Archive for the ‘peru travel’ Category

Natural Hotel Wonders of the World

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Without a doubt, Machu Picchu is among man’s most awe-inspiring wonders, and the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge sits just outside the gates of this Inca citadel.  The hotel was originally built as lodging for the teams of archaeologists who flocked to the region after Hiram Bingham’s discovery of the ruins around 1910. It offers its guests the opportunity to explore this great site late in the evening and early in the day; this sacred place of ancient stones is illuminated by spectacular sunrises and mystical moonlit nights. Sit out on the terrace and savor Peruvian cuisine based on produce grown on the Lodge’s own plot. The hideaway is the perfect place to relax and unwind in the shadow of the Lost City. Rates start from a steep $925/night, single or double occupancy, but this spot is uber famous so what do you expect?  Booking code is L04.

Hayman Private Island Resort - Great Barrier Reef/Australasia

Hayman is a magnificent private island resort, nestled amid a tropical paradise in the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef – Australia’s national treasure and one of seven natural wonders of the world. A site of remarkable variety and beauty; it contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral and 1,500 species of fish. As Australasia’s most awarded luxury nature resort provides astonishing beauty and restorative peace. Rates include daily buffet breakfast, tax and service charge, and start from AUD 670/night, single or double occupancy.

Royal Suite at the King George Palace

Travelers wanting to explore the remains of ancient Greece can’t find a better base than the King George Palace in Athens.  The hotel’s jaw-dropping views of the Acropolis cannot be surpassed.  From now until the end of the year, the hotel gets guests off on the right foot with its two-night Acropolis Museum Package, priced from EUR 280/night, single or double occupancy, which includes daily breakfast, an exclusive 1 ½ hour guided tour of the new Acropolis Museum, Wi-Fi access and entrance to the gym.  The offer is valid every day except Mondays, when the museum is closed.  There is a two-night minimum, and a one-night deposit is required at the time of the reservation.  Booking code is L16.

Victoria Falls Hotel

A stunning African wonder created by nature – Victoria Falls.  And since the grand Edwardian-era Victoria Falls Hotel is just a leisurely ten-minute stroll from this spectacular sight, there is no need for an elaborate package to enable guests to fully enjoy the majestic cascade.  The hotel’s Leading Suites offer, which is valid until December 31, 2011, and priced from USD 399 per night, single or double occupancy, is straightforward and includes a welcome box of Belgian chocolates (yummers!), buffet breakfast daily, dinner for two one evening, a gift from the general manager, a snack tray each evening, and tax.  Booking code is L06.

Discovery Adventures

Armchair travel just got an upgrade!

Morocco Discovery Adventure Travel TourRemember when you saw your first episode of Deadliest Catch and the next time you ate Alaskan King Crab you held up a bright red two-foot long leg and said, “Cheers to the men who bravely risked their lives so that I could enjoy the succulent white tendrils of this soft salty meat like never before”?  Or how about the time you channeled Man vs. Wild’s star, Bear Grylls, when you were lost during a hike in Montana so you decided to walk along the dangerously close edge of a suspended railway bridge? Oh we can’t say enough about our love of all things Discovery.  For one thing, Discovery Channel used to be our EIC’s client when she worked as a VP in entertainment advertising.  Shark WeekDeadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs… we know our Discovery Channel.  We can’t get enough of their entertaining content and their commitment to the natural world.

discovery_adventures_logoAs such, when we caught wind that the Discovery Channel had *just* launched Discovery Adventures, their first ever adventure travel vacation group, we said, “Where do we sign up?!” Starting last Friday, July 31, 2009, there are 31 itineraries to 18 different destinations with departures slated for this December 2009. Discovery Adventures not only ‘makes adventure travel accessible, less intimidating and offers 3-star service levels at more affordable prices,’ but they also promise to deliver die-hard, often “can’t be found with any other tour” real life experiences.

Expect to explore regions featured on Discovery Channel programs such as Man Vs. Wild, Out of Egypt and Discovery Atlas China.  Trips focus on educational tourism, cultural immersion, wildlife encounters, participation in sustainable world practices, epicurean adventures, geographic and environmental exploration.  Destinations include, North America (Alaska, Southwest), Latin America (Peru, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica), Africa (Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Egypt, Morocco) and Asia (India, China, Thailand).

Prices and trips range in length in cost, but an 9 day/8 night trip through Costa Rica runs approximately $1149 (air fare not included).

Discover the unexpected…

Peru: The Amazon & Ayahuasqueros, A Voyage to the Deep

Blue Morpho: Iquitos, Peru

Some people think that wearing skulls and leather, having tattoos, and drinking to excess makes them a ‘Rockstar,’ but you know where they’re wrong? They wouldn’t tell their boss they’re taking a mental health vacation and heading to the Amazon with little more than a month’s notice. That’s where the legitimate rockstar differs from the conflict diamond wearing latte toting stand-ins. The legitimate Rockstar flies by the seat of his or her pants and worries about the boss after they worry about their mental health. That said, most of us aren’t fearless (or stupid) enough to venture alone to the Amazon and stay with the local tribe. In this case, shamans, caimans, and the Jaguar people of the Peruvian Amazon.

(c) Piers Vitebsky

Alas! Jaunt uncovered two options that we think are strictly for the cutting-edge:

Option #1: For the Shaman Ready Rockstar
Option #2: For the Luxury Eco-Loving Rockstar

I recently heard about ayahuasqueros and their icaros (sacred medicine songs). I thought to myself… I must have suddenly grown up because even I couldn’t do that, but it tugged at me… this mild fascination with the art of ritual hallucination. In fact, it sounded so heady mind-fu@king exhilarating that I had to dive in and find out more for you.

Here’s what I uncovered (after several misspelled versions of the magical plant entered into Google). If you feel like heading to the Amazonian jungle, staying in thatch and wood huts (don’t worry… they’re clean and moderately bug-free), get ready to drink a scared plant with similarly-minded Ayahuasca Adventurers and check out:

The jungle surrounding the Amazonian town of Iquitos, Peru.

Blue Morpho, based in Iquitos, specializes in, can you dig it… Shamanistic Workshops! Sitting on 180 acres of privately-owned primary forest, it’s a perfect setting of serenity where you’ll go back in time and attempt to heal your wounds, expel bad vibe, and greet your inner child. Keep in mind, you have to be that uniquely brave sort of person willing to rough it in the jungle and drink a hallucinogenic plant to find yourself. You’ll vomit and gag… potentially lose your mind, but hey, that’s life, isn’t it? It’s perfect for the lover of yoga, meditation, & tabs of LSD in the college years sort who’s all grown up with at least a few hours of pent up issues in need of a good purge. The sacred plant spirit is supposed to remove the weight of your sadness and get rid of that heavy energy or hucha.

A group of Ayahuasca Adventurers.

They say the songs of the Ayahuasqueros spontaneously come forth. These men of the jungle singing only what the plant tells them to sing, calling the plant to purge you from your past in order to find you again. Is this real Amazonian healing magic or just your imagination running wild as you drink from a trippy shrub? Hmmm… it’s certainly worth investigating. Just be cautious… and in a clear enough state of mind so you can handle whatever that glittery power plant sings to you.

Here’s a sample program:

“9 Days Shamanic Workshop and Jungle Trip” begins on a Monday morning at 10:00 A.M where you’ll depart Iquitos at 11:00 A.M. to begin an hour and a half trip to the Shamanic Center, go on a Medicinal plant walk and finish with an optional Camalonga Dream Journey. The Camalonga Dream Journey requires an evening fast where you drink Camalonga, a sacred teacher plant that guides through dream journeys.

For those wanting to stay in the Amazonian town of Iquitos, another helpful site highlights the medicinal markets, Belen Street Market, Jaguar people, Things to do, Restaurants, Hotels and how to navigate around as a gringo or gringa-rette. Apparently, hotels are negotiable and relatively pricey due to the isolated location. Iquitos can only be reached by plane. The secret is to ignore any attempt by the taxi driver to bring you to a hotel that he recommends.

If, however, you don’t want to find your content inner child or purge your demons, there’s always a more luxe way to go.

Amazonian River Boat: International Expeditions

Option #2
An Amazonian river boat trek!! Yes, International Expeditions, the world leader in nature travel, just announced a $500 per person savings ($1,000 per couple) on its February 29, 2008 10-day Amazon Voyage. Guests on this departure will travel twice as deep into the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve with an extra night on the river, going deeper into the Amazon than any other outfitter.

The per person price for the February 29 departure is $2,698 for lower deck cabins and $2,798 for upper deck cabins, including the savings. Prices include all accommodations, most meals, local transportation, guides, and group transfers. Airfare is additional, but can be booked by International Expeditions.

FYI – Back in 1980, they supported conservation projects across the globe before the word “ecotourism” was even coined, bringing some of the first leisure travelers to the heart of Peru’s Upper Amazon. Today guests explore the Peruvian wilds in comfortable style aboard an intimate 28-person riverboat (talk about Agatha Christie fun and mayhem). It’s specifically designed to sail the upper Amazon Basin, considered the most diverse ecosystem on Earth. You’ll witness the awesome panorama of a rainforest filled with more than 100 kinds of birds, pink Amazon River dolphins, eight species of monkeys, sloths, giant otters, and nocturnal animals such as caimans and capybaras. Throughout the journey, highly trained guides lecture on the complex environment in constant need of preservation.

Man, I love wildlife (and highly trained Amazon river guides).

In addition to explorations on small excursion boats for access further into the heart of the vast wetlands, you have the opportunity to visit small villages and get a glimpse into real life along the river. In case you’re not ready to purge your hucha with Shamans, of course. You can visit local schools, hand out donated supplies to children, and even assist with community projects.

What we like best?

International Expeditions is a pioneer of environmentally responsible travel, committed to preserving natural habitats and improving the welfare of the people and communities it visits.

So take your pick. Either way, I’ll think you’re Rockstar.

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