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Website Being Redesigned

This website is being redesigned and will relaunch in a most beautiful and awesome form in a few more days.   For now, bookmark the page and we’ll let you know when it’s up and running.  

Cheers!

Mark and Alex

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Vagabrothers Win My Destination’s Biggest Baddest Bucket List

Wow.

The Vagabrothers are stoked to announce that out of 1,251 entries from 110 different countries, we have WON My Destination’s Biggest Baddest Bucket List.

What does that mean?

Starting in July we are off on a 6 month trip around the world to 6 continents and 25 destinations of our choice.  Our goal?  Explore the world, connect with the locals, and inspire you to do the same.  From the deserts of Oman, to the summit of Mount Kilmanjaro, to the jungles of Bali our Bucket List is sure to be amazing.

We will be vlogging, blogging and snapping photos the entire time so be sure to stay tuned. Trust us, this is going to be one hell of an adventure…and we are taking you with us!

Thanks again to Mydestination.com for making this all possible and making dreams come true!  You guys rock!

– The Vagabrothers

Here is a taste of what’s to come.

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Our #MyBBB Bucket List: Costa Rica

As we prepare to go to London to compete against 9 other finalists for MyDestination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List competition, we’re blogging about the places we’d love to include on our bucket list. We’ll spend this month in constant count-down, researching MyDestination.com’s 65 featured destinations and highlighting our favorites. In no particular order, today’s post is on Costa Rica.

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Pura vida. 

No two words could better sum up the life philosophy of Costa Rica’s friendly people, the Ticans.  Literally, it means “pure life” but the English words barely approach the carefree mentality that comes with the land.  To get it, you’d have to spend at least a week in the jungles and beaches of Costa Rica.  Here’s a few ideas on how to do that.

First, we’d drive down the Osa peninsula to get to Pavones – a true surfers’ paradise, but also one of the most biologically intense places on the planet, per Nat Geo.  It’s way down the Pacific coast near the Panamanian border, almost totally spared of development and widely considered Costa Rica’s last true paradise.

Despite some overdeveloped coastal areas, ecotourism is huge in Costa Rica. We’d get lost in this land of vast jungles, home to over 12,000 species of plants, 830 of birds, 1,200 of butterflies, 230 of mammals and 400 species of reptiles – even though it only takes up 0.3% of the world’s landmass.  Over a quarter of the country is “protected” through 26 national parks and even more wildlife refuges and biological reserves.

The only thing cooler than a jungle is a jungle island – especially a former hang out of pirates.  We’re talking about Coco Island, where they filmed Jurassic Park and where many treasure hunters have been drawn by rumors of lost gold – read the story here.

These days, Costa Rica’s gold comes from their #1 export – coffee.  There are plenty of coffee plantations offering tours that explain how the rich volcanic soil has made Costa Rica’s coffee some of the best in the world.

But the best way to energize our trip would be not from coffee, but adventure activities like canopy tours, canyoning down waterfalls, bungee jumping or white water rafting.  A number of rafting companies offer trips through tropical rivers – a bucket list experience that is hard to beat.  There’s plenty more on the open sea – from deep sea fishing, to scuba diving, whale watching and snorkeling – plus yoga and spas to help you relax ashore.

Such is the daily routine in paradise: wake up to the sound of the ocean, eat a breakfast of gayo pinto and fresh, guanabana juice and world-class coffee.  Surf till your arms fall off, walk down a jungle hemmed beach, or read a book in a hammock.  Adventure in the jungle or siesta – your choice.  Repeat until sunset, then dance the night away with Tic@s until it’s time to start again.

Costa Rica, we’re coming.

For now, our friends at JamandaHalf have provided us with a sample of local jams and if you want more music from Costa Rica visit their webpage.

Comments? Advice? Disagreements? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

And please vote for us to win MyDestination.com’s Biggest Baddest Bucketlist Competiton! 

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Our #MyBBB Bucket List: Oman

As we prepare to go to London to compete against 9 other finalists for MyDestination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List competition, we’re blogging about the places we’d love to include on our bucket list. We’ll spend this month in constant count-down, researching MyDestination.com’s 65 featured destinations and highlighting our favorites. In no particular order, today’s post is on Oman.

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We’ve wanted to go to the Middle East for a long time.  For us, Oman is the gateway to this fascinating region and a small kingdom that holds the best of the Arab world.  Here’s a quick list of ideas on how to spend a week in Oman.

Oman is full of contrasts to explore.  On one hand, the dry dunes of the Empty Quarter are the original home of the Bedouins, so tpp on the list would be night in the desert.  We’d spend a night sleeping under the stars, immersed in the silence of the desert, then wake up to sand-board down the dunes and ride 4x4s all the way back to Muscat.

But Oman is not simply a desert – there are oases like the traditional mud village of Bilad Sayt or Wakan, or the lush mountains and coastline surrounding Salalah, Oman’s 2nd largest city.  There’s plenty to do below the sand as well – we’d take advantage of Oman’s extensive cave system to explore the underground and take shelter from the heat by doing some caving.

The coast has played a huge part in Oman’s history.  The port of Sohar is said to be the birthplace of Sinbad the Sailor, so we’d pay our respects to that legendary traveler before shooting down to the shipbuilding capital of Sur to check out a traditional Dhow making factory – the type of boat we want to sail to Zanzibar later… (post coming soon!). Round off the coast with a visit to Khasab and then it’s time to head inland.

Omanis needed forts to protect these ports, and modern Oman is filled with castles from centuries past.  Images of fortresses like Nizwa, Jabrin, Nakhal, Ar Rustaq and Khasab stir our imagination and get us excited about winning the #mybbb contest and making our way to Oman as soon as possible!

For now, our friends at JamandaHalf have provided us with a sample of local jams and if you want more music from Oman visit their webpage.

Comments? Advice? Disagreements? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

And please vote for us to win MyDestination.com’s Biggest Baddest Bucketlist Competiton! 

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Our #MyBBB Bucket List: Tasmania

As we prepare to go to London to compete against 9 other finalists for MyDestination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List competition, we’re blogging about the places we’d love to include on our bucket list. We’ll spend this month in constant count-down, researching MyDestination.com’s 65 featured destinations and highlighting one per day. In no particular order, today’s post is on Tasmania, Australia.  

Tasmania

The challenge of Australia is its vastness. Tasmania, Australia’s only island state, offers the best bits of Oz in a manageable size – plus things you won’t find anywhere else.

We see Tassie as a place to get outdoors and into some real adventures. When we found out that Tasmania has the “world’s cleanest air” it made us want to run, bike and hike our way from north to south until our lungs are gasping for it.

We’re keen for a few walkabouts – from getting lost in the rugged Tarkine wilderness to finding Tasmanian Devils in a conservation park, taking on the Overland Trail or topping off a day’s hike with fresh oysters in Cole Bay. From rock climbing to white-water rafting, caving to jet-boating -there’s plenty to get your heartbeat up.

All that exertion requires some calories. Luckily, Tasmania is renowned for fine dining.  The islands’s climate produces some of the best food in Australia from fresh fruit, local honey, rich chocolate and delectable craft cheeses. Fly fishing tours offer the chance to catch your dinner while wineries provide the local drink to wash it down.

Tasmania also holds many monuments to a fascinating but painful history. It was a center of convicts during the colonial era and still holds many traces of aboriginal culture. Though both were treated harshly at the time, modern historical sites offer a glimpse into this past.

With so much to do outdoors, we can’t forget the cities. Hobart is the capital in the south, where it all comes together. From Salamanca market to Gothic architecture and fine dining, it makes the perfect place to come back to after all that time in the bush.

Hope to see Tasmania soon!  For now, we’ve got this playlist from JamandaHalf.com for Aussie inspiration!

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Our #MyBBB Bucket List: Hawai’i

As we prepare to go to London to compete against 9 other finalists for MyDestination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List competition, we’re blogging about the places we’d love to include on our bucket list. We’ll spend this month in constant count-down, researching MyDestination.com’s 65 featured destinations and highlighting one per day. In no particular order, today’s post is on Hawai’i. 

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The only downside of Hawai’i is that there is too much to see in a week. With only seven days to explore eight islands – each one of them unique – we’d have to pare down our bucket list to the bare essentials. Help is appreciated.

Much of Hawai’i’s allure comes from it’s Polynesian heritage, stunning natural beauty and active lifestyle. All three factors are in abundance in each isle – whether it be surfing, night diving, swimming with sharks or sailing – so let’s instead focus on what makes each island unique.

Everything starts in Oahu.  Touch down at Honolulu’s international airport and spend a day walking to Chinatown, Waikiki beach and the sobering monument to Pearl Harbor. We’d pass through the center of the island to see the former palace of Hawaii’s royal family before finding the real action on the North Shore – some of the best surfing in the world.

Maui is more low-key than Oahu – especially when taking the road less traveled. The Hana Highway is a 52 mile winding coastal road with 59 bridges cutting through the jungle. It also passes by the Seven Sacred Pools (Haleakala), a series of gradually increasing waterfalls (perfect for cliff jumping), and Honolula Bay, must-stop for surfers.

Kauai would be our top pick. The “Garden Island” is supposedly the least developed and contains the most impressive natural beauty of the island chain. Waiamea Canyon is waiting for us to hike it, while the Napali coast beckons us by bike, sea, or air. Our goal on Kauai is to simply explore, film, and transmit the experience to our viewers.  The island of Lanai floats just offshore – unspoilt beaches where you can swim with dolphins or watch the whales during their annual migration.

The Big Island has the world’s most active volcano, which gives the lush island it’s black sand beaches.  In the center of the island is Mauna Koa, a dormant volcano that is actually bigger than Mount Everest if measured from the seafloor.  We’d sip local Kona Coffee to stay up late and visit the mountaintop telescope with some of the world’s best stargazing.

But sometimes good things come in small packages – such as the “Forbidden Isle” of Nilhau, a nature preserve that only admits a select number of visitors each year. This is where native Polynesian culture is strongest and locals live in a traditional way and the endangered Hawaiian language thrives. We would be honored if Nilhau would admit us onshore.

In short, too many options, not enough time. Perhaps we’d be better off using the prize money to buy a house on the beach and explore each island at a more Hawaiian pace. For now, let’s throw on some Hawaiian music courtesy of JamandaHalf.com, and imagine life in paradise.

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New Project: Vagabrothers x JamandaHalf

Jam and a Half

As two brothers, we’ve learned that one of the keys to success is collaboration.  That’s why we’ve teamed up with our good friends at JamandaHalf.com to merge two things we love – travel and music.

Jam and a Half is a site that does what the name claims: it highlights songs that are more than just “jams” -they’re “jam-and-a-halves.”   Leks, Moose, and Griffin are three traveling audiophiles who have jammed to the best music of every corner of the world  and their website is a reflection of their vast experience.

So as we continue our countdown to the finals of MyDestination’s Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List Competition, they are providing the soundtracks for each country we blog about.  We’re just getting started, but they’ve already introduced us to the music of Puerto Rico, and Rio de Janeiro with more to come soon.

Check out the archives of their website for a whirlwind tour of world music, find them on Twitter or Facebook and and make sure to subscribe to their page if you like what you hear.

More blogs and posts coming soon!

– Vagabrothers

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Our #MyBBB Bucket List: Rio de Janeiro

As we prepare to go to London to compete against 9 other finalists for MyDestination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List competition, we’re blogging about the places we’d love to include on our bucket list. We’ll spend this month in constant count-down, researching MyDestination.com’s 65 featured destinations and highlighting one per day. In no particular order, today’s post is on Rio de Janeiro.

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Rio is the world’s funnest city.  And with the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics on the horizon, it’s never been a hotter time to visit the Cidade Maravilhosa  (the Marvelous City).

Before we start, we have a confession.  We love Brazilians.  Our home town of San Diego is overflowing with transplants from Rio, and we’ve been falling in love with the city through its people for years now.  Like with any destination, we like to travel as the locals live – but never more than in Rio de Janeiro.

We’d start at the beaches.  We’re already getting our beach bodies ready to hit up the infamous Impanema and Copacabana beaches, but we’ve heard there’s even better stretches of sand to be found.  45 minutes outside the city is Prianha, a gorgeous, undeveloped beach in the middle of a nature preserve with the best waves in Rio.

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Spending all our time at the beach could be a bit…er…distracting for our eyes, so for some more perspective we’d get up to Sugarloaf Mountain for an unsurpassable view.  Instead of the cable cars, we’d opt for the 45 minute hike – we gotta earn a view like that!  Then we’d make it over to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue to spread our arms wide and release a few shouts of joy at winning the #mybbb contest!

We’d come down to earth via hang glider, then take a rest and enjoy people watching in Leblon.  It’s a well-heeled quarter of Rio with plenty of good places like Bar Veloso to cool down with local beers or a chilled caipirinha.

We couldn’t leave Rio without seeing a Flamengo game at the Maracana.  The stadium gets a bit nuts during popular matches, but with the 2014 World Cup just around the corner, football is an inextricable element of Rio’s life.

Next, we’d seek out the Brazilian music that we love.  Whether it be finding street performers in Lapa, seeking out live shows, going to a Favela funk party, or watching people practice Capoeira, Rio’s music is the best way to capture the boundless energy of the city.  Check out this playlist by our friends at Jam and a Half and start moving your body like a Brazilian.

In Rio, its impossible not to follow the music into the night.  Rio’s Nightlife is world-renowned, and even though we’d miss carnival, we’d make up for it with our own week-long party!  Samba starts at the famous steps of Lapa, and moves you through the night ’til dawn.

The next morning – or afternoon – it’s time to wake up and do a day trip.  Rio features the world’s largest urban park – Tijuca Forest, complete with monkeys and waterfalls – but just off the coast is the pristine rainforest island of Ilha Grande.  A bit father is the Costa Verde, where beaches like Itamambuca and Ubatuba hold the best waves in Brazil and plenty of rural relaxation to balance out our week in the city.

Comments? Advice? Disagreements? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

And please vote for us to win MyDestination.com’s Biggest Baddest Bucketlist Competiton! 

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Our #MyBBB Bucket List: Puerto Rico

As we prepare to go to London to compete against 9 other finalists for MyDestination’s Biggest, Baddest  Bucket List competition, we’re blogging about the places we’d love to include on our bucket list. We’ll spend this month in constant count-down, researching MyDestination.com’s 65 featured destinations and highlighting one per day. In no particular order, today’s post is on Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico is one of the most interesting corners of the Caribbean. The “51st State” of the USA is the anomaly of the Americas – technically a US territory, Puerto Rico is an island with a mixed cultural heritage reflecting its indigenous Taino roots, west African legacy, Spanish colonial past and modern American influence.

The “Enchanted Isle” of Puerto Rico is adamantly unique – and proud of it. That’s why it’s our first port of call in the Caribbean.

We’ve been inspired by our fellow #MyBBB contestant, Maria Laborde, who’s short video on Puerto Rico serves as an excellent introduction to the island.

She made us want to practice our Spanish with beautiful boricuas, explore the 272 miles of white-sand beaches, fill our bellies at hole-in-the wall chinchorros and wash it down with local spiced rum! All the while, we’ll be bumping the following Puerto Rican tracks to get us into the mood.  Thanks to our friends at Jam And a Half for the compilation!

We’d start by whistling our way through the old city of San Juan, wandering from its three forts through the cobbled streets of the colonial quarter, dipping into its markets and sampling the best of cocina criolla as we eat our way from breakfast to dinner.

Random fact: San Juan was recently rated the city with most beautiful people.  Need we explain why we’d take advantage of its famous nightlife?  But there’s a challenge… locals have been dancing long before the arrival of Europeans, and today Puerto Rico a home to many major Latin dances including merengue, salsa, and cha-cha. Hopefully these two gringos can absorb enough latin spice to be as suave as the locals – or at least avoid stepping on their toes!

Puerto Rico

The next morning, we’d trek into El Yunque National Park – the only rainforest in the US – which receives over four billion liters of water per year and has some amazing waterfalls we’d have to swim under.

But we can’t spend all the time on the ground floor…we have to fly over the jungle by conquering La Bestia – a massive zip line ripping through the center of the island 260 meters above ground and 1,400 meters long. Check out this video:

Every day would be a chance to explore a few of Puerto Rico’s 300 beaches – we’d need to partner up with a local to know which ones to pick! But we’d be sure to paddle out at famous surf breaks like Rincón to catch some of the best waves in the Caribbean.

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Comments? Advice? Disagreements? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

And please vote for us to win MyDestination.com’s Biggest Baddest Bucket List Competition!

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Our #MyBBB Bucket List: Bali

As we prepare to go to London to compete against 9 other finalists for MyDestination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucketlist competition, we’re blogging about the places we’d love to include on our bucket list. We’ll spend this month in constant count-down, researching MyDestination.com’s 65 featured destinations and highlighting one per day. In no particular order, today’s post is on Bali.

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Bali is one of the most fascinating destinations in South East Asia. This lush jungle island sits between cultures – midway between trade winds that brought together Chinese, Indian and European influence, today Bali is a Hindu island within predominately Muslim Indonesia with a rich cultural heritage still preserved despite its immense popularity with tourists.

Bali is a true paradise. Its thick jungles hold scores of crumbling Hindu temples, Buddhist stupas, and traditional villages. Terraced rice paddies cut unforgettable lines into hillsides waiting to be explored, while its valleys hold hotels and yoga/meditation retreats beckoning us to come, relax and soak up the essence of the island.

But beauty is only a part of it – action junkies have more than they can handle. Bali’s surf breaks are world-famousUluwatu, Bingin, Keramas, and Balangan, to name a few. Add scuba diving, sailing and hiking to the list, and our week would be packed with activities.

However it is Balinese dance which truly sets the island apart. Traditional dances are closely tied with religion and are often a way of telling stories and epics like the Hindu Ramayana or the Barong Rangda, representing the eternal battle between good and evil. Some ceremonies – like the “monkey chant” – would be truly magical to witness, and while even performances at tourist hotels are preceded by a prayer to the gods for inspiration.

Inspiration seems to abound on Bali. Whether it be surfing some of the world’s best waves, finding inner stillness in an ancient temple or yoga retreat, or simply standing in awe at the island’s natural beauty, Bali one place we’d be sure not to miss.  

Thanks to our friends at JamAndAHalf.com, we’ve got a little sample of Balinese music as well.  Cheers Big Leks!

Comments? Advice? Disagreements? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

And please vote for us to win MyDestination.com’s Biggest Baddest Bucketlist Competiton! 

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