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Adventure Travel

Exploring Cappadocia: Why three days is not enough!

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Along with hot air ballooning, Cavusin Castle, underground cities, and much more, the entire region of fairy chimneys and churches is just waiting to be explored!

Cappadocia (a magical region within Turkey) is often promoted as a destination which can be ticked off within 3 days, but in that time you would be hard pushed to see, let alone enjoy what Cappadocia has to offer. We were lucky enough to stay in Göreme for 6 nights, and recommend giving yourself the maximum time you possibly can.

Pasabagi, Cappadocia

View of Pasabagi, Cappadocia

Tourists are often given a map dividing Cappadocia into two zones, which supposedly only take one day each. But there is absolutely no way you will see everything in that short space of time. Plus, take our advice, there is a lot more than what is shown on that map!

Simple map of Cappadocia

Hope you have more than one day to do everything in this zone! We have added our notes and a route we suggest

How to get to Cappadocia?

Buses to Cappadocia run from all main destinations and are very easy to book at the travel offices and bus stations. However, make sure you book at least a couple of days ahead during peak season as the seats do sell out! There are also two airports near Cappadocia (Kayseri and Nevsehir).

Where to stay in Cappadocia?

Make sure you book accommodation in or near Göreme. There are tonnes of places to choose from, but if a hostel with a great atmosphere and helpful staff is what you are after, then we recommend Nomad Cave Hotel.

Nomad Cave Hotel

Hanging out with fellow travellers at Nomad Cave Hotel

Do I have to wear covered clothing in Cappadocia?

With the heat constantly being above 30 degrees during July, we were very pleased that covered clothing was not necessary in Cappadocia (we were sweating enough in our shorts and singlet’s!)

Restaurants and cafes in Cappadocia

Whether you are after a traditional meal in a Clay Pot or a cheap eat, Cappadocia has a lot to choose from. As a special treat on my birthday we ate at Topdeck Cave Restaurant and it did not disappoint!

Hiring mountain bikes in Cappadocia

There are many places to hire mountain bikes in Göreme (ours cost 5TL per hour). We recommend exploring Kilclar Valley, Kizilcukur Red Valley or Gulludere Rose Valley by bike. We attempted to explore Kilclar and Kizilcukur Red Valley, however we quickly realised our biking ability and confidence was not quite a match for the fairy chimneys and steep hills, but made the best of it.

By late afternoon we had discovered tunnels that were not on the map, started to gain some confidence and were just attempting to literally haul our bikes through another tunnel in Kizilcukur Red Valley, when a guide and his private tour came up behind us. I felt like a complete muppet to be found struggling in what must have looked an awkward manner! Therefore, I recommend locking your bike to a tree BEFORE this tunnel!

Bike in Cappadocia Cave

Attempting to literally haul our bikes through a tunnel in Kizilcukur Red Valley

Tips for exploring the valleys in Cappadocia:
– You will get very thirsty from the heat so the tea gardens selling water/juice and snacks will certainly appeal. Therefore make sure you take cash and some loose change.
– When hiring bikes, make sure you get a bike lock as you will probably want to explore some areas by foot.
– In the Kilclar Valley, was south past the tea garden, climb up the cavern and when the path forks, take the first left towards the tunnel. This tunnel continues for a fair way and in some areas requires a torch!

Trek the valleys and fairy chimneys

If you are not a confident mountain biker or you have enough time to explore both on foot and bike, then we recommend grabbing a large water and your walking shoes and getting out there! Our day with the bikes turned into half walking half biking, and was a lot of fun but we only saw a tiny percent of Cappadocia in a day. Anywhere in the region including Kilclar, Kizilcukur Red or Gulludere Rose Valley are great to explore.

Trekking with Middle Earth Travel
We highly recommend going on a tour with Middle Earth Travel. We were lucky enough to meet Atil, a tour guide and Operations Manager of Middle Earth Travel on our first day in Cappadocia. We found him extremely knowledgeable and after he survived 101 questions from Moss, we realised just how much we were missing as we attempted to explore the valley’s of Cappadocia on our own.

So, a few days later, on what happened to be my birthday, we had the pleasure of being taken on a private tour with Middle Earth Travel. They have a huge range of tours available, and even though we would have loved to do them all, we ended up doing the On Top of Cappadocia tour. We had an amazing day and walked a total of 15km! Take a look at my blog about the adventure – Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel.

Top of Cappadocia Trekking

View from the Top of Cappadocia with Middle Earth Travel

The Green Tour day trip
Another tour on offer to explore Cappadocia is called the Green Tour. For about 100TL per person, it takes tourists to the Underground City, Selime Cathedrale and a few other attractions. Unfortunately the day trip did not quite meet our expectations, as we felt rushed at each main attraction, and would have loved an extra 20 minutes to explore all the nooks and crannies!

Any comments or questions are welcome! Please also take a look at my blog Top 10 Things to see and do in Cappadocia. 

Since May 2014, Rebecca has been wearing out her jandals. She loves anything that involves the ocean whether it be scuba diving, wakeboarding, jet skiing or more recently - sailing! Consider following her via RSS Feed, Twitter and Facebook.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Zoe @ Tales from over the Horizon

    August 16, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    That is one place I’ve wanted to go for ages! Thanks for all the tips!! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Top of Cappadocia day trek - with Middle Earth Travel

  3. Michael

    September 18, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    Great place i really like this place.. good informative share..

  4. Kristy

    September 24, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    The tunnel is too narrow but I would like to experience it someday. I hope I can go to Cappadocia.

  5. Vaughan

    October 22, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    What an awesome post! We are pumped up for a future Turkey trip and I’ll be bookmarking your site for help when we do start planning. Great post, great blog! Congrats on your recent Flipkey Top 25 Award 🙂

    • Rebecca Barlow

      October 23, 2014 at 2:32 AM

      Thanks Vaughan, you will have an amazing time in Turkey! We spent 9 weeks there and had a blast 🙂

  6. Lina @ Divergent Travelers

    October 31, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    Cappadocia is on our list for our upcoming visit to Turkey. Good to know that it is worth a few more days, I think so many people just rush through things like this and don’t get to really experience the magic. Cheers!

    • Rebecca Barlow

      November 3, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Yes, there is so much to do in Cappadocia. You will have an amazing time!

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Adventure Travel

Is It Safe to Be Outdoors During a Lightning Storm?

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When dealing with outdoor activities what’s better than just clear skies? Sunny weather, a breeze and warm but not too hot temperatures. If the said outdoor activity is being held within the day time, we hope for warm sunshine, and if the time of the activity deems to be in the darker hours, then the aspect of warm sunshine gets replaced with starry atmosphere.

Who doesn’t like the calm of the night and the seemingly scarce starry skies?

In either case, the wish for clear skies remains on that list no matter what. The reason for that is quite understandable: no one wants to be unexpectedly drenched in rain, covered in snow, or worse, struck by lightning.

While the first two experiences are essentially harmless and mostly welcomed in the name of adventure during travels, the third phenomenon can be fatal in most cases. Unfortunately, it is very plausible as well, since the United States itself experiences 100,000 thunderstorms on a yearly basis, around 10,000 of which are classified as severe.

That is why, most outdoor facilities that want to protect their inhabitants and patrons invest in a lightning detection system, which can warn them of upcoming lightning storms and threats.

Being Outdoors During a Thunderstorm is Not Advisable

With these measures being taken to protect lives against lightning storms, you may have already put two and two together to know that it is not safe to be outdoors during a lightning storm, no matter if you are camping by the lake or swimming by the beach during your vacation.

While you can just accept the fact of “being indoors during lightning” only because you are being told to do so, understanding the reasons behind it is what could provide you with the conviction to protect yourself and your loved ones during lightning storms at all costs – especially when the choice you have to make is between spending some more time outdoors at your travel destination or going back to your hotel room.

It Can Be Deadly

From 2007-2017, 328 people lost their lives to lightning strikes, all because they found themselves outdoors during an inopportune time. This is why, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whenever you find yourself amidst an approaching or already landed thunderstorm, it is best to find yourself a shelter to ride out the storm.

In fact, the CDC is so adamant over urging people to seek out any sort of shelter than trying to be adventurous about it that it advises people to get in their car if they cannot find a concrete covered shelter in order to minimize their risks of being struck by lightning.

Putting yourself outdoors during a lightning storm is akin to swimming on a beach that has put out a shark warning. While the deadly fish may or may not attack you, the possibility of it doing so is very apparent. If you do not heed to the warnings and dive into the ocean, and if the shark decides to pay you a visit, the end results would be nothing but severe.

Lightning Storms Are Not Always Detectable Without Help

However, lightning storms cannot always be detected by the human eye and we only often know about them when they are literally over our heads. That is why, the aforementioned lightning detection procedures are important from a safety perspective, as they can warn you about lightning threats in a timely manner and save you the hassle and worry of finding shelter during a thunderstorm.

Keeping this in mind, whenever you are travelling outdoors especially during the months of summer, try to find places that have efficient warning systems such as a lightning detector in place.

And if you find yourself in the midst of a lightning storm anyway:

Go inside.

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Adventure Travel

The Imperial Sand Dunes, an Exciting ATV Destination You Can Visit Within the U.S.

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Adventure travel has gradually become one of the most sought after segments of the travel and tourism industry. Why wouldn’t it be? Many people are cooped up in buildings all day poring over excel spreadsheets or going over reports. They want to have some adventure and a lot fun when they travel.

Who can pass a fun and adventurous trip up?

When it comes to adventure travel, not many things can beat ATV (all-terrain vehicle) destinations. The very thought of riding out four-wheelers powered by OEM ATV parts is exciting by itself, and once you actually experience riding an ATV through a sandy desert or a dense green forest, it is simply too enthralling to put into words.

But since not everyone has the luxury of time to travel internationally just to take an ATV ride, many of us miss out on that experience.

Fortunately, for those who are adventurous at heart but busy at life, there are a few ATV adventure destinations located right here in the U.S. At most, you would have to spare a weekend out of your busy schedule, and in return, experience the unmatched thrill that comes with an ATV spin.

And what other location could better demonstrate the best in weekend vacations and ATV rides than the famous Imperial Sand Dunes? While chances are that you must have heard about the area, you can read on for further information on what it can offer you in terms of adventure travel.

Imperial Sand Dunes

The Imperial Sand Dunes, located within the Algodones Dunes, is a large sand dune field that is located near the border that connects the U.S. state of Arizona and the Mexican state of Baja California.

The land is filled with golden sand as far as the eye could see, with the sand itself is sun-kissed and warm for anyone who travels through it. Fortunately, the soft waves of the sand can easily be swirled through an ATV, which is exactly the reason why people flock towards the Imperial Sand Dunes. They want to get a taste of the wild desert rides that the world keeps talking about. While you may have read about ATV mud tires and their off road control quality, taking ATVs for a spin into the desert would be an unmatched experience on its own.

As long as you maintain your decorum as explained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), you can enjoy the lands and the sights that they have to offer. You can also camp in the recreational area set aside by the BLM, so going there for a weekend and kicking back to relax while you dabble into ATV riding would be a great idea.

This chance to relax would also give you the opportunity to explore all that you can in person before you check out ATV and motorcycle components at a place like the Honda parts house for your future adventures.

All in all, by experiences provided to people in the past, the Imperial Sand Dunes proves that it has a lot to offer in terms of adventure travel. You just need to have proper planning done to make sure you get some extensive time with these sweet ATVs and the exciting desert backdrop, so you could have great memories of adventure to return home with.

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Adventure Travel

Where To Travel To On Your First Surf Holiday

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Since news broke that surfing would make its debut at the 2020 Olympics there has been a lot of interest in this surface water sport. Gone are the days when it was a sport reserved only for the weed smoking beach bums in their floral inspired board shorts. So, if you are feeling extra adventurous and would like to try surfing on your next vacation, we have rounded up the best destinations where you can ride your first wave.

Costa Rica

This populous Central American country is a surfers dream. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a beginner you are bound to catch some neat waves that reach up to 12 feet in height. If you want to take a surfing holiday, Playa Tamarindo is one of the most popular beaches to surf in Costa Rica. Be careful though, as this beach can experience strong rip currents at low tide.

Tamarindo has two main breaks for advanced surfers: Pico Pequeño a rocky point to the right of the Hotel Tamarindo Diriá and the excellent river mouth break across from Cabinas Tsunami called El Estero. The rest of the beach breaks are perfect for beginners.

Nicaragua

South Western Nicaragua receives 300+ days offshore wind and constant southern swells which means that this country is a surfer’s dream. The entire pacific coastline in Nicaragua is peppered with amazing surf spots. From the The Boom in Northern Nicaragua to Popoyo in central Nicaragua and then all the way down to Playa Maderas in San Juan Del Sur.

Nicaragua has a wave for every level of surfer and with water temperatures averaging 27 degrees celsius, long surf sessions are always in order. There are plenty of surf camps dotted all over the country and because Nicaragua is still less developed than Costa Rica, prices are a lot lower than it’s southern neighbour. Don’t forget your surf equipment because you are bound to have a blast.

Portugal

Portugal isn’t just famous for it’s pastèis de natas, this European country also has some of the best surfing spots in the world. Super Tubos situated in Peniche, has been a favourite with locals and tourists alike. The break offers world-class surfing conditions with its hollow powerful waves, and is the site of the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal the World Surf League Men’s Championship Tour event.

The Algarve on Portugal’s southern coastline is famed for white sandy beaches and beach breaks. There are a number of great surf spots in the Alrgarve with Sagres being the epicentre of surfing in this region.

Morocco

Deep in the heart of North Africa there is a fishing vilage called Taghazout. Just north of Agadir. Which comes alive each winter with the sound of pounding pointbreaks and surf banter. It’s a beautiful place with a rich Arabic culture to add  to the magic.

Taghazout is surf, surf and surf.  Taghazout is the premium surfing destination of Morocco with some iconic surf spots, like Anchor Point. Since Anchor point was first put on the surf mpa in the 1970’s, Taghazout has steadily grown to become Morocco’s preeminent surfing destination.

Taghazout now has a plethora of great surf camps to choose from, and all of them mainly cater to beginner and intermediate surfers.

Bali

We had to keep the best for last, Bali has been on the top of travellers favourite destinations for a long time which doesn’t come as surprise. Bali has everything from sun, sea and surfing spots aplenty. Our top pick Kuta is if you are looking for a beach and resort area in the south of the island of Bali.

One of Bali’s first tourist developments, it’s best known for its party-centric atmosphere and surfing in the Indian Ocean. Kuta’s long, consistent waves make it a popular surf spot, particularly for beginners, with plenty of outfitters offering board rentals and surf lessons.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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