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Posts in ‘Sport & Adventure’

Things to do in Jamaica: Music and Good Vibes.

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Jamaica
Jamaica is known as the home of reggae, Bob Marley and jerk chicken. But there is more to Jamaica that meets the eye. The Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival celebrates music at its finest and is a definite can’t-miss for music lovers. It occurs during June, giving you a taste of summer in the Caribbean. Quick tip: bring a lot of sunscreen and mosquito repellent!

If you really want to cool down, you can always kayak in the White River Valley! This will give you a nice dunking in fresh water, a thrilling ride through rapids, and you will even get to see a riverside dwelling reminiscent of early inhabitants of Jamaica!  If river kayaking is not your thing, you can try the White River Valley Tubing – a more relaxing way to experience this river. It’s slower paced, giving you more time to appreciate the beauty of Jamaica and take pictures. Another great way to cool down is to take a Jeep Safari to Dunns River Falls. You will get to see a bit of Jamaica as the zebra-striped jeep takes you to some breathtaking sights. And, finally, the famous Dunns River Falls, where you can climb the 600-foot cascades!

Ocho Rios, despite its name, is not all about rivers. If you’re in the mood for something a little less conventional, you can always try Jamaican Dog Sledding. Yes, I know, dog sledding is usually done over snow and Jamaica never has snow. But why should that stop you? You will learn about the adventurous individual who decided to start the whole movement, meet the dogs, and harness them in preparation of your own ride! This is a great and rather unusual way to see Jamaica, and something to brag about to your friends.

If you cannot make it in June for the Jazz festival, or if Jazz just doesn’t tickle you the right way, you can always come down for the Reggae Sumfest in July. Eat some great food and soak in some of those ‘irie vibes’ as you listen to the music. To authenticate the experience even more, you can take the Bob Marley tour. Get the full history of the creator of Reggae and all the places he visited, lived, and is buried.

If you’re all ‘reggae-d out’ by the end of the Sumfest, there are many other things you can do in Montego Bay, like, let’s say, a zip-lining tour. This thrilling tour takes place in the canopy of Jamaica’s forests and will give you a fantastic bird’s eye’s view of the Jamaican rainforest- literally! And if you’d rather keep your feet on the ground, you can always try the ATV Safari in Sandy Bay. Sandy Bay is known as one of the most idyllic parts of this small island and you will get to experience and see some of Jamaica’s rich history while zooming along.

Jamaica is full of rich culture, fantastic music, beautiful sights and friendly people, and is a must-visit for everyone who wants a Caribbean holiday. Yeah mon!

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EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine – You as a Tourist and a Football Fan

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EURO 2012, Poland-UkraineIf you were to ask me today what the most gratifying way of spending my little hard-earned money will be – it’s definitely to watch the EURO 2012 in the flesh! Yes, all you football fans out there, you know what I mean. Don’t like football? No worries, read on…we’ll have you convinced…  

The ongoing (8 June – 1 July, 2012) UEFA European Football Championship or simply Euro 2012 in short, is being jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine – with the tournament being played across eight venues, four in each host country. Aside from venues, the host nations have also invested heavily in improving infrastructure, such as railways and roads.

So what does that mean? Killing two birds with one stone; win-win situation and all that… I know we hate clichés too! As a football fan, the tournament is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of this experience – new stadiums, the atmosphere and the whole bit really!  Especially if you are from any of these countries – Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Germany – that have reached the Semi-Finals stage – what are you waiting for? Stop being an armchair pundit, be there already – show your patriotism by supporting your country and basically go have fun. Go paint that face of yours with the colour of your national flag, stand tall and be there rooting for your country. And the best souvenir you can ever have out of this is your used/old ticket that will give you the bragging right down the years – ‘I was there when we won the Euro Cup!’ Believe me; you won’t regret being part of this!

As a traveller, it’s the right time too to be travelling to the two cities; you can’t possibly have a better time of seeing these two countries at their best – with new infrastructure and facilities, the tournament has been a catalyst of many changes. Developments range from new airport terminals to spanking new hotels and renovated and re-equipped accommodations that are set to enhance the tourism appeal of both destinations for decades to come. With a whole lot of people from different countries coming together for the tournament, this is the perfect way of meeting new people from all across Europe as well. And of course why not go sight-seeing when not watching the match? There are many places to see in Poland and Ukraine.

Royal Castle, WarsawPoland: Whether you take a sightseeing tour, visit the concentration camp or the Auschwitz – Birkenau Tour, Krakow City Sightseeing Tour or to Tatra Mountains and Zakopane – there are interesting places aplenty!

Ukraine: Each Ukrainian town boasts a lot of cultural attractions; from the Crimea to the Carpathian Mountains, castles and churches, palaces and museums, and stretches in several cities where virtually each building is an architectural monument – we are sure there are interesting places for you to enjoy!

Let us know how you enjoy your visit – the places you see, and of course share us your experiences if your country brings home the trophy, in the comments section below.

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Iceland: A Place of Earthly and Celestial Colour

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Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, more formally known as the Aurora Borealis, captivate the minds and spirits of all who witness them. It is impossible not to be moved by the flowing colours that move through the celestial heavens in a dance as ageless as the sky itself. In ancient Rome, Aurora was the goddess of the dawn and in Ancient Greece, Boreas is the god of the north wind. Thus, in 1621, the current of colour in the night sky was officially deemed the Aurora Borealis. In days long past, those who gazed at the lights believed that the neon colours were the souls of unborn children or the torches of ancestors long since past. Scientists as well as stargazers have been captivated by this strange aberration in the atmosphere. Today we know that the hypnotic hues of the lights are created by energetic charged particles colliding with atoms in the high atmosphere. Of course, when looking at the Northern Lights, it is just as easy to believe that it is a river of celestial spirits on their journey through the sky.

Now, as we enter into the darkest time of the year, the Northern Lights are displayed in the peak of their glory. The divine light show that dances across the evening sky is best seen between the months of November and February. One of the best locations from which to see this incredible phenomenon is in Iceland. What many do not realize is that this wild and stunning country is just as colourful and vibrant as the glowing colours that dance above its horizon.

MountainsThough the name distinctly brings to mind frigid days and desolate, icy landscapes, Iceland is, in all honesty, one of the most beautiful and untouched places on earth. This is a land where fire and ice coexist in a surreal setting of vast emerald valleys, black sand beaches, volcanoes and massive glaciers. Though ‘ice’ figures in the country’s name, ice only covers 10% of the country’s land mass. Having said that, the ice that there is comprises the largest glaciers left in Europe. Iceland is located in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, thus making it a very active volcanic area. The most famous of these looming beauties is Mount Hekla, which reigns over the nearby Landmannalaugar area. This area is rich in jade stretches of land and golden mountains streaked with ashen stripes and swathed in ghostly clouds. When snow falls upon these sleeping giants, a beauty unlike any other overtakes the land and stirs the soul with a sense of magic.

Blue Lagoon
Iceland is also particularly famous for its incredible hot turquoise waters that form the Blue Lagoon. Here guests can relax and rejuvenate in what some believe to be the most restorative waters in the world. The Blue Lagoon is a natural spa with a man-made spa right next to it. You can hop from the naturally heated aquamarine lagoon into a luxurious steam bath or sauna at the spa. Visitors can also get intoxicatingly good massages while still enjoying the view of the lagoon (if they can manage to keep their eyes open). I personally think that the Blue Lagoon looks as if the Northern Lights had melted out of the sky into a massive, beautiful and deliciously warm puddle. Those who have soaked in the Blue Lagoon before will tend to agree with me.

Near Reykjavik, Iceland’s capitol, lies what is known as the Golden Circle, the best route to take in order to see some of the most exquisite earthly sites in Iceland. Trips around the Golden Circle involve seeing such things as the Gulfoss (meaning ‘golden falls’) Waterfall, Geysir Hot Spring and Þingvellir National Park. None of these are to be missed while travelling through Iceland.
golden-circle

So, if you head to Iceland to gaze at the hypnotic celestial lights of the Aurora Borealis, you are sure to find other exquisite, more earthly delights as well.

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Giants Causeway During the Winter

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There’s no question why people flock to Northern Ireland to visit Giant’s Causeway.  With the natural beauty of the basalt columns arranged in a unique hexagonal patterns, looking out over the sea and distant landscapes, this natural beauty and geological wonder has gotten international attention and praise for years.  Due to the geography, Northern Ireland is sometimes best to visit in the warmer months, to make hiking and water sports possible.  Lately though, we’ve been finding that even during these months where the nights are progressively getting colder, travelers still are wanting to visit the Causeway.  Now, we know it’s breathtakingly beautiful, but still a little thrown on the high volume of visitors we decided to take a closer look at why Giant’s Causeway is desirable all year round.

ancient-castle giants-causeway-rope-bridgeFirst, as long as you have proper apparel to keep yourself warm, most of the outdoor activities are still within reach, walking along the infamous columns, crossing over the rope bridges, exploring around ancient castles and the rocky shores.

But if you’re looking to enjoy the warm and cozy qualities of Northern Ireland and the Giant’s Causeway, you’re in luck!  With multiple different trains to take you on a scenic rail ride, you can stay out of the cold while still enjoying this spectacular stretch of land.  In addition to great and unique shopping, the area is known for having luxury spas, so if you did explore the outdoor opportunities (or just because you want to be pampered!) you can reward yourself with all natural treatments that are common in Northern Ireland.

The area offers a wide variety of museums as well, many of which are great for kids and families.  And finally, you can’t forget about the charming localities with numerous pubs that are just as delicious as they are welcoming. ireland-pub

Don’t let the weather scare you off from an area that is beautiful all year round, Giant’s Causeway has proved to become a hot-spot for tourists 365 days a year.

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By Land, Sea and Air: The Best Things to do in Cairns, Australia

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CairnsCairns, Australia is a magnificent fusion of sea, land and air. Its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest make it a fantastic destination for travellers from all over the world. There are plenty of things to do and after travelling to Cairns and being swept off my feet by its beauty, I’ve realised that the best way to get the most out of your trip to Cairns is by designating time for activities on land, in water and in the air.

Land

Cairns is nearby some of the most majestic rainforests in the world. Daintree Rainforest is the world’s oldest surviving rainforest and the largest continuous stretch of rainforest in Australia. Having said that, it only takes up about 0.1% of Australia’s land mass, yet is home to 30% of the country’s frog, reptile and marsupial population. Daintree is part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Site, in particular because some of the oldest species of plants grow here including 7 families of ancient fern. Daintree is also unique in that its dense tropic forest ends on the very edge of white sandy beaches leading to crystalline sea water. If you are interested in exploring this exotic and ancient rainforest, we offer a Cape Tribulation & Daintree Rainforest Tour From Cairns that takes visitors on a life changing trip through the primordial forest.

For those animal lovers out there, a trip to Cairns offers several opportunities to come into close contact with some of the strangest creatures in the world. The Cairns Zoo presents the unique opportunity to explore the zoo at night and meet its nocturnal residents. Late-night visitors are treated to a true Aussie barbeque and then led by torch through the dark zoo. It’s a spooky adventure that I would do again in a heartbeat. I even got to pet a koala, which made my night.

Petting a Koala

For those who want to see animals in the daylight, there are plenty of ways to do that too. The Rainforestation Nature Park is an excellent option because it combines exploration of the rainforest with Australia’s largest Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary. Rainforestation is part of a 100 acre World Heritage Park and offers visitors truly unique activities such as riding an army duck through murky rivers under the canopy of one of the most beautiful rainforests in the world. While I was there I held a koala, threw a boomerang (I ran away instead of trying to catch it when it came hurtling back at me) and tried my best to play the didgeridoo.

If you happen to have an unappeasable desire to see some crocodiles up close and personal, then head over to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure. At Hartley’s, you get the opportunity to see the terrifying head shake and death roll of some of the largest crocodiles you’ll ever see. You also get the chance to hold a crocodile (I opted to take a picture kissing the nose of a baby croc…of course, his mouth was rubber banded shut so it wasn’t the scary ordeal that it sounds like it could be.) You can also go to the Snake Show and discover some of the most deadly snakes in the world, including the Australian Brown Snake, one of which slithered by my foot while hiking in the outback on a separate trip to Australia. I highly recommend seeing one at the Snake Show instead… Crocodile

Sea

Underwater World
Of course, what Cairns is best known for is its location right on the Great Barrier Reef. Visitors from all over the world come to swim with the thousands of tropical fish, explore the islands just off the coast from Cairns and cultivate their tan in the hot Australian sun. The number one thing to do, at least in my opinion, is to explore the aquamarine depths of the reef. It is an entirely foreign aquatic world down there, just waiting to be explored. There are plenty of ways to get to the reef, one of which is by a Quicksilver Catamaran which boasts an impressive Underwater Observatory and acts a platform from which you can go snorkelling. The observatory is perfect for those wanting to see all of the brightly-coloured fish without getting wet (some of my friends staying on the boat and actually watched us swim up to the window of the observatory).

For those wanting to dive a bit deeper into the good ol’ ocean blue, diving expeditions are the ways to go. Whether you are diving at night, diving with sharks or just plain old diving, the experience is sure to be one you will never forget. Inky blue water below, turquoise water above and thousands of fish all around comprise the traditional dive. If you want to stay out on the water for longer than an afternoon, 3 and 4-day Diving and Marine Life Cruises are available. They are essentially aquatic hotels that allow you to get the most out what is sure to be a surreal diving experience. Boat

If you are simply looking for a romantic and relaxed time on the water, Cairns is the perfect place to be. There are a number of Evening Dinner Cruises that are perfect for a dreamy night with your beloved. Gaze at the mangroves that line the water as you sip on champagne, let the delicious food and gentle rocking of the boat lull you into contentment and gaze at the stars in the arms of your sweetie on the deck. It certainly will be a delightful evening not soon forgotten.

Of course, not all of the things to do in Cairns are stress-free. Thrill seekers can get their adrenaline pumping on a Tully River Rafting Excursion. The tour takes you on an incredibly fun white water rafting excursion through the rainforest. It’s led by expert guides and concludes with a delicious meal cooked on the ‘barbie’.

Air

Who doesn’t dream about flying every once in awhile? To be honest, I can’t imagine a prettier place to fly over than the emerald jungles and hypnotic turquoise waters of Cairns.

Plane

Now, there are two main ways of seeing Cairns from above. The first is with a Scenic Flight that takes you from the wild rainforests to the white cays and aquamarine ocean. The flight will take you over the Great Dividing Range in the rainforest near Cairns. You may feel like you are flying through a scene from Jurassic Park (I know I did). The rainforests really do look as ancient as they are. From the sky above the rainforest, you will travel to the coast. It is a surreal experience, looking out at the reef from your plane and seeing the shimmering colours of the coral refracted by the water above them. For those who, after seeing the water, need to be in the water, there are also flights that will then stop and allow you to go Snorkelling at Sandy Cay.

Another, more leisurely way to explore the sky space above Cairns is via Hot Air Balloon . Of course, in true Aussie fashion, the balloon flight isn’t entirely relaxed. While up in the balloon, you will get to experience a balloon chase, which is essentially exactly what it sounds like: Your balloon will chase another balloon across wide open country and vice versa. It’s a very fun time and not stressful in the slightest, but it does add a bit of pace to the otherwise lovely, leisurely and scenic flight.

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Customer review: ATV and Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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Amazing trip thru lava fields… As an ATV novice, I chickened out going up the second hill… but the guides made me feel OK about it! Great trip, highly recommend, and the suits they give you keep you very well insulated. I didn’t feel a thing!

Juliane, United States

Juliane booked: Atv and Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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An Evening Singaporean Safari

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bluesheep3
As the sun sets over the Singapore Safari, a four-legged creature stirs from its daytime drowse.  Although short and dense in stature, there’s something that makes this horned animal standout.  At first glance, its slate grey coat seems normal.  Upon a second look, however, a bluish tint shines through.  Can this be?

Inside Singapore Zoo’s Night Safari, the Himalayan blue sheep is one among the more than 1,000 animals that begin their day as the moon appears.

The world’s first wildlife park for nocturnal animals, Night Safari houses 120 species of endangered wildlife.  The park is divided into eight distinct geographical zones, each of which is featured on the Night Safari tour.

As the open-air tram carefully maneuvers between the safari’s physical features—flowing rivers, lush trees, and dirt paths—its inhabitants remain undeterred.  The glowing moon illuminates the strong Cape buffalos that play in the fields, African bongos that feed in grassy fields, and striped hyenas that prowl within the 40 hectares of tropical forest.

Following the four-hour tour, the Night Safari continues with a guided trail walk.  Offering an in-depth look at these nighttime critters, the trip features flying squirrels and bats that glide from tree to tree, and leopards that stalk their intended prey.

What promises to be an evening adventure chockfull of awe and animals, Singapore Zoo’s Night Safari will be a memorable experience.

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Beautiful Barcelona

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We have recently released a page listing the top things to do in Barcelona – the best activities, sights, tours and excursions. Check it out and start planning your trip to Spain’s liveliest city!

The isango! team

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Diving – a reviving experience

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Take advantage of our Great Barrier Reef diving tours and have a once in a lifetime reviving experience!

The isango! team

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Have the climb of your life

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Don’t miss out on the Sydney bridge climb – it’s one of the top 10 things to do in Australia’s most visited city!

The isango! team

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