Travel Blogs – The Barefoot Nomad https://www.thebarefootnomad.com Travel. Tech. Family. Fun. Fri, 15 Jun 2018 22:40:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Kid Friendly Things to do in Colorado Springs That Guarantee Family Fun https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-blogs/kid-friendly-things-to-do-in-colorado-springs/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-blogs/kid-friendly-things-to-do-in-colorado-springs/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 21:00:57 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=15295 On our recent family trip to Colorado, we enjoyed some of the most fun kid friendly things to do in Colorado Springs. We had a few great days seeing everything Colorado Springs has to offer and loved our sunshine filled days exploring this part of Colorado, USA.

On this trip we rode a train, spelunked in a massive cave system, fed giraffes, played on water slides, explored nature, climbed a mountain, swam in giant pools, ate at some delicious restaurants and ran wild in a former elementary school.

It was a great experience, and since it was just my son Cole and I representing the family on this trip, we spent some amazing time together getting a chance to further strengthen our already great relationship. Read on to see our top picks for family fun!

Kid Friendly Things To Do in Colorado Springs: Day 1

So what kids activities did we enjoy in Colorado Springs? Well, the first day we rode a cog train up North America’s most visited mountain, Pikes Peak. We then wandered through the beautiful Garden of the Gods. Next, we descended to the depths in the Cave of the Winds and we ate s’mores as well as went on a MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs. And that was only a small portion of our time.

Before we even hit Colorado Springs, we had the opportunity to visit the area around Cañon City. At just over an hour from Colorado Springs and to the west of Canon City itself, is home to some of the best whitewater rafting in the state. Not only did we get our feet wet while white water rafting down the Arkansas River, we also checked out the newly opened Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience. We even had the chance to spend a night in the newly built Royal Gorge Cabins. If you’re curious, you can check out our Cañon City Colorado family experience here.

That said, overnighting in Cañon City was only one small part of our family Colorado tour.

The second day we had breakfast and a pint in the re-purposed sprawling Ivywild School, fed giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and finally relaxed in class and comfort at the sprawling Cheyenne Mountain Resort.

Sound like fun? It was, and now here’s the lowdown on all the fun things to do with the family in Colorado Springs.

Ride a cog train up Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs

The entrance to Pike’s Peak is just 15 minutes west of Colorado Springs in quirky and charming Manitou Springs. Hosting nine natural mineral springs and a collection of spiritualists, visiting Manitou Springs itself can be a great way to get the kids drinking water while you do the Springsabouts Walking Tour and sample the varieties of water the springs offer (and yes, each spring does taste different).

The entrance to Pike’s Peak highway is also found in Manitou Springs and though you can drive yourself up to the summit of Pike’s Peak (it’s about 19 miles of crazy switchbacks), or climb the 13 mile long Barr Trail (only for the fit and bold), we chose to go up via the old Pikes Peak Cog Railway train that runs year round (weather permitting).

Once we picked up our tickets and determined our departure time, we got in line and jumped into one of the three open aired coaches our train provided for that run. Luckily for us, the windows close because, as we got closer to the peak, our very hot day suddenly became much, much cooler.

On the way up the 14,115 foot summit of America’s most famous mountain, we saw waterfalls and rock formations, old miner cabins and a post office. We also saw deer and about 2/3rds of the way up we saw a bunch of yellow- bellied marmots known locally as whistle pigs. These huge woodchuck shaped ground squirrel relatives were fun to watch and the kids loved spotting them. Some days you can also spot bighorn sheep and even black bears.

Tip! Remember a jacket, even in summer! What started as a very warm summer day at the bottom became downright cold by the time we reached the top

Once you get to the summit of Pikes Peak, which takes just over an hour each way, you can stretch your legs and walk around the top before the Pikes Peak cog railway returns you to the bottom. The entire trip lasts three hours and 10 minutes, so it makes a great morning or afternoon getaway.

Up on Pikes Peak, you’ll find washrooms (there are none on the train so make sure you go before you leave) as well as a snack bar featuring some unique donuts (they had to be specially crafted to rise at a high elevation) and also a gift shop. Other than that, the view in all directions is simply beautiful so make sure you have a camera with you.

Note! Departure times, seating assignments and return times for the Pikes Peak cog train from the summit are all preset in advance, so make sure you pay attention to the times otherwise you could be left at the summit.

Descend to the depths in the Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs

While we were in Manitou Springs, we also checked out the infamous Cave of the Winds. These caves were discovered over a century ago by a couple of young brothers and then later explored in depth by a slew of early adventurists.

Over the years, as new tunnels have been discovered, the Cave of the Winds has been opened up to the public and is now a major tourist destination. The huge complex features multiple cave trips, two adrenaline inducing aerial lines (the Bat-A-Pult and aptly named Terror-Dactyl free fall) as well as the Wind Walker climbing course that sits directly over a 600 foot drop. It also has a large concession area, a picnic area, a giant slide and a mining station for kids.

Wind Walker climbing course, the Bat-A-Pult adrenaline ride and the free kids slide

We did the 45 minute long Discovery Tour and that was perfect for the kids.  We walked up and down pathways and also stairs and ladders as we explored everything that a million year old cave system features. We saw tons of stalagmites, stalactites, amazing waterfall like flowstones, fossilized shells and other speleothems (cave decorations).

At one point, our guides shut off all the lights and, well, you haven’t experienced darkness until you’ve stood in the middle of a cave a hundred feet below ground. It really made me want to take the special Lantern Tour where the group travels only with handheld lanterns like the early spelunkers and explorers did while telling ghost stories and delving into the caves past.

For the truly adventurist, there’s also the well reviewed Cave 101 tour where you strap on your helmets, grab your flashlight and climb and crawl your way through undeveloped caves and smaller passageways. Claustrophobics need not apply for that tour.

Wander the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

If gods roamed gardens, you might find them in this oversize 480 acre garden of giant colored sandstone formations. The Garden of the Gods was donated to the city of Colorado Springs in the early 1900s from the head of the Burlington Railroad, Charles Elliott Perkins, after he passed away.

Set forth with strict provisions, the Garden of the Gods nature park is set to remain free for all visitors and free from all structures not prevalent to maintaining the park for all time. As such, you won’t find much in the park except the world class Visitor & Nature Center and the Café at the Garden. It’s simple, but still one of the many fun family things to do in Colorado Springs that’s worth a visit.

You can walk around the park, take a Segway tour or, go on an open aired Jeep excursion that drives around the park just like we did. A guide will tell you all about the history of the park and the formations you’re seeing. No matter how you see the Garden of the Gods you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the main 300 foot sandstone formation as well as all the different colors of the smaller formations.

Inside the sprawling Visitor & Nature Center is a museum featuring local flora and fauna as well as the cool multi screen Geo-Trekker theater experience explaining how all the red sandstone rocks were formed and how they became part of the amazing scenery. (Shows start every 20 minutes.)

Eat s’mores, enjoy waterslides and go on a MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs

What’s the best way to end a long day seeing all the sights and sounds of Colorado Springs? Well, if you’re a kid, or a kid at heart, not much beats water slides and s’mores.

The newly opened Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs has that and a lot more and the kids loved ending their day there. The rooms were a huge hit as well with many theme rooms and, every kids fave, bunk beds!

On the fun side, not only were there indoor water slides for the whole family, but there is an indoor ropes course, indoor mini golf and of course, MagiQuest! All it takes is a special wand and your kids will be running around the huge Great Wolf Lodge waving their magic wands at everything they see as they go on their very own magic quest.

Not only that, there are ice cream parlours, candy stores, restaurants, pizza joints, and, luckily for parents, a bar you can sit in, as your kids run around burning off whatever remaining energy they have. The kids might have their own favorite memories of Great Wolf Lodge, but mine will be sharing a few delicious locally produced beers with my fellow parents.

To be honest, sitting by the campfire roasting s’mores was definitely a highlight for everyone and we all vowed we would be back to Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs again in the future.

Eating smores by the campfire at Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs

And so finished our fist day of fun things to do with the family in Colorado Springs. Want to see more things to do in Colorado outside of Denver? Check out our post of fun things to do in Canon City Colorado as well.

Fun things to do with kids in Colorado Springs: Day 2

We had so much fun on our first day in Colorado Springs that the entire group was excited to see what was in store the second day. Luckily for us, it was a little slower than the first day but we all welcomed the relaxed pace and had a good opportunity to enjoy even more things to do with the kids in Colorado Springs.

Eat, drink and be merry at the Ivywild School in Colorado Springs

Ever had that dream where you’re walking through your old school but it’s not quite as you remember it? Even better, ever dream that your old school has turned into a happening place filled with delicious eateries, micro brewers, art spaces and a movie theater in the gym?

Well, the former students of Ivywild sure must when they walk through the revamped Ivywild School in Colorado City. This actual decommissioned school built back in 1916 was on the verge of being torn down in 2009 before an enterprising group of individuals decided that yeah, they could work with it.

So a dream became reality and the Ivywild School has been converted into a trendy boutique of shops, eateries and micro pubs with the expansive Bristol Pub headlining the site.

The interesting part? They left the majority of the old school in place. Nowhere is that more evident than when walking in and looking at the principals office or seeing the old style urinals and the crazy kids artwork in the boys washroom.

Even walking down the halls makes you feel like you should have a hall pass for skipping class, and the fact that you can order dozens of tasty micro brews in old classrooms just highlights the surreal feeling you get while walking through Ivywild School.

Kids will love that there’s no teaching at Ivywild School in Colorado City and it will definitely fuel a few daydreams of what their own classroom might look like if they put in a restaurant or a few vats of cider in the broom closet. It also doesn’t hurt that the food you can get at Ivywild School is much, much better than anything I ever got in my school canteen.

The hard fact is that the Ivywild’s Old School Bakery had some of the tastiest cinnamon buns I’ve had in some time. Even better, all the eateries in Ivywild School also practice the food to table approach with gardens planted throughout the old schoolyard and close ties with local farmers. It doesn’t get much fresher than that.

One of the gardens at Ivywild School in Colorado Springs

Feed giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs

What has four legs, a blue tongue the length of a small child and has to be standing 10 feet below you to look you squarely in the eye? No, it’s not a giant lizard, it’s a giraffe and they’re just one of the many highlights we found while walking around the beautiful Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

The coolest part about having these gentle giants at eye level is you can feed them lettuce right from your hands. It’s still a little unnerving to see those huge giraffe tongues come out but the look of happiness they have as they grab their lunch from you is undeniable. Who knew lettuce could taste so good?

As well as hand feeding giraffes from the largest giraffe herd in the Americas, at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo you can take a chairlift called the Sky Ride that will have you soaring above it all. Not only do you get some amusing bird’s eye views of the many animals below but you get some amazing views over Cheyenne Mountain and a good portion of the valley around Colorado Springs.

Love animals? The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has over 750 animals and 170 species from all over the the world. We thought we walked just about everywhere while we there but, as we left, we realized we still hadn’t seen everything.

From lions, tigers and snow leopards in the African and Asian exhibits to learning about and interacting with chickens and goats in My Big Backyard, there are tons of things for kids of all ages.

They also have some great wildlife encounter shows that get you up close to the animals and we both enjoyed the elephant exhibit and the hippo section. Their monkey and primate section were also quite extensive, especially the gorillas and orangutans.

Since the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is also the only mountain zoo in America, they also have an extensive collection of local wildlife like mountain lions, grizzly bears, moose, river otters, lynx and porcupines. Even though all these animals exist back home, it’s still nice to see them in an authentic mountain setting.

One of the kids favorite areas at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was their walk-through aviary in their Australia section, where you can have budgies and parakeets eating right from the palm of your hand. As you leave this area, you walk through the wallaby walkabout which has small wallabies hopping about freely everywhere around you. We had to usher the kids out of this area otherwise they would have spent all day following the little kangaroos around.

Ever dreamed of being a zookeeper? Who hasn’t? Well, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has an area called The Loft where you get to go behind the scenes and see what it takes to make it all happen. From training and weighing, to feeding and cleaning, The Loft is designed from the ground up especially for kids (and would be kids). It’s not only a great space for hands on training and learning, it also preps them for all the responsibilities that comes with taking care of animals themselves.

Relax in comfort at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs

Ever watch a summer movie of teens hanging on the beach, then playing a little beach volleyball before heading to one of a half dozen different swimming pools, tennis courts or basketball courts while the parents are off enjoying a round of golf or maybe spending the day being pampered at the spa? Well, the Cheyenne Mountain Resort is that place.

It turns out that this huge sprawling mountainside resort with their own private lake is the dream resort of my childhood. Before arcades, wave pools and fancy electronics were a thing, the Cheyenne Mountain Resort would have been my epitome of resort high life.

With their own private 35 acre lake complete with a sandy beach, volleyball courts, canoes, kayaks and SUP rentals, they have the outdoor enthusiast covered.

They also have an aquatics center complete with four outdoor swimming pools, including a huge 50 m Olympic sized pool with water slide, a splash pad and a kiddie pool as well as an adult only pool and spa. They also have another heated pool in the main complex.

If you’re a tennis fan, they do tennis with 17 covered and uncovered tennis courts including two outdoor clay courts. For the fitness buff, there’s an expansive 9000 sq. foot fitness center complete with yoga, spin and cross training group classes.

One of the coolest features of Cheyenne Mountain Resort is that the resort has its own championship grade golf course surrounding it that makes this mountain sided, lake adjacent course not only one of the most beautiful in Colorado but also one of the best. With over 300 days of sunshine in Colorado Springs, and separated by the Rocky Mountains from snow loving Denver, you can enjoy golf 365 days of the year here. For the kiddos, they even open the course at night with a mini putt glow golf course.

Not only were the grounds beautiful at Cheyenne Mountain Resort, the food was tasty as well. From their award winning Sunday brunches at Mountain View Restaurant, to tasty bites and local brews from Elevations Lounge, I always left the table satisfied.

Staying at Cheyenne Mountain Resort was a treat not only for adult me but also for 12 year old me who never got to go to a cool camp in summer. To say that I was a little jealous of my son Cole getting to stay here probably speaks more about the place than all those sentences I just wrote. It’s a lovely place and you and your kids will definitely enjoy it.

Some final words about Colorado Springs

Well, that about wraps up our time in Colorado Springs. We saw and experienced some amazing things and my son and I both had a great time checking out everything the area had to offer.

If it’s your first time heading to Colorado Springs in Colorado, USA, know that it borders the Rocky Mountains. It’s a gorgeous hilly area with beautiful vistas and stunning plateaus’s around every corner.

There are so many great things to do in Colorado Springs with kids that you might just need to come back more than once. That’s okay, I’m sure you’ll discover even more to do the second time. For even more ideas, make sure you check out my previous post on fun things to do in Canon City Colorado as well.

How to get to Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs is about 70 miles due south of Denver down highway I-25 S. It’s just over an hour by car from the Denver International Airport (DEN) or you can fly directly into Colorado Springs (COS) from 15 cities across the USA.

What are you favorite family things to do in Colorado Springs? Let us know; we’d love to hear!

Many thanks to Colorado Tourism, who hosted us. We definitely had a great time in Colorado. You guys were the best!

Colorado springs kid at campfire, giraffes at zoo, mountain sunset

hiking with older kids in Colorado Springs

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A Locals Guide to the Great Okanagan Beer Festival GOBF in Kelowna BC Canada https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/canada/a-locals-guide-to-the-great-okanagan-beer-festival-gobf-in-kelowna-bc-canada/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/canada/a-locals-guide-to-the-great-okanagan-beer-festival-gobf-in-kelowna-bc-canada/#comments Mon, 28 May 2018 17:30:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16510 Have you ever walked into a room and felt instantly at ease?

The Great Okanagan Beer Festival is that kind of party.

As I walked onto the grounds, the early summer sunshine warmed my shoulders, and a cooling breeze swept across the lake.

The kegs were tapped, the band was playing, and the smokies were sizzling on the grill. Charles and I had left the kids at home, and it was time to enjoy ourselves.

Cheers for beers GOBF

As I looked around at the hundreds of smiling faces around me, I was instantly at home. This was going to be a great day. It was our first year at the GOBF, and I was excited to take in all the fun (plus all that tasty food, beer and cider!).

Great Okanagan Beer Festival (GOBF)

Every year, the Great Okanagan Beer Festival puts on a heck of a great party in our beautiful home city of Kelowna, BC, Canada.

The GOBF takes place in early May. It’s hosted by the fun folks at Gibbons Whistler, founders of the insanely popular Whistler Village Beer Festival.

The GOBF features 70 breweries with over 120 varieties of craft beer and cider. No matter which way you calculate it, that’s a lot of delicious suds.

You’ll find some of our favorite local breweries and restaurants at the Okanagan Beer Festival, like the Train Station Pub, Grimm’s Fine Foods, BNA Brewing, Tree Brewing, Freddy’s Brewpub, Okanagan Spring, Boundary Brewing Company, BC Tree Fruits Cider Co. and Wards Hard Cider, plus plenty of other great craft beer and cider brewers from all across Canada.

pouring sample somersby cider at the GOBF

Plus, there’s great food with food trucks and vendors galore.

If you’re looking for something fun to do, there’s plenty of entertainment on site, including live bands up on the main stage. This year, there were four live bands for the main event, plus a DJ to keep the crowd going between sets.

Depending on the year you go, the lineup will be different, but we enjoyed Red Chair, Lucky Monkey, The Hip Replacements (a Tragically Hip tribute band), and Hot Knox.

Entertainment at the GOBF Kelowna stage

In among the beer and cider tents, we found that a lot of local businesses had also shown up. All of them had something fun to do and many offered everything from free meals at local restaurants to hats, shirts and Frisbees. The games ranged from blackjack, to beanbag toss games, to axe throwing.

Yep, you read that right… axe throwing. We had a blast trying a free round of axe throwing with Axe Monkeys, though I think we’re both going to need some coaching before we become axe throwing masters!

for the love of beer mug at the lake kelowna

All that axe throwing gave us an appetite, so we wandered over to the food trucks.

Given that this is a Canadian Festival, you’d better bet there’s a poutine truck (Smoke’s Poutinerie), and a lot more too, including The Keg Steakhouse, The Grub Truck, Surfside California (with tacos!) and Thai on the Fly.

Smoke's Poutine Food Truck Kelowna

Grimm’s Fine Foods BBQ made an especially tasty appearance, with mouthwatering smokies on a bun and ice cold drinks.

GOBF fun around town

There’s a lot going on in the days and weeks leading up to the GOBF, with everything from yoga to bowling to Kelowna Craft Brewery tours.

Lonetree Cider Great Okanagan Beer Festival Kelowna

Pregame Brunch at the Train Station Pub with Grimm’s Fine Foods

We were lucky enough to get a spot at one of our very favorite local pubs, the Train Station Pub for a Pregame Brunch presented by Grimm’s Fine Foods.

The Train Station Pub is in a restored 1926 railway station, and is just a hop, skip, and jump from Waterfront Park where the GOBF main event is held. As well as great food, the Train Station Pub features their own craft beer as well as rotating favorite brews from around the area.

Train station pub and Grimms Fine foods pregame lunch for the Great Okanagan Beer Festival Kelowna

Where’s the GOBF held?

Every year, the Great Okanagan Beer Festival takes place at Waterfront Park on the shores of Okanagan Lake. There’s plenty of lush green grass, meandering paved pathways, a beautiful wooden boardwalk along the lake, and big trees scattered about for shade.

Relaxing in the park at the Great Okanagan Beer Fest

Should you get General Admission or VIP Tickets to the Great Okanagan Beer Fest?

What’s included in the GOBF General Admission ticket:

  • Official 4 ounce GOBF sampling mug
  • 3 beer or cider tokens
  • Live music
  • Access to 70 breweries and 140 craft beers/cider
  • Access to food vendors and exhibitors
  • A fun time with thousands of festival-goers on the beautiful Okanagan Lake

chips for beer at the Great Okanagan Beer Festival Kelowna mug by okanagan Lake for the love of beer

What’s included in the GOBF VIP ticket:

  • Official 4 ounce GOBF sampling mug
  • 10 beer or cider tokens
  • VIP fast access express entry. We had VIP tickets and loved this feature, as it let us speed by the regular security entry line (shown below).
  • Live music
  • Access to 70 breweries and 140 craft beers/cider
  • Access to food vendors and exhibitors
  • A fun time with thousands of festival-goers on the beautiful Okanagan Lake
  • GOBF swag bag
  • Lunch from Grimm’s Fine Foods
  • Vouchers for savings around town

lineup at the Great Okanagan Beer Festival Kelowna

Love beer, cider, great food and awesome music? If you don’t have tickets, you can grab them here! 

Click here to see ticket prices and details.

Looking for a Great Okanagan Beer Festival promo code? Check out the Gibbons Whistler Facebook page – you may get lucky!

About Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley

Kelowna is a small city perched on the shores of Okanagan Lake, with a population of just under 200,000 very lucky people.

It is the largest city in the Okanagan Valley, which is a 200 kilometer (125 mile) valley surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, and with the deep, clear Okanagan Lake as its center.

Kelowna (and the Okanagan Valley) is becoming rapidly known for it’s 300+ world class wineries with hundreds of fun things to do around town. The past few years there’s been a boom of local craft breweries (thus the GOBF) and locally made spirits as well.

In the summer, the valley is home to apple, pear, peach and other fruit orchards, and sees an influx of tourists from Canada and all over the world.

To get here, you can fly directly into the Kelowna International Airport, but many visitors prefer the scenic four hour drive from Vancouver.

Great Okanagan Beer Festival Kelowna mug by okanagan Lake

mmm… cider by the lake at the Great Okanagan Beer Festival

the Great Okanagan Beer Fest one of the most fun things to do in the Okanagan (2) A locals guide to the Great Okanagan Beer Festival ]]>
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Eight Extraordinary Things To Do In Patagonia https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/south-america/things-to-do-in-patagonia/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/south-america/things-to-do-in-patagonia/#comments Tue, 15 May 2018 17:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16476 This guest post is brought to you by Anda Galffy of Travel Notes & Beyond, who shares her favorite things to do in Patagonia.

Stretching across Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is the southernmost region of South America. Patagonia is huge in every way and it is home to some of the most incredible landscapes on this planet, including snow-capped mountains, dense forests, massive glaciers, roaring waterfalls and unbelievable wildlife. For an outdoor lover, Patagonia is an inexhaustible source beauty and adventure. There is so much to see and do here that you could easily spend months in Patagonia and still not see it all!

Things To Do In Patagonia

With that in mind, here are my recommendations for places to visit in Patagonia, on both the Chilean and Argentinian sides.

Patagonia

Chilean Patagonia

Hike in Torres del Paine

There is a reason why Torres del Paine National Park is considered one the world’s best backpacking and trekking destinations. The park is a maze of hiking trails varying from easy, to moderate and more difficult. If you feel more adventurous, you can choose to do one of the multi-day circuits that last anywhere from 4-9 days and take you all around the mountains. But if walking for 8 hours a day and sleeping in tents is not your cup of tea, you can take shorter day hikes and experience the beauty of Torres del Paine just the same. The good news is that you don’t need to be an experienced hiker to enjoy this park.

Hiking in Torres del Paine

Hiking in Torres del Paine

Take a boat trip to Glacier Grey 

Located inside Torres del Paine National Park, Glacier Grey is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field –one of the largest continental stretches of ice on the planet. Getting up close and personal with Glacier Grey is one of the highlights to any trip to Patagonia. As the boat gets closer to the glacier, you begin to appreciate the 40-meter high river of ice that rises above you. The blue tones of the ice are astonishing. You are so close to it that you can see the cracks in the ice wall and feel the cold air that surrounds it.

Tour the Mylodon Cave

The Mylodon Cave (Cueva del Milodon) is located just a little outside Torres del Paine National Park. The cave was discovered in 1896 by the German explorer Eberhard Hermann who found inside the strange remains (fur and bones) of the extinct Mylodon sloth, hence the name of the cave. The cave is not very big, but it is really interesting to visit.

Cueva del Milodon

Cueva del Milodon

Try horseback riding

One of the best ways to view the scenery of Patagonia is by taking a guided tour on horseback. Many of the estancias (working farms) around Torres del Paine offer horseback riding excursions to the glaciers and in the foothills of the Cordillera Paine. You don’t need any particular skills to be able to ride one of these horses. The baqueanos(Patagonian cowboys) are excellent guides and will teach you a lot about horseback riding. Visiting one of these estancias is also a great opportunity to find out more about the culture and harsh realities of day by day life in Patagonia.

Horseback Riding in Patagonia

Argentinean Patagonia – Los Glaciares National Park

Visit Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno glacier is one of the biggest attractions in Argentinean Patagonia. Locate on the southern area of the Los Glaciares National Park, about 90 km away from El Calafate, this stunning 70-meters-thick slab of ice that spans over 121 square miles. Perito Moreno is famous for its dynamic changes. It grows in winter and recedes in summer, producing a cyclic phenomenon with spectacular ice falls from its front walls. If you only were to visit one glacier in your life, it should be Perito Moreno.

There are several ways to experience the glacier. You can get up close with a boat tour and hear the loud noise made by the cracking ice falling into the water below. Or you can walk on the viewing platform leading up to different viewpoints. The platform gets quite close to the glacier, to the point that you can basically feel the cold air that surrounds it. But if you’re feeling truly adventurous, you can take a tour out onto the glacier to do some ice trekking.

Perito Moreno

Perito Moreno

Drive (or bike) to Lago del Desierto

One of the nicest roads to drive in southern Patagonia is the one from El Chaltén to Lago del Desierto. The road follows Rio de las Vueltas, passing spectacular waterfalls, pristine meadows and dense Lenga forests. The Fitz Roy peaks are in sight all along the way.

Despite its name (that suggests a desert area) Lago del Desierty is actually surrounded by acres and acres of beautiful Lenga forest. Besides enjoying the scenery, you can also take a boat out onto the blue-green waters of the lake. Catamarans leave from the pier and journey across the lake, making trips that last about 45 minutes.

Lago del Desierto

Lago del Desierto

Hike to Mirador Piedras Blancas

This is one of the most beautiful hikes you can do from the little village of El Chaltén. The trail head that starts at Hosteria El Pilar takes you to a beautiful mirador (vista point) that offers great views of the Piedras Blancas glacier. This is a moderate hike that goes mainly through a beautiful forest. If you to continue hiking past the mirador, the trail will take you to a gorgeous plain from where you can see the majestic peaks of the Fitz Roy mountain. This trail goes to the Campamento (campground) Poincenot and from there to the famous Laguna de Los Tres, but that is a difficult hike.

Mirador Piedras Blancas

Mirador Piedras Blancas

Take a boat trip to Viedma Glacier

This ride will take you across Lake Viedma, passing by Mount Huemul and approaching the front wall of the Viedma glacier. The boats leave from the picturesque Bahía Túnel harbor, located in a natural protected bay, a few hundred meters away from the delta formed by the Túnel River. The harbor is only 17 Km south of El Chaltén.

A Final Note

Visiting Patagonia was a dream come true. I still can’t get over it. The first sight of its gorgeous scenery literally took my breath away. Nothing can quite prepare you for your first glimpse of Patagonia. For no matter how many pictures you see or movies you watch, when you touch down in Patagonia you realize that no photo can do justice to this place.

About the Author

Anda Galffy is an award-winning travel writer and passionate photographer living in Southern California. She is the creator of Travel Notes & Beyond, a collection of travel stories from her wanderings around the world. Her posts focus primarily on the cultural aspect of a destination. She strives to inform, inspire and engage, by providing itinerary ideas and tips on exciting destinations.

You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.

The best adventures in Patagonia to fuel your wanderlust Looking for the most amazing destinations in beautiful Patagonia? Helpful tips and stunning photos of the best of Patagoina, from hiking in Torres del Paine to visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier. Things to do in Patagonia Planning to travel in Patagonia? Read about the best things to do in Patagonia, whether you're on a hiking or national parks adventure in Argentina or Chile. ]]>
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The Best Things to do in Darwin https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/australia/the-best-things-to-do-in-darwin/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/australia/the-best-things-to-do-in-darwin/#comments Tue, 08 May 2018 17:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16445 This guest post is brought to you by Shandos of Travelnuity, who shares her top things to do in Darwin, Australia.

When most visitors to Australia consider what cities to visit, generally the big cities of Sydney and Melbourne firstly spring to mind. But up north, closer to the cities of South East Asia, is a very different Australian city: Darwin.

If you’re wanting to head out on a road trip to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, exploring their natural beauty and Aboriginal culture, Darwin will be your launching point. But it’s also worthwhile exploring its attractions for a couple of days.

Six of the Best Things to do in Darwin

Some of Darwin’s top attractions explore its short but turbulent history, from being bombed in World War II to being destroyed by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day, 1974. Other Darwin activities and attractions take advantage of its beautiful tropical weather and surroundings. These are my top picks for what to do in Darwin.

Head to Mindil Beach Sunset Market

One of the favorite experiences of both visitors and locals in Darwin is heading to the Mindil Beach Sunset Market.

It’s held at Mindil Beach, just outside of the city center, next to Darwin Casino. The market runs during the dry season (from late April to late October), and is held every Thursday (kicking off at 5 pm) and every Sunday (starting at 4 pm). There’s plenty of stalls selling everything from Aboriginal artifacts and handmade souvenirs to dresses and clothing from Thailand and Indonesia, but the real highlight are the food stalls.

Perhaps start with some fresh oysters, before continuing on to a variety of dishes reflecting Darwin’s multicultural population. Options usually include Indonesian, Chinese, Thai and Indian. Plus there’s distinctive Australian dishes on offer, such as kangaroo and crocodile. Enjoy your dinner on the beach, hopefully taking in a beautiful sunset over the harbor, before wrapping up with dessert.

Visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

Located along Darwin’s long waterfront just outside the city centre is the impressive (and free) Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, one of Darwin Australia’s points of interest. Don’t miss the chance to explore their large collection of indigenous art, from bark parkings to ceremonial poles, perhaps catching the yearly National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.

Another highlight of the museum is the interactive display about Cyclone Tracy and the impact it had on the city, including a darkened room where you can listen to its monstrous sound. Don’t also miss the stuffed body of Sweetheart the crocodile. This mammoth 5 meter long, 780 kg beast was killed locally after it attacked several fishing boats. You can even see live crocodiles on a local jumping crocodile tour, though likely none as big as Sweetheart.

Visit the Darwin Aviation Heritage Centre

Just south of Darwin is the Aviation Heritage Centre. Due to Darwin’s isolation plus strategic military importance, aviation has always played a key role in Darwin’s history. The museum isn’t just for aviation buffs, but for anyone interested in history or just seeing an impressive collection of planes.

The stand-out attraction of the museum is its B52 bomber. It was predominantly based in Darwin by the US Airforce during the Vietnam War era and has since been donated on permanent loan to the people of Darwin. It’s one of only two such aircraft outside of the USA, and it’s huge bulk looms above everything else in the air hangar.

Other aircraft on display are a mixture of military and passenger craft, including Spitfire planes, Tiger Moth biplays and helicopters. There are also interesting displays on the Australian Royal Flying Doctors service and aircraft involved in WWII and Vietnam.

Explore the Impact of World War II

Darwin was on the front-line during World War II, particularly after the fall of Singapore and the Japanese invasion of what’s now Papua New Guinea. The city was bombed multiple times and there are a multitude of sites around Darwin and further south linked to WWII. Examples include old airfields, military installations, bombing sites and memorials.

For a good overview of the WWII history of Darwin, visit the Defence of Darwin Experience and Darwin Military Museum. Both are located at the East Point Military Precinct. The Defence of Darwin Experience features numerous interactive, multimedia displays, culminating in a 20-minute show.

Another important site located just over 100 km south of Darwin on the main highway is the Adelaide River War Cemetery. It’s the only war cemetery on Australian soil, and includes a poignant memorial.

Chill out at the Waterfront Lagoons

Despite its tropical weather and large harbor, unfortunately the beaches of Darwin are largely a no-go zone for swimming, due to the presence of salt-water crocodiles and many sharks.

If you’re wanting to cool off, head instead to the Wave Lagoon and Recreation Lagoon located on Darwin’s waterfront. The Wave Lagoon produces 10 different wave patterns, with a 10-minute rest in between each 20 minute session. The Recreation Lagoon meanwhile has a sandy beach and stinger-filtered seawater. Both are patrolled by lifeguards. Entry is free to the Recreation Lagoon, while a fee is charged at the Wave Lagoon.

Darwin Lagoon Waterfront

Go Wild at Berry Springs Nature Park

For a swim in more natural surroundings, consider heading to the Berry Springs Nature Park. It’s just over 50 km south of Darwin, located on the Cox Peninsula Road just off the main highway. Entry is free and there are multiple meandering pools to relax in, surrounded by natural forest. There’s also plenty of picnic tables and some short walking trails.

Before heading south during the wet season (from October to April), double check that the pools are open. They may be closed if conditions are deemed unsafe, including due to crocodiles (the rangers check for their presence each day).

Author Bio

Shandos Cleaver is an Australian blogger who is currently travelling around Europe with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel. She blogs about dog-friendly travel (mostly) on her blog, Travelnuity. She first visited Darwin while travelling around Australia at the age of nine, and is looking forward to returning to Australia soon and exploring more of the country, this time with her dog. Follow her adventures on Facebook or Instagram.

Do you have any favorites for what to see in Darwin? Let us know!

Plan to travel to Darwin? Here are some of the top things to do in Darwin Australia. Lots of fun for everyone. Great list of the very best things to do in Darwin ]]>
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Can You Volunteer Abroad Cheap or Free? The Real Cost of Volunteering Overseas https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/can-you-volunteer-abroad-cheap-or-free-the-real-cost-of-volunteering-overseas/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/can-you-volunteer-abroad-cheap-or-free-the-real-cost-of-volunteering-overseas/#respond Tue, 01 May 2018 17:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16366 This is a guest post from Nicoleta, who shares her best tips for how to manage the true cost of volunteer work abroad, whether you’re trying to volunteer abroad free or just cheaply as possible. While volunteering is a wonderful way to give and visit the world at the same time, there’s often a cost associated with volunteering overseas, and she shares her insight into how much it costs to volunteer abroad. This is part of our series on jobs you can do as you travel the world and teaching English overseas.

I truly believe that travel is one of the best things that anybody can do with their lives. Seeing amazing countries, learning about different cultures and having the freedom to explore whatever you want is a liberating and exhilarating experience like no other.

For those looking to add another dimension to their travel, spending some time as a volunteer can be an excellent option.

volunteering t shirt

Can you volunteer abroad cheap or for free? The real costs

As a volunteer, you not only get all the benefits of regular traveling, like seeing new places and meeting new people, but you also get a uniquely intimate insight into a culture and the chance to give something back.

If you’re considering becoming a volunteer, then you might be wondering how much it’s all going to cost. The truth is, there is no straight answer to this question, as different companies charge vastly different amounts.

However, there are some general common factors that can help you to know how much to budget. If you do it right, volunteering can actually save you money when compared with more traditional forms of travel, such as staying exclusively in hotels and moving around every day or two.

So, here are the basic costs of volunteering abroad, broken down for you to better understand and plan effectively.

How much does it cost to volunteer abroad?

The costs to volunteer overseas include the volunteer project fees, flights and transportation, meals, accommodation, visas and more!

The volunteer project itself

By this, I mean the fees that the volunteer organization charge, and it’s this that is likely to have the largest effect on your budget.

Project fees depend massively on the individual organization, as well as the location of the project, and various other factors. At the upper end of the scale, you may be expected to pay hundreds of dollars per day, and at the lower end, you may only need to cover a fraction of that.

It’s vital to look at what’s covered by the fees and whether there will be any additional costs. You should also check out things such as the quality of the accommodation as well as reviews by past volunteers, which are available through any good organization like uvolunteer.

The only way to accurately find out the cost of the project is to do some research and shop around.

what you need to know about flights and transportation when volunteering overseas

Flights and transportation for volunteering

The cost of your flights is likely to be another significant expense for any low cost volunteer abroad vacation. Obviously, the actual costs vary depending on how far you need to fly and the season, so this will be something you need to figure out before committing.

In terms of general transportation costs, many organizations will cover the most vital costs as part of the program fees. For example, good organizations will cover airport transfers, as well as any transport needed as part of the project.

Food and drink while volunteering

This can be another hidden cost, with some organizations failing to provide any food despite high fees.

If you don’t want to shell out for every meal, then try to look for a company that covers some of your meals as part of the program fees. For example, you may have lunch provided while you are working.

Drinks and alcohol are likely to be something you need to account for too. Volunteer placements are inherently social, and you can expect to be surrounded by other young volunteers who are up for having a good time, so you’ll probably end up going for a few drinks now and then.

volunteering overseas what you need to know about food and drink

Sightseeing and traveling after your volunteering

Volunteering is by no means all about work, and with the right organization you will have plenty of time to yourself. As you’re in a foreign country, it’s a good idea to use at least some of this time to explore the area.

So, if you’re wanting to travel to other areas and go sightseeing on your weekends, then you’ll have to factor in the costs.

As the countries with the most legitimate projects are usually in developing parts of the world, these costs are going to be lower than at home. For example, if you’re working as a volunteer in Thailand, then getting around, sightseeing and accommodation will all be very affordable.

volunteering Boti falls

Visas for volunteering

Visa costs for volunteering are rarely going to set you back a huge amount, but it’s still something that’s worth factoring into your budget.

For most countries that you are likely to go to, volunteering visas will generally not cost more than around $50 for a month or so, if anything. However, you will need to look carefully at the precise rules surrounding visas and volunteers, as some countries class volunteering as work. In these cases you may need to acquire a working visa, which can be a more complicated process and cost significantly more.

Plan ahead to avoid being hit with any surprise volunteering costs

The secret to accurately judging the costs for a volunteering trip is to plan ahead, so you don’t catch yourself asking why is volunteering abroad so expensive? Choose a good organization, figure out exactly where you want to go, for how long, and whether you want to continue traveling afterwards. Taking your time with this part of the process will help you to budget effectively, and save money in the long run.

Bio

Nicoleta Radoi is the resident content blogger for uVolunteer. Nicoleta is an avid linguist, speaks fluent English, Chinese, French, Spanish and native Romanian. She spent a decade working in China in the education sector and working with major international development institutions. She currently lives in Vancouver, Canada and is passionate about volunteering, sustainable travel and has a soft spot for ethnic food.

Connect with her on InstagramTwitter

Do you want to volunteer abroad and travel, but you're worried about the cost? It is possible to volunteer for free or cheap, but our expert shares the real costs of volunteer work programs, including money to budget for airfare, meals, volunteer, fees and more. Is it possible to volunteer abroad and travel the world for free? Yes it is, but many work programs have real costs, and our volunteer expert tells you how to budget your money in volunteer destinations like Africa or Thailand or Costa Rica or South America. These tips can help with the real costs of volunteer programs like teaching English or conservation projects with turtles or elephants in Thailand. ]]>
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10 Insanely Helpful Tips For Visiting Japan With Kids https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/family/10-insanely-helpful-tips-for-visiting-japan-with-kids/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/family/10-insanely-helpful-tips-for-visiting-japan-with-kids/#comments Wed, 25 Apr 2018 23:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16357 This guest post is brought to you by Andrzej & Jolene from Wanderlust Storytellers, who share what it’s like to travel to Japan with kids.

Japan is undoubtedly one of the best kid-friendly destinations in the world! There is a magnitude of things to do in Japan with kids and the number is constantly growing.

City streets may be narrow and crowded, but it’s well worth the adventure thanks to its interesting destinations, rich culture and unending attractions that would be rewarding both for you and the young ones.

Himeji Castle

 

10 Tips For Visiting Japan With Kids

Here are 10 helpful tips for travel to Japan with kids, including a list of fun things to do in Japan with kids.

What to Expect

While Japan is an extremely safe and busy country where everyone seems to mind his/her own business, it is still important to understand that it is a hierarchical society. In other words, everyone and everything has its place in the society.

Traditionally, children are expected to stay at home in care of their mothers. That is why strollers are very rare to spot on the streets. This doesn’t mean that kids do not go out with their parents. You will see parents out with their kids, but they’re expected to keep them in check always. Letting your kid yell or run around in restaurants or trains is unacceptable and will earn you lots of cold glares.

Flying In

It is often advisable to consider Japanese airlines such as All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airline when flying to Japan with kids. Why? Well, you may have to pay a little extra, but they’re astonishingly kid-friendly. Some of the services include special infant meals and cosy bassinets. These airlines also offer child seat rental service as well.

It will cost you a little extra for the seat, but it is well worth it. They also offer a special check-in counter for families, as well as free kids’ play areas at the Narita Airport in Tokyo where you’ll typically be let to cut in the security line.

JR Train Seats

Travel Light

It is strongly advisable for parents traveling with kids to any Japanese destination to always consider traveling light. You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you are pushing a giant stroller with your kid on it while pulling a large suitcase behind you whilst trying to master stairs.

That said, traveling to and around Japan with a stroller is a nightmare you would not wish to go through. Strollers are a rarity in Japanese cities and will have many pedestrians and travellers sneering at you because they’re an inconvenience not just to you, but also to others.

Trains are always overcrowded especially during rush hours, paths to shrines and temples are customarily made of gravel and to make it even worse, city sidewalks are narrow and ever busy. That is why we recommend for you to just leave your giant stroller at home.

Inari Shrine Family Things to do in Japan

Inari Shrine

You should instead, consider using baby carriers or umbrella strollers, which are fold-able and lightweight. You can also consider traveling with backpack diaper bag instead of a giant suitcase, which we use constantly. These backpacks have plenty of space for everything your little one will need, but also comes with heaps of space for your camera, water bottle and perhaps change of clothes. These are items that you can one-handedly or easily carry down or up the stairs, let alone the fact that they can fit just about anywhere in the trains or through normal ticket gates.

Using Public Transport

Japan has one of the best and safest transport systems in the world. Kids under 6 years old travel for free on all buses and trains. Children who are over the age of 6, but under the age of 12 are required to pay half the price. You can therefore, consider acquiring a kids’ version of JR (Japan Rail) Pass Suica Smart Card, which can be used just about anywhere.  We found that it was so much more affordable to use the Japan Rail Pass for the entire family, rather than purchasing the tickets separately.  You can read more about the benefits of the JR Rail Pass here.

Some of the public transport modes to consider include:

Local Trains

Local city train systems are very punctual, reasonably priced and very quick. Even when travelling from one side of the city to the other, it is fairly easy to navigate to your connecting trains. Once you get used to the sign system and following the coloured lines, you will be OK even in the largest of train stations. Your little ones might have a few stairs to go up and down on, but it is not a big issue here. It is our recommendation that you avoid the hectic rush hours. On weekdays, it peaks between 8-9am towards the city centres and again at 5 pm from the city centres.

Flying to Japan

Long-Distance Trains

Children aren’t entitled to their own seats in long-distance trains and can use any free seat if there’s any. It is strongly recommended to book your seats in advance, in order to avoid scenarios, when there are no more free seats available. Standing with your kids whilst on the train, is not the most fun adventure.

Super modern Shinkansen bullet trains are very much kid friendly! They are fitted with modern change tables and breastfeeding booths. On the other hand, bullet trains can be unsuitable for your kids as the high-speed vibrations can make some kids nauseous. Therefore, kt’s important to feed them lightly or wait for the modern bullet trains such as the N700, which plies the Tokyo-Osaka route. You can also consider using the Super View Odoriko express if you’re traveling to the Izu Peninsula since it has a wonderful kids’ play area.

Taxi

It is a requirement that kids below the age of 6 have a child car seat when traveling in cars. Taxis are, however, exempted from this law and are not required to have kid’s car seats. If that feels a bit uncomfortable for parents, then hiring a car or choosing public transport is a safer option.

Accommodation

As expected, the majority of the accommodation in Japan is pretty compact and most of the time you will be sleeping on a traditional Japanese futon. We recommend looking for a larger family size hotel rooms and (our favourite), Airbnb options. This way you can stay as close to the main areas of the cities for a fraction of the hotel-room price.

Avie in her Travel Bed

Bring Your Own Baby Supplies

Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world and you will have no problem finding anything for you little one. However, you need to be aware that the quality of diapers may vary from your country and the baby food can be slightly different to what your little one is used to. Saying that, you will have no problem finding baby supplies, should you run out.

Things to Do when Visiting Japan with Kids

As an utterly kid-friendly country, there are a lot of things to do and places to visit with kids in Japan. Some of them include:

Nara Park, Nara

Nara Deer Park is one place that your kids cannot miss out on. Nara is home to over 1500 wild deer that are very much accustomed to visitors hand-feeding them. So, make sure to grab a bag of local deer delicacies sold at any vendor and feed them till the heart is content.

Todaiji-at-Nara-Deer-Park

Todaiji at Nara Deer Park

Himeji Castle, Himeji

Dating back to the 17th century, Himeji Castle is the biggest castle in Japan and will surely intrigue both you and your kids with its winding maze-like alleys, gigantic towers and numerous secret rooms.

Tokyo Disneyland, Chiba

Perhaps the biggest American culture symbol in Japan, Tokyo Disneyland is inspired by Disneyland in the United States and is very popular particularly when celebrating western holidays such as Halloween and Christmas.

Miraikan, Tokyo

This is a futuristic national science museum, which showcases several scientific trends from around the world. Both you and your kids will get educated on matters such as deep sea, environment, biology, space, robotics and many more. Your kids will also be involved in several hands-on activities.

Other places include: Todaiji Temple in Nara, Skytree in Tokyo, Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka and Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto.

Kyoto

Kyoto

It’s pretty much easy to see that Japan is a modern and bustling country with cities that look almost like super-charged New York City. Whether you’re old or young, Japan is beautiful and has everything for everybody. It is also one of the safest, cleanest and most advanced countries in the world. Better still, it is one of the most kid-friendly nations in the world. Japanese people are very hospitable and English is widely and commonly used. With the above tips, a trip to Japan, “the Land of the Rising Sun” with kids is destined to be enjoyable and utterly memorable.

Author Bio:

This guest post is brought to you by Andrzej & Jolene from Wanderlust Storytellers, a widely successful family travel blog. They love sharing their passion for travel with people all around the globe.

Insanely helpful Japan travel tips with kids Things to do in Japan with kids

 

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Anguilla Facts: 20 Things You Need to Know About Anguilla https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/caribbean/anguilla-facts-20-things-you-need-to-know-about-anguilla/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/caribbean/anguilla-facts-20-things-you-need-to-know-about-anguilla/#comments Thu, 19 Apr 2018 17:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16146 After spending a few days in Anguilla, I walked away smitten with the island’s sunny beaches, great food, and reputation for amazing reggae vibes, not to mention the ever-present open WiFi signal at every restaurant.

The island’s only a stone’s throw from St. Martaan in the Carribean, and a British overseas territory lined with gorgeous beaches and white sand.

Wondering what Anguilla is best known for? Let’s discover 20 things you need to know about Anguilla.

Anguilla Facts: 20 Things You Need to Know About Anguilla

It’s pronounced Anne-gwilla (rhymes with vanilla).

There are 33 beaches; most are soft white sand, and they’re all beautiful.

Anguilla beach shack

Beach shack on the Caribbean island of Anguilla

Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean.

The language is spoken most widely on the island is English.

Only about 14,000 people live here, with a rich history and culture dating back to the Arawaks, who traveled to the island from South America as far back as 3,500 years ago.

Chuck Norris once lived here, in a mansion overlooking the ocean.

There are no shopping malls, cruise ships, casinos, or high rise hotels on the island. Instead, you’ll find locally owned boutiques and shops run by local residents.

It’s small – 16 miles long by three miles wide. That said, you’ll probably still want to get around by car or bike.

There are no private beaches on Anguilla. All beaches are open to the public.

Goats are everywhere on the island. They’re on the hillsides, on the roads (be careful when driving), and even on the front lawns of most resorts.

The capital is called The Valley, and has 600 residents. If you’re looking for cheap eats, you’ll find them at the street market in The Valley.

Vegetarian lunch at Sandy Island Anguilla

Vegetarian lunch on Sandy Island Anguilla

Anguilla has long been a low key vacation spot for celebrities like Liam Neeson, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia di Rossi, and Sandra Bullock. It’s no wonder, in addition to its natural beauty, there’s are plenty of things to do in Anguilla.

There are less than 20 hotels on the island (plus a few Airbnb listings and bed & breakfasts).

Anguilla CuisinArt Resort and Spa

Anguilla CuisinArt Resort

There are no direct international flights to the island, so you’ll need to get an air ticket booking in from Puerto Rico or St. Maarten, or take the 20 minute ferry ride from St. Maarten.

You’ll need a valid passport and onward or return ticket to visit.

You can use both USD and ECD (Eastern Caribbean dollars) almost everywhere.

There’s no public transport, so you’ll need to take a taxi or rent a car, or rely on hotel shuttle transportation.

The beach at Anguilla Great House
Cars drive on the left, and the the speed limit is 30 mph.

Anguilla was named after the Spanish word for eel, because of its eel-like shape.

There’s a $20 USD departure tax whether you leave by plane or boat, and it’s cash only, so make sure you have some on hand!

20 things you need to know about Anguilla

Do you have any other Anguilla interesting facts? Let us know!

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Bali with Kids: 10 Tips For A Fun Bali Family Holiday https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/asia/bali-with-kids-10-tips-for-a-fun-bali-family-holiday/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/asia/bali-with-kids-10-tips-for-a-fun-bali-family-holiday/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2018 17:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16350 This guest post is by Kate from Rolling Along with Kids. Kate and her family have spent a large amount of time in Bali and is an expert on things to do with kids in Bali.

An island full of culture and plenty of activities to do with the kids, Bali is the ultimate family destination. There are so many options when it comes to traveling to Bali with kids like where to stay, what to do and where to eat. It becomes a touch overwhelming but these 10 tips on how to have a fun family holiday to Bali will help you plan a great trip.

Bali with Kids: 10 Tips For A Fun Bali Family Holiday

Choose wisely where you stay

Making the right decision on which area to stay in Bali can mean the difference between you loving Bali or finding it just okay. Seminyak has amazing food and shopping, Sanur is more laid back with a great beach path, Kuta is busy with lots of shops and Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali but with terrible footpaths to walk along with kids. Take your time to research the different areas to make the best choice.

Villa or hotels

There is a wide range of accommodation in Bali with villas and hotels the 2 main options. Villas are fantastic when the kids are younger and you need space for them to have their day sleeps or wake up early in the morning. Pool fences are easy to find in Bali and provide that extra level of protection when traveling with young kids. They also provide great value for money when traveling with other families. Many Bali resorts come with amazing kids facilities including kids clubs, water slides and dedicated kids pools. As the kids become older, resorts can be the best choice and the kids will not want to leave.

Sea Shanty Villa

Hire a nanny

Ok if I’m honest, this is one of the main reasons we keep traveling all the way across Australia from Melbourne to Bali for our family holidays. Our gorgeous Bali nannies have become our dear family friends and are amazing with all our kids especially our son that has autism. Our nannies have been trained in first aid, CPR and can swim. There are a couple of different ways to hire a nanny, through a babysitting agency or through friend’s recommendations of a private nanny that you hire yourself.

Bali Nanny

Visit a waterpark

It gets hot in Bali so it will be hard to get the kids out of the pool. One way to entice them out is a day out to one of the many waterparks in Bali. Our kids insist each time we travel to Bali that we must go to Waterbom Park in Kuta. We have been 5 times now and each time the family loves it. Finns Recreation Club in Canggu also has a great waterpark called Splash that is more compact and easier to keep an eye on the kids. The bonus with this club is the additional activities like a trampoline centre, ten-pin bowling and kids club that means the kids will never get bored especially on a rainy day.

Waterbom water park

Go on a bike ride

I had been reluctant for a few years about going on a bike ride with the kids when they were younger. If I had only known how fun and suited to all ages the bike rides were, I would have gone on our first Bali family trip in 2012. We had such a fun day with UbudCycling.Bike and in typical Balinese style, they were so patient. We had kids ranging in age from 18 months to 8 years and visited a local school, a coffee plantation, Mt Batur, a family compound, a bike ride through the Balinese countryside and finally finished off at a gorgeous Ubud restaurant.

bike riding in Bali

A day out at a beach club

If a day at the beach sounds like fun then you remember you have kids, beach clubs are the way to go in Bali. They have facilities like pools, lounge chairs, delicious food and best of all, cocktails. Sundays Beach Club is one of our all-time favourites as is the famous Ku De Ta in Seminyak. If you are staying in Ubud there is no need to miss the beach club experience. Jungle Fish is a pool, restaurant and bar that welcomes kids and is set amongst the gorgeous trees and rivers of central Bali.

Sundays Beach Club bali

Watch a sunrise and sunset

Something that is free and any family can enjoy is the Bali sunrises and sunsets. Watching a beautiful sunrise over the water is possible from areas like Sanur, Benoa and Nusa Dua. The extra bonus with these areas is the easy to walk along beach paths that means that if the younger kids wake up early, as they do for us, the kids can come along for a walk in the stroller.

Sanur Sunrise Bali

Bali sunsets are amazing anywhere around the island. But along the beach of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Canggu they really do leave you mesmerised with such beauty.

Seminyak Sunset

Enjoy a Sunday brunch

There are so many options in Bali to enjoy a decadent Sunday Brunch. I must say the thought of kids and fine china does send chills up my spine! I was so pleased when we visited Prego Restaurant at the Westin Resort Nusa Dua and the sunday brunch was all about the kids! Such yummy food and kids activities including cupcake making, a magician, outside games and finally, a swim in the Westin pool. It was so family friendly that any time something made a noise as it dropped, the staff would clap!

Prego Sunday Brunch

Test out your adventure side

For school aged kids there are plenty of options in Bali to be adventurous. Bali Treetop Adventure Park has a high ropes course in a national park and the 2 main rivers in Bali are perfect for White Water Rafting. Bali Wake Park has a fun inflatable obstacle course, as well as wake boarding, and ATV rides through the countryside are also a great way to see Bali. The companies that run these activities all have a great safety record and the younger kids can get involved too.

Bali Wake Park

Make friends with the locals

Our best experiences in Bali have always come from the simple things. Chatting to the locals, the kids playing on the beach together and making lifelong friends with our drivers. The Balinese always have a big smile and calm attitude to life. They will adore your kids and it will be hard to sit down at a restaurant without the staff playing along with the kids while you eat.

Meeting the locals in Bali

Bio

Kate lives in Victoria, Australia with her husband and 2 kids. Her family travels regularly to Bali and she loves to share all her tips on travel to Bali with kids. You will often find her daydreaming about her next trip. You can follow them on their blog at Rolling Along with Kids, on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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The 10 Best Mediterranean Beaches to Visit on Your Next Holiday https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/europe/the-10-best-mediterranean-beaches-to-visit-on-your-next-holiday/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/europe/the-10-best-mediterranean-beaches-to-visit-on-your-next-holiday/#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16341 The Mediterranean has no shortage of gorgeous beaches, whether they’re secluded coves accessible only by water, or busy stretches of sand in the city.

Here are our top picks of the best beaches for sunbathing, getting together with friends, or simply for long walks along the sand. If you really want to get up close and personal to some of these beaches, you’ll need to charter a boat or get a ride from a friend, as many are only accessible via the water.

So pack your swimsuit, sunscreen and floppy hat, and discover these top 10 Mediterranean beaches.

The Best Beaches in The Mediterranean

We found the top 10 beaches in the Mediterranean, from Andalusia to Zakynthos, and everywhere in between. Here they are in no particular order. Be sure to add them to your bucket list of the best things to do and see in Greece!

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece

Also named Shipwreck Beach or Smugglers Cove after the freightliner that sank in the area in 1980, Navagio is one of the most spectacular and most famous beaches in the Zakynthos area.

You can get to the beach by joining one of the many tours organized from Zakynthos that will not only take you to the wreck, but to the nearby caves as well.

Best of all, this iconic beach is only a 45 minute flight or 4 hour drive from Athens. If you’re looking for amazing beaches, you can’t go wrong with Greece, a country that boasts great beaches from the westward Ionian Islands to the more central Poros Island to the most eastward island of Kastellorizo.

Navagio Beach Zakynthos Greece pxaby

Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece

Situated in the southwestern part of Crete, 75 kilometers off the old Venetian harbor today known as Chania, Elafonisi is a tiny island just a few meters away from the mainland.

What makes it so special is that the white sand has pink hues to it as well. The island is a protected area with sporadic vegetation, but even so, it’s home to over 100 different species of plants, some of which grow nowhere else in the world.

Elafonisi Beach Crete Greece DP

Scoglio di Peppino at Costa Rei, Sardinia, Italy

Located just 70 kilometers off Cagliari, the region’s capital, Costa Rei welcomes you with a picture-perfect landscape of white powder sand and crystal blue waters that are so typical of Sardina.

The Scoglio di Peppino beach is renowned for its spectacular coral reefs as well as the nearby cuisine at Costa Rei. So after you explore the amazing colors and hues of the sea and enjoy the local wildlife out among the reefs while snorkeling, diving or taking a boating trip during the day, you can spend the evening relaxing in one of the charming restaurants or trattorias in Costa Rei that serve tasty local dishes.

Scoglio di Peppino at Costa Rei Sardinia Italy DP

 

Praia de Falesia, Portugal

The six kilometer long beach of Praia de Falesia in Portugal stretches between Olhos de Agua and Vilamoura.

The golden sand combines with spectacular rock formations that contrast perfectly with the crystal sea. Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, the Praia de Falesia beach is spotted with coves which makes it perfect not only for a peaceful day in the sun, but for enjoying water sports and hiking as well.

Praia de Falesia beach Portugal DP

Calo Des Mort, Formentera, Spain’s Balearic islands

Calo des Mort is a small, simple beach surrounded by rocky cliffs on the island of Formentera, which is just a quick jaunt away from the popular island of Ibiza. It’s the perfect place to enjoy fine sand, clear water, and gorgeous views without the crowds that plague Ibiza.

Calo Des Mort Formentera

Mojacar Playa, Spain

This 17 kilometer long stretch located in eastern Andalusia, on the Costa del Almeira, is breathtakingly beautiful, but still relatively unknown as a tourist destination.

The deep blue water is framed by a golden, sandy beach that turns into a rugged hillside with a welcoming town that awaits the visitor complete with great restaurants and beach bars.

Costa del Almeira Mojacar playa beach Spain

Beaches of Cala Gonone, Sardinia, Italy

Accessible only by boat or by hiking, the beaches of Cala Gonone in the East Sardinia are nothing short of stunning. The beaches are still largely untouched, with dramatic limestone cliffs and deep caves as a gorgeous backdrop.

If you’ve ever seen Madonna’s movie Swept Away, directed by Guy Ritchie, it was set in Cala Gonone. Suffice it to say, the movie is worth a view just for the beautiful scenery.

sardinia italy Cala Gonone pxaby

Balos Beach and Lagoon in Kissamos, Crete, Greece

Getting to Balos Beach is a bit of a trial. You can either reach it by a windy dirt road, or by taking a day cruise. Either way, you’ll be greeted by striking scenery and gorgeous pink and white sand.

Balos Beach and Lagoon in Kissamos Crete Greece pxaby

St. Paul’s Bay in Lindos, Greece

If you’re looking for a fairly uncrowded beach in a a gorgeous bay, St Paul’s Bay is your spot. It’s south of Lindos on the southeast coast of Rhodes.

There’s a small church on the hillside, and two beaches to enjoy. The largest beach (on the south end) is covered with golden sand, and the smaller beach on the north side is a mix of sand and gravel.

St Pauls Bay Lindos Greece pxaby

Tel Aviv Israel

Tel Aviv is home to some of the Mediterranean’s busiest and most beautiful beaches. Winter here stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making every sunny day (and most are), a great beach day.

Since the beaches also face West, there are stunning sunsets there every night. That said, if you love watching sunsets with a crowd, Saturday night is the time to be there.

Tel Aviv Israel Beach

Do you have a favorite Mediterranean beach? Let us know!

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10 of the Most Beautiful Cities in Eastern Europe https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/europe/10-of-the-most-beautiful-cities-in-eastern-europe/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/europe/10-of-the-most-beautiful-cities-in-eastern-europe/#comments Wed, 07 Mar 2018 18:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16159 Dreaming of roaming ancient castles from the middle ages? Want to walk down colorful cobbled streets and be engulfed in the history? Looking for cities with old world charm and a story that spans ages?

In this post, we check out the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe. From Gothic cathedrals and Baroque palaces to beautiful seaside castles and Renaissance era trading posts, not only are these some of the most beautiful places in Eastern Europe but many are also some of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The Most Beautiful Cities in Eastern Europe

If you don’t add at least one of these beauties to your travel bucket list, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Prague, Czech Republic

The long history of the Czech capital, Prague, goes back to the Paleolithic age. Romanesque chapels, Baroque palaces, Gothic cathedrals, cubist and Art Nouveau constructions are all there to provide an eclectic and spectacular setting for your visit.

The city of Prague is also renowned for its beer and its culinary specialties. There are dozens of cozy pubs that serve their own brews, and the roast duck and the fried pork knuckles are said to be unforgettable in Prague.

Charles Bridge and Prague Castle sunset sunrise

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar is a gem, even among all of these beautiful cities. The lovely, clear Neretva River runs through the city, with the rebuilt, 4 centuries old bridge, the Stari Most as the town jewel. Sadly, both the bridge and town were heavily damaged during the Bosnian War, but have been carefully rebuilt since.

Mostar itself is home to narrow, cobbled streets and winding pedestrian friendly pathways. Just 40 km outside of town lies the stunning Kravice Waterfalls, which is worth a day trip in itself, especially during the hot summers.

Bridge over Neretva River in Mostar Bosnia

Belgrade, Serbia

The Serbian capital, Belgrade, is at the crossroads of old European charm and modern convenience.

Skyscrapers dominate some parts of the city, but Old Town (Stari Grad) is full of stunning 19th century architecture and has some lovely side streets. There’s also the imposingly beautiful Belgrade Fortress flanking the Sava and Danube River as well as the giant Church of Saint Sava which can be found near the center.

Statue of Victory with a monument in capital city Belgrade, Serbia

Ohrid, Macedonia

Situated on the hilly shores of Lake Ohrid, this small resort city is chock full of picturesque churches, gorgeous houses and enough monuments to keep you wandering for days. Found in the southwest corner of the Republic of Macedonia, cobbled streets lead down to the lake where you’ll find classic restaurants, trendy cafes and a nice beach where you can spend warm summer days swimming in the clear waters.

White swans on Ohrid lake in Ohrid Macedonia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

One of the most beautiful cities in the entire Mediterranean region, Dubrovnik is located in the center of the dramatic, often rugged and always spectacular Dalmatian Coast. Some buildings in the Old Town of Dubrovnik are more than half a millennium old, with the city’s walls being not only among the oldest, but also among the most efficient fortification systems created in Medieval Times – the Walls of Dubrovnik were never breached by enemy attacks during the Middle Ages.

The city’s position on the Adriatic coast adds the possibility to explore the crystal waters and to do some island hopping as well. While you are exploring, you can easily pop into one of the small, family-owned local eateries and try some of the best fish and sea food dishes in the Mediterranean.

old town of Dubrovnik Croatia

Krakow, Poland

Having escaped the worst of the bombings during World War 2, this southern Poland city near the Czech border, contains some of the best preserved medieval buildings and classic Jewish quarters in eastern Europe. Krakow, the former Polish capital, is often regarded as Poland’s prettiest city and contains some amazing sights such as the Wawel Royal Castle and the beautiful 14th century Gothic church, St. Mary’s Basilica.

The 10 acre Rynek Glowny (Main Market Square) is one of the biggest squares in Europe and includes Cloth Hall, a trading post from the Renaissance era. The city itself is packed full of galleries as well as delicious pubs and restaurants.

Krakow Poland

Budapest, Hungary

Divided by the mighty Danube River, the Hungarian capital, Budapest, combines architectural styles from various ages that delight the eye and leave you staring in all directions. With Celtic and then Roman origins, Budapest has maintained its standing as a world class city for centuries and rightfully deserves to be on this list of the best cities to visit in Eastern Europe.

After spending the day wandering the older, beautifully preserved and quite hilly Buda side or exploring the unique vibe and world class museums of the flatter Pest side, you can take a break in one of the city’s many spectacular natural geothermal baths, then replenish your energies in one of the great, yet affordable restaurants that serve world-class dishes. If you like going out after hours, Budapest has an exciting nightlife as well.

Szechenyi Chain Bridge over the Danube River in Budapest Px

Kiev, Ukraine

The capital city of Ukraine, Kiev is known for its colorful religious architecture as much as it’s amazing history museums. The center of Ukrainian culture, Kiev is full of theaters, ancient ruins, modern buildings and secular monuments.

The 11th century Kiev Monastery of the Caves, or Kiev Pechersk Lavra as it’s rightfully called, is a hugely popular pilgrimage site filled with gold domed churches lined with catacombs filled with the burial chambers of Orthodox monks as well as gold objects from ancient Scythian times. For gorgeous views of the city below, check out the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, which is topped by the massive Motherland Statue and can be seen from most places in the capital.

Want to see more about the Ukraine, check out this post we wrote last year.

Kiev Ukraine skyscape and church

Ljubljana, Slovenia

The largest city in Slovenia, as well the country’s capital, Ljubljana is known for it’s amazing green spaces and young and energetic university population. The old city area, divided from it’s commercial district via the meandering Ljubljana River, is home to many museums and art exhibits as well as several popular outdoor cafes along the waterfront.

With a blend of Baroque, Renaissance and Art Nouveau buildings, Ljubljana’s old town contains the Tivoli City Park, the largest park in Slovenia and hosts everything from crumbling statues of Stalin to a duck pond, playground and mansions. No matter the reason, it’s worth a visit.

Ljubljana Slovenia church and the river Ljubljanica

Brasov, Romania

Often called the gem of the Balkans, Brasov, situated in the central part of Romania, fringed by the snow-capped peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, has a spectacular skyline and an even more spectacular urban vibe. The central square, surrounded by impressive Gothic buildings, is lined with cozy cafes and great restaurants where you can enjoy hearty and savory dishes before exploring the many attractions in the city and in the surrounding mountain area.

St Bartolomeu Church Brasov

Intrigued by one of these captivating best cities in Eastern Europe? Plan to add it to your travel bucket list or want to share your love for a particular Eastern Europe city?

Let us know in the comments below. We love to hear your thoughts on places we’ve seen and even more places to visit in Eastern Europe that we have yet to visit.

10 of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe. Have you always wanted to visit the beautiful cities in Europe? Here are our tips for the cities in Europe you need to visit as soon as possible like Kiev, Prague, Mostar, Belgrade, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Krakow, Ljubljana and more! #europe #europeancountries #travel #traveltips #Prague Beautiful places to visit in Eastern Europe. Have you always wanted to visit Eastern Europe, but didn't know where to start? Here are our very favorite picks for the best Europe travel destinations, like Prague, Czech Republic, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Belgrade, Serbia! #europe #europeancountries #travel #traveltips #Prague

Stunning places you must visit in Europe. We share the must see cities in Europe that are some of our all time favorite Europe travel destinations. Beautiful photography and tips from Prague, Mostar, Belgrade, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Krakow and more! Prague, Mostar, Belgrade, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Krakow and more #europe #europeancountries #travel #traveltips #Prague

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