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Sustainability - Travel, Lifestyle, Business, Entrepreneurship Articles,Stories & Features

Selected written works by Mark - to commission me please contact here
Sustainable Luxury - The New Frontier

499 word article on sustainability and travel first published Feb 2023

Forget cramped hostels and barefoot beach bumming. The discerning traveler of today seeks something more refined from their adventures: luxury that gives back. Combining style, comfort and social conscience, sustainable luxury travel allows you to explore exotic locales while prioritizing people, heritage and nature. This enlightened jet setter movement has gone mainstream, with travelers seeking meaningful engagement with local cultures and environments.

Eco-lodges like Nicaragua's Mukul tap into this trend, offering sumptuous suites, farm-to-table dining and an extensive reforestation program on site. The perfection of simplicity defines Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve's villas in South Africa's Cederberg Mountains, with nature walks benefiting wildlife conservation. Costa Rica's Pacuare Lodge provides personalized adventure far from the teeming crowds of public reserves and beaches. This is luxury travel where your comfort fuels positive action.

For the ultimate in exclusive access, book philanthropic expeditions with companies like TCS World Travel, which partners with charities worldwide. Jet to Peru and construct housing for families-in-need. Safari in Kenya while teaching computer skills that empower communities. The glamour of high-end worldwide adventure, combined with humanitarian impact. It's a travel style that nourishes the soul.

Posh tour operators like Remote Lands organise trips fusing luxury with social enterprise. Dine in Vietnam’s top restaurants after volunteering at an orphanage. Experience Cambodia’s vibrant arts scene while supporting NGOs that aid trafficking victims. This amplifies tourism’s benefits for developing nations through conscientious spending. Meet artisans keeping traditions alive, patronizing local businesses and passing on skills that preserve heritage.

The discerning traveler today recognises that mindfulness enhances any journey. Whether basking on Mexico's breathtaking beaches or exploring the medieval squares of Prague, reject wastefulness and embrace culinary delights prepared sustainably. Select hotels using renewable energy and practicing water conservation in arid regions. Seek authenticity through intimate wildlife encounters, not exploitative shows. Honor cultures by participating, not just standing back as a spectator. Luxury travel is redefined when we recognise that extravagance is found in experience, not consumption.

The finest journeys now fuse style with purpose. This enlightened wave understands we gain more from enriching local livelihoods and environments than from reckless excess. Sustainable luxury travel allows you to create positive legacies with each footprint you leave behind.

Travel That Uplifts People and Place

500+ word article tailored for Lonely Planet July 2023

As travelers, our footsteps can either harm or nurture the destinations we explore. By traveling thoughtfully, we can positively impact communities and environments worldwide. From supporting local businesses to conservation efforts, sustainable travel allows us to preserve nature and empower the places we visit.

"Sustainable tourism aims to ensure that tourism brings socio-economic benefits to local communities," says Annie Reis of the UN Environment Programme. "Maintaining the cultural and environmental integrity of the place is key."

In Guatemala, NGOs like Oxlajuj B’aktun work with indigenous communities to share their heritage through tourism. "We train local guides and help craft artisans get fair prices," shares Managing Director Marta Esquivel. "Tourists get authentic experiences that provide direct income to villagers while sharing our craft traditions."

Wildlife conservation is funded through sustainable safaris in Africa. "When travelers pay for an eco-certified lodge, park fees and local guides, this revenue protects endangered species," says Kenya-based guide John Kisimir. "Conservation safaris combat poaching, habitat loss and more."

Adventurers are choosing companies like Intrepid Travel committed to sustainability. "Our trips support locally owned businesses and environmental projects," says Intrepid's Asia Regional Director Brett Mitchell. "We partner with grassroots organizations worldwide to amplify tourism's benefits."

Conscious choices help travelers reduce footprint. Skip single-use plastics, conserve water in dry destinations, and walk, bike or use public transportation for lower emissions. Eat and shop locally to support communities. Stay in small-scale eco-lodges versus big resorts. Ensure activities like wildlife encounters are ethical and educational.

"It's about being present and curious in a place," shares travel writer and blogger Manisha Javeri. "Engage respectfully, support preservation efforts, and foster cultural exchange."

Simple mindset shifts amplify our positive influence. Slow down and choose quality over quantity. Travel intentionally to a few places rather than ticking boxes. Seek adventure while treading lightly. Follow guidelines on appropriate dress and etiquette. Smile, listen and connect.

"At its best, travel celebrates our shared humanity," remarks sustainable tourism educator Ethan Gelber. "It awakens us to the planet's extraordinary diversity. With an open mind and heart, we can uplift the people and places encountered along the journey."

This is the promise of sustainable travel - that our passport can be a force for good. By honoring both environmental and cultural integrity, mindful wanderers spread the wealth while protecting this precious planet. Our next epic adventure awaits.

The World As We Haven't Seen It
499 word article about seeing the world sustainably through a new lens. First published May 2023

In my dreams I wander the winding lanes of Fez's medieval medina, a mosaic of scents envelops me - aromatic spices, fresh olives, hides soaked for tanning. Craftsmen tap and saw in tiny workshops, keeping ancient trades alive. An exuberant dance performance erupts beside the mosaic-tiled Nejjarine Fountain. The real Morocco lives in scenes like these - not the camel rides and packaged tours.

"Tourists often just visit Casablanca and Marrakesh," laments my guide Jamal. "But other cities reveal our true culture. Linger here, meet the people, and Morocco will transform in your eyes."

In Jordan, I ditch the tour buses rushing to Petra and instead hike Wadi Rum's martian landscapes with Ali, a Bedouin guide. We sleep in his village under star-crowded skies, sharing stories over sweet sage tea. At Petra, wandering the carved rock city at dawn without the crowds is magical.

"You cannot know a place just by seeing the famous sites," Ali tells me. "Stay with us, learn our traditions. Then you will understand Jordan's soul."

Colombia dazzles me with diverse ecosystems - parched Tatacoa Desert, lush Cloud Forests of the Andes, crystalline seas of Tayrona. But what captivates most are the vibrant towns like reggae-flavored Palomino, heritage city Santa Marta, and walled Cartagena, abuzz with music and dance. The people are Colombia's true wealth.

"Come with patience to experience the real Colombia," urges Laura, my warm host in Salento. "We have majestic landscapes, yes. But our culture, food and community are the heart. Build connections, and you will see how special this country is."

To sustainably experience the richness of our world, shift focus from sights to people. Slow down, linger in one place, walk the streets without agenda, accept invitations for tea and meals. Discover that diversity thrives not only in monuments and landscapes but in everyday lives. Allow preconceptions to unravel. Understand a nation's spirit through its people.

This is the consciousness the planet asks of us now. To see humanity, not checklists. To nurture community, not exploit landscapes. To travel with openness, not assumptions. Now that travel is opening back up my next journeys will delve deeper. Skipping the tourist traps and forging my own path, guided by local voices. This is how we sustain both the planet and the soul - traveling beyond the surface to truly see the world anew. The most memorable sights are still unseen.

Features

Wings Over Colombia: An Ornithologist’s Dream

748-word article on bird watching in Colombia first published March 2018

Dawn's fingers creep over the Andean foothills, sunlight igniting the canopy in bursts of emerald, ochre and azure. I raise my binoculars, a pair of sleek Swarovski SLCs, and Colombia's avian treasure is unveiled. A paradise tanager alights on a nearby branch, its sunshine-yellow plumage emblazoned with sweeping crimson wings. High above, a torrent of scarlet and cobalt streaks across the sky - a flock of endangered blue-billed curassows crying overhead. This is birdwatching heaven.

Colombia nurtures nearly 2,000 avian species within its soaring Andes Mountains, steamy Amazon rainforest and breezy Caribbean coasts. From the brilliant orange puffleg hummingbird no larger than a thumb to the ominous black-collared hawk soaring on six-foot wings, this country rewards patient ornithologists with sights rare and magnificent.

Meandering along forest trails framed by wild orchids and bromeliads, acinchona barbet's liquid song rings through the trees, its olive feathers and ruby throat flashing in a ray of light. Later, strolling the tropical shores of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, brown pelicans skillfully dive-bomb the glittering blue sea, emerging with breakfast in their beaks. Keep your keen birdwatcher's eye alert everywhere - vibrant tropical species flit through the most unexpected places.

Base yourself at eco-lodges like Colombia's Mahahual, whose meticulously designed bamboo bungalows allow immersion in nature. Meander mangrove forests guided by expert birders, spotting herons and hummingbirds that call this ecosystem home. Luxuriate after long hikes spotting toucans and parrots in the spa's massages and volcanic mud treatments.

Soaring through the clouds in the mountains around Manizales, spy spectacular raptors like ornate hawk-eagles and red-ruffed fruitcrows among the misty greenery. Retreat to the termales, or hot springs, nearby to soak weary limbs while watching delicate flycatchers flit overhead.

Explore coral islands like Providencia, where 355 avian species have been documented, including the endemic red-footed booby. Indulge in fresh seafood with a view at luxury hotels like Sirius Hotel, whose infinity pool appears to spill into the Caribbean Sea.

Colombia's astounding biodiversity results from varied ecosystems and strategic location between North and South America. Follow mountain streams to spot darting torrent ducks, traverse steamy jungle listening for motmots and toucans, laze in coastal mangroves spying herons and gulls. Let wild wings lead you on a pilgrimage revealing Colombia's soul.

As the day's last light fades, fire-eyed yellow-crowned night herons take flight. But the avian treasures here never sleep. Don your binoculars at dawn and birdwatching magic awaits all over again. Colombia's spectacular wings are calling.

Gran Canaria Beyond the Brochure

747 word article portraying the allure of off-the-beaten-path travel in Gran Canaria. First published June 2019 

Skip the all-inclusive resorts and explore an entirely different Gran Canaria - a wild, rugged beauty waiting beyond the packaged beach vacations. Lace up your hiking boots, grab a guidebook, and dive deep into this island's vivid diversity. Here, UNESCO Biosphere reserves reveal mist-cloaked primordial forests, sleepy villages offer ocean-fresh seafood feasts, and empty black sand beaches beckon adventurers. This is the Gran Canaria only intrepid solo vagabonds experience.

Make your base the historic capital Las Palmas in the north with its sweeping Santa Catalina beach guarded by the amber hued Fortress of La Luz. Wander the maze of cobblestone streets in the Vegueta neighborhood lined with neoclassical architecture. As night falls, lively Latino rhythms pulse through the Santa Ana district’s open-air bars and clubs.

Just offshore, hike the rugged beauty of Isleta, an uninhabited volcanic island whose torch-like basalt formations jut from the shimmering Atlantic. Local outfitters like Ventura Isleta offer guided kayaking and snorkeling day trips to secluded coves on this unique isle.

Inland, explore Gran Canaria’s vast biodiversity, over one-third protected parkland. Trek through UNESCO-recognized laurel forests in Tamadaba Nature Reserve, where Canary Island pines form an ethereal misty canopy over endemic plants found nowhere else on earth. Marvel at the multi-colored clay slopes of the Caldera de Bandama, a volcanic crater nearly 500 meters deep and over 1 kilometer wide formed millennia ago.

On the remote northwest coast, witness the ocean’s raw power at El Bufadero, a blowhole that shoots seawater 40 meters skyward with each crashing wave. Nearby, secluded black sand beaches indented with lava rock coves like Playa del Cabrón await explorers seeking total escape.

Journey west through the mountains to Artenara, dubbed ‘The Balcony of Gran Canaria’ for its breathtaking views of this volcanic isle’s diverse topography. Savor simple, fresh meals of roast goat, bean stews, and local cheeses at family-run restaurants before descending into the valley. Here, a vast palm oasis emerges amid the arid terrain - La Aldea de San Nicolás, a serene rural community centered around agriculture.

As the stars illuminate the night sky, contemplate the illuminations of your solo adventure. You’ve traveled beyond the package tourists and discovered Gran Canaria’s wild heart. But many more undiscovered gems await in the Canary Islands. Perhaps Tenerife’s verdant Anaga Mountains or Lanzarote’s fire-forged lava fields call next. When you ditch the crowds and venture off-map, the possibilities for exploration are endless.

Southeast Asia Beckons 

678 word article - sustainable travel in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand.  First published July 2023

The tropical paradises of Southeast Asia have long lured travelers with promises of pristine beaches, emerald jungles, and exotic cultures. As tourism rebounds from the pandemic, conscious travelers are seeking deeper connections and more sustainable ways to explore this captivating region.

"The Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand each offer their own flavor of adventure," said Maria Santos, spokesperson for the Philippine Department of Tourism. "From diving with thresher sharks in Malapascua to sampling steaming bowls of phở in Hanoi to paying respects at the Grand Palace in Bangkok, there are endless opportunities to experience the diverse natural and cultural treasures of our countries."

With new nonstop flights on Philippine Airlines, Vietnam Airlines and Thai Airways, getting to Southeast Asia has never been easier. But once you arrive, consider ditching big tour buses for more intimate and eco-friendly transportation like bicycles, boats and trains.

"Slow travel allows you to get an authentic feel for daily life," said Benedict Cruz, founder of a Philippine travel agency specializing in sustainable tourism. "Trekking through rice terraces, you'll hear farmers singing folk songs. On a motorcycle tour, you can stop spontaneously at a roadside stand for fresh buko juice, young coconut water, straight from the source."

Linger longer in each destination, recommends Cruz, for the chance to meet local people and learn traditional crafts and cuisine. On Siargao Island, take a workshop in coconut woodcarving. In the Vietnamese countryside, go foraging for wild herbs and fungi with a local chef to transform into a mouthwatering vegan feast.

Thailand's upscale sustainability efforts, like the new JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, prove you don't have to sacrifice luxury to travel green. Designed to highlight native flora and fauna, the beachfront oasis features architecture with recycled woods, energy-efficient innovations and on-site water purification.

"We invite guests to appreciate Thailand's natural splendor through wildlife tours, cooking classes with ingredients from our organic garden and Thai boxing lessons surrounded by lush mangroves," said general manager John Woolley.

So as borders reopen, consider an adventure imbued with cultural connections, environmental values and local flavors. Let Southeast Asia's entrepreneurs, artists and visionaries be your guides to travel that sustains both the planet and human spirit. The rewards promise to be life-changing.

Features

The Lure of the Unexplored: Discovering Hidden Gems Around the Globe

800 word article on discovering unknown places around the world for worldly travelers. First published November 2019

For intrepid travelers seeking unique adventures beyond the typical tourist trails, the world still holds endless undiscovered places and hidden gems waiting to be explored. Venturing into these secluded corners of the globe offers not just the thrill of being an early visitor, but often a more authentic connection to ancient cultures and pristine environments untouched by mass tourism.

The Republic of Kiribati, a remote Pacific island nation, promises a barefoot idyll of thatched jungle lodges and world-class fishing, diving, and surfing. Many of its 33 coral atolls remain so isolated that “you’ll feel like the first person to arrive,” says Mark Wong of Nippon Travel Agency. To experience Kiribati’s languid lagoons and little-known WWII history, Wong recommends the eco-friendly Teraina Lodge on Washington Island, accessed via local airline Air Kiribati.

In Kazakhstan’s ruggedly beautiful Altay Mountains, discover the ancient practice of hunting with golden eagles. “We offer a rare chance for guests to observe and even participate in this tradition with expert Kazakh hunters,” says Gaukhar of Nomadic Expeditions. Their remote camp puts visitors amidst snow leopards, ibex and argali in a landscape unspoiled outside traditional villages.

The Arctic territory of Nunavut, Canada may not seem so hidden, but its vast wilderness contains many unexplored corners reachable only by bush plane, boat or snowmobile. “Our Inuit guides share legends and survival skills passed down for generations,” says Martin of Inuit Adventures. Their trips blend hiking, camping and visiting Inuit communities that welcome cultural exchange.

Off the coast of Albania, near the historic port town of Saranda, sits the island of Sazan—once a secret military base closed to the public. Now open for exploration, “the island has stunning beaches, Cold War relics and hiking trails with Mediterranean vistas,” says Bebej of Ionian Cruises. A new ferry service carries visitors to this “back door into history.”

In Oman, the remote inland region of Dhofar offers an Arabian adventure through untouched deserts and canyons, with green valleys during the monsoon-season khareef. “Dhofar’s rich history can be discovered by four-wheel drive over mountain passes,” says Faaris al-Rashdi. Highlights include beach camping, wild dolphin watching and touring ancient forts.

The Philippines island of Siquijor reputedly holds magic and mystery for those who seek healing or spiritual awakening. “Our resort partners with local shamans, so guests can experience fire dancing rituals on an unspoiled white sand beach,” says Marisol Santos of Clear Waters Resort. This tranquil setting proves the perfect place to recharge while enjoying farm-to-table dining and holistic spa treatments.

So whether seeking active exploits or cultural connections in natural nirvanas, set your sights beyond the guidebooks to let these undiscovered places work their magic. With mindful, sustainable travel, even little-known pockets of the planet can stay pristine for future generations to explore.

Exploring the Sensory Allure of the Canary Islands

891 word first-person feature article detailing sustainable travel opportunities across the Canary Islands. First published May 2018

As I stepped off the plane in Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, I was enveloped in warm salty air, fragrant with hints of wild lavender and sea spray. The sun caressed my skin as I set out to explore this volcanic archipelago off the coast of Africa known for its diverse microclimates, rugged landscapes and sustainable tourism.

My first stop was Teide National Park to see the dramatic lunar vistas surrounding Spain’s tallest peak. The cable car whisked me upward through shifting ecosystems—from sparse pine forests to alien rock formations. At the summit, the views stretched for miles across Tenerife’s complex terrain. I breathed deeply, inhaling the mineral scents and savoring the tranquility.

Heading north to verdant La Orotava Valley, I wandered agricultural trails lined with banana trees, avocado groves and vineyards. At a family-run bodega, I sampled crisp Canary whites and bold reds nurtured by the valley’s volcanic soil. The wines paired perfectly with the local cheese, paired with fig jam and cilantro mojo.

Next I ferried to Gran Canaria to explore the island’s rugged ravines and rocky beaches. A scenic hike through pine woods brought me to Roque Nublo, an 80-meter tall rock monolith jutting skyward. I glimpsed emerald parakeets flitting past and breathed the herbaceous wildflowers. Descending through the village of Tejeda, I sipped artisanal coffee and nibbled melt-in-your-mouth amaretto cookies.

Venturing north to Maspalomas, I strolled past sand dunes to ogle the ocean. Along the seaside promenade, I savored just-caught sardines grilled simply with olive oil, lemon and sea salt—the perfect beachside snack. That evening, I joined a crowd dancing to Canarian folk music, clad in flowing dresses and wearing floral crowns.

Next I sailed east to the petite island of Fuerteventura, named for its fortuitous winds that once propelled ships across the Atlantic. Cycling to the dazzling white sands of Playa de Sotavento, I was delighted by the beach’s perfect natural arc cradling the turquoise bay—ideal for swimming and kitesurfing.

After snorkeling among jewel-toned fish and sea turtles, I stopped for round papas arrugás—small boiled potatoes doused in mojo sauce and sea salt. The potatoes’ creamy texture and tangy-salty flavor lit up my taste buds.

No stay in Fuerteventura is complete without sampling majorero, the island’s distinctive goat cheese. At a village market, I tried fresh majorero, nutty with a subtle tang—the perfect addition to arepas, the traditional corn cakes stuffed with local tuna, vegetables and mojo.

Surfing north to the smallest Canary Isle of El Hierro, I was awed by its rugged green cliffs falling dramatically into the sea. Local guides led me along coastal trails to glimpse El Hierro’s rare elfin cloud forests shrouded in mist.

To experience sustainable traditions, I helped local shepherds make sheep’s milk cheese and natural soaps scented with herbs. That night I dined on tender lamb slow-roasted in a volcanic pit. The meat’s smoky, mineral flavor captured the essence of the island.

The Canaries cast a sensory spell, from aromatic spices to masterful wines and cheeses. Exploring this archipelago sustainably gives a glimpse into its ecology, people and culture—a feast for all the senses. As I sailed homeward, I knew I’d only just tasted what these islands have to offer.

Overlooked Gems: Discovering the Charms of Lesser-Known Destinations
1247 word article on unique, misunderstood destinations for exploratory travelers. First published  March 2023

Adventurous travelers know that some of the world’s most rewarding journeys venture well beyond heavily touristy hot-spots. Places often overlooked or misunderstood actually offer rich cultural exchange, stunning natural beauty and the thrill of discovery. With insider tips from tourism boards, hoteliers and adventurous visitors, these lesser-known locales may surprise you with their hidden charms.

The Balkans

Long misperceived as war-torn and dangerous, the Balkan countries like Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina now top travel wish lists for their historic towns, emerald waters and warm hospitality. “Dubrovnik’s marble streets and ancient walls exude romantic charm,” says Marko Buric of the Croatian Tourism Board. Nearby Kotar offers cycling through lavender fields and rafting under towering cliffs. Travel east to unwind in Sarajevo’s Ottoman-Austrian quarters or raft pristine rivers and waterfalls in Bosnia’s Una National Park. Visitors will find reasonable prices, crowd-free sightseeing and locals eager to share their cultures. Best times to visit are May-June and September-October when the weather is mild and sunny.

Kazakhstan

This vast Central Asian country astounds visitors with surreal lunar landscapes, turquoise lakes and lush alpine valleys straight from a Tolkien novel. “Almaty, our cosmopolitan cultural capital ringed by apple orchards, makes a perfect gateway to Kazakhstan’s natural wonders,” advises Bakhytbek Baiburiev of Kazakh Tourism. He recommends venturing west to the Caspian Sea or spending a few days in a traditional yurt camp to glimpse eagles, ibex and even wolves. Don’t miss savoring beshbarmak, tender lamb with homemade noodles, and sampling fermented camel’s milk, an ancestral staple. Spring and autumn offer pleasant weather in diverse regions.

Lombok, Indonesia

Often overshadowed by bustling Bali next door, Lombok entices with deserted white-sand beaches, translucent turquoise waters, indigenous Sasak culture and volcanic vistas. “Lombok is Bali 30 years ago – pristine and uncrowded,” effuses Jean Wallace of Lombok Paradise. Hire a scooter and get lost on rugged coastal roads that lead to breathtaking seascapes. Inland, hike lush jungles to thundering waterfalls or sacred Hindu temples. Feast on spicy sate campur, grilled satay skewers served with peanut sauce and sticky rice cakes. With new direct flights on Garuda Indonesia Airlines, Lombok offers an affordably exotic escape. Visit in dry season April-October.

Asmara, Eritrea

This East African capital blends Art Deco architecture, Italian flair and an Afro-futurist vibe unlike anywhere in Africa. “Asmara boasts well-preserved colonial buildings, sidewalk cafes, palm-lined boulevards and a relaxed pace,” says Meron Estefanos of Visit Eritrea. Beyond the cosmopolitan capital, you can dive coral reefs in the Red Sea, seek wildlife in coastal savannas or trek to historic monasteries. Don’t miss trying injera, the ubiquitous fermented flatbread, with fiery stews and refreshing fruit smoothies. Visit during the dry winter months of November-February.

So expand your horizons beyond travel’s greatest hits to find inspiration in these emerging destinations. With cultural curiosity and sensitivity, you may just uncover your own personal travel treasure.

Featured Articles

Swept Away In Gran Canaria
First Published Online 10-10-2018
Also reappears within Mark's ESL Coaching Apps  with multiple choice questions

Located in the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is a captivating island that boasts stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and breathtaking landscapes, making it an ideal destination for couples seeking a romantic getaway. Besides its natural wonders, the island offers plenty of memorable sights and activities to do with your partner, ensuring an unforgettable vacation experience.

One of the most vibrant and captivating holiday resorts in Gran Canaria is Playa Del Ingles. There are so many breathtaking experiences and attractions you can enjoy while visiting this remarkable area. 

One of the must-visit places is the Maspalomas Dunes, a natural wonder located in the south of the island. Covering over 400 hectares, these spectacular dunes offer a perfect setting for romantic walks and camel rides through the sand.

Picture an enticing view of stunning sandy beaches, stretching for miles and offering a perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, or simply enjoying a leisurely walk along the shore. That's Playa Del Ingles. Add numerous water sports, such as surfing, paddle-boarding, jet skiing (and even skydiving into the Dunes from a light aircraft!), and this gem has something for everyone and will surely captivate adrenaline enthusiasts.

The warmth and hospitality of the locals, as well as their rich cultural traditions continue to thrive in this incredible destination. When the sun sets the vibrant nightlife in Playa Del Ingles awakes. Lively bars, clubs, and restaurants that come alive after dark catering for families, adults, LGBTQ+ visitors alike. Indulge in delicious local cuisine like Papas Arugadas (tiny, tasty salted Canarian potatoes) with Red or Green spicy Moijito Sauce, listen to live music and dance the night away, creating unforgettable memories.

After, why not take a late night (or early morning stroll) through the captivating Dunas de Maspalomas, a stunning sand dune landscape located just a stone's throw away from Playa Del Ingles center. This natural wonder presents an opportunity for hiking, camel rides, or simply enjoying the breathtaking panoramic views.

The Yumbo Shopping Center as a must-visit destination for avid shoppers. Providing a wide range of shops, boutiques, and markets, it offers an excellent opportunity to explore local crafts and purchase unique souvenirs by day and a plethora of eateries by night.

Another iconic landmark in Gran Canaria is the Roque Nublo, an over 80-meter-tall volcanic rock formation situated in the center of the island. The view from the top of the rock is breathtaking, making it an excellent spot to watch the sunset with your partner and a glass of local Honey Rum.

For those seeking extra adventure, hiking through the mountains of Tamadaba Natural Park is a great activity to enjoy the stunning views of the island's beautiful landscapes. The park is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, including rare species of birds and animals.

Alternatively, you can visit Puerto de Mogan, a charming port town famous for its colorful buildings and flowers. Here, you can take a boat tour of the island, enjoy the beautiful views of the coast, and spend a romantic day with your love.

For foodies fancying a romantic dinner, Restaurante El Senador offers traditional Canarian cuisine and stunning views of the ocean from its cliffside location. Playa de las Canteras, one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain, is perfect for a loving walk along the shore or snorkeling to see the marine life.

In conclusion, Gran Canaria offers a perfect getaway for couples looking for both relaxation and adventure, with its beautiful sights and a wide range of activities to enjoy with your partner.

The diversity of experiences, the breathtaking landscapes, and the vibrant atmosphere make it an exceptional holiday destination for travelers from all walks of life.

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Manila - A Gift From God!
First Published Online 01-11-2021
Also reappears within Mark's ESL Coaching Apps with multiple choice questions

The Philippines - said by many to be the location of the lost Garden of Eden - boasts the often loved / hated capital city Manila. If you have the stomach for bustle, heaving crowds coming at you from all sides, traffic, fumes and a cacophony of sound  then taking in the captivating history, remarkable heritage and must-visit tourist spots of Manila is highly recommended.

Come with me on this fascinating account of the iconic jeepney and its historical significance plus so much more! With a population of over 12 million people, Manila is rightly known for its lively nightlife, delectable cuisine, and splendid architecture. Pack your bags and get ready to explore the wonders of Manila!

This vibrant capital city of the Philippines, boasts a rich tapestry of history and cultural heritage awaiting exploration. From its beginnings as a small kingdom to its colonial era under Spanish rule, Manila has evolved into a bustling metropolis that proudly showcases its legacy through its historical landmarks and unique attractions.

Start your journey by visiting the captivating sights that offer a glimpse into Manila's past. Intramuros, a well-preserved Spanish-era walled city, built during the 16th century by the Spanish, stands as a testament to the country's colonial heritage. While exploring its cobblestone streets and ancient walls, immerse yourself in the stories of the Spanish conquistadors and trace Manila's transformation over the centuries.

Next, head towards Rizal Park, dedicated to the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. This sprawling park pays homage to his patriotic deeds and features stunning sculptures, gardens, and a grand monument that symbolizes the country's struggle for independence.

Manila's heritage sites showcase the fusion of various cultures that have shaped the city's unique identity. The San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as the oldest stone church in the Philippines, exuding grandeur and tranquility. Admire its intricate Baroque architecture and wander through its awe-inspiring halls, feeling a sense of awe at the religious history ingrained within its walls.

The National Museum of the Philippines should also be on your itinerary. Its unrivaled collection of artifacts, art, and cultural treasures offer a captivating journey through the nation's history, providing a deeper understanding of Filipino identity.

No adventure into Manila is complete without experiencing the iconic jeepney, a cultural symbol that epitomizes the city's vibrant spirit. Originally repurposed World War II jeeps, these flamboyantly decorated public buses have become an integral part of Manila's culture and transportation system. Engage in conversations with friendly locals while enjoying a lively jeepney ride, and you'll discover firsthand the warmth and charm that Manila exudes.

Beyond its historical and heritage sites, Manila offers a plethora of must-see tourist destinations to enchant travelers. Dive into the bustling markets of Quiapo and Divisoria, where you can immerse yourself in local street food, bargain for unique souvenirs, and truly experience the city's dynamic atmosphere.

For a taste of authentic Filipino cuisine, Binondo, the world's oldest Chinatown, beckons with its delectable food tours. Feast on mouthwatering specialties like crispy pork belly, noodles, and dim sum while immersing yourself in the district's vibrant cultural ambiance.

Makati City, famous for its bustling nightlife, offers various options for bars, 'ladies of the night', clubs, and restaurants catering to different tastes while also housing the Ayala Museum, showcasing Filipino art and culture. All in all, Manila offers a unique blend of history, culture, and adventure, making it a destination worth exploring.

Manila's history, heritage, and tourist destinations make it an incredible destination for avid and strong-spirited travelers. Immerse yourself in the city's past at its historical landmarks and heritage sites, hop onto a jeepney to experience local charm, and explore the vibrant markets and delectable cuisine. Get ready to create unforgettable memories as you journey through the heart and soul of this wonderland.

Wishing you an incredible adventure!

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As a Published Freelance Travel, Tourism and International Property Writer for prestigious publications from the British hit Channel 4 TV show, 'A place In The Sun - Everything Spain, as well as ghost-writing countless articles for companies, tourist authorities and online, digital portals Mark is well placed  to craft short or long form pieces, interviews and first-person  perspectives. Specializing in sustainable travel, far-flung Asia - including The Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan and Malaysia - and with over 25 years experience as an International Property Marketing Director. To commission your piece or see examples of past work do get in touch!

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In addition to choosing Coach Mark as your Guest Expert or Speaker on Podcasts, TV, YouTube, Radio Shows events worldwide, we also help hundreds of other Experts, Entrepreneurs and Show / Event Producers find each other via our unique, hand-picked matching service. Join the panel and matching service for just $19.99 per month and benefit from:  
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Got a question or wish to inquire about any our services? Please use this form, e-mail: mark @expertinfluencepro.com OR chat with us on Telegram: https://t.me/eslbusinessenglishexperts

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IMPACT REALTY TERMS OF USE & LEGAL DISCLAIMER
* Impact Realty World (IRW) - a trading style of independent UK Registered Company, Stanley & Associates Limited - is a property news and online journalism portal. Any opinion, suggestions or information contained on this website is not necessarily that of the owners or officers of this company. FOR FULL TERMS PLEASE SEE HERE.


IRW is marketing property agent that aggregates and presents news from a variety of property sources, including introducing direct developer and owner stock to property investors, agencies and buyers. Sales are conducted directly between the buyer and the vendor. Every care is taken to ensure that all marketing materials, prices, floor plans, visuals, brochures are correct at time of issue, however, these do not constitute property particulars for contractual purposes.

Please be sure to check all final materials ahead of signing any purchase contract. Property prices can go down as well as up. Homes can be repossessed if you do not keep up with payments. Properties purchased off-plan or incomplete can be open to further risks and losses to buyers. We urge buyers to seek legal advice where possible and must stress that investing in property does carry risk. IRW is neither an Investment Advice Company or Regulated Property or Finance Broker.

We do not provide investment, financial advice or handle payments to or from investors. For some services we may act as Registered Introducers to fully FCA / FSA Regulated companies but these services are introductions only.

Philippines properties are listed solely on behalf of our fully licensed and regulated Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agent Partners. IRW does not undertake any negotiations, sales, cash handling or transactional work in relation to Philippines properties and does not claim to represent these properties as an agent. Your instructions / purchases / services are conducted directly between yourself and the end organisation and not IRW.



Coaching terms and conditions: Please note all packages, event tickets, apps - used or unused - are strictly non-refundable once purchased, and must be used within a 6 month period from the date of purchase or on the date specified if an event ticket. In exceptional circumstances, some packages may be transferred to another program type or individual with the prior agreement of Coach Mark and his team of associates.

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Questions? Contact: mark@ expertinfluencepro.com OR chat with us on Telegram:  https://t.me/eslbusinessenglishexperts

Terms of Booking: Reservations can be rescheduled without penalty with a minimum of 24 hours notice. Cancellations with less than 24 hours notice will be charged in full and will be taken from the pre-booked package sessions total. In the event of Infrequent illness or sudden emergency with less than 24 hours notice, Coach Mark and his Team's discretion applies. By engaging with this site and services you accept these Terms and Conditions.
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