Posts Tagged ‘exotic travel’

Volunteers Rebuild Nepal, Brick by Brick

nepal travel

One year has passed since the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April last year. While Nepal is doing everything it can to recover and rebuild, the country is still in need of significant aid and resources.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, Projects Abroad initiated a Disaster Relief Project to assist with the recovery process. Since the project began in June 2015, hundreds of Projects Abroad volunteers have made incredible progress in helping with the organization’s goal of restoring a safe learning environment for children in the Kathmandu Valley. Currently volunteers’ efforts are focused on reconstructing Yashaswi Gurukul English Secondary School, the sixth Disaster Relief site to date. Their help has been invaluable.

volunteer nepal

When the work at Yashaswi Gurukul is completed, the new building will also serve another purpose. As aftershocks continue even nine months later, and the fear of another large-scale quake remains, the school building will be able to serve as a safe gathering space for the local community, in case of further disaster. Projects Abroad staff estimate that work at this site will conclude in the next month or so, and then volunteers will move on to the next site where they are desperately needed.

Projects Abroad has made a commitment, not only through Disaster Relief but also through Teaching and Care Projects, to restore stability to the education of young students. In working with dedicated local experts and volunteers, the organization is striving to get Nepalese communities back on their feet, brick by brick!

For more information on how to get involved yourself with Disaster Relief work in Nepal, have a look here:

www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/building/disaster-relief/volunteer-nepal

 

Iceland’s Bill Chill Adventure

Iceland's Miraculous Northern Lights

Iceland’s Miraculous Northern Lights

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times before, but we are just a little bit obsessed with Iceland and seeing the Northern Lights.

So, when we heard that Dr. Sarah Aciego, the glaciochemist (yes, glaciochemist!) who pioneered isotope dating of ice cores at the University of Michigan and co-founder of Big Chill Adventures, was unveiling the company’s inaugural “Diamond Circle Tour” tour of Iceland, we had to let our readers know. Northern Lights sightings; exploring lava tubes, volcanic pillars, black sand dunes, stone forests, turf farmhouses, geothermal fields and active volcanoes; and stories of trolls and elves all highlight this unique Iceland adventure.
“High magnetic activity, long nights, and clear skies provide the highest chance of Northern Lights sightings all year long,” said Aciego. “The remnants of past volcanic eruptions provide caves and unique geologic formations, while the heat of the active volcanic fields combined with the meltwater from the glaciers create geothermal phenomenon unrivaled throughout the world.”

Day 1, September 21
Tour the Hallmundarhraun Lava Field and Fljótstunga Farm. Explore the largest lava tube cave in Iceland, Viðgelmir. Meet some Icelandic Horses, take the Lava Circle Walk and possibly see some migrating whooper swans.

Day 2, September 22
Spend the morning visiting trolls — first a drive to 3,300 foot tall Tröllakirkja “Church of the Trolls” and then onto the largest saltwater lagoon in Iceland where guests will investigate black sand dunes.

Day 3, September 23
Travel to Glaumbær Farm to tour traditional turf farmhouses built in 900 A.D. Dine in Akureyri, the largest “city” in northern Iceland, before traveling to the Goðafoss waterfall.

Day 4, September 24
Tour the geologically diverse and spectacular Northeast of Iceland. Continue on to Vesturdalur walking trails and the strange basalt rock formations of Hljóðaklettar, which means “echoing rocks”.

Day 5, September 25
Explore the geothermal field of Hverir, with steaming vents, hissing chimneys and bubbling hot pots of mud. Trek around Lake Myvátn toward the Sigurgeir Bird Museum. Climb Vindbelgjarfjall with spectacular views of the lake from the top.

Day 6, September 26
Visit the “Black Castles” of Dimmuborgir, a huge 2,300 year-old field of twisted volcanic pillars, tunnels and arches made of coagulated rock. Drive to Akureyri, with time to enjoy some lunch before departing for Reykjavik.

The 6-day/7-night tour departs September 20, 2015 and starts at $3,850 per person.

For more information on this Iceland holiday or other tours to Iceland, Greenland, Alaska and the Canadian Rockies:

http://bigchilladventure.com/

India: Luxury on a Budget

The Pink City Palace - Jaipur

The Pink City Palace – Jaipur

World Spree, which specializes in creating exceptional tours to a fascinating range of destinations that are affordable, comfortable, and educational, has just put together a 12-day escorted tour of India starting at only $1,499 that includes the round-trip flight on Air China, 5-star hotels, a jungle safari, 14 meals, all transportation in India, sightseeing and entrance fees, professional English-speaking guides and more included features than any other budget-priced tour.

Taj Mahal, tigers and temples: The Incredible India tour covers the highlights of this most exotic, most colorful, most photogenic of countries. It starts in Delhi, which offers a view of Indian history from ancient settlement through the Mughal Empire and the British Raj to modern capital. Here, you’ll have a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi’s narrow alleys and tour its bustling market, India’s largest mosque and Humayun’s 16th-century garden-surrounded tomb. In New Delhi, you’ll see the tree-lined avenues and impressive buildings Edwin Lutyens designed for the British, as well as Mahatma Gandhi’s former residence.

The most beautiful building in India is Agra’s Taj Mahal, a white marble jewel of Mughal architecture and monument to romantic love built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Tour participants will have time to visit this lovely building and its gardens. An optional sightseeing tour of Agra and its Red Fort is also available.

Ranthambore National Park

A tiger reclines in Ranthambore National Park

On the way to Ranthambore National Park, there’s a stop at the wonderfully-preserved 16th-century “ghost town” of Fatehpur Sikri and another at a park known for its rich bird life. Once a hunting ground for Jaipur’s rulers, Ranthambore offers a variety of native wildlife but, most important, it’s the place to track the Royal Bengal Tiger on a jungle safari. Morning and evening game drives will hopefully provide a sighting.

In Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan known as “the pink city,” you’ll take an uphill ride on an elephant (surprisingly comfortable) to the grim Amber Fort, which hides an ornate 16th-century palace. In the Castle Kanota, where the royal family still resides, the group will enjoy an Indian-style high tea. There’s plenty of time for shopping in this city known for its fabrics and handiwork, as well as two optional excursions to the City Palace and the Birla Temple. The tour winds down with a return to Delhi and a farewell dinner. On the way home there’s an optional stopover in Beijing.

Agra's Trident Hotel

Agra’s Trident Hotel

World Spree’s specially-chosen hotels include the contemporary 5-star Crowne Plaza Gurgaon, located in a convenient and upscale area of Delhi; Agra’s Trident Hotel, close to the Taj Mahal and boasting landscaped gardens, water fountains and a selection of restaurants; the lakeside Ranthambore Kothi, built like a vintage British bungalow with modern rooms, gardens and swimming pool; and the magnificent Le Meridien Jaipur, which offers the beautiful Nirvana Spa.

All prices are cash-only, are per person double occupancy, and are subject to availability.

For more detailed information visit:

www.worldspree.com

Belize’s Exotic Eco-Adventures

Belize's Xunantunich Ruins

There are many exotic sights and extraordinary wonders to be witnessed across the far flung destinations on the planet, but people rarely have the time to travel to the remote reaches of the world.  It’s hard enough to find a long weekend, let alone the trips that take to you to beaches unexplored or ruins buried in the jungle. So, with that in mind, when we heard about Absolute Belize we wanted to hear more. Absolute Belize specializes in crafting spectacular and unique travel itineraries and creating authentic Belizean experiences for travelers who are seeking something out of the ordinary. Another great selling point…  for Americans, Belize is a much shorter flight and an English speaking destination.

Whale Sharks in Belize

For those who are searching for the best diving in the world and have always wanted to witness the Great Barrier Reef, Absolute Belize also offers itineraries to experience the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere and three of the four major atolls in the Caribbean, including the famous Blue Hole. During the full moons between March and June, Whale Sharks, usually seen in South Africa or Indonesia, migrate off the coast of Belize. Whale Sharks are the world’s largest fish, growing to an enormous 50 feet in length. Witnessing these magnificent creatures is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  The Belizean waters are teeming with marine life in all sizes and shapes, including 70 types of hard corals and nearly 500 species of fish – truly a diver’s paradise.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek

People talk about the 100-year anniversary of the rediscover of Machu Picchu and the fascinating Incan culture, but December 2012 is also the end of the Mayan calendar so it would also be an amazing time to see the Mayan sites in Belize. The Maya civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500BC and 200AD and flourished until about 1200AD. Several major archeological sites—notably Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich—reflect the advanced civilization.

A Full Moon under Belize Skies

Despite being an endangered species, Manatees are also widely present in the waters of Belize. Swallow Caye has been declared a wildlife sanctuary and serves to protect the manatees and other marine life that call this habitat home.

An Aerial View of Ambergris Caye, Belize

Is seeing the Aurora Borealis a dream?  What about an equally spectacular light show? A nighttime snorkel off the island of Ambergris Caye is not to be missed – view the nocturnal creatures of the underwater world and witness them flashing their bioluminescence, where hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates use chemicals within their bodies to produce light.

All of these amazing adventures in one nearby destination! And great resorts to stay at as well.

Black Jaguars of Belize

Widely reputed as one of the Caribbean region’s best examples of sustainable, ecotourism, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a pristine eco-lodge located in heart of the lush Belizean rain forest. The private 365 acre nature reserve is set along the banks of the Macal River in the foothills of the Maya Mountains and is home to a number of exotic jungle dwellers including peccaries, jaguars, monkeys as well as over 300 species of tropical and migratory birds. Guests are literally surrounded by one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world. The reserve features miles of well-maintained trails for guided horseback riding, mountain biking and nature walks. You can canoe down the Macal River, go birding, discover the rainforest and nearby Maya archaeological sites, relax with a luxurious spa treatment, kick back in a hammock or indulge in the fabulous cuisine at the award winning restaurant. From US $105 per person per night plus 9% hotel tax and 10% service charge.

Ka'ana Boutique Luxury Hotel

Conveniently located near all major touring attractions in the Cayo District of Belize, Ka’ ana Boutique Luxury Resort is another premier choice for discerning travelers. With nearby cultural, historical and eco-adventure attractions, Ka’ana is a luxurious adventure outpost. In addition to fine dining, spa services, and an infinity swimming pool, they have some amazing touring options (and an abundant array of wines from around the globe). From US $250 per night plus 9% tax and 10% service charge.

Sweet: Lesbian Travel with a Twist

What if going to a beautiful resort, giving back to a community in need, and partying your butt off were all possible in the same week – and what if the whole trip was carbon neutral? This is exactly the kind of trip customers of Sweet embark upon – an adventure filled with do-goodery… and debauchery.

Sweet is the latest in lesbian travel… with a twist. Merging the best of lesbian travel with social and environmental awareness, Sweet aims to make the world a better place while having a blast in it. All of Sweet’s vacations are carbon neutral, meaning they offset the pollution created by their air, land and sea travel. They traveling to amazing places (Belize, Mexico, Italy) with the very best lesbian entertainers and extravagant parties, while also supporting their guests’ personal enrichment, raising money for worthwhile causes and doing meaningful projects all over the world. How sweet is that?

Sweet's Founder, Shannon Wentworth

This niche travel company has set out to change the world – one bite-sized chunk at a time. The founder of Sweet, Shannon Wentworth, believes that if we break down this huge social issues (poverty, pollution, human rights, education in developing nations) that we can make a difference. We agree, Shannon, and we commend you!

Sweet has given back in many ways – from filling over 200 giant bags of garbage from Uvero Beach in Mexico and painting bright cartoon characters on the walls of a children’s hospital ward to donating two new computers to a children’s e-learning center in Honduras – Sweet is dedicated to enriching the lives of not only their guests but also enriching the communities that they visit. PBS also just did a feature on Sweet’s  ‘In the Life’ program, calling Sweet customers ‘voluntouristas’. Pretty fun so check it out here:  Sweet Lesbian Eco-Travel or, better yet, discover sweet for yourself!

www.discoversweet.com

India: Call of the Wild

Call of the Wild

If the thought of a wildlife tour in India evokes images of dense jungles, white tigers, crackling campfires, and nights in tents, you’re not far from the truth. Drawing on every eco-adventurer’s desire to see India like Kipling, Geringer Global Travel has created the ultimate wildlife journey to India: The Call of the Wild India Tour. Accompanied by Susan Geringer, an India travel and tour specialist, and Yatish Bahuguna, a well-known Indian wildlife guide and naturalist, savvy adventure seeking travelers can sightsee in the cities of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, and then explore some of the world’s most famed national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Ranthambhore, Bandhavgarh and Kanha.

On the Game Drive in India

Along this exciting journey, you’ll get acquainted with India’s diverse ecology: plush vegetation with dense forests housing rare medicinal plants and exotic flowers; a prolific bird life with myriad varieties unique to the region; and an abundant wildlife. During the trip, you’ll visit Ranthambore National Park, one of India’s Project Tiger reserves and largest national parks. Conservation programs and successful breeding programs have saved many species from near extinction. Situated in Sawai Madhopur, Ranthambore is home to one of the largest banyan trees in India and one of the best places for guests to spot the majestic predators of the jungle.

A little elephant riding in India

The next wildlife adventure will be in Bandhavgarh, where you’ll ride elephants and go on game drives exploring the rocky terrain, boisterous landscape and distinctly rugged ambience of Bandhavgarh National Park. Bandhavgarh National Park, where the famous white tigers of Rewa were discovered, has the highest known tiger population in India. Guests will then head to one of the most well maintained parks in Asia, Kanha National Park. Kanha National Park, a tiger reserve with lush bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines, provided inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel The Jungle Book. In addition to the diverse wildlife and bird population at Kanha Wildlife Sanctuary, the highlight of the park is Bamni Dadar, popularly known as Sunset Point, which offers an awe-inspiring backdrop of the sunset.

This 14-day tour, priced from $3,999 per person (double) is scheduled to depart U.S. on Saturday, March 10, 2012. This tour of India includes: hotel accommodations for 13 overnights with the land arrangements and domestic transportation as per the itinerary in twin sharing rooms; all meals; chauffeured air-conditioned transportation with bottled water; English-speaking guide or naturalist, Yatish Bahuguna, throughout the trip; jeep safaris and elephant rides inside the park; park and monument entrance fees as per itinerary; all current applicable taxes. Single room supplements are also available.

www.geringerglobaltravel.com

Que Rica… Colombia!

El Penol Lake near Medellin - Colombia

Colombia is a destination ready for discovery. From its beautiful landscapes, rich heritage, cosmopolitan cities, and mouthwatering cuisine, Colombia is rumored to be THE next hot destination in Latin America. Listed below are the top reasons to fall in love with the passion of Colombia, and a million reasons for wanting to stay. So what inspires you?

  • Coasts: As a destination where the sand is caressed by two oceans, Colombia’s privileged location allows its visitors to enjoy over 2,900 km of coasts on two oceans and the Caribbean Sea. Talk about the ultimate beach vacation! Long, tranquil beaches between jungles and the sea line most of the Pacific coast, while the Caribbean coast contains wide beach beaches, large resort complexes, and various shops and restaurants. Make sure to experience the country’s diving adventures. Go to the depth of Colombia’s colorful seas. Bordered by both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, there is a world that is designed for the delight of divers under the sea. The famous Seaflower Biopsphere Reserve around the Island of Providencia contains the world’s third largest reef park, and is a global haven for spotting the sea’s shiny starfish, crabs, angelfish, corals, sponges and various other species in strange shapes and vibrant colors.

Colombia Coffee Farmer (c) Neil Palmer - CIAT

  • Coffee: Recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2011, Colombia’s Coffee Triangle is known for producing the world’s best coffee. Let the aroma and the taste of coffee surround you, while getting to know the beauty of the key regions. Keeping in tradition with its diverse culture and landscapes, Colombia pays tributes to its roots by containing food that is a mixture of Indian, Spanish, African and Arabic cuisines. Every region is has its own gastronomy, related to its natural resources. Delight in the ocean’s bountiful harvest in the Caribbean region; Savor the meats, potatoes, beans and corn in the Andean region; Enjoy the Pacific Coast’s abundance of rice, lentils, and rice; and appreciate the veal, manioc and various fishes in the Orinoco River region.

Colombia's Amazon (c) Jill Robinson

  • Nature: In a land where the earth breathes, The Amazon is the traditional destination of scientist and scholars who want to learn to talk with nature. Containing the world’s second longest river the largest tropical jungle on the planet, Colombia’s shares the Amazon Rainforest with Brazil and Peru. Enjoy the fauna and flora of the jungle by zipping between trees, or hiking along the forest various jungle paths. 90 percent of Colombia is Nature, while 10 percent of Colombia’s territory is protected by nature reserves– including 37 national parks, 12 fauna and flora sanctuaries, two natural reserves, and one parkway—11,000,000 hectares that encompass beautiful scenery, a variety of climate and soils, floras and fauna, and 230 civil society natural reserves. Talk about Biodiversity! Colombia contains the world’s largest collection of amphibians, butterflies and flowers. It also holds the title of containing the world’s second highest number of bird species (containing 1,865 bird species). From June to November the country turns into the homes of hundreds of bird, whale, and marine turtle species that visit the Colombian Pacific coast to mate, feed, and take rest on their migratory journey.

Cartagena

  • Vibrant Cities: Colombians are festive by nature, and always seek opportunities to celebrate their cultural heritage. From the colorful Barranquilla Carnival every February and Medellin Flower Fair every August, to the much acclaimed Cali Fair, there is always a reason to celebrate. Colombians take pride in the rich cultural life contained within their cities walls. From cosmopolitan Cartagena, modern Bogota, passionate Cali and progressive Medellin, each one of  Colombia’s cities offers its guests something different and unique. Known for their warm and friendly spirit, the people of Colombia are ready to open their arms to the whole world. Seeking to show the world its true face, Colombia’s passion for developing its global status in the world is the ultimate driving force for their authentic energy and dynamic spirit.

There’s even more to be discovered in person. With a booming tourism sector, Colombia is ready for you.

www.colombia.travel

%d bloggers like this: