5 Romantic Travel Resolutions

A new year always means a chance for a new start. You and yours can begin this new year by making some travel resolutions together, regardless of your time and budget restraints. Put aside those new travel habits and make some new ones! Let this be the year that your travel designs focus on fun, fantasy, and festivities!



(1) we are going to plan a real vacation. No, it doesn't have to be an around the world cruise or first class getaway (but if you can afford it, what are you waiting for?) It does have to be an honest-to-goodness vacation, though. No cell phones, no laptops. Mark the dates on the calendar and keep it  like you'd keep any business appointment. The business of romantic travel, though, is a fun four and an activity that the one of you can plan for months.



(2) we are going to involve each other in the trip planning. All  often, four partner gets the job for planning a trip...and that task quickly becomes a bore. Plan your trips together! Anticipation is half the fun. Visit a travel agent. Collect brochures. Buy a guidebook. Rent a video about your destination. Search the web for information.



(3) we are going to do something we have rarely done. Here you can be as mild -- or as wild -- as you dare. Go whitewater rafting. Rent a houseboat. Take a hot air balloon ride. Spend the night in a local bed and breakfast. Learn to scuba dive. Dance the whole night away under the stars. The choice is yours.



(4) we are going to take four mini-vacation every month. Whether it's for the night or  for the night out, plan four tiny slice of a vacation every single month. The only rule: you must pretend you are on vacation. Book a night at a local bed and breakfast. Call your local hotel and find out their non-peak nights (in business-oriented cities, it's usually Friday and Saturday) then plan a short romantic getaway.



(5) we are going to go to at least four festival. Special events take place at  about every community around the world. Whatever your interests -- from square dancing to sandcastle building -- you'll find a festival celebrating with a day or one of fun and food. If you don't have the time or budget to go far, contact area chamber of commerce or tourism offices within a day's drive of your home for their calendar of events. If you can, extend your trip into a long weekend. If you have got the time and resources, check out a quantity of the major fun festivals: Carnival, Mardi Gras, Rio's Carnivale. Don't forget your costume!

5 Reasons to Use a Full Service Online Travel Agent

When it comes to planning your vacation, it's tempting to go the do-it-yourself route. After all, it's easy enough to book an airline flight reservation. Why shouldn't you also do your own booking for a car rental, hotel, or even a cruise? Here are five reasons why you should leave your vacation planning to a professional, full service online travel agent:

1. Terrific Deals

You can do your own booking, but you won't necessarily get a low far or the best deal. Airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and cruise ships count on people to make their own reservations and charge higher rates to those who do. Yet they don't really make a profit until they're completely booked. 

Think of hotel rooms, airplane seats, and cruise ship cabins as perishable commodities. Just like an expired carton of milk has to be pulled off the grocery store shelf, on any given night, an empty hotel room is lost revenue that will never be regained. Similarly, an airplane is going to fly and a cruise ship will embark whether or not the seats and cabins are full. It's in the best interest of hotels, airlines, and cruise ships to be fully booked. That's why they offer discounted fares to an online travel agent, who can then pass along the savings to you.  

2. Full Packages

A full service online travel agent can put together package vacations to destinations and hotel properties to which you might not otherwise have access. Perhaps you're a golfer, and want a dream golf vacation. Maybe a Caribbean vacation is on the horizon. Or maybe you are looking for the perfect cruise package. Although it's sometimes possible to book travel packages with the destination, you often don't get the options that best meet your needs. An online travel agent can put together packages that work best for you and your family.

3. Great Service

When you go the do-it-yourself route, it's often difficult to coordinate all aspects of your travel. Making sure that your flights depart and arrive at optimal times, that your hotel reservation is in order, that your car rental will be available, and that you'll have everything in order to board a cruise ship is no walk in the park. An online travel agent can do all the legwork for you so you can concentrate on preparing for your trip. And, if you have a change in plans, the great service that an online travel agent provides can make the transition a smooth one.

4. Group Travel

Extended families often travel together, and businesses have group travel requirements from time to time. In either case, a full service online travel agent can easily book trips for people who have the same destination but who are traveling from different places. Having a group travel coordinator gives everyone peace of mind and ensures that the group's needs are met.

5. Honeymoon Registry

If you're planning your honeymoon, an online travel agent can provide you with the latest trend in wedding gifts: the honeymoon registry. When you register with a full service online travel agent, your guests can contribute funds to your honeymoon, or they can buy specific services (such as a spa treatment or a romantic breakfast in bed) that you have on your wish list. 

While it's possible to book travel yourself, why would you want to? After all, the advantages in using a full service online travel agent are limitless.

6 Suggested Historical Destinations For Student Travel

Student travel promises to be an enjoyable trip. Not only do students can visit several places, they could also learn so much on every trip. And since air travel agencies as well as airlines provide student travel discount and special student travel rate, student travel is becoming more and more available for greater number of students who want to explore and learn more about the world. 

For first time travelers, here are some historical destinations you can consider for you student travel:

Athens
As the center of knowledge, government, and system in the ancient world, every student would be amazed how this ancient city grew and evolved. Students can visit Acropolis, Agora, Library of Hadrian, Kerameikos, Olympieion & Southeast Athens, Pnyx, Roman Agora & Tower of the Winds, Arch of Hadrian, City Eleusinion and other ancient sites in this ancient city of Athens.

Egypt
Visit one of the earliest civilizations founded in this part of the world. Egypt features 3000 years old city in the banks of River Nile. Egypt is also one of the oldest tourist spots in the world with visitors coming from the ancient Rome and Greece. 

Moving your way south from Cairo, the nation’s capital, you can stop at Giza where the infamous Great Pyramid stands. It was built by Pharaoh Khafu in the year 2550 BC. Standing at 147 meters, it was the largest and the most ambitious structure built in the ancient Egypt requiring 2.3 million stone block to erect. Also at Giza, see the Pyramid of Khafre home if the Sphinx. It was built 30 after the Great Pyramid. As the second largest, the Pyramid of Khafre stands at 144 meters of 471 feet. The third pyramid located at Giza was the Pyramid of Menkaure which stands at 65 meters or 213 feet.

Further south, Saqqara is home to the Step Pyramid of Djoser built in 2630 BC. Pyramid of Pepi II, also located at Saqqara was the last pyramid built by ancient Egyptians. In Dahshur, the Bent and the Red Pyramids are located. And down south at Maidum, the Maidum Pyramid can be found. 

See the temples, mummies, tombs, hieroglyphics, and Valley of the Kings and the Queens if you visit Egypt. 

Rome
See ancient Rome still intact with evidences of Roman structure and architectures built more than 2000 years ago. Rome presents the living timeline from the Roman Empire to the shift of the Middle Ages, to baroque and renaissance, to the dawn of the romantic period and enlightenment. Rome preserves its temples, churches, arts, and priceless paintings and murals. 

Turkey
A former territory of the Roman Empire which stood strong for more than a thousand years against several barbarian attack. Turkey is in the easternmost part of Europe that features a diverse culture, religion, philosophy, and architectures. 

China
Travel Far East and learn the history of the ancient eastern civilization that was once unknown until the last centuries. See the Great Wall, a remnant of the Zhou Dynasty along with other unique oriental culture and tradition. See the Chinese painting, calligraphy, paper cutting, and Chinese art.

Peru
As the center of the Inca civilization, Peru is a great destination for student travel for discovery of South American history. The 500-year old Inca traces could be relived in the Inca Trail that is both exciting and educational. Walk to the Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman, Machu Picchu, and Pisac.

5 Ways to Utilize Auto Navigation Systems and GPS Technology While Traveling

If you have managed to do any research on auto navigation systems I'm sure you've come across countless nifty features that these devices have in common. While not all devices utilize the very same technology, it is great to know that cell phones today in addition to handheld auto navigation systems are utilizing technology that make travel and locating lost children, pets, and other loved ones a little bit easier to manage in today's hectic world. 

There are many ways that the technology that drives GPS can improve our lives both at home and while we travel. Below you will find some great ways that this technology helps improve your overall travel experience.

1) Trip Planning. Not only are auto navigation systems great to have while on your trip, they are also quite useful when planning your trip. You will not have to listen to endless whining about whether we are there yet or how much fathers. Your children can listen along with you as you plan your trip and find out fascinating places to stop, view scenery, and get some great chow along the way. You should also be able to quite easily find out about neat shopping, shows, and other points of interest en route as well. Finding something for everyone keeps the entire family happy on your trip.

2) Finding restaurants, theatres, and nearby malls. This is very important not only when traveling to your destination but also once you've arrived. Many of the nicer auto navigation systems on the market today are able to sort restaurants that are nearby. These systems are much more than simple software that is designed for the sole purpose of giving directions. They are fully functional navigational tools. Some of them even have entertainment features, which will allow them to be used as ebook readers and/or MP3 players.

3) Keeping tabs of family in crowded situations. Even in the mall, you can have family members going off in different locations and keep track of them all. This is also true at graduation ceremonies and other events, which may call for family members spreading out over a large amount of space leaving some out of sight at times.

4) Security when away from home. The idea of being away from home, particularly with teens can be very frightening. We want them to be independent and at the same time we want to never let them out of our sight. Having a cell phone that allows GPS tracking of your teen is a great way to have the best of both worlds. You can keep a watchful eye on where they are without having them in your direct line of sight. This allows them the freedom to pursue their own interests and you the security of watching that happen.

5) Tracking important items while traveling. This may not seem like such a big deal until you've dealt with lost luggage a time or two. The truth is that this is a huge load off the minds of many, particularly when it comes to laptops and electronic devices that have important information.

If you haven't considered these reasons for purchasing an auto navigation system or making use of the many options for safety and security that GPS Technology allows in your life, it is time to give these things some serious thoughts. Our children are the most important thing in the world we can protect and it is well worth the minimal investment in the software required to assist in keeping them safe.

5 Amazing Tips On Discount Travel

If you are among the people who are really passionate about traveling, have you been really thinking about enjoying it cost-effectively? Or you just prepare the money to get all the luxurious pleasure no matter how much it will be?

Well, you probably do have a lot of money, but it’s not really a bad thing if you could save more yet still have the enjoyment you’ve been dreaming of. It is true. You have the same excitement yet with spending less money that you’ve calculated before. How do you do it?

Here are 5 top tips you should take into account

1. Find out alternate routes to your destination.

Sometimes, a combination of two flights is cheaper than one flight. Or, you can also say that the direct route is not always the cheapest. For example, if you’re planning to go overseas, it will be much cheaper if you’re willing to make a domestic flight first prior to switching to an international one.

2. Reduce the food costs during your trip by shopping in local supermarkets rather than dining out.

You can buy some healthy snacks and fresh food from a market to eat during your outings. It is a far better idea instead of stopping for lunch at a touristy restaurant. However, if you still want to dine out, it’s best to do it on truly local cuisine. Besides you’ll save a lot of money, you’ll experience a more interesting cultural atmosphere and get much cheaper local food.

3. Look into renting an apartment.

That’s what you should do if you’re planning to stay long in the place you go to. Why? Because it is usually much cheaper than even the cheapest of hotels. Another advantage is that you will be able to cook in the apartment.

4. Make your trip much more affordable by being flexible.

This is probably the most important concept overall in terms of discount travel. If you can be flexible and open to new things in regards to your destinations, you have the opportunity of taking whichever is cheap. Thus, you will often save lots of money.

Here is one example: You’re going to South America, where rum will be incredibly cheap and other types of alcohol will be fairly pricey. You don’t really like rum, but in this situation, you do when you’re in the country.

5. Consider the value of staying put for a while.

Traveling doesn’t always mean the flight to your destination. You will not only have huge savings on transportation and accommodation, but also take pleasure in far more exciting and valuable occasions and experiences.

Of course it is very tempting to try and see as much as possible in a foreign country by constantly moving. But, it’s dubious that you will also get a good sense of what the country is like. If you’re willing to stay for a while, for instance by renting an apartment for a few weeks in a particular city, you can experience the culture a bit more, meet and indulge with some locals, dine in local restaurants, and of course, save more money.

So, have you decided where you want to go now? Have you checked out the flights and the prices? Hope you enjoy your traveling!

3 Little Known Tips To Saving Money On Beach Vacation Travel





Here’s a really simple way to save on beach vacation travel. We are going to show you 3 ways to save you some bucks when booking your next beach vacation. The beach is an incredible experience. No matter whether you’ve traveled to far western Australia or taken a quick weekend trip to the Jersey Shore, barring rain, the beach is usually a really enjoyable experience. We’ve taken trips all over the world we’ve missed giant opportunities of money savings that were seemingly all around us if we had just taken the time to do a little extra research. Well, you are in luck. The travel research has been done for you, all you have to do is be willing to keep reading. Before you know it, you’ll be taking the beach vacation of your life, for a steeply discounted price. Here we go: 

1) Buy it used. Well, not really used: more like discounted (or unused actually). Sometimes, people can put their vacation opportunities up at real discounts. Did you know that there are all sorts of people out there who own time shares but can’t use them for various reasons? Maybe the season isn’t right, or they can’t seem to get the flight that they need. Ebay has a thriving market for timeshare opportunities. A lot of the listings are permanent (e.g. people looking for others to buy their times shares out completely), but sometimes people are just looking to monetize a weeks worth of timeshare that they can’t seem to use themselves. Their loss can be your opportunity. Ebay is an auction, and the highest price wins usually. 

2) Compare everything. Guess what? Expedia and Orbitz seem like they are juggernauts of internet travel and they control a lot of the market. BUT, they don’t have every vendor available. A lot of the discount airlines like SouthWest and JetBlue don’t use either of these massive companies and you can only get their deals by going directly to their website. Don’t’ tell anyone, but from what we’ve heard JetBlue is supposed to have really nice seats and monitors on new planes with really good prices. We haven’t used JetBlue ourselves yet, but it’s supposed be really good (especially at delivering good value on Northeast to Florida routes). That tip alone could save you some bucks while getting you a really nice flight. 

3) The first 2 points are perfectly valid in any trip planning but almost worthless when you consider that you might have to shell out a lot more bucks for destinations abroad. There is a beautiful beach state located not too far from anyone East of the Mississippi. That’s right. Florida. Florida is back and it’s beaches are still fantastic. Florida is still beautiful. There has been a lot of development of Florida during the last 50 years, but Florida is still a massive state with plenty of undiscovered beaches. The state of Florida can be great if you know where to look. It’s pretty nice. Trust us….the undiscovered spots of Florida can really be something else. However, they are becoming more and more difficult to find as thousands of people move to Florida every month.

5 Tips for Traveling By RV

Are you in the process of planning an RV trip?  If you are and if this is your first time doing so, you may be looking for some guidance.  After all, traveling by RV for the first time can be fun and exciting, but it can also be worrisome at the same time.  For that reason, five helpful tips, which are ideal for first time motor home travelers, are outlined below.

1 – Map Out Your Route Ahead of Time

Deciding where you want to travel to by RV is an important component of doing so.  Of course, you have the ability to change your mind or make side trips along the way, but you should always have an idea of where you will be going.  This is important for a number of different reasons, including overall satisfaction and safety.

2 – Research Activities and Attractions Along the Way

In conjunction with the above mentioned tip of mapping out your intended travel route, doing so enables you to research activities and attractions that are located along the way.  When traveling by RV, half of the fun is all of the stops that you are able to make.  Of course, you can be spontaneous, but having an idea of exactly what you can do and see while traveling by RV is ideal for safety, as well as making sure that you don’t miss out on any great opportunities.

When it comes to researching activities and attractions that are along your way, the internet is a great place to start.  If you are taking steps now to prepare for an RV trip that isn’t set to happen for another month or so, you may want to request free vacation guides.  These guides are easy to find online.  

3 – Make Sure Your RV Is Stocked Full of Activities

Making sure your RV is stocked full of fun activities is another great tip that beginners should implement.  If your upcoming motor home adventure is an extended one, you may spend a good percentage of your time on the road.  Of course, looking out the window to sightsee is a nice, enjoyable activity, but it may not hold your interest for long.  That is why fun activities should be examined.  These activities may include movies, using a laptop computer, playing handheld electronic games, reading, or enjoying another fun hobby, such as knitting.

All RV travelers are encouraged to make sure that they have fun activities for the road, but it is extremely important for parents to do so.  There is nothing worse than being stuck on an RV with unhappy children.

4 – Pack for Your Trip Ahead of Time

All first time RV travelers are encouraged to start packing early. In fact, the earlier the better.  Many supplies, such as food and travel size toiletries can be packed or put in an RV without disrupting your current daily needs.  

To help ensure that your next RV trip is fun, as opposed to one that is filled with complications, create an RV trip checklist.  This checklist should include specific items that you would like to bring, such as clothing, food, drinks, eating utensils, towels, wash clothes, and so forth.  To help get you started, many websites have free printable camping checklists, which can serve as great guides.  Be sure to check off items from your list when you pack them in your bags or place them on your motor home.

5 – Always Keep Safety in Mind

As with any recreational activity, it is important to remember that there are some risks associated with traveling by RV, especially in areas that you are unfamiliar with.  For that reason, a number of steps should be taken to protect your safety.  Be sure to leave an itinerary with someone that you know and trust, always be aware of your surroundings, always keep a cell phone nearby, and be sure to have a fully stocked first aid kit.

6 Things To Remember When Traveling With Your Partner

Going on holiday with a partner is the true test of a relationship. Hereís how to get it just right.

What makes a perfect partner? Someone who wants to have sex first in the morning, never asks you to go shopping with her and renounces all rights so the remote control on Saturday afternoons? Maybe, but no relationship, no matter how erotically charged and compatible, is proven until your first holiday together.

Ah, the holiday, that breeding ground of vice and corruptibility. You go on holiday to relax, but unless you know exactly what youíre getting into, going on holiday with a partner is likely to leave you more stressed than you were when you handed in your leave form.

There are sound reasons for couples fighting when theyíre on holiday. Because youíre out of your familiar, everyday situation, holiday actually increase some stress levels. Also, because youíve convinced yourself that you should be having a wonderful time during every second of your precious holiday small fights and irritations tend to get magnified. A lot of couples break up on holiday, over things that would not have mattered quite as much had they happened during their normal routine.

Everything is more intense when youíre on holiday because itís such a valued time for most of us. But more holiday fights are caused by lack of planning than unrealistic expectations. You might not be able to do anything about your heightened holiday emotions, but you certainly can plan for physical eventualities, and in so doing hopefully prevent quarrels in Quebec and sulks in the Seychelles.

So if you are planning to go away with a partner ñ especially if itís the first time the two of you will be taking a trip together ñ follow these rules and perhaps youíll still want to look at each other when you return.

1. Make sure you both want go go to the same place ñ Itís no use dragging her off to go hiking in the Himalayas if sheíd far rather be lying on a beach in Thailand. If your idea of a good holiday is vastly different from hers, perhaps you shouldnít be together, or perhaps you should take separate holidays. Or you could compromise and choose a place that offers both your types of enjoyment (such as a resort where one of you can go scuba diving while the other lounges next to the pool with a book and a pina colada).

Of course you might not know what her interests and idiosyncrasies actually are until you get there and find yourself shuffling from monument to monument to examine ancient firesoes, despite your longing to examine an affable pub. Holidays show us sides of our partners that we didnít even suspect existed. Thatís why itís important to discuss you idea holiday before you book the hotel room. If you think she might be agreeing with your choice of destination only to please you, thatís her problem, but give haer a chance to voice her preferences.

It is always more fun to do the things you love with a partner who loves the same things, but itís inevitable that there will be areas of common disinterest between you. Make it clear that you donít mind pursuing your quest for the tallest redwood on your own, and make sure she knows that you donít intend accompanying her on visits to Cambodian orphanages (unless you want to, of course).

2. Divide the money. Money and map navigation are the two most common causes of holiday tension. Money is perhaps more important because even if youíre lost, youíre still okay if you can afford a bed for the night.

No matter how compatible you might be in other spheres, in every couple there is a partner who is the spender. This is increased a hundred-fold when on holiday. The one with the more careful nature will shy away from impulse purchases, while the other spontaneously lashes out on memorabilia that you donít need and that doesnít fit into your suitcase.

Some couples try to prevent money fights by nominating one partner as holder of the resolve arguments by saying. ìIím the one in charge of the money and I say we canít have more than one ice cream a dayî is only going to lead to acrimony. Even if one of you is financing the holiday ñ in fact, especially need to have access to your own money, or the power imbalance will lead to bitterness.

Workout the budget for the entire trip. Say accommodation is paid for, work out how much youíll need each day for food, and if one of you wants to exceed that budget on a particular day, then economize the next day. Divide your spending money in two and share it. Then, if one of you blows their entire allowance on a three-meter mahogany giraffe. Itís only faire for the partner who still has money to dictate how itís spent.

3. No bagging the navigator- Democracy does not work when it comes to directions. Whether youíve driving yourselves around or simply have to find taxis or stations in unfamiliar places, either draw lots or play roulette before you leave home to decide who will be in charge of navigation. Or split the duties, but when one of you is driving or reading a map, the other keeps his or her mouth firmly shut.

Talk about this before you go, otherwise youíll end up in a ditch when you slam on brakes in the pouring rain and shout, ìDo you want to drive?î If sheís driving donít say a word. And if you know she took a wrong turn, never admit later that you knew the right road to take all along.

Stick to this rule and thereís a good chance youíll have a happy holiday and perhaps an entire life. The words ìshouldnít you have turned left there?î have been the death knell of too many relationships.

4.Find out if she snores. Itís seldom that a couple goes on holiday without first getting to know each other well, but it happens. You may have shared a bed, but do you know each otherís bathroom? Does she know it takes you half an hour to do your hair? Has she done her morning yoga routine in front of you? Are you familiar with otherís most irritating habits?

A first holiday can bring nasty surprises, if you discover on your fist night away that she grinds her teeth, it could ruin your trip. Alternatively you could be prepared for some irritation, and decide beforehand that, unless itís a non-negotiable violation of every value you hold dear, you will allow certain annoyances to wash over you.

Say you know each other quite well already and have learnt tolerate each otherís curious habits. You could still find that being on holiday with her drives you nuts (or vice versa) because she thinks that being away means she doesnít have to be considerate of your needs as would be when youíre both at home.

Being on holiday does mean you can relax, but it doesnít mean turning into a complete slob. If she doesnít clean up after you at home, donít expect her to do it when youíre away. And if she thinks being on holiday gives her licence to use your razor on her legs, explain (gently) that it doesnít.

5.Donít combine buddies and new lovers ñ You have a friend with a pad in Manhattan whoís been begging you to come and stay. ìBring your new girlfriendî, he says. ìYou guys will have the best time here.î No you wonít. not if youíve never been away together before and you want to spend a lot of time catching up with your old buddy. They might like each other and get along fine, but a first time holiday is about romance, and youíre not going to get that when youíre trying to divide your time and attention between a friend and a lover.

Perhaps neither of you is the romantic type and youíre both quite keen on the idea of going away with other people. If these are mutual friends, no problem, but going away to meet someone whom only one of you knows isn't a good idea, donít do it if it's the first time the two of you will be spending time together.

You might also discover when on holiday that that one of you is more sociable that the other. She wants to invite those two couples you met on the train to join you for dinner; all you want to do is spend time alone with her. These are things you canít predict. All you can do is reasonably explain your desire to socialize ñ or your objections to talking to strangers ñ and try to reach a compromise.

6.If it all goes wrong.- There is no way to guarantee that your first holiday together will be fight ñ free, but you can stop fights from turning your holiday into a nightmare. It may sound stilted, but if you can face up to it, talk about how youíll deal with fights before you go away. Make a pact that neither of you will storm out, even if it means spending three days in silence. Thereís nothing more mortifying than returning home alone. Having the staying power to see it through gives you time to get over fights.

If all else fails then remember to;

Always keep your own passport and ticket if she leaves with your documents, youíre going to look an idiot in a foreign place.

24 Hours In Panama: A Travel Guide to Panama City

Panama is an adventure wonderland just waiting to be discovered. The country’s expansive rainforests are among the richest and most complex on the planet. It’s the only country where jaguars and pumas prowl just a short drive from the capital. Its vast, roadless jungles are home to over 940 recorded bird species and 105 endangered species, including the spectacled bear, the Central American tapir, the American crocodile, the scarlet macaw, as well as several eagle species.

This small, untapped country offers some of the finest diving, birdwatching, and deep-sea fishing in all of the Americas—yet only the most avid adventurers are aware of it. Panama boasts scores of deserted palm-lined beaches, miles of lush rainforests, great national parks, mysterious mangroves (where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to a time when dinosaurs walked the earth), steamy cloud forests, mountains, waterfalls, raging rivers, abandoned forts, as well as desert.

In Panama you can spend the morning diving in the Caribbean and the afternoon swimming in the Pacific. You can explore historic ruins of the colonial era…dive for Sir Francis Drake’s lead coffin (supposedly buried at sea near Portobello Bay)…see the rainforest in an aerial tram…ride a dug-out canoe to a native Indian village…discover the remote and mysterious forests of the Darién region right on the border of Colombia (where the roads end a few miles before the border, leaving you with the feeling you’ve reached the end of civilization)…come nose-to-nose with a red-napped tamarind monkey or a trio of colorful toucans…

Conde Nast Traveler, in an article from its February 2005 issue said "Panama has temperate rain forests, great surf and beaches, and more birdlife than any other country in Central America. Now…it also has a newly elected administration that wants travelers to enjoy every bit of it."

Fortunately, Panama is a small country. In a short one- or two-week trip, you can see much of what this diverse country has to offer.

In this special report, the IL team proposes a plan to get the most out of 24 hours in Panama. From a traditional Panamanian breakfast to a trip to the Miraflores Locks to evening drinks in a little boutique hotel overlooking the Bay of Panama…we have it all thought out.

Breakfast in El Trapiche

Exploring the best Panama has to offer is hungry work. Start your day on a full stomach and head for breakfast in El Trapiche, a busy diner in El Cangrejo (Vía Argentina, tel. (507)269-4353). Here you can enjoy breakfast Panama style and indulge in a hearty feed of carimañol—a yummy roll made of mashed yucca and stuffed with ground beef and boiled eggs—and a side of corn tortillas, that more resemble silverdollar pancakes than taco shells. The bill should be less than $8, even with that second café con leche.

Trip to the Miraflores Locks

No trip to Panama is complete without seeing the "Eighth Wonder of the World," the Panama Canal. According to the Panama Canal Authority "The history of the construction of the Panama Canal is the saga of human ingenuity and courage: years of sacrifice, crushing defeat, and final victory." This statement, while true, doesn’t go far enough to describe the mighty toll taken by the building of the Panama Canal. Construction began in 1904 and took 10 years to complete. It remains one of the greatest engineering achievements of all time, completed despite landslides, disease, setbacks, and the loss of 75,000 lives in total. Engineers directed most of the actual construction, which cost $375 million, and involved the excavation of 240 million cubic yards of earth.

The Canal, 51 miles long, opened to shipping in August 1914 and was formally dedicated on July 12, 1920. In 1921, the U.S. paid Colombia $25 million as redress for the loss of Panama; in exchange, Colombia formally recognized Panama’s independence.

On average it takes a vessel eight hours to travel from one ocean to the other, passing through three sets of locks. The best place to see the Canal is from the Miraflores Locks (open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission free). Make sure to get to the Miraflores Locks for 9 a.m. as this is when you are most likely to see large ships passing through.

Tamales in Casco Viejo

By now you’re probably feeling a tad peckish… Time to hop on a bus or hail a taxi and make your way toward Casco Viejo for tamales. If you’re in luck, you’ll bump into Luis Antonio Visuette on the streets of Casco Viejo, where he has been selling delicious homemade tamales, wrapped in plaintain leaves, for more than 10 years. With his Yankee cap and five-gallon bucket of hot and spicy tameles calientitos, Luis is hard to miss. These lunchtime treats are available in both large (50 cents), and small (25 cents), and are a real hit when washed down with an ice-cold drink. International Living’s local office is located in the Casco Viejo area, in the Cathedral Plaza, next to the Panama Canal Museum and just in front of the stunning Metropolitan Cathedral, so if you want to enjoy your tamales in our office (Luis will be making the rounds) call in for a Panamanian style "power lunch."

Explore Casco Viejo

Located at the mouth of the Panama Canal, Casco Viejo is the oldest city on the Pacific Coast of the Americas…although it was there long before the Canal was built.

In fairness to history, the original Panama City (now known as Old Panama or Panama La Vieja) was founded in 1519, about two miles from the center of Panama City as we know it today. From here, expeditions were mounted to conquer the Inca Empire of South America and all of the wealth pillaged from Peru, Chile, and California flowed to Spain through Old Panama. It is no surprise that this booty attracted pirates like Henry Morgan, who looted the city in 1671.

During Morgan’s attack, this original Panama City was burned to the ground. Two years later, in 1673, the capital was moved two miles to the west, and present-day Panama City was founded. This is the area now known as Casco Viejo.

As the city was being rebuilt by the Spanish settlers, they decided to build a massive surrounding wall and a stronger fortress for its protection and to ensure that the enormous wealth in gold and silver that passed through it would never again be susceptible to the likes of Henry Morgan.

The new city boasted a cross-sectioned design of 38 blocks, with three main streets running from east to west and seven streets running from north to south. Unfortunately, this urban development was interrupted by various fires that devastated its streets. In 1737, the "big fire" destroyed two thirds of the city, and the "small fire" of 1756 destroyed more than 90 houses. These and other catastrophic fires help explain why so few true examples of Spanish colonial architecture exist today.

The fortress still survives, though, and today houses several important, cultural, and historic buildings and monuments. But it is the architecture of Casco Viejo that makes it so special. The old Spanish colonial style is overlaid with French balconies and architecture, remnants of the French inhabitants who made the initial attempt to build the Panama Canal in 1881. Over the years, a Caribbean influence also took hold and, today, Casco Viejo is a melting pot of architectural inspiration and style, with some buildings dating as far back as 300 years.

Museums, shopping, and fortune telling

Up until the early parts of this century, Casco Viejo remained a thriving cultural center. But as Panama City modernized, and as the automotive age made transportation easier, it spread outward, leaving Casco Viejo behind. The old city’s narrow labyrinth streets were difficult for cars to maneuver and its buildings were obsolete in comparison to modern skyscrapers being built. By the mid 1900s, Casco Viejo had gone the way of most city centers of that century. No longer the center of Panama City, it was too oppressed for the upper class and quickly became a poor area of tenement-style housing.

The area is currently undergoing a complete transformation, however. Restaurants and bars are opening with gusto, tourists are coming in growing numbers, and people from all over now want to make their homes in Casco Viejo.

In 1997, UNESCO declared Casco Viejo a Patrimony of Humanity. Today, it is revered as the historic center of Panama City. Two- and three-story houses with flower-adorned balconies overlook narrow streets. At its tip is French Park, where you will find the French Embassy and a monument to the hardy French builders who began the Panama Canal. On one side is an historical Spanish building called Las Bovedas, now housing an art gallery and French restaurant. Panama’s Supreme Court was once housed here. A walkway around the monument offers a nice view of the Amador Causeway, Bridge of the Americas, and Panama City’s skyscraper skyline to the east. A plaque commemorates the firing of canon shots to ward off a Colombian warship and solidify Panama’s independence from Colombia in 1903.

There are excellent museums in the Casco Viejo area, including the Museo de Canal. Here, you can learn about Panama’s history as the connector between the Atlantic and the Pacific from pre-Hispanic to modern times. Next door is the Museum of National History and across the way is the National Cathedral. Nearby is a small museum dedicated to religious art, found in the old Santo Domingo monastery. This is where you will find the famous Flat Arch, which reportedly helped convince engineers that Panama was earthquake-proof and a geologically stable area for building the Canal. A few blocks away is the old San Jose Cathedral, with gleaming spires inlaid with mother-of-pearl and its beautiful gold altar, intricately carved of wood and gilded with gold. This is a must-see when you visit Casco Viejo.

Casco Viejo is home to the Presidential House. If you want to see this, be sure to come on a Sunday as it is closed to the public for the rest of the week. Famous sons and daughters of Panama also make their homes here, including actor/singer (and now Panama’s minister of tourism) Ruben Blades, and boxer Roberto Duran.

Bargain hunters can take a break from the historical sights at Salsipuedes, which roughly translates to "get out if you can." Located just before the entrance to Casco Viejo, it is Panama’s bizarre bazaar, a street so narrow and filled with vendors that it is dark at noon. A few steps away is Santa Ana’s Plaza, where you can have your fortune told for just $5.

Dine at The Bristol

To finish off your day in style, make your way to The Bristol Hotel, just a short taxi journey from Casco Viejo. Dining at the Barandas Restaurant at The Bristol Hotel is an event to savor. The Panamanian-inspired gourmet cuisine, restful ambiance, stunning presentation, elegant settings, and attentive service combine to create an unforgettable dining experience.

A Trip To Panama Caught Your Fancy?

Hopefully, this special report has given you a few ideas on how to spend your time in Panama, but don’t forget that this amazing country has much more to offer. Pacific Coast beaches near the city; Coiba Island National Marine Park; and the Darién Province to name just a few.

100 Grand Resort Travel in Florida

Beachside promenades, lively people laid back lifestyles and sunny weather, Florida is a grand resort travel idea. Take a walk at the famous Miami Beach and enjoy a great meal by the sea or choose from the many popular tourist and travel resort spots in Florida such as Palm Beach, Daytona Beach, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville. Here are some of best resorts in Florida to suit various budgets and maximize your stay in the sunny state.

Palm Beach: Perfect travel resort

The Breakers is a luxurious resort and hotel with all the best services you could ask for. All rooms offer spectacular views and each designed with classy décor and lavish facilities. Visit and take some time to detoxify and relax at the hotel spa.

Sundy House is a historic cottage originally built in the 1902. It has 11 designed rooms, all with artwork and luxurious décor. The house is located within lush, beautiful gardens, lovely balconies, and just a stone’s throw away from the beach. It’s an ideal escape from the hustle that you could spend with family and friends.

Miami

Double Tree Ocean Point Resort & Spa has this luxurious hotel fuses together the best of American amenities and European spas for you travel. Its amenities include a beachside pool, world class fitness center, lounges and umbrellas facing the ocean, and fine cuisine to give you the most luxurious, and relaxing trip, both inside and out, in Florida.

Marriott South Beach, a beachfront boutique hotel located in South Beach has 11 rooms and is perfectly situated in Miami. You can easily walk to the beach and the nearby shopping areas and nightclubs. With a very friendly and accommodating staff, well designed rooms, your stay in Miami will be unforgettable.

Visit Jacksonville

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Baymeadows is for the budget traveler, an ideal way to enjoy a travel economically. It is also a pet-friendly hotel hence, you can bring along your furry friends to Florida. Feel right at home with kitchen amenities, a television set, and everything you need without breaking your wallet.

Courtyard Jacksonville Mayo Clinic/Beaches is a well-decorated room, a garden gazebo, fine dining, amenities including a swimming pool, patio, and fitness room. This hotel is located within the Mayo Clinic area and sure to satisfy your needs. Fast service from the well trained staff will guarantee that your choice is filled with maximum enjoyment.