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Every trip to the South Seas should include a treasure hunt for the perfect pearl. The beautiful flexibility of the Tahitian black pearl is that it can be worn, strung on a rope of leather cord, or á la Cleopatra, with one baroque globe the size of a gumball, dangling from each ear. No matter how you wear them, the magic of pearls sets the skin aglow. It’s no wonder women have treasured them throughout the millennia. Our friends at Paul Gauguin Cruises have put together a helpful guide to choosing that perfect pearl.
Purchasing pearls like a pro is easy if you remember the five measurements of shine, surface, shape, size, and shade.
HOW TO BUY PEARLS
Start with the luminous outer coating of the pearl. It’s called nacre and is what gives the gem its shine. The thicker the coating, the more lustrous the pearl. Next, it’s important to have a smooth surface. The fewer the surface flaws, the more valuable the pearl. Tahitian black pearls come in a variety of shapes: round, circle, button, oval, and baroque. Choose what suits you. Large pearls are not very common so the larger the size of the pearl, the more valuable it is. The last measure is color. Tahitian pearls are most commonly found in the hues of charcoal, silver, and dark green. For a more exotic and valuable gem, choose one in peacock, rose, or rainbow.
Whatever style you are drawn to, we hope that you enjoy the treasure hunt that is finding that perfect pearl. May the adventure to find it be a treasured memory.
Are you a website designer? Trying to launch your own business in the midst of quarantine life?
We wanted to take a few moments and share a new program that we've been enjoying!
Take a look at Baamboo Studio!
Baamboo Studio is full of great Weebly apps and themes to make building your business website a breeze. There are free and paid for options that will set your business apart while being so easy to use, every level of designer will be able to make the appropriate modifications with ease.
We know you don't want to be spending hours upon hours creating that perfect aesthetic. So, if you haven't found a platform that works for you, give Weebly a try and add Baamboo Studio elements for that extra design upgrade.
Happy website building!
Yes, it’s a bit of a silly word, a close-to-clever portmanteau invented by some inspired blogger. But still, at the heart of “vaxication” — vacation experiences that vaccinated travelers can enjoy right now — is more than just a popular internet idea.
Inside that word is hope, excitement, relief and relaxation. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel, a tunnel that you step out from to find yourself basking in the sun on a palm-fringed beach. It’s the much-needed respite you need after the long, challenging year we’ve had. It’s the dream you’ve been having to be free and to explore and to dive into new cultures — finally realized.
If you’re fully vaccinated, this might be your opportunity to travel with confidence again. Currently, more than 117 million Americans are fully vaccinated, with numbers rising higher every day. As a result of this dedication to safety, countries around the world have opened their borders to vaccinated travelers, including the Bahamas, Barbados, Croatia, Iceland and Tahiti with more adding to that list each week. Read about these vaccinated friendly destinations in our Visit Now article below.
The European Commission announced plans to end a year-long travel ban and open its doors to vaccinated American travelers as soon as this summer. Also beginning this summer, cruise lines are launching engaging itineraries to bucket-list destinations, but only for vaccinated guests. If getting your vaccination scheduled is still on your to do list, maybe the idea of traveling again is the incentive you need.
Whenever you do decide to travel again, please contact our agency for assistance. We can provide up-to-date information so you can make informed choices, and also help you understand all COVID-19 travel requirements, cancellation policies, and refund options. Plus, we know a thousand ways to make your vacation simply amazing.
For now, read on and dream on! Then let’s go … on a Vaxication!
DESTINATIONS VACCINATED TRAVELERS CAN VISIT
Have you been fully vaccinated and are ready to conquer the world? Great news: more than a dozen international destinations are now allowing vaccinated U.S. travelers to visit, including close to home tropical locales, fan-favorite countries across the sea and exotic island paradises. Of those, these five destinations are definitely our faves.
READY FOR YOUR VAXICATION??
We know so many of our favorite destinations and adventures we were looking forward to last year needed to be put on pause. Many countries--especially our smaller, and more vulnerable ones needed to close their doors to many travelers over the past year to keep their inhabitants safe during the pandemic. It was a costly decision, but a healthy one.
BUT TODAY WE HAVE GOOD NEWS!
As the pandemic is winding down in many parts of the world, some of our harder to reach locations are opening back up! One that we are particularly excited about is Tahiti and French Polynesia--and they are so excited to be welcoming you back to their beautiful islands. We wanted to share some of their fantastic travel specials as well as a few key tips on booking a trip to Tahiti and her islands.
AIR TAHITI NUI
Return to Paradise – Departing LAX From $775*!
Departing SFO From $789*!
Only 8 hours non-stop from Los Angeles, The Islands of Tahiti are welcoming international travelers starting May 1st, 2021!*
To make travel as simple as possible during these new “normal” times, along with this very special, limited time offer airfare, go with confidence knowing that you have:
Don't miss this opportunity—limited availability!
Hurry, sale EXTENDED until May 18th, 2021!
LOOKING TO BUNDLE?? Check out these vacation packages!*
Bora Bora Escape - Daily Breakfast! STarting at $1808
Bora Bora is a fairy-tale creation of jagged volcanic peaks and aqua lagoons. Welcome to the incomparable hospitality and beauty Bora Bora is famed for, and where romantic possibilities are endless.
This vacation package includes:
9 Days, 7 Nights Limited Sale - STARTING AT $3000
Take a non stop 8 hour flight from Los Angeles to Tahiti on the award winning Air Tahiti Nui. Spend one night in Tahiti (it can be at the begining or end of the trip depending on flight schedule and availability) at the Intercontinental Tahiti. Visit the heart shaped island of Moorea and breathtaking Bora Bora staying at small intimate hotels.
MAGNIFICENT ISLANDS - STARTING AT $3399
Discover these intimate resorts in romantic islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Taha'a . First spend one night in Tahiti to unwind and get used to time difference. Take an island tour or go downtown to the market or taste the local fresh fish by the pier in the evening.
Next take a ferry to magical Moorea and spend three nights at the charming and intimate Sofitel, a true jewel of the South Pacific, with long beaches and great snorkeling.
Lastly spend three nights overwater at the luxurious Le Taha'a Island Resort and Spa. This is a 5 star Relais and Chateaux property located on its own motu. The restaurants herer offer French-Polynesian fusion food, from beachside snacks to gourmet dining. The Tāvai Spa will introduce you to Polynesian well-being rituals and restore your mind-body balance.
*All packages are limited availability and prices are subject to change until booked.
WHAT EXACTLY IS "OFF PEAK SEASON" TRAVEL?
In the travel industry, we will often speak of the year being divided into three seasons: peak season (~mid June through August), shoulder season (April through mid-June and September through October), and off-season (November through March). Of course, depending on your specific destination, these seasons may shift a bit due to when the wet and dry seasons are, or when a country's winter is.
One of the ways that you can save money on travel is by choosing to visit that idyllic location in the off peak season. There are a lot of perks to doing this: there are often shorter lines at those famous landmarks, museums are less crowded and you feel like you can take a slower pace discovering a new location. One of our travel partners, Globus, develops entire tours with this in mind that includes all hotel stays, tours, and airfare specials! We wanted to share a few of those with you today!
Contact us today to start planning your next adventure!
Do you remember what it feels like to have something awesome to look forward to? It's been a year since we could see a bright light at the end of a what's felt like a very long tunnel. And in that year, you might have forgotten how to get ready for a great getaway. The good news? Your next, best vacation is just around the corner (later this year or in 2022). In celebration, here are some out-of-practice reminders and tips to help you get on your way. Happy planning!
Open your heart, your mind and your calendar to travel. We look forward to welcoming you back to the world – and the joy of embarking on a perfectly planned vacation – soon!
There are only two things in this world which speak a language everyone can understand: Food and drink. It doesn’t matter which part of the world you come from. Tasty food is tasty food, and sweet drinks are sweet drinks.
You don’t have to be able to speak Japanese or Italian to know whether Indian food tastes great or not. Good food is good food, right? Perhaps nothing exemplifies this as much as cocktails do.
Even though each country concocts its own type of cocktail-some with rather questionable names, there are still a particular few that stand out more than the rest. It’s those few we’re going to talk about today.
We’re going to tell you about where they originated from and why you need to try them when you travel to those countries. Just know that by the end of this, you’re going to be incredibly thirsty. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
This drink hails from none other than Buenos Aires in Argentina. It’s made of egg whites mixed with soda, effectively making it one of the favorites of locals and vacationers alike. This whiskey has few equals in Argentina, and it’s a safe bet to say you can’t enter a bar and not have a sip or two of it. One easy way to identify it is the foamy character it has.
Yes, that’s what this cocktail is called. We laughed when we heard it too. Who even names these drinks? Anyway, the Porthole is a staple and much-loved cocktail of the people of Chicago, where it was first made.
The Porthole’s most unique feature is the way it gives the cocktail all kinds of flavors. It takes extracts from vegetables, fruits, spices and even herbs to give itself that hard-to-identify but great taste. We like to say this cocktail ‘dares to be different’ from the rest.
Even the name speaks for itself. This cocktail may not be new but it’s considered legendary by those who have tasted it before. It’s a creation of the people of Ireland, but it has already seen so much success with tourists and foreigners. Cherry juice is what primarily sweetens this whiskey and gives it its enticing, ochre color.
If you ever find yourself in Ireland, be sure to order a glass of this and spoil yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
Now that’s what we call a great name! When you hold a glass of something called ‘Gin Basil Smash’, be prepared for whatever comes next, even if it means you find yourself knocked out on the floor.
Seriously though, it’s actually a very simple cocktail made by combing lemon, gin, basil and syrup. The end result is one fabulous tipple that quenches thirst as well as brings smiles.
Do you feel like you want to try it now? It’s a German drink, so if you decide to head to Germany, you already know the first drink to try. You’re welcome.
1. Why March 17?
2. When was the first parade?
3. Who invented St. Patrick's Day?
4. Are there any unusual Parades?
5. Was St. Patrick Really Irish?
6. Where in the world goes green?
7. Where did St. Patrick Visit in Ireland?
8. Did St. Patrick really banish snakes?
9. Why do people wear green?
From our friends at the Ireland Tourist Board
There are many ways to say I love you around the world:
I love you. J'taime. Ich liebe dich. Jag älskar dig. Wǒ ài nǐ. Iniibig kita
There are also many way to express love and friendship. While Valentine's Day is popular in several countries, we want to share fifteen other traditions that countries participate in to show their love and affection for their partners, families, and loved ones. Perhaps it will inspire a new adventure for future travel or even introduce you to that 'special someone' while attending one of these delightful festivities!
August 31 - September 30, Matchmaking Festival • Ireland
The largest singles event in Europe takes place in the small town of Lisdoonvarna, which lays claim to the tradition of matchmaking since the 1800s. The last true matchmaker is Willie Daly, who keeps a book of profiles of available singles and lives next to the 300-year-old cottage where he was born. Many bachelors have looked to him for assistance in finding a love match.
February 14th, Barentain Bē • Japan
Japan does Valentine’s Day with an interesting twist: only girls give chocolate to the important men in their lives! They give “obligation chocolate,” or giri choko to friends, co-workers, and classmates, and “true feelings chocolate,” or honmei choko, to romantic interests. Exactly a month later on March 14th, men reciprocate Valentine’s Day on White Day, where they give small gifts and white chocolate.
February 14th, Ballentain Dei • South Korea
While South Korea adopted Valentine’s Day and White Day like Japan, they took it a step further, finding a way to include all of the people who were not given gifts. One month after White Day, on April 14th, is Black Day. Anyone who missed out goes out for a jajamyeon, a dish of black bean-paste noodles. On the bright side, those who were single for the festivities at the beginning of the year can look forward to every 14th, because South Korea celebrates love with a different theme each month.
September 20th, Dia de Amor y Amistad • Colombia
Take your loved one to Colombia in September to celebrate Dia de Amor y Amistad, or Love and Friendship Day. While this day isn’t strictly romantic, it's more inclusive, bringing friends and loved ones together for dinner, drinks, and secret santa-style gift-giving games. This holiday was actually established in 1969 because there were no recognized holidays in September!
February 14, Araw ng mga Puso • The Philippines
Valentine’s Day is met with wild enthusiasm in the Philippines, where mass weddings have become popular. In 2010, more than 1,500 couples were married on February 14th, and that number jumped to 4,000 in 2013. Other than mass weddings, Valentine’s Day in the Philippines has similar traditions of exchanging chocolates, gifting flowers, and going out to dinner.
February 14, Valentins Dag • Denmark
While many parts of the world gift flowers for the romantic holiday, Denmark's tradition of gaekkebrev really steals the show. These charming “joke letters” are comprised of silly rhymes, funny poems and love letters, written on paper that has been cut in an intricate pattern. The letters are signed with a single letter from the person’s name. If the receiver correctly guesses the sender, the sender owes them an Easter Egg later in the year!
February 14, Valentine’s Day • South Africa
While South Africa celebrates Valentine’s Day with flowers, love tokens, and festivals, a unique tradition involves women pinning hearts to their sleeves with the name of the love interest on them. Sometimes, this is even how South African men learn about their secret admirers.
February 14, La Saint Valentin • France
France, the country known around the world for being a romantic destination, has celebrated Valentine’s Day in full for decades. It’s even said that the first Valentine’s Day card originated from Charles, Duke of Orleans in 1415. He sent a love letter to his wife while he was jailed in the Tower of London and signed it “Your Valentine.”
One unromantic tradition, the Loterie d’Amour, allowed single men to choose a woman from a house of single women, and if he didn’t like his pick, he could exchange her for another. This, of course, went over poorly among women. They would burn photos of the men and scream profanities, and the backlash became so uncontrollable the government was forced to ban the tradition entirely.
January 25, St. Dwynwen’s Day • Wales
The Welsh don’t exchange chocolates or cards for Valentine’s Day. Instead, you’ll find Saint Dwynwen being celebrated on January 25th where men gift women they love with beautifully carved wooden spoons. Each spoon is unique, with patterns and symbols each meaning something different. Some spoons have horseshoes (symbolizing luck), wheels (support), and keys (keys to a man’s heart). This tradition also extends to giving these spoons on anniversaries, weddings, and births.
February 14, Valentine’s Day • England
When a woman takes five bay leaves, dips them in rosewater and places them on her pillow, one for each corner and one in the center, then you’ll know it’s St. Valentine’s Day. This is thought to bring dreams of their beloved, and children await Jack Valentine, who sneaks by houses at night to drop small gifts and candies on their front porch.
July 7, Qixi • China
China’s celebration of love is similar to Valentine’s Day, but is celebrated specifically on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. Unsurprisingly, this festival is called the Seventh Night Festival, or Qixi. Lore says a heavenly king’s daughter, Zhinu, and a poor cowherd, Niulang, fell in love, married, and had twins. When Zhinu’s father found out what happened, he forced her to return to the stars away from her lover, but Zhinu’s mother took pity on her daughter’s cries and allowed the couple to meet once a year. Young women prepare offering of melon and fruits for Zhinu, and couples pray for happiness and prosperity.
June 12 & 13, Lovers’ Day and St. Anthony’s Day • Brazil
Because Carnival is held between February and March, most Brazilians skip Valentine’s Day in favor of Lovers’ Day, or Dia dos Namorados on June 12th. It includes western traditions like exchanging chocolate, flowers, and cards, but adds music festivals and country-wide performances. This holiday isn’t limited to romantic couples either, bringing friends and family into the celebrations. The day after is Saint Anthony’s Day, which commemorates married couples under the patron saint of marriage.
February 14, Valentinstag • Germany
While not nearly the commercialized holiday it is around the world, Germany still celebrates Valentine’s Day. They exchange the traditional chocolates, flowers, and heart-shaped gifts, as well as one extra gift that is very different - a pig! Presented in the form of chocolate, figurine, statue, or cookie, the pig represents luck and lust.
February 23 & March 8, Defender of the Fatherland Day & International Women’s Day • Russia
While Russia doesn’t have a Valentine’s Day or something similar, they celebrate the special people in their lives on different days. Women are celebrated on International Women’s Day on March 8th. Mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, aunts, and girlfriends all receive flowers, chocolates, and little presents from the men in their lives. Women reciprocate the gesture on February 23, Defender of the Fatherland Day.
February 14 & July 7, Qíngrén jié • Taiwan
World famous for its flowers, Taiwan boasts one of the most romantic celebrations in the world. The country celebrates lovers twice a year, February 14th and July 7th, in a massive display of exchanging flowers. The colors and number of flowers all mean something different, but the most prevalent are red roses, which represent “an only love.” If a woman receives 99 roses, it means “love forever,” but if she receives 108 roses, she’s being asked the all important question: Will you marry me?
From our friends at Sceptre Vacations
Picturesque alleys, breathtaking sunsets, and buildings that seem to come straight from a storybook… these are the sights sure to capture your heart! From the canal-laden streets of Venice to postcard-worthy bridges of Prague, here are 10 cities you’re sure to fall in love with.
An unexpected contender.
While romance may not be the first term that comes to mind when you think of “Amsterdam,” with 165 canals to stroll alongside and 1,281 bridges to cross, there’s no denying the charm of the Netherlands’ capital.
Hop on a bike and pedal your way through this picturesque destination, or charter a house boat bedecked in flowers and see it by water; there’s so much more to see than the infamous red light district!
"The Pearl of the Adriatic!"
Snake through medieval lanes, dip your toes in the crystal-clear waters, then enjoy a cappuccino while strolling through cobblestone streets, it’s a surprise that it took this long for Dubrovnik to get the attention it deserves!
A scenic ride on a Venetian gondola, passing by the city’s highlights while a gondolier serenades you with a ballad aroundVenice - there are few scenes more romantic!
Greece is the land of romantic islands, and Santorini is THE most romantic of them all. Enjoy world-famous sunsets while sampling cheeses and olive oil from local farms and groves, all with the Aegean Sea as your backdrop.
From vibrant squares to bustling souks.
The colors, the culture, and the intoxicating aroma of freshly cooked tagine – there’s only one Marrakesh, and it’s ready to steal your heart away.
Fall In Louvre!
No list of romantic cities in the world would be complete without a mention of the “City of Love!” From the famous love locks trend to the undeniably seductive French language, it’s no surprise that Paris is consistently in the running for world’s “most romantic."
Arrive in Lucerne and be greeted by its whimsical buildings, with the snow-capped mountains on Lake Lucerne in the background – the perfect recipe for a romantic getaway!
Prague, Czech Republic
Medieval wonders illuminated come twilight.
A blend of medieval beauty with modern charm, Prague is the perfect destination to fall in love with, on your own or with your special someone. Take a walk across the Charles Bridge and be serenaded by street performers as you enjoy sweeping views of the city.
See the main square by boat or carriage.
Fall in love with stunningSevilla, where the flamenco’s hot and the drinks are cool. With its picturesque parks, and buildings overflowing with Moorish influence, your eyes will be in paradise at every corner.
New York City, New York
From sunsets to skyscrapers.
The walk from the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan, the NYC skyline illuminated at night, Central Park covered in freshly-fallen snow... New York City is a lover’s dream! The best way to experience the seduction of the city? Find an empty rooftop and take in the views of the skyscrapers as they reach above and beyond plain sight.
From our friends at Sceptre Vacations