Sunday, December 17, 2017

5 Reasons Why Kilimanjaro Should Be Your Next Climb

One-Of-A-Kind, All-in-One Trek

One of the most striking features of trekking up Kilimanjaro is the sheer diversity of flora and fauna, clearly distinguished into ecological zones based on the altitude and conditions of the area. Kilimanjaro is one of the only treks that will take you through terrains resembling equatorial climates as well as polar conditions. Beginning with dusty savannahs at the based, the trek meanders into dense rainforests by the second day. The next altitude hike opens into sub-alpine deserts and relatively scanty vegetation, only to be replaced by the glacial and alpine terrain near the summit, finally challenging the climber to traverse over Scree – loose gravel and pebble like ground. Many rightly say that the trek is like a walk from the Equator to the North Pole – all in one single week!

The reward exceeds the challenge

One of the friendliest features of this trek is the fact that you do not require any prior mountain climbing training to make it to the summit. While one must not underestimate the challenge of the entire climb, what this means is that anybody determined to push themselves physically and mentally can make this historic climb. In fact, the trek gets quite challenging during the final leg where the ground is laden with Scree, making every step forward more cumbersome over time. Add to this the impact of thinning oxygen and fatigue building up over time, making the climb a bit more treacherous physically. But the reward is immensely satisfying when you stand above the clouds and watch the sun warm the cradle of human civilisation, leave alone the countless sights you will come across along the way!

Be part of a special club

Speaking about successful climbers, more than 35,000 people attempt the historic climb, but only two-thirds of the climbers make it to the summit. Not only this, making the summit means you get to be part of an age-old tradition – climbers the make the summit write their experiences of the journey in a notebook left inside a wooden box at the Uhuru Peak. Get to the top, and record your tales in a book shared by climbers for decades! The diversity of people that make their way to the Uhuru Peak is stunning, and makes for a humbling climb, with the Uhuru Peak’s special tradition being the icing on the cake!

Visual wonders unlike ever before

The entire climb is filled with awe-inspiring visuals as well as some strange attractions. Once above the forest, the snowy peak will appear in great clarity, with a setting sun right behind it. Then you approach the Barranco Valley – the home of the strange looking alien-like groundsel plants that are specific to that area, black and white clubs monkeys, along with cascading waterfalls and a sparkling glacier overhead. As you ascend higher, the Karanga camp will offer you the opportunity of a lifetime – touching marshmallow clouds while standing above them, as you marvel at Meru – Kilimanjaro’s little sister in the distance. Finally, the peak offers views of sparkling glaciers and Mawenzi’s spikes breaking through the cloud cover. Such a variety of visuals is extremely rare within the same trek – something most climbers would agree with.

Catch the Vanishing Act

While recorded history has always found Kilimanjaro’s peak covered with a glacier, that might not be the case for very long. With the glacial ice atop Kilimanjaro demising at a rate of 17 feet every year, it could well be gone very soon! It is no surprise that 26% of the ice present in 2000 had vanished by 2007. So, make that trip as soon as possible to find that glorious ice cover atop the roof of Africa!

 

Top Stag Do Locations in Europe

With 65 top locations and thousands of activities to our name, us lot at Last Night of Freedom take stag dos seriously, without being too serious about it. We’ve organised over 25,000 successful weekends in our time – with Newcastle, Prague, Dublin, Budapest and Nottingham constantly topping our lists.

Newcastle holds its place at the number one spot year after year, and it’s no surprise why. The city has an unparalleled nightlife scene and draws in thousands of party animals every night of the week – including the stars of MTV’s Geordie Shore. Our Geordie homeland also boasts a wealth of awesome activities; including playing footie on the actual pitch at St James’ Park, facing the undead in a zombie apocalypse challenge and having a kick about with one of your childhood heroes – including Rob Lee, Steve Howey and Dietmar Hamann. If you’re after an in-depth insight into to stag weekends in Newcastle, make sure to check out our guide.

Coming in at number two, Prague is the Eastern European stalwart. Boasting a carefree ‘anything goes’ attitude, some of the most beautiful women on the planet and cheap as chips alcohol – it’s a stag do paradise. The chilled out summit of stag weekends has more clubs than you can shake a stick at, brushing shoulders with open-all-hours strip clubs, as well as a whole host of activities. You can fly passenger in a military fighter jet and even practice your shooting skills with some of the most lethal weaponry on the planet.

Budapest has an incredible reputation under its belt, alongside some of the cheapest alcohol prices in Europe. The price of a pint of beer will blow your mind, starting at the equivalent of 50p… Beer aside, the Hungarian capital boasts some seriously unique activities; we’re talking Trabant treks, bobsleighing and even the world-famous Szechenyi Thermal Baths.

The southern Irish gem, Dublin, is a regular on the stag do scene. As the birthplace of Guinness, Jameson’s Whiskey and the biggest and best St Paddy’s Day celebrations – is it any surprise? Of course, it wouldn’t be an Irish stag do without touring the breweries and exploring the likes of Grafton Street and Temple Bar, but you can even take part in a spot of rafting on the River Liffey or even try your hand at the Gaelic Games. For more epic stag do ideas in Dublin, take a look at our ultimate Dublin stag do guide.

Robin Hood’s playground, Nottingham, has long been a top stag do destination. Shepherd your band of merry men to Sherwood Forest and fire bow and arrows, or tear around the countryside in an adrenaline-pumping tank ride, before hitting the epic stag do nightlife scene. We recommend sorting yourselves with entry into some of the legendary bars, pubs and clubs in the Lace Market, and seeing where the night takes you.

The Big Island, a Big Thrill!

 

Hawaii is one of those destinations that most people picture as perfection, paradise, and an earth-based heaven. When you do a little research into it, it’s no wonder that people picture this US state in this way, it literally is perfection!

When visiting the Big Island, renting one of the Big Island villas is certainly one of the most laid-back ways to enjoy your time, and there are countless locations where you can choose to base yourself during your stay.

First things first though, let’s talk a little about this large and charming island, and explore it in a bit more detail.

The Island of Hawaii is the official name, but because Hawaii is made up of several islands, to avoid confusion it has been called the Big Island. The name suggests that this is the biggest island in the archipelago, and that is true, because it covers over half of the total land amount of the entire state. It’s worth remembering that Hawaii is part of the USA, and isn’t a country in its own right. This means that anyone visiting needs to look into USA visa entry rules according to their own country of origin. For many, this will be applying for an online visa, e.g. the ESTA, so check whether your country is part of this arrangement. If not, it may be that you need to apply for a more formal visa, which can be time-consuming, so do this ahead of time.

Officialities aside, the Big Island is special in many ways. Not only is it large and stunningly beautiful, but it is much more about nature than any of the other islands are. The Big Island is home to the largest volcano in the world which is currently active, held within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This is a sight to behold, and a helicopter ride over the park is one of the most iconic things you can do during your stay. On top of this, the island is also home to the largest mountain on the planet in terms of volume, called Mauna Loa, and also the tallest mountain on the planet, when measured from the sea base to the peak, called Mauna Kea. These are all pretty amazing sights to check out!

Of course, and island of this side has various destinations within it, so you need to explore these in order to find the best place for you. The eastern part of the island is called Hilo and this is on the Windward coast. This part of the island has more rain than the other parts, and because of that you will notice a change in the scenic landscape as you move across it. The black volcanic sand gives away to lush green vegetation and rainforests, with many waterfalls, as you move along, and this is a beautiful sight to see.

On the opposite side of the island, in the west, you will find less rain. This part of the island is called Kona, and this is where there are many water-based activities to enjoy. Whilst Hawaii is known for its surfing, the Big Island doesn’t have the biggest waves in the archipelago, so it is ideal for anyone who wants to learn this skill with less in the way of impact! There are also dolphin and whale watching opportunities here, and fantastic snorkelling conditions too.

Kohala is in the north-west and this is where you will find plentiful luxury resorts to enjoy. There are some fantastic golf courses here too, so if you’re a golf enthusiast, or you want to totally kick back and relax in luxurious surroundings, this is the part of the island for you! In the north east you will find a more natural vibe, namely Hamakua. Take a helicopter tour over the Waipi’o Valley to check out the amazing scenery, or head out on a day hike if you’re feeling energetic.

Finally, we have Puna. This is a part of the island which has newly formed volcanic landscapes to check out, thanks to an eruption a few years ago. This is certainly something quite special to see for yourself, despite the fact that this is a more remote part to visit. The ever-changing landscapes are breath-taking.

If you’re torn between the various Hawaiian islands, it’s definitely worth doing some research into all of them, to make sure you’re heading towards the right decision. Having said that, the Big Island is certainly the most dramatic in terms of Mother Nature’s might. The huge volcanoes you will see in the national park are something that you simply cannot miss, and if you’re into nature in even the slightest, you’ll find a landscape that will call out to your interest and awe without having to look too far. Of course, there are plentiful vacation activities to enjoy too, such as learning to surf, snorkel, walking, horse-back riding, shopping, nightlife, golf, and learning all about Hawaiian culture too, which makes the Big Island the perfect choice for anyone who wants to enjoy their time, without mass tourism.

Despite the fact that Hawaii overall is one of those bucket list destinations, the costs of visiting are much lower than they have been in the past. This is fantastic news for anyone who is wanting to make their dream a very real reality, with much more opportunity than ever before.

Royal Madrid

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You are faced with several potential problems when you decide to venture to a new city. Now, these potential problems should certainly not stop you from visiting new places, they should be embraced and used as challenges, but you do need to find out the information you require before you jet off.

What sort of things are we talking about?

Where to stay, the location of your hotel to avoid too much commuting, where to visit, where to eat, how to save money, and of course, how to get from the airport to your hotel, in the quickest amount of time, and for the lowest cost.

These are all things which can be answered with research, and for that the Internet is your friend! In terms of getting from airports to hotels, there are often many different options available. It really depends which city you are visiting, but if you’re considering heading to the Spanish capital, to check out all the royal grandeur, as well as checking out the home of Real Madrid, the new Champions League winners, then you need to put some effort into figuring out how you’re going to get around.

The airport isn’t that far from the main centre of the city, but it is far enough to cause an issue if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are shuttles and taxis, but come on, this is a city of royalty and history, so you want to do it all in style! For that reason, hiring a limo as a Madrid airport transfer, to pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel in the most comfortable and glamourous way is surely the way to go! This is a cheaper option than you might even know.

The Spanish capital is certainly a city that requires an exploration, but in order to get the most out of your time then you need to do some planning first. The royal architecture and the many large public plazas are fantastic for photography opportunities, and there is also a very bright and varied amount of nightlife to enjoy, as well as shopping for all budgets. Of course, if you love football or soccer, then the Bernabeu Stadium is a must do, and something you should definitely book a tour of.

Put simply, like any large city, especially a capital city, Madrid is a large and varied place to head to, and that means checking out your options in terms of things to see and do. In order to get the most out of your time, research is key.

See Mongolia in The Best Possible Way

Visiting a far-flung destination should always be done with planning in mind. If you don’t tick off the boxes that need to be ticked, then that means you run the risk of avoiding a part of the region that really should be explored! The whole point of going somewhere different is to do something different in the process. How can you do that? A good starting point is in how you’re going to explore it.

You could move around the region in many different ways, but have you given much thought to one of the many motorcycle tours on offer? You can explore most regions of the world in this way, but how about doing it on the back of a vintage motorcycle? Even better!

You don’t need a huge amount of motorcycle experience to enjoy this kind of tour, but the major plus point is that your tour is pre-designed by someone with expert knowledge, so you can rest assured that you’re seeing all the highlights, and in the easiest and most fulfilling possible way too!

Motorcycle tours in Mongolia is becoming very popular, and when you do a little research into what there is to see in this beautiful country, it’s no surprise that more and more people are venturing off to explore in this way. The capital, and the usual starting point, is Ulaanbaatar, and this is also within easy reach of the most popular area for tourism too, Arkhangai. Starting in this point means you get to tick off a lot of sights from the get-go, but there is plenty more to see as you go further afield, perhaps into Western Mongolia, with Lake Uvs Nuur and the Tavan Bodg Mountains, and their seriously impressive natural beauty. The town of Erdenet is where you will find copper mines which are measured to be the biggest in the world, and then we have the Gobi region, which is desert and seriously wild.

The best way to see Mongolia is undoubtedly in freedom, and that puts motorcycle riding right at the top of the list. The passing landscapes are breath-taking, and with the unique culture at your fingertips, this two-wheeled adventure is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives, at the very least!

These types of tours are also available in many other parts of the world, so once you have completed one tour, you will probably want to explore somewhere else next!

Buy Your Glasses, Plant a Tree!

The environment is something we should all be paying major attention to these days. Humans have wreaked havoc on the planet for the last few decades, and its only now that the effects are coming to the fore, therefore raising our attention to the cause.

There are many things you can do, to do your bit to try and rewind a little of that damage, or at least preserve the planet for a little longer in a better condition, but some of them you might not even think about! Vision Direct have come up with a rather ingenious campaign, called the Buy one Plant One Campaign, which basically means whenever you buy a pair of designer glasses from their funky Oh My Woodness! Collection, you’re helping deforestation recovery efforts in Nepal, Madagascar, and Haiti.

These are some of the worst hit regions of the world, and when you think about Madagascar alone, this is a country which is home to some of the most weird and wonderful indigenous wildlife, flora and fauna. When it is gone, it is literally gone for good, so every effort should be put into protecting it for future generations to enjoy, and for the planet’s benefit.vision2

These glasses are not only seriously fashionable, but they also tick your vision needs, and you can browse the collection online, from the comfort of your armchair. Not only will you know that you have done your bit, with a tree planted in one of these deforestation-hit countries, but you will also look pretty good as a result too!

Looking after your vision is as important as looking after the planet, of course. Eyes are precious, and for that reason it is certainly worth looking into high quality glasses to support your visual needs for as long as you need it. Shopping around will find you the best deals, but online is certainly the place to go. Whereas once upon a time it used to be all about the High Street, nowadays more and more of us are realising the benefits of finding our top glasses choices via the World Wide Web. Of course, if you can help save the planet in the meantime, that’s all the better, and some serious karma points in the bank for you!

Check out the collection online and see if you can find a pair from the range which call out to you. With a variety of styles on offer, there is certainly something there to help you take advantage of the planet-saving benefits of this campaign.

Sample The Laid Back Charm of San Diego

Cities are usually fast paced places which are certainly not the best choices for anyone who wants to relax! Of course, this is good if you’re wanting a destination which is frenetic, fun, and always showing you something different, but what if you want a little middle ground?

San Diego is a great choice of city for anyone who wants all the perks of being in a large urban sprawl, but also for those searching for a slower pace of life, perhaps even described as laid back.

Located on the Pacific Ocean coastline in glittering Southern California, there is scenery at every glance, as well as being packed with history, fantastic nightlife, shopping, culture, and beaches. San Diego is also famous for being one of the land border crossing areas into Mexico, and there is a lot of Mexican culture on offer here too, which you would expect from a city that is very close to the Mexican city of Tijuana.

Getting around the city isn’t difficult, because the laid back vibe extends to its public transport too, but if you want to really get into the chilled out way of life, how about upping the ante a little and hiring a limo to take you from the airport to your hotel? This isn’t anywhere near as expensive as you might be thinking, and it certainly starts your break in the right manner! Can you imagine the envious glances?

The districts of San Diego are all subtly different in their own right, so it’s definitely a must do to try and get around a few of them. Downtown is obviously where the main tourist attractions and nightlife options are located, as well as the site of many hotels too. Having said that, Balboa Park should certainly be on your visit list. This is the second largest urban park on the planet, and it is home to the world famous San Diego Zoo, as well as plenty of museums and space to roam. Hillcrest is just a stone’s throw from the park and has plenty to keep everyone occupied too.

For some Mexican culture, you should be heading to Old Town. This is quite a touristic area, but it is certainly a wonderful blend between USA culture and Mexican vibes too.

Throughout all of this however, you are on the glittering Pacific Ocean coastline so of course you want to head to the beach! Point Loma and Ocean Beach are very picturesque and laid back, whereas Pacific Beach is one of the more busy options, as well as being the home of Sea World.

This is just a very brief overview of what San Diego has to offer, and there is plenty more besides!

Fashion or Just Vision?

How much importance do you place on your glasses?

That might sound like a ridiculous question, because we all know that vision is important, and therefore of course glasses are vital – but, do you think much about the fashion side of things?

More and more of us are choosing to buy our Glasses NZ, because not only is that where we get the best deals, but this is also where the greatest choice is found too. Whether you’re looking for prescription sunglasses or regular frames, there is a choice to suit you, and this also means that you can really search for the best pair to suit your needs.

If you’ve ever ventured to a High Street optician and attempted to find your ideal pair of frames, then you will understand the frustration that this can bring. Not only are you often followed around by a ‘helpful’ member of staff, who seems very keen to give you their expert opinion, but you can often feel rushed into purchasing a set of frames that aren’t really right for you. The perk of buying your frames online means that you have time to really think about the decision, and let’s be fair about this, your glasses are as much a fashion statement as your clothes!

The huge range of women’s glasses online, as well as men and children’s means that you can really find something to suit you and your face shape. This is not a one size fits all kind of deal, and that means time and effort into the whole process!

So, the next time you’re needing to purchase a new pair of specs, it’s time to think about the whole process in a different way. The High Street is on its way out, and everything is now done online.

Costa Rica and the Growing Dental Tourism Industry

Central American Country is Now a Major Provider of Costa Rica Dental Implants

Gone are the days when Costa Rica was known for just coffee and banana plantations. In the last two decades, tourism has become a major source of income for Costa Rica, with a substantial share coming from dental tourism. Dental implants, crowns, and bridges have become popular among patients from America and other Western countries due to their low cost and high quality.

Dentists in Costa Rica are highly qualified, and some of them have even been trained in the U.S. In addition, many clinics that provide Costa Rica dental implants also have an English-speaking staff, thanks to the high literacy rate in Costa Rica.

Dental Implants: a Growing Industry in Costa Rica

There are various factors that make Costa Rica a hub for dental tourism. To be concise, visiting Costa Rica enables you to get world-class dental care while also getting a vacation in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. All this for less than half the price of what you would normally pay for dental procedures in the U.S. or Canada.

Other reasons include:

Highly Qualified Dentists

Dentists in Costa Rica are some of the finest you will find anywhere. The best ones have been trained in the U.S. and Europe, and they have expertise in all sorts of procedures. In addition, reputable clinics in Costa Rica (like Prisma Dental) are state-of-the-art, often importing dental equipment from the US.

Specialization

Following from the previous point, you can easily find specialists for your dental needs in Costa Rica, e.g. orthodontists, endodontists, oral surgeons and cosmetic dentists. The reputed doctors are affiliated to international institutions, so you don’t have to worry about their training and expertise.

Patient Care

Patients who have been treated by dentists in Costa Rica will testify to the amazing personal care they received. The staff at Prisma Dental and other such facilities are usually bilingual and they are trained to be welcoming and courteous to foreigners.

Misconceptions About and Preparations for Dental Tourism in Costa Rica

Two of the most common misconceptions regarding dental tourism in Costa Rica are as follows: i) The quality of healthcare will be substandard, and ii) the doctors will not be qualified enough.

Scrutiny is always good, especially when your health is involved. But as we noted above, reputable clinics and doctors thrive in Costa Rica. The best part is that you can easily research all relevant information online. This includes the qualification of your doctor, the cost of treatment, and travel plans.

But do note that while you are saving money on dental tourism, it is also always a good idea to insure your trip. This will offer you protection if, for example you can’t recoup your cancelled trip fees or if you become a victim of malpractice.

Finally, when you are going abroad for treatment, you should ask your dentist to send test results and X-rays to the overseas clinic before your appointment, and you should also take some copies with you.

All in all, travelling for Costa Rica dental implants and/or related services is a great way to experience the best of the dental tourism industry.

 

Looking for Paradise?

Everyone’s idea of paradise is different, and because of that you will find everyone saying they have their own version of the P word in a destination, probably heading back there time and time again. Despite that, there are some places on this planet of ours which everyone agrees on, perhaps Bali, or the Caribbean, for example.

Have you heard of Lord Howe Island?

If not, you’re missing out on paradise for sure!

Lord Howe Island is located around 600km off the coast of Australia, and it can be easily reached by plane from Sydney, Brisbane, and Port Macquarie. This stunningly beautiful island has been a World Heritage Site since 1982, and once visit, or even a Google of its images, will show you exactly why!

If you’re searching for a destination which is secluded, feels cut off from the world (in a good way), ideal for R&R, and blindingly beautiful all at the same time, then this is your stop-off point. There are many places you can stay on the island in total and utter relaxation, and Pinetrees Lodge is the total epitome of seclusion and luxury. For a special occasion, or perhaps even just a break from the busy and hectic pace of life back home, this is your number one option.

A destination which is so laid back may come across as a little boring, but Lord Howe Island certainly has enough to keep all ages occupied, with most activities being outdoors. If you love diving, there are some top class opportunities here, with snorkelling and fishing fantastic options too. You can walk around the coastline, taking in the amazing sunsets perhaps, or you can head off on your bike and cycle around the set trails. If you want to learn how to surf, or continue your hobby, this is a great place to give it a go, and you can also chill the hell out on one of the world class golf courses too.

If you need proof of the total and utterly luxury and beauty of Lord Howe Island, Pinetrees was voted as the ‘Best Affordable Resort in Australia’ in November 2014 by readers of the popular Australian Traveller Magazine. That is great news for anyone who is on a bit of a budget but who still wants to enjoy the same level of luxury, pampering, and R&R as the rather rich!

Lord Howe Island has that true castaway vibe about it, from the moment you arrive, and if you attempt to let your cares or worries follow you here then you’re making a huge mistake; having said that, it’s virtually impossible to be stressed about anything when you are surrounded by natural beauty at this level!

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