If you’ve been craving a unique adventure in 2022, we see you. Here are a handful of cool new things you can do from sleeping in a Mexican treehouse to ziplining to dinner in the Maldives.
On the Pacific Coast of Mexico, about 35 minutes south of Zihuatenejo-Ixtapa International Airport, Playa Viva, the founding member of Regenerative Travel, welcomes back visitors with the unveiling of six luxurious new bamboo treehouses, plus a host of other property improvements and enhanced impact.
Surrounded by lush green palms, this resort has entered an entirely new and innovative phase of development: A treehouse village inspired by nature and built regeneratively. The Manta Ray inspired Treehouses, the Watershed Regeneration project, and the property enhancements all align with the post COVID travelers’ desire to be immersed in the natural environment in a healthy relationship with the local community. These innovations are continuing our work as a leader in regenerative travel,” says owner David Leventhal, “A stay at Playa Viva is a true return to paradise—you are immersed in nature and have the opportunity to connect to place in a way that transforms you and the local ecosystem.”
Building materials have come from the property’s own harvest of bamboo and palm fronds for the palapa roofs. All of the landscaping and vegetation is also grown on-site in a nursery run by local women entrepreneurs supported by Playa Viva. The Manta Ray treehouses are suspended in mid-air by palm trees. The palm trees are part of the original regenerative design by Bill Reed and Regenesis Group.
Perhaps most unique in design is the Wing treehouse. The front “perch” of this room was inspired by the wing of the Manta Ray, and also has a king bed and hammock extending out over the front with oceanfront views.
In addition to the new treehouses, an enhanced culinary program led by Chef Daniel includes custom dining options. The kitchen continues to source ingredients from the on-site farm that include coconuts, mangos, cashews, tamarind, tomatoes, lettuces, cactus, and cacao for homemade chocolate.
Playa Viva is a place “where your vacation meets your values,” whether it’s immersing yourself in nature, practicing yoga, volunteering in the turtle sanctuary, giving back to the local community, engaging in a workshop, or just relaxing in paradise while experiencing the bounty of the local ecosystem and helping it to thrive.
Switching gears to snowy Finland, the new Stars of Scandinavia tour from Off the Map Travel takes visitors to two locations known for exceptional Aurora viewing. The six-day tour will land you in the new luxurious igloo-style, glass-roofed cabins against the Finnish tundra, where you can lie in bed and gaze at the Northern Lights.
The program begins in Tromso, Norway and travels first to Kilpisjärvi, Finland where the new two-story Wow House “igloo” cabins face North for optimal viewing of the Northern Lights. Just 30 miles from the Arctic Ocean, Kilpisjärvi has virtually no light pollution with a population of a little over 100 residents
The second stop travels south to Rovaniemi, Finland, the capital of Lapland, located right on the Arctic Circle. Here the Lappish Kammi Suites have been ecologically designed to provide both clear viewing of the Aurora and sustainable accommodations.
Daytime activities offer a range of Lapland adventure with dogsledding, a fat bike tour over the frozen tundra, and snowmobiling to the border point of Norway-Finland-Sweden to meet reindeer and indigenous people in an exploration of Sami culture.
The new concept was developed by travel experts at Off the Map Travel who recognized a desire for visitors to experience an exciting, socially distanced holiday. “With two top locations for viewing the Northern Lights, plus a range of outdoor activities, we can offer a trip that’s both fulfilling and safe,” notes Jonny Cooper, founder of Off the Map Travel. “The snowy magic of Lapland makes for a special winter experience,” he added.
How about a Ski and Sail Journey on the same trip? Up Norway’s newest journey takes ski lovers to the Sunnmore Alps, famous for their alpine skiing and amazing fjord views and a private boat trip around Hjørundfjord. An extended option includes an overnight stay aboard an expedition ship to different runs throughout the fjord.
The four-day Ski and Sail Journey starts in the city of Ålesund, where travelers can view the colorful art nouveau architecture and enjoy a multi-course dinner of seasonal local ingredients before heading out into the wilderness. Travelers will meet their private ski instructor and set sail through the majestic Hjørundfjord on a private 40 ft boat to Storfjord. For the next two nights, accommodations in a five-star boutique hotel feature handcrafted log walls and a gorgeous panoramic view. By day, travelers will ski from the mountaintops down to the fjords, warm up in an outdoor sauna and enjoy local meals prepared by the fireside.
Another option Up Norway recommends this time of year is combining the Ski and Sail Journey in the Sunnmøre Alps with Svalbard. In Northern Norway, travelers can search for the Northern Lights, go dog sledding and scout winter wildlife from whales and seals to reindeer and polar bears. Another highlight in the destination from Jan to March is PopUp Svalbard, a 7-10 course dinner served in one of Longyearbyen’s closed mines.
While ziplining isn’t anything new, doing it while you dine in the Maldives is another story. Soneva Fushi has recently unveiled an exhilarating, new dining experience high among the treetops, Flying Sauces, the world’s first fine-dining zipline experience.
After being securely strapped into safety harnesses at The Den, diners soar along a 600-foot zipline route suspended 30 feet in the air to reach an elevated treetop table on the edge of the forest near Dolphin Beach, enjoying an amuse-bouche, refreshing shooters and other gastronomic treats. In an open kitchen in the treetop dining platform, Chef Rasal Jayawardene, a long-time Sonevian who has trained with some of the world’s best chefs, prepares a seasonal six-course menu, which can be paired with a selection of more than 9,000 fine wines from the extensive cellar.
“This new experience gives our guests a new perspective of our unique island ecosystem, allowing them to reconnect with the sights and sounds of nature while enjoying fine dining hospitality at the same time,” said Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and Co-Founder, Soneva.
Flying Sauces offers guests the choice of ziplining for breakfast, high tea or dinner with optional wine pairing. The zipline experience is suitable for adults and children aged eight and above. A maximum of 12 guests can join each Flying Sauces experience, divided into two groups of six diners.
The ancient landscape of AlUla showcases three distinct geological periods going back up to a thousand million years. For the first time, visitors to the desert oasis in Saudi Arabia can appreciate the diversity, monumentality and global significance of the landscape by taking one of the region’s first helicopter tours.
The 30-minute flight will take in seven crucial areas of civil development including the monumental Jabal AlFil (Elephant Rock), the region’s most notable natural geological rock formation; Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the southern capital of the Nabataean civilization; and the modern-day marvel of Maraya, the world’s largest mirrored building shining brightly like a diamond in the desert.
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