Category Archives: Conservation

USTOA Member Tour Companies Offer Wildlife Encounters Around the World

Sri Lanka is one of the destinations where intrepid travelers and animal lovers can join small group trips that contribute to conservation and protection of species © Sarah Falter/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –Observing animals in their habitats around the world can be a life changing experience for not just animal lovers but intrepid travelers of any age. Tour operator members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) are committed to offering wildlife-focused itineraries and small group trips that contribute to the conservation and protection of species, while offering access for travelers to learn from nature. 

“Explorers who are searching for enriching nature-based experiences need to look no further than our tour operator members, who offer sustainable wildlife experiences and open-air excursions from Thailand and Norway to Tanzania and Russia, and many more destinations around the globe,”said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. 

Wildlife itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators include:

  • Birdwatching in Costa Rica – The tailor-made 13-day itinerary from Audley Travel showcases Costa Rica’s pristine tropical forest trails and the tranquil cloud forest of San Gerardo de Dota. Home to 448 species of birds, the trip offers a naturalist guide and a stay at the renowned birding lodge, Rancho Naturalista. Rates start at $5,410 per person. Find information on departures at www.audleytravel.com.
  • The Great Migration + Gorillas in the Wild – On a Gorilla Trek with Alexander + Roberts, guests will observe gorilla families living in the forested mountains of Rwanda. A hot air balloon adventure is available to watch zebra, gazelle, and more from above at the 5,700 square mile Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The twin lakes of Buerra and Ruhondo offer a variety of birdlife. Departure is available on September 20, 2021 starting at $12,499 per person. www.alexanderroberts.com
  • Exploring Russia’s Far East & Wrangel Island – A 13-day exploration with Lindblad Expeditions of the remote Siberian coastline reveals bird cliffs teeming with puffins and landscapes that are home to walrus and polar bears. Even grey whales can be spotted in their feeding grounds while cruising through the Chukchi and Bering Seas. Departures are available on August 3 and August 15, 2021, and August 7, 2022 starting at $17,830 per person. www.expeditions.com
  • Sri Lanka Expedition: Wilderness & Wildlife – AAA Club Adventures offers 12-days of nature in Sri Lanka. Guests will visit Project Orange Elephant, dedicated to sustainable farming practices and wildlife conservation, and stay at an eco-lodge in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve to see monkeys, big cats, and more in their tropical habitat. Departure is available on September 3, 2021 starting at $1,890. www.clubadventures.com
  • Intro to Spitsbergen: Fjords, Glaciers and Wildlife of Svalbard – Quark Expeditions’ 10-day journey through Spitsbergen, also known as the wildlife capital of the Arctic, showcases walruses, reindeer, polar bears, and more in their natural habitat. Guests will learn the history and geology of this remote land while traveling by ship. Departure is available June 12, 2021 starting at $7,495 per person. www.quarkexpeditions.com

Find all the wildlife itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators at www.ustoa.travelstride.com/trip-list/wildlife

For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com, call 212-599-6599, or email information@ustoa.com.

Representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

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Lion World Travel, Treadright Foundation Offer Contest to Name Newborn Endangered Black Rhino & Win Luxury Safari

The female baby black rhino, born to mother, Queenie, in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Lion World Travel and The TreadRight Foundation are inviting travelers to name the newborn endangered black rhino to win a luxury safari.

Cypress, Calif. – Lion World Travel and The TreadRight Foundation are calling on American travelers to help name a rare female baby rhino, discovered by their project partner, Wilderness Foundation Africa on a reserve in South Africa. Submissions will be accepted online from November 17, 2020 to December 1, 2020, and those who share their suggestions will be eligible to win 3 free nights at Shamwari Game Reserve, a luxury safari and game lodge destination in South Africa’s ecologically and culturally significant Eastern Cape Province.

Included as part of the judging panel is Ami Vitale, TreadRight’s ‘Wildlife’ Ambassador and award-winning National Geographic magazine photographer who captured the final moments of Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino alive on the planet in Kenya.

The Eastern Cape Province in South Africa is home to the third largest endangered black rhino population in the world, and evidence shows it is currently a high-risk target for poachers.

Because rhinos prefer thick vegetation, aerial surveillance is necessary and plays a critical part in both wildlife security, and in tracking and improving the management of rhino populations. Lion World Travel is a founding partner of The TreadRight Foundation which is invested in protecting and rehabilitating the world’s wildlife by partnering with leading wildlife organizations, through its Wildlife Pillar. Since 2017, TreadRight has partnered with Wilderness Foundation Africa to aid in rhino conservation efforts by funding the purchase and operations of a Bat Hawk – a light aircraft used to monitor and protect rhinos from poaching in provincial nature reserves and national parks in the Eastern Cape. The regular surveillance through monitoring flights by the Bat Hawk in the known rhino poaching hotspots is contributing to the safekeeping of this endangered population.

Since the start of 2020, 19 new rhino calves have been discovered and protected within the rhino population, 11 of which were first detected in the TreadRight-funded Bat Hawk. As a thank you, Wilderness Foundation Africa has given Lion World Travel and TreadRight the invaluable honor of naming one of these precious new rhino calves.

“The preservation of the rhino population is absolutely paramount to keeping a healthy balance alive within Africa’s ecosystem,” said Lucille Sive, CEO of The Travel Corporation’s African Division.“Through our work, safeguarding wildlife is a priority and we are absolutely humbled by this meaningful opportunity to play a part in the naming of a precious rhino as we continue to make travel matter.”

Lion World Travel and TreadRight’s support of Wilderness Foundation Africa work to advance the United Nations Global Goal 15, Life on Land, through its joint effort in combatting poaching and trafficking of rhinos that are vital to this ecosystem, as well as Global Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, through its employment of intelligence and police support for specialized wildlife crime units, contributing to a higher employment rate.

After the name submissions are received, Lucille Siva, CEO of Lion World Travel will select the shortlisted names and Ami Vitale will be making the final decision. The winning name will be chosen and announced on Friday, Dec. 4 and the winner will receive 3 free nights at Shamwari Game Reserve, a luxury safari and game lodge destination in South Africa’s ecologically and culturally significant Eastern Cape Province.  

For more information on TreadRight’s conversation efforts, its work around the world and how you can help #MakeTravelMatter, visit TreadRight.org

Terms and Conditions: Prize is non-transferable and awarded “as is”, with no substitutions. One winner will be selected, based on the final Rhino name selection. If multiple people entered the same name, one winner will be randomly drawn from all of those entries. Only entries received through the official contest entry form are valid. Preference will be given to names that relate to Africa and/or reflect our Make Travel Matter ethos. Contest period runs from November 17-December 1, 2020. Prize must be booked by August 31, 2021, for travel by December 15, 2021 and is subject to availability and blackout dates. Winner will be contacted by email. Lion World Travel is not responsible for any technical difficulties experienced during the contest. Void where prohibited by law

Lion World Travel is a leading tour operator from North America specializing in group and individual tours to Southern and East Africa and is a member of TTC , which also includes: Trafalgar Tours, Contiki, Brendan Vacations, Insight Vacations, The Red Carnation Hotel Collection and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection. Clients continue to benefit from Lion World Travels’ destination knowledge, expertise, and emphasis on customer service. With their Africa Specialists all having first-hand knowledge of Africa, Lion World Travel confidently assists clients in creating an African adventure that fits their interests and budget. Extraordinary service, affordable luxury and value for money are what keep clients coming back to Lion World Travel.

The TreadRight Foundation is a joint not-for-profit initiative established by The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands. TreadRight sets the direction on sustainability for 40 award-winning brands, in addition to overseeing our TreadRight Foundation. The organization’s singular mission is to #MakeTravelMatter through brand operations, and by providing support to community-based projects worldwide that safeguard the planet, people and wildlife. To date, the foundation has supported 55+ sustainable tourism projects in 280+ communities worldwide, based on priorities set by the TreadRight Steering Committee. Past project partners include WWF, Conservation International, WildAid and The National Trust in the UK, while current initiatives include Manitobah Mukluks Storyboot School, Wilderness Foundation Africa and Wildlife SOS. TreadRight also works with inspiring ambassadors who have a passion for sustainable travel, to support its voice within the sustainable travel community. These ambassadors include Céline Cousteau (‘Planet’ Ambassador), Sarain Fox (‘People’ Ambassador), Ami Vitale (‘Wildlife’ Ambassador) and Costas Christ. To learn more about past and current work at TreadRight, visit TreadRight.org and follow TreadRight on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #MakeTravelMatter.

“We will make travel matter – for our planet, for people and for wildlife. We have taken the pledge, now we invite you to join us.”  

Wilderness Foundation Africa works from its base in South Africa to protect and sustain wildlife and wilderness through integrated conservation and education programs. Whether it is direct action anti-poaching in the field, large landscape wilderness management, or developing rising young leaders from disadvantaged communities for a career in conservation, the Wilderness Foundation has over 45 years of results. For more information, visit WildernessFoundation.co.za and follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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Marriott Bonvoy Launches Marketing Partnership with National Park Foundation

Grand Canyon National Park, hiking the South Kaibab Trail. Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s travel program, has just formed a marketing partnership with the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. The introduction of a dedicated travel planning website makes it simple for members to take advantage of discounted rates for stays at Marriott’s 406 properties located near national parks, as well as the option to redeem points for America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Passes and to donate points to the NPF. The website will also provide travel tips and inspiration from Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, offering trip planning guides from local experts. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

During these extraordinary times, more and more Americans are seeking to escape their homes and spend time in the great outdoors. Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s travel program, has just formed a marketing partnership with the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. The introduction of a dedicated travel planning website makes it simple for members to take advantage of discounted rates for stays at Marriott’s 406 properties located near national parks, as well as the option to redeem points for America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Passes and to donate points to the NPF. The website will also provide travel tips and inspiration from Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, offering trip planning guides from local experts.

Drive-to vacations and getaways serve as a popular option for Americans looking to embark on local adventures. According to the National Park Foundation, most Americans live within 100 miles of a national park. With 419 national park sites in the United States–and at least one national park in every state–Marriott Bonvoy members can plan a national park road trip earning points for stays at Marriott properties throughout their journey toward free nights for future trips and qualifying nights toward elite status.

“In 1916, legislation creating the National Park Service was enacted. The noble vision behind the act has provided generations of Americans and visitors abroad the gift of experiencing our country’s greatest treasures,” said Brian King, Global Officer, Digital, Distribution, Revenue Strategy & Global Sales, Marriott International. “We are thrilled to offer Marriott Bonvoy members a convenient way to plan road trips and explore historical sites and national wonders with their friends and families with this one-of-a-kind travel partnership. The opportunity to experience breathtaking scenery in pristine wilderness settings while giving back to the National Park Foundation is invaluable and will help preserve parks for future adventure seekers.”

Examples of Marriott properties near national parks include Springhill Suites Springdale Zion National Park in Utah and Courtyard Gatlinburg Downtown and Fairfield Inn & Suites Gatlinburg Downtown near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Members can easily plan their national park getaways by visiting the website. From there, they can access travel-related articles from Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, book their desired property and receive the best member rates which start as low as $99 per night, redeem points for annual park passes and donate up to $500 worth of points to the National Park Foundation. Donations will help NPF in its mission to protect and enhance America’s national parks for current and future generations.

“National parks have something for everyone, and we can all play a role in helping to preserve them,” said Stefanie Mathew, Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation is thankful to Marriott Bonvoy for not only offering members a nearby place to rest their head after a day full of park adventures, but also the support to help ensure these treasured natural and cultural sites are protected now and into the future.”

America’s national parks offer endless opportunities for enjoyment for everyone from first time visitors to experienced park enthusiasts. For the best experience possible, travelers should #RecreateResponsibly and plan ahead by visiting the National Park Service website.

For travelers who are not members of Marriott Bonvoy but want to take advantage of the discounted member rates, Marriott Bonvoy is free and easy to join here.

Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s travel program, comprises the company’s portfolio of 30 hotel brands and home rental offering Homes & Villas by Marriott International. Members can earn and redeem points for stays and accelerate the points they earn with co-branded credit cards from JP Morgan Chase and American Express. The program offers exclusive member experiences and destination tours and adventures on Marriott Bonvoy Moments. When members book direct on Marriott.com they receive perks including free and enhanced Wi-Fi and exclusive member-only rates, and on the Marriott app they enjoy mobile check-in and checkout, Mobile Requests and, wherever available, Mobile Key.

Members earn points when staying at any of the more than 7,400 participating hotels globally. They can redeem points toward free nights at Marriott International brands ranging from The Ritz-Carlton, The St. Regis, W Hotels, Marriott Hotels and Westin to Aloft, AC Hotels by Marriott, Courtyard and Residence Inn. In addition, members residing in the U.S. can accelerate the number of points they can earn and enjoy other benefits with co-branded credit cards from JPMorgan Chase and American Express. Members also achieve higher levels of elite status and benefits the more nights they stay at participating hotels. To learn more and enroll in Marriott Bonvoy, visit https://www.marriott.com/loyalty/member-benefits/member.mi.

To enroll for free or for more information about Marriott Bonvoy, visit MarriottBonvoy.com. To download the Marriott app, go here. Travelers can also connect with Marriott Bonvoy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts and connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the national park community.

To learn more about the National Park Foundation and Marriott Bonvoy marketing partnership visit https://hotel-deals.marriott.com/national-parks/.

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Ikon Pass Collaborates with American Forests to Plant 22,500 Trees

Copper Mountain, Colorado one of the iconic mountain destinations in the Ikon Pass network. Ikon Pass, from the Alterra Mountain Company, is joining forces with American Forests for Shred for Sustainability, a program that invites Ikon Pass holders to help create healthy and resilient forests throughout North America. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

DENVER, CO– Ikon Pass is joining forces with American Forests for Shred for Sustainability, a program that invites Ikon Pass holders to help create healthy and resilient forests throughout North America.

Ikon Pass holders are encouraged to rack up their skier days at Ikon Pass destinations throughout winter 20/21 and watch their stats climb on the Ikon Pass app Leaderboard. In April 2021, the top 10 Ikon Pass holders with the most ski days from the All Season Leaderboards from each North American resort will have the chance to have 50 trees each donated in their name, totaling 22,500 trees planted throughout six forest projects. Potential Shred for Sustainability volunteer planting events will be announced in spring 2021.

“Ikon Pass is proud to collaborate with an organization such as American Forests that shares our commitment to sustainability,” said Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer, Alterra Mountain Company. “We revel in the opportunity to engage the Ikon Pass community in a way that gives back to the mountains we all love.”

“We are thrilled to have the support of Ikon Pass and its pass holders who recognize that taking care of our forests is essential to a healthy environment and high-quality recreation experiences,” said Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests. “This commitment of support will help us reforest mountain landscapes beloved by skiers, snowboarders, and other recreationists, from Canada to California, using climate-informed tree planting techniques that will enable these forests to thrive for years to come.”

To participate, Ikon Pass holders must download the Ikon Pass app, create an account and turn on tracking each day on the mountain. The Ieaderboard tracks lifts, trails, distance, hours, vertical feet, max speed, altitude, and difficulty of trails skied themselves and against the entire Ikon Pass community. For official rules, visit www.ikonpass.com/shred-for-sustainability.

The Ikon Pass unlocks adventure with access to 44 iconic winter destinations across the Americas, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and is a collaboration of industry leaders – Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company, Boyne Resorts, POWDR, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, SkiBig3, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, RED Mountain, Taos Ski Valley, Windham Mountain, Zermatt, Thredbo, Mt Buller, Niseko United, Valle Nevado, and NZ Ski. Each demonstrates integrity, character and independence that is reflected in their mountains and guests.

The Ikon Pass is available now at www.ikonpass.com.

The Ikon Pass, from Alterra Mountain Company, gives skiers and riders access to mountain destinations across the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. These include Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, and Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming; Big Sky Resort in Montana; Stratton, Sugarbush Resort, and Killington in Vermont; Windham Mountain in New York; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain in Michigan; Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington; Mt. Bachelor in Oregon; Tremblant in Quebec and Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada; SkiBig3 in Alberta, Canada; Revelstoke Mountain Resort, RED Mountain, and Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, Canada; Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine; Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico; Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Brighton Resort, Alta Ski Area, and Snowbird in Utah; Zermatt in Switzerland; Thredbo and Mt Buller in Australia; Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Mt Hutt in New Zealand; Niseko United in Japan, and Valle Nevado in Chile. Special offers are available at CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, the world’s largest heli-skiing and heli-accessed hiking operation. For more information, visitwww.ikonpass.com.

American Forests has worked longer than any other national nonprofit conservation organization in the United States to conserve and restore the country’s forests. Since its founding in 1875, it has been a pathfinder for the forest conservation movement. In the early 1900s, for example, the organization rallied forest advocates to champion creation of the U.S. Forest Service. In 2018, it won a decade-long campaign persuading Congress to provide stable funding for preventing and fighting forest fires. Now it is focused on building a reforestation movement in America, from cities to large, rural landscapes. “We create healthy and resilient forests, from cities to wilderness, that deliver essential benefits for climate, people, water and wildlife. We advance our mission through forestry innovation, place-based partnerships to plant and restore forests, and movement building.”

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Country Walkers Offers Responsible Travel Itineraries That Support Conservation, Charitable Projects

Porto, a delightfully walkable city in northern Portugal, is featured on Country Walkers’ Porto-Lisbon tour which also supports “Farming for the Future” initiative © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Williston, VT –By 2030, 1.8 billion people – about 20 percent of the global population – are predicted to be tourists traveling the world. As the demand for global travel increases, consumers are faced with numerous decisions on how to make their trips more sustainable, including where to go, what to pack and how to get there. Country Walkers, a leading provider of walking adventures and a leader in responsible tourism for decades, offers travelers the opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable world through preserving indigenous cultures, supporting local economies, conserving wildlife and protecting the environment. 

“At Country Walkers, we are committed to a healthier planet and to giving back to the destinations we explore,” said Timo Shaw, President of Country Walkers. “Sustainability is one of our core values, from staying in locally owned and operated hotels whenever possible and seeking out environmentally and socially responsible accommodations, to our ardent support of the Slow Food movement in order to preserve culinary traditions and support biodiversity. As a result, those who travel with us contribute to a more sustainable world as well.” 

To further support special conservation and charitable projects in communities and habitats worldwide, Country Walkers created The Travelers Fund, which makes a donation on behalf of every traveler who books a specific tour. More than half of Country Walkers’ tours are associated with an initiative, including:

Mountain Rescue at Club Alpino Italiano (Country Walkers tour: Italy: The Amalfi Coast & Capri). Safety comes first on the Amalfi Coast with a donation to the local mountain rescue team, which primarily relies on volunteers and donations to obtain and maintain equipment for rapid emergency response for visitors and locals.

Wildlife Conservation in the Rocky Mountains (Country Walkers tours: Montana: Glacier National Park and Wyoming: Grand Teton & Yellowstone[KG1] ). The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative seeks to re-connect segments of land that have been separated by development, allowing animals to safely move from region to region on wildlife-friendly highway overpasses. Contributions are used towards constructing one of these wildlife structures.

Therapeutic Travel for Cancer Survivors in Quebec (Country Walkers tour: Quebec: Quebec City & the Saguenay Fjord). Country Walkers supports the Fondation Sur La Pointe des Pieds (“On the Tip of the Toes”), which provides young people ages 14 to 29 living with cancer with an opportunity to regain their sense of well-being through therapeutic adventure expeditions.

Assisting Pilgrims on Camino de Santiago (Country Walkers tour: Spain: Classic Camino de Santiago). The Federación Española de Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santiago coordinates a vast national network of hostels, volunteers, parishes, churches and shelters in an effort to keep more than 200,000 pilgrims safe, healthy and informed as they walk the Camino de Santiago.  

Clean Water in Zambia (Country Walkers tour: Zambia Safari: Exclusive Camps & Bush Walks). In Africa, currently 345 million people live without access to clean drinking water. Together with local partners in Zambia at Charity Begins Home, Country Walkers supports the “Commit to Clean Water” Fund, an initiative that seeks to transform rural communities by drilling wells into deep aquifers and pumping potable water to the surface.

Maintaining the Long Trail in Vermont (Country Walkers tour: Vermont: Fall Foliage). A highlight of the tour is walking along one of the most spectacular portions of the legendary 270-mile Long Trail, the nation’s first long-distance hiking trail. Country Walkers supports the Green Mountain Club, the stewards of this “footpath through the wilderness,” who also promote conservation of and education about Vermont’s mountains and rural land.

Advocacy for Small Businesses in Palermo (Country Walkers tour: Italy: Sicily). Country Walkers supports the nonprofit Addiopizzo movement, a grassroots coalition of over 850 shopkeepers aimed at squashing corruption in Sicily and educating locals about ethical business practices.

Conserving a Historic Chapel in Monterosso (Country Walkers tour: Italy: Portofino & Cinque Terre[KG2] ). In 2013, severe landslides destroyed the grounds of the historic Convento dei Cappuccini chapel and monastery. “Let’s Rebuild Monterosso’s Paradise” raises funds for the restoration, a cost far beyond the modest means of the town or diocese.

Cornwall Coastal Preservation (Country Walkers tour: England: The Cornwall Coast). The South West Coast Path Association advocates for improvements to more than 630 miles of this historic coastal trail system. As maintenance is costly, donations from Country Walkers on behalf of guests help maintain these paths that are heavily utilized on the tour.

Farming for the Future (Country Walkers tours: Portugal: Sintra, Óbidos & the Coast and Portugal: Porto to Lisbon). The Herdade do Freio do Meio farm applies principles of sustainability within the context of the Portuguese montado, a traditional pastoral agricultural system in which reducing reliance on fossil fuels and marketing regionally to provide fresh foods and minimize transport costs are key policies. The farm processes and sells many products on site, providing training and employment for locals.

Campobello Whale Rescue Team (Country Walkers tour: New Brunswick: Bay of Fundy & Campobello Island). Created by Mackie Green, the same captain who offers a whale watching excursion and boat transfers on the Country Walkers tour, the team is trained to dive and rescue whales trapped in fish netting. Donations support equipment and training.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Country Walkers tour: England: The Cotswolds). Stretching over 790 square miles, the Cotswolds is the largest recognized Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England due to its breathtaking scenery and rolling hills. Country Walkers supports efforts to keep the area well-preserved on behalf of every Cotswolds guest.

For more information on The Travelers Fund and Country Walkers’ sustainable travel initiatives, visit www.countrywalkers.com/sustainable-travel/ or call 800-234-6900.

For more than 40 years, Country Walkers has provided active, experiential, and stunning travel experiences on five continents. Based in Williston, Vt., the company’s specialized adventures and insider access bring the beating heart of a destination to life with well-crafted itineraries for Guided Walking and Self-Guided Walking. All walking trips highlight local cuisine, authentic accommodations, and immersive cultural experiences. Country Walkers is recognized as one of the leading providers of Walking Adventures worldwide, having garnered countless awards including National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime” and Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best” Awards.

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The Travel Corporation, TreadRight Foundation Pledge to ‘Make Travel Matter’

Brett Tollman, chief executive officer of The Travel Corporation, commits the company and its 42 brands, and the TreadRight Foundation to “Make Travel Matter” for the planet, people and wildlife © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

On one issue I take exception to the courageous climate activist, Greta Thunberg: travel – even airline travel – is not the enemy of the climate action crusade, travel is its best ally. She may have taken two weeks to sail the Atlantic to reach the United Nations Climate Action Summit, but the thousands of diplomats and heads of state she scolded and shamed into action, could not.

“What would happen if we stopped traveling, stopped flying? Would we save the planet or unleash a global conservation crisis? There would be global conservation crisis,” asserted Costas Christ, chairman of The TreadRight Foundation, a philanthropy created by The Travel Corporation’s 42 brands, to preserve and protect the planet, people and wildlife.

“What would happen if we stopped traveling, stopped flying? Would we save the planet or unleash a global conservation crisis? There would be global conservation crisis,” asserted Costas Christ, chairman of The TreadRight Foundation, a philanthropy created by The Travel Corporation’s 42 brands, to preserve and protect the planet, people and wildlife.
© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Christ, who came out of the Wildlife Conservation Society, pointed to the three great forests on the planet – New Guinea, Amazon Basin, Central African rainforest including Gabon. But in the early 2000s, Gabon’s economy was dependent on mining and timber concessions.

The Wildlife Conservation Society went to Gabon’s president and said, “If you continue mining, cutting trees, the party is over in 50 years, but if put aside area for conservation, travelers will come, alleviate poverty and save the forest – your great grandchildren will be able to make their livelihood here.

“With stroke of Gabon President’s pen, he created 11 national parks, protecting 13 million acres – Travel Matters,” Christ said.  “Travel is the alternative to exploitation – preserve and protect instead of poach and encroach.”

 “If travelers did not go to the African continent, the future would be unrelenting poverty. Travel is hope, conservation.”

Colombia, where The Travel Corporation has introduced new travel programs, is one of the 30 places on the planet which are the “Noah’s Ark of Life,” a biodiversity hot spot harboring one out of 10 species.

 “If we are able to help Colombia protect its natural resources we will protect the second largest biodiverse place on the planet.”

“We make an impact when travel supports conservation, protects wildlife and alleviates poverty. Travel matters when it is planned, managed well, sustainable. Then magic happens – we deliver on our promise to make the world a better place.

It is significant that travel benefits the destinations, but travel also enriches individuals, in a mutually virtuous circle.

What is wanderlust and why do we seek out other places? Christ asks. Marco Polo understood. So did John Steinbeck, who, in his Pulitzer-Prize winning book, wrote:

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike.

And all plans, safeguards, policies and coercion are fruitless.

We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

Mark Twain, who actually was a travel writer, wrote in “The Innocents Abroad,” “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Costas Christ traveled to meet the Dalai Lama, who travels constantly, to ask ‘Why travel?.’ “He said, ‘in ancient Tibetan ‘gropa’ is the word for human being, but the literal meaning is ‘one who goes on migrations.’ We define the essence of being human to travel – to travel is to be human.

“We think of the word ‘progress’ as hitting goals, but to pro-gress is a kind of travel. In Middle English, “progress” means “to go on a seasonal journey” – so success is a journey, success is linked to travel.”

The TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit organization created 10 years ago as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of  brands, takes a percentage of profit from 42 companies to make sure goes to projects that make a difference. TreadRight supports 55 projects in 280 communities in 26 countries in three basic categories: planet, people and wildlife.

TTC, a member of the World Travel & Tourism Council, is joining in a commitment for the industry – which accounts for one in 10 jobs around the world and accounts for 10% of the global economy, to become carbon neutral by 2050. TTC will also take steps to eliminate plastics through its supply chain, and reduce carbon emissions.

“We’re committed to be carbon neutral before 2050 and not through carbon offsets. Carbon is what’s destroying climate, not offsets,” Brett Tollman, Chief Executive, The Travel Corporation and Founder, The TreadRight Foundation. said at a reception marking TreadRight’s 10 years.

“We are at an unfortunate tipping point, where unless we careful, this industry will be the poster for all that’s bad,” he said. “We have the opportunity to make change, but we have to be courageous.”

But though travel  – particularly airline travel – does have a carbon cost (until the technologies improve), not traveling would be far worse for the quest of saving the planet and communities from the impacts of climate change and promoting a more just society.

Christ points to places devastated by climate catastrophe that have rebounded because of tourism, communities and cultures destroyed by war and conflict, like Bosnia and Croatia, rebuild and thrive because of the economic support of travel dollars.

For example, working with the Jordan tourism Board, TreadRight supports the Queen Noor Iraq Alamei, a cooperative that employs women as potters and artisans – giving women jobs outside the home but within the village. With TreadRight support, the cooperative built up a gift shop and opened an Air BnB.

New travel programs in Colombia help create a wildlife nursery and install solar panels, while another program in Sierra Nevada, through Trafalgar, creates an opportunity for visitors to be hosted by a family.

“Travel is an incredible gift. It has the ability to open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. At TreadRight, our mission is clear; to have a positive impact on the people and communities we visit, to protect wildlife and marine life, and to care for the planet we call home.”

Craig Kielburger, the co-founder of WE charity, explained how Treadright’s family of travel companies is partnering with We.org, which builds schools, promotes sustainable agriculture, brings pure water to communities – to offer programs in which travelers can immerse themselves into that community.

The Travel Corporation and TreadRight Foundation are partnering with Craig Kielburger’s We charity to create Me to We voluntourism trips to places like Kenya © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

In partnership with ME to WE, travelers have the opportunity to visit three iconic destinations: India, the Ecuadorian Amazon and Kenya. In conjunction with TTC, guests can book ME to WE Immersive Volunteer Trip extensions on upcoming set departure dates or as a requested custom trip. Travelers  stay among local communities in comfortable lodges, owned and operated by ME to WE. All meals, ground transfers, transportation and local sightseeing excursions hosted by an expert facilitator are included.

You can run with the Masai, help build a school, see what it feels like to have to carry water barrels on your back; stay in a family’s home in Ecuador; in India, visit an elephant rescue preserve instead of riding on one.  (See TreadRight.org site, https://www.TreadRight.org/trips/).

Celine Cousteau, TreadRight ambassador, speaks of the difference between tourists financing the cruel treatment of elephants, versus visiting elephants in a rescue preserve © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“Travel is a privilege,” said Celine Cousteau, a documentary filmmaker and TreadRight Ambassador and storyteller. “Experience places and people, become a part of who they are. Travel fosters profound change. Travelers become storytellers. Traveling on an airplane has a carbon footprint, yes, but the value it brings more than compensates.  Travel is an opportunity to bring a thriving economy, conserve, preserve. Make a choice to do good and if travel, make it count.”

TTC’s ‘Make Travel Matter’ Pledge

TreadRight has made #maketravelmatter its mission and its theme and on this year’s World Tourism Day, made this pledge:

The Travel Corporation (TTC) has just announced its new Make Travel Matter Pledge, in celebration of World Tourism Day. Guided by The TreadRight Foundation, a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s family of award-winning  brands,  including  TrafalgarUniworldInsight Vacations, Luxury GoldContikiAfrican Travel, Inc.Lion World Travel, Brendan Vacations and Red Carnation Hotels the pledge serves as the next step in a long standing commitment to sustainable tourism and conscious travel.

“This World Tourism Day, Friday, September 27th, 2019, engaged citizens will examine the positive impact travel has on the globe and TreadRight is making its commitment public to Make Travel Matter,” the company stated.

Inspired by Palau’s First Lady, Debbie Remengesau who introduced the Palau Pledge, every one of TTC’s 10,000 team members and 42 companies worldwide are committing to make travel matter, with its new official pledge standing to help protect people, planet and wildlife. In celebration of World Tourism Day, all members of TTC’s family of brands will use the opportunity to stand up and personally commit to share TreadRight’s ethos as travelers, as travel providers and as members of the global travel industry.

Brett Tollman, chief executive officer of The Travel Corporation, commits the company and its 42 brands, and the TreadRight Foundation to “Make Travel Matter” for the planet, people and wildlife © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“Our Make Travel Matter Pledge is another step on our journey and an impactful one as it further solidifies our commitment to helping protect the destinations we work with, its communities and local wildlife,” Tollman said. “As responsible travelers, TreadRight’s ethos has become part of our company’s DNA and what we stand for, and we share our pledge with our guests as well as partners in hopes they will join us.”

MAKE TRAVEL MATTER PLEDGE

I will make my travel matter – for our planet, for people and for wildlife.

When I explore this planet, I will do my best to TreadRight.

I will refuse single use plastics when I can and recycle what I cannot avoid.

When possible, I will offset my travels.

When I meet new people, I will honor their home as I do my own and do so in the spirit of diversity and inclusion. I will purchase locally made items wherever possible and pay a fair price.

When I experience wildlife, I will do so in nature.

I will not ride animals that ought not be ridden, nor support animal cruelty in any way. 

Together, we will TreadRight upon the earth – and we will make our travel matter.

More information at TreadRight.org. #MakeTravelMatter

For more information about TTC, visit www.ttc.com.

TreadRight is not the only entity that facilitates authentic, transformative, responsible travel experiences – there is a whole travel industry subcategory, many represented by Center for Responsible Travel (responsibletravel.org),  Global Sustainable Tourism Council (gstcouncil.org), Earthcheck (earthcheck.org) and the Rainforest Alliance (https://www.rainforest-alliance.org).

See also:

NYT Travel Show: How to Be a Responsible Traveler… and Why

What I Learned From Traveling Around the World in 23 Days

_____________________________

© 2019 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com, www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin, and travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com and moralcompasstravel.info. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

African Travel Donates Funds to Help Support Rhino Conservation at Shamwari Game Reserve

Celebrating 26 years of “conserving a vanishing way of life,” Shamwari Game Reserve has worked to rehabilitate and consolidate their 25,000 hectares of land so that the flora and fauna may flourish.  African Travel’s $100 per couple donation in their name will go towards the building of the rhino boma at Shamwari. a haven to rehabilitate injured or orphaned rhino until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild.

BOCA RATON, Fla. As World Rhino Day approaches, African Travel, Inc. encourages travelers to celebrate the species and support the future of these critically endangered animals.

In honor of The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) 100-year anniversary, African Travel, Inc., will donate $100 per couple traveling on the Majestic South Africa itinerary in support of rhino conservation.

This incredible 10-day journey begins in Cape Town, the stunning port city crowned by the natural beauty of Table Mountain.   Over four nights, guests will enjoy 5-stary luxury at the Table Bay Hotel on the vibrant Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and feast on African, Afrikaans and European flavors at the hotel’s Camissa Brasserie.  From its culinary scene, to its natural beauty, the best of South Africa’s Mother City is revealed as guests explore the majestic coastline of the Cape Peninsula, the crowd-pleasing penguins of Boulders Beach, or the rich and charming winelands of Franschhoek, the gourmet capital of the Cape.

A different kind of beauty unfolds as guests fly to Port Elizabeth and transfer by road to Shamwari Private Game Reserve.  This premier safari lodge encompasses 61,000 acres of vast, ever-changing vegetation and multitudes of different animal and bird species.

Celebrating 26 years of “conserving a vanishing way of life,” Shamwari Game Reserve has worked to rehabilitate and consolidate their 25,000 hectares of land so that the flora and fauna may flourish.  The $100 per couple donation in their name will go towards the building of the rhino boma at Shamwari. a haven to rehabilitate injured or orphaned rhino until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild. Guest can also visit the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre which helps to rehabilitate and care for sick, injured, abandoned or orphaned animals under the care of their professional veterinary team. Once these animals have been nursed back to health, they are released back into their natural habitat.

“We exist because our goal in life is to make travel matter.  It’s our responsibility to protect some of the species most at risk from extinction in the places we visit, and we are extremely passionate about rhino conservation” said Sherwin Banda, president, African Travel, Inc.  “At Shamwari, this is something our guests will experience first-hand and we’re proud that we’re able to support sustainable tourism through this effort.”

At Shamwari, guests will enjoy twice-daily game drives and nature walks and stay three nights at the cliffside Eagles Crag Lodge, which offers the ultimate in luxury, privacy and spectacular scenery.  Priced from $6,195 per person.

For a bird’s eye view of Shamwari and African Travel, Inc.’s partnership and support of them, enjoy this video.

To book African Travel, Inc. at (800) 421-8907, or visit www.africantravelinc.com.

Follow African Travel, Inc. on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation using the hashtag #WeKnowAfrica

Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, the TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit that works to help ensure the environment and communities we visit remain for generations to come. To date, TreadRight has supported some 40 sustainable tourism projects worldwide. To learn more about our past and current work at TreadRight, visit us at TreadRight.org

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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

 

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Voluntourism: Wild Women Expeditions’ Elephants, Treks and Temples Tour Provides Opportunity to Help with Elephant Care in Thailand’s Chiang Mai Region

During Wild Women Expeditions’ Elephants, Treks and Temples tour of Northern Thailand participants get to help bathe, feed and walk elephants at both an elephant rescue center and in a Karen tribal village in the jungle.

CORNER BROOK, NL, CANADA– Elephants are the stars in a new-for-2018 multi-sport Thailand adventure for women-only hosted by Wild Women Expeditions.

Fall 2018 departures of Elephants, Treks and Temples tour of Northern Thailand (http://wildwomenexpeditions.com/trips/thailand-elephants/) will immerse guests for 11 days in the culture and landscape of northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai region on bicycles, and while trekking and coursing down rivers on bamboo rafts.  Stops enroute include helping to bathe, feed and walk elephants at both and an elephant rescue center and in a Karen tribal village in the jungle.

“Ethical, sustainable tourism is the Asian elephant’s best hope to survive. In the spirit of the #BeKindToElephants movement, we want to respect and protect these majestic animals and so won’t be riding elephants on any Wild Women tours,” says Jennifer Haddow, Owner/Director of Wild Women Expeditions. “This practice often relies on wild elephants being brutally tamed before they can be ridden and we are creating tourism opportunities with elephants that do not cause harm.”

The focus on elephants is part of a Wild Women Expeditions’ commitment to change the perception of elephants as beasts of burden for tourists. The company is supporting Chai Lai Sisters, a community-based tourism project to convert an abusive elephant riding camp into a sanctuary or rescue center for elephants that is run by the Karen tribal community near Chiang Mai. This company also benefits a second organization, Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation, supporting the work of the work of the first elephant hospital in Thailand to rehabilitate elephants injured by overwork and neglect in tourist camps.

Wild Women Expeditions’ Elephants, Treks and Temples Tour of Chiang Mai, Thailand, provides opportunity to help care for elephants.

Wild Women Expeditions has also thrown its financial support behind Chai Lai Orchid and a Go Fund Me Campaign to empower local women and rescue elephants. Donations are needed to save 13 Asian elephants from abusive conditions and to support a human-trafficking prevention program. For more details and to contribute see: https://www.gofundme.com/ChaiLai.

Elephants in this region are big business. The animals are enslaved to the tourist trade 365 days a year as cheap transportation carrying the weight of a heavy metal chair plus the weight of humans. Elephants are also in chains to logging interests, day after day dragging felled trees from the jungle. In the rescue center caretakers from a Karen hill tribe assure that the animals are well treated and have access to water for bathing. See: https://www.chailaiorchid.com/elephant-sanctuary/.

In Chiang Mai is the world’s first elephant hospital that is supported by a non-profit organization called Friends of the Asian Elephant. Here treatments cover the spectrum of what distressed elephants may require, from illnesses requiring antibiotics to injuries mandating surgeries and future prosthesis, to maternal and infant care. See: http://www.friendsoftheasianelephant.org/en/.

Thailand’s Chiang Mai is the gateway to access the country’s north. The Wild Women Adventure Tour will visit several tribal communities to get a view of the rural landscape through activities including cycling, rafting and trekking.

Rice paddies, orchards, bamboo and fern groves surround women on bicycles in Sri Lanna National Park. To cross a reservoir they board a longtail boat bound for lunch at a floating bamboo raft house. Atop Thailand’s second highest mountain they gaze across a landscape to neighboring Myanmar; they hike along a jungle trail and immerse themselves in the culture of a hill tribe whose business is maintaining tea plantations. The group will stay for two nights at Phu Chaisai, at an award-winning eco-resort crafted by bamboo in the jungle near Chiang Rai. One 3.5-hour trek leads to a Karen village hill tribe where elephants await new hands to feed and bathe them. Another day is spent at an elephant sanctuary near Chiang Mai.  Omnipresent throughout this journey are temples – or wats – and the role that rivers continue to play in shaping Thailand’s trade and agriculture.

The per person double rate is $2,295 USD inclusive of 10 nights accommodation (including a home stay), most meals, services of an English-speaking certified female guide and assistant guides, drinking water and snacks, activity-related equipment, travel, including airport transfers, in private air-conditioned vans, sightseeing tickets and zone entrance fees, flight confirmations and luggage transfers.

A quarter century ago Wild Women Expeditions pioneered today’s steam-charged movement encouraging women to travel in small women-only groups. “Wild Women Expeditions gives women the opportunity to empower themselves amongst other women, connect with the natural world and make a positive impact in the communities we explore,” says Haddow.

For details, availability and reservations for these and all Wild Women Expeditions’ programs call 1 (888) 993-1222, email info@wildwomenexpeditions.com or visit online at https://wildwomenexpeditions.com/.

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Austin Adventures Adds Wilderness Glamping in Costa Rica To Growing Lineup of Upscale Multisport Tours

Costa Rica: Chiquita Glamping & Pacuare River Raft vacation is the latest of over 30 “online-only” trips featured on Austin Adventures’ award-winning website.

BILLINGS, MT –The best of all worlds, including creature comforts while glamping in the wilderness, come seamlessly together on Austin Adventures’ new 8 day/7 night Costa Rica: Chiquita Glamping & Pacuare River Raft vacation. This is the latest of over 30 “online-only” trips featured on its award-winning website: https://www.austinadventures.com/.
With its newest Costa Rica program, year-round departures are flexible and may be arranged when it best fits participant’s own schedule, on a space-available basis. The per person double rate (based on a party of four or more) is from $3,998 for the core experience. Options exist to customize the itinerary to the guests’ wishes.

This luxury trip, without a lofty price tag, brings curious travelers to a country on the forefront of land and wildlife conservation. Over 25 percent of the country has been protected by the establishment of preserves, sanctuaries, refuges, and national parks. Costa Rica also offers one of the most biodiverse places in the world, Carara National Park located in the transition zone between Costa Rica’s wet southeast and hotter, drier northwest. The adventure begins here as guests explore the river basin of the River Tárcoles, which hosts one of the largest remaining populations of wild scarlet macaws in the country.

Guests then journey by boat to Isla Chiquita Glamping Resort, far off the usual tourist track. Home for three pampered nights, each large platform tent accommodation is equipped with a king bed, day bed lounger, private shower and bathroom with double sinks, and spacious lounging deck with stunning ocean views.  From this isolated island, guests visit Curú National Wildlife Refuge with pristine beaches and abundant wildlife while gliding through the still waters of a protected bay in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard, watching tropical birds soar overhead. One morning guests transfer to Tortuga Island where white sands contrast with brilliant Caribbean blue waters. Snorkeling is popular here, as guests marvel at surprisingly colorful crabs and lobsters as well as vibrant tropical fish.

A local flight back to mainland beckons guests to engage in the premier whitewater rafting adventure in Costa Rica – on the Pacuare River (rated by National Geographic as one of the Top 10 river trips in the world).  Here they visit the Cabecar Indian village and meet with the largest indigenous tribe in Costa Rica. A family of the community shares traditions they have used for centuries.  After zip lining comes more rafting, leading to the deluxe, eco-sensitive Pacuare Lodge, accessible only by whitewater raft. Located at the center of a series of over 1.2 million acres of wildlife reserves, the lodge is both secluded and beautiful. Guests may opt to dine 60 feet above the forest floor in a platform built on the branches of a century-old Kapok tree. This lodge enjoys National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World status.

After two nights at the lodge and a final morning on the river, guests are transferred back to San José for a last overnight at Hotel Grano de Oro, a “Tropical Victorian” house which features a world-class restaurant. Airport transfers are offered the next morning.

For more information please see https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/costa-rica-isla-chiquita-pacuare-lodge/.

This is one of multiple programs Austin Adventures offers in Costa Rica where it has enjoyed relationships with top tourism purveyors for over 15 years.

“Costa Rica has always been our top selling international destination,” says Dan Austin, Founder and President of Austin Adventures. “We’re always on the lookout and open to what our well-established in-country contacts have to share when it comes to new, unusual and cutting-edge adventure opportunities. Together, we look for experiences away from the usual tourist track and crowds. The key is developing tour itineraries that appeal and captivate our brand of intrepid travelers.”

In the print version of its catalog, Austin Adventures features 65 separate destinations representing over 100 published tour options with over 40 also offered as a Family-Focused version. The website also showcases over 30 additional trips and destinations (not included in the catalog) outlining core itineraries that can be customized upon customer request. These online-only programs include, in addition to the Costa Rica vacation:
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/arizona-havasupai/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/ireland-kerry-county/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/ireland-family-kerry-county/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/scotland-family-scottish-highlands/
https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/scotland-scottish-highlands/

To help plan, Austin Adventures’ 2018 catalog is available upon request. Order ONLINE or call 800-575-1540 or email info@austinadventures.com. For a full roster of 2018 trips that is frequently updated visit http://www.austinadventures.com.

 

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