“[L]andscapes are cultures before they are nature—constructs of the imagination projected onto wood and water and rock,” Simon Schama wrote in 1995. In 2019, the quote appeared in the introduction to John Berger’s Landscapes, which I’d finally found time to read in a zero-gravity lounge chair overlooking the sea. But it wasn’t just any sea. The water was really water but not the salty kind, instead of a sandy bottom there was stainless steel flooring and, from the horizon, a gigantic canvas screen-printed with a photo of a blue sky rose up. Outside the dome, the sun had broken through clouds; inside, it filtered through a UV screen. I applied more sunscreen to my face. I considered taking a dip.


Besides the six-bedroom retreat on this sugar-colored South Pacific isle, the only other thing you'll find is a whole mess of water. So, naturally, water sports are the main draw (you know, other than the fact that it's a private island). Kakula offers a healthy supply of snorkels, kayaks, and paddleboards. Other island activities include massages, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing. And speaking of fishing: if you can catch it, the personal chef will cook it.
At one time, a vast sand-dune wilderness (now the Sunset and Richmond districts) separated Ocean Beach from the rest of San Francisco. Development came in the late 19th century when a steam railroad was put in place to bring people to a fashionable resort on the outskirts of town. Later the Cliff House, and the now-gone Sutro Baths and Playland at the Beach amusement park was put in place. Today, Ocean Beach is still as popular for seaside drives, brisk jogs, and sunset walks as it was in the early 1900s.

Bait Reef has some of the most eye-popping coral formations in the world. Most famous are The Stepping Stones, made up of nearly 20 flat-topped pinnacles lined up like soldiers in formation on the southwest side of the reef. Each rises from a depth of 80 feet and stop only three feet from the surface. They are completely covered with coral. Be on the lookout for the small tropical fish that swarm around the tops of the stones.


One of the highlights of this beach is Sunset Cliffs further down the road. These rocks provide a phenomenal view of the coast and a panoramic shot of the Pacific. I can see this as a popular place for people to get married against the backdrop of a setting sun. The best part of walking along these cliffs is the feel of the ocean spray on your face and the sound of the crashing waves as well as the seagulls flying overhead. There is no shortage of local activities as this beach seems to be crowded all day until sunset. This is definitely a place worth visiting if you're from out of town and want to spend the afternoon getting your tan on.
During the day, we walked down the hill from Land's End (couldn't hike it since it was closed off due to the govt shut down) passing the Cliff House. On separate visits, I was able to enjoy the sunset and long walks along the water. This isn't something I do often (or ever, tbh) since NY beaches are pretty filthy and cannot compare at all. If you're lucky, you'll get to see all of the sand dollars on the shore.
The Island of Jamaica in the West Indies is the ultimate vacation destination for the package tourist. But head out from behind the gates and you will discover a country filled with rich culture, fun activities and friendly and inviting people. And yes, the beaches are absolutely beautiful. Jamaica is so large, we captured many beautiful pictures of this tropical island. It was difficult to choose a favourite.
During the day, we walked down the hill from Land's End (couldn't hike it since it was closed off due to the govt shut down) passing the Cliff House. On separate visits, I was able to enjoy the sunset and long walks along the water. This isn't something I do often (or ever, tbh) since NY beaches are pretty filthy and cannot compare at all. If you're lucky, you'll get to see all of the sand dollars on the shore.
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Martinique, also known as the Isle of Flowers, is best known for its incredible natural beauty. Fort-de-France on the island’s west coast is the center of its cultural heritage. Must-see stops in the capital include ornate Schoelcher Library, historic St. Louis Cathedral, and lovely La Savane Park. Visitors would be remiss in not seeing Balata Gardens right outside the city with its begonias, bromeliads, and bamboo. Mont Peléeon the northern side of the island is an active volcano. Adventure seekers go hiking, canyoning, and rappelling at its base. A sobering monument that is a must-see is the AnseCafard facing Diamond Beach and commemorating a sunken slave ship.
Rent fins that are neither too tight, nor too loose, and that don't hurt. Having a fin fall off when you most need it, is potentially very bad. And getting sores on your feet from fins that have hard spots or are too tight will ruin your time. Keep in mind that your feet will be wet, and will often shrink a little in the cooler water, and so a snug fit is important. Don't even think about not having fins. They are essential for safety. They give you a tremendous amount of swimming force and will save you a ton of energy. Read more about the different types of fins here.

Nearly twice the size of all the other Hawaiian islands combined, the snorkeling on Big Island is fantastic, especially at Honaunau Bay, also known as The City of Refuge, with an historic backdrop to boot. Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park has smooth lava rock flats to help you ease effortlessly from shore to sea into year-round crystal-clear water, and you'll find healthy coral gardens teeming with tropical fish, moray eels, and even turtles in shallow depths to the right. Spinner dolphins frequent deeper waters to the left.
While the name "bikini" was at first applied only to beachwear that revealed the wearer's navel, today the fashion industry considers any two-piece swimsuit a bikini.[129] Modern bikini fashions are characterized by a simple, brief design: two triangles of fabric that form a bra and cover the woman's breasts and a third that forms a panty cut below the navel that covers the groin and the buttocks.[1]

This is a great place to visit, but not on weekends and school holidays . Even on weekday there were a lot of people. We traveled with kids 10 and 7 years old. They enjoyed pools and slides. This place is really impressive. We stayed at family room that was comfort but not extremely clean. Breakfast was just perfect. It's easy to get there: we took RE2 from Friedrichstrasse station, Platform 1 (Cottbus direction) to Brand Tropical Islands. You can buy tickets right under 1&2 platform moving staircase at the tickets office (not ticket machines :)))) Don't forget to buy tickets for the return journey. At Brand, Tropical Islands bus was already waiting for us. Same way back.


I’d say Puerto Vallarta is a better place to retire than Oaxaca because there is much larger retiree community there, easier airport access and better hospitals. I don’t really like the Caribbean coast that much because it’s too flat for my tastes. In terms of safety and retirement communities, probably check out Phuket in Thailand, San Miguel de Allende in Mexico or the mountain and beach towns around Panama City.
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