Back To Nature: Explore the Americas
Offering a seemingly endless number of inspiring travel experiences unlike anywhere else in the world, North, Central, and South America are the ultimate vacation haven for anyone seeking the most unforgettable outdoor adventures imaginable.
No matter if you’re in search of solitude, romance, heart-pounding thrills, family fun, or just prefer to relax with a great glass of red, you’re guaranteed to find it in the Americas – and so much more!
Crown Jewel of the Canadian Rockies
If glaciers and mountains, impossibly blue lakes, and alpine meadows sound like your kind of fun, exploring the Canadian Rockies and Banff National Park just might be the best travel decision you’ll ever make. As Canada’s first national park and the flagship of the nation’s park system, Banff National Park is a grand spectacle in every season. Over three million visitors a year make the pilgrimage to the park for a variety of activities that include hiking, biking, skiing, and camping in some of the world’s most breathtaking mountain scenery.
Established in 1885, the park is renowned for its stunning Lake Louise. While many have seen photos of the lake, most aren’t prepared for how it feels to experience it in person. The sight of its emerald green water, rugged peaks, and glaciers is quite overwhelming. Late in the day, with the glowing sun dropping behind Mount Victoria, all is quiet and still. When you’re ready to chill, head to Banff Upper Hot Springs. The views out to Mount Rundle and beyond while you bathe and relax here are truly unreal!
Land of Splendor
There’s no denying the fact that the U.S. is loaded with so many mesmerizing national parks, each with its own special beauty. Two of our favorites are Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The oldest National Park in America, Yellowstone is spread out over three states (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho), and within its 3,468 square miles offers some of the most compelling geothermal and geological wonders – the famous geyser Old Faithful, Yellowstone Caldera (the largest supervolcano on the continent) and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, to name just a few.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hands down one of the best all-around parks for families. Located between Tennessee and North Carolina, the “Smokies” are ideal for both nature lovers and those who enjoy of all the conveniences of modern life. You can choose to rough it on the Appalachian Trail, camp out in a developed campground or wilderness, or stay in a luxurious suite in nearby Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge – home to Dollywood!
Superb Sips in Baja
Ready for a wine-centric vacation that’s excitingly different? Then look no further than Mexico’s beautiful Baja California. Seriously! Located to the northwest of mainland Mexico, and bordered by California to the north and the Mexican state of Baja California Sur to the south, Baja California is the northern part of a long, slender peninsula covering nearly 28,000 square miles of beautiful and diverse landscapes and endless beaches.
Baja California’s wine history stretches back to the 1700s with the planting of the first vineyards, and today the region produces about two million cases annually and has won international awards. The region’s prime altitude, porous granite soil, and overall climate come together to provide ideal conditions for growing grapes. Pair all of this with the region’s warm Mediterranean climate and you have the makings for a fantastic getaway – whether you’re searching for fun in the sun, teeing off on a round of golf, or in this case, looking to explore and sample some of the region’s spectacular vineyards and wines.
One with Nature
Oh so perfectly nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, Costa Rica is pure heaven for anyone in search of an eco-conscious getaway full of beautiful sights and great vibes. The country’s natural attractions, landscapes, unique wildlife, incredible beaches, tranquility, and welcoming way of being draws travelers from all over the world – and for many, many good reasons. From surf to yoga, deep-sea fishing to spas, scuba diving to rafting, zip lining to birding, Costa Rica has nearly every type of outdoor and wellness activity you can think of.
For visitors looking for adventure, it's a dreamy destination where you can swap technology and social media for hikes through the jungle, white-water rafting on the rivers, and kayaking in the year-round warm sea before flopping on a sun-drenched beach. The country is also home of four World Heritage sites certified by UNESCO. Visitors need only a little time in Costa Rica before quickly learning that pura vida (the good life) isn’t just a phrase – it’s a way of life.
Above the Clouds
As perplexing as it is post-card worthy, Peru’s Machu Picchu rightfully deserves its position at the top of every bucket-list trip. Perched on a 7,900-foot mountaintop in southern Peru, and known as the "Lost City of the Incas," Machu Picchu is considered one of the most jaw-dropping ancient sites in the world. No one knows exactly why Machu Picchu was created, though some archeologists believe it was an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti.
Built around 1400 A.D., Machu Picchu was abandoned less than 100 years later. Again, no one is sure why. For centuries it lay hidden from the outside world until July 24, 1911, when Hiram Bingham, a Yale professor who’d heard about a lost city, discovered the ruins. They were covered in dense vegetation and it took four years to clear the site. The citadel, as it is called, held 216 stone homes, temples, observatories, agricultural terraces, and 3,000 stone steps.
The Wedding of Your Dreams!
If you’re ready to say “I do,” the Americas offer countless destinations for the wedding of your dreams. Whether it’s a traditional wedding, LGBTQ-friendly ceremony, vow renewal, or you just want to celebrate your love for one another, a destination wedding is always within budget (and much less expensive than a wedding back home). Most cruises and all-inclusive resorts have an array of wedding packages that maximize romance and minimize your costs.
Remember, your local travel professional is your best resource for planning and booking your dream destination wedding and honeymoon!
by Christine Vincent