India’s National Parks

There are roughly 100 National Parks in India, ranging in size, location and with different species of wild and plant life. Here are some handy pointers about their unique features for anyone interested in travelling to India.

Kanha National Park– Along with Ranthambore is a top tiger location. Also there are leopards, deer, antelope, langur monkeys and bison all mixed in with a few bears. It is the less touristy state of Madhya Pradesh.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary– 777sq km with a 26sq km man-made lake, Periyar is the perfect place to spot elephant as there are over 1,000 here, along with sambar, boar, langur monkeys and of course a few tigers. This is a very popular place to visit, even though the park is so large it can sometimes feel busy.

Keoladeo Ghana National Park– If you like birds, then Keoladeo is the place to go. It is best accessed from Bharatpur, which is a 3 hour drive South-East of Jaipur. October through to February is by far the best time to visit, this is after monsoon season. The lakes will be full, plant life in bloom and the trees full with leaves will mean that the birds will flock here. Painted Storks, Sarus cranes, herons, egrets, owls, cormorants and kingfishers all live here. You may even see pythons in the winter months.

Ranthambore National Park– Based in Rajasthan, just 5 hours from Jaipur is the best place in Rajasthan to (hopefully) spot tigers in a lovely unspoiled nature reserve. Project Tiger was setup in 1979 to preserve the tigers and local wildlife.

Corbett National Tiger Reserve… This was India’s first national park, establish in 1936. This reserve inspired the national program Project Tiger. April to mid-June is the best time to spot a tiger.

None of the parks guarantee that you will certain animals, especially tigers which are the most elusive.

Caribbean Countries Unite to Make Travel Easier

Between February 1st and May 15th 2007, 10 Caribbean nations will join together in an unprecedented effort to simplify travel restrictions. Inspired by the hosting of the Cricket World Cup – the third largest sporting event in the world – these Caribbean nations will allow visitors to travel between the islands without the hassle of international customs or visas. Furthermore, all 10 nations participating in the Cricket World Cup are located relatively close together, allowing travelers to easily visit several unique destinations in one vacation. Though the Cricket World Cup is scheduled to run from March 5 to April 28, the additional six weeks of hassle-free travel have been allotted to lure additional tourists to the Caribbean. Therefore, you could even take advantage of this travel agreement in early May – after the Cricket World Cup is completed – and hop between islands for a two-week vacation.

Here is a list of the Caribbean nations you will be able to visit without the normal hassles of international travel:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago

Once you arrive at one of the island nations listed above and clear customs, you will then be able to travel to the other nations without any immigration procedures. For those accustomed to traveling between states in the U.S., this may not seem significant. However, considering the stringent travel guidelines put in place at the beginning of year, this agreement is truly a unique opportunity. Another great aspect of this agreement is that most visitors won’t need to acquire visas for their travel. Residents of the following nations will be allowed to visit any of the 10 countries involved in the Cricket World Cup agreement without a visa:

  • United States and Dependent Territories
  • United Kingdom and Dependent Territories
  • Canada
  • France and Dependant Territories
  • The Netherlands and Dependant Territories
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Japan
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • South Africa
  • CARICOM Member Nations (except Haiti)

It is estimated that nearly 95% of the current visitors to these Caribbean nations will be able to travel without visas during this travel window. Even the nations that require a visa for travel will find the process greatly simplified. Prior to the announcement of this travel assistance program, Caribbean nations banded together for several political and economic reasons. CARICOM, short for “Caribbean Community,” is composed of 15 Caribbean nations devoted to increasing tourism opportunities and activities. Beyond the development of long-term tourism assistance programs, CARICOM will also streamline the visa process during the Cricket World Cup for all visitors from nations not listed above. The visa program will include a special website for applications, a 24-hour hotline for visa assistance, three-day turnarounds for visa requests, waiving of visa fees for children 12 and under and additional preparation for visitor emergencies. As helpful as the CARICOM programs are today for travelers looking to secure a visa, this group of Caribbean nations will only make life easier for all tourists in the years to come.

Most importantly, you don’t need to visit or participate in the Cricket World Cup to take advantage of this travel opportunity. Besides the high-profile cricket matches, the Cricket World Cup will also bring plenty of events to the islands. Though these Caribbean islands are always centers of activity, the Cricket World Cup is certain to draw even more festivals, live music and fine art events.

Whether you are a cricket fan or not, there has never been a better time to visit the Caribbean. Book a flight and get ready to experience these unique and exotic islands for yourself.

Beautiful Band-E Amir – The Ultimate Travel Destination

Choosing a place to go on your vacation can be particularly difficult for many people. Sure you can go to the same old boring places that everybody goes to; theme parks, national parks, sunny islands with beaches, or Europe… but why not consider someplace extraordinary, someplace so out of the ordinary that you’ll remember it for as long as you live?

Take a look at Band-e Amir.

You may never have heard of it because it lies in Afghanistan and most people don’t really think of Afghanistan as the ultimate tourist destination, but Band-e Amir is definitely worth your consideration.

So what exactly is it?

Basically it’s six amazingly blue lakes that are located high up in the Hindu Kush mountains. It’s about 45 miles from Bamiyan if that helps narrow it down in your mind at all. The best time of year to go is between the spring and autumn.

Unfortunately you can’t just step onto an airplane and then take a cab. No, to get there you need to take a 4×4 truck from Bamiyan. Like I said, this isn’t your ordinary vacation!

The lakes are created by water that flows down a number of natural terraces. It’s hard to imagine how beautiful these cobalt blue lakes look surrounded by red sandy rocky mountains and hillscapes. The colors are an amazing contrast.

You can expect to find all kinds of animals in the area including wolves and foxes and even rabbits and some wild sheep and goats. In the water you can find large yellow fish that the local people calls Chush.

Band-e Amir is a national park, in fact the very first national park that Afghanistan has ever had and it was created in 1973. Though a national park in Afghanistan doesn’t really mean the same thing as it does in America, you won’t find park rangers and camping grounds for instance.

Unfortunately right now America is involved in a war in Afghanistan so it may not be the best time to visit, in fact I suggest putting off a trip there until things settle down. Contact the foreign office or your local embassy before making any sort of plans to travel there.

While you won’t find any tourist shops or really much of anything at all… if you’re looking for a vacation that’s off the beaten path and puts you smack dab in the middle of some of the most beautiful natural landscapes that you’ll ever see in your entire life, and you don’t mind roughing it and are up for little or venture, then Band-e Amir may be just right for you.