Author: Noel Lau

Photo of the Week: Ushuaia Southernmost City in the World

Ushuaia, Argentina is arguably the southernmost city in the world. It is situated on the Tierra del Fuego island at the southern tip of the South America continent. Ushuaia (54° 48′ 0″ S / 68° 18′ 0″ W) is only 1,000 km to Antarctica, making it the last city in the world before the white continent. Although the Chilean town of Puerto Williams is even more south, it is more a settlement than a city.   Ushuaia is sandwiched in the north by the snowy El Martial Mountain and the south by the Beagle Channel. It is a rather modern city with concrete buildings...

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Machu Picchu: Independently on the Cheap

By Noel Lau “There’s no cheap way to get to Machu Picchu,” said the guide who was trying to sell me a tour. Seeing Machu Picchu had always been a dream of mine but I wasn’t going to join a tour. Getting to Machu Picchu can put a dent your pocket. I was at the end of my South American trip, so I couldn’t afford the expensive Inca trail nor did I want to cheapen my experience there by taking the train. Arriving in Cuzco, I set out to find information about an alternative route I’d heard from other travelers. I...

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Exploring Majorca

The biggest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, five million visitors descend upon Majorca every summer. This island boasts a temperate climate, year-long sunshine and soft sandy beaches that slope gently into the clear, turquoise Mediterranean Sea. Situated in the Mediterranean Sea, east of mainland Spain, Majorca is connected by ferries to Barcelona and Valencia, and flights to all major European cities. Palma de Majorca Majorca has about 20 towns, villages and resorts, each unique in its charm and character. Palma de Majorca, located on the south west of the island, is the capital and largest city. Its 400,000 inhabitants swell to 2-3 million during the summer months.   You can find almost everything here: from budget hotels to five-star hotels, local eateries to fine dining, banks, shops and all kinds of amenities. Among the high-rise apartment blocks are an imposing gothic cathedral and a gothic castle with a spectacular view. If you want to get away from the concrete and the crowd, take the wooden train from Palma to Soller. The journey takes about an hour and it goes across Majorca’s plain, mountains and through 13 tunnels. The ride offers sweeping views of the countryside and a chance to appreciate the real beauty of the island. Soller, in the north west of the island, is a picturesque town set in a valley surrounded by Majorca’s highest mountains looking towards the...

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Cruising down the Amazon: Your Guide to a do-it-yourself Amazon Boat Trip

By Noel Lau What is it about languidly cruising down the Amazon River that strikes people as romantic or exotic? Tales from travelers, documentaries and movies have made this boat ride up or down the cafe au lait-colored river a must-do South American adventure. Manaus, Bazil: Your Amazon Adventure Begins   Whatever your route is, you’ll either start or end in Manaus—a hot and humid city stuck in the middle of the world’s largest rainforest. The city itself is quite boring except for the beautiful theater, but it will be your base if you choose to do a bird watching or piranha fishing trip into the jungle. Manaus managed to appeal to me mainly because I wanted to be on solid ground for a while after taking a three-day boat ride from Porto Velho, a Brazilian city close to the Bolivian border. In Manaus, I learned the next boat leaving on the seven-day trip to Tabatinga (next to Leticia, Colombia), wouldn’t be leaving for another four days.   Buying your Ticket   For the next few days I walked to the Manaus Port everyday to check the prices, which ranged from 330-350 reais ($190-205 USD). I was told that you could get it cheaper at the last minute when the captains want to fill up their boats. Unfortunately, I found out two days before the departure that this was...

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Photo of the Week: Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia

Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia is the largest salt flat in the world. The only way to see it is by going on one of these jeeps navigated by experienced drivers/guides through this otherwise disorienting landscape where every direction looks the same. The day was sunny but bitingly cold and there were many other jeeps cruising around like specks of metal in a vast whiteness. As our jeep sped toward the horizon where the crystal clear blue sky meets the blinding white land, I realized that this was a surreal experience never to be forgotten. Photo and text by Noel Lau Noel Lau is an international nomad who is currently living in Medellin, Colombia and blogs at Submit your photo of the week to be featured at GoMad Nomad!  Send a photo with a paragraph or two describing the photo or your experience to gomadnomadtravelmag [@]...

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The GoMad Nomad Travel Mag is an online magazine for independent travelers publishing original travel articles on popular and off-the-beaten-track destinations, volunteering and working opportunities abroad, and practical travel advice on long-term, adventure, alternative, and budget travel.

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