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Top ten world’s Island Beaches for Snorkeling and Swimming

by amit.uniyal 12. March 2015 02:59

Swimming and snorkeling can be great fun. It provides opportunity to see myriad colorful marine life underwater. Moreover, apart from enjoying a blissful snorkeling vacation, the activity will also let you keep your body in shape. Snorkeling doesn’t need rigorous training. If you are a good swimmer, then you can snorkel too. The pleasures of swimming and snorkeling become simply fantastic when you do it in some of the popular Island Beaches in the world. Here we have specially curated for you world’s top 10 Island Beaches you should consider heading for your snorkeling vacation.

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Honda Bay, Palawan - Philippines
The reefs off Honda Bay are particularly great for snorkeling as they are teeming with varied marine life, including ghost pipes, starfish, seahorses, and three kinds of endangered turtles. You will find at least 400 species of coral and 800 fish species. The white sandy beaches in Palawan also welcome avid snorkelers. If you plan deep-sea dive in Palawan’s waters, you may be lucky to see dugong or sea cows as well.
Rakeedhoo, Vaavu Atoll - Maldives
Rakeedhoo shouldn’t be mistaken for a beach. It’s in fact a small island in the Vaavu Atoll, which is flanked by broad coral shelves. An impressive array of marine life and coral species are ready to welcome you when snorkeling on the reef top. You will be thrilled to see turtles, sharks, tuna, hump head parrot fish and blue-fin jacks. Rakeedhoo Kandu being an excellent dive site in the Maldives is also great for swimming.
Smith's Reef, Providenciales - Turks & Caicos
Smith’s Reef is situated in the Princess Alexandra National Park on Providenciales’ northern coast. It is home to most diverse seascapes in  Turks & Caicos Island. You will love snorkeling here. Get ready to discover neon trumpetfish, yellowtail snappers, green parrotfish, purple gorgonians, and colorful fan and brain corals. You will also come to know about the reef’s marine life and ecosystem.

Carlos Rosario Beach, Culebra - Puerto Rico
If you want to skip the crowds at the beautiful Flamenco Beach, then simply head to the Carlos Rosario Beach, which forms the part of the Luis Peña Channel Natural Reserve. It is undoubtedly a good spot for swimming and snorkeling in Puerto Rico. The largest diversity of marine life and coral are to be found here. Want to hit “The Wall”? Then just swim a little north of the Carlos Rosario Beach to see the mile-long stretch of colorful coral with plenty of turtles, urchins and tropical fish.

Temae Plage Publique, Moorea - French Polynesia  
You will find it too tempting to spend some time lying on the deserted, silky shores of Moorea. The island is surrounded by turquoise waters teeming with rich, diverse marine life. The splendid Temae Public Beach or Temae Plage Publique is also a great spot to see colorful coral reefs with hawksbill sea turtles, trumpetfish and stingrays.

Jellyfish Lake at Eil Malk, Rock Islands - Palau
The silky white sands at Eil Malk are stunning. But the real discovery beneath its turquoise waters is its golden jellyfish or million mastigias papua. They are concentrated in the appropriately-named “Jellyfish Lake”. They are stingless, and therefore harmless. Snorkeling among them is quite thrilling experience as you can get up close or even touch them. Swimmers and snorkelers find it great with many reefs off Eil Malk.

Matira Beach, Bora Bora - French Polynesia
Bora Bora’s Matira Beach is among the most beautiful island beaches in the world. The clarity of water and temperature here makes it an excellent spot for snorkeling. The diverse marine life at its spectacular reef, including above 1,000 tropical fish species, octopus, eagle rays and manta rays prompt snorkelers to go for a snorkel safari and enjoy swimming among the reef sharks.

Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef - Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is home to hundreds of snorkeling spots. It has the world’s richest ecosystems and boasts of 2,900 individual reefs. However, Lady Eliot Island is at the top of the list. You can look forward to discover kaleidoscopic coral, carpet sharks, manta rays, tropical fish species and sea cucumbers. Snorkeling between November and March is the best as you will be able to spot green and loggerhead turtles nesting on the beach.

Mnemba Island - Tanzania
The tiny Mnemba Island in Tanzania has been declared as a Marine Conservation area. It is encircled by pristine coral reefs. The area boasts of over 430 species of reef fish and marine life, including turtles, stingrays, moray eels, and bottlenose dolphin.

Cayo De Agua, Los Roques - Venezuela
The Cayo De Agua forms the part of the Los Roques Archipelago National Park. It is the Caribbean Sea’s largest marine park. Its waters are home to around 280 species of fish, 200 species of crustaceans and 61 species of coral. You can enjoy leisurely laps in the crystal clear, pool-like waters surrounding the arch-shaped cay, if you are not in snorkeling mood.

These are undoubtedly among the best island beaches in the world for snorkeling and swimming. Plentiful marine life, gentle currents and clear water – are all that you need to look out for a fantastic snorkeling trip.

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travel guide

The best time to plan your visit to Cairo

by amit.uniyal 11. March 2015 03:42

Visiting Cairo, the capital city of Egypt and Africa’s largest city, can simply be an astounding and overwhelming experience. The city is home to above 16 million people. With its centuries-old history, the city will just amaze you. It is dusty, smelly, exotic, chaotic and beautiful, and at the same time quite fascinating, exhilarating, vibrant and welcoming. Cairo is ready to bewilder you endlessly with some of the best Islamic, Coptic and Pharaonic sites found in the country. The mighty River Nile, the Sphinx, the Giza Pyramids, the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, medieval markets by Khan El-Khalili, modern malls, theaters, cinemas and much more – are all there for you to keep you fascinated and entertained. Don’t all these ever excite you to visit and spend your vacations in this magnificent historic city!

So, why not plan a trip to Cairo right away? Before making plans for your visit it would be appropriate to know beforehand after all when it would be the best time to do so. Let’s now figure out the best times to head to this beautiful city.

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December-February is prime tourist season
If you are planning a trip to Cairo during the winter months between December and February, you can expect an influx of tourists from different parts of the world. This is the most popular time to visit the city. It is the peak tourist season and can be quite expensive. The days are sunny and warm, while the evenings are windy and cool. The pleasant weather is just great for sightseeing. If you have decided to go ahead with your travel during this period do remember to book your hotel rooms at least one or two months in advance or else you have to spend a huge amount because of the huge tourist arrivals. Planning your travel during the winter months has its other advantages as well. You can look forward to taking part in some major festivals such as Cairo Biennale, Sphinx Festival, Cairo International Festival, International Nile Song and Coptic Christmas.
Great time to visit during springtime March-April
The spring months from March to April are also considered to be the best time to visit Cairo. It offers a respite to the travelers as the winter crowds start waning. You don’t have to stand in long queues or rub shoulders with other to visit some of the popular attractions in the city. Above all, the weather is also perfectly fine. The hotel room rates are also somewhat low and require three to four weeks advance booking. The Egyptian National Film Festival and Caravan are the two main events held during this period.

Desert climate during summertime May-September

Most tourists don’t prefer to visit Cairo during the months from May to September. It is summertime here and you will have to face desert climate when visiting the city. The dry weather is not quite appealing. If however you decide to visit the city then you are sure to get some fantastic hotel deals. The major events taking place during summertime include Spring Festival and Egypt Now.

Best to visit during late fall October-November
The late fall months of October to November are also great in Cairo’s tourism calendar. These are pleasant times with the summer heat vanishing and winter crowds planning to arrive. You can make the most by visiting famous attractions and indulging in other outdoor activities. This is the time when hotel rates start climbing, but you can still get a good deal when booking a month in advance.
Whichever month you choose to visit Cairo, it will undoubtedly be an unforgettable experience for you.

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Travel Advice

SXSW 2015 – Austin readies for premier music and film event!

by amit.uniyal 10. March 2015 04:35

Hey, all the music and film lovers. This is your moment. Austin is beckoning you!

The popular South By Southwest music festival, also called SXSW, is again all set to take the city by storm and ready to enthrall all those heading to the city for the wonderful March 13-21 event. So, this is just not the time to waste any more. Book your flight tickets to Austin right away and have a gala time.

Do you know what all awaits you in Austin? The nearly 10-day-long event will be attracting some of the renowned musicians from world over. Get ready to regale with several unknown up-and-coming musical performances in blues, country, electronic, hip-hop, rap, pop and rock as well. The year 2014 was simply fabulous. There was an impressive lineup of more than 2,300 bands, which thrilled thousands of fans with their amazing performances on over 100 stages. Last year was also special as it attracted many big names in the film and music industry, including Lady Gaga, St. Vincent, Lucinda Williams, Soundgarden, Willie Nelson, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Kanye West and Jay Z.

SXSW 2015 Fare Buzz

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival will be celebrating its 22nd year. An impressive lineup for this year’s has already been announced. The craftsmanship by master filmmakers, auteur-driven comedies and emerging directors will be prominently showcasing their independent discoveries. This year 145 feature films are to be shown. This includes 11 U.S. Premieres, 13 North American Premieres and 100 World Premieres. At least 60 films to be featured will be those from the first-time filmmakers.

Whether you are a regular at SXSW or visiting it for the first time, attending multitude of events can be stimulating as well as stressful. Several performances, presentations, business meetings and networking events will keep you heavily engaged and stressed out. Here are some of the important tips that you need to take note of in order to make the most out of your Austin trip.

Packing up for your trip
You must know that SXSW is essentially a work event. With about 10-day-long stay, you need to stock up clothes that would go for both pleasure and business. Check for the weather forecast before you reach Austin as the climate conditions can be rather unpredictable. It may sometimes rain, so carrying an umbrella would be okay.

An insight into music events
A lot of things will be taking place within a short duration. More than 2,200 musical performances will be staged at over 100 places across the city. The Music Gear Expo will be among many activities to be hosted at the convention center. There will be many sessions for you to attend such as Digital Music Streaming, Data Technology, Convergence and A&R. You may choose any of these themes. You can even take part in few networking events as well and meet with artists and music industry professionals.

Where to find accommodation
If you have already made your hotel reservations in advance, it’s good. However, if you arrive in the city at the last minute, finding suitable accommodations might not be difficult if you know what to opt for that suit your budget. You can choose to book hotel rooms, stay in hostel dorms or share home rentals. If you want to lower accommodation costs significantly then prefer home rentals.

How to get around
With many events taking place throughout the city, getting around might just prove to be difficult. The first thing you must do is to download  Austin city map on your smartphone. Additionally, you may also download a SXSW GO app to view events schedule, navigate the tradeshow and city, engage and post on social media, and connect with your friends. The Austin Convention Center will be the main venue for most of the events. You will be having easy access to nightclubs, restaurants and local bars situated nearby. If you want to attend events in other parts of the city, then choose the budget-friendly public transportation option. You can also get rail and bus tickets from Capital Metro and also make extensive use of the SXSW Festival shuttles.

Now that you have got an overview of this premier music and film event in Austin, you will thoroughly enjoy and have a memorable visit.

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Travel Advice

Discovering natural beauty of eco-friendly Costa Rica

by amit.uniyal 9. March 2015 05:41

Costa Rica is one of the most eco-friendly travel destinations in the world. Discovering the natural beauty of this fascinating place has been a matter of great excitement for tourists from world over, particularly adventurous, young backpackers. This Central American country has so much to offer to people of all ages. It’s undoubtedly an enriching experience for all those visiting along with their families and kids.

There are various ways through which you can have enjoyable experience in Costa Rica. The activities can be quite hectic or you can have a relaxing sojourn. It’s totally your call and how you want to make the most of your holidays in this beautiful country.

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Costa Rica can prove to be a great destination for a family adventure. The best way to enjoy your holidays here is to be quite open to everything. You can thoroughly enjoy your stay at this ‘Pura Vida’, which literally means enjoying your life to the fullest. Here are some of the ways in which you can have a blissful sojourn.

Travel from one end to the other
The best way to have endless fun and excitement in this country is not to stay at only one place. Travel from one end to the other. This is surely one of the best ways to explore this fun destination. Plan a trip to the jungles, mountains and coasts. The beautiful diverse landscape presents an awesome sight. It will give a fascinating insight into this magnificent land. The lifestyle in Costa Rica is slow-paced. You will get opportunity to see and experience all that this country has to offer and de-stress yourself.  
While you travel from the northern coast to the southern part of Costa Rica, the journey can be strenuous as it involves travel by a boat, a small plane and a jeep. The experiences can be varied and exciting. The landscape is diverse from region to region. You will get to see much and enjoy most. There are different activities to be pursued in each region, such as surfing on the beaches or hikes through the jungle. You will also love getting closer to the wildlife, such as colorful frogs, giant golden orb web spiders, and howler monkeys.

Stay at fabulous resorts
There are many fabulous resorts where you can choose to stay while on your holidays. You need to do some careful research before choosing the right place to stay. Some of the resorts offer basic amenities and are affordable, while there are others providing many facilities and can be expensive. The all-inclusive Lapa Rios resort in Puerto Jimenez is a family favorite. It is nestled in southern Costa Rica’s rainforest and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The resort offers beautiful vistas and delicious meals prepared from locally sourced items. There are plenty of things to see and do while staying at the resort, such as bird watching, night walks and seeing waterfalls.

There are lots of excursions that you can undertake while staying at the resorts. Take your kids to Monterverde's Selvatura Park where they will enjoy activities, such as jumping from the Tarzan swings, zip=line excursion through the cloud forest, and nature hike.

Costa Rica is surely the place that will unleash the adventurer in you and provide a fantastic experience to your family that will remain etched in the memory forever.

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travel guide

Exploring UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Australia

by amit.uniyal 6. March 2015 06:45

Australia is home to a number of World Heritage Sites. There are a total of 19 such historic sites listed by the UNESCO. The prominent ones among these include some of the world’s oldest rainforests and nearly one-third of the protected marine areas in the world situated here. Let us take a look at some of the important regions in Australia where these World Heritage Sites are located.

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There are many World Heritage Sites in Western Australia. The famous sites worth visiting here include Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley. The Ningaloo Coast is the latest addition on the UNESCO list. The Ningaloo-Shark Bay National Landscape in this part of Australia has two World Heritage areas situated at its southern and northern ends. Even Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is also likely to gain the status in coming years as it is meeting 7 of the 10 criteria.

The Willandra Lakes Region in New South Wales, and the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia across New South Wales and Queensland have gained World Heritage status and attract a large number of tourists from different countries of the world.

There are several World Heritage Sites in Australia that can be found in remote locations. These include Riversleigh in Queensland and the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites at Naracoorte in South Australia. Visiting these places is an arduous task and you will require an adventurous spirit to do so.
There are a total of 11 sites that together fall under the World Heritage Australian Convict Sites. These sites include Old Great North Road near Wiseman's Ferry; the Cockatoo Island Convict Site and Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney; and the Domain and Old Government House at Parramatta. All these sites are situated in New South Wales and prominently showcase Australia’s rich history.

These are only few places mentioned here. Australia has many more similar World Heritage Sites and you will need to visit the country to discover all that remains unexplored.

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