Tag Archives: travel

Kiteboarding in Paros

The Greek island of Paros is a kitesurfing heaven. Beautiful, relaxed island with great, nearly constant, wind and crystal clear water. Here are some travel tips:

* Arrival – We arrived in Athens by place, took a bus from the airport to Pireaus  (1 hour), and continued with a fast afternoon ferry directly to the island (3 hours, ~50 Euros).

* The kiting beach is in Pounda, which is located in the laid back part of the island. There are two kite-surfing schools there, and I highly recommend Paros Kite. It has a very friendly atmosphere, their teaching staff seems very professionals and although we didn’t take any lessons, they happily let us use their place for pumping the kites, washing the gear and for a few Euros, also store our gear overnight.

* The real highlight of Paros Kite is their beach-front restaurant which has great music, good vibes and very descent food. That’s where you’ll spend your resting time between kiting sessions.

* We stayed in the kite surfers friendly Holiday Sun hotel. A beautiful beach spot, 800m from the kiting beach. Staff is very friendly, kiters get deep discounts, and room rates includes breakfast and dinner.

* Season is between April and September. Wind varies, but on the average is between 20-30 knots. We were less lucky last week, with wind drops down to 13 knots. Bring kites in different sizes. I used a 12m kite and a 9m one.

* Misc: it’s a great spot for beginners and experts alike. They have a rescue boat service so as a beginner, you never drift too far before someone is there to help you. Or, in my case, sudden 30 knots gust took me by surprise with a 12m kite, and I lost my board at sea. A board search mission was launched with a rescue board, with a happy ending.

* Other things to do: On a non-windy day we rented motorcycles and circled the island. Lots of beautiful spots, cute small towns and great restaurants. Opposite the kiting beach there is a cool small island called Anti Paros, a 15m ferry ride away. It has good restaurants, bars, shopping (or so my friends say, I fell asleep the night they went).

 

If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message or ask in the comments below.

The Best way to Travel from the USA to Japan

I plan on traveling to Japan next year, and I must get in really good shape. According to Google’s directions, soon after reaching Seattle, I have to Kayak about 6,000 miles before entering Japan.

I hope won’t get stuck in Hawaiian traffic 2,700 miles into my trip. I heard Highway 83 in Honolulu gets busy during rush hour.

Googla Maps USA to Japan

Thanks Roey for the link.

Tips for Winter Travel in Utah

Winter travel in Utah is amazing adventure. There is nothing like desert scenery with patches of white snow around you and on distant mountain tops and the solitude off-season provides for is a strong part of the experience: you have one of the world’s most beautiful playgrounds all for yourself.

As our short road trip comes to an end, I thought it would be worthwhile to provide several tips for Utah winter travel:

1. You must be lucky with the weather. Try praying, making good deeds prior to your departure, throwing dice or just relying on your luck: traveling in Utah is an outdoors adventure, and there is practically nothing to do if the gods of good weather are against you.

2. Everywhere but in the ski resorts, it’s off season. That means that you don’t need to book hotels in advance and you can negotiate rates on the spot. $80 a night will get you sleeping very comfortably in nice inns and motels along the way (this is as upscale as it gets in some of the small towns).

3. Off season also means that most tourism-related businesses are closed. Expect only very few restaurants open in the towns along the way, and make sure you go dining early – some places close as early as 7pm.

4. Unless it snowed heavily in the days prior to your trip, you’ll do well with a 2WD car in most places you want to visit.

5. As usual, we used the Lonely Planet South USA guide book, and were pleased with the breadth of information provided and the suggested activities.

6. It’s COLD! Bring warm clothes: on a typical day out we had a fleece, wind coat, gloves, scarf and a wool hat. We often had skiing underpants and undershirt on as extra measures of keeping ourselves warm.

7. Hiking. Most trails in the national parks are easily accessible and in very good shape. Although hiking boots look cool and will keep you warm, you will do well with sneakers on almost any trail you decide to do.

8. The best part of traveling in Utah in the winter is that you are ALONE. You practically have the huge national parks all for yourself, and the sense of grandeur and solitude does not get ruined by thousands of tourists. It makes you feel a bit less of a tourist yourself.

9. Another huge advantage is that… it’s cold :) It’s always better to layer up than finding yourself hiking in 40 degrees celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the Utah desert. Plus, the snowy mountain peaks add such an amazing backdrop to the vistas that when you are driving you feel like in real-world Outrun (the 80s video game).

Recommended Itinerary for a 7-10 days trip:

1. Moab. It’s a great base for exploring Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, which are absolutely amazing. Plan on spending a full day in each of the parks. End your Canyonlands day at Dead Horse Point, but don’t try the Thelma and louise maneuver.

Thelma and Louise

There are plenty of other places to see around Moab so you can easily spend an extra day or two in the area. If you are fit and a savvy mountain bike (or motorbike) rider – you will never forget the crazy Slick Rock trail. It has more than 100,000 visitors a year, but guess what, it’s winter and you’ll be there all alone!
SlickRock.jpg

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Tips for Traveling in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is one of the best hidden gems the US has to offer. A quick 4-hour flight from NY and less than $300 for a roundtrip ticket and you are swimming in the crystal clear water of the Caribbean.

Here are a few tips for a great Puerto Rico experience.

Miscellaneous

1. Puerto Rico is a small island. You can reach every point in the island in less than an hour and a half of driving from its capital, San Juan. If you are short on time, make San Juan your base and explore the island from there.

2. It’s the Caribbean, baby! Flip flops and shorts rule. I would bring one pair of Jeans and nice shoes for looking descent when exploring San Juan’s nightlife. Otherwise, dress casualmente.

3. It’s a driving island as public transport will get you nowhere. Enterprise had the best prices I could find. Roads are good and driving is fun, albeit a bit chaotic (for example, after midnight, it is supposedly legal to ignore traffic lights as long as the road is clear.)
Note (for US citizens): I recently discovered that my Continental Chase credit card covers the CDW portion of the car rental insurance, as long as I rented the car using the card. It saves you about $18 a day.

4. Lodging is not as cheap as I expected it to be. Unless you are renting a place for a week or more (vrbo.com has a good collection of vacation rentals), expect to pay ~$100 for a descent hotel. Hotwire got us the San Juan Sheraton for $100 and Priceline got us a cool beach front hotel in Isla Verde for $80.

5. Guidebooks: I am a big Lonely Planet fan, and It’s Puerto Rico guidebook served me well (although it’s wouldn’t hurt to refresh a bit its restaurant data). Most businesses in Puerto Rico have simple websites with their phone listed, and I would recommend calling whenever in doubt.

6. Puerto Rico is part of the US Commonwealth, which practically means it’s part of the US (no passport needed for American travelers).

San Juan Area

1. Old San Juan is one of the most beautiful colonial cities I have seen, with a lively atmosphere and a great vibe. It’s relatively small – 4-5 hours of casual walking will cover most of it’s attractions, but it’s a magical little place with great restaurants and cozy bars. San Juan beaches (Isla Verda, Ocean Park or Candado) are only a 15 minutes drive away, so even if you stay in that area – you’ll find yourself returning to the old city for lazy afternoon strolls and nice dinners.

In general, if you plan to stay a couple of days in the San Juan area and enjoy its beaches, I would recommend staying close to the beach (in Isla Verde or Ocean Park), and driving to the old city for daily/night excursions.

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Homeima Desert, Jordan, March 2008

A 4-days trip to the beautiful Jordanian desert.

And a video, courtesy of my mate Daniel Kutz: