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

Some ideas of places you can still visit this year.

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Costa Rica

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

December is a great time to visit Costa Rica. Here you will find one of South America’s largest cloud forests, Monteverde, with its evergreen canopies, exotic birds, butterflies and a host of other wildlife. There are numerous national parks and wildlife spotting opportunities, waterfalls, rain forests and volcanoes!

There really is so much to see and do here: visit Arenal Volcano, hike through the lava fields, go birdwatching, bathe in the hot springs, zip-lining and trekking through the rainforest.  This is an ideal place for a family holiday, and when you are feeling less adventurous you could spend time on the many beautiful beaches such as the golden sands of Manuel Antonio National Park.  Click here for your Costa Rica Adventure.

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

Hawaii, USA

For some winter sun, Hawaii has it all. With its golden sands, turquoise waters and a tropical feel, you could have a very different Christmas this year, spent on the beach!

Take a trip out to see the whales and dolphins. Snorkelling is a popular activity here and a great place for this is the partially submerged volcanic creator off Maui’s southwest coast. Here there is a thriving coral reef with an array of marine life to spot.

On land you could hike Kauai’s forest trails to the hidden waterfalls, or go island hopping on a small plane for more adventure in the glorious winter sunshine.

Picture courtesy of Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) Kirk Lee Aeder

Picture courtesy of Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) Larry Marshall

 

 

Whistler, Canada

Picture courtesy of Destination BC – Blake Jorgenson

This very popular ski resort is definitely one for the ski lovers bucket list.  The snow is in abundance throughout the winter months, making the chalets look picturesque, with tree lined streets  and twinkling lights.

There are no end of activities to take part in such as, dog sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and hiking the trails up Blackcomb Mountain stopping off for a fondue dinner at the top.  Or on a Sunday night you can watch skiers and snowboarders pulling tricks with fire for a bit of live entertainment.

Picture courtesy of Destination BC – Blake Jorgenson

Picture courtesy of Destination BC – Blake Jorgenson

 

Vietnam

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Our winter is a popular time to visit South East Asia as there is very little rain and the days are sunny.  Stay at one of Vietnams beach resorts, surrounded by tropical rainforest and fishing boats hauled up on the beach, for a bit of relaxation.

See the water lilies and flower fields begin to bloom, which are then picked to decorate the temples and shrines.  Any cultural seeker would love Vietnam. It has a thousand-year-old civilisation and a fascinating history. Wander through the streets of the Hanoi Old Quarter or Hoi An Old Town to get a glimpse of the French architecture mixing with the ancient and modern temples. See one of our Vietnam bespoke itineraries.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Chile: The Best Place to Witness the Total Solar Eclipse in 2019

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Join a tour in to the heart of the Elqui Valley, Chile for an amazing location to see the Total Solar Eclipse which will occur on 02 July 2019 at 16:40. The tour is a 4 day glamping experience that allows you time to explore the region with its hot springs, fascinating valleys and picturesque villages.

On the day of the eclipse you journey up to the observation point in good time to have lunch and then prepare for the eclipse.

Add this unique experience to a tour of this country that has a diversity of experiences awaiting exploration – Atacama Desert, remote and exciting Patagonia, the beautiful Lakes region, Wine region and the Capital, Santiago, which is well worth exploring.

For more information on this once in a lifetime trip please contact us

Picture courtesy of Sernatur

Picture courtesy of Sernatur

Picture courtesy of Chile Tourist Board

 

Panama: Whale Watching in the Chiriqui Gulf

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

From July to November whales migrate from the North and South Poles to mate and to have their calves, especially the humpback whales. The warm waters of the Chriqui Gulf are ideal for the calves who are born with hardly any body fat and would find the extreme cold waters of the Poles impossible for survival. They are also relatively predator free.

Along the Pacific coast of Panama, Colba Island and the south of Veraguas Province are considered the ideal places to catch your whale watching boats. The beautiful warm sea will entice you to stay to explore the corals and beaches as well as seeing these giants of nature.

Another excellent reason to visit this small but exciting Central America destination – indigenous tribes, rain forests full of wildlife, two Panama Canals and the city of Panama that has been built 3 times.

For more details please contact us.

 

Pacific_138324898253

Picture courtesy of Metropolitan Touring

New Train to Machu Picchu, Peru

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Catch the new Inca Rail to Machu Picchu from either Cusco or Ollanta and experience the “extra” view now available. The carriage high, wide, domelike windows give you panoramic vistas as you climb towards this amazing World Heritage Site. The seats are roomy and comfortable, with device charging points and gourmet meals made from local produce are on offer.

 For even better views, make your way to the open air Observatory Lounge which offers fresh air as well as the very best of views on this iconic train journey.

For those who don’t know, Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel that is set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley. It was built during the 15th century then later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without any use of mortar, with intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments and panoramic views. Its exact former use still remains a mystery.
  
If you would like more information then please contact us.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of 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

Posted on:
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

Posted on:
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

Posted on:
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.

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