Your Guide to Puerto Rico’s Bioluminescent Bay

Our Kayak Tour in Laguna Grande

Our Kayak Tour in Laguna Grande

 

Undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions in Puerto Rico, the Bioluminescent Bays draw many tourists out on dark nights to witness a unique effect first-hand.  Only a handful of places in the world are home to bodies of water with tiny dinoflagellates which produce a glowing effect when moved. I recently toured one of the Bio Bays on my trip to Puerto Rico. While the experience is something I would absolutely recommend, there are a few things to know before you go.

The Bays:

Of Puerto Rico’s three bays, two are frequently accessed from San Juan.  The first is Laguna Grande in Fajardo on the east side of the island.  The second is Mosquito Bay on the island of Vieques off the east coast of the country.  Mosquito Bay is often regarded as the better spot to witness the effect since it has less light pollution and a larger concentration of dinoflagellates, making it appear brighter than Laguna Grande.  However, a trip to Vieques will require a night’s stay and a flight or ferry ride making it a more time consuming and costly option.  Vieques is still worth looking into if you have the time, since the island has famous beaches and many other sights in addition to the bio bay.

Ways to See the Bays:

By Kayak – Kayaking is definitely the most popular way to see the bay and was the tour I chose.  The tours begin in the open bay before kayaking through a narrow waterway to get to Laguna Grande.  The path to get to the Lagoon is lined with mangrove trees making the journey essentially pitch black.  The guides have dim lights on their kayaks so you can follow them, but otherwise you are quite literally left in the dark.  I have a fear of both the dark and the ocean and while I was expecting the tour to be dark it was much darker than my expectations.  Embarrassingly enough, my friend and I had to be tethered to the guide’s kayak after we kept getting stuck in mangrove trees since we couldn’t see.  You don’t have to be an expert kayaker for the tour but I would be cautious if you are a beginner or have reservations about your kayaking ability or the dark.

By Electric Boat – If you’re unable to kayak (or too terrified, like me), you can still go out on the bay by way of electric boat.  The boats are very low riding, so you can still touch and play with the water and are able to see the effect just like you would on a kayak.  You can also devote all your attention to the bio bay instead of having to focus on keeping up with your tour guide and not getting in fellow kayaker’s ways.

By Foot – If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, Para La Naturaleza offers walking tours to Laguna Grande. A guide will take you to experience the Bio Bay from a boardwalk over the Lagoon where you can play with the water to create the glowing effect.  The walking tour is also a steal at $22 ($12 for students), half the price of the other tours.

Things to Know:

Leave the cameras behind. Unless you have an amazing camera and get your settings exactly right you will not be able to get a picture of the effect of the Bio Bay.  I brought my iPhone naively hoping I could get something on film and instead worried the whole time about getting it wet with nothing to show for my attempts.  Plus the kayak company sent us a free picture after the tour to commemorate the journey.

If it is supposed to rain on your tour date don’t reschedule.  It began to rain on our tour and it was by far the coolest way to experience the effect of the bio bay.  Since the dinoflagellates only glow when moved, you typically only view them by the movement of the boat or your oars.  The rain hitting the water made the dinoflagellates appear everywhere. Cheesy as it sounds, it was like being in the stars. Incredible.

If you’re kayaking wear water shoes and swim bottoms.  In order to get into the kayak you wade into the bay just below your hips. Make sure your cover up is fast drying or water resistant fabric or you’ll be sitting in wet shorts for the rest of the evening.

 

Top Ten San Francisco (Top Ten Things to Do and See in San Francisco, California)

top ten san fran

1. Walk or Ride Across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Arguably the most recognized symbol of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is a popular attraction for tourists.  Experience the bridge in all its glory by walking or biking across.  At 1.7 miles the bridge isn’t an easy trek, so if you want to make it all the way across you may elect to take a bike.  If you’re feeling particularly adventurous ride across the bridge into Tiburon, grab a bite to eat at Sam’s Anchor Cafe and catch a great view of San Francisco across the bay. Then take the ferry back into San Francisco (bikes are welcome abroad the ferries).

2.  Climb to the top of Telegraph Hill/Ride to the Top of Coit Tower.  Poised on the top of Telegraph hill, Coit Tower offers unparalleled views of San Francisco.  You can enjoy the view even from the base of the tower, so you may decide it’s not worth paying to go up to the top.  Either way make sure you peek inside the tower to see the murals, which are free to view.

3. Complete the Unofficial Food Tour of San Francisco.  San Francisco is known for its food and has many signature bites.  I couldn’t choose just one, but here are some of my favorites.  Boudin – famous for their sourdough bread which they make into really fun designs (crabs, bears, etc.) if you get there early enough in the day to get one. They sell out pretty much every day, so pick some up early to eat later or dine on the famous clam chowder in a bread bowl at their cafe.  Ghiradelli – if you like ice cream or chocolate, this is your place. Here you can find a huge assortment of sundaes and chocolate, which make a great souvenir to take home to friends.  Buena Vista – this cafe and bar is renowned for claims to be the first place to serve Irish coffees and is conveniently located just around the corner from Ghiradelli.

4. Explore Golden Gate Park.  Larger than NYC’s Central Park, Golden Gate Park has tons to offer.  Enjoy the free summer concert series on Sunday nights, walk throughout the highly acclaimed Japanese Tea Garden, or observe the resident herd of buffalo.

5. Observe the Bay Bridge Lights.  In 2013 an art installation was created on the side of the bridge to commemorate its 75th birthday.  LED lights were placed on the side of the bridge which move in a pattern designed to never repeat itself.  Grab a snack and head down to the waterfront one evening to relax and watch the memorizing light show before it is potentially removed in March of 2015 (there is currently an effort to extend the project).

6. See San Francisco from the Water.  Whether it’s a ferry to Alcatraz, Tiburon, or Sausalito or a sunset dinner cruise, seeing the city from a boat on the bay offers great scenery.

7. Ride on a Cable Car.  There are 3 different lines in San Francisco that operate the historic cable cars.  The Powell-Hyde line will take you from Ghiradelli Square with a stop right by Lombard Street.  If you’re just in it for the ride, try the California Line, which will let you skip the massive lines from Fisherman’s Wharf.  All tickets are one way, so if you need a ride back you can elect to take a streetcar which is much cheaper.

8. Get a Drink at the Top of the Mark.  Formerly the 11 room penthouse of the Mark Hopkins hotel, Top of the Mark is now a rooftop bar and restaurant at the highest point of downtown San Francisco. Grab a drink or champagne brunch and enjoy stellar views.

9. Brunch on Authentic Dim Sum.  While it may not be your typical idea of brunch, dim sum is a widely popular meal in Chinatown.  For the best experience, pick a place where the dim sum is cart or tray-passed.  Servers will come around to your table and offer you small plates of various kinds of dim sum.  If it looks delicious, you can snag a plate or if it’s too intense you can just say no and wait for the next option.  Don’t be intimated by the lack of English menu items, it’s hard to go wrong with dim sum and a nod or a shake of the head are universal signals.

10. Visit Lombard Street.  Nicknamed “The crookedest street in the world”, Lombard Street is a sight you have to see to believe its absurdity.  If you are really brave (and patient) try your luck at driving down it.

Top 5 Fall Trips to Take in North America

5 Fall Trips in North America

Looking for a great trip to take this fall? Here are some suggestions.  There is a little something for everyone whether you want to experience fall beauty or escape somewhere to forget about the impending winter.

1) For Road Trip Enthusiasts 

Drive through New England and the Appalachians to see the trees in hundreds of varying colors.  Famous Allegheny Passage from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania boasts some of the most famous views of fall foliage.  Stop along to way to visit apple orchards or to take a hayride. Travel anywhere from South Carolina to Wisconsin to experience picturesque views in the fall.

Fall foliage

 

2) For Those Who Aren’t Ready to Face Winter

Visit locations close to the Ecuador for one last summer-like trip. Places such as Puerto Rico still have temperatures in the high 80’s throughout the fall.  As an added bonus, the tourist season doesn’t pick up until mid-November, providing cheaper hotels and airfare.

Puerto rico

 

3) For Those Who Like Unique Experiences 

Every fall there are a number of festivals throughout the U.S., perhaps one of the most famous of these is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  Each year the festival draws thousands to view the hundreds of balloons ranging in shapes from a Pepsi can to a castle.

Balloon Fiesta

 

4) For Nature Lovers 

Ski resorts in British Columbia, Nevada, and Colorado offer a place to stay in nature with an amazing view.  Like mexico, it is the off season in the fall, so you can stay in an upscale resort for bargain prices.

mountain small

 

5) For the Tourist

Prefer to take a trip to a location with lots of action and nightlife? A city on a coast can be a great option for if you are looking for warm, stable weather with a plethora of things to do. Visit cities such as San Diego or Charleston and experience a tourist hot spot minus the summer crowds.

san diego

Top Ten Chicago (Top Ten Things to do and see in Chicago, Illinois)

Top Ten Chicago

  1. Go on an Architecture River Tour. The best way to tour the city is from the water on a river and lake architecture tour.  While the Chicago Architecture Foundation Tour is probably the best known, all the tours are very similar and other companies offer the tour on discount sites such as Groupon. If you’re doing the tour in fall or spring, choose a company that offers enclosed seating to ensure you don’t freeze.
  2. Ride the Navy Pier Ferris wheel. Catch some great views of Chicago from the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier for less than half the price of other popular viewing spots such as Hancock and Willis Tower, plus the added fun of an amusement park ride.
  3. Dine on deep dish pizza. Getting some deep dish pizza in Chicago is a must. Try the locals’ favorite, Lou Malnati’s or the well known Giordino’s.
  4. Visit the Signature Lounge. Skip the $18 fee for the 360 at Hancock Tower and head two floors up to the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor for drinks and appetizers instead. If you go right before sunset you can catch great day and nighttime views of the city.
  5. Experience The Wiener Circle. Not for the easily offended, The Wiener Circle is a popular hot dog stand that becomes very colorful late at night. The surprisingly delicious hot dog spot is famous for insulting and frequently cursing at rambunctious customers, though the customers are encouraged to give it right back to the employees.  If you would like some nudity with your hot dog, be sure to order the famous “chocolate milkshake”.
  6. Get a drink on the Trump Tower Terrace- Right on the river, the Trump Tower Terrace bar offers great views of the city. Walk along the canals then stop here for drink or bite to eat. Fair warning, you pay for the stunning vistas with drink prices here, but it’s well worth it.
  7. Feast at Eataly. I previously mentioned the food market chain in the Top Ten: Rome post, but if you aren’t visiting Italy soon, stop by one of the few U.S. locations in Chicago. A great, unique spot to grab lunch or dinner at one of the restaurant stands on the top floor. They also have a bar and wine tasting spots. Be sure to save room for dessert though, on the bottom floor is a Nutella bar, full of different desserts made with Nutella.
  8. Ride bikes along the lake front. Some of the best views of Chicago come from the walking and biking paths along the lake between Lincoln Park and Navy Pier.  You can grab a Groupon for Divvy bikes, which you can rent by the hour at many convenient locations throughout the city.
  9. Get some laughs with Second City Comedy Club. The Chicago based comedy club is famous for starting the careers of an impressive amount of SNL cast members and other famous comedians including Tina Fey, Chris Farley, and Steve Carrell, to name just a few. Opt for the revue or classic improv over tickets to a scripted show.
  10. Catch a Buckingham Fountain show. The well known fountain near Millennium Park has fountain shows each evening including lights and music, starting at dusk then every hour on the hour with the last show beginning at 10:35 P.M.

Key West Itinerary (4 Days in Key West, Florida)

Key West is a town full of character and charm where deals are not difficult to find.  Flying directly to Key West is often not the most cost effective way to get to the Keys. Check out the ferry from Ft. Myers or drive along the famous Overseas Highway US 1 from Fort Lauderdale or Miami.

 

Key West Itinerary 1

We started our trip in Fort Lauderdale, rented a red Mustang convertible, and drove south to the Florida Keys.  If you take this route and pass through Key Largo, I highly recommend The Conch House.  Awesome food and drinks with the best key lime pie we had on our trip.  We timed our drive to get to Key West right as the sun was setting, providing some beautiful scenery. Fair warning, I do think the Overseas Highway has a little too much hype around it. If it works well to save you money, go for it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to make the drive.  We ended our night with some slushy adult beverages at the Flying Monkey. Be sure to check with your hotel for coupons.  Most restaurants and bars we went to offered deals and promos for tourists and our hotel offered us buy one, get one drink vouchers for most of the bars.

 

Key West Itinerary 2

Started the day at Harpoon Harry’s, a 50’s style diner then picked up some bikes from the shop next door. Key West is a very bike friendly town and bikes are a great way to see the town. Aimlessly Riding around looking at all the houses and landscapes was a fun way to spend the morning.  We then stopped by the famous Kermit’s for some chocolate dipped key lime pie. Kermit’s offers just about anything you can imagine in key lime, cookie mixes, coffee syrup, wine, etc.  and is a perfect place to pick up interesting by usable Key West souvenirs for your family and friends.  After dinner we ended the evening with a sunset party cruise which leaves the dock just before sunset then offers drinks and dancing as the sun sets.

 

Key West Itinerary 3

 

Started day three checking out the harbor which offers some great restaurants on the water to grab lunch or breakfast at. Again, check for special offers, you can likely get them for the restaurants here too. Then we headed to the not so typical tourist attraction, the Key West Cemetery.  Touring a cemetery is weird you say? Well the Key West cemetery has the typical Key West character and is a bit quirkier than other cemeteries. Here you can find gravestones with inscriptions such as “I told you I was sick” and “I’m just resting my eyes”.  Next we went out on the water to view some sharks. If you find sharks at all interesting, you will really enjoy this tour.  Finally we ended the evening at the dessert restaurant Better Than Sex.  I highly, highly recommend dining on desserts at Better Than Sex. They offer a great dessert menu and serve glasses of wine with chocolate or caramel dipped rims. Absolute heaven.

 

Key West Itinerary 4

 

Day four we spent exploring the more classic attractions of Key West. Stopped my Hemingway’s house and toured Truman’s annex. Then stopped by the Southernmost Point and took a picture (expect a line to take a picture with the famous statue any time you go).  Finally we climbed to the top of the Key West Lighthouse to enjoy a view of the city from above before our journey home. Definitely recommend checking out the lighthouse, they offer student and AAA discounts on the fee to get to the top.

Overall Key West is a very interesting town with plenty to do and see and great deals if you look for them.

 

Top Ten: San Juan Puerto Rico (Top Ten Things to Do and See in Puerto Rico)

An island getaway whose old charm has lasted the test of time, Puerto Rico has become a hotbed for tourism.   Much like Cuba, the fourth most populated Caribbean island has been able to keep its idyllic heritage and culture while still catering to its many admirers.  Here are the top ten things to do in Puerto Rico:

Top Ten Puerto Rico

1. Climb to the top of Castillo San Felipe del Morro.  The old fort hosts some awesome views of San Juan. Bring a snack and enjoy the sights.

2. Follow the trails in El Yunque.  The only rain-forest in the U.S. National Park system, El Yunque National Forest is about an hour outside of San Juan.  Many tour companies offer day or half day trips or you can rent a car and drive yourself. El Yunque is on the way to Farjardo where many Bio Bay tours are, so try a tour that offers a combo of both.

3. Check out Pamela’s Caribbean Cuisine.  Pamela’s is literally set up on the beach, so you can dine with sand under your toes and listen to the waves hit the shore with a pretty view of downtown San Juan. Dine at night and enjoy the sunset or during the day and you can get beach chairs and umbrellas to lounge on after your meal.  You must get the coconut creme brulee for dessert.

4.  Eat Monfongo. Ask a local what’s in the monfongo and you’re likely to get a different answer each time.  A signature dish of Puerto Rico, monfongo is based on plaintains and typically includes one type of meat or another.

5. Relax on a beach. You’re in the Caribbean, so this should be an obvious thing to do.  There are many beaches around San Juan, the best beach access is found on the hotel properties where you’ll have access to chairs.  Many hotels have partnerships for beach access in San Juan, so check with your concierge to see where you can stake a spot in the sand if you hotel isn’t on the beach or you want to try out a different spot.

6. Try a Zipline Adventure. There are many places offering zipline tours around San Juan that have day trips from the city.  Check out Toro Verde which has a zipline called The Beast at almost a mile long with a harness where you lay belly down instead of hanging from your waist.

7.  Experience the Bio Bay.  One of the most unique things in Puerto Rico is the Bio Bay, or Bioluminescent Bay.  The water in these bays is home to tiny plankton which illuminate when the water around them moves.  It is like kayaking through stars. The best place to experience this is on Vieques, an island off the coast.  However, the bay in Fajardo is more easily accessible and has a wide variety of tours to choose from.

8. Wander through Old Town San Juan. Spend some time walking around Old Town to see the beautiful buildings and bright colors. Stop and grab a mojito and enjoy the atmosphere and friendly people of San Juan.

9. Take a trip to Vieques or Culebra. While getting there may not be the easiest thing to do, the islands host some of the best beaches in the world. Drive an hour and a half to the coast then jump on an early ferry to Culebra or Vieques for the day. The ferries can get packed, so the earlier the better. Vieques is quickly becoming the ‘it’ place to visitIt is also home to the top Bio Bay in Puerto Rico, which makes staying a few days ideal.

10. Eat Lechon from the “Pig Highway”.  Another specialty of Puerto Rico, roast pig stands.  Along the side of the highway you can find Lechoneras which sell cuts of pork.  One of the more authentic experiences you can have in Puerto Rico.

Check out our other guides to Caribbean locations here.

Top Ten: Las Vegas (Top Ten Things to Do and See in Las Vegas, Nevada)

 

Top Ten Vegas

Photo copyrights: Cirque du Soleil – Fen Lebalme https://www.flickr.com/photos/bcatch/11759354524/
Dinner in the Sky – www.dinnerinthesky.com
Skydiving – Michael Saechang https://www.flickr.com/photos/saechang/5810769510/

 

Las Vegas has something for everyone.  The eclectic group of people that travel to  “Sin City” daily couldn’t be more different on the outside but they all share one thing… the desire to have a good time.  From the lodging, to food, to bars 164 feet off the ground, the choices are endless.  Try a few of these things and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.

1.   Club it up at the Pool

The intolerable heat can be hard to bear, so why not kill two birds with one stone and hit up a pool club?  Drinks, tanning, and (mostly) beautiful people make these a fun alternative to the local Y pool.  If anyone knows how to throw a pool party, it’s Vegas.

2.   See the Bellagio Fountains at Night

Going off every 15 minutes between 7 PM and midnight, the Bellagio fountains are especially amazing at night, adorned by lights and music.  Watching a fountain show or two at night is a must for every Vegas visitor.

3.   Take a Helicopter Tour to the Hoover Dam

There’s never a dull moment on The Strip, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to take a detour.  Catch some amazing aerial views on this great trip for the whole family.  Alternatively, you can also take helicopter tours from Vegas to the Grand Canyon and even land at the bottom for a picnic dinner.

4.   See a Show

It might sound trite (as it did to me) but in terms of entertainment value you can’t beat it.  These productions are made over-the-top and for the masses, but that’s what makes them amazing.  From Britney Spears to Penn and Teller, there’s a show for everyone.

5.   Fly at Indoor Skydiving 

If free falling from an airplane scares you, try indoor skydiving.  Vegas is home to the first indoor skydiving facility, which imitates the feeling of flying through the sky.  However, if you are looking for Justin Bieber, try elsewhere. The star was previously banned from the facility for life.

6.   Get more than you fill at a top notch buffet.

Vegas is known for its spectacular cuisine, but most notable are the top notch buffets.  Try the Bellagio or the famous Wynn Breakfast Buffet.

7.   Have Dinner in the Sky

If you’re trying to spice up your dinner, look no further….but don’t look down.  Suspended 164 feet up the air with a full-service bar and dinner, this gem is a thrill-seekers paradise.

8.   Experience the Lights on Fremont Street

Just a few miles away from all the hustle and bustle of the casinos is a sky full of lights.  Old Vegas has plenty to offer in terms of activities and a light show that few cities can top.  Shows occur hourly from 6 PM to midnight.

9.   Gamble… Unconventionally

Gamble in Vegas?  Original.  So why not try your luck to something you’re a little more accustomed to, like beer pong?  Check out the newly reopened O’Shea’s for a different experience.

10.   Rooftop at the Rio

There’s nothing better to start your night off than a drink overlooking the strip.  Take a cab down to Rio, a small jaunt from the Strip, and enjoy a beautiful panoramic view 50 stories up.

Top Ten: New York City (Top Ten Things to Do and See in NYC)

Top Ten NYC

1. Take a Water Taxi Ride.  One of the best ways to see New York
City is to take a circle tour around the island of Manhattan to see the city
from each side.  You can also cross off the Statue of Liberty, since most of these tours will go right by the statue.  New York Water Taxi offers a hop-on, hop-off version of the circle to maximize the bang for your buck.

2. Paddle-boat or Stroll Through Central Park.  Central Park is a must see for New York City visitors. The huge park offers many activities and has street vendors selling souvenirs and food alike. You can paddle-boat in the park or enjoy a picnic lunch while you people watch.

3. Window Shop on 5th Avenue or Madison Avenue.  Nothing epitomizes the Upper East Side lifestyle quite like the shops on 5th Avenue. From FAO Schwartz (the toy store made famous in the movie Big) to Bergdorf Goodman (an upscale department store only found in NYC) there are many interesting shops and window displays to be seen.

4. Eat at Grimaldi’s Pizza.  One of the most famous pizza joints, there are a few Grimaldi’s pizza locations to dine at during your stay in NYC. The best known in under the Brooklyn Bridge, and makes for a great stop to fuel up before you trek across the bridge back into Manhattan.

5. See a Show.  New York is home to many famous shows and theaters. There are many options to choose from from Broadway to Off Broadway, to free shows from upcoming actors and actresses at the NYU theater. There is something for everyone.

6. Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Take the subway (or a ferry) across the bay and walk the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn into NYC. Great views from all angles of the bridge. Prepare yourself for crowds, the bridge is typically busy and the walking paths could be wider. Alternatively, you can bike ride across the bridge; the crowds can make this difficult though, and it is harder to stop to take photos and enjoy the view.

7. Relax on the High Line.  The High Line was once elevated tracks for freight trains. After threats of demolition, the tracks were transformed into a city park. You can walk the former tracks and enjoy interesting views of NYC or relax on one of the many benches or seats along the path.

8. Grab a Burger at Shake Shack. A favorite of many locals, the original Shake Shack can be found in Madison Square Park serving delicious burgers, shakes, and cheese fries. Expect to wait in a long line to grab one of these burgers. You can check the line length before you go by viewing “The Shack Cam” on the Shake Shack website.  There are multiple locations throughout the city if you want to skip waiting outdoors or the massive lines of the original location.

9. Visit St. Paul’s Chapel.  Often overshadowed by the 9/11 Memorial, St. Paul’s Chapel lies across from the site where the World Trade Centers once stood. The oldest standing church in NYC didn’t have a single window broken from the collaspe of the towers. The Chapel became the hub for recovery workers after the attack and is now filled with panels of items collected from the rescue workers and visitors in an incredibly moving and humbling display.

10. Go to the Top of the Rock. The less crowded alternative to the Empire State Building, you can ride the elevator to the top of Rockefeller Plaza for great sky views of NYC. Not only do you get to avoid the crazy crowds of the Empire State Building here, you also get a great view of the famous building from the Top of the Rock. Go right before sunset and you can catch both day and night views of the city.

Top 5 Fall Trips in North American

5 Fall Trips in North America

Looking for a great trip to take this fall? Here are some suggestions.  There is a little something for everyone whether you want to experience fall beauty or escape somewhere to forget about the impending winter.

1) Fall Foliage Trip 

Drive through New England to see the trees in hundreds of varying colors.  Famous Allegheny Passage from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania boasts some of the most famous views of fall foliage.  Stop along to way to visit apple orchards or to take a hayride. Travel anywhere from South Carolina to Wisconsin to experience picturesque views in the fall.

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2) Escape the Winter Trip

Visit locations close to the Ecuador for one last summer-like trip. Puerto Vallarta still has temperatures in the high 80’s throughout the fall.  As an added bonus, the tourist season doesn’t pick up until mid-November, providing cheaper hotels and airfare.

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3) Unusual U.S. Trip

Every fall there are a number of festivals throughout the U.S., perhaps one of the most famous of these is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  Each year the festival draws thousands to view the hundreds of balloons ranging in shapes from a Pepsi can to a castle.

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4)British Columbia Classic Trip

Ski resorts in British Columbia, Nevada, and Colorado offer a place to stay in nature with an amazing view.  Like mexico, it is the off season in the fall, so you can stay in an upscale resort for bargain prices.

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5) City Trip

Prefer to take a trip to a location with lots of action and nightlife? Los Angeles can be a great option for it warm stable weather and plethora of things to do. Visit neighboring cities such as San Diego or take a trip to the farms in the valley while you are visiting.

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