• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Travel in Style across Peru

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Travelling across Peru in style has become easier with the launch of the Andean Explorer Train. This is seriously comfortable train travel with your own cabin and off train excursions to some of Peru’s most iconic sites. The journey has the following itinerary:

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Day 1

Board the train in the ancient city of Arequipa, settle in to your cabin and acclimatise to the unforgettable style of the train as you start the journey towards Puno. Join your fellow travellers in the bar car before sitting down to a refined Andean dinner in the dinner car. All the while the scenery changes as you settle in to luxury train travel

Day 2

The sun will be rising over Lake Titicaca as you awake and then head for breakfast before a day of exploration. Time to explore the world’s highest navigable lake, firstly in a traditional boat out to Uros, a man made island constructed of interwoven reeds. The people that live on the island also construct their homes, ships and tools from the same reeds.

From here you will head to Taquile Island with its stunning terraced agricultural strips. The inhabitants here live by the same social code that has been in place for the past centuries. Their hand woven fabrics are regarded as the best in Peru. Enjoy lunch on the Collata Beach followed by a performance of local dancers and a chance to watch artisans at work.

Return to the train for a delicious tea and relax as the train heads towards to Cusco.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Day 3

Breakfast this morning is accompanied by stunning views as the train heads sets off from Marangani. You will have an off train excursion to Raqch’I archaeological site of a once important Inca settlement.

 

All too soon you will be arriving At Cusco, the former Inca capital. Time to bid farewell to the train crew and the start of your next Peruvian adventure.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Upcoming series on BBC about the Galapagos Islands

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

BBC1 Thurs 3rd April – 9PM

If you ever thought about travelling to the World famous Galapagos Island, then make sure you watch the 3 part documentary starting on the BBC1 this Thursday at 9pm. Headed up as “The Cauldron of Life” it should wet your appetite for bringing forward your plans to make that promised trip to Galapagos.

While talking about programmes coming up, The BBC series on the amazing hotels is featuring Mashpi Lodge in the Andean Cloud Forest in Ecuador, one that we use for those travellers wanting to explore Ecuador further. This is going out on the 03 April and will give you a real taste of what to expect in this unique environment.

To make your own holiday to these amazing Ecuador and Galapagos Islands happen, just give us a call (01323 446550) or email us on info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Lizard in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

Giant Tortoise in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

 

 

 

Baby Croc in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

Blue Footed Booby in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

A Journey Around Costa Rica – By Peter Ellis

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

I have just returned from a trip to Costa Rica and cannot wait to tell you about it. It was the first time that I have visited Central America and my expectations were high but I now realise how ill informed I was about this amazing country. The first thing to say is how welcoming I found everyone and proud of their countries achievements. With no army, the money saved has been ploughed in to education and their health service; leading to 98% literacy rate and a primary school in every village. Early on they realised that they could not produce coffee on the scale of places like Brazil so they have decided to only grow top quality instead and I can confirm that it is great – everywhere. Costa Rica also expects to be carbon neutral by 2020.

The scenery is amazing with over 120 volcanoes dominating views in many places around the country. Five of these are still active. The national parks account for 25% of the land mass and encompass a host of different eco systems such as cloud forests, rain forests, mangrove forests and everything in between. The wildlife is spectacular, the bird life even more so and the flora beautiful. Having a guide to show you what is hidden in these reserves is a must – they have the eyes to see things and their knowledge of the flora and fauna ensures you are fully informed. Waking up to see Arenal Volcano in the morning light in front of your lodge and then watching a sloth making its way slowly along the branch in the tree behind has to be a special treat.

                Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

I was lucky enough to see turtles hatching on the Caribbean side of the country, be woken by howler monkeys on the Osa Peninsula (the second loudest mammal on earth), hummingbirds and toucans in most places and frigate birds on the Pacific coast. The variety of new and interesting sights, flora and fauna was/is amazing. There are even big cats to be found here, although I missed them all. So much to see and do…Tortuguero has a beach of about 20 miles and at the right time of the year has 20,000 adult female turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs. That is on a poor year – on a good year in can be up to 40,000!

 

There is much more to talk about and I will be putting this in blogs and in an “Experience Eye” sample itinerary very shortly. But if you would like to chat about this wonderful country just call. Pour yourself a Costa Rican coffee first though!

                  Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

                    Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

                  Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Visa Advice

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

With entry into many a country requiring the application of a visa or visa waiver prior to travel please do contact us for advice on the best way to do this if you are in any way unsure.  We suggest that you go directly to the embassy or government website concerned where you will be directed to complete the relevant information, and only charged the fee required for the actual visa or visa waiver.  There are many companies set up online who will be eager to action this for you, and in the process will charge you a service fee for doing so – this could amount to you paying well over the odds for your visa/visa waiver. 

We are always happy to provide the website links to the official sites so please do get in touch for assistance.  An ESTA for the USA, an eTA for Canada, an electronic visa for India and also for Sri Lanka are just some (but not all) of the locations where this is necessary.

Please contact us on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Belmond Andean Explorer – Peru

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Belmond have announced the arrival of an incredible new train journey in Peru – launching in May 2017 the Andean Explorer could be a fantastic addition to your holiday in the region.

 A carefully curated selection of four journeys will include ‘Peruvian Highlands’, a two night, three day journey departing from Cusco to Puno, where guests will be able to visit the remote villages and floating islands on Lake Titicaca, and then onwards to Arequipa, including a chance to stop and explore Colca Canyon, the realm of the condor. A shorter option, fully inclusive of all meals, an open bar and scheduled excursions, will be the ‘Spirit of the Andes’ journey, crossing the Altiplano between Cuzco and Lake Titicaca.  

Picture copyright to Belmond - Richard James Taylor

Picture copyright to Belmond – Richard James Taylor

 

Picture credited to Belmond - Richard James Taylor

Picture credited to Belmond – Richard James Taylor

Inside the train you will be met by personal luxury cabins where you can relax along your journey, a lounge car for you to relax with friends and family, two dining rooms serving locally sourced ingredients from the Peruvian Andes and an observation car with an open deck so you can make the most of the ever changing landscape.

 

 

 

 If you would like to find out more or add this glorious train journey to your own bespoke, tailor made itinerary then please contact us on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Picture copyright Belmont - Inge Moore

Picture copyright to Belmond – Inge Moore

 

Picture credited to Belmond - Inge Moore

Picture credited to Belmond – Inge Moore

 

Picture credited Belmond - Inge Moore

Picture credited to Belmond – Inge Moore

Join us at the Telegraph Travel Show, Excel Centre, London 8 – 10 January 2016

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, you may well have time to start thinking about your next adventure for your holiday next year. To help you consider all of the options why not come and join us at the above show – and free of charge!

We will be on stand H30 and pretty difficult to miss as we will have a Cruise America Motorhome on the stand – difficult to miss both from size and colour. We will be there to discuss all types of holidays but be glad to show you around the motorhome if you ever thought of free wheeling through the USA or Canada.

For your free tickets to the Show just go the following link and register:

 http://travelshow.telegraph.co.uk/guest-tickets  and enter the code EXPERIENCE16

 An eticket will then be sent to you.

We would love to see you there.

Adventure Cruises with Un-Cruise

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Un-Cruise have launched two very exciting new itineraries starting late 2016 exploring Costa Rica and Panama.  Both for 7 nights:

panama_large

Picture courtesy of Un-Cruise Adventures

Pure Panama: Cultures, Coasts & Canal is solely exploring Panama with its native cultures and colonizers, history as colourful as the many humming birds, tropical wildlife with loads of adventure.  Its abundance enticed conquistadores and pirates, gold prospectors and canal builders like George Washington Goethels who over saw the completion of the Panama Canel in 1914.  Like those before, you set sail on a conquest to take in the rich culture and natural wonders of Panama. 

 

 

isthmus_large

Picture courtesy of Un-Cruise Adventures

Uncharted Isthmus! Sloths, Monkeys & Mangroves will take you from Costa Rica to Panama another adventure cruise along the Panama Canal.  As the first to see the legendary MardelSur, Vasco Balboa walked into the ‘southern sea’ claiming it for Spain. Hoping to find gold and pearls, it had taken Balboa and his small company of men three weeks to cross the Isthmus of Panama.  It is your turn to discover these wondrous lush lands, though your journey will be anything but arduous as you set sail between two seas – gathering unforgetable memories exploring wildlife, wetlands, jungle forests.

Click links below to read more:-

Pure Panama & Uncharted Isthmus

Don’t miss out on these new fantastic cruises and why not incorporate them into an even bigger bespoke tailor made adventure holiday finishing with the perfect place to relax!!  For more ideas on the best way to do this please call us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

  

BA makes Machu Picchu, Peru more accessible

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Machu Pichu - Picture courtesy of M. Buckman

Machu Pichu – Picture courtesy of M. Buckman

British Airways are launching flights to Lima as from next summer.  It will be in operation three times a week from Gatwick and will start on May 4, offering the only direct flights between London and the capital of Peru.

While Machu Picchu will be high on your list of places to see there is so much to do and see in Peru that you really do need to plan your time here well. Machu   Picchu has become so popular that you now need to book your time in this stunning site. Fly in to Lima and then head to the Peruvian highlands around Arequipa – beautiful countryside surrounded by snow capped, rugged mountains. The city abounds with colonial era architecture and convents that have existed for 400 years.

The world’s deepest canyon, the Colca Canyon takes you deep in to the Andes and is full of wildlife and birdlife, including the rare condor. The villages here have hardly been touched by the modern world. No trip to Peru should miss the Sacred Valley of the Incas with Pucara considered by many as the best archaeological site in South America.

Catch the tourist train through the Sacred Valley that takes you to Aguas Caliente where you can catch the bus that takes you to the Holy City of Machu Picchu. This has to be one of the highlights of any trip to Peru.

If time allows, consider travelling to Ica, south of Lima to take a flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines – huge drawing made in the desert 2000 years ago and only truly appreciated from the air. And /or include a trip to the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest for a completely different type of experience.

 With direct flights starting next May it is all so much more doable, please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk to discuss your bespoke, tailor made trip to Peru (or anywhere else for that matter).

Costa Rica becomes more accessible!

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Photo courtesy of ICT

Photo courtesy of ICT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve just heard great news for clients thinking about visiting Costa Rica! British Airways have announced a direct service between London Gatwick and San Jose, beginning in early May 2016. With two flights per week during the summer, increasing to three flights per week during the winter (the best time to travel), this new flight makes Costa Rica more easily accessible than ever and is sure to be very popular.

 

Photo courtesy of ICT

Photo courtesy of ICT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located in Central America, Costa Rica is a country of diverse attractions. Spend time in the capital of San Jose, and perhaps take a trip out to Poas Volcano National Park from here. Then, head into the rainforest, and stay in Tortuguero. Take a boat ride through the National Park’s canals, and look out for birdlife. Continue to Arenal, a fascinating volcanic region. Explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest, located high in the mountains with stunning scenery. This region is a treasure trove of rare flora and fauna, and is also the source of some of Central America’s finest coffee. Relax and look for wildlife, or enjoy adrenalin activities such as abseiling or ziplining. Finally, ensure you finish with a stay on a beautiful beach, with crystal clear waters, providing a chance to relax after such varied sightseeing. 

Photo courtesy of ICT

Photo courtesy of ICT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are small ship cruises offered around Costa Rica, which add a different element to the holiday – take a tall ship cruise with Star Clippers. In late 2016, UnCruise Adventures will have a Costa Rica and Panama expedition style trip on offer, which ties in perfectly with a tailored trip of the interior of the country.

Costa Rica can be surprisingly affordable, and we’d suggest either a privately guided trip, or perhaps a slightly more independent trip making use of group transfers and tours. Whichever your preference, we can tailor-make an itinerary to suit your requirements. For more information, see our website http://www.experienceholidays.co.uk/costa-rica/country-costa-rica/, call us on 01323 446550 or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of ICT

Photo courtesy of ICT

On Board the American Queen Steamboat

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

This Steamboat is a genuine paddle wheeler that sails the American mid west river system throughout the year, heading south during the winter. Some of the places it visits are; Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chattanooga, St. Paul, St Louise, Memphis and New Orleans. Cruising on this steamboat must be one of the American “must do” trips. Their food has won a Best on Board award confirming their saying that “the food alone is worth the trip”.

The boat and the furniture reflect the hey day of the paddle steamer era, taking you back in time but still keeping the advantages of our own age.

So if you are thinking of exploring the south or mid USA, why not think about booking a few days or a week aboard this iconic vessel. As you would expect, the entertainment reflects the region – jazz, blues, six piece orchestra and lectures covering the culture and history of the journey and vessel. They also include beer and wine with your dinner!

A piece of American history on the go and it is a great way to relax and keep moving.
To learn more about the American Queen Steamboat or to incorporate it into your bespoke tailor made holiday please give us a call on Tel: 01323 446550 or Email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture Copyright American Queen Steamboat Company

Picture Copyright American Queen Steamboat Company

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