Luxury Rainforest Experience at Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi lodge is a gorgeous luxury lodge set amid the rainforest in Ecuador.  It is only a 3-hour drive from Quito and offers an amazing wildlife experience.  You will need a minimum of 3 days for this trip, but you can extend it as well.

Check out these amazing activities!


Sky Bike

Located close to the hotel, the Sky Bike makes for a novel and exciting way of exploring the forest canopy up close. Designed for two people to use at once, one person pedals the bike along a cable stretched between two points in the forest – around 200 meters (655 feet) apart – while zipping over a beautiful gorge complete with running rivers that flow around the rocks and trees below.


Observation Tower

One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Mashpi is from the observation tower. The tower is a metallic structure with winding steps. It stands at about eight stories (26 meters/85 feet) high and is ideal for all types of wildlife lovers. Species spotted from here include toucans, woodpeckers, barbets, tanagers and parrots, as well as birds of prey.


Life Center (with butterfly research and exhibition)

Here we will get to learn about the species of butterflies found in this region, observing the whole process of metamorphosis from egg to beautiful butterfly. About 300 species of moths and butterflies have been identified to date in the Reserve, and our team has successfully managed to reproduce 50 of these to date. About a dozen can be seen at the Life Center itself.


Hummingbird Garden

The forests of Mashpi boast a total of 32 hummingbird species that have been identified to date. These inhabit different altitudes throughout the reserve, with around 19 species that are observable right at our Hummingbird Garden. In order to make it easier to see these amazing creatures at our Garden, we have placed several hummingbird feeders and fruit feeders right beside our covered seating area.


Hikes and Waterfalls

Water is key to life in Mashpi, and there’s nothing like an invigorating dip full of nature’s energy at the end of a hike! The water temperature tends to hover between 18 and 20 °C (64 and 68 °F), which is perfectly refreshing after warming up with the first part of your hike.

 


Birdwatching and Wildlife Observation

With some 400 species of birds spotted to date – 35 of which are endemic (meaning they’re only found in Mashpi’s nearby forests) – Mashpi’s Reserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise.

You don’t need to be an experienced ornithologist or even travel that far to see and enjoy the mystical beauty of birds.


Night Walks

When darkness falls, a new troupe of creatures emerges: your guides will accompany you in search out tiny (and some transparent!) frogs, snakes, insects and even tarantulas during a Night Walk.

 


Dragonfly (canopy gondola)

The highlight of any trip to Mashpi is the Dragonfly – an exciting, open-air cable car system that carries you over, across and sometimes even directly through the forest canopy, offering guests a relaxing way to enjoy the reserve from overhead.

(Extra fee)


Wellness Spa

Two massage rooms await on the 2nd floor of the lodge for a wide variety of beauty and body treatments, including single or couples massages.  There is also an open-air hot tub and yoga deck.

(Extra fee)

 

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Climbing Kilimanjaro Responsibly with KPAP

The mistreatment of porters can be a troubling challenge in the climbing industry. We are an approved Partner company with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project – KPAP – and the International Mountain Explorers Connection – IMEC – Partner for Responsible Travel Program.

We voluntarily participate with KPAP’s monitoring activities and allow KPAP to evaluate the treatment of our porters on all of our Kilimanjaro climbs.  By climbing with us you can be assured that your porters are well taken care of.

KPAP also helps to improve the working conditions of porters by:

  • Lending donated clothing at no charge to the mountain crew for use while climbing
  • Educating the public on porter working conditions and climbing responsibly
  • Providing industry guidelines for proper porter treatment
  • Offering educational classes to porters

Please consider supporting KPAP by making a financial contribution to enable them to continue with their Partner for Responsible Travel Program and free services for porters. To make a donation, please visit https://kiliporters.org/donate-now/

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Kid Friendly Patagonia Adventures

This season we have gotten several requests from families with kids between the ages of 4 and 13 wanting to experience Patagonia in a kid-friendly way. Read on for suggestions from our Patagonia expert on how to make the best of your family Patagonia adventure:

Patagonia is one of those places where hours can easily be racked up in the car due to the remote locations of sites and activities. Long drives and more strenuous hikes are generally what keep families waiting to visit Patagonia until their kids are teens or older. That does not have to be the case though! When visiting Patagonia with younger children, establishing a kid-friendly “basecamp” is essential. I recommend staying in an all-inclusive lodge when traveling as a family with younger kiddos. With all-inclusive lodges families have much more flexibility in schedules, activities, food, etc. More and more lodges are catering to families and include child rates for kids as old as 12 or 15.

My two favorite lodges to recommend to families are: Remota Lodge and Patagonia Camp.

Remota Lodge, why I like this program for families and red tape:

Each day at Remota, you get to pick and choose what you want to do. Families can decide last minute what they want to do and can even divide and conquer the fam if some want to do one thing and others want to try something else without worries about logistics or cost- this is why I especially like the all-inclusive lodge option for families. Besides the fact that it is flexible, for many of the excursions with Remota families don’t have to drive anywhere- they start either at the lodge or right next to the lodge. You have more varied options with this lodge than you do with the lodges in Torres del Paine (ie, you can do boating out to glaciers, visit working estancias, go into town if you want, go for mellow mountain bike rides, etc). That said, you also have the choice to go into Torres del Paine and see the park in a more laid back way- you will not be forced to do long hikes with young kiddos and you will still be able to see the highlights of the park (however, do note, that the Torres del Paine Park visit day is a long day- but there is down time in the van and lunch and snacks are served between several gorgeous short hikes). Finally, Remota has great kid-food options in their restaurant- very important for those picky eaters out there! 😊

Remota’s family option: you can have up to four of you in a triple room if one child shares a bed with either the parents or the other child in a bed. Up to 1 child between 4-15 years old can stay free of charge in a shared room. For a second child, child rates apply.

Patagonia Camp, why I like this program for families and red tape:

At Patagonia Camp, stay on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park in your own family YURT! Family yurts are two yurts joined by a bathroom- one yurt has a Queen Bed and the second has two twin beds. The Family Yurts have their own private jacuzzi’s outside. This program is great because of the flexibility it gives to families (especially with kids who might change their minds last minute about what they’re feeling and what they’re interested in doing). Staying in a yurt is an awesome experience for kids- its like being in a glorified fort with a private outdoor hot tub! (Parents: the yurts are heated and have electricity as well). While staying on the edge of Torres del Paine is amazing, it also means that most of the activities at Patagonia Camp are longer treks and hiking oriented. They do offer kayaking and SUP as well as some shorter hikes right from the camp itself, but most activities require a drive to another part of the park for a hike. Depending on how your family is, it could be the best option or it could be something that you want to wait to do with teens.

Patagonia Camp’s family option: you can have four of you in a quad family yurt (1 queen bed for parents and 2 twin beds for the kids). Child rates apply to children between the ages of 5-12 years staying in family yurt with 2 adults.

For an extra fun add-on before or after your lodge stay, think of staying in Punta Arenas and visiting the Magdalena Island Penguin Rookery! Early in the morning you will bet met at your hotel and then set out for a zodiac boat ride to Magdalena Island to see one of the world’s largest penguin rookeries. Get off the boat and walk around the island and experience the penguins up close! Boat around Marta Island to see sea lions and birds from a distance. Return to Punta Arenas. Take the afternoon to relax or go for a family walk along the Strait of Magellan boardwalk right in town- there are several children’s play parks set up all along the way. At night, eat a delicious local family dinner and ask us for our hotel recommendations with family rooms, pools and hot tubs for more fun for the kids (and parents!).

Want to book your next Patagonia Family Adventure? Contact us!

Your friendly Patagonia expert,

Gretchen

Posted in Chile, Family Travel, Patagonia, South America, Travel Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NEW TRIP! 6-Day Dolomites Trek – Alta Via 1

6-Day Dolomites Trek - Alta Via 1

We are excited to introduce Dolomites treks to our list of amazing adventures! Starting with the

6-Day Dolomites Trek - Alta Via 1The Alta Via 1 is a fantastic trek, highlighted by breathtaking views, rustic and lively mountain refuges, a sense of excitement of what lies around the next bend or the next pass and the satisfaction of traveling by foot through this beautiful and remote area.

6-Day Dolomites Trek – Alta Via 1

This trek is offered as a guided group departures, self-guided private trips, and guided private trips.  As with all of our trips, we can customize this trek, and we offer many of the treks through the Dolomites.

  • Starting at $945/person!

ITINERARY

6-Day Dolomites Trek - Alta Via 1Day 1 : Arrive in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites
Day 2 : Hiking From Lago di Braies to Sennes
Day 3 : Hike Altopiano di Fanes
Day 4 : Hike Cime di Fanis & Lagazuoi Massif
Day 5 : Hiking Cinque Torri
Day 6 : Departure

See full itinerary:

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Adding the Cordillera Blanca to Your Next Peru Adventure

 

 

Don’t have the time for a long trek while visiting Huaraz? No Problem! Take a look at our two shorter versions of Huaraz’s most iconic treks!

Huaraz is an incredible destination for trekking with its snow-capped
mountains, Andean flora and fauna, and amazing lakes. Its two best known
treks – the 12 – day Cordillera Huayhuash trek and the 13 – day Alpamayo
Circuit – are some of the best ways to experience the epic scenery to include its
most important peaks like Huascarán, Alpamayo, Taulliraju, Huando. As not
every traveler has nearly two weeks to devote to a trek, we offer shorter versions that any traveler can fit into their itinerary.

*If you would like to try both treks, we also have a complete version
that takes 12 days.


6-Day Best of the Huayhuash Trek

With new access roads into what is considered the most spectacular mountain scenery of Peru, we have developed this trek into the heart of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. It offers a new opportunity for those who don’t have the time to do the longer, classic traditional route. A prerequisite however is to be well acclimatized since we gain altitude quickly!


4-Day Cordillera Blanca Trek / Santa Cruz Loop

This trek is called the Santa Cruz Loop and offers a hike amidst towering peaks–Huascaran, Alpamayo, Taulliraju, Huandoy, and Chacrerau–in the glacial canyons of Peru’s first mountain national park and biosphere reserve.

There is an excellent transportation service between Lima and Huaraz, with multiple departures daily. Certain times of the year there are also flights in small planes from Lima to Huaraz. Check with us for schedules.

Want to book your next adventure to the Cordillera Blanca and Peru? Contact us!

Your friendly Peru expert,
Gretchen

Posted in Family Travel, Machu Picchu, Peru, South America, Sustainable Tourism, Travel Advice, Trekking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AWR Now Carbon Neutral In Peru

At AWR sustainable and mindful tourism is one of our defining cornerstones. As of October 1st, we are proud to announce that we will be launching are our new carbon neutral plan for all of our Peru programs.

A letter from our ground operators in Peru:

Salkantay

Jumping for joy about carbon neutrality!

“Since we first started offering tours to Peru back in 1975, we have been committed to addressing the negative impacts that our trips may have on the scenic natural areas and remote communities we visit. Over the past 43 years, our approach toward managing those impacts has evolved. At the turn of the century we took the first steps toward systematizing our environmental management processes and created an Environmental Management System, which we certified under ISO14001 in 2002. This implied careful documentation of processes and preventive measures, as well as measurement of a series of outputs, mainly energy use, water use and waste generation. Then, in 2014, we decided to evolve from a pure environmental management system to a sustainability management system certified under Rainforest Alliance. With this new certification we basically added the sociocultural and business management components to our environmental management system so we could track our performance and progress on all three pillars of sustainability.

This year, recognizing that measuring and minimizing our negative impacts is not enough, we made the decision to measure our residual impact – that which we have not been able to minimize – and offset it via the purchase of carbon credits via a partnership with Regenera. With the help of this organization, we have been able to measure our carbon footprint from daily operations as well as those produced by the different types of tours we run using the GHG Protocol Accounting Standards, and offset it via the purchase of carbon credits which provide monetary support for reforestation and avoided deforestation projects in Peru. You can find more information on these projects HERE.”

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU, AWR TRAVELERS: Starting in the month of October, AWR will begin including a carbon offset fee on all our Peru packages ($2.00 per traveler per day) to ensure that our trips are carbon neutral from the moment our passengers land in Peru. You can find more information on that HERE. We hope that these efforts to be a more responsible tour operator are aligned with your philosophy. If by any chance you want to opt out of this initiative, please just let us know so that we can make sure to exclude this additional charge from your trip package. If you do, like us, see this as an opportunity to reinforce your sustainability philosophy, feel free to communicate the initiative to your group members and other friends who may be traveling, letting them know that their trips to Peru with us will be a zero emissions adventure!

Thank you so much for joining us in the efforts to be a more sustainable company and we hope you enjoy your adventures to Peru even more now with this new option!

Have questions? Want to book your next Peru adventure? Contact us!

Machu Picchu

Posted in Family Travel, Machu Picchu, News, Peru, South America, Sustainable Tourism, Trekking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Family Gallivanting Through Peru: Machu Picchu and Beyond

This family group of five just returned from a customized version of our 7-Day Peru: Machu Picchu Tour by Train. Read on to hear about their adventure!

Machu Picchu at Sunset

“We used AWR last year for our Galapagos trip and we were blown away by the service and the results. Once again we were thrilled with the results!  My sister and her husband were also impressed.  We’ll definitely be using your service again for other trips – both together and individually.  You make it really easy to get exactly the trip we want.

Winay Wayna, Inca Trail Express Hike

Winay Wayna, Inca Trail Express Hike

All the hotels were outstanding!  The JW I expected (I worked for Marriott hotels back in the day), but the other 2 hotels were also outstanding.  The Casa Andina in Ollantaytambo was beautiful, the food was outstanding and as a bonus they had a presentation on astronomy where I got to see Saturn and it’s rings (as well as other planets) through a telescope in the on-premise observatory!  It was $15 US but well worth it.  We all wished we had time for a second night there at that hotel.  The Sumaq in Aguas Calientes also had an outstanding menu and the room was very comfortable.  The only minor issue with the hotel was that there was some traffic noise if you are at the front of the hotel.  We all discussed how thrilled we were with the quality of the hotels and the food service.

Spirit on Vistadome Train

One fun experience we had was on the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo one of the train staff dressed up as an Incan spirit and danced and whistled.  It was very entertaining.  On the last morning in Cusco there was an Incan parade around the main square – kids and adults dressed as warriors and the king and queen being carried.  It was a wonderful surprise that we stumbled on.

Cusco Plaza de Armas

Our favorite memory was I think arriving at Machu Picchu as the sun was setting, which provided an amazing view of the site.  We got really lucky and it was amazing.  The Inca Trail Express hike was fantastic and we all worked really hard to get to Machu Picchu and that made the experience even more memorable I think.  We also had a beer one night in Cusco overlooking the square from a balcony which I doubt I will ever forget.  From start to finish we loved everything!”

-Patti

Want to plan your next adventure to Peru? Contact us!

Your friendly Peru experts,

Gretchen and Barb

 

 

Posted in Family Travel, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Peru, South America, Trekking, Trip Journals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diving Into The Highlights of Bolivia!

This couple just returned from a customized version of our Highlights of Bolivia adventure. Their trip included:

  • Spending the night on the shores of stunning Lake Titicaca
  • Visiting the culturally rich capital of La Paz
  • Exploring the Unesco world heritage site of Tiwanaku 
  • Big finale at the breathtaking Uyuni Salt Flats

 

 

 

 

Want to plan your next adventure to Bolivia? Contact us!

Your friendly South America expert,

Gretchen

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Spring Into Your Next Adventure in Torres del Paine

As Spring commences in the Southern Hemisphere and the trekking season starts to ramp up in Patagonia, we would like to take the time to share with our followers our three most popular adventures in Torres del Paine, Chile with three unique ways to experience the famous W Trek! Here we will also explain some of the main differences between these options to give our travelers a better idea of what might be the best fit for them.

  1. 5-day W-Trek with EcoCamp
  2. 5-day Torres del Paine Patagonia Camp
  3. 5-Day Patagonia: Torres del Paine Luxury Explora

EcoCamp (Standard Dome)

1) 5-day W-Trek with EcoCamp

With this option travelers do the W Trek based from EcoCamp, which offers domes as accommodations. The starting price here is lowest of the three options BUT the starting price only includes basic domes (no electricity and shared bathrooms). This can be great for some travelers looking for a glamping experience on a budget. However, for those looking for a little more comfort, EcoCamp offers two upgrade options which have varying prices depending on the time of year. With EcoCamp you must start the W Trek itinerary on a Sunday. The upgraded dome options are as follows:

SUPERIOR DOMES (for max two people) that include:

  • heating
  • private bathroom (With hot shower)
  • electricity

SUITE DOMES (for max 4 people) that include:

  • heating (small private wood burning stove)
  • electricity
  • private bathroom (with hot shower)
  •  coffee maker
  • larger space

PLEASE NOTE: all W-trek options with EcoCamp have one night in a Refugio that is in shared bunk rooms with other trekkers in your group and shared bathrooms.

The price is all inclusive so it covers (transfers to/from the park, all meals, 1 drink per night – you have to pay for additional drinks-, guides, etc).


Patagonia Camp (Yurts)

2) 5-day Torres del Paine Patagonia Camp

This option is the  overall most affordable and also gives travelers quite a lot of flexibility. Patagonia Camp offers all segments of the W-trek as day hikes so guests can pick and choose which parts they want to do when; they also have the choice to do other hikes within the park that are not part of the W-Trek.

At Patagonia Camp travelers start and end each day at the camp. The accommodations are luxury yurts. Each standard luxury yurt is for maximum 2 people (a third can be added but it is very cramped). The yurts are heated, have views of the park, private decks, and have private bathrooms with hot showers and baths. Guests can also upgrade to a superior luxury yurt that is for a maximum of 4 people, has all of the amenities listed above, as well a private outdoor hot tub and two private sleeping areas joined by a private bathroom.

The price is all inclusive so it covers (transfers to/from the park, all meals, alcohol, guides, etc).


View from rooms at Explora

3) 5-Day Patagonia: Torres del Paine Luxury Explora

The final of our three most popular Torres del Paine W Trek itinerary options is staying at Explora. This is a luxury lodge located in the very heart of the park with arguably the very best views. Staying at Explora it is all inclusive and travelers get to customize their stay and hand craft their experience and what they want to do while they are there. It is the top-notch adventure option in the park. All rooms are of course heated, have huge picture windows to look out at the mountains, beautiful views from their spacious bathtubs to observe the park as well and the stay is also 100% all inclusive. Here, like Patagonia Camp, guests can do all the segments of the W-trek as day-hikes, or, they can customize theur own days as they wish with skilled guides and drivers that will take them out to explore other hiking trails in the park.

Want to start planning your next adventure to Torres del Paine and Patagonia? Contact us!

Your friendly Patagonia expert,

Gretchen

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Incredible Indonesia: Part 2 of The Incredible Beattie and Washer Family 2018 SE Asia Adventure

The Beattie and Washer families have already completed several epic journeys with Adventures Within Reach. At AWR we love helping our guests with select adventure destinations beyond what we list on our website. We have specialist local guide connections in a number of remarkable regions (Sri Lanka, Morocco, Greenland etc.), so curious travelers can always contact us and see if we can help them arrange an itinerary to any destination worldwide such as what the Beattie and Washer families did with Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Over the next weeks we will be sharing their personal stories of their most recent adventure to SE Asia exploring Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Borneo, Bali and Singapore as told by Tinaz. Read on for part 2: Incredible Indonesia.

 

 

 

DAY 8:

Took off for Bali from Columbo at the crack of dawn. We spent the whole day traveling with a stop in Jakarta. Arrived in Bali in the evening and we were picked up by Buddha, our host who escorted us to our hotel. He was quite the character! We arrived at our spectacular oasis Sankara Ubud Resort, with its beautiful pool, lush grounds, and lovely rooms…albeit no ocean! Excellent service at this hotel and we were looking forward to our few days in Bali! LOVE!


DAY 9:

Despite strong desires to hit the 7am yoga class, we all slept through and enjoyed a lovely breakfast overlooking the pool at 8am (LUXURY timing for this early-to-rise bunch)! We met up with our guide Dewa and proceeded to have one of our HIGHLIGHT experiences of our time in Bali, and on our trip altogether…a SPECTACULAR morning with a Shiva Buddhist and his lovely family in their beautiful home! Dewa brought us to his village, and we walked around the small area learning of their way of life as Shiva Buddhists. IT WAS JUST FASCINATING TO HEAR OF THEIR BUDDHIST VALUES, INSIGHTS ON HEALTHY LIVING, MINDFULNESS, COMPASSION, COMMUNITY-ORIENTATION, AND IN-THE-NOW MENTALITY! 😇


Some ideas he shared with us…

On harvesting anything from the earth…YOU TAKE ONE, YOU GIVE ONE…

On living in the now…THE VOLCANO CAN COME AT ANY TIME, SO THIS MIGHT BE YOUR LAST DAY…WHY WORRY?

On being vegetarian…OH NO WE EAT ALL BUGS…SPIDERS, INSECTS…

On sharing with your neighbor…WE COOK FOR THE COMMUNITY, KEEP ALL DOORS OPEN, AND SHARE OUR ABUNDANCE…

On being lucky…WE ARE NOT RICH, BUT WE ARE LUCKY BECAUSE WE HAVE ENOUGH TO BE HAPPY…☺ ☺ ☺


 

We then saw his lovely compound, open-air traditional home, and met his wife, sisters-in-law, children, and his dog…obviously named “Doggy”! His home was passed down within his family for 1300 YEARS…WHAT THUHHHHH?!?! 1300 YEARS? HOW MANY RENOVATIONS IS THAT? WE JUST FINISHED OUR THIRD AND OUR HOME IS ONLY 21! Apparently they renovate every 20 years in order to manage the earthquake damage.

We sat down in his kitchen and got instructions to help prepare 5 dishes with items grown on his property, including, fresh garlic, ginger, peppers, tempeh, shallots, tomatoes, corn, ferns (for salad), and chicken (enjoyed only once per month)! We each got tasks to chop, mince, sauté and help create a DELICIOUS meal with the help of himself and his family. O.M.G…IT WAS TRULY SURREAL TO BE THERE…IN THIS 1300-YEAR-OLD HOME, WITH A TRADITIONAL BUDDHIST FAMILY, IN BALI…WE WERE TRULY ALL ON A CLOUD ENJOYING THIS SPECTACULAR EXPERIENCE!!!

Afterward, he and his wife drove us back to our hotel in Ubud…and I’m not sure why, but after this highly TRADITIONAL experience that seemed as if we’d gone back in time, I was surprised to be driven in their vehicles (half-expecting a horse and buggy!). This half-day spent with Dewa was one of the most memorable travel experiences we’ve ever had together, and it was such a pleasure to see the kids enjoy it as much as we did. WELL DONE DAN AND AWR!!! 👊

This afternoon, we were met by our guide and we took a walk through the rice fields to a lookout point, and then embraced another family meal (with our guide’s family) within a different village. Delicious food as well, prepared by some lovely, kind and very friendly ladies…and we were beginning to feel like all we do is EAT! SEVERAL BANANA FRITTERS LATER, and after playing with a mountain of puppies, we left the family home and were driven back to our hotel. En route, we decided to bail on the next day’s agenda and enjoy a lazy day by the pool! Yeah…you know…like most people on vacation…


DAY 10:

Yoga at 7am for Greg, Glenn and I was quite delicious…followed by a lovely breakfast and somewhat sludgy coffee (although certainly respectable enough for several pots)! The ladies had booked mani and pedi appointments at the spa (loooovely), and the boys decided to embrace a hotel-driven, white-water-rafting excursion for the afternoon. The grownups hired a car for two hours and hit a couple of shops for some great Bali souvenirs. After some WONDERFUL pool time, we also all went for a deep tissue massage at the spa…AWESOME! CAN EVERY OTHER DAY BE A DAY AT THE POOL?!? JK…love our crazy, busy holidays…but we’ve definitely discovered a day off at least once is a good thing… 🙂 !


DAY 11:

Today we BIKE! We were met by our guide after breakfast. We took off for a coffee plantation and discovered how they make LUWAK COFFEE…made famous in the movie BUCKET LIST. As Ryan noted, how does one FIRST discover that the undigested coffee beans in a luwak’s poop would make for great coffee and sold worldwide 💩 ???


We then took off by bike for a phenomenal 22km ride through village after village, bee farm, banyan tree, and learned of the predominantly Hindu population’s cremation ceremonies. We stopped to witness the lifestyle of one family in their compound as the ladies weaved bamboo bread baskets for sale, and their very young children helped with great big scissors! It was truly phenomenal to see these villages by bike, with a downhill ride through 95% of the journey making it an easy cycle!

On the way back, we stopped for lunch and then checked into our new hotel for the next couple of nights…The Kajane Hotel. ❤ ❤ ❤

OMG OMG OMG…WE EACH HAD OUR OWN 2-BR VILLA WITH A PRIVATE POOL, TERRACE, DECK AND CHAIRS TO ENJOY!!! We all flipped out at the accommodation here…totally surprised as this was a re-routing of our agenda (2 extra nights in Bali) given the earthquake that had transpired in Lombok. I HAD to jump into the cool water of the pool and embrace some exercise in order to deal with the mountains of food (esp rice) we were getting used to enjoying! We had dinner in the restaurant on site and hit the hay early as we had an early start the next day trekking Mount Batur…1717 meters to the summit! 😬



DAY 12:

Whilst most groups trek Mount Batur in the verrrrry early hours of the morning (hotel departure at 1:30am!), we negotiated a 7am start cuz…well…does it really need explanation?!? Greg has definitely chilled over time as I recall waking at 3am (on his suggestion) for a drive up Haleakala in Hawaii 13 years ago with highly cranky wee ones 👶 (definitely worthwhile). We were driven to a breakfast hut where this lady made us banana pancakes and coffee and then we got to the base of the volcano for our early day climb. It was raining and/or misty all throughout the hike, and I was thankful for our lovely guide’s hand during some steep areas.

So glad we didn’t go at sunrise- we were the only ones at the top when we arrived!!! We got boiled eggs (cooked in hot lava steam!) and fruits in a small shack at the peak and made our way down to the Hot Springs for a dip in their pools.

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