Month: September 2016

Should Japan be on Your List to Visit?

starbucks

Looking for the next place to visit? Japan is an excellent candidate. This travel destination has everything. The country extends far north and far south; you can find whatever climate you like. Seventy percent of Japan is mountainous and, of course, it has many beautiful beaches and lakes with its long coastline. Fuji is a mountain climber’s challenge and Japanese skiing is excellent.

People have shied away from Japan because of unjustified fears of radiation from its 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, but there is nothing to fear.

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Canadian Favorite Isn’t Real Cuba

veradero-beach

Arriving at Havana’s International Airport you know immediately you are in the third world. The plane pulls close to the flat-roofed terminal. A staircase is rolled up to the plane to allow passengers to debark. My flight, one of many no frills charters (no drink service, music, etc.), this one by Xtra Airways out of Miami, contained mainly Americans.

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Cuban Capitalism Coming

unesco-preserved-architecture

President Obama reopened the American Embassy in Cuba at the end of 2015, heralding the start of eased restrictions on American tourism. Even before visitors from the U.S. started arriving, Cuba already had decided to promote tourism to the rest of the world and began putting resources toward it. Still, the infrastructure isn’t there for the higher level of comfort that visitors from the U.S. desire. Current hotels are not up to snuff, but they are changing rapidly to meet higher standards. Meanwhile, staying with a family is the best way to lodge in Cuba. Airbnb is active there, and it solves the problem of paying for lodging, as American banks still have not integrated with the Cuban state bank to accept credit cards. (Note: if you have a Canadian credit card, it will work.)

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Tale of Two Churches

Jesus icon in Atalaya church

Two fascinating early American churches in close proximity to each other are in easily accessible Panama, a lot closer than Europe.

Atalaya, Panama, about a half-hour drive west of Santiago, is home to an annual pilgrimage for Panamanians from around the predominantly Catholic country. Like many of the religious ceremonies throughout Latin America, it has a rich history and is fascinating to witness.

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