Month: October 2016

Travel to Bolivia, land of stark contrast and breathtaking beauty

If travel to Bolivia is not on your current dream destination list, it needs to be. The fifth-largest country in South America, it is land-locked and bordered by Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Paraguay. Two ranges of the Andes, as well as the Amazon basin, split Bolivia, creating a uniquely diverse mix of cultural, scenic and natural wonders. But it is the stark contrasts in climates and experiences – from legendary sunsets on the shores of Lake Titicaca to the modern and hip tropical vibe of Santa Cruz to the expansive salt flats near La Paz. Bolivia magically weaves heritage, architecture, culture and natural wonders into an experience that relatively few tourists experience even today.

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An exotic taste of Latin America in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia, promises an exotic taste of Latin America even if you only have a week or less of vacation time. What you’ll discover: some of the best seafood of your life (so good, Anthony Bourdain counted it among his top picks); colorful streets that ooze Spanish-colonial charm and beg to be photographed; regionally made, artisan keepsakes such as wide-brimmed straw hats and iconic mochila bags; boutique properties so sumptuous and inviting they feel more like a stay at your friend’s historical mansion than a hotel; and day trips to remote islands for snorkeling and seafood straight from the ocean to the grill.

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Travel to Colombia, a destination with a warm welcome

Colombia, the northernmost country in South America, borders on Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador, with coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Today, travel to Colombia offers renewed possibilities for adventure and tourism fun that many countries do not. Its darker days of crime and drug lords are past, and the people want you to come to their country, offering a warm welcome with a growing tourist infrastructure. We had the chance to talk to first-time Journeys International travelers Judith and Clive Kamins about their February 2016 trip to Colombia. Although Journeys newbies, the retired seniors from Chicago have in fact “touched every continent except Antarctica, as our grandchildren remind us.”

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Monk on a walk at Huating Temple, Kunming, China

On our daylong adventure to get to Dragon Gate, we climbed steep stairs and ventured into caves and small temples – what a worthwhile trek! At our last stop at the end of the day at Huating Temple, I ambled silently around the pond. It was very quiet, I felt peaceful, and no tourists were in sight since it was only minutes before 5 p.m. when the gates would close.

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Stone Forest in Yunnan great day trip from Kunming

A UNESCO World Heritage site in part since 2007, the Stone Forest (“Shilin” in Chinese) in the Yunnan province of China is considered to be a unique natural wonder and represents one of the best examples of karst rock formations in the world. Simply put, it is magical, mystical place where culture, legend, and natural history share the stage with limestone rock formations that will delight visitors of any age.

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Love is Traveling Together

For Charlotte and FoxFury, the adventure of traveling together and the wonder and joy of seeing new places, meeting new people, and learning new things is the ultimate expression of love.

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Eagle Creek Gear Warrior AWD luggage review

With the trend these days being toward four-wheeled luggage (Eagle Creek calls it “AWD” for “all-wheel drive,” tapping into that adventure je ne sais quoi), we decided to give one of the company’s four-wheel “spinner” bags, the Gear Warrior AWD, a whirl on several trips, both on domestic trips by car and train, and on international travel by plane, train and bus. At HI Travel Tales, despite the many pieces of travel luggage we have tested, we remain addicted to the two-wheeled Load Warrior suitcases by Eagle Creek, which we reviewed way back in 2013. We normally schlepp luggage...

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Top 6 things to do in Kunming, China

If a visit to China takes you to the Yunnan province, you will most likely end up passing through Kunming, the region’s large and quite bustling metropolitan area. Here are six top things to do in Kunming on a stopover, whether you are traveling there to visit the city itself, or need a few days to acclimatize to jet travel or altitude (Don’t forget that Kunming is 6,200 feet elevation).

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Experience tranquility inside the Yuantong Temple of Kunming

Take a tour of of the Yuantong Temple, considered the most famous Buddhist temple in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. Unlike other Buddhist temples into which you ascend, Yuantong is unique in that you enter into the temple grounds from above and descend from the city streets along a garden path and into the center, a large pond with wondrous stone bridges and surrounded by magnificent buildings.

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Wandering in the Stone Forest of Yunnan China

Wander in the Stone Forest of Yunnan, China with us and marvel at the strange and wonderful limestone formations, many looking like petrified trees. Hidden and winding passages, spires, and more. Parts of the Stone Forest are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Fantastic glacier cruise in Prince William Sound

During the Adventure Travel Trade Association World Summit in Anchorage, Alaska in 2016, we joined 130 other travel delegates from around the globe to travel to Whittier and enjoy a glacier viewing cruise with Major Marine Tours. It was spectacular as you will see.

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Armenian Blessing of the Grapes Ceremony 2016

Armenian Blessing of the Grapes Ceremony at the Holy Trinity Church in Fresno, California in 2016. Armenians have blessed the grape harvest in mid-August since the Old Testament. Rich in religious symbolism, the blessing still happens around the globe at the start of the harvest.

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Rab MeCo 120 a versatile travel shirt

Every traveler needs a good, solid, versatile t-shirt. One you can hand wash or machine wash without too much worry and one that works just as well on a city street as it does on a mountain trail, day after day after day. The Rab MeCo 120 short sleeve tee is such a beast.

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