Peru Travel: Qeswachaka Festival and Alternative Inca Trails in Peru

Many people travel to Peru to hike the famous Inca Trail. There’s an undeniable allure to the idea of treading the same path once used by the ancient Incas as they traveled to the great citadel of Machu Picchu. However, the Inca Trail is not the only impressive remnant of the Inca Empire. In addition to the well-known Inca Trail path to Machu Picchu, the Incas built a vast and elaborate system of roads hundreds of kilometers long that traversed the entire Inca Empire.

The Inca construction, however, didn’t stop at roads. In addition to building paths, the Incas were master bridge builders, and these bridges were an integral part of the road system. Q’eswachaka, commonly known as the Inca Rope Bridge, is the last of these bridges still in use, and is located just outside of Cusco in the Quehue District. Though originally destroyed in an attempt to halt Pizarro’s attack on Cusco during the Spanish invasion, it was reconstructed and continues to remain in use to this day. The bridge spans the raging Apurimac River as it cuts through the breathtaking Apurimac Valley.

Q’eswachaka is made of fibers woven together to create a strong rope, and small slats of wood are used to reinforce the footpath. Part of the reason the bridge has lasted almost 600 years, however, is that every year, the people of four local Quechua communities come together to replace the old bridge with a new one. The Q’eswachaka Festival, four days of work and celebration, marks this occasion. This ancient tradition has been carried out annually since the days of the Incas, and continues to be an important connection to tradition and culture in the high Andes.

Every year, the four communities enthusiastically come together for the process of rebuilding the bridge- an important and ceremonial tradition. Certain members of the community hold the role of engineer, while others serve as weavers. One male holds the important position of “Chakaruwak”, meaning he is a specialist in braiding and construction. In order for the sacred art to be carried on from generation to generation and to keep the spirit of the bridge alive, fathers teach their sons the process, just as their fathers did before them.

Before the festival begins, community members collect the building material, primarily consisting of grass and natural fibers. These fibers will be woven into the cables used in the bridge’s construction. Before the festival and bridge building can begin, however, the spiritual leader of the community must ask the apus, or the mountain spirits, for permission to begin the process, and make offerings of coca leaves and corn to Pachamama, Mother Earth. After this offering, the weaving of the cables begins. In the afternoon, the men divide into two groups, one each side of the bridge, and begin braiding the cables towards each other.

On the second day, the engineers begin by untying the old ropes, which are attached to stone nails, and attach the new ropes to the nails. This is a time consuming and intricate process, but finally the base and handrails of the new bridge are in place.

On the third day of the festival, construction finishes on the handrails and footpath, and when the construction has finished, the bridge is officially opened to the tune of music accompanied by traditional dances.

The festival reaches its climax on the fourth day, which is a day of celebration. The communities once again come together to celebrate the completion of the bridge through song, indigenous dances, and eating traditional foods. This final day serves as a culmination of all the hard work, and a celebration of the lasting traditions that have allowed these communities to keep their vibrant culture alive.

This year, the Q’eswachaka Festival falls during the second week of June, with the principal day of the festival on the second Sunday of the month. The bridge reconstruction and subsequent festival will take place once again, as it does every year, as the local communities gather to honor both Pachamama and their ancestors, and celebrate their community and heritage.

Thailand Is a Very Beautiful Country

Mueang Thai, as local people call the nation, is an intriguing mixture of old kingdoms.

For more than five centuries, the Khmer Empire governed its properties – until ousted in the thirteenth century. At that point, the Thai Kingdom was effectively brought together and built up by King Sri Indraditya of the Kingdom of Sukhothai (1238).

From that point onward, the nation has been separated into four fundamental districts – each bragging extraordinary traditions, conventions, and attractions.

The assorted variety brings an astonishing exhibit of things to do in Thailand. Underneath she will talk about the best vacation spots in Thailand.

Top Tourist Attractions in Thailand: The Central Plains

There’s no better place to get a look at Thailand’s history and culture than around the Central Plains. In this locale is the place its capital, Bangkok, is found.

Bangkok, an energetic kaleidoscope

I whole up Bangkok with three terms: exceptional customary nourishment, old sanctuaries, and crazy nightlife.

The absolute most well-known things to involvement in Bangkok include:

Wat Pho and the rich Reclining Buddha

Fabulous Palace complex (counting Wat Phra Kaew)

Soi Cowboy: BKK’s shady area of town, for sultry nightlife

Boisterous, energizing Khao San Road (you should see it once!)

Grub at Sukhumvit Soi 38, apparently Bangkok’s best road nourishment spot

Vimanmek Mansion: combination of customary Thai design and European neoclassical style

By the time of composing, I don’t prescribe going to Wat Arun. It’s mind boggling structural subtle elements are as of now eclipsed by a broad reclamation venture. Invest your energy at other commendable Bangkok attractions!

Top Thailand vacation destinations

Day treks to the rustic edges

Have a few days to save? Escape the hurrying around by taking one of the accompanying critical day trips from Bangkok:

Ayutthaya: probably the most astounding remains in Thailand

Snack conventional pontoon noodles at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Hua Hin: beautiful shoreline town for the individuals who don’t have room schedule-wise to investigate the Thai islands

Eccentric Wat Saen Suk: to some degree grim sanctuary depicting the Buddhist dreams of damnation

Phraya Nakhon Cave at Khao Sam Roi Yot Marine Park, a standout among the most shocking collapses the world

The previous capital of the Lanna Kingdom has transformed into an exceptionally modest, current school town. Chiang Mai’s rich history, astounding road sustenance scene, and moderately ease of living have made it a mainstream base for Western expats in Asia.

Sanctuary jumping and foodie gets a kick out of Chiang Mai

Sprinkled with more than 300 Buddhist sanctuaries, I thought, which to pick?!

In the wake of spending a few days around the city, I finished up these are the most special, must-see sanctuaries in Chiang Mai:

Doi Suthep: prominent ridge sanctuary with breathtaking perspectives of Chiang Mai and region

Wat Chedi Luang: Lanna cheddar, transcending inside the Old City’s dividers

Wat Umong: novel 700-year-old sanctuary where occupant priests wander among the woods

Wat Suan Dok: fourteenth-century sanctuary where individuals from the Lanna Royal family are covered

The most novel thing to do in Chiang Mai, however? Join a priest visit!

They are social trades, organized by neighborhood Buddhist colleges, so as to enhance the English capability of their understudies.

Priest visits are an incredible approach to become acquainted with neighborhood traditions and conventions firsthand. The MCU Chiang Mai Campus holds priest talks each week at Wat Suan Dok Monday through Friday, from 5 to 7 PM.

While Chaing Mai is one of the best vacation destinations in Thailand it is additionally home to numerous expats. In the event that you’re searching for an extraordinary base in Asia, this is certainly a probability.

Week after week reflection withdraws are likewise advertised. They begin each Tuesday at 1 PM and finish up Wednesday by 3 PM.

Did I go Sanctuary bouncing, as well as getting the opportunity to taste the eccentricities of Northern Thai cooking by going on foodie creeps?

A few dishes you should attempt in this area include:

Moo to: broiled pork tenders with a sweet, nutty flavor

Lab: fricasseed meat, pork or duck dry-rubbed with neighborhood flavors

Nam ngaio: tart tomato soup with rice noodles and pork

Nam park on: zesty Northern Thai plunge made with tomatoes and minced pork

Khao soi: Chiang Mai’s trademark! Thick Burmese-style coconut curry soup, finished with browned noodles

Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle’s tri-outskirt

Thailand’s northernmost clamoring city lays by the notorious Golden Triangle: Asia’s hotspot for opium creation.

Or, on the other hand, you could just consider it to be the place from which you can visit Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand in one day!

Past this tripoint, there’s very little to do in the zone.

I suggest you base yourself out of Chiang Rai on the off chance that you wish to visit well-known sanctuaries and take in Mae Hong Son’s sloping scenes:

Looking for nearby knickknacks at Chang Rai’s Night Bazaar

Redesigned Wat Rong Khun (White Temple): a nearby craftsman’s artful culmination

But Kwan Village Park: previous migrant slope tribe town, now settled by a wonderful waterfall

Baan Si Dum was otherwise known as the Black House: interesting accumulations of conventional Southeast Asian curious

Top Things to Do in Thailand: The Northeast

Otherwise called Isaan, Northeast Thailand is an intriguing blend of Laotian, Cambodian, and Thai societies.

It’s relative confinement, however, make it a standout amongst the most genuine districts a visitor can visit.

Gulped by the wilderness at Khao Yai

While Isaan is generally out of the way, this districts happens to be the home of Thailand’s most prevalent national stop, Khao Yai.

A whopping 70% of its 2168 kmĀ² are lavish timberland!

All the more astonishingly, however, the recreation center brags around 44 waterfalls, one of a kind natural life perception towers, surging rapids, and remarkable perspectives and climbing trails.

This makes Khao Yai a tremendous UNESCO World Heritage Site – ideal for nature sweethearts who wish to be wrapped by the thick wilderness shelter.

Thailand-attractions-Phanom-Rung Explore fascinating Khmer and Mon ruins

The antiquated Khmer and Mon ruins found in this district are a delightful complexity of customary Thai style.

I profoundly prescribe a visit to the accompanying notable destinations:

Wat Pah Nanachat for a bona fide contemplation withdraw in a woods religious community

Phu Phra Bat Park: grottoes, antiquated spray painting, and other intriguing rock carvings

Phanom Rung and Muang Tam: Hindu complex, apparently Thailand’s best-safeguarded Khmer ruins.

Why Should You Go for Team Building in Bangalore?

Bangalore is not only an IT hub of India but it is also the party capital of India. It provides ample of opportunities for doing adventures, indulging in fun -activities, night parties and relaxation in luxury resorts. The city not only demands the hard work of the people but it also serves the people with some wonderful team building activities and places so that they can have fun as well as learn.

There are numerous team building activities in Bangalore. Manchinbele is an ideal spot for team building activities in Bangalore. It has some fun water and adventure sports in which the employees and employers can involve and strengthen their relationships with each other.

The city has many resorts as well which provides a luxurious home like stay, fun activities for team building, amazing food and all the other basic and amazing amenities. Staying in resorts makes the team members comfortable with each other. It also helps in establishing communication with the bosses. A thin line between the bosses and the employees can be broken while having fun activities as a team as well as staying in a comfortable environment.

Shilhaandara Resort is for rejuvenating the nerves of the team members. It is placed at the foothills of the Ramangara. It is surrounded by lush greenery and is a perfect place for nature as well as adventure enthusiasts. It has a swimming pool, space for fun-activities indoor as well as outdoor, different cuisines of food and many more amenities. There are many activities like zorbing, paintball, rope climbing in which you can take part with your team. There are many resorts in and around Bangalore that boost team building activities and are perfect for corporate team outings.

The city serves many opportunities for team building. There are many adventurous trekking and camping spots in Bangalore as well which helps to boost the confidence in employees. Adventure sports bring back power and vigor back in the lives of the employees. Savandurga is one of the best places in Bangalore for trekking. This place provides tranquil surroundings as well as thrilling treks which boosts up the employees. Similarly, there are many more trekking places in Bangalore. Employees can head and stay in night camps. They can play games around the campfire, roast food in the early man’s way, stay in camps among the wild animals, and enjoy the scenes of a bed of stars in the dark sky at night. Together with getting involved in camping and trekking enhances the bond and they get to work better as a team.

Bangalore is a perfect city for corporate outings. There are many other activities like archery, rappelling, rock climbing, boating, and much more in which the teams can take part and work as a team. It is rightly said that sports activities not only provide enthralling experiences but also build skills in people. Skills like teamwork, confidence, risk-taking abilities, better planning and development skills are inculcated while performing sports activities.

The Top 9 Best Beaches of Goa

Have you explored it yet? GOA is a destination of beaches. Explore till you get your peace and your favourite spot. Discover the ones, which have not been explored by many.

Butterfly – If you are planning a quite vacation, then this is the place to be.It lies towards the north of Paloeum beach. Best way to reach is via boat ride from Paloeum beach. Calm peaceful with no disturbance away from the hustle bustle.

Tiger – Located in South Goa. It is one of the most isolated beaches in Goa and truly a wild one. Taking a stroll with your loved one on the soft white sand is a delight here. Fresh breeze hitting the rocks, sea looking at you with all the brightness and shine is breathtaking. Ferry from Kola beach can be rented to take you there.

TIP: carry your snacks and water and other important items.

Hollant – This beach is a delight for travellers. It’s a great beach to go for nice swim unlike the others in Goa. Enjoy a swim and get your perfect tan here. It’s well connected and can be reached in your scooty or car from Vasco. Good cafes and hotel are around.

Betul – is a secluded beach and picturesque. The stunning side of the Mobor peninsula is around the Betul hills giving a spectacular view. It’s a great place to do some fishing the goan style. Trust me worth an experience.

TIP: carry your picnic basket

Cola – A romantic beach, it’s mesmerising and magical at the same time. It feels the sea is begging you to visit again and again. The beauty of the beach is the river flows very close to the beach. Highly recommended. Take a ride from Palolem- Cancona to reach here.

Arambol – It’s a non-crowded beach unlike the Baga and Candolium beaches. Away in the extreme North Goa this beach is located. You can take a long walk by the seaside. Heavenly isn’t it. Arambol takes care of the basic amenities from food to shacks and if you want to relax, then get a nice massage done by the sea.

Morjim – is the now called: Mini Russia, as lot of Russians prefer this beach. This beach gives bird enthusiasts a reason to keep coming back again and again. Great place for bird sighting and travellers thrill lies in dolphin sighting.A must visit place in North Goa if you want to watch turtles by your side.

Vagator – is a great place to enjoy the sunset by the rocks with a beer in your hand. Quiet yet a ravishing place to visit. Lot of tourists prefers this to Anjuna and other beaches.

Siradio – It’s a beach with all that can interest a traveller. A beach great for shell collection to a rocky sandy beach, which entices you to explore the caves around it. It has the great history, which is best explored when you are there.

Ayers Rock in The Kata Tjuta National Park – The Long Climb and an Even Longer Descent

I admit that sometimes I act without thinking too much about the consequences. This caused me already several problems in my life.

As you know I spent already a few days in Uluru. One morning, after considering the pros and cons I decided to climb the Rock.

I suggest that you seriously think about it before doing it.

Ayers Rock is massive, majestic. It commands respect. It’s 348 metres high; like a 95 story building. The track to the top is more or less 1.6 km long. It’s perilous and treacherous. If you are in top physical conditions it will take more or less 3 hours to complete the “expedition”. The first part has got a chain. You can hang on to it and this will help you immensely. It is a tiresome climb and you need to be prepared. If you do not feel 100% you should give up and be happy with your decision: people died here.

About 34 people lost their lives, mainly because of heart attacks. A few people got hurt.

Do not forget the heat.

Another hazardous factor is caused by the wind.

I got there early in the morning. I did not want to accomplish my mission in the middle of the day because of the rising temperatures. I had a pair of good trainers, and a bottle of water and a wind-breaker in my little backpack, just in case.There were not too many people around.

I looked at the sky. It was blue, not too windy either. I started climbing. It was not as easy as I thought. I used the chain all the time trying not to look down.

Sometimes I had to stop to catch my breath.

I remembered clearly that I had to avoid grabbing something in case it fell. It could be fatal.

The ascent is hard, steep and, at times, scary. I used also my hands to climb when the help of the chain was not available anymore. Sometimes I stopped to look around. In the distance I could see the Olgas or Kata Tjua, which means literally ‘many heads’ in Aboriginal.

It is a group of large, domed rock formations not too far from The Rock.

I was nearly there. I could see some little pools of waters all around. Obviously it had rained recently. I noticed a few clouds in the sky. The temperature dropped a little bit.

I finally reached the top. The scenery was amazing. Awesome! I walked around, there was a huge distance of red soil all around me. I could see the round shape of planet earth. I had the feeling that I was alone in the world. It was a very intense. The immensity and the loneliness of the environment made my heart sink.

I spent half an hour on the top. It was time to descend. There were very few people around me. The weather suddenly changed. The sky was grey and it became colder.

I thought: “I hope that it is not going to rain because in this case I could be in trouble.”

I started to move downwards. It was not too difficult but sometimes I had to sit and go down like that… on my bum…

I managed to reach the chain, finally. At that stage it started to rain. The rock underneath my feet became slippery. I got scared. I had good trainers but not good enough with such a weather. I looked down. Fear: that was what I experienced. It kept on raining. Now my feet could no longer hold on to the ground. I stopped. I looked down again. There very few people.

I saw a man waiving at me. He started to climb. He must have noticed that I was facing some difficulties. After a while he reached me. Yes, he saw that I was having serious problems. He told me that he belongs to a rescue group in his hometown, he was just on holiday at the moment and he came up to help me. Lucky!

He had very good climbing and tracking boots. He was very strong and very tall. He was behind me. He told me to put my feet in front of his, because he could hold on to the ground without slipping.

We both hold on to the chain. Being robust my weight did not create him problems.

At that time it was seriously raining. What a tragedy to be there by myself I thought…

I do not remember how long it took us to reach the ground underneath us, but finally we got there. I was very happy that it was all over… He told me that I should have considered the ascent seriously before starting the climb, that I should have been more careful.

I learned a lesson I am afraid… and I was very lucky… I was very grateful to him.

There is another reason why people should not go up Ayers Rock and not only because it is dangerous. Uluro is a sacred site and the Aboriginal owners ask to respect their law and not to climb it.

The climbing route is a sacred path of spiritual significance that is only taken by few Aboriginal men on special occasions. At that time I was not aware of it. I should have been more informed and more respectful.

15 Things Not to Do in Japan

If you have plans to visit Japan, there are some things you need to know. Familiarizing yourself with some basic Japanese cultural practices will go a long way in making your trip there enjoyable. Also, you are not likely to get into trouble. Here are things you should not do based on Japan culture.

1. Don’t enter a house wearing your shoes

Are you used to walking around in your house in your shoes? Well, you might get yourself in trouble if you do that in Japan. There is a special place where you should keep your shoes before entering the house. Also, there are slippers for guests when entering a room.

2. Don’t shout on the train

Trains are very common in Japan. However, people don’t make noise while in trains. They are always silent. If you have to speak to someone, do it in a low tone. Use your earphones if you have to listen to some music.

3. Don’t use your phone on trains

As indicated earlier, Japanese don’t like any noise in the trains. You will rarely find someone using his phone to make a call in the train. If you have to use your phone, send a message or talk in a low tone so as not to distract other people.

4. Don’t eat on trains

Japanese do not eat when traveling on commuter trains. Drinking is okay unless the train is too crowded. However, in long distance trains, eating and drinking are allowed. Food and beverages are also sold in such trains.

5. Don’t forget to remove toilet slippers

Once you get to Japan, you will notice that there are slippers only used when going to the toilet. These slippers are easily noticeable since they have particular words or pictures. Always remember to remove them when entering your house or walking on the streets.

6. Don’t tip anyone

While it is common to tip anyone after an excellent service in many cultures, Japan is an exception. No matter how satisfied you are with their service, they never accept tips. In fact, someone will come running after you, returning the tip!

7. Don’t ignore someone you are speaking with

If you are talking with a Japanese person, always stay calm and attentive. You may sound impolite and rude by just failing to show that you have understood a point. Whenever speaking, show your attentiveness by talking back.

8. Don’t photograph everything

Despite Japan being a beautiful country, you are not allowed to take photos everywhere. It is advisable to always ask someone before taking photos. You must be granted permission to take pictures in museums, temples, and shrines.

9. Don’t hug anyone you meet

Hugging is common in western countries. However, in Japan, it is not. You don’t hug someone you come across in Tokyo streets. Most of the older folks don’t like the habit. If you want to hug someone, then it’s best to know their age group and whether they are comfortable with it.

10. Don’t eat or drink when walking

It is uncommon to find Japanese eating or drinking while they are walking. Even on the streets with food stalls they always find a place to sit. Now you know how to behave when you are on Japanese streets so you don’t look foreign.

11. Don’t receive a present with one hand

Whenever receiving a gift or a visiting card from a Japanese, use your two hands and bow. Then tell him thank you. On receipt of a gift, don’t open it until the person who has given it to you has left.

12. Don’t throw away trash haphazardly

Another thing you might find hard to get used to is how to handle your trash. In most cities around the world, there are a lot of trash cans however, Japanese cities are different. People are encouraged to carry their trash until they find a place to dispose of it.

13. Don’t fail to say “thank you”

The verb “thank you” is highly valued in Japan. Learn to say it after being served in a hotel or store. Familiarize yourself with how bowing is done in Japan. You must always bow and say thank you when you meet with elders.

14. Don’t write down a person’s name in red ink

In Japan, it is OK to write “goodbye” in red ink but not a person’s name. The Japanese consider it to be disobedient. Therefore, if you have to write down your Japanese friend’s name, you know which color to avoid.

15. Don’t be shy

It is common for tourists to ask for help from locals. When you get to Japan, don’t be shy or afraid of asking for anything. They are very friendly and helpful. Even when you accidentally forget something somewhere, go back as no one is going to take it away.

Homestay In Goa – What To Expect

Goa is indeed one of the best places I have chosen to be my holiday destination. There is just so much to enjoy and see here, from the rich history of the culture and fun activities. The beaches like Querim Beach, Arambol Beach, Mandrem Beach, Morjim Beach, Chapora Beach in North Goa are definitely a must visit while here because I am a big fan of sun and sand. This is one destination that has never let me down as far as having a time of my life during the holidays goes.

Accommodation in Goa is not a problem; the options are numerous. Homestays are some of my favorites because of the many benefits they come with and with so many fairy spread across the region, I always have an easy time finding my ideal homestay in the area to make my holiday as memorable and convenient as I wish for it to be. But what exactly makes homestay in Goa so attractive? If you are thinking of homestay for the first time, here is what you can expect from the properties here.

  • Lots of homestay options. If there is one thing I love about Goa is that it does not limit me to a few options when it comes to homestay. There are just so many you can choose from with some of the most popular properties being Riviera Hermitage, Royal Land Scape, Castelinhos and Parth Holiday home among many others. I advise that you check out what each has to offer so you can select a property you are bound to enjoy to the fullest throughout your stay in Goa. It has always been easy for me to select based on property type, themes I am interested in, locality and the landmarks. This way, I have always landed a property that is convenient for me in every sense.
  • Tranquil atmosphere. One of the things I have noticed about the majority of the Homestays here is that they all have beautiful relaxing surroundings. I just love how serene the atmosphere is in the properties, making it possible for me to forget all my worries and stresses. If you are looking for pure relaxation and rejuvenation like I am always seeking, then the homestays are the way to go. I enjoy coming home to my homestay after a crazy crowded day full of activities and sitting on a calm beach like Anjuna Beach, Baga Beach, Calangute Beach and Candolim Beach.
  • Comfortable rooms. Every item in the homestays here seems carefully selected to give you nothing but comfort. I also love how well equipped these rooms are and the modern to ensure I miss nothing at all during my stay. The properties all come with modern facilities to make the perfect home away from home!
  • Perfect locations. Apart from the amazing tranquil atmosphere, Goa Homestays are located strategically to make it possible for travelers to easily stumble on what they find most attractive during the holidays here. You can visit the local tourist places like Reis Magos Fort, Museum of Goa, Shantadurga Temple, Mangeshi Temple, Deltin Royale Casino etc. Whether it is the history I am interested in or the local culture and cuisine, or the beaches, there is always a perfect choice of property to keep me closer to what I love the most.

Vancouver, A Year Round Vacation Destination

Vancouver, British Columbia has consistently been ranked n the top of the world’s most desirable places to live in the world. The openness, quality of life, the diversity of outdoor activities in the surrounding mountains and the ocean at your doorstep as well as the modern cosmopolitan city centre and natural beauty all help to make this world class city truly unique. Not planning on living in Vancouver? Well you should at least visit to see for yourself what all the excitement is about!

Any time of the year you visit this gem of the Pacific Northwest will prove to be a memorable one. In the winter season you have all the mountain activities from heli-skiing to dog sledding in Whistler to snowshoeing or romantic log cabin dining in the Coastal Mountains. Enjoy an authentic Canadian mid-winter evening by catching a National Hockley League game at the Rogers Arena in the heart of downtown as the local Canucks team takes on a visiting challenger. Demand for tickets are extremely high so be sure to book your seats in advance or you can always see what’s available, usually at a premium, outside the stadium right before game time. Dining in Vancouver is wonderful year round; however, it is especially delightful in one of the many cozy restaurants on a brisk night with perfectly prepared local seafood hot out of the kitchen served with wine from one of British Columbia’s growing and acclaimed vineyards. The fireside ambiance in a dimly lit soothing environment really is the perfect evening out.

During the summer season the ocean is made more accessible by the perfectly hot temperatures from June to August but that doesn’t mean the mountains are out play. You can hike on established or less trekked trails throughout the surrounding area of Vancouver and feel as if you are 1000 miles away into the wilderness. You must be careful and take the proper precautions with local wildlife but a single or multi-day trip into the mountains and surrounding valleys is always a rejuvenating and empowering experience. Getting into the ocean by boat or on one of the many world-class beaches that surround the city will give you a real sense of the delights of these West Coast paradise. Sailing, swimming, yachting, kayaking, whale watching or just chilling on the beach, your day with the Pacific Ocean will be unforgettable. Spend the evening in one of the many restaurants of Vancouver or go for a stroll around Stanley Park to watch the sunset. Be sure to check out what festivals and shows are going on in Vancouver while you are there are the city attracts many international events and acts. Annual events that often draw a great deal of attention are the Celebrations of Lights fireworks show, Bard on the Beach Shakespear Festival, International Jazz Festival, Vancouver Sun Run and much more.

When planning your vacation to Vancouver be sure to pick the time of year that best suits what you’re looking for. Also, the city and surrounding area is quite large and the sites are not always accessible through the public transportation system. Consider renting a vehicle for you stay to ensure you get to see everything you want to on your schedule with the efficient guidance of a GPS so you don’t get lost on your way.

Vancouver has established itself as a world-class livable city and since the 2010 Winter Olympic games is establishing itself as a top vacation destination. Any time of the year it provides everything you would want from a relaxing destination holiday or an action packed adventure. Ensure you get to where you want to go in a timely manner by renting a vehicle to eliminate any hassles or unnecessary travel time.

Tips For A Smooth And Convenient Bus Charter Experience

A bus charter is a bus that has a professional driver to handle tours, trips, and other transportation needs. A bus charter can be one of the best choices you make when going for a group tour to a preferred destination. With transport from one attraction to another, you will have all the time to enjoy everything in your itinerary without worries. With a professional driver on board, you can relax and enjoy and even take better care of any children you may be taking with you for the trip. A bus charter also translates into no directions challenges because the drivers are conversant with their locations and all tour sites and routes.

Considering that bus charter are many in any given destination, you need to play your role in selecting one. You may need to start by choosing a company that you can trust with your traveling needs and then make a few considerations to select the perfect bus to hire for your tour.

Get details about the driver. A professional driver is definitely a plus for your tour but you should not assume that they know everything about the sites you intend to visit; they may only know how to get there and nothing more. If need be, consider getting a tour guide to handle your other needs in case the driver is not available for such. It helps to be sure beforehand to avoid disappointments.

Consider the size of the bus. A bus charter can be as large as to accommodate 60 passengers but there are definitely smaller sizes. The higher the passenger capacity the higher the rental rates may be. Look at the size options and select a bus that caters to your group for the tour. Everyone should be comfortable including children in the group so select a good size for everyone.

Check out the amenities included. When searching for the bus charter online, you will get very good photos of the buses. To ensure that you get what you see and need, confirm that the bus you have selected is represented perfectly. For instance, confirm that the leather reclining seats you see are the actual seats you get to enjoy. Apart from confirming the features, also consider the availability of amenities such as compact restroom, DVD player, air conditioning, TV monitors and any other that matters to you. If you want internet connectivity during the tour then inquire if that is available.

Ask about allowed driving length. Most bus charters will allow a specific length of time for the driver to be behind the wheel. The legal limit can range from area to area and you should be willing to be flexible in making adjustments to your tour itinerary so you do not end up with a fatigued driver before even getting back. You, however, want to choose company and driver with a considerable allowance so you enjoy the most from your tour in your selected destination.

5 Ways to Travel Solo Without Going It Alone

Solo travel has become a hot topic. Unlike “single(s)” travel, it is a broader group. It can include those who are single, married or have a partner/significant other. It may be a business person looking to add a leisure weekend or extension to a trip for work. Two stumbling blocks to solo travel can be: I. whether it is lonely to vacation as a “party of one” and ii.whether eating alone, especially dinner, is really uncomfortable.

Now having visited 68 countries and all 50 states, I have found 5 good ways to go alone without feeling you are “going it alone”.

1. River Cruise and Small Ship Cruises

I highly recommend river cruises and small ships. They are especially a good fit for a first time solo traveler. However, they are also great for well-traveled solos in two cases. That is where destinations like Cambodian boat villages are not otherwise easy to reach. Secondly, they work well in places where security is an issue.

Here are the key advantages of such river and small ships for solo travelers, they:

  • Give you time alone but a group for tours and meals
  • Can be competitively priced when compared to a piecemeal approach
  • Make unpacking a one-time chore
  • Work well with land packages
  • Often have discounted package pricing including flights

2. Select your own lodging, and take day trips.

Here are the key advantages of this independent approach:

  • Affords you the opportunity to select your own interests and travel style.
  • Provides more opportunity to interact with local residents.
  • Gives you a “day-off” when you need it.
  • Works with a range of budgets.

3. Combine both of the above approaches.

I really favor this approach when I travel. On solo travel for 17 days at New Year’s, I toured Southeast Asia. I started with a private taxi tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I then joined a top Mekong River Cruise on to Vietnam. On the last leg, I had five days in a 5-star hotel in Bangkok. In my last stop, I tried all 3 ways of sightseeing: 1. A large bus tour 2. A private guide and 3. Self-directed subway tour.

This blended approach puts you in the driver’s seat and:

  • Will let you set your own course while being free to pick and choose
  • Gives you a part-time group of travel mates but also time alone
  • Makes it possible to follow a budget (or splurges) tailored to what works for you

4. Sign up ahead for a class abroad.

This has become very popular now for cooking classes in France and Italy. However, for decades, language classes abroad have lured students for short-term or full summer programs. Add to that options for photography classes, skiing and scuba diving.

Here are the key benefits to this approach:

  • Provides you with a ready-made group
  • Gives you a local contact to hear what not to miss off the tourist path
  • Make it possible to connect with classmates for meals or sightseeing
  • Results in providing local contacts in an emergency

5. Join a volunteer group or exchange program.

I have done this twice. My first trip out of the US was at 18 joining 5 other girls on a summer YMCA project in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the best way to learn about day-to-day life in another country and participate in community activities.

The benefits were endless. They included:

  • Meeting local residents outside of the typical tourist path
  • Seeing distant and often more unusual destinations
  • Providing volunteer efforts to communities than may have experienced natural disasters or other hardships.

If you are new to solo travel, take a look at each of these options. You will be surprised how fast solo travel gives you the chance to make new life-long friends from around the world so that you feel you are solo to more.