This is the first question that our Colombia travel specialists often get when planning travel there. Americans in particular have concerns about traveling to a country so recently known for its centrality to the drug trade, and the violence that was born of it. I’m going to be honest with you. There’s part of us here at Global Basecamps that wants to lie to you. Part of us wants to say “wait 10 more years for things to settle down,” or “the security is not quite there yet.” There seems to be an exclusive club of travelers these days, a secret cabal of people in the know. They know Colombia has been safe for years. They know its beaches are top notch. They know it is absolutely one of the best countries to travel in almost because so few people go there.
Really, this is no secret if you’ve been paying attention. In 2008, The New York Times officially declared Cartagena a foodie destination. Travel + Leisure called Cartagena a Hidden Retreat in the same year. Last year, the Times seemed to still be on the Colombia-train, moving onto the great eats in Bogota and its tourist revival. It’s a common topic of conversation in our office. How do we get the message across that Colombia is safe, when the New York Times can’t seem to do it? Consider us stumped. The best we can do is describe the perfect vacation setting as best we can, and travelers can make up their own minds.
Global Basecamps is incredibly proud to have been named a finalist for TravelAge West's Trendsetter Award for Upward Bound, Rockstar Agent Under 40. Our Travel Specialist Andres Zuleta, has been a part of the Global Basecamps family since 2009 and specializes in customizing travel to Japan and South America.
A large factor in TravelAge West’s decision to nominate Andres was Global Basecamp’s commitment as a whole to bring you a new, (and we think better!) way to see Japan. From one-on-one experiences with geisha, to staying in traditional Japanese ryokan, Global Basecamps strives to truly connect you to Japan's ancient culture. We will not let you leave Japan without at least a few truly cultural experiences, and this sets us apart in a way that TravelAge West recognized.
Hotel B in Lima’s bohemian Barranco district is our new favorite hotel in Peru’s eclectic capital. Given a choice, if we are spending any significant amount of time in Lima, we see no reason to stay anywhere else.
There are other five-star luxury hotels in Lima worth mentioning. They have ocean views, perfect rooms, and undeniable service. But part of our job at Global Basecamps is to not just put you in a perfect (if forgettable) hotel, but to leave you wowed by your hotel. A true “Best of Basecamps” property is more than a perfect review on a website. There are hotels in the world’s biggest cities that feel like they’ve been there forever. Their sense of history compliments their pristine reputation and A-level service. Hotel B has this sense of history, which is confusing because it’s literally Lima’s newest hotel. (As of Summer 2013)
One of our own recently returned from his trip to Okinawa, Japan. He was kind enough to share some of his pictures and experiences with us! This is How We Travel.
I recently had the fortune to travel to Okinawa. Despite having lived for several years on Japan's mainland, this was my first visit to Okinawa and in every way it exceeded my expectations.
I flew into Tokyo and connected directly to Naha, Okinawa's largest city on Okinawa Honto, Okinawa's main island ("honto" just means "main island"). If I had to do it again, I would spend 1-2 nights in Tokyo at the start, because by the time I arrived in Okinawa I was exhausted (and a ramen in Tokyo would have been a nice treat after the 10-hour flight). On the flip side, I was thrilled to wake up the next morning already in paradise... so for shorter trips, flying into Okinawa directly makes perfect sense.
Though it may seem inaccessible and exotic to some, the truth is that the Inca Trail is hugely popular, and receives a metric ton of demand from travelers from all over the world every year. In the 80’s and 90’s, what began as a small number of companies offering guides to hike this four day trek quickly turned into an avalanche of tourism that ultimately threatened the health of the environment, and the priceless Inca ruins along the route.
The Peruvian government quickly saw the risk of destroying its natural and cultural resources. Today, Peru’s Ministry of Culture caps the number of people allowed to hike the trail at 500 per day. Of that number, only 200 are actual tourist hikers, the rest being accompanying guides and porters. Predictably, snagging a permit to hike the trail is a hectic affair. Only a select number of companies are allowed to buy them directly. They are assigned to a specific hiker’s name to prevent a black market of permits. And they sell out quickly. In 2013, Inca Trail permits through July were completely sold out by March.