Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

In the last post about hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 3 friends and I had climbed the 1000 steps from the river up to the ruin of Phuyupatamarca, The City Above the Clouds. The next morning our destination was a ruin called Winay Wayna.

Winay Wayna

Winay Wayna is Quechua, the ancient language of the Incas, for “Forever Young” and is named after a variety of pink orchid which grows there.

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

It’s a short hike of about 4 hours and mostly downhill from Phuyupatamarca. At that time, the ruin had not been excavated. We were the only pilgrims there and we made camp in one part of the ruin. This is what it looked like in 1978.

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Jungle completely surrounded us as far as the eye could see, so I was surprised when I went looking for current pictures of what it looks like today.

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Little did we know how big Winay Wayna was as we were camped in just one of the many buildings. Nor did we know or see the fantastic complex of agricultural terraces or the baths. A sequence of 10 baths suggests that Winay Wayna was probably a religious center associated with the worship of water. Ritual cleansing may have taken place here for pilgrims on the final leg of hiking the trail to Machu Picchu.

The next morning we arose at first light for the short 1.5 hour to continue hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Our goal was to witness sunrise from Inti Punku-The Gate of the Sun.

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu was built around 1450, at the height of the Inca. Although it was located only about 80 kilometers (50 mi) from the Inca capital in Cusco, the Spanish never found Machu Picchu. As such, it was neither plundered nor destroyed by them as were many other sites.

In 1911 American historian and explorer Hiram Bingham travelled the region looking for the old Inca capital and was shown to Machu Picchu by a local farmer. Bingham brought Machu Picchu to international attention and organized another expedition in 1912 to undertake major clearing and excavation. Machu Picchu was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983 describing it as “an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization.”

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

After hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for 1.5 hours we turned the last corner and the Lost City of the Incas spread out below us. We had timed our arrival at the Gate of the Sun perfectly as the sun rose of the city and Andes. It was spectacular.

This was once the main entrance to Machu Picchu and we were lucky that the ruin wasn’t shrouded in mist as is common. A great benefit to being at the gate so early is the lack of tourists.

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

We spent several hours running around the ruins and then took the bus down to Aguas Calientes for a cold beer, room and a bath at the local hostel. Late that same afternoon Blake and I went back to ruins and hid out until the park closed and watched the full moon rise. Needless to say, this is one of the most cherished memories of my life.

We ran around Machu Picchu under the full moon for about an hour until we were discovered by a caretaker. He kindly escorted us off the ruins with no problems. I shudder to think what would happen if one were to try that today.

Obviously things have changed since I was there as a young man in 1978, but a trip to Peru, with all of its wonders and natural beauty should be on everyone’s list. You should highly consider hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. You do not have to be an athlete and there are hikes as little as 1 day if you don’t want to spend 4 days.

Timeshare

There are not many timeshares in Peru. In Cusco, your likely starting point for Machu Picchu, you’ll find The Wyndham Saqusayhuaman Cuzco in RCI.

Interval International  has the Wayqey Hotel in Cusco. II also has the Wayqey Lodge in the town of Urubamba about 30 miles from Machu Picchu. Because of the popularity of the area and the paucity of timeshares you’ll have to get your request in early to be confirmed.
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The resort/s referred to in this post are not meant to be taken as my blanket recommendation as the best timeshare exchange to fit your needs. I encourage you to do more research and not just rely on this post and/or the ratings you find in the RCI and Interval International directories.

To further help you out, read my post “Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings in RCI and Interval International” by Clicking Here.
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This is a very popular destination with few timeshare units so you will want to plan in advance and make sure you have maximized your trading power.

A good start to increasing your chances of getting a good exchange with RCI or Interval International is to make sure to download your FREE Timeshare Exchange Checklist. You’ll get 7 must do tips that that you can easily implement now because the longer you wait to do things in the timeshare world the less chance you have of getting what you want.

Click Here Now to get your checklist.

Phuyupatamarca, the City in the Clouds

Phuyupatamarca City in the Clouds

In the previous post I talked about taking a vacation to Peru. This post resumes about my hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and a ruin called Phuyupatamarca, the City in the Clouds.

I also reminisced briefly about a hike to Machu Picchu my 4 companions and I were on in 1978 that I’ll continue below.  I’ve included my faded old photos taken while on the trail.

Machu Piccu

Any trip to Peru should encompass a visit to this World Heritage site, one of many fabulous Incan ruins in the country. You’ll most likely arrive there one of two ways: either taking a train and bus, or hiking the Inca trail for 4-7 days.

Inca Trail Map

All of us being in our mid-twenties at the time, we opted for the hike, of course. As a 63 year old man now, I still often think of that incredible time in my life and especially of that hike. While hiking the trail today will be different than what I describe here, if you’re adventurous, and in shape, you shouldn’t miss it.

Group Photo

(I’m the hairy one with the hat in the front, David is to my right with Bertyl and Blake behind. Not pictured is Jean Luc)

We started in Cusco, another not-to-be-missed World Heritage site, and caught the “Milk Train” at 5 am. We got off  kilometer 88 about 30 miles from Machu Picchu to hike the rest of the way. It took us 5 days.

My recollection of the first 3 days, what we saw, where we camped, until we reached Phuyupatamarca is not good. Certainly the scenery was spectacular being we were so high up in the Andes. We could see mountains that were in Bolivia hundreds of miles away.

Looking south to Bolivia

After hiking all day, we had quickly made camp by a river and were about to ascend 1,000 nearly vertical steps to the Incan ruin of Phuyupatamarca to watch sunset. The name Phuyupatamarca had been translated for us, wrongly as we were about to find out, as “City in the Clouds.” This mistranslation was to turn out to be one of the biggest surprises of my year long journey throughout South America.

After making a quick camp, the five of us started up the 1,000 nearly vertical steps to go watch sunset from the ruin. As I ascended I remember I could reach out at shoulder level and touch a step if front of me many times during our ascent. Even though I was not carrying my backpack, and was in good shape, it was a tough climb with many rest stops.

Steps

As I was climbing I heard someone coming up behind me playing a flute. I remember thinking, “what idiot needs to play a flute hiking up this mountain.” My next thought, however, was “what an animal to be able to do it.”

I turned to see, to my surprise, an Incan porter hired by a couple to guide and carry all of their camping gear while on the Trail. While being able to ascend to Phuyupatamarca while playing a flute is amazing in and of itself, in addition the porter was also carrying a homemade backpack.

He was about 5’3′, barefoot, of all things, and had the biggest chest I’d ever seen on someone of that size. His homemade stick and skin backpack must have weighed 60 pounds and stuck out a foot on either side of him. I stopped to let him pass and gaze in wonder and admiration. He never stopped until he reached the top.

As surprising as that was, there was a bigger one to come.

When we reached the top, the sun was getting low in the cloudless sky giving us little time to explore the ruin. We found a suitable spot on the shoulder of the mountain looking down at the Urubamba River and 2 other tributary canyons from high above. It was really spectacular!

Suddenly, clouds started creeping in straight toward us from all 3 canyons below. We gave a collective cry of disappointment recognizing that we were going to be in a white out before the sun set.

Phuyupatamarca

(This is looking down one of the canyons to the Urubamba River)

But the clouds rolled in just below us obscuring everything but the distant mountains and the sun setting into the clouds. It felt as if we were in our own floating mountain kingdom looking down on the entire cloud covered earth. My words just can’t describe it and the picture below doesn’t do it justice.

Phuyu Clouds

You see, the translation of Phuyupatamarca is not “City in the Clouds”, but “City Above the Clouds.” To this day it is the most memorable sunset I’ve ever witnessed.

Join me in my next post about my adventures in Peru…something out of the ordinary, where I finish my tale about my hike to Machu Picchu. You’ll find some good tips on what to see and do and even some timeshares you’ll be able to exchange into.

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A good start to increasing your chances of getting a good exchange with RCI or Interval International is to make sure to download your FREE Timeshare Exchange Checklist. You’ll get 7 must do tips that that you can easily implement now because the longer you wait to do things in the timeshare world the less chance you have of getting what you want.

Click Here Now to get your checklist.
All of the latest information on exchanging your timeshare in RCI and Interval International. Get tips and inside secrets to exchanging your timeshare, resort reviews, travel tips and more.

Peru…Something Out of the Ordinary

Peru...Something Out of the Ordinary

It’s July 1978, and along with Blake from Boston, Bertyl and Jean Luc from France and David from Atlanta, we had hiked all day through the majestic Andes in Peru…something out of the ordinary. We were hiking the Inca Trail on our way to Machu Picchu.  Earlier, we had crossed a pass in the mountains that was at 13,800 feet above sea level and the mountains still towered above us.

We made it to a camp spot by a river, quickly shed our packs to ascend 1,000 nearly vertical steps up the side of a mountain to see the Incan ruin of Phuyupatamarca for sunset. Unbeknownst to us, Phuyupatamarca had been wrongly translated for us as “City in the Clouds”. That mistranslation was to lead to one of the biggest surprises  in my entire year long odyssey throughout South America.

I find myself frequently longing to venture back to Peru and will be going soon. In the mean time, I thought I’d reminisce on some things you would want to see and do when visiting Peru, which I will cover in the next few posts. Since you’ll most likely be starting and ending your trip to Peru in Lima we’ll start there and with what turned out to be just as big as a surprise as Phuyupatamarca.

Lima, Peru

You’ll most likely arrive in Lima and want to quickly be on your way to Cusco, Machu Piccu and other parts of this beautiful country. As a young man of 25 in 1978, I wasn’t very interested in Lima, especially after just coming from the market city and capital of the Incan empire, Cusco, and hiking the Inca trail to Machu Piccu for 5 days. Lima was a big city then, and even though on the Pacific Ocean, it was not known for its beaches. It was just a way station and a place to pick up my mail from my frantic mother and a few friends.

Still, I found a couple of very interesting museums to wander through and since you’ll most likely be arriving and departing Peru from Lima take a little time to see what it has to offer.

The Gold Museum of Lima

Lima Gold Museum Necklass

Here you’ll get a glimpse of one of the most impressive collections in the Americas and the wealth and splendor the Spaniards found before they looted and melted down countless treasures.

Lima Gold Museum Arms

The Gold Museum is the largest collection in Peru of gold and silver artifacts from ancient civilizations, most of it pre-Incan. You’ll marvel at the artistry of the Moche culture that dates back to 100 AD. The museum is packed with over 7,000 objects including weapons of war.

Larco Museum and Another Big Surprise

Larco Museum

The Larco Museum is housed in an 18th-century vice-royal building built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. It showcases chronological galleries that provide a thorough overview of 4,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. There are gallery after gallery of fantastic pre-Columbian art and pottery and is considered one of the best collections in the world. Although its main focus is on pottery, the Larco museum is well known for its gallery of pre-Columbian erotic pottery…definitely something out of the ordinary.

While not suited for young children, make sure you don’t miss this gallery unless you have delicate sensibilities. Be prepared to have your salacious peccadilloes stimulated because you will witness every sex act you can imagine, and many more you’ve never likely thought of, on display. I was there in 1978 as a liberated 25 year old from California and I was shocked. I guess what these ancient civilizations lacked in modern conveniences such as iPhones, internet and facebook they made up with sex.

We had to specifically ask to see the collection and we had to be accompanied by a docent. The docent turned out to be a proper, yet unflappable, female octogenarian of British decent. She never batted an eye as we started peppering her with ever more pointed questions that she answered with her clipped British accent. It was one of the highlights of my trip.

Ceviche


Little did I know at the time, and it may not have been so in 1978, but Lima is famous throughout the world for its ceviche. Ceviche is a raw seafood cocktail that is “cooked” by its immersion in lime juice. It’s said that what makes Lima’s ceviche so good is their limes.

Living in Cabo San Lucas for many years now, I’m consumed my fair share of this wonderful dish, but a Mexican Sommelier friend of mine chose to start his honeymoon in Lima solely to eat their ceviche.

All in all, give Lima, Peru a few days before you head out to see the rest of one of the most beautiful and exotic places in the world.

Currently there are no timeshares in either RCI of Interval International in Lima, but that’s alright since I wouldn’t recommend spending a week there. There are some at the locations I’ll talk about in my next post.

Oh, about that big surprise that the mistranslation of Phuyupatamarca caused us? I’ll tell you about that in the next post.

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Looking to get better exchanges with RCI and Interval International?

A good place to start is to make sure to download your FREE Timeshare Exchange Checklist. You’ll get 7 must do tips that that you can easily implement now because the longer you wait to do things in the timeshare world the less chance you have of getting what you want.

Click Here Now to get your checklist.
https://thetimeshareexpert.com All of the latest information on exchanging your timeshare in RCI and Interval International. Get tips and inside secrets to exchanging your timeshare, resort reviews, travel tips and more.

Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings in RCI and Interval International

Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings in RCI and Interval International

Interval International’s Member Ratings

Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings in RCI and Interval International

If you have every checked into a timeshare and been disappointed, then read on. I’ve found that sometimes the accuracy timeshare ratings in RCI and Interval International to be quite inaccurate. Timeshare exchangers should use the considerable resources of the internet and social media to dig deeper before exchanging their timeshare.

I started this post to be a review of a resort I was considering exchanging to but as I dug into it I ended up finding some pretty negative experiences. I became reluctant to recommend it.

So I changed the intent of this article from reviewing what I thought was a great resort to checking the accuracy of timeshare ratings in RCI and Interval International’s.

RCI’s Member Ratings

Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings in RCI and Interval International

Since this isn’t my first rodeo with RCI and II, I’ve suspected for a long time that both companies may be posting more of the good comments than the bad but I have no solid proof to that effect. Especially if the resort is one of the major players in the industry such as Diamond, Marriott, Hyatt…etc.

Before I commit to an exchange I always read reviews in Trip Advisor, Expedia and other sites to help me determine accuracy ratings. Since even the finest resorts can get some very negative comments from hard to please customers, I’ve learned to read both of the good and bad comments critically in making my assessment. I pretty much throw out the very best and worst comments and average out the rest.

In the process I’ve discovered that a timeshare owner staying at a resort they’ve exchanged into will often give a higher rating than a non-timeshare guest that is paying a nightly rate to be there.

3 Reasons That Affect the Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings:

First, unless you own a high end timeshare like Hyatt, Four Seasons, Starwood or Marriott, many, if not most timeshare owners have come to understand and not expect the services and amenities of a high end hotel chain. They give those things up in return for a more spacious and better equipped condo.  So, timeshare owners are more likely to give a higher rating.

Second, a paying guest at a timeshare resort expects just the opposite. In other words, they expect the same experience as if they were staying at a hotel. They don’t understand, or necessarily care, that the services and maintenance of the resort they are staying at is funded by a maintenance fee paid by the owners.

A number of resorts, will have owners that have stopped paying their fees and/or vote not to raise maintenance fees during the annual HOA meeting. This one-two punch makes it very difficult for some resorts to keep the quality up. The paying customer is thus more likely to give a lower rating.

Third, I suspect that the best rooms get assigned to the resort’s timeshare owners first, exchangers second and paying guests last. The resort manager wants to keep the owners happy so they will continue to use the resort and pay their maintenance fees. He wants to keep exchangers happy to get a higher rating in RCI or Interval International. That leaves the paying guest or renter. They are often times paying a very low nightly rate and don’t constitute the bulk of the business, hence their position in the pecking order.

So, make sure to do a little homework on the internet and social media instead of relying solely on the accuracy of timeshare ratings in RCI and Interval International to get a great exchange.

A good start to increasing your chances of getting a great exchange with RCI or Interval International is to make sure to download your FREE Timeshare Exchange Checklist. You’ll get 7 must do tips that that you can easily implement now because the longer you wait to do things in the timeshare world the less chance you have of getting what you want.

Click Here Now to get your checklist.

 

Four Things to do in Las Vegas Instead of Gambling

Four Things to do in Las Vegas Instead of Gambling

Say the words “We’re going to Las Vegas”, and many people conjure up images of all night gambling followed by sleeping most of the day…rinse and repeat. Rather than donating you hard earned, pretax income to the casinos, here are just four things to do in Las Vegas instead of gambling.

Tours From Las Vegas:

The first thing to do in Las Vegas instead of gambling is to get out and explore the beauty of the surrounding desert of Southern Nevada. The sun shines and the weather is good most of the year so you can enjoy some outdoor, rather than indoor activities.

Hoover Dam/Lake Mead

Four Things to do in Las Vegas Instead of Gambling

Combine exploring one of America’s most spectacular engineering feats with a leisurely cruise on Lake Mead.

Lake Mead is America’s largest reservoir and is formed by Hoover Dam. The shoreline is spectacular as is the distant red landscapes of the desert. Rent a houseboat or travel on a Mississippi style paddle wheeler. Either way you’re sure to relax and be enthralled by the vistas.

Did you know Hoover Dam is taller than the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.? It’s 726 feet tall and 660 feet thick at its base. There is enough concrete in Hoover Dam (4 1/2 million cubic yards) to build a 2 lane road from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida or a 4 ft. wide sidewalk around the Earth at the Equator.

These are just some of the interesting facts you’ll learn on a tour of Hoover Dam. The tour offers some great panoramic vistas of Lake Mead and the Colorado River and the interior tour of the dam’s power plant.

You can spend a full day doing these 2 tours, get some exercise, fresh air and learn new things for less than you might lose in the casinos in 2 hours.

For more fun facts on Hoover Dam, Click Here

Golfing Las Vegas

Four Things to do in Las Vegas Instead of Gambling Shadow Creek Golf
You may not think of Las Vegas as a place to play golf, but over the years it has turned into one. With over 50 courses within 40 minutes of the downtown area your choices run from very affordable public courses to MGM’s Shadow Creek Golf Course. To play the 60 million Shadow Creek course,you must be a guest at the hotel and pony up $500 per round.

For less than 1 round at Shadow Creek, you could play at 3 quality courses like Boulder Creek, ranked among the top 15 public courses in Nevada, Chimera Golf Club and Black Mountain.

Shopping Las Vegas

Four Things to do in Las Vegas Instead of Gambling Bellagio Shops

Crystals and Via Bellagio

While you can generally spend the day on a tour or go golfing and in Las Vegas for less than you’d spend in a casino, this might not be true about shopping. But at least you can leave with what you paid for.

If your tastes run towards the expensive then you’ll not want to miss the shops of Crystals and Via Bellagio.

Crystals Las Vegas

At 500,000 square feet, the Shops at Crystal’s contain high-end retailers, gourmet restaurants and art galleries. Just some of the 50 luxury retailers you’ll find are: Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Harry Winston…you get the idea.

All that shopping is sure to make you hungry so stop by Mastro’s Ocean Club, Todd English P.U.B. or Wolfgang Puck Cucina for fine dining.

Via Bellagio Las Vegas

For some more serious retail therapy you can spend the day at Via Bellagio. Whether you spend a lot of money or not, you’ll enjoy the spacious walkways, elegant architecture, natural lighting, shops and restaurants.

Of course, at either location you can spend more than a year’s salary, no matter how much you make.

There are many timeshares in Las Vegas affiliated with RCI and Interval International (II). Availability is generally very good other than the major holidays. The timeshare resorts on the Strip such as The Hilton Las Vegas and Polo Towers will be harder to exchange to, so plan early for them. Family can have a great vacation without spending a fortune when exchanging their timeshare there…provided you stay out of the casinos.

All things considered, there are a lot more than four things to do in Las Vegas instead of gambling. Do some world class shopping or get out and enjoy the good weather with a round of golf or a tour.

To enjoy your Las Vegas vacation to its fullest just click on the links provided for much more detail.

And by all means, spend no more than $100,000 while shopping.

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A good start to increasing your chances of getting a good exchange with RCI or Interval International is to make sure to download your FREE Timeshare Exchange Checklist. You’ll get 7 must do tips that that you can easily implement now because the longer you wait to do things in the timeshare world the less chance you have of getting what you want.

Click Here Now to get your Timeshare Exchange Checklist.

The Best Staycation Resort in Hawaii

Best Staycation Resort in Hawaii

You May Never Leave This Resort Once You Arrive.

Could the Hilton Hawaiian Village be the best staycation resort in Hawaii? Here’s why many people would agree.

Best Staycation Resort in Hawaii

Hilton Hawaiian Village offers you just that. You and your family will never have to leave the resort to have the time of you lives if you don’t want. Yet its location, right on Waikiki Beach in downtown Honolulu, is perfect if you want to get out and explore.

Sitting on 22 acres of lush tropical gardens, waterfalls and ponds the natural sanctuary on the resort contains more than 60 species of exotic birds, waterfowl, turtles, and fish and over 50 varieties of flora indigenous to Hawaii and other exotic locations from around the world. It is an exceptional place to enjoy a stroll.

This alone may make the Hilton Hawaiian Village the best staycation resort in Hawaii, but the resort also has 145,000-square-feet of retail space, 20 restaurants and lounges, five pools, a spa and 96,000-square-feet of meeting space so there is everything right at your fingertips.

With 5 pools available you’ll be able to enjoy as much action or peace and quiet that you desire. Along with kids pools and water slides you find quieter pools on the 4th floor of the Kalia Tower.

Best Staycation Resort in Hawaii

The resort’s beachfront Super Pool is the largest on the island and on Friday night it becomes the stage for a celebration of Hawaiian culture and entertainment, ending with a spectacular fireworks show.

With 20 restaurants, cafes, bars and grills on site there is something for everyone. Choose between fine dining, kids menus or grab something beach side. Steak, seafood, burgers and fries, sushi and even a New York Deli are some of the offerings you’ll find without leaving the resort.

Click Here for more restaurant information.

Camp Penguin is a Kid’s Club for children between the ages of 5 and 12 and keep the kids occupied with fun and educational activities with a focus on learning about Hawaii. Off property excursions include trips to the Honolulu Zoo, the Waikiki Aquarium, Bishop Museum, and Children’s Discovery Center. Full days are from 8am – 3pm and are currently around $90. Half days are either 8am – 12noon or 11:30 – 3pm and are around $70.

Click Here for more about Camp Penquin.

And all of this while being located on one of the most well known beaches in the world – Waikiki. The world famous beach draws millions of tourism to its white sands and turquoise waters each year, accounting for approximately 42 percent of the state’s tourist industry revenue, roughly $2 billion annually. In the 19th century Waikiki was considered as a playground for the Royalty.

Enjoy the exquisite sunsets Hawaii in known for or just relax with your toes in the sand. If you’ve always wanted to try surfing, there is no better place than Waikiki. You’ll find plenty of instructors and friendly waves to learn on.

Or, just relax on the tranquil Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, a spectacular five-acre salt-water lagoon. Take a swim or snooze under a palm tree.

best staycation resort in Hawaii

Hilton is also in the process of building a 37-story, 418-unit timeshare complex called Grand Islander to add to their already existing timeshare units. It is scheduled to open in 2017.

As a result of all of the amenities onsite, Hilton Hawaiian Village occupancy levels are always very high. This is also true for all timeshare resorts in Hawaii and at any time of the year. Make sure you plan ahead if you plan on visiting one and make sure you have maximized your trading power.

A good start to increasing your chances of getting a good exchange with RCI or Interval International is to make sure to download your FREE Timeshare Exchange Checklist.

You’ll get 7 must do tips that that you can easily implement now because the longer you wait to do things in the timeshare world the less chance you have of getting what you want.

Click Here Now to get your checklist.

 

Vacationing with Whales in Baja

Vacationing with Whales in Baja

If vacationing with whales in Baja sounds good to you, not the land based ones, then you must plan a trip to Los Cabos in Baja California, Mexico. Los Cabos is the name of the area that has both the town of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. and January through March is the prime time to use your timeshare if you want an experience of a lifetime.

Vacationing with whales in Baja

Each year thousands of Gray Whales migrate south from their summer feeding grounds in Alaska to breed and calve in the warm water lagoons and bays in Baja California. And this is where you can witness whales, breeding (whale sex is pretty astounding), breaching, spy hopping and more, but the ultimate experience is being able to pet them from the boat. The round trip is 10,000 to 12,000 miles making it one of the longest migrations in the mammal kingdom.

Click on the map for more great info.

vacationing with whales in baja

Vacationing with whales in Baja

Vacationing with whales in Baja

Where to find them.

The Grays can be found breeding and calving in 4 locations on the Baja Peninsula. From north to south they are;

Laguna Guerrero Negro

Named after a ship that sank there, the Black Warrior, this is just north of the salt mining town of the same name is right in the middle of the 1000 mile long peninsula, 500 miles for either the US border or Cabo San Lucas.

Decent accommodations and food can be found in the town but a better whale watching venue is just south of town at Laguna Ojo de Liebre (eye of the jack rabbit).

Laguna Ojo de Liebre

The Lagoon was formally known as Scammons’ Lagoon named after the eponymous mid 1800’s whaling sea captain that discovered the lagoon. Once word got out as to how rich the waters were, the Gray whale was nearly hunted into extinction.

This and Laguna San Ignacio just south of there are the 2 best lagoons for whale watching.

About 3 hours from Guerrero Negro is Laguna San Ignacio is the most pristine of the 4 lagoons, untouched by development and industry, and the most difficult to get to. The little date palm oasis town of the same name provides food and accommodation but fill up quickly during season.

The first 3 are too far from Los Cabos to do a day trip. But the 4th breeding and calving ground isn’t.

Magdalena Bay

Mag Bay is about a 6 hour drive, or a short flight, it still makes for a long day, but it is worth it. You’re typically on the water for about 4 hours, 5 if you want to stop a “Lobster Island” for lunch on your way back in (highly suggested).

Besides seeing many whales, if lucky, you may be able to pet them from the boat.(the author has done this many times in the 20 times he’s been there).

Vacationing with whales in Baja

Your best bet is to take an organized bus or air trip from Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. The adventurous can rent a car and drive. The roads are good but mostly 2 lane without a shoulder so you really have to pay attention to your driving. I’ve driven there every time and in fact, have driven the entire Baja Peninsula, up and back, 14 times.

The town at Magdalena Bay is San Carlos and has decent accommodations and great/cheap food can be found. Make sure you make reservations before as accommodations are limited.

Vacationing with whales in Baja

What to bring

While Los Cabos normally enjoys 70-82 degrees in the months of January through March, Magdalena Bay can be quite, quite cold during whale watching season. If you’re lucky you’ll get a nice 75 degree day, but if unlucky, 50 or 60. If you’re on the water during that time and moving it’s cold.

So, pack a warm coat, scarf and mittens just in case. Most of the time you’ll need sunscreen, hat and sunglasses but you’ll be sorry if you’re unlucky enough to hit a really cold day.

While you can see whales from just about any of the timeshare resorts on the water in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, the very best for watching them from the beach, pool even from bed, are located on the Pacific side of Cabo.

These are Pueblo Bonito Sunset and Playa Grande, both affiliated with RCI, and Grand Solmar with Interval International.

The resorts on the Bay of San Lucas are still good for whale watching and include; Pueblo Bonito Blanco, Pueblo Bonito Rose, Villa del Palmar and Club Cascadas.

January through March is the “peak” of peak season so you should be planning your timeshare exchange at least 9 months in advance.

Enjoy all that Los Cabos has to offer and maybe you can come back from your trip and tell your friends and family you petted a whale in the wild.

For help exchanging your timeshare and getting into the best resorts at the best time of the year, Click Here.

Discover Kohl’s Ranch in Arizona’s Rim Country

Arizona's Rim Country

 

 

Kohl's Ranch Timeshare

If you’re a timeshare owner then consider exchanging your timeshare to Kohl’s Ranch. Located in the Arizona Rim Country at an elevation of 5,000 feet or 1,500 meters makes this a perfect summer outing. There are a myriad of outdoor activities to do and because of its elevation it’s 20 degrees cooler than the Phoenix/Scottsdale metro area.

Kohl’s Ranch

Kohl’s Ranch is a 62 unit timeshare property affiliated with both RCI and Interval International. It consists of studio, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom units and/or cabins. The resort has a nice pool, restaurant, arcade, fitness center and mini golf course onsite and its woodsy setting gives it a relaxing feel.

The little town of Payson, listed as one of the top 20 safest cities in Arizona, has the feel of a laid back cowboy town of years gone by. It proudly preserves its Wild West spirit. It has a rich heritage of cowboys, Indians and pioneers.

Some of the top activities to do are:

  1. Star Gazing: Its elevation and lack of pollution make Payson a great place to enjoy the spectacular night sky.
  2. Take a Guided ATV Tour: Sit back and relax while a knowledgeable guide takes you on a Rim Country Trail. Experience pristine wilderness and fantastic photo opportunities.
  3. Drive, Bike  or Hike the Top of the Mogollon Rim: Treat yourself to the magnificent scenery unlike almost anywhere else on the planet.
  4. Fossil Hunting: Just 12 miles east of Payson, and 1 mile from Kohl’s Ranch is a Paleo site where you can hunt for 300 million year old fossils. The kids will love it and it’s free of charge. Be sure to bring some digging tools and a bucket.
  5. Get Wet: Payson is surrounded by lakes, streams and hot springs.

For more information on visiting Payson Click Here.

Since Payson is in the geographic middle of the state of Arizona and is affectionately called “The Heart of Arizona” it is convenient to some amazing day trips.

Sedona Rim Country

Sedona:

Just 90 miles from Payson is the charming town of Sedona.  Having played host to more than sixty Hollywood productions from the first years of movies into the 1970s you may feel like you’ve been there before even if you haven’t.

The red rocks that surround the town are world renowned and add to the  charming atmosphere and if hiking, biking and jeep tours aren’t your thing, there are plenty of shops and restaurants. Sedona is also known for its unique artwork because of the many artists that live there.

For more information on Sedona click on Visit Sedona

Grand Canyon Arizona

The Grand Canyon

While a long day trip, the Grand Canyon is not to be missed. At 200 miles from Payson and Kohl’s Ranch it takes about 3 1/2 hours to drive.  If you’ve only seen the Grand Canyon in photographs, be prepared for you senses to be overwhelmed when you stand gazing from the south rim.  Plus, you can check off of your bucket list that you’ve visited on of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.

For more information on visiting the Grand Canyon Click Here.

In all, you’ll find plenty for you and your family to do when taking a timeshare vacation to Kohl’s Ranch. This is a very popular destination with few timeshare units so you will want to plan in advance and make sure you have maximized your trading power.

A good start to increasing your chances of getting a good exchange with RCI or Interval International is to make sure to download your FREE Timeshare Exchange Checklist. You’ll get 7 must do tips that that you can easily implement now because the longer you wait to do things in the timeshare world the less chance you have of getting what you want.

Click Here Now to get your Timeshare Exchange Checklist.

 

 

 

What To Do On Your Scottsdale Vacation

What to do on your Scottsdale Vacation
 Why take a Scottsdale vacation you ask? For starters, the New York Times describes Scottsdale as “the desert version of Miami’s South Beach. A local’s joke is that Scottsdale has the biggest beach in the world…just no ocean.
Of course, Scottsdale is known for its shopping with Kierland Commons, Old Town, Biltmore Fashion Park, Cave Creek and Fashion Square Mall just to name a few. You’ll find the best of the west, and the world here.
The restaurant and nightlife scenes are varied and vibrant. For a great steak don’t miss Mastro’s Steak House. Lon’s at the Hermosa not only has great food but the courtyard setting is fabulous.
Lons Scottsdale Vacation
Don’t miss Lon’s when taking your Scottsdale vacation.
While Scottsdale has not yet achieved the party reputation of L.A. or New York, it’s safe to say the city has one of the most vibrant and busy nightlife scenes in the West.
As the sun sets over the Valley, Scottsdale’s more than 80 wine bars, clubs, and lounges come to life. Whatever you come to do, dance, drink or both, Scottsdale has enough variety to keep you going until dawn.
Scottsdale  is central to the many different outdoor activities there are to do. Whether it’s hiking, rock climbing, kayaking,  jeep or helicopter tours.
If you’re a golfer, you’re in a little bit of heaven. Besides the beautiful course on site there are close to 200 to choose from in the Phoenix/Scottsdale metro area.
And if you’d like to take in a PGA tournament while on your Scottsdale vacation, the Waste Management Phoenix Open is played in early February each year. This is one of the PGA’s biggest tournaments and is fun to attend even if not a golfer.
And don’t forget to see Frank Loyd Wright’s Taliesin West his winter home and a National Historical Landmark and the Desert Botanical Gardens.
You’ll find a great resource for all there is to see and do in the Scottsdale area at Experience Scottsdale.
Looking for a great place to exchange your timeshare? Tucked between the TPC Desert Golf Course and the McDowell Mountains you’ll find the Interval International timeshare Scottsdale Links Resort by Diamond Resorts.
The resort is ideally situated to explore the many varied activities available nearby.
Play golf on your Scottsdale vacation
Scottsdale Vacation Scottsdale Links Resort
Whether you’re a golfer or not the setting is dramatic with the verdant green of the golf course juxtaposed by the gorgeous mountain backdrop.
All in all, spend a week in Scottsdale and you’ll be wanting to use your timeshare there again. Make sure to request early if you plan to visit the desert between December and March.

RCI Tips For Holiday Travel

christmas balls

Holiday season is stressful and hectic anyway, but throw in a vacation at that time and you’ll need all the help you can get.

RCI Tips For Holiday Travel is one of the articles in the latest edition of Endless Vacation magazine.  For the most part, the travel tips are too late to use this year, but in our world, the timeshare exchange world, now is the time to start your plans for next year’s holiday season.

The article has good suggestions on how to choose flights wisely, getting the best vacation deals and how to reduce in-airport hassles.

Thanks to all that have purchased my Timeshare Exchange Bibles for RCI or II. You have far better odds of enjoying Holiday travel than the average timeshare owner. Combined with RCI’s travel tips you can look forward to a great holiday season in 2016.

Read the article here.