Category Archives: Latin America

Wildland Adventures Introduces New Tours to Colombia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Wildland Adventures’ worldwide offerings, tour availability and reservations call 1-800-345-4453 or email info@wildland.com. Visit online at www.wildland.com.
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Ecuador Turns to Facebook Campaign to Aid in Post-Earthquake Recovery

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

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

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

The campaign encourages tourists in Ecuador now to help by;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nayara Hotels to Open Luxury Tented Resort in Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park

Nayara Hotels has two properties set in Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park and is opening a third, exclusive accommodation, Nayara Tented Resort.
Nayara Hotels has two properties set in Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park and is opening a third, exclusive accommodation, Nayara Tented Resort.

The award-winning Nayara Hotels, with two existing properties set in Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park, is growing its collection with the announcement of a third, exclusive accommodation, Nayara Tented Resort. The resort will be the first of its kind in the Americas to offer year-round accommodations.

A sister property to Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens and Nayara Springs, this new resort will consist of 24, 945-sq.-ft. tents, each made up of a master suite and en-suite bathroom as well as an adjoining tent that can be arranged as a lounge or a second bedroom, perfect for families. Each tent will sit on its own platform furnished with an outdoor living area and a plunge pool filled from nearby hot springs.  The three resorts are located 2-3 hours by car from the capital, San Jose and once there, guests will have easy access between the properties via golf cart.

“We loved the beautiful tented camps in Africa and Asia, and recognized that there was nothing in Costa Rica, or even Central America, as spectacular, especially nothing that was open year-round. We have access to the highest mountain in the area with 360-degree views It is a magical setting for an ultra-luxury tented camp,” said Leo Ghitis, of Nayara Hotels.

In developing the accommodations, Nayara has partnered with Luxury Frontiers, known for its roster of top-ranked tented camps in Africa, among them Chief’s Camp in Botswana, Swala Camp in Tanzania, and Olonana Camp in Kenya as well as others in the works around the world. The partnership reflects Nayara’s intent to make the experience of the Costa Rican rainforest at Nayara Tented Resort akin to that of an African safari camp.   With wildlife surrounding the resort including 400 species of birds in the Arenal Rainforest, this tented experience promises to be extra immersive.

“It is exciting to work with a company that shares similar goals and values to create an outstanding, immersive experience for guests,” said Luca Franco, Managing Partner and Founder, Luxury Frontiers.  “We are thrilled to partner with Nayara on their newest luxury hotel, one in which the new lodging becomes an unforgettable experiential journey.”

In addition to the accommodations, Nayara Tented Resort will offer a 16-table restaurant and two additional private dining pavilions, a pool with a swim-up bar, cabanas, a fire pit, and a Wellness Oasis with three spa treatment rooms and a relaxation room. Spa treatments will incorporate local elements such as volcanic mud. The kids’ club will be an interactive learning center focused on rainforest ecology. 

Nayara Hotels is a collection of two properties set in Arenal Volcano National Park, Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens and Nayara Springs. Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens is a tranquil, five-star oasis set amongst 15 acres of lush gardens and Costa Rican rainforest overlooking the Arenal Volcano, the world’s third most active volcano. An exclusive and luxurious retreat, Nayara features just 50 spacious and private casitas (bungalows), all with private terraces with outdoor showers and Jacuzzi tubs for two. Nayara Springs offers 16 luxury villas with views of the Arenal Volcano. Each villa is equipped with a private pool fed by mineral hot springs and an expansive private garden with exterior shower, sleek four-poster bed wrapped in soft cottons, and indoor and outdoor sitting areas. Nayara Springs is connected to its sister hotel Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens by footbridge. In January 2016, Nayara Springs will be adding 19 additional villas.

Luxury Frontiers is a market leader in conceiving, designing and developing luxury tented suites and creative tree-top experiences for the global traveler. The accommodations are created to the highest standards and are designed and operated to provide exciting, authentic and memorable experiences without compromising guest expectations for luxury comfort and quality. Its skilled leadership team has deep experience in the African safari camp business and has worked with leading luxury hospitality brands such as Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Abercrombie & Kent, Six Senses, Belmond, Wilderness Safaris, Explora and Aman. For more information, visit www.luxury-frontiers.com.

 

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Latin Trails Introduces Pacaya Samiria Wildlife Reserve Riverboat Cruise in Peru

Latin Trails ( www.latintrails.com ) offers a Pacaya Samiria wildlife cruise on board the expedition company’s newest riverboat, the 8-passenger M/V Cattleya.
Latin Trails ( www.latintrails.com ) offers a Pacaya Samiria wildlife cruise on board the expedition company’s newest riverboat, the 8-passenger M/V Cattleya.

QUITO, ECUADOR – Latin Trails has introduced a Pacaya Samiria wildlife cruise on board the expedition company’s newest riverboat, the 8-passenger M/V Cattleya. Guests can choose between a 4- or 5-day cruise.

This intimate Amazon river adventure begins and ends in the Peruvian Amazon city of Iquitos, exploring in depth the Pacaya Samiria wildlife reserve, known as one of the largest protected areas in all of the Amazon river basin. Highlights of this amazing journey include:

– Visiting where the mighty Amazon originates

– Sightings of river dolphins, caiman’s, birdlife, monkeys and even jaguars are a possibility

– Hiking under and above the canopy of primary forest

– Exploration of small streams and oxbow lakes on board private skiffs

– Peruvian fine dining with wine included at all meals

– Guided shore excursions

– Visits to local communities and experience of tribal life of the river people

– Visit to a Manatee nurturing and rescue center

Guest can enjoy carefree exploration of the natural wonders of the rainforest as they navigate the Amazon river tributaries enjoying Cattleya’s distinct amenities, including the spacious staterooms with River views through panoramic windows, king-size beds and private facilities. Meals are served in one seating, featuring the Peruvian gourmet cuisine. Daily shore excursions and educational lectures help guests make the most of the surrounding wilderness.

“It is one of the most intimate expedition style river cruises in the world,” said Marcel Perkins, CEO, Latin Trails. “With this new program, we can enhance the meaning of privacy for FIT travel. It will allow our guests to enjoy nature one to one.”

Detailed information about the Cattleya including availability can be found at: www.amazoncruises.travel

Latin Trails is a boutique cruise and tour operator based in Ecuador and Peru, it operates the most exclusive fleet of oceangoing yachts and riverboats in the Galapagos Islands and Amazon basin. The expedition Company is also known for its handcrafted itineraries around Ecuador and Peru offering highly personalized trips backed up by a 24/7 “adventure concierge” service. The Company also offers family friendly exploration of the Amazon at the Hakuna Matata Amazon lodge in Ecuador.

To learn more about Latin Trails, visit www.latintrails.com or call 1-800-747-0567. Find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Latintrails or follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Latintrails.

 

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Touring the Atacama Desert for the Best Stargazing on the Planet

 The tour operator Say Hueque takes guests through San Pedro de Atacama, said to be the best place in the world to view the uncompromised brilliance of the night sky.

The tour operator Say Hueque takes guests through San Pedro de Atacama, said to be the best place in the world to view the uncompromised brilliance of the night sky.

BUENOS AIRES — The Argentina and Chile tour operator specializing in authentic experiences for independent travelers, Say Hueque, offers a tour through San Pedro de Atacama, said to be the best place in the world to view the uncompromised brilliance of the night sky.

Called Atacama (Chile) and Uyuni (Bolivia), this six-day/five-night program is from $710 per person double. Guests will discover San Pedro de Atacama, a small town located in the world’s driest desert (think little adobe houses and cozy restaurants) enroute to exploring one of Chile’s most spectacular landscapes. The Atacama Desert is one of the only places in the world where there is near-perfect visibility of the night sky. Here guests will explore Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) with caves and hills configured of salt. They will also visit geysers in the Andes and salt flats in Bolivia.

The Atacama Desert receives no more than a millimeter of rain annually; its remote location and the high altitude combined with few clouds makes the sky viewing (day and night) spectacular. There is also virtually no radio interference which makes it optimal for observatories. The Atacama Desert currently hosts six celestial observatories including Alma Observatory which is the largest of its kind on Earth.

There are three trips visitors can choose from, depending on the desired length of time. The shortest trip is six days and the longest is 16 days. Each tour takes a different route through Atacama and Uyuni but each takes time in the desert to enjoy the sky.

Included in the six-day journey are transfers, three nights in San Pedro de Atacama, a three-day 4WD Adventure to Uyuni with lodging in shared huts, Moon Valley tour, Geysers tour, daily breakfasts and some meals, a bilingual guide (English / Spanish) during the excursions in San Pedro de Atacama and the services of a Spanish-speaking driver on portions of the itinerary (http://sayhueque.com/argentina_tours/atacama_uyuni/atacama.php)

For details on the nine-day program that includes a stay in and tour of the colonial city of Salta in Argentina, see: http://sayhueque.com/argentina_tours/atacama_uyuni/salta_atacama.php

For details on the 16-day program that begins in Buenos Aires before moving to Salta, see: http://sayhueque.com/argentina_tours/atacama_uyuni/north_of_argentina_chile_uyuni_salt_flats_16_days.php

“We are a group of Argentine travel professionals who are passionate about our country,” Say Hueque owner Rafael Mayer explains. “We have hiked in Patagonia, felt the mist of Iguassu Falls on our smiling faces, walked along glaciers and cruised the deep blue lakes of South America. We have visited hundreds of hotels, sampled hundreds of restaurants and discovered the best wineries around, so we know exactly where to get a delicious steak, a sublime Malbec and a comfy bed along the way.”

Established in 1999, the Buenes Aires-based company creates customized tours for independent travelers throughout Argentina’s and Chile´s national parks and cities. Popular destinations and experiences include Buenos Aires, Iguassu Falls, Perito Moreno Glacier, hiking in Patagonia, wine tasting in Mendoza, horseback riding at traditional estancias and glacier cruises.

Say Hueque adopted its name from the last tribal chief that surrendered to the Europeans in their conquest of the American lands, in 1885. The Great Cacique Say Hueque was the leader of a powerful tribe that occupied the region of central Patagonia. Their cultural influence is still very strong at some locations close to the Andes Range.

Popular destinations offered by the company include Patagonia, Iguacu Falls, Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Atacama Desert, Uyuni Salt Flats and the Salta region as well as many other lesser known but equally captivating marvels. Say Hueque has been recommended by the world’s most popular travel guides such as Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, Footprints, and Time Out year after year. The company has partnerships with and membership in Sustainable Travel International (STI), Responsible Travel, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), ASTA and LATA.

For more information call 718.395.5504 (US and Canada) visit: http://www.sayhueque.com/ or Email: info@sayhueque.com.

 

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Austin Adventures Spotlights Peru, ‘Land of the Incas’ for 2015

Seeing a heightened demand for Peru from families with young children Austin Adventures created a new family-friendly itinerary that explores Machu Picchu from a kid’s perspective.
Seeing a heightened demand for Peru from families with young children Austin Adventures created a new family-friendly itinerary that explores Machu Picchu from a kid’s perspective.

Peru is popping up everywhere on the latest “best places to travel to in 2015” lists. According to Business Insider, Peru is one of 23 places one should visit this year, while National Geographic Traveler lists the country in its list of Top 20 destinations to visit in 2015 and the Los Angeles Times includes it on its list of 15 destinations for travelers to set their sights on in 2015. But months before these lists were created, the award-winning adventure travel company, Austin Adventures, decided to kick off the new year by focusing on “the Land of the Incas.”

“We send guests all over the world, but in the past few months we’ve seen a substantial uptick in interest in our Peru packages,” said Dan Austin, President and founder of Austin Adventures (www.austinadventures.com). “And it’s not just from adult adventurers with Machu Picchu on their bucket lists. We noticed such a strong increase in demand from families with young children that we were inspired to create a new family-friendly itinerary that explores Machu Picchu from a kid’s perspective.”

Austin Adventures currently offers five Peru adventure tour packages including Inca Trail Glamping—a 10-day luxury trek to “The Lost City,” Salkantay Lodge-to-Lodge—a 7-day journey that explores the “back way” of getting to Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu—a 9-day vacation package for adults that involves hiking and rafting, and an all-new Machu Picchu Family package that  allows families with kids as young as seven to experience the Andes mountains, Incan mummies and chocolate-making in Cusco. Finally, the company offers a 5-day Amazon River Luxury Cruise that takes travelers deep into the jungle to float the Ucayali River, fish for red-bellied piranha and even savor a 5-star Peruvian dinner.

Starting in 2016, the company will also offer the “Sacred Valley of the Incas” tour which was designed by Mountain Lodges of Peru and will allow travelers to experience the Lares Trail, an alternative to the Inca Trail. Guests will stay at brand new lodges and a deluxe base camp scheduled to open in early 2015.

The 2015 scheduled departures range in price from $3,000 to $4,800 or $444/day to $844/day, per person, double. Austin Adventures’ adventure travel consultants can also create custom trips for a variety of budgets that accommodate all ages and depart at any time.

As of 2015, Austin Adventures takes guests to all seven continents and offers several small ship cruises in addition to its extensive lineup of traditional multisport adventures. All of the 2015 scheduled trips can be found in the Austin Adventures award-winning adventure vacation catalogs. Custom vacations can be arranged by calling (800) 575-1540 or emailing info@austinadventures.com.

Based in Billings, MT, Austin Adventures (formerly Austin-Lehman Adventures) has spent more than 40 years building an international reputation as a provider of scheduled small group tours and customized trips to all seven continents. In 2014, Kasey Austin, Vice President of Operations, was named the World’s Top Family Guide by Outside Magazine. In 2013, Austin Adventures joined the Xanterra Parks & Resorts® portfolio of experiential leisure offerings. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in the Grand Canyon, including Grand Canyon Railway and The Grand Hotel; Yellowstone; Zion; Crater Lake; Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., Windstar Cruises, and VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.

 

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Tara Tours markets ‘Private Peru’ 6-Night Inclusive Tour to Lima, Cuzco & Machu Picchu

Tara Tours' Discover the Inka Empire features a visit to Machu Picchu.
Tara Tours’ Discover the Inka Empire features a visit to Machu Picchu.

Tara Tours is promoting a six-night “Discover the Inka Empire” itinerary that features private guides and services for six nights, priced from $2175 per person/double occupancy, including local airfare, hotels, and sightseeing.

This program lands in Lima where you stay for 2 nights with private transfers, private city tour and 2 nights of hotel accommodation.

Then on to Cuzco. A quiet morning is spent here in order to get used to the high altitude and to allow time to explore the surroundings. During the stay in Cuzco, once known as the Capital of the Inka Empire, there is a private city tour and visit to the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Puca-Pucara, Tambomachay and other archeological sites nearby.

The next day you travel by bus and train to one of the most exciting places on earth “Machu Picchu”. Temples, palaces, towers and staircases are built into the side of the mountain. Here a private local tour guide takes you from site to site explaining the advanced world of the Inkas.

The group overnights in the village of Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu Town, just at bottom of Machu Picchu ruins.

The next day is at leisure, so you can go back to explore “The Lost City of Inkas” or visit the Inka Thermal Baths of Aguas Calientes and visit the local market. Mid-afternoon return to Cuzco.

On the way back, there is an opportunity to enjoy incredible views of the Andean peaks, the Urubamba Valley and the powerful Vilcanota River.

The itinerary departs daily from the United States.

The cost per person including domestic airfare Lima-Cuzco-Lima via local airlines and all private ground arrangements with daily breakfast, entrance fees, Vistadome train tickets, private tours, private transfers, room taxes-service charge, is $2175 based on double occupancy at 3-star properties; $2590 pp/dbl using 4-star properties or $3706 using 5-star hotels.

These rates are in effect from Dec.1, 2014 to Nov.30, 2015

Airfare is available from Miami from US$650-850, New York $750-950, Los Angeles $900-1100 and add-ons from other major cities are available upon request.

You can see the full itinerary at www.taratours.com/peru.htm#Lima,_Cuzco_&_Machu_Picchu_Private

Tara Tours Inc., which has been operating tours to Latin America since 1980, is based at 12002 SW 128 CT, Suite 209, Miami, Fla.33186, 305-278-4464 or 800-327-0080, www.taratours.com.

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Wildland Adventures Designs ‘ Far-Flung Regions of Costa Rica’ For Families with Teens

Wildland Adventures’ nine-day Costa Rica Far-Flung Family Adventure targets families with adventurous teens with an itinerary that takes travelers on river rafts, surf boards, zip lines and small aircraft, en route viewing exotic wildlife, helping local youngsters brush up on English, dining well and overnighting in some of Costa Rica’s foremost ecolodges.
Wildland Adventures’ nine-day Costa Rica Far-Flung Family Adventure targets families with adventurous teens with an itinerary that takes travelers on river rafts, surf boards, zip lines and small aircraft, en route viewing exotic wildlife, helping local youngsters brush up on English, dining well and overnighting in some of Costa Rica’s foremost ecolodges.

SEATTLE – Following the path less-touristed, Wildland Adventures’ nine-day Costa Rica Far-Flung Family Adventure targets families with adventurous teens. This itinerary brings travelers from the Caribbean to the Pacific on river rafts, surf boards, zip lines and small aircraft, en route viewing exotic wildlife, helping local youngsters brush up on English, dining well and overnighting in some of Costa Rica’s foremost ecolodges.

Scheduled departures are Dec. 20-28, 2014; Dec. 26-Jan. 3, 2015; Jan. 10-18 and Feb. 14-22, 2015.  The group size is a maximum of 12. The per person double rate is from $3,995. Private departures may be arranged upon request and the program can be tweaked for families with young children or adults only.

This itinerary unique to Wildland Adventures was created by Grettel Calderon, the company’s Central America Program Director and a native “Tica” from Costa Rica, who for 20 years has been designing eco tours to Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Belize and Guatemala. The main ingredients of her expert mix of adventures include wildlife viewing in cloud forests and jungles, natural history, cultural exchange, active adventures and local cuisine.

This off-the-tourist-track adventure brings guests from San Jose to the Pacuare River for Class III-IV whitewater rafting before a two-hour boat trip to Tortuguero National Park, so remote it can be accessed only by jungle canals or small air strip. A short repositioning flight back to San Jose points guests in the direction of the Pacific and an ecolodge a short distance from the beach in the Dominical region that accesses Marino Ballena (Whales) National Park, Osa Animal Sanctuary, Corcovado National Park and Cano Island, one of the most prolific humpback whale migratory routes and dolphin habitats in Central America.

“Many areas of Costa Rica that aren’t promoted to visitors have a lot to offer and Dominical is one of them. We’ve located still-secluded beaches surrounded with lush tropical forests teeming with wildlife, and pristine tropical waters where marine life thrives,” Calderon underscored.

“We’ve discovered wonderful local restaurants that offer extraordinary culinary experiences. For example this little rural town of Ojocha is nothing but amazing restaurants where local ex-pat resident chefs who have moved there from France, Italy and Indonesia, have blended recipes from home with fresh tropical ingredients and Tico-style cooking to open restaurants in their homes and gardens offering creative cuisines in an ambiance you would never expect in the middle of nowhere,” she said.

In her years of scouting trips Calderon has recently uncovered new private reserves, small coves and barely known beaches, an animal rehab sanctuary, off-the-tourist-track villages to visit and some of the hemisphere’s best whale watching.

Kurt Kutay, who founded Wildland Adventures (www.wildland.com) in 1986 after having worked for the Costa Rican National Park Service, noted that “most outfitters run insensitive (and even illegal) whale viewing trips and Grettel found the right boat operator who provides education and great viewing in comfortable and safe boats.  Another far-flung aspect of this trip is that we return overland from the southern coast over the Cerro de la Muerte mountain pass, stopping for a hike in the new Los Quetzales National Park where there are good chances of seeing the Holy Grail of birdwatching – the Resplendent Quetzal.”

In Tortuguero, besides kayaking, boat and village tours, families may join locals in a fun and interactive word adventure game helping kids learn a bit of English (while guests practice their Spanish). On the Pacific participants can join in several water activities: outrigger kayaking (an ancient form of kayaking), regular kayaking or stand up paddle boarding.  En route to Caño Island looking for whales, a stop is made at Playa Violines, a secluded beach accessed through mangrove forest on the Sierpe River. Here are opportunities for sightings of monkeys, sloth, crocodile, boa constrictor, iguana and more before reaching the ocean.

Departures are guaranteed for two or more people. Group is limited to 12 people. The trip begins and ends with overnights in San Jose. See: http://www.wildland.com/trips/central-america/costa-rica/costa-rica-far-flung-family-adventure/overview.aspx#/overview

For more information and reservations contact Wildland Adventures at 1-800-345-4453 or by email at: info@wildland.com.

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Explorateur Journeys Launches Gastronomy/Cycling Fusion Experience through Uruguay

Explorateur Journeys has launched Chef On Wheels, a trip infused with special experiences of Uruguayan gastronomy, interactions with local chefs, instruction on traditional dishes blended with an active cycling adventure that gets travelers up close and personal with quaint villages and a traditional slice of life.

The journey begins with insider access to a special winery, where guests can bike trough the charming town of Carmelo, tasting along the way and stopping for a home cooked Uruguayan asado. They’ll enjoy dinner one evening with a celebrated local chef who will prepare a “secret menu” for them based on the “La Cuisine Secret” invitation-only nomadic dining concept that’s become popular with local foodies.

As travelers move on through the country, they’ll shop in a fresh farmers market with a local chef and try their hands at local secret recipes that the chefs will dispel in a gorgeous kitchen, paired with a string of exclusive cocktails.

Back in Montevideo, time will be spent cycling along the beach and into small towns, with access to special art exhibitions along the way and more home cooking in a cozy chef’s kitchen.

The journey rounds out with a cycling and canoeing adventure at the Garzon lagoon, where a boat crossing brings guests to a hidden “Lagoon Shack”, where a local chef prepares lunch and provides an opportunity to mix and mingle with village children who attend special cooking classes designed to help educate the local community.

For more information, visit www.explorateurjourneys.com, email info@explorateurjourneys.com, @theexplorateur, facebook.com/theexplorateur.
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Jim Kane, Founder of Culture Xplorers, Joins Board of World Food Travel Association

Food is a natural bridge-builder and point of connection between cultures, says Jim Kane, founder of Culture Xplorers, a travel company whose signature is delving as deeply as possible into other cultures.
Food is a natural bridge-builder and point of connection between cultures, says Jim Kane, founder of Culture Xplorers, a travel company whose signature is delving as deeply as possible into other cultures.

Food is a natural bridge-builder and point of connection between cultures, says Jim Kane, founder of Culture Xplorers, a travel company whose signature is delving as deeply as possible into other cultures.

“There is an exciting movement afoot that is opening up new frontiers of food travel” Kane explained. “Around the world, visionary farmers, producers and chefs are changing the way we think about our relationship with food and with each other.”

“In a similar vein, there is a revolution taking place in the way food travel is being interpreted and experienced. The new frontier of food travel is physically active, intellectually engaged, emotionally connected and truly transformative. It leverages the power of food to affect positive social changes and fosters genuine bonds that endure long after the trip ends,” said Kane.

Kane recently accepted a two-year appointment to serve on the board of directors of the World Food Travel Association (WFTA).

“I am looking forward to the privilege of helping to solidify the Association’s position as the world’s leading authority on culinary tourism,” said Kane.

Founded in 2003 by Association Executive Director Erik Wolf, the WFTA’s mission is to grow and professionalize the food and drink tourism industry as the central hub that supports the creation of successful, profitable businesses and the protection and promotion of local culinary cultures world-wide.

“We’re excited to have Jim join our Board of Directors,” said Wolf. “Jim has a wide range of experience with other industry trade associations and an interesting view that he can bring to bear in his service with the World Food Travel Association.”

Kane happily shares what he sees as three developing trends in the future of food travel:

#1 Adventure Foraging: “Autumn is a great season for foraging in Cataluña, Spain, where you can easily travel from the Pyrenees to the coast in the same day. One of my favorite adventures here is to accompany a seasoned botanist — alongside plenty of local ‘boletaires’ (mushroom hunters) — on a quest for highly prized, seasonal wild mushrooms in the forested foothills of the Pyrenees. Then switch gears and kayak along the Catalan coast in search of edible seaweed and aromatic herbs.”

#2 Trekking & Terroir: “This form of connecting with the land and local producers is already in full bloom in many places around the world. One of my favorite recent experiences is shadowing a Basque shepherd on an engaging variation of his morning rounds. First we try our hand at milking one of the indigenous Latxa breed of sheep which produce the region’s famed Idiazabal cheese. We make and chill ‘cuajada’ (fresh cheese curd) and taste some of the farmhouse cheese washed down with a bottle of refreshing, txakoli (sparkling) wine. A 90-minute walk through rolling hills and pine-covered trails works back our appetite just in time for lunch! “

#3 Food for Social Change: “This is a budding movement which is particularly strong in Latin America. One of my favorite regional projects is the Pachacútec Culinary Institute (ICP) just north of Lima.  Peruvian super chef Gastón Acurio partnered with the Fundación Pachacútec to create a top notch culinary school along the coastal desert in Pachacútec. It recruits students from some of Lima’s poorest communities and costs a tenth the tuition of a private institute, offering life-changing opportunities to its graduates. As part of Culture Xplorers’ unique partnership with the ICP, we bring travelers for a cooking lesson side-by-side with the students, who then share this meal with the visitors.”

Culture Xplorers (http://www.culturexplorers.com/), a leader in sustainable travel, offers handcrafted journeys that deepen understanding and foster connection between travelers and local communities around the world.

Culture Xplorers trips are created from the ground up, built on three founding pillars: people, traditions and impact. Their travelers meet the people of the places they visit, engaging in the living traditions that make each destination unique, and in doing so, create a lasting, positive impact through tourism. Genuine connections with people and place are formed farm-to-fork and around the table, via participation in local celebrations and through authentic exchange with community leaders and members.

Countries where cultural exchanges are fostered are Peru, Guatemala, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and Cuba. The Culture Xplorers Foundation was founded in 2007 to help foster the sustainability of local culture in at risk communities worldwide. Its positive impact partnerships focus on sustaining endangered traditions, strengthening education, fostering community-based travel and breaking the cycle of poverty through the support of comprehensive micro-loan and education programs.  See: http://www.cxfoundation.org/

For 2014-2015 season information, tours, availability and reservations contact Culture Xplorers at 215-870-3585 or email: info@culturexplorers.com.

 

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