It’s almost midnight, you’re somewhere you don’t know from Timbuktu, and all you want to do is check in to this comfortable-looking hotel and get some sleep, before embarking on some adventures tomorrow. But as you reach into your pocket for your passport you feel a sickening drop of your heart as your fingers close around nothing but empty space…… Read More >
Over-tourism is a concept that not many people realize is an epidemic to certain areas. Travel trends are changing – destinations, activities, even how one gets to and from the destination is changing. There is a lot of focus on studying the economic and ecological pros and cons surrounding certain areas, but we all still have so much to learn. What is attractive to adventurers one season (or even a few years), may be a forgotten place in the next season. And with offsetting our carbon footprint being ever-present in at least the backs of our minds, travelling anywhere is a little hard to swallow sometimes. And you may be thinking, why is a travel agency writing about over-tourism? Well, because tourism is our life. Travel is our life. And if the places we love are destroyed by over-tourism, that hurts our business, our love.
To bring home this point, the Philippines just announced that they are closing the popular tourist destination of Boracay for six-months because they are concerned about the sustained environmental damage to the beaches and clear blue water over the last 40 years, according to CNN. Last year alone, the island was visited by over 1.5 million tourists. Boracay is home to about 17,000 people, many of whom rely on these tourists for their livelihood. The island will be closed to tourists on April 26, 2018.
We are not saying that visiting these popular destinations needs to cease and desist, but maybe an exploration of the lesser travelled road will provide you with the quiet solitude you require to rejuvenate your body and soul and let you experience a different place than your fellow travellers.
I have the great fortune to travel. In the first three months of 2018 I have flown in 737s, ATRs, turboprops, ski planes, helicopters, and a Dreamliner. I have been on 42 separate flights and will easily surpass 150 for the year. I have been to the largest airports in the world and a small trailer calling itself an airport. Read More >
On my most recent trip to Iceland I had the great experience of descending into the earth on three separate tours that involved ice, lava caves and a volcano. You could think of it as experiencing the hottest and coldest places on the planet all in one comfortable day. Read More >
On my recent trip to Varadero I stayed at Meliá Marina Varadero. I really liked this resort. The nightly entertainment was professional quality, with a variety of styles of entertainment. There was live music in the lobby every evening, including high-quality opera singers one evening. There was often a preview of the nightly show in the lobby as well. The shows were either music and dancing or acrobatic-type shows and were all well done. And of course there was lots of Cuban music throughout the week. Read More >
With World Sleep Day and St. Patrick’s Day falling consecutively on Friday, March 16th and Saturday, March 17th, I thought it’d be only fitting to look into the idea of sleeping in an Irish castle. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of spending at least one night like a prince or princess from a fairy tale?
Ireland offers up a lot of great choices for a castle stay. Here are three choices, but there are many others.
Ashford Castle, County Mayo
The original castle construction began back in 1228, so some of the castle’s stonework is approaching 800 years of age. The famed Guinness brewing family purchased the castle in the mid-1800’s and put about $75 million into the massive renovation to upgrade the interior. With additional modern renovations the castle now features its historic façade and “bones” along with stunningly restored interiors and a state-of-the-art spa. Not just a place to lay your head, it’s an experience, the chance to live a dream of staying in a genuine castle, but still having all the creature comforts we’ve come to expect.
Dromoland Castle, County Clare
Built in the 16th century, the limestone, medieval castle with its statuesque turret sits on 450 acres of lush green grass and verdant gardens. Since the 10th century Dromoland has been the ancestral home of the O’Briens, Barons of Inchiquin and descendants of Brian Boru High King of Ireland during the 11th century. For the next 900 years a branch of the O’Briens lived and ruled from this castle. Retaining all the grandness of bygone eras the castle has been upgraded to a very comfortable standard, offering everything the modern day, discerning “royalty for a day” is looking for.
Ballygally Castle, County Antrim
In real estate it’s said that location is everything, and Ballygally Castle has that in spades! This turreted treasure has been standing guard over the spellbinding Causeway Coastal Route since the 17th century. Rumoured to be one of the most haunted buildings on the entire island, Ballygally boasts more than one spectre, including former residents Lady Isobel Shaw and Madame Nixon. If you’re brave enough you can visit the Ghost Room in one of the turrets!
Read about more Irish castles where you can sleep like royalty:
Irish Times, Ireland’s Top 10 Castles to Stay In
Ireland.com, 6 Luxury Castle Stays
Hi there! Great Canadian Travel Bear here.
I still don’t have a name, but for now, since it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, I am taking on the name Patty O’Lantern. I think that it’s pretty fitting. As you can see, I’m green with envy because of all the Irish people and people of Irish descent who get to celebrate on that special day. That got me to thinking about my own ancestry, so I decided to take one of those DNA tests to find out who I really am. And, guess what? I discovered that I can trace my family tree back to Ireland! Apparently genetic evidence shows that I am a descendent from the Irish Brown Bear that lived during the last ice age. I think it’s kind of crazy to know that my great-great-great-great-great-great… you get the point… grandmother bear was hanging out in a country across the ocean thousands of years ago! Now, that’s cool! Read More >
Imagine you are sitting in something that looks somewhat like the seat and roll cage from a race car, without the race car around it. Imagine you are hanging from a cable 15 feet above the ground. Imagine you begin to pedal, which propels you slowly through the trees, the ground falling away until you are 60 feet or more above the ground. Imagine that it is peaceful, the only sounds made by the breeze rustling the trees, some birds chirping, and the occasional squirrel squeaking. Imagine that all you can see are the treetops surrounding you and perhaps the next rider, depending on your location along the one-kilometre trail. Imagine that the only sensation is the gentle swaying of your pod and the occasional bump as it runs over a connection in the cable.
Now imagine you have vertigo or are scared of heights. That was me exactly. Read More >
“Enormous playground of never skied colours, chutes and wide opened glaciers” is how National Geographic starts their article describing skiing in Iceland.
“Without a doubt Iceland offers some of the most mind blowing heliskiing on the planet,” says snow magazine’s “top 10 Heliskiing experiences in Europe.” Read More >