A Magazine for Travelers Celebrate the Caribbean 4 Carnivals You Can’t Miss
France · Italy · Ireland Spotlight on Adventure Don’t Keep New Zealand Waiting
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Get inspired for your next great adventure! Discover a world full of new possibilities with a GOGO Vacations package – only available through your local travel agent.
5 Important Roles Travel Agents Fill
Read why you shouldn’t book another vacation without the assistance of your travel agent.
Under the Amalfi Sun
There’s nothing quite like a summer escape to the Amalfi Coast.
Best Resorts for an All-Inclusive Birthday Bash
Birthdays deserve more than a day. So why not celebrate with a tropical vacation?
4 Caribbean Carnivals for Celebrating the Island Spirit
Discover the vibrant cultures of the Caribbean during the islands’ biggest and best celebrations.
5 Kid-Friendly Sites in Mexico
Bring the kids south of the border for a family vacation they’ll never forget.
On the Road Less Traveled with Back-Roads Touring
We caught up with tour leader Micaela Hobbs to find out how she’s making her mark with the company offering small group tours in a big way.
Feast Your Way Through France
France is a food lover’s paradise, and we’ll make sure you don’t miss a bite of its delectable dishes.
Summer Lux Along the Amalfi Coast
Soak up the sun, feast on the food, and feel like royalty on Italy’s most famous coastline.
Top 4 Reasons New Zealand is One Big Adrenaline Rush
If a thrilling adventure is on your mind, these New Zealand activities will have your heart racing.
Welcome to the Family
Introducing UNESCO’s newest additions.
A Real-Life Fairyland
Ireland is made for families. Don’t believe us? Read on to discover how the Emerald Isle is the perfect place to bring the kids.
Explore America’s Spectacular Backyard
America’s national parks captivate visitors from sea to shining sea.
Your quick, go-to guide to Ireland’s legendary capital city.
An Elevated Vacation Experience Enjoy exclusive perks and special amenities at no additional cost with My Time, available only at your travel agent with a GOGO Vacations package. Our My Time partners include some of the worldâ€™s most spectacular hotels, and your special treatment includes expedited check-in and -out, room upgrades, spa, food and beverage or resort credit, early check-in or late check-out. Plus, each resort has something unique to offer its guests, such as free Wi-Fi, concierge services, and kids club access. Experience an enhanced vacation at over 135 resorts in over 25 countries with My Time, available through GOGO Vacations at your travel agent.
Contact your Travel Agent to book a My Time vacation package! *Conditions apply: Inclusions vary by resort. All My Time offers are provided by our third party suppliers to My Time customers and are subject to availability. My Time and any third party supplier may (in their sole discretion) substitute any of the offers for any other offer that is available for similar or no face value. All offers have no cash value, are not combinable with any other offers and are not transferable. Any offers not used have no surrender value and are not redeemable for cash.
Life’s an experience. Cover-More isLife’ here to experience. help you keep traveling. s an Cover-More is here to help you keep traveling. With thirty years of experience and more than 2.2 million journeys every year, at Cover‑More we know what travelers need. With thirty years of experience and more than 2.2 million journeys every year, at Cover‑More we know what travelers need.
There’s nothing like travel to feed the soul and broaden the mind. And nothing like the unexpected to put a damper on your plans. We know you want some peace of mind. We know you want the best possible medical care if you are sick. And if something goes wrong, you want expert help fast and There’s nothing like travel to feed the soul and broaden the mind. And nothing like the unexpected to know you’re not alone. Quite simply, we want your trip to be as perfect as you do. Our 24/7 global to put a damper on your plans. We know you want some peace of mind. We know you want the best assistance network is here to help. So the assistance you need is only ever a phone call away. possible medical care if you are sick. And if something goes wrong, you want expert help fast and to know you’re not alone. Quite simply, we want your trip to be as perfect as you do. Our 24/7 global assistance network is here to help. So the assistance you need is only ever a phone call away.
Important Roles Travel Agents Fill
Whether you’re searching for your next vacation destination or know exactly where you want to go, booking travel is a commitment, one that can be a thrilling adventure. But travel also has its challenges, and that’s why you want your agent with you through it all. Your agent is more than a friendly face, they’re also a...
Travel agents excel at finding the perfect destination and resort for even the most discerning traveler, and as the ultimate matchmakers, they can pair you with that all-inclusive property, luxury golf and spa resort, or family-friendly destination. For honeymoon and romantic escapes as well as gastronomic getaways, agents will choose a resort with special amenities or award-winning restaurants. No matter what you prefer, a travel agent can create a memorable vacation from your personal tastes and desires.
We all want the perfect vacation every time we travel, but sometimes things happen. Maybe it’s a series of delays, or the weather doesn’t cooperate. If you booked without a travel agent, you spend hours on the phone or on line at the ticket counter hoping to find an available flight to nowhere before connecting home. But if you booked with a travel agent, they’re on the phone with an airline finding you the best possible routes without the hours of frustration.
From rooms with the best views to construction notices and upcoming events, travel agents have the knowledge, connections, and experience to book you in your preferred room category and resort. Plus, if you’re traveling to multiple cities, islands, or countries, you’ll want a travel agent’s expertise to provide a smooth journey. Your travel agent will also advise if you need a passport, a visa, or both to get into that specific country, so you won’t be held up at customs or even denied entry.
A travel agent strives to get you the best value for your journey, which can mean exclusive packages, rooms in “sold-out” hotels, and special arrangements or requests. Since agents know hoteliers, concierges, and other attendants personally, they are more likely to receive additional added value to ensure your enjoyment at the resort. Agents can also help you navigate traveler’s insurance to help you choose the best plan to suit your specific needs.
A travel agent has the latest information about packages, properties, and new activities at their fingertips, usually sent to them by the hotels and destinations themselves. With years of experience and firsthand knowledge, travel agents save you countless hours and plan your trip with expertise no search engine can give. Plus, they’ll do price comparisons, provide insider tips, restaurant recommendations, and more, depending upon your preferences and destination.
ON THE GO I GOGO VACATIONS
As a world-renowned vacation destination, the Amalfi Coast has held on to all the charms that have enchanted travelers for centuries. Captivating cliffs meet the shimmering Mediterranean Sea with a patchwork of stunning towns nestled right in between. Shop and eat until you drop, or do nothing except lounge in the sun with a glass of spritz that never seems to empty. No matter what your escape entails, be sure to stay in one or all of the royalworthy resorts in “Summer Luxe Along the Amalfi Coast” on page 32 to add even more glitz to your glamorous getaway in Italy’s seaside playground.
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Vacations Beyond Your Imagination
Unlimited-Luxury ® Unlimited-Fun® Defined DelightsTM WHERE EVERYTHING IS INCLUDED.
BEAUTIFULLY APPOINTED ROOMS & SUITES WITH PRIVATE BALCONIES & TERRACES COMPLIMENTARY MINI BARS RESERVATION-FREE DINING WITHOUT WRISTBANDS OR EXPECTED GRATUITIES LIMITLESS PREMIUM SPIRITS CONCIERGE AND ROOM SERVICES SUPERVISED CLUBS FOR KIDS & TEENS LAND & WATER ACTIVITIES GALA SHOWS & THEME PARTIES HEAVENLY SPA TREATMENTS Additional costs apply. Amenities vary.
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Located among the world’s most desired oceanfront locations, AMResorts has the perfect resort setting and style to surpass your ultimate vacation fantasy. Experience all the remarkable privileges of Unlimited-Luxury,® Unlimited-Fun® and Defined Delights,TM — ideal for singles, couples, friends and families. We know your vacation time is precious. We promise to make your memories even more so.
BEST RESORTS FOR AN
GOGOâ€ˆVACATIONS I ON THE GO
Grab your friends and family, and head to the best all-inclusives in the Caribbean and Mexico for a gathering you’ll never forget. Trust us, these resorts know how to keep the party going. BREATHLESS RIVIERA CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA
SECRETS CAP CANA, PUNTA CANA
RIU REGGAE, MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA
You know you’re guaranteed a good time when your resort has its own party calendar. In fact, Breathless Riviera Cancun in Riviera Maya makes sure the fun lasts all year long with a different theme every month, a fully booked list of guest performers, and weekly celebrations like PJs & DJs night, toga parties, and masquerades. Its chic accommodations elevate your stay to a whole new level of sophistication while its vibrant and lively atmosphere celebrates your youth. Be sure to eventually take a break from all the fun and refuel with premium cocktails and gourmet cuisine. When you celebrate your birthday at Breathless Riviera Cancun, your party lasts from check-in to check-out.
You deserve to be spoiled on your birthday, and Secrets Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic is more than happy to indulge. This adults-only haven delights guests with the brand’s signature Unlimited-Luxury® service, featuring gourmet dining and premium wines and liquors. Exceptional suites mesmerize with deluxe amenities including fully-furnished balconies complete with soaking tubs. Upgrade your celebration by staying in a Preferred Club suite, which grants you elite status that includes a private check-in/check-out, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Preferred Club Lounge, and access to a private pool and beach area.
The Island of All Right always radiates with good-time vibes, and if you’re searching for a resort with all the right moves, look no further than Riu Reggae. As one of Montego Bay’s newest all-inclusives, this adults-only resort is as stylish as it is lively. The party starts in your suite with amenities like in-room liquor dispensers and a minibar. While relaxing with cocktails on the beach or by one of the resort’s three infinity pools is always encouraged, be sure to join in on exciting daily activities like water sports, games, or even a trip to the on-site spa. When the sun goes down, Riu Reggae lights up the night with lives shows, concerts, and the Pacha nightclub.
Your birthday is a special occasion that deserves a lengthy celebration. Why not spend it spoiling yourself? Grab your favorite traveler and head to paradise. Or if you plan on inviting all your friends and family, let your local travel agent do all the group travel planning, so you can kick back and enjoy your happiest birthday by the beach.
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STAR ONLLUXURY Y 5INCLUDED RESORTS ®
VOTE D WORLD’ S B E ST
Y E A R S I N A R O W AT T H E W O R L D T R AV E L AWA R D S
LUXURY INCLUDE D® Sandals ® offers all the luxuries of a 5-star resort—but with so much more, because here, the best of everything is always included. Every land and water sport. Exclusive 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining at up to 16 restaurants per resort, and endless pours of premium spirits. The best beaches and most romantic Love Nest Suites®. Including the fi nest of everything is why Sandals has been voted the World’s Best 22 years in a row.
LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED
UP TO 16
JAMAICA • ANTIGUA SAINT LUCIA • BAHAMAS GRENADA • BARBADOS
R E STAURANTS PER RE SORT M O R E
Q U A L I T Y
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Sandals® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an affiliate of Unique Travel Corp., the worldwide representative of Sandals Resorts.
R E S O R T S
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P L A N E T
Everything’s included for everyone
At B e a c h e s ® R e s o r t s i n J a m a i c a a n d Tu r k s & C a i co s , everyone in the family can create their own perfect day. For some, it’s the white-sand beaches and calm waters featuring unlimited land and water sports including top equipment and expert instruction. For others, it’s the awesome waterparks, multiple rounds of golf* with complimentary green fees, fabulous restaurants and bars, and non-stop entertainment. It’s endless fun and memories for Generation Everyone—and that’s why Beaches has been voted #1 family resorts in the World. BEACHES NEGRIL
IN THE CARIBBEAN
than anyone in the world
Water Sports Including Daily Scuba Diving* • Caribbean’s Largest Waterparks with Huge Waterslides, Surf Simulator* and Lazy River • 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining at up to 21 Restaurants per Resort • Exclusive Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street® • Xbox Play Lounges • Kids Camp & Teen Programs • Unlimited Premium Spirits • Free* Wedding • Family-Size Suites • English Trained Butlers • Caribbean’s Best Beaches • Tips, Taxes & Beaches Transfers* Included • Free Resort-Wide Wi-Fi • All Included. All Unlimited. All the Time.
TM/© 2017 Sesame Workshop
The entire family is in for an adventure at our Pirates Island Waterparks . Kids of all ages will be laughing, splashing, and having the time of their lives with up to 11 gigantic waterslides, the region’s only SurfStream ® Surf Simulator*, meandering lazy rivers, and water fun for the tiniest tots. It’s all included, all unlimited, all for Generation Ever yone! SURF SIMULATOR
UNLIMITED LAND AND WATER SPORTS
UP TO 21
Since Beaches was created for everyone, our Master Chefs create extraordinary cuisine for every taste. Our culinary concierges can help with any special requests and please even the most finicky palates. Dine wherever and whenever with gourmet regional cuisines from around the world. From casual, to upscale, it’s all gourmet.
MASTERS OF EXCELLENCE IN THE CULINARY ARTS
5-STAR GLOBAL GOURMETTM DINING
@beachesresorts V O T E D
W O R L D ’ S AT
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Reservations not guaranteed. All resorts advertised are subject to availability. Activities and amenities vary by resort.*Golf and complimentary transfers available at nearby Sandals Golf & Country Club. Caddies are mandatory, but not included. Airport transfers included. Other transfers may be additional. Surf Simulator only available at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Beaches® is a registered trademark. Unique Vacations, Inc. is an affiliate of Unique Travel Corp., the worldwide representative of Beaches Resorts.
GOGOâ€ˆVACATIONS I ON THE GO
If you’re looking for a destination that knows how to have a good time, you’ll find plenty in the Caribbean. The islands’ carnivals are legendary, and we’ve found the best celebrations for joining in on all of the fun.
Jump Up for Junkanoo in the Bahamas The origins of this lively street festival are widely debated, but travelers and Bahamians alike all agree it’s a spectacular show. Dancers and musicians don fluorescent costumes for boisterous street parades throughout towns in the Bahamas to celebrate of their culture. Spectators are encouraged to dance along with the performers, so don’t be surprised if you’re pulled on your feet to move along with the beats. The parades are always held on Boxing Day and New Year’s, but summertime Junkanoo celebrations have been popping up more and more in recent years. To experience the biggest and best of Junkanoo parades, head to the capital island of New Providence.
Enjoy an Extended Celebration in Aruba With a nickname like One Happy Island, it’s no surprise that Aruba’s Carnival celebrations spread the fun over two joyful months. The festivities kick off in early January with the Parada di Flambeu celebration in the island’s capital city Oranjestad. Weeks of colorful floats, vibrant costumes, Carnival King & Queen elections, and specially themed parades soon follow, ending with a celebratory burning of an emblem representing Momo – the king of Carnivals – on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
Crop Over to Barbados Barbados has always had a flair for showmanship, and their Crop Over festival is all the proof we need. What originally began as a celebration to mark the end of the sugar cane harvest is now arguably the most over-the-top carnival in the Caribbean, with calypso music competitions, craft and food markets, and cultural performances. Events begin in June and last most of the summer. But if you want to experience the largest Crop Over party, be sure to arrive in August for the Grand Kadooment, a vibrant street masquerade of music, dancing, floats, and costumes.
Celebrate Diversity in the Dominican Republic Gather with Dominicans from around the world to enjoy the oldest carnival in the Caribbean. Carnaval Dominicano is a celebration of the diverse cultures that have given the Dominican Republic its unique and spirited identity. You’ll see a wide range of parades, folklore performances, and masked “limping devil” costumes throughout the entire month of February, all with different themes depending on the provinces you visit. If you want to see all the different characters and performances but don’t have enough time to travel around the island, head to Santo Domingo on the first Sunday in March for the National Parade. People from all over the country gather along the city’s Malecón to perform, compete for prizes, and celebrate with one big street party.
Immerse yourself into the vibrant cultures of the Caribbean by joining in on the islands’ carnival fun.
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@the96815 Just getting your feet wet on O‘ahu isn’t an option. #LetHawaiiHappen #VisitOahu
WHERE YOU WANT TO BE IN PUNTA CANA
Luxury All-Inclusive | Oversized Suites | 5-Star Dining | Adults-Only Royal Service | Family Concierge | Yhi Spa | Life Enriching Experiences | Non-Motorized Water Sports | Fitness Programs | Romance by Paradisus | Meetings & Incentives PARADISUS PALMA REAL | PARADISUS PUNTA CANA
ELEVATE YOUR FAMILY TIME For more family inspiration in Los Cabos, contact your travel advisor.
5 Kid-Friendly Sites TO SEE ON YOUR FAMILY’S MEXICO GETAWAY
Beaches, culture, and adventure – Mexico has all the right components for an epic getaway with the entire family. If you’re escaping with the family to Cancun and Riviera Maya’s sunny shores, take the kids to a place with iconic historical sites and exciting eco-adventures to create vacation memories that last a lifetime.
XCARET PARK Theme parks are always a favorite pastime, but Xcaret offers thrills of a natural kind. This eco-archaeological park boasts over 50 attractions highlighting the Mayan culture and Mexico’s stunning natural wonders. Grab your snorkel gear and dive into an underground river, take a stroll through the jungle to pay a visit to the park’s mesmerizing jaguars, and observe how the fascinating Mayan civilization thrived while watching live demonstrations. Xcaret holds all of the wonders of Mexico in one thrilling park. CHICHÉN ITZÁ Trust us when we say this is one history lesson the kids will actually stay awake for. In fact, the great pyramid El Castillo at the ancient Mayan site of Chichén Itzá will have them wide-eyed. CANCUN UNDERWATER MUSEUM
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It’s high time you jumped into those turquoise waves, and there’s no better spot to splash than the Cancun Underwater Museum. Not only will you share the water with a variety of colorful tropical fish, they’ll be your fellow patrons at an art museum that features over 450 picturesque statues pedestaled along the seabed. These statues have slowly transformed into natural works of art, as the ocean life gradually forms new coral reefs on their stony facades.
TULUM The Yucatan Peninsula was home to many Mayan cities and villages, and evidence of their great civilization can be found throughout the region. Make your way to the southern end of Riviera Maya to the coastal archeological site of Tulum. There’s almost nothing more awe-inspiring than seeing the Temple of the God of Wind and the Castillo with the expansive blue Caribbean Sea as its backdrop. JUNGLE MAYA TOUR If you and your family are looking for a one-of-a-kind vacation adventure, have your travel agent arrange a Jungle Maya tour. You’ll begin with a thrilling 4X4 ride through the forest before you reach the Sac-Actun cenote system, the world’s longest underground river. You’ll head into the No-Hoch cavern for snorkeling around impressive stalagmites and rock formations. Then rappel down a sacred cenote, where you’ll participate in a traditional Mayan purification ceremony.
Cancun and Riviera Maya are a playground of excitement for travelers of all ages, and it’s never too late to treat your family to an extraordinary getaway they will never forget. Contact your local travel agent today to plan your memorable family vacation to Mexico.
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MORE MOMENTS. MORE MEMORIES. MORE FAMILY FUN.
Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, Montego Bay, Jamaica
MEXICO • JAMAICA • DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
K I DS STAY
FREE* Welcome to sparkling blue water, warm sand and the ultimate family playground. The perfect setting for rediscovering your family and yourself. Iberostar Hotels & Resorts in the Caribbean provide the finest in all-inclusive accommodations, recreation, dining and entertainment options. Families shine at Iberostar. Book now for travel May 1, 2018 through October 31, 2018. *At least one child, 12 or under, stays free when staying with two, full-price-paying adults per room at Iberostar Hotels & Resorts in Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Offer valid for travel May 1, 2018 through October 31, 2018. Blackout dates may apply. During blackout dates regular children’s rates will apply. This promotion is combinable with other promotions. Promotion for US market only. Valid for new reservations only. Packages must be sold at full market value. Subject to change without notice. Additional restrictions may apply. Entire offer is based on availability. Iberostar does not assume responsibility for errors or omissions within the content of this advertisement.
For more family inspiration in Los Cabos, contact your travel advisor.
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A REAL-LIFE FAIRYLAND Ireland Is Made for Families Medieval castles. Sheep-shearing demonstrations. Music and step-dancing. Kissing the Blarney Stone. There’s not a child in the world who wouldn’t jump at the chance for vacation fun like this. And it’s all part of an unforgettable vacation in Ireland. The Emerald Isle’s big experiences and huge personality are tailor-made for sparking your kids’ sense of adventure and curiosity, embracing their energy, and indulging their essential kid-ness. CASTLES IN THE AIR Unlike the historic buildings and monuments in many countries that remain off limits to human touch, the ancient castles of Ireland practically beg to be explored by inquisitive minds both young and old. And the best part is that you can actually stay in some of these spectacular, centuries-old strongholds, complete with towers and turrets, battlements, thick stone walls and stairways, and expansive gardens and grounds. Embrace the Downton Abbey aura of Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, a sprawling baronial estate in Connemara that’s surrounded by green countryside with amazing vistas and miles of walking trails. Or go all the way back to hail the 5th century at Dromoland Castle, an ancestral home of Gaelic royalty where the entire family can also take archery lessons and learn about falconry.
PUB GRUB Irish pubs are places to gather for food, music, and craic (pronounced “crack” and loosely defined as fun and enjoyment), and visiting one is a great way to meet the locals and feel like part of the community. Children are welcomed and catered to in pubs during daytime for meals and soft drinks. In addition, many pubs often have live music, featuring either a band or an impromptu gathering of local players.
GOGO VACATIONS I ON THE GO
Please note, children under age 18 are allowed in licensed premises only if accompanied by a parent or guardian, and only from 10:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (or 10:00 p.m. from May to September). Pro tip: Ask the locals which pubs are child-friendly and have live music.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS A truly spectacular natural phenomenon, the Giant’s Causeway on the Northern Ireland coastline is an otherworldly treat for visitors of all ages, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising some 40,000 hexagonal-shaped basalt columns tumbling down into the Atlantic Ocean. Go ahead and hop over the stones, or just sit and contemplate this puzzling geologic wonder that dates back to a volcanic age almost 60 million years ago. Choreographed for maximum audience participation and full family entertainment, Celtic Nights is a showcase of energy and passion, spotlighting Irish music and traditional dancing every night of the week for the past 21 years in the heart of Dublin. Killary Sheep Farm is a working Connemara mountain farm featuring skilled sheepdog and sheep shearing demonstrations, bottle-feeding orphan lambs, guided walks along picturesque trails, and other attractions. Open from April through September, it’s set amid gorgeous green hills on the southern shores of Killary Fjord in County Galway.
Get ready for a legendary family vacation when your destination is Ireland. With the island’s wealth of unique attractions and things to see and do, your children will probably plead with you to extend your time. Contact your local travel agent today and start planning a journey to Ireland that every member of your family will treasure forever.
ON THE GO I GOGO VACATIONS
Meet Dublin The heart of Ireland is surprising, legendary, and everything in between.
July and August are the city’s warmest months, and therefore its busiest. By traveling in May-June or September, you’ll miss the summer festivals but find that the true essence of Dublin is on display year-round.
Historic O’Connell Street, Croke Park Stadium, and other Dublin landmarks are an easy walk from the modern Jurys Inn Dublin Parnell Street. And although Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin has been welcoming visitors for almost 200 years, its sleek guest rooms boast contemporary conveniences.
Dublin is modern, progressive, multicultural, energetic, and as cosmopolitan as any city on the global map. You’ll find great shopping and Michelin-star dining, inspiring historical sights, and friendliness without limit.
Walk the same charming streets, lined with timeless Georgian architecture, that inspired literary lions Jonathan Swift, W.B. Yeats, and James Joyce.
Dublin, Ireland 53°19’59” N 6°14’56”W
Families, couples, singles, culture seekers, history buffs, and pub crawlers alike will make the memories of a lifetime.
The awesome 9th-century Book of Kells, the elaborate illuminated manuscript Gospel book, is on exhibit at Trinity College Library.
In addition to wander-list experiences at several Michelin-star eateries, dig into traditional fare in numerous pubs like The Exchequer in City Centre, and sit down for Modern Irish cuisine at atmospheric cafés such as Delahunt, with its Victorian setting. Befitting a true international city, Dublin has been influenced by the energy and imagination of its newcomers, so you’ll find many affordable Chinese, French, and Indian restaurants.
GOGO VACATIONS I ON THE GO
Hoist a pint in over 1,000 pubs, but don’t leave town without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, where you can learn how the world’s most famous brew is, well, brewed – and sample some “Black Gold” in the tasting room.
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ARTIST CONCEPTUAL RENDERING
ON THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED WITH BACK-ROADS TOURING
We caught up with Back-Roads Tour Leader Micaela Hobbs to get an inside look at the company offering small group tours that connect travelers to destinations in a big way. Some are lucky to find their calling in life. For citizen of the world Micaela Hobbs, that calling came when she got the opportunity to be tour leader for Back-Roads Touring. Growing up in the UK, raising her children in Paris, and thoroughly exploring Europe, America, Australia, and parts of Asia fueled her passion for travel. She particularly fell in love with Thailand, where she spent seven years running her own small group, road bike tours through some of the most spectacular mountain and jungle terrain the country has to offer. With its small group sizes and fondness for taking the road less traveled, Back-Roads Touring was the perfect path for Micaela.
Q : What inspired you to become a Tour Leader? A desire to share my passion for the culture, history and spectacular scenery of the places we visit. I love having the opportunity to meet so many different people with their own fascinating stories and lives. What better way to earn a living than by visiting amazing places while giving others the opportunities to fulfill their dreams?
Q : What drew you to Back-Roads Touring? I was lucky enough to be invited to join a friend of mine on a Back-Roads Touring cruise through the Camargue in Southern France. One evening during our cruise, I was chatting to our driver, Rachel, about the bike tours I had run in Thailand and told her how much I missed traveling. She encouraged me to apply to Back-Roads to work as a Tour Leader. Their â€œorganized independenceâ€? philosophy really appealed to me. The balance between organized visits and scenic routes, flexible itineraries, plus free time to do as much or little as you like at your own pace is what sets Back-Roads Touring apart. Getting to experience that for myself really encouraged me to go for it.
Q : We heard that you’re leading the Emerald Isle and Highlights of Britain tours this year. Great destinations! What sites or activities are you excited to share with your travelers?
This is a hard one to answer. I love Ireland – it’s in my blood! I am half Irish, and I spent all my childhood holidays there. The Irish people are unique, welcoming, witty, full of myths and legends, and of course music and dancing. With plenty of stops for Guinness, Irish whiskey, and fabulous local food during the tour, we have many opportunities to meet the local people and experience their hospitality and warmth firsthand. One of my favorite stops is our visit to the World Heritage Site, The Giants Causeway. This site epitomizes the wonderful Irish mix between science and mythology. As for the Highlights of Great Britain tour, I am not sure I can choose a favorite! I guess it would be between our visit to Oxford or the Pontcysyllte Viaduct in Wales
Another favorite encounter I had was with a couple I met while running one of the Back-Roads tours in Ireland last year. They were Australian and visiting Ireland for the first time. They had spent a few years working in the UK back in the 1990s and it turned out they had met and knew my father. We only discovered this by chance after they mentioned, in passing, the name of my father’s town. Now how is that for a coincidence? Life is full of surprises!
Q : What Back-Roads tours do you hope to lead in the future?
I would very much like to run the London to Paris via the Channel Islands tour. I love the idea of island hopping and visiting Neolithic sites, castles, and picturesque fishing villages, while enjoying the blend of English and French influences found there. It would be a perfect tour for me to run and is definitely on my wish list.
Q : How do you create memorable experiences for the Q : Can you share your favorite travel tip with us? travelers on your tours?
I endeavor to go above and beyond by paying attention to even the little things and keeping the tours flexible and fun. Sometimes the unexpected is where the greatest memories are made. It is so rewarding to create experiences that connect us emotionally, whether it’s from sharing laughter, stories, music, scenery, or meals.
One of the most important things for me is to not over plan and to remain flexible. Ask the locals for advice on where to find places to eat, hidden gems, and the best views. Often, these local suggestions have turned out to be the most memorable and have led to experiences, meetings, and friendships that I would have never found if I had just followed the guide books.
Q : What’s your favorite travel story or memory? So many stories! One person who stands out in my memory is a 50-year-old Englishwoman and cyclist I met in Thailand. She spent the previous two years cycling around the world with a small ruck sack, a phone, and an old touring bike as her only companions. She also spent 3 months living with a nomadic family in Mongolia and had some amazing stories to tell. She taught me that we are never too old to achieve anything we put our minds to.
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FEAST YOUR WAY THROUGH
From the colorful pastry shops of Paris to the hearty dishes in Burgundy, France’s culinary craft is legendary, and we’ve found the must-taste meals of the country’s best regions.
DISH: Bouillabaisse CITY: Marseille France’s second largest city cozies up to the Mediterranean Sea, and it’s only fitting that Marseille’s claim to culinary fame is the king of seafood stews. While most families and restaurants in Marseille put their own unique twists on this dish, traditional Bouillabaisse always includes lean fish – such as the sea robin and rockfish found in the neighboring waters – a variety of local shellfish, and a flavorful broth with saffron as the shining star.
DISH: Tartiflette CITY: French Alps If you’re heading to the snowy peaks of the Savoy region in the French Alps, be sure to warm up with a huge helping of this hearty dish. Layers of sliced potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons (pork fat), and onions are baked to gooey greatness. To feel extra toasty, pair your Tartiflette with a local wine.
DISH: Cassoulet CITY: Toulouse The beauty of La Ville Rose will make any visitor blush. The people of Toulouse and the surrounding Occitania region have a thirst for life and take pleasure in the simple things. Its signature dish follows these same principles, boasting big flavor from simple ingredients. Grab a bowl of this slow-cooked casserole made with white beans, duck or goose confit, pork skin, sausages, and mutton.
DISH: Crêpes CITY: Brittany This light, thin pancake is arguably the most famous of French fare. While you’ll find this tasty treat all over the country, Brittany claims to be the birthplace and perfector of the recipe. Some enjoy crêpes with sweet fillings like Nutella and fruits, others with savory stuffings like ham and cheese. Whichever variety you prefer, wash it down with the region’s equally famous homemade cider.
DISH: Ratatouille CITY: Nice No, we aren’t talking about the Disney movie, but rather the rich meal that inspired it. While you’re soaking up the sun in stunning Nice and the French Riviera, fill up on this regional comfort food made with a tomato base seasoned with sautéed garlic, fennel, basil, and other garden herbs served over layers of squash, zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers.
DISH: Beef Bourguignon CITY: Burgundy This region of France has produced some of the country’s best recipes – in addition to incredible wine. In fact, wine and cooking go hand-in-hand here. For beef bourguignon, chefs braise beef in a red Burgundy wine with broth and flavorful veggies such as pearl onions and mushrooms.
DISH: Pastries CITY: Paris All of France’s favorites can be found in this culinary capital, but Paris is best saved for dessert. Pastry shops can be found around and on almost every corner. Satisfy your sweet tooth with eclairs, macarons, madeleines, choux à la crème, and lots of lovely layers of mille-feuille.
If you’re ready to take a big bite out of France, be sure to stop in its most flavor-filled cities and regions.
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Summer Luxe ALONG THE AMALFI COAST
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What could be more glamorous than spending your summer vacation on Italy’s captivating Amalfi Coast? Doing so at the region’s most luxurious hotels. Whether you’re planning on sipping Limoncello in Sorrento, taking in the views of Ravello, or sunbathing up and down the coast, these hotels will make you feel like royalty.
BELMOND HOTEL CARUSO, RAVELLO
Travelers flock to Ravello for its unbeatable mountainside views, inspiring music festival, and to fill up on the region’s best fare at the many outdoor restaurants. While you’re dancing and feasting your way up and down this hillside town, be sure to make the Belmond Hotel Caruso your palace away from home – seriously. This 11th-century palace turned glamorous retreat sits on a cliff edge 1,000 feet above the Mediterranean, and its infinity edge pool guarantees you’ll have the best ocean views all summer long. Once you’ve had your fill of sunning yourself at the pool, see Ravello in style with the Belmond’s Concierge as your personal assistant. They’ll help you with everything from renting a vespa for a morning of sightseeing to arranging a sunset cruise on the hotel’s very own boat, the Ercole.
NH COLLECTION GRAND HOTEL CONVENTO DI AMALFI
GRAND HOTEL EXCELSIOR VITTORIA, SORRENTO
The Amalfi Coast’s namesake city boasts a rich past, so it’s only fitting history buffs book a stay in this grand hotel. Once a 13th-century monastery, the NH Collection Grand Hotel Convento Di Amalfi combines ancient allure and Italian charm with modern comforts. Wake up and smell the lemon trees in the hotel’s own gardens, and a stroll along the “Passeggiata dei Monaci,” is a must to capture the best views of the coastline. When all that walking and ancient exploring has you ready for a break, treat yourself to massage at the hotel’s pampering onsite spa. Or sit back and enjoy life’s simple pleasures – Amalfi style! – at the hotel’s outdoor restaurant, La Locanda, by sipping cappuccino, delighting in fresh delicacies, and reveling in the sea breezes and summer sun.
Charming Sorrento has the honor of being the gateway to the Amalfi Coast, and it sets high expectations. Its seaside sights, fine shopping, and convenient location to Naples, Pompeii, and Capri all promise an unforgettable getaway to come. Dive into the heart of Sorrento at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, and indulge in all its cinematic splendor. As a popular filming site for numerous commercials, films, and music videos, the hotel quickly sweeps guests up in the magic of Hollywood. In addition to a breathtaking setting and indulgent amenities, the hotel’s staff are the real stars of the show. Explore Sorrento with the hotel’s own tour guide, send a personal shopper into town for that perfect summer outfit, or enjoy a romantic dinner for two while the kids have a fun evening with the on-site babysitter.
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IN MY KINGDOM, FROWNING WOULD BE UNIVERSALLY FROWNED UPON. The FlowRider® Double Wave Simulator. The Awe Spa. The Playroom kids club. Luxurious accommodations. And impeccable service. Let’s just say it’s very hard to be unhappy here. And to help you make the most of it, we’ll give you up to US $1,500 in Resort Credit toward spa treatments, tours and other amazing experiences. PLUS, KIDS AND TEENS STAY FREE.* Moon Palace Jamaica. Larger than life. Better than vacation.
*Requires at least one paying adult to qualify. Must be 17 years old or younger at the time of travel in order to qualify. Additional terms and conditions apply.
TOP 4 REASONS NEW ZEALAND IS ONE BIG
Adrenaline Rush New Zealand. It’s almost a mythical place – and it earns that right. Stunning vistas, gorgeous landscapes, and truly unique natural beauty make it worth visiting just for the sights. But if a thrilling getaway is something on your mind, no greater land is filled with as much adventure as here. Plus, you’ll probably get to see all of those geothermal wonders, cascading waterfalls, fjords, volcanoes, mountains, and wildlife while adventuring. These are our four favorite adrenaline-pumping activities in New Zealand that combine the organically beautiful with the naturally heart-racing.
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2 Bungee Jumping
Here’s the deal – if you love to ski or snowboard, this is a good way to drop into some of the most breathtaking snowy landscapes of all. You’ll need a helicopter ride up – that’s how high you’ll be going and how monstrously awesome this snowbound activity truly is. We like to think of it as getting to see the stunning Southern Alps at two speeds. On the way up, glide through the shimmering sky in a helicopter as it lands atop the ideal terrain for you to ski or snowboard. During? Get an up-close (and faster paced) look at the landscape itself. These two angles on New Zealand’s beauty are truly unrivaled.
Basically the bungee jumping capital of the world, New Zealand is your destination to take a leap of faith. Trust-fall into New Zealand’s lap, where you can take it all in on the way down.
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Home to the world’s first commercial bungee jumping operation, New Zealand is literally the birthplace of the bungee. For the biggest leap, try jumping off the Sky Tower – one of the tallest buildings in the world – where if the views from the observation deck seem so inspiring, you can just jump right into them – with professional guidance, of course. Though perhaps not classic bungee jumping, this base jump by wire is the same idea, just on a larger scale – a 630-foot plummet to be exact, all directly over bustling Auckland, New Zealand.
3 Kayaking, White Water Rafting or Jet Boating
Water, and plenty of it. New Zealand’s really got it all, and water activities are as adventurous as anywhere else in the world, if not more. Kayaking can take you through national parks, sounds, fjords, gulfs, past Maori cave drawings, and even to meet up with dolphins. White water rafting will pump the adrenaline a bit more. And jet boating will pump the adrenaline even more. Jet-boat your way through narrow river gorges, around tight turns, and into views that you’ll never forget at thrilling speeds.
Canyoning intermingles adventure with natural beauty. Check out some of New Zealand’s most beautiful – and hardest to traverse – regions by rappelling and zipping through unbelievable canyons. Make your way down to deep pools at the base of shimmering waterfalls. Find off-the-beaten-path gems you can’t find any other way. The perfect mixture of nature and adrenaline-pumping fun, canyoning is as thrilling as it gets.
When it comes to everything adventurous, New Zealand does it bigger. This is where you want to live on the edge – literally.
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IMAGINE Imagine awe seeing fantastic vistas in Alaska. Imagine relaxation while reclining on a pristine beach in The Caribbean or Mexican Riviera. That’s what you will experience when you vacation on our newest and most incredible ship, Norwegian Bliss. NORWEGIAN BLISS HIGHLIGHTS: • The largest race track at sea and Ocean Loops a double waterslide 16 stories above the sea that whooshes guests 11 feet over the side of the ship. • Custom-built for the spectacular with a 180-degree Observation Lounge and the two-story Horizon Lounge exclusively for guests of The Haven. • Delicious new dining options including Q, a Texas-inspired smokehouse, Los Lobos, our premium Mexican restaurant, Coco’s chocolate shop and a full-service Starbucks. • Legendary Broadway entertainment, including the Tony-Award®-winning musical Jersey Boys.
Ships’ registry: BAHAMAS and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. ©2018 NCL Corporation Ltd
MACAO Vibrant, Epic & Deeply Unique Thereâ€™s a place in China where Portuguese fishing villages exist alongside sparkling new skyscrapers; where the food scene is equal parts tempting street stalls and Michelin-starred restaurants; and where you can start your day with a bungee jump and end it with a Broadway-style show. This is Macao. Discover a unique fusion of Eastern and Western culture, architecture and cuisine.
Welcome to the Family INTRODUCING UNESCO’S NEWEST ADDITIONS UNESCO World Heritage welcomed 26 new sites in 2017, ranging from natural wonders to significant cities. While every new member is worth celebrating, these chosen global gems are an easy visit when traveling to the world’s most popular destinations. Get to know the newest members of the UNESCO family and discover why these sites were naturally, culturally, or even universally significant to the world.
The English Lake District Perhaps long overdue, this site in England was one of the first to inspire conservation efforts such as the UNESCO World Heritage List. Natural and human effort have created a harmonizing landscape of lush valleys, glistening lakes, and charming homes, which have been appreciated since the Picturesque and later Romantic periods in paintings, pictures, and novels. More recently, you can see its fantastical landscapes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Snow White and the Seven Horsemen, and 28 Days Later. Only five hours from London and 1.5 hours from Manchester, this region is easily reached and enjoyed on your European adventure.
Los Alerces National Park Spectacular is the only way to describe this new UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Crystalclear glacial lakes, sweeping valleys, and alpine meadows against the dramatic background of the Andes Mountains create an ambiance of absolute tranquility. Go on a hike to see the Alerce tree, also known as the Patagonian cypress, the second longest living tree species in the world. The trees tower over the landscape, reaching heights of 200 feet with trunks as wide as 10 feet. Visit the Millennial Alerce Forest to see the oldest tree in the area, which is a young 2,600 years old. Also make sure to see the sensational water that changes hues from green to blue to turquoise depending upon the sun and time of year.
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Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura As massive as Angkor’s temples are, the temples of Sambor Prei Kuk are intimate. “The temple in the richness of the forest” in Khmer language, Sambor Prei Kuk is a collection of approximately 100 temples composed of brick and decorated with sandstone elements. The dense forest location was once the capital of the ancient Chenla Empire and is aptly peaceful and serene. Wander about the sandy trails and marvel at the preserved carvings. Though Lara Croft won’t be fighting any battles in these temples, step inside the temples for a truly mesmerizing architectural sight. This is an absolute must-visit site for those who enjoyed other UNESCO Heritage Sites such as Chichén Itzá and Hoi An Ancient Town, and should be a necessary addition to every adventure to Angkor.
Though we’ve only chose four out of the new 26, there are thousands of UNESCO World Heritage sites to explore and limitless adventures to enjoy. Discover some of the most magnificent sights in the world, and begin planning your own adventure by speaking with your local travel agent.
Welcome to a world that revolves around you. Beyond just great locations, luxurious rooms and top-notch amenities, Hyatt connects you to the people, places and stories at the heart of your world. Discover all this, plus extraordinary service, award-winning cuisine and more, at Hyatt locations across North and South America. For reservations, contact your local travel agent.
The trademark Hyatt® and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation © 2018 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.
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For years, parents have been telling their kids to turn off the TV and play outside, and there is no better place to do that than in our country’s national parks. These spectacular destinations showcase our nation’s natural beauty and fascinating history, and they offer grand adventures for your kids to experience in the Great Outdoors. We’ve chosen three of our all-time favorite parks to put on your domestic wanderlist, complete with must-see sites and insider tips, so you can start exploring our country’s spectacular backyard.
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
ZION NATIONAL PARK
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
MUST-SEE EXPERIENCE: Snow-capped Hoodoos in the Winter Winter is a magical experience in Bryce Canyon National Park, and the snow-covered hoodoos are stunning when viewed during the winter months. See them from the Queens Garden Trail, where you’ll start at the top of the rim and then descend 320 feet to the bottom. Along this path, you’ll see famous formations, such as Chris Hemsworth’s – Thor’s – Hammer as well as Queen Victoria, for which the trail received its name.
MUST-SEE EXPERIENCE: Watchman Trail Zion, meaning “the heavenly city,” does not disappoint when it comes to views along the Watchman Trail. This discovery hike takes you along the base of the valley and boasts fantastic views of the Springdale area. From here, you can see many of the park’s majestic sites, including Bridge Mountain, Beehives, Towers of the Virgin West Temple, and the Altar of Sacrifice. The trail ends at the Watchman Overlook with a view of the towering Watchman Spire.
MUST-SEE EXPERIENCE: Fountain Paint Pots Though Old Faithful will always be on the list of things to see, we recommend the natural phenomena of the Fountain Paint Pots. These mud springs intrigue with bubbles and popping. The trail showcases four hydrothermal formations – geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and the aforementioned mud pots. Make sure to see the Clepsydra Geyser, which can shoot up to 200 feet in the air, and the stunning Silex Spring with its turquoise blue water.
INSIDER TIP: Make sure to start your trek at sunrise and see the mesmerizing sight of the sunrise above the canyon. Its rays flutter between the formations behind you and spread upon the hoodoos below, creating an ethereal experience not to be missed.
INSIDER TIP: Try Oscar’s Café, just outside of Zion National Park’s entrance. Our seasoned national park adventurers recommend the Chili Verde Burrito with pork or shredded beef, fire-roasted green chilies, tomatillos, onions, and a blend of three cheeses. Grab the napkins and a good brew. It’s spicy!
INSIDER TIP: Yellowstone National Park is one of the only places in the US you can see bison, the largest land-dwelling mammals in North America, roam freely. While at the park, learn about how they came close to extinction and see how many you can count. Our travelers reached 134.
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