Category Archives: Travel Blog

Shining A Light On Chef Massimo Bottura

Read about Chef Massimo Bottura’s ventures and find out more about the hosted experience in Emilia-Romagna through the eyes of Massimo Bottura.

Light isn’t just a feature of chef Massimo Bottura’s restaurants, it is an essential element in all his projects, from his avant-garde culinary art through his fight on food waste and his work to uncover the invisible potential of others.

When Massimo Bottura launched his most recent Refettorio (refectory) in Rio de Janeiro, his experience was gruelling.

“When you shine a light, bad people don’t like it. We had a couple of times where they came and put guns to our heads and stole computers and telephones, so we knew we were in the right place, but we were open every night.”

It is typical of Bottura’s personal philosophy to link culture, food and human gesture and it has led to a remarkable style of cuisine: one where intense personal experiences are related to meaningful global movements.

Chef Bottura’s take on the Refettorio concept as a communal dining space that brings people together for group meals and gatherings is perfect, although not always harmonious, blend of these three elements.

Bottura’s team brought light and beauty, music and food to communities, and slowly the negative people and behaviours disappeared.

Through his “Food For Soul” non-profit organisation, Bottura brought many Refettorios to various places around the world, 11 and counting with each as a centre of good food, sharing and culture, always targeting a place in need of rejuvenation and restoration.

Massimo Bottura is a major ingredient of this success. His commitment to the power of culture to transform blighted spaces is like a spotlight – it illuminates the problem and focuses on the solution.

It is a clear-headed understanding of the need to build community at the human level, one individual gesture at a time. That’s why Massimo cooks.

Whether he is at a Massimo Bottura restaurant, working with a team that outnumbers the diners two to one, or at one of his Refettorios, cooking with other volunteer chefs for hundreds of people… He brings the same acute attention to the quality of the food, the experience of dining, and the role of culture in teaching, uniting and sharing.

The idea started in Expo 2015 in Milan, to make a unique kind of gesture about Italy’s greatest export: its hospitality.

The plan was to create a kitchen in which some of the world’s greatest chefs would be invited to cook alongside him for the city’s homeless, using food deemed unsuitable for sale in supermarkets, making a statement about waste, and about taste.

That’s how his first came to be — Refettorio Ambrosiano — based in Greco, one of Milan’s poorest districts, serving food to the homeless, disadvantaged and refugees.

“It hasn’t been easy at the beginning”, Bottura says. “The first Refettorio was unpopular with many local residents. Protesters even marched against the idea.” But slowly Bottura won them over. He began by creating utility and beauty in the form of 14 refectory tables, each created by a leading Italian designer.

At first, his unimpressed customers ate fast and left faster, but the transcendent nature of sharing began to lighten their fears. Within months they were staying longer, laughing more and even commenting on the quality of food being served to them, requesting less soup and more pasta!

This is Bottura’s vision in action – social gestures that create a collective spirit. This is the vision that drives him to play football with refugee teens outside the Refettorio or create recipes for his local cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano.

It causes him to invest in modern art that he hopes will help his diners decode the messages contained in the unique Massimo Bottura recipes, many of which dissect the essential features of famous dishes and reconstruct them in exciting new ways that Bottura describes as “we break things, we rebuild things”.

It might be a dish, a blank space on a wall or an empty building in a ghetto, but regardless, Bottura shines a light on what was, what is, and invites us to join him in what could be – something better than the past, built on the experience of the present.

Find out more about the Hosted Experience with Massimo Bottura by Satopia Travel, which specialises in unique experiences led by world-class hosts.

This virtual event is part of the Dare to Dream series of virtual experiences, free and open to the public events organised by Satopia Travel, with world thought-leaders as they talk about how travel helps to make a difference in the world and they remind us why we all must keep travelling and continue to dream.

4 Beautiful Beach Hotels To Visit In Greece

Many people go to Greece to visit ancient temples and look at historic landmarks. Some people, however, go to Greece to enjoy the sand and surf.

If you are a beach lover and are planning to visit Greece with a partner or with family, you might be looking for hotels close enough to the beach so you can maximize your time by the water.

Want to stay by the beach in Greece and spend more time near the water? Here are 4 beautiful beach hotels in Greece you might be interested in.

Delfinia Hotel, Corfu

Delfinia Hotel is a hotel on Corfu Island that rests amidst the lush wonders of nature just north of the Moraïtika resort’s commercial end.

Its style is an elegant rendition of Meditteranean architecture, with three wings surrounded by an assortment of trees that frame the way down towards the hotel’s private and well-catered end of the beach.

The hotel has 185 rooms including many family-oriented suites. Further encouraging families to come over, the hotel provides a fully dedicated children’s play area, along with fitness facilities, a restaurant and a bar for adults only.

Lindos Blu Hotel, Rhodes

Lindos Blu has an “adults only” policy, making it a great vacation spot for couples who can manage to get away from their children for a little while.

Situated 30 miles from Rhodes Town, this picturesque resort sits on the hills overlooking Vlýha Bay. Its interior is minimally designed, with a monochromatic blue outlay that is calming to the eyes.

All of its 74 rooms and suites come with balcony views of the bay that go as far as Haráki. The hotel has a fully equipped spa and fitness centre and offers regular free yoga classes for its guests.

Adorno Beach Hotel & Suites, Mykonos

Adorno beach is only 1.5 miles from the Old Town of Mykonos, making its namesake hotel an excellent choice of residence for those who want to get as much beach action as possible while in Mykonos and still be close to the many awesome sights and activities in town.

The hotel keeps things traditional, from its architecture to its breakfasts, and each every room is gorgeous, they either have a view of the private pool or one of the sea.

Adorno is welcoming to single guest as well as couples and families, and they encourage intending visitors to make reservations at adornosuites.com.

Skiathos Princess, Skiathos

The Skiathos Princess is among the most impressive beach hotels on the island and is located 5 miles from the Old Town of Skiathos, nestled by the beach of Agia Paraskevi Bay.

Beyond the grand marble lobby, the rest of the hotel gives off a relaxed vibe that gives its guest permission to get comfortable. The hotel has two swimming pools, which are framed by an expansive lawn which in turn leads down to the beach.

Also, a great hotel to take children, there is a kid’s club and play area. Adults are not left out as there is a small gym, and there are two yogalates classes offered daily.

These are only four of the hundreds of beach hotels that beautiful Greece has to offer. If you are planning a trip to Skiathos, Mykonos, Corfu or Rhodes, consider visiting one of the hotels on this list.

Solo Travel Tips: 5 Important Lessons Solo Travel Teaches You

It’s no secret: as humans, we love to travel and explore the world around us. And why wouldn’t we? It’s a big world out there!

To prove it, the numbers really do the talking – for example, in 2017 the total contribution travel and tourism made to the global economy was 8.27 trillion US dollars.

Travel is an exciting and enriching experience, and there are many ways to enjoy it – whether that’s with a whole host of friends, a couple of you, or even going it alone.

Solo travel is becoming increasingly more popular, and there are some valid life lessons it teaches you along the way.

In this solo travel guide, we list 5 important lessons that solo travel teaches you. Learn solo travel tips and get solo travel inspiration for your next trip.

  1. Be adventurous

First and foremost, solo travel really does open those doors and broaden those horizons, making you a lot more adventurous than you ever thought possible. You really do surprise yourself, trust us!

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is one of the best things you can do, and those with a thirst for adventure will thrive on the thrill it gives you to go out there and just embrace all you can.

Skydiving in New Zealand? Sure!

Hiking up a mountain in South America? Sign us up!

  1. Boost your confidence

Travelling alone means you have to be a lot more open to meeting new people and, in turn, this helps to boost your confidence.

Being by yourself, trying new things, and having to speak to new people each and every day really pushes you out of your comfort zone – you’ll be surprised at what you can do when you really put your mind to it!

  1. Independence

Above all, doing anything alone teaches you how to be independent.

For those who have never lived alone, or pretty much relied on others up until this point in their lives, travelling solo provides a big reality check – and a good one at that.

Getting on a plane, bus or boat and not knowing what the next day will bring is one of the most exciting things in the world.

To make this possible, you need to embrace that independent lifestyle. This can also teach you not be too self-obsessed, either, and not to sweat the small stuff too much.

Life’s too short, after all!

  1. New cultures

When travelling the world alone, you’ll be able to do exactly what you want without being held back by others.

When in a group, your options are often limited by what everyone else wants to do. When you’re alone, however, the world is your oyster: it’s entirely up to you what the next day will bring.

This will enable you to soak up those new cultures at your own pace. You can learn the local language, speak to the locals and visit all the historical sites to your heart’s content.

You’ll come back a new person, armed with new knowledge and experience to transform other areas of your life in the future.

Plus, what better way to impress everyone on your return than with all the stories of the new places you’ve visited, and new experiences you’ve had?

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many, so you don’t want to waste it.

  1. Trust your instincts

Yes, it’s clichéd but true! Travelling alone is a huge learning curve and it’ll teach you to trust your instincts.

Staying in hostels alone, taking a night bus with no one else there, or boarding a plane solo; they all mean you have only yourself to rely on.

You’ll often find that your instincts are right the majority of the time, and it is even more important to trust them when you’re by yourself.

Always listen to your gut instinct, but don’t forget that solo travel can teach you to trust other people, too.

If you’re open and approachable (whilst still remaining vigilant, of course) you’ll be sure to make many new friends, and you’ll also find lots of people willing to help you out – not only locals but often other tourists, too.

Travel During Pregnancy: 5 Important Rules For Pregnant Travellers To Remember

Travelling when pregnant can be an interesting learning curve, especially when it’s your first baby. If you’re asking, “Is it safe to travel during pregnancy?” the answer is yes, as long as you take a few precautions and plan for it.

Travel for pregnant ladies can be easy enough and shouldn’t impact your holiday too much, but there are also a few important rules to keep in mind if you travel during pregnancy.

  1. Pre-plan for pregnancy travel

Pre-planning any holiday is a sensible thing to do, but pre-planning for pregnancy travel is absolutely necessary.

Depending on your travel destination, you’ll need to look into vaccinations. Most which use live vaccines or bacteria is not recommended in pregnancy (for obvious reasons), but always make sure to check with your GP prior to booking.

It’s also worth checking for any recent disease outbreaks at your chosen destination before entering those credit card details on the booking site, just in case, and you’ll also need to consider travel and medical insurance options.

  1. Choose a suitable destination

When deciding on a destination, you’ll want to consider things such as, how much will you be moving around and what the day-to-day itinerary entails.

Is it a beach holiday, where you can be glued to the sun lounger from dawn until dusk, or is it a city break, where there’ll be lots of sightseeing and things to do?

Fresh air and gentle exercise are great for wellness in both mind and body during pregnancy, but you don’t want to overdo it, after all.

Most people on a babymoon enjoy a full-on relaxation mode destination. Taking time to just relax for a week or so in the sunshine with a mocktail in hand can be just what you need for some serious R&R prior to the birth.

On the other hand, if city sights are more your thing, that can be just as relaxing for some.

  1. Select the right trimester

Can pregnant women fly? Well, when it comes to trimesters, the third is the only one where it’s not always recommended to fly, mainly after 37 weeks.

If you’re considering air travel during pregnancy, you should know that many airlines will ask for a letter from a medical professional after 28 weeks, confirming you’re not at any risk before flying.

Any time before then is usually considered perfectly safe for flying when pregnant. The only thing you need to focus on is your comfort throughout travelling and the flight itself.

It’s worth pointing out the further on in your pregnancy, the more tired you’re likely to feel; another factor in deciding which trimester to travel within.

If you’re reclining on a Caribbean beach, it’s probably not a problem, but if you’re going to be up and about it might have an impact on your activities.

  1. Food and drink

One of the best things about travelling is being able to sample all the delicious local food and drink, and this shouldn’t have to change during pregnancy. You just need to remember to be cautious when it comes to particular foods.

Firstly, avoid tap water, and opt for bottled water instead. It’s worth avoiding ice, too, depending on the country. Or you can buy and add your own ice if you know it has come from a bottle.

Raw foods are a no-no and don’t risk any foods which could be served undercooked, seafood and sushi for example.

Staying hydrated in the heat is vital during any stage of your pregnancy, so make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.

It’ll also help you from feeling too tired in the heat. And, above all, remember to keep eating fresh, healthy food, and enjoy yourself above everything else!

  1. Stay active

Holidays are for relaxing and taking time out from hectic everyday life, but that’s not to say you can’t stay active with some gentle exercise at the same time. And when abroad, there are so many options for keeping in shape.

Obviously the most popular will be swimming (bonus if you have a beautiful beach at your hotel doorstep).

Alternatively, you can choose from jogging, cycling, prenatal yoga, or simply just wandering around exploring your destination.

Remember it’s also fine to feel tired during the day, especially if you’ve been partaking in some light exercise.

Your partner will completely understand if you need to take time out and just rest for an hour or so before dinner.

6 Fascinating Things To Do In Springfield, Missouri

Sempronius H. Boyd (Pony Boyd) was a lawyer, judge, US congressman, and the US ambassador to Siam in the 19th century.

History remembers this man in two ways. Firstly, he was the judge in the Wild Bill Hickok’s trial for murder in 1865.

Secondly, he was the first man who mentioned Springfield as the ‘Queen City of the Ozarks’ during his speech in honour of celebrating the centennial of the nation in 1876.

Where Is Springfield Missouri And What County Is Springfield, Mo, In?

The city of Springfield is the third-largest city in the state of Missouri in the United States of America, and the county seat of Greene County.

Do you know how significant Springfield, Missouri is? The town was established in 1838, and since 1992, has been considered the official birthplace of the magnificent Mother Road, Route 66.

If you come here at the beginning of August, you can enjoy the festival and car show dedicated to the most famous highway on the planet.

Come to visit the ‘heart’ of the Ozarks Mountains and feel the unique mix of amenities typical for a big city and warm hospitality of charming, small town.

If you’re trying to figure out what to see in Springfield Mo, here’s what you should visit first in this Springfield Mo visitors guide.

Things To Do In Springfield Mo

Want to know what to do in Springfield Mo and which places to see in Springfield Mo? Here’s a list of 6 fascinating Springfield Mo attractions that first-time visitors can’t miss.

  1. The Fantastic Caverns, Springfield Missouri

Do you know that Fantastic Caverns, an otherworldly attraction located 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Springfield, are the only caves in the whole North America which you can entirely ride through?

The caves in Springfield Missouri were made in ancient times when a river carved a path you can travel down nowadays.

Since John Knox discovered this place in 1862, while was walking around with his hunting dog, it has become a favoured destination for numerous explorers and even the music venue in the 50s.

Just take a seat in one of the Jeep-drawn trams and enjoy a spectacular 55-minute tour of the caves.

Admire stalagmites rising from the floor and stalactites hanging from the ceiling at the constant temperature of 60 F (15.5 C). Keep in mind that the cave is closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Thanksgiving Day.

  1. The Pythian Castle

If you’re interested in Springfield Mo history, you must visit the Pythian Castle, a 0.9-acres (0.36 ha) large fortress that is considered the home of Missouri.

Image of Pythian Castle, Springfield, Mo, by Jo Naylor

As the “Ghosts of the Pythian Castle” episode by the Paranormal Task Force in Springfield, Missouri, notes, this monstrous limestone castle has stood tall for the last 100 years.

Knights of Pythias (an international fraternal order) built this place in 1913, having a plan to make an orphanage and retirement home for the members of their families.

In 1942 it was commandeered by the US military and was a prison. Within these walls lie a theatre, a ballroom, a bowling alley, a dungeon and even an interrogation room used for Nazi prisoners and other enemy soldiers during WWII that many are probably unaware of.

It was renamed the “Enlisted Men’s Service Club” and later became a hospital for recovering injured war veterans. It served as a general hospital to help rehabilitate injured America troops during World War II.

This recognizable ominous building takes place on two lists, on the US National Register of Historic Places and an unofficial list of haunted castles.

Nowadays, it is a private property where you can come to catch a feel of ghost-tour, dungeon-tour, creepy murder-mystery-tour, and historical-tour as well.

They also organize private and holiday events, theatre performances, and weddings. Grab the opportunity and enjoy this unique venue no matter if you believe in ghosts or not.

  1. The Springfield Art Museum

The Springfield Art Museum is the oldest cultural institution in this town.

It was founded in 1926 when a few women decided that their beloved town deserves such a place. They wanted to educate new generations and to teach and inspire citizens to appreciate art.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR-ZdReyvmk

Nowadays, this fantastic museum has more than 10,000 pieces of art in its permanent collection from different cultures and periods. They even have a YouTube channel where they showcase the artwork.

In Season 10, Episode 19 of The Simpsons, aired on April 11, 1999, Homer and Marge visit the Springfield Art Museum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtHHYYBlGQ4

Some of my favourites are the Art of American water media, but you can also admire the Art of the Midwest and European pottery, for example. Moreover, this inspiring place often hosts travelling and rotating exhibitions.

When you visit this museum, you’ll even get a bonus in the form of the fascinating Outdoor Dr Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden that is definitely worth exploring.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PrvMPu5gC8

Opened in 2002 as the Dr Seuss National Memorial, this place contains thirty bronze statues you will adore. Come here to spend a memorable day with your kids.

  1. The Battle of Springfield

We learned about the Battle of Springfield, a Civil War battle that took place in downtown Springfield, Mo. in 1863, and now you have the opportunity to visit this place.

It was an extremely rare battle type during the American Civil War when the Union Forces tried to defend the town from the Confederate army by urban, house-to-house fighting.

Come and experience your own history by following twelve markers positioned around the battleground.

In this virtual tour narrated by David Burton, you’ll learn the key portions of this important battle and take a tour of the 12 markers noting significant parts of the Battle of Springfield.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7g3rCmVWvg

You will see spots where the defence’s troops were stationed, the places where were the houses that the southern army burned down, and the right location of gathered supplies.

This clip from Season 13 Episode 19 of The Simpsons, titled “The Sweetest Apu”, shows a Springfield Civil War Reenactment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYbPN2ykp40

  1. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield was the site of the famous battle fought on August 10, 1861. It was the first major American Civil War engagement west of the Mississippi River.

Image of Wilson’s Creek by the National Park Service

During that battle, the Union general Nathaniel Lyon was killed, as the first high officer who lost his life in the Civil War. The video below shows Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, which preserves the site of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.

Nowadays, we can visit this National Park and show respect for our ancestors who lost their lives on this particular battlefield. Don’t miss going to the Ray House, the only original house which remained after the battle.

  1. Mother’s Brewing Company

If you want to taste probably the best craft beers in the US, come to the locally-owned brewery in Springfield. Mother’s Brewing Company has been brewing beer in the heart of the city since 2011.

Just go downtown to South Grant and try my favourite Three Blind Mice as well as some seasonal beers like Spring Batch or Oktoberfest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yoEj5ema34

As a bonus, every Saturday afternoon you can take a tour before tasting and learn more about the process of making beers.

More Springfield, Mo, Tourist Attractions For First Timers

As far as Springfield Mo tourism is concerned, this town provides something for everyone. If you’re a fan of pizzas, come here to celebrate a National Pizza Day with locals.

For those who enjoy hiking and biking, there is a possibility to spend the whole day following one of sixteen trails here.

If you’re a winter sports fan, go at Mediacom Ice Park (Jordan Valley Ice Park) and learn how to skate or cheer on the MSU Hockey Bears during the match days.

Try not to miss taking the time to visit the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and their exhibits with more than 4,000 sports memorabilia.

If you like antiques, as I do, I highly recommend you to visit Relics Antique Mall which offers vintage collectables and antiques on impressive two acres (90 000 ft2 or 8360 m2).

When you get hungry, stop in the old tearoom and enjoy their made cuisine and an excellent cup of coffee or tea.

Where To Stay In Springfield Mo

If you’re looking for cheap Springfield Mo lodging, there’s no dearth of motels in Springfield Mo. And if you want luxury hotels in Springfield Mo, you’ll find plenty of options.

From a Motel 6, to a Holiday Inn, and 5-star hotels in Springfield Mo, like the DoubleTree by Hilton Springfield, you’ll find a number of motels and hotels in Springfield Mo for all budgets on Booking.com.

Useful Tips For International Travelers To Springfield, Mo

If you one of the international travellers from a country under the Visa Waiver Program who decided to visit the US for tourism in Springfield Mo, you don’t need a visa for visitors anymore.

Just fill the ESTA application established by the US government on January 12, 2009, and you will get a right to spend 90 days in this beautiful country no matter of the reason for visiting.

Check for the valid, digital chipped passport and credit card, add the correct contact information, and submit the ESTA form.

Keep in mind that you will be adequately pre-screened and the US authorities reserve the right to require additional specific security features if needed.

After passing all the necessary procedures, you can board a plane or a boat and begin your exciting American adventure.

I hope this Springfield Mo travel guide will help you enjoy your Springfield Missouri sightseeing tour to the fullest during your Springfield Mo vacation.

Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica Review

Dream Las Mareas, located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica was my first experience staying in a luxury chain brand resort.

I have previously stayed in several all-inclusive resorts located throughout the Caribbean; St. Lucia, Jamaica, Punta Cana, and Riviera Maya.

While my husband and I prefer to vacation at tropical all-inclusive resorts, we tend to shy away from the luxury chain brand resorts because we also like to save money on all aspects of travel.

We broke this tradition when I came across a vacation package to Dreams Las Mareas on Groupon.

Travelling to Dreams Las Mareas

One of the only drawbacks to our stay was how far Dreams Las Mareas, Costa Rica, was from the airport.

After travelling for two days from Detroit, MI, the last thing we wanted to do once we landed, was to spend another 2.5 hours getting to the resort.

Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica has an airport shuttle and arranged for the airport transfer to the resort, however, we waited outside the airport with our driver for at least an hour for the rest of our party.

Once they finally arrived, we had an hour and a half drive, over some pretty treacherous roads, until we finally arrived at our destination.

Arrival at the Dreams Las Mareas Hotel

Once we arrived at Dreams Las Mareas, we were greeted with chilled champagne and cold towels. A bellboy took our bags while we checked in at the desk. Once this process was complete, we were able to begin our vacation!

We were shown to our room and were immediately drawn to the balcony. Our balcony had a stunning view of the resort property and the jungle-covered mountains in the distance.

The balcony also had a large jetted tub that we enjoyed in the evenings as adorable little geckos appeared on the exterior walls and ceiling. The rooms themselves were pretty basic, although tasteful.

Resort Setting and Activities

I am not familiar with much of Costa Rica’s terrain, however, if the long treacherous drive from the airport was necessary for us to stay in that magical setting, then it was all worth it.

The Dreams Las Mareas resort is located on a small beach, with jungle-covered mountains on either side. The beach is public, however, it was never crowded.

I actually enjoyed the public nature of the beach because we were able to chat with locals and buy souvenirs and enjoy services for a fraction we would have paid on the resort property.

One afternoon my husband and I enjoyed hour-long full body massages on the beach. Two Costa Rican women (I wish I remembered their names) had massage tables set up on the beach in the shade of trees just a short walk down the sand from the resort area.

I have had many massages in my day, and this was by far one of the best massages I have ever had. The Dreams Las Mareas staff make the most of this magical setting by offering yoga every morning on the beach and offering a guided wildlife tour circling the area around the property.

Each morning I walked to the beach, where the sand was still damp and cool from the night tide. An instructor provided us all with mats and instructed us through hour-long yoga sessions, during which we synchronized our breath to the sounds of the ocean waves.

Some very well cared for and friendly beach dogs sat on the sand and watched us sweetly throughout the yoga class. This was such a magical way to begin each day!

One afternoon I also went on the guided wildlife tour led by Dreams Las Mareas staff. This was a fun way to socialize with other vacationers and learn the names of various tropical plants.

The Food and Buffet

Dreams Las Mareas has a buffet that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

They also have a poolside grill open for lunch, and several sit-down restaurants that are open for dinner, including a steakhouse, seafood restaurant, Mexican, Italian, and hibachi.

I am vegetarian, and they did not have an extensive list of options for vegetarians. The poolside grill was very basic food; burgers and fries mostly. It was just OK.

The sit-down restaurants were all good, although not too memorable. The best food was served at the buffet. I have been to many buffets, and Dreams Las Mareas has the best buffet hands down.

The breakfast spread had so many options, it was unbelievable! Including several types of fresh squeezed juices and champagne for mimosas (my favourite!).

Pools at the Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica 

Resort

The resort property has several pools, all with a different vibe. One pool welcomes children, with lots of playing and splashing. Another pool is adults only and very chill and peaceful.

Another pool has a swim-up bar, which is where the partiers and young adults congregate. We spent most of our time at the swim up bar and had a blast.

My only complaint about the pools is that they charge extra to use the cabanas. As a result, there were at times not enough loungers for everyone, while the cabanas sat empty.

Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica Nightlife

The nightlife and entertainment were a hit or miss as far as activities at Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica are concerned. There was one bar that was open late. It had a pretty relaxed vibe.

There was also a dance club that had a lot of potential. I LOVE dance clubs, especially while on vacation. Each night my husband and I tried to enjoy the club, and each night was the same.

Early on the club started to fill up and the music was inviting, then the music changed, everyone stopped dancing then eventually left the club.

After our second night at the club, we realized that the music was from the exact same playlist! I wish they would have provided good dance music, then that place would have been a ton of fun.

One evening, the resort put on a Cirque du Soleil type show for entertainment. I definitely recommend attending this and getting a good seat.

I thoroughly enjoyed this show, and even screamed out loud at one daring performer’s stunts!

All things considered, we greatly enjoyed our time at Dreams Las Mareas in Costa Rica. We will definitely stay at another Dreams resort one day.

14 Tips For Safe Road Travel With Your Dog

When you adopt a dog, it becomes an essential part of the family.

So naturally, when you’re planning any road trip, you don’t want to leave behind your canine friend. After all, they are the most loyal and greatest human companions.

However, road trips can be exhausting, and when you have a pet to look after, you have to do some extra planning and preparation to ensure you have all the things you need when travelling with your dog.

Taking care of some essential guidelines will ensure that you enjoy a stress-free and relaxing journey. Here are 14 tips for things you need to keep in mind when travelling with your dog by car.

1. Safety comes first

When travelling with your dogs, it’s imperative to create dedicated space in the car for them. Not only will it ensure a safe trip but it will also make your pet more comfortable and easy.

For this purpose, you can use a crate or carrier, a pet car seat or a pet seat belt in the car. Also, the carrier should be large enough so that the Dog can move around freely in it.

2. Go for a test drive

Before you embark on the journey, take your dog on a test drive. See how the pet responds to the trip. If the dog gets car sick or anxious, then you have to plan accordingly.

3. Keep the dog engaged

Even dogs can get bored and exhausted on long road trips. To make the journey comfortable for your dog, bring along something for the dog’s entertainment.

You can carry chew toys and fun treats to keep them engaged and occupied.

4. Feed the pets early

Feed your pets at least three to four hours before departure, as it can prevent any car sickness or other problems for your pet.

Moreover, the meals should be light so that the dog doesn’t feel heavy or nauseous in a moving car.

5. Never leave the pet alone

Leaving a pet alone in a parked vehicle is a huge mistake and neglectful to boot. Vehicles can become super-heated in no time during hot days.

Your pet can develop heat stroke and die. The temperature inside a car on hot days is much higher than the outside so take extra care and never leave your pet in the car.

6. Take regular breaks

Regular breaks are not only essential for your own rest but also for the pet. Short breaks and stops will allow the dog to stretch, relax and play and also become familiar with the surroundings.

7. Don’t let pets stick their heads out

When travelling with your dog in the car, never let the dogs stick their heads out of the windows. It can lead to injuries from flying objects. Plus, high-speed winds can cause harm to their eyes and ears.

There have also been incidents of pets flying out moving cars. Keeping the dog restrained is also crucial for your safety as an unrestrained dog can distract you easily while driving.

8. Make a pet-friendly travel kit

Wondering what to bring when travelling with your dog? Create a pet travel kit and carry all the essential items in it such as:

•    Pet food

•    Leash

•    First aid kit

•    Medicines

•    Food and water bowls

•    Vaccination record

•    Waste bags

•    Dog bed and blankets

9. ID tags and microchips

Consider getting your dog microchipped before going on a road trip. The chip contains all the identification information of the pets in case they go missing.

Similarly, collar tags with the latest and updated information about the dog should be there.

10. Hydration is important

During long trips, your pet can become exhausted and dehydrated quickly therefore always keep a good supply of water at hand.

11. Vaccination Records and Documents

If you are travelling between states, it’s necessary to carry all of your dog’s vaccination records.

 Other than vaccination records, there are some documents that you might need to take to be on the safe side such as pet licenses and proof of ownership.

Some states require a pet’s license, so it’s advisable to carry one.

12. Take your dog for a check-up

Before travelling, it’s essential to take your dog for a checkup with the vet.

The check-up is necessary to ensure that the vaccinations are up-to-date, the dog is generally in a good health condition, the prescriptions are new, and the dog is free of any flea or tick infections.

13. Plan for any emergency

While travelling, there’s always a chance for emergencies. Keep yourself well-informed about the route and the area you are travelling to.

Be aware of the closest vet clinics and keep their contact numbers in your phone.

14. Use Apps

There are some useful apps that assist you while you travel with a dog. BringFido is an app that lets you find dog-friendly accommodations, parks, and other destinations.

Another cool app is the Dog Park Finder which searches for nearby pet-friendly parks based on your location.

Proper planning is vital whenever you are travelling somewhere, and it becomes all the more important when you have a pet accompanying you.

So, never be complacent when travelling with your dog for the first time and enjoy safely travel with your dog. 

6 Of The Best Places To Visit In And Around Rishikesh

Rishikesh is an enchanting place surrounded on all sides by low hills and forests. This ancient centre of pilgrimage attracts travellers from all over the world.

You’ll find spiritualists, backpackers, solo travellers, yogis and more when you pay a visit to this land situated in the Himalayan foothills. Rishikesh isn’t just a place; it’s an emotion, a feeling that stays with you even when you have left it behind.

From its bustling bazaars to narrows streets to the alluring banks of the River Ganga, this Himalayan travel destination will leave you satisfied, enthralled and most importantly, happy once you set foot on it.

The popularity of Rishikesh has increased by leaps and bounds over the years among travellers, thanks to its reputation as ‘The Yoga Capital of the World’ as well as plenty of places to see and visit from here.

What Are The Best Places To Visit In Rishikesh And Nearby?

Here’s a list of 6 places to visit in Uttarakhand near Rishikesh, where you can explore the best parts of this spiritual travel destination.

  1. Haridwar

Located only at a distance of around 20 km from Rishikesh is Haridwar which is among the 7 most sacred pilgrimage places for Hindus across the world.

The word Haridwar actually comes from two Sanskrit words – Hara meaning ‘Lord Shiva’ and Dwara meaning ‘Gateway’ which combines to form, ‘Haridwar’ or ‘Gateway to Lord Shiva’.

Situated along the banks of the Ganges, Haridwar also holds a reputation as a place where one can attain ‘Moksha’ or ‘Salvation’. Being a holy city, the place is like a refuge for sadhus (holy men) and is full of temples and ashrams.

The amazing sights and sounds of this place are unique to it and so bask in its glory when you’re there. Also, don’t forget to witness the spectacular Ganga Aarti during the evening time and visit the famous, Saptarishi Ashram.

  1. The Beatles Ashram

Almost everyone now knows that The Beatles visited Rishikesh in the year 1968 and stayed at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram.

But, if you’ve read about their stay in the ashram and what they gained after their visit then, it must have intrigued you to pay at least one visit to this place. This shouldn’t be about going there since the Beatles visited but, about something else.

The Beatles said that their stay at the ashram was a truly life-changing journey where they connected with their inner selves and found exactly what they wanted despite having everything.

Though the place has changed over the last few decades its essence still remains and that’s the reason you need to go there.

  1. Neer Garh Waterfalls

Though many people talk about a visit to Laxman Jhula while in Rishikesh, they fail to understand that eventually, you end up going there even if you’re not planning it.

However, a more adventurous and exciting place is just located at a distance of 5 km from Laxman Jhula known as Neer Garh Waterfalls.

A short trek will take you to the waterfalls. There are basically two tiers and you can even take a dip in the pools where the water accumulates.

It is refreshing, rejuvenating and most importantly, far away from the hustle and bustle of the main city, which gives you a perfect opportunity to be at one with nature.

  1. Shivpuri

In between Patisira and Rishikesh lies Shivpuri,  an adventure travel destination famous for all sorts of adventure activities like camping, trekking, rappelling, kayaking and white water rafting.

This place is also famous as Lord Shiva’s abode and has a number of temples with interesting history and architecture.

Shivpuri is only 16 km from Rishikesh and the best part is that all the camping activities are carried out beside the Ganges which makes it even more fascinating.

The enthralling atmosphere of the place, with mountains on all sides and the river flowing by, creates a mystical aura that every adventurous soul can cherish.

  1. Parmarth Niketan Ashram

For seekers of spirituality, wellness and complete rejuvenation of the body and the mind, Parmarth Niketan is often the preferred choice.

The ashram was founded in the year 1942 by Swami Shukhdevanand Ji Maharaj and it happens to be the biggest in Rishikesh with more than 1000 rooms.

From yoga and meditation to Reiki to Ayurveda treatments, the ashram promotes various practices related to overall wellness.

The picturesque setting of the ashram offers you the perfect gateway to relax and unwind your tired body and soul. You can also participate in various forms of traditional yoga like Hatha Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Vinyasa Yoga.

Sit under the divine tree ‘Kalpavriksha’ and meditate to connect with your inner-self or treat yourself to an invigorating Ayurvedic therapy or massage – the choices are plenty.

  1. Triveni Ghat

Situated along the banks of the flowing Ganges is the Triveni Ghat. During daytime, the place is mostly filled with pilgrims or sadhus taking a dip in the holy river.

However, during the evening, the scenario is completely different. The resplendent Ganga Aarti is a sight to behold in an atmosphere that is filled with divine chanting of sacred mantras (recitations of Holy Scriptures).

This is also an opportune time for shutterbugs to capture this beautiful moment and make memories that will last forever.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of good places to visit in Rishikesh and around. If you found this article useful, do leave a comment below.

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IMG Worlds Of Adventure, Dubai: The World’s Largest Indoor Theme Park

Dubai is a home to the world’s tallest buildings, biggest man-made islands, and largest shopping malls.

But there’s another addition to this list of superlatives – IMG Worlds of Adventure – the world’s largest indoor theme park. It took around three years and over 1 billion dollars to construct this park.

The park is huge and it measures about 1.5 million square feet in size. It can accommodate over 20,000 guests in one day and includes many roller coaster rides and special attractions to fascinate visitors.

It is located in the City of Arabia, alongside Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road, and sports a slogan that says, ‘Live the epic adventure.’ It was opened in 2016 and since then it has offered great experiences for visitors all year round.

Theme park rules:

Every visitor to the IMG Worlds of Adventure Dubai needs to follow certain rules. These include:

  • Once tickets are pre-booked, there are no refunds
  • You must show a valid ticket to enter the park
  • All kids below 12 years should be accompanied by an adult
  • A valid proof is required for re-entry into the park on the same day
  • Tickets with no date mentioned are invalid
  • Every visitor needs to go through a security check. Some of the items not allowed are weapons, illegal drugs, glass bottles, explosives, alcoholic beverages, skateboards and more.

Click here for a complete list of rules

Adventure Zones 

There are plenty of adventure zones in the amusement park. The four major ones include:

  1. Marvel

If you’re a fan of Marvel superheroes such as The Hulk, The Avengers, Spider-Man, you’ll love this zone. This is the action-packed area of the park with some amazing rides.

They include Avengers Battle of Ultron, Hulk Epsilon Base 3D, Thor Thunder Spin, and Avengers Flight of the Quinjets. There are dining options and restaurants here too.

  1. Lost Valley

This is a fantasy world dedicated to the dinosaurs. There are magnificent rides and special attractions for the people who wish to explore the Lost World.

Some of the rides include Forbidden Territory, The Velociraptor, Dino Carousel, Predator, and Adventure Fortress. Here also, you’ll find some restaurants.

  1. Cartoon Network

If your kid is a Cartoon Network fan, they’ll love this zone. Some excellent rides include Ben 10 5D Hero Time, The Amazing Ride of Gumball, Lazy Town and more. There are also shopping sites, hangouts, and eating joints here.

  1. IMG Boulevard

This is a combination of thrill and leisure. The attractions include a haunted hotel, popcorn factory, flavours of Arabia, samosa house, and the coffee house.

Movies at IMG Worlds of Adventure 

NOVO Cinemas is a 12-screen multiplex in the IMG Worlds of Adventure amusement park located at just a distance of 15 minutes from the Dubai central.

This movie zone offers a 7-star experience to visitors with 3D IMAX technology. If you’re a serious movie buff, you’ll probably never want to leave.

It has state-of-the-art-technology to give audiences a real-life experience and includes some dining and shopping too. Overall, it is an amazing experience to watch movies here.

Dining at the world’s largest indoor theme park

Besides the adventures at this park, there is no dearth of dining options. Every zone of the park has restaurants with different themes and offering unique cuisines.

Some of the places you can enjoy food include:

  • Hotdog Express: Obviously for hot dog lovers.
  • Captain Scoop: For ice-cream lovers, yo.
  • Downtown Shawarma: Love shawarma like Iron Man. Get yours here.
  • Smoothy: The yummiest burgers!
  • The Candy Palace: Get your sweet tooth on.
  • Spice Valley: For tandoor and roasted meat lovers.
  • 360 Burgers: More burgers and hotdogs

Retail Therapy

I challenge you to not pick up some memorabilia from this fun place on your way out. You’ll be spoiled for choice with all the merchandise available.

A few places for some retail therapy are:

  • Empire News and Comics: Comic book lovers can buy comics and souvenirs here.
  • Avengers Exchange: Get all the toys you like from The Avengers Warehouse
  • Cartoon network classics: Small toys of your favourite cartoon characters

There are many more shopping zones like the ones mentioned above.

Why You Should Visit IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai

If you’re in Dubai, you cannot miss this extraordinary theme park. It could end up being a fun outing for your family where you can spend quality time and create some great memories. After all, it’s not called the world’s largest theme park for nothing.

How To Travel To Dubai?

There are a lot of flights available at Cleartrip that connect to Dubai from different countries. All you need to do is choose the best airline for your trip to Dubai.

Dubai offers a lavish experience to visitors so don’t pass up the opportunity to spend a vacation here. Try to book your flight ticket in advance to get the lowest price.

Images provided by Cleartrip