Friday, March 27, 2015

Cities Less Traveled: Discover a Different Naples

Naples, Italy is famous for many things: from pizza to Pompeii and more. If you are taking a flight to Naples, you might want to check out some of the not-so-famous foods and attractions for an exciting and unique take on the city. A stay in a one-of-a-kind Naples hotel will make your trip even more special.

Photo by Piccolo Lorenzo via trover.com

Local Foods

Of course you’ll want to eat pizza when you are in Naples, but why not sample other local specialties at one of the excellent restaurants in Naples. Because of its location on the Bay, dishes with fresh seafood are a must try. Spaghetti a vongole (clam spaghetti) and pasta e fagioli con le cozze (pasta with beans and mussels) are excellent, and filling choices for a main course. Then try a delicious pastry for dessert. Babà is a soft pastry made with yeast, saturated in rum, and sometimes filled with cream. Pastiera is a cake made with cooked wheat and ricotta cheese.

Photo by Fen via trover.com

Under the Radar Attractions

You might be surprised to find out that under the city of Naples there are chambers, passageways, and aqueducts that connect the remains of a Greco-Roman theater, parts of churches, and a first-century A.D. Roman market. A tour of the honeycombed underground is like a taking an awe-inspiring and educational step way back in time. Naples has a much more modern underground attraction as well. If you like contemporary art, you will love the city subway system’s collection that features works by some of the top contemporary artists in the world. The “art subway” includes paintings, mosaics, and photographs.

Photo by Matilde Civitillo via trover.com


 

When you come up from the underground, a stroll on the city’s seafront walkway, called the Lungomare, is a great way to take in some fresh air and the city’s scenic offerings. There are great views of the bay, two of the city’s castles, and Mt. Vesuvius. Because this is such a romantic area, you will notice numerous painted padlocks attached to poles along the Lungomore; these are known as love locks and are placed by couples to symbolize their love for each other. You can bring one of your own to place if you are with your loved one.

Photo by Giunto Mess via trover.com

A Unique, Boutique Hotel

Stay at a hotel in Naples that prides itself on giving their guests the chance to taste and enjoy Naples as only locals do; you will be treated like local royalty (the hotel is in a renovated Fifth-Century Palace after all). Hotel Piazza Bellini’s location in the historic district is ideal for exploring the city. This three-star hotel is filled with modern décor and hip, black and white graffiti. The comfortable rooms are filled with funky, fun artwork too, and the views of the city are amazing. The hotel’s restaurant serves traditional Napolitan cuisine and traditional Italian cuisine.

Additional Activities

You will never run out of things to do in Naples. The many restaurants and bistros will keep you fed well, and there are always new and different activities going on in this exciting and bustling city. It is a city worth visiting again and again.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Best of San Diego Spa Hotels

San Diego is an easy city to fall in love with because of its incredible climate, spectacular scenery, and many activities and attractions. Finding the right place to stay during a visit is not so easy. You'll find a plethora of hotels in San Diego. If you are considering a trip to a San Diego spa hotel, here are some outstanding ones worthy of your consideration.

Photo by Rob Mcnamara via Trover.com

Catamaran Resort and Spa

The Catamaran Spa at Catamaran Resort and Spa uses marine and botanical products for its services, which are based on Asian and South Pacific healing traditions. The spa offers hydrotherapy treatments with Vichy showers, body wraps, massages, facials, and more. The salon provides beauty treatments, so you will feel good inside and out. While being kind to your body, you can also be kind to the environment at this eco-friendly hotel.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Voted one of the top 100 U.S. resport spas by Conde Nast Traveler, the Spa at Paradise Point is one of the most celebrated amenities at Paradise Point Resort & Spa. The spa uses ingredients and techniques from Fiji, Thailand, Bali, Hawaii, and the mainland. You can choose which experience you would like best or try more than one in their exotic treatment rooms. A couple of the unique and relaxing treatments available are a sticks and stones massage and a coconut and sugar cane scrub. You will love the 44 acre island location and the bungalow style rooms, too.

Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

Mantra Spa at Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa uses high quality ingredients from around the globe to treat you to a an experience that will thrill all of your senses. The therapists pride themselves on bringing you physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional balance. The spa also has a salon with all of the services you could want to pamper your hair, nails, and more. The Mediterranean-themed décor at the hotel makes your stay extra special. 
  

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina

An image of Earth from the Apollo 17 mission inspired the name of the spa at Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina. Named one of the top ten spas around the world by Organic Spa magazine, Blue Marble Spa focuses on life in harmony with nature. You'll find private outdoor cabanas, individual treatment rooms, and suites if you want to enjoy treatments with a partner. The hotel also has its own marina that is perfect for whale watching.

Palomar San Diego, a Kimpton Hotel

You can enjoy customized treatments at Nature's Spa by Jurlique when you stay at Palomar San Diego, a Kimpton Hotel. The spa relies on science to develop pure skin care treatments. In addition to the treatment rooms with private steam showers, there's even a couple’s suite for romantic shared treatments. The spa also offers salon services. You will be spoiled not only at the spa but also throughout this upscale hotel.

Photo by Nina Monassa via Trover.com

There's something for every traveler in San Diego. With spa hotels like these, you're guaranteed to love the city.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cities Less Traveled: The Wild Side of Whistler

Whistler truly is a wonderland for wild adventures. There are so many things to do that it is worth going off the beaten ski paths to experience new and different thrills. SeveralWhistler hotels even have discount adventure packages that come with scheduled activities and tours.   

Bungee Jumping

It might just be one of the most extreme year round activities you can experience in Whistler, but it sure is unforgettable and exhilarating. Imagine standing on a bridge 160 feed over a glacial fed river. First, you take in the awesome scenery of Cheakamus River’s rapids, basalt column cliffs, and thick, old growth forests. Then comes the adrenaline pumping jump, which you can do by yourself or in tandem with a friend. Talk about getting wild in Whistler; you will be awestruck. And just in case you are a little nervous, Whistler Bungee has an unblemished safety record.

Photo by The Global Couple via trover.com

Whitewater Rafting

You can get up close and personal with Cheakamus River’s rapids through a summer whitewater rafting trip. Flowing with the river’s glacial melt water is an encounter that is too thrilling to put into words.  The surrounding scenery and ever changing rapids are invigorating. If you are not sure about riding rough rapids and prefer a more relaxing experience, there are trips available on gently flowing areas of the river. There are also rafting trips on Green River and Elaho River.

Photo by Joe via trover.com 

Dog Sledding

If you feel like going wild backcountry-style during the winter in Whistler, a dog sledding adventure can’t be beat for its uniqueness. While the scenery is amazing everywhere in Whistler, seeing the backcountry wildlife, forests, and mountain views from a dogsled offers an exceptional perspective. You learn all about the dogs’ commands and how to get them set up, and then a professional musher takes you on tour. If you are venturesome, you can even mush your own team.

Photo by Scuba Mami via trover.com

Seaplane Tours

Want to see all of the mountains, glaciers, rivers, and lakes from a bird’s-eye-view? From May through September, a seaplane tour takes you above it all. Glaciers look like natural, multi-colored ice sculptures when you get close to them in the air; you will be awed. It is also interesting to see the Olympic venues and the Olympic rings from the sky. Of course it should go without saying that simply taking off and landing in the picturesque lakes around Whistler is a wild and wonderful experience in and of itself.

Photo by Brad Silverberg via trover.com

Wild End to the Day

The perfect ending to a day of outdoor adventures is a night of indoor adventures. Conveniently, some of Whistler’s more happening bars are located in hotels, so you won’t have far to walk after a wild night. Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre’s Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, Crystal Lodge & Suites’ Crystal Lounge, and, Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa’s Cinnamon Bear Bar & Grille are some hot spots you will want to check out.

Photo by Tom Owens via trover.com

No matter which adventures you choose, you are sure to be wild about Whistler and want to visit again and again.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: A Guide to Cancun’s Natural Beauty

Cancun’s climate, landscape, and underwater seascape make it an outstanding destination for a nature lover’s vacation, and there are several hotels in Cancun that place you directly on the intoxicating white sand beaches with the clear blue water at your feet. To fully appreciate the extent of the beauty of the city, make sure to visit the coral reef, cenotes, jungles, and islands.

Photo by Jen Formella via trover.com

Coral Reefs

The Great Mesoamerican Reef off the coast of Cancun is the second-largest coral reef in the world. With warm, clear, shallow waters surrounding the reef, it's an ideal place to snorkel so you can get an up-close look at the stunning and colorful natural formations. The tropical fish and other marine life that live on and near the reef are truly a sight to be seen. Just remember not to touch the reef.

Cenotes

Another underwater wonder in Cancun is its system of cenotes (underwater caverns and hidden rivers). There are several amazing Secret River tours available that allow you to swim, hike, and snorkel through super-clear waters while viewing the astounding formations of stalagmites and stalactites in the caverns. There's also a unique Secret River tour that includes a buffet lunch in the natural environment.  

Photo by Erica Campbell via trover.com

Jungles

The flora and fauna in Cancun’s preserved jungle areas and sanctuaries are incredibly diverse and vastly different from what you may have experienced before, and touring a jungle is an experience you won't soon forget. You'll be awed by sights of leopards, jaguars, and monkeys; waterfowl, reptiles, and mangrove vegetation; and breathtakingly gorgeous birds and flowers of many colors. You can tour these jungles in Jeeps, boats, and even via zip line.

Photo by We Travel Together via trover.com

Islands

Holbox Island

Holbox Island is another area with spectacular marine life and birds. It's separated from the mainland by Yalahau Lagoon and is situated where the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico join (which is why the marine life in the waters is so divergent). The marine life includes dolphins, whale sharks, sea turtles, lobsters, octopus, and manta rays. If you visit in June or September during the large congregations of whale sharks, it's easy to swim right next to one. And you'll love the island’s birds: flamingos, scarlet ibis, pelicans, great white egrets, and more.

Isla Mujeres

The natural beauty of Mayan ruins and ancient statues of women are prevalent on this “Island of Women,” which was so named because it was sacred to the Mayan goddess of childbirth. Isla Mujeres is also home to tropical jungles, white sand beaches, and brilliant blue water. While on the island, you can swim with dolphins, visit a sea turtle protection center, snorkel or dive in a sleeping shark cave, and tour a unique and magnificent underwater sculpture museum.  

Photo by freetobe_mel via trover.com

You can take in all of the extraordinary scenery, and marine and animal life, when you stay at one of many reasonably priced Cancun hotels. This is a city that you'll fall in love with and want to visit more than just once.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cities Less Traveled: A Non-Traditional Trip to Tucson

Tucson, with its fascinating historical and cultural background, has so many different attractions and sights that it can be hard to decide which ones to include in your travel itinerary. Some of them are well-known, including Reid Park Zoo and Mission San Xavier del Bac. But if you’re the kind of person who enjoys discovering places and things that are not-so-well-known, Tucson is sure to keep you entertained in this arena, too.

Photo by Lisa Bunker via Trover.com

Art-Filled Afternoons

There are over 30 galleries in Tucson featuring works by local artists and world famous artists. The DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is one you shouldn’t miss for its artwork that beautifully portrays Southwestern life. Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia and his wife, Marion, established the gallery in 1950 to exhibit his paintings and ceramics. After her husband’s death, Marion opened an exhibit which features rotating visiting artists. For those who find photography more to their liking, Etherton Gallery has an absolutely amazing collection of fine art photography by over 200 artists, including Ansel Adams, Timothy O’Sullivan, Danny Lyon, and numerous others.

Unusual Shopping

Whether you have ever been shopping at a swap meet or not, the Tanque Verde Swap Meet is unlike anything you've experienced before. There are over 33 acres of selling space at this family owned and operated business that is open every weekend, year round. You can pick up Southwest souvenirs, or buy shoes and clothing; there is even fresh produce. Visiting this swap meet is an entertaining way to shop and eat. Vendors sell hot dogs, nachos, burritos, and ice cream. You can even get a Southwest-inspired tattoo here as a memory of your trip.

Delectable Dining

Tucson has many restaurants with different cuisines, local and otherwise. When you eat at a locally owned and operated restaurant, you will be rewarded with freshly made meals and flavors unique to Tucson. The Gulf of Mexico Oysters at Bluefin Seafood Bistro are scrumptious, and you can’t find them this fresh in too many places. A unique and tasty appetizer from Pastiche is the fried avocado with chipotle aioli. Their fish soft tacos are outstanding as well. French inspired cuisine from Le Rendez-Vous or Italian cuisine from Travolino are also excellent choices.

Music-Filled Nights

Ready for some great music? The Maverick Live Country Club has live country music and dancing Tuesdays through Saturdays. The Maverick even offers traditional country dance lessons and line dancing lessons so that you can return from your trip with a new talent or two. If your music taste leans towards rock, Club Congress has you covered with live music, entertainment, and dancing seven nights a week. It is considered one of the best rock clubs in the U.S. Both venues also serve food to keep your dancing feet energized.

Sleeping in Style

Want to stay in a comfortable hotel that reflects Tucson’s history and culture, or do you prefer a modern hotel with a spa? It’s easy to find the right hotels in Tucson with the suggestions, reviews, and special offers available at Hipmunk.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Planning a Trip to Amsterdam

Canals, bridges, bikes, and boats are some of the many things you will love in this amazing city that began its life in the thirteenth century as a fishing village. You can have a memorable and budget friendly trip to Amsterdam when you take some of the wonderful tours that are available, hit some of the famous attractions, treat yourself to a meal on a canal cruise, and stay in one of the amazing hotels in Amsterdam.

Photo by Krassi Hristova via Trover.com

How to Save Money

It's easy to stick to a budget in Amsterdam by purchasing an I amsterdam City Card, which gives you unlimited use of the public transportation system and entrance to several of Amsterdam’s famous museums and attractions. Many businesses have special offers and discounts for card holders, too.

Photo by Hannah Diffey via Trover.com

How to Get Around Town

To get the full Amsterdam experience and fit in with the locals, rent a bike. Almost 60 percent of Amsterdam’s residents bike daily, and Amsterdam is filled with bike paths that let you take in the scenic surroundings at your own pace. With an I amsterdam City Card, you get a 25 percent discount at some of the local bike rental shops. 
With over 160 canals, another enjoyable way to get around is on a canal bike. The canal bikes hold up to four people and are an economical way to tour the canals. You will also get to see the city’s historic architecture and many unique houseboats that line the banks of the canals.

Photo by Algirdas Sidiskis via Trover.com

What to Do

By taking one of the numerous tours available, you will get to see and learn things that you wouldn’t without a guide. Boat, bus, cycling, and walking tours will get you out and about in the city. Personalized guided tours and museum tours will add that extra oomph to your visit. Don’t miss the world famous Van Gogh Museum, either.
Between late March and mid-May, a visit to the Keukenhof Gardens is a must. The gardens are filled with vibrant colors, thanks to the 800 varieties of tulips. Photos don’t do the gardens justice. You need to see them in person to fully appreciate their beauty.

Photo by Earth Trekkers via Trover.com

A trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without a guided canal cruise that floats by Amsterdam’s famous attractions and introduces you to the history of the city. Amsterdam’s canal ring is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site, and a cruise is the perfect way to enjoy the history and scenery.

Where to Stay?

With so many hotels in town, it can be hard to choose the right one. If you are looking for luxury, location, and fine dining, Bilderberg Garden Hotel has you covered. If you don’t want to pay for luxury and location but still want a clean comfortable place to rest your head, Best Western Blue Square Hotel is an excellent choice.

A city filled with history, culture, and outdoor activities, Amsterdam is a great destination for travelers of all kinds.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Top 5 Exceptional Hotels in Naples

There are many excellent hotels in Naples to fit the needs of all types of travelers. If you are the type of traveler who appreciates the art and architecture of one of the oldest cities in the world, and you prefer the unique over the average, you won’t be disappointed with a stay at one of these exceptional hotels with noteworthy décor.   
   
Photo by Matilde Civitillo via trover.com

Hotel Piazza Bellini – Modern and Hip in a Neo-Classical Fifth-Century Palace 

The juxtaposition of modern furnishings and seventeenth-century marble busts at the Hotel Piazza Bellini will blow you away. The hotel, which really was once a palace, contains an aesthetically pleasing blend of history and modernity. In addition to the modern furnishings, there are graffiti-style murals throughout the hotel and the rooms by Neapolitan artist Alessandro Crocchia. Each room actually has its own unique graphics. You can have fun writing on the walls too in the hotel’s restaurant where there is a wall-size blackboard for you to create your own designs.

Hotel Nuvo –Two Different Eras of Décor in One Modern Hotel

As a modern hotel, the Hotel Nuvo stands out for its distinctive non-modern room décor. The lobby and other community areas in this hotel are comfortable and decorated not too differently than many other modern hotels. It is the décor of the rooms that will either draw you in or having you looking elsewhere. In contrast to the lobby, the rooms have an almost Victorian Era feel. They have ornate wallpaper on some (but not all) walls, traditional wood furniture, and large drapes.

Palazzo Caracciolo Napoli - MGallery Collection – Aristocratic Architecture Surrounding a Peaceful Courtyard

Another hotel that combines history with modern comforts is the Palazzo Caracciolo Napoli - MGallery Collection. It was originally the noble Caracciolo family’s private residence, and it was built around a lavish courtyard. You can enjoy a libation in the lush beauty of the architecturally impressive courtyard after a day of touring the city. The rooms are decorated in clean, crisp white colors with accents of either red, gold, or silver depending on the room you select. There are also historical suites that maintain some of the traditional architecture.

UNA Hotel Napoli – Natural Elements and Modern Furnishings in a Restored Nineteenth-Century Building

A combination of traditional décor, with splashes of vibrant red, and modern furnishings sets the UNA Hotel Napoli apart from other hotels. The hotel is in a nineteenth-century building that has been restored to its original beauty with traditional materials and colors. The beautiful rough-hewn stone walls in the hotel and rooms really give everything a comfortable, earthy feel. The walls are complimented by different types of natural flooring throughout the hotel, including marble, slate, and wood floors. You can’t help but feel relaxed in the rooms with their soothing, earth-toned colors and comfortable furnishings.

Hotel San Pietro – Magnificent Mixing of Materials

One last hotel with noteworthy décor is the Hotel San Pietro. It too is in an older building that has been updated with a minimalist look, a mix of modern and traditional furniture, and a mix of impressionist and contemporary artwork. The rooms have clean lines, natural colors, and interesting wall textures. The artwork in the hotel and rooms will make you feel like you are in an art gallery.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Best of Punta Cana All-Inclusive Hotels

The feeling you get when your feet hit the warm, sugary sand of the beautiful beaches in Punta Cana is one of pure relaxation. Punta Cana was actually certified as one of the best beach areas in the world by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and beach lovers have made it one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Dominican Republic. With the number of hotels in Punta Cana, a quick review of some of the options can help you find one to suit you and your budget.

Photo by HKO CEM via trover.com

Best Private Beach: Zoetry Agua Punta Cana All Inclusive  

For those who prefer to enjoy the magnificent beaches without fighting crowds, Zoetry Agua Punta Cana All Inclusive is an excellent choice. The hotel has a private and secluded stretch of beach where you can stretch out and have your own space. You can even go horseback riding on the beach. Plus, the hotel is one of the highest rated all-inclusive hotels in Punta Cana.    

Best Adults Only Resort: Barceló Bávaro Beach - Adults Only - All Inclusive

Want to make sure you can enjoy your vacation away from your children without being disturbed by other people’s children? Barceló Bávaro Beach - Adults Only - All Inclusive is the place for you. It is a five-star resort that has special events and themed weeks throughout the year for adults to enjoy. The International Bikini Model Search and The Summer Festival are a couple of the events, and themed weeks include Zumba Week and International Singles Week.

Best Casino: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana All Inclusive

If you like games and gambling, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana All Inclusive will keep you on your toes with its 45,000-square-foot Casino. Casino Player’s Best of Gaming named the casino Best of Caribbean Winner in 2014. It also has a five-star Sports Book that is the Dominican Republic’s largest with 5,000 square feet.

Best Family-Friendly, All Suite, Luxury Resort: The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real Resort All Inclusive

Everyone in the family will love the luxurious suites at The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real Resort All Inclusive. Every suite has a private whirlpool, and some of the suites have swim-up access and private gardens. The hotel even has a family concierge to see to all of your needs. Your kids will have a blast in the kids’ zone and special kids’ pools.

Best Budget-Friendly Resort: ClubHotel Riu Bambu All Inclusive

You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a stay at an all-inclusive hotel. ClubHotel Riu Bambu All Inclusive has five restaurants which present variety for your taste buds. Your stay includes meals, snacks, and drinks; windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, and snorkeling; and daily and nightly entertainment. It is family-friendly too. There is daily entertainment for children, and there is a fun pool with numerous waterslides. You get all of this and more from the budget-priced hotel.


This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Visiting Whistler: Do it in Winter and Summer – An Opinion Piece



Whistler has wowed us during both the winter and the summer, and we look forward to spring and fall visits in the future. As outdoorsy, active people, there are so many adventures to be had in Whistler year round that it is one of our favorite places to vacation.

Photo by Lauren Elizabeth via Trover.com

Our Favorite Activities

When it comes to winter in Whistler, it should go without saying that skiing is one of our preferred outdoor adventures. We love the fact that there are two neighboring mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, with so much skiable terrain. There are over 8,000 acres to ski, and the mountains are low altitude so there is no adjustment period for acclimatizing. Snowshoeing is another favorite activity of ours in the winter. Taking in the fresh air and beauty of the mountains and forests is an experience too amazing to put into words.

Photo by Matthew Mohr via Trover.com

During a summer visit to Whistler, cross country biking is a highlight for me; it is an excellent way to get exercise and see the sights. My husband loves Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the crazy double black trails. I enjoy the lift ride up the mountain, but I am a bit of a wimp and only ride down on the more open green trails. Kayaking the River of Golden Dreams is another experience no one should miss; the scenery is truly breathtaking. I always enjoy stand up paddle boarding in the picturesque lakes in the area too.

Photo by Tessa Griffin via Trover.com

Our Favorite Places to Stay

There are many Whistler hotels from which to choose, but we do have a favorite for each season. Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre with its perfect location just two minutes from the gondolas, and its slope-side valet to take care of skis, is our choice for winter visits. I love the warmth of a fire in the suite’s fireplace (every suite has one) after a day out on the slopes. Before retiring to our suite, we like to enjoy the outdoor heated pool; it is a saltwater pool; how awesome is that?

Our choice for a stay in the summer is Nita Lake Lodge. It is directly on Nita Lake, and the suites have spectacular views of the lake or the mountains. We get to canoe, kayak, and paddle board when we stay here because the lodge has complimentary rentals of all three. I love the views of wilderness and wildlife in and around the lake when we are out on the tranquil water. My husband enjoys doing some fishing too. It is also only a five-minute shuttle ride from the lodge to Whistler Village for biking and other summer activities.

Our Next Visit

The next time we vacation in Whistler, I would like to take a tour or two. The zip-lining and float plane tours sound especially exciting. Walking across suspended bridges, logs, and cargo nets during a Whistler tree adventure tour sound awesome too.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tuscon Travel Tips: Make Your Visit a Terrific One

Cactuses, culture, and cuisine are just a few of the exciting things you will find in Tucson, the 32nd largest city in the U.S. and one of North America’s oldest continually populated areas. The city has something to offer for everyone. If you plan your trip to Tucson in advance, you can make sure your entire family has an experience to remember. You can also save money and find the right Tucson hotel for your needs by planning ahead.

Photo by Adela Navarrette via Trover.com

Landscape

Believe it or not, Tucson’s landscape presents an opportunity for many exciting activities and adventures. Impressive giant saguaro cactuses dot the flowering desert landscape that also includes mountains, canyons, riverbeds, and rolling hills. Mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding through the picturesque scenery is an adventure you will not soon forget. The landscape and environment attract an array of wildlife and birds to view too. As a matter of fact, Tucson is considered a birder’s paradise with over 250 species of birds. If you are adventuresome, the five mountains are ideal for rock climbing.

Culture

The area that is now Tucson has been home to many different people and cultures, dating back to AD 1200, including Hohokam Indians, Spanish missionaries and soldiers, Mexicans, ranchers, and miners. The diverse culture and history of Tuscon provide for a wonderful learning experience at one of Tucson’s many museums or through some amazing tours of historical sites.  Arizona History Museum, Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, and Amerind Museum are a few museums you should make a point of visiting. It’s also fun to tour a ghost town or a copper mine, and see ancient petroglyphs.

Photo by Lisa Bunker via Trover.com

Cuisine

Who doesn’t love eating out and trying new cuisines while traveling? Tucson’s many restaurants provide ample opportunity for just that. Being the Mexican food capital of the U.S., there’s an abundance of Mexican restaurants from which to choose; however, their food is nothing like chain restaurant food; it is truly authentic. While they do offer tacos and burritos, you can experience savory dishes like toritos and caramelos too. And because the population is so diverse, you will also find restaurants with authentic Vietnamese and Saudi Arabian food too. Of course, there is also American cuisine for steak and burger lovers.

Photo by William A via Trover.com

Hotels

When you select the right hotel in Tucson, you can get a real feeling for the local culture. The hacienda-style architecture of the Lodge on the Desert, which was built as a private residence in 1930, really sets the mood for your stay. The Southwest décor in the charming rooms and suites add to that feeling. Another historic hotel is the Arizona Inn. It was built by Arizona’s first congresswoman, Isabella Greenway and has been owned and operated by her family since then. The spacious casita-style rooms in the adobe buildings surround you in traditional Southwest comfort.

 
Photo by David M. Simpson via Trover.com

Once you have visited this incredible city, odds are that you will want to make it a regular stop during your travels.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.
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