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Top 5 reasons to visit El Salvador in 2018

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El Salvador, Central America’s smallest country, attracts a wide array of intrepid travelers who come to experience its vibrant culture and diverse outdoor activities. From its rich Maya history, to its volcanic beauty and generations-old artisan heritage, El Salvador provides plenty for travelers to explore.

El Salvador is incredibly easy to reach from the U.S. and offers everything from ecotourism to culinary adventures at a fraction of the price of more well-known Central American destinations. There are regular direct flights to El Salvador from major U.S. cities, including New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, and there is no need to exchange money upon arrival, as the U.S. dollar is the national currency.

Here are five ways to make the most of a trip to El Salvador.

1. Kick back at the beach

There is no shortage of world-class beaches in El Salvador, with warm Pacific waters lapping on nearly 200 miles of coastline. Surfers flock to La Libertad for its renowned waves and international competitions. Those interested in learning to surf can find lessons for as low as $10. Along black sand beaches, travelers will find amazing seafood to enjoy while taking in magnificent ocean views.

2. Hike volcanoes and waterfalls

El Salvador is known as the “Land of Volcanoes” with 25 volcanoes visible to the naked eye. Many travelers combine a city tour of San Salvador with an easy volcano hike in El Boquerón National Park, just a short drive from the city. Local guides can navigate visitors up steeper volcanoes for half- and full-day trips. The country’s tallest volcano is Santa Ana Volcano in Cerro Verde National Park northwest of San Salvador where hikers will find moderate to difficult trails with a stunning turquoise crater lake at the top.

3. Get caffeinated on a coffee tour

El Salvador’s high altitude and tropical climate create the ideal conditions for growing coffee beans, and the country is known as one of the world’s top regions for specialty coffee production. Chances are that you have enjoyed java that originated in the mountainous region of El Salvador. A tour of El Carmen Coffee Estate gives visitors a closer look at the coffee-making process and provides the chance to taste some of the best coffee on earth straight from the source.

4. Get crafty with an artisanal immersion

Several of El Salvador’s small colonial towns are known for signature artisanal crafts that travelers can learn during their stay. Those that travel north from San Salvador to the quaint town of Suchitoto can make their way to the Arte Añil workshop and gallery to learn how to dye cloth with indigo as the Maya once did. Further north, the town of La Palma draws inspiration from the Maya to create the Arte Naíf drawing style. Visitors learn to paint with spontaneity without adhering to perfect proportions, creating bright and contrasting colored designs on locally harvested copinol seeds for a truly exotic souvenir.

5. Dig into the past with an archaeological site visit

Known as the “Pompeii of the Americas,” the UNESCO World Heritage Site Joya de Ceren provides a fascinating look at an ancient farming community that was buried in ash from a nearby volcano. A visit to the site and the nearby pyramids at San Andrés educates travelers on the lives of Central America’s original inhabitants who lived there as many as 1,000 years before Europeans arrived.

With easy flight options, low prices for world-class experiences, and the ability to hike a volcano in the morning and surf in the afternoon, it’s not hard to see why El Salvador has become a hot destination for 2018.

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Destination Langkawi: Beyond the Beaches

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With 550-million years of geological history and generations of mythical folklore, there is always something new for guests of Four Seasons Resort Langkawi to uncover on the island.

A paradise of panoramas, the Langkawi archipelago is an amalgam of mangroves and mountains, rainforests and rivers, wildlife and waterfalls, legends and local charm, tidal flats and coral reefs, cliffs and caves. Whether appreciated from the vantage point of a bike, kayak, boat, cable car, sky-bridge or simply on foot, the islands’ thrilling topography ensures a truly breathtaking backdrop for myriad magical and memorable encounters.

Water Worlds

Beyond the beaches, water sports and diving, Langkawi offers visitors rainforests, mangrove “sea forests,” cascading waterfalls, hidden lakes and glistening paddy fields to explore.

Outdoor enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice.  The uninhabited islet of Pulau Langgun offers an exhilarating rainforest immersion and lush wilderness trek to the hidden sanctuary of Tasik Langgun, a large freshwater lake.  Build an appetite biking through paddy fields to Durian Perangin Waterfall – 14-tiers of clear cascading water – perfect for a refreshing dip and picnic.  Or visit the island’s tallest waterfall, Temurun (30 metres or 98 feet), for another scenic natural swimming pool.

A mangrove kayak get guests unobtrusively close to the magic and mystery of forests that straddle land and sea. Traverse small, dense tributaries and follow the natural ebb and flow of this fascinating ecosystem to uncover hidden delights behind each corner. Alternatively, take a coastal kayak along the emerald seascapes of Langkawi’s less explored eastern rim, and paddle through a 15 metre (49 foot) cave tunnel for an unforgettable swim in a salt-water lake.

Mineral and Mystical  

Steeped in geological heritage, Langkawi has some of the world’s oldest and most intriguing naturally formed gems.  Shaped by plate tectonics, volcanic activity, ocean submersion and erosion, Langkawi’s many rock formations have evolved over millennia into exciting natural habitats, many animated by fantastical folklores and legends.

Adrenalin seekers can heed the call of the ancient limestone cliffs for an afternoon of rock-climbing and abseiling within the Resort’s grounds. Just a short distance away, the Langkawi Sky Bridge – suspended 700 metres (2,300 feet) above sea level and accessed via the world’s steepest cable car – offers an up close experience of Malaysia’s oldest rocks (the Machinchang Formation), not to mention far-reaching views extending to southern Thailand.

Fuel for the imagination, Langkawi’s craggy coastline of hidden coves, sunken caves and majestic peaks is straight out of a fairytale and sets the scene for a magical adventure. The intriguing Gua Cerita (Cave of Legends) is the mythical home of a giant phoenix, a captive princess and a deadly giantess. Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Lady) was formed when a huge limestone cave collapsed, resulting in a figure resembling a pregnant woman lying on her back. Locals believe that the lake, famed for the legend of celestial princess Mambang Sari, possesses mystical powers.

Back at the Resort, Spa devotees will be entranced by the element-based offerings at the Geo Spa, where the ancient healing energies of the Geopark meet bespoke natural treatments by ila.

Wildlife and Local Life

A bird watcher’s paradise – the open rainforest corridor, mist-covered Gunung Raya peak, and local village ponds provide the opportunity for ornithologists to tick a fair few flying friends off their must see list. Langkawi is home to approximately 200 species including: flower peckers, hills mynas, dollar birds, sun birds, eagles, woodpeckers, lesser whistling-ducks, little egrets, Chinese pond herons, striated swallows and the largest of them all, the great hornbill, measuring in at 1.3 metres (more than 4 feet).

Animal lovers will not want to miss the mangrove boat safari into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park and its maze of meandering mangroves for exciting up-close encounters with majestic eagles and kites, mischievous macaques, fish that walk (mudskippers), colourful fiddler crabs, shy otters and sleeping bats.

Cultural connoisseurs will be enthralled by the Malaysian book village of Kampung Buku and the bucolic beauty of stilted wooden houses in local villages. A visit to the fishermen’s village of Kuala Teriang enables visitors to quietly observe fisherfolk return with their day’s catch, or sample delicious deep-fried banana fritters with local milk tea at wooden roadside stalls. Back at the Resort, relish local spices and ingredients during a Malay-cuisine cooking class – available as both adult and child-size experiences.

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Green Bay’s Titletown is a travel touchdown

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Some travel trends come and go, but others have staying power. Sports-themed travel is gaining momentum, and experts predict that it’s only going to get bigger. If you like the thrill of competition, the history of the game and the joy of being a fan, consider sports-themed destinations for your next vacation.

Location

A prime example of sports-themed travel is Green Bay, Wisconsin. Whether you are a Packers fan or a football fanatic, this distinctive area is ideal for couples or family getaways. The city’s new Titletown development offers travelers an array of sports-themed activities to explore, with something to tempt all of the senses.

A 45-acre development adjacent to Lambeau Field, Titletown boasts a variety of amenities, a brewery and an outdoor park experience with year-round programming. Check out a concert or start a pickup game of football on the artificial turf.

Accommodations

Located just yards from Lambeau Field, Lodge Kohler gives you a home field advantage in the heart of the action. The hotel design is rugged yet refined, and it commemorates the game with historic Biever family photos of the Green Bay Packers throughout the timeless brick building. You’ll find dining, a spa, pool and fitness center.

Attractions

The draw of Green Bay has been and always will be Lambeau Field — one of the most storied stadiums in the United States. At the Packers Hall of Fame in the Lambeau Field Atrium, visitors can discover interactive displays, guided tours and the seasonal Packers Training Camp.

Explore more of the sports team’s past on the Oneida Nation Walk of Legends or the Packers Heritage Trail, which pays homage to the buildings, businesses and people that have historical significance to the team. Team history abounds around every corner of Green Bay’s scenic urban trail and may be traveled by foot, Segway or trolley.

Celebrations

There’s even more worth celebrating over the next year in Green Bay: The Packers have spent a century on the gridiron. The 100 Seasons celebration will feature events in Titletown and throughout Green Bay, culminating with a 100th birthday party on Aug. 11, 2019.

Want more than football? Neighboring Lambeau Field, the Resch Center — home of the Green Bay Phoenix men’s college basketball team and USHL Green Bay Gamblers hockey team — offers year-round entertainment, as it hosts national touring artists and family entertainment on and off the ice.

Eats and sweets

Hunger will lead you to Lodge Kohler for memorable dining. Meet at Leaps & Bounds Cafe for a quaint breakfast, lunch or coffee perk-up. Revel in the sweeping views of the stadium from the outdoor terrace and panoramic windows at Taverne in the Sky, which features modern rotisserie cuisine for lunch and dinner. For dessert or a sweet treat, get a taste of Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates.

Learn more about crafting the perfect sports-themed travel experience at https://www.lodgekohler.com.

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Langkawi: Mile-Long Beach Blessings and Other Shoreline Secrets

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When it comes to defining a great beach resort, some people rate looks and location, others service and style. For those who want it all, there’s Four Seasons Resort Langkawi.

The Resort spans its own vast swathe of Tanjung Rhu (meaning cape or promontory, and casuarina tree) – undoubtedly one of the finest beaches in Malaysia: remote, expansive and tree-fringed, with beckoning waters and views that stretch towards mainland Thailand.

A mile (1.6 kilometres) in length, the beach lends the Resort an endless sense of space and privacy. Forty-eight acres (20 hectares) of botanical gardens lie parallel to the sands – punctuated with 91 beach villas and pavilions that echo the awe-inspiring drama of the surrounding UNESCO Geopark.

Testament to the beach itself, the island’s best water sports facilities can be found on-site – including Malaysia’s first and only high-tech X-Jetblades.

Complimentary use of kayaks, windsurfs and catamarans makes the water accessible to all, while complimentary hourly beach amenities keep sun-seekers happy and hydrated.

The Olympic-length Adult Quiet Pool also lies parallel to the water. Its 8 walled cabanas offer privacy from adjacent couples and frame a view that’s entirely one’s own.

Three restaurants flank the beach, while the Rhu Bar offers optimum beachside sunset viewing and swinging seats for two to make the most of the experience.

At every turn, stunning spaces and hideaway places beneath trees and towering cliffs make picture-postcard backdrops for beach weddings and events.

Private dining is no less impressive: under a cabana on the sands or a beach barbecue with your own private che.

Kids’ Club and the four-in-one family pool (complete with waterfalls, lounge areas, jets and shallow pools) are just a hop, step and a jump from the sand – where young ones (and young at heart) can also play beach football and volleyball, or fly handmade Malaysian kites.

And last but by no means least, the beach is the gateway to a host of adrenalin-fuelled adventures. Wander through the rainforest at the northern tip of the beach to the Resort’s rock-climbing wall and archery range. Or cruise directly into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park for a naturalist-led, National Geographic-style encounter with eagles, monitor lizards, walking fish and even elusive otters.

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