Sent by Jessica Andrade
Based in Dublin
Hi there, my name is Simone Ryan, I am originally from Brazil, and I have over 13 years’ experience in the travel industry.
Travel is my passion and I love what I do. I am fortunate to have travelled to some amazing countries and my favourites memories are watching the whales in Hermanus(South Africa), the time I spent visiting the Masai tribe in Kenya, the gorgeous and luxurious town of St. Moritz in Switzerland during the summertime and last but not least the vibrant city of Havana with its old cars.
I am delighted to become a Travel Counsellor, as it allows me to be available at a time that suits you and it doesn’t need to be during business hours. Many of my customers request that I do video calls which I am very happy to do. I specialise in long haul and luxurious destinations that are bespoke and tailor made. Travel Counsellors are licensed and bonded in Ireland by the Commission for Aviation Regulation, which means your holidays are protected and your money is safe.
If you are planning to travel, I am very happy to find the best holidays that suits you and your loved ones.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
04 July 2022
Jordan was on my bucket list for a long time so I was delighted to go on this trip with G Adventures. I was so excited to go that I was counting down the days to the trip. I flew with Egypt Air and had a two hour connection in Cairo before going to Amman. I really loved Amman and I regret that I didn’t add an extra night there. It is a very safe city with lots of options to taste their local and international cuisine. Our first stop was in Jerash, a city founded by the Greeks. Jerash is full of Greek architecture that was rebuilt by the Romans. After finishing our tour of Jerash, we headed to the Dead Sea. When you see the dead sea, you don’t notice any difference until you get into the water. I can’t swim so I couldn’t do the test to see if I could really float on the water. I was so scared that I would sink and the girls were trying to help me. Now I laugh when I think about it. The water is very salty and you are only allowed to stay in for 20 minutes, wash your body and then come back for another 20 minutes. The next day we visited the Madaba, you can see Mosaics everywhere in this city including a mosaic map of the Holy Land on the floor of a Greek Orthodox Church. Madaba is the main Christian city in Jordan and only 2% of the population there are Christians. Jordan is considered part of the Holy Land and many biblical events took place here involving Mount Nebo. The bible says that Moses died in Mount Nebo, and his grave was never found. For me it was very emotional being at Mount Nebo as I used to hear a lot of stories in church when I was a child about Moses leading the people to the promised land. From Mount Nebo you can see the Dead Sea, Jordan River, Jericho, Jerusalem, and the surrounding areas. It is the best spot to see the whole of Israel. After Mount Nebo, we visited the largest late-Islamic castle in Jordan, and then we headed to Petra. Petra: Our tour guide recommended us to be in Petra at 6am when the gates opened. At 5am everybody was at the reception ready to leave because after 10am Petra gets very busy with tourists and it's practically impossible to take a picture in front of the Treasury. From the gate to the Treasury is about a 40 min walk. There are three ways to get there by walking, on a horse or using a golf cart. We decided to walk as the sun wasn’t too strong and the rocks were cool to walk through. When we were getting closer, we could see this huge monument known as the Treasury or Al Khazna. It is stunning!!! You think to yourself how did people make this? It is huge and all the rocks are carved. We were one of the first groups to arrive and it was amazing to have the Treasury pretty much to ourselves. Petra is huge and you don’t have only the Treasury to visit, you also have the monastery which is higher and wider than the Treasury but to get there you need to hike for about an hour. I decided to hike to the monastery but I found it hard especially during the summer so you need to be prepared. To visit the archaeological city of Petra you need to buy the tickets at main gate. Once you have your ticket you can visit everything in the site. You can also visit the tombs, theatre, great temple, high place of sacrifice, the church and other locations. When you are inside the gate you can find cafés, toilets, craft bazaars and at the entrance they also have toilets, shops, and restaurants. Next Stop: Wadi Rum. Wow Wow Wow!!! Have you watched the film “The Martian with Matt Damon”? This film was recorded in the Wadi Rum and most of the movie was set in the Zeina Luxury Desert Lodge. After the movie, the set became a hotel and I stayed there with my friend during our visit to Wadi Rum. Before going to our hotel we spent the day exploring the Wadi Rum Desert in a 4x4. The desert is a reddish colour with huge rocks, often compared to Mars with its unique landscape. We stopped and enjoyed tea with one of the Bedouin in his tent. After that we saw some inscriptions with drawings carved into the rocks informing travelers of dangerous animals, directions and where you could find a place to sleep. We saw other attractions such as the French castle and the Burdah Rock Bridge. After exploring the Wadi Rum Desert, we stopped to watch sunset in a special place recommended by our driver. Our next experience was having a meal that was cooked underground. They racked the meat on top of the rice and veggies which gave a delicious flavour. The food in Jordan is unreal! I loved it. It was time to say goodbye to Wadi Rum and head to the end of our tour. Next destination was Aqaba. From Aqaba you can see Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt. Aqaba is a vibrant beach city and there are some nice hotel chains such as Al Manara, Intercontinental, Hyatt, Movenpick etc. I would recommend to my clients to spend at least 3 nights here after returning to Aman. Unfortunately, we only had one night in Aqaba, but we had a great time. During the day, we went on a boat trip in the Red Sea and got the chance to go snorkeling and diving. We also had lunch on board. Afterwards we had a dinner with our group and the next day we headed back to Aman. Some people in the group spent an extra night in Aman and others decided to visit Egypt. Highlights of this trip in my opinion are: • Mount Nebo / Petra / Wadi Rum / Aqaba Notes about G Adventures Tour Demographic segmentation: From 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult. This tour is also for solo, couples or travelling with friends and family. Average age in our group: Most of the people were mid-thirties. Visa: Most nationalities and you must purchase a visa upon arrival at the airport for a fee of 40 JOD. Vaccines: You need to show a Covid Vaccine Certificate. No other vaccine is required to Jordan if you are travelling from Ireland. Eating / Shopping: 1 euro = 0.74 JOD. A dinner is from 10JOD to 25 JOD. Drinks like coca cola 1 JOD. Uber around 2 JOD to 5 JOD. Alcoholics drinks: Most of the bars do not sell alcoholic drinks, you need to go to a specific alcoholic drink shop and bring it to the restaurant.
11 March 2022
I remember when I was a child watching the Brazilian soap operas recorded in Rio de Janeiro. I used to imagine myself there rollerblading on the boardwalks in Leblon with the view of Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer, listening to Bossa Nova. Rio de Janeiro is an inviting city with a lovely combination of beach and city. When I finished college I decided to take my first trip on a plane to Rio de Janeiro, my first proper trip outside of Sao Paulo. I invited three of my work colleagues to join me on this adventure. At the time, I was living in Sao Paulo so it was a quick trip of 55 min on the plane. On arrival, we got a transfer to the Marina Palace Rio Leblon. If you are not from Brazil, you might decide to stay in Copacabana or Ipanema, the most famous beaches in Brazil. However, I chose Leblon because of the soap operas as I mentioned above. Marina Palace Rio Leblon has a rooftop pool where I enjoyed watching the sunset and drinking some caipirinhas with my friends and just contemplating the beauty of Rio de Janeiro. Leblon is a sophisticated neighbourhood, known for its glamour from the telenovelas. It is the most expensive neighbourhood in Brazil surrounded by several international restaurants, Brazilian steak houses, bars, nightclubs, and bookstores 24/7. When I was there I went to this traditional restaurant called Jobi. The restaurant had a lovely ambience, great service, and good prices. You should try the codfish croquet & jerked beef. If you enjoy shopping, Leblon Shopping and boutique shops are within walking distance from the hotel. Distance from the Hotel Marina Palace Rio Leblon 1km from Ipanema beach 2km from Botanical Gardens 4km from Copacabana beach 25km Rio de Janeiro's Galeão International Airport Leblon is still my favourite neighbourhood to stay in Rio de Janeiro. It sounds silly but I had my experience exactly like the soap operas and it was amazing to feel the vibe there. It doesn’t matter if you are staying in Ipanema, Barra da Tijuca, Lapa “bohemian neighbourhood” or Leblon. I am sure you will have a great experience in Rio de Janeiro.
10 March 2022
“Jambo!" It is impossible to say this word without a smile in your face. You can expect to hear it a lot when you are in Kenya as the word means “Hello” in Swahili. What a beautiful country! If you are an animal lover, enjoy tasting local dishes and experiencing different cultures, Kenya is the right destination for you. When I was in Kenya in August 2017 for my honeymoon (Migration time), I could see the destination is not for honeymooners but also for families which is amazing. I stayed there for seven days. My first day was in Nairobi and I had a free day, so I decided to visit the Giraffe Centre and Sheldrick Wildlife Elephant and Rhino Orphanage. If you want, you can help by adopting one of these beautiful animals by contributing around $50 per year and you can also feed the baby elephants. They stay at the orphanage until they are old enough to return to the wild. The next day we headed to Masai Mara. Wow!!!! That place is breath taking. Masai Mara reminded me of the movie The Lion King, one of my favourite movies. It is worth taking a hot air balloon to watch the sunrise with amazing panoramic views. It is huge extension of land, and you feel so small flying above it. After the hot air balloon, they set a table in the middle of the wild with stunning views of the Savannah. It is so peaceful when you look down and see thousands of wildebeest and zebras. The picturesque landscape feels as if you are in a painted frame. Kenya is the place where you will get the chance to see the Big Five. The elephant, kaffir buffalo, leopard, lion and rhino make up the Big Five. If you love adventure, why not take a tour in the Lake Nakuru full of hippos or watch thousands of flamingos around the lake. There is so much to explore, 7 days feels like it is not enough. Here are some highlights of the trip: • Nairobi (Elephant Orphanage & Giraffe Centre). • Lake Nakuru (Lake with hippos). • Bird watch (several type of birds including eagle) • The Flamingos in Lake Nakuru • White and black rhinos • Masai Mara (Safari big 5) • Masai Mara Village • Hot Air Balloon • And you can extend the trip to Amboseli National Park where you can see large elephant herds and the beautiful view of the Kilimanjaro. After this amazing safari you can also add a relaxing beach with crystal waters to the end of the holiday. The Safari in Kenya is a perfect combination with Mombasa beach, Zanzibar or Seychelles.
10 March 2022
I have been to Buenos Aires three times, my friends and I just love the city vibe. My last trip there I stayed at The Design Suites Buenos Aires for four nights. If you like a quiet and charming neighbourhood, I recommend you stay in Palermo or Recoleta. They are nice areas to stay with lots of cafés, restaurants, boutique shops and 5* hotels. Our hotel was located close to the main attractions, only 6 blocks from the Casa Rosada and 7 blocks from Obelisco. If you enjoy a lively and busy environment you can stay around the Plaza de la República, where the Obelisco is. If you don’t have plenty of time, I recommend the city tour as it will cover most of the main attractions. Our first day we took a private tour around the city. We visited the Casa Rosada, the office of the President of Argentina, Plaza de Mayo, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires and Floralis Generica, this was a present from the Argentinian architect Eduardo Catalano to the country. The flower is a symbol of the resurgence of the Argentine nation after years of decadence. In the evening, we got ready to watch the classic Tango at the famous Esquina Carlos Gardel and had dinner. But before that we took a tango dance class which was funny because my friends and I aren't the best dancers. If you don’t want to miss out on a Tango Concert, be sure to book in advance. The concert was incredible and very good quality. The next day we had our breakfast, and our driver/guide was waiting for us outside of our hotel to bring us shopping at the outlets. Buenos Aires is great for shopping. Afterwards we left our purchases in the van and went to explore the San Telmo Fair, famous for its stalls selling antiques and curiosities. That evening we had dinner at the Steak House Cabana Las Lilas. The following day we visited the beautiful Puerto Madero with views of the woman's bridge. Puerto Madero is modern neighbourhood surrounded by tall buildings and a variety of restaurants, night clubs, shops & cafes. From the docks of Puerto Madero, we took a small boat to San Isidro & Tigre Delta. While sailing along the waters of Rio Plata you can see mansions owned by famous Argentinian people and the beautiful garden in San Isidro. After having lunch in San Isidro, we headed to the famous La Boca neighbourhood. Walking through Caminito Streets surrounded by tenement buildings made of wood and sheet metal built by the Genoan immigrants in the 19th century. You will be blown away by the outdoor art and expect to see artists selling their crafts in each corner. We then decided to visit the Boquense Museum, one of the most important football clubs in Argentina. The museum has a very modern and impressive exhibition technique. We also stopped by the River Plate Stadium and after a busy day we went out to enjoy the nightlife in Buenos Aires. The night clubs there start very late, around 12am until 5am. On our last day we decided to take the day for ourselves to enjoy the city at our own pace.