Known as the “Land of Contrasts,” Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture is home to a variety of outdoor activities for travelers to enjoy. From cycling to surfing and even paragliding, Miyagi’s wide range of landscapes has no shortage of opportunities to try something new. Below are a few places travelers can dream of visiting when travel restrictions are lifted.
With a variety of biking trails to choose from, Miyagi is the perfect place to cycle through paths that stop by some of the prefecture’s most famous sights. For coastal views, Oshika Peninsula offers more than 40 miles of rolling hills and coastal panoramas, including a view of Kinkasan Island, a majestic island home to sacred deer that roam about the island freely. In the countryside, Marumori Loop is a popular cycling spot for locals. The low plains offer excellent views of the mountains, charming villages and rice fields. Experienced bikers can cycle through the mountainous wilderness of Mount Zao. These incredibly remote passes are grueling but are totally worth it for the beautiful scenery, secluded hot springs and countryside cafes.
Speaking of Mount Zao, the region is one of Miyagi’s best destinations for outdoor adventures. Skiers and snowboarders can opt to tackle the remote slopes on their own, but a guide is considered essential for anyone not trained in winter mountaineering and acquainted with the terrain of Mount Zao. Luckily, M’s Guide is a winter mountain guide service based at Sumikawa Snow Park and can tailor any outdoor excursion for guests.
For watersports, three-time paragliding national champion Takeshige Yamaya offers tandem paragliding experiences in Matsushima Bay, perfect for travelers to experience one of the Three Most Scenic Spots in Japan. Setravelndai and even Mount Zao can also be seen from the sky. In Sendai, Barefoot Surf offers a variety of SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) and surfing excursions for any skill level.
Travelers looking to spend the night outdoors can stay at the Fukiage Kogen Campground in Northern Miyagi. The grounds are surrounded by scenic views of mountains and quiet forests. The campground even has its own hot spring, walking trails, pub and plenty of cute goats. While travelers can bring their own equipment, guests can be supplied with all the gear they need with advanced reservations.
Venice’s newest 5-star hotel, Ca’ di Dio, will be born in May 2021. The hotel sits within a transformed ecclesiastical compound dating from 1272 that has hosted Crusaders, pilgrims and tourists for more than eight centuries.
“We are honored to have been asked to represent the Ca’ di dio,” says Geoffrey Weill, “particularly at this moment in history when revolutionary vaccines are combatting a pandemic that has crippled the travel business in Venice and throughout the world.”
Located on the Riva Ca’ di Dio, the hotel overlooks Venice’s legendary lagoon, and is located adjacent to the Arsenale and the gardens that house the city’s Biennale, one of the world’s most iconic art festivals and exhibitions. The Ca’ di Dio is an easy stroll along the waterfront from bustling St. Mark’s Square.
The 66-key Ca’ di Dio (pronounced Ka-di-dio) is one of a new class of properties managed by Italy’s VOI Hotels, to be known as V-Retreats. The Ca ‘di Dio, like all V-Retreats, is set to be an oasis of peace, a palace of timeless beauty imbued with the finesse and warmth of Italian hospitality. The hotel’s general manager, Christophe Mercier, has a rich history of managing some of Venice’s finest properties.
The creation of the Hotel Ca’ di Dio was entrusted to the studio of the internationally renowned Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola. “My goal was to create an original and distinctive concept,” says Urquiola, “a Venetian ‘mansion,’ deeply linked to the history of the city with fine woods, rich textiles, colors, finishes and Murano glass; each decorative, architectural and lighting element is the result of the skillful hands of skilled craftsmen who combine the passion for their work with the secrets and techniques of Venetian tradition.”
The Ca’ di Dio’s accommodations comprise 57 suites and nine Deluxe rooms, spread over three floors. Ten suites have a unique view of the lagoon and San Giorgio Maggiore Island; two of the suites have a large roof terrace overlooking the San Marco Basin.
Two internal courtyards are home to the hotel’s Alchemia Bar and the Essentia Restaurant, whose design combines Venetian tradition with Urquiola’s contemporary signature. The hotel’s indoor-outdoor VE-RO Restaurant overlooks the breathtaking Venetian lagoon. Named for its Venetian roots, its cuisine is inspired by traditional dishes of the Veneto, reset in contemporary tones, respecting the seasonality of fish and produce. Many of the ingredients will come from the Ca’ di Dio’s vegetable garden secreted within yet another internal courtyard.
The Ca’ di Dio will offer a state-of-the-art wellness program in its Spa Pura, and will welcome small meetings and events. The colors and comfort of the reading room provide the ideal location for contemplation. The hotel’s elegant boutique will offer a selection of Murano glass produced exclusively for the Ca ‘di Dio. The hotel’s side canal entrance provides direct docking for water taxis and the hotel’s water-transfer cruisers.
The opening of the Ca’ di Dio coincides with a new reclaimed future for the city of Venice. “I was in the city in October when the Acqua Alta threatened the customary flooding of the city,” says Weill, “and for the first time, the lagoon’s new high-tech water barriers were set in motion, saving the city’s treasures from the customary flooding.”
The Venice Biennale 2021 has been postponed to 2022 because of Covid-19. The Venice Architecture Biennale, is now slated for May 22, 2021 to November 22, 2021.
Full details of the new Hotel Ca’ di Dio are at https://www.lifestyle-voihotels.com/en/ca-di-dio/and will be expanded in coming weeks.
So far, only Southwest Airlines have stated that they will continue to accept ESA’s at no charge. Both Alaska and American Airlines have stated that they will no longer accept emotional support animals on flights. However, several airlines accept pets for a fee. Those who have already booked flights this year with their ESA should look into each airline policy, as some will still be accepting ESA’s from existing reservations.
“Basically what it comes down to is the animal’s training. They are saying an individual with PTSD who has a trained dog can have the animal with them during air travel, but if the individual has PTSD and doesn’t have the luxury of being gifted a service dog, or can’t afford the costs of obtaining a service dog which can run upwards of $50,000, then their PTSD doesn’t qualify/isn’t valid,” said licensed mental health professional Prairie Conlon. Prairie Conlon, LPC, NPC and Clinical Director of CertaPet was disheartened about the news.
“That’s textbook discrimination on several levels. I’m honestly astonished that they pushed this through. There are so many other options, such as tightening restrictions and requiring basic training, that could have solved the issue,” continued Conlon.
“So many news sources keep referring to the peacock incident of 2018 and of course they are saying good riddance, as am I. But what they fail to realize is that that incident did cause a lot of change and those types of animals haven’t seen ESA status for air travel since then. Stop referring to the peacock. It’s not a valid argument anymore. Nobody is fighting for the peacock to be an ESA.”
CertaPet, an emotional support letter service, released this statement:
“We at Certapet think this is a great disservice to those facing mental health challenges that get emotional support from their animal. We understand that there have been incidents that have discredited emotional support animals and the service they provide, but those situations could be prevented by increased regulation. We think emotional support peacocks are ridiculous too. Providing clear guidelines for certification and vetting companies in the industry would have been simple steps to solve this challenge for all stakeholders. Certapet is a trusted telehealth platform that has been providing real mental health services for many years. These imposter companies exploiting individuals with mental health issues should be penalized.
Eliminating emotional support animals altogether is a quick, cheap fix that disregards those who really need and use the treatment appropriately. The DOT has chosen the easy and harmful path over the correct one. We hope to have continued discussions with airlines as they make choices on their own company policies and encourage them to make the right decisions. Mental health is a serious issue and removing access to a researched and proven treatment is a disgrace.”
ABOUT PRAIRIE CONLON
Prairie is a licensed mental health professional and is considered the world’s leading expert on Emotional Support Animals. She is the Clinical Director of Therapeutic and consults for CertaPet, one of the largest telehealth companies in the nation. Prairie has a Master’s Degree in professional counseling and a Postgraduate Degree in Military Behavioral health counseling. She is certified as an equine-assisted psychotherapist. Prairie is a certified Accelerated Resolution Therapist and helps train future trauma therapist in this modality. She consults for several nonprofits for veterans and first responder trauma, including The Lone Survivor Foundation and Horses that Heal. She is the founder, developer and lead researcher of emotional support animal Assisted Therapy (ESAAT) which is a set of techniques utilized to decrease anxiety, panic attacks, depressive symptoms, and sleep difficulties with the use of an Emotional Support Animal.
We are the #1 Emotional Support Letter Service, and we make sure your letter is 100% compliant with state and federal regulations.
Paradise Island JA Manafaru in the Maldives to Reopen in October 2020
Multi award-winning resort JA Manafaru Maldives has recently announced its anticipated re-opening, proposed for October 2020. Positioned at the most Northern tip of Maldives in the beautiful Haa Alifu Atoll, JA Manafaru offers privacy, space and distance from other islands as it sits perfectly where the Arabian Sea meets the vast Indian Ocean. The remote location is beyond the rest of the islands’ cluster, offering unspoilt natural landscapes to explore. The award-winning resort describes this as ‘the true Maldivian experience’, whereby guests have the sense of ‘discovering’ a pristine natural landscape uninterrupted by an excess of tourists. On the island itself, this peace of mind is further enhanced by individual accommodation options ranging from 135 sqm to 1600 sqm, providing complete privacy along with dedicated private pools and outdoor dining.
Speaking of the widely anticipated re-opening, General Manager Karen Merrick said; ‘The land space of the Beach Villas and Private Residence JA Manafaru affords much more privacy than other resorts, with even entry level options showcasing a larger area than most deluxe categories in the Maldives. The lagoon-ringed island location also means that guests will feel safer, as it is far and away from any hustle and bustle or large tourist or locally inhabited areas. Many of our previous guests have called to enquire when they can return to the island for a much-needed break in nature, and our aim for the fourth quarter of the year is the most appropriate time given the international regulations’.
Fringed with exquisite powder beaches and crystal-clear waters teeming with exotic marine life, the chic enclave features 84 luxurious beachfront and over-water villas and residences, each with their own private pool and in some cases two. Seven scenic destinations provide a wealth of options for the palate including traditional Indian Ocean cuisine, international fare and seafood feasts, all available on the All-Inclusive meal plan which also entitles guests to premium beverages from 11am-11pm. The stunning signature restaurant – White Orchid, sits in the middle of the ocean treating guests to balmy breezes as they indulge in award-winning Asian fare. Guests can also enjoy a wide range of premium beverages across multiple venues including Horizon Lounge with its ocean views, Andiamo Bistro and Pool with its lush green backdrop and Ocean Grill – awe inspiring beachfront dining under the stars.
Activities available for both adults and children include a PADI certified dive centre for beginners and experienced divers, with a water sports centre offering jetskiing, water-skiing, mono-skiing, seabob, funtubing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, stand-up paddling, catamaran sailing and canoeing. There’s a Marine Awareness Centre to conserve local ecology, as well as beach volleyball, futsal pitch, tennis court, badminton court, pool table, fitness centre, games room and cosy library. Travellers can participate in Maldivian cooking classes, dolphin watching, scenic boat cruises, fishing trips, yoga sessions, an eco golf driving range and the award-winning Calm Spa Sanctuary, offering Ayurveda, aromatherapy and wellness journeys. To keep all ages entertained, both Kids and Teens Clubs are available.
As with all properties within the JA Resorts & Hotels portfolio, JA Manafaru Maldives is following a full programme of safety and sanitization which includes government directives and the protocols of the World Travel & Tourism Councils #SafeTravels initiative.
A legacy UAE brand, JA Resorts & Hotels was born in 1981 and has a widely recognised reputation for excellence, in the management and operation of award-winning resorts and hotels. Taking its name from the original Jebel Ali (JA) Beach hotel, JA Resorts & Hotels portfolio now features 9 distinct properties across the UAE and Indian Ocean, each dedicated to curating unique experiences and creating unforgettable memories. Tropical escapes include JA Manafaru, the idyllic luxury island resort in pristine, lagoon ringed Haa Alifu Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives and JA Enchanted Island Resort, an ultra-luxurious hideaway of 10 exquisite villas on a private island, in the middle of the protected Saint Anne Marine Park. Within the UAE, guests can choose from the five-star JA Ocean View Hotel, as well as the deluxe hotel apartments of JA Oasis Beach Tower, both located along ‘The Walk’ in Jumeirah Beach Residence. Other attractive options include the acclaimed JA The Resort – Dubai’s largest experience resort, with 1 million square metres of thrilling activities and 3 unique hotels offering 795 suites and rooms between them– the award-winning JA Beach Hotel and JA Palm Tree Court and JA Lakeview Hotel, a stunning new Golf Course adjacent property opened in September 2019. The JA Hatta Fort Hotel is Dubai’s only mountain resort, a secluded getaway amidst the stunning Hajar Mountains landscape. The Manor by JA is the latest addition to the portfolio, a 247 key corporate hotel located in Al Furjan, Dubai and set to open in January 2020. JA Resorts & Hotels is a member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, bringing together more than 35 brands with over 570 hotels in 85 countries.For more information please visit their website here.
Jersey City officially opened up one of the swankiest restaurants on their waterfront with magnificent views of Manhattan. Mona Panjwani is the proprietor and visionary of this establishment. After 12 days of having their doors opened, they have built a team of individuals who are personable, approachable and possess a strong sense of ownership. Literally a recipe for prosperity.
With sufficient space, Lokal Eatery & Bar can comfortably sit up to 200 customers and is the perfect destination for a rehearsal dinner, trunk show, celebratory engagement and/or corporate gathering. Towards the rear, there’s a semi-private area with its own seating, lounge and sound system to drown out the clutter of what’s taken place in the main arena. “Lokal” murals, perfect for social engagement, are sprinkled throughout the spot which were constructed by a local commissioned artist. Adding an element of youth and elegance similar to its milieu. Overall the architecture and intent of this eclectic eatery have an industrial yet modern feel. Iron gates frame the bar and above the 30-foot island hangs a custom lighting installation.
Nestled in the heart of a rising luxury neighborhood within JC, this venue is destined to become one of the area’s most popular draws. Executive Chef, Walter Donadio, has managed to fabricate a tantalizing menu of appetizers, small plates and entrees which are certain to keep you coming back. Some of his best infused tapas and items include succulent scallops, rock shrimp, sauteed mushroom bowls as well as a vegan surf and turf packed with savory lentils. Most of their components are locally sourced and fresh from the Garden State – right down to the blueberries featured in some of their signature drinks.
Often times, you inflict a new place and the waitstaff is uncertain on what to recommend. That’s not the case for Lokal. Many of their squad members were well-informed on what they offer and even had ample recommendations for their handcrafted cocktails. Our favorites were their Elliott Stubb (reminiscent of an old fashioned) and Jerry Thomas – cucumber water iced cubes make this drink refreshing.
The future is bright for Lokal Eatery & Bar. And, with a strong location, menu and bar, it’s set to be one of the most prestigious brunch/dinner spots for global foodies, making it a firm contender for three Michelin stars and a James Beard Award. Subsequently, it’s extremely apparent that Mona and her crew are meticulous and pay close attention to details.
*Brunch is Saturday & Sunday from 11am-3pm. A perfect place to relax and kick back with friends as well as family before the week starts. If you eat meat, be sure to try the lamb burger. The Bloody Mary and Margarita are sure to get almost any party started.
**Happy Hour is daily from 5-7pm.
ABOUT TEAM LOKAL:
CHEF: Walter Donadio will serve as Lokal’s Executive Chef.
Donadio is a Michelin star kitchen trained chef with over 17 years of versatile culinary professional experience managing the provisions of fine dining for hotels, restaurants and country clubs. His experience spans the globe from various chef positions at Richy’s DMCC and Café Habana in Dubai to The Smith, Nobu Fifty Seven, Le Circ and Brasserie in New York, along with supervising kitchens at Hilton and Marriott in New Jersey. Passionate about food since growing up in his grandmother’s own restaurant, he loves combinations of flavors from different cuisines and is always searching for the perfect balance. He is a graduate from the French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center).
OWNER: Mona Panjwani
Panjwani opens Lokal as an events industry vet in the Northern New Jersey region. She launched an events production company in 2014 and came across the idea to create Lokal more recently while seeking a venue for her own company. The gorgeous waterfront eatery in Jersey City – which will primarily serve as a full service restaurant and bar is also complete with event and private dining spaces – combines all of Panjwani’s skills, passion, experience and goals into one. Panjwani is a member of the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, Hudson County Women Rising and LadyDrinks South Asian Women Entrepreneurs Networking Professionals. She has been a Jersey City resident for a decade.
ARCHITECT: Abraham John ARCHITECTS
A multidisciplinary architecture, interior design, landscaping and urban planning firm founded in 1967. Abraham John & Alan Abraham are the Joint Principal Architects of Abraham John Architects. Abraham John Architects’ design approach is to re-connect architecture with nature, make optimum use of space, natural materials, lighting & landscape to reinvent and transform living environments and urban spaces. The firm works at multiple scales and with various organizations right from private clients to corporates & NGOs allowing itself to experiment and diversify its work.
Time to getaway! A jaunt to Eden Roc Miami Beach is the perfect prescription for relaxation. Upon arrival Eden Roc’s lobby will thrust you into an oasis of history. The hotels gently restored golden hand rails lead to sweeping views of the circular bar with signature spirits designed to bring your soul to an immediate rest. The eclectic libations and unique art curation will have you feeling the iconic vibes of legends like Nate King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra. Consider yourself amongst the elite traveler as this destination will envelop you to a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Famed architect Morris Lapidus breathed life into the Miami skyline with the hotels 415 ocean front rooms. Following a complete multi-million dollar restoration the Eden Roc Miami Beach is prepared to welcome you to a new level of hospitality. Allow your skin to absorb the subterranean ocean breezes and your eyes to dissect the elegantly appointed landscape at this Miami haven for global citizens.
Soaking up the sun can be draining. Who wants a burger? The farm to table cuisine at Malibu Farms is hypnotic. Be sure to order the grass-feed beef burger and Malibu blue nachos your tummy will thank me.
Beach & Spa
With an almost perfect location in the heart of Mid-Beach the Eden Roc is close to South Beach nightlife if you desire dancing and secluded enough for peace of mind. South Beach can be hectic at times so finding a beach chair can be a complete production. Fortunately, the Eden Roc has designated space for all hotel guest making it seamless to soak up the sun rays. Following your sun session follow in my foot steps and dash to the Esencia Wellness Spa. I paired the H2O facial and ocean glow body scrub to restore my skins natural exuberance.
Bed & Balcony
I’ve never slept so well in my life. I must admit I am literally in love with this property. The positioning of the hotel bed looking beyond the balcony toward the Atlantic Ocean was mesmerizing. The gravitational pull of the mattress lead me into siren slumbers. Beyond the bed the suites balcony made for the perfect office backdrop. Creative floods poured as my mind was free and fueled by aesthetically pleasing scenery.
Dinner fit for a king or queen is an understatement. Nobu is synonymous with great Japanese cuisine. Of course, my elevated Omakase dining experience was obnoxiously insane. Highest of accolades for this moment I was riddled with delightful morsels and you will be too.
Art Lovers prepare to stroll the grounds at Eden Roc Miami Beach. The hotel is filled with color and mediums to inspire and educate you alike. From lobby to suites you can feel the artistic influence of the hotels partnerships with the Brant Foundation and Art Angels.
There is no better place in the United States to experience as many snow and cold-weather activities in one day as there is in the Northwoods region of Wisconsin. The two larger towns, Cable and Hayward, which are located in the far north of the state, act as home bases for tourists to Wisconsin. Hayward is a small, quaint town in Sawyer County, Wisconsin. It is characterized by its gently rolling hills, while Cable is just 15 minutes away. Aside from being known for it emphasis on outdoor activities, Cable is also renowned for being the starting point of the American Birkebeiner cross-country skiing race. There are also nationally renowned restaurants within a short 30 minute drive. Both locations offer an opportunity to escape from the stress of congested metropolitan cities and relax in the welcoming environment that both towns offer.
Traveling from the west coast, the north of Wisconsin is a dramatic change of pace from the bustling vibes of the many developed metropolitan cities. It is also the top destination for most snow-related adventure spots. The food and travel businesses in the area, the top two largest economies in the northern Wisconsin, are thriving and are welcoming to new small-businesses. With a well-developed and diverse school system in the surrounding communities, both towns are extremely capable of hosting both tourists and accommodating people intending to move to the region.
With their proximity to the great woods of the Chequamegan National Forest and the sparkling waters of Lake Owen and Namakagon, the recreational activities are abundant. Activities range from cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and winter fat biking. Cable is an epicenter for skiers, offering wonderfully groomed trails traversing the relatively flat landscape. At the start of the Birkebeiner trail in Cable, there is a newly built rest area and event center which offers a wide range of amenities including a source of heat in the wintertime. Snowmobiling is a crucial activity for the adventure-seeking traveler. It is also a staple for most of the locals in the area. In addition, ice fishing is a classic wintertime sport and can be done on most frozen lakes in the area. Fat Bike riding and snowshoeing can be done by most any able-bodied traveler. Bikes and snowshoes can be picked up at Howl Adventure Center, while snowmobiles can be rented from Hayward Power Sports.
As for the less adventurous travelers, downtown Hayward, which was named one of five Hallmark-worthy small towns in Wisconsin, is easy to explore. The downtown includes small boutiques and coffee/pastry shops which line the beautiful, quiet streets. Meet the artists at local art shops such as Art Beat and Nordic Northwoods, who specialize in fun, artsy gifts and souvenirs. Hayward Mercantile is a delightful place as well, filled with Wisconsin-made goods, while Ronnings, just a few doors down provides everything from moccasins to sweatshirts. Just 10 minutes away, Glassy Ladies Art Studio provides a fun environment to get your creative juices flowing while you learn glass fusing, bead making, metal-smithing, and how to work with stained glass.
After a long day in the snow, there is nothing better than a hot meal at lunch or at the end of the day. Lucky for you, there are countless, award winning, restaurants within close proximity. Tamarack Farms Winery is not only the number one winery in the area, but also provides small sandwiches and artisan pizza. The Old Southern Smokehouse, a creation of the award winning BBQ chef Dave Anderson, is the epitemy of a BBQ experience. Their menu consists of quality meats, fresh produce, and award winning sauces. The Landing, situated on the Chippewa Flowage is an amazing place known for its nationally renowned fish fry and its liquor bar. The owners, Chris and Elsie Lee are extraordinary people and are extremely hospitable. Located in Cable, The Brick House Cafe is a quaint place featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-in, and Dives with Guy Fieri. Serving sandwiches and fresh salads, they are known for their locally sourced meats and vegetables. It even occupies one of the oldest buildings in Cable, dating back to the 1800s!
Finally, The Rookery exhibits casual gourmet dining at its finest. The Rookery’s ever-changing menu features fresh fish specials and their famous bison steak. Here you will find some of the best vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options you’ll find anywhere in the northern Wisconsin communities. And what’s Wisconsin without cheese? Most of the restaurants and dives nestled in the towns serve a wide range of cheeses and fried cheese curds which are almost like a staple in the state. With all of these amazing options for food in the area, your taste buds are in for a real treat!
Not only is there a multitude of thrilling activities interspersed amongst the trails, forest, and lakes surrounding the area, there are also countless establishments in which to shop and also create art. Both communities are extremely sustainable, and are excitedly welcoming tourists and thrill-seekers alike. The spirit of the towns are quite endearing. The eager traveler definitely has a chance to fully experience what the area has to offer in a 5 day to a week span. Can you imagine visiting a region for the first time and immediately feeling at home and being welcomed by the locals? Can you imagine having access to incredible activities and nationally recognized eateries? Then the sister towns of Cable and Hayward should be at the top of your list of future travels. They are communities that are welcoming and make you feel at home, no matter your background, ethnicity, or culture.
Touring Ireland in March and April means fun-filled festivals, better value flights, quieter roads, lambkins, bluebell-carpeted woodlands and 13 percent discounts on two Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland itineraries if booked by end October 2018.
This award-winning travel company offers two styles of culturally immersive travel.
Vagabond Adventure Tours are for active travelers who want to mix up hiking and biking and other outdoor adventures with history, culture, dining and shopping. An 8 Day Wild Irish Rover Tour departs March 10, 17, 24, 31 and April 7, 14, 21 and 28. Book a March or April date before Oct. 31, 2018, and save 13 percent.
Why wild? Because the tour, recognized by National Geographic Traveler as a Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime, is off-road as much as it’s on, relying on signature 4×4 tour vehicles to go where other sightseeing companies tend not to tread.
Why Irish? Because the tour blends pubs, people, castles and lore into the hearts of active travelers.
Why roving? Guests are never rushed traveling from the west coast of Ireland and the peninsulas of the southwest all the way up to Connemara.
“Our itinerary of the southern half of Ireland keeps guests on their toes and exploring under their own steam power. In fact, they’re sometimes, after a walk or cycle, grateful for a sit down in the 4×4,” said Rob Rankin, founder and owner with Amy Rankin. “Every stone we walk over has a story to tell. Ruins and castles are, after all, about people.”
The €1,919 per person double rate (before the early booking discount) includes eight full days of touring, seven nights’ accommodation with breakfasts, services of a professional Vagabond tour guide, guided walks, entrance fees to historical and archaeological sites, demonstrations of local craftsmen at work, ferry excursion tickets and taxes. Activities require a good level of fitness for walking and cycling 2.5 hours each on undulating paths. Additional 2019 departures are weekly on Sundays through mid-October.
“This tour brings tourists into a region that for decades was overlooked because of border issues,” said Rankin. “Basically, nobody wanted to visit Northern Ireland because of the ‘troubles’ there. This only started to change in the early 2000s really. The northwest county of Donegal, despite being in the Republic of Ireland (the ‘south’), was almost cut off from the rest of the state geographically. Thus, its tourism did not develop in the same way as in other parts of the country.” A border region deemed “very hard” up until early in the 21st century emerged with its own identity and culture, partly formed by the years of political turmoil and violence.
The per person double rate of €1,509 (before the early booking discount) includes six full days on tour, five nights’ accommodation with full Irish breakfasts, some entrance fees and relevant taxes. Additional 2019 departures are May 5, 19; June 16, 30; July 14, 28; Aug. 11, 25; Sept. 8, 22; and Oct. 6.
Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4×4 Land Rover or Mercedes ‘Vagatron’ that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.
Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland has been revealing the hidden treasures of Ireland through its carefully planned and executed tours since 2002. Last year the Irish Tourism Awards singled the company out as offering Best Adventure Experience, and also in 2017 it became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification
Trazee Travel, a unique interactive web-based publication for millennial travelers, names South African Airways (SAA) as the “Favorite Airline in Africa” for the fourth consecutive year.
The honorable airline is honored with the accolade at the annual The Trazee awards, which was hosted by Global Traveler magazine during the 2018 Global Business Travel Association Convention on Tuesday, August 14th of 2018 in San Diego.
Trazee Travel, created by Global Travelers’ parent company FX Express Publications, is designed for travelers aged 18-35 years as a one-stop online resource for news, tips, and reviews for travel products around the world.
The annual The Trazees celebrates excellence with the top travel companies and include airlines, airports, hotels, tourism destinations, and other travel providers. Nominations are collected via online ballot completed by their subscribed readers where the winners are chosen by a panel of travel experts.
“This important recognition by Trazee Travel strengthens SAA’s commitment to providing the very best service on our flights to Africa,” says Vice President of Sales of North America for South African Airways, Marlene Sanan.
“The sought-after millennial traveler seeks unique experiences and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, South Africa is the perfect destination to fulfill that wanderlust for the 10-35 year old traveler,” says Francis X Gallagher, publisher and CEO of FXExpress Publications Inc.
South African Airways offers the most flights from the U.S. to South Africa with daily non-stop service from New York-JFK Airport and daily direct service from Washington, D.C.-Dulles.
On board, SAA provides an inflight experience designed for pure comfort for long-haul travel. Customers enjoy fully-flat seats in Premium Business Class, industry-leading legroom in Economy Class, gourmet cuisine and a selection of complimentary spirits and award-winning South African wines and generous checked baggage allowance.
What’s also included are individual audio/visual entertainment systems that deliver an extensive menu of first-run movies and music choices.
Alongside with their regional partners, SAA links the world to over 75 destinations across Southern Africa and Africa’s Indian Ocean islands.
For SAA reservations and flight information, customers should visit www.flysaa.com, call SAA Reservations at 1-800-722-9675 or contact their professional travel consultant to experience what makes SAA the favorite airline in Africa.
Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge,Panama’s newest luxury and adventure outpost, is getting ready to open its doors to guests in January 2019, but it’s already raising the bar for sustainable tourism in the region.
Located 20 miles off the coast of Panama, and with 9 stylishly-designed “casitas” sleeping up to 18 guests, the archipelago of 14 private islands covers more than 1,000 acres in the Gulf of Chiriqui. With approximately 75% of the archipelago consisting of environmentally protected areas, Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge protects the archipelago’s incredible beauty while offering guests a timeless, idyllic setting among one of the most pristine and diverse marine environments in the world.
“Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge is located in an extraordinarily vibrant ecosystem with more than 750 species of fish and 128 species of plants,” said Sergio del Nunez Prado, Property Manager at Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge. “Designed to blend harmoniously with its surroundings with minimal environmental impact, Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge aims to preserve the rich biodiversity of the archipelago while connecting people with nature in its purest form.”
At the core of Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge is a driving passion for the enjoyment and conservation of the archipelago’s natural resources, with a deep appreciation and respect for local culture and history. Sustainability and environmental stewardship are at the core of the facilities, infrastructure and operations of the property, from the use of solar energy to composting all organic materials and recycling water waste for irrigation use. Among the sustainability initiatives and programs implemented by the reserve are:
100% of energy consumption on island is powered by a 300-meter long solar array.
100% of guest water use is captured and reclaimed through a system that includes man-made wetlands, sand filtration system and infrared light process to provide surface irrigation.
100% of food waste are dehydrated and used for composting as fertilizer. There is no waste.
Guest facilities were constructed with certified sustainable wood, and interior woods were pressure treated with non-toxic boric acid. These high-quality materials and construction methods were used to maximize the life of facilities to reduce the frequency of future rebuilds.
No single-use plastic water bottles.
Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge aims to create a model for sustainable tourism by pairing exhilarating recreation and warm Panamanian hospitality with a strong ethos of environmental stewardship and community support. Understated and under-the-radar, Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge is ready to welcome today’s most discerning and conscientious traveler, including couples, families and groups of friends seeking adventure and an intimate setting where no detail has been overlooked.
ABOUT ISLAS SECAS RESERVE & LODGE, PANAMA: Officially opening in January 2019, Islas Secas Reserve & Lodge is a new and exclusive property located on its own archipelago of 14 pristine islands in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Panama. The secluded retreat will sleep 18 people across four casita sites with of 9 luxury guest rooms, providing the perfect springboard for marine and land adventures in this lesser explored part of Panama. The interiors were designed by renowned interior designer Tom Scheerer and built to reflect the island’s surroundings. Facilities include the Terraza, offering local cuisine, a Hemingway-style lounge and bar and a Dive Center. 2019 will see the addition of a resort pool and a Field Station, while the 2020 season will see the completion of a Wellness Pavilion and a 4-bedroom Villa Residencia with a private swimming pool.
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