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I like to think of poor Uncle Scrooge as misunderstood. Sure he was miserly and pretty mean, but perhaps discerning and financially savvy would also be a fitting description. Not everyone loves Christmas -- but you'll love these last-minute Christmas offer.
A soothing blend of tropical pleasures and urban amenities, Puerto Rico is an ideal place to wind down before or after the holidays: It won't send you into toxic shock for lack of infrastructure after weeks of frenzied shopping and party planning on the mainland. And while the sand is white, the water is jade and turquoise, and the residents are more laid back than at home, the dollar is still king; you won't have to change currency, or fret that the greenback's declining value abroad will hamper your travels.
If you want to make sure the wagon wheels keep on rolling once you're hitched, start out on a note of adventure: Forget all that stuff at Pottery Barn or Bloomies and register with a travel agency.
The Mediterranean Sea has not lost its historical luster or travel appeal. Corsica, Malta and Sicily possess old world charm and combine European mythological history with cultural clashes that create festive nights and interesting days. Each island has beautiful port towns, sandy beaches, animated, fiesty natives and incredible countryside tailor-made for long drives, great hikes and breathtaking bicycle rides.
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Puerto Rico
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Reader's Voice
From Josh Roberts: "I recently had a chance to explore one of the most gorgeous places in the U.S. It's Havasu Falls, Arizona (in the southwest corner of Grand Canyon National Park). The trailhead is about 60 miles north of Rt 66, and then it's a 10-mile hike into the Canyon (each way) to reach the falls. Pretty spectacular, and viewable year-round. You can also take a packhorse or a helicopter down if you're not a hiker."
From Ron Perrault: "We're two families of four who have traveled to Europe together for the past 18 years, and next summer it's Greece! We figure the year after the big games things must be in pretty great shape and that there are many of you who might have some tips for us after having just gone. We need advice on the best value hotels and restaurants in Athens, and on Santorini, too. Also, anybody out there have any inside tips on beaches and restaurants on Crete? We're renting near Rethymno. Our best ideas have always come from Frommer's people. Any suggestions?"
From DiveDeeper: "My wife and I are planning a trip to St. Maarten this summer and had hoped to also go over to Saba, where we hear the diving is wonderful. Now we hear from friends who just returned that a prominent member of the Saba government has publicly stated that outsiders, especially Americans, do not belong on Saba and are not welcome. Wow. Should we cancel our plans to visit Saba?"
From Harriett Strayhorn: "I just returned from Tibet and it was one of the most enjoyable places I have ever been. I was traveling with Djoser and there were only 2 of us who went on to Tibet (we had been in India and in Nepal). The Tibetan people are very friendly, but no one speaks English except for a few workers in hotels. I was in Lhasa, then had the most beautiful ride through the high mountains to Shigatse, then on to Gyantse. I loved every minute of that trip!"
From Barb R.: "I want to share some highlights from a trip to Oaxaca and San Cristobal de las Casas with Culturexplorers. I have traveled to many countries around the world but this was one of the best group trips I've experienced. What makes it special? The owner, Jim Kane, who travels with the group is a remarkable leader who is responsive to the individual needs and desires of each person in the group. The group was small but diverse, all with a common interest in the human landscape of travel. We not only participated in the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday, but we created our own altar."

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