Visit the World’s Greatest Wildlife Destinations

 

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Nothing compares to the once-in-a-lifetime moments you get to experience on a safari, wildlife cruise or National Park Hike. These moments, like watching a leopard stalk prey in Botswana or photographing a gaggle of penguins swimming in Antarctica, used to be nearly impossible (and expensive), since the areas were widely unchartered and remote. However, now, with more cruises and tours exploring these hidden wonders worldwide, there’s more chances than ever to watch wildlife dwell in their natural habitats. For the best viewing, visit one of these breathtaking destinations.

Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Located on the rugged shores of Hudson Bay in Northern Manitoba, Churchill is one of the few human settlements in the world that is also home to polar bears. Since they spend most of their summer hunting for food, the best time to view them is during the fall. The optimal way to experience the beauty of these bears is with a custom tundra buggy, which offers once in a lifetime chances to get up close and personal, while still remaining safe.

Chobe National Park, Botswana, Africa
Chobe National Park in Botswana offers truly unspoilt views of Africa’s famed wildlife. On a game drive here, you won’t be met with other jeeps, but instead with views of warthogs, bushbucks, monkeys, lions, leopards and hyenas. A cruise along the breathtaking Chobe river offers a chance to see the marine mammals, like hippos and crocodiles.

Antarctica Peninsula
Although it may be void of any human life, Antarctica is home to one of the largest populations of penguins, with over 40 million spread across the continent. Once unchartered, Antarctica is growing in popularity, and more cruise lines are adding the snow-capped glacial peaks and emperor penguin colonies to their itineraries.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
This tiny archipelago off the coast of Ecuador has been an iconic destination for wildlife viewing for over 200 years. Thanks to more cruise lines charting the South American Coast, it’s much easier for anyone to view its many inhabitants, like the island iguanas, Blue-footed Boobies, giant green sea turtles, sea lions and more.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Stretching over 1,616 miles off the coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, comprised of 3,000 individual reefs, 900 islands and thousands of species of marine creatures, is one of the world’s greatest wonders. See the sharks, turtles, fishes and vibrant coral up close with a snorkel or dive.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, United States
Aside from spewing geysers, gradient canyons and rushing waterfalls, Wyoming’s crowned jewel is also home to some of the country’s most spectacular wildlife. From black bears to bald eagles to bison and coyotes, this area is rich with a vast array of animals.

Ready to book? We don’t blame you! Call our travel specialists today to plan your next great adventure.

Cruise & Travel Masters
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Your Year of Travel

 

Bryce-Canyon-Sunrise-copy

Bryce Canyon Nation Park                   photo credit: Ruby’s Inn

It’s time to start planning your next epic adventure. Whether you choose to cruise through the sprawling pebble beaches of the French Riviera, scale the orange hued hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park or taste South Africa’s mouth-watering cuisine, you’ll find everything you need to inspire your wanderlust in this complimentary issue of Destination Vacation.

For added guidance and unique insight you can’t find anywhere else, call our agency. We’ll use our vast knowledge and expertise to create your perfect itinerary.

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5 Reasons to Visit Colombia

Colombia, Coffee Region,  Santa Rosa Thermal Springs

Colombia, Coffee Region, Santa Rosa Thermal Springs                     photo credit: Pinterest

Colombia has just about everything. Down the spine of the country, parallel Andean ranges provide snow-capped mountains, salt mines and alpine lakes. North-east of Bogota lie whitewashed colonial villages with cute cobbled streets and quirky restaurants, while the Caribbean coast is a riot of Afro-cuban music, brightly painted houses and luscious tropical fruit. Not to mention the cities: Bogota is fast taking its place on the international dining and hotel scene, while stunning, walled Cartagena is a perfectly preserved colonial jewel, snoozing in the north coast heat.

Colombian People: Vibrant and Friendly

Wonderfully Vibrant Colombia                   photo credit: Travel Bite

1. Friendly Faces And Welcoming Places

One of Colombia’s most attractive features is its people. Despite the country’s turbulent history, you’d be very hard pressed to find a Colombian that isn’t friendly. Colombians are party-loving, generous to a fault, patient as saints and just dying to meet you!

Among carnivals, dances, parades, and festivals, the year runs its course to the rhythm of tropical music and contagious good spirits. The religious feasts, historic milestones, and even victories in sports are events celebrated well after the sun goes down.

Colombia Beaches, Tayrona National Park

Colombia Beaches, Tayrona National Park                    photo credit: Flickr

2. Over 300 Breathtaking Beaches

With all the diversity provided by the three mountain ranges of the Andes, several thermal floors, and, consequently an enormous variety of climates, Colombia stands out for its magical beaches that guarantee peace and calm to all those who are tired of the noise and the routine of everyday life. In total, there are over 300 beaches to suit many preferences. Some have all possible tourist services; others are natural paradises away from the crowds.

Colombia Towns, Cartagena-

Colombia Towns, Cartagena                     photo credit: Sun Surfer

3. Picturesque Colonial Towns

During Colombia’s colonization period the Spanish conquistadors refashioned the country in Spain’s image, imposing European architecture, ideas, religion and social customs. Although the Indigenous cultures were heavily impacted, this time also brought about the unique cultural fusion that resulted in astonishing colonial cities: colorful tiled buildings, cobblestone streets and plazas surrounded by ivy covered walls. Each colonial city has its own unique character and heritage, but all offer awe-inspiring architecture, turbulent history and lively traditions.

Colombia Food Markets

Colombia’s Food Markets                     photo credit: Civil Eats

4. Fresh, Fresh & More Fresh Food!

Come to Colombia for the incredible coffee, tropical climate and abundant seafood; stay for the fresh fruit, charming people and colorful markets!

Colombian national cuisine is as diverse as its climate, landscapes, and cultural expressions. Aside from the fertility of a land that grows practically everything, there is the unlimited imagination of expert chefs who are redeveloping the Colombian food scene. From age-old traditional regional recipes, to vibrant fruit and seafood markets, to new-age cafes with innovative flair, Colombia’s culinary experience is not to be missed!

Hiking in the Amazon to the "Lost City"

Hiking in the Amazon to the “Lost City”                     photo credit: JRWarner Photography

 5. Off The Beaten Path Adventure

Brazil may be the popular destination for Amazon explorers, but Colombia’s shores offer ample options for those looking to get well off the tourist trail. Ready to sweat? Take a 3-day trek through the lush green rainforest to find the “Lost City”. Or slow down with a boat ride to the small village of Puerto Nariño on the shore of the Amazon River and step back in time to an era free from cars and pollution. Still want more? A mere twenty-minute boat journey will land you at the Amacayacu National Park, where canopy walks, canoeing, and tree-climbing take place to a backdrop of lush jungle, gushing streams, and historical aboriginal territory.

If you are ready to join the party, Colombia is ready for you! Contact our travel specialists for more information on traveling to Colombia, where to stay and what to see!

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Nashville’s Fun in the Sun

Nashville

photo credit: startle.com

Nashville is having a hot time this summer putting together a “soundtrack of events” for Music City visitors: Live music, unique festivals, culinary excursions, family fun and new exhibits all combined with sunshine and the great outdoors!

Check out our favorite new activity in the heart of downtown Nashville. A Pedal Tavern–it’s a 16-person powered bicycle trolley (in other words a party on wheels)! And folks like Janie Claiborne from Florida are raving about this unique and unforgettably fun Nashville experience. “We booked the Pedal Tavern as a fun thing to do for my daughter’s wedding in Nashville. We laughed so hard watching each other and everyone loved the attention we got while pedaling through downtown. It was a great way to see the city too. Our evening on the Pedal Tavern couldn’t have been better. Thanks so much!”

Nashville Pedal Tavern

Nashville Pedal Tavern           photo credit: flickr

Want some more Nashville fun? There is music around every corner here but when you’re ready to change it up check out these great ideas from Forbes Travel.

Nashville Farmers’ Market

Though it’s open year round, the Nashville Farmers’ Market is the best place to wander and graze on any beautiful warm day. Enjoy perusing the farm sheds, complete with the day’s freshest produce, or duck into the covered Market House to try 1 of 15 restaurant options such as Bella Nashville’s wood-fired pizzas or acclaimed chef Arnold Myint’s AM@FM. Don’t miss out on the bounties of herbs, honey, collard greens and delicious sweet potatoes.

Stand Up Paddleboard Fitness Classes

Margaret Littman and Liz Veyhl of Nashville Paddle will suit up and head out to Percy Priest Lake for Nashville’s newest obsession: stand up paddleboard fitness and yoga. Sure, Nashville is landlocked, but the pristine waters and perfect temperatures might be enough to make you forget (at least for a 75-90 minute class). Check out their online schedule or gather up your own crew to schedule a private lesson with one of their instructors.

Virgin Falls

If you have a hankering to get out of the city, look no further than Virgin Falls, Tennessee’s newest natural area, located about two hours east of Nashville. The 1,157-acre site, which was purchased from a private landowner in 2012, is now open to the public for hiking, camping and viewing incredible natural wonders such as caves, waterfalls and sink holes. The hike to and from Virgin Falls can take between five and eight hours and is strenuous, so make sure to bring provisions for the day — or a tent for the night.

East-Centric Pavilion

Nashville’s newest outdoor pavilion and event space already has a lineup of events that can’t be missed. It’s adjacent to a new shopping area in East Nashville full of local shops and boutiques, and functions as a concert hall, restaurant space, gathering spot and all-around good-time zone.

Grassy Knoll Movie Nights

If you’re more indoorsy, perhaps you’d enjoy taking something you love about the indoors (enjoying a good movie with popcorn) and moving it outdoors. Not convinced? Perhaps the folks at Grassy Knoll Movie Nights can persuade you to cozy up outside and watch a favorite flick with hundreds of other people, while enjoying the best food trucks such as Biscuit Love Truck and weather the season has to offer.

Canoe the Harpeth River

Just a few minutes outside of Nashville, the Harpeth River beckons locals and tourists alike for an easy day in a canoe or kayak. Though there are plenty of companies along the river that offer both, I suggest Foggy Bottom River Trips. They’re embarking on their 26th summer as a canoe outfitter, and provide unparalleled service to help get you on the river and safely home. Foggy Bottom works regularly to support and raise funds for their local animal shelter, and are pet friendly, so don’t forget Fido (or a cooler full of your favorite snacks and sips) when you load up for the day.

Everyone knows Nashville for the incredible music scene (and it is…incredible!) but there are many other activities to partake in as well! We know you’ll love our Elvis and The Southern Sounds tour of Nashville and Memphis, TN! Call our travel specialists for more information!

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“The Way”: A Journey to Santiago!

Camino de Santiago

photo credit: Camino de Santiago Guide

Travel with us as we walk and bike the famous Camino de Santiago on our Petrabax tour!

The Way of St. James or “Camino de Santiago” has existed for over a thousand years. Legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. Today thousands of travelers set out each year to make their way to Santiago. Most travel by foot, some by bicycle.

In addition to people undertaking a religious pilgrimage, the majority are travelers and hikers who walk the route for non-religious reasons: travel, sport. Many consider the experience a spiritual adventure or retreat to remove themselves from the bustle of modern life.


(“The Best Way”- One man’s videography of his voyage along the Camino de Santiago.)

SYMBOLS OF THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
The ScallopThe scallop shell, has long been the symbol of the Camino de Santiago. It is found along each route on markers and posts along the way guiding the pilgrim towards Santiago.


“CREDENTIAL” OR PILGRIM’S PASSPORT

Most pilgrims carry a “Credential”, or pilgrims passport which is stamped at each town where the pilgrim has stayed. It serves as proof that the journey is accomplished according to an official route.The stamped credA Compostelaential is also necessary if you want to obtain a “Compostela”: a certificate of accomplishment given to pilgrims on completing the Way. To earn the “Compostela” one needs to walk a minimum of 100 km or cycle at least 200 km.

Maps, books and travel tips are available at Camino de Santiago Guide.

For more information on making this incredible voyage contact our travel specialists! Let us help you get there!

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Discover Northern Thailand

Lantern Festival, Thailand

Lantern Festival, Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand

~At the Lantern Festival in Thailand it is said that when you light your lantern and let it fly away, you are giving away all of your troubles and bringing good luck into the coming year.~

 

Right now, for only $649.00 per person, you can spend 8 days exploring northern Thailand’s most incredible regions! 

From the luxury of Bangkok’s malls and gleaming highrises, you’ll head north to Thailand’s hills. Eating and sleeping with the hilltribes will bring you face to face with these colorful cultures. We’ll leave plenty of time for fun in historic Chiang Mai with its night market and delicious cuisine. You will definitely be off the beaten path but with the flexibility to do the activities you really want. Whether its spending time riding elephants, hiking nature trails or photographing giant Buddhas–this is your adventure and it’s all possible! 

Check out our full itinerary here: http://bit.ly/17bo2xi
  And more amazing photos below! 

Remember we can match any price you find on the internet GUARANTEED! Let’s book your adventure today!



Sonja @ Cruise & Travel Masters
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Little Monk with Elephant

Little Monk with Elephant

Thai Buddha Sunset

Thai Buddha Sunset

 Floating Market, Bangkok

Floating Market, Bangkok

Elephant Riding Fun!

Elephant Riding Fun!

Doi Suthep Temple, Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep Temple, Chiang Mai

Travelers Enjoying Thai Street Food

Travelers Enjoying Thai Street Food

Stairway to Enlightenment, Thailand

Stairway to Enlightenment, Thailand

Thailand Monk Gives Peace Sign

Thailand Monk Gives Peace Sign

Thai Buddhist Prayer

Thai Buddhist Prayer

 Hilltribe Children

Hilltribe Children

Majestic Falls in Lebanon

Baatara Gorge Waterfall, Lebanon

Baatara Gorge Waterfall, Lebanon

Baatara Gorge Waterfall  is a natural wonder in Tannourine, Lebanon. It is truly a sight to lay your eyes on!

The waterfall descends the Baatara Pothole, located on the Lebanon Mountain Trail. Discovered in 1952, the waterfall drops 255 m into a cave of Jurassic limestone. The waterfall and accompanying sinkhole weren’t fully mapped until the 1980s. The cave is also known as the “Cave of the Three Bridges.” During the spring snow melt, a 90-100 meter cascade falls behind the three bridges and then down into the 250 meter chasm. The falls can only be seen during the months of March and April, when the snows are melting. So, now is the time to go!

During spring and early summer, the wildflowers are in full bloom making it a great time to hike the Tannourine Cedar Forest Reserve, part of the Lebanon Mountain Trail that takes adventurers to the immense and breathtaking Baatara Gorge Waterfall. For more information on traveling to Lebanon contact our travel specialists!

Sonja Arrasi, Cruise & Travel Masters
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