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Why are you here and not Trip Advisor? Or are do you go there too?

Why are you here and not Trip Advisor? Or are do you go there too?

Old Apr 14th, 2008, 04:41 PM
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Lynda, Did you write anything about your Peru trip?

Patty, For swimming with wild dolphins, what are you looking at? I'm on Dream Team's mailing list.

Sandy Caye in the Bahamas is a good place to swim with spotted dolphins. The 2 companies I went with are not in business anymore so I was thinking about Dream Team. Bimini is another place that has had good results for swiming with wild spotted dolphins. I thought Bimini might be more hit or miss--really good or not much action, whereas Sandy Caye had more dolphins around, but that could have changed in the last years. The clarity of the water does not seem to be as good as in year's past.

Bottle nosed dolphins are less likely to interact. The only bottle nosed encounters I've had have been by chance and have been very brief.

If you are zeroing in on something, I'd like to know. Thanks!
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 10:49 PM
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Lynne, I havn't had time to write even a short little bit on Peru yet, but I shall! It just may be in conjunction with writing on Alaska once I am back from there at the beginning of June!

I am paying dearly in time for that week of bliss in Peru, I am SWAMPED at the Mon-Fri 9-5 office, as well as the Sat/Sun office and the many other clients for income tax. Another 15 days and that's over, thank goodness.

But I promise I will write something soon. It was a FABULOUS trip though, first class all the way (the COB promised us that, and he delivered). Macchu Picchu was breathtaking (both literally and figuratively), I loved Cusco's local inhabitants and all of the wonderful Inca sights we saw. The Hiram Bingham train was INCREDIBLE, what a great way to go from Cusco to Machu Picchu. The llamas (didn't know this, but it's pronounced 'yama') were pushy in Macchu Picchu, one wet dude almost pushed me off the steps there. (nothing worse smelling than a wet llama)

And I loved Lima - I know many people raise their eyebrows on that one and think I'm off my rocker, but we loved it. We had a private car & driver, and a a private tour guide for 2 out of our 3 days (the company trip was over once we left Cusco, we were in Lima on our own), so maybe that makes all the difference in the world, I don't know. I loved the markets, the prices of everything, the food, the ceviche, did I mention the food, the wonderful atmoshpere and the people.

Only part I could have done without was the 5.4 eathquake on the Sat morning epicenter 10 km from our hotel. The scarriest moment of my life, I felt my mortality the rest of the day, and will never forget the sound of the rumble before the shaking began. I'd never heard that rumble before - and this from someone who lives in an earthquake zone.

We saw tons of indigenous animals, but, OK, they were at the local Lima zoo..... But still, we saw them! Someone has to hug the animals at the zoo!

Hey, I think I have just about written a trip report!!!!

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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 03:42 AM
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Too lazy to post more than one place and picked here. However if there is any more heavy-handed censoring of threads like the Meno-a-Kwena one, I'll be seeing you at TA.
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 05:01 AM
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A lot of travel agents/touts venturing on TA. They get annoyed after PM'ing you about their companies, if you do not start recommending them on your posts.

I have cut way back with my travels to TA.
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 07:23 AM
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I was looking at dolphin swims in New Zealand, particularly on South Island and found these:

From Akaroa www.dolphinsakaroa.co.nz Hector's dolphins

From Kaikoura www.ecounterkaikoura.co.nz dusky dolphins

From Picton www.naturetours.co.nz says they can be common, bottle nose, Hector's or dusky

I've found positive reviews of both the Akaroa and Kaikoura operators with comments that in Kaikoura you encounter larger pods (but they're different dolphin species). Haven't found anything on the Picton one yet but I'm still looking. The only downside it seems is that the water can be very cold!

There are some dolphin swims from North Island too but I haven't looked into these (I think the water would be warmer here though):

From Tauranga www.swimwithdolphins.co.nz

From Paihia www.dolphincruises.co.nz
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 07:25 AM
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Oops, that second link should be www.encounterkaikoura.co.nz
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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I have been posting to Fodors since around 1997/1998, only on the Europe board for the first year or two and then here on the Africa board too, and these days, mostly only on the Africa board and hardly ever on the Europe one!

I use tripadvisor mainly to read accommodation reviews when planning and booking city breaks (such as Bruges or Marrakech) and even then, I cross-reference to many other sources of information.

There is huge motivation to post false reviews there, since each review affects an entry's ranking. The more obvious false posts are quickly removed but those in the industry are becoming cleverer about sites such as Tripadvisor and, at the same time, about how to post false reviews that pass inspection. So I always have in mind that exceptionally positive reviews may be posted by the accommodation themself and exceptionally negative ones may be posted by a competitor!

I seldom bother with the forums there as I find that there isn't much of a regular community there which means that questions posted are mostly completely ignored, answered by posters with very little experience/ knowledge of the destination or by pounced upon by Travel Agents/ others in the industry.

More so than here, it seems to be that TAs use the forums there to find business. They may not tout for it openly but by becoming seen as an "expert" (in the absence of others with indepth knowledge) and mentioning now and then what they do, they do the job.

Here, that seems to be less of an issue as those in the industry who respond are just another voice in a sea of experienced, long-standing and much respected posters.

Plus, I'm a creature of habit and I've been here so long I ain't leaving now!

I do also post on another board called travelers to go as well as photography boards and foodie boards! Where do I find the time?
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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I mostly use Fodors to post questions and to browse information. I go to Trip Advisor and love it for checking out specific hotels, but I don't find the threads as easy to follow. The same thing is true of Frommers' website. Visually I like the way Fodors is arranged and it is easy to search for specific information. I also feel like I have gotten to know people on the various boards here and that's fun. I have developed a whole set of "pen pals" as an adult - how fun is that!
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 12:41 PM
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I prefer the Fodors ecosystem to the other game parks out there. The sheer diversity of game and habitat in the Africa section make it a preferred stop for me. There's a large amount of resident game with significant migrations of newbies passing through to keep the place up to date and dynamic. Granted, some of it can get repetitious, but the variety and dynamism of species interaction usually offers something new. For some first time visitors, the species interactions can get rather dramatic and sometimes upsetting, but I find it to be an interesting glimpse in the lives of certain predators.

Lonely Planet's thorntree can be quite wild, and is excellent for a certain type of safari-seeker, but I found I outgrew those environs pretty quickly.

I do find the accommodations on Fodors to be rather primitive, or some might say "rustic", but it does have a certain wild charm. Other forums, like safari talk or TA have much nicer accommodations - better search, adding images, etc, if you're into that sort of thing. (spell check? What next, chocolate-covered strawberries?)

However, neither one has the sheer volume and variety of game. You might get better quality sightings on safaritalk, but they tend to be rather focused and only of a certain species of mammal. If you're a big fan of this focus, then it's great. But, I prefer the wide range of species you get on Fodors. And, as has been noted, the sharp delineation of habitat on TA makes cross-species interaction less frequent. For some ecosystems, this can be a blessing, but for Africa, I prefer diversity. Though, on occasion, I have it in mind to see something specific and will visit TA for just that.

Now, the issue of poaching on the preserve has been an issue, but industry professionals and shills are easy to identify and their predations are limited. Some are simply non-endemic predators that serve a beneficial purpose in the larger ecosystem.

In my experience, when it comes to Africa travel advice, I find Fodors to be the best for diverse quality sightings. I game drive through here once a day just to see if something has come up.
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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Very imaginatively put, lifelist!
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 01:18 PM
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Great post lifelist. Do you have photos?!!
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 02:01 PM
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Lifelist -


I have been one of the newbies passing through that appreciates the knowledge of territory that the resident game has acquired

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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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Thanks for the New Zealand info, Patty. Lifelist, you are a creative force!
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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Great response lifelist!
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