Golfing | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com Trip Ideas, Itineraries, Maps & Area Experts Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:01:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 https://deathstar-650a.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-moon_logo_M-32x32.jpg Golfing | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com 32 32 125073523 Things to Do in Grindavík, Iceland https://moon.com/2016/08/things-to-do-grindavik-iceland/ https://moon.com/2016/08/things-to-do-grindavik-iceland/#respond Mon, 08 Aug 2016 13:42:16 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=41865 There's plenty to do in Grindavík, from exploring the town's fish trade history, taking a dip in the giant manmade geothermal Blue Lagoon, to outdoor fun.

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There’s plenty to do in Grindavík, a placid fishing town steeped in fish trade history. Many of the same families have been trolling these waters for generations, and visitors can see fishers hauling their daily bounty of cod out of the harbor by day and dine on the local catch at night. But the Grindavík area’s greatest claim to fame is the giant manmade geothermal expanse of the Blue Lagoon.

A trip to the Blue Lagoon in the winter is eerie and wonderful.

A trip to the Blue Lagoon in the winter is eerie and wonderful. Photo © Robert Rozbora/123rf.

Sights in Grindavík

Bláa Lónið (Blue Lagoon)

Located 23 kilometers south of Keflavík International Airport, the Blue Lagoon (Svartsengi, tel. 354/420-8800, 7:30am-9pm daily June-Aug., 10am-8pm daily Sept.-May) draws visitors from around the world, to soak in the glorious, healing waters amid a dreamlike atmosphere.

Watching as snow falls from the jet-black December sky, or as northern lights dance across it, while soaking in the heated water is sublime.A trip to the Blue Lagoon in the winter is eerie and wonderful. Watching as snow falls from the jet-black December sky, or as northern lights dance across it, while soaking in the heated water is sublime. But the heated water, which ranges 37-39°C (98-102°F), is heavenly during any time of year. The milky waters and the misty air during the summer are lovely, especially on sunny days.

The water is not deep, less than five feet, and the bottom is covered with white silica mud, the result of a natural process of re-condensation. It’s common to see visitors cover their faces with the mud, as it’s very good for your skin. The gift shop sells Blue Lagoon skin products that have ingredients ranging from silica mud to algae found in other parts of Iceland.

A rejuvenating soak at the Blue Lagoon is a great way to kick off your trip or end it on a relaxing note.

A rejuvenating soak at the Blue Lagoon is a great way to kick off your trip or end it on a relaxing note. Photo © Ivanguart/Dreamstime.

For those not interested in taking a soak, there are two steam baths on the property, as well as a dry sauna and massage area. Spa treatments are also available.

Many tours feature a visit to the Blue Lagoon, but if you’re traveling independently, it makes sense to visit right after you fly in or before you head home, as it’s very close to Keflavík airport. A rejuvenating soak is a great way to kick off your trip or end it on a relaxing note.

The entrance fee is 6,000ISK for adults, 3,000ISK for teenagers, 3,000ISK for senior citizens, and children under the age of 13 are admitted free. Because of the increase in tourism over the past few years, the Blue Lagoon now requires that you book a time slot ahead of your arrival. Thousands of people visit the site every day, and it could be quite crowded during summer months. If you don’t bring your own towel, you can rent one at the front desk, along with swimsuits and bathing caps.

Fishing boats in Grindavík

Fishing boats in Grindavík. Photo © zuc123, Flickr/CC-BY.

Saltfisksetur (Saltfish Museum)

The Saltfish Museum (Hafnargata 12A, tel. 354/420-1190, 9am-6pm daily, entrance 500ISK) is a museum that tells you exactly what Iceland’s fish trade was like from 1770 to 1965, when saltfish ceased to be Iceland’s top export. Photos, fishing equipment, and even a full-size fishing boat from the early 20th century are on display, explaining the importance of saltfish to Iceland, economically and culturally. If you’re curious about the region, would like to learn more about processing saltfish in the olden days, or would like to get a look at an old-school fishing boat, be sure to stop by.

Fishermen Memorial

A sad part of Iceland’s fishing history is the stories of men that went out to sea to never return. There’s a moving memorial in downtown Grindavík, in the main garden near the Saltfish Museum, showing a mother with her son and daughter waiting for their fisherman husband/father to return home from sea. It’s a reminder that the fish used for consumption and trade has come at a high price for many families over the years. The memorial was created by sculptor Ragnar Kjartansson.

Sports and Recreation in Grindavík

Biking

Reykjanes has several well-maintained trails perfect for cycling. Arctic Adventures (tel. 354/562-7000) operates a popular mountain biking tour that departs from Reykjavík by bus. Biking begins at the Blue Lagoon. The easy bike ride takes tourists on trails that run along volcanic craters, rugged lava fields, and bubbling hot springs throughout the peninsula. The tour runs mid-May-mid-September for 33,000ISK and ends with a dip in the soothing, geothermally heated water at the Blue Lagoon.

Camping

Tourists can camp from mid-May to mid-September at Grindavík’s Campsite (Austurvegur 26, tel. 354/660-7323, 1,200ISK) by the harbor. A popular campsite, Grindavík’s location offers laundry facilities, a common eating area, and a playground for children that has swings and a spider net for climbing. The campsite accommodates tents, RVs, and campers, with access to hookups. The grassy field is an open space with beautiful views of mountains. There’s also a paved entrance to the campsite and a large parking area. Close by is an area to empty camper port-a-potties.

Golf

Just four kilometers southwest from the Blue Lagoon, Húsatóftir Golf Course (Húsatóftum, tel. 354/426-8720, 5,000ISK) is an 18-hole golf course where visitors can golf from late May to early September, depending on the weather. The course sits on a scenic part of the southern part of the country with picturesque views of the landscape. However, the course can be busy with locals during the high season of June-July. Be sure to call ahead for a tee time.

Swimming

Grindavík is home to one of the best pools in South Iceland. The Grindavík Swimming Pool (Austurvegur 1, tel. 354/426-7555, 7am-8pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-5pm Sat.-Sun. June-Aug., 400ISK) has a 25-meter pool, hot tubs, tanning beds, a water slide, children’s pool, and fitness center.

Travel map of Reykjanes Peninsula

Reykjanes Peninsula


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Iceland.

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Top Things to Do in Húsafell, Iceland https://moon.com/2016/07/top-things-to-do-husafell-iceland/ https://moon.com/2016/07/top-things-to-do-husafell-iceland/#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 15:06:57 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=41934 Húsafell is a tiny village with ample to do. Surrounded by glaciers, ample hiking opportunities, and miles of lava fields, it welcomes visitors year-round.

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Húsafell is a tiny village surrounded by glaciers, ample hiking opportunities, and miles of lava fields. Most tourists make a stop to camp, visit two beautiful waterfalls, and check out some lava caves in nearby Reykholt or explore the newly opened Langjökull ice tunnel. Organized trips with a tour operator to Langjökull glacier are also available from Húsafell throughout the year.

Hraunfossar waterfalls in Iceland.

The Lava Waterfalls (Hraunfossar) are beautiful to visit in any season. Photo © Constantin Stanciu/123rf.

Sights

Hraunfossar (Lava Waterfalls)

Hikers have a number of options in Húsafell, ranging from easy walks to more challenging climbs.The Lava Waterfalls are a series of waterfalls streaming over 900 meters out of a lava field. The lava flowed from an eruption from a volcano lying under the Langjökull glacier. The falls are beautiful to visit in any season, and rainbows are frequently seen near the falls on rainy/sunny days. Hraunfossar is 6.4 kilometers west of Húsafell on Route 518. The GPS coordinates are N 64.7028, W 20.9777.

Barnafoss (Children’s Falls)

Barnafoss is a stunning waterfall named for children who disappeared from a nearby farm and drowned in the river. Lore has it that the mother of the disappeared children put a curse on the falls that people should not cross the river. Barnafoss is 6.2 kilometers west of Húsafell on Route 518. The GPS coordinates are N 64.7015, W 20.9727.

Langjökull Ice Cave

For those looking for a little ice in Iceland, Into the Glacier (Viðarhöfði 1, tel. 354/578-2550, tours from 17,900ISK) offers day tours to the world’s largest man-made ice cave, Langjökull. A super-truck picks up visitors close to Hotel Husafell for a journey that will leave many breathless as they traverse the glacier to the base camp, which takes 25 minutes. The cave itself is an engineering feat where visitors are treated to views of crevices and the smooth ice walls. LED lighting embedded in the walls lights the ice nicely, and benches are scattered throughout the tunnel.

Hiking in Húsafell

Hikers have a number of options in Húsafell, ranging from easy walks to more challenging climbs. However, before you set out, be sure to check the weather forecast, bring the proper gear and plenty of drinking water, and let people know your whereabouts. The prime hiking season is June-August.

Mount Strútur

While the climb to the summit of the 938-meter Mount Strútur isn’t very difficult, it is quite long, as the summit is 938 meters. The hike takes several hours depending on the weather and your endurance. It is recommended to start from the low hill north of Kalmanstunga and to follow a track that leads up the mountain. The payoff for reaching the top is a spectacular view of mountains and the Borgarfjörður fjord. Kalmanstunga is 17 kilometers north of Húsafell and can be reached by Route 518.

Oddar

From the summerhouse settlement in the center of Húsafell, there are wooded paths heading westward for an easy walk along Oddar, a group of brooks with diverse birdlife. From there it is just a short walk upriver to the meeting point of two rivers: the Norðlingafljót and Hvítá. Just below Hvítá is the waterfall Hundavaðsfoss, which is a great place to stop and marvel at the region’s beauty. The route then leads southeast along the sands, to a path leading back to the summerhouse settlement. The walk takes about 1.5 hours and is very easygoing.

Other Sports and Recreation

Golf

The Húsafell Golf Course (Stórarjóður, tel. 354/435-1552, 8am-6pm daily May-Sept., greens fee 4,000ISK) is a nine-hole course situated on a gorgeous patch of land overlooking mountains and lava fields. You must call ahead for a tee time. The GPS coordinates are N 64.6991, W 20.8709.

Swimming

The Húsafell Swimming Pool (Stórarjóður, tel. 354/435-1552, 10am-10pm daily June-Sept., 1pm-5pm Sat.-Sun. rest of year, 800ISK) has two pools, two hot tubs, and a big water slide for kids.

Where to Stay

Hotel Husafell (Borgarbyggd, tel. 354/435-1551, rooms from 33,500ISK) is a new modern hotel that opened its doors in 2015. The location is unbeatable, as it is nestled in a scenic spot with stunning views of the mountain landscape, close to lava caves and glaciers. The rooms feature comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and modern design accents, including wood furnishings and large windows. A breakfast buffet is included in the room price, and 24-hour room service is available. A pool and hot tubs are on-site and the in-house restaurant is not to be missed. The menu features everything from tender lamb filet to fresh fish. Entrées start at 3,000ISK.

The Husafell Campground (tel. 354/435-1556, 1,400ISK) is an open campground surrounded by trees, which cuts down on the wind a bit. Caravans and tents are welcome, and the facilities include restrooms, showers, hot and cold water, and laundry machines. The site is a short distance to the swimming pool, golf course, and hiking trails.

Getting to Húsafell

Húsafell is 25 kilometers east from Reykholt on Route 518. There are no direct buses to Húsafell.

Travel map of Akranes and Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Akranes and Snæfellsnes Peninsula


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Iceland.

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Summer Sports and Recreation in Halifax, Nova Scotia https://moon.com/2016/07/summer-sports-recreation-halifax/ https://moon.com/2016/07/summer-sports-recreation-halifax/#respond Sun, 24 Jul 2016 15:49:19 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=43590 A busy, metropolitan city, Halifax is nevertheless fully engaged in enjoying the great outdoors. Here's a look at locals' favorite summer recreation in Halifax.

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A busy, metropolitan city, Halifax is nevertheless fully engaged in enjoying the great outdoors. While locals make the best of harsh Atlantic winters with skiing, skating, and other snow sports, they’re looking forward to sun and sand the second the last snowflake melts.

Walking and Hiking in Halifax

Even if you’re not feeling overly energetic, plan to take a stroll along the downtown waterfront. A seawall promenade winds past docks filled with all manner of boats (tall ships, tugboats, and visiting yachts), harbor-front restaurants, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Historic Properties, and south to Pier 21. While it’s possible to do all your downtown sightseeing on foot, an easier option is to catch a cab to Citadel Hill, from which it’s downhill all the way back to the harbor. At Citadel Hill, take the time not only to visit the fort but also to walk around the perimeter, and then cross Sackville Street to the Public Gardens, a delightful place for a flower-filled stroll.

McNabs Island is a popular destination for day-tripping hikers.

Point Pleasant Park is laced with hiking and biking trails.

Point Pleasant Park is laced with hiking and biking trails. Photo © Vadim Petrov/123rf.

Point Pleasant Park, 2.5 kilometers south of downtown, off Young Avenue, is laced with hiking and biking trails. The obvious choice is to stick to the water, along a two-kilometer (one-way) trail that hugs the shoreline, passing Point Pleasant itself before winding around to the Northwest Arm. Other trails lead inland to historic fortifications and through the remains of forests devastated by Hurricane Juan in 2003.

Across the Northwest Arm from downtown, Sir Sandford Fleming Park flanks the water in an upscale neighborhood. Again, it’s the seawall walk that is most popular, but another pleasant trail leads up through the forest to Frog Lake.

Take the Bedford Highway north from downtown and then one kilometer north of the Kearney Lake Road junction and watch for Kent Avenue (to the left), which leads into a dense old-growth forest protected as Hemlock Ravine Park. From the pond and picnic area, a world away from surrounding development, five trails branch off into the forest. Some are short and perfect for younger and older walkers, while others, including the trail to the hemlock-filled ravine, are steeper and can be slippery after rain.

Bicycling in Halifax

The local municipality, with its many lakes and harbor-side coves, has put considerable effort into making the city as bike-friendly as possible. The Halifax Regional Municipality website has a PDF bike map, or pick one up at the information center. A centrally located source for rentals and advice is Ideal Bikes (1678 Barrington St., 902/444-7433). Standard bikes cost from $25 for two hours or $50 for a full day.

Freewheeling Adventures (902/857-3600 or 800/672-0775) is a local tour company that runs recommended guided bike trips along the South Shore, starting from Hubbards, just south of the city. Guests ride for up to six hours per day, stay in cottages or B&Bs, and have all meals included. Rates start at $2,300 per person.

Sunset at Crystal Crescent Beach.

Sunset at Crystal Crescent Beach—the locals’ favorite Atlantic beach. Photo © Vadim Petrov/123rf.

Water Sports in Halifax

Swimming and Sunbathing

Municipal swimming pools include Northcliffe Pool (111 Clayton Park Dr., 902/490-4690) and Needham Pool (3372 Devonshire Ave., 902/490-4633).

Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park lies a half-hour south of Halifax, off Highway 349, and is the locals’ favorite Atlantic beach. Its sand is fine, and the sea is usually cold, but summer crowds heat up the action. Nature lovers will enjoy the 10-kilometer trail to remote Pennant Point, while naturists will want to gravitate to the farthest of the park’s three beaches—one of Canada’s few official nude beaches.

If you’re visiting Fisherman’s Cove, head east for eight kilometers along Cow Bay Road to reach Rainbow Haven Provincial Park. The park protects wetlands at the mouth of Cole Harbour and an ocean-facing beach. The beach is often windy (it’s not uncommon to see people sunbathing back in the dunes), but on calm days it’s a delightful place to soak up some rays and maybe, if you’re brave, take a dip in the water. At the end of the park access road are changing rooms and a concession selling beachy food (ice cream and hot dogs).

Canoeing and Kayaking

Based on the Northwest Arm, Saint Mary’s Boat Club (1641 Fairfield Rd., 902/490-4688) rents canoes at no cost on a limited basis through summer. Canoes are available June-September (Sat.-Sun. 11am-7pm).

Golfing in Halifax

Halifax and the surrounding area are home to more than a dozen courses, varying from 9-hole public courses to exclusive 18-holers. The Nova Scotia Golf Association website has links to all provincial courses.

The Courses

Host of the 2012 TELUS World Skins, Glen Arbour Golf Course (Glen Arbour Way, off Hammonds Plains Rd., 1 km west of Bedford, 902/835-4653) is one of Canada’s finest links. Choose from five sets of tees, to a maximum of 6,800 yards. The course has abundant water hazards, 90 bunkers, and fairways lined by hardwood forests. Greens fees top out at $105 in midsummer, dropping as low as $60 for twilight golf in October.

Lost Creek Golf Club (310 Kinsac Rd., 902/865-4653) enjoys the same forested environment as Glen Arbour, but without the valet parking and high greens fees (golfing is just $46). To get there, take Exit 2 from Highway 101 and follow Beaverbank Road north for 10 kilometers; turn right on Kinsac Road and then left on William Nelson Drive.

One of the region’s most enjoyable layouts is Granite Springs (25 km west of downtown, off Hwy. 333 at 4441 Prospect Rd., Bayside, 902/852-4653). This challenging course winds through 120 hectares of mature forest, with distant ocean views. Greens fees are $58 ($38 twilight).

Travel map of Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax


Excerpted from the Seventh Edition of Moon Atlantic Canada.

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Guatemala City Golfing https://moon.com/2016/02/guatemala-city-golfing/ https://moon.com/2016/02/guatemala-city-golfing/#respond Sat, 06 Feb 2016 19:13:21 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=35281 Fans of golf will find some excellent golf courses in and around the city; those within private country clubs are usually still open to visitors. You can enjoy a round of golf surrounded by the country’s spectacular mountain scenery as you play on narrow, sloping fairways lined with pine trees and a variety of other obstacles. Several of sportfishing outfitters have also combined fishing and golf packages.

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Alta Vista Golf and Tennis Club offers one of Guatemala's most challenging courses. Photo © Al Argueta.

Alta Vista Golf and Tennis Club offers one of Guatemala’s most challenging courses. Photo © Al Argueta.

Fans of golf will find some excellent golf courses in and around the city; those within private country clubs are usually still open to visitors. You can enjoy a round of golf surrounded by the country’s spectacular mountain scenery as you play on narrow, sloping fairways lined with pine trees and a variety of other obstacles. Several of sportfishing outfitters have combined fishing and golf packages. If interested, contact The Great Sailfishing Company (tel. 7934-6220, or 877/763-0851 U.S.) or Sailfish Bay Lodge (tel. 2426-3909 direct or 800/638-7405 U.S. reservations). It’s also possible to arrange a round of golf through the concierges at some of the city’s finer hotels, including the Westin Camino Real and InterContinental. Entry to all of these clubs is by prior authorization only. You’ll need to call ahead or email.

The 18-hole, 7,100-yard, par-72 golf course at Hacienda Nueva Country Club is just outside the city near Carretera a El Salvador and set beautifully on the grounds of a 16th-century Jesuit monastery.In 2006 and 2007, Guatemala City’s San Isidro Golf Club hosted the NGA/Hooter’s Pro Golf Tour, which has become an annual event between the last week of February and the first week of March. Guatemala is also a major stop along the annual Tour de las Américas in February.

Guatemala City’s exclusive Cayalá area is now home to a driving range, the first of its kind in Central America. Top Tee (Boulevard Austríaco 37-01, Arcadia de Cayalá, Zona 16, tel. 2300-0700) has 38 driving stations, TV lounges for watching sports, and a well-stocked bar.

San Isidro Golf Club

Still officially within the city limits in Zona 16, San Isidro Golf Club (Finca San Isidro, Zona 16, tel. 2419-1200) is the city’s most modern and is in a quiet residential section in its eastern extremes. The 18-hole, par-72 course measures 6,640 yards and offers some truly spectacular views of Guatemala City flanked by Agua, Acatenango, and Fuego Volcanoes. Greens fees are $75, clubs rent for $15, a cart rental costs $20, and caddies are $15. The splendid facilities here include a restaurant overlooking the greens featuring a beautiful dining room with vaulted wooden ceiling, a gym, a squash court, and a swimming pool with lap lanes.

Hacienda Nueva Country Club

The 18-hole, 7,100-yard, par-72 golf course at Hacienda Nueva Country Club (Km. 25, Ruta Nacional 18, Carretera a Mataquescuintla, San José Pinula, tel. 6628-1000, $75 Tues.-Fri., $90 weekends and holidays) is just outside the city near Carretera a El Salvador and set beautifully on the grounds of a 16th-century Jesuit monastery. There’s a small chapel with original artwork where Mass is still held weekly. Facilities include nine tennis courts, two squash courts, tennis and golf pro shops, and a swimming pool that has won international design awards. The clubhouse has three dining areas, including a poolside snack bar, a casual dining room serving international dishes, and La Pérgola, an outdoor steakhouse overlooking the 18th hole. Fees include $15 for caddie service and $25 for cart rental. A limited number of golf clubs are available for rental at $15. There are also a driving range and putting green.

Alta Vista Golf and Tennis Club

The most challenging course can be found just down the road from Hacienda Nueva at Alta Vista Golf and Tennis Club (Km. 27, Ruta Nacional 18, Carretera a Mataquescuintla, San José Pinula, tel. 6661-1414, 7am-8pm Tues.-Sun., $75), where the 18-hole, par-71, slope-122 course is divided into two nine-hole sections. Additional challenges include 74 sand traps and two water traps with a route defined by 1,800 trees of varying species, adding a nice alpine touch to the incredible mountain views. The clubhouse is in a large and attractive three-story, English-style building with an elegant restaurant, a bar with pool table, an indoor swimming pool, three squash courts, and six tennis courts. Golf cart rentals cost $30, clubs are $15, and caddies $15.

Mayan Golf Course

South of the city in the neighboring district of Villa Nueva, Mayan Golf Course (Finca El Zarzal, Villa Nueva, tel. 6685-5800, $75) is Guatemala City’s oldest, dating to 1918. The facilities here feel somewhat dated but have been well maintained. The 18-hole, par-72 golf course has exquisite views of Lake Amatitlán and Pacaya Volcano along its 7,092-yard length. Rental clubs and golf carts are available, and there is a café with a terrace overlooking the course. Additional sporting facilities include a bowling alley, tennis courts, a soccer field, volleyball court, and swimming pool.


Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Guatemala.

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Sailfishing and Golf Trips in Guatemala https://moon.com/2015/12/guatemala-sailfishing-golf-trips/ https://moon.com/2015/12/guatemala-sailfishing-golf-trips/#respond Fri, 11 Dec 2015 18:23:36 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=32474 Combine some of the best sailfishing in the world with any of the five good golf courses in and around Guatemala City for a real surf and turf vacation. Here are our recommendations.

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Guatemala offers some of the best sailfishing in the world. Back on land, Guatemala City has at least four good golf courses—with another star player just one hour outside the city. Numerous sailfishing outfitters and accommodations can host your stay; virtually all of them have agreements with golf courses, allowing you to combine the two activities for a “surf and turf” vacation.

A golf cart heads down a cement path, through a verdant golf course.

If you enjoy golfing (and even if you don’t), head 20 kilometers outside of Antigua to La Reunión Antigua Golf Resort overlooking the Pacific Coast and in the shadow of four volcanoes. Photo © María Renée Batlle Castillo, licensed Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives.

Sailfishing and Whale-Watching

Other species you might spy include pilot whales, whale sharks, sea turtles, and bottlenose dolphins.Your base for sailfishing will likely be Iztapa, about 90 minutes from Guatemala City. Sailfish Bay Lodge is among the best outfitters, with a lodge right on the beach. Another good option is Casa Vieja Lodge, near Puerto San José. You can fish from one to five days (or more) and then tack on an extra day or two for golf.

Guatemala is also a stopping point along the migration path of humpback whales, so you can take a morning for whale-watching in season (December-February). Other species you might spy include pilot whales, whale sharks, sea turtles, and bottlenose dolphins. Scheduled tours leave weekend mornings from Antigua Guatemala or Iztapa, beginning and ending in the Puerto Quetzal marina.

Golf

Set on a former coffee plantation just 20 kilometers from Antigua, La Reunión Antigua Golf Resort is the only place in the world where you can enjoy a round of golf with a view of four volcanoes, two of which are active. Practice your swing at the driving range in the shadow of smoke-belching Fuego Volcano; its 18-hole, Pete Dye-designed Fuego Maya golf course takes its inspiration from the 19-month Mayan solar calendar. The adjacent 26-suite hotel offers fabulous accommodations and delectable culinary creations. You may never want to leave.

It’s only an hour from La Reunión to Guatemala City, or 45 minutes to the Pacific Coast. You can easily combine a stay in Antigua or Guatemala City with some golf time; Guatemala’s near-perfect climate makes golf possible almost any time of year. In the vicinity of Guatemala City, the best place to tee off is San Isidro Golf Club. The surrounding hillsides offer wonderful views of the city.


Excerpted from the Fifth Edition of Moon Guatemala.

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Recreation on Australia’s Hamilton Island https://moon.com/2015/10/recreation-hamilton-island-australia/ https://moon.com/2015/10/recreation-hamilton-island-australia/#respond Sat, 24 Oct 2015 19:01:16 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=31892 Recreation on Hamilton Island is weighted heavily toward sailing and boating, since the area is so great for it, but you'll also find a plethora of other activities from the usual vacation pursuits such as walking tours or a round of golf, and some not-so-usual pursuits such as art classes, and Go-Kart racing.

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Recreation on Hamilton Island is weighted heavily toward sailing and boating, since the area is so great for it, but you’ll also find a plethora of other activities from the usual vacation pursuits such as walking tours or a round of golf, and some not-so-usual pursuits such as art classes, Go-Kart racing, and various events organized by resorts.

Cruise Indigo (tel. 07/4946-9664) offers cruises setting off from Hamilton Island Marina. Options include snorkeling trips, sunset tours, dining tours, and tailored private charters.

Sailing the Whitsundays is simply the best sailing experience you can get.Be your own captain and explore the island’s hidden coves and beaches in a motorized dinghy. Dinghy hire (tel. ext. 58305 or 07/4946-8305, from $139 per half day for up to six people, minimum age of driver 18) comes complete with fishing essentials and fuel.

Jet Ski tours (tel. ext. 58305 or 07/4946-8305, from $219 per ski, $39 for additional passenger, minimum age of driver 18, minimum age of passenger 10) give you a chance to see the island from a different perspective and have an adventure on the sea. Tours take you around the bays and beaches.

Sea kayaking tours (tel. ext. 58305 or 07/4946-8305, from $59) are a great way to experience the island. Go on an adventure paddle for a couple of hours, visiting nearby islands and stopping for a swim or snorkel along the way, or try the serene sunset paddle, kayaking while sipping a glass of sparkling wine.

Sailboats in the waters off Hamilton Island, Australia.

Hundreds of yachts, from 30-foot boats rented for the week to billion-dollar super yachts, compete in some serious racing during Hamilton Island Race Week. Photo © Andy Tyler, licensed Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives.

Sailing the Whitsundays is simply the best sailing experience you can get. With Adrenalin Rush Sailing (tel. 07/4946-9664, from $75 for 40 minutes), you can try a short trip on the catamaran to get a taste and maybe follow it up with a sailing lesson or two, or hire a sailboat for a group of experienced sailors. Alternatively, you can go with a skipper and explore the neighboring islands.

Become a spectator of stunning sailboats descending on the islands during August’s famous Hamilton Island Race Week, started by Keith Williams in the 1980s. Hundreds of yachts, from 30-foot boats rented for the week to billion-dollar super yachts, compete in some serious racing.

Walking trails (daily 6:30am-5:30pm, pick up map at your resort) cover some 20 kilometers of the island. Climb up to the Resort lookout, the second highest point on the island, with stunning views; head to Escape Beach at low tide with a picnic; or find Coral Cove Beach with views across to Lindeman Island. There are plenty of options. You can order picnic lunches at your resort 24 hours in advance.

Audio tours (free, ask at your resort desk) will teach you about the island’s history or about the nature you’ll encounter on the set bushwalk.

If you want to go exploring the resorts and activity centers, and want the freedom of driving yourself rather than waiting for the shuttle, look into buggy hire (tel. ext. 58263 or 07/4946-8263, from $45 per hour). Golf carts are the standard mode of transport on the island.

Quad bike tours (tel. ext. 58305 or 07/4946-8305, 15 minutes from $109 adult, $32 child 6-14) are available for kids and adults. Drivers must be 16 years old and hold at least a learner’s permit. With the quad bikes you can set off along the bushland trails across the island and enjoy otherwise inaccessible views and secluded nooks.

Have fun on the purpose-built track for Go-karts (tel. 07/4946-8305, from $47 for 10 minutes, minimum age 11 and minimum height 140 cm, duo karts minimum age 4 years with adult) at Hamilton Island’s Palm Valley. Take the wheel on the exhilarating outdoor track, reaching speeds of up to 45 kilometers per hour.

Playing golf (tel. ext. 59760 or 07/4948-9760, from $100 for 9 holes and $150 for 18 holes, $90 for professional lesson) in the Whitsundays includes a trip to the neighboring Dent Island, either by boat or helicopter. But once you’re there, it offers a championship course, par 71, measuring 6,120 meters. Private lessons, a driving range, club house, and pro shop are all available on the island, making for a great day out.

The purpose-built 9-pin (not 10-pin) bowling alley (tel. ext. 58440 or 07/4946-8440, 1 hour $59) offers a bit of a challenge, with seven lanes, an amusement arcade, a licensed bar, food and snacks, and glow-in-the-dark lanes at night.

Art classes (tel. ext. 59657 or 07/4948-9657, adult $69, child $39) can be arranged at the dedicated space, the Art Gallery. Learn how to capture the beauty of the islands and work on a special souvenir. Classes can be adult only, for children, or even for families. All materials are supplied.

There are also daily activities organized by the resorts, such as spin classes, mini-golf championships for kids, buggy rallies, trivia evenings, and countless others, some at extra cost, a lot of them free to resort guests. You can also hire snorkel equipment at Catseye Beach, get windsurf boards and paddle boards and much more, all free for guests.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Sydney & the Great Barrier Reef.

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Golf at the Kohala Resorts on the Big Island https://moon.com/2015/09/golf-at-the-kohala-resorts/ https://moon.com/2015/09/golf-at-the-kohala-resorts/#respond Sun, 06 Sep 2015 11:43:58 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=18561 The resorts in South Kohala offer half a dozen of the best golf courses in the state, and they are all within a few miles of each other. Here's an overview of the greens, including course highlights and resort prices.

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The resorts in South Kohala offer half a dozen of the best golf courses in the state, and they are all within a few miles of each other.

The famous (and beautiful) 3rd hole at Mauna Kea Golf Course.

The famous (and beautiful) 3rd hole at Mauna Kea Golf Course. Photo © taylorandayumi, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Like rivers of green, the Waikoloa Scottish-links Kings’ Golf Course (600 Waikoloa Beach Dr., 808/886-7888), designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, and the Beach Golf Course (808/886-6060), a Robert Trent Jones Jr. creation, wind their way around the hotels and condos of Waikoloa Beach Resort. Both have plenty of water and lava rock hazards, and each has its own clubhouse. Lessons, a golf clinic, and a half-day golf school can be arranged through both courses. Prices are reasonable, ranging $85-165. Off-property guests pay about $30 more per round than Waikoloa Beach Resort guests. Discounts are available after 3pm and for nine-hole rounds. Family golf days, where children under 17 play for a discounted rate, are a great deal.

Surrounding the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel are the marvelous Francis H. I‘i Brown North Course and Francis H. I‘i Brown South Course, whose artistically laid out fairways, greens, and sand traps make it a modern landscape sculpture. The 18-hole courses are carved from lava, with striking ocean views in every direction. Call the pro shop (808/885-6655) for information, tee times, clinics, and lessons. Discounts are available for booking online. Guests pay $165, and non-resort guests can expect to pay at least $215 for a round.

The Mauna Kea’s classic, trend-setting Mauna Kea Golf Course (808/882-5400) was designed by the master, Robert Trent Jones Sr., and has been voted among America’s 100 greatest courses and one of Hawaii’s finest. Deceptive off the tee, it’s demanding at the green. It lies near the ocean and has been joined by the more spread-out Hapuna Golf Course (808/880-3000), designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, which has been cut into the lava up above the hotels and highway. Both 18-hole courses give even the master players a challenge. Rates for the Mauna Kea course range $155-225 for resort guests depending on the time of day (discounts given for twilight play) and $250 for nonguests. The Hapuna course ranges $75-125, and kama‘aina discounts are also available.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.

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Golfing on Lana‘i: Three-Course Gamut https://moon.com/2015/09/golfing-on-lanai-three-course-gamut/ https://moon.com/2015/09/golfing-on-lanai-three-course-gamut/#respond Thu, 03 Sep 2015 12:17:38 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=18386 Home to two golf courses of international fame and beauty, and a unique third, very casual course, here's what to expect when golfing on Lana‘i.

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If you find yourself walking around Maui’s Lahaina Harbor around 6:30am you’ll notice a curious sight: A bunch of nicely dressed people walking around with golf clubs in the middle of a dingy harbor basin. No, they aren’t planning on using their seven-iron as a gaff while sportfishing; they’re taking the 6:45am ferry to Lana‘i for the day to tackle one of the island’s two championship golf courses. Although the courses are obviously open to guests of the Lana‘i resorts, they’re also open to golfers from the general public—many of whom choose to commute from Maui for the day.

On a morning when low-hanging clouds usher in a mist, this is truly a course where your competitive spirit is dampened by relaxation.At the 7,039-yard, Jack Nicklaus-designed Challenge at Manele (1 Manele Bay Rd., 808/565-2000, $210 resort guests, $225 day guest), the course lives up to its name by forcing golfers to tee-off across natural ravines which use the Pacific Ocean as a water hazard. There are five different tees which you can choose from, although pack a few extra balls in your bag, as playing from out of bounds on this course would involve a wet suit and some scuba gear.

Four Seasons Manele Bay golf course on the cliffs of Lana‘i's shore.

Golfing at the Four Seasons Manele Bay. Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels.

Whereas the Challenge at Manele can take your breath away with its panoramic vistas, the Experience at Koele (1 Keomuku Hwy., 808/565-4000, $125 resort guest, $185 day guest) course might literally take your breath away with its 2,000-foot elevation. Set among ironwood trees and Cook pines, this 7,014-yard, Greg Norman-designed masterpiece weaves its way through Lana‘i’s cool and forested uplands, and the signature 17th hole drops 250 feet from tee to green in the heart of a wooded ravine. On a morning when low-hanging clouds usher in a mist, this is truly a course where your competitive spirit is dampened by relaxation.

While the two courses mentioned above have been the recipients of international fame, there’s actually a third course on the island of Lana‘i, which comes with a price tag much easier to stomach. More of the no-shirt, no-shoes, beer-a-hole type of course, the nine-hole Cavendish Golf Course is better suited for recreational golfers who either want a quick practice round or haven’t quite figured out how to break 100. Best of all, the course is free. Constructed in 1947 as a recreational option for island pineapple workers, the Cavendish still operates as a place for island locals to practice their game and casually unwind. Although the fairways and tee boxes can be speckled with crabgrass and patches of dirt, the greens are still properly maintained. As there are no carts or cart paths, you also get a good workout walking the course’s moderate elevation changes. To reach the first tee box for the Cavendish course, make a right as if going to the Koele golf clubhouse off Keomuku Highway. Just after the turn you will notice an open field on the right side of the road with a small flag fluttering in the distance. Welcome to the Cavendish, although you’re going to have to supply your own clubs, balls, tees, and beer.

Map of Lana‘i, Hawaii

Lana‘i


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.

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Golfing O‘ahu’s Windward Side https://moon.com/2015/08/golfing-oahus-windward-side/ https://moon.com/2015/08/golfing-oahus-windward-side/#respond Tue, 11 Aug 2015 15:49:01 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=20819 Golfing O‘ahu's windward side offers a handful of courses to choose from catering to golfers of all skill levels and a range of budgets, and many of the more pricey courses offer decent twilight rates. Here's where to go, along with short course descriptions and tips.

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Golfing O‘ahu’s windward side offers a handful of courses to choose from catering to golfers of all skill levels and a range of budgets, and many of the more pricey courses offer decent twilight rates (usually 1pm onward).

Hawai‘i Kai

With beautiful views of Koko Crater, the Makapu‘u cliffs, and the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaii Kai Golf Course (8902 Kalanianaole Hwy., 808/395-2358) is both enjoyable and challenging. The Championship Course has the largest greens in the state with deep bunkers, and the Executive Course, a much shorter layout with undulating, sloping greens, focuses on putting and chipping for the most advanced golfers. The wind is always a factor as well, blowing straight off the ocean and creating another factor to consider on these courses.

The Hawaii Kai Golf Course has beautiful views of Koko Crater, the Makapu‘u cliffs, and the Pacific Ocean.

The Hawaii Kai Golf Course has beautiful views of Koko Crater, the Makapu‘u cliffs, and the Pacific Ocean. Photo © jai Mansson’s photography, licensed Creative Commons Attribution & ShareAlike.

Greens fees for the Championship Course are $110, $70 twilight (after 1pm) and for Executive Course are $38.50 weekday, $43.50 weekend. The entrance to the golf course is right off Kalanianaole Highway, between Sandy Beach Park and Makapu‘u.

Waimanalo

The front nine has level fairways and water hazards at every hole, while the back nine features rolling hills and sand bunkers.Just outside of Waimanalo town, on the Kailua side, is Olomana Golf Links (41-1801 Kalanianaole Hwy., 808/259-7926), an 18-hole, par-72 course.

The front nine has level fairways and water hazards at every hole, while the back nine features rolling hills and sand bunkers. The course also has stunning views of the Ko‘olau Mountains. Play 18 holes with a cart for $95, $80 second visit, and $60 each additional visit. Twilight greens fees are $80 after 1:30pm.

Kane‘ohe

Bay View Golf Park (45-285 Kaneohe Bay Dr., 808/247-0451) is an affordable 18-hole course in Kane‘ohe that has a double-decker range facility and is open for night play during the week. Visitor rates are $18 weekday, $26 weekend, $10 cart fee for 9 holes, and $26 weekday, $34 weekend, $14 cart fee for 18 holes.

For a more scenic and lush experience, visit the 18-hole Pali Golf Course (45-050 Kamehameha Hwy., 808/233-7499). This challenging, hillside course has three sets of tees for different skill levels. Greens fees are $50 daily.

Map of Windward O‘ahu, Hawaii

Windward O‘ahu


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.

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Golf and Spa Days in Honolulu https://moon.com/2015/06/golf-and-spa-days-in-honolulu/ https://moon.com/2015/06/golf-and-spa-days-in-honolulu/#respond Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:31:01 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=19864 While you might prefer one over the other, Honolulu has some excellent choices for both golf and spa days. If you're short on time or simply want the best of both in one day, plan ahead! Here's expert author Kevin Whitton with a round-up of Honolulu golf courses and spas.

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While you might prefer one over the other, Honolulu has some excellent choices for both golf and spa days. If you’re short on time or simply want the best of both in one day, consider a little planning—nine holes in the morning with a relaxing massage after lunch, or start your day with an easy, pampered morning followed by twilight on the green.

An older African-American woman golfer on a tropical course.

In Honolulu, you don’t need to choose between a golf or spa day, you can easily enjoy both. Photo © Blend Images/123rf.

Golf in Honolulu

Kaimuki

The Ala Wai Golf Course (404 Kapahulu Ave., 808/296-2000), on the mountain side of the Ala Wai Canal, is the closest golf course to Waikiki and a local favorite for a quick round of golf. The 18-hole course is flat and has views of Diamond Head and the Ko‘olau Range. Greens fees are $52 daily for 18 holes and $26 daily for twilight or nine holes. Golf cart fees are $20 for 18 holes, $10 for nine holes.

Moanalua

Even though Hawaii’s oldest golf course, Moanalua Golf Club (1250 Ala Aolani St., 808/839-2311), is a private club with membership benefits, access is open to the public. Built in 1898, the nine-hole course can be played as an 18-hole course by utilizing different sets of tees. The Moanalua Stream winds through the challenging course, set along the slopes of Moanalua, creating natural hazards. There are views of Diamond Head and the Honolulu skyline. Greens fees start at $45.

Spas in Honolulu

Downtown

Heaven on Earth Salon & Day Spa (1050 Alakea St., 808/599-5501, 9am-7pm Mon.-Fri., 8am-5pm Sat., 10am-4pm Sun.) is a full-service salon and spa located in the heart of downtown Honolulu. In addition to their complete set of services, they offer signature spa packages of skin and body treatments, or you can create your own. Massages start at $88 for 50 minutes and $118 for 80 minutes, facials start at $80 for 50 minutes, and 50-minute body treatments are $95. The spa packages range from 80 minutes to four hours and start at $210. They also have gentlemen’s spa services like facials, manicures, pedicures, and waxing.

Ala Moana

On the third floor in the Ala Moana Center is Ho‘ala Salon and Spa (1450 Ala Moana Blvd., 808/947-6141, 9am-9pm Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm Sun.), a full-service salon and spa using natural and eco-sensitive products from Aveda. The award-winning spa is a quiet respite from the bustle of the mall and town. Their signature massage care ranges 25-90 minutes; 50-minute therapies start at $100; 75 minutes start at $150. They have an extensive menu of facials: 25 minutes start at $65 and 60 minutes start at $125. Ho‘ala Spa also offers nail, hand, and foot care, spa body treatments, and hair care, as well as a 50- or 75-minute pregnancy massage.

Map of Greater Honolulu, Hawaii

Greater Honolulu


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.

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