End of the World Train, First Class – Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa – Ushuaia, Patagonia, Argentina 🇦🇷

 

End of the World Train, First Class: A truly unique experience only for the lucky guests of Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa.

Let your imagination run wild along the valleys and the flavors of Patagonia. The End of the World Train offers a different way to get to know Ushuaia and the National Park, discovering Ensenada Bay and the shores of the Beagle Channel with sightings of the Hoste and Navarino islands, Lake Acigami (Lake Roca) and passing past the Mirador Bahía Lapataia.

Treasure the unique views of Fuegian forests and mountains as seen from this vantage point. A surprise waits at the end of the road. Looking for another option to delight your palate? The Train first-class rate includes an exclusive gastronomic service offering Andean food specialties.

Ushuaia, Patagonia, Argentina 🇦🇷

A busy port and adventure hub, Ushuaia is a sliver of steep streets and jumbled buildings below the snowcapped Martial Range. Here the Andes meets the famed Beagle Channel in a sharp skid, making way for the city before reaching a sea of lapping currents.

Ushuaia takes full advantage of its end-of-the-world status, and an increasing number of Antarctica-bound vessels call into its port. The town’s mercantile hustle knows no irony: there’s a souvenir shop named for Jimmy Button (a Fuegian native taken for show in England) and the ski center is named for the destructive invasive castor (beaver). That said, with a pint of the world’s southernmost microbrew in hand, you can happily plot the outdoor options: hiking, sailing, skiing, kayaking and even scuba diving.

Tierra del Fuego’s comparatively high wages draw Argentines from all over, and some locals lament the lack of urban planning and loss of small-town culture.

Patagonia, Argentina 🇦🇷

On South America’s southern frontier, nature grows wild, barren and beautiful. Spaces are large, as are the silences that fill them. For the newly arrived, such emptiness can be as impressive as the sight of Patagonia’s jagged peaks, pristine rivers and dusty backwater oases. In its enormous scale, Patagonia offers an innumerable wealth of potential experiences and landscapes.

Though no longer a dirt road, lonely RN 40 remains the iconic highway that stirred affection in personalities as disparate as Butch Cassidy and Bruce Chatwin. On the eastern seaboard, paved RN 3 shoots south, connecting oil boomtowns with ancient petrified forests, Welsh settlements and the incredible Península Valdés. Then there is the other, trendy Patagonia where faux-fur hoodies outnumber the guanacos. Don’t miss the spectacular sights of El Calafate and El Chaltén, but remember that they’re a world apart from the solitude of the steppe.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

http://www.loscauquenes.com/en/

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/argentina/tierra-del-fuego/ushuaia/introduction

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/argentina/patagonia/introduction

 

 

Swimming with Whale Sharks – Thanda Luxury Private Island – Tanzania 🇹🇿

 

You have exclusive use of the Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve surrounding Thanda Island and a superb choice of water and marine activities. A boathouse full of equipment is yours to enjoy, and a boatman is dedicated to you as your personal guide.

Swimming with Whale Sharks
One of the most emotional and spectacular ocean wonders you can ever experience is being up close with a whale shark, which can grow to an astonishing 18 metres.

These absolutely harmless, gentle giants – the largest fish in the world – are an incredible part of the Thanda Island experience and in the area from October to March. You can either swim with them or you can view them from the luxury adventure vessel, ably commandeered by a trusted captain.

At the same time you’ll be invited to participate to the citizen science programme where the photographs that you take of the whale sharks can be uploaded to ecoocean.org and whaleshark.org. Photo identification of the whale sharks, each with a unique pattern or ‘fingerprint’, is used to study their little known feeding, migratory and breeding patterns. To retain your memories of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, the marine guides are equipped with GoPro cameras to record your time with the whale sharks.

Tanzania 🇹🇿

Wildlife, beaches, friendly people, fascinating cultures, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Mt Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar – Tanzania has all these and more wrapped up in one adventurous, welcoming package.

Idyllic Beaches

Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coastline is magical, with tranquil islands and sleepy coastal villages steeped in centuries of Swahili culture. Travel back in time to the days when the East African coast was the seat of sultans and a linchpin in a far-flung trading network extending to Persia, India and beyond. Relax on powdery beaches backed by palms and the occasional baobab; take in gentle, pastel-hued sunrises; immerse yourself in languid coastal rhythms; and sit beneath the billowing sails of a wooden dhow, listening to the creaking of its rigging.

Wonderful Wildlife

More than almost any other destination, Tanzania is the land of safaris. Wildebeest stampede across the plains. Hippos jostle for space in muddy waterways. Elephants wander along seasonal migration routes and chimpanzees swing through the treetops. Throughout the country, there are unparalleled opportunities to experience this natural wealth: take a boat safari down the Rufiji River past snoozing crocodiles in Selous Game Reserve; watch giraffes silhouetted against ancient baobab trees in Ruaha National Park; sit motionless as waterbirds peck in the shallows around Rubondo Island; and hold your breath while a lion pads in front of your vehicle in Ngorongoro Crater.

Mt Kilimanjaro

Sending its shadow across Tanzania’s northern plains, Mt Kilimanjaro beckons visitors with its graceful, forested flanks and stately snow-capped summit. It is Africa’s highest peak and one of the world’s highest free-standing mountains. It is also home to the Chagga people, and to a wealth of birds and wildlife. Climbers by the thousands venture here to challenge themselves on its muddy slopes, rocky trails and slippery scree. The rewards: the thrill of standing at the top of Africa; magnificent views of Kilimanjaro’s ice fields; and witnessing the sunrise illuminating the plains far below.

Captivating Cultures

Wherever you go in Tanzania, opportunities abound for getting to know the country’s people and cultures. Meet red-cloaked Maasai warriors. Spend time with semi-nomadic Barabaig near Mt Hanang. Experience the hospitality of a local meal and the rhythms of traditional dance. Chat and barter at local markets in the Usambara Mountains. More than anything else, it is the Tanzanian people – with their characteristic warmth and politeness, and the dignity and beauty of their cultures – that make visiting Tanzania so memorable. Chances are you’ll want to come back for more, to which most Tanzanians will say ‘karibu tena’ (welcome again).

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

http://www.thandaisland.com

https://www.lhw.com/hotel/Thanda-Island-Shungimbili-Island-District-Mafia-Island-Tanzania?colc=newhotels_new-to-the-membership_newest-hotels

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/tanzania/

Langkawi Cable Car – The Danna Langkawi – Langkawi, Malaysia 🇲🇾

The Langkawi SkyCab, or more commonly known as Langkawi Cable Car is just 5 minutes drive from The Danna Langkawi. Located on the oldest part of Southeast Asia where the ancient sea emerged into a delta, it is not only the steepest cable car ride in the world but also the longest free span mono-cable car!

Be ready to experience an exhilarating journey as you are hovered over some lush jungles and 550 million years old rocks of Machicang Mountain! The highest platform of the cable car is 708 meters above sea level where you can appreciate spectacular 360 degrees panoramic views of the Langkawi islands and Southern Thailand.

The Langkawi SkyCab also offers other interesting leisure activities such as SkyTrails, SkyDome, 6D Cinemotion, F1 Simulator, the largest 3D interactive art museum in Malaysia and more.

Langkawi, Malaysia 🇲🇾

Langkawi is synonymous with ‘tropical paradise’. Since 2008 the archipelago’s official title has been Langkawi Permata Kedah (Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah), no doubt inspired by the island’s clear waters, relatively pristine beaches and intact jungle. The district has been duty free since 1987 and pulling in tourists well before that. Yet, despite their immense drawing power, these 99 islands, dominated by 478.5-sq-km Pulau Langkawi, have not been overdeveloped beyond recognition. Get just a little way off the main beaches and this is idyllic rural Malaysia, with traditional kampung(villages) and a laid-back vibe. It’s the kind of tropical island where there’s no lack of spas, seafood restaurants and beach bars, but where the locals continue to go about their ways just as they have for generations.

Malaysia is like two countries in one, cleaved in half by the South China Sea. While peninsula flaunts bustling cities, colonial architecture, misty tea plantations and chill-out islands, Malaysian Borneo hosts wild jungles of orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes, along with some pretty spectacular diving. Throughout these two regions is an impressive variety of microcosms ranging from the space-age high-rises of Kuala Lumpur to the traditional longhouse villages of Sarawak.

If there was one thing that unites all its pockets of ethnicities, religions and landscapes, it’s food. Between the Chinese-Malay ‘Nonya’ fare, Indian curries, Chinese buffets, Malay food stalls and Dayak specialties, with some impressive Western-style food thrown in for good measure, travellers will never go hungry here.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

http://www.thedanna.com

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/peninsular-malaysia-west-coast/pulau-langkawi/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/

Zipline Eco Adventures – The Danna Langkawi – Langkawi, Malaysia 🇲🇾

Only a short 2-minute drive from The Danna Langakwi to one of the oldest rainforests on the planet, Umgawa Legendary Adventures’ eco-adventure canopy treetop zipline tour is an exhilarating way to experience the rainforest, learn of Langkawi’s natural treasures in a fun, educational, safe, but adventurous outing.

This is not your typical zipline course; see views of Langkawi, Telaga Tujuh Waterfall (Seven Wells Waterfall), the Andaman Sea, the Matchinchang Cambrian Geoforest and more, those that can’t be seen or experienced from anywhere else on the island.

See flying primates called Colugos, Dusky Monkeys, Langkawi’s famous hornbill, nesting and feeding its young, or take in some of Langkawi’s stunning, exotic flora as you glide through a carefully designed and planned eco-tour.

Langkawi, Malaysia 🇲🇾

Langkawi is synonymous with ‘tropical paradise’. Since 2008 the archipelago’s official title has been Langkawi Permata Kedah (Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah), no doubt inspired by the island’s clear waters, relatively pristine beaches and intact jungle. The district has been duty free since 1987 and pulling in tourists well before that. Yet, despite their immense drawing power, these 99 islands, dominated by 478.5-sq-km Pulau Langkawi, have not been overdeveloped beyond recognition. Get just a little way off the main beaches and this is idyllic rural Malaysia, with traditional kampung(villages) and a laid-back vibe. It’s the kind of tropical island where there’s no lack of spas, seafood restaurants and beach bars, but where the locals continue to go about their ways just as they have for generations.

Malaysia is like two countries in one, cleaved in half by the South China Sea. While peninsula flaunts bustling cities, colonial architecture, misty tea plantations and chill-out islands, Malaysian Borneo hosts wild jungles of orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes, along with some pretty spectacular diving. Throughout these two regions is an impressive variety of microcosms ranging from the space-age high-rises of Kuala Lumpur to the traditional longhouse villages of Sarawak.

If there was one thing that unites all its pockets of ethnicities, religions and landscapes, it’s food. Between the Chinese-Malay ‘Nonya’ fare, Indian curries, Chinese buffets, Malay food stalls and Dayak specialties, with some impressive Western-style food thrown in for good measure, travellers will never go hungry here.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

http://www.thedanna.com

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/peninsular-malaysia-west-coast/pulau-langkawi/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/

 

Lava Flow Meets the Ocean – Four Seasons Resort Hualalai – Big Island, Hawaii, USA 🇺🇸

 

Take to the air for an unforgettable private charter of Hawaii Island’s majestic convergences of earth, fire and water during an adventure offered exclusively by Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Lifting off from the Resort’s golf course, you’ll ascend to new heights on a flight over the northern Kohala Mountains to see skyscraper-high waterfalls, hidden valleys, black-sand beaches and working ranches. Land in an exclusive-access area for a secluded catered picnic lunch beside one of the cascades, and then head south for a guided hike to Kamokuna, the point inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park where more than a million gallons of lava flow into the ocean every hour, expanding the island of Hawaii along its southeast coast.

One of the world’s leading volcanologists will join your group after the hike for the next leg of your trip over Kilauea Volcano, one of the youngest and most active volcanoes in the world. From 1,000 to 5,000 feet (305 to 1524 metres) above ground level, you’ll see lava actively flowing and hear stories about how this volcano – erupting continuously since 1983 – has affected the land, towns and people in the area.

After landing near the volcano, you’ll meet your dedicated Four Seasons Volcano Ambassador, who’ll chauffeur you via luxury SUV to your home away from home for the evening: the Four Seasons Rainforest Cottage Hideaway. The 1,800-square-foot (167-square-metre), two-level Cottage with fireplace, a flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, and an outdoor sauna house, whirlpool and showers is specially outfitted and staffed by Four Seasons just for your adventure. Sip handcrafted cocktails while enjoying a pre-dinner show of live Hawaiian music and hula dancing. After you dine on a personalized meal prepared by Four Seasons chefs, retreat to the lanai for s’mores. Close out the evening with a night visit to the Kilauea Caldera overlook with your Volcano Ambassador to witness the volcano’s glowing lava against the dark backdrop of volcanic rock fields.

The next morning, awake to the sounds of exotic rainforest birds and to a chef-prepared breakfast. Afterwards, you’ll lift off for another helicopter excursion of the Kau Coast. You’ll see the southernmost point of the United States, coastal communities, the Kona coffee district, the volcano rift zone and, from approximately December to May, humpback whales. Before returning to the rain forest’s edge and Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, touch down on an expanse of secluded beach that’s hard to reach except by helicopter and spend a few hours relaxing, snorkelling and sipping mimosas.

Big Island, Hawaii, USA 🇺🇸

Indulge your spirit of adventure on the biggest Hawaiian island. It’s still a vast frontier, full of unexpected wonders.

Island Diversity

We doubt that it’s possible to get ‘island fever’ on Hawaiʻi. The aptly named Big Island is fantastically diverse, with miles of highways – and, better yet, byways – to explore. Eight of the world’s 13 climate zones exist here, adding sensory variety as you circumnavigate the island. Gaze at vivid emerald cliffs, swaths of black-, white- and even green-sand beaches, majestic volcanic mountains (possibly snowcapped!), stark lava desert, rolling pastureland and misty valleys, weathered by rain, waves and time. Hawaiʻi is twice as big as the other Hawaiian Islands combined, and its dramatic terrain is ever fascinating.

Ancient History & Modern Multiculturalism

Ancient history looms large on Hawaiʻi, a place of powerful mana (spiritual essence). The first Polynesians landed at Ka Lae, the windswept southern tip, still raw and undeveloped today. Kamehameha the Great, who unified the Hawaiian Islands, was born in Kohala and died in Kailua-Kona. Hula and oli (chant) are deep-rooted here, and Miloli‘i on the Kona Coast is perhaps the last Hawaiian fishing village. During the sugarcane era, traditional ways became intertwined with those of immigrant cultures: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese and more. This legacy is palpable in the mix of languages, foods and festivals. The most striking element of this multiculturalism is the pidgin vernacular.

Roads Less Traveled

Thanks to its sheer size, Hawaiʻi has lots of legroom. Enjoy the delicious freedom of the open road, where the journey becomes the main attraction. From east to west, the island has multiple personalities, and it’s worthwhile experiencing them all. While the ‘Gold Coast’ – South Kohala to Kailua-Kona – caters to travelers en masse, most island towns are rural and exist primarily for residents. Even the capital seat, Hilo, is a former plantation town that’s still slow-paced and populated by kamaʻaina (people born and raised here). Ultimately this down-home localness marks the real Hawai‘i. Don’t miss it.

Volcanic Wonders

Less than a million years old, Hawaiʻi is a baby in geological terms. Here you’ll find the Hawaiian Islands’ tallest, largest and only active volcanic mountains. Kilauea, on the eastern side, is the world’s most active volcano, spewing molten lava continuously since 1983. If you see glowing, red-hot lava, you are witnessing Earth in the making, a thrilling and humbling experience. At 33,000ft tall when measured from the ocean floor, Mauna Kea is the world’s tallest mountain, and its significance cannot be overstated – as a sacred place to Hawaiians and a top astronomical site to scientists.

Hawaii, USA 🇺🇸

It’s easy to see why Hawaii has become synonymous with paradise. Just look at these sugary beaches, Technicolor coral reefs and volcanoes beckoning adventurous spirits.

Island Style

Floating all by itself in the middle of the Pacific, Hawaii proudly maintains its own distinct identity apart from the US mainland. Spam, shave ice, surfing, ukulele and slack key guitar music, hula, pidgin, aloha shirts, ‘rubbah slippah’ (flip-flops) – these are just some of the touchstones of everyday life, island style. Pretty much everything here feels easygoing, low-key and casual, bursting with genuine aloha and fun. You’ll be equally welcome whether you’re a globe-trotting surf bum, a beaming couple of fresh-faced honeymooners or a big, multigenerational family with rambunctious kids.

Modern Multiculturalism

Hawaii is as proud of its multicultural heritage as it is of former US President Barack Obama, who was born in Honolulu on Oʻahu. On these Hawaiian Islands, the descendants of ancient Polynesians, European explorers, American missionaries and Asian plantation immigrants mix and mingle. What’s remarkable about contemporary Hawaii is that harmonious multiculturalism is the rule, not the exception. Boisterous arts and cultural festivals keep diverse community traditions alive, from Hawaiian outrigger canoe races to Japanese taiko drumming. Come here to see what the future of the USA could be.

Play Outside

Just as in days of old, life in Hawaii is lived outdoors. Whether it’s surfing, swimming, fishing or picnicking with the ʻohana (extended family and friends), encounters with nature are infused with the traditional Hawaiian value of aloha ʻaina – love and respect for the land.

Go hiking across ancient lava flows and down fluted pali (sea cliffs). Learn to surf, the ancient Hawaiian sport of ‘wave sliding,’ and then snorkel or dive with giant manta rays and sea turtles. Kayak to a deserted offshore island or hop aboard a whale-watching cruise. Back on land, ride horseback with paniolo, Hawaii’s cowboys.

Natural Beauty

Snapshots of these islands scattered in the cobalt blue Pacific Ocean are heavenly, without the need for any embellishment by tourist brochures. Sunrises and sunsets are so spectacular that they’re cause for celebration all by themselves, such as atop Haleakalā volcano on Maui. As tropical getaways go, Hawaii couldn’t be easier or more worth the trip, though be aware that visiting these Polynesian isles isn’t always cheap. But whether you’re dreaming of swimming in crystal waterfall pools or lazing on golden-sand beaches, you can find what you’re looking for here.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

http://www.fourseasons.com/hualalai/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/hawaii/hawaii-the-big-island/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/hawaii/

 

“O” by Cirque du Soleil – Bellagio – Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 🇺🇸

 

O is a water-themed stage production by Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian circus and entertainment company.

The show has been in permanent residence at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, since October 1998. O, whose name is pronounced the same way as eau, the French word for “water”, takes place in, around and above a 1.5-million-US-gallon (5,700 m3) pool of water, featuring water acts such as synchronized swimming as well as aerial and ground acts. The Otheatre, which is designed to resemble a 14th-century European opera house, has 1,800 seats, thus allowing the performance to be watched by 3,600 people a night since the performance usually plays twice in a given day, also designed to meet the special demands of the show.

O was inspired by the “infinity and elegance of water’s pure form,” which pays tribute to the beauty of the theater. A group of 150 stage technicians assist in the production of the show, the cast of which is 85 performers: international acrobats, synchronized swimmers, and divers. Some of them are former Olympic athletes.

History

Since late October 2010, Cirque du Soleil has offered backstage tours of the O theatre. The experience allows visitors to see the backstage wings, training rooms, costume workshop, break area, underwater lighting area, and go up to a catwalk into the sound and lighting booths. Not every experience will be the same as the tour is conducted around a “regular day”, so performers may or may not be training, rehearsing, or even working out.

As of early 2011, O has grossed over a billion dollars since the show opening in 1998.

O has received many awards, including the following:

  • Entertainment Design Award, best production show, 1998
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal, best production show, 1999-2006
  • THEA, live show category, 1999
  • Prix Italia, creativity in high definition, 2009, for the documentary Flow

O had its 8,000th performance on 20 July 2015.

Set and technical information

The show has a cast of 85 acrobats, synchronized swimmers and divers performing in and above a 1.5 million-gallon pool. When maintenance needs to be performed, the pool is drained in about 12 hours to the Bellagio Lake, causing the lake’s water level to rise 1 inch (25 mm). The pool is kept at 88 °F (31 °C) and has an underwater communication system and regulators that allow performers to breathe underwater. Every member of the cast is scuba-certified.

The underwater stage lift was produced by Handling Specialty.

In order for the platform stage to rise and fall in the water without a wake, the surface of the stage has thousands of tiny holes which were drilled out by the Cirque du Soleil team.

Heaters under each seat help control the theatre temperature for the audience; the goal is to maintain two temperature zones in the theatre. The stage is kept at a higher temperature while the audience area is kept at a lower temperature. A temperature sensor every few seats in the theatre helps to ensure the audience area is maintained at the correct temperature.

To minimize damage to the musical instruments, the musicians play from glass enclosures in the theater. Some of the musical instruments used in the show are more than 100 years old. The unique string instrument heard in the soundtrack of O is an erhu, a traditional Chinese bowed string instrument.

To maintain a fresh look on the performers, some performers have multiple sets of costumes so they may reappear dry despite having been in the water. Some of the costumes only have a lifespan of approximately 20 shows due to the bromide and chlorine in the water.

Some additional facts about the show include these below.

  • Some of the props function as boats, like the umbrella that Le Vieux rides on the water.
  • There are 15 technicians underwater during the show, performing various tasks such as artist handling and props manipulation.
  • The horses that the Comets ride in the show weigh 900 pounds (410 kg).
  • The clown house weighs over 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg).
  • Hanging 49 feet above the stage, the carousel and téléphérique (a conveyor system) carries tons of equipment as well as performers during the show.
  • Most of the props that are used during the show are actually driven by the Performers who ride them. For instance, the carousel horses have a small propeller underneath their tails; they are controlled by a joystick located on the back of the horse.

Cirque du Soleil® weaves an aquatic tapestry of artistry, surrealism and theatrical romance in the timeless production, “O”. The international cast of world-class acrobats, synchronized swimmers, divers and characters perform in, on and above water to create a breathtaking experience in a magnificent theatre reminiscent of a European opera house.

“O” by Cirque du Soleil® – “You cannot move water, water moves you.” -Gilles Ste-Croix, Creative Vice President of Cirque du Soleil

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 🇺🇸

An oasis of indulgence dazzling in the desert, Vegas’ seduction is unrivaled. The Strip shimmers hypnotically, promising excitement, entertainment, fortune and fame. Seeing is believing.

Entertainment

There are few places outside London, Tokyo and New York where you’re this spoiled for choice when it comes to A-list entertainers and big-budget stage shows. Seasonal casino residencies by the megastars of the music world range from the likes of Celine Dion (still going strong), Elton John, the Backstreet Boys and Ricky Martin to the superstar DJs of the EDM (electronic dance music) universe, Calvin Harris, Carl Cox, Steve Aoki and Tiësto. Top that with seven enthralling Cirque du Soleil shows, the mesmerizing Blue Man Group and magicians Penn & Teller, and you’ve got a pretty full schedule.

Dining

The volume and concentration of the Strip’s celebrity chefs, hatted fine-dining restaurants and America’s favorite food franchises is hard to fathom: it’s impossible to sample them all, in terms of time taken to savor the spectrum of flavors and the depth of the average visitor’s wallet. If you’re a foodie on a pilgrimage, we suggest you do your research and narrow your selection before you arrive, lest you be overwhelmed by the scope of what’s on offer, or unable to secure a reservation in the short duration of your stay. Make sure to save room for dessert!

Nature Almighty

In this 24/7 city where it’s possible to spend your entire visit within labyrinthine indoor worlds where artificial lighting mimics day’s passing into night, many visitors won’t wander far from their expensive accommodations, lavish pool bar, mesmerizing casino floor, or even come off the dance floor for air. The wise and well-informed, however, (that’s you!) will venture off the Strip to experience the spectacular scenic beauty surrounding Las Vegas (‘The Meadows’). Forged by tectonics, carved by the wind and sun baked, vast canyons and playa, epic mountains and alpine forests beckon you trade humanity’s distractions for nature’s warm embrace.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_(Cirque_du_Soleil)

https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/

https://www.bellagio.com/en/hotel.html

https://www.lhw.com/hotel/Bellagio-Towers-Las-Vegas-NV

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/las-vegas/introduction

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/the-italian-lakes/bellagio/introduction

Sea Turtle Rehabilitation – Burj Al Arab Jumeirah – Dubai, United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪

 

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah returns rehabilitated sea turtles back to the Arabian Gulf:

The Turtle is a flagship species for the conservation of the marine environment and is protected throughout most of the world.  All seven species of marine turtles found globally are listed as vulnerable to extinction, endangered or critically endangered.  The Hawksbill turtle, native to the Middle East, is listed as critically endangered with only an estimated 8,000 nesting females left worldwide.  On a global scale the greatest threat to marine turtles are all caused by man.

The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project

The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP) is based at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and Madinat Jumeirah and is run in collaboration with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office, with essential veterinary support provided by the Dubai Falcon Clinic and the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory.

The project has been running in its current form since 2004 and has so far seen the release of over 560 rescued sea turtles back into Dubai’s waters. In 2011 alone over 350 sick or injured sea turtles have been treated by the DTRP after being washed up on the regions beaches. The DTRP is currently the only project of its kind in the Middle East and Red Sea region.

The Goals of the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project

The project was started after the need for a turtle rescue and rehabilitation facility was realized by the Wildlife Protection Office – after stranded turtles started to be brought in to them. The main goals of the project are:

  • Rescue, rehabilitate and release back into the wild any sea turtles that are found sick or injured throughout the region.
  • Educate local children, citizens and international hotel guests about sea turtle biology and the local and global plight of the sea turtle.
  • To understand the success of rehabilitation and to research turtle movements throughout the region and beyond via a satellite tracking initiative.

Sea turtle recovery process

Without exception, all of the turtles found in the DTRP were at one stage very sick or injured.  Turtles are brought to Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office or to the Aquarium team at Burj Al Arab by members of the public where the team closely monitor their recovery.  During the recovery process, the animals are subjected to ongoing veterinary examination and monitoring, with appropriate medication or surgery being administered as necessary.

Once the team is satisfied with the progress and condition of the turtles, they are then transferred to the state-of-the-art Turtle Rehabilitation Sanctuary at Jumeirah Al Naseem. Animals that are already too weak to benefit from the treatment regime and succumb to their illnesses are sent to the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory where a full post-mortem examination is carried out to determine the cause of death. 

The sea fed lagoon at Jumeirah Al Naseem allows the team to monitor the final stages of rehabilitation before the turtles are released back into UAE territorial waters.

The types of debilitation are varied, some are injuries caused by entanglement or ingestion of plastic waste discarded into the marine environment.  Some are sick rather than injured, normally manifested by abnormally heavy barnacle growth on the carapace or ‘shell’.

Turtles are reptiles and as such are cold-blooded, gaining their body heat from the surrounding environment. Young turtles in particular are therefore negatively affected by cold sea temperatures experienced within this region during the months of December, January and February which is when the majority of sick turtles are found.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪

Dubai is a stirring alchemy of profound traditions and ambitious futuristic vision.

Cultural Dynamism

With Emiratis making up only a fraction of the population, Dubai is a bustling microcosm peacefully shared by cultures from all corners of the world. This diversity expresses itself in the culinary landscape, fashion, music and performance. Although rooted in Islamic tradition, this is an open society where it’s easy for newcomers and visitors to connect with myriad experiences, be it eating like a Bedouin, dancing on the beach, shopping for local art or riding a camel in the desert.

Innovation

It’s hard not to admire Dubai for its indefatigable verve, gutsy ambition and ability to dream up and realise projects that elsewhere would never get off the drawing board. This is a superlative-craving society that has birthed the world’s tallest building, an island shaped like a palm tree, a huge indoor ski paradise, the world’s fastest roller coaster and – soon to come – starchitect-designed art museums of international stature. With many more grand projects in the pipeline for World Expo 2020, visiting here often feels like a trip to the future – to two cities firmly in charge of writing their own narrative.

Shopping Haven

Dubai is a top retail haunt that hosts not one but two huge annual shopping festivals. Shopping is a leisure activity here, malls much more than mere collections of stores. Some look like an Italian palazzo or a Persian palace and lure visitors with surreal attractions like an indoor ski slope or a giant aquarium. Traditional souqs, too, are beehives of activity humming with timeless bargaining banter.

Nocturnal Action

After dark, Dubai sometimes seems like a city filled with lotus eaters, forever on the lookout for a good time. Its shape-shifting party spectrum caters for just about every taste, budget and age group. From flashy dance temples, sleek rooftop terraces and sizzling beach clubs to fancy cocktail caverns and concerts under the stars, Dubai delivers hot-stepping odysseys. Much nightlife centres around the fancy hotels, but there’s no shortage of more wholesome diversions either, including sheesha lounges, community theatre and live music venues.

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Credits:

https://www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/dubai/burj-al-arab/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/united-arab-emirates/dubai/

Swimming with the Dolphins – Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa – Mauritius 🇲🇺

 

 

An exclusive West Coast experience! Do not miss this unforgettable rendez-vous with wild dolphins in the blue waters of Tamarin, arranged for you by Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa.

Mauritius 🇲🇺

Mark Twain once wrote, ‘Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius’. He was right.

Wildlife Island

Once thought to be the preserve of nearby Madagascar, wildlife tourism in Mauritius is rapidly gaining in popularity. And why wouldn’t it? Mauritius has saved more bird species from extinction than any other country on earth, with the result that you can now see two of the loveliest birds of the Indian Ocean – the pink pigeon and the Mauritian kestrel – at various places around the island. Giant tortoises – in captivity in their hundreds, or roaming free on Île aux Aigrettes – are another drawcard, while dolphins, whales and sharks are just three highlights of the island’s richly biodiverse marine environment.

The Mauritian Table

Foodies of the world, rejoice! Mauritius is winning plaudits for the excellence of its food, and that goes for fine-dining restaurants at five-star resorts as well as beachside shacks serving fish just off the boat. Curries, seafood and staples like the thankfully ubiquitous salade d’ourite (octopus salad) owe their presence to influences from Mauritius’ Indian, Chinese, French and Creole communities – less a melting pot than a wonderfully aromatic cooking pot. The charming tradition of the table d’hôte, the family table opened to all and covered with the signature dishes of Mauritian home cooking, captures the essence of the warm local welcome.

Luxury Resorts

Mauritius is rightly famed for its sapphire-blue waters, powder-white beaches and, yes, luxury resorts that provide a front-row seat onto some of the most beautiful views in the Indian Ocean. These are places of the utmost refinement, of impeccable service, of facilities that range from pampering spas, designer rooms and extensive watersports options to dreamy swimming pools, expansive palm-strewn grounds and world-class restaurants. Your stay will live long in the memory and will have you dreaming of a return. Partly that’s because of the supreme levels of comfort and luxury. But it’s also thanks to the resorts’ discretion and warmth, and the unmistakable sense of being treated like royalty.

Active Mauritius

What to do, what to do? Lie on a beach all day? Or enjoy the wonderful range of activities on offer? Either way, you can’t really lose and there’s not much you can’t do here on the water – highlights include kitesurfing, boat excursions to the beautiful islands of the lagoon, and the full suite of paddling activities offered by hotels and beach operators. But the diving and snorkelling here is terrific, encircled as Mauritius is by shallow waters, a coral reef, sublime underwater topography and a dramatic ocean drop-off. On land, you’ll need to decide between fabulous hiking, horse riding and even championship-standard golf courses. Decisions, decisions…

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Credits:

http://www.maradiva.com/en/

https://www.lhw.com/hotel/Maradiva-Villas-Resort-Spa-Flic-en-Flac-Mauritius

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/mauritius/introduction

Tequila Sign – Las Ventanas Al Paraíso, Rosewood Resort – Los Cabos, Mexico 🇲🇽


Las Ventanas al Paraíso is known for its outstanding collection of over 150 premium tequilas – one of the largest in Mexico – as well as its trained Tequila Masters, whose grasp of the flavors and nuances of the resort’s extensive tequila collection is unmatched.

After several months of development, Las Ventanas al Paraíso’s Tequila Masters have created an exclusive program that will determine guests’ personal Tequila Sign, or the variety of tequila that fits the guests’ personality, palette and preferences best.

Following a one-on-one blind tasting with one of the resort’s experts, guests will learn if they are “Adventurous,” “Robust,” “Greedy” or “Herbal.” Each of these distinctions corresponds with a selection of tequilas that fit the guests’ flavor preferences and personalities; for example, those who are labeled “Greedy” enjoy sweeter varieties.

Guest can then use his/her Tequila Sign to order special pairings and cocktails at any of the resort’s restaurants.

Los Cabos, Mexico 🇲🇽

Come to Cabo expecting to toss your inhibitions to the wind – everyone else does. And speaking of wind, this town took a real hammering from Hurricane Odile in 2014. You wouldn’t know it now though. Where else do clubs round up conga lines so that waiters can pour tequila down dancers’ throats? Those moments of absurdity and abandon notwithstanding, Cabo San Lucas has a curious charm. The beaches are protected by beautiful Land’s End, and the activities are endless: jet-skiing, banana-boating, parasailing, snorkeling, kitesurfing, diving and horseback-riding opportunities can all be found just by walking down to the beach. If you rent a car and get outside the city limits, you’ll be surrounded by majestic cardón cacti, caracara birds and mystical arroyos that will impress you just as much as that crazy club you partied at the night before.

An Outdoor Life

With steaming jungles, smoking, snowcapped volcanoes, cactus-strewn deserts and 10,000km of coast strung with sandy beaches and wildlife-rich lagoons, Mexico is an endless adventure for the senses and a place where life is lived largely in the open air. Take it easy dining alfresco beside a Pacific beach or strolling Guanajuato’s colonial streets. Or get out and hike Oaxaca’s mountain cloud forests or snorkel warm Caribbean reefs.

Los Mexicanos

At the heart of your Mexican experience will be the Mexican people. A super-diverse crew, from Mexico City hipsters to the shy indigenous villagers of Chiapas, they’re renowned for their love of color and frequent fiestas, but they’re also philosophical folk, to whom timetables are less important than simpatía (empathy). You’ll rarely find Mexicans less than courteous. They’re more often positively charming, and know how to please guests. They might despair of ever being well governed, but they’re fiercely proud of Mexico, their one-of-a-kind homeland with all its variety, tight-knit family networks, beautiful-ugly cities, deep-rooted traditions, unique agave-based liquors and sensationally tasty, chili-laden food.

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Credits:

https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/las-ventanas-los-cabos

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/mexico/san-jose-del-cabo/hotels/las-ventanas-al-paraiso-a-rosewood-resort/a/lod/9cef001c-0e9c-4233-b42d-a85c47f48a66/361482

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/mexico/baja-california/cabo-san-lucas

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/mexico

Snorkelling – Likuliku Lagoon Resort – Fiji 🇫🇯

 

The islands of the Mamanucas are rich with coral reefs and a vast variety of amazing tropical fish. Likuliku Lagoon and Malolo Island are surrounded by a fringing coral reef making snorkeling ideal.

If you want to venture further afield and explore other snorkel sites, Likuliku Lagoon Resort offers daily trips to various sites nearby and sometimes you may even end up in an undiscovered part of the islands, seeing amazing marine life for the first time.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort offers a daily-changing schedule of activities, including complimentary non-motorised watersports such as stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing and wind surfing, plus complimentary snorkeling equipment.

In addition, there is a myriad of land and sea tours and activities available in and around the surrounding Mamanuca Islands.

 

Fiji 🇫🇯

Set your internal clock to ‘Fiji time’: exploring the archipelago’s exquisite beaches, undersea marvels, lush interiors and fascinating culture shouldn’t be rushed.

Wetter is Better

Fiji’s calm seas belie the riot of life going on within. With seemingly endless stretches of intensely coloured reefs and more than 1500 species of fish and colossal creatures Fiji’s underwater world is worth the plunge. Seasoned divers and snorkellers will find plenty to excite them, while first-timers will be bubbling excited exclamations into their mouthpieces. Anywhere a fin flashes or coral waves, you’ll find a diving or snorkel day trip and there are excellent live-aboard journeys for those after a truly immersive experience.

Throwing Down the (Beach) Towel

Dazzling sands, perfect palm trees and waters so blue they glow – Fiji’s beaches look airbrushed. While stunning stretches abound, it’s on the islands of the Mamanucas and Yasawas that you’ll find heavenly heavyweights. These beaches are the poster-child for paradise, luring thousands of visitors keen to discover their own South Sea idyll. The appeal of the islands stretches beyond holiday snaps; the reefs, bays and sublime sands have provided cinematic eye candy to films including Cast Away with Tom Hanks and 1980 teen-dream classic The Blue Lagoon.

Beyond the Beach

While it’s easy to spend your holiday in, on or under the water, those who take the time to towel off will be rewarded by a wealth of terra firma treats. Fiji offers ample opportunities for hikers, birdwatchers, amblers and forest-fanciers, particularly on the islands of Taveuni – known as ‘The Garden Island’ for its ludicrously lush interiors – and Kadavu, a less-travelled slice of prehistoric paradise with almost no roads to speak of. If urban wildlife is your thing, Suva boasts a surprising nightlife scene, while towns like Savusavu entice with rollicking taverns and meet-the-locals haunts.

A Warm Welcome

Fijian life revolves around the church, the village, the rugby field and the garden. While this may sound insular, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more open and welcoming population. Though the realities of local life are less sunny than the country’s skies – many regions are poor and lack basic services – Fijians are famous for their hospitality and warmth, which makes it easy to make friends or immerse yourself in Fijian culture on a village homestay.

Follow @blackplatinumgold on Instagram

Credits:

http://likulikulagoon.com

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/fiji/