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Adventure Travel

Surviving J’ouvert in Trinidad



When I was first told J’ouvert in Trinidad started at 1am and lasted until after dawn, overlapping with Carnivals 8am start, I immediately said “hell no, I need my sleep!” But of all the events we took part in during Trindad’s carnival celebrations, this was my favourite!!


Surviving J’ouvert in Trinidad

Generally you should try and buy tickets to play with a band, as early as possible. Because like any popular event, the ticket prices increase as the event rolls in closer. We weren’t this organised. We were umming and arring about whether to play until two days before hand. Lucky for us, a friend of a friend was able to hook us up with Clay tickets!

Along with the ticket we were given a T-shirt, drinking cup and a few other goodies with the promise of unlimited drinks available. We were also told to only wear items that could be thrown in the trash afterwards. Unfortunately for us, we need everything in our suitcases, and certainly did not have ‘old’ shoes available. So, with limited choices, we decided to wear our jandals (or as Trinidadian’s would say – ‘slippers’)!

We had good intentions of going to bed by 6pm the night before, but who were we kidding! It was still light outside and we had a lot of things to organise before our two days of partying would begin. Waking to our alarms at 2am we quickly discovered that most of Trinidad was already in the streets!

After being awake for less than 30 minutes, it was time to get into the groove and start sipping a rum and coke. Then it wasn’t long before people covered in clay from head to toe started passing through the crowd – and that clay was freezing! So, deciding it was better to cover ourselves, than be covered by a prankster passing by, we found the mud truck and began j’ouvert! From that moment on, we were the pranksters pointing at clean people, telling them to get amongst it and get covered in clay. I also learnt why no one else was wearing jandals!! As soon as the clay found its way between my jandal and foot, it was impossible to walk in a straight line, let alone ‘chip down deh road’!!


Later as the sun started to rise, the paint powder was introduced! Pinks, purples, yellows – there were clouds of it everywhere and I was very quick to learn to keep my mouth closed and shut my eyes when it was flying in my direction.


By the time 8am rolled around, I was covered from head to toe in clay, paint powder and chocolate sauce! I was stoked when a passer by from another band started pouring chocolate sauce in my mouth, but of course their intentions were not that innocent and I was soon wearing a lot more than I swallowed!

Normally everyone would get hosed down when they reach the final destination of Clay, but I was busting for the loo and not prepared to squat in broad daylight as many Trini girls do. So we headed back to our accommodation and made an amazing mess of the shower before heading to bed for a quick power nap before heading out for Carnival!

Some facts about J’ouvert

Cost: From my research, most j’ouvert bands generally cost about $98 US

When: It takes place on the morning that Carnival begins. For us it was Monday 16th February 2015

Tip: Have some sleep before going, hang a cup around your neck, and be ready to get dirty and have fun!

Note: The pink paint was the hardest to scrub off! It left Moss with pink eyes for the rest of the day and after many washes, my hair is still pink!

Translating the Trinidad lingo

Who would have thought there could be so many new words to learn! Yes every country has their unique names for things, but in Trinidad they might as well not be speaking English, especially with their strong accent! Slippers instead of jandals was easy enough to understand, but then the rest must have been created by someone who was VERY hungry. Drinks and nibbles would normally spring to mind if someone said chip, wine and lime!

Here are the definitions from Wikipedia

  • Chip – a walking shuffle step done to slower soca tunes
  • Wine – a seductive form of dance involving circular or semi-circular movement of the hips especially. Can be done alone, with a partner, or many partners.
  • Lime/Liming – a party or any get-together/to hang out, or (more recently) to date someone

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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  1. Lauren

    February 24, 2015 at 1:03 AM

    This looks incredible! I love a good festival and this definitely seems like one with a difference. I’m very jealous!

    • Rebecca Barlow

      February 25, 2015 at 1:53 PM

      Hi Lauren, yes it is certainly different from any festival I have ever taken part in before. I highly recommend it 🙂

  2. podgoran

    February 26, 2015 at 12:58 AM

    Seems like a dust till dawn 🙂 Clay till toes 🙂

  3. louis

    March 11, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    thanks for playing with us this year, glad you had fun….we would love to see some more of your pics

    • Rebecca Barlow

      March 15, 2015 at 5:46 PM

      Thanks Louis, we had an amazing time! I’m afraid all of our pictures taken before sunrise turned our blurry! Such a shame, but it will give us an excuse to go back and celebrate J’ouvert a second time 🙂

  4. Jenny Jaunts

    March 12, 2015 at 2:38 AM

    Looks like an awesome time, guys. I strongly feel the Caribbean is a much overlooked place in the travel world because people just lump it all together and think it’s only as exciting as the all-inclusives, but in reality it is so full of life, Carnival, and good food and drink. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rebecca Barlow

      March 15, 2015 at 5:43 PM

      Hi Jenny, yes you are so right. The Caribbean is amazing, and each island has its own culture and traditions! I look forward to exploring more of it!

  5. Jess

    March 16, 2015 at 4:28 AM

    Wow, I see true madness there, so you changed my plan for this year.
    Somehow I want to go there this summer to live the same experience.

    • Rebecca Barlow

      March 18, 2015 at 3:44 AM

      That’s awesome Jess! You will have an amazing time

  6. Neha

    March 17, 2015 at 4:27 AM

    This festival is similar as in India hindu peoples are also playing with colors and they called it “Holi” so i want you also to come India and play with us.

    • Rebecca Barlow

      March 18, 2015 at 3:39 AM

      O wow! I look forward to experiencing Holi one day!

  7. Jonathan Look, Jr.

    March 25, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    I am in! 2016. Even with the early hours. It looks so amazing and your photos look like something from the Holi Festival in India! (next year too!)

  8. Rona

    March 27, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    This is an exciting trip. I’ve tried similar activity in India and it was so festive with very colorful powder scattering all over the place.

  9. Noel

    March 28, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    Such a festive event! I also visited J’ouvert last year and I had a very great experience. I enjoy my trip because I no longer experience jet lag.

  10. Adam

    June 30, 2015 at 8:26 AM

    Trinidad is such a unique place in the Caribbean … gotta go someday soon!

  11. Christian

    July 4, 2015 at 12:25 AM

    Looks fun! Haven’t experience that kind of street party. I might go to Trinidad next year!

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Adventure Travel

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour



Located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the magnificent sandstone of Ayers Rock or Uluru stands tall at 1,142 feet above ground. The natural formation is widely known for being one of the most sacred places to the indigineous peoples in Australia. At the same time, it is also popular for attracting tourists from all over the world to the land down under.

If you want to visit Uluru in order to pay tribute to this wonder of nature, then doing so through the right tour is in your best interest. It’s not only because Uluru is located at least a few hours from civilization, but it also because such a tour allows you to enjoy the picturesque sights that come along the way within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

So what sights are there to see along the way and what other general tours suggestions you should keep in mind while visiting Uluru? To help you answer these and some other important questions, here are 5 top tips to keep in mind while visiting Uluru.

Don’t Climb the Monolith

First things first, while it is legal to climb atop Uluru, it is recommended that you do not attempt such an action in order to show your respect to the indigenous peoples.

It is a pretty easy rule to follow when you pay attention to the emotions of the indigenous tribes who have recommended time and again for people to not climb Uluru.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the natural beauty that Uluru has to offer. In fact, you are encouraged to visit the sandstone and take in its natural glory by standing right beside the formation. That’s why 4WD tour is highly recommended. The tour guides would be able to tell you what you can and can not do.

Visit During Sunset

Ask anyone who has visited Uluru about the best time to see the formation, and you will instantly get the answer as “sunset.”

It’s because Uluru is not an ordinary monolith, but one that is formed through arkosic sandstone. This allows the rock to actually change its color according to the position of the sun. As a result, you can expect the formation to sport a different color depending upon what time of day you reach it.

At sunset, Uluru projects an amber glow that is surreal to take in, especially when you are seeing the formation in person for the very first time. That’s why, it is recommended that you time your trip in a way that allows you to experience this magnificent sight.

3. Take Your Time to Plan the Trip

Perhaps the best way to visit Uluru is through the nearby town of Alice Springs, which has various amenities and accommodation options for tourists who are making their way to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru can take around 5 hours, which is why it is recommended that you arrive at least a day before you are planning to tour Uluru.

This way, you can reach the national park while feeling fresh and rested. This also gives you time to plan longer trips to the park in order to enjoy all that it has to offer.

4. Take in the Sight of the Rock Art

Uluru is not just a wonder to look at by itself, but it also holds several little pieces of wonderful art within it.

The caves at the bottom of the formation hold several pieces of rock art that can only be found at Uluru. If you love learning about other cultures through their art, then this will be a must visit.

Just make sure that you take the time to learn about this art through a local tour guide or via the information provided within these exhibits. This ensures that you have an immersive and informative experience which you can remember for a long time.

5. Don’t Forget the Natural Attractions Around the Rock

Enjoying the breathtaking sight of Uluru sounds rewarding enough for a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But it’s not all that you can do during a tour of Uluru.

From seeing the red kangaroos and other marsupials to spending some time with the camels, and from seeing the one of a kind formations of Kata Tjuta to taking a walk by the Valley of the Winds, there’s so much to see and do around Uluru.

That is why, it is recommended that you take your time at the park and put aside at least two days to enjoy all of the unique activities that the area has to offer. It would give you a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also allowing you to make the most out of your long journey to the sandstone.

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Adventure Travel

Best Time to Visit Panama and Costa Rica



The fact that Costa Rica and Panama are close makes both countries perfect for visiting. During your holiday there, it’s easy to travel back and forth between the two countries and enjoy all the wonders they have to offer. Keep in mind that the timing of your holiday will influence what sorts of sites you can visit and what activities you can make part of your plans. By understanding a little about what to expect, it’s easy to determine the best time of year to visit both countries, based on what you would like to do.

Learning More About the Dry and Rainy Seasons

If you’re the type who prefers the hustle and bustle that comes with holidays during the tourist season, plan on being in Costa Rica and Panama during what’s known as the dry season. Expect plenty of sunshine and warm weather during this part of the year. Many of your activities will be outdoors, although you will find a number of indoor sites that you will want to include in your plans.

The dry seasons in both countries overlap. The dry weather for both typically arrives during the first to the middle part of December. In Costa Rica, the dry season usually lingers until sometime in April. Panama enjoys a slightly shorter dry season, with it usually ending sometime in March.

Keep in mind that since this dry period is the height of the tourist season, the cost of visiting from December to April will be higher than at other times of the year. Even so, if your plans include spending a lot of time exploring the rain forests or soaking in the rays on one or more of the beautiful beaches, the dry season is the only time to consider.

Making the Most of the Dry Seasons

During the dry season in both nations, do expect the weather to be more humid and the day temperatures to be a little higher. There is some variance depending on which regions you plan on visiting. As a general rule, locations nearer the coast will include warmer weather and higher levels of humidity. By contrast, the more mountainous areas will offer slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels.

During this time, do plan on enjoying the lush greenery found in the rain forests. During much of the dry season, the abundance of rain from what’s known as the rainy or green season ensures that the forests are at their best. Consider adding some variety to your holiday by spending time at the beach, soaking in the nightlife along the coast, and doing some shopping at many of the open air districts. This is also the perfect timing to enjoy some of the local cuisine while dining outside.

There are special events to celebrate during the dry season. President’s Day in Costa Rica occurs during this period. Along with locals, you can enjoy a number of celebrations, open-air festivals, and just about any type of entertainment that one can imagine.

Since the dry season does attract more tourists, it pays to book your lodgings in advance. Along with President’s Day, there’s also spring break and the Easter Season to consider. While you could look at different hotels and other properties near beaches, there are also hostels that make perfect places to sleep. After all, how much time do you plan on spending indoors when there’s so much to do?

Things to Do During the Rainy Seasons

In spite of the name, it isn’t always raining during the rainy or green season. Most days, there will be brief periods of sunshine that do allow you to spend some time at the beach and other outdoor venues. Do expect the evenings to be cooler. At times, the temperature may make wearing long sleeves or possibly a sweater a good idea.

Even if you’re out and about while it’s raining, there are plenty of things to see. Towns and cities in both nations offer indoor concerts, a number of restaurants catering to all sorts of tastes, and clubs and other settings for entertainment. You will find museums that will tell you more about the history of indigenous peoples and the complexity of their cultures.

What are some of the activities you can enjoy during this time of year? Both Costa Rica and Panama offer options to go horseback riding. Generally, this will happen during the morning when the sun is most likely to be out. Walking tours are also a great way to learn more about the culture and possibly find some interesting places that you will want to return to a little later. Don’t overlook the opportunity to get in some fishing when there’s a sunny morning coming your way. There are changes to engage in freshwater fishing as well as charter boats that will take you to some of the better places to enjoy salt-water fishing.

Coffee and rum tours are also something to consider during the rainy season. These tours allow you the opportunity to see different facilities and how they produce their products. As a bonus, you get to enjoy some taste-testing at many of the places that you visit along the tour. Some of the sites will also have bistros or restaurants included, allowing you to enjoy a nice meal or snack with your coffee or rum.

In terms of museums to visit, San Jose offers some of the most interesting museums in Costa Rica. Many of them are located in or adjacent to what’s known as the Central Market. It’s a great way to enjoy time indoors during the rainy afternoons and early evenings.

In Panama, check out the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Viejo. You can make use of headphones that offer the guided tour in multiple languages. If you happen to be proficient in Spanish, feel free to check out each exhibit on your own. You can also check out the Biodiversity Museum, which features exhibits on the over 1,000 species of animals and plants that are found in the country. Make the most of the discounts offered on Sundays. Retirees also get to enjoy discounts when visiting these museums.

Which season is the best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama? It’s really up to you. For those who prefer a slower pace and don’t mind rain during the afternoons and evenings, the raining season is ideal. Those who thrive on activity, sunshine, and plenty of tourist activities will enjoy going during the dry season. Whatever your choice, plan on coming back a second time. It’s rare for anyone to see everything they want to see during a single holiday.

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Adventure Travel

Most Underrated Travel Destinations



Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy. Not only because so many people are missing out on rich cultures and picturesque views, but also because a lot of these destinations tend to be a lot cheaper to travel to than popular cities. 

A majority of Americans, when asked about traveling abroad, will likely shake their head and say they can’t afford such trips. Many people deal with multiple monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, student loans, and title loans, which are all stress inducing. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are gorgeous, underrated foreign cities one can visit for a fraction of the price of touristy European cities. Forbes recently published a collection of the ten most underrated destinations you should consider visiting. 

Here are a few of them:

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is known for its magnificent sights of Mount Ararat, historical monasteries, and its many striking temple ruins. Armenian cuisine is other worldly with classic dishes like rabbit stew, sautéed eggplant rolls, and lamb tartare. 

Telč, Czechia

Telč is a colorful town with Italian influences in Czechia. It boasts of Baroque-Renaissance architecture and has a castle of its own with exciting tunnels and passageways that you can explore underneath the town.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile and features gorgeous architecture from the neoclassical era. There are towering cathedrals and, of course, plenty of quality Chilean wine. Plus, the city of Santiago is a great place to kick off your exploration of Chile’s wine country. 

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is often ignored due to the popular neighboring city of Amsterdam, but it is a bastion of underground music and street art. The architecture is strikingly modern since the city was heavily bombed during World War II and thus had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The city is filled to the brim with amazing cuisine and museums.

Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking for a big city destination, Lagos is a metropolis that has plenty to see and do so that you’ll never be bored. And whenever you need a break from the urban marketplaces, private beaches are just a short drive away.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao is a Southeast Asian island that makes an excellent beach destination with two resorts and tons of fascinating history. Once host to a brutal French prison, the island is also home to the tomb of the Vietnamese martyr Vo Thi Sau. 

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

This is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay dating back to the 17th century. The city has a vibrantly decorated historic quarter and a three-century-old convent. It’s also only a short trip away from the bigger city of Montevideo.

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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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