holiday travel ideas

 

Top Three Salta Hotels

Salta city has a host of nice hotels to choose from. If you want to explore the city, then book a place near the Plaza 9 de Julio because most of the main sights are within walking distance. If you would like great views and a more tranquil holiday, stay on the city’s outskirts.

Here’s our pick of the three of the best hotels during your holiday travel in Salta, Argentina:

Legado Mitico Salta

This is one of the nicest places to stay in Salta. A private residence has been converted into a sophisticated 11-room boutique hotel. A lot of care has been lavished on its incredibly tasteful interiors. The rooms are large and so are the bathrooms. Each room is uniquely themed around a poet, sculptor or gaucho and you will see the theme reflected in the artifacts and curios in the room. From framed photographs to handwoven rugs and bows and arrows, the feel is authentic Argentinian.
Some of the rooms have small balconies and whilst the hotel doesn’t have a pool or gym, it amply makes up for it with its warm and inviting ambience and lovely décor. None of the rooms have great views but the location is good.
Check out its extensive library for books on Argentina’s history, linger in the courtyard with a book or coffee and sample some fine wine from its cellar at the hotels stylish bar.

Price for a Double Room: US$170-210, inclusive of breakfast

The House Of Jasmines

Located on the outskirts of Salta, this wonderful century-old country lodge is a great place from where to explore places outside Salta city. The property has a fantastic location – 300 acres of pristine countryside with the Argentinian Andes as a backdrop.
The white adobe, red tiled structure is covered with jasmine creepers, hence the name. The interior is done in mostly white and cream with an occasional splash of colour from a rug. The effect is entirely calming and pleasing. You feel as if you are a guest at a colonial country house. The delightful scent of roses pervades everywhere and you will see the flowers in every room. In season, there’s also jasmine.
There are only 7 rooms in the main house and 3 suites in adjacent buildings. There’s also a detached two-bedroom house available for families. All the rooms and suites have four poster beds and beautiful interiors done in whites with a bright blanket or two thrown on the bed and chairs for some colour. There are a few restored antiques in the rooms. Some of the rooms have a balcony or terrace but all the rooms enjoy glorious views of the mountains. You will also enjoy the elaborate dinner rituals and the food is excellent.
There’s also a nice spa and an outdoor pool with great views.

Price for a Double Room: US$215-395, inclusive of breakfast

La Candela Hotel

This hotel regularly receives rave reviews from travelers for its warm service, great location and clean, well-appointed rooms. All in all, it’s good value for money.
The hotel is a remodeled colonial house. While the décor is more modern than colonial, the architecture is well preserved. The highlight of the hotel is its courtyard and pool area. You will enjoy having a meal by the poolside. The rooms are of reasonable size and some of them overlook the garden and pool. There’s also an apartment for a bigger group or family. The bathrooms are clean and the staff is extremely helpful.
The hotel’s trump card is its location. It’s situated within walking distance of the main square and yet you will find that the hotel is located on a quiet street.

Price for a Double Room: US$58-104

Read more about the history and sights of Salta city and browse this site for more holiday travel ideas.

Posted by on December 17th, 2009

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Salta La Linda or Salta The Beautiful

Salta is the capital of Argentina’s northwestern province of Salta. Founded in 1582, it has one of the best-preserved colonial architecture in all of Argentina and a distinctive Hispanic character. Stroll down narrow 18th century cobbled streets and admire the churches, plazas and lovely wooden balconies that jut out into the streets. Most places of interest, such as the Cathedral, the graceful white-washed Cabildo (Town Hall) and the elegant San Francisco Church, are located around the central square Plaza 9 de Julio, making exploring the city quite easy. There are also many nice museums like Museo Historico del Norte (located inside the Cabildo) and the Museo de la Ciudad (City Nuseum) where admission is free and you are requested to leave a donation when you leave.

Take time to visit a peña folclórica (folk tavern) and enjoy an evening of local music and dance. A favourite among the locals is El Boliche Balderrama. Most of the nightlife is in La Balcarce near the train station.

Teleferico a Cerro San Bernardo

A great way to observe Salta is by taking a Cable Car to San Bernardo Hill. The views are glorious and the hills provide a wonderful backdrop to the historic city.

The Train To The Clouds (Tren a las Nubes)

One of the biggest highlights of your holiday travel to Salta will undoubtedly be The Train To The Clouds. Your 15-hour journey begins and ends in Salta and it takes you through the scenic and varied terrain of Argentina’s northwest. From pampas grass to sculptural cacti, and from lush tobacco fields to lunar landscapes, your train adventure will take you from Salta city to La Polvorilla and back. La Polvorilla is situated at 13,845 feet above the mean sea level and the thinness of the air along the route makes it necessary for a medical facility to be aboard your train.
The Train To The Clouds is the third highest train route in the world and you will often see soft white clouds drifting below bridges or clinging to the mountain sides and hence the name of the train. You will traverse through 29 bridges, 21 tunnels, 13 viaducts, 2 spirals and 2 zigzags. The Polvorilla viaduct is spectacular – it is 224 meters long and 63 meters high.

Best time to visit: April to November

The average high temperature is around 22ºC but it get chilly at night and lows range from 3 to 14ºC. The advantage of going in winter is that you will get no rain.

Read about the top three Salta Hotels for a great holiday. Also browse this site for more holiday travel ideas around the world.

Posted by on December 14th, 2009

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Best Holiday Travel Destinations For Easter Breaks

The long Easter weekend is a great time to take off for a short break. The weather too starts getting warmer in America and Europe, opening up loads of holiday destinations to choose from.
Below is our pick of holiday travel ideas for your Easter break. The destinations have been chosen for the quirky customs and unique traditions that are followed in the various cities. New York is also great place to visit for Easter weekend breaks and you can read all about its famous Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival.

Jamaica Easter Carnival

The Jamaica Easter Carnival kicked off in 1990 and has gained in popularity over the years. More than 100,000 revelers flock to Kingston for the Carnival which begins with Beach Jouvert on Easter Sunday. Jouvert means daybreak and the parade begins in the early hours of the morning when it’s still dark outside. The Carnival ends with the colourful Road March which is a costumed street parade where top local and regional bands play calypso and reggae to the crowd’s delight. Soca parties are also the rage throughout the island. The carnival is quite a spectacle and it’s a fun way to spend your Easter break.

Kingston is the capital of Jamaica and most people tend to avoid it because of the adverse publicity it has received about crime. Just be a little careful and you should be fine. There are plenty of nice nightclubs and restaurants around Kingston which make it a lively town.

But it’s not only Kingston that celebrates Easter in true Caribbean style in Jamaica. There’s some parade or the other happening somewhere on the island during the Easter Carnival week. Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril also have some wonderful entertainment and parades.
Another Easter tradition in Jamaica is eating bun and cheese. The buns are spiced with cinnamon and are sprinkled with lots of raisins. They are generally eaten with processed cheese and you will see supermarket shelves packed with buns and cheese around Easter.

Trekking, snorkeling and diving are some of the activities you can do in Jamaica. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the stunning beaches in Port Antonio, Montego Bay and Negril.

Weather in Kingston in March and April: Temperatures range from 24°C to 28°C. There’s an occasional light shower during the day.

Semana Santa, Seville, Spain

The Holy Week, or Semana Santa, preceding Easter Sunday sees processions by the brotherhoods of the church making their way from their churches to the Cathedral. The penitents wear robes and hoods and walk alongside two to three elaborate wooden floats. The first float usually depicts the scene of the Passion with Christ and the second, a grieving Mary. Some of the floats have exquisite sixteenth century statues decorated with gilt and silver and are often accompanied by bands playing flamenco style hymns.

At midnight on Thursday, the biggest processions leave their churches and wind their way through the night to arrive at the Cathedral on the morning of Good Friday. This is definitely the highpoint of the week. Up to 60,000 monks participate in the processions during Holy Week.
Although the parades have a religious and solemn flavour, you will see bars and restaurants packed with local families till late into the night. Grandparents and grandchildren too stay up late.

Apart from the Easter processions, take time to walk through the narrow alleys of Seville’s old town and eat at a local tapas bar. You will see some of the best bullfighting and flamenco performances here. Seville is easily one of Spain’s must-visit places, both historic and stylish at the same time.

Weather in Seville in March and April: Temperatures range from 9°C to 24°C.

Read more about how to spend your Holiday Nights In Madrid.

São Brás de Alportel, Algarve, Portugal

This is a small town in the eastern Algarve and is more commonly known simply as São Brás. It is ringed by hills and looks down at the coast from an escarpment. The old town has a church and the Episcopal Palace. On Easter Sunday, the town comes alive and draws visitors for its unique Easter ceremony.

The streets are paved with fresh wild flowers arranged in interesting patterns and a Torch Procession, or Festa das Tochas, proceeds through the streets. Men carrying torches made of flowers walk or run through the streets. Their leader cries, “Christ is risen” and the others respond with cries of “Hallelujah”. Similar ceremonies used to take place in other Algarve towns in the 18th and 19th century but now the tradition is alive only in São Brás.

After the procession you can walk along the flower strewn streets or make your way to other towns of the Algarve. At the crossroads in the main town square, you can head north to Lisbon, south to Faro, east to Tavira and west to Loule.

The Algarve coast is truly picturesque with sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and towns with whitewashed houses. Most of the resorts are not exactly pretty but the wonderful setting draws huge crowds in summer. During Easter you can enjoy the Algarve without the teeming tourists, although the water can be a bit cold.

Weather in the Algarve in March and April: Temperatures range from 17°C to 20°C.

Also read about the Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival in New York.

Posted by on November 30th, 2009

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Top Three Luxury Resorts For A Holiday On A Private Beach

If you are looking for a pristine private beach where you may not even see another soul, be prepared to pay for the exclusive experience! Below are mentioned some of the most spectacular beach resorts offering an incredible mix of seclusion, location and luxury.

Kamalame Cay, Bahamas

You arrive at this extraordinary island resort in a private ferry or a seaplane. The resort is just off Andros island in the Bahamas and covers an area of 96 acres of lush tropical vegetation. It has a 3-mile long beach and even a fresh water pool and yet there are just 19 villa suites and cottages, ensuring that each unit has a secluded beach on its doorstep. As you can expect in the Bahamas, the island’s private beach is pristine.
A barrier reef, the world’s third longest, is just a mile of the island’s shores, providing the perfect place to dive and snorkel. Kayaking, windsurfing and fishing are some of the other water activities available to the guests. A good spa refreshes and rejuvenates guests after a long day on the beach.
Kamalame Cay has a wonderful rustic feel with an understated luxury. Its 19 villas and cottages are built with local stone and have white washed walls and solid teak Indonesian furniture. Simple but elegant white muslin curtains adorn the wide windows and create an airy and spacious feel.
The seafood is incredibly fresh and the Caribbean cuisine is truly superb. You can enjoy a romantic dinner on the beach amidst tiki-torches and candles.
Best time to visit: Mid-December to Mid-April. Carry a jacket as it can get nippy at night. Temperatures range from 24°C to 29°C.

Amanpulo, Philippines

This is one of Asia’s best beach resorts and it doesn’t just have a private beach – it occupies the entire island of Pamlican.
A short flight from Manila will take you to the island’s private airstrip. From here on, you are in paradise. The beaches are absolutely fantastic and the island is ringed by a 7-km-long reef. You have your own golf cart to explore the private island.
There are 40 casitas, or traditional Philippino houses, situated on the beach, on the hill and in treetops. Each casita is spacious and has a lovely sundeck and a cavernous bathroom.
If you don’t want to stretch out on a mattress on the beach then there’s a 30-meter pool by which you can lounge. The more active guests can go snorkeling, diving, kayaking, fishing or sailing. Meals are at restaurants overlooking the sea. Spa treatments are available in two dedicated casitas, an open air hut or even in your own casita.

The décor uses a lot of wood which gives the resort a warm feel. The service is excellent and the location is simply out of this world. Perhaps that’s why it attracts a lot of honeymooners!
Best time to visit: November to May when the average temperature is 26°C and the weather is dry.

Le Taha’a Private Island & Spa, Tahiti

This is ranked as one of the most exclusive beach resorts in the world. The best way to get to the Motu Tautau coral reef on which it is located is by a 15-minute helicopter ride from Bora Bora. The resort faces Taha’a island on its lagoon side and Bora Bora on its ocean side and offers spectacular views everywhere you look. It comprises 12 beach villas and 48 Over Water Bungalows. All of them are extremely spacious and have been built in traditional Polynesian architecture.
The beach villas have their own private plunge pools, terraces and walled off gardens. The over water bungalows have a wide private deck which leads directly to the lagoon.
The resort’s three restaurants, pool and other public areas face Taha’a island and are nestled between lush coconut groves.
The Manea Spa too has a fantastic location next to a meandering pool and overlooking Taha’a island. A visit is definitely recommended.
The snorkeling near the lagoon isn’t great but you can go diving to nearby dive sites. Kayaks, pedalos, canoes and snorkeling equipment is available for free. The resort also organizes cruises and excursions for its guests.
Le Taha’a is a luxurious and romantic getaway for those who want to escape the mundane. The turquoise waters and soft, white sand on a private beach in the South Pacific make for great holiday travel.
Best time to visit: June to October when the weather is cooler and drier. The average temperature is 24°C to 30°C and the water temperature ranges between 23°C and 26°C.

Read about more Romantic Destinations. and also check out Best Hawaii Beach Destinations and Beach Holiday Destinations for more holiday travel ideas.

Posted by on November 20th, 2009

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Holiday Dubai!

So you have heard of all the incredible buildings and the property development that has been happening in Dubai over the last five years. Yet nothing prepares you for the reality. The real estate projects are on a different scale altogether. Burj Dubai – the world’s tallest building, the Palm Islands – the largest manmade islands in the sea, The World – islands shaped like the different continents, Burj Al Arab – the largest all-suite hotel, to name a few, are all here. The city is glitzy, ostentatious and ever changing. Dubai has some of the biggest shopping malls you have ever seen are here and new ones that are even bigger, brighter, bolder are being built.

The biggest surprise however, is that Dubai is nothing like your idea of an Islamic country. Expatriates from the subcontinent, Philippines, Europe, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Korea and the neighbouring Arab states outnumber the local Emiratis by far. Thus the city has a cosmopolitan culture and you will hear many languages being spoken, the most common of which is English. There are no restrictions on dress, unless someone is dressed truly indecently.

One of the highlights of your Dubai holiday will be the sheer variety of cuisine that’s available thanks to its ethnic mix. You should definitely try the Arabic delicacies on your visit to Dubai. The nightlife is amazing with an interesting mix of nightclubs, lounge bars, pubs and restaurants. All the restaurants and bars that serve alcohol are located in sports clubs or hotels with at least 3 stars. Hotels in Dubai like the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Emirates Towers, Atlantis, Dusit and the Madinat Jumeirah complex, are as much architecture statements for the city as they are hotels.

Private Beach

The other surprise in Dubai is its excellent beaches. The sand is powdery white and the water turquoise blue. Some of the posh hotels on the Jumeirah beach stretch have their own private beaches. Hotels with a private beach include Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa, Hilton Jumeira, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Ritz Carlton, Madinat Jumeirah, Atlantis on the Palm Islands and of course the iconic and super luxurious Burj Al Arab. Parks such as Al Mamzar Beach Park and Jumeirah Beach Park also have nice beaches.

Thankfully there are also a few places that haven’t been obliterated by the building boom. The old markets in Deira and Bur Dubai still retain some of their ancient flavour with narrow, bustling alleys packed with small traders.

Things to do in Dubai:

This over-the-top city is a place to live it up. Here are a few things for you to do on your holiday travel in Dubai:

• Desert Safari: Get into a 4×4 and then hang on for dear life as expert drivers take you over mammoth sand dunes. It’s an incredible experience so don’t miss it. Your desert adventure will be followed by a barbecue and belly dancing at a desert camp.
• Strolling through Bastakiya: This is a small area where old houses with wind towers have been restored and converted into museums, art galleries and cafes.
• Visiting the Spice Souq: Walk down the creek in Bur Dubai and watch Dhows (traditional wooden ships) sailing by. Then take an Abra (a small boat) across the creek and go to the Spice Souq
• Wining & Dining: Thai Kitchen at Park Hyatt for contemporary Thai food, Asado at The Palace for Argentinean steaks, Zheng He at Mina A’Salam for Chinese, Bice at Hilton Jumeirah for Italian… There are hundreds of great places to dine well.
• Mall Trawl: Apart from shopping, check out the ski slope at the mall of the Emirates and the aquarium and dancing fountains on the lake at Dubai Mall. For an upscale venue go to Souq Madinat which has been built like a traditional Arabic souq or market.

Best time to visit Dubai:

November to March. Summers are scorching but come winter, the city comes alive and the weather is perfect for a day on the beach.

Read about the best Romantic Spas, Beaches, Cruises, Ski Resorts and more holiday travel ideas on this site.

Posted by on November 17th, 2009

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