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North and Middle America Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your North and Middle America vacation

Malaria prophylaxis 3 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
In certain areas of Central America the threat of malaria can be quite high, so you may be confronted with the question of whether - and how to - take preventive measures. My doctor suggested Lariam tablets, which are said to be the most efficient, but they also have the most serious side effects and have been known to cause halluciantions and severe depression. My boyfriend and I both took the first tablet a week before our trip, as directed. He didn't notice anything - I started having severe stomach cramps almost straight away. I was then supplied with Malarone tablets, which you can either take as a preventive medicine, but only recommended for a short period of time (up to 4 weeks) or wait until you actually get malaria (if you do) and take it then for three days straight. I did the latter, and I was lucky, I didn't get it. Under the circumstances- considering the severe side-effects, I would not recommend Lariam to anyone, although I do know some people have no negative reaction to it. I don't know what Malarone would have done to me had I actually had to take it. Doctors tell you just not to get bitten in the first place, but that just doesn't seem possible.


Brannan Cottage Inn, Calistoga, California 5 stars
If you find yourself in need of a warm hug while in Calistoga, California, a room at the Brannan Cottage Inn is the next best thing. After a lovely afternoon of wine tasting my way through the Napa Valley, I found myself in need lunch and a nap. Despite the fact that is was a busy holiday weekend and no reservation, the helpful Innkeepers got in a room that had been cancelled only moments before.

Calistoga is a perfect quiet getaway for some rest and relaxation. Calistoga is famous for its hot springs, and cute gingerbread style Inns and Bed and Breakfasts, and the infamous mud bath.

Brannan Cottage Inn is adorable and situated a short walk from town. Originally built 1860, it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its history is evident from the moment you enter its lobby. Is appears as though you have entered a welcoming, antique filled living room. There are only six rooms total, each decorated beautifully with its own color scheme and antiques. I stayed in what was called the “rose room”, which a found charming and comforting, like staying at Grandma’s house. The room was decorated in a lovely color combination of pale aqua and rose patterned fabrics. There were heart shaped chocolates and champagne on ice welcoming me when I entered. One of my favorite details however, was the fireplace.

If I have any criticism, it is minor; the beautiful antique bed was as noisy as they come. Every time I moved I woke myself up with all the creaking going on. Despite this, I found my short stay completely relaxing and well worth the moderate price tag.

In the morning there was a beautiful spread set out in the lobby, with items that you would usually not find in a “breakfast included” arrangement. Hot egg dishes, apple pancakes, fresh berries and more was set out and waiting. The innkeepers were very helpful and welcoming. I look forward to returning very soon.


Money Matters: Central America 5 stars
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
If you're planning to go to Costa Rica, Nicaragua or Panama (and I would assume any other Central American country as well) the easiest is to bring US Dollars, with which you can pay directly at many occasions and if that is not possible, it is always easy to get them exchanged into the currency of the respctive country. With Euros, places for an exchange are not as readily available and the exchange rate is usually worse. So coming from Europe, it's worth getting some Dollars beforehandto save yourself the trouble once you're there.


Food Missing from the rest of the World 4 stars
Having lived in Europe for quite sometime there are certain things that I have notied missing from the rest of the world that can be found in America. This includes Taco Bell, Popeyes Chicken, and Mountain Dew. Of course these are in no way staple foods or good for your health, but for something greasy quick and bad for you, these foods are great. At Taco Bell they serve fast food like Mc Donalds, but it is a take on Mexican food but customized to American Tastes. Here they serve burritos and tacos. Popeyes is like a Kentucky Fried Chicken, but it offers better chicken, but also extremely greasy. Mountain is a drink made my Pepsi that is one of the staple drinks in the USA. This drink contains more caffeine than is necessary. However, it really is good for studying tests or with a meal. America is more about sugar and greasy good when it comes to a quick meal. However, that does not mean that these three things are enjoyed by everyone. They simply add to the overweight problem in the USA. These things however can be found all throughout the USA.


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