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Pieter's Traveler Profile

Current City: Washington, DC

Member Since: February 14, 2006

Last Login: November 10, 2013

Travel Quote

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Activities & Interests

  • National Parks
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Scenic Drives
  • Beaches & Surfing
  • Volunteer Vacations & Ecotourism
  • Sailing & Cruises

My Destination Reviews & Ratings

This user rates London
Visited with family in 2006 and had a blast. We had a big group and rented apartments, which worked out great. We hit the British Museum, did a boat tour on the Thames, saw Westminster Abbey, and did the rest of the castle and pub set (Look kids: Big Ben, Parliment). It's true that British food isn't that great, but London is so international you'll hardly notice. For the twenty-something crowd, it's worth noting that pubs get started and finished early: the first few nights we went to the pubs at 9 or 10 pm only to find most of the locals falling down drunk. It's better to start your pub day at around 5 and plan to end around 8.
This user rates Boston
This user rates San Diego
Pacific Beach is great and of course the weather is always nice in San Diego. The major attractions (San Diego Zoo, the harbor, etc) are worth visiting, but I've never found that there's much to do downtown. If you like being on or near the water, it's a great time, but I don't find it as fun as L.A., Santa Monica, or Malibu, to be honest. My favorite spot here is the ribs joint Kansas City BBQ ( where they filmed the Great Balls of Fire scene in Top Gun.
This user rates Aviemore
Spent 6 days here for a conference last October. The conference space is great--we stayed in the bungalows up in the forest near the meeting space--but the town didn't have much going on during the day. Night was a different story, with three or four raucous pubs going at all hours. We also hiked Ben Macdui, which was really windy but well-worth the effort. It's moderate but strenuous: You don't need to be a professional mountaineer to handle it, but don't do it in sneakers and a t-shirt, either.
This user rates Lucerne
Spendy, but really nice and historic. We ate on this little lake-boat that's been converted into a restaurant and afterwards hit a little Swiss-German festival that was right outside the hotel. Quaint and pretty, but not worth more than a few days before heading up to the Alps.
This user rates Utila
Sure the diving is great, but don't count on seeing whale sharks. We went during the high season for it, but the waters were too choppy and to be honest, it was a bit of a circus, with some dive companies using helicopters to find the whales. Also, the ATMs here run out of money all the time, there's no A/C, and on Saturdays and Sundays almost everything is shut down due to religious holidays. Still, it's beautiful and the only place in the world I've ever seen a hawksbill turtle while snorkeling. And it's cheap.
This user rates Copan
Really interesting place to visit. We stayed at Casa De Cafe, a great (and cheap) little bed and breakfast that also runs Casa De Jaguar. The ruins are absolutely amazing. Just don't drink the water or eat the crema.
This user rates Jackson
Would give it 5 stars if it weren't so freakin' expensive. The ski resort is one of the best in the country (and steep!) and the town is about an Old West throwback, even if there are more Range Rovers than ponies these days. But the best time of year is summer. Camping on Jenny Lake, hiking through wildflower fields in the Grand Tetons, fly-fishing for rainbow trout... you can do it all in Jackson.
This user rates Washington, DC
DC is a great place to visit for either families or young folks. The best part is it doesn't need to be expensive. Walking around the monuments (starting at the Jefferson, walking through the FDR, then the new MLK, and on to the Licoln, WWII, and Vietnam memorials) takes a full day and won't cost you a dime. The museums are mostly free too. And don't miss the non-Mall neighborhoods like U Street (jazz clubs) or Georgetown (shopping).
This user rates Quebec City
As long as you don't mind cold weather, this is a very, very cool place to visit. There are a lot of new, hip, trendy restaurants, but the best part is the history. They have cobblestone streets that are narrow and wind throughout the city. The oldest portion of town is enclosed in the walls of a fort built by the French in the 1600s. The skiing at Mont Sainte Anne is pretty decent for the East Coast, and you should definitely try the Nordic Spa just outside of the resort, where you sit in a sauna for 15 minutes before being plunged into near-freezing water. Shocking, indeed.
This user rates Miami
The Art Deco hotels and architecture are the coolest part about Miami, well that and the amazing Cuban food you can find in just about any part of town. It's really pricey, though, and I didn't find the people all that friendly. We were down at the beach outside of our hotel and a guy wanted to charge us $20 each to sit on beach chairs, but its was 4:30 and he told us we'd need to leave by 5pm. Not exactly hospitality at its best, but overall the beaches were great and the food even better.
This user rates Detroit
Ok, it's still pretty rough and not exactly Miami or Los Angeles. But Detroit does have a really interesting waterfront and the downtown area has plenty of things to do. The sports stadiums are definitely worth visiting, as is the Henry Ford Museum. I think Detroit is an up-and-comer that will be able to get through this economic crisis and come out ahead.
This user rates Santa Fe
Absolutely worth the visit. I think the best time to go is in Fall, especially during the annual Zozobra celebration when they burn a three-story tall effigy and participants stream back into town shouting "Viva la fiesta." Christmas time is also really pretty. The food is absolutely amazing, but only if you like spicy dishes. Order your plates "Christmas" to get both red and green chile sauce.
This user rates Chicago
I really love the outdoor art installations in Chicago. The Chagall mosaic is really captivating. I could spend a lot of time just hanging out down by the waterfront of Lake Michigan. It also has a fantastic St. Patrick's Day celebration--before going, I didn't know there were so many Irish descendants in town. The one place I wasn't crazy about was Navy Pier. It was just touristy and very, very crowded.
This user rates Roatan
Visited here in August 2010 and stayed at Cocolobo, which was awesome and only about $100 a night. I really dug the scene in West End, which is a laid back little beach town with plenty of open-air cafes. The water taxi to West Bay Beach was also great. We didn't dive and got skunked on fishing, but spent a day at Anthony's Key Resort snorkeling and seeing the dolphins, which I'd highly recommend.
This user rates Martha's Vineyard
I spent four summers vacationing here while in college and they were some of the greatest times in my life. I definitely urge visitors to get "up-island" and see something outside of the three towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven. Hop a bus out to Menemsha for the sunset or get a ride up the the general store on Center Road and you'll see there's more to this island than yacht clubs and Black Dog t-shirts.
This user rates Riviera Maya
The Rivieria Maya is one of my favorite places on earth. I've been three times and stayed in the Fairmont and Hacienda Tres Rios. Playa Del Carmen is really fun, with great places to sit outside and have margaritas. I like the beaches at Akumal best, though Tulum is nice too. And nothing beats swimming in the cenotes.

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My Travel Questions

Has anyone stayed in safari lodges around Jaipur? | Asked on on November 01, 2011 at 09:51 AM | 2 responses

What's the best South American country to visit? | Asked on on August 31, 2011 at 01:19 PM | 3 responses

Is it safe to travel to Margarita Island? | Asked on on August 11, 2011 at 09:51 AM | 2 responses

Anything cool happening in Bangkok in October? | Asked on on July 08, 2011 at 02:29 PM | 1 response

What are the best surfing camps in the Outer Banks? | Asked on on June 16, 2011 at 08:47 PM | 1 response

My Travel Answers

Looking for an inexpensive honeymoon somewhere tropical? | Answered on on April 29, 2012 at 07:46 AM

familytrip through Washington | Answered on on April 24, 2012 at 02:50 PM

Wife and I are planning a drive to Yellowstone National Park. | Answered on on February 03, 2012 at 09:27 AM

We are thinking of going to see Mount rushmore. | Answered on on February 03, 2012 at 09:19 AM

Good field guide to Redwood National Forest | Answered on on January 30, 2012 at 02:10 PM

recommend vacation rentals in ireland and scotlan in september | Answered on on January 18, 2012 at 09:32 AM

Best scenic route from Texas to Montana | Answered on on January 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM

how long to get to jfk from newark | Answered on on January 09, 2012 at 11:15 AM

What is the best way to travel from DC to NY? | Answered on on December 07, 2011 at 03:50 PM

Four of us are going to the Rose Bowl Parade. What are some sights? | Answered on on November 21, 2011 at 10:27 PM

what are inexpensive things to do in Miami, FL | Answered on on November 07, 2011 at 04:36 PM

What is the best way to see Glacier National Park | Answered on on November 04, 2011 at 04:04 PM

What to do with 2 days in NewOrleans | Answered on on November 04, 2011 at 11:03 AM

My sister and I, 31 and 26 respectively, are planning a ski vacation. | Answered on on November 03, 2011 at 04:28 PM

Romantic 10th Anniversary Cruise(s) for Jan 1, 2012. Suggestions | Answered on on November 02, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Where can I get an authentic cheesesteak in Philly? | Answered on on October 26, 2011 at 04:53 PM

is there anything to interest 3 young boys in washington d.c.? | Answered on on October 17, 2011 at 10:23 AM

I am planning a Yellowstone trip Next year. | Answered on on October 05, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Driv. route start & end in NYC, Sept, Motor RV, approx. 2weeks. TY! | Answered on on September 19, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Are there any placesto take an 8yearold girlin NewHampshire | Answered on on September 19, 2011 at 10:58 AM

what is the best time to go to santa fe? | Answered on on September 14, 2011 at 02:56 PM

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Likes and Dislikes

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My Comments

Iceland is certainly an amazing place.

Posted on Iceland Photo Gallery | October 05, 2011 at 03:19 PM | | 2 Comments

The kayaking looks beautiful

Posted on Canada Photo Gallery | October 05, 2011 at 03:18 PM | | 9 Comments

The Royals stadium underwent a $250 million facelift a few years ago. Prior to that, it had a reputation as the worst stadium in baseball, but now the reviews are good. Haven't been since the renovation myself.

Posted on Take Me Out to the Ballpark: Top Ten Baseball Stadiums | September 29, 2011 at 09:46 AM | | 172 Comments

I'll back up the Coors Field pick. Watching the sun set over the Rocky Mountains as the lights come on in the 6th inning is a pretty amazing experience. But I agree that AT&T Park should have made it as well, for McCovey Cove alone.

Posted on Take Me Out to the Ballpark: Top Ten Baseball Stadiums | September 19, 2011 at 09:31 AM | | 172 Comments

It still shoots? That's amazing.

Posted on Vietnam Photo Gallery | August 16, 2011 at 03:19 PM | | 5 Comments

Great news MomOfFour! Check out the Norbeck Overlook on Iron Mountain Road if you're into scenic drives. It gives you a view of Mount Rushmore surrounded by the whole Black Hills. USDA website here: The hiking is great too, but pay attention to any trail closures as flash floods do happen occasionally.

Posted on Black Hills and Mount Rushmore Photo Gallery | June 27, 2011 at 12:27 PM | | 3 Comments

Two of Jamaica's major resort areas (Ochos Rios and Negril) are considered the safest. Montego Bay has all-inclusive resorts which are safe but certain areas are anything but... Avoid Kingston and arrange all transportation through a reputable hotel or resort. State Dept page here: Another option might be Mexico's Riviera Maya (south of Cancun)... great resorts, awesome nature-themed theme parks, and Mayan ruins.

Posted on Top Ten Family Vacations in the Caribbean and Central America | June 09, 2011 at 08:48 AM | | 9 Comments

Brenda, Anthony's Key in Roatan, Honduras, has fantastic snorkel trips and is all-inclusive. They also have a great Swim with the Dolphins program. Mainland Honduras is embroiled in political strife, but if you fly directly to Roatan, you'll be fine. You can see our suggestions for Family Resorts by clicking "Explore By Resort" above.

Posted on Top Ten Family Vacations in the Caribbean and Central America | June 02, 2011 at 04:04 PM | | 9 Comments

Sadly, by the time we write about places, a lot of them are already on the radar of savvy travelers. I think this article was intended for those looking to get away from the Rome/Milan/Amalfi Coast mega areas. But thanks for the great tip, Terri. I'm putting Lucca on my Life List. Joe, we do have some screensavers available for download (see the Photo Galleries link in the header) but I do not believe we have one on Italy.

Posted on Top Ten Hidden Gems of Italy | May 17, 2011 at 03:55 PM | | 11 Comments

Camden Yards is one of my favorite places to see a game...outside of Fenway

Posted on Baltimore Attractions | April 28, 2011 at 09:36 PM | | 1 Comment

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My Favorite Articles

The best beach vacation destinations that won't stretch your wallet.

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Make getting there part of the fun by dropping in (or re-routing to) one of these ten fantastic, weird, wonderful, and surprising roadside attractions.

Added on June 03, 2011 | from

Six sure-fire steps to scamming the lowest possible deal on airfare, along with other ways to the best airfare prices, period

Added on May 26, 2011 | from

Need an idea for where to take your next vacation? Why not visit a surf camp? You'll soak up some rays, hang in a laid-back beach town, and meet a ready-made group of travelers soaking up the local culture. Find our top ten places to learn to surf below.

Added on May 16, 2011 | from

Beach Travel Expert Gary Chandler picks the hottest spring break spots and then offers alternative suggestions for travelers in search of something a bit off the beaten path.

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Nothing can spoil a vacation faster than getting your pocket picked. But a little planning can go a long way in protecting your funds while abroad. Follow these steps and you'll never have to worry about financial disasters while traveling.

Added on April 12, 2011 | from

Finding cheap airfare is a matter of timing. First, determine how flexible your plans are, and then keep your eyes peeled.

Added on April 07, 2011 | from

Countless corporations, travel outfitters, and governments claim to practice sustainable tourism in some way or another, but whom should a well-meaning traveler trust?

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Ten easy ways to be a better traveler

Added on April 06, 2011 | from

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