Posts tagged with "Sailing"

Portugal’s Paradise: Madeira

Welcome to Madeira- a wonderful destination that has a warm year-round climate, dramatic volcanic landscapes, world-class wines, incredible hiking, a wide mix of lodging and so much more. Now closer than ever to the United States – is a the prefect warm weather winter/spring destination. All the wonders of Europe, the landscapes of a semi-tropical volcanic island, and as close as the Caribbean.

The Madeira Islands, an archipelago 750 miles southwest of Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean, have a nearly perfect climate—warm in winter and never too hot in summer.

Ancient volcanic cliffs that rise dramatically from the sea dominate Madeira’s fascinating landscape. When Portuguese explorers came upon the Island of Madeira in 1420, they thought its dark cliffs signaled the gates of hell. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The steep rise creates six unique climate zones, each with its own beautiful flora and fauna that contribute to comparisons of Madeira with Hawaii.

The US and Madeira have long had strong bonds. Back in 1665, the British said all goods sold to its American colonies had to be shipped on British vessels from British ports, except products from Madeira. So, Madeira became the wine of America. America soon imported one-fourth of Madeira’s production of wine. George Washington supposedly drank a bottle a day. His inauguration was toasted with it, as was the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the launching of the USS Constitution. And, it became a popular destination for wealthy Americans, including US President Franklin Pierce, who spent three months on Madeira after leaving office in 1857.

Today, visitors come for the natural beauty, and they stay to experience the climate, cuisine, hiking, fishing, surf, and the old world charm of its cities and small towns. Madeira is the authentic jewel of European charm, where a visitor can experience fine wines, mountain hiking, or city culture—or easily all three in one day. Madeira has more than 200 years of hospitality traditions, famous visitors in the past included George Bernard Shaw and Winston Churchill. And, let me add that Madeira is a real value too, especially on the high end – with affordable lodging options, a wide range of dining, and overall very fairly priced.

American travelers are looking for a new destination. One that has a warm climate, history, wines, sun, great food, and a mix of the cosmopolitan with nature – that is Madeira. Please let me know if we can get you any additional information, or news about Madeira.

The Madeira Promotion Bureau promotes Madeira as a unique travel destination, with a focus on the travel trade. The Madeira Promotion Bureau is a non-profit association founded in August 2004 by a public entity and a private entity – the Regional Tourism Board and the Funchal Chamber of Commerce and Industry. www.apmadeira.pt/en

Getting to Madeira

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic on the 32nd parallel north. It lies southwest of Lisbon, and several hundred miles west of the coast of Morocco. It is made up of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo, as well as the Desertas and the Selvagem Islands.

Madeira has never been easier to get to. TAP Portugal offers easy connections from Lisbon – and with non-stop service to Portugal from 9 US cities on five airlines, getting a connection is easy. TAP now has a 1 stop from Boston, DC, New york and Newark, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco. It is a 1.5-hour flight from Lisbon, Porto or the Azores and it takes about 15 minutes to fly between the two islands in the group—Madeira and Porto Santo. Madeira’s Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport and the Porto Santo Airport serve the archipelago. The airport on Madeira is about a 30-minute drive to Funchal, the archipelago’s capital. Madeira has also become a major stop for cruise ships.

An overview

Madeira is a semi-tropical island rising from sea level to over 6,000 feet. Its steep pitch gives the island six distinct climate zones. The ancient Laurissilva cloud forest at the highest elevations is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, 2/3rds of Madeira is conservation land. It has mountain plains, valleys, high peaks, streams, rocky coastlines, and tidal pools. The island has a unique landscape accessed by a modern roadway system of new tunnels, and the older mountain roads they replaced that wind along the hillsides.

The south coast is sunny, and home to the cultivation of bananas, sugar cane, and grapes. Quaint fishing towns rise off the coast, where small hotels and villas welcome guests. The east coast is home to the historic towns of Caniçal, Machico and Santa Cruz. The wild Ponta de São Lourenço reserve snakes out into the ocean with great hiking and impressive views. The north coast is rugged, and features small towns and great surf. Santana is known for its straw roofed homes and great hiking and Sao Vincente has a series of lava caves. Inland, the massive peaks of Pico Ruivo and Areiro make for wild valleys and cliffs, with lots of grazing sheep and sweeping views. To the west lies the massive flat mountain plain of Paul da Serra, which feels like the surface of Mars, and the crater valley of Curral das Freiras. The sunny west coast runs from the tidal pools of Porto Moniz to the cliffs on the point at Cabo Girão.

Some 30 miles from Madeira is the smaller island of Porto Santo, famed for its long sandy beach, dunes, and vineyards. Porto Santo was where Portuguese ships first landed in 1419. Today, it earns the nickname the “Golden Island” from its undeveloped beaches and features a handful of hotels. Porto Santo’s beach is said to be one of the best in Europe, and its golden magnetized sands are famous for healing sore aches and pains. A new set of spas has recently opened to feature the sands, joined by a new golf course. Dry and sunny Porto Santo gets very little rain, perfect for a relaxing beach getaway any time of the year.

The uninhabited Desertas and Selvagens Islands are southwest and south of Madeira. The Desertas Islands’ three small, volcanic islands are a nature reserve. They serve as the last refuge of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), the rarest seal in the world. Another 180 miles south of Madeira are the Selvagens Islands, two groups of small islands also serving as a rich nature reserve for some of the rarest plants on the planet. Ideal nesting conditions make the islands a perfect bird sanctuary. Boat trips can be arranged, but environmental laws limit visitor numbers.

The City of Funchal

“The sea on one side, the mountains on the other, and between these two majestic splendors, the city smiles like a child sleeping, safe and warm, between its parents.” – Júlio Dinis

Funchal is a bustling city that rises from the Atlantic like an amphitheatre. It boasts forts, an historic old town, well-preserved churches, inviting museums, and regionally crafted wines. It is a walkable city with a pleasant harbor and a medieval cathedral more than 500 years old. Funchal is also perpetually sunny, but when the sun goes down, it’s easy to find entertainment, fine cuisine and music in its nightclubs, restaurants, and casino. The black cliffs surrounding Funchal are dotted with world-class hotels. There is an art museum, wicker toboggan rides, wineries, an open market, seaside parks… and so much more. The Lavradores Market features the colors, aromas, flowers, fruit and fish of Madeira. On the Rua de Santa Maria, a Painted Door Project has highlighted the oldest part of the city and its historic streets. Santiago Fort is the home to the Museum of Contemporary Art. And the Madeira Story Centre offers an interactive look at the archipelago.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, the Monte Palace high above the city, is one the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. Alongside the flowers inspired by them, the island is known for its embroidery. Unique, handmade pieces come form a team effort that includes designers, perforators and skilled embroiderers.

Wines and Hiking

Madeira is famous for the wine that bears its name and, today, is produced in a number of varieties. Funchal is the center of wine production. Madeira can be a dry table wine, a sweeter dessert wine, or a classic after-dinner drink. Its production is part of the social and economic life of the island. Each September, festivals celebrate the grape harvest. Along the warm south coast, grapes are grown on tiered terraces.

From its earliest days as a producer of wine, the island built a system of water channels, called Levadas that brought water to the vineyards. Today, they also serve as a vast network of hiking paths that run passed waterfalls and spectacular views.

Declared World Heritage in 1999, the Levadas lead to amazing scenery that includes valleys, mountains and ocean views. The most famous include: Caldeirão Verde, 25 Fontes, Risco, Balcões, and the one that goes to Pico do Arieiro from Pico Ruivo, the highest point on the island, which rises to 6,100 feet.

If you go..

Madeira is an Autonomous Region of Portugal. The archipelago has two main inhabited islands, Madeira and Porto Santo, and two groups of uninhabited islands, Desertas and Selvagens. With a total area of 310 square miles, its capital is Funchal.

Madeira has a population of 255,650, which represents 2.5% of the total Portuguese population (10.5 million). The majority of the islanders live in and around Funchal. Santa Cruz, Câmara de Lobos, and Santana are the next biggest cities.

From the United States, direct (1-stop) flights are available out of cities including Boston, New York, Newark, Providence, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, and Atlanta. Azores Airlines and TAP are the main Portuguese operators flying directly and at the best rates. United, American, Delta, Norwegian or British Airways also fly to the island via connections.

Traveling from the mainland, Porto, Lisbon and Ponta Delgada airports all have non-stop flights to Funchal. And, the low-cost airlines Easyjet and Transavia also offer good deals and service.

6 Trips to Broaden Your Kids’ Minds This Summer

Now that school’s out for summer, enroll the whole family in a crash course on nature and wildlife with Natural Habitat Adventures

Summer vacation may mean “no more pencils and no more books,” but it can also be a great opportunity for the whole family to learn something new together. Natural Habitat Adventures, the world leader in eco-friendly wildlife-focused expeditions around the globe, offers nature-centric trips designed to get explorers of all ages trading their tablets and phones for GoPros and binoculars. From sailing “Darwin’s Laboratory” in the Galapagos on a private ship to taking moonlit treks through the jungles of Costa Rica, Nat Hab’s family adventure trips are designed around conservation, curiosity and quality time – all disguised as a vacation.

Expand your family’s horizons with these summer experiences:

1. Go exploring in “Darwin’s Laboratory”

Come face-to-face with an outstanding array of wildlife, including sea lions, marine iguanas and giant tortoises on Nat Hab’s 10-day Family Galapagos Adventure. Made famous by evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin, the Galapagos archipelago is the very best place for young explorers to learn about evolution, natural selection and how animals adapt to micro-environments. Sail aboard the National Geographic Islander, a family-friendly ship with a specialty research- and adventure-focused kids’ program on board. Record wildlife sightings in your field notebook, listen for underwater life via the ship’s hydrophone and stretch out in special family cabins designed to sleep up to three. Off-ship, don a wetsuit for snorkeling, paddleboarding and Zodiac adventures with your naturalist Expedition Leader, where you can come mask-to-nose with penguins, turtles and seals.
Priced from $7,650
Dates: July 20 & 27, 2019; July 4, 8, 18, 23, 2020; Aug 1 & 6, 2020

2. Seek out lions after sunset in the Maasai Mara

Make conservation the centre of the conversation on the Family Kenya Adventure, an 8-day, custom-crafted itinerary featuring the Maasai Mara’s charismatic creatures whose futures may be at risk. Learn about poaching and pachyderm rescue during a visit to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and make friends in high places at the Giraffe Center before heading along the Great Rift Valley into open grasslands. Stretch out in an unfenced luxury tented camp set in the middle of a Maasai Mara private conservancy, and go for guided walks under a sprawling blue sky while keeping your eyes peeled for zebra, hippo and elephant. Later, as evening falls, head out on a sunset game drive in search of lions and other predators to discover life on the plains after dark.
Priced from $7,995
Trip arranged upon request

3. Journey to Peru’s lost Incan Empire

Immerse your family in the emerald-colored jungles and incredible ancient ruins of the Peruvian Andes on a 7-day Custom Family Machu Picchu Adventure. Witness amazing feats of centuries-old civil and hydraulic engineering and learn about Incan astronomy and architecture while exploring the Sacred Valley between Cusco and Machu Picchu. Meet with local Quechua people in Pisac and learn about advocacy conservation projects from the students of Tikapata School. Stay in private stone casitas along the Urubamba River, and experience 15th-century life in Machu Picchu with tales from your private Peruvian guide. Later, compare ancient civilizations with natural Amazonian marvels in the world’s largest tropical forest basin, where kids will take riverboat tours in search of pink river dolphins, or go ashore to scout for the scarlet and green-winged macaws, howler monkeys and leaf-cutter ants that call the Amazon home.
Priced from $4,495
Trip arranged upon request

4. Safari closer to home in Yellowstone National Park

Embark on an unforgettable wildlife adventure without leaving the continent on Nat Hab’s 7-day Hidden Yellowstone Wildlife Safari. Learn how this North American ecosystem works, understanding the importance of ecological balance between predators and prey, and follow naturalist Expedition Leaders into lesser-known areas of the park where bison, bighorn sheep, bears and wolves live largely undisturbed by tourist crowds. See the secret lives of Lamar Valley wolves using a high-powered spotting scope and talk fire ecology—how nature recovers from the ravages of wildfires—with your guide. In an extraordinary natural setting selected for conservation by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1872, guests can engage in enlightening conversations about how hunting along Yellowstone’s perimeter affects the ecosystem inside the park, and why competing political interests threaten the park’s apex predators even to this day.
Priced from $5,295
Dates: August 27 & 29, 2019

5. Scout for sloths on horseback

With its neon-billed toucans, jungle-fringed rivers, mist-cloaked cloud forests and towering volcanoes, Costa Rica is like something out of a child’s imagination. Encounter geothermal phenomena and extraordinary tropical wildlife in one of the most biodiverse places on Earth on this Custom Family Costa Rica Adventure. Join scientists and conservationists at ecological research centers for some interactive exploration of the country’s rain forest ecosystem and discover how cacao beans are transformed into tasty treats with chocolate-making lessons. Soar above the forest canopy on a zip line, search for sloths while on horseback, brave a nighttime bat walk at the 850-acre Tirimbina Rainforest Center and take in the views at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, adjacent to the country’s most famous volcano.
Priced from $5,095
Trip arranged upon request

6. Dog sled across the Arctic tundra

No time for a summer excursion? Surprise the kids with a mid-term getaway to the planet’s “living laboratory” when it comes to climate change in the North. The Arctic tundra around Churchill, Manitoba is one of the nature’s last great frontiers—for now. Learn about its delicate ecosystem and the impact of a warming world on Nat Hab’s 6-day Churchill Arctic Family Adventure, where naturalist Expedition Leaders lead a family-focused adventure that’s all about pairing environmental awe with conservation awareness. Helicopter over frozen Hudson Bay in search of polar bears, race through the boreal forest on an authentic sled dog ride, and climb aboard Nat Hab’s special Polar Rover, a monster-sized truck specially designed for up-close wildlife observation—look for caribou and Arctic fox. In evenings, take in the stunning night sky—and if you’re lucky, the northern lights.
Priced from $5,995
Dates: Nov 16 & 18, 2019

For more information about Natural Habitat Adventures, visit www.nathab.com.

About Natural Habitat Adventures
Natural Habitat Adventures has been a leader in responsible adventure travel and ecotourism since 1985. From polar bear tours in Churchill to small-group Galapagos cruises, from Alaska grizzly bear adventures to African safaris, our journeys, led by professional naturalist guides, reveal the planet’s most extraordinary nature destinations. As the world’s first 100-percent carbon-neutral travel company—and the conservation travel partner of World Wildlife Fund—we offer eco-conscious expeditions from Antarctica to Zambia with a multitude of adventures in between. For more information, visit nathab.com.

Morro Bay Bike Ride

Public Invited to Ride across Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Finish at the Morro Bay Bike Ride Pre-Event and Party at the Pro Cyclists Meet & Greet

Cycle through the Stage 4 Finish Line on Race Day, Meet Former Professional

American Cyclist and Author Bob Roll and other Pro Cyclists at The Siren, Volunteer and Watch the Race Front and Center, Book Race Day VIP Lodging Packages or Hotels along the Race Route

The public is invited to participate in Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 race day fun in #cyclingmecca Morro Bay. The 2019 Amgen Tour of California announced Morro Bay will host the Stage 4 Finish of the men’s race on May 15, 2019 following the scenic route the Amgen Tour took in 2017, when Peter Sagan won the sprint finish. After passing through picturesque Morro Bay State Park, where riders get their first glimpse of iconic Morro Rock, Morro Bay’s busting waterfront before sprinting uphill into downtown Morro Bay for the big finish.

“Of all sports, it is cycling that has the most beautiful stadium and this ocean front Stage 4 Finish in Morro Bay is a stunner,” according to Bob Roll, former professional American cyclist and author. “With perfect year round riding weather, the world will get its chance to experience what the locals have enjoyed for years: varied terrain, wide open roads, first class dining and drop dead views. Can’t wait to be there!”

Morro Bay Bike Ride Pre-Event: Ride Across the Amgen Stage 4 Finish Line

Join event producer RaceSLO on race day for the Morro Bay Bike Ride May 15, 2019 from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. This ride ends with a sprint through the Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Finish line on Harbor Street! All levels are welcome to this celebratory cycle pep rally with three participation options: kid-friendly, recreational rider or seasoned cyclist. Enjoy vendors, food and beverages as the crowd awaits the professional racers to start crossing the finish around 3:40 pm. Participants receive a collectible event t-shirt and free bike valet. Ride proceeds go to local non-profit partner Bike SLO County.

Pro Cyclists Meet & Greet at Siren Rhythm & Booze

Stick around after the race and head to the FREE Bob Roll Pro Cyclists Meet & Greet Event at The Siren May 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm, produced by RaceSLO. Get some cool cycling swag and raise some cold craft pints while helping raise funds for Bike SLO County during a LIVE Auction. Enjoy live music and catch a glimpse of Amgen competitors up close and personal. The event is over 21 only and FREE, but seating is limited so you must pre-register and present a ticket at the door.

Volunteer at Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Finish

Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. Tour officials say the 2019 race will be the longest and most challenging in its 14-year history. Many volunteers are needed to make this event a success. You don’t have to live in Morro Bay to participate. Click here to sign up and see the race up close!

Book Lodging Along the Race Route or Amgen Tour of California VIP Packages

Book your stay at a hotel along the Amgen Tour of California route to get a front row seat as the riders pass by. Or, book a suite or waterfront room in one of the participating Morro Bay hotels and receive exclusive access into the Amgen Tour of California VIP tent filled with perks and goodies! Hospitality Passes provide exclusive access into the main VIP Hospitality Tent located adjacent to the FINISH Line. VIP Hospitality Includes:

  • Swag bag of goodies that you’ll receive upon check-in
  • Premium Viewing Location right at the finish line
  • Gourmet foods catered from local restaurants throughout the area
  • Open Bar (includes beer and wine)
  • Lounge Style Seating with closed-circuit tv viewing
  • Live Race Coverage (last two hours of the broadcast)

For additional information on hotels in Morro Bay check out our booking engine here. Recently named one of the Best Small Towns in CA by Country Living Magazine, Morro Bay offers year round mild weather, perfect for epic outdoor adventure all year long. For more information on visiting Morro Bay, go to www.morrobay.org. #multisportmecca

About Morro Bay

A true #outdoormecca, this active seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a picture-perfect getaway for travelers who seek food, wine and outdoor adventures found in nature. Located along coastal Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County just south of Big Sur, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers year-round activities in an unspoiled slice of California. From ocean-side golf, kayaking, sailing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, and bird watching, to kite flying, shopping, dining, wine bars, local craft brews and miles of unspoiled beaches, there is something for everyone.

Sitting majestically between the beach and the harbor lays the iconic and historic landmark Morro Rock, welcoming travelers from miles away as they approach Morro Bay. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions, breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, and surrounded by vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, Morro Bay is a destination designed to fit any style and budget for families, couples or groups. Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town. For more travel information visit www.morrobay.org or follow Morro Bay on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Sporting Event in Martinique

The World’s first and Premier 100% Foiler Event Launches mid-November 2018

New York – June 13th, 2018 | Organized by the Martinique Tourism Authority (MTA), the Martinique Flying Regatta will take place from November 17 to 24, 2018. It will be the world’s signature international foiling event.

The bay of Fort-de-France is the perfect location to run a race and showcase these hydro-foil sailboats that represent the technological future of competitive sailing. Inducted into the prestigious club of “The Most Beautiful Bays in the World,” the Fort-de-France Bay is particularly well suited for these sailing boats, with is vast and protected 28 square miles (72km2) of maritime space. Wrapped in the island’s low 80s temperatures the bay’s steady, moderate winds and smooth seas will provide these speedsters with perfect conditions..

“We are very proud to hold this groundbreaking race,” commented Karine Mousseau, the Martinique Tourism Commissioner. “The Martinique Flying Regatta will not only showcase the beauty of the island and everything we have to offer, but also our people’s innovative knowhow. The joyous mix of our natural wonders and perfect sailing conditions with the sleek designs of the foil revolution will make the Martinique Flying Regatta the nautical must of the Caribbean and of the World.”

To date, about 40 participants have been registered in this seven series race (or foil types), representing most of today’s hydro-sailing boats. Foil types include the very fun and high-tech Kitefoil and Windfoil—that may soon be seen at the Olympics—the one-man Onefly and the celebrated Moth; the race will also feature bigger crafts like the Flying Phantom, the Easy to Fly and the American favorite, GC32.

The competition will include demonstrations and racing events in the Fort-de-France Bay; residents and guests will enjoy what promises to be a spectacular show. The program will also include races from the bay towards the farther shores of Trois-Ilets, Anse Mitan or Anses d’Arlet.

THE PROGRAM

Saturday, November 17: Individual training and launch day

Sunday, November 18: Individual training and demonstrations

Monday, November 19: Martinique Exploration day for the participants

Tuesday, November 20: Start of official races

Wednesday, November 21: Long-distance race day – Skippers Supper Soirée

Thursday/Friday, November 22- 23: Official races

Saturday, November 24: End of races – prize-giving – special soirée

Major logistical support will be provided to registered competitors including complimentary shipping in containers or and preferential rates for accommodations. Access from the US to Martinique is just a hop skip and a jump; with Norwegian Air from JFK & FLL, American Airlines from MIA.

The Martinique Tourism Authority has also secured support from the Fort-de-France Port Authority and the Sailing Federation of Martinique, representing the island’s clubs which will provide nautical logistics. Registration to Martinique Flying Regatta is handled by Sirius Event.

For more information visit the new website www.martinique-regatta.com

Registration is open until October 17th, 2018 www.martinique-regatta.com/index.php/en/register/