Category Archives: Best in Travel

Five Must-Visit Spanish-Speaking Destinations Ideal for Solo Travelers

Situated in the heart of the Andes Mountains, Cusco, Peru, serves as the gateway to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Solo travelers can explore the city’s archaeological wonders, vibrant markets, and lively plazas while soaking in the rich Andean culture and hospitality © Karen Rubin/

When you set off on a solo traveling adventure, there’s no need to haggle with your traveling partner over where you’re going – the whole world is your oyster! But if the thought of that makes you freeze up with choice paralysis, here are some recommendations to help you narrow down your options.

James Smith from Learn Spanish With James lists his five must-visit Spanish-speaking destinations that are perfect for solo adventurers: 

Barcelona, Spain

Nestled along the northeastern coast of Spain, Barcelona enchants visitors with its vibrant energy, architectural wonders, and rich cultural heritage. From exploring the iconic landmarks of Antoni Gaudí to strolling along the bustling streets of La Rambla, solo travelers can immerse themselves in the city’s dynamic atmosphere and diverse culinary scene.

James recommends taking a guided tour of the city’s architectural marvels, followed by a tapas tasting adventure in the Gothic Quarter.

Oaxaca City, Mexico

Tucked away in the southern region of Mexico, Oaxaca City beckons with its blend of colonial charm and indigenous traditions, plus a wealth of culinary delights! Solo adventurers can wander through the historic center’s cobblestone streets, visit colorful markets brimming with local handicrafts, and savor traditional Oaxacan cuisine, including mole and mezcal.

James says, ‘Join  a cooking class to learn the secrets of traditional Mexican cuisine and explore nearby archaeological sites like Monte Albán!’

Cusco, Peru

Situated in the heart of the Andes Mountains, Cusco serves as the gateway to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Solo travelers can explore the city’s archaeological wonders, vibrant markets, and lively plazas while soaking in the rich Andean culture and hospitality. For those seeking adventure, trekking to Machu Picchu via the renowned Inca Trail offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

James encourages solo travelers to participate in a cultural exchange with indigenous communities and embark on a sunrise hike to catch breathtaking views of Machu Picchu.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

With its historic architecture, vibrant neighborhoods, and pristine beaches, San Juan offers solo travelers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Wander through the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, sample authentic Puerto Rican cuisine, and soak up the sun on the picturesque shores of Isla Verde.

James recommends lounging on the beaches of Condado and indulging in a refreshing piña colada.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Known as the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires exudes sophistication, passion, and cultural diversity. Solo adventurers can lose themselves in the city’s eclectic neighborhoods, from the bohemian streets of San Telmo to the trendy bars of Palermo. Tango performances, art galleries, and world-class cuisine await around every corner, promising an unforgettable journey of exploration and discovery.

James suggests, ‘Attend a tango show to experience the passion and rhythm of Argentina’s iconic dance, then visit the city’s vibrant street markets to shop for unique souvenirs.’

For solo travelers contemplating their next adventure, James offers sage advice: ‘Embrace the unknown, be open to new experiences, and trust your instincts. Solo travel is not just about the destinations; it’s about the journey and the stories you’ll collect along the way.’

Learn Spanish With James is a go-to online hub for mastering Spanish led by James Smith, a fluent Spanish speaker with over 10 years of teaching experience. With a rich background of living in Spain, Argentina, and Costa Rica, James brings a wealth of cultural experiences and linguistic immersion to his teaching approach. The platform, with immersive activities and authentic content, offers diverse courses for all levels, from conversations to personalized tutoring, and access to free materials, podcasts, and e-books. (

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Portugal Scores Big Wins as ‘World’s Leading Destination’ at World Travel Awards

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal, just one of the historic attractions that resulted in Portugal being named “World’s Leading Destination” for the third year in a row at the 2019 World Travel Awards © Dave E. Leiberman/

Portugal, named “World’s Leading Destination” for the third consecutive year at the World Travel Awards, welcomed more than one million US visitors in 2019, an annual record achieved in just 10 months, following five years of double-digit growth.

Turismo de Portugal also won the title of World’s Leading Tourism Board for the third time, and Lisbon named World’s Leading City Break Destination 2019. Madeira Island was crowned “Best Island Destination in the World” for the fifth time in a row.

Tourismo de Portugal (the Portuguese National Tourism Board) released figures that showed the destination experienced an average monthly increase of 20.9%, and 22% growth in stays for 2019 with two months remaining in the year.

The growth in tourism is the result of a concerted 2027 Tourism Strategy to position Portugal as a destination to “visit, invest in, live, study and organize major events. Our aim will always be to capture more and better tourism, aligning economic growth with the ever-present concern for Portugal’s environmental and social sustainability.”

Increases in visits from Newark, Boston, New York and Miami align with improved air service on TAP Air Portugal (now a private company led by Jet Blue founder David Neeleman, SATA Air Azores, United Airlines, Delta Airlines and American Airlines.

TAP has growth its non-stop route map, adding services to and from Chicago, San Francisco and Washington DC, to the New York, Newark, Boston and Miami routes.

In total, Portugal won 12 awards in the grand final of the World Travel Awards, in addition to World’s Leading Destination 2019, World’s Leading Tourist Board, World’s Leading Island Destination (Madeira Islands) and World’s Leading City Break Destination (Lisbon).

Also: World’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction 2019 (Passadicos do Paiva – Arouca UNESCO Global Geopark); World’s Leading Conservation Company (Parques de Sintra-Monte de Lua); World’s Leading Golf & Villa Resort (Dunas Douradas Beach Club); World’s Leading Classic Hotel (Olissippo Lapa Palace Hotel); and World’s Leading Boutique Hotel Operator (Amazing Evolution Management).

TAP Air Portugal won awards as World’s Leading Airline to Africa, World’s Leading Airline to South America; and World’s Leading Inflight Magazine (Up Magazine).

American tourists are responding to Portugal as a European gem. The country has eight centuries of history with marvelous castles and architecture,and is a haven for foodies, with fantastic cuisine, the biggest exclusive fishing zone in Europe (making seafood fresh and affordable. Pop music lovers come for local music festivals.

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7 Top Cycling Tours You Can Do With Electric Bikes

E-bikes now put bike tours of the Green Mountains of Vermont within reach (c) Karen Rubin/

Always popular cycling tours have gotten an extra charge in recent years with the addition of electric bikes, allowing guests to ride hills with ease or get a boost to keep up with others. E-bikes are now available as an option on tours around the globe, from the Green Mountains of Vermont to the Tuscan countryside and Taiwan’s coastline. They’re even making their way off road and onto trails on e-mountain bike tours among the dunes of Namibia and the Alps in Switzerland. E-bikes mean there are no excuses for not taking a tour because you are afraid you can’t do the hills, the knees aren’t what they used to be.

Here are seven bike tours where you can find an electric ride:

E-MTB Safari in Namibia: Pedal across vast plains and seas of sand dunes, along dry streambeds and rocky jeep tracks, and past shipwrecks and surf on the Skeleton Coast on H+I Adventures’ new E-MTB Safari in Namibia. From the saddle of an e-mountain bike, watch for elephants, giraffes, zebras and oryx, and connecting with local communities along the way.

Natchez Trace Path: Biking the Natchez Trace is a cyclist’s dream come true, and why Cycle of Life Adventures offers it four times a year. The ancient path through Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi began as a wildlife and Native American trail, and has a rich history of use by explorers, trappers and traders, post men and Civil War soldiers. An e-bike will ease the few days where the mileage may seem overwhelming.

Tuscan Countryside: On Tourissimo’s cycling tour of Tuscany, Italy, visit some of the region’s most iconic destinations, from Cortona, the delightful hill town made famous by Frances Mayes in her bestselling novel “Under the Tuscan Sun,” to the abbeys, thermal springs and wineries in the countryside outside Pienza. Upgrade to an e-bike capable of covering 70 miles on a charge to go the distance.

Alps by E-MTB: Climb mountain passes and descend to lush valleys on H+I Adventures new E-MTB Tour of Switzerland. Riders will put the country’s seamless transport system to use accessing backcountry singletrack and perfectly built flow trails as they traverse the beautiful Graubünden region by e-mountain bike. Refuel with mid-ride rösti, then unwind with a glass of wine and dinner made with local flavors.

Mediterranean Islands Ride: E-bikes are a great option on Ride & Seek Bicycle Adventures epic cycling tour across Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Split into three week-long stages, the tour explores the Mediterranean islands’ history, food, architecture and traditions, as well as their strikingly rugged interiors, white beaches and emerald waters.

Vermont Covered Bridges: Ride through more than a dozen covered bridges on a tour of Vermont with Cycle of Life Adventures. This iconic ride passes through Montpelier, Stowe, Middlebury and Woodstock, climbing from river valleys over the Green Mountains. The optional e-bike rental will help flatten out the roads.

E-Bike Taiwan: On Grasshopper Adventures’ Bike Taiwan tour, guests cycle the length of the country from the northern capital, Taipei, to the southern tip. Along the way, they take in the beauty of east Taiwan’s rugged Pacific coast, exotic hot springs and valleys like the stunning Taroko Gorge. Grasshopper is the first tour operator to offer e-bikes to cyclists in Southeast Asia.

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Insight Vacations Discounts Travel to Ireland for Bookings by Dec. 18

Ireland is rich in culture with its wild landscapes and hearty culinary delights. From enjoying a pot of Irish stew, to exploring Ireland’s lush lands and regal castles, connect with your Gaelic Roots on Insight Vacations’ immersive experiences.

Ireland may be a small country but it is rich in culture with its wild landscapes and hearty culinary delights. From enjoying a pot of Irish stew, to exploring Ireland’s lush lands and regal castles, you’ll connect with your Gaelic Roots on Insight Vacations’ immersive experiences.

Lonely Planet named Galway as one of the top places to visit in the world in 2020—a cultural destination highlighted on Insight Vacations’ Ireland itineraries. The accolade has been given in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020, describing the city as “arguably Ireland’s most engaging city”.

According to the European Capital of Culture, visitors to Galway can expect to experience the city and county’s best year yet, with a year-long program of extraordinary street spectacle, live and digital art as well as world-class music, theatre and dance.

 As the award-winning leader in premium escorted travel, Insight Vacations wants travelers to observe Galway with experiences that go beyond the ordinary. On Insight’s journeys to Ireland, guests are invited to meet and interact with locals and explore various establishments that offer authenticity as well as good old-fashioned fun.

Here are several Insight trips that immerse guests into the unique aspects of Galway:

 Country Roads of Ireland (12 Days):Travelers will get the chance to enjoy breathtaking views of the Clare Coast before a delightful drive through the strange, rocky landscape of the Burren to Galway Bay. They will spend a day at their leisure to relax and enjoy the city– perhaps joining an Optional Experience to the Aran Islands – a genuine highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way. With their cliffs and spectacular coastal views, the islands are a true Irish experience.

 Focus on Ireland (7 Days):Lead by Insights’ dedicated and knowledgeable Travel Director, guests will explore the infamous Lynch Memorial and the Church of St. Nicholas, where Christopher Columbus reputedly prayed before his discovery of America. They will also see the aged Spanish Arch and Eyre Square, dedicated to the late US President, John F. Kennedy.

Irish Elegance (8 Days): Guests will journey the City of the Tribes and visit Galway’s stunning cathedral. They can take in the beautiful scenery during their two-night stay at the Connemara Coast Hotel, which is spectacularly set on the shores of Galway Bay.

For a limited time on Insight Vacations journeys, guests can visit Galway with Insight Vacations’ amazing air offer: From now until Dec. 18, travelers can save up to $300 per couple on economy air on departures from Oct. 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020, and Sept. 1, 2020 to Nov. 15, 2020.

By choosing flights with American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair and Iberia, travelers can save $150 off per person on Economy, $200 off per person on Premium Economy or $300 off per person on Business Class.

In addition to the these air offers, Insight Vacations is also offering a 10% savings to Europe with their popular Early Payment Discount for those who book and pay in full by December 18, 2019. This discount is combinable with Insights’ air offers.

For reservations, call Insight Vacations at 1-888-680-1241, or visit

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Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet, Luxury Resorts on St. Lucia, Earn Travelife Gold Recertification for Eco-Friendly Sustainability

Taking in the view at sunset from the Passion Flower terrace. Anse Chastanet and its sister resort, Jade Mountain, on St. Lucia have been recertified by Travelife, the sustainable tourism certification system © Laini Miranda/

ST. LUCIA  –  Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet in St. Lucia have been recertified for the internationally renowned Travelife Gold Certification for Hotels and Accommodations. The twin properties are the only Gold-certified accommodations on the Caribbean island, the luxury resorts’ owners, Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy, announced.

Travelife, the sustainable tourism certification system, has reassessed Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet’s performance in responsibly managing their socioeconomic and environmental impacts. The resorts first achieved certification in 2017 and have worked hard to maintain the title.

To gain a Travelife Gold certification, Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet were assessed against 88 sustainability criteria that take into account the following environmental issues and positive social impacts:

Protecting the environment, by minimizing the amount of energy, waste and water used;

Respecting and treating employees fairly;

Respecting the local community, including its residents and the safeguarding of children;

Protecting the local culture, heritage, and wildlife of the destination; and

Supporting the local economy and its businesses.

The Troubetzkoys said of the accolade: “We are absolutely delighted to have achieved Travelife Gold Certification once again, as environmental efforts have always been at the heart of our resorts. It is incredibly important to us that we continue to commit to sustainability and to supporting the local community year-over-year.” 

Environmental concerns, sustainability and community efforts are at the epicenter of Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet, with daily practices set up to conserve water and energy and increase recycling efforts. These include but are not restricted to the following:

The design of Jade Mountain reinforces the connection to the natural environment with passive ventilation of the rooms and natural day-lighting. Heating and cooling of the sanctuaries (rooms) are based entirely on the natural rhythms and cycles of the world. Not being dependent on artificial cooling or lighting of the rooms decreases the use of precious energy resources and minimizes the carbon footprint of the resort.

The exterior plaza of Jade Mountain was designed to capture all the rainwater in Koi ponds and planting areas. The plants are then harvested for use in the resort’s restaurants.

A natural coral tile was used for exterior walkways and roof areas. It is highly reflective and effectively diminishes any “heat island” effect in the local micro-climate.

Potable water for the resorts is produced by collecting it in a reservoir that was originally constructed and used by the British and French to power the water wheels that crushed sugar cane. The reservoir was repaired after decades of not being used and now collects over 1.5 million gallons of water annually that is gravity-fed to a state-of-the-art water purification system.

Only local, indigenous plants were used in the landscaping, which minimizes the need for watering and protects a precious resource.

The resorts were the catalyst behind the coral reefs of St. Lucia being declared a marine reserve to protect this valuable resource.

The resorts provide alternative transportation for its employees. On a daily basis, shuttles are scheduled hourly to transport workers from the resort to the local community, keeping carbon emissions to a minimum.

During the construction of Jade Mountain, any left-over construction materials were distributed to the local workforce for use on their own properties.

Construction materials that were used primarily came from the island, reducing the use of fossil fuels for transportation and the resultant pollution. For example, wood used was harvested from a managed forest.

During construction, the workers were protected through the implementation of an Indoor Air Quality plan that minimized worker’s exposure to harmful airborne compounds.

Low emitting materials (paints, adhesives, etc.) were used throughout the resorts, which effectively eliminated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are detrimental to a person’s health.

Guests are given the opportunity to learn about the resorts’ sustainability programs and actively participate in environmental activities such as reef cleaning and tree planting.

Nightly rates at Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain start at $375 and $1,080, respectively, per room based on double occupancy. Rates are subject to 10% service charge and 10% VAT. To book visit or

Rising majestically above the 600-acre beachfront resort of Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain Resort on St. Lucia’s southwestern Caribbean coastline is a cornucopia of organic architecture celebrating the island’s stunning scenic beauty. Architect owner Nick Troubetzkoy has expanded upon his philosophy of building in harmony with Caribbean nature in his creation of Jade Mountain. The bold architectural design – individual bridges leading to exceptional infinity pool sanctuaries and rugged stoned-faced columns reaching towards the sky – makes Jade Mountain one of the Caribbean’s most mesmerizing resort experiences. For more information, visit

Anse Chastanet is set amid a lush 600-acre estate with two soft-sand beaches and breathtaking views of St. Lucia’s twin Pitons mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amidst St. Lucia’s lush tropical beauty, activities range from jungle biking, hiking and bird watching to snorkeling on the reef within swimming distance of the beach. The environmentally friendly, award-winning resort comprises 49 individually designed rooms, 37 of which are scattered about a lush hillside, and 12 that are nestled within a tropical garden at beach level. Innovative menus – one of which is entirely vegetarian – are offered in four different locations and feature fresh produce served up from the resort’s organic farm. Guests can partake in interactive chocolate-making classes in the resort’s chocolate laboratory and a variety of water sports are also on offer. For further information, visit

See also: Honeymoon in Paradise: Anse Chastanet in Saint Lucia

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Lonely Planet Reveals Best Travel Destinations for 2020

Budapest, Hungary is one of Lonely Planet’s “best value” cities for 2020 © Eric Leiberman/

Global travel authority Lonely Planet unveiled its top 10 countries, cities, regions and best-value destinations for next year with the release of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020.

Best in Travel 2020 is Lonely Planet’s 15th annual collection of the world’s hottest destinations and journeys for the year ahead. This edition places particular emphasis on the best sustainable travel experiences for 2020 — ensuring travelers will have a positive impact wherever they choose to go.

Bhutan — the kingdom set to become the first fully organic nation by 2020 — claims the coveted spot as the number-one country to visit in 2020, while England places second and North Macedonia takes third.

Lonely Planet’s number-one region for 2020 is the Central Asian Silk Road, which is now more accessible than ever before, thanks to visa improvements for the majority of the world’s citizens, along with massive transportation and infrastructure investment. Le Marche, Italy comes in second, followed by Tōhoku, Japan.

Number-one city Salzburg, Austria will be pulling out all the stops for the centenary of its world-famous festival of music and drama next year, while Washington, DC, USA is second-ranked, with Cairo, Egypt in third place.

Elsewhere, Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara, Hungary’s Budapest and India’s Madhya Pradesh are Lonely Planet’s top three best-value destinations for 2020.

Each year, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel lists start with nominations from Lonely Planet’s vast community of staff, writers, bloggers, publishing partners and more. The nominations are then whittled down by our panel of travel experts to just 10 countries, 10 regions, 10 cities and 10 best value destinations. Each is chosen for its topicality, unique experiences and ‘wow’ factor.

For Best in Travel 2020, Lonely Planet’s experts have also selected the best New Openings, New Places to Stay, New Food Experiences, and Sustainable Trips for Families, as well as devoting an entire chapter to the best ways to Travel Well. features tips and videos on visiting each destination, as well as a chance to win a Silk Road adventure for two. The top 10 cities can also be explored for free with Lonely Planet’s Guides app.

Top 10 Countries

1. Bhutan

2. England

3 North Macedonia

4. Aruba

5. eSwatini

6. Costa Rica

7. The Netherlands

8. Liberia

9. Morocco

10. Uruguay

Top 10 Regions

1. Central Asian Silk Road 

2. Le Marche, Italy

3. Tōhoku, Japan

4. Maine, USA

5. Lord Howe Island, Australia

6. Guizhou Province, China

7. Cadiz Province, Spain

8. Northeast Argentina

9. Kvarner Gulf, Croatia

10. Brazilian Amazon

Top 10 Cities

1. Salzburg, Austria

2. Washington, DC, USA

3. Cairo, Egypt

4. Galway, Ireland

5. Bonn, Germany

6. La Paz, Bolivia

7. Kochi, India

8. Vancouver, Canada

9. Dubai, UAE

10. Denver, USA

Top 10 Best Value

1. East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

2. Budapest, Hungary

3. Madhya Pradesh, India

4. Buffalo, USA

5. Azerbaijan

6. Serbia

7. Tunisia

8. Cape Winelands, South Africa

9. Athens, Greece

10. Zanzibar, Tanzania

The Travel Edit

  • Best New Openings
  • Best New Places to Stay
  • Best New Food Experiences
  • Best Sustainable Trips for Families

Travel Well

  • Should We All Be Flying Less?
  • Traveling on a Carbon Diet
  • Going Local, for the Locals 
  • Taking Action on the Road 
  • Lessons from Indigenous Cultures
  • Hiking for Meditation

Competition: To celebrate this year’s Best in Travel, Lonely Planet is partnering with G Adventures and TourRadar to give visitors to the chance to win a Silk Road adventure for two through Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The prize includes: 

> a 15-day Best of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Tour from Dushanbe to Tashkent;

> a AUD $4,000 (approximately USD $2,700) travel voucher to put towards two return economy flights;

> up to AUD $500 (approximately USD $340) towards offsetting the carbon footprint of the winners’ flights;

> two copies of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020.

To enter, simply tell us in 255 characters or less why you’d love to experience the Central Asian Silk Road.

Lonely Planet is a world-leading travel publisher: a globe-spanning digital travel media company and the world’s number one travel guidebook brand. We’ve been providing both inspiring and trustworthy information for every kind of traveler since 1973. We reach hundreds of millions of travelers each year online and via our mobile products and help them unlock amazing experiences. Over the past 40 years we’ve printed over 145 million guidebooks as well as countless other titles showcasing the wonders of the world for travelers of all types. Lonely Planet can be found on, mobile, video and in 14 languages, 13 international magazines, armchair and lifestyle books, ebooks and more.

“At Lonely Planet we seek to make a difference in people’s lives by spreading the power of travel. We firmly believe that travel has a significant positive impact on people’s lives and outlooks and is a force of positive change.”

Visit and join 14 million followers on Facebook (, Twitter (@lonelyplanet), Instagram ( and Snapchat (@lonely.planet).

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Last Call to Enter Global Scavenger Hunt for $50,000 Prize

All you have to do to win $50,000 as the World Travel Champion is circle the globe and visit ten secret countries in 23-days in the one-of-a-kind travel adventure, while out-doing, out-thrilling and out-traveling a worthy collection of international travelers participating in the 2019 event for points for completing a series of highly participatory, authentic and challenging cultural site-doing scavenges scavenges. Trusting strangers in strange lands is required! © Karen Rubin/

Only a few spots remain for adventurous Indiana Jones-types and intrepid Nellie Blys willing to compete in the Global Scavenger Hunt, a world travel championship that hands the winning team a cool $50,000 first place prize.

The 15th edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt travel adventure competition aims to return the romance of travel while testing the travel IQ of the most travel savvy of globetrotters. They will complete a series of highly participatory, authentic and challenging cultural site-doing scavenges in ten secret countries over a 23-day circumnavigation between April 12 and May 4, 2019. Trusting strangers in strange lands is required!

Last call: interested travelers need to apply online at as the deadline is nearing.

“The Global Scavenger Hunt covers a lot of extraordinary travel bases,” says author and Event Director William Chalmers, “Taking our blind date with the world is a 21st century version of spinning a globe and throwing out your finger. Maybe that’s why we’ve been called the ‘Super Bowl of Travel,’ the ‘Olympics of Travel’, and one writer even called our annual travel adventure the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. I liked that one!”

The reviews for the annual world travel championship are in too: Conde Nast Traveler calls The Global Scavenger Hunt, “the best trip to take…”;  Frommer’s lists it as one of “best adrenaline adventures…” in the world; Outside magazine bills it as, “One of the most amazing trips in the world…”; and National Geographic says that the event is, “…like Survivor, The Amazing Race and the Eco-Challenge all rolled into one except with much more cultural interaction.”

The 23-day around the world event is limited to 15 teams of two with the $25,000 per team entry fee including: all international airfare, first class hotels, 40% of meals and special event-sponsored travel gear. Single travelers are welcome to apply; and all travelers will be interviewed for suitability. Please contact GreatEscape Adventures at +1.310.281.7809 or apply online at (CST#2071053-40)


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Tourico Vacations Pinpoints Popular Destinations for 2019

Cambodia © Travel Features Syndicate/

Tourico Vacations, an online booking engine, is in position to assist in booking trips to the most popular destinations for 2019. Haven’t decided? From European excursions to African and Asian adventures, here are some favorites:

If you’re interested in exploring vast rural landscapes and relaxing in beautifully remote areas, The Isle of Skye in Scotland, and Namibia, Africa, are two of 2019’s top contenders. Namibia’s stunning deserts, massive dunes, shipwrecked coastline, and plethora of diverse wildlife (including desert-adapted lions and elephants) make it an extraordinarily unique area. On the other hand, The Isle of Skye’s lush yet rugged countryside, medieval castles, quaint fishing villages, and relentless historical charm make it equally stunning.

If lounging on empty beaches and uninterruptedly soaking up sun sound like better ways to spend your 2019, choosing between the Andaman Islands in India, and Krabi, Thailand, will be tough. Phulay Bay is a phenomenal luxury resort on the white beaches of Krabi, and the entire area is known for being “still under the radar, uncrowded and peaceful.” The Andaman Islands, however, are known to be “among the world’s top diving destinations,” boasting nearly 600 mostly-uninhabited isles to explore.

If you’re looking for vibrant colorful communities, spectacular food, and special cultural experiences to kick off your 2019, it’s hard to choose between Chengdu, China, and Moscow, Russia. Moscow definitely has the impressive architecture and exchange rates to make the newly revived capital a must-see city. However, Chengdu’s infamous teahouses, colorful wet markets, fashion, culture, and food makes it unmatchable – plus, they have pandas.

Tourico Vacations is an online booking engine designed to provide customers with insider prices on more than 16,000 hotels, 2,000 cruise itineraries, flights, car rentals, vacation packages, and attractions worldwide. In addition to travel services, Tourico Vacations recently introduced Condos, European and American homes, a service offering accommodations at over 4,500 luxury vacation condos worldwide by the week.


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Historic Hotels of Europe Announce 2017 Award Winners, From Best Castle to Most Romantic

Festningen Hotel & Resort in Norway, the 17th-century fortress bursting with majesty, won Historic Hotels of Europe’s Historic Hotel Castle Award for 2017.

Historic Hotels of Europe announced the winners of its 6th annual awards honoring the most unique, important and cultural properties spanning across the continent across eight special categories, from weddings to fine dining.

Festningen Hotel & Resort in Norway, the 17th-century fortress bursting with majesty, won Historic Hotels of Europe’s Historic Hotel Castle Award for 2017.

Romantik Hotel Castle Rheinfels based in Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Middle Rhine Valley, won Most Romantic Historic Hotel of the year.

The ceremony took place in November at the legendary Barberstown Castle near Dublin, Ireland. Originally built as a fortress in 1288, the castle’s most famous owner was Eric Clapton during the 80s. Its current host Ken Healy hosted the gala dinner, which was attended by the first three nominees in each category and dozens of representatives from the finest historic hotels.

From the 400 exceptional stays throughout Europe, the winners of the sixth prestigious Historic Hotels of Europe Awards are:

  1. In the Historic Host of the Year category, Dalen Hotel in Norway came in top. Known as the ‘fairytale hotel’ with its dragonheads, spires, towers, and balconies – the hospitality is equally dream-like.
  2. Winner of the City Historic Hotel Award was the incredible four-star boutique Heritage Avenida Liberdade, located in the heart of Lisbon, Portugal.
  3. From cosmopolitan retreats to sprawling vineyards, L’Unicorno Agriturismo in Italy won the Historic Hotel Countryside Award.
  4. Sundbyholms Slott in Sweden received an award for its outstanding castle weddings in the Historic Hotel Wedding Experience category. With its very own chapel, cake services and cannoneers who shoot real 17th-century gun salutes on reception, the hotel was a worthy winner.
  5. Another historic treasure crowned was Festningen Hotel & Resort in Norway. Perched on an iconic hill overlooking Finnskogen forest, the 17th-century fortress is bursting with majesty, landing it the Historic Hotel Castle Award this year.
  6. Dedicated to the revival of the traditional cuisine and aromas of Mani and within luxurious surroundings, Kyrimai Hotel Restaurant was the foodie’s choice. The wonderfully restored 19th-century building complex on the southern tip of rural Greece surrounded by water, was crowned with the Historic Hotels Gourmet Award.
  7. Romantik Hotel Castle Rheinfels topped the 400-strong collection of historic hotels for its sheer heart-stealing ambience. Based in Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Middle Rhine Valley, the four-star castle won Most Romantic Historic Hotel of the year.
  8. Historic Hotels of Europe celebrates high standards of cultural and historical-hotel-keeping throughout the continent, so the Historic Hotel with ‘A Story To Tell’ award is very special. This year, it went to Allegory Boutique Hotel, a truly unique small property in the medieval town of Rhodes, Greece with just 6 units named after the Ovidian characters.

Award winners can be viewed here:

“The winners of the 2018 Historic Hotels of Europe Awards represent an inspiring group of hoteliers with exceptional historic properties and outmost dedication to authentic hospitality spanning across Europe”, said Barbara Avdis, Chairman of the Historic Hotels of Europe. “The Hotels receive their merit with the organization’s highest honor, a guest’s choice, the Historic Hotels Awards.”

Historic Hotels of Europe is a membership organization representing unique places to stay in Europe. Encompassing castles, chateaus, palaces, monasteries, convents and more, they have almost 400 members dotted across 11 countries. Each property within the association has been handpicked for its historical architecture and the unique stories it tells.

“Whether you’re living like a lord or lady at a 16th-century manor, or a spa-based bliss in the Med, the aim is to give guests that ‘something special’ – a genuine, one-of-a-kind experience.”

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The Broadmoor, Amway Grand Plaza Among 2017 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence Winners

Mohonk Mountain House, the grand resort in New Paltz, New York, was honored with a 2017 Historic Hotels of America Award for Excellence for Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year, the Smiley Family © Karen Rubin/

The Broadmoor of Colorado Springs, The Dunhill Hotel of Charlotte, Mayflower Park Hotel of Seattle, West Baden Springs Hotel of Indiana, Amway Grand Plaza of Grand Rapids were among the winners of Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence for 2017 by Historic Hotels of America® and Historic Hotels Worldwide®. The winners were announced at a special ceremony and gala at The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) in Hot Springs, Virginia. Honors were given in multiple categories ranging from Hotelier of the Year and Hotel Historian of the Year to Best Historic Resort, Historic Hotelier of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement.

Each year, these Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence honor, encourage, and recognize the most exemplary historic hotels, hoteliers, and leadership practices. The Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence are presented to historic hotels and hoteliers demonstrating innovative leadership, stewardship, and contribution to furthering the recognition, preservation, and celebration of these preeminent historic hotels and their histories.

From more than 200 nominees, the following Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide hotels and hoteliers were honored with these prestigious annual awards for 2017: 

Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel (Under 75 Guestrooms): The Dunhill Hotel (1929) Charlotte, North Carolina

Best Historic Hotel (76-200 Guestrooms): Mayflower Park Hotel (1927) Seattle, Washington

Best Historic Hotel (201-400 Guestrooms): West Baden Springs Hotel (1902) West Baden Springs, Indiana

Best Historic Hotel (Over 400 Guestrooms): Amway Grand Plaza (1913) Grand Rapids, Michigan

Best City Center Historic Hotel: Marriott Syracuse Downtown (1924) Syracuse, New York

Best Historic Resort: The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado

Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel: Penrose Room at The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado

Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year: The Georges (1789) Lexington, Virginia

Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel: The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

Sustainability Champion: Inn at the Presidio (1903) San Francisco, California

Hotel Historian of the Year: Jim Hewes at The Willard InterContinental, Washington DC (1847) Washington, DC

Ambassador of the Year (Quarter Century of Service): Woodrow “Woody” Pettus at The Omni Homestead Resort (1766) Hot Springs, Virginia

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Europe: Hotel Waldhaus Sils (1908) Sils Maria, Switzerland

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in Asia/Pacific: Alsisar Haveli (1892) Jaipur, India

Best Historic Hotels Worldwide hotel in the Americas: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (1893) Québec City, Canada

Historian of the Year: Chef Walter Staib, author, twelve time Emmy Award winning TV host of A Taste of History©,and chef and proprietor of City Tavern Restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Stewards of History and Historic Preservation Award: R.D. (Dan) Musser III at Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year: The Smiley Family at Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York

Historic Hotelier of the Year: Philip Wood at The Jefferson, Washington, DC (1923) Washington, DC

Lifetime Achievement Award: Duane and Kelly Roberts at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (1876) Riverside, California

“The winners of the 2017 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence represent more than 231 years of history and include the finest iconic and legendary historic hotels from across the United States of America and from around the world,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “We applaud these magnificent historic hotels and their hoteliers for their dedication, passion, stewardship and success in preserving these treasures and their stories for future generations of travelers.”

Award recipients are selected from nominees received from historic hotels, historic preservation supporters, prior award recipients, and leadership from Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. As official programs of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide provide the recognition to travelers, civic leaders, and the global cultural, heritage, and historic travel market that member hotels are among the finest historic hotels across America and around the world. The Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence program recognizes the pinnacle of this distinct group of nominees in a range of categories.

Historic Hotels of America® is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. Historic Hotels of America has more than 300 member historic hotels which have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States, including 46 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated historic hotels. More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, visit

Historic Hotels Worldwide® is a prestigious collection of historic treasures, including historic hotels, castles, chateaus, palaces, academies, haciendas, villas, monasteries, and other historic lodging spanning ten centuries. Historic Hotels Worldwide represents the finest global collection of more than 260 historic hotels in more than 36 countries. Historic Hotels Worldwide is dedicated to promoting heritage and cultural travel to prestigious historic treasures. Hotels inducted into Historic Hotels Worldwide are authentic historic treasures, demonstrate historic preservation, and celebrate historic significance. Embracing luxury hotel brands, chains, collections, and the finest independent historic hotels, participation is limited to those distinctive historic hotels that adhere to the following criteria: minimum age for the building is 75 years or older; historically relevant as a significant location with a historic district, historically significant landmark, place of a historic event, former home of a famous person, or historic city center; hotel celebrates its history by showcasing memorabilia, artwork, photography, and other examples of its historic significance; recognized by national preservation or heritage buildings organization or located within UNESCO World Heritage Site; presently used as historic hotel. To learn more visit 


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