Escape “Light Pollution” – 5 Places to Stargaze in the World

circles of lightHappy International Astronomy Day!

For all you stargazers out there, our zest for exploration spans far beyond the far corners of the world – the night sky never ceases to amaze us as well.  While we tout the amazing cities to travel to, sometimes we want to venture far away from the “light pollution”.

Add a few of these items to your world travel bucket list or maybe include these places in your Vine video for Contiki’s #EmptyTheBucket campaign?  Either way, it’s time to start looking up when the sun goes down.

Griffith Park Observatory, Los Angeles

Despite overlooking a city known for light pollution, The Griffith Park observatory hosts free public star parties where you can gaze at the stars overhead while enjoying the picturesque California weather.

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Watch this time-lapse video of a stargazing tour at the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand.

Death Valley National Park, California

Unlike The Griffith Observatory which is perched on a hilltop, you can enjoy expansive views of the night sky in Death Valley.  You can see both satellites and planets with the naked eye.

Lucerne, Switzerland

Lucerne offers some breathtaking views of the night sky from Lake Lucerne.

Tuscany, Italy

Home to one of the most famous astronomers of all time, it was in Tuscany where Galileo turned his eyes (and telescope) towards the sky and discovered the astronomical phenomena that we know today.

Tell us – what are some of your favorite places in the world to stargaze?

California Dreaming on Contiki’s California Highlights

SFAs the temperatures drop, we can’t help but turn our eyes to the Golden State, where one can hit the ski slopes and then go visit the Pacific Ocean all in the same day.

YouTube user Alexander Leeway brings us on a fantastic journey through one of Contiki’s favorite USA tours, California Highlights!  Check out the video below and enjoy!

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Swimming with Sharks in the Galapagos

Sharks have a bad rep – with television programs like Shark Week and the success of the SyFy channel’s made-for-tv movie “Sharknadoit’s hard for any of us to get the Jaws theme song out of our head and that fear of open water.

However, sharks are overfished for their fins (ever heard of shark fin soup?) and an organization called Shark Savers is working to change the media’s negative portrayal of sharks worldwide.  Check out this amazing video shot by Art of Backpacking‘s Michael Tieso, which features his unique opportunity to dive with Celine Cousteau and count sharks on behalf of Shark Savers.  (Note: This was a special Earth Day departure of Contiki’s Galapagos trip and not a usual occurrence.)

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Where to Wednesday: Your Dream Vacation!

DancePeruContiki a tour operator for 18-35’s, which makes up proud to be members of the USTOA (United States Tour Operators Association).  You’ll find their logo on the back of every Contiki brochure.

We’re always looking for ways to promote our love for travel and get you to the destination you’ve been dreaming about – and what better way than through DANCING?!

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