Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oahu Hawaii

Oahu is the heartbeat of Hawaii, brimming with sunshine and overflowing with Aloha Spirit. And yes, there are rainbows after showers, filling the blue sky with colors easily seen all over the island. Oahu, anchored by the main city of Honolulu and the spectacular Waikiki Beach, contains most of Hawaii's population as well as its tourist and social activity. The accommodation here caters for all budget levels, although the islands are expensive so expect to pay UK equivalent prices. The area is popular with honeymooners including a huge number of Japanese couples, as tropical weddings are a major business. Oahu has over 30,000 units in more than 80 hotels and 40 condominiums. Wide choice from opulent luxury beachfront accommodation to basic B&Bs. Rates range from the price of a meal to the cost of a small second-hand car, with the beachfront area being the most popular and expensive. There are a few hotels outside Waikiki plus a handful of camping grounds dotted around the island.

Sorrento Italy

Perched high on a cliff and surrounded on three sides by deep ravines, Sorrento is an enchanting town. Its spectacular position overlooking the sea to Vesuvius in the distance has been attracting visitors since the early 19th century. Today it is a lively, vibrant resort, a lovely place to get a feel for the southern Italian way of life. Not without reason is Sorrento one of Italy's most popular resorts: its temperate climate, undeniably scenic coastal setting and refined ambience have been attracting foreign visitors for over 200 years. Though it hasn't a lot of individual sights to boast of, it's a superb town for wandering, and comfortable, too, given that it measures a compact, fairly level 2¼ by ¾ mls. There are two public beaches, Marina Piccola has a tiny patch of dark sand/shingle protected by a long jetty and Marina Grande has a tiny, crowded strip of sand, plus groups of wooden platforms with amenities. This city caters for both upmarket and middlemarket visitors. There is not much to do for children, who may find it boring. It is beautiful and titillating for singles, romantic for couples of all ages and very popular with honeymooners.

Luxor Egypt

Luxor was built on the site of the ancient city of Thebes, and the magnificent monumental architecture and its excellent condition make Luxor one of Egypt's greatest tourist destinations. For many hundreds of years people have been visiting the temples of Luxor, Karnak, Hetsgepsut and Ramses II. The Nile has feluccas and old barges that shuffle between the luxury hotel ships of the Hilton and Sheraton that cruise between Cairo and Aswan. This area is suited for Egyptologists and those interested in ancient history, monuments and cultures, Luxor is a "must". It is also a winter resort with genuine sunbathing weather, the wondrous temples and tombs an added bonus. The extremely hot summer months constitute low season. The accommodation here consists of hotels outside the centre which are quieter with more relaxing settings, those nearer the centre are more convenient for sightseeing without transport. Standards are not as high as elsewhere, so a 4-star is probably the lowest category acceptable to most tourists. 3-star hotels used by tour operators will usually provide clean, very simple accommodation with little charm and few facilities. The majority of hotels have security guards and electronic alarm gates at the entrance.

Masai Mara Kenya

Masai Mara is "The" park of parks in Kenya. Its grass-carpeted smooth hills, the chocolate Mara river waters with frolicking hippos, as well as the rich faunal diversity, fulfill the expectations of any visitor searching the African landscapes portraited in motion pictures such as "Out of Africa" or "Mogambo". Save particular tastes or special requirements, this is the park on top of the "must" list in the country: no trip to Kenya would be complete without a visit to Masai Mara. True that it's not the best park for birdwatching, and true that some species are not easily found. However, leopards and rhinos abound, and with more than 450 bird species, the reserve should not be envious of Samburu or the great Kenyan bird sanctuaries. Albeit, in an area only slightly smaller than the State of Rhode Island and with a diverse and complex geography, getting lost is far easier than finding a leopard or sighting a given bird species in its multiple woods


Algarve Portugal

The Algarve's 200 kilometre stretch of southern shoreline is one of Europe's most popular holiday destinations. The region has attracted visitors since the time of the Phoenicians, but today it caters for millions of tourists a year with its stunning coastline, excellent golf courses and pleasant year round climate. Bordered on two sides by the Atlantic, the Algarve is divided from the rest of Portugal by a series of low lying mountains. In the east, the Guadiana River forms a scenic border with neighbouring Spain. The region's capital, Faro, is built around a charming harbour at the edge of a wide lagoon. Its main attractions include a maritime museum and a 13th century cathedral. Along the coast to the east stands one of Europe's most luxurious resorts, Quinta do Lago, where visitors can play golf or explore the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve. Equally famous is the resort town of Vilamoura located in the centre of the Algarve. The 1,600 hectare development comprises several high quality hotels, restaurants and an impressive range of sports facilities. Albufeira to the west is the region's largest holiday resort, alive with tourist activity right through the year.