10 Things to visit in Alaska

Whether you love cold weather or not Alaska is something that you have to see in your lifetime. I’m not a big fan of cold weather but the scenery made me forget about that fact at all. There is something about the snow-capped mountains and the vast ocean that kept my jaws dropped the whole time.

Alaska is really in a far-away spot in the world so traveling can be complicated or expensive if you wish to follow environmentally friendly practices. It is hard to avoid any flight to get to Alaska but once you are there you have a little more options. You can explore Denali National Park by Alaska Railroad (https://www.alaskarailroad.com/) from Anchorage to Fairbanks stopping at Denali and get into nature. 

You can also opt for a small cruise ship and discover it from aboard and on land. Smaller ships may have less negative impact on the environment but they will definitely cause less overtourism. 

Alaska is only ‘open’ for a few months from May to September so you have to decide whether you like cold weather with a real winter environment or you like warmer weather with a spring looking scenery. May and September is the harshest with very cold temperatures while June and August is a little milder but you still get the snowy surroundings. July is the month where you can actually wear short sleeved tops as the climate gets very warm at around the 70 F.

Here are 10 things you must do in Alaska:

1. Ziplining in Icy Strait Point (Hoonah)

ZipRider is the world’s largest zipline with a length of 5,495 feet long, 1,320 feet vertical drop and a 65 mph top speed. We went up to the top of Hoonah Mountain in a van and it took 45 minutes. We saw deers and other cute animals on the way up. The way down was the best though and it took 90 seconds! Actually, 90 seconds on a ziprider is a long time. You feel like flying like a bird and the scenery in front of you (or below you) was just mesmerizing. It is definitely worth the $160.

Ziplining in Icy Strait Point in Hoonah, Alaska

https://icystraitpoint.com/tour/worlds-largest-ziprider-and-scenic-mountain-ascent/

2. Dog sledding in Alaska

You can do dog sledding in many places in Alaska (Skagway, Juneau, Anchorage, Seward) The tours usually contain a helicopter ride, introduction of the mush camp and dog sledding. I went to Denver Glacier from Skagway where we had a mush camp with 200 dogs! They were beautiful animals and very eager to run so they are trained for Iditarod, the famous dog sledding competition. We heard stories from the mushers and were introduced to the new addition of the family, a small husky puppy. 

Dogsledding in Alaska

http://temscoair.com/skagway-tours/

3. The Aurora Ice Museum in Fairbanks

It is located in the Chena Hot Springs Resort and it is made of 1000 tons of ice and snow. It was built in 2005 January and it has 25 Fahrenheit cold inside all the time. They have special chillers that keep it cold in the warmer months. It is open every day and the entrance fee is $15.

https://chenahotsprings.com/icemuseum/

4. Gold Panning in Skagway

I went on a tour in the Klondike Gold Fields, which is a living museum and had the opportunity to pan for gold. The museum restored a 1937 Gold Dredge and they reconstructed the sifting machine piece by piece to its original state. You can listen to the history and demonstrations of the Gold Rush era. 

Gold panning in Skagway, Alaska. This is the gold I found.

The best part of this tour is the ‘Gold Panning’. You learn how to do it correctly and don’t forget to shake it from left to right. Gold is heavy so it will sink to the bottom. My treasure was weighed in the Gold Shack. In the picture above is what I found! Pure gold was worth about $13 back in 2013. I guess it is worth much more right now..

https://skagwayshoretours.com/klondike-gold-fields/

5. Whale watching 

Whale watching is something you should not miss when you are in Alaska. Whales are beautiful animals and if you are lucky you can even see orcas too. Whale watching tours are kind of unpredictable though. Most of the tour companies can not guarantee that you would see a whale. However, Rum Runner Charters give you a 100% refund if you can’t see any whale! 

Whale watching in Alaska

 It is also important to choose tour companies that care for the environment and operate a responsible business. Watch out for tour companies with Whale SENSE accreditation. Here are two whale watching tours that are members of the Whale SENSE.

https://majormarine.com/

https://www.rumrunnercharters.net/

6. Wings Airways and the Taku Glacier Lodge 

I did the Taku Lodge Feast and 5 Glacier Discovery Tour. This tour starts in Juneau and you get to fly in a seaplane doing a Glacier Flightseeing for 25 minutes before arriving at Taku Glacier Lodge. The whole tour is a true Alaskan experience with glaciers, Alaskan salmon feast, bears and wilderness exploration. Taku Glacier Lodge, built in 1023,  is a historical landmark and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hole-in-the-Wall Glacier at the Taku Lodge in Alaska

Once the plane lands on the water you get to explore the lodge’s surroundings. You can take a short interpretative wilderness tour while your Alaskan salmon feast is being made on the grill. The scenery is breathtaking with the Hole-in-the-Wall Glacier in front of you and bears walking around the property pretty close to you. The feast is a very delicious big meal with entree and many side dishes including a large piece of Alaskan sourdough bread.

Bear looks for some leftover food after the fresh grilled salmon lunch was done.

https://www.wingsairways.com/taku-lodge-feast-and-five-glacier-discovery

7. Denali National Park 

Denali – its previous name Mount McKinley – is the tallest mountain in North America with 20,310 feet as its highest peak. It has only one road with one entrance that runs from east to west. It is a very scenic drive through passes and forests but some parts of the road are only accessible by narrated and non-narrated buses. You can also hike on trails and off trails or stay in one of the six campgrounds. There are many tours offered with duration from 4 to 12 hours. 

Denali National Park in Alaska

8. White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad in Skagway

White Pass & Yukon Route trains in Skagway, Alaska

The railroad was built during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. This train ride is one of a historical one that took settlers and miners up to the Canadian border to the White Pass. It was the first built train system of the Klondike Gold Rush era. After 1982  the metal prices plummeted and the mines closed. The railroad service turned into a tourism attraction in 1988. It is a three-hours train ride into the wilderness up to the White Pass where the train turns back. I took it in the middle of May therefore the weather was very cold and you could not see much. I suggest you do it in the warmer months like from the end of June to beginning of August. 

Lexi in front of the White Pass & Yukon Route sign before she took the three-hour train ride

https://wpyr.com/excursions/

9. Mendenhall Glacier and ice caves in Juneau

Mendenhall Glacier, a 12-mile long glacier, is located outside of Juneau. The ‘caves’ are actually formed within a body of the glacier and they are gorgeous crystal blue. You have to take trails from the Visitor Center to get to the ice caves and it is also accessible by kayak. Tours usually run from July to September. Unfortunately due to climate change it receded over time and also melts so it is advisable to book it with a tour company or with an experienced guide. They cannot guarantee that the ice caves will be there but they can inform you about it.

Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska

10. Visit the World’s largest Chocolate Waterfall in Anchorage

If you love chocolate and you happen to be in Anchorage in Alaska you should visit the world’s largest chocolate waterfall in Alaska Wild Berry Products’ main store. It’s 20-foot fall and uses 3000 pounds of chocolate, which was donated by the Peter’s Chocolate Division of Nestle Foods and Guittard Chocolate Company. The main store has the factory where you can tour the candy kitchen and in the summer they have entertainment including singing and dancing. 

http://alaskawildberryproducts.com/about-us/worlds-largest-chocolate-falls.html 

The Power Of Mini Vacations

Why You Need To Take Mini Vacations

 

All of us get stuck in the rat race of life time to time and instead of sweeping the feeling under the carpet you should think of a quick getaway from your usual environment.

 

It does not have to be expensive nor far remote. Places that are even just an hour or couple of hours away from your home would provide the much needed recharge.

 

Mini vacation is a 2-4 days time-off depending on your urgency, demand and obligation. If you have kids at home it could be more complicated but you could organize a family trip. If you have animals at home try to find something where you can take them with you. There are accommodations in the US that accept dogs.

 

On the financial side you might have to spend some money on babysitter or dog sitter (if you decide to leave them behind). However, you have to think about the huge benefit of mental recovery and the medical bill you can avoid by changing your local environment.

 

Your choice also depends on whether you are a passive or an active vacationer. If you are the former type you can easily find a spot and just relax with a little movement around you. National Parks offer a wide range of places to enjoy the stillness and tranquility. However, if you are an active person you should spend more time on research and pack your days full of adventures. Try a new sport you have never tried before but wanted to. How about paddle boarding or paragliding?

 

Here are some examples of some passive activities:

 

Hiking/Walking – Walking in nature changes your brain, makes you happy and reduces anxiety. https://www.outsideonline.com/2393036/50-best-hikes-us

Fishing – It boosts your immune system and teaches you patience. https://www.fieldandstream.com/50-best-new-fishing-spots-in-america/

Wildlife viewing – It can be very exciting to see animals in their natural habitat. Breathing fresh air while observing wildlife can deepen the sense of your well-being. 
http://www.thegreatestroadtrip.com/extras/2017/3/2/from-grizzlies-to-gators-americas-national-parks-are-holding

Stargazing – Never underestimate the power of stargazing. It will absorb you and connect your whole being with the cosmos. You will feel energized and empowers your imagination and inspiration. https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/best-places-to-stargaze

 

Lexi jumps in  Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

And here are some active holiday options:

 

Paddle boarding – First of all, you need a lake to do this. It means you are already in a relaxing environment so why not try paddle boarding? You will also learn about your strength and balance. https://paddlersway.com/9-best-places-paddle-board-usa/

 

White water rafting – If you are looking for a fun and scary thing to do on your vacation you should go white water rafting. It’s in groups so even the whole family can participate. The overall risk is very low and you will be wearing lifejackets. https://www.wheretraveler.com/north-americas-10-best-river-trips

 

Zip-lining and obstacle course – This one is a tough one. It needs both physical and mental strength. Zip-lining is more of overcoming your fears before you jump but the challenge course has its name for a reason. It will challenge your abilities on a high level. It’s hard at the beginning but once you finish it the benefit can last for your entire life. You will know you are capable much more in life than you thought before. https://familytraveller.com/usa/adventure-vacations/best-zip-lining-parks/

 

Snorkeling – If you live or can travel places with beaches and beautiful reefs you should definitely go snorkeling. Go explore the underwater world of the oceans. You don’t need to submerge deep in the water it takes place on the surface in the shallow water. It means even non-swimmers can snorkel. https://thedyrt.com/magazine/lifestyle/best-places-snorkel-usa/

 

Why don’t you check out these places and choose one that interest you the most. Make a plan and off you go to clear up your mind!

5 Reasons To Visit Antarctica

5 Reasons to visit Antarctica

It seems visiting Antarctica in your life time becomes an urgency due to disappearing landscapes and declining wildlife. I ask one thing from you though. When you decide to travel into the unknown you have to promise to yourself to protect the environment by only using small, expedition ships (under 200 passenger).

These vessels are more innovative and sustainable with better technology not to mention their flexibility. If you are deeply fascinated by this land you would want to spend more than a couple of days there while you want to reach places large cruise liners cannot.

So, why would you travel to Antarctica?

Here are some suggestions.

1. One-of-a-kind

As the climate gets hotter Antarctica’s icebergs starts to break off and eventually melt making it harder to reach ice sheets previously was possible. You do not have to worry about not seeing icebergs and snow in Antarctica though but the damage is obviously visible – especially for those are exposed to the snowy environment for a longer period.

Best time to travel to Antarctica is in the summer months of November to March when the sunlight is up 24 hours a day and the wildlife is the most active.

2. Adventure

If you are an adventure seeker you should really try Antarctica. And not just for the sake of observation but for engaging in various activities. I would definitely try sea kayaking there even though I have never tried ‘normal’ kayaking. It is just for the purpose of the thrill to experience something you have never experienced before. And why not in the Antarctic.

Also, Zodiac – an inflatable boat – looks fun to ride passing by enormous ice formations and watch wildlife activities onshore and from the boat.

3. Scenery

If you have ever been to a country with snow capped high peak mountains like Alaska or Switzerland you know the feeling of being surrounded by these beautiful nature. Antarctica differs from the above mentioned  places due to its vast icy landmasses without any trees or plants around. It’s just you, the ice and your tour companion. Even though it is very cold exploring the unknown will ease your pain and let you absorb the scenery you can only imagine.

4. Wildlife

I do not know about you but I am fascinated about animals and if we are talking about Antarctica I am especially attracted to the Emperor penguins. These are the largest penguin species in the world. While they look beautiful they are also funny how they walk. For me a trip just to see these animals would be worth the money.

They  breed in the middle of winter between April and December close to the coast on sea ice. Most of the colonies are found on frozen ice all around the coasts of Antarctica so you have a good chance to see them. Apparently, they extraordinary divers and can hold their breath for 22 minutes. What is more interesting is their breeding ritual. The mother lays the eggs in the beginning of winter passing the rest of the responsibility onto the male penguins after. While the males keep the eggs warm on the their feet in a special skin for 4 months in the middle of the coldest and darkest months of winter the mothers go back to the sea and only come back at around when the chicks were born.

You can also see seals (leopard and elephant), whales (orca and blue), other type of penguins, snow petrels and birds like albatross.

5. Photography

If you are into photography going on a tour to Antarctica would be one of your best bet. First of all, not many people can visit those places you are just doing and snapping photos of wildlife would be a rare and unique moment. So, you have to be ready to grab your camera and take a shoot of those seconds. I personally would love to have a picture with an emperor penguin but since you can not take a photo of yourself nor touch any animals someone else has to do it for you. Being friendly and make friends on an expedition cruise has its advantages.

These are the tour companies we feel we can suggest without hesitation due to their contribution to the environment, following strict guidelines, safety standards and their high quality education onboard.

1. Oceanwide Expeditions – www.https://oceanwide-expeditions.com/

2. Hurtigruten – https://www.hurtigruten.com/

3. Lindblad Expeditions – https://www.expeditions.com/

If you have any questions please send us an email to info@travelforevereco.com

About Lexi Randazzo

Lexi is the founder of Travel Forever, a sustainable travel company and she blogs about responsible travel, fun facts about travel and travel tips to travel more sustainably.

Yellowstone National Park, the smoking land

If you have never been to the Yellowstone National Park you have to make a pact with yourself. You definitely have to see this beautiful place with many different terrains including high mountains, deep forests, geyserland and canyonland stretching out in three states: Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Thanks to the slow speed limit you can observe them very carefully, while taking amazing pictures from and out of the car. I chose Yellowstone National Park as my vacation destination, which was a good choice and the best $50 I have ever spent in my life. I read that the Yellowstone Supervolcano had had an ongoing earthquake swarms since June and this was the biggest one so far recorded. Apparently, it will not erupt or blow in our lifetime so you don’t need to rush there right now. However, the best time to visit the park is between May and September. I wish I could have travelled around the park in a trailer or RV stopping at many places and spend more time in the wilderness.

 

If you are in Wyoming heading to Yellowstone National Park do not miss out on the Grand Teton National Park either. It will cost you another $30 but it has gorgeous high mountains. If you have time you should definitely visit Jackson Hole, a very cute ski town with western style buildings and arches of antlers. If you are lucky you will be able to see some bison herds and elks while approaching Yellowstone. I stayed at Togwotee Mountain Lodge in Moran in the middle of the Tetons in a wooden room inside the main building. It was very comfortable and cozy room with many amenities including hot tub, dining room and western style saloon. Out of curiosity I bought a jar of Huckleberry syrup with berry bits made with organic cane juice, which was very delicious. It is produced by Larchwood Farms – if anyone interested.

 

After paying the park ranger and entering the park I happily realized that the speed limit is only 45mph. This is a very comfortable speed when you drive by yourself and take pictures – not at the same time, obviously. The weather at the end of August was very beautiful with lots of sun but the temperature was not too high. I actually got into a hailstorm, which lasted about half an hour. So, we had happy plants and I had a clean car. I managed to drive around almost every corner of the middle of Yellowstone. I started northwest at the famous Old Faithful, a cone geyser, which was the first geyser to receive a name. Its name refers to its predictable eruptions, which is between 65-110 minutes depends on the duration of the previous eruption. These days everything has an app so as the geysers. You can either download the Geyser app to check the exact eruption time or you can find the prediction times on the buildings in the area. I was – again – lucky to catch the eruption of this geyser, however I was more interested in my next stop. Grand Prismatic Spring is another geyser area where the beautiful color hot springs are located. (See on image taken by myself) It’s only 12 minutes drive from Old Faithful and has two accesses. I went to the one everybody approached, which took us to the different hot springs including the Excelsior and the Grand Prismatic. We could walk around these amazing phenomena but you were not able to take a picture of the springs from above. However, there were people up on the hill above the springs and I really wanted to get there to take the best shot. I asked around but nobody knew the way to the hill so I thought I would find myself. I drove to the next parking lot up north but before I walked miles around I asked someone there about that hill. Fortunately, I run into an expert who told me that the access to the hill was the parking lot before the main entrance and there was a two miles hike to get there. So, I drove back to the first parking lot and started the hike for the best view. Even the hike was pretty amazing full of small hot springs along the way and the scenery was fascinating. It looked like the surface of the earth was smoking and by walking on this fragile soil I was wondering why it is not opening up under me if there are so many of them. Or how do they know where to build a path for the hikers that will not start to bubble. Anyways, how these hot springs even were shaped – it makes you think of geography and what you learned in the past. Also, what you do not know and forgot.

 

Another incredible phenomenon was the bison migration. They were literally everywhere, moving from one side of the road to the other stopping the traffic while all human was just starring at these gigantic, gentle-looking, slow-motioned animals. I was actually mesmerized by them they were so beautiful. I believe I took about 100 pictures of them and the other days I was still stopping at wherever they were close. I could not get enough of the bisons, that is for sure.

 

My next stop was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, a stunning geologic feature of nature with deep rugged canyons, the Snake River, waterfalls, alpine lakes and steep mountain walls. The view was incredible from both Falls, the Upper and Lower Falls including the Artist Point and the Inspiration Point and you need to prepare to hike about two-three hours to get around the whole place. Trust me it is worth it.

 

My last stop on this day was Mammoth Hot Springs, which is near the North Entrance of the Yellowstone and it is a geothermal limestone terraces and hot springs. It has a steep stair to get to the top but after seeing the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone it did not give me a better view. It was quite interesting and educational to visit though.

 

Overall, it was a truly amazing trip and I will definitely be back to the Yellowstone National Park but next time for a longer period.

P.S. – Want to go on a custom designed eco-friendly and sustainable tour anywhere in the world? I’m happy to book your full or partial trip! I’ll be offering you to my favorite hotels or resorts, restaurants, attractions, bars, and natural wonders you won’t find in any guidebook. If you’re interested, subscribe to my newsletter for updates or contact me now.

Want to share your tips and advice? Got questions? Please leave your comments below. Ask questions, get answers, meet people, and share your tips!

Mongolia, the nomadic escape

We all have the moment when we need some privacy, some tranquility away from the busy lifestyle and just go back to simplicity. Mongolia is the perfect destination for this purpose offering some privacy and peace in their gers or yurts in the countryside with traditional nomadic hospitality. They have a very interesting history too, which goes back to the 3rd and 1st century BCE when the Huns lived in Central Asia. The Huns, who later occupied the Transylvanian basin (today Hungary), may have been their ancestors. However, there are lot of controversies around this topic and the origin of Huns. Another important name in their history is Genghis Khan, who established a united Mongolian empire containing of nomadic tribes and ruled much of China, Russia, Central Asia and the Middle East in the 13th century CE. The empire later collapsed and split, while the northern part of Mongolia was conquered by China and later by Bogd Khan. He managed to declare autonomy of the Chinese occupied area, and in 1924 the Mongolian People’s Republic was born.

 

Mongolia, a landlocked country, is nestled between China and Russia surrounded by rugged terrains and has large amount of remote flatland of diverse scenery. It is the home of Gobi Desert, which is located in the southern region of Mongolia and many salt lakes. In prehistoric times Mongolia was actually a sea and the Gobi Desert was covered with seawater. Later, due to the forming of the Himalayan Mountains, this sea dried up while many small lakes left behind. For example, Uuvs Nuur, is saltier than the ocean. The rainwater minerals dissolve in the lake, while the water evaporates leaving the salt behind. Some of the lakes are so salty that physically it cannot dissolve more salt into the water.

 

Their traditional accommodation is the gers or yurts have a unique design and they are ecologically friendly and very practical, not to mention that they are portable. Their structure consists of a wooden frame and felt walls made of sheep’s wool, which attached by horse, yak or camel hair straps. They have various places to get air in and out of the ger, for instance for their stove or to cool down the temperature inside. The Mongolian nomads moved their camp four times a year and it took two hours to set up or take down one. They needed three large animals to carry one big family yurt, while a traditional yurt could accommodate five to fifteen people. Their door was always faced to south so they could absorb the solar heat and light.

 

These eco conscious tents look very simple from outside but once you step in them it is a different world. They are divided into sections: for women and kitchen to the east, for men and their tools to the west and for guests to the north. In the middle you can find the stove with chimney, while they used various symbols and the five elements as decorations and patterns. These days some of the yurts are equipped with luxury items.

 

There are many activities to do in Mongolia such as horseback riding, exploring dinosaur’s bones in the Gobi Desert or playing anklebones or shagai. If you chose to search for the precious dinosaurs’ bones you must know that according to the locals when you find a bone to identify as dinosaur’s you have to lick the bone. If it sticks it is indeed a dinosaur’s one. So, be prepared to use your tongue and taste some real Mongolian dirt and sand. Shagai made of sheep anklebones and it is used as a dice. Each of the four sides represents a different animal: horse, camel, goat or sheep. They also use it for other games with cards, dominoes, chess and khorol including the five elements, Buddhist and zodiac symbols.

 

If you want to see some actions and real Mongolian sports you should go to a naadam, the Mongolian ancient games, which is held every year. It has three components: wrestling, archery and horse racing, and the biggest naadam is the one held in Ulaanbaator in the capital.

 

Also, once in Mongolia don’t forget to indulge in the gastronomy and its joys. Tsuivan is a Mongolian dish made of mutton, onions, potatos, carrots and noodles. You have to like meat when you are in Mongolia since every dish served of mutton, sheep, goat or yak. They also have some rather interesting drinks such as the koumiss or airag, a Mongolian fermented mare’s milk, and a milky tea called suutei tsai. Horhog is a baked dish with sheep meat and vegetables, while Boodog is the Mongolian version of BBQ. It is made by putting hot stone inside the meat, which means they cook it from the inside to the outside of the animal. Don’t be surprised if they give you one of the stones once the meat is done to rub your hands with. You can also find dumplings on the Mongolian menu, Buuz is stuffed with meat and vegetables.

 

My suggestion for accommodation is the Three Camel Lodge, which is part of the Unique Lodges of the World. They follow sustainable practices along with environmental and wildlife conservation programs. They offer the true nomadic lifestyle in their traditional gers combines with the Mongolian culture. It is truly an experience where there are no phones and no Internet.

 

P.S. – Want to go on a custom designed eco-friendly and sustainable tour anywhere in the world? I’m happy to book your full or partial trip! I’ll be offering you to my favorite hotels or resorts, restaurants, attractions, bars, and natural wonders you won’t find in any guidebook. If you’re interested, subscribe to my newsletter for updates or contact me now.

Want to share your tips and advice? Got questions? Please leave your comments below. Ask questions, get answers, meet people, and share your tips!

Agritourism, the joy of visiting farms

Do you like wild flower fields or orange tree gardens where you smell the scents and see the bees being busy pollinating plants? Or perhaps you like waking up for a freshly baked organic breakfast made from local ingredients from the farm’s own garden? Then agritourism or agrotourism is for you. What is agritourism? It refers to activities or stay in a private farm like fishing, u-pick, farm stays, farm tours, cooking classes, wine tasting, horseback riding and wildlife study, while any volunteering opportunity falls under rural tourism.

 

There are plenty of farms all over the world and you can find sustainable organic developments and agriculture businesses anywhere. California is the top agricultural producer of the US, therefore it is abundant in local, organic farms. I went on a trip to Ojai Valley with my friends last time and we stumbled upon a little olive oil company hidden from the main road and are off path. We found out that the Ojai Olive Oil Company produces 100% organic olive oil, which are locally grown, hand picked, pressed and bottled at the premises. They bought their press machines from Italy since these cold presses are not sold in the country. They have a wide range of products on offer they make from their olive oils including organic olive oils with infused with various flavors, soaps, lip balms, flavored balsamic vinegars and face creams. Definitely a stop by when you are in Ojai Valley.

 

I also found an agricultural farm stay place while searching for organic farms in the Amalfi Coast area. Le Tore Farm and B&B is located in Massa Lubrense, Campania near to Sorrento and between the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast at the elevation of 500 meters (0.30 mi). The building is actually a 19th century masseria surrounded with apple orchards, vines, olive and lemon trees, beef heart tomato, eggplants and animals. They offer accommodation with organic breakfast from their garden. They also produce limoncello – the Italian specialty drink –, olive oils and other products. They are truly committed to sustainable agriculture, so they recycle waste, minimize watering, reuse human waste, reduce packaging and they are working on new green solution for electric and thermal energy.

 

P.S. – Want to go on a custom designed eco-friendly and sustainable tour anywhere in the world? I’m happy to book your full or partial trip! I’ll be offering you to my favorite hotels or resorts, restaurants, attractions, bars, and natural wonders you won’t find in any guidebook. If you’re interested, subscribe to my newsletter for updates or contact me now.

Want to share your tips and advice? Got questions? Please leave your comments below. Ask questions, get answers, meet people, and share your tips!

Bucket list, the essential tool for creating memories

This is the only list you finish and suddenly it gets more items on it. It is never ending and addictive once you get the thirst for travel there is no way back! It occupies your mind and motivates you to accomplish the list.

It is a tool for travel and it drives your mind to actually go on a trip. Once you have a couple of items in your bucket list it is engraved on your mind starting to manifest your desires. You have to finish the list, and after you have those amazing memories the adrenalin gets you and you create some more lists. And the items on the new lists become longer. You get the cravings for more and you created an addiction, however this addiction is a healthy one. It is better than any drugs and satisfies you on many different levels. First of all, you go and see something you wanted for a long time and now it is the time you will get it. Pure excitement. Secondly, you will indulge in beautiful places and cultures, which opens your mind about the world and you will start to care about your environment. You will be interested in all the aspects of travel including making friendships and engage in conversations with strangers and locals. You will look for the authentic not the touristic. And the third level is the feeling of accomplishment. You crossed three items on your list? Well…you just created some more memories in your life nobody can take away from you! Well done, carry on what you are doing.

My bucket list – once I wrote it down – contained Hawaii, Bora Bora and Japan. As you can see it was very simple with only a couple of items and exactly in the same order. So, finally it was penciled on a paper and surprisingly within less than one year I got to visit Japan. I had a chance to look around in Nagasaki, Kobe and even Tokyo, while another half year later I managed to visit Bora Bora and my old time favorite Hawaiian Islands including Lahaina in Maui, White Sand Beach in Kona, Kauai, Hilo and Honolulu. All these I got to see within one year! So now I have a new list and it has much more than three items.

Also, bucket lists are not just for travel it can motivate you to be creative, active and ambitious towards achieving your goals in life.

What are you waiting for? Go and start your Bucket List now!

P.S. –  Want to go on a custom designed eco-friendly and sustainable tour anywhere in the world? I’m happy to book your full or partial trip! I’ll be offering you to my favorite hotels or resorts, restaurants, attractions, bars, and natural wonders you won’t find in any guidebook. If you’re interested, subscribe to my newsletter for updates or contact me now.

Want to share your tips and advice? Got questions? Please leave your comments below. Ask questions, get answers, meet people, and share your tips!

Zanzibar, where natural beauty meets history

Many people have the desire to travel to Africa at least once in a lifetime and I’m not different. I have never touched the ground of this elegant continent but it is definitely on my bucket list – with too many other items. Africa has a wide choice of regions and countries that attract visitors such as Madagascar, Tanzania including Serengeti and the Kilimanjaro, Rwanda. Mozambique, South Africa, Morocco, Mauritius, and so on just to name a few.

I’m very much fascinated by Zanzibar, a small island located off Tanzania, where natural beauty meets history. Apparently, Stone Town is the only functioning ancient town in East Africa and it is surrounded by magical sandy beaches and coral reefs – looks like just paradise. No wonder it is the home of top class watersports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, deep sea fishing, waterskiing and dhow sailing. Dhow is a traditional Arab sailing vessel with one or two masts and lateen rigging used in the Indian Ocean. They originated in the Ancient Near East in the time of the Babylonian and Middle Assyrian Empire. Just looking at them makes you feel you are back in old times, so as their Swahili trading town.

Stone town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a 200 years old ancient city and cultural center of Zanzibar with many narrow alleys, bazaars, mosques and houses built by Arabic architectures with elements from other cultures of Africa, India and Europe. We also need to mention their carved, wooden doors, which was made by very precise handiwork and there are more than 500 different styles. Anyway, who would not want to wander around in these tiny crooked streets getting lost in the    of shops selling various paintings, dresses, jewelry, handicrafts including carpets, wooden souvenirs, and food such as spices, and African local fruits.

Building that must be seen are the Old Fort, Old Dispensery, St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, Malindi Bamnara Mosque, Royal Cemetery and Hamamni and other Persian baths. For nature lovers Nakupenda Beach, with its turquoise clean water and the Prison Island with its giant tortoises should not be missed, while you also have to visit the Tangawizi Spice Farm, which offers demonstration of many local fruits and tastes of all these delicacies. Forodhani night food market is for food lovers here you can find all the mouthwatering local specialties. For an eco-friendly accommodation stay in Chumbe Island Coral Park, Manta Resort on Pemba Island or the Mangrove Lodge.

P.S. –  Want to go on a custom designed eco-friendly and sustainable tour anywhere in the world? I’m happy to book your full or partial trip! I’ll be offering you to my favorite hotels or resorts, restaurants, attractions, bars, and natural wonders you won’t find in any guidebook. If you’re interested, subscribe to my newsletter for updates or contact me now.

Want to share your tips and advice? Got questions? Please leave your comments below. Ask questions, get answers, meet people, and share your tips!

How We Travel Matters

It is time to realize that it matters how we travel. Choose sustainable travel options, eco-friendly hotels, resorts and other accommodations, fuel-efficient airlines, environmentally friendly transportation, organic farm tours, organic wine tours, farm-to-table organic restaurants whenever you can.  BE AWARE. BE THE CHANGE. TRAVEL ECO

It does not mean that you have to cancel your trip you booked had year ago, but next time you should make a conscious decision which hotel, restaurant, tour or transportation you use. There are many eco-friendly options all over the world and 2017 is officially the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This is the best time to act and start thinking differently while broaden the horizon about what you can do to help raise awareness, preserve cultural values and heritage, save the environment and protect natural resources.

Environmentally friendly hotels use green initiatives such as water and energy saving solutions, waste management and recycling, reducing emissions, having green transportation, use local, sustainable farm-to-table and organic produce, has eco-friendly purchase policies and support the local communities by employing local workers. Organic restaurants also support local farmers while following green best practices in their establishments. Some airlines bought new fleet of aircrafts that are fuel efficient and has less carbon emissions while many transportation company has started using full electric vehicles. Organic agriculture has become a tourist  attraction lately not only offering their own natural produces and products but educating visitors about the chemical free farming and how to avoid GMOs, growth hormones, herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics keeping the soil fertile and sustainable.

So, put your ego aside and enjoy your guilt free trip while contributing to helping the Earth live longer.

P.S. – Want to go on a custom designed eco-friendly and sustainable tour anywhere in the world? I’m happy to book your full or partial trip! I’ll be offering you to my favorite hotels or resorts, restaurants, attractions, bars, and natural wonders you won’t find in any guidebook. If you’re interested, subscribe to my newsletter for updates or contact me now.

Want to share your tips and advice? Got questions? Please leave your comments below. Ask questions, get answers, meet people, and share your tips!

Booming ecotourism in Morocco – Le Ferme Berbere

Morocco has started a new image by marketing themselves as ecotourism destination, and the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism has already setup strategies, rules and standards towards becoming an environmentally- friendly country making sustainability a priority. I found an amazing venue to stay on the outskirt of Marrakech in the heart of Atlas Mountain, which is now on my bucket list, the Le Ferme Berbere eco-friendly hotel. It looks very authentic and for sure it is the place to relax. Continue reading “Booming ecotourism in Morocco – Le Ferme Berbere”