For the eco-tourist, there are a few good options in Central America but otherwise not a terrible inspiring list. Loyalty Traveler has the whole list and Points with a Crew has a map of the properties. The ones that jump out at me are as follows:
Intercontinental Maracaibo – I know Venezuela is not in a good position now for tourism but this hotel is in an area close to good birding and I am dying to go there. But make sure they have toilet paper!
Crowne Plaza San Jose Corobici – Good for an early flight out but PLEASE don’t spend your whole time in Costa Rica in the city just because there’s a good deal. Costa Rica has so much more to offer!
Intercontinental Santo Domingo – Lots of good birding in the Dominican Republic and this looks like a really nice hotel. Just need to get up early and drive out to the birding hotspots.
Holiday Inn Panama Canal – Well positioned north of the city on the road towards Soberania National Park, an easy morning drive.
This quarter’s Pointbreaks list (bookable for 5000 IHG Rewards Points) is less than inspiring for birders/eco-tourists but considering that it encompasses the holiday season it may have something of interest.
Loyalty Lobby has the complete list for your perusal. Out of all the properties, I can only personally recommend the Crowne Plaza Kathmandu-Soaltee where we stayed a couple nights back in 2011 after returning from birding the Chitwan National Park (on my list of historical trips to blog about).
It’s not walking distance to the shopping district of Thamel but taxis & auto-rickshaws are very cheap – at least they were in 2011!
Although the IHG Pointsbreaks have been less inspiring in recent years, there are usually a few that can be used for eco-tourism and birding. At 5000 IHG Rewards per night, these are a great bargain if you can use them. Use your airline miles to get you to the country and the only thing left to pay is the rental car or taxi hire!
FULL POINTSBREAKS LIST
Here’s my picks:
PANAMA – Rent a car and visit Soberania National Park
CROWNE PLAZA PANAMA
COLOMBIA – Have your hotel book you a car & driver for the day and go to Chingaza National Park or BioAndina
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES BOGOTA ZONA FINANCIERA
INDIA – Jaipur is about 3 hours from Bharatpur and the Keoladeo National Park, you’ll need to spend the night there to go birding at dawn.
CROWNE PLAZA JAIPUR TONK ROAD
AUSTRALIA – Rent a car and head up to the Blue Mountains.
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SYDNEY MACQUARIE PARK
I’ve gotten used to seeing uninspiring lists of hotels on IHG’s quarterly Pointbreaks (hotels offered for 5000 points a night) but I was still looking forward to this list as it’s the one that applies to my upcoming trip to Ecuador, Colombia & the Caribbean for birding. I was hoping to see some poinbreaks in Ecuador, Colombia & Trinidad. Once again, I was disappointed that there was nothing in Bogota especially. Even worse, the Crowne Plaza Tequendama which has historically offered pointbreaks at this time of year is leaving the OHG chain!
Here’s the whole list if you want to have a look.
A few may be of interest to eco-travelers in Central & South America. Belem is good for going to Parrot Island to see 1000’s of Orange-winged Amazons on an early morning cruise. Panama has the wonderful Soberania National Park within an easy drive of the Holiday Inn.
Try not to spend too much time in Jo-burg, get off to Magoebaskloof or Kruger as quickly as possible but if you do need a night between flights:
And here’s a rare Pointbreak in Australia! Townsville is a good jumping off point for Magnetic Island which has good birding.
This list is valid for bookings and stays from January 25, 2016 through April 30th 2016 (subject to availability).
IHG Rewards has announced next quarter’s Pointbreaks, redeemable from 26 October to 31 January for 5000 points a night. First I’ll embed the map that shows the worldwide Pointbreaks, then point out the ones that can work for eco-tourists.
A big fat zero for Australia which is par for the course. If you’re birding West Papua or elsewhere in Indonesia you might want to chill out in Bali for a couple days although Benoa is not the best location.
Most people visiting any country in Southern Africa will be transiting JNB on either Comair or South African Airways so the Holiday Inn JNB Airport could come in handy.
We have a couple interesting options in Brazil. Both Manaus and Rio Branco are in good staging points for birding adventures. Cucuta in Colombia isn’t super convenient to the Perija area but could be a stop-over. San Jose, Costa Rica and Panama City are also good gateways to the more attractive birding hotspots in Costa Rica and Panama.
A complete list is available so have a look and see if anything works for you!
The latest IHG Pointbreaks list which offers specified hotels for a bargain 5000 points was less than inspiring. Oceana & Africa missed out completely. The complete list can be found here. The best options are for people doing USA road trips. This list is valid for bookings through 31 July.
Consider these possibilities if you are headed to South America. Cuiaba is the gateway to the Pantanal. The hotel is pretty nice although not the best location if you are going for an early start. We did this trip in 2012 before I started this blog so I don’t have posts yet but I will be blogging my past trips as soon as I finish the current trips.
HOLIDAY INN CUIABA
Although this hotel is a city property, Panama City’s small size means it’s not such a long drive to Soberania National Park. Get yourself an award ticket to PTY, a rental car and book a few nights for a long weekend of birding!
CROWNE PLAZA PANAMA
Last time they were so bad, I was calling them “Disa-Pointbreaks“! The new list which is valid from July 28- September 30th has much better options for eco-travelers. For those new to the program, PointBreaks properties are Reward Nights for only 5,000 points per night. Bookings will be open on 28 July. Unfortunately, it seems Oceania has been left out in the cold – pun intended since it is winter Down Under! The entire list can be found here, but I’ll point out a few that may be of use to those traveling to Central & South America. Remember, don’t go crazy booking multiple nights at these city based hotels, you just need a night before and after a flight, what you really want is to be out in the bush where the birds are!
I have stayed at the Crowne Plaza Belem, it’s a good gateway to the Amazon region of Brazil. There is a plaza within walking distance where you can see Jenday Conures and White-winged Parakeets, you can also take a river cruise to Parrot Island to see 100’s of Orange-winged Amazons. Manaus is also an excellent gateway to the Amazon.
Another travel blogger, Weekend Blitz has created a very handy Google map to show where the concentrations of Pointbreaks are. Click on the image to see the map full sized and be able to zoom in on locations.
Notice poor Oceania left out in the cold!
Really not much to interest eco-travelers here. Or anyone for that matter. Here’s a few that would be good for layovers before heading out to more interesting parts of the country. Goa would be a nice place to hang out for a beach holiday though for India I much prefer Kerala. Full Pointbreak list is here.
HOLIDAY INN RESORT GOA
CROWNE PLAZA BANGKOK LUMPINI PARK
CROWNE PLAZA JOHANNESBURG – THE ROSEBANK
CROWNE PLAZA SAN JOSE COROBICI
HOTEL INDIGO SAN JOSE FORUM COSTA RICA
HOLIDAY INN PANAMA CANAL
HOLIDAY INN TOWNSVILLE
HOLIDAY INN SUVA
Small town America seems to be the winner here as there are tons of hotels listed. This could work well if you need to visit family in one of these towns. Otherwise, this is a pretty boring list.
IHG is even having trouble selling points at a discount on Daily Getaways, lots of packages are going begging!
For me, I will use up what remaining points I have but won’t be chasing any more. I’d rather book indie and have more choices!
The new IHG Pointbreaks list is due to go live soon and bookable on their website. In the meanwhile, another blogger – Points to be Made has kindly published a preview of the complete list. I did a quick scan through to see if anything stood out as possible value to eco-tourists & bird watchers.
India (could be useful if you are flying into or out of Mumbai, nice hotel in great location)
InterContinental Marine Drive-Mumbai
Kenya (perhaps a place to rest up after a safari)
Crowne Plaza Nairobi
Brazil (Fortaleza is about 12 hours by bus from the Lear’s Macaw stronghold of Canudos. Sao Paulo has good connections by bus and plane to the Pantanal).
Holiday Inn Fortaleza
Holiday Inn Express Sumare Ave. Sao Paulo
Ecuador (Do you have an early flight to the Galapagos? What about Napo Wildlife Centre and their parrot clay lick?)
Holiday Inn Express Quito
Peru (You may need a night before or after Tambopata Research Centre because you can never have too many parrot & macaw clay licks)!
Crowne Plaza Lima
Looks like Australia & Oceania have been left off this round, maybe next time?
I know this has already been blogged to death so I am just going to point out a few of the properties that are suitable for eco-tourists to use as gateways to more interesting adventures. You would use them when connecting to or from an early flight to your final destination.