Why You Should Visit Tulum

About 81 miles south of Cancún is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Mexico: Tulum. This walled city (Tulum translates to “wall” from the Maya language) is situated on the coast facing the Caribbean Sea. With walls on three sides, Tulum was built as a fortress by the Mayas. Because of its strategic position, it became a prominent trading port and gateway into the Yucatan peninsula.

“Tulum was the hub for international trade and responsible for the distribution of goods into the Yucatan through Coba, Chichen Itza and connecting settlements. Tulum was thought to also be a religious center for priests with the walls protecting the sacred leaders.”

At its height, about 1,600 people lived here. But it was abandoned sometime after the Spanish arrived. Today, the remains of an ancient civilization tell the story of the Mayas. Experts can fill in many of the details of their daily life, culture, religious beliefs and traditions, what threatened them, and their relationships with other Mayan city-states. Sometimes even the experts make guesses.


But one thing is for sure: the people who lived here experienced some of the best sunrises in the world. And at the beaches you have some of the clearest, beautiful waters found anywhere in Mexico.

“The ruins of Tulum preside over a rugged coastline, a strip of brilliant beach and green-and-turquoise waters that’ll leave you floored.”

Tulum is also a small town just off the coast, a bit inland from the Mayan ruins. Make a whole day out of your visit. You can start with the ruins, play on the beach, and then investigate the town. The town boasts of great food like you’ll find at the Hartwood restaurant which adapts its menu daily based on the sea and land harvests each day. Or vegans will love Restaurare. Exploring the town you’ll also find yoga, quaint little shops, and some nightlife worth checking out.

If you’re driving from Club Regina Cancun Resort, give yourself about 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach Tulum. The ruins are a popular tourist destination, so arrive early to beat the crowds. The site is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day. If you come right at 8:00 a.m., you’ll probably have had an opportunity to see everything you want before the big tour buses arrive with loads of tourists. The entrance fee is only a few US Dollars, but you will pay almost double that if you want to use your camera (it is worth the extra cost).

One highlight of the ruins you might not expect is that you can swim in the gorgeous waters right outside of the ruins. Be sure to bring your swimsuit, sunglasses, sunblock, and a hat.

Need more inspiration? This video provides excellent aerial footage of the beaches and ruins of Tulum.

 

Where to Stay

Club Regina Cancun is a beach resort located in Mexico’s premier vacation destination, nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupte Lagoon. The location brings ancient and contemporary Cancun to your vacation experience. This destination offers seaside views of naturally turquoise waters; perfect for waterskiing, diving and snorkeling. The resort amenities include an on-site restaurant and bar, and a sparkling swimming pool.

 

 

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A Fairytale Christmas in Whistler

Christmas in Whistler is the stuff dreams are made of. Or fairytales. Or fantasies involving lots of snow, beautiful vistas, Christmas lights, skiing, gondola rides, shopping in the village, family après, mountain peaks, hot chocolate by the fire, and sleigh rides.

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, is an ideal destination for your Christmas celebration because of the alpine terrain, – Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain – consistent snowfall, and the Christmas spirit so clearly seen in the town’s decorations, events, and festivities.

“The village comes to life during the festive season with carolers and a fresh white winter blanket of snow draped over Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, while an incredible display of Christmas lights can be found at every corner of the village stroll creating that perfect winter holiday escape.”

A white Christmas indeed! Whistler averages 7.5 feet of snow in December. 7.5 feet! So skiers never have to worry – there’s always plenty of snow during ski season.

Whether you love to ski or prefer to stay at the bottom of the slopes, everyone in the family enjoys the Fire and Ice Show every Sunday night during winter. Held in the Skier’s Plaza in Whistler Village, this spectacular free event will wow the whole family as Whistler’s top skiers and snowboarders perform stunts through the rings of fire!

Just being in the village will put someone in the Christmas spirit. The trees are lit up, the stores are decorated to the hilt, smells of festive food are around every corner. You might think you’re in the North Pole and Buddy the Elf will come through the door any moment.

“When we weren’t skiing, we spent time wandering around the village and admiring the Christmas setup – lots of pretty fairy lights adorning the trees, Christmas carols everywhere, and a Santa or two was often spotted.”

Whistler is the perfect location for what a Christmas holiday vacation is meant to be. It has everything – friendly townspeople, holiday cheer, and activities to help your whole family celebrate. Adventure travelers come here expecting the snow and the skiing. But they don’t realize until they leave just how much they appreciate all those other things: the après party that lasted until 1 a.m., the sleigh ride drawn by the Percheron horses, the Christmas caroling on Christmas Eve, and the attention given to their kids at every turn.

“From sleigh rides to skiing Santas….you just can’t imagine a more festive setting. Even a hot chocolate and a stroll down decked out Main Street is enough to get a temperamental toddler or Grinchy teen in the holiday spirit.”

One look at Whistler Village during the Christmas season and you’ll be hooked. One tip: make your reservations for lodging and meals well in advance.

Where to Stay

The Westin Resort & Spa is located in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, a charming village widely regarded as one of the world’s best skiing and boarding destinations. The resort is ideally located just steps from the base of both Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains, as well as the pedestrian-only village featuring Whistler’s fantastic shops and restaurants.

Westin Resort & Spa

Westin Resort & Spa

Campbell Valley Regional Park

Birch Bay and Blaine in Washington State are known for their proximity to parks and the natural beauty in the surrounding areas. Birch Bay State Park, Lummi Island, Mount Baker, and Semiahmoo Park are just a few examples of what the northwestern corner of Washington has to offer. But if you are staying at Sandcastle at Birch Bay and you never cross the border into Canada, you would miss out on a great park that’s only a 31-minute drive from your resort.

Campbell Valley Regional Park

Campbell Valley Regional Park is located in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Hikers will enjoy the 29 km (18 miles) of hiking trails, while those who prefer riding can explore the 14 km (8.5 miles) of horseback riding trails. Bikers will need to find other places to ride – this park has designated only 3.7 km (2 miles) of trails for cycling.

The park is composed of farmland, marshes, wetlands, forests, and grasslands, with plenty of wildlife making their home here. It is a beautiful area, with bridges, wooden walkways, unpaved pathways, open fields, and flowers. And there’s more to do than just hiking.

“The park is also home to the Campbell Valley Downs Equestrian Centre . . . Birdwatching, picnicking, and dog walking are also popular in the park as the easy terrain is perfect for families.”

Campbell Valley Regional Park is also home to some historic buildings and sites. Near the Visitor Centre at the South Valley Entrance is the Lochiel Schoolhouse and Annand/Rowlatt Farmstead. Every year in mid-September there is a Country Celebration, a family-friendly event in the style of an old country fair. “There are farm animals to admire, musicians to listen to, market vendors to buy from, informational booths to learn from and all kinds of family-friendly activities.” Kids’ activities include a mini petting zoo, pony rides, and a straw maze. There’s live music all day and great food from a dozen vendors.

It is interesting to note that you can also find a historic racetrack near the middle of the park on the east side.

“Something that you don’t often see tucked away inside a nature park is a racetrack. The historic Langley Speedway was once an active racetrack from the 1960’s to early 1980’s. It was one of only a few sites in BC to host NASCAR events.”

In addition to the trails, there are several open areas for horseback riding. And if you bring your dog, your canine friend will love running around in the dog off-leash areas.

Sometimes a road trip can pack in more than you expect: nature, exercise, animals, and history. Come to Campbell Valley Regional Park for the beauty. Stay for the peace and quiet. Take in the vistas of green fields, wildflowers, and forests.

Check out this promotional video:

Or if you want to see the park with no commentary, check out this video submitted by a visitor in April this year:

Where to Stay

Sandcastle at Birch Bay is a comfortable condominium resort located across from Birch Bay’s picturesque shore. During your stay, you’ll enjoy unbeatable views of the shimmering blue waters of Birch Bay or the towering Mount Baker from the resort’s rooftop terrace or your own private balcony.

In addition to all the eye candy, you’ll also enjoy on-site amenities such as a heated outdoor pool and a fitness center. Your well-appointed one-, two-, or three-bedroom condominium has everything needed to comfortably accommodate up to six guests. Each unit features a full kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, a washer and dryer, a flat-screen TV with a DVD player, and a fireplace.

Sandcastle at Birch Bay

 

Fly Fishing in Park City

Fisherman are known for telling their wild fish tales and claiming they know the best fishing spots. They might not always reveal their trade secrets for hauling in the biggest fish. In fact, fishing spots near cities like Park City, Utah, are often well-kept secrets among the locals as some of the best fly fishing in the country.

If you knew when and where to catch wild brown trout up to 18 inches long, would you share such information? At Travel Raintree, we want to help you make the most of your time when you’re in Park City, whether you’re a fishing pro or fly fishing becomes that new hobby you pick up while you’re there. Then you’ll have your own fishing adventure with tales to tell your friends and family back home.

Provo River

“Two very popular fly fishing waters are located close to Park City. The Provo River through Heber Valley and down Provo Canyon is rated as one of the best trout waters in the US, and it can be fished year-round.”

Brown trout, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout are in abundance in the three sections of the Provo River: upper, middle, and lower. Those in search of a trophy fish might find what they seek in the Provo River or further down in the Heber Valley. There is a high number of large fish per mile of water. Make use of the local expertise. Free advice is available in the fishing stores, outfitters, and from just about anyone in the area (even those with no experience!).

“The trout, particularly the large ones, are well educated and can be picky. It pays to get the latest info about successful flies and techniques by talking to the people who work in the fly shops. Both Park City and Heber City have excellent shops with knowledgeable employees.”

Fishing guides are available for hire.

Weber River

Great fly fishing can also be found in the Weber River and the tailwater below the Echo Reservoir. Wild brown trout, wild rainbow trout, and Bonneville cutthroat trout are among the many species here. Green drakes, yellow quills, and golden stoneflies all hatch in the summer, while green sedges and little winter stoneflies hatch in the fall and winter.

“Being a tailwater stream, the Weber can be fished the entire year since the discharges from the dams keep the water at a constant temperature. The water is cool during the summer and relatively warm during the winter months.”

Be sure to find lures that are the best match for the fish you’re targeting. The Trout Pro Store can help you build your collection of flies, spinners, and tackle.

Make sure to read this Fishing Guidebook!

You can check the fishing calendar to find which fish are in season, when they hatch, and the best places to find them. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has an excellent interactive map of the Blue Ribbon fishing areas in the whole state. This online resource gives directions, depth and width of water, elevation, fish species, suggested lures, restrictions, and even some photos.

Grab your gear, put on your fishing waders, bring a friend, and get out there! The fish are biting – go claim yours in the wilderness of Utah.

Where to Stay

Park Plaza is a quiet family friendly resort that combines the very best of urban vacationing while offering easy access to Park City, Utah’s world-renowned ski slopes. Book your next stay at Park Plaza and you’ll be less than two miles from Park City’s ski lift and Main Street, where you’ll find many of the town’s fantastic restaurants, bars, and shops.

Park Plaza, Parck City Utah

The Miners Club is a cozy upscale resort perfect for your next vacation in Park City, a world-renowned alpine playground for skiers, snowboarders, and anyone else who loves romping in the snow. Simply walk out The Miners Club’s front door and you’ll be just steps away from the Waldorf Gondola, which you can ride to Canyons Resort, the largest single ski and snowboard resort in Utah.

Miners Club, Park City Itah

Road Trip to Las Coloradas

Day trips away from your destination might take a little extra effort, but they often lead to magical places that quickly become the highlight of your trip. Las Coloradas is one of those places. Located in the northern tip of the Yucatán peninsula, the Pink Lagoon or Pink Lakes are a sight to behold.

Image from Expert Vagabond

Las Coloradas means “the red ones,” and it’s easy to see how the place got its name. The little village is a fisherman’s paradise – not many people and loads of fish and other sea creatures in the sea and surrounding lagoons. The pink lakes are part of the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, an area of 149,123 acres of wetlands, endangered animals, mangroves, and the natural wonders of pink lakes.

What causes the pink hue? Simple answer: nature!

“Red plankton and shrimp color the water at these salt mining lakes in all the rose and pink tones you can imagine. It’s like a dream come true and at the moment when you think it’s actually too good to be real, along comes a group of flamingos. Yes, you can believe your eyes!”

The pink lakes are worthy of a road trip, but be prepared. If you drive yourself, it will take 3 hours and 15 minutes on the road from Club Regina Cancun. You can find other means of transportation, but it is likely that it will take longer. When you get there, you’ll find salt mining, sandy “roads,” and flamingos if you look hard enough. It’s interesting to note that the flamingos get their pink color from their diet of shrimp, plankton, and algae. But they don’t prefer the pinkest of the lakes. You’ll have a better chance of finding them in the “turquoise and blue ponds” in the area.

Las Coloradas, México from Pepe Carbajal STRATOS by Kjell on Vimeo.

You might have heard of other pink lakes in the world. All of them have these beautiful colors for the same reason: microorganisms. Even if you’re not particularly interested in the science, you’ll probably come for the same reason most adventure travelers make the trek – to see it for yourself. The recommendation is to view the pink lakes when the sun is at its highest point because this makes the pink color the most vibrant.

“This is not the only body of water on Earth to trade up for that coveted pink hue. Koyashskoye Salt Lake in Crimea alternates between pink and red because of its high concentration of microscopic algae and brine shrimp. Several lakes in Australia are pink for the same reason. But of all the pink paradises, Las Coloradas might be the prettiest.”

When you go, keep a few things in mind:

  • The pink lakes are part of the salt mining industry. No swimming is allowed.
  • Take food and water – you won’t be able to find much of either in the area.
  • If you desire to swim, there are tours available in nearby bodies of water, including the opportunity to experience a Mayan mud bath.

Where to Stay

Club Regina Cancun is a beach resort located in Mexico’s premier vacation destination, nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupte Lagoon. The location brings ancient and contemporary Cancun to your vacation experience. This destination offers seaside views of naturally turquoise waters; perfect for waterskiing, diving and snorkeling.

The resort amenities include an on-site restaurant and bar, and a sparkling swimming pool. Cancun is nestled on the southeast coast of Mexico where the Great Mesoamerican Reef creates the best water sports venue in North America. Tour Mayan temples nearby and later, enjoy Cancun’s international nightlife. The night lights up with some of the best clubs in Mexico, playing every music genre from salsa to R&B. Open the door to an unforgettable escape.

 

Spooky Places in Palm Springs

Ghosts don’t always stick to a schedule, but for some reason we always become a little more interested in the supernatural in the month of October. To honor the tradition of being fascinated with scary things around Halloween, we want to introduce you to some of the most haunted places near Palm Springs, California.

Joshua Tree Inn

Gram Parsons has been called the father of country rock. His tragic story – like so many others – is that he died too young. He died in a motel room at the Joshua Tree Inn, “a hacienda-style motor inn popular with famous musicians.” Supposedly, Gram Parsons’s spirit is still present in the very room where Gram died – Room 8

“Some people believe that the ghost of Gram Parsons inhabits room 8, which is where he died of a drug overdose in the early 70’s. He will allegedly move or relocate small items such as earrings and will move the mirror that hangs on the wall – which is the only piece of furniture that still remains from the furnishings that were in the room when he died.”

There is a memorial to Gram Parsons that was originally erected on the property of Joshua Tree National Park but has since been relocated to the Joshua Tree Inn. The Inn is a 46-minute commute by car north of Palm Springs.

La Quinta Resort and Club

The La Quinta Resort and Club might be the most haunted place in the Palm Springs area. Over the years countless people have reported strange happenings. A shaded apparition appeared. A ghostly cat ran across a bed while someone was sleeping in it. Ghostly voices were heard. A naked old man was seen running across a room.

Is it true? Did these things really happen? The Palm Springs Paranormal Investigation Team spent some time onsite to determine: haunt or hoax? You can read about their investigation here.

But the best way to find out? Go there yourself. It’s just 28 minutes by car southeast of Palm Springs.

Korakia Pensione

Korakia Pensione is a Moroccan and Mediterranean villa located on the western edge of Palm Springs. According to some, it “may be haunted by the wife of the former owner who has been spotted along the road on the anniversary of her death. Guests may also experience cold chills on very hot days or have their clothes rearranged while they are away.” Originally a private house owned by a silent screen star in the 1930s, it’s only a 16-minute drive west of Cimarron Golf Resort.

Whether you believe ghosts exist or not, these spooky places can be a fun distraction in the California desert.

Where to Stay (Not haunted – lol)

Cimarron Golf Resort is located in Palm Springs, a popular vacation destination for Hollywood A-Listers since the 1920s. Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and many more celebrities made the short drive from Los Angeles to escape the fast pace of Hollywood. In addition to all the great golf, Palm Springs boasts a diverse selection of fantastic restaurants, its own art district, and easy access to miles of compelling hiking trails through desert canyons and pine forests. Book your next Palm Springs vacation at Cimarron Golf Resort and make your time here truly your own.

Cimarron Golf Resort, Palm Springs

Top 5 Adventures in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta entices the curious adventure traveler with its beaches, traditional Mexican architecture, and the Malecon. It’s possible to spend a week here without doing much research in advance – just show up and take whatever comes.

But you might miss some of the hidden gems the city has to offer – gems like extreme sports, an art tour, and some of the best food and drink combinations you’ll ever find. Rest assured, Travel Raintree has done the homework for you. Read on to get our list of the Top 5 Adventures in Puerto Vallarta.

 

Zip Line Tours

If you like the feeling of gliding through the air at moderate to fast speeds while taking in the scenic views of the jungle, then zip lining is for you! Zip line tours are a staple among adventure travelers. Near Puerto Vallarta, there are several tours and companies to choose from: Canopy Tour de Los Veranos, Vallarta Adventures, Rancho Mi Chaparrita, and several others. Canopy El Eden has one advantage: its location is famous because it was chosen for the filming of an action movie in the 1980s.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger filmed his movie Predator in the Sierra Madre jungle in 1986, and Canopy El Eden has named two of its longest zip lines in his honor–Predator and, in recognition of his latest role, Governator.”

Zip line the jungle as you explore rivers, hills, beaches, and wildlife. Your excursion takes place right where pirates and Spanish conquistadors used to thrive.

Walking Food and Cocktails Tour

Walking food tours are becoming more commonplace in cities with a rich culinary history. What makes Tequila, Tacos, and Mexican Cocktails special is the thoughtful combination of food and spirits. Led by a foodie guide, this 3.5 hour tour will give you a chance to taste fish tacos paired with a lime and cucumber mezcal cocktail and a gourmet beef taco paired with a raicilla cocktail. You’ll learn how a michelada cocktail is made with beer and fresh salsa.

“Learn the historical significance of Mexican spirits and how to differentiate each one. Between mouthwatering tastings your informative guide will point out some of Puerto Vallarta’s must-see sights.”

Fat Bike Graffiti and Art Tour

Beginners and experienced riders alike will enjoy this tour of public art and graffiti. You’ll ride about 17 kilometers (only 10.5 miles) for 2.5-3 hours as you navigate the streets of Puerto Vallarta. If you’ve never ridden on fat tires, this is your chance – it feels so smooth and comfortable. Adventure travel means you try new things. Included in the price is a tour guide, 10 speed fat bicycle rental, helmet, snacks, and beverages.

“This tour will take you out of the tourist zone and focus on street art and murals. This is an easy beginner ride on super comfortable fat bikes and you’ll see amazing graffiti art, learn about it and have a blast.”

Extreme Flyboard

“The Flyboard uses the thrust of a jet ski to propel the board through the water or into the air. With nearly 400 pounds of lift, this heart thumping, adrenaline-producing ride is a thrill a second. Once you try it, you will enjoy the adrenaline rush!”

You can find Extreme Flyboard right on the beach in Puerto Vallarta. Extreme sports rarely looks this cool. An English-speaking certified flyboard instructor will ensure you have a safe ride. A photographer/videographer is on hand to capture your favorite flyboard moments for an additional fee. This is one adrenaline rush you need to experience for yourself.

Tequila Tasting

Vallarta Tequila Tastings invites you to try one of their 4 tequila tasting tours: The Tequila-Curious, The Connoisseur, The Mezcalero, or Tequila Chocolate Pairing. Led by Mexican-born guide Ricardo, you’re sure to learn the art and science of tequila and mezcal. Ricardo said, “Not until I moved here to Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco – the ‘Tequila Capital’ – did I realize just how sophisticated this spirit was. I learned how to slowly savour the tastes, textures and aromas of the many varieties of tequila and mezcal.”

Photo: Vallarta Tequila Tastings

These tours give you the opportunity to taste different varieties of tequila and its cousin mezcal. Learn what the differences are between blancos and reposados, what pairs well together, and what makes a good quality tequila.

Where to Stay

Club Regina Puerto Vallarta offers comfortable amenities, on-site dining, and easy beach access right in the exclusive Marina Vallarta.

Villa Vera Puerto Vallarta is located near the restaurants and bars of the exclusive Marina Vallarta just a few miles from Puerto Vallarta’s beaches and best attractions.

Villa Vera Puerto Vallarta