-- Think Mexico and think sun and sand, right? Well, think again.
City-based adventure operator Expediciones Rio y Montana hopes to
get U.S. travelers off Mexicos admittedly beautiful coastlines and
into lodge-based adventure vacations in the countrys scenic
This year, Rio y
Montana, founded in 1993, offers two outdoors expeditions --
mountain biking in the Oaxaca Sierra and mountain climbing on the
countrys highest peaks -- active holidays at each of its three
aldeas (lodges, or adventure villages), Okavango, Rodavento and
Picocanoa; and an eight-night adventure trip combining the latter
vacations -- tailored both to leisure and corporate clientele --
involve whitewater rafting, canoeing, horse- back riding,
rappelling, mountain climbing and biking, and other extreme,
Alfonso de la
Parra, co-founder and director, said Rio y Montana has a very
specific personality: adventure, from soft to very
But its important
to note that clients, from a kid of 7 to a grandmother of 70, can
still do activities and travel with us, said De la
After 12 years of
focusing on the Mexican market, De la Parra and partner Waldemar
Franco are now turning to the U.S. trade to promote their
eco-activity vacations to Americans.
Rio y Montana
hired an international sales director, Lisa Coleman, based in
Scottsdale, Ariz., who is training a network of authorized agent
sales specialists in the southwest U.S.
The U.S. is an
important market, and we want agents to help get Americans to come
down, said De la Parra.
Some 14 agents in Arizona and California
have been certified to date; the program, which includes a
familiarization trip to Mexico, will be expanded to include Texas
and Washington state.
We are not in
this to earn a lot of money right away, De la Parra explained. Weve
waited a decade, and were going to do this right.
noted Coleman, Rio y Montana will limit the number of its
authorized sales agents in the U.S. because we are boutique
properties, and we are working very hard to keep
[But] if an agent
is interested and is serious, we will talk to see if its a fit, she
applying: Rio y Montana pays specialists 17% commissions on
land-only expeditions and lodge stays include:
" A six-night
mountain biking trek, of moderate difficulty, from Oaxaca through
the Oaxaca Sierra Norte range, led by De la Parra and Franco, with
stops or stays in Teotitlan del Valle, Benito Juarez, Latuvi, Llano
Grande, Lachatao, Monte Alban and Oaxaca proper. The last departure
in 2005 runs Nov. 11 to 17.
Mexicos Highest Peaks, a demanding five-night trip from Mexico City
to volcanoes Nevado de Toluca and Pico de Orizaba (Mexicos loftiest
mountain) that includes a private plane ride and visits to the
village of Miguel Hidalgo and colonial-era Puebla City. Trips run
Nov. 11 to 17 and again Dec. 3 to 9 this year, as well as Jan. 14
to 20 and Feb. 11 to 17 in 2006.
Rodavento is Rio y Montanas new boutique resort lodge, set in the
16th-century town of Valle de Bravo, two hours northwest of Mexico
City. The 14-suite lodge, which overlooks a private lagoon, boasts
a full-service spa, a world-class restaurant, biking and hiking
trails, and Tirolesa, a zip-line tree-top adventure
Day in the Life of Rodavento deal includes accommodations, daily
breakfast and lunch, transfers and the choice of one activity
(e.g., all-terrain vehicle tour, mountain-bike ride, horseback
ride, hike, Tirolesa) a day. Trips are available Nov. 23 to 27 and
Dec. 26 to 30.
" On the Pescados
River in Veracruz, Picocanoa is a 24-cabana lodge that offers a
pool, an open-air bar and a dining patio as well as adventure
amenities. Sample five-night stays include walking tours of
Veracruz City, Coatepec and Jalcomulco; rafting on the Antigua and
Pescados rivers; hiking in Cinacatla Canyon; and plenty of free
Rates net clients
four nights in the lodge and one in a five-star hotel in Veracruz;
buffet meals; shuttle service; and activities. Departures run July
2 to 7; Sept. 3 to 8; Oct. 8 to 13; Nov. 11 to 16 and 22 to 27; and
Dec. 26 to 31.
" Rio y Montana
also offers an eight-night tour from Veracruz to Picocanoa and
Rodavento, combining the best of both resorts facilities and
activities as well as a private airplane ride over volcanoes Itza,
Popocatepetl and Pico de Orizaba. Trips are available Nov. 11 to
19; Nov. 29 to Dec. 2; Dec. 26 to Jan.1; Jan. 14 to 22; and Feb. 18
information or to inquire about specialist training, contact Lisa
Coleman at (480) 281-1250 or [email protected], or visit www.rioymontana.com.
reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to[email protected].