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Five Fun Facts About Five Hot-for-2014 Destinations

10/02/2014 13:00 GMT | Updated 09/04/2014 10:59 BST

Each year Travelzoo picks its top five travel destinations for the year ahead - these are the destinations that they believe will offer the best value to visitors, as well as the most compelling reasons to visit.

Now we want to find out some fun facts about the top five destinations you should consider in 2014 so sit back, relax and enjoy this exciting round-up.....you might learn something new too!

Five fun facts for five HOT destinations!

Caribbean Cruising

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Image: Travelzoo UK

• The temperature of the Caribbean Sea remains relatively constant throughout the year - at around 24⁰C - meaning that the water is warm and clear almost all of the time. This makes the perfect conditions for sailing. All aboard!

• Wherever you go in the Caribbean, 'rum' is the word. You will find more unique varieties of rum than you can count - and that's not just due to the alcohol percentage - there are just so many excellent producers. You've got rum from the Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and the US Virgin Islands... and these are just the main ones.

• At its deepest, the Caribbean Sea is estimated to reach a depth of 25,220 feet (approximately 7,686 metres) making this one of the lowest points on the entire surface of the earth.

• Although there are a number of islands in the Caribbean, just 2% of the land mass is actually inhabited. This means that the remainder of the islands and their natural resources have been left intact for centuries - just as Mother Nature intended.

• Visiting Barbados? Be sure not to wear your military fancy dress costume that you always take with you 'just in case' - the wearing of any form of camouflage on this Caribbean island is illegal.

Greek Islands

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Image: Travelzoo UK

• Greek people do not wave with an open hand; in fact, it is considered quite rude to show the palm of the hand with the fingers extended. Greeks wave with their palm closed and make sure you do the same too when visiting!

• Greece has between 1200 and 6000 of them - depending on what you consider an island - but only 227 of these are inhabited by people. Now, which one to visit first?

• Greek people don't celebrate birthdays, not because they all resent growing old, but they do celebrate their "name day" instead. This is the day of the Saint that they are named after - for example, everyone named Catherine celebrates on St. Catherine's Day (the 25th of November.)

• Greece and her islands enjoy more than 250 days of sunshine each and every year - meaning over 3,000 hours of sunshine. We only get about half that amount each year in the UK.

• Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and has the highest ratio of guns per person in the European Union. This does not, however, mean that it is a dangerous place. Cretans use their guns for festivities - they fire them during baptisms, weddings and other social events. Interestingly, Greece also has the lowest crime rate in Europe and the second lowest crime rate in the world.

Miami

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Image: Travelzoo UK

• Miami was first given its name because of the Mayaimis, a Native American tribe who lived in the area until the 17th century. The Mayaimis took their name from Lake Okeechobee, which was called Mayaimis or "big water".

• Miami Beach may now be known as 'America's Riviera', but before development started in the 1920s it was one big mangrove swamp!

• Miami was the first place in the world to install an ATM especially designed for rollerbladers, giving a whole new meaning to a 'roll of cash'.

• Miami was once popular place for pirates to visit and bury their treasure. Famous pirates such as Gasparilla, Blackbeard and Lafitte were regular visitors and caches of gold, silver and treasure have been uncovered on and off land in the Miami area. You never know - there might still be something lying around...

• Miami has more than 800 parks and is the only city in the United States to be bordered by two separate National Parks - Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park.

Riga

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Image: Travelzoo UK

• Riga is the European Capital of Culture for 2014 and has a packed line-up of concerts, festivals, exhibitions and quirky events for the year, including the World Choir Games which will take place in July this year.

• Ever wondered what the inspiration was behind Crocodile Dundee? A Latvian of course! Arvīds Blūmentāls, who lived on the outskirts of Riga, allegedly killed over 10,000 crocodiles in his lifetime!

• The Latvian flag is one of the oldest in the world, dating all the way back to the 13th century. Rumour has is that the design originates from when a Latvian chief was wrapped in a white sheet - having been wounded in battle - the sides of the sheet became stained with blood, while the central stripe remained white. Gruesome!

• Riga is the capital city of Latvia, which has very recently (this January 2014), started using the euro). Before then the currency used in Latvia was the 'Lats' - you may not have heard of it before, but Latvia was actually one of the fastest growing economies in Europe before the economic crash in 2008.

• Construction began on Riga Castle - a main attraction in the city - for the Livonian Order of Knights way back when in 1330, but the castle is still very much standing proud and is now the official home of the President of Latvia.

Sri Lanka

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Image: Travelzoo UK

• Before 1972, Sri Lanka was actually known as 'Ceylon' and to this day, some organisations in the country still have 'Ceylon' in their names. Sri Lanka also has not one but two nicknames - 'the Pearl of the Indian Ocean' due to its natural beauty and 'the teardrop of India' due to its shape.

• The people of Sri Lanka may eat rice and curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but interestingly the British condiment Marmite is incredibly popular there too.

• Sri Lanka may well be one of the world's largest exporters of tea, but tea was only introduced to the country in 1867! Before Sri Lanka became famous for tea, it was famous for coffee - but the coffee fields of Sri Lanka were wiped out by leaf blight in the 1870s.

• The children of Sri Lanka are brought up to be incredibly respectful and they call elderly people that they haven't met before either 'uncle' or 'auntie'.

• In Sri Lanka, when someone shakes their head from side to side with a slight wiggle, it may seem like they are saying 'no' but it actually means 'yes'. This one is definitely worth remembering...