Category Archives: Tropical Islands

Break Out of the Mold and Explore Puerto Rico!

Do you enjoy going on beach vacations but tired of the same mundane destinations where the main attraction is the solely the beach and water?  If you’re looking for a destination that has beautiful beaches but also a world of much more opportunity to explore, than Puerto Rico should be at the top of your list.

Photo: Gran Canaria Co via flickr.com

Puerto Rico is a beautiful island in the Caribbean and a popular spot among tourists.  Many attractions and activities are at your fingertips.  Unlike other tourist destinations, the attractions in Puerto Rico for the most part are all worthwhile and are all unique.

One of the more popular areas to visit is a city called San Juan, which happens to be the island’s capital.  A few of the top attractions in San Juan and the surrounding area include Old San Juan, the Bacardi Rum Distillery, El Yunque Rainforest and the Castillo de San Felipe de Morro.  Each attraction has its’ own island flavor and none involve a beach.

For those more on the adventurous side, the rainforest of El Yunque will satisfy this hunger.  Set off on one of the many challenging trails that await your best efforts.  As with any rainforest, many beautiful waterfalls cover the lush forest and vegetation.  Be sure to give yourself a full day to experience El Yunque and don’t leave without making it to the top.  It is at this point where the most breathtaking views of the rainforest and coast take your breath away.

Puerto Rico is also home to some of the world’s most desirable beaches.  One of the most popular ones among tourists and couples on their honeymoon is Liquillo Beach.  Beautiful white sand and turquoise colored water are perfect ingredients to a relaxing day in the Caribbean.  Sip on a tropical drink, grab a good book and become a beach bum for the day!

Another benefit to Puerto Rico is the abundance of popular brand name hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton and the Westin.  For those that have saved up hotel points, now would be a very worthwhile time to redeem them.  If nothing else, it is very reassuring to know these companies have invested in the country which represents safety and security.  This is something that not all Caribbean Islands have.

For those on their honeymoon, check out Discover Your Honeymoon to learn more about the opportunities that await you in Puerto Rico.  Hands down, this Caribbean island has the most to offer.  Discovering all of them is half the battle!

Azores Islands

Clearly of volcanic origin, the Azores Islands formation is still the subject of hot debate among geologists. Were the islands once part of the African continent, or did they arise from submarine fissures through which the earth’s molten core spewed out boiling magma? The latter theory is dominant, though some botanists and others dispute it, as we shall see below. Anyway, it all happened some 30-40 million years ago.

The islands’ volcanic nature is still very evident today. Periodic eruptions occur from the remaining active volcanoes, most recently in Angra, but usually with advance warning and few casualties. The cones and craters of volcanoes provide a characteristic feature of Azores landscape, with lava rivers spilling their petrified streams down to the sea, and subterranean heat most dramatically felt in the Fire Mountains of Pico and now being utilized as geothermal power. But if this conjures up a picture of aridity and bleakness, nothing could be further from the truth.

Azores Photo: impletora via flickr.com

The total area of the archipelago is 2,923 square miles, the largest island being Sao Miguel and the smallest Corvo. Generally speaking, which is tricky when you’re dealing with nine such different islands, the five westernmost islands are mountainous and green, while Flores and Corvo in the east have lesser peaks and share more in common with North Africa. The highest mountain in the Azores, indeed in all of Portugal, is Mount Pico in Pico Island, the summit often snow-covered in winter. The islands all tend to have steep coastal cliffs in the north, the south coast’s generally being more level, most of the best beaches are in the southern parts. The volcanic origins are everywhere to be seen. In the profusion of cones, in the calderas or craters, great saucers with mountainous walls, such as Terceira’s Las Caliadas and Santa Maria’s Caldera de Bandama, in the malpaises, literally ‘badlands’, where grey or reddish lava streams have solidified such as the 125 sq metre volcanic desert around Flore’s Montanas del Fuego.

Giving Romantic Vacations as Gifts

When it comes to presents and special occasions, a variety of gift ideas come to mind time and again… flowers, chocolates, money, gift cards, electronics, and of course, jewelry. For a very special occasion, though, sometimes an even more exciting gift idea could be the perfect fit for the special couple. Giving romantic vacations as gifts instead of just giving money or standard presents can make all the difference in the couple’s experience. Even if you can’t afford a full trip, weekend getaways for couples also make very nice gift ideas for special occasions.

Romantic Getaway Photo:Comfort Inn Monterey CA via flickr.com

If you are interested in giving a gift of a romantic vacation rather than a typical wedding or anniversary gift, you should consider these important tips:

Occasions to Give a Romantic Vacation Gift
Certain milestones in life call for more significant recognition and celebration than others. Weddings, anniversaries, milestone birthdays, and pregnancies comprise many of these important life events and occasions. If you are interested in giving your loved one a special gift of a romantic vacation, here are some suggestions on the most appropriate occasions:

1.    Wedding gift – Surprise your son or daughter and their spouse with a special trip for two sometime after the honeymoon. Or, surprise your husband or wife with a romantic vacation for the two of you to enjoy sometime after your wedding.

2.    25th or 50th Anniversary gift – Show your parents or in-laws how much you care with a special customized vacation just for them on their silver or golden anniversary.

3.    30th, 40th, 50th, or 60th Birthday gift – Let’s face it – some birthdays deserve better presents than others. Chip in with your friends for a best friend’s birthday or surprise your child or parent with an amazing birthday present they’ll never forget.

4.    Baby Moon – Treat your wife to one last hurrah before your little baby arrives. Go somewhere tropical and wonderful like Hawaii or the Caribbean! If you can’t afford a long and exotic trip, a few romantic weekend escapes should do the trick.

5.    Retirement – Retirement is an excellent excuse to get out and travel the world! Get your gift special recipient started on the path to relaxation, world travel, and excitement.

These are just a few examples of milestone occasions that might be appropriate to receive a romantic vacation as a gift. Depending on a person’s schooling, career, and lifestyle, other occasions may be fitting as well. Remember, a gift of experience – like a romantic vacation – lasts a lifetime in the person’s memory. Celebrate those special occasions in style!