Consider a trip to the land of the midnight sun, NORWAY.
How about hoping a plane to Norway? Well, it's not exactly a hop. You'll probably have a stopover or two getting there. Norway has definitely been on 'the list' of places to visit these last few years. People talk about it's incredible scenery and the beautiful fjords, viking museums and the Northern Lights. You can go in winter for the Northern Lights and in the summer if you want to stay up all night! Tromsø is considered to be one of the best places in Norway to see the northern lights. Tromsø is about 200 miles North of the Arctic Circle.
Another way to see Norway is on a Hurtigruten cruise. As a world leader in expedition travel for more than 125 years, Hurtigruten is an expert in navigating Norway's majestic fjords. I must say in travel, we usually don't hear about special offers before they happen, but this year Hurtigruten is having a Black Friday sale of up to 50% off on selected sailings with booking dates of November 27 – December 4, 2019. All expeditions are subject to availability at the time of booking. Other restrictions may apply. Watch this short video and enjoy a peek at the Hurtigruten way of travel.
If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with a friend you think will also enjoy it! If this video intrigues you, and you want to find out more, contact me!
Hello and welcome to the to the ‘Vacations Inspired – From a Traveler’s Perspective’ series. I’m sharing with you what I hope to be the first of many stories of my client’s travels. Another way for you to hear what my client’s say and to be inspired for your future travels.
Neil and Mary have traveled over the years to many of the places you and I dream about going to. This next adventure kept coming on and off their list. How it came to be was that a friend invited them (#traveltip - invite a friend) to come along with them, and the Galapagos Islands was back on. So, they emailed me to book their cruise. And as long as they were going that far, and knowing that Mary wasn’t too fond of flying, I suggested they just continue on down to Machu Picchu while they were half way there.
Mary has been a bird-watcher for over 10 years, so the Galapagos held some allure for them. Between the two of them, they are always on the look out with their binoculars and camera for another “life bird”. A "life bird" is a bird species that a birder has identified and seen in the wild for the very first time in his or her life. Some birders have a specific list, like a bucket list, or it can be any bird that a birder sees for the first time.
Machu Picchu was in the back of their mind because one of their daughters had gone there a few years before and highly recommended it. So off they went.
They sailed the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic & Lindblad Expeditions. Neil says, “If you want to go beyond your normal vacation, do more than return to the same destination or resort or escape from that typical cruise, tackle an expedition to the Galápagos Islands with an extension to Machu Picchu. The expedition provided opportunities to see wildlife up close from a kayak, paddleboard, zodiac, glass-bottom boat or while snorkeling, or simply walking on the beaches or on trails gazing at the Galápagos giant tortoises up-close.”
Expedition cruises have a team of experts on-board perfectly fit for the curious traveler; expert naturalists in all fields, even certified photo-instructor naturalists.
Memories - Galapagos
“Seeing the endemic wildlife of the Galápagos islands including the Galápagos giant Tortoise, Waved albatross, Frigate birds, Darwin’s finches and Marine iguanas and in addition, colorful footed birds as the Red-footed booby and the Blue-footed booby and also the only penguin to live north of the equator is a once in a lifetime treat. Never once did our ship dock at a pier as our standard mode of transportation on and off the islands was a rubber boat called a Zodiac. Whether going a shore was a dry landing or a wet landing the Zodiac was carefully guided by a skilled driver.”
And onto Peru
When Neil and Mary finished their Galapagos cruise, they boarded a plane from Guayaquil, Ecuador to Lima and then to Cusco, Peru where they were met by a private guide for their trip to their hotel in the Sacred Valley, which included sight-seeing along the way. After a day of relaxing at their hotel and adjusting to the altitude, the next morning their private guide picked them up bright and early for their trip to Machu Picchu by car, train, bus & hiking.
“The tour of Machu Picchu was fantastic. Flying into Peru to tour Machu Picchu finds you in Cuzco and above 11,000 feet. Cuzco was very colorful with Andean women in traditional clothing and llamas seen on the street. Don’t miss the marketplace with everything from souvenirs to food can be found there.”
How many life birds did you see?
“In Galapagos, 22 plus the great blue heron was a different subspecies, and a flamingo in its natural environment, not in the zoo, so that would technically bring the total to 24. Plus, on the rest of the trip (in Peru), I saw 8 more life birds. So, all together, I saw 32 life birds. Wow! I hadn’t counted them all up before.”
Thoughts on Using a Travel Advisor?
“Day tours, private transfers, hotel arrangements by Julie took the worry and trouble out of seeing the beautiful landscape, local people and finding the train and then the bus to see the ancient buildings of Machu Picchu.”
With a camera full (over 2,000 photos) of memories, Neil and Mary were ready to be home with time to rest for whatever travels come next. And I’m happy to help them with their travel planning. Do either of these two trips sound like just what you're looking for?
If you’re interested in a trip to the Galapagos, Machu Picchu or any other amazing place on this beautiful planet, please reach out to me. It’s my pleasure to help Vacations Inspired travelers experience authentic journeys where relationships deepen and cherished memories begin.
I was talking to my friend and rep from UnCruise this past week. What a wonderful way to see the world with really small ship cruising. UnCruise has ships ranging in size from 22 – 90 passengers. With their headquarters located in Seattle, Washington, the Northwest is their home and it shows in how they want us to experience the world and in their Northwest range of itineraries from Canada, Alaska, the San Juan Islands and even the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The idea of sailing the San Juan's has always intrigued me. I’ve definitely got this one on my spreadsheet of places to go. (yup, I’ve got a spreadsheet, no mere list for me.)
UnCruise also sails to Alaska, Hawaii, the Sea of Cortez, Costa Rica and Panama, and the Galapagos. It's a great itinerary for trips with friends, multi-generational families or even clients or employees traveling together. It would be fun to charter a whole ship, don't you think?!
Where would you like to UnCruise?
If you have questions about Vacations Inspired or are interested in a trip for yourself or with a group, please get in touch.
1. Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta has all that you could want in a vacation destination; water, adventure, culture, ecotourism and gastronomy. And the weather is still enjoyable during the North American spring. Sitting on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is a favorite getaway spot for many a traveler. Get a feel for the area by taking a city tour that will take you into the old town and then past the early Hollywood spots of Mismaloya and out into the countryside to a tequila factory. See how the agave plant is harvested to make the different types of tequila. Enjoy a tequila tasting and purchase a bottle to bring home to sip, enjoy and reminisce about your wonderful vacation in this romantic Mexican town.
For a little less than $2000 with air from PDX*, you can enjoy 5 nights for 2 at the newly refurbished and rebranded 4.5-star Hyatt Ziva. Located less than a 10 minute cab ride from Old Town Puerto Vallarta on a quiet cove. Enjoy all-inclusive amenities that include:
2. Cruise Like a Norwegian
Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Spectacular gives you more choices than ever before! Choose sailings where your 3rd & 4th stateroom guests are free PLUS choose one of the following; Free Specialty Dining, Up to $300 Onboard Credit, Free Stateroom Gratuities or Reduced airfare when booking flights with NCL.
This is a great value for families wanting a spring getaway. Looking for a west coast cruise? You can choose from Mexican Riviera sailing out of Los Angeles, Pacific Coastal 3, 4 or 5 night itineraries, or Alaska. Book by April 6.
3. Don’t worry, be happy at the Happiest Place on Earth
Disneyland® Resort will kick-off the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration on May 22, 2015. Celebrate 60 years of magic at Disneyland®Resort with exciting new experiences, including the “Paint the Night” Parade, “DisneylandForever” Fireworks and “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney.”
Visitors to Disneyland can choose from moderate accommodations at Good Neighbor Hotels to the Disney Resort Hotels including Disney's Paradise Pier, The Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa . 3 Day (and up) Park Hoppers include admission into Disneyland and California Adventure Parks on each day of your ticket. Plus, you'll receive one Magic Morning at Disneyland Park.
What's your favorite spring getaway?