Hawai’i Honeymoon

What can you expect on a Hawaiian Honeymoon? We helped Viki and Mike plan a whirlwind 3 island honeymoon to Hawai’i in May — and it was a dream come true! We balanced adventure and relaxation, with luxury, local guides, and plenty of free time. They had a truly incredible Hawaiian honeymoon and were more than happy to share their experience, so you can start visualizing your won romantic island adventure.


Traveling Overall

We had an amazing time on our Honeymoon to Hawai’i. It was a dream vacation for us both! Traveling for us went smoothly. There were no Covid restrictions, all our flights were on time, the car companies were efficient, and the check-in process at the hotels was quick. Considering we traveled to 3 islands and had 5 flights, I was pleasantly surprised by how well traveling went for us. We also had the best weather and were happy we chose May to visit Hawai’i! We also loved all the honeymoon perks our hotels offered, and the restaurants helped celebrate our honeymoon with complimentary dessert!

One of the best things we did was download the Gypsy App. We purchased the Hawai’i Bundle and it was well worth it. It was perfect Oahu and Road to Hana in Maui. We loved how we could start anywhere on the island, and go in any direction, and found the guide tips super helpful. It felt like without the app, we would’ve missed out on seeing some of our favorite spots!

I also want to note, that Hawai’i has implemented reservations for some popular tourist attractions and parks. For us, we did not want our trip planned out every day. We only made reservations for Diamond Head State Monument. We had no issue getting our desired date and time.

The USS Arizona Memorial encourages purchasing tickets in advance. We did not and did wait in a 2-hour standby line. Thankfully the weather cooperated and we didn’t have any other planned activities for the day.  

Here are more details by island to share : 

Oahu

The Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head worked well for our stay, mainly because we spent most of our time exploring the island. The hotel wasn’t anything fancy, but it was clean and the room was nice.

a woman standing on the resort balcony on her Hawaii Honeymoon

They did accommodate our partial ocean & Diamond head view request. However, most of our ocean view was of the next door’s hotel parking lot. I wish we asked for a high-rise level floor. The hotel wasn’t beachfront, but it was a minute walk to a very nice and quiet beach.

Our favorite restaurants we ate in Oahu were : 

  • Michel’s at Colony Surf – perfect for a fancy oceanfront dinner and next to our hotel
  • Sweet E’s Cafe – is a great local brunch spot located in Honolulu. It was a short 10-minute drive from our hotel. Both Mike & I loved their pancakes!
Hawaii Honeymoon couple in Oahu with helmet on surrounded by green mountains

A few highlights from our time in Oahu included

  • 2 Hour ATV Tour at Kualoa Ranch – such a thrill & we loved seeing so many Hollywood movie site locations
  • Hiking Diamond Head
  • Oahu’s Beaches & Volcanoes Loop (South-East corner)
  • North Shore Loop
  • Visited Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial

Kauai 

The Sheraton Kauai Resort was our favorite hotel! The resort really went the extra mile by upgrading us for free to the “Hibiscus Suite”. The suite was a newly renovated top floor oceanfront & pool front suite. We had 3 balconies, a dining room, living room, master bedroom, and bathroom. They also offered us a complimentary bottle of champagne. We plan to request this specific suite on a future anniversary trip! We did not want to leave!

The Sheraton Kuai resort in Hawaii with glowing pool

After our busy agenda in Oahu, we spent some much-needed R&R in Kauai. We loved the ocean views from Poipu Beach and the on-site amenities the Sheraton offered. On the last day, we treated ourselves to one of the beachside cabanas. We also spent much of our time at the resort’s restaurant, Lava’s. The staff was super friendly and had yummy poolside cocktails!

Our Doors Off Private Helicopter Tour with Mauna Loa Helicopters in Kauai was our favorite adventure! We flew over the coast of Kauai including the beautiful Na Pali! Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and he made us feel comfortable. This was an experience of a lifetime!

the view of Hawaiian islands from a helicopter

We also did the 8 Line Poipu Zipline Adventure with Skyline Eco Adventures in Kauai. We enjoyed seeing the different parts of Kauai and zipping around the island. However, we do wish we saw more tropical forests and that the lines were longer. This was our 3rd time ziplining together so for us I think next time we’d prefer a challenging course and more views! On the plus side, we did like that it was a small tour and our tour guides were awesome!

Our favorite restaurants in Kauai were all within a 5 to 10-minute drive of our resort :  

  • The Beach House Restaurant – a nice beachfront restaurant where we could watch the surfers. Probably my favorite restaurant in Hawai’i. 
  • Keoki’s Paradise – an open-air restaurant with a laid-back Hawaiian vibe.
  • Living Foods – located in the cutest outdoor shopping mall, The Shops At Kukuiula.  

Maui 

The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa was a tropical paradise! The staff made us feel welcome with a bottle of champagne and a lei greeting upon check-in. Our hotel room was very nice and we had a gorgeous view of one of the many resort pools. It was also convenient having so many restaurants on site. I loved the poke & fish tacos they offered! The sunsets on the beach were also breathtaking being on the West Side of the island. The amenities at the resort were endless, and we saw many honeymooners like ourselves. 

We had a great time at the Drums of The Pacific Luau at our hotel! Our seats were close to the stage, and the venue seemed pretty booked. I’m glad we purchased our tickets far in advance. The food servings were large and we enjoyed the open bar as well as the entertainment. 

a honeymoon couple in front of dried lava flow in Hawaii

We’re also happy to report we survived the Road To Hana in Maui! We did the Original Route with 620 Curves and 59 One Way Bridges. It took us about 12 hours to fully complete by following the Gypsy Guide. We saw so many tropical rainforests, waterfalls, and beaches!

On our last day, we did the Lanai Snorkel Tour & Dolphin Watch With Pac-Whale Eco Adventures. It wasn’t the best snorkeling day at Lanai sadly. During the 5 hours, we didn’t see any dolphins and not a large variety of fish. The boat ride was long and we would have preferred a smaller group tour. We originally booked the small group Honolua Bay trip, but they canceled that specific tour the day prior. Next visit to Maui I’d love to snorkel Molokini Crater!

a couple in Hawaii on their honeymoon with green lawns and sunset in the background

On one of our last nights in Maui, we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at The Plantation House in Lahaina. The restaurant offers breathtaking views of the Kapalua Golf Course and the ocean. We were lucky to be at the restaurant during sunset. I enjoyed the Catch of The Day and Mike said his Filet was the best meal he had on our whole trip. 

Conclusions

Overall, if we had to choose our favorite island it would be Kauai and then Maui! We still loved Oahu, but Honolulu was very crowded being a city. Traveling to 3 islands was an adventure and we saw a lot with not a ton of relaxation so we’re glad traveling was seamless. Next time, we’d choose just 1 or 2 islands so we can see more but have plenty of time to relax on the beach. 

We’re so happy we delayed our trip by 2 years. No covid restrictions allowed us to be free of testing, and minimize wait times to fully enjoy our time.

We thank you Ann, and your team for all your time and dedication to helping us plan our dream Hawaiian Honeymoon! We look forward to planning a future trip together!

-Vicki & Mike

A love affair with Belize…

You really can’t ask for a better, more detailed, more personal trip review than this. Maggie and Matt clearly LOVED their honeymoon in Belize 🙂

Our honeymoon was, in one word: amazing. We miss being in Belize every single day and we can’t wait to go back! I apologize for taking so very long to get this to you–to be honest, every time I start to write it, I get sad because we aren’t in Belize…

When we arrived in Belize on the 6th, a driver from Chaa Creek was outside the airport, waiting to pick us up. We discovered while on the plane, though, that the couple sitting behind us was also going to Chaa Creek! That was really nice, as we hit it off with them nicely, so sharing the van with them for the two hour drive to Chaa Creek was a fun experience. Our first stop, after not even three minutes driving, was at a local market so the guys could get some beers for the drive (apparently it’s totally OK for passengers to drink while the car is in motion! Very cool.) They brought back the local Belizean beer called “Belikin”, which we happily drank on our way to Chaa Creek. Just driving through the country was interesting… such beautiful terrain the whole way through.

Maggie 1

Upon arriving at Chaa Creek, we were greeted by the super friendly staff at the reception desk, with cool peppermint neck towels and sorel juice laid out for us. Sorel juice is made from a local pink flower that looks just like the hibiscus flower and it is delicious and refreshing! The peppermint towels were a wonderful relief from the humidity (although we were honestly never uncomfortable due to the weather–it was the perfect time to visit, rain showers from time to time, but still gorgeous, even then). We were led to our *BEAUTIFUL* room–complete with a thatched roof, beautiful stone floors, tall ceilings, beautiful decor and honeymoon flowers and towel decorations everywhere! We had TWO showers, one that was a completely private outdoor shower, and one indoor shower that was big enough to host a party in. It was heavenly. The bed was luxurious and all the decor was beautiful and handmade. I hate to describe it right now because it’s making me really want to go back! Our room also came with two hammocks that we would hang up on the front deck outside our room to read in whenever we had down time. It was perfection. Our first dinner was a delicious lobster tail (mine) and a perfectly cooked steak (Matt’s)–both with Belizean flavor and fresh, local side dishes. The food was perfection, each and every day. We were about ready to move in. After relaxing all afternoon and evening, we scheduled a couples massage at the spa (overlooking the jungle!) for the following morning, which was absolutely glorious, relaxing and heavenly all at once.

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After lunch, we took off for our first excursion, which was ziplining through the jungle at a place called Calico Jack’s. Our driver and tour guide was named Hugh, and he was so, so informative and friendly that the drive there ended up being just as wonderful as any other part of the trip! We loved Hugh! Ziplining through the rainforest was unbelievable… at first I was terrified (Matt went first and loved it) but after my first line, I was in love. It’s exhilarating, exciting and absolutely beautiful. The two guides who took us ziplining were very informative & friendly, and as we walked through the jungle from line to line, they would stop and show us such interesting things in the rainforest, ways to survive or interesting creatures (the ‘give and take’ tree was so cool!–if you touch the sharp needles on the bark, it poisons you, but cut the tree open and you’ll find the antidote in its sap!)

Maggie 11

The next morning, Hugh’s brother, Daren, took us on a tour of Xunantunich, a Mayan site about an hour away from Chaa Creek. It was a fascinating and very humbling experience. The history of the Mayans is so, so rich in Belize. Daren was more than willing to take pictures of us there–and the pictures he took turned out wonderfully! He eventually told us that photography is a big hobby of his and that he’d won a competition to have a photograph he took of a local bird be on the cover of Belize’s telephone book (we later got to SEE the photo/telephone book in real life at the next place we stayed! It was really awesome). That afternoon, Daren drove us to the second half of our day, which was canoeing through a dark and beautiful cave. There were bats flying waaay above us in the cave, which added to the spooky and ethereal feeling. Towards the end, when we were closer to the exit of the cave, Daren had us switch off our headlamps so we could experience what total blindness felt like–such a bizarre feeling… and then he guided us out of the rest of the cave in TOTAL darkness. It was such an amazing experience that we’ll never forget.

Maggie 5Maggie 10

The following day, we went to another Mayan village, called Cahal Pech, and Hugh was our tour guide again (to our excitement!). This one was just as fascinating as the previous day’s excursion to Xunantunich. We had originally planned to go to the huge, Indiana Jones-style cave excursion called ATM, but the rain in the afternoon had caused the risk of flash flooding, which isn’t worth the risk, for sure! The staff definitely felt bad that we had to change our plans, and they went above and beyond to make sure our day was still fun and well-planned. After we went to Cahal Pech, Hugh drove us into the Mennonite area of Belize, which was really interesting. It basically looked like Pennsylvania had been plopped down in the middle of the rainforest! We stopped at an ice cream shoppe that served homemade Mennonite ice cream and it was delicious (we’d recommend the coconut ice cream!). Hugh was so informative and excited to show us Belize that the feeling was infectious… we had such a great time with all of our guides, Hugh, Daren & Selwyn in particular.

Maggie 6

On our last day at Chaa Creek, we went for a horseback ride in the rainforest and finally heard some howler monkeys! It was unreal! They sound terrifying but they’re tiny monkeys who are only interested in making a big racket to scare away other howler monkey families (very territorial). We’d heard from so many other travelers that the howler monkeys would wake us up every morning before the sun was even up, but it never happened (apparently because it wasn’t mango season–so avoiding being woken up that early was just another reason why we’re happy we went in October!). Our guide, Selwyn, worked really hard to get us as close to the monkeys as possible so we could take videos and lots of pictures. We ended our horseback ride with views overlooking miles and miles of rainforest–it was breathtaking–and the perfect ending to our time at Chaa Creek (even though we would’ve preferred it to never end).

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This is such a short summary of all the amazing things we did in Chaa Creek–the waterfall infinity pool on site was beautiful and so much fun (I mostly summarized all the adventures we had, but we had lots of relaxing downtime by the pool and reading in our hammocks–glorious!), the food was delicious (the morning fryjacks are our favorite–we’re still missing those!–we even saved the dinner menus they slipped under our doors each night so we can remember how good the food was!), the property and our room was utter perfection and the staff was wonderful–so friendly, happy, kind & personable. Hugh even came by the local airport we were flying out of to get to the next leg of our trip after we’d left Chaa Creek (on his day OFF!) to give us a DVD he had told us about from which he learned so much about the Mayan ruins he guided us through. We were so blown away by that. Shenny, Hugh, Daren, Saul, Rose were some of the most amazing people we met through Chaa Creek! All the dining staff, too, were truly a pleasure to be around. All of the locals we met outside of Chaa Creek were wonderful as well–happy, friendly and so welcoming. We unfortunately can’t remember everyone’s names from Chaa Creek, but everyone was equally friendly and always happy to help us everywhere we went. We truly felt we made friends there. We can’t WAIT to go back!!

Maggie 15

The small ten passenger plane that took us from the mainland of Belize to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye was really fun and provided beautiful views the entire ride. We arrived at the local airport on San Pedro and were quickly picked up in a roomy golfcart by a Ramon’s Village employee who was extremely friendly and enthusiastic. After relaxing in our room for a while and exploring the beach/walking along the beach, we decided to grab dinner at Caroline’s Cookin’, a local restaurant that was about a 3 minute walk from our room. I’d read reviews on Yelp that all informed me that Caroline’s was the place to go. Boy were they right! It was absolutely delicious. We had made reservations earlier in the day (which we came to find out were totally unnecessary as it was the slow season) and when we came back for dinner, Caroline cooked our meal herself and chatted us up throughout dinner. Matt ordered the jerk conch (conch was in season so we had a LOT of it and it was all delicious!) and I ordered the curried shrimp… we both had a few rum punches (one of which Caroline gave us for free) and it was all heavenly. We were the only customers (reflection of the season not the service & food!) so we got lots of attention.

Maggie 13

Almost every day that we were in San Pedro, we relaxed in thatch-covered hammocks on the beach, reading our books and refilling our drinks whenever a staff member came by. It was the most heavenly paradise. That was our absolute favorite part about staying on the beach–just relaxing together in our hammocks! Even when it rained one day, we stayed where we were, because we were completely sheltered and it was still warm. It was wonderful. Although we’d thought about going out on a snorkeling trip, we were having such a wonderful time relaxing together on the beach each day that we never wanted to move a muscle! (Plus, snorkeling trips there can get expensive and we weren’t interested in spending extra money–something to do next time!)

Maggie 16

The only day we really explored away from Ramon’s was our last day–we wanted to get some souvenirs for our family, so we walked around some of the touristy shops and bought gifts that were cheaper than the gifts offered in Ramon’s gift shop. We also found a fantastic chocolate shop that made really delicious treats–we had chocolate confections for dessert one night and also bought a few bars to bring back as gifts. Another excellent restaurant we went to was Elvi’s Kitchen. The food was absolutely delicious, the staff was friendly and accommodating, and the floors were made of sand! It was a really fun experience. Elvi’s Kitchen was a lot farther of a walk from Ramon’s Village than we’d realized, so by the time we left dinner it was very dark and I was really grateful to have my tall, muscled and imposing husband by my side. San Pedro is most definitely more developed in all areas than Chaa Creek and the surrounding town of San Ignacio, and it was never clearer than when we were out at night. We were just about the only people not traveling by golf cart (we were on foot) so I’m sure if we’d been in a golf cart I’d have felt safer, but we couldn’t justify renting it for just one dinner–it’s really not necessary during the day at all (unless you want to explore the undeveloped regions of the Caye).

Maggie 12

On our second to last night there, we decided to order a pizza to be delivered to our room! We missed pizza (even though the Belizean food was delicious) and it made for a fun night in together. On our last night, we had dinner at the restaurant at Ramon’s Village. Although it wasn’t the best meal we had, it was still really good. The breakfasts we had at Ramon’s Village were all delicious, too, and they all came with fryjacks! Being out on the hammocks on the beach during lunch was awesome–we ordered right from a waiter and ate while sitting in our hammocks! Since we’ve gotten back home, our first purchase as a married couple was a two-person hammock! We miss those relaxing days!!

We never wanted our honeymoon to end, it was so amazing. You’ve made us life-long Belize travelers… we can’t wait to get back as soon as we can! THANK YOU SO MUCH, Ann!!!

– Maggie and Matt

 

Hollie and Matt’s Kiwi Adventure

When I tell clients that there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” honeymoon, this trip report is exactly what I have in mind. Hollie and Matt worked with me to design an AMAZING two-week honeymoon in New Zealand that combined outdoor adventure, scenery, food, wine, beaches, their love of the “Lord of the Rings”, and more. It was the perfect fit for the two of them, and they were kind enough to send me their detailed feedback when they returned.

Overall, our trip was amazing.  New Zealand was just as stunning as advertised.  It is a gorgeous country, with very friendly residents and a lot of ‘Kiwi’ pride.  It was a long trip, so I decided to organize this travelogue by cities rather than days in order to more easily summarize.  My apology as it is still rather lengthy.

Huntington 1 -sofitel auckland view

We arrived in Auckland on an early Wednesday morning (NZ time) after leaving at 11 am from Boston on Monday, with a stopover in San Francisco.  We took Super Shuttle from the airport to our first hotel, the Sofitel at Viaduct Harbour. This hotel receives high marks for many things, but mostly for how we were treated upon check in. Since it was 7 am, I had assumed that the hotel would allow us to keep our bags at the desk until we could get into our rooms later that day. To our pleasant surprise, the hotel allowed us to check in immediately. This gave us time to get our belongings situated and for us to freshen up after two very long flights. We found this hotel to be in a great location. We had a room overlooking the harbor, so beautiful views of the water, yachts, and city. We were within walking distance of all kinds of shops and restaurants as well.  Beyond shopping and eating, we visited the SkyTower to take in views of the city.  We watched several jumpers take the plunge, but decided against the SkyJump (190 meters down) as we wanted to make sure we lived beyond the first day of our honeymoon!

Huntington 2 - kauri tree

We picked up our rental car the following morning and headed toward the Coromandel Peninsula. We took the Pacific Coast Highway for most of the drive which had great views along the water.  We ate (and drank our first of many NZ beers and ciders) in Coromandel Town and stopped for a short hike at Long Bay.  On the walk was a Kauri Tree – largest tree I have ever seen (see picture attached).  After this, we headed to our next accommodation.  NZ travelers should beware of the extremely winding narrow roads that will inevitably be encountered.  Many roads are also gravel and run along steep cliffs with barely enough room for a car to pass.  This adds to the challenge of driving on the opposite side of the road.

Huntington 3 -pauanui beach

Our second night stay was at the Pauanui Pines Motor Lodge. Upon arrival, we knew we would like this place immediately. Before checking us in, the caretaker greeted us, asking about our day – where we had been (Coramandel), where we were going (Waitomo), what we were interested in seeing in Pauanui and where we might like to have dinner. She provided us with brochures that she had collected from other guests, as well as directions to the beach, info on the local eateries and “town center”, and offered up some golf clubs so that my husband could sneak on the golf course that the lodge backs up to. At this small establishment, they provided free internet, which I learned was a true bonus as we made our way to other hotels in NZ. The room was very comfortable; each one resembled a small cottage and included a kitchenette. Our favorite part of Pauanui was a shop in the town center called the Chocolate Pretzel. They had incredible muffins.  The beach in Pauanui is also beautiful.  We took a morning stroll there before heading to our next destination.

Huntington thumbnail

On our way to Rotorua, we stopped in Waitomo to check out the glow worm caves.  We took the 4 hour Lost World tour where we abseiled 300 feet into a cavern.  It was really great; the glow worms looked like stars in the pitch black caves.  We would definitely recommend this tour, but be aware that the only way out of the cave is up, and that involves a 100 foot completely vertical metal ladder, which seems never ending when you’re climbing up it.

In Rotorua, we stayed at the Millennium Hotel Rotorua for two nights.  This hotel was also in a great location, within short walking distances from the Visitor’s Info center, the Rotorua Museum, plus tons of shops and restaurants. We were able to park our car for most of the stay, which was a pleasant break. This hotel was okay, but could definitely use some refreshing.  From Rotorua, we took a bus to Matamata to visit the Shire (Hobbiton Movie Set from the Lord of the Rings).  I had been looking forward to this part of the trip for a long time, and I was not disappointed.  Peter Jackson has made sure that every detail was accounted for, and it truly showed in the Hobbit houses, gardens, and the Green Dragon pub.  I would recommend this tour to all LOTR fans.  Also in Rotorua, we rode the Skyline gondola up to the top of one of the mountains; I took in the view while my husband did several Luge runs.  Other adventures in Rotorua included ziplining with Rotorua Canopy Tours, and the Swoop Sky Swing at Agroventures.  All were great.  Lastly, Rotorua is known for its thermal pools and sulfur smell.  You cannot escape it.

Huntington 5 - tongariro mtnsHuntington 6 - mt doom

We left Rotorua and headed south. When planning our itinerary for NZ, we asked to see the real ‘Mt. Doom‘.   We found ourselves literally at the foot of the famed mountain staying one night in the Chateau Tongariro.  This stop helped break up the drive between Rotorua and Wellington. The hotel, upon arrival, is quite breathtaking, backing up against the snow-covered mountains. However, it is located (literally) in the middle of nowhere. There is one bar for skiers a few feet from the Chateau, which we walked to for a drink, but not much else. In addition to the location, upon entering the guest lounge/lobby, we felt as if we entered a time warp. At any moment, it felt like the ghosts of celebrities from years past could float into the room with their cigarettes and martinis. While the lounge has huge windows that gaze upon the mountains, we were really unable to move beyond spooky feeling for the rest of the stay. (I also likened it to the movie ‘Clue’ where all the characters fatefully ended up at a mansion only to be doomed.)  The rooms themselves definitely require an update. We preferred not to use the shower, the doorknobs were awkwardly high (seemingly for giants), and there was no AC, which made sleeping pretty uncomfortable. WiFi was available only in the lobby/lounge, and there was a charge. The silver lining was the restaurant. We had a really delicious meal, with a pleasant server and a great bottle of wine.

After Tongariro, we had a 4 hour drive to Wellington, where we stayed for two nights at the Museum Hotel.  We enjoyed the hotel overall – good location located directly across the street from the Te Papa museum and walking proximity to many stores and restaurants.  We also enjoyed the quirky décor throughout the hotel.  We tried to dine at the Hippopotamus restaurant onsite, but failed to make reservations (our fault) and missed out.  Since we were all dressed up and still hungry, the host suggested that we check out the bar menu in the lobby/lounge area.  This was a great idea.  We ordered several glasses of wine and a few small plates.  It rained most of the time that we were in Wellington, but it allowed us to rest for a bit and not feel guilty about spending our time indoors (eating, drinking and shopping).

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We took a ferry from Wellington, through the Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island.  We had premium lounge tickets for the ferry, which were worth every penny.  The ferry takes at least 3 hours, and the lounge had tons of couches, blankets, pillows, beverages and food.  It was much more comfortable than expected.  After arriving in Picton, we picked up our next rental car and drove to Nelson where we stayed at the Grand Mercure Monaco Apartments three nights. We really enjoyed this hotel.  It is a beautiful little village with overhung and overflowing flowers in every nook and around every corner.  We had a one room apartment, which was quaint and comfortable.  We also had an amazing meal at the restaurant on site, the Orangerie.  Another plus is that this hotel is centrally located to dozens of wineries, and not far from Abel Tasman.  On one day, we did a self-guided wine tour, visiting 3 different cellar doors, and on another, we drove to Abel Tasman National Park, taking a boat cruise from Wilson’s, and hiking around a loop at the Anchorage beach.

 

Huntington 8 -wineryHuntington 9 -Abel Tasman

From Nelson we flew to Queenstown via Christchurch.  Flying internally within NZ is very easy and very quick.   We stayed at the Queenstown Sofitel for three nights.  The Sofitel brand continues to impress us with their friendly service and top notch accommodations.  This hotel is set back from the other main streets, but is within short walking distance to everything you would be interested in doing in Queenstown.  I visited the spa during our stay and had a relaxation massage; I would highly recommend as it was literally the best massage I’ve ever had.  Queenstown ended up being our favorite place in NZ.  There are tons of shops, restaurants, and adventure activities.  We hiked to the top of the mountain under the Queenstown Skyline.  This was followed by a ZipTrek tour and mountain biking for my husband.  We also took a bus to Milford Sound, where we got the real Middle-Earth feel.  The Milford Mariner took us through the sound – it was beautiful ride but extremely windy.

Huntington 13 -mirror poolsHuntington 10 -Qtown

 

We originally thought this was a once in a lifetime trip, but after visiting, we have no doubt we’ll be back again someday.  Next time – we’ll reverse the trek, starting in Queenstown!

 

 

 

The next Costa Rica

If once-exotic destinations like Costa Rica, Belize and Panama just don’t do it for you anymore, how about Nicaragua?

As I learned at the Adventure Travel Expo this past weekend, Nicaragua is an up-and-coming hot spot that offers all the nature, adventure, history and culture that you could want — at prices significantly below its better-known Central American neighbors.

Nicaragua volcano

In a country that’s just slightly smaller than the state of New York, you can enjoy Spanish Colonial art and architecture in the historic city of Granada…hike to the rim of an active volcano…flyfish and SCUBA dive among Caribbean islands…surf an unspoiled Pacific beach…explore the only fresh water lake in the world that has sharks….and sand board down the side of a dormant volcano. If that’s not enough, there’s nightlife, wildlife, and resort life.

Worried about getting there? There are daily direct flights from Atlanta, Miami and Houston.

I think that Nicaragua may have just made it onto my “short list”. What about you? Interested in checking it out before the secret is out?

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)