Tucan Travel Releases New Nine Day Costa Rica Tour

July 7, 2014 on 8:27 am | In Adventure Travel, Central America, Costa Rica, London, United Kingdom | Comments Off

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.

How to Reap the Rewards of Traveling During Costa Rica’s ‘Veranito’

June 30, 2014 on 9:08 am | In Adventure Travel, Central America, Costa Rica | Comments Off

Costa Rica’s “Little Summer” Offers Unprecedented Wildlife Viewing at Great Value

Wildlife is abundant –and so are the savings — when travelers reap the rewards of Costa Rica’s “Little Summer” in July.

Because of a little-known weather phenomenon that in-the-know wildlife lovers keep to themselves, July is one of the best times to visit Costa Rica. The secret lies in the early rains of May and June, which cause an abundance of flowering trees and fruits that attract the most abundant wildlife of the year. This coincides with a break in the rainy season called “veranito” (“little summer”) that offers ideal wildlife-viewing conditions.

Wild Planet Adventures’ Ultimate Wildlife Eco Tour offers the most value in Costa Rica, as much as twice the value per day of most other competitive tour operators. Prices begin at $343 per person, per day, for a 9-day, 10-day or 14-day wildlife eco-tour including all meals (rare in any itinerary) and no low-value “free days.” (This means travelers don’t have to shell out more bucks for activities on those days because all activities are included.)

With so much included some might think this tour was designed with lots of high volume/low cost filler. In fact the opposite is true. This award-winning wildlife eco-tour is packed with unique and exclusive wildlife activities and remote destinations starting with wildlife viewing in an astounding eight national parks and wildlife reserves.

Highlights on both coasts include Cahuita, Arenal, Monteverde, Carara, Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks. The diverse wildlife activities are suitable for travelers of all ages and skill levels and include whitewater rafting, canopy tours, beaches on both coasts, volcanoes, hot springs, sea-kayaking with dolphins, snorkeling at night in the bioluminescence, a scarlet macaw migration and much more.

Tourist dollars on this itinerary also support wildlife conservation, with visits to the world-famous Sloth Sanctuary where Wild Planet’s guest can meet over 100 unbelievably cute rescued sloths, and Proyecto Asis, a hands-on wildlife rescue center where travelers can interact with wildlife. Wild Planet includes high-end naturalist and biologist guides, and interactions with animals, wildlife experts and scientific researchers. Mid/upscale lodging includes one-of-a-kind rainforest and jungle lodges.

Smart savings, coupled with Wild Planet’s unique itinerary and exclusive access, provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the wildlife of Costa Rica with true wildlife experts who have 23 years of experience in Costa Rica. Wild Planet offers four departures in July to take advantage of this extraordinary wildlife viewing season.

For a detailed itinerary, compelling wildlife photo and video galleries and booking information, visit http://www.wildplanetadventures.com / or contact trips@wildplanetadventures.com

About Wild Planet Adventures

The editors of National Geographic Traveler announced in April 2014 that the wildlife specialty tour operator Wild Planet Adventures received its fifth “World’s Best 50 Trips” award from National Geographic Traveler.

The expert wildlife guides of Wild Planet Adventures go the extra mile to explore remote wildlife habitat and study wildlife patterns in destinations not often accessible to the general public. Thanks to the company’s comprehensive itineraries that balance diverse and complex ecosystems and habitats, guests enjoy wildlife and game viewing that is carefully aligned with animals’ seasonal, daily and nocturnal migrations.

Following a philosophy that interacting with nature has the power to transform lives, tours are conducted in Africa, Baja, Belize, Borneo, Brazil, Costa Rica, Galapagos, India, Laos, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Thailand and Zambia. Wild Planet Adventures is recognized by top publications in the travel industry for its itineraries that combine intimate encounters with wildlife and local culture.

For a more information and a complimentary 2014 catalog call toll-free 1.800.990.4376, or e-mail: trips@wildplanetadventures.com . To review current trips, schedules and itineraries log onto: http://www.wildplanetadventures.com

Family-friendly expeditions to destinations still off the tourist map

June 26, 2014 on 8:21 am | In Adventure Travel, Africa, Central America, Costa Rica, Cruise Boats, Ecuador, Kenya, South Africa, South America, Tanzania | Comments Off

The desire for adventure travel vacations is on the rise, worldwide. Even though it seems like all the travel-worthy places are overrun by visitors, WANT Expeditions will take your family to a unique destination without the throng of tourists surrounding you. The company creates custom, conservation-oriented itineraries for groups of no more than 15 adventure-seekers that provide authentic experiences across the globe. Immerse yourself in a different culture and give your kids something to rave about when you get back home. Here are several locations your whole family will enjoy:

Grey Whale Migration and Whale Sharks in Baja
Jan 24-Jan 31, 2015
Spend the first part of your trip on a quiet, sandy beach at a private camp in Magdalena Bay while the Pacific Gray Whales pass by – some will even stop to say hello. Then head to the Sea of Cortez side of Baja where you can swim or snorkel with whale sharks and sea lions. Add more adventure to your days with multiple options, including: kayaking tours through the mangrove forest, nature walks through the sand dunes and swimming among the migrating sea life. Limited Space Available!

Costa Rica Wildlife Safari
Jan 25-Feb 4, 2015
From oceans to rainforests, agutis to toucans, Costa Rica offers a paradise for everyone, especially nature lovers! Paddle through the rainforest in a canoe then explore the forest on foot. Go wildlife viewing on horseback before taking a relaxing dip in the Ecotermales Hot Springs. Venture out on daily hikes in several national parks, through lush forests and mountain landscapes with a great view of the volcanoes on clear days. At night, witness the lava flowing down Volcano Arenal and be sure to take your camera. Enjoy the thrill of zip-lining through the trees and, if you wish, spend your last day trying watersports or sunbathing on the beach.

Galapagos Islands Yacht Cruise
April 12-April 20, 2015
Spend a week on a private catamaran with only a small group of adventure-seekers; with fewer people, everyone receives an unparalleled experience on and off shore. You will make stops at places like North Seymour, Darwin Bay, the Highlands of Santa Cruz and Floreana to see Blue Footed Boobies, Short-eared Owls, Waved Albatrosses and many other rare, beautiful creatures native to these islands. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, the oldest scientific research station on the archipelago, where they raise a variety of species until they’re strong enough to survive on their own.

East Africa Wildlife Safari
June 15-June 25, 2015
Combine two of the most breathtaking natural phenomena into one trip – the wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park and witnessing the majestic, snow-capped Kilimanjaro. You will also get to experience other natural gems like Lake Nakuru in Kenya and the famous Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Enjoy daily game drives in the African bush, spotting rhino, impala, wildebeest, zebra, lion and countless other wild animal species. On the last full day, hike to Mandara Hut on Kilimanjaro and keep your eyes peeled for Black and White Colobus Monkeys.

Surfapreneur, a Costa Rica Retreat for Business Owners that Surf

June 2, 2014 on 7:52 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, Costa Rica, Surfing Resorts | Comments Off

Work hard, surf harder. James Rick’s Surfapreneur Retreat combines adventure with training and networking in beautiful Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

After sessions at the Villa, the surf shuttle takes entrepreneurs to popular — but often uncrowded — spots along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The lessons and activities are available at all surfing levels, from beginner to advanced. Other amenities provided by the Villa include massage therapy, yoga classes and gourmet, chef-cooked meals.

“I am passionate about surfing and business. Ever since I’ve started living outside the US I wanted to combine my two passions and create the perfect adventure for entrepreneurs that want to get away for a week.”

The Surfapreneur retreat package is an all-inclusive retreat for 6 days and 5 nights and includes a shuttle that stops at popular attractions around Costa Rica. Rates start as low as $1,000 per attendee. Purchasing the Surfapreneur package as a corporate or personal gift is another popular option! Spots are limited, so please visit Surfapreneur.com for more details and dates to book.

About Surfapreneur

James Rick Stinson founder of Full Potential and author of Unleash Your Full Potential, is a serial entrepreneur that employs more than 300 staff. He is hosting the Surfapreneur retreat at his 7bd / 8 bathroom Villa in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. The Surfapreneur retreat promises to be a one in a lifetime experience with group adventures and surprise guests. Watch this video to learn more or visit Surfapreneur.com and apply to attend on behalf of yourself or someone

Hilton Hotels in the Caribbean and Latin America Chocolate & Mezcal Spa Treatments‏

May 1, 2014 on 8:46 am | In Aruba Bonaire Curacao, Barbados, Beachbooker, Caribbean, Central America, Costa Rica | Comments Off

Celebrate moms, dads and better halves this year by giving the gift of relaxation. Combined with exotic destinations, Hilton Worldwide hotels in the Caribbean and Latin America are offering a Spa Experience for Everyone, to shower that special someone with the most indulging and flavorful treatments imaginable.

Featured spa experiences include:
Hilton Buenos Aires Entrance
Chocolate Spa at Hilton Buenos Aires (pictured right) – After a soothing bath salt whirlpool session and a few minutes in a calming oxygen cabin, guests enjoy a 50-minute cocoa massage or facial followed by an enriching hair treatment with chocolate products. This four hour aromatic experience is available for US$99. Room rates start at US$189 per night. For more information, visit www.buenosaires.hilton.com.

Hilton Mexico City Reforma Spa jacuzziMezcal Herb Spa Retreat at Hilton Mexico City Reforma’s Spa Alameda (pictured left) – A Mexican spa tradition, this 60-minute treatment purifies the skin with an energizing massage using medicinal native herbs, for US$115. Room rates start at US$119 per night. For more information, visit www.hiltonmexicocity.com.
Spa Patio
Ice Cream Pedicure at Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort’s Spa Oasis (pictured right) – A 50-minute sweet experience with zero carbs and calories offers deliciously-scented foot scrubs and masks, followed by a candy-colored array of shades for toes, for US$60. Spa Oasis also offers Kids Oasis for children four to 12, as well as parent/child treatments and VIP rooms to enjoy the special occasion as a family. Room rates start at US$209 per night. For more information, visit www.hiltonloscabos.com.

Caribe Hilton_Olas Spa 3Spatourage at Caribe Hilton’s Olas Spa (pictured left) – This multi-day spa experience indulges guests with daily spa treatments and a personal entourage of spa consultants to select the right treatments for individual needs while satisfying every whim. Spa package rates including accommodations start at US$284 per night. Room only rates start at US$99 per night. For more information, visit www.caribehilton.com.

From pristine islands and ecological paradises to bustling city centers and cultural havens, Hilton Worldwide offers an array of destinations to choose from in the Caribbean and Latin America. Travelers can enjoy a spa experience for everyone at additional hotels and resorts such as Hilton Curaçao, Hilton Barbados Resort, Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, and Hilton Bogota, among others.

And, with many resorts in the Caribbean & Latin America offering amazing spring room rates starting at US$99 per night, it’s the perfect time to embark on that much-deserved escape. For spring deals in the region visit www.hiltoncaribbean.com/spring. For general reservations or information visit www.hhonors.com

*All rates listed are starting rates, subject to availability. Spa treatment rates are approximate values based on current exchange rates, and may vary. Other restrictions apply.

If you have any questions or would like to receive any additional images/information, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

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.


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.

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.

20th anniversary of Rainforest Adventures

March 8, 2014 on 1:28 pm | In Adventure Travel, Central America, Costa Rica | Comments Off

This year marks the 20th anniversary of operations for Rainforest Adventures, who opened their first park in Costa Rica in 1994, and have since gone on to create one of the world’s most recognized sustainable adventure park companies, with current operations in four countries and plans for expansion.

With two parks in Costa Rica, Rainforest Adventures has undertaken a number of initiatives to help protect the environment, engage with local residents, and educate guests on the importance of sustainability practices. And, many of these initiatives started during to construction of the first park, Costa Rica Atlantic, in 1994. According to the Rainforest Alliance, Earth University and Costa Rican Tourism Institute, these two parks are the model for best practices in the world when it comes to sustainable development and operations.

“When we decided to build our first park in Costa Rica, we had two choices: cut down trees to build our aerial tram experience, or find a way to preserve the pristine environment,” says Joaquín von der Goltz, president of Rainforest Adventures. “While it was complicated and expensive to construct the aerial tram without removing trees, for me, the decision was easy – we had to protect the rainforest. Otherwise, why build a park to help educate visitors on the importance of rainforest conservation?”

During the construction of the Costa Rica Atlantic park, local loggers were hired to help with the erection of the aerial tram lift. Rather than cut down part of the 1,200-acre rainforest in order to create a lift-line (much like a chairlift at a ski resort), the tram was completed without cutting down a single tree. By using helicopters to construct the tram (and, in turn, all future trams at the other parks), the result was an untouched rainforest environment, where guests could travel at canopy level, and view the flora and fauna in an in-depth, immersive experience.

This initial commitment to sustainability continues to present day. All park locations and operations in Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, and St Lucia have on-going practices in place to reduce the impact on the environment on a day-to-day basis, including park-wide environmental management systems and an extensive recycling program for both guests and staff. The environmental management system includes: an energy savings plan where all electricity is measured and reduced whenever possible, thereby reducing the reliance on bio-diesel; a management plan for liquid and solid waste generated in parks; a water saving plan that involves water-saving taps, urinals and toilets; and a response plan for the care and management of potential spills. The recycling program for guests and local teams includes international signage to help identify the correct containers for plastic, metal, glass, paper, compostable and non-recyclable waste.

In addition to these programs, Rainforest Adventures has a commitment to buying local, and encouraging their guests to do the same. The parks have an agreement with local artisans in which they are invited to showcase their crafts for sale to guests. And, more than 95 per cent of food and beverage available for park guests is derived from local products produced by local farmers.

With a focus on social sustainability, Rainforest Adventures employs more than 500 local, multilingual guides at their parks. Each guide adds depth and colour to the visitor experience by sharing insider information about the region’s rainforests, native plants and animals and about local customs, cultures and traditions

Rainforest Adventures is committed to minimizing their overall impact on the environment, while encouraging their guests to take the in-park methods and apply them at home. Parks feature education centres where guests can learn about conservation and the importance of preserving the world’s natural resources. Understanding that youth are future policymakers, Rainforest Adventures pays special attention to this demographic by offering a number of all-age, family-centric experiences, activities and exhibitions that are designed to empower and educate youth about the environment.

And, with the commitment to sustainability, government and NGOs have taken notice. Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica Pacific has been recognized for its sustainability by the country’s government, earning an Ecological Flag, a Blue Flag, a Decree of National Interest for the Republic of Costa Rica and Certification for Sustainable Tourism. Both Costa Rica parks were verified by the Rainforest Alliance– a standard recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council – achieving the highest rating possible. In 2012, EARTH University officially certified the Costa Rica Atlantic park as carbon neutral, Costa Rica’s first tour operation to receive a carbon neutral title.

For more information about Rainforest Adventures, visit www.rainforestadventure.com.

About Rainforest Adventures
With tour operations in Panama and award winning, adrenaline-inducing adventure parks located in Costa Rica (both Pacific and Atlantic), Saint Lucia, and Jamaica, Rainforest Adventures locations serve as ecotourism attractions, nature reserves and wildlife refuges. Since 1994, the company has been combining unique rainforest adventures such as aerial trams, bobsleds and zip line rides, with exceptional, multi-lingual naturalist guides, giving each guest an educational, adventurous, sustainable and unforgettable rainforest experience. For more information, visit www.rainforestadventure.com

Costa Rican Culinary Tasting Tour: June 1 – 7, 2014

March 5, 2014 on 11:47 am | In Adventure Travel, Central America, Costa Rica, Dine Drink | Comments Off

Costa Rican Culinary Tasting Tour: June 1 – 7, 2014
Hosted by award-winning Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort

Glenn and Teri Jampol, the owners of award-winning Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort, are on a mission to showcase the amazing flavors of Costa Rica for their guests during a six night, six day culinary tour, June 1 – 7, 2014.

Called the Costa Rican Culinary Paradise Week, guests will be introduced and guided by chef instructor MikeC., author of Kitchen on Fire and creator of Wine Country Culinary Adventures in Napa , and international culinary adventurer Gilad Chudler, of Costa Rica Culinary Tours. Together with the Jampols, their goal is to showcase some of the best local artisan foods and beverages that Costa Rica has to offer, including:

- Tour of Finca Rosa Blanca`s Rainforest Alliance Certified, organic coffee farm and tasting;
- Visit to Heredia`s Central Farmers Market;
- Cooking class and pairing artisanal cheeses with local craft brews;
- A day of nature hikes and tours of cacao, vanilla and pepper farms;
- Visit to Ark Herb Farm and Meadery;
- Mead and honey with goat cheese pairing over lunch; and
- Chocolate Tasting and lunch at Sibu Fine Chocolates workshop.

And there will be cooking classes and fine dining, based on the raw ingredients of vanilla, chocolate, coffee and pepper stirred in throughout the itinerary.

Cooltan Tan-Through Shirts & SwimsuitsThe total cost of Costa Rican Culinary Paradise Week is $3095 USD per person for double occupancy and $3,995 USD per person for single occupancy, and includes, five nights accommodation, all meals, cooking classes, guided tours and in-country transportation. More information and reservations are available at www.fincarosablanca.com

An ecolodge steeped in authentic Costa Rican culture
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort is located just 20 minutes from the San José International Airport, set in the highlands of the beautiful Central Valley. At 4,000 feet above sea level, the lodge’s property offers acres of tropical gardens and paths and a thriving, 30-acre hard bean organic shade grown coffee plantation.

From the beginning, the Jampol family envisioned the creation of an exclusive boutique inn which would become one of the world’s leading hotels, combining luxurious accommodations and amenities, cultural authenticity, environmental respect and sustainable tourism. Today, they have fulfilled this dream and the resort is recognized as one of the globe’s top destinations, demonstrating that it is possible and necessary to combine luxury with sustainability.

When it comes to the overall guest experiences, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort offers 13 uniquely designed rooms (two master suites and 11 junior suites), each featuring private verandas, sweeping valley and volcano views and artistic décor. Common guest areas include a picturesque lobby with 40-foot ceilings, skylights and tropical gardens; a private office centre with internet service, computer and printer; eight acres of tropical gardens and paths, complete with a spring-fed swimming pool and waterfall and a commodious hot tub.

A gift shop features local crafts, organic skincare products and chocolate, and guests can enjoy a full-service spa, and a gourmet restaurant featuring garden to table innovative dishes.

About the Chefs & Guides:
Costa Rica Culinary Adventures is the brainchild of American Chef Gilad Chudler, who lives with his wife, Costa Rica native Natalia Schyfter, in the Central Valley outside of San Jose. Formerly one of the Bay Area’s most popular culinary instructors, Chudler founded Plátano Verde, a green-based catering and event planning firm, in 2012. His clients include award-winning hotels (including Hotel Sugar Beach, for which he recently served as a consulting executive chef) and restaurants (including ProductC), as well as the prestigious Punto de Vista Villa in Manuel Antonio.

While most chefs spend their entire careers working in restaurants, MikeC. was always hooked on teaching. In 2002, while completing his studies at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, he began working for Sur La Table as a resident instructor and manager of their in-store culinary program, which included assisting such visiting celebrity chefs as Martin Yan, Jamie Oliver, Alton Brown and Michael Chiarello. Now based in Napa Valley, MikeC. has led cooking classes and winemaker dinners at Cedar Gables Inn (among other venues) for nearly a decade. MikeC. has been featured on numerous television programs, including the Travel Channel’s “Great Weekend Getaways with Samantha Brown.” He was selected by Circulon, one of the largest cookware brands in the world to serve as the guest host of the first-ever web-based cooking show series, “Hungry Bytes” and was featured as the most recent host of the long-running TV series Organic Living with the Hippy Gourmet, filmed on location in Mexico, Belize, and New Zealand, as well as Northern California.

Banana Coast Welcomes First Cruise Ship

February 17, 2014 on 10:24 am | In Adventure Travel, Belize, Central America, Costa Rica, Cruise Boats, Nicaragua | Comments Off

Banana Coast, the new Western Caribbean cruise port at Trujillo, Honduras, hosted its first cruise ship on Feb. 10 when Travel Dynamics International’s 130-passenger Yorktown visited. Passengers tendered to shore and were welcomed by Garifuna musicians playing the unique style of the Central American music. They shopped for locally made crafts, went on tours to the nearby rainforest and relaxed on the beach.

“It was rewarding to see Banana Coast come to life today with its first cruise passengers,” said Randy Jorgensen, general manager of Grande Trujillo Authoridad, which developed the port.

Banana Coast has shopping, a newly built tender dock, a reception center and transportation hub and 10 acres of beachfront in the town of Trujillo, which was established in 1525. To date, five cruise lines have scheduled 20 calls on eight ships at the first cruise destination on the Honduras mainland. The Honduran island of Roatan, a frequent port of call on cruises, is about 32 miles north.

Holland America Line has committed to a series of port calls to Banana Coast beginning in November through March 2015. Silversea Cruises has scheduled calls in December 2014 and March 2015. P&O Cruises and Oceania Cruises are slated to call in the first quarter of 2015.

Situated within the Bay of Trujillo, Banana Coast has a natural, deep-water harbor that provides protection from winds and waves. Christopher Columbus landed there more than 500 years ago during his last voyage to the Americas.

Since then, the area has been a Spanish colony and was at various times controlled by the Dutch, French, English — and pirates. During the early 20th century it was the banana export capital of the world.

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