HOPKINS, BELIZE – Hopkins is one of the few remaining Garifuna villages in the world and, like others in Belize, is struggling to preserve their endangered customs. A community-wide effort has ensued to uphold and share the Afro-Amerindian traditions with those who visit their district. Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort remains a defender of this disappearing culture; this award-winning eco-resort educates guests about Garifuna heritage and encourages travelers to take part in cultural festivities throughout the year.
The Garifuna people, also known as Garinagu, are an Afro-Caribbean culture created out of slave-driven and war-driven migrations from Nigeria to St. Vincent to Honduras and up the coast of Central America, including Belize. Through the admixture of these peoples as well as the influence of European settlers in the Americas, the Garifuna became a diverse culture incorporating African music, dance, rituals and ceremonies; Native American agriculture, hunting and fishing techniques; and an Arawak, Carib and French influenced language. UNESCO recognized the Garifuna Culture as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible cultural heritage of humanity, meaning this important culture should be preserved, promoted and celebrated.
At Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort guests can experience fresh, local Garifuna cuisine created by the resort’s award-winning culinary masters. Cassava, fresh coconut milk, plantains, local herbs from Hamanasi’s organic garden and freshly caught fish are just a handful of the ingredients used in Garifuna fare. Enjoy reading common Garifuna, Creole and Mayan phrases on the menu while waiting for your savory meal.
Hamanasi also offers a Hopkins Bicycle Tour, where a local guide leads guests through the village showing them cultural highlights, like the village drum marker, Rudy Coleman (father of a Hamanasi cook), and the Lebeha Drumming Center. The drumming center keeps Garifuna music alive by providing lessons to young people and offering weekly dancing and drumming performances for locals and guests. Visitors can even learn to play during one-on-one and small group lessons right on the beach. Hear the rhythmic African drumbeats, watch the dancers pulsate their hips and feel the spirits of Garifuna ancestors all around.
On November 19, Garinagu Settlement Day, the Garinagu present a reenactment of their forefathers’ arrival to Belize. Villagers awake at daybreak, don traditional clothing, then jump into boats and make their way along the shoreline. The boisterous crew stops at local sites, blowing conch shells to herald their arrival at each beach, then march along the sand while beating drums, shaking sisera, singing and dancing. Hamanasi Resort guests greet the Garinagu with local rum and cassava bread while dancing along. Resort employees – more than 50 percent of whom are Garifuna – also participate and wear traditional garb throughout the day. After these festivities, a mass is held in the village church to solemnly honor the ancestors who arrived from Honduras. The day also features a parade, drumming and dancing competitions, traditional food entrees and plenty of rum. In the evening, Hamanasi invites a local group to perform traditional drumming and dancing, offering guests the chance to, once again, enjoy and participate in the celebration.
Hamanasi supports the Garifuna year-round, providing jobs to locals, bringing in groups for performances as well as donating to many causes and organizations with the help of the Hamanasi Green Team. The resort is committed to supporting the community and giving them the means to preserve their unique traditions and share their culture with people from all over the world.
WHO: Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
WHAT: Privately guided Nocturnal Golf tour under the stars to include a practice round at the driving range, play at holes 1 and 9 and a walk to Nacascolo Beach and the certified Audubon Sanctuary for more tropical nightlife viewing. Starting time is 6 p.m. for a maximum of four players.
The experience includes a line of lights showing the fairway from tee to light-encircled greens. Pull carts and lanterns will be available.
The Night Pals Audience: Howler and white-faced monkeys, deer, pizotes (raccoons), pecaris, and iguanas.
WHERE: Adjacent to the Four Seasons Costa Rica is Peninsula Papagayo’s Arnold Palmer-designed, highly acclaimed golf course in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
WHY: The 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo with the culinary celebration Taste the Stars and the Perfect 10 travel package.
WHEN: NOW to November 23, 2014
COST: USD$95/per person
RESERVATIONS & INQUIRIES: Fourseasons.com or Resort Reservations +800-819-5053
About Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Founded in 1960, Four Seasons continues to define the future of luxury hospitality with extraordinary imagination, unwavering commitment to the highest standards of quality, and the most genuine and customized service. Currently operating 92 hotels and private residences in major city centers and resort destinations in 38 countries, and with more than 60 projects in development, Four Seasons consistently ranks among the world’s best hotels and most prestigious brands in reader polls, traveler reviews and industry awards. For more information and reservations, visit fourseasons.com. For the latest news, visit press. www.fourseasons.com and follow @FourSeasonsPR on Twitter.
It’s A Level Results Day on Thursday and thousands of students across the country will be hoping to secure the grades they need to enter higher education. But what if things don’t quite go as planned, or you have deferred university for a year? Many will be planning a gap year, or even re-thinking their future in the wake of results day. Whether it’s a last-minute gap year after securing a deferred university placement via clearing, or a placement abroad to gain valuable experience prior to entering employment, Global Vision International run over 100 projects in 15 countries around the world which promise to allow volunteers to make an impact, experience new cultures and explore locations restricted to normal tourists. What’s more, these placements offer school-leavers the chance to develop leadership skills, team working and initiative – all great preparation for the workplace.
With regular departure dates, GVI have availability in the coming weeks on some amazing projects around the globe. For a year abroad experience that is life-changing, ethically sound and CV-boosting, these are some of our favourites…
Marine Conservation in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula (4-24 weeks)
Travel to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and join forces with GVI’s marine conservation expedition, earning your PADI diving certificate whilst working on and monitoring the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. Volunteers contribute with coral reef and fish monitoring, seasonal turtle nesting and many other tasks. This project works in conjunction with several highly regarded organisations such as Amigos de Sian Ka’an, a Mexican NGO famous for their conservation work.
The next 4 week programmes depart on the 23rd August, 20th September and 18th October 2014 and cost £1,795pp*. Longer placements are available.
Volunteer with Buddhist Novice Monks in Laos (2-24 weeks)
Discover Laos’ ancient city of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and teach English to Buddhist novice monks, improving the quality of their education and enabling them to access more opportunities and deliver a higher quality of life for their families. You will have the opportunity to visit local sites such as the Mekong River, beautiful waterfalls and breath-taking mountains in your spare time.
The next 2 week programmes depart on the 9th August, 23rd August, 6th September and 20th September 2014 and cost £945pp*. Longer placements are available.
Teaching and Community Development Internship in South Africa (24 weeks)
Gain valuable experience when you join a 24 week teaching and community development internship in the beautiful city of Cape Town. The internship begins with a 12 week volunteer project, where you will learn how to plan and deliver a range of educational programmes in deprived township schools, day care centres and orphanages, gaining experience in teamwork and leadership. After successfully completing this phase you will then undertake a 12 week work placement where you will further develop your teaching skills and assist with the running of educational programmes (including childcare, sports and creative play) for young children. An exceptional opportunity to provide disadvantaged children with a richer, better quality education while gaining invaluable teaching experience and qualifications.
The next 24 month programme departs on the 20th September 2014 and costs £3,495pp*.
Community Development projects in Fiji (2-12 weeks)
Help community members develop important infrastructure for future generations in either the forests of the Dawsamu District or the white sand beaches of the Yasawa Island chain in the west region of Fiji by assisting with construction projects, setting up income-generating projects and volunteering in local kindergartens and schools. As a hands-on member of the expedition team participants will assist several critical initiatives including fresh water management, education, income generation projects, environmental initiatives, health awareness and sustainable agriculture practises. The dramatic Fijian landscape offers sweeping volcanic hillsides and beautiful crystal clear lagoons. In this picturesque environment volunteers will set to work helping community members develop important infrastructure for future generations.
The next 2 week programmes depart on the 23rd August, 20th September and 18th October 2014 and cost £1,145pp*. Longer placements are available.
Wildlife Expedition in Costa Rica (4 – 12 weeks)
Join a team of international volunteers on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast in the Tortugero National Park. Through hands on work in the rainforest, you will gain a thorough understanding of this important ecosystem and contribute to its long term conservation, whilst participating in important research on species’ population studies of Jaguars, aquatic birds and sea turtles. Professional development is very important, and as such a range of practical skills and practical knowledge are key parts of the expedition through additional training and field experience.
The next 4 week programmes depart on the 23rd August, 20th September and 18th October 2014 and cost £1,460pp*. Longer placements available
*All projects include the following:
Pre-departure support and discounted services
24-hour emergency phone
Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
Long term experienced staff
Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
All necessary project training by experienced staff
All necessary project equipment and materials
24-hour in-country support
What’s Not Included:
Medical and travel insurance
Additional drinks and gratuities
Extra local excursions
International and domestic airport taxes
For more information on GVI’s huge choice of gap years, check out www.gvi.co.uk and join GVI’s 150,000+ fans on Facebook
WHAT: A triplet of Wonders to celebrate the resort’s 10th Anniversary
WONDER #1: GASTRONOMY MEETS ASTRONOMY
Taste of the Stars: A collaboration with Costa Rican astronaut Franklin Chang-Díaz (seven space missions record-holder), Executive Chef Mario Alconcer and his Costa Rica culinary team. Inspirations are space challenges of weightlessness, extreme temperatures, fluid dynamics and darkness. The result? A five-course tasting menu under the clear Southern Sky through a powerful GPS-guided telescope between courses.
Gastronomic Surprises: A Meteorites sauce, a Big Bang Theory starter, star sightings of Columba and Hydra 2nd and 3rd courses, and meteorite jus with the entrée followed by what else but A Milky Way dessert and Pisces sighting with mango asteroids.
WHEN: Brought back a second time for this anniversary celebration: November 2014 to May 2015. Requires 72-hour advance booking.
COST: $195 for adults and children, $100.
CONTACT FOR RESERVATIONS and more INFORMATION: The Hotel Concierge at: Call + (506) 2696-0000 or Fax + (506) 2696-0010
WONDER #2: EYES WIDE-OPEN GOLF
Nocturnal Golf: Privately guided Nocturnal Golf tour under the stars to include a practice round at the driving range, play at holes 1 and 9 and a walk to Nacascolo Beach and the certified Audubon Sanctuary for more tropical nightlife viewing. Starting time is 6 p.m. for a maximum of four players.
The experience includes a line of lights showing the fairway from tee to light-encircled greens. Pull carts and lanterns will be available. Night-vision goggles and a shot of your best aim with slow-shutter and multiple-exposure photography make it a game-changer.
The Night Pals Audience: Howler and white-faced monkeys, deer, pizotes (raccoons), pecaris, and iguanas.
WHERE: Adjacent to the Four Seasons Costa Rica is Peninsula Papagayo’s Arnold Palmer-designed, highly acclaimed golf course in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
WHEN: NOW to November 23, 2014
COST: $95/per person
RESERVATIONS & INQUIRIES: fourseasons.com or Resort Reservations +(506) 2696-0098; +800-819-5053
WONDER #3: THE PERFECT 10, WHERE ECO MEETS LUXURY
The Perfect Ten: 10 days of rare experiences that include:
• Cocos Island, an ecological treasure, for four nights’ sailing on the Sea Hunter private yacht where you may choose to scuba with sharks and go sport fishing
• Private air travel (FS Jet or other)
• Accommodations in a luxury estate home (Casa del Cielo, Casa del Mar or Casa de Luna)
• Food and beverage
• Helicopter day trip to the volcanoes, rainforest and coffee plantations (with aerial views of Arenal, Poas and Irazu volcanoes and where you can roast your own coffee)
• GoPro wearable, waterproof camera
• Farewell feast by Executive Chef Mario Alconcer (may include fish you’ve caught during your adventure)
RESERVATIONS & INQUIRIES: fourseasons.com or Resort Reservations +(506) 2696-0098; +800-819-5053
Arenal, Costa Rica: – There are many reasons to visit Costa Rica during the ‘green season’. The rivers run higher (more fun when you’re white water rafting); the rainforest becomes more magical; the tropical flowers are in full bloom; and there are fewer visitors. But probably the best reason to go is the End of Summer package at Nayara Springs. A 10% discount on the nightly rate, a three-course dinner every night, and a $100 spa gift certificate, all add up to a value-filled vacation. The End of Summer runs from August 20 – October 31, 2014.
Nayara Springs, a luxury hotel at the foot of Costa Rica’s Arenal volcano, features 16 individual villas, each with a private plunge pool fed by hot springs. The hotel’s five restaurants include Amor Loco, piano bar; Altamira, an open-air restaurant specializing in traditional Costa Rican dishes; and Nostalgia Wine & Tapas Bar with its selection of Latin America wines.
Prepare for a rejuvenating wellness experience at the Spa at Nayara Springs with chocolate clay wraps from organic cocoa beans; coffee scrubs with ingredients direct from a local farm; and the couples’ Nature Escape starting with a traditional sea salt foot soak.
Complimentary services for each guest at Nayara Springs include:
• Personal host
• Private plunge pool fed by natural mineral hot springs
• Breakfast a la carte brought to the villa or served poolside
• Mini-bar selection, except wine and liquor
• Fresh fruit delivered daily
• Cocktail snacks delivered daily
• Twice daily maid service
• Welcome fruit cocktail
• Daily replenishment of coffee and tea
• Wi-Fi in your villa and throughout the property
• Free international phone calls from the villa
• Free movies
• Free laundry service
Located approximately 2.5 hours from the capital of San Jose, Nayara Springs sits in seclusion just outside the town of La Fortuna, in the foothills of the Arenal Volcano. The Arenal Volcano National Park is host to one of the world’s highest concentrations of tropical plants and wildlife, and is one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica.
For more information on Nayara Springs’ exclusive offerings and tours, visit www.nayarasprings.com
About Nayara Springs
Nayara Springs sits amid lush tropical gardens and overlooks the Arenal Volcano in the LaFortuna area of Costa Rica. The hotel’s 16 deluxe suites offer spectacular views of the Arenal Volcano, boast individual thermal spring-fed plunge pools, over-sized bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers, lush gardens, and spacious verandas. Amenities include the Spa at Nayara Springs and yoga pavilion, AmorLoco poolside Restaurant, and Piano Bar. The 24-hour butler arranges diverse rainforest activities, which can be privately booked for families or couples, from zip trekking to river safaris. Nayara is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (www.slh.com)
The Peten district is the most inaccessible and rarely-visited region of Guatemala. Today it is lightly populated, and yet more than 1,500 years ago Maya rulers jockeyed for supremacy as they created immense cities here. During the 1990s mounting evidence indicated that a single kingdom, called Snake (‘Kaan’), had a disproportionate influence in the ancient Maya world. Today, the glorious remains and texts written on carved stone monuments affirm the power of this royal family.
Journey with Far Horizons on a 6-day exploration into the remote rain forest in search of the connections to the Kaan Royalty, and learn of the captivating finds made at several of the most influential sites. Two days will be spent flying by privately-chartered helicopter to explore three important sites – La Corona, Waka’, and El Mirador – that have created quite a stir in the international press due to newly-found connections to the Kaan Family. We will also travel by truck along jungle-shrouded dirt tracks to Holmul, where recent discoveries provide tantalizing connections to the Snake Kingdom. Walking through these verdant rainforests teaming with wildlife combined with the lack of crowds guarantees the overall experience very special even for the seasoned traveler.
Travel with only 8 others on this adventure through Guatemala. The trip dates are April 4 – 9, 2015 and the itinerary can be viewed on our website. Please continue to visit our blog and view the ‘Did you know?’ section for interesting tidbits of archaeological news.
Far Horizons Archaeological and Cultural Trips, Inc.
P.O. Box 2546
The Guatemala Tourist Board has launched a programme to attract more visitors to the Peten region in the north of the country through the development of new facilities and the promotion of tourism products such as the Carmelita-El Mirador circuit or the new Maya Trek. The region is home to the Maya Biosphere Reserve, the largest protected area in Guatemala occupying 19% of the national territory, as well as important Maya sites like Tikal.
The tourist board is working with the town of San Andres in the Peten distict to build new tourist facilities in the community of Carmelita, which is the starting point for the Carmelita-El Mirador tourist circuit. Visitors will be able to find information about this route to plan their visit, and also learn more about the area’s outstanding natural environment, its people and their way of life.
The Carmelita-El Mirador Circuit is a two-day hike through the jungle of the Maya Biosphere Reserve to reach El Mirador, the largest Maya city discovered to date (and a two-day hike back). El Mirador National Park features two major architectural groups: the Tiger Complex, which includes a large 60-metre high pyramid with a base of 58,000 square metres, surrounded by two smaller ones; and La Danta Complex, which reaches a height of 75 metres and stands out at the top of a hill. A visit to El Mirador National Park itself requires a minimum of three hours to explore the different Maya monuments and roads as well as the Maya Biosphere. There are also other smaller Maya sites in the area worth visiting such as El Tintal, La Florida and La Wakna.
Another innovative way of exploring the area is the recently launched Maya Trek, a 3-day adventure through the Maya Biosphere Reserve which takes visitors through different archaeological sites and protected natural spaces between the community of Cruce de dos Aguas and Tikal National Park. The 50km trek follows the Buenavista Valley, one of the main commercial routes in the Pre-Classic and Classic Maya Periods (from 800BC to 1200AD), controlled from the city of El Zotz.
Besides Tikal, the Maya Biosphere Reserve includes many other archaeological sites of interest such as Yaxha, PIedras Negras, Nakum, El Ceibal, Uaxactun, Aguateca and Dos Pilas
Antigua, Guatemala- Discerning travelers looking to slip away to a novel destination at a true value should check out the El Convento Boutique Hotel in Antigua, Guatemala’s 1,2,3 Sale. Book a suite at the exquisitely charming El Convento Boutique Hotel now through September and save 15% off your second night and 25% off your third night.
Travelers with an appetite for a novel experience will adore the buffet of options in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Antigua. Whether you want to climb a volcano, stroll along cobblestone streets, visit myriad churches, convents and cathedrals or simply enjoy alone time in a boutique hotel seeped in culture and luxury, El Convento Boutique Hotel in Antigua, Guatemala has endless options to fill four days with history, culture and adventure.
TripAdvisors 2014 Travelers’ Choice Award in Guatemala for TopTen Hotels in Romance and Small Hotels, El Convento features 26 spacious exquisitely decorated suites drawing upon the rich history and culture of the region. Each of the suites is individually designed, some with beamed ceilings and with a private garden or terrace with views of the volcanoes. This charming hotel is located on a cobblestone street across from the legendary Capuchinas Convento. Many rooms are within close range from the Parque Central, La Merced Church and Antigua Cathedral. The boutique hotel also features a lovely rooftop, perfect for dining under the stars,
Antigua, Guatemala is called land of eternal spring for its consistent spring-like climate. Visitors can enjoy 75 degrees all year round so honeymooners can count on sun-filled days. Direct flights are available from major cities including NY, LA, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas making post-wedding travel planning easy and direct.
El Convento Boutique Hotel also was awarded the Most Excellent Hotel in Mexico and Central America by Conde Nast Johansens in 2013, in addition to earning TripAdvisor’s coveted 2014 and 2013 Traveler’s Choice award. El Convento Boutique Hotel features 26 spacious guest rooms with flat screen TVs and free WIFI , two lounges areas, two restaurants, a wine cellar and gated guest parking. For more information, check out
Tucan Travel have released a new nine day Group Tour to Costa Rica to add to their large range of Central America Group Tours. The Tortuguero Costa begins and ends in San Jose and visits La Fortuna where guests can hike in the hills around Arenal Volcano, Tortuguero National Park where it is possible to watch turtles lay eggs and hatching on the beach and Cahuita National Park, known for its coral reefs, rainforest and black sand beaches.
This nine day Group Tour is perfect for those limited for time but want to catch a glimpse of the country’s most popular highlights. The Group Tour departs every other week, staying in 3* accommodation and comes with an affordable price tag of just £699 or £78 per day.
Matt Gannan, CEO of Tucan Travel commented, “We have seen Costa Rica grow in popularity over the last few years with its impressive dedication to responsible travel, diverse wildlife and wide range of activities available to all types of traveller. We are very pleased to be able to offer affordable tours of the country for everyone.”
The first departure date for this tour is in November, just in time to enjoy the warm winter weather over the Christmas period.
Experience this historic, engineering marvel as it commemorates its first century while getting to know amazing “Crossroads of America” with Truly Panama’s dynamic collection of boutique tour packages.
Panama City, Panama – Experience the Panama Canal at its century mark of changing the course of history with a dynamic collection of boutique tours by Truly Panama, a sustainable travel tour introducing the world to the wonders of this culturally rich “Crossroads of America.”
Several of Truly Panama’s unforgettable tours showcase the famed waterway, which took more than three decades to construct and connect two oceans, along with other areas of this culturally rich “Crossroads of America.” These include:
Full Day City Tour
Visit the Panama Canal Interoceanic Museum in Casco Antiguo, an UNESCO historic site commonly called the walled city. Discover the intriguing history and construction of the Canal at the visitor center located at the Miraflores Locks. Watch giant ships on their journey, see how the locks operate, and hear about future plans to expand and transform the canal. This tour includes a visit to Old Panama, founded in 1519 and looted by the pirate Henry Morgan in 1671.
Canal and Train Ride Adventure
Take a scenic train ride to the Colon province and visit the Gatun Locks. Observe the mechanical operations on the Atlantic side and watch in awe as large vessels travel through the narrow canal, flanked by lush jungle on either side. Visit Fort San Lorenzo, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, before journeying by train back to the city, going from one ocean to another through the Panama Canal Riviera.
Eco Tour Gatun Lake
Enjoy an amazing boat ride on Gatun Lake, which was the largest man-made lake in the world when it was created and carries ships for 21 miles of the transit across the Panama Canal. See the lush, surrounding rainforest and navigate close to massive ships as they wait to cross the Canal. Discover the area’s unique species of birds, monkeys and iguanas, among other local wildlife.
Partial Canal Transit
Navigate across the Pedro Miguel locks as you learn about the canal’s engineering, its expansion and the new Centennial Bridge. On route, admire beautiful Panama bay and the city skyline and sail under the Bridge of the Americas. Once in the Pacific you will disembark in the Flamenco Marina and transported back to you hotel.
Panama is fast gaining popularity among travelers for its rich culture, bio-diverse, protected natural environment, stable government, friendly, safe and affordable communities and idyllic, hurricane-free weather. Truly Panama creates unique experiences and memories with top-of-the-line services and expertise, offering more than two dozen unique tours in this amazing country. These range from canal excursions to rainforest, mountain and island adventures. Truly Panama can also craft custom packages and luxury yacht charters upon request. The eco-friendly company was founded by Jonathan Zelcer and his team of tourism professionals with solid domestic and international experience in the luxury hospitality industry.
For more information, call (507) 398-0541 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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