Friday Inspiration

With the weekend upon us, it is time for some much needed travel inspiration. This article published by Thrillist showcases best pool views in the world. And honestly until I checked out this article I didn’t even realize these views are something I need in my life. So before you start brainstorming your next vacation, stop to think about the possibility of relaxing or swimming in a pool with views unrivaled by none.

Article: https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/best-hotel-pool-views-in-miami-hong-kong-new-york-mexico-and-the-caribbean

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Now that I’ve dropped some truly incredible inspiration on you it’s time to call Ambassador Travel Ltd. at 920.236.7777, let’s take your breath away!

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Thirsty Thursday:Majorca Wine

 

binissalem_grape_vines.jpgWelcome beverage and travel lovers to this week’s post on my personal favorite topic–wine. Today I will be talking about wine from Majorca, a small island off the coast of Spain. Let’s not waste anytime, there is wine to be drunk, so lets dive right in.

Binissalem is a city/region in the center of the small island of Majorca. It is one of two Denominacion de Origen or DO for short, which is the classification system of Spanish wines. This system regulates wineries and approves items labelling themselves as Spanish wines. The Binissalem region received DO status in 1991 and was the first of the two DOs in Majorca to do so. The other is called Pla i Llevant.

Now I know 1991 doesn’t seem like so long ago, but that was just when the region received it’s DO, wine has actually been produced on this Spanish island for thousands of years. It was first introduced to the area by Romans in 121 BC. Philosopher Pliny the Younger even mentions the wine of Majorca in his writings during the 1st century AD. Wine has been such a staple part and profitable factor of Majorca’s economy that even when the Moors invaded Spain the production didn’t stop. Moors were part of the Islamic faith and thus believed drinking alcohol to be a sin according to the Koran. However, producing it was a great way to make money, so they continued. The grapes of this region have gone through a lot, especially during the 19th century when the land was destroyed by the Phylloxera plague. Many of the grapes vines were replaced with almond trees until the 20th century. At this point grape production was revived because of tourism and thus results in some of the most amazing wine today.

Interested in trying Majorcan wine? Then it’s time to call us at 920.236.7777 so we can start planning your trip to the beautiful island. Don’t wine if you miss out on this great adventure!

One Happy Island

beach_chikees.jpgHappy Where in the World Wednesday travel lovers! Let’s take a journey to an island who’s motto is “One Happy Island”. Who wouldn’t want that kind of an atmosphere on vacation! Aruba is a unique country unlike any other island you’ve ever visited. Let’s learn more about your next must visit travel location.

Located in the South Caribbean sea, Aruba is a small island with a lot to offer. One great attribute is that Aruba is located outside the hurricane belt, making it great for travel year round, unlike many other caribbean islands. This Dutch owned nation is located just 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela and measures 20 miles long and 6 miles wide.

The capital, Oranjestad, was named after the Dutch royal family meaning House of Orange. Other Dutch owned countries include: The Netherlands, Curacao, and Sint Maarten. But, the Dutch were not the first to arrive. The island has been inhibited since 1000 A.D. when the Caquetios Amerinds from the Arawak tribe emigrated from Venezuela to escape the Caribs. The Europeans arrived in 1499 with Amerigo Vespucci’s Spanish expedition. The Netherland’s acquired the island from Spain in 1636.

So what is there to do on this tiny but exciting island? Well I’m glad you asked! Aruba, unlike many other Caribbean islands is dry and arid. This makes for great weather because it is warm, but there is always a nice breeze. And warm breezy weather is perfect for beach and water sports. Check out Eagle beach where you can enjoy water sports, rent equipment and catamarans. Or maybe you would rather swim at the beach? Then Palm beach is for you! Although littering is never ok, Aruba takes it very seriously at the beaches especially. Leave your garbage and you could be slapped with a $275 or more fine.

Spend a day of your trip enjoying Arikok National Park. here you can explore caves, dunes, cliffs, gold mines and enjoy the vast wild and plant life. But make sure not to pick any plants, especially the cacti, they are protected! One cool feature of the Island is the Watapana or divi-divi trees. These funny looking plants are all bent southwest, which just so happens to make it nearly impossible to get lost on the island. This is because almost all the resorts on the small island are located to the southwest. So if you ever find yourself lost just go in the direct these funny little trees are pointing you in.

Ready to check out Aruba for yourself? Give us a call today 920.236.7777! And ask how we can send you to “One Happy Island”

Travel Trivia Tuesday

seans-bar.jpgLast week I asked, “What is the oldest bar in Europe (maybe the world)?” If you answered Sean’s Bar in Athlone, Ireland then you know your pubs! So how old is this bar and can you still visit it today? Let’s find out!

Sean’s Bar, locally known as just Sean’s is located on the west bank of the River Shannon in the small town of Athlone. Originally Luain’s Inn this Irish pub has been in operation since 900 A.D. thats over 1100 years! When it was renovated in the 70s wattle and wicker (two building substances) were found in the walls. These materials were tested and dated back to the 10th century. The discovery was confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2004, when they named Sean’s the oldest bar in Europe. There is an ongoing investigation into finding the oldest bar in the world, and currently Sean’s is the oldest found.

The bar is a true museum of it’s history all on it’s own. With the sawdust floors and open air fireplace this pub transforms visitors throughout its long life. One attribute that helped date the bar all the way back to the 900s was the fact that their is a record of every owner since it’s opening in 900 A.D. Sean’s was even briefly owned by artist Boy George during 1987.

Today it is definitely a tourist and local favorite. With live  music, perfect pints and old world charm this is the perfect stop the next time you’re touring the Emerald Isle.

Want to enjoy a beer at the oldest bar in the world? Then Ambassador Travel is here for you! Give us a call today 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com to schedule your appointment today.

This week’s travel trivia: “The world’s tallest waterslide, Verruckt, is located in Kansas City, Missouri, what does it’s name mean?” 

Connie’s Hux Review

8c7839124ae22c4a8b72614bc295b454.jpgConnie has visited Secrets Huatulco many times before this and there is a reason she keeps going back, this time with a group. I love hearing about this resort and seeing pictures because the setting is absolutely stunning. Let’s hear from Connie about her latest trip to Huatulco, Mexico:

“Traveling with a group is a great way to leave the driving to us.  We were also able to have a private check in at the hotel with snacks and drinks brought to us.  The hotel did a great job with the request for the guest.  We had special tumbler cups made for everyone in the group. The cups made it a great way for people that didn’t know each other in the group to know that they are traveling together.  The Secrets Resort provided great entertainment and if you wanted you could travel to the Dreams Resort for dinner and check out another resort in area.  The taxi was a short ride to town and costed $7 each way and from the hotel to the mud baths it was $5.  The mud bath was $10 USD.  The nice thing about this hotel is the entry level room at the resort is ocean view.  The restaurants do not require reservation (exception the Hibachi).  Castaway for lunch was my favorite.  The rooms were very modern and nice.  I would definatly go back!”

Looking to experience Huatulco yourself? It’s time to call Ambassador Travel. 920.236.7777 or set up an appointment right on our website ambassadortravelltd.com

Update those Passports

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10 years ago the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was passed making it a law that when American’s travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean they must present a passport to get into the countries. Because passports for anyone over the age of 18 last 10 years that means we are about to see over 47 million passports come up for renewal.  According to Travel.State.Gov passports generally take 4 weeks for processing. Because of the massive amount of passport coming to their expiration dates the processing time is already up to 6 weeks. They only project it to get longer through 2018, so if your passport expires in the next two years it is a good idea to keep in mind your travel timelines.

When traveling outside the United States various countries have rules on how long your passport must be valid for travel. So even if you are traveling in 5 months and your passport doesn’t expire for 7 months, most countries will not accept it. Your passport needs to be at least 6 months from expiration whenever you travel. So with at least 6 weeks of processing time that means anyone traveling in the next 2 years needs to keep that in  mind.

Learn more about renewing your passport here: http://traveltips.usatoday.com/checklist-us-passport-108035.html

Mayan Mixed Drinks

Prepare yourself for the weekend by indulging in our featured drink of the week–Xtabentun. This Mexican delicacy dates back to Mayan times and can be served in countless different ways. Lets learn a little bit about it’s history and how resorts are implementing it into their menus.

Xtabentun is an anise and honey flavored liquor. It’s origin comes from Mexico’s Yucatan Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 1.28.14 PM.pngregion. It is made from fermented honey from the Xtabentun flower, anise and rum. Like I mentioned above it dates back to the Maya who drank the fermented honey beverage with tree bark. When the Spanish arrived they didn’t like the taste of the bark and added anise, making it similar to today’s version. It is a drink served in a variety of different ways, it can be drank straight on the rocks, as shots or served as a margarita known as Maya Margaritas.

Looking to try the drink yourself in it’s home country? The Grand Velas Riviera Maya is putting it’s own twist on the ancient drink by creating it’s Xtabentun cocktail. It is served at the hotel’s rooftop bar called Sky Bar. This drink includes Xtabentun, Pineapple, club soda, lime juice and orange slices. This fun beverage gives you a history of Mexico with a vacation lovers twist.

Ready to head off to the Grand Velas and try out this drink for yourself? Give us a call today at 920.236.7777

Contiki

2b578afe3c568852fc8e7366413e5ca3.jpgIf you have never heard of the tour company Contiki it is time to fasten your seatbelt because I am going to take you on a ride. Contiki is a tour company who caters to the 18-35 year old range. It is a great way for young people to see the world no matter what their budget. Operating in 58 countries with over 331 different tours, Contiki is an amazing company no matter what your are interested in.

Whether you are looking for a Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Russia, Australia, Egypt, North or South America trip, Contiki has it all. Their main focus is 5 fold. 1. sight seeing (mostly done by coach bus). 2. free time (get out an explore some amazing cities). 3. Culture (because learning can be fun). 4. Socializing (this is a great way to make new friends). and 5. Adventure (who doesn’t love adventure).

Contiki has three different options that encompass their tours. The first is Camping Tours. These are the least expensive of all Contiki tours and are very popular with students during a gap year or the summer before starting college. On these adventures travelers stay in 2 person tents and are provided mattresses. You help with cooking and preparing meals for the whole group. This option is for someone who doesn’t mind roughing it a bit.

Option number two is know as Budget Tours. These are the median priced group of Contiki’s tour options. Here travelers will stay in hostels or Contiki villages. These hostel style “villages” are run by Contiki staff. This option is very popular for singles as you meet a lot of travelers even outside of the tour. Great for budget minded travelers who don’t necessarily want to camp.

The final option is known as Superior tours. These are the most expensive and provide travelers with tourist style hotels. The tours include regional tours, in-depth tours as well as cruising tours. This option is very popular for couples often times honeymoons, but singles make up a large part of the group as well.

Travel planner Veronica has taken 3 Contiki tours, so lets find out what she has to say about the company.

Lets talk about my favorite way to travel–touring! Now please listen up, touring is NOT about sitting on a bus and then being herded around like cattle. It is about making the most of a vacation. I have always loved to travel, and I especially love traveling solo. However, when I would just travel with myself, I felt like I was missing out on a lot. A few years ago I learned about Contiki, a tour company for 18-35 year olds, and now I am addicted. I have been on three Contiki tours and when I want to travel somewhere, my first thought is ‘does Contiki go there?’.

So why do I love it so much? It makes my life so EASY! I wanted to see a good chunk of Europe. Do you know how much time and planning and headaches it would have taken me to put together a 13 day trip to 7 different countries? But I went with Contiki, and they had everything set for me. I do not have to worry about hotels, transportation, even a lot of the food. There are so many great inclusions that make the most of your time (cut to the front of the line to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Thank you!). The best perk though is my tour manager. I don’t think I can put a price on having someone at your disposal to tell you how to get places, get the history of an area, learn what their favorite local spots are, and to make sure your vacation runs smooth.
But the most important part of traveling with a tour group is the people you are traveling with. I have made lifelong friends from all over the world. I might be traveling solo, but I get to share the experience with the whole group. You will always find someone to enjoy a new country with, whether its bungy jumping in New Zealand or wine tasting in Italy. Contiki’s motto is ‘No Regrets’ and I have never one regretted an experience with them. Contiki is my favorite way to travel and I cannot wait for my next tour!”
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If you or someone you know is interested in traveling with Contiki it is time to give us at Ambassador travel a call! We have great deals on even more amazing tours, if interested please call 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com.

Trivia Tuesday Madagascar

1-Madagascar.jpgLast week I asked, “Which Island has been dubbed the 8th continent because of it’s biodiversity?” If your answer is the Island of Madagascar then you are correct! Because of their exclusive animal and plant life that are only found here, this Island, located in the Indian Ocean is a traveler and biologist’s dream!

Located off the coast of south east Africa, this Indian Ocean Island is spectacular. From it’s history to it’s plant and wildlife Madagascar is a bucket list trip for sure. AS the 4th largest Island in the world Madagascar is home to 5% of all the earth’s plants and animal species. Of these, 90% are unique to the island and can’t be found anywhere else in the world. One of it’s most beloved animals is the lemur. Considered sacred in Madagascar, there are currently 103 different species of lemur on the island.

So how did this small piece of land end up with so much biodiversity? Glad you asked! Madagascar broke off from Africa 165 million years ago along with parts of Asia. It was attached to what we know today as India, and it broke off from there over 100 million years ago. Because of this, the island was able to retain a broad diversity of plants and animals, isolating them in the middle of the Indian ocean. Settlement of the Island began from 350 B.C. to 550 A.D. and with a population of 22 million, the Island has only grown since then. Once owned by France, Madagascar’s official languages are French and Malagasy.

Another great attraction for traveler’s is the Toliara Coral Reef. This reef is the 3rd largest in the world and a dream destination for divers and snorkelers alike. Located off the southwest coast of the island, this reef is protected by the county and a high point of pride for the people and government.

Intersted in traveling to Madagascar yourself? It’s time to give us a call 920.236.7777 or visit our website ambassadortravelltd.com

This Week’s Travel Trivia Question, “What is the oldest bar in Europe?” 

 

Let’s Make Some Memories

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Good afternoon everyone, we have had the opportunity to travel with a lot of you recently and are gearing up to travel with more of you on all of our group trips this year. Whether you have tagged along on our group travel or have worked with us on individual trips, we want to hear from you!

Why is using a Travel Agency something you chose?

Tell us about the individual experience working with Ambassador Travel or your specific Travel Planner?

Tell us the benefits you experienced with us over an online booking engine?

Follow this link to our testimonial page for a chance to be featured on our blog and website! http://ambassadortravelltd.com/forms/testimonials/

We are looking to hear from you! Client feedback is a great way for us to understand you as a customer as well as for us to improve for your next travel experience with us!