Central Coast - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Central Coast

Central Coast

California's central coast comprises some of the most spectacular shoreline including the Monterey Peninsula and the Big Sur coast, with gnarled trees, cliffs, rugged shores and bays.

The Pacific Coast Highway (also called Highway 1) stretches along most of California's coastline and from San Francisco it passes the small bayside city of Santa Cruz with its famous Beach Boardwalk to the Monterey Peninsula. Called the 'Jewel of the Central Coast', Monterey's beauty has been immortalised by artists, writers and photographers, appearing in books like John Steinbeck's 'Cannery Row' and the black and white photographs of Ansel Adams. Its diverse cultural heritage is evident in its Spanish architecture and lively harbour and wharf district.

Monterey marks the northern edge of the wild and undeveloped Big Sur coast with Highway 1 crawling along the edge of the rocky cliffs that hang precipitously over the crashing surf below. Big Sur refers to the entire 90-mile (145km) stretch of wilderness between Monterey and San Simeon. The often nerve-racking drive, especially when blanketed in thick fog, takes visitors along one of the most dramatic and exhilarating coastlines on earth, hemmed between the mountains of the Santa Lucia Range and the Pacific Ocean. The area provides a peaceful respite from the frantic energy of the cities, with little more to do than enjoy the mountains, cliff-top views and occasionally accessible beach coves.

The highway curves into the wealthy American Riviera town of Santa Barbara, an attractive coastal town with golden beaches, red-tile roofs and outdoor cafes.

Information & Facts

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

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