8 of the world’s best cities for street food
From proper Turkish kebabs to deep-fried insects in Mexico...
Stunning Sicily in seven days
Sicily is crammed full of wonderful experiences – explore them all with our week-long itinerary
Where are Brits heading this summer?
We've crunched the numbers to reveal which destinations are set to sizzle in 2017...
8 of the world’s best cities for street food...1
Stunning Sicily in seven days2
Where are Brits heading this summer?...3
It’s Mexico’s favourite party town, packed with all-inclusive resorts that many visitors never feel the need to leave, writes Anthea Gerrie. But those who confine themselves to their compounds are missing out; Cancun is on the doorstep of spectacular Mayan ruins, a world-class diving reef and freestanding pleasure palaces worth shelling out the price of a drink for to enjoy the fabulous setting. Mexico has made it easy for tourists to get from Cancun to its neighbouring islands and archaeological sites, and there’s plenty to do in town too. Here we look at the 10 experiences most worth leaving your sun-lounger for. Discover Cancun’s own Mundo Maya Even without their fabulous pyramids, the Mayans would be worth celebrating just for discovering chocolate and bringing it to the world. The Maya Museum tells the story of this ancient people and includes an exhibition of 350 tribal artefacts. You don’t even need to leave the resort area to get a waft of Mayan culture; the El Rey site, an easy stroll from the Hilton Club, has been woven into the fabric of the Sheraton Cancun resort, and there’s even a temple buried in the greens of the Pok ta Pok golf course. Swim with the fishes Cancun’s interactive aquarium offers the chance to get up close and personal with all manner of fishy creatures instead of just staring at them through the glass. You can handle stingrays, turtles and sea cucumbers and admire trickier species like jellyfish, barracuda and tiger sharks from a safe distance, while the aquarium also offers tailored programmes for those with special needs. The aquarium is also one of several places in the resort where you can swim with dolphins; others include Delphinus World at Dreams Cancun, which offers a true one-to-one experience – one guest, one trainer and one dolphin partnered up for an hour – and Dolphinaris, where it’s possible for those with the stamina to shadow a dolphin trainer for a full eight-hour day. Both attractions offer a full range of dolphin encounter programmes. Boogie till dawn You haven’t done Cancun until you’ve slammed some shots at CoCoBongo, which has done more than any other venue to give the town its nickname of Vegas-on-Sea. Part theatre, part circus, this raucous club puts on dazzling shows incorporating acrobatics as well as choreography, but...Read More
Wild animal encounters can be incredible and fulfilling experiences for travellers, but the welfare of animals at tourist attractions has come under the spotlight in recent times. Over the last few years, major travel operators such as STA Travel, TripAdvisor and Tui have increasingly distanced themselves from unethical wildlife attractions, raising questions about what is ethical and what is not. To help you choose an ethical experience, we’ve put together some general advice to follow before you book, including some expert advice from World Animal Protection. Look, but don’t touch If you can touch an animal as part of an experience, alarm bells should immediately start to ring, warns Alyx Elliott, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection. Alyx says: “As a general rule of thumb, any experience that involves hugging, touching, or physical interaction with wildlife should be avoided. For a wild animal to become this tame and subdued, something unnatural has happened to it. “The sad thing is that often the people who visit these types of unethical animal attractions are those that genuinely love wildlife. Unfortunately, they don’t see what goes on behind the scenes and the cruel methods that go into ‘training’ wild animals like elephants, tigers and so on.” TripAdvisor recently launched a “no touching of wild animals” policy, where ticket sales promoting such experiences were removed from its website, in order to distance itself from unethical practices. The website is also in the process of creating a learning portal to help educate people in this area, but this is not likely to go live until 2017 at the earliest. Think about it logically Would a wild tiger sit patiently next to you while you pose for a profile picture? If you’re brave enough to try, let us know! What you need to consider is “what has happened to this animal to make it so docile and tame?” The reality is, you probably won’t like the answer. At attractions such as Thailand’s recently-closed Tiger Temple, for example, cubs were separated from their mothers at an early age in order to make them used to human contact. The same goes for riding elephants – although these huge animals look like they could easily carry humans, an elephant’s back isn’t actually that strong and certainly isn’t designed to haul around the ‘howdahs’ (seats) upon which elephant riders sit. What’s more, the practices that...Read More