Archive for the ‘India’ Category

Top 10 Eco Hotels

Fotografías Aereas; Hotel Explora Rapa Nui

Hotel Explora – Rapa Nui

Imagine yourself cocooned in a natural paradise. A pristine, untouched landscape stretches out before you; fresh, clean air invigorates your senses; beautiful birdsong awakens you every morning; each day is filled with authentic safari experiences or just pure relaxation. All this, and you can still contribute to sustainable environmental practices and do your bit to empower local communities.

Sounds like a dream come true?

By Bradley Yandell

Say hello to the Enchanting Top 10 resorts that exist in harmony with their local environment! Secluded, exclusive, and deliciously plush, these resorts spell perfect vacations for nature enthusiasts and luxury travelers alike. Come and live the experience!


Tierra Chiloé

The uniquely designed Tierra Chiloé occupies pride of place in the mysterious Chiloé archipelago, offering breathtaking views of the islands from its 12 exclusive rooms. The hotel has been built to optimize the use of renewable resources, and benefit the local community through employment opportunities and low-impact tourism, while offering every conceivable luxury on your trip to Chile.

Enjoy leisurely boat rides through tranquil waterways, see a host of wildlife, and learn about local legends and customs from the expert Chilean staff.

Awasi Patagonia

Awasi Patagonia

Awasi Patagonia

To the nature enthusiast, it would seem that Awasi Patagonia was built around nature rather than being surrounded by it!

Glorious views of the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile await at your exclusive, private villa at Awasi Patagonia. Each villa is fashioned after traditional Patagonian outposts that are built on raised stilts. Spaciously constructed with local material, this is your ticket to luxurious living in wild Patagonia.

Venture into the vastness with your personal guide, go off the beaten path to observe animals in their natural environ, and enjoy the serenity on your private tour of Chile!

Explora Rapa Nui

Untouched nature and mysteries of a lost civilization await you in the midst of the Pacific. Explora Rapa Nui is a harmonious blend of luxurious comfort, modern architecture and ecological consideration.

Built with the philosophy of paying tribute to the past, appreciating the present and paving the way for a better future, the resort offers guests a chance to interact with raw nature and contribute towards conserving nature and the local community at the same time.

There is something for anyone who wants to experience adventure tours in Chile – from excellent opportunities for hiking, to cycling and snorkeling. Witness the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Moai statues that keep a silent vigil over this remote and carefully conserved island.


Six Senses Koh Yao Noi

Rustic, tranquil and utterly luxurious, all 56 villas at Six Senses Koh Yao Noi in Thailand have been built amid a former rubber plantation. Today, the plantation is gone, but several of the glorious, giant trees remain. The vast gardens and landscape are specifically designed to preserve untouched native flora and fauna, and there is a dedicated sustainability policy for the entire resort focusing on community development and careful use of resources.

Whether you go exploring in the adjoining mango grove, snorkeling in the cobalt ocean or simply lounge in your private pool ensconced in lush greenery, incredible experiences await you!

Four Season Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai

Four Season Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai

Four Seasons Tented Camp, Chiang Rai

When it comes a secluded natural paradise, far away from the sea of humanity, Four Seasons’ Tented Camp in Chiang Rai, Thailand, does not disappoint. From handcrafted furnishings to private encounters with friendly elephants and nature-inspired treatments in an open-air spa, the property offers many unique experiences.

Spacious and luxurious tents offer every modern comfort, while the digital detox of TV and radio ensures complete peace and quiet, punctuated only by the harmonious sounds of the forest. The tents are specifically designed for active adults with a penchant for adventure!


Treehouse Hideaway

Live the real Jungle Book experience perched high above the treetops inside a popular tiger reserve – Bandhavgarh National Park in India. Spread over a large forested estate, Treehouse Hideaway strikes the perfect balance between rustic-chic and luxury, with high exposed beams framing the ceilings and plush furnishings to keep you comfortable. Each hideaway is built locally sourced materials that blend in effortlessly with the natural surroundings, quite literally placing you in the lap of nature!

All eight stilted rooms offer superb views of the landscape with plenty of wildlife to keep you company.Watch animals roam freely in the wild from your vantage point atop the machaan (platform).

Grassroots Wayanad (21)

Grassroots Wayanad

Grassroots Wayanad

From your arrival at the foothills of the Vythiri Range in Kerala until your departure Grassroots in Wayanad will have you enchanted! Situated within a coffee plantation, each luxurious Swiss tent offers magical views of the tranquil landscape. Experience a healthy lifestyle vacation with delicious cuisine made from fresh, local produce while you immerse yourself in nature!

Your days will pass in a flurry of activity as you hike, trek or wander through the verdant forests, or pop into the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary nearby. Prepare to immerse yourself in nature during your visit to Kerala and return truly relaxed and rejuvenated!


Enchanting Travels - Tanzania Tours - Ngorongoro - The Highlands - Dome exterior

The Highlands

The Highlands

Exclusive, remote and utterly luxurious, The Highlands easily redefines the typical Ngorongoro experience in Tanzania. Each of the eight spacious tented camps are fitted with floor to ceiling bay windows that open up to spectacular views of diverse wildlife species roaming freely. The camp uses state-of-the-art technology, including solar power and rainwater harvesting, to minimize its footprint and invest in a conservation economy that sustains nature and people alike.

From exciting game drives, hikes through cattle trails in the forested mountains, excursions to see pink flamingoes at the soda lake and visits to local communities, there are many options when you travel to Ngorongoro Crater. Don’t miss the daily gossip from the resident researcher about the local lions’ latest relationship dramas!

Enchanting Travels-Mozambique Tours-Lake Malawi-Nkwichi Lodge-Star bed

Nkwichi Lodge

Nkwichi Lodge

The pristine sandy beaches on the shores of the vast Lake Malawi in Mozambique, are a luxury unto themselves. Add to that the eco-friendly comfort of Nkwichi Lodge – a hidden paradise tucked far away from the madding crowd, and you have your perfect vacation! Nkwichi partners with the Manda Wilderness Project to help local communities with environmental conservation, and is dedicated to conserving the pristine shores of the lake and its surrounding wilderness.

Enjoy true tranquility by the Mozambican lakeshore as you stay in uniquely designed accommodation. For something extra special, settle into the unique Star Bed set on a secluded beach.

Camp Kalahari, Uncharted Africa

Camp Kalahari

Camp Kalahari

Set by the mysterious and timeless Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Camp Kalahari offers an ideal blend of adventure and comfort. Designed in the safari camp style of yore with a blend of colonial and traditional furnishings, this bush camp prides itself on its sensitive treatment towards its surroundings. The eco-friendly camp has initiated a long-term conservation project to protect the wetlands, its biodiversity, and local livelihoods.

During the wet seasons, its wildlife sightings are aplenty what with huge herds of zebra and wildebeest making their way through the salt pans and predators on the prowl. The surrounding area receives regular visits from curious meerkats who are determined to keep you company!

Unearth the magic of these top 10 eco hotels for yourself!

If you seek an eco adventure abroad, ask your personal travel consultant today what fairs and festivals are happening during your Enchanting Travels adventure. They focus on your interests to create a private and beautifully bespoke and Enchanting trip!



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:

An Exotic Escape to Sri Lanka

Dambulla Cave Temple - Sri Lanka

Did you know that this year has officially been declared ‘Visit Sri Lanka Year’ by His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa?

So we thought, what better time to vacation in Sri Lanka than the present? One tour operator we’ve become familiar with throughout the years, Banyan Tours & Travels, is also offering tailor made safe, bespoke itineraries throughout India and Sri Lanka.

Here’s a bit about Sri Lanka. Known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has one of the longest documented histories in the world – over three thousand years. And, as one of the few remaining Buddhist societies in South Asia, Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for gaining an understanding of Buddhism’s way of life. For those interested in studying Buddhism, a visit to KandyTemple of the Tooth Kandy, and Dalada Maligawam are great options. This is where the founder of Buddhism’s relic is located and locals make puja (prayers and offerings) daily. Also known for its natural beauty, Sri Lanka is home to diverse landscapes, from verdant tropical forests to palm-lined beaches, and a stay at Tea Trails presents travel lovers with the chance to tour a tea estate and taste fresh local tea. How cool is that?

Sri Lankan Woman Picking Tea

Sri Lanka is also home to elephants, leopards, monkeys, rare birds, and many other exotic animals, so, for animal lovers looking for an ecotour that will let them get their hands dirty, the Millennium Elephant Foundation allows guests the chance to ride and bathe these gentle giants. Travelers won’t want to miss the Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Galle, or the markets located nearby, where a taste of hoppersdosas, and dodol will surely make Sri Lankan food a new favorite.

Cliff Diving near Galle Fort

Price: A ten-day, nine-night itinerary begins at a very reasonable $2,779/per person basis and includes accommodations, meals as per the program, and ground transportation in Sri Lanka. Add  an optional three-night stay at Tea Trails and scale the formidable Adam’s Peak, a wonderful sunrise excursion. Prices for the stay with the additional night begin at $3,125 per person and include accommodation and meals as per the program.

How to get there: Etihad and Emirates offer flights to Colombo with one stop in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai, from select major cities in North America (Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Toronto).

Consumer Inquiries: 1-866-401-3705


India: Call of the Wild

Call of the Wild

If the thought of a wildlife tour in India evokes images of dense jungles, white tigers, crackling campfires, and nights in tents, you’re not far from the truth. Drawing on every eco-adventurer’s desire to see India like Kipling, Geringer Global Travel has created the ultimate wildlife journey to India: The Call of the Wild India Tour. Accompanied by Susan Geringer, an India travel and tour specialist, and Yatish Bahuguna, a well-known Indian wildlife guide and naturalist, savvy adventure seeking travelers can sightsee in the cities of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, and then explore some of the world’s most famed national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Ranthambhore, Bandhavgarh and Kanha.

On the Game Drive in India

Along this exciting journey, you’ll get acquainted with India’s diverse ecology: plush vegetation with dense forests housing rare medicinal plants and exotic flowers; a prolific bird life with myriad varieties unique to the region; and an abundant wildlife. During the trip, you’ll visit Ranthambore National Park, one of India’s Project Tiger reserves and largest national parks. Conservation programs and successful breeding programs have saved many species from near extinction. Situated in Sawai Madhopur, Ranthambore is home to one of the largest banyan trees in India and one of the best places for guests to spot the majestic predators of the jungle.

A little elephant riding in India

The next wildlife adventure will be in Bandhavgarh, where you’ll ride elephants and go on game drives exploring the rocky terrain, boisterous landscape and distinctly rugged ambience of Bandhavgarh National Park. Bandhavgarh National Park, where the famous white tigers of Rewa were discovered, has the highest known tiger population in India. Guests will then head to one of the most well maintained parks in Asia, Kanha National Park. Kanha National Park, a tiger reserve with lush bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines, provided inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel The Jungle Book. In addition to the diverse wildlife and bird population at Kanha Wildlife Sanctuary, the highlight of the park is Bamni Dadar, popularly known as Sunset Point, which offers an awe-inspiring backdrop of the sunset.

This 14-day tour, priced from $3,999 per person (double) is scheduled to depart U.S. on Saturday, March 10, 2012. This tour of India includes: hotel accommodations for 13 overnights with the land arrangements and domestic transportation as per the itinerary in twin sharing rooms; all meals; chauffeured air-conditioned transportation with bottled water; English-speaking guide or naturalist, Yatish Bahuguna, throughout the trip; jeep safaris and elephant rides inside the park; park and monument entrance fees as per itinerary; all current applicable taxes. Single room supplements are also available.


Eat, Pray, India

India's Nubra Valley Camels

There are few things in life worth living for and those things just may ride on the back of the Nubra Valley camel. While the wind whispers Buddhist chants, India – and the rich culture she has to offer – is beckoning you to rise to your highest self  – seek beauty and truth from the inside out.

This is why we’re sharing the latest and greatest among customized India tours and buddhist retreats. Geringer Global Travel, is offering a great summer special to India: “Beauty and Buddhism,” 13-day customized journey through northern India combining cultural immersions in local villages, visits to ancient Buddhist monasteries and palaces, rafting and optional camel riding excursions.

This 13-day trip, starting at $1,939 per person (valid through September 30, 2011), visits the thrilling cities of Delhi, Leh, Alchi, Nubra, and Agra and includes everything except international flights, some meals, and personal expenses.

Highlights include:

  • Hosted dinner with local family in Leh, the capital city of Ladakh, surrounded by the towering Himalayas
  • Invigorating rafting trip down the Indus River from Phey village to Nimu
  • Nubra Valleyknown for its unparalleled trekking and houses several Buddhist monasteries
  • Meeting with the supernatural Oracle of Sabu in the village of Ayu
  • Imperial ‘ghost city’ of Fatehpur Sikri built of sandstone by Emperor Akbar

This is a great deal for people looking to travel to India this summer so check out the website below and, if you’re seriously considering your own Eat, Pray, Love buddhist trip to India, reach out to us and perhaps you can write about it for!


Bicycles, Bicycles, Bicycles!

We can’t resist such a beautiful little face.

There’s an even more beautiful story behind it. Take the ethically-minded shoe and outdoor apparel company, KEEN, and the 88bikes Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to providing bikes to young people in developing countries, and you get these results:  Their 4th completed project with the gift of 300 bikes to orphans and children rescued from human trafficking in Ghana, India, Nepal and Vietnam.

For Project4, 88bikes traveled to orphanages, ashrams, centers and schools sheltering children rescued from human trafficking, delivering bikes at 12 locations in Ghana, India, Nepal and Vietnam. Overall, 300 children were given basic, one-speed, steel-framed bikes that are common to the region and were purchased from local vendors.

“A bike is that magical vessel of freedom and fun, the rare tool that’s as useful as it is enjoyable. For these childrenas all childrena bike provides happiness, freedom and autonomy,” said Dan Austin, founder of 88bikes. “Project4 has been a huge success and I was blown away when 14-year-old Rabina, an orphan in Nepal, began rhapsodizing about the power of bikes to curb global warming, improve health and even help Nepal improve its economy!”

As a KEEN Hybrid.Care partner, 88bikes received funding from KEEN for purchasing bikes and providing tools and bike maintenance training for bicycle recipients.  Hybrid.Care was created in 2004 to support social and environmental organizations that have paved the way for change through community, education and understanding. Since 2004, KEEN has partnered with more than 20 global environmental, conservation and social non-profit organizations, distributing more than $5 million in cash and in-kind donations. Other current partners include American Whitewater, Leave No Trace, The Conservation Alliance, Waterkeeper Alliance and Big City Mountaineers.

How awesome is that? Gives me the chills to see such seemingly small things create such smiles and good fortune.

“Dan’s description of the complete joy on the faces of these heroic children, who have each surmounted such great challenges, is the best partner feedback we could ask for,” says Linda Tom, Marketing Manager at KEEN.

We agree, Linda. That’s why we’ve decided to highlight you. If more companies cared, this world would be a better place. To that end, KEEN makes some great gear for trekking so now you, too, can feel good about your shameless shoe addiction.

About 88Bikes
It doesn’t always take a massive relief organization to tip the scales for joy and sustainability in places where children and young adults are challenged to be their own heroes. 88bikes provides a simple and direct opportunity to make a difference for a young person in the world: buy a child a bike! Project4 was their fourth endowment project. Their next project, VILLAGES, is slated for summer/fall 2010 and will endow between 500-1000 bikes.


Personalized Eco-Biking Tours

Personalized Bicycling Tours EuropeImagine the open roads… lush vineyards and verdant mountain ranges just up ahead…

You there? Good. Us too. So get this… combining the love of bicycle touring with social networking, we came across Dream Tours, a personalized cycling experience that allows users to create profiles and design their very own Dream Tour – ie. the cycling route they’ve always wanted to do! Okay, we like this idea because not only is it eco-friendly and personalized (as you know, Eco-Adventurers just love to take the reins), but it’s also great for biking newbies or cycling pros. In the process, you can name the tour, upload photographs of where you’ll be going, describe the focus and highlights of the trip, plot the route on a map and set the cost parameters of the tour by choosing variables such as accommodation, number of riders, food, crew and vehicle support, etc.

Love, love, love it!

If the tour is feasible, the Tour d’Afrique team approves it and the user can start spreading the word via their friends, social network, blog, local media, etc.  Their contacts can visit the site, view the tour, and make comments or suggestions on how to improve upon it, and ultimately click “Count Me In!” to register their intent to join the tour. The process is completely interactive and collaborative – the route can be changed and modified along the way and the Tour d’Afrique staff is there for support. As soon as there are enough people who have expressed interest, Tour d’Afrique office swings into action with the logistics needed to make it happen and here’s the best part… the original organizer gets to go for free!

Eco Bicycling Trips Europe

An example of a Dream Tour that is ready to go is The Amber Route, created by Tour d’Afrique founder Henry Gold.  This particular cycling trip was used as the beta/test example in developing the Dream Tours concept but was so popular with fellow riders that it is now a reality. This  six-week tour through 8 countries follows the Ancient Amber Trade Route used by the Romans. This tour will begin in St. Petersburg winding its way through the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, then onwards through Poland and Slovakia, continuing on to Hungary cutting through Slovenia and ending in Venice, Italy. To take a look at the process of how this tour was constructed, along with the comments and feedback visit:

Other Dream Tours in the works include a North American Epic (Key West to Anchorage), An Indian Adventure (Kerala to Agra), and the Mediterranean Circuit (loops around the entire Mediterranean Sea).

We think this is just about the coolest thing we’ve heard all week. So let’s get riding. The route won’t come to you, suckers!

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