Category Archives: Round the World

China Open Two Terrifying Glass Walkways In Tianmen and Shanghai

It’s official. China has gone mad.

If you thought that the Great Wall of China was enough, well think again! In the past week, they’ve added two new attractions that are a must for thrill seekers.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park – 100m Glass Walkway

High up in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, they have put a whole new spin on mountain climbing by converting a wooden walkway into a glass-bottomed one. The new section, named ‘The Coiling Dragon Path’, is a 100m walkway that is only 1067m up in the Tianmen Mountains. Talk about living the high life!

There is no need to worry about the walkway, though. To prove the strength of the glass, officials first cracked it (eh….what??) and THEN drove a car full of people over it.

And if that wasn’t enough, this guy also hit it with a sledgehammer. (I trust the hammer more than the car anyways.)

The path is the park’s third walkway. The predecessors/second being the world’s longest glass bridge, measuring at 430m across.

Jinmao Tower, Shanghai – Handrail-Free Walkway

 

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You’d want to be seriously brave to take on this one in Shanghai…

 

You don’t need to venture to the forest to get those big thrills. In Shanghai city centre, part of the Jinmao Tower has been converted into a handrail-free walkway. 

Up on the 88th floor, 15 people at a time can pay to see the Shanghai city from this ridiculous angle. All that’s holding you back from a 400m freefall is a rock climbing harness and your acrophobia (fear of heights). According to the Straits Times, it’s the highest outdoor handrail-free walkway in the world!

Chinese thrill seekers are on top of their game this summer! Want to go join them? Check out our China packages or drop us a line info@usit.ie or on (01) 602 1906

Wanderlust in Beautiful Bali: James’ Ultimate Guide To Paradise

Dreaming of an escape to paradise on your next trip? James is just back from 3 weeks in beautiful Bali and he has more than a few highlights to share…

Bali is an incredibly unique island with a unique personality and atmosphere. There are people from all nationalities and all walks of life living on or visiting the island. The island is packed with adventure, great food, endless nights and friendly locals. To experience the warmth of Indonesia and all the Island has to offer is tough to do in a few weeks if I am honest, but we gave it our best shot!

Getting to Bali, a long slog but so worth it!

Bali is not the easiest place to get to from Ireland but it is 110% worth it when you arrive. We went through USIT using the book now pay later option which allowed me to pay a certain amount of money to guarantee my seat and gave me time to gather the funds and pay the balance by an agreed date. It was a great stress minimizer financially. USIT have loads of different Bali package options, starting from only €779 including flights!

We departed on June 18th from Dublin at stupid o’clock and we travelled Via Amsterdam and Hong Kong. We arrived into Bali on June 19th at 13:00 and had an airport transfer organised by the hotel to collect us and bring us to our first hotel. We flew with Cathay Pacific and had a great experience flying with them. Looking back I should have done a stopover on the way or on the way back for a night or two in Singapore or Hong Kong which is a good option but at the time we just wanted to get there!

Cliffs, Surf and Insane Views of Uluwatu

James uluwatu

Our first location was Uluwatu which is an area located on the cliffs south west of the island. Uluwatu is famous for its great surf breaks, the Uluwatu Cliff temples and some of the best beach bars in Bali. We stayed in The Saphire Cliff villas located beside Padang Padang Beach (surfers must), Sundayz beach club and Single Finn Bar and Restaurant. The hotel was amazing and perfect for couples as you had a private villa with complete privacy. The pool was shared but was always quiet and the hotel was never over busy which was great for a chill-out

We visited the famous Cliff Temple and ate in Single Fin Restaurant  (incredible food). Single Fin also has the best views in Ulawatu. The waves crashing into the cliffs below and a sunset which left us speechless. If an Irish lad has a capacity for romance, this place will bring it out!

The Astonishing 5-Star Ayana Resort in Jimbaran

Pushing the boat out for our anniversary we stayed in the 5-star Ayana resort for our anniversary. The resort is enormous with a private beach, Luxury private villas, two hotels run by the same management but with different styles. The resort is packed with restaurants to cater for your every mood. There are a number of spectacular bars on site with more insane views of the cliffs and the sunset.

Did Someone Say Room Upgrade?

Ayana Resprt.PNGWe had mentioned it was our anniversary and we were immediately upgraded to the best room in the hotel (Irish charm, we can’t even control it!). The Staff were exceptional and truly set the bar for 5-star resorts across the world. Every whim was catered for and each resort worker had a smile bigger than the last.

The Resort is completely self-sufficient with Bars, Restaurants, choice of pools, tennis courts, Gym, free WIFI, free transport from place to place inside the resort via Golf Buggy and a private secluded beach. You really do see another side to service and luxury staying here and I will never forget it. We ate in Rock bar on the first night which is a bar & Restaurant built into the cliffs edge overlooking the sunset. The food was tapas based and although It is more expensive than the rest of Bali, it is definitely worth it for the views and amazing food. We also ate in Kisik Restaurant also built into the cliffs and The Mexican restaurant inside the Rimba Hotel.

Jimbaran is vast and outside the resorts walls there isn’t much really going on. I would advise staying here for 2-3 nights anymore and it could get boring but 2-3 nights is perfect in my opinion. It is so chilled and you feel like you truly have escaped the real world and gone to resort heaven.

Party Time and Getting Loose in Seminyak

As almost perfect as the Ayana was, the one thing it lacked was a bar with live music or a party atmosphere. The bars were incredibly chilled which was nice but give me an Indonesian guy singing U2 at the top of his lungs over that any day.

Seminyak was a welcomed change to our new chilled, meditative-like state after the Ayana. Seminyak is one of the party capitals of Bali packed full of restaurants, bars, live music clubs and nightclubs to cater for whatever mood you’re in.

Haven Hotel & Seminyak’s Strip

We stayed in the 4-star hotel named The Haven which is located beside Double Six beachJames Surfing Seminyak
in Seminyak and was a 10-minute taxi to the centre of the action, Seminyak Square. I would definitely recommend staying around double six beach. The surf breaks are by far the best in Seminyak and the beach has Beach clubs every 50 meters with different genres of music playing. Every bar has an outside sitting area with comfortable bean bags to chill on and watch the sunset. If you haven’t guessed by now, every day ends with a sunset in Bali.

We ate on the strip every night in Seminyak favourites Char Char Grill, Batik and the Italian corner. Throughout the day there a host of beach clubs you can go to, the main ones being Potato head, Ku De Ta and Cocoon. Seminyak was insanely good and pretty hectic! After 3 days we were looking forward to some R&R in our next stop, Ubud.

Underwhelming Ubud Saved By Tegenugan Waterfall

Ubud is located in central Bali and is the Cultural capital of Bali. We had been told that Ubud was much different to anywhere in Bali then we have already seen. Not as commercial, busy and fast as most other Bali tourist towns. We had an image of tranquillity in our minds that didn’t really get lived up to in reality. From day one we had a bad taste in our mouth from the sheer traffic inside Ubud and trying to work our way through it to our hotel so painstakingly close. Not the tranquil haven we had been told about. Although…

Loka Hut Hotel & The Jungle

We stayed in the 5-star Lokha Hut Hotel which was located about 15 minutes outside the Ubud town centre. We got great value for the 2 night stay through USIT. An infinity pool and spa overlooked the Jungle Canopy. Now we’re talking! Every morning we would be awoken by the sound of the jungle all around us and surprisingly you’re not in a bad mood. It feels good to be woken up by birds chirping and monkeys cackling, much better than the dreaded iPhone sirens!

Monkey Business

James Monkey

On our first day in Ubud we rented a driver for half the day and set out to see the sites. Our first stop was the monkey forest were monkeys roam freely throughout the forest looking for banana donations from much obliging tourist. If you wish to get up close and personal with the monkeys, anyone can buy bananas to hand out and make some new monkey friends. It was awesome, and hilarious! These little guys know what they want and how to get it. The Dell Boy’s of the chimp world!

Tegenugan Waterfall and Oh My God!

James Waterfall

From there went set off for Tegenugan Waterfall. The waterfall was just spectacular, I cannot stress this enough! From where your driver drops you off there is a 15 minute walk down to the waterfall and the views along the way are that of the real Bali I had envisaged in my mind. At the waterfall, you can swim in the pool made by the sheer power of the waterfall and take as many pictures as you want. We stayed for about an hour swimming in the water, taking photos and soaking up the beauty of the waterfall itself.

Backpackers Paradise in Gilli Islands & Nusa Dua

From Ubud, we arranged a car transfer to the Ferry port town of Pdang Bai to catch a ferry heading east the famous Gilli Islands. Our Hotel arranged everything and at a fairy reasonable price for the two of us. We decided to opt for the early 9am ferry which resulted in us having to leave Ubud at a painful 6am to be on time for the ferry. The ferry got us in at 11am which was perfect as the day was not wasted travelling as was a few of our days on this trip. You don’t wanna be wasting time sleeping in a place like Bali!

Gilli Trawangan

We stayed in Gilli Trawangan, the biggest island out of the trio of Gilli Islands. Gilli T is the most popular for backpackers and travellers looking to escape the main island and enjoy the party atmosphere which Gilli T is famous for. The Island itself is tiny compared to its surrounding neighbours of Bali and Lombok which look like something from Jurassic park during the Ferry Crossing. There are no cars or mopeds on the island and after 2 weeks in Bali it is a welcome relief. We stayed in Villa Ombak which was located on the more popular east side of the island where all the bars & restaurants are located.

Bar Crawl, Less Than Sober Cycling and Beautiful Beaches!

We rented bikes for the day and cycled all around the island stopping off at every beach bar (one every 20 metres) to test out their drinks menu. By the time we got back around we could have done with some stabilisers but everyone else was in the same tipsy boat!  The island really is paradise and the beauty is unparalleled, the beaches on the east side are beautiful whether the tide is in or out with crystal clear blue water and white sand. Proper ‘PC wallpaper’ set ups.

Turtle-less Turtle Snorkelling…

We hired a boat on the second day to take us on a turtle snorkelling trip which took us to Gilli Air, the second largest of the islands. We were out all day and it’s a good way to see the other islands if you plan to just stay on one of them. Gilli Air is a lot more tranquil and reserved and would be perfect for a couple of chill nights.

The Next Best Thing – Turtle Conservation Project

James Turtles

As we didn’t see any turtles on our “TURTLE” snorkelling trip, we decided it was only right to visit the turtle conservation centre on Gilli T as they buy turtle eggs from Farmers on the surrounding islands who are taking them to sell at a market, Instead of the turtle eggs ending up in the markets, the Conservationists buy them and house them until the eggs hatch and they are ready to go back into the Ocean. They keep the baby turtles in tanks for a few weeks before releasing them so if you don’t get a chance to see them snorkelling or diving then this is a must. The donation that tourists provide goes towards the maintaining of the centre and buying the eggs from the farmers.

One Last Party, Nusa Dua & The Sadness Of Having To Leave

Gilli T is full of Bars and restaurants so there is always something to do at night. The bars are packed full of backpackers and travellers enjoying the Gilli T lifestyle and partying late into the night. We left on day three to head back to the main Island, the ferry brought us back to Pdang Bai and from there we made our way to our next and final destination of Nusa Dua for some much needed R&R after the madness of Gilli T! We stayed in the Inaya Putri resort, another slice of paradise for two days before it was time to depart the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to, and the best adventure so far.

My Top Travel Tips For Bali

  • The Currency is Indonesian Rupiah. The easiest way to look at it is that €10 is 150,000 IND or €100 is 1,500,000 IND.
  • Always ask the Taxi drivers to go by the metre when you get in unless you have struck up a deal before getting in. the metre will give you the cheapest rate location to location.
  • The electricity output is the European two prong connection
  • Travel as light as possible if you decide to move around a good bit
  • Ask if there are any upgrades available in the hotels and sometimes they can be extremely cheap to upgrade to a better room.
  • Plan your route as best as possible to avoid long travelling days. on holiday these travelling days can be a nightmare for a simple journey.

Looking for a quote on an adventure to Bali this year? Give our experts a call on (01) 602 1906 or info@usit.ie.

 

New South Wales: David Malin Awards Photos Will Blow You Away

These are some absolutely breathtaking pictures…

New South Wales, Australia may not be as famous as say, Norway or Iceland for stargazing and the Northern Lights but these 11 submissions for the Astrofest 2016. Established by the Central West Astronomical Society in order to bring some of the best astronomical photographers in Australia and beyond, the exhibition will be touring the country, starting in  Sydney Observatory on Friday Aug 13.

We could ramble on about the impossible beauty of these images all day (and night), but we’d rather just let you enjoy them. Scroll down for the overall winner of the ‘David Malin Awards 2016’.

This article originally appeared on Mashable.com

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The overall winner is this stunning pic of the Simlin Orion by Troy Caswe

 

New Zealand: When James Cameron Directs Your Tourism Videos, You Know It’s Worth Talking About

In case you haven’t already noticed we are MAD about New Zealand and it now looks like we are most certainly not the only one. Having proven beyond doubt that New Zealand is one of beautiful places in the world, it seems like a multi-Oscar winning Director shares our passion…and it’s not the one you’d think!

Titanic and Avatar Director, James Cameron and his wife Suzy have launched a series of videos with 100% Pure New Zealand. The footage is unsurprisingly breathtaking and there’s one key message, James Cameron wants you to go to New Zealand, NOW!

Cameron narrates each video, taking in his own experiences of the South Island and to the backdrop of the stunning landscape. The ‘GoPro’ feel is guaranteed to get your pulse racing and dreaming of exploring New Zealand, whether on a Work Holiday Visa or just a shorter term adventure.

Frankly, we’ve already rambled on enough so we’re handing you over to James…enjoy!

Interested in starting your New Zealand adventure? We’ll get your Visa, Flights & Insurance all covered for €1,359 with the Essentials Pack from €479. Drop us a line and talk to our NZ experts info@usit.ie or on (01) 602 1906.

 

5 Life Lessons You’ll Learn From Visiting India and Nepal

When it comes to choosing a holiday destination, many factors are at play – the weather, the resorts, the cost, the landmarks etc. All of these blend together for a while and battle each other Top Trumps style in your head until eventually you find a winner and thunderbirds are go!

Take a brief moment to rank your holiday priorities. Now, if we’re to guess that relaxing, unwinding and comfort immediately sprang to your mind would we be wrong?

Continue reading 5 Life Lessons You’ll Learn From Visiting India and Nepal

Frenchman Sailing The World With the Perfect Companion – A Hen!

Choosing the perfect travel companion is some pretty crucial stuff when you decide to spread your wings (the glory of this pun is about to be revealed…) but 24-year old Frenchman, Guirec Soudee appears to have it cracked…

Meet Monique, at the time a five-month old Hen who Guirec ‘convinced’ to go travel the world with him. Starting in the Canary Islands two-years ago the more than unusual partnership has blossomed into a close friendship between man and chicken. Despite his initial fears about her adaptability to the open seas, it seems that she has some sturdy sea legs.

“At the beginning, I was very worried – there would be huge waves and she might stumble, it would look for a second like she might go overboard, but she would always regain her footing. She’s very brave”, he said when speaking to the BBC and asked about the early days.

“But when there are bad winds now, I’m much more careful and she goes inside”.

Monique, can lay about six eggs a week and is free to roam the 38ft deck while Guirec steers the ship and their epic adventure has already taken them to the Caribbean and the Arctic! Next up, the pair are set to tackle the Bering Strait with Monique’s hutch providing a reliable source of comfort to combat the cold.

Where to go from there?

“We’re not sure, we haven’t talked about it yet”, he says when asked.

“We talk a lot, Monique and I”, says Guirec.

Chicken Sunset
This could be a more romantic pairing than Leo & Kate on the Titantic…

The inseparable pair are currently moored in Greenland where they’ve quickly become celebrities (to the 56,000 strong population) and their adventure is definitely worth a follow via Facebook and Instagram.

It turns out being a chicken about travelling the world is actually not as poor a decision as it originally seems…

All credit for this interview to the BBC and Ronald Hughes.

Round The World in 2016: The City Slicker

In the third part of our Round the World series we’re appealing to those of you blown away by the vast cities that shoot high into the sky and sprawl wide across the landscape.

We’ve already shown you how to visit 4 continents on the cheap with East Bound & Down plus the foodie’s paradise of Down Argentine Way. This week it’s time to explore some of the world’s most vibrant and exciting cities with all flights covered for €1469, allowing you to explore the sheer scale of these five very different concrete jungles by the numbers…

Round the World Stop #1 – Dubai, UAE

So if you’ve been following the RTW series you’ll know how fond we are of this modern marvel of a city. We’ve already shown you the best places to go during your stay in the plush surroundings of Dubai but here’s a few crazy stats and facts about a city that, in 20 years has become one of the world’s most remarkable and a must visit for any city slicker…

  1. 80% of Dubai’s 2m population is made up of ex-pats from India, Pakistan & Europe
  2. At 4.8 visitors for every one resident, Dubai is easily the most visited destination per permanent resident in the world
  3. Dubai’s International airport is now the world’s busiest with nearly 71m visitors in 2015
  4. Dubai is home to the worlds tallest building, The Burj Khalifa at 828 metres
  5. Dubai has gone from having one skyscraper in 1978 to 148 and counting today
  6. In fact, 1 in 4 operating cranes in the world are in Dubai!
  7. The Dubai Mall is the largest in the world with 1,200 shops & the world’s second largest aquarium
  8. The Emirates Golf Club in Dubai uses 100% recycled water to maintain the course and has won awards for this sustainable feat
  9. The Dubai Police department has a Bugatti Veyron plus Lamborghini’s & Ferrari’s in it’s fleet of official police vehicles

It’s safe to say you’ll be blown away a city that’s evolving almost every single day but there’s still much more to explore so onto our second Round the World destination…

 Round the World #2 – Melbourne, Australia

You’ll already know about these 15 Things To Do in Australia’s second largest city but there’s lots more unique about a city that used to be the capital until 1927…

  1. Melbourne, like Dubai is a diverse city with 38% of its residents being born overseas.
  2. Melbourne is sports mad with the MCG being the 10th biggest in the world holding over 100,000 people!
  3. It’s also is the only city in the world with FIVE international standard sporting facilities
  4. The highest temperature ever recorded there was in 2009 at 46.4 degrees. That’s hot!
  5. Melbourne has the highest number of restaurants & cafe per person of any city in the world
  6. Melbourne was originally called Batmania (no, seriously) after being founded by John Batman (also seriously) in 1869
  7. The people are credited with ‘inventing’ the 8 hour work day (this was when slavery still existed!). The ‘888 rule’ included the same time for recreation and for rest.

After two long haul flights, you’ll be chuffed with the 2 hour hop along the Australian Coast to another of the world’s most iconic cities – Sydney.

Round the World #3 – Sydney, Australia

Sydney is by far and away the most popular Australian settlement for Irish travellers and ex pats so it would be simply rude to go around the world without stopping by this city that is bursting with things to do and see.

So what makes Sydney another of the world’s top cities to visit? Well…

  1. Despite being a metropolitan area, Sydney has 180 miles of spectacular shoreline!
  2. This includes two of the world’s most famous – Bondi & Manly
  3. Sydney experiences 342 days of sunshine on average per year (do the maths!)
  4. Like your seafood? Sydney has the 3rd largest fresh fish market in the world
  5. As the first large city to ring in the New Year, Sydney spends millions on the world famous firework display – it cost $7m in 2015!
  6. The iconic Sydney opera was supposed to cost $7m to build, when it opened in 1973 it had cost $120m! So worth it though.

That’s three of the world’s best cities to visit, ticked off on your Round the World adventure but as is the only way to do a trip like this, we’re saving the greatest city of them all until last…

Round the World Stop #4 – New York, USA

Every traveller who finds themselves drawn to big city lights and the buzz of modern day living probably used New York City as the blueprint to dream up their utopia. It’s busy, it’s loud, it glistens in the sun and it is officially the world’s most visited city on the planet!

You probably think you know Manhattan’s streets inside out before stepping into the airport terminal at JFK but here’s some facts about NY you probably didn’t know…

  1. Demand for real estate in Manhattan is so astronomically high very often property developers will sell the air above a skyscraper! The air…
  2. It costs nearly $300k to obtain a licence to sell hot dogs in Central Park
  3. There’s more people in New York City than in 39 of the 50 states
  4. If Brooklyn was counted as a city, it’d be the fourth largest in the US
  5. On average, the Manhattan population swells by 1.3m people during working hours
  6. If you’re homeless in NYC but can prove a residence anywhere else in the world, the state will fly you there for free!
  7. The Empire State Building has it’s very own ZIP Code
  8. If you listen hard enough (and for long enough) you’ll here nearly 800 languages or dialects spoken in New York
  9. The furthest you can possibly be away from the Subway in Manhattan is 1.2km (Gracie Square).
  10. New York has approx 1,600 places where you can eat pizza

Ok, so we slightly lied about New York being the last stop on the City Slicker! We’ll fly you back to London where you can spend a couple more days in metropolis and when you come back you’ll think of Dublin as a village!

For enquiries on the City Slicker package or another other of our Round the World options give our experts a call on (01) 602 1906, visit our site or email info@usit.ie

 

 

 

11 Unbelievable Pics Of Sydney’s Vivid Festival 2016

Oh my God! It maybe coming into winter in Sydney but the opening of the Vivid Festival of light, music and ideas is pretty much the coolest thing we’ve seen in a long time!

Billed as a festival bringing together art, technology and commerce, the festival has utilised the latest and greatest in projection technology to turn the city into a living, breathing work of art. Over the next 23 Days, Sydney is home to the world’s largest outdoor gallery and some of the pics (and this time lapse of the Opera House via Eddie Sim) makes their New Year celebrations look tame in comparison.

The project took over 15 months of intense work to bring together and at the very heart of the festival is to highlight the plight of some of the world’s most endangered species.

Tens of thousands of people have already flocked to the installations across Sydney and it makes us long for hopping on a plane back to this incredible city.

Check out 10 of best pictures of the festivals opening night below:

Vivid 5
Sydney Harbour Bridge will be lit up for the next 23 days as part of Vivid 2016

Have you been to any of the installations yet? Which are the most spectacular? Let us know in the comments.

Secure your Working Holiday to Australia with Ireland’s leading agency including your flight from just €999! Email us at info@usit.ie or ring our experts on (01) 602 1906

6 Places You Must Visit in Peru in 2016

Hands up if the following thoughts have gone through your mind in the last 6 weeks – ‘The weather here is crap…my boss hates me…I need to get outta here for a while…my car is gonna fail it’s NCT’. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. If you’re a little fed up and your sense of adventure is screaming out for something different then Peru is for you…


Never be afraid to dream a little bigger darling

Yes, lounging about by the pool in Spain will sound appealing but what about thinking outside the box and finding a place unlike any other on this Earth? Sound good? Sounds like Peru, here are 6 completely unmissable, unforgettable places that you must visit as soon as you can!

1. Guided Tour of Machu Pichu

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Yes, we’re breaking out the big gun early, this isn’t one of the 7 Wonders of the World without a reason. Built high in the Andes in the 15th Century and rediscovered barely 100 years ago, this ancient celestial site of the Inca civilisation is undoubtedly one of the most stunningly beautiful places on Earth, take a look.

A place full of awe and wonder, guided tours take place all year round and we guarantee you if your friends aren’t blown away by your new appreciation and knowledge of the Incan Empire, possibly the greatest selfie you will ever take at Machu Pichu will cement the jealousy.

2. Trek through the Inca Sacred Valley

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So if Machu Pichu was only rediscovered a century ago then it’s probably not going to easily show up on the Sat Nav. Thankfully the route to this ancient city is directly through the very heartland of the Incan civilisation and it is absolutely breathtaking.

Located 15km north of Cuzco, this isn’t a trek for the fain-hearted but if you don’t mind getting a bit of a sweat on high in the Andes then you will be rewarded with an experience ten-fold of the effort you put in. You can even crank the adrenalin up a notch with rafting and rock climbing adventures available. If your motivation to finish the trek somehow begins to wain, remember the Machu Pichu selfie has never been so close to you!

3. Explore the Amazon Jungle

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If your close encounters with nature are confined to Dublin Zoo or that frog you once found in the back garden then it’s time to address it, and the world’s largest rainforest is the exactly how.

Now we’re not suggesting you go all Bear Grylls here, they are plenty of guided options to experience the rainforest by boat, canoe or on foot and you even get to sleep in the huts of the local tribes. We guarantee you, nothing will give you a greater appreciation for your own lifestyle than this experience.

4. The Birthplace of the Sun at Lake Titicaca

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Once the childish sniggering is out of your system, you’ll begin to appreciate another of Peru’s most famous and most beautiful natural wonders. According to Andean beliefs, the Lake is the birthplace of the Sun. Home to over 530 aquatic species, 42 islands and surrounded by stunning snow covered Andean peaks, you’ll begin to believe the myth.

Lake Titicaca is on the border by Bolivia and the best way to travel is definitely a flight from Lima to Puno but the best experiences in life are seldom ones enjoyed without a little sacrifice.

5. Talk to the Sun at the Cuzco Festival

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The Incas were so far ahead of other civilisations at this time in human history that they’re understanding of the stars and the planets is astonishing considering their lack of technology. It’s no wonder then that the Sun is revered so passionately in Peru. No greater example of this is the Festival of the Sun which takes place in the country’s spiritual capital of Cuzco each June.

In the incredible ancient ruins of Sacsayhuaman above the city, the locals re-enact celebrating the June Winter Solstice and literally ‘talk to the Sun’. It’s a crowded, hectic festival full of colour and aromas that will being you closer to the unique Peruvian culture like no other.

6. Chase Penguins on the Ballestas Islands

You might not think Peru would be the most ideal place to see penguins in the wild and you’d be forgiven for thinking so, although you’d be wrong. Located south of the capital Lima and off the coast of Paracas, the Ballestas Islands are home to certain species like the blue-footed booby (behave!) found nowhere else on Earth and are commonly compared to the Galapogas Islands for their fauna.

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Day trips from Lima are possible, with Paracas approx 3 hours away by coach and the tour of the Islands is cheap, typically $35. Kidnapping of penguins is strictly prohibited however, no matter how tempted you may be! You won’t catch one anyway…

We’re guessing you’re quite enamored with the idea of Peru right now, but why let it be a pipe dream. Let’s make it happen from €1115 pp with USIT.

Round the World Trips in 2016: Part Two

Our Round the World series began last week with the cheapest way to go East Bound and Down, taking in the likes of Dubai, Sydney and Johannesburg. This week, we cannot resist the longing for some Latin vibes so we’re going Down Argentine Way from Dublin with all your flights covered from €1868.

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After the short hop over the Irish Sea to London, the crosshairs are set firmly one of South America’s biggest and most passionate cities, Buenos Aires.

Round the World Stop #1 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Three things are gospel in Argentina’s vibrant capital and home to three million inhabitants – the taste of a succulent steak, the passion of a steamy tango and the noise coming from the fanatical football fans at La Bombonera.

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The moment you disembark and set foot on Argentinian soil you’ll know you’re in for an assault on the senses. Buenos Aires a European style metropolis but with an influential Latin twist. It’s loud, it’s colourful and it’s bloody delicious! The foodie in you will be about ready to burst from minute one.

The Argentine’s are thoroughbred carnivores and if you are too, this is the best meat you’ll find anywhere in the world. If that weren’t enough, Argentina’s national drink is red wine with the capital home to nearly 900 bodegas. Finding the best parilla (steakhouse) is an impossible task as each one will reinvent your idea of a great steak but consider La Cabrera, La Brigada and Don Julio.

Steak

Aside from being a foodie’s dream, Buenos Aires is also as amorous as it gets so if the once in a lifetime trip with your other half is what you’re after then this is a great place to fall in love all over again. Tango classes in La Vurita, a gondola ride through Puerto Madero or a stroll through beautiful Rosedal (Rose Garden) are all activities to bring out ‘The Notebook’ levels of romance.

Here’s a handy checklist of ‘must do’s’ while on your first RTW stop:

  1. Devour mouthwatering steak in La Brigada
  2. Go Wine Tasting in any of Buenos Airea famed bodegas
  3. Take a tango class (or watch one) at La Vurita
  4. Take in the atmosphere at Boca Juniors home ground, La Bombanera (or a tour if it’s off season)
  5. Have a very, very late night out on the Costanera Norte promenade

It’s likely you’ll be taking some extra ‘carry on luggage’ after Buenos Aires but we won’t hold it against you. Onwards, towards the Andes…

Round the World Stop #2 – Santiago, Chile

If Buenos Aires was paradise for your nose and taste buds, then Santiago will astonish your eyes! The views of Chile’s capital from atop Cerro San Cristóbal or Cerro Santa Lucia are sensational plus they’ll help you reverse the gluttony of the recent past.

The beauty of your surroundings doesn’t stop there either with Cajón del Maipo, 25km from the city centre where you can hike, bike, camp, glamp or raft your way through the stunning terrain.

Tired yet? Well, suck it up there’s one more unmissable day to spend here before we make the big journey across the Pacific. Rest is for the weak!

One hour from Santiago you’ll find South America’s biggest ski slopes with Valle Nevado, El Colorado or La Parva all in close proximity offering views like these…

Good and tired now? Great, time to get some shut eye as we make a move across the Pacific to New Zealand and Australia.

Round the World Stop #3 – Auckland, New Zealand

After being surrounded by the Spanish language and soaking up Latin culture you might be ready for a more familiar experience. Auckland is the largest city on New Zealand’s north island and a hugely popular settlement for Irish travellers and migrants alike.

Auckland is another ocular delight and there’s no better place to view the harbours than by reaching the top of the 328m Sky Tower. New Zealand’s biggest building offers amazing panoramic views of the city and you can even bungee off it if you’re crazy enough!

The residents of Auckland rival the Irish for their friendly demeanor so you’ll get on famously! Auckland is also a very multicultural city, in fact having more ethnicity’s living there than in London! Everyone integrates and engages with each other. You’ll soon find if you put in the effort you’ll meet people from every corner of the globe which will only enhance your Round the World experience. It’s also been voted the 3rd best city to live in the world in 2016.

What’s often said about New Zealand in general is that you’re never more than 15 minutes away from somewhere stunningly beautiful and around Auckland we could pick out 100 different places but one stands out, Waiheke Island. Words don’t do it justice, just watch this…

Round the World Stop #4 – Melbourne, Australia

Stop #4 and we’re hitting the Gold Coast for the first of two Aussie gems. From cruising down Great Ocean Road to hanging out with the Koalas on Phillip Island, here’s the 12 Best Things To Do from your time in Melbourne.

Round the World Stop #5 – Sydney, Australia

HarbourWe already featured Sydney in Part One of our Round the World series and in our opinion no Round the World trip should leave it out. Here’s 15 reasons why!

Round the World Stop #6 – Dubai, UAE

7-star-hotel
The World’s Only 7 Star Hotel attracts more tourists than guests!

So you’ve sampled the passion of Latin America, explored the beauty of the Andes and of New Zealand, adopted the laid back way of life along the Gold Coast, now it’s time for the last hurrah!

Similarly to Sydney, if you travel Round the World the gateway to the East should certainly be on your list except this time we’re spoiling ourselves (as if we haven’t been already) last instead of first. Check these 5 Must Do’s off in Dubai before your RTW trip comes to an end.

For enquiries on the Down Argentine Way package or another other of our Round the World options give our experts a call on (01) 602 1906, visit our site or email info@usit.ie