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Portofino, Italy بورتوفينو

Portofino is an Italian fishing village and vacation resort famous for its picturesque harbour and historical association with celebrity and artistic visitors. It is a commune located in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. – Wikipedia
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Hotels:
  • Hotel Splendido فندق سبلنديدو
  • Eight Hotel Portofino فندق ايت (ثمانيه) بورتوفينو
Splendido

Splendido

My trip to Portofino was a day trip from Santa Margherita – so I stayed in Santa Margherita, went for the day to see the harbor, had lunch in Portofino, and went back at night.

Having said that, these are the things you could do if you’re staying in Portofino…

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Things to do:

  • Day tour or a day trip to/in Portofino and/or Santa Margherita
  • Portofino Taxi Boat
  • See the port of portofino
  • Check out Paraggi Beach
  • See Piazza Martiri dell’Olivett

To Eat:

  • Da Puny
  • Taverna Del Marinaio
  • La Cucina Di Nonna Nina

Yup, that’s pretty much it from my end!

Enjoy 🙂

portofinoHello965

Your Playa Del Carmen, Mexico Guide

Playa del Carmen is a city located along the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. I can’t get over this place. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.

1. How to get there?

– You arrive at Cancun International Airport – airport code: CUN

– Arrived at the airport? Passengers first clear Immigration then collect luggage for Customs and a possible inspection. Wait for instructions to press the red or green light that will determine whether you have been chosen for a search.

– Avoid offers for transportation inside the airport.

– To Playa Del Carmen, its around a 45 minutes to one hour drive (I arranged for a taxi pick-up from Cancun airport to Playa Del Carmen, driving is an option)

– Renting a car is a good idea for those who wish to tour areas such as Tulum, Cobá, etc. You must rent in advance and pick it up upon arrival. (contact us if you need us to help you reserve a car!)

Taxis:

Vouchers for taxis rides to Playa Del Carmen are on sale inside the main terminal.  Taxis are private rides (quoted prices vary from $60-$90).  Returning to the airport in a taxi is often less than the trip upon arrival.

(If you need further recommendations on what private companies to use for transportation, please feel free to drop us an email or contact us at our Contact Us form)

 

2. Where to Sleep?

  • Banyan Tree Mayakoba
  • The Fairmont Mayakoba
  • Grand Velas Riviera Maya 5 Star Luxury Hotel
  • Pueblito Luxury Condo Hotel
  • Viceroy Riviera Maya
  • Blue Diamond Riviera Maya
  • Casa Rebeka – Ocean Front Villa
  • Luxury Villas

 

3. Other than staying at the hotel all day and enjoying my friends/spouse/significant other.. What to do?

  • Cenote Chaak Tun (Cenote means the hole in the cave filled with water/ sink holes – you can swim)
  • Cenote Chikin Ha
  • Rio Secreto
  • Xcaret theme park (excellent for families too!) – Underwater Trekking is awesome!!!
  • Flyboard, and all other activities
  • See Playa del Carmen’s main street, La Quinta Avenid. It runs parallel to the shore and serves as a pedestrian walkway
  • Diving tours (Playa is one of the best places on the coast to dive)
  • Xel-Ha day trip
  • Tulum Day Trip
  • Xplor Adventure Park
  • Go to Mamitas Beach during the day (Fun, music, sun)
  • Indigo Beach (beside El Taj Condo Hotel)
  • Take a boat and go Snorkeling in Isla Mujeres
  • Chichen Itza

For more, and personalized itineraries please drop us an email or contact us here.

 

4. Food

  • Diablito cha cha cha (loud, music, food) q
  • El Tacombie (tacos, not a restaurant)
  • Los Aguachiles (Mexican, seafood, casual but good food)
  • Yaxche (Mexican)
  • Chez Celine (Breakfast/Brunch)
  • Como Como (Mediterranean)
  • Mosquito Blue Restaurant

 

5. Other Stuff

– Whats near Playa Del Carmen?

  • Tulum
  • Cozumel
  • Akumal
  • Puerto Aventuras

– Withdraw money from a local ATM as you will get the exact current exchange rate. Almost all stores will give you an unfavorable conversion rate

– If you love snorkeling, purchase your own gear and bring it with you on vacation. At many locations you can snorkel right off the beach anytime you want, saving tour fees

– When going out, put your money in an inside pocket or pouch, where it isn’t visible

– Phone? There is a “data” phone. I got mine from Mexico City, and used it in Playa Del Carmen and different parts of Mexico

 

6. Switch off your phone, switch on your camera, and e-n-j-o-y.

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Hello965 Team

 

Cape Town, South Africa

I can’t seem to take Cape Town out of my mind. If you haven’t been before to Cape Town, then you are reading the right post!! I’m sharing my short experience in Cape Town, and my tips.

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1. Sleep.

Cape Town has a huge number of accommodation options, from super fancy to rustic backpacker type places, so you are likely to find exactly what you need. For younger people, the city centre as well as surroundings including; Camps Bay, Bantry Bay, De Waterkant, Gardens, Tamboerskloof, Clifton, Sea Point, Mouille Point, Higgovale and Orangezicht. These are either located near nightlife or the sea. Alternatively you could stay in the university area of Newlands, which is a quick drive into the centre. For those looking for something a little different or for a bit of surfing, the smaller coastal towns of Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Hout Bay and Llundadno might be appealing but please note these are a little more out of the way.

For a relatively comprehensive listing of Cape Town self-catering, b&bs and hotels, go to www.capestay.co.za and refer to tripadvisor for reviews.

During my visit, I stayed in a boutique hotel called: Cascades on the Promenade (you can find it on booking.com). A wonderful boutique hotel, friendly staff and great breakfast. The owner was around, he welcomed us and showed us everything in the hotel. The hotel is 10 mins drive to the waterfront. Good for either a family or a group of friends.

Otherwise, if you’re looking to stay in a villa, this could help: http://www.capevillas.com/New_Hotlists/Camps_Bay_Villas.shtml

2. Tip.

If you’re comfortable driving on the same side of the road as in England, then I highly advise you to rent a car. A convertible car. Beautiful beautiful scenery going from one place to another.

3. Touristy stuff.

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– Go up Table Mountain (either hike or use the cable car). If you’re an athlete, hike for sure!! It’s not an easy hike though, it’s kinda steep. Otherwise, cable car is your friend.

– See the penguins at Boulders Beach (warm water, rock formations and cute penguins)

– Chapmans Peak Drive (one of the most scenic drives in the world)

– V&A Waterfront (beautiful indoor/outdoor mall – great shopping and eating – located by the sea with opportunity to go on boat trips around the coast)

Kirstenbosch Gardens (amazing botanical gardens at the foot of a mountain, they have great sunset concerts on Sunday evenings)

Camps Bay/Clifton (prime beach real estate, such a wonderful setting to spend the day in the sun with the mountains behind you – parking is a nightmare in summer, be warned!)

Robben Island (more history focused than anything, this is a small island off the coast where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for a long time), we took a boat to the island, and did the tour – worth visiting if you like history!

– Hermanus (coastal town, perfect for whale watching)

– Drive in your convertible to Cape of Good Hope. Drive by the sea.

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4. I did it, you can do it.

A) SHARK CAGE DIVING.

We rented a private driver-guide for sharkcage diving. We did it with Shark Cage Diving Gansbaai (http://www.sharkcagediving.co.za). They arrange for your pick-up and your drop-off from and back to the hotel.

Guys, you DO NOT swim with the sharks deep in the water in this one. You dive in a cage and you’re very close to the surface. You dive with great white sharks so they’re very dangerous and this tour/dive is mainly for people with no diving licenses.

B) Helicopter Ride.

This ride was absolutely fantastic. I booked The CapeTown Scenic Flight with these guys: http://www.helicopterscapetown.co.za

5. Eating out.

Haiku restaurant is a fun place to eat out, they do Asian fusion and are famous for Asian tapas. Rick’s Cafe in the city centre is a wonderful place to go and have snacks as it has a large roof terrace with a view of the mountains – all kinds of interesting cigars are also sold there for cigar lovers. The Bombay Bicycle Club is a funky place to eat delicious grills and African food, its also in a very convenient central location. Royale Eatery on Long street is a yummy trendy hamburger place, on the top is a trendy bar/club called the Waiting Room – definitely worth checking out. Cape 2 Cuba in Kalk Bay is a bit away from the centre (on the other side of the mountain) but has delicious food and is a very interesting spot.

To find a specific restaurant or read about more dining in Cape Town, you should go to www.eatout.co.za.

On a Sunday afternoon, starting at 5 or 6 pm (more or less), go to Caprice Bar, which is a beach front bar in Camps Bay, very cool vibe, very good crowd, DJ playing soft house music and everyone chilling there while watching the sunset.

6. Final words.

Be safe!! South Africa is a wonderful place to visit; however, this paradise isn’t perfect – crime and car accidents are both a serious concern. When driving at night be extra vigilant as many other drivers do drink and drive. Avoid driving long distances after dark when possible. Always lock your car when driving and ensure valuables are not visible when stopping at traffic lights. Ensure whatever accommodation you choose has adequate security measures in place (secure parking, a safe, an alarm or physical security etc) Don’t walk around with a fancy laptop/camera etc when this isn’t necessary, the more concealed the better. As in most countries, there are good and bad areas (unless on a guided tour avoid shanty towns and poorer areas).

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Salud, and enjoy Paradise! Toomzie

Cinque Terre – Italy

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Here five crazily constructed fishing villages, set amid some of the most dramatic coastal scenery on the planet.

How to get there?
There are airports at Genoa and at Pisa. (by car to Cinque Terre around an hour to an hour 30 minutes)
Personally, my flight was to Florence, as I was planning a road trip and Cinque Terre was one of the stops. So we rented a car and drove to multiple places from Florence. (Florence to Cinque Terre around 2 hours drive)
I do not recommend you to stay at a hotel in Cinque Terre – Find a place near by and go back and forth. Somewhere you could look to reserve a hotel and drive from is Either Portofino or Santa Margherita.
Other options as a base to see Cinque Terre from:
– A day trip from Milan
– A day trip from Florence
– A day trip from Siena
Keep in mind, a car is a good option to travel, but not so great option to drive within the Cinque Terres. So renting a car would make sense if you’re stopping at other places too. Additionally, make sure you check with your hotel if they have private parking spaces where you could park your car for the time you’re there.
Best time to visit? April to October
The best months for walking are May, June, September, and the first half of October. July and August are best avoided if you don’t like the heat
The villages are (As shown in the map above), starting from the northernmost one, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
Monterosso is about 1.5 hours from Genoa by train, and the closest city of any size to the Cinque Terre is La Spezia, just south of Riomaggiore, at about 15 minutes by train.
You could also ‘hike’ from town to town. In order for you to do that you have to carefully read about the trails and how to prepare for the hike and purchase the pass. There are 3 kinds of passes (trail only, trail + trains, trail + trains & ferries).
For just a taste of the trails, I would suggest you do the section from Monterosso to Vernazza. It is 3.5 km long and takes a little under two hours.

Monterrosso

1. Monterosso
Monterosso is the biggest village between the 5 villages (cars driving in the village!) and the landscape isn’t vertical unlike the rest of the villages. Monterosso is made up of an old town, a new town, lots of sandy beach, some larger hotels and a long seaside promenade suitable for strollers too. If you want to avoid stairs and have a more “resort” feel to your vacation then you should stay here.
vernazza

Vernazza

2. Vernazza
Vernazza is the jewel of the Cinque Terre. Its action is at the harbor, where you’ll find restaurants, a bar hanging off the edge of the castle, a breakwater with a promenade, and a tailgate-party street market every Tuesday morning.

For dinner, eat at a recommended seaside restaurant down at the marina. Ask to seat on the lower balcony. If the sea is rough you’ll be cooled off with sea spray.

  • Ristorante Belforte, Via Guidoni, 42, Vernazza. Phone + 39 0187 812222

Corniglia

3. Corniglia
Perched on a rocky spur above the waves, Corniglia is the only village of the five not on the water and the least touristy of the Cinque Terres.

Manarolo

4. Manarolo

In Manarola, go to ‘Punta Buonfiglio” which is a view point on a rocky promontory on the path towards Corniglia (Sentiero Azzurro). For dinner, you should eat at ‘Da Billy’. Bring your walking legs cause it’s up the hill with a great view. They serve seafood. After dinner head down to the local’s hangout with live music most nights:

  • Cantina dello Zio Bramante, Via Renato Birolli 110, Manarola. Phone: +39 0187 920442

Train home, or if it’s open, take the walking path called Via dell’Amore. Walking the moonlit path above the swirling ocean is AMAZING.

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

5. Riomaggiore
The most southern village of the five Cinque Terre. Have lunch or dinner at ‘La Lanterna‘. If you’re staying for long maybe you could head to the beach for a morning swim.
Finally, Be sure to “validate” your train tickets by inserting it into the yellow machine on your day of travel or you could risk a fine.
To be honest, this is one of the few trips where I just hopped on a train, got out, walked randomly, back on a train and onto the next destination!! It wasn’t planned at all. Everything we saw was beautiful, and everywhere we ate was delicious!! Feel free to share your Cinque Terre experience with us!
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Cheers,
Hello965 team
PS. all photos in this post are not mine except one. I can’t find any of my other Cinque Terre photos so I’m using talented photographer’s captures – thankyou! 🙂

 

11 Reasons Why Travel Makes You a Happier Person

1. FIND YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE BY DEALING WITH UNEXPECTED SITUATIONS

There comes a time when everyone must deal with an unexpected situation when they’re on the road. Even if you plan your trip to the letter, things can take a surprise turn. Whatever happens, there is a way around the problem and knowing that you can deal with these situations is a big boost to self-confidence and therefore your happiness.

2. HAPPINESS IS INFECTIOUS

When locals are happy, smiling and friendly, it has an immediate knock-on effect. I found the people of Cambodia and Laos to be notably friendly and cheerful, despite the relative poorness of these countries and the former in particular having a very recent traumatic history. When faced with those big beaming smiles, it’s hard to be annoyed at the hassling you might experience at busy sites like Angkor Wat; putting that knee-jerk irritation to one side instantly lifts your mood and is a good habit to take home.

 

3. BEING AWAY MAKES YOU APPRECIATE FAMILY AND HOME

Being away from things we often take for granted — family, close friends, home — makes us appreciate them more. Calling home isn’t a chore, but something to look forward to: no one enjoys listening to your envy-inducing travel stories more than your parents, so it’s the perfect excuse to wax lyrical about whatever place with which you’ve just fallen in love.

 

4. YOU MAKE NEW FRIENDS

It’s much easier to make new friends on the road than it is at home, where people are less inclined to chat to strangers on a bus or strike up conversation in a bar (at least, that’s true of London). When people are away from home, there seem to be less boundaries to cross and making friends becomes much easier, whether it’s a local curious to know where you’ve come from or a fellow travelers keen to have someone with whom to enjoy a coffee or share a taxi. Social interactions make us happier and increasing our social circle means that we’re talking more and meeting different, interesting people, which hopefully means we’re learning more, too.

5. DETOX FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media can be used for both good and bad, but it’s healthy for everyone to have a break from the internet every once in a while. Wi-fi is so prevalent that it’s hard to turn off and you can quite often find yourself tuning out whatever amazing place you’re in with your face in your phone, checking Twitter, scrolling through your Facebook feed, checking your emails… stop. Turn it off. Better yet, find somewhere with no reception and no wi-fi so that you don’t have a choice. It’s liberating and allows you to better enjoy the ‘here and now’, which nicely ties into the following point.

6. GETTING SOME ‘YOU’ TIME

Traveling gives us breathing space that is often lost in our usual day-to-day existence. Having a moment to take advantage of peace and quiet and to simply ‘be’ allows us to let go of stress and tension and just enjoy being in the moment — a key focus of meditation and a practice you can take home with you. If you’re traveling with a partner, it’s a chance to spend time with only each other for company, which is a thought that probably shouldn’t fill you with dread.

7. EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION

Whether it’s learning a new skill such as cooking Thai food or learning a new language, travel presents ways in which we can further our knowledge and education. Learning makes our brains more active, which psychologists have found increases our level of happiness – particularly when learning something we find enjoyable.

 

8. GET A VITAMIN D BOOST

Whilst it’s a bit of myth that you need to be on a sun-lounger for twelve hours to feel the full effects of vitamin D (20 minutes of exposure to sunlight is enough), there’s no doubt that in the same way that the cold and dark of winter makes us unhappy (feeling the effects of seasonal affective disorder or SAD), sunshine and warmth generally put us in a much better mood. A beach break is a great way to relax and enjoy the health benefits of a warm climate. Admittedly, this is more of a short-term boost, but a healthy glow makes everyone feels better and lasts for a few weeks after your trip is over.

9. YOU’RE MORE INTERESTING

You don’t need to be a ‘travel bore’ to have a few interesting stories to tell. Traveling throws up a lot of bizarre, funny and sometimes serious situations that relating back to people will make you — at least — feel interesting. Making someone laugh is an easy way to instantly bump up your self-esteem, so hold on to those embarrassing memories — no matter how much they might make you cringe.

10. NEW EXPERIENCES GIVE US MOMENTS TO REMEMBER

For most people, traveling is about the new experiences. I will always remember that moment of awe when I stood watching the sunlight leak out over the rainforest around the ancient temple of Borobudur in Java at sunrise, the sky turned a striking shade of violet: it was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. Recalling memories of happiness can sustain a feeling of contentment long after the moment has passed, and new experiences are memories that can stick with you forever.

 

11. THE EFFECTS OF TRAVELING AREN’T JUST SHORT-TERM

Aside from making you happier in the short-term, traveling can make you a much more contented, happy and relaxed person in the long run, too. Of course, most travel enthusiasts are constantly planning their next trip, but when we’re at home or past a point of being able to jet off whenever we like, past travels leave us with the memories and personal skills – such as confidence, broad-mindedness, friends and a more worldly perspective — that make people happy. And that’s why travel makes you a happier person.

Article via CNN, I agree with EVERY SINGLE POINT!!!

Cheers,

Hello965