Where to Go in 2015: Five Destinations Across the Globe
New year, new reasons to travel. If you are putting together your travel wish list, here are five must-visit destinations that offer culture, sun, sea, adventure, and exclusive experiences: Cuba, Curaçao, Laucala Island, The Galapagos Islands, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We’ve even included some expert insider tips for each destination to guarantee you have a memorable trip.
Now that Americans are able to travel to Cuba through tours, this little island with a big reputation is getting crossed off a lot of people’s bucket lists. Don’t know which to book? LATOUR, a member of The Isramworld Portfolio of Brands, just launched three unique itineraries: Hello Cuba, Shalom Cuba and LGBT Cuba.
Arthur Berman, Executive VP at LATOUR shares: “What travelers don’t realize is that the government announcement is not directly impacting currently scheduled trips; you can’t just get on a plane to Havana tomorrow – people-to-people experiences are still the way to legally travel. A destination as dynamic as Cuba deserves more than one visit. There are few places in the world that offer us a ‘before and after’ experience, and I am encouraging travelers to go now – and later.”
About Hello Cuba’s itinerary:
Hello Cuba (9 Days /8 Nights; from $4,499)
Get a glimpse of daily Cuban life in Havana through personal encounters with locals, and visit the Museum of the Revolution and Finca Vigia (“Lookout Farm”), Ernest Hemingway’s winter home. Next it’s on to Cienfuegos and Trinidad, one of Cuba’s best-preserved colonial towns and the heart of the country’s cigar industry. Highlights here include a one-on-one meeting with members of the renowned Chorus of Cienfuegos; a visit to the Benny More School of the Arts; touching exchanges with local talent at the Experimental Graphic Arts Workshop and Havana Compras Dance company; and a fascinating encounter with The Committee for the Defense of the Revolution.”
LATOUR rates start at $4,299 per person double occupancy and include round trip air between Miami and Cuba; all meals as outlined in the itinerary; eight nights at hotels (including one at Miami International Airport hotel); all ground transportation and airport transfers. For more information on what’s included in the tour packages and itineraries, visit www.latour.com.
This island is gaining momentum in popularity among Americans so much that JetBlue now flies there directly! It has perfect weather like its neighbor Aruba and is a favorite among Europeans for its unspoiled beaches.
Local Expert: We asked Henry Martijn, Sales Manager, ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas to give us the inside scoop on his beautiful hotel and why Curacao is an ideal Caribbean vacation:
About the Island: The island has everything a traveler wants: year-round, near-perfect climate; pristine beaches; unique sights; history and culture; exceptional dining and nightlife offerings; shopping; a bustling local art scene; water sports; outdoor activities and hiking adventures; and romantic sunset sailing trips. Equally important, the island has successfully maintained its historic local charm.
The colorful buildings built in a traditional Dutch colonial style with vibrant colors are an unforgettable sight. A local architectural historian offers a free, guided walk throughout the island’s most breathtaking old monuments in the heart of downtown, just because he loves the island and loves to share its beautiful history.
Staying at ACOYA: ACOYA is an upscale full-service luxury resort with three large pools, a full-service spa and fitness center, and a fine dining restaurant. Whether it’s arranging a private chef in a guest villa, or making sure visitors take advantage of free transportation to some of the island’s top attractions, we can create a memorable experience for you. We are just minutes away from the island’s best beaches, nightlife and historic downtown. Accommodations range from single-bedroom deluxe rooms for up to two guests to a five-bedroom, two-story private villa with private swimming pool perfect for 10 or more.
If two people are traveling, they can “go big” without reserving an entire villa by staying in a one-bedroom suite, which includes an expansive living room, full-scale dining area, a large well-equipped kitchen, and a spacious and luxuriously furnished outdoor patio that wraps around the living space, overlooking their own private pool.
To learn more about ACOYA, go to www.acoyacuracao.com/
Forget Hawaii, we’re going to the luxurious private Laucala Island in Fiji for its 5-star resort, turquoise lagoons, mountainous backdrop and unspoiled beaches. Want the island all to yourself? You can rent it daily.
Local Expert: Director of Sales and Marketing of Laucala Resort tells us why to visit this year:
About the Island: Laucala Island is perhaps best known for and enjoyed its sporting and cultural activities for all ages, from diving and golfing on an 18-hole championship course, to meeting indigenous artists.
About the Resort: The property recently debuted the world’s first resort DeepFlight Super Falcon submersible experience, adding an “only at Laucala” feature to an already exclusive vacation experience. The spa, which features its own products made in the Spa kitchen and garden, has brand new slimming treatments. Organic produce is grown on a 240-acre hydroponic farm with 15 different types of fruit and 35 varieties of vegetables.
The resort’s 25 villas are comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations, and each features its own pool, lush tropical garden, and spacious indoor and outdoor areas. Each residence comes with all food and beverage services included, chauffeur, nanny, housekeeping, Tao service, plus laundry and dry cleaning. Guests are also offered private lessons with sports instructors, diving courses, golf, tennis, horseback riding, and water packages as part of their stay. To learn more about Laucala Island, go to laucala.com
The Galapagos Islands
Cruising is typically the way travelers visit the famous Galapagos Islands, but wouldn’t you rather stay on one of the islands to truly explore this incredible place dubbed a “living museum of evolution”?
Local Expert: Marcelo Meneses, owner of Opuntia Eco Journeys & Hotels, shares with us what to expect when going to this archipelago and staying at Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel:
About the Galapagos: The Galapagos Islands is a bucket list destination that is not yet overcrowded by tourists. It offers beautiful, pristine beaches; incredible wildlife; adventurous exploration opportunities like kayaking, snorkeling with sea lions and marine iguanas, hiking with giant tortoises and spotting blue- and red-footed boobies.
About Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel: Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel is one of the newer hotels in the Galapagos Islands, offering sustainability and contemporary comfort all in one. Local naturalist guides take guests through the famed Galapagos National Park as well as on sea and land adventures. Opuntia is the first hotel group to introduce the slow food movement to the Galapagos Islands, so the food served at Iguana Crossing is exceptional. Staying on-island (as opposed to a cruise) directly supports the local communities, thus giving back to the island instead of taking away from it. All rooms at the Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel face the Pacific Ocean or Sierra Negra volcano. Also, the ocean front plunge pool and deck make animal gazing in the Galapagos a luxurious enjoyment! To learn more about the Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel, please go to http://www.opuntiagalapagostours.com/hotels/iguana-crossing-hotel/
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is known for the famous Mustique Island, which is where Prince William and Kate Middleton (Duke & Duchess of Cambridge) vacation annually—but this collection of 30-plus islands has so much to offer other than royalty cred.
Local Expert: Glen Beache, CEO of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) shares what to expect in 2015:
About St. Vincent and the Grenadines: “2015 is the ideal time to visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). We offer a collection of 32 unspoiled islands and cays in the secluded Southern Caribbean. SVG is a place for travelers seeking a truly off-the-beaten path getaway. SVG offers something for everyone, be it the family traveler, the romance-seeker, or the adventurous explorer. There are numerous capital projects being implemented to better host international visitors, including the expansion of new hotels as well as the development of the country’s first and only international airport [on St. Vincent Island].”
Where to Stay: There are a variety of first-class accommodations to choose from including exclusive resorts, grand residences, bed & breakfasts, private island retreats, and getaway apartments. Chief among the group for new developments and/or major multi-million dollar refurbishments in the last two years are Buccament Bay Resort, Petit St. Vincent Resort, Bequia Beach Hotel, and Sugar Reef Bequia. The new Pink Sands Club resort on Canouan Island is expected to open soon by the same owners behind the luxury property Sandy Lane in Barbados.
Where to Moor: Canouan Island is currently building a state-of-the-art marina that is expected to be one of the largest in the Caribbean.
Where to Dive: The new dive center by Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau, has opened on Petit St. Vincent. The new dive center will provide guided dives as well as diving instruction and PADI certifications for all levels of divers.
To learn more about St. Vincent and the Grenadines, please go to www.DiscoverSVG.com