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July 20, 2015
Costa Rica Travel Tips

Costa Rica has it all

What better place to tell you about than the one I just visited! For the last two weeks I have travelled coast to coast to find out what makes Costa Rica a top tourist spot for travellers near and far. Costa Rica, per square meter, is the most diverse country in the world. From the South Eastern beach towns to the National Parks and the Northern Countryside, I must say there is definitely something here for everyone.

Something you need to know when travel to Costa Rica.

Overall Costa Rica is great value, it’s not as cheap as some areas of Central America but the country is quite developed and very clean, you can even drink the tap water! Transport to and from cities is readily available on shuttles or can be achieved for a lesser cost on public transport if you are willing to invest the time. Be prepared to pay a small fee to use public bathrooms, brush up on your basic Spanish and pack your sunscreen (it’s expensive to buy it locally)!

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, the Caribbean Coast

Our journey started in Puerto Viejo, a small Caribbean influenced town in the South East of the country. There is a very relaxed atmosphere here with local vendors lighting up the streets selling handcrafted souvenirs and eclectic bars filling the night with pure enjoyment.Pristine beach at Punta Uva


You can’t really go wrong; this town is small and easy to get around. Staying a few blocks back from the beach can be beneficial, as it tends to be a lot quieter.


Roadside vendors selling BBQ meats are cheap and delicious as are the Sodas (family run restaurants) serving local cuisine at a great price. Then there are lots of quaint restaurants, many still seemingly run by families, making them good value and the food fresh and delicious. I really enjoyed the pizza at Bar Pizzeria Restaurante va a seguir, the breakfast at Bread and Chocolate and the vibe at KOKi (the ceviche here is renowned too).

Top 3 Activities:

  • Hire a bike and explore the coastline. We hired them for $5 for 24 hours and made the journey to Punta Manzanillo, this 24km round trip was breathtaking, gliding through the jungle and catching glimpses of pristine beach along the way.
  • Head to the Jaguar Rescue Centre, a one of a kind rehabilitation centre for all sorts of wildlife.
  • Take a Chocolate Factory tour.

Tamarindo, the Pacific Side

Step the luxury up a notch in Tamarindo. Here you will find large scale, luxurious resorts and fine dining restaurants. Located on the Pacific Ocean side, in the North West of the country, this ocean paradise is highly equipped for tourists making it the perfect spot for those who like to simply relax and soak in the atmosphere.


Diria Beach Resort is in the best location, splash out and stay at this amazing ocean front Resort otherwise make sure you’re within about a 500m radius.


There are lot’s of upscale restaurant’s in Tamarindo offering international cuisine and lots of seafood. For cheaper eats, head back a few blocks from the beach where you will find smaller, but still really tasty, hole in the wall and family restaurants. Some of my favourites stops here were for the tacos at Green Papaya, the coffee at Café Tico and the breathtaking sunset view from The Ocean restaurant.

Top 3 Activities:

  • Lean to Surf! The waves at Playa Tamarindo are perfect for beginners and the cost of board hire and lessons is really reasonable.
  • Take a tour out to the waterfalls, hike through the jungle to explore nature’s most beautiful water features.
  • Explore the outer beaches, like Playa Conchal with crystal clear water crashing onto the sand which is made up of millions of tiny shell fragments.

Tortuguero National Park, the Turtle Conservation Park

Costa Rica Travel Tips

Trekking through the jungle in Tortuguero National Park

We took a 3 day, 2 night G Adventures tour into Tortuguero National Park. If you want to see wildlife, this is the perfect tour. We saw birds, frogs, sloths, lizards, caiman and turtles! The park is a conservation area and is made up of canals, lagoons, rivers and ocean. There is a lot involved in getting to and around this area so a guided tour was absolutely the way to go. 

Must Do:

Make sure to take a Turtle tour if it isn’t already included in your package, this was absolutely a highlight for me. Tortuguero is home to the second largest green sea turtle nesting beach in the world so your chances of seeing a mother laying her eggs is very high (check the seasons for best viewing). You’ll take a boat out late at night and wait as the turtle watchers find a mother coming ashore to lay and bury her eggs. The locals here are very respectful of the turtles and the environment and love to share these experiences with tourists.

For this trip we stuck mostly to the coastal areas with a short stopover in San Jose. There are lots of other areas of Costa Rica to explore, top of the list for next visit will be the mountainous areas of La Forturna & Monteverede for which we have been told there is great rainforest hiking and volcano sightseeing.

My favourite thing about Costa Rica is Pura Vida, which translates to Pure Life and is the mantra in which the locals live by. Everyone is happy and blessed, going about their daily activity with such pure energy. Embrace the culture, try something new and you’ll definitely make some new friends along the way.

Thank you for reading!

Jenna-belle Hall

If you are here it probably means you are thinking of booking your first cruise or have even booked it! The idea might be scaring you, you have no idea what to expect, but don’t worry, if there is one thing I know about cruises it’s that they have you covered!

Packing for your first cruise:

No matter how long your cruise is 3, 9, 14 or 100 nights you always start off on embarkation day with no idea of what is to come! You pack and plan and then finally the day arrives and it’s time to get on the ship! Excitement aside there are one or two things you should know about arriving at the terminal.

First when packing make sure you pack a day bag with anything you might want as soon as you get on the ship as you will be dropping off your main luggage at the terminal and won’t see it until you are back at your cabin! Your day bag should definitely include any important documents e.g. Passport or Photo ID (for domestic cruises only) and also any prescription medication, you may want to pack your bathers for a swim and your camera to mark this momentous occasion.

Don’t worry too much though; it won’t be long before your luggage is available at your cabin! After dropping off your bags there is usually a wait to check in (bring something to entertain the kids and maybe some snacks as sometimes this can take a while!).
When you check in they will take your photo and give you your cruise card! This card acts as a few different things: your cabin key, your id for getting on and off the ship in port and also as your charge card. On Cruises you can spend as much or as little as you want and you use your cruise card to make payments for those things you do buy!

You are finally onboard, now what?

Each cruise line produces a daily newsletter and sends them to your cabin, this way you know exactly what is on throughout the day, and this could be anything from spa seminars to trivia to the nightly shows onboard. The newsletter will usually also have a note from the captain and daily specials in the onboard shops, it will also provide you any important information about attire for the night (themed nights and formal nights) and what time you need to be back onboard when in port! Not ready to fill your holiday with scheduled activities? Then explore! There is so much to see on these ships, so many places to make your “local” so many wonderful people to meet and make friends with including crew and passengers. Or if none of this tickles your fancy then the best bet is to find a spot near the pool order a drink and kick back and relax!

Port days vs. Sea days.

You have settled in and got into the swing of life onboard, your sea days are filled with relaxing and testing your knowledge at trivia – on things you almost never need at home and tomorrow is your first day in port!

On sea days your only worry is waking up before the buffet stops serving breakfast but on your port days there will be a few extra things to think about. The day before your cabin steward will place some extra information in your cabin about the port you will be stopping at next, this will include all sorts of things such as local customs and what to do while you are there. First time cruising and everything you need to know about it.

Your ship will either be docking or you will tender depending on the port and they will usually tell you all the information you need to know about getting off and on the ship. You will need to bring with you most importantly your cruise card and some form of ID (it’s not advisable to get off the ship without your passport in foreign countries) also bring with you anything you might need for the day.

Most people don’t like getting off and on the ship more than once in a port but that is entirely up to you! In port days it doesn’t matter what you do, for example you could book an excursion through the cruise line themselves or just get off and wonder around the local area for a shop. The only thing that does matter is making sure you are back onboard by the time the ship states (this is usually around the 4.30-5pm mark but is different for every itinerary and every port).

Cruise organised shore tours can be a great way to discover a port you have never visited before. For a fee you can book in one or two tours in a day (depending on the length) and there is almost always something for everyone.


Elizabeth and Hannah

For example on my last cruise we went snorkelling on a remote island one day and on a bus tour to the World War Two relics of the area the next. The tours can sometimes leave you slightly out of pocket though so if you prefer you can wait until you arrive in port and there will usually be plenty of people offering tours right from the dock.

The benefit of booking direct through your cruise line is the tours will always be scheduled to get you back on time for the ship leaving, and if they are running late the ship will wait! If you do go off on your own you have to be mindful the ship won’t wait for you if you are not back on time.

The end of your Cruise:

Unfortunately as with all holidays it must come to an end sometime. The ship’s crew won’t like reminding you of this but have to at some point. You will receive forms towards the middle to end of your cruise that ask about the day of disembarkation.
If you have an early flight you will need to be off the ship with enough time to get through customs and to the airport. Filling out these forms is important to make sure you make your post cruise transportation or just to make sure you get an extra sleep in! Once these forms are filled out you will be given luggage tags and information that tells you what time you will be getting off the ship.

Packing up your cabin is sadly done on the last night and your bags need to be placed outside your cabin door to be collected, the luggage tags correspond with the time you will be disembarking so they will be available in port when you get off.

Depending on what time your ship gets back to port you could be in for a particularly early morning. If you have purchased any duty free alcohol you will have to pick this up from a centralised point on the ship, and then you will have to be out of your cabin. Don’t worry, they still serve breakfast so you won’t get kicked onshore with your stomach rumbling!

Onshore operations are quick as they have to get ready for the next cruise, you will be scanned off the ship one last time as you say goodbye and then you will go through the cues to get to your suitcases, then through customs (on international cruises) and then finally you are free.

With all of the good (fun times and new friends) and the bad (getting up and saying goodbye on the last day) of cruising you will never regret the time you spent onboard. I can vouch for the effort of the crew in giving you the best holiday possible, you will make lifelong friends and memories on a cruise, and as you step off board you will be wishing you were stepping back on!

Thank you for reading!

Elizabeth Wittwer

Travel Tips:

How to stretch the weaker Australian dollar when travelling overseas!

How to stretch your Australian Dollar further when travelling overseas

1- If you plan ahead, consider different destinations and be smart about where to go. The Aussie has lost ground against multiple currencies this year but it’s still going great guns in Asia,

2- Pay for as much as you can of your travel before you go. This way you lock in a rate and you know how much you have left to budget for spending money.

3- You can generally save by shopping around for discounts on airfares and packages.

4- You may shorten your stay or opt for four-star accommodation rather than five.

5- Cruising is a good option for falling dollar better than other types of holidays because the accommodation, transport, meals and entertainment are all included in the fare. And cruising on Australian-based cruise lines where the AUD is the onboard currency, means you can travel overseas without having to worry about foreign exchange shifts.

6- Avoid airports and tourist areas as the currency exchange businesses in these areas have a captive audience and will offer the worst exchange rates and higher fees and commissions.

7- Try to pay in the local currency rather than the dollar when using credit cards or travel money cards as Australian funds attract higher fees and a steep exchange rate.

8- Travel money cards lock in foreign currency at that day’s exchange rate. You won’t be charged withdrawal fees from international ATMs, and you avoid the sting of overseas credit card charges.

Thank you for reading and hope you will have great holiday!

Disney Travel Facts and TipsDisney World

About Disney

Disney is one of the most well-known companies in the world, and they live up to their name! Travelling to any of the Disney locations is a once in a lifetime experience (even if you do get to go more than once.) The parks and resorts are always changing, as Walt himself said “Disneyland will never be completed, It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” No two trips to Disney will ever be the same! Disney has something for everyone from ages 3 to 103, you will never be wondering what to do when you travel with Disney.

Why book with us?

Booking a trip to any of the Disney locations can be confusing as there is so much information out there and tiring as most of the locations are in a completely opposite time zone! At Tweet World Travel we have the knowledge and experience you need to make you Disney trip truly magical for you and your family! Not only can we book you a package at Disney including accommodation, park tickets and even dining plans, we can include your flights, travel insurance and any other holiday plans you might have! For example we could create a land and sea package for you with return flights to Orlando, Florida, a Disney package for 5 nights (accommodation, tickets and dining plan) and a magical 4 night Bahamas cruise on one of Disney cruise lines 4 ships! Why book yourself when you can have a hassle free experience all in one location!

Our Disney travel consultant

  My name is Elizabeth Wittwer and I have been travelling to Disney since I was 3 years old. My parents regularly took us to Disneyland Paris and later in life we spent many trips going to the Walt Disney world Florida and 1_PH347630513-0001Disneyland California. In 2013 I experienced my most magical trip to Disney yet and married my husband at Walt Disney World, Florida. We spent the early morning taking wedding photos in an empty Magic Kingdom and then married in one of the beautiful private function rooms complete with violinist playing Disney tunes and a two tiered cake with painted gold Mickey Mouse heads. For a reception we spent the afternoon in Magic Kingdom with our 12 guests fitting in as many attractions as possible and eating our dinner at the Be Our Guest restaurant (we even got to try the ‘grey stuff’ –yes it was delicious!). We ended our perfect wedding day with the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party, an exclusive event with only 50 tickets available complete with a dessert buffet and front row seats for the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle. Our most recent trip included a 7 night Caribbean cruise on the Disney Magic, one of the most beautiful ships I have ever seen. We have made friends for life cruising with Disney and being what is known as a DisBride, some I hope to see again one day in America and here in Australia. I have not ever experienced another company that brings people from all walks of life together like that. I have seen firsthand the kind of service and magic that travelling with Disney provides, and no one else provides the quality of everything Disney has to offer. The love and devotion the employees give to their job and guests is astounding. You must see it to believe the level of service they provide!

Walt Disney World, Florida

Walt Disney World is the largest of Disney’s theme parks and

Resorts. The area houses 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 24 themed resort hotels, 4 golf courses, 2 mini golf courses, and its dining, shopping and entertainment complex Downtown Disney.

WDW theme parks cater for almost everyone with rides suitable for babies and children or the kids at heart who want something more thrilling!

 Magic Kingdom:Disney Travel

  •  6 themed lands
  • Train loop around the park
  • Features the spectacular nighttime Wishes fireworks
  • Park is suitable for all ages
  • Enjoy classic rides such as the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Daily parades through the main street 

Animal Kingdom:

  • Currently 6 themed lands (more coming soon)
  • Encounter safari animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Thrill seek on roller coaster Expedition Everest
  • Park is suitable for all ages
  • Park surrounds The Tree of Life a 145ft artificial tree with    over 300 hand carved animals in its trunk!

Hollywood Studios:

  • 6 themed areas
  • Ride the thrilling Hollywood Tower of Terror or the Rockin’ Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith!
  • Catch a show on one of the many stages, such as live Beauty and the Beast or Disney Junior, Live!
  • Park is suitable for all ages
  • Take a seat in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre and watch Fantasmic! A live show featuring Mickey and many of his friends and foes, fireworks, fire and water!

Walt Disney World Photo Gallery DiscEpcot:

  • 2 themed areas: Future World and World Showcase
  • Travel around the world in World Showcase, country pavilions include Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada, try their local cuisine and learn about their culture and history!
  • In Future world take a ride on the Seas with Nemo and Friends and at the end experience one of the largest salt water aquariums in the world!  
  • Features nighttime fireworks spectacular Illuminations
  • Park is suitable for all ages

Walt Disney World Resorts:

 Disney resorts are split into 4 categories Value, Moderate, Deluxe and Villas each have different price brackets but all are high level Disney quality!

  • Value resorts are at the lower end of the resorts, beautiful properties at affordable prices, they are often the furthest away from the theme parks and have the most guest rooms, there are 5 value resorts
  • Moderate resorts are for those looking for something a little bit more luxurious but still not paying too much there are 4 moderate resorts each with unique theming
  • The deluxe resorts are the dream locations on property, they are generally closer to the major attractions and are more exclusive, with high end finishing’s and spectacular themes, such as Animal Kingdom lodge where you can sit on your room balcony and watch giraffes pass by. There are a total of 8 deluxe resorts
  • The Villas are in a world of their own suitable for larger family groups as they can be 1 or 2 bedrooms with a kitchen for you to use! They are attached to the deluxe resorts and feature the same styling as each of their partners.

Each of the resorts has their own pools for guests to use (often more than one pool) some feature water slides and other water recreation, you can sit by a campfire and roast marshmallows, catch a movie in the open air at all resorts and even go bowling at Disney’s Boardwalk resort. All of the resorts have different restaurants for you to eat at also. Disney resorts offer so much that staying at one is a holiday on its own even without attending the theme parks!

Disney Travel Floridian Resort and Spa Disney dining plans:

When you book your holiday package (accommodation and park tickets) you have the option to add one of the Disney dining plans which allows you to prepay for you food whilst on property at Disney World, there are several plans to choose from depending on your needs! Each plan comes with credits per person per day, how many of each credit you receive is determined by the plan you choose. The two main plans are the Dining plan and the Quick Service dining plan.

  • The Dining plan comes with 1xQuick service meal, 1xTable service meal, 1xSnack per person per day and 1xRefilible resort mug per person (valid for length of stay)
  • The Quick Service plan comes with 2xQuick service meal, 1xSnack per person per day and 1xRefilible resort mug per person (valid for length of stay)
  • The different restaurants are classed by quick service (fast food), table service (full sit down meal) and buffet, you can use your table service credits towards character meals also but some are worth 2 credits rather than just one.
  • You can use your credits however you choose in whatever order you choose for example you could use 3 snack credits one day and no table service credits.
  • For table service restaurants reservations are recommended and can be booked up to 180 days in advance.

Disneyland, California


Disneyland, Anaheim is the original Disney Park opened in 1955 by Walt himself. It is known as the “happiest place on earth” and features 2 theme parks, Disneyland and California Adventure and just 3 hotels. It also features the dining and shopping destination Downtown Disney.


  • 8 themed lands
  • A monorail that takes you to the hotels
  • Nightly fireworks
  • Suitable for all ages
  • Many historical rides and attractions

California Adventure:

  • Features thrill coaster California Screaming
  • 7 themed areas
  • Night time spectacular World of Colour which includes more than 1200 water fountains, lasers, lights and fire!
  • Suitable for all ages

Downtown Disney:

  • Shop all things Disney and many more brands, and dine in world class restaurants!
  • Open late past park closing

Disneyland Resorts:

Disneyland features 3 resorts, the Disneyland Hotel, the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and the Paradise Pier Hotel

  • The Disneyland Hotel was the first resort built on property at Disneyland featuring 990 guest rooms and pools and water slides exclusively for guests.
  • The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is located inside Disney’s California Adventure park giving new meaning to being in the “middle of the magic” there are 751 guest rooms at this hotel.
  • The Paradise Pier hotel has 502 guest rooms and overlooks Disney’s California Adventure boardwalk, it features a rooftop pool complex complete with “California Streamin” a water slide designed to look like a wooden roller coaster!

Staying at any of the resorts entitles guests to an extra magic hour, (subject to days and park hours) this means you get to enter the park an hour before the general public! 

Disney Cruise Line


Disney Cruise line operates from many different ports within North America and Europe with 4 ships! The Magic, Fantasy, Wonder and Dream. All of the ships are floating resorts with so much to do on-board you will wonder how to fit it all in! Disney cruise line isn’t just for families either! Take a cruise as a couple to the Caribbean and get married on Disney’s private island Castaway Cay! Or perhaps consider taking a Disney cruise as a family reunion!

Disney Cruise Line can take you to so many wondrous places on many different itineraries. Such as:

  • The Caribbean
  • The British Isles
  • The Mediterranean
  • The Alaskan inside passage
  • Hawaii
  • Mexico
  • The Panama Canal

                              …Just to name a few!

The four ships each have something spectacular to offer from water slides to water coasters and glass bottom spas! One of the highlights of any Disney cruise is the deck parties, the Pirates in the Caribbean night comes complete with flying Mickey Mouse and fireworks at sea!!

Disney Magic

  • Up to 2713 passengers
  • Broadway style shows and first-run Disney movies in the Walt Disney Theatre
  • Aquadunk: a thrilling waterslide
  • Three main restaurants

Disney Wonder

  • Up to 2713 passengers
  • Broadway style shows and first-run Disney movies in the Walt Disney Theatre
  • Route 66 an entertainment strip where you can walk from Chicago to California

Disney Fantasy

  • Up to 4000 passengers
  • Features the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique where little girls can be transformed into their favourite princesses
  • Aquaduck: a thrilling water coaster (a cross between a waterslide and rollercoaster)

Disney Dream

  • Up to 4000 passengers
  • Broadway style shows and first-run Disney movies in the Walt Disney Theatre
  • Aquaduck: a thrilling water coaster (a cross between a waterslide and rollercoaster)
  • Take a dip in the adults only glass bottomed spa!

The Disney cruise line ships truly have something for everyone, including character meet and greets, amazing kids clubs and adults only spaces for relaxing and unwinding! 

On Bahamas and Caribbean cruises you get to visit the one and only Castaway Cay (pronounced key), Disney’s very own private island paradise. There is so much to do on the island from snorkeling and jet skiing to water slides and relaxing on the beach. If relaxing after a long week of relaxing doesn’t sound like your thing then sign up for the Castaway Cay 5K run, complete the course and you receive a Mickey Mouse medal! 

At the end of the day Disney is one of the top travel providers I have worked with and I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the amazing things they have to offer here in this blog!

 Thanks for taking the time to read!

Elizabeth Wittwer



  • You can save a lot of your time.
  • Using a travel agent  gives you peace of mind that everything has been taken care of!
  • Get great advice that makes your trip more enjoyable. That means, you end up getting better value for your money.
  • A travel agent will have relationships with different vendors. They might not be able to get a better price but might be able to get you some extras, such as on-board credit or a free shore excursion during a cruise. With accommodation a free room upgrade or free breakfast. With your flights a travel agent may be able to get you free accommodation if the connecting time is over 6 hours, provided by exclusive airlines.
  • A travel agent can advise you on such issues as exchange rates, travel insurance, crowds, weather, competency of tours, areas of a town to avoid, travel visas, vaccinations, passports, tipping etiquette, packing lists and trip cancellation penalties and restrictions.
  • A travel agent can also sort out which airlines charge for checked bags or roomier exit-row agent

In the end using a travel agent won’t always cost more and will often cost about the same as booking it yourself, In fact, it’s possible you will pay less than booking a holiday yourself because agents might be aware of promotional offers and occasionally have access to exclusive deals.


  • If you are familiar with making travel arrangements online and have the time to spend researching travel offers.
  • When you are travelling to destinations you are familiar with you may prefer to book trips yourself.
  • You can book online by yourself at any time of the day from any location.Do it yourself

Most people do not realize that when you book online yourself there is still a travel agent involved at the other end of the website, so you may still be paying the same or more for an agent to do less work and you to do more!

Thank you for reading!

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