Joy Hammer, CTC, DS

Contact Joy Hammer, CTC, DS

Office: 419 214-3570
Text: 419 292-4124
Toll Free: 800 826-3930


joy hammersignature travel expert

Interests & Specialties

Joy has been with Central Travel for 15 years, but spent her entire life traveling! In addition to a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC), Joy holds a Destination Specialist (DS) certification for Mexico, Alaska, and Spain. Joy has been everywhere from Belize to Thailand, enjoyed over a dozen trips to Europe, and has visited almost every major island in the Caribbean. Joy is located in the Promenade Shops office on Monroe Street in Sylvania, OH.

Expert Bio

Joy Hammer loves to travel and she recently became hooked on European River Cruises! She has been on four, and loves introducing new clients to how wonderful they are! As one of her clients said, “I’ve sailed on many large ocean cruises, but now that I’ve experienced a river cruise, that’s the only way I’m going to cruise from now on!”

River Cruising - what a great way to see Europe! Picture yourself relaxing in a deck chair as your floating hotel slowly passes scenic landscapes. Stroll from the ship directly into the center of medieval towns and quaint villages. Leisurely, guided walking tours are included, with plenty of time to explore on your own. Take a moment to just sit at a cafe to enjoy a Heineken, or sample a local specialty such as a Belgian waffle or "frites" (french fries) with mayonnaise.

River Cruises are offered on various rivers throughout France, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, and other areas of Europe. They are also available in China, Egypt, and the Galapagos Islands. Ask us about themed cruises, such as Wine Cruises, Jazz Cruises, or the festive Christmas Market cruises! No matter your destination, you'll experience the very best that each location has to offer.

River cruises carry less than 200 passengers, so there are no long lines anywhere. No traffic-jammed highways. No need to pack and unpack. And, since all meals, wine at dinner, and numerous shore excursions are included, you don't need to worry about expenses adding up or currency exchange rates.

Joy is also passionate about Mexico. As a Mexico Destination Specialist, she has traveled extensively throughout México more than a dozen times, not only the numerous coastal resort areas but much of the interior as well. Spending usually a week or more at each destination, she has enjoyed the beaches of Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, and Acapulco. In the past several years, Joy has spent time vacationing at Secrets Maroma and Secrets Capri (beautiful, adults-only resorts in the Riviera Maya). She attended Travel+Leisure's Yucatan & Cancun 2014 Travel Academy in November of 2014 and reports that the hotels and the beaches are better than ever!

What she really enjoys, however, are the colonial towns, such as Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Taxco and Campeche. Traveling throughout the states of Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo she spent 9 days “hacienda hopping”, and was able to see several. These haciendas are a fabulous alternative to more mainstream properties, allowing travelers to relax in historic surroundings or spend time exploring nearby quaint towns or ancient Mayan sites. Whether honeymooners looking for romance, or a family looking for adventure, this area appeals to everyone.

She has also toured numerous archaeological sites, such as Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, Tulum, Palenque, Edzná, Ek Balam, Monte Albán, Mitla, and Teotihuacán. Traveling by rental car or local bus, she has been able to explore many areas of México. Joy would love to help you find the area or resort that is perfect for your next vacation!



Zocalo Mexico CityMexico City is a huge, vibrant city with so much to see and do. 21 million people (I think I encountered most of them while walking!). A few of the highlights that I enjoyed are:

• The Historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting more than 1400 important buildings from the 16th to 19th centuries, as well as beautiful buildings and architecture (both old and new). Example… the Main Post Office is unbelievably gorgeous, truly something to see.
• The Zocalo (Plaza de la Constitucion) – the main square, a popular gathering place for centuries, 1 of the world’s largest squares.
• Cathedral – the largest and oldest in the Americas, started in the 1500s, located on the Zocalo
• The National Palace, also located on the Zocalo. Worth a visit to see “The History of Mexico” murals by Diego Rivera, full of details from the times of the Aztecs on.
• Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes), a gorgeous building that serves as an opera house and concert hall. I strongly recommend attending a performance of the “Ballet Folklorico”, which is a wonderful display of music and dance from all over Mexico (get tickets thru your hotel concierge, easier than doing thru Ticketmaster). Plus a performance is the only way to see the spectacular glass-mosaic curtain made by Tiffany’s, with over a million pieces of stained glass depicting the valley of Mexico – lovely!
• Alameda Central, a beautiful park with numerous fountains and sculptures, next to Bellas Artes.
• Chapultepec Park, over 1 ½ square miles, begun in the 15th century. Popular for lakes, sports facilities, museums, zoo, etc.
• House of Tiles (Casa de los Azulejos) – built as a residence in 1596, boasting a façade of beautiful blue and white Talavera tiles, with a lovely interior that now includes a Sanborns restaurant (nothing fancy, good for lunch, loved the Enchiladas Suizas)
• Museums – there are over 150 in town with something for everyone, from art and history, to children, even chocolate! Arguably, the top 1 to see is the Anthropology Museum, located in Chapultepec Park. You could spend several days to check out the various rooms, from Aztec to Mayan Indians, etc. but 1 ½ - 2 hours will give you a good overview. Many museums are set in lovely colonial buildings, worth seeing just for the setting.
• Paseo de la Reforma – a wide tree-lined avenue stretching about 9 miles across the main area of the city, modeled after the great boulevards of Europe. Runs from downtown to Chapultepec Park, with lots of greenery, a few fountains, skyscrapers, hotels, restaurants, etc.

HOTELS: I loved where I stayed, the prettiest hotel I’ve ever been. Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico (Grand Hotel of Mexico City), perfect location right around corner from the Zocalo, 60 rooms, 5 floors. All rooms open to a central lobby area, covered by a stunning Tiffany stained glass ceiling. Their Terrace restaurant has beautiful views of the Zocalo, all lit up at night. https://granhoteldelaciudaddemexico.com.mx/en/

FOOD: Mexico City is a top choice for foodies, from street food eaten standing up on a corner, to gourmet restaurants, lots of choices. In 2010, UNESCO named traditional Mexican cuisine an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. And, while you can get tacos and quesadillas, try some of the local specialties as well. Some foods are spicy, many aren’t. The soups are wonderful (my favorite was “chapulines”, aka grasshopper). We ate lots of seafood, plus Barbacoa (tender, steam cooked meat). Try “chilaquiles” for breakfast (corn tortillas mixed with eggs and salsa, etc.). Or “mole”, a rich sauce with 20 plus ingredients, including several types of dried chilies, and usually chocolate, although not necessarily sweet. There are numerous variations.

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