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10 The Everglades & Biscayne National Parks

Appell, David Paul FrommerMedia ePub


The Everglades & Biscayne National Parks

The vast ecosystem of Everglades National Park—and most of South Florida, really—is a shallow, 40-mile-wide, slow-moving river. Its current 11⁄2 million acres (less than 20% of its mass when preserved in 1947) remain one of few places to see endangered American crocodiles, leatherback turtles, and West Indian manatees. Take your time: The rustling of a bush might be a tiny, red-throated anole lizard; that splash of purple might be a mule-ear orchid.

Active Pursuits    Popular day hikes like the Coastal Prairie and Gumbo Limbo trails wind through canopies of cypress and gumbo-limbo trees and past waterways with alligators and pink-hued roseate spoonbills. Shark Valley is South Florida’s most scenic biking trail, a flat, paved route frequented by sunbathing alligators and turtles. Canoeing through the Everglades allows serene, close-up views of this jungle-like ecosystem.

Flora & Fauna    A river of saw grass marks Everglades National Park, punctuated with islands of gumbo-limbo hammocks, royal palms, and pale, delicate orchids. The Anhinga Trail teems with native wildlife: the swallowtail butterfly, American crocodile, leatherback turtle, West Indian manatee, and, rarely, the Florida panther.

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Brooke, Anna E. FrommerMedia ePub

Notre-Dame Cathedral’s western facade.The Best in One DayThis whirlwind 1-day tour covers everything I would want to see if I had only 24 hours in the City of Light. Start at the stately Place de la Concorde, then spend some time with the Musée d’Orsay’s 19th-century masterpieces. Enjoy strolling the narrow cobblestone streets of Paris’s islands before touring the iconic Cathédrale de Notre-Dame. Relax at a cafe in Saint-Germain for pre-dinner drinks, and end the day with a moonlit Seine cruise. It’s an ambitious itinerary, so start early and wear comfortable shoes. START: Métro to Concorde.❶ ★★ Place de la Concorde. From the city’s largest square, you get immediate Paris gratification. First, admire the view of the Eiffel Tower, and then position yourself to see down the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe, a monument to Napoleon’s conquests. Behind you are the Tuileries gardens and the Louvre museum. In the center of the square stands the 3,300-year-old Luxor Obelisk (a gift from Egypt in 1829), placed near the spot where Queen Marie-Antoinette was guillotined in 1793 during the Revolution. To your left, you’ll see the Madeleine Church (see p 15)—a mirror image of the Assemblée Nationale across the Seine (home to the lower house of the French Parliament). This lovely viewpoint is your own instant postcard. Welcome to Paris.  10 min. Go early in the morning to avoid crowds or just after sunset to see the edifices aglow. Free admission. Métro: Concorde.

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Fran Golden FrommerMedia ePub


OTHER RIver cruise lines

As we stated in the previous chapter, there are a lot of river cruise companies out there (more than you probably ever realized or imagined!). In this chapter we are going to introduce the other major players.

Many of these companies are specialized in a specific region of river cruising, such as U.S. rivers (American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Company, for instance) or Southeast Asia rivers (such as Pandaw River Expeditions). Some of them are also predomi nantly “wholesale” river cruise lines, meaning they own and operate the ships but most of their inventory is actually leased or chartered out to river cruise lines or travel companies you’re more familiar with—Chinese company Century Cruises is a perfect example of this as it sells its ships through Uniworld and Avalon, among others.

If you go online to search for river cruises, and you find a company that is not listed in one of these two chapters, chances are it either doesn’t cater to American travelers (we aren’t the only ones who are crazy about river cruising), is very, very small, or, most probably, is a river cruise reseller, companies that contract with river cruise lines for a certain amount of inventory and then resell that inventory (see box on p. 146 for more on those companies).

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2. The Best Full-Day, Three-Day, One Week & Ten-Day Tours

Jeanette Foster FrommerMedia ePub
You could spend weeks on Oahu without running out of things to do, but it’s possible to see the highlights of this romantic isle in just 3 days. Following this tour will let you see the best of Oahu, from Waikiki to the North Shore. You’ll definitely need to rent a car, so remember to plan for that cost. Each day begins and ends in Waikiki, which, like most urban cities, has traffic congestion, so allow plenty of travel time, especially during rush hour. START: Waikiki. Trip Length: 109-mile (175km) loop. Day 1 Waikiki Beach. You’ll never forget your first steps onto the powdery sands of this world-famous beach. If you’re just off the plane, plan to spread your towel on the beach, take in the smell of the salt air, feel the warm breeze on your skin, and relax; you’re in Hawaii. Go to page. Walk down Waikiki Beach toward Diamond Head. Bus: 20. See All Chapters
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9 Planning Your Trip

Christine Delsol FrommerMedia ePub


Planning Your Trip

Great vacations begin with solid pre-trip research. This chapter contains practical information to help with that preparation; more specific details about navigating and finding local resources are in the “Essentials” section of both the Los Angeles and San Diego chapters.

When to Go

Tourism peaks during summer, when coastal hotels fill to capacity, restaurant reservations are scarce, and top attractions are packed with visitors and locals off from work or school. Summer can be stifling in the inland valleys, but the beach communities almost always remain comfortable. Moderate temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower hotel rates make travel to Southern California most pleasurable from early autumn to late spring. What rain the region gets generally falls between November and April and is practically unheard-of between May and November. Even in January—usually the wettest month—daytime temperatures reach into the mid-60s Fahrenheit (high teens Celsius) and sometimes higher.

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