Tag: It's Summer SomewhereView All Tags
We usually save the “it’s summer somewhere” stories for the horrors of mid-winter, but since much of the eastern United States has apparently been turned into Seattle, we’re thinking some of you may have forgotten what a genuine sunny day looks like.
So we like the Seychelles’ online tourism campaign, which includes just about all you need to convince someone to go to the Seychelles—a continuously updated webcam focused on Mahe Island’s Beau-Vallon Beach, a 3-mile-long, Northwest-facing stretch of idyllic white sand that looks to be beach heaven on earth.
The beach cam, along with another focused on the Seychelles’ bustling Victoria Market, is updated every 15 seconds, so you can pretty much just sit there and drool through the entire work day. Watch long enough and you might even see some pirates.
[Photo: Oliver Cochard-Labbe]
Last time we checked in with the Seychelles, Prince William was jetting off there to meet with girlfriend Kate Middleton (now the presumed princess-elect) beyond the reach of the British paparazzi. But just royalty won't pay the bills, so now they're gunning for your dollar, whether or not you're hounded by photographers.
The Indian Ocean islands will launch their "Affordable Seychelles" campaign this week to promote trips for the rest of us. Rather than face an estimated 25 percent drop in revenues this year, the national tourism office is forging ahead with promotions on affordable hotels and package trips. So seriously are the Seychelles taking this initiative that they brought out Vice President Joseph Belmont just to introduce the new director of tourism marketing.
Of course, one might argue that the affordable Seychelles never went anywhere, with websites like Seychelles Secrets promising to reveal the islands' real deals. But we won't fault the country's being proactive until the inevitable moment when we find the properties on offer not so affordable.
· Seychelles launches ‘Affordable Seychelles’ campaign [Agence de Press Africaine]
· Prince William Sneaks To Seychelles [Jaunted]
· Tourism Board Travel: Sri Lanka Is Safe, Minus The Tourism [Jaunted]
[Photo: Guillaume Paumier]
The Chicago Sun-Times sent a writer to Southern Africa where he spotted a lioness, impalas, hippos and African fish eagles, all while staying in tents in the gorgeous Okavango Delta. The company that showed him these wonders? Wilderness Safaris, an ecotourist outfitter practicing minimal-impact camping on their trips through Botswana and other southern African countries.
We couldn't find a current rate for Wilderness Safaris' "Safari for all Seasons," but the company is offering a seventh night free if you pay for 6 nights. Not very recessionary, but if you're going to go on safari, best to do it in a way that when the economy improves, it'll still be there for the rest of us.
· Delta force: Searching for lions on African safari [Chicago Sun-Times]
· Rhino Travel: Kenya is Back in Black [Jaunted]
· Amazing Race 7 Hotel Report: Botswana Safari Lodge [HC]
On August 1, 1970, the ferry boat Christena foundered and sank off the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, victim to two open hatches and a passenger roster which packed the ship to nearly twice its official capacity. Nothing can erase the memory of the 233 Nevisians killed in the accident, but SCUBA divers will soon get the opportunity to explore the site of the Christena.
Scuba Safaris, operating on Nevis, already offers trips to explore another local wreck, the River Taw (a coastal freighter sunk in 1985 now covered in tube sponges) with single-tank dives starting at $65. Official packages for the Christena memorial dive haven't been posted yet, but the trips are expected to focus on the wealth of wildlife which has sprung up in the wake of the disaster -- the sea renewing itself and healing the ecosystem.
· A Haunting Story (Remembering the Christena Disaster) [The Anguillian]
· Dive Into Nevis History [DiveNews.com]
· Scuba Courses [ScubaNevis.com]
[Photo: Harvey S. Cohen]
As the Northern Hemisphere prepares for the arrival of spring, parts Southern await the harvest. The vines just starting to bud here are ripe for the picking in Argentina, where the annual Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia in Mendoza celebrates those all-important first fruits.
Anytime is a good time to visit Mendoza's back-country wineries; it's basically the Napa Valley of South America. But during the fiesta nacional, which begins Saturday, the vines are blessed in the Benedicion de las frutas, and a queen of the vines is elected from among the local lovelies. And don't miss the Carrusel Vendimial, a combination dance and parade that fills the streets on March 7.
Oh yeah, and if you don't like all that pageantry, there's also plenty of wine available. We hear.
· Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia schedule [Mendoza.gov.ar]
· Active Travel: Horsing Around on Beautiful Back Roads [Jaunted]
· Wine Travel coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: Dr Vino]
At 2800 feet, Piiholo Ranch's new zip line is almost one-third longer than the one the teams in the last "Amazing Race" finale took. Soar over the tropical forest at 40 miles an hour with up to 4 friends after you've climbed a suspension bridge over the canopy. Sure looks gorgeous in the photos -- if only we could bear to look down!
All the fun you can stomach starts at $140 per person for a two-hour tour.
· Zipline Tour Adventures [Piiholozipline.com]
· Amazing Race 13: "You Look Like Peter Pan" [Jaunted]
· Sandestin Resort Gets a Zip Line But Is That Enough? [HC]
· Summer Vacations With An Edge: Zip Lining In Texas [Jaunted]
Wash that winter right out of your hair with a trip to western Australia's sandy beaches. This is the last good month of the season for windsurfing, so whether you're a novice or a pro, Perth wants you.
The harbor in Perth shields it from the most violent currents of the Indian Ocean. Safety Bay, despite its name, more for people who have windsurfed before, but try Pelican Point at Matilda Bay for an easy approach. Windforce Windsurfing School will give you three days of beginner weekday lessons for $150 (about $100).
We pulled up a round-trip fare of $1215 from Los Angeles to Perth on Qantas, but you could probably go for much cheaper by flying to Sydney or Melbourne and snagging a discount fare.
Sometimes, you just need to go somewhere where you can get away from everyone. (We're looking at you, Christian Bale.) As we sit at our desks annoyed by Griffin the Loud Talker one cube over, we're dreaming of a departure to a far-distant locale, somewhere way off the beaten path. Say... Madagascar.
Don't be alarmed by the political protests currently going on in its capital of Antananarivo. Much of the country is protected forest or beach, which means a lot of wildlife to spot -- and with such a young industry, a camping trip is probably the best way to make sure your visit leaves as little a trace as possible.
We're digging the Mandrare River Camp outside of Fort Dauphin. Its six tents get light and hot water from solar panels, and morning and night visits into the local rain forests are included. All-in packages start at $3800 for a tent share -- and just like that, we no longer feel like screaming at the (nonexistent) Jaunted lighting crew.
· Hey Look, Amazing Race 10 Went To Madagascar [Jaunted]
· ...But Watching Madagascar 2 Won't Prepare You For The Visit [Jaunted]
· Warm-Weather Destinations For Cold Months [Jaunted]
[Photo of Belon'i Tsiribihina: doganowscy]
See the Andes under someone else's steam (mostly) this South American summer. While some parts of the Venezuelan Andes may not be traversable on horseback, at least your beast of burden can carry the packs.
The northern Andean llaneros (called gauchos at points further south) patrolled the western grasslands they were named for. There are still 12 million cattle in western Venezuela and Colombia, but that's a task for a more advanced rider.
A passel of outfitters offer horseback riding trips in Venezuela, from luxe resort landings to tent-and-campfire outings. Arassari Trek leads from out of a traditional farm called Finca Yegua Blanca outside of Mérida, and Lost World Adventures will take you to one of the world's highest cable car systems or to glacier lakes. But hey, if your Spanish is good, try going with a local operator once you get there.
Walking through a splendid old-growth rainforest is an unforgettable trip experience. But where will you go when there are no more rainforests to walk through? Joining a United Planet trip to Ecuador for a volunteer vacation bumps up your karma and gets you access to one of the world's most pristine cloud forests.
A cloud forest is an evergreen tropical rainforest characterized by, well, a bunch of clouds. The super-moist environment encourages flowers and moss to grow, but any deforestation can kill those delicate plants as quickly as they spring up.
On United Planet's two-week trip, based two hours outside the capital of Quito at the Pahuma Ecological Reserve, volunteers will help spot flora and fauna in the protected forest, tidy trails and plant in local organic gardens. After all, it's not only the Galapagos that need help.
It's climbing lite: Take advantage of the sunshine to go cragging on a small peak or cliff at a park near you!
The sport of cragging is a subset of rock climbing that eschews multi-stage climbs or complicated set-ups, instead preferring a short approach and quick retreat. It's perfect for the intermediate to advanced climber who'd rather do several short climbs than take a bunch of gear on his or her travels. New Zealand offers a ton of cragging opportunities, from roadside hills to back-roads routes with names like "Last Night of the Poms" and "Doing It By Degrees."
Cragging isn't confined to the Southern Hemisphere--you could even do it in some warmer regions of the US right now--but we'd rather enjoy the climb, as much as we can after the vertigo has subsided, without also having to worry about getting frostbite.
[Photo of a crag on the Banks Peninsula, NZ: funkenclimb]
If you want to look hip in five years, book a trip to Cape Verde now so you can say you visited before anyone else knew about it. The chain of volcanic islands sits off the west coast of Africa, and with its tropical climate, long stretches of beaches and turquoise waters, it's amazing that it hasn't yet met the same fate as the tourist-clogged Canaries.
It will soon, though. Its government says it expects tourism to increase by about 400% over the next decade.
If you can swing a vacation in March, it's a perfect time to visit Cape Verde because it's the start of festival season. Carnival kicked off Sunday in Mindelo with parades featuring kings, queens, ballerinas, witches, punks and other characters, according to the Afrol News. Similar events will continue throughout the month.