Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic, the second largest country in the Caribbean, lies to the east of the Caribbean Islands. The country shares its border with Haiti. The republic is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the north and the Caribbean Sea in the south. The natives sometimes call their country, Quisqueya. The total land area of ​​the country is 48,730 sq km. Santo Domingo (the capital), Puerto Plata and Santiago are the three important metropolitan centers of the country. It has a population of about 8,833,000, with approximately two-thirds of the total population living in urban areas. The main language spoken is Spanish.

Before the 20th century, non-representative rule prevailed in this country. The Dominican Republic has become a representative democracy recently. Democracy was introduced in the country after the death of the military dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina in 1961. He was the ruler of the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961.

The majority of its people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Owing to the development of tourism industry and free trade, the service sector has overtaken the agriculture sector. Principal exports of the country include clothing, cigars, coffee, sugar, flowers and vegetables. Petroleum, industrial raw materials, wood, pharmaceuticals and food products are the major import items.

Mixed Europeans and Africans were the original inmates of the Dominican Republic.

Most of the people practice Catholicism. The country has a rich tradition in art and culture. Dominicans have always promoted art, music and crafts. The important festivals celebrated in the country are the jazz festival and the merengue festival.

The Dominican Republic is a famous tourist destination. It has sandy beaches, museums, mountains, casinos, national parks and other historical sites. Some of the most frequented tourist destinations of the country are Las Terrenas, Punta Cana, Boca Chica and Bayahibe.

Best Beach Vacations In The Bahamas

Planning a family vacation and falling short of ideas? Well, in today’s hectic work schedule, what’s more relaxing than spending time at the beach, and enjoying all that it has to offer. The Bahamas is an archipelago comprising 2,500 cays and 700 islands. The islands have a sub-tropical climate, extremely warm and friendly people, and the clearest waters in the entire Caribbean region – according to the astronauts. It isn’t surprising that tourism is the island’s largest industry. It will be fun for you learn about the island’s history before actually visiting it, simply to know about its diverse characters in its past. You will find tales of the notorious pirates Calico Jack and Blackbeard, and Loyalists who escaped the American Revolution to reconstruct their lives on the then known British soil, it’s very interesting.

The Bahamas offers everything that one can think of for a wonderful vacation with loved ones. Be it bathing in the sun-bathed beaches that are awash with natural splendor, or walking hand-in-hand along the colorful streets like true love birds, or getting wild over the adventures and water sports; all of it is at your service in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas has some of the most striking beaches in the world and if you are looking for the perfect beach, you might just find it here. Most beaches are pristine and extraordinarily white, with sand so fine it is soft to touch. Harbour Island, off the coast of Eleuthera has unique rose-colored sand beaches. Beaches in the Bahamas are usually either an activity beach or a deserted beach. On an activity beach, of which Cable Beach in Nassau is the prime example, you’ll find tons of things to do; Water-skiing, windsurfing, diving, fishing, sailing, parasailing, seaside restaurants, beach bars, local entertainment. On the other hand, there are miles of isolated: winding stretches of untouched sand, warmed by the sun.

The Bahamas is well known for some very popular resorts. Home to The Atlantis Bahamas Resort, this is one of the largest hotel complexes in the world, with tons of shops and activities. Both children and adults will enjoy the 5.5-hectare (14-acre) sea world with water slides, a lagoon for water sports, white sandy beaches, and underground grottoes plus an underwater viewing tunnel and the cascading waterfalls.

Another top resort is the Radisson Cable Beach and Golf Resort is set on 1,000 feet of Nassau’s most beautiful beach, the resort includes 7 acres of tropical waterscapes, indoor and outdoor restaurants offering diverse dining options from the casual poolside Dolphin Beach Grill to the gourmet cuisine of Amici’s.

The Bahamas are renowned for offering a multitude of vacation experiences to its visitors, whether you wish to spend holidays in a family-friendly resort for a tropical escape, or want to go live it up at a casino vacation in Nassau, or enjoy the adventurous water sports in the clean and clear tropical Bahamas climate, all of these are available at the Bahamas. Besides its most famous sun-bathing in spectacular beachscapes, the island also offers great championship outdoor sports and golf courses, along with swimming with dolphins and diving, duty-free shopping, and great cuisine.

So are you ready to book your vacation? The Bahamas with its turquoise waters awash with powder-white beaches stretched over miles, is waiting for you.

Performance of Digital Marketing in Egypt in 2017

Worldwide Overview

The online world experienced breathtaking development in 2016, with the pace of progress quickening crosswise over every single key pointer versus 2015.

• 3.77 billion worldwide internet users in 2017

• 2.80 billion worldwide social media users in 2017,

• 4.92 billion worldwide mobile users in 2017

• 2.56 billion worldwide mobile social media users in 2017

• 1.61 billion worldwide e-commerce users in 2017

The pace of progress was a key story in a year ago’s Digital in 2016 report as well, however considering that worldwide web infiltration has now outperformed half, we were astounded by how much the rate of progress kept on quickening in the course of recent months:

• Internet users developed by 10% of every 2016, up 354 million contrasted with 2015

• Active social media users expanded by 21%, up 482 million versus 2015

• Unique mobile users developed by 5%, up 222 million in the course of recent months

• Mobile social media users developed by 30%, up to a noteworthy 581 million out of 2016

Internet users developed by somewhat more than they did in 2015, while online networking and versatile web-based social networking clients were up by more than twofold the quantity of new clients we revealed a year ago. The rate of development for one of a kind versatile client expanded by the greater part contrasted with a year ago, with 81 million all the more new clients in 2016 contrasted with the development we announced in a year ago’s examination.

Regional Overviews

Computerized in Africa became just marginally in 2017, despite the fact that the internet user information we’re announcing this year mirrors some noteworthy source redresses versus our 2016 report. Specifically, the quantity of internet user detailed by official hotspots for Egypt, Malawi, and Eritrea have all been amended down impressively, which has the impact of refuting a large number of the increases posted by different countries.

Be that as it may, 7 of the 10 quickest developing web populaces on the planet are in Africa, with the quantity of clients announced in Ethiopia dramatically multiplying versus the numbers we detailed a year ago. Less than one out of three individuals crosswise over Africa approaches the web today, however, and current development patterns propose we’ll be well into the 2020s preceding we see web entrance levels over the landmass pass the half check.

On an all the more promising note, however, versatile online networking use in Africa expanded by almost half in 2016, in spite of the fact that at only 12% entrance over the locale, there’s still bounty more space to develop.

The Middle East claims the top spot in the current year’s development rankings, however, with every single key pointer indicating noteworthy development. Web clients are up 15% year-on-year, with the local aggregate quickly approach the 150 million stamp.

Online networking use general grew an amazing 47% in the previous a year, with versatile web-based social networking up 44%. Infiltration for both key social pointers stays beneath 40% however, so there’s still a lot of space for more great development in 2017.

Global Facebook Users

Facebook global monthly active users recorded 1.78 billion users with the end of the 3rd quarter, 2016. The USA leads the Global Facebook users with about 200 Million users that are representing about 11.7% of the global Facebook users. Egypt is ranked the 12th among the world countries in terms of the number of Facebook users.

Regional Facebook Users

Egypt leads among the Arab countries with its 33 million Facebook users that are representing about 26.4% of Facebook users in the Arab world (125 million users).

However, in terms of penetration Qatar leads, while Egypt comes at the 12th place among the 20 Arabian countries.

Usage Insights

Internet users benefited the most form the internet for socializing and for learning:

  • Better social activity and networking
  • More learning opportunities and resources
  • Wider variety of goods and services to choose from
  • Better choice from the available goods and services
  • Getting the needed support in personal emergencies
  • More interaction with the community and civic organizations
  • More interaction with the business organizations
  • More interaction with the governmental organizations and agencies

Trust Vs. Online Ads Formats /Channels

Ads displayed via Social channels are the most trusted

  1. Social media advertising (e.g. Facebook…
  2. Displayed in search results
  3. Mobile SMS
  4. Online video (in-video advertising)
  5. Mobile (applications)
  6. Email advertising
  7. Display and banner advertising

Trust Vs. Sectors

Ads from technology sector are the most trusted

  1. Technology
  2. Communication
  3. Events & Entertainment
  4. Home Appliances
  5. Home Furniture & Home Products
  6. Tourism & Travel
  7. Retail & Shopping
  8. Food and Beverages
  9. Jobs & Training
  10. Automotive & Related
  11. Media
  12. Housing & Real Estate
  13. Business & Professional Services
  14. Cosmetics & Pharmaceuticals
  15. Financial Services

Once interesting, and trusted the INITIAL responses to Ads would be Search or Click

  • 44%: I searched for the product/brand using a search engine
  • 40%: I clicked on the Ad itself
  • 36%: I investigated the product/brand through online communities and discussions
  • 24%: I just ignored the Ad
  • 23%: I typed the company website address into the browser and visited
  • 18%: I shared to my online contacts & networks

Last Minute European Travel

Europe is a preferred tour destination among tourists because of its varied cultures, word famous rail journeys, the coffee and other wonderful adventures. In Europe, coffee was referred to as Satan’s drink, when it was first introduced in 1615. The support of doctors led to the growth coffee houses in and around Europe.

A traveler who is new to Europe will not have difficulty in navigating roads, as it is the easy to find locations. Compared to the United States, Europe is not that vast, but the number of attractions, lure tourists to this fascinating place, each year. Europe is complete with exotic locations and amazing accommodations to make any holiday, last minute or otherwise, enjoyable and exciting.

For last minute holidays, the cost of accommodation and traveling differs. Germany is expensive compared to Spain, but cheaper in terms of accommodation. Tourists do get good discount rates for hotels and flight reservations, online.

People come to here to see and marvel at the wonders of the world. In Paris, it is the Eiffel Tower that stands 300m high. It stands out in a number of movies, educational channels, magazines, portraits and songs.

Roundtrip fares usually cost lower than normal fares. There are many low cost packages too. In the US, airfares start from $599 from Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to Prague, Paris, Nice, Madrid and Barcelona. For less than $699 flights fly from the US to Milan, Turin, Venice, Naples and Rome. Trips to London cost less than $389 from the US. Due to attractive discounted schemes, they can be made cheaper. A little research on the Internet, results in the tourist grabbing very attractive offers. Auctions are also held, to lower the prices. As the Dollar is a world recognized currency, it is can easily convertible.

Boutique Hotels – Much More Than Just Accommodation

The main and the most highlighted difference between a boutique hotel and a contemporary five star hotel is the feel of getting a very personal attention in boutique hotels. The staff of boutique hotels shows their deep interest in making your stay more and more pleasant. They are also habitual of providing special attention to their guests. It is often said that if you want to live like an emperor, stay in a boutique hotel. Usually, it is seen that the location of these boutique hotels are so close to the tourism hotspots of that city and this makes very convenient for the guests to visit those sites and come back to hotel whenever they want. These boutique hotels have one aim and that is to make your visit a cherished one.

As told earlier, staff of the boutique hotels take deep interest in your presence their. They are readily available to guide you on outdoor activities you can do in that area, sights you must see and the attractions of that town, city or state. By this, we can guess that when someone stays in a boutique hotel, he will not only enjoy the lavish and very imperial lodging but he also gets an assurance that he is not going to miss any attractions of the particular location.

There is no big story behind the dawn of these boutique hotels. The two very first boutique hotels of the world are the Blakes hotel in south Kensington, London and the Bedford in union square. These were two self-proclaimed boutique hotel and were opened in 1981 whereas the Morgan hotel in Murray hill in New York is believed to be the first boutique hotel receiving official acknowledgement. This hotel was owned by Mr. Ian Schrager and was started in 1984. Since then, countless boutique hotels have been opened all throughout the world.

There is no fix definition of a boutique hotel but major part of experts in this industry say that a boutique hotel should be a matchless style, a peculiarity in its architecture and design. They say that a boutique hotel should be beyond standardization. Its definition should be given by its customers and that definition sets the standard for that hotel.

The size of the hotel also plays an important role in deciding the description of a boutique hotel. A hotel having more than 150 rooms cant be called a boutique hotel because in this situation guests starts getting the experience they get in normal type hotels. This experience does not stand anywhere around the experience one can get in a boutique hotel.

Although every effort is made to make two boutique hotels totally different but still, they share very common characteristics. These characteristics are their locations, product quality, its popularity in market and its approach. If all these factors are of top class then it is sure that a boutique hotel will gain a huge success.

So, in the end, it can be said that in current scenario where no one will hesitate in spending money to get the best, boutique hotel is the perfect answer to all your accommodation needs while holidaying. There is no doubt that a wisely chosen boutique hotel, its comfort and services will coerce you to reiterate your trip every year.

Where to Hike – Choosing the Right Place

General Considerations for Finding a Place to Hike

The first thing to ask yourself is, what exactly are you looking for? Then, consider what places are within your reach, practically speaking. Be sure to find out if the activity you have in mind is permitted in the place you’re going to. Last and perhaps most importantly, consider what you can handle.

With all these things in mind, you can start looking. There’s a list of suggestions and resources at the end of this article.

What are you looking for?

Do you want to add just a little contact with nature to your everyday life? Consider your local city parks or reservation lands. Even private lands, if the owner is amenable, such as the fringes of farms, woodlots, or other such undeveloped areas can offer a peaceful and interesting place to visit with wild things. Check your town’s Web site and your local library for information about parks and outdoor recreation areas, or just ask around among your neighbors. And don’t forget your own back yard. There may be more fascinating birds, insects, and plants there than you imagine. You never know until you get out there and just open your eyes and ears for a while.

Do you want to find a real wilderness area that you can visit once in a while and get to know well? Check your state’s Web site for state and national parks, national forests, and other large outdoor recreation areas within your travel range. Read books and articles about the area before your first visit so you know what to expect. Study the roads and the location of parking areas so you have a good idea of how long it will take to get there.

Are you planning a business trip or vacation in an unfamiliar place and hoping to explore its natural history first-hand? Now you’ve got some research to do! Check the Web for tourism sites in the area you’re planning to visit. Remember to look for printable field guides to the plants and wildlife in the area. Consider several alternatives, in case you discover after you arrive that your first choice isn’t going to work out. (I never got outside of Palermo when I visited Sicily, when my planned trip to Mount Aetna was canceled due to eruption!)

Are you planning a trip where hiking is the main objective? Good for you! You’ll want to consider carefully, and find out as much as you can about the place before you depart. Get some information from books and Web sites. Then get some more. Be sure to filter the information properly: If someone has something to sell you, they might make it sound more attractive and more accessible than it really is. Find out if you need reservations for campsites, canoe rentals and such.

Places you can get to

Read those maps carefully! Sixty miles by road might look like an hour’s drive, but not if it’s an unpaved logging road through rough country. You don’t want to get caught out in wilderness unprepared, and unable to get out before people start worrying about you.

If you are planning to visit the area repeatedly, allow yourself plenty of time to get to know the place. Try a few alternate routes to find the best one. Try a few different access points — parking lots, trail heads, etc. — before you pick which one will be “your place.” You’ll be back many times, so don’t get discouraged if you find that your first choice is not as good as you hoped.

If you are going on a once-in-a-lifetime visit, you might want to hire a guide. Yes, it’s an expense and a bit of an intrusion, but it’s better than getting in trouble. When you contact the guide to plan your hike, make sure they understand your objectives — whether you want to race to that mountain peak, or just take it slow and watch the birds — and give them an honest assessment of your capabilities. If they are taking you as part of a group, make sure the rigid tour schedule will not make your vacation a chore for you.

Is it Allowed?

Take stock of what you intend to do, and whether it might be prohibited or restricted. Many parks do not allow camping. Fishing is forbidden or restricted in many lakes and rivers. (I know a beautiful pond in a state park where only children are allowed to fish.)

Are you planning to bring your dog along for the hike? Not all parks permit dogs, and most require that the dog be on a leash.

There are also restrictions on power boats, snowmobiles, and even off-road bicycles. Make sure the place you plan to go permits what you plan to do.

Can you take it?

Make an honest assessment of your abilities, both physical and mental, and plan for caution. Think you can walk twelve miles in a day? Don’t plan on more than seven miles in unfamiliar country.

Carefully read the trail descriptions and degree of difficulty before you decide what you can handle. If it says “rugged,” that means you should not plan on setting any land speed records there.

Bear in mind that most trail guide literature is written by people with extensive hiking experience and above-average physical condition. If you’re a couch potato hoping to become a great outdoorsman, don’t plan on taking the same hike that the great outdoorsman calls “challenging.”

Pay attention to the contour lines you see on most trail maps. They tell you how steep the trail is, generally. A one-mile trail that climbs 500 feet is a walk in the park. A one-mile trail that climbs 2,000 feet might be impassable to the average sedentary person.

Again, make sure your self-assessment is honest. You might tell a great adventure story at home, but you can’t fool the elements. When you’re out on the trail, no amount of bravado can make up for a lack of physical fitness.

Suggestions

Don’t overlook a place because it’s popular. True, crowds take away from the sense of peace and solitude, and wildlife avoids contact with people. But if you go at the right time of day, you might find something close to wilderness, even in a place that is usually crowded. Most people are most active late in the day, and most animals are most active at dusk and dawn. That spells it out for you: Wherever you go, try to go there at dawn.

If you are fortunate enough to have a state or national park nearby, that’s probably your best choice. Otherwise, for frequent quick visits, don’t overlook your city parks and private property.

Before hiking on private property, introduce yourself to the owner. As long as they know who you are and what you’re up to, most people are happy to allow hikers to use their woods and fields. Of course, some landowners have had bad experiences, and you certainly must respect their rights to protect their property from damage and their livestock from injury and harassment. Remember that many landowners have agreements with hunting clubs, so they might not be able to let you hike on their land during hunting season.

When planning a trip to an unknown area, make sure you do your research ahead of time. Again, state and national parks are probably your best choices. Not only are they the most likely to offer a good hiking experience, they are also the best documented. You certainly won’t be able to find a source on the Web that tells you what to expect on Farmer Jones’ back forty, but there’s a wealth of information about public parklands. On another note, you’ll find plenty of information about commercial recreation areas, but they all have a financial interest in getting you to visit the place. Public parks are more likely to have plain and truthful information available.

Resources

  • Your local library. Look for books about your chosen destination. If you are planning a trip to an area you are not familiar with, look for local outdoor-oriented magazines.
  • Google. Enter the name of the city or state and the word “hiking,” and you’ll find an inexhaustible chain of links to information you can use.
  • American Hiking Society (http://www.americanhiking.org/). Search their “Alliance of Hiking Organizations” for affiliated organizations in your area.
  • National Park Service (http://www.nps.gov/). The mother lode, for the United States.
  • USDA Forest Service (http://www.fs.fed.us/). Another extremely rich source, broken down by regions of the United States.

Apartments for Sale in Turkey

Why to own an apartment in Turkey?

• Are you thinking of owning a property in the investment country Turkey? A high number of investors are seeking to buy Turkish apartments for various purposes such as accommodation, investment, and tourism.

• Turkey’s economic growth in the past few years has leaped dramatically, and the real estate market in Turkey has been classified as one of the most lucrative markets in recent times.

• Turkey is an attractive country for real estate investments. It is considered the magnet of real estate investment and tourism. Many foreigners want to buy houses for sale in Turkey in 2017 and 2018 for various purposes such as tourism, accommodation, and investment.

The decision to buy an apartment in Turkey for the purpose of the investment is a right decision as:

• Turkey is strategically located between Europe and the Middle East, where you can find a variety of golden deals to buy homes and houses with sea views, from both local and international developers.

• On the other hand, the Turkish government is working to provide various facilities and tax exemptions in the real estate sector and encourage the establishment of new real estate projects, commensurate with the steady increase in housing.

• Turkey’s booming tourist activity is also an important investment factor, with millions of tourists arriving each year, making the investment in Turkey, especially in the real estate field suitable for short-term tourist rentals, and guaranteed profit.

Tips for those wishing to buy ownership apartments in Turkey:

• When looking for ownership apartments for sale in Turkey, He should not be satisfied with the description he receives from many marketers in traditional and electronic media.

• The investor should study the area and decide to buy an apartment in it and must know the infrastructure, the type of apartments, the most important facilities and public services surrounding them.

• It is necessary to choose apartments built in accordance with international standards because this type of apartments rises in price over time.

• The investor must make sure that the apartment that he will buy is free of structural defects as well as free of any debts, taxes, financial assets or legal consequences.

• Looking for a reliable real estate agent to use in the purchase and ownership of apartments and to solve any problem you may face.

Luxury Apartments in Turkey

When you look at the luxury apartments for sale in Turkey, you will notice the spread of smart homes in Turkey with advanced technology and luxury, shorten the time and carry out the vital tasks of their owners according to the latest artificial intelligence systems.

In addition to the smart apartments in Turkey, all types of luxury homes in Turkey, such as penthouses, duplexes, and luxury complexes, with modern entertainment systems, and many of these houses and complexes have wonderful designs both in terms of internal or external engineering, and wonderful views, and vast green spaces around, It spreads in most beautiful Turkish cities such as: Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa, Yalova, Antalya, Izmir, Trabzon, and Sakarya…

Do you prefer to own a luxury apartment in Turkey? Follow these tips:

• When looking for apartments for sale in Istanbul, the investor should see them in real life and not just describe them from the many marketers in the traditional and electronic advertising media.

• The investor is advised to study the area that decides to buy an apartment in it and must know the infrastructure, type of apartments, and the most important facilities and public services surrounding them.

• Looking for a reliable real estate agent to get help in the purchase and ownership of apartments and to solve any problem you may face.

• Make sure that your apartment is within the construction complexes that comply with international standards because this type of apartments will rise in price over time.

Central Asia Travel Destinations – Kazakhstan

At roughly half the size of the 48 contiguous United States, Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, with spectacularly diverse geography and no shortage of places to visit. Northern forests gradually turn into wide flat steppes to more arid regions and finally to deserts in the south. Kazakhstan is rich in minerals and has large oil and gas reserves.

Islam and Christianity are the dominant religions, although religious tolerance is the widely recognized norm and, as a holdover from the Soviet era, many people profess no religious affiliation at all. The national characteristic of the Kazakh people is hospitality. Steming from the country's longstanding nomadic culture, strangers are treated as honored guests. Respect for guests and the elderly as well as tolerance and peacefulness are ingrained from childhood.

Almaty, in the east, is the country's largest city and commercial capital. The ancestral home of the world's apples has been traced to this region. In fact, "Alma" means "apple." The Great Silk Road caravans came through this ancient city carrying spices, porcelain, silk and civilizing influences from the cultured Orient to the more barbaric west.

An over night train trip to the west takes you to the Baykonur Cosmodrome, home of the Russian space program. Once a secretly guarded location, Baykonur is now open to visitors where it is possible to tour the birthplace of space flight, visit the complex where the original cosmonauts trained and where today Russian flights to the International Space Station are launched.

About 100 miles (160 km) east of Almaty are the natural wonders of Altyn-Emel National Park. The region contains rare animals such as Siberian mountain goats, ancient Scythian burial mounds, rock drawings from 3500 years ago and the Kyzyl-Auyz Gorge where there grows the "stone tree" which has bark so hard that it resists an ax. The park also contains otherworldly "lunar" landscapes and the unforgettable "Singing Dunes," which make the sound of an organ in dry weather. Imperceptible movement of grains of sand sliding down the face of the dune in dry weather creates a vibration that becomes electrified in dry conditions, which coupled by resonant conditions in the surroundings, produces powerful sound waves that can be heard miles away.

Here too is Charyn Canyon, referred to as the younger brother of America's Grand Canyon, with deep, colorful gorges, spectacular rock formations and some of the world's finest hiking, canyoning and water rafting.

Travel Tips for Russia

Russia is becoming increasingly popular with tourists due to its rich cultural heritage and its popular cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. If you are planning or are going on a trip to Russia, then we suggest you consider some of the following travel tips.

Familiarise yourself with Russia

Do some reading around Russia before you visit it to find out a bit about the country. To give you some insight, Russia spans nine time zones and is the world’s largest country, with landscapes ranging from frozen tundras in Siberia and the endless wheat fields and pine forests of central Russia to the mountains and palm trees of the Caucasus in the South. The population was approximately around 140 million according to the last census with Central Russia, which includes Moscow, being the most densely populated area.

Health

Be sure to check what to eat and what not to eat before you head to Russia. The country does not pose any serious health threats, with cases of food poisoning the most common problem. Most guidelines suggest avoiding buying kebabs at stands, especially at train stations, while tourists are also advised to be wary of dairy products. Tap water is safe to drink in Moscow after boiling, but tourists are advised to drink bottled water everywhere else; avoiding ice cubes and using bottled water to brush teeth is also recommended.

Money

Russia is a spectacular country and so are its prices. The large cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are, like most famous European cities, very expensive. On the outskirts of the larger cities you will find cheaper restaurants and accommodation. Holidaymakers are advised to get their Russian Rubles before travelling, but there are ATMs from local banks like Sberbank and international ones such as HSBC and Citibank all over Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. When paying for something, retailers in Russia prefer to be paid in cash, but credit cards are generally accepted and travellers can still pay with traveller’s cheques.

Manners

Before jetting off to Russia you should be aware of some Russian etiquette. If you are on a business trip and are running late, there is no need to panic as this is considered normal, often due to the awful traffic in Moscow. If you are offered a drink, it is considered rude not to accept it, especially for men. Some travel guides also say that Russian men often only shake hands with a fellow male upon meeting, so women travelling with their husbands should be prepared to see that their husband’s hand is shaken and not theirs. Russians also like to dress up almost everywhere they go, so it might be worth packing some smart clothes for your trip.

Choosing a Costa Rica Jungle Lodge

Costa Rica's beach resorts and hotels receive a lot of well deserved attention among North American sun and surf worshipers. With white and dark sand beaches, great waves and romantic sunsets – it's hard to go wrong. But for those tired of the salt-crusted-hair-look, who prefer something a bit more adventurous and off the beaten path, Costa Rica offers a delightful alternative: The jungle / rainforest lodge. Located in misty cloud forests, lowland jungles and remote beaches, the jungle lodge is everything a beach resort is not: intimate, secluded, bathed in nature and refreshingly authentic.

Imagine white water rafting down one of the world's most scenic rivers to a palm-thatched paradise offering gourmet meals and unique nature tours. How about flying to one of Costa Rica's remote jungles and then taking a small boat down a jungle-laden river straight out into the ocean and then on to your very romantic getaway. Maybe an emerald-green cloud forest with myriad tropical birds and a cool moist breeze is really what you're looking for? You can find this and much more at one of Costa Rica's eclectic mix of jungle lodges.

Visa or MasterCard

Because many lodges are located in fairly remote areas of the country, most supplies must be bought in from a good distance away (many times by raft, boat or plane), making the price you pay for a quality lodge somewhat more expensive than a regular hotel – though not necessarily as much as a beach resort. Still, when you consider that many rainforest lodges include meals, transportation and some tours in the price, it really is a great bargain. Lodges on the lower end of the price spectrum may cost anywhere from $ 70 – $ 125 dollars per person per night. Expect to pay anywhere from $ 150 – $ 350 per person, per night for high-end lodges. Most lodges can be paid for beforehand over the internet, so you should not need to take much cash to the lodge itself. Some lodges also require a minimum stay, so make sure to call and find out.

It's a jungle out there …

Before you go, make sure you know what you are getting into – literally. Although these sounds like common sense, you'd be surprised how many people blindly book their vacation through a third party and then are surprised (to say the least) to learn that their so-called jungle lodge is either a lodge, nor in the jungle. Or maybe they expected some vibrant nightlife but are surprised to learn that it is the six legged type. If the sight of a creepy crawly sends you in search of a shot gun, then maybe you should stick with the Marriott. So make sure you give the lodge a call (if possible), or at least visit their website. Ask questions. Are bugs included in the price? Or are they extra? I meant good questions. Is food included in the price? What kind of food is served? Is there electricity? Is there a naturalist guide at the lodge? Are tours included? What is your children policy? The more you know, the better prepared you will be to enjoy yourself.

Responsible Tourism

The great majority of jungle lodges are built to, and upheld, strict standards of eco-responsibility. These may include materials used, waste management, the use of renewable resources, and the way they educate their guests to respect the environment. Many rainforest lodges are also very involved with local communities, donating resources, money and time to projects that benefit the area's residents. Some lodges may offer guided cultural tours, allowing you to enjoy a much more satisfying experience rather simply participating in recreational and nature activities. That said, because of the boom in everything "eco", there are some "lodges" that have simply added this prefix to their name and nothing more. They talk the talk but do not walk the walk. So again, if a true eco-lodge is what you are looking for, ask the right questions. What concrete steps do you take to protect the environment? How do you avoid disturbing the wildlife? How do you minimize energy consumption? Do you support local communities? Are you members of any eco-tourism organizations and have you received any rewards for eco-responsible practices? Direct questions such as these will soon separate the wheat from the chaff.

What should I pack?

The answer to this question depends on the particular lodge you will be staying at. If easily accessible by car, then you can probably take just about anything you'd like, just make sure you get clear instructions from the lodge itself – you will not want to take a hair dryer or laptop and then find out there is no electricity. As mentioned before, some lodges are only accessible by plane or boat, and these may only allow a limited weight or luggage size. As a rule of thumb, the less you pack the better. Most quality lodges will include a list of recommended items to pack. Typically this list includes hiking boots, cotton pants (dry-out quicker and are less heavier than jeans), cotton shirts, underclothes, three or four pairs of socks, light jacket, a cap with wide brim, sun glasses, sun block, insect repellant and toiletry items. But then again, this will be determined by the lodge's location and activities available.

You are now armed with the basics for choosing the perfect jungle lodge for your needs and budget. So if the pungent aroma of three-day old suntan lotion has lost its romantic appeal, or if you simply want to enjoy nature in a much more intimate way, I highly recommend you look into visiting a jungle lodge, one of Costa Rica's more unique and enjoyable accommodation alternatives.