Author Archive

Arts and the Amazon: A Creative Adventure in Peru

March 9th, 2017 by
Peru travels weaving
When traveling to Peru, there are several ways to experience the Amazon, and whether you travel by boat or stay in a jungle lodge, all are wonderful adventures. But if you want to enjoy a trip that also unlocks your creative potential, we suggest letting Mark Wangberg and Connie Grauds of the Living Amazon Peru Project lead you in a hands-on art journey of interaction with local people and natural materials of the Amazon. The Jungle Spirit Fine artist and art teacher Mark Wangberg and Connie Grauds believe eco-immersion in the jungle will free the artist within you, even if a traveler has never before lifted a paintbrush or tried weaving a basket. “How could all this wonderful nature energy not ramp up the desire to create your own art?” Mark says. The Amazon pulsates with birds, butterflies, monkeys, and innumerable species of trees and plants. All are blended together in a cacophony of high energy and diversity that Connie calls “jungle spirit.” “The Amazon is the greatest expression of life on Earth,” says Connie, a pharmacist by training and an author, healer, spiritual mentor, and Peruvian trip leader by avocation. Connie has been traveling in the Amazon basin for 23 […]

From The Field: What’s New In The Galapagos

January 30th, 2017 by
Galapagos Islands Travel
By Allie Almario Blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, and sea lions. The incredible wildlife you’ll see in the Galapagos hasn’t changed much, but how travelers explore the islands has been transformed in the last decade. As the Myths and Mountains Galapagos Islands expert, I visited the islands for the 14th time in December, 2016 and explored three emerging trends that affect how Galapagos itineraries are evolving. LUXURY HOTELS While most of the 250,000 tourists who visit each year still navigate the islands by ship, there is a noticeable increase in visitors who extend their stays to lodge in upscale hotels on several of the populated islands. On Santa Cruz Island, the Galapagos Safari Camp masters the ambiance of an African glamping experience in a tropical paradise. Yes, there was a rare, endangered wild tortoise relaxing under my tent! Since the camp hosts just a handful of guests at a time, the camp manager meets with you when you arrive to get a sense of your priorities and preferences. During my stay, a small group wanted to experience the local culture. The staff arranged for a high school dance troupe to stop by before dinner. The beautiful lobby turned into a spectacular stage as […]

8 Questions for Travelers to the Amazon

November 4th, 2016 by
Peru Amazon Child with Baby Sloth, Photo: Brian Shepard
There’s no BEST way to tour the Amazon, the second largest river in the world, but there is a best way for YOU. The first — and most important — decision you’ll make when planning your Amazon adventure is whether to stay in an eco-friendly jungle lodge or take a cruise on the river. Each option has advantages, so think about your own preferences and expectations. These questions are ones that we ask our clients when planning their visits to the largest tropical rainforest on the planet. 1. Does your Amazon fantasy include waking up to the sounds of exotic birds?   The lodges we suggest are deep in the rainforest in a national park or reserve. The rooms have screened windows that can be opened to allow you to hear all the sounds of the jungle–the rustling trees, the chirping of insects, and the musical birdsongs. A lodge gives you a truly authentic experience of the jungle, especially at night when you go to sleep to the sounds of nature. 2. Is your vacation schedule flexible? Cruises have specific departure dates and times for their three-and-our-night or longer trips, so your schedule must mesh with the boat’s timetable. Keep in […]

Cruising the Patagonian Fjords

October 14th, 2016 by
Patagonia Travel by Sea
There’s no doubt about it. Authentic adventure cruising is a hot trend in travel. Tourists by the boatload are taking river cruises, small expedition ships, and even ferries to countries as familiar as France and as remote as Patagonia. What’s the appeal of touring Patagonia by ferry? The number of aging baby boomers is increasing, and according to Marketing:Travel, the 50-70 year-old “tends to be more seasoned and experienced and is now looking to discover places they’ve never been and to experience familiar destinations in totally new ways.” Patagonia by Sea One of most dramatic views on the planet is the jagged Pacific coast of Patagonia. Receding glaciers many millennia ago created deep fjords that today make direct north-to-south land travel along the coast impossible. In fact, the best way to experience the lacework of fjords, rugged peaks, and narrow channels of the Chilean coast is to be on the water. Cruising the coastline by ferry is also an ideal way to get close to small villages and the marine life. The mammals, fish, and birds are tremendously diverse and plentiful in this remote part of the world. There are whales (blue, humpback, and southern right whales), dolphins (Chilean, Peale’s […]

Myths and Mountains Featured in USA Today

March 23rd, 2016 by
Traveling to Galapagos
When USA Today feature an article about traveling to the Galapagos, it was only natural that the author would reach out to our own Galapagos travel expert, Allie Almario. The article, Five myths about the Galapagos Islands, explores the unique challenges related to Galapagos travel. Among those are Galapagos travel costs, cruising the Galapagos vs. staying on land, and unique Galapagos wildlife.

Cruising the Galapagos: How to Choose a Ship

March 4th, 2016 by
Touring the Galapagos - Galapagos Travel Experts
No matter what time of year you travel to the Galapagos, seeing wildlife is guaranteed.  Something is always mating, nesting or giving birth, so there’s action 24/7.  And regardless of which islands in the archipelago your ship takes you, you’ll be in nature’s zoo.  All the islands are good for wildlife viewing. Which ship you choose to go island hopping, though, deserves some thought and planning.  Whether you’re going for five days or two weeks, think about it how you’d like to cruise, and choose a ship that suits your traveling style and budget. After all, your comfort level — physically and financially–is unique to you. So let us at Myths and Mountains know your preferences.  Keep in mind that the sooner you begin planning your trip, the more options you are likely to have. Planning Your Galapagos Cruise When helping travelers plan their Galapagos adventure, I always ask these three questions: 1. What time of the year do you want to go to the islands? If your dates are not flexible, say, after April 5 but no later than April 16, we can focus on the kind of ship you prefer that cruises during that time.  Each ship departs […]

Traveling To Havana: 5 Things You Must Do

March 21st, 2016 by
Traveling to Havana, Cuba
Americans traveling to Cuba will find themselves on carefully planned itineraries that are usually restricted to people-to-people interactions closely regulated by the local government. But that doesn’t mean you can’t steal a few minutes on your own to enjoy Havana’s greatest pleasures. Here are five things you must do while you’re in the city: 1. Walk the Streets of Old Havana After fueling up with a caffeine-laden Cuban espresso or a “cafecito,” put on a pair of comfortable walking shoes and head off to explore Old Havana.  The buildings are decorated in a mix of Baroque and Neoclassical styles and many of the villas, built a century ago, still stand proudly, though many are in shabby condition. Look carefully, and you’ll see handcrafted tiles, delicate artwork in the ironwork of balconies and balance in curved arcades hidden in alleyways and tucked away in private courtyards. You’ll find gorgeous flowers in planters around doorways. (Wonder why you might notice an empty eggshell perched on top of a flower pot? It’s to deter pesky birds from picking on the flower’s delicate petals). Preservationists are working hard with locals to protect as many of the old private homes in the city’s plazas and […]

An Insider’s Tips When Traveling to Cuba

February 19th, 2016 by
Visit an historic church in Cuba
Cuba is just 90 miles and a 45-minute flight from Florida, but it feels like a country stuck in another era. If you have never been there, we’ve prepared six helpful suggestions to make traveling to Cuba go smoothly. 1. Photography Tips for Snapping Pics of the Cuban People and Their Cars In Havana, you’ll see folks in colorful costumes posing for photographers. Some may ask for a tip, and it’s appropriate to give a CUC (less than a dollar in local currency). Others are genuinely happy to pose for you for free. In that case, take the picture, thank them profusely and, most important, show them the picture you’ve taken. This interaction almost always ends with giggles and a warm hug for you. When touring a cigar factory, taking photos of the workers may not be allowed, so ask before you shoot. And as in some art museums throughout the world, photography, especially with flash, is prohibited. With thousands of classic American cars zooming through the streets of Cuba, barely held together with spit, duct tape and a prayer, you’ll find yourself taking lots of photos of these beauties. Their colors are irresistible, ranging from minty green to hot pink […]

5 Must-Haves When Traveling to Cuba

February 15th, 2016 by
Cuba's Famous Vintage Cars
Traveling to Cuba Having just successfully completed Myths and Mountains’ first group trip to Cuba, I have a short list of five things to pack for your adventure to one of the most popular destinations in the world today. 1. Lots Of Cash Cash is king when you travel to Cuba. That’s because you can’t use your debit or credit cards for everyday purchases like meals or drinks. You’ll also need cash to buy tickets to the Buena Vista Social Club and rides in one of the thousands of colorful classic American cars that roam the streets of Havana. Your best bet is to bring a minimum of about $100 a day for essentials beyond your hotel and breakfast. You can exchange US dollars to CUCs (pronounced “cooks”) at your hotel. ($100 bills are accepted.) In February 2016, the current exchange rate is .87 CUCs = $1 US dollar. Some tour guides prefer tips in US dollars, but others, such as local experts who take you to museums, and bus drivers, may prefer CUCs.  Don’t hesitate to ask what is preferred. 2. All Your Toiletries… And Extras To Give Away Bring all the toiletries you may need with you. Finding […]