Franz Josef Glacier – Activities on the Glacier

– Did you know New Zealand’s South Island has over 3000 glaciers?  Franz Josef Glacier is one offering many outdoor activities.

Franz Josef GlacierSpectacularly picturesque Franz Josef has 3 glaciers in view surrounding the New Zealand town in Glacier County. Franz Josef is filled with natural attractions. ‘Never lose an opportunity of seeing something beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.’

The friendly town of Franz Josef provides access to many activities in, on and around the Franz Josef Glacier. What an exhilarating experience to explore this magnificent World Heritage Area.

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Karamea New Zealand – Natural Beauty of the North West Coast

North West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island

Sign Welcome to Karamea New ZealandMost people have never heard of Karamea New Zealand on the South Island’s West Coast. Tourists and locals often skip Karamea; it is relatively unspoiled. That is what attracted us. Reading about New Zealand’s pristine natural bush, the hikes, and wild coastal oceanfront, plus the quiet town of Karamea with its surrounding beauty drew us there. Places like the Oparara Basin and the unique arch rock formations, and Karamea are at the end of the West Coast’s northern road. An adventure where our only costs were room and food; truly an ‘adventure in style for less.’ All of the sights  Continue reading

TranzAlpine Scenic Railway Journey – 5 reasons to take the train

New Zealand’s TranzAlpine Scenic Railway Journey

KiwiRail's TranzAlpine Railway empty carWhen thinking of the Alps, the Swiss Alps come to mind; I never considered any other Alps, and yet New Zealand has the beautiful Southern Alps.  And the TranzAlpine Scenic Railway Journey is the best way to see the Southern Alps.

Simply sit back and gaze at the stunning scenery through the huge windows in the comfortable seats of the TranzAlpine Scenic Railway.   What a wonderful opportunity to take in the Canterbury Plains, the farms, the foothills to the mountains, the gorges, river valleys, and the jaw dropping snowcapped Southern Alps, even in summer. Or …

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Top 10 Favorite Places in New Zealand’s South Island

Top 10 New Zealand’s South Island

Want to know the best places to spend your time when in New Zealand’s South Island?

Lochmara pole carvingsAfter completing a trip of a lifetime, we are excited to share our favorites. Four and a half weeks in New Zealand’s South Island, and we can show you mountaintops, snow, beaches, oceans, wineries, seafood, varied history and culture.

This is the first article in a series on the top places to visit in New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific South Seas. Since there is so much to share, this first article will give an overview of our top 10 favorite places in New Zealand’s South Island. It will be followed by more in-depth information and photos about each of the top places we recommend and others, as well as those to avoid that are over-hyped. Continue reading

Ecuador’s Quilotoa Loop Adventure

A top spot on my Ecuador Bucket List was our Quilotoa Loop Adventure.  The draw was the many colorful indigenous populations and their markets, the perfect turquoise blue Quilotoa Lake, the art of the Tigua people, and the surrounding snow-capped Andean volcanoes.  Get the picture?  Here are a few.

The Quilotoa Loop

The Quilotoa Loop is a route around the lake’s remote back country towns off of the Pan-american Highway and Continue reading

New Hope, Great Entertainment, Food near NYC + Phila.

New Hope, PA, A Country Town

Most people spend only a day in New Hope, PA; there is so much to do around New Hope that you could easily spend a week in the area. Only about an hour from New York City or Philadelphia, whether you prefer Continue reading

Ecuador’s Andean Highlands Part 2 – Cotacachi, Papallacta, Atahualpa

Ecuador’s Andean Highlands – Part 2 – Cotacachi, Papallacta, Atahualpa

Not only do Cotacachi, Papallacta, Atahualpa offer exquisite views, local culture, and outdoor activities – both up close and at a distance – but there are also a series of micro climates that enable different types of farming at different altitudes. The micro climates enable production of everything from roses to Continue reading

Ecuador’s Diverse Distinct Regions

 Amazingly Diverse Distinct Regions in Ecuador

Peguche Waterfall - Ibarra

Peguche Waterfall

Ecuador is tiny. In the diverse distinct regions in Ecuador, you will find extreme beauty from its historic Andean cities to its nature. The nature of Ecuador consists of micro-climates from snow-capped peaks (there are 44 peaks with 14 active volcanoes) to humid jungles to warm coastal beaches.

It is home to: Continue reading

Traveling Ecuador

2 months Traveling in Ecuador

ecuador quito teleferico

Tom and I spent 2 months in 2015-2016 traveling the small but diverse country of Ecuador. On Tuesday of this week, as I was leaving the gym, a woman from my dance class asked, “Why did you choose Ecuador? It is an unusual choice.”

We loved the variety of experiences and enjoyed many of the local people we met in Ecuador.

Why choose Ecuador? 

Here are the reasons to visit Ecuador:  Continue reading

Costa Rica Travel Agents and Accommodations

As you may recall from other posts, our home base in Costa Rica was in Guanacaste, on the Pacific Coast.  Based on Costa Rica Travel Agents and Accommodations available, we chose the Playa del Coco area, and stayed quite a long walk from town at Ocotal Beach Resort.  We chose Ocotal because of the reputation of its dive operation.

Dive Shop recommended by Costa Rica Travel Agent

It is located on a beautiful site overlooking the Pacific, and not far from town by taxi.     Unobstructed View from Costa Rica Hotel Accommodations

Since we planned to dive and brought all of our dive gear, it was more convenient to rent one place for the whole time in Costa Rica. Then we did day trips or overnights to other areas, like San Jose, Arenal, and Tamarindo.  Volcano AheadSome people may think it is crazy to pay for 2 rooms, but it is much easier for us to choose our base, travel from there and only pack what we need.  (See our separate post for More on Diving in Costa Rica.)

Booking Accommodtions + Tours

The Costa Rica Accommodations that we chose for this trip were booked through Continue reading