Baltimore Sun, April 8, 2007
GREENLAND – A QUICK TRIP TO A WORLD AWAY
Imagine leaving BWI and within five hours stepping off the plane onto an island unlike any other. Now with Air Greenland’s direct flights from BWI – the only direct flight from the United States – you can explore one of the world’s most unique countries where daylight never seems to end and where a truly wild vacation awaits. Baltimoreans have flocked to Iceland for years via Iceland Air’s direct flights, so now taking a trip to Greenland only seems natural. And with only a two-hour time difference, you don’t have to worry about jet lag.
Flights to Greenland – the world's largest island that is the same size as France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Austria and Belgium put together – arrive in the city of Kangerlussuaq, the epicenter of wildlife where you can partake in a musk ox safari to see some of these 5,000 oxen found locally. Along the way, you may see reindeer, Arctic foxes and falcons.
Air Greenland offers some great packages, including “Glacier Heaven,” an up-close look at Greenland’s amazing glaciers and the opportunity to stay in an aluminum-clad igloo at the Hotel Artic; “Wild Adventure,” for the true adventurer; and “Artic Capital,” in the capital city of Nuuk where you can visit open-air markets, go whale-watching and sample local fare.
The temperature range from northern to southern Greenland is substantial, but the dry air allows for comfortable days in the summer. Dressing in layers and packing waterproof boots is a good idea. Popular times to visit include June 21, Greenland’s national holiday to celebrate the longest day of the year, and late August and September when the Northern Lights can be seen all over. For more information, visit www.airgreenland.gl, select English and then click on the USA-Greenland tab.
SOUTH AFRICA – SEE THE SIGHTS IN LUXURY
Due to political stability, friendly locals and the cosmopolitan cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa is a popular destination for those looking to explore Africa. And with the new direct flights from Washington Dulles International Airport to Johannesburg with connecting service to Cape Town, South Africa couldn’t be easier to reach. Once you arrive, there are endless activities to choose from – safaris, national parks, breathtaking waterfalls and unbelievable beaches. However, if you are looking for a truly unique way to see South Africa with the opportunity to travel in style, check our Rovos Rail, dubbed “the most luxurious train in the world.”
Rovos Rail (www.rovos.co.za) offers two rebuilt classic trains, each offering unparalleled service and luxurious suites. A maximum of 72 passengers are allowed on the wood-paneled trains, which are hauled by steam, diesel or electric locomotives.
Two different journeys are offered (both are one-way trips). The popular two-day trip from Pretoria to Cape Town shows guests why many refer to South Africa as “a world in one country,” where you’ll see grasslands, mountain ranges and the vineyards of Cape Town. The train also stops in Kimberley to visit the Mine Museum and the world’s largest man-made excavation, the Big Hole. The other Rovos Rail journey is from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, a six-day trip that includes four nights accommodation on the train and one night in a hotel in Pretoria. Stops in Kimberley, a game drive in Hwange National Park and the final destination of the majestic Victoria Falls make this trip special.
FIND YOUR SANCTUARY
Peace. Serenity. Calm. We all want these feelings and more just about every day. So, as the saying goes, “Go West” to Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain near Scottsdale, Ariz., named “No. 1 Resort in the U.S.” by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler.
Set on 53 acres of lush desert on the north slope of Camelback Mountain, the luxurious boutique hotel and spa overlooks Paradise Valley and offers breathtaking views. Sanctuary (www.SanctuaryAZ.com) offers modern, luxurious accommodations in either the 74 newly remodeled Mountain Casitas, 24 Spa Casitas or one of the six private homes. The Mountain Casitas are embedded in the north slope of the mountain, allowing for unobstructed views, while the Spa Casitas surround the resort’s infinity edge pool. The private homes can be rented by the night, week or the month, while the Sanctuary Spa offers an extensive array of treatments.
Sanctuary is located just six miles from Scottsdale and nine miles from Phoenix/Sky Harbor International Airport, serviced by most U.S. carriers. USAirways and America West Airlines offer non-stop service from BWI.
DISCOVER THE WARMTH OF COSTA RICA
When looking for someplace warm to travel to and recharge on a sandy beach, there is a multitude of island and mainland paradises that fit the bill. However, Mary Joan Levin of Royal Travel Planners (www.royaltravelplanners.com), urges travelers to consider Costa Rica. “Many Americans retire in Costa Rica – it is a country that is free from an army, the country’s money goes to education and it’s a civil country.” Levin notes Costa’s Rica’s rich ecotourism, lush rainforests, volcanoes, wildlife and fauna tours and countless national parks and beach areas as highlights.
Resort town are situated on both the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica, but Levin says that the best resort available is the Paradisus Playa Conchal, located on 900 acres facing the Pacific Ocean on Conchal Beach, between the resort towns of Flamingo and Tamarindo in the province of Guanacaste. There are no high-rises here, as the all-inclusive resort is composed of 39 low-rise bungalows with eight suites each and features an 18-hole golf course, five restaurants, four bars, a spa and gym.
While some U.S. carriers fly from BWI to Costa Rica, the easiest way to get there may be by booking through Apple Vacations (www.applevacations.com), which offers air and hotel packages.