Tried and True Niagara Falls

What’s not to like about tried and true Niagara Falls? Those of us who live in Southern Ontario and Western New York largely take it for granted. Living in Toronto, Niagara Falls is just a short drive down the highway. 90 minutes if the traffic is good; 2 hours or more if its not so good. From Buffalo, Niagara Falls is 30 minutes give or take. Over the years, I’ve probably been to Niagara Falls 25 or 30 times, maybe more. It’s intoxicating.

Niagara Falls USA

Before COVID-19 and 9/11, a quick trip across the border was a semi-regular event. Lunch, dinner, shopping, etc. Buffalo was normally the final destination but it’s always a treat to cross the border at Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls U.S.A. has the American Falls, the Seneca Casino, outlet shopping, hotels & motels. They also have some authentic American food restaurants like Villella’s Italian Restaurant (795 Rainbow Blvd), Buzzy’s (7617 NiagaraFalls Blvd.) and Sammy’s Pizzeria (1400 Hyde Park Blvd).

Niagara Falls Canada

Niagara Falls Canada gives you the full view of both the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls (the Canadian Falls), 2 casinos, not so great shopping and many more hotel & motels. The better side for falls views and other activities. There are 27 wineries within 20 minutes and several championship golf courses. There always been this “vaudeville” feel to Niagara Falls with the walks, jumps and plunges that have taken place for almost 200 hundred years. In 2012, Nik Wallenda walked across a tightrope from the U.S. to Canadian side and an unidentified man became just the 3rd person to survive an unprotected trip over the falls.

Beyond looking at the Falls, there are a couple of great interactive Falls experiences. “Journey Behind the Falls” takes you down a 150 ft. elevator into a tunnel to 2 observation decks and portal behind the falls. The rushing water and roar of the falls is something else. The other more well known option is the “Maid of the Mist” boat tour. The boat takes you passed the base of the American Falls and into the basin of the Horseshoe Falls. A short walk from the Falls, Clifton Hill and area gives you amusement rides, takeout food and a lot of neon. The glory days of “the honeymoon capital of the world” are long gone but you can still find a motel with a heart shaped Jacuzzi tub.

Summary – Niagara Falls

At the end of the day, it all comes back to the wonder of the Falls. I never get tired of seeing Niagara Falls. It’s the unofficial 8th wonder of the world. It’s well worth the visit any time of year. And almost in my backyard.

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The top 10 tropical islands in the world

emerald colored sea and a view of the beach

What is a better depiction of paradise than a tropical island? Long stretches of white sandy beaches, the sun reflecting off the surface of the crystal blue sea, the soothing sound of the waves collapsing onto the shore and the smell of salty water combined with the coconut scented body lotions. Can it possibly get any better than that? Tropical islands are dream destinations for many honeymooners, adventure seekers and world travelers hooked on the intoxicating thrill of visiting new places. If you are looking for some inspiration for your next holiday, you may be interested in the following destinations.

1. Ko Lipe

Thailand used to be a go-to place for those looking for seclusion. However, exploiting this mesmerizing destination for the film industry has attracted a deluge of humanity eager to experience this place’s wonders. Still, deserted beaches on nearby islands are reachable by longboats. On the way there, you might even spot a shark. The waters are full of life, so snorkeling here could be an experience of a lifetime. What makes this island interesting is that there are few roads, no cars and you can cover it on foot within an hour.

A boat on the calm water at sunset
Explore the islands near Ko Lipe by boat

2. The Maldives

This collection of no less than 1000 islands is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Barely above the sea level, it is terribly affected by the climate changes, so hurry up before it’s too late. Although these tropical islands are expensive, it is possible to travel on budget with meticulous planning. The best time to visit is from November to May to avoid the monsoon season. Here, you can indulge in various activities. Diving and snorkeling first come to mind, but whale and dolphin watching is an absolute must.

3. Seychelles

Situated off the east coast of Africa, this group of 115 islands is a paradise for avid lovers of secluded beaches, sun and diving. Since it’s quite expensive, this holiday destination attracts the more upscale crowd. However, it is not a commonly mentioned fact that Seychelles used to be a pirate hideout. So, if you are feeling lucky, venture on a quest to find the legendary hidden treasure.

4. Bali

Surfing, hiking, fantastic food, vibrant nightlife, breathtaking beaches and the friendliest locals – is there anything this place doesn’t have? You can go white water rafting, volcano climbing, scuba diving, or simply sunbathing on either black or white beaches. Yes, Bali has it all. Due to the volcanoes, there are black beaches as well. There are also temples to visit for a more culturally oriented holiday. And that’s not all! Gili island is nearby, so you can easily see them both.

5. Tahiti

The Queen of the Pacific is the ultimate honeymoon destination and the veritable paradise. This is where those stunning photos of luxurious bungalows in the water are taken. In fact, this is the birth home of these gorgeous structures. It is also pretty pricy, so if it is affluence you seek, this is the place to go. But it’s not just romance and luxury you’ll find here. You can enjoy watersports, go on various boat tours or visit historical sites.

A couple holding hands on the beach at sunset
Tahiti is the ultimate tropical island for honeymooners

6. Fiji

Out of over 320 islands, more than two-thirds are uninhabited. With such a selection, it is virtually impossible not to find the place you will like. The waters are teeming with life, so snorkeling is spectacular. You can go diving, sailing, whale watching. Similarly to Bali, this is also an option for those into more active vacations. Therefore, it is more popular with the younger population.

7. Bermuda

Bermuda is the shipwreck capital of the world. Yes, you’ve read well. This heaven for banks and tax-avoiding businesses was first inhabited after a shipwreck in the 17th century. But despite this less than glamorous fun fact, it is extortionately expensive, so should you decide to visit it, you’ll need a sizeable budget. This island is the home of magical pink-sand beaches, warm emerald waters and enchanting landscape. Due to the reefs that ring the island, Bermuda is among the world’s unrivaled diving destinations.

8. Curacao

The moment you arrive in the town, you will notice the recognizable Dutch style. This island country is located in the Caribbean sea, home of many more idyllic locations. It has stable weather throughout the year, which is something its owner, The Netherlands, can’t brag about. If you are looking for a lot of sunshine and picturesque beaches, this is the place for you. If it’s fun and parties you want, Curacao is one of the go-to tropical islands. And it is no wonder, given that it is famous for an orange-flavored liqueur by the same name.

Palm tree and sun lounges on a tropical beach
Enjoy the picturesque beaches of Curacao

9. The Galapagos Islands

Much like the Maldives, the Galapagos is drastically affected by climate change. It’s one of the lushest places in the world with incredible wildlife. This is the home of the endemic Galapagos penguin, and probably the only place where you can see penguins in the wild. The fact that 97% of the islands is a national park, definitely says something. Unfortunately, because the ecosystem is fragile, if you want to enjoy the unspoiled nature and serenity it offers, hurry up.

10. The Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are another lush destination, rich with life. The South Pacific group of islands is less visited by tourists and has few amenities, making it a perfect choice if you wish to escape the hectic modern life. It doesn’t get more remote than this. The deep jungle, coral reefs and pristine beaches add to a more rugged tropical landscape than the other destinations.

Few things can make you feel more rejuvenated than treating yourself with a vacation to one of the tropical islands. If you have an adventurous spirit, you may want to consider making one of these places your home. Just imagine waking up to the sound of the waves, salty smell tingling your nostrils while the tropical breeze gently caresses your skin. Moving to such a place is a dream come true and a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with nature and enjoy life to the fullest.

Time for a Trip to LA? Here’s Your Guide

Planning your Trip to Los Angeles

If you’ve been to the typical vacation spots – Florida, Caribbean, Mexico, etc., it’s time to change it up and add a “new” destination to the mix. Los Angeles, California will give you a bit of everything you can want or need in a vacation – sights, beach, activities, food and more!

Plan your Trip to LA

A trip to LA gives you the chance to explore neighboring cities in southern California. Long Beach, Anaheim, Malibu, Santa Monica are all nearby and each have things to do. As a major city known for entertainment, LA always has a raft of upcoming events- special events, game, concert or festival. The chance to see a great show or band may help you settle on your travel dates.

LAX (Los Angeles Airport) is a very busy airport with lots of airline and flight choices so booking your flight is easy. While you could try getting around the LA area on public transit (subway, light rail or bus), taxi or Uber, it’s a lot easier to rent a car. Traffic in the LA area can be challenging and very busy so allowing extra travel time for traffic is a necessity.

With hundreds of Los Angeles area hotels, there’s no shortage of places to stay. Think of your hotel as your “home base” because your LA and area vacation will have you taking day trips in and around LA. For example, Disneyland is in Anaheim (southeast from LA); the Queen Mary ship is in Long Beach (south from LA). Santa Barbara is northwest from LA; Newport Beach is southeast from LA.

Where to Stay in LA

While you can, of course, stay anywhere you want in LA, there are some distinct areas to consider: Hollywood/Beverly Hills (movie history, studios, walk of fame, high-end shopping); Santa Monica/Malibu (beach, pier, dining, outdoors); Downtown LA (events, dining, nightlife) and Venice Beach (people-watching, boardwalk, boutique shops) among others. It’s a pretty good idea to figure out what you want to do and see (including distance, traffic and total time to get there) before you book your hotel.  Take a good look at the images, descriptions and reviews of Los Angeles hotels. There are hundreds of hotels to choose from based on our budget and preferences.

Photo by MarkTravel via Trover.com

Cool Things to see and do in LA

Los Angeles City Tour – To maximize your trip to LA, this is the way to go in one day. You’ll get the full LA experience including Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Walk of Fame and more.

Hollywood Experience Tour – Your top choice, the immersive Hollywood experience, is right here. You’ll see the Hollywood sign, landmarks, celebrity homes and cruise Hollywood Boulevard. Last up, Paramount Studios, a busy and unique working studio. The odds are you will see familiar actors on the lot, and you will definitely see movie sets and props.

Photo by MarkTravel via Trover.com

The Getty Center – The building itself is an architectural masterpiece containing some of the finest art in the world. Visitors rave, and many recommend a tour. A private tour will get you past the lines and provide expert insight into this spectacular collection.

La Brea Tar Pits Tour by Segway– The Tar Pits contain hot bubbling tar and have been in existence for 40,000 years. The neighboring Page Museum contains tar pits artifacts and one of the world’s largest collections of Ice Age fossils. It’s hard to believe that this is in Los Angeles. This is a really different and unique experience!

Sunset Strip Walking Tour – It’s 1.5 miles of quintessential LA on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. This stretch contains the Roxy Theatre, Whisky a Go Go, and the Comedy Store, plus shops, bars, and restaurants. This is the time to walk in LA and find out about the history of LA and the Sunset Strip!

With all there is to see and experience in Los Angeles, make your trip to LA a memorable one! Enjoy the California sunshine and plan your trip to see all that Los Angeles and area has to offer!