Shermanstravel Blog

Sports And Adventure

Tikal3

Jess Novak

Tikal National Park, home to what was once the capital of a powerful Mayan kingdom, has been uninhabited by anyone but spider monkeys for more than a thousand years. If you’re looking to be transported — or hankering to get back to nature — this UNESCO World Heritage Site provides the perfect off-radar escape.

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By Sid Lipsey for Yahoo! Travel

game of thrones - danerys
Face it. You want to travel like Daenerys. (Photo: AP)

When we last saw Game of Thrones two of its most interesting characters were traveling, and not for pleasure: The too-smart-for-his-own-good Tyrion had to go on the run after murdering his vengeful ex and complete jerk of a father, and teenage badass Arya hit the road because … well, because she really had nothing else to do.

Fortunately, we Game of Thrones fans can travel just like our favorite characters from the show — and, unlike them, have fun doing it. Fans have begun taking pilgrimages to the international locations where the show is shot. And places where the Game of Thrones cast and crew spent last year filming Season 5 (which debuts on HBO on April 12) are expected to see massive increases in tourism.

Related: You Can Take a Cruise Based on ‘Game of Thrones’?

Various touring companies are offering special Game of Thrones-themed vacations to Season 5 filming locations (luxury travel referral service Zicasso is offering GoT tours of Season 5 filming locations in Spain and Croatia).

Here are the spots you’ll want to see after you’ve watched the new season. Just don’t be too disappointed if you don’t see any dragons.

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montreal street art tour - Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

With non-stop festivals and foodie delights at every turn, Montreal attracts hordes of tourists eager to sample the culture and style of this sophisticated metropolis. But after you’ve viewed a Cirque Du Soleil performance and munched on a St. Viateur bagel, it’s time to dig into Montreal’s more unexpected experiences. Here are some alternatives to the big-ticket attractions.

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Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski and snowboard

Crested Butte Mountain Resort

The most intense snowfall of the year is (hopefully) just about over, but there are plenty of reasons to hit the slopes in spring. Skiers and snowboarders will find soft powder, endless sunshine, and temperatures warm enough for lingering outdoors après ski, and fun events like slush slaloms and pond skimming. Best of all, spring ushers in a bunch of money-saving lift and lodging deals that’ll help you end the season in a flurry of happy turns.

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By Bill Fink for Yahoo! Travel

With the recent news that Ringling Bros. Circus will be phasing out elephant performances in its shows, there’s been a renewed focus on the welfare of wild animals captured or bred for entertainment. Across the world, wildlife sanctuaries are expanding their efforts to save and care for animals living in dire conditions. Here are seven wildlife sanctuaries ranging from rescue centers to elephant-size retirement communities that not only offer a healthy habitat in which the creatures can live, but also opportunities for visitors to come see them and even volunteer to help with their upkeep.

Elephant Nature Park, Thailand  

The Elephant Nature Park, Thailand

facebook.com/TheElephantNaturePark

Thailand has long used Asian elephants as beasts of burden for local loggers and as carnival fun rides for tourists. The Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand has been a leader in the rescue and care of retired, abused, and injured elephants since the 1990s. People can visit the park for a day, feed the animals, and even jump in the river with them to help with a bath! Volunteers can stay for a week and learn how to care for the elephants and assist in area conservation efforts.

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godafoss, akureyri, iceland

Flickr/Stig Nygaard

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.

Can you believe this? Oceania Cruises will offer a whopping 90 new itineraries in 2016 to catch the attention of even the most seasoned cruisers. The ships will call at 20 new ports, two of which especially caught my attention: Piombino in Italy and Akureyri in Iceland. Piombino is a little-visited destination on the Italian Riviera, and calling here means the opportunity to explore its 13th century castle and the stunning Tuscany countryside. Iceland is the latest must-see destination, and near Akureyri passengers can view the famous Goðafoss (pictured). And we’re not the only ones who are excited — the new journeys, along voyages for the new Sirena ship next spring, led to Oceania’s single biggest booking day in history.

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indigenous eyes punta cana

Jessica Festa

Contrary to popular opinion, Punta Cana — one of the hottest destinations in the Dominican Republic — is not just about lounging on the beach and swimming at the resort pool. There’s much to enjoy for all types of travelers. To help you plan a trip that’s right for your tastes, here’s where to stay and what to do for three distinct traveler types.

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hacienda buenavista colombia rooms

Hacienda Buenavista

In Colombia, the Andes Mountains just north of Medellin rise to create the perfect conditions for growing some of the world’s best coffee. How good is that java, exactly? So good that UNESCO inscribed an enormous coffee growing area in the region as the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia in 2011.

So it’s no surprise that, today, Colombia’s coffee country is a well-known tourist destination for travelers attracted to sweeping landscapes and the opportunity to learn more about the production of coffee. And until recently, hotel options — though plentiful in number — were quite limited in diversity. They’ve fallen in two general categories: brightly painted traditional wood farmhouses that happily benefit from the addition of plumbing and electricity, or feeble attempts at three- and four-star hotels that appeal primarily to Colombian families.

That all changed on December 22 of 2014, when the intimate Hacienda Buenavista opened its doors.

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sunrise on boggy creek airboats in kissimmee, florida

Experience Kissimmee

We’ve all been there: feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. This can be especially true when you’re faced with days the crowds, the frenetic pace, and the barrage of merchandising in Orlando’s theme parks. Luckily, a natural escape awaits just outside of the popular sunny city, packed with both real-life thrills as well as peaceful solitude to recharge and relax.

Kissimmee showcases everything there is to love about Florida’s natural wonders and temperate climate. And, just a half hour from the magical worlds of Disney and Universal, its convenient location make it an easy, quick escape. Whether for a mid-afternoon break, or a day or two of rejuvenation before heading home, these adventures show off a different side of central Florida.

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Bixby Bridge

Bixby Bridge/Flickr bpprice

Hop into your car and head to one of the country’s five most scenic bridges, each a crown jewel of American architecture. These bridges demonstrate imaginative uses of engineering — overcoming nature’s road-blocks with arches and suspensions that go beyond getting you from point A to point B.

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j.n. ding darling national wildlife refuge, sanibel, florida

Flickr/cletch

As winter maintains an icy grip on the East Coast for a few more weeks, we like the idea of following the birds south to sunny Sanibel. Just off the coast of Fort Myers in Florida, Sanibel has seen a resurgence in national and international tourism in recent years, thanks to its year-round sun and white, sandy Gulf beaches. It’s a quieter, more relaxing, and very affordable scene here compared to the hubbub along the state’s eastern coast — ideal for those seeking to stay active but low-key, all the while enjoying fine dining and great shopping. Here’s how to make the most of the area’s expansive nature and golden warmth.

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Margerie Glacier, Tarr Inlet, Alaska cruise

Flickr/Tavis Jacobs

An Alaska cruise is a bucket-list trip for travelers who love the great outdoors. Cruise ships typically sail weeklong northbound and southbound trips, often between Seattle or Vancouver and Anchorage. Expect to find unbelievable scenery along the way, at points such as Tracy Arm Fjord and Glacier Bay, not to mention deliciously fresh seafood. It’s the voyage of a lifetime — and you’ll want to make sure your experience is the best that it can be. Here’s how to do just that:

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By Annemarie Dooling for Yahoo! Travel

Even though you don’t need a passport to visit and the U.S. dollar is the official currency, Puerto Rico feels like another world — the ultimate beach getaway destination. Instead of just flying in for a quick weekend, here’s how to spend the best week of your life in Puerto Rico.

Day 1:

No Passport Needed: The Perfect 7-Day Trip to Puerto Rico

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5 Amazing Dogsledding Trips in the US

Facebook/Yellowstone Dog Sled Adventures

For the ultimate winter adventure, take to the backwoods on a sled, driven by your very own team of Alaskan Huskies. Best suited for the physically active, these top five dogsledding trips guarantee thrills over frozen lakes, deeply wooded trails, and endless horizons of snow and sky. Read more

Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar Lodge is situated in the Ozark Mountains — Ridgedale, Missouri, to be precise. The area is a nature lover’s paradise, replete with swaths of dense forest, overlooking 43,000-acres of Table Rock Lake’s blue-green waters. It’s is billed as “a wilderness resort,” founded by Johnny Morris, the owner of Bass Pro Shops. It makes perfect sense that this would be a haven for the outdoor aficionados. We checked in at Big Cedar Lodge, and here’s what we loved most.  Read more

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