Category Archives: Travel Globe

Florida’s Animal Sanctuaries

Tiger

To be sure, Florida has its fair share of wildlife. With plenty of native species like cougars, bobcats, panthers, armadillos, coatis, and of course that deadly creature that epitomizes Florida, the crocodile, the Sunshine State has a wealth of wildlife for any animal enthusiast. But it doesn’t just end there. Animal sanctuaries dot the state and add an exotic twist to complement an already stunning array of wildlife. Here are some places to check out on your next trip down south.

Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary

If one night you’re awoken by the sound of a lion’s roar, you’re probably not dreaming. Tucked away just a short distance from the swanky Florida holiday villas in Sarasota lies the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary. Registered as a genuine charity since 2005, the sanctuary has been a labour of love for its founder —  animal lover and big cat rescuer Kay Rosaire. The large project, which consists of several indoor and outdoor buildings and habitats, occupies a sizeable patch of land and is home to tigers, lions, and ligers which are (you guessed it) a cross between a lion and a tiger. Bears, birds, and a large collection of rescued primates also call this habitat home. The sanctuary relies on donations and admission fees to feed, house, shelter, and rehabilitate the animals. 

Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary

Hyena

Another project with the mission to rehabilitate and provide a healthy environment and proper shelter for abandoned and abused exotic animals is the Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary. Located in the quaint city of Punta Gorda south of Sarasota, one of the newest draws here is Jake, a spotted hyena formerly owned by animal behaviourist Bryan Hawn. Thought untameable, Jake and the extraordinary bond that developed with his former owner was the subject of a National Geographic Wild episode in 2012.

McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary

Snake

Specializing in nurturing sick, abandoned, or abused animals and snakes back to health and releasing them back into the wild, McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary has been one of the earliest pioneers in wildlife rehabilitation in Florida — they’ve been at this since the 1970s. There are over a hundred permanent residents in this West Palm Beach habitat, and many of them make their way  here after being donated by wildlife officers who have seized abused or illegal possessed animals. 

The Wild Side of Barbados

Known for its long sweeps of plentiful and pristine white sandy beaches, unparalleled peaceful tranquility, and lazy days of unabashed relaxation, you’d be hard pressed to believe that Barbados has a wild side. But it does. A very wild one.

The wild side we’re talking about here of course is its rich and diverse wildlife. And while it may not have the variety of animals of places like the Galapagos, or the sheer number of places like Costa Rica, Barbados holds its own among its Caribbean brothers. And with some planning, and a little luck, you may very well encounter any of these critters on your next beach holiday to the island that’s been nicknamed “Bim.”

Turtles

Barbados is a virtual haven for these loveable slow moving creatures. Both the Leatherback and Hawksbill varieties, as well as other types, make their home in the sheltered waters along the Barbados coastline. Many have become accustomed to humans, so swimming with them is a definite possibility. Feeding sea turtles is frowned upon however. Although you may have the best of intentions, feeding any wildlife disturbs the natural order of things. When animals grow to depend on human handouts, they can become aggressive and deemed a nuisance if they exhibit unnatural behaviour.

Green Monkeys

Barbados Greem Monkey

You’ll have no trouble finding these cute but mischievous critters  — Green Monkeys are just about everywhere. Originating on ships arriving from West Africa over 300 years ago, many of the Green Monkeys of Barbados are used to interaction with humans. But as cute as they are, they are also just as clever. They will sometimes go to extremes to separate you from your snacks. Best to leave the food back at your hotel if you’re heading out in nature.

Mongoose

Barbados mongoose

The humble mongoose was introduced to Barbados as a means of coping with the rat problem which threatened the sugar cane industry. Some questioned the efficiency of the move since rats ate at night, and mongoose only hunted during the day. Whatever the reason, the mongoose thrived (the rats not so much.) Although they are rampant on the island, they are one of the more difficult creatures to spot.

If you’re staying at the Barbados Beach Club, staff there can arrange a trip to the local Wildlife Reserve, an island safari tour, and even snorkelling with turtles. Just remember to take your camera.

 

Offset Your Travel Costs By Renting Out Your Home

Village

If you enjoy traveling the world, but don’t have a huge budget, then you’re probably looking for any way you can to save money. Of course, you’re going to look for great deals when you are traveling, and maybe even thinking about doing something like staying in hostels. However, have you ever thought about actually making some money while you’re traveling?

There is one easy way that you can make money while you’re traveling, without doing any work at all. Here’s the thing – when you’re traveling, you’re not home. Yes, it seems pretty obvious, but think about it for a minute. Who is using your home when you’re away? No one. So, why don’t you rent it out?

Actually, more and more people are doing this. Other travelers are looking for places to stay, and if yours is in reasonable condition and in a decent location, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t as well. There are a lot of sites that allow you to post your home online for short-term rental, but the most reputable ones are VRBO and Airbnb.

Village

Image: Via Go India

Of course, there are a number of things that you need to think about if you do let out your home. First of all, depending on where you live, you may need to get permission and even buy a license to be able to do this – especially if you live somewhere like New York City. Also, remember that if you’re renting your place, you will need to convince your landlord to let you sublet. If you own your home, you may still have to let your mortgage company know, depending on the terms of the agreement that you have with them.

You’re obviously going to want to leave furniture, dishes, pots and pans, and similar things in your home for your guests. However, there are probably a lot of things you don’t want them to touch. One good idea is to hire some storage while you’re away, so that you can keep these items safe. Storage in San Diego, Birmingham, Seattle and other places across the country is relatively inexpensive, and is certainly much less than you will get back in rent.

You also need to find someone that you can trust to be the local contact. There’s no point in renting your place out and going on vacation 5000 miles away, only to get a call asking you where the key is. Whoever you ask to act as your contact needs to be trustworthy and available, since they won’t just be letting in your guests. They’ll probably have to give cleaners access as well, and check your place when guests leave to make sure that there isn’t any damage.

storage unit

Image: Via http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Nh7bnzazPeE/TSO9LdZm7-I/AAAAAAAAB0A/KO-y91Re_jc/s1600/sefl-storage-unit.jpg

Finally, leave a guide for your guests, so that they know how to do things. This guide should include things like your home phone number, who to call when there is a problem, good local places to pick up things like groceries, and information on local transportation. This way, your guests will enjoy their stay, and may even recommend your place to their friends.

 

Would you play Departure Roulette?

heineken_departure_roulette

Heineken Departure Roulette

The folks at Heineken have come up with an inventive marketing campaign offering free flights to anywhere in the world. But there’s a catch — you have to drop your current travel plans, you don’t know where you are going, and you have to leave right now.

Heineken set themselves up in Terminal 8 at JFK airport and asked travellers to play Departure Roulette. Most travellers said no, but for those that did, some very interesting trips awaited them — including flights to Thailand, Cyprus, and Portugal.

Take a look at the video and then let us know in the comments below if you think this would be your sort of thing. Would you let fate (or in this case a giant spinning board) decide where you head to next? Would you push the button?

 

Discover The Ancient History of Cyprus

While Cyprus is associated with Mediterranean sun and banking crises in the minds of most travelers, the truth is that Cyprus has a long and varied history, making it the perfect destination for anyone who is fascinated by archaeology and ancient monuments. In fact, evidence exists of Neolithic communities on the south coast of Cyprus around Aetokremnos dating to 10,000 B.C., making Cyprus home to some of the world’s earliest examples of human civilization.

Visitors looking to understand the history of Cyprus could do no better than to start with Khirokitia, a Neolithic village dating to about 6800 B.C. that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Consisting of a set of well-preserved round stone structures that served as home to between 300 and 600 inhabitants, Khirokitia shows signs of a well-developed society engaged in hunting and farming. The site is open to visitors year-round, and makes an excellent introduction to the history of Cyprus. If you are planning to travel to Cyprus, you can find Cyprus Airways best deals on http://www.fly.co.uk.

Ruins in Cyprus

Cyprus has been shaped by many Mediterranean cultures, including settlement by the Mycenaeans starting in about 1400 B.C. Subsequent waves of Greek settlers, following the collapse of the Mycenaean culture, established much of the Greek character of the island. Indeed Cyprus occupies an important place in Greek mythology, being the birthplace of both Aphrodite and Adonis. There are numerous Greek sites in Cyprus, with perhaps the best-known being Kourion. Founded in the 13th century B.C., Kourion includes a number of Greek and Roman monuments, including an ancient stadium, a theater, a bath house, and spectacular mosaic floors.

Another impressive site that is open to visitors is the ancient town of Palaipafos, located near the modern town of Palos. This site, originally a walled city, contains many significant monuments, including the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, which was mentioned by Homer among others, a Roman house with extraordinary mosaics dating to the second century A.D., and the palace of Hadji Abdulla, the residence of the Persian governor in the fifth century B.C.

Following the division of the Roman Empire, Cyprus came under the influence of Byzantium and, following an Arabic invasion in 650, was subject to joint Arabic and Byzantine rule for 300 years before reverting to Byzantine control. There are a large number of Byzantine churches that date to this time, many of which are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Monuments.

In 1191 A.D., Cyprus fell to Richard the Lionheart, and then quickly fell under Frankish rule. Again, many impressive buildings date to this period, including Kolossi Castle, a Crusader stronghold, and the Royal Manor House in Kouklia. 

Cyprus

Subsequent Venetian, Ottoman and British rule all placed their stamp on Cyprus, creating a rich tapestry of interwoven cultures and architectures, each with its own particular beauty and merits. Today, Cyprus is a microcosm of the progress of human history around the Mediterranean and beyond, giving travelers the opportunity to experience huge diversity in a contained geographic area.