What Kind of Habitat Do Leopard Geckos Live In?

What Kind of Habitat Do Leopard Geckos Live In?

The leopard gecko happens to be one of the most famous lizards because it is easy to breed and has an easy-going temperament for its owners. In addition, it does not require a large terrarium and its nightlife makes it an ideal animal for those who work during the day. This reptile is also recommended for novices because of its simple basic needs. Now let us know about the best habitat for leopard gecko.

Cohabitation: 4 rules to respect

What Kind of Habitat Do Leopard Geckos Live In?

  • Never put two adult males in the same terrarium because they would kill each other!
  • Never move a female having previously lived with a male in the terrarium of another male because she would appear to the eyes of the latter as a rival.
  • Nevermore make babies, young geckos and adults live together. The smallest would then be devoured by the oldest!
  • Never put too many geckos in the same terrarium. This would create stress and develop aggressive behaviors. To find out how many geckos a terrarium can accommodate, just perform a simple calculation. Multiply the length of the terrarium by its width and once the result obtained, keep only the first number. Example for a terrarium of 60 cm in length and 50 cm in width: 60 x 50 = 3000 so it will be able to accommodate 3 geckos at the maximum (so ideally 2).

Heating and lighting

What Kind of Habitat Do Leopard Geckos Live In?

As said before, the gecko is an animal that lives at night. Lighting the terrarium (using bulbs or neon lights) is therefore essential. In addition, it must absolutely reproduce the alternation of day and night that it knows in the wild. Warning: if UV is necessary to allow the gecko to synthesize vitamin D and calcium, overexposure to UV can be the cause of cancer and blindness in certain species, in particular the strains of albino specimens.

The duration of the day-night cycle differs from one breeder to another: some provide 14 hours of heating and lighting against 10 of darkness, others prefer a cycle of 12 hours each.

Regarding heating, it is essential to divide your terrarium into two zones of equal size: a hot zone and a cold zone. At night, set the thermostat between 20 and 22 ° C. It is advisable to place at least two thermometers for your terrarium for perfect control. Also, we advise you to have at least one hygrometer thermometer in order to be able to control, in addition to the temperature, the humidity of the premises.

The leopard gecko is an animal whose temperature varies according to that of its environment. Below the appropriate temperature threshold, the activity of your reptile will be abnormal: inability to digest, functioning of the organs in slow motion, lower performance of the immune system. If, conversely, the temperature is above this threshold, your reptile may well be in danger of death.

The heating mat

What Kind of Habitat Do Leopard Geckos Live In?

For heating in the strict sense, you have several options: carpet or cable, ideally to be completed with a heating lamp. The two devices are indeed complementary: the carpet and the cable directly heat the floor while a lamp heats the ambient air.

The heating mat is generally installed under your terrarium. It can possibly be placed inside, but only on condition of avoiding any contact with the animal, using, for example, a perforated plate placed in front of the heat source. The carpet must be placed in a hot zone, on the same side as the heating lamp. The heating cable is also installed indoors in a hot zone, avoiding direct contact with the animal (risk of burns).

Always choose the number of watts of your carpet, cord or lamp carefully: it depends on the size of your terrarium, 25 watts for a small terrarium, 50 to 75 watts for a medium and 100 watts for a large one.

And above all, whatever the heating mode selected, always couple it with a thermostat to prevent the temperature from being too cold or too hot, which would represent a real danger for the animal.

Layout and decoration

What Kind of Habitat Do Leopard Geckos Live In?

Some breeders adapt to a strictly functional environment but the ideal is still to reproduce the natural environment of the reptile by decorating your terrarium.

First of all, we do not recommend the use of sand. Wood chips are the safest substrate because they avoid the sometimes fatal dangers of sand. Also avoid synthetic grass, which is conducive to the proliferation of germs and bacteria.

A reptile shelter is an essential place because the gecko hides there and rests there during the day. You must provide at least two shelters per animal: one in the hot zone and one in the cold zone. To best reproduce its original habitat, it can possibly be filled with foam.

Do not hesitate to decorate his place of life with artificial plants, stones, flat or large, roots, branches placed vertically to allow him to climb. Like shelters, these elements should if possible be slightly inserted into the ground and partially covered with substrate. Fill the spaces without substrate so as not to leave the floor “bare”.

Finally, maintain good terrarium hygiene by changing the water every day and regularly collecting the excrement. Several times a year, clean the terrarium and its accessories and replace the substrate.

Water and food

What Kind of Habitat Do Leopard Geckos Live In?

Do not forget to place a water bowl where your gecko can drink clean water, to be renewed every day. Next to it, place a bowl full of food. Crickets are the food base of the lizard. Note that it is not recommended to feed them with mealworms (morio worms). Feed them if possible using forceps.

Always remember to supplement your diet with calcium powder, essential to prevent diseases related to decalcification. You can serve him this powder in a dish or sprinkle it directly over his meal. This will prevent the gecko from finding the missing calcium by ingesting sand, which can lead to often fatal intestinal obstructions. Finally, keep in mind that the health of your reptile is measured by the size of its tail. A thin tail will therefore be synonymous with an insufficiently nourished or sick gecko.

What Type of Fleece is a Best Choice for Your Guinea Pigs?

What Type of Fleece is a Best Choice for Your Guinea Pigs?

What Type of Fleece is a Best Choice for Your Guinea Pigs?

Just like any other house pet, you may not wish your guinea pig to be wandering around the home at night. A hutch or cage is the most suitable place to keep your lovable guinea pig comfortable. Some of the pet owners discover that their guinea pig likes lying in their enclosure. It’s their shelter for everyday actions such as eating, resting, or the particular jog throughout the cage.

Bigger is better while choosing the cage:

Bigger is better while choosing the cage:

What is the best guinea pig bedding you think to provide your tiny cavy? That’s a pretty good question!

If you’re buying the guinea pig for the first time, a general mistake that several first-timers do is the dimension (i.e.), size of the cage.

The bedding of your guinea pig should be a one-time investment that will suit them conveniently throughout their ages as a grown-up. Most hutches seen at retail pet shops do not suggest the exact sized bed for your pig. While the enclosure may look fit for when they’re a baby, all sized guinea pig will require enough space for running around in the grass.

As most pet keepers do not allow their pet pigs out for extended periods, a bigger cage enables them to move their limbs around more, so allowing for a stronger and more peaceful piggie. The more action your guinea pig makes, the less possible they are to receive serious difficulties with their well-being later in life.

Larger areas are also helpful to you as the pet owner too! A bigger cage is more comfortable to clean. The larger area limits the accumulation of waste and allows your guinea pig to divide their bath space from their resting area.

Bed buying criteria for the pet owners:

Bigger is better while choosing the cage:

Guinea pig bed should be wide enough to hold:

  • A food dish
  • Hay manger
  • Water bottle
  • Hiding home/additional accessories
  • Space for resting and utilizing the bathroom

Their beds should likewise be a cable with a rock-solid base. Any cable on the ground can probably injure their little toes and give it difficult for lying or stepping on.

Fishbowls or glass bowls, although they may look more comfortable to wash and clean out, are dangerous to guinea pigs. Their solid glass surfaces do not let for appropriate airflow to flow in and out of the cage. The inadequate ventilation isn’t healthy for either yourself or your guinea pig.

Fleece- the best guinea pig bedding:

Fleece- the best guinea pig bedding:

Fleece is the best guinea pig bedding to use. Using Fleece you can conserve on cost in the great run because it can be washed again and again and it is reusable. You can modify the levels, size, etc. It’s likewise easy acceptable to adjust if you desire to make it larger or add levels under the road. The total price is much more affordable than what you’ll give for a store-bought bed, and you’ll be capable to provide your piggies many more rooms!

Store-bought beds are small even the biggest size accessible at a pet shop is most frequently never sufficient for one guinea pig to live conveniently. Males can likewise become regional, so to withdraw or reduce fights between two piggies you need to provide them with more places, so they are unengaged to roam and relish themselves. Females profit from this additionally!

The best guinea pig bedding is cheap, doesn’t create respiratory difficulties like theme bedding and you can still get fun shades and modify your cage though you like. A rubber-coated bed, two rags, and a separate layer of fur are all you require.

Spacing and the right place to set the bed:

Spacing and the right place to set the bed:

If space is a crucial factor in choosing your bed, beds with various levels are an excellent chance to own that is less expanded out. Multiple layers also give great possibilities for your cavies to do exercise for their healthy life.

Temperature and position are essential for any tinier pet and it is incapable to move as easily as they wish. The perfect temperature for a guinea pig is approximately 65-75 degrees F. Their home should be placed far beyond from any air vents, heaters, shutters with direct sunshine, or chimneys.

If you are decided to utilize fleece, then make a part of the bed a dedicated kitchen field where you place their feed, grass, and water. Notwithstanding what the beautiful images online might show you, fleece as the best guinea pig bedding becomes very popular for your lovable pets.

DIY Coffee Mugs for Mother’s Day Gifts

DIY Coffee Mugs for Mother’s Day Gifts

Mother’s Day is almost here and you need a gift again. Maybe you should get coffee mugs for mom. Its hard to say. You might find yourself getting stressed out once again, but this is not the time for that. Mother’s Day is the opportunity get something to make your mom happy. Try to focus on this thought and everything will be fine. Most moms don’t want something expensive anyway. You can get them something simple like a coffee mug or a big I love you letter. Relax and get then a gift that shows you love them. That’s all that really matters.

You probably want to make your own coffee mug this time around. Money might be a issue this year. You got to look back in the couch and do things crazy again. Well, the process to make a coffee mug is not too difficult. All it takes is a little bit of this and some love. Find a up that looks like a coffee mug to start. Then,use materials you can afford to make a coffee mug for your mom. The materials can be things you find int he house or at your local grocery store. Moms are not picky creatures. Just breathe in and follow these little steps to get coffee cup ideas.

Ideas to Make Your Own Coffee Mug

First, find a cup laying around the house or make a cup

Make sure the cup looks like the coffee mugs for mom you usually get. Now, making your own cup requires you to make one from clay, so you should pick a cup you already have. But, if your feeling artistic, then ignore what I just said. Whatever cup you find, make sure it can be decorated easily.

Use sharpie pens or permanent markers to decorate the coffee mug

These materials work best when trying to decorate a home made cup. You can also use paint if you want some. Take the material you chose and write something. I suggest you write something with love or write something you mom likes. The gift is for your mom remember.

Put your finger print on the mug

Its not mandatory, but it lets your mom know its personally made. The fingerprint touch is very old school. Most people don’t do it. But, You mom might appreciate the realness.

Put some decorations on the mug

You can put glass, paper, or other objects that can stick with glue. Your not making a kindergarten sundae. Try to find some things that make the coffee mug look cool and enjoyable. Don’t put something on there that will embarrass your mom.

Pick some stickers to put on the mug

Not interested in gluing things to a cup? You should just put stickers on it. Its a homemade cup and stickers tend to stick if they are not messed with. Your mom won’t mind the simple art. She might even think your being smart for saving time.

Put a family photo on a mug

Putting family photos on things is nothing new. But, you putting a family photo on a cup is something rare. Most people don’t want people on their cups. Put one on your mom’s cup and see what happens. Maybe things will be good.

Make the mugs match two people

The two people can be you and your mom. You two will drink from the same coffee mugs and people will know. They will know you two show a connection that is connected to love or friendship.

Feeling like adding some sparkles to your coffee mug?

This might seem a bit out of place, but you can put glitter on your coffee mug. The mug will feel and look like a child did it. But, the face reaction your mom will give you will tell you if its worth it. Glitter tends to brighten up the day and remind you of the good times. Remember its the thought that makes the best gifts.

Wrap the coffee mug up with colorful tape on the outside

The tape will look like a kid’s toy. The cup will still look cool and interesting. People will come to visit your mom and say “who made that.” That will insist her to mention you. If you want to be remembered for being the most creative, then you should get pieces of different color tape and put it on the outside of the coffee mug.

Turn the coffee cup into a flower pot

Moms like flowers. Your mom is the one who hates coffee. That is understandable. You can get her a cup and turn it into a flower coffee cup. It will save you money and make her happy. Hey, who feels like getting a refund for something that was suppose to be a gift for someone else?

Types of Maternity Underwear For Pregnancy

Types of Maternity Underwear For Pregnancy

Your pregnancy will cause a lot of stretching here and there that you will definitely need a new set of wardrobe to fit your bulging belly in and still feel comfortable in that. You might have been so busy with all the other changes that you need to deal with since you learned that you are growing a baby inside of you that you may not have given much thought about your underwear.

It is quite understandable as you might still be attached to whatever underwear that you are wearing at the time you read about this. It won’t be long that you will realize that your undies are not going to provide you the support that you need once your baby bump starts to really grow. It’s a smart way to have the best underwear for pregnancy in your wardrobe, so you will have something to wear comfortably that will lessen whatever uneasiness that your condition might bring.

The best maternity underwear for pregnancy can be a loyal friend that you can depend during pregnancy and postpartum.

You might be thinking, do you really need to have a maternity underwear.

Of course, you will need a maternity underwear. With all the stretching that your growing bump will create, whatever you may be wearing during pre-pregnancy may not give you the comfort that your body desperately needs throughout the rest of your pregnancy and even during postpartum.

Though you may feel temporary relief from any discomfort when you take a shower, nothing beats wearing an underwear that provides optimum support, especially around your belly.

How does a maternity underwear differ from an ordinary underwear?

In an effort to ease the discomfort that pregnant women may have during pregnancy, many maternity clothing manufacturers have continuously developed maternity wear with interesting design and make. This includes providing pregnant women with more comfortable pieces of maternity underwear that comes in many shapes, sizes, designs and are made for different purposes. It doesn’t matter if you prefer maximum support that granny panties offer or the sensual thong that you’d rather have. There will always be a comfortable, stretchy maternity underwear style that will suit you. Such maternity underwear will help you rock your bump and post-baby body in style and with ease.

Five basic types of maternity underwear are available online and maybe even in your local stores. Under each type, you can find a huge variety of types and styles to consider. Once you fully understand for what purpose each type is made, you can confidently pick the best maternity underwear for pregnancy that will provide what you need.

Basic Maternity underwear

These pieces of underwear are made of breathable cotton and other stretchy, soft materials. There is nothing fancy about these undies but they provide the right comfort that you are expecting from a go-to maternity underwear. One of these will just be perfect for any regular activity that you to accomplish in a day.

For basic maternity underwear, you have several options to choose from: the over belly maternity, lower-rise maternity underwear, maternity thermal underwear, as well as the plus size maternity underwear.

An over-the-belly underwear is made to cover your entire bump with the underwear. In essence, it provides some form of support for your expanding belly. For those who may experience itching on the lower part of the belly may feel uncomfortable with the elastic part of the underwear cutting into the belly. The over belly underwear will just be a perfect choice.

In case you would rather wear an underwear that does not touch your belly, then opt for the lower-rise maternity underwear. This underwear is usually cut in a v-shape, so it won’t touch your belly. They are also designed to be fold-overs, so you can adjust them to the size of your bump. They can also be cut as shorts and boy shorts for fuller coverage in the thighs and the buttocks.

If the cold weather is something that gives you the worries, you may want to buy a maternity thermal underwear, instead. There are several brands offering this type of underwear. You may just have to do the necessary research to find the ones that will provide you the support and comfort that you want.

For bigger-sized pregnant women, a plus size maternity underwear is also available. Brands like Thyme, Motherhood, Cezara, are just a few of the brands that offer maternity underwear that can carry up to 4x so that you can feel great even with a such as you have.

Sexy maternity underwear

Your pregnancy should not be a reason for you to have fun in the bedroom. If you’re in for some sultry moments with your husband, just feel alluring with a pair of sexy maternity underwear. Look for one that’s made of lace and with brightly colored shades.

Maternity pregnancy underwear

This maternity underwear provides more support to your entire belly a well as your back. It is made to be a little tight. This makes it possible for this underwear to hold the belly better by distributing the weight in it. Many have tried it and loved it. I’m pretty sure you will if you want one like it.

Maternity underwear for hospital wear

The hospital is a not-so-pleasing place to be and you wouldn’t want your favorite underwear in there. That’s why you can put on one of these disposable maternity underwears. This mesh underwear is usually provided free by hospitals.

You can use it even after you have given birth as it can hold the pad that you will also most likely need after giving birth.

Maternity underwear afterbirth

After giving birth you will feel and look flabby. It will take some time for your skin to regain its firmness and natural tone. Wearing maternity slimming underwear is one of the things that you need to do to allow your skin to regain its former shape. They won’t just provide adequate support, but you will also look great in them.

With the best maternity underwear, you can face pregnancy with lesser concerns. This gives more assurance that you and your baby will have a happier and healthier pregnancy.

Natural Remedies For Iron Deficiency Anemia During Pregnancy

Natural Remedies For Iron Deficiency Anemia During Pregnancy

Your pregnancy may be looking so well for weeks now. You have so sure that you and your baby will continue to enjoy a healthy pregnancy. After all, you have been eating a healthy diet and have taken what you think is the best iron supplement for pregnancy. You also prefer red meat than veggies.

Then the strangest news comes in. You get the diagnosis: pregnancy anemia So, your pregnancy is going along swimmingly well when all of a sudden you get the diagnosis: pregnancy anemia. You were so confused and don’t know what could have happened. You are just all so sure that you have been doing the things that you think will provide the best pregnancy conditions for you and your baby.

There really is no reason to worry. This is a common concern for many other pregnant women, even those who prefer natural for their health. Anemia, along with other health issues like acne, constipation, and heartburn, urinary tract infection, hypertension, infection, and several health conditions are rather common complaints. Fortunately, there are a huge variety of natural solutions that you can use to restore to allow yourself and your baby get the most from your pregnancy as well as provide an adequate amount of this essential mineral to your diet.

What is pregnancy related anemia?

This health condition results when the body does not have sufficient healthy red blood cells. When this happens, oxygen that should be moved from the lungs to the body’s tissues (source) might take a long time to be transferred. Experts indicate that there are about 400 types of anemia. However, the majority of anemia that is reported during pregnancy is caused by low iron. Coming in second is folate deficiency.

Why do pregnant women become anemic during pregnancy?

Amount half of the population of pregnant women have anemia, so there is a great chance that you will also be having this concern. It is possible that even if you have never experienced being anemic before and you do have a healthy diet, you may still experience being anemic at some point in your pregnancy.

One of the main reasons for having this condition during pregnancy is an increased blood volume that happens during pregnancy. Experts explain that while you are pregnant, you may have 25-40% more fluid flowing through your veins. Your body pumps in more blood to the baby to provide the fetus for proper development. As such, your system will need more red blood cells and more nutrients (iron) to make this process possible.

Another reason for having this condition during pregnancy has to do with bodily fluid retention. This can also increase tremendously, resulting in a more diluted red blood cell count. Pregnant women are reported to have a “total body water increase from 6.5L to 8.5L.” If you think and feel that you are already about to suffer from this condition even during the early part of your pregnancy, this might just be the reason for it.

For pregnant women who prefer to eat plant and plant-based foods, there is a greater risk of developing this condition than those who would rather have red meat. This is due to the fact that lots of animal protein have higher iron content. Red meat, liver, as well as seafood, are rich sources of iron. However, there are many pregnant women who have aversions to animal meat during their pregnancy.

You will also be at a higher risk for developing anemia during pregnancy if you are carrying more than one fetus or are having multiples. This can also be true if your last pregnancy was spaced closely to your present pregnancy. Morning sickness can also put you at a greater risk of having this condition.

If you are prone to having heavy periods, then you have a higher tendency to be anemic as well. Other conditions that may cause heavy bleeding such as polyps, ulcers, or even donating blood also consumes much of the red blood cells in your body.

What are the signs of anemia during pregnancy?

You will know that you are anemic if you see these indicators. Although you may have most or all of them, you may still not be certain whether the indicators are indeed symptoms of anemia. As mentioned earlier, other common pregnancy-related conditions may also cause this condition. You will need to consult with your doctor if you are indeed anemic or manifesting other health concerns such as blood pooling in the feet, hormonal changes, or even a lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

  • Dizziness
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dark under-eye circles
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Concentration problems
  • Pale skin, lips, and nails
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Feeling exhausted

Where do you get the right type of iron?

Diet plays a significant role in maintaining an adequate level of iron, folate, and B 12 in the body. These nutrients are all essential in preventing and reversing anemia. However, not everyone knows which food-sources should be consumed to provide the necessary amount of iron in the blood.

There are two different types of this mineral– heme and non-heme. Non-heme type of iron is found in plants and plant-based foods like spinach, lentils, and beans. These food sources are also used to fortify products with iron.

The problem, however, is that non-heme iron is not readily absorbed by the body. To supplement the lack of iron absorption in the body, many pregnant women would turn to iron pills available in local stores. Most of these iron supplements contain ferrous sulfate, a non-heme and difficult and also difficult for the body to digest. Hence, the consumption of this type of iron supplement may cause severe nausea.

Foods like spinach, berries, fruit, nuts, legumes, cereals, and broccoli contain polyphenols, which  inhibit iron absorption. Phytates can also prevent iron absorption. It can be found in grains and beans. Tea contains tannins which can also decrease iron absorption by up to 50%.

Foods rich in calcium are also not a good thing to have to get more iron for the body to use. Calcium is said to decrease iron absorption (heme and nonheme iron) by 50-60%.

So, what are the natural remedies for pregnancy anemia that you need to consider?

Here’s a list of foods that you may want to eat more if you are diagnosed of being anemic.

  • Red meat
  • Liver pills and shots
  • Beef and chicken liver
  • Molasses
  • Terrasoul Camu Camu powder Vitamin C. Vitamin C is noted to increase iron absorption from non-heme plant and plant-based food sources.

Iron Supplementation for Pregnancy

You may also consult your doctor for the best iron supplement for pregnancy. Your primary health provider will be your best bet to provide the right supplement you will need for your pregnancy.


Keeping yourself is your primary responsibility during pregnancy. This will also give the assurance that your baby is kept healthy inside your tummy. If you are seeing signs of anemia even while ensuring that you are following the right diet and lifestyle, consult with your doctor right away. Stay healthy and have a healthy pregnancy.

Adventure Travel in Nature’s Elements

Adventure Travel in Nature’s Elements

When you think of adventure travel, there are so many ways to make adrenaline can rise in countries other than your own. From traditional, like rafting and safaris, to the less so and almost dangerous (think bull running in Pamplona), travel can be an adventure anywhere. But there is something about communing with nature’s elements (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water) to make adventure travel even more raw and exciting. Leaving out fire with the presumption that no one really wants to burned to a crisp whilst on their vacation, we’ll show you adventure travel in each of the other three elements: Land, Air, and Water.

The best adventure travel one can partake in on land is a safari. Ride on horses or in a jeep alongside zebras and other animals and get back to the basics of living. Or not – the best thing about the safari is its high level of customization. Tour operators go to great lengths to create a package that fits your exact needs and wants, including luxury locations for overnight lodging and sumptuous meals. For the more adventurous, tree top lodging is an excellent choic, like the lodges in the Aberdare National Park, Kenya. Reportedly, this is where Queen Elizabeth was told of her father’s death in 1952 and the fact that she was now the Queen of Great Britain.

Low Point: Cost. Safaris are quite expensive and you are lucky if you can actually fi nd anything under $4,500 per person for a 8-nights stay. To this, you would also add travel fare, expensive if you come from outside Africa, as is probably the case. You should be able to continue to adventure travel in the years to come as well, ratherSafaris are a particularly great place for romance and we know of many couples whose love has blossomed under a canopy of Kenyan trees. Talk about romantic: a cocktail by the fi re in a luxury camp like the Meru Camp, in Kenya, followed by candlelit dinner in your tent (and the tent is not that thing you bought at the local Wal-Mart and spent half a day setting it up. Think large, comfy, stylish, and luxurious – straight from the movie Out of Africa). Kenya is usually the preferred destination for safaris, with amazing national parks and reserves such as the Mwingi National Reserve or the Masai Mara (not the best choice if you want to have more privacy with your loved one: it is one of the most popular locations, so it is usually filled with groups of tourists). Other traditional destinations are Kruger Park in South Africa, as well as several destinations in Namibia, like the Etosha National Park.

than splurge it all in one trip.

What is it about hot air ballooning, the best travel we’ve found for the element of air, that makes it adventurous? Not necessarily a great question ask yourself after the recent accident in New Zealand that killed eleven people… but honestly nothing matches the ability to see beautiful places from up high, combined with the human and ancient fascination of flight and the danger of it all. An interesting way of combining all these is a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, in Turkey. The big bonus about Cappadocia is the unusual scenery volcanic rock, whose erosion led to a variety of shapes and forms, best observed from above, but there is so much more that you can enjoy in the region, including visits to historical and cultural sites (ancient churches, dining halls, and even entire cities carved into caves and underground).

Low Point: A hot air balloon ride usually takes 2-4 hours, so it will be just a small part of your travel plan. You need to find other adventurous things that you can do on your trip or move on to other attractions. Not a problem, when the “Valley of Love” is just a few minutes away. Spend a few hours hiking, horseback riding, or four-wheeling in the valley and discover old cave homes not inhabited for thousands (yes, thousands) of years. One look at the tall, slender, and quite erect formations of volcanic rock that make up the valley, and you’ll quickly understand why it is called (even by locals) the Love Valley.

For adventure travel on the water, rafting is one of the best choices you can make and Costa Rica is the best country to do it in. The rivers in the Cost Rica are fast and make for a great rafting experience because of their excessive rainfall and the challenge of numerous rapids. You also have a wide range of options, depending on your skill and desired level of adventure you are willing to go for. If you are a beginner, the Pejibaye River is a good choice, most of it being an easy float. If you want more, the Reventazon River offers a wider selection, with the route from the Powerhouse to Tucurrique  (about three miles) being a good combination longer.

Antarctic Cruise

Antarctic Cruise

An Antarctica Cruise is most likely one of the most passive adventurous things you can do in your lifetime. Think of it: traveling to the most remote part of our world, which just happens to be the coldest on earth, encountering penguins, spotting enormous whales and remembering for the rest of your life how lucky you are to have had this opportunity.

There are several things you should expect as you consider an Antarctic cruise. First, this is not necessarily the place with the most diverse array of animals or birds in the world. Less than 20 species of birds live here and no land mammals. However, you will likely see lots of penguins, especially if you travel in November or December (early Spring in Antarctica), when most of the penguin species lay their eggs on land. Whales, including orcas and humpback whales, as well as seals will also entertain

Second, you should know that you will be in the coldest place on Earth. The lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth was here, in July 1983 – -89.2 degree Celsius, about -129 degrees Fahrenheit: too cold for most living things to survive. Because it is so cold, the only period of the year during which people are able to cruise is from November to March. But you’ll still need to bring plenty of warm clothes.

Third, it is really about the scenery. Yes, there is ice and snow everywhere, but this is different from the ice and snow you may know from home. Here, the ice and snow are moving actors in the landscape, breaking away and strolling across the sea or simply standing still, jutting out of the water as majestic guards of the overwhelming views. You will go ashore during your cruise, so you will be able to directly interact with all this and see the animals up close and personal. Just remember your ice-hiking boots to protect you from the cold and from some potentially nasty slips and falls on the icy terrain. On your journey you will likely pass through the Drake Passage—between Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of the American continent, and the Antarctica Peninsula—at 500 miles is the narrowest part of water between Antarctica and any other land. For many, this is a rite of passage and you should embrace it as such, thinking of the explorers who passed through there at some point or another, albeit during a much more dangerous time.

Obviously, as this is a cruise, you will travel by ship. But there is great flexibility when it comes to the length of the cruise, with many around 8-10 days, but some as long as four weeks (Antarctica’s Far East cruise, from Quark Expeditions, takes from December to January and takes the visitor along the east coast of the continent). Most of the cruises are around the Antarctica Peninsula, but the actual route taken will depend on whether you leave from Latin America (in Latin America, you will start from the Southernmost town in the world, Ushuaia) or Australia.

There is something for everybody there, but you will expect to pay at least $7,000 for an 8-day cruise. Depending on the number of days and the conditions on the ship, it can go as high up as $35,000-$40,000.

BOTTOM LINE: Splurge or Save? If you want to take an Antarctic cruise we would recommend you go with the less expensive cruise options rather than splurging on a $30,000+ cruse, as you’ll enjoy the same cold weather and the same amazing sights (whales, penguins, ice bergs, etc.) at any price point, but maybe with a bottle of sparkling wine rather than French champagne.

Travel Firsts My First Visit to Amsterdam’s Red Light District

Travel Firsts My First Visit to Amsterdam’s Red Light District

Not only is prostitution legal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, it is very much on display and open for business in a very retail, store-front kind of way in the city’s Red Light Districts. So famed (or infamous) is the red light district, that as a tourist of course I had to visit one just to say I went.

I (a female, traveling with a male) arrived at Amsterdam’s main Red Light District (RLD) around 12:30 am. The main RLD is in the Walletjes area (between the Centraal Station and Nieuwenmarkt) while the other two are in Singel (between Raadhuistraat and Centraal Station) and de Pijp (behind the Rijksmuseum). I was glad I went with a male, as there were some dodgy characters on the street and the single females seem like more of a target.

True to what I’d heard, the ladies really are on displays like in stores – they sit and stand in little window boxes in their respective brothel. Talk about a strange site! It’s like walking through a shopping center but instead of shopping for clothes you’re shopping for people. The brothels which are open for business are lit up on top by a thin red neon light, hence the district’s name, giving everything an eerie hue. and They call to passersby to come “watch before you buy”. I was a little surprised to realize that the women were motioning to me just as often as they were to my male companion; no discrimination here!

In addition to the girls on display another thing I couldn’t help but notice was the huge ‘NO PHOTOS’ signs (camera with a line through it). They are serious about not taking pictures and if you so much as reach for your camera or hold up your phone, nice policemen will come tell you to stop.

We did not “watch before you buy”, nor did we buy, and I noticed there weren’t a whole lot of other people doing so either. I thought this was due to the poor economy but instead it was apparently the time of day we were there – things picked up at 1am as we were leaving. I guess prostitution is one business immune to economic downturn to an extent. After 1am when the tourists dissipate, people really get down to business in the RLD, so if you’re only there to window shop and not make a purchase, you’ll be more comfortable going between dusk and 1:00 am.

First Time in North Korea

First Time in North Korea

This is definitely a ”first” for many and, for most, a last as well. It is not that North Korea is not an interesting country, in its own way, or that it is not worth going to, but its remoteness, its lack of contacts with the outside world (there are only a couple of direct flights from the Sunan International Airport that operate on a daily basis, mostly to China and Russia) and the constant feeling of being watched and carefully supervised make it a place I would not want to go back to. So, bottom line, if you are willing to accept restrictions on your freedoms and travel back to Stalinist times, this is definitely an adventure not to be missed. You will be one of only 2,000 annual foreign visitors in the country.

Since we are talking limitations on travel, your flight will likely come in from Beijing. You do need a tourist visa to get into North Korea, but usually this is not a problem (unless you are a journalist, which would kick the ball into a completely different dimension and make this a double-adventure issue) and is usually handled by one of the travel agents that will take care of your trip (no, this is not one of those trips where you buy your flight tickets on Expedia and send an email to your chosen hotel – you’ll need a professional agent). If you have trouble getting a visa (residents of some countries do) then consider signing up for a teaching job teaching English, the employer will take care of the legalities of entry into the country.

The first thing that will shock you in the airport is that your passport is retained “for security issues”. It is never very clear whether it is your security they are worried about or the security of the country itself (you dangerous traveler you) or that of the Kim triad (to which we will refer later in this article).

The most revered Kim is Kim Il Sun, Eternal Leader, which translates into his picture being posted through the city (and country). You will be amazed to see he has not aged a bit, despite being dead since 1994. Kim Il Jung, Dear Leader, joined him recently, to the dismay and sadness of the entire nation. His successor, Kim Jong Un, is yet to be named, although Great Successor seems to be the word of choice. As a good word of advice, restrain yourself from saying anything bad about all these leaders and their policies, no matter how absurd you feel they are (and they are, they really are): you are likely to be under some sort of surveillance throughout your trip. Your tour will cover at least one or two of Kim Il Sun’s statues and you will be asked to lay a wreath of flowers at his mausoleum (you would be wise to comply with this request).Much of the architecture you will see around the capital is a combination of Stalinist architecture (read “monstrous buildings”) and veneration of the three Kims that have led the country since its independence and appearance as a nation in 1948. Some of the interesting architectural points on your tour will be the Juche Tower, the Palace of Culture and the Arch of Triumph (not quite the same as Napoleon’s).

If you do get a chance to go outside of the capital, you will likely be surprised by the wide highways with almost no cars on them, as well as, in general, the strangeness of activities such as cutting the grass by hand or cleaning the pavement by hand. You will become used to the guide telling you about the “greatest” this and the “largest” that – some of these are even true: the largest hotel in the world was started in Pyongyang, but construction was stopped because of a lack of funds. There remains a gruesome silhouette that dominates the city.


  • The work day in North Korea has a three hour rest period in the afternoon. Kind of Mediterranean, isn’t it?
  • Many buildings have no elevators because of uneven intervals between the floors.
  • North Koreans must abide by state mandated rules about their clothing and hairstyles, so everyone looks more or less the same.
  • Kim Jong Il’s biography states that he was born under a double rainbow.
  • Traffic lights have an additional, fourth light (blue), signaling when the car can turn right. This is when they work…


  • North Korea has the fifth largest military in the world, with 20 % of the population aged 17 to 54 in the army
  • Military spending is around 25 % of the North Korean GDP
  • It is believed that North Korea has at least 6 nuclear weapons.
  • 60% of North Korean children suffer from malnutrition, with most of the food going to the military

Before you go (or instead of) watch the Dutch documentary “Welcome to North Korea”, which won an Emmy award for best documentary in 2001 (yes, it will still be relevant today).

This is really an adventure trip, because, wherever you are coming from, it is likely you have only experienced this if you lived in Stalinist Soviet Union in the 1930s or in some of the former Communist states in Europe. It is an experience worth undertaking, if only to understand what happens when there are no checks and balances, when groups of individuals are allowed limitless power and when they decide to run social experiments on the population they are supposed to be serving. On the adventure side, have no fear: stick with the rules, respect what your guide says, don’t speak badly of the Leaders and you will be all right to tell the story.



If you are in Peru and someone comes up to you and invites you to go sandboarding with him, don’t look at him like you both had too much to drink last night: sandboarding is not only a cool adventure activity today, but also one that Egyptians and Chinese reportedly used to practice over 1,000 years ago.

In Peru, this is an especially awesome undertaking. For one reason because Peru is home to the largest sand dune in the world, the Cerro Blanco, standing 2070 meters above sea level. Since it is less likely that you will be able to say that you have climbed the highest mountain or traveled the seven seas, at least you have sandboarded the highest dune! Other sandboarding options include the dunes at La Huacachina de Ica or several along the coast of Camana, but trust us: if you are going to do this, go for the very top.

Peru Adventure Tours offers a custom sandboarding tour, complete with transportation in sand buggies and additional options, such as a tour of the dunes. The company is flexible in offering you a customized package, so shoot them an email, let them know what you want out of this experience, and leave it to them to plan something great. The prices are not outrageously expensive either: depending on what you want, the package will likely cost around $70 per person.

The most important part of the equipment is the sandboard, which is a little different from the snowboard you might know, mainly because the surface itself is different in consistency and texture. The base of your sandboard is harder and the laminex material it is made of makes waxing an absolute necessity before going downhill (if you take a tour package, you will be briefed on all this, but you will be an A+ student if you’ve read this article beforehand and come prepared).


  • Go early: the main difference between sand-boarding and snowboarding (other than the obvious sand vs. snow) is the environment: sand=dessert=hot weather. So, if you are not on the dunes by 6.30 or 7 am, it will get too hot for you to do too many descends and it will be a missed opportunity. You will sleep when you are dead, anyway, as the song goes. Another interesting idea is in the late evening, once the sun has gone down: the lights from your sand buggy will create a unique experience on your way down.
  • Go with the tour option or, at least, make sure you choose an option where a sand buggy regularly takes you to the top of the dune for every trip down: you will really appreciate this once you realize how much you would have to otherwise had to walk uphill.
  • You pick up speed really fast: if you are a beginner, remember that falling to your side (on your backside) is always a great way to stop if you start going too fast. And the safest as well!
  • Keep your clothing light: the weather will get very hot and the experience will definitely be more enjoyable if you are dressed adequately for this. That said, when you fall (for most people it won’t be a matter of if, but when) the sand is quite scratchy and uncomfortable, so you might want to avoid shorts. A pair of light cargo pants would be ideal.

Beginner or expert, however you get down the dune you can expect a fast ride down – faster than on snow! If you can’t stand up and board, an easier way is to sit on your bottom on the board, hold on to the sides, and ride it like a sled.WHAT TO EXPECT
Half the fun of sandboarding is getting there. You’ll feel like you’re on a real live roller coaster as dune buggy speeds up and down sand dunes, slipping and sliding at breakneck speeds. Fortunately the drivers are skilled and your likelihood of rolling is minimal, but even if it happens, you’re surrounded by a steel frame, so passengers are unlikely to get hurt.

Sandboarding is a truly unique adventure that you might want to try at least once in your lifetime. The fact that you are going downhill, but outside is hot and you don’t see white all around is only part of it. If you are deterred about going all the way to Peru for this (although, remember, it is the highest sand dune in the world), you can always try other locations, include several in the US (Arizona and California are a couple of good picks, with the likes of Yuma Sand Dunes, Carmel Beach or The Pit in
Sand City).