Luxury Kilimanjaro Trek Upgrade — Worth It!

Climb Kilimanjaro with luxury upgrade

For the ultimate Kilimanjaro climb, add the luxury Kilimanjaro climb upgrade.  Enjoy extra comforts and extra safety equipment.  This can be added to any of our Kilimanjaro treks.

Our luxury Kili trekking package upgrade includes:

  • Special Kilimanjaro guide with Wilderness First Responder certification
  • Personal porter for carrying day pack
  • Hyperbaric pressure bag
  • Oxygen
  • Portable toilet
  • Camp shower for groups of 4 or more
  • Large comfortable dining tent
  • Dining chairs with backs
  • Hot lunches on the mountain
  • Solar lighting in dining tent and personal tent
  • Camp pillow
  • Extra sleeping pad
  • Hot water bottle for sleeping bag at night
  • Solar panel for charging batteries
  • Filtered water with Katadyn filter
  • Kilimanjaro map for the group
  • Celebration dinner at hotel after returning from trek

All of our Kilimanjaro treks include:

  • Morning tea in tent
  • Wash basin with soap in morning and upon arrival at camp
  • Wash water with soap and towel before meals
  • Daily health monitoring (twice daily with oximeter, or more if needed)
  • Dining tent with table and stools
  • Boiled water at camp in morning and in evening
Posted in Kilimanjaro, Luxury, Tanzania, Trekking | Leave a comment

Trip Report: Wine Tasting in Napa and Sonoma

Staff Members: Robin Paschall & Dean Paschall
Travel Dates: June 2017
Destinations Visited:  Napa & Sonoma Valley, California

Two of our staff explored this great region in the U.S.  There are many adventure opportunities here, including hiking, stand-up paddleboarding, hot air ballooning, horseback riding, and so much more.

DAY 1 — Sonoma Town

We stayed the first night at the Sonoma Hotel, which is right on the square in downtown Sonoma.  It has a quaint “historic” feel to it.  It is in the same building as the Girl and Fig restaurant, which is rather famous.  Right next door is Roche Wine Tasting, which had a lovely outside patio and was very fun (the knitting club was there). The central square has many fun shops and restaurants.  The old historic fort is like going back in time and offers a great history of the area.

DAY 2 — Wine Tasting in Napa Valley

Napa Wineries Visited:

  1. Frank Family
  2. Saddleback (lunch)
  3. Silver Oak
  4. Alpha Omega

Frank Family

Beautiful grounds and great wines!


Cute, small, rustic winery.  Lovely picnic tables for lunch.

Silver Oak

We had our best wine tasting experience of the day here.  There are private rooms for big groups.

Alpha Omega

Exquisite, if expensive, wines.  The outdoor patio is just a lovely spot to spend the afternoon.

DAY 3 — Wine Tasting in Sonoma Valley

Sonoma Wineries Visited:

  1. Ravenswood $20pp
  2. Buena Vista $20pp (lunch)
  3. Deerfield Ranch


This winery had a lot of Zinfandel and a nice outside area.

Buena Vista

This is one of the very original wineries in the area.  It had decent wine, there was a great picnic area, and they have a very detailed tour.

Deerfield Ranch

This was, by far, the best experience of all of them.  But this was because we got to sit down with the wine maker for our tasting.  He was amazing – Robert Rex.  The wine tasting is in their caves, which was a great atmosphere.

This is the house we stayed at for most of the trip.  It has a great kitchen, swimming pool, hot tub, bocce ball, and can sleep up to 15+ comfortably.

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Top 5 Treks in Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine, Patagonia: one of the most stunning places on Earth. When planning a trip to Patagonia, at times it can be overwhelming to choose which hikes to do while visiting Torres del Paine National Park; you want to see everything and don’t to miss anything. Our team has taken the time to compile a list of our top-five favorite Torres del Paine treks that will ensure you make the very best of your next adventure to this awe-inspiring park!

  1. Base Torres
Base Torres

Base Torres

In the morning, head towards the Cerro Paine ranch. From here, ascend towards the Ascencio River Valley and the Chilean Refugio Valley from where a steep ascent toward a lookout at the base of the Paine Towers begins. Once at the top, one can finally grasp the magnitude of the granite towers after which the park is named.

Type: Full day
Duration: 8h30m
Distance: 18 km / 10,5 miles
Vertical ascent: 754 meters / 2.413 feet

2. Valle Francés

Valle Frances

Valle Frances

Cross the turquoise waters of Lake Pehoé and head towards the Paine Grande hotel, where the hike begins. Enter the French Valley surrounded by dense forest and native bushes. Cross the hanging bridge over the French River, and reach the Italian camp. From within the valley, observe the Glacier del Francés and the amphitheater of granite peaks that frame the area. On the way back return along the same path.

Type: Full day
Duration: 7h30m
Distance: 16 km / 9,8 miles
Vertical ascent: 226 meters / 723 feet

3. Glaciar Grey

Glaciar Grey

Glaciar Grey

Begin this exploration by crossing the turquoise waters of Lake Pehoé towards the Paine Grande hotel. From here, walk towards the Grey Refuge along the border of the massif. Halfway up the ascent, observe the Grey Glacier and the extraordinary extension of the Southern Ice Fields from above. Later go down a steep path to the Lake Grey beach, from where a boat will take you closer to the towering walls of the glacier, navigating through the icebergs that float throughout the lake. This exploration is particularly interesting for geology and glaciology enthusiasts.

*This excursion is subject to climate conditions, as the boat rides may be cancelled due to strong winds.

Type: Full day
Duration: 5h30m
Distance: 12 km / 7,4 miles
Vertical ascent: 231 meters / 739 feet

4. Mirador Ferrier

Mirador Ferrier

Mirador Ferrier

Depart in the morning and head to the Grey station, where you immediately begin a very demanding ascent. Gradually Lake Grey comes into view and the enormous ice barrier of the Southern Ice Fields, until you enter a very dense forest. After crossing the forest you reach the final point of the exploration, usually quite windy, but with outstanding views of the Grey and Pehoé lakes.

Type: Half day
Duration: 3h30m
Distance: 6 km / 3,5 miles
Vertical ascent: 600 meters / 1.920 feet

5. Mirador del Toro

Mirador del Toro

Mirador del Toro

In the morning, head over the Weber Bridge, from where you walk toward the Del Toro Lake and the park administration. Along the way observe the abundant low-growing flora and rock, which prove that the park was completely covered in ice a million years ago. Once arriving at the lookout, the Del Toro Lake will stretch out below over the Serrano plains and past old gaucho ranches. During the descent, observe a small lagoon fed by rain water where birds, and, if lucky, black-necked swans can be seen.

*This trek can be made into a longer, full day hike if desired

Type: Half day
Duration: 1h30m
Distance: 2 kms / 1,3 miles
Vertical ascent: 58 meters / 186 feet

Want to plan your next adventure to Torres del Paine? Contact us!

Your friendly Patagonia expert,


Posted in Argentina, Chile, Patagonia, South America, Travel Advice, Trekking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2018 Groups for Kilimanjaro Treks & Tanzania Safaris

Group Kilimanjaro Trek 7-day MachameAWR has just announced the dates for group Kilimanjaro treks and Tanzania safaris for 2018. There are multiple departures each month except for low season.

The group treks are offered on the 6-day and 7-day Machame Route and are typically scheduled to summit on a full moon, new moon, or New Years Eve. The maximum is 7 people on safari or 8 people on Kili.

The group safaris are offered 5-day and 7-day itineraries in standard safari lodges and tented camps. Some group safari departures correspond with our group Kili trek departures.

  • SAVE: $50/person if you book a Kilimanjaro trek and a safari of 5+ days.
  • NOTE: You can also start a private trek and safari on any day of the year.

7 Day Machame Group Kilimanjaro Trek — $2495/person

  • DAY 1: Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Machame Gate, Hike to Machame Camp (LD)
  • DAY 2: Hike Machame Camp to Shira Camp (BLD)
  • DAY 3: Hike Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp (BLD)
  • DAY 4: Hike Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp (BLD)
  • DAY 5: Hike Karanga Camp to Barafu Cam (BLD)
  • DAY 6: Hike Barafu Camp to Summit, down to Mweka Camp (BLD)
  • DAY 7: Hike Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate, drive to Moshi (B)

Climb Kilimanjaro Machame

5 Day Group Safari in Tanzania — Starting at $1695/person

  • DAY 1: Drive to Lake Manyara or Tarangire, afternoon game drive, overnight Endoro Lodge (LD)
  • DAY 2: Drive to Serengeti, afternoon game drive, overnight Serengeti Halisi Tented Camp (BLD)
  • DAY 3: Serengeti, full day game drive, overnight Serengeti Halisi Tented Camp (BLD)
  • DAY 4: Drive to Ngorongoro via optional Olduvai Gorge and Maasai village, overnight Rhino Lodge (BLD)
  • DAY 5: Ngorongoro, half day game drive, drive to Arusha/Moshi/Kilimanjaro Airport (BL)

5-day group Tanzania safari

7 Day Group Safari in Tanzania — Starting at $2445/person

  • DAY 1: Drive to Lake Manyara or Tarangire, afternoon game drive, overnight Endoro Lodge (LD)
  • DAY 2: Drive to Serengeti, afternoon game drive, overnight Serengeti Halisi Tented Camp (BLD)
  • DAY 3: Serengeti, full day game drive, overnight Serengeti Halisi Tented Camp (BLD)
  • DAY 4: Drive to Ngorongoro via optional Olduvai Gorge and Maasai village, overnight Rhino Lodge (BLD)
  • DAY 5: Ngorongoro, half day game drive, drive to Lake Natron, overnight Natron Halisi Tented Camp (BLD)
  • DAY 6: Lake Natron, morning game drive, Maasai village visit, afternoon waterfalls hike, overnight Natron Halisi Tented Camp (BLD)
  • DAY 7: Lake Natron, morning game drive, drive to Arusha/Moshi/Kilimanjaro Airport (BL)

Elephant on 7-day group Tanzania safari

Posted in Kilimanjaro, Safari, Tanzania | Leave a comment

You Won’t Believe These Amazing Sand Dune Pools of Brazil!

Lencois Maranheses, Brazil. The name of this park makes reference to the immense dunes that look like a bed sheet (lençóis) spread across the land. Near São Luis, Brazil this park is divided into Grandes Lençóis and Pequenos Lençóis, separated by Rio Preguiças. The zone contains beaches, mangrove swamps, lagoons and dunes, and it was declared a National Park in 1981. Come explore the shifting dunes of fine white sand and crystal clear blue lagoons that shimmer in the sun and moonlight; a true spectacle that is not to be missed!

Travel Insider just released a new video about this remarkable destination. Check it out here:

What to book your next adventure to Lencois Maranheses and Brazil? Contact us!

Your friendly Brazil expert,

Posted in Brazil, Family Travel, South America, Sustainable Tourism, Travel Advice, Trekking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nepal & Tibet Spiritual Journey with Glenn Mullin

Monks debating at Sera MonasteryThe Himalayan Buddhist Meditation Center of Kathmandu invites you to travel on a 14-day spiritual trip to Tibet and Nepal. We will be joined by our internationally renowned Tibetologist and teacher of Tantric Buddhist meditation, Glenn H. Mullin.

DATES: May 27 – June 9, 2018


Potala Palace Lhasa TibetThe focus of our trip will be a pilgrimage and a cultural insight. Our trip will begin in Kathmandu where we will stay for 3 nights exploring spiritual sites, palace squares, Buddhist stupas, temples and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Then follow our trip to Tibet flying to Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet, is a city of wonders, magnificent, the Potala Palace, Tsedang, Drikung valley, and back to Lhasa.


  • TerdromNamo Buddha — Site where the Buddha in a previous life fed his body to a hungry tigress
  • Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery — Chanting with Buddhist monks in Tibet
  • Tredrom Hike — Meditation caves of Padma Sambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal
  • Tsedang — Cradle of Tibetan Civilization

14-Day Spiritual Journey to Nepal and Tibet with Glenn H. Mullin >>

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Kilimanjaro Marathon March 4, 2018

Climb Kilimanjaro + Tanzania Safari + MarathonThe next Kilimanjaro Marathon will be held on March 4, 2018.  You can combine this great event with a Tanzania Safari, climb up Kilimanjaro, relax on Zanzibar, or all three!

17-Day Kilimanjaro Marathon with Safari and Climb Kilimanjaro
February 17-March 5, 2018
Starting at $4545/person!

Climb Kilimanjaro 7-day Machame RouteThis itinerary combines a 7-day group Kilimanjaro trek on the Machame Route followed by a 5-day group safari, which includes the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater plus a big finish with the Kilimanjaro Marathon.  You can add on a trip to Zanzibar Island as well.

You can arrange any trek, safari, or Zanzibar visit around this date, but we have a group safari and group Kilimanjaro trek that fit perfectly with the Kilimanjaro Marathon.

The Kilimanjaro Marathon offers options for all levels:

  • Full marathon
  • Half marathon
  • 5k fun run


  • DAY 1: FEB 17, 2018: Arrive Moshi
  • DAY 2: FEB 18: Rest Day
  • DAY 3: FEB 19: 7 DAY GROUP MACHAME TREK / Hike Machame Gate to Machame Camp
  • DAY 4: FEB 20: Hike Machame Camp to Shira Camp
  • DAY 5: FEB 21: Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
  • DAY 6: FEB 22: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
  • DAY 7: FEB 23: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
  • DAY 8: FEB 24: Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Hut
  • DAY 9: FEB 25: Mweka Camp to Moshi
  • DAY 10: FEB 26: 5 DAY GROUP SAFARI / Moshi to Lake Manyara Game Drive
  • DAY 11: FEB 27: Serengeti/Ndutu Game Drive
  • DAY 12: FEB 28: Serengeti/Ndutu Game Drive
  • DAY 13: MAR 1: Game Drive and Optional Cultural Visits
  • DAY 14: MAR 2: Ngorongoro Crater game drive, drive to Moshi
  • DAY 15: MAR 3: Rest Day
  • DAY 17: MAR 5, 2018: Departure

Tanzania Safari ElephantPRICING

  • $4545/person with budget accommodations
  • $4795/person with mid-range accommodations


17-Day Kilimanjaro Marathon with Safari and Climb Kilimanjaro >>

Posted in Kilimanjaro, Safari, Tanzania | Leave a comment

Catch the Next Solar Eclipse in Argentina and Chile!

Did you catch the Solar Eclipse? Half of the AWR team got to experience it from Idaho and it was otherworldly!


Eclipse as seen from Idaho by AWR team

Unfortunately, I was unable to see it as I was in Brazil. I can’t really complain about being in the paradise that is Brazil, however, I would have taken this “once in a lifetime” event more seriously and planned to be back in the Pacific Northwest (my roots) if I knew just how amazing the eclipse was to experience. Nevertheless, all is not lost! The next opportunity to view a total Solar Eclipse will occur on July 2, 2019 when the path completely bisects South America, cutting across Argentina and Chile. While July may not typically call travelers to these two countries, it is prime ski season in the Chilean Lakes District, as featured in this recent article by Teton Gravity Research, and the Atacama desert is one of the best celestial viewing areas on earth, period!

Licancabur Atacama

Atacama, Chile

Imagine experiencing an eclipse from the otherworldly Atacama Desert, then jetting down to the Chilean Lakes District for skiing, riverside hot tub soaks and supreme hospitality & cuisine? …or traveling to Peru to learn how the Incas charted the movement of the sun, moon and stars. The sky’s the limit for designing the Latin America trip of a lifetime around this next celestial event.

Lakes District

Osorno Volcano, Lakes District, Chile

Want to start planning your next Solar Eclipse adventure of a lifetime? Contact us!

Your friendly South America expert,


Posted in Argentina, Chile, Patagonia, Peru, South America, Travel Advice | Leave a comment

New Trip: 8-Day Colombia Los Nevados Trekking

Enjoy an awesome mix of city, mountains, and rural coffee country on our new custom, private 8-Day Colombia Los Nevados Trekking Tour that you can start any day of the year!

The trek has a number of days at over 12,467 feet (3,800 meters) above sea level and we consider it physically challenging (like the Inca Trail). Walking can be adapted, however, to suit a traveler’s needs and pace, that is, increased or decreased in difficulty. Your baggage, food, and equipment will be carried by mules for the duration of the trek; you need only carry your day pack. A logistics manager, chef, and trek leader make up the trek team with additional helpers depending on group size.

Camps will be made ready for when you arrive and the trek has been designed so you typically arrive for lunch, with the rest of the afternoon to relax and take part in further activities like optional day hikes.  3-season Marmot tents, warm 0ºF Marmot sleeping bags, Thermarests, and sleeping bag liners are all provided for you along with lighting and a toilet tent.

Depending on a given location, food may be served either in a support structure or a mess tent. All meals on trek are included as well as in remote locations, such as the Flora and Fauna Sanctuary Otun-Quimbaya.

For your city stays, we have chosen refined 3-star hotels with excellent service and ratings in both Bogotá and Cartagena. These can easily be changed for 5-star options on request. In the cities, most meals are up to you, since there are so many choices to pick from, but we will help with transportation if necessary, so you can experience some local restaurants.

Day 1: Arrive Bogotá, transfer, and overnight

Welcome to Colombia! Upon your arrival at the Bogotá airport, we will greet you and transfer you to your hotel. For central hotels, the trip will take up to an hour to drive. At your hotel, you will check-in. The balance of your day is at your leisure.

Optional activity: You can visit Cerro Monserrate in the afternoon for panoramic views over the city.

Day 2: Free morning in Bogotá, travel to Salento (Coffee region)

You will have a free morning in Bogotá.

Optional Bogotá tours:

  • Paloquemao market tour: You can leave the hotel
    Paloquemao Market - Flowers

    Paloquemao Market – Flowers

    at 7:30 am for a morning guided visit to the Paloquemao market. We will walk around the market and sample local foods.

  • Bogotá walking tour: You can go on a walking tour and visit the Gold Museum, the Botero Museum, the Plaza de Bolivar, and La Candelaria. Optional lunch during this tour. 

    Mask in Gold Museum

    Mask in Gold Museum

In the afternoon, we will transfer you back to El Dorado airport (BOG) for an afternoon flight (for example, AV9417 17:01/18:01 to Pereira (PEI). In Pereira, we will meet you after you pick up your bags and we will transfer you to your hotel (approximately 75 minutes). This evening will be at your leisure in Salento. You may want to play “Tejo,” an explosive game that is unique to Colombia or choose to walk around the town on your own.

Day 3: Optional tours around beautiful Salento

Salento - Main Square

Salento – Main Square

You have several various optional activities available to you today:

  • Day at leisure in Salento: You can enjoy the local atmosphere, explore the many restaurants and shops, and/or simply take a stroll around the town square.
  • Walking coffee tour near Salento: You can take an approximately 5-kilometer walk to a traditional coffee hacienda to learn about the process from start to finish.

    Coffee Farm

    Coffee Farm

  • Mountain biking in the coffee region: You can bike various routes of varying difficulties, landscapes, ecosystems, and concepts.
  • Visit the Otun Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary (National park): You can visit the park for a day’s wildlife watching – Red Howler-Monkeys, excellent birdlife, and much more.
  • Hot springs in Santa Rosa de Cabal: You can pay a full-day visit to the legendary hot springs of Santa Rosa de Cabal, with transfer times being a total of around 4 hours for the day leaving from Salento. If you select this option ahead of time, you can choose to spend the night in Pereira or the hot springs.

In the evening, you will meet your trek leader to go over the trek, discuss options for starting times, and get local dinner restaurant recommendations.

Day 4: Trekking

Cocora Valley Trail

Cocora Valley Trail

This morning, you should plan to leave the hotel at 7:30 am. We will transfer you to the Cocora Valley (7,897 ft) and the landscape viewpoint/trail head (30-minute drive). We will start our trek, around 8:15 am, to La Argentina hacienda campsite (11,404ft). Total trek: 11 kilometers, 4-5 hours, medium level walk.

On our way, we will stop off at a great vista for a snack and rest. You will have time to observe the unusual Sub-Paramo flora and high Andean basin of the River Cardenas. You should expect an early afternoon arrival at the campsite where lunch will be waiting for you.

You will have time in the afternoon to explore the local surroundings and other trails that head deep into the forest. Your guide will be happy to discuss the geology, history, and biology of the mountains, whether you choose to rest in camp or head out on a guided day hike. You will have dinner at the campsite.

Day 5: Trekking

Today, we will start our trek to El Jordan village around 8:00 am. Today’s trek is a difficult graded walk with steep switchbacks, across broad expanses of grassy paramo. We will reach a high point of 13,688 feet today before arriving at El Jordan farm. Total trek: ~13km.

We will have a late lunch at the campsite. You will have the afternoon and evening at leisure in El Jordan. We will have dinner at camp.

Optional activity: You can walk to look for elusive mountain tapirs. You may also choose to fish.

Day 6: Trekking

La Pastora

La Pastora

We will start our trek to La Pastora refuge (8,057ft) at about 8:00 am. Our trek today is a medium grade walk with switchbacks on the descent and large rocks on the trail. We recommend you wear good boots with reasonable ankle support for this trek since rocks can be wet at times. Total trek: 14.5km, ~200m ascent.

We will eat a late lunch at La Pastora refuge. You will have the afternoon at your leisure. We will end the day with dinner, stories around the fire, and some good wine.

Optional afternoon activities: You can visit huge waterfalls, go birdwatching, and explore the refuge.

Day 7: Finish trek, optional wildlife sanctuary visit, overnight Pereira

After breakfast, we will start the trek to El Cedral (6,890ft), which is an easy grade walk along an old horse trail. You should expect rocky conditions and wildlife watching opportunities along the way. We will end up at El Cedral. Total trek: 6.2 kilometers, ~366m descent.

We will transfer you to to the Otun Quimbaya Wildlife Sanctuary for lunch. Later, we will transfer you to your Pereira hotel.

Optional activities:

Red Howler Monkey

  • Early morning walk – You can take an early morning walk (5 am) to look for the endangered and rare Mountain Tapir. You will return to the refuge for breakfast.
  • Afternoon guided Sanctuary visit: You can take an afternoon guided visit at the Sanctuary to walk the trails and look for monkeys.

Day 8: Transfer to airport, depart

We will transfer you to the Pereira airport for your departure (typically, to Bogotá, if returning home today) or you may choose to extend your trip to, for example, Cartagena, which is a world-class city. Please let us know if you are interested.

Adiós Colombia!

8-Day Colombia Los Nevados Trekking Tour >>

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Season Kick-Off: 30% OFF Cape Horn Patagonia Adventure Cruise

The Australis small, luxury adventure cruise ships are offering a 30% discount for the season kick-off!

Cape Horn

Australis 5-Day Cape Horn Voyage

Cape Horn

Australis 5-Day Cape Horn Voyage

On this incredible 5-Day Cape Horn Patagonian adventure voyage, follow the fjords of the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego highlighting the stunning, natural beauty of Patagonia and several of its most important historical sites. This five-day journey includes visits to wildlife rich Ainsworth Bay, massive Pia Glacier and Glacier Alley, as well as mystical Wulaia Bay and the legendary Cape Horn! Note: This trip can be done in reverse (from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas) in 4 days.

Cape Horn

Australis 5-Day Cape Horn Voyage

Cape Horn

Australis 5-Day Cape Horn Voyage

Departure dates with applied discount in A Cabin:

Sept 30th: Starting at $1352 per person (regular price $1932)

Oct 7th: Starting at $1687 per person (regular price $2410)

Dec 2nd: Starting at $2070 per person (regular price $2957)

Read a first-hand account of this incredible experience on our blog HERE from our own South America Program Director, Gretchen. Read more about what to do before your cruise in Punta Arenas HERE.

Cape Horn

Australis 5-Day Cape Horn Voyage

This adventure cruise can easily be joined with some the other following Patagonia adventures:

Want to book your Cape Horn Voyage? Contact us!

Your friendly Patagonia expert,


Posted in Argentina, Chile, Family Travel, Patagonia, South America, Specials, Travel Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment