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The Best Places in the World to Go for a Surfing Vacation

Where there is coastline, there are waves. However, there are some places on earth where the shape of the geography and weather conditions are particularly conducive to forming great waves. Surfing is a healthy outdoor activity which is further enhanced by the surrounding countryside. Here are 3 places in completely different parts of the globe where these factors come together beautifully.

New ZealandNew Zealand

New Zealand is in the South Pacific Ocean. As an island, there is swell from all angles. In the South and to the West there are waves all year round and during the summer months, there are plenty of waves in the North. So In New Zealand, every day is a great day to surf.

People have been surfing around New Zealand for a really long time so the sport is well established. The city beaches have good waves and you can always find a local guide to show you the more remote areas. As the island is not huge you never have to go too far to get to the sea. Of course, there are waves all along the coast but there are several well known “hot” surf spots. Some of the best known include:

1. RaglanRaglan

known for its laid back atmosphere and Bohemian lifestyle. Here you will find some of the longest best left-hand point waves in the world. The untouched countryside lends a magnificent backdrop.

2. Sandy baySandy bay new zealand

on the North coast where you will find masses of clean waves in a stunning setting. Surfing lifestyle is quite established here and you can easily find someone to give you lessons and surfboards to rent are easy to come by.

MadagascarMadagascar

Also an island, so there are many miles of coastline with consistently great waves all year round particularly good from April to October. The surf possibilities are largely unexplored but these great wave forms have been reported by some of the experienced surfers who recommend Madagascar as an unrivaled surf adventure.

There are some fantastic places which are accessible only by boat. However, there are waves for all levels of surfing skill. There are deserted white beaches with uncrowded waves. You will however need to be aware of sharks who share the sea here.

There are a couple of local companies who specialise in surf tours namely Boogie Pilgrim and Madagascar surf tours. Search for these, they will be able to give you some great advice.

ChileChile

It is possible to find surf in Chile all months except for the winter months of July and August. The sea is clean but very cold and a wetsuit will be required.

Surfing only become popular here during the 1970’s and is rapidly gaining popularity As Chile has a coastline of about 4000 miles, there are plenty of places where one can find awesome waves mostly lefts, it’s a goofy foot paradise.

In the North, there is dry desert with rocky bases. This landform produces powerful hollow waves. The central region, closer to Santiago, is much more accessible and you could experience regular 15 foot waves and often waves up to 25 feet roll in. The land is largely pristine and untouched and quite magnificent.

So, keep the sunscreen on, pack your board and head for the beach. Keep safe, respect local traditions and preserve the environment.

The 10 Travel Destinations you Need To Put on Your Bucket List

It’s a great big, beautiful world out there, with so many choices of stunning travel destinations that it’s not easy deciding where to set your sights when seeking the adventure of a lifetime. Not everyone has the luxury of regular travel to glamorous destinations, so for those of us who aim to see at least one magical place before it’s too late, narrowing your options down to just one or two choices can be quite tough. If indecision is standing in the way of your dreams then let’s simplify the choice for you; we’ve handpicked 10 breathtaking destinations which you absolutely must see in your lifetime.

1. Touring Through the Alhambra in Granada, SpainAlhambra in Granada, Spain

The Alhambra is a palace in Granada which dates as far back as 889 AD. The Moors gave it a renovation in the 11th Century, making it a rich historical and cultural experience. This historical monument’s architecture is beautifully intricate and lavishly decorated, guaranteed to both fascinate and inspire.

2. Sledding or Snowboarding down an Active Volcano in NicaraguaVolcano Boarding

Are you a sledding or snowboarding enthusiast? Well, you haven’t lived until you have tried your hand at volcano boarding at Cerro Negro, an active volcano located just outside of León in Nicaragua. The volcano requires a 2388 foot hike up loose, penny-sized volcanic rock, which you then sled or snowboard downhill at a thrilling 30 mph!

3. Go Swimming In Iceland, in the Blue LagoonBlue Lagoon

In a lava field in Southwest Iceland found approximately an hour away from the capital Reyjavík is a geothermal 100°F spa known as the Blue Lagoon. The man-made lagoon appears blue when the sunlight hits it due to its rich silica content, and it also contains algae and mineral contents which are purported to have many healing properties. It is fed by geothermal seawater. 279

4. Releasing a Candle in Thailand during the Yi Peng FestivalYi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai

The Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand is a religious ceremony celebrated by the Thai people in which they release glowing lanterns into the sky and make a wish as they pay homage to the Buddha. A week later a second lantern release festival is hosted to give the foreigners a turn to participate, along with fireworks and colorful parades running through the city all through the weekend.

5. Diving with Crocodiles in Wild AfricaDiving with Crocodiles in Wild Africa

If you’re looking for a destination that offers you the chance to be really brave, then travel down to South Africa and meet one of the most terrifying ancient creatures on earth. Crocs have 4 times the bite pressure of the great white shark, getting up close and personal will be the most intense things you will ever experience. You can dive with Nile crocodiles in a bite-proof cage at the Cango Wildlife ranch in Oudtshoorn, South Africa.

6. Exploring the Wildlife of the Galápagos IslandsGalapagos Iceland

The Galápagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Island. Charles Darwin, the evolutionary theorist, spent many years in Ecuador studying the Islands’ vast number of species which are totally unique to the island. See creatures you won’t find anywhere else, like giant tortoises, tiny penguins, and blue-footed boobies.

7. Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, TurkeyHot Air Ballooning

How better to enjoy Turkeys panoramic vistas, the charming hoodoos, and the balmy weather than in a hot-air balloon floating in the sky? In Cappadocia the sky is littered with them.

8. Wondering Through Japan’s Sagano Bamboo ForestSagano Bamboo Forest

Japan’s Sagano Bamboo Forest sits just outside of Kyoto. Take a walk through a magical world of the bamboo stalks towering abundantly and majestically above you, creaking spookily in the wind.

9. Swinging in Ecuador at the End Of The WorldSwinging in Ecuador

The ‘end of the world’ refers to La Casa del Arbol in Baños, Ecuador. Here you’ll find a tree house, which is actually a seismic monitoring station, with a non-acrophobes swing which hangs over the crater of an active stratovolcana called Mount Tungarahua.

10. Cruising through Vietnam’s Hạ Long BayCruising through Vietnam’s Hạ Long Bay

Picture a bay of emerald green waters dotted with towering limestone rainforest islands. The Gulf of Tonkin’s Hạ Long Bay features over 1600 generally uninhabited islets and islands, making it an ideal tourist destination for outdoor appreciators such as hikers, rock climbers, and scuba divers.

The 6 Most Spiritual Journeys Around the World You Can Embark On

If you are in a place in your life where you need to take some time off to assess where you are and who you are in life and where you fit into this big wide world, then you are ripe for a spiritual journey. The aim is not to find the answer but rather to keep asking questions, to keep seeking the next adventure. Each journey is unique and there is no wrong way to get it done but we have selected some good places to start.

If you are ready to embark on a life-changing pilgrimage then fear not, there are destinations that will blow your mind and need not kill your bank account. You can go on the most spiritually significant trip you will ever experience with memories you will never forget. Here are 6 stunning metaphysical destinations for you to set your sights on.

1. IndiaIndia

India is a spiritual hub of many major religions and can be a spectacular experience for the spiritually-minded, giving you an opportunity to learn about Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. One awe-inspiring place to check out is Rishikesh, a city which sits alongside the Himalayas, which has attracted many spiritual leaders who have established yoga retreats and ashrams.

You can also travel to the Source of the Ganges, the holiest river of Hinduism, which begins in Uttar Pradesh in the Himalayan peaks and runs all the way over 2000km into the Bay of Bengal. Regarded as the Holiest of Holies, many thousands of Hindus make their way to the source near Gangotri every year on a spiritual pilgrimage.

2. JapanJapan

Japan is the home of many zen gardens, shrines, and temples and makes a stunning spiritual journey destination if you are looking for inner peace. Take a look at the 88 Temple Circuit on Shikoku Island. The island houses 88 temples, representing all of the evil human passions which Buddhist doctrine outline. The aim of traveling this circuit is to free yourself from each of these passions one by one.

The circuit, which begins at Tokushima, is a 1500km route and was traditionally walked, despite the fact that some of the temples are as many as 100kms apart. These days however, it is totally acceptable to complete this pilgrimage on the tour bus, most of which do the circuit clockwise.

3. PeruPeru

Travel to Peru to see Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Here you will get a glimpse into the legendary Incas and their link to star travelers. You odyssey can include a chance to see some of the most awe-inspiring locations in the world, like Ollantaytamo, Saqsayhuaman, the Andes Mountains, Lake Titicaca and the magnificent Amazon Rainforest.

4. StonehengeStonehenge

Stonehenge is regarded as one of the greatest mysteries of mankind and is one of the most magnetically charged locations on the globe. No other place in history has ever generated as much mystery and speculation as these stones, the sheer size of which will have you in complete awe.

5. BaliBali

Bali can be one of the most spiritually rewarding and renewing destinations you can embark on a spiritual odyssey to. Known for its yoga retreats, healthy organic eating, and spiritual healers, your spiritual journey offers you a chance to heal, to release, to grow and to surrender your stress on a beautiful island firmly rooted in the quest for continued spiritual growth and the practice of mediation.

6. SedonaSedona

Known for its spiritual energy, Sedona in Arizona, USA is home to many shamans, reiki healers, and psychics. If you love hiking, star gazing and getting as close to nature as possible then Sedona is just the place for you.

Essential Peruvian Cuisine

Peru is a country well-known not only for one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu, but also for its diverse and delicious cuisine. Peruvian food became famous mainly thanks to the immigrant traditions. Since there are a lot of Spanish, Chinese and Japanese people living in Peru, they all brought their own traditions which later influenced the whole culture of Peru and its cuisine as well. That’s the traditional food which can be easily found in Peru:

  • Peruvian Roasted Chicken: The chicken is cooked with canola oil, vinegar, paprika, garlic powder and cumin. This great recipe has become so hugely popular that now it is also cooked along the East Coast of the United States.
  • Papa a la Huancaina: The main ingredient is potatoes. They are boiled, sliced and then covered with yellow sauce. You will most likely find this yellowish dish with a piece of hard-boiled egg and olives on top of it.
  • Peruvian Steak, Rice & Beans: It’s a usual steak with rice and beans but with an egg on top. It tasty and easy to cook.
  • Classic Peruvian Ceviche: The recipe is believed to be borrowed from Spanish cuisine. Ceviche is a raw fish cooked in a lime juice. The difference is that in Spain it is a vinegar-marinated dish.
  • El Chifa:El Chifa appeared only thanks to Chinese cuisine and represents a typical Chinese main course, a usual pile of rice with vegetables.
  • Cuy: Now Peruvian cuisine may even scare you a little bit. In South America the guinea pig is called a cuy. In the restaurants it is usually cut into pieces but it can also be seen as entire grilled animal is served on a plate. The only question is how would you like your guinea pig served? So be careful if you see something unfamiliar on the menu.

The only thing you should be aware of is that the food in Peru is generally much spicier as the one you may be used to. Besides its main courses Peruvian cuisine also boasts of its quite unique and pretty tasty desserts:

  • Maná: It is an unusual candy similar to marzipan, a very Peruvian treat. It has a beautiful golden color and is often fruit-shaped, like marzipan.
  • Lucuma: Peru has a large production of lucuma fruit. And they are usually used in different kinds of dessert; for all sweet tooth lucuma ice-cream is a must!
  • Mazamorra Morada:It is a pudding-like dessert that gets its purple color from purple corn. Is very often spiced with cinnamon.
  • Alfajorez: Caramel sandwich cookies. Each region of South America has its own version and they come in all shapes and flavors.
  • Arroz con Leche: It is a rice pudding with raisins andcinnamon. Such rice puddings can be found in each corner of the world. In Dutch folklore for example, the rice pudding is given to people who go to heaven and it is eaten with a golden spoon. In Peru however it is just a tasty dessert.

The country is a real paradise for good food lovers. There is a wide range of restaurants in Peru where you may try anything from this list. And don’t forget to try its beverages! Since Peru is a producer of Pisco, a grape distilled brandy; there are a great number of cocktails to try. Your visit to Peru will not be complete without some pisco cocktails. Pisco sour and Chilcano de Pisco are probably the most popular ones.

From Moutain Tops to Beachy Stops In Caracas Venezeula

When I was young, my only association to Venezuela was through the beauty pageants that I saw on television. The sheer beauty of Venezuela women, always elicited a strange desire in my heart to become as beautiful as they were. Yes, you may say that I was a strange kid. It was when I visited Venezuela that I realised how the country was even more striking than the women, no offence here ladies! Venezuela’s landscape is not only diverse but also gorgeous. And the fact that Venezuela is easily accessible from different parts of U.S.A and U.K makes it a favourable and popular destination for tourists. Flights to Venezuela as cheap as $149 are easily available from U.K, U.S.A, China and many other places. In Venezuela natural beauty is in abundance as tourist attractions range from lush plains to the arid deserts. Moreover, the panoramic beauty of the Andes Mountains, and the wide stretch of white sandy beaches of the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, propel you to delve into the sweet depths of this paradise.

The first attraction on my hit list was La Gran Sabana, which is located towards the southern side of Bolivar State, approximately 1,400 km from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela.  La Gran Sabana is at an altitude of about 1000 meters above sea level and lies on a plateau, which is embellished with magnificent tabletop mountains known as Tepuis. The tallest of these, 2,810 meters above sea level, is known as Mount Roraima, which resplendently marks a three-way border point for Guyana, Brazil and Venezuela. Visiting Mount Roraima was almost like a literary expedition for me, since its beauty was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s muse when he wrote The Lost World in 1912. In order to access this splendour you can indulge in a breathtaking road trip to La Gran Sabana by the tarmac road from El Dorado to Brazil. Or you can even take a flight to Santa Elena de Uairen.

Another attraction on your checklist should be the Isla Margarita or Margarita Island. It is the largest island of the Nueva Esparta state in Venezuela and perhaps the most exhilarating sights that you would ever set your eyes upon. The widely stretched white sandy La Galera beach at Margarita Island, with its lofty Palm trees tends to remind us…mere mortals that sometimes glimpses of the utopian world can be seen on Earth. While lying down on the soft sandy carpet, amidst the salt scented breeze and echoing waves, one can completely forget about their worries and revel in the mysticism of the beach. It is not only a favoured tourism spot for young people who want to have a blast, but is also an ideal destination for retired people, who eagerly seek for peace of mind and relaxation. Margarita Island can be accessed by a ferry ride and also by airplane, since the Santiago Mariño International Airport is situated just 25 kilometers from Porlamar.

Perhaps an added advantage to tourists is how Margarita Islands is a duty-free port. Moreover, it’s very close to the mainland, which makes it accessible and safer. Christmas holidays, Easter week and the months from July till the middle of September are ideal times to frolic in the beauty of this island. Many economical and cheap hotels are also available in Caracas Venezuela. So if you want to bask in the sun of this gorgeous beach, come to Venezuela!

Walking Down Lima Lane

George Santayana said, “A country without a memory is a country of madmen.” I believe that to be the case with the rich history of America’s south. The third largest country of South America, Peru, has it’s own share of memories written in the colossal pages of history. Lima’s (Peru’s capital) meandering history has been dictated both by natural disasters and unprecedented infiltration of migrants. But like a city of “the valiant” Lima has always pushed back and stood up on its feet.

Lima is accessible through different parts of the world. Flights to Lima go from U.S.A, Germany, Canada, U.K and many others. There are also abundant hotels in Lima, which provide accommodation to tourists at cheap prices. Extremely comfortable and accessible Bed and Breakfasts in Lima start from as low as $30, which is not only affordable but a great price for those who are on a tight budget.

Colombia Bogotá and Other Wonders

Colombia is a handful, if nothing less. It is a country, which is home to many distinguished cities, bubbling with energy and incandescent beauty. Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, founded in 1538, is the third largest city in South America. Cheap flights are available to Bogotá from U.S.A, U.K and many other places as low as $381. Located at the heart of the Colombia, Bogotá is at an altitude of 8600ft. The beauty of Bogotá mirrors the perfect fusion of Colombia’s traditions, which were heavily influenced by Spanish colonial strains. Bogotá is home to numerous chronological sights, which have been lovingly preserved over the years. Places like the Cathedral, the Capilla del Sangrario, situated on the main square, the Plaza Bolivar and Capitol Municipal Palace are a few of the many sights in Bogotá which can warm any heart.

Hotels in Bogotá Colombia are plenty! Cheap hotels in Bogotá are available for as low as $23! Car rental facilities are also available to tourists in Bogotá for as low as $7 a day, which is very economical for all tourists! Once your hotels and travel is sorted out, you should begin with your tour. Perhaps the most exquisite place to visit in Bogotá is the Gold Museum, which has more than 100,000 pieces of pre-Colombian artworks. The museum displays a wide array of charming pre-Hispanic gold work collection, which is the largest around the world. The exhibition rooms, which are, situated on the second and third floors of the museum exhibit this phenomenal collection. Gold artwork is not the only monumental highlight of this place, works in stone, wood, pottery textile and shell also ornate the displays of this glorious museum. All these metals and materials are not only considered sacred amongst the people, but are also deemed as the chief articles of Colombia which testify and pay homage to the existence and ideas of different communities that populated this country before the European influences.

Colombia Bogotá

Colombia Bogotá

Towards the southern side of Bogotá, around 49 miles away, lies Zipaquirá, which is known for its salt mines. Zipaquirá is not only known for its ravishing salt mines but also for being one of the oldest human settlements of the world. The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is a mesmerising site if nothing more. It is a 200 meters underground Cathedral, which is built inside the tunnels of a salt mine in a Halite mountain. This Cathedral can accommodate up to 8400 people and its sheer grandeur can render any individual speechless. It is not only a landmark for tourists but is also a sacred centre for pilgrimage.

When I entered the Cathedral I found out that it has three sections, which symbolise the birth, life and death of Jesus. The architectural detailing of this place is almost breathtaking because iconic objects and other ornaments have been hand carved into the isometric crystals of the walls. There is a sense of deep wonder that an individual feels while exploring the different areas of the Cathedral. It is perhaps the most valued and remarkable accomplishment of the Colombia’s architecture. It is also popularly known amongst the masses as the Jewel of Modern Architecture, because it not only represents a rare sense of beauty, purity, and sacredness but also a cultural and traditional milestone in the hearts of many. Inside the meandering salt mines of Zipaquirá and the splendid artefacts of Bogotá, lies Colombia’s real beauty and essence. So don’t wait any longer…Bogotá awaits!

Basking In The Adventures Of Brasilia’s Magic

It is in the inherent nature of man to seek beauty, revelry, and fantasy in life. It is these elements that collaborate in a harmonious blend, and gradually create the most integral part of a society – and that is…the ability of man to perceive, assimilate and give meaning to his/her life. I wanted to visit Brazil because of my inherent need to seek for splendour and enjoyment in my life. I was always attracted to the prospect of visiting Brazil, even more so after I heard the song To Brazil by a band called Vengaboys. Brazil is the largest country in South America, spreading over a coastline of 7,491 kilometres. It shares its borders with almost all of the countries of South America with an exception of Ecuador and Chile.

Brazil’s grandeur lies primarily in its diversity! It is such a stunning and vibrant country suffused with shimmering colours of its picturesque landscape, that for a moment it’s beauty intoxicates tourists. Being one of the most popular tourist destinations, Brazil has become the most sought after and easily accessible tourism hub. With the recent drop in plane fares, flights to Brazil from London are available as low as $436. With the plane fares sorted out, you can discover how Brazil not only carries within its belt magnificent sun-kissed beaches, with glittering waves but also the great Amazon rainforest. But the real beauty of Brazil lies in the middle of its splendid folds, and that is its capital – Brasilia.

Hotel accommodation is also plentiful in Brasilia ranging from simple Bread and Breakfasts to 5 Star Hotels. Hotels as low as $95 – $145 are available to tourists who are looking for cheap yet comfortable accommodations. Many hotels are centrally located, in the middle of Brasilia, and often are only 15-minutes drive from the airport. The tourism in Brasilia is varied and enchanting, ranging from the architectural milestone of the Three Powers Square or (Praca dos Tres Podéres) to nature’s ravishing Paranoa Lake (Lago do Paranoá). The Three Powers Square is one breath-taking sight to behold. Situated at the eastern region of the Monumental Axis, the Three Powers Square shows the three highest authorities of Brasilia, which are: The Congress, The Presidential Palace and the Supreme Court.

Brasilia not only exhibits architectural brilliance, it also displays a splendidly exuberant natural attraction to its tourists in the form of Paranoa Lake. If you are looking for a day full of adventure and entertainment, then a visit to Paranoa Lake should be a must on your “to-do” list! Not only tourists but also locals, young and old, visit this Lake for recreational purposes. People who love outdoor activities would take great pleasure in sailing, sunbathing, swimming, and wading cheerfully through the bluest waters of Paranoa Lake.

Tourists are not just attracted towards Brasilia because of its splendor but also because of its economical and assorted shopping. Shopping in Brasilia is exceedingly convenient because tourists can get amazing deals on many national and even international branded products. If you are an avid coffee lover, then you would love to indulge in shopping for the famous Brasilia coffee machines. Brasilia is famous for its sense of innovation in the subject of making coffee. So much so, they have been developing espresso machines of superior quality for many years. So when a city’s got everything, why wait? Come to Brasilia and have the time of your life!

Buenos Aires Argentina, All The Way!

The American south, with its rich cultural significance and picturesque sceneries has been one of the most desired destinations for tourists around the world. Connoisseurs of beauty have sought after a little bit of Argentina lovin’ because of its varied and bountiful assets. Argentina is home to not only the panoramic high and low regions of South America but it is also a place, which has got it all. Most importantly, it paves the way towards Antarctica, a place that previously had been limited to our spherical vision and geographical detailing in textbooks.

Perhaps, the best place to start your tour of Argentina is from its magnificent capital, Buenos Aires. You should tour Buenos Aires and get spellbound amidst its wonders, even its name, Buenos Aires, means fair winds in Spanish. Being an avid seeker of culturally uplifting arenas, I started my tour from Palermo Viejo district, which is towards the north-eastern side of Buenos Aires. Palermo Viejo is the oldest part of the city Palermo Viejo (Old Palermo) is, as its name implies, the oldest part. From Santa Fe Avenue, Palermo Viejo runs southwards to Córdoba Avenue, and from there towards Avenida Dorrego which is towards the east of Coronel Díaz Street. The architecture is reminiscent of an old and deep-rooted Spanish style, which has through the years been modified with contemporary elements. As I am a literature enthusiast, and a little revolutionary at heart, I was almost intoxicated by the fact that it was at Palermo Viejo where Che Guevara and Jorge Luis Borges once lived. In fact, it later came to my attention that Borges wrote his initial poetry at Palermo Viejo (henceforth Viejo).

Historically, Viejo was popular among the communities of Lebanon, Armenia and old Italian and Spanish families; because it was not only residential hub but also a place embedded with rich traditions and cultures. The echoes of which can be seen in the local schools, churches, and restaurants. Walking along the delightful cobblestone streets of Palermo Viejo, with a rusty copy of Borges Ficciones, and Loreena McKennitt’s songs playing on my Ipod, I can assure you that I have never known such bliss. The place is beautifully littered with bars, boutiques and bookstores. The Bed and Breakfast where I was staying was just around the corner from Cordoba where I often did my bargain shopping. Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are easily available at Buenos Aires. There are a total of 250 hotels in Buenos Aires, which start from as low as $ 17 and are easily booked through sites like Expedia. Holiday apartments are also available for tourists as low as $20, which is a very reasonable amount.

In the afternoons, I strolled the streets, looking ravenously at the boutiques, and indulging in the original, bohemian and chic designs they sold at affordable prices. The streets with its breathtaking arching trees and cafes in the evenings were a treat that I couldn’t get enough of. I spent my afternoons exploring the Caminito, a short street at La Boca. Walking through this colourful street became somewhat of a ritual for me. The pastel coloured walls of the Caminito are something that will stay embedded in your heart for years to come. You will also find tango dancers, dancing away in this vibrant street, a sight that is truly uplifting. So if you want to dance away in the splendour of beauty, literature, fashion and culture, Palermo Viejo is the place for you. So what are you waiting for? Come to Buenos Aires!