When every second of a trip is a highlight, it’s hard to narrow down just 10 (highlights) to summarize a two week experience. Our recent DTour throughout Central and South America was absolutely packed full of adrenalin pumping adventure, incredible wildlife experiences, mouthwatering seafood and outrageously scenic views.
We rode Quad bikes across remote, secluded beaches in Costa Rica, rode horseback through volcanic landscapes, trekked far into the Panamanian jungle, parasailed in Paracas (Peru), took a flight over the Nazca lines, and discovered a world of skulls and bones in Catacombs underneath the city of Lima. This trip was my first assignment as a paid travel writer, the exposure for further establishing my travel blog was phenomenal, and of course, we were being paid to travel the world – pinch me please!
Though none of these experiences made it into our top 10 highlights. Here are the 10 which did.
#1 Machu Picchu
No visit to Peru is complete without a visit to Machu Picchu. Touristy? Yes. Tourists swarm Aguas Calientes like the plague. Difficult to reach? Definitely. Though we opted out of the 4 day Inca Trail hike and took a flight and a train. Absolutely unbelievable and completely worth the journey? You bet!
Despite miserable weather and absolutely horrid rain on the day we visited, it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The views were second to none, and I’m fairly certain we were standing on top of the world! Posts to come.
#2 Sandboarding in Huacachina
You haven’t known adventure until you have zipped down a 300 foot sand dune headfirst, screaming for your life, eating sand the entire way down. You haven’t known adventure until you have strapped yourself into a sand buggy and flown through “Everest of the Desert” at high speeds, clutching your seatbelt until your knuckles turn white.
You haven’t known adventure until you have visited Huacachina, Peru. Apparently we hadn’t known adventure until our DTour!
#3 The Amazing Hilton Hospitality
If you read our recent post about the time we were mistaken for VIP’s in Central and South America, you’ll know that we were treated like absolute royalty during our two weeks traveling for DoubleTree.
Treated to the best lunches, dinners and, in Panama’s case, ice-cream, with a personal supply of warm chocolate chip cookies and even warmer welcomes often from the entire hotel staff upon each new arrival, stunning suites, and access, recommendations and private drivers for some of the most adventurous activities in each area; the generosity of each property, and willingness of each staff member to go completely above and beyond what was expected of them means DoubleTree is now our first choice for accommodation for any and all future trips.
We are absolute wildlife fanatics, so any opportunity to experience and photograph rare and exotic creatures, we’re there. And the strategic locations of each DoubleTree property did not disappoint.
From squirrel monkeys, toucans and crocodiles in Costa Rica, to sloths, howler monkeys and poison dart frogs in Panama, we were truly in our element!
#5 Carara National Park
Having already established our insane love of wildlife, there was no doubt that Carara National Park was going to be a highlight of our DTour.
#6 Learning to Surf
Picture miles upon miles of white sandy beaches, clean surf breaks, epic waves, and water so warm there’s no need for a wetsuit. Costa Rica was the perfect place to tick off this long awaited bucket list item!
#7 The Food
They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so here are a few thousand words about the food during our time with DoubleTree!
Needless to say, we didn’t find any need to eat off site as each property had their own fabulous menu which kept our taste buds well and truly satisfied!
#8 DoubleTree Cookies
Carrying on from #7, DoubleTree Cookies are a highlight in their own right! I mean, what more could a girl want than her own personal supply of warm chocolate chip cookies anywhere and everywhere she goes?!
The iconic DoubleTree by Hilton cookies were so good that when we hit the streets in Lima to spread the Cookie Care for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, 200 of them disappeared in 10 minutes!!
#9 The Properties
A hotel should be more than just a room to crash in at the end of an action packed day; it should be part of your experience. And each of the DoubleTree properties we stayed at were an experience in themselves.
Gorgeous suites, stunning room views, extensive amenities and immaculate grounds – each property we visited was spectacular and displayed incredible attention to detail. Read our review of the Costa Rica property. Further reviews to come.
#10 Ziplining in Costa Rica
One of the top tourist attractions in Costa Rica, consisting of platforms connected by thick cables stretching across tree-ladden ravines, hillsides and valleys, we strapped ourselves into harnesses, clipped into the cables, and went flying from one platform to another! This was true adventure!
We traveled on behalf of Doubletree by Hilton DTour; a whole new way to plan – and share – your travels. We were hosted by Doubletree by Hilton Resort Central Pacific, Doubletree by Hilton Panama City, El Pardo DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, and Doubletree Resort by Hilton Paracas.