Costa Rica: A Tropical Paradise
Located in Central America, Costa Rica has long been a tourist destination. It is the adventurers’ dream, with beaches, mountains, rain forests and everything in between. Whether you are looking for a relaxing vacation enjoying the Costa Rican philosophy of “pura vida”, or up for exploring volcanoes, whitewater rafting, or hiking through the jungle to discover a wide variety of flora and fauna, Costa Rica has something for everyone. Here is just a glimpse of what is possible on your vacation to Costa Rica:
La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano. One of the world’s most active volcanoes, Arenal stands at 5,000 feet high. It lay dormant for hundreds of years until 1968 when it sprang back to life. Until about 2010, visitors could see lava flowing down the sides of the mountain. While it has entered another dormant phase, Arenal is still a spectacular site to see, and one of the best viewing points is the Arenal Observatory. At the base of the volcano is the small town of La Fortuna, where you can enjoy hot springs, see the beautiful La Fortuna waterfall, or take a walk through the rainforest at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park.
Tortuguero National Park. In the Costa Rican jungle sits Tortuguero National Park, where you can see a variety of exotic animals including white-faced monkeys, toucans, jaguars, bright lizards, red-eyed frogs and blue morpho butterflies. As its name suggests, you can also see sea turtles nesting from early March to mid-October. Tortuguero is surrounded by winding rivers that take you further into this paradise, so plan to take a boat tour to experience all the area has to offer.
Guanacaste. With its beautiful, white sandy beaches and abundant rainforests, the province of Guanacaste has become a popular vacation spot. Ranching is a part of daily life in Guanacaste – it is not unusual to see cowboys, or sabenaros, riding their horses or participating in a US-style rodeo. And don’t miss a visit to Santa Rosa National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site designed to protect the site of the Battle of Santa Rosa in 1856. It also is one of the last remaining dry tropical forests in the world.
San Jose. Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, is a bustling metropolis. The city is rich in history and culture. The main attractions in San Jose are the museums. Two must-see stops are the National Museum, where you’ll learn about Costa Rica’s history, and the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, where you can gold artifacts created by the indigenous peoples going back to millennia.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. The Monteverde Cloud Forest is unique on several accounts. First, it is situated on the Continental Divide – where the Atlantic and Pacific slopes collide (similar to the one in the Colorado Rockies). There are also four different life zones within the reserve, each with a different ecosystem. Over 100 kinds of mammals, 500 birds, and 120 amphibians and reptiles can be found, not to mention all the insects and over 3,000 plants, including more than 500 species of orchid alone. Tours are available both on the ground and, obviously, up in the clouds.
Ready to plan your trip to Costa Rica? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437.
If you are looking for luxury and an over-the-top vacation experience, then consider Dubai your destination of choice. Located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, and is the most populous city in the country. It has also become one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Here are some of the must-see sites in this opulent city:
Burj Khalifa. As the tallest building in the world, no trip to Dubai would be complete without a visit to Burj Khalifa. Just to give you some perspective, this 828 meter tall building is three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower and twice as tall as the Empire State Building. It also holds the records for the tallest free-standing building in the world, the highest number of stories in the world, the highest occupied floor in the world, the highest outdoor observation deck in the world, the elevator with the longest travel distance in the world, and the tallest service elevator in the world. It truly is a must-see, particularly for the view from the observation deck.
Palm Jumeirah. Another architectural wonder in Dubai is Palm Jumeirah, a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree. It’s home to many luxury resorts and dining opportunities. Located on the island, The Pointe is the retail and entertainment destination in Dubai, with activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Dubai’s Desert. Even in the midst of all the opulence and “moderness” of the city, Dubai’s original tourist attraction was its desert. Located 20 minutes outside the city, there is much to do and explore. Take a desert safari with off-road biking, sand surfing, and camel rides. Or visit the Al Marmoom Bedouin Experience to get a first-hand look at the Bedouin culture.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. If you want to understand the history of Dubai, take a trip to the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood where you’ll discover what Dubai was like in the mid-19th century. This district is a key heritage site, with its traditional towers, winding alley-ways and cultural activities and museums to explore. Don’t miss the Coins Museum which houses rare coins from the British Empire, India and surrounding countries before their independence.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah. If you need some retail therapy, head on over to the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, where you’ll get a taste of an authentic Arabian souk – or marketplace – combined with modern technology. You’ll find traditional shops offering souvenirs, sample the local cuisine and more. As is customary – don’t forget to haggle with the vendors to get the best deal!
There is so much more to do in Dubai – from the largest indoor amusement park at IMG Worlds of Adventure to the Jumeirah Mosque and the graceful silhouette of the Burj Al Arab – your trip will be unforgettable. Luxury Destinations Concierge is here to help you start planning your Dubai vacation today. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437.
If visiting Salzburg, Austria is on your bucket list, start packing your bags because 2020 is the year to make the trek. Not only is Salzburg a beautiful city to visit, this year also marks the 100th anniversary of it’s summer festival.
The Salzburg Festival is, above all, a celebration of music, opera and theater. Started in 1920, it’s become one of the most important festivals for the performing arts worldwide. Each year, about 250,000 people descend on this picturesque city to see and hear performances from top international stars.
For its 100th anniversary the Salzburg Festival will celebrate with 222 performances in 44 days at 15 different venues. Opera highlights include everything from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” to Strauss’s “Electra” and much more. Of course, “Jedermann” will be the focus of attention – the play that started the festival in 1920. In fact, August 22nd is “Jedermann Day” in recognition of the day the piece was first performed 100 years ago. In addition, there are over 90 concert events throughout the summer celebrating another milestone – the 250th birthday of Ludwig von Beethoven.
It is fitting, too, that Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart, so make sure that you carve out time on your trip to visit Mozart’s Residence, Mozart’s Birthplace and Mozartplatz – a peaceful square in the middle of Old Town Salzburg dominated by an ornate Bronze statue of the square’s namesake that was unveiled in the presence of his sons in the 1800s. It’s surrounded by several museums and other attractions that you don’t want to miss.
And don’t forget to see some of the sights made famous by “The Sound of Music”. Schloss Leopoldskron, located a short walk from Old Town Salzburg, was used as a backdrop for much of the movie. Nonnberg Abbey, Mirabell Palace and Garden, Frohnburg and Hellbrunn Palaces and other locations around Salzburg made their way into the movie – and you can visit all of them.
It’s time to hear the sounds of music in Salzburg this year. Let Luxury Destinations Concierge plan a trip that you’ll remember forever. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437.
In medieval times, passion plays – plays depicting the last days of Jesus – were performed across Europe. While it is still performed in various locations throughout the world, the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany is special: It’s been staged every 10 years since 1633 when the village pledged to God that if they survived the plague they would faithfully stage a passion play every decade. This year marks the 42nd production of the passion play.
Oberammergau’s Passion Play is truly community event. To participate in the play itself, the actors must have been born or lived in Oberammergau for at least 20 years, making it a family affair. In fact, nearly half of the 5,400 village residents participate in the play as actors, singers, musicians, or in some way behind-the-scenes. The theater was specifically built to house the play, and seats 4,500 people for each performance. This year, the 103 performances will take place from May 16 to October 4th. Each performance is a day-long affair, with the both acts taking 2.5 hours each, with a 3-hour intermission for dinner.
While the Oberammergau Passion Play may be the highlight of your trip, this small town located in the Bavarian Alps is also a place to explore. It is known for its crafts – especially woodworking. Here, you can visit the Pilatushaus, a crafts center where you can watch glass painters and woodcarvers at work. In addition, you can visit Ettal Abbey, where the Benedictine monks brew beer, spirits and make cheese, or drop in on Linderhof Palace – one of Mad King Ludwig’s residences during his reign, or its sister-castle, Neuschwanstein (Disney’s inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland). And if you love the outdoors, Oberammergau has a wide variety of hiking, cycling and skiing opportunities to satisfy any sports-minded visitor.
You don’t want to miss this once-in-a-decade opportunity to visit Oberammergau. Let Luxury Destinations Concierge plan a trip that you’ll remember forever. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437.
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