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.

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This Winter Escape to Tropical Paradise in the South Pacific!

Cooks Islands

Cooks Islands                                            photo: Pacific Travel Solutions

As the days become shorter you can feel summer slipping away with fall and winter on its toes. Where can you go to for that endless summer escape? Why, the South Pacific of course!
photo: The Sydney Morning Herald

Fiji                                                 photo: The Sydney Morning Herald

Firstly there is friendly Fiji with its legendary Melanesian hospitality that will have you seeking an extended stay. There is Polynesian elegance that is the essence of both culture and the idyllic Tahitian island experience. Or perhaps the Cook Islands where even the guests are considered locals and the promise of memorable South Pacific escape are delivered upon daily.
Bag the snow boots and sweaters for the sun dresses and flip-flops! Say goodbye to the cold-weather blues and hello endless sunshine, beaches and a drink in your hand.
*Tips for staying within the budget: Planning your winter escape earlier than later will help keep costs down! And remember, our travel specialists will always find you the best experience for the lowest price guaranteed! Call us today!
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Maryland’s Pet-Friendly Atmosphere Entices Travelers

Are you dreaming of taking that special vacation but don’t want to leave your special 4-legged friends behind? The Maryland Office of Tourism asks: Why not bring your pet along and experience everything the state has to offer travelers with furry friends?

Seventy-eight percent of pet owners say they plan to take their pet with them on vacation and the state of Maryland and many of its parks, hotels, restaurants, and beaches have taken notice.

Just as the national trend in pet travel grows, Maryland’s list of pet friendly destinations is increasing, too, with several more attractions, dog parks, and hotels/B&Bs opening their doors to pets in 2013. For travelers hoping to spend their vacation with their pets and for residents who want to bring their pets along on their travels, Maryland offers more than two hundred forty hotels, one hundred restaurants, and forty dog parks that are all pet-friendly.

“As more and more Maryland visitors and residents seek out pet-friendly events and locales, we’re proud to see so many local businesses and towns that have truly embraced the animal-centric trend and now offer a variety of travel options, making us a year-round destination for pet owners,” says Margot Amelia, executive director, Maryland Office of Tourism. “With National Dog Day celebrated on August 26, there’s no better time to take advantage of Maryland state parks, hiking trails, and attractions for pets and their people.”

Here is a sampling of other pet-friendly locales and activities where you can sleep, eat, and play with your pets while traveling in Maryland’s five regions.

Western Maryland

Play: The Hagerstown Dog Park just opened at Fairgrounds Park, at the corner of Jefferson Street and Cleveland Ave in Hagerstown.

Stay: The Antietam Guest House offers nonsmoking, quiet, comfortable, and private lodging, with off-street parking, for up to eight guests. The house is within a few miles of the Potomac River and the Antietam Creek for boating and fishing, and allows dogs for $10 per dog, per day.

Capital Maryland

Play: Don’t miss the Downtown Frederick Dog Park at Bentz and Carroll Parkway or the Baker Park Dog Park at 121 N. Bentz Street. The Ballenger Creek Dog Park features four acres, small and all dog areas, trails, benches, and water. TheBowie Dog Park in Bowie offers one acre and two fenced areas, one for small dogs and another for large dogs.

Stay: The waterfront views of the nation’s capital are even better when enjoyed with a tail-wagging friend. The Aloft Washington National Harbor offers a dog bed and bowl, and “woof-alicious” treats!

Eat: Looking to dine out with your pet? There are a number of pet-friendly eateries, including Frederick Coffee Company and CaféBen & Jerry’sClassic Cigars & British GoodiesBrewer’s Alley RestaurantCafé NolaGriff’s Landing, and La Paz Mexican Restaurant.

Central Maryland

Stay: The Loews Annapolis Hotel offers a pet placemat and water bowl filled with Fiji water, along with a full room service pet menu.

Play: Bring your pup to Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis for a day of walking, jogging, or biking along six miles of paved trails and two fenced areas for off-leash play. The dog beach at Downs Park lets pets play in the water and swim, perfect for the hot days of summer.

Eat: Some Annapolis restaurants allow your pet to hang out right next to their owners, offering water bowls and treats too. These include the Federal  House Bar and GrilleHarry Browne’sMcGarvey’s Saloon and Oyster BarRams Head Tavernand Stan & Joe’s Saloon.

Southern Maryland

Stay: With water views and acres of lawns and gardens to explore, Woodlawn Bed and Breakfast makes for a pleasant excursion. The owners of the B&B provide tasty treats for people and pet, with wine tastings for the human and dog treats for the pet.

Play: Rumored to be one of the most haunted places in America, you might feel better bringing the family pet along toPoint Lookout State Park. Pets are allowed along the beach on the Bay.

Eastern Maryland

Stay: The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina on Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore allows dogs up to seventy pounds to join guests during their stay. The luxury four-diamond resort offers nine pet-friendly rooms, as well as kennels available for canines. The property even offers a special “Doggie Delight” menu for these special guests. With veterinarian, grooming, and training services available nearby, Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay encourages travelers to bring furry pals along for the getaway.

Play: Dogs who love to swim will find plenty to do at the Dog Beach at Matapeake Park and the Island Dog Park, both in Stevensville. The park features two fenced areas, agility equipment, benches, and water fountains for pets and humans. The Terrapin Beach Park offers paved, level, and shaded paths to the beach and swimming for pets.

Assateague Island State Park allows pets on leashes year-round with registered campers and in day-use areas from October 1 to April 30. Pets on leashes are allowed on the Ocean City Beaches October 1 – April 30 and at the Ocean City Dog Playground with a dog pass access card.

For more information on traveling to pet-friendly Maryland, please contact our travel specialists!

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Paddling Portugal’s River of Wine

Portugal's Douro River

photo credit: Natural Habitat Expeditions

This exclusive travel experience has no peer in Europe! Natural Habitat Expeditions has spent more than a decade refining this luxurious ‘soft adventure’ with the families of the Douro River Valley’s historic wine estates. Savor the best in traditional European ambience and cuisine on a Dionysian paddling odyssey between quintas—the vineyard mansions and farmhouses—of northern Portugal’s port wine district. Share warm personal connections with travel hosts and enjoy an inside encounter with contemporary rural life in Portugal. We’ll paddle the mellow river during the sun-drenched days, hike into the hills for fabulous views, then wine and dine at night. As our hosts say, “A sua saude”—to your health!

Portugal's Douro River

photo credit: Natural Habitat Expeditions

Natural Habitat Expeditions

Natural Habitat Expeditions

Trip Highlights

  • Revel in sunshine, nature, history and hospitality in a little-traveled corner of Old World Europe
  • Overnight in luxurious manor houses and traditional farmsteads, and join host families for the finest in traditional Portuguese food and wine
  • On our fall departures, experience the harvest as ripe grapes are hand-picked from centuries-old vineyards that terrace down the steep mountainsides
Portugal's Douro River

photo credit: Natural Habitat Expeditions


Read About the NHA – WWF Travel Program

Let us help you book your next kayak adventure to Portugal! For a travel experience you will never forget, contact our travel specialists!

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Mountain Biking in Saskatchewan!!!

Wooded Trail, Saskatchewan

Wooded Trail, Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about mountain biking, since the province is best known for its wild grasslands. But past the prairies and expansive fields of sunshine-yellow canola, blue flax, and golden wheat, there’s a whole other world to explore.

In the southern part of the province, the landscape is cut with snaking valleys, badlands, and rolling hill formations that could provide a great experience for families looking for a leisurely bike ride through beautiful terrain, and for experienced mountain bikers willing to test their skill on challenging routes with steep drops and sharp turns.

A great place to start is the highest point between the Rockies and Labrador—Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. Located on an erosion plateau with some breathtaking views, the park provides trails that run through lodgepole pine forests. To the east, Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, which has played host for Canada Cup mountain biking competitions, provides more than fifty kilometers of great trails. The park is set in the scenic Qu’Appelle Valley and offers some double lane trails as well as winding single lane trails along the valley walls and coulees.

Heading north, the landscape transitions into parkland, boreal forest, and Precambrian Shield where you could find great biking trails at provincial parks and many of the Nordic ski areas that double as hiking and biking trails during the warmer months. Meadow Lake Provincial Park and St. Cyr Hills in Saskatchewan’s northwest offer some terrific trails through boreal forest and parkland. They weave around some of the eleven lakes in the park system or on the hills in the St. Cyr Nordic ski trails. Further northeast, trails for beginners to experts at Lac La Ronge Provincial Park and the Don Allen Nordic Ski Area wind through forests of aspen, birch, spruce, and jack pine, and past muskeg and streams, and onto rock outcroppings.

Although these are some of the more widely known mountain biking areas, you could find a list of other great trails and information on biking in Saskatchewan here: http://www.saskcycling.ca/mountain.html.

For more ideas on what to do and see in Saskatchewan call our travel specialists!

Sonja Arrasi, Cruise & Travel Masters
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Soak Up the Sun at Sedona’s Enchantment Resort & Spa!

Sedona Enchantment Resort & Mii Amo Spa

Sedona Enchantment Resort & Mii Amo Spa

Located amidst the scenic beauty of Sedona, Arizona, this Southwest resort near the Grand Canyon combines the tranquility of a pristine environment with the luxury of a sophisticated vacation experience. Experience 5 Star service from a world-class resort.

Sedona Sunset

Sedona Sunset

Set on 70 acres of panoramic natural terrain, Enchantment Resort stands at the doorway of secluded Boynton Canyon…surrounded by red-rock formations known for inspiring the mind, body and spirit.

Whether you are on a Grand Canyon vacation or romantic getaway, make sure to stop at our unique southwest resort and sip a prickly pear margarita while you enjoy breathtaking red-rock views. Experience the Native American culture of this distinctive region. And let the kids enjoy Camp Coyote, designed to educate and entertain children age 4-12.

Everyone has a personal vision of the ideal luxury vacation spa experience. Challenge or pampering. Retreat or connection. Honoring local culture, reflecting the simplicity of nature, or both. Whatever your vision of vacation spas, Mii Amo will exceed your expectations. Explore where your Journey will take you. Call for more information!

Sonja Arrasi, Cruise & Travel Masters
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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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