The Chagra of Festivals of Ecuador

A frigid morning breaks as the sun rises from behind Cotopaxi, dancing across the volcano’s glacial cap. This is the land of the Ecuadorian Chagra, the South American parallel of “cowboys”. Wrapped in brilliant red and black wool ponchos, llama fur leggings and cowboy hats, they prance about on speedy little horses as durable and compact as the people that ride them. They bring with them a rich tradition entrenched in a culture and history of horsemanship and the agrarian lifestyle of haciendas and cattle.

July 23rd kicks off the Paseo Del Chagra in the town of Machachi (known as capitol of the ‘cowboy’) and located about 40 minutes south of Quito. These festivities then resonate throughout bordering pueblos and mountain villages as hundreds of Chagra filter down from the highlands to participate in the primary parade. The genesis of the celebration is derived from the last eruption of Cotopaxi Volcano in 1877. Filled with desperation and faith, the town’s people relocated the Sea or of the Sainted School (saint statue) to the flanks of Cotopaxi Volcano (a majestic 19k peak). Their prayers were answered and after surviving the eruption the saint was carried back home with an entourage of celebration and horsemanship.

The tradition continues with festivities that include small village rodeos, parades and an absolutely jaw dropping display of pyrotechnical engineering. This is also a good chance to sample the traditional cuisine, such as potato dishes, corn and the ever-exotic roasted guinea pig known as ‘cui’. It’s mostly though, an awesome exposure to culture and tradition as you get to sit alongside the local townspeople, in the rodeo stands, enjoying some of the region’s sugar cane home brew. A chance to mingle, talk to locals and really feel the pulse of Ecuador’s vibrant Andean Chagra culture.

The small …

Adventure Travel Flights – Five Adventure Travel Destinations You Shouldn’t Miss

Adventure Travel Flights – Perhaps you’ve grown tired of the usual vacation trips and are actually looking forward to catering to your more adventurous side. If that is the case, you have a number of options to consider, as there are several tourist destinations which would surely keep you on the edge of excitement, pushing you to your limits while still being able to bask in the wonders of the different parts of the globe that not many people get to experience. You may actually think to yourself of just how physically challenging it will be to go on an adventure trek with activities such as mountain biking or hiking through certain forests, but since you want to take a break from the usual routine of your holidays being spent at the beach or some amusement park resort somewhere, maybe it’s something more uncommon that will truly give you the vacation of a lifetime!

Below are just some of the most unique adventure travel destinations wherein you can truly find some enjoyment:

Nepal – With many of the world’s tallest mountain peaks to be found in Nepal, including the internationally renowned Mount Everest, you can engage in some mountain sports. Go mountain climbing with your family and friends, or even take them on a biking trip. Nothing is more exhilarating at the same time enlightening than basking at the majestic glory of the mountain view.

Egypt – The Nile River is one of the most popular attractions in Egypt, one that has a lot of history behind it. You can then be part of that history by taking yourself or your peers on a river excursion.

Amazon Rainforest – There is a wide range of wildlife to be seen and discovered by common people’s eyes in the Amazon rainforest, and …

Royal Adventure Travel Hawaii – Islands of Adventure

Royal adventure travel hawaii is famous for its surfing beaches, Mai Tai’s and world-famous shopping, Hawaii is a destination on top of many people’s travel lists. Among the many reasons why so many people choose Hawaii, adventure touring is high up on my list. You can do almost everything here which range from parasailing to volcano safaris to surfing lessons on Waikiki beach. Below is my story of my Hawaii adventure.

Shark Diving is one of my favourite adventure activities and located on the North Shore of Oahu’s island you can jump in the water with a large school of Galapagos sharks. These mid depth sharks follow the sounds of fishing boats in hope of a free feed and the sound of any boat within these waters will bring the predators to the surface. Underwater it is such a surreal experience watching these sharks coming within centimetres of the cage and from all directions. Depending on the day you can see around 20 of these sharks around the cage and the boat.

Hawaii’s marine life doesn’t stop at just sharks, dolphin swims are very popular whether you are swimming with a wild pod of dolphins or taking a visit to Honolulu’s Sea Life Park. At this marine park the dolphin swim includes a kiss and cuddle from the dolphins which makes for great photos but you also get to have a play around with them too. Getting a dorsal tow from two of the dolphins and being pushed across the surface of the water are just some of the activities that you can do with these beautiful creatures. Of all the tours in Hawaii that you can do this one is what will make all your friends and family envious. Within the park there are other species of marine life …

Shantang Street is Exotic Adventure Travel- The Jewel in the Crown of Suzhou, China

Have you found Shantang Street yet? This charming little street is exotic adventure travel, somewhat hidden from the view of passers by is a well-preserved ancient street near the downtown, where we can get a sense of the glory and prosperity of Suzhou in ancient times, when it was the most important city in southern China. This street is the epitome of Suzhou, a picture postcard of the ‘real China of long ago’ where the dark wooden roofs cap the white walls, displaying the ancient architecture still so well preserved throughout Suzhou’s downtown area.

There are various estimates as to the age of this ancient street, but the general consensus is between 1100 and 1500 years old. The young men came here to find their friends and write poems by the river while merchants in the boats displayed lanterns and merchandise to greet passers-by.

Historical records tell us that in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperors fell in love with Shantang Street at first glance. Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795), whose ancestors were from nomadic tribes, was haunted by the beauty of the Shantang Street and ordered a replica built in Yuanmingyuan in Beijing (now called The Summer Palace) to celebrate his mother’s 70th birthday. The Dowager Empress Ci Xi (1835-1908) rebuilt this replica after it was destroyed in 1860, naming it Suzhou Street.

The Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi (722-846), who built the street and the canal to improve water transportation, could never have imagined the wonder he left behind along with his great poems.

To improve water transportation links, Bai, who was an official in Suzhou at that time, ordered that a canal be dug, and a 3.5-kilometre-long waterway stretching west from Duseng Bridge at the Changmen City Gate to Wangshan Bridge in the Tiger Hill area was created. It was …

Once In A Lifetime Travel Adventures – Shake Your Hips to Jamaica’s Traditional Island Dances

Once In A Lifetime Travel Adventures – Music and dance are two elements of Jamaican culture that you should consider experiencing during your visit to the island. Many original dances in Jamaica are of African origin, and Jamaicans love to dance. The traditional dances of the island bear a striking resemblance to African dances, but the newer dance moves are more global and infuse hip-hop, jazz, and other international dance forms.

The single most popular and traditional dance is the “Kumina,” which originated in West Africa. This style of dance is predominantly found in the parishes of St. Thomas and St. Mary and is otherwise known as “Kalunga” or “Kaduunga.”

Kumina features flat-footed inching of the feet (or the kongo step), a steady, but often subtle forward-thrusting of the hip with the rib cage and arms moving against the hip, followed by wild spins and sudden breaks, all signaled by the lead drum. The dominant elements of Kumina are dance, music, spirit possession, healing, and the use of herbs.

The drums used in the dance are the Kbandu, which provide the basic rhythms, and “Playing Cast,” the lead drum. These go together with candles, graters, shakas and catta sticks, played on the back of the drum. According to Jamaica Journal, Volume 10, No.1, “Linguistic evidence cites the kongo as a specific ethnic source for the ‘language’ and possibly the music of Kumina.” There are Congolese words in some of the Kumina songs performed in Jamaica, which shows Jamaica’s connection to Africa.

A Kumina session involves dancing and drumming of two natures. Bailo is more public and less sacred, where songs are sung mainly in Jamaican dialect. Country is more African in nature and is a serious dance involving two leaders, a male and a female. The leaders must be able …

Visit Chile As Part Of Your South America Travel Adventure

South America is a fabulous continent full of contrasts. From the Amazon to the Andes, there is something for everyone in the colourful and diverse countries that make up this fascinating land. A South American travel adventure is definitely something that should be on everyone’s bucket list!

One of the countries that you will love to visit during your tour is Chile. It is a wondrous nation of glaciers, valleys, mountains, volcanoes, lakes, forests, fjords, beaches and deserts. Local legend reveals that all these features were left over after God had finished making the world. Instead of letting so much beauty going to waste, Chile was created. This multitude of natural attractions continues to draw visitors on a travel adventure to this stunning part of the world.

Chile also has a strong European heritage which means that travellers often feel a stronger connection to the history of Chile than to other countries in South America. Like all the people of South America, the Chilean nationals are warm and welcoming and love to share their unique blend of culture and heritage with visitors.

Stretching down the western edge of the continent, Chile is a mix of the modern and traditional, with large cities like the capital city of Santiago and small villages where farming families make a meagre living from the land. The vibrant city of Santiago is set spectacularly at the base of the Andes and has everything for the visitor from the historic San Francisco Church to the important national monuments in the Plaza de Armas.

Other picturesque Chilean towns you will enjoy include Bariloche and Puerto Varas where you can embark on a tour of the lakes area, bull of native forests, mountains, volcanoes and waterfalls. You will also be spellbound by the geographical wonders of Atacama and …

Adventure Travel In December – Saddle Up and Enjoy Horseback Riding in the Wild West on Your Gap Year Travel Experience

Adventure Travel In December – Few things are more evocative of the USA than movies set in the Wild West and while the region’s lawless heyday may be in the past, you can still taste life as a cowboy during your gap year travel experience.

One of the great things about America holidays is that you can cram so much in to a relatively small space of time, as the country has so many different landscapes, cultures and unique cities. You can try your luck at the roulette tables in glittering Las Vegas, hike through deserts, spot grizzly bears in the mountains and take part in activities such as white-water rafting, helicopter flights and horseback riding all in one visit.

And if you are going to enjoy horseback riding during your visit to the west of the USA, why not do so as part of a genuine cowboy experience? You won’t be in danger of being scalped, robbed by outlaws or fighting over a gold find, but a trip to a cowboy camp is still an authentic experience.

The camps offer the opportunity for long rides across prairie or desert terrain, either during the day or under the stars, and give you the chance to see some of the spectacular American wilderness and its varied wildlife close up. You will also enjoy some traditional cowboy meals and be entertained by some tall tales about the Wild West. The camp will even provide you with boots and a Stetson to ensure you look the part!

Spending a day or two at a cowboy camp is a great activity for people travelling in a group, but those undertaking adventure holidays for singles are also more than welcome. You can enjoy the riding by yourself or use the trips for socialising.

Many of …

Where To Travel In Costa Rica For Adventure – Travel Reminds Me

Last week I traveled to Costa Rica and back in a six days whirlwind trip with my friend Corrie. It was our version of a business trip – the purpose being to check out a property on which we plan to host a couple of week-long retreats focusing on yoga and coaching.

During our six days trip, a great deal did not go as planned. I am somewhat joking when I say that almost everything that could go wrong did, but the statement isn’t far off the mark. Between missed flights and bad weather, closed roads and a ridiculous rental car, no street signs and difficulty navigating, language barriers and miscommunication, we had a good number of close calls and mishaps in our few days in country. Even coming home was difficult for both of us. My luggage was lost and Corrie’s connections were delayed.

Yet… I’m not complaining. In fact, I had the best time! Corrie and I laughed hard every day. Our adrenaline was high and the trip was an adventure. It was as if we were flying by the seat of our pants the whole trip, and in truth, we usually were.

This is the beauty of becoming the traveler. The step outside daily routine, structure, and predictability brings, to me, a heightened experience. When I travel, particularly in a foreign country and as a budget traveler, I am in the flow. I have to be! I’m not in control of anything and there’s not much to grab on to beyond whatever I am observant of in the moment. How am I going to get from this town to that? Not sure, but I’ll be figuring it out! What are they saying? Not sure, but I picked out a few words, and if I try intently, I …

Adventure Travel Affiliate Program – Guanacaste Travel Attracting Adrenaline Junkies

Adventure Travel Affiliate Program – When it comes to Latin America, Guanacaste travel holds a lot of promise for ardent vacationers. Nestled in between the amazing countries of Nicaragua and Panama, this small Eden comes full-packed in terms of adventure and pleasurable moments that consistently tug at the hearts of avid vacationers and thrill-seekers. From its jagged terrain on one side, amazing surfing retreats on the other, majestic mountains with a slew of active volcanic sensations and amazing exotic layout, this paradise is truly some explorers dream. For years, places surrounding it have become a haven of American and European vacationers and nomadic adrenaline junkies looking for that perfect blend of relaxation and nerve-wracking exploits. From Guanacaste to Nosara, San Jose, Puerto Viejo, Playa Dominica, Osa Peninsula, and many more, Eden-like beaches, surfing sensations, volcanoes and waterfalls, zip lines and canyons, and humongous collections of wildlife will simply blow one’s mind away.

Guanacaste Travel Must-Haves

Before you get to excited and start cold-calling your agent, you need to understand that when it comes to this exotic Costa Rica travel has stipulated some important requirements before you can enter its pleasurable cradle. Though visa is not a requirement for citizens coming from the US, Canada and European countries, a valid passport is deemed necessary. Additionally, expiration of passport must also not fall within the thirty-day period of you Costa Rica travel. It must also be in outstanding condition with no distinctive markings on paper to guarantee entry. Some countries have electronic passport system these days making it easier for custom officials to check for credentials. Unless you have papers stating your residency in the country, make sure also to arrange round trip tickets for everybody and for yourself. You are only given ninety days of tourist travel within the country and …

Travelling To Orchha In India

Not so long ago I spend a few days in one of my new favourite places in India, during a month long India trip!

I have been travelling to India many times now and have always loved getting away from the big, busy cities for some respite in a more rural idyll. The cities in India are vibrant and fascinating, but the hassle levels and general stress of city life do wear you down after a while. So after Delhi, Agra and Jaipur it was great to arrive in Orchha and get some real down time during my India travel adventure.

Orchha’s name actually translates to ‘hidden place’ which suits it well. Geographically and in Indian terms it is not far from Agra to Orchha, but it feels worlds away.

The train took me from Agra to Jansi station. It was then a short drive on to Orchha. The traffic decreased as we left the train station behind and suddenly there was peace all around with just the occasional car and bullock cart on the road.

My driver took me along roughly sealed roads and through town, past some simple but well-maintained homes, in lovely Indian shades of aqua blue and parrot green. There were cows, goats and children wandering by, the occasional tractor, cyclist and sadhu. Life had definitely slowed down to a more languid and relaxed pace. Interesting and ancient ruins were strewn about the region and cropped up at the roadside at intervals.

I checked into my lovely hotel. It had the feel and style of a rambling old palace with courtyards, manicured gardens and very spacious rooms with traditional hand painted detail trimming the ceilings and around the light fittings. It had bags of character and personality and the staff were obviously happy and well looked …