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Colombia Travel / Cartagena Travel / CTG / South America Travel / Beach Travel / Scuba / Swimming / → All Tags
Cartagena's so hot right now. New flight routes and a fresh focus on safer tourism in Colombia means more international visitors are arriving to this city of colonial charm and coastal allure. This week we're exploring how to reach and enjoy this city, nicknamed "Door of the Americas."
The primary metropolitan area of Cartagena does have its share of worthwhile Caribbean beaches, but if your visit is 3 days or longer then they why not go further afield to a tropical island? To be specific, we're talking about the Rosario Islands, located just off the coast of Cartagena but still within the length of a 45-minute boat ride from Marina Santa Cruz in the harbor district.
Isla Grande is the largest of the Rosario Islands, as its name implies, and is home to Hotel San Pedro de Majagua. Spending the day on Isla Grande requires a per person one-day tour fee of about $72 per adult/$49 child if you're not staying overnight.
For those headed to Paris this summer, we have something else that you can add to your must-see list, as the city’s Piscine Molitor is back and better than ever. Over 25 years have passed since the public swimming pool was closed and turned into a canvas for graffiti artists, but now things are ready to welcome swimmers once again.
Head over to The Verge to read even more, as they have a great rundown of the before and after—as well as some great pictures of how things have changed over the decades.
Ski Travel / Colorado Travel / Steamboat Springs Travel / Swimming / Naked Travel / Nude Travel / Denver Travel / → All Tags
Taking a soak in a hot tub after a day on the slopes is a classic apres-ski activity, and while the modern whirlpool at the hotel will do the trick, many Colorado towns offer the option of going all natural in a mountain hot spring.
Now, to be fair, this is a double-edged sword. The hot springs are "natural," meaning that the heated water is coming from the ground, but the infrastructure is man-made, added to make it more accessible, such as handrails, stairs, concrete walkways, etc. This creates a fusion that lands somewhere between mountain and modern, and sometimes it works out better than others in terms of the atmosphere it creates. Some seem really phony (cough, Glenwood Hot Springs, cough), and others, like Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat, are really well done.
Finland Travel / Helsinki Field Trip / Helsinki Travel / Scandinavia Travel / Swimming / Nude Travel / Naked Travel / → All Tags
HEL-lo Helsinki! Hilarious puns on the city's airport code (HEL) aside, our man about the world John "Yes, That John" Walton has been spending some down time in Helsinki this year, and has some great recommendations all this week for things to do in the world's most northerly capital!
Splish, splosh, splash...if you're in Helsinki, go swim like a Finn: in the buff!
Helsinki's fantastic Uimahalli sauna and (inside) swimming pool complex is tucked away on Yrjönkatu, a short walk from the main railway station and the center of town.
At five euros for a single visit, it's one of the cheapestand most authentically Finnishthings you can do in this otherwise expensive city.
Want to travel to Cuba? Join the club. Despite Obama's January lessening of restrictions for trips to Cuba, a hop down to Havana for mojitos and salsa still isn't an easy feat for Americans. The biggest name in luxury package vacationsAbercrombie & Kenthas just pulled out of their sold-out Cuba trips owing to technical issues, and you may just have to hope for another emergency landing in Havana (thought really, don't).
Of course there's always another option, but it's not for weak of heart or muscle. 61-year-old long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad is breaststroking her way the entire 100 miles that separates Cuba from the Florida Keys, risking sharks and bad weather.
New at Schlitterbahn...
Just in case you haven’t been paying attention to the calendar, the month of May has finally arrived. That means warmer weather, a holiday weekend, and the need to hit the nation’s water parks. It’s fine if you save your 2011 visit until June, July, or August, but here are five of the biggest and baddest slips and slides hitting the parks this season:
The temperature is already too hot to handle in Arizona, so that’s why we’re suggesting a visit to the Wet ‘n’ Wild in Phoenix. There’s tons of attractions and rides to cool you down, but new this year is Constrictor. It’s an enclosed flume slide that sends riders through a bunch of corkscrew turns and spirals—kind of like a coiled snake, get it, Constrictor?—all while they try to hold onto their group sized rafts. Park officials are promising the tightest water slide turns in the world, as well as a water slide that’s never been seen anywhere else. They’re still putting together the final bits and pieces so don’t go just yet, but they do promise it will be open in time for the sweltering summer temperatures.
· Bombs Away
The towns in Northern California don’t get as toasty as their sister cities down the coast, but there’s still plenty of warm days where the kiddies of San Jose will need to cool off. Raging Waters is challenging visitors to enter a capsule at the tippy top of the park’s newest water slide Bombs Away, and from there it’s going to be a 55-foot vertical drop thanks to a sneaky trap door. The soaking doesn’t end there, as after the free-fall riders will be tossed about a loop before hitting a final splashdown pool. It sounds a little dangerous to us—especially if your bathing suit isn’t firmly attached—but we still suggest checking out when it opens Memorial Day weekend.
Water Parks / Theme Park Travel / Theme Parks / Swimming / Oregon Travel / 747 / Boeing / Airplanes / Airplane News / → All Tags
The summer vacation season is right around the corner, and that means a trip to the local water park is in order for many families around the country. However, this year we’re suggesting a little bit of a road trip to hit up one of the most unique water worlds, and best of all, it’s educational too!
Evergreen Wings and Waves Waterpark is attempting to live up to its promise as the country’s only aviation-themed water park when it opens up this summer. There’s ten different waterslides planned for the park, along with a wave pool that holds just shy of 100,000 gallons. It’s located right next to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregonnot too far from Portlandso we’re totally jealous of any kids that are lucky enough to visit on a field trip.
Sydney already has plenty of sun and sand, but apparently there’s a need for some fun in the water outside of the area’s famous beaches. As a result, Wet ‘N Wild is spending $80 million to bring slides, tubes, and wave pools to the citizens of New South Wales. This isn’t going to just be some minor attraction either, as they’re promising that this place is going to be one of the top 10 largest water parks in the world.
The park will be located on the western side of the city, and will sit on about 60 acres of land. Builders have signed a 50-year lease for the land, so they’re really committed on this thing being a hit. Let’s just hope that if they build it, they will come.
Unfortunately, things are still a ways off before we’ll be plopping ourselves in the lazy river. The new park probably won’t be ready until the summer of 2013-2014. The place will probably be a hit with the locals, but if we head down under, we’ll probably be skipping the water slides.
[Photo of another down under water park: Jon... In 3D]
[Photo of another down under water park: Jon... In 3D]
Theme Parks / Lists / Amusement Parks / Water Parks / Swimming / → All Tags
Memorial Day is just around the corner, and when you're cleaning the BBQ afterwards and throwing out the season's first box of dud sparklers, then it's officially summer. Sure the calendar doesn’t claim it's summer until late June, but we know that’s it’s totally time for cotton candy, hot dogs, and a trip to the water park.
Forget roller coasters and hit these Top Five New Water Park Rides, opening soon:
· Slick Rock Racer
Dollywood’s Splash Country is all excited about their latest addition. The new Slick Rock Racer sends kids and those who think they are kids down a 300-foot slide with nothing but a foam mat under them. Make sure the bathing suit is tied extra-tight and race against your friends and family across four different lanes.
Animals / Aquariums / Sharks / Adventure Travel / Swimming / Scuba / Snorkeling / → All Tags
We're going to try to be more thoughtful the next time we eat sushi and just stick with the faux crabmeat after indulging in peaceful day at the Georgia Aquarium. This the only place in the world where you can swim in a giant fish tank with a couple of 23-foot long whale sharks.
The Atlanta fish farm hosts "Swim with Gentle Giants," swimming and diving tours in their football field-sized, eight-million gallon Ocean Voyager tank. To say the underwater experience is thrilling is an understatement.
These fish (which include massive manta rays and sting rays, guitarfish, zebra sharks, cownose rays and wobbegong sharks) are as friendly as puppies and kitties. They like to swim up really close and skim along your body before darting off into the faux deep blue.
Unusually strong rip currents in the waters off several New York beaches this weekend have left seven people dead or missing, marking one of the worst spates of drownings in recent history. Officials are pointing to a confluence of factors for the unforgiving seas off Coney Island and the south shore of Long Island, including the encroachment of Tropical Storm Cristobal, which has been creeping up the coast for several days.
The tragedies serve to underscore the importance staying safe in the open water. A day at the beach is nothing if not carefree, but it only takes a moment to get pulled into a situation that can quickly get out of control. First and foremost, you need to be a strong swimmer if you're going to venture out into the waves. You might think you know how to swim, but there's a big difference between splashing around in a backyard pool and plunging into the Atlantic Ocean.
If you never learned how to swim, consider taking lessons at your local pool. The 92nd Street Y in New York, for example, offers private and semi-private lessons to people of all ages and abilities. And when you feel ready to hit the open water, an outfit called SBR Multisports is offering an Open Water 101 course at Lake Sebago in Harriman State Park in New York (a great park, by the way: the Appalachian Trail runs through it), while more advanced courses are taught in Fairfield, Connecticut.
But the smartest thing to do is to pay attention to the conditions and never swim without a lifeguard nearby. And most of all, don't fight the rip! If you get caught in a rip, swim parallel to the shoreline until you're out of the current, then make your way back to dry land and enjoy the rest of your day at the beach.
[Photo: U.S. Open Water Swimming Connection]
Crime / Swimming / Pools / Summer Travel / Google Earth / → All Tags
How did we not already think of this? New York magazine once crashed hotel pools in Gotham, but now British lads--and you know it's the lads--are using Google Earth to find neighborhood pools worth infiltrating.
Says the Daily Mail:
The craze involves using the Google Earth programme, which provides high-quality aerial photos of Britain and other countries.
Once a target is chosen, the organisers use social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo to arrange to meet, say police.
Authorities worry that the trend is about to really catch on thanks to a combo of warmer weather and vacant houses, as Brits go on summer holidays. Time for us to get a Bebo account!
[Photo of a prime target: Google Maps]