Extraordinary Places to Visit and Things to do in Colorado

There is no shortage of places to visit and things to do in Colorado. Dramatic wilderness and diverse terrain backed by the iconic Rocky Mountains are a staple of the Colorado image. Colorado’s namesake continues its blazing display of color beyond the towering snow capped peaks and mirrored lakes to lesser known destinations. Whether it’s adrenaline packed adventure or relaxing picturesque retreats that tickles your fancy, a Southern Colorado vacation rental will reveal unexpected wonders.

Iconic Colorado - Extraordinary Places to Visit and Things to do in Colorado

Iconic Colorado – Extraordinary Places to Visit and Things to do in Colorado

A Trail of Highlights and Things to do in Southern Colorado

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Semuc Champey, Guatemalan Heaven on Earth

Lower pools, panoramic @ Semuc Champey, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

~ It’s only paradise until discovered! ~

Bliss, high pools panoramic @ Semuc Champey, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Bliss, high pools panoramic @ Semuc Champey, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

Semuc Champey has been known about to locals and few nationals until the last few years. Once a few hearty explorers and adventurous backpackers made the precarious trek deep into the remote valley of Alta Verapaz, the secret began to spill out slowly. Nowadays, it’s the absolute premier destination in Guatemala, if you are enduring and venturesome. Though infrastructure near the area has been vastly improved as far as the town of Pajal, the last 22 kilometres remain a steep and beaten path impassible to anything less a 4X4 machine with high clearance and horsepower.


I not so secretly hope that it never improves.

Extraordinary places like Semuc Champey should require tremendous efforts to be reached.

Semuc - LowPool

And an extraordinary place it is!

Cascading pools of Semuc Champey, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Cascading pools of Semuc Champey, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

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An Extraordinary Journey to Guatemala & You Are Invited

Volcano Panorama viewed from atop Volcan Pacaya -- Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

This is your official invitation to join me on an extraordinary journey through landmark destinations in Guatemala. 

Temples of Tikal Tower above the jungle canopy -- Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Temples of Tikal Tower above the jungle canopy — Guatemala — Karina Noriega

Join us on this Extraordinary Journey around Guatemala! For more information, please contact:

Karina @ karinasextraordinarylife@gmail.com

April  @ aprilberesford@hotmail.com

Path to Agua -- Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Path to Agua — Guatemala — Karina Noriega

I want to take fear, uncertainty and hard work out of going to a foreign land (specially if it’s your first trip). I have the research, connections and the know-how. Unlike big, established tours, traveling with me means traveling with a friend who is eager to explore, share, and help you travel safely. Our small group will result in more freedom, flexibility and a personalized experience.

Before you come

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Yellowstone National Park – A Film

Yellowstone National Park, USA - Karina Noriega

There are few places in the world that consistently score very high on everyone’s ‘must see’ list. This kind of hype can create slippery slopes of disappointment when the site doesn’t live up to the craze. Thankfully, this is in no way applicable to the splendor of Yellowstone National Park. This extraordinary place is beyond the words and photographs you may have seen before. It has easily shot to the top of my list of truthfully shocking and impressive natural wonders.

Proclaimed the very first national park in the world, this enormous geographical phenomenon in the Northwestern area of the United States protects remarkable natural and geothermal features as well as abundant wildlife. It is a fully living ecosystem in full colour resplendence that bubbles and explodes.

It is an experience for all your senses.

Beyond the alien landscape shooting smoke stack and high pressured geysers into the sky, Yellowstone needs to be heard. The powers of the earth working here bubble gently. Others explode like a jetliner. The rumbling resonates in your chest and at your feet. The scents of the forests and the sulfuric emissions continually remind you of the versatility of this planet. Despite the temptations of thick curdling mud pots, crystal clear ponds, and rainbow colored streams, please do resist the urge to test the waters. At more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit, it could the last thing you ever feel.

~ An Extraordinary Story by Karina Noriega ~

Without further ado, our extraordinary film! 🙂

*Travel Tips

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Road Kill

April made me a hilarious road kill compilation to cheer me up. I get way too sad when I see wildlife discarded as highway junk on the side of the road.

The clip is so funny I had to share with everyone 🙂

Want to see some real live wildlife encounters? Check this one out:


Show your support by sharing, liking, commenting and subscribing 🙂

Wild Encounters – Encounters in California, USA

Fern Canyon, Redwood State Park, California, USA - Karina Noriega

There’s this game that we play. It started on our very first road trip when we drove across Canada. 10,000km is a long way you see. *(We are at 20,000km across and back in the U.S!) So the way it goes is that every time you see an animal crossing sign you have to put up one of the corresponding charades signs that we made up. It’s our superstitious way of protecting ourselves (& the wildlife)- our explanation is that as long as we always do it then we eliminate the chance of a collision. It’s really just a silly game, like all the other stupid things we do when engaging on these long distance adventures and so far, it has worked like a charm.
Not for a second has it taken away from our wildlife viewing experience though. Without ever leaving the safety of our Tank, we have seen:

Elk Target, Redwood State Park, California, USA - Karina Noriega

Elk Target, Redwood State Park, California, USA – Karina Noriega

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Summary of Our Journey Across The USA – (World Nomads Scholarship Entry)

Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah, USA - Karina Noriega

The contest deadline has come and gone. Our submission is now being reviewed by the travel journalism experts at World Nomads. We are going up against hundreds (if not thousands) aspiring filmmakers from around the whole globe.

The pressure has now shifted to the judges and mentors who can select only a single submission for one of the best prizes out there: A chance to attend, film and share Mexico’s cultural mega-festival, Dia de los Muertos. More than a chance to travel, this is the learning opportunity of a lifetime. April and I are beyond eager to receive mentoring and feedback by seasoned travel journalists. Plus, I have not so secretly always wanted to experience this event.

So let’s make the decision a little easier for the World Nomads panel. Please show us your support by clicking like, leaving your comments and sharing the video (preferably through the blog -> https://karinasextraordinarylife.com/2014/09/22/world-nomads-film-scholarship-entry <- Use This Link)

Don’t forget to read up on why we believe we should win and what it means to us. (On the YouTube comments sections)

~ An Extraordinary Story by Karina Noriega ~

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Travel Seeks Travelers

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, California - Karina Noriega

It has been exactly 123 days, 25 states and 14,486km (9000m) since I crossed the southern border for an extraordinary road trip across the United States of America. My travel partners April and Tank, (my Toyota 4runner) have been strong and steady by my side. Our little travel blog is getting some attention and even inspiring a few new friends and readers to see travel differently and hit the road.

All along our journey I have called out to anyone who would like to meet, host or join us. I have reached out to old travel friends I’ve met across continents as I carve across their states and hometowns. I have encouraged friends and family who we dearly miss to come visit us wherever we may be.

I’m so excited that both of these situations have finally come to fruition.

Part I

I reached out to my friend Eric while in the Southern USA. Facebook, (a powerful tool keeping my travel circle together) told me he was living in Salt Lake City, Utah; a state that would no doubt take us far into the wilds of colourful deserts, towering formations, unimaginable canyons and wilderness. Eric and I hadn’t seen each other at all since our fateful meeting in Malaysia a few years ago. I had just hopped out of a truck near a village in the Cameron Highlands. I was hitchhiking from the coastal city of Georgetown to see the famed tea plantations and rejoice in the cooler weather. I needed one more ride to reach my destination so as I walked towards the intersection, gathering the courage necessary to stick my thumb out to passing motorists, I made a joking remark to the two white guys on scooters.

“Room for one more?” Continue reading

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is the “largest, intact, un-fragmented, freshwater and black water wilderness swamp in North America.”1

Native Americans refer to this place as the “The Land of the Trembling Earth”.

Once scheduled to be drained and exploited, the land is now protected to impressive sum of 402,000 acres (that’s nearly 700 square miles!) Within the refuge more than 400 different species reside, including the star attraction of the swamp – the American alligator. Continue reading