Lake Matheson - New Zealand

Sitting in the middle of a farmland of cows and sheep, six kilometers west of Fox Glacier township, in the West Coast region of the South Island, lies New Zealand's most famous photograph stop, Lake Matheson. A small lake that earned its fame not for its dark brown waters. Not for its west coast rain forest. Not even for the abundance of water birds and other wildlife. But famous for the reflected mirror-like images of the twin peaks of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman in its dark waters.

This ancient lake was formed about 14,000 years ago, when the Fox Glacier retreated towards the sea and carved a slight depression in the landscape that eventually became filled with water. The waters of Lake Matheson are dark brown. The discoloring effect of the water is caused by the natural leaching of organic matter from the native forest floor surrounding the lake. So on a calm day, the dark hue of the water creates the ideal reflective surface, while the participation of the surrounding forest gives the lake shelter, context and protection from the wind providing a smooth surface to produce a perfect natural mirror. Set against the backdrop of the perfectly positioned Mount Cook (or Aoraki in Maori) and Mount Tasman to reflect in the glassy lake, Lake Matheson ultimately earned itself another name, the “Mirror Lake”, which appropriately describes what it is stands for.

Visitors from around the world have come to the lake to enjoy the reflected view of the Southern Alps. Year after year, it never failed to attract more people (travelers/passers-by), especially photographers, to stop, film, photograph to get dozens of amazing vistas of this jewel in New Zealand's scenic crown.

There are two particular designated 'perfect' spot for reflection photos around the lake, the Jetty View Point and the Reflection Island. Visiting just after dawn when the water often sits incredibly still and during the afternoon sunset is the most ideal time to take a picture. Offering infinite photo opportunities, it truly is a “photographer's paradise”- you just can't get enough of her.

So they say, and so do I, nature successfully joined the right elements to create one of the most stunning and iconic views in New Zealand. While Google will give you the numerous search results of this lake, still, the best way to achieve a meaningful experience of such a magnificent lake is to see it “up close and personal”.

Lolengs Mountain Spring Resort

The weather in the Philippines is hot almost throughout the year because of its tropical climate. Hence, Lolengs Mountain Spring Resort offers the best getaway for tourists who wanted to cool off, enjoy a great view of nature, and escape the hustle and bustle of the modern city life. There are a lot in store for visitors with full amenities to ensure a relaxing and comfortable stay.

Lolengs Mountain Spring Resort is another nature resort that is situated along Eden and Bayabas in the district of Toril, wherein another famous nature resort, Eden Nature Park, is located. Travel time to Lolengs could take up between 45 minutes to one hour, depending whether you are commuting or taking a private vehicle. For commuters, you can take a jeepney or taxi towards Toril District. If you are taking the jeepney, get off the main road and there are motorcycles that you can take to get to the resort.

The entrance fee to Lolengs Mountain Spring Resort is very affordable at only PhP 50. Children below the age of 3 can get free entrance to the resort as well as use the swimming pool free of charge. For regular guests, you have to pay only a cheap PhP 50 for the use of swimming pool. They do accept walk-in guests to the resort but you can also make reservations if you plan on holding functions and other events at the resort, such as wedding, team building activities, or retreats, among others.

The resort is actually man-made, which was designed to rebuild a natural atmosphere with Benguet-like pine trees and canopy forests. The terraces on the resort were built on a mountain slope and several pine seedlings were planted there. When they grew, it provided a secondary forest that helped to offer a refreshing backdrop to the sights and attractions at this nature resort.

There are also several facilities that visitors can avail of, giving them plenty of things to do during their stay. As mentioned above, there is a swimming pool that is made up of cold spring water, which offers a relaxing dip to cool you off in the hot summer days. There is also a wide playground for kids to run around and play on the outside. And for sports enthusiasts, you can spend your time at the tennis or basketball courts. If you want to go boating or fishing, there is a corresponding rate on your rental of the boat, depending on the number of people joining this boating trip. The boating trip will cost PhP 50 for 2 persons, PhP 100 for 4 persons, and PhP 150 for 6 persons.

Lolengs Mountain Spring Resort also have their own restaurant, Maia's Cafe Restaurant, wherein you can order local delicacies and enjoy great meals during your stay. For those holding functions or retreats in the resort, they offer catering services to accommodate your dining needs.

The accommodations at this nature resort is also affordable. The prices of their rooms for overnight stay approximately range from PhP 2,000 to PhP 5,000, wherein their rooms can accommodate 2 persons or as much as 24 persons.

If you want to be close to nature and be away from the fast paced lifestyle of the city, Lolengs Mountain Spring Resort is a perfect destination for the ultimate R & R. They have several recreational facilities and comfortable accommodations to suit your unique needs. Nonetheless, all of these you can avail of at an affordable rate.

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake might just be the most beautiful and scenic lakes in the entire world. It is part of the Canadian Rockies and is part of the Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. The lake is formed in between the Waputik Range valley, which means it is situated right between the Peyto Peak, Mount Jimmy Simpson, and Caldron Peak. This glacier-fed lake is best known amongst tourists for its beautiful turquoise color that also changes along with the season. Thus, you have something to look forward to, regardless of which season you decide to visit. The lake is named after a famous trail guide and trapper in Banff, who is Bill Peyto.

The Peyto Lake is fed by the Peyto Creek, wherein waters come from the Peyto Glacier and Caldron Lake. The lake is very easy to access from the Icefields Parkway wherein you must follow a paved trail that is approximately a 10-minute drive to get there. There are also parking spots provided in the spot, although you can only be accommodated in the low level parking. The lake itself sits at an altitude of 1860 meters.

The short, paved trail from Bow Summit will offer you with the most breathtaking view that your eye could bear witness to. The months of June to early July will produce a dark blue color in the lake as soon as the summer season kicks off and the nearby glaciers begin to melt. As summer continues to progress, the glaciers continue to melt and the melted water will make its way into the delta and lake. Thus, the lake is filled with ground-rock debris that is also known as “rock flour”. These fine particles are suspended in the surface of the lake's water.

Many have this false misconception that the mineral contained in the rock flour is responsible for producing the unique color in the lake. However, it is actually a reflection from the light spectrum that produces that blue-green color on the lake as the light shines on these particles. This is responsible for the changing of colors on the lake as the season changes over time. Because of this natural wonder, the lake is an ideal sightseeing spot for tourists who come to the park.

For those traveling to Peyto Lake from other countries, there are several choices of accommodation within the area. Some of the popular hotels available to choose from include Post Hotel & Spa Lake Louise, Fairmont Chateau Hotel Lake Louise, and the Lake Louise Inn. These accommodation choices are equipped with various facilities and amenities to ensure a relaxing stay while you enjoy the sights at Peyto Lake.

Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malawi because this is one of the most well-preserved and awe-inspiring lakes in the world. This beautiful, fresh water lake is the third largest lake in Africa and second in depth, while also being the eighth largest lake in the world. The actual measurement of the lake is estimated to be around 360 miles in length and 52 miles in width. This is also considered as a border lake for other African countries, such as Tanzania and Mozambique.

Lake Malawi is an important natural resource for this country, which is also why the government is doing its best to preserve this freshwater lake. Economically, it has provided several sources of employment for its locals. There are several net makers, fishermen, fish traders, and canoe makers in the area. The lake is also a significant part of Malawi's history, which is reflected in the dispute over its official name. International maps refer to Lake Malawi as Lake Nyasa but despite geopolitical disputes, the official name has been retained for this lake.

What is it about Lake Malawi that make it a worthy attraction to visit? This is without a doubt a paradise that offers plenty of things to do to fill your time. You can go swimming, snorkeling, diving, or kayaking at the lake. There are also boat cruises available for tourists via the MV Ilala wherein tourists can get upclose and personal with some of the best sights in and around the lake. There are also sailing safaris available wherein you can ride the Mufasa yacht. Make sure to not miss this when you visit.

The waters of this beautiful fresh water lake is crystal clear and placid all year round. The government wanted to keep these waters unspoilt, which is why they have discouraged commercialization in the area so as not to lose its charm. Thus, visitors can expect lots of affordable and low-key accommodations in the area. However, there are also luxury accommodations for those who wanted to avail of relaxing amenities. Regardless, it is a nice way to escape from it all and get friendly with the locals.

Aside from maintaining the beauty of this lake, there are also several wildlife and unique species found in the area, such as cichlid and the kampango. Because of the threat from water pollution and overfishing, these species are kept well preserved and this is part of the efforts to maintain a low key aura to protect all the wildlife that inhabit in this lake.

If you wish to visit Lake Malawi, there are several ways to get there. You can catch a bus at the Monkey Bay or Mangochi to take you there. There are also local taxis available for rent if you want to get around the area. If you would like to visit the Northern Lakeshore, you can hire a bus to take you to Karonga, Nkhata Bay or Mzuzu. There are also car rentals available for those who wish to drive themselves to Lake Malawi, which is a good option because this is a safe country. However, you must be willing to shoulder the expensive petrol prices in the country.

Leticia By The Sea

Leticia By The Sea is not just another resort in Samal Island. Although a string of resorts in Samal and Talicud Island has sprung up over the past few years, there is a unique charm to this resort that will offer you paradise in just an hour away.

Leticia By The Sea is a small and private resort located in Talicud Island owned by the same people behind Casa Leticia, which explains the name. However, when this resort claims to offer a “private” getaway, they literally mean one. The owners of this resort offer visitors and tourists a chance to own the resort for one day, or two (however long you want to stay), by exclusively renting the place. They have an overnight package costing PhP 10,000 that is enough to accommodate 15 people or a maximum of 20 people. This package already includes accommodations and use of resort facilities, such as kitchen and cooking facilities, use of kayaks, kiddie pools and other water sports, resident cook, helper, and boat transfers.

Given the number of people that can be accommodated by the resort and all of the other facilities that you can enjoy, the exclusive rental of this place is definitely affordable and is a great value. And yet, you will be able to privately enjoy the natural beauty and charm of this hidden paradise to get your much needed rest and relaxation. It is no doubt a great choice of destination as compared to other resorts that are flocked by lots of other visitors that it is impossible to truly relax.

What about the resort facilities? Let us start with the accommodation. The cottages at Leticia By The Sea are strategically built in a place at the island wherein you can enjoy a spectacular view of the sea from afar, which is breathtaking with its turquoise color. The cottages in itself are also quite a view, which features a mixture of Balinese and Filipino influence in its design and architecture, which offers that perfect tropical feel to your vacation.

When you step out of the cottage, there are more breathtaking views you can enjoy. The landscape of colorful garden and trees, as well as the crystal clear waters and well preserved marine life, all contribute to that relaxing atmosphere that visitors to Leticia By The Sea rave about. Some of the sports and water facilities that visitors can avail of are jet ski, snorkeling gear, kayaks, inflatable rides, and an aquatic trampoline. In fact, the sheer beauty of the underwater marine life makes it a perfect spot for scuba diving with the dock offering a perfect jumpoff point when you go diving. Unfortunately, the resort does not have its own diving gears, so you can arrange a diving appointment with a diving company to provide your gears for you.

The charm of this virgin island should be hard to resist for anyone who wants a relaxing vacation, or those who simply want to escape it all and be away from the buzz of the city. There are plenty of ways to travel to this resort for an escape. There are five public boats scheduled to travel from Davao to Talicud Island from the Sta. Ana Pier. Boat rides are scheduled in between 10AM to 3PM.

Another option for traveling to Leticia By The Sea is to take a barge from Sasa to Samal, then take a 30-minute ride heading to Kaputian. The final mode of transportation is a banca ride, which normally takes only 10 minutes so you can get to Talicud Island. You can pre-arrange boat charters with the resort officials at Leticia By The Sea to make your travel more convenient.