Swimming with Dolphins

December 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Destinations, Features

There is luxury and there is luxury done right. Grand Velas Riviera Maya represents the latter. An All Inclusive resort on the turquoise waters of Playa Del Carmen in Mexico, Grand Velas combines oceanfront suites and a beautifully manicured property with several delectable restaurants including Cocina de Autor and Frida.
grand-velas-riviera-maya grand-velas-riveria-maya-resort Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico © Gennaro Salamone

While such a beautiful resort has everything you need for a short or lengthy stay in Mexico, there are also lots of fun activities for couples or families that are available off grounds. One that we sampled was swimming with dolphins. If you’re planning a trip to Playa Del Carmen, a stay at Grand Velas can be combined with this or other activities. See their dolphins package for more information.

dolphins-swim-mexico Swimming with Dolphins in Mexico

We arrived at Dolphin Discovery on a cloudy day. Perfect afternoon for an excursion. The leader of the program was a charismatic man who clearly loved working with dolphins, Remón and Diana. The small group started with a dolphin kiss and hand shake. The latter felt more like a dance.
dolphin-kiss-mexico Dolphin Kiss in Mexico

After that introduction to Remón and Diana, each member of the group had an opportunity to swim with the two dolphins. The swim is exciting and quick. While you might have a few nerves as they take off, it is a safe experience that you’ll want to do again.

dolphin-tricks-mexico

In addition to the dolphin swim, participants get to partake in some dolphin tricks including playing with a ball and a dolphin jump. We were also treated to holding a manatee and a brief swim near sting rays and sharks in a separate area. Be aware that cameras are not allowed. There will, however, be a photographer taking photos that will later be available for purchase.

The dolphin encounter involves quite a few activities and a significant time with the animals. It will be nice to get back to Grand Velas with their friendly and attentive service afterwards. A relaxing seat on the beach or a drink at the swim-up pool bar is highly recommended.

This stay at Grand Velas was courtesy of Grand Velas Riviera Maya. The dolphin encounter was courtesy of Dolphin Discovery. The content and opinions in the article are those of the author.

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gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing an article or photograph for publication.

 

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10 Most Visited Countries [Map]

July 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Travel News

Each year, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) collects data on the international tourist arrivals for every country in the world. The most visited countries for the past year included six from Europe, two from North America, and two from Asia (see map and list below).
most-visited-countries Most visited countries in the world [Map © Enduring Wanderlust]

1. France 76.8 million visitors
2. United States 59.7 million visitors
3. China 55.7 million visitors
4. Spain 52.7 million visitors
5. Italy 43.6 million visitors
6. United Kingdom 28.1 million visitors
7. Turkey 27 million visitors
8. Germany 26.9 million visitors
9. Malaysia 24.6 million visitors
10. Mexico 22.4 million visitors
*Statistics from the UNWTO

China made the biggest jump passing Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom to reach third on the list. Another Asian country, Malaysia, is a surprising entry in the top ten most popular countries to visit. A past visit to Kuala Lumpur leads me to believe this is largely based on business travelers to the capital city. The rest of the list especially France, Spain, Italy, and the United States have been mainstays for many years.

Another important note from the UNWTO study was that world tourism arrivals went up this past year after dropping in the previous year. That was the first drop in overall tourism in the past two decades.

Check out this chart: Why do people travel?
___________________________________________________________________________________
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing an article or photograph for publication.

 

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How to Become a Matador

October 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Travel News

On a trip to Spain, I remember several cities with statues honoring bullfighters. Locals told stories of the heroic Spanish matadors. Watching the bullfighters in the toreo de salón is a popular tourist attraction though some object to it calling the spectacle barbaric. If you find the agility and skill of the torero to be alluring, it’s possible to take an intensive training course that will teach the fundamentals of becoming a matador. That includes fearlessness, graceful movements, and improved coordination.
matador-bullfighter-spain Matador in Spain © Paul Hartrick

Two options for training to become a bullfighter are the Dennis C. Borba Bullfighting School and the California Academy of Tauromaquia. The former offers workshops lasting three days. Be aware that the class doesn’t come without risk. The WSJ reported that one man’s cape got caught under the animal’s hoof knocking him to the floor. Though the trainer, Dennis Borba was quick to intercede. As Ernest Hemingway wrote in Death in the Afternoon, “bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death.” The latter choice has intensive classes located in San Diego, California and Mexico. The courses are completely bloodless and focus only on the moves and traditions of the bullfighters.
___________________________________________________________________________________
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing an article or photograph for publication.

 

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Travel Alerts Hurt Mexico

April 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Travel News

Mexico has been hit hard by the recent U.S. State Department travel alerts that were widely covered by the media. Fear of violence in connection with the war on drug traffickers is at the center of the problem. Spring-breakers who often travel to the country have avoided Mexico, in part, because of that issue. Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Rosarito Beach are among the popular spots that have seen a significant drop in travelers from last year. Fewer tourists means trouble for an economy that depends on travelers for much of its economic growth.
mexico-beaches.jpg Mexican Beach © Mdnys

With Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano recently saying that American tourists are not targets of the violence and should be safe in the tourist areas of Mexico, it’s a wonder why the media coverage was so extreme. There are certainly areas of Mexico that require caution for visitors, but few travelers venture into those places. It’s a matter of being informed before traveling. It’s a good idea to read the U.S. State Department’s document targeted at keeping spring-breakers safe. Consider reading a few blogs that cover travel in Mexico too, including “target=”blank”>Travelojos, for another view on the situation there.

Would a safety alert change your travel plans? if given the opportunity, would you visit Mexico this week.

Read about the U.S. Senate’s bill that would lift the travel ban to Cuba or the beautiful islands of Belize.
___________________________________________________________________________________
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.

 

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Passport Cards Speed Border Crossings

January 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Travel News

Over 700,000 Americans have ordered passport cards. The wallet-size cards were created by the Bureau of Consular Services in order to provide quicker border crossings for Americans entering or exiting Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean. Cards are not valid for international air travel.
border-crossing-mexico-arizona.jpg Border Crossing © blmurch

Passport cards are less expensive than passport books, costing $45 (valid for 10 years) for first-time adult passport applicants and $35 (valid for 5 years) for minors under 16 years old. The card is ideal for those who regularly travel across the land or sea borders of Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean. This is also the best option for Americans who were previously using their driver’s licenses to enter the previously mentioned destinations according to Yahoo! News.

Read about the Québec Winter Carnival or new rules for visa-waiver travelers entering the United States.
___________________________________________________________________________________
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.

 

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Japanese Man No Longer Living in Airport

December 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Travel News

Sleeping in an airport, for a night, before a flight is common among travelers who are attempting to save a few dollars on hotel costs. Websites like The Guide to Sleeping in Airports have been developed around the concept. An interesting story out of Mexico City ran recently about this phenomenon.
sleeping-mexico-city-airport.jpg Mexico City Airport ® 00ucci

Over the past few months, a Japanese man has taken it to a new level by moving into Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport. As of the new year, Mr. Nohara has finally found a new residence–in an apartment. Amazing that someone could fly under the radar for such a long period of time.
___________________________________________________________________________________
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.

 

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