Summer explorations can fuel imagination throughout the rest of the year.
Here are a few standout experiences below – from a Shaman’s ritual to activate your destiny, tracking down medieval frescoes in Croatia’s Istria region, to winter whale watching in New Zealand while staying at a former convent or lodging on a northern Brazilian farm and in Amazon treehouses, these are journeys that go far, far beyond expectations.
1) New Client: Prime Whale Watching and Skiing at a former New Zealand Convent
Mid-June through September, New Zealand transforms into an incredible winter wonderland, plus – airfares drop and so do crowds. The ski slopes aren’t the only attraction, though – geothermal hot springs, beach campfires and whale watching (June/July is peak season) add to the experience. Thirsty? You’re in some of the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc country, with vineyards just minutes from the lifts.
The Marlborough Lodge, at the top of South Island, is one of NZ’s newest luxury lodges and serves as an ideal base to explore the dramatic and rich landscape of the region. Just ten rooms and suites, the Victorian former convent (circa 1901) has been beautifully restored with a warm, contemporary design and decor, paying homage to its history by highlighting some of the historic elements of the original building such as the 1901 hand-carved Kauri wood staircase at the center of the building and other features. Nestled into 16 acres of gardens and vineyards, the lodge is just 20 minutes from the stunning Marlborough Sounds, three bodies of water (the Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds) offering endless outdoor and wildlife pursuits in the most spectacular setting imaginable.
The Marlborough region is credited with having the largest amount of sunlight hours in New Zealand which provides a great climate for growing. Although the area is renowned for its wine with over 100 winemakers in the region, Marlborough is home to incredible local produce including fantastic cheese makers, Manuka honey, an endless bounty of fresh and saltwater fish, crustaceans, other shellfish, world-class lamb and beef, fruits and berries and more.
Head Chef Sam Webb masterfully showcases the bounty of Marlborough at the lodge’s Harvest Restaurant, where guests enjoy culinary gems like a dinner at the Chef’s Bench, an interactive cooking class, or garden foraging with the Chef on the extensive estate grounds. Additionally, the lodge organizes and curates wine tours, sailing on the sound, helicopter tours, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and more through their regional partners. Other on-site amenities include a heated swimming pool overlooking a pond and Spring Creek, grass tennis courts, mountain bikes with access to trail maps to local wineries, in-room spa and massage services and more. Plans for a spa and guests entertaining area are underway with a projected completion for the 2018/2019 season. Perfect for destination weddings, honeymoons and corporate meetings and retreats, The Marlborough Lodge can accommodate up to 20 guests overnight.
2) Spirituality in Peru, Kayaking in the Atacama Desert, and (New!) Amazonian Treehouses: Summer Escapes with Naya Traveler
Known for taking the path less trodden, Naya Traveler’s epic excursions this summer offer a stunning array of ways to experience South America:
·Southern Hemisphere Winter in Chile – Santiago, Atacama Desert, Lake District Arrive at Santiago by plane to explore its quirky neighborhoods, or alternatively, cross over from Argentina to the Atacama Desert through the soaring Andes for a unique arrival and discovery of Chile’s northern Mars-like topography. Bike through the Valley of the Moon and float in the salt lake after enjoying a picnic on its shores. Kayak on the glacial lakes of the Chilean Lake District, all the while staying at a local estate surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. Starting at $800 per person, double occupancy, all-inclusive.
·One with the Pachamama – Cusco, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu
Our private Inca trail experience takes passengers up some of the highest peaks of the Peruvian Andes, from Cusco to Machu Picchu. This involves private camping and Shaman rituals that offer healing among the Inca ruins. Flowering Bath Inca Ceremony – a sacred ritual that activates your destiny, attracts cosmic and spiritual energy; connects you with the gre-path iat spirits, brings positive vibrations and energetic powers of the universe. In the Sacred Valley, experience a traditional offering to “Pachamama” or Mother Earth, asking for blessings and strength for the harvest. Starting at $900 per person, double occupancy, all-inclusive.
·Orient Express through Peru’s Sacred Peaks- Cusco, Machu Picchu, Puno & Arequipa
Explore Peru’s historical and spiritual sites by luxury train, traversing the Sacred Valley’s fertile plains aboard the Belmond Hiram Bingham. After visiting the magnificent Machu Picchu ruins, take the Belmond Andea Explorer train for 2 nights to Puno and Arequipa. Visit the highest lake in the world, Titicaca, and meet the local indigenous tribes on the floating islands. End your trip at the white city of Arequipa – a colonial gem. Starting at $900 per person, double occupancy, all-inclusive.
·From Desert to Jungle in Brazil – Rio de Janeiro, Maranhenses National Park & Amazon Rainforest
From the dazzling city of Rio de Janeiro, venture to the national park of Maranhenses located in the far north of the country. Stay at a local boutique hotel and farm, and visit the incredible sight of Maranhenses National Park, where lagoons form in the desert after a good rainy season. Depart for the opposite environment, the Amazon rainforest, staying at a treehouse lodge and trekking through the wilderness with expert guides. Starting at $900 per person, double occupancy, all-inclusive.
Naya Traveler offers curated experiential journeys to culturally rich destinations, steeped in ancient traditions and customs. Current destinations include Argentina, Cambodia, Kashmir, Morocco, Myanmar, Oman, Peru, South India, Ethiopia, and Brazil. Locations coming soon include Spain, Sri Lanka, and North India.
3) European Countryside by Foot – Escape the Crowds with On Foot Holidays
Summer in Europe can be a crowded, frustrating experience – why not travel at your own pace with On Foot Holidays’ “off the beaten path” self-guided walks. Explore the European countryside, staying in charming remote family-run B&Bs or farmhouses, share a home-cooked meal with hosts. It’s a chance for a truly personal connection with a landscape and its people, truly becoming a traveler rather than a tourist. Here are their top picks:
·Northern Portugal – Hidden away in northern Portugal’s golden hills and lush green valleys are delightful villages where rural communities continue a centuries-old lifestyle. Ancient paved tracks and footpaths meander past long-horned cattle and the picture-perfect espigueiro (granaries).
·Lycia – Mountain and Sea – On Foot Holidays’ only route in Turkey, this is a more challenging route — but, the rewards are clear with pine-clad mountains, stupendous views lead to the sea and the lonely lighthouse at Kilidonya. Eat home-grown food and practice your Turkish at the remote Suleyman’s Pension.
·Basque Country– this robustly anarchic region takes travelers into a wild country of high ridge walks and mist-cloaked valleys. Stay in family-run hotels in tiny hamlets and return to reality with the final walk into artsy Bilbao.
·Istria – In the very north of Croatia is a land of hills, meadows, vineyards, and woods, churches with medieval frescoes, and the ancient Glagolitic script. Wander through unspoiled country, staying at tiny pensions in hilltop villages and at a hunters’ lodge.
UK-based On Foot Holidays offers a boutique range of 32 off-the-beaten-track, self-guided walking holidays in 13 countries throughout Europe, in areas rich in cuisine and culture.