Trip Report: Key West January 2015

Staff Members: Robin Paschall & Barbara Colliander
Travel Dates: January 2015
Destinations Visited:  Key West, Florida

Key West is a great adventure destination with lots of activity, culture, and nature!

Duvall Street

Hemingway House

Southernmost Point

Historic Waterfront

Sunset at Mallory Square

Island of Dry Tortugas

Butterfly Pavillion

Key Largo

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NEW TRIP: The 12-day Best of Thailand Adventure!

12-Day Best of Thailand Tour

Adventures Within Reach is delighted to introduce a brand new 12-day Best of Thailand adventure. The itinerary includesBuddha temple in Bangkok

  • Fantastic off-the-beaten path touring
  • The classic night train to Chiang Mai
  • 3 day rainforest trek
  • The best temples
  • Chanting monks
  • Sampling street food with your guides
  • 3 days on the beach at the end for R&R

Thailand street foodThe best time to visit Thailand (in general) is November through February, the “cool” dry season. Since this trip includes a trek, note that it can get very hot (35 degree C) in March into May, while June is commonly the first ‘rainy’ season month, which can last until October.

The trek on this trip is ideal for physically fit, active travelers especially those who have trekked previously in culturally rich, backcountry destinations like those found in Nepal, Peru, Africa, India, Bhutan and the like: the hiking is rugged, but the scenery and culture are simply amazing. If you enjoyed those treks, you’ll love northern Thailand!

Temple in BangkokHomestays add another wonderful cultural element on this trip, allowing you in-depth encounters with local people.  We realize, however, that not every traveler is into a multi-day trek, so if that’s the case for you, please let us know: we can easily adapt the itinerary for you. It’s easy to arrange instead some easier day hikes, an elephant experience, cooking classes, market touring, free days in Chiang Mai and the like.

12-Day Best of Thailand TourYou’re free to pick the class of hotels you’d prefer, and these can range from the popular mid-range category to 4-star luxury to 5-star elite properties. Solo travelers are encouraged to contact us for special solo prices, but with 2 people or more, the trip is very affordable. We provide a special price break if your group is 4 or more!

Let us know if you have any questions — we would love to help you experience a real Thailand adventure!

Full Itinerary >>

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Planning Family Adventure Travel

CheetahsNow that it’s summer, we here at Adventures Within Reach are thinking about family vacations.  But not the lay-on-the-beach kind of vacations, instead, we are thinking about what kind of adventures we can share with our children.  We are big believers in exposing children to the world and different cultures, while having fun along the way.  We believe adventure travel fits the bill in stimulating their interest in cultures and places away from home, while keeping them busy with physical activity — much more so than touristing around in museums and driving endlessly along from one historical site to another.  While we would not necessarily recommend climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or our Everest Base Camp trek to families, we offer a lot of adventures that would be suitable for families that offer a connection with nature, some sort of physical activity, and some cultural aspect.
White Water Rafting
As adventure travel specialists, we have put our money where our mouth is.  Our children have been to nine countries outside the United States on five continents, and all before the oldest of them turned 14.  Some of the places our children have been to:

  • Africa: South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya
  • Asia: South Korea
  • Australia: Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef
  • Europe: Spain
  • North America: Canada, U.S., and Mexico
  • Central America: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands
  • South America: Ecuador

Hiking in Costa RicaIn traveling to those places, our children have enjoyed in all sorts of adventure.  They have had many wildlife experiences as they have been on safari, gone whale watching, and had close encounters with cheetahs and bird of prey.  In the water, they have submerged themselves in a submarine, snorkeled, and scuba dived.  On the water, they went white water rafting and surfed the waves.  On land, they have gone on nature hikes, rode zip lines, and gone canyoneering down waterfalls.

If any of those activities appeal to you, here are some of AWR’s trips we recommend for families:

For more ideas, visit AWR’s Family Trips page or contact us for help in planning a vacation your family will always remember.

Posted in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Family Travel, Galapagos, Kenya, Luxury, Peru, Safari, South Africa, Southeast Asia, Tanzania, Thailand | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AWR Continues to Support IMEC’s Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project

Adventures With Reach is happy to announce that we have renewed our support of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) and its Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP).  AWR has been one of IMEC’s Partners for Responsible Travel for 5 years.  We here at AWR believe it’s important to improve the lives of the porters who assist our clients in reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Although we strive to provide our clients with great value, we believe that cost is not the only consideration when traveling.  We consider ourselves obligated to support sustainable and responsible tourism by helping the local economy, particularly the porters on Mt. Kilimanjaro, because without them, most of us would not reach our goal of reaching the summit.

summit27As an IMEC Partner for Responsible Travel, AWR has committed to ensure that our local outfitter on Mt. Kilimanjaro follows IMEC’s recommended Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment and allows monitoring by IMEC.  AWR’s local outfitter on Mt. Kilimanjaro has agreed to, among other things:

  • Pay porters an acceptable wage
  • Make timely payments to the porters
  • Implement a tipping procedure so that the porters receive the tips
  • Ensure porters carry no more than 44 pounds
  • Provide at least two free meals a day
  • Furnish the proper gear and tents for the porters
  • Provide medical treatment, including assisting the descent of an ill porter
  • Assign climbs without regard to bribes

The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project works to improve the working conditions of the porters on Kilimanjaro by: lending donated clothing for free to porters; providing free educational classes to porters in First Aid, Money Management, and English; and conducting educational outreach to the public regarding porter working conditions.  AWR clients have generously supported KPAP with cash and clothing donations.  If you would like to learn more about IMEC and KPAP before booking your Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, please visit their websites, and  And to learn more about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with Adventures Within Reach, please visit us here –

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Top 5 Reasons to Visit Stone Town on Zanzibar Island

5.  Stone Town is centrally located on Zanzibar, making it a good base for trips to other parts of Zanzibar.

4.  Stone Town has a wide variety of restaurants and bars from which to choose your dining adventure.

3.  Stone Town is a short 15-minute drive to the airport, making it convenient for touring upon arriving in Zanzibar or for a last-minute stop on the way to the airport.

2. You are a short distance from popular and highly recommended day trips for the Spice Tour, Prison Island, and Dolphin Snorkeling and Jozani Forest.

1. And the number one reason to visit Stone Town is – Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The town is a splendid example of the Swahili coastal trading towns of East Africa.  Stone Town retains its historic 19th century urban architecture, which brought together disparate elements of the cultures of Africa, Persia, the Arab region, India, and Europe. Visiting this cultural experience allows you to visit history before or after your beach escape in Zanzibar.

Zanzibar Tours >>

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Announcing the AWR 2015 Trip Giveaway Contest Winners

Congratulations to Richard Huang and Jim McPartlan for winning our 2015 Trip Giveaway Contest!

Richard won the Angkor Wat tour and will go on a 4-day trip for 2 people with 3 nights accommodations, 2 days of tours in Angkor Wat, entrance fees, breakfasts, and airport transfers.  And Jim won the Tanzania Safari and will go on a 5-day trip for 2 people in a group departure. The safari includes 4 nights accommodation, group transportation in safari vehicle, English speaking safari guide, and all national park fees.

Richard on winning the 4-day Angkor Wat tour:

Richard Huang at the Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Richard Huang at the Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

I live in San Mateo, California, work in San Francisco at this hot startup called Expect Labs. We’re helping others bring intelligent voice interfaces to applications.  Think Siri for your app. The MIT Technology Review names us one of the 50 Smartest Companies in the world ( The others on the list include Google, Tesla, General Electric, etc.  I did my undergrad at MIT, doubled majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and also Biology.  I received my PhD in CS from UCSD.  I was an engineer for many years at both Pre-IPO startup and industry leading large company.  Nowadays my main focus is on growing/hiring Expect Labs across all functionalities.

As for traveling, I typically like trekking on volcanoes or glaciers. Too many places to list for places I’ve visited, so I’ll just give you highlights from 2014. I did a 4 day hike to the Lost City in Columbia, visited Banff National park in Canada (for the scenery and glaciers). I climbed Kilimanjaro, did the Seregenti Safari (with Adventures Within Reach), and traveled from Paris to Rome, stopping by Provence, Nice, Monaco, Cinque Terre, Pisa, and of course the Vatican City.  I like traveling to visit different cultures and a lot of times for the beautiful scenery and sometimes to push my own physical limits.

I’m looking forward to this trip because I haven’t traveled that much in Asia and looking forward to visiting another UNESCO World Heritage site!

Jim on winning the 5-day Inca Trail Trek:

I grew up on the east coast, Portland, Maine and Boston, Mass.  I went to college in New Orleans at Loyola University (Broadcast Production).  After graduating, I moved to Japan to be part of the JET program (Japan Exchange and Teaching).  I lived in a small town in northern Japan teaching English in the local Junior High Schools.  After returning from Japan, I moved to Los Angeles to get my masters in Communication Management at USC (University of Southern California).  I also have worked at USC for the past 15 years as well.  I am currently the IT director for the Price School of Public Policy and live in Burbank, CA.

I got the travel bug in college.  I like to travel to see new places (note: James has been to 21 countries and 26 states).  I like the sense of discovery of a new place and to see where the road takes me.  When I traveled in Europe for several weeks, I would only book accommodation about 2 days in advance.  I did this because I had no predetermined plan. I would see where the road would take me.  I found that is the best way to have an adventure.  I have met many people and had experiences that I never would have had if I stuck to a specific plan.  One time, I ended up at an wedding reception in a small town in Ireland of a couple that I just met.

Jim at the Shofukuji Zen Temple in Fukuoka, Japan

Jim at the Shofukuji Zen Temple in Fukuoka, Japan

When I lived in Japan, I took advantage of my being in Asia to travel not only all over Japan, but to many other Asian countries as well.  I loved traveling in Asia because there is so much to see and do. Going from backpacking in Malaysia and Thailand to the glitz and high tech of Hong Kong and Tokyo, there are many contrasts in Asia that make traveling there very interesting.  I loved living in Japan.  I lived in a small rural town and was very integrated into the local community.  I was only 1 of 2 foreigners who lived in the town.  I still have friends there and visit them every couple of years.  Living abroad really lets you see a whole new world.

I am really looking forward to my trip because I have always wanted to see Africa.  I have never been there.  I have heard some amazing stories from friends that have traveled there.  Going on a safari has been on my bucket list for a while now. I can’t wait to see the amazing wild life in their native habitat.  Based on the photos I have seen on the Adventures Within Reach website, it looks like we are going to have an amazing time.

I am just starting the preparations, but I am reading up on the history of the area that I will be traveling to, setting up appointments for inoculations, and getting my camera ready!  I am also looking to possibly extend my trip beyond the safari to maybe climb Kilimanjaro.  If that happens, I think I will need to start training.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our 2015 Trip Giveaway Contest!  Keep an eye out for our next contest.


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AWR’s Dean Paschall Halfway on PCT

PCT - Meeting friends on the trail

Meeting friends on the trail

Dean Paschall reached the halfway point on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on July 2, 2015. He has hiked through the desert, Yosemite National Park, past Lake Tahoe, and is in northern California heading for the Oregon border.

PCT - Amazing wildflowers

Amazing wildflowers

“I keep waiting for the less interesting or less beautiful section of this trail but it just keeps getting better. The part from Tahoe to Sierra City was less steep and more forested, the wild flowers are at their prime, and the forest fragrance reminds me of my days in Yosemite,” reflected Mr. Paschall.

“I can feel the end is within my reach. It is odd but the thought of finishing this amazing journey comes with mixed emotions. I don’t feel at all anxious to have it over, but will be forever grateful for the experience.”

PCT - Halfway Point: Mexico & Canada 1325 miles

Halfway Point: Mexico & Canada 1325 miles

Dean Paschall is thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada for a total of 2650 miles.  He started on April 16, 2015 and hopes to finish in approximately 5 months.

The hike will recorded on a regular basis on Dean’s PCT blog:

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Local St. Augustine, FL Man to Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro to Raise Money for Charity

Christopher Della Rocco, of St. Augustine, FL, To Summit Mt. Kilimanjaro on New Year’s Day 2016 with adventure travel tour operator Adventures Within Reach

Sun Valley, ID, May 8, 2015:   Christopher Della Rocco, will be forgoing the traditional holiday season to join a trek that will summit Mt. Kilimanjaro on New Year’s Day.  On January 1, 2016, Rocco plans to stand on the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft.), which is the tallest mountain in Africa, and the highest freestanding mountain in the world.  Rocco will be trekking up to the summit using the Machame Route with adventure travel outfitter Adventures within Reach.

Christopher Rocco

Christopher Della Rocco

Rocco will be climbing to support the Tim Tebow Foundation, and its mission to bring Faith, Hope, and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need (  Rocco is a bartender at Murray Bros. Caddyshack and a real estate agent with Davidson Realty, both located in St. Augustine, FL.  Although Rocco had been thinking about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for several years, he finally decided to make the move this year.  As Rocco told AWR, “I am a father to two great children, Casandra and Blake,” and “[a]s parents we’re always telling our kids that they can do anything if they put their minds to it. Sometimes you have to get off the couch and show them.”  Rocco hopes to raise $5,000 for the Tim Tebow Foundation (


The Machame Route, also known as the Whiskey Route, is the most popular route on the mountain. The trek is not a technical climb, but summit day is long, strenuous, and at an incredibly high elevation.  Nonetheless, “Kilimanjaro is our most popular trek,” says Robin Paschall, owner of Adventures Within Reach.  “Of the famous ‘Seven Summits,’ this is the easiest to get to and to climb.  It requires no technical climbing experience, and a moderately fit person can summit the mountain with training and perseverance.  Some of our clients, like Rocco, devote their once-in-a-lifetime experience climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to various charitable causes.”  See for more information about Mt. Kilimanjaro charity climbs.

About Adventures Within Reach

Adventures Within Reach offers treks and cultural tours to Tanzania, Peru, Galapagos, and the Himalayas.  AWR sends thousands of people each year on their dream adventure to Tanzania.  For more information about specific packages and prices, contact Adventures Within Reach at 303-500-5047, or visit

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UNI-VISA – One Visa for Zimbabwe and Zambia


Starting from December 1, 2014, a new uni-visa system will be implemented at Zambian/Zimbabwean borders and will mean that visitors to both countries will require only one visa.

  • Cost: US$50/person
  • Validity: 30 day as long as you remain in Zimbabwe and Zambia


If you are staying in Zimbabwe but going to Zambia for a day activity, the Uni-Visa is cheaper.

It also covers those who visit Botswana for day trips through the Kazangula Borders – it will not be valid if staying in Botswana overnight, in this case you would need to purchase a new Visa.

NOTE: If you are staying entirely in one country, it is better to just get the visa for that country.


Eligible Countries whose nationals are granted a Uni-Visa at port of entry on payment of US$50:

Britain (UK)
Cook Islands
Czech Republic
New Zealand
Norway Poland
Puerto Rico
Slovakia Republic
Slovenia Republic


Victoria Falls Airport Harry Mwaanga Airport (Livingstone)
Victoria Falls land Border Victoria Falls land Border
Kazangula land Border (Border with Botswana) Kazangula land Border (Border with Botswana)
Harare Airport Kenneth Kaunda Airport (Lusaka)

More Kaza Visa Info >>

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Why you REALLY want to do the Fly-Cruise to Antarctica

EXP_Bjorn Svensson_CA5-1314_21.JPG

As the fantastic 2014-2015 Antarctica season wraps up, all thoughts are now on next year’s exciting new season, likely to be one of the busiest on record.  While all of our Antarctica options are excellent, the 8-day Fly-Cruise expeditions are truly unique. Instead of sailing the Drake’s Passage, which can be rough, travelers fly comfortably between the Chilean mainland and Antarctica, saving time and helping you avoid rocky seas.  We have a number of updates and insights to help our travelers considering this exclusive option.


The Ocean Nova will have a partner in Antarctica in 2015-2016, the all-suite Sea Explorer

In addition to the classic, comfortable 68-passenger Ocean Nova, the 2015-2016 season, a number of voyages will be on a 71-passenger all-suite ship, the luxurious Sea Explorer. Limited to just 71 travelers, the ship uniquely offers 2 categories of cabins with private outside balconies.  In addition, you can expect to al fresco dining in the outside cafe on fine days. Imagine sailing between 3-story icebergs while comfortably sitting down, enjoying your morning latte!

Everyone knows Antarctica is the world’s greatest wilderness outpost and operating ships and aircraft in this region – the windiest, coldest, and most remote region in the world – is surely challenging. An impressive footnote of the expedition’s last 100 flights to and from isolate Frei Station on King George’s Island are that a full 82 operated on the scheduled day, while 13 operated with only a one day delay, 4 with a two day delay and just 1 with a 3 day delay. In fact, in 12 years of operating the Fly-Cruise expedition, with hundreds of expeditions launching successfully, the boats have seen only one trip cancelled. This level of reliability is simply amazing!


Rugged planes deliver travelers safely to Antarctica

Among the many bonuses of the Antarctica Fly-Cruise is that because the number of passengers is limited to the size of the specialized charter aircraft (a BAE 146, with 90 seats) used by the boats, the number of guests is a perfect fit for the zodiacs. Everyone boards the zodiacs and lands together, there are no waits for landings (only 100 people or less are allowed at any given landing site).

A wonderful safety advantage of the Ocean Nova is that the ship’s sloping zodiac access on the main deck is flush with sea level, meaning there are no potentially dangerous descents or ascents up gangways in rough seas. It’s as simple and easy as it gets to board your zodiac!

A special treat on every Fly-Cruise expedition is the complimentary wine pairing service you’ll enjoy during dinners aboard the Ocean Nova and Sea Explorer. Both boats feature world-class wine selections.

One of reasons to book your Fly-Cruise expedition with Adventures Within Reach is there no credit card processing fees with us. Other companies may assess up to 3.5% of the cost of the expedition but with us, you won’t have to. Past travelers of ours may also receive a returning traveler discount.

The 2015-2016 season is already booked at 65% capacity. If you’d like to join one of the expeditions, now is a great time to do so.  8-day cruises start with a December 2-9 trip, while the last voyage of the season runs February 13-20, 2016. Spaces start at US$9,995/person on the Ocean Nova. Deposits are 20%, with final payments due 120 days prior to departure.

KAY_AXXI_CA1-1314_Jonathan Zaccaria_20131205_2590.jpg

Sea kayaking is phenomenal in Antarctica!

Sea kayaking is optional and highly recommended, with the additional cost being US$895/person. Snowshoeing is also an option. This is an excellent choice for travelers wanting to get some longer walks on the peninsula under your belt. The extra cost for this activity is US$195/person.

Please be sure to contact us if you have any questions or requests regarding your Antarctica cruise options. Antarctica is deserving to be on every nature enthusiast’s and adventure traveler’s radar. If not this season, then hopefully the next. We look forward to helping whenever you are ready!

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