The year 2018 features a bumper crop of long weekends, a boon to travellers wanting to get away and see more of the world. Long weekends mean a chance to maximize time off.
The Long Weekenders of 2018 begin with Chinese New Year. While it’s a time to visit and feast with family, it is also an ideal time to travel since it falls in February, when cooler temperatures around the world make getaways appealingly temperate. You could use the 3 upcoming public holidays for a short-haul trip, or make a truly inspirational, bucket-list journey of 5 to 10 days, or longer, without burning too much official time off.
Several special events happily coincide with this time of year. Carnival in Brazil, for instance, happens in February. And since it’s winter, it’s the prime time to see the Northern Lights in their full glory.
Norway Photo Credit: Samuel Taipale for visitnorway.com
Shorter trips could include a wildlife adventure in Sri Lanka, a top trending destination for 2018, or heading to Uluru in Australia to see an Instagram-worthy art installation light up in the Outback. Jacada Travel’s thoughtfully designed, intimate itineraries ensure you get the best of whatever location is on your bucket list.
AFRICA: WINES, WATERFALLS AND WORLD-CLASS SAFARIS
Land in South Africa’s oldest city, Cape Town, and be intoxicated by its nature and beauty. Surrounded by mountains and lush, green hills, enjoy fine wines and cuisine in the Winelands, or experience the spectacular beach scenery and world-class safari reserves of the Eastern Cape.
Head next to Zimbabwe, where the breathtaking Victoria Falls (still one of the most famous tourist spots in the world) are at their fullest in February. The crashing falls and Zimbabwe wildlife make this a spectacular show. Try seeing the Falls on a tour by foot, or choose to soar above the Falls in a helicopter or micro-light.
ASIA: THE BEAUTY OF BHUTAN IN 9 DAYS
Jacada Travel’s special 9-day itinerary holds many surprises that bring this deeply Buddhist land to life. Start in the capital of Thimphu, where Jacada can take you on privately guided tour that unlocks many cultural secrets. Choose to pay a visit to the ancient dzongs, temples and museums and take part in a local village festival to experience the alluring way of Bhutanese life. Then, it’s off to Punakha for stunning hikes to find hidden villages, farmhouses and monasteries set in pastoral scenes. The idyllic walks continue into Paro Valley where you marvel at striking temples, before ending on a high with a hike up to the spectacular Tiger’s Nest Monastery, which is famous for some of the world’s most splendid monuments and monasteries.
ASIA: A FAMILY ADVENTURE IN MAGICAL INDIA
India has certainly gaining traction in recent years as a popular holiday destination for us in South East Asia, and is pure magic for the whole family. India’s bustling cities, peaceful countryside and wildlife, as well as the Taj Mahal, can all be experienced in 10 days. A trip could encompass explorations in Delhi, but also Kerala. With the Western Ghats towering to the east and the Arabian Sea flowing out from the west, Kerala is one of India’s most verdant and beautiful states. Crisscrossing this green land are the backwaters that snake their way through towns and villages. Teeming with aquatic life and providing an invaluable resource to all who sit on their banks, these waterways have helped create an impossibly lush pocket of India.
ASIA: SRI LANKA SAFARIS
As Sri Lanka grows in popularity, more new adventures are to be had. This land is known for the Sri Lankan cultural triangle that encompasses Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. But those looking to delve into its natural wonders would seek out leopard and elephant safaris, the national parks and the breathtaking sandy beaches.
LATIN AMERICA: IT’S CARNIVAL!
Want to party? The Rio Carnival in Brazil happily coincides with Chinese New Year, and is on from 9 – 14 February. This is a time when the city comes alive with its legendary dance parade. Samba and bossa nova fill the streets in a celebration that draws some 2 million people each day. When you’re partied out, Jacada Travel has you covered. With an office based in Latin America, Jacada has firsthand knowledge of where the best white sand beaches are and can arrange Pantanal and Amazon tours that will take you to the little- known areas where the best wildlife is to be seen. You’ll explore the Iguassu Falls by jumping on board special high-powered Zodiac boats that will bring you into direct contact with the magnificent Falls.
LATIN AMERICA: THE HIDDEN COSTA RICA
From jungle waterfalls and wildlife to white-sand beaches, Costa Rica features great weather during the Chinese New Year season. With a range of accommodation options available from luxury, to boutique and safari-style, Jacada offers a range of private tours with expert guides while blending locations and activities to suit your taste. Get up close and personal with the wildlife of Arenal while visiting the magnificent volcano. There, ride on sky trams and see nature on foot on canopy walkways. On the Pacific coast, you could kick back and relax on white sand beaches and in wildlife reserves. Alternatively, see the coffee plantations, cloud forests and rainforests of the Central Highlands. Jacada provides private transfers to Tortuguero Village, from which most trails and expeditions begin. We offer exclusive guided tours of the parkland and waterways. Jacada Travel can also arrange family trips based on the children’s ages and interests, so that every member of the family is catered for.
AUSTRALASIA: ILLUMINATED ULURU
The Field of Light art installation in Uluru is something you don’t want to miss and can only seen until March 2018. As the darkness falls and Uluru is thrown into silhouette, more than 50,000 glass spheres light up in Australia’s spiritual heartland. With Chinese New Year being one of the last opportunities to experience this amazing phenomenon, make an early reservation with Jacada. Pre-booking your Field of Light tour prior to arrival is recommended as spaces are limited for the viewing. A 10-day trip with Jacada could also encompass the more remote parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
AUSTRALASIA: FALL IN LOVE WITH FRENCH POLYNESIA
Be amazed by deep turquoise lagoons, white sandy beaches, and dramatic green volcanoes, set in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. There’s plenty to explore, since French Polynesia consists of 118 islands – 67 of which are inhabited. Occupying an area larger than Europe, it is divided into five groups of islands: the Society Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, Gambier Islands, Marquesas Islands and Austral Islands. Experience festivities, and mysterious ancestral arts and rites that have fascinated people through the ages.
EUROPE: AN AUSPICIOUS TIME TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
The Northern Lights have been connected to fertility and bringing one luck and happiness in China and Japan, making it a popular event with Asians. Some even say that they are a prediction of a forthcoming birth. Winter is the best time to see the Northern Lights, as this time of year offers typically clear and dark skies. The arctic tundra of the Svalbard Islands will also appeal to the adventurer with kayaking, trekking, snowmobiling and dog sledding tours in abundance. No journey is complete without spotting wildlife from polar bears to whales, discovering glaciers, fjords and ice caves. Jacada offers several different perspectives on Norway’s remarkable landscapes with tours by Zodiac, boat and car. Don’t miss an overnight stay in the Arctic Capital, Tromso, whose character is shaped by explorers, fishermen and the Sami people.
For more information: www.jacadatravel.com