Category Adventures

A Guide to Telluride: North America’s Coolest Ski Resort

Telluride mfp

Tucked away at the end of a box canyon in Southern Colorado, Telluride – or “to Hell You Ride” – is drop-dead gorgeous and has a terrific personality to boot.

Telluride is not just a spectacular ski resort surrounded by four 14,000 foot peaks (Colorado’s famed ‘fourteeners’), it is also an old silver mining town with a Wild West streak; home to the very first bank Butch Cassidy robbed, right on Main Street.

It’s Aspen without the pretense.

Put simply, Telluride is the whole package, offering a real sense of place in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, fabulous food and wine, and some of the finest skiing and snowboarding in North America.

The Town:

Located on the valley floor, t...

Read More

Six of Australia’s Best Beaches

Australia's Best Beaches

Whitehaven Beach

Around the world’s largest island, life is a beach. Actually about 12,000 beaches and not just any old beaches.  Australia has some of the world’s best with fine quartz sand created from its ancient granite rocks and pulverized shells. Its clean oceans are renowned for rolling surf, the envy of board riders around the world, and its massive reef systems teem with marine life. Many beaches are protected by national parks and have scenic headlands and coastal dunes with vegetation that ranges from tropical to temperate.

Before jumping in the deep end, a word of warning. These visions of paradise can be treacherous.  Always swim between the red and yellow flags (460 beaches are patrolled), which designate safe and supervised areas, and remember to use sunscreen and wear sun protection.

Bondi...

Read More

Insider tips on exploring the Komodo Islands

Three Komodo dragons up close

Three Komodo dragons sunbake at the waterhole. Each is three-meters-long with prehistoric claws, beady eyes and scaly skin, which looks like woven metal armor. It feels like I’ve done a Dr Who and dropped into a dinosaur convention. Our diminutive guide is armed with nothing but a pronged stick.

One heaves itself up and lurches towards me, so close I can hear its guttural hiss. A foot-long pink forked tongue darts in and out of its mouth. Meanwhile, saliva is drooling from the other two. Even DreamWorks couldn’t have come up with scarier looking creatures. Suddenly, my walk in the Komodo Islands National Park doesn’t feel like…well…a walk in the park anymore.

Read More

Rafting Costa Rica’s Pacuare River to a Luxury Eco Lodge

Costa Rica's Pacuare River is one of the world's most beautiful rafting rivers

Rafting Costa Rica’s Pacuare River to stay at the eco-sensitive Pacuare Lodge is a perfect experience for those of you who like to combine your serious adventures with luxurious landings.

Costa Rica is a gutsy little Central American democracy that has capitalized on its ecological riches. A quarter of its landmass  is classified as national park or biosphere reserve, and its many eco lodges help showcase the country’s natural beauty.

Costa Rica’s all purpose saying: This is living…cool! pure life!

“Pura Vida!” shouts our barrel-chested guide Luis Achoy after we bounce through a set of boiling rapids on the Pacuare River. We all raise our paddles high above the churning, café-latte-colored water and echo his cheer with the best exclamation ever invented, “Pura Vida!” a Costa Rican all-purpose phrase that means “this is living…cool…pure life.”

We have certainly found Pura Vida and it’s not just the adrenalin rush...

Read More

The World’s Best Rock Art at Max Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris

Mount Borradaile guards remarkable indigenous rock art

Mount Borradaile is a sacred site in Australia’s Aboriginal Arnhemland overlooking a tropical Garden of Eden

East of Kakadu National Park across the crocodile-infested East Alligator River my family and I go deep into Aboriginal Arnhem Land in search of some of the world’s best rock art plus a tropical Garden of Eden teeming with birds, fish and exotic reptiles. We are visiting Max Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris at Mount Borradaile, a comfortable collection of tree-shaded cabins encircling an airy dining room with deck and swimming pool.  It is the only tourist operation in Australia located on a sacred Aboriginal site.

Mount...

Read More

Five of the Best Day Trips to the Great Barrier Reef

GBR MPFThe Great Barrier Reef is the most magical marine environment on the planet. The world’s largest living structure, it is made up of more than 400 different kinds of hard and soft corals and is home to 1500 species of brilliantly colored tropical fish not to mention whales, dolphins and turtles. No wonder then that thousands of people travel across the globe to explore its watery paradise. That’s why there are so many reef trips on offer which, paradoxically, makes it no picnic to plan a day trip, given the baffling range of boats and adventures.

Here is an insider’s guide to what five different reef adventures from Cairns and Port Douglas are really like so you can make informed decisions about which trips are best for you based on your interests, age and skill levels.

Read More

Luang Prabang Highlights: monks, markets and the Mekong

Orange-clad monks at the dawn alms giving ritual in Luang Prabang

Monks at dawn in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is one of last authentic cities in Indochina. This is the place people expect when they fantasize about South East Asia. What makes it so special is that you don’t have to run around checking off a bunch of tourist sites. It is wonderful to just ‘be’ and enjoy the soul of the city.

In the soft grey light of early morning, we sit quietly on a bamboo mat, wicker baskets of sticky rice beside us, across from a shuttered colonial mansion heavy with bougainvillea.

Around a corner, dozens of barefoot monks appear in a swish of saffron, golden bowls hanging from orange shoulder straps.  Locals show us how to earn merit.  Men adorned with scarves over one shoulder as a mark of respect and kneeling women in traditional shawls put fistfuls of rice into the monks’ bowls.

As in a dream, just as the rising sun gilds the ceramic-tiled temple roofs, the stream of gold vanishes and the monks return inside...

Read More

Bhutan: Tantric Buddhism in the land of Gross National Happiness

BHUTAN-mfp

Ever since the Fourth Dragon King of Bhutan announced that he measured his country’s progress in terms of Gross National Happiness, not Gross National Product, this tiny land-locked Himalayan kingdom has become something of a Mecca, some might say a trophy, for cluey Westerners seeking respite from their highly paid but stressed-out lives.

Read More

Mountain Lodges of Peru: the Best Way to Walk to Machu Picchu

mountain lodges of peru mfp

Machu Picchu is on everyone’s bucket list but the hackneyed hiking route is over-hyped and in danger of being destroyed by overuse. What many people don’t realize is that the Andes are laced with dozens of Incan trails, not just the one royal Incan Trail to Machu Picchu.

Mountain Lodges of Peru offers a blissfully uncrowded lodge-based alternative route to the sacred Incan site for those of us who would like to make the trek but who would prefer to exchange the bed roll for a real bed and add fine food and wine and even a massage or two into the equation.

This ...

Read More

The Nine Best Aboriginal Experiences in Australia

Learning to spear fish at Kooljaman at Cape Leveque

Indigenous tourism is flourishing all over Australia as visitors and locals alike are keen to learn more about the ancient wisdom and cultural traditions of the world’s oldest living culture.  Here is a sampling of intriguing offerings that range from short bush tucker walks, didgeridoo lessons and guided rock-art tours to multi-day cultural immersions.  For more information, check out Aboriginal Tourism Australia.

Read More