Top Ten Spring Destinations

Early birds can just feel spring as it creeps in on the Northern Hemisphere, and where many will wait for the summer holiday, others will take advantage of the lull in the tourism industry and plan a relaxing trip. Prices will be lower and lines will be shorter, too.

Travel Ticker, the popular online travel guide, recently published a list of the top ten spring destinations:

  • China                                                   

    Nassau, Bahamas
  • Ecuador
  • Puerto Rico
  • Barcelona
  • Argentina
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Riviera Maya, Mexico
  • Italy
  • England
  • France

The One-Weekend Trip to Break Any Routine

The dull routine of the work week can potentially cause mild depression, stress or just general lack of motivation. With weekends so short, it’s often difficult to break the mold and come back to the office feeling truly refreshed… Which is why Wendy Wu Tours has created a one-weekend trip to China in support of one of the world’s most endangered species: the giant panda.

Appropriately named ‘Panda Weekend,’ the trip begins in Chengdu, the capital of the region. Visitors can experience the Chengdu Panda Reserve in Sichuan, as well as other popular tourist attractions in the area like the Giant Buddha of Leshan, the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City and many others.

Day one of the tour begins with an overnight flight from London via Abu Dhabi, allowing for a complete work day. Travelers arrive in Chengdu early Friday evening, and spend the night relaxing and enjoying the Chinese cuisine (which is included). Early Saturday morning, the group visits the Grand Buddha; the largest stone-carved statue in the world, via a boat trip. On the way back to the hotel, they visit the old town of Huanglongxien.

On Sunday, the tour is proud to present its group with one of China’s precious national treasures; the giant panda. Known as a symbol of global conservation efforts, the panda is a bear-like herbivorous animal related to the raccoon. At the Chengdu Panda Reserve, the visitors can experience the pandas in surroundings very similar to their natural habitat, but in a more intimate way. The Center offers feeding opportunities, as well as involvement in other work, such as enclosure maintenance, breeding, raising and protecting the pandas. In the summer months, groups are even able to help wash the adorable animals. The tour continues on to the UNESCO Dujiangyan Irrigation Project before returning to the hotel.

On Sunday evening the tour catches a flight back to London, arriving at the airport no later than 7:30 a.m. on Monday, just in time for work.

For those interested in staying for longer than just one weekend, Wendy Wu Tours offers several extension trips, including ‘Dinosaur Discovery’ and the Nine Village Valley.

Mayan ‘Doomsday’ Prophecy Boosts Mexican Tourism

2012 is a famous year, known for the Mayan ‘Doomsday’ prophecy.

The ancient nation was highly educated, and influenced greatly by astronomy. The Mayan calendar starts in 3114 BC, and marks its time in “B’ak’tun”s- periods that last around 394 years. The 13th B’ak’tun, a number sacred to the nation, ends on December 21st, 2012. Some hold that the dreaded date will bear disaster, while others believe it marks the end of an era. Though the first opinion is more popular, archaeologists tend to think the 2012 reference, which is marked on a stone tablet over 1,300 years old, merely marks the end of a cycle, and not the end of the world.

Not surprisingly, tourism in Mayan regions is booming. Curiosity involving the Mayan prophecy and culture in general has brought flocks of visitors to the nation’s ancient cities throughout Southeast Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The Mexican government plans to attract over 52 million tourists to these states alone throughout the upcoming year.

“The world will not end. It is an era,” said Yeanet Zaldo, a spokeswoman for Quintana Roo in the Caribbean. “For us, it is a message of hope.”

Modern Mayan civilizations are preparing for the date in different ways. Tapachula, a city on the Guatemalan border, is installing an 8-feet-tall digital clock to count down the hours until December 21t, while other nearby sites will burn incense and offer prayers before the great event.

The Mayan villages will performs these rites, allowing visitors to “go back in time and try to understand the Mayan wisdom,” Zaldo explained.

Hundreds of Mayan-themed events will be held throughout southern Mexico as well, showcasing the ancient civilization and its culture through workshops, shows, music and dance festivals.

Every Life Needs a Cruise

Life is just too short to not go on a cruise.  There are so many stresses in our day-to-day life, that, if possible, everyone should be able to go on at least one cruise in their lifetime.  Thankfully, there are some great deals for cruises available these days so one doesn’t need to break the bank.  At www.cruises.com you will find unbeatable prices for all sorts of enjoyable cruises especially if you go for one of the last minute bargains available.   There are tons of special deals including: free upgrades; reduced airfares for cruises in Europe; special discounts for military and residents and a whole lot more.

And even if you don’t have all that much time off work or simply can’t get away for a long vacation, why not go on a three-day cruise to somewhere like Nassau?  There you will be simply whisked away to dreamland, where you can enjoy stunning turquoise waters and relaxing beaches that seem to be just what movies are made of.  Take a horse-drawn carriage downtown and get a real feel for the history of the Bahamas. Make sure you are well-rested for the evening so you can fully enjoy the Carnival Imagination which makes for a wonderful romantic evening.

The cruise lines have so much to offer for everyone: kids, families, singles and couples.  The food is outstanding and the feeling of relaxation is unparalleled.   Remember:  even if you only do it once, you must take a cruise during your lifetime.