Charlie’s World Tour for 2017-2018
Want to Travel with Charlie?
Discovering the world with travel guru Charlie is a life-changing experience, one that leaves people with memories to last a lifetime. Culture, cuisine, festivals, breathtaking nature, adventure and more cuisine is what Charlie is all about. He is not a tour guide. Charlie is an exciting and definitely entertaining life coach who shows you why our planet is awesome. What he offers is the complete opposite of the cookie-cutting, prepackaged deals and tours travel agencies sell, the majority of which leave you in complete boredom. Here is the kind of activities Charlie engages in while traveling:
- Touring Rome, Italy on a Vespa
- Food tour through the small alleys of Tokyo, Japan
- Wine sampling tour in the Bordeaux region of France
- Nightlife tour in London, UK & Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Cooking class at a home in Sicily, Italy
- South African safari
- Apparition site in Fatima, Portugal
- Jet-boating in the Caribbean
- Diving in the Great Barrier Reef
- Sand-bashing around Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Zip-lining across the jungles of Costa Rica
- Hot-air balloon riding in Cappadocia, Turkey
- Hiking glaciers in Southern Argentina
- Salsa dance class in the Dominican Republic
Few of us have the time and patience to research where to go and what to do and where to eat and how to get around. Charlie figured out the ins and outs of traveling without the stress and exhaustion that accompany it. He takes care of it all so you can spend your time enjoying rather than ‘planning’, plus he knows how to not waste time and money. If you want to travel with Charlie, contact us for details.
Kyoto, Nara & Kobe
Although Japan is not a country generally geared toward tourists (some say this is a blessing in disguise), the culture alone serves as enough reason to visit. The people are so well-mannered: clean, organized, structured, respectful, punctual and disciplined. They are also very committed to great workmanship. To see a society collectively exemplifying all of these traits is absolutely astonishing.
You will be amazed by what you find on so many of Japan’s streets: flashy entertainment screens and neon, brand new technology products, bikes everywhere, restaurants displaying exotic and diverse foods, adults wearing suits (even the taxi drivers), kids wearing school uniforms, men of all ages addictively playing video games and vending machines selling everything from soda to beer.
You will also be amazed by what you do NOT find on the streets of Japan – that’s trash. There is virtually no littering on Japan’s streets, including in Tokyo. That’s especially impressive considering the fact that Tokyo is one of the most populated cities in the world. Indeed, Japan is a role model in so many ways to so many people. Visiting this much-revered and most-unique nation might very well be the most inspiring trip of your life.
Bohol Island, Palawan Island, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, El Nido, Coron Island & Boracay Island
The Philippines are no longer under the tourist radar. The country’s rich biodiversity has been discovered, so more and more tourists are arriving every year to visit the beaches, caves, mountains, rainforests, islands and diving spots. Still, with distances spread out over an archipelago and public transportation generally unimpressive, it should come as no surprise that traveling around the Philippines isn’t particularly easy. However, exploring Southeast Asia’s up-and-coming destination is well worth the effort.
Kenting National Park, Sun Moon Lake, Taipei, Taroko National Park & Jiufen
Somewhat undiscovered and definitely underrated, Taiwan is a modern yet affordable place which offers much excitement: great food, an admixture of Japanese, Chinese, Western and indigenous influences and – perhaps best of all – astonishing nature. Hot springs, parks, mountains and offshore islands are only a small part of the allure.
Bangkok & Floating Market
True, Thailand is one big revel of a country: full moon dancing on white-sand beaches and food stalls, massage chairs, bars and clubs found all together along the streets. Nonetheless, this international hotspot has much more to offer. Backpackers, expats and cheerful and easygoing natives mingle naturally every time they meet. The landscape generally and the waters especially are surreal-looking, while the temples are impressive and the cuisine is absolutely delicious. It should come as no surprise that Thailand is one of Asia’s top tourist destinations.
Myanmar (a.k.a. Burma)
Bagan & Mount Popa
Definitely one of Asia’s most traditional and conservative countries, Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar) is a place not yet overwhelmed by tourism. Burma has drawn attention from tourists because of its thousands of temples and for its pagodas dotted along the plains of the Bagan Archaeological Zone. Experiencing the lifestyle is another reason to visit Burma, where traditional attire, rickshaws (a.k.a. tuk-tuks) and horse-drawn carts are still the norm. Often described as a time warp, a journey through Burma would definitely be unforgettable.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Minneriya National Park, Adam’s Peak, Yala National Park & Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Featuring palm-fringed beaches, jungles home to leopards, elephants and rare bird species, tea plantations, colorful food, Buddhist temples, ancient ruins, and over 2,000 years of history, Sri Lanka is nothing short of an exotic island. No wonder why the Malay, Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch, and British all wanted to settle here at some point. Now add into the mix inviting natives, happy backpackers, and cheap prices. Choosing Sri Lanka as your next destination would definitely be a smart choice.
Kangaroo Island, Byron Bay, Fraser Island & Whitsunday Islands
Australia is home of Sydney, a destination worth visiting even if the country offered nothing more. However, this internationally renowned and attractive city is just a part of the mosaic. Unique terrain and year-around outdoor adventure are the primary draws of this ancient, large, prosperous, and relatively safe island nation (yes, island), whose urban settlements are located primarily along its coastlines.
True, the country seems to be best appreciated for its love of nature as well as its passion for extreme sports: skydiving, bungee jumping, and climbing a commercial bridge in Sydney to name a few. Nonetheless, no less enriching is getting to know the Aussies: incredibly sociable, environmentally friendly, well educated, and well organized, the welcoming type who enjoy a good beer and barbeque, a.k.a. shrimp on the barbie. Get over to Australia mate so you can figure out for yourself why so many tourists come from so far away to feel the thunder in this land down under. No, that’s not a goofy joke. That’s a famous song. Google it!
Hobbiton Movie Set, Franz Josef Glacier, Queenstown, Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, Skippers Canyon & Milford Sound
From farmland to forest, from subtropics to snowcapped and glacier-fed lakes and from hours of sunshine to kilometers of craggy coastline, clean, green, thinly populated and remote New Zealand (Australia is 1500 kilometers away!) is packed with incredibly diverse scenery. Make no mistake about it, however. New Zealand is not a destination strictly catering to the tranquil-seeking, low-key type. In fact, New Zealand is filled with just as much excitement as it is serenity. Few countries can match New Zealand’s thrilling and year-around outdoor adventures, such as whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, and skydiving. Of course, the country’s clear and blue skies make such experiences all that more unforgettable.
Once the sun sets and moon shines and after you have treated yourself to some mouthwatering meat (preferably lamb) and fine wine, it’s time to make the mental switch from wildlife to nightlife. While New Zealand may be humble by day, specifically Queenstown, Christchurch, and Auckland are bold and daring by night. Equally memorable to the outdoor activities, food and nightlife, is the people. Native Maoris and European-descendent Kiwis alike are undoubtedly good-hearted and extremely welcoming.
Yellowstone National Park & Alaska Cruise
From being a global economic, military, and technological powerhouse to being the first to reach the moon to having multinational corporations spread across the planet, millions of people from around the world continue to reach America each year hoping to explore their many curiosities. Some are fascinated by American music and/or film. Others yearn for a taste of America’s entrepreneurial spirit. Many embrace themselves for some of the many world-renowned American cities that are characterized by history, vibrancy, skyscrapers, multiculturalism, and great international food. Of course, there are those who simply want to check out some of the country’s diverse and interesting landscape. Virtually everyone seems to have interest in visiting the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Banff National Park, Jasper National Park & Vancouver Island
Canada extends from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans and features great diversity in between: the ultra-modern city that is Toronto, the North American-European fusion that is Montreal, romantic Quebec City, colorful skies, glaciers, fjords, mammoth mountains, first-class ski resorts, great hiking trails, peaceful lakes, and immense forest. Add to all that a fairly educated, friendly, and peaceful society and you have a place that is not only desirable for visiting but for residing as well.
No, Canada and the US are not indistinguishable and yes, the differences go beyond indigenous polar bears, moose, and humpback whales. True, both countries are affluent, vast, display stunning and diverse scenery, were once British colonies, are home of multiethnic restaurants and otherwise represent a melting pot of cultures. However, Canada seemingly receives more recognition for its liberal/social governance, for good healthcare, for its environmental consciousness and certainly not the least, for its efforts to preserve immigrant traditions while maintaining real multiculturalism. The world’s second largest country by land mass is proud and distinct and boasts one of the highest standards of living on earth.
Puebla, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve & Tulum
Best known for centuries-old pyramids, exotic beaches and clear waters, mariachi bands, tequila, Corona, and fattening but delicious cuisine, Mexico is no less enchanting for its historic towns and cities. It is here where natives dine outside under colonial arcades, middle-aged men read the newspaper at cafe shops, older women sit on benches to gossip, and the youth perform traditional dances to crowds with the sound of folkloric music in the background.
Mexico is not only a place for seeing but for doing as well, such as swimming in sinkholes, climbing volcanoes and going whale watching. Equally fascinating is meeting and interacting with the people. Mexicans are a mix of indigenous tribes and Spanish traditions with a culture characterized by big families and provincial lifestyle. They love Chevy trucks (with music blasting from the speakers), beer, spicy food, ranchero hats, dancing, and more beer. As nice as the resorts are, you shouldn’t limit your time in Mexico to just tanning on the beach and enjoying your hotel room. There is a rich journey awaiting your discovery.
Saona Island, Catalina Island, Los Haitises National Park & Punta Cana
Most visitors to the Dominican Republic stick to the private hotel resorts and their exotic, clear water and powdery beaches…and you really can’t blame them. After all, things can be a bit rough: street hustling, ramped crime, prostitution, etc. However, at least for the more experienced travelers, there’s a LOT to offer here. For ecotourism, definitely consider the Los Haitises National Park. For adventure tourism, consider Cabarete for windsurfing and kite boarding as well as Pico Duarte for trekking. For those who love architecture, Santo Domingo’s zona colonial (a.k.a. colonial zone or Old Town) features great charms…as well as an incredible nightlife scene. Ultimately, if you are an inexperienced traveler or are looking for a family vacation, then yes, stick to the hotel resorts. However, if you know how to handle yourself on the streets, then by all means, allow the Dominican Republic to excite you like few other places in the Caribbean can.
Viñales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Valley de los Ingenios & the Che Guevara Mausoleum
An island characterized by extremely rich culture, crumbling grandeur architecture, lively salsa music, passionate dancing, people on the streets romancing, rum, exotic beaches, mojitos, classic cars and world renowned cigars, rest assure there is much more to communist Cuba than billboard propaganda and the government eavesdropping into your phone calls and emails. Although Cuba is one of the most controversial destinations you could ever visit, there are plenty of reasons to be enchanted by it. There is just absolutely nowhere else on earth like it.
Sucre, Potosi & Salar de Uyuni
Featuring a broad range of landscapes from deserts of the Andes to rainforests in the Amazon to towering volcanic peaks, boasting the largest salt flat on the planet just perfect for four-wheel driving and otherwise home to fine colonial architecture, the landlocked and highly indigenous nation that is Bolivia is surprisingly one of South America’s least visited destinations. That’s all the better, as prices are lower, problems are fewer (e.g. haggling tourists) and the overall experience is far more authentic.
Salta, Quebrada de Humahuaca & Los Glaciares National Park
Known for incredibly diverse nature, gauchos (a.k.a. cowboys), delicious meats (especially the steak), world-renowned wines, tango, soccer fanatics, and attractive people, Argentina is nothing short of amazing. Despite public frustration over slow economic upturns as well as political corruption, deep down inside, Argentineans are quite proud of what their country offers. The lasting impressions you are likely to have of Argentina are of its live-for-the-moment people. Argentineans are rarely quiet, often hilarious, instinctively passionate, and always fashionable. It seems like everyone has a fashion statement to make, from young men with their long hair to elderly ladies with their chic sunglasses. The country oozes a level of stylishness incomparable to anywhere outside of the Mediterranean. Contrary to much of the Mediterranean, however, tourists surprisingly are not arriving in Argentina by the masses-at least not yet. Enjoy the authenticity, stunning character, and fascinating attractions this wonderful country rightfully boasts.
Iguazu Waterfalls, Pantanal Matogrossense National Park, Florianopolis, Ilhabela, Armação dos Buzios, Olinda & Fernando de Noronha
Known for colorful and colonial architecture, festive music, an incomparable nightlife scene and a free-spirited culture that becomes most expressive during Carnival, this is THE country that extends over approximately half of South America and covers much of the Amazon. This is a land of tropical scenery, of astonishing biodiversity, of seemingly endless coastline, of powdery white-sand beaches, exotic and clear waters, giant waterfalls, canyons and rivers, adventure, and excitement. Who doesn’t want to have fun in the sun and dance and romance to the sounds of samba? Brazil is undoubtedly one of the Americas most talked-about and enchanting destinations.
Preikestolen Cliff, Svalbard Archipelago & Jotunheimen National Park
No trip to Scandinavia is complete without visiting Norway. It is regarded as the most quintessential of the Nordic nations. The Northern Lights (aurora borealis) and white summer nights, lush scenery, numerous outdoor activities, majestic fjords, authentic coastal villages, inviting harbors, wharf-side warehouses, and modern yet manageable cities and towns are the main tourist draws of this scarcely populated country. Despite the obvious high quality of life, Norway is undoubtedly a humble place.
Aiguille du Midi Mountain & Verdon Gorge
Considering its numerous world-renowned landmarks, first class art museums, galleries, refined culture standards, romantic language, rich gastronomy, wonderful wines, gorgeous botanical gardens, lovely and varied landscapes, and globally respected music and fashion scenes, it is quite easy to understand why France has been one of the world’s top tourist destinations for quite some time. What adds to the experience of visiting France after exploring Paris is gaining valuable insights into the country’s diverse regions – and at least some of their distinct characteristics: Normandy and its romantically illuminated island of Mont St-Michel, the fantasy-like châteaux of the Loire Valley, the internationally acclaimed vineyards surrounding the Aquitaine and Bordeaux regions, the bucolic charms and Roman ruins of Provence, the forward-thinking culture of Lyon, the Flemish flair of Lille, the German-influenced jewels that are Strasbourg and Colmar, the Italian-influenced, and ever-so-stylish French Riviera. The list truly goes on and on.
Worth noting is that France is as attractive to nature seekers as it is to architecture buffs. To name but a few quite popular natural attractions: the mountainous Alps and Pyrenees, the cliffs and sand dunes of Brittany, and the colorful and exotic scenery of not just the Côte d’Azur but Corsica island as well. What’s more, France provides ample opportunity for outdoor activities like skiing, surfing, and trekking. With so much to see and do, tourism-equipped France truly pleases millions of visitors each year.
Melk, Hallstatt & Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Although the Habsburg dynasty’s reign ended in the wake of World War I, an “Air of Royalty” is still very much evident in the nation’s overblown architecture and social scene. Mozart music and grandeur sites, elaborate cuisine and incredibly well-maintained national landscapes, breathtaking scenery (especially around the Alps) surrounding perfectly-sized towns, in many ways has Austria set the standard for contemporary and quality living.
Fortunately, good governance means that the country has a rather efficient tourist industry which helps visitors enjoy their stay. Become immersed in the beauty and class that the rulers left behind, not least discovered in the streets of Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, and Innsbruck – and even in the villages or small towns found along the countryside. These rulers usually spared no expense in exemplifying aesthetic value and otherwise cultivating a rather sophisticated society. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Austria is home to one of the most refined cultures on Earth.
Home to a mosaic of lush mountains, rolling hills, grasslands, vineyards, valleys, and large lakes, Switzerland’s flawlessly groomed countryside seems like a landscape architect’s fantasy and a nature-lover’s paradise. Also impressive are the clean, green, nature-filled, commuter-friendly, attractive, and perfectly-sized cities and towns. Switzerland is a united, affluent, and highly prosperous country known for organization, efficiency, and punctuality. Historically comprised of Italians, Germans, and Frenchmen, Switzerland is a prime example of how different European ethnic groups can not only coexist but can flourish as well. Simply put, few countries have it together as impressively as Switzerland does.
Dolomites Mountains & Sardinia Island
World-renowned for its unmatched architecture and landmarks generally and for its numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites especially, as well as for the centuries-old art, ultramodern fashion, music and cars, stylish and passionate culture, regionally rich cuisine, stunning and diverse scenery, exotic beaches, vibrant nightlife, and adventurous activities such as skiing, hiking, and diving – who doesn’t want to visit Italy? Few nations can boast as many alluring urban sightseeing destinations and varied attractions as can Italy. Don’t just dream about hopping on a red Vespa, cruising the country’s winding streets, pulling up to some good-looking local and offering to treat him or her to some cappuccino at a bohemian café. Make it happen. Pack your bags and head over to one of the most sought-after and visited countries in the world.
Zakopane Mountains & Warsaw
Poland truly is one of Europe’s most rewarding-to-visit destinations. Featuring architecturally stunning and nightlife-filled urban centers and home of a charming countryside dotted with wooden residences and churches, graced with mountains, hills, woodlands, lakes and rivers, and otherwise offering outdoor activities such as kayaking and canoeing, Poland’s attractions are undoubtedly quite diverse.
Continuing to lure the sightseeing type are Krakow, Gdansk, Wroclaw, Torun, Poznan, and Lublin, all of which have either been restored well enough or are in the process of being so. Devoutly Catholic yet also containing a rich Jewish heritage, Poland also draws in crowds intrigued by the country’s religious background. This Central European state also appeals to history buffs who wish to explore the many World War II-related monuments and museums. Not least are the Baltic Sea resorts, which are especially popular with families and the youth. Visit a country that is just as culturally rich and fascinating as anywhere in Western Europe but nowhere near as expensive.
Vysoke Tatry Mountains
Most popular for the High Tatras mountains that surround it followed by the architecture and nightlife found in its capital city Bratislava, the Central European nation that is Slovakia is a great destination both for those who enjoy the outdoors as well as for those who like to party.
Romania’s attractions are quite diverse. Stunning wildlife can be found along the Black Sea. Dominating the center of the country are the Carpathians, which are some of the most lush and breathtaking mountains in all of Europe. Attracting religious types are the Orthodox churches and pious lifestyles of Maramures. Not least, there is the Middle Age architecture of Transylvania – home of castles and fortresses – as well as charming Saxon-style towns such as Brasov, Sibiu, and Sighisoara. Ever since Romania joined the European Union (EU), travelers have become more curious than ever to explore the mystique of this Eastern European nation.
The islands of Paxi, Zakynthos & Symi
Formally introduced as the “Cradle of Western Civilization,’ yet commonly known for its incredibly alluring and diverse islands, Greece offers a healthy balance between history and heritage on one hand and Mediterranean-style leisure and partying on the other. Greece is home of architectural jewels such as Corfu Town, Chania in Crete, Rhodes Town and the Cycladic Islands. The country also features a seemingly endless array of archeological treasures (e.g. the Acropolis and Parthenon), striking monasteries (especially Meteora and Mount Athos), plenty of hiking (e.g. Samaria Gorge), and even skiing (especially Arachova) opportunities.
As for those who simply want to vacation, Greece has long been a favorite among families and revelers alike. Greece has the twelfth longest shoreline in the world and neither tourists nor locals waste an opportunity to have some fun in the sun. Of course, there are plenty of islands as well as areas along the mainland’s coast that provide for a quiet stay. However, if looking for some of Southern Europe’s most vibrant beach bars and nightlife, then Greece will be an ideal destination for you. To describe Greece in only one sentence, it is a country that cherishes its past, lives for the present, and plans as if only to party.
Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Ephesus & Oludeniz Lagoon
Turkey is steeped in historically-Greek, Roman, and Ottoman alike – and the archeological sites scattered throughout the country reflect just that. Istanbul is one of the most enriching and exciting places you could ever visit. Turkey also boasts great music, delicious cuisine, clear-water beaches, and exciting water sports activities. Definitely not least, Turkey is home of an incredibly welcoming, curious-about-the-world and talkative society. To sum it up nicely, Turkey is just unique, a country where East meets West in every sense of the meaning.
Baku, Qusar Mountain District & Goygol National Park
Beautiful historic and modern architecture found in the capital city Baku, tasty cuisine, mud volcanoes, the Great Caucasus Mountains and frozen-in-time folkloric villages are ultimately what make off-the-beaten-path Azerbaijan definitely worth the visit. Greatly influenced by Persia, Turkey and Russia yet unique in its own way, almost all first-time visitors to Azerbaijan arrive pleasantly surprised, are quickly impressed and leave quite fulfilled.
Tbilisi, Kakheti Wine Region & the Military Road
Regionally popular for its fine wines, rich cuisine, architecturally gifted capital city Tbilisi, folkloric village life, mountainous scenery and outdoor activities such as biking, skiing, rafting and horseback riding, the culturally proud nation that is Georgia is an incredibly underrated and relatively safe and affordable destination that has yet to be discovered by the masses.
Bethlehem, Jericho, Haifa, Nazareth & the Sea of Galilee
One of the world’s oldest and most written-about destinations, the Holy Land has attracted everyone from prophets and crusaders to modern-day pilgrims, architecture buffs, and even the secular type who are simply seeking a good travel experience. Of course, if there is just one place in Israel to visit it is Jerusalem, a spiritual center on par with no other. Regardless whether you are the religious type, few people who have experienced this atmospheric city can deny the emotions it invokes. What’s more, Jerusalem serves as an excellent base from which to make daytrips, such as to the Dead Sea.
Although the Holy Land is undoubtedly a nation of historical importance and spiritual pride for Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike, Israel is nothing short of modern-surprisingly modern! We’re talking about educated people, good infrastructure, kicked-back restaurants, and great tourist services of all kinds. Spend a weekend lodging in the Eilat area at a first-class resort and otherwise explore the incredibly exotic coral reef and soon you will discover there is much more to Israel’s outdoors than just its deserts and camels.
True, Israel has far from reached its tourism potential. Why? Many foreigners remain wary of visiting due to conflict in the Middle East generally and Israeli-Palestinian tensions especially. Although there is nothing uncommon about having such reluctance, know that Israel receives millions of travelers each year and the figure is steady thanks to promising signs of security and safety as well as relative stability.
Petra & Wadi Rum
Home of the Red Sea and its warm waters and coral reef, as well as red sands, ancient churches, castles, camels and desert, history-rich, relatively safe, and Western-friendly, Jordan is undoubtedly most famous for one of the world’s greatest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, archeologically striking Petra. Complimenting all this are the people, who are incredibly inviting and quite engaging with visitors. One of the most liberal nations in the region, Jordan is a great place to go to if you wish to get a taste of the Middle East without the security issues that come with it.
Aswan, Luxor, Abydos, Giza Pyramids & Cairo
First Greeks, later Romans, and then Ottomans, Napoleon and the Brits, today’s visitors to Egypt are not colonists but rather tourists who want to absorb it all in: ancient pyramids, the Nile cruise, coral reef and its tropical fish, sand dunes, souks, ancient fortresses, mosques, monasteries, and much more. One of the oldest destinations on earth is a country not only characterized by history but by family, friendship, and hospitality as well. Egypt truly does offer an experience both unique and invaluable.
Knysna, Bloukrans River, Drakensberg Park, Kruger National Park & Blyde River Canyon
What ultimately makes South Africa so desirable for so many is its diverse scenery, from its subtropical coastline to its semi-desert heart. Experience a national park, such as Kruger National Park. Join a safari and spot exotic wildlife. Spend some nights falling asleep to the sounds of the continent’s animal kingdom. Not the least, get to know tribal land, life, and people. No less fascinating is exploring the urban highlight that is Cape Town; arguably, Africa’s most European of cities. From there, there are several daytrips worth making, including to the nearby Constantia vineyards. This is where the country’s world-renowned wines are produced. South Africa is a destination that both allows and even dares you to be in touch with the planet’s greatest treasures.