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South America

Colombian Charm in Cartagena

Posted by on Jul 25, 2015 | 0 comments

Colombian Charm in Cartagena

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After a brief return to the United States for a work commitment, it’s time to kick off this honeymoon in true Round-the-World style! Since RTW tickets dictate that you start and end in the same city, in order to finish our trip at home in Atlanta we needed to return from Italy and Greece to begin our journey there. So a re-positioning flight after Honeymoon Part #1 was in order.

But today we begin Part #2 of this 3-month, ridiculously lengthy honeymoon. This stage of the trip will include stops in Colombia, Amsterdam, England, Scotland, France and India before we return to the US for yet another work commitment/honeymoon interrupter (this time it’s work for both of us). So no, this summer travel extravaganza isn’t all fun and games, there is a bit of work squeezed in for good measure.

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The Best of Patagonia in Luxury (for the Camping-Averse)

Posted by on Jan 29, 2013 | 0 comments

The Best of Patagonia in Luxury (for the Camping-Averse)

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Inside: How to experience the beauty of Patagonia in luxury at the stunning explora Patagonia Hotel Salto Chico. (Note: This post may contain affiliate links.)

Last year, on RTW #7, a random twist of fate introduced me to the wonderful world of explora hotels in Chile. I was visiting Easter Island staying at a reasonably-priced, modest B&B when my friend Jill asked if I could perhaps hop over to explora Rapa Nui for a few nights to review it for her London-based travel website. Never one to turn down an “upgrade,” I happily agreed.

After two nights at the incredibly magical explora Rapa Nui, I became a big believer in the explora culture of experiential, eco-friendly yet luxurious travel. At explora, the focus is always on “in-depth exploration of the surroundings and the luxury of the essential.” 

As a firm believer that luxury is almost always “of the essential,” I was dying to return someday to indulge in their other two Chilean properties – Patagonia and Atacama. Since my Antarctic adventure would already have me in the Patagonia, Chile neighborhood, I figured there was no time like the present to check out explora Patagonia Hotel Salto Chico

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It’s the End of the World: Ushuaia Argentina

Posted by on Jan 9, 2013 | 2 comments

It’s the End of the World: Ushuaia Argentina

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You know how people always say, “don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world.” They’re right, because I’ve found it.

Ushuaia, Argentina is the capital of the province of Tierra del Fuego and the southernmost city in the world, hence the popular nickname “the end of the world.”

For most people, Ushuaia is the gateway to exploring the Tierra del Fuego National Park and the last stop on the infamous “End of the World Train.” But for those few adventure-seeking travelers who dream of visiting the frozen continent, it’s also the most popular departure point for Antarctic expeditions.

And that’s why I’ve come all the way to Ushuaia; for the real trip-of-a-lifetime, a 10-day cruise to Antarctica with Quark Expeditions. But first, I’ve got a full 36 hours to explore this charming town at the end of the world.

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Full Circle in Buenos Aires

Posted by on Jan 9, 2013 | 2 comments

Full Circle in Buenos Aires

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Seven years ago this week, I touched down in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the first stop on a trip around the world that would forever change the course of my life.

Who knew that seven years and more than 100 countries later, I would again arrive at Ezeiza Airport, this time a confident and far more worldly traveler, perhaps even worthy of the title “globetrotter.”

On my last visit to this blazing hot South American capital, I enjoyed long runs in Palermo Park, a stroll through Recoleta Cemetery and great meals along the revitalized waterfront area. This time, I didn’t really have a plan in mind. In fact, Buenos Aires was honestly just a bonus stop on the way to my ultimate goal, Ushuaia and Antarctica.

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Save the Date for Round the World #8!

Posted by on Dec 5, 2012 | 7 comments

Save the Date for Round the World #8!

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It’s that time of year again…one month from today I’ll be departing on my 8th annual trip around the world! It’s going to be another whirlwind globetrotting adventure exploring 14 destinations in 10 countries and for the first time on all 7 continents.

Many of you know that Antarctica has been on my list for several years and this year I am finally making it happen. Yes, I’ll be cruising all the way from Argentina to the great white continent with Quark Expeditions and I am impossibly (some would say annoyingly) excited about it! 

This year’s trip will start in Buenos Aires and be the longest yet at a staggering – when you consider the name of the website – 54 days.

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Beaches, Bug Spray, Boobies & Boats: Wrapping Up a Month in Central America

Posted by on Aug 24, 2012 | 0 comments

Beaches, Bug Spray, Boobies & Boats: Wrapping Up a Month in Central America

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Well, after a month of island-hopping around Central America & South America, I’m finally home! From huts to hotel suites, this one was a real adventure. There were lots of picture-perfect beaches, volcanoes and animals and more boats than I care to remember. In fact, in most places (Roatan, Guatemala, Corn Islands, San Blas & Galapagos) small boats were the primary form of transportation. In the course of the month, I went through several bottles of bug spray and sunscreen and one tiny bottle of Dramamine (and I’m happy to report they all performed admirably).

I slept in boats, bungalows, one very questionable hut (see above) and, thankfully, even a hotel suite or two. I trained dolphins, hiked volcanoes, visited a village shaman, did my first scuba dive and first sailing trip, reached my highest altitude ever, played photographer for an indigenous island family, stood on the Equator and swam with sea turtles, sea lions & sharks.

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Quito Ecuador: Top of the World, Middle of the Earth

Posted by on Aug 23, 2012 | 0 comments

Quito Ecuador: Top of the World, Middle of the Earth

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After a terrific 7 days in the Galapagos, we landed in Quito Friday night with a little over 24 hours to explore Ecuador’s historic capital. Surrounded by snow-capped Andean peaks creating a dazzling cityscape, Quito’s official elevation of 9,350ft makes it the world’s 2nd highest capital city.

For the last night of the trip, we were back in Sheraton-land at the beautiful Sheraton Quito Ecuador where they were kind enough to upgrade us to a roomy suite.

Exhausted and starving from a full travel day from San Cristobal (beginning with a 7am, 2-hour boat ride to Santa Cruz, taxi across Santa Cruz, boat across to Baltra, flight from Baltra to Guayaquil and then finally to Quito) we adjourned to the Club Lounge to eat, have a glass of wine and formulate a plan of attack for our full day in Quito.

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Land Based Galapagos: Island Hopping in the Land of Darwin

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 | 0 comments

Land Based Galapagos: Island Hopping in the Land of Darwin

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Discovered by accident in 1535 by the Bishop of Panama when he veered off course on the way to Peru, the Galapagos Islands first appeared on a map some 35 years later as the “island of the tortoises.”

For almost 300 years after their discovery, the Galapagos mostly served as a safe harbor to a succession of pirates, whalers and sealers. The islands were a resource for fresh water and food for the sailors who caught thousands of giant tortoises and stored them in their cargo holds. Because the tortoises could survive for up to a year on the ships, they provided a long-lasting food source.

In 1832, Ecuador officially claimed the Galapagos and just three years later a British naval vessel brought Charles Darwin to the islands.

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First Up in Ecuador…Guayaquil!

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 | 0 comments

First Up in Ecuador…Guayaquil!

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For the final 9 days of this year’s summer-trip-extravaganza, I’ll be exploring Ecuador with visits to Guayaquil, the Galapagos Islands and Quito. We arrived in Guayaquil a little before lunchtime after the short flight from Panama City.

Our reason for visiting was primarily because Guayaquil made the best launching point for the Galapagos with regular flight service. With the rest of the day wide open, we didn’t have an itinerary planned out. So, we decided to hop in a cab and head downtown to get our first look at Ecuador’s largest and most populated city.

We started our self-guided city tour at the magnificent riverfront promenade, the Malecón. Considered one of the most extensive urban renewal projects in all of South America (and the largest architectural project in Guayaquil in the past century), Malecón 2000 stretches 1 ½ miles along the banks of the Rio Guayas. Lining the waterfront are shops, playgrounds, restaurants, ponds and gardens and you could easily spend an entire day exploring it.

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Get Ready for the Summer of Central America!

Posted by on Jul 20, 2012 | 3 comments

Get Ready for the Summer of Central America!

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Well, if it’s summer time then obviously it’s time for some serious global slacking off. This summer I’ve decided to take my slacking off on the road to Central America. My summer work is done and now it’s time maximize the month remaining before another season of college football kicks off in late August.

As some of you may know, in addition to my annual January round-the-world trips, a few years ago I started a mid-year edition to combat the unappealing symptoms of passport-underuse and satisfy my summer longings for tropical islands, exotic foods and living out of a tiny suitcase for extended periods of time. Typically, for my summer trips, I choose a particular region of the world to explore more in-depth. My first summer trip took me through Central & Eastern Europe, the second around Australia, New Zealand & the South Pacific and the most recent was a fun-filled summer in the Balkans.

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The Mystery of Easter Island

Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 | 2 comments

The Mystery of Easter Island

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It’s one of the most remote islands on earth. A startling 2,200 miles west of the nearest continent and 1,290 miles east of the nearest populated island. The United Nations has proclaimed Easter Island the most isolated inhabited island in the world.

It’s also one of the world’s greatest mysteries and an undisputed archaeological treasure. Easter Island is home to more than 20,000 archaeological sites. But despite intensive study of these sites, the question still remains: What caused the dramatic rise and fall of this ancient Polynesian culture?

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Photo of the Day – The Unglamorous Side of RTW Travel

Posted by on Jan 11, 2012 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – The Unglamorous Side of RTW Travel

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Well, let’s just say RTW #7 is off to a rocky start! Yes, RTW travel is not always as glamorous as it might seem. Today was one of those “Murphy’s Law” travel days and it’s only thanks to a few minor miracles and the complete inefficiency of LAN Airlines (actually working in my favor for once) that I am writing this to you now from my hotel on Easter Island, at last.

It all started out fine enough with a perfect Delta flight into Lima last night that arrived right on time at 11:00pm. But as soon as I stepped off the plane into the chaos that was the Lima airport, I knew something was amiss.

Of course, South American airports can sometimes be a little less civilized than those in the U.S. or Europe, but this was another level. As the Delta passengers entered the gate area on the way to customs, I was thankful we were separated by a glass partition from the agitated throngs waiting to board our plane.

It was apparent that some of these people had been in the airport for a while. They had the look. I noticed as I made my way to the transit area that the monitors showed a number of flights canceled for the night (including the last one to Santiago). I wondered why since the weather seemed fine and we didn’t have any delays on arrival but didn’t give it much thought.

Since my flight wasn’t until 8am I figured it couldn’t possibly affect me.

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America’s Southernmost Capital – Montevideo, Uruguay

Posted by on Jan 17, 2011 | 0 comments

America’s Southernmost Capital – Montevideo, Uruguay

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I almost didn’t make it to Uruguay thanks to a missed 3am wake-up call at the Sheraton in Vina del Mar.

With over an hour drive to the airport in Santiago and a 7am flight, I figured I’d better set a hotel wake-up call in addition to my cell phone. It was lucky I did set the phone because it’s what eventually brought me back to consciousness after I apparently hit the snooze 4 or 5 times.

When I realized what time it was (almost 4am) I packed hastily and practically ran to the car yelling something constructive to the front desk clerk about their wake-up call skills needing some work as I blew past.

Since I was flying LAN Chile to Montevideo, I knew I needed to be checked in 90 minutes before my international flight which meant getting to the airport and returning my rental car in a little over an hour. So, I drove way faster than I should have through the Chilean countryside and managed to make it to the airport by 5:25am.

Unfortunately, there was no time to refuel the rental car, so I’m sure I’ll have to take out a second mortgage to pay for those charges when I get home.

But thankfully, I made it! It was the only flight of the day on LAN to Montevideo so, had I missed it, my one night in Uruguay would have turned into an extra night in Chile.

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De-Icing in Santiago Chile

Posted by on Jan 14, 2011 | 1 comment

De-Icing in Santiago Chile

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Well folks, it’s that time of year again!

I can hardly believe I’m about to embark on my 6th annual Round-the-World adventure. It seems like only yesterday I was planning that first “once-in-a-lifetime” RTW trip. Little did I know it would turn into an annual obsession.

This years’ trip is my longest yet at just under 6 weeks. If I don’t start scaling these back I may have to consider changing the name of the website!

RTW 6 will see returns to some of my favorite places from previous trips (Bangkok, Auckland, Moorea & Cabo) as well as a number of new destinations I’m extremely excited about (Chile, Laos, Palau, the Cook Islands, Borneo and others). As always, your comments and advice are welcome and encouraged…so let’s hit the road!

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Back to Sea Level – Lima Peru

Posted by on Jan 7, 2007 | 0 comments

Back to Sea Level – Lima Peru

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LEGS…HURT…OH-MY-GOD…OUCH.

The next morning I slept in a little for the first time since my arrival in Peru. When I got up around 8am – feeling like I had run a marathon the previous day after hiking Machu Picchu Mountain – I hobbled upstairs to the breakfast room. Vik was already in there and said that Jarron was really sick and planning to stay in bed for the forseeable future. I told him he was welcome to ride into town with me later but I didn’t have much planned other than lunch and maybe an internet café to start uploading pictures to the website (which I had been neglecting since the hi-speed access in Cuzco and MP was more of the dial-up variety and I knew it would take forever). I mean, after you’ve seen Machu Picchu in Peru, everything else there is sort of anticlimactic.

I had a 3pm flight to Lima later that day but the guys still had 3 more days in the Cuzco area. Vik was anxious to get out of the hotel so he decided to come with me. We spent some quality time in an internet café, had lunch and then Oscar came to pick me up and take me to the airport.

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