Tag: Island Travel

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How to Visit Ni'ihau, the 'Forbidden Island' of Hawaii

April 15, 2015 at 10:06 AM | by | ()

Above: Ni'ihau as seen from Kauai

Perhaps you've heard of Hawaii's "Forbidden Island," where just under 200 residents speak Hawaiian as their first language, and no outside visitors are welcome without explicit invitation. Sitting so tantalizingly near to the coast of Kauai, this privately owned island, named Ni'ihau, is the westernmost of the Hawaiian Islands chain. It's so close and, yet, so far.

There are, however, ways to visit Ni'ihau on your vacation. One of the most popular trips to Ni'ihau focuses on the pristine waters of the island's coastline, home to many rare endemic species of sea life. Only one tourist boat operator on Kauai crosses the Kaulakahi Channel between Kauai and Niihau for snorkeling excursions on its coast and around Lehua Crater daily, and that's Holo Holo Charters, who also originated Ni'ihau snorkeling trips.

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Is a $270 Scenic Helicopter Flight of Hawaii Worth It?

April 13, 2015 at 12:19 PM | by | ()

Tell friends who've been to Hawaii before that you're heading to Kauai and there's one thing you'll hear over and over: "you've got to take a helicopter tour!"

Soaring above remote waterfalls, azure reefs, untouched coastline, and Hawaii's own version of the Grand Canyon (Waimea Canyon) sounds like a no-brainer... until you see the price tag. Averaging $200 per person, helicopter tours around Hawaii demand more consideration and budgeting than, say, a surfing lesson. And, for some of the islands' more unique destinations, scenic helicopter flights edge upward toward $300.

Recently while in Kauai, we flew with Island Helicopters, the only company with landing rights at the impressive Manawaiopuna Falls, better known as "Jurassic Park Falls" for their cameo in the movie. The "Jurassic Park Falls Helicopter Landing Adventure" tour costs from $269 per person and lasts 75-85 minutes. The more basic flight, named "Grand Circle Tour," is available from $145 per person and lasts 50-60 minutes.

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What to Do and Not Do When Visiting Jamaica

Where: Jamaica
April 10, 2015 at 1:35 PM | by | ()

Runaway Bay is up there with Negril as far as pretty beaches

All week long, contributor Linda Marsicano will be reporting from Jamaica. Got a question about traveling to Jamaica or what to do when you're there? Put it in comments below and we'll answer it for you!

Two trips to Jamaica does not make us experts by any means but we have picked up a few tips that might help first-time visitors. Based on our experiences, here are some lessons learned (some of which we learned the hard way).

DO go off the resort. Jamaica is full of all-inclusives and while it's easy to sit back snd drink the day away at the beach or pool, don't miss out on what's outside of the cushy resorts. One of our favorites so far was our lunch at Leon's Lobster Hut. That said, do be careful. Yes, go off the resort but it's a good idea to ask shuttle drivers or resort staff before you wander off not knowing where you might be heading.

While our visit to Leon's was a blast, we had a less pleasant experience when we tried to visit another local establishment later in our trip. There was a much more aggressive tone in trying to sell us drugs (among other things) that was a bit uncomfortable. And, hey, it was broad daylight and we had kids in tow.

When we recounted the experience to a local at the resort, they said they would have warned us not to frequent that particular establishment (and told us a better option for some local fare which we plan to explore tomorrow).

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What to Know About Visiting Santa Cruz in the Channel Islands

April 9, 2015 at 3:30 PM | by | ()

View from the Cavern Point Loop of Scorpion Bay

Yesterday, we showed you a glimpse of what it's like to hike around Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park. We continue that showcase today with more photos, but also with some practical information on how to make a visit a reality. Because of its location off the coast and the lack of services available on the island, all visitors, both overnight campers and day trippers, must be prepared and aware of what to expect.

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Wish You Were Here: Visiting California's Channel Islands 25 Miles Off the Coast

Where: Santa Cruz Island [map], Channel Islands, California, United States
April 7, 2015 at 5:30 PM | by | ()

California's Channel Islands are a group of five islands about 25 miles off the central coast, most dramatically visible from the shores of Santa Barbara County. Preserved as a National Park, outdoor recreation is the big draw for visitors to the chain. Hiking and kayaking are the most popular activities, and camping is permitted on all five of the islands.

This past weekend, we made our way to the largest island, Santa Cruz, and set up shop at Scorpion Bay camp site. With no services on the island, visitors must bring everything they need for the length of their stay. This week, we'll walk you through what you need to know: How to get there, what to bring, and what to see and do.

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Thanks to a Pesky Volcano, There's Now More of Tonga to See

Where: Tonga
March 18, 2015 at 4:54 PM | by | ()

We're usually not overly excited to talk about how volcanoes affect travel plans; it gives bad flashbacks to a certain Icelandic mountain that basically stopped any type of trans-Atlantic air travel in the Spring of 2010.

Forget all that nonsense for a moment and let's talk about a new island in the archipelago of Tonga in the South Pacific.

Only a few months ago, the Polynesian nation was comprised of 177 islands. But after the Hunga Ha'apai volcano began erupting back in January, the resulting lava flow formed a narrow strip of land about a half mile wide and a 3/4 of a mile long. Now that the seismic activity is complete, visitors are flocking to the island to be some of the first people to step on this newly formed land-mass. Not a bad result after lying dormant for five years. (Tourism boards, take note!)

Still, we wouldn't necessarily start planning your next vacation dreaming of white sands, poolside afternoons and fruity cocktails.

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Hawaii for Half-Price? Airfare Deals to the Islands Keep on Coming

March 9, 2015 at 2:18 PM | by | ()

Hawaii is cheap this season, you guys. The faraway state of paradise (both literal and figurative) has seen airfare deals from all over the country, for totals that've been beating prices to Cancun, Cabo, and even Florida. Right now is the time to rethink and reroute vacation plans in the direction of the Pacific Ocean.

The onslaught of Hawaii deals began in December, with some roundtrips from almost all major US cities to most major Hawaiian airports in the high $500 range. We jumped on a $570 US Airways deal from Boston to Kauai—one of the most expensive islands to travel to—and a friend snagged Detroit-Kauai on Delta. It seemed a Christmas miracle, having flights to Hawaii for 50% off!

To our surprise and everyone's benefit, those deals have continued and, in certain cases, even sweetened. Our friends at FareDealAlert just dug up a $355 roundtrip to Honolulu on United from Minneapolis and various other middle America cities suffering from the winter blues. Chicago is a hair more at $500.

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Put the Snow Shovel Away and Book a Tropical Getaway. Like, Now.

March 5, 2015 at 6:43 PM | by | ()

Sorry about that snow day, northern United States.

While school is cancelled and the car needs shoveling out, it's important to remember that there are ways to get away from all that and late winter is the ideal time to book a last-minute warm weather escape. Today we're specifically thinking about the Caribbean's A-B-C Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, for which airfare has been nicely affordable almost all winter.

We made the hop to Aruba ourselves, thanks to a $350 roundtrip (yes, it can be that cheap!) on American Airlines from the Midwest.

For a few more options beyond the Caribbean, our partner CNTraveler just published 10 destinations with airfare under $400 *right now*. In addition, our buddies at TheFlightDeal and FareDealAlert have been on it this week when it comes to Hawaii fares. Right now, both United and Delta are in something of a war over offering the best prices from middle America to Honolulu. Here's proof, but book ASAP.

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In Search of Perfect Weather: When to Travel to Easter Island

January 21, 2015 at 10:34 AM | by | ()

If it's cold where you live, then pay attention this week as we profile a few Perfect Weather destinations.

Chile's Easter Island (also called "Rapa Nui" and "Isla de Pascua") is an incredible destination. Travelers to this place in the Pacific Ocean, one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, go here because it is a dream destination. There's a great deal of planning and passion behind their itineraries, and the great majority fly in on LAN via Santiago, Chile or Papeete, Tahiti, currently the only routes serving Easter Island.

The island's climate is subtropical, most of it is a protected national park, and it's on the Southern Hemisphere's calendar of seasons (January is in summer, July is in winter). Those interested in geology, archaeology, astronomy, hiking, surfing, and general exploration will find Easter Island exhilarating. To best plan when to go, we have some suggestions:

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5 Facts About Aruba That You Won't Learn From a Beach Boys Song

Where: Aruba
January 7, 2015 at 1:11 PM | by | ()

Every winter, the nauseating infamous Beach Boys song, "Kokomo" enters the minds of Caribbean vacationers with that first line crooning, "Aruba, Jamaica, oo I want to take ya", but our contributing editor Will McGough lists what you should really know about one of Jaunted's favorite islands.

Aruba's resort-focused tourism approach tends to keep travelers quarantined in the northwest corner of the island in either the "low-rise" or "high-rise" hotel zone. As a result, while most people can tell you all about the beautiful beaches, they won't have a clue when it comes to local culture. Below, we've put together five things to help you appreciate Aruba beyond its beaches:

The Island Has Its Own Language

Although most children grow up learning Dutch, English, and Spanish, Aruba also has its own native language called Papiamento. A pidgin mix of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch, all Arubans know it and speak it between themselves. It is also the native language of nearby Curacao.

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What Does Christmas Island Get for Christmas? Crabs. Millions of Crabs.

December 22, 2014 at 12:07 PM | by | ()

Let's draw attention to Christmas Island, a tiny little speck in the middle of the Indian Ocean which, while named for a festive holiday, is expecting a little more than Santa. In December of every year, tens of millions of freshly hatched red crabs cover the landscape on their annual crab migration and, if the weather and lunar cycles go to plan, this weekend will have been the peak of season.

The crabs call the island home year-round, but it's at this time that their life cycles causes them to spawn in the ocean. The female crustaceans make a trek from the wooded areas down to the water where the egg immediately hatches, thus multiplying the island's crab population. The forests, roads and beaches of the island are utterly inundated by the crabs (and the tourists who travel here to watch them), closing roads and parts of the national park.

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This Deserted Caribbean Beach is Aruba's Secret Site for Plane Spotting

December 17, 2014 at 3:48 PM | by | ()

It's paradise, pure and simple. A deserted beach of white sand gently melting into clear, azure water. The waves are mere ripples, the water is of that desired "bathwater" warmth, and airplanes whizz directly overhead in the sunny sky. Welcome to one of the best, most undiscovered plane spotting locations in the Caribbean: Renaissance Island, Aruba.

It's no St. Maarten Maho Beach, but the experience will appeal to dedicated plane spotters who prize unique locations and a range of aircraft for indulging their hobby. Even sunbathers should make the easy nature walk from the Renaissance Island's developed beaches down a path to this spot, which we discovered this month while on a trip to the Southern Caribbean.

Pack your swimsuit, camera, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, and footwear a little more substantial than flip flops, and let's go...

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