The Best Attractions in Lima’s Miraflores District [Peru]

Although many travelers visit Peru to explore its pre-Columbian heritage, most travelers passing through the nation’s capital, Lima, prefer to stay in the city’s most modern neighborhood: Miraflores.

Travelers choose Miraflores for its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, its vibrant arts and entertainment scene, and its wide range of attractions that appeal to every kind of traveler. 

When you visit Lima, make sure to check out some of the very best that Miraflores has to offer.

1. Casa Museo Ricardo Palma

Ricardo Palma was a Lima-born writer and thinker who oversaw the country’s National Library from 1883 to 1892.

Today, the government has preserved his long-time home as a museum where visitors can see the original furnishings, paintings, documents and art that he cherished during the last years of his life.

Currently, the museum is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 5:00, but is closed for a lengthy daily lunch from 12:45 until 2:30.  Entrance is six soles ($1.75 USD).

For updated information and opening hour, visit their website>>>

2. Huaca Pucllana

huaca pucllana Miraflores Peru

If your trip to Peru doesn’t include time in Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, you can visit this sacred historic site that has been preserved on its original location in the Miraflores neighborhood.

It features a typical pyramid crafted from adobe and clay, surrounded by a central square and walls.

At press time, Huaca Pucllana is open daily from Wednesday to Monday, and regular entrance fees are twelve soles ($3.50 USD).

For updated information and current opening hours, visit the Huac Pucllana official site here>>

3. Larcomar

Larcomar Upscale Mall Miraflores Peru

Larcomar is Miraflores’ most famous, and most architecturally interesting, shopping center.

It is carved into the seaside cliffs at the south end of Avenida Jose Larco and features several open-air and glass-walled viewing decks offering panoramic views of the sea. 

Larcomar is home to several upscale restaurants and coffee shops, as well as the best selection of international clothing shops in town.

There are eight shops where you can stock up on high-quality athletic and outdoors apparel and equipment before your Inca Trail trek.

For updated information and current opening hours, visit Larcomar’s official site here>>

4. Malécon

Area of Malecon near beach in Miraflores Peru

The malécon is a six-mile stretch of oceanfront parks, walking paths and cycling routes that runs along the Pacific Coast from the artsy Barranco neighborhood in the south all the way to the north end of Miraflores.

Active travelers will love going for a jog or bike ride beside the ocean, adventure travelers will want to try paragliding (buy your tickets from the booth at Block 2) and creative types will want to take in the many different sculptures erected along the walkways.

For updated information about the park (in Spanish only), visit Miraflores Parks page here>>

5. Parque del Amor (Lover’s Park)

El Beso (the Kiss) statue in Love Park Lima Peru

Also known as the “Park of Love”, Parque del Amor is Lima’s most romantic park.

At the center of the park is Victor Delfin’s gigantic red statue El Beso (The Kiss), shown above, that features two loves entangled, horizontally, in a kiss.

The park also has some of the best sunset views in the city, making it the perfect place to snuggle up with the person you love.

6. Parque Kennedy

Parque Kennedy

Situated in central Miraflores, away from the ocean, Parque Kennedy has become a controversial tourist attraction that often pits frustrated locals against wide-eyed tourists.

The park was named after John F. Kennedy and is frequented by buskers, shoe shiners and the elderly.

It is also frequented by the one hundred (or more) stray cats who call the park home.  There are cats on the grass, cats on the benches and even cats in the trees.

While some consider the cats to be a public health hazard, other consider them an adorable addition to the neighborhood.

You’ll have to visit and decide for yourself!


Whether you want to explore the history of Lima, have an active holiday or simply relax with a cup of hot chocolate while you pet a stray cat, Miraflores has something for you.

It is also well-connected by bus rapid transit (BRT) to the historic center of Lima, so you can see the very best of old and new Peru during your stay.

Bonus: The Best Sites in Lima Peru [Video]

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What is the Best Detox Retreat in Thailand?

Thailand — Adventure to Phuket Island for Weight Loss and Detox:

Phuket Island is also known as Phuket Province, it is an island that is mountainous and covered in rainforests; located near the Andaman Sea.

Known for containing some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, especially the ones found along the coast of the clear waters near the western shore.

The island is home to all kinds of resorts, restaurants and spas that are high-end and top-quality; with all kinds of services, entertainment, and relaxation: There are many retreats and resorts for losing weight and detoxing in Phuket.

From research and talking to locals, our correspondent quickly discovered one of the best weight loss and detox retreats in Thailand, as can be seen by the reviews here, known as PhuketFit.

detox Thailand

The main town in this island is called, Patong and the inhabitants of this island say that there is a very casual vibe you can feel and see everywhere. Some aspects that help to create a vibe like are all thanks to the discos, the bars and the nightclubs that there are.

With that being said Phuket Island is a popular destination for the sole purpose of losing weight and or going through the process of a detox; such a wonderful and relaxing destination to go to when having to go through something so serious and so stressful.

The methods used here help you to lose weight in a safe manner yet it can be done in a very fast amount of time and the results will last a long time, so you can be happy with your results and that know all of your hard work and efforts are sustainable and strong and worth it all.

One way, offered by PhuketFit, is Muay Thai–that’s a Thai martial art that conveniently doubles as a great and adventurous way to get fit too, as the below shows:

There are plenty of weight loss and detox programs and retreats within Thailand but the most popular one and the best one seems to be PhuketFit on Phuket Island.

Did you know that more than one third of the population in the world today is considered to be obese, don’t worry because it is really not all of your fault; self-control, being active and healthy eating help but are not the entire solution to a problem such as being overweight.

Participating in a retreat program such as this means that you will closely be working with their team of fitness and health professionals from all over the world; they will guide you through the whole process step by step, they will cleanse your mind, body and soul, they will train you with how you think, how you eat and how you live your life.

On a detox retreat, you will also enjoy food with a menu that is designed to help you lose weight and boost your immune system in your body; think of a ton of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables as well as meats that are lean for your protein. Food items such as these are where you get your minerals, vitamins and nutrients that are needed in order for the body to work properly on a daily basis.

Lastly they will also educate you in all that you need to know about starting this program, going through and life after it; changing your life and becoming a healthier and better you is simple, you just need a guideline to follow, determination, patience and someone to enforce you to follow it all.

The approach of PhuketFit is vastly different than any other and this is a good thing, for starters they clearly acknowledge that there is no one size fits all and that when it comes to losing weight everyone is different.

Each person who participates in this program will get a regime designed specifically for them. This is done so he most weight can be lost in a healthy and safe approach. This cleanse only takes a total of five days to go through and their professionals are there for whenever you need them; they don’t just help you but they also support you.

From Muay Thai to Zumba, your specialized retreat program doesn’t have to be boring.

Lastly, you will learn how to take everything and apply it to your life after the program so you can continue to be healthy.

You will learn how to exercise properly as well as how to cook meals that are healthy. You will even be given several private consultations and be trained in physical education and even given a decent education in the field of nutrition.

Eliminate the bad toxins in your body and get rid of the stress you have at the same time with their help.

So you don’t get lost trying to find PhuketFit, we’ve included a map below. Getting fit can be just the thing you need to keep living your own heroic adventure…

—————

Traveling to Thailand don’t miss these other post to help you plan your adventure:

  1. Phi Phi Island Excursion by Ferry Boat
  2. Chiang Mai the Perfect Place for a Long Holiday

Top Two Extreme Camping Experiences

Have you ever dreamed of camping in the treetops or pitching your tent high on a mountain cliff? Those risk-takers, who like to flirt with danger, thrive on such experiences.

Extreme camping certainly isn’t for everyone, but this type of camping is becoming more common among those who love experiences that test their strength and endurance.

They thrive on that feeling of pure ecstasy. Imagine yourself spending the night in pitch black, sleeping in a hammock high in the treetops.

How about setting up camp on a sheer cliff far above the ground?

 Tree Camping 200 Feet Up

Tree camping is gaining popularity in places around the world. Within the United States, one well-known spot is in The Willamette National Forest in Oregon near Blue River with the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute.

Get ready for the thrill of a life-time. The “campsites” are at least 200 feet up a 500 year- old Douglas Fir.

Guides will outfit you with all needed equipment. This extreme experience will cost you about $600 per person.

You will be issued harnesses and helmets.  Now the work begins. It’s time to pull yourself up with attached ropes and cables to your campsite. If you get queasy with heights, don’t look down!

When you reach your destination, you will no doubt be exhausted. Your ‘tree boat” should be ready for you to climb in. This device is a sturdy hammock attached between the tree trunk and a large branch. As you dangle high above the ground, enjoy the gorgeous view.

Soon daylight will be gone and it will be pitch black. Fatigue from the climb as well as the swaying of your hammock, should put you right to sleep.

Morning arrives and you are wondering what you’re doing up in a tree. Room service responds by bringing a cup of hot coffee and a warm face wash.

Your extreme tree camping is over and preparation for the descent is next. You may be contemplating whether this is a once in a lifetime event or an annual event.

Extreme Cliff Camping

If you get an adrenaline rush thinking about “hanging out” against a sheer cliff at a dizzying height, extreme cliff camping may be just what you’re looking for.

For a number of years, rock climbers have used ledges and hanging tents to sleep and eat on climbs of more than one day. Now it’s becoming a popular extreme experience to climb a sheer cliff and set up camp for the fabulous views and just for the thrill of it all.

For ordinary ground-level campers, it’s enough of a challenge to securely set up a tent on the ground, but imagine attaching a portaledge (tent structure) to a sheer cliff many feet up.

The portaledge tents of the 1950s were fairly rustic and not too comfortable. More modern styles today have a stable ground support with a metal frame attached to straps that hang from the campsite at one single place.

The campers have a feeling of security and can comfortably relax and sleep after their tiring climbs. You can use single or double tents. With these stable tents you can move around a bit – do some cooking, read, play games and enjoy other life pleasures.

What is the big draw of this kind of outdoor experience? Some extreme campers explain that cliff camping gets the adrenaline going so strong that you feel like you’re literally “on the edge” of living life to the utmost.

Where are the hot spots for this ultimate extreme activity?

  1. Yosemite National Park in California is one very popular location.
  2. A resort in German Bavaria, Waldseilgarten, offers some amazing sites 2000 meters straight up.
  3. Cliff camping in Pembrokeshire

More and more people, who have only dreamed of experiencing life on the edge and up high, are living out their dream as extreme camping is becoming more common in places around the world.

Equipment is becoming safer and more comfortable.

The adrenaline rush is on for the extreme risk-takers of the world.

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Venezuela – Capital of Crime or Perfect Paradise?

Venezuela is a land of contradictions.

It is well known as a country with countless beauty queens and a diverse indigenous culture. A vibrant cosmopolitan nightlife and a rich jungle.

Angel Falls, known to the Pemon tribe as Kerepakupai Vená, cascades down 3,212 feet from the top of Auyantepui; a plateau millions of years old. Palm lined beaches with white sand dot the Caribbean coastline and aquamarine water beckons in Venezuela’s famous Morrocoy National Park.

In recent years, with the mass exodus of the wealthy and educated due to a shifting political situation, Venezuela has become better known as a capital of crime.

Is this reputation deserved, and if so, are its natural and cultural treasures beyond reach for the common tourist?

The answer is no. With a taste for adventure, an open mind and a desire to travel off the beaten path, Venezuela can become a place for all.

Angel Falls

Angel Falls, one of Venezuela’s highlights.

Venezuela’s Brand of Crime

Crime exists in Venezuela as it exists throughout the world.

Unlike its South American neighbors however, Venezuela’s crime is not driven by the drug trade.

With jobs scarce and inflation on the rise, Venezuela’s brand of crime is poverty driven.

By following simple, time-honored rules and knowing what to expect, travelers in Venezuela can easily avoid harm and enjoy an exhilarating and unique vacation.

Transportation

Whether traveling by air or by land, in a rented car or a taxi, transportation in Venezuela is a unique venture.

Visitors should expect intense traffic in almost all urban areas and should always allow for extra time. When traffic forms, more aggressive driving may become an issue.

Traffic rules seem to be merely suggestions in Venezuela, and are oftentimes broken. This includes not stopping at intersections, stop signs or while merging.

If you find yourself behind the wheel of a car in Venezuela, use extreme caution, always be on the lookout and drive with the flow of traffic as speed limits are almost never followed.

When parking, only park in lots with an attendant. This includes street parking. They may not be official, but parking attendants will help to prevent break-ins or theft. Be sure to tip them a few bolivares; the local currency, before you leave.

Caracas Venezuela City

Caracas, sometimes called the World’s most violent city. We tend not to agree. Caveat emptor.

Public transportation is plentiful in most urban areas. The most common forms are the bus system and taxi lines.

While taxis seem plentiful, it is highly recommended that tourists utilize the official taxi lines – usually white vehicles with black and yellow stripes.

Unofficial taxis are usually not licensed and will be easy to identify:

They can be any color, make or model vehicle and will almost always have a simple piece of paper with the word “taxi” attached to the window. While these may be less expensive and are oftentimes perfectly safe, it is best to avoid them as they are occasionally used as bait and passengers may be robbed.

It is perfectly acceptable to haggle with taxi drivers, both official and unofficial, for a better price.

The bus system consists of countless lines which are typically operated by a cooperative- a common theme in Venezuela. Bus prices are fixed and very low.

There are usually very few official stops, and most all busses will pull over with the wave of a hand. They are brightly painted and are known for very loud young men yelling the destination to bystanders. The driver will stop at any point along the road when asked.

Bus lines, however, are known to be a common venue for petty theft.

To stay safe on the bus lines:

  • do not remove your cell phone or valuables in sight of others
  • fare will be collected either during boarding or upon departure
  • Count out the necessary fare ahead of time in order to avoid counting money on the bus

During high traffic hours, expect seating to be limited.

Busses are also available for longer trips outside of the city. For maximum comfort and safety, purchase an advanced ticket on an “executive” line.

The metro is another option when traveling within the capital city of Caracas.

Public Transport Crowding in Caracas

Get ready to have your personal space violated when going on metro in Caracas during rush hour.

It is very efficient and very inexpensive though it may be difficult to navigate for a newcomer. It is highly recommended that first time metro riders pick up a map, available at any station, and plan a route.

The metro does pass through what some consider to be the most dangerous areas of Caracas and exiting at the wrong stop may be dangerous.

Depending on the hour, the metro may be extremely full, in which case expect personal space to be violated. As such, petty theft is common. Keep all valuables close at hand, and within sight. Remove any jewelry, and keep your cell phone in your bag. Pickpockets are common on the metro.

Money: The Parallel Dollar

The exchange of currency is restricted by the government.

It is illegal to convert bolivares into dollars except when requested through a government organization known as CADIVI, which is only available to Venezuelan citizens.

So, this makes it necessary to keep in mind that any foreign currency converted into bolivares will not be able to be converted back.

Because of this, a “black market” has formed, also known as the “parallel dollar.”

This market consists of individuals who wish to purchase dollars or other foreign currency at a rate which exceeds the official exchange rate, oftentimes by over fifty percent.

Many travelers arrange to “sell” their dollars to a second party upon arrival to Venezuela. This is illegal, although prevalent.

In most major airports, a traveler may be approached by someone wishing to purchase dollars. It is best to avoid this. Not only is it illegal, but it may be dangerous.

For your safety, convert currency little by little, as it is needed, or use a major credit or debit card. Most ATM machines accept foreign cards and currency conversion can easily be done at any bank, though expect a long line.

Kidnapping

Most have heard reports of kidnappings occurring in Venezuela.

It is important to keep in mind that while these reports usually involve a celebrity or extremely wealthy citizen, another type of kidnapping exists in Venezuela known as Secuestro Express (Express Kidnapping.)

Caracas

Caracas Shanty Town

This type of crime can happen to anyone, but almost always involves a case in which the victim is known to or appears to possess a large sum of money.

While it is impossible to predict when these crimes will occur, certain steps may be taken to avoid such an incident.

Survival Style – Down Dress 

Travelers should avoid wearing flashy clothing or jewelry.

Valuables must be protected at all times and should be kept from view while in public. This includes jewelry that appears to be expensive, cell phones, currency and anything else of value.

The expression “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” is particularly relevant in Venezuela as someone who appears not to “know the ropes” may be targeted.

This is especially important when walking, which should always be done in a group and never at night.

What does Venezuela have to offer?

Venezuela is an extremely diverse country which possesses immense natural and cultural beauty.

For an authentic Venezuelan vacation, head to where its citizens travel.

Travel to the beach town of Tucacas and rent one of the prevalent peñeros, or water taxis, for a day trip to one of the famous islands of Morrocoy National Park.

Travel to a posada (Bed and Breakfast) in La Gran Sabana, Venezuela’s immense savannah.

Green Iguana

Green Iguana’s are indigenous throughout Central and South America, keep your eyes peeled for the giant green Iguanas in Venezuela.

Stay in a cabin in the chilly mountaintop town of La Colonia Tovar, a German settlement in the Venezuelan Andes, or take in a gallery in the capital city of Caracas.

Enjoy the nightlife of Valencia, Venezuela’s original capital and third largest city, or visit its historic battlefield, Campo de Carabobo.

Whatever your tastes, be it hiking in the Amazon or partying with the rich and famous, Venezuela is a destination not to be missed.

Your World Can Be Full of Heroic Adventures

Digital Nomad Facts – Skills That Will Increase Your Chances of Being Hired

Do you want to earn a living as a digital nomad, but don’t quite know where to start? Do you want to increase your income each year while building a list of dependable clients?

One of the best ways to enjoy a career as a digital nomad is to hone the in-demand skills clients are looking for.

When you’re a freelancer hoping for a long and prosperous career as a digital nomad, here are five essential skills that can significantly improve your hire rate.

Blogging/Blog Management

If you have your own blog or have previously managed your own blog, your chances of being hired increase significantly.

Employers look for freelancers who have a way with words and can prove they know how to reach an online audience.

When you manage your own blog, you stand out from other on-demand workers with no content marketing experience.

We do live in the digital for the last decades, it’s about time you showed some of your digital savvy via a blog–think of it as a portfolio piece to prove that you are no newbie to the digital realm.

Blogging while travel

Digital Marketing

Speaking of marketing, nomads with digital marketing experience have a definite advantage over those with no online marketing experience.

From social media outreach to SMS marketing, today’s employer wants to work with a freelancer who isn’t new to the digital marketing space.

Training takes time; if you can hit the ground running, employers will tend to hire you over a candidate with no marketing expertise.

Areas of focus for digital marketing include:

  • Facebook Advertising
  • Google Adwords
  • Copy Writing
  • Bing Ads
  • SEO (see below)
  • Conversion Rate Optimization CRO

There are many more skill in the marketing space, best would be to focus your skills in a few area while being conversant in many, check out the T-shaped marketer to choose a path that fits your personality.

Customer Service

Customer service is another skill that translates well to freelancing.

Whether you have previously worked as a barista or retail sales clerk, your customer service experience shows that you know how to work with the public.

Most employers won’t want to know the specifics of your customer service jobs, but they’ll be glad you have basic customer service skills like need assessment and sales.

SEO

A digital nomad with search engine optimization skills has a much greater chance of being hired over one with no SEO experience.

When you can prove to a potential employer you have the skills necessary to improve their search engine placement, you’ll go to the top of their candidate list.

Even better, if you have your one blog (see skill #1 above), then build some white hat links and rank it for something. Once that has been accomplished, you have a perfect example to show to an employer that you actually know what you are doing.

email marketing upward

Email Marketing

Email outreach is a crucial outreach tool in today’s increasingly noisy social media world.

Many employers are finding their social media reach is dwindling and are transferring some of their marketing budget to email outreach instead.

Once you have previously run successful email marketing campaigns, an employer knows they won’t have to start from scratch with your training.


Improving your opportunities as a digital nomad comes down to honing the skills employers are looking for.

You can’t expect your annual income to increase if you aren’t actively improving your skill sets.

Work on the five above-listed talents and you just might be able to land more clients while traveling the globe as a digital nomad.

Even better than picking up skills are your own, there has been a recent uptick apprenticeships, or learning under someone (or an organization) that has mastered the skills you desire to make a living from.

A few examples include Empire Flippers, Taylor Pearson’s GetApprentice and the TropicalMBA’s program.

 

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Drippy Americans in an Espresso World

Italians may have invented coffee and the French may have perfected it, but the Americans have streamlined the brewing process with the automatic drip machine.

The ingenious process of heating the water, pouring it over the coffee grounds and filtering it to create a delicious cup of coffee can be attributed to the US.

With an easy brewing process, it’s no wonder that the US leads the world in coffee importation and consumption. The US also leads the world in drip coffee maker sales.

How Drip Coffee Makers Work

There are three basic principals at work with all brewing methods – heat, time and grind.

With a drip coffee maker, the heat and grind do most of the work, saving on time.

All home drip coffee makers have a water reservoir somewhere, usually opening on the top of the maker. Using the ceramic or glass coffee pot as a measuring cup (see header image above), you fill the pot with water equal to the amount of coffee you would like. Pour the cold (and filtered, if you are a purist) water from the pot into the reservoir.

Next, you look for the filter basket and place a filter in it. There are two basic filter shapes, a cone and a bowl. Within each shape there are sizes and material variances as well.

Once the basket and filter are loaded, add fresh coffee grounds.

In a perfect world, you will use beans roasted within the last 48 hours and grind them just before placing into the filter. If you don’t live in a perfect world, buy just enough fresh roasted beans to last you until your next trip to the store and grind enough for one pot just before you begin brewing.

You can usually buy a blade grinder for $20 or so from discount and department stores. The least preferred grounds are those that are sold in gallon tubs, but even these will make a cup of coffee far superior to instant granules.

Place the filter and basket into the coffee maker and replace the carafe or pot under the drip hole.

Finally, press the ON or BREW button. This begins the internal machinery to begin heating the water by running it over hot, electric coils. The nearly boiling water is then sucked up through tubes and over the grounds held in place by the filter and basket.

Gravity pulls the water through the grounds and down into the coffee pot. Many coffee makers include a heating element under the carafe to keep the coffee warm. Be careful, though, this element can cause the coffee to get too hot and burn – a very unsavory cup indeed.

How to drip coffee maker travel

Drip Coffee Maker Options

Walk down the coffee maker aisle of any discount or department store in the United States of America and you’ll find a ton of different options to choose from with price tags to match. The most expensive isn’t necessarily the best and the cheapest isn’t necessarily the worse one for you. It all depends on how often and how much you will use your coffee maker.

You can usually find a dumbed-down coffee maker that does nothing more than brew java for about USD$20. Add a clock and heating plate, you can find a few for less than USD$30. Throw a timer, heating plate shut-off or an insulated carafe and you’ll find the price tags reach USD$50 or more.

There are some coffee makers that do far more than prepare a cup of coffee for you first thing in the morning. Some have integrated espresso makers, bean grinders and milk heating reservoirs for those of you that like that sort of thing.

Before shelling out a bunch of money on a drip coffee maker, look for product reviews online to find out the ups and downs other users have reported.

You can do this by using a search engine to look for “MANUFACTURER MODEL user reviews”, replacing the words in capitals with the appropriate maker and model.

But, even better, because we are a travel site, you may be better off getting a portable coffee maker and leaving the drip-style coffee for when you are staying in decent hotels–most rooms have them available for free.

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10 Intimidating Facts About Scaling the Seven Summits

If you don’t think you have the strength, willpower or mental fortitude to climb the highest peaks on every single continent, you’re not alone–only around 350 people, as of January 2012, have actually had the guts–and money–to accomplish this formidable task.

Adding to the challenge is the fact that, depending on whom you talk to, there are actually eight summits to climb if you want to have truly mastered this feat. If you dream big about mountaineering, wait a tic–scaling these majestic peaks is much more intimidating than you might have ever imagined.

1. The Eight Summits (Or Is It Nine?)

Disputes about geographical boundaries mean that the Seven Summits have evolved into eight summits–when Dick Bass first completed the challenge in 1985, he climbed these seven peaks:

  1. Aconcagua (South America)
  2. McKinley (North American)
  3. Vinson (Antarctica)
  4. Kilimanjaro (Africa)
  5. Kosciusko (Australia)
  6. Elbrus (Europe)
  7. Everest (Asia)

This is known as the “Bass List.”

However, Pat Morrow, another climber to scale the mountains early on, determined that another peak, Carstensz Pyramid (also known as Puncak Jaya) was the highest point on the Australian continent–not Kosciusko.

Puncak Jaya 4884 meters tall Papua New Guinea

Carstensz is reputed to be significantly more challenge due to its steep vertical incline.

Morrow justified his decision by saying that the continental shelf on which Carstensz Pyramid resides is part of the Australian continent.

Reinhold Messner, a noted mountaineer, agreed with Morrow, and this variation become known as the “Messner List.”

Of the 350 people who have laid claim to completing the Seven Summits, just 30 percent have climbed both Kosciuszko and Carstensz–meaning they’ve done all eight summits. The latter is a more technically challenging climb and at 4,884 meters (16,023.6 feet), it’s more than double Kosciuszko’s 2,228 meters (7,309.7 feet). 

There’s another controversy about the European mountain; however, it’s not widespread enough to make a switch on either of the official lists:

Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak at 5,642 meters (18,510) feet, is located on the Asia-Europe border as part of the Caucasus Range.

The majority of geographers place the peak in Europe; however, a few claim it’s actually in Asia–and that would make Mount Blanc Europe’s highest peak at 4,810 meters (15,781 feet). Therefore, you might someday have to scale nine mountains to truly be victorious.

Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak at 5,642 meters (18,510)

2. You Need Around $200K

The total sum to climb all Seven Summits varies widely based on your approach, your gear, your team and other factors. Generally speaking, though, it’s a pretty hefty chunk of change — a ballpark resides anywhere between $130,000 to $220,000.

The most expensive peak to climb, by far, is Mount Everest, which the website estimates at around $60,000 to $87,000. Time magazine places the price tag even higher at up to $100,000. The least-expensive is Aconcagua at just $850 to $5,000.

Aconcagua

Aconcagua, reputedly the most affordable of the 7 summits to climb.

However, that’s just for the luxury of stepping foot on the mountains; don’t forget to add in $8,000 to $13,000 worth of gear, not just hiking poles, and clothing, another $5k to $8k for training and $9,000 to nearly $23,000 in airfare, depending on where you’re coming and going from.

On top of the costs, it takes a lot of your time to go on these expeditions.

Mount Everest alone takes an average of six to seven weeks to climb, even though it only takes five days to reach the summit–you must acclimate to the thin air for safety purposes.

Therefore, holding down a job can be quite difficult unless you have the most understanding of employers–or a whole lot of vacation time.

4. You Just Might Die

There’s no official report as to how many people have died climbing all Seven Summits.

However, as of 2013, nearly 250 people had died trying to ascend Mount Everest alone–and then in April 2014, another 16 were killed in one day in one horrific avalanche.

Africa Mt Kilimanjar Summit Sign

Kilimanjaro summit, the roof of Africa.

Every year, 10 deaths are reported on Mount Kilimanjaro, though the numbers are conflicting. In January 2009, five people died climbing Aconcagua. In other words, these mountains are deadly.

Death comes from altitude sickness, falls and hypothermia, to name a few possible maladies.

On some mountains, such as Everest, the risk and cost of recovering a dead body is too high–meaning future climbers can still see the eerie forms lying in the ice as they make their own ascent.

In fact, more than 200 dead bodies are still on Everest. Climbers have to maneuver past them on their way to the summit.

5. The Summits Total 150,000 Feet

The total elevation of all the eight summits put together equals 45,592 meters (149,580 feet). That’s approximately five times the height of the average airliner’s cruising altitude of 30,000 feet.

The highest elevation is, naturally, Mount Everest at 8,848 meters (29,035 feet), while the lowest is Kosciuszko at 2,228 meters (7,310 feet). If you exclude this mountain from the list, the lowest is Carstensz Pyramid at 4,884 meters (16,024 feet).

6. It’s Pretty Cold Up There

You know that $8,000 to $13,000 you spent on gear and clothing to climb? It just might be worth it, as you’ll need warm clothing in these conditions.

It’s best to climb Mount Elbrus in July and August, but even then temperatures at night average a balmy 18 F (minus 8 C)–but that’s downright warm compared to some of the other peaks.

At night on the Carstensz Pyramid, the summit can be around 14 F (minus 10 C) and it rains for several hours a day.

On Everest, summit temperatures range from minus 4 F to minus 31 F, with wind speeds of up to 175 mph.

At Mount McKinley, also known as Denali, temperatures in early May–the earliest time of year you can begin to safely climb–can hover around minus 50F.

7. Getting to the Mountain

In some cases, it’s no easy feat to simply arrive at the base of the mountain to begin to climb.

To reach Carstensz Pyramid, for example, you have to make your way through West Papua New Guinea’s tropical jungle.

Add in government issues, political instability and tribal wars and it’s no wonder that it’s one of the least-climbed of the Seven Summits.

Even the trek to the base camp of Everest means getting to 17,590 feet–higher than the summit of some of the other mountains on the list. Some climbers choose to simply make the journey to the base camp, a difficult hike with a rewarding payoff that’s significantly less dangerous than going to the very top.

Everest Base Camp

Everest base camp, some climbers only venture this far and have no intention of reaching the peak.

So many of the mountains are remote, as well, meaning that getting medical help in an emergency can be difficult. As you might expect from its location in Antarctica, the area surrounding Mount Vinson is entirely undeveloped. While Vinson’s not a technically challenging climb, the cold and location make it extremely risky.

8. There’s actually a “Death Zone”

That’s right–a death zone.

This is where the altitude is so high that the risk of death increases substantially.

It’s found on Mount Everest above approximately 8,000 meters (26,246 feet). Your body cannot replenish its oxygen store at this height, as there’s only one-third as much oxygen in the air as at sea level. If you have asthma, you might want to skip this one.

9. You Won’t Be the Youngest

If you thought you might be able to break a record due to your age, think again.

After scaling Vinson in Antarctica on December 24, 2011, then-15-year-old Jordan Romero became the youngest person to officially scale the seven peaks. The American-born Romero beat the previous record, set earlier in 2011 by a 16-year-old Brit.

Moun Vinson

Mount Vinson, one of the Seven Summits located in Antarctica.

Setting records wasn’t new to the teen; he conquered Mount Everest at age 13.

Unlike some other climbers, Romero has scaled both Carstensz Pyramid and Kosciuszko.

It took Romero six years to achieve all Seven Summits, compared to the record-holding 134 days achieved in 2010 by Vern Tejas–who once held the record as the youngest Seven Summits climber.

10. Next Up: The Second Summits

The final intimidation factor of climbing the Seven Summits is realizing that, despite this achievement, some serious climbers might still scoff at you for not having done the harder versions–that is, the more technically challenging, albeit slightly lower, second-highest summits on each continent.

This is comprised of the following more difficult and deadly mountains:

  1. K2 (Asia)
  2. Ojos del Salad (South America)
  3. Mount Logan (North America)
  4. Mount Kenya (Africa)
  5. Mount Tyree (Antarctica)
  6. Dychtau (Europe)
  7. Puncak Trikora (Australia)

However, you’ll be in good company, as all seven Second Summits weren’t scaled until 2012 when Hans Kammerlander completed the challenge. He remains the only person to have completed this feat.

The difference in danger between K2 and Mount Everest, both located in Asia, is particularly notable; in 2009 and 2010, nobody attempted to scale K2 at all because of potential death. Additionally, while Everest has a 4.14 percent death rate, K2’s is 26.47 percent. That means that approximately 1 in every 4 climbers that attempts K2 loses their life doing so.

Do you have the mental fortitude to scale all Seven Summits?

Do so, and you’ll go down in history as one of just a few hundred who have been able to do so.

Adventures Await – What Mountains Will You Conquer?

Don’t be a Chicken, Try the Turkish Method of Brewing Coffee

Turkey (the country, not the Thanksgiving bird) isn’t necessarily known for their delicacies to the general population.

For connoisseurs, however, Turkey is known as one of the original coffee brewing countries. The people of Turkey have so much know-how, in fact, that they have their own method and serving style.

Turkish coffee is different than all other kinds (save a few primitive recipes for Cowboy Coffee) because there is no filter involved. Instead of filtering the grounds, Turkish coffee is ground to an almost-powder consistency and allowed to settle after brewing.

Like an espresso a Turkish coffee will be very strong and full of flavor. It is typically served with sugar and the spice cardamom, something the espresso-drinking French simply abhor.

How to Make Turkish Coffee

Start with super fine coffee grounds, even finer than espresso. The grounds should almost be a powder consistency. Use flavored beans if you like, or try a purist cup.

Next, you need an ibrik or another small metallic pot, preferably one with a narrowing at the top of the pot.

Turkish Coffee Pot

This should have a long handle and not be too wide (it’s better to have a tall, skinny pot than a short, fat one.)

You will also need a heat source (stove), some quality water, sugar that dissolves easily and the optional spices like cardamom, anise or cinnamon.

Finally, you’ll need a coffee cup.

Sprinkle between two and six teaspoons of sugar into the coffee cup. Alternatively, you could add a helping of sugar-free sweetener of your choice.

Add very finely ground cardamom, anise or cinnamon to the cup as well.

Add a little water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Add water to your pan or up to where the ibrik’s neck begins, careful not to fill into the neck.

Grind one heaping teaspoon of coffee grounds for each ounce of water (10 ounces of water would require five teaspoons of grounds.)

Place the grounds ON TOP of the water, do not stir them, even a little.

Turn the heat on your stove to medium-low and place the ibrik onto the burner. Stay with the coffee, as the magic happens very quickly.

It will begin to foam and the foam will start to crawl up the neck of the pot or ibrik. Just before it reaches the top of the neck, remove from heat.

Stir the coffee now then bring back to the heat source to foam again. Do this once again, for a total of three foams. The final foam should not be stirred but rather spooned into cups or dumped down the drain if you don’t care for it.

Let the coffee settle for up to a minute and then pour your Turkish coffee into cups.

Recipe for Turkish Coffee

Conclusion

As you can see, the process of making Turkish coffee differs greatly from the standard American drip or French espresso. It should come as no surprise that the resulting cup of liquid gold is unlike either of those. Rather, it is a savory-sweet cup of rich java.

Turkish coffee is a great choice if you want to experiment or enjoy a very strong cup of Joe with the chance of some floaties.

Look at second hand stores for an ibrik before shelling out the thirty or so dollars most sell for in Turkish and Russian specialty stores in large cities and online.

As you sip your Turkish coffee, remember this old saying about the beverage:

“Coffee should be as black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love.”

Most purists would not even consider adding milk or cream to Turkish coffee, but it’s your cup, so do as you wish.

Take More Coffee Adventures

Buddhism and the Mysticism of Emptiness

Buddhism is historically, doctrinally, and philosophically diverse.

Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, and other forms of Buddhism all have different ideas on life, death, the cosmos, and even the nature of the Buddha.

Monks in these traditions live by different monastic codes, practices, rules, and philosophies.

So what makes all of these traditions Buddhist?

One could perhaps point to many different examples, but the strongest element tying all of Buddhism together is its deep mysticism of emptiness.

Buddhism is an intensely mystical religion. It is based on the mystical experience and revelation of one man, the Buddha.

This experience was one in which he attained nirvana, an indescribable and fundamentally empty state. Nirvana is empty because it is unconditioned and free of all distinctions.

In nirvana, the self is released of all desires and thoughts. All Buddhist mysticism, no matter how diverse, stems from this one initial mystical impulse, from the quest to emulate the Buddha and find emptiness.

Theravada

Theravada continued on this initial quest for nirvana, presenting it as the ultimate goal for Buddhist monks.

Monks strive to attain the supreme enlightenment so that they may finally bring an end to the conditioned existence of desire and suffering.

Once they have reached this stage they may be called “arhats,” meaning that they have become “perfected ones.” One can attain nirvana through meditation and “right concentration.”

In other words, a monk must cultivate the correct mystical consciousness in order to realize a perfect state of emptiness.

Monks Strive for an End to suffering

Mahayana

Mahayana Buddhism changed the ultimate goal from nirvana to attainment of Buddhahood itself.

Important Mahayana literature such as the Perfection of Wisdom texts focuses on the Suchness of the Buddha, and describes it as the ultimate reality, the inexhaustible essence within each and every single one of us.

Most importantly, this Suchness is also “empty.”

Emptiness is neither existent nor non-existent. It is nothing and everything at the same time. It is paradoxically only attainable by Buddhas, and yet each and every single being is at every single moment already fundamentally empty.

Japanese Zen Buddhism

Japanese Zen Buddhism takes this one step further by arguing that the desire for enlightenment, whether as nirvana or Buddhahood, must ultimately be abandoned as well.

The pursuit of emptiness means that one must be willing to let go of absolutely everything. Depending on or following the words of the Buddha will not lead one to true emptiness.

Zen does away with all logic and reason and instead attempts to provoke in the mind a sudden moment of illumination through the use of paradoxical sayings.

Buddism Travel

Different Buddhist would disagree on where and what emptiness actually is.

Is it nirvana, Buddhahood, or can it be found only by letting go of these sorts of concepts?

The answers to these questions vary, but in whatever way it is conceived it is emptiness that drives Buddhist mysticism.

More Mystical Travel 

Explore History and Nature at Mesa Verde National Park

Home to 4,500 archaeological sites–including the 600 cliff dwellings that have made it world-famous–Mesa Verde National Park offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to step into the past.

Located in southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde is easily reached via U.S. Highway 160 either from Cortez to the west or Durango to the east.

Because Mesa Verde mixes both a treasure trove of archaeological wonders with natural splendor, it is unique in the National Park System and does require a fair bit of planning in order to be enjoyed fully.

Visiting the Famed Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings

The highlight of any trip to Mesa Verde National Park is a visit to the cliff dwellings, built by the Ancestral Pueblo People during the 13th century.

The most famous cliff dwelling, the Cliff Palace, is a sprawling complex of sandstone walls, rooms, and towers nestled precariously underneath a massive overhanging cliff.

During the summer months, visits to the Cliff Palace–as well as to the Long House and the nearby Balcony House–are by ranger-guided tours only, which require a ticket that can be purchased at the Visitor Center at the park entrance.

Since the drive from the park entrance to the cliff dwellings can easily take an hour depending on traffic, be sure to purchase these tickets beforehand.

best preserved cliff dwelling

Not all cliff dwellings require a ticket, however, and some are open to self-guided tours.

Spruce Tree House, for example, is the best preserved cliff dwelling in the park and is free to visit as is the Step House, which includes a restored pit house.

Other archaeological sites are strewn throughout the park, including the Square Tower House and the Sun Temple.

The latter site, in addition to being an impressive archaeological site in its own right, also gives visitors exceptional views of the Cliff Palace.

Timing your Visit

Also remember that although the park is open 24 hours, the cliff dwellings and many archaeological sites are not, with most closing before dusk. Also, the Wetherill Mesa area, which includes the Long House and Step House, are closed October through April.

The rest of the park is open all year.

What else?

While the cliff dwellings are the main draw of Mesa Verde, it quickly becomes apparent to most visitors that history isn’t the only thing this park has to offer.

Welcome to Mesa Verde

The road from the park entrance to the cliff dwellings, for example, snakes its way over mountains and through canyons, affording visitors spectacular views of the Mancos Valley and Montezuma Valley to the north.

Bicycling is also permitted on the main park road between the park entrance and Chapin Mesa, although it can be grueling even for experienced bikers and the narrow and twisting road make distracted drivers a problem.

While Wetherill Mesa Road is closed to bicycles, the Long House Loop, located at Wetherill Mesa itself, is open to bikes and, thankfully, closed to motorized vehicles.

Hiking is also a popular activity in the park, with many trails taking hikers through scenic landscapes and past historic sites.

Although many trails are relatively short, most of them include steep elevation changes that can make them difficult in hot weather or after rainfall.

Because of the sensitive archaeological nature of the park, hikers are required to stay on marked trails at all times.

Two trails, the Spruce Canyon Trail and the Petroglyph Point Trail, require hikers to register beforehand either at the trailhead or at the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum.

Accommodation in Mesa Verde

While the main sights can be done in one day, those looking to visit at a more relaxed pace will probably want to stay a night or two.

Far View Lodge is the park’s only hotel and has restaurants, gift shops, groceries, and other amenities. Located at the junction of the main park road and Wetherill Mesa Road, it is also a prime spot for exploring the various attractions in the park.

The park also has a large campground, Morefield Campground, located near the park entrance, which has hookups, a gas station, grocery store, RV dump station, amphitheater, and laundromat.

Camping in Mesa Verde

Many of the park’s best trails are also located here. While the campground is first-come, first-served all year round, space is almost always available. Both Morefield Campground and Far View Lodge are open only from spring to fall.

Backcountry camping is not permitted.

Mesa Verde National Park is one of the few places where history and nature combine to provoke awe and wonder in visitors.

One of America’s first World Heritage Sites, Mesa Verde continues to be an inspirational place entirely unlike any other in the world.

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