The Azores. And for really cheap!?!

February 3, 2013

I haven’t been keeping my eye out for travel deals lately because I’ve been busy with school and starting a new job and I don’t have the chance to travel anytime soon, but this one caught my eye.  It has all the elements of GoGetOut and it’s surprisingly cheap.

The Azores is an island off the coast of Portugal far far away from the mainland.  It’s not quite as remote as Hawaii, but it’s a tropical paradise with a bunch of similarities.  There are nine volcanic islands that make up the region and it is considered part of Portugal.  The Azores are located 930 miles west of Portugal and 2,200 miles east of New York City.

The Groupon deal is for int’l flight from Boston or a few other select cities, and 6 nights of hotel at a decent looking place, for $699 or $799 depending on departure date.  Considering that flight alone is typically $800-1,000 per person this is a great deal!!!

Azores

Articles about The Azores

“When the clouds lift, which happens now and then, the Atlantic Ocean appears some 2,000 feet below —a sheet of smooth, blue-gray glass. But just as often, you will commence your hike shrouded in a white mist.”

http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/10/08/travel/08azores.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

“THE Azores are a tangle of myths, a tableau vivant of intersecting stories of creation and destruction. Tales of the lost remains of Atlantis, sea monsters attacking fishing towns, rich kingdoms destroyed by volcanic fire – these are some of the stories repeated by young and old alike.”

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/04/02/travel/splendid-isolation-in-the-azores.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

“As always, it is the getting there that counts. The more rugged the journey, the more secure the memory of it against the ravages of time — and the deeper the awareness of where you have arrived.”

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/03/03/magazine/escape-to-the-azores.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

“The Azores are actually some of the tallest mountains on the planet, measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean to their peaks, which thrust high above the surface of the Atlantic.”

“Because these once-uninhabited and remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries, their culture, dialect, cuisine, and traditions vary considerably.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azores

“I admit that a tea plantation wasn’t one of the things I’d been expecting from the Azores. Whale watching is what brings most people here, and the nine islands are also a magnet for birdwatchers, walkers and divers. But they harbour some well-kept secrets, too. And so I learn that this western-most outpost of Europe, some 1,500km from Lisbon, is one of the only places on the continent where tea is grown.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2269663/Holidays-Azores-An-island-hopping-adventure.html#axzz2JsHvGRWj

Whale Watching:

“Just 100 yards from the shore the depth drops to one mile, and then to a further three. It’s a fearful place from which to swim for anyone with an overactive imagination; climbing down a ladder into water made inky by the rocks, I felt distinctly spooked by what might lie below. Yet for my fellow mammals, it’s precisely this profundity that makes these waters a perfect home. This is where leviathans linger, sucking up the plentiful supply of squid.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/azores/into-the-blue-of-the-azores-its-even-easier-for-whalewatchers-to-catch-one-of-the-planets-great-spectacles-7622331.html

Travel + Leisure:

http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/azores

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Groupon Deal:

http://www.groupon.com/deals/ga-sata-air-a-ores-1?c=all&p=3


Pictures from Yosemite

August 23, 2012


Hiking Half Dome in June 2012

August 18, 2012

In June I had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for the weekend and do a short side trip to Yosemite to hike Half Dome.  Prior to the trip I had very little knowledge what Half Dome was and I had no idea what the cables were leading up to the top of Half Dome.  This hike was one of the craziest things I’ve done so far in my life and it was one of the funnest weekend trips I’ve done in a while.

Over the next week I’m going to write different posts about the trip so for this post I’m going to write an introduction about what Half Dome is and where it is.

The day after finishing the hike we drove 25 miles to another vantage point to get this view pictured above.  Half Dome is the rock on the left of the image and the waterfall on the right is the area where we hiked.  The valley below is the floor of Yosemite where most tourists visit.  The surrounding area for miles and miles each way is Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park is located in Northern California about 3 hours East of San Francisco.  Half Dome is located in the main tourist area and is one of the main attractions that many tourists go to see.

Backside of Half Dome

The cables.  The last 1,000 feet to get to the top of Half Dome consist of climbing up this steep piece of granite holding on to the cables and slowly moving from plank to plank.

The top of Half Dome. Worth every ounce of effort to get here.


National Geographic Series at the Straz Center in Tampa

August 7, 2012

A few years ago I sat next to a guy on a flight who was traveling back from Indonesia to his home in Sarasota.  I don’t recall the exact flight we were on but I think it was somewhere around Los Angeles to Albuquerque, but it wasn’t to Tampa.  So it was somewhat of a coincidence that he lives in Sarasota, about an hour south of Tampa where I am from.  The guy next to me is an underwater photographer and he told me about what he does.  He has a ton of experience spending 3 months at a time in the South Pacific.  Because of the limitations of the visas, he spends three months at a time in the region and then he travels home and takes a month or two off.  He makes a living selling his photographs and video to magazines and other companies to be used in print.  I’m very interested in scuba diving and the ocean in general so I really enjoyed sitting next to this guy and hearing his story.

The Straz Center in Tampa is hosting a speaker’s series next year presented by National Geographic.  The first speaker on January 22, 2013 is an underwater photographer in the South Pacific, the same region the guy I sat next to spends most of his time.  Below is the description and a video of what the presentation will be about.

Tickets go on sell on September 12th and are $18 each.

National Geographic Live! Secret Edens with underwater photographer David Doubilet

National Geographic Live! Journey with photographer David Doubilet into hidden Edens from the heart of the coral triangle in Raja Ampat, Indonesia to Africa’s Okavango Delta, where seasonal floodwaters transform a desert into flowing rivers filled with crocodiles, hippos and a lily forest. Considered the world’s leading underwater photographer, Doubilet has introduced a generation to the mystery and wonder of the deep, photographing coral reefs, historic shipwrecks, ocean predators and exotic marine creatures for more than 70 stories for National Geographic. For David Doubilet’s official website, click here.

January 22, 2013: http://www.strazcenter.org/Events/1213_Nat_Geo_Live_Speaker_Series/Secret_Edens_with_underwater_photographer_David_Do.aspx

(photos from National Geographic’s website)


Flight deal by fly.com: NYC to Tel Aviv, Israel

August 6, 2012

Today, fly.com posted a special for roundtrip flights NYC to Tel Aviv for $335-350 after taxes and fees.  Normally, this ticket would go for about $1,000+.  They had dates available ranging from November to February and as predicted, the special sold out within two hours.

My sister is in Bahrain right now so I thought maybe this would be a good chance to get a ticket to go see her.  But by time I factor in 200+ to get to/from NYC and then also Tel Aviv is still a long ways away from where she is.  I’d meet her either in Bahrain or Dubai which is another $600+ ticket.  So all in all, it would cost over $1,000 to piece together the ticket and it’s still so far away it’s too early for me to begin planning.  I’m hoping to visit her in December or January after I graduate from school.

http://www.fly.com/Deal/?Id=NYC080612&utm_source=fbook&fb_source=message


Practical Traveler: Up Close, but Doing No Harm

June 26, 2012

The New York Time’s Practical Traveler series posted this article last week about eco-friendly traveling.  The article advises on things to look for when considering an eco-friendly trip and has three examples of programs around the world that meet this criteria.  They discuss an elephant camp in Thailand, visiting Ecuadoran villages, and adventure travel in Costa Rica.

“While tourism is a vital source of income for many developing countries, it can also result in pollution, deforestation, inefficient energy use and cultural exploitation,” said Ronald Sanabria, vice president of sustainable tourism at the Rainforest Alliance, an environmental group based in New York. The best sustainable tourism businesses not only recycle, conserve water and energy, and use locally produced goods, they also hire local employees, support community projects and preserve cultural heritage.

Link: http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/travel/up-close-but-doing-no-harm-while-traveling.html?ref=travel


NY Times Travel Article

June 14, 2012

Yesterday, the NY Times wrote a piece about how the United States is expanding its presence in foreign airports.  Until now, I hadn’t really heard of it but it doesn’t seem so far fetched either given the current situation in the world.

Click the link below to read the full article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/14/world/europe/us-security-has-beachhead-at-foreign-airports.html?pagewanted=all