If you’re planning on travelling through various US states in your lifetime like we have, you’ll want to know some of the most exciting things to do. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit all 52 states during our last trip but here are 9 activities in 9 US states to get you started!
Disclosure: SPONSORED POST The Best Australian Day Trips Across 4 States Australia is such a vast country; there are landscapes, activities, and climates to suit every individual. Day tours are …
You’re planning a vacation but all the usual hotspots are leaving you feel uninspired. You’ve been to a couple of tourist-oriented spots around the globe and they’re more or less the same thing – t-shirt shops and a handy McDonald’s. What you’re really craving is an entirely new experience, something completely different from anything you’ve done before. It’s time to plan a trip to the Arctic.
I spent one year living and working in Brazil. During this time, I travelled all over Brazil but ended up being drawn to Florianópolis and living there for three months. …
Chile was a country that really took me by surprise, and I am often asked why? I am not sure what I expected Chile to be like but at the same time, I feel like my expectations were blown out of the water when I visited. Therefore check out this extensive Chile travel guide to witness such a diverse variety of culture, landscapes and wildlife. From north to south it spans a whopping 4,270 km meaning that it is home to one of the driest desert regions in the world as well as glaciers and mountain ranges that look like they’ve just jumped off a polygraph test, meaning Chile has something for everyone. In no particular order, here are 8 reasons to add Chile to your bucket list explaining why we feel you need to get Chile right now.
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Glaciers, Waterfalls, Hummingbirds and Enchanted Forests
Queulat National Park is a small national park located right on the Carretera Austral in Southern Chile; though fairly small in size, it packs a lot of punch. Just a 300m hike will bring you to the Ventisquero Colgante (Hanging Glacier) or, if you prefer, get lost amongst hundreds of hummingbirds in the Enchanted Forest.
Torres Del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine truly is the tourist trap of Chile; located in the Patagonia region (a huge area spanning over one million kilometres in southern Chile and Argentina), it is easy to see how why thousands of people flock to here and in particularly, to this particular national park. There are two main routes that are chosen to explore Torres Del Paine and that is the W Trek (4-5) days and the O Trek (7-10 days). Others also include day hikes such as the French Valley Hike. After a long slog in the mercy of the Chilean wild, nothing quite beats getting up to Las Torres in time for sunrise on your final day to witness the rocks turn a fiery red. P.S; this means we recommend hiking west to east.
Needing more information? Check out this comprehensive guide on Torres Del Paine W Trek.
You Can Hike an Active Volcano
No joke, hike an active volcano! Situated in the small and cosy town of Pucon in the heart of the Los Lagos region of Chile lies the Villarrica Volcano. Prepare for rocks, snow, crampons and ice picks as you ascend your way to the lava filled summit. The journey back down is just as unforgettable; get ready to literally slide down the mountain on a plastic seat through trails dug out in the snow. Cool Runnings anyone?
Chile has its own version of Yosemite
Those who have visited the natural wonder that is Yosemite in Northern California know that it is a maze of towering granite peaks, 1000ft waterfalls and a sanctuary for wildlife. Cochamo Valley is located in the Los Lagos region of Chile close to the Argentinian border and is literally the Yosemite of Chile. The valley, which was once a popular drug smuggling route between Argentina and Chile is home to colourful granite cliffs and lush green forest. It is the perfect place for rock climbers, though there are some pretty awesome hikes there too; think mud, scrambling and hoisting yourself up questionable looking ropes as you ascend to the peak of Cerro Arco Iris.
You can see the closest place on earth to the stars
Not only is the Atacama desert the driest in the world, it is also the closest place on Earth to the stars. The lack of light pollution and its geographical position contribute to making this place one of the best stargazing spots in the world. It is also home to the European Southern Observatory who were responsible for the recent discovery of the TRAPPIST-1f system. Though it’s a few hundred kilometres from San Pedro which is where you will do most of your stargazing.
For those who will travel Chile on a budget, empanadas will be your life. Although, even if you’re not on a budget you need to have these delicious little treats in your life. Empanadas are pastries filled with a variety of different flavours; common options include Napolitana (Ham, Cheese and Tomato), Carne (usually ground red meat) and Pollo (Chicken). Unlucky for us we had our best empanada on Easter Island, which was the first stop on our Chilean adventure, every single one we tried after that just wasn’t the same. But they were still pretty tasty and I definitely gained a few lbs.
El Tatio Geysers
Now don’t get me wrong, if you’ve been lucky enough to marvel in the likes of Yellowstone National Park, then the El Tatio Geysers may not be the best geyser field that you will have experienced. However, there is something quite majestic about watching the steam rise from the world’s highest geyser field at sunrise. If you want to avoid the crowds though, head there in the height of the day. You will have the place to yourself and get to swim around a delightfully hot spring with this as your backdrop.
Those famous heads of Easter Island. Though this 24.6 x 12.3 km (at their largest points) blip in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is a 5 hour flight from Santiago, it is Chilean owned. Home to the indigenous Rapa Nui people, no one truly knows the reason for these building these fascinating statues that circle the island. Or the reason why many of them have been destroyed. The Rapa Nui people pass on their history/knowledge through storytelling and due to many of the population being killed or taken as slaves back in the 19th century, the stories behind the Moai have got lost in translation. At the quarry, it looks like they left work one day for lunch and never came back. Common theories include that they were there to protect the island, they represented powerful people, they were knocked down by a huge tsunami and that they were pulled down by the Rapa Nui themselves due to conflicts between different tribes. Flights to Easter Island will set you back around $300-400 with Latam, but it is definitely worth it. Who doesn’t love a good mystery?
About Lady And The Tramper
Sally and Jay are the travel bloggers behind Lady And The Tramper and have been on the road since November 2013. Working and traveling around the world, they want to inspire others to do the same and experience the world through adventure, hiking and the great outdoors! You will likely find them pitching a tent out in the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest.
One of the many great things about living in Canada is our proximity to our loud, but mostly charming, southern neighbour: the US of A. Even though Americans refuse to accept our quarters, we are always welcome to visit, and let me tell you they put on a heck of a display.
One of our travel goals is to visit all 50 States. While we are a long way from achieving it we have experienced enough to have recognised how many great cities there are to see, and how amazingly different one place is from another.
Below is a list of a few of our favourite American cities (so far). If these places are not already on your travel to-do list, they should be.
1) Los Angelas
If you hear “Los Angeles” and you think of sunshine, movie stars, fake people (and body parts), beautiful beaches, and complete over the top flaunting of wealth; it makes me want to ask: how was your trip to LA?
As a place to visit, it’s almost perfect. You’re pretty much guaranteed amazing weather, the summer never ends here. The nightlife and shopping is world famous, as is the people watching. Hollywood history is so interesting and many of the movie and TV studios offer tours. Both the Universal and Warner Brothers ones are awesome. Famous beaches are a relatively quick drive away including Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu. Top it off with theme parks of all descriptions, plus every imaginable type of outdoor activity and you have a great place to spend a weekend or a month.
Probably one of our top 2 favourite American cities, but to be fair it had a couple of things going for it before we even arrived. Number one: we are both huge Ferris Bueller fans, a great movie which is pretty much a travel video advertising how great Chicago is. Number two: Da Bears, which I’d like to say is the greatest football team ever, but that would be a horrible lie. Still win or lose we are big supporters. Chicago has a lot in common with New York in terms of the arts, shopping, and sky scrapers; but it has its own flavour in architecture, history, people and of course food. Chicago deep dish pizza and the strange (but delicious) Chicago dog must be experienced.
When doing a Chicago city tour be sure to check out the spectacular lake front with miles and miles of parks not to mention one of the most impressive skylines in the world. The 100 year old Navy Pier is a kilometer long and offers fun for all ages with rides, games, museums, and shopping. The Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is no longer the largest building in the world, but stepping out onto the glass floor of the Skydeck 412 meters above the street below is still plenty scary. Your trip wouldn’t be complete without stopping at the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Alder Planetarium, which are conveniently located within sight of each other. And hey, since you are now in the area anyway we strongly suggest you check out a Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field!
Still interested in seeing more in Chicago? Check out these 6 unique things to do in Chicago.
3) New York
Approaching the island of Manhattan by plane is unreal, the number of skyscrapers is mind-boggling. The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, so many iconic sites. The city was built around Central Park and it’s worth a whole day of wandering, either on foot or in one of the many horse (or people) drawn carriages available for rent.
Generally you don’t get the same sense of history or culture in North America that you do elsewhere in the world, but New York is the exception. In NYC the past is appreciated and palpable, the arts scene among the best in the world. The galleries and museums are incredible and everyone already knows about the theatre scene. At night the city is pure magic, lights in every direction, Broadway and Times Square are at their best and draw crowds no matter the hour. This is truly a city that does not sleep.
4) San Francisco
The “City by the Bay” is probably the most beautiful city in the States, the Golden Gate Bridge alone is breathtaking. A great place to take pictures of the bridge is right outside the Disney Family Museum, a surprisingly impressive and interactive exhibit about the man behind the mouse. We highly recommended it. The Alcatraz tour is another not to be missed. The island itself is extremely interesting and the ferry ride provides incredible views of the city.
Fisherman’s Wharf is a fun place to shop, go on rides, play games or check out the hundreds of seals that climb onto the docks to catch some sun. A couple of other highlights include: the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, the famous cable cars, and Lombard Street – one of the most ridiculous and stunning streets in the world.
5) New Orleans
New Orleans does lead the USA in a number of violent crime stats, but like anywhere else it depends where exactly you are and what you are doing. We have been to NOLA (New Orleans Louisiana) twice and have never felt like we were in any danger whatsoever. Fortunately in addition to being one of the most dangerous cities, it is also the most interesting so check out this 3-day itinerary in New Orleans. It’s just so different than anywhere else in America, or the world for that matter. Why you ask? Firstly, New Orleans has the best food. Not of the cities on this list, not of the cities in America, it has the best food on earth. Oh supremely unhealthy food to be sure, but sooooo good. Deep-fried shrimp po-boy sandwiches, spicy jambalaya, savoury crawfish etouffee, red beans and rice, seafood gumbo, powder sugar covered beignets. We did not have a bad meal there.
Secondly, is the story of New Orleans. Claimed by the French, sold to the Spanish, then to the Americans and occupied by community of French Canadians ejected from their homes in Acadia (Acadian eventually became A Cajun). Creoles and Haitians were an important part of the history of New Orleans and the city is now a blend of all these cultures and more. This is a place known for voodoo, vampires and jazz music. It has a French Quarter with filled with Spanish style architecture. It was home to pirates including the revered Jean Lafitte. The deceased are not buried in New Orleans, because it is built on a swamp. Instead they are placed in above ground tombs, and the cemeteries are referred to as the Cities of the Dead.
New Orleans is like no place else in the world, a melting pot on a whole other level. Things to do include swamp visits, ghost tours, and the greatest party we have even been to – the Mardi Gras.
More About ‘Average People – Amazing Travel’….
Ashley is one half of the traveling couple that operate the website Amazing People – Amazing Travel. Unfortunately the blog is no longer active, however, they are still regular people with regular full time jobs that tour the world on a part time basis. They have been traveling since 2009 and have visited 27 countries on 4 continents since then.Their specialty is planning to make the most of their limited time and budget and ensuring they are having the best experiences possible. This couple is completely obsessed with travel!