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My husband and I recently cruised in the Mediterranean for the first time, and it was fantastic! We have cruised with several different cruise lines over the years, but they were all in the Caribbean and Alaska. For this trip, we wanted to venture to some of the ports in Europe. We had never considered cruising in Europe because we thought the port times were too short and we would feel that we didn’t have time to see everything. However, we found an itinerary with Virgin Voyages that we liked and decided to go for it.

The name of the voyage was French Daze and Ibiza Nights, and we sailed on the Valiant Lady. The cruise started and ended in Barcelona, and our ports were Marseille, Cannes, Palma de Malorca and Ibiza. We decided that if we felt short on time in any of the ports, we would make a point to revisit some day. Two of the port stays were overnight – Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza – which was just icing on the cake. On those nights, we ate an early(ish) dinner on the ship and then went into town for the evening. We spent our time wandering the winding cobblestone streets and exploring the beautiful bars and restaurants in the old town. Then, the next day, we still had time to visit the landmarks. 

The sunset in Mallorca from our balcony

Why did we choose Virgin Voyages? We have sailed with them previously, and really like what they have to offer. First and foremost, the food is the best that I have had on a cruise. Instead of packing everyone into the main dining room or specialty restaurants (with an upcharge), Virgin simply has six onboard restaurants. We made dinner reservations before our cruise, and also had brunch in two of the restaurants on our sea days. There are no additional charges for any of the restaurants unless you want a tower of crab legs or a 10-pound steak (something like that).

The entertainment is also very different. There are no Broadway-style productions or ice shows. Instead, they offer magicians, mentalists, comedians, a dance party, a crazy game show and a couple other shows that I really don’t know how to describe. And then there’s Scarlet Night, where the whole ship is transformed with red lighting and decor, and the guests are decked out in red. The party culminates with a pool party at 11pm, which gets a bit crazy, but we enjoyed it from the deck above, watching people jump into the pool, red cocktail dresses and all.

My favorite thing about Virgin Voyages is the laid-back vibe. There are no formal nights, and nobody cares what you wear to dinner, as long as it’s not your swimsuit! With that said, we found that most people still dressed nicely, just because they wanted to. For those who didn’t feel like it, they weren’t turned away at the restaurants or made to feel ashamed of their attire.

When we booked our cruise, it included some “bar tab” money, which is their version of a drink package. We don’t drink a whole lot, and since sodas are included with every cruise, we had a “0” balance due at the end of the week. What a great way to end a cruise!

If you’re still reading, let me give you just a few tidbits about the ports:

Marseille – Honestly, we weren’t overly impressed with it. We took a full-day ebike tour, and got to see some beautiful areas around the Calanques National Park, but it’s kind of a run-down city, especially considering it is the second largest city in France, after Paris.

Cannes – We spent our entire day in Monte Carlo, which is something I’ll never forget. It was an easy train ride to get there, and we enjoyed all the beautiful yachts, expensive sports cars, the Royal Casino (think James Bond Casino Royale), and the streets of Formula One. It was the perfect day, and since our ship didn’t leave until 7pm, we did not feel rushed to get back.

The harbor in Monte Carlo

Palma de Mallorca – This beautiful island of Spain is not to be missed. We spent our time wandering the old town, visiting the iconic La Seu Cathedral, and just taking in the beauty of the port city.

Ibiza – What can I say? Everyone needs to see Ibiza at some time in their life. The young people on the ship thoroughly enjoyed the overnight stay because they were able to go to the clubs and stay out until dawn. (Virgin provides a bus that goes back and forth to the ship the entire time.) That’s not our scene but we still loved wandering the area and enjoying a cocktail (ok, maybe more) as we watched the people living and loving life in Ibiza. 

Ibiza

I could easily write ten more pages about Virgin Voyages and the ports we visited but I know the only people who might read it would be my friends and family. 🙂 I’ll just leave it here – this was the trip of a lifetime and I highly recommend cruising in the Mediterranean with Virgin Voyages.

Book you Virgin Voyage HERE or CLICK HERE if you’d like us to help you plan your sailing!

I’m going to say from the start that this was my favorite day in Tanzania. It wasn’t one thing in particular but multiple really special moments. This was the day I fell in love with safari and Tanzania. I think you’ll see why. 

The day started with a fantastic sunrise. The sunrises in Africa are incredible and they never get old. There is really nothing better than sitting in total silence with a cup of coffee in your hand and watching the sunrise. This is life! 

Many of my safari mates went on a walking safari, but I was just too scared. The thought of walking through the bush filled with wild animals…like the lions from last night (read more about that HERE) was terrifying. I opted for a ride to breakfast in the bush from the safety of our safari vehicle. On our way, we spotted the cutest elephant – the first we saw on this trip.

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Breakfast was served on the bank next to the Grumeti River which provided the most beautiful backdrop and a great spot for some photos. 

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After breakfast, we headed to the Four Seasons Serengeti Safari Lodge. This was a personal request of mine since I’ve had clients ask about it. It didn’t disappoint. It’s a true lodge (not a tented camp) and the most luxurious property we saw in the Serengeti.
 
Every detail here was well thought out. The grounds are incredible. Every room has a view of the savannah and a great many also overlook a watering hole where you can often find elephants. The rooms are plush with all of the comforts of home. 
 
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Now that I’m home and have taken in the entire experience, it lacked some of the charm of the tented camps we stayed at. There is something exotic and a bit romantic about sleeping in a (luxury) tent in the middle of the bush. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies, but I’m kind of partial to the tented camps now. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but the luxury tents really add to the experience. That being said, I never turn down the opportunity to stay at the Four Seasons!!! 
 
As we left the Four Seasons we came upon the sweetest elephant up on a rocky hill. He was my favorite elephant we saw on the trip. Curious by nature, when he saw us, he flapped his ears as if to wave. 
 

Then we came upon these sleeping lions. This picture is one of my favorites of the trip. I love the memory of me in the safari car with the lions right there. 
 
 
Lunch today was in the middle of the plain in the Serengeti. It was simply amazing and my most favorite lunch of the trip. The pictures don’t do it justice, but it was one of those moments that I know I will remember for the rest of my life. The food was delicious (per usual) and the company was excellent. I really enjoyed getting to know my safari mates and guides; they really made the trip special.
 
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After lunch, we received a geography/great migration lesson from our guides Elisha and George to help us better understand how the animals move across the Serengeti. This is particularly important to ensure we book clients in the right area, at the right time to ensure the best wildlife viewing. 
 
If you don’t know, The Great Migration refers to the remarkable annual journey of over a million animals within the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya. The procession is led by wildebeest, accompanied by a diverse array of fellow travelers, all in pursuit of sustenance and water.
 
This odyssey commences with calving in the southern Serengeti, near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. From there, the animals embark on a clockwise trajectory through the Serengeti, ultimately reaching the Masai Mara in Kenya. Year after year, they retrace their steps. Along this journey, there is some high-stakes drama, with predators claiming thousands of prey and thousands more being born, a cycle that perpetuates the delicate balance of life.
 
Just after we headed out from our lunch, it was quite fitting that we saw the biggest herd of wildebeests I think we’d seen. They just crossed and crossed and crossed. We sat there for a while and finally started driving down the road where they stopped to let us cross. It was kind of amazing. 

 

From there we headed to another property. If you were on safari, this is where you’d head back to your accommodations for some R&R and maybe a swim, but this was a working trip for us and we were trying to see and do as much as we could! 

The Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp is a charming tented camp with all of the luxuries at home. It was rustic and charming and comfortable and a property I hope to stay at on a future safari! 

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Then we went on a little game drive as we headed to our accommodations for the evening. We soon saw the cutest elephant cross the road in front of us. We’d seen a few signs for Hippo Pools through our travels in the Serengeti and we finally stopped at one. It was crazy to see all of these hippos together. They are very territorial and showed their flex constantly by opening their giant mouths and pushing other hippos away. It was kind of comical. 
 
Below is another one of my favorite photos of the trip! I got to “drive” the safari vehicle. This is my ridicuous impression of our guide, Elisha, driving and talking on the radio to other guides, tipping each other off on where animals are. 

Just before we arrived at our accommodations for the evening, we came upon three cheetahs which would prove to be the only cheetahs we saw on the trip. They were amazing. 

When we arrived at our accommodations, our guide Elisha, drew this tent on the window to confirm we were in fact, sleeping in a mobile tented camp. I was mortified. A mobile tented camp? I had this idea in my head that I’d be sleeping in a tent on the ground, roughing it. Like a tent you’d pitch in your backyard or at a campsite. The reality is, that crazy idea in my head couldn’t be farther from the truth! 

 

Cherero Camp turned out to be my favorite accommodation on the trip, and many of my safari mates agreed. We arrived at sunset, and I didn’t get a picture of the camp or the outside of our tent, but I did film a video of the inside.  

A mobile tented camp is a camp erected in close proximity to the migration, wherever that may be at any given time of the year. They will move every six months or so, and it often takes a month or more to break down the camp and then re-erect it. If you watch the room tour, you will see that nothing about this tent feels mobile. 

Cherero Camp was remarkable for several reasons. Of course, I loved our room and the shower! The shower was GLORIOUS! The robes and slippers were also a nice touch. I was thoroughly impressed with the hot water bottle that was placed in our beds while we were at dinner so we didn’t get cold in the night. 

Speaking of dinner. The food was excellent and at the end of dinner, we were serenaded by the staff. They even got a few of us to join in on the fun. This was such a special moment and one I won’t soon forget. 

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It was the little touches here that made it so special – the rain boots by the door, the yoga mat, outlets galore, and even a ceiling fan! The staff was warm, kind, and welcoming. Everything about our stay here was perfect. My only regret is not being able to spend more time here. We had a 3am wake-up call the next morning. More about that in my next blog! 

All of the details of my trip are saved as highlights on my Instagram.

If you would like more information on going on safari, click here to get started! 

 

We started the day near Lake Manyara (read about my arrival and first few days in Tanzania HERE) and drove about two hours to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A couple of things to understand (because I didn’t). The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the entire area which includes Ngorongoro Crater which I’ll talk about in a minute. You’ll pass through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area if you are driving to the Serengeti. Unlike a National Park (like the Serengeti), in Conservation Areas wildlife and the Maasai, live together. The Maasai have lived in The Ngorongoro Conservation Area for over 100 years. They aren’t hunters – the Maasai are livestock farmers, mainly cows. In fact, the Maasai named Ngorongoro after the sound a cow bell makes “ngor ngor”.

Ngorongoro Crater is a large volcanic caldera – the largest in the world! The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 2,000 feet deep and its floor covers 100 square miles. I’ll share more about The Ngorongoro Crater in a later post – we will actually descend into the crater later in our trip!

Our first stop in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area was the lookout. As we took in the view I was overcome with emotion.  The incredible beauty brought me to tears. The picture below doesn’t do it justice. It was a little overcast this morning which wasn’t as evident to the naked eye. 

My safari mates Denise, Vlado and Erin at the lookout

We headed closer to the Serengeti and stopped at Olduvai Gorge – The Cradle of Humankind

I was once again crying at what I saw. To see what I learned in school so many years ago and the profound piece of our history and creation was very emotional. This is where humankind began! 

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We had a picnic lunch overlooking Olduvai Gorge. I loved this lunch. The food was excellent, the views were incredible and the company was fantastic! 

My safari mate Vlado and our other guide George

Then we headed on to the Serengeti!  We saw so many animals up close and personal. The first animal we saw upon officially entering the Serengeti was the Thompson Gazelles. It was so exciting we stopped for a picture. Little did we know that over the next week, we’d see no less than 2,000 of them! 

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It had rained on that day Serengeti, and we came across a truck that was stuck in the mud. Our guide Elisha being the helpful person that he is, tried to help. We backed up in front of the truck and they attached a chain to our Land Cruiser. Sadly we didn’t get very far as the chain snapped, but Elisha said he once pulled a bus out of the mud. 

We had a long way to go on this day and covered a lot of ground across the Serengeti. I was struck by the beauty of the landscape and how rapidly it would change. It was dry season so I wasn’t expecting much greenery or thick brush, but it was there. 

On our drive, we saw wildebeests and zebras (more animals we would literally see thousands of over the next several days!), giraffes and even a little turtle on the road!

After a very fun, bumpy, and muddy drive arrived at our tented camp for the evening which was beautiful! Ikoma Hills is located just outside of the Serengeti in the Grumeti Wildlife Management Area. Perched on a hill this luxury tented camp provided us with outstanding views and very comfortable accommodations. You can watch a room tour HERE.

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Ikoma Hills offers night safaris in specially equipped battery-powered safari jeeps. This gave us an opportunity to see animals a little more active and close up.
 

The vehicles didn’t have doors and were a little too ‘open air’ for my comfort. We saw quite a few lions including this guy who I will never forget. Shortly after this picture he stood up and got just a few feet from us. 

My safari mate Vlado took this picture. You can just make out the fact that he is missing one paw. He likely lost it in some sort of fight. Our guide told us a beautiful story about it though. Since he’s injured, his pride will hunt and leave a portion for him since he can’t hunt for himself, so he won’t go hungry. 

We covered a lot of ground on this day. More than you would on a typical safari. I went to bed this night exhausted from the day but also exhilarated by what I’d seen. 

We once again heard the flapping of the tent for most of the night. We were old pros now and that didn’t concern us that much. What did was the lions roaring not too far away from us.

As I mentioned before, the Maasai have lived in this area for over a hundred years. They are well-versed in the behavior of all of the animals who live here. Maasai Warriors were guards at every resort that we stayed at. Once the sun goes down they escort you around the property and even stand guard all night watching for those lions. We never saw or heard those lions again. 

All of the details of my trip are saved as highlights on my Instagram.

If you would like more information on going on safari, click here to get started! 

Last August, a Travel Agent friend mentioned a FAM Trip to Tanzania. (FAM = Familiarization Trip. These are trips that Travel Agents attend to become familiar with a destination or resort) She had applied a year earlier, and the trip was canceled, so they were rebooking her for 2023. She mentioned she knew other travel agents who may be interested, and they encouraged us to apply.

The trip was hosted by TATO – The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators in cooperation with the Tanzanian Government with funding from the United Nations Development Programme. Like many parts of the world, Tanzania was hit hard by COVID, and this FAM is part of their effort to rebuild tourism. 

Fast forward to March of 2023, and I received word that I was accepted and would be going to Tanzania for 14 days! Yikes. What did I sign up for? 14 days is a long time to be gone. 14 days in Africa? What was I thinking?

By July, it had set in that I was going to Africa on safari. I was scared yet more excited. I started shopping for clothes and preparing. While Africa had always been on my bucket list, and I had many dreams of safari, realizing it was finally happening frightened me. I’m not sure what exactly I was afraid of. Being eaten by a lion? Catching some flesh-eating bacteria? Dying of malaria, cholera, dysentery? (Spoiler alert: it was all in my head – this is not the Oregon Trail!) 

On Friday, September 15, my husband drove me to Chicago. The following morning I boarded a flight on Ethiopian Air to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and then to Kilimanjaro Airport in Arusha, Tanzania. Luckily I had my travel agent friend Erin with me, because it was quite an adventure!

It was a VERY long day of travel. The flight was a three-ring circus. The bathroom door came off on the plane, and it was carried through the aisle, a woman trying to steal someone else’s seat while that seat occupant was in the bathroom. People were yelling at each other across the cabin. Guests throwing their trash all over the floor. We made it to Tanzania safely (with lots of crazy stories 🤪)

Tears ran down my face as I stepped off the plane and saw the Kilimanjaro International Airport sign. Africa has always been on my list, and to be here is a dream come true. After a very long process of getting our visas approved, we made it through the airport to meet our guide Elisha.

We didn’t know then what a huge role he would play in our adventure or how lucky we were to have been placed with him. Seeing his smiling face, I was immediately at ease and knew I was in for the adventure of a lifetime. 

Even though we hardly slept on the plane, it was nearly 4pm when we arrived at our hotel and we knew we needed to stay awake. Our hotel – Four Points Sheraton Arusha had a beautiful pool. (Watch a room tour HERE.) We decided to take a dip, and it sure woke us up…it wasn’t heated!!! While at the pool, we met another American. Tyler worked for the Commerce Department and was in Arusha for a conference. We ended up having dinner with him and many more meals over the next few days. We met our first friend of the trip! 

Our First Full Day in Arusha 

Like most hotels in Arusha, ours included breakfast. It was a great cold buffet with fruits, yogurts, cereal, and more. The hot station consisted of things like stewed vegetables, bacon, sausage, hard-boiled eggs, and potatoes. There was also an egg station where you could order eggs any way you’d like. I learned this is the norm throughout Tanzania. 

Elisha picked us up, and we started the day at Sanaa. This non-profit organization trains and employs the marginalized in Tanzania to create arts and crafts. We were able to tour the facility and see everything from shoe, bags, clothes, rugs, and blown glass being made. A kind deaf gentleman even showed me how to make a glass bead. It was an experience that touched my heart and was simply amazing! I picked up some of the handmade jewelry pieces I will cherish forever. Probably the most incredible thing was the handmade safari bags. I purchased one for my husband and we both absolutely love it!

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Then we toured the incredible Gran Melia Arusha a fantastic property that you would stay at upon your arrival in Arusha before you go out on safari or upon your return from safari before you head home. This luxurious hotel offered incredible views and plush accommodations.

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We had lunch at the rooftop restaurant and met the other half of our group. I was traveling with Erin and Denise with our guide Elisha. Erin, Denise and I all met almost 3 years ago to the day on a FAM trip to Cancun. Denise is the reason we were all here together! The other half of our party was Mia, a travel agent from San Diego (my hometown); Francis, a travel agent from Philadelphia; and Vlado, a travel journalist and influencer from Croatia. 

I sat next to Vlado, which would be a theme over the next two weeks. We enjoyed teasing each other but also enjoyed each other’s company and had lots of great conversations. Vlado suggested I try the fried crocodile – when in Rome right? Honestly, it tasted like chicken and I’m glad I tried it! 

Fried crocodile

We finished the day with a networking event where I met with over 50 safari companies, resorts, and more. It was like speed dating! Afterward, there was a cocktail reception where we got to speak to everyone in greater detail and begin to form relationships. 

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While this trip had many amazing parts, the biggest takeaway was networking with owners and operators on the ground in Tanzania. I have people whom I’ve met in person who I can work with to give my clients a first-class experience. There was a news segment produced about the event that you can watch HERE

Heading out to the bush! 

On Tuesday, September 19th we headed out to the bush. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was excited! We were really going on safari. Little did I know what was in store for us.

We drove about two hours to Lake Manyara. Lake Manyara National Park is about 125 square miles and the sign said: “Home of tree-climbing lions” so that got me pretty excited. Then Elisaha told us that in all of his years as a guide, he’d never seen the lion in the tree. We didn’t either, so that was disappointing. 

We saw lots of birds, tons of monkeys and baboons. Even a few water buffalo. The other part of our safari group saw zebras but we missed them 🫤 

Knowing now what was to come, this park isn’t my favorite. I think I prefer to see animals that could potentially kill me. It’s way more exciting to me. But Lake Manyara is a great park to start your safari adventure. 

Lake Manyara
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Then we headed to lunch at The African Galleria. This was a bit of a tourist trap, but the lunch was tasty.

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Then we toured the Galleria which was full of talented artists and beautiful art. The coolest thing was seeing the craftsman carve the ebony. There was also a huge shop where I purchased some jewelry and other items. 

Finally, we headed to our accommodations for the evening – Kirurumu Manyara Lodge This is a tented camp with the most incredible views of Lake Manyara! 

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This was our first night in a tented camp. I think I’ve slept in a tent maybe twice in my life and honestly, I was scared. If you know me, you know this is WAY out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. The tent is on a slab and has concrete floors. Our tent even had doors. The bathroom was attached and had concrete walls. We had a toilet, shower, and even double sinks. 

The mosquito nets were a little frightening, but yet kind of exotic. Looking back now I can laugh. But at the time I was terrified of the mosquitos and other bugs that were going to eat me alive all night long. Add to that we were sleeping in a tent in the wild. With every gust of wind, the tent flapped, and I was sure a baboon was trying to break in. They weren’t. The Massai tribesmen stood guard all night. If we needed something they were right outside and we just needed to flash our flashlight or scream and they would be there within seconds. Remember that movie City Slickers? That was us but in the bush of Africa. 

We had a wonderful evening with our safari mates and guides. This was one of my favorite dinners we had. The food was fantastic and it’s where we all started to get to know each other better. Even though we are all from different corners of the world, we shared a ton of laughs over a great dinner.

All of the details of my trip are saved as highlights on my Instagram.

If you would like more information on going on safari, click here to get started! 

With mountains, beaches, and rainforests, Costa Rica is one of the most diverse vacation destinations in Central America. It is known for eco-tourism, but it also has plenty of options for relaxation, romance, and adventure.

More all-inclusive accommodations are also popping up to match the demand for stays in this scenic, alluring country. These resorts are among the top places to stay in style and comfort when visiting Costa Rica.

The Westin Reserva Conchal

This massiave property on Costa Rica’s Northern-Pacific coast is situated between lush green forests and brilliantly blue waters. With so many amenities – including 15 dining options, a championship golf course, and one of Central America’s largest freshwater pools – just exploring the resort could take days!

The Westin Reserva Conchal


Dreams Las Mareas

Located on the northern coast of Guanacaste, Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica is a gorgeous beachfront resort with shimmering white beaches and lush tropical jungles. Dreams Las Mareas boasts a contemporary design with tasteful authentic décor and offers 447 spacious guest suites with spectacular ocean, jungle or mountain views.

Dreams Las Mareas


Occidental Papagayo

Occidental Grand Papagayo Resort is an all-inclusive, adults-only resort in Guanacaste, ideal for those seeking rest and relaxation. The resort is situated on a hillside offering spectacular views of the sea. Unwind in unmatched seclusion, surrounded by the wild, natural beauty characteristic of Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast.

Occidental Papagayo


RIU Palace Costa Rica

Find balance during yoga on the RIU Palace’s beautiful beach, or during a massage at the Renova Spa’s garden pavilion. With four pools, 24-hour dining, and activities like snorkeling, kayaking and windsurfing included, this is also a favorite for high-energy families.

RIU Place Costa Rica


Secrets Papagayo

This intimate, serene adults-only oasis is just a short 20-minute transfer from the airport, but seems a million miles away from everything. With three gourmet a la carte restaurants, regular beach parties, rum tastings, and live music nightly, a getaway here will invigorate all the senses.

Secrets Papagayo

Now that you’re dreaming of a Costa Rican adventure, contact me today to turn that dream into a reality!

Why Costa Rica? Is it the chance to explore its natural rainforest and encounter the wildlife who call its jungles home? Is it the country’s sandy shores that entice more and more vacationers? Or perhaps it’s the idea of Pura Vida, or pure life, that speaks to us?

With recent resort additions to its coasts, a year-round warm climate, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences awaiting visitors, there are plenty of reasons to travel to Costa Rica this year!

Costa Rica Regenwald

GET TO KNOW COSTA RICA

Costa Rica is in Central America, south of Nicaragua and north of Panama. To its east is the Caribbean Sea and to its west is the Pacific Ocean. Though this small country is only 170 miles wide, it has beaches, mountains, volcanoes, and rainforests. The residents of Costa Rica are dedicated to preserving these diverse landscapes, and through their dedication have become a leading country in sustainable practices.

EXPLORING AND ACTIVITIES

Sloth

For many travelers, Costa Rica’s pristine nature is one of its most enticing aspects. The natural landscape also provides travelers with exciting activities. Ziplines through the forest canopy at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve are a highlight of many Costa Rica trips. Active vacationers may also enjoy hiking the forest trails, like those at Manuel Antonio National Park and Corcovado National Park.

Whether travelers opt to follow the map or participate in a guided hike, the park trails are one of the best chances to spot local wildlife, like monkeys and sloths. But don’t forget to look up! The forest is full of colorful birds like macaws that are sure to catch the eye hikers. And speaking of sights, Costa Rica’s waterfalls and animal sanctuaries are some of the country’s most Insta-worthy destinations, giving travelers the chance to interact and experience nature up close.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Palms At The Beach In Puerto Carrillo, Costa Rica In Opposite Light. Puerto Carrillo Is A Small Village At The Pacific Coast On The Peninsula Nicoya.

There are several all-inclusive options for travelers to Costa Rica, with most of the resorts situated along the western coast. With views of the Pacific Ocean, these resorts provide guests with beachfront experiences and sunsets they’ve dreamed of.

The Guanacaste province alone includes over 400 miles of coastline where vacationers can kick back, relax and watch the sun set into the sea. Many popular resort brands have also established properties in this region, including Margaritaville, Secrets, RIU, and Hard Rock Hotels. These resorts not only boast stellar service and accommodations, but many also offer excursions that allow guests to explore the region’s natural and cultural wonders.

Volcan Arenal Dominates The Landscape During Sunset, As Seen From The Monteverde Area, Costa Rica.

GETTING TO COSTA RICA

For travelers looking to stay in the Guanacaste province, Liberia’s airport is likely the best option. This city and its airport are located within the province and will save a great deal of driving time. Visitors also often fly into Juan Santamaria (SJO), which is the larger of the country’s two major international airports and can offer more flight options.

Ready to book your getaway to Costa Rica? Let’s get started!

Aloha, families! Are you dreaming of a tropical getaway where the whole clan can create unforgettable memories? Look no further than the beautiful islands of Hawaii. With its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and countless activities, Hawaii is the perfect destination for families with children of all ages. To make your vacation planning a breeze, we’ve curated a list of the top five family-friendly resorts in Hawaii. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, these resorts have got you covered!

1. Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa (Oahu)
Located on the picturesque island of Oahu, Aulani is a magical paradise designed with families in mind. From the moment you step foot in the resort, you’ll be immersed in the enchanting world of Disney. The resort boasts a stunning waterpark, multiple pools, and a lazy river where your little ones can splash around to their heart’s content. With a wide range of kids’ clubs, character experiences, and interactive activities, Aulani ensures that every member of the family has a truly unforgettable vacation.

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa

2. Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Maui)
Nestled on the sunny shores of Maui, the Grand Wailea is a true Hawaiian oasis. This luxurious resort offers something for everyone, from its pristine beachfront to its incredible water park, complete with slides, a lazy river, and a swim-up bar. For the adventurous souls, the resort provides snorkeling, kayaking, and surfing lessons. Meanwhile, the little ones can enjoy the complimentary kids’ club, where they can engage in arts and crafts, games, and even Hawaiian cultural activities. With its world-class restaurants and spa, the Grand Wailea ensures that parents have their fair share of relaxation too.

3. The Fairmont Orchid (Big Island)
If you’re seeking a tranquil retreat for your family, look no further than The Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island. This serene resort offers a wide range of activities, including snorkeling, paddleboarding, and even stargazing sessions. The Keiki Aloha Children’s Program will keep your little adventurers entertained with educational activities and Hawaiian storytelling. Don’t miss the chance to swim with the resort’s resident sea turtles in the calm waters of Pauoa Bay.

Fairmont Orchid Hawaii

4. Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu, Autograph Collection (Kauai)
For families who love adventure and nature, Kauai’s Koloa Landing Resort is an ideal choice. This resort offers spacious villa-style accommodations, perfect for larger families. Let your kids unleash their inner explorer as they embark on a guided hike through the lush rainforests or learn the art of lei-making. The resort’s central location allows for easy access to Kauai’s stunning beaches and iconic natural wonders, such as Waimea Canyon and the Napali Coast.

KOLOA LANDING RESORT AT POIPU

5. Hilton Waikoloa Village (Big Island)
Last but certainly not least, the Hilton Waikoloa Village offers a delightful mix of relaxation and entertainment for the whole family. Your kids will be overjoyed by the resort’s extensive water complex, featuring slides, pools, and even a dolphin encounter experience. The resort also offers a wide range of cultural activities, including hula lessons and ukulele classes. Don’t forget to take a stroll through the resort’s lush gardens and visit the resident penguins and flamingos.

Hilton Waikoloa Village

Hawaii truly is a paradise for families, and these top five resorts are guaranteed to make your vacation a dream come true. Whether you choose the magical world of Aulani or the adventure-filled Koloa Landing Resort, Hawaii’s natural beauty and warm hospitality will leave you wanting to return year after year. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready for an unforgettable family adventure in the tropical paradise of Hawaii! Let’s get your trip to Hawaii booked today!

Nestled on the serene and captivating Isla Mujeres, Mexico, Secrets Impression stands as a testament to the epitome of opulence and exclusivity. This boutique haven redefines luxury and reimagines personalized hospitality, inviting discerning travelers to embark on an immersive journey unlike any other.

Drenched in the philosophy of Endless Privileges®, Secrets Impression goes beyond conventional extravagance to offer an elevated experience characterized by personalized services, tailored amenities, and unforgettable moments that linger long after your departure.

Embark on an Arrival of Grandeur

Begin your journey in a manner befitting of royalty as you gracefully glide across the cerulean blue expanse from Cancun aboard a private catamaran. The gentle sea breeze and the mesmerizing hues of the Caribbean serve as an enchanting prologue to the splendors that await you on Isla Mujeres.

Secrets Impressions Isla Mujeras

Personalized Perfection: Your Dedicated Butler

Upon arrival, immerse yourself in a world where every aspect of your stay is meticulously curated to your desires. A dedicated butler becomes your guide, attuned to your preferences and poised to cater to your every whim. From orchestrating your daily itinerary to ensuring your comfort and convenience, this personalized touch sets the stage for a truly bespoke experience.

Culinary Artistry: A Gastronomic Voyage

The culinary offerings at Secrets Impression transcend the ordinary, guided by the deft hands of world-renowned master chefs. Delight in an array of artisanal dishes that transcend mere sustenance, inviting you to embark on a gastronomic odyssey. Each plate is a masterpiece, a fusion of flavors and textures meticulously crafted to tantalize even the most discerning palate.

Exploration in Elegance: Your Personal Golf Cart Awaits

Venture forth to explore the enchanting Isla Mujeres in style and sophistication. Awaiting your command is a personal golf cart, your chariot for navigating the island’s hidden gems and breathtaking vistas. Roam at your leisure, discovering local culture, pristine beaches, and vibrant markets, all while relishing the unparalleled freedom of your own private transportation.

Secrets Impression Isla Mujeras

Tranquility Redefined: The Spa Experience

For those seeking serenity, the spa at Secrets Impression beckons with the promise of rejuvenation and restoration. Immerse yourself in a sanctuary of well-being, where ancient healing techniques meld seamlessly with modern innovations. The spa’s repertoire of treatments is a symphony of relaxation, catering to your body’s every need and revitalizing your spirit.

Unprecedented Thrills: Tiered Infinity Pools and Waterslides

Adventure awaits those with an appetite for exhilaration. Plunge into the crystal-clear waters from the pinnacle of tiered infinity pools, an adrenaline rush unlike any other. Descend through a waterslide that seamlessly merges with the horizon, offering a thrilling transition from poolside repose to the embrace of the ocean’s embrace.

Secrets Impression Isla Mujeras

Romantic Escapades: Overwater Cabanas and Sunset Spectacles

As the sun gracefully dips beneath the horizon, kindling the sky with hues of amber and rose, indulge in intimate moments that linger forever. Bask in the glow of twilight while ensconced in your private overwater cabana, an idyllic setting illuminated by the soft flicker of romantic torches. The shared experience of witnessing a mesmerizing sunset becomes a cherished memory, a testament to the enchantment of Secrets Impression.

A Commitment to Conservation: Sustainable Luxury

Secrets Impression is more than a sanctuary of indulgence; it’s a steward of sustainability. The resort holds steadfast to practices that safeguard the island’s natural splendor and uplift the local community. Your sojourn here leaves a positive imprint, as you contribute to the preservation of the environment and the well-being of those who call Isla Mujeres home.

In Closing: A Symphony of Splendor

Secrets Impression transcends the boundaries of luxury, crafting an experience that resonates deeply within your soul. From the moment you step foot on the island, you’re embraced by a world where opulence, intimacy, and innovation converge. It’s a symphony of splendor that invites you to partake in the extraordinary and create memories that will forever adorn the tapestry of your life. Your sojourn here is an invitation to embrace the allure of Secrets Impression, where every moment is a masterpiece of indulgence and inspiration.

Interested in staying at this stunning resort? Book your incredible getaway today.

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Those of us with a passion for travel often daydream about the cities and places we want to visit someday. And in these daydreams, we think about the person we love most and traveling the world with them. For couples who dream of checking off destinations around the world together, there’s a way to see and do more with your vacation time: take a river cruise!

River cruising is one of the best ways to visit multiple cities without the stress of travel days, unpacking and repacking, or getting lost trying to find your hotel. With their panoramic suites, themed excursions, and incredible itineraries, Avalon Waterways is the ideal vacation for couples looking for a romantic trip through Europe and beyond.

Avalon Waterways Tapestry 2 in Paris

SEINE RIVER CRUISES

Whether you call it the City of Lights or the City of Love, Paris has captured the imagination of romantics for centuries. This city is famous as the home to some of the world’s greatest museums, restaurants, and the iconic Eiffel Tower. Through the heart of Paris runs the river Seine. Avalon Waterways sails the Seine with several itinerary options to ensure travelers can experience the beauty of Paris and beyond.

Roundtrip itineraries start and end in Paris while also giving guests the chance to explore Northern France with stops in Giverny, Rouen, and Normandy. Some itineraries also feature Paris as the departure point or final port. This means that travelers can plan to spend a few extra days in the city exploring its famous sites before or after their river cruise.

Aw Inspired Dining on a River Cruise

DANUBE RIVER CRUISES

Perhaps the most famous river in Europe for river cruising is the Danube. This river begins the mountains of the Black Forest in Germany and flows all the way to the Black Sea. The river winds through Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and more countries, treating travelers to views of castles and quaint towns straight from the pages of a fairy tale. With so many countries and sights to see along its banks, the Danube provides plenty of scenery and culture to explore.  

From four-day cruises to twenty-day sailings, Avalon’s Danube itineraries offer the most flexibility and variety for river cruising. This means it’s easier than ever for you and your partner to choose the cruise that works for you. And with cruise extensions, you’ll have the chance to spend even more time in the cities you’ve been dreaming about.

Christmas Market In Frankfurt on a River Cruise

CHRISTMAS MARKET CRUISES

Looking for a way to escape for the holidays or perhaps the perfect gift to give one another? Each year Avalon Waterways helps their guests experience the best of Christmastime in Europe with their Christmas Market cruises. These selected Danube itineraries make sure to include ports in Austria and Germany where Christmas Markets are a staple of the holiday season.

These Christmas Market Cruises sell out fast, so the sooner you book their stateroom, the better! Reservations for 2024 are now open!


Are you interested in experiencing the joy of traveling the world together? Let’s start planning your next romantic getaway today!

When the days get shorter and we see the first snowflake fall, we know one thing: winter is officially here. For some of us, this means dreading slushy streets or the stress-filled hustle and bustle of the season, but it also brings time-honored traditions and beloved holidays.

It is a time for celebration, for being with your loved ones, for making life-long memories, and of course, for travel.

Cities across the globe illuminate their skylines as they celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the winter solstice. Here are some of the most breathtaking destinations to celebrate the holiday nearest and dearest to you.

New York City Skyline


NEW YORK CITY

The city that never sleeps doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to winter festivities. If you celebrate Christmas, you’ll surely love the amazing display at Rockefeller Center and the annual Christmas Spectacular at nearby Radio City. Or take a stroll down Fifth Avenue to see the famous window displays and even do some holiday shopping.

New York is also a premiere destination to celebrate Hanukkah with one of the world’s largest menorahs in the Grand Army Plaza (Manhattan and Brooklyn) lit nightly. The celebration includes music and latkes each night at the Brooklyn location.  

Kwanzaa, a celebration of African-American heritage, is also celebrated in New York City. The American Museum of Natural History hosts a celebration with traditional African performances and crafts. Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater, a bucket-list destination in itself, hosts family-friendly activities with dancing and music.

Stonehenge 1


ENGLAND

The city of Bath during Christmas will transport you to the time of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. From the famous Bath Christmas Market with homemade crafts to lacing up your skates at Bath on Ice, this trip would melt even Scrooge’s heart.

Journey to London for a Hanukkah you’ll never forget. People gather at Trafalgar Square to watch menorah lightings, taste delicious food, and listen to local music performances. Many local Jewish groups also host their own events, so there is no shortage of ways to celebrate.

You have undoubtedly heard of one of England’s most famous landmarks, Stonehenge, but did you know people from all over the world come to this prehistoric monument to celebrate the winter solstice? People gather to watch the sunrise as they play music, dance, do yoga and even kiss the famous stones.

CANADA

The city of Old Quebec transforms into a quaint Christmas village in December. Seasonal décor adorns the stone buildings, and the smell of roasted chestnuts from the German Christmas Market fills the air.

Quebec City, Chateau Frontenac At Dusk, Canada

When the Christmas season comes to end, the Quebec Winter Carnival takes hold. With parades, ice canoe races, snow sculptures, and Bonhomme’s Ice Palace you’ll never want to leave this winter wonderland.

Canada’s Wonderland WinterFest is an entire theme park of winter merriment. The Toronto park is reimagined and enchanted with lights and decorations for the holiday season.  Entertainment, delicious treats, gift shops, ice-skating, and rides are just a few of the many attractions for guests. The Season of Lights is a dazzling light display honoring Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and Christmas.

To fill your winter with wonder and experience these destinations and more during the holiday season, contact me today to start planning!