If your bucket list is anything like ours, swimming with turtles in Turkey’s crystal clear waters with ancient ruins nearby, will be somewhere on that list! And what better way to explore the coast than on a V-GO Sail Turkey Cruise, with more than a dozen new friends and a great crew!
V-Go Sail Turkey cruise – Fethiye to Kekova in 8 days
We arrived at the V-GO office in Fethiye at 4pm and as expected, could hear a high majority of Australian accents. However, we were pleasantly surprised to also discover a large group of kiwis (New Zealanders) plus a few Italians. It was V-GO’s biggest week ever, with over 90 people getting on board 5 boats and setting out for 8 days of sailing! A lot of the tourists had booked through V-Go’s partner Busabout, and we were all looking forward to the week ahead.
With no idea as to the size of our boat or of what to expect, I was wowed as I clambered aboard the large, 26m dark wooden Gulet (sailing boat) and was shown to our room with a double bed and ensuite. However, I did not admire the room for long, as being peak season, the temperature was also peaking somewhere above 30 degrees.
We quickly began making friends and as there were 19 of us on board, there were a lot of names to learn. Our tour leader Ekin, with his impressive moustache was the easiest to remember. Because, as he pointed out – his name was Nike spelt backwards! Ekin was extremely helpful, keeping us all informed about what activites were available, playing his ukulele to us, plus we even convinced him to show us our path on a proper map!
What gear is supplied by V-Go Sail Turkey?
We felt ridiculous, lugging our large bags on board. All we really needed was togs (bathers), towel, sunnies, sunblock and jandals! V-GO supplied shower towels, bedding (which, due to the heat we used for sleeping on the deck under the stars each night), snorkels, flippers and foam noodles for swimming. Some of the boats even had stand up paddle boards and kayaks.
V-Go Sail Turkey Meals and Desserts
All meals are prepaid for and included in the trip. However, you will need to pay for any drinks you consume on the boat eg a beer is 9TL. Our desserts were amazing and certainly not the norm. We were extremely spoilt by Captain Sunny whose hidden talent is also designing desserts made of fruit!
Our favourite swimming and snorkelling locations with V-Go Sail Turkey
Blue Lagoon (Oludeniz): Here everyone was very quick to jump into the water. Just be careful of your cameras, sunnies and any loose items as the water is fairly deep and unless you have a free diving friend on board (like Moss), you will never see your beloved possessions again. While we were there, Moss became a treasure hunter and found Turkish money, some snorkels, deck chairs, a watch, bracelet and a go pro!!
Shark statue bay: This is not the bay’s actual name, however the location will be obvious once you see it. There is a concrete shark just over 7 meters underwater, plus there were turtles swimming about which was awesome to see! However, Moss noticed one turtle behaving a bit too friendly and discovered fishing line tangled around its fins and neck. At that moment Moss gained his new nickname – Moss Grilles (after Bear Grilles) and caught the turtle so the fishing line could be cut free.
Sunken City Bay near Kekova Island: After playing cards and having drinks as we motored to our overnight destination we then proceeded to have party in the water. The water was crystal clear and the perfect temperature! (Note: we made sure no litter was left behind, hope you will do the same!)
V-Go Sail Turkey Day excursions
On most of the days, extra activities are on offer for an additional cost. Plus, our V-Go boat was often approached by locals offering sea biscuiting, and items for sale such as ice creams and jewellery.
- Waterfall at Butterfly Valley: Once the boat has anchored in the bay, everyone has the option of paying 5TL each and venturing on a short walk of less than 15 minutes to the waterfall. If you are game enough (and strong enough) there is also a rope leading up the cliff next to the waterfall which enables you to climb even higher and to see a lot of butterflies. For more details you can read about Coles Butterfly Valley Adventure a few years ago.
- St. Nicholas Island (Santas Island): In the evening you can pay 8TL per person to explore the ruins, walk to the top of the Island and watch the sunset.
- Paragliding at the Blue Lagoon (Oludeniz): You can go paragliding off the top of the hill which is nearly 2000m (6000ft) high. It costs 225TL per person. Paragliding photos cost 80TL and the videos cost 80TL, however, if you want both they will cost 140TL. Please note that most pilots do not let you use your own camera during the gliding. Tip: Take your camera and money with you. That way if you are like us and refuse to pay for photos that you could have easily taken yourself then at least you will get some of your own pictures before take off, plus if you do as many spins and flips as I did, you will be wanting an ice cream to sweeten your stomach at the finish 🙂
- Simena Castle: A few of us braved the heat and paid the 10TL entry to the castle. The views from the top were amazing and certainly worth the sweat! Plus the path leading to the Castle has lots of women and children selling bracelets and items they have made, and yes I got sucked in and purchased some from a cute little girl!
More towns and attractions we visited with V-Go
As well as all the amazing snorkelling locations and day excursions, we also visited Tarzan Bay where all the boys swung from a rope – like Tarzan! We also stopped in at a couple of towns including Kalkan, Demre and Kas, plus we motored past the Sunken City and Pirate Cave as unfortunately swimming is not allowed.
Putting up the sails with V-Go Sail Turkey
Unfortunately, sailing is not a huge part of the trip but we did sail long enough to get a photo!
The V-Go Sail Turkey Pirate Party
The pirate party took place at Smugglers Inn in Gokkaya Bay. Everyone improvised with what ever sailor/ pirate themed clothes they happened to have and it was a great night! Entrance to the party was free and it was great to mingle with all the other V-Go/Busabout boats.
V-Go Turkish Night
On the final night of the trip we moored in Fethiye harbour, had dinner on board and then made our way to the V-Go hotel for a complimentary Turkish night. To my amusement our tour guide rigged the selection of belly dancing candidates and picked two people from our tour – one of them being Moss! The night was a good laugh and a great way to end the trip.
Accommodation in Fethiye
If you require accommodation in Fethiye before or after your boat cruise, there is plenty of accommodation to choose from. However of the four places we happened to stay at in Fethiye, we highly recommend the V-Go hotel.
V-Go Yatching & Travel Agency Review
- The team at V-Go Yatching were extremely knowledgeable as they have been sailing the route since 1997. They know all the best locations for anchoring so the water is always tempting for a swim and a splash.
- We visited all the main towns and attractions, however it was all done at a nice pace and we did not feel too rushed.
- It wasn’t all about being on a boat and drinking the entire time. Even though some people on other boats did drink their fair share of alcohol, everyone was generally interested in having a good time and not being too hungover – except for after the Pirate party of course!
- In conclusion I highly recommend V-Go Yatching if you wish to explore the coastline of Turkey.
- Cost: 8 day sail Turkey trips range from 285.00 € – 485.00 € depending on the time of year. This includes breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, but excludes drinks and extra activities such as entrance to Simena Castle and Paragliding. Note: it is also recommended to tip 3-5% of your trip cost to the crew at the end of the tour.
- V-Go are a Yatching & Travel Agency who offer many types of boat trips, private boat trips, daily tours and activities, plus they have a hotel in Fethiye.
- You can also read Coles review from 2012 about the first ever Busabout Sail Turkey adventure cruise and see how much the tour has progressed and improved over the years.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the V-Go Yachting Sail Turkey cruise, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.
Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos
These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.
El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.
To be honest, I was relieved.
The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.
So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.
There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.
Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.
There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.
And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.
Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.
Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.
Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!
While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.
Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.
I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.
Hammock vs Tent Camping
Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.
In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!
Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.
Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.
For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.
Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.
If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.
One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.
If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.
Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.
A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.
Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel
Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.
Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel
On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)
Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!
With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.
It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.
The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!
From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.
The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!
Middle Earth Travel Review
- The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
- We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
- It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
- In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
- Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
- Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.
Meet Cole and Adela
We 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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