The Ultimate Jungle Escape: GAIA Riverlodge in Belize‏

April 18, 2014 on 8:40 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, Belize, Central America, Sailing, Scuba Diving | Comments Off



Located in the lush Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and surrounded by the sparkling Five Sisters waterfalls, GAÏA Riverlodge is one of Belize’s most celebrated ecotourist destinations.

RETREAT

Escape to your private cabana, perched on the edge of a valley overlooking the Five Sisters waterfalls.
GAÏA Riverlodge offers 15 private cabanas featuring Belizean hardwoods, traditional bay leaf thatched roofs and richly varnished mahogany interiors. With panoramic windows or a private veranda with hammock, ceiling fans, a bathroom decorated with hand-painted Mexican tiles, beds with pillow top mattresses, and Matouk and Frette linens, your stay has all the comforts you desire.

EXPLORE

Seek adventure with exciting activities such as cave tubing, zip-lining, mountain biking, and bird-watching among the trees. Or, take a day trip to the Mayan ruins at Caracol to experience Belize’s ancient wonders.

DINE

Soak up expansive views from the wrap-around terrace at GAÏA Riverlodge’s restaurant and lounge, magically located directly above the falls. You’ll enjoy globally inspired cuisine prepared with locally sourced fruits and vegetables, and fresh seafood from the Carribean Sea.

INDULGE

Experience sumptous treatments and blissful relaxation at the newly opened Spa on-site. Natural ingredients from the Belizean jungle are infused in each treatment, such as the Banana Papaya facial, Sunset Aromatherapy Massage and Eco-calm facial.

For further information, visit www.gaiariverlodge.com

About Belize

The only English-speaking country in Central America, Belize is situated on the Caribbean coast of northern Central America. This unique country includes lush tropical rainforests, the mysteries of the Ancient Maya, glorious white sand beaches and a spectacular 174 mile-long barrier reef. With direct flights to Belize City from Miami, Dallas, Houston, Charlotte and Atlanta, Belize is your perfect destination for a short weekend getaway or long Caribbean adventure. Discover GAÏA Riverlodge’s sister property in Belize, Matachica Resort & Spa at www.matachica.com


Costa Rica No Artificial Ingredients – No Hidden Fees

April 7, 2014 on 8:38 am | In Adventure Travel, Central America, Costa Rica | Comments Off



Spring is sprung, summer is just around the corner, and EcoAmerica Tours brings you the real Costa Rica with No Artificial Ingredients and no hidden fees!

Travel in style with private guided scenic transfers from point to point at an easy pace and stops at your own convenience for viewing and picture opportunities. In the Caribbean Park of Tortuguero join a group of nature-enthusiasts and discover the flora and fauna of the waterways, creeks, and lagoons of the Amazon-like Tortuguero National Park. Then continue with your personalized, guided expedition through the diverse eco-systems located in and around the Arenal Volcano National Park and the Monteverde Cloud Forest. At the end of your nature and adventure Costa Rica Coast to Coast exploration, you will enjoy a well-deserved relaxing time at the beach in the Guanacaste Coast.

Includes:

8 nights at your choice of hotels.
17 meals+ (8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners).
All applicable entrance fees*.
Shared tour bus transfer to the Tortuguero Park.
Shared tour boat transfer to/from the Tortuguero lodges.
All Private Guided Transfers in modern A/C vehicles.
Guided Land and Water Adventure in Tortuguero (on shared basis).
Guided Private Drive through the Caribbean Basin of the San Carlos Valley.
Guided Private Visit of the Thermal Pools at the Tabacon Hot Springs.
Guided Private Visits of the Arenal Sky Park Hanging Bridges, the Rainforest of the Highlands.
Guided Private Drive around the Arenal Lake and the Tilaran Mountain Range.
Guided Private Visit of the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Guided Private Drive through the Pacific Savannas and through the Dry Tropical Dry Forest Lowlands.
English-speaking private guide during tours (share a guide service for Tortuguero).
Personalized service of our Costa Rica-based operational office.
All applicable taxes.


Dreams Buenaventura Panama

March 30, 2014 on 9:35 am | In Beachbooker, Panama | Comments Off



AMResorts is excited to announce the continued expansion of AMResorts and the growth of the Dreams Resorts & Spas brand into the destination of Panama. Our newest property, Dreams Buenaventura Panama is set to open in 2016, and will become the 40th resort in the AMResorts collection and 13th in the Dreams Resorts & Spas portfolio. The newly constructed 450–room resort will be located in one of Panama’s most exclusive beach communities, Buenaventura; a luxury, eco-conscious development offering visitors a diverse array of activities and amenities.

Dreams Buenaventura Panama will feature the brand’s signature Unlimited–Luxury® concept where everything is included such as finely appointed accommodations complete with furnished balconies or terraces; 24–hour room and concierge service; a wide variety of gourmet dining options and unlimited top–shelf beverages; a Dreams Spa by Pevonia; Explorer’s Club for kids and Core Zone for teens; and endless daytime activities and lively nighttime entertainment.

Buenaventura, a coastal gated community in Farallón which is 80 minutes from Panama City, welcomes guests and it’s residents to indulge in a variety of luxury pursuits that include; a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course; sport fishing and sailing; full equestrian center; and collection of nature activities that allow visitors to explore the pristine natural eco–system from water, land and even air on canopy tours.

An up–and–coming destination with North American travelers, Panama features stunning beaches on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and vast national parks and reserves that include diverse geography including picturesque mountains, rainforests, volcanoes and waterfalls. Panama has a thriving cultural and entertainment scene with theater, jazz and night clubs, casinos and upscale shopping. The first Frank Gehry–designed museum in Latin America, due to open near the mouth of the Panama Canal, will also attract more visitors.

We are thrilled to be venturing into a brand new destination and introducing another Dreams Resort & Spa with Unlimited–Luxury® privileges. Please help us share this information with your teams and we thank you for your continued support.


Island Routes Charts New Caribbean Destinations

March 30, 2014 on 8:20 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, Belize, Caribbean, Central America, Dominica, St. Kitts Nevis | Comments Off



One of the Caribbean’s dominant hoteliers is also quickly expanding its regional tour and excursion operations. Caribbean tour excursion firm Island Routes will set up shop in Belize, Dominica, and St. Kitts and Nevis by the end of 2014, company officials announced Monday.

The launch of the company’s zipline, ATV, snorkeling, horseback and other adventure-themed excursions into three new destinations brings the number of Caribbean countries where Island Routes operates to 11. The move is only the latest leap forward for the excursion company owned by Sandals Resorts.

In 2013 Island Routes sold 600,000 “tour and experiences,” said David Shields, the firm’s general manager. Island Routes also expanded its operations into Aruba, St. Maarten, Dominican Republic and Nassau, Bahamas last year.

The firm also staked a claim to the cruise lines’ lucrative Caribbean shore excursion market in 2013. “Last year for the first time we entered the shore excursion space,” said Shields at the January opening of the company’s new offices at the former Air Jamaica headquarters in Montego Bay. “We are now providers of shore excursions in 11 Caribbean destinations.”

Shields said Island Routes has established a web site portal that allows guests booked aboard Caribbean-bound cruise ships to select their own shore excursions in the destinations where it operates.

“If you are traveling from Miami to the Northern Caribbean you can choose your ship, choose your location, and Island Routes locations will pop up and tell you where you can book your Island Routes tour,” he said. “So if you cruise ship stops in Ocho Rios, or Grand Cayman, the portal will feed you the locations where you can book an Island Routes excursion.”

Island Routes’ expansion may even be a harbinger for its parent company’s growth across the Caribbean. Just as Island Routes has expanded operations to several new Caribbean countries, Sandals is planting its resort flag in new destinations for the company in 2014, most notably in Grenada and Barbados.

“Island Routes exists in locations that have not yet considered Sandals,” said Shields in January. “I am sure our parent company will be following us to some those paths that we are already creating.”

The company’s expansion doesn’t stop at the tour and shore-excursion products. In January Island Routes launched its first land-based adventure park, the River Bumpkin Farm, in Jamaica’s Trelawny district.

Located on a former sugar plantation, the park offers excursions ranging from river tubing and kayaking down the Martha Brae River to walking and biking tours across lush Jamaican landscapes. Several of the plantation’s original buildings remain, including the boiling, curing and distilling houses from the plantation’s rum production process, and are incorporated into walking tours.

“We are constantly growing while always remaining true to our ‘routes’ and our dedication to showing visitors to Jamaica the true beauty and off-the-beaten-path experiences available in our backyard,” said Shields.


Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Iconic Canal – Discover Panama with Collette‏

March 26, 2014 on 8:47 am | In Adventure Travel, Cruise Boats, Panama | Comments Off



-Collette’s newly enhanced land-based tour brings travelers to less-explored sites-

Pawtucket, RI (March 25, 2014) – An engineering marvel once considered the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Panama Canal will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its opening on August 15 this year, an ideal time for travelers to explore the diverse culture of Panama, the “Crossroads of the Americas.”

Beyond the impressive locks, true explorers will find the mountainous region of the Anton Valley, vast rainforest, verdant tropical gardens, UNESCO World Heritage sites in vibrant Panama City, and Buenaventura’s white sandy beaches, are ripe for discovery during Collette’s nine-day Discover Panama program. With departures from May 2014 through April 2015, the tour is priced beginning at $1,699, land only, per person, double occupancy.

Among the tour highlights is a partial transit cruise through the Canal aboard the Pacific Queen. Travelers begin at the north end of Gaillard Cut, which was carved through the Continental Divide, pass through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks, and see the Centennial Bridge and the Bridge of the Americas, the only roads crossing the Panama Canal. Additional highlights include:

· Gamboa – Travelers begin their Panama journey with three relaxing nights in a deluxe river view room, complete with balcony and hammock, at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, idyllically located for guided nature walks through the resort’s rainforest and gardens and a trip by dugout canoe to an Emberá village to learn about their traditional indigenous culture.

· Anton Valley – In the mountains, nestled inside the second-largest volcanic crater in the world is the community of the Anton Valley, where guests will stay at the Los Mandarinos Hotel, a family-owned boutique property. Guests will explore local handicraft markets, the Museum El Valle, a non-profit orchid nursery that houses more than 100 varieties, and the El Nispero Zoo, home to a large selection of animals endemic to Panama.

· Playa Blanca – With accommodations at the JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort in Buenaventura, guests can enjoy a day of leisure with a choice of water adventures, a round of golf, spa treatments and more.

· Panama City – Guests will visit the Panama Viejo Visitors’ Center and Cathedral Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site, explore the ruins of the oldest Spanish settlement on the Pacific, and walk the cobblestoned streets of Casco Antiguo, the Old Quarter – another UNESCO World Heritage site which showcases the Plaza de la Independencia, the Presidential Palace and the National Theater.

With easy access from many gateways, the ability to use U.S. dollars and value-packed rates during high season, Collette’s Discover Panama tour is an ideal opportunity for immersion into this vibrant and somewhat unexplored country, while sharing in the historic milestone of the Panama Canal.

For more information on the Discover Panama tour, contact a travel agent, or call 1-800-340-5158, or visit www.gocollette.com.

About Collette

With a passion for travel since 1918, Collette is a major worldwide tour operator that offers more than 150 tours to destinations on all seven continents. It is a third generation, family-owned company headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, with additional divisions in Canada and the United Kingdom. With a wide collection of land tours, river cruises, rail journeys, small group travel, family tours, religious programs and garden holidays, Collette provides its guests with cultural experiences that go far beyond a vacation. Its knowledgeable Tour Managers, an industry-leading travel protection plan, and roundtrip home to airport sedan service are some of the many ways Collette handles all the details, allowing its guests to simply sit back and enjoy the adventure.

Learn more at www.gocollette.com , follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and view tour videos on YouTube.


Hats Off To Panama

March 24, 2014 on 10:29 am | In Adventure Travel, Central America, Cruise Boats, London, Panama, United Kingdom | Comments Off



To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal specialist tour operator Journey Latin America has launched a special 8-day Panama Canal-inspired itinerary.

The holiday includes a full-day ocean-to-ocean transit of the canal, a train ride on the vintage-style Panama Canal Railroad train, a visit to San Lorenzo National Park for amazing wildlife opportunities, a visit to the Panama Canal expansion site and a visit to historic Portobelo town, a World Heritage Site.

The holiday offers four departures in 2014: 15 June, 13 July, 10 August and 14 December and costs from £2,399 per person. The price includes international flights, comfortable mid-range accommodation, transfers, breakfast and excursions.

“To visit this extraordinary feat of engineering is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and to do so in 2014 the year of its 100th anniversary will leave special and treasured lasting memories. We highly recommend the August departure which coincides with the actual anniversary on 15th August. Fireworks and celebrations are expected but yet to be announced.” Rafe Stone, Product Manager.

Further Information

For more information on Journey Latin America and to see our full range of holidays, please visit www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk  or telephone: 020 8622 8444.

Laura Rendell-Dunn is a destination specialist and is available as a spokesperson on events, travel trends and features relating to all locations in Latin America.


Explore the ‘Other’ Barrier Reef in Belize

March 24, 2014 on 10:25 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, Belize, Central America, Scuba Diving | Comments Off



HOPKINS, Belize – There is more than one great barrier reef in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stretches 25 miles of the Central American coastline. Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, on the coast of Belize, is the prime location from which to explore this ecological wonder. The ecotourism resort nestled into the Belizean rainforest off 30 acres of pristine tropical beach, offers diving and snorkeling trips to explore the reef. Adventurers explore the exotic underwater landscape, searching for turtles, eagle rays, dolphins, whale sharks and rainbows of tropical fish, as well as the reef’s three atolls.

The reef that is so secluded that 90 percent of it has yet to be researched. But marine biologists do know that it is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef is home to more than 100 species of hard and soft coral and hundreds of fish and invertebrates.

Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort is a premier Belize eco-resort. Travelers can relax in one of the 13 treehouses or beachfront rooms as a jumping off point for exploring the reef or one of their many rainforest adventures.

To learn more about Hamanasi’s Adventure and Dive Resort’s tropical paradise and exhilarating excursions, visit www.hamanasi.com.

www.hamanasi.com


Experience Belize’s Ethnic Garifuna Culture with Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort

March 24, 2014 on 9:02 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, Belize, Central America | Comments Off



HOPKINS, Belize – Located off the beaten path in a cultural hub of Belize, Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort offers guests a unique cultural experience with the Garifuna people in Belize. Travelers can take in the Garifuna festivities for national holidays, parades, street music, and traditional dancing.

More than 200 years ago, the Garifuna people were deported from their homeland in St. Vincent by the British the coast of Central America. Deriving from the original 2,000 Garifuna people settling in Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, their culture has remained an important part of the area’s modern history. UNESCO recognized the Garifuna Culture as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This designation means that it is an important culture that should be preserved, promoted, and celebrated.

Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort and the town of Hopkins are a stronghold of the Garifuna ethnic culture. During the national holiday Settlement Day, the Garifuna present a reenactment of their arrival to Belize. All year round, Garifuna performers visit Hamanasi drumming performances and competitions.

One of the best parts of cultural appreciation, travelers will have the opportunity to indulge in delicious ethnic food. At Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort guests can try local Garifuna cuisine created by the resort’s award-winning culinary masters. The Hamanasi chefs were even honored to prepare traditional Garifuna dishes for Britain’s Prince Harry on his visit to Belize in March 2012.

Cassava, fresh coconut milk, green and ripe plantains, local oregano, and freshly caught fish are just a handful of the ingredients used in Garifuna food. Hudut, a Garifuna dish, pairs fish with mashed plantains and coconut milk, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.On the sweeter side there is Garifuna cassava cake made from grated fresh cassava, coconut milk and other traditional ingredients. This pudding-like dessert has a taste that cannot be beat. To top it off, much of the produce used in these traditional meals is fresh right from Hamanasi’s lush gardens.

For more information about Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort or the Garifuna culture, visit www.hamanasi.com.


New Ethical Latin America Travel Company Continues To Grow

March 14, 2014 on 10:25 am | In Adventure Travel, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Central America, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, South America, Uruguay | Comments Off



Ethical travel company ‘Sumak Sustainable Travel’ adds eight new Latin America destinations in its second year of operation. Patagonia, Ecuador, the Colombian Sierra Nevada and Chicamocha Canyon, the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Costa Rica & Uruguay.

Specialising in community-based travel and eco-tours right across South America and Costa Rica, Sumak brings to life a new movement in travel. As more people become aware of the sustainability issues surrounding tourism, the demand for ethically-minded and responsible travel is growing. People want to go beyond what is often a faceless, pre-packaged mode of travel offered by many of the larger tour companies and really connect with the local life and culture of the places they visit.

By combining visits to the well-known sights of Latin America, with community-based stays and real off-the-beaten path adventures, Sumak provides truly diverse and experience-rich holidays. From Patagonia to Ecuador’s Amazon Jungle and Costa Rica, the company has built up a network of unique partners offering diverse travel experiences. These local community-based operators are welcoming like minded travellers, inviting them to get to know their ecosystems and culture first hand and gain a much deeper insight into the countries that they visit.

Amongst the newly launched tours is the exciting Undiscovered Colombia Adventure. Travellers take on a five-day hike through the Caribbean jungle to the incredible ruins of an ancient lost city, as well as journeying into the Amazon Rainforest to encounter its indigenous culture and wildlife. On the Chilean Andes & Chiloe Tour travellers criss-cross the Andes through the beautiful Lake District, staying with local Mapuche communities in the heart of some of the most stunning national parks on the continent. The new Peru adventure, The Inca Empire – Lake Titicaca & Machu Picchu Tour, takes travellers on an alternative Inca Trail trek. As well as seeing Machu Picchu they will be the guests of local communities and visit their coffee plantations, learning about rural life in the high Andes.

In Ecuador, the Andes to the Pacific Coast Tour gives an unparalleled experience, travelling through volcanoes and cloud forests, being the guests of the country’s unique rural communities and enjoying the beaches of the Pacific lowlands. There is also an in-depth wildlife tour Natural Selection – Amazon & Galapagos Tour for the real nature enthusiasts.

On all of these tours travellers will see incredible sights, meet inspirational people, and sit down to talk and eat with the locals (as guests, rather than customers). Through these unique and authentic experiences they will gain a true insight into life in Latin America. See the full portfolio of tours and adventures covering Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador and Uruguay.


Combine Adventure, Nature And Archaeology With New Maya Trek In Guatemala

March 14, 2014 on 7:55 am | In Adventure Travel, Central America, Guatemala | Comments Off



The Guatemala Tourist Board (INGUAT) has launched the first Maya Trek, a new holiday experience that combines adventure, nature and archaeology in the heart of the Maya World. The new trek starts at the Cruce de dos Aguas community and ends at Tikal National Park, exploring several archaeological sites and protected areas in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, the largest nature reserve in Guatemala, which occupies 19 per cent of the country.

In small groups of no more than 15 people, visitors trek through tropical jungle for around 50 kilometres over three days, following the Buenavista Valley. This was 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. Trekkers will follow in the footsteps of the legendary Siyaj K’ak’, a warrior from Tehotihuacan who conquered the area known as Peten today. He was known as the Lord of El Zotz, and brought political stability and economic growth to this area.

The route starts in the rural community of Cruce de dos Aguas in the Maya Biosphere Reserve and continues through the protected Biotope of San Miguel de la Palotada-El Zotz, a nature refuge for millions of bats of 15 different species, as well as howler and spider monkeys and hundreds of species of birds and plants. In this area, travellers will also come across the Archaeological Site of El Zotz, one of the most important Maya cities in the second half of the Classical Period and the political and administrative centre of the Buenavista Valley.

Trekking continues through the dense tropical jungle of El Yesal camp, accompanied by the constant calls of frogs, monkeys and other wildlife. Other highlights include visits to El Palmar and Chiquin-Tikal archaeological sites, before the path narrows down as it approaches the National Park of Tikal, the most important archaeological site in Guatemala and a World Heritage site, where the trek ends.

The Maya Trek is exclusively organised by the Cruce Dos Aguas Tourism Commission, using only local guides with an intrinsic knowledge of the area in order to contribute positively to the local economy and help protect the environment. Other similar routes will be added in future.

To book the Maya Trek, contact the Cruce de Dos Aguas Tourism Commission on +502 45366662 / 46468019 or email turismocomunitario@yahoo.com.

For more information on Guatemala and the rest of Central America, go to www.visitcentroamerica.com


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