Tag: Vacation

Camel Riding Cabo San Lucas

camel riding cabo san Lucas

Epic desert journey

Camel riding… in Cabo San Lucas Mexico?

It’s true – you really can go camel riding in Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico! I had a really unique adventure embarking on a camel ride out in the Mexican desert. Tours are available out of Cabo heading deep out into the desert, where you’ll feel transported to an Arabian desert-like wonderland. Bring a book for the bus – it takes a couple hours, but is well worth the trip! It’s truly a peaceful oasis, and I felt refreshed and rejuvenated after my visit!

camelriding2

Camel introductions

Preparing to Ride the Camels

This is a three phase experience. First, you meet the camels and learn about them followed by a photo op (and, if you’re camel’s feeling frisky, a Casanova-like kiss!) If you’ve always wished you had long eyelashes, prepare to get jealous! The camels are very friendly and serene, and are decked out in colorful accessories! They make quite the fashion and beauty statement…

camel riding ranch

Staging area for mounting the camels

Second, you mount the camels in groups of two (solo traveler? no problem, you’ll share with another solo). Third, you embark on an enlightening journey along the beach and through the desert. I had an easy time getting on the camel. I was able to step on a platform, and then I was helped by one of the friendly guides. Each camel passenger is given a headscarf to adorn for protection from the desert sun during the journey. I was feeling very Lawrence of Arabia.

camel riding cabo san Lucas black white

Camels on parade

Camels are Comfortable!

I found riding a camel surprisingly comfortable and relaxing. Before mounting, I was warned that since the camels are wider than horses some people consider them uncomfortable. That was not my experience. My camel felt a lot more sturdy and the ride smoother compared to the horseback rides I’d been on. My camel was better behaved than any of the horses I’d ridden, and refrained from any jerky motions. Given the choice, I would choose a camel over a horse any day. It was a wonderful way to travel!

mexicandesert

The Mexican Baja desert

Incredible Desert Views

The landscapes of the desert were beautiful. I was there in January, when temperatures were mild. This dazzling desert wonderland is flanked on one side by beach and the other side by mountains, a breathtaking pleasure to behold! And it was so peaceful, so far away from the bustle and commotion of the city of Cabo. Yep, this place has it all!

mexicanalfresco dining

Alfresco dining a-la Mexico

Delicious, Authentic Lunch Break

The last experience of the tour was an authentic, alfresco lunch buffet with a wonderfully rustic ambience. Fabulous food in an amazing atmosphere – what more can you ask for after an exhilarating ride? (And, yes, camel meat was available… and optional!) A variety of choices were served… each one of them more delectable than the last!

delicious authentic lunch

Delicious authentic Mexican lunch!

Tequila Time!

Also on the menu: a tequila tasting, featuring abundant varieties of tequila! What a great way to quench your desert thirst…! Non-alcoholic Mexican beverages were also available. It was a fun treat to cap off what was an incredible day, one I will cherish for a lifetime!

resting camel

Too much tequila?!

More on Camel Riding in Cabo San Lucas

Camel riding in Cabo San Lucas was a total blast! You can see a video of my experience here (note – filming while riding was not allowed, but I was able to purchase drone video and film the rest of the time):!

Visit my YouTube channel for more videos of exciting destinations!:

Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube Channel

Check out more of Mexico in my Chichen Itza blog post!:

Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico!

Chichen Itza, Mexico: Ancient Mayan City

chichen itza Mexico

El Castillo (“The Castle”)

Chichen Itza, Mexico: Great Mayan City

Chichen Itza, Mexico is on the Yucatan Peninsula. This ancient city boasts some of the most spectacular Mayan ruins in the world. Chichen Itza has stood the test of time superbly, considering it dates from 600-900AD. The phrase “Chichen Itza” means “the well at the mouth of the Itza.” Although remote, Chichen Itza is frequently featured in bus tour excursions from Playa del Carmen (2 hours, 7 minutes), Cancun (2 hours, 15 minutes), and Cozumel (3 hours, 25 minutes). If that sounds like a long trek, don’t be discouraged. The treasures to be found once you’re at Chichen Itza make every second on the bus worth the journey!

The Castle

El Castillo is, perhaps, the most enthralling architectural marvel of all here. El Castillo, Temple of Kukulcan, or “the castle,” is a 98 foot high enormous ziggurat temple. (Art History tip: when there are steps it is a ziggurat, not a pyramid.) Sacrifices were performed on the platform at the top. This structure may be the most iconic symbol in the world of the ancient Mayan civilization.

chichen itza temple warriors

Templo de los Guerreros (“Temple of the Warriors”)

Mayan Warrior Tradition

The Temple of the Warriors is near the castle, where a forest of columns is adorned with depictions of the most honored fighting champions. The Mayans took pride in their fighting prowess, and they’ve immortalized this tradition here. Polities fought over limited natural resources such as obsidian, water, and land for farming. The capture of sacrifices, which is now considered a gruesome part of their spiritual traditions, also sparked violent conflict.

IMG_4849

“Great Ball Court”

Mayan Athletic Skill

Athletes were champions, too. And a favorite structure with visitors here is the Great Ball Court, the largest (551 by 230 feet) and most well-preserved Mayan ball court in the world. The court is surrounded by “stands,” or audience seating areas. Different classes were assigned to different seating areas, becoming increasingly more lavish and “with a better view of the action” as the audience member elevated in social class. It reminded me of the seating structure of the amphitheaters of Ancient Rome, although a whole ocean away. Notice the donut-shaped carving (top left on the photo above.) The ball had to get through this hole, and seeing this, you contemplate the tremendous skill of the Mayan athletes!

IMG_2770

Carvings on the wall of the Ball Court

Sport in Art

Carvings on the walls of the ball court are extremely detailed, and tell the story of the ball game and its athletes. The “winner” had the privilege of being selected for sacrifice through decapitation (also depicted here!) The artwork at Chichen Itza is extremely well preserved and maintained, so it’s a joy to ponder the Mayan culture here! For example, it’s fascinating to consider how much ancient Mayan culture differed from cultures of today!

IMG_6153

“Venus Platform”

More to Explore!

There are many other buildings here to explore, so take your time to notice the intricate detail on many of these structures. There is absolutely no better way to learn about a time and place in history than from the original people, who, here, eternally tell their first-hand story through their artwork. No modern tour guide can tell it so well. The crowds can be enormous here, but there’s lots of room to spread out, making the experience more comfortable than smaller ancient sites. But be sure to bring some sunscreen and cool clothing, because there’s little shade here and it tends to get stiflingly hot, even in shoulder season!

Chichen_Itza-16

Overhead view*

*Open source (credit: dronepicr, http://www.commons.wikimedia.org)

In conclusion, you can explore more of Chichen, Itza, Mexico in my full video tour here!:

For videos on more destinations, as well as hotel and cruise ship tours, check out my YouTube channel here!:

Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube Channel

And for more Mexico, check out my camel riding in Cabo San Lucas blog here!:

Camel Riding Cabo San Lucas

Amazing Mazatlan, Mexico!

mazatlan Mexico cliff diver

Cliff Diver

Mazatlan, Mexico: Captivating Contradictions

Firstly, Mazatlan, Mexico is a bustling metropolis on the Mexican Riviera. It’s one of Mexico’s most interesting west coast cities. Moreover, you’re never far from the laid-back pleasures of miles of beaches. And oceanfront pedestrian pathways are abundant here. So put on your poncho; it’s time to explore!

Mazatlan’s Cliff Divers

While there are many pleasures to pursue, the most popular attraction may be Mazatlan’s famous “cliff divers.” If you’re up for some real excitement, catch these daredevils in action! These guys make the death-defying leap all day! You can reward their bravery with a voluntary donation. The show is well worth the “price of admission!”

beachesinmazatlan

Big city, big beaches!

Beautiful Beaches

The beaches seemingly are endless here. Enjoy views of the city skyline, and tiny islands in the distance. Warm waves wash over you. The vibrant cobalt waters crash along craggy cliffs along the coast. Mazatlan boasts over 20 miles of beautiful sandy beaches. Some of Mazatlan’s high rated beaches are Playa Olas Altas, Playa Cerritos, and Play Brujas. So have fun finding your favorite!

mazatlanmexicoesplanade

Miles of oceanfront walkways

Mazatlan’s Esplanade

Swimming’s not your thing? There are miles of pedestrian pathways sporting the same spectacular views! Statues and other art guide the way like cultural signposts. On the esplanade, you can have a leisurely stroll with the sights, smells, and sounds of the sea. There are many opportunities to stop, sit, and soak it all in. And for people-watching, the esplanade can’t be beat! So set your sights on this seaside paradise!

mazatlanmexicocathedraloutside

Mazatlan Cathedral, exterior

Mazatlan Cathedral

Mazatlan’s most striking architectural highlight may be the  Mazatlan Cathedral, although its more formal name is the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. This baroque revival style building was finished in 1899. The interior is truly inspiring. The sunlight glow beaming through the stained glass windows bathe the sanctuary in brilliantly bold color. And towering pillars line the aisle like exclamation points paying tribute to the undeniable beauty of this place. The building is exquisitely decorated and brilliantly restored, and a Mazatlan must-see. It’s a welcome sanctuary of peace compared to the bustling city outside.

mazatlanmexicocathedral

Mazatlan Cathedral, interior

More of Amazing Mazatlan, Mexico!

In conclusion, Mazatlan is at once old and new, and peaceful and exciting. It is a city to experience contradictions. While it’s a major city, it’s not without its peaceful pleasures.

Check out my full video tour of Mazatlan here!:

And for more great destinations, as well as hotel and cruise ship tours, check out my YouTube channel here!:

Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube Channel

Want more Mexico? If so, check out my Chichen Itza Mayan ruins blog post!:

Chichen Itza, Mexico: Ancient Mayan City

Travel Michigan! (Part 2: the Mainland)

Time to Travel Michigan!

This is the second installment in my two part Travel Michigan series. We visited the Upper Peninsula last time. Today we’ll explore the mainland, or, as locals call it, “the mitten.” Michigan was previously not on my radar. But it didn’t take long to reach the conclusion that Michigan is, in my opinion, the most underrated destination in the United States. The scenic beauty up there was well beyond what my wildest imagination could conceive! I plan to return to Michigan again and again… and that’s no exaggeration… I literally put my money where my mouth is on the topic and put an offer on a vacation cabin in Michigan. I will go over that in another post.

fortmichimailackinac

Fort Michimilackinac

Fort Michimilackinac

Fort Michimilackinac is a National Historic Landmark in Mackinaw, Michigan. It was built in 1715, and served first as a fort, trading post, and supply depot for the French and later for the British. Today you can explore the myriad of brilliantly restored buildings contemplating a much different way of life in an era lifetimes away. A blacksmith shop (complete with re-enactor) is among the buildings, along with barracks, officers’ quarters, a medical clinic, a chapel, Native American teepees, gardens, and so much more. Old cannons, weaponry, and artifacts are also on display. Get lost in history at Fort Michimilackinac – you might not be able to pronounce it but chances are you will be able to appreciate it!

MackinawLighthouse

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Lots of Lighthouses!

Hardy builders constructed the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse in 1889. The lighthouse remained in operation until 1957. Durable and resilient, it served many a hard-bitten sailor in the treacherous waters and fierce fog of the Straits of Mackinac. This lighthouse is located next to Fort Michimilackinac in Mackinaw, so it makes a convenient stop during your day at the Fort. You’re welcome to head inside and browse the museum. Signature lighthouse pepper the Michigan coastline far and wide. Visit them and experience Michigan’s rich nautical history!

travelmichigan

Petoskey Residential Architecture

Victorian Architecture in Petoskey

One of the reasons that road trips are such a great way to travel are the unexpected pleasures you stumble upon just exploring – or, better yet, getting lost on purpose! I have enjoyed some of my most rewarding travel experiences ever this way. Petoskey has an attractive historic gaslight district in town with many buildings from the 1700s and 1800s and quaint cobbled streets and gas lamps. It’s well worth the detour!

Gingerbread Houses

The most fascinating neighborhood in Petoskey is off the beaten path, however. When you get back up into the residential areas you stumble on stopped time – a Victorian village of summer cottages (more like mansions) with the most intricate and ornate detail on each and every colorfully endowed house. The entire neighborhood is completely closed off for the winter, but blossoms in all of its beautiful brilliance again every spring. Don’t be afraid to get lost in Petoskey, and have the chance to enjoy this hidden gem!

travelmichiganorchards

Crane’s Orchards

Apple Orchards

One of my favorite things about Michigan are the apple orchards. Miles of rows of apple trees, cider mill barns, and wineries dot the landscape. Crane’s Apple Orchard in Fennville is one of my favorites. Here you can pick-your-own apples, and you have a choice from many different varieties. My favorite are the Honeycrisp! It was here that I picked the most delectable, delicious, sweet and juicy fresh apples I’ve ever tried in my life. You haven’t had an apple until you’ve picked one fresh in Michigan!

CranesOrchardfood

Local Delicacies!

Delicious Local Delights

When you’re done filling up your apple sack, head over to the restaurant, where you can try a flight of pie (think flight of beer or whiskey – only with fresh-baked pie varieties instead…), fresh milled apple cider, piping hot apple cider donuts (a Michigan specialty!), and many other local delicacies. Many delicious products are grown and produced locally, including a cheese selection from local farms, local fruits and jams, and farmhouse breads. I always advocate experiencing a travel destination with all five senses – and this is the perfect place to do that. The sights, sounds, scents, touches, and tastes are all here to delight.

michiganappleorchards

Apple Orchard

Hard Cider and Wine Tastings

Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns, Michigan is another great stop on the apple hopping trail. Here you can indulge in a hard cider tasting (or, if you prefer, wine) for free! Servers hand you a menu, and you choose from a variety of hard ciders, wines, and more. And you get to imbibe on a gauntlet of your own selections after that! Uncle John’s produces all of the delicious ciders and wines on-site. I didn’t want the experience to end, so I got some to go! You can also visit Uncle John’s country store. Let your nose guide you to the freshly baked pies and cider donuts. And while you’re there, watch the cider-making process in action with a bird’s-eye view above the small factory. Travel Michigan and stimulate ALL of your senses!

Traverse2

Traverse City

Traverse City

As enthralling as Michigan’s countryside is, you’ll want to venture out into some of the bigger cities, too. Traverse City is the largest city in the northern area of the state, and the largest cherry producer in the country. TripAdvisor has named Traverse City the number 2 “small town travel destination in the U.S.” While I wouldn’t call it a “small town,” more of a small “city,” I would agree it’s a travel destination worth venturing to. The older buildings and quirky shops and pubs are bursting with character, and a stroll along the lake is a great pleasure indeed.

Higgins2

Higgins Lake

Higgins Lake

Higgins Lake is another media favorite. National Geographic rated Higgins Lake the 6th most beautiful lake in the world. The shallow waters are ideal for wading near the shoreline, and pontoon boats and jet skis provide playful pastimes here. Dogs particularly love it here, because they can splash and run to their heart’s content without running into a deep end. There is a state park on the shore with public access, where you can just breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the views from swing benches or delight in a peaceful picnic (hopefully with some local Michigan wine!) You will need to buy a $10 day pass at the gate if you’re not a Michigan resident with an annual pass for entry to all of the state parks.

ChocolateFactory

Chocolates by Grimaldi

Chocolate Factory

Chocolates by Grimaldi is a chocolate factory and shop in Grand Haven, Michigan. You can call ahead for a tour of the factory and see how the chocolate is made from scratch. The irresistible aromas will have your mouth watering long before the end of the tour… luckily it comes with a scrumptious goody bag to reward you for your patience at the end! For a fascinating, fun foodie experience be sure to check it out! What a great way to cap things off when you travel Michigan.

tourmichiganroadtrip

My Recommended Road Trip (courtesy Google Maps)

Travel Michigan and Make your Adventure!

Michigan is one of the best places in the country for a road trip, because so many of its delights are off the beaten path. I love road trips, so I just can’t get enough of marvelous Michigan! Michigan is amazing; it’s one of the United States’ hidden gems! If you haven’t had a chance to check out my other blog posts on Michigan, you can do so here! (I will probably post more Michigan travel soon!)

Michigan Vacation Cabin Tour!

Outdoor Delights in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan!

A German Christmas in Frankenmuth, Michigan!

Also, view the video of my Mainland Michigan Road Trip tour here!:

Finally, check out my Michigan cabin video tour!:

For more great travel adventures, check out my YouTube channel here!:

Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube Channel

Travel St. Maarten (and St. Martin!)

IMG_1350

St. Maarten Harbor

Travel St. Maarten and St. Martin: 2 Cultures, One Island

Travel St. Maarten for the best of both worlds! If you ever wanted to visit two European cultures without having to fly to the European continent – you’re in luck! Hop on a cruise ship or plane heading to St. Maarten/St. Martin and you can visit the only place in the world where the Netherlands borders France! St. Maarten/St. Martin is divided by two nationalities and cultures, approximately 60% French and 40% Dutch. Unlike many other Caribbean islands that were former colonies now turned independent, this Caribbean paradise is different. St. Maarten is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and St. Martin is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic. Therefore, tour St. Maarten for these two jurisdictions sharing the same island paradise.

stmaarten2.jpg

Warm welcomes!

A Caribbean Paradise

Travel St. Maarten for sunny skies, bright jewel-toned sailboats, lush green mini-mountains, and pristine beaches… Also, there are many remnants of colonial muscle-flexing, like old forts, standing down. This is an inviting place. Plentiful pirates (in costume!) will have you dreaming of the days of buried treasure and seafaring adventure… without the danger! St. Maarten has been hit hard over the years by hurricanes, but the resourceful and resilient people here have worked hard to recover and restore their beautiful island after the damage. It was rewarding to be able to visit this place that locals take great pride in, and do business with them to help play a role, albeit small, in helping boost their economy after the hardships they have endured in recent years. St. Maarten’s people are the real treasure here, not the buried treasures, or those looted by the pirates of old!

stmaarten4

Boat tour

Explore on a Boat Tour

The best way to travel St. Maarten is to see both sides, French and Dutch. And the best way to do that is to take a boat tour. You can catch one in Phillipsburg, on the Dutch side, that will take you all the way around to the French section. After my boat tour, I took a bus ride to Marigot, on the French side, for a closer look at faraway France’s quaint colonial charms!

eglise saint-martin de tours

Eglise Saint Martin de Tours church, Marigot

Chatting with the Locals

While I’ve received some disagreeable reactions from locals in France making my best attempt to communicate in the local language, the people of Marigot were pleasantly surprised and impressed with my, admittedly broken, French! There is something infinitely satisfying about being able to converse with locals in their own tongue – it’s another element of immersion that fully envelops you in the travel experience. Regrettably, I didn’t know any Dutch yet (note to self: bucket list!)

Marigot’s French Heritage

The cultural immersion doesn’t stop at sights and sounds, however. If you long for the tantalizing tastes and sweet scents of the continent, you can find them right here too. Stroll into a cafe in Marigot for cafe au lait and croissant to savor while you watch the tide roll in by sunset… it’s the best of both worlds!

stmaarten5

National pride on the French side

Travel St. Maarten Today!

If you romanticize about Caribbean pirate culture, breathtaking beaches, and a laid-back life of nautical wonders, or the charms of Europe right in your back yard (if you live on the North American continent), then this may be just the place for you! So travel St. Maarten today!

You can view my full tour of St. Maarten/St. Martin, here!:

And for more exciting destinations weekly, subscribe to my YouTube Channel!:

Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube Channel

Cruising to St. Maarten? Check out my review of the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Cruise ship here!:

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Cruise Ship Review!

Tour Nassau Bahamas!

tournassaubahamas

Old, abandoned lighthouse

Tour Nassau, Bahamas for Nautical Fun!

When you tour Nassau, Bahamas, one of the first things you notice are the tourist crowds. Because it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. But then you realize – this is for very good reason! Here crystal clear waters shimmer in the sunlight among a skyline of boat masts. And your toughest decision may be: sun bathing in satisfying soft sands, or wading in wonderfully warm waters? But besides the endless sunshine, bountiful beaches, and cool Caribbean vibe, the historical architecture and underwater adventures are well worth reveling in! The old and new captured by the rusty, whitewashed abandoned lighthouse facing the ultra-modern seashell pink towers of Atlantis Resort epitomize this island paradise. It’s sentimentally historic while forward-thinking.

IMG_5655

Historic old town

Nassau Old Town

A stroll through Nassau’s old town delights with vibrant pastel colors, colonial classical design, and a boisterously beachy vibe. Additionally, service is always delivered with a smile. It’s said that greater exposure to sunshine can lead to greatly improved mood and outlook. And judging by the optimism ever-present among the locals here I believe it! The heavy hordes of tourists, while a common sight year-round in this tropical paradise, do not diminish the charm of this lively city!

Parliament

Parliament building

Fort Fincastle

After a visit to the historic colonial buildings in town, the short trip to Fort Fincastle offers another perspective. This tenacious fort was built in 1793. Yet it’s still standing proud, reminding us that multiple colonial powers would have liked to have a piece of this paradise. Once you visit, you will wish you had one too! Cannons can’t keep you away as you invade these limestone walls. This place marks one of your own greatest victories in history – your amazing and unforgettable Nassau vacation!

tournassaubahamasforts

Tour Fort Fincastle

SeaWorld Explorer Submarine

Perhaps one of the greatest pleasures of all in Nassau, however, is not by land. It’s by sea! So board the SeaWorld Explorer submarine. Dive the depths. Be amazed by the dizzying variety of boldly colored fish and exotically shaped coral occupying the brilliant aqua depths below. While “wildlife” type tours can be extremely hit-or-miss (and, unfortunately, more often than not “miss”) there is no shortage of sea life to be seen from this submarine! Enter another world entirely as it is the people who inhabit the “fish tank” here, surrounded by a whirlwind of fascinating and fanciful fish!

tournassaubahamasunderwater

Views from the SeaWorld Explorer submarine

Atlantis Casino and Resort

Of course, the most popular tourist attraction of all in Nassau may be Atlantis. This may be a positive or negative for you depending on your perspective on travel. But there’s no denying it is a massive and impressive structure. Resembling a castle, it invites you in to be “king or queen” for a day getting the VIP treatment in the casino, or being lavished in hedonism among its spectacular pools, waterfalls, and other luxurious surroundings. Wherever you go in Nassau, your memories are sure to be priceless!

Atlantis

The coral colored towers of Atlantis

Tour Nassau, Bahamas More!

You can view my video tour of Nassau, Bahamas here!:

Considering visiting Nassau on a cruise ship? Check out my blog tour and review of the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas cruise ship here:

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Cruise Ship Review!

There’s so much to see and do in Nassau! I find the most efficient way to tackle your itinerary here is with a high-quality tour. Viator provides excellent tours around the world, and Nassau is no exception:

Find and book Nassau tours and activities on Viator.com. Book ahead to save time and money!

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: ultimatetraveladventures.blog is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. There is absolutely no cost to readers, and all proceeds will be strictly applied to covering the costs of maintaining this blog so that it can continue to serve readers for years to come! And at ultimatetraveladventures.blog we do not promote ANY product or service we do not endorse and personally use.

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Cruise Ship!

royalcaribbeanoasisoftheseas

Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

The Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas cruise ship is among the most majestic on the Royal Caribbean fleet. It launched in 2008, and has an occupancy of 6,296 maximum. This colossal vessel holds 16 passenger decks. So the Oasis of the Seas is really a city on the sea! And a voyage upon her many decks is an exciting treat indeed!

royalcaribbeanoasisoftheseasatrium

The Atrium

A Different Kind of Ship

The Oasis has a very different layout than many of the mega-ships I’ve traveled on before. A signature design for this class of Royal Caribbean ship is a cut-out middle, interior as well as exterior balcony cabins, and “neighborhoods.” The neighborhoods are a variety of unique “destination” locations around the ship. Oasis of the Seas’ “Atrium” does not resemble those of most of the ships I’ve experienced before, either. Because in this case, it’s a long hallway filled with shops, restaurants, and much more beyond passenger services desks, rather being one centralized room in the middle of the ship.

royalcaribbeanoasisoftheseaslido

Lido Deck

The Lido Deck

The Lido Deck is expansive, and there are multiple pools and jacuzzis as well as an adults-specific deck under glass. Unfortunately I got very hot in there, because it starts to feel like a greenhouse or sauna in there when it’s a hot day outside! I prefer the breeze of the open decks, which is no problem. Fortunately, the Oasis hosts a multitude of decks facing both the ocean on the outside of the ship and the neighborhood lobbies on the inside of the ship!

oasisoftheseascentralpark

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park is one of the neighborhoods on the ship, replete with trees, plants, cobblestones, and relaxing benches. Many of the interior balconies have views over this delightfully green section of the ship. A classical quartet played here regularly in the evenings while I was here. I don’t know what I liked better – the relaxing music or the pleasant garden-like atmosphere. This outdoor park element is particular to Royal Caribbean, and I haven’t encountered it on any other cruise lines. I was reminded first hand that this area is not only wide open to the fresh air, sunshine, and stars, but to the rain as well! It’s something to keep in mind: check the weather report each morning!

ro

The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk is reminiscent of the historic and iconic Boardwalk at Atlantic City, New Jersey. It’s complete with a Johnny Rockets diner, Zoltar fortune telling machine, arcade booths, boardwalk food, and an operational merry-go-round. There are also interior balconies facing the Boardwalk, as well as a massive water-based stage at the back of the ship, complete with beach loungers for the seating area!

royalcaribbeanoasisoftheseasshow

Ice Show

Spectacular Shows

Entertainment is abundant aboard the Oasis, and “go big or go home” never seemed a more fitting description than aboard this ship! Unique stages include the ice rink – a stage for ice shows by night and available for guests to ice skate on by day. Olympic skaters perform spectacular stunts, and I was thrilled and amazed for every minute of it! This is another feature that I’ve found to be unique to Royal Caribbean – I haven’t encountered an ice rink on any other lines.

waterstageontheboardwalk

Water Stage

Unique Stages

The other unique “stage” on this ship is the water stage, on the Boardwalk. Here Olympic divers perform death defying feats, complimented by synchronized swimming and other aquatic performances. With a backdrop of cotton-candy clouds by day and sparkling stars at night, the atmosphere is intoxicating. Oasis’ water stage is outdoors under the sun (or moon!) and the seating consists of splendidly colorful beach chairs. Whether you’re attending an ice skating show or a water show, book reservations EARLY! It is possible to get in line to take the place of no shows, but you’ll have a LOT of company if you do this. To be sure you get a seat you’ll need to be towards the front of the line.

royalcaribbeanbalconycabin

Balcony Cabin

Beautiful Balcony Cabins

I had a balcony cabin and found it to be plenty roomy, comfortable, and pleasingly decorated. I opted for the Oceanview, because I can’t get enough of the beauty of the open sea. But how great it was to have three balcony cabin view options at booking! Because there are so many balconies on this ship, I found them to be a better value than on some of the other ships I’ve sailed on. Interior balcony bookings come with perks like complimentary dinner at a specialty restaurant. And it’s important to bear in mind these balconies will also come with less privacy!

oasisoftheseasatrium

More of the Atrium

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Cruise Ship Review

I greatly enjoyed my experience aboard the Oasis of the Seas. The ship is spectacular, well-maintained, and beautifully designed. It offers a dizzying array of great entertainment, fun activities, and diverse areas to dine, party, and relax. On the downside, I did not find it to be a particularly solo-traveler friendly ship – every time I entered the main dining room and asked for a table for one I was made to feel like Steve Martin in “The Lonely Guy” when a huge spotlight appears over his head and everyone stares at him like he’s psycho or something… And with no good promotion for the drink package on this cruise line I ended up drinking more than my fair share of ice water with lime. But all-in-all I had a fantastic time choosing neighborhoods to suit my mood, reveling in effervescent entertainment, and soaking in the sun on this special ship!

FullShip

Larger than Life!

For More Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Tour Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas more! You can view a full video tour of the entire ship here!:

I visited St. Thomas on my Oasis of the Seas cruise. You can check out the article on St. Thomas here:

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Perfectly Paradisiacal!

And for more travel all around the world, check out the Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube channel!:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC91pXs3Ydbrw5Uc3EFSkO5Q?view_as=subscriber

Tour St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands!

tourstthomas

Spectacular Panoramic Views

Tour St. Thomas for Pleasure, Peace, Paradise

Tour St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, for the epitome of paradise. This island wonderland in the Caribbean, and United States territory, is a playground of crystal clear waters dotted by lush, jade islands, all viewable from an endless supply of scenic mountain overlooks – each one more spectacular than the last! So you can basque in the beams of sunshine, be refreshed in the surf of the ocean, and inhale the essence of intoxicating Yellow Trumpetbush and Frangipani flowers as you explore the wonders of St. Thomas!

tourstthomasmagensbay

Magen’s Bay Beach

Magen’s Bay Beach

Magen’s Bay Beach consistently ranks in the world’s top ten for beaches. With spectacular views, sand the consistency of baking powder, water so clear you can see your feet – and so warm it feels like bathwater… lounging out here will leave you feeling super spoiled while the sun soaks you in warmth amidst the sea-salt scented breezes. Clearly, it’s the perfect place to relax… and escape! The beach carries on for a mile, and there is also over six acres of arboretum, coconut groves, and mangrove preserves. In summary, It’s an amazing place to get lost in the natural beauty of the Caribbean.

tourstthomascastles

Pirate Castles!

Danish Colonial Architecture

The United States purchased St. Thomas from Denmark in 1917 for the unbeatable bargain of $25 million in gold, or, what would be the equivalent of $489 million today. This transaction allowed the island to remain free from adversarial hands and boost Denmark’s coffers during the hefty expenses of World War I fighting. Because of St. Thomas’ Danish heritage, much of the old Danish colonial architecture remains in the capital of Charlotte Amalie. Overall, it is indubitably charming. And equally endearing are the Blackbeard and Bluebeard castles near the harbor and believed to be from the eighteenth century! If you ever wanted to know how the pirate half lives – now’s your chance!

tourstthomascolonialarchitecture

Charming Colonial Danish Architecture

Panoramic Paradise

St. Thomas is a varied landscape of crystal clear waters, island formations big and small, and mountains and hilltops boasting amazing views of the expanse below.  As a result, It is truly one of the greatest jewels in the string of islands adorning the Caribbean! If you still have time for shopping in Charlotte Amalie, I highly recommend seeking out the paintings and photography by local artists in the AH Riise outdoor mall. The locals’ sources of inspiration are numerous, and talent enviable! Thus, St. Thomas local art is my favorite souvenir to leave this beautiful place with. There are many other boutique shops in the area to shop until you drop, all conveniently accepting the U.S. Dollar!

tourstthomas

More to Tour, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Undoubtedly, when you tour St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, you can NEVER get enough! So come and explore some more, with my video tour of St. Thomas here!:

Finally, there are many nearby Caribbean islands that are also well worth a visit! So I hope you’ll check out my post on Nassau here!:

Tour Nassau Bahamas!

And for more exciting travel around the world, visit the Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube channel, so you can get your travel fix today!:

Ultimate Travel Adventures on YouTube

I hope you enjoyed the chance to tour St. Thomas today! Importantly, thank you for reading!

See Seattle, Washington!

IMG_1029

Seattle Skyline

Bohemian Playground

See Seattle when you’re ready for a free-spirited, bohemian paradise! Seattle is laid-back and fun, as I quickly discovered trekking up and down the boisterous bumps of its many hills, encountering its coffee culture, starving artists, and plumes of pot smoke along the way! (Yes, it’s legal here.) The grunge culture popularized in the 90s by local bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana is alive and well here as well. Seattle is vibrant, vigorous, and vaporous!

IMG_1023

Views from the Space Needle

Space Needle Observatory

A trip to the top of the Space Needle is high on many visitors’ Seattle bucket list, and for good reason. The observatory provides outstanding views of the booming skyline and surrounding natural beauty of ocean and forest, and, if you’re lucky enough to be here on a clear day, the brilliant white snow-cap of Mt. Rainier. I daresay it’s worth the dreadfully long wait in line to have this experience. Yes, be prepared to stand and wait over an hour… and then have no regrets. When you reach the top, make sure you stand on the glass floor as it turns high above the safety of solid ground – even the least height-averse person can feel a tad uneasy looking straight down up here! The observatory is a great way to see Seattle, with a bird’s eye view!

IMG_1020

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

The iconic Pike Place Market is exhilarating in all of its commotion and excitement! Here humungous crowds of people gather and stroll amid shouting fisherman playing “catch” with their catch, people in tie-dye selling hemp-infused wares, artists displaying the colorful fruits of their creative efforts, and so much more. Endless varieties of foods quickly get you drooling as you bask in the gloriously gourmet culture. There are so many distractions here to peak your interest – sights, smells, and sounds. Here you can be surrounded and spoiled by the spirit that is Seattle.

IMG_2185

Port of Seattle

See Seattle Port!

With so many cruise ships sailing to Alaska out of Seattle, a dynamic port scene has built up around them. With a Ferris wheel, restaurants, bars, shops, this area can easily keep you busy for hours. Soak it all in before you set sail!

Seattle is a great destination for the visitor looking to get laid back and let their free-spirited beatnik loose!

You can view my Seattle video tour here!:

In my opinion, the way to see the most of a city possible in the limited time you have is to go for a tour that will whisk you from attraction to attraction – and, more importantly, whisk you through the long lines! I recommend Viator as I’ve had wonderful experiences with them, and they serve the city of Seattle!:

Save time and money with the Seattle CityPass

Want to tour another iconic American City? Check out my New York City article!:

New York City Tour!

And for more tour videos from the U.S. and around the world, check out my YouTube video!:

Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube Channel

Disclaimer: ultimatetraveladventures.blog is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. There is absolutely no cost to readers, and all proceeds will be strictly applied to covering the costs of maintaining this blog so that it can continue to serve readers for years to come! And at ultimatetraveladventures.blog we do not promote ANY product or service we do not endorse and personally use.

Upper Peninsula Michigan!

IMG_1161

Magnificent Mackinac Bridge

Upper Peninsula Michigan Mackinac Bridge

No one can deny the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Your entry point into the Upper Peninsula, affectionately called the “U.P.” by Michiganders, is the magnificent Mackinac Bridge. This beautiful suspension bridge was opened in 1957. It has a tower height of 552 feet, a length of 26,372 feet, and a $4 toll for cars – well worth the “price of admission”! A wild, wonderful wilderness awaits on the other side! My anticipation escalated as I traversed this awe-inspiring bridge. And when I arrived on the U.P. side I was not disappointed!

PicturedRocksFalls

Pictured Rocks Falls

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The Upper Peninsula boasts many natural wonders! Most notably, a visit is not complete without checking out the Pictured Rocks near Munising. You choose – you can take a kayak or get tickets for a cruise tour. Either way, it’s a win! If you partake in one of the cruises, I highly recommend lining up EARLY if you want to avoid getting a seat in the middle of the boat, for the best view. At least half an hour before sailing or even more is recommended in the summer. The rocky cliffs are described as “painted” or “pictured” because of the brilliant stripes and splashes of different colors composed on them. You will also notice many waterfalls and delightfully strange rock formations, and pine trees that seem to grow out of solid rock! The Pictured Rocks are full of great photo ops… so keep your camera handy!

tahquamenonfalls

Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls

The Tahquamenon Falls are another must-see in the U.P. These incredible waterfalls are located in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The color of the spectacular falls is derived from the high copper content. Copper is an abundant natural resource in the U.P. The park also features miles of great hiking trails through the woods, for the energetically inclined. And a wonderful restaurant and brewery is also available on-site, where I ordered delicious fresh whitefish ‘n chips, and a flight of craft beers brewed right on site. You can enjoy many different viewpoints of the falls by taking the provided walking paths. Almost as enthralling as the sight of the falls is the sound of the falls. The Tahquamenon falls leave an amazing impression of their power on your senses – the sight, sound, and smell.

upperpeninsulamichiganviews

Views from Brockway Mountain

Brockway Mountain

The peak of Brockway Mountain, near Copper Harbor, is accessible to vehicles, and the views are awe-inspiring! If anyone had any doubt that the U.P. is covered in unspoiled wilderness, these views of endless gloriously green forest and brilliantly blue lakes will remove all doubt! Unfortunately, my only regret about visiting this site is that I didn’t do so during the peak of the fall leaf-turning season! Another great way to enjoy the U.P.’s beautiful forests: drive through the “Tunnel of Trees,” which hang over the road in a way that seemingly envelops you in a passage through a leafy pipeline!

upperpeninsulamichiganlighthouse

Point Iroquois Lighthouse

Iconic Lighthouses

The U.P. is chock full of lighthouses of all shapes, sizes, and styles! There are over 40 lighthouses in the U.P. mostly from the 1800s. The lighthouse at Point Iroquois is one of many that you can climb to the top of for nice views of the lake. You also can tour the preserved, historic living quarters of former lighthouse-keepers, and visit a small museum on-site. If you’re into lighthouses, you’ll be spoiled rotten in the U.P.! They are a major player in the area’s history and culture. You’ll have no trouble finding them either; the Michigan Tourism Bureau has done an outstanding job with attraction signage throughout the state, and the lighthouses are no exception. Or, you can pick up a lighthouse map at any Michigan tourist center and plan your  adventure!

ShipwreckMuseum

Shipwreck Museum, Whitefish Point

Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point

The Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point provides a fascinating look into the mysterious world of shipwrecks! As an Art History major, I have a lot of education on museums and their curation, and in my opinion the installations here are very well done. The displays are very interesting and informative, and include many fascinating historical artifacts. For example, there are underwater explorer suits, parts of shipwrecked vessels, historic articles found at shipwreck sites, and more. The Shipwreck Museum is well-worth the detour!

Calumetupperpeninsulamichigan

Interesting tree in Calumet…

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll never know what you’re going to find when you wander the back streets of U.P. towns. For example, this house in the above photo! There’s something particularly rewarding about stumbling on something quirky and unusual like this taking the time to get off the beaten path – often some of the most rewarding travel experiences of all. I found this house taking the back roads in Calumet.

More Outdoor Delights in Upper Peninsula, Michigan!

The Upper Peninsula, Michigan is a wild wonderland of natural beauty. There is an abundance of things to see and do in the U.P., and I can’t wait to return!

You can view my video tour of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula here!:

Can’t get enough of Michigan’s natural beauty? I don’t blame you! Check out my post on mainland Michigan here!:

Travel Michigan! (Part 2: the Mainland)

And if you want to know about the authentic log cabin I bought in northern Michigan, you can read about it here!:

Michigan Vacation Cabin Tour!

Finally, for more travel videos of Michigan and all around the world, visit my YouTube channel here!:

Ultimate Travel Adventures YouTube Channel