Thursday, October 21, 2010

St. Kitts and Nevis - easy to explore, but hard to leave

A view of Nevis from the island of St. Kitts
The charm of Caribbean region would be absolutely incomplete without Saint Kitts and Nevis – the islands which were among the first to be settled by the Europeans. These islands were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, and they were fully colonized only in 1623. They were a subject of dispute and battles between the Spanish and the British up to 1713, when the islands have been finally surrendered to the English rule. Geographically they are a part of the Leeward Islands, together with a number of other large and small isles of the Caribbean. Unmatched natural beauty and wildlife preservations are the main assets of these two small pieces of land. There are a lot of other interesting activities, and to enjoy them in full without experiencing a problem of finding an accommodation browse our St. Kitts and Nevis vacation rentals section.

Just spend a little of your time to read some information about the islands and start arranging your journey. There is much to see and do.

The untouched ecosystems of the both islands are simply the best destinations for eco-tourism. The tropical rainforests along with coral reefs and winding coastlines will astound you completely. Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano on St. Kitts, offers a great hiking opportunity to the broad edge of its crater. During the ascension you are sure to see a variety of exceptionally rare birds and butterflies. Nevis brings you a journey up to the Nevis Peak through the rainforests nestling across its slopes. The eastern coast of the island is rich in assorted nature and archaeological sites. You will find more particular information on each of the islands in the following paragraphs.

St. Kitts is the larger island, and there are more places to see and enjoy. Generally it takes several days to explore its attractions, including a variety of beach bars and water activities. Pure relaxation is also an option, since the sands are abundant. Frigate Bay area is nearly the most popular and lively. The capital of the country, Basseterre, is also on St. Kitts. It is a great place to visit and furthermore a commercial center of the islands. Former sugarcane plantations and quiet dormant villages encircle the island. Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the northwest, is famous by an 18th-century fort at the top of the hill. An overall impression of a little lack of organization makes St. Kitts provide a more genuine feeling.

Nevis seems like a reduced copy of St. Kitts. The only road on the island is the one that goes around it, and it takes about two hours to perform the full route. But if you are going to see the sights along the way and stop for a snack in one of the plantation inns, you may spend all day marveling at wonderful nature and historical places, such as the ruins of old sugar plantations, a lime kiln, or Amerindian sites. Beach activities are also available, snorkeling, diving and water sports being main of them. Nevis Peak is situated in the center of the island, and its top is often covered in clouds, which makes it even more tempting to climb. The main town is Charleston, and it takes approximately 15 minutes to walk it through. But it is worth to stay awhile too, and that is what Nevis vacation rentals are for.

They say in Nevis: "You're only a stranger here once." Hospitality and charm of these islands is the thing that will make you feel like home, and even better.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nicaragua - a volcanic country with no street names

Volcán Concepción - one of the greatest active volcanoes in Nicaragua
One of the most thought-provoking countries of the Caribbean is Nicaragua. In fact, it is the largest country in Central America. Its name is literally translated as “Surrounded by Water”. It is of particular tourist interest both to neighboring countries and to travelers from far abroad. Washed by the Caribbean Sea from the eastern side and by the Pacific Ocean from the west, Nicaragua is separated into three regions: the Atlantic Lowlands, the North-Central Highlands and the Pacific Lowlands. Each of them is distinct and differs from the others by geographical conditions and climate. Whether you are looking for relaxation and ease or adventure and activities, houses in Nicaragua are there to help you make your holiday absolutely brilliant.

The people are hospitable, and the country is truly beautiful. To make it easier to plan a perfect journey we present some tips which may prove to be helpful to you.

There are a lot of things to do in Nicaragua, but it is often necessary to interact with the locals in certain cases. This is pretty uncomplicated, because everyone is friendly towards foreigners. Generally this country is considered to be one of the safest in Central America. To feel natural in the Nicaraguan social environment it would be wise to learn some basics of the Spanish language. The locals are very patient with novice speakers. The other thing is that the street names and house numbers are not likely to be found. The point-reference system of direction is used by residents, and it can be quite challenging to find the places you are interested in. But politeness and sociability always do the trick.

One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of Nicaragua is hiking and trekking. Splendid views and extreme locations are the things that make Nicaragua trekking unbeatable. The best trekking routes are those including the volcanic strip along the Nicaraguan Pacific coast. There are over 50 volcanoes in different condition, some may even be active. Among them are Volcán Concepción, which had had about 25 eruptions, and Volcán Momotombo, the embodiment of one of the symbols of Nicaragua. Astounding views await you at the top of those ash-and-earth mounds. Before climbing the volcanoes it is also very exciting to trek in the cloud forests and pristine jungles. And there are many other opportunities to explore the island, if you’re not fond of volcanoes. Villages, beaches, forests are abundant in Nicaragua, and the choice is only yours.

Managua, the capital of the nation, took its residence on the southern shore of Lake Managua. It combines the role of the largest city and of a center of commerce, finance, transportation, education and culture. The peculiarity of this city is that there is no accurate city center, since it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 and 1972. It was never rebuilt and now there are remains of the original buildings serving as sights. Some constructions that survived the ground shaking are still in use, such as the National Palace, the Fine Arts Palace and the Government House. One of the interesting places just at the northern edge of Managua is the Footprints of Acahualinca – human footprints left in the ash and mud more than 2000 years ago. And a small hill of La Loma near the lakeshore harbors a tranquil lagoon, where you can take rest from the activeness and bustle of the city. Managua vacation rentals will provide a nice and comfortable retreat for you to have a great time in the capital of Nicaragua.

After all, the country is a wonderful place for volcano and nature lovers. Keep in touch with the local people, and you may experience one of the best times of your life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Anguilla - tiny in size, huge in impressions

Sandy Ground - one of the most fabulous beaches of Anguilla
Despite being one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean, Anguilla is a very attractive destination for tourists from all over the world. Its story began about 4000 years ago. The original name was Malliouhana, which means arrow-shaped sea serpent. After having been renamed by the Europeans due to its specific eel-like shape, the island’s name is of the similar origin in all of the Romance languages, so you will never make a mistake when inquiring about Anguilla vacation. After continuous colonization and two rebellions the island has become a British Overseas Territory. It is very easy to find a good villa to spend your vacation today, just check our Anguilla villas section and see for yourself.

Before starting off to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of this Caribbean treasure, spare several minutes of your time and read some useful notes on the Anguilla vacation.

The most exciting thing about all Caribbean destinations is beaches. Anguilla is absolutely not an exception. More to say, this island claims to have the best beaches in the world. Not less than 33 of them, all with clear azure water and glaringly white sand, offer a pampering experience of sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling. There are crowded places along with beach bars, resorts, umbrellas and all other luxury attributes, as well as nice little secluded sands, where you can even spot sea turtles and iguanas. You can visit Captains Bay, Island Harbour, Shoal Bay East, Limestone Bay, to name only a few. No matter which one you choose, Anguilla will welcome you with calm sea and picturesque coast.

Another great activity in Anguilla is hiking. You will be amazed how many directions can be taken on such a small piece of dry land that is only 17 miles long and 3 miles wide at its maximum. The narrowness of the island makes it eventually possible to see the shoreline on the opposite sides when passing the low bush and rocks along the coast. One of the best places to start exploring the uninhabited area is Windward Point. If you find yourself bored with open spaces, then try the caves – natural formations, which emerged as gaps in the coral resulted by the erosion of the softer rock. The most prominent of them are Abadam Hole, Big Spring National Park, The Fountain, Iguana Cave and several others. So be sure to check at least one, as it is very interesting to see the insides of the island.

While some separate sights can be distinguished in other places of the Earth, in Anguilla the whole island is a natural and historical attraction. You can ride through the island on a bike or even on a horseback, for Anguilla is almost completely flat and has just one main road and nice side roads. While enjoying the splendid nature, be on the lookout for the birds – there are 136 different species of them. And if that all is not enough to satisfy your desire for Caribbean flora and fauna, come to the north side of the island and find a hiking trail near Crocus Hill. It will lead you to the small rainforest of Anguilla. It would be best to search for an accommodation in some of the small villages, such as West End vacation rentals, to have a nice place to refill your strength after the exploration of the island.

Anguilla won’t leave anyone indifferent. It is a kind of place which charms and enwraps you with its beauty right from the start. Who knows, maybe you wouldn’t even want to leave…

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pakistan - a cradle of the ancient civilizations

One of the serene mountain villages in Pakistan
One of the most outstanding countries of the Asian region is Pakistan. The country has emerged as a result of political separation of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 and gaining an independence from the British Empire. A further split-up of the newly transpired state led to the appearance of Bangladesh from the eastern part of Pakistan and the western one to become what we now know as properly Pakistan. A number of ancient cultures have resided on the territory of Pakistan. Moreover, as time passed, different dynasties and empires took possession of the region; among them were the Persians, the Mongols, the Sikhs and the British. Nowadays Pakistan is an active member of the international community and a very popular destination for tourism. Check our section for houses in Pakistan and see how it influenced the availability of inexpensive and comfortable accommodations.

Being friendly and hospitable as any Asian country, Pakistan still remains an Islamic republic. Read some useful information we picked for you to feel at ease when visiting this wonderful country.

The diversity of cultures, peoples and landscapes is the main reason tourists come to Pakistan. The mountain system of the country offers quite a variety of challenges for mountaineers and cave-lovers. Five of world’s fourteen mountain peaks that surpass 8000 meters belong to the mountain chains of Pakistan, the famous K2 being one of them. The highest mountain pass is Shandur Pass, which is often referred to as the Roof of the World. If you prefer to go deeper rather than higher, see the Mangocher Cave, which is a place of natural decoration. The provinces which have the most mountain passes are Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. But don’t think that Pakistan means only mountains and caves, as there are other attractions too.

One of the best places to see in Pakistan is Mohenjo-Daro. It is one of the earliest urban settlements in the world and a heritage of the Indus Valley civilization. It has been presented in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1980. It is also worth saying that the fourth highest temperature on Earth was recorded in Mohenjo-Daro. In the times of the ancient civilization it was one of the administrative centers, and even the most developed city presumably in the world. It was carefully planned and built, as it was of the highest importance to the people of the Indus Valley. Nowadays it is a developed archaeological site, which is extremely preserved and protected mainly from the floods.

Punjab, the second largest province in Pakistan, will marvel you with religious diversity and well-preserved legacy of the ages. A lot of sights are scattered throughout its territory. This region was a witness to one of the greatest and most fearsome battles of Alexander the Great – The Battle of the Hydaspes River. And the city of Lahore is known as the Cultural Heart of Pakistan due to a plethora of architectural and cultural heritage. Guru Nanak - a founder of Sikhism – was born in Nankana Sahib, which is a great place of worship these days. The area of Punjab tends to become more desert from north to south. The southern city of Multan is a home to the mausoleum of the Sikh saints. And finally there is Lal Suhanra National Park on the outskirts of the city of Bahwalpur. Consider all the places of attraction and see if you like any of Punjab vacation rentals offered on our site.

While being highly cultural and traditional, Pakistan is a poor country, and the tourism industry is yet to show its best. But there is still much to enjoy now, so don't hesitate to plan your Pakistan vacation!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Guadeloupe - take a ride on the butterfly!

An astonishing panorama of Guadeloupe - the Butterfly Island
Guadeloupe is an absolutely unique archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, not only by its shape but also by its mixture of the modern infrastructure and civilization and local traditions and culture. It has a shape of a butterfly, if to look from above, and it is no wonder that the other name of Guadeloupe is the Butterfly Island. It has been a French overseas region and an inseverable part of the Republic of France since 2007. All of the islands are absolutely different, offering a varied complex of sights and attractions. As the local currency is euro, there will be no problems with sorting out the prices and planning your budget. And the availability of Guadeloupe vacation rentals will allow you to plan your vacation in detail and make the best of it.

While you are figuring out the best flight to Caribbean, spend some minutes of your time to read about the most outstanding places to see and things to do in Guadeloupe.

The main island consists of two parts, or ‘wings’ - Grande-Terre, the eastern wing, and Basse-Terre, the western one. Grand-Terre is a home to an assortment of coast towns and various beach activities. Azure water and white sand stretch along the shoreline as far as eye can see. You can as well learn to surf here or relax in numerous beach bars. Basse-Terre can boast a national park and La Soufrière volcano. For those who wish to have an adventure, there are hiking trails and a Jacques Cousteau underwater reserve. Each of the smaller islands, such as La Désirade, Terre-de-Haut and Marie-Galante, has its own matchless atmosphere – one being cool, the other – cosmopolitan, and the third – rural.

You can never be far from a beautiful beach while in Guadeloupe, whether it is man-made or wild, white or black sand, with calm water or high waves. But the islands have more to see than just beaches. The splendid tropical forest of Guadeloupe offers luxurious and endemic flora and fauna. It is best preserved in the Guadeloupe National Park, which occupies over 17000 hectares. Hunting, fishing and plant picking is prohibited there. You can enjoy picnics or mountain trail exploring in the national park, so don’t forget to take some warm clothes with you. But be sure to be careful if you decide to undertake the mountains during the rainy season, which is from July to November.

One of the most spectacular attractions in Guadeloupe is the Pulling Oxen Course. Every year such an event takes place at the end of the sugar season and reaches its full extent in November. Those extremely strong creatures pull unbelievable weights – from 1300 to 1700 kg – uphill along the coast. Every Sunday yokes of oxen drag large carriages with stones, and it is an opportunity for the inhabitants of the island to get together and arrange a party. To the tourists it is like a sight from another time. Certainly, you can also enjoy all this if you look for Ferry vacation rentals on our website.

Guadeloupe is a place to relax and ease yourself in a good and friendly environment. This small Caribbean archipelago can offer everything a tourist may wish for.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sri Lanka - a preserve of tranquility

One of the vast tea plantations in Sri Lanka
Being an island country, Sri Lanka, also known as Ceylon, is an important center of the ancient Buddhist religion and culture and is one of the few remaining upholders of Buddhism and Hinduism in South Asia. It is located in the path of major sea routes and consequentially represents a strategic naval link between the West Asia and South East Asia. The most remarkable fact about Sri Lanka is that it is the first Asian nation to have had a female ruler in the I century BC - Queen Anula, and in the modern times it has also had the first female Prime-Minister - Sirimavo Bandaranaike. The name of the country ‘Sri Lanka’ is translated from Sanskrit as ‘Venerable Island’, and it seems to be completely fair. Its outstanding history, as well as valuable export products, has led to the world renown of this small piece of dry land in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka villas are now a convenient way to arrange your stay on the island.

There is much to see, taste and experience in Sri Lanka, but still an adjusted journey will provide the best impressions, so read on to learn some interesting details about this country.

One of the main attractions of Sri Lanka is its beaches. Totaling about 1340 km of the coastline, there are beaches for every season in the country. So no matter what time you prefer for your visit, you can still choose a place to enjoy the ocean! By the way, there are many ways you can diversify your beach vacation. The wide coral reef surrounding the shoreline provides a lot of opportunities for diving and snorkeling. You may even come across some historic wrecks at the bottom of the ocean. The waves are great for surfing, and if you seek for the calm waters, you may like windsurfing in such places as Bentota and Negombo. The main tourist destinations include the southern beaches, but there are less visited (and nevertheless attractive) territories to the East and North.

The island is very rich in abundant nature. Hills, parks and waterfalls are a wonderful place to get away from the urban noise. The spellbinding hill country is situated at the distance of 125 km from Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. It rises over 2500 meters in the central region of the island. Charming little villages and tea plantations can be found there. The waterfalls of Sri Lanka are much varied. There are more than 100 of them, and yet some can remain undiscovered. The tallest is Bambarakanda (263 m). And the exclusive biodiversity of the country can be observed in its 12 National Parks and 52 Sanctuaries. Along with seven UNESCO World Heritage sites all this makes Sri Lanka a magnetic region for tourists.

You can find the sweetest cinnamon in Negombo – The village of honey, according to the Sinhalese. It has been the main place for cinnamon growing from the early centuries, and the town often was an object of dispute and even conflict between the nations. Nowadays Negombo is the biggest fishing market in the country. A lot of vessels bring their catch to the port in the early morning. You can even arrange to go out to the sea in one of the boats! Just browse our Negombo vacation rentals section to find a nice accommodation. There is also a plethora of wonderful shrines and churches in Negombo, since the great part of its population is Catholic.

The diversity of Sri Lanka is unique without exaggeration. You can observe every kind of landscape and enjoy almost any activity you like.