October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the travel industry has joined the fight to raise awareness by “thinking pink” all month long. From hotel promotions and pink airplanes to mammograms and massages, here’s a look at where and how you can travel for a cause.
Remaining one of Latin America’s best kept secrets, Nicaragua is a country full of vibrant colonial heritage, mighty volcanoes and tranquil lakes. Nicaragua is paving the way at the forefront of eco-tourism, offering a unique experience while preserving the beautiful wildlife and surroundings. From exploring rainforests to sand-boarding down an active volcano – yes, volcano – you can choose to unwind and relax, unleash your inner adrenaline junkie or tick all the boxes and try a winning combination of both on a luxury holiday to Nicaragua. You’ll stay at some of the most remote eco-retreats amidst astounding scenery and discover the abundant wildlife, culture and history of this beautifully diverse country.
EXPLORE VIBRANT CITIES
Begin your trip in León, Nicaragua’s second largest city and the cultural hub of the country. A little more off the tourist trail than Granada, León offers a more authentic city experience, with the long pacific coastline offering white and black sand beaches, mangroves and bird-filled estuaries – perfect for unwinding after exploring the city. Take a guided walking tour around the city to explore the rich history – the best way to discover León is by foot as much of its charm lies in the narrow colonial streets, art galleries, museums, restaurants and architecture. A must experience is the Hotel la Perla, a beautiful colonial mansion decorated with typical Spanish style and with views overlooking the city. Juan Venado Island is just a short boat ride away; this natural reserve boasts a deserted 20km long beach on one side, with a winding channel in the heart of a mangrove swamp on the other. The island is home to crocodiles, iguanas and 106 species of bird, and is a well-known vital nesting ground for olive ridley sea turtles – you can catch a magical glimpse of the nesting season between August and December.
Granada is thought to be one of the oldest colonial cities in the western hemisphere, having been founded in 1524, and is your next city feat. No visit here is complete without a tour in a horse drawn carriage, a climb to the top of the Merced church bell tower for beautiful views and a trip to the San Francisco convent – now functioning as a museum – which is home to an impressive collection of pre-Colombian art. Rest your head at Hotel Plaza Colon, a vibrant luxury hotel with a hidden pool and courtyard where you can find a slice of tranquillity in this bustling heart of Nicaragua.
Throw in Central America’s youngest volcano and a sturdy sand board, and you have an exhilarating new favourite sport; volcano boarding. Not quite as terrifying as it sounds (you’ll surf ash not molten lava) but definitely adrenaline inducing. A 45-minute hike takes you to the summit of Cerro Negro, with awe-inspiring views and the start of your descent, where you’ll slide back down to the base of the volcano in a matter of minutes. See if you can beat the current record speed of 51 mph – not one for the faint-hearted but a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
ISLETS, LAKES AND BEACHES
From ultimate luxury at Mukul resort in Nicaragua’s Emerald coast to Central America’s most upscale eco lodge on Jicaro Island, one of 365 volcanic islets in Lake Nicaragua, you’ll want to discover the most luxurious retreats amidst breath-taking surroundings – think crystalclear waters, majestic volcanoes and dense jungle. Jicaro Ecolodge is leading the way for a new sustainable ecotourism while maintaining a truly luxurious feel throughout the resort. Pacific coastline and volcanic islands make up the whereabouts of these two very special retreats on this trip; an island getaway in a lake is all the more unusual, which of course makes it brilliant.
• 3 large lamb shanks, about 4 1/2 pounds
• Salt and pepper
• 6 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 large onion, sliced, about 2 cups
• Small pinch saffron
• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
• 2 teaspoons dried ginger
• ½ cup chopped dates of any kind, plus 24 whole Medjool dates
• ½ cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water to soften for 30 minutes and drained
• ½ cup pomegranate seeds
• Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1. Trim shanks of excess fat, then season generously with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine garlic, fresh ginger, paprika and cumin, and smear over shanks. Leave shanks at room temperature to season for at least an hour. (Or you can wrap and refrigerate several hours, or overnight; return to room temperature before proceeding.)
2. In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, saffron and cayenne, and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 5 minutes, until somewhat softened. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Lower heat to medium, add seasoned shanks and let cook with onions, turning occasionally, until meat and onions are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Add cinnamon stick, dried ginger, chopped dates and water to barely cover (about 31/2 to 4 cups) to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover pot with a tightfitting lid and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn heat down to 350 degrees. Check sauce and add water if level of liquid is below meat. Continue baking for another hour, checking liquid level occasionally, then test meat by probing with skewer or paring knife. It should be quite tender and almost falling from bone, but cooked no further. (Tagine may be prepared to this point up to two days ahead. Reheat gently in a covered pot on the stovetop, adding a little more water as necessary.)
4. Remove meat from pot and place in deep, wide serving bowl. Skim off any surface fat from cooking liquid in pot. Add whole dates to pot and simmer for a few minutes to reduce sauce slightly. Pour sauce and dates over meat. To serve, garnish with raisins, pomegranate seeds and cilantro sprigs.
God of War (Sony | PS4 | TBD 2017) For once, Kratos isn’t angry with the gods — he’s angry with his son for accidentally skewering his shoulder with an arrow during a fight with a troll. Indeed, the next God of War game offers a very different take on the world’s grumpiest demigod, trading his lust for blood for the love of a child. A father/son tale set against the unfriendly forests of the sprawling Nordic wilds, it’s a startling change of direction for the well-worn franchise and an oddly personal statement by lead designer (and new father) Corey Barlog. Bad dad, cool game.
Dishonored 2 (Bethesda | PC/PS4/Xbox One | 11/11/16) Shooter? Role-playing game? Action game? Stealth game? The sequel to the awesome Dishonored is all four, and then some. Set in the crumbling coastal town of Karnaca, Dishonored 2 lets players zip through the world as master assassin Corvo or his equally skilled protégé Emily. Branching stories, multiple routes, and a wealth of diabolically cool powers set the table for another potential Game of the Year contender.
We’ve just about reached peak smartphone. Every premium handset out there is incredibly powerful, has a beautiful display and a pretty solid camera. So where do we go from here? If you’re Lenovo, you let the customer decide. That’s the idea behind the company’s new Moto Z and Moto Z Force.
Have you ever gone shopping and forgot where you parked your car? It’s happened to all of us. And wandering through the parking lot on a hot day clicking the panic button so your alarm goes off can be frustrating and irritating.
Ringing in the Eid-Al-Adha celebrations, Babyshop, the one stop omni-channel kids’ retailer in the UAE from Landmark Group showcases the latest line of festive clothing.