Sunday, July 15, 2007

Caribbean Vacation Rentals

If you are thinking about a vacation in the Caribbean there are many islands to choose from, each with their own special qualities, and all of them inviting you for an unforgettable island getaway, especially if you rent a villa or vacation home from an owner.

Caribbean vacation rentals range from luxury beachfront condos in Barbados to cottages in the US Virgin Islands to magnificent villas in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and almost every Caribbean destination.

Many of the villas for rent in the Caribbean are fully staffed, and some offer all inclusive holidays. Renting from an owner will add a personal touch to your vacation that you will never experience in a hotel.

The Caribbean is rich in colonial history and many of the islands still retain the architecture and charm of bygone times. There are plenty of wonderful white sand beaches and beautiful aqua green warm ocean for excellent swimming and water sports. You will also discover excellent restaurants, enticing music and unique shopping.

So make up your mind to have a relaxing, romantic vacation on a Caribbean island and choose Caribbean vacation rentals for your accommodations.

We would love to hear your comments about Caribbean vacation rentals that you could recommend to others.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Good Cheap Eats in St. Maarten

Many thanks to Roberta, aka The Villa Lady for this article about St. Maarten

St. Maarten is a free port with the price of alcohol cheaper than milk or juice. Shopping for food on the island is not a problem. If you are American and wish to stay away from being charged in Euros, make sure you shop on the Dutch side of the island. There are some excellent food markets and wholesale centers. There is a Cost-u-less which is similar to our Costco and Sam’s Club. I even think they get the merchandise from the warehouse stores in the states. The meats and vegetables are usually quite good and fresh. I think the best place to shop is the Grand Marche at the round-about going into Phillipsburg.

Inexpensive restaurants that have good food and are very informal are not hard to find.
When I am on the island, I enjoy my first night at Lal’s which is a small Indian food restaurant just across the street from the old airport building. The old airport building is gone not but I do not think you will miss Lal’s. The chicken and spinach is delicious and the Nan is great. Good drinks at reasonable prices too!

We also like Marty’s Gyro. He has simple good food that is well priced. The gyros are great, the fried fish is great and you can watch the latest ball game while you eat. Marty’s is next to the Dolphin Casino in Simpson Bay. Simple food, simple setting but very enjoyable. Consider taking the gyros home if you want to eat on your own terrace in one of my villas.

Do you like a good pizza? Right in Simpson Bay you will find Pizza Galley. It is across the street from the Royal Palm Hotel. They serve a thin crust pizza. There is a great choice of toppings. Watch out for spicy sausage and pepperoni. Don’t order that if spice bothers you.
We had the best all you can eat ribs just next door to the Pizza Galley at the Lady C. Lovely waitresses and really great ribs. It is also a Floating Bar. Try it. You will not be sorry. The ribs are a do not miss.

Try our recommendations and please leave your comments if you know of other inexpensive recommendations for the island.
Roberta Valins aka the Villalady

Friday, July 6, 2007

Our Maui Travel Guide

It just seems that everyone in the world wants to come to Maui. And why shouldn't they? The weather is fantastic with a year round average of 82 degrees, there are so many wonderful things to see and do, and the people are friendly and helpful.We have been coming to this magical island for over 20 years, so understandably we now consider it our second home and a welcome escape from the cold winters of Canada. As Kama'aina (or locals) we feel qualified to share with you, some of our cherished Maui experiences. The following is Our Maui Travel Guide.

It is a fact that Maui beaches are rated among the best in the world, and water sports are unsurpassed. Kaanapali Beach is our favourite beach, and here you can either walk for miles on the sand, or take a leisurely stroll along a pathway through the many resorts and hotels that are strung along the beach. If you end up at Whaler's Village you may catch an outdoor concert of local performers, eat in one of the great beachfront restaurants, browse through a myriad of shops and boutiques or take in the informative Whaler's Museum, offering free admission.

If you keep going to the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, you will be treated to a free hula show each evening and later you can dance to a great Hawaaian band with the moonlight shining down through the Palms. Rudy Aquino, a native Hawaiian who has played there for years will leave you with a special memory when he plays "Phantom of the Opera" on his Vibra Harp. Also worthy of mention, and somewhere we have taken many of our guests, is a magic show called Kupanaha, also at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. The magicians are top notch, and you really go away with a new respect for magic.

One of our favourite Maui activities is snorkeling with the colourful fish and green sea turtles. If you try this you may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an eel or octopus as you explore your own coral wonderland. Our favourite snorkeling spots on Maui are Airport Beach and Black Rock in Kaanapali, Honalua Bay (a marine reserve) north of Kapalua, and Le Perouse Bay out past Wailuku and the last lava flow on Maui (also a fascination drive through the lava).

If you visit Maui between December and March you will be sure to see the many humpback whales that come from Alaska each year to mate and bear their young. To watch a mother teaching her calf to breach is the thrill of a lifetime. For whale watching we recommend booking with The Pacific Whale Foundation. Their mission is to promote appreciation, understanding and protection of whales, dolphins, coral reefs and our planet's oceans.

One of the most memorable day trips we have done on Maui, was a visit to the Ali’I Kula Lavendar Farm. We had a sumptuous “Lavender tea” and believe it or not everything from the tea, to the scones to the jam, had lavender in it. The best part was sitting outside overlooking breathtaking views of Kula in “up country” Maui. After that we were given a very delightful tour as we strolled through 45 varieties of lavender.

A trip up to Haleakala National Park where you can see the famous dormant volcano, is a must. We even got up a 3:30 in the morning once to experience a spectacular sunrise from the summit. Do take warm clothes, and a picnic as there are many great hiking trails which gives you a chance to see the local flora and fauna first hand.

Another of our favourite Maui pastimes is to take in the free jazz concert at Canoes restaurant in Lahaina during their happy hour every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. These top notch musicians sometimes even invite singers from the audience to take part in their show.

We still never tire of Lahaina town with its historic store fronts and buildings, reminiscent of the era of whaling ships and missionaries. Our favourite haunt for a happy hour is the Lahaina Bar and Grill. From here we overlook the largest Banyan Tree in the world and the bustling street with much local colour and activity. The cruise ships bring thousands of visitors every week to Lahaina Town, in search of fantastic shopping and the experience of a Hawaiian Luau. There is also a wonderful show running in Lahaina called Ulalena, which tells the history of Maui with music and dance.

A visit to The Maui Ocean Centre, the nation’s largest tropical fish aquarium, is a great thing to do on a rare rainy afternoon. It was startling and awesome at the same time, to find ourselves in a glass tunnel with sharks swimming around us. Not far away on the road to Wailuku, you can visit the Maui Tropical Plantation and even stay for lunch in the restaurant which overlooks a beautiful lagoon. If you get to Wailuku it is worth a visit to the Iao Valley and see the Iao Needle, a high mountain peak which used to be a lookout for Hawaiian warriors.

A visit to Maui is not complete without travelling along the road to Hana. It is the journey, even more than the destination, that makes this trip so memorable. It is easily done in a day, however if you plan to go on to the Seven Sacred Pools you many want to consider renting a cottage or vacation home and stay the night in Hana before the jouney home.

We hope you enjoyed reading our Maui Travel Guide but want you to know that we have only shared a small sample of the many things to see and do on Maui. One thing we know for sure, is that even after 20 years we still have a lot more to experience in this magical island of love. That is why there is no doubt that “Maui No Ka Oi”, a saying fondly used by the locals, meaning Maui is the Best, is how we feel.

If you are planning a trip to Maui search for some Maui Vacation Rentals and rent directly from an owner.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Caribbean Vacation for the Summer Vacation

Americans summer has always been the time to go out on holidays and enjoy the beach and the Sun. What could be a better place for that than the Caribbean Islands with their lovely beaches, blue waters and the most pleasant sun? In fact the Caribbean has been such a huge hit with American tourists that today the tourism industry is one of the biggest industries of the place.
There are numerous islands in the Caribbean, but some have been all-time favorites with the tourists. The biggest destinations are the islands of Anguilla, Aruba, Bahamas, Curacao and the British Virgin Islands. A visit to any of these islands will leave you with happy memories, you can hardly ever forget.
Bahamas has always been a very popular destination for the American tourists because of its proximity to the country. Still having a feel of the British colonial days in its buildings and architecture, the Bahamas is also very tropical in spirit. Known for its beautiful beaches pine forests, Bahamas is the perfect place to sit back and relax.
If you are in the Bahamas you should never miss the Rand Nature Center where you get to see the exact recreation of a Lucayan Village, which has everything, from the chieftain's house to the dwelling huts. And if you are a food freak you got to taste the local snacks from a Bahamian straw market.
The Atlantis Resort is located on Paradise Island, near Nassau in the formerly-British Bahamas just a hop from Florida.
The guidebook "Caribbean With Kids" calls the Atlantis on Bahamas "one of the most lavish properties in the entire Caribbean": which is saying something, considering what the region offers.
The Atlantis Bahamas grounds have waterfalls, streams, lagoons filled with sea creatures, underwater viewing areas: with 11 exhibit lagoons and 11 million gallons of water, the resort claims it has the "largest marine habitat in the world".
The world's largest marine habitat, the largest casion in the Bahamas (and the Caribbean), a 15 million dollar marina, lagoons, waterfalls and the underwater ruins of Atlantis itself....Atlantis Bahamas Resort has achieved a distinctive combination of comfort and adventure unlike any other vacation destination.
Atlantis on Bahamas is a deluxe high rise with 2300 rooms and casino situated on the beach. Three towers make up the complex, the Beach, Coral and the newest is Royal Towers.
One of the best family destinations in the Caribbean, Anguilla is famous for its neat beaches many of which are non-commercial. And of course you have the rare opportunity to share the waters with dolphins in Dolphin Fantaseas - one of the biggest attractions of Anguilla. Another place to b e in is Scilly Cay - which provides the perfect setting for barbecue and snorkeling. But the most special thing about Anguilla is her people. They are among the warmest in Caribbean and they go all the way to make you feel comfortable and at home
"One Cool Family" is the program organized by the Aruba government to pull in new tourists as well as bring back those who have already been to this lovely island. Such schemes emphasize how important tourism has become in these places and when the government is coming up with such ideas you can rest assure there would be enough effort to provide you with the finest holiday ever.
Apart from the exotic beaches and the clear blue seas other attractions of Aruba include Boca Prins, the perfect destination for dune sailing and land sailing. Of course there are arrangements for the regular activities like snorkeling and scuba diving.
Just two and half hour from Miami, Curacao is unlike any other Caribbean island. Of course it has got the beaches and the lovely seas, but this dominion of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is also special because of its diverse mix of history and culture. The experience you have at Curacao is, in that sense unique among the Caribbean islands. If yours is a family which is into adventure this can be the perfect destination as you can head for the Hato Caves to witness the amazing dry land sea caves complete with underground pools, cave drawings and fossils which date back to millions of years. But if you are more interested in just lying back and enjoying your vacation you can do that too while enjoying the best of Curacao culture that has a strong influence of the Dutch.
British Virgin Islands
Once a haven for the pirates, the British Virgin Islands is today the perfect place for diving and snorkeling. It also provides you with the very best opportunities to sail. And if you have been a fan of Stevenson's Treasure Island, you can actually see for yourself from where it was inspired - the Norman Island. With calm waters, swimming is also one of the favorite activities among tourists.

Author BioLena Hilltorp is a freelance publisher based in Sweden. She publishes articles and reports and provides Antlantis Bahamas resources on
Article Source: - Free Website Content

We invite you to leave your comments about vacationing in the Caribbean. If you are planning a Caribbean summer vacation and need accommodations try searching Caribbean Vacation Rentals and rent a home directly from an owner as an alternative to staying in a hotel.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

San Miguel de Allende Vacation Rentals

San Miquel de Allende vacation rentals are often located in old Haciendas or colonial homes in the center of one of Mexico's most picturesque and historic towns.
Step out of the front door of your holiday rental and find yourself on the charming cobbled streets of a by-gone era. Shop in the neighborhood for Mexican crafts, clothes and foods, or sample the many excellent restaurants that offer a wide choice of international cuisine.
Best of all - take an evening stroll in the delightful park El Jardin, where Mexican families gather to chat and play, sample the tasty snacks offered by local venders and listen to the musicians who perform nightly under the stars.
Later, when you are weary from a day of sight-seeing, you will only have a short walk back to your enchanting home away from home.
The nearby village of Dolores Hidalgo also offers wonderful vacation rentals and is the place to shop for beautiful talavera pottery. For an affordable and unforgettable vacation in Mexico, experience the magic of renting a hacienda or villa from an owner in or near San Miguel de Allende.

Find some vacation rentals in San Miguel de Allende

We welcome your suggestions of vacation rentals in and around San Miguel de Allende, so please leave a comment if you have any experiences to share with us.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Amsterdam Canal House Self Catering Apartments

Noted for its canals and bridges, Amsterdam, in North Holland, is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, and one of the major tourist destinations in the Netherlands. One of the most unique things about Amsterdam are the many 17th century buildings, or canal houses which line the 4 major canals and offer comfortable accommodations to the weary traveler.

These canal houses, or merchant houses, were usually built as residences for wealthy citizens. Even though these heritage houses have been modernized inside during and since the 18th century, most of them still retain their old charm on the exterior. Today, the visitor to Amsterdam, can experience the city as a local, by staying in one of the many self catering apartments, that are found in these historic homes.

Imagine being able to enjoy sensational views of the canal from your home, and then step out of your door and stroll just a few paces to the famous Jordaan district of Amsterdam with its cafés, restaurants and hundreds of quaint boutiques for you to explore. One such place is called the Bosch apartment. This one is actually an entire canal house with four full floors and an outdoor patio area. The house has two bedrooms and will accommodation four people, which makes it very affordable if shared by two couples or a family.

Another is The Nostalgic Apartment, charmingly reminiscent of days gone by and located on the Runstraat, one of the famous “Nine Little Streets” well known for color and character, brimming with specialty shops, boutiques, cafés and restaurants, all contributing to a lively nightlife.

Located in the Herengracht Canal House, is another holiday apartment called The Van Gogh. This lovely apartment features many unique amenities including a window seat overlooking the canal, a large modern open shower, and a spacious airy living room with two sleep sofas. The best part is that you will be within walking distance to the multitude of museums and galleries, which make Amsterdam a history and art lover’s dream. View masterpieces at the world famous Rifksmuseum, which houses the world’s largest collection of paintings by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt or visit the Van Gogh Museum or the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, or Nemo, a fascinating science museum. Also pay a visit to the Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank and seven other Jews spent two years in hiding, as related in her famous diary.

The Rembrandt, is in a gorgeous, historic canal house built in 1650 in one of the most picturesque locations in Amsterdam.
Formerly the home of the Amsterdam Society for Historic Restoration, it is located on the famous Herengracht Canal. A leisurely stroll will take you to Dam Square and many museums, as well as the well known Jordaan district.
The Rembrandt occupies the top three floors of the canal house and has three bedrooms with charming built-in cabinetry.

So consider choosing a self catering canal apartment during your stay in the historic city of Amsterdam. Advantages are many especially if compared to hotel accommodations. Most canal apartments can accommodate at least 4 people so it gives you the opportunity to share expenses with family and friends. It also allows you to choose to stay home and eat in, after a long, wonderful day of sight seeing. Imagine staying in a historic canal house in your own comfortable home away from home. You will never forget your Amsterdam vacation!

If you have stayed in a canal house in Amsterdam, we would love to hear your experiences so please leave a comment.