Hungry for a good conversation? Join our Facebook group "Let's Eat, South Florida" where our readers and writers share tips about restaurants, recipes and more.

Celebrate Carnival in Haiti

Chicago Tribune

The Dominican Republic draws lots of tourists to its many all-inclusive resorts. Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the DR, traditionally has had a dearth of luxe lodging and hasn't been as much of a tourist magnet. That's beginning to change. As Haiti becomes more popular, G Adventures is offering a nine-day Highlights of Haiti and Carnival package. The first date won't be until 2018, with the trip running Feb. 2-10. There will also be a tour Feb. 22 to March 2, 2019. The trip begins in the capital of Port-au-Prince before moving on to Jacmel on the south coast. Though Carnival doesn't officially begin until Shrove Tuesday, the celebration in Jacmel begins well in advance, with a colorful and raucous parade accompanied by lively music. There will be other activities in Jacmel and then a few days in Cap-Haitien to tour the mountaintop fortress, cathedral and city market. The trip is priced at $2,799 per person, double occupancy, not including international airfare. Info: 888-800-4100,

Ranking hotel rewards

Hotel rewards programs definitely don't have the allure of airline frequent-flier programs — even though it's becoming more of a challenge to cash in those frequent-flier miles. But, there still are those who slavishly pledge allegiance to one or another hotel group. WalletHub, a financial services website that loves to evaluate various programs, recently posted its year-end report of Best Hotel Rewards Programs. It looked at the 12 largest hotel chains and used 21 metrics to evaluate them. For the second year in a row, Wyndham Rewards snagged the top spot for travelers of all spending levels. La Quinta was found to offer up to $14.17 in rewards per $100 spent, to place it at the top in that area. Best Western is the only major chain whose points don't expire due to inactivity. The WalletHub report also has a calculator that allows you to plug in your typical annual hotel spending and get customized results. Check it out at

Scale 1 of the 7 summits

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, though topping out at 19,340 feet, is an iconic mountain-climbing experience that can be tackled by even novices who are well conditioned and led by knowledgeable, well-equipped tour companies. Good Earth Tours offers four routes, ranging from the most popular and easy to the most difficult. The Marangu route is considered the easiest and spends six days on the mountain, including one day midtrek that's devoted to acclimatizing to the altitude. It's also the least expensive of the four trips, priced at $2,215 per person, which includes an experienced, English-speaking head guide, porters, meals and lodging in huts. International airfare is extra. Find info on all four tours at

Phil Marty is a freelance writer.


6 ways to keep phone charges low during international travel

America's most romantic winter destinations

New Years Eve celebrations in the Midwest, plus other travel tidbits

Copyright © 2018, South Florida