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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. Michael

    September 18, 2014 at 12:49 AM

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour

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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

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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

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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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