Archive for August, 2011

Escape to Colorado

Biking Mount Evans

Air conditioners are being set on high and residents are locking themselves indoors as the U.S. experiences one of the hottest summers on record. So, we think August is the perfect time for an escape to Colorado where virtually no humidity, mild temperatures and Rocky Mountain breezes offer a way to beat the heat. Below is a sampling of the many ways to cool off naturally in the great outdoors. You can thank us later for this Colorado Cheat Sheet highlighting all the best eco-adventure activities for those who love green vacations and the perfect family or active couple retreats.

Cool Off With Activities

  • Zippity Breeze. Create your own breeze as you sail through the Aspen groves and over the Animas River on the largest zipline in North America. Soaring Tree Top Adventures offers over 34 eco-friendly platforms, with 27 spans ranging from 56-1400 feet and several unique elements to get into and out of the trees. www.SoaringColorado.com

Soaring at Tall Timber Resort

  • Riding Mountains. Experience a refreshing drop in temperature while the wind rushes past you biking down 14,115-foot Pikes Peak. The Summit is 40 degrees cooler than the city of Colorado Springs on a given day. Riders will pass through five different life zones, each zone having a different climate, different vegetation and wildlife.www.BikitHikit.com
  • Sail Away. Sail Western Colorado offers sunset sails, sailing adventures, instruction and certification on Blue Mesa Lake, Colorado’s largest body of water located in Curecanti National Recreation Area. Consistent southwesterly winds that begin building in the morning provide ideal sailing conditions on this picturesque mountain lake. www.SailWesternColorado.com, 970.901.5360
  • Alpine Adventure. Hike to “The Peak” at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR). The Summit Trail is part lift ride, part one-mile hike. The rewards are breathtaking and the cool mountain air may warrant the need to pull on a fleece. www.SkiCB.com
  • Cave Dwellers. Tour Glenwood Caverns & Historic Fairy Caves, where it’s always 52 degrees. Choose the 70-minute walking tour or the three-hour Wild Tour; either way you’ll enjoy some of Mother Nature’s finest handiwork and escape the summer heat (check out the beautiful photo below if you need some convincing) www.GlenwoodCaverns.com, 800.530.1635
  • Rocky Mountain High. At an elevation of 10,152-feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America. Average temperatures in July and August range from lows in the 40s to highs in the 70s. Surrounded by more than 35,000 acres of Wilderness Area, the state’s two highest Fourteeners and hiking and biking trails galore. www.VisitLeadvilleColorado.com, 888.532.3845
  • Float-On. Tubing and floating are popular pastimes when the water levels drop below 400 cubic feet per second (CFS) in the late summer on the San Juan River.  It’s a scenic, fun and affordable way to spend the day in Pagosa Springs. Rent tubes, boogie boards and more to float down the river. www.VisitPagosa.com

Rafters and Train Riders meet in the Royal Gorge

  • “Gorge”ous. Just downstream from the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, lies the Gunnison Gorge. This 64,000-acre recreation area offering Gold Medal trout fishing, hiking, and a 14-mile whitewater rafting adventure, with rapids ranging from class II to IV. www.VisitMontrose.com, 970.240.5300
  • Heat quenching. Grand Lake, the largest natural body of water in Colorado offers summer boating, swimming, sailing and shoreline camping with 360-degree views of majestic mountains. The lake is framed by the quaint town of Grand Lake, and sits at the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. www.Grand-County.com

Chilled Packages

  • Paddle, Saddle & Bridge in the Royal Gorge combines a Bighorn Sheep Canyon half-day rafting trip with a riverside lunch, a one-hour mule ride on the rim of the Royal Gorge and tickets to the Royal Gorge Bridge. www.RaftEcho.com, 800.755.ECHO
  • Keep Your Cool in Breckenridge. Feel the breeze as you coast along Breck’s paved recreation path; let the snowmelt rivers cool your skin on a whitewater rafting trip; head inside the cool tunnels at a real gold mine; and saddle up for a sunset horseback ride. Groups of four can stay in a two-bedroom condo and each get four activities included for just $74 per person, per night. www.BreckCenRes.com, 800.462.7325

The Glenwood Caverns in Glenwood Springs

  • Hit the Road Package at The Westin Riverfront. Escape the heat in Colorado’s Vail Valley with accommodations in a spacious Studio Suite, two 2-hour bike rentals, one 4-hour off-road Jeep Tour for two, a $50 dining credit to Restaurant Avondale, a $100 Spa Anjali gift card and complimentary valet parking. Rates start at $249 per night. www.WestinRiverfrontBeaverCreek.com, 866.716.8137
  • Stand-Up Paddle in Aspen. The Little Nell in Aspen offers Little Nell Adventures to its guests including stand-up paddle boarding. This fast-growing sport is an amazing thrill and an incredible workout. Private lessons and group classes are available in the morning and afternoon, as well as full-day trips. A gourmet picnic will accompany you on your journey. www.TheLittleNell.com

Check out Colorado’s Facebook page, as well:

www.facebook.com/visitcolorado and www.colorado.com

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Daredevil Takes Dakar

Victoria Korosi, Eco-Adventurer Extraordinaire

Victoria Korosi, resident Jaunt Magazine Contributor and Eco-Adventure junkie extraordinaire, has hit up hamams in Syria, swigged Pepsi in Petra, and flung her flair from here to Beirut, Africa, and well… everywhere. Now, she fills in our wise and wild Eco-Adventurers on the mysteries of traveling to Dakar, Senegal… solo. Yes, she’s one badass chick that makes our top ten list of all things Eco-Adventure.

Into the Desert and on to Dakar…

Determined to trek Desert Lompoul without a guide or a group, I was given explicit (see also: vague and questionably accurate) instructions from Babacar upon leaving Saint Louis. They were as follows, in a combination of English, French, Wolof, and charades:

Babacar: Get yourself to Kebemer.

Me: ok

(Inside my head: Must find map. Where is Kebemer?)

Babacar: Once in Kebemer, hitch a ride to Lompoul Village. Down the dirt road to the right.

Me: ok

(Wait, they’re all dirt roads?)

Babacar: Once in the village, wait for a “cat cat.”

Me: ok

(?????)

Babacar: Ask them to take you into the dessert to Amad….

Me: ok

(What was his name? Ugh, I should have been writing this down)

Babacar: He will have a tent and blanket for you and show you where to sleep

Me: ok

(Horrified)

Driving Dakar

Somehow I did make it out into the desert and – generally – unscathed. Once I met Amadou, I realized that any introduction Babacar may have sent was clearly coming via messenger pigeon as he had no idea who I was or why I was there. And really… I didn’t know myself. After several rounds of Pictionary in the sand (though I was able to explain to him that yes, I could see he had a camp already set up for tourists, but if possible, couldn’t he just drive me a bit further out into the sand, leave me with a blanket and a tent, and pick me up in the morning?) And, because it’s Africa, and liability guidelines are seemingly just a suggestion, we set out into the desert.

A NYC girl at heart, my camping skills are deplorable at best, but as soon as dusk started to fade into night, I knew I had no intentions of sleeping anywhere, but out in the open. This was convenient too as the rusted apparatus left with me and meant to pass as a tent, which I’m still certain was missing a few very strategic poles, imploded on itself three times before I thought better to just leave it in a pile on the ground.

The Dunes of Senegal

Lying awake on the sand, swimming in an endless expanse of a thousand stars, everything felt perfectly in place. How had I forgotten my love affair with Africa’s night sky? To bask completely alone under the layers of constellations, enveloped in the cavernous swells of the wind whispering through the dunes? As a traveler, it was one of those moments when the sense of accomplishement collides with the natural beauty around you and you exhale, completely content and sure again of why you do this.

Waking up in the desert, I took a quick inventory of the damage: 328 mosquito bites, 27 minutes of sleep, a still pristine pile of unused tent, and sore lungs from far too many nervous cigarettes in the middle of the night. Mosquito bites and sore muscles corralled, I set out to leave Lompoul, which somehow proved to be even more of a escapade than getting there in the first place.

The ramble back began with a cat-cat to the village, which, as decoded by one of my fave French travelers, is slang for quatre-quatre, ie) a 4×4! From there, it was a sept plus taxi to Kebemer. Sept plus translated means “7 people,” but clearly the conversion on this is loose as we were 10 people, a baby, and a goat, all crammed into a station wagon with wood slats holding the floor together.

The Beach of N'gore

The next step back to Dakar was a Car Rapide. These are colorfully decorated mini buses with “Alhamdoulilai” written on the front. The phrase mean Thanks be to God – for not dying on the ride, is my guess.

A claustrophobic ordeal at near death speeds during which my lap was interchangeably used to hold chickens, coconuts, and other people’s children, the Sept plus was, in some strange way, a luxury. Figuring out that this specific Car Rapide was no longer headed for Dakar, and that I urgently needed to transfer “ici”, was a swirl of chaos – bags thrown from the roof, people climbing on top of each other to get out, me trying to find the French word for “Seriously, whose kid is this?” and, fortunately, a kind man next to me to grab my arm and get me onto the already moving bus headed to Dakar.

Another half dozen car rapides, local buses and taxis later, I made it back to the sandy streets and bustling chaos of Senegal’s capital city. Understandably bedraggled from my forays into and out of the desert, I took some time to recover before tackling the next adventure. At the time of writing this I was sitting on the beach in Dakar’s northern neighborhood of N’gor watching the sun sink into the darkness of the sea while the fishing boats rolled back onto the shore for the night. It was an indulgence just to be there – and clean – at last.

Alhamdoulilai.

Golf and Snorkel with… Salmon!

Salmon!

This was just too cool not to share. Have you ever heard of such a thing? And it all takes place in Newfoundland and Labrador, nonetheless! So eco-adventurey, we adore. Golf Newfoundland and Labrador is inviting golf lovers and adrenaline junkies to try their hand at golf and salmon snorkeling with the new West Coast Swing and Snorkel package at Humber Valley Resort. Guests will enjoy rounds of golf amongst the beautiful backdrop of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as well as adventurous snorkeling with salmon (that’s right… salmon) in the Humber River. The thought itself is giving me a hankering for lox on a bagel. You too?

With the Humber Valley Resort Course, the Blomidon Golf Course and the Gros Morne Resort Course, you can experience an exceptional sampling of Golf Newfoundland’s West Coast offerings (Gros Morne Resort Course features 7,150 yards running through the heart of Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site marked by dazzling formations of exposed mantle rock and oceanic crust). Adventurers are then challenged to take to the currents of the Humber River and snorkel alongside thousands of pink and spring salmon, experiencing this wild migration first-hand. They will also learn about the area’s aquatic structure, fauna and flora that surround the Humber River, all the while keeping a respect of other river users. Wetsuits, masks, fins and snorkel will be provided for all snorkel expeditions.

Gros Morne Golfcourse

The Package includes: Three nights accommodations at the Humber Valley Resort (Quad occupancy); One round of golf at the Humber Valley Resort Course; One round of golf at the Blomidon Golf Course; One round of golf at the Gros Morne Resort Course; Snorkeling with salmon in the Humber River; Shared power carts. Pricing is $500 per person, plus taxes. Based on quad occupancy.

www.golfcoastalcanada.com

www.golfnl.ca

Fabu Family Eco Adventure Deal – Cancun

Whale Shark!

This just in! From June through September, hundreds of whale sharks gather in the waters just a short boat ride from the Villa del Palmar beachfront resort in Cancun – one of the top two places in the world to see these incredible ocean-dwellers. The family-friendly beach resort, which opened last December, is currently offering a Whale Shark Adventure Family Package Deal at great value, with massages included (helloooooo, Cancun!) and two children under 12 staying and eating for free.

  Whale Shark Eco Adventure Package Deal at Villa del Palmar Cancun

5 Days / 4 Nights
Seasonal (June-September) 

 

 

Villa del Palmar

Package Includes:

• 5 Days and 4 Nights in a luxurious One Bedroom Ocean View Suite
• 2 50-Minute Relaxing Massage per room, per Stay
• 10% Off additional Massages
• Up to two children under 12 stay and eat free (sharing room with their parents)
• 2 Whale Shark Tour passes
• Round Trip Transfers
• Welcome Cocktail upon arrival
• All Meals, Snacks and Beverages + Premium Brand Alcoholic Beverages
• Complimentary Internet access in your room
• 6 times daily shuttle to Downtown and Hotel Zone Shopping Centers
• Complimentary use of Water & Land Toys: Non motorized water sports
• Daily Theme Nights
• Taxes and gratuities

Price: $1,598 total package

www.villapalmarcancun.com

Natural Hotel Wonders of the World

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Without a doubt, Machu Picchu is among man’s most awe-inspiring wonders, and the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge sits just outside the gates of this Inca citadel.  The hotel was originally built as lodging for the teams of archaeologists who flocked to the region after Hiram Bingham’s discovery of the ruins around 1910. It offers its guests the opportunity to explore this great site late in the evening and early in the day; this sacred place of ancient stones is illuminated by spectacular sunrises and mystical moonlit nights. Sit out on the terrace and savor Peruvian cuisine based on produce grown on the Lodge’s own plot. The hideaway is the perfect place to relax and unwind in the shadow of the Lost City. Rates start from a steep $925/night, single or double occupancy, but this spot is uber famous so what do you expect?  Booking code is L04.  www.LHW.com/machupicchusanctuary

Hayman Private Island Resort - Great Barrier Reef/Australasia

Hayman is a magnificent private island resort, nestled amid a tropical paradise in the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef – Australia’s national treasure and one of seven natural wonders of the world. A site of remarkable variety and beauty; it contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral and 1,500 species of fish. As Australasia’s most awarded luxury nature resort provides astonishing beauty and restorative peace. Rates include daily buffet breakfast, tax and service charge, and start from AUD 670/night, single or double occupancy. www.hayman.com.au

Royal Suite at the King George Palace

Travelers wanting to explore the remains of ancient Greece can’t find a better base than the King George Palace in Athens.  The hotel’s jaw-dropping views of the Acropolis cannot be surpassed.  From now until the end of the year, the hotel gets guests off on the right foot with its two-night Acropolis Museum Package, priced from EUR 280/night, single or double occupancy, which includes daily breakfast, an exclusive 1 ½ hour guided tour of the new Acropolis Museum, Wi-Fi access and entrance to the gym.  The offer is valid every day except Mondays, when the museum is closed.  There is a two-night minimum, and a one-night deposit is required at the time of the reservation.  Booking code is L16. www.LHW.com/kinggeorge

Victoria Falls Hotel

A stunning African wonder created by nature – Victoria Falls.  And since the grand Edwardian-era Victoria Falls Hotel is just a leisurely ten-minute stroll from this spectacular sight, there is no need for an elaborate package to enable guests to fully enjoy the majestic cascade.  The hotel’s Leading Suites offer, which is valid until December 31, 2011, and priced from USD 399 per night, single or double occupancy, is straightforward and includes a welcome box of Belgian chocolates (yummers!), buffet breakfast daily, dinner for two one evening, a gift from the general manager, a snack tray each evening, and tax.  Booking code is L06. www.LHW.com/victoria


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