Stunning sunning: A visit to Mexico's Four Seasons resort

Eren GÖknar/Special to the Town Crier
The ocean view at the Four Seasons in Punta Mita, Mexico, beckons visitors to relax in a hammock at one of the resort’s casitas.

“Uno, dos, tres,” counts Miguel, the water aerobics instructor at the Four Seasons’ Nuna infinity pool in Punta Mita, Mexico, nudging his students to hoist their barbells in the air. “Come on, we’ll do a Spanish lesson, too.”

It wasn’t easy convincing this group to join in. A few minutes earlier, I swam in the crystal-clear water, clutching a frozen mango smoothie – all I wanted to hoist in the air. Waiters brought us water bottles, the intermittent frozen chocolate cappuccino and cool, rolled towels.


Lost & found: Travel often relies on the kindness of strangers

Some people will only buy a house if it’s brand new or custom built with no former occupants. Whenever you stay at a hotel, however, you’re usually moving in right after someone else has moved out.

Despite housekeeping efforts to sanitize the room, things often fall through the cracks. Sunglasses settle behind furniture, pajamas nest in drawers.


Istanbul: Favorite spots to stop, shop and hop around

Eren Göknar/ Special to the TOwn Crier
Turkish delights: When in Istanbul, take in views from a Bosphorus cruise.

Every time my plane lands at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, my heart anticipates the vitality of one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

The call to prayers, regardless of whether you believe in Islam, lends a lyrical quality to the atmosphere five times a day. The “azan,” or prayers, are broadcast from mosques high and low, blanketing Turkey’s largest city with a soulful melancholy.


Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades

Courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Valley Ranch recently upgraded its Vineyard Oak suites, which feature sweeping views, rocking chairs and private outdoor tubs for soaking under the stars.

Things are heating up at Carmel Valley Ranch, with 30 new suites targeting couples, according to a resort spokeswoman.

The 700-square-foot Vineyard Oak one-bedroom suites feature outdoor fireplaces, a concrete soaking tub, daybeds, rocking chairs, picnic tables and tree-top views with filtered light through the oaks. Natural stones and woods and glass and mosaic showers highlight the bathrooms.


Peru for two: A hiker's take on Machu Picchu, mules and making it to the top

Alicia Castro/Town Crier
The sun illuminates the ruins at Machu Picchu.

We plopped down on the grass, exhausted from the trek and a bit grumpy. But the man beside us couldn’t stop smiling.

Rudy from Los Angeles, we learned, had dreamed of visiting Machu Picchu since he first heard about it in school at age 8. Now in his mid-60s, he’d completed a successful career, raised two brag-worthy children and, at long last, journeyed to see the Incan ruins.


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