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Savings in South America Blossoming cherry trees, tulips and daffodils up north mean that the leaves of the beech trees in Torres del Paine and Los Glacieres National Park have all turned red and gold, sure signs that winter in the Southern hemisphere is not far off. But it isn’t too early to start planning your trip for next season to... For the first time in years, the cost of travel to Patagonia has decreased! Chile has eliminated the $160 Reciprocity Fee US citizens were formerly charged upon arrival into Santiago, a considerable savings for families. If you have some flexibility with your dates and aren’t set on traveling over the peak months of December, January and February, you can stretch your travel dollars further by booking one of the discounted shoulder season departures with savings of up to $1000 per person. (See below for a complete listing of discounted departure dates.) I had...

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A cup of cocoa to save our Mother Earth Here's a good start-of-the-week comeback on the post weekend question, "What did you do this weekend?" "Oh, I participated in a sacred Mayan cocoa ceremony to restore balance in our Mother Earth."  A few months back I was drawn to a handsome, long-haired young man who stood out in a crowd of guides and outfitters at a gathering of adventure travel professionals. Aaron El Leon and his partner Milena Worsham operate Running Buffalo Journeys from their home base in Atitlan, Guatemala. We hit it off as new life-long friends and they offered to hold a sacred cacao ceremony for a small group. Just by virtue of the spiritual nature of Aaron and Milena, which is what drew me to them in the first place, I knew the ceremony was more than a get together to have a cup of warm cocoa.  Indeed, we are not talking about processed cocoa or even...

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Be Moved by the Mountains Being surrounded by raw natural beauty stirs the soul in ways that we as humans can feel and recognize but perhaps not accurately describe. Recent Wildland traveler Steve Fors, who embarked on our Machu Picchu Mountain Lodges Trek in March, very eloquently summed up his experience trekking through the Cordillera Vilcabamba.  “Our trekking guides Manolo and Darwin were off-the-chart fabulous in every way. My favorite moments for the trip were as follows; we went out on the upstairs deck at Salkantay Lodge, shut off all nearby lights and saw the most spectacular stars I have ever seen. While the sky above us was clear, there were thunderstorms nearby. The valley below lit up several times. Then lightning lit up Mt. Salkantay and its neighbors several times. When we hiked over Salkantany Pass, the mountain was obscured by clouds and fog. The next morning we awakened to clear sky, the first rays...

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Best Beach Resort for 2014 Outside Magazine just named South Water Caye, Belize the best beach in 2014 and Pelican Beach Resort the best place to stay while you're there. From the Belizean styled wooden cottages to the breathtaking views, Pelican Beach Resort on South Water Caye is a the perfect spot for everyone looking to escape the chaotic city life and go wild on their Belize beach and active adventure. Find peace and tranquility surrounded by the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Families love the safe sheltered beach for swimming, where kids can even have their first snorkeling experiences. Adult travelers love this piece of paradise because of the flexibility to either join a guided excursion or just get kayaks and snorkeling equipment and ‘get lost’ on a short adventure. Not to mention this is the perfect place for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Don't just take my word and Outside Magazine's word, check...

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Why Shoulder Season Travel is Spectacular! I recently returned from a trip to Peru with my brother to trek the Inca Trail and search for wildlife in the Amazon region of Tambopata. Our trip was in early March, just a few days after the Inca Trail opened for the 2014 season and right in the middle of Peru’s ‘rainy season.’  Traditionally, this is not thought of as an ideal time to go trekking since most people prefer not to hike in the rain. (Unless you live in the Pacific Northwest, then you are just used to it.)  Our timing wasn’t the best in that sense but we were just stoked to go so we packed the gortex, rain pants and ponchos and hoped for the best. It only rained on us twice in 16 days.  There were occasional wimpy sprinklings in the mornings but those didn’t even merit breaking out the rain jacket.  Mostly we had...
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