Archive for the ‘exotic travel’ Category

Sri Lanka’s Latest Villa Rentals

On Houses

A view from On Houses Weligama, Sri Lanka

Lately, Sri Lanka is really making the travel aficionado rounds as the next hot destination. As such, we came across On Houses Weligama, located on the beautiful south coast of Sri Lanka, and wanted to let our readers know about these luxury villa rentals. On Houses, Weligama is in a quiet and secluded bay five minutes away from Weligama Bay. With its four houses built into the hillside and each with uninterrupted ocean views and lush tropical gardens, On Houses, Weligama is the newest addition to the growing portfolio of luxury accommodation and travel options now available in Sri Lanka. 

Imagine awakening every morning on a tropical island, rich in culture and history, unrivaled in its natural beauty, facing the white sands and clear waters of the Indian Ocean, in a home that represents refined taste and tropical modern luxury.

On Houses

Take in the views of the ocean from your own private infinity pool

On Houses can be rented out as whole villa rentals, whether only 1 or all 5 bedrooms are being occupied. Each On House rental comes with an in house highly trained chef, as well as housekeeper, waiter, shared gardeners, pool attendant, and security.

Rental of an On House can be best booked and paid for through a variety of property rental services, such as Airbnb, Trip Advisor, Booking.com, Expedia, Vacation Rentals, and others.

On Houses

A room with a view…

Features of the On House include:

  • 5 en-suite bedrooms, each with direct ocean facing views
  • Handcrafted high quality finishes throughout
  • Private infinity edge pool with underwater music speakers
  • Generous terraces and verandahs
  • Spacious living and dining areas
  • Outdoor dining pavilion
  • Fully furnished
  • Private gym/ massage room
  • Enclosed garage
  • Separate two-bedroom staff quarters and laundry
  • Exquisite landscaping
  • On site management, including security, gardening, and maintenance
  • ON House rental program available through ON House management

 

 

A Modern Safari Fit for a King or Queen

The latest Netflix series on our minds (and ‘recently watched’ lists) has without a doubt renewed an interest in the royals and their connection to Africa. andBeyond has created a safari to give guests a taste of the royal treatment…

Kenya and The Crown

cottars-1920s-camp

Cottars 1920s Camp

Home of the classic safari, Kenya has an undeniable connection to Britain’s colonial era with its historical aura of elegance and grandeur. In fact, as documented in the recent television series, it was in Kenya that Queen Elizabeth first received the news of the death of her father, King George, and of her ascension to the throne. Inspired by this and the many other connections between the royal family and this former colonial stronghold, andBeyond has created a modern safari fit for a queen called Kenya and the Crown.

kenya-safari-masai-mara-tours

Lunch with the Masai Mara

This grand itinerary visits places made famous by explorers and royals of old, including special touches like vintage vehicles, which will take the intrepid traveler on a journey far back in time.  andBeyond, one of the world’s leading luxury experiential travel companies, has designed personalized high-end tours in 15 countries in Africa, five in Asia, and four in South America. The company also owns and operates 31 extraordinary safari lodges and camps, which positively impact more than 9 million acres of wildlife land . Taking exceptional care of its guests in order to make a difference; its commitment to sustainable responsible travel, conservation and community empowerment has been globally recognized with multiple awards over the years.

kenya-masai-safari-tours-migration

A Kenyan Migration Adventure

Highlights of the itinerary:

  • Stay in the famous Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, host to characters such as Theodore Roosevelt on his epic 1909 safari Walk in the footsteps of legends on an historical tour of Nairobi, visiting sites such as the Railway Museum and Karen Blixen’s home.
  • Relax in the lovingly maintained colonial mansion of Giraffe Manor.
  • Experience the wilderness of Tsavo from the luxury private camp inspired by none other than the honorable Denys Finch-Hatton of ‘Out of Africa’ fame.
  • Feel the thrill of walking where the Tsavo man-eating lions once roamed.
  • Ride in a Vintage 1928 International SS motor Truck as driven by Robert Redford in the film ‘Out of Africa.’
  • Explore the Masai Mara celebrating the era of classic luxury at Cottar’s 1920 which is reminiscent of the 1920s.
  • Enjoy a Heliflip to Lake Rutundu for a champagne breakfast where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton.
  • The obviously excellent photographic opportunities throughout this historical journey.
luxury-africa-safrai-kenya-lewa-downs

The luxurious accommodations of Lewa Downs

Rates:

  • January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017    
  • Starting from $19,551 USD per person sharing
  • 10 Days / 9 Nights

Make the Most of the Adventure:

Guests can add to this Kenyan adventure by hopping across the border to Uganda, putting them within reach of the once-in-a-lifetime experience of tracking Gorillas and taking them to the end of the ‘Lunatic Line’ in Kampala.

Complement the Northern section by spending a few nights on Lake Victoria – andBeyond’s travel experts can tailor-make the itinerary.

Specially Created for:

  • History buffs
  • Romance
  • Wildlife enthusiasts
  • Avid photographers

A Luxurious Kenyan Safari fit for a King or Queen

Best Destinations for Ecotourism

Montserrat Volcano

Montserrat Volcano

Ecotourism is no longer trend that started in the 90’s to describe responsible travel to largely untouched areas. Now, it has largely realized its aim by creating an industry of conservation that offers clear benefits to the local community.  Recently, it’s become even more popular as traveler demand has driven a desire for destinations that are eco-friendly and modeled after sustainable practices. Plus, there’s nature and for those who can afford it, they want to escape. These destinations also often offer a bit more in terms of cultural activities and a means to learn more about the soul enriching ways of a local community.

With this in mind, we’re featuring three destinations that inspire: Montserrat, Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica –  with unspoiled beaches, uninhabited areas, and archeological sites that can only be accessed by hiking, biking or kayaking.

Lime Tree Cottage 1

Lime Tree Cottage – Montserrat

MONTSERRAT

With its mountainous terrain, hiking the trails on Montserrat is the best way to see the untouched areas of the island. Additionally, diving excursions allow visitors the unique opportunity to see beautiful volcanic rock formations and vibrant marine life that now thrives after the 1995 eruption of the previously dormant Soufriere Hills volcano.

Montserrat’s villas offer prime accommodations for couples, families, friends and even colleagues who long for an affordable upmarket Caribbean getaway with all the amenities of home. The secluded destination provide visitors with the ideal opportunity to experience a traditional Caribbean vacation in tranquil surroundings and away from large chain resorts, crowded beaches and traffic-jammed streets.

Most of the villas offer airport and ferry transfers, car rentals, stocked kitchens, housekeepers, baby-sitting services, cooks, and  villa-specific organized activities during your stay.

http://www.visitmontserrat.com/villas/

Rates start @USD $1,000/per week

From mid-April through mid-November for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom villa with a housekeeper, swimming pool, wet bar, wireless internet, washer and dryer. These villas are perfect for visitors looking to immerse in Montserrat’s volcano-viewing experience (considered a modern-day Pompeii), rich Irish heritage, bird-watching, hiking trails, aquatic adventures and more.

Argyle Waterfall_Main Ridge Rainforest

Argyle Waterfall – Trinidad & Tobago

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Unlike its Caribbean counterparts, Trinidad & Tobago’s biodiversity is most similar to that of Venezuela. The best way to see its local flora and fauna is by hiking through its many trails, especially the Northern Mountain Range of Trinidad that was once attached to South America and the Main Ridge Rainforest in Tobago, the oldest protected reserve in the western hemisphere. The underwater scenery in Tobago is just as spectacular as it boasts more than 300 different species of coral, especially the largest brain coral in the world.

brain coral - credit Oswin Browne.jpg

Brain Coral (c) Oswin Browne

Acajou Hotel, Trinidad

This small, eco-friendly, family run hotel is situated in a little fishing village called Grande Riviere located on the beautiful and dramatic northern Coast of Trinidad. Flanked by the wide expanse of vegetation on the steep hills of the Northern range, Acajou (the French for ‘tropical wood’) offers travelers the opportunity to be one with nature, view it’s beauty in its simple majesty, rest to the soothing rhythms of the ocean, meditate on its treasures or simply have a unique candlelight dinner. The hotel is built as a group of traditional cottages nestled between the beach, a crystal clear river and mountains covered by lush rainforest. Influenced by Indonesian, Polynesian and Japanese architecture, the cabins are made of local and imported woods, including bamboo and are designed to create a feeling of complete privacy.

www.acajoutrinidad.com or call 868.670.3771

Asa Wright Nature Center Lodge, Trinidad

The original estate house of the former coffee-cocoa-citrus plantation has been beautifully remodeled over the years as a comfortable headquarters where guests gather to watch the incredible bird-life from the fabled verandah. Your observation time there is punctuated by a high tea in the afternoon and ends with a traditional complimentary rum punch cocktail as the sun sets over the Arima Valley. This main house and its several cottages nestled nearby in the lush flower-filled grounds are your home for one of the world’s best birding adventures. Not your classic Caribbean resort, the Centre’s “swimming pool” is a natural grotto on a free-running rain forest stream where guests can relax and escape from the tropical heat. All of the cottages feature rooms with private verandahs and guests can also retreat to their private oasis to observe the brilliantly colored birds found on the Centre grounds.

www.asawright.org

Cuffie River Nature Retreat and Ecolodge, Tobago

Located on the island of Tobago, this small yet intimate lodge is equipped with ten rooms, two of which are executive suites. Each has been tastefully furnished with private balcony. The design of the building has been carefully chosen to facilitate natural lights and air currents. Low wattage bulbs and solar lighting are also used throughout the grounds.  Conservation of water is of great importance given that the property uses rain and spring fed systems and successful practices have included short flushing toilets, rationalized washing and towel changes only when indicated by guests. To further maintain its natural ambiance smooth faced clay blocks and tile are used while furniture and other fixtures are all made from locally manufactured products. The lodge is situated on the edge of Tobago’s forest-the oldest in the western hemisphere. It is surrounded by bamboo groves, fresh water springs, exotic flowers and wildlife.

www.cuffieriver.com or call 868.660.0505

Footprints Eco Resort and Spa, Tobago

This 62-acre property is a designated nature preserve with hiking and bird watching trails galore. With the use of materials such as teak, wallaba slabs, and native recycled hardwood the resort has maximized the consumption of local, yet natural building materials. All rooms are equipped with solar water heaters, gas stoves and photovoltaic lighting. The hotel grows fresh organic herbs and vegetables throughout the property and prepares breads, ice creams, cakes, sauces, and even condiments, fresh daily. Surrounded by the virtually untouched Culloden Reef that begins a few feet from the shoreline of the property and is available for guests to snorkel and scuba dive, the resort offers the comfort of a modern hotel in a purely natural setting.

http://footprintsecoresort.com 

Footprints also makes properties as environmentally sensitive, and in connection with our environment, as possible by:

• Using traditional architecture, and reclaimed, recycled and local materials to a maximum

• Waste management  for grey water, runoff water, sewerage waste, and solid waste

• Fresh water conservation measures including sea water pools

• Kitchen waste and yard waste composting to reduce solid waste and provide organic fertilizer for gardens

• In-house organic garden produces fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, chicken, and honey for restaurant use to reduce food miles

• Bird and butterfly gardens with local wildflowers, fruit, food, and forest trees to attract wildlife and support the recovery of beneficial insects, such as butterflies and honeybees

• Support for local fishermen and farmers by showcasing local ingredients and traditional cuisine.

As they say, “Food shares the story of our culture through a medium that everyone can enjoy.”

Kariwak Holistic Haven Hotel, Tobago

A holistic haven and hotel, Kariwak Village has carved a distinctive niche with its award winning 2 acre garden bursting with tropical shrubs, foliage and flowering trees filled with bird song, dominated by the thatched roof ajoupa and its teak floor … the venue for Tai Chi, yoga, gentle stretching exercises, Buddhist meditation sessions and similar holistic activities. The Kariwak kitchen is supplied with abundant fresh herbs from the garden, those same herbs are lovingly transformed into delicious Caribbean meals which are served with a friendly smile in the open air restaurant.

www.kariwak.com or call 868.639.8442

Diving in Costa Rica

Diving in Costa Rica

COSTA RICA

Costa Rica’s ecotourism is one that enthusiasts cannot miss, featuring lush forests, thriving ecosystems and breathtaking waterfalls only accessible by foot. Just like Montserrat, Costa Rica has underwater volcanic rock formations which are home to various species of fish, rays, turtles and white-tip reef sharks alongside vibrant coral reefs.

Environmental sustainability is at the heart of Costa Rica’s tourism industry. For that reason, the Costa Rica Tourism Board introduced the Certification for Sustainable Tourism program in 1997. This program differentiates businesses of the tourism sector based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural, social and economic resource management. Visitors who choose to visit CST designated tourism companies such as hotels, tour operators and car rental companies support businesses that take proactive measures to avoid the negative impacts on the environment, culture and society. There are currently 346 hotel, tour operators, car rental agencies and theme parks certified under the program here, so check it out!

http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/sostenibilidad.asp?tab=0

Volunteers Rebuild Nepal, Brick by Brick

nepal travel

One year has passed since the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April last year. While Nepal is doing everything it can to recover and rebuild, the country is still in need of significant aid and resources.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, Projects Abroad initiated a Disaster Relief Project to assist with the recovery process. Since the project began in June 2015, hundreds of Projects Abroad volunteers have made incredible progress in helping with the organization’s goal of restoring a safe learning environment for children in the Kathmandu Valley. Currently volunteers’ efforts are focused on reconstructing Yashaswi Gurukul English Secondary School, the sixth Disaster Relief site to date. Their help has been invaluable.

volunteer nepal

When the work at Yashaswi Gurukul is completed, the new building will also serve another purpose. As aftershocks continue even nine months later, and the fear of another large-scale quake remains, the school building will be able to serve as a safe gathering space for the local community, in case of further disaster. Projects Abroad staff estimate that work at this site will conclude in the next month or so, and then volunteers will move on to the next site where they are desperately needed.

Projects Abroad has made a commitment, not only through Disaster Relief but also through Teaching and Care Projects, to restore stability to the education of young students. In working with dedicated local experts and volunteers, the organization is striving to get Nepalese communities back on their feet, brick by brick!

For more information on how to get involved yourself with Disaster Relief work in Nepal, have a look here:

www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/building/disaster-relief/volunteer-nepal

 

Honduras: An Eco-Resort’s Latest Organic Offering

The Lodge at Pico Bonito’s New Organic Spa and More…

Honduras Eco Hotel

Dinner at The Lodge at Pico Bonito (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

We’re back from the holidays and we’re already ready to plan our next vacation. You too? If getting back to the grind is inspiring daydreams of ditching it all for a trip away from it all, we have a great suggestion for you…

The majestic jungles of Honduras!

Because really… there’s nothing like being in the middle of the glorious jungle filled with over 40 different types of tropical butterflies, toucans, motmots, and miles of private trails through canyons, waterfalls, and swimming holes. If that’s not reason enough, how about a mystical Temazcal (Mayan sauna) in the center of the jungle to get your trip – and your soul – steered in the right direction?

The Pool at Pico Bonito

The Pool at Pico Bonito (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Temazcal, which comes from the Nahuatl Word temacalli, means ‘house of heat.’ Originating in the pre-Hispanic indigenous culture in Mesoamerica, legend has it that the dome shape of the steam house represents Mother Earth’s womb, and those taking part in a Temazcal are said to experience a rebirth.

Honduras’ top eco-resort, The Lodge at Pico Bonito, is inviting travelers to abandon the stresses of home, ignite a new outlook on life, and increase circulation of the senses with their new organic spa offerings and we think it sounds like an excellent idea. It’s also been named one of the top 50 eco-lodges by National Geographic Traveler.

Honduras Eco Resort Lodge Pico Bonito

The Lodge at Pico Bonita’s Standard Room in the Center of the Jungle

The new outdoor spa, set to debut on January 15th, will have three circular cabins on stilts to maintain balance and harmony with the natural energies of the environment (one cabin for individual massage, one cabin for couples massage, one cabin with a Vichy shower, one Temazcal, and a nearby plunge pool).

Here some just a few deliciously organic spa offerings:

Revitalizing Cotinga, in the Temazcal, begins with an aromatic steam therapy to oxygenate the pores of your skin. The treatment continues in their Vichy shower with a pineapple exfoliation and a therapeutic anti-inflammatory chamomile mud wrap. (Note: Temazcal rituals need two people per session so bring along your partner for a truly liberating couples experience)

Aromatherapy, or Essential Oil therapy, is also on offer. Taking a holistic approach of using extracts from plants to balance, harmonize and improve the mind, body and soul by using essential oils such as spruce, rosewood spruce, rosewood, frankincense, and blue tansy. Detox relaxes muscles, improves circulation and relieves joint pain by using essential oils such basil, grapefruit, cypress, marjoram, mint, and lavender to drain and remove toxins.

Organic spa treatment

Organic Ingredients Good Enough to Eat!

Organic Fruit Facials incorporate seasonal fruits like cucumber, melon, banana, lychee, papaya, pineapple and passion fruit, along with cacao and honey, to refreshen your face. The best part? Their 50-minute facial only costs US $45. For those feeling even more romantic, there’s the Romantic Rio Coloradito Treatment, a lavender-fused massage to delete back and neck tensions from all those days sitting at the computer. It’s followed with a warm foot purification scrub (using honey and flowers for her and herbs for him) while sipping on a delicious tea from local fruits and aphrodisiac spices.

Honduran Rafting Excursion!

Honduran Rafting Excursion! (c) Small Luxury Hotels of the World

The eco-lodge is worth the escape alone. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World™, its five-star amenities are set on the edge of Honduras’ second largest National Park, ten miles from La Ceiba. There’s a trio of four-story observation decks overlooking the jungle canopy and adventures like white water rafting and jungle safaris through protected mangroves make it an unforgettable experience. Plus, with only 22 private cabins, it’s the perfect place to escape city life, in eco-chic style.

www.picobonito.com 

India: Luxury on a Budget

The Pink City Palace - Jaipur

The Pink City Palace – Jaipur

World Spree, which specializes in creating exceptional tours to a fascinating range of destinations that are affordable, comfortable, and educational, has just put together a 12-day escorted tour of India starting at only $1,499 that includes the round-trip flight on Air China, 5-star hotels, a jungle safari, 14 meals, all transportation in India, sightseeing and entrance fees, professional English-speaking guides and more included features than any other budget-priced tour.

Taj Mahal, tigers and temples: The Incredible India tour covers the highlights of this most exotic, most colorful, most photogenic of countries. It starts in Delhi, which offers a view of Indian history from ancient settlement through the Mughal Empire and the British Raj to modern capital. Here, you’ll have a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi’s narrow alleys and tour its bustling market, India’s largest mosque and Humayun’s 16th-century garden-surrounded tomb. In New Delhi, you’ll see the tree-lined avenues and impressive buildings Edwin Lutyens designed for the British, as well as Mahatma Gandhi’s former residence.

The most beautiful building in India is Agra’s Taj Mahal, a white marble jewel of Mughal architecture and monument to romantic love built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Tour participants will have time to visit this lovely building and its gardens. An optional sightseeing tour of Agra and its Red Fort is also available.

Ranthambore National Park

A tiger reclines in Ranthambore National Park

On the way to Ranthambore National Park, there’s a stop at the wonderfully-preserved 16th-century “ghost town” of Fatehpur Sikri and another at a park known for its rich bird life. Once a hunting ground for Jaipur’s rulers, Ranthambore offers a variety of native wildlife but, most important, it’s the place to track the Royal Bengal Tiger on a jungle safari. Morning and evening game drives will hopefully provide a sighting.

In Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan known as “the pink city,” you’ll take an uphill ride on an elephant (surprisingly comfortable) to the grim Amber Fort, which hides an ornate 16th-century palace. In the Castle Kanota, where the royal family still resides, the group will enjoy an Indian-style high tea. There’s plenty of time for shopping in this city known for its fabrics and handiwork, as well as two optional excursions to the City Palace and the Birla Temple. The tour winds down with a return to Delhi and a farewell dinner. On the way home there’s an optional stopover in Beijing.

Agra's Trident Hotel

Agra’s Trident Hotel

World Spree’s specially-chosen hotels include the contemporary 5-star Crowne Plaza Gurgaon, located in a convenient and upscale area of Delhi; Agra’s Trident Hotel, close to the Taj Mahal and boasting landscaped gardens, water fountains and a selection of restaurants; the lakeside Ranthambore Kothi, built like a vintage British bungalow with modern rooms, gardens and swimming pool; and the magnificent Le Meridien Jaipur, which offers the beautiful Nirvana Spa.

All prices are cash-only, are per person double occupancy, and are subject to availability.

For more detailed information visit:

www.worldspree.com

Bonefishing in the Seychelles

Seychelles

Bonefishing in the Seychelles

Are you an avid adventurer with a love of island life and in the mood for something new? If so, Frontiers International Travel is excited to announce Astove Lodge, a new fishing destination slated to open its doors in February 2015. Astove is one of the most southerly islands in the Seychelles and a top fishing destination worldwide. The remote raised coral island measures 3.7 miles north to south and about 2.5 mi east to west. Its only settlement was abandoned in the 1980s. The new lodge includes six en-suite single occupancy bedrooms, allowing lucky anglers to spend six and a half full days fishing this remote atoll. The southernmost islands of the Seychelles have a reputation as perhaps the best bonefishing and trevally destinations in the world, yet only an elite group of anglers have wet their flies in these extremely rich waters.

Astove offers opportunities to catch giant trevally, bonefish, permit, barracuda, milkfish, Bluefin trevally, triggerfish, yellowfin tuna, dogtooth tuna, wahoo, sailfish and marlin.

“Cosmoledo Atoll is known as the best giant trevally fishery in the world, but Astove is where anglers have caught more than 40 in a session,” said Mike Fitzgerald, President of Frontiers International Travel. “With this new lodge, six lucky anglers per week will have it all to themselves for some of the best fishing on earth.” 

The 7-night fishing package starts at USD $14,950 pp.

Contact Frontiers at 800-245-1950 for additional information or click here for a unique fishing experience in the Seychelles!

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