Top 7 Destinations for Mountain Trekking

Mountain trekking offers the chance to see a country from a wider point of view, not to mention engage in a unique and breathtaking experience. There’s a boundless spectrum of mountain trekking opportunities across the world, each including adventurous trails, stunning scenery and the ultimate retreat into isolation. Whether you’re donning your hiking boots for the first time, or you’re a seasoned pro, pick your mountain, and get ready for a truly exhilarating holiday.

Mountain Trekking
Image by mckaysavage

Mt Everest, Nepal

Ever heard the saying ‘this is my Everest’? Climbing the world’s highest mountain has become synonymous with difficult tasks, so this is truly one for experienced climbers. If you intend on making the full trek to the top it will take years to get fully prepared, but for a less difficult yet still challenging climb, you could try Everest’s Base Camp.

Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

With examples of virtually every ecosystem on earth (including glaciers, deserts, savannah and tropical jungle), trekking Mt Kilimanjaro is an unforgettable experience. The best time to go is from January to March1 and the trek can only be made with an organised tour.

The Andes, Columbia

After years of civil unrest, Colombia has begun to grow in popularity among world travellers. For many this popularity is due to the country’s picturesque beauty, but for trekkers, Colombia appeals because of its dazzling mountain ranges, monumental peaks and challenging climbs.

Mt Whitney, California

The tallest mountain in California, Mt Whitney is a relatively easy climb for amateur trekkers and can be completed in 5 hours on a fast hike2. Obtain a permit and walk the John Muir Trail which will take you from the northern end of Yosemite Valley up to the summit of Mt Whitney, passing through deep valleys, meadows and an abundance of wildlife.

Mt McKinley, Alaska

A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, Alaska has much to offer for hikers and trekkers. Mt McKinley is the highest peak in North America and there are several opportunities for off-trail trekking. Make sure you take the time to stop and admire the magnificent wildlife, including brown bears and moose.

Mont Blanc, the Alps

For spectacular alpine trekking, Mont Blanc boasts one of the world’s most celebrated hiking circuits. Although not a technically difficult climb, trails can take up to 9 hours, are mostly uphill and are often on rough, steep trails and glaciers3. If you’re up to the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with some spectacular views.

The Routeburn Track, New Zealand

From magnificent peaks, to glistening lakes and beautiful waterfalls, the Routeburn Track is one of the most popular and accessible trials in the forests and mountains of New Zealand. A guided walk will take 3 days and 2 nights and is of moderate difficulty4, so you’ll require a reasonable level of fitness.

Top 5 Attractions in Costa Rica

There are plenty of beautiful holiday destinations scattered across the globe, yet Costa Rica manages to stand out as exceptionally stunning. Home to some of the earth’s most pristine natural landscapes, the Central American country is covered with beaches, volcanoes and rainforests unspoilt by human influence.

As a hotspot for ecotourism, Costa Rica holidays are perfect for those seeking an eco-friendly adventure. During your stay, don’t miss these top 5 attractions:

1. Arenal Volcano National Park

While the words Costa Rica may mean ‘rich coast’, heading away from the sea and inland to the Arenal Volcano National Park will not disappoint. Within the park you’ll encounter one of the world’s most active volcanoes, thought to be dormant until it famously and unexpectedly erupted in 1968. Hiking through the scenic national park is popular among both eco-tourists and adventure seekers.

Arenal Sunset
Arenal Volcano National Parkmerlune / Art Photos / CC BY-NC

2. Cocos Island

The only island in the tropical Pacific to contain a tropical rainforest, Cocos is one of the most ecologically unique places on the planet. The UNESCO World Heritage site is known worldwide as a top scuba diving spot, filled with plenty of tropical, aquatic wildlife. Cocos Island is also rich in folklore, filled with pirates and buried treasure.

Bahamas - Coco Cay
Cocos IslandPascal-P / Beach Photos / CC BY-NC

3. Montezuma

Despite its growing popularity, Montezuma remains one of Costa Rica’s most charming beach towns. As Lonely Planet puts it, Montezuma is “immediately endearing” and offers an idyllic mix of tourist activities and local flare. The town has a distinct hippie subculture, making it the perfect place to enjoy a yoga practice on the beach or veggie-friendly meal at a local cafe.

Montezuma, costa Rica
Montezuma, costa Ricabettina n / Beach Photos / CC BY-NC-SA

4. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Situated within Costa Rica’s Cordillera de Tilarán mountain range, this enchanting collection of virgin forests is known for its high biodiversity. The reserve is home to more than 400 species of bird (including 30 species of hummingbird), over 100 species of mammals and more than 1,200 species of reptiles and amphibians. One of the best ways to experience the cloud forest is with a canopy tour where zip lines and hanging bridges give you a bird’s eye view of the natural wildlife below.

Santa Elena Reserve
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserveggallice / Foter / CC BY

5. Tamarindo

This Northern Pacific town and district of Costa Rica is most famous for its party and surf scene. The area is home to a number of beautiful beaches, most notably Langosta and Tamarindo. It’s also just a 30-minute drive from the indigenous community of Guaitil, known for its clay pottery (makes a great souvenir).

Way's end / Fin de trayecto
Tamarindo. SantiMB . / Beach Photos / CC BY-NC-ND

A nation gifted with raw beauty, it’s no wonder that the top 5 Costa Rica attractions are all situated outside its bustling cities. Though a visit to San Jose and Limón can make for a nice urban adventure, Costa Rica’s natural landscapes are what truly stand out. It’s also easier to get to than ever with a number of operators now offering cheap flights to Costa Rica.

Holly Davies is a freelance writer who specialises in the independent travel around the Americas.

Four Romantic Destinations for the Summer

Romantic Destinations
Romantic Destinations

When thinking of summer vacations, you imagine families playing upon the beach and warm climates. But, it is not only families who enjoy getting away – couples need a holiday to appreciate all life offers, as well.  Where should you go if you’re searching to enjoy a romantic holiday with your loved one? Here are 4 top romantic getaways:

1) Tahiti is a very romantic destination. It’s oftentimes been known as the more gorgeous island within the world. Within the Pacific Ocean, you’ll really get a lot of opportunity to appreciate a romantic vacation upon this island. There’s a huge selection of themed activities and restaurants made particularly for couples, so you’ll have the ability to take part within events as well as just relax upon the beach.

2) Known for its year-round blue skies and sunshine, the Florida Keys area involving its surrounding barrier islands have always been a favorite place for summertime vacationers. Key West provides white sandy beaches that surround its scenic perimeters, and will be famous for its outside activities involving golf, water sports, diving and fishing.

Following watching the unequaled sunset, appreciate the several night life events involving live entertainment by this city’s street artists and musicians. Treat your palate to island specialties and dine at a gourmet restaurant or sidewalk cafe, then have a nightcap at a pub or open-air bar. Lodging within Key West will be as diverse as this island itself, from high end resorts to conventional conch houses to cozy bed and breakfast inns.

3) If you’d like to experience a romantic city, then Paris will absolutely be the destination for you. Well known as a city of Romance, Paris isn’t a tropical location, yet it’s well worth thinking about if you wish to experience a special romantic getaway. Paris will definitely be more appropriate for couples wanting to experience a bit of culture instead of a hot, sandy beach.

4) Located alongside the Pacific Ocean halfway in between San Francisco and Los Angeles, California’s Central Coast stretches many miles from Monterey to Santa Barbara. The area is renowned for its rock-lined coastal attractions, artisan villages, romantic beaches, and elegant wine tours.

Vacationers could select from historic, quaint bed and breakfast inns to ocean-side, scenic cottages. During those gorgeous, sunlight filled days, discover film festivals, farmers markets, bird watching, horse-back riding, biking, hiking, golfing, water-skiing and surfing. If you’re searching for crystal blue skies, dining, shopping, unforgettable experiences, endless activities, and a marina that’s complimented with a breathtaking beach, go to Santa Barbara, located upon the southern tip of the Central Coast.

Situated close to the Northern end of Monterey Bay, seventy-four miles south of San Francisco, is the town of Santa Cruz. A huge category of attractions are there, from Santa Cruz’s Redwood forests and boardwalk, to culture and arts events, and spectacular restaurants. An enchanting combination of natural beauty and history await, assuring your summertime vacation to California will be an enjoyable and memorable one.

There are numerous choices available to couples as it comes to going on romantic trips. The primary thing is that you’ll be spending some quality time with the one you love.

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Why You Can Visit Norway All Year Round

Norway is a country full of beautiful scenery, a rich and diverse history and interesting people. It changes dramatically from season to season, making it a perfect place to visit at any time of the year.

The Winter

In winter the landscape is blanketed with snow. From snow-covered mountains to icy waters, the air is cold and fresh and crisp. In the north of Norway, you can discover the Arctic Circle and, if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights. Depending on how north you go and at what time of year, the sun may linger on the edge of the horizon or even disappear for weeks at a time. This casts incredible shadows, but even this is nothing compared to the Northern Lights. The Lights offer a tantalisingly magical show that can’t be rivalled anywhere else on earth.

February
Norway winter@rild / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

The Spring

When spring arrives, the Norwegian landscape is transformed from cold and alienating to warm and inviting. The snow melts away and the sunlight rejuvenates the landscape into a colourful, lively place. This is a time for celebration for Norwegian communities as greenery spreads across the land and life is breathed back into it.

The Summer  

Summer in Norway is beautiful as the plants, animals and people all enjoy the sunlight and warmth that it brings. Go into the Arctic Circle, however, and discover the Land of the Midnight Sun. Here, the sun never sets, and while plants and animals enjoy the boost of energy that they get from constant sunlight, you might have to force yourself to go to bed!

Fjords Of Norway
Norway summerEspen Faugstad / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The Autumn

As summer winds down, autumn sets in and the greenery of spring and summer slowly fades in to gorgeous oranges, golds and reds. The birds migrate south, and the arctic light begins to shorten and the snow creeps down the mountains. If you’re lucky, the Northern Lights might appear for you. The autumn season is the perfect time to discover the myths, legends and traditions of the Norwegian people.

Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten are a cruise ship company that offer cruises all year round, so you can explore Norway in any season that you choose. Pick the right time and you could experience three seasons in one cruise. Offering cruises specifically for seeking out the Northern Lights or basking in the Midnight Sun, Hurtigruten are the only cruise company that you should pick to discover Norway.

Mauritius 101 – Fast Facts for First Timer

For the first-timer, Mauritius holidays can seem about as exotic as travelling to the moon. As such, there are inevitably thousands of questions to be asked in order to clear concerns and generally come to terms with the basics – of which the following represents a select few of the most frequently asked and pressing examples:

In a nutshell?

Mauritius is a thriving multicultural island which is blessed with some of the most stunning natural beauty on Earth, along with friendly locals, unique culture and practically wall-to-wall sunshine all year-round. The cuisine and hospitality customs of the island are the culmination of French, African, Chinese and Indian influences and are therefore unlike any others to be found the world over. Every year, millions of tourists arrive at the island’s various resorts for a taste of heaven on Earth.

Mauritius Holiday for First Timers
Mauritius Holiday for First TimersThis file was uploaded with Commonist. / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Where is it?

Mauritius can be found in the Indian Ocean just to the east of Madagascar, off the South African coast.

How Big is it?

Not very big at all – the whole island measures in at little more than 2,000 square kilometres, making it about double the size of Hong Kong or the same size as Luxembourg.

What’s the capital of Mauritius?

The capital city through which most tourists arrive and depart is Port Louis.

How many people live there?

At last count, in the region of 1.3 million people are lucky enough to live in Mauritius.

What language is spoken?

The first language of the island’s residents is Creole – accounting for at least 80% of the entire population. There are however many other international languages spoken such as French and English – particularly in popular tourist areas.

What is the island’s religion?

The most prominent religion in Mauritius is Hinduism, which is followed by approximately 48% of the total resident population. Among the other practiced religions are Muslim which accounts for 17%, Christian at 8.6% and Roman Catholic in second-place at 23.6%.

What’s the weather like?

One of the most enviable traits of any holiday to Mauritius, the island is blessed with temperatures that barely change from around the 30 degree Celsius mark throughout the entire year. The months between November and May represent the rainy season and bring the highest temperatures, while the rest of the year is drier and slightly cooler.

When’s the best time to visit?

There really isn’t a wrong time to go to Mauritius, but for those looking to a do a little exploration inland as opposed to just spending time on the beaches, the dry season is more highly recommended.

How can I travel to Mauritius?

Most visitors arrive through the catchy-titled Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, which is serves by dozens of major airlines form all over the world. There is also a major cruise terminal at Port Louis that welcomes thousands of cruise liners every year.

And getting around?

Mauritius is a place where car hire comes very highly recommended – driving is an absolute joy on the island. The best advice is to always book in advance to avoid being overcharged. There is however also an excellent bus system that’s as cheap as it gets, while taxis and bike-hire line pretty much every street so you’ll never be stranded.

Holiday in Mauritius
Holiday in MauritiusMohammed Alnaser / Foter.com / CC BY

By Sandeep Patel

Sandeep Patel is a former travel consultant with a specialization in Mauritius holidays who recently took a career break to focus on raising a family. However, she and the kids still take regular holidays in Mauritius, after which Sandeep is committed to sharing her musings and advice by way of various high-profile travel blogs.

6 hidden locations to visit in the U.S.A

When it comes to choosing a vacation spot, it is sometimes necessary to shun the obvious urban cities and resorts. Searching for hidden holiday gems amongst the mountains, hills, bayous, bays and islands can yield delightful results.

Waipio, Hawaii
Waipio, HawaiiPunchup / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Here’s our list of hidden locations in the USA that provide a perfect escape. Remember that if you are travelling to the USA from certain countries, including the UK, you may need to apply for an Esta Visa Waiver. You can find out more about Esta Visas at www.estafasttrack.org.uk

  1. Waipio, Hawaii.

Hidden away near the northern tip of Big Island, this forgotten paradise was once home to Hawaiian royalty. Waipio Valley, also known as the Valley of Kings, is surrounded by soaring cliffs on all sides. Once an important centre for religious and political life on the Island, it is now home to less than 100 residents.

You can get a view of the valley from the Waipio Valley Outlook or you can make your way to the valley floor to enjoy the black sandy beach and the Hi’ilawe Falls. This little corner of Hawaii is a perfect place for a quiet visit.

  1. Bath, North Carolina.

Steeped in rich history, this sleepy village has remained largely unchanged since its colonial origins. Dating back to 1706, Bath is North Carolina’s oldest town. You will enjoy the peaceful air, colonial architecture and historic feel of this town. Grab a bite to eat on one of the restaurants and listen to fascinating tales of pirates who roamed this land or simply sit back and watch sailboats bobbing silently on the creek.

Attractions in this small town include boating, fishing, the historic Palmer-Marsh House and the Banner House.

  1. Mackinac Island, Michigan.

This diminutive Island, edged by Lakes Michigan and Huron, offers a wonderful getaway location where you can relieve the simple pleasures of life. The Island has a no-car policy so you can only get around on foot or horseback, on a bike or by means of a horse-drawn carriage.

Here you can hike through wooded trails, enjoy breathtaking coastal views or go on a carriage tour of the town. This small Island is sure to charm you into making a repeat visit.

  1. Morgan City, Louisiana.

Spend your vacation in this corner of Cajun Country famed for the Mardi Gras Festival, gumbo, jazz and rumours of voodoo. Morgan City is located in the middle of the Atchafalaya River delta and plays host to the annual Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival on Labor Day weekend. This leads to three days filled with music and deep fried foods.

Give yourself time to unwind by strolling through the scenic downtown area, enjoy the sunset from the Allen Truss Bridge or just laze around in Lawrence Park and let the southern charm of this town soothe you.

  1. Solomon’s Island, Maryland.

This quiet waterfront fishing village sits at the tip of one of Chesapeake Bay’s peninsulas. Life here flows at a slow and relaxing pace with the locals fishing or sailing all year round. Whether you choose to stroll on the river walk, explore the lighthouse at Calvert Marine Museum or charter a boat for the day, a visit to this small village is bound to leave you refreshed.

  1. Guffey, Colorado.

Situated west of Pike Peak, this small, friendly mountain town is the right location for a lost weekend. Accommodation comes in the form of restored rustic cabins that date back to the 1800s. Alternatively, you can choose to camp out under the stars or make use of the available RV parking.

Take in the cool Colorado mountain air while strolling round the town. The buildings are a mix of the Wild West era and architecture from the 60’s. Once you have had your fill, you can easily drive to any of Colorado’s numerous attractions.

Destinations that are located away from popular tourist circuits are perfect if you are searching for a quiet spot free of crowds. They are the ideal locations to get some much needed rest and relaxation.

Top 3 European Winter Travel Destinations

There used to be a time when taking a holiday abroad in wintertime was something that only the  very rich would do – naturally, to go skiing. Nowadays snow sports are a lot cheaper to practice and there are many more winter holiday hotel options out there to ensure that everyone can travel and enjoy their holidays in the winter. The problem now is deciding where to go. We will not be covering destinations where it’s hot in winter – the so called “winter sun” destinations. Instead, we’re focusing exclusively on cold, snowy winter destinations where you can make the most of the cold season.

1. Sweden

Our first impulse was to talk about the whole of Scandinavia, but Sweden really seems to be head and shoulders above all other Scandinavian countries. It’s not that its resorts are better or that the snow is magically more skiable in Sweden, it’s because of its diversity. Sweden is a large country, which means that its southern end is down south enough to have a somewhat mild temperature – which can get pretty hot in Summer, by the way – and it’s northern regions are so close to the North Pole that you can witness the Aurora Borealis. In contrast, Denmark never gets as cold and Finland cannot offer much in terms of beaches, for example. In fact, Denmark cannot even offer much in the way of mountains, since it’s a very flat country. There’s also the advantage that Sweden is a relatively cheap country to stay in, especially compared to other northern European places, so it seems to be a perfect winter destination.

Sweden
Image by maarten49 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/30149154@N08/)

2. The Alps

The reason why the Alps made number 2 on the list is that they are becoming a bit too crowded. We complained when they were too exclusive, of course, but now we keep on complaining. And this is mostly because the parts of the Alps belonging to Italy and France are really letting their quality go down in favor of mass tourism, which we’re sure gives them a lot more money, but it makes us less inclined to want to visit since even when it comes to winter sports holidays ,we still like to feel in peace and to be able to relax.

The Alps
Image by by atsubor (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22152932@N08/)

3. The Pyrenees

The Pyrenees have always been left to play second fiddle to the Alps, but the truth is there is nothing that you can do in the Alps that you can’t do in the Pyrenees. A natural border between France and Spain, it’s a region that seems to unite the two peoples more than it separates them. It’s a matter of pride for locals of both countries to have this range of mountains literally in their backyard and it shows in the way that they keep it. And that means that what was once a great alternative to the Alps now takes precedent to them in the hearts of many people, and not just locals. The close proximity to Portugal and England definitely helps increase the flow of tourists to the area, and that has helped it expand greatly.

The Pyrenees
Image by by jntns (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jntn/)

Holly Adams writes for Coupon Croc, where you can get Thomson discounts for your next holidays.

Top 5 City Breaks In The World

If you are looking for a change of scene, but sitting by the sea just isn’t your style, then the time has come to start looking at city breaks.

Prague
Image by ??ø???_B?????

Cities across the globe offer an exciting overseas experience, where travellers can experience the distilled essence of their destination country. If the idea of exploring urban area appeals then why not try one of these exciting overseas city breaks for your next getaway?

Paris

The city of light, as it is popularly known, has long been a favourite for those looking for a short break or urban getaway. With its reputations for romance and rich cultural history, Paris remains a top destination for city breaks. Stroll the city’s signature tree-lined boulevards or indulge in a little top notch retail therapy along in famous shopping streets. Other suggestions of things to do include:

  • A trip up the Eiffel Tower – see Paris from a whole new perspective and examine this architectural icon up close.
  • A ride on the Bateaux Mouches – cruise the Seine and see the sights in style. Also available with dinner options.
  • Catch a show at the Moulin Rouge – the amazing cabaret venue still hosts nightly dinner shows and is the best spectacle in town.

Prague

Since the fall of the iron curtain Eastern Europe has opened up to tourism, with the Czech capital of Prague at the vanguard of areas efforts. Heart-warming hospitality, economic accommodation and amazing architecture combine to frame a fantastic city getaway. Things to see include:

  • Charles Bridge – A landmark of the city, with its towers and statues, easily accessed from the old town.
  • Jewish Ghetto – the original ghetto echoes with the memories of the past and creates a poignant impression on all who pass through.

Hong Kong

With its juxtaposition of East and West, Hong Kong is a real cultural melting pot and an exciting city destination. With great shopping and stunning sights, a visit to Hong Kong is a once in a lifetime experience. Suggested activities include:

  • Cable car trip up Victoria Peak – take the steep trolley ride to the top of these geographical feature for stunning cityscapes.
  • Junk Trip on Hong Kong harbour – cruise in traditional Chinese style soaking up the oriental atmosphere.

Barcelona

A relatively recent addition to the list of must-see cities – Barcelona can hold its own in the Urban break stakes. Stroll Las Ramblas for a feel Spanish feel and soak up the unique European ambience. Other attractions worth a visit are:

  • Sagrada Familia – this Gaudi-designed architectural wonder of a basilica is an icon of the cityscape and must be seen to be believed.
  • Magic Fountain of Montjuic – combining music, light, movement and water – the magic fountain has captured the hearts of generations of visitors on Barcelona breaks.

New York

The Big Apple, as it is known, remains popular for those seeking a city-based holiday. The epitome of American cool, New York represents the ultimate in urban adventures. Suggested stops are:

  • The Empire State Building – Architectural icon and city signature, this remains a favourite site for city residents and incomer alike.
  • Central Park – Tour on foot, bike, horse or even by carriage and enjoy this amazing green space in the heart of Manhattan.

Visit South Africa’s stunning Victoria Falls

South Africa’s an amazing destination for a holiday, thanks to its combination of the scenic Winelands, spectacular national parks and vibrant cities. Personally, I think Victoria Falls should definitely be high on your to-visit list; read on to find out more.

Key facts about Victoria Falls

Before I get carried away with the finer details, let’s take a look at some of the basics – like where the falls are and other key facts. You’ll find Victoria Falls in the town of Livingstone in the west of Zambia, just across from Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls Zambezi
Victoria Falls Zambezi, South AfricaZest-pk / Foter.com / CC BY

They’re created by the Zambezi River which, by the time it tumbles down this series of basalt gorges, is an impressive 2 km wide – a size that really does have to be seen to be believed. In fact, it’s the sheer magnitude of this natural wonder, teamed with its natural beauty, that has made it such a famous and important site; indeed, it’s the largest sheet of falling water in the world.

The roar of the falls is incredibly impressive – not surprising considering around 546 cubic metres of water cascades every minute. Named after the reigning monarch of England at the time of its discovery by David Livingstone, Victoria Falls is often referred to locally by another name: Mosi-oa-Tunya. Translated, this means ‘the smoke that thunders’ – a wonderfully atmospheric name, don’t you think? And, considering the spray from the falls can be seen from a huge 20 km away, it’s also pretty apt.

Where can I stay?

Given that the falls are in the town of Livingstone, it makes sense to stay there for a day or two to make the most of your trip. Fortunately, Livingstone is home to plenty of gems of its own, including national parks perfect for safari trips and fascinating museums.

As an added bonus, there are some seriously luxurious places to stay in Livingstone, which I think means you can look forward to this leg of your trip being a truly memorable one. Among the top resort options to consider is The Royal Livingstone and the Protea Hotel Livingstone, both of which you book through companies like Wanderforth.

What can I do while I’m there?

While seeing the falls will no doubt be the highlight of your trip, you’re bound to be curious as to what else you can do in Livingstone. Here are a few of things that most appeal to me:

• Going on a cruise on the Zambezi River. To strike a romantic note, pick an evening trip.
• Visiting the Victoria Falls Field Museum. This is a great place to go if you fancy finding out more about the history of the falls, as it tells the story of how they were formed.
• Exploring Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. You can opt to explore this reserve – which at 66 sq km is fairly small – either in your own car (if you’ve hired one) or as part of a group tour. Giraffes, antelopes, zebra and elephants are among the animals you might be lucky enough to see.
• Taking a dip in the Devil’s Pool. To do this, you need to visit between September and December, when the river’s flow should be at its lowest. You see, this ‘pool’ is perched right on the edge of the falls, which means this is the only time of year you can use it without being tumbling down the gorge with the water! So, as you can probably tell, splashing around here is likely to be something you’ll never forget.

Why La Jolla is California’s Hidden Gem

Known as the Jewel of Southern California, La Jolla is a hidden gem that locals would prefer to keep to themselves. But, with so many great reasons to visit, La Jolla is quickly becoming a must-see vacation spot. With affordable flights to La Jolla from most Western U.S. cities, there’s no reason not to go.

La Jolla California
La Jolla California

A Walkable Village Area

While most of California centers around car culture, La Jolla is a town where people enjoy walking. Mere steps from the Pacific Ocean, La Jolla village is door-to-door designer boutiques and impressive dining. Girard Avenue and Prospect Street is where you will find the greatest variety of shops, ranging from top designers to popular affordable brands. Stop for a snack or meal at one of the several award-winning restaurants and cafes interspersed throughout the village.

Stay in the heart of this bustling village at the Grande Colonial Hotel. Well suited to the affluent vibe of the village, this hotel features stylish colonial furnishings, fine dining at NINE-TEN restaurant, and attentive concierge service.

Extraordinary Wildlife Sightings

It’s not often that you’re able to get up close and personal with wildlife, like you can in La Jolla. The 6,000 acre La Jolla Ecological Reserve draws divers and snorkelers from all over. Through the crystal clear water, you’re guaranteed to see fish of every imaginable color, lobster, seals, and leopard sharks. Enjoy the scenery without fear; the water in the reserve is just 15 to 30 feet deep.

The La Jolla Children’s Pool, originally designed as a protected and shallow swimming area for kids, is often visited by harbor seals. At any time of year, you can see dozens of seals basking in the sun on the warm sand.

Sunbathing Galore

The La Jolla beaches put the sparkle in this hidden gem. The wide stretches of sand mean never fighting for beach chair space, while the reliable, yet calm, waves make surfing a dream. There are several area beaches to choose from, but La Jolla Shores is best for families and sunbathers.

If you don’t feel like flaunting your bikini at the shore, pull-up a plush lounger at one of the many resort-style hotels with pool areas. La Valencia Hotel offers the best of both worlds. Get bronzed at the stunning outdoor pool or stroll to the beach in 5 minutes.

World-Class Golf

Play where the professionals golf at Torrey Pines. Offering two courses that hug the bluff and feature breathtaking views of the ocean, you’ll have a hard time keeping your eye on your ball. Despite hosting the PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open, both courses are open to the public.

Stay at the golf course at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. This hotel offers surprisingly luxurious amenities, despite its affordable room rates.

Share this post with others who want to travel! Also, send any additional tips about finding the best deals for La Jolla hotels in the comments below.