Escape to Aruba: Our Date with the Caribbean

It was the summer after college. I got together with a few friends to plan a trip. We decided to have certain goals. We wanted to do something focused. We had a limited amount of time and we wanted to make the most of it. We didn’t want to have to travel around too much once we got there. We also wanted to do something that was eco-friendly and ethical.


Destination Earth

We wanted somewhere to chill out, somewhere to laze on the beach in the evenings but also some activity or theme that would tie it all together. We talked about spa weekend getaways and adventure trips. My friends at the time had just got into yoga and were really eager to integrate that somehow. Once we stumbled on the idea of wellness retreats, everything seemed to click.


We looked for Green Globe certified destinations and found Manchebo Beach Resort in Aruba. We had a good feeling about it and we weren’t disappointed. Two weeks after completing our final year exams we arrived on the white sands of Eagle Beach. Overlooking it was our two-story boutique resort. A little giddy, but worn out from the flight, we checked in our bags and treated ourselves to some fruit cocktails.

Getting into the Spirit of Things

The next day we were all up early for a poolside breakfast. Then it was time for our first yoga class. All but two of us had already some experience. It didn’t seem to matter. Everyone found their level. Manchebo, it turns out, has two beach-side areas dedicated to yoga. While the instructors were first-rate, it was the combination of cool breeze and soothing ocean that really elevated the whole thing. We didn’t know it then but it was the first of several wellness retreats and spa weekend getaways. Events that would keep us in contact over the years.


Dining out that evening at one of the many a-la-carte restaurants, we didn’t know what lay ahead. For all we knew this trip was a long goodbye, to campus life and to old friends. But we knew we had made the right decision. The Caribbean lapped on the shore like a catalyst to our desires. As darkness fell we walked down to meet the waves and talk about the future.

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Uganda, Zimbabwe and Kenya: Our Pick of African Safaris

At one point or another, most people have dreamt about going on an African safari. They’ve thought about trekking in the jungle or climbing into the back of a khaki jeep. The saturated yellows and rich greens of the savannah come alive in their imaginations before retreating again before a dreary suburban day. There are few people who ever manage to follow that dream. And for most of us who make it to the wilds of Uganda, Zimbabwe or Kenya, it’s a once-off adventure. The trip of a lifetime.

Exploring Gorilla Habitats in Uganda


Baby Gorilla

How many people do you know who have gone gorilla trekking in Uganda? The chances are, not many. The further we stray from the beaten track, the more unlikely are our encounters. The more difficult the journey, the more interesting the people we meet along the way. Standing on the edge of Lake Bunyoni, Africa’s largest crater-lake, take a moment to see who’s standing next to you.

Uganda has a number of reservations including Magahinga and Bwindi National Parks. Observing gorillas in their natural habitat is a rare privilege and visitors are asked to respect strict guidelines. Getting close to gorillas often involves arduous treks into the jungle. There is usually time allotted to taking photographs and watching the gorillas roam and interact, before starting the journey back to the lodge. On route you will be exposed to some of the most luscious scenery on the continent.

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Hearing the Roar of Victoria Falls

So many images of Africa are implanted in our minds. We’ve accumulated them over the years from books, TV, movies or the web. Victoria Falls is definitely one of those images. It seems familiar. But we   can hardly imagine what it’s like to be near the roar of those falls. It’s located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. At 1700 meters wide and 100 meters tall it dwarves Niagara Falls. It’s said to be the largest sheet of falling water in the world.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

While the falls may be the main attraction, the area is rich with activities, any one of which is worth the trip. Safaris here offer a choice of transport. Horse back or elephant-back. The opportunity to spot lions and crocodiles in the wild, the chance to visit hill resorts or go bungee jumping, make this an adventurer’s paradise.

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Kenya for the Classic Safari 

I suppose we all have that classic image in our minds when we think of an African Safari. It involves a Khaki jeep, a pair of binoculars, gazelle sprinting across the plains and a giant red sun sinking over the horizon. Some of the finest reserves and national parks in the world are located in Kenya, and they certainly fulfill that classic safari experience.

Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya.1

Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya

Parks like Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru are difficult to surpass for the sheer amount of wildlife on display. You’ll see lots of big game; large numbers of giraffes, lions, antelopes, and if you’re lucky some endangered rhinos. If you have time to visit Amroseli Reserve there’s an iconic view of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

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Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya


Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya- Elephant

Masai Mara National Reserve

Masai Mara National Reserve Kenya

Food and Landscape: In Search of Authentic Culinary Experiences

There is a growing appreciation for the cultural significance of all things culinary. A country’s food is as integral to its identity as its rivers and mountains. We live with our food the way we live with our landscapes. Perhaps for this reason, food is becoming more central to our vacations.


Pursuing the Authentic 

The fascination with authentic culinary experiences can be explained in part by increased globalization. Nowadays it’s possible to walk down a street in any major city and find a variety of national food outlets; Indian, Italian, Indonesian, Greek etc. The exposure to a richer variety of food broadens our knowledge and often wets our appetite for something more.  Soon we wish to experience the food within its original context.

A Piece of the Puzzle 

Food becomes like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. To see the whole picture you first have to put it together with its natural landscape. You have to achieve that authentic immersive experience which a local outlet can only approximate. The culinary and cultural tour is in many ways a response to that impulse.

The English Pub  

The atmosphere of a traditional English pub is not something that can really be outsourced or exported. You can imitate the décor and even the menus but beyond that you can only fail. Too much remains innate and culturally specific. So much is to do with the people, the conversations, the history… the old world warmth, the open fires. An English pub makes no sense in any other context.


No wonder then that you can now take a cultural and culinary tour of English pub restaurants! In the picturesque Severn Valley you can sample traditional pub-grub accompanied by wine or cider. Find freshly baked bread from the traditional market at Shrewsbury. Let the rolling hills and secluded rural walks sooth the digestion. Kick back in the evening in luxury accommodation and start fresh in the morning with a delicious English breakfast.


National dishes are always special. They always have a story. An explanation. They draw us to the landscapes and peoples behind them. This tour of English pub culture is available through Holidays with Humanity. Check out their wide range of cultural and culinary tours. See the world through the eyes of humanity. Travel with a purpose!