An Argentinean Bucket List

Tango An Argentinean Bucket List

By HELENE COOPER

What is there to say about Argentina other than it’s one of the greatest South American countries I have ever explored? So much so, that after a visit to Buenos Aires, my bucket list soon changed to include almost every aspect of this extraordinary country. I guess you could say my bucket list is now somewhat themed.

Buenos Aires

I want to return to Buenos Aires and dance the local tango in Plaza Dorrego. Every time I see this dance being performed I can’t help but be mesmerised – it’s so passionate and utterly beautiful to watch. Plaza Dorrego offers more than a romantic dance or two; it’s also the home to the Feriade San Telmo (Sunday Market), with indoor and outdoor areas boasting wonderful trinkets, antiques and period attire. The outdoor market, which started in 1970, runs every Sunday between 10am and 6pm, offering every passer-by a tango show and impromptu lessons. The indoor market, however, caters for antique lovers, along with a few produce stalls (the San Telmo indoor market was primarily a produce market when it opened in 1897, until the outdoor market came on to the scene).

Valdes Peninsula

Next on my list is spotting orcas in their natural environment. Valdes Peninsula is home to some of the world’s largest marine mammals, but you need to time your visit carefully as sightings depend largely on season. However, I’m sure if I get my timing right (between September and November), I’ll be able to watch killer whales, among many other indigenous animals, such as Magellanic Penguins, in their protected natural environment. Elephant seals and sea lions can be spotted throughout the year, and when the season is right, you can take boat trips to see dolphins.

Glacier National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier

Another National Park that deserves a place on my Argentinean bucket list is Los Glaciares or Glacier National Park. Once you step into this great National Park you are surrounded by jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery; when the sun hits these ice-capped mountains, you can’t help but ask yourself why this isn’t one of the Wonders of the World.

The Perito Moreno Glacier is considered one of the most impressive tourist attractions in Argentine Patagonia, and is known to be one of only three glaciers that is currently growing in size. Its place on my bucket list is confirmed because of the chance to see a glacier ‘calving’; hearing the iceberg crack and watching it cascade into the depths of Lago Argentino (Lake Argentina), the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water, is an experience I really can’t miss.

Ushuaia

Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, is my last likely Argentine destination for two reasons: for one I have heard that this busy port is home to some fantastic wildlife, boasting scenery that includes the mighty Martial Glacier, with amazing opportunities to hike and kayak; the second being the opportunity to continue my trip into nearby Chile, another South American country I can’t stop thinking about travelling to.

As you can see, I’ve got a lot of travelling to look forward to. I hope that my newly-‘themed’ bucket list has persuaded you to embark on an Argentinean adventure and inspired you to create a bucket list of your own.

Helene Cooper of Dragoman is a keen traveller, who loves nothing more than embarking on a bigger and better adventure than the last. Argentina has always captivated her imagination and she has vowed to one day return.

Image: Aylwin Lo

Designing Your Honeymoon on a Budget

Honeymoon destination Designing Your Honeymoon on a Budget

By SUMMER TANNHAUSER

Every engaged couple has visions of a dream honeymoon where they can spend time together relaxing, exploring, and making memories after their wedding day is complete. Unfortunately, sometimes a couple’s budget for the trip doesn’t match up with their dreams and expectations. But don’t despair if you’ve got lofty honeymoon dreams and a more limited budget. Rather then breaking the bank before your married life together begins, we’ll look at five ways to ensure you’re getting the best value for your traveling budget. It’s going to take some research, compromise, and a little creative planning, but I’m here to tell you that you can plan a honeymoon on ANY budget!

1. Decide on Your Must-Haves

Figure out what the most important goal is for your honeymoon. Do you and your partner want to get away from it all off the beaten path? Is relaxation and pampering what you desire? Are you looking for lots of adventure and activities? Keep this goal in mind when deciding on a destination. Rather than traveling to the other side of the world for a luxury spa treatment and tropical weather, consider locations closer to home. Instead of spending your money on an exorbitant plane flight, use those dollars to indulge in your must-haves that will make your honeymoon a success.

2. Choose Cheaper Locations

There are multiple variables that can make a certain location an amazing value for the money. Think about the location’s proximity to your home and if there are direct flights from your nearest airport. East Coasters will have better luck scoring a cheap flight to the Caribbean, while West Coasters may do better going for Mexico. Heavier tourist traffic to Jamaica and Puerto Rico has made these two locations dynamite deals for honeymoons, while Mexico’s weak local currency also makes it a great choice for budget travelers.

3. Use a Travel Consultant

For stress-free, one-stop honeymoon planning, a travel agent can’t be beat. Most travel agents don’t charge any fees to their clients, and the benefits they provide are ideal when booking on a budget. A travel agent can save you tons of time, sorting through the multiple destinations and resort options, as well as often having access to special lower rates. They also can score you perks such as room upgrades and special amenities for honeymooners, that you likely wouldn’t have found if you booked on your own.

Beach resort Designing Your Honeymoon on a Budget

4. Consider an All-Inclusive Resort or Cruise

Once you’re on your honeymoon you don’t want to worry about money, especially if you’re on a strict budget. Rather then pulling your wallet out at every turn for hidden fees, meals, drinks, and tips, you may want to consider an all-inclusive vacation. Although it may seem like a large expense up-front, once your trip is paid for you won’t have to worry about any money on the actual honeymoon. Most all-inclusives include your accommodations, dining, activities, and entertainment. Some will also include gratuities, transfers, and alcoholic beverages.

5. Book Early

If you’ve heard the rumor that you can get last minute travel deals if you wait, I’m here to tell you that is false! If a room at a resort is available a month before your trip, you should be asking yourself why the resort is not already full. From my experience it’s likely that the resort is not going to be of adequate quality for honeymooners. By booking early you’ll take advantage of excellent flight and room availability, early booking discounts, and the option of a payment plan. For honeymooners on a budget these advantages can equal a great overall savings on your trip.

Your honeymoon is the trip of a lifetime and you want to make it count! Even after these five tips, is your budget still coming up short? No worries – book a nice hotel for your wedding weekend and start saving for first anniversary “honeymoon.” Happy travels!

Summer Tannhauser is a honeymoon and destination wedding travel specialist with Adventures Planned Honeymoons (www.adventuresplanned.com). She designs uniquely one-of-a-kind trips for the modern newlywed. She’s all about luxurious adventures, unforgettable memories, and pure and simple fun!

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Bodrum

Bodrum Top 5 Reasons to Visit Bodrum

Nestled in the province of Mugla, Bodrum has within the past few decades built itself up to be a chic and stylish holiday destination for many, including several A-listers.

What was once a small fishing village has since become a resort for paradise-like beaches, dazzling streets and a tranquil harbour that perfectly balances traditional and modern life.

The city was once called Halicarnassus of Caria, which played home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum of Mausolus. Today, it still houses a fascinating range of sights to see and things to do – all of which can be explored on Bodrum holidays.

1.      Bodrum Castle

Built in the 15th century by the Knights Hospitaller, Bodrum Castle is reason enough for many to visit this part of Turkey, with it being one of the world’s best preserved monuments that date back to medieval times. Sat overlooking the harbour and marina, the views from the castle are simply picturesque. The castle is the most prominent landmark within the city and now also functions as a museum, focusing on underwater archaeology. Several cultural festivals are also held at the castle throughout the year.

2.      Boat trips

The Bodrum Peninsula is world famous for its turquoise water and delightful bays and one of the best ways to experience the stunning coastline is by boat. Boats depart daily from the harbour and are a great way to really get away from it all, soak up the sun in an idyllic setting and marvel at the unbelievably scenery. From hot springs to orange mud and from sandy coves to crystal clear waters, a boat trip is an excellent way to enjoy your holiday in Bodrum.

3.      Mausoleum

Whilst the majority of this wonder was torn down and used by the Knights Hospitaller for the building of Bodrum Castle, tranquil gardens with some excavations and a covered arcade remain to be enjoyed. The Mausoleum can be seen and explored just a short walk away from the marina.

4.      Beach

A trip to Bodrum wouldn’t be complete without a relaxing day on the beach. Stretching from the castle to Haikarnas, the sea water is perfect for swimming in with boats being banned and the water being cleaned daily. Nearby beaches such as Gumbet or Bitez are more ideal for sunbathers as they are sandy and offer more amenities. Bars and restaurants can be found along the beachfront, with sun beds being free of charge.

5.      Taking a bath

Just a few blocks in from the harbour, you can find a hamam, which is a Turkish Bath. Built with stone, hamams are popular in Turkey amongst locals and tourists. Mud baths are also close by to this Turkish port city. From the same area as the mud baths, it is easy to take day trips to Kos and Rhodes for a further adventure.

Image: Neşe Avsil

Tour the Ancient Civilization of Mallorca

Mallorca road Tour the Ancient Civilization of Mallorca

Let’s talk about the talayots. Most people who visit Mallorca never even hear about this ancient civilization. This is an ideal tour for archeology and history buffs since you’ll come face-to-face with a civilization that flourished on these islands hundreds of years ago. Let us recommend an unforgettable tour where you’ll see and discover their legacy and hidden sites all over the island, from Inca, Sencelles and Costitx to Sineu, Montuiri, Porreres, and Felantix. To start organizing this tour for your group, request quotes for mini bus or coach hire in Mallorca via RentAutobus.

Talayot Legacy Tour in Mallorca

A tour of some of the best kept secrets of Mallorca, through the history of a culture that flourished on the Balearic Isles for centuries and whose architecture is still in very good shape. You’ll discover the legacy of the former Talayot culture that inhabited the region from the eleventh to second centuries BC. On this journey your group will have the opportunity to examine an exciting history full of mysteries and unresolved questions. Furthermore, this tour will give you the perfect excuse to visit Mallorcan villages that best represent the island’s society, which has been influenced by the most important Mediterranean cultures over the centuries. Welcome to sa terra balear!

The Son Fred Watchtower

If you’re in Palma de Mallorca, your best bet is to rent a bus that can take you to Inca, where the route starts, early in the morning. On the road from Inca to Sencelles, near the entrance to the latter, is where you’ll find the Son Fred site, which is accessible from the path that leads to the cemetery (just follow the signs). You can’t miss it!

Son Fred is an ancient Talayot village, the most important building of which, a watchtower (hence the name) is still standing. The watchtower is about 12 meters in diameter, dates to the 9th century BC, and has a central column supporting a thatched roof. According to some theories, in addition to serving as a watchtower, this building was used for meetings or ceremonies for certain portions of the populace, most certainly male adults and elders. This theory is based on the fact that the watchtower has a labyrinthine entrance that seems to have been designed to keep the interior out of sight from the uninvited.

From Sencelles to Costitx

The largest concentration of archeological finds on the island are located on the road that connects these two villages. Tell your coach driver to take the road to Costitx and to stop at the intersection 2 kilometers from the exit for Sencelles. The road on the right-hand side leads to Cas Canar, an important ceremonial center consisting of two buildings with a square-shaped floor plan and funeral caves. This complex is flanked by the remains of what was once a large wall.

The Sanctuary of Son Corró

Continuing on the main road towards Costitx, tell the mini bus or coach driver to watch for the big sign on the right-hand sign. You’ll find the Son Corró sanctuary a few meters down the side road. A local farmer found this two bronze bull heads weighing 40 kilos buried here along with other objects. While this discovery does shed some light on Talayot religious beliefs, it raises several questions about their level of technological development. It’s location at a strategic point in the middle of a road to several towns makes one wonder if it was a religious site of central importance during the first century BC.

Midday: from Costitx to Sineu

The naviforme site known as Es Turassot is located next to the astronomy observatory located in Costitx. These boat-shaped buildings were originally used as dwellings and later as barns. Continuing on the same road, you’ll arrive at Sineu.

It’s time to eat now, and a good place to try some local specialties is Celler Can Font on Calle Ses Roses 1, right in the middle of downtown Sineu, where you can enjoy delicious meals for €12 or less per person. If you want to eat a la carte, we recommend that you try the stuffed eggplants (berenjenas rellenas) or the Mallorcan fritters (fritura mallorquina), both of which are house specialties. Finger lickin’ good!

Es Racons Archeological Site

Just 500 meters from Sineu, in the direction of Llubí is one of the most complete and best-preserved archeological complexes on the island. In contains multiple dwellings, two ceremonial centers, a necropolis, sanctuaries, and caves that, in spite of not having been excavated, represent the best example of the evolution of this culture across the centuries, with very different architectural styles from one part to the next.

In the afternoon: From Sineu to Montuiri

Son Fornés is without a doubt one of the most spectacular sites on the island. In spite of being in the middle of the excavation process, the largest watchtower (which is 17 meters in diameter with walls up to 5 meters thick) has already been identified. The large number of items found so far indicate that this area was used for rituals. A visit to the Molí d’en Fraret Museum (open between 4-8pm in summer) which is located at the exit for Montuiri, will allow you to learn about objects that have been discovered at this site. The ticket price is € 3.50.

From Porreres to Felanitx: Es Pou Salat

A little over 1 kilometer from Porreres, advise the bus driver to turn right towards Son Mesquida. On the side of the road you’ll see the remains of an impressive, long wall, as well as a well that dates to the Talaiotic Period and watchtowers that are currently being excavated. This archeological complex has been christened Es Pou Salat.

Talayot Tour the Ancient Civilization of Mallorca

Once you finish this route, perhaps about 8pm, tell the driver to take you back to Palma, where you can enjoy the nightlife.

This day trip in the Mallorca islands is a suggestion of Rentautobus.com. To get the best deal for a rented bus, coach in Palma de Mallorca ask quotes via RentAutobus. Compare quality and prices and book. Great service and comparison for driver services such as coach or minibus hires in Spain for cities like Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona or Valencia or any city on the globe.

Images: Luke Wisley and Cosmovisión

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