Latvia 2006 Travel
 

 

Latvia 2006 - General Travel Considerations

The site of the conference, Jurmala, is a coastal community spreadout along the Gulf of Riga about 20 km from the center of Riga (map1, map2). Latvia has experienced a tourism boom in the last few years, due to its location, policies and hospitality - all the expected amenities found in the rest of Europe are found in Riga. November is the "off" season for Jurmala and Latvia, so costs for the conference are quite affordable.

Currency, Time, Local Travel, Latvian Travel Online

Latvian Currency
The basic unit of Latvian currency is the Lat (Ls), which is divided into 100 Santim as a subunit. Currency exchange is available at all banks, including banks and Kiosks at the Riga Airport. The rate of exchange is approximately:
1 $US = 0.5865 Lats or 1 Lat = $US 1.705
1 Euro = 0.698 Lats or 1 Lat = 1.432 Euros
Online currency rate converters, such as xe.com or uzkartes.lv, can be consulted for the most recent rate.

Latvian Time
The entire country of Latvia is on Eastern European Time (EET), which is GMT +2 during the winter months (Nov - Mar). This is 7 hours difference from New York City (EST), 2 hours from London (GMT), and 1 hour from Moscow. You can check the current time in Latvia at this site.

Local Travel
Within Latvia and the Riga-Jurmala area there are a number of types of public transportation, including: buses, taxis, trams, trolleybuses, and local trains. Trams and trolley bus routes do not reach Jurmala, and additional information about these services is found at the ttp.lv website (click language flag, then compass symbol).

Information about buses can be found at the Rīgas Satiksme website (EN, RU, LV). This site also includes information about the trams and trolley buses. If you are taking a bus to or from Riga, the central bus terminal has a website (EN, RU, LV) that you might find useful. The bus terminal is about a 2 minute walk from the central train station, go past the central market. Buses on the Riga-Dubulti, Riga-Sloka or Riga-Jaunkemeri routes should go through Bulduri (near conference hotel). Buses, trams and trolleys cost 0.20 LV for a ticket, and generally run 0530 to 2330. The Jurmala City site has a good schedule list of the buses from Riga to Jurmala, and return. In Jurmala, the Bulduri bus stop is about twice as far from the hotel as the train stop, important if you are walking.

Minibuses (vans) on fixed routes are also a popular mode of transportation, and these leave every 10-30 minutes for Jurmala from near the bus and train stations in central Riga. Minibuses cost about 0.25 to 0.30 for a city route, and twice that to Jurmala.

Intercity trains go fairly close to the conference hotel (10 minute walk). The site for information on domestic and international trains is at the Latvian Railway website (EN, RU, LV). The Riga - Tukums, -Dubulti, - Sloka, - Ķemeri trains usually stop at the Bulduri station, and in the return direction, about every 10-30 minutes during the day; it is a 25-30 minute trip. A one-way ticket costs 0.44 Lats. The "trains" selection at the 1188.com Information bureau (EN, RU, LV) privides a good online train schedule.

Taxis will involve the least amount of walking to get to the hotel, and are the only direct alternative to/from the airport. The fare from the Airport or central Riga to the hotel should be about 10 LV. All official taxis are metered, and the meter has two displays, the one on the left is for the day fare (0600 -2400) and that on the right is for the night fare (2400 -0600). Make sure you pay the correct fare. Taxi rates are 0.40 LV plu 0.35 LV/km during the day. The night fee is about 80% more.

Renting (hiring) a car is also possible. Investigate these resources for more information: Rental Cars at Meeting.LV, Jurmala City site.

Other Resources about Latvia and Travel
Latvian Tourism Board (EN, RU, DE, LV)
Latvian Institute (EN, LV)
Meeting.LV - Guide to the Baltics (EN, RU)
City of Jurmala (EN, RU, DE, LV)
City of Riga site (EN, RU, LV)
Riika.net (EN)
Virtual Tourist (EN) - Latvia, Jurmala

 
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