The best time to visit is between November and March as the temperature will be between 27* - 35* and sunny so it’s the perfect winter sun destination. What also makes it so worthwhile is that it’s incredibly cheap; you can go there for as little as £250 and the most you’re going to pay is £350/400.
You can either stay in the tourist resorts along the coast or the capital, Banjul, but either way, as the country is so small, to get to either place shouldn’t take any more than 20 minutes to get to by taxi. They have specific tourist taxis, which the tour operators recommend, however I caught numerous ‘normal’ taxis and these are completely fine (and cheaper).
The tour operators also recommend that you do all of their activities through them, and while I would certainly recommend some of these, especially the roots tour, which travels up the Gambia river by boat and goes to where the slaves were captured and held before being shipped of to the Americas - I would befriend the locals and get them to take you out; this is what my friends and I did, as there are licensed juice sellers on the beach by the hotel.
After buying juice from them we decided the best way to get to know the Gambia is by letting people that live there show us so we arranged for two locals to take four of us out to dinner in a place they recommended. We also wanted to go on a safari so we got them to organise a Jeep trip to a safari park. We obviously paid for transportation and food and anything else but this would still be cheaper than doing it through the tour operator and it is helping out the local economy.
People in the Gambia are some of the friendliest you would ever meet, in fact an expression I often heard was ‘it’s nice to be nice’, and at no point did I ever feel remotely threatened, even at police stops everyone was extremely courteous.
As an example of how safe it is my friends and I decided to go to a bar about three miles away from our hotel so we decided to go there by foot alone along the beach, by the time we got there it was pitch black so walking along the beach was quite an adventure and when we got to the bar the owner gave us a free lift home.
When you go to the markets you would obviously have to haggle with the price but this is to be expected and is part of the experience but the market sellers are never overly forceful or aggressive.
I had the lucky experience of being on the beach on my last night when the president threw a party to celebrate him being re-elected, so there were local tribes dancing and playing music with lasers and fireworks, it was such a great parting experience. To sum up my experience and the Gambia itself, in order to go into the cordoned-off arena where the President and performers were, I merely asked a soldier if I could go into the area and the solider allowed me to, that is how nice and friendly the people of the Gambia are.
First get yourself to Hervey Bay on the Queensland coast. Just off the coast is Fraser Island, a sandy, 90-mile long island covered with rain forests and dotted with paradisal lakes.
There are a number of rental places on the main drag on the edge of town on the mainland where you can rent a four-wheel drive car complete with full camping kit. You will usually be shown a short video about off-road driving - pay attention, as the island is crossed by narrow tracks composed of very soft sand which take some getting used to.
A short ferry ride later and you are there. Cross the island to the east side, where you'll find 70-mile Beach. As the name suggests, this is a long beach; at low tide, it becomes a 100-metre wide road along which you can drive the length of the island, stopping off at various points to explore the rain forest or lakes.
In the evening, you can pull off the beach through a break in the dunes to camp under the stars, miles from anyone else and as close to nature as you can get (but still with the security blanket of a four-wheel drive, tent, cooker and whatever provisions you picked up from the supermarket in Hervey Bay).
We spent several weeks in Australia a couple of years ago and, although we are relatively seasoned travellers, Fraser Island is one of our favourite memories and places in the world.
Get to Hervey Bay, Queensland -it's three hours north of Brisbane off the Bruce highway. Head to the point to catch the ferry to the island.
Google map: tinyurl.com/n6uw2q
If you can afford it, I would suggest splashing out and getting a room at the Sheraton Montazah.
The fact that it's on the edge of town might make it inconvenient for
some, but I found it eliminated most of the noise from the downtown
area, while still providing a major thoroughfare for catching a cab.
Its private, wonderfully under-populated beach, and a room with a balcony overlooking both the Montazah Palace gardens and the
Mediterranean were also welcome perks.
This is quite possibly the most beautiful place on earth, nothing but golden sandy beaches, turquoise seas and flora and fauna to walk through. Sunsets, estuaries that will chase you across a flood plain.
You can choose to walk inland or by the beaches spending as much or as little time as you like there. Arrive by kayak or walk in, leave by water taxi admiring the splendor you have just tramped through. If you have not been there then go. Now.
This is the Government website which is a little light on details but has the necessary details. It is on the South Island at the north tip near the ferry crossing.
It's a private villa in a really small quiet village called St. Spiridon, in the north of Corfu. What I really love about it is it's still home to many locals, so you can experience the true Corfu, as opposed to today's tacky modern complexes.
Close to small tavernas offering delicious locally cooked food, and just five minutes' walk from St. Spiridon bay, a gentle beach, perfectly clear for snorkeling.
I found it browsing through the search engines, it's shown on www.villas-in-corfu.co.uk
Puerto Morelos is just outside on Cancun, but a world away. It's a small resort, quite different from package holiday central of Cancun. There's great beaches also - highly recommended.
Want to surf, or laze, or walk the sands? The beach at Merimbula is the go! You have two to choose from, surf beach or protected in the lagoon.
Families flock to Merimbula during the holidays. It is a popular spot with city families with Melbournites and Sydneyites holidaying there. Merimbula is a great spot!
This is the cityside beach in Dunedin, quite short but always with impressive surf. At one end is the open air salt water pool, great for swimming when the surf's up, also good for toddlers and small children.
There's a promenade behind the beach with a couple of good bars and cafes. There are more impressive beaches further up the peninsula but for convenience and all-round utility you can't beat St. Clairs.
Karekare is a black sand beach on the west coast of the North Island (about 40 minutes out of Auckland) - The Piano was filmed here.
The beach is wild and rugged, and you walk from the car park across sand dunes and an estuary to get to the seafront. If you're not a strong swimmer you're best to stay within your depth, but the water is lovely and it's a great place for beach cricket.
Rarotonga is absolutely beautiful, with amazing white sand beaches, and the Rarotongan Beach Resort is set right on the edge of Aroa beach. The resort offers free snorkel hire so you can explore the lagoon where you might find giant clams and blue starfish as well as thousands of colourful fish.
The beds are huge and comfy, cocktails are highly recommended (although beware - you can put all your food and drink costs on your room bill so be careful or it'll take you by surprise when you check out!) and you can dine on fresh coconut and starfruit for breakfast.
Aroa beach, Rarotonga, www.therarotongan.com
Even though for many people Calais is a place to bypass en route to Paris or Lille, this hostel is clean and safe with modern facilities (bar, library, games room) and is the only cheap hostel in the town.
The double rooms are satisfactory, though admittedly they are tiny. The staff kindly put me up for a couple of nights on a camp bed despite the fact that there were no rooms available and I was stranded with nowhere else to go.
Breakfast is provided. The hostel is only 5 mins walk from the beach, and 10 mins from the town centre and train station.
Av. du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 62100 Calais
Tél : 00 33 3 21 34 70 20
Fax : 00 33 3 21 96 87 80
Take the free bus from Calais ferry port to the main town square and go straight up the main road to the beach (going over a canal and passing a caravan site). The hostel is well signposted.
If it's still summer and you want to avoid the more touristy places head to the "beach" at la Villette and enjoy free loungers, free mini-boats for kids aged 6 to 10 and even free tea snacks for the little ones.
There are two new excellent cinemas with bookstores/DVD/cds. Also, you can walk along the Canal and head towards La Vilette science and tech exhibition and the famous Cite de la Musique.
A beach 3km from Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. There is a massive beach for surfing and a smaller one for swimming and snorkelling. There is also a trail that takes you through an area full of marine iguanas.
The walk starts in Puerto Ayora and goes east. At the start of the trail you have to sign in. The beach is open from 06.00 to 18.00
Tambaba is a beach in the State of Paraiba, on the northeast coast of Brazil. Paraiba affords the same beauty of the most famous neighbours, such as Pernambuco and Ceara, but is still much less explored.
Tambaba is the most important naturist centre in Brazil; for nearly two decades now, naturists from all over Brazil come to meet in Tambaba.
In 2008, Tambaba will host the XXXI International Congress of Naturism, organized by the International Naturist Federation.
For a few days, Tambaba will be the world center of naturism. Thousands of people are expected to visit Tambaba in September of 2008.
If you are on route from Peru to Ecuador or vice versa, this is a great beach place to visit for a few down days.
It is sunny, there is accommdation on the beach and there is a chilled out vibe. Don't make a special trip to visit though as it's not beautiful.
2 hours from Piura and 2 hours from Tumbes on the coast.
A pretty bay on the other side of the city harbour with cafes, beaches, and some lovely walks. Climb up through bush and look across at Wellington city. It's accessible by bus or car. Makes a nice day out if you want to get away from the city.
While you're there, you can carry on to the next bay, Eastbourne, where you can walk to the lighthouse and watch the ferries on their way to and from the South Island.
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