Crystal Compass

Travel Today to Go for a new adventure

Go for a new adventure

Reward yourself with an opportunity to explore the nature in different and more radical way.

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Featured Destinations

Featured Destinations in April

 

25 Featured Attractions

Gardens & Parks

Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park protects the world’s largest dormant volcano, Haleakala Crater. Exploring its huge expanses, it’s easy to see why haleakala means ‘house of the sun’.The park is divided into two sections: the crater and the coastal area around Kipahulu.Visitors come here to hike the wild lunar landscapes, with overnight treks particularly popular. Sunrise is an amazing sight over Haleakala, and the park is also well worth visiting at night, when the star-filled sky is crystal clear.On the coast, the landscape is more lush, with fern-shaded pools and tumbling waterfalls to cool off in.

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Scenic Landmarks

Bondi to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk

Often referred to as one of the world’s most scenic coastal walkways, the trail between Coogee and Bondi Beach is the best day hike in Sydney. Starting at famous Bondi Beach—the iconic hangout of lifesavers, surfers and international travelers—the trail begins by the oceanfront pool on the southern end of the beach. Only a few minutes into the walk, an ancient Aboriginal rock carving is visible on the left side of the trail. In ten more minutes the trail emerges onto Tamarama Beach, which is cheekily referred to as “Glamarama” for the exceptionally attractive crowds. More family-friendly is Bronte Beach, which is the next stop in the trail’s procession of world-class white sand beaches. In addition to the playgrounds, BBQ pits, and large grassy park area, Bronte has two different natural pools that are perfect for a dip in the ocean. Past Bronte Beach and the bathing locals and surfers bobbing offshore.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous stretches of sand on the planet, up there with Ipanema and Bondi. Its curving stretch of sand is bordered by palms and high-rise hotels.Come here to soak up the sun, swim, pilot an outrigger canoe, sail a boat, or snorkel. Lifeguards are on hand to keep a watchful eye.The surfing isn’t bad either, with long rolling breaks. Look out for the statue of Duke Kahanamoku on the sands, the local who popularized surfing and brought it into the modern era.Pack a picnic to enjoy in nearby Kapiolani Park, hire a beach chair and umbrella, or sit back at sunset and watch the free movies screened on the beach.

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Tourist Attractions

Old Palermo (Palermo Viejo)

Palermo Viejo is the old quarter of Buenos Aires’ largest barrio, Palermo. The old residential area is well worth visiting to stroll past grand buildings and gardens, and get a sense of the enclave’s increasing modishness as a current Buenos Aires' hot spot. Drop into trendy cafes and fashion boutiques on Plaza Serrano, and unwind in the area’s many parks clustered around Avenue del Libertador. The city’s main polo field is also in Palermo Viejo.

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Hot Springs

Emerald Pool (Sa Morakot)

Originating from a warm stream in the lowland forest of Khao Nor Juji, the Emerald Pool (or Sa Morakot) is a hot spring located within the Khao Pra­Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary in Krabi. The dazzling Emerald Pool is 115 long, 214 meters wide, and deep enough to swim in (although, due to the high levels of calcium carbonate, visitors should avoid swallowing any water while doing so). The color of the water varies according to the reflection of the sunlight at different times of the day. To experience the most intense emerald hue, visit at dawn or as early in the morning as possible. There are three nature trails that lead to the Emerald Pool. The first is a direct 800­ meter path from the main entrance. The second is via ‘Thung Tieo­Sa Morakot’, which is around 1400 meters long and and more challenging, but is ideal for birdwatchers and nature lovers. The third method is the longest at just under three kilometers, and is a scenic nature trail through the forest.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is a silky white-sand oasis along the warm, calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. More low key than its southern neighbor, the bustling St. Pete’s Beach, Clearwater Beach hosts plenty of spots for kayaking, shelling, and biking. Families especially like its gentle surf, which is perfect for swimming and water sports.Restaurants, shops, and hotels line Mandalay Ave., which runs parallel to the beach. At about 1 mi (1.5 km) long, the strip is easy to stroll. Day visitors should head to Sand Key Beach & Park, a wide beach for swimming and watching dolphins leap out of the sea. For non-beach activities, watch sea otters at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium or watch jugglers and magicians perform at Pier 60.You can also get out on the water on dolphin-watching cruises or even take a pirate cruise. To get an overview of the area, jump on the Jolley Trolley, which travels around Clearwater Beach and up to Sand Key.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Iztuzu Beach (Turtle Beach)

Turtle Beach, or İztuzu Beach in Turkish, is a large breeding ground for the rare and endangered loggerhead sea turtles. The beach is located just south of the town of Dalyan, Turkey along the Aegean Sea. Due to its protection status, the beach is quiet, though there are a few cafes and tourist facilities in the area. There are no showers on the beach because they don't want shampoo to contaminate the beach and harm the turtles. Certain sections of the beach are off limits during breeding season in order to protect the turtles and their eggs. The beach has been under threats of over development for decades, which would have a devastating effect on the turtles. Luckily there are groups fighting to stop the development and continue protecting the turtles and their habitat.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

When the North Island of New Zealand’s Mt Tarawera erupted in 1886, it forever changed the Rotorua landscape into a valley of steaming wonder. This is a mystical land where lakes boil and mountains are bathed in steam, and walking past pools of bubbling mud is just another daily occurrence for visitors here. Of all the places in Rotorua to encounter this geothermal wonder, the Waimangu Volcanic Valley area offers one of the largest zones for exploring.This site has an enormous hot spring, which is believed to be the largest in the world. Take an easy 45-minute stroll past geysers, fumaroles and fissures to learn how this exceptionally “young” landscape is literally changing by the day. Avid hikers can split off on the Mt Hazard trail to get better views of the valley and gaze down on the multi-hued lakes, radiant in turquoise and greens. One such lake provides one of the best activities in the valley—taking a cruise on Lake Rotomohana.

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Water Activities & Tours

Waimea Bay

Welcome to one of the most iconic places on O’ahu Island! Combining popular culture, history and extreme sports, Waimea Bay Beach simply does not disappoint. Its stunning panoramas alone, as seen from the Kamehameha Highway, are sufficient reason to visit the island’s northern end! The area’s international reputation emerged in 1779, when famous Captain James Cook was killed by native villagers after he tried to make the King of Hawaii captive. Staples of this period are still visible today at the Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau State Monument, the largest of its kind on the island.Many years later, Waimea Bay Beach once again gained popularity by becoming the top surfing destination in the world and officially starting the 1950s now-iconic surf phenomenon (as demonstrated by the Beach Boys’ famous song!). In fact, surfing is still very much in fashion in this neck of the woods, with numerous surfing events taking place throughout the year.

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Gardens & Parks

Belfry Hill (Cerro Campanario)

Patagonia is a popular region of Argentina for exploring nature, and many people base themselves in Bariloche for some time due to the many lakes and mountains in the area. If you enjoy hiking, this is the place to be. There are many hiking trails with gorgeous views of Bariloche and the Nahuel Huapi National Park, but the best view is from Cerro Campanario, or Belfry Hill. It's an easy hike, and the elevation is 3,442 feet. From the top of Cerro Campanario, you will enjoy spectacular views of Lake Moreno, San Pedro Peninsula, Llao Llao Peninsula, several mountains, and other parts of the national park. Signs help visitors identify the different landmarks that are visible from the viewpoint. At the top there is a cafe with a view offering cake and other sweets.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Cerro Verde National Park

With its trio of volcanic peaks encircled by lush jungle, a vast network of hiking trails and the nearby crater lake of Coatepeque, the Cerro Verde National Park presents one of El Salvador’s most startlingly beautiful landscapes. The main pastime for visitors to the Cerro Verde National Park is hiking and its three volcanoes, Izalco, Cerro Verde and Santa Ana, are all easily accessible. The highest point is the 2,381-meter summit of Santa Ana, El Salvador’s highest and most active volcano, capped with four craters and a glistening green crater lake, but equally dazzling are the views from neighboring Izalco, nicknamed the “Lighthouse of the Pacific” for its near-continuous eruptions over 160 years. Another highlight is climbing the eponymous peak and hikers scaling the now-extinct Cerro Verde volcano will find the mountaintop cloud forest filled with colorful birdlife, including hummingbirds, jays and emerald toucanets.

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Geological Formations

Owakudani

Travel about 60 miles (100 kilometers) out of Tokyo and into Kanagawa Prefecture and you’ll find yourself in the Great Boiling Valley of Owaku-dani. The live volcanic valley makes for one of the most enjoyable -- and smelliest -- day trips from the big city. The area has long appealed to domestic and foreign tourists for its beautiful scenery, hot springs, occasional scenic views of Mount Fiji and for black eggs, eggs that are hard boiled in the sulfurous waters, turning their shells black.A short walking trail leads from the base of the Hakone Ropeway past bubbling sulfurous pools to a tourist stand where you can purchase black eggs. Local legend claims that eating a single egg will extend your life by seven years. From the Owaku-dani tourist station, you can either return on the Hakone Ropeway or continue to hike up to the peak of Mount Kamiyama and nearby Mount Komagatake. From there, a ropeway will ferry you down to beautiful Lake Ashi.

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Scenic Landmarks

Montreux Flower Promenade (Chemin Fleuri)

The beautifully tended Lakeside Promenade Fleuri winds its way for 6.25 miles (10 kilometers) along the Swiss northwestern shoreline of Lake Geneva from Vevey to Villenueve, taking in the stylish town of Montreux and the fortified lakeside Château de Chillon. The pathway is lined with cacti, palms and plane trees as well as numerous funky sculptures, including one of Freddie Mercury in the center of Montreux; there are benches from which to contemplate the delightful alpine views and neatly planted parks full of exotic flowers. On summer evenings it seems the whole of Montreux gathers along the promenade to take the air, chat, jog, rollerblade or simply admire the spectacular views. There are plenty of bars and restaurants scattered along the sparkling lakeside, and kids will love the little train that chugs up and down the prom in Montreux during the summer.

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Water Activities & Tours

Matosinhos Beach

Sitting north of Porto on Portugal’s Atlantic coast, Matosinhos is the closest beach to the city, an easy and pleasant two-hour walk along the banks of the River Douro towards its estuary. At the southern end of the beach stands the squat Fort of São Francisco do Queijo, built in the 17th century as a turreted defence castle; to the north there is a busy container port. The broad sandy beach sweeps around the bay, backed by a promenade dotted with contemporary sculpture and low-rise apartment blocks as well as dozens of exceptional seafood restaurants. In summer the sands are packed with local Porto families and lifeguards are constantly on duty; there are usually sporting activities such as volleyball and soccer on the beach, as well as water-sports equipment for hire and lessons on offer. Thanks to its sandy shoreline, Matosinhosis is also the most popular and consistently good surfing beach around Porto, with the harbor wall at the north end of the beach providing shelter.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Atacama Salt Flats (Salar de Atacama)

The world's driest desert is the Atacama, caught up at extreme altitudes within an Andean basin, shielded from the life-giving rain. There is water here, except for geyser fields and hot springs boiling up from the volcanic depths, rivers fed from snowy peaks above, and the lithium-rich Atacama Salt Lake. The crackling salt surface of Salar de Atamaca, the world's second-largest salt flats, partially obscures the extent of this mineral-blue salt sea. Where the rich waters break through crystalline formations, flamingos and other seabirds match their plumage against the pink-and-purple painted hills. There are several major lagoons, including Lagunas Miscanti, Chaxa, and most famously Cejar, a sinkhole boasting a salt concentration so high that "you can do yoga on the surface." While you can explore these harsh environs on your own, most visitors book multiple-day trips through the wilderness.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Osorno Volcano

Nicknamed the King of the South, snow-capped Osorno Volcano is one of Chile’s most visible landmarks. Towering over Lake Todos Los Santos and Lake Llanquihue, the conical volcano can be seen from as far off as Chiloé. The volcano’s near perfect shape is the result of some 40 craters scattered along its base. The volcano has erupted 11 times during the 18th and 19th centuries, but always in these craters; never at its peak. Today, a windy road leads visitors to the base of a ski resort, where chairlifts ferry passengers to a point near the volcano’s peak — a worthwhile excursion even for non-skiers simply for the stellar views of the alpine lake below. Experienced climbers can make the full-day trek to the summit of Osorno.

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Geological Formations

Molokini Crater

Creating a perfect crescent shape in the sea, the sunken Molokini Crater is a snorkeling wonderland just offshore from Maui. Dubbed among the world’s top 10 diving locations, Molokini is prized by underwater enthusiasts for its protected reef, crystal-clear visibility and schools of tropical fish. The crater is also a favorite with birdwatchers, who come here to spot seabirds like petrels and shearwaters. Come here by organized tour for a day of swimming and diving, and terrific views across the water back to Maui.

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Cultural/Heritage Places

Bygdøy Peninsula

Jutting out into Oslo Fjord, the Bygdøy Peninsula is a one-stop leisure destination just west side of the city center. A clutch of Norway’s most popular museums are found here along with hiking and cycling trails, beautiful – if small – beaches at Huk and Paradisbukta, plus several cafés and seafood restaurants. Come sunny days, the peninsula is full to bursting with Oslo families enjoying the peninsula’s laid-back vibe and the organic farm at the Royal Manor, which is the summer residence of King Harald V.Altogether Bygdøy is home to the Neo-Gothic castle of Oscarshall, the Holocaust Center in the austere Villa Grande, and no less than five museums. Of these, the Viking Ship, Fram, Maritime and Kon-Tiki museums deal with Norway’s illustrious nautical heritage, while the open-air Norwegian Folk Museum concerns itself with Norway’s cultural past. It displays a colorful collection of Sami national costumes from Lapland alongside 150-odd reconstructed buildings.

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Water Activities & Tours

Encuentro Beach (Playa Encuentro)

Dominican Republic is home to incredible stretches of white sandy beach, expansive all-inclusive resorts and stunning turquoise waters. But it’s also home to some of the Caribbean’s best surfing. Perhaps no spot in DR is better known for its serious waves than Encuentro Beach. Several local surf schools line the beach, where strong winds mean morning is the most ideal time of day to learn. Protected waters and a vibrant local surf scene  make it a top destination for travelers who want to hang ten while staying in Puerto Plata. Five unique breaks known as Coco Pipe, Bobo’s Point, La Izquierda, the Destroyer and Le Derecha offer travelers distinctly different rides, with some of the biggest waves coming from Coco Pipe and the Destroyer. Travelers can opt to explore on their own, or sign up for learn-to surf lessons with one of the local schools, or as part of an organized tour.

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Geological Formations

Cenotes Sac Actun

Intrepid travelers can test their limits—and their nerves—while navigating the channels of Sac Actun Cenote System—the longest underground river network in the world. Located in the jungles of Tulum, visitors descend into the river via an ominous looking rock well, complete with a well-worn wooden ladder. Because it’s rather remote and difficult to access, Sac Actun proves an ideal destination for travelers looking to explore the beauty and mystique of Mexico far away from the crowds.Known by locals as the Pet Cemetery because of the large number of animal fossils, Sac Actun Cenote holds a spiritual place in Mayan tradition and offers travelers spectacular views of hidden waterfalls, dark caverns dripping with stalactites as they swim through fresh water streams. Snorkeling options are also available for those looking to check out the scene even further below the surface.

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Sights & Landmarks

International Antarctic Centre

Experience everything you want to know about the icy continent of Antarctica at the International Antarctic Centre, from indoor ice storms to ATV rides and penguins.Feeding time at the NZ Penguin encounter is hugely popular, as is the Penguin Backstage Pass tour for an up-close view of these cute creatures. Go for a rough and ready ride on the Hagglund all-terrain vehicle, watch snow being made and throw snowballs, chill out in an ice cave and see the aquarium displays of Antarctic wildlife. Don’t worry about keeping warm: chillproof jackets and overshoes are provided.

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Sights & Landmarks

Up at The O2

Stretching 190 meters across the famous dome of London’s O2 Arena in Greenwich, the O2 Skywalk, or ‘Up at The O2’ as it was more recently renamed, offers visitors a way to get their kicks without even setting foot inside. The landmark stadium has transformed its yellow-flagged rooftop with a vertigo-inducing fabric walkway suspended some 53-meters off the ground and offering an incredible panoramic view from its central observation platform. This is no mere rooftop stroll though – participants are decked out with climbing suits, special shoes and safety harnesses as they make the ascent in groups of 15 attached to a central safety wire, and with the climb being compared to a scaling a long open-air trampoline, it won’t just be the vistas that get your adrenaline flowing.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Cape Woolamai

With its sandy beaches, windswept bluffs, and miles of rugged walking trails, Cape Woolamai is a place to unwind and simply get back to nature. Stretched across the southeastern corner of scenic Phillip Island, Cape Woolamai is a popular getaway for surfers, birdwatchers, and hikers. On the western stretch, Woolamai Beach has some of the best surfing in the entire state of Victoria, whereas the eastern stretch is covered in sand dunes just a short walk from town. Woolamai Beach is part of the Phillip Island Surfing Reserve and home to a popular lifesaving club, and granite cliffs provide a rugged backdrop to the wide, golden sands. Atop the bluff, a system of walking tracks leads to the highest point on all of Phillip Island, and while it’s only a moderate 370 feet, the viewpoint provides a panoramic vista looking back towards the Australian mainland.

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Places of Natural Beauty

Kaneohe Bay

The best stretch of sand in Kaneohe Bay is out on the middle of the sea. That’s where the sandbar, or “Sunken Island” emerges during low tide, and its sugary white sands are like a floating cay that was made especially for you. Kayaking to the sandbar is one of the most popular activities on the Windward Side of Oahu, and while the beaches along the shoreline aren’t great for swimming, the protected waters make the perfect spot for paddling, boating, or kayaking.In addition to the sandbar, five islands poke above the turquoise, reef-fringed waters. The tallest of the islands—Chinaman’s Hat—rises 200 feet from the northern edge of the bay and offshore of Kualoa Park. Known to Hawaiians as Mokoli“i, the island resembles a large straw that seems to be floating on the surface of the water.

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Scenic Landmarks

Simpsons Gap

Simpsons Gap is one of the most prominent areas in the West MacDonnell Ranges, home to one of the most well-known waterholes of the Alice Springs region.There are a few bush walks nearby, including the short Ghost Gum Walk and longer Cassia Hill Walk, which takes one hour each way. Longer walks around Simpsons Gap include the Woodland Trail, which connects Simpsons Gap with Bond Gap on an 11-mile (17-km) return track, and sections one and two of the Larapinta Trail. Visitors also have the opportunity to picnic at Simpsons Gap, with gas barbecues available for free use, or opt for a bicycle ride along a sealed track. The rare black-footed rock wallaby is often seen at Simpsons Gap, best seen in the early morning or late afternoon. The wallaby is one of several creatures unique to Australia’s Red Centre.

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