Brazil Carnival, Notting Hill Carnival of London, Indonesia Carnival, Dusseldorf Carnival of Germany, the Carnival of Italy will this year be joined for the first time by the Carnival from France and the Cologne Carnival of Germany to parade side-by-side in Seychelles in the island’s carnival that has been called the Carnival of Carnivals. Press writing about this event have acknowledged that it is no easy feat to have all the top carnivals of the world parade together in a a carnival and that Seychelles had succeeded in today staging an event seen very mush as being the “United Nations of Culture” gathering.
Watch the video!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NY3Fqt6Zgg
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Seychelles is the venue where the world of carnivals brings visibility to the world of culture because Cultural Troupes from the Community of Nations also descent on these mid ocean islands to parade with the top carnivals of the world.
 
Countries sending cultural troupes get unlimited visibility for their respective tourism industry as they fly their National Flags in front a large bank of International Press and Media Houses. Seychelles is congratulated by everyone for having added a cultural event on the World’s Calendar of Events that was not only needed but one that serves the purpose of a cross-over between tourism and culture. The cultural troupes performing in Seychelles are getting visibility for the tourism industry of their country and the carnival delegations are helping countries participating to appreciate their cultures.
 
For Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsibility for Tourism and Culture the carnival in Seychelles remains an cultural event that goes beyond politics, the colour of the skin and also beyond of religious beliefs. “In Seychelles at the carnival people from anywhere are respected as a human being and  this immaterial of their country’s politics, their skin colour and of their religious beliefs. Here they are purely proud Cultural Ambassadors of their respective country” said Minister Alain St.Ange.
 
The 2016 edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria in Seychelles will be staged from the 22 to the 24 April and is being co-hosted by Reunion Island and South Africa. Twenty three international delegations are confirmed to be at this year’s carnival in Seychelles where over 125 International Press and Media Houses have already been accredited to cover the event.
www.seychelles.travel

March, 2016 – With the Mexican Peso at an all-time low, with average exchange rate between $15-$17 pesos to the US dollar, Americans and Canadians looking for last minute deals to Puerto Vallarta will find that this is a travelers market.

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Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s top tourism destination. Known for its 100-year-old historic center, the heart of the destination, it is alive with authentic culture, art, nightlife and a range of award-winning traditional and international restaurants.

Beyond the downtown area, Puerto Vallarta makes for a vacation full of activities that all can enjoy. From strolling along Puerto Vallarta’s lively Malecón (beach boardwalk) while relishing in free outdoor live entertainment like the nightly Papantla flying dancers, to riding zip lines across tree tops or swimming with dolphins and sea lions, taking a cooking class at one of the traditional restaurants or enjoying a guided tour of the local art galleries, visitors of all ages can share memorable moments during their fun-filled visit.

FOLLOWING ARE 16 BARGAINS TO ENJOY NOW

  1. Dinner at Top Restaurants –  Puerto Vallarta is home to over 300 restaurants ranging from internationally renowned establishments to mom-and-pap eateries offering dishes that go back generations. Dinner for two, including a three-course meal and a bottle of fine wine, at top iconic restaurants like La Palapa, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton favorite beach-front eatery, where they brought all their celebrity friends to party, El Arrayan, famous for its exquisite traditional Mexican cuisine, or Barcelona Tapas, with its grand view of the Bay of Banderas and the city’s Downtown area, will cost less than $120 USD.
  2. Artisan Tequilas – Many ranches and haciendas around Puerto Vallarta offer half day and full day activities including horseback riding, hiking, quad bike excursions and a tour of the tequila plantation and distillery; including tasting of top artisan tequilas and the local raicilla, a spirit of pre-Hispanic origin made from the agave root. Top quality tequila and raicilla will set one back around $20 USD www.haciendadonaengracia.com / www.haciendaeldivisadero.com 
  3. VIP Beach Clubs – Enjoy the beach with plenty of pampering and luxury offered by one of Puerto Vallarta’s beach clubs. Mantamar Beach club has day passes for as low as $350 pesos ($20 USD), with $250 pesos (nearly $15 USD) counted as credit towards food and drinks.
  4. Learn Spanish – Puerto Vallarta is a college town, home to international universities and private schools. A two-week Spanish immersion class at one of the many language centers located in Puerto Vallarta, which also offers the opportunity to learn about Mexican culture and traditions, costs as little as $150 USD a week. www.spanishexperiencecenter.com 
  5. Artworks for Collectors – From the many sculptures that line its Malecon (beach boardwalk) to the fine art galleries that house national and international works Puerto Vallarta is known for embracing the arts. Visitors can explore the town’s numerous arts offerings on the guided ArtWalk tour which operates daily from October to May, making stops at 15 local galleries in the historic downtown area. The ArtWalk is free and most galleries; like Galeria Colectika have not adjusted the prices on art pieces; providing visitors a great opportunity to acquire amazing works of art for a steal.
  6. San Sebastian del Oeste – A 90-minute drive east of Puerto Vallarta sends visitors back in time to a 17th century silver mining village nestled in the Sierra Madre Mountains. This sleeping town of 600 inhabitants is a colonial gem, filled with historic sites and great places to eat. Stoll around town at leisure or take guided tour. A round-trip taxi ride from Puerto Vallarta and back costs around USD $90.
  7. Your Own Private Beach – For travelers wishing to explore the natural oasis and warm Pacific Ocean waters in a secluded setting, Puerto Vallarta offers a variety of ways to enjoy their pristine secluded beaches. Take a round-trip water taxi ride out of Los Muertos Beach to secluded coves or isolated beaches like Colomitos, Las Animas, Boca de Tomatlan, Majahuitas, Quimixto, Playa El Caballo and many others. $20 USD per person.
  8. Charter a Private Boat. Spend the day at sea, snorkeling, fishing, swimming, island hopping or just sun bathing on your own private boat.  Prices start at $866 for 8 hours www.pvmikesfishing.com/fishing-boat-rental-rates 
  9. Viva Tequila Tour – Enjoy a Tequila tour and a live performance of traditional colorful Mexican folklore for about $60 USD a person. www.viviatequila.mx 
  10. Boutique Hotels – Puerto Vallarta’s Downtown and Zona Romantica area is one of the most charming and authentic locations along Mexico’s Pacific Coast, teaming with enchanting boutique hotels, each with its own charm, unique personality and history;  offering the warm and friendly personalized service Puerto Vallarta is reputed for. Rates are as low as $40 USD per night. www.visitpuertovallarta.com 
  11. Mex-Ology: Tequila, Tacos and Mexican Cocktails Tour – Enjoy authentic Puerto Vallarta culture and dining on a unique taco tour with Vallarta Food Tours. Also a fun way to see the Downtown area and a great start to a night of festivities.  www.puertovallartafoodtours.com 
  12. Become a Taco Expert – There are a couple of signs visitors must look out for before buying a taco. 1. Is the location popular? If you see a line of locals waiting to eat at the establishment that’s generally a good sign. 2. When buying tacos from a local street vendor make sure the food is served in plates covered with a plastic for hygiene. 3. There should always be at least two people working the stand, one to serve food and the other to handle payments. Try Ceviches el Güero or Tacos el Cunado where a taco costs less than $1 USD.
  13. Brunch at Canopy River – Take a ride to the middle of the Sierra Madre and enjoy a hearty Sunday Brunch amidst the varied and lush tropical flora and fauna of the rainforest surrounding Puerto Vallarta for less than $20 USD per person.  www.canopytourspuertovallarta.com 
  14. Walk the Malecon – The Malecon is Puerto Vallarta’s heart and where everyone, both locals and tourists, gather for morning jogs, open air yoga classes and daytime or sunset strolls. It also has features some of the most delicious traditional street food, from tacos to corn on the cob with mayonnaise and chili, each for less than $1 USD.
  15. Colorful Local Celebrations – Visiting Puerto Vallarta during any of its local festivals or celebrations that take place monthly, presents a culturally rewarding experience and a chance to see the city through the cultural traditions of its people. From the Day of the Dead to the Gourmet Festival, most celebrations have activities that are free of charge. www.visitpuertovallarta.com 
  16. Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board has been working with all its trade partners to offer exclusive discounts when booking is made on their site: www.visitpuertovallarta.com. Visitors can find discounts on activities and stays for as high as 50% off.
Additional information on Puerto Vallarta is available at www.visitpuertovallarta.com

It’s February, so definitely a good time to post the video clip I made about a recent trip to Switzerland and my first real lifetime skiing experience! The ski instructors have a great sense of humour, and definitely a lot of patience! This clip focuses on the town of Pontresina and also takes a look at the stunning Grand Hotel Kronenhof.

NEW YORK, New York – “An affordable Mediterranean playground with a superb climate, sublime beaches, megalithic temples and a distinctive crossroads culture.” This is just one of the ways the New York Times describes Malta.

 

The Mediterranean island of Malta was named #3 on the prestigious New York Times “52 Places to Go in 2016” list in its Sunday Travel Section scheduled to come out January 10, 2016. A European country situated between Sicily and the North African coast, has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Valletta, Malta’s capital, was named the European Capital of Culture 2018.

The article further described the Archipelago, “There are three inhabited islands to explore – Malta, home to buzzing Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage city of stunning limestone buildings; Gozo, more tranquil and with a dramatic coastline filled with great spots for diving; and idyllic, car-free Comino, which has one hotel and few residents.”

Paul Bugeja, CEO, Malta Tourism Authority, stated “We are very pleased that Malta was named number three by such a prestigious newspaper as the New York Times. Since reestablishing a Malta Tourism Authority presence in the US two years ago, we have seen an increase in the number of Americans visiting Malta, however, now with this New York Times Travel Section spotlight, we will lure even more visitors from the US to discover the ‘hidden gem’ of the Mediterranean.”

About Malta

The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere. Valletta built by the proud Knights of St. John is one of the UNESCO sights and the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta’s patrimony in stone ranges from the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire’s most formidable defensive systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military architecture from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.