Hiking to El Cor, the heart of the Dolomites


Would you believe me if I told you that I’d found the most spectacular hike in the Dolomites? Listen up. There are so many amazing hikes to do in the Dolomites that it’s challenging to pick just one, but out of my three weeks spent in Italy, there was one place that stole my heart, quite literally.

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites is one of the best adventures I’ve been on in Italy.

El Cor (the heart, in Italian) was one of my first introductions to Italian hiking and one that has been forever cemented in my mind. Verdant alpine pastures, perfectly solitude, unbelievable views. And a perfect heart cut out of the rock, a window high in the mountains. Also, it’s a total secret! It’s so secret there isn’t even a trail there!

10 reasons why this unknown corner of the Dolomites is an adventure seeker’s paradise

If you’re going to the Dolomites in summer and looking for a fantastic hike, you’ll no doubt want to put El Cor on the list, but if you do a quick search, you’ll see it’s an elusive track, and it’s hard to get any info about it, let alone in English but have no fear friends! I’m here to help.

Here’s everything you need to know about hiking to El Cor, the literal heart of the Dolomites.

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Start:

The start of the El Cor track in a little village called Gares which is just west of Taibon Agordino.

You can reach the car park (Parcheggio Capanna Cima Comelle) in about 30 minutes if leaving from Taibon. There’s a great little cafe there for a quick espresso and a last-minute treat to get you up the mountain.

Time:

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites takes a full day generally. Your time will vary greatly depending on your fitness and how often you stop, but at the very least, you should plan for 6 – 8 hours. This is a long trip and will take the majority of the day. A technical climb that’s unmarked and difficult, using an experienced guide is crucial.

I repeat you need a guide. You need ropes and rock climbing gear. You need experience.

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

The route:

Ok full disclosure, this is not the easiest route in Italy.

You won’t find full paths and hoards of crowds or clever via ferratas. The majority of this trip is off route and unmarked meaning that you either need to hire a guide (which is what I did) or be extremely familiar with the area and terrain (which is unlikely if you’re visiting as a traveler).

I got a personalized guide who made sure I was safe and happy the entire time. I used (Giovanni Orlando) as a guide. You can also stop into the Ufficio Turistico di Agordo or the Ufficio Turistico di Alleghe for more information on the route.

This obviously is a summer hike.

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

The track to El Cor starts on a generous, but steep, walking path that takes you up quickly for an hour. You’ll reach the end of the track and find a Malga (an Italian farmhouse) where you may or may not see a protective border collie patrolling the scene.

And that’s about as detailed as my description can get, which is why I recommend hiring a guide.

10 ways rifugios in the Dolomites are redefining hut life

From the malga, you’ll go off-trail and down a steep gully. If you’re afraid of rock climbing and heights, this may not be an adventure for you. My guide carefully placed climbing gear on the rocks and roped me up tight to make sure I was safe while navigating my way down the slippery and steep gully.

We then put on over the shoe crampons and made our way carefully across a snowfield.


From there, the route to El Cor was easier but steep and exposed. We zig-zagged up the face of the mountain, which finally plopped us on the ridge, which is where all the magic happened! Finally!

At first, you can’t see the heart of the Dolomites, but you do get a quick view of the surrounding peaks which are pretty damn impressive. Cima Pape, El Mul, and Monte Agner are the three mountains you’ll see towering above the valley below.

A little further on the ridge, you’ll be blessed with your first sighting of the El Cor. While it’s visible, it’s not blatantly obvious so make sure you’ve got your eyes peeled.

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

This is a great stop to stop for lunch when hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites.

I’d highly recommend fresh bread rolls and the local deli meat, Speck. Honestly, it’s a simple sandwich but one of the best I’ve ever had on a hike; and when you’re in Italy, nothing tastes terrible.

Take in the view and take all of the photos because once you leave this spot, El Cor will disappear and you won’t see it again.

With a full belly, you’ll be ready to complete the circuit. You’ll walk along the narrow ridge towards Tromba del Miel where the terrain flattens out, and you’ll have more room to move around. You’ll follow the vague cairns down the mountain and loop back up with another generous walking trail. This trail will take you back to the malga, and you’ll return the same way you ascended.

Finish the trip with a well-deserved beer at the cafe and enjoy the warm sun before the afternoon rain!

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

It almost goes without saying (and if you’re on a guided hike, this will be no problem because you’ll likely be roped up to your guide) but please please please do not attempt to hike to El Cor on your own.

It’s incredibly exposed, and a fall here would be fatal.

Additionally, this is a precarious natural formation and exposure to human traffic will undoubtedly degrade the feature quickly, so keep your space and admire it from a distance. Resist all irresponsible urges to get a stupid shot for Instagram! If I see anyone standing in the middle of the heart with their Instagram husband, I’ll lose it.


Things to consider and remember:

It’s common to encounter intense afternoon storms in the Dolomites, so if you’re planning this trip, you’ll want to leave early in the morning to mitigate this.

We left Taibon at 6:45 am and started walking by 7:30. If you begin the trip and begin to feel uncomfortable with the terrain (it’s very steep and exposed!), don’t be afraid to turn around.

It’s so important to listen to your gut!

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

What to bring:

Layers: The mountains in the Dolomites are high. The temperatures at the top can feel very different than the temperatures down in the valley. Be prepared with prolonged pangs, warm insulating mid-layers, and rain protection. It’d also recommend throwing in a hat and gloves, even in summer, just in case.

Water: There is virtually no water on the trail either. Aside from at the Malga (which was being guarded by border collie who did not like intruders, so we stayed clear). You’ll need at least 1L or maybe more if it’s going to be a warm day.

Food: Bring lots of food, including lunch. You’ll need the energy to sustain you for you around 8 hours.

Gear: If you’re going with a guide, they will have all the equipment you need to get to the top safely. This includes ropes, harnesses, crampons, and climbing gear.

Camera: The views from the top will blow your mind, so don’t forget your camera with a spare battery!

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Many thanks to the Heart of the Dolomites for hosting me in Italy – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post Hiking to El Cor, the heart of the Dolomites appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

Hiking to El Cor, the heart of the Dolomites


Would you believe me if I told you that I’d found the most spectacular hike in the Dolomites? Listen up. There are so many amazing hikes to do in the Dolomites that it’s challenging to pick just one, but out of my three weeks spent in Italy, there was one place that stole my heart, quite literally.

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites is one of the best adventures I’ve been on in Italy.

El Cor (the heart, in Italian) was one of my first introductions to Italian hiking and one that has been forever cemented in my mind. Verdant alpine pastures, perfectly solitude, unbelievable views. And a perfect heart cut out of the rock, a window high in the mountains. Also, it’s a total secret! It’s so secret there isn’t even a trail there!

10 reasons why this unknown corner of the Dolomites is an adventure seeker’s paradise

If you’re going to the Dolomites in summer and looking for a fantastic hike, you’ll no doubt want to put El Cor on the list, but if you do a quick search, you’ll see it’s an elusive track, and it’s hard to get any info about it, let alone in English but have no fear friends! I’m here to help.

Here’s everything you need to know about hiking to El Cor, the literal heart of the Dolomites.

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Start:

The start of the El Cor track in a little village called Gares which is just west of Taibon Agordino.

You can reach the car park (Parcheggio Capanna Cima Comelle) in about 30 minutes if leaving from Taibon. There’s a great little cafe there for a quick espresso and a last-minute treat to get you up the mountain.

Time:

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites takes a full day generally. Your time will vary greatly depending on your fitness and how often you stop, but at the very least, you should plan for 6 – 8 hours. This is a long trip and will take the majority of the day. A technical climb that’s unmarked and difficult, using an experienced guide is crucial.

I repeat you need a guide. You need ropes and rock climbing gear. You need experience.

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

The route:

Ok full disclosure, this is not the easiest route in Italy.

You won’t find full paths and hoards of crowds or clever via ferratas. The majority of this trip is off route and unmarked meaning that you either need to hire a guide (which is what I did) or be extremely familiar with the area and terrain (which is unlikely if you’re visiting as a traveler).

I got a personalized guide who made sure I was safe and happy the entire time. I used (Giovanni Orlando) as a guide. You can also stop into the Ufficio Turistico di Agordo or the Ufficio Turistico di Alleghe for more information on the route.

This obviously is a summer hike.

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

The track to El Cor starts on a generous, but steep, walking path that takes you up quickly for an hour. You’ll reach the end of the track and find a Malga (an Italian farmhouse) where you may or may not see a protective border collie patrolling the scene.

And that’s about as detailed as my description can get, which is why I recommend hiring a guide.

10 ways rifugios in the Dolomites are redefining hut life

From the malga, you’ll go off-trail and down a steep gully. If you’re afraid of rock climbing and heights, this may not be an adventure for you. My guide carefully placed climbing gear on the rocks and roped me up tight to make sure I was safe while navigating my way down the slippery and steep gully.

We then put on over the shoe crampons and made our way carefully across a snowfield.


From there, the route to El Cor was easier but steep and exposed. We zig-zagged up the face of the mountain, which finally plopped us on the ridge, which is where all the magic happened! Finally!

At first, you can’t see the heart of the Dolomites, but you do get a quick view of the surrounding peaks which are pretty damn impressive. Cima Pape, El Mul, and Monte Agner are the three mountains you’ll see towering above the valley below.

A little further on the ridge, you’ll be blessed with your first sighting of the El Cor. While it’s visible, it’s not blatantly obvious so make sure you’ve got your eyes peeled.

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

This is a great stop to stop for lunch when hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites.

I’d highly recommend fresh bread rolls and the local deli meat, Speck. Honestly, it’s a simple sandwich but one of the best I’ve ever had on a hike; and when you’re in Italy, nothing tastes terrible.

Take in the view and take all of the photos because once you leave this spot, El Cor will disappear and you won’t see it again.

With a full belly, you’ll be ready to complete the circuit. You’ll walk along the narrow ridge towards Tromba del Miel where the terrain flattens out, and you’ll have more room to move around. You’ll follow the vague cairns down the mountain and loop back up with another generous walking trail. This trail will take you back to the malga, and you’ll return the same way you ascended.

Finish the trip with a well-deserved beer at the cafe and enjoy the warm sun before the afternoon rain!

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

It almost goes without saying (and if you’re on a guided hike, this will be no problem because you’ll likely be roped up to your guide) but please please please do not attempt to hike to El Cor on your own.

It’s incredibly exposed, and a fall here would be fatal.

Additionally, this is a precarious natural formation and exposure to human traffic will undoubtedly degrade the feature quickly, so keep your space and admire it from a distance. Resist all irresponsible urges to get a stupid shot for Instagram! If I see anyone standing in the middle of the heart with their Instagram husband, I’ll lose it.


Things to consider and remember:

It’s common to encounter intense afternoon storms in the Dolomites, so if you’re planning this trip, you’ll want to leave early in the morning to mitigate this.

We left Taibon at 6:45 am and started walking by 7:30. If you begin the trip and begin to feel uncomfortable with the terrain (it’s very steep and exposed!), don’t be afraid to turn around.

It’s so important to listen to your gut!

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

What to bring:

Layers: The mountains in the Dolomites are high. The temperatures at the top can feel very different than the temperatures down in the valley. Be prepared with prolonged pangs, warm insulating mid-layers, and rain protection. It’d also recommend throwing in a hat and gloves, even in summer, just in case.

Water: There is virtually no water on the trail either. Aside from at the Malga (which was being guarded by border collie who did not like intruders, so we stayed clear). You’ll need at least 1L or maybe more if it’s going to be a warm day.

Food: Bring lots of food, including lunch. You’ll need the energy to sustain you for you around 8 hours.

Gear: If you’re going with a guide, they will have all the equipment you need to get to the top safely. This includes ropes, harnesses, crampons, and climbing gear.

Camera: The views from the top will blow your mind, so don’t forget your camera with a spare battery!

Hiking to El Cor the heart of the Dolomites

Many thanks to the Heart of the Dolomites for hosting me in Italy – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post Hiking to El Cor, the heart of the Dolomites appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

Via ferrata in the Dolomites: where history and adventure collide


I had three main requirements on my most recent trip to Italy and the Heart of the Dolomites:

  1. Eat as much pasta and drink as much wine as possible
  2. Fill every spare moment with adventure
  3. Experience an authentic Italian via ferrata in the Dolomites, the birthplace of via ferratas.

Via ferratas have gained a global reputation for being a fun and accessible activity for thrill-seekers who may not have the equipment and skills necessary for technical climbing but who want to experience hanging hundreds of meters in the air on the side of a cliff.

Via ferrata Dolomites is the best way to get a taste for adventure here.

via ferrata dolomites

If it sounds intimating, you’re not wrong.

While they are safe (especially with a guide!), via ferratas are not for the faint of heart.

Being comfortable with heights and exposure is a must for this adventure. But if you have some coordination and confidence, via ferratas are a great way to experience the mountains; in the heart of the Dolomites in the Agordino in Italy is the perfect place to try them out for the first time.

The perfect adventure tourist activity, if you’re looking for a bit of everything, be sure to check out via ferratas when you’re in the Dolomites.


Full of adventure but steeped in a bloody history

The term via ferrata means “iron way” in Italian, and it refers to a system of bolts, cables, platforms and ladders securely fastened to the mountain; they were built to help people scale sheer cliffs quickly.

Who in the world would come up with such a crazy idea?! I’m surprised it wasn’t a kiwi, to be honest.

Soldiers in the middle of mountain warfare, that’s who.

Via Ferratas were popularized during WWI when soldiers needed to move quickly and quietly through the mountains as they worked to fight to maintain control of the valleys below. As the Austrian-Hungarian Empire tried moving further south into Italy, the Italians worked tirelessly to protect their land and their people.

via ferrata dolomites

Trenches were built, high alpine roads were constructed, ladders were bolted on the side of sheer cliffs.

In Marmolada, the Queen and the tallest mountain of the Dolomites, the Austrian soldiers figured out it would be safer to go down the crevasses of the glacier where they could dig tunnels and effectively create a miniature village below the surface.

Their plan was a huge success, and the Italians didn’t know Ice City existed at all until years after the war had ended.

You know life must have been rough when willingly descending into and living in the crevasses of a glacier is better than being above ground.

via ferrata dolomites

WWI was the worst war for Italy, which had just become a unified nation in 1859.

By the time WWI came, Italy was not entirely an industrialized power and lacked the resources and military for large scale warfare. Worse yet, because the borderlines were still fresh, many Italians and Austrians felt they were fighting their cousins and friends. It was a bloody war that killed over 600,000 Italians and left millions more injured.

Fast forward one hundred years and via ferratas have graduated from impressive military tactics to fun recreational activities found all over the world. I’ve been on via ferratas in the USA and Wanaka, New Zealand but I was excited to experience the real deal in the heart of the Dolomites, where it was born.


Modern-day via ferratas in the Dolomites

My first via ferrata in Italy was Sottotenente Mario Fusetti Sass de Stria in Valparola Pass.

While certainly not the most difficult via ferrata in the area, this one is filled with history. The approach to the start of it takes you on an easy winding path through historical trenches and old structures from WWI. If you look carefully enough, you can even find shrapnel and other ancient artifacts from 100 years ago.

Using via ferratas requires some equipment, such as a harness, helmet and a series of slings and carabiners to make sure that if you take a fall, you won’t go very far. For our group, the guide also used a rope which he attached to us for extra safety.

via ferrata dolomites

We started to climb, moving in unison up the rock face, each meter giving us an even better view of the valley below than the last. During WWI, the only way to control the valleys below was to stake out on the peaks, taking turns bombing the enemies below.

It was so strange to be having fun and feeling a rush of adrenaline in a good way when only 100 years ago, these peaks were the home of horrific atrocities. Via ferrata Dolomites has a history that’s mind-boggling.

The climb itself was relatively easy and straightforward, and despite climbing over 200 meters, we reached the top in about 30 minutes.

The via ferrata is unique because you can complete it in a loop, quickly walking back down to the car park once you’ve topped out. We made the easy decision to take advantage of the pristine weather and continue going up, walking to the top of the peak.

The trail took us to through winding trenches, up ladders and into tight nooks and crannies, making us feel like little kids exploring an ancient fortress. We reached the peak of Sasso di Stria with ease and took a few moments to take in the view, rifugios in the distance.

via ferrata dolomites

During my three weeks in Italy, I had barely just scratched the surface of all the opportunities in the extensive network of available via ferrata Dolomites.

There are dozens of guide books to help you narrow down your choice, and there are climbs for every ability from the absolute beginner to the extreme rock climber. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling the via ferratas on your own, you can always hire a guide. Just pop into the information center, and they’ll be able to recommend a local to take you up.

The Italian via ferrata is an absolute must-do for any adventure seekers traveling to the Dolomites. It’s more than an adrenaline rush. It’s a sneak peek into an unpleasant past, where the war was fought against the enemies. Soldiers were battling to stay alive in some of the most inhospitable terrain and conditions on the planet. 

Sure, you can do via ferratas all over the world, but Italy is one of the only places on earth where you can simultaneously get your thrills while moving through a living museum. Trust me; you won’t regret it!

Have you ever done a via ferrata? Is this an adventure you’d try when traveling? Are you interested in visiting the Dolomites too?


Many thanks to the Heart of the Dolomites for hosting me in Italy – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post Via ferrata in the Dolomites: where history and adventure collide appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

Via ferrata in the Dolomites: where history and adventure collide


I had three main requirements on my most recent trip to Italy and the Heart of the Dolomites:

  1. Eat as much pasta and drink as much wine as possible
  2. Fill every spare moment with adventure
  3. Experience an authentic Italian via ferrata in the Dolomites, the birthplace of via ferratas.

Via ferratas have gained a global reputation for being a fun and accessible activity for thrill-seekers who may not have the equipment and skills necessary for technical climbing but who want to experience hanging hundreds of meters in the air on the side of a cliff.

Via ferrata Dolomites is the best way to get a taste for adventure here.

via ferrata dolomites

If it sounds intimating, you’re not wrong.

While they are safe (especially with a guide!), via ferratas are not for the faint of heart.

Being comfortable with heights and exposure is a must for this adventure. But if you have some coordination and confidence, via ferratas are a great way to experience the mountains; in the heart of the Dolomites in the Agordino in Italy is the perfect place to try them out for the first time.

The perfect adventure tourist activity, if you’re looking for a bit of everything, be sure to check out via ferratas when you’re in the Dolomites.


Full of adventure but steeped in a bloody history

The term via ferrata means “iron way” in Italian, and it refers to a system of bolts, cables, platforms and ladders securely fastened to the mountain; they were built to help people scale sheer cliffs quickly.

Who in the world would come up with such a crazy idea?! I’m surprised it wasn’t a kiwi, to be honest.

Soldiers in the middle of mountain warfare, that’s who.

Via Ferratas were popularized during WWI when soldiers needed to move quickly and quietly through the mountains as they worked to fight to maintain control of the valleys below. As the Austrian-Hungarian Empire tried moving further south into Italy, the Italians worked tirelessly to protect their land and their people.

via ferrata dolomites

Trenches were built, high alpine roads were constructed, ladders were bolted on the side of sheer cliffs.

In Marmolada, the Queen and the tallest mountain of the Dolomites, the Austrian soldiers figured out it would be safer to go down the crevasses of the glacier where they could dig tunnels and effectively create a miniature village below the surface.

Their plan was a huge success, and the Italians didn’t know Ice City existed at all until years after the war had ended.

You know life must have been rough when willingly descending into and living in the crevasses of a glacier is better than being above ground.

via ferrata dolomites

WWI was the worst war for Italy, which had just become a unified nation in 1859.

By the time WWI came, Italy was not entirely an industrialized power and lacked the resources and military for large scale warfare. Worse yet, because the borderlines were still fresh, many Italians and Austrians felt they were fighting their cousins and friends. It was a bloody war that killed over 600,000 Italians and left millions more injured.

Fast forward one hundred years and via ferratas have graduated from impressive military tactics to fun recreational activities found all over the world. I’ve been on via ferratas in the USA and Wanaka, New Zealand but I was excited to experience the real deal in the heart of the Dolomites, where it was born.


Modern-day via ferratas in the Dolomites

My first via ferrata in Italy was Sottotenente Mario Fusetti Sass de Stria in Valparola Pass.

While certainly not the most difficult via ferrata in the area, this one is filled with history. The approach to the start of it takes you on an easy winding path through historical trenches and old structures from WWI. If you look carefully enough, you can even find shrapnel and other ancient artifacts from 100 years ago.

Using via ferratas requires some equipment, such as a harness, helmet and a series of slings and carabiners to make sure that if you take a fall, you won’t go very far. For our group, the guide also used a rope which he attached to us for extra safety.

via ferrata dolomites

We started to climb, moving in unison up the rock face, each meter giving us an even better view of the valley below than the last. During WWI, the only way to control the valleys below was to stake out on the peaks, taking turns bombing the enemies below.

It was so strange to be having fun and feeling a rush of adrenaline in a good way when only 100 years ago, these peaks were the home of horrific atrocities. Via ferrata Dolomites has a history that’s mind-boggling.

The climb itself was relatively easy and straightforward, and despite climbing over 200 meters, we reached the top in about 30 minutes.

The via ferrata is unique because you can complete it in a loop, quickly walking back down to the car park once you’ve topped out. We made the easy decision to take advantage of the pristine weather and continue going up, walking to the top of the peak.

The trail took us to through winding trenches, up ladders and into tight nooks and crannies, making us feel like little kids exploring an ancient fortress. We reached the peak of Sasso di Stria with ease and took a few moments to take in the view, rifugios in the distance.

via ferrata dolomites

During my three weeks in Italy, I had barely just scratched the surface of all the opportunities in the extensive network of available via ferrata Dolomites.

There are dozens of guide books to help you narrow down your choice, and there are climbs for every ability from the absolute beginner to the extreme rock climber. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling the via ferratas on your own, you can always hire a guide. Just pop into the information center, and they’ll be able to recommend a local to take you up.

The Italian via ferrata is an absolute must-do for any adventure seekers traveling to the Dolomites. It’s more than an adrenaline rush. It’s a sneak peek into an unpleasant past, where the war was fought against the enemies. Soldiers were battling to stay alive in some of the most inhospitable terrain and conditions on the planet. 

Sure, you can do via ferratas all over the world, but Italy is one of the only places on earth where you can simultaneously get your thrills while moving through a living museum. Trust me; you won’t regret it!

Have you ever done a via ferrata? Is this an adventure you’d try when traveling? Are you interested in visiting the Dolomites too?


Many thanks to the Heart of the Dolomites for hosting me in Italy – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post Via ferrata in the Dolomites: where history and adventure collide appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Everything you need to know about solo female travel in Dubai


Dubai is one of those places that is almost tricky to capture in words. Why? Because there is nowhere else quite like it. And what’s it like to travel to Dubai as a solo female?

An extravagant playground built out of the sands of a desert, in perhaps one of the most hostile environments on earth, Dubai was imagined into reality and seemingly overnight has become one of the most vibrant cities on earth.

Somewhat lovingly nicknamed “the sandpit,” Dubai is a place where innovation and tradition smash together and create something new. It’s a place that will shatter your preconceptions about the Middle East to pieces. I love it!

25 photos that will inspire you to visit Dubai

solo female travel Dubai

Image by Lauren Bath

solo female travel dubai

For example, the first time I visited Dubai on a solo female travel trip was around 2013, and as I was crossing the street heading to a mall, a flashy Mercedes G-Class stopped in front of me with a cheetah in the front seat. 

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

Welcome to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, a land of juxtapositions, where tradition meets the future in wild and weird ways that are always changing. Every time I come to Dubai, something new seems to have popped up.

Bright and bold, what can you expect from a place with man-made islands and the flashiest hotels on earth, where you can watch women in burkas climb out from the driver’s seat of a Maserati and head out to the desert on the back of a camel.

Solo female travel in Dubai

But what’s it like for the modern western woman traveling solo? Like yours truly?

Can women even drive in Dubai? Do you need to cover up? Do you have to wear a burka? Where IS Dubai? Do you have to be married?

These are only some of the many questions that people ask me when I explain how much time I spend in this buzzy heart of the modern Middle East. The lack of knowledge can be somewhat overwhelming, but I’ve learned a lot from my time in Dubai, a place I have come to love, in a weird way.

I’ve gleaned quite a bit of knowledge from my experience with solo female travel to Dubai over the years to share with you below. Enjoy!

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

1. It’s awesome for solo female travelers

First things first, I love to travel to Dubai as a solo female. Dubai is much more liberal than the rest of the UAE.

A committed, lifelong solo female traveler, Dubai is a city where I’ve always felt very safe traveling on my own. In fact, it’s one of the best places to begin visiting as a solo female traveler, in my opinion. Packed with tourists and foreigners, it’s an excellent introduction to the Middle East. 

The Solo Female Traveler’s Manifesto

Much more liberal and modern than its neighbors, Dubai is a place where I feel safe traveling solo. In Dubai, I tend to only talk to women first for help or questions, depending on where I am and what situation I’m in.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

Dubai is also an exciting place because I see it having two sectors – the public space and the private space. In open areas (like malls or public beaches) you behave by the Sharia-inspired rules of Dubai. Be modest, act with dignity, no being drunk.

But in private spaces, like hotels and homes, things are super different. In hotels, you can drink and feel a lot freer, dress how you like, and follow a more lax set of rules.

It’s important to remember that. The rules here are very flexible and mobile and are changing. But when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

10 of the safest destinations for solo female travelers

solo female travel dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

2. Dubai is perfect for layovers and stopovers

Being based in New Zealand at the very bottom of the South Pacific, when I want to travel overseas, I usually have to fly through Dubai. Because of this, Emirates has become my go-to airline through the Middle East. 

Wanting to break up the back-to-back long haul flights (17 hours to Dubai from New Zealand + 8 hours to Europe or Africa or Asia from Dubai) I generally stop in this glamorous city for a night or two. I use it as an opportunity to relax and pamper myself in a town, unlike any other in the world.

Honestly, it’s the perfect place to relax and recoup when you’re traveling. You can usually find me hiding away in a luxury suite at a 5-star hotel or the spa, occasionally venturing out to take in a bit of the sites, like the top of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

solo female travel dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

3. Crime in Dubai is super low

Dubai has a very low crime rate, and I’ve personally experienced no fear or had problems on my trips to Dubai. I’ve never been harassed or even felt uncomfortable.

Dubai is the most liberal and “western” place I’ve been in the Middle East, as it’s a massive hub for foreigners, but it’s still a place steeped in tradition, and it’s important to respect that. 

I imagine the main reason that Dubai is so safe is that they rule with an iron fist, and crime here is not usually a problem for visitors. You are always on CCTV (shivers), keep that in mind.

Things like drug trafficking can carry death penalties, so for god’s sake, be on your best behavior here.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

4. Dubai is a cultural melting pot

Dubai is a very trendy and fascinating city for many reasons; one of the big ones being how international it is. Only about 10% of the population is local Emirati; the rest are foreigners here to play and work. And the locals are very well off, financially speaking.

You will see plenty of women covered from head to toe in burkas, but they’re usually visitors from more conservative places like Saudi Arabia.

Many big companies are based here with international offices and staff, and you’re much more likely to meet travelers and expats than locals.

But when you do get to meet locals, it’s a pretty unique experience too. If you’re a visitor, check out the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for tours and activities to learn about the local people and culture respectfully.

Image by Lauren Bath

Solo female travel in Dubai

5. It’s mandatory to have insurance

I would hanker a guess that most people don’t know that it’s compulsory to have insurance to travel to Dubai.

I repeat, travel insurance is compulsory in Dubai.

But with many years of travel experience comes knowledge and foresight, and now I don’t take any chances. I can’t even imagine what a hospital stint would cost in the UAE.

I buy an annual policy – and after shopping around, Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) is now my go-to provider for all things insurance-related on all my travels around the world.

Read more about my experience traveling with SCTI in Bali and Spain. 

Solo female travel in Dubai

6. You don’t need to be married

No, you don’t need to be married to go to Dubai. Thank god, because that’s never been on my radar and I haven’t managed to trick a guy yet haha! Yes, solo female travel to Dubai is excellent.

However, while Dubai is undoubtedly the most “relaxed” spot I’ve been to in the Middle East about solo females, that doesn’t mean it’s on par with where we grow up in terms of freedoms and liberties, i.e. sleeping around, wearing what you want, and being your most wild and free feminine self.

Dubai still has laws that are not favorable to women, and while the enforcement of them is vague at best, it always pays to follow the rules outside your comfort zone.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

Familiarize yourself with the different rules in Dubai.

The one that always has freaked me out has been the stories about female victims of sexual assault who have been detained after reporting an incident to police or seeking medical assistance.

But I also keep in mind in my own experience, this is super rare, and overall I’ve found Dubai a much safer and easier place to travel to than many other countries I’ve visited.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

7. Yes, you can drive. But watch out!

Of course, women can drive in Dubai. If you stay in a flash hotel like I usually do, women will often climb out of the driver’s seat of a Ferrari on the regular.

Saudi Arabia is the only place I know of that forbids female drivers. However, they changed that law recently from what I understand.

One thing to keep in mind is that Dubai has a much higher rate of traffic accidents than in western places like Europe, likely due to the speeding. With so many supercars around, it’s not surprising, and I’ve found riding along in cars to be fine here. It’s not a comfortable place to get around without a car, which means you often shell out for Ubers, taxis, or shuttles.

Women who get taxis and Ubers should sit in the backseat. There are even women-only taxis and carriages on the subway.

Solo female travel in Dubai

8. You gotta play by their rules

The most significant risk when traveling in Dubai is not knowing or following the Sharia-inspired laws—this has landed a few dumb travelers in prison, with no way to get home.

Be on your best behavior and dress more modestly. The best piece of advice I got from local Emirati was to always behave with a G-rating in public. 

For example, drinking alcohol is illegal in the UAE, but it’s allowed in hotels. There are strict laws in the UAE on personal conduct, particularly around sex and relationships that are very different from New Zealand.

It’s your job to familiarize yourself with Dubai’s rigid rules (like your destination’s travel pages), which forbid drinking wine, crude language, aggressive gestures, taking someone’s picture without asking, taking photos of government buildings, possessing certain prescription medications, kissing in public, homosexuality, and a long list of other behavioral restrictions.

Solo female travel in Dubai

solo female travel dubai

To be honest, I don’t generally wear skimpy clothes in Dubai because for me it’s not comfortable. In Dubai, wearing sleeveless tops, showing your stomach or back, or wearing short skirts and shorts won’t get people on your side. I’m not here to have a feminist argument or try to change an entire culture.

You will definitely see western women wearing skimpy clothes (especially considering how hot Dubai is), don’t assume that just because they’re doing it, it’s acceptable. I’ve found that Emirati people find it rude, but they’re too polite to say anything.

All I can say is when I’m in Dubai, I play by their rules and put on my best behavior and dress modestly, but not as modest as when I’m in other Muslim countries that are much more conservative. I find it’s best not to parade my different sets of values here.

Also, be aware of Ramadan dates and potentially avoid staying in Dubai then. During Ramadan, the rules are much stricter and much more strictly enforced. Do your research.

What do you think? Would you travel to Dubai as a solo female traveler? Thoughts? Anything to add? Share!

Solo female travel in Dubai

Many thanks to SCTI for sponsoring this post – like always I’m keeping it real  – all opinions are my own like you can expect less from me!

The post Everything you need to know about solo female travel in Dubai appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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Everything you need to know about solo female travel in Dubai


Dubai is one of those places that is almost tricky to capture in words. Why? Because there is nowhere else quite like it. And what’s it like to travel to Dubai as a solo female?

An extravagant playground built out of the sands of a desert, in perhaps one of the most hostile environments on earth, Dubai was imagined into reality and seemingly overnight has become one of the most vibrant cities on earth.

Somewhat lovingly nicknamed “the sandpit,” Dubai is a place where innovation and tradition smash together and create something new. It’s a place that will shatter your preconceptions about the Middle East to pieces. I love it!

25 photos that will inspire you to visit Dubai

solo female travel Dubai

Image by Lauren Bath

solo female travel dubai

For example, the first time I visited Dubai on a solo female travel trip was around 2013, and as I was crossing the street heading to a mall, a flashy Mercedes G-Class stopped in front of me with a cheetah in the front seat. 

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

Welcome to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, a land of juxtapositions, where tradition meets the future in wild and weird ways that are always changing. Every time I come to Dubai, something new seems to have popped up.

Bright and bold, what can you expect from a place with man-made islands and the flashiest hotels on earth, where you can watch women in burkas climb out from the driver’s seat of a Maserati and head out to the desert on the back of a camel.

Solo female travel in Dubai

But what’s it like for the modern western woman traveling solo? Like yours truly?

Can women even drive in Dubai? Do you need to cover up? Do you have to wear a burka? Where IS Dubai? Do you have to be married?

These are only some of the many questions that people ask me when I explain how much time I spend in this buzzy heart of the modern Middle East. The lack of knowledge can be somewhat overwhelming, but I’ve learned a lot from my time in Dubai, a place I have come to love, in a weird way.

I’ve gleaned quite a bit of knowledge from my experience with solo female travel to Dubai over the years to share with you below. Enjoy!

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

1. It’s awesome for solo female travelers

First things first, I love to travel to Dubai as a solo female. Dubai is much more liberal than the rest of the UAE.

A committed, lifelong solo female traveler, Dubai is a city where I’ve always felt very safe traveling on my own. In fact, it’s one of the best places to begin visiting as a solo female traveler, in my opinion. Packed with tourists and foreigners, it’s an excellent introduction to the Middle East. 

The Solo Female Traveler’s Manifesto

Much more liberal and modern than its neighbors, Dubai is a place where I feel safe traveling solo. In Dubai, I tend to only talk to women first for help or questions, depending on where I am and what situation I’m in.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

Dubai is also an exciting place because I see it having two sectors – the public space and the private space. In open areas (like malls or public beaches) you behave by the Sharia-inspired rules of Dubai. Be modest, act with dignity, no being drunk.

But in private spaces, like hotels and homes, things are super different. In hotels, you can drink and feel a lot freer, dress how you like, and follow a more lax set of rules.

It’s important to remember that. The rules here are very flexible and mobile and are changing. But when in doubt, err on the side of caution.

10 of the safest destinations for solo female travelers

solo female travel dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

2. Dubai is perfect for layovers and stopovers

Being based in New Zealand at the very bottom of the South Pacific, when I want to travel overseas, I usually have to fly through Dubai. Because of this, Emirates has become my go-to airline through the Middle East. 

Wanting to break up the back-to-back long haul flights (17 hours to Dubai from New Zealand + 8 hours to Europe or Africa or Asia from Dubai) I generally stop in this glamorous city for a night or two. I use it as an opportunity to relax and pamper myself in a town, unlike any other in the world.

Honestly, it’s the perfect place to relax and recoup when you’re traveling. You can usually find me hiding away in a luxury suite at a 5-star hotel or the spa, occasionally venturing out to take in a bit of the sites, like the top of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.

solo female travel dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

3. Crime in Dubai is super low

Dubai has a very low crime rate, and I’ve personally experienced no fear or had problems on my trips to Dubai. I’ve never been harassed or even felt uncomfortable.

Dubai is the most liberal and “western” place I’ve been in the Middle East, as it’s a massive hub for foreigners, but it’s still a place steeped in tradition, and it’s important to respect that. 

I imagine the main reason that Dubai is so safe is that they rule with an iron fist, and crime here is not usually a problem for visitors. You are always on CCTV (shivers), keep that in mind.

Things like drug trafficking can carry death penalties, so for god’s sake, be on your best behavior here.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

4. Dubai is a cultural melting pot

Dubai is a very trendy and fascinating city for many reasons; one of the big ones being how international it is. Only about 10% of the population is local Emirati; the rest are foreigners here to play and work. And the locals are very well off, financially speaking.

You will see plenty of women covered from head to toe in burkas, but they’re usually visitors from more conservative places like Saudi Arabia.

Many big companies are based here with international offices and staff, and you’re much more likely to meet travelers and expats than locals.

But when you do get to meet locals, it’s a pretty unique experience too. If you’re a visitor, check out the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for tours and activities to learn about the local people and culture respectfully.

Image by Lauren Bath

Solo female travel in Dubai

5. It’s mandatory to have insurance

I would hanker a guess that most people don’t know that it’s compulsory to have insurance to travel to Dubai.

I repeat, travel insurance is compulsory in Dubai.

But with many years of travel experience comes knowledge and foresight, and now I don’t take any chances. I can’t even imagine what a hospital stint would cost in the UAE.

I buy an annual policy – and after shopping around, Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) is now my go-to provider for all things insurance-related on all my travels around the world.

Read more about my experience traveling with SCTI in Bali and Spain. 

Solo female travel in Dubai

6. You don’t need to be married

No, you don’t need to be married to go to Dubai. Thank god, because that’s never been on my radar and I haven’t managed to trick a guy yet haha! Yes, solo female travel to Dubai is excellent.

However, while Dubai is undoubtedly the most “relaxed” spot I’ve been to in the Middle East about solo females, that doesn’t mean it’s on par with where we grow up in terms of freedoms and liberties, i.e. sleeping around, wearing what you want, and being your most wild and free feminine self.

Dubai still has laws that are not favorable to women, and while the enforcement of them is vague at best, it always pays to follow the rules outside your comfort zone.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

Familiarize yourself with the different rules in Dubai.

The one that always has freaked me out has been the stories about female victims of sexual assault who have been detained after reporting an incident to police or seeking medical assistance.

But I also keep in mind in my own experience, this is super rare, and overall I’ve found Dubai a much safer and easier place to travel to than many other countries I’ve visited.

Solo female travel in Dubai

Solo female travel in Dubai

7. Yes, you can drive. But watch out!

Of course, women can drive in Dubai. If you stay in a flash hotel like I usually do, women will often climb out of the driver’s seat of a Ferrari on the regular.

Saudi Arabia is the only place I know of that forbids female drivers. However, they changed that law recently from what I understand.

One thing to keep in mind is that Dubai has a much higher rate of traffic accidents than in western places like Europe, likely due to the speeding. With so many supercars around, it’s not surprising, and I’ve found riding along in cars to be fine here. It’s not a comfortable place to get around without a car, which means you often shell out for Ubers, taxis, or shuttles.

Women who get taxis and Ubers should sit in the backseat. There are even women-only taxis and carriages on the subway.

Solo female travel in Dubai

8. You gotta play by their rules

The most significant risk when traveling in Dubai is not knowing or following the Sharia-inspired laws—this has landed a few dumb travelers in prison, with no way to get home.

Be on your best behavior and dress more modestly. The best piece of advice I got from local Emirati was to always behave with a G-rating in public. 

For example, drinking alcohol is illegal in the UAE, but it’s allowed in hotels. There are strict laws in the UAE on personal conduct, particularly around sex and relationships that are very different from New Zealand.

It’s your job to familiarize yourself with Dubai’s rigid rules (like your destination’s travel pages), which forbid drinking wine, crude language, aggressive gestures, taking someone’s picture without asking, taking photos of government buildings, possessing certain prescription medications, kissing in public, homosexuality, and a long list of other behavioral restrictions.

Solo female travel in Dubai

solo female travel dubai

To be honest, I don’t generally wear skimpy clothes in Dubai because for me it’s not comfortable. In Dubai, wearing sleeveless tops, showing your stomach or back, or wearing short skirts and shorts won’t get people on your side. I’m not here to have a feminist argument or try to change an entire culture.

You will definitely see western women wearing skimpy clothes (especially considering how hot Dubai is), don’t assume that just because they’re doing it, it’s acceptable. I’ve found that Emirati people find it rude, but they’re too polite to say anything.

All I can say is when I’m in Dubai, I play by their rules and put on my best behavior and dress modestly, but not as modest as when I’m in other Muslim countries that are much more conservative. I find it’s best not to parade my different sets of values here.

Also, be aware of Ramadan dates and potentially avoid staying in Dubai then. During Ramadan, the rules are much stricter and much more strictly enforced. Do your research.

What do you think? Would you travel to Dubai as a solo female traveler? Thoughts? Anything to add? Share!

Solo female travel in Dubai

Many thanks to SCTI for sponsoring this post – like always I’m keeping it real  – all opinions are my own like you can expect less from me!

The post Everything you need to know about solo female travel in Dubai appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

5 myths about traveling to Antarctica


“Is it just like snow and stuff?” Sigh, so many myths about traveling to Antarctica.

Yes, that is a direct quote I heard more than once when I told people that it was my dream to visit Antarctica. The last continent. The Great White South. The land of penguins NOT polar bears.

Nothing can compare to the wild and untamed grandeur that is Antarctica. Here vast white mountains drop down to the sea, icebergs the size of islands slowly drift pass your ship and the wind is so strong it can knock you over.

There’s actually a lot to see in Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula — where the majority of tourists go — is a continuation of the Andes Mountains from South America, meaning it’s quite mountainous. Peaks often rise out of the ocean, interspersed by enormous glaciers. It’s one of the most pristine places on Earth, in no small part because it’s mostly untouched by humans.

And yes, you can go on holiday to Antarctica, and yes it’s pretty freaking awesome. And there is more than just snow and stuff. Listen up and let me break down some myths about traveling to Antarctica.

25 photos that will inspire you to visit Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Because Antarctica is one of those ultimate adventures, you likely won’t find too many people who have journeyed the very bottom of the world before. Yeah yeah yeah, I can already hear the ones going “well I know so-and-so.” But seriously, most people haven’t been. It’s not Disneyland or Paris. There’s no Tripadvisor here.

It’s never been easier to get the elusive golden ticket down to Antarctica, but that doesn’t mean that myths surrounding this mysterious land aren’t abundant, because they are. And in fact, even down there you’ll hear them repeated a lot. Crack a book, people. Read a blog.

There are no polar bears in Antarctica. Wrong hemisphere. I repeat, there are NO POLAR BEARS IN ANTARCTICA.

So let me take this opportunity to clear up some of the most common misgivings and half-truths I’ve heard and bust some of these myths about traveling to Antarctica. Enjoy!

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

1. It’s too expensive to visit Antarctica

Perhaps one of the biggest myths about going to Antarctica is that it can be mind-blowingly expensive, but there are still ways to make the trip more affordable too.

Alert the press – it’s not as expensive as you think it is. Most trips I’ve seen run for less than $10,000 USD for around two weeks with Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures. And if you’re smart, you can get it a lot cheaper. Whether you’re a penguin fanatic like me, or you want to set eyes on the raw and beautiful landscapes, there’s an Antarctic expedition to suit you.

Yes, that isn’t cheap, I know. But it’s also not unachievable either. And remember that’s all-inclusive – activities, accommodation, food, heaps of adventure. Just not alcohol or any extras.

Because there has been a lot of growth in the tourism industry in Antarctica, prices have come down quite a bit and just with like most travel; there’s quite a bit in between budget and luxury. On my first trip down, I was huddled down in with three other girls in a little bunkbed while a friend who was on another chartered ship had her own suite with a king-size bed and bath! It varies widely.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

If you can be flexible on timing, there are bargains to be had to get a spot on an Antarctica trip, so sign up for emails from a few tour operators and keep an eye out for any specials.

Most trips are released a few years in advance, and often there are sales early. The cheapest tours run for about ten days while longer ones are almost a month-long, like my trip with Intrepid that also included subantarctic islands. If you want my opinion, spend all the money you can on a journey that includes going to South Georgia. 

Your best bet for saving money is to book at least a year in advance, going early or late season. If you have a couple of friends who want to do the trip, a triple-share or quad cabin aboard a research-style vessel can make things a lot cheaper too.

You can also hang around Ushuaia during the summer in Argentina, the port city where most of the Antarctic ships depart from, and often there are deeply discounted last-minute sales to fill the few remaining beds, where you can book in less than a week before for a couple of thousand dollars, even on the priciest trips.

Because it’s so expensive to operate these trips, companies often make sure there are no empty spaces on board.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

2. Antarctica is only for explorers and scientists

Protected by the Antarctic Treaty, since the Cold War Antarctica is preserved as a scientific reserve with freedom of scientific investigation with no military activity permitted on the continent. That’s why most of us only know of Antarctica from the scientific research conducted down there on the various scientific bases.

And it’s true that there are boatloads of scientists and researchers spending extended periods in Antarctica – just under 4,000 in the summer months, dropping to 1200 during the harsh winter months.

But the frozen wonderland and its wildlife is also a huge tourist drawcard, bringing in more than 50,000 visitors each year. But don’t freak out (yet). All reputable operators are members of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, which was founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic.

This means that tourism is HIGHLY regulated there in order to protect and preserve this magnificent place.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

3. It’s way too cold

Before I went to Antarctica in 2018, I fully expected the cold to be unbearable. Sadly, that’s not true. This is another one of those myths about traveling to Antarctica.

While it’s true Antarctica is the coldest place in the world, with the lowest-ever temperature recorded at -89.4ºC, NASA reports. But the tourism cruising season takes place during the Southern Hemisphere summer, between November and March when the sea ice has melted enough to allow landings and access from ships there.

With long hours of daylight during mid-summer, the temperatures can range between a more bearable -2ºC and 8ºC.

On my first day there I was amazed I didn’t even need a parka. It was sunny and warm hiking around on the snow. I had been way colder in Canada in winter. But of course, Antarctica is home to the wildest weather on earth, and sometimes it was so windy it could blow you over, and it snowed often. It varies!

What to pack for a trip to Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

4. It’s dangerous to visit the white continent

Antarctica’s harsh environment certainly makes travel to the area more challenging, so it’s essential to choose an experienced operator who is a member of IAATO, but in terms of danger, the companies are experts and super skilled to make sure nothing terrible happens. 

Crossing the stretch of ocean between Cape Horn and Antarctica, known as the Drake Passage, can be rough, so if you’re prone to seasickness, prepare yourself. There are even some options to fly across the Drake. I would imagine most accidents on the ships happen from people falling over in rough seas. 

Even though you don’t have to be super-fit to go on a guided Antarctic expedition, but it’s essential to have a right level of mobility. This means being able to remain stable on your feet on sometimes slippery decks and gangways, as well as getting in and out of Zodiacs if you’re going ashore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

You’re required to have a very high level of travel insurance (I recommend SCTI, and it’s what I use) to go to Antarctica because if a severe accident happens, you’re up a shit creek and the whole trip gets canceled as the ship returns to shore. That’s gonna cost a fortune, so your insurance needs to usually have a medical evacuation cover of over $500,000 dollars. There aren’t any hospitals or rescue choppers for you here.

As for the wildlife, the penguins are harmless but make sure you don’t slip in their abundant poo. Orca and leopard seals are top predators (one even killed a scientist once) but because the ships maintain safe distances from the wildlife and is super on guard, I was never worried even when a few rogue seals chased me, though you definitely don’t want to get bitten by a seal, their mouths are full of bacteria.

And while crime is nonexistent, there are some very fascinating stories of people going batshit crazy; like an Argentinian doctor who once burnt his entire science base down as to not have to stay another winter.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

5. You’re mostly on the ship

Because you can only visit Antarctica on boats (for the most part) and you’re required to sleep and stay on the ship, some people think that it’s more like a cruise or that you’re stuck on board the whole time, which isn’t the case at all. There are no hotels or places to stay in Antarctica apart from the few science bases, but tourists aren’t allowed to stay there. A few companies have the option to let you camp for a night on the ice.

Size matters when it comes to choosing an Antarctic trip, as the number of passengers on your ship will determine how often you get on to terra firma. Choose a smaller vessel for the best experience. Bigger ships aren’t allowed to make landings in Antarctica.

No more than 100 passengers should go ashore at one site at the same time. In some places that is even more restricted. With smaller ships (up to 100 passengers), getting on and off the boat and into Zodiacs or on land is quick and efficient, giving you more time to explore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Antarctica is a place that can and will change your life. The myths about traveling to Antarctica have got to go!

Wild and remote where the weather is in charge and nature is at its most abundant, Antarctica is an incredible place. It is worth every penny spent on a voyage there. It can have a profound impact on you and inspire.

And remember, Antarctica is so much more than just snow and stuff. And there aren’t any polar bears.

Any myths you’ve heard about Antarctica? Is this the kind of trip you’d splurge on? Spill!

myths about traveling to antarctica

Many thanks to Intrepid Travel for hosting me in Antarctica – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you can expect less from me!

The post 5 myths about traveling to Antarctica appeared first on Young Adventuress.



Source link

5 myths about traveling to Antarctica


“Is it just like snow and stuff?” Sigh, so many myths about traveling to Antarctica.

Yes, that is a direct quote I heard more than once when I told people that it was my dream to visit Antarctica. The last continent. The Great White South. The land of penguins NOT polar bears.

Nothing can compare to the wild and untamed grandeur that is Antarctica. Here vast white mountains drop down to the sea, icebergs the size of islands slowly drift pass your ship and the wind is so strong it can knock you over.

There’s actually a lot to see in Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula — where the majority of tourists go — is a continuation of the Andes Mountains from South America, meaning it’s quite mountainous. Peaks often rise out of the ocean, interspersed by enormous glaciers. It’s one of the most pristine places on Earth, in no small part because it’s mostly untouched by humans.

And yes, you can go on holiday to Antarctica, and yes it’s pretty freaking awesome. And there is more than just snow and stuff. Listen up and let me break down some myths about traveling to Antarctica.

25 photos that will inspire you to visit Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Because Antarctica is one of those ultimate adventures, you likely won’t find too many people who have journeyed the very bottom of the world before. Yeah yeah yeah, I can already hear the ones going “well I know so-and-so.” But seriously, most people haven’t been. It’s not Disneyland or Paris. There’s no Tripadvisor here.

It’s never been easier to get the elusive golden ticket down to Antarctica, but that doesn’t mean that myths surrounding this mysterious land aren’t abundant, because they are. And in fact, even down there you’ll hear them repeated a lot. Crack a book, people. Read a blog.

There are no polar bears in Antarctica. Wrong hemisphere. I repeat, there are NO POLAR BEARS IN ANTARCTICA.

So let me take this opportunity to clear up some of the most common misgivings and half-truths I’ve heard and bust some of these myths about traveling to Antarctica. Enjoy!

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

1. It’s too expensive to visit Antarctica

Perhaps one of the biggest myths about going to Antarctica is that it can be mind-blowingly expensive, but there are still ways to make the trip more affordable too.

Alert the press – it’s not as expensive as you think it is. Most trips I’ve seen run for less than $10,000 USD for around two weeks with Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures. And if you’re smart, you can get it a lot cheaper. Whether you’re a penguin fanatic like me, or you want to set eyes on the raw and beautiful landscapes, there’s an Antarctic expedition to suit you.

Yes, that isn’t cheap, I know. But it’s also not unachievable either. And remember that’s all-inclusive – activities, accommodation, food, heaps of adventure. Just not alcohol or any extras.

Because there has been a lot of growth in the tourism industry in Antarctica, prices have come down quite a bit and just with like most travel; there’s quite a bit in between budget and luxury. On my first trip down, I was huddled down in with three other girls in a little bunkbed while a friend who was on another chartered ship had her own suite with a king-size bed and bath! It varies widely.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

If you can be flexible on timing, there are bargains to be had to get a spot on an Antarctica trip, so sign up for emails from a few tour operators and keep an eye out for any specials.

Most trips are released a few years in advance, and often there are sales early. The cheapest tours run for about ten days while longer ones are almost a month-long, like my trip with Intrepid that also included subantarctic islands. If you want my opinion, spend all the money you can on a journey that includes going to South Georgia. 

Your best bet for saving money is to book at least a year in advance, going early or late season. If you have a couple of friends who want to do the trip, a triple-share or quad cabin aboard a research-style vessel can make things a lot cheaper too.

You can also hang around Ushuaia during the summer in Argentina, the port city where most of the Antarctic ships depart from, and often there are deeply discounted last-minute sales to fill the few remaining beds, where you can book in less than a week before for a couple of thousand dollars, even on the priciest trips.

Because it’s so expensive to operate these trips, companies often make sure there are no empty spaces on board.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

2. Antarctica is only for explorers and scientists

Protected by the Antarctic Treaty, since the Cold War Antarctica is preserved as a scientific reserve with freedom of scientific investigation with no military activity permitted on the continent. That’s why most of us only know of Antarctica from the scientific research conducted down there on the various scientific bases.

And it’s true that there are boatloads of scientists and researchers spending extended periods in Antarctica – just under 4,000 in the summer months, dropping to 1200 during the harsh winter months.

But the frozen wonderland and its wildlife is also a huge tourist drawcard, bringing in more than 50,000 visitors each year. But don’t freak out (yet). All reputable operators are members of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, which was founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic.

This means that tourism is HIGHLY regulated there in order to protect and preserve this magnificent place.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

3. It’s way too cold

Before I went to Antarctica in 2018, I fully expected the cold to be unbearable. Sadly, that’s not true. This is another one of those myths about traveling to Antarctica.

While it’s true Antarctica is the coldest place in the world, with the lowest-ever temperature recorded at -89.4ºC, NASA reports. But the tourism cruising season takes place during the Southern Hemisphere summer, between November and March when the sea ice has melted enough to allow landings and access from ships there.

With long hours of daylight during mid-summer, the temperatures can range between a more bearable -2ºC and 8ºC.

On my first day there I was amazed I didn’t even need a parka. It was sunny and warm hiking around on the snow. I had been way colder in Canada in winter. But of course, Antarctica is home to the wildest weather on earth, and sometimes it was so windy it could blow you over, and it snowed often. It varies!

What to pack for a trip to Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

4. It’s dangerous to visit the white continent

Antarctica’s harsh environment certainly makes travel to the area more challenging, so it’s essential to choose an experienced operator who is a member of IAATO, but in terms of danger, the companies are experts and super skilled to make sure nothing terrible happens. 

Crossing the stretch of ocean between Cape Horn and Antarctica, known as the Drake Passage, can be rough, so if you’re prone to seasickness, prepare yourself. There are even some options to fly across the Drake. I would imagine most accidents on the ships happen from people falling over in rough seas. 

Even though you don’t have to be super-fit to go on a guided Antarctic expedition, but it’s essential to have a right level of mobility. This means being able to remain stable on your feet on sometimes slippery decks and gangways, as well as getting in and out of Zodiacs if you’re going ashore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

You’re required to have a very high level of travel insurance (I recommend SCTI, and it’s what I use) to go to Antarctica because if a severe accident happens, you’re up a shit creek and the whole trip gets canceled as the ship returns to shore. That’s gonna cost a fortune, so your insurance needs to usually have a medical evacuation cover of over $500,000 dollars. There aren’t any hospitals or rescue choppers for you here.

As for the wildlife, the penguins are harmless but make sure you don’t slip in their abundant poo. Orca and leopard seals are top predators (one even killed a scientist once) but because the ships maintain safe distances from the wildlife and is super on guard, I was never worried even when a few rogue seals chased me, though you definitely don’t want to get bitten by a seal, their mouths are full of bacteria.

And while crime is nonexistent, there are some very fascinating stories of people going batshit crazy; like an Argentinian doctor who once burnt his entire science base down as to not have to stay another winter.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

5. You’re mostly on the ship

Because you can only visit Antarctica on boats (for the most part) and you’re required to sleep and stay on the ship, some people think that it’s more like a cruise or that you’re stuck on board the whole time, which isn’t the case at all. There are no hotels or places to stay in Antarctica apart from the few science bases, but tourists aren’t allowed to stay there. A few companies have the option to let you camp for a night on the ice.

Size matters when it comes to choosing an Antarctic trip, as the number of passengers on your ship will determine how often you get on to terra firma. Choose a smaller vessel for the best experience. Bigger ships aren’t allowed to make landings in Antarctica.

No more than 100 passengers should go ashore at one site at the same time. In some places that is even more restricted. With smaller ships (up to 100 passengers), getting on and off the boat and into Zodiacs or on land is quick and efficient, giving you more time to explore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Antarctica is a place that can and will change your life. The myths about traveling to Antarctica have got to go!

Wild and remote where the weather is in charge and nature is at its most abundant, Antarctica is an incredible place. It is worth every penny spent on a voyage there. It can have a profound impact on you and inspire.

And remember, Antarctica is so much more than just snow and stuff. And there aren’t any polar bears.

Any myths you’ve heard about Antarctica? Is this the kind of trip you’d splurge on? Spill!

myths about traveling to antarctica

Many thanks to Intrepid Travel for hosting me in Antarctica – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you can expect less from me!

The post 5 myths about traveling to Antarctica appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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10 reasons why this unknown corner of the Dolomites is an adventure seeker’s paradise


The world is getting more crowded every day and the popularity of social media has made it easier than ever for curious wanderers to find new parts of the world to explore, like Dolomites adventure travel. And while I always encourage people to travel more and get out of the comforts of their daily life, I have to admit that I always cringe a little when I see how tourism has changed or outright destroyed beautiful travel destinations.

It seems to be harder and harder to find untouched paradises but if you try hard enough, you might just surprise yourself!

I recently just spent three weeks in the heart of the Dolomites, an area that might conjure up images of busses of tourists and hoards of crowds. Would you believe me if I told you I saw hardly any foreigners? It’s true!

dolomites adventure travel

The Medio-Alto Agordino is a quiet valley that is amazingly off the beaten tourist path in the heart of the Dolomites, the mountainous region in northern Italy.

While certain parts of the Dolomites have become super popular, most tourists in the area head straight north near the Austrian border and completely miss out on this gem in the Agordino.

If you’ve always wanted to see the world-famous Dolomites but can’t bring yourself to face the crowds, this is your spot.

It’s jam-packed with adventure and culture and is the perfect place to come to reset. Read on, dear ones.

30 photos that prove the Agordino in the Dolomites is a winter wonderland

dolomites adventure travel

1. The abundance of day hikes everywhere

The hiking infrastructure in the Dolomites is seriously next level comprehensive. Get excited!

You can pretty much walk out of any door and be on a trail within minutes and the trail maintenance is terrific. Wide paths at a gentle gradient allow you to fully take in the scenery around you instead of staring at your feet while you walk on tricky terrain.

In the Dolomites, you can pretty much look at any mountain and if you want to get to the top of that mountain, you can almost guarantee there’s a path.

During WWI, the armies worked quickly to build roads up implausible mountain passes which, 100 years later, is super convenient hikers. There are few untouched valleys and peaks which makes getting around easy and simple.

dolomites adventure travel

2. Via Ferratas aplenty 

The Dolomites are the home of the Via Ferrata, which means Iron Way in Italian.

A Via Ferrata is essentially a system of steel ladders and cables bolted into the side of the mountain which make it easy and quick to scale treacherous mountain cliffs. They were used during WWI during fighting while the Italians and Austrians strived to maintain control of the valleys below.

Nowadays, you can find recreational Via Ferratas all around the world but there’s truly no place to experience a Via Ferrata quite like Italy, for example the Sas de Rocia is a good option near Marmolada or Via Ferrata Sass de Stria in Arabba.

There are entire guide books the various routes so whether you’re a newbie or a keen climber, you’ll easily find something for you. You will need to have the proper gear so if you’re not sure but want to try it out, consider hiring a guide.

dolomites adventure travel

3. All the bike culture 

Bikes are a way of life in the Dolomites. Dolomites adventure travel is everywhere.

The paved roads are littered with lycra-clad road bikes hauling up the mountain and the trails are just as busy. This area has put significant effort into its trail infrastructure making it easy to find bike trails for all abilities, and the perfect place for a bike holiday.

While I like biking, I’m not very good at it so I rented an e-bike (my first time ever!) and cruised the trails with ease. E-bikes are amazing and are a great option if you want to see the sites without putting in the maximum effort.

Some areas, like Arabba, have turned their winter ski slopes into downhill mountain bike trails so you can easily take the cable car up with your bike and spend the day exploring the trails.

dolomites adventure travel

4. Multi-day hikes are easy and convenient

The system of mountain huts is extremely comprehensive in the Dolomites and will blow your mind! Dolomites adventure travel is everywhere.

You can quite literally walk for weeks without carrying more than a change of clothes. The huts, called Rifugios, are like mountain mansions that provide shelter, bedding, three-course meals, alcohol, and snacks.

Sure, it’s not as cheap of an option as camping but it means having a light pack and not having to stress about food, I’d argue it’s worth it.

Check out Rifugio Falier under Marmolada if you’re looking for a short walk or Rifugio Tissi if you want a longer walk with some of the best views in all of the Dolomites.

dolomites adventure travel

dolomites adventure travel

5. Fly down the mountain on a zip line

There’s something so calming about doing a zipline.

You’re safely attached to the cable and there’s no feeling falling. The only thing you have to do is walk off the platform and float down to the bottom. It’s oddly serene and a great activity for those who don’t want too much of an adrenaline rush.

The zip line of San Tomaso is a great option for all abilities. The zip line course starts you on a baby zip line that shorter and calm. Once you reach the halfway point, you’re treated to grappa to calm your nerves for the bigger zip line but even then, as you’re dangling hundreds of meters in the air, it’s a peaceful feeling. This is a great short activity for the whole family if you’re looking to fill half of a day.

dolomites adventure travel

6. Cable cars for your rest days (or any days)

Who says you need to break a sweat to have an adventure?

In the Dolomites, you can have an adventure in your normal day clothes. The system of cable cars makes it incredibly easy to ride to the top of the mountains, super different from our mountains here in New Zealand.

The ride itself is amazing providing you a panorama view of the mountains and lakes below. Some cable cars, like the one that takes you to the top of Marmolada, take a while to reach the top so you can soak in the views.

Once at the top, go for a short walk or simply head to the cafe for a refreshment. Coffee or wine is acceptable at any time of the day, no judgment.

dolomites adventure travel

7. World-famous climbing I reckon

I’m just going to come out and say it without any real climbing authority behind me but the Dolomites has some of the best rock climbing in the world. Sheer cliffs, vertical walls, thousands of meters of perfect rock to be scaled.

The limestone rock climbing in the Dolomites is great whether you’re a beginner or super experienced and the routes are varied so you can pick and choose the type of climbing that best suits you.

I hired a guide who took me on the best multi-pitch climb I’ve ever done. We completed six pitches of easy climbing topping out at 300 meters. I’m by no means a climbing junkie and I’m not that good but I felt totally safe with a guide and climbing to the top of the Dolomites was truly a highlight of the trip.


8. Hikes for all abilities here

I’ve become accustomed over the years to associate amazing views with outrageously challenging hikes but this is not the case in the Dolomites. The Dolomites caters to every hiking ability from those who just want a few hours of easy walking to those who want to push their limits.

It’s common in the Dolomites to take a cable car up to the top of the mountain to reach easy trails that are mostly flat. You get all the benefits of being in high altitude without having to sacrifice your whole day.

When you’re finished, you can have an Aperol Spritz or beer at the cafe before heading back down the mountain. Winning!

dolomites adventure travel

On the flip side, you can also find some challenging hikes as well. Dolomites adventure travel is everywhere with hikes for every person.

After all, the Dolomites are known for their steep mountains and sheer vertical rock faces. You’ll have no trouble finding an off-trail adventure that requires more technical skill and a longer time commitment, but it might be good to hire a guide.

Just like any high alpine terrain, the Dolomites can be very unforgiving if you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing and the weather is extremely fickle.

Luckily, guides are plentiful and you can quickly find one by talking to the friendly staff at the info centers.

dolomites adventure travel

9. Plenty of amazing food to keep you fueled

You can have high Dolomites adventure travel without high fuel intake and if you’re looking for a carbo reload, you really can’t do much better than in the Dolomites where pasta and pizza reign supreme.

Italians take their dining very seriously and if you don’t plan at least two hours for every meal, you’re doing it wrong.

Pizza and pasta aren’t the only things they are good at though. This region, in particular, is known for their polenta, mushroom and cheese dish as well as their dumplings and like most places in Italy, hearty fresh salads are a great option if you’re trying to keep it light.

Don’t forget a nice glass of wine to accompany the meal if you’re aiming to be as authentic as possible.

dolomites adventure travel

dolomites adventure travel

10. Dripping with culture everywhere

There’s no question that heart pumping Dolomites adventure travel is available around every corner of the Dolomites but if you need to exercise your brain, there are plenty of museums and cultural spots to keep you busy.

Check out the Andraz Castle, an ancient Tyrolean manor dating back to 1000 A.D. or head to the top of Marmolada, the Queen of the Dolomites and the highest mountain in the range. At the top of one of the cable car, you’ll find the museum of the Great War which also happens to be the highest in Europe.

This museum is a sensory experience where you can feel and hear what the soldiers experienced as they fought against one another and the hostile forces of nature.

Have you heard of this corner of the Dolomites? Are you keen to visit? Any tips to share? Spill!

dolomites adventure travel

Many thanks to the Heart of the Dolomites for hosting me in Italy – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me!

The post 10 reasons why this unknown corner of the Dolomites is an adventure seeker’s paradise appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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A birthday getaway to New Zealand’s cutest cabin


All right, it’s happened guys.

I’ve found New Zealand’s cutest cabin. I know, I know, that’s a bold statement. Especially considering New Zealand doesn’t do “cabins” in the way my little American heart wish it did.

Let me introduce you to the High Country Cabin!

New Zealand cabins are called a “bach” short for “bachelor pad,” and are often cobbled together little holiday spots, usually build out of leftover supplies on someone else’s land, usually off the grid, no wifi and with an outdoor toilet. Picture corrugated iron walls and roofs and drafty windows.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bach, but I often yearn for cozy cabins.

high country cabin

high country cabin

I’ve encountered very few wooden spaces and cabins in New Zealand, you know, that smell divine and remind me of my childhood in the Appalachia or my university years in New England. Why? Who knows.

My best guess is that most of New Zealand was deforested by us foreigners over the past century and and now all of the wood here gets sold overseas.

I really wish New Zealand would stop exporting everything great it makes, but I’ll save that rant for another day.

Someone please tell me I’ve got this all wrong.

Don’t forget you can join Airbnb today using my code for $45 off your trip to the High Country Cabin


Well, at least now, I can safely say I’ve found the cute cabin of my dreams and it happens to be in one of my favorite spots of New Zealand – Twizel.

Man I love Twizel. I don’t really know why, if I’m being honest. I just do, I always have.

Only 1.5 hours from Wanaka where I live, Twizel is just on the other side of the Lindis Pass on your way to Mt. Cook and Tekapo. The beginning of the Mackenzie Basin, here the weather is dry and beautiful, with man-made lakes and canals on either side and the twinkling Southern Alps right in front of you.

high country cabin

high country cabin

high country cabin

New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt. Cook is just nearby, but Twizel remains a sleepy little town that tugs at my heart a bit.

Twizel is the perfect place to base yourself for exploring the nearby region and mountains.

The High Country Cabin is just outside of Twizel right at the foot of the mountains and has some of the nicest views and cozy vibes around and some sheep for company in the paddock outside. No wonder it’s hard to get a booking in! Plan ahead.

When I was thinking of nice spots to go for my 31st birthday in May, I knew this would be the perfect spot, especially when one of my best friends came down from Auckland with me.

high country cabin

high country cabin


I love spending time on high country farms and stations in New Zealand, and the year before rung in my 30th birthday further afield in Canterbury at Lake Heron.

Maybe I enjoy spending my birthday with sheep for company. What does that say about me?

Wait, don’t answer that. Oh god. All my friends are animals. Fuck, when did this happen?

high country cabin

high country cabin

I’ve been following High Country Cabin on Instagram for ages, and it’s been on my mind to come out and stay for a long time. After that, I was so excited to finally make it happen in May.

Fulling embracing both my millennial and blogger side, I wholeheartedly book places that I find on Instagram especially when they look as delightful as this spot.

Luckily, it lived up the expectations and was even better in person. So much better in person that we actually didn’t leave the cabin the whole time we were there!

Boom! The marking of a good spot, I reckon!

high country cabin

high country cabin

high country cabin

Tucked away on 10 acres of Ben Ohau outside Twizel, this is as high country as it gets in New Zealand.

Especially when the sheep peek in the window – trust me, endless hours of entertainment. Though, I did feel a twinge of shame or two when we had a lamb roast in the oven for my birthday. Sorry sheepies!

As fall was ending and winter on its way, we cranked the woodburner the whole time we spent there, a bit of an indulgence considering how warm and well-built the cabin is, unlike many New Zealand houses.

The sunrises and sunsets were magical out here, and being in a dark sky reserve, watching the stars was a unforgettable.


Read, write, cook, nap, eat, repeat.

In conclusion, I couldn’t think of a better birthday, and a true mark of being in my 30’s I reckon. I’d rather hang out with one good person and sheep than party or be in a city, or even put on makeup!

The older I get, the more I value good company and unwinding in a beautiful place. I need to make more time for these experiences, what about you?

How do you spend your birthdays these days? Do you love cabins too? Have any favorites to share? Spill!

Don’t forget you can join Airbnb today using my code for $45 off your trip to the High Country Cabin

high country cabin

high country cabin

Many thanks to High Country Cabin for hosting me on my birthday in Twizel – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me!

The post A birthday getaway to New Zealand’s cutest cabin appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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