Dolphins, dolphins, dolphins and sea lions

Photo by Gary Cox and article by Elena del Valle 


A mom dolphin and her newborn swimming at Dolphins Plus

Our first close encounter with Dolphins was a success. As much as I prefer to see animals in the wild whenever possible, there are times when animals born in captivity, born with a disability or for other reasons unable to survive and thrive in the wild are better off in a facility. 

There are rescue centers and facilities that provide shelter for such animals and serve as a place for people to learn and appreciate the members of the animal kingdom. An example is De Wilt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre in South Africa, known as the home of the first cheetahs born in captivity. Dolphins Plus is a similar facility for a small group of dolphins and two sea lions.

At Dolphins Plus we had an opportunity to interact close up with their dolphins. Their activities provided both types of mammals an enriching experience. Some of the characteristics that set this family owned dolphin center apart were:

  1. Small groups of visitors

  2. Affable and knowledgeable staff members who shared information about the dolphins and sea lions before the encounters

  3. An attractive and well run facility that emphasized the well being of the dolphins and a pleasant experience for visitors

  4. Natural swim options, a personal favorite, in which the dolphins choose whether and how much interaction they have with visitors

Click here to see more photos and read our article on Dolphins Plus.

New Florida Keys property made trip worthwhile

Photo by Gary Cox and article by Elena del Valle


Sunset at Tranquility Bay

When we planned a weekend getaway in the Florida Keys recently, we went out of our way to find something special. It had been a couple of years since our last weekend stay in the famed string of islands forming the southernmost tip of the continental United States. Between heavy traffic and ho hum accommodations, past visits had left us disappointed. This time, we wanted something out of the ordinary.

Although Mother Nature wasn’t cooperative, it rained on and off most of the weekend; we had a relaxing and fun retreat. Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort, the new luxury beachfront property in Marathon with spacious beachfront suites where we stayed, was delightful and home to the Butterfly Café, an up-and-coming Keys gourmet restaurant. Click here for more about Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort


Exploring Belize’s ecotourism side

Article and photos by Josette King 

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Roadside hawk 

Thanks to its Caribbean coastline graced with the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, Belize has long been considered by water sport enthusiasts one of the premiere scuba diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. The sandy islands that straddle the reef, known locally as cayes, reputed for their white coral sand beaches and spectacular underwater canyons remain the country’s greatest attraction.


Vermillion flycatcher

Yet a mere ninety minute drive inland another Belize of unspoiled rain forests rich in wildlife, birds and Mayan archeological treasures is beginning to capture the interest of eco-tourists. The Cayo District, with its vast expanses of verdant rolling hills along the Macal and Mopan rivers, offers especially scenic attractions. It is home to the two most important Maya ruins in the country, Caracol and Xunantunich, as well as several nature reserves including the reputed Blue Hole and Guanacaste National Parks.

I recently enjoyed a visit to this easily accessible but remarkably secluded area of Belize where toucans still outnumber tourists and where intimate eco-lodges offer a warm welcome. Click here to read about my visit to Belize including the Cayo District and Casa del Caballo Blanco.