Archive for the ‘Ecotourism’ Category


Every year, Frommer’s releases their must-do travel list, and it’s always sure to include at least a few eyebrow-raisers. Beirut, Lebanon? You might not know that it’s a sophisticated coastal city bustling with energy. Kansas City, MO? The world-class Kauffmann Center for the Performing Arts just opened, attracting some of the biggest names in dance and music.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Photo credit: Flickr

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Photo credit: Flickr

Check out the full list here for some other surprising – and not so surprising – travel ideas.


Even though yoga isn’t an activity that is necessarily synonymous with adventure travel, there’s something exhilarating about the thought of traveling to a foreign country to study and practice yoga. Yoga vacations and retreats are an increasingly popular way to spend those hard-earned vacation days, and there is certainly no shortage of options to choose from.

Yoga vacations and retreats are just as diverse as the people who practice. With a little determination and a lot of research, you can inevitably find a yoga vacation or retreat that is tailored to your needs; just make sure you are asking yourself the right questions.

Photo: lululemon athletica

Photo: lululemon athletica

1. What level of yoga are you currently practicing?
If you’re new to yoga or practice infrequently, chances are you won’t want to go on the 15-day intensive yoga retreat in the mountains of Nepal. Some retreats even require that you’ve practiced yoga for a year or more. Look for shorter retreats that specialize in instructing beginners. Also, picking a resort that offers a few yoga classes a day might be a suitable option if you are not ready to dedicate your entire vacation to yoga.

Check out: The Tides Zihuatanejo
Where: A Luxury Mexico Beach Resort in Zihuatanejo
What: Specialized sun salutations are offered daily and guests can book private yoga appointments—perfect for those who may be intimidated by a large class setting.
Why: Yoga isn’t the sole focus of this resort; there are many other activities to partake in, such as organic cooking classes, surfing, golf, fishing and zipline adventures.

For prices and more specifics, visit The Tides Zihuatanejo at

Plan a yoga vacation to Mexico on TravelMuse.

2. Where do you want to travel?
Yoga retreats and vacations are available in most places you can think of, so deciding where you want to go is an easy way to narrow down your options. If you live in the United States, don’t think you have to travel abroad to get an incredible yoga experience. In fact, some of the most celebrated yoga retreats are located stateside. If you’re looking to add to your collection of stamps in your passport, there are many exotic and incredible countries that offer amazing yoga vacations.

Check out: The Sewall House Yoga Retreat
Where: A quaint and celebrated retreat house in Maine that offers a personal and intimate yoga experience.
What: Daily morning Hatha yoga and meditation class and an afternoon Kundalini yoga and meditation class, with the option for an evening meditation. Three meals a day are also included. For those looking for a little excitement on the side, hikes, lake tours, massages and other activities are also available.
Why: The Sewall House encourages the exploration of self. Your free time is a great way to get even more out of your practice, through reading, journaling and exploring nature.

For prices and more specifics, visit The Sewall House Yoga Retreat at .

Plan a yoga vacation to Maine on TravelMuse.

3. What type of yoga vacation or retreat do you want to take?
There are many niches within the greater yoga community. If you are looking for a specific type of retreat or vacation, it’s pretty plausible that you can track one down. From women’s only retreats to yoga classes offered at resorts for gay men, the spectrum is wide and can provide you with another angle at which to approach your yoga practice. A popular retreat/vacation focus is on social contribution and environmental awareness.

Check out: Shreyas Yoga Retreat
Where: A retreat center in Bangalore, India.
What: A stay at Shreyas allows you the option to give back in the following ways: learn to cook, work in the organic agricultural garden or interact with local village school children.
Why: For those participating in the yoga retreat, the following is included: a wellness consultation on arrival, gourmet vegetarian meals, twice daily group yoga classes, daily group chanting / sound meditation class, use of all recreational facilities (pool, Jacuzzi, steam bath, gym), personalized yoga instructional classes, personalized Pranayama class, personalized meditation class, personalized yogic Kriya and a rejuvenation massage.

For prices and more specifics, visit Shreyas Yoga Retreat at

Plan a yoga vacation to India on TravelMuse.

A couple other questions to consider are is there a particular teacher who you’ve wanted to learn from and what style of yoga do you prefer practicing. Undoubtedly, a number of questions will arise when planning your yoga excursion, but regardless of where you end up, it’s bound to be a rewarding and memorable experience.


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Top Five Spring Break Spots—College Edition

You’ve made it this far through the school year—time to recharge for finals and blow off some steam at one of TravelMuse’s top spring break destinations:

1. Jamaica

Pristine beaches, reggae and lingo like “go jam” (socialize)—it all adds up to an island paradise. There are plenty of all-inclusive resorts to choose from, but you can find something a little different (and cheaper) by staying at a furnished apartment or guest house. Explore limestone caves, waterfalls and mineral springs; listen to live reggae in Montego Bay or Negril; visit Bob Marley’s Birthplace and Mausoleum; discover the Ocho Rios Craft Market for unique souvenirs or the decadent Devon House to step into the past. Or, simply relax on the beach and enjoy paradise.

Visit for travel deals. Plan a trip to Jamaica on TravelMuse.

Let your school stress melt away in Jamaica. Photo: 04deveni

Let your school stress melt away in Jamaica. Photo: 04deveni

2. Costa Rica
San José and Tamarindo both offer the nightlife any spring breaker desires, but for those on a budget the best bet is Jacó for discos and dive bars galore. For surfing, the beaches of Jacó, Esterillos, Hermosa and Boca Barranca provide the best waves. Costa Rica is ideal for those looking for an eco-adventure. With 20 natural parks, eight biological reserves and numerous protected areas throughout the country, there are plenty of opportunities to hike, bike and do other outdoor activites. Trek up to see one of the finest volcanic craters in the world in Poás Volcano National Park; enjoy zip-lining through the cloud forest in Monteverde; or go rafting on the Reventazón River.

Visit and read our Costa Rica articles for more information. Plan a trip to Costa Rica on TravelMuse.

3. Panama City Beach

The tried-and-true college Spring Break locale, Panama City Beach has 27 miles of beaches along the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay in the northwest of Florida. The beach town welcomes college students every year for what has to be the prototypical spring break experience. Enjoy live reggae at Willy’s Pier Bar; eat seafood on the open-air deck of the Barefoot Beach Club; sip fruity cocktails at the Tiki Bar on the beach at Sandpiper Beacon Beach Resort. For a break from the sun, head over to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium housed in a 75-foot high cruise ship run aground.

Visit for more information. Plan a trip to Panama City Beach on TravelMuse.

4. Europe
Yes, Europe is an expensive choice, but deals can be had, especially during the spring. Virgin Vacations offers packages at nearly half the cost of the same trip during the summer.
As every college student with thoughts of backpacking knows, hostels across the continent are an affordable accommodations option, but check out universities in the city or cities you plan on visiting to see if they rent out dorm rooms during breaks.

Check out tourism board Web sites like and to find free attractions and discounts. Plan a trip to Europe on TravelMuse.

London is just one of your many options for an adventurous spring break. Photo: Jim Linwood.

London is just one of your many options for an adventurous spring break. Photo: Jim Linwood.

5. Austin

During spring break, the average high temperatures are in the mid to upper 70s. The locals are dedicated to the city’s slogan—“Keep Austin Weird”—with attractions like the Cathedral of Junk (junk turned art in a resident’s backyard) and the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture. Mix in numerous nightlife options, particularly along Sixth Street, gorge on delectable barbecue at the likes of the Salt Lick and get to know the “Live Music Capital of the World” for a memorable Spring Break.

Visit or read our Austin articles for more information. Plan a trip to Austin on TravelMuse.

Post adapted from “10 Top Spring Break Spots” by Andrew Weiss.

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You won’t be sleepless in Seattle when you stay at the Hyatt at Olive 8. The Hyatt will be the Emerald City’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified hotel when it opens on Jan. 30, 2009.

The eco-hotel’s green features include automatic room lighting (which turns on and off as guests enter and exit), Bricor water-reducing showerheads and dual-flush toilets. Other eco-highlights include the use of non-toxic housecleaning products, equipping the property with energy-saving fluorescent and LED lighting, using low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, providing a 100 percent non-smoking environment, and enforcing a comprehensive recycling and composting program.

The 350-room Hyatt also features luxurious amenities such as super-comfy pillow-top Hyatt Grand Beds™, 37-inch flat screen HDTVs, iPod docking stations, Wi-Fi and iHome stereo systems.

In addition, the Hyatt will be home to one of the largest green roof gardens in downtown Seattle.

Eco Spa and Restaurant

The Hyatt’s Elaia spa will feature organic and natural skincare products and treatments. The spa has 12 treatment suites and a 65-foot lap pool and whirlpool featuring a saltwater purification system that eliminates the need for chlorine. Guests can also enjoy the 2,400 sq. ft. Stay Fit@Hyatt fitness center, open 24 hours a day, and on-site yoga.

Urbane Restaurant and Bar will use ingredients from regional farmers from across Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Urbane will serve beer and wine produced exclusively by Washington and Oregon breweries and wineries.

Rates start at $209 per night based on double occupancy. For more information, go to