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Village Life in Guatemala One of my favourite aspects of travelling is meeting the people who live in the country. That's why a highlight of our recent trip to Guatemala was visiting a small community, to see their school and have lunch in a farmhouse. Before leaving the city of Antigua, where we'd stayed for two days, we asked our guide, Fidensio, if we could buy a couple of soccer balls to take as a gift to the school. He arranged for us to stop at a stall in a local market on our way out of town, where a local businessman was selling soccer balls and other goods. After making our purchase, we drove about an hour out of Antigua along winding roads, finally pulling onto a dusty lane. We watched as farmers planted and fertilized their fields by hand. Horses are expensive, and the farms are small enough that the work can...
How to handle a travel emergency in your sleep We have guests who are sleeping in a tent on Kilimanjaro right now and we just received a call from Isaac Hilpman at Exito Travel that Air Uganda went out of business yesterday. So the flight they booked before they departed  from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to Entebbe, Uganda 10 days from now no longer exists! Now it’s 12pm in Seattle, 11pm on the mountain, and they’re in the middle of climbing Kilimanjaro--all 19,000 feet of it, to the roof of Africa. They started their climb yesterday, and will return to Arusha, Tanzania on Sunday. Although there is emergency communication by radio with park rangers, they are otherwise out of touch until then.   So, while they were asleep on the mountain our team immediately went into action. With the assistance of Exito Travel we booked a new flight for them before everyone else on that Air Uganda flight made their alternate arrangements, arriving only 30...
Favorite Lodges and Awesome Fishing in Mana Pools On a recent safari in Zimbabwe I took a short flight from Victoria Falls (You can also fly from Hwange) to the Zambezi Valley and Mana Pools National Park, where the waters of the mighty Zambezi River make their way east from Lake Kariba to Lake Cahora Bassa before diving Southeast into Mozambique and the Indian Ocean. As our plane banked for a turn over the river I found it exhilarating to be seeing Zambia out the left window and Zimbabwe out the right.  Ruckomechi Camp is in a private concession owned by Wilderness Safaris within the greater Mana Pools National Park and was one of my favorite places to have visited during my 3 week journey. The area is vast with lots of areas to explore and the camp is situated right next to the river which gives you a wide diversity of activities, from game walks and drives to...

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Victoria Falls: Zambia vs Zimbabwe My expectations were shattered when I got to Victoria Falls; they were absolutely spectacular! I was a bit skeptical of the area due to the amount of travelers it receives annually but these feelings were physically washed away by a torrent of rain while walking the Falls trail. The common name for the falls (Mosi oa Tunya) translates to “The Smoke that Thunders” because as you approach you can see the plumes of mist rising from what seems to be a giant fissure in the earth and start to hear a deep roaring sound. The falls are split between Zimbabwe and Zambia, with 2/3 of the falls located on the Zambian side but the main channel of water located on the Zimbabwe side. Which is better? It depends on season, as the water flow greatly varies from rainy to dry season. From Dec-July you’re going to see water and spray...

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Ecuador Has it All Galapagos, Guayaquil and Giant Otters Update on Ecuador's Andes, Amazon and Enchanted Island Archipelago I’ve had several weeks to reflect on my recent trip to the Galapagos Islands and the Napo Wildlife Center Amazon jungle lodge in Yasuni National Park, and remain more convinced than ever that the tiny country of Ecuador is one of the best travel destinations in all of South America for its ecological diversity and rich cultural heritage. Galapagos I voyaged through Galapagos onboard one of our three most popular yachts, the 20-passenger Eric, Flamingo and Letty. I consider these vessels to be one of the best values in Galapagos for their exceptional guides, lowest passenger-to-guide ratio at 10:1 (or less), and multiple cabin options with corresponding prices to fit every traveler's needs. These yachts also rank high on our sustainability goals with their Smart Voyager certification. Right now, our Thanksgiving voyage from November 21-December 1,...
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