hotel is just down the street from the Coliseum and the Roman Forum. The rooms are spacious and each one decorated differently, and some have terraces and views of the Coliseum. But what truly sets this hotel apart is the extraordinary cheerfulness and graciousness of the staff, who seemingly speak just about every language. The location is near enough to walk to many sites, and right near both the metro and many bus lines. Set on a small side street, the rooms are very quite at night.



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Monti Home – Cool Little Apartment in Monti


This elegant flat is located in the Monti neighborhood in Rome, one the best places to stay while you are visiting. The apartment is within walking distance of most of Rome’s major monuments, and the Coliseum and Roman Forum are just down the street.


The apartment is located on a very quiet street and enjoys bright sunshine. There are restaurants, bars and shops all within walking distance.


The apartment is made up of one double bedroom, entrance hall, living room, kitchen and bathroom. The living rooms are furnished with a convertible sofa, which sleeps two comfortably. Both bedroom and living room have doors, which makes this the perfect apartment for a couple, two couples, or a family.


There is a small balcony off the kitchen. Tenants can use the roof top terrace on the 6th floor. 


Please note: The apartment is located on the second floor (1st floor European) and there is no elevator.


The apartment enjoys the following amenities: Air Conditioning, Ceiling Fans, Broadband Internet, Wi-Fi, Television, Telephone, Full bathroom with shower, Washing Machine, Fully equipped kitchen, iPod Speaker Dock, iPod connection to TV, Hair dryer.


Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Relais Palazzo Taverna – Stylish B&B near Antique Shops


This is actually two small townhouse B&B;s, located near each other and right off Via dei Coronari, known for its antiques shops. Both hotels are little gems. Rooms are spacious and stylish. Piazza Navona is only a short walk away, as is the area of Campo de’ Fiori. But since the hotel is on a small side street, all the rooms are quite. Breakfast is served in the room and there is always someone on staff.

Top 10 Destinations in South America (II)

Ole! Besides salsa, sombreros and tequila, South America is a feast for one’s senses, with something for every kind of traveler. The continent is a patchwork of remarkable sceneries, with its snowcapped massifs, dangerous jungles, dreamlike deserts and spectacular mountain ranges, with many of its wonders remaining largely undiscovered.


South America offers rich experiences to travelers seeking natural wonders, ancient ruins, and vibrant cultural experiences.


Any of these ten destinations would make a fascinating trip on its own, or you could combine some or all of them for a memorable tour.



Top 10 Destinations in South America: Cusco, Peru

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cusco was the capital of the Incan Empire. It is a fascinating old city, and makes an excellent departure point for visiting the ruins of Macchu Picchu, the sacred Valley of the Incas, and other Inca sites.


Cusco has a rich and complex history; it was the center of the indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and in the main square are Spanish colonial buildings erected directly on top of Inca walls.


Cusco attracts many tourists and has a lively nightlife. The city itself, although small, has myriad museums, shops and restaurants. If you're looking for adventure, try while water rafting day trips on the Rio Urubamba / Vilcanota, or three or four day rafting trips on the Rio Apurimac, 'the true source of the Amazon', and one of the top ten rafting rivers in the world.



Top 10 Destinations in South America:  Buenos Aires, Argentina


The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is one of the largest cities in South America, with a population of more than three million. It is geographically enormous, and it would be impossible to explore all 48 of its neighborhoods (barrios) in a single visit.


If you come to Buenos Aires, don't miss historical San Telmo, which preserves colonial-style houses along narrow cobblestone lanes, and has an exciting, underground nightlife scene. Visitors also love La Boca, the city's most colorful and picturesque neighborhood: everywhere you look, greens, yellows, reds, and purples highlight the urban scenery.


If you're seeking thrills Buenos Aires offers exhilarating skydiving activities in its vibrant blue skies. To become immersed in the local culture, attend a football match or watch some authentic tango in a Milonga.


Tourist Objectives in Lefkada, Greece (IV)

Lefkada is a Greek Island in the Ionian Sea, on the west coast of Greece, which is linked to the mainland by a long road and a floating bridge. It has many beautiful beaches and amazing landscapes. This article series covers the best tourist objectives in Lefkada, Greece. Subscribe to our Blog and make sure you don’t miss any of our travel news & updates!



8. Asomaton Monastery


The monastery is located just outside the village of Vaukeri. To access the monastery, you drive through a beautiful route of wild nature. The establishment of the monastery is believed to be during the 16th century, and according to historian K. Mahairas, it was established way before 1681. In the past, it used to be one of the richest and most distinct monasteries of the island, experiencing great prosperity during the 18th century, during the Venetian rule, with 19 cells, much land and animals in its ownership. The ruins of the cells, the guest rooms, the storage spaces, the stables and the olive mills are samples of remarkable architecture and evidence of its great economic prosperity.


The initial temple was a small single spaced room with a saddle wooden roof that was completed by low cells. At the church’s ledger, significant frescoes created towards the end of the 16th century – beginning of the 17th century and that covered the entire surface, still survive.



9. Castle of Santa Maura


Built on a strip of land, the Castle of Agia Maura is the symbol of Lefkada and stands imposing on the island’s entrance. It is an exceptional example of defensive architecture of its time. It was built around 1300 by the Franc ruler Ioannis Orsini, who received Lefkada as dowry for his marriage to the daughter of the Despot of the Mainland  Nikiforos I.


The castle protected the capital of the island and was an important defense against pirates and other enemies from the beginning of the 14th century up until 1684. In 1479 it was conquered by the Turks who built a large arched bridge, with 360 arches that stretched across the lagoon, from the beach to Kalikani, supporting the pipes of the aqueduct that brought water to the castle. This project that characterized the entire region was destroyed by earthquakes. Some traces survive today under the lagoon’s water.


Best Hotels in Milan, Italy (III)

A city like Milan offers hundreds of accommodations, ranging from hotels to hostels. Normally it should be no problem to find a place, except when a big fair is going on. In this series of the best hotels in Milan, Italy, we carefully selected a range of accommodations to meet your needs, and in general the not too expensive ones. We chose those that are rated by clients to be good value for money.


9. Hotel Cristoforo Colombo (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy)

This Best Western hotel is situated in a completely renovated historical building at the beginning of Corso Buenos Aires, in front of Porta Venezia subway station. It offers 116 newly refurbished and soundproof rooms. 

Facilities at Hotel Cristoforo Colombo include: 24h Reception, Lobby, Bar, Restaurant, 3 meeting rooms, elevators, American style breakfast, International newspapers, Concierge, Internet point, Wi-Fi in the entire hotel, 24h laundry service, Parking area with fixed rates at 100 meters, Limousine service, Luggage storage.

The rooms come with wood flooring, air conditioning, minibar, safe, modem line, Wi-Fi connection, LCD satellite TV and pay per view.

There is also a 400 square meters wellness area (fee applies) with a hammock, sauna, Turkish bath, chromo therapy shower, Vichy shower, and pool with salt water.

In the restaurant l’Uovo di Colombo you can get a 15€ or 30€ menu with the MilanoCard, which also gives you a 10% discount on a stay at this hotel.


10. Hotel Italia (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy – Sleeping at the monastery)

This hotel is not located in Pavia proper, but a few km north in Certosa di Pavia, near the convent that is the number one sight of the entire province. 

The hotel is situated in an ancient farmhouse and furnished in the arte povera style. The restaurant-pizzeria offers dishes of the Campania region.

Services and facilities at Hotel Italia include: air-conditioning, satellite TV, safe, Internet, bar, laundry service and parking.


11. Hotel Susa (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy)

Hotel Susa is one of the better 3-star hotels to be found in Milan and is located east of city center. It has 19 rooms.

Facilities at Hotel Susa include: bathroom with bathtub or shower, hairdryer, satellite TV, internet access, free minibar, telephone, safe, self regulated air conditioning, fitness room, parking, newspapers and magazines, quick laundry service and multilingual tourist information.

Escape to Greece

Greece… where culture, class, history collide to give you romance and adventure. Greece… with its extensive coastlines arid islands in the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas, sits in the southernmost Op of Southern Europe. It is rich in ancient culture that has influenced the arts, language, philosophy, politics and sports of the western society. It is geographically appealing with a mountainous mainland and island beaches.


Escape to Greece – With a culture rich in traditions, religion, music, language, food and wines, Greece is a destination suited for any traveler. Still not convinced that Greece is a travel must see? Read on.


Even with the recent unrest, Greece was one of the top destinations — special enough for my birthday celebration… until I learned the weather mirrors the seasons of the US. With a January birthday, I'd say lounging beachside in a winter coat was not quite what I envisioned. However, Greece remains high on my list of must see destinations. So how about the weather you ask?


Escape to Greece – With the extensive coastlines and islands bordering the three seas, it should come as no surprise that Greece boasts a climate akin to much of California —in that it is Mediterranean in nature, with summers that are hot and dry and nearly constant sunshine from April through November. A more cold and rainy period occurs from November to March/April. The Greek way of life during the summer months — Mid-July to mid-August — is to rise early to tend to your sightseeing or errands, while relaxing beachside or in the shade in the evenings. (Note to self: most tourists arrive in Greece during the height of summer.)


Escape to Greece – Although there are no direct flights into Greece from the United States, many of the major cities and much of its Islands are connected by air from one of two major Greek airlines, Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines. The largest airlines flying into Greece include Lufthansa, British Airways and Delta.


Greece is well known for its thousands of islands; mountains, forest, and lakes that make up the mainland of the country. It is truly a traveler's paradise, with its educational excursions, theatrical presentations, festivals, pilgrimages, archaeological sites, monuments and museums. Greece has much to offer by way of culture and history.


Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy (VI)

Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Hotel Santa Maria – Great hotel for families


The Hotel Santa Maria feels like a country hotel, but is located in the heart of Trastevere. Located in a converted 16th century cloister, the rooms focus on a cobble stoned courtyard, planted with orange trees and dotted with tables. 


All of the rooms are at ground level and open out into the courtyard. Many of the rooms sleep 3-4 people and are perfect for couples traveling with children (especially since they can run around the courtyard!) It really is like having your own private park. 


Added bonus: Free bicycle use for guests.



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Hotel St. George – Luxury Hotel on Via Giulia


The St. George is the only 5 star luxury hotel in this part of town. Located on the romantic and mostly pedestrian Via Giulia, it’s a short walk to Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori and the Vatican. Its small size and boutique feel sets it apart from the rest of its 5 star colleagues near the Spanish Steps and Via Veneto. The hotel has 65 rooms, all elegantly designed, as are the common areas. Very cozy wine bar and lounge, a library and a roof top bar open during the summer.



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Hotel Teatro Pace – Charming small hotel in Baroque Palace


Everyone loves the Teatro Pace. It’s small, charming and located just down the street from Piazza Navona. It’s located in an ancient palace, down a small alley. But since it is a historic Baroque building, which means no elevator. So if you feel you can’t climb the four flights of stairs then you may want to reconsider. (That said, the 17th century curving staircase is pretty spectacular to climb)


The rooms are furnished with rich wood pieces, and some of them have small balconies or terraces. No breakfast room, so a tray with cappuccino and breakfast pastries is brought to the room.


Getting Around in Ecuador (II)

3. Getting Around in Ecuador – By Boat

Where bus routes end, you have probably come to a waterway. At this point, boat transportation begins. This is particularly true around the northern coastal tropical forest region and throughout the entire Oriente. Waterway transportation is usually in the form of motorized dugout canoes. Although more expensive than buses, boats are also fast and efficient.


4. Getting Around in Ecuador – Hitching a Ride

In the more remote areas of the highlands, you can often hop in the back of a pickup truck and ride with the locals. This is a great way to travel and enjoy the spectacular scenery, as long as you don’t mind the minor discomfort of a hard wooden seat. On the coast, trucks and open-sided bus-truck hybrids, called rancheras, sometimes substitute for a bus. Pay the driver whatever he asks, which should be only small change, usually similar to the bus fare.


5. Getting Around in Ecuador – By Rail

Once connecting the coast with the Andes, Ecuador’s rail system was largely damaged by the 1997 El Nino and is often in disrepair, as the more efficient roadways have largely replaced its value. Now, it is more suitable for sightseeing than transportation. The Riobamba / Alausi line through the Devil’s

Nose runs several times per week and is a spectacular journey.


6. Getting Around in Ecuador – Rending a Car

Renting an automobile is an option that offers the flexibility of seeing the country at your own pace. Prices are the same as in the US or Canada. Be sure to check the condition of the car and insurance terms thoroughly. Keep in mind that driving in Ecuador can be crazy. And road conditions, especially in more remote areas, but also on the major thoroughfares, are poor and flat tires are a dime a dozen. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended for many areas.

Many roadways in Ecuador are not only unmarked, but they may have no names other than “via a…,” meaning “the way to….” Road conditions can be hazardous. Be cautious of other drivers, especially bus and truck drivers, and always expect that they will try to pass, even on blind turns. Still, driving in the Andean countryside is easy compared to the major cities.


Getting Around in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (II)

Rio is a modern and well-serviced city divided into four main zones (the Northern Zone, Downtown, the Southern Zone, and the Western Zone). Public transport requires patience. Most of the better restaurants and virtually all hotels take credit cards. Locals may not speak English, though in general they are helpful.


3. Getting Around in Rio de Janeiro – Buses

Common buses are not recommended to foreigners. Though cheap, they are uncomfortable, hard to figure out, and are not safe. If you decide to take your chances anyway, the city bus lines all follow the same numbered routes with great frequency. No one is likely to speak English but the conductor is supposed to indicate your stop if you ask. Buses move through stops at a dangerous speed, and pickpockets are common.

Larger executive buses (called frescão), with air-conditioning, are a different story. These are recommended if you know your surroundings and can speak a little Portuguese. They cost only a few dollars. When you board, tell the driver your stop. These buses run from the Centro (at Avenida Rio Branco) to the Southern Zone (Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon) and back.


4. Getting Around in Rio de Janeiro – Vans

Privately owned vans follow the bus routes and are not recommended unless you speak a little Portuguese. They move fast and you need to know where you are going, plus there is little room for luggage. The vans marked “Castello” and “Assembleia” follow the beach through Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana, stopping in the Centro downtown (and vice versa). They cost about a dollar; pay when you get out. To hail the driver pinch your fingers together rapidly when he approaches – if he sees you he will flash his headlights.

Note: though very rare, there have been incidents in the past of “fake” vans kidnapping and robbing tourists. Verify that there is a clearly printed card in the front windshield. These criminals are typically young men. Legitimate vans should have both women and executive passengers and, while far from a foolproof sign, 90% of the drivers ride with their girlfriend or a kid beside them to open the door and handle the money. If in doubt, just wag your finger side to side and don’t board.


5. Getting Around in Rio de Janeiro – Driving

Driving in town is not advised. Rio’s drivers are insane, the routes are confusing, and parking is hectic. Worse, flanelinhas, or roadside extortionists, appear when you park and demand cash to “protect” it. Look for the municipal parking attendants in green and white vests, which will give you a slip of paper to display on your dashboard. A car can be useful for travel outside the city. At Tom Jobim International Airport, try Avis, Hertz, Localiza, or Unidas. At Santos Dumont Airport, try Avis, or Localiza.


Best Places to Eat in Florida (Part 3)

After a substantial breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, toasts and cornflakes, Americans generally eat just a light salad or sandwich in the middle of the day. The most important meal of the day is dinner, which is usually eaten around 6 pm. Many restaurants, therefore, do not offer any warm dishes after 9 pm. This is the last part of our series best places to eat in Florida.


10. Bierhaus (Best Places to Eat in Florida: Beer garden – Coral Gables)

Bierhaus offers primarily German cuisine. Locals and holidaymakers alike, who want to feel at home, regularly meet up to dine here. Many sporting events are also broadcasted at Bierhaus, another thing which brings people together. Wooden furniture and coats of arms stir up the illusion of being in an authentic German beer hall. Harald Neuweg has a lot of gastronomic experience and also runs this restaurant with great success. Guests are courteously served and can really feel comfortable here.


11. Cala Bella (Best Places to Eat in Florida: International restaurant – Orlando)

To get away from the frantic streets of Orlando, you can flee to Cala Bella. Exquisite dishes are served in this Tuscan oasis. Pizza, salad and pasta are offered, as are fish and meal dishes. Italian classics make up the main part of the menu, but they are influenced by Mediterranean and American cuisine. The romantic atmosphere and courteous service complete the evening at Cala Bella.


12. Bento Café (Best Places to Eat in Florida: International restaurant – Orlando)

Bento Café is designed in the style of restaurants in Japanese and Taiwanese cities. Pan-Asian fast-food dishes are served to guests with great variety. Highly qualified wok and sushi chefs lovingly prepare the culinary delights in Bento Café. High ceilings, a modern ambience and subtle lightning turn an evening at the sushi restaurant into a refined and sublime experience.


13. Jimmy B’s (Best Places to Eat in Florida: Bar & pub – St. Petersburg)

Situated on St. Petersburg Beach, diners at Jimmy B’s can watch the sun go down. They can also have a delicious cocktail to go with it. The bar serves bites to eat, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, salads or appetizers. From the bar one can look out onto the private beach of the Beachcomber Hotel. Parties are often held here and the helpful staff always looks after guests without fail. Sports fans can also enjoy their true pleasure at Jimmy B’s: important sporting events are all shown here.


14. Barnacle Bill’s Seafood Emporium (Best Places to Eat in Florida: Regional restaurant – Tallahassee)

The extensive menu of this restaurant offers not only delicious fish dishes but also many fresh salads. Children aged less than 10 years eat for free on Sundays.