Alaska remains a land of mystery

To many travelers Alaska remains a land of mystery, and that is a shame. Sure, many parts are rugged, barely accessible and nothing seems to be near anything else. Seeing Alaska by car or train will require a significant amount of time; however, the cruise lines have an answer for you. You can discover all Alaska has to offer by doing a cruise coupled with a pre or post cruise-tour. From majestic Mt. McKinley to the jagged edge of Glacier Bay, is unlike any place else in the world. It is one of the best (if not the best) to explore or ideal for a family vacations.

Norwegian star in Alaska

Norwegian star in Alaska

Ketchikan is an ancient city that is both fascinating and enjoyable. Even though there are some American restaurants and stores, (and it is part of the States, of course), it is certainly not your typical American town. If Anchorage at one end of the Alaskan spectrum, you will definitely find Ketchikan at the other end. This small city contains more totem poles than anywhere in the world, and is set at the base of Deer Mountain.

Sitka is a small yet lively town in Southeast Alaska that is full of surprises. Just when you think that you have seen all there is to see in this remote city, you stumble upon something that will instantly catch your attention. This is the case for the best restaurants and a few of the premier shopping outlets. They simply spring up out of nowhere, making for an interesting and exciting stay. There are a couple of great museums and the scuba diving and sea kayaking in Sitka is marvelous. The calm, protected waters make these two sports very popular among both tourists and locals.

Eagle eating Salmon

Eagle eating Salmon

Skagway is a Southeast Alaskan paradise, full of culture and brimming with life. Parts of the city seem stuck in 1897, never progressing beyond the height of the Alaskan gold rush era. This is speaking in architectural terms though, as some of the restaurants and shopping facilities offer distinctly 21st century fare. This unique blend of old and new really enhances the atmosphere of Skagway. There is so much to see and so much fascinating history to soak up. The saloons and bars, some of which date back to 1898, are splendid, full of artifacts and local heritage.

Mendenhalll Glacier

Mendenhalll Glacier

A visit to Alaska would not be complete (at least it should not be considered complete) without a visit to witness the magnificence (probably not a better word to describe them) of a glacier. One of the best glacier viewing vantage points is College Fjord — which deserves a bit of an introduction. In the summer of 1899, railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman, president of the Union Pacific Railroad and the Washington Academy of Sciences undertook a two-month expedition, intended initially as a family vacation; but eventually wound up as a scientific research trip consisting of an illustrious group of scientists, naturalists, writers, and artists. It was the Harriman Expedition party who named College Fjord as well as the glaciers that line it. The dozen or so glaciers lining this fjord were named for the Ivy League schools that members of the party attended. On the northwest side of the fjord, the glaciers were named after the women’s colleges, such as Smith, Bryn Mawr, Vassar, Wellesley, Barnard, and Holyoke. On the southeast side, the glaciers are named after men’s colleges Harvard, Yale, Amherst, and Dartmouth.

While the coastal towns are spectacular, it is recommended that travelers to Alaska take some time (preferably a few days) to explore the interior of the state. From the moment you step off the Alaska Railroad at the entrance to Denali National Park and Preserve, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back in time, where skyscrapers and traffic jams have been replaced by snowcapped mountain peaks and flocks of native birds. This park truly defines the Alaskan experience. Towering above it all is t Mt. McKinley, the highest point in all of North America.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park

At 20,320 feet, its summit welcomes more than 1,000 climbers each year who brave the elements for the chance to scale its majestic face. Located 240 miles north of Anchorage, Denali encompasses 6 million acres of forests, tundra, glaciers and mountains (to put that number in perspective, think the size of Massachusetts). Yet only 90 miles of main road traverse the park, leaving the moose, caribou, sheep and bears free to roam a wide area of land untouched by man.

What are you waiting for? Contact Jadd Fong Travel at 505-999-1039 or john@jaddfongtravel.com and get ready to visit one of the best vacation spots in Alaska.

 

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Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel

Sheraton Hotel

Sheraton Hotel

I stayed at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino during a four day stop in Puerto Rico as part of my eight island swing through the Caribbean. During my visit I obtained information on tropical  Caribbean cruises and family vacation packages in the region. I enjoyed every minute of my stay in Puerto Rico, and in particular my lodging at the Sheraton Hotel. I considered it one of the better hotels to vacation when visiting the island as it is very comfortable, perfectly located and provided exquisite services.

Convention Center  near Sheraton

Convention Center near Sheraton

The hotel is also known as the Sheraton Convention Center Hotel and is part of the Starwood family of hotels. The hotel is located on 200 Convention Boulevard in San Juan, the capital. It is approximately 10 minutes from the main airport, Luis Munoz Marin International airport. The hotel provides easy access to a lot of local activities including cruise ship ports and the old San Juan historic district. In fact if you reserve an ocean view room, you can see the cruise ships when they are in port. The hotel is much closer to the Pan American cruise ship terminal where the Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity docks. If you are cruising at the Old San Juan cruise ship port, it is a short distance of approximately 10 minutes across the river.

This stylish 503 room hotel was built in 2007 and contains 22 luxuirious suites. There are 4 conference rooms occupying 35,000 square feet of flexible event space equipped with the latest technology, including high-speed Internet access. It is also opposite to the fabulous state of the art San Juan convention center and next to the San Juan Marina. As a result, it is an ideal location for meetings and of course conventions. The hotel has three restaurants, the award winning restaurant “Choices” is on the first floor, the distict bar is near the casino and lastly the pool bar and grill can be found beside the beautiful infinty pool on the fourth floor. The latter restaurant is part of a 57,000 square foot sun deck littered with umbrellas and chairs for sun bathing. There is a kiddie pool and 3 adult pools. The infinity pool takes advantage of the hotels ocean view, you can lean over the ledge and enjoy the gorgeous coast from the fourth floor. The main eating area is the nightly buffet at the Asian Grill. The eating house is so popular that an advance reservation is required to get a seat. I am unable to provide a review of the food as I was unsuccessful on two occasions as they were booked two days out.

Sherton Hotel View

Sherton Hotel View

I think the biggest asset of the hotel is its staff. I felt very much at home as the staff went out of their way to make my stay an enjoyable experience. They were also knowledgable about the island and were able to provide valuable information about the islands attractions, which made getting around very easy. My room was very comfortable and spacious although it was a standard room with two double beds. It contained a flat screen TV, a tub for showering and free coffee and water daily.There was also free complimentary Internet service and a 24 hour in room dining service. Other hotel amenities included an Internet cafe and a well equipped gym.

Sheraton Rooms

Sheraton Room

I wish to strongly recommend this hotel to the potential visitor to Puerto Rico. I was impressed with the service provided and would give them thumbs up for excellent service and caring for the guests.

 

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Jadd Fong travel tips

I must apologize for not posting any new information during the past months. During that period I was experiencing problems with my website. I am happy to say that I am back and I will be publishing soon.

To make sure you don’t miss out on this valuable information, check back in a couple days for updates on some of my best vacation spots  and vacation travel tips.
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