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Caribbean Coast

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

Sun-soaked and stewed in culture, Colombia's dramatic Caribbean coastline is its dazzling crown, capping the country with myriad ecosystems, from the dense jungles of the Darién Gap on the border with Panama to the barren desert of La Guajira near Venezuela.

The crown jewel along the coast is Cartagena, a colonial city with a beauty and romance that's unrivaled anywhere in Colombia, despite the enormous numbers of visitors it attracts. A yet undiscovered version can be enjoyed by journeying inland to find gorgeously isolated colonial Mompox, a sleepy hamlet lost in the jungle and whose star is truly in the ascendant. Other attractions are more natural: the Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) Tayrona, a wonderful stretch of perfect beach and virgin rainforest, and the thrilling and arduous Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) trek, which will satisfy adventurers wanting to discover the remnants of an ancient civilization against a stunning mountain backdrop.

ADec & Jan The beaches are at their best at Christmas as the humidity drops.

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Medium 9781743603611

9 Freighter Travel 101

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

  9  

FREIGHTER TRAVEL 101

Hop aboard a cargo ship for a unique and green alternative to flying

GROUND WORK

These mighty vessels sail between the world’s container ports and several shipping firms are happy to bring a limited amount of SLF (self-loading freight, or passengers to you and I) along for the ride. Forget working your passage: you’ll pay your way no matter how handy you are with paintbrush or broom.

Journeys on freighters aren’t cruises. Passengers are left to their own devices to while away the days, and mealtimes are simple affairs, taken with the crew. When in port, which is usually a long way from city centres and often not in desperately desirable parts of the world, passengers need to make their own arrangements to have a look around.

Sailings are good value – costing around US$130 per day at sea – and you’ll often need to book up to a year or more in advance. Want to know more? In the US, try TravLTips (www.travltips.com); Cruise People (www.cruisepeople.co.uk) are a UK expert; and Freighter Travel NZ (www.freightertravel.co.nz) throughout Australia, NZ and the Pacific.

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6 Covered!

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

  6  

COVERED!

What to look for in a travel insurance policy

Travel insurance will hopefully be something you don’t have to worry about at all when travelling – but it is certainly something you need to sort out before you leave.

1 Be covered for where you’re going This sounds obvious, but check that your cover will apply where you’re going, especially if you’re visiting popular destinations just outside what may be considered Europe, like Morocco and Turkey.  

2 …and what you’re doing Attempting to ski? Trying climbing? Make sure your cover extends to that. Read the policy carefully to see if there are restrictions relating to, for example, going off-piste.

3 How much cover? It may seem like your medical provision amounts to mind-boggling millions that you will never need, but remember this is worst-case-scenario stuff. The highest levels of cover are worth it if you’re going to the USA, where health care is expensive.

4 Take your documents – and a copy Travel with your insurance documents, and also have a copy on email you can access. Make sure you store the contact number of your insurer in your phone.

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Medium 9781743215524

Maastricht & Southeastern Netherlands

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

Things are different below the rivers. Product of their embattled histories (the Rhine formed the Romans' northern border), the provinces of Noord Brabant and Limburg have a distinctly southern character: more Catholic, more relaxed and, in the case of Limburg, hillier. Among the obvious southern influences are a preference for good beer and food, as embodied in the concept bourgondisch: eating and drinking with a verve worthy of the epicurean inhabitants of France's Burgundy.

Maastricht's medieval ramparts and delicate brick towers, its polyglot inhabitants and its role in brokering the Eurozone all suggest a closer kinship with Europe than that of any Dutch town. And the hilly terrain to the east makes for uniquely panoramic (if strenuous) cycling and hiking.

Noord Brabant is an intoxicating combination of historically ambient towns like Den Bosch and Breda, and younger urban centres like Tilburg and Eindhoven which are forging new identities as havens of culture and technology, yet all within cycling distance of supremely tranquil landscapes.

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Medium 9781742207575

Directory A–Z

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

For more accommodation reviews by Lonely Planet authors, check out http://lonelyplanet.com/hotels/. You’ll find independent reviews, as well as recommendations on the best places to stay. Best of all, you can book online.

In the Baltic, the Eastern Bloc bedtime blues are a thing of the past. Many hotels have been renovated and though there are still a few grey Soviet monsters lurking about, nowadays plenty of other options are available. The capitals tend to have the best range – from hostels to international hotel chains – but things can get tight on summer weekends.

Generally speaking, hostels, camp sites and cheaper guesthouses fall into the budget category; most of the guesthouses and the less expensive hotels are rated midrange; and top-end places include the ritzier hotels and boutique properties. In the capitals, especially Tallinn, it's hard to come by a decent double in the budget category, but competition is fierce, so in most cases you should be able to find something after a bit of online research.

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