Category Archives: Hometown Travel Guide

Your Road Trip Guide To 2014: Five Destinations Worth The Mileage in the US

A road trip can be a way to refresh your spirit after a hectic year of work and family activities. Cruising down an open road, with new sights, sounds and personalities along the way can be the best way to spend time away from home. A number of destinations are recognized as always worth the trip – Check out some of these worthwhile locations in the US:

Your Road Trip Guide To 2014
The Grand Canyon/Sedona
One of the classic road trips for Americans is the trip to north central Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. The canyon itself was the site of human habitation
Today, you can walk along the South Rim, enjoy the museum, browse the bookstore or listen to one of the ranger-led programs. Visitors can stay in one of the six lodges within the park, hike down to the bottom of the canyon or ride the mules on canyon paths. A short distance away along some extraordinarily picturesque byways, are the red rocks of Sedona, a city devoted to artistic endeavors and spiritual growth. There, you can enjoy a class, hike through the rock formations and discover one of the energy-filled vortexes that made the area famous.

Miami/Everglades National Park
At the southern end of the Florida peninsula is the exciting city of Miami, a place that offers many cultural exhibits, ethnic restaurants and beautiful beaches. The Miami Metro Zoo, South Beach restaurants and viewing the historic architecture of the 1920s are some of the most popular activities for visitors. Off the far western edge of the area lies the Everglades National Park, where travelers of all ages can find an extraordinary ecosystem in the renowned “sea of grass,” with its unique variety of wildlife and plants. An afternoon at the park can provide fishing, kayaking, photographic opportunities and a wildlife tram tour to see some of the many alligators that inhabit the park.

Santa Fe-Taos, New Mexico
Just an hour outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, travelers can find the charming city of Santa Fe, a Mecca for artists nestled in the Sangre de Cristos Mountains. The city offers numerous historical sites, and a number of places of archaeological interests are also nearby. Restaurants, shops and many cultural events make Santa Fe one of the favorites of road trip enthusiasts. Drive a bit further into the mountains, and you find the more pastoral city of Taos. A destination for skiers in winter, Taos also offers horseback riding, art galleries and a variety of historical sites. Take time to see the Taos Pueblo, once a settlement for Pueblo Indians now the traditional site for tribal ceremonies.

Chickasaw Country, Oklahoma
Riding across the middle of America, you will find the amazing opportunities of Chickasaw Country in Oklahoma. Located outside of Oklahoma City, the area offers entertainments for every taste. Recreation areas offer fishing and hunting; scenic drives; camping; hiking and boating. The Native American cultural influence from the Chickasaw tribe is strong in this area and provides numerous educational opportunities for children. Ride a zip line or hike to a waterfall. Adults can enjoy some time at the casino. A variety of resorts and lodgings are available to make your stay comfortable.

Take the time on your road trip to explore the neighborhoods, foods and people that make these destinations so unique.

A guide to the top beaches in Karnataka

India’s home to some pretty spectacular beaches, but I think it’s fair to say that Goa is the destination that usually springs to mind when you mention beach breaks here. But there are plenty more options, including Kerala and Karnataka, and today I’m going to be focusing on the latter.

Now, whether you’re drawn to the idea of a relaxing beach holiday or you simply fancy having the option to hit the sand occasionally, location is all-important. I think that if you’re keen to find the perfect spot booking through a specialist tour operator (like TransIndus) is the best way to go, since they’ll be able to offer you expert advice that is hard to get at a more general travel agency.

Plus, doing so also gives you the freedom to pick from a selection of existing itineraries, group tours and trips tailor-made just for you. But, I’m not here to talk about holiday planning today, so let’s move on and take a look at some of the best beaches to visit in Karnataka.

sand beaches in India

Om Beach

Located just outside Gokarna is the lovely Om Beach, which is particularly charming thanks to its shape. You see, it’s formed of two semicircular coves that form an inverted Hindu symbol known as an om – and it’s this from which it takes its name.

This lovely beach is more than just a pretty face, though, since it’s a popular centre for water sports. So, if you want to do more than laze on the sand all day, this is bound to be the place for you. Water skiing, surfing and parasailing are just a few of the things you’ll be able to try.

Gokarna Beach

Also in Gokarna is Gokarna Beach, which is a little off the beaten tourist track. Thanks to its position near lots of local temples, it’s actually somewhere that’s more popular among pilgrims than tourists – though that’s not to say it’s not worth visiting. In fact, if you’re after somewhere that’s free of swathes of holidaymakers, this is a pretty reliable place to choose.

Murudeshwar Beach

Next up is Murudeshwar Beach, which is one of Karnataka’s best-loved stretches of sand. Like Gokarna Beach, it’s quite popular among pilgrims thanks to its proximity to a local temple (this one’s a pretty major pilgrimage site, which has helped make the beach as well-frequented as it is today), but it’s an equally big hit with holidaymakers.

Generally speaking it’s a decent spot for swimming, but I should warn you that the currents here can be strong from time to time – especially at high tide – so always check the conditions on the day and keep your eyes peeled for any warning signs.

Kaup Beach

If it’s a pristine, idyllic beach you’re after, Kaup is likely to impress. This unspoilt part of the coastline is around 12 km from Udupi (which is famous for the Krishna Temple) and is well known for its historic lighthouse.

This dates back to 1901 and opens to the public at select times of the day. Going inside is a nice way to add a little variety to your day, as well as sprinkle some culture into your beach break.

Maravanthe Beach

Last on my list is Maravanthe Beach, which is a prime destination if you like the sound of a little adventure below the waves. You see, this is one of the top local destinations for scuba diving and snorkelling, and the icing on the cake is that it’s wonderfully scenic.

In fact, it’s pretty impressive before you even get there – if you’re coming by road you get a great view on the approach, which includes the Kodachadri Hills and the Arabian Sea.

There you have it, some of the best beaches in India not to miss!

Why visit Croatia?

Croatia is increasingly becoming a popular holiday destination with families and solo travellers alike. But what is it that is drawing ever growing numbers of Brits to this part of Europe? Read on to find out what the allure is.

coastline in Croatia

Stunning coastline

With over a thousand miles of coastline on the Adriatic and plenty of islands to visit, Croatia is a great sun and sea destination. It is easy to travel between these coastal areas in order to get a bit of variety. With crystal clear sea and picturesque coves, what more could you want?

Moderate temperatures

The sea helps to moderate temperatures in Croatia throughout the year, meaning that winters do not get too cold and summers are not excruciatingly hot. In the summer months Dubrovnik experiences minimums of 14 degrees Celsius and highs of 28.

Natural beauty

Two stunning places to visit in order to see the best of Croatia’s natural beauty are the Plitvice Lakes and the Krka National Park. The former is situated close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina with a backdrop of karst mountains.

Here you will find 16 interconnected lakes of the most stunning turquoise colour that will take your breath away. It is a wonderful place to spend the day meandering through the countryside and enjoying the scenery.

Meanwhile the Krka National Park also has a series of lakes and waterfalls, the most famous of which is Skradinski buk, where visitors can swim at its base. This is a great way to cool off after an afternoon walking on the park’s trails, so do not forget your swimwear.

Stone towns and cities

The towns and cities of Croatia are characterised through buildings created out of a pile stone that glows slightly yellow in the sun. Add to this the traditional terracotta roofs and many of these settlements look particularly picturesque.

Approaching towns on the islands from the sea often gives a good first introduction to these places, where churches are usually the dominating feature.

Nowhere is this view more apparent in Dubrovnik, with its incredible buildings and complete set of walls. The old town is often a highlight of many trips to Croatia and walking the entirety of its defences a must-do activity.

From here you can look in towards the sea of terracotta tiles or out to the shimmering waves. Break up the walk with a drink at one of the bars set into the cliffs with a view of the Adriatic.

The cuisine

Croatian food is very much influenced by its proximity to both the sea and Italy, which lies across the expanse of water. The former means that sardines, squid, lobster and shellfish are all in abundance along the coast. Make the most of this by sampling the catch of the day cooked up in the simplest way possible.

From Italy, Croatia has developed a love of pasta and it is made fresh with an assortment of fillings and sauces. These often vary depending on which region you are visiting. Those spending time between more than one place will get the opportunity to taste the difference firsthand.

A thriving capital

Despite the lure of the coast, Croatia’s inland capital, Zagreb still has a lot to offer visitors. There are galleries and museums, top-class restaurants and buzzing bars. Impressive Austro-Hungarian buildings tower over wide squares, while beer halls quench the thirst of the masses.

These are just a few great reasons why to visit Croatia, the list is endless!

The 5 Best Places for Snorkeling in the Caribbean

For many, snorkeling in the Caribbean’s crystalline turquoise waters and swimming with some of the world’s most fascinating underwater wildlife encompasses the perfect getaway. However, as there are so many incredible snorkeling spots offering a myriad of marine wildlife, choosing where to go can often cause more stress than bliss.

Contrary to popular opinion that snorkeling in the Caribbean can equate to a small fortune, the opportunities are varied and feasible for everyone regardless of budget. Simply by ducking your head under a breaking wave along a sandy beach in Antigua will immerse swimmers an exciting underwater world predominantly occupied by dozens of rainbow fish, turtles and other sea life. Depending on budget, the opportunities are endless and the Caribbean has so much to offer. To find out more click here.

As the majority of the best, unmissable spots in the Caribbean are only accessible by boat, there are numerous snorkeling boat trips across the Caribbean. Regularly taking small groups on a day’s extravagant underwater adventure, tourists are able to explore tropical reefs and inlets. This is particularly popular around the inlets of Tobago Cays or the US Virgin Islands due to the idyllic waters, stunning scenery and exotic wildlife. Here are 5 of the best places for snorkeling in the Caribbean.

St. John, US Virgin Islands

    landscape in St Johns

There are many aspects of the Virgin Islands that allure the many thousands of keen swimmers to snorkel along its shores. As the temperature averages around 80 degrees all year round, visitors can take pleasure in St. John’s coral reefs, surrounding themselves with sea urchins, sea turtles and even sharks whilst happily splashing around in the immaculate and clear waters. Throughout St. John, there are numerous spots to snorkel and enjoy an incredible underwater environment. Swimmers can snorkel among the three species of sea turtles or the beautiful parrotfish at Cinnamon Bay.

Bimini, Bahamas

snorkeling shipwrecks in caribbean

Known as ‘an island in the stream’ the black coral gardens of Bimini are accessible from the beach and attract multitudes of marine wildlife. Only 50 miles from the Florida coast, the coral reef thrives thanks to the Gulf Stream moving northwards bringing with it pods of dolphins, Manta Rays and countless numbers of sea turtles. Consisting of two islands, Bimini boasts some of the most pristine beaches in the world and is also home to the S.S Sapona, a concrete ship that ran aground during a hurricane in 1926.  Said to be one of the best wrecks in the Caribbean, the Sapona has become a habitat of its own and is home to many species of marine wildlife.

Champagne, Dominica

bubbling waters in Dominica

Aptly named due to the bubbles of air that effervesce from the seafloor, Champagne is extremely popular. Well known for its seahorses and frogfish, Champagne is a snorkeling paradise and is guaranteed to be a highlight of any trip spent snorkeling in the Caribbean. Other wildlife often includes lobsters and even squid attracted by Champagne’s colorful coral and the bubbles of warm air. Day trips are regularly organized to Champagne’s reefs and are highly recommended as the guide’s are extremely knowledgeable about the area.

Underwater Sculpture Gardens, Mexico; Grenada

sculpture garden under the water

A truly unique spectacle, the sculpture gardens of Grenada are a wonderful sight and can be seen by divers, those in glass bottom boats and those snorkeling. Underwater sculptures by the artist include a circle of children holding hands, a person sitting at a desk using a typewriter and a table with a bowl of fruit and vase. Designed by British artist Jason De Caires Taylor, there are a total of 65 sculptures anchored to the seafloor creating a strange underwater gallery. It is fascinating to see the coral growth around the sculptures and how the marine wildlife has incorporated it into their habitat.

Tobago Cays

blue water in the caribbean

Accessible only by boat, the Cays are entirely uninhabited by people to the extent that it is forbidden by law to build structures there in an attempt to preserve the wildlife. Since the introduction of the marine park an abundance of marine creatures have made it their home. Allowing visitors to snorkel with turtles, eagle rays and a multitude of reef fish, Taboo Cays is renowned for being one of the best places for snorkeling in the Caribbean.