Yosemite National Park Adventures Abound in Spring (with Discounts) at Tenaya Lodge

Hiking the John Muir Trail in Yosemite National Park in spring. Tenaya Lodge is located a short drives away from the entrance gate. © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

FISH CAMP, Calif.— Springtime  at Tenaya Lodge at the doorstep to Yosemite National Park features the long-awaited re-opening of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, fun new open-air adventure tours by jeep, luxury buses and motorcycles and the opportunity to savor the flavors of the High Sierra at a special craft beer event. What’s more, guests can take advantage of a family-friendly spring package, plus seasonal spa treatments and the return of popular warm weather activities like mountain biking, swimming and guided hikes to create the perfect getaway.

Here are four great reasons to take a spring break at Tenaya Lodge in 2018:

Be the First to Rediscover the Giant Sequoias at Mariposa Grove

Just a short 10-minute drive from Tenaya Lodge, the popular Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is slated to reopen to the public June 15 after an extensive four-year restoration. Guests will once again be able to walk among the splendor of the big trees, some of which are thousands of years old. Intended to restore the grove’s ecology and increase its resilience, the restoration project also has resulted in an enhanced visitor experience that includes a new parking area and information station, new hiking trails, an accessible boardwalk and modernized restrooms. In celebration of the grove’s reopening, Tenaya Lodge is offering a Big Trees Package that includes overnight accommodations and a giant sequoia sapling for guests to take home and plant as a reminder of their vacation. The package also includes other discounted keepsake souvenirs such as Living Among Giants, a book written and illustrated by local watercolor artist and naturalist Shirley Spencer.

For more information and updates on the official Mariposa Grove opening date, visit www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mariposagrove.htm. 

Yosemite Luxury Bus + High Sierra Jeep + Eagle Rider Tours

Just two miles from the south gate to Yosemite National Park, Tenaya Lodge is giving guests one-of-a-kind access to the area’s breathtaking waterfalls, vibrant wildflowers and awe-inspiring views with a trio of new open-air tour options.

For those who want to go luxe, Tenaya’s Mercedes-Benz Open-Air Tour Bus offers the ideal, stress-free option for exploring Yosemite Valley. The only of its kind in Yosemite National Park, the 19-person buses feature panoramic retractable roofs for unique access to the fresh mountain air and stunning views. Offered seven days a week, guests depart from the resort with a local guide and spend the day touring Yosemite Valley with stops at scenic landmarks such as Wawona, Tunnel View, Bridalveil Falls, El Capitan Meadow and Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. Tours can be booked through the resort concierge. Rates for the spring season start March 16 at $145 for adults, $135 for active military or seniors and $80 for children under 12.

Adventure-seekers in the mood to kick up some dust can opt for the resort’s new Sierra Jeep Tours. Thanks to a recent partnership with Tenaya Lodge, Sierra Jeep Tours provide resort guests with a thrilling exploration of the great outdoors. The tours wind up secluded forest service roads to reach the historic Devil’s Peak fire lookout with expansive views of Sierra National Forest. Jeep tours start at $249 and can be booked online or through the resort concierge.

And, just to satisfy all tastes and desires, coming soon to the property are EagleRider Motorcycle and Slingshot adventures. Visitors can ride the beauty of the Yosemite-High Sierra Region and let the fresh air envelope them from head to toe. EagleRider Rentals, exclusively from Tenaya Lodge, will include Harley Davidson/Indian motorcycles, as well as sleek and sporty three-wheel Slingshots which don’t require a motorcycle license to enjoy. 

Discover New Flavors During Tenaya’s Inaugural Craft Beer Weekend

While the resort offers local craft beer all year round, including the signature Tenaya Red IPA by South Gate Brewing company, this spring Tenaya is pulling out all the stops and throwing its inaugural “High Sierra Hops” craft beer event. Beer aficionados can indulge their taste buds in some of the best craft beer the High Sierra has to offer at the weekend event, June 1-3, 2018. A joint venture between Tenaya Lodge and South Gate Brewing Company in Oakhurst, Calif., festivities will include an exclusive beer pairing dinner, live entertainment, games, delicious eats, souvenir keepsakes and, of course, brews. Visitors can come for the day or purchase a weekend package that includes accommodations and VIP to access to the beer dinner. 

Special Spring Rates

From now through June 21, 2018, visitors can save 10 percent on rooms when staying two nights or more. Guests can book online at www.tenayalodge.com using promo code SPRING10. Or, families will enjoy Tenaya’s Spring Break Family Package that’s equipped with both indoor and outdoor adventure options. The two-night package includes a seven-day Yosemite National Park Pass, guided hike or ice skating session (dependent on weather) and a complimentary in-room movie experience with all the goods including assorted candies and popcorn. The package is available March 15 through April 15, 2018 and starts at $325 per night.

Kids wearing neon-glowing necklaces (as much to keep track of them, along with periodic coyote yells) examine a small seed by flashlight on the nightly walking tour in the forest around Tenaya Lodge © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is an all-season resort framed by noble evergreen forest and a rich range of Sierra recreation. The lodge, set adjacent to Yosemite National Park’s South Gate at an elevation of 5,288 feet, offers 302 rooms, suites and mountain cottage accommodations. Tenaya Lodge offers easy access to Yosemite’s iconic attractions and many guests savor the alpine serenity of Ascent Spa at Tenaya Lodge. Resort dining options run the table from casual to candlelit at Sierra, Jackalope’s, Timberloft and Embers restaurants.

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, 1122 Highway 41 Fish Camp, CA 93623, 888-514-2167. For more information and reservations, visit www.tenayalodge.com.

See also:

Tenaya Lodge Provides Luxury Lodging Resort Experience at Gateway to Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park: Best Valley Hikes for First Timers

Yosemite National Park: Surprising Diversity, Dramatic Scenes Hiking Chilnualna Falls Trail, Wawona

 

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Hike, Horseback Ride, Pub & Fiddle Crawl Thru Castles, Celtic Ruins, Manors on Vagabond Irish Adventure

Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland’s 12-day “Giant Irish Adventure” circumnavigates the island nation.

COUNTY WICKLOW, Ireland–Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland’s 12-day “Giant Irish Adventure” circumnavigates the island nation. Beginning in Dublin, guests poke around impregnable fortresses, ring forts, beehive huts, manor houses and castles. The common element to the sites is the stone – indestructible and a metaphor for the Irish spirit

Nature’s stone edifices also play a role in the Giant Irish Adventure that includes Ireland’s highest mountain range called the Macgillycuddy Reeks or black stacks of glacial-carved sandstone; the Cliffs of Moher of shale and limestone overlooking the Atlantic; and the Giant’s Causeway, a natural sculpture playground of basalt columns created by volcanic activities in the Atlantic Ocean a millennia ago.

Per person double rate of €2,769 includes the services of a highly trained professional Vagabond tour guide for 12 full days; 11 nights accommodation (4 nights B&B, 6 nights hotel, 1 night in a castle); 11 full Irish breakfasts; guided walks; entrance to most of the historical and archaeological sites and to some natural sites; demonstrations of local craftsmen at work; and all relevant fees and taxes. See: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/irish-tours-12-day-giant-irish-adventure/.

This tour caters to active travelers who want time aplenty to explore where they are by foot. Hikes of up to two hours are daily highlights. Some activities such as horseback riding, sea kayaking and surfing and biking in Killarney National Park are optional. The tour is flexible and guests can arrange to opt out of one activity and into another.

Among the historic stone structures guests may visit Dunluce Castle is a cliff-edge ruin from the 13th century, with views over the Irish Sea to Scotland; Stone Ring Fort (1700 BC) constructed by Bronze Age farmers as defenses against cattle thieves with such precision that no mortar was required; Glenveigh Castle and Gardens. a Victorian (1867) edifice in what is now Glenveagh National Park; the original owner drove poor tenants from the land so he could transform it into an aristocrats’ hunting playground; Donegal Castle was built in the 15th century on the site of a one-time Viking fortress; Abbeyglen Castle Hotel where the mountains of Connemara meet the sea was constructed in 1832 (overnight here); Beehive huts (Clochán) date to 5th century monastic settlements (think Luke Skywalker’s retreat in Star Wars); Blarney Castle dates to medieval times; kissing the Blarney Stone is said to bestow the gift of eloquence; Rock of Cashel or St. Patrick’s Rock from the 12th century boasts a Romanesque chapel harboring ancient frescoes.

On the daily walks and hikes, guests explore: Slieve Gullion Mountain, the highest point in Ireland which harbors Neolithic passage tombs; Cliffside Trail including 132 steps to Giants Causeway; Slieve League, the highest sea cliffs in Europe; Croagh Patrick, the famous holy mountain where every step taken means a sin forgiven; Cliffs of Moher, 700-foot sea cliffs; Kilkee Cliff Walk overlooking the Atlantic; Glacial valley of Lough Annascaul.

Throughout the journey, the Vagabond arranges stops at locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants Transport is in a 4×4 Land Rover or Mercedes ‘Vagatron’ that allows intimate access beyond where regular tour buses go.
(see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/irish-tours-12-day-giant-irish-adventure/.)

For details on Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, visit https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/, 833-230-0288, or email: info@vagabond.ie or info@driftwood.ie.

 

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Austin Adventures’ New MultiSport Vacation Encompasses 3 Rocky Mountain National Parks

Austin Adventures has just launched a multisport vacation encompassing Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.

BILLINGS, MT–Austin Adventures, a specialist in multisport vacations in national parks, has just launched a new way to experience three iconic Rocky Mountain destinations in one immersive journey. Over eight active days this summer, guests will go hiking, rafting and horseback riding through Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks while recharging each night at distinctive lodges.

Austin Adventures’ new-for-2018 Montana & Wyoming Rockies Adventure collects guests in Jackson, WY, where the week-long expedition begins. There’s time to explore this Wild West town before settling into the Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa located on seven lush acres adjacent to the National Elk Refuge and just a few blocks from Jackson’s lively town square. Welcome to the heart of the Rockies.

These mountains, constituting the spine of North America, rise thousands of feet out of the prairie, dividing the continent and providing some of the most dramatic and geologically diverse landscapes in the world. Those who have chosen to make their lives here are, among others, the guides, wait staff and innkeepers who interact with guests, sharing their understanding of this landscape while passing on love and lore.

“Our mantra is to engage as many senses as possible on an Austin Adventure,” says Dan Austin, founder and visionary director (https://www.austinadventures.com/).

Guests will…

  • hike up to seven miles on easy to moderately strenuous terrain, ever alert for grizzly bears, bison, wolves, coyotes, elk, pronghorns – and wildflowers;
  • horseback ride into the Bridger Teton National Forest, climbing 2,000 vertical feet to overlook Snake River Canyon;
  • whitewater raft on class II-III rapids through Wyoming’s Snake River Canyon;
  • glide down zip lines under towering limestone cliffs, and come face-to-face with mountain goats grazing on mountainsides of wildflowers;
  • swim and soak in an oversized Olympic pool fed by a virtually unlimited supply of 155-degree natural hot spring water;
  • gaze 1,000 feet down into the V-shaped gorge of the color-splashed walls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
  • learn the geological differences between three magnificently dissimilar national parks all within a geographically small area;
  • investigate Yellowstone’s four geothermal features: spouting geysers, steaming hot springs, hissing fumaroles and bubbling mud pots.

Excursions from Jackson Hole will first introduce guests to the wonders of the Grand Tetons. Then moving into Yellowstone territory, guests are guided to views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on a backcountry hike that favors moose and elk sightings over the distant din of summer crowds. Arriving at Canyon Lodge there’s the opportunity to step back from technology and embrace lodging in the country’s oldest national park while chatting fireside with new-round friends. Departing the park at the West Gate, a 110-year-old Montana homestead, 320 Guest Ranch, offers cowboy comfort along the Gallatin River that winds through sage and towering pines. The movie A River Runs Through It was filmed nearby.

The scenic drive north to Glacier National Park is interspersed by a stop at the famous pools of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Guests spend a night here before heading to Whitefish, Montana, and two nights at the Grouse Mountain Lodge, one of the region’s finest. A day is spent exploring Glacier Park with a hike along the Highline Trail (also known as the Garden Wall) to Haystack Butte and back. A drive along the famed Going to the Sun Road reveals an alpine environment that wows with its wildflowers, precipitous peaks and an occasional mountain goat or bighorn sheep. A final gondola ride up Whitefish Mountain to soak in the breathtaking views precedes a transfer back to the Kalispell airport for the inevitable return home.

The per person double rate is $3,998 ($80 single supplement). Departures in 2018 are July 15 and July 25. The rate includes accommodations; all meals (except one on-own dinner); fully trained, first-aid-certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners; all necessary equipment for scheduled activities; vehicle support and land transportation during the trip; Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service; pre-departure and packing information; and incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.

For details see https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/montana-wyoming-rockies-adventure/.  A recent blog about the sights seen on this adventure can be found at https://www.austinadventures.com/travel-resources/best-of-the-west/
Contact Austin Adventures at 800-575-1540, email info@austinadventures.com or visit www.austinadventures.com.
For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Austin Adventures Weaves In and Out of Yellowstone on Montana Multisport Vacation Journey

Austin Adventures is offering a carefully crafted, six-day Montana Vacation Package that focuses on adventures inside and outside of Yellowstone National Park.

BILLINGS, MT– A vast Yellowstone eco-system spanning Wyoming, Idaho and Montana is a world of wonder lost to most visitors whose eyes are only on one prize — Yellowstone National Park.  Austin Adventures, a pioneer in active, multisport travel for adults and families, is offering a carefully crafted, six-day Montana Vacation Package from $2,698 per adult that focuses on adventures outside of Yellowstone National Park while dipping inside park boundaries for such must-sees as Old Faithful. Adult-only trip departures in 2018 are July 1 and 22, Aug. 26, Sept. 2 and 9. A version designed just for families (with youth pricing) is offered June 10, 17 and 24, July 8, 15 and 29, Aug. 5, 12 and 19. The host city is Bozeman, MT.

An extra advantage to guests on this itinerary is that they will be touring with the leading provider of best-in-class travel in this region, stretching from river-carved Gallatin Canyon and mountainous Paradise Valley to Old Faithful and beyond. This is the wild, wild West where Austin Adventures’ staff live, work and play. The company’s in-depth knowledge of the surprises buried in this home turf equate to unparalleled opportunities for active travelers to open their senses in this still untamed world.

Guests on this active itinerary will…

  • Hike two to six miles on easy to difficult terrain including a trek to a U-shaped glacial cirque in Big Sky’s secluded backcountry and a hike full of surprises to the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
  • Horseback Ride with a bona fide, fourth generation Montana cowboy into the Absaroka Mountains with viewpoints overlooking all of Paradise Valley and the Gallatin Mountain Range (no experience necessary).
  • Raft Class II-III rapids through postcard-perfect canyons and ranchlands on the Yellowstone River (no experience required).
  • Tour Hayden Valley in search of elk, bison, wolf and bear, utilizing scopes and binoculars when necessary to view these animals from a safe distance.
  • Soak in the soothing natural waters of historic Chico Hot Springs Resort after a day spent wandering through the wilds of Montana.
  • Zip line across the Gallatin River in the land where the movie A River Runs Through It was filmed.

At 22 million acres, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is 10 times the size of Yellowstone Park. Austin Adventures’ Montana Vacation explores the northern portion of this spectacular region in detail while also hitting many of the iconic highlights of Yellowstone National Park: Old Faithful and Upper Geyser Basin, home to the largest collection of geysers in the world, Grand Canyon and the Lower Falls of Yellowstone, Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs and much more.

The rate includes five nights accommodation; all meals (except one on-own dinner); services of fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners; use of activity-related equipment; vehicle support and land transportation; Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle and luggage tags; luggage service; pre-departure and packing information and incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.

Accommodations include Chico Hot Springs Resort, home to one of Montana’s best restaurants, tucked into the foothills of the Absaroka Mountains. Here guests can luxuriate in Chico’s hot spring-fed pools in the midst of one of the most “Montana” landscapes imaginable. Guests also experience a 110-year-old homestead, 320 Ranch, reshaped with cowboy comforts as a Montana guest ranch. And near the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Canyon Lodge and Cabins provide rustic accommodations that allow guests to step back from technology and embrace togetherness in the country’s first national park.

For details see https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/montana-big-sky-yellowstone-paradise-valley (adult-focused itinerary) and https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/montana-family-vacation/ (family-focused).

Austin Adventures also offers these other northern Rockies trips.
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/wyoming-family-yellowstoneteton/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/yellowstone-family-vacations/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/montana-wyoming-western-adventure/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/glacier-park-vacations-tour/

Contact Austin Adventures at 800-575-1540, email info@austinadventures.com or visit www.austinadventures.com.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Wildland Adventures Introduces New Tours to Colombia

Wildland Adventures is introducing three new active tour itineraries in Columbia that weave culture and wildlife with hiking, rafting and birdwatching.

SEATTLE, WA– Colombia is the newest emerging travel hot spot and Wildland Adventures, an award-winning travel company known for meticulous tour development, is introducing three new active tour itineraries in Columbia that weave culture and wildlife with hiking, rafting and birdwatching.

“Now that peace and security have been restored, Colombia is “one of the world’s extraordinary new travel hot spots because of its stunning biodiversity and cultural heritage,” said Kurt Kutay, Wildland Adventures founder and president.

Americans are often surprised by the sophistication they find upon shaking hands with such South American gems as Bogota, Colombia’s capital. These itineraries introduce the 500-year-old patinas of vibrant cities, still cobblestoned, former colonial hubs that welcomed explorers, pirates and conquistadors searching for El Dorado.

“Our Wildland Adventures in Colombia utilize a comprehensive network of new airline connections and a good primary road system, with 4×4 access on secondary roads into more remote regions and trailheads. The last decade has seen new-found economic growth and political stability, and vastly improved security presenting itself as the new gateway to South America. As tourism develops, restored colonial boutique hotels and ecolodges are popping up across the country. There’s also an exciting gastronomic scene evolving,” added Kutay.

Rafting, snorkeling and diving into freshwater rivers and salty seas hint at a gold standard of adventure. Along with prehistoric and extant jungle creatures come nearly 20 percent of the world’s bird species. Colombia Wildlands and Wildlife is a 14-day program that starts and ends in Bogota. The per person double rate is from $5,840.

In Bogota guests visit vibrant neighborhoods and plazas, including the impressive Gold Museum and the Botero Museum. Fernando Botero’s transcendent depictions of his people recall themes familiar in the work of Mexico’s Diego Rivera. Then the economy and culture of coffee come to life in the cool uplands of the central Andes, along with sub-tropical cloud forest rife with bird and wildlife. One of the world’s most difficult genus of birds to catch sight of, antpittas, and the masked saltator and ocellated tapaculo are protected in their natural habitat in the Rio Blanco Nature Reserve.

The Amazon Basin eco system introduces a conservation project and eco-lodge helping support indigenous peoples on their own lands. The tour visits a foundation that protects and studies primates on site. Another ecosystem of montaine forest rises to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains, a coastal range home to around 600 bird species. Once off-limits for security reasons, the San Lorenzo Ridge is the crown jewel of the avian habitat, allowing birders to see over 20 of the Sierra’s 24 endemic species representing the highest level of endemism in the world. Here are the Santa Marta parakeet and rufous antpittas that can be spotted walking along the road just before sunrise.

Highlights of Colombia is an 11-day itinerary from $3,150 per person double. Guests meet in Bogota before transferring to Villa de Leyva, a 16th century colonial town surrounded by a dry Andean Acacia forest. Guests hike in a nearby cloud forest and bike in the adventure capital of Colombia, the province of Santander, where the UNESCO World Heritage town of Barichara dating to the Spanish conquest remains “the prettiest town in Colombia.” One six-mile hike on the cobblestoned Caminos Reales (Royal Road) leads to a meet up with a restoration specialist who demonstrates how to construct mud adobe brick walls in their original style. Caminos Reales also connects to Chicamocha, the Grand Canyon of South America. A stay at a coffee plantation concludes the interior tour before moving to the Caribbean coast to explore Tayrona National Park, a bio-diverse, palm-fringed paradise skirting white sand beaches. Here are the ruins of El Pueblito, a vast system of stone terraces, aquaducts and round platform foundations of an ancient civilization.

Leaving nature behind, Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage city, teases appetites for colonial and Caribbean flavors in this former (1533) Spanish port. A visit includes a foodie walk stopping at favorite cafes and food stands frequented by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the fabled author of, among others, Love in the Time of Cholera. Kutay thinks that Cartagena is the most seductive city of the Caribbean.

Unexplored Colombia: Coffee, Culture, and Coast over 12 days combines the Coffee Triangle with whale watching (extension) on the Pacific. The per person double rate is from $3,660.

From Bogota guests travel to Cali, famed for the Salsa Dance Academy. Medellin (the departure city) is revered as one of the most beautiful places in South America. Here via cable car, guests access the re-invigorated and thriving barrio that drug king Pablo Escobar helped build. They also hike through the Otun Quimbaya Flora & Fauna Sanctuary, a cloud forest with hundreds of species of butterflies; birds ranging from eagles to hummingbirds; and mammals, including spectacled bears, tapir, deer, cane skunks, and howler monkeys. Enroute to the Andes guests may climb 600+ stone steps for a 360-degree view from El Penol, a massive stone rising out of the flat ground and once worshiped by the Tahamies Indians. The one-time mansion of Pablo Escobar is nearby.

Guests engaged in the extension to the Pacific Coast fly to the Chocó region. Here there are no roads, just air and boat access. Misty jungle-clad hills spouting waterfalls and hot springs meet the white sand of the Pacific. This biodiverse region offers kayaking around one of world’s largest humpback whale migrations (June – November). Located in the Biological Conservation Corridor Panamá-Chocó-Manabí, this zone is one of the most pristine marine ecosystems in the Pacific.

For more information on Wildland Adventures’ worldwide offerings, tour availability and reservations call 1-800-345-4453 or email info@wildland.com. Visit online at www.wildland.com.
For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

TreadRight Foundation Celebrates World Wildlife Day with New Partnership with Wildlife Conservation Society

Tigers in Kahna National Park, India. TreadRight. a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, celebrates World Wildlife Day 2018 with its newest Wildlife Initiative project partner: the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), in helping to support WCS’s Big Cat Fund © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

DELRAY BEACH, Fla., March 2, 2018 – The TreadRight Foundation, a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, celebrates World Wildlife Day 2018 with the announcement of its newest Wildlife Initiative project partner: the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

WCS joins leading organizations the Wilderness Foundation – Africa and Wildlife SOS – India as current TreadRight Wildlife Initiative partners, all with the shared goal of helping to ensure the planet’s most at-risk wildlife populations are protected.

Through the new partnership, TreadRight is helping to support WCS’s Big Cat Fund. For more than 50 years, WCS has been a leader in big cat conservation. WCS works to conserve all big cat species, with long-term programs in 55 landscapes in 28 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America – the largest cat conservation footprint of any organization. With a well-established track record, long-standing partnerships, and more boots on the ground in more landscapes than any other organization working on global big cat conservation, WCS is striving to secure a future for these majestic animals.

“It is with tremendous pride that we announce our Wildlife Initiative partnership with WCS,” remarks Brett Tollman, Chief Executive, TTC, and Founder, The TreadRight Foundation. “WCS’s well-earned reputation as a tireless defender of wildlife around the globe is nothing short of inspiring. Our family of TTC brands and The TreadRight Foundation are eager to help continue driving the incredible work of the WCS Big Cat Fund forward. We are thrilled to expand our Wildlife Initiative species portfolio to now include big cats in Africa, the Amazon, India and Southeast Asia, courtesy of this dynamic new sustainability partnership.”

“WCS has been saving wildlife and wild places for more than 120 years,” said Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, WCS Vice President of Species Conservation. “Throughout our history, we have been dedicated to big cat conservation. We are grateful to The TreadRight Foundation for sharing our vision and supporting our work to save the iconic tigers of Asia, the lions of Africa, the jaguars of Latin America, and all other big cat species.”

Around the world, big cats are among the most recognized and admired animals. As apex predators, they regulate the food chain and serve as key indicators of eco-system health. Yet all big cat species face a multitude of threats to their survival. Their IUCN Red List conservation statuses range from “near threatened” to “endangered,” with many populations falling fast. WCS is in a unique position to help—they work to conserve all seven species.

In April 2016, WCS launched the WCS Big Cat Fund to bolster their conservation efforts for these magnificent and ecologically vital animals. Their goal is to recover and stabilize populations of tigers, lions, cheetahs, snow leopards, jaguars, leopards, and clouded leopards in important strongholds across their ranges.

Today, WCS works to conserve big cat species in 28 countries and has developed comprehensive action plans with unique approaches in each site. These programs have demonstrated success over decades of sustained conservation. WCS understands the threats across big cat habitats and addresses them using rigorous science and conservation action.

For more details, visit TreadRight.org. Join TreadRight’s social media community on Facebook or Twitter and follow the conversation using the hashtag #LetsTreadRight

 

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

US Tour Operators and Educational Travel Organizations Urge State Department to Lift Punitive Travel Advisory Against Cuba

John McAuliff, Executive Director & Founder of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, fields questions from interested travelers at the Cuba-US People to People Partnership booth at the New York Times Travel Show. © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 1, 2018 — A group of 28 leading U.S. tour operators and organizations specializing in educational travel and exchanges with Cuba is calling on the U.S. State Department to re-staff its Embassy in Havana and change Cuba’s travel advisory from a Level 3 (“reconsider travel”) to at least a less intimidating Level 2 (“exercise increased caution”). The request comes on the eve of the State Department’s decision about whether or not to return the U.S. diplomats to the Embassy, expected to be announced on March 4.

(The US State Department said it would not restore the diplomats.)

Beginning in late September 2017, after reports that 24 U.S. Embassy employees in Havana had suffered unexplained health ailments, the Trump Administration withdrew 60 percent of its Embassy staff from Havana, issued a Travel Warning urging Americans not travel to Cuba, and expelled 15 diplomats from Cuba’s Embassy in Washington, D.C. In January 2018, the State Department issued a new global travel advisory system, which ranks Cuba as Level 3.

“A Level 3 rating is not justified for Cuba since there are no confirmed causes of private citizens or travelers contracting symptoms similar to the diplomats,” says Andrea Holbrook, President and CEO of Holbrook Travel, one of the companies that signed the petition. (The list of signatories is provided below). “This inappropriate travel warning has caused fear and confusion and has sharply reduced the number of U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba,” Holbrook adds. “It has also affected travel businesses in the States and in Cuba, including those small businesses, like B&Bs and home restaurants, which depend so heavily on American tourists.”

survey of 42 tour operators and educational travel organizations conducted in late January 2018 by the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) found that not one of their travelers reported suffering from health issues similar to those of the Embassy employees. Collectively, those surveyed sent more than 42,000 U.S. travelers to Cuba in 2016 and 2017. In addition, there have been no confirmed cases of similar illness among the estimated 700,000 private U.S. citizens who visited the island nation in 2017.

A lengthy ProPublica article, published February 14, 2018, provides the first detailed chronology of the diplomats’ afflictions and the subsequent official — but, to date, inconclusive — investigations by the United States, Cuba, and Canada, and makes clear that the general public is not threatened. In fact, in January 2018, Cuba was voted the safest place to travel at the International Travel Fair in Madrid.

During a meeting on January 12 with State Department officials, a group of American tour operators, travel associations, and Cuba experts were told that a Level 3 rating is automatically triggered by a “drawdown” of U.S. Embassy personnel as a result of the “No Double Standard” policy articulated in the Foreign Affairs Manual.

According to the State Department, this policy originated after the terrorist bombing of a passenger airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, in the interest of sharing information publicly about potential threats against U.S. citizens. That policy, however, also states it is “not intended to prevent the limited distribution of information about threats to specific U.S. citizens/nationals or U.S. organizations.”

“The ‘No Double Standard’ policy leaves the option for the State Department to report threats only to those parties that might be affected by similar incidents,” says Kate Simpson, President of Academic Travel Abroad, Inc, a Washington, D.C.-based educational travel company. “So why was this more limited approach not employed in the case of Cuba, given that the affected group consists only of diplomats, many of whom are known to be intelligence officers and their families?”

Simpson adds, “The fallout from the State Department’s actions has negatively impacted not only U.S. companies and institutions sending travelers to Cuba for educational purposes, but the lack of Embassy staff in Havana has also made it extremely difficult for Cuban citizens to attain visas for visits to the United States.”

On March 4, the State Department faces a mandatory deadline requiring that, six months after an Embassy drawdown, staff must either be reassigned or sent back to their original post. The draw down in Havana began in early September 2017 as Hurricane Irma hit the island and was increased to 60 percent of staff later in the month, in the wake of media revelations about afflictions to the two dozen U.S. diplomats and a handful of staff in the Canadian Embassy. Canada has launched an investigation but has not downsized its Embassy or issued any travel warning to its citizens.

The 28 tour operators and organizations specializing in educational travel to Cuba are calling for the State Department to return more consular officers to the U.S. Embassy in Havana. Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, President of the American Foreign Service Association, the union that represents U.S. foreign-service officers, and some diplomats who were interviewed for the ProPublica article indicated that this is also their wish — to return U.S. diplomats to Cuba. This would, the group hopes, eliminate the trigger that has categorized the country as a Level 3.

The group further questions how Cuba can be rated as a Level 3 while countries with known security risks — such as Israel, Egypt, Algeria, Mexico, and Ethiopia — are rated as Level 2. In addition, the State Department advisories for some countries include alerts pertaining to particularly dangerous parts of their countries. Mexico, for instance, while rated Level 2 overall, is given ratings of Levels 3 and 4 (“do not travel”) for certain states.

“While the new travel advisory system is a welcome improvement, in terms of clarity and organization,” says Ms. Simpson, “it is disappointing to have the Cuba rating starkly reveal political bias, undermining the credibility of the State Department’s consular services.”

A more acceptable alternative, Simpson and the other signers suggest, would be to rate Cuba at least Level 2 overall and designate the parts of Havana where the health incidents took place as Level 3. “Until it’s discovered what caused these ailments, a Level 2 rating, at least, would more accurately reflect the situation in Cuba,” explains Ms. Holbrook. “And it would help encourage those considering traveling to Cuba to do so.”

To read the full petition, click here. The list of tour operators and educational travel organizations who have signed the petition are:

 

Johann Besserer, Executive Director, Intercultural Outreach Initiative

Reid Callanan, Director, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops

Karin Eckhard, CEO & Co-founder, Espíritu Travel, LLC

Michael Eizenberg, President, Educational Travel Alliance

Malia Everette, CEO, AltruVistas

Michele Gran. Co-founder and Senior Vice President, Global Volunteers

Bob Guild, Co-coordinator, Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel (RESPECT)

Kendra Guild, Director, Marazul Charters, Inc.

John Haffner, President, Cuba Trade and Travel

Marcel Hatch, President,Cuba Explorer Tours

Richard Hobbs, Esq., Executive Director, Human Agenda

Andrea Holbrook, President and CEO, Holbrook Travel, Inc.

Martha Honey, Ph.D., Cofounder & Executive Director, Center for Responsible Travel (CREST)

Adriana Isaza-Mohring, Founder, Elite Tennis Travel

Tor D. Jensen, President, Jensen World Travel, Ltd.

Gabrielle Jorgensen, Director of Public Policy, Engage Cuba

Collin Laverty, President, Cuba Educational Travel

Lee Marona & Aja C. Napolis, President & Administrative Coordinator, Vaya Sojourns, Inc.

John McAuliff, Executive Director & Founder, The Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Janet Moore, President, Distant Horizons

Tom Popper, President, insightCuba

Bill Robison, Director of Expedition Development, Lindblad Expeditions

Melisa Riviere, Ph.D., President, Son Dos Alas: Cultural and Educational Travel

Peter Sanchez, CEO, Cuba Tours and Travel

Kate Simpson, President, Academic Travel Abroad, Inc.

Mark J. Spalding, President, The Ocean Foundation

Ned Sublette, Founder & President, Postmambo Studies

Kristen Tripp, Program Director – Cuba, Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures

The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) is a policy-oriented research organization dedicated to increasing the positive global impact of responsible tourism. CREST assists governments, policy makers, tourism businesses, nonprofit organizations, and international agencies with finding solutions to critical issues confronting tourism, the world’s largest service industry.

See also:

New York Times Travel Show: Despite Trump Policy, Americans CAN Travel to Cuba!

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/krubin0830/

instagram.com/famtravltr/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures