Three Cloud Forests to Visit 0 7410

Cloud forests are unique ecosystems that are located in mostly tropical areas at high altitudes. These forests have high levels of cloud cover, precipitation, and very temperate climates. The cloud-cover leads to high levels of precipitation which is taken directly from the clouds. Cloud forests have especially high levels of biodiversity which are home to an incredible number of unique plants and animals. Cloud forests are extremely rare ecosystems that cover around 0.14% of the planet’s land surface. These mystical forests are extremely important to maintaining biodiversity, but sadly many species are in danger of disappearing due to climate change. These fragile forests are worth a visit and worth advocating for change to help save these natural plant and animal havens.

Mindo-Cloud-Forest
Credit: The Globetrotting Teacher

Mindo, Ecuador

Mindo is a preserved paradise in the clouds found just a couple of hours from the capital city of Quito. It is situated where two of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world meet, in the western foothills of the Andes. The convergence of bio-diversity provides for a wealth of possible activities to enjoy the surrounding nature. Topping the list is the journey to the waterfall sanctuary which includes a cable car journey with epic views over the top of the forest and hikes to seven impressive waterfalls. Enjoy bird watching as the cloud forest is home to about 350 unique species. Check out the organic coffee farm or for a bit more adrenaline, raft down the river that runs through the village, or even enjoy a ziplining journey through the forest for more breathtaking views. Wake up amongst the nature in charming tree-house style accommodations that are situated around the center of this quiet village.

Cerro Huitepec, Mexico
Cerro Huitepec, Mexico

Cerro Huitepec, Mexico

Located within the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, Cerro Huitepec is an extinct volcano which has a cloud forest located in the upper part of the reserve. This cloud forest is quite untouched with no resorts or accommodations inside the reserve. A trip to the cloud forest here consists of a simple hike but truly allows you to experience the importance of a rainforest. As you descend on the cloud forest, the temperature drops, the moisture increases, and the light diminishes as the trees are reaching high into the sky to compete for light. Clouds suspend over the forest and the more than 100 different species of birds are profoundly heard throughout the forest. The cloud forest is just 5km from San Cristobal de las Casas which has plenty of accommodation and has many other activities in the surrounding area.

Monteverde Reserve, Costa Rica
Credit: Two Weeks in Costa Rica

Monteverde Reserve, Costa Rica

Situated on the continental divide where the Pacific and Atlantic slopes collide, Monteverde is the probably the world’s most visited and well-known cloud forest. It is a cloud forest reserve that encompasses an astonishing 10,500 hectares (25,945 acres) of land. There is an impressive amount of wildlife to be spotted amongst this clouded forest due to the diversity of ecosystems found on the reserve. There are over 100 different mammals like white-faced monkeys, 120 amphibians and reptiles, and over 500 different species of birds. Scientists say there are still many undiscovered species living on the reserve. There are trails that lead to views of the continental divide, waterfalls, and the famous hanging bridge overlooking the canopy of trees.

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Olivia Ragni is a wine professional from the United States who is studying Viticulture and Enology in Europe. She works as a freelance writer focusing on travel, food, wine, and culture. Her passion for wine and culture takes her around the world, rarely living in one country for more than an year. She hopes her stories will inspire others to embrace the unknown, drink smarter, and travel more often.

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How to Pack Your Bathroom into Your Suitcase: Tips for Lightweight Traveling 0 6411

Suitcase Packing

Traveling with toiletries in carry-on luggage can be a bit tricky. Between the size restrictions on liquids and trying to stuff all of your liquids into a small zip-lock bag, things get frustrating. Below you can find some tips for packing your bathroom into a suitcase in order to help you travel lighter and smarter.

TSA 3-1-1 Rule
TSA 3-1-1 Rule

Tip 1: Don’t pack it if you are not certain that you need it.

Rethink everything you put in your suitcase, especially when it comes to toiletries. Many people try to put every product they have in their bathroom into their suitcase just in case they might need it. Remember, it’s easy to purchase toiletries just about anywhere you travel. A forgotten item is not the end of the world, simply head down to the local supermarket, drugstore, or pharmacy where ever you’re traveling and purchase that forgotten item.

Tip 2: Small Traveling Toiletry Bags with a clear counterpart

Having all your bathroom items in one spot makes traveling much easier. Find a small, flat, toiletry bag with multiple compartments that can fit your makeup, shower items, creams, brushes, and razors. But most importantly, search for a bag that has a clear compartment for your liquids, so that you can easily remove it from your carry-on when going through airport security.

Tip 3: Forget Travel-Sized Toothpaste

Stop buying travel-sized toothpaste, it is completely unnecessary. Standard-sized toothpaste tubes meet the liquids size requirements. Grab the toothpaste you use every day from your bathroom and bring it along with you, it is already small and lightweight so it won’t take up much space or weight you down, and it will save you a bit of money.

Tip 4: Travel-Sized Face Moisturizer

One of the hardest things to find is usually travel-sized face lotion. Finding a face lotion that fits the appropriate carry-on requirements is nearly impossible in the supermarkets and drug stores. After much searching, we found that Sanseti (https://www.sanseti.com/product/revitalizing-marine-moisturizer/) sells a fantastic face moisturizer that comes in 2-ounce jars, perfect for travel.  Don’t be afraid of the quantity, a little bit of this goes a long way.

Sanseti Skin Care: Revitalizing Marine Moisturizer
Sanseti Skin Care: Revitalizing Marine Moisturizer

Tip 5: When packing makeup: Less is more

Just take the essentials. Don’t take the whole makeup bag which surely has products in there that you never or rarely use. Select the products you use every day and put them into a small makeup bag for travel, ditching the items that you won’t need.

Visit These Five Islands Before Summer Is Over 0 356

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Isla de Providencia, Colombia

Isla de Providencia, Colombia
Isla de Providencia, Colombia

 

 

 

 

 

Colombia is a country of near-ending discovery, with both Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, there are a vast amount of undiscovered islands sprawled along the seas. This includes two breathtaking islands which are actually closer to the coast of Nicaragua, Providencia and San Andrés, about 775 km (482 mi) northwest of mainland Colombia. Providencia has no direct flights from mainland Colombia or Nicaragua and it takes either an expensive, albeit quick, flight or a pretty rough 4-hour ferry ride from San Andrés. Its proximity and lack of direct flight connections have managed to keep the island from becoming over-run with tourism. Those adventurous travelers who overcome the obstacles to make it to Providencia will be rewarded with stunning beaches surrounded by palm trees, looking out at turquoise waters as far as the eye can see. But the real charm of the island is its distinct culture which is influenced by many different cultures, as the island was a popular stop for pirates and colonists alike back in the day. The locals speak a type of Creole which is influenced by Spanish, African, and English languages. Dont neglect to interact with the locals to eat some of the best seafood around and learn about the island’s unique history.

Cyprus

Cyprus
Cyprus

 

 

 

 

While the island of Cyprus might have a controversial history, there is nothing controversial in saying that the island is stunning. Cyprus offers mountainous terrain and around 650 km (400 mi) of coastline. With so much coastline, the island has the perfect beach to suit anyones needs. Whether youre looking for a party beach or the perfect secluded beach to relax and go topless, you can find it in Cyprus. There are the golden-sand beaches of Ayia Napa along the south-eastern coast of Cyprus and the steep, rocky coastline of Akamas Bay which boast beautiful wildlife, flora, and fauna to discover. With so much diversity of landscape and culture, it is the perfect place to rent and car and take a road trip around the coastline to uncover the beauty of the island.

Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Waiheke Island, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

 

As if the North and South islands of New Zealand werent gorgeous enough, with just a quick 35-minute ferry ride from Aukland you can be in paradise on Waiheke Island. Waiheke Island is 19 km (12 mi) of breathtaking landscape, full of vineyards, coves, and killer views of Aukland. The island is plentiful with coves that have an astonishing contrast between the bright blue sea, white sand beaches, and lush green shrubbery that is reminiscent of an almost tropical Santorini. The island is becoming known as a wine destination with plenty of wineries to visit, making it easy to experience the island with a glass of wine in hand. The wines are not only of impressive quality, but the vineyards are situated right next to the sea offering incredible views. With ease was you can go winery hopping to places like Man O’War Vineyards where the vineyards seem to disappear into the blue sea. Don’t hesitate to take your next trip to Waiheke Island to experience relaxation and beauty at its finest.

Ponza, Italy

Ponza, Italy
Ponza, Italy

 

 

 

 

 

Ponza is a charming little island located off the western coast of Italy between Rome and Naples, popular amongst Romans for summer vacation. Ponza feels as though it is stuck in time, where life is slower and for locals, living the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle is a given. Colorful houses line the hilly island appearing to be stacked one on top of the other, resembling the houses of Cinque Terre, with cliffside views and pebble beaches. The lack of sandy beaches makes it is best to discover the island by boat, which is easy and affordable to rent at the harbor. Some of the most breathtaking beaches of the island feel as though they have been carved into the steep cliffs that make the perfect hidden getaway for a swim in the warm, turquoise waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The island isnt just popular with Romans today, there is proof that Romans have been enjoying the island since Roman Empire, with old Roman pools, graves, and a tunnel that connects the harbor to Chiaia di Luna beach.

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Raja Ampat, Indonesia

 

 

 

 

 

Raja Ampat is an island getaway for those truly looking for seclusion. Dont expect to run into may other travelers or any people for that matter. This UNESCO world heritage site is made up of 1,500 islands that are anything but easy to get to, keeping them well preserved and much less visited than other Indonesian islands. And with a population of just around 5,000 people, it’s possible to visit islands with virtually no-one else on them. Raja Ampat is said to have the most biodiverse marine life in the world, making it a haven for divers and snorkelers alike. While you shouldnt expect luxury resorts or western comforts, you can expect to have some of the most breathtaking islands in the world all to yourself.

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