Travel tips on Vegas and Central America with Kendra Thorton

Hey everyone!

I am proud to announce that I am teaming up with travel expert, Kendra Thorton, to share our secrets on our favorite travel activities!

Today, Kendra will give you the scoop on attractions fun for the entire family. I have my 2 cents about finding the ultimate adventures in Central America. Soon, you may find our articles on Kendras Twitter page.

índiceKendra Thornton appears as a travel expert on television stations across the country to offer travel tips and deals to millions of people every year. She makes regular appearances on ABC, NBC and CW stations in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. She has also made special guest appearances on The Nate Show, Fine Living Network and The Tyra Banks Show.

And now, from Kendra…

Getting the Most Out of Your Next Trip to Las Vegas

Las Vegas is famously known as “Sin City,” but these days it’s so much more than that. Now you can find events and attractions that appeal to all ages and tastes. As someone who frequently visits with my family, I know this from experience.

1. Interesting and Unexpected Museums

When people think of what to do in Las Vegas, museums may not top the list. Yet there are quite a few offbeat and fun museums that are unlike anything you’d find elsewhere. Anyone interested in science should check out the National Atomic Testing Museum, which is not far from the location in Nevada where many nuclear weapons are actually tested! When I’m in Las Vegas with my kids, I always like to take them to the Discovery Children’s Museum; a place full of fun and educational exhibits. Finally, there is the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, only five miles from the Strip, where Nevada’s wildlife and other natural wonders are featured.

2. Take Golf Lessons From Tiger Woods’ Teacher

Butch Harmon is one of the most renowned golf instructors in the world, and he teaches in Las Vegas. He has taught many world-class golfers, including Tiger Woods. My husband, who is an avid golfer, has taken some lessons at the Butch Harmon School of Golf and has improved his swing considerably! There are many different options and packages available. You can take anything from an hour lesson to a three-day intensive workshop with Harmon.

3. A Challenge For Those With Big Appetites

Have you ever watched “Man vs. Food” on the Travel Channel and wondered if you could finish one of those huge steaks, pizzas or whatever the challenge happened to be? Well, in Las Vegas there are a few places where you can test your appetite in this manner. The Pub at Monte Carlo, for example, you can take their 8-Pound Burger Challenge on. You must also wash it down with 32 ounces of beer. It’s free if you manage to finish it!

4. Thrilling Roller Coasters

If you have the stomach for it, Las Vegas has some of the nation’s most exciting roller coasters and other fast and twisty rides. I usually pass on these myself, but my kids are always up for such a challenge. Circus Circus has its own amusement park, The Adventuredome, where you will find The Canyon Blaster, a double corkscrew, double loop roller coaster that is either a thrilling adventure or a terrifying nightmare, depending on your point of view! You can even have a skydiving experience at Stratosphere with the SkyJump, where you free fall from 108 stories! Riders are given safety lessons and jump suits to prepare themselves for this amazing experience.

Las Vegas is a city that’s always in flux, and if you haven’t been here in a while you may be surprised at how much is new. At the same time, return visitors can also find their favorite spots still intact. In addition to your to new attractions popping up, hotels on the strip are popping up seemingly everyday. Sites like Gogobot make it easy to filter through and read user reviews of the various hotels. There are few places on earth that offer the variety of activities that you can find in Las Vegas any hour of the day!

Hmmm…  Me thinks to have a after-tour celebration in Vegas! 😉

Thanks for sharing, Kendra!

As some of you may know, I will be ending my bike tour soon. So what beeter time than to reflect back and share my favorite activities in Central America…

Go Explore! A cyclist´s tips for Central American adventures

Between the pristine coastlines and into the lush jungles of Central America, colorful wonders await to be discovered. Make your next adventure, or first, into one of the seven tropical countries of the Americas. Imagine kayaking on the lake of Lago Atitlan, eating handfuls of dragon fruits, or finding a Blue Morpho butterfly rest on a banana leaf. The sure way that you are going to get up close to all these wonders, is to throw on your boots and daypack, and take advantage of the following activities. Central America is a paradise for the active and adventurous ones; you can surf, hike, kayak, river raft, and more. And with the exchange rate favoring dollars and euros, you should find the cost of activities and transportation relatively cheap.

 

Hike volcanoes

Dormant or active, hiking on volcanoes are a thrilling experience. If you choose to hike on any volcanoes in Central America, don’t miss hiking on San Pedro or Conception. The pinnacle top of these volcanoes offer extraordinary views over the sacred lakes of Central America. Their trails could be completed on one day, although be sure to start early for a cloud free view, before noon. San Pedro is a stratovolcano, perched on the southern rim of Lago Atitlan, Guatemala. Conception is one of two volcanoes that form the island Ometepe, surrounded by the massive Lake Nicaragua. The last 20 meters is a scramble on loose rocks, so take caution! At the lip of the crater it’s a smelly sulfuric witches cauldron, across you will see the neighboring volcano, and 360° view of the lake. It’s extraordinary!

 

Surf the Pacific beach

Screenshot at 2012-12-20 01_23_06World class breaks litter the Nicoya Peninsula´s coast of Costa Rica. A great stretch for surfers of all levels. Although I lived in Southern California, I never learned how to surf until I arrived to Nicoya! Namely, the reef-barrier free stretches; El Carmen and Santa Teresa. Here it is paradise; white sand beaches, lush jungle a few steps behind, and you won’t need a wetsuit in these tropical waters! Year-round resides a hang loose crowd. For lodging, you have your options between party-til´-sun-rise towns like Santa Teresa, or the sleepy villages like Mal Pais.

 

Canoe through the jungle

IMG_3634Gliding on the rivers in kayak or canoe is the best way to experience the jungle of Central America. We stumbled into a tour around the Rio San Juan in the very south of Nicaragua. Compared to Costa Rica, river tours are economically better and less crowded with tourist, in Nicaragua. The current is strong, so it is only logical to tour the tributary rivers or go downstream. Have your camera ready! We spotted many birds, a couple sloths in the trees and caymans crept underneath our canoe. Alternatively, you can rent a kayak on the Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, and paddle around. We launched off from our lakeside hostel and paddled to a nearby island home to spider monkeys and in the marshes there is fantastic birdwatching.

 

Cycling the rough roads of Belize

Of all the countries that I cycled in Central America, Belize sticks out in my mind. Perhaps it was the thick surroundings of emerald jungle and the echos of howler monkeys and insects in the night, that left an everlasting impression on me. And Belize is a small country to cover in a few weeks on a bicycle. You can rent bicycles in Cayo  or bring your own rig. Most roads are unpaved, there is little traffic, and it´s pure jungle. I highly recommend cycling around the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve in the Cayo district. It’s backcountry in the jungle and higher up in elevation is a fresh semi-tropic pine reserve and crystal-fresh waterfalls. Cycle the trails back down and check out the Mayan ruins of Caracol.

 

Now, I already know what you are wondering- am I going to confirm that travel is dangerous in Central America? As someone who had traveled 8 months in Central America by bicycle, boat and buses, I can tell you from experience-you will survive! I never had life-threatening troubles in Central America. At times, it was stressful or uncomfortable, but that’s all part of the adventure!

 

So go out and discover Central America! Drink plenty of water, try to minimize on wasteful packaging and leave the place better than you found it. And drop me a line to let me know if the tips helped you, or you have any questions. Adventure on!

 

 Follow Kendra on her Twitter account: Twitter (@KendraThornton)

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