"You would literally have to leave the United States to find a better place," says Tampa Bay resident Andrew, a retired, ex-military Uber driver who chose the area as his forever home after travelling much of the world. Despite the enthusiastic description I was given early in my trip, 'best place in the US' isn't necessarily a title you would associate with Tampa when planning a trip to the land of the free. New York and California stand out to us tourists across the pond, and if you're booking for Florida, it's likely you'll be drawn to Orlando and Miami. In fact, you might have to pull out a map to find out where Tampa Bay is. But that's changing. This rapidly-growing city, located on Florida's west coast, is fighting hard to become a powerhouse in tourism with its innovative Riverwalk, cultured restaurants and endless attractions, clear sea and white sand, all to be enjoyed in the sizzling heat. 'Shiny, clean and new' are the first words that sprung to mind when I arrived, and … [Read more...] about The unshakable excitement of Florida’s hidden gem Tampa Bay
Which caribbean island has the best food
The pull of Antigua is real: boats are drawn here by the trade winds and currents which work their way across the Atlantic Ocean. The island is a popular destination for Trans-Atlantic vessels: after sailing for weeks across the ocean you will first lay eyes on the volcanic island of Montserrat which glows red before lush, mountainous Antigua appears, offering the first port of refuge from winds and waves which have gathered over 3000 of open ocean. This means there is always a welcome or leaving party going on and every sailor is encouraged to join. Antigua is an old haunt for generations of sailors, back from the days of Nelson, and for good reason. Regardless of whether or not you come to the island to sail, it has the air of a safe haven about it: verdant colours, white sand and an infectiously laid back atmosphere. English Harbour English Harbour, Antigua English Harbour, in particular the historic Nelson’s Dockyard is an iconic spot to visit, typically … [Read more...] about Antigua: the island with a beach for every day of the year
THE COCAINE THAT WASHES IN FROM THE SEA The last man you come across in Mexico can be found at the following coordinates: 18º 12’ 9” N and 87º 50’ 36” W. He is almost always there working on his rooftop terrace. His name is Don Luis and his home faces the Caribbean Sea beyond the ubiquitous mangrove swamp. If you walk five minutes to the right, you are in a different country, but if you go left, you are in Xcalak in an hour – the first town within the Mexican border. Don Luis is a muscular 58-year-old with dark hair and a moustache, and whose isolated dwelling is situated on one of oddest borders in the world. It is a line that divides a 99-kilometer strip of land into southeast Mexico and Belize, otherwise known as a key, which runs parallel to the Belize coastline. A military base marks the division between the countries. Mexico has 62 kilometers with barely a soul on them while Belize owns 37 kilometers crammed with tourists. The last man in … [Read more...] about The dark side of the Caribbean
1. Dog's bay, Co GalwayNot so much a beach as a long crescent of sand back-to-back with another beaut of a silvery bay, Gurteen. Both have white sand made of tiny particles of seashell and between them you'll always find shelter from the summer breeze. Après beach: Rent kayaks at Gurteen beach by the car park. Eat: Drive to Roundstone House Hotel for a pint and slice of banoffee pie (roundstonehousehotel.com) or sup chowder at O'Dowd's. 2. Inchavore, Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow Cling to the side, alright, it's a lakeside beach, and you have to clamber down to it, but with the steep sides of Inchavore valley rising around you, the lake stretching before you, birch trees behind you, this is a fantastic beach for a picnic and chilly swim - and chances are you'll have it all to yourself. Getting there: Follow the instructions for Inchavore Valley Short Hike on loughdan.com. Après beach: Warm up by going trekking with Wicklow Equestrian. wicklowequestrian.ie. Eat: Roundwood Inn for … [Read more...] about Ireland’s 30 best beaches: Make the most of the sunshine!
JUST two days in to our first ever cruise and my wife is already picking up the nautical language. As I walk off to get my third plateful from the cold meats buffet in P&O Azura’s Verona restaurant, she calls after me in a salty seadog voice: “Avast behind!” Very funny. But all this wonderful food isn’t going to eat itself, you know. A pal who’s an old hand at cruising says life on board a ship revolves around an itinerary. And don’t I just know it. Full English breakfast at 9am. Lunch about one-ish. High tea at 4pm. Drinks and an aperitif at 6pm. Three-course dinner around 8.30pm. Nightcap in one of the bars afterwards. And that doesn’t factor in the mid-morning snack and those post-lunch-pre-tea drinks and nibbles either. Carry on like this for a week and I’ll probably find myself heaving to, long before the Azura has to . . . I am really flinging myself into this cruising lark and … [Read more...] about Caribbean cruise is a feast of fun, food and adventure