So where to travel next?

Off the beaten path travel experiences

So you’ve been up to Machu Picchu, seen all of the big five on safari. You’ve marveled at the beauty of Lake Louise and split a week between London and Paris. You’ve lived out all your Hobbit-related fantasies in New Zealand and been to every cat café in Japan. Yet, you still can’t shake this wanderlust. You need a new adventure, but where haven’t you been yet? Consider these off-the-beaten path destinations for each continent (except Antarctica; you should probably stick to the beaten path there).

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South America: Uruguay

Tucked between much larger neighbors Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay is a haven of estancias keeping gaucho culture alive and long-stretching beaches around Punta del Este, where the Atlantic and the Rio de la Plata meet. Uruguayans consume more meat per capita than the Argentines and produce plenty of wine to pair with it. Montevideo is the southernmost capital in the Americas -- just edging out Buenos Aires -- and juxtaposes colonial architecture with modern nightlife, offering you an opportunity to get familiar with the unique Uruguayan take on the tango. The three Virtuoso-preferred hotels -- Carmelo Resort & Spa, Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco & Spa, and Estancia Vik Jose Ignacio -- are in different areas, forming the perfect trio to explore the country.

Africa: Uganda

 

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For those who have seen all there is to see on safari, Uganda offers something new: gorilla trekking. Journey into the ominously named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and spot these massive creatures in their natural habitat. The wonders of the animal kingdom continue in Kibale National Park, where chimpanzees roam from tree to tree, and Queen Elizabeth National Park, where it’s lions that are climbing the trees. Birders can spot more than 400 unique species. The Nile, the world’s longest river, has its source near Jinja, flowing north out of Lake Victoria.

Asia: Myanmar

Captivatingly beautiful, Myanmar is best experienced on a cruise along the Irrawaddy River. Itineraries begin and end in the capital, Yangon, where Virtuoso-preferred Belmond Governor’s Residence and The Strand Yangon are wonderful places to spend extra time before or after your cruise. Virtuoso-preferred cruise line Avalon Waterways embarks in Bagan, where you can watch the sunrise over thousands of temples and pagodas or take a hot-air balloon ride over them. You’ll continue upriver through experience local life in places such as Amarapura and Mandalay before debarking in Bhamo, where you’ll have a trishaw tour before flying back to Yangon.

Australia: Tasmania

Being isolated from the rest of the world gave rise to Australia’s unique wildlife, landscapes and indigenous cultures. So imagine how different Tasmania, separated from the Australian mainland for thousands of years, is from what you’re used to. Tasmanian devils, glow worms and echidnas, oh my! Virtuoso-preferred Islington Hotel is a great base for exploring the capital, Hobart, home to the Museum of Old and New Art, described by owner David Walsh as a “subversive adult Disneyland.” Soak up the natural beauty at your own pace during a stay at Virtuoso-preferred Saffire Freycinet on the island’s east coast with an oyster breakfast knee-deep in an estuary or canoeing with a guide at the mouth of the Moulting Lagoo.

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

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 Day 8

Today was an exciting day since we drove from Hotel Alyeska to Whittier and was to experience a narrow tunnel in the mountain that is one way to reach Whittier, Alaska.  They time the one-ways on the hour to let tourists and residents in/out of Whittier.  I was told the digging out of the tunnel was amazing since two teams began the job and when they meet halfway were only off by 6 inches! 

When we arrive into Whittier it was howling with white caps on the Prince William Sound and our boat was small, only 22 passengers.  Lazy Otter Charters was wonderful and we had a great captain, Captain Mike, owner of the charters with shipmate, Debbie, that both did a great job.  It turned out to be smooth sailing and we looked for wildlife and glaciers.  Another sunny day and we had a great time with a delicious lunch onboard.  Best item for lunch??  Smoked salmon spread on bagels along with sandwiches, cookies, ships and drinks.    Journey thru the tunnel just in time brought us to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center with our private tour guide, Scott.   Here you can drive around the center to view the animals or leisurely walk from area to area.   Animals roam freely in very large enclosures from bears, caribou, musk ox, moose and bisson.  This is a wonderful place to explore and a worthwhile visit from Anchorage.

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

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Day 6

 

Early morning with the group to the popular breakfast diner, Snow City Café, and of course it was salmon cakes for breakfast!  The Alaskan Museum was a wonderful way to spend the morning and it features all the tribes of Alaska and rotating exhibits of all types of art.  Delightful lunch at Muse at the Museum allow museum goers to taste one of the local chefs fine cuisine without venturing outside.  Early afternoon we drove to the Rust’s Flying Service for a great adventure of 3hrs to view Mt McKinley or correctly named “Denali”.    Denali means “the High One” for Athabascan Indians north of the Alaska Range. Strapped in and praying all would be fine, we departed, soared and view the majestic mountains of Denali.  As a surprise we also landed on a glacier lake, all alone, and walked the glacier beach.  It was a wonderful experience to remember and a highly recommended way to see the mountains.  Our tour didn’t end since we were off to the Alaska Zoo, just outside of downtown Anchorage, where you can secure a free shuttle to the zoo.  Here many animals are rescued and exhibited naturally.  By late afternoon the group was hungry and we were treated to the Glacier Brewhouse for another wonderful meal, salmon burgers!

Alaska Adventure Sept 2013

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Unfortunately the last day at DenaliNational Park was the day it rain, shall I say poured all day.  The sled dog tour to see puppies was canceled and I spent the morning  working from our cozy log cabin with time to purchase a lunch for our motorcoach ride back to Anchorage.   Early evening check into the Sheraton Anchorage with modern rooms and convent location.  Also good locations are the Westmark, Hilton, and Captain Cook Hotels.  Tonight a short walk to Humpys’, very popular place with the locals, where the burgers are big and the place serves over 49 different types of beer.  My selection was a raspberry/hard apple beer, very tasty.

Heading to Denali National Park and Anchorage

 Heading to Denali National Park and Anchorage

Heading to Denali National Park and Anchorage

In 7 days I will return to Alaska and experience Denali National Park along with the city of Anchorage. Will I see wildlife? Will I see Mt McKinley? Will it be cool or warm and sunny? Will I continue to love this state? Check back for updates next week or follow me on Sensational Travel Facebook page. Happy Traveling....

Egypt and Tour Companies

Why is it so important to book your travel with a reputable tour company?   As easy as it may be to “click & book” a vacation on the internet, you should be sure to deal with a reputable tour company. This becomes especially important when disruptions occur due to events such as political unrest or natural disasters. Just look at recent events in Egypt; reputable companies such as Isram World, Abercrombie & Kent, Big Five Tours, Trafalgar Tours and Brendan Vacations quickly contacted their traveling clients to assist with securing safe passage back to the United States.

 An experienced and knowledgeable travel consultant can assist you in selecting a reputable tour company to fit your budget and needs. With 30 years of experience in leisure travel, Marisa L. Cole, owner of Sensational Travel, has the expertise to make sure you get the best service and the best value when you book your vacation. Be sure to contact Marisa when planning your next travel adventure!

Destination - St Lucia

Want to travel to the South Pacific? Want to save time and money?  Consider a vacation to St. Lucia in the Caribbean. You can do a drive-in volcano, scuba dive or snorkel, sail or swim at black-sand beaches, zip line in rainforests, taste unforgetable cusine, stay in family-friendly Coconut Bay Resort, luxury honeymoon at Jade Mountain, or "the Bachelor" treatment at Cap Maison.  Contact Sensational Travel for special offerings  at 978-745-2575.

Kayaking in Mexico

New for 2010 is a 3 day kayaking tour in Sea of Cortez Mexico then 3 days of volunteer work for the green sea turtles with RED Sustainable Tourism. Travel dates 24-31oct10. Great for beginners and immediate kayakers.  Contact Sensational Travel for this limited offering at 978-745-2575 or email marisa@sensationaltravel.com

Bicycling in France 2010

This year the 97th Tour de France runs from Saturday July 3rd to Sunday July 25th 2010.  The 2010 Tour will be launched from the south side of Rotterdam and inspires both cycling trips for those not competing as well as travel to France to see the stars of cycling completing the grueling race. Thanks to the famous race, the French Alps has become one of cycling's most important pilgrimages.  Not only do Tour de France fans flock to the French Alps to watch, but many nore cycling enthusiasts book trips to ride their own bikes over passes such as The Alpe d'Huez, the Col de Galibier and the Col d'Izoard.

From Alsace to the Rhone-Alps, there are a variety of cycling tours including the Champagne Bicycle Tour which is based in Epernay, gateway to the vineyards of the Champagne region.  The Champagne vineyards are a spectuacular sight all year round.  Discover the secrets of Champagne, visit the cellars and taste the king of wines, including Hautvillers where Dom Perignon "invented" the Champagne method.

If cycling isn't your pleasure, there are hiking tours as well.  Contact Sensational Travel at 978-745-2575 for cycling, hiking or walking tours of Europe.

Costa Rica

Adventure across the ages — in style, purpose and destination — has a country rarely suffered stasis. Almost by definition it is in a constant state of evolution, a complex rolling skein of commerce, geopolitics, faddism and shifting belief systems. Throughout this span, a few destinations have found continued currency and attraction, with an array of adventure activities, low prices, and political stability. Costa Rica is more than a great evergreen adventure destination. for it offered model conservain efforts, and panoply of adventures.. Costa Rica is exotic yet close, beautiful and friendly to Americans seeking adventure become popular picks, at least for now, for those who choose adventure.