Big Cats and Where We Actually Saw Them

Tiger in Bandhavgarh National Park, India

Big cats are the ultimate wildlife thrill. In national parks and wilderness regions around the globe, hikers scan the hills and forests for fleeting glimpses of these elusive creatures. Successfully spotting wild cats requires equal parts effort and luck. As you can see from this post, we have put in the effort and we have had A LOT of luck.

In all, we have spotted 12 different types of wild cats, big and small. The pictures below represent 25 years of travel and trekking. They also represent a tremendous amount of good fortune and even better timing. While most of the big cat posts on the web have been cobbled together by people in a cubicle, this list is based on our experiences and our sightings. So if you are interested in fantastic beasts and where to find them, start reading. Continue…

Live the Dream – How to Find Your Little Slice of Paradise in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Landscape

If you’ve ever dreamed of kicking back in your own little slice of paradise – and let’s face it, we all have – then you’d be hard pushed to find somewhere more appealing than Costa Rica.

From the white sands and crystal-clear waters of the Pacific Ocean to the promise of exotic animals and adventure among rainforests of exceptional biodiversity, this country of around 5 million people has surprises around every corner. What’s more, in a part of the world not necessarily known for its stability, Costa Rica is an oasis of calm. With a long-standing democracy, no military, and a well-educated workforce, the people are proud of their peaceful ways, and English is spoken to very high standards. All of this means that, aside from the great weather and stunning landscapes, Costa Rica is extremely welcoming to both tourists and expats. Continue…

Perfect Holiday Destinations for Snorkelling and Scuba Diving

Cuba

For any snorkelling and scuba diving enthusiast, the prospect of diving under water with whales, sea turtles, tropical fishes, manta rays or even underwater statues is irresistible. This list of holiday destinations for snorkelling and scuba diving will thrill anyone interested in discovering exciting new underwater worlds.

Cuba

Any scuba diving enthusiast will be familiar with the names of these places – Bay of Pigs, Jardines de la Reina or Maria la Gorda. What do these places have in common? They all belong to the Caribbean paradise that is Cuba. Home to numerous remarkable diving sites, Cuba’s reefs have been astoundingly well preserved, and are thus the perfect place to go snorkelling and diving. Continue…

Italy’s 4 Most Fascinating Destinations

Milan

Whether it is the majesty of ancient Rome, the wonderful diversity of Sicily or the art and magnificence of Milan, Italy is a nation full of delights for travellers. As there are just too many places to explore in this historic country, here are Italy’s 4 most fascinating destinations that will leave every tourist amazed.

Sicily

What makes Sicily so very special is its astonishing diversity. Tourists can start their journey in Etna to fully enjoy Italian summers. Close to Mount Etna are the spectacular baroque settlements which are greatly complemented by the excellent Greek and Roman ruins. Since all of these spots are spread across the island, travellers also get to experience the joys of a road trip in order to visit them all. Continue…

6 Walking Holiday Destinations with Amazing Scenery

Hiking in Morocco

There really isn’t a better way to truly realize the beauty of a place than by actually feeling its ground under your feet, letting the hills and valleys take a toll on your legs, and letting the sunshine bounce off your skin. Now walking is certainly not the preferred mode of travelling for most people, but in these six walking holiday destinations – all of which offer amazing sceneries – it certainly is the best option. Continue…

Things to Do in Cusco and the Sacred Valley

Grandmother and granddaughter at Tambomachay near Cusco

Many tourists whoosh through Cusco and the Sacred Valley on a whirlwind itinerary which leaves their heads spinning. While some might be content to shoot through as they tick off items on their bucket list, Peru’s most famous city and its surrounding valleys offer up a virtual smorgasbord of activities for those with longer attention spans.

During our more than two months in the area, we’ve had some time to get acquainted with not-so-little Qosq’o (Quechua name). What we’ve discovered is one of South America’s most unique and appealing towns in one of the continent’s most unique and appealing regions. No wonder UNESCO declared Cusco a World Heritage Site. Here’s just a tiny sample of all the great things to do in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Continue…

El Nido, Palawan: 100 Ways to Kill Coral

El Nido's Coral: Crown-of-thorns Starfish

We first published this article on El Nido’s coral destruction in 2010 after our month-long visit to Palawan. Sadly, eight years later, we are still getting comments from travelers confirming further environmental degradation. Read on to find out what causes the coral destruction and make sure to check out the comments below documenting the state of El Nido’s corals in 2018.

Above water, the Bacuit Archipelago is one of the most stunning places on the planet. Below the surface of its perfectly turquoise waters, it’s a different story. A story of neglect, corruption, mismanagement and ignorance.

It is estimated that only 1% of the Philippines’ coral is still in pristine condition. Sewage run-off, anchor damage, shore erosion, a crown-of-thorns starfish infestation, and overfishing are some of the more typical culprits. And, of course, coral bleaching due to global warming is a huge problem. But to kill that much coral, you need to employ some of the more destructive practices such as Continue…

Florence’s Museums: Making Reservations for the Uffizi, Accademia and More

 Uffizi Gallery: Botticelli's The Birth of Venus

OK, you’ve made your way to Florence – the dream of a lifetime – and you want to visit the city’s incredible works of art and architecture. You walk up to the entrance of the Uffizi Gallery and ask a guard where you can buy a ticket. And he just laughs hysterically in your face. Suddenly, you notice there’s a line with hundreds of annoyed people who have been waiting for hours.

Florence Is Not a City for the Unprepared

Before you come to Florence, you need to do some basic homework, especially if you are showing up in the peak season. You don’t just walk up to the Uffizi museum, buy a ticket, and enter. After all, Uffizi Gallery tickets are popular. And even those magic (and somewhat pricey) Firenze Cards may not be the best option for everyone. To help you out, we’ve put together some quick tips and links to get you started. In our “Plan Your Trip to Florence” section, we also included a few tour recommendations for visitors interested in an expert guide. Continue…

The Five Best Day Trips from Madrid

Day trips from Madrid: Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain

Madrid as a destination far exceeded our expectations. After spending three weeks in Spain’s booming capital, we were completely hooked on one of Europe’s most enjoyable cities. Not only are there millions of things to do in Madrid itself, the city offers easy access to all kinds of attractions in the surrounding countryside. If you love walled towns, medieval castles, and Roman ruins all with an accent of Castile, Madrid is the perfect hub to kick back and do some day-tripping.

While most of the more popular destinations can be reached by public transportation, renting a car in Madrid will give you a lot more flexibility and comfort. From our experience, car rentals in Spain are particularly easy and affordable. During our time in Madrid, we did five different day trips to nearby towns, all recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. So without further ado, here’s our list of the five best day trips from Madrid, including our personal favorites. Continue…

Krampus at the Christmas Market in Munich

Ah, it’s December and the Christmas markets in Bavaria are in full swing. The Alps are shrouded in cool mist and half-timbered houses are decked out in twinkly lights and boughs of mistletoe. Locals are huddled ’round their fires drinking hot glühwein as holiday tunes float through the air.

Suddenly, the sound of synchronized cracking whips break the silence. Groups of Krampus and Perchten, Christmas devils and fur-clad Alpine monsters armed with bundles of twigs, rush into the crowded streets. The fiendish Christmas beasts dance through the crowds chasing rotten children and whipping them with stinging bundles of twigs. Adults laugh and stuff themselves with gingerbread as children run screaming in all directions. Yeah, Christmas in Germany has a bit of an edge. Continue…