Media: Articles

Macedonia – the next Balkan destination

The next Balkan destination.

First came Croatia, then Montenegro — even Albania is gaining traction on the westernshar-mountain-serbia Balkan travel circuit. Macedonia is next. Known for its moody monasteries and sparkling Lake Ohrid, this former Yugoslav republic is making a play for adventure foodies, too. It makes sense.
Places like the Shar Mountains abound in Alp-like hiking while Macedonia’s wine industry — once responsible for the bulk of Yugoslavia’s supply — is enjoying a rebound with local producers. Scores of smaller hotels serving traditional soups and pastries like pastrmajlija, a meat pie, have opened to replace cold socialist haunts. Old establishments like the Hotel Montana Palace
in cheese-friendly Krusevo offer newly renovated settings at low Balkan prices. And Macedonia is one of the few places without a McDonald’s — they all closed in 2013.


Article written by Tim Neville

Explore Bolivia

Finally stable and opening up to the world.

Bolivia’s days of relentless transportation strikes and roadblocks are mostly behind it. And travelers who try out the now tourism-friendly infrastructure will be rewarded with new attractions once they arrive. Claus Meyer’s two-year-old fine-dining restaurant, Gustu,and the Melting Pot Foundation are helping set a new culinary tone around the country by starting Suma Phayata, an official street food tour in La Paz, and renewing interest in high-altitude wine routes in the Tarija region.Titicaca lake, Bolivia, Isla del Sol landscape Adventure excursions also abound, from luxe tent camp trips led by the Chilean operator Explora across the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flats, to community tourism projects on coffee farms in the Yungas region, where a new road to Caranavi, expected to open this year will cut the travel time drastically from La Paz.

Article written by Nicholas Gill

Hotels with stunning views

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland


Located right at the edge of wilderness, along the road to the Arctic Sea and just a mere stone’s throw to the Urho Kekkonen National Park is the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in ImageGenFinland. From the inside of their unique glass igloos, guests will enjoy breathtaking views of the Northern Lights and starry skies.






Jade Mountain, St. Lucia

Rising majestically above the 600 acre beach front resort of Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain Resort on St. Lucia’s south-western Caribbean coastline is a cornucopia of organic architecture celebrating St. Lucia’s stunning scenic beauty.


Guests can expect grand sweeping spaces where bedroom, living area and an extravagant private infinity pool glide into one another to form remarkable platforms floating out into nature. With the fourth wall entirely absent, Jade Mountain’s sanctuaries are stage-like settings from which to embrace the full glory of St. Lucia’s Pitons World Heritage Site, and of course, the eternal Caribbean Sea.




Shangri-La Hotel, Paris

As you arrive at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris, its elegant façade brings to mind its legacy as the former home of Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte. eiffel-duplex-terraceAttentive staff and a pleasantly discreet check-in ensure that you receive the royal treatment right from the start.Commanding views of the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine hold you transfixed. The old-world elegance of the room, lovingly adorned with the fine work of craftsmen, is mirrored in the city that lies just below.






Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

Atlantis is a majestic 5 star Dubai hotel situated on the Palm, a man-made island that has captured the world’s imagination with its magnificent scale and ingenuity. Unreservedly spacious, each room and suite is designed to immerse Atlantis guests in absolute comfort and unparalleled luxury complete with spectacular views. atlantis the palmFor the perfect romantic hideaway, guests will relish in breathtaking views of the ancient ruins of the mythical lost city of Atlantis in the Underwater Suites.





Alila VIllas Uluwatu, Bali

005359-02-villa-private-pool-lounge-areaAlila means “Surprise” in Sanskrit, which suitably describes the refreshing character of their properties and the reaction of their guests upon arrival and throughout their stays. Poised on an elevated plateau that meets with limestone cliffs sweeping down to the ocean, the view from the Alila Villas Uluwatu is nothing less than picture-perfect.




Plan your getaway to one of these unique destinations here

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

A new airport and dive center await.

The largest development project ever undertaken in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the new $240 million Argyle International Airport will open this year, offering nonstop jet service from North America and Europe to the 32-island nation dotting the Lesser Antilles between St. Lucia and Grenada. Photo-credit-to-St-Vincent-and-the-Grenadines-Tourist-Board-Travelers customarily come to scuba dive or snorkel the island chain’s reefs, and the private island resort of Petit St. Vincent just added a new dive center run by the marine conservationist Jean-Michel Cousteau, with plans to petition for a marine preserve nearby.

Palm Island Resort manages to preserve the peace for which travelers come and serve social needs with a new weekly Silent Cinema night on the beach (guests watch a movie projected on a big screen while listening via wireless headphones) and a Silent Disco dance party held monthly on the shore.


Original article written by Elaine Glusac for The NY Times

The Urban transformation of Medellin, Colombia

Urban renewal with innovative architecture and design.

Medellín’s been receiving a lot of attention lately for its remarkable urban renewal efforts. Many of the once legendary slums have been transformed through some astonishing architectural gems, like the Biblioteca España, a hyper-modern public library and community space in the low-income Santo Domingo neighborhood.20110205-libraries3 The city’s Metrocables (aerial gondolas) and 1,300 feet of outdoor escalators, developed to integrate the poorer hillside neighborhoods with the city center, are global milestones in smart public transit. New schools and parks dot the city. And an ambitious contemporary expansion to the Museo de Arte Moderno, housed in a former steel mill in the up-and-coming. Ciudad del Rio neighborhood, is scheduled for completion this year.

Original article written by Nell McShane Wulfhart

Cuba, a destination in transition…

As relations warm, a Caribbean island is within reach.

20140305-cuba-exteriors-sl-1538_53ee39d1154ce422fc2278062244c068Cuba has long been the forbidden island, a tropical upholder of communism whose mystique was augmented by the fact it was largely off limits to Americans. Now, as part of the agreement between the United States and Cuba, Americans wishing to go there will face fewer limitations, provided their visit is “purposeful” (strictly sun-and-sand holidays are still forbidden). The opening comes as life on the island is slowly changing — not fast enough for many Cubans, but gradually enough that those wanting to glance at a collapsing socialist system, see the miles of undeveloped, scintillating coastline and strike up a conversation in the back of a beaten Oldsmobile still have time.

23972While the topic of travel there is still politically polarizing in the United States, the travel industry is accepting this potential new Caribbean destination with full force. The good news, for Cubans and their visitors, is that the economic reforms, however limited, have created a collection of privately-run restaurants and bars in Havana and provincial towns, many of them in beautiful, restored homes. An attempt by the government to inject life into Havana’s cultural scene has generated energetic new venues like the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, where the young, hip and better-off line up on weekends. Given the sharp rise expected in the number of Americans visiting, travelers should book early if they want somewhere to sleep during the 12th Havana Biennial, May 22 to June 22, an event that — as if to prove Cuba still functions at its own pace — rarely happens at two year intervals.

Original article written by Victoria Burnett

The Euro hits a 12-year low this week! Time to travel…

London (AFP) – The euro tumbled Tuesday towards a 12-year dollar low, hit by eurozone stimulus, growing US rate hike speculation and Greek debt concerns, dealers said.

In London afternoon trading, the European single currency sank to $1.0723 — the lowest level since mid-April 2003. The region’s stock markets moved lower.


“The US dollar scored multi-year highs … amid starkly diverging outlooks for interest rates globally,” said analyst Daniel Sugarman at trading firm ETX Capital.

The shared eurozone unit continues to flounder one day after the European Central Bank launched its 1.1 trillion euro ($1.2 trillion) quantitative easing (QE) stimulus “bazooka”.

The dollar neared an eight-year high against the yen as dealers bet on an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve after bright US payrolls data.

The greenback surged in Asian trading hours to a high of 122.03 yen, a level not seen since July 2007. It later stood at 121.01 yen in London.

“Renewed upward momentum for the US dollar in the near term has been reinforced by the stronger than expected US employment report for February which has supported investor expectations that the Fed remains on course to begin raising rates from the middle of this year,” said economist Derek Halpenny at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Meanwhile, the yield on German, Italian and Spanish 10-year government bonds fell to new record lows on the ECB bond-buying programme to combat deflation and boost growth.

The rate of return to investors on 10-year German government bonds fell to 0.230 percent from 0.312 percent on Monday.

The yield on 10-year Italian government bonds fell to 1.219 percent from 1.280 percent and those of Spain to 1.231 percent from 1.275 percent.

Europe’s main stock markets fell into the red, mirroring losses in Asia, as concerns lingered over Greek debt talks, while official data showed fresh weakness in economic powerhouse China.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading companies fell 1.42 percent to 6,776.92 points in afternoon trading.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 shed 1.16 percent compared with Monday’s close to 11,448.20 points and the CAC 40 index in Paris lost 1.13 percent to 4,881.32.

“European equity markets are… moderately lower this morning (on) renewed concerns that Greece might be running out of money soon,” said analyst Markus Huber at London-based broker Peregrine & Black.

“With negotiations between Greece and the Eurogroup finance ministers still not having yielded a result and time is running out fast, Greece appears once again destined to take centre stage.”

Greece has agreed to start urgent technical talks on Wednesday on extending its crucial bailout after its eurozone partners accused debt-stricken Athens of wasting time in previous negotiations.

The main talks will be in Brussels but teams from Greece’s creditors will also be on the ground in Athens, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said, despite the new left-wing government’s earlier insistence that they should not return.

The announcement came after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday, at which the Greek government outlined the reforms demanded by lenders in exchange for further cash.

“Athens is dragging its heels over reforms and patience is running low in Brussels,” added IG analyst David Madden.

“The Greek government is pushing the envelope with its creditors and the market is scared by the prospect of another long drawn-out debt negotiation.

“The ECB’s government bond-buying scheme is being overshadowed by Greece, and if Athens keeps pushing its creditors around it may receive a rap on the knuckles.”

US stocks dropped early Tuesday amid worries about the strong dollar, reversing Monday’s strong performance as the volatility of last week looked set to continue.

About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.04 percent to 17,808.14 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.96 percent to 2,059.48, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 1.09 percent to 4,888.35.

Analysts cited concerns about the strong US dollar, expectations for higher US interest rates and uncertainty about the eurozone’s debt negotiations with Greece for the market weakness.

Written by Roland Jackson

Forest Travels to…Milan, Italy

A revitalized city welcomes the world.

Sure, Italy is rich with romantic cities like Florence, Venice and Rome — but its most vibrant might just be Milan. And this is the year for tourists to explore its charms, as it hosts the 2015 World Expo.



Twenty million visitors are expected to visit the city for the Expo, a mammoth event that runs from May through October and involves more than 130 participating nations and organizations sponsoring more than 60 pavilions. The Expo’s theme focuses on food, nutrition and sustainability practices — a fitting choice for a city steeped in Italian culinary traditions. Highlights will include the Future Food District, a space to explore technological advances affecting the global food chain, and the Lake Arena, an Expo centerpiece with a mirrorlike pond and fountain fed by water from the city’s canals.



The Expo coincides with the completion of a number of urban renewal projects that are infusing new life into overlooked quarters, like La Darsena, a formerly dilapidated harbor that will feature tree-lined promenades, bike paths and piazzas. Historical attractions have also been spruced up, from the gleaming facade of the majesticDuomo to the restored canals of the charming Navigli district.


pizza milano

And Milanese restaurants are earning acclaim for their increased focus on diverse regional cuisines from across the Italian peninsula. You can sample everything from farinata and pesto-slathered Genovese specialties at U Barba to traditional Neapolitan pizza at Lievito Madre al Duomo, an outpost of Gino Sorbillo’s famouspizzeria that opened here last fall. New luxury hotels, like the Mandarin Oriental Milan slated to open this year, promise to dress up an already fashionable city that may just have it all.

Original article written by INGRID K. WILLIAMS

Venezuela initiates visa requirement for U.S. tourists

Venezuela has begun requiring U.S. travelers to seek visas before visiting the South American nation amid an escalation of diplomatic tensions between Washington and the administration of President Nicolas Maduro.004_EG_4721_P

The socialist government on Monday ordered the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to slash its staff by 80 percent, days after Maduro said several Americans had been detained on suspicions they were involved in espionage.

A resolution published in the Official Gazette eliminates the United States from a list of 65 countries exempt from tourist visa requirements, and instructs U.S. passport holders to comply with “established legal norms” to obtain visas.

Maduro said over the weekend that Americans would have to pay the same consular fees as Venezuelans traveling to the United States, which currently ranges from $160-$190.

The resolution also contains a list of U.S. political figures barred from entering Venezuela for having committed “acts of terrorism and grave human rights violations.”

The list includes former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former intelligence chief George Tenet, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Bob Menendez, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Like his predecessor Hugo Chavez, Maduro has frequently clashed with the United States and often accuses Washington of backing conspiracy efforts against him.

Although the Bush administration did endorse a coup against Chavez in 2002 before back-tracking when he returned to power, Washington has repeatedly denied meddling in Venezuelan affairs.

CARACAS — Reuters                                                                                                             Published Last updated

American Airlines adds new Colombia and Mexico routes in June

American Airlines will add two routes from Miami International Airport later this year: Barranquilla, Colombia, and Monterrey, Mexico.

The new routes are part of six overall that the carrier based in Fort Worth, Texas, is launching this year throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America.

The new Miami routes are scheduled to begin June 4.

The Miami-to-Barranquilla flight will depart daily at 11:15 a.m. for arrival at 1:10 p.m. in Colombia. The Miami-to-Monterey service will leave at 4:50 p.m. to arrive at 7:10 p.m. in Mexico. The Monterey route will operate six times a week.


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By Arlene Satchell, Sun Sentinel