Everyone’s heard of the Galápagos Islands, with their blue-footed boobies and natural phenomena. But many are surprised to find that they’re a part of Ecuador, a country the size of Colorado replete with its own incredible natural and cultural diversity. Ecuador is a place where you can begin your day with breakfast by the ocean, drive a few hours for lunch in the Andes and finish with dinner in the rain forest.
In my travels throughout the world, I’ve continually heard people naming Costa Rica as an all-time favorite destination. There’s talk of vacationing on the Nicoya Peninsula for a week, doing a yoga teacher training in Nosara, moving to Tamarindo for a season or even moving to Costa Rica permanently. So why is Costa Rica such a hot spot right now?
Over the holidays, I lead Backroads family trips in Costa Rica. Since schools are on break during this time, it makes for a great chance to take a family vacation. And a trip together is the perfect occasion to strengthen family bonds, make memories that last a lifetime and even create new traditions.
I’m often asked how I found my job leading Backroads trips… Fate. Magic. Luck… Well, perhaps a combination of those things. It’s a unique story that involves a photography exposition, a small community in northern Chile and two random backpackers high in the Chilean mountains. And it’s a story that put me on a path to helping develop a brand new Backroads trip for this coming December in a corner of South American that is easily one of my favorite places in the world.
My friend stands at my side eagerly pumping the brakes of his sleek road bike; ahead is another divide in the road. We are in the Sierra del Rosario forest, a birdwatcher’s paradise and nest of Las Terrazas eco-community, close enough to reach Havana by pedal–easy enough if you are a passionate Cuban cyclist, but it still highlights your struggle (and that of your compatriots) to live a life with no vehicle of your own.
I feel fortunate to be here now. I feel fortunate to be working for Backroads, a company that doesn’t gloss over the realities of the world but instead offers its guests a closer, authentic and unfiltered look. Cuba and its people have now become something personal to me – more than news headlines and pages in a history book. It’s the taxi driver, the pigeon-flyer, the port foreman and all the others who have helped me paint this beautiful portrait in my mind of a vibrant country full of hopeful people marching toward an uncertain future.
One of the most iconic and expected experiences of a trip to Cuba is the chance to ride in a brightly painted, impeccably cared for classic 1950s convertible. What you might not expect is the pure rush of excitement you feel sliding into the back seat. It was one of my favorite memories of our family trip to Cuba.
We’re Leading a new revolution in Cuba! Backroads is the first active travel company with an official license to operate tours legally in Cuba – and we’re the only US company to offer biking as part of our in-depth exploration of this fascinating and often misunderstood island nation. Our Trip Expert, an avid hiker and biker, has spent most of the past three decades living and working in Cuba. The inside knowledge she’s gained while crisscrossing the island has allowed us to create a truly one-of-a-kind trip.
They say that in Bermuda, “You can shake the sand from your shoes but it will never leave your soul.” I truly felt this when I visited for my first time to do research for our new Bermuda biking trip. Bermuda rests about 650 miles east of South Carolina’s coast and is incredibly rich with culture, passion, energy and color…
Taking in one of the greatest wonders of the world can really work up an appetite. Eat up these tips on where to dine in the lost city of the Incas–or enjoy a few favorites down below in the town of Aguas Calientes.
Among the Mayan gems hidden in the jungles of Central America, the crown jewel is Tikal, a must-see archaeological site that lives up to all those Hollywood stereotypes of the Lost City. (It actually had a cameo in the first Star Wars movie.) Many active travel itineraries in Belize opt for less dramatic sites or squeeze in a rushed one-day visit. We spend two nights at Francis Ford Coppola’s nearby rainforest retreat, giving you and your family plenty of time to explore Tikal properly.
Most companies’ trips in Galápagos and the Andes are run by local operators. At Backroads we manage our own trips; we would never subcontract your precious family vacation to a third party. So as you enjoy the support of your seasoned Trip Leaders and Kids Activity Expert, along with our expert local guides and drivers, you have the confidence of knowing we’re with you and your family every step of the way.
The Incas weren’t keen on crowds and neither are we. In nearly two decades of exploring Peru, we’ve seen more and more people making the pilgrimage to Cusco and Machu Picchu. We get it – but we also need a little space to take in this otherworldly place among the peaks and contemplate its spiritual past. Fortunately, with our local connections we can get you clear of the tourist trek, hiking off the beaten path and immersing you in the culture of remote communities in the Sacred Valley.
We’ve been bringing guests on Multisport Adventures in Costa Rica for 20 years. Our Regional Expert has lived here for more than half that time, raising her own family near Manuel Antonio National Park. We’ve found the best hiking and biking routes, and built relationships with the most accomplished local guides, all so we can take you off the beaten path to discover the real Costa Rica. And we offer more active trips over peak holiday periods than any other company.