Reefs to Rockies https://reefstorockies.com Your nature and wildlife travel specialists. Tue, 30 Jun 2020 19:57:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://reefstorockies.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/cropped-RR-Sticker-3-32x32.jpg Reefs to Rockies https://reefstorockies.com 32 32 Five US National Parks Far Away From Crowds https://reefstorockies.com/2020/06/30/five-us-national-parks-far-away-from-crowds/ https://reefstorockies.com/2020/06/30/five-us-national-parks-far-away-from-crowds/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2020 19:57:10 +0000 https://reefstorockies.com/?p=16852 Each year, the National Park Service tracks the total number of visits made to each of the parks.  Some of the least visited parks take more planning and travel to reach, but the lack of crowds at these national treasures is worth it.  As we continue social distancing and wait for international travel to make its way […]

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Each year, the National Park Service tracks the total number of visits made to each of the parks.  Some of the least visited parks take more planning and travel to reach, but the lack of crowds at these national treasures is worth it.  As we continue social distancing and wait for international travel to make its way back, domestic destinations make the most sense.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Texas

Guadalupe National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park protects the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef, the four highest peaks in Texas, an environmentally diverse collection of flora and fauna, and the stories of lives shaped through conflict, cooperation and survival.

Pinnacles National Park – California

Pinnacles National Park

Some 23 million years ago multiple volcanoes erupted, flowed, and slid to form what would become Pinnacles National Park. What remains is a unique landscape. Travelers journey through chaparral, oak woodlands, and canyon bottoms. Hikers enter rare talus caves and emerge to towering rock spires teeming with life: prairie and peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and the inspiring California condor.

Katmai National Park and Preserve – Alaska

Brown Bear – Katmai National Park and Preserve

A landscape is alive underneath our feet, filled with creatures that remind us what it is to be wild.Katmai was established in 1918 to protect the volcanically devastated region surrounding Novarupta and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Today, Katmai National Park and Preserve also protects 9,000 years of human history and important habitat for salmon and thousands of brown bears.

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve – Alaska

Lake Clark National Park & Preserve – Alaska

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is a land of stunning beauty. Volcanoes steam, salmon run, bears forage, and craggy mountains reflect in shimmering turquoise lakes. Here, too, local people and culture still depend on the land and water. Lake Clark preserves the ancestral homelands of the Dena’ina people, an intact ecosystem at the headwaters of the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world.Venture into the park to become part of the wilderness.

Dry Tortugas National Park – Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park – Florida

Almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West lies the remote Dry Tortugas National Park. This 100-square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands.  Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that frequents the area.

Dream Now, Travel Later.  We’re here to help you in the planning process when you’re ready.

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Helpful Tips for Flight Delays and Cancellations https://reefstorockies.com/2020/03/27/helpful-tips-for-flight-delays-and-cancellations/ https://reefstorockies.com/2020/03/27/helpful-tips-for-flight-delays-and-cancellations/#respond Fri, 27 Mar 2020 14:49:59 +0000 https://reefstorockies.com/?p=16696 When flights get delayed or worse yet, canceled entirely, it can cause a great deal of stress for travelers. There are several reasons flights become disrupted such as security, bad weather, mechanical issues, or labor strikes that lead to a delay or cancellation. When this happens, the airliner’s only obligation is to get you to […]

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When flights get delayed or worse yet, canceled entirely, it can cause a great deal of stress for travelers. There are several reasons flights become disrupted such as security, bad weather, mechanical issues, or labor strikes that lead to a delay or cancellation. When this happens, the airliner’s only obligation is to get you to your destination on the next available flight which may cause big interruptions to your travel plans. Here are some helpful tips to handle this situation.

Know the rules:Passenger rights vary by country.  Check out US rules at the Department of Transportation’s Fly Rights page.  If you’re flying within or from the European Union (EU), or to the EU on an EU-based airline, you have a better chance of getting compensation due to the regulation EC26 that went into effect in 2004. EU Air Passenger Rights

Arrive Early: Determine how long it will take you to get to the airport. Remember to factor in traffic, security wait times, etc. and arrive early, especially if inclement weather is predicted or already in effect. 

Spot A Delay Early: Sign up for your carrier’s travel alert page. Check early and often. Airlines usually post notices a day or two before bad weather approaches. Options to change flights to another day, free of charge, are common. Also, be sure to look for possible delays by checking the flight status of the inbound plane, the plane that will be operating your flight, on your airline’s website or on FlightAware.com.  Flights that have in-flight Wi-Fi usually have free access to their website. Use your laptop or smartphone to check the status of your connection and any available options to get ahead before landing.  

Travel Insurance: If you purchased a travel insurance policy or have benefits through a credit card used to purchase your flight, review your benefits like trip delay, missed connection and baggage delay.  Also make sure you have your policy number and 24-Hour Emergency Assistance phone numbers handy.  The insurance company may have a concierge department that can also assist you with rebooking flights. 

Rebook without an Agent: Most carriers have an app that allows you to rebook a canceled flight on your own without the hassle of waiting in line to speak with an agent. 

Using Smartphone Apps to Call Airlines Internationally: Airline call centers can have extensive wait times during emergencies. Consider using smartphone apps such as Skype or WhatsApp to get in touch internationally with your airline. It’s possible these numbers may lead to different agents who will pick up faster.

Weigh Your Options: Sometimes airlines make an initial offer that isn’t ideal – a return flight that’s 2-3 days out or a flight that has multiple connections and long layovers. This is the time to be kind, but firm with the customer service representative. If you don’t like what they offer, keep checking options on your phone until you find what’s suitable for you. Visit online booking sites such as Kayak and Google Flights to research possible flights to present the agent with a counter-offer that’s more suitable for you.  Knowledge is key during negotiations. 

Be Kind: It will be to your advantage to be calm and treat the gate agent or the customer service representative who’s assisting you with kindness and respect. They’ll remember how you treated them and may be more inclined to take care of you if a limited number of seats become available. 

Hopefully these tips will allow you to be better prepared and travel more confidently. If you have any questions or are considering a future trip contact Reefs to Rockies today. Knowledge is Power! 

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International Trip Prep Checklist https://reefstorockies.com/2020/03/24/international-trip-prep-checklist/ https://reefstorockies.com/2020/03/24/international-trip-prep-checklist/#respond Tue, 24 Mar 2020 21:38:04 +0000 https://reefstorockies.com/?p=16686 Now that you’ve booked your upcoming international trip, it’s a good idea to make sure you cover necessary steps prior to departure.  If you have any questions as your departures dates approach, don’t hesitate to contact us. International Trip Prep Checklist Check Passport Validity– Check to see that the expiration date is at least six months after […]

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Now that you’ve booked your upcoming international trip, it’s a good idea to make sure you cover necessary steps prior to departure.  If you have any questions as your departures dates approach, don’t hesitate to contact us.

International Trip Prep Checklist

Check Passport Validity– Check to see that the expiration date is at least six months after your trip end date.  Some countries don’t require validity for that long, but it’s a good idea to double check.  If you have to renew your passport, the number on your new passport will not match the old one. Some activities, e.g. Machu Picchu entrance tickets require a valid passport prior to purchase.  

Check Visa Requirements– Check to see if your destination requires a tourist visa for entry. If a visa is required, check to see if you can get the visa on arrival or if it must be attained prior to your arrival date.  You’ll also want to make sure you have enough blank pages in your passport for the visa.

Check Insurance Coverage– Check to see if your insurance coverage will cover you while abroad (medical and auto, if you’re renting a car). If it doesn’t, consider supplemental travel insurance coverage.  Policies typically offer medical benefits including emergency evacuation as well as expenses related to delays, missed connections, and baggage issues.

Check Health and Vaccination Recommendations– To check vaccination requirements and recommendations, review the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Traveler’s Health website

Check Currency Guidelines– Will your local currency be accepted at your destination or is it best to convert to the local currency. Are credit cards widely accepted? Are ATMs widely available? If you plan to use a credit card on your trip, does it charge an international currency conversion fee?

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Costa Rica’s Quetzal Season https://reefstorockies.com/2020/03/07/costa-ricas-quetzal-season/ https://reefstorockies.com/2020/03/07/costa-ricas-quetzal-season/#respond Sat, 07 Mar 2020 22:00:44 +0000 https://reefstorockies.com/?p=16671 The Resplendent Quetzal ranks as one of the most beautiful birds in the world.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a birder, it’s hard not to be impressed when you catch a glimpse of vibrant emerald green in the cloud forest.  A member of the Trogon Family, the Resplendent Quetzal is found in montane highlands […]

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Male Resplendent Quetzal with wild avocado fruit.

The Resplendent Quetzal ranks as one of the most beautiful birds in the world.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a birder, it’s hard not to be impressed when you catch a glimpse of vibrant emerald green in the cloud forest. 

A member of the Trogon Family, the Resplendent Quetzal is found in montane highlands from Chiapas, Mexico to western Panama including Costa Rica.  The best time to spot quetzals in Costa Rica is during their breeding season – February to May.  Fruiting laurel and avocado trees lure quetzals to their breeding territories making them easier to find. Our top picks for quetzal viewing in Costa Rica are the cloud forests of San Gerardo de Dota and Monteverde.

If you’re thinking of a trip to Costa Rica, contact one of our destination specialists to discuss where and when to go for the country’s best wildlife experiences.

Male Resplendent Quetzal at nest.
Female Resplendent Quetzal

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Mexico’s Magical Monarch Butterflies – 2020 Trip Report https://reefstorockies.com/2020/02/27/mexicos-magical-monarch-butterflies-2020-trip-report/ https://reefstorockies.com/2020/02/27/mexicos-magical-monarch-butterflies-2020-trip-report/#respond Thu, 27 Feb 2020 17:23:13 +0000 https://reefstorockies.com/?p=16662 Every fall, the longest known migration of any insect results in blankets of orange covering oyamel fir forests in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the butterfly sanctuaries provide overwintering habitat for millions of monarchs that have traveled 2800 miles from Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in Mexico.  It’s still […]

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Every fall, the longest known migration of any insect results in blankets of orange covering oyamel fir forests in Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the butterfly sanctuaries provide overwintering habitat for millions of monarchs that have traveled 2800 miles from Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in Mexico. 

It’s still a mystery on how this generation of monarch butterflies finds their way to Mexico. These southern-bound monarchs are four to five generations removed from the pregnant females that started the northward migration the previous year.  

This stunning transformation of this Mexican Forest with the monarchs’ arrival is one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles.  Here are some highlights from our recent trip to two reserves (Piedra Herrada and El Capulin) in Mexico State.  

As temperatures start to warm later in the season, the feeding and mating behavior of the monarchs increases.
Cluster of monarchs on an oyamel fir at Piedra Herrada Sanctuary.
Mud puddling of monarchs in search of water and salt.
Lone monarch butterfly at El Capulin Sanctuary.
El Capulin Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary.
We had the best viewing of monarch clusters during our visit at El Capulin.

If you’re considering a trip to Mexico’s monarch reserves, feel free to contact us for more information.  We’re offering two small group departures in February 2021.  We can also create a custom itinerary for you anytime during the season.

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Mexico City’s Street Food Scene https://reefstorockies.com/2020/02/26/mexico-citys-street-food-scene/ https://reefstorockies.com/2020/02/26/mexico-citys-street-food-scene/#respond Wed, 26 Feb 2020 17:27:18 +0000 https://reefstorockies.com/?p=16657 During a recent trip to Mexico City, I decided to spend a morning exploring three neighborhoods near my hotel in Reforma during a Street Food Tour.  My local guide, Ariane is a graduate from culinary arts school and has combined her interest in Mexican cuisine with tourism. Mexico City Street Food: A Beginner’s Guide was the first […]

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During a recent trip to Mexico City, I decided to spend a morning exploring three neighborhoods near my hotel in Reforma during a Street Food Tour.  My local guide, Ariane is a graduate from culinary arts school and has combined her interest in Mexican cuisine with tourism. Mexico City Street Food: A Beginner’s Guide was the first food tour developed by Eat Mexico 10 years ago and the street vendors highlighted during the tour have stayed the same since the beginning.  That’s a testament to how good the food stops are along the way.  

Tacos de Canasta are pre-made and stored in baskets until sold.
Pambazos are like tortas except that the bread is dipped in a red guajillo chile salsa and then fried. The result is a crunchy, chewy sandwich.

In all, we stopped at nine local businesses including a tortilleria, a juice stand, multiple taco stands and a dulceria (candy shop) that has been in business since the late 19thCentury.  My father is from Mexico City and I’ve traveled here more times than I can remember, but this was one of my most enjoyable, and delicious, experiences to date.  I also learned more fascinating details about tortillas than I could’ve imagined. Did you know there are 65,000 tortillerias in Mexico City?

The most nutritious corn tortillas are made from real, not industrialized, masa (dough).

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New Data Predicts Best, Worst Time to Buy Airline Tickets https://reefstorockies.com/2020/02/21/new-data-predicts-best-worst-time-to-buy-airline-tickets/ https://reefstorockies.com/2020/02/21/new-data-predicts-best-worst-time-to-buy-airline-tickets/#respond Fri, 21 Feb 2020 17:26:49 +0000 https://reefstorockies.com/?p=16652 The travel booking platform Qtrip recently released its sixth annual airfare study on the best and worst times to bur airline tickets in 20202.  The study’s data is based on an analysis of 917 million airfares in more than 8,000 markets. Below are some of the study’s highlights: On average, the least expensive airfares were available […]

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The travel booking platform Qtrip recently released its sixth annual airfare study on the best and worst times to bur airline tickets in 20202.  The study’s data is based on an analysis of 917 million airfares in more than 8,000 markets.

Below are some of the study’s highlights:

  • On average, the least expensive airfares were available 77 days before departure in 2019. That’s up from 76 days in 2018, 70 in 2017, and 54 days between 2013 and 2015.
  • In 2019, airfares changed an average of 54 times by $34 each swing. This is down from 61 changes in 2018 and 62 in 2017.
  • The day you fly is much more important than the day of week you buy. On average, a flight traveling on Tuesday or Wednesday is $100 less than the same itinerary on Sunday, which is by far the most expensive day to travel. However, contrary to some popular myths, the day of the week that you go online to buy your tickets still doesn’t matter.
  • The best fares appear 85 days out in spring, 113 days out in summer, 77 days out in fall, and just 49 days out in winter. Excluding the December holidays, winter offers the best deals. Summer will cost $25 extra on average.

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Costa Rica – Beyond the Classic https://reefstorockies.com/2020/01/28/costa-rica-beyond-the-classic/ https://reefstorockies.com/2020/01/28/costa-rica-beyond-the-classic/#respond Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:00:20 +0000 https://reefstorockies.com/?p=16611 Volcano, rainforest, cloud forest and beach.  That’s the most popular combination of sites in what we consider the Classic Costa Rica itinerary.  The volcano is typically Arenal.  You’re surrounded by rainforest there as well.  Monteverde is the most well-known cloud forest location.  For beach, a popular option is Manuel Antonio (also rainforest) or the Guanacaste […]

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Volcano, rainforest, cloud forest and beach.  That’s the most popular combination of sites in what we consider the Classic Costa Rica itinerary.  The volcano is typically Arenal.  You’re surrounded by rainforest there as well.  Monteverde is the most well-known cloud forest location.  For beach, a popular option is Manuel Antonio (also rainforest) or the Guanacaste region at the northern end of the Pacific coast (dry tropical forest).  The typical sequence is Arenal, Monteverde, and beach at the end.  If the trip ends at Manuel Antonio, we recommend SJO Airport for flights and if Guanacaste, LIR for flights. 

When planning a custom trip for clients, we often hear that these are the must-see/do places in Costa Rica. If you opt for the Classic, you won’t be disappointed. But if you’re up for getting off the beaten path, there are a lots of options that go beyond the Classic.

For rainforest, consider the Osa Peninsula on the southern Pacific coast.  The Osa is home to Corcovado National Park and the largest intact section of coastal lowland rainforest in Central America.   You also have beautiful beaches in the area with rainforest right up to the sand’s edge. Scarlet Macaws, toucans, howler monkeys, sloths and whales are commonly spotted.  This is also the best place in the country to spot the elusive (and rare) jaguar.  You won’t see large crowds here, though.  We’ve walked for hours on Osa beaches without seeing another person.

For cloud forest, our top pick is San Gerardo de Dota, about 2.5 hours south of San Jose. 

If a volcano is high on your wish list, you’re likely to see activity from Turrialba and Irazu Volcanoes during a San Gerardo de Dota cloud forest stay.  A flight to the Osa also affords aerial views of several volcanoes on clear days.

And if you’d like even more beach time, that’s easy to combine with the Osa and San Gerardo de Dota. There are lots of ways to go beyond the Costa Rica Classic.  Contact us for more details.

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2020 Hot Lists in Travel https://reefstorockies.com/2020/01/28/2020-hot-lists-in-travel/ https://reefstorockies.com/2020/01/28/2020-hot-lists-in-travel/#respond Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:42:00 +0000 https://reefstorockies.com/?p=16605 Starting in November, major travel publications start publishing lists of travel hotspots for the upcoming year.  With increasing news of overtourism, carbon footprints, sustainability and more, we’re looking at those lists in a different light as we begin 2020.  Costa Rica, the country that launched R2R and our top-selling destination, made its way onto multiple […]

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Starting in November, major travel publications start publishing lists of travel hotspots for the upcoming year.  With increasing news of overtourism, carbon footprints, sustainability and more, we’re looking at those lists in a different light as we begin 2020. 

Costa Rica, the country that launched R2R and our top-selling destination, made its way onto multiple Hot Lists for 2020. 

Destinations we’re most excited about in 2020 include Australia, Tasmania, and Guyana.  Keep an eye out for more news on these destinations in the coming months. 

CNN Travel’s 20 best places to visit in 2020– Destinations in our portfolio include Chile, Brazil, Canada, the US, and Zambia.

Best in Travel 2020 – Lonely Planet– Destinations in our portfolio include Costa Rica, Canada and the US.

The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2020 – Travel and Leisure Magazine– Destinations in our portfolio include Peru, the US, Mexico, Botswana, Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, Canada, New Zealand, Ecuador, and Rwanda.

20 Best Places to Go in 2020 –  Conde Nast Traveler– Destinations in our portfolio include Brazil, Botswana, Canada, Argentina, the US, Rwanda, and Australia.

If you have questions about any of these destinations, contact us.  We love to talk travel!

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2019 – The Year in Photos https://reefstorockies.com/2019/12/26/2019-the-year-in-photos/ https://reefstorockies.com/2019/12/26/2019-the-year-in-photos/#respond Thu, 26 Dec 2019 16:45:13 +0000 https://reefstorockies.com/?p=16570 This year, our team traveled to diverse destinations including Tanzania, Belize, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, French Polynesia (Moorea), and the US (coast to coast). We continue to increase our destination knowledge and strengthen in-country partnerships through exploratory trips and industry events so that we can continue to provide you a high level of service and personalization.   […]

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This year, our team traveled to diverse destinations including Tanzania, Belize, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, French Polynesia (Moorea), and the US (coast to coast). We continue to increase our destination knowledge and strengthen in-country partnerships through exploratory trips and industry events so that we can continue to provide you a high level of service and personalization.  

We always enjoy reviewing the year through images from our trips. It reminds us how lucky we are to be in this business. It’s hard to pick only 12 photos, but this selection includes some of our favorite moments from spending quality time with a leopard cub in Tanzania to swimming with a humpback whale calf in Moorea.  

This collection of photos highlights our passion for travel and for the world’s best nature and wildlife experiences. Our goal is to share that enthusiasm and knowledge when planning trips for R2R travelers.   

We’re excited to see what 2020 brings and hope you’ll think of us when you start to plan your next trip. Happy New Year!  

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