Diving or snorkeling with manta rays is truly an unforgettable experience. If it isn't already on your list of top things to do, we think it should be! With the largest brain to body ratio of any fish, they have the ability to create special connections with divers. Not to mention, they are harmless, so you enjoy the beauty of their movement without the risk. While there are many places to have magical encounters, here are our 5 favorite places to enjoy these majestic creatures.
1. Kona, Hawaii One of our favorite aspects of diving, is that you never know what you are going to see. This makes each dive exciting and suspenseful in the most fun way possible. For that reason, we don't usually promote or include "baited" dives on our top lists, since you know what you'll experience going into the dive. However, the Night Manta dive in Kona is so magical we have to make an exception.
As more and more hotels continued to develop in the Kona area, the additional light attracted plankton to congregate off the coast. And while plankton are attracted to light at night, mantas are attracted to plankton! The rays are creatures of habit and return to these feeding stations regularly. Dive operators now use lights to attract the plankton and in turn the mantas, offering close encounters with them as they "dance" in the water while feeding.
2. Maldives The Maldives are a scuba diver's parade. Crystal clear waters and wide open ocean make it prime conditions for pelagic animals (those living in the open waters). Year round encounters with mantas and other pelagics (i.e. whale sharks and other shark species) are common. At some of the atolls feeding groups of over 100 have been witnessed. Depending on the season, you may need to visit different areas of the atolls, as the mantas do migrate following the nutrient-rich waters.
3. Yap and Palau The islands of Micronesia near the Phillipine Sea are a must do, and are almost a guarantee for daily encounters with mantas. These two islands alone claim 450-600 resident mantas. In diving, we never want to say anything is guaranteed, but you would be hard pressed to be denied a manta encounter when visiting here. While year round encounters are common, the best season for interactions is October through May. The animals are very active after sunset, so be ready for some of the best night dives of your life!
4. Tofo, Mozambique Surprise! My love of Africa influences an appearance on today's top 5 thanks to the diversity of the continent and its wildlife. There are so many wonderful dive locations throughout Southern and Eastern Africa, but Mozambique tops the list for pelagic diving, including mantas. Mantas call Mozambique home year-round due to the unique currents bringing plankton rich waters to its coastal areas. If you travel between June and October, you will also add whale shark encounters, and possibly even humpback whale sightings, as they migrate through. And don't forget to add in a mainland safari while there!
5. Fiji Ahhh, Fiji - let me count the ways this paradise secures its place in our top 5! It's one of our favorite places for so many reasons, Manta sightings included. Located in the south of the Pacific Ocean, off the east coast of Australia, Fiji is a fantastic place to encounter beautiful reefs, amazing sea life, and big ocean-goers like sharks and of course, mantas. With over 300 islands, and the world's 3rd largest coral reef, the encounters are endless. You will find some of the most colorful reefs in the world, as well as some of the best pelagic and shark dives in the world. To see mantas, head to the Yasawas, Kadavu, Taveuni, or Wakaya islands. Each of these requires a boat or ferry ride from the main island, but absolutely worth the journey. Visit between June and October when the manta population is in the hundreds!
When you're far from home, the last thing you want to worry about is losing something near and dear to your heart... or worse, being without necessary travel credentials. To help safeguard not only your valuables, but your trip logistics and peace of mind, we've put together a few tips on safeguarding your most precious possessions while traveling.
1. DON'T PUT VALUABLES IN YOUR CHECKED LUGGAGE
Carry money, jewelry and other valuables on your person, rather than stowing them in checked luggage. Not enough room for your items when packing your carry on? Consider leaving those extra valuables at home! Did you buy nice gifts while away? Most hotels can assist with shipping items home whether domestically or internationally.
2. CARRY YOUR MONEY IN DIFFERENT PLACES
George Costanza taught us a thing or two about thick wallets. Avoid the backaches and keep your money safer by divvying up cash and credit cards into multiple locations. Place some in your wallet, and choose a couple other backup locations - a purse, hip belt, zippered chest or pant pocket, money belt, backpack, or even with a travel companion. That way if a wallet or bag goes missing, you will have secured money elsewhere.
3. WEAR YOUR CASH
By default most people carry their money in a wallet or bag (purse, backpack, etc). Make sure that one of your multiple money carrying locations is on your person, in addition to a wallet or bag. Money belts are more common, but we are loving these unique wearable options: vests with internal chest pockets, money socks, Sholdit pocketed infinity scarves, Travelsmith's pickpocket proof pants, and even garters and bras built to act as wearable wallets - convenient and clever!
4. STORE COPIES OF YOUR DOCUMENTS
When going overseas, make sure to make copies of your passport, flight tickets, insurance documents, hotel reservations, and anything else of importance. Scan the documents and either email them to yourself or upload them to a syncing program like Evernote. When an emergency strikes, having easy access to backup copies of your info via any internet connection will be indispensable.
5. LEAVE EXPENSIVE JEWELRY AT HOME
While you may love your favorite pieces of sparkle, we recommend not advertising your wealth on vacation by wearing expensive jewelry. This could attract unwanted attention and make you a more tempting target for thieves.
6. STASH YOUR VALUABLES
Most hotels, hostels, and guesthouses have a safe that you can use, either at the reception or in your room. Make use of it. Keep most of your valuables safely stashed, and only take what you really need out with you on your day's adventures. Travel lightly while significantly reducing the chance of losing any of your valuables.
7. LIMIT THE CASH IN YOUR WALLET
Do you find yourself regularly taking out your wallet while out adventuring? Shops, bars, restaurants, oh my! Consider keeping just a small amount of cash inside. Whenever you take out your wallet, you advertise its contents to those around you, and you never know who could be watching.
Travel smart, travel light, and get out and explore! Do you have any of your own tried and true ways to safeguard your valuables while adventuring? Share them with us in the comments section below!
Seven months into this pandemic, and we're still living with so much uncertainty. We've sheltered in place. We've gone stir crazy. We've seen businesses cautiously re-open. Yet we've also seen increases in the rate of positive cases around the country. If you plan to venture out this fall/winter here are some key mistakes to avoid when traveling.
1. Not planning ahead.
If ever there was a time for over-planning, now is that time. Gone (for now) are the days of driving until you feel tired and then finding the closest hotel, or going to a city and just googling activities in the area. Whether leaving your community for a quick weekend or a longer trip, planning ahead must be standard operating procedure. First step... check health and safety updates for your local community and your intended destination. Is COVID-19 spreading in your community? Is it spreading in the places you’ll be visiting? You can check the CDC COVID tracker for the most current information. If the answer is yes to either, now might not be the best time to go. If the answer is no, then let the real planning begin! Plot your route, book lodging, make restaurant reservations and book activities in advance.
Seem like overkill? Remember most cities, towns, and even remote campgrounds are currently operating at less than 100%. Many hotels and restaurants are limiting capacity. Your destination will most likely have establishments that are closed, have reduced hours, are by appointment only, have modified processes, or have set other restrictions in place. Due to this, reservations will book well in advance, meaning last minute open slots will be very hard to come by.
2. Dismissing current state and community requirements.
Many states have quarantine requirements in place to protect an influx of COVID-19 cases from crossing their borders. Some statutes govern residents leaving and returning to their community, while others provide guidelines for tourists arriving from different states. These are constantly changing, and you'll need to check for current updates on any requirements that may be imposed on not only your final destination, but any other states you will travel through en route. You can find the resources for state requirements here.
Additionally, be sure to check for any local town or city updates while you’re on the road. One town might mandate masks on any public sidewalk, while others may just require masks indoors. Tourism board and municipality websites are a great resource as they are constantly updating their information online.
3. Forgetting extra masks and hand sanitizer.
Most places are requiring or strongly encouraging masks, so you should be sure to have plenty on hand. Pack 2 in your suitcase, then pack 2 more. And just because you're on a trip, you can't take a vacation from current health and safety guidelines. Practice social-distancing measures and wear masks around strangers - indoors in public places, and outdoors in crowds or where social distancing isn’t possible.
Don't forget to keep your hand sanitizer handy - not only in your suitcase, but in a purse, pocket or your car's center console. Many towns and businesses have put out hand sanitizer stations, but it's best to be self sufficient for gas station stops, last minute needs and when public sanitizer isn't available.
4. Ignoring COVID Testing Precautions.
Depending on the type of overnight trip you’re taking and if you’ll come into close contact with other people outside your bubble, consider getting a COVID-19 test before you go and when you return home. You may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but as we know you can be contagious without symptoms and spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus. Rapid testing is widely available now at your local urgent care and many other centers, making for an easy solution. Regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, take these actions to protect others from getting sick after you return:
5. Being impatient and inflexible.
Have respect and empathy for hospitality professionals trying to offer you a memorable experience in an environment vastly different from the norm. Hotels have reduced service offerings for certain public places like continental breakfast areas. Be ready to make alternate plans as needed. Going out to eat? If a restaurant server is taking care of you while you are eating and unmasked, don’t talk directly at the server to reduce transfer of aerosols. (It’s awkward, we know, but err on the side of caution as much as possible.) Understand that everyone is trying to navigate our current reality as best they can, so having more grace and understanding will go a very long way. If you're not comfortable following the safety guidelines in public establishments at this time, we recommend utilizing food delivery services instead of restaurants, considering car travel vs. flights, and choosing home rentals instead of hotels with shared spaces.
6. Neglecting local businesses.
Now more than ever, many small business are struggling to keep their doors open. Wherever you're headed, check out local businesses to support on your trip. Local boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores and farmers markets are fun places to fuel up, explore and even find that perfect travel keepsake. (Note: Many prefer payment with credit or debit cards right now, to avoid handling cash.)
7. Not using a travel advisor to help plan your trip.
Even a long weekend trip takes a lot of planning and research to ensure you will have a memorable time. Our job as a travel advisor is to do all the legwork for you, at no cost to you!
Now more than ever, with so many changing regulations and procedures, this proves invaluable. We are keeping up with local town and travel updates, with a wealth of resources to access the most current information. And best of all, did we mention our services are FREE to you?!
This can be a beautiful time of year to explore many corners of the US. If you are making the leap to get away this fall/winter, couple these tips with some flexibility, patience and grace to set yourself up for success. For all other details, Travel Greene would be happy to help you plan ahead so you can enjoy your time away to the fullest!
** Important Note: At this point, the CDC advises against all non-essential travel. While we are not encouraging widespread travel at this time, we understand the reality that it's happening and want to provide information on how to travel safely. Please see CDC recommendations and decide what is best for you and your family with regards to travel. **
Like most families in 2020, we imagine this year has included quite a bit of extra "together time" inside your home. And as weather gets cooler, no doubt most folks will spend more time indoors. Together. All of you. Again.
But don't fret - there are ways to avoid feelings of stir craziness this winter. Fresh air and new surroundings are a great way to refresh and recharge! One of our favorite ways to do this is a family ski trip. Choosing the right place for your family - ages, activities and skill levels - makes all the difference! Read on for our list of the best ski resorts for families.
Park City Mountain Resort, Utah
Located just 35 minutes from Salt Lake City airport, the super easy access makes Park City one of our top picks for families. With 7,300 acres of terrain and 330 trails, there is plenty of ground to cover. On the slopes they offer half and full day lessons for children starting at age 3, as well as lessons for teens and adults. After a day on the slopes, there are two mountain resorts to explore with activities like an Alpine coaster, mining tours, or a winter zip line. Park City Mountain is part of the Vail Resorts family, so it's included in the Epic Pass. For 2020 this pass not only gives you access to their many properties and ski runs around the country, it gives you priority on reservations - super helpful with covid limitations in place. Park City Mountain Resort is set to open for the season November 20th, and passes are available for purchase now.
Beaver Creek Resort, Colorado
Beaver Creek is located in the breathtaking Rockies of Colorado, and known by many as one of the best resorts for beginners. You can explore 1,800 acres of terrain on three distinct base areas, including some of the longest beginner runs in the country. Head to the base of the mountain or the village around 3pm and enjoy free cookies every day, then put on your skates and enjoy endless fun at the village rink. Beginners will spend time at Haymeadow or Red Buffalo Park which are kid-friendly areas with fun things like an interactive teepee, ice cream parlor and candy cabin right on the slopes! Beaver Creek ski school even offers a guarantee on kids lessons - if your child is not skiing/riding one of the beginner areas (depending on age) by the 3rd consecutive day of lessons, then the 4th day is free! Better yet, they're offering 15%-20% off on lessons for the 2020 season. Beaver Creek is also on the Epic Pass, giving you options for multiple trips this winter!
Smugglers Notch, Vermont
Rated the #1 family-friendly resort in the East by Ski magazine, Smugglers Notch has so much more to offer than just skiing (tubing and arcade games and laser tag, oh my!). Also ranked in the top ten best ski resorts for beginners, their ski school offers uniquely designed kid-friendly programs. Within the ski curriculum, age groups are divided by small increments based on the developmental stages of children, offering students more intentional and appropriate lessons. And children 6 weeks to 3 years who are not yet ready to ski or ride can enjoy their day at Treasures Child Care Center. When the family needs a break from the slopes, Smugglers Notch offers daily family friendly activities that include bonfires, bingo, magic shows and so much more.
Keystone Resort, Colorado
If your family is made up of avid skiiers, then Keystone is for you. With over 3,000 acres of terrain over three mountains, there are 135 trails on-site! While Keystone is mostly known for its intermediate or expert ski options, there is skiing available for all skill levels and still plenty to do for the youngsters. They have a daily Kidtopia schedule with things like cookie time and meet and greets with the avalanche dog team, not to mention it's five acre skating lake and fun sleigh rides. Keystone announced it's opening November 6th for the 2020 ski season, with standard health protocols in place. Reservations are required.
Northstar California Ski Resort
Tahoe is truly a beautiful area to ski, and Northstar's family-friendly atmosphere makes this a great all-around option. This North Lake Tahoe resort, located in Truckee, CA, features 100 trails over more than 3,100 skiable acres, with plenty for everyone in the family to explore. Spend time on the slopes all day, then enjoy time together by group fire pits with hot chocolate and complementary s'mores for a family apres ski. Have some family members needing a day off from the slopes? Enjoy ice skating and snow tubing while you enjoy the elements in a more laid back atmosphere. Similar to Beaver Creek, they offer a ski guarantee for children's ski lessons, so you can have confidence in building your child's skill level by the end of the trip. Another member of the Epic Pass, Northstar also gives pass holders priority access to reservation days. Winter season 2020 opens November 20th.
Have more questions? Ready to book? Send us a note and we'll get you ski ready this winter!
Our Dive Destination Top FiveRead Now
Seeing the "big stuff" on a dive is always exciting. Let's be honest, that's the goal for most people! When planning dive travel, the question we get asked most often is "Where do I go to make sure I see big animals while diving?"
While there is a chance to see the large exciting animals in a lot of different places, seeing them is unfortunately never guaranteed. If you only have a few days of a vacation to dive, we recommend choosing locations where you can increase your chances for incredible encounters. When time is limited, we want to maximize your experience. Below is our top 5 list for dive destinations. These places not only boost your opportunity for encountering marine megafauna, they are also great places to travel with family, and offer other great vacation activities.
My oh my the remote islands of the Galapagos are exciting! Experience over 27 species of sharks. Dive with penguins and lizards at the same time! See seals and whale sharks too! You can choose from either liveaboard diving or land based diving. Liveaboard diving (you literally live aboard the boat over a period of days as you cruise to various dive spots) provides you better encounters as you can go to more distant and remote islands. You can also pair this with land based tours to explore the islands. Also consider pairing it with an extension to Ecuador or Peru and see the grand sights of Machu Picchu!
2. Southern & Eastern Africa
Southern and Eastern Africa have incredible marine wildlife and a wide range of great diving locations. From migrating whales, to schools of ragged tooth sharks, to mantas and whale sharks, opportunities for viewing large animals abound! In Cape Town, South Africa you can cage dive with great white shark. As you travel up the East coast of South Africa from Cape Town, you can see migrating whales from June - November. These same whales can then be see further up the coast in Mozambique from July-December. Experience the Sardine Run off the eastern coast of Africa in June/July as well as the ragged tooth sharks that make their appearance in Sodwana Bay later in the year. If you want to see whale sharks and Manta Rays, then head north out of South Africa into Mozambique during the summer months (winter there) you can have encounters with these PLUS whales all on the same dive! And let's not forget the beautiful islands of Zanzibar, Mauritius and Seychelles, which are all just a quick flight from Johannesburg and have a ton of great marine life to experience. And since you've made the long flight out already, consider adding a few days for an African safari post dive and experience the amazing wildlife Africa has to offer both above and below the water's surface!
If you have ever seen a picture of clear emerald waters, beautiful beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see, combined with luxurious overwater bungalows, then chances are it was a picture of the Maldives. The Maldives is a collection of thousands of islands in the Indian Ocean in South Asia. It has become one of the best global diving locations because of its warm, clear waters, beautiful coral reefs, white sand beaches and rich marine life. The presence of whale sharks, mantas, hammerheads, eagle rays and multiple shark species is very common, and chances are very high you'll have the unforgettable animal encounters you're after. It is a bucket list trip for many people. But don't be afraid of price - it is possible to visit the Maldives on a budget!
If you know anything about Hawaii, its presence on our top 5 list shouldn't come as a surprise. Even if you have never been, you have probably seen idyllic images of all the wonders of Hawaii, large animal encounters included! Whale watching is a year-round option with 18 different species of whales occupying the warm Hawaiian waters. Plan for winter whale watching to increase your chances as many whales move south from Alaska to the warmer waters that time of year. Also enjoy amazing encounters with manta rays off Kona Island in late spring, summer and fall.
You may have heard of the "Big 5" as it relates to safari animals, but the Bahamas is home to their own "Big 5." It is the only country to declare their entire marine habitat a shark sanctuary. The Bahamas are home to 40 species of sharks including the five big predators: bull sharks, tiger sharks, hammerheads, Caribbean reef sharks, and silky sharks. You will have to island hop in order to see them all, but if you love sharks, then the Bahamas should top your list.
Have more questions? Send us a note and we can talk through your goals, vacation preferences and budget to find your best dive destination!
Planning the Ultimate SafariRead Now
Know you want to go to Africa, but have no idea where to start? Or are you hot to head out on safari, but have no idea who, what, where or when? African travel and planning a safari can be very overwhelming. Lucky for you, we've got many months of African travel under our belt, and even more importantly insider's knowledge from trusted locals to share.
We'll break things down and discuss various activities and area characteristics to help you find the right location for you. Let's start by considering a few things:
1. What do you want to see?
For a lot of people who decide to visit Africa their main interest is viewing the wildlife. No other continent offers the same opportunity to see such a diverse spectrum of wildlife in very close proximity. With over 1,100 different species of mammals and over 2,600 species of birds, it is impossible to see all of them in a single trip. Most people who safari in Africa hope to see the "Big 5" - Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino. Many of the more well known reserves, like the Kruger National Park in South Africa, Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Masai Mara in Kenya, the Okavango Delta & Chobe National Park in Botswana, are home to the Big 5. But just because the animals are there, you're not guaranteed to see them. Greater Kruger is well known for Leopard sightings, while Masa Marai is more well known for up close lion sightings. Though outside of the Big 5, cheetahs are another popular animal on the wish list. While they are abundant in Kruger National Park, it's uncommon to see them. However you have a much higher chance of seeing cheetahs in The Serengeti.
Africa is more than safari of course, so consider what else you may want to do while there. Do you want to go sightseeing? Would you like to spend time doing other activities like hiking, scuba diving or fishing? Do you want to discover the beautiful beaches in Africa as well? Taking your activity wishlist into consideration will help define the most appropriate destination.
2. How much independence do you want to have?
Traveling independently throughout Africa is not as easy as on other continents. If this is your 1st, 2nd or even 3rd visit, we recommend guided tours throughout your entire trip. Guides provide an extra layer of reassurance with directions and local customs, as well as additional safety helping you avoid areas of high crime.
Are you on your 4th or 5th visit at this point? Or are you traveling with a local? Then self-driving may be a good option for you. Or think about splitting up the trip with some self-driving between cities, and taking advantage of guided tours on safari or in more remote areas where you aren't as familiar.
3. Decide on your mode of transportation:
4x4 jeep safaris are the most common when seeing landscapes and viewing wildlife. If you are a little more adventurous, then perhaps a walking safari is for you. We recommend walking safaris in Masai Mara or Kruger National Park. Boat safaris in the Okavango Delta or Chobe National Park in Botswana are also popular ways to see local wildlife. Thinking of something even more adventurous? Hot air balloon rides are a fantastic way to tour and see the bush, and are common in the Serengeti.
4. How much time do you have?
Traveling to Africa in itself is time-consuming, so plan accordingly. When flying from the US, plan on 3 nights for travel. Most flights will leave in the PM and fly overnight. With the time change you usually arrive in the evening the next day, or in the morning 2 days later. If your travel only allows for 1 week, plan on visiting one location to maximize your time. If you have 10-14 days of travel available, you can afford to hop around to multiple cities or countries.
5. How much money do you want to spend?
We hear it all the time - most people consider Africa a bucket list trip, expecting to spend $10,000-15,000+ for two people. But don't let this deter you! While that is definitely true of luxury safari locations, you can also find great budget safari options that are much more affordable, safe and a wonderful experience.
Affordable safari options are common, but are not available in all countries. We recommend defining your budget first, and let that guide you as to what area offers the best safari bang for your buck.
Now it's time to get planning! At Travel Greene we work with local tour agencies in various locations in Africa to bring you a more authentic and affordable experience, allowing you to create all the memories you can fit into one trip. Consider your preferences and budget, and we'll guide you the rest of the way!
Contact Travel Greene for your African Trip Planning Today.
We love the diversity of the Caribbean Islands. No matter your interests or vacation speed, you can find an island that is perfect for you and/or your family. With so many destinations to choose from, we'll help you break things down, starting with a spotlight on some of our favorites: Antigua & Barbuda.
Exquisite beaches, world class sailing, first class hotels and a distinctly British vibe, the tropical twin island paradise of Antigua and Barbuda is the ultimate getaway for families and couples. Antigua is a charming, luxurious escape, pairing perfectly with the beautiful and untouched Barbuda.
In Antigua you can zip-line through the rainforest, enjoy one of its 365 flawless beaches or reach into the island’s rich colonial history at UNESCO world heritage site Nelson’s Dockyard. Looking for water-based adventure? Swim with the stingrays at Stingray City, or dive the local reefs and coves that are home to 200 shipwrecks.
Just a short ferry ride from Antigua lies Barbuda. Its 17 miles of pink sand beach are awash with wildlife and rare bids. It has one of the largest colonies of Frigate birds in the world! The two islands together are often called the sailing capital of the Caribbean, hosting Antigua Sailing Week and the Classic Yacht Regatta each April - a magnet for the international jet set.
Currency: The Eastern Caribbean dollar is fixed to the US dollar at US$1.00 = EC$2.70.
Most credit cards are accepted and traveler's checks are generally accepted.
Average temperatures High/Low: Summer 85/77 degrees.
Winter 82/75 degrees.
Average annual rainfall: 45 inches.
Languages Spoken: English
Electricity: Part of the island is 110 volts; the remainder is 220 volts on 60 cycles. Most hotels carry dual voltage.
Tipping: Typically 10%-15%, though a service charge of 10% is sometime automatically added to your bill in hotels and restaurants. Adding an additional tip is discretionary.
sightseeing and dining
There is so much to fill your days in Antigua and Barbuda. In Antigua chose from Betty’s Hope, a restored sugar plantation, a visit to the Antigua Black Pineapple fields, the famous Nelson’s Dockyard - the only remaining British Georgian fort in existence- and Shirley Heights, an ancient military lookout with the best views in all of Antigua!
If you’re near capital St. John’s don’t miss beautiful St. John’s Cathedral, or Wadadli Animal Nature Park (about a 15 minute drive from the capital). For adventure, jump into an exhilarating jeep safari tour through the rainforest - or zip-line through it instead! You can also take a helicopter to Indian National Park on the remote eastern part of the island, taking in the natural wonder of Devil’s Bridge. If you are looking for something different, try a hands on cooking class in a private home!
Barbuda might be small, but it still has some fascinating places to visit like the Frigate Bird Sanctuary and the colonial Martello Tower. Explore Castle Hill, Highland Hill and Bryant Cave. Snorkeling, scuba diving, turtle watching, bone fishing, horseback riding, hiking, cycling and herbal tours are some of the many other activities to do. If you’re staying in Antigua, visit Barbuda for the day by high speed catamaran.
Take a short trip to other neighboring islands, such as 'volcano' island Montserrat or Dominica, the island of rivers and waterfalls, where you can Eco-Kayak and swim with the dolphins.
Traveling with kids? Consider Springhill Riding Club, or check out an event or cricket match at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Water skiing and sailing offer great chances to get out on the surrounding water, or you can seek out an adventure with ecotours nearby.
In a destination known for turquoise seas and azure skies, local communities work hard to maintain their natural environment within a tourism-driven economy. The southwest coastline, now known as The Green Corridor, is full of rolling hills and lush green rainforest, and is surrounded by environmentally aware hotels, restaurants and activities. Visitors are being encouraged to journey to Antigua and Barbuda to experience the Green Corridor.
No establishments on the island have used plastic bags since January 2019. Antigua has also banned the use of Styrofoam, becoming the first country in the Caribbean to ban both plastics and polystyrene.
The island has an approved list of materials to ensure local products are made with sustainably sourced and biodegradable contents. These include:
There are small and large hotels, all-inclusive and family-friendly resorts, boutique hotels as well as condos. Beachfront, waterfront, ocean view, city and garden views. There is also a huge assortment of houses, villas, apartments and cottages for rent. Take your pick and we can help you find the type of property you desire.
To start, here is a list of some of our favorite all-inclusive resorts:
BATTLING PLASTIC POLLUTION: five simple ways your family can save our oceansRead Now
Prefer to think more about your annual beach vacation, than environmental policies? Rather spend time diving with sea turtles than stressing about pollution? We get that. But as much as we enjoy the pristine beauty where ocean meets land, we know this means the serious issue of plastic pollution affects us. Want some mind boggling statistics?
The damage this plastic is doing to marine life and our ecosystem is tragic. Our actions over the 10 years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years to come. And if we don't collectively act, we will watch the pristine beauty of the oceans and beaches we know and love slip away.
Feel a little overwhelmed? Don't worry - You don't have to make a living as an environmental activist to affect real change. While we know that completely getting rid of plastic in our life is nearly impossible, incorporating small changes into our daily routines can make a substantial difference in reducing plastic use and plastic pollution.
Here are 5 simple ways you can help:
4. ELIMINATE WASTE WHEN ORDERING ONLINE.
Take advantage of "frustration free packaging" when available.
If you are like us, we love Amazon and online ordering. It's almost become a necessity in our post-COVID society. But with that comes a lot of packing plastic that just gets thrown away. Amazon along with other vendors are now trying to help reduce their contribution to plastic waste by offering "frustration free packaging." This method minimizes plastic materials and the use of double boxes included in shipments, and ships items in recyclable boxes when possible. Pro tip - combine shipments and choose "no rush shipping" at checkout to reduce extra waste and reduce your carbon footprint too.
Our family loves Stream2Sea, a reef-safe option that protects our skin and our oceans. And if you'd like to expand your ocean preservation efforts, check out their entire marine-safe line of products that includes hand sanitizer, after sun lotion, lip balm, shampoo and conditioner.
Getting the whole family on board with these simple actions will take practice. but with consistency small actions can become easy habits. These habits add up over time, making a huge environmental impact.
Now we challenge you to join us in taking small steps towards big change for our oceans!
Travel in the "New Normal"Read Now
As we adjust to new norms in almost every aspect of our lives, travel will be no exception. With so much uncertainty surrounding the how of travel, one thing is certain: we want to get back out there at some point and explore! And whether you are thinking about travelling again in the near future, or planning to stay put until later this year (or even ‘til 2021), there are two questions on most minds:
“Will it be safe to travel?”
“What will traveling look like?”
At Travel Greene we believe that arming ourselves with good intel and planning is the way to squash fear and create the best possible experience. To help ease your travel anxieties, we’ve put together some helpful tips for traveling in 2020.
Let’s start by addressing the first question: Will it be safe to travel?
We believe it will be safe to travel soon. The US travel industry organizations, in collaboration with the White House and medical experts, have compiled a list of guidelines that the tourism industry will need to follow in order to reopen. This plan was developed to ensure employee and customer safety as the country begins to open. We believe they are taking travelers’ safety very seriously. Check out the entire list of rules and regulations here.
So yes, you will be safe to travel. But what will traveling even look like?
This question is much harder to answer. Just as with anything else right now, the situation is fluid and constantly shifting. We expect many phased approaches to re-opening businesses and services around the world, and we have no idea how long this process will take. Each country, island and resort may have specific rules & regulations about what their particular location will be doing. Some Caribbean islands, like St. Lucia, Jamaica, Antigua and others will begin opening their borders in June, and hope to welcome tourists to their islands soon. Other countries may open their borders, but will implement a 14-day quarantine for any travelers. As we’ve come to expect in our COVID-19 reality, this is a fluid situation and things continue to change. Without our crystal ball handy, we can’t tell you EXACTLY what your future travel will look like, but one thing we know for sure is things WILL be different. Below is a glimpse of what you can expect.
Now more than ever, using a travel advisor to do your pre-planning and arrange logistics will save you a lot of time and hassle. When the time comes that you are ready to get back out on the open road, skies or seas, Travel Greene will arm you with the planning and details you’ll need to enjoy your “new normal” experience.
Disney Springs ReopeningRead Now
Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort has officially been closed for 67 days, and those of us who are big Disney fans have been anxiously awaiting to hear when it will reopen. We were given a glimmer of hope earlier this month as Disney announced plans to restore operations beginning with Orlando’s Disney Springs, their themed retail, dining and entertainment area, formerly known as Downtown Disney. On May 20, over 40 third-party shops and restaurants in the complex opened their doors once again.
However, as with everything else these days, things are not business as usual. Planning to visit Disney Springs in the near future? Here is what you can expect:
Check out some photos of what it now looks like at Disney Springs
At this point, there is still no official announcement about when resort hotels, restaurants or theme parks will reopen. While the strict requirements for reopening Disney Springs has not been well-received by all, we can assume that when the time comes to re-open other Disney properties, policies and procedures similar to what we see here may be implemented. Disney has continually expressed that the safety of their cast members and guests are their main focus, and we believe they will not jeopardize their reputation just because people may be uncomfortable with temperature checks or making their kids wear a mask. While we don’t know what requirements are coming, we do know Disney isn’t afraid to do what is necessary to promote safety. Even if it means less people in their parks in the near future.
If you are thinking about heading to Disney this year, be sure to figure the current requirements and possible future safety regulations into your planning. You can check out DisneySprings.com/reopening for the most up to date information on the reopening. And check back here with us too! Travel Greene will post updates as Disney makes official announcements along the way. Using the latest details we are happy to help you plan your next Disney vacation, whenever that may be.
Rebecca - lead Travel Advisor
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