DESTINATION REPORT Personal message from your travel specialist 2017 President's Cruise - March 13 to 24, 2017 YOUR TRAVEL SPECIALIST David Fritz Cruise Everything 239-275-1717, ext. 16 or 1-800-959-SHIP FAX: 239-275-1135 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org After several years in the entertainment industry, David Fritz began his cruise agency in April 1992. Cruise Everything, the first cruise only agency in the Fort Myers and Naples area, has grown to be the largest cruise only seller in Southwest Florida. Since 1995, David, and his company, has been a provider of cruise groups to celebrities on the QVC Television Network. David has been featured several times in Travel Agent Magazine and been given several service awards from the 1950 Courtney Drive, Suite 1 cruise industry. In 2004, Cruise Everything was the first Fort Myers, FL, Florida 33901 a g e n c y i n F l o r i d a t o j o i n t h e p r e s t i g i o u s S i g n a t u r e T r a v e l Network, which is considered to be the most exclusive travel consortium in the world. When not working, David can be found sailing to destinations all over the world. If there is a ship or itinerary that interests you, chances are David has done it. Since his first cruise in 1978, David has sailed on over 120 cruises to six continents and still can’t wait to board his next ship. 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DESTINATION GUIDE Fort Lauderdale, FL " Overview DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL INTRODUCTION Getting around Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is half the fun on a vacation: One of Fort Lauderdale's main drags is a river (the New River, to be specific), so visitors to Fort Lauderdale can hop on a water taxi and take in the sights. This South Florida city's extensive system of waterways and reputation for gracious living have made Fort Lauderdale one of the country's largest yachting centers. Fort Lauderdale restaurants and bars overlook the canals and are accessible by water or from land by taxis and, believe it or not, from rickshaws. Several of Fort Lauderdale's special events—including a winter holiday boat parade that draws local, national and international celebrities—revolve around boating and the water. Redevelopment in the 1990s left Fort Lauderdale awash in museums, art galleries, restaurants, hotels and chic sidewalk cafes, all appealing to visitors. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts houses two theaters, which provide separate venues for the Symphony of the Americas, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet, Broadway road shows and top-name performers. An elegant beachfront promenade attracts upscale vacationers from all over the world, including the spring-break college crowd. Fort Lauderdale was popularized by and is still often remembered for the 1960s beach movieWhere the Boys Are. More sedate than it used to be (but livelier than Palm Beach, its northern neighbor), Fort Lauderdale has more to offer visitors than most beach towns. The passage of a casino gambling law revitalized this resort town, and the former Hollywood Dog Racing Track, Isle Casino Pompano Park and Gulfstream Race Track have built multimillion-dollar casinos and entertainment venues attracting more tourists and businesses to the area. Fort Lauderdale is also gay-friendly, with more than 150 gay-owned businesses in the city. Wilton Manors, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, is the hub of activity for the gay community. There are several gay bars and restaurants in that area. MUST SEE OR DO Sights—Las Olas Boulevard, with its designer shops, cafes and beautiful people; Stranahan House and Bonnet House, historic, art-filled estates; Everglades National Park; a sunrise over palm-fringed beaches. Museums—The major collection of CoBrA artwork at the NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale; African-American Research Library and Cultural Center; the International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum; the International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum; the Museum of Discovery and Science; the Young at Art Children's Museum. Memorable Meals—Waterfront dining at Kaluz and Blue Moon Fish Company; imaginative "Floribbean" cuisine at Cafe Maxx and 3030 Ocean; great steaks at Shula's on the Beach; gourmet vegetarian fare at Sublime. Late Night—The lively beachfront Elbo Room; a colorful cocktail at Blue Martini; the popular Bahia Cabana Bar, with its nightly music and view of the yacht harbor; people-watching at Shooters; no-cover Saturday nights at Chase; the Seminole Paradise and Hard Rock complex of restaurants, nightlife and casino. Walks—The Broadwalk at Hollywood Beach, filled with characters, cafes and shops; beautiful Fort Lauderdale Beach; quiet nature trails through Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park or John U. Lloyd State Park; the Riverwalk, a promenade that meanders past some of the city's earliest buildings and along the New River; a sea turtle walk. Especially for Kids—Free-flying aviaries at Butterfly World; Discovery Center at the Museum of Discovery and Science; Young at Art Children's Museum in Davie; the former pioneer homestead Tradewinds Park; airboat tours at Everglades Holiday Park; Splash Adventure at Quiet Waters Park; Boomers Amusement Park. GEOGRAPHY Overview DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Fort Lauderdale sits in the middle of the burgeoning megalopolis known as South Florida, which hugs the Atlantic coast from Miami (a 40-minute drive south) to Palm Beach (a 45-minute drive north). It is the principal city in huge Broward County, two-thirds of which is Everglades swampland. What isn't swampy includes 23 mi/37 km of wide white-sand beaches and 30 other municipalities. Several nearby coastal communities make up Greater Fort Lauderdale. To the north are Pompano Beach (where sportfishing is a favored pastime), Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (a small seaside oasis) and Deerfield Beach (one of South Florida's best-kept secrets). To the south are Port Everglades (the country's third-busiest port, frequented by top cruise lines), Dania Beach (known for its antiques), Hallandale Beach (a seaside community popular with retirees, younger folks and Eastern European immigrants) and Hollywood (its bicycle-, skateboard- and pedestrian-friendly Broadwalk parallels the ocean). Western suburbs include Davie, Plantation, Lauderhill, Sunrise and Weston. If this sounds like a patchwork of towns, it is—making a car a necessity for almost any traveler. HISTORY South Florida was the ancestral home of the Seminoles and more than a dozen other Native American tribes, but that began to change in the 1830s when U.S. Army soldiers started clearing trails into the area. The city's namesake, Maj. William Lauderdale, built an outpost at the mouth of the New River. Around the same time, runaway slaves sought refuge in the Everglades, where they banded together with the Seminoles to battle white settlers. It wasn't until the arrival of a railroad in the 1890s that the area began to grow significantly. Frank Stranahan, one of the city's founding fathers, migrated from Ohio in the early 1900s and established a trading post, ferry system and post office. (He eventually married a native Floridian named Ivy Cromartie, and their home—two stories of Florida vernacular architecture—is now a museum in the historic district downtown.) Meanwhile Charles Rodes, an ambitious land developer from West Virginia, followed the lead of Venice, Italy, and increased the amount of waterfront property by dredging waterways through dense mangrove swamps, forming peninsulas and a network of canals that still exist. Like other resort areas in Florida, Fort Lauderdale boomed following World War II. By the 1960s it was a famed spring-break destination, whose population of raucous partygoers peaked at 400,000 in 1985. Eventually the city government cracked down and forced the annual spring bacchanalia to go elsewhere. The city invested millions of dollars to clean up its crime-ridden quarters in the early 1990s, transforming Fort Lauderdale into a more refined, family-friendly destination known for tourism and business, though it still thrives on the seasonal college crowd. Along with the rest of South Florida, Fort Lauderdale then experienced a real-estate boom, especially for condominiums. A younger crowd started to fill the city, lowering the age demographic and making the nightlife scene less stodgy and suburban. The area's Latin community has also mushroomed in the past 20 years, many moving north from Miami to join a mixture of Spanish-speaking people in Broward County. POTPOURRI The city of Fort Lauderdale, the self-proclaimed "Venice of America," has 165 mi/266 km of navigable waterways and a reported 40,000 boats, earning its title as "Yachting Capital of the World." Fort Lauderdale has more than 85 public parks and beaches, including nearby Haulover Beach, one of the nation's largest and most popular naturist beaches. Besides Where the Boys Are, other movies shot in Fort Lauderdale include Cape Fear with Robert DeNiro; Married to the Mob, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, who also did Up Close and Personal there; and Porky's. In Her Shoes, with Cameron Diaz and Shirley MacLaine, filmed in Deerfield Beach; and scenes from The Hours, with Julianne Moore, Overview DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL took place in nearby Hollywood. The Seminole Indians have a reservation in the heart of Hollywood, but if you didn't know better you'd think you were in a typical suburb. For a glimpse into the more traditional lives of Seminoles, visit Big Cypress Reservation, about 45 mi/72 km west of Fort Lauderdale. There you'll hear the people speaking their native language and see gator wrestling and authentic palm-thatchedchickee houses. In the neighboring city of Vero Beach, skeletal remains as old as 10,000 years have been discovered. More recent history dating from the late 1890s suggests that renowned "barefoot mailmen" walked along the beach from Hypoluxo to Miami to deliver mail before there were roads in the area. What's so new about the New River? Legend says it came into being overnight. Maps from the 1630s called it Rio Nuevo; the name stuck. Fort Lauderdale is considered the westernmost point of the Bermuda Triangle. Greater Fort Lauderdale has 40 choices for golf, including courses designed by Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd, Robert Trent Jones, and Tom and George Fazio. LOCATION Port Everglades is a 2,190-acre/887-hectare seaport located within the cities of Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale and Dania Beach. Each year more than 4 million cruise passengers board more than 40 ships from 10 cruise lines at its 12 terminals, putting it among the world's busiest cruise-ship facilities. The city predicts 7 million cruise passengers yearly by 2020. A highlight of Port Everglades Cruise Terminal 18 is the massive work of art that artist Michele Oka Doner created for the center of the entrance hall. Terminal 18 has several built-in features for waiting cruise passengers such as acoustic panels to keep sound levels down, plasma-screen TVs where passengers can watch news and sports, Wi-Fi and a children's play area. The port, which is about 3 mi/5 km southeast of downtown Fort Lauderdale and even closer to the beaches, is at the southern end of the 17th Street Causeway. Port Everglades is less than 2 mi/3 km from the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, but allow about an hour to make the transfer from the airport to the port. I-595 goes directly into Port Everglades. The port's Cruise Terminal Four has reopened following a US$24-million renovation that added a high-efficiency air-conditioning system, 50 check-in counters, and two new loading bridges to speed passenger check-in. Secured parking lots are adjacent to the port terminals (parking is US$15 per day). Parking is available at both the Northport and Midport Parking Garages (2,500 spaces in each garage) and the 410-space surface parking lot between Terminals 18 and 19. Complimentary shuttle-bus service is provided between the garages and Cruise Terminals 18 and 29. Wheelchair-accessible parking is available. Free Internet access is available at all cruise terminals. There is a cell phone lot where people can wait for passengers to give them a call when the ship is ready for disembarkation. Digital signage provides ship names and cruise terminals on a rotating basis, making it easier for passengers to locate their ship's terminal. All cruise passengers departing from Port Everglades enter the port through a security checkpoint and must show a government-issued photo ID for all people in the vehicle, as well as travel documents for departing passengers. Additional information can be found in the Cruise Passenger Information Section at http://www.porteverglades.net. A taxi ride to and from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport costs about US$25-$30. This rate depends on the traffic to and from the port and airport. Limousine and van services are also available for parties of five or more. Most car rental firms are licensed to do business at Port Everglades, and when ships are in port, they may provide courtesy-shuttle service between the cruise terminals and their off-site locations. Confirm shuttle availability with your car rental company. Fort Lauderdale Shuttle offers service to and from the airport to Port Everglades from US$26 per person, or for # Overview DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Fort Lauderdale Shuttle offers service to and from the airport to Port Everglades from US$26 per person, or for groups of four from US$11 per person. Phone 954-773-2794. The Quay shopping center, which has shops and restaurants (including the popular Bimini Boatyard restaurant), is a short cab ride away. Visitor information is available at kiosks around the terminals. Because of the growth of the cruising industry and Port Everglades, shopping centers now surround the port on 17th Street. The Harbor Shops, less than 1 mi/1.6 km away, includes a bank, as well as such stores as Bluewater Books and Charts, a bookstore focused on nautical books and charts; the Prissy Hen, a consignment shop; Ace Hardware; and Total Wine and More. If you have time for lunch, try Chef's Palette Restaurant at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Its culinary students prepare delicious meals and serve them to patrons for bargain prices. You can sneak a peek of these future chefs at work through a wall of windows. The Art Institute is a short cab ride from the port. 1650 S.E. 17th St. Phone 954-760-7957. SHORE EXCURSIONS Most of the ships that dock at Port Everglades offer guided excursions for cruise passengers who are booked on afternoon or evening flights. Some passengers may want to tack on an extra day or two at the beginning or end of their cruise. Typical tours from Fort Lauderdale go to the Everglades for exhilarating airboat tours where passengers are guaranteed sightings of wild alligators and a variety of colorful birds, to the old paddlewheel Jungle Queen for a sightseeing cruise past scores of the biggest waterfront mansions in the country and to The Swap Shop, Florida's largest flea market. Tours also go to Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise. Located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, The Museum of Science and Discovery is a great way to spend a day with the kids. It also has an adjoining IMAX theater. Take a water-taxi ride and enjoy free on-and-off stops at area restaurants and on Las Olas, a trendy shopping area. There are also jaunts to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino's entertainment complex or tours of cultural sites highlighting landmarks and the arts district. If you're flying in and out of Miami, trips include South Beach's art-deco district, Little Havana, and shopping at the fabled Coconut Grove and Coral Gables' Miracle Mile. Other typical tours include half-day fishing charters located not far from Port Everglades. Tours are designed to suit diverse interests and age groups, including a variety of watersports (snorkeling, paddleboarding) and activities such as bicycling. Excursions and their prices vary. Check with your travel agent for additional information. $ See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL SIGHTSEEING Start your tour at the Riverwalk, a 2-mi/3-km promenade on the north bank of the New River. It borders the Arts and Entertainment District, a historic area with restaurants, bars, galleries, marinas and street life. Las Olas Boulevard, which follows the New River as it flows toward the Atlantic Ocean, is Fort Lauderdale's upscale shopping and dining district. If you're a history buff, the restored Victorian home of city founder Frank Stranahan, now a museum, can easily be included in a boulevard stroll. Getting around Fort Lauderdale is part of the sightseeing experience: Water taxis ferry passengers among hotels, restaurants, theaters and nightclubs until midnight. At night, the twinkling lights along the canals make the rides quite romantic. CASINOS The Fort Lauderdale area has several gaming options, ranging from megaresorts to casinos offering greyhound, thoroughbred, harness, quarter horse racing and jai alai. Florida gaming regulations prohibit roulette, but slot machines and card games are allowed. The only blackjack tables in the state are operated by the Seminole Tribe. You must be 18 years of age to enter the casino floor. There are a multitude of casinos located in close proximity to Fort Lauderdale, including Casino Miami Jai-Alai and Magic City Casino in Miami; Calder Casino in Miami Gardens; Dania Jai-Alai in Dania Beach; Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach; Isle Casino Pompano Park in Pompano Beach; and several others. For more information, see the Miami destination guide. Isle Casino Pompano Park Formerly known as Pompano Harness Racing Track, the facility at Isle Address Casino Pompano Park includes a massive casino complex with no-limit 777 Isle of Capri Circle poker rooms. Live harness racing takes place October-May Monday, Pompano Beach, Florida Wednesday and Saturday at 7:05 pm with simulcasting seven days a week Phone of greyhound, harness, thoroughbred racing and Jai Alai beginning at 11 954-972-2000 am. Many locals go to Isle just for the lavish but inexpensive daily buffet lunch and dinner. The Isle also has a deli and gourmet eatery. Casino hours 9 am-3 am Monday-Thursday, 24 hours from 9 am Friday till 3 am Sunday. No cover. 777 Isle of Capri Circle, Pompano Beach. Phone 954-972-2000. http://pompano-park.isleofcapricasinos.com. Seminole Coconut Creek This gaming facility offers bingo, 2,400 slot machines, poker and other casino games, plus a buffet that can't be beat. Sorrisi, the Italian restaurant, is excellent. The casino also has a New York Steak House and a deli that offers mile-high sandwiches. Also a martini bar and live entertainment in the Pavilion, a 1,200 seat theater. This smaller version of Seminole Indian gaming is a fun way to spend a day or an evening. Open 24 hours. No cover. 5550 N.W. 40th St., Coconut Creek. Phone 954-283-2751. http://www.seminolecoconutcreekcasino.com. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino This colossal 130,000-sq-ft/12,077-sq-m casino pays out US$5 million every day. In addition to its 2,600 gaming machines, it offers blackjack, baccarat and 60 live-action poker tables. There are several restaurants on the property and an adjacent outdoor entertainment complex featuring 22 retail shops, 17 restaurants, and 11 bars and lounges. There is an indoor Address 5550 N.W. 40th St. Coconut Creek, Florida Phone 954-283-2751 Address 1 Seminole Way Hollywood, Florida Phone 954-327-7625 % See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL 954-327-7625 arena featuring top acts in music and comedy, and a spa is on-site. The complex also includes the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum at Oaklee Village. Open 24 hours. No cover. 1 Seminole Way (off State Road 7/US 441, just north of Stirling Road), Hollywood. Phone 954-327-7625. Toll-free 800-937-0156. http://www.seminolehardrock.com. HISTORIC SITES Bonnet House One of the few remaining estates on the ocean, the Bonnet mansion was built in 1920 by wealthy Chicago painter Frederick Clay Bartlett, who filled it with unusual contemporary artwork. Monkeys swing from the banyan trees, swans swim circles in a pond, parrots chatter from the aviary, and orchids bloom throughout the grounds. Guided tours available. Open October-August daily except Monday 9 am-4 pm. US$20 adults, US$18 seniors, US$16 children, free for children younger than 6, US$10 for the gardens only. 900 N. Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-563-5393. http://www.bonnethouse.org. Stranahan House The oldest building in Fort Lauderdale and the former home of pioneer businessman and city founder Frank Stranahan, this riverside home remained the residence of Stranahan's wife until her death in 1971. Local historians have restored the home to its original 1913 charm. One-hour tours are given every half hour. Open daily 1-3 pm. River ghost tours Sunday at 7:30 pm. US$12 adults, US$7 children. River ghost tour US$25 adults (includes house tour). 335 S.E. Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-524-4736. http://stranahanhouse.org. Address 900 N. Birch Road Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304 Phone 954-563-5393 Address 335 S.E. Sixth Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301 Phone 954-524-4736 MUSEUMS African-American Research Library and Cultural Center This place is equal parts museum and library, with a prominent African-American literary collection, a 5,000-sq-ft/465-sq-m art gallery, a business resource center and a 300-seat theater that hosts live performances, performance art exhibits, lectures and children's programs. Monday and Wednesday noon-8 pm, Tuesday and Thursday-Sunday 10 am-6 pm. Admission to the museum and library is free; performance fees vary. 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-357-6282. http://www.broward.org/Library/LocationsHours/Branches/Pages/AA.aspx. IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum Run by the International Game Fish Association, this museum showcases the art and history of big-game fishing. Famous anglers, tackle and creatures of the deep are honored through exhibits and artifacts. Try the Catch Gallery for interactive, simulated fishing: You'll never mistake it for the real thing, but you're guaranteed to hook something. There is a seafood restaurant adjacent and a sports-oriented shop on-site, as well. Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday noon-6 pm. US$10 adults, US$5 children ages 3-16. 300 Gulf Stream Way (about 5 mi/8 km south of Fort Lauderdale), Dania Beach. Phone 954-922-4212. http://www.igfa.org. Address 2650 Sistrunk Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-357-6282 Address 300 Gulf Stream Way Dania Beach, Florida 33004 Phone 954-922-4212 International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum Olympic gold-medalist diver Greg Louganis helped create this waterfront Address sports complex and aquatic museum. Serious swimmers meet in its 1 Hall of Fame Drive 10-lane pool, and a number of Olympic contenders train on its diving Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 boards. The museum contains exhibits about legendary swimmers and Phone memorabilia from such greats as Esther Williams, Mark Spitz and Johnny 954-462-6536 "Tarzan" Weissmuller. Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9 am-2 pm. Phone 954-828-4580 for public swim hours. US$8 adults (doesn't include pool access). 1 Hall of Fame Drive (between Intracoastal Waterway and State Road A1A), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-462-6536. http://www.ishof.org. Museum of Discovery and Science This museum—one of the city's most striking attractions—appeals to adults and children alike. Among its outstanding exhibits are a simulated ride to the moon, a 52-ft-/16-m-tall gravity clock and a hands-on ecosystem exhibit with hundreds of plants and animals. There's also a five-story, 3-D IMAX theater and a children-only Discovery Center. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm, Sunday noon-6 pm. General admission US$14 adults, US$12 children ages 2-12. 401 S.W. Second St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-467-6637. http://www.mods.org. NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale Designed by noted museum architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, this museum houses one of the country's largest collections of postwar abstract artwork from the CoBrA (Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) movement. There also are notable works by impressionist William Glackens and Picasso ceramics, as well as a range of other 20th-century European and American art. It attracts major international exhibits. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm (till 7 pm Thursday), Sunday noon-5 pm. Exhibit admission fees are US$14 adults, US$7 children ages 5-17. 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-525-5500. http://www.moafl.org. Address 401 S.W. Second St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312 Phone 954-467-6637 Address 1 E. Las Olas Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301 Phone 954-525-5500 Young at Art Children's Museum Children can visit an African village, go on an archaeological dig in Israel, Address learn the ancient art of origami in a Japanese house, explore a Mayan 751 S.W. 121st Ave. pyramid and more—all in the Global Village exhibit. Other permanent Davie, Florida exhibits include Earthworks, a hands-on activity that teaches children Phone about recycling, and the surrealistic Kenny Scharf's Closet. The 954-424-0085 state-of-the-art, modern museum features a 55,000-sq-ft/5,110-sq-m facility built on 11 acres/4.5 hectares that includes a children's reading center run by the county library system. Open Monday-Thursday 10 am-5 pm, Friday and Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday 11 am-6 pm. US$13 adults, US$12 children age 1 and older. 751 S.W. 121st Ave., Davie. Phone 954-424-0085. http://www.youngatartmuseum.org. PARKS & GARDENS Butterfly World A world of natural pleasures, these screen-enclosed, walk-through aviaries contain 150 species of butterflies fluttering through a rain forest and the surrounding 3-acre/1.2-hectare Tradewinds Park. Aviaries for hummingbirds and lorikeets, too. Open Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm, Sunday 11 am-5 pm. US$26.95 adults, US$21.95 children ages 3-11. Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Road (about a 30-minute drive northwest of Fort Lauderdale), Coconut Creek. Phone 954-977-4400. http://www.butterflyworld.com. Address Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Road Coconut Creek, Florida 33073 Phone 954-977-4400 See & Do: Sightseeing Everglades Holiday Park If you want to see the Everglades but are short on time, take a one-hour tour aboard an airboat. The boats are loud (you wear ear protection) but thrilling—when you hit high speeds, the sensation is a lot like flying. Tour also includes an alligator show. Open daily. Airboats leave every 20 minutes 9 am-5 pm (last boat leaves at 4:20 pm). US$25 adults, US$12.50 children. 21940 Griffin Road (take Interstate 595 West to I-75 and go south to Griffin Road West), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-434-8111. http://www.evergladesholidaypark.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 21940 Griffin Road Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-434-8111 Flamingo Gardens A vestige of Old Florida, this large citrus grove has lush botanical gardens; Address a wildlife sanctuary for such Everglades species as eagles, otters, 3750 S. Flamingo Road flamingos and alligators; a free-flight aviary; and an arboretum containing Davie, Florida 33330 some of the country's largest tropical trees, including a 200-year-old live Phone oak. The highlight is a 30-minute tram ride through marshes and 954-473-2955 wetlands. Daily 9:30 am-5 pm (closed Monday June-September). US$18 adults, US$10 children ages 4-11, free for children age 3 and younger. Tram tour is US$4 adults, US$3 children. 3750 S. Flamingo Road (about a 40-minute drive southeast of Fort Lauderdale), Davie. Phone 954-473-2955. http://www.flamingogardens.org. Quiet Waters Park West of Deerfield Beach, this 430-acre/174-hectare park has a freshwater swimming beach, cable waterskiing, in-line skating, freshwater fishing and a variety of boats for rent. Also on-site is Splash Adventure, a water playground. Open daily November-April 8 am-6 pm, May-October 8:30 am-7 pm. US$1.50 park admission fee Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Admission to Splash Adventure is US$5. 401 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach. Phone 954-357-5100. http://www.broward.org/parks. Address 401 S. Powerline Road Deerfield Beach, Florida 33442 Phone 954-357-5100 West Lake Park and Anne Kolb Nature Center and Marina This tropical coastal ecosystem encompasses more than 1,500 acres/600 Address hectares of mangrove wetlands and forest habitat for ibis and heron. 751 Sheridan St. Named for a crusading environmentalist, the nature center is less than a Hollywood, Florida 33019 mile/kilometer from the beach. You can climb a five-story observation Phone tower and bicycle, hike, canoe or kayak through the wild. There's also a 954-357-5161 fishing pier on the Intracoastal Waterway. Daily October-March 8 am-6 pm, April-September 8 am-7:30 pm. Exhibit hall open 9 am-5 pm. Admission to West Lake Park is US$1.50; admission to Anne Kolb Nature Center is free, and the exhibit hall costs US$2. 751 Sheridan St. (about a 20-minute drive south of Fort Lauderdale), Hollywood. Phone 954-357-5161. http://www.broward.org/parks. AMUSEMENT PARKS Boomers This park's roller coaster, called the Dania Beach Hurricane, is the only Address wooden roller coaster in South Florida and one of the largest wooden 1700 N.W. First St. coasters in the nation. Climb, dive and whip around turns at speeds up to Dania Beach, Florida 33004 60 mph/96 kph for two minutes of incredible thrills. You'll also find Phone miniature golf, go-karts, bumper boats and bungee jumping. Open 954-921-1411 Monday-Thursday noon-10 pm, Friday noon-1 am, Saturday 11 am-1 am, Sunday 11 am-11 pm. Prices vary by ride. 1700 N.W. First St. (east of Interstate 95 between Griffin and Stirling roads), Dania Beach. Phone 954-921-1411. http://www.boomersparks.com. See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL 954-921-1411. http://www.boomersparks.com. ! See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL RECREATION Broward County has 23 mi/37 km of wide, sandy beaches fronting the Atlantic Ocean—and lots of sunshine to go with them. The most famous is the one where spring break was born, Fort Lauderdale Beach (north of Port Everglades along the ocean). For a slower pace, head to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, north of Fort Lauderdale Beach. Phone 954-828-4597 for the Fort Lauderdale beach report. South Florida is one long strip of beach, and many of the neighboring communities blur into one another as you drive along State Road A1A, the main beachside route. Hollywood, about 10 mi/16 km south of Fort Lauderdale, has a good stretch of sand and a paved promenade called the Broadwalk. Dania Beach, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, all within a 30-minute drive, have piers for walking and fishing in addition to their public beaches. A temperate climate and plenty of water make South Florida ideal for watersports. Waterskiing, parasailing, wave running and Jet-Skiing are popular pastimes on the canals. And the Atlantic coast is famous for its big-game fishing. Drift fishing is popular among the less adventurous. There are more than 100 good wreck- and reef-diving spots in the greater Fort Lauderdale area. Some are as close as a five-minute swim from the beach. Landlubbers have plenty of choices, too. Golfers will find more than 40 courses in Broward County. Most of the major hotels have tennis courts, and there are 20 public courts in the county, mostly hard surface. BEACHES Fort Lauderdale Beach Promenade This 7-mi/11-km public beach has had a big makeover. An attractive, wave-shaped pedestrian promenade decorated with crested gateways and patterned walkways is ideal for beachfront jogging, in-line skating, walking and sightseeing. The beach is lined with outdoor restaurants and bars. Street parking is difficult to find on weekends, but there is a municipal parking lot behind Beach Place. State Road A1A (between Sunrise Boulevard to the north and Southeast 17th Street to the south), Fort Lauderdale. Address State Road A1A Fort Lauderdale, Florida Hollywood Beach This postcard-perfect beach with white sand, blue water and a palm-tree fringe stretches for Address 3 mi/5 km. It's akin to California's Venice Beach—always lively and crowded. You'll find Ocean Boulevard shops, an abundance of restaurants (particularly French bistros), and a steady stream of Hollywood, Florida bicyclists, in-line skaters, joggers, tourists and locals. Catch free concerts from local talent Monday-Wednesday nights year-round at the Johnson Street Bandshell. Ocean Boulevard (between Sheridan Street and East Hollandale Beach Boulevard), Hollywood. http://www.visithollywoodfl.org. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park Sandwiched between the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, this urban retreat has a popular 2-mi/3-km course for walkers and joggers. Well-tended and quiet, the park has shaded picnic areas, nature trails, fishing spots and lush vegetation that hides most of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Canoe, Segway and bicycle rentals are also available (phone 954-235-5082; http://www.mcruzrentals.com). Daily 8 am-dusk. US$2 for pedestrians, US$4 for a car with one person and US$6 for cars with two to eight people. 3109 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-564-4521. http://www.floridastateparks.org/hughtaylorbirch. John U. Lloyd Beach State Recreation Area For a taste of the outdoors close to the metropolis, consider this state park. A favorite with locals for its oceanfront beaches and 250 acres/100 hectares of mangroves. Also offers picnic tables, fishing, canoeing and nature trails. Daily 8 am till sundown. US$2 for pedestrians, US$4 for a car with one person and US$6 for cars with between two and eight people. 6503 N. Ocean Drive (about 8 mi/13 km south of Fort Lauderdale), Dania Beach. Phone 954-923-2833. http://www.floridastateparks.org/lloydbeach. Address 3109 E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304 Phone 954-564-4521 Address 6503 N. Ocean Drive Dania Beach, Florida 33004 Phone 954-923-2833 " See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL m. The or a erdale g State and a hin a and ular s have See & Do: Recreation Lauderdale-By-The-Sea This beautiful beach has a village atmosphere and is one of the remaining locations in Florida where a three-tier coral reef is close enough to swim out for snorkeling or diving. Public parking lots nearby. Commercial Boulevard (at A1A), Fort Lauderdale. http://www.lbts.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address Commercial Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, Florida BOATING & SAILING Aloha Watersports Rent boats, Jet Skis, catamarans and WaveRunners at this boating outfitter run by Marriott's Harbor Beach Resort. US$95 and up for parasailing, US$80 for Hobie Cat catamarans, US$80 for US$95 double WaveRunners. Lessons, including surfing, cost extra. 3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-462-7245. http://www.alohawatersports.com. Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Marina Full-service marina and aquatic center. Daily 8 am-6 pm. 2301 S.E. 17th St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-728-3578 or 954-728-7119. http://pier66.hyatt.com/en/hotel/activities/hotel-activities/pier66marina.html. Lauderdale Marina Full-service marina. Open Monday-Friday 8 am-8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 6 am-9 pm. 1900 S.E. 15th St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-523-8507. http://www.lauderdalemarina.com. Tropical Sailing Set sail aboard a catamaran to John U. Lloyd State Park (in Dania Beach) while taking in Millionaire's Row and other area landmarks. There, you can swim and snorkel (masks provided). Cruises US$45. Toll-free 888-489-6515. http://tropicalsailing.com. Address 3030 Holiday Drive Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-462-7245 Address 2301 S.E. 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Phone 954-728-3578 Address 1900 S.E. 15th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-523-8507 Address Fort Lauderdale, Florida FISHING Anglin's Pier Offers fishing from the pier. You can walk on the 976-ft/303-m pier for US$2 and take in the wonderful views of the South Florida coastline. Open 24 hours. 2 Commerical Blvd., Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. Phone 954-491-9403. http://www.boatlessfishing.com/anglins.htm. Address 2 Commerical Blvd. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida Phone 954-491-9403 Fishing Headquarters See & Do: Recreation Fishing Headquarters Fish from the 48-ft/15-m charter boats Big Game or Out of the Blue. Rates start at US$40 per person for a four-hour trip. Private charters start at US$550 for four hours. Shared charters cost US$125 per person. 301 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 754-214-7863. http://www.fishheadquarters.com. Flamingo Fishing Drift along reefs loaded with fish and drop a line over the side of a 65-ft/20-m boat. Gear is provided, and refreshments are sold—but take along whatever you want to eat during the four-hour trip. If you get a fish cleaned and wrapped, a tip is in order. Departs daily at 8 am, and 1 and 7 pm. US$40 adults, US$30 children ages 6-12. 801 Seabreeze Blvd. (in Bahia Mar Resort Marina), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-462-9194. http://www.flamingofishing.com. Hillsboro Inlet Fleet Group fishing is available in Deerfield Beach at the Hillsboro Inlet. Half-day boat trips start at US$40. Full-day or night trips are also available. Phone 954-943-8222. http://www.hillsboroinletfishcenter.com. Lady Pamela II Onboard the Lady Pamela II, you will have a chance to duel with some pretty hefty opponents, such as big-game sharks, sailfish and dolphin. US$150 per person, US$600 for a four-hour charter. 1900 S.E. 15th St. (near 15th Street Fisheries Restaurant), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-761-8045. http://www.ladypamela2.com. Reel Work Sport Fishing Half-day and full-day charters are available. Captain Wally has nearly two decades of experience. US$550 for four hours, US$775 for six hours, US$1,200 for eight hours. 301 Seabreeze Blvd. (near the corner of Las Olas and A1A), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-522-9399. Toll-free 877-524-9377. http://lauderdalefishing.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 301 Seabreeze Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Phone 754-214-7863 Address 801 Seabreeze Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Phone 954-462-9194 Address Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-943-8222 Address 1900 S.E. 15th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-761-8045 Address 301 Seabreeze Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-522-9399 GOLF Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to more than 60 golf courses. Greens fees change with the seasons; summer is the least expensive. Generally it is most expensive to play in the morning and cheapest at night. Bonaventure Country Club Two popular 18-hole courses at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center and Spa are open to the public. Daily 7 am-4:30 pm. Greens fees vary by day, time and season, with lower twilight rates after 2:30 pm. 200 Bonaventure Blvd., Weston. Phone 954-389-2100. http://www.golfbonaventure.com. Address 200 Bonaventure Blvd. Weston, Florida 33326 Phone 954-389-2100 Diplomat Country Club and Spa # See & Do: Recreation Diplomat Country Club and Spa Famed architect Joe Lee designed the spectacular Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa par-72 course. The 18 holes are nestled among thousands of coconut, royal palm and banyan trees. More than 8 acres/3 hectares of water add challenge to the course. The lavish clubhouse incorporates a 30,000 sq-ft/2,787-sq-m spa, two full-service restaurants and 60 guest rooms. The Diplomat also offers a golf school, corporate clinics, driving range, private chipping and putting greens, and a variety of golf packages. Greens fees vary by day, time and Hollywood. Toll-free 888-627-9057 or 888-627-9057. http://www.diplomatresort.com. Hollywood Beach Golf and Country Club This championship 18-hole, par-70 public course is close to Fort Lauderdale. Daily 7 am-5 pm. Greens fees vary by day, time and season, with lower twilight rates after 2 pm. 1600 Johnson St., Hollywood. Phone 954-927-1751. http://www.hollywoodbeachgolf.com. Jacaranda Golf Club Ponds, canals and waterways add to the beautiful tropical setting for this 15,942-ft/4,859-m golf club. Two 18-hole courses were designed by Mark Mahannah in the 1970s and have been continually updated. The east course is considered more challenging than the west, which features longer fairways with fewer obstructions. Public play is rotated between the two courses. Greens fees vary by day, time and season, with lower rates after 1 pm. 9200 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation. Phone 954-472-5836. http://www.golfjacaranda.com. Plantation Preserve Golf Course and Club This Audubon-certified par-72 championship golf course measures 21,000 ft/6,400 m in length and is the only course in Broward County featuring a Sea Dwarf paspalum grass surface. The course is surrounded by 211 acres/85 hectares of lush, open parkland and 29 acres/12 hectares of wetland preserve. Also on-site are a driving range, clubhouse, dining room and lounge, as well as a pro shop. Golf carts are equipped with Uplink GPS systems. Greens fees vary by day, time and season, with reduced rates after 1 pm. 7050 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation. Phone 954-585-5020. http://www.plantation.org/Golf/Plantation-Preserve/index.html. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 3555 S. Ocean Drive Hollywood, Florida season. 3555 S. Ocean Drive, Address 1600 Johnson St. Hollywood, Florida 33020 Phone 954-927-1751 Address 9200 W. Broward Blvd. Plantation, Florida Phone 954-472-5836 Address 7050 W. Broward Blvd. Plantation, Florida Phone 954-585-5020 SCUBA & SNORKELING There are plenty of good dive sites in and around Fort Lauderdale. Area dive operators can direct you or take you to the sites. If you want to snorkel or dive off the beach, try Lauderdale-by-the-Sea: It's one of the few places in the area with coral formations and sea life close to shore. At Hammerhead Reef, just south of Port Everglades, divers and snorkelers may see snapper and moray eels at the front and rays and sharks on the back side. Brownie's Southport Divers This diving company offers gear rental, lessons and daily dive trips. Open Monday-Friday 8 am-1 pm, Saturday 8 am-3 pm. US$150 for a four-hour, two-tank dive by boat. Must book in advance. 1530 Cordova Road, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-524-2112. http://www.yachtdiver.com. Address 1530 Cordova Road Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Phone 954-524-2112 Lauderdale Diver $ See & Do: Recreation Lauderdale Diver Expect to pay US$55 for a four-hour dive charter; gear rental is extra. 1334 S.E. 17th St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-467-2822. Toll-free 800-654-2073. http://www.lauderdalediver.com. South Florida Diving Headquarters This company has been doing tours for more than two decades. Tours include a trip to a coral reef where adults can snorkel for US$30 (US$25 for children). Tours offered daily. 101 N. Riverside Drive, Pompano Beach. Phone 954-783-2299. Toll-free 800-771-3483. http://www.southfloridadiving.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 1334 S.E. 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Phone 954-467-2822 Address 101 N. Riverside Drive Pompano Beach, Florida Phone 954-783-2299 SPAS AND HEALTH CLUBS Harbor Beach Marriott Spa The 24,000-sq-ft/2,230-sq-m spa was added to the Harbor Beach Marriott at a cost of US$8 million. Address Treatments include a heated bamboo massage, which relieves tightness and loosens sore joints. Reiki 3030 Holiday Drive and energy healing treatments are also available. A fully equipped cardiovascular weight-training room Fort Lauderdale, Florida with views of the ocean is an enticing way to work off pounds. There are separate men's and women's facilities. Also offered are a variety of fitness classes, from yoga to water aerobics. Open daily 9 am-8 pm. 3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale. Toll-free 866-303-0772. http://www.marriottharborbeachspa.com/spa/hotels/hotel-information/travel/fllsb-harbor-beach-marriott-resort-and-spa/spa-services.aspx. Ritz-Carlton Spa This spa offers individual spa suites with showers, private alfresco massage areas on the tropical pool deck and therapeutic body scrubs with natural ingredients such as walnuts and date seeds. The 8,000-sq-ft/743-sq-m spa includes 10 treatment rooms and a modern exercise studio offering yoga, spinning and aerobics seasonally. Separate facilities for men and women. Open daily 9 am-7 pm. 1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-465-2300. http://www.ritzcarlton.com/fortlauderdale. Spa Atlantic This full-service spa provides a unique selection of services created from the garden, grove and sea. There's a full range of massages and spa treatments to promote relaxation and renewal, including massages for expectant mothers and couples. The pool faces the ocean, and you can enjoy lunch in a cozy hammock facing the sea. Adjacent to the spa is a state-of-the-art exercise facility. Separate facilities for men and women. Open daily 9 am-6 pm. 601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-567-8020. http://www.atlantichotelfl.com. Sullo Day Spa This spa has been recognized among the top in Fort Lauderdale. In addition to traditional spa treatments and packages, services include hair, waxing and bridal packages. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-7 pm (until 9 pm Wednesday and Thursday). 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-563-9217. http://www.sullosalonspa.com. Address 1 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-465-2300 Address 601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-567-8020 Address 3045 N. Federal Highway Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-563-9217 The Spa at Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Resort and Spa % See & Do: Recreation The Spa at Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Resort and Spa This luxurious spa nestled within the confines of the Pier 66 hotel is a great place to relax and rejuvenate. It is one of the older spas in the city, but it has been updated. A wide range of facials and massages is available, including a double oxygen facial and warm seafoam wrap. Have lunch by the pool under the palm trees to round out a perfect day of pampering in a quiet and serene atmosphere. The exercise room features the latest in workout equipment. Separate locker rooms for men and women. Open daily 7 am-7 pm. 2301 S.E. 17th St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-525-6666. http://pier66.hyatt.com/hyatt/pure/spas. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 2301 S.E. 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-525-6666 Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa This 30,000-sq-ft/2,787-sq-m, two-level, self-contained spa with marble and wood accents Address has a lavish garden courtyard and state-of-the-art fitness facilities. There are separate 3555 Ocean Drive men's and women's lounges with saunas, steam rooms and patios. The spa stresses healthy Hollywood, Florida nutrition through consultation and cuisine. There are a variety of treatments, from Phone aromatherapy to spirulina masks, VIP rooms with private entrances, and hydro-tubs. 954-602-6000 Aerobics classes and personal training sessions are available. The spa also serves a luncheon for an additional charge. It's located on the grounds of the golf course and offers patrons a relaxing environment. Open daily 6:30 am-9 pm. 3555 Ocean Drive, Hollywood. Phone 954-602-6000. http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/features/attraction_detail.html?propertyID=1402&attractionId=1018527930. TENNIS & RACQUET SPORTS Frank Veltri Tennis Center Tennis buffs flock to this tennis center with 26 clay courts and two hard courts. Hourly fee of US$5 residents, US$8 nonresidents. 9101 N.W. Second St., Plantation. Phone 954-452-2530. http://www.plantationtennis.org. George English Tennis Center Located across the street from the Galleria Mall, this tennis facility has seven hard courts. Open Monday-Friday 8 am-9 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am-5 pm. Hourly rates: US$3-$4 residents, US$4.50-$6 nonresidents, depending on time of day. 1101 Bayview Drive, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-396-3621. http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/tennis/english.htm. Jimmy Evert Tennis Center Tennis champion Chris Evert learned how to play from her father, Jimmy, on these courts at Holiday Park. There are three hard courts and 18 lighted clay courts, a pro shop and Hall of Fame exhibition on the premises. Instruction is available. Open Monday-Friday 7:45 am-9 pm, Saturday and Sunday 7:45 am-6 pm. Hourly fees: US$6-$7 residents, US$9-$10.50 nonresidents. 701 N.E. 12th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-828-5378. http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/tennis/jetc.htm. Pompano Beach Tennis Center This busy tennis facility has 16 clay courts. Open Monday-Thursday 7:30 am-9:30 pm, Friday 7:30 am-6:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday 7:30 am-3:30 pm. Hourly fees: US$7.50 residents, US$10 nonresidents. After 5 pm, US$7 residents, US$10.50 nonresidents. 920 N.E. 18th Ave., Pompano Beach. Phone 954-786-4115. http://www.pompanobeachtenniscenter.com. Address 9101 N.W. Second St. Plantation, Florida Phone 954-452-2530 Address 1101 Bayview Drive Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-396-3621 Address 701 N.E. 12th Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-828-5378 Address 920 N.E. 18th Ave. Pompano Beach, Florida Phone 954-786-4115 See & Do: Nightlife DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL NIGHTLIFE Greater Fort Lauderdale has plenty of bars and places to listen to music or dance the night away. The best areas to wander from establishment to establishment are the Arts and Entertainment District (Himmarshee Village section) and the beachfront State Road A1A from Las Olas to Sunrise boulevards. In the Himmarshee Village neighborhood, just a block or two west of downtown, you'll find a funky mix of nocturnal activities—from coffee bars to alternative-music clubs and trendy restaurants. Beach Place, along Fort Lauderdale's beachfront, is one of the city's hottest nightspots. The shopping and entertainment complex (on State Road A1A at Castillo Street) includes an array of shops, restaurants and nightclubs. It's also near enough to other beachfront spots that visitors can club-hop. Fort Lauderdale's nightlife goes into the wee hours. On weekends, the most popular clubs remain open till 3 am. The exception is the Seminole Paradise in the Hard Rock complex, where many of the nearly dozen nightclubs and bars are open until sunrise on weekends, or in some cases, 24 hours. Other area casinos also offer late-night entertainment. BARS, TAVERNS & PUBS Bahia Cabana Bar This popular waterfront bar has a nice view of the yacht harbor. Pop music plays nightly and on weekend afternoons (DJ Monday-Thursday; live music Friday-Sunday). Open Monday-Saturday from 7 am, Sunday from noon. No cover. 3001 Harbor Drive (behind Days Inn Bahia Cabana Beach Resort), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-524-1555. Toll-free 800-323-2244. http://www.bahiacabanaresort.com/restaurant.htm. Blue Martini This trendy bar has really caught on with the locals who flock there for giant cocktails, 25 kinds of martinis, hip music and a variety of innovative hors d'oeuvres. The large facility has outside tables in addition to a big bar area and plenty of tables interspersed throughout. Many tourists also frequent the bar, ending a day of shopping with a specialty cocktail. 2432 E. Sunrise Blvd. (in the Galleria Mall), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-653-2583. http://bluemartinilounge.com. Briny's Irish Pub Located on the riverfront in downtown Fort Lauderdale. This festive Irish pub has indoor and outdoor dining at inexpensive prices. Irish cuisine along with piled-high Reuben sandwiches, crab cakes, burgers and beer on tap. Open daily 11 am-11 pm. Most major credit cards. 305 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-376-4742. http://brinyirishpub.com. Elbo Room Established in 1938, this small bar is an oceanfront landmark and was featured in the '60s movie Where the Boys Are. Its indoor and outdoor tables and bars, spread over two floors, draw energetic crowds. Be ready to elbow your way in on Saturday and Sunday. Open Monday from noon, Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am. No cover. 241 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Address 3001 Harbor Drive Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Phone 954-524-1555 Address 2432 E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-653-2583 Address 305 S. Andrews Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-376-4742 Address 241 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Phone See & Do: Nightlife Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-463-4615. http://www.elboroom.com. Revolution Live! Open since the 1970s, this former rock-concert venue has undergone various transformations. Most recently the outdoor area has been renovated into a live performance venue featuring such headliners as Ziggy Marley and Scott Weiland. 100 S.W. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-449-1025. http://www.jointherevolution.net. Shooters Waterfront This waterside hangout has been a favorite of those who want to see and be seen since 1982. Enjoy food and drinks inside or out. Daily from 11:30 am. No cover. 3033 N.E. 32nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-566-2855. http://www.shooterswaterfront.com. Tarpon Bend Food and Tackle This downtown bar is a popular local hangout; it's always packed on Friday and Saturday. Food specials include two-for-one wings, and happy hour is 4-7 pm with two-for-one drink specials. Daily from 11:30 am. 200 S. Second St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-523-3233. http://tarponbend.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Phone 954-463-4615 Address 100 S.W. Third Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-449-1025 Address 3033 N.E. 32nd Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308 Phone 954-566-2855 Address 200 S. Second St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-523-3233 COMEDY CLUBS Improv Comedy Club Dinner Theater This comedy club and dinner theater features top comics in a 460-seat theater at the Seminole Paradise venue adjacent to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Shows are Thursday at 8 pm; Friday at 8:30 and 10:30 pm; Saturday at 7, 9 and 11 pm; Sunday at 8 pm. Show times may vary. Prices range US$10-$50 depending on the performer. Most major credit cards. 5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Phone 954-981-5653. http://www.improvftl.com. Address 5700 Seminole Way Hollywood, Florida Phone 954-981-5653 Laffing Matterz This restaurant-and-cabaret venue offers a satirical, politics-and-current-events-based musical comedy show paired with a two-course meal. Shows Wednesday-Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 7 pm and Sunday at 4:30 pm. Doors open beforehand in the lobby area of the Abdo River Room. Prices vary, and advance purchase is advised. 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. (in the Broward Center for the Performing Arts), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-462-0222. http://www.laffingmatterz.com. Address 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-462-0222 See & Do: Nightlife DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL DANCE & NIGHTCLUBS America's Backyard This large nightclub in downtown Fort Lauderdale has music, dancing and food. Casual atmosphere. Most of the club is outside with a DJ playing music from a raised stage. Open Thursday 10 pm-4 am, Friday 5 pm-4 am, Saturday 8 pm-4 am. No cover before midnight. Parking lot across the street from the club. Most major credit cards. 1000 S.W. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-449-9569. http://myamericasbackyard.com. Chase This spot has endured for decades and seems to have lost none of its allure among thirty- and fortysomethings. Lively decorations year-round with particularly showy holiday decor. Live salsa on Thursday. Dance parties on Saturday. Open Wednesday-Sunday from 9 pm. No cover charge. 2857 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-561-2136. http://www.thechasenightclub.com. Lips The best in drag dining. Men dressed in women's garb serve drinks and dinner and then perform in a show for tips. Lots of laughs and fun entertainment. Karaoke nightly. There's a large bar area, and frozen cosmos are the house specialty drink. Open Monday-Saturday from 6:30 pm. Dinner is served at 7:30 pm, and the show begins at 8:45 pm. Sunday brunch is lots of fun noon-2:30 pm. Reservations required. 1421 E. Oakland Park, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-567-0987. http://www.lipsusa.com. The Manor Huge complex with entertainment and outrageously funny drag shows. Its clientele is mostly gay men. Some nights, it draws crowds of more than 2,500. Open Friday and Saturday 11 pm-3 am. No cover before midnight for men 21 and older. US$7 cover after midnight for men older than 21, US$12 for men ages 18-20. Most major credit cards. 2345 Wilton Drive (at Northeast Eighth Street), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-626-0082. http://www.themanorcomplex.com. Address 1000 S.W. Third Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-449-9569 Address 2857 E. Oakland Park Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33306 Phone 954-561-2136 Address 1421 E. Oakland Park Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-567-0987 Address 2345 Wilton Drive Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-626-0082 LIVE MUSIC 101 Ocean This open-air restaurant and night spot is just a block from the beach. There is nightly entertainment with dancing both inside and on the sidewalk. The huge indoor-outdoor bar is always packed. There is live jazz on Friday evening. Happy hour is 5-7 pm. Open daily 11 am-2 am. 101 E. Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. Phone 954-776-8101. http://101oceanlbts.com. Address 101 E. Commercial Blvd. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida Phone 954-776-8101 Aruba Beach Cafe ! See & Do: Nightlife Aruba Beach Cafe This casual beachfront restaurant has music every evening. The menu features a variety of fresh seafood, and salads, pasta, steaks and burgers. Happy hour 4-7 pm daily with two-for-one drinks at its three tropical bars. There are tables outside facing the ocean, as well as indoor seating for stormy days. Pig roast and buffet on Friday. 1 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. Phone 954-776-0001. http://www.arubabeachcafe.com. Blue Jean Blues Best spot to hear jazz at night, every night of the week. Arrive early to secure your table. It gets quite crowded on the weekend. Sets usually at 8 and 9 pm. 3320 N.E. 33rd St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-306-6330. http://www.bjblive.com. Cafe del Mar This oceanfront nightspot and restaurant has live music nightly under the stars with additional seating inside. Latin performers are a real draw. Open daily 8 am-midnight. 213 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. (near Beach Place on A1A), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-767-8233. http://cafedelmarfl.com. Hard Rock Live This venue is part of the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood and offers a variety of acts, featuring top performers. 1 Seminole Way (on State Road 7, just north of Stirling Road), Hollywood. Toll-free 866-502-7529. http://www.seminolehardrockhollywood.com. Lulu's Bait Shack Located at Beach Place, this bar on the second floor of the mall is always packed. The music varies from rock to reggae. Open Monday-Thursday 11 am-1 am, Friday and Saturday 11 am-3 am. 17 S. Atlantic Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-463-7425. http://lulusbaitshack.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 1 Commercial Blvd. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida Phone 954-776-0001 Address 3320 N.E. 33rd St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-306-6330 Address 213 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-767-8233 Address 1 Seminole Way Hollywood, Florida Address 17 S. Atlantic Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-463-7425 OTHER OPTIONS Seminole Paradise The entertainment and nightlife segment of the Seminole Hard Rock Address Hollywood is the ideal spot for large groups, as there is something for 1 Seminole Way everyone. A giant casino, restaurants, several dozen bars, nightclubs Hollywood, Florida (many open 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday) and an always-open shopping mall are a few of the draws. Locals refer to the entire complex, including the casino, as "The Hard Rock," but the concert space, Hard " See & Do: Nightlife DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL including the casino, as "The Hard Rock," but the concert space, Hard Rock Live, is just one of the many venues in this complex. 1 Seminole Way (on State Road 7, just north of Stirling Road), Hollywood. Toll-free 866-502-7529. http://www.seminoleparadise.com. See & Do: Performing Arts DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL PERFORMING ARTS Fort Lauderdale offers plenty of activities for visitors seeking performance arts. Road companies and regional theater groups offer some outstanding productions. Jazz enthusiasts will enjoy the Sunday Jazz Brunch. Every first Sunday of the month, live jazz bands perform outdoors on bandstands and greens along the Riverwalk. The free performances are held 11 am-2 pm. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts hosts performances by the Miami City Ballet (phone 877-929-7010; http://www.miamicityballet.org), Broadway Across America (phone 800-764-0700; http://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com) and the Florida Grand Opera (phone 954-728-9700; http://www.fgo.org). Events are easy to find in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Friday supplement "Showtime." You can also find out what's happening in Fort Lauderdale by calling toll-free 800-227-8669 or visiting http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/events. The Miami Herald also has a Friday edition pull-out section with a listing of events. DANCE Miami City Ballet One of the country's most critically acclaimed dance companies performs at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami and the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale. Performances range from Don Quixote to more avant-garde selections from George Balanchine. Tickets US$20-$175. 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-522-5334. http://www.miamicityballet.org. Address 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-522-5334 MUSIC Symphony of the Americas Performs classical-musical programs with guest artists throughout the year under the direction of Maestro James Brooks-Bruzzese. Performances take place at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. 2425 E. Commercial Blvd., No. 405, Pompano Beach. Phone 954-335-7002. http://www.symphonyoftheamericas.org. Address 2425 E. Commercial Blvd., No. 405 Pompano Beach, Florida Phone 954-335-7002 OPERA Florida Grand Opera Founded in 1941, this group has hosted its share of world-class singers, including Luciano Pavarotti's U.S. debut in 1965. It's now under the direction of Susan T. Danis. Productions include Marvin David Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra, a modern take on an age-old Greek tragedy. Other works include Verdi's Nabucco, Puccini's Tosca and Massenet's Thais. 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Toll-free 800-741-1010. http://www.fgo.org. Address 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida See & Do: Performing Arts DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL THEATER Broadway Across America Presenting national touring theatrical shows such as American Idiot, Chicago and The Book of Mormon. Performances at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Toll-free 800-764-0700. http://fortlauderdale.broadway.com. Stage Door Theatre Operates two nonequity theaters under one roof: a 360-seat theater and a 140-seat theater. Shows Wednesday-Sunday at 8 pm, matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets are US$42 at the box office and US$38 online. 8036 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs. Phone 954-344-7765. http://www.stagedoortheatre.com. Address 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Address 8036 W. Sample Road Coral Springs, Florida Phone 954-344-7765 TICKET BROKERS Ticket Florida Tickets for most Fort Lauderdale theaters can be purchased at Ticket Florida. Phone 954-462-0222. Address Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-462-0222 Ticketmaster Find out what's playing and buy tickets to most local events. Toll-free 800-745-3000. http://www.ticketmaster.com. Address Fort Lauderdale, Florida VENUES Aventura Arts and Cultural Center This 324-seat waterfront theater offers plays, concerts and lectures throughout the year. Ticket prices vary by production. 3385 N.E. 188th St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 305-466-8002. http://www.aventuracenter.org. Address 3385 N.E. 188th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 305-466-8002 BB&T Center # See & Do: Performing Arts BB&T Center Within the BB&T Center, the Sinatra Theatre attracts top-flight acts in pop and rock music, comedians, musicals and special events. 2555 N.W. 136th Ave. (mailing address: 1 Panther Parkway), Sunrise. Phone 954-835-7000, or 954-835-7825 for the box office. http://www.thebbtcenter.com. Broward Center for the Performing Arts For some of the best cultural imports South Florida has to offer, head to the Broward Center. It overlooks the New River downtown and attracts top opera, symphony, dance and Broadway productions. The theater has a new addition, a restaurant where theatergoers can dine before the show. 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-462-0222. http://browardcenter.org. Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Center Located on the Florida Atlantic University campus, this theater features headliners, pop concerts and plays throughout the year. Prices vary. 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. Toll-free 800-564-9539. http://www.fauevents.com. Coral Springs Center for the Arts This performing arts center hosts a variety of shows, including concerts, Broadway productions, children's programs and comedy. It is also home to Broward County's largest outdoor dance club. A multimillion-dollar renovation has transformed the facility into a first-class venue with a 1,471-seat theater, a spacious lobby and a lakeside terrace. The Coral Springs Museum of Art is also on-site. 2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs. Phone 954-344-5999. http://www.coralspringscenterforthearts.com. Miramar Cultural Center Located in the heart of Miramar Town Center, this 800-seat theater offers plays, concerts, and children's productions and events. Prices vary by production. 2400 Civic Center Place, Miramar. Phone 954-602-4500. http://www.miramarculturalcenter.org. Parker Playhouse This beautiful vintage, neoclassical playhouse hosts concerts, dance, comedy and some of Broadway's biggest stars. 707 N.E. Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-462-0222. http://www.parkerplayhouse.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 2555 N.W. 136th Ave. Sunrise, Florida Phone 954-835-7000, Address 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-462-0222 Address 777 Glades Road Boca Raton, Florida Address 2855 Coral Springs Drive Coral Springs, Florida Phone 954-344-5999 Address 2400 Civic Center Place Miramar, Florida Phone 954-602-4500 Address 707 N.E. Eighth St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-462-0222 $ See & Do: Performing Arts Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center This 498-seat theater is used for a variety of shows, plays and jazz concerts. Ticket prices vary. 3100 Ray Ferrero Jr. Blvd. (at Nova Southeastern University), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-462-0222. http://www.miniacipac.com. Sunrise Civic Centre Theatre and Ampitheatre This 300-seat theater and 750-seat ampitheater puts on several shows a month ranging from concerts to plays to children's productions, including the popular Sunrise at Sunset concert series. Ticket prices vary depending on the event. 10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise. Phone 954-747-4600 or 954-747-4646. http://www.sunrisefl.gov/index.aspx?page=296. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 3100 Ray Ferrero Jr. Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-462-0222 Address 10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd. Sunrise, Florida Phone 954-747-4600 % See & Do: Spectator Sports DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL SPECTATOR SPORTS Although most of Florida's professional teams are based in Miami-Dade County, the fans don't worry about minor geographic distinctions. South Florida is home to the National Football League's Miami Dolphins, Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins and the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat. The National Hockey League's Florida Panthers play in nearby Sunrise. South Florida is home to Grapefruit League spring training baseball. The Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals share Fort Lauderdale's neighbor to the north, Roger Dean Stadium, during spring training. 4751 Main Street, Jupiter. Phone 561-775-1818. http://rogerdeanstadium.com. If you're interested in Jai-Alai, horse racing or greyhound racing, check nearby casino-racetracks such as Calder Casino in Miami Gardens, Casino Miami Jai-Alai in Miami, or Palm Beach Kennel Club in West Palm Beach. For more information, see our Miami destination guide. Check the South Florida Sun-Sentinel or the weekly alternative newspaper, City Link, for sports schedules. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster, but the best way to obtain last-minute tickets is at the box office: Show up at the stadium before a game and take your chances. HOCKEY Florida Panthers This National Hockey League team plays October-April at the BB&T Center in nearby Sunrise. Tickets are available from the box office or through Ticketmaster. Tickets range US$7-$272. 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise. Phone 954-835-7000 (box office). http://www.floridapanthers.com. Address 1 Panther Parkway Sunrise, Florida Phone 954-835-7000 OTHER OPTIONS Davie Pro Rodeo Professional cowboys and cowgirls compete in major rodeo events at the Davie Pro Rodeo Arena in Davie. Events include bronco riding, steer wrestling and bull riding. Rodeos take place on specific dates during the year. 4271 Davie Road, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-680-8005 or 954-797-1166. http://www.davieprorodeo.com. Address 4271 Davie Road Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-680-8005 ! See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL SHOPPING Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Dania Beach and a host of smaller cities, can satisfy any shopaholic. High-end and offbeat shops abound along Florida's Gold Coast, although you may have to drive a bit to reach them. Fort Lauderdale has an eclectic mix: Las Olas Boulevard, best known for its relaxed alfresco shopping and Spanish colonial-style buildings, is lined with designer fashion stores and several notable art galleries. (The shopping district on Las Olas runs from Southeast Third Avenue to Southeast 15th Avenue.) You'll need a taxi or car to get to the rest. (The bus is slow, and the routes are circuitous.) At the Galleria Mall on Sunrise Boulevard, just west of the Intracoastal Waterway, Neiman Marcus and Macy's set the retail tone. There also are less traditional shopping areas frequented mostly by locals. Antiques buffs may want to head to Dania Beach's Antique Row, where dozens of shops occupy a few blocks along Highway 1. Bargain shoppers will enjoy visiting Pompano Beach's Festival Flea Market—more than 500 vendors, an arcade and a farmers market—and the Swap Shop, the state's largest indoor-outdoor flea market. Shopping Hours: Most downtown shops and specialty stores are open Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm (some till 11 pm). Malls are usually open Monday-Saturday 10 am-9 pm and Sunday 11 am-6 pm. Shops along Las Olas Boulevard are open till at least 10 pm. ANTIQUE STORES Fabulous Finds There is a mixture of furniture, art, rugs and jewelry at this vintage store. Open daily except Monday 10:30 am-5:30 pm. 2301 N.E. 26th St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-563-5959. Kodner Galleries Like the many other antiques shops that are the pride of Dania Beach, this gallery offers a wide range of treasures, from glassware to furnishings. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm. 45 S. Federal Highway (about a 15-minute drive from downtown Fort Lauderdale), Dania Beach. Phone 954-925-2550. http://www.kodner.com. Shades of the Past Located on the main drag in Wilton Manors, this boutique store has one-of-a-kind items, antiques and collectibles. Crystal, Murano glass, artwork and more. Open Tuesday-Saturday noon-5 pm. Most major credit cards. 2360 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors. http://shadesofthepastantiques.com. Address 2301 N.E. 26th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-563-5959 Address 45 S. Federal Highway Dania Beach, Florida 33004 Phone 954-925-2550 Address 2360 Wilton Drive Wilton Manors, Florida BOOKSTORES ! See & Do: Shopping Bluewater Books and Charts Anything and everything to do with the ocean and watersports from yachts to sailing. Merchandise ranges from books and charts to ties with sailing motifs. Open daily 9 am-5:30 pm. 1811 Cordova Road, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-763-6533. http://www.bluewaterweb.com. Bob's News and Books This independent bookstore offers daily and Sunday newspapers from around the country, as well as select international publications. A wide range of periodicals and magazines is also available. Open daily 7 am-10 pm. 1515 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-524-4731. Well Read Used and rare books and first editions fill the shelves at this shop, a welcome change from the big chains. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday noon-7 pm. 1338 S.E. 17th St. (in the South Harbor Plaza), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-467-8878. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 1811 Cordova Road Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-763-6533 Address 1515 S. Andrews Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-524-4731 Address 1338 S.E. 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-467-8878 FACTORY OUTLETS Sawgrass Mills This sprawling outlet mall is about 30 mi/48 km north of Miami in Broward County. Its more than 350 name-brand stores and outlets include Last Call from Neiman Marcus, Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet, the Calvin Klein Co. store and the J. Crew factory store. The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills features deep discounts at premium outlet stores such as Burberry, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Coach and more. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-9:30 pm, Sunday 11 am-8 pm. 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd. (a 30-minute drive from the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport), Sunrise. Phone 954-846-2300. Toll-free 800-356-4557. http://www.simon.com/mall/sawgrass-mills. Address 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd. Sunrise, Florida Phone 954-846-2300 GALLERIES Within walking distance of the Museum of Art, you'll find the Third Avenue Art District—a cooperative of eight galleries within an eight-block radius. The district extends from Northeast Eighth Street to East Broward Boulevard, and from North Andrews Avenue to North Federal Highway. Phone 954-524-5728. http://www.thirdavenueartdistrict.com. Las Olas Fine Arts ! See & Do: Shopping Las Olas Fine Arts A collection of unusual and striking works of art in oil, acrylics, bronzes and mixed media can be admired in this gallery of fine art. Owner Stephen Rioux has an eye for talent, and his gallery represents more than 50 international artists. Open Sunday-Wednesday 10 am-6 pm, Thursday-Saturday 10 am-9 pm, Sunday 10 am-6 pm. 701 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-767-0063. http://www.lasolasfinearts.com. New River Fine Art Las Olas Boulevard's largest and most celebrated commercial gallery presents sculptures and paintings from artists such as Salvador Dali, Picasso, Renoir and Jamali. Open Monday-Thursday 10 am-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 10 am-11:30 pm, Sunday 11 am-9 pm. 914 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-524-2100. http://www.newriverfineart.com. Pocock Fine Art American impressionist paintings of early- to mid-20th century are represented in this well-established gallery. In business for more than 25 years, the gallery has a large assortment of original works by distinguished artists. Authenticity is guaranteed. Also antiques and period pieces. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm or by appointment. 1200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Suite 102, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-525-3400. http://www.pocockfineart.com. Wyland Gallery Marine life artist Wyland and other contemporary artists are featured in this trendy art gallery on Las Olas. Original oils, watercolors and sculptures are worth a visit. Explore ocean and environmental art, as well as works in glass. Open Sunday-Thursday 11 am-10:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-11 pm. 822 E. Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-779-7700. http://www.wylandkw.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 701 E. Las Olas Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-767-0063 Address 914 E. Las Olas Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-524-2100 Address 1200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Suite 102 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-525-3400 Address 822 E. Las Olas Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-779-7700 MARKETS Festival Flea Market More than 500 merchants selling everything from cosmetics and clothing to jewelry and home furnishings make this mall one of the most popular attractions for tourists as well as locals. The Festival is in an air-conditioned, enclosed mall where you could spend hours browsing for bargains. The mall also has a vast array of antiques for sale, as well as a fresh fruit and vegetable market. Monday-Friday 9:30 am-5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:30 am-6 pm. 2900 W. Sample Road, Pompano Beach. Phone 954-979-4555. http://www.festival.com. Address 2900 W. Sample Road Pompano Beach, Florida Phone 954-979-4555 Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop and Drive-In !! See & Do: Shopping Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop and Drive-In For serious shoppers, the main attraction is the 88 acres/36 hectares of bargains. More than 2,000 vendors sell just about anything to 12 million visitors a year. There are also drive-in movies and amusement rides. Open Monday-Wednesday and Friday 9 am-6 pm; Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 7:30 am-6 pm. Free. 3291 W. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-791-7927. http://www.floridaswapshop.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 3291 W. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Phone 954-791-7927 SHOPPING AREAS Galleria Mall Just blocks from the beach, this conveniently located mall has 150 mostly high-end stores, including Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Coach and Pottery Barn, as well as an upscale food court and restaurants, including two steak houses and Blue Martini Bar. Monday-Saturday 10 am-9 pm, Sunday noon-6 pm. 2414 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-564-1015. http://www.galleriamall-fl.com. The Gallery at Beach Place This three-story emporium across the road from the beach is home to several shops and restaurants. Some of the region's most popular watering holes are there, too, including Lulu's Bait Shack and Fat Tuesday. Open Sunday-Thursday 11 am-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-midnight. 17 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-760-9309. http://www.galleryatbeachplace.com. Address 2414 E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304 Phone 954-564-1015 Address 17 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Phone 954-760-9309 SPECIALTY STORES Cross Stitch Cupboard You'll find thousands of cross-stitch patterns, handicrafts, seasonal decorations and collectibles. Open Tuesday 10 am-8 pm, Wednesday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm. 1600 N.E. 26th St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-563-8900. http://www.crossstitchcupboard.com. Essentials Boutique Collectibles of every type, such as handbags, jewelry and trendy outfits. Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10 am-6 pm; Wednesday 10 am-7 pm; Sunday 10 am-4 pm. 1350 S.E. 17th St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-463-6007. http://www.essentialsboutique.com. Address 1600 N.E. 26th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-563-8900 Address 1350 S.E. 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-463-6007 Grifs Western !" See & Do: Shopping Grifs Western For the cowgirl or cowboy in your life, Grifs Western has one of the largest western shopping experiences. It sells western boots, hats, belts, jeans, shirts and jewelry. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-9 pm, Sunday 11 am-6 pm. 6211 Orange Drive, Davie. Phone 954-587-9000. http://www.grifswestern.com. Kilwins Truffles, turtles, barks and fudge. Hand-made chocolates, ice cream and baked goods attract crowds with a sweet tooth. Also found in other Florida resort towns, it exudes a mom-and-pop-shop feel. Open Sunday-Thursday 11 am-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-midnight. 809 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-523-8338. http://www.kilwins.com. Outdoor World Bass Pro Shops This megastore has an indoor archery and gun range, but its main attraction is a variety of fishing, camping, hunting and other outdoor-related equipment. It just happens to be next door to the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum. Monday-Saturday 9 am-10 pm, Sunday 10 am-7 pm. 200 Gulf Stream Way (just off Griffin Road), Dania Beach. Phone 954-929-7710. http://www.basspro.com. Prissy Hen This consignment shop carries gently used high-fashion clothing, shoes, purses and accessories. Open Monday-Friday 10 am-6 pm, Saturday 10 am-5 pm, Sunday 10 am-2 pm. 1825 Cordova Road (in the Harbor Shops on the 17th Street Causeway), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-462-4484. http://www.prissyhenconsignment.com. Reading Etc. Headquarters of the book publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Choose from more than 80 motivational titles, unique gifts, handbags, jewelry and aquariums. Not the usual literary paraphernalia, but the decor—inspired by Harrod's Egyptian Tea Room—offers welcoming seating arrangements. Open Monday-Friday 10 am-6 pm. 3201 S.W. 15th St., Deerfield Beach. Phone 954-363-0006. http://www.readingetc.com. Tate's Comics This store is brimming with comics, toys and videos. You could say comics were owner Tate Ottati's destiny: He financed the store with profits he made from owning stock in Marvel Comics. Open daily 11 am-9 pm. 4566 N. University Drive, Lauderhill. Phone 954-748-0181. http://www.tatescomics.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 6211 Orange Drive Davie, Florida Phone 954-587-9000 Address 809 E. Las Olas Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-523-8338 Address 200 Gulf Stream Way Dania Beach, Florida 33004 Phone 954-929-7710 Address 1825 Cordova Road Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-462-4484 Address 3201 S.W. 15th St. Deerfield Beach, Florida Phone 954-363-0006 Address 4566 N. University Drive Lauderhill, Florida Phone 954-748-0181 ! See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL 954-748-0181 To the Moon Candy from 87 countries, 90 types of dark chocolate bars, black licorice, collectibles and novelties make this store great for browsing. Candy selections from 1806 to the present are among the 12,000 items for sale in this eclectic store. Monday-Thursday 10 am-11 pm, Friday 10 am-1 am, Sunday 10 am-11 pm. Most major credit cards. 2205 Wilton Drive, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-564-2987. http://tothemoonmarketplace.com. Address 2205 Wilton Drive Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-564-2987 ! Dining: Overview DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL DINING OVERVIEW Fort Lauderdale has more than 4,000 restaurants, ranging from waterfront dining spots that you can reach by boat or water taxi to ethnic eateries and top-notch steak houses. Locals claim that it would take about seven years to eat at all of Fort Lauderdale's restaurants, and even then you might miss some places because new dining spots spring up every year. Fort Lauderdale's restaurants range from formal to funky. Many of the city's best choices are clustered along the principal shopping artery, Las Olas Boulevard, and in the Arts and Entertainment District. Other fine restaurants are located in the western part of the city, north in Pompano and Deerfield Beach, and south in Dania Beach and Hollywood. Try stone-crab claws (in season mid-October to mid-May), key lime pie or a style of cooking dubbed "Floribbean," a blend of Florida and Caribbean fare, which typically mixes fresh lobster, shrimp, swordfish, pompano and other sea treats with locally grown citrus and tropical fruits. General dining times are 7-10 am for breakfast, noon-2 pm for lunch and 7-9 pm for dinner. Early-bird specials, usually offered before 6 pm, are a good value. Most restaurants don't enforce a dress code, but men often need a collared shirt and sometimes a jacket in upscale places. Ties are rarely required. Expect to pay within these guidelines for a meal for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than US$15; $$ = US$15-$25; $$$ = US$26-$50; and $$$$ = more than US$50. LOCAL & REGIONAL Beauty and the Feast Located across from the ocean in the Atlantic Hotel, this newly created American menu of local and regional cuisine features pizza and paella, burgers, bone-in steaks, craft beers and cocktails. Enjoy the view and the food as you sit in comfy white booths. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sunday for brunch also. $$-$$$$. Complimentary valet parking. Most major credit cards. 601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-567-8070. http://www.atlantichotel.com. Fork and Balls This casual, modern eatery is meatball-focused. You can build your own sandwiches or salads with your choice of balls, from lamb to veggies and fish. Try the tomato, onion, chickpea and olive balls with house vinaigrette, and add blue cheese. Beer and wine are on tap. Daily for lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. 1301 E. Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-771-2257. http://www.forkandballs.com. Kaluz Local and regional cuisine with a great view of the Intracoastal Waterway. This elegant restaurant with ultramodern decor serves a varied menu, including everything from quinoa salads to veggie burgers. Other tasty menu items are scallops with a pomegranate and mango salsa and sweet ginger calamari. Perfect for a special occasion or for a chance to watch the boats sail by under the Commercial Avenue bridge. Outdoor dining is Address 601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-567-8070 Address 1301 E. Las Olas Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-771-2257 Address 3300 E. Commercial Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-772-2209 !# Dining: Overview DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL available. Daily for lunch and dinner. $$-$$$$. Free valet parking. Most major credit cards. 3300 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-772-2209. http://kaluzrestaurant.com. Market 17 Chef Lauren DeShields is a big proponent of the farm-to-table movement: She buys fish from local fisherfolk, and meat and produce from local farms. The result? Unbelievably fresh food, and a constantly changing menu. The duck confit salad with fried rice balls (arancini) is a standout. Nightly for dinner (closed Monday during the summer). Reservations recommended. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 1850 S.E. 17th St. (in the Portside Yachting Center), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-835-5507. http://www.market17.net. Seasons 52 Seasonally inspired dishes with fewer than 475 calories each have made this health-conscious restaurant a favorite among locals and a hit with visitors. The menu changes seasonally, and the atmosphere is upscale and casually sophisticated. The flatbreads, especially the ripe plum tomato and the classic Reuben, are favorite starters. Vegetarians are pleased with the crisp, fresh veggie dishes, which are served with a minimum of sauces, so the natural flavors can be savored. Open daily for lunch and dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. 2428 E. Sunrise Blvd. (in the Galleria Mall), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-537-1052. http://www.seasons52.com. Truluck's You're in for a treat if stone crabs are in season. The restaurant works with a fishery in Naples to ensure a fresh catch every day. Other sea fare includes grouper, sea bass, scallops, tuna and trout. Even the meat is served with a seaward bent: Try the Steak Ponchartrain, with crawfish, blue crab and shrimp in a tasty cream sauce. Servers suggest wines to pair with dinner—the wine flights pitting Spain versus Italy are fun. Monday-Saturday for dinner. Reservations recommended. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 2584-A E. Sunrise Blvd. (at The Galleria), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-396-5656. http://trulucks.com. Address 1850 S.E. 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-835-5507 Address 2428 E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-537-1052 Address 2584-A E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-396-5656 !$ Security DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL PERSONAL SAFETY Exercise the same precautions you would during a visit to any major U.S. city: Don't carry large amounts of cash or wear conspicuous, pricey jewelry. Use a safe or hotel vault for valuables—extra cash, traveler's checks, credit cards, passports and plane tickets. Remember: Pickpockets enjoy the South Florida climate as much as travelers do. Request advice and clear travel directions before venturing into unfamiliar areas. Stay in well-lighted, well-populated areas at night. Keep car doors locked when stopping at red lights at intersections. Don't use ATMs on deserted, dark or isolated locations, and try not to go alone. If people are loitering nearby or looking over your shoulder, don't use that ATM. Always shield the keypad when entering your PIN and don't write your PIN on anything you carry with your cards. Ask your hotel's concierge or the front desk for advice about any area you may wish to visit. HEALTH Dehydration and sunburn are two of the most common preventable ailments experienced by South Florida visitors. Make sure to stay hydrated and use at least an SPF-15 sunscreen several times a day. During the summer, mosquitoes are at their peak, so it's a good idea to use bug repellent, especially at night and near the water. Several hospitals offer 24-hour emergency medical care. Holy Cross Hospital is at 4725 N. Federal Highway (phone 954-771-8000). Other facilities include Broward General Medical Center at 1600 S. Andrews Ave. (phone 954-355-4400) and Imperial Point Medical Center at 6401 N. Federal Highway (phone 954-776-8920). In case of emergency, dial 911. DISABLED ADVISORY Most attractions and transportation services—including water taxis—can accommodate those with special needs. The visitors bureau provides communication aids or services upon request for people with disabilities. For more information, contact the bureau at 954-765-4466. Additional information for people with disabilities is available at http://www.adrcbroward.org. DOS & DON'TS Do rent a convertible if you need a vehicle: The costs are usually only a little higher, and a drive through Fort Lauderdale with the top down is the best way to take in the wide skies and palm trees. Do try Cuban coffee—it's an ideal afternoon pick-me-up. Ask for cafe con leche (coffee with steamed milk) or a cordadita (espresso sweetened with sugar while brewing). Do rise early and head to the beach to see shorebirds feeding on creatures left by the tide. Sunrise over the ocean is an awe-inspiring sight. Don't get caught on the wrong side of the 17th Street Causeway drawbridge if you're in a hurry to get to the airport or Port Everglades to catch a cruise ship. The bridge rises every half-hour—and can stay up for more than five minutes while drivers sit and stew on the roadway. The traffic jam barely clears before the bridge goes up again. In fact, leave a little time for all bridge crossings in Fort Lauderdale, which has so many canals and waterways that it calls itself the "Venice of America." Do take advantage of early-bird specials (some offered as early as 3 pm) at area restaurants. The food is typically !% Security DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Do take advantage of early-bird specials (some offered as early as 3 pm) at area restaurants. The food is typically the same as on the regular menu, and coffee and dessert are included. Don't disturb turtle nesting areas. They are usually roped off and designated. Do not drive in bicycle lanes. You will get a ticket. Florida has many cyclists on city streets and highways. There are separate, marked-off lanes for bicyclists. Don't float where you can't swim. Nonswimmers often use flotation devices and can drown if they float out to deep waters and can't swim. Do understand beach warning flags. They fly from lifeguard towers and represent hazards and surf conditions. Don't swim alone. Always swim with a companion. " Facts DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Geostats Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S. Passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure. Population: 172,400. Languages: English, some Spanish. Predominant Religions: Christianity (Protestant, Roman Catholic) and Judaism. Time Zone: 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November. Voltage Requirements: 110 volts. Telephone Codes: 954, area code; Currency Exchange Banks are found throughout Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding communities, and most have 24-hour ATMs. Lobby hours are generally Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm. Some banks have limited Saturday morning hours. Publix supermarkets and major gas stations also have ATMs. You can change money at Sawgrass Mills Mall, Aventura Mall and at most airports. Taxes The sales tax is 6% in Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach, Davie, Hollywood, Plantation, Pompano Beach and Port Everglades. In general, products and services exempt from sales tax are unprepared food, professional services—medical, dental and legal—and labor-only services related to real estate. There is a hotel tax of 5% in Fort Lauderdale. Tipping Tip 15%-20% in restaurants, depending on service. Wine stewards and dining-room captains merit consideration—US$5 should be a minimum, and double that when given a really good table. Be sure to check your bill, because many restaurants in tourist areas automatically add a 15% gratuity, especially for parties larger than five people. US$2 is appropriate for a parking valet. Luggage tips should be US$1 per bag for airport baggage handlers and bellhops. Plan on US$1.50 per day per guest for the hotel housekeeping staff (leave more if you ask for extra services). Weather Fort Lauderdale's winter temperatures, averaging 60-76 F/16-24 C, attract visitors from northern reaches (known locally as snowbirds) November-April. In winter, cold fronts do occasionally sweep down from chillier climes, which can cause temperatures to drop abruptly. " Facts DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Summers are hot and humid (average temperatures are in the low 90s F/32-37 C, and humidity is often 98%), with frequent, brief afternoon thundershowers. A high-SPF sunscreen is a must. A hat will help, and an umbrella comes in handy to protect against rain and sun. Hurricane season is June-November. What to Wear You'll be most comfortable in cotton and linen casual clothing when visiting Fort Lauderdale. Locals wear shorts almost everywhere, especially places around the beach. Always pack a lightweight sweater for air-conditioning (just about every establishment is air-conditioned). A heavier sweater or jacket is a good idea in winter. Evening attire can be dressy at some restaurants and nightclubs, but it's always adapted to the warm climate. Men rarely need a tie or jacket at any restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. If meetings are on your agenda, pack typical business wear, including a tie for men. Telephone Coin- and credit-card-operated pay phones can be found at gas stations and outside of some shopping areas. Cell phone coverage is widely available outdoors, although some indoor areas may damper the signal. Dial the area code before the number, only preceding it with 1 when dialing another area code, such as 305 for Miami. Internet Access Internet cafes come and go frequently in Fort Lauderdale, but FedEx Office offers reliable 24-hour service at its many area locations, for a fee. The Broward County Library has free Internet service at most of its branches, including the main branch downtown. The Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport offers free Wi-Fi. Hollywood has a free wireless downtown "Hot Zone" between Young's Circle and 21st Avenue. A few of the cafes along Fort Lauderdale's North Federal Highway, as well as numerous Starbucks locations around the city, offer free Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is available in most hotels. Charges depend on the hotel. Generally, the less expensive hotels have a computer that's free for guests' use, and more upscale accommodations have a business center that charges for Internet service, faxing and printing. Mail & Package Services Complete postal service and stamps are available at Fort Lauderdale's Main Post Office, located at 1900 W. Oakland Park Blvd. Phone 954-765-5720. Toll-free 800-275-8777. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm, Saturday 9 am-noon. Another convenient location for tourists is at 1404 E. Las Olas Blvd. Open Monday-Friday 9:30 am-5 pm. UPS stores will also mail packages with little wait time. There are several locations in Fort Lauderdale. Newspapers & Magazines The Miami Herald covers the Fort Lauderdale area, but the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is the main local daily newspaper for Broward County. It has a comprehensive entertainment section in its Friday "Showtime" edition. City Link and New Times Broward-Palm Beach are free weekly alternative papers available at most street corners. They have interesting features, restaurant listings, and cultural and entertainment event listings for South Florida. City and Shore and Las Olas lifestyle magazines offer a glossy look at the region. Broward Daily Business Review " Facts DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL keeps an eye on local business, and La Soleil de la Floride is a French-language weekly (monthly in the summer) written for the large contingent of Canadians from Quebec who visit Florida in the winter. Travelhost Fort Lauderdale is a free magazine that offers tourist information on activities and restaurants in the area. Transportation If you will be spending more than a day in the Fort Lauderdale area, we recommend a rental car. A scenic way to get around while you're sightseeing, however, is by water taxi. Water Taxi of Fort Lauderdale operates a fleet of boats that travel the Intracoastal Waterway between Port Everglades and Commercial Boulevard and travel up the New River to downtown Fort Lauderdale. They stop within walking distance of many attractions and restaurants. An all-day pass is US$16 adults. http://www.broward.org/bct. Air Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is about 2 mi/3 km southwest of Port Everglades. It has been expanded with more than 30 additional gates and 12,000 parking spaces. Phone 954-359-6100. http://www.fortlauderdaleinternationalairport.com. Work is under way to replace the curbside canopy system with a new hurricane-resistant structure. The construction consists of the removal of the existing structural supports between Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the assembly of fabricated steel structures within the same areas. This will restrict the flow of traffic on the departures (upper) level of the airport. The awning structures will provide shade from the elements for people using sidewalks or waiting for their ride. It is expected to be completed in March 2015. A US$826 million, 8,000-ft/2,440-m south runway opened in September 2014. The airport has two parallel runways, to accommodate hundreds more flights a year and is expected to cut down on traveler delays. Allow extra time in getting to and from the airport as construction continues. Connecting Transportation Best way: We recommend securing a rental car if you plan to do much sightseeing in the area. Several major agencies have offices at the airport's Rental Car Center in Terminal 1. Other options: Taxis are plentiful at the airport and will take you downtown or to the port for US$20-$25 for as many as four people. There are complimentary shuttles to many area hotels. For a 30-minute wait, Go Airport Shuttle offers shared rides in a van or limo for a fraction of the price of a taxi. Phone 954-561-8888. Toll-free 800-231-2222. http://www.floridalimo.com. Super Shuttle is a reliable shuttle service that picks up and delivers passengers to airports and hotels. Shuttles have room for luggage, and transportation can be booked in advance online, at the airport or at your hotel. The cost varies depending on zip code. Fares range US$15-$30 per passenger. Phone 954-630-1351. http://www.supershuttle.com. Bus Greyhound "! Facts Greyhound Intercity buses connect Fort Lauderdale to cities all over the country. 515 N.E. Third St., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-764-6551. http://www.greyhound.com. DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Address 515 N.E. Third St. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-764-6551 Car Rental cars are available at the airport and in many outlying areas of the city, as well as downtown. There are advantages to booking with a major rental car company such as Avis, Dollar, Enterprise or Hertz, as these agencies have the ability to repair and exchange vehicles quickly, often in less than an hour. The use of cell phones has expedited past problems. However, smaller companies such as Advantage and American lack the resources and abundant locations needed to quickly repair or exchange a vehicle in the event of an accident or serious mechanical malfunction. Major credit cards are accepted at all key rental car companies, and debit cards have become popular, though large temporary withdrawals are common practice when using a debit card. The legal age to drive in Florida is 16, but most rental car companies require all drivers to be 25 years of age or older to rent a vehicle. There is, of course, an industry-wide loop hole; by paying an additional US$15-$25 per day, the minimum age requirement drops to 20. Plan on paying US$20-$100 per day, depending on the vehicle (rates are typically higher November-May). Driving in Broward County is fairly easy. Signs on the main roads direct drivers to major attractions. Cell phone use while driving is still legal. Interstates 95 and 595 are the main arteries through Fort Lauderdale. Along the ocean, the main road is State Road A1A. In the western suburbs the main drag is University Drive. Heed speed limits. Traffic is heavy during morning and evening rush hours, but off-peak hours aren't too bad. Parking is difficult in downtown Fort Lauderdale. A parking garage is your best bet. Classic Car Rentals For a fun day in Fort Lauderdale, this car rental agency has an inventory of classic cars from a 1972 Chevelle convertible to a 1961 Rolls Royce. Monday-Friday 10 am-6 pm, Saturday and Sunday by appointment. US$250 per day. For longer periods, the per-day price goes down. 2848 Stirling Road, Suite G, Fort Lauderdale. Toll-free 855-790-4903. http://www.classicdreamrides.com. Address 2848 Stirling Road, Suite G Fort Lauderdale, Florida Public Transportation The water taxi is a good way to get around, if your destination is close to the water routes. You can catch a free street trolley to travel between attractions in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Bike sharing and county buses are other good options. Broward B-Cycle This bike-sharing system allows people to check out a bicycle at a public bike station for a small fee and return it to another station when done. Phone 754-200-5672. https://broward.bcycle.com. Address Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 754-200-5672 "" Facts DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Broward County Transit County buses that run along the streets are slow and have little room for luggage. There are 40 routes. See the website for bus schedules and route maps. One-way bus fare is US$1.75. All-day pass is US$4. Phone 954-357-8400. http://www.broward.org/BCT/Pages/default.aspx. Sun Trolley This service offers routes along the beach, downtown, the Riverfront Complex and Las Olas, and to the Coral Ridge Mall: Just flag down the yellow-and-red trolleys. Fares range US$0.25-$0.50. 290 N.E. Third Ave. (operations office), Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-761-3543. http://www.suntrolley.com. Address Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-357-8400 Address 290 N.E. Third Ave. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-761-3543 Water Taxi of Fort Lauderdale Escape traffic, and take a boat instead. Canopied water buses crisscross Address miles/kilometers of the Intracoastal Waterway and canals in and around 651 Seabreeze Blvd. downtown Fort Lauderdale and between 17th Street to the south and Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Oakland Park Boulevard to the north. Eleven pickup points include Phone waterfront restaurants, marinas, beaches, shopping malls and the Arts and 954-467-6677 Entertainment District. There is also an extension route (three additional stops) that takes riders to nearby Hollywood. The service can be used in conjunction with county buses, though it's best just for sightseeing. Daily 10:30 am-midnight. US$26 adults, US$12 children (all-day pass). Family passes, evening rates and multiday passes also are available. 651 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-467-6677. http://www.watertaxi.com. Taxi Address Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-923-9999 Friendly Checker Cab Operates 24 hours daily. Phone 954-923-9999. Yellow Cab Yellow Cab accepts major credits cards. Reservations are available. Phone 954-565-5400. Address Fort Lauderdale, Florida Phone 954-565-5400 " Facts DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Train Amtrak Operates out of the main train station in Fort Lauderdale. 200 S.W. 21st Terrace, Fort Lauderdale. Toll-free 800-872-7245. http://www.amtrak.com. Address 200 S.W. 21st Terrace Fort Lauderdale, Florida Tri-Rail South Florida's 72-mi/116-km commuter rail system, Tri-Rail (which Address parallels Interstate 95), connects coastal cities from Palm Beach in the 200 S.W. 21st Terrace north to Miami in the south. However, connecting bus service to Tri-Rail Fort Lauderdale, Florida stations is poor. There are also steps to climb in some of the stations, making them less than ideal for handicapped travelers. Purchase tickets at any station before boarding the train. Daily service 6 am-noon and 2-10 pm (depending on which direction you're headed). Round-trip tickets US$2.50-$11.55. 200 S.W. 21st Terrace, Fort Lauderdale. Toll-free 800-874-7245. http://www.tri-rail.com. Convention & Visitors Bureau Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau You'll find friendly staffers with plenty of information about the city and its attractions. The office is located in downtown Fort Lauderdale near the main library. Open Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5 pm. 100 E. Broward Blvd., Suite 200, Fort Lauderdale. Phone 954-765-4466. Toll-free 800-227-8669. http://www.sunny.org. Address 100 E. Broward Blvd., Suite 200 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Phone 954-765-4466 " Events DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Calendar With its waterfront festivals, parades and boat shows, Fort Lauderdale exudes a fun-loving, beach-town atmosphere, but it also offers events ranging from contemporary-art exhibits to horse races and hockey games. At the heart of the city's cultural life is the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, which plays host to operas, ballets, theater productions, symphony concerts and other performances by both local and touring companies. Besides assorted arts and food festivals, annual events include the Winterfest Boat Parade in December, and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, which screens selected new movies in October and November. For detailed information about upcoming events in the Fort Lauderdale area, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. Phone 954-765-4466. Toll-free 800-227-8669. http://www.sunny.org. To call any of the phone numbers listed in this calendar from outside the U.S. or Canada, you must first dial your country's international access code, followed by the U.S. country code, 1. Information in this calendar is subject to change and should be confirmed. October Early-Late October—Musical The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Series brings numerous hit shows to town. Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 954-764-0700, or toll-free 800-764-0700. http://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Continues through mid May 2016 Early-Late October—NHL Hockey The Florida Panthers take to the ice for regular-season home games at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway. For information, call 954-835-7000. For tickets, call 954-835-7825. http://panthers.nhl.com. Season continues through mid April 2016 Mid-Late October—Concert The Symphony of the Americas performs at Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 954-335-7002. http://www.symphonyoftheamericas.org. Continues through mid April 2016 4 Oct—Concert Sunday Jazz Brunch presents free jazz concerts, along with arts-and-crafts and green markets, at Fort Lauderdale's historic Riverwalk. 300 S. First Ave. For information, call 954-828-5363. http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/special-events/jazzbrunch. 24-26 Oct—Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Craft Festival This free weekend festival features more than 100 crafters displaying and selling their work in an outdoor gallery. 4400 N Ocean Drive, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. http://artfestival.com/Festivals/Lauderdale_by_the_Sea_October_Craft_Festival_Florida.ASPX. Throughout October—Marando Farms Farmers Market Takes place downtown Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 10 am-5 pm; Friday 10 am-6 pm; Saturday and Sunday 9 am-5 pm. Conventional and organic produce is sold by local vendors. 1401 S.W. First Ave. Phone 954-294-2331. http://www.marandofarms.com. November Early-Late November—Dance The Miami City Ballet performs regularly during its South Florida Repertory Season at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 305-929-7010, or toll-free 877-929-7010. http://www.miamicityballet.org. Continues through mid March 2016 1 Nov—Concert Sunday Jazz Brunch presents free jazz concerts, along with arts-and-crafts and green markets, at Fort Lauderdale's historic Riverwalk. 300 S. First Ave. For information, call 954-828-5363. http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/special-events/jazzbrunch. 5-9 Nov—Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show Billed as the world's premier venue for superyachts, this event is held in six locations and features US$1 billion worth of yachts and boating accessories. Various venues "# Events DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL throughout the Fort Lauderdale area. For information, call 954-764-7642, or toll-free 800-940-7642. http://www.showmanagement.com. 6-22 Nov—Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival This annual film festival premieres more than 175 cutting-edge independent and international films from approximately 35 countries. Parker Playhouse, 708 N.E. Eighth St., and Cinema Paradiso, 503 S.E. Sixth St. For information, call 954-760-9898. http://www.fliff.com. 26 Nov—Thanksgiving Public holiday. Late November—Opera The Florida Grand Opera performs classic operas at Au-Rene Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 305-854-1643. For tickets, call toll-free 800-741-1010. http://www.fgo.org. Continues through early May 2016 Late November—Broward County Fair The Broward County Fair is a celebration of local agriculture and education. Plenty of fun rides, food and shows for all ages. http://browardfair.org. Throughout November—Concert The Symphony of the Americas performs at Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 954-335-7002. http://www.symphonyoftheamericas.org. Continues through mid April 2016 Throughout November—Musical The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Series brings numerous hit shows to town. Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 954-764-0700, or toll-free 800-764-0700. http://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Continues through mid May 2016 Throughout November—NHL Hockey The Florida Panthers take to the ice for regular-season home games at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway. For information, call 954-835-7000. For tickets, call 954-835-7825. http://panthers.nhl.com. Season continues through mid April 2016 Throughout November—Marando Farms Farmers Market Takes place downtown Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 10 am-5 pm; Friday 10 am-6 pm; Saturday and Sunday 9 am-5 pm. Conventional and organic produce is sold by local vendors. 1401 S.W. First Ave. Phone 954-294-2331. http://www.marandofarms.com. December Early December—Christmas on Las Olas Thousands of spectators gather at Las Olas to celebrate the start to the holiday season. Local musical groups perform from three stages, and this event presents a rare chance to ice skate and sled in Florida. http://www.lasolasboulevard.com/christmas-on-las-olas. Early-Late December—Greyhound Racing Hollywood Greyhound Track hosts dog races Thursday-Monday. 831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach (near Hollywood). Phone 954-924-3200. http://www.mardigrascasinofl.com. Continues through late May 2016 Mid December—Winterfest More than 850,000 people celebrate the holiday season with arts-and-crafts fairs and one of the world's largest free beach parties. The highlight is a parade—ranked among the top 20 in the world—of more than 100 elaborately decorated boats down the Intracoastal Waterway. For information and tickets, call 954-767-0686. http://www.winterfestparade.com. 6 Dec—Concert Sunday Jazz Brunch presents free jazz concerts, along with arts-and-crafts and green markets, at Fort Lauderdale's historic Riverwalk. 300 S. First Ave. For information, call 954-828-5363. http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/special-events/jazzbrunch. 25 Dec—Christmas Public holiday. Throughout December—Opera The Florida Grand Opera performs classic operas at Au-Rene Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 305-854-1643. For tickets, call toll-free 800-741-1010. http://www.fgo.org. Continues through early May 2016 Throughout December—Marando Farms Farmers Market Takes place downtown Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 10 am-5 pm; Friday 10 am-6 pm; Saturday and Sunday 9 am-5 pm. Conventional and organic produce "$ Events DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL is sold by local vendors. 1401 S.W. First Ave. Phone 954-294-2331. http://www.marandofarms.com. Throughout December—Concert The Symphony of the Americas performs at Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 954-335-7002. http://www.symphonyoftheamericas.org. Continues through mid April 2016 Throughout December—Musical The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Series brings numerous hit shows to town. Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 954-764-0700, or toll-free 800-764-0700. http://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Continues through mid May 2016 Throughout December—Dance The Miami City Ballet performs regularly during its South Florida Repertory Season at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 305-929-7010, or toll-free 877-929-7010. http://www.miamicityballet.org. Continues through mid March 2016 Throughout December—NHL Hockey The Florida Panthers take to the ice for regular-season home games at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway. For information, call 954-835-7000. For tickets, call 954-835-7825. http://panthers.nhl.com. Season continues through mid April 2016 January 1 Jan—New Year's Day Public holiday. 3 Jan—Concert Sunday Jazz Brunch presents free jazz concerts, along with arts-and-crafts and green markets, at Fort Lauderdale's historic Riverwalk. 300 S. First Ave. For information, call 954-828-5363. http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/special-events/jazzbrunch. 18 Jan—Martin Luther King Jr. Day Public holiday. Throughout January—Greyhound Racing Hollywood Greyhound Track hosts dog races Thursday-Monday. 831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach (near Hollywood). Phone 954-924-3200. http://www.mardigrascasinofl.com. Continues through late May Throughout January—NHL Hockey The Florida Panthers take to the ice for regular-season home games at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway. For information, call 954-835-7000. For tickets, call 954-835-7825. http://panthers.nhl.com. Season continues through mid April Throughout January—Concert The Symphony of the Americas performs at Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 954-335-7002. http://www.symphonyoftheamericas.org. Continues through mid April Throughout January—Opera The Florida Grand Opera performs classic operas at Au-Rene Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 305-854-1643. For tickets, call toll-free 800-741-1010. http://www.fgo.org. Continues through early May Throughout January—Musical The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Series brings numerous hit shows to town. Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 954-764-0700, or toll-free 800-764-0700. http://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Continues through mid May Throughout January—Dance The Miami City Ballet performs regularly during its South Florida Repertory Season at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 305-929-7010, or toll-free 877-929-7010. http://www.miamicityballet.org. Continues through mid March February 7 Feb—Concert Sunday Jazz Brunch presents free jazz concerts, along with arts-and-crafts and green markets, at Fort Lauderdale's historic Riverwalk. 300 S. First Ave. For information, call 954-828-5363. http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/special-events/jazzbrunch. "% Events DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL 15 Feb—Presidents Day Public holiday. Throughout February—Greyhound Racing Hollywood Greyhound Track hosts dog races Thursday-Monday. 831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach (near Hollywood). Phone 954-924-3200. http://www.mardigrascasinofl.com. Continues through late May Throughout February—Concert The Symphony of the Americas performs at Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 954-335-7002. http://www.symphonyoftheamericas.org. Continues through mid April Throughout February—Musical The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Series brings numerous hit shows to town. Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 954-764-0700, or toll-free 800-764-0700. http://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Continues through mid May Throughout February—Dance The Miami City Ballet performs regularly during its South Florida Repertory Season at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 305-929-7010, or toll-free 877-929-7010. http://www.miamicityballet.org. Continues through mid March Throughout February—Opera The Florida Grand Opera performs classic operas at Au-Rene Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 305-854-1643. For tickets, call toll-free 800-741-1010. http://www.fgo.org. Continues through early May Throughout February—NHL Hockey The Florida Panthers take to the ice for regular-season home games at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway. For information, call 954-835-7000. For tickets, call 954-835-7825. http://panthers.nhl.com. Season continues through mid April March Early-Mid March—Dance The Miami City Ballet performs regularly during its South Florida Repertory Season at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 305-929-7010, or toll-free 877-929-7010. http://www.miamicityballet.org. Concludes mid March 25 Mar—Good Friday Public holiday. Throughout March—Opera The Florida Grand Opera performs classic operas at Au-Rene Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 305-854-1643. For tickets, call toll-free 800-741-1010. http://www.fgo.org. Continues through early May Throughout March—Concert The Symphony of the Americas performs at Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 954-335-7002. http://www.symphonyoftheamericas.org. Continues through mid April Throughout March—Musical The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Series brings numerous hit shows to town. Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 954-764-0700, or toll-free 800-764-0700. http://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Continues through mid May Throughout March—Greyhound Racing Hollywood Greyhound Track hosts dog races Thursday-Monday. 831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach (near Hollywood). Phone 954-924-3200. http://www.mardigrascasinofl.com. Continues through late May Throughout March—NHL Hockey The Florida Panthers take to the ice for regular-season home games at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway. For information, call 954-835-7000. For tickets, call 954-835-7825. http://panthers.nhl.com. Season continues through mid April April Early-Mid April—NHL Hockey The Florida Panthers take to the ice for regular-season home games at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway. For information, call 954-835-7000. For tickets, call 954-835-7825. Events DESTINATION GUIDE FORT LAUDERDALE, FL http://panthers.nhl.com. Season concludes mid April Early-Mid April—Concert The Symphony of the Americas performs at Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 954-335-7002. http://www.symphonyoftheamericas.org. Concludes mid April Throughout April—Greyhound Racing Hollywood Greyhound Track hosts dog races Thursday-Monday. 831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach (near Hollywood). Phone 954-924-3200. http://www.mardigrascasinofl.com. Continues through late May Throughout April—Musical The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Series brings numerous hit shows to town. Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 954-764-0700, or toll-free 800-764-0700. http://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Continues through mid May Throughout April—Opera The Florida Grand Opera performs classic operas at Au-Rene Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 305-854-1643. For tickets, call toll-free 800-741-1010. http://www.fgo.org. Continues through early May May Early May—Opera The Florida Grand Opera performs classic operas at Au-Rene Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information, call 305-854-1643. For tickets, call toll-free 800-741-1010. http://www.fgo.org. Concludes early May Early-Mid May—Musical The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Series brings numerous hit shows to town. Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave. For information and tickets, call 954-764-0700, or toll-free 800-764-0700. http://www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Concludes mid May 30 May—Memorial Day Public holiday. Throughout May—Greyhound Racing Hollywood Greyhound Track hosts dog races Thursday-Monday. 831 N. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach (near Hollywood). Phone 954-924-3200. http://www.mardigrascasinofl.com. Concludes late May July 4 Jul—Independence Day Public holiday. Free twilight concert and fireworks display on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Phone 954-828-5363. September 5 Sep—Labor Day Public holiday. DESTINATION GUIDE Limon, Costa Rica Overview DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA INTRODUCTION Once an important banana port on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, Puerto Limon is better known today as a good jumping-off point for visitors headed to Cahuita and Tortuguero national parks, or the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. The city is also sometimes called simply "Limon" by locals, although that is also the name of the province. Puerto Limon, which is about 100 mi/160 km east of San Jose, is also a popular stop for cruise ships. Unfortunately, there really isn't much to see or do in Puerto Limon itself—unless you are there for the huge Columbus Day Carnival in October. This may soon change, however, as a major restoration project is under way in Puerto Limon to refurbish cultural buildings and improve infrastructure, including the Museo Regional de la Provincia de Puerto Limon, which used to reside in the colonial-era post office. Puerto Limon also hosted the XII Festival Internacional de las Artes in March 2010. Bringing further recognition to this oft-forgotten city, the Transat Jacques Vabre sailboat race finished in Puerto Limon in 2009, and the city is expected to continue hosting this event. An environmental impact study to expand Puerto Limon has also been approved, and investors are bidding on the project. MUST SEE OR DO Sights—Exploring the Mercado Central (Central Market); relaxing at Playa Bonita; a boat trip up the Tortuguero Canal; snorkeling at Cahuita; viewing wildlife at Tortuguero National Park. Memorable Meals—The bargain-priced buffet at Just Wright Place Restaurant in Puerto Limon; top-notch service and an international menu at Park Hotel Restaurant; fish seviche at Ceviche San Andres; jerk chicken at Jammin' Restaurant in Puerto Viejo; tenderloin steak in coconut sauce at Coral Reef Restaurant in Cahuita; authentic Caribbean cuisine at Maxi Restaurant and Bar in Manzanillo; watching the waves crash at Sobre Las Olas Restaurant at Playa Negra. Late Night—Chilling with killer tropical cocktails at the bars in Cahuita, Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo; grooving to calypso during the city's annual Carnival. Walks—Hiking the wilderness trails in Cahuita National Park; trekking in the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. Especially for Kids—An evening turtle-watching excursion at Tortuguero National Park; viewing sloths up close at Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge; butterflies, snakes and frogs at the Veragua Rainforest Research and Adventure Park. GEOGRAPHY Puerto Limon occupies a small bay surrounded on the north and west sides by low hills. It is open to the south, and for many miles/kilometers beyond is a marshy, mangrove-lined coastal plain. A small, craggy island—Isla Uvita—sits in the bay. In 1991, the shore upon which Puerto Limon sits was heaved upward as much as 6.5 ft/2 m in places by an earthquake, and the seafront boulevard (which once overlooked a small beach) today overlooks a high-and-dry coral reef. The rocky, indentured shoreline north of town is backed by thickly forested hills. Two beaches—Playa Bonita and Playa Portete—draw locals on weekends. Playa Bonita is by far the prettiest. Tucked between forested headlands, it has a coral reef offshore, and the tubular waves that wash ashore draw surfers. ! Overview DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA HISTORY Limon Bay has a unique spot in Costa Rica's history. It was there that Christopher Columbus first stepped ashore on the region's Caribbean shores in 1502 during his fourth and last voyage to the New World. The Genoese explorer anchored off Isla Uvita and called the region La Huerta (The Garden). Spanish conquistadores soon decimated the local population (many native people were enslaved to work in gold mines elsewhere in Central America), although that part of the coast was never really settled to any degree. Pirates were a constant scourge along the coast. Many operated as loggers and smugglers—they also introduced the first African slaves to the region—and allied with coastal natives against the Spanish. Cacao was introduced in the 17th century, and for the next two centuries was the region's major export. In the latter part of the 19th century, Jamaican laborers were imported to work alongside Chinese indentured laborers building the Atlantic Railroad (completed in 1880), linking the then-minor port town of Puerto Limon to San Jose. Many stayed to infuse the coast with distinctive Caribbean island cultural traits. The railroad's developer, Minor Keith, negotiated a huge land grant as part of the railroad deal and introduced bananas to the Caribbean lowlands. The industry thrived until disease struck in the 1930s. In 1979, the cacao industry was effectively destroyed by Monilia fungus. The desultory port town limped along and was dealt another blow in 1991 when a severe earthquake destroyed many buildings, including the city's major hotel. Since then, a remarkable recovery and development has taken place, assisted by a regional tourism boom and major investments in a cruise terminal. PLANNING Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, does not offer many sights and activities for tourists; it is the country's main trading port. However, the central market features hammocks and crafts, and the craft stalls in the cruise-ship port sell some souvenirs. The nearby towns of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo also sell local arts and crafts. Puerto Limon visitors can spy wildlife on a Tortugero Canal boat cruise or in Tortugero National Park. Rafting enthusiasts should hit Reventazon River. Other popular activities include surfing, hiking and game-fishing. For travelers on Costa Rica vacations who visit this Caribbean shore town, Professional Travel Guide helps find the best sights, shopping and recreation in Puerto Limon. POTPOURRI Manatees inhabit the waters of wetland systems along the shore. These marine mammals spend most of their time submerged and thrive on munching water hyacinths. To spot them, look for bubbles erupting at the surface—the result of flatulence. Sloths can often be seen in the trees around Puerto Limon and even crawling along telegraph wires. Many of the sloths at the Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge center have been electrocuted while crawling along the wires. Many black costenos (coast-dwellers) speak a lilting patois—part English, part Spanish, part Creole—that can dumbfound visitors. Iguanas are called "tree chickens" by campesinos (farmers), who eat them. Other Costa Ricans consider the giant lizards to be a "poor-man's food." Because hard currency was scarce in colonial times, cacao beans were sometimes used as currency. Since the Caribbean coast is relatively straight, there are no marinas on that side of Costa Rica because there are no bays or harbors for shelter. Banana and pineapple plantations predominate in the area in and around Limon Province. Banana plantations enfold the maturing stalks of bananas in blue plastic bags to ensure that they arrive in supermarkets in pristine " Overview DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA condition. When driving past a banana plantation at certain times of the season, all the banana trees appear to have giant blue blossoms hanging from them. The idea to export bananas from Central America originated when U.S. railroad entrepreneur Henry Meiggs traveled to Costa Rica to build a route from San Jose to Limon. Upon Meiggs' death, his nephew Minor Keith took over and started planting bananas to feed the workers. When the railroad was finished, he began exporting the crop, which later gave birth to the United Fruit Co. Around 80% of all goods imported and exported in Costa Rica pass through Moin port. LOCATION Cruise ships stopping on the Caribbean coast usually dock at Puerto Limon, which is the major port city and transportation hub of Costa Rica's east coast. The cruise terminal opens directly onto the main square in town—Parque Vargas. The terminal has its own crafts market with more than 100 artists, telephones, a pharmacy, and salons offering manicures, pedicures and massages when a cruise ship is in port. The main open-air market used by locals is just a two-block walk from the terminal. Taxis are available both inside and outside the terminal gates, though it's best to take the ones inside as they have been approved by the port authority. Internet access is not available at the terminal, but there is an Internet cafe next door to Brisas del Mar Restaurant in Parque Vargas. Future plans for the terminal include a clothing store, a snack shop and a post office. For up-to-date information, contact the Unidad de Cruceros. Phone 2758-3529. Many cargo ships (including those that carry paying passengers) sometimes bypass the city in favor of Moin, a dock about 4 mi/6 km northwest of Puerto Limon. Moin is little more than a pier where passengers disembark for tours and shore excursions, although private boats depart from there to Tortuguero. (The pier also serves the nearby banana plantations and oil refinery.) Neither Puerto Limon nor Moin has a tourist information booth. SHORE EXCURSIONS Cruise ship passengers can choose from at least two dozen or so exciting shore excursions. The most popular offerings include nature excursions to Tortuguero National Park, Cahuita National Park, tours of the Costa Flores horticultural farm, a ride on the Rain Forest Aerial Tram, a Limon city tour and white-water rafting on the Reventazon River. Most cruise passengers take ship-sponsored shore excursions because local transportation is limited. The bus system is not dependable, and rental cars aren't readily available. But it is possible to fashion your own itinerary to nearby parks and preserves. The best way (especially if you're a serious birder or hiker) is to make arrangements in advance with one of Costa Rica's nature-tour companies. Most will arrange for a guide to meet you at the dock. Costa Rica Expeditions (phone 2257-1665; http://www.costaricaexpeditions.com) or Expediciones Tropicales (phone 2257-4141; http://www.expedicionestropicales.com) are recommended. With some planning, it's possible to see gorgeous beaches, jungles, mountains, rivers and volcanoes all in the same day. Local tour operators offering a variety of activities also set up stands inside the terminal gates. Another option is to take one of the authorized taxis that depart from inside the terminal gates. (If you decide to take a taxi outside the gates, look for red taxis with a yellow triangle on the side doors.) For short trips, it is best to ask drivers to use the meter. Fares for longer trips can sometimes be negotiated. Many drivers speak some English. Tipping is not expected, but you might add a little extra for good service. Several short trips are possible from Puerto Limon and Moin. Just north of the ports are the Tortuguero canals. A boat is the best way to explore this swampy terrain, and most depart from the Moin pier. Cahuita National Park, about an hour's drive south of Puerto Limon, can also be visited easily by taxi from either port. The park contains the only mature coral reef on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, and the adjacent village of Cahuita is filled with colorful Caribbean charm, as well as small cafes, excellent restaurants and good shopping. A taxi from the port to the park or village should cost about 24,000 CRC each way. Overview DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA Just north of Cahuita (about a 18,700 CRC taxi ride each way from the port) is Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Refuge, offering opportunities to see sloths and other creatures, including a bird-filled lagoon. Guided tours—and their prices—vary from cruise line to cruise line. Book early because some fill up fast. Some include lunch and drinks, and the number of stops varies, so the final price may vary significantly. (Fees for children range from half-price to full price.) Check with your ship's shore-excursion staff or your travel agent for additional information. See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA SIGHTSEEING Puerto Limon is a fairly tranquil city, notwithstanding its importance as the country's main trading port. The main highway into the city is chock-full of large container trucks heading to and from the docks, and extreme caution is required while driving the highway. Large container-storage farms dominate the scenery on the drive into this port city. The highway between San Jose and Limon washes out on occasion, so check conditions before taking to the road. The old highway through Turrialba is a scenic alternative. The city itself, however, is relatively calm. Life centers around the Mercado Central, or Central Market (Avenidas 2/3 and Calles 3/4). Leafy Parque Vargas has a bust of Christopher Columbus and an interesting, albeit much aged, mural profiling the region's history. The town hall (on the park's north side), the recently restored Galeria Cristal and the Black Star Line are structures of note in the city. The colonial-era post office, home of the Museo Regional de la Provincia de Puerto Limon, is also being restored. It's best to take a city tour to soak up Limon's nostalgic feel. If you have time, Puerto Limon's real pleasure lies in wandering the back streets lined with colorful timber homes in typical Caribbean style. AMUSEMENT PARKS Veragua Rainforest Research and Adventure Park This attractions is both an educational center where you can observe biologists at work and a theme park complete with an aerial tram ride. The park offers a special "shore excursion" for cruise visitors on a tight schedule. Brisas de Veragua (off Highway 32, a short drive west of Limon), Limon. Phone 4000-0949. http://www.veraguarainforest.com. Address Brisas de Veragua Limon, Costa Rica Phone 4000-0949 ZOOS & WILDLIFE Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary This private reserve contains cages full of sloths and other creatures, plus a lagoon filled with kingfishers, egrets and herons. The guided tour includes a canoe ride through the Estrella River Delta. Tuesday-Sunday 8 am-2 pm. 13,400 CRC adults. Off Highway 36, Cahuita. Phone 2-750-0775. http://www.slothsanctuary.com. Address Off Highway 36 Cahuita, Costa Rica Phone 2-750-0775 OTHER OPTIONS Jungle Breeze This facility offers guided walking tours, horseback riding, canopy tours, a zipline and a heliconia garden. Reservations recommended but not required. Admission to the grounds is 10,700 CRC adults, 8,000 CRC children. Prices for tour packages vary. Phone 8854-8301. http://www.junglebreeze.com. Address Limon, Costa Rica Phone 8854-8301 # See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA RECREATION Near the port, there is surfing at Playa Bonita, and a few companies organize a city tour of Puerto Limon. However, most tourist activities are in the surrounding areas. Appealing ventures for those keen on being immersed in the natural environment include a boat trip up the Tortuguero Canal toward Tortuguero National Park, visiting Cahuita National Park and hiking in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. North of Tortuguero, Barra del Colorado is a prime locale for game fishing (tarpon and snook are the feisty prizes). One-, two- and three-day white-water trips on the Reventazon River prove thrilling. Hikers can follow coastal trails through Cahuita National Park (teeming with wildlife), the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge to spot leatherback turtles, or the more rugged, lonesome and demanding Hitoy-Cerere National Park. Snorkeling is best along the reefs in Cahuita and Manzanillo, and scuba diving is popular in Punta Uva (south of Puerto Viejo) and Manzanillo. For scuba-diving information in the Punta Uva area, contact Punta Uva Dive Center. http://www.puntauvadivecenter.com. Dolphin-spotting trips are also offered at Manzanillo and Punta Uva. Isla Uvita, a small island off the coast near Puerto Limon, is a great place for kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling. Surfing is popular at Puerto Viejo, south of Cahuita. The famous "Salsa Brava" break is for experienced surfers, while the beach break at Playa Cocles, just to the south, is more gentle. $ See & Do: Nightlife DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA NIGHTLIFE Although a swinging nightlife is somewhat lacking in Puerto Limon itself—unless you happen to be in town for the city's huge Columbus Day Carnival celebration in October—action awaits to the south. The strong Caribbean influence and backpacker culture in Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Manzanillo produces a fun nightlife scene that includes calypso music and dancing on the beach, fueled by exotic tropical drinks. There are also more upscale options starting to appear. BARS, TAVERNS & PUBS Baba Yaga Bar Live music three nights a week. Central Puerto Viejo (one block from El Parquecito), Puerto Viejo. Phone 2388-4359. Address Central Puerto Viejo Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica Phone 2388-4359 % See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA SHOPPING The best place to shop for local artwork in Puerto Limon is the open-air Galeria Cristal, where local artists create and sell their pieces. More than 100 craft stalls can be found inside the cruise terminal when a cruise ship is in port. The central market also sells hammocks and crafts. Souvenirs La Casona, at Parque Vargas, sells T-shirts, hats and crafts from around Costa Rica (phone 2758-5752). The best choices, however, are found in Cahuita and Puerto Viejo, which have dedicated souvenir stores selling hammocks, batiks, shell and coral jewelry, and gorgeous wood carvings. Stalls line the shore in Puerto Viejo selling arts and crafts and ethnic jewelry from all over Central America. Take a stroll down the main east-west road in Puerto Viejo for higher-end arts and crafts. Info Boutique in Cahuita has a nice selection local crafts, souvenirs, and guidebooks and reading material in English. Tribal Market Art Cafe in Playa Chiquita, between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo, sells carefully chosen ethnic textiles and crafts from around the world (phone 2750-0923). Dining: Overview DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA DINING OVERVIEW Puerto Limon has several excellent bargain restaurants, although gourmands should keep their expectations in check. The Mercado Central has snack counters where you can fill up on typical local dishes for less than 3,000 CRC. Although good restaurants and swinging nightlife are somewhat lacking in Puerto Limon itself, action awaits to the south. Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Manzanillo provide strong Caribbean influence and cuisine, as well as offer surfer and backpacker culture and fun nightlife. There are also more upscale options starting to appear. The following is a sampling of restaurants in town. Expect to pay within these guidelines for a meal for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than 5,000 CRC; $$ = 5,000-10,000 CRC; $$$ = more than 10,000 CRC. LOCAL & REGIONAL Black Star Line Located in the oldest building in town—also an important venue for political meetings—this small restaurant serves spicy Caribbean cuisine. $-$$. No credit cards. Calle 5 at Avenida 5, Limon. Phone 2383-5491. Coral Reef Restaurant Delicious international and Caribbean menu, including seafood dishes. Attracts both locals and tourists. $$-$$$. Playa Grande (across from the plaza), Cahuita. Phone 755-0133. Jammin' A casual and colorful, reggae-inspired restaurant serving jerk dishes, such as Jamaican jerk chicken over brown rice. Located in Puerto Viejo. $-$$. Phone 8826-4332. Jungle Love Cafe This excellent open-air restaurant offers a fusion and Caribbean menu, while maintaining that cool Caribbean vibe. Daily except Monday for dinner only. $$. Most major credit cards. Playa Chiquita, Manzanillo. Phone 2750-0162. http://www.junglelovecafe.com. Address Calle 5 at Avenida 5 Limon, Costa Rica Phone 2383-5491 Address Playa Grande Cahuita, Costa Rica Phone 755-0133 Address Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica Phone 8826-4332 Address Playa Chiquita Manzanillo, Costa Rica Phone 2750-0162 Just Wright Place Dining: Overview Just Wright Place Authentic Caribbean cuisine served buffet style. Credit cards accepted. Avenida 6 at Calle 4, Limon. Phone 2758-8489 or 8312-2669. Loco Natural Exotic tropical cuisine. Daily for dinner. $-$$. Most major credit cards. South of Puerto Viejo, toward Cocles, Puerto Viejo. Phone 2750-0530. Park Hotel Restaurant A national and international menu is served in this air-conditioned restaurant. $$. Credit cards accepted. Avenida 3 (between calles 1 and 3), Limon. Phone 2758-0555 or 2758-3476. Restaurante Brisas del Caribe This restaurant features an economical lunchtime buffet and a full bar. Though showing signs of age, this popular, open-air venue facing Parque Vargas is a nice place to enjoy a happy-hour cocktail. $. Most major credit cards. North side of Parque Vargas, Limon. Phone 2758-0138. Restaurante La Lechuza This air-conditioned restaurant serves a national and international menu. Open Monday-Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sunday for breakfast and lunch. $$. Credit cards accepted. Avenida 3 at Calle 3, Limon. Phone 2758-1010. DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA Address Avenida 6 at Calle 4 Limon, Costa Rica Phone 2758-8489 Address South of Puerto Viejo, toward Cocles Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica Phone 2750-0530 Address Avenida 3 Limon, Costa Rica Phone 2758-0555 Address North side of Parque Vargas Limon, Costa Rica Phone 2758-0138 Address Avenida 3 at Calle 3 Limon, Costa Rica Phone 2758-1010 Security DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA PERSONAL SAFETY Downtown Puerto Limon is not particularly appealing to visitors. Except for a few nice parks and some monuments, there isn't much to see. We recommend avoiding the city at night unless you're in a group and/or are accompanied by a local tour guide. Caution is required while walking, as pickpockets abound. Avoid the sailors' bars near the port. Crime in Costa Rica is largely opportunistic. Don't leave your belongings unattended in stores, restaurants, on public transportation or at the beach. When hiking, it's best to leave valuables secured at the hotel, including expensive jewelry, and to take along just copies of your passport's data page and Costa Rica entry stamp. Costa Rica is relatively safe when compared to many Latin American countries, but as everywhere, drugs are having an impact, and crimes are becoming more frequent and more violent. Just remain alert and avoid run-down or suspicious areas. Tourist police patrol around Puerto Limon, Cahuita, and between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo. Their uniforms are clearly marked with the words "Tourist Police" on the back. They can be contacted at 2286-1473. In an emergency, dial 911. Stay in groups when visiting national parks and preserves. Women should exercise extra caution and never hike isolated trails alone. The best way to see a national park in Costa Rica is with a certified local tour guide. This is not only safer, but you will also see more wildlife. Beware of dangerous riptides, which can drag you out to sea, and avoid swimming in the ocean during high surf. For the latest information, contact your country's travel-advisory agency. HEALTH Sanitary conditions and water quality in Costa Rica are better than in most other countries in Central America. Although it's safe to drink tap water in many areas, most people stick to bottled or filtered water. Hot, freshly cooked food should be safe, but it's best to peel fresh produce before eating, make sure meat is cooked thoroughly and avoid local dairy products that have not been properly refrigerated. Malaria is found along the Caribbean shore, including Tortuguero and Barra del Colorado national parks. Consult your doctor about appropriate measures, take plenty of insect repellent, and wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts at dusk and dawn. Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations also are recommended. The most serious medical problems—diarrhea, amoebic dysentery, dengue fever, malaria and typhoid—occur more frequently outside the capital but still are relatively rare. Snakes abound in Costa Rica, including 19 venomous species. Although snakebites are rare, they do occur and it is wise to always wear footwear that covers the ankles while hiking in the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge and other wilderness areas. Avoid handling leaf litter and look before placing your hand on branches or in crevices. The aggressive and potentially fatal fer-de-lance is responsible for most snakebites and deaths and should be given a very wide berth if encountered. Costa Rica generally has a strong national health care system with well-trained physicians and nurses, and the hospitals in San Jose (about 100 mi/160 km away) are good. The Tony Facio Hospital in Puerto Limon is located on the shore, north of downtown Puerto Limon, between avenidas 8 and 9. Phone 2758-2222. Most essential medicines are available, but take all prescription medicine needed for the trip. The sun can be strong, so use sunscreen liberally and wear a hat. Don't forget a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Hiking boots are best if you are venturing into the rain forest. (Take plenty of extra socks. Your feet are likely to get wet, and fresh socks help prevent blisters and infections.) DISABLED ADVISORY ! Security DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA DISABLED ADVISORY To comply with Costa Rica's Disability Discrimination Act, Puerto Limon is continually making improvements for the handicapped, but there's still a long way to go. Most sidewalks in town have ramps, although they can be bumpy in areas. Few public buildings are accessible to handicapped travelers. Very few public buses accommodate handicapped passengers; however, there are a couple of transportation options available. Taxis Alfaro has wheelchair-accessible vans (phone 2222-4136 or 2221-8466) and Transcare offers a variety of mobility services for handicapped and incapacitated visitors. Phone 2288-1769 or 8395-1071. http://www.transcarecr.com. DOS & DON'TS Do know what pura vida (pronounced POO-ra BEE-da) means. The often-heard phrase literally translates as "pure life." Costa Ricans use this to say hello and goodbye and to express general happiness. Do take time to view wildlife with an experienced naturalist guide. Opportunities abound for viewing caimans (like tiny crocodiles), monkeys, sloths, snakes, poison-dart frogs and scores of colorful birds. However, spotting them isn't always easy. A naturalist guide can easily find such creatures as well as provide fascinating information about their ecology. Don't take a flashlight when viewing nesting marine turtles by night. These endangered creatures are easily frightened off. Do observe all the rules for viewing turtles, which should be done only in the company of licensed guides. Do turn off the flash on your camera when taking pictures of wildlife. Don't swim in the ocean during high surf. Hidden riptides can sweep you out to sea. If you get caught by a riptide, try not to panic and swim parallel to the shore to escape the narrow rip channel. Trying to swim against the current will only tire you out. Don't buy drugs in Cahuita or Puerto Viejo. Many locals (especially Rastafarians) use marijuana, and drug traffickers have infiltrated the region, where cocaine is readily available. Not only is drug use illegal—plainclothes police are present—but it also undermines the integrity of local communities. Do reconfirm airline reservations out of the country. Reservations are frequently canceled (particularly during the December and January holidays) if they're not confirmed at least 72 hours in advance. Car rental reservations also may be canceled if you arrive late unless you let the rental company know that your flight is delayed. Do learn a little Spanish. Costa Ricans are warm and friendly, and they really appreciate your attempt to speak to them in their native language. Do get very specific when you ask for directions, because Costa Ricans can be a little vague in this area. They will often reference directions from a certain general location or a landmark that may no longer exist. When they say "You can't miss it," you probably will. Don't collect any plants or animals. They are considered precious resources and are protected by law. Do conserve resources. Costa Rica is very ecosensitive. Ticos, from small children to adults, practice conservation and are concerned with maintaining sustainable tourism to protect their future. " Facts DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA Geostats Passport/Visa Requirements: Canadians and citizens of the U.K. and U.S. need passports but not visas. Australians may enter with a passport only for visits up to 30 days (which may be extended locally). Proof of sufficient funds and onward passage are also required. Reconfirm travel document requirements with your carrier before departure. Population: 67,536. Languages: Spanish. Predominant Religions: Christian (Roman Catholic). Time Zone: 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-6 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed. Voltage Requirements: 110 volts. Currency Exchange Costa Rica's currency is the colon. The U.S. dollar is accepted as legal currency throughout the country. Banks in Puerto Limon can change U.S. dollars, which are also accepted by most stores and merchants. Most banks have ATMs where you can use your debit and credit cards to withdraw cash in either colons or dollars. When you pay in dollars, you will often be given change in colons. Be vigilant when using ATMs. Ideally do so in the company of a trusted friend and during daylight hours. Never change money on the street—not only is it illegal, but the chance of being ripped off is great. Traveler's checks are rarely accepted. It can also be time consuming to cash them at banks. Taxes Most tourist hotels apply a 16.8% government tax. Check to see whether this is included in quoted rates. Small budget hotels are usually excepted. Restaurants charge a 13% tax which is either included in the menu prices or added to the bill. Check the bottom of the menu to see if I.V.A. is included or not. A 10% service tax is often added to the restaurant bill. When service is added, you don't need to tip, but it's appropriate to add a bit if you feel the service was excellent. A 14,000 CRC passenger departure tax is required at the airports and is usually included in cruise fares. Tipping Most menu prices include a 13% restaurant tax and a 10% service charge. Restaurants list whether these are included or not at the bottom of the menu. Add a small tip for good service on top of the 10% service charge already added to restaurant bills. Tip tour guides but not taxi drivers, unless they provide an extra service. Facts DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA Weather Costa Rica's Caribbean coast has its own unique microclimate. Tradewinds keep the weather hot and humid most of the year, and short but heavy rainfall occurs often. What to Wear Dress in Costa Rica is conservatively casual. You'll feel comfortable during the day in casual sports clothes, but in a good restaurant at night you should adhere to local customs. In Puerto Limon, men wear collared shirts and slacks for business meetings and women wear skirts or dresses, though young adults are prone to adopt a sexier look, with skin-tight jeans de rigueur for women and a hip-hop-inspired look for young men. Away from the city, most local inhabitants are relatively poor. Men typically may wear only shorts to beat the heat, although women always dress conservatively. Bathing suits and short shorts are for the beach or river rafting and shouldn't be worn elsewhere. Hikers should wear comfortable shoes or sneakers (which will most likely get muddy) or lightweight hiking boots, along with lightweight pants and long-sleeved shirts to guard against thorns and biting insects. Take along a hat, not only as protection against the sun, but to keep leaves and other rain-forest debris out of your hair. Carry a light raincoat or poncho in wet season (and stick a couple of plastic bags in your pocket to protect your camera). We also recommend a change of socks (especially on long day tours) to prevent blisters. Neutral earth tones will help you blend in with the wilderness environment to enhance wildlife viewing. Telephone Costa Rica's phone service is very good. International calls can be made from any pay phone, which are found throughout the streets of Puerto Limon. Some pay phones accept coins, but most are now designed for use with prepaid phone cards, available at post offices and many shops. Ask for a tarjeta telefonica, which you can purchase in increments as small as 1,000 CRC. Cell phones are problematic. Costa Rica only uses a GSM signal band. If you have a quad-band phone, you will be able to pick up the GSM frequency, but roaming fees apply and can be costly. If you have a GSM phone, you can use it with a prepaid SIM card. Prepaid SIM cards can be bought at the airport and at ICE (Costa Rica's telecommunication monopoly) offices. If you intend to use your cell phone in Costa Rica, try to verify service availability with your provider and identify plans with reduced roaming charges. An alternative is to rent a cell phone, sometimes for as little as 4,300 CRC per day with a minimum contract and deposit. Cell Phones Costa Rica has a variety of rental plans, including four-day, weekly, monthly and long-term ones (phone 2293-5892; toll-free 877-268-2918; http://www.cellphonescr.com). Ace Telecom Corp. offers roaming service for as low as 10,156 CRC for two weeks (toll-free 877-223-8353; http://www.acetelecom.com). All local numbers now have eight digits, and no additional area codes are necessary. (Dial just the eight-digit local number, even if you're calling another town.) If you encounter an old seven-digit number, simply add a "2" at the beginning for a landline or an "8" for a cell number. Costa Rica's country code is 506. Dial 0 before all toll-free 800 numbers. Dial 114 for access to international direct-dial service and 116 for an English-language operator-assisted call. Dial 113 for local directory assistance, or 124 for international directory assistance. Canadians can reach a Canadian telephone operator by dialing 0-800-015-1161. Facts DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA Internet Access You shouldn't have any trouble finding an Internet cafe or other place to check your e-mail in Puerto Limon, Puerto Viejo or Cahuita. Your hotel may offer e-mail or Wi-Fi service. Internet cafes come and go at lightning speed; however, they are easy to find in most cities and small towns. One of the well-established options in Puerto Limon is Multiconnect Internet Cafe on Avenida 4, Calles 2/3 (phone 2758-1141). There are also Internet cafes next to the Brisas del Mar restaurant in Parque Vargas and in Puerto Viejo across the street from Jammin' restaurant. Mail & Package Services The main branch of the post office sells stamps and provides parcel post. Calle 4 at the corner of Avenida 2, Puerto Limon. Newspapers & Magazines The country's leading daily Spanish-language newspaper is La Nacion, which publishes a weekly entertainment section on Thursday. The weekly English-language paper, The Tico Times, comes out on Friday and does an excellent job of covering national news. Its weekend section has extensive listings on cultural events and entertainment. http://www.ticotimes.net. U.S. newspapers, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, are available at larger gift shops. Transportation Getting to Puerto Limon is relatively easy since the airport immediately south of town opened. It offers frequent links from San Jose to Puerto Limon and to destinations farther south. However, access to Tortuguero and Barra del Colorado is limited to small planes and water taxis. The town of Puerto Limon is sufficiently small that you can walk virtually everywhere, although taxis are required to get to nearby Playa Bonita. If you plan to head out of town, we recommend that you take a private or group tour from one of the companies offering trips to the country's parks and preserves, or hire a private taxi. Air Puerto Limon International Airport (LIO) is about 4 mi/7 km south of Puerto Limon. Airport facilities have been remodeled and expanded but remain fairly basic. Phone 2758-1379. Sansa Airlines operates from Juan Santamaria Airport, and Nature Air operates from Tobias Bolanos Airport, a small general-aviation airport in the suburb of Pavas, west of San Jose. Taxis are available at the airport. Public Transportation Costa Rica also has a good intercity bus system for those interested in exploring on their own. Transported MEPE # Facts DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA Costa Rica also has a good intercity bus system for those interested in exploring on their own. Transported MEPE (phone 2257-8129) buses operate four times daily from San Jose's Grand Terminal del Caribe. Additional buses pass through Puerto Limon en route to Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. Buses for San Jose depart from Calle 9, Avenida 2, in Puerto Limon. Public buses regularly head south from Avenida 4, between calles 2 and 4, toward Sixaola with stops in Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. Bus schedules are available at Costa Rica Tourism Institute offices in San Jose. Avenida 4, San Jose. Phone 2290-5800. For quick and reasonably priced transportation between hotels around Costa Rica, make reservations with Interbus. Phone 2283-5572. https://www.interbusonline.com. Taxi Within Puerto Limon, taxis provide the most reliable transportation for visitors. Make sure you only get into official taxis, which are the small red cars with a white or yellow sign and a yellow triangle on the side doors. Cruise ship visitors have access to authorized taxis that wait within the terminal gates. Illegal taxis operate throughout the country and are called pirata taxis. Sometimes prices are lower in piratas, but their service is not regulated. Cabs are commonly available and inexpensive, but make sure the meter is set when you enter the vehicle. Some drivers may claim that their meter is broken, but generally this is a scam. Nonetheless, if this happens to you, make sure to set the fare before beginning your trip—destinations within downtown should cost less than 2,225 CRC. Invariably, taxi drivers will inflate their rates for tourists—sometimes by two or three times the legal fare. Ask your cruise director or hotel concierge for the appropriate fare before hailing a cab. Drivers are usually amenable to serving as private tour guides, but settle on a price beforehand. Tourist Offices Costa Rica Tourism Institute The ICT tourism office for Limon province is located in Guapiles. It has maps and event information about Puerto Limon. Phone 2-710-7516 or 2711-0098. http://www.visitcostarica.com. Address Limon, Costa Rica Phone 2-710-7516 $ Events DESTINATION GUIDE LIMON, COSTA RICA Calendar Every August, Puerto Limon comes alive for the Black Culture Festival, which celebrates Afro-Caribbean culture with music, dance and even dominoes. Puerto Limon also hosts the nation's biggest festival—Carnival—during the week of 12 October, when Columbus Day is celebrated. This Mardi Gras-style party draws as many as 100,000 spectators for a bacchanal featuring live calypso bands, beauty contests and floats. Watch out for pickpockets and drunks. Costa Rica celebrates Independence Day with all Central American countries on 15 September. The celebrations begin on 14 September, when a freedom torch is brought from Nicaragua by Costa Rican relay runners, arriving in the old capital of Cartago in time for the singing of the National Anthem at 6 pm. This is followed by parades, marching bands and parties that continue until dawn on 15 September. All of Costa Rica also celebrates Mother's Day on 15 August, when mom is queen for the day. This special tribute to mothers is celebrated on the same day as the Virgin Mary's ascent to heaven. During Semana Santa (Holy Week), the week preceeding Easter Sunday, there are festivities and processions. Ticos flock to the beaches during this time, so plan far in advance. % DESTINATION GUIDE Colon, Panama # Overview DESTINATION GUIDE COLON, PANAMA INTRODUCTION The once-thriving city of Colon, Panama, sits 40 mi/60 km northwest of Panama City at the Caribbean entrance to the canal. It is still a major port of freighters, and a minor cruise-port stop; cruise ships berth at Colon 2000, while commercial vessels do so at Cristobal. A refurbishment program has been launched under Panama's master tourist plan, but at present, Colon is still a mostly grim place that doesn't have a lot to offer visitors—except danger. Crime is a serious problem in Colon, and it is generally advisable not to walk around on your own. Cruise passengers should opt for guided shore excursions to Portobelo and others destinations beyond the city. Colon's main attraction is Avenida Central—the twin-drag, palm-shaded main boulevard has lined its entire length with monuments and busts of key figures in Panamanian history. The Colon Free Zone, nearby, is the second-largest duty-free shopping area in the world (after Hong Kong). Visitors must show their passports to enter the walled compound. Although it is interesting to see the 94 acre/38 hectare Free Zone shopping area, it's almost exclusively for wholesale merchant shoppers. Many stores do sell merchandise at retail prices, but they will often ask for a minimum purchase or insist on selling in quantity, perhaps a half-dozen items. Some stores will allow visitors to take small purchases with them, but most items must be delivered to the airport or cruise ship upon your departure. Be sure to ask the store's policy and the Free Zone's rules before buying anything, to avoid a possible problem when leaving the zone. (Don't be surprised if gate guards do a quick search of your car or taxi.) The largest and most dazzling showrooms carrying luxury items from around the world are at Motta International. Day tours to the Free Zone are available from Panama City. http://www.colonfreezone.com. Fort San Lorenzo is spectacularly situated on a headland to the west of Colon, on the opposite side of the canal. This colonial fortress was designed to help protect Panama from pirates. Also near Colon are the Gatun Locks of the canal, where you can view the passage of ships from a spectator stand; and Lake Gatun, which was the largest man-made lake in the world when it was created in 1906-14, during canal construction. Surrounded by luxuriant rain forest, it offers fabulous wildlife viewing by boat. Bass fishing there is also world-class. LOCATION Cruise ships stopping in Colon usually utilize the pier at Colon 2000, which was built at the turn of the century to entice cruise lines to pause in Colon. The cruise-ship facilities are clean and ultramodern with excellent amenities, including posh boutiques and lounges. Colon lies in the world's largest duty-free shopping area, but it is best to do retail shopping somewhere else, such as Panama City, because most of the shops in Colon are for extreme bulk purchases. Taxis are abundant outside the port, and they are safe and regulated. Most of the drivers offer city tours. However, the city of Colon, despite the lure of the Free Trade Zone, suffers from a less-than-stellar reputation. Therefore, for safety reasons, the nearby Fort Amador terminal is overwhelmingly preferred by most passenger lines. # DESTINATION GUIDE Cartagena, Colombia # Overview DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA INTRODUCTION This Caribbean port city boasts some of the finest Spanish colonial buildings in the world and has morphed into a cosmopolitan it destination, with the requisite top-notch restaurants, hip hotels and sometimes sky-high prices to match. Cartagena (full name, Cartagena de Indias) is really a tale of two cities: an entirely walled-in, picturesque "old city" from the Spanish colonial era, when the city was one of three ports of call for the treasure fleets; and a neighboring modern beach resort that bears little resemblance to, and almost none of the charm of, its predecessor. The "new" Cartagena can be explored in an afternoon, or skipped altogether; it's the old colonial city that fascinates visitors, and with good reason. The Cartagena city walls stand as a romantic reminder of its glorious past. Las murallas, as the walls are known, were the city's main defense against pirates in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. They attest to the stubbornness and resolution that Cartagena's inhabitants exhibited in defending themselves from the assaults of countless fleets and armies, and during the wars of independence from Spain at the beginning of the 19th century. During the late-19th, 20th and 21st centuries, the city was spared from the social, political and drug-related violence that has afflicted the rest of the country. Hence, Cartagena has long been considered the safest, as well as the most attractive, of Colombian cities. The Old City's narrow cobblestoned streets are enchanting. Emerald and leather shops fill restored and brightly painted colonial buildings, whose overhanging wooden balconies are festooned with flowering plants. Ornate churches with golden altars open onto grand public squares reminiscent of European capitals. And if you climb las murallas, you'll be treated to wonderful views of the city's famous harbor. You can also glimpse the high-rise hotels and condominiums of Bocagrande. Cartagena is Colombia's No. 1 tourist destination and attracts a diverse group of international travelers, especially conference and convention types, and many others arrive by cruise ship. Cartagena is also a popular vacation destination for middle-class and wealthy Colombians. MUST SEE OR DO Sights—Sunset at Bocagrande; a magnificent view of the Caribbean Sea and the city from the Convent of La Popa; the Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas; bones of the New World's first saint at Church of San Pedro Claver; underwater experiences at the Rosario Islands; Plaza de Bolivar; Plaza de Santo Domingo, with its reclining nude statue by Fernando Botero; Plaza de los Coches. Museums—The Inquisition's instruments at Palacio de La Inquisicion; pre-Columbian gold artifacts at Museo del Oro Zenu; the Caribbean's fiery naval history at Museo Naval del Caribe; Latin American modern art at Museo de Arte Moderno. Memorable Meals—Unique dishes at El Santisimo; pargo frito by the seashore at Kiosko El Bony; local cuisine at La Olla Cartagenera; seafood with a nice view at Club de Pesca. Late Night—Dancing aboard a rumba chiva; tabletop dancing at Mr. Babilla; drinks on top of the walls at Cafe del Mar. Walks—A stroll through the old streets of El Centro and San Diego in the walled city; a walk atop las murallas. Especially for Kids—A large variety of homemade candies at El Portal de Los Dulces in Plaza de los Coches; a boat ride to Isla Rosario. GEOGRAPHY Cartagena is located in Colombia's northernmost region: the coast on the Caribbean Sea. The inhabitants of this #! Overview DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA region consider themselves costenos (coastlanders), regardless of their distance from the seashore. The walled city is nearly surrounded by water: the Caribbean Sea to the west and north, Cartagena Bay to the south and the lagoons of El Cabrero, Chambacu and San Lazaro to the east. The most important historic landmarks are located in the neighborhoods El Centro and San Diego, which compose the old walled city. To the southeast, immediately beyond the city walls, is the neighborhood of Getsemani, another colonial quarter today undergoing gentrification. Beyond, to the southwest of the old city, the shorefront district of Bocagrande is Cartagena's pencil-thin upper-class quarter, where towering modern structures rise along a 2-mi-/3-km-long peninsula framed by the Caribbean Sea to the north and a large lagoon and bay to the south. HISTORY Long before its location on the Caribbean Sea made it an important trading city, the area was inhabited by several indigenous Indian tribes. The Spanish explorers who began arriving in the early 1500s were drawn by the superb harbor. Cartagena was established in 1533 as the storehouse for gold and jewels before they were convoyed to Spain. The city thus became the primary port of call for the annual treasure fleets. Crammed full of loot, the city quickly became a favorite target for pirates—including Sir Francis Drake, who captured Cartagena in 1586. He agreed to leave the city standing after he was paid a ransom of 107,000 gold ducats and other treasure. (Drake presented an emerald "the size of a child's fist" to England's Queen Elizabeth I as a New Year's gift.) After Drake's assault, the Spanish began the construction of the mighty fortresses and thick walls around Cartagena. The period of construction extended throughout the 17th century, and many of the city's majestic churches and colonial mansions date from this time. Besides its fortifications and status as one of the main trading ports in the New World, colonial-era Cartagena was a major slave-trading port and the Caribbean headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition. Today, visitors can see antique instruments of torture in a museum at the Palacio de la Inquisicion located on Plaza de Bolivar. By the 19th century, Barranquilla surpassed Cartagena as Colombia's principal port. A period of decline ensued, and by the 20th century, the wealthy who inhabited the Old City began to move to the newer beachfront district of Bocagrande. The colonial core became decayed and seedy. A tourist boom in recent decades has reversed the trend, giving Cartagena a new lease on life. POTPOURRI Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez lived in Cartagena briefly as a young journalist. Love in the Time of Cholera, one of his most popular works, takes place in the walled city. Wandering tourists might stumble upon a sculpture of an old pair of shoes on the southeast side of Fortaleza San Felipe. This monument was originally erected by the city in 1954 to honor a local poet, and it has since become one of Cartagena's icons. Cartagena was a principal setting for the Hollywood movie, Romancing the Stone, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. The actual filming took place in Veracruz, Mexico. Douglas' character pronounced the city name as "Carta-hay-nya," much to local annoyance. (It's actually pronounced "Kahr-tah-he-nah.") Superstitious Colombians touch the breast of Fernando Botero's bronze sculpture of a nude on Plaza Santo Domingo in the belief that it will bring good luck in love. The Volcan de Lodo de Totumo is a perfect volcanic cone that pours out hot mud instead of lava. Visitors to the volcano float atop the mud. You can buy fresh fruit from palenqueras—women who skillfully balance bowls brimming with produce atop their heads. Dressed in brightly colored traditional dresses, they expect to be paid for any photos you take, but are usually happy to pose if you buy some fruit. #" Overview DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA LOCATION Ships enter Cartagena Bay via Bocachica, a narrow inlet protected by two imposing fortresses, San Jose and San Fernando. Most cruise ships tie up at the dock located on the northernmost point of Cartagena Bay, about 2 mi/2.5 km southeast of the heart of the Old City. A free shuttle bus takes you to the terminal, which is a pleasant place where tourism officials serve Colombian coffee and provide information to visitors. You can also arrange a guided taxi tour of the city and make long-distance calls from the terminal, which has several small gift shops, plus an ATM. Don't walk around in the neighborhood surrounding the port, however—it's not entirely safe. SHORE EXCURSIONS Shore excursions—and their prices—vary from cruise line to cruise line. Typical excursions include a tour of the Old City and Fortaleza de San Felipe de Barajas, a visit to the Volcan Lodo de Tutumo (a mud volcano) or a cruise through the Inner Bay to Isla Rosario. Be aware that tour buses from cruise ships make their first stop at La Popa Convent. Consider hiring a taxi for a guided tour and ask the driver not to take you to La Popa Convent as your first stop so you can avoid the crowds. Also, most of the shopping recommended by the cruise lines is located at Pierino Gallo Shopping Center. You'll do just as well and have a far more interesting time seeking out stores in the Old City. Check with your ship's shore-excursion staff or your travel agent for additional information. # See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA SIGHTSEEING Even if you're not an early riser, make an exception when you're in Cartagena. The sunlight at daybreak casts an enchanting spell over this sprawling city. The contrast between the imposing Fortress of San Felipe and the glass-and-steel high-rise hotels along the Bocagrande Peninsula presents a striking vision of the city. Start your tour at the Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas. (Get there as early as possible—the tropical sun beating down on this immense pile of rock can be staggering. Use plenty of sunscreen.) The fort, which is northeast of the Old City, is one of the largest and strongest fortifications the Spanish ever built in the colonies. The Old City is nearly encircled by walls that stand 12 ft/4 m tall and are as thick as 60 ft/18 m in some places. Las murallas can be explored as well as admired—you can stroll atop the wall, which still forms a perimeter around three-quarters of the city. If you have a little extra time, stroll through the narrow shaded streets of the old walled city, where flowers cascade from overhanging wooden balconies. You'll find a photo opportunity at every corner. Peek into doorways to see the cool tiled patios hidden from other passersby. Make sure you explore Plaza de Bolivar, a lovely, leafy plaza that contains an impressive statue of the liberator himself on horseback. Also don't miss Plaza de San Diego and Plaza de Santo Domingo. Be careful not to go too far, though—the southeastern part of the old city, called Getsemani, is not entirely safe. CASINOS The minimum age for gambling is 18. Colombia has strict regulations set up to define what constitute legal gambling tables, and anyone found using tables that are not legally sanctioned will be treated as illegal gamblers, which can lead to fines and/or imprisonment. The many slot machines made before 1952 that are on display at casinos are solely for exhibition purposes. Casino La Perla This tiny casino is located in the Pierino Gallo Shopping Center. It features slot machines, two poker tables, five blackjack tables, 65 roulette tables and a restaurant. Help is available in English and Spanish. Open daily 3 pm-6 am. Pierino Gallo Locales 2-5 (Centro commercial), Cartagena. Phone 5665-0573. Rio Casino This small casino is very popular among Cartagenans and tourists alike. It features more than 100 slot machines, 11 poker and blackjack tables, and roulette. Open daily 10 am-4 am. Ave. San Martin 5-145, Cartagena. Phone 5655-5980. http://www.winnergroup.com.co. Address Pierino Gallo Locales 2-5 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5665-0573 Address Ave. San Martin 5-145 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5655-5980 HISTORIC SITES Catedral de Santa Catalina de Alejandria # See & Do: Sightseeing Catedral de Santa Catalina de Alejandria Located on the northeast corner of Plaza Bolivar, this city landmark has an exquisite and ornate belltower that is lit at night. The main door looks as if it were taken from a medieval castle. The cathedral was partially destroyed by Francis Drake in 1586. The cathedral is open daily 7 am-noon and 2:30-4 pm. Donations suggested. Plaza de Bolivar, Cartagena. DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Address Plaza de Bolivar Cartagena, Colombia Cloisters and Church of San Pedro Claver Named for the first saint to be canonized in the New World. A Spanish Address nobleman and priest, Claver dedicated his life to helping African slaves. Carrera 4 No. 30-01 Called "the slave of the slaves," he met the slave ships with food, Cartagena, Colombia medicine and soothing words. His remains lie in a glass coffin embedded in Phone an altar in the church—not too gruesome, just some bones and a toothless 5664-4991 skull. Note the large balcony: The well-to-do worshipped there to avoid mingling with their impoverished countrymen on the ground floor. If you stroll around outside the cloisters, you may spy large niches in the old walls where clandestine lovers meet after dark. Open daily 8 am-5 pm. Admission is Col$6,000. Carrera 4 No. 30-01, Cartagena. Phone 5664-4991. http://www.cartagenainfo.net/saintpeterclaver/index.html. Convent of La Popa The convent's terraces afford a panoramic view of the city. La Popa monastery is more than 400 years old and is built on the ruins of a razed Indian temple, high on a hill about 1 mi/1.5 km northeast of the ship terminal. (The Spaniards named the hill La Popa because they thought it resembled the poop deck of a ship.) The convent has a small museum of religious art, but we were more impressed with its iron gates and grillwork and its shady courtyard full of palms and bougainvillea. Open daily 8 am-5:30 pm. Admission is Col$8,000. Cerro de La Popa, Cartagena. Phone 5666-2331. Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas This impressive fortress, completed in 1657, is where Don Blas de Lezo (a one-eyed, one-armed, one-legged Spanish commander) and 2,500 men fought off 30,000 British soldiers in 1741. One may doubt at first that Cartagena, with its limited resources, could have defeated such a great British armada, but any doubts recede immediately after touring this imposing edifice. Don't miss the statue of Blas—completed after he'd lost his limbs—that stands proudly in front of the fort. Open daily 8 am-6 pm. Admission is about Col$17,000. A tour of the fortress lasts approximately 40 minutes. Carrera 17, Pie del Cerro, Cartagena. Phone 5656-0590. La India Catalina An iconic image of the city is the statue of La India Catalina, created by Spanish expatriate Eladio Gil and located on Venezuela Avenue. The statue is a monument to a native inhabitant of the bay region who served as an interpreter for the city's founder, Pedro de Heredia. The awards given in the Festival Internacional de Cine are statuettes of La India Catalina. Calle 35 (at Carrera 11), Cartagena. Palacio de la Inquisicion Located on Plaza de Bolivar, this is a fascinating place with a sordid history that belies the beautiful baroque doorway. Throughout the course of 200 years, the Inquisition burned accused heretics and witches. The fiendish instruments that persuaded them to confess are displayed downstairs in a small museum. Upstairs exhibits profile the history of the Address Cerro de La Popa Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5666-2331 Address Carrera 17, Pie del Cerro Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5656-0590 Address Calle 35 Cartagena, Colombia Address Plaza de Bolivar 33-46 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5664-7381 ## See & Do: Sightseeing city. Open Monday-Saturday 9 am-6 pm. Admission is about Col$14,000. Plaza de Bolivar 33-46, Cartagena. Phone 5664-7381. Plaza de Bolivar The Old City's principal (but not its largest) plaza has at its heart a tree-shaded park with a life-size statue of Simon Bolivar atop his horse. The plaza is surrounded by impressive buildings, including the Palacio de la Inquisicion, the Museo del Oro Zenu, the Cathedral de Santa Catalina, and on the east side, the town hall. The plaza was a principal setting for Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel, Love in the Time of Cholera. Plaza de Bolivar, Cartagena. Plaza de las Bovedas The Square of the Arcades is lined with a row of former warehouses against las murallas. The arcades deep in the walls were designed as storage vaults, but were used as prison cells during the civil wars in the 19th century; at high tide, the unfortunate internees were up to their knees in seawater. Now the buildings house shops selling handicrafts. Plaza de Las Bovedas, Cartagena. Plaza de los Coches Named for the horse-drawn coaches that gather there to offer city tours, this wide, triangular plaza is framed on its east side by las murallas—the city wall. The main gate to the old quarter was located there during colonial times; it is now topped by an octagonal clock tower. On the west side, El Portal de los Dulces arcade is named for the many shops and stalls selling candies and cookies. Plaza de los Coches, Cartagena. DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA 5664-7381 Address Plaza de Bolivar Cartagena, Colombia Address Plaza de Las Bovedas Cartagena, Colombia Address Plaza de los Coches Cartagena, Colombia Plaza de Santo Domingo Located a few blocks northwest of Plaza de Bolivar, this is one of the most Address beautiful plazas in Cartagena. It is small, surrounded by restaurants and Plaza de Santo Domingo dominated by the beautiful Iglesia Santo Domino and, adjacent, a recently Cartagena, Colombia restored monastery. There are tables outside managed by the various restaurants that ring the plaza, and an endless procession of mimes, flower sellers, dancers and musicians. The most significant feature is Fernando Botero's bronze statue of a reclining nude in front of the church. Highly recommended. Plaza de Santo Domingo, Cartagena. Teatro Heredia If you like scenic or performing arts, don't miss this beautiful neoclassical Address theater located in El Centro. The theater was officially inaugurated in 1911 Plaza de La Merced 38-10 and was constructed within a 16th-century monastery. It features Cartagena, Colombia balconies of Portuguese wood, Italian marble statues and a ceiling Phone decorated by Colombian master Enrique Grau. The theater is the center 5664-8844 (literally and figuratively) of Cartagena's cultural scene and still presents plays and dance performances weekly. Teatro Heredia is also is the cornerstone venue for the Classical Music Festival, an international event held every year in mid-January. Plaza de La Merced 38-10 (Centro), Cartagena. Phone 5664-8844. MUSEUMS Museo de Arte Moderno #$ See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Museo de Arte Moderno This small, two-story museum features modern Latin American art in a 17th-century building. The sculptural art spills onto Plaza San Pedro Claver. Open Monday-Thursday 9 am-noon and 3-6 pm, Friday 9 am-noon and 3-7 pm, Saturday 10 am-1 pm. Adults Col$4,000, children Col$1,000. Free on Tuesday. Guided visits are available in English, French and Spanish. Plaza San Pedro Claver, Calle 30 No. 4-08, Cartagena. Phone 5230-2622. http://www.cartagenacaribe.com/en/where-to-go/interest-sites/mam.htm. Address Plaza San Pedro Claver, Calle 30 No. 4-08 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5230-2622 Museo del Oro Zenu This impressive museum preserves the magnificent gold artistry of the Zenu culture, which dates from the second century BC. The Zenus inhabited a large part of northern Colombia until the arrival of the Spaniards in the 1500s. Open Tuesday-Friday 10 am-1 pm and 3-7 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am-5 pm. Closed Monday. Admission is free; donations are encouraged. Plaza de Bolivar, Cartagena. Phone 5660-0778. http://www.banrepcultural.org/gold-museum. Address Plaza de Bolivar Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5660-0778 Museo Naval del Caribe This museum is located in a colonial building around the corner from the church of San Pedro Claver. It documents the naval history of the Caribbean and describes Cartagena's crucial role in colonial naval battles. Open daily except Monday 10 am-5:30 pm. Adults Col$8,000, children Col$4,000. Calle San Juan de Dios 3-62, Cartagena. Phone 5664-2440. http://www.cartagenainfo.net/navalmuseum/index.html. Address Calle San Juan de Dios 3-62 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5664-2440 #% See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA RECREATION Cartagena offers a wide variety of recreational possibilities. Visitors can take a fishing excursion to the warm Caribbean waters, a snorkeling and diving experience at the nearby Rosario Islands, or windsurfing in front of the city walls at dusk. BEACHES The city's best beaches are Bocagrande and El Laguito, both of which extend along the Bocagrande Peninsula south of the Old City. The sand is dark but relatively clean. (We're not as confident about the water quality, and swimming should be avoided.) Vendors work the beaches, peddling everything from T-shirts to sunglasses. Women often offer to cornrow your hair. High-rise hotels along the beaches provide refreshments and shade from the sun. Watersports equipment can be rented at both beaches. If you have extra time, strike out for the crystal clear waters and peaceful ambience at La Boquilla, about 30 minutes northeast of Cartagena. The best way to get there is to hire a cab—arrange a pick-up time and agree on a price in advance (about Col$60,000 round-trip). It might be a good idea to pay the total priceafter you've been picked up, just to ensure that the cabdriver returns for you. You could have lunch at the nearby Las Americas Beach Resort in Anillo Vial Sector Cielo Mar. By far the nicest sands are at Playa Blanca and Isla Rosario, southwest of Cartagena. Both can be visited as part of day-long boat excursions that depart the wharf immediately south of the old city. SCUBA & SNORKELING Cartagena isn't known for snorkeling and scuba diving, but you can give it a try at the Rosario Islands. The Caribe Dive Shop (phone 5665-3517) at the Hotel Caribe can arrange a day trip, as can Diving Planet (http://www.cartagenainfo.net/divingplanet/english.html). $ See & Do: Nightlife DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA NIGHTLIFE After dark, have a quiet, relaxing evening, or carouse until dawn. Be prepared for the night spots to not really get going until 11 pm. You can also take a ride through the narrow streets of the Old City in a horse-drawn carriage. Empty carriages ply the streets and also await customers in Plaza de los Coches. A different kind of nocturnal tour is a chiva trip through Cartagena. These open-air buses painted in gaudy colors are native to Colombia. Onboard is a trio of musicians and—just as important to the experience—an open bar with rum drinks. You'll party onboard while making the rounds of the old city and Bocagrande, typically ending with a stop at a disco in Getsemani. The chiva trip costs about Col$32,500 and can be arranged at any hotel tour desk. BARS, TAVERNS & PUBS BaBar Bar Lounge Another place to see and be seen in Cartagena. Centro Amurallado, Plaza de Santa Teresa 3-37, Cartagena. Phone 5664-2040. Address Centro Amurallado, Plaza de Santa Teresa 3-37 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5664-2040 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Babar-Bar-Lounge-Cartagena/295976953766455. Cafe del Mar In the late afternoon, this cafe operates on top of the city wall, where you can drink and watch the sunset. Open daily 5 pm-2 am. Baluarte de Santo Domingo, Cartagena. Phone 5664-6513. http://cafedelmarcartagena.com. Cafe Havana This Cuban-themed bar is a big hit with the young and affluent crowd. Thursday-Sunday 8:30 am-4 am. Calle Media Luna, Getsemani, Cartagena. Phone 310-610-2324. http://cafehavanacartagena.com. Leon de Baviera This German-owned bar offers a huge selection of international beers. It plays host to Cartagena's version of Oktoberfest along with musical acts of all genres. Very popular with locals and visitors alike. Monday-Saturday 5 pm-3 am. Ave. del Arsenal 10-65 (Barrio Manga), Cartagena. Phone 6664-4450. http://www.leondebaviera.com. Address Baluarte de Santo Domingo Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5664-6513 Address Calle Media Luna Cartagena, Colombia Phone 310-610-2324 Address Ave. del Arsenal 10-65 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 6664-4450 $ See & Do: Nightlife DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA DANCE & NIGHTCLUBS Mr. Babilla If you would like some extra excitement, go to this bar to watch people dance on the tables late at night—or try it yourself. Daily from 8 pm. Ave. del Arsenal 8B-137, Cartagena. Phone 5664-7005. http://www.misterbabilla.com. Address Ave. del Arsenal 8B-137 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5664-7005 $ See & Do: Performing Arts DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA PERFORMING ARTS For performing arts, visit Teatro Heredia in downtown Cartagena. Some of Colombia's best theater groups, such as El Teatro Libre and El Teatro La Candelaria, perform there frequently, as well as the Colegio del Cuerpo, a local dance company. VENUES Teatro Heredia The theater presents plays and dance performances weekly. It is also the cornerstone venue for the Classical Music Festival, an international event organized by the Salvi Foundation and held every year in January. Plaza de la Merced 38-10 (Centro), Cartagena. Phone 5664-8844. Address Plaza de la Merced 38-10 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5664-8844 $! See & Do: Spectator Sports DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA SPECTATOR SPORTS Soccer is extremely popular in Cartagena. Bullfights take place in early January. BULLFIGHTS Bullfights If you are a bullfighting aficionado and happen to be in Cartagena in early January, the famous toreros from Colombia and Spain fight the bulls starting at 4 pm. The Estadio Pedro Heredia bullring is on the outskirts of Cartagena. The best seats are on the shady side of the bullring (Col$40,000 for general seating; Col$81,000-$187,000 for numbered seats); the hard-core fans sit on the sunny side (Col$35,000). Olaya Herrera Calle, Ave. Pedro de Heredia 31, Sector 11 de Noviembre, Cartagena. Phone 5665-3900 or 5665-4442. Address Olaya Herrera Calle, Ave. Pedro de Heredia 31, Sector 11 de Noviembre Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5665-3900 SOCCER Real Cartagena The city's professional team plays at Estadio 11 de Noviembre. Admission is about Col$30,000. Estadio 11 de Noviembre, Olaya Herrera, Cartagena. Phone 5669-7393. http://www.futbolclubcartagena.com. Address Estadio 11 de Noviembre, Olaya Herrera Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5669-7393 $" See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA SHOPPING Emeralds, emeralds and more emeralds. From all the hype, you'd think there was nothing to buy in Cartagena except emeralds. That's hardly true, but Cartagena is justly famous for the quantity and quality of its emeralds. So if you've been hoarding your shopping money, Cartagena is the place to blow it on a sparkling green gemstone. (The best stones are deep green and highly reflective of light, so look for a dark glittery stone.) All jewelry stores are licensed and regulated by the Colombian government to ensure quality. Do not buy from street merchants, who cannot be trusted. The main emerald sellers are in the Pierino Gallo Shopping Center on the Bocagrande Peninsula. This two-story, air-conditioned center with an open courtyard upstairs contains some of the city's more reputable shops, some of which only open during high cruise season October-May. (Prices may be higher because the shops are geared to tourists, but the quality is good.) Among the stores are Mister Emerald, Greenfire Emeralds, Adriana's Jewelry (specializes in large emeralds), Emerald Center (emeralds as well as crystal and watches), Joyeria Cesareo and Clavia (pre-Columbian jewelry and artifacts). Other quality jewelry stores can be found while strolling the streets of the Old City. Cartagena is also a good place to shop for inexpensive handicrafts, such as hand-stitched molas (the reverse-applique fabrics of the Kuna people), miniature chivas (colorfully painted replicas of buses packed with people and produce), lace items, indigenous masks, hammocks and native paintings. Prices are reasonable, and you can bargain in the more informal shops if you're buying in quantity. Other shops to consider for local handicrafts include Temptations Unlimited, upstairs at Pierino Gallo Shopping Center in El Laguito, and Galeria Cano on the Plaza de Bolivar, which has a good collection of replicas of pre-Columbian artifacts. (The export of authentic pieces is against the law.) Be aware that the local shops recommended by tour operators, taxi drivers and cruise-ship port lecturers generally pay for the privilege. Prices at the shops recommended by ship lecturers may be somewhat higher than others, but passengers usually get a money-back guarantee, valid for 30 days. As always, buyer beware. Souvenir vendors are a presence all over the city. They can be a particular nuisance for cruise-ship passengers, as they are out in force whenever a ship is in port. Do be aware that persistence doesn't always mean value when vendors are concerned: You don't always get what you pay for. A vendor selling "Cuban" cigars trailed us for 30 minutes through the Old City. When the price finally dropped to a reasonable fee, we bought some just to get rid of him. The cigars were OK, but Castro wouldn't claim them. Shopping Hours: Monday-Friday 9 am-6 pm and Saturday 9 am-noon. The shops stay open on Saturday afternoon and Sunday if cruise ships are in port. GALLERIES Galeria Cano This is the best place to do tourist shopping in Cartagena. It has a good collection of pre-Columbian art replicas. (The export of authentic pieces is prohibited.) Plaza de Bolivar, Cartagena. Phone 5664-7078. http://www.galeriacano.com.co. Address Plaza de Bolivar Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5664-7078 Galeria La Chica Morales $ See & Do: Shopping Galeria La Chica Morales This art gallery has permanent exhibitions at Hotel Almirante-Cartagena Estelar. Monday-Friday 8 am-6:30 pm. Carrera 4 No. 5-74, Cartagena. Phone 5-665-3958. DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Address Carrera 4 No. 5-74 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-665-3958 MARKETS Las Bovedas Among the more interesting craft shops are those in Plaza de las Bovedas, vaults tucked into the northeast corner of the Old City walls. This is a good place to bargain for the brightly colored hammocks of the Wayuu people, and for straw hats and baskets. Address Cartagena, Colombia SPECIALTY STORES Comarca This store specializes in rescued and restored nautical items converted into furniture and objets d'art. The bar inside has a secret identity as a weekend live music haunt with excellent singers and guitarists. Daily 9:30 am-noon and 2-6 pm; nightlife starts up at 9 pm Thursday-Saturday. Calle 35 No. 3-16, Plaza Santo Domingo, Cartagena. Phone 5-664-9960. El Portal de Los Dulces This traditional candy market, mentioned in Gabriel Garcia Marques' novel Love in the Time of Cholera, has existed since at least the 19th century. There you can taste a large variety of sweets prepared with all-natural ingredients just as they have been for centuries. Plaza de Los Coches, Cartagena. Greenfire Emeralds The largest shop in Pierino Gallo Shopping Center, this is an outstanding place to buy emeralds. El Laguito, Pierino Gallo Shopping Center, Upstairs Plaza 2-01, Cartagena. Phone 5-665-0413. http://www.greenfireemeralds.com. Address Calle 35 No. 3-16 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-664-9960 Address Plaza de Los Coches Cartagena, Colombia Address El Laguito, Pierino Gallo Shopping Center Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-665-0413 Joyeria Cesareo $ See & Do: Shopping Joyeria Cesareo The oldest family-operated emerald store in the city. El Laguito, Parque Comercial, Pierino Gallo Shopping Center, Locales 1-14, Cartagena. Phone 5-665-0290. http://www.joyeriacesareo.com. Lucy Joyeria One of the best emerald stores in the old city, it is named for its owner. Calle Santo Domingo No. 3-19, Cartagena. Phone 5-664-4255. http://www.lucyjewelrycartagena.com/joyeria-lucy.html. Mister Emerald Mister Emerald is Leland Miles, a friendly and knowledgeable gem expert with 30 years of experience in emeralds and fine jewelry. Excellent customer service. Pierino Gallo Shopping Center, Cartagena. Phone 5-665-6781. http://www.misteremerald.com. DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Address El Laguito, Parque Comercial, Pierino Gallo Shopping Center, Locales 1-14 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-665-0290 Address Calle Santo Domingo No. 3-19 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-664-4255 Address Pierino Gallo Shopping Center Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-665-6781 $# Dining: Overview DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA DINING OVERVIEW Food is a Cartagena calling card. The town's proximity to the ocean makes it a seafood haven, with innovative mango- and coconut-infused variations on seviche populating almost every menu. Although Cartagena is best-known for its elegant seafood restaurants, it also offers odd and outstanding little eateries: outdoor stands selling strings of cooked iguana eggs; empanada stands; fresh-air diners specializing in smoked meats; and hip fusion restaurants. Just walk around the city—you'll find something wonderful to eat. Plaza Santo Domingo and Plaza Santa Clara both have a number of good restaurants to choose from. Wherever you dine, look for Tres Esquinas, a local white rum, andaguardiente, a licorice-flavored rum drink that literally means "firewater." (Be careful: It lives up to its name.) Expect to pay within these guidelines for a meal for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than Col$25,000; $$ = Col$25,000-$50,000; $$$ = Col$50,000-$125,000; and $$$$ = more than Col$125,000. LOCAL & REGIONAL El Claustro This buffet restaurant also has Cartagena's best bakery. It's a nice place to go with family. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. Hotel Sofitel-Santa Clara, Calle del Torno, Barrio San Diego, Cartagena. Phone 5-664-6070. Address Hotel Sofitel-Santa Clara, Calle del Torno, Barrio San Diego Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-664-6070 http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-1871-sofitel-legend-santa-clara-cartagena/index.shtml#./restaurant.shtml. El Santisimo Located near Plaza de San Diego, this is one of our favorite restaurants in Address Cartagena. Its owner, Federico Vega, obtained his culinary education in Calle del Santisimo 8-19 London and at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. He has succeeded in creating a Cartagena, Colombia calm, elegant atmosphere in one of Cartagena's most charming corners. Phone The menu is extensive and unique, with a tongue-in-cheek ecclesiastical 5-664-3316 theme. The wine cellar is unmatched—so much so that Vega opened a wine bar called La Cava del Santisimo across the street. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner only. $$$. Most major credit cards. Calle del Santisimo 8-19, Cartagena. Phone 5-664-3316. http://www.elsantisimo.com. La Olla Cartagenera Many consider this restaurant to be Cartagena's best. You may find the space to be a bit stuffy at first (go for dinner as it may be too hot for lunch), but the large number of ceiling fans keeps the temperature under control. It offers Colombian and international food and specializes inpargo frito and pargo guisado with coconut milk. Daily for lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. Ave. San Martin 5-100 Local 3, Bocagrande, Cartagena. Phone 5-665-3861. http://laollacartagenera.com.co. Address Ave. San Martin 5-100 Local 3, Bocagrande Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-665-3861 Monte Sacro $$ Dining: Overview Monte Sacro Very chic, upscale restaurant in the heart of the old city, but with more affordable prices than most. Seafood with Caribbean sauces is a specialty, along with authentic Spanish-style tapas. Daily for lunch and dinner. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. Parque Simon Bolivar No. 33-20, Centro, Cartagena. Phone 5-660-2086. http://www.restaurantemontesacro.com. Restaurante 8-18 Owner Juan Felipe has created a place for truly fine food in an excellent ambience. Reservations required. $$$. Most major credit cards. Calle Gastelbondo No. 2-124 (around the corner from Plaza Santo Domingo), Cartagena. Phone 5-664-6122. http://www.restaurante8-18.com. San Marino Restaurante y Sports Bar Attractive seaside restaurant and sports bar serving local dishes. It is clean and bright, popular with locals and very much the center of the area's preclubbing social scene on weekends. Huge TVs and long bars. Daily for lunch and dinner. $-$$. No credit cards. Carrera 1, No. 8-12, Bocagrande, Cartagena. Phone 5-650-1508. http://www.restaurantesanmarino.com. DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Address Parque Simon Bolivar No. 33-20, Centro Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-660-2086 Address Calle Gastelbondo No. 2-124 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-664-6122 Address Carrera 1, No. 8-12, Bocagrande Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5-650-1508 $% Security DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA PERSONAL SAFETY Cartagena is quite a safe city, especially considering the problems elsewhere in Colombia. But take the same precautions you would in any urban area. Don't walk around alone outside the walled colonial core, and don't stray from the normal tourist areas. Leave your jewelry and valuables in the hotel safe when you venture into the city—especially stretch-band wristwatches and showy necklaces, which are easy to snatch—and guard your cash and credit cards carefully. Absolutely never change money on the street. Be especially careful when walking around in El Centro in crowded areas and in the market area on the southeast side of the city immediately east of Plaza de los Coches. Have your passport number with you or carry a photocopy of the passport itself—it might be requested if you use a credit card or traveler's check to pay for a purchase. Do not visit La Popa after dark. For the latest information, contact your country's travel-advisory agency. HEALTH The food in most restaurants is safe, but drink only bottled water. We don't recommend eating food sold by street vendors unless it is an empanada con huevo on weekend mornings or you are buying candy at El Portal de Los Dulces. Cartagena has two excellent hospitals: Bocagrande Hospital (phone 5665-5186) and Naval Hospital (phone 5655-0395). For more information, contact your country's health-advisory agency. DISABLED ADVISORY Although efforts are being made to improve wheelchair access, Cartagena still has many places with stairs and other obstacles, including cobblestoned plazas and a lack of wheelchair ramps, especially in the colonial core. Public transportation currently is not prepared to manage wheelchairs, but taxi drivers are generally accommodating. DOS & DON'TS Do be prepared to cross a gauntlet of souvenir vendors wherever you go in Cartagena, especially in the parking lots of La Popa Convent and San Felipe Fort. Don't feel that you need to be unduly civil—a firm "no, gracias" should suffice. If the vendor persists, it is best to simply ignore him. Don't rent a car and try to drive in town. Traffic is chaotic and very dangerous if you are not used to it. As a rule, people do not respect traffic signs; indeed, you might put yourself at risk if you try to follow them. Don't ever change currency on the street. Don't expect the palenqueras to pose for your camera without payment. They expect Col$1,800 per photo, but if you buy a plate of fruit, most will be happy to pose for as many photos as you wish to take. You'll need to agree to pay before taking any photos—otherwise the palenquera will turn away from you. % Facts DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Geostats Passport/Visa Requirements: Citizens of Canada and the U.S. need a passport (but not a visa). Each child younger than 18 years of age must have his/her own passport. Population: 943,163. Languages: Spanish. English is spoken in some tourist areas. Predominant Religions: Christian (mostly Roman Catholic). Time Zone: 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed. Voltage Requirements: 110 volts. Telephone Codes: 57, country code; 5 or 6, city code; Currency Exchange U.S. dollars, traveler's checks and major credit cards are accepted in most shops and restaurants, but other currencies must be exchanged at a bank. The Banco Union Colombiano in the Old City is especially helpful to tourists. Carrera 8 No. 34-08; phone 5660-1052. The American Express office is in the Bocagrande area at Carrera 4 No. 7-196; phone 5665-3628. Get a short lesson from your travel agent on how to recognize false bills, because falsified currency is common. The Col$10,000 bill is the main target for forgers. Be aware. ATMs are common and dispense Colombian pesos. Banks are typically open Monday-Thursday 8-11:30 am and 2-4 pm, Friday 8 am-4:30 pm. Taxes The sales tax (IVA) is 16%. If you are a visitor, you don't have to pay this tax. Hotels may try to charge it, but if you pay with a foreign credit card, many will agree to not charge you. Normally hotel tax is 10%. Tipping Your restaurant bill will include a 16% tax, but you will be expected to add a 10% tip on top of that. Check to see if that has already been added to your bill. If service is extraordinary, leave a bit more. Weather No matter when you visit Cartagena, it will be hot and humid. The temperatures are virtually the same year-round: daytime highs in the 90s F/30s C and nighttime lows in the 70s F/20s C. The rainy season is May-November. The best time to visit is in the dry season—December-April. What to Wear You can dress informally in Cartagena—shorts are perfectly acceptable, but you will stand out as a tourist, and many restaurants will not permit shorts for dining. If you want to blend in, dark slacks for men and a long skirt for women are more appropriate. Swimsuits are not appropriate away from the beach or pool. Men should always wear a shirt: Jogging or walking around shirtless is considered rude, and tank tops are not permitted in restaurants. % Facts DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Telephone The phone service in Cartagena is fair. International telephone calls can be made with credit cards from phones in major hotels or from the cruise-ship terminal. Shop owners will often let you use their cell phones to make a call, charging you according to the length of the call. Your international cell phone will not normally pick up a signal in Cartagena unless you arrange for access in Colombia before leaving home (which you should do, as it significantly reduces the cost of international calls). Cell phone coverage is fair to good, with only occasional pockets that lack coverage. Internet Access There are Internet cafes all over town, generally with their own equipment. Typical rates are expensive: Col$6,000 per hour. Many hotels offer free Wi-Fi in common areas, but expect to pay for it in rooms. Unlike other Colombian cities such as Bogota and Medellin, there are very few bars, malls or other areas that offer Wi-Fi. Those that do will have signs advertising it. Cafe Colombiano This is the best-known Internet cafe in Bocagrande. Ave. San Martin No. 4-134, Cartagena. Phone 5665-4240. Caribenet This Internet cafe in El Centro offers Internet access for Col$6,000 per hour. Daily 10 am-10 pm. Calle Santo Domingo No. 3-54, Cartagena. Phone 5664-2326. Cyber-Cafe Olano In addition to providing Internet access, this cafe also serves food, drinks and coffee. The charge is Col$6,000 per hour. Daily 9 am-noon and 2-7 pm. Calle de las Damas No. 3-102, Cartagena. Phone 5664-5438. Address Ave. San Martin No. 4-134 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5665-4240 Address Calle Santo Domingo No. 3-54 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5664-2326 Address Calle de las Damas No. 3-102 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5664-5438 Mail & Package Services The best place to mail anything is in the Old City at Avianca, Calle 32 (phone 575-660-0820). However, do not rely upon Colombian mail services. Although they are more expensive, we recommend using international providers such as DHL or FedEx. % Facts DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Newspapers & Magazines Foreign-language newspapers are difficult if not impossible to find in Cartagena. The local Spanish-language newspaper is El Universal, and the daily newspaper from Bogota, El Tiempo, is also widely available. A free English-language guide that is particularly useful is a full-color tabloid called Destination Cartagena. A good single-page map of the city and its surroundings is included on the back page. Destination Cartagena is distributed upon request in the major hotels, aboard cruise ships calling in Cartagena and at Mister Emerald at Pierino Gallo Shopping Center. A separate edition in Spanish is also available. Phone 5665-6781. Traviata, a local Spanish-language guide to Cartagena, is available for about Col$4,000. Phone 5665-0157. http://www.traviatacartagena.com. Transportation Although bus service is available in the city, service is sporadic. You'll also see brightly painted jitneys around the city, but unless you're adventuresome and speak Spanish, give them a pass. We don't recommend driving a rental car in Cartagena. Your best bet is to hire a taxi. Air The Rafael Nunez Airport (CTG) is about 20 minutes northeast of downtown Cartagena. It is a small, clean and well-organized airport with a few shops. Phone 5666-6610 or 5666-5955. http://www.sacsa.com.co. For transportation to Cartagena's center, there is really only one option for visitors arriving by air: a taxi from the airport. There is a queue of them waiting, timed to coincide with all flight arrivals. The fare is generally established in advance, and service is reliable. Renting a car or taking a local bus is definitely not advisable. Car Streets are congested, and drivers pay little attention to stoplights or signs. If you absolutely must rent a vehicle, car rentals cost about US$75 a day. A passport, driver's license and major credit card are required. Driving is on the right, but don't depend on it. Parking on the narrow streets of the Old City is hard to find, at best. Tourist Offices Turismo Cartagena de Indias %! Facts Turismo Cartagena de Indias The main tourism office provides information for visitors. Centro Avenida Blas de Lezo, Muelle Turistico La Bodeguita, Piso 2, Cartagena. Phone 5655-0211. http://www.cartagenadeindias.travel. DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Address Centro Avenida Blas de Lezo, Muelle Turistico La Bodeguita, Piso 2 Cartagena, Colombia Phone 5655-0211 %" Events DESTINATION GUIDE CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Calendar Celebrations are frequent and lively in Cartagena. The city's biggest annual event is the selection of Colombia's beauty queen in mid-November. It entails open-air dances and daily parades by the Miss Colombia candidates decked out in waving plumes, sparkling sequins and little else. The beauty contest is part of the events celebrating the city's independence from Spain. Residents parade through the streets in dressy costumes and masks. The city hosts a renowned international film festival, El Festival Internacional de Cine, in March. The bullfighting season is always in the first week of January and attracts the very best matadors from Spain. There is a weeklong Classical Music Festival that brings virtuoso musicians to play in venues such as Teatro Heredia and the restored chapels and churches of the city. It also includes open-air concerts at night in the city's plazas, against the backdrop of 17th- and 18th-century architecture and church facades. % DESTINATION GUIDE Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands % DESTINATION GUIDE Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands When visitors first set eyes on Grand Cayman Island, they see a flat stretch of land that barely rises out of the water... %# Overview DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS INTRODUCTION When visitors first set eyes on Grand Cayman Island, they see a flat stretch of land that barely rises out of the water. But despite what its appearance may suggest, Grand Cayman is not lacking in awe-inspiring geographical features. To see them, visitors just have to look down. Just offshore, coral reefs and walls plunge dramatically into the abyss, creating superb conditions for visitors to Grand Cayman to go scuba diving and snorkeling. These underwater "mountainsides" (the peak being the island itself) never fail to leave Grand Cayman divers and snorkelers awestruck. Grand Cayman is a largely stress-free place to vacation. Grand Cayman beaches are wide, sandy and fringed with palm trees, so beach-lovers have no shortage of coastline to enjoy. Crime is relatively rare; islanders are friendly, speak English and enjoy the highest standard of living in the Caribbean. Duty-free shopping in George Town is also a big attraction. MUST SEE OR DO Sights—Dive down to see the Oro Verde; snorkel Eden Rock; explore the underwater reefs in a submarine; send someone back home a postcard from Hell; lounge by the clear waters at Rum Point. Museums—The Cayman Motor Museum; the Cayman Islands National Museum. Memorable Meals—Nosh on local delicacies at Champion House; fresh fish at The Reef Grill; the famous mise en places conch fritters from Gino's Pizzeria. Late Night—Sipping cocktails beachside while listening to a DJ at the Royal Palms Beach Club; the Full Moon Party at Calico Jack's; dancing the night away at The O Bar; live music with the Barefoot Man at The Reef. Walks—Shop, eat and shell-scavenge your way along Seven Mile Beach; hike and nature-watch along the Mastic Trail; take a walking tour of George Town; stroll through the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. Especially for Kids—Visit Black Pearl Skate Park; view sea turtles at Cayman Turtle Farm; swim and snorkel with the stingrays at Stingray City; wander through the Pirate Caves at Bodden Town. GEOGRAPHY Situated in the western Caribbean Sea, Grand Cayman is the largest of the three coral islands that compose the Caymans. Mainly flat, it stretches 76 sq mi/197 sq km with a maximum elevation of 60 ft/19 m at East End. Almost half of the island is wetland. Separated from its easterly sister islands, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, by an 80-mi-/129-km-wide channel, Grand Cayman is 480 mi/773 km south of Miami and 180 mi/290 km northwest of Jamaica. Cayman Trough is a massive subterranean ridge that rises 8,000 ft/2,400 m from the sea floor and is the deepest part of the Caribbean. To the south lies Bartlett Deep, where depths of more than 18,000 ft/5,580 m have been recorded. Submerged during the Ice Age, this trench is an extension of the Cuban Sierra Maestra range. Abundant coral reefs create ideal conditions for diving and sport fishing. Interesting geographical points include the shallow, 35-sq-mi/91-sq-km reef-protected lagoon called the North Sound. HISTORY In 1503 during his fourth voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus discovered Grand Cayman's two sister islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. He baptized the islets "Las Tortugas" because of their dense population of %$ Overview DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. He baptized the islets "Las Tortugas" because of their dense population of sea turtles. Sir Francis Drake changed the islands' names to "Caymanas" in 1586, after the Carib term caiman for the resident crocodiles. Spain ceded the islands to the British under the Treaty of Madrid in 1670. The crown-appointed governor resided in Jamaica, watching over the affairs of both colonies. During the 1730s, pirates, shipwrecked sailors and deserters from Oliver Cromwell's army in nearby Jamaica began to permanently settle the island. This small population of European settlers was augmented by the influx of African slaves who were used for farming until the British outlawed slavery in 1834. In 1832, the citizenry gathered at St. James Castle—now known as Pedro St. James, the birthplace of democracy in Cayman—and voted to create a legislature of representatives. Eight Justices of the Peace were appointed by the Governor of Jamaica. The islands were formally annexed to Jamaica in 1863. However, upon realizing the difficulty of ruling over two colonies, Jamaica appointed a commissioner in the Cayman Islands to oversee the affairs of the country. The Cayman Islands got their first constitution in 1959, which provided for 12 elected members, along with a couple of nominated members and official members. There was also an Executive Council. The Commissioner was replaced by an Administrator who oversaw the Legislature and Executive Council. The Cayman Islands and Jamaica were governed as a single colony until 1962, when Jamaica declared its independence from Britain. The Cayman Islands remained a British Overseas Territory. The islands pride themselves on their own constitution and government. The Cayman Islands Order, also known as the Constitution, was created in 1972 and was revised in 1994. POTPOURRI Visitors to Grand Cayman can choose to explore more than 159 unique dive sites. With no direct taxation, the Cayman Islands are a mecca for banking, with more than 446 registered banks and trust companies, including 40 of the world's largest banks. The famous Seven Mile Beach has experienced significant hurricane damage, and as a result, it's now only six miles long. Unspoiled beaches, duty-free shopping, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and a virtually nonexistent crime rate lure nearly a million visitors each year. The Turtle Farm is the world's only commercial green sea-turtle farm, housing more than 16,000 endangered sea turtles. In 2009, the government created the Cayman Island Film Commission to build a local film industry. LOCATION Of the three islands that make up the Caymans, Grand Cayman is the only one with the capacity to host cruise ships. Some ships still anchor outside the harbor west of George Town, but a CI$14.2-million port facility—just 1,312 ft/400 m north of the old Port Authority dock—with a 200-ft/60-m pier, has the capacity to dock one or two cruise ships. Most passengers filter through Royal Watler, a self-contained facility with immigration, tourist information, shops, restaurants and a taxi dispatch center in the center of George Town. Some passengers arrive at the town's less-equipped South or North terminals one block from the Royal Watler. %% Overview DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS George Town is awash with shops and restaurants, all within short walking distances of the terminals. Discussions about building another pier are under way, since on any given day there can be up to six cruise ships in the harbor, and some passengers still need to be tendered to the terminal. There is also talk of augmenting the cruise terminal so that the super-sized cruise ships can berth. In rough weather, ships may anchor off the island's southern coast and tender passengers to Spotts, which lies about 4 mi/6 km from George Town. Taxis or buses then transport passengers to George Town for shopping and to the various attractions. There is a tourist information booth at the Royal Watler terminal. Phone 345-949-0623. http://www.caymanislands.ky. SHORE EXCURSIONS Most trips take you offshore to explore the spectacular coral and fish (in a submersible vessel or glass-bottomed boat or, for certified divers, with scuba gear). Other popular options include a visit to Boatswain Beach—home of the Cayman Turtle Farm, the Cayman Motor Museum and Hell, all located in the West Bay. A party cruise and a historical and cultural tour are also options. Shoppers will be delighted with the countless duty-free shops, especially around George Town. Check with your ship's shore-excursion staff or your travel agent for additional information. Several local tour operators await passengers at the Royal Watler terminal and offer an array of activities. CLIMATE Grand Cayman has a warm tropical climate throughout the year. The average temperatures range from the mid-70s to mid-80s F/23-30 C, but can climb into the mid-90s F/mid-30s C during summer months. Thankfully, the breezes from the Cayman trade winds help offset this heat. The rainy season is May-October. Hurricane season occurs June-November. GENERAL PRECAUTIONS No matter how safe you perceive a destination to be, it's important to use good judgment. Pay attention to local media. Avoid open displays of wealth, jewelry or other valuables. Safeguard travel documents such as passports and airline tickets. Avoid confrontations with locals. Avoid demonstrations and protests, especially if they appear political in nature. Don't permit people you don't know to enter your accommodations. Keep your door locked. Don't leave valuables in your room unless they can be locked in a safe. Avoid illegal drugs, and don't drink alcohol if its use is prohibited. Even if drinking is legal, don't overindulge. Be cautious of unsolicited offers of assistance from strangers. In recent years, political terrorism has become a global phenomenon - an attack could occur with little warning anywhere in the world, even in destinations long regarded as safe. Travelers should keep themselves informed of developments that could affect their safety, no matter what their destination. See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS SIGHTSEEING Explore the island by hiking its numerous trails, bird-watching at a nearby sanctuary or passing the time away at Rum Point. Stingray City is another not-to-be-missed highlight where you can get up-close and personal with the long-tailed sea animals. Be sure to visit the island's historic landmarks, as well. HISTORIC SITES Camana Bay Observation Tower Climb the staircases inside this 75-ft/23-m structure to admire the colorful undersea glass mosaic that decorates the walls, or take an elevator straight to the top for 360-degree views of the island, including Camana Bay, Seven Mile Beach and George Town. Open daily sunrise-10 pm, weather permitting. Free. http://www.camanabay.com/the-town/play/observation-tower. Mission House A recreation of this historic home where three families once lived takes you back to a simpler time during Grand Cayman's history. Costumed interpreters lead the guided tour. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-5:30 pm. CI$5 adults, CI$2.50 children. 63 Gun Square, Bodden Town, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-749-1132. http://www.nationaltrust.org.ky. Pedro St. James National Historic Site Built in 1780 and the home of democracy in the Cayman Islands, Pedro Castle offers a fascinating walk back into the past on tours sometimes led by descendents of the original family, whose lineage and tales span nine generations. A CI$6-million renovation created one of the most beautiful locations in the Cayman Islands. This 8-acre/3-hectare site on Pedro Bluff features a three-story, early-19th-century house, outbuildings, palm-lined walkways, manicured lawns, sea views and a state-of-the-art multimedia theater. Daily 9 am-5 pm. Multimedia shows on the hour 10 am-4 pm. CI$8 adults, free for children age 12 and younger when accompanied by a parent. Located 5 mi/9 km east of George Town, in Savannah, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-947-3329. http://www.pedrostjames.ky. Address Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Address 63 Gun Square, Bodden Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-749-1132 Address Located 5 mi/9 km east of George Town, in Savannah Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-947-3329 MUSEUMS Cayman Islands National Museum Located on the George Town harbor waterfront, overlooking Hog Sty Bay, this 19th-century structure was once a courthouse, a jail, a schoolhouse and more. It now houses the national museum. More than 2,000 items are on display in permanent natural-history and cultural-history galleries, along with a rotating exhibition. Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm, Saturday 10 am-2 pm. Tours can be arranged. CI$6.40 adults, CI$4.80 seniors, CI$2.40 children. Harbour Drive, George Town, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-8368. http://www.museum.ky. Address Harbour Drive, George Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-949-8368 Cayman Motor Museum See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Cayman Motor Museum This collection of cars and motorcycles includes Queen Elizabeth II's first Address limousine, the original "Batmobile" from the 1960s TV series and a replica Next door to the Cayman Turtle of the first car ever driven in the Cayman Islands—a 1905 Cadillac—all Farm from the private collection of shipping magnate Andreas Ugland. The Grand Cayman Island, Cayman robust collection is curated to show the evolution of model types, and it Islands smartly ties in local history with old photographs, paintings and artifacts. Phone The building also houses a 1950s diner complete with a functioning 345-947-7741 gumball machine. In addition to the expected '50s conventions, two fascinating photos—one of Fidel Castro with Hemingway and another of Castro with Che Guevara—grace the wall. There is also an audiovisual theater, which can host groups of up to 20 people. The on-site gift shop sells everything from toy car replicas to model-car kits to hats and T-shirts. Open Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm, Sunday 11 am-5 pm (except in September). CI$15 adults, CI$7.50 children ages 6-12, free for children younger than 6. Next door to the Cayman Turtle Farm, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-947-7741. http://www.caymanmotormuseum.com. NEIGHBORHOODS & DISTRICTS Camana Bay This contemporary residential and business community, stretching from the North Sound to Seven Mile Beach, is filled with long-term residents, high-end shops, and great cafes and restaurants. It is also home to a six-screen, 900-seat cinema. It is a pleasant place to stroll (don't miss the observation tower), and there is a daily farmers market. Address Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Hell Located in the heart of West Bay, this site is composed of million-year-old calcareous rock that has been blackened by fungus over time. Visitors can pick up postcards at one of three post offices and mail them with the HELL postmark. Gift shops sell "I'd rather be in Hell than…" T-shirts as well as other souvenirs. Address Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands PARKS & GARDENS Blowholes On the road winding toward Grand Cayman's East End is an amazing natural water show when the weather conditions are right. Water travels through tunnels in the rocky shore and exits through holes like a geyser. Frank Sound Road, Grand Cayman. Dart Family Park Located on the seafront just east of George Town, this picturesque playground is popular with local children. The park is also home to the National Trust, which organizes tours and other activities around the Cayman Islands. Open daily 9 am-5 pm. South Church Street, George Town, Grand Cayman. Address Frank Sound Road Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Address South Church Street, George Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park This 65-acre/26-hectare site features woodland walking trails, eight color gardens, an undisturbed lake for wildlife, floral gardens, a visitor center, a plant nursery and an exhibit dedicated to the highly endangered Cayman Blue Iguana. At the park, you will see butterflies, birds, snakes, turtles, iguanas and a huge array of native plants and trees, including orchids. An annual Orchid Show takes place in March. Open daily 9 am-5:30 pm. CI$8 adults, free for children age 12 and younger when accompanied by a parent. Frank Sound Road (about a 45-minute drive from George Town), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-947-9462. http://www.botanic-park.ky. The Pirate Caves A series of caves, once used by pirates to stash their treasure, wind beneath landscaped gardens. There is also a short self-guided nature trail and a small zoo. Open daily 9 am-5 pm. CI$6.40 adults, CI$4 children younger than 12. Bodden Town, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-947-3122. Wreck of the Ten Sails Historic Park This 65-acre/26-hectare park is a memorial to the historic wreck of the ship Cordelia, whose crew was saved by East Enders in 1794. The story is commonly known as the "Wreck of the Ten Sails." Just off the East End Highway, Grand Cayman. Address Frank Sound Road Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-947-9462 Address Bodden Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-947-3122 Address Just off the East End Highway Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands AMUSEMENT PARKS Black Pearl Skate Park This facility boasts the world's largest multilevel concrete skateboard park. At 62,000 sq ft/5,760 sq m, the Black Pearl's beginner, intermediate and expert areas offer concrete bowls, half- and quarter-pipes, and flow and street courses for each level. Skate park open Monday-Saturday 9 am-dusk, Sunday 10 am-dusk. CI$8 for all-day skate park session. Cayman Grand Harbor, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-947-4161. http://www.blackpearl.ky. Address Cayman Grand Harbor Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-947-4161 WINERIES, BREWERIES & DISTILLERIES Seven Fathoms Rum This distillery uses locally grown, organic sugar cane and ages the brew in oak casks 42 ft/13 m underwater to produce "kinetic maturation." Distillery tours every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday 9 am-3 pm. George Town Harbor, Grand Cayman. http://www.sevenfathomsrum.com. Address George Town Harbor Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands ! See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS ZOOS & WILDLIFE Cayman Turtle Farm With an expanded facility that includes an aviary and shark section, this Address 23-acre/9-hectare farm is one of the greatest success stories of an 825 Northwest Point Road, West endangered species being raised in captivity. Since opening in 1980, the Bay Turtle Farm has returned 30,000 turtles to the wild. More than 16,000 sea Grand Cayman Island, Cayman turtles—ranging in size from 6 ounces to 600 pounds each—call the farm Islands home. Allow 20-30 minutes for the self-guided tour. The park includes a Phone breeding pond, a touch tank for up-close and personal animal encounters, 345-949-3894 Breaker's Lagoon for swimming and Boatswain's Lagoon for snorkeling. Open Monday-Saturday 8:30 am-5 pm, Sunday hours vary. CI$36 adults, CI$20 children ages 4-12, free for children younger than 4. 825 Northwest Point Road, West Bay, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-3894. http://www.turtle.ky. Stingray City One of Grand Cayman's best-known sites is Stingray City, located in the Address North Sound. Some trips take you to Stingray City to dive or snorkel in Grand Cayman Island, Cayman 20-ft-/6-m-deep water, while others take you to Stingray Sandbar where Islands you wade with the stingrays in waist-deep water. After years of enjoying free snacks from visitors, the rays are tame enough to hand-feed. In fact, they seem to vie for human touch as they glide by. (You can, of course, just view them from the boat.) Be aware that Stingray City can get very crowded—expect a dozen or more boats and a couple hundred people in the vicinity. A full-time police officer patrols the waters, enforcing rules that safeguard the rays' well-being and ensuring that boats are properly licensed and follow safety precautions. The daily gathering of whip-tailed creatures understandably appeals to almost every visitor—you simply can't do this at home. Go with a small group; you're more likely to get individual attention from the rays. Costs vary depending on which tour company you choose. http://www.stingraycitytrips.com. " See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS RECREATION Grand Cayman is a scuba-diving mecca as well as a hotbed for those who like to loll away the hours relaxing on the beach or participating in land- and water-based adventures. The prevailing winds on Grand Cayman's East End and North Sound provide near-perfect conditions for a variety of water sports, including parasailing, kayaking and windsurfing. Or take a ride on a catamaran, glass-bottomed boat, luxury yacht or with a submarine or sport-fishing tour operator. BEACHES The main resort area on Grand Cayman is Seven Mile Beach. It's considered one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, with a crescent of soft, white sand fringed by clear turquoise water. Beginning snorkelers can walk right in from the beach. Don't expect to enjoy the scenery in solitude, though: This stretch of shore is the most built-up section of the island, lined with hotels and condos, and crowded during the high season. You can walk to the southern end of Seven Mile Beach from George Town or take a cab (CI$8-$16 one way, depending on how far you go) or a bus (about CI$2.50) to the northern end at West Bay. All beaches in the Cayman Islands are open to the public, so you can cut between the resorts and walk along Seven Mile Beach. (Some hotels charge a small fee to use their facilities.) Most of the resorts have pools and restaurants where you can dine on Caribbean cuisine alfresco. Less-visited beaches on Grand Cayman include Rum Point and Cayman Kai (at the Cayman Kai Beach Resort) on the north shore of the island, about an hour's drive from George Town. Though they're somewhat off the beaten track, you certainly won't have to do without food, drink or watersports options. Other Grand Cayman beaches to consider include Smith Cove, south of George Town off South Church Street and near the Grand Old House restaurant. It offers no amenities and is a favorite of those who prefer privacy. Those prepared to explore will find several other beaches nearby. Spotts Public Beach is a short walk from Spotts Landing (where cruise ships drop off passengers in rough weather). Sparse on facilities, it's a delightful hideaway for those who want to get away from the crowds. BIRD WATCHING Bird enthusiasts should contact the National Trust to learn about upcoming bird-watching activities. Tours visit various areas and vary according to bird migration patterns. Phone 345-749-1121. http://www.nationaltrust.org.ky. Governor Michael Gore Bird Sanctuary Although compact, this 2.78-acre/1.13-hectare wilderness refuge commonly known as Governor's Pond is a protected bird habitat that packs in more than 60 biodiverse bird species, including wetland birds. The best time for viewing birds is during the dry season December-May. Free. Spotts Newlands Road, Grand Cayman. Address Spotts Newlands Road Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands http://www.nationaltrust.org.ky/index.php/info-sheets/governor-michael-gore-bird-sanctuary. Malportas Pond See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Malportas Pond Local farmer Willie Ebanks' passion for the West Indian Whistling Duck is so strong he converted his farm into a bird sanctuary. More than 400 of the ducks call his place home. Best bird-viewing times are early-morning and evening. Other birds also live there, including herons, egrets and coots. North Side, Grand Cayman. Address North Side Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands BOATING & SAILING Small sailboats, catamarans, water bikes and canoes are available on Seven Mile Beach. If you want to see the underwater world without getting wet, take a ride in one of the submarines or semisubmarines that operate there. The view of fish and coral is not quite as good as if you were actually in the water, but it is the next best thing. For windsurfing, the east end has the most consistent wind, and the operator of choice is Morritt's Tortuga Club (phone 345-947-7449; http://www.morritts.com). It's also possible to windsurf off Seven Mile Beach. Atlantis Adventures Grand Cayman This company runs a large sub that can carry 40 passengers (make sure you get a window seat). The sub dives to a maximum depth of 100 ft/30 m to view purple sea fans, coral and fish. Reservations are recommended. CI$80 (CI$68 online) adults, CI$48 children ages 4-12 (children younger than 4 not admitted). 130 S. Church St., George Town, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-7700. Toll-free 866-546-7820. http://www.atlantisadventures.com. Cayman Kayaks The adventurous can paddle sit-on-top kayaks and explore bays, coves and canals by day and by night. When evening conditions permit, a bioluminescence tour is offered at Rum Point Beach on the north side of Grand Cayman. Tours are offered 15 evenings per month. Reservations required. SafeHaven Drive, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-926-4467. http://www.caymankayaks.com. Nautilus For a semisubmersible excursion, try the Nautilus. This semisubmarine never completely submerges, but visitors can see marine life from the underwater observation portion. Six different tours are available. CI$32 regular tour, CI$36 tour and snorkeling. Phone 345-945-1355. http://www.nautilus.ky. Address 130 S. Church St., George Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-949-7700 Address SafeHaven Drive, Seven Mile Beach Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-926-4467 Address Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-945-1355 Sail Cayman See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Sail Cayman For a more intimate experience, charter a half- or full-day excursion aboard a 45-ft/14-m yacht or 30-ft/9-m powerboat. Set and custom itineraries are available. Phone 345-916-4333. http://www.sailcayman.com. Address Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-916-4333 FISHING Fishing is popular in the Cayman Islands, and any of about 30 boats on Grand Cayman can accommodate you for light tackle, fly-fishing or offshore outings where the big fish lurk. You'll angle for sailfish, dolphin (the fish, not the mammal), barracuda, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, and blue and white marlin. Full- or half-day trips are available. Expect to pay about CI$445 per boatload for a half-day of fishing on a large offshore cruiser. Chip-Chip Charters offers tours as well as deep-sea fishing excursions aboard the 31-ft/10-m Tiara Express (phone 345-947-1093). Capt. Marvin's has been in business since the 1950s and leads reef and deep-sea fishing charters. Phone 345-945-4590. http://www.captainmarvins.com. For more information about fishing in Cayman, contact the Cayman Islands' Angling Club. Phone 345-945-3131. http://www.fishcayman.com. GOLF Britannia Golf and Beach Club This Jack Nicklaus-designed course can be played with the special Cayman ball, which flies half the distance of a regulation golf ball. The course, reminiscent of such legendary courses as Royal Troon and Turnberry, also can be played as a regular 18-hole course. Daily 8 am-5 pm. Greens fees run CI$53-$121 and include a cart. Club rental is additional. Phone 345-745-4653. http://www.britannia-golf.com. North Sound Club This Roy Case-designed, 18-hole championship golf course looks to the island's North Sound. It has a reputation for being challenging and for offering players a quick respite as native birds fly overhead and iguanas dart across the green. Rates are seasonal. Safehaven Drive (just off West Bay Road), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-947-4653. http://www.northsoundclub.com. Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman Resort This Greg Norman-designed, nine-hole golf course offers some of the island's nicest links at this luxury property on the swanky Seven Mile Beach strip. Expect five long par-fours, and eight of the nine holes are on water. The private course is perfect for novices and pros alike. Greens fees run about CI$177 for an 18-hole game, plus caddy fee and gratuity. Children age 15 and younger play free for certain tee times after 3 pm if accompanied by an adult. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-815-6500. Address Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-745-4653 Address Safehaven Drive Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-947-4653 Address Seven Mile Beach Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-815-6500 # See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/GrandCayman/Golf/Default.htm. HIKING & WALKING If you'd like to explore the wooded interior of Grand Cayman, make arrangements to hike the Mastic Trail, a 200-year-old trail that's been groomed and marked. Named for the majestic mastic tree, the trail takes you through an ancient woodland area and a native mangrove swamp. We recommend taking a tour with the National Trust (phone 345-749-1121; http://www.nationaltrust.org.ky/index.php/info-sheets/mastic-reserve-trail) or Silver Thatch Excursions (phone 345-925-7401), because the trail is hard to find on your own. Another option for hiking is the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. Grand Cayman has several caves to explore, including Pirate Cave and Bat Cave; however, they're not as impressive as those on Cayman Brac. If you go to Bat Cave (which does have bats), you have to climb down a 10-ft/3-m ledge, so be sure to wear shoes with good tread. Don't disturb the bats, which are a protected species in Cayman and are vital for controlling the mosquito population. HORSEBACK RIDING Spirit of the West Explore Grand Cayman's trails and beaches on horseback. Rides depart in the morning, afternoon and evening. Guests select from standard rides, private and group rides, and a ride-and-swim. Customized tours can also be arranged. Prices range CI$60-$120. Conch Point Road, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-916-6488. http://seahorses.ky. Address Conch Point Road Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-916-6488 SCUBA & SNORKELING Steep walls, incredibly clear water and good fish life have made the Cayman Islands one of the top dive and snorkeling spots in the Caribbean. Although all of the islands offer great conditions, Grand Cayman sees more divers and snorkelers than the smaller islands, largely because it has more visitors. Expect plenty of company in the water. You can snorkel and dive from the beaches on Grand Cayman (there are even two shipwrecks in George Town Harbour—the Balboa and the Cali—that can be reached from shore). The USS Kittiwake is at a dive site on the northern end of Seven Mile Beach. But the best scenery requires a boat. Because the waters around the islands are a protected marine park, there are special moorings for dive boats to prevent reef damage. There are a lot of dive sites to choose from off Grand Cayman. The most convenient are on the west (leeward) side of the island, near George Town and Seven Mile Beach. One of the most popular sites is Eden Rock, south of George Town. Shore diving is popular a few more blocks south at Sunset House where divers can rent everything from tanks to weight belts. Another good site is the Oro Verde, a ship that was purposely sunk off Seven Mile Beach to support sea life—and attract divers. There's plenty of coral off Seven Mile Beach, but the quality of the reef there is declining. This is largely because of the tremendous number of divers and snorkelers who visit the area: More traffic inevitably leads to more damage, despite the protective measures put in place. More experienced divers will want to try the North Wall or East End, which most dive masters think have the best dive sites on Grand Cayman. They attract more large pelagic animals such as sharks, eagle rays and turtles. Be aware that these areas generally have rougher sea conditions, however, and are more suited to those with some dive experience. They also require a longer boat ride. $ See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Make reservations to snorkel or dive at one of the island dive shops, and do so in advance, if possible. Many excursions leave in the morning to take advantage of light winds early in the day. We recommend using one of the smaller, more personalized dive operators rather than the larger "cattle boat" companies. With fewer people around, you'll have a better chance of enjoying the scenery. Take your underwater camera or rent one with the rest of your gear. Joining a small group is an especially good idea if you're taking instruction in diving. Most operators offer a resort course for beginners: an hour or so of classroom and pool work followed by a shallow dive with an instructor. Although this course does not lead to certification, it's a good introduction to diving. PADI certification courses are offered around the island. To ensure lots of time in the water and not behind a computer, do the required online work before your trip. In our experience, the dive operators in Grand Cayman, large and small, are very professional and very safe (the islands have one of the best underwater dive safety records in the world). If you're arriving on a cruise, check with your ship's activity director to see if beginner classes are offered onboard. Anyone not taking instruction must be certified as a diver and must present a C card to rent equipment and go diving. One-tank dive packages cost around CI$40. All operators offer snorkel trips as well, some with lunch included. They run about CI$20-$60. Snorkel gear rents for CI$12-$16 per day and is available at many outlets along Seven Mile Beach. In the event of a diving emergency, the Divers Alert Network (DAN) will provide treatment advice and, if necessary, arrange for evacuation (phone 919-684-9111 or 919-684-4326—both lines accept collect calls). DAN also can answer questions about diving medicine in a nonemergency situation. For more information, contact DAN's headquarters in the U.S. Phone 919-684-2948. Toll-free (in the U.S. and Canada) 800-446-2671. % See & Do: Nightlife DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS NIGHTLIFE Even though Grand Cayman is far and away the liveliest of the islands, evening entertainment remains rather low-key. One reason is that most cruise ships depart the island in late afternoon. If you find yourself in town for the night, don't expect lots of excitement. Many bars close before midnight. The most popular activity is grabbing a cold drink and watching the sunset (especially on Friday, when most people on the island head somewhere for happy hour). If you're planning your own sunset cocktail, visit the liquor store before 7 pm Monday-Friday. Most of the resorts have clubs with live music (reggae, rock, disco, and country-and-western). Musician George "Barefoot Man" Nowak performs a couple of nights a week at The Reef Resort in East End. http://www.thereef.com/en/thingsToDo/diningNightlife.html. The nightlife scene changes frequently, and the best place for entertainment information is the Friday edition of the Caymanian Compass newspaper. BARS, TAVERNS & PUBS Legendz Bar This sports bar, in a strip mall across the street from the Westin Hotel on Seven Mile Beach, has loads of entertainment, specialty drinks and 11 TVs. There is also an extensive appetizer and sandwich menu. Open Monday-Friday 11:30 am-1 am, Saturday 11:30 am-midnight, Sunday noon-midnight. Falls Shopping Centre, West Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-943-3287. http://www.eats.ky/legends.html. My Bar at Sunset House This popular spot sits on the water, and the sun sets directly opposite. Shore diving is popular at this location, so it is busy throughout the day with people coming up from the water to relax, eat and catch some rays. Open Monday-Friday 10 am-1 am, Saturday 10 am-midnight, Sunday 11:30 am-midnight. South Church Street (just outside of George Town), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-7111. http://www.sunsethouse.com. Rackham's Pub and Restaurant Sitting on a long jetty with a bar, tables and comfortable rattan furniture, this is a nice spot to gaze at the George Town harbor and chat with locals. There is a pub-style menu and a more refined menu. The tip of the jetty offers a tent-covered lounge area perfect for hosting small private events. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-1 am, Saturday 10 am-midnight, Sunday 10:30 am-midnight. North Church Street, George Town, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-945-3860. Address Falls Shopping Centre, West Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-943-3287 Address South Church Street Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-949-7111 Address North Church Street, George Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-945-3860 Royal Palms Beach Bar See & Do: Nightlife DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Royal Palms Beach Bar Right on the sands of Seven Mile Beach, this casual outdoor beach bar has a DJ on Wednesday night for the crowd who likes to dance, and live music on Friday and Saturday for those who want to groove beachside. Open Sunday-Thursday until 10 pm, Friday until 1 am and Saturday until midnight. 537 W. Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-945-6358. http://royalpalmscayman.com. Address 537 W. Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-945-6358 DANCE & NIGHTCLUBS Calico Jack's Bar & Grill A rustic venue right on Seven Mile Beach, this place is hopping at night when DJs spin or when the Full Moon Party takes place. Strobe lights flicker across the sand, and patrons sip potent rum punches and move between the dance floor and the beach. Daily until midnight or 1 am. Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-945-7850. O Bar When all the other bars have closed, this is where crowds gather to dance late into the night. This two-story club has a dance floor, an upstairs lounge area and a VIP room. No cover charge before 11 pm. Open Monday-Friday 10 pm-3 am. Queen's Court Shopping Center, George Town, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-943-6227. http://www.obar.ky. Address Seven Mile Beach Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-945-7850 Address Queen's Court Shopping Center, George Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-943-6227 See & Do: Performing Arts DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS THEATER The Cayman Drama Society For more than 40 years, the Cayman Drama Society has brought excellent local theater to Grand Cayman. In 1990, the theater group took up residence in the Prospect Playhouse and averages four productions a year, along with other public events. There is occasional dinner theater, and the reasonably priced full bar in the lobby invites tourists, expats and locals to mingle. Tickets start at CI$25. 223B Shamrock Road, Red Bay, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-5054. Toll-free 800-969-7415. http://www.cds.ky. Address 223B Shamrock Road, Red Bay Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-949-5054 See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS SHOPPING Shopping is good on Grand Cayman, but prices are a bit high. There's no shortage of duty-free shops stocked with a wide variety of jewelry, watches, crystal, china, perfume, clothing, woolens, linens, liquor and other items. We suggest that you know the going price at home before you buy: Just because something is duty-free doesn't mean it's a bargain. Shopping Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5 pm, Saturday 8:30 am-12:30 pm. Most George Town businesses lock up tight after noon on Saturday. Some shops stay open until 9 pm on weeknights. All businesses are closed on Sunday, except restaurants and dive shops. Hours vary depending on whether a cruise ship is in port. BOOKSTORES Book Loft Owned and run by the Cayman Humane Society and its volunteers, this is a treasure trove of books, all meticulously organized alphabetically and by subject matter. Book prices range CI$1-$5 and are mostly secondhand and in good condition. The store also sells CDs, DVDs and board games for less than CI$5. Open Monday 12:30-4 pm, Tuesday-Saturday 9 am-4 pm (Thursday also 5:30-7:30 pm). 153 N. Sound Way, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-946-8053. http://www.caymanhumanesociety.com. Book Nook If you're looking for a great place to buy a book, pack of cards or a game to help keep you amused during your holiday, this is the spot. It also has a branch downtown on Harbour Drive in the Anchorage Centre (phone 345-949-7392). Galleria Plaza, West Bay Road, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-945-4686. Books & Books This modern bookstore houses a huge selection of reading material. Open Monday-Saturday 10 am-9 pm. Located at the entrance of Camana Bay, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-640-2665. http://www.booksandbooks.com/grandcayman. Address 153 N. Sound Way Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-946-8053 Address Galleria Plaza Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-945-4686 Address Located at the entrance of Camana Bay Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-640-2665 GALLERIES Cathy Church's Underwater Photo Center and Gallery ! See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Cathy Church's Underwater Photo Center and Gallery This gallery showcases the underwater photography of Cathy Church. You can purchase beautiful framed or unframed images of fish and corals. Sunset House Hotel, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-7415. http://www.cathychurch.com. Esteban Gallery-The New Interpretation of Art This locally owned and managed gallery features the works of owner Horacio Esteban, who specializes in Caymanite stone art in addition to indigenous Caymanian art. Corner of Fort and North Church streets (on the ground floor of the AALL Trust & Banking building), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-947-2787. Guy Harvey Gallery & Shoppe Grand Cayman resident and world-renowned marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey runs a large gallery on the waterfront selling his signature artwork and apparel. 49 S. Church St., George Town, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-943-4891. http://www.guyharveyinc.com. Island Glassblowing Studio Selling both decorative and functional pieces, this studio is a good place to splurge on a pricier souvenir. Choose from bowls reflecting the Caribbean blue waters, conch shell replicas and Christmas tree ornaments. 189 N. Church St., George Town Harbor, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-946-1483. http://www.islandglassblowing.com. Kennedy Gallery/Cayman Fine Art Visitors can buy an original or a print as a souvenir from this great place where local artists display their work. Open Monday-Friday 10 am-5 pm, Saturday 10 am-4 pm. West Shore Center, West Bay Road, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-8077. http://www.kennedygallerycayman.com. Address Sunset House Hotel Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-949-7415 Address Corner of Fort and North Church streets Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-947-2787 Address 49 S. Church St., George Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-943-4891 Address 189 N. Church St., George Town Harbor Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-946-1483 Address West Shore Center, West Bay Road Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-949-8077 " See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS The Wreck View Art Gallery This small and weathered Caymanian-style home carries a reasonably priced collection of wooden sculptures, mugs and other miscellaneous curios. The small selection of hand-blown glass jewelry alone makes the stop worthwhile. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30 am-5 pm, Sunday 10 am-4 pm. East End, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-928-6662. Address East End Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-928-6662 MARKETS Cayman Craft Market Just a short stroll from the cruise ship dock in George Town, this shopping area showcases some of the oldest known island crafts. Locally made items in leather, thatch, shell and wood products can be found there. Open daily. Waterfront, George Town, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-0049 or 345-949-6999. http://www.tab.ky. Address Waterfront, George Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-949-0049 SHOPPING AREAS Bayshore Mall High-end shops, including the island's largest Kirk Freeport store, showcase luxury watches and jewelry. Favorite brands include Rolex, Patek Philippe, Cartier and Mikimoto. Other shops to check out are Lladro, Lalique and Swatch. South Church Street (in downtown George Town on the harbor), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-7477. Cardinal Avenue This shopping district is chock-full of luxury stores and shops featuring local artisans. You may recognize brands such as Kirk Jewelers, which is known for its deals on Rolex and Omega watches. Good selection of clothing boutiques and galleries, too. George Town, Grand Cayman. Caymania Duty Free This popular duty-free depot has been dazzling shoppers for more than 50 years. Make it a part of your to-do list. You'll find everything from brand-name fragrances to gold jewelry to coin collections. Vacationers also like to seek out special Cayman Island bracelets from Spanish Treasure Coin Jewelry as well as distinct pieces from the Caribbean Bracelet Co. This company's signature, with its stylish C motifs using images of the sea, is reportedly highly sought after in the Caribbean. Monday-Saturday 8:30 am-6 pm. Downtown (opposite the George Town Post Office), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-7972. Address South Church Street Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-949-7477 Address George Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Address Downtown Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-949-7972 See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Duty Free on the Waterfront This two-floor shopping emporium packs in the finest jewelry, gifts and designers such as Honora, Sorrelli and Michal Negrin. Caribbean Hook Bracelets offers a great selection of 14- and 18-karat Italian gold, gemstone and coral jewelry. Watch for popular watch brands such as Movado, Concord, ESQ and Seiko. Coin collectors may discover some rare coins, including pieces dating as far back as 336 BC. All coins come with a certificate of authenticity. There are also many Tortuga Rum Co. shops selling the famous Tortuga Rum Cakes and Blackbeard's Liquors. Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5:30 pm, Saturday 9 am-4:30 pm. South Church Street, George Town (by the South Terminal), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-945-2160. Address South Church Street, George Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-945-2160 SPECIALTY STORES Bodden Town Art Shop This eclectic shop on the island's eastern end sells the work of more than 50 local artists. Souvenirs include jewelry, paintings, T-shirts, thatched handbags, soaps and candles. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30 am-5:30 pm. Bodden Town (next to the Pirate Caves), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-943-2827. Cayman Sea Salt This family-run business offers its exclusive line of handmade solar sea salt and bath salts at several downtown locations. Available from the booth at the Craft Market on the Waterfront in George Town, Red Sail Gift Shops at the Westin Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton's The Cupboard Gift Shop. Phone 345-943-7258. http://www.caymanseasalt.com. Heritage Craft Ltd. For local Caymanian arts and crafts, drop by this shop, which boasts a great selection of hammocks, straw goods, and loads of high-quality, handcrafted specialty items. Call for hours. Located between the South and North cruise ship terminals on the corner of Harbour Drive and Goring Avenue across from the National Museum. George Town, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-945-6041. Pure Art Gallery & Gifts This gem of a store is an old Caymanian house where the small rooms are stuffed with treasures and souvenirs such as local spices, paintings, patchwork pillows, Caymanite jewelry and colorful tiles. South Church Street (south of the George Town harbor), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-9133. http://www.pureart.ky. Address Bodden Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-943-2827 Address Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-943-7258 Address George Town Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-945-6041 Address South Church Street Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Phone 345-949-9133 Puro Rey Cigars and Liquor at the Cohiba Lounge and Cigar Emporium Be prepared to try a mojito at the full-service bar with your choice of rum, beer and cocktails in this Cuban-themed cigar shop. The best selection of cigars is tightly stored in a walk-in humidor. Duty-free prices are available for these Cuban stogies. Monday-Friday 10 am-1 am, Saturday and Sunday 10 am-midnight. Across from Westin Resort and Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-322-4788. http://www.dutyfreecubancigars.com. Address Across from Westin Resort and Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-322-4788 # Dining: Overview DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS DINING OVERVIEW Grand Cayman's lineup of restaurants is one of the best in the Caribbean. Most are located along Seven Mile Beach or in George Town. They range from North American chain restaurants to crusty beach bars to elegant dining rooms with tables covered in white linen. But whether you're munching fish-and-chips or savoring lobster ravioli, you'll probably have a view of the water. (Even the Burger King in George Town has a wonderful patio overlooking the cruise-ship harbor.) Most places have fresh fish on the menu, so you'll rarely go wrong ordering the catch of the day. Expect to pay within these guidelines for a single meal, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than CI$10; $$ = CI$10-$20; $$$ = CI$21-$50; and $$$$ = more than CI$50. LOCAL & REGIONAL Champion House A popular place with locals, tourists and expats alike. You won't write home about the decor and location, but for true local cooking and genuinely friendly service, you can't top it. It serves everything from turtle and conch to cowfoot and jerk chicken. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 43 Eastern Ave., George Town, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-949-7882. http://www.championhouse.ky. Cimboco-A Caribbean Cafe Named after a famous, locally built motorized sailing ship, Cimboco is a fun, hip and flavorful restaurant, though its location in a shopping mall somewhat detracts from the atmosphere. Dishes include Caribbean fire-roasted shrimp, caramelized sea scallops, firecracker pasta, and pesto, pine nut and eggplant pizza. The Full Moon chocolate fudge pecan pie also receives lots of rave reviews. Daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations required for parties of six or more. $-$$. Marquee Plaza (just off West Bay Road and beside the cinema), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-947-2782. http://www.cimboco.com. Over the Edge Right on the water (the deck actually juts over the water) in Old Man Bay, this little gem is well worth the drive, especially for lunch. Stop in for Cayman-style lobster or shrimp in garlic butter and herbs. All dishes are served with rice and beans, callaloo (a local version of spinach), breadfruit and fried plantains. The decor is pretty basic and the service quite slow, but the food is outstanding and a phenomenally good value. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. North Side, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-947-9568. http://over-theedge.com. Seymour's Jerk Centre For something authentically Caribbean, you have to try jerk. Seymour's has a secret recipe handed down more than 30 years ago. After marinating for more than 24 hours, chicken, pork and fish get liberally seasoned again and smoked on the outside grill. The setting is rustic, but it's where the locals go for jerk. Monday-Saturday for lunch, dinner and Address 43 Eastern Ave. Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-949-7882 Address Marquee Plaza Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-947-2782 Address North Side Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone 345-947-9568 Address Shedden Road Grand Cayman Island, Cayman Islands Phone $ Dining: Overview DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS late night. No credit cards. Shedden Road, George Town (in the parking lot of Roy's Boutique), Grand Cayman. Phone 345-916-8531 or 345-916-5418. Phone 345-916-8531 % Security DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS PERSONAL SAFETY Grand Cayman is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean, but some petty crime does exist. Don't tempt thieves by leaving valuables unattended on the beach, on your patio or in an unlocked car. Some residents hitchhike along the main road between West Bay and George Town, especially at night after the local buses stop running. It's generally safe, but we don't recommend it. For the latest information, contact your country's travel-advisory agency. HEALTH Sanitation standards in all restaurants are good, so feel free to eat anywhere on the island. The dive industry is well prepared for underwater emergencies. Most travelers encounter nothing more serious than sunburns, the occasional jellyfish sting, or mosquito or no-see-um bites when it rains or the breeze dies down. There are good medical facilities on Grand Cayman. Probably the best choice for any emergency, George Town Hospital (phone 345-949-8600) lies only a short distance from town. The facility has a 24-hour hyperbaric decompression chamber for divers. There are also a number of private facilities offering medical services: Try the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, Walkers Road, George Town. Phone 345-949-6066. http://www.chrissietomlinson.com. For the latest information, contact your country's health-advisory agency. DISABLED ADVISORY Limited resources for the disabled exist in Grand Cayman because laws are not in place to guide compliance. One local operator that provides accessible island tours is Elite Limousine Services in George Town (phone 345-949-5963). You might also try contacting The Ministry of Health and Human Services, Third Floor, Government Administration Building, George Town (phone 345-244-2318); or The Planning Department for buildings and roads, which can be reached Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5 pm. Phone 345-769-7526. DOS & DON'TS Don't litter. You'll get a CI$400 fine. Do try a Mudslide, as this is Grand Cayman's national drink, along with the ubiquitous Heineken. Do buy Tortuga or Blackbeard rums and rum cakes. They're delicious. Do drive on the left, and pay close attention when crossing the street if you're not used to traffic approaching from the right. Do exchange greetings and pleasantries. Caymanians are respectful and will say "good morning" and address you as "Miss" and "Mister." Don't buy turtle products. The U.S., Canada and the U.K. have signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and it is illegal to import such items. Facts DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Geostats Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S. Passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure. Population: 56,729. Languages: English. Predominant Religions: Christian. Time Zone: 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed. Voltage Requirements: 110 volts. Telephone Codes: 345, country code; Currency Exchange The official currency is the Cayman Islands dollar (CI$), but the U.S. dollar, with a fixed rate of exchange, is widely used and accepted everywhere. You will, however, invariably receive your change in Caymanian currency. Plenty of banks exchange currency, and all have ATMs. Banks are usually open Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm. Your hotel may also exchange currency, but check to see that its rate is equivalent to the bank rate. Be sure to exchange any leftover Cayman dollars before you leave, because it's almost impossible to convert them at the same rate outside the islands. The American Express office is in the Elizabethan Square complex opposite Barclays Bank on Shedden Road. Phone 345-949-8755. Taxes There is no local sales tax, but visitors must pay a 10% Tourism Accommodation Tax where applicable. A CI$20 departure tax is also included in the cost of the flight. Tipping Tip 15% in hotels and restaurants if a service charge has not been added to the bill. Most hotels and many restaurants automatically add a service charge of 10%-15%—if you're not sure, ask. Do tip your dive master or dive instructor—they're in the service industry. About 10% is standard. Weather Grand Cayman has a warm tropical climate throughout the year. The average temperatures range from the mid-70s to mid-80s F/23-30 C, but can climb into the mid-90s F/mid-30s C during summer months. Thankfully, the breezes from the Cayman trade winds help offset this heat. The rainy season is May-October. Hurricane season occurs June-November. Facts DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS What to Wear Modest dress is expected in the business district of Grand Cayman—which means no swimwear in town. Aside from this restriction, casual summer clothing is recommended year-round, day and night. Pack lightweight cotton, linen or silk clothing, which will provide more comfort in the tropical heat. Most restaurants will require you to put on shoes and a T-shirt if you are going in off the beach. During the winter months (especially January-March) take a light sweater with you. Some restaurants are quite smart, and you will want to dress up a little for them. If you're spending time on a boat, a waterproof Windbreaker will come in handy if the sea turns choppy. Wear a hat with a brim or a bill if you're going out on the water. Telephone The phone system is excellent. No city code is needed when dialing locally, even between islands. To avoid the high cost of placing an international call from your hotel, consider purchasing a phone card. These cards are widely available from stores and supermarkets and work in any public phone. The Cayman Islands uses GSM technology. This means roaming charges will apply for CDMA phones. Visitors with GSM handsets can purchase SIM cards. Internet Access Wi-Fi is available in most of the numerous coffee shops and major hotels. Other Internet hot spots include the public library and post office. They all charge about the same amount—CI$6 per hour. You can also get online at your hotel, but check the cost of doing so first. It may be quite expensive. Many hotels charge for Wi-Fi but provide one or two computers in the business center for guests to check email. Computer Geeks in Queen's Court Shopping Center has an Internet cafe and a repair shop. It also does house calls for those who may be on their own in a condo. Phone 345-949-4335. Mail & Package Services The main post office on Grand Cayman is at the intersection of Edward Street, Cardinal Avenue and Shedden Road. Post offices can also be found in most other districts, including a convenient location in the West Shore Centre on West Bay Road. Opening hours are generally Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5 pm. Newspapers & Magazines Visitors who want a taste of the news can choose from a few newspapers. The Caymanian Compass (http://www.compasscayman.com) and the Cayman Net News (a broadsheet newspaper) are both published Monday-Friday, and the Cayman Observer, a weekly newspaper, focuses more on the business community. The best place for up-to-date entertainment listings is the Friday edition of the Caymanian Compass. Those searching out places to go and things to do should also check any of the following tourist-oriented magazines: Destination Cayman, Key to Cayman, Activity Guide and Horizons Magazine. Specifically aimed at the culinary scene on Grand Cayman, Good Taste magazine offers the most complete guide to eating out. Other options include Grand Cayman Magazine, which basically profiles community figureheads, and New Resident magazine, a meticulously researched and complete, unbiased guide to the Cayman Islands and what it takes to live, work and become a Cayman resident. You can pick up copies of these publications at the airport, the Royal Watler cruise terminal and at Foster's supermarket. Facts DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Air Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM) is approximately 1 mi/1.6 km east of George Town on Grand Cayman. Travel between islands is by Cayman Airways. Weekend flights operate between Grand Cayman and Havana, Cuba. Phone 345-943-7070. http://www.caymanairports.ky. An expansion of Owen Roberts International Airport doubled the size of the facility and added three aircraft parking positions and four air bridges. Security at the airport has been enhanced, and the measures apply to all passengers traveling to the U.S. Check-in three hours prior to departure is now recommended. Some hotels will pick you up at the airport if you contact them in advance. Taxis wait outside baggage claim. Prices to accommodations throughout the island are fixed—ask before getting in the cab what the fare will be. Fares start at CI$20 for trips to the southern end of Seven Mile Beach. Major rental car companies maintain branches at the airport. Bus Small public buses (called Omni-Buses—usually small, individually owned Japanese minivans) run up and down the west side of the island, stopping whenever anyone waves them down. They usually operate 6 am-midnight, depending on the route, and cost no more than CI$2-$3.50 per single fare, depending on the route. Look for a yellow or green circle with a number identifying the route. Routes 1 and 2 travel between George Town and West Bay; route 3 between George Town and Bodden Town; route 4 between George Town and the East End; route 5 between George Town and the East End and the North Side along Queen's Highway; routes 6 and 7 circulate in George Town; and, less frequently, routes 8 and 9 between George Town and the North Side. It is very easy to travel on West Bay Road up and down Seven Mile Beach and to George Town; the other routes are more challenging. The bus depot located next to the public library downtown has a supervisor on duty 6 am-8 pm. That person can advise you on which bus to take where. Car Rental cars are the best way of getting around the island. Though traffic in the Seven Mile Beach area can be bad enough to make you want to walk, a car is essential for traveling anywhere beyond George Town, Seven Mile Beach or West Bay. Rates for automobiles, vans and Jeeps run CI$20-$60 a day—the price depends on the size of the vehicle and the season. A temporary license fee of CI$6 is added to each rental. There are rental offices at the airport, along Seven Mile Beach and in some large hotels. Avoid West Bay Road during rush hour and lunch time, when traffic can be heavy. One-way streets are common in George Town, as are roundabouts. Seatbelts are mandatory. Driving is on the left. Taxi Taxis are not hailed on the street, but always phoned in advance or picked up at one of the larger hotels. Rates ! Facts DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Taxis are not hailed on the street, but always phoned in advance or picked up at one of the larger hotels. Rates are fixed. Some taxi companies will provide tours around the island. Expect to pay about CI$8 per person, per hour for four people on a short tour. Longer excursions in larger vehicles may be CI$20 per person, per hour. The average cost of a taxi tour per hour is CI$30 for three people. Other Bicycles and scooters can be rented at numerous places on the island. Your hotel may also keep bicycles for rent. " Events DESTINATION GUIDE GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND, CAYMAN ISLANDS Calendar The biggest event of the year is Pirates Week, celebrated the last week of October, when the islands pay tribute to their swashbuckling heritage with fireworks, parades, street dances, costumes and even an underwater treasure hunt. The highlight of the week is the pirate landing, when a re-created pirate ship sails into George Town harbor and captures the governor. But anyone with a boat and a bottle of rum (that includes most of Grand Cayman) remains offshore long after the landing, cruising the harbor and flinging water balloons at "enemy" boats (that is, not your own). http://www.piratesweekfestival.com. Another fun festival is Batabano (pronounced Bata-bah-NEW), a Caribbean-style Carnival that takes place around Easter. The festival includes a costume parade and street dancing in George Town. http://www.caymancarnival.com. The Cayman Islands Angling Club organizes fishing tournaments throughout the year, but the most popular one is in late April. Prizes are awarded to fishermen who reel in wahoo, dolphin (the fish, not the mammal), tuna and other sport fish, but marlin are the main attraction: The biggest documented catch in the Cayman Islands weighed 584 lb/265 kg, and anyone who breaks the existing record wins CI$200,000. http://www.fishcayman.com. The Cayman Jazz Fest occurs yearly in late November or early December and features many famous musicians. The Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival takes place in January at Camana Bay. The Cayman Islands National Festival of the Arts, or Cayfest, occurs in April. It includes everything from independent film to art exhibitions to storytelling with events on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. http://www.artscayman.org/cayfest. A number of other events take place throughout the year. For more information, contact the Cayman Islands Tourism Office. Phone 354-949-0623. http://www.caymanislands.ky. DESTINATION GUIDE Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Overview DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO INTRODUCTION Cozumel, Mexico, should not be compared to Cancun, the splashy resort just 40 mi/65 km to the north and one of its nearest neighbors. In the past, Cozumel had a laid-back, sedate atmosphere, and its superior fishing, snorkeling and diving gave it a definite edge. Today, Cozumel retains its unique vibe and remains a better choice for those who don't like planned resorts, but the island is no longer an escapist's paradise. The snorkeling, diving and fishing are still great, but no one would mistake present-day Cozumel for the sleepy backwater it once was. One reason is cruise ships. Cozumel is the most popular cruise stop in Mexico and can host as many as four large ships simultaneously. When more than one ship looms on the horizon, Cozumel's restaurants, bars and shops fill with day-trippers. Everyone, from shopkeepers to bartenders, gets a bit stressed by the crowds. Still, Cozumel can be fun, especially for travelers interested in exploring its coral reefs on scuba and snorkeling outings. The island's only town, San Miguel, has retained much of its pleasant, small-town atmosphere. Those with enough time for a day trip will find the Mayan ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza, on the Yucatan mainland, within striking distance. MUST SEE OR DO Sights—Deserted beaches on Cozumel's rugged east coast; sea and jungle vistas in the Faro Celarain Eco Park; the Maya ruins at San Gervasio. Museums—The Museo de la Isla de Cozumel with its haunting Maya sculptures; the Navigational Museum with its unique navigational exhibits; the San Miguel Pax Music Museum with its collection of almost 1,000 different musical instruments from around the world. Memorable Meals—Cajun gumbo at the French Quarter with Zydeco music on the side; pasta with fresh seafood in Guido's romantic courtyard. Late Night—Frolic and fun at Senor Frog's and Carlos'n Charlie's; break a sweat dancing at Dubai; street festivities during Carnival. Walks—The malecon, San Miguel's pretty seaside promenade; the botanical gardens in Parque Nacional Chankanaab; the seaside trails and views of Mayan ruins in Faro Celarain Eco Park. Especially for Kids—Dolphin encounters at Parque Nacional Chankanaab; underwater tours with Atlantis Adventures submarines. GEOGRAPHY Cozumel is Mexico's largest island—33 mi/53 km long and 8 mi/13 km wide. The island is very flat. From the mainland, the tall hotel buildings appear to float on the horizon. Shops, restaurants and nightlife are concentrated in San Miguel, the only town, which is on the west coast of the island. Cozumel has two highways. One makes a half-circle around the southern end of the island. Heading south out of San Miguel, it's a four-lane road for about 5 mi/8 km before narrowing to two lanes. The other highway is the Carretera Transversal (the cross-island highway), which is a well-maintained road that cuts straight through the jungle-covered center of the island and connects the east and west coasts. It's hard to get lost in downtown San Miguel if you know the layout: Avenidas (avenues) run north-south, and calles (streets) run east-west. Except for the large thoroughfares, such as Avenida Melgar (also known as the Malecon or waterfront), Calle 11 and the island highways, most roads are one way. # Overview DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO HISTORY The oldest Maya ruin on Cozumel dates from AD 300. The Maya believed that Cozumel was the spiritual home of Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and love. Maya women and men were said to make a pilgrimage to the island at least once in their lifetimes to ensure the healthy birth of their children. The name Cozumel comes from the Mayan word Cuzamil-Peten, which means "Land of the Swallows." (Ixchel was often depicted with swallows at her feet.) Cozumel was a quiet place until the early 1960s, when it was first visited by Jacques Cousteau, the well-known underwater explorer and documentary filmmaker. He put the island on the map as one of the great diving destinations in the world. In recent decades, Cozumel has experienced the tourism boom that has transformed the northern Yucatan, and it has become an increasingly popular destination for cruise ships. POTPOURRI The El Cedral Festival was started about 150 years ago by Casimiro Cardenas. He survived an attack during the War of the Castes by clutching a small wooden cross and started the festival to honor its power. Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conqueror of the Aztec Empire in the 16th century, made his first landfall from Cuba at Cozumel. Soon after the Maya population was decimated by smallpox carried by the Spaniards. Cozumel was a sacred island according to its first settlers, the Maya. They dedicated the island to the moon goddess Ixchel and built many temples in her honor. Cozumel was a favorite lair for some of the most notorious pirates along the Spanish Main. Henry Morgan, the most famous of them, went on to become the British governor of Jamaica as Sir Henry Morgan. A large population that is descended from the ancient Maya lives in Cozumel—you'll know them by their Mayan dialect, round faces, dark almond-shaped eyes, coal-black hair and short stature. The women wear traditional embroidered huipil dresses, which look like sacks and help keep them cool in the heat of the day. Black coral used to be harvested by native divers who plunged more than 100 ft/31 m beneath the surface of the ocean without the use of air tanks. Now the coral is on the endangered list, and its sale is prohibited by international law. The island's airport was used as a U.S. Navy base during World War II. LOCATION Cruise ships visiting Cozumel dock at the International Pier, Punta Langosta or Puerta Maya (the most developed; http://www.puertamaya.com), all of which have been reconstructed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. For more information on each facility, see http://www.cozumelmycozumel.com/Pages/CozumelCruisesBasics.htm. During peak times, some ships anchor offshore there and tender passengers to land. These are marked on cruise ship itineraries as fundeo. Punta Langosta pier is a 10-minute walk, and the International Pier is a short taxi ride or a 2-mi/3-km walk along the waterfront to San Miguel. Puerta Maya's 9-acre/4-hectare cruise center has a transportation hub that can accommodate dozens of taxis and tour buses. The three piers have shopping malls, Internet access, taxis and tour stands. A tourist-information office on the municipal pier and a booth in the nearby park are open daily 8 am-4 pm. The island's main tourism office is on the second floor of the Plaza del Sol shopping center on the east side of the town plaza, half a block from the municipal pier. It's open Monday-Friday 8 am-3 pm. Phone 987-869-0212. $ Overview DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO http://www.islacozumel.com.mx. SHORE EXCURSIONS Typical tours may include visiting the Maya ruins at Tulum; outdoor adventures such as snorkeling, scuba diving, sportfishing, a dune-buggy tour, a tequila history tour or a jungle tour on horseback; golf; or a shopping expedition to Cancun or Playa del Carmen. Cruise passengers can take the 45-minute ferry to see Playa del Carmen's shops, stalls, vendors, restaurants and bars, where a party-hearty atmosphere rules day and night. The main shopping street in Playa is Fifth Avenue, and it's got a few familiar names such as Starbucks and Tommy Bahama. There are also shops and stalls touting Mexican wares. Do be prepared to bargain in the markets and stalls—not, however, in retail stores. Note: Long trousers, sturdy shoes, socks and long sleeves are best for jungle treks. Take along plenty of sunscreen, water and insect repellent, and don't forget to spray your ankles. A hat that shades your face from the sun is also a good idea. % See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO SIGHTSEEING San Miguel, the only town on the island, is a lively place. Although the typical traveler-oriented attractions are centered on the Plaza del Sol and Avenida Rafael Melgar (the 9-mi/14-km waterfront road also known as the malecon), be sure to take a stroll through some of the streets farther inland. You'll see the houses of the town's residents and nontourist businesses with colorful, hand-painted signs. Shop windows overflow with shoes and everyday necessities. Another slice of Cozumel life takes place in the plaza, just off the malecon, on Sunday evenings, when the town residents (and a fair number of visitors) turn out for live concerts. Many of the locals are decked out in their finery—this is where those brightly colored shoes get put through their paces. There's dancing, flirting and general merriment. It's also a great opportunity to sample homemade foods, such as tamales, that are sold by local women to raise money for their churches. As far as formal attractions go, the most popular is Parque Nacional Chankanaab, south of San Miguel, which includes botanical gardens, a fish-filled lagoon, a beach, good snorkeling waters and activities such as swimming with dolphins. At the far southern end of the island is Faro Celarain Eco Park, formerly Punta Sur Ecological Park, a nature preserve where visitors board open-air trucks to see the sights. There are some Maya ruins on the island. They're small in comparison with those at Tulum or Chichen Itza, but they're worth a visit nonetheless, especially if archaeology is an interest, or if you're up for a jungle adventure. The best-preserved ruins are at San Gervasio, in the middle of the island, and El Cedral on the southern part of the island. There are also others, less visited, at Faro Celarain Eco Park. HISTORIC SITES El Cedral This small set of ruins on the southern end of the island is visited by fewer Address people than San Gervasio, so you may have the place to yourself. The Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico ancient Maya built structures there, and it later became the first Spanish settlement on the island. It's where the conquistadors, led by Cortes, supposedly celebrated the first Catholic Mass in Mexico (though Veracruz claims this honor, as well). A one-room cinderblock church commemorates the first Mass. Most of the Maya buildings that once stood at El Cedral were torn down by the Spanish, and the ruins were further damaged when the U.S. Army built an airstrip on the site during World War II. Of the Maya ruins, one small arch is all that's easily visible today. Smaller remnants are scattered in the bush around the site, but you'll need a guide and a horse to find them, both of which can be acquired near the arch. Admission to the site is free, but you'll have to pay if you want to take a tour on horseback. An ATV tour, also for a fee, takes you to a nearby cenote for a cool dip in the smooth waters. El Cedral is located off the coastal road on the southern part of the island. Punta Molas Faro This isolated lighthouse on the north shore of the island is rarely visited, making its beach a wonderful getaway for those who like solitude and a magnificent view of the ocean. Although it's a great spot for birding, getting there by car is daunting, and you'll have to walk part of the way. The best bet is to go by boat or on a guided tour. Located at the northernmost tip of the island. Address Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico San Gervasio ! See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO San Gervasio The best-preserved ruins on the island, this site is small and compact, and Address the temples are barely one story high. A spiritual center for the Maya, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico where men and women came by canoe to pay homage to the goddess Ixchel, there are stelae, plazas and six structures to visit. The temple nearest the entrance once contained a steam bath used for purification rituals. A few hundred feet/meters away are smaller buildings where researchers believe priests would gather with pilgrims to interpret their dreams. Don't miss the temple with red handprints on the walls. It's thought that all of the buildings were once connected by roads made of limestone. Knowledgeable guides wait at the entrance to the site and will give you a tour for a fee. Daily 8 am-4 pm. Admission is US$9. San Gervasio lies about 7 mi/11 km northeast of San Miguel. Get there by taking a small, paved side road off the Carretera Transversal (the cross-island highway). MUSEUMS Museo de la Isla de Cozumel If you are interested in learning about the history of the region, visit this Address charming little museum housed in what was the island's first luxury hotel. Avenida Rafael Melgar Stroll through exhibits detailing the coral-reef system around Cozumel, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico the early history of the Maya and the saga of piracy around the island. Phone There are lots of other little nuggets as well, such as a display about 987-872-1475 Charles Lindbergh's 1928 visit to the island in his famousSpirit of St. Louis plane. Don't miss the replica of a traditional Mayan house in a courtyard with an explanation by a Maya guide of the medicinal herbs still used for healing today. Stop in for a bite to eat at the second-floor restaurant, which has stunning views of the ocean. Daily 9 am-4 pm. Admission runs about US$5. Special cultural programs are free. Avenida Rafael Melgar (between calles 4 and 6 Norte), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-1475. Navigational Museum The Punta Celerain Faro lighthouse stands between both the southern and eastern coastal highways and is home to a notable navigational museum that contains a number of interesting displays, although the views across the island's southern tip are perhaps the highlight of any visit. (One can climb the narrow, winding stairs to the top of the lighthouse for the best scenery.) Nearby, a rugged beach is a good place for a stroll. Open daily 7 am-4 pm. Admission is covered in the cost to enter the Faro Celerain Eco Park Cozumel. Address Faro Celerain Eco Park Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico (US$12). Faro Celerain Eco Park, San Miguel Pax Music Museum The San Miguel Pax Music Museum boasts a collection of hundreds of Address different musical instruments from around the world, taking in more than Avenida Benito Juarez 2,000 years of history. The traditional and indigenous Mayan flutes and Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico classical Mexican guitars are always favorites there. A gift shop sells music-related souvenirs, along with some local arts and crafts such as ritual masks. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-6 pm. Admission US$4. Avenida Benito Juarez (at Avenida 15 Norte), Cozumel. http://www.islacozumel.net/services/pax. PARKS & GARDENS Discover Mexico If you don't have time to visit the entire country, the country comes to Address you at this park in an amazing two-hour tour. Artful displays of Mexico's Carretera Sur Km. 5.5 monuments and cultures take in tequila- and handicraft-making, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico miniatures of ancient ruins, monasteries and convents, volcanoes, and Mexico City's famous Zocalo square with a film on Mexico as an ! See & Do: Sightseeing DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO introduction. A cafe gives you a taste of Mexico's best java, and a gift shop has the highest-quality crafts on the island. Open Monday-Saturday 8 am-4 pm. Entrance fee US$21 adults, US$14 children. Tickets can also be purchased in combination with a visit to Parque Nacional Chankanaab starting at US$34 per person. Carretera Sur Km. 5.5, Cozumel. Toll-free 866-464-6205. http://www.discovermexico.org. Faro Celarain Eco Park This national preserve at the southern tip of the island (formerly Punta Address Sur Ecological Park) contains 247 acres/100 hectares of jungle, wetlands, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico lagoons and beaches. Before the park was established, this was one of the Phone most isolated places on Cozumel, known primarily for the lighthouse there. 987-872-0914 Today, it still offers plenty of solitude, and cars are prohibited from entering the grounds. Instead, trucks with two-story decks are used to transport visitors through the park to view the birds and jungle vegetation and to spend time at the preserve's nice beach with hammocks. Electric bikes can also be rented for US$6 per hour if you wish to explore the park on your own, and there are kayaks and snorkeling equipment for rent. During the winter months, catamaran tours are available to nearby Colombia Lagoon, where you can do some more bird-watching and view crocodiles. (There's good bonefishing on the flats of the lagoon.) The lighthouse has been turned into a navigation museum chronicling the region's maritime history from the time of the Maya to the present and has a spectacular view from the top. Park open daily 9 am-4 pm. Park admission is US$12 adults, US$8 children ages 3-11; price includes a general tour of the park, plus access to the lighthouse and associated museum. The catamaran tour is included. The park is off Carretera Sur (the southern coastal highway) Km. 27. Phone 987-872-0914. http://www.cozumelparks.com. Parque Nacional Chankanaab This park is Cozumel's prime sightseeing and activity center, and it gives a Address lot of bang for the buck. It was built around a saltwater lagoon where you Carretera Sur Km. 9 can observe sea life (swimming in the lagoon is not allowed), and it also Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico has a large stretch of oceanfront property consisting of sand leading up to Phone rock ledges along the water. Once there, you can dive and snorkel in the 998-193-3360 ocean to see the underwater reefs, statues and a fair number of fish, or you can swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery for an extra fee (http://www.dolphindiscovery.com). Scuba diving (including certification courses), sea trek and snuba excursions can also be booked. If you're traveling with small children, take them to swim in the specially protected children's lagoon where small fish are let in from the open sea. Away from the water, there's a botanical garden with hundreds of native tropical plants that have been labeled. You can also visit Maya Zone, a replica of a Maya village with an orientation on farming and building in ancient times. Bird-watchers will find frigate birds, tanagers, woodpeckers and swallows. Keep an eye out for the park's golden iguanas—some are as long as 3 ft/1 m. Two restaurants and changing areas are located on the beach. We recommend getting to the park early to stake out a good spot near the water. Open daily 9 am-4 pm. Park admission is US$21 adults, US$14 children ages 3-11. Snorkeling equipment rental is US$10. Swimming with the dolphins (which includes park entrance) is US$139 adults; children's rates start at US$79. Dolphin Discovery also has a swimming pool, beach club and snack bar. A massage runs around US$50. Wheelchairs that operate on the beach are available. Carretera Sur Km. 9 (6 mi/9 km south of San Miguel), Cozumel. Phone 998-193-3360. Toll-free 866-393-5158 from the U.S. for Dolphin Discovery. http://www.cozumelparks.com. ! See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO RECREATION Nearly all recreation on the island centers around the picturesque beachfront, with snorkeling, scuba diving, sportfishing and kayaking, windsurfing and sailing the most popular activities. Golf, tennis and horseback riding are also common. Groups can also sign up for Jeep tours and other off-the-road adventures. BEACHES There are three types of beaches on Cozumel. First, there are some stretches of white sand on the west side of the island, where most of the resorts and attractions are located. These beaches front mostly calm, turquoise-colored water sheltered by the Yucatan mainland, making it good for swimming and snorkeling. The best of the sandy beaches are Playa Azul, Playa Pila and Playa San Juan to the north; and Playa San Francisco, Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, Mr. Sancho's, Nachi Cocom and Playa Palancar to the south. Also on the west side of the island, you'll find "beaches" made of brown limestone, a phenomenon known as "iron shore." To get into the water, you'll usually have to use a set of steps or a ladder from the shore or from a pier. Although iron shore isn't as picturesque as the white beaches, such areas are usually better for snorkeling. The waterfront at Parque Nacional Chankanaab is iron shore, but some sand has been trucked in to create a more pleasant sunning area. On the east side of the island, facing the open waters of the Caribbean Sea, there are pristine beaches of white sand that are largely deserted. They're beautiful, but the water there can be dangerous, plagued by rough surf and dangerous undertows (which is why so few people frequent the beaches). These shores can be good for lounging, but we recommend that you stay out of the water. You should also keep in mind that the east side is mostly uninhabited save for a few ramshackle but charming restaurants and beach bars. Mr. Sancho's "Loco on the beach" is the slogan of this place, where you'll find the most complete assortment of activities in Cozumel. Lounge under a palapa on the beach, enjoy the seafood restaurant, swing on the benches in Chichi's bar, relax in the 30-person whirlpool, or participate in a brief seminar on tequila and mescal. Rent a speedboat, go parasailing, go horseback riding, or take an ATV or motorcycle tour of the jungle. A shopping area re-creates the ambience of a colorful Mexican town, complete with locally made crafts. Daily 9 am-5 pm. Carretera Sur Km. 13, Cozumel. Phone 987-871-9174. http://www.mrsanchos.com. Nachi Cocom Beach Club If you want to combine sunning on a wide, white-sand beach with a good lunch and lots of activities, Nachi Cocom is the right place. Visitors can rent WaveRunners, go parasailing, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing or simply lounge on the beach or by the pool followed by a session of massage or hair braiding. Daily 9 am-4 pm. All-inclusive pricing is US$55 adults, US$35 children ages 12-17, US$17 children ages 4-11. Attendance is limited to 100 guests per day, so reservations are encouraged, especially during the busy season and holidays. Carretera Sur Km. 16.5, Cozumel. Phone 987-857-1157. http://www.cozumelnachicocom.net. Address Carretera Sur Km. 13 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-871-9174 Address Carretera Sur Km. 16.5 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-857-1157 Palancar !! See & Do: Recreation Palancar This wide beach lies in front of the most famous reef in Cozumel. There, local businesses offer such water activities as kayaking, Jet-Skiing, sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving for beginners. A palapa-style restaurant in the middle of a great jungle setting serves typical Yucatan dishes and seafood. Daily 10 am-4 pm. No admission fee. Carretera Sur Km. 18, Cozumel. Playa Mia Grand Beach Park Formerly Playa Sol, this is a lovely beach area that's ideal for swimming and snorkeling. There are underwater replicas of Maya statues to look at if you get tired of the fish. You can also rent a kayak or sailboat, scale a floating climbing wall, go parasailing, have lunch at one of the restaurants and visit a small zoo. On the down side, loud music is often blasting at the beach, and there are a lot of in-your-face souvenir vendors. Daily 9 am-6 pm. US$30 admission. Carretera Sur Km. 15.5, Cozumel. Phone 987-872-9030. http://www.playamiacozumel.com. Playa San Francisco One of the oldest beaches in Cozumel and shared by several hotels, Playa San Francisco has up-to-date facilities. Maya structures rim the wide, safe beach. The on-site restaurant offers seafood and Mexican cuisine, and there are plenty of watersports and beach activities, as well as a large area for sunbathing. Daily 9 am-5 pm. Carretera Sur Km. 15, Cozumel. DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Address Carretera Sur Km. 18 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Address Carretera Sur Km. 15.5 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-9030 Address Carretera Sur Km. 15 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico BOATING & SAILING Most beachfront hotels rent sailboarding equipment. Expect to pay US$50-$60 for up to two hours. Parasailing is also possible. Cozumel Sailing Charter a sailboat (a 35-ft/11-m trimaran or a 22-ft/7-m sloop), with or without crew, for a variety of excursions: sunset sails, all-day adventure sails or deep-sea fishing. Reservations required. Rates start at US$90 adults, US$45 children. Sailing lessons offered. Carretera Norte Km. 3 (at Puerto Abrigo Marina North), Cozumel. Phone 987-869-2312 or 987-869-1777. http://www.cozumelsailing.com. Address Carretera Norte Km. 3 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-869-2312 FISHING Although no fishing is allowed near Cozumel's protected reefs, the waters around the island have some of the best fishing in the Caribbean, particularly at the drop-off near Playa del Carmen. Catch includes swordfish, blue and black marlin (catch-and-release only), shark, wahoo and barracuda, depending upon the time of the year. On the flats you can catch bonefish. For a private charter, prices start around US$400 for the boat for a half-day excursion, and up to US$700 for a full day. Make plans in advance, or go to the marina, Puerto Abrigo at Carretera Norte Km. 3, and deal directly with the boat captains there. Albatros Charters !" See & Do: Recreation Albatros Charters Offers private sportfishing charters. Rates range US$445-$675 for four to eight hours, depending on the size of the boat. Boats hold a minimum of six people. Individuals can join a group starting at US$200. Phone 987-872-7904. Toll-free 888-333-4643 from the U.S. http://www.albatroscharters.com. Cozumel Fishing Charters Offers deep-sea outings, bottom fishing, fly-fishing tours and combination outings with a variety of local suppliers. Phone 987-869-8560. Toll-free 877-288-7765 from the U.S. http://www.fishingcozumel.net. DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Address Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-7904 Address Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-869-8560 GOLF Cozumel Country Club The island moved one step up the tourism hierarchy when this course opened. The 18-hole, par-72 layout was designed by Jack Nicklaus. Greens fees for nonmembers run US$129 before 12:30 pm and include a shared cart; US$84 after 12:30 pm. (Guests at some luxury hotels get reduced fees of US$129 for morning play, US$85 for afternoon play.) Package prices start at US$159 if booked online and include 18 holes with a shared cart, Nike club rental, two sleeves of golf balls, range balls and a course souvenir. Carretera Costera Norte Km. 6.5, Cozumel. Phone 987-872-9570. http://www.clubcorp.com/Clubs/Cozumel-Country-Club. Address Carretera Costera Norte Km. 6.5 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-9570 HORSEBACK RIDING Rancho Buenavista Scenic setting for guided horseback rides through rugged tropical landscape. Can accommodate individuals or groups. Monday-Saturday 9 am-3 pm. Avenida Rafael Melgar (at Calle 11 Sur), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-1537 or 987-872-4374. Address Avenida Rafael Melgar Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-1537 SCUBA & SNORKELING Jacques Cousteau introduced the world to the underwater life of Cozumel in the 1960s, and despite some damage from overuse and hurricanes, the reefs that ring the island remain wonderful places to snorkel and scuba dive—some are close enough that you can swim to them from shore. Famous around the world, this Great Mayan Reef marks the beginning of a 600-mi-/965-km-long reef system that stretches south to Central America. Dive shops are plentiful—the Cozumel Association of Dive Operators includes more than 100 certified dive shops, many of which operate out of the resorts. Cozumel also has several decompression chambers—it was the first Mexican resort area to do so—which earns the island kudos for safety. Divers generally can expect visibility of 100 ft/30 m, but it's even better than that at Palancar Reef, at the southern end of the island. Expect to see coral of every color of the rainbow. The rest of the marine life is colorful, too: anemones, starfish, octopuses, lobster, crabs and, on a larger scale, graceful rays and dolphins. San ! See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Francisco Reef is popular for its plentiful fish, and the Santa Rosa Wall and the Colombia Pinnacles rate high for sheer excitement as well as for bountiful sea life. Because of strong currents, Cozumel dive operators practice a style of diving known as "drift diving." Divers relax and float with the 5- to 6-knot Guiana Current, and dive-boat captains follow behind and pick up their groups at the end of the dive. With so many fine dive operations on the island, it's a buyer's market. If you happen to be visiting in the off-season (May-early December), you can shop around once you get there. During high season, it's best to reserve in advance. You must be a certified diver and present your certification card to go diving, although some shops offer an introductory course for beginners (check locally). Expect to pay around US$75 for a two-tank dive with boat trip, water and soft drinks included. The most accessible place to snorkel is the Parque Nacional Chankanaab, about 6 mi/10 km south of San Miguel. Another possibility is Airplane Flats in front of the El Cid La Ceiba Beach Hotel, where a plane was sunk in shallow water for the filming of a movie. Snorkeling gear rents for about US$5 a day. Another option to consider is one of the island's many snorkel tours to Palancar Gardens and Colombia Shallow Reef. Prices range US$50-$65 for a guided group snorkeling trip with boat. Note: Always be careful when snorkeling in Cozumel. Currents along the west side of the island can be swift, and even though most are located away from the shoreline, that's not always the case. On the east coast, the water is much rougher, with stronger currents and undertows. Never go snorkeling or diving alone. Aqua Safari Perfect for those who are new to diving, Aqua Safari has received many accolades for safety and expertise in working with novice divers. Also offers more than 20 intermediate and advanced courses geared for open water, dive masters and underwater photography. Expect to pay US$75-$85 for a two-tank dive, not including equipment rental and a small park fee; add US$15 for a third tank dive on the same trip. Night dives are US$45, and a one-tank afternoon dive is US$35. Ave. Rafael Melgar No. 429 (between calles 5 and 7 Sur), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-0101. http://www.aquasafari.com. Address Ave. Rafael Melgar No. 429 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-0101 Deep Blue This company offers several levels of certification (PADI, TDI, IANTD). Its divers know the best reefs and use advanced equipment to find the perfect spots to dive. Rental equipment is available, too. Expect to pay US$75 for a two-tank dive, including equipment. Promotes packages with several local hotels. You can also charter your own boat with a dive master for five or fewer divers. Ave. Rosado Salas No. 200, Cozumel. Phone 987-872-5653. http://www.deepbluecozumel.com. Address Ave. Rosado Salas No. 200 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-5653 Dive Cozumel/Yellow Rose If you want to live the high life, sign on for one of the trips aboard the Yellow Rose, a 48-ft/15-m craft. A gourmet catered lunch is included. A three-tank dive departs daily at 8:30 am and returns at 4 pm. It costs US$115. A two-tank afternoon/night dive departs at 4:30 pm and returns at 9 pm for US$80. Ave. Rosado Salas No. 85 (between avenidas Rafael Melgar and 5), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-4567. Toll-free 866-319-2649 from the U.S. http://www.divecozumel.net. Address Ave. Rosado Salas No. 85 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-4567 Dive Paradise ! See & Do: Recreation DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Dive Paradise This company offers dive training at all levels and a variety of dive trips by Address day or night, either singly or in packages. The company has six locations Ave. Rafael Melgar No. 602 around Cozumel; you can rent or buy equipment at its main store on Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Avenida Melgar and at the Costa Club Resort. Two-tank dive trips start at Phone US$74, and one-tank trips are offered 3-5 pm, starting at US$35. An 987-869-0503 exclusive "Cock-A-Doodle-Dive" is offered 6 am-1 pm, allowing divers to visit the reefs before other boats have even left the shore—three tanks for US$98 for a minimum of three divers. Ave. Rafael Melgar No. 602, Cozumel. Phone 987-869-0503 or 987-872-1007. http://www.diveparadise.com. Snuba and Sea Trek These below-the-waves adventures are available at Chankanaab Park, upping the array of activities already on tap. Snuba has participants connected to air hoses as they goggle their way past fish and coral to depths of 20 ft/6 m. Sea Trekkers don spacelike white helmets with their own air supply—they don't even get their eyelashes wet as they walk on sand 25 ft/8 m under the water. No swimming skills needed. Tours leave every hour 9 am-3 pm next to Dolphin Discovery at the park. Price is US$65 per person. Carreterra Sur Km. 9, Cozumel. Phone 987-869-0322. Address Carreterra Sur Km. 9 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-869-0322 SPAS AND HEALTH CLUBS Most all-inclusive resorts feature a spa or at least some spa services such as massage therapy. However, in some cases the term "spa" may be tacked onto a resort's name without genuine merit. As a general rule of thumb, check a hotel's Web site to see if it provides a detailed description of its spa facilities and services. Resorts with full-service spas are proud of them and, in most cases, will provide numerous photos and specific details about their services online. There are also a number of options on the island for day visits. Acqua Spa Set just off the southwestern turn of the Costera Sur highway, in a white, three-story bungalow with Spanish tile, this secluded spa offers undisturbed views of nature while offering a suite of treatments. Massages (including Swedish, hot stone and aromatherapy), facials, body wraps, hydrotherapy, waxing and laser hair removal are all offered with prices ranging US$50-$150. A small gym is available, and Pilates instruction is offered. Open Monday-Friday 9 am-7 pm; Saturday 9 am-6 pm. Costera Sur Km. 2.4, Cozumel. Phone 987-872-7192. Islander Spa Cozumel Day guests are welcome at this elaborate modern spa located at the Aura Cozumel Resort. The facility has five elegant single treatment cabins, five couples' cabins, three whirlpool tubs and dedicated steam rooms for men and women. Massage, body wraps and polishes, facials, aromatherapy, and other treatments using modern and ancient healing rituals are offered. Beauty and hair services are available. Daily 9 am-9 pm. Most treatments cost US$55-$120. Carretera Costera Sur Km. 12.9, Cozumel. Phone 987-872-9300. http://www.auraresorts.com/eng/islander_spa.asp. Address Costera Sur Km. 2.4 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-7192 Address Carretera Costera Sur Km. 12.9 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-9300 Spa del Sol !# See & Do: Recreation Spa del Sol With a pleasant and unassuming office a few blocks from the square in San Miguel, Spa del Sol is a convenient retreat from the bustle outside. In addition to traditional services, including an array of massages, skin treatments and beauty services, the spa features special treatments, such as Reiki, acupuncture, aromatherapy, Bach Flowers and ear candling. Monday-Saturday 9 am-7 pm, Sunday by appointment only. Prices US$30-$125. Calle 5 Sur No. 34 (between avenidas Rafael Melgar and 5), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-6474. http://www.spadelsolcozumel.com. DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Address Calle 5 Sur No. 34 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-6474 TENNIS & RACQUET SPORTS Melia Cozumel Beach Resort The resort's tennis courts are open to nonguests. Court fees are US$15-$30 an hour. Carretera Costera Norte Km. 5.8, Cozumel. Phone 987-872-9870. Address Carretera Costera Norte Km. 5.8 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-9870 http://www.melia.com/en/hotels/mexico/cozumel/melia-cozumel-all-inclusive-golf-and-beach-resort/home.htm. !$ See & Do: Nightlife DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO NIGHTLIFE San Miguel's nightlife pretty sparse and low-key compared to Playa del Carmen or Cancun and is centered downtown—it has more than 100 different restaurants, nightspots and bars—but the resort hotels also frequently offer musical entertainment at dinner. There's one on-again, off-again disco, but some restaurants have music, dancing, zany antics by the waitstaff and lots of noise that more than makes up for its absence. When holidays and vacation periods roll around, most nightspots stay open a few hours longer if there's a crowd. Depending on the time of year, some of the resort-hotels have folkloric programs with dancing and mariachis (check locally). And don't forget about Sunday night in Plaza del Sol, where local families turn out for the free concerts with impromptu dancing in the square. BARS, TAVERNS & PUBS Senor Frog's Party Central might be a more apt name, as Senor Frog's proves night Address after night why this chain bar and restaurant is ever-present in Mexican Waterfront beach towns. U.S. rock and pop classics blare through the sound system Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico while sunburned divers and wobbly cruise-ship passengers sip tropical Phone cocktails, dance to Village People songs and take photos they'll likely 987-869-1652 delete later. Politely decline the hard sell of Frog's merchandise by the waiters if you’re not interested in buying. There is a second location downtown in the Punta Langosta Mall. Waterfront (between calles 7 and 11; across from the Punta Langosta pier), Cozumel. Phone 987-869-1652. http://www.senorfrogs.com. DANCE & NIGHTCLUBS Dubai Formerly Neptuno, this dance club—the only true disco on the island—has had a series of owners and seems to open and close at the drop of a hat. When it's open, you can enjoy multiple bars and dance floors. Friday and Saturday starting at 8 pm. Cover M$70 after midnight. Waterfront (at Calle 11), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-2143. Address Waterfront Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-2143 !% See & Do: Performing Arts DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO PERFORMING ARTS The cultural scene on Cozumel is rather limited other than the annual festivities honoring Catholic saints. A weekly concert is held in the town square each Sunday evening with traditional local and regional music, dance and food. The large all-inclusive resorts have in-house theaters with nightly shows put on by the staff, but these are open only to guests. " See & Do: Spectator Sports DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO SPECTATOR SPORTS Cozumel is more a place to play sports than to watch them. There is a small baseball stadium and soccer arena, but these games are generally for the locals. Bullfights are held each Wednesday on the mainland in Cancun. " See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO SHOPPING A favorite pastime of nearly every visitor to Cozumel is shopping, and for good reason. Although prices for most crafts are quite high compared to other parts of Mexico, you'll find good buys on a wide variety of regional items: woven hammocks, leather purses and sandals, cotton clothing, ceramics, silver and gold jewelry, onyx and liquor. You can also find bargains on other Mexican handicrafts such as brightly colored baskets, papier-mache figures and wood carvings. The main shopping district surrounds the plaza and spreads out north and south along Avenida Melgar—the malecon—and the flea market is located at Calle 1 Sur, near the main plaza. Hawkers selling inexpensive trinkets and sometimes dubious-quality jewelry now line the street from the main plaza to the cruise-ship malls. Walk on the seaside sidewalk to avoid them. Buy silver, gold and semiprecious gemstone jewelry from reputable merchants, and be sure to look for the .925 stamp on silver, which verifies that it is .925 parts pure sterling. Don't be fooled by "German" silver, which isn't stamped, and is made of nickel. And don't forget to explore the side streets leading off the plaza where you can often find lower prices and unusual crafts. The cruise-ship piers at Punta Langosta, International Pier and Puerta Maya have malls with high-end boutiques and specialty shops, which vary with each pier's shopping experience. You'll find high-fashion clothing, crafts, cosmetics, electronics, jewelry (especially diamonds) and more casual name-brand wear. They are worth checking out even if you are only window shopping. Almost all stores accept U.S. dollars as well as pesos. Often you'll find prices marked in both currencies—and sometimes only in U.S. dollars. Most major credit cards are readily accepted. (You often can get a better price if you offer cash—U.S. dollars or pesos—instead of credit cards.) Do be prepared to bargain. In fact, it's expected in most markets and street stalls (though not in upscale boutiques) and can be entertaining for both buyer and seller—Cozumelenos are good-humored about the whole process. A good way to start is to offer half of what is asked. Then both negotiators work toward the middle. But don't bargain for something unless you really want it: It's considered rude not to buy after your price has been accepted. Although you may see shops selling black coral jewelry, be aware that it's on the endangered list of international trade and will be confiscated at U.S. customs and other countries when returning home, even if the seller provides a certificate. Shopping Hours: Generally Monday-Saturday 9 am-9:30 pm with reduced hours on Sunday. Some stores away from the main tourist areas close for two hours during the midafternoon siesta. MARKETS El Mercado This is the island's food market, where you can buy local spices, honey, dried chiles and Mexican pottery. You'll see plenty of Cuban cigars being sold, too, but be aware that they cannot be legally taken back to the U.S., and some of them may be fakes. The market is open daily 7 am-3 pm. Avenida Rosado Salas (between avenidas 20 and 25), Cozumel. Plaza del Sol This shopping center has two floors of crafts and jewelry, but quality varies—be sure to check purchases carefully. The merchandise includes items from all over Mexico. It opens onto a patio surrounded by shops selling silver and ceramics. Nearby is a branch of one of the world's most upscale jewelers, Van Cleef & Arpels. Plaza del Sol (east side of the main square in San Miguel), Cozumel. Address Avenida Rosado Salas Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Address Plaza del Sol Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico " See & Do: Shopping DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO SHOPPING AREAS Forum Shops A glossy-looking two-story shopping complex that could be anywhere in the Caribbean, the Forum sells high-end jewelry, clothing and perfumes, claiming to offer outlet prices. The Havana Blue bar offers spirits as well as hand-rolled cigars, and an auditorium occasionally features a local folklore performance. Open daily 10 am-9 pm. Waterfront (at Calle 10 Norte), Cozumel. Phone 987-869-1687. Address Waterfront Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-869-1687 SPECIALTY STORES Black Pearl This little shop on a side street, also called Perla Negra, sells freshwater and saltwater pearls, including big oval ones from Australia. Mexican pearls of all sizes and quality are the least expensive of the bunch. Black pearls also abound. All are fashioned into necklaces, earrings and pendants. Open Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm. Avenida 5 Sur (between avenidas Rosado Salas and 1), Cozumel. Phone 987-872 0821. http://www.cozumelpearls.com. Blue Agave A tequila boutique stocking more than 250 brands, with a sideline of excellent mescals made in Oaxaca State. Aged and "white" Don Julio, Jose Cuervo and Herradura are a few varieties up for free samples. The store ships to the U.S. and prices range US$15-$200. There's a walk-in cigar humidor in the back. Daily 9 am-9 pm. Ave. 5 No. 98 (between avenidas Benito Juarez and 2 Norte), Cozumel. Bugambilias The best place to buy handmade children's clothing, gorgeous embroidered tablecloths and lace. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30 am-3 pm and 6-9:30 pm. Avenida 10 Sur (between Avenida Rosado Salas and Calle 1 Sur; near the Waterfront), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-6282. Celebrity Jewels Finely crafted silver jewelry from the heart of Taxco, Mexico's premier silver center, is sold from the workshops of various silversmiths in this sophisticated outlet. The quality is several steps above what you'd find in the flea market. Open daily 9 am-9 pm. Ave. Rafael Melgar No. 54 (between avenidas Benito Juarez and 2 Norte, along the malecon), Cozumel. Address Avenida 5 Sur Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872 0821 Address Ave. 5 No. 98 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Address Avenida 10 Sur Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-6282 Address Ave. Rafael Melgar No. 54 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Galeria Azul "! See & Do: Shopping Galeria Azul Greg Dietrich has exhibits of his engraved blown glass, colorful silk scarves and works of other island artists at his studio. Visitors can also see him at work on his original pieces inspired by Cozumel's underwater reef life. Open Monday-Friday 11 am-7 pm, or by appointment during off hours. Ave. 15 N. No. 449 (between calles 8 and 10), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-0963. http://www.cozumelglassart.com. Habana Cigar Co. This store offers around 30 brands of hand-rolled cigars from Cuba in their original wrappings. It claims to carry no fakes, and stocks such names as Vegueros, Cohiba and Marquez. Daily from 9 am-9 pm. Ave. Rafael Melgar No. 27B (between calles 3 and 5 Sur), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-6355. Los Cinco Soles One of the oldest luxury stores in town, Los Cinco Soles occupies an entire block along the malecon, north of the ferry pier. If you don't have time to visit other shops, head there for one-stop shopping. It sells everything from high-quality Talavera pottery, jewelry, clothing and hand-blown glass to Mexican furniture and liquor. Monday-Saturday 8 am-9 pm, Sunday 9 am-5 pm. Ave. Rafael Melgar N. No. 27, Cozumel. Phone 987-872-0132. http://www.loscincosoles.com. Mr. Buho Fresh-looking black and white clothing with simple lines for women as well as men draw customers to this small shop near the main plaza. Hard-to-find, classical guayabera shirts for men are also stocked. Monday-Saturday 8 am-9 pm. Malecon (between calles 3 and 5), Cozumel. Phone 987-982-1601. Pama This store specializes in high-quality, duty-free jewelry, perfumes, watches and some casual clothing. Monday-Saturday 9:30 am-9:30 pm. Ave. Rafael Melgar S. No. 9 (at Punta Langosta Pier, along the malecon), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-0090. Pax—La Casa de la Musica Housed in a museum, this unique store has a remarkable collection of musical instruments from all over Mexico, as well as some from Central and South America. The shop also carries a selection of beautiful wood carvings, masks and other unusual handicrafts. Monday-Saturday 9 am-6 pm. Avenida 15 (at Avenida Benito Juarez), Cozumel. http://www.islacozumel.net/services/pax. DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Address Ave. 15 N. No. 449 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-0963 Address Ave. Rafael Melgar No. 27B Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-6355 Address Ave. Rafael Melgar N. No. 27 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-0132 Address Malecon Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-982-1601 Address Ave. Rafael Melgar S. No. 9 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-0090 Address Avenida 15 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico "" See & Do: Shopping Raices Handcrafts This tiny shop has unique papier-mache Mardi Gras masks, cat and bear figures, and a whole shelf of Frida Kahlo-themed knick-knacks made by the owner's daughter. Also hand-embroidered bags from Chiapas, pewter crosses and other Mexico mementos. Daily 10 am-5 pm. Ave. 10 No. 172 (between avenidas Rosado Salas and 1), Cozumel. Phone 987-869-0334. Tucan Sells Mexican Talavera pottery, blown glassware and items made of pewter. Open Monday-Saturday 8:30 am-8 pm. Avenida Rafael Melgar (at Calle 8 Norte), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-1586. UltraFemme More than 500 brands of cosmetics, jewelry and perfumes by Dior, Lancome, Chanel and others. All are sold at duty-free prices, making items in this store a bargain. Daily 9 am-10 pm. Ave. Rafael Melgar No. 341, Cozumel. Phone 987-872-1217. http://www.ultrafemme.com. Veari Sells hand-crafted leather boots, belts, wallets and purses made in Guadalajara, one of the country's premier leather centers. Designs aren't fancy, but the workmanship is solid. Malecon (between calles 2 Norte and Benito Juarez), Cozumel. Phone 987-878-4158. DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Address Ave. 10 No. 172 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-869-0334 Address Avenida Rafael Melgar Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-1586 Address Ave. Rafael Melgar No. 341 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-1217 Address Malecon Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-878-4158 " Dining: Overview DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO DINING OVERVIEW Most restaurants in Cozumel are informal—"comfortably casual"—and jackets are almost never required. There is a wide range of prices. Seafood and authentic Yucatecan cuisine are specialties of the region and are hard to find in places such as Playa del Carmen and Cancun. Be careful of the habanero-pepper sauce, which is served on the side—it's made from one of the hottest peppers in the world. Prices in Cozumel's restaurants tend to be higher than those in Playa del Carmen on the mainland. Expect to pay within these guidelines for a meal for one, not including drinks, tax or tip: $ = less than US$15; $$ = US$15-$25; $$$ = US$26-$50; and $$$$ = more than US$50. LOCAL & REGIONAL Casa Mission This place is known as much for its setting as for its Mexican cuisine and seafood. Located in a large Mexican hacienda-style home that is surrounded by gardens, it's a pleasant place to spend an evening. Service is warm and friendly, in keeping with the ambience. Open daily for dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. Calle 55 (between Avenida Benito Juarez and Calle 1), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-1641. http://www.missioncoz.com. Del Museo This open-air restaurant is great for enjoying sea breezes and people-watching. It's on the top floor of the local museum. The food is good—not great—but the view makes it all worthwhile. You can see all the way across the Yucatan Channel to Playa del Carmen. Daily for breakfast and lunch. $-$$. No credit cards. Waterfront and Calle 6, Cozumel. Phone 987-872-0838. Kinta Mexican cuisine prepared with flair by Kris Wallenta, the ex-chef of Guido's. The menu at this place is pampering taste buds and creating a buzz among foodies. The bistro turns out a small but select offering of chicken, beef and such seafood dishes as grilled scallops and shrimp bathed in a tomato-corn salsa with cilantro pesto and rice. For dessert, there's the elusivejericalla, a hard-to-find Veracruz custard infused with real vanilla-bean flavor and spices and covered with a caramel-sugar crust. Daily except Monday for dinner. $$-$$$. MasterCard and Visa only. Avenida 5 (between calles 2 and 4), Cozumel. Phone 987-869-0544. La Choza This cheerful and casual Mexican restaurant draped with papel picado (typical paper cutouts) has a long history of pleasing locals as well as tourists with its wide selection of regional dishes such as tacos, fajitas, stuffed peppers and chicken in mole sauce. Daily for lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. Calle Rosado Salas 198 at Avenida 10, Cozumel. Phone 987-872-0958. Address Calle 55 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-1641 Address Waterfront and Calle 6 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-0838 Address Avenida 5 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-869-0544 Address Calle Rosado Salas 198 at Avenida 10 Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-0958 " Dining: Overview DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO 987-872-0958 Mission Downtown This place offers traditional Mexican dishes as well as seafood in a tropical garden setting. Its slogan is, "If you don't like it, you don't pay." Open daily for lunch and dinner. $$. Most major credit cards. Avenida Rosado Salas (between Calle 5 and the waterfront), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-6340. http://www.lamissioncozumel.com. Palmeras The oldest restaurant in Cozumel is located a few steps from the main pier, overlooking the ocean and adjacent to the main plaza of Cozumel. Decorated with the palm trees of its name, it's lost a lot of its local vibe but is a favorite with cruise ship passengers who pack it when the ships come in. It's a good place for a relaxed lunch, a cup of coffee or a cold beer. Daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. Waterfront (at Avenida Juarez), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-0532. http://www.restaurantepalmeras.com. Pancho's Backyard Located in a courtyard in the prettiest store in town, Los Cinco Soles, this restaurant gets our vote for the most romantic dining spot on the island. Its quiet patio setting and the sounds of trickling water in the fountains only add to the atmosphere. Service is excellent, and the food is always good (though seldom great). Long lines form at lunch when the cruise ships are in port. Monday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner only. $$$. Most major credit cards. Waterfront (at Calle 6 Norte), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-2141. Parrilla Mission This place specializes in tacos, but it also offers Yucatecan chicken, pork and seafood dishes. $-$$. No credit cards. (between calles 50 and 55). Phone 987-869-2463. http://www.parrillamission.com. Sonora Grill This well-established restaurant has been catering to islanders and especially divers for years. The open-air restaurant with the pretty flower boxes in front specializes in seafood such as the conch-shrimp-octopus-lobster tail platter as well as beef dishes from northern Mexico and such light fare as burgers and fajitas. Salsas are kitchen fresh, and food portions are generous. Monday-Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. $-$$. No credit cards. Avenida Benito Juarez (at Calle 15 Norte), Cozumel. Phone 987-872-3620. Address Avenida Rosado Salas Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-6340 Address Waterfront Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-0532 Address Waterfront Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-2141 Address Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-869-2463 Address Avenida Benito Juarez Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-872-3620 "# Security DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO PERSONAL SAFETY Cozumel is among the safer islands in the Caribbean, but you should still use commonsense precautions. Don't leave your belongings unattended at the beach or visible in a parked rental car, and don't walk along deserted beaches in the evening. This is especially true on the less-populated east side of the island. (There are sometimes military patrols in the area watching for drug smugglers.) There are police patrols along the malecon and at the beaches. Tourists are not typically the target of crime, and driving around the city is generally safe. However, it is a good idea to take a taxi to your hotel at night. If you rent a car, it's best not to leave it parked on the street overnight. The U.S. consulate is open 10 am-noon Monday-Friday. Avenida Juarez, Second Floor, between Waterfront and Avenida 5. Phone 987-872-4574. For the latest information, contact your country's travel-advisory agency. HEALTH It's a good idea to avoid food from street vendors or raw food and to stick with the clean-looking restaurants that draw a lot of customers. Ask your doctor about hepatitis vaccinations before your trip. If you get sick, medicines are available from several pharmacies, especially the big one in the new megastore near the Punta Langosta Mall along the malecon. Some painkillers and other medicines, such as prescription sleeping pills, tranquilizers and antibiotics, will require a prescription from a local doctor, written in Spanish. Some pharmacies get around this by referring tourists to a island doctor, who will write the prescription for a fee. In an emergency, go straight to the hospital. Medica San Miguel—a modern, privately run hospital—offers diagnostic and emergency services, as well as a decompression chamber. As the hospital's primary business is medical tourism, surgical and cosmetic services are also offered, and medical staff is bilingual. Land and air ambulance service is available. Always open. Calle 6 N. No. 132 between avenidas 5 and 10. Emergency phone 987-872-6194. Hospital phone 987-872-0103. http://www.medicasanmiguel.com.mx. For the latest information, contact your country's health-advisory agency. DISABLED ADVISORY Sidewalks with ramps can be found downtown in the main shopping areas along the malecon and main plaza. Entrances to some of the bigger shops and some restaurants also have ramps. Beyond this, it's rough going. Newer hotels have special rooms for people with disabilities, but currently there is no public transportation equipped for wheelchairs. Chankanaab Park offers wheelchairs that operate on the sand. DOS & DON'TS Do greet everyone with a buenos dias (good day), buenas tardes (good afternoon) or buenas noches (good evening). Mexicans value this practice and will always extend a greeting, even to strangers, before getting down to business. Do know that prices may be quoted in pesos and/or U.S. dollars. (Pesos are marked M$, MX$ or MXP$.) Although U.S. dollars are almost always accepted on Cozumel, you can't always be certain. In general, you'll get the best rate if you pay in pesos. If traveling off the island to visit inland ruins, take pesos. U.S. dollars are less prevalent inland. "$ Security DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Don't walk out of a bar or cantina with a bottle of beer. Most beer bottles have deposits paid for by the establishment, so the staff keeps a close eye on them. If you want to take the beverage with you, ask for a plastic cup. (Be aware that walking along a street with a container of beer or mixed drink is only tolerated in the tourist zone along the waterfront. Elsewhere in the town, you may get fined.) Do get away from the tourist areas and explore San Miguel's funky back streets with their colorful houses and typical Mexican street life. Don't enter churches wearing shorts or beach clothing, especially if you're a woman. "% Facts DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Geostats Passport/Visa Requirements: Australian and U.K. citizens need passports. The Mexican government charges a tourism tax of about US$22 for all visitors except cruise-ship passengers and a departure tax of US$40, though both are usually included in the price of your airline ticket. A yellow-fever certificate is required if you're arriving from an infected area (contact health authorities for the latest information). All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S. Passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure. Population: 100,000. Languages: Spanish is the main language, but English is widely spoken. A few people speak Maya. Predominant Religions: Christian (Roman Catholic). Time Zone: 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-6 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the first Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October. Voltage Requirements: 110 volts. Telephone Codes: 52, country code for Mexico; 987,area code for Cozumel; Currency Exchange U.S. dollars are widely accepted on Cozumel. In fact, most ATMs give both U.S. dollars and Mexican pesos, but the fees per transaction from both the local bank and your own bank can be hefty. ATMs are readily available, and most are located within a block of Plaza del Sol in San Miguel and in all banks. However, it is also possible to pay for purchases in Mexican pesos, and if you visit less-traveled areas on the mainland, you will find pesos to be more commonly used than U.S. dollars. San Miguel has a number of privately run exchange booths, or casas de cambio, which will change U.S. and Canadian dollars or traveler's checks to pesos at rates only slightly lower than the banks' rates. Casas de cambio keep longer hours than banks and are often more convenient to use. Banks are open from 9 am to 4 or 5 pm Monday-Friday. Some are also open until noon on Saturday. Taxes The government of Mexico charges a value-added sales tax of 11% on virtually all transactions in the state of Quintana Roo. In most cases, it's included in the price quoted. Visitors cannot obtain refunds on any taxes. Tipping A tip of 10%-15% is expected at most restaurants. Housekeepers at hotels normally receive US$1-$2 a day, and sky caps at airports and bellhops at hotels receive US$2 a bag. Taxi drivers usually don't expect a tip, but you may tip if they provide extra service. Facts DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Weather Expect daytime high temperatures in the 80s F/20s C almost year-round on the Yucatan Peninsula. The humidity will be higher in the summer months, but breezes off the sea will help to keep you cool. Hurricane season is June-November, which is when rain is most likely. What to Wear Casual summer clothing is appropriate year-round, but swimsuits are worn only on the beaches or at hotel swimming pools. Men are rarely, if ever, required to wear jackets. Shorts and sandals are acceptable for fast-food places, but they are not considered appropriate for the nicer restaurants. Street wear is resort casual, and residents generally choose comfort over chic. Culturally speaking, neat, dressy-casual resort wear is appropriate for business meetings. Women can wear a lightweight suit or dress, whereas men can get away with the traditional guayabera shirt and pants. No matter what you wear, always use plenty of sunscreen and a hat with the extra precaution of long pants and sleeves to protect against mosquitoes if journeying into a jungle area or the Maya ruins. During the winter months, a light jacket for men and a sweater or shawl for ladies is recommended because of cooler evenings. Telephone The standard public Telmex phones are being phased out—even if you find a working phone, it will be hard to find a shop selling the old phone cards. The phone company is slowly installing new public phones in hotels, which will accept 50-peso, 100-peso and 200-peso (approximately US$4-$16) phone cards, but the process is slow and the mainland is being serviced first. The best option for long-distance calls is at small shops around the main plaza advertising international calls, which charge about US$0.25 a minute and more if it's a call to a cell phone. International calls can be made and faxes sent from the Calling Station on Avenida Rafael Melgar at Calle 3 Sur. Long-distance direct service and fax services are available at some hotels, but expect to pay a lot to use them. Cell phone coverage varies in quality throughout the island from excellent to nonexistent. Although using a cell phone with a roaming agreement is the most convenient way to call, bear in mind that the charges are exorbitant unless you make arrangements with your carrier prior to your departure. For extended stays, consider buying a rechargeable local phone from Telcel or Movistar. Internet Access Internet access is becoming more widely available at both large and small hotels, which sometimes charge for the service. Wi-Fi is also available at City Hall, the ferry and the airport. Several dozen shops in downtown San Miguel offer Internet access, and the government is slowly installing Wi-Fi all along the waterfront to include public parks. Mail & Package Services Post Office There's a post office on Cozumel, but don't expect speedy service. Monday-Friday 9 am-6 pm, Saturday 9 am-noon. Calle 7 Sur (at Avenida Rafael Melgar), Cozumel. Address Calle 7 Sur Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Facts DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Newspapers & Magazines Cozumel has no English-language newspaper. English-language tourist brochures can be picked up at the information office on the main pier, the kiosk around the main plaza, or directly from the tourist Office in the Plaza del Sol. The Cozumel Insider is an English-language online publication, available at http://www.cozumelinsider.com/News. Transportation Unless you plan to do a lot of exploring around the island, you won't need to rent a car for your entire stay. Do so only when you're ready to experience the isolated east side. Otherwise, if you're lodging anywhere in the town of San Miguel, walking is the way to go. It's a great place to stroll. Streets are laid out in an easy-to-navigate grid design, and shops, restaurants, dive shops and bars are located along the malecon and two or three blocks farther inland. Traffic is pretty congested, and parking spaces are hard to find, so it's faster to hoof it. Even cruise-ship passengers will find the piers a comfortable walk from downtown. Visitors arriving by ferry from Playa del Carmen dock in the midst of the busy malecon, a half-block from the main plaza. Air Several major airlines and some international flights serve Cozumel International Airport (CZM), which is 2 mi/3 km northeast of San Miguel's center (phone 987-872-0928; http://www.asur.com.mx/asur). It's served by international flights from the U.S. and also by shuttle flights to and from Cancun and other Mexican destinations. There are no taxis providing transportation to and from the airport. Instead, big resorts will send a van if you've booked them, or else you can catch a 12-passenger shared shuttle bus that will drop you off at your hotel for a fee. Car Rental cars are available at the ferry terminal downtown, at major hotels and at the airport. Drivers must have a valid license and be at least 21 years old. Daily rates range US$60-$75 with insurance, depending on the type of car. If your credit card provides collision and theft insurance, make sure that the coverage is valid in Mexico. If your coverage was valid in Mexico in the past, confirm that the policy hasn't been changed recently. Driving is on the right, and be aware that streets and roads are narrow and sometimes rough. Insurance generally does not cover you if you drive the vehicle on a dirt road and get stuck. Ferry The Cozumel-Playa del Carmen Ferry is a convenient and inexpensive way to get to the Mexican mainland. There is also a car ferry that operates between Cozumel and Punta Venado. You can take a rental car over and drive to Tulum, Chichen Itza, Coba and other places on the mainland. Cozumel-Playa del Carmen Ferry Passenger-only ferry service is available between Cozumel and Playa del Address Carmen on the mainland. Note that the water can be rough: Having Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico something to combat seasickness is a good idea if you have a sensitive Phone stomach. The ferries dock at the municipal pier on the waterfront in San 987-872-1508 Miguel, and the passage takes about 35 minutes. Boats generally operate 5 am-10 pm, leaving once an hour in the peak morning travel times, less Facts DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO 5 am-10 pm, leaving once an hour in the peak morning travel times, less frequently in off-peak periods. Check the schedule at the pier before making your plans—times change frequently. Fare is US$13 one way, US$26 round-trip. Tickets can be purchased at the ferry dock. Phone 987-872-1508. http://www.granpuerto.com.mx. Taxi Taxis are always at hand in San Miguel, at the piers, at the major hotels, at the airport and cruising the downtown streets. For short trips, they operate on a set-fare system, so negotiating is not necessary. The pier at the ferry dock has fares posted on a big board at the head of the line of cabs waiting to be hired; a dispatcher will quickly and efficiently lead you to the right one. Although you can pay in either pesos or U.S. dollars, it's always a good idea to ask about the fare before getting into the cab, however. Say "Cuanto cuesta un viaje a" (followed by your destination). The driver should present a fare card and show you the rate. (For example, a round-trip from downtown to Punta Sur costs approximately US$60 for the cab with four people; the minimum rate for a drop-off is US$3.) If you want to go farther afield or charter the taxi for several hours, you can bargain with the driver. Taxi tours of the island (for up to four people) cost about US$35 per person for two-and-a-half hours; hourly rates begin at US$50 for a minimum of two hours in a cab for two people. Vans that hold six to eight people charge more but may be more economical in the long run. Other Scooters and mopeds can be rented from vendors at the ferry terminal, along the malecon and on the side streets leading east. Expect to pay about US$25-$35 a day. This mode of travel can be particularly dangerous because of road conditions and careless drivers. Mexican law requires the use of a helmet. Be careful and use plenty of sunscreen to protect exposed skin. Tourist Offices Cozumel Tourist Office Monday-Friday 8 am-3 pm. Calle 2 Norte (office 299-B in the Plaza del Sol Building, on the east side of the main plaza), Cozumel. Phone 987-869-0212. http://www.cozumel.travel. Address Calle 2 Norte Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico Phone 987-869-0212 ! Events DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Calendar Cozumel's yearly celebrations begin with the Carnival season. Preliminary events begin as early as January and reach their peak during the week preceding Ash Wednesday (in February or March), with exciting parades down the malecon on Saturday, Sunday and Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). During the remainder of the year, the island's most distinctive celebrations are named after Catholic saints, including Fiesta de Santa Cruz in May, the festivals of San Pedro and San Pablo in June, the Fiesta de San Miguel in September and of the Virgin of Guadalupe in December. The Feria de Cedral in May is also popular with locals and visitors alike. As a nod to reeling in the "big one," April-July is sportfishing season, with tournaments such as the Rodeo of Mexican Boats, which claims to be the biggest fishing contest in the Mexican Caribbean. For more information about upcoming events in Cozumel, visit http://www.cozumel.travel. To call any of the phone numbers listed in this calendar from outside Mexico, you must first dial your country's international access code, followed by Mexico's country code, 52. Information in this calendar is subject to change and should be confirmed. October 4, 11, 18, 25 Oct—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. November 1, 2 Nov—Dia de los Muertos During this festive holiday, residents construct altars to honor the dead and place offerings on graves. Bakeries make skull-shaped sweets and pan de muerto, the "bread of the dead." Dia de los Muertos consists of All Saints' Day (1 November), when families honor their deceased relatives who died as children; and All Souls' Day (2 November), when relatives who died as adults are honored. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Nov—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. December Early December—Dia de la Virgen de Guadelupe An islandwide celebration of the revered Virgin of Guadalupe. A pilgrimage processes to the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, where a number of Masses are held. Also a race, and a festival featuring food, music and dance. 25 Dec—Dia de Navidad Public holiday. Families usually celebrate Christmas at home. 6, 13, 20, 27 Dec—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. January 1 Jan—New Year's Day Public holiday. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 Jan—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. " Events DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO February 3-9 Feb—Carnaval Cozumel Four parades, costumed dancers, discos, music and many other celebrations fill up Carnival. Cozumel's Carnival tends to be more traditional and family-oriented. Events take place throughout the city. For information, call 987-872-7585. http://www.carnavalcozumel.com.mx. 7, 14, 21, 28 Feb—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. March 21 Mar—Birthday of Benito Juarez Public holiday honoring the leader of the Mexican Revolution. 6, 13, 20, 27 Mar—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. April 3, 10, 17, 24 Apr—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. Late April—Feria del Cedral Marks the anniversary of Mexico's first Catholic Mass. Held at El Cedral, an ancient Mayan settlement, the celebration features rodeos, bullfights, a fair, rides and more. For information, call 872-7585. http://www.cozumel.gob.mx/cedral. Continues through early May May Early May—Feria del Cedral Marks the anniversary of Mexico's first Catholic Mass. Held at El Cedral, an ancient Mayan settlement, the celebration features rodeos, bullfights, a fair, rides and more. For information, call 872-7585. http://www.cozumel.gob.mx/cedral. Concludes early May Mid May—Rodeo de Lanchas Mexicanas Anglers fish for marlin, dorado, wahoo, barracuda and tuna at this event, which is more than 30 years old. Open to the public. For information, call 987-564-0405. http://www.rodeodelanchasmexicanas.com. 1 May—Labor Day Public holiday. 3 May—Fiesta de Santa Cruz This day commemorates the discovery of the island of Cozumel in 1518 by Spanish explorer Juan de Grijalua. 5 May—Cinco de Mayo Public holiday. 10 May—Dia de la Madre Many businesses close for the celebration of Mother's Day. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 May—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. June 29 Jun—San Pedro y San Pablo Festival This fair features a craft show, rides and food in honor of St. Peter and St. Paul. http://www.islacozumel.com.mx. 5, 12, 19, 26 Jun—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Events DESTINATION GUIDE COZUMEL, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 Jul—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. August 15 Aug—Feast of the Assumption Religious holiday. Services are held nationwide. 7, 14, 21, 28 Aug—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel. September 15, 16 Sep—Dia de la Independiencia Public holiday. Cries of "Viva Mexico!" are heard throughout the city. Fireworks, traditional dance performances, food and music fill the days, and a parade processes through downtown. A fair is held near City Hall. 21-29 Sep—Fiestas de San Miguel Arcangel Religious festival honoring the island's patron saint. Parades, craft fairs and food vendors fill the streets. Residents don traditional Mayan dress, and fishermen carry an image of San Miguel Arcangel to the sea, where flowers are tossed into the water in remembrance of lost sailors. A dance is held at Plaza del Sol in the evening. 4, 11, 18, 25 Sep—Sunday Fiesta A free, open-air event featuring live music by local bands. Plaza Central, Parque de Benito Juarez, San Miguel.
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