Photo story Ireland: travel in Killarney and Kenmare

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I’m in Ireland for the TBEX conference and have had the opportunity to touch a little on the Ring of Kerry and explore beautiful Killarney. Here, discover highlights including seals, illegal brews, sublime landscapes and a lavish high tea.

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Wanderlust Ireland

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Guide to beaches and scuba diving in Santorini

We’re excited to be heading to Santorini, Greece, in May – our second attempt after being delayed from going last year (although we did embark on another adventure instead); so, when Alice Ross pitched this piece on beaches and scuba diving in Santorini, of course we said yes!

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Recreational scuba diving was restricted in Greece for a long time. The government did it to prevent antiquities smugglers – diving was allowed to only some people who were given special authorisation by the authorities determined to protect the country’s marine life and remains of archaeological importance.

Fortunately, in 2004, authorities lifted the restrictions and anyone who wants to scuba dive just about anywhere in the country is allowed to do it for recreation.

Since then, Greece has quickly become one of the most visited scuba diving sites in the world. With more than 4,000 islands and 12,000 miles of coastline, the Greek seas offer an ideal place for scuba diving.

One of the best places to do scuba diving is in Santorini. The marine life that you can find the coast of Santorini is arguably well-known. The island’s waters, molded by a volcanic eruption that took place in the 16th century, are rich with mineral, supporting a solid range of coral and creatures.

These great volcanic eruptions have formed wonderful underwater backdrop giving scuba divers ceaseless options for wall dives and unending stops all over the volcanic islets and the caldera.

Aside from the beautiful underwater world Santorini offers, the water visibility all over the island is good! The water temperature is approximately 22°C, so make sure to wear some nice wetsuit. Diving in the vicinity of the caldera is also possible; however, the southern side of the island is the one that offers a variety of delightful caves which you are able to explore with the help of a master diver who is familiar with the site.

If you are interested in visiting Santorini for diving, this list of four beaches where you can scuba dive is worth checking out.

Perissa Beach is a very famous beach resort that should be top of your list.

It’s an organised, developed beach with a plenty of comfortable beach chairs, umbrellas, as well as other amenities, such as lifeguards, playground, and of course a shower. It’s worth mentioning that it was awarded Blue Flag award for being organised and clean.

When you reach the end of the beach is where you will find the diving spot. There are also two diving centres you can check out on this beach. Aside from that, however, you are able to pick from different water sports like windsurfing jet skiing, kayaking, and parasailing. Lastly, a wonderful water park with pools offers and water slides that cater to anyone of any age.

Perivolos Beach is a long, black sand beach with beautiful deep blue waters which is connected to and Agios Georgios Beach and Perissa Beach.

It’s another well-organised beach with sunbeds, lifeguards, umbrellas, taverns, restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, bars, showers, a playground, and public toilets.

There are many beach bars playing club the latest music, DJ guest during the weekend, volleyball tournaments, and exciting events on special occasion. But of course, this is also a nice place to go if you are looking for some underwater (or even over the surface) adventures!

Agios Georgios is located less than one kilometre from Perivolos Beach. It’s a big, sandy organised beach.

It’s more peaceful than its neighbouring beaches, and the water is shallower.

Some small taverns offer delicious lunch. Umbrellas and sun beds can be rented if you want to relax at the beach, and there are a lot of opportunities for water sports like scuba diving.

Divers can explore the beauty of Santorini’s marine life under the supervision of master divers who prioritise safety. The locations for dives might be very local in the bay and all over the neighbouring headland cliffs or a little further afield, depending on water visibility and conditions.

Ammoudi Bay Beach is accessible by walking or riding ride down the 214 steps from the castle of Oia.

Amoudi Bay is well-known for its traditional Greek inns with fresh seafood and the astounding romantic sunsets. Once was Santorini’s commercial port, Amoudi Bay has now become a tourist spot. There might not be sunbathing comforts at this beach unlike the other ones mentioned above, but the diving scene here is impeccable. Diving here is something you wouldn’t definitely find anywhere else in the world.

You see, Santorini isn’t only about sunsets, beautiful landscapes, and majestic geometric houses in the villages.

If you take your time to explore deeper, you will have the chance to experience an amazing adventure in Santorini. If you have not experienced diving before but you’re interested, you don’t have anything to be worried about as most dive shops in Santorini offer a non-certified scuba diving course where you’ll have to engage in a brief scuba diving introductory lesson before diving down to a depth of maximum 6 to 7 feet.

For more like this, take a look at fortravelista.com.

 

Featured image by THINK Global School

Sold on Cruising: cruise the Bahamas

Admittedly, going on a cruise wasn’t something I’d seriously considered, but my partner and I had a few spare days during an overseas business/pleasure holiday in Miami and I thought, why not check out what’s available? And that’s exactly how we found ourselves on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas for a 4 night cruise through the Bahamas.

Majesty of the Seas

We boarded at the Port of Miami with similar ease to checking into a flight only instead of waiting at the gate or in the airport lounge we found ourselves immediately enjoying lunch on the ship. Rooms were cosy and perfectly fine for two, because really, who books a Bahamas cruise to stay in a cabin?

The ship offers all you’d expect – swimming pools, sun decks, restaurants, shopping outlets, a cabaret theatre for nightly entertainment, children’s activities and more (including a rock climbing wall.) Additionally, the wealth of excursions available can make it tricky to choose just a few and pack them into your time in port.

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The first stop in Nassau allowed us to wander around the port enjoying the area before experiencing a swim with a dolphin on Blue Lagoon Island, a private island with plenty of opportunity to engage with dolphins, sea lions and more. Guests also have the option of visiting the popular Atlantis Resort and experiencing the water park as just one of the resorts several facilities.

Stop two, the private island of CocoCay, owned by Royal Caribbean and set up as your own private paradise. Guests are encouraged to make the most of the sunshine with lounge chairs and hammocks everywhere. A large range of activities including water slides, snorkelling and more are also available for guests.

Nassau

The final port before our return was Key West, Florida where we ventured off to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the island via parasail before wandering the port village and enjoying a slice of the famous key lime pie (delish).

Prior to our journey, we were told by a colleague, “Once you’ve been on a cruise, you’ll never want to travel any other way,” and now it’s easy to see exactly what they meant. Destination, activities and general ‘we’re on holiday’ atmosphere aside, it simply makes sense.

So much time of our holidays is spent in transit, waiting at gates, riding in taxis, queuing up for checking in at hotels, airports, etc. Why wouldn’t you unpack just once and actually enjoy your transit time, stress free and hassle free. Cruising is (for the most part) all-inclusive, making it easier to budget and allowing you to make the most of your holiday experience without any extra surprises. No worrying about who to tip as gratuities are all pre-paid (which can be a huge relief for many travelling to cities in the USA.)

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One tip to note, the demographics or the cruise (as we quickly discovered when we also boarded an Alaskan cruise a few weeks later) can change dramatically based on destinations. For the Bahamas, we found ourselves surrounded by younger singles (23-45) as well as couples, newly-weds, larger groups of friends travelling together and families.

Sold on cruising as our new favourite way to travel, all our ‘wish list’ holiday talks now start with where to sail next.

 

About the author
Gwen O’Toole is an accomplished writer focussing on travel, events management and food and wine. She also published a fiction novel while spending the past eight years as a magazine editor and travelling the globe before launching The Ideas Library, a creative services and event management company. She is regularly featured in a variety of travel and leisure publications and blogs.

 

Have you got a cruise anecdote to share? Drop us a line in the comments below 🙂