Monthly Archives

August 2018

Hiking and travel gear Lifestyle

A Travel Hack I Can’t Live Without

  • By
  • August 29, 2018

Clakit is an outdoor hack I can’t live without.

If you’re heading into the woods with a long hike planned or you’re embarking on a weekend road trip, Clakit will be your catch-all for items you’d normally stuff into your pockets or backpack. Larry Schessel, Clakit founder, sent a sample to me last year and I have used the pouch on mostly every occasion where I’m required to carry essential items with me. It’s also ideal for dog walking, particularly because our German Shepherd/Alaskan Malamute “Bear” is one of the strongest dogs I’ve known and I need to keep both hands on his leash. 

Clakit, Inc. pouches 

The possibilities are endless

Two of my favorite outdoor recreational activities are hiking and fly fishing. Some days, I don’t want to lug a heavy backpack or fishing vest. The Clakit strap and pouch are extremely comfortable and convenient for both applications.  

Are you tired of rummaging through your backpack in search of that one item you need?

Larry Schessel, Clakit founder, isn’t downplaying the importance of backpacks. He’s an avid hiker and traveler and while knapsacks serve a purpose, Schessel says, 
“They (backpacks) are great for carrying things on your back. But they are inconvenient for accessing gear you often need, like your smartphone for pictures, water and snacks.”
Carry your cell phone and other important items “under your nose.” ClakIt travel pouch will securely hold your smartphone, money, passport, etc.

The idea for Clakit was born while Schessel was hiking in the California mountains. Getting his hands on items he needed from his backpack was a laborious task.

“Every time we needed something we had to stop, take off our backpacks, search for the item and repack – whether water, smartphone, map, wallet, snack or permits,” Schessel noted.

Backpack storage problems Solved

Schessel designed The StrapPackTM by Clakit to solve his backpack storage problems by allowing easy access to valuables. Secure yet accessible pouches easily clip to your backpack’s front shoulder straps, so you can safely stash your belongings within sight and reduce the risk of theft. For folks who don’t want to wear a backpack, Schessel offers the Clakit Strap System ($14.95). Patented nylon clips secure the pouches to the strap system for a lightweight alternative to a pack.
Accessories available are the Smartphone Pouch Bundle ($19.95), Pocket Pouch Bundle ($14.95), Water Bottle Pouch Bundle ($14.95), Adjustable Utility Pouch Bundle ($19.95) and Two-Zipper Pouch and Clip Bundle ($19.95) and the Water Bottle Pouch Bundle ($19.95). The options are endless and the price is very reasonable and affordable.
I’ve sampled the Clakit strap system, clip and the Smartphone Pouch Bundle while walking our recently rescued Alaskan Malamute/German Shepherd pup. We take one to two-mile walks almost every day and as you can well imagine, he’s very energetic and strong. I was at a loss for a safe, convenient pouch or fanny pack to carry my cell phone and keys. The Smartphone Pouch saved the day.

Ideal for your commute and travel adventures 

Keep your valuables “under your nose” while commuting or traveling. StrapPackTM pouches allow you to have eyes on your belongings and help to prevent theft.

Schessel says, “Storing gear on the front pack straps just makes more sense.”

 
Clakit is available on Amazon or at clakit.com.
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Lifestyle

10 Top Lunch Box Hacks

  • By
  • August 23, 2018
Hormel Top 10 Lunchbox Hacks

HORMEL FOODS SHARES TOP 10 LUNCH BOX HACKS FOR
BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON

Hormel Top 10 Lunchbox Hacks
“Wholly Guac” is one of the Top 10 Lunchbox Hacks for back-to-school. Photo courtesy of Hormel Foods.

Do your lunches run out of steam a week or two into the school year? If so, you’re not alone. We quickly learn when our children are pleased with the lunches we’ve packed.

When my oldest son was a high school sophomore, a squirrel gave away my son’s deep, dark lunch secret. He (the squirrel) emerged from under our deck with a full bologna sandwich in its mouth. Apparently, my son chucked the sandwich under the deck upon his return from school. The squirrel was quite pleased with his afternoon snack, but I was not.

Create Simple, Wholesome Lunches

Tanya Rodriguez, Hormel Foods cultural anthropologist, said consumers frequently ask her for simple, wholesome lunch ideas.

“I spend a lot of time inside the homes of families all over the country,” Rodriguez said.

Her list of hacks will not only make lunch fun for kids. Even the youngest and pickiest palettes will appreciate tasting a new variety of foods and flavors.

As kids across the country start heading back to school for the upcoming school year, Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL), is providing its top “lunch box hacks” of the year to help simplify weekly school lunch and snack time preparation, all while adding some fun surprises when students open their lunch bags. As a travel writer, these ideas are also perfect for feeding your children’s hunger pangs while traveling.

The following list of “lunchbox hacks” has been tested by the company’s culinary experts who developed these fun and stress-free lunches using tasty options.

Lunch Box Hacks

  1. Use a paper straw for a fun twist on a sandwich. Cut meat, cheese, and bread into fun shapes with cookie cutters and slide the shapes onto the straw.
  2. Use waffles, pancakes or bagels instead of bread for a nice change of pace.
  3. Use a frozen Wholly Guacamole® mini as an ice pack to keep your lunch cold. It will be thawed by lunchtime and you can dip your veggies or chips in the guacamole.
  4. Cut large CHI-CHI’S® flour tortillas with a small cookie cutter round to make mini tacos and then use silicone muffin liners to create a build your own taco bar.
  5. Place guacamole, salsa or peanut butter in the bottom of a jar, add veggies and cover with jar lid to save on containers.
  6. For PB&J sandwiches, put the peanut butter on both slices of bread. It keeps the jelly from seeping into the bread of the sandwich and getting soggy by lunchtime. Or for a fun twist on the PB&J, check out the new SKIPPY® P.B. Fruit Bites.
  7. Use muffin liners to keep foods separate in lunch boxes. Silicone muffin liners work especially well.
  8. Wrap a cheese stick with meat and a tortilla then slice it for a new twist on a sandwich.
  9. Build a salad in a disposable beverage glass. Place a fork through the cut out in the lid for a salad on the go.
  10. Write secret messages on bananas. Use a toothpick to write the message like I heart U or U R Beautiful or U R GR8.

What’s great about these lunchbox hacks is parents and kids can prepare the lunches together with everyday items found in most homes and add a wide variety of Hormel Foods brands to the mix. 

ABOUT HORMEL FOODS — Inspired People. Inspired Food.™

Hormel Foods Corporation is a global-branded food company based in Austin, Minn. The company has over $9 billion in annual revenues across more than 80 countries worldwide and its brands include these well-known names: SKIPPY®, SPAM®, Hormel® Natural Choice®, Applegate®, Justin’s®, Wholly Guacamole®, Hormel® Black Label®, Columbus ®. Hormel is a member of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats and was named one of “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine for the 10th year in a row. Numerous other awards and accolades for its corporate responsibility and community service efforts reflect the company’s commitment to producing quality foods. In 2016, Hormel celebrated its 125th anniversary and announced its new vision for the future — Inspired People. Inspired Food.™ — focusing on its legacy of innovation. For more information, visit www.hormelfoods.com.

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Lifestyle

Artist to Travel Writer

  • By
  • August 22, 2018

Greetings!

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer and you’ve found some time to relax. We’ve had an uncharacteristically rainy summer here in Pennsylvania, which put a damper on my plans to hike, fly fish, and be outdoors every day. The rain has brought flooding to Northeastern PA and mud – lots of mud.

I’ll be taking a few days off through next week to spend time with my family. My brief vacation doesn’t mean you’ll be without quality content and as always, an opportunity to reach out to me.

My subscriber list has grown leaps and bounds this year to a point where I know you must be enjoying my content. I’d love to know why you’ve chosen to follow my website. What types of posts would you like to see on joanmatsuitravelwriter.com? What’s your favorite post on my website? Please send details to me using the contact form below so I can continue to share with you the information that prompted you to click subscribe.

By now, my subscribers have come to know me as an environmentalist, nature and beach enthusiast, food aficionado, freelance fine artist (for more than 25 years) and oh, yes, an avid fly angler.

Where will my vacation take me next week? Fly fishing and spending time with my family are definitely at the top of my list.

How do you define the perfect vacation?

Joan Matsui Artist and Travel Writer
I’ve learned to fly fish with my friend, Rosangela.

How did I get tangled up in fly fishing?

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.)

I grew up the youngest of three children with male siblings. Living in a male-dominated family might have had something to do with that evolution. As a child, I watched my father pack his fishing box in the trunk and head out to fish when he needed some alone time, and in later years, my brothers’ tales of fishing with my father continued to pique my curiosity. Did my father take me fishing? I don’t recall fishing with him, EVER. I can only assume he didn’t think I had an interest. Ah, but I did. In fact, I fished with bait until about six years ago when my friend (an active Trout Unlimited member encouraged me to take a fly fishing class at our local Orvis affiliate. I fish whenever I have spare time and I can sneak off to one of my fishing holes. But there is more to my life than fly fishing (although many travel assignments involve fishing).

Artist and Travel Writer

Joan Matsui Travel Writer Artist
I captured my son scooping fish from a nearby lake with a small butterfly net.

Chigirie is the Japanese art of tearing paper to create a collage. In short, it’s painting with paper and a centuries-old art form. I’ve owned the domain name https://chigirie.com for 24 years and my web developer recently redesigned the site so I can offer art classes. Click the link and learn more about chigirie.

In a few weeks, I’ll be in touch with an offer to pre-order my eBook. I’ll save the title and genre details for an upcoming post. My aim is to publish mid-September in time for you to curl up on the couch on the chillier nights ahead.

Cheers to the remaining days of summer.

Best Regards,

Joan Mead-Matsui

Publisher

 

 

 

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smartphone travel photography Travel and Leisure Travel Photography

World Photography Day—here are some tips for smartphone travel photography

  • By
  • August 19, 2018
World Photography Day—here are some tips for smartphone travel photography

Focus on World Photography Day

Celebrate the Simplicity of Smartphone Photography

World Photography Day celebrate smartphone photography
How could I improve this smartphone photo if I were to take it again? Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui, freelance travel writer and photographer, along the Lackawanna Valley Heritage Carbondale to Simpson heritage trail.

Do you plan to take your camera out in the woods to shoot nature photos or are you packing for your next travel adventure?

As simple as smartphones are to use, there are what we commonly refer to as “hacks” or techniques that can turn a so-so photo into one you probably won’t believe was shot with your smartphone. Image quality varies from phone to phone but it’s safe to say the image quality has improved with each new model.

You’ve likely seen a photo in your own library that could be improved with a few tweaks. I certainly have and as much as photography is second nature to me after nearly 45 years with a camera in my hands, take a few minutes to learn some tips from Panchali Dey|Times Travel Editor|TRAVEL TRENDS, WORLD. 

World Photography Day—here are some tips for smartphone travel photography

A traveller by choice, Panchali from the North East India finds mountain echoes calling back again and again.

‘A picture speaks a thousand words,’ which simply means a picture is worth a thousand words. In today’s scenario, we can’t just agree more. We all are photographers to […]

Today’s social media is an example to this. The platforms enable even an amateur to grab eyeballs and enjoy some instant fame. Now, if you are not aware of white balance and shutter speed, that does not just mean that your pictures won’t be great. At times ‘fluke’ too can work wonders and take you places; the only important thing is―never stop trying.

And to give wings to your passions, your smartphone will serve your purpose, it is better than you think. This article will be focussing on two things, travel and photography. So, here comes some tips to take better travel photos with your smartphones, which will help you improve your result dramatically. And the timing cannot be more appropriate than World Photography Day, which is celebrated on August 19.

Let’s start with basics; and the first thing to note is wipe the lens. Since most of our phones don’t have a sacred case, they are casually kept in pockets or in our handbags, thereby collecting all the dust. While travelling, a fleeting moment has to be captured with great finesse, and during that moment, you just can’t stop to clean your lenses; so better be prepared.

Know the limits of your smartphone
First, understand what your smartphone is capable of doing. Stop yourself from over-expecting. While most cell phones have a single lens and wide-angle focal length, there are models with dual lens in which you get a bit more versatility with the slight zoom. Either way, know what you are zooming at. If you think your smartphone can zoom into the top of Eiffel Tower, you will face only disappointed as the resulting image will be pixelated close-up.

Then shuffle around the ‘settings’ to learn their specific functions and experiment how they will affect your photos. Check if you can shoot in ‘manual’ option, which helps in turning images from grainy to great.

Opt for natural light condition
There may be times when you capture images via a cell phone, the result is incredible, however, there is something called low-light conditions, where most of us struggle. Most smartphones are not enhanced with high-end technology to counteract a dark environment without reducing the quality of images. But, if it becomes absolutely necessary to take a photo at night, try to click with some artificial light.

Get a better camera app
Yes, one of the hacks of capturing great travel images is to download a third-party camera app instead of using the one that comes installed on a phone. The third-party apps are enhanced with high-end features enabling your smartphone to shoot a bit like a DSLR with manual settings and option to shoot RAW, which is basically an uncompressed type of file allowing you more flexibility to edit your images.

Grab some additional smartphone accessories
Your phone is called smartphone for a reason, and with appropriate accessories, you can expand the functionalities of your phone beyond expectation. Some accessories that you can consider adding to your shopping cart are flexible tripod, wide angle pro lens, Bluetooth remote control, and extra memory card.

Landscape photography
It is often considered one of the most important things of travel photography. Capturing landscape images via a smartphone can be quite easy. The most important thing to consider while trying to get a good shoot is exposure control. Exposure typically means how light or dark you image will come out overall.

Want to read more tips from Panchali? Click here to view original web page at timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Leave your own smartphone photography tips and advice in the comment box below.

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Flies for Fly Fishing fly fishing equipment Lifestyle Nairobi Fly Fishing and Tying

NAIROBI CITY FLY TIER

  • By
  • August 15, 2018
Nairobi City Fly Tier Fred Kangai
Nairobi City Fly Tyer
Fred Kangai began his fly-tying career in Nairobi City, Kenya’s capital city. He currently owns his own business selling his flies around the world.

NAIROBI CITY FLY-TIER:

CUSTOMER SERVICE: MEETING CUSTOMER NEEDS

Nairobi City is Kenya’s capital and a hub of activities embraced by people from all over the country. Fred Kangai Luyali’s life in Nairobi began years ago. He arrived there and accepted a position as a fly-tier at a fly-tying company. Fred trained for six months and ultimately, resigned to start his own fly-tying business.

Joan Matsui Receives Fly Samples
Fred contacted me via email and offered to send fly samples to me. Once the rain is replaced by sun and the water level in our rivers and streams drops, I’ll be sure to try each and every one.

According to Fred, his employees consist of experienced men and women who source his orders from local firms.

“Here we tie according to the client’s sample and then ship directly to clients abroad,” Fred said via an email interview.

Mandated Company Training

Before a person can achieve the status as a fly tier, he or she must undergo a special training of not less than six months. To qualify, the individual must take the company’s mandated training program that’s only done inside the company.

Fred explained many companies in Kenya rely mostly on clients outside the country and he and his team work round the clock to meet their international clients’ needs. The proceeds, he says, help to improve their living standard.

While supplying flies is his business, Fred hasn’t followed what we might consider a natural progression – learning to fly fish before taking on tying. Fred said, “I know nothing as fly fishing is concerned. I only know how to tie flies.”

Nymphs, dry, wet, streamers, saltwater, salmon patterns, bass bugs, and poppers are among the files he and his team of fly-tying specialists craft. He noted he gets the flies from local factories as sub-contracts and then they are returned and to his company to make the finished product. He incorporates many materials commonly used by tiers around the world: deerskin, hackle feathers, tippet peacock herls and his favorite pattern and most productive fly is the Goddard Caddis, a classic high-floating dry fly imitation that’s known for its large and bushy appearance.

Fred said special care is taken to be sure the flies he sells are tied tightly to the hook to avoid loose ends. His flies have a neat finish and are a hit with his customers because he uses the exact materials and hooks they request.

“they (my tiers) tie and deliver on time, and our flies are packed so they reach our clients undamaged. my flies need a lot of attention to avoid mistakes made by tiers in order to satisfy my client,” he said.

Does he plan to learn to fly fish? Fred said he hopes to learn in the future. “I need to learn more as far as fishing is concerned.”

You can contact Fred or request a brochure here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lifestyle

Frost Museum FIU Artists Deconstruct and Reorder

  • By
  • August 6, 2018
  • Sticky
Miami 2018 Museum Art Exhibits

 

Miami 2018 Museum Art Exhibits
Deconstruction: A Reordering of Life, Politics and Art at The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU will run through September 30. Twelve Miami artists headline this major exhibit as a 10th Anniversary Kick-Off.

Twelve Miami Artists Kick-Off 10th Anniversary Celebration 

Using The Past As A Tool:

An Interview With Frost Art Museum FIU Chief Curator, Amy Galpin

“Deconstruction: A Reordering of Life, Politics and Art” opened at the Frost Art Museum FIU, Miami, as a 10th Anniversary kick-off celebration on Sat., July 14 with an opening celebration with the artists. Art enthusiasts can view the exhibit by 12 internationally-renown artists until September 30. If you have plans to be in Miami between now and then, exhibition curator Amy Galpin invites you to explore art created by Eddie Arroyo, Zachary Balber, Frida Baranek, Christopher Carter, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Yanira Collado, Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Pepe Mar, Glexis NovoaSandra Ramos, Jamilah Sabur, and Frances Trombly.

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Airplane Countryside Cruises Desert Food Mountains Resorts Seaside Tips Urban

A Guide to Staying Healthy on Vacation

  • By
  • August 4, 2018

Admit it. There are times when you wish you could get away from it all by moving to your own private island. Well, some cruise passengers actually can at least for a day. Each of the following cruise lines below offer passengers a day of fun in the sun on their very own private island. For many cruisers, this stop is the highlight of the trip. After all, what could be better than sitting on a white-sand beach, drinking a pia colada and soaking in the rays without crowds?

“It’s a wonderful destination, we will come back next year for sure!”

All of these islands have pristine shores, swaying palm trees, aquamarine waters and lots of ocean-side adventure. There usually are fees for shore excursions and equipment rental. Every destination offers something a little different for cruise passengers.

View of buildings on the coast of tropical island San Andres y Providencia

Even at first glance, CocoCay looks like the quintessential Caribbean hideaway. There are wide stretches of beach in quiet coves, island huts in bright Caribbean pinks and blues, and a colorful straw market offering Bahamian crafts and goods.

Many of the island buildings look brand new and they are. In 2002, the company invested more than US$ 21 million to turn this 140-acre (0.5 km) slip of land into a destination their passengers would never forget. Nature trails wind through the isle, which is home to wild chickens, peacocks and occasional iguanas. Those seeking solitude will enjoy the hammocks that are hung under coconut trees in quiet locations.

English Harbour, Hurricane Hole

Sea lovers have plenty of activities to choose from. Hop on a jet ski (US $ 95 for 50 minutes) and speed across waters so clear that you can see orange starfish 20 feet below, or don a snorkel mask and explore life under the sea up close.

For a great view of the island, try your hand at parasailing (US $ 79 per hour). You’ll soar 200-400 feet in the air and maybe even take a cooling dip in the water before returning to the boat. Children will enjoy Caylana’s Castle Cove and SeaTrek Aqua Park (US$ 15 adults, $10 children). Its floating sand castle and aquatic trampolines are just the things for those who are young at heart.

A staff of 45 people lives on CocoCay, and it’s obvious they take pride in keeping the island’s natural beauty in top condition. Their pampering service makes the island experience so pleasurable that you won’t want to leave when dusk falls all too soon.

“Disney knows children, so it’s no wonder that they feel at home on Castaway Cay”

The cruise ship docks right at the island (other cruise ships use tender boats to ferry passengers back and forth), so youngsters can head right down the ship’s ramp and out to explore Castaway Cay. There is a beach just for families, and Scuttle’s Cove is a safe and fun club for children. Parents need some time on their own, so there is Serenity Bay, a secluded beach for adults. For a little pampering, have a relaxing massage in the open-air cabanas at the seaside spa.

Street in Key West

Game for a little exploration? Then grab a bike (child seats are available for little ones) and hit the trails (US$ 6 per hour). This is, after all, a secluded island getaway, and there are miles of empty shoreline and tropical forest to explore.

If you prefer the water, check out the Walking and Kayak Nature Adventure ($60). Participants walk with a guide through the island’s lush fauna and kayak through an ecologically sensitive mangrove environment. If paddling wears you out, just jump in for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear island waters.

Teens can get into their own adventure on The Wild Side (US$ 35), an excursion that includes snorkeling, biking and kayaking. Families who want to adventure together can try the Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel Adventure (US$ 49 adults, US$ 29 children). This easy 45-minute sail takes you out to calm waters and unspoiled coral reefs. Even younger children will enjoy floating in the turquoise Caribbean Sea with schools of colored fish.

View of the Caribbean Sea

Visitors to the tiny islet of Motu Mahana (Polynesian for sunlit island) are greeted with the sounds of Polynesia. Les Gauguines, an eight-woman song and dance troupe, perform beguiling love songs in their Polynesian tongue while guests enjoy a scrumptious feast under the shade of thatched huts. After lunch, guests can relax in the sea or wade for yards in the shallow waters while waiters wearing bathing suits offer tropical drinks to those in need of refreshment. Try out the complimentary water sports like kayaking or snorkeling. For a different experience, board a motorized outrigger canoe and head to the beautiful island lagoon of Taha’a. Taha’a is known for two things: producing vanilla and black pearls.

Guests can take a four-wheel drive tour into the hills to tour the vanilla plantations (US$ 65) or view French Polynesia’s rare jewel, the black pearl, at the Motu Pearl Farm (US$ 64). From there, head to the lagoon for some quality time with the region’s underwater fauna. There is even a small lagoonarium where rays, turtles, sharks and fish are enclosed in four different pools.

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Lifestyle

5 Must-See Beaches of the World

  • By
  • August 4, 2018

Admit it. There are times when you wish you could get away from it all by moving to your own private island. Well, some cruise passengers actually can at least for a day. Each of the following cruise lines below offer passengers a day of fun in the sun on their very own private island. For many cruisers, this stop is the highlight of the trip. After all, what could be better than sitting on a white-sand beach, drinking a pia colada and soaking in the rays without crowds?

“It’s a wonderful destination, we will come back next year for sure!”

All of these islands have pristine shores, swaying palm trees, aquamarine waters and lots of ocean-side adventure. There usually are fees for shore excursions and equipment rental. Every destination offers something a little different for cruise passengers.

View of buildings on the coast of tropical island San Andres y Providencia

Even at first glance, CocoCay looks like the quintessential Caribbean hideaway. There are wide stretches of beach in quiet coves, island huts in bright Caribbean pinks and blues, and a colorful straw market offering Bahamian crafts and goods.

Many of the island buildings look brand new and they are. In 2002, the company invested more than US$ 21 million to turn this 140-acre (0.5 km) slip of land into a destination their passengers would never forget. Nature trails wind through the isle, which is home to wild chickens, peacocks and occasional iguanas. Those seeking solitude will enjoy the hammocks that are hung under coconut trees in quiet locations.

English Harbour, Hurricane Hole

Sea lovers have plenty of activities to choose from. Hop on a jet ski (US $ 95 for 50 minutes) and speed across waters so clear that you can see orange starfish 20 feet below, or don a snorkel mask and explore life under the sea up close.

For a great view of the island, try your hand at parasailing (US $ 79 per hour). You’ll soar 200-400 feet in the air and maybe even take a cooling dip in the water before returning to the boat. Children will enjoy Caylana’s Castle Cove and SeaTrek Aqua Park (US$ 15 adults, $10 children). Its floating sand castle and aquatic trampolines are just the things for those who are young at heart.

A staff of 45 people lives on CocoCay, and it’s obvious they take pride in keeping the island’s natural beauty in top condition. Their pampering service makes the island experience so pleasurable that you won’t want to leave when dusk falls all too soon.

“Disney knows children, so it’s no wonder that they feel at home on Castaway Cay”

The cruise ship docks right at the island (other cruise ships use tender boats to ferry passengers back and forth), so youngsters can head right down the ship’s ramp and out to explore Castaway Cay. There is a beach just for families, and Scuttle’s Cove is a safe and fun club for children. Parents need some time on their own, so there is Serenity Bay, a secluded beach for adults. For a little pampering, have a relaxing massage in the open-air cabanas at the seaside spa.

Street in Key West

Game for a little exploration? Then grab a bike (child seats are available for little ones) and hit the trails (US$ 6 per hour). This is, after all, a secluded island getaway, and there are miles of empty shoreline and tropical forest to explore.

If you prefer the water, check out the Walking and Kayak Nature Adventure ($60). Participants walk with a guide through the island’s lush fauna and kayak through an ecologically sensitive mangrove environment. If paddling wears you out, just jump in for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear island waters.

Teens can get into their own adventure on The Wild Side (US$ 35), an excursion that includes snorkeling, biking and kayaking. Families who want to adventure together can try the Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel Adventure (US$ 49 adults, US$ 29 children). This easy 45-minute sail takes you out to calm waters and unspoiled coral reefs. Even younger children will enjoy floating in the turquoise Caribbean Sea with schools of colored fish.

View of the Caribbean Sea

Visitors to the tiny islet of Motu Mahana (Polynesian for sunlit island) are greeted with the sounds of Polynesia. Les Gauguines, an eight-woman song and dance troupe, perform beguiling love songs in their Polynesian tongue while guests enjoy a scrumptious feast under the shade of thatched huts. After lunch, guests can relax in the sea or wade for yards in the shallow waters while waiters wearing bathing suits offer tropical drinks to those in need of refreshment. Try out the complimentary water sports like kayaking or snorkeling. For a different experience, board a motorized outrigger canoe and head to the beautiful island lagoon of Taha’a. Taha’a is known for two things: producing vanilla and black pearls.

Guests can take a four-wheel drive tour into the hills to tour the vanilla plantations (US$ 65) or view French Polynesia’s rare jewel, the black pearl, at the Motu Pearl Farm (US$ 64). From there, head to the lagoon for some quality time with the region’s underwater fauna. There is even a small lagoonarium where rays, turtles, sharks and fish are enclosed in four different pools.

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Lifestyle

Best Island Escapes You Can Drive To

  • By
  • August 4, 2018

Admit it. There are times when you wish you could get away from it all by moving to your own private island. Well, some cruise passengers actually can at least for a day. Each of the following cruise lines below offer passengers a day of fun in the sun on their very own private island. For many cruisers, this stop is the highlight of the trip. After all, what could be better than sitting on a white-sand beach, drinking a pia colada and soaking in the rays without crowds?

“It’s a wonderful destination, we will come back next year for sure!”

All of these islands have pristine shores, swaying palm trees, aquamarine waters and lots of ocean-side adventure. There usually are fees for shore excursions and equipment rental. Every destination offers something a little different for cruise passengers.

View of buildings on the coast of tropical island San Andres y Providencia

Even at first glance, CocoCay looks like the quintessential Caribbean hideaway. There are wide stretches of beach in quiet coves, island huts in bright Caribbean pinks and blues, and a colorful straw market offering Bahamian crafts and goods.

Many of the island buildings look brand new and they are. In 2002, the company invested more than US$ 21 million to turn this 140-acre (0.5 km) slip of land into a destination their passengers would never forget. Nature trails wind through the isle, which is home to wild chickens, peacocks and occasional iguanas. Those seeking solitude will enjoy the hammocks that are hung under coconut trees in quiet locations.

English Harbour, Hurricane Hole

Sea lovers have plenty of activities to choose from. Hop on a jet ski (US $ 95 for 50 minutes) and speed across waters so clear that you can see orange starfish 20 feet below, or don a snorkel mask and explore life under the sea up close.

For a great view of the island, try your hand at parasailing (US $ 79 per hour). You’ll soar 200-400 feet in the air and maybe even take a cooling dip in the water before returning to the boat. Children will enjoy Caylana’s Castle Cove and SeaTrek Aqua Park (US$ 15 adults, $10 children). Its floating sand castle and aquatic trampolines are just the things for those who are young at heart.

A staff of 45 people lives on CocoCay, and it’s obvious they take pride in keeping the island’s natural beauty in top condition. Their pampering service makes the island experience so pleasurable that you won’t want to leave when dusk falls all too soon.

“Disney knows children, so it’s no wonder that they feel at home on Castaway Cay”

The cruise ship docks right at the island (other cruise ships use tender boats to ferry passengers back and forth), so youngsters can head right down the ship’s ramp and out to explore Castaway Cay. There is a beach just for families, and Scuttle’s Cove is a safe and fun club for children. Parents need some time on their own, so there is Serenity Bay, a secluded beach for adults. For a little pampering, have a relaxing massage in the open-air cabanas at the seaside spa.

Street in Key West

Game for a little exploration? Then grab a bike (child seats are available for little ones) and hit the trails (US$ 6 per hour). This is, after all, a secluded island getaway, and there are miles of empty shoreline and tropical forest to explore.

If you prefer the water, check out the Walking and Kayak Nature Adventure ($60). Participants walk with a guide through the island’s lush fauna and kayak through an ecologically sensitive mangrove environment. If paddling wears you out, just jump in for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear island waters.

Teens can get into their own adventure on The Wild Side (US$ 35), an excursion that includes snorkeling, biking and kayaking. Families who want to adventure together can try the Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel Adventure (US$ 49 adults, US$ 29 children). This easy 45-minute sail takes you out to calm waters and unspoiled coral reefs. Even younger children will enjoy floating in the turquoise Caribbean Sea with schools of colored fish.

View of the Caribbean Sea

Visitors to the tiny islet of Motu Mahana (Polynesian for sunlit island) are greeted with the sounds of Polynesia. Les Gauguines, an eight-woman song and dance troupe, perform beguiling love songs in their Polynesian tongue while guests enjoy a scrumptious feast under the shade of thatched huts. After lunch, guests can relax in the sea or wade for yards in the shallow waters while waiters wearing bathing suits offer tropical drinks to those in need of refreshment. Try out the complimentary water sports like kayaking or snorkeling. For a different experience, board a motorized outrigger canoe and head to the beautiful island lagoon of Taha’a. Taha’a is known for two things: producing vanilla and black pearls.

Guests can take a four-wheel drive tour into the hills to tour the vanilla plantations (US$ 65) or view French Polynesia’s rare jewel, the black pearl, at the Motu Pearl Farm (US$ 64). From there, head to the lagoon for some quality time with the region’s underwater fauna. There is even a small lagoonarium where rays, turtles, sharks and fish are enclosed in four different pools.

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Lifestyle

Lake Como in Lombardy: A True Love Story

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  • August 4, 2018

Admit it. There are times when you wish you could get away from it all by moving to your own private island. Well, some cruise passengers actually can at least for a day. Each of the following cruise lines below offer passengers a day of fun in the sun on their very own private island. For many cruisers, this stop is the highlight of the trip. After all, what could be better than sitting on a white-sand beach, drinking a pia colada and soaking in the rays without crowds?

“It’s a wonderful destination, we will come back next year for sure!”

All of these islands have pristine shores, swaying palm trees, aquamarine waters and lots of ocean-side adventure. There usually are fees for shore excursions and equipment rental. Every destination offers something a little different for cruise passengers.

View of buildings on the coast of tropical island San Andres y Providencia

Even at first glance, CocoCay looks like the quintessential Caribbean hideaway. There are wide stretches of beach in quiet coves, island huts in bright Caribbean pinks and blues, and a colorful straw market offering Bahamian crafts and goods.

Many of the island buildings look brand new and they are. In 2002, the company invested more than US$ 21 million to turn this 140-acre (0.5 km) slip of land into a destination their passengers would never forget. Nature trails wind through the isle, which is home to wild chickens, peacocks and occasional iguanas. Those seeking solitude will enjoy the hammocks that are hung under coconut trees in quiet locations.

English Harbour, Hurricane Hole

Sea lovers have plenty of activities to choose from. Hop on a jet ski (US $ 95 for 50 minutes) and speed across waters so clear that you can see orange starfish 20 feet below, or don a snorkel mask and explore life under the sea up close.

For a great view of the island, try your hand at parasailing (US $ 79 per hour). You’ll soar 200-400 feet in the air and maybe even take a cooling dip in the water before returning to the boat. Children will enjoy Caylana’s Castle Cove and SeaTrek Aqua Park (US$ 15 adults, $10 children). Its floating sand castle and aquatic trampolines are just the things for those who are young at heart.

A staff of 45 people lives on CocoCay, and it’s obvious they take pride in keeping the island’s natural beauty in top condition. Their pampering service makes the island experience so pleasurable that you won’t want to leave when dusk falls all too soon.

“Disney knows children, so it’s no wonder that they feel at home on Castaway Cay”

The cruise ship docks right at the island (other cruise ships use tender boats to ferry passengers back and forth), so youngsters can head right down the ship’s ramp and out to explore Castaway Cay. There is a beach just for families, and Scuttle’s Cove is a safe and fun club for children. Parents need some time on their own, so there is Serenity Bay, a secluded beach for adults. For a little pampering, have a relaxing massage in the open-air cabanas at the seaside spa.

Street in Key West

Game for a little exploration? Then grab a bike (child seats are available for little ones) and hit the trails (US$ 6 per hour). This is, after all, a secluded island getaway, and there are miles of empty shoreline and tropical forest to explore.

If you prefer the water, check out the Walking and Kayak Nature Adventure ($60). Participants walk with a guide through the island’s lush fauna and kayak through an ecologically sensitive mangrove environment. If paddling wears you out, just jump in for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear island waters.

Teens can get into their own adventure on The Wild Side (US$ 35), an excursion that includes snorkeling, biking and kayaking. Families who want to adventure together can try the Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel Adventure (US$ 49 adults, US$ 29 children). This easy 45-minute sail takes you out to calm waters and unspoiled coral reefs. Even younger children will enjoy floating in the turquoise Caribbean Sea with schools of colored fish.

View of the Caribbean Sea

Visitors to the tiny islet of Motu Mahana (Polynesian for sunlit island) are greeted with the sounds of Polynesia. Les Gauguines, an eight-woman song and dance troupe, perform beguiling love songs in their Polynesian tongue while guests enjoy a scrumptious feast under the shade of thatched huts. After lunch, guests can relax in the sea or wade for yards in the shallow waters while waiters wearing bathing suits offer tropical drinks to those in need of refreshment. Try out the complimentary water sports like kayaking or snorkeling. For a different experience, board a motorized outrigger canoe and head to the beautiful island lagoon of Taha’a. Taha’a is known for two things: producing vanilla and black pearls.

Guests can take a four-wheel drive tour into the hills to tour the vanilla plantations (US$ 65) or view French Polynesia’s rare jewel, the black pearl, at the Motu Pearl Farm (US$ 64). From there, head to the lagoon for some quality time with the region’s underwater fauna. There is even a small lagoonarium where rays, turtles, sharks and fish are enclosed in four different pools.

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