To The Ends Of The World in Choquequirao

Many people say only the tough ones can make it to Choquequirao. They may be right. To get there, one has to tackle the 45 kilometer trek (back and forth) and numerous elevation change. It’s definitely not an easy feat, but it is going to be totally worth it.

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Brief Background

Choquequirao, Chuqi K’iraw or Chuqik’iraw, which means “cradle of gold,” is a remote Incan site  in the Andes. It is on the Vilcabamba mountain range and is 3,050 meters above the ground.

People call it the “sister of Machu Picchu” because aside from the fact that it is located in Peru, its structure and architecture are also very similar to that of its more famous sibling. Choquequirao, however, spans up to three times the size of Machu Picchu (although only 30% of it is visible) and gets only a handful of visitors daily. (Machu Picchu has more than 2,000 visitors a day while Choquequirao has only had about 5,000 visitors since 2013).

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How to Get There

Choquequirao can be reached by hiking or trekking for three days (or even up to more than a week) just outside Cusco. The starting point is the village of Cachora (just 5 hours away from Cusco), and then through the Apuramic Valley, and then to Chiquisca where travelers pitch their tents and spend the night. The next morning, the journey involves uphill trek to Santa Rosa and to Marampata. The travelers will then have to descend to 2000 meters, and then ascend again to 3000 meters (and this pattern repeats all throughout).

Choquequirao is, again, not easily accessible (but the 5,000 travelers who have gone there will surely tell you it will be all worth it). The journey requires high level of fitness and determination. To get around, it is also advised that you get an experienced guide.

P.S If you are wondering how to get back to the starting point, it’s the same way you came: trek up and down!

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When to Go

It is best to go anytime between May and October as this season has the driest months of the year. However, still expect occasional rain even during the dry season.

While in Choquequirao

Choquequirao gives you a glimpse of the ancient Andean life. Although you only get to see the ruins of the structure, the richness of their culture and the brilliance of the people behind the amazing architecture are very apparent. For instance, you will notice that the water fountains were strategically made of large rocks for durability, and  flat slabs of stones were inserted under the windows which refrigerate stored food. You will also see terraces that were decorated with white stones formed into llamas, animals that played an important role in ancient transportation.

Aside from the majestic ruins of the Incan royal estate, you can also marvel at the beauty of the surrounding snow-capped mountains of Ampay, Panta, and Quishuar. It’s easy to get lost in the mystery of Choquequirao. So don’t forget to look up and witness the marvelous mountains around you.

Love exotic travel as much as us? Why not join us on our next adventures at LadyRedot.com.


mish Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.

 

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Adventure Seeking in Bicolandia, Philippines

Bicol, also known as Bicolandia, is a region of the Philippines (specifically region V). It is composed of six provinces with a combined population of six million. So what does region V have to offer for adventure-seeking tourists? Read on.

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Hiking The Majestic Mount Mayon
Mount Mayon, an active volcano in Albay, is world-famous for its perfect conical shape. Anyone can marvel at the majestic beauty of the volcano when in Albay, but only the brave hearts can dare to hike the slopes of the 8,077-foot volcano. If you are one of the adventure-seeking tourists who would like to experience what it is like to be on Mount Mayon, do not forget to secure a permit from the local government first!

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Go caving at Calintaan Cave
Although this activity is all about caving, you have to prepare to get wet for this. Reaching Calintaan Cave involves hopping on a boat (in fact, it’s usually part of an island hopping package) from the the equally picturesque Subic Beach. Getting inside the cave chambers requires the tourists to swim (you can use the life vest provided by the boatmen if you don’t know how to swim). The best part is when you get inside the cave and reach different open and closed chambers where trees tower you. Tip: this activity is only possible when the tide is low so arrange this ahead with your tour guide or ask a local to help you.

Quitinday Hills
If Mount Mayon is too much for you, you can try hiking the hills of Quitinday. This involves a short hike from the ground and the slopes are not that steep, too. Reaching the peak will give you an amazing panorama of what seems to be a never-ending hilly terrain.

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Trek Mount Isarog
Located at the heart of Camarines Sur, this paradise is perfect for mountaineers and non-mountaineers. Along your way, you will meet various flora and fauna, natural pools, waterfalls, and clouds. Yes, clouds! This mountain is the second highest mountain in the region. That means at some point, you will even be higher than the clouds!

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Jump into Malabsay Falls
You can reach Malabsay Falls by trekking Mt. Isarog first. Bathing in its ice cold water is a perfect way to cool yourselves down after an exhausting trek!

Stay at Caramoan like a ‘survivor’
There is no question why Caramoan was chosen by the producers of Survivor for their show. The Caramoan Peninsula is a world-class destination that offers tourists the peace and quiet that they need, aside from the unbelievably marvelous (still an understatement) island beaches and rock formations around the place.

Or stay at Calaguas Island
The Calaguas Group of Islands should be on your list if you like to live a simple island life. You can sleep in tents with no electricity (and sometimes no water), cook your own food (and start your own fire), and connect with the beauty of nature (and not with social media). The beauty of this paradise is just jaw dropping! No crowd… just peace and serenity.

Try wakeboarding in Camarines Sur
Head over to Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC), a park made for wakeboarding, waterskiing, and wakeskating to get your dose of adrenaline rush. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you don’t need to worry as the operators and trained instructors provide instructions to ensure your safety. Ramps, obstacles, beach volleyball area, and a pool are available for the guests.

For the adventurers at heart, let us help you to plan all the necessities while you prep your own gear. For more information, just askus@ladyredot.com


mish
Hello, I am Mish! I used to work as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since I graduated, I decided to give up my corporate job to focuses on my 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. I am a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, I’m tiny but I am an Olympic-level glutton. Let me bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach me at LinkedIn.

A Glimpse of Portugal’s Azores Islands

The Pacific has Hawaii and the Atlantic the Azores. The Azores are a cluster of 9 volcanic islands located in near the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The territory is under Portugal flag, but they are mostly autonomously governed. These paradise islands to some have been called heaven on earth- lush vegetation, stunning mountains, stunning marine life, golden beaches, and not overpopulated. One of the islands- Santa Maria- is inhabited by a mere 5,500 people. Many of Azores island names relate to nature: Pico for mountain island and Flores for flower island. The major sources of income derive from agriculture, dairy farming, ranching, fishing, and tourism. They are also known for their renounced whale watching, rock climbing, and diving.

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Whale Watching
In the past, this cetacean safe heaven contributes much of its economy from whale hunting. Now the area and marine life are protected and cherished. Throughout the year, this island paradise is visited by common and bottlenose dolphins, and blue and humpback whales. It is a site were marine animals come for rest during their long migration. Tours of each island can be booked, but strict laws prohibit boats from disturbing the animals. Visitors can stop by at one of the many whale museums on land, displaying the culture’s drastic transformation from killing to protecting whale species.

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Hikers
The Azores also has a strong allure for hikers. The mountains here are some of the tallest in the world if you were to measure from the ocean floor. Mount. Pico is the most famous, ranging from 7,713 feet above sea level. It has over 60 trails that usually take up to 3 hours to hike. From those trails, two of the most popular sites are the São Miguel’s Setes Cidades twin lakes and Lagoa do Fogo which takes you to the shore. The island of Flores is a famous hiking site, well-known for the land’s extreme natural beauty.

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Diving
With the frequent whale and dolphin sightings, this would be a great diving site, but the water holds many more surprises. The volcanos not only provide for nutrient water, but the lava creates winding caverns and rock formations for many species to thrive. Exploring below the surface, divers can find Devil Rays, Loggerhead Turtles, Sharks, Slipper Lobsters, Yellow Mouth Barracuda, Tuna and plenty more. Along with this, you can stumble upon one of the decaying shipwrecks. Most of the Islands provide for dive trips and with the visibility as high as 100 ft. and water temp around 70F, it is one experience that would not be easily forgotten.

Join us as we explore the unknown and exotic locations around the globe. We can help to make your life easier by planning your adventures for you. Just askus@ladyredot.com!


josh-may Hello! I’m Josh and I’m a journalism and business student from the U.S. I grew up near Boston but now I’m living in Thailand. In the past I’ve been a ski instructor, waiter, and camp counselor. Now I’ve taken up the pen and want to develop my skills as a writer. I got hooked on traveling last December. I found the microscopic image of my town and realized how much of the earth I hadn’t seen. Since then I’ve had a fire in my belly to see and do as much as I can. My experience here in Thailand has been so great and now I’m eager to share and inspire others to get out, it’s worth it! You can keep in contact with me at LinkedInUpwork or Facebook.

An Overview of Taranaki, New Zealand

You think you have explore enough exotic places, you haven’t seen the breathtaking scenery of Taranaki. Touted to be The Place to Visit in 2017, it is a must visit location if you think New Zealand is only about Lord of The Rings, churches and cows.

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Taranaki Natives
Taranaki is a beautiful region in northern New Zealand. The Māori people originally inhabited the land, also referred to as Tangata Whenua “people of the land”. Māori was a warrior like culture and under some accounts were known to eat their enemies. Similarly, to the Native Americans, most of these people’s land were taken by British colonisation. Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Māori Affairs, compared the 17th-century land war to the Holocaust. Between the conflicts and foreign diseases, Māori people were almost wiped out. Now in the wake of the 21 century, the natives are reviving, acting as the 2nd largest ethnic group in New Zealand.

Two historical Māori heroes were Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi. War veterans and esteemed chefs, these two lived in the heat of the invasion. Seeing their people killed and land taken, Te Whiti and Tohu organised a nonviolent resistance. As soldiers broke down faience and cleared villages for roads, the Māoris rebuilt. As farmland was confiscated, workers continued ploughing. Aggravated by the native’s efforts, over 1,000 men charged Te Whiti and Tohu’s village to find children singing and dancing at the entrance. Closest to centre, soldiers found the two chiefs with the rest of the village offering food and dance. Outraged many were arrested, and the leaders were imprisoned on another island. Their lives were a great testament inspiring other nonviolent resistance and modern art.

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The Mountain
The centrepiece of this territory is Taranaki Mountain, giving it is named. “Tara” meaning mountain top and “naki” meaning shimmering. It is also called Egmont Mount named by British explorer James Cook. It is almost a perfectly symmetrical 2,519-meter stratovolcano, luring in geologists from all around the world. Eruptions are predicted to occur every 90 years, but that doesn’t stop hikers. For athletic people, the hike can take up to a day. It is ranked the second most dangerous in the country with a noted 83 deaths. Other recreational activities on Taranaki include Skiing. Stratford Mountain Club has a scenic slope on the eastern side.
Some Māori people believed the volcano used to live in the middle of the island with the rest of the volcanos. Legend has it that fell in love with Pihanga, a mountain beauty. Tongariro- another volcano- jealous, erupted in rage forcing Taranaki to flee westward. On his way, Taranaki carving out the Whanganui River and Ngaere swamp. To this day he laid, but some Māori still fear living between the two great enemies.

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Surf Highway
A 105 km road wrapping around the coast of Taranaki is a perfect place for adventurous surfers- cold water, black volcanic sand, and rocky beaches. Although not ideal conditions, with the many options and strong reef surf’s, travellers for all around come. One of the most famous beaches, Kumara Patch, is known for its left hand, fast breaking waves. Other favourite sites along the highway include cosy coffee shops, Cape Egmont Lighthouse, Puke Ariki Museum, Normanby Dam- a site where kayakers drop of dams- Taranaki thermal pools, and the Egmont National Park. Connected by the forest, hikers and enter the park from Sefton Track a 2-hour loop.

Come and join us as we venture exotic and off-the-mill places at all corners of the world. You can always tap on our ideas at askus@ladyredot.com.


josh-may Hello! I’m Josh and I’m a journalism and business student from the U.S. I grew up near Boston but now I’m living in Thailand. In the past I’ve been a ski instructor, waiter, and camp counselor. Now I’ve taken up the pen and want to develop my skills as a writer. I got hooked on traveling last December. I found the microscopic image of my town and realized how much of the earth I hadn’t seen. Since then I’ve had a fire in my belly to see and do as much as I can. My experience here in Thailand has been so great and now I’m eager to share and inspire others to get out, it’s worth it! You can keep in contact with me at LinkedInUpwork or Facebook.

National Parks In United States

The first national park in the world was established in Wyoming when legislators passed the Yellowstone National Park Act of 1872, protecting more than two million acres of public domain. From then to now, the number of national sites has increased to 450!

The idea has expanded from natural parks to historical, recreational and cultural sites including national monuments, national memorials, national seashores, national Military parks and more. In the U.S. over 25 states are proud to showcase their jewels encompassing fascinations like the Everglades in Florida, mountain and valley ranges in California, wilderness in Alaska and volcanoes in Hawaii. Here’s is a taste of some of best in the States.

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
This park is a scenic mountain paradise with over 100 peaks all above 11,000 ft- the highest is Longs Peak at 14,259ft! Some parts of the mountain range cross over the continental divide. Meaning snow melting off the western side will find its way to the Pacific Ocean while on the snow on the opposite side will eventually melt into the Atlantic. Hikers and skiers here enjoy hundreds of miles of trails. For a favourite local hit Eldora Ski Resort. Eldora offers full services including ski rental, lessons, groomed slopes, and night time shredding. While enjoying the slopes you might encounter the park’s many local inhabitants. Maybe passing Bighorn Sheep, Elk, Marmot, or Moose, even a rare occasion a Mountain Lion or Black Bear – beware!

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Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The canyon was the U.S.’s 17th National Park. The physical make-up is of layered bands of red rock stretching across a staggering 1,900 square miles- 277 miles long and 18 wide. The Grand Canyon is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world and visited by an annual 5 million people. In the past it was inhabited by Native Americans- some considering it a holy site, making pilgrimages. Now it is a haven for animals and lots of rock. For the adventurous few some trips can be done through the canyon. One provided by Western River Expeditions has been around for 50 years. They offer a week-long rafting trip down the almost 300-mile river- food and camping provided.

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Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
Although not a park is known for its natural appearance, Chaco is still worth mentioning. It is considered one of the most important pre-Columbian areas in the U.S. It was deemed a national site in 1980 and is the location of an intricate assembly of Pueblos. Coined by Spanish explorers, Pueblos refers to stone and mud built communities by Native American. The ancient Pueblo ruins seen as a sacred ancestral homeland to both the Hopi and Pueblo people. Today it is a hot spot for hiking, biking, camping, and stargazing. There is one campground in the park that holds 51 sites. During special seasons the park rangers open up the area to a stargazing party- lending telescopes and offering advice. There is also an observatory open to the public with a 25″ telescope displaying a jaw-dropping view into the heavens.

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Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
Haleakala located on the island of Maui, surrounded by 33,265 acres of land including a dormant volcano with the same name as the region. Haleakala translates to “house of the sun”. The park also is home to the Haleakala Observatory, responsible for surveying satellites and debris orbiting Earth.

This region is another great area for stargazing as light pollution is low and the volcano sits 10,000 ft. Above sea level. The road to the summit is a 38-mile drive and while ascending climates drastically change. From a humid subtropical at the base to subalpine deserts higher up. On the east side of the park, visitors can view the Kīpahulu Valley. In this area, some of the rarest birds exist. To name three: The Hawaiian Petrel, the Hawaiian Goose, and Honeycreepers.

There are many more beautiful enchanting parks in the United States that we are happy to share with you. Planning a trip abroad? Why not talk to us at askus@ladyredot.com. 


josh-mayHello! I’m Josh and I’m a journalism and business student from the U.S. I grew up near Boston but now I’m living in Thailand. In the past I’ve been a ski instructor, waiter, and camp counselor. Now I’ve taken up the pen and want to develop my skills as a writer. I got hooked on traveling last December. I found the microscopic image of my town and realized how much of the earth I hadn’t seen. Since then I’ve had a fire in my belly to see and do as much as I can. My experience here in Thailand has been so great and now I’m eager to share and inspire others to get out, it’s worth it! You can keep in contact with me at LinkedInUpwork or Facebook.

An Impulsive Solo Trip to Surabaya

Looking at one of my girlfriends’ Facebook posts about her trip to Mount Bromo excites me and I immediately book an air ticket to Surabaya. I started to ask her details about her trip and engaged a private tour guide, named Ebrott. It is quite upsetting to learn that he has to work at a tender age of 17 to support the family as his dad has passed on. His service is extraordinarily good, courteous and patient.

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There are a couple of airlines that fly directly to Surabaya. You can choose either Air Asia or JetStar. My first stop is a 5 to 6 hours’ drive from city to the foot of Mount Bromo. I spent a night in a local guesthouse. It comes with basic minimal necessities – a bed and toilet. It is very cold – approximately 16 degree at night. Hence, don’t expect a fan or air condition in the room.

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To catch Sunrise at Mount Bromo, I have to wake up at 2am as Ebrott is picking me up at 3am. We will be travelling via a jeep as the road is bumpy and uphill. We reached the peak at about 3.30am. The temperature is so cold we decided to get something hot from one of the stalls. The sun starts to rise at 4.30am. The view is magnificent and unforgettable. It’s the power of nature and we should treasure it.

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We stayed for 2 hours enjoying the nature of light and went for breakfast. The simple comfort food – bowl of soup noodles and egg is all I asked for. Simple food like this means a lot to me especially after the breathtaking view, I have to appreciate simplicity even more. We continue the journey to the other side where you can take a horse ride to the foot of Mount Bromo before climbing up through a sea of sand to the crater.  

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After Mount Bromo, we travelled another 4 hours to a hotel near Kawah Ijen for a good rest and nap. I am going to catch Ijen Blue Fire hence needs to set off at 11pm. Please prepare to gear up your good trekking/hiking shoes, windproof jacket and pants. Bring a bottle of water and light snacks along. You’ll be sure to thank me for this tip!  

The hike up and down to catch the glimpse of Blue Fire took me 2 hours. Someone like me who doesn’t hike as frequently as I want to, I must say I feel so proud accomplishing the mission. Yay! A lot of determination and strength is required and the overall experience is worth it. Pace yourself well and take your time. 

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It’s time to head back to Surabaya city. Travelling back is approximately 8 hours. Have patience with the tour guide. He is tired as well. Since I am the passenger, I get to sleep and rest throughout the journey. On and off we did a few pit stops for meals and break. I checked into Ascott Waterplace at about 5pm. And something caught my eye – A&W fast food restaurant opposite the hotel. I couldn’t resist and pack a meal back to the room. I made an advanced booking of Body Massage at 8pm which is indeed the best choice after 2 days of hiking.  

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Personal Thoughts after the trip: I think I have become stronger from all aspects of myself. The power of determination and achieving the Goals set.  Thank You, Ebrott (@hisba_93) for being a helpful and supportive friend and teaching me to be contented with what I have in life and the beauty of simplicity. 

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