Reefs to Rockies https://reefstorockies.com Your nature and wildlife travel specialists. Sat, 12 Oct 2019 01:08:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 8 Favorite Summer Travel Apps https://reefstorockies.com/2019/05/29/8-favorite-summer-travel-apps/ Wed, 29 May 2019 11:55:24 +0000 http://reefstorockies.com/?p=14331 Planning a trip can be stressful. It’s important to know what apps may enhance your trip, not distract from it. If you’re planning on a staycation, camping, road trip, or a trip further abroad, we’ve put together a list of our 8 favorite travel apps. LoungeBuddy– Regardless of whether you are traveling for business or […]

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Planning a trip can be stressful. It’s important to know what apps may enhance your trip, not distract from it. If you’re planning on a staycation, camping, road trip, or a trip further abroad, we’ve put together a list of our 8 favorite travel apps.

  1. LoungeBuddy– Regardless of whether you are traveling for business or leisure, lounge access can help you make the most of your airport experience. With LoungeBuddy, all travelers can access any of the lounges in our network — no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required.
  2. Roadtripppers– Plan your journey, find amazing places, and take fascinating detours…
  3. Night Sky– Quickly identify stars, planets, constellations and satellites above. This is all done magically.  Whether you’re looking for a constellation or the International Space Station, let Night Sky direct you to it, then explore the object in AR!
  4. Chefs Feed– ChefsFeed provides dining and drinking guides, inspiration, and unique experiences direct from experts.
  5. Sworkit– Sworkitallows you to customize and play personalized video workouts that fit into your life. Never get bored, never have an excuse not to work out while traveling.
  6. Roadside America– Your online guide to offbeat tourist attractions.
  7. Atlas Obscura– Curious and wondrous travel destinations.
  8. iNaturalist– Contribute to Science. Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. We share your findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Oaxaca, Mexico https://reefstorockies.com/2019/04/25/10-reasons-visit-oaxaca-mexico/ Thu, 25 Apr 2019 14:57:46 +0000 http://reefstorockies.com/?p=14310 Oaxaca in southern Mexico overwhelms the eyes and delights the palate.  Rated the third best city to visit in Central and South America by Travel and Leisure Magazine, Oaxaca City showcases all of the historical periods of Mexico.  If you’re looking for a city that’s not overwhelmingly big, yet packs a huge punch in terms […]

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Oaxaca in southern Mexico overwhelms the eyes and delights the palate.  Rated the third best city to visit in Central and South America by Travel and Leisure Magazine, Oaxaca City showcases all of the historical periods of Mexico.  If you’re looking for a city that’s not overwhelmingly big, yet packs a huge punch in terms of activities and culture, then Oaxaca is for you.

1. Monte Albán– The ancient center of Zapotec and Mixtec culture dating back to the 8th Monte Albán, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered one of Mexico’s most culturally rich archaeological sites.

2. Día de los Muertos– A national holiday in Mexico and considered one of the most important cultural celebrations in Latin America. It is believed that the spirits of the dead visit their families on October 31 and leave on November 2.

3. Mole– Oaxaca is the land of the seven moles. Taste them all until you find your favorite.

4. Alejibres – Imaginary and real creatures carved and painted in fantastic designs from the artisan’s own imagination. Alejibres are traditionally made in Oaxaca in the towns of San Martin Tilcajete and Arrazola.

5. Mezcal– Oaxaca is where some of the best mezcal’s in Mexico are made. Visit a local distillery and learn the entire production process.

6. Markets– Oaxacan markets are sure to delight. Check out Tlacolula market on Sundays where you can have barbecue for breakfast, buy folk art and see textiles made by the same artisans you’re talking to.

7. Hierve de Agua– Rock formations that look like waterfalls frozen in time and natural mineral pools for swimming.

8. Ethnobotanical Garden– Oaxaca’s indigenous peoples are known for their textiles, ceramics, cuisine, and complex use of plants. Discover the wealth of plant and animal species found in Oaxaca and how they have influenced the city’s people for more than 12,000 years at Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca.

9. Historic City Center– Founded in 1529, by a small group of Zapotec Indians, the colonial city retains its trace in the form of checkerboard with square blocks and portals on all four sides of the square.

10. Barro Negro Pottery– Black clay pottery from Oaxaca that’s distinguished by its color, sheen and unique designs. Oaxaca is one of few Mexican states characterized by the continuance of its ancestral crafts.

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Travel Tips For Your Next Flight https://reefstorockies.com/2019/03/25/travel-tips-next-flight/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 19:50:03 +0000 http://reefstorockies.com/?p=14268 In the last few months, the R2R team has embarked on everything from long haul flights to Africa to 8-hr airport layovers and short 2-hr flights within the US. Every time we head to the airport, we’re reminded how important it is to be prepared. Airports and flights are our least favorite part of travel […]

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In the last few months, the R2R team has embarked on everything from long haul flights to Africa to 8-hr airport layovers and short 2-hr flights within the US. Every time we head to the airport, we’re reminded how important it is to be prepared. Airports and flights are our least favorite part of travel and we bet many of you agree.

Here are our favorite airport/ flight travel hacks and advice to get you ready for your next flight.

Apps. Research airport and TSA apps prior to departure. Airport maps can speed up the transit process, especially when running late. It’s also important to download the latest version of the airline’s app before your flight. It’s often the only way you’ll have access to in-flight entertainment.
Lounges. If you have a layover longer than two hours, consider purchasing a day pass to the airline lounge. Having access to comfortable seating, WiFi, outlets for charging devices, food and beverages is often worth the $50 you’ll spend.
Skip the plastic. Bring a reusable water bottle or cup with lid to hydrate before and during your flight. Water dispensers are commonly found in airport terminals after you’ve cleared security.
Hand sanitizer. It’s always a good idea to have a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer in your carry-on luggage.
3 Must-Have’s For Flights – Neck Pillow, Noise Cancelling Headphones and Eye Mask. Not only will they help you get some sleep, but they’ll also help you tune out the high volume of in-flight noise.
Entertainment. Stock your phone or tablet with podcasts and/or audio books. You can close your eyes and drown out the noise around you. Our current favorite podcast series are Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” and “Serial”.

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A Round Up of 2019 “Places To Go” Lists https://reefstorockies.com/2019/01/29/round-2019-places-go-lists/ Tue, 29 Jan 2019 16:17:56 +0000 http://reefstorockies.com/?p=14235 Starting in November, major travel publications start publishing lists of travel hotspots for the upcoming year.  We always look forward to seeing what destinations are sure to be trending in the coming months. Our portfolio of destinations offers some of the world’s best wildlife and nature experiences. It’s no surprise that the majority of the countries […]

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Starting in November, major travel publications start publishing lists of travel hotspots for the upcoming year.  We always look forward to seeing what destinations are sure to be trending in the coming months.

Our portfolio of destinations offers some of the world’s best wildlife and nature experiences. It’s no surprise that the majority of the countries we offer make at least one list every year.

2019 Hot Travel Destinations

52 Places To Go in 2019 – New York Times

Notable Mentions:Panama and Australia 

Where To Travel in 2019 – National Geographic Traveler

Notable Mentions:Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Belize, Colombia, Mozambique, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia

19 Best Places to Go in 2019 – Conde Nast Traveler

Notable Mentions: Namibia, Belize, Mexico, and Australia

The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2019 – Travel and Leisure

Notable Mentions:Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Kenya, Namibia, Panama, Rwanda, and New Zealand

Where to Go in 2019 – Afar

Notable Mentions: The Azores, Rwanda, New Brunswick, and a shout out to Denver

The 10 Coolest Places to Go in 2019 – Forbes

Notable Mentions:The Azores, Colombia, and Rwanda

The 19 Best Places to Travel in 2019 – Forbes

Notable Mentions: Mexico, Kenya, Belize, The Azores, Botswana, Iceland, and Colombia

 

It’s no surprise that Mexico is on more than one list again in 2019.  We truly believe Mexico is one of, if not the most, underrated wildlife destinations in the world.

We’re happy to see the Azores getting multiple nods and Panama is certainly trending this year.

If you’re thinking of a trip to any of these destinations, we’re happy to schedule a call to discuss when and where to go for the best overall experience.

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2018 – The Year in Photos https://reefstorockies.com/2018/12/27/2018-year-photos/ Thu, 27 Dec 2018 17:49:12 +0000 http://reefstorockies.com/?p=14200 This year, our team traveled to diverse destinations including the Azores, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Antarctica, Brazil, and the US.  We continue to increase our destination knowledge and strengthen in-country partnerships through exploratory trips and industry events so that we continue to provide a high level of service and personalization to you. […]

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This year, our team traveled to diverse destinations including the Azores, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Antarctica, Brazil, and the US.  We continue to increase our destination knowledge and strengthen in-country partnerships through exploratory trips and industry events so that we continue to provide a high level of service and personalization to you.

Our “2018 Year in Photos” Collection highlights our passion for travel and the world’s best wildlife experiences.  Happy New Year!

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7 Travel Hacks – Fall 2018 Edition https://reefstorockies.com/2018/10/21/7-travel-hacks-fall-2018-edition/ Sun, 21 Oct 2018 22:08:04 +0000 http://reefstorockies.com/?p=14174 Saving time and money are important considerations when you travel, especially when you travel as much as we do. This blog post is being written as I fly to Ecuador. I’ll spend the next couple of weeks exploring Ecuador’s Amazon Basin rainforest, cloud forest, and Galapagos Islands. I used all of these Travel Hacks in […]

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Saving time and money are important considerations when you travel, especially when you travel as much as we do. This blog post is being written as I fly to Ecuador. I’ll spend the next couple of weeks exploring Ecuador’s Amazon Basin rainforest, cloud forest, and Galapagos Islands. I used all of these Travel Hacks in preparation for this trip.

1. Use a mobile boarding pass whenever available, but don’t rely on an Internet connection. Mobile boarding passes are a great way to skip the hassle of printing a paper copy and avoid check-in lines at the airport. Don’t rely on a mobile boarding pass that requires an Internet connection, though. While most airlines will send a link to a mobile version of your boarding pass, you might need WiFi or mobile data to access it. Neither of those always work best in an airport terminal. You may find yourself with a link to a website that won’t load. It’s better to take a screenshot of the mobile boarding pass or save an offline version to your Apple Wallet or similar.

2. Apply for Global Entry. Even if you don’t fly internationally more than once a year, consider applying for Global Entry. In addition to expedited US Customs screening when you return from an international trip, you also get the TSA Pre-Check benefit of expedited screening when you go through airport security. TSA Pre-Check costs $85 for a five year membership. Global Entry is only $15 more ($100 for a five year membership). That extra $15 is well worth it. If you add your Known Traveler Number (KTN) when booking flights, you’ll get TSA Pre-Check status on your flight even for domestic flights.

3. Pack a pen. Pens only seem to be around when you don’t need them. When you do, you can’t find one. If you have to fill out on immigration form prior to entry, the airline will provide the form, but not the pen. Don’t be stuck looking for a pen in the Immigration area and then filling your paperwork while everyone else lines up in front of you. You can also use the same pen to fill out a postcard to mail home (yes, postcards still exist) and to sign receipts. It sounds so simple and obvious, yet few people travel with a pen.

4. Use a photo backup service. Camera phones are terrific these days and an easy way to capture trip memories in photos and videos. Services like Google Photos and Amazon Photos allow you to back up photos to the cloud as you take them (when you have service) or when you’re back on Wi-Fi. If your phone gets lost, stolen, drowned in a rain shower while hiking, or you drop it at a music festival and never find it, you’ll still have your pictures.

5. Pick the right luggage. Having an assortment of luggage to choose from has made my travel life much easier. For this trip, I needed to pack for two weeks of travel. My flights were booked separately on two different airlines so I wasn’t able to check luggage all the way through to my destination. I needed luggage that could fit all of my gear (clothes, laptop, multiple cameras, binoculars, chargers, noise cancelling headphones, snorkel equipment, etc.) as well as a dozen extra t-shirts to give as gifts on arrival. I was able to fit all of that gear in a soft-sided duffel bag and small daypack. The duffel easily fits in overhead compartments and the day pack fits under the seat in front of me. I had too much stuff for the trip to use a roller bag so having multiple pieces to choose from saved me from checked bag fees as well as time in line to check luggage.

6. Pack a portable USB battery charger. When you’re out all day, taking photos and videos, navigating with maps, posting on social media, etc. your phone’s battery is going to drain quickly. Having a portable USB charged on hand can keep your phone running. If you can get one with multiple USB ports, even better. There never seem to be enough power outlets when you need them.

7. Pack a refillable water bottle. This one comes up in all of our lists. I’m amazed at how many people I saw purchase bottled water at the airport this morning. Most airports now have free water bottle filling stations and water fountains. In addition to minimizing single use plastics usage, you’ll save money. A bottle of water at the airport can run $2-3. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on something else?

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Good News from Tambopata, Peru https://reefstorockies.com/2018/08/28/good-news-tambopata-peru/ Tue, 28 Aug 2018 22:22:18 +0000 http://reefstorockies.com/?p=14064 A few weeks ago we had some R2R travelers return from a two-night stay at Refugio Amazonas Lodge in Tambopata, Peru.  Refugio Amazonas is the newest lodge in Rainforest Expeditions’ portfolio.  The other two properties are Posada Amazonas and Tambopata Research Center.  As expected, we received rave reviews about their stay.  But we didn’t expect […]

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A few weeks ago we had some R2R travelers return from a two-night stay at Refugio Amazonas Lodge in Tambopata, Peru.  Refugio Amazonas is the newest lodge in Rainforest Expeditions’ portfolio.  The other two properties are Posada Amazonas and Tambopata Research Center.  As expected, we received rave reviews about their stay.  But we didn’t expect a report of a harpy eagle sighting during their trip to the mammal clay lick.

Recent harpy eagle sighting during a stay at Refugio Amazonas. Photo courtesy of Drew Colvin.

A harpy eagle ranks high on the want-to-see list for many wildlife and bird enthusiasts. Even though harpy eagles are the largest raptor species in the Americas and avian king of the rainforest canopy, they’re not easy to find.  That’s changing in Tambopata.  One in five guests visiting Tambopata and staying at Refugio Amazonas spot this incredible eagle.

Maybe even better – one in three boats headed to Tambopata Research Center in 2017 spotted a jaguar along the way.  Jaguar prey like peccary, tapir, and capybara are abundant in Tambopata.  This population of jaguars hasn’t had much interaction with humans so they don’t tend to be skittish, allowing for quality viewing when spotted.

Jaguar in Tambopata, Peru. Photo provided by Rainforest Expeditions.

Tambopata Reserve was established in 1991. After more than 25 years of protection, conservation efforts are working.  That’s good news for Tambopata flora, fauna and visitors alike.

Thinking of a trip to Tambopata, Peru? Contact us to discuss recent sightings, best time visit, ideal length of stay, lodge amenities, etc.

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Good News for Mountain Gorillas and Gorilla Trekking https://reefstorockies.com/2018/08/26/good-news-gorillas-gorilla-trekking/ Sun, 26 Aug 2018 22:17:44 +0000 http://reefstorockies.com/?p=14061 The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has announced the increase in the number of mountain gorilla families for tracking from 15 to 17 following the successful habituation of the Katwe group in Buhoma and the Christmas group in Nkuringo. For enthusiasts looking for more time with gorillas, it’s still possible to embark on a habituation trek […]

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The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has announced the increase in the number of mountain gorilla families for tracking from 15 to 17 following the successful habituation of the Katwe group in Buhoma and the Christmas group in Nkuringo.

For enthusiasts looking for more time with gorillas, it’s still possible to embark on a habituation trek with the Rushaga group in southern Bwindi National Park. Habituation experiences allow trekkers to travel with researchers and spend four hours with gorillas versus the standard one hour experience.

gorilla trekking

In other good news, the UWA announced that the mountain gorilla population has surpassed 1000. Results of the Virunga Mountain Gorilla census puts that population at 604 individuals, up from 480 in 2010. According to a 2011 census in Bwindi, numbers there were over 400. A new census is underway in Bwindi so numbers may be even higher.

gorilla trekking

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Belize Barrier Reef System Out of Danger? https://reefstorockies.com/2018/08/02/belize-barrier-reef-system-danger/ Thu, 02 Aug 2018 15:04:02 +0000 http://reefstorockies.com/?p=14054 In 2009, Belize’s Barrier Reef Reserve System was inscribed to UNESCO’s list of sites in danger due to the destruction of mangroves and marine ecosystems, offshore oil extraction, and the development of non-sustainable building projects. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second largest barrier reef in the world, second to the Great Barrier Reef in […]

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In 2009, Belize’s Barrier Reef Reserve System was inscribed to UNESCO’s list of sites in danger due to the destruction of mangroves and marine ecosystems, offshore oil extraction, and the development of non-sustainable building projects.

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second largest barrier reef in the world, second to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  The section of reef in Belize is an outstanding natural system consisting of coral reefs, sand cays, offshore atolls, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. It provides important habitat for an array of species including sea turtles, manatees, sea horses, sharks, and tropical fish.

This summer, the World Heritage Committee decided to remove the Belize Barrier Reef System from the List of World Heritage in Danger.  Safeguarding measures by Belize, notably a moratorium on oil exploration and better protection of mangroves warranted the removal.

From colorful coral reefs to tropical rainforest to gorgeous beaches to the mysteries of the ancient Maya, you can truly experience it all in Belize.  Discover Belize for yourself with a personalized, custom itinerary. Contact us for more details.

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Where Does The Dollar Go Further in 2018? https://reefstorockies.com/2018/07/30/dollar-go-2018/ Mon, 30 Jul 2018 15:51:45 +0000 http://reefstorockies.com/?p=14042 We all want to save money on vacation and some destinations are currently a better value for US travelers.  We researched a variety of travel resources and compiled lists of destinations with a favorable exchange rate this year.  For an epic adventure that won’t break the bank, check out the lists below.  A country marked […]

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We all want to save money on vacation and some destinations are currently a better value for US travelers.  We researched a variety of travel resources and compiled lists of destinations with a favorable exchange rate this year.  For an epic adventure that won’t break the bank, check out the lists below.  A country marked with an asterisk (*) made more than one list. Mexico and New Zealand made all four lists.

Reefs to Rockies Mexico City guided tours

Travel + Leisure Magazine – January 2018

  1. South Africa
  2. Mexico*
  3. Norway
  4. New Zealand*
  5. Indonesia*
  6. Japan*
  7. India
  8. Colombia*
  9. Iceland
  10. Croatia
  11. Chile
  12. Argentina*
  13. Canada
  14. Brazil*

Travel + Leisure Magazine – Updated July 2018

  1. Turkey
  2. Mexico*
  3. Kazakhstan
  4. Nepal
  5. Indonesia*
  6. Sri Lanka
  7. Switzerland
  8. New Zealand*
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Trinidad and Tobago

Conde Nast Traveler

  1. Colombia*
  2. New Zealand*
  3. Argentina*
  4. Norway*
  5. Azerbaijan
  6. Indonesia*
  7. Mexico*

Smarter Travel

  1. Japan*
  2. Denmark
  3. Brazil*
  4. New Zealand*
  5. Morocco
  6. Vietnam
  7. Costa Rica
  8. Argentina*
  9. Mexico*

Many of these destinations are in the R2R portfolio.  We’re here to help when you’re ready to plan another unforgettable trip. Contact us for more information.

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