Romance Travel Blog
The Latest Information on Destination Weddings, Honeymoons, Anniversaries and Romantic Getaways
Hot Springs Around the World
Defined by the Dictionary as “a spring of naturally hot water, typically heated by subterranean volcanic activity,” hot springs are some of the Earth’s most magnificent features. And, with their warm temperatures, curious odors and colorful waters, hot springs are some of the world’s most mystical features too with ancient cultures and some modern folk believing the intriguing waters to hold magical properties.
Whatever they believe, travelers can experience the wonder of hot springs for themselves at popular destinations across the globe. From the jungles of Indonesia to the remote lands of Alaska, a visit to one of these incredible formations makes for an unforgettable experience.
Banjar Hot Springs, Indonesia
While many hot springs are associated with frigid temperatures and arctic climates, these natural wonders are found in warm-weather destinations too. A prime example is Indonesia’s Banjar Hot Springs, a series of sulfuric pools hidden within the region’s lush jungle landscape.
Stone dragons carved into the wall of Banjar Hot Springs' first hot pool. (Photo courtesy of Banjar Hot Springs)
Reaching temps up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, visitors can treat themselves to a day of rest and relaxation as they bop between the complex’s three pools, two of which are adorned with stone-carved dragon spouts. In addition to soaking their worries away, visitors can explore Banjar Hot Springs’ colorful tropical gardens, enjoy refreshing bites or continue the pampering at the onsite spa.
Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
An enchanting show with its iridescent shades of purple, blue and green, millions of people visit Alaska each year for their chance to witness the Aurora Borealis (aka the Northern Lights). And of all the places in The Great North to experience this incredible natural wonder, Fairbanks — with its placement under the “Auroral Oval” — is one of the best. To make a magical experience even more amazing, visitors can make the trek to Chena Hot Springs Resort, a complex with guest rooms, a full-service spa, an onsite restaurant, and, most importantly, access to The Chena Hot Springs where viewing the Northern Lights is taken to an entirely new level.
Chena Hot Springs in the summer. (Photo by Jacob Boomsma courtesy of Conde Nast Traveler)
Composed of a variety of minerals — including silica, iron, aluminum and calcium —, the waters within the Chena Hot Springs are believed to hold natural healing properties. And due to their intriguing nature, people have flocked to the wellness wonder for centuries. From the region’s indigenous people to residents of the Lower 48 and international visitors, the Chena Hot Springs are a worthwhile attraction all year round.
Fun fact: Besides the hot springs, visitors to Chena Hot Springs Resort can explore the complex’s Aurora Ice Museum and Ice Bar.
Kerosene Creek, New Zealand
A natural treasure hidden 35 minutes south of the city of Rotorua, New Zealand’s Kerosene Creek is a geothermal stream dotted with gentle cascades, rocky outcroppings and majestic woodland scenery. Presenting no shortage of cozy spots to bathe and relax, the stream’s toasty waters have attracted visitors and locals alike for centuries.
One of the small cascades at Kerosene Creek. (Photo by Jess Sinn courtesy of The Outbound Collective)
With a name like Kerosene Creek, it’s hard not to stop and wonder if the area is safe for swimming. Alas, visitors need not worry as the creek was named for its smell, the result of which is due to the mixing of ancient volcanic chemicals. However, as an added safety note, 100% Pure New Zealand (the New Zealand tourism authority) reminds travelers they should take care not to put their heads underwater due to the possible presence of amoebas and potentially harmful bacteria (Note: this is a rule of thumb for many hot springs).
Kraus Hot Springs, Canada
Only accessible via Canada’s Nahanni River, Kraus Hot Springs rewards adventurous travelers with its sweeping mountain views and steamy temperatures — a welcome retreat from the region’s sometimes frigid climate. To ensure visitors arrive at their destination safely, it is strongly recommended travelers look to a licensed raft or canoe guide to help them navigate the sometimes-unpredictable waters leading to this magnificent spot.
A man enjoys the scenery at Kraus Hot Springs. (Photo courtesy of Booking.com)
Again, the voyage is nothing short of intrepid, but well worth the effort. In fact, Kraus Hot Springs is located within the borders of Nahanni National Park Reserve — a park turned UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 — a region considered by many to be one of the most scenic places in all of Canada’s Northwest Territory.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, New Mexico
A series of dreamy thermal springs set amongst the scorching desert landscape; New Mexico’s Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs bring a refreshing touch to the region’s otherwise dry climate. And Ojo Caliente, with its pure, natural spring waters, has long been admired — first by Native peoples and distant tribes who believed the spot to be sacred, and then by Spanish explorers and medical professionals who hoped to use the springs’ natural properties for healing purposes.
A pool overlooking the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs. (Photo courtesy of Ojo Spa Resorts)
Today, the area continues to draw attention with people flocking to the mystical waters in search of a rejuvenating experience. To access Ojo Caliente, travelers can visit Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa where they can book a stay, spa experience or simply soak in the legendary pools.
Sky Lagoon, Iceland
Home to over 45 natural hot springs and more than 200 swimming pools, it is safe to say the Land of Fire and Ice is an ideal destination for travelers looking to experience Earth’s geothermal wonders. One of the newer hot spring resorts and spas in the area is Sky Lagoon, an impressive complex that treats visitors to “a voyage through Icelandic bathing culture.”
An aerial shot of Iceland's Sky Lagoon. (Photo courtesy of Guide to Iceland)
So, what exactly does that look like? According to Sky Lagoon, it all comes down to a seven-step ritual guests will undergo during their visit: The Lagoon, Glacier Pool, Sauna, Energizing Mist, Cleansing Scrub, Steam and Shower — All of which takes place from the comfort of a 229-foot infinity pool overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean. After they feel sufficiently soaked, guests can fill up on food and drink at Sky Lagoon’s three onsite offerings — Smakk Bar, Lagoon Bar and Sky Cafe.
Takaragawa Onsen, Japan
A collection of four open-air baths set alongside the Takara River, Takaragawa Onsen is a cozy escape situated on the borders of Joshin’etsukogen and Oze National Parks. Scenic in every sense of the word, a vibrant canopy of trees lines the banks, changing colors with the seasons. Snowcapped mountaintops peak through the trees making it hard to believe this natural escape is just a few hours north of the busy streets of Tokyo.
Japan's Takaragawa Onsen in the winter. (Photo courtesy of Booking.com)
Travelers looking to extend their stay can opt to spend the night as Takaragawa Onsen offers a variety of rooms in its Main Hall, Annex and East Buildings. Additionally, visitors will find onsite dining options and a Courtesy Bus with shuttle options from Minakami and Jomo-Kogen Stations makes visiting this natural gem easy and convenient.
Termas Geométricas, Chile
The culmination of the waters of more than 60 springs, Chile’s Termas Geométricas Hot Spring Complex is like something out of a dream with its bountiful jungle scenery, jagged cliffsides and bright red elevated walkways. The complex consists of 18 stone pools of varying sizes and totals around 1,640 feet. During their visit, guests will notice wood and other natural materials used throughout the design, a choice made by architect Germán del Sol to bring “the baths to geometry to achieve a harmonious whole.”
An aerial shot of Geométricas Hot Spring Complex's red bridges and pools. (Photo courtesy of Geométricas Hot Spring Complex)
in addition to achieving harmony with the world around them, visitors will find The Quincho, an onsite restaurant serving culinary favorites like pizza, sandwiches, salads and soup. Then, to cool off, guests can trek to the site’s natural waterfall where they will find refreshment in its rushing waters. To learn more visit https://bit.ly/3sRp6bF.
Now Is The Time To Book Your Winter Getaway
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The festive season will be on us in the blink of an eye, and our homes are already selling fast. Whether you want to sink your toes into the sand, go on an alpine adventure, or take a break full of culture and charm, now is the time to book the perfect home away from home for you and your loved ones.
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Sandals Virtual Wedding Party September 2023
Europe: Be Ready for New Visa-Free Registration Requirement
If you are planning to travel to Europe in 2024, you may be required to register your travel online prior to departure. Although no official date has been announced, it's likely if you plan to travel to Europe later in the year you may be required to register.
Under the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), American passport holders traveling to 30 European countries will need to register online prior to travel for short trips to the countries of the Schengen Zone. No visa is required for those who qualify for travel under ETIAS.
The application isn't open yet, but the European Union says that when it is, all necessary forms can be filled out via a web portal or mobile app and will cost 7 Euros (about $8 U.S.). We are in the process of updating our documents and marketing to alert travelers and advisors of this upcoming change and will continue to update as more information becomes available.
To book your Europe vacation contact Tyus Tours & Travel at 866-547-5362.
Presented by The Romance Specialist from Sandals & Beaches Resorts
Wednesday, August 9, 2023, at 6 pm EST (5 pm CST, 3 pm PST)
Wednesday, August 23, 2023, at 6 pm EST (5 pm CST, 3 pm PST)
Grab your fiancé and log-in to the best FREE Wedding soiree online!
Learn the latest information from the Romance Specialist at Sandals Resorts and receive inside tips about throwing the ultimate Wedding in the Caribbean. Plus, we'll have an exclusive booking incentive of up to $250 Spa credit for the Bride and Groom.
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The Top 9 Things To Do In Aruba
Welcome to the ‘A’ of the ABC Islands, located just miles off the coast of South America. Aruba boasts warm Caribbean waters that kiss white sand beaches. Cruise the Island by land or take on the adventure by sea.
The only thing easier than navigating our happy island is letting a local show you around Aruba they know and love.
1. Let your inner kid out with an adventurous guided tour of the island.
A tour of the island with a local tour guide is the easiest way to fit Aruba’s sights in a small time frame. The most popular is the jeep tour, which will get you to the island’s most secluded and unique sight: Conchi, Aruba’s Natural Pool! Jeep tours will also take you to other incredible spots on the island, such as the California Lighthouse, Bushiribana ruins, Mysterious caves, Baby beach, Alto Vista Chapel, and much more. Picture it! Aruba’s desert-like outback, with the beautiful blue ocean backdrop. It’s a sight to see! With so many Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, it’s perfect for making and capturing memories. If you are more of an active type, you can also go the bike tour route. Aruba has so many adventure tours to choose from!
If off-road adventures are not your thing, many tour companies also offer air-conditioned tours of the island filled with history and culture. These tours also stop at some of Aruba’s must-see sights. However, they are limited to staying on the main roads. You’ll see our Butterfly Farm, the California Lighthouse, Casibari Rock Formations, and more! Aside from historical sights, you may also want to see the beautiful murals in San Nicolas! View mural guided tours here. You won't feel FOMO for choosing the more laid-back version of Aruba’s island tour.
2. DIY Tour: Explore Aruba by car, bike, or electric scooter
Aruba is relatively easy to navigate on your own as is. With the myAruba app, it’s even more accessible. You can easily create a custom itinerary by saving your must-visit places and activities. These include places to explore, eat, stay, play, relax, and more. When you view your planned-out itinerary, myAruba will show you how to navigate your trip by foot or by (motorized) vehicle. If the sights you want to visit are not within walking distance of the port, we suggest you rent a car, bike, or electric scooter for your short visit. What’s great about using the myAruba app is that you can keep track of the time you have left before heading back to the cruise terminal and still try to fit an extra stop in if possible. You can, of course, create your own.
3. The most insta-worthy spots to visit
What’s the best part of any trip? Of course, getting to experience new things, relax, and spend time with your loved ones! But what’s the 2nd best part? Getting to show off your adventures on your social media! Aruba is the perfect place to beautify your grid and make your followers just a little bit jealous. Take the perfect shot in front of the many murals in San Nicolas or the iconic stairs at Rodger’s Beach. This blog will help you choose the best Instagram spots on the island:
Do it for the gram: 12 Instagrammable spots in Aruba.
4. Beach hopping some of the Caribbean’s best beaches
One of the perks of visiting different islands by cruise is the ability to explore all the various beaches in a short period. In just a few days, you can say you’ve been to many beautiful locations that others only see on social media and dream about. Let’s stop for a second and feel how lucky we are. Ahhh…mazing! You are not dreaming! Let’s start the beach hopping, shall we? You can easily take a bus (L10A) near the cruise terminal for the beaches mentioned on the North Coast. However, it can be a little tricky for the South side. You must take a taxi or rental car to visit those beaches. Remember that you can’t get on a bus or taxi if you are wet. Make sure you are completely dried off before stepping in.
North Coast beaches in Aruba
TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Award Winner for #1 Best Beach in the Caribbean and 2 best worldwide! Eagle beach must be on your beach-hopping list! It is the widest and longest white sandy beach in Aruba. You can stop by “Truck di Mama” for lunch if you're feeling snacky while there.
Tres trapi Beach
Some places take your breath away. Tres Trapi beach is one of those places. A small cove with a rustic set of stairs leading to the cutest little beach. The clear blue waters beg you to come in for a swim. You might even see turtles!
Arashi beach is popular among locals and visitors alike. Beautiful white beach on the way to the California Lighthouse. It’s great for swimming and families. If you want to do some snorkeling, this is the spot you need to be on the North Coast.
South Side Beaches in Aruba
Speaking of snorkeling, Mangel Halto’s clear water is really something to write home about. Known for its calm, shallow waters, rich in sea life. You can also go kayaking, surrounded by mangroves. It is a magical place.
With its iconic stairs and beautiful blue ocean backdrop, Rodger’s Beach is a must-stop on your list. Just ignore the oil refinery in the back, okay?
One of the most popular beaches on the island, Baby Beach is truly a unique experience. Also known as “Little Lagoon,” Baby Beach has shallow water throughout the lagoon, making it fun for kids! Don’t let the shallowness fool you, though! Strong currents may pull you out if you go out too far. This may be dangerous to inexperienced swimmers.
5. Take a kite surfing lesson.
Kiteboarding is a watersport that uses wind power with a large kite to pull a rider across water, land, or snow. You can imagine the sport as windsurfing meets snowboarding. ????The sport is gaining popularity worldwide, with over 1.5 million kite surfers practicing the sport today. Many visitors even travel to Aruba solely to do so! First, you don’t need to be a strong man or woman, boy or girl, to start your kiteboarding journey. You can start as young as ten years old and up to 75 years young, depending on your weight, mobility, focus, and, most importantly, with the right equipment choice by your instructor. With the right kite and instructor, nearly everyone can learn to kitesurf. Basic swimming skills are, of course, necessary to practice any watersport. Learn more about kite surfing in Aruba:
Watersport? Yes, but make it extreme. Let's go kiteboarding in Aruba!
6. Eat, Drink & Chill on Aruba
Let’s be honest. Sometimes you just want to eat and chill. That’s part of what a cruise is about. Heck, that’s even part of what Aruba’s about. For me, at least. But let’s change it up! We’re going to get our lazy booties off the boat to eat and chill on the island. Aruba has plenty of good food to go around.
Let’s start with an Aruban classic: The Pastechi. You can find pastechis all around the island, including near the cruise terminal. You'll get many different answers if you ask a local where to eat the best pastechi. Everyone has a favorite!
Next up, you’ll have to get a taxi or rental car. Get ready to chill with fresh fish, seafood, drinks, and a view of Zeerovers. If you’re not in a seafood mood, let’s continue towards Seroe Colorado to Kamini’s Kitchen for some delicious curries and other Caribbean cuisines. The flavors and spices will blow your (metaphorical) socks off! Next stop, Rum Reef, for some refreshing island cocktails overlooking Baby Beach. Because, hey, it’s been an active day, and you deserve a break.
Stop at The Dutch Pancakehouse at The Marketplace for a sweet treat. Have you ever had poffertjes? The mini pancakes served with powdered sugar are the best way to end your eat & chill day on the island.
7. Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
If exploring the island on land is not your thing, why not explore Aruba underwater? Aruba snorkeling is an experience that is easy to do yet enriches you with memories for a lifetime. Lucky ones can even meet with one of the island’s four sea turtle species slowly swimming by. Check out the best beaches for snorkeling in Aruba.
8. Visit Arikok National Park
In the Fontein cave situated in the Arikok National Park and at the Ayo Rock Formation you can also see their Arawak drawings and carvings. These paintings suggest that the Caquetios Indians may have come to the island after fleeing attacks from the Caribs, also known as the Kalian people, who are indigenous to the northern part of South America. The Caquetios Indians were still on the island when it was discovered by Spanish explorers.
Indian cave drawings in Fontein Cave
9. Oranjestad Aruba | The Capital of Aruba
Oranjestad is a unique blend of old and new that lends a distinctive charm to Aruba’s capital.
A bustling harbor city, Oranjestad’s streets and malls are dotted with international luxury retailers, diverse boutiques, and dazzling jewelry stores. Fascinating restored landmark buildings are found along the way, such as the green “stadhuis” housing the City Hall where legal marriages are performed.
A scenic linear park lines the coast from Oranjestad to the airport. A new state-of-the-art tram begins at the cruise terminal, meandering through town, all along the sparkling new landscaped Main Street. Oranjestad is also a jumping nightlife mecca, filled with restaurants, cafes, clubs, lounges, bars and casinos.
Fort Zoutman, Aruba’s oldest building dating back to 1798, was built to protect the city from pirates. The Willem III Tower was built in 1868, once a lighthouse and public clock tower. The Historical Museum, positioned between the two buildings, houses a permanent exhibition outlining the main events in Aruban history and changing themed exhibitions. Stay in town for the Bon Bini Festival on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm in the outdoor courtyard. Enjoy the island’s history, traditionally-costumed folkloric dancers, local music, culinary specialties and local art.
The historic Ecury family home in downtown Oranjestad has been transformed to house the Archeological Museum, an impressive modern museum that strikingly presents Aruba’s Amerindian cultural heritage and archeological finds.
Inspiring monuments honoring political leaders Jan Hendrik Albert (Henny) Eman, Cornelis Albert (Shon A. Eman, and Betico Croes) are found near the Parliament building. The statue of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands resides in a park carrying her name. World War II heroes Boy Ecury, and the National Guard and volunteers, are also honored.
The Cas di Cultura is Aruba’s national theatre, where local and international artists perform throughout the year.
Aruba’s economy was once dependent upon aloe. The Aloe Museum and Factory, located at the Hato Plantation outside of town that dates back to 1890, tells the fascinating story.
Getting around downtown Oranjestad has never been easier or more fun with the addition of a state-of-the-art tram, inaugurated in 2012. Connecting the cruise ship terminal with the center of town, the tram passes through the Main Street, now totally remodeled and an attractive pedestrian mall. The tram makes six stops, at monuments and museums along the way, as well as at key shopping areas. In 2015 Oranjestad has welcomed the new cultural/historical project Paardenbaai Aruba, which features 8 blue horses showcased around the downtown area.
Our capital of Oranjestad Aruba, holds historical evidence of our resilient past and is developing rapidly towards a prosperous future.
There are so many things to do in Oranjestad, from cultural activities to shopping and dining. Feel free to explore the city center by trolley to get to know the shopping areas.
You will find some great Oranjestad restaurants near the trolley’s path too. If you’re staying at one of the Oranjestad Resorts, you are in a perfect location to enjoy everything Aruba has to offer.
From beautiful beaches to exciting cuisine and fun activities for the entire family! Staying at one of the Oranjestad hotels or vacation rentals is a great idea!
Antigua & Barbuda Festival
Antigua and Barbuda Carnival 2023
An Unforgettable Fusion of Culture, Color & Excitement
Come and experience the Caribbean's greatest summer festival in Antigua and Barbuda!
When you think about Antigua, the first thing that comes to mind is the opulent, tropical climate, and the sweet, majestic scent of the all-year-round ocean breeze. While this touristic destination is pleased to boast about its 365 beaches, one step on the coral sand is merely the beginning of its wide product offerings. During the warm summer months, once you have taken the opportunity to set foot on Antigua's shores, you are automatically given an all-access pass to explore the richest cultural event – Carnival!
Immerse Yourself in Carnival
From July 27th to August 8th, Antigua and Barbuda come alive with the pulsating rhythms, dazzling costumes, and contagious energy of Carnival. Join locals and visitors alike in a jubilant celebration of our rich cultural heritage.
Parade of the Bands/Last Lap
The highlight of Carnival is the Parade of the Bands, on August 8th in St. John's city. Marvel at the vibrant costumes adorned with feathers, sequins, and intricate designs as revelers dance to the infectious soca beats.
Embrace the spirit of J'ouvert Morning, a pre-dawn street party where participants cover themselves in paint, mud, or powder. Dance through the streets alongside locals, letting loose and forging unforgettable memories
Calypso and Soca Competitions
Delight in the lyrical storytelling and infectious rhythms of Calypso and Soca music by attending the exhilarating competitions held throughout Carnival. Witness the fierce talent as performers vie for the coveted titles.
Unleash Your Adventurous Side with Watersports
Antigua and Barbuda, known as the "Land of 365 Beaches," offers a myriad of thrilling water sports activities to keep your adrenaline pumping. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and explore the underwater wonders or conquer the waves with heart-racing adventures.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Discover a world beneath the waves as you snorkel or scuba dive in our pristine coral reefs. Encounter vibrant marine life, colorful coral formations, and maybe even spot a sea turtle or two.
Kiteboarding and Windsurfing
Harness the power of the wind and ride the waves with kiteboarding or windsurfing. The steady trade winds and warm waters provide the perfect conditions for adrenaline junkies seeking an exhilarating experience.
Jet Skiing and Parasailing
Feel the rush as you zoom across the waves on a jet ski or soar high above the azure sea with parasailing. These activities offer a fantastic blend of excitement and breathtaking views of our stunning coastline.
Plan Your Carnival Adventure
To make the most of Antigua and Barbuda Carnival 2023, plan your trip in advance. Secure your accommodations, book water sports activities through local operators, and immerse yourself in the Carnival events and festivities.
Remember to prioritize safety by wearing appropriate gear and following the guidance of experienced instructors for water sports activities. Stay hydrated, use sunscreen, and respect the marine environment as you enjoy these thrilling experiences.
Antigua and Barbuda Carnival 2023 promise a unique fusion of cultural celebrations, and exciting water sports. Join us on this exhilarating journey where vibrant traditions and aquatic adventures come together for an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Caribbean.
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