Wild Planet Adventures Offers Family-Focused ‘Ultimate Wildlife Ecotour’ in Costa Rica

WildPlanet-costa rica1

SAUSALITO, CA – It is one thing to see a sloth at a zoo or rescue center, but how many kids can boast seeing more than a dozen along with multiple troops of wild monkeys during a jungle hike on just the second day of their vacation? Such an experience can inspire a child to eventually become a biologist, start a green business, or just live his or her life more respectful of nature and connected to the wonders of life.

This is the magic behind Wild Planet Adventure’s award-winning Costa Rica Ultimate Wildlife Eco-Tour which features prime-time family-focused departures in July and December. “This adventure,” explains company founder Josh Cohen, “is specifically intended to inspire young minds and expose them to astonishing natural wonders and thought provoking adventure, while surrounded by passionate, enthusiastic guides and field scientists who are making a difference in the world by following their dreams.”

The 9-, 10.5- and 14-day itineraries, crafted by Cohen have been designed to, “put families in front of more wildlife than any other eco-tour offered today.”  Days include expert-led wildlife excursions in up to eight national parks and wildlife reserves, cloud forest canopy bridges and zip-lines, whitewater rafting, wildlife-spotting float trips, smoking volcanoes, bubbling hot-springs, sun swept beaches on both coasts, a sloth rescue program, scarlet macaw migration, hands-on learning at a wildlife rescue center, sea-kayaking with dolphins, snorkeling at night in the bioluminescence, night hikes for nocturnal animals and much more.

As Cohen explains it, “Wild Planet’s activities are expressly designed to create lasting impact on the entire family. We want to inspire kids of all ages to reach for their dreams and expand their horizons.  This consciousness is self-evident in every aspect of our Costa Rica Ultimate Wildlife itinerary.”

WildPlanet-costa rica3Included is a specially arranged experience at La Selva Biological Reserve. La Selva is the largest field station of the Organization for Tropical Studies, where 64 universities from all over the world offer graduate and undergraduate courses in tropical rainforest biology. La Selva hosts approximately 300 scientists and 100 university courses every year. Wild Planet has negotiated a special program here where guests hike the trails of La Selva’s private reserve with biologist guides with the opportunity to interact with researchers and even peek into the labs, conditions permitting.

Cohen likes to recall the time, when on a recent trip, a 13 year-old traveler was completely enthralled upon meeting a biologist who was researching how female red and blue poison arrow frogs return after a year to a site where they previously laid their eggs. Learning how the frogs are able to remember the exact location of oviposition in the dense rain forest and even identify their own offspring out of thousands of young frogs impacted that child far more than any textbook could.

Young travelers are also treated to Wild Planet’s special Sloth Rescue program where they can interact with animals, scientific researchers and wildlife experts. There is also a special hands-on “voluntourism” segment at a wildlife rescue center, complete with feeding.

Authentic, in-depth and non-commercial excursions into Costa Rica’s parks and reserves are led by Wild Planet’s gifted naturalist guides, over 90% of whom are trained biologists. Itineraries are specifically designed to take full advantage of the extreme biodiversity Costa Rica has to offer. Strategically comprehensive, itineraries include both lowland and mid-elevation rainforests on both coasts, cloud forests on top of the continental divide, gallery forests surrounding the rivers, volcanoes, hot springs and both northern and southern climes, all while while maintaining a comfortable pace.

“Such diversity is nearly impossible to arrange on one’s own,” explains Cohen, “as it requires precision execution in order to arrive at certain destinations at just the perfect moment.”  An example of this is a visit to Carara National Park when the group arrives at the ideal time to see the evening migration of scarlet macaws returning from the coastal mangroves. Cohen believes that the wide variety of eco-systems they visit is one of the key reasons his “Ultimate Wildlife” eco-tour can boast significantly higher wildlife sighting statistics than conventional tours.

This trip is designed for kids as young as eight and features distinctive accommodations, meals, transportation, activities, park admissions, and top naturalist guides in an all inclusive price starting at $3,398/person for a 9-day version or $4,998 for the full 14-day itinerary.  A 10½ day version is also offered starting at $3,898/person. Group size is limited to 12 due to the special wildlife focus, except for private departures upon special request. See: http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/destinations/?country=costa-rica

There’s still time to take advantage of special family departures June 25, July 16, 21 and 30 as well as Christmas family departures December 17, 24, 26 and 31.  Wild Planet strongly suggests booking as early as possible for best airfares.

For detailed itineraries, exciting wildlife photos and video galleries and booking information for tours worldwide, visit http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/, call 1-800-990-4376 or email trips@wildplanetadventures.com.

Recently, Wild Planet Adventures received its fifth “Worlds’ 50 Best Trips” award from the editors of National Geographic Traveler for its “On the Jaguar’s Trail; from the Pantanal to the Amazon” wildlife safari in Brazil. Previous National Geographic Traveler awards went to Wild Planet’s Thailand, Costa Rica, India, Panama wildlife eco-tours and its ultimate African safari in Zambia. Wild Planet Adventures is also recognized by other top travel publications for its wildlife-focused itineraries in Africa, Borneo, Brazil, Costa Rica, Galapagos, India, Laos, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Thailand and Zambia. 

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NYS Completes Largest Addition to Adirondack Forest Preserve in a Century: 20,758 acre purchase of Boreas Ponds Tract

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the completion of the state’s largest Adirondack land acquisition in more than 100 years, with the purchase of the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract. This is the final acquisition in a series of land purchases the state has completed under a 2012 agreement with The Nature Conservancy to conserve 69,000 acres of land previously owned primarily by the former Finch, Pruyn & Company paper company. The Tract is located primarily in the town of North Hudson in Essex County, south of the High Peaks Wilderness Area.

Governor Cuomo also sent a letter to the Adirondack Park Agency requesting the agency begin the classification process for the Boreas Ponds Tract. Since 2010, through the Governor’s efforts to promote recreation in the Adirondacks, tourism-related employment is up nearly eight percent, tourism spending is up 10 percent and visitation is up 15 percent in the Adirondack Park.

“The Adirondack Forest Preserve is a national treasure, and adding nearly 21,000 acres to the Preserve by completing the acquisition of the former Finch lands will benefit the region for generations to come,” said Governor Cuomo. “By acquiring this remarkable tract, we are helping to conserve the region’s natural beauty while also creating new economic opportunities for communities in the park. This will provide even more unparalleled settings for outdoor tourism and recreation, and I encourage New Yorkers to visit the region and see what they’ve been missing.”

The state purchase the tract with $14.5 million from the Environmental Protection Fund, providing the resources necessary to protect this treasured resource and its remote character, while expanding outdoor recreation opportunities including hunting, hiking, paddling and wildlife observation. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is in the process of developing interim plans to provide trails, parking lots and waterway access sites for public use in the summer. With this announcement, the public may access and recreate on the lands and waters by non-motorized means only.

The Nature Conservancy purchased 161,000 acres in 2007 from Finch Paper Holdings LLC, the company that purchased all of Finch, Pruyn & Company’s assets. In 2010, the state purchased conservation easements on 89,000 acres of these former Finch lands. In 2012, Governor Cuomo announced the planned acquisition of the remaining 65,000 acres of former Finch lands in fee, along with 4,000 acres of other Nature Conservancy lands. Under the agreement with The Nature Conservancy, the property was sold to the State in a phased five-year contract. Using the EPF, the State paid a total of $47.3 million for the property over five years.

In addition, DEC and The Nature Conservancy provided 15 grants in 2014 to local businesses and communities to implement tourism and recreation projects related to former Finch lands. These grants – adding up to $500,000 provided by The Nature Conservancy – are supporting equestrian staging areas, modernized lodging, campground improvements, marketing initiatives and professional outdoor guiding businesses.

The Nature Conservancy will now also provide an additional $750,000 in grants to be administered by DEC to assist the local municipalities to strengthen the critical links between local economies and conserved lands. These grants will greatly enhance local tourism infrastructure within these municipalities and assist in further expanding economic development initiatives in the Adirondack Park.

A large portion of the Boreas Ponds Tract is a lowland area between the North River Mountain Range to the west and the Boreas Mountain Range to the east. The summits of the Boreas Mountain Range are on the tract. Spectacular views of these mountain ranges and mountains in the High Peaks Wilderness – such as Marcy, Haystack, Gothics, and Saddleback – can be seen from a number of locations. This new purchase, when combined with the Casey Brook Tract acquired by the state in 2013, connects three major Forest Preserve areas.

Boreas Ponds, the namesake of the tract, form a 320-acre body of water, now one of the largest in the park completely surrounded by Forest Preserve. Other waters on the tract include LaBier Flow, Boreas River, LeClaire Brook, Casey Brook, Slide Brook and White Lily Brook, which provide habitat for cold water fish, including brook trout. A portion of this parcel serves as the divide between the Lake Champlain and Hudson River watershed.

While more than 80 percent of the former Finch lands are in Newcomb, North Hudson, Long Lake, Indian Lake and Minerva, the entire property lies within 27 towns across the Adirondacks. The state will pay full local property and school taxes on the land. These land acquisitions are one component of a larger conservation plan under which some 95,000 acres of former Finch lands are now protected by working forest conservation easements, and a collection of tracts in Newcomb, Long Lake and Indian Lake were set aside for community purposes.

Together, Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands throughout the Adirondacks provide an abundant variety of recreational access opportunities, including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, paddling, mountain biking and cross-country skiing. These large forest areas, interspersed with towns and villages, distinguish the Adirondack Park from other parks around the world and are integral to the local economy and way of life.

The Boreas Ponds Tract and the adjoining Casey Brook Tract will be available for limited public access while the Adirondack Park Agency leads the process to classify the lands under the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. This process involves, among other factors, careful consideration of the natural resources’ capacity to withstand use. After the land is classified, DEC will develop a management plan to fully identify and develop the recreational infrastructure on these lands.

A handful of leaseholders will continue to have driving access to their camps on the Boreas Ponds Tract through September 30, 2018. TNC will also have administrative access to the property for several years to tend to camp removal, including the removal of Boreas Lodge, which is anticipated to take place this spring.

“We applaud Governor Cuomo and DEC for this extraordinary accomplishment. Larger in size than Manhattan, the addition of the Boreas Ponds tract to the Forest Preserve is one for the history books,” Nature Conservancy Adirondack Chapter Executive Director, Michael Carr said. :”This property is of National Park quality. We are proud to partner with New York to protect such a priceless resource.”

Bill Farber, Chair of Hamilton County Board of Supervisors said, “This acquisition, is the final piece, of a historic transaction. Through the leadership of TNC, DEC, and particularly Governor Cuomo, these additions to the Forest Preserve have been historic, not just for their environmental significance, but in the way communities have had a chance to partner in this process. Communities continue to benefit from the Governor’s commitment to Tourism, and the commitment the State Agencies have made to working with the Towns and Counties. When there were questions about whether the Lodge could be sustained on site, or moved, TNC, DEC, and the impacted municipalities explored the options together. When all the options to sustain the Lodge, or salvage the Lodge, had been exhausted, TNC and DEC again stepped up to assure $750,000 in funding would be available to develop Tourism infrastructure in the communities. This partnership is historic, and long overdue!”
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Ecuador Turns to Facebook Campaign to Aid in Post-Earthquake Recovery

EcuadorNOW tourism recovery campaign is a crowd sourced, social media campaign to advise visitors that Ecuador is open for business and that places they want to enjoy were physically unaffected by the recent earthquake.
EcuadorNOW tourism recovery campaign is a crowd sourced, social media campaign to advise visitors that Ecuador is open for business and that places they want to enjoy were physically unaffected by the recent earthquake.

QUITO, ECUADOR–EcuadorNOW, a tourism recovery campaign modeled after a program in Nepal, is a brand-new crowd sourced, social media campaign to advise friends and visitors that Ecuador is open for business as usual and that places they want to enjoy were physically unaffected by the recent earthquake. The campaign showcases Ecuador as it is now, with reliable, up-to-the minute information, facts, photos and stories.

The EcuadorNOW campaign is a collaboration between tourism experts, both national and international, with special support and guidance coming from the Nepalese team who launched NepalNow after Nepal’s spring 2015 earthquake.

The campaign encourages tourists in Ecuador now to help by;

  • Taking a selfie holding the message: #I AM IN ECUADOR NOW (It could be hand-written or download a printed message here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vmkzgodkfj6zydu/PRINT_OUT.pdf?dl=0)
  • Share it on your own Facebook page, Twitter or lnstagram feed with the hashtags #EcuadorNOW or #StillStrong, or post it to the EcuadorNow Facebook page (be sure to hit ‘like’ while there).
  • To maximize the impact, please add a short story to your post. Something such as where you are, what you are doing, eating, looking at or discovering.

This tourism recovery campaign’s success depends on social media tools to crowd-source potential and current visitors to Ecuador to tell the story that all’s well and to please come! Messages to potential travelers, friends back home, tour operators and others play into how quickly tourism, a key economic driver, can get back on its feet.

A new website (soon to be launched), will keep the news and campaign current while inspiring the public to use these hashtags in social media; #EcuadorNOW and #StillStrong.

“How can people help Ecuador? Just keep visiting us,” says Jascivan Carvalho, EcuadorNOW advocate and president of the award-winning eco-tourism company Tropic (http://www.destinationecuador.com/). “Tourism can and should be a powerful tool for recovery.”

On April 16, 2016, the northern Pacific coast of Ecuador suffered a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that took more than 500 lives. Although many buildings and roads were extensively damaged, tourist favorites remain untouched. Unaffected were the High Andes, such cultural heritage sites as colonial centers and markets, the Galapagos Islands, cloud forests and the Amazon rainforest.

“The earthquake was terrible, but it did not destroy us. And so we bring you stories from travelers who have come here and seen for themselves the resilience of this land and its people. The hard data we provide will give you an accurate picture of when and where to make your trip. What we want most of all is for you to enjoy your trip to our country; safely, securely and without apprehension,” Carvalho adds.

Established in 1994, Tropic is an award–winning ecotourism company specializing in responsible, community-based tourism in Ecuador. Programs combine life-changing, active-but-cultural ecotourism experiences focusing on nature, conservation, diversity and sustainability. For its work with the Huaorani Community and on Floreana Island in the Galapagos, Tropic was awarded National Geographic Society’s 2015 National Geographic World Legacy Award in the category of Engaging Communities.

For information on all of Tropic’s programs in Ecuador, Phone: 1-888-207-8615 or visit www.destinationecuador.com.

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Context Travel Adds Prague to List of Family Walking Tours in Great Cities Around the World

Prague © 2016 David Leiberman/Travel Features Syndicate
Prague © 2016 David Leiberman/Travel Features Syndicate

Prague – Context Travel, organizer of critically acclaimed walking tours, unveils a new addition to its family program: a child-focused tour of Prague’s castle complex and historical center.

The walk, entitled Prague Discovery for Families takes children and adults alike on a journey back in time, thanks to the astonishingly well-preserved architecture that makes up Prague’s ancient core. Led by an expert historian and guide, the walk introduces families to the city’s history and includes a series of activities designed to engage children under age 12, using contemporary principles of pedagogy and drawing inspiration from Prague’s complex and vivid cityscape.

The walk begins on the grounds of the world’s largest castle complex: Prague Castle. This sprawling medieval site is perched above Prague, overlooking the city and the river Moldau that runs through it. The route continues downhill through the Lesser Town, across the storied Charles Bridge, and winds in and out of the historical Old Town towards Wenceslas Square.

“The family program is really a touchstone for our goals of promoting lifelong learning,” says Stephanie Taralson, Context’s Associate Program Manager for Central Europe. “Prague’s compact size and beautiful architecture make it the perfect playground for families, and it’s exciting to offer such an interactive and fun opportunity for even the youngest of visitors to become ‘Deep Travelers.’”

Prague Discovery for Families lasts two and a half hours and is available Monday through Sunday. Private tours cost CZK 6300 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, private walks are limited to (6) six participants and are led by a credentialed expert.

Family Walks in Cities Around the Globe

Context offers family walks in cities across Europe, Asia, North America and Australia.

From mosaic workshops on the Amalfi Coast to spy adventures along the Berlin Wall, boredom will not be on anyone’s schedule this Summer. Fun, “totally cool” interactive experiences to engage kids are offered in the cultural capitals of the world:

Context’s  family program has been designed by museum educators and always includes hands-on activities that inspire creative learning opportunities. Walks are led by passionate and knowledgeable docents who make our cities come to life for children of all ages.

Context can also create a custom family tour in one of our 37 cities across the globe.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in  thirty-seven (37) world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Milan, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Cartagena, Istanbul, Athens, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, Dublin, Tokyo, Kyoto, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Montreal, Melbourne, and Sydney. A certified B Corporation, Context Travel was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs.

Contact Context at info@contexttravel.com, call 800.691.6036.or visit  www.contexttravel.com.

 

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