Top 5 self-drive holidays – A Luxury Travel Blog : A Luxury Travel Blog

One of the best ways to get under the skin of a country is to get behind the wheel. Whether it’s a 4×4 with all the bells and whistles or a classic that’s older than you, cars are still one of the best ways to see the sights. Here are our top five self-drive trips on four wheels.

The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

The Cabot Trail is a 185 mile scenic loop around the coastline of Cape Breton Island, taking in some of Nova Scotia’s most spectacular sights. Running across the top of the island and almost teetering off the eastern and western coastlines, it’s best to travel in a clockwise direction (the inside lane) unless you have a head for heights! Look out for moose as you twist through the mountains, being sure to stop off at Pleasant Bay for some whale watching. With so many great hiking trails en route, break up the journey and walk about to get a taste of the great outdoors, spotting the incredible ‘fall foliage’ as it blankets the region in colour. One of the best hikes is the 9km Skyline Trail: as its name suggests you’ll feel as though you are walking in the clouds as you walk out onto the peninsular where you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the ocean, forests and the winding road of the Cabot Trail.

Patagonia, Chile & Argentina

Patagonia is home to some of the most incredible landscapes on Earth: rugged terrain, rolling pampas, grinding ice fields, momentous glaciers, vast open spaces and long open roads. Being in control of your own agenda enables you to explore at your own pace. Visit Torres del Paine National Park and see the cave paintings of Laguna Amarga, or enjoy some fly fishing at Serrano River. Drive through the golden pampas and view soaring condors, foxes and guanacos ñandus (Patagonia’s version of the ostrich). Cross the border into Argentina and Los Glaciares National Park and check out the Perito Moreno Glacier, a spectacular ninety-seven square mile ice formation. If you are feeling adventurous try your hand at ice-trekking on the glacier, or take to the water to see the glacial wall up close.

The Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Considered one of the world’s greatest drives, the Great Ocean Road showcases the best of Victoria’s coastline. Whilst the Twelve Apostles – a series of huge, craggy limestone stacks rising out of the ocean – are often considered to be the main attraction, there’s far more to this drive than these impressive rocks. The coastal scenery is breathtaking – rugged cliffs, crashing waves, and untouched beaches – but somewhat contrary to the name, the drive also navigates inland through the Great Otway National Park, with its historic lighthouse, waterfalls, gorges and forests. As the popularity of this road has increased, so too has the stature of the destinations enroute. What were historically small logging and fishing communities are now thriving holiday towns and second home havens. At just 250km, it can be done as a day trip, but is far better enjoyed at a much more leisurely pace with time to stop off and take in the sights along the way.

Chianti region, Tuscany

Your first decision is whether to opt for a super cool convertible Ferrari 430 Spider, or go Italian Job in a Mini. Your second decision is whether to hit the road in spring when the flowers are in bloom, or in September, to experience the truffle hunting and grape harvest. Once decided, just sit back and enjoy la dolce vita. Cruise into the heart of the Chianti region, visiting charming hilltop towns, such as Greve and Castellina, stopping for delicious leisurely lunches of traditional treats such as schiacciata con olio – foccacia-like bread with oil and finocchionam, salami with fennel seeds. Put the roof down and sunglasses on, and get lost in a valley of chestnuts and oaks before experiencing the charm of Val d’Orcia Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just to the south of Siena.

Off-road safari, Namibia

Namibia is Africa with bells on, a million facets in one country ranging from the extremes of Sossusvlei’s strangely beautiful dunes to the lush, leafy bush of Etosha National Park. And where more strikingly beautiful to really get to grips with off-road driving than its wild, unrelenting landscape? It’s the adventure capital of Africa: where else can you scale a 350m tall sand dune, go off-road driving in scenic game reserves and take a balloon flight over the desert before spotting whales on a marine safari out in the crashing Atlantic? And if the views don’t do it for you, what about sand boarding, off roading, quad biking, and of course game drives? You’ll drive through Etosha National Park and the Ongava Reserve, witnessing the awe-inspiring wildlife from a new perspective.

Claire Powell is Digital Marketing Manager at Abercrombie & Kent.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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Top 5 luxury wine lodges in Argentina

If, like the majority of the population, you enjoy a good glass of wine you simply must visit Argentina. World-renowned for its rich flavoured, smooth reds you’ll be spoilt for choice. Without question, the best way to experience the vineyards of this vast country is to stay at a luxury wine lodge a truly immerse yourself in the grape growing culture. We have carefully selected 5 of the best;

1. Cavas Wine Lodge

Situated in a large vineyard only 30 minutes south of Mendoza, this boutique property has just 18 rooms, making a stay here very personal and unique. All of the rooms face west, treating guests to an uninterrupted view of the dramatic Andes mountains, which are often topped with a light dusting of snow. They also benefit from king size beds, spa style bathrooms, private plunge pools, wood burning fireplaces and outdoor showers.

With such a luxurious selection of in-room amenities and features, it’ll be easy to relax after a long day exploring the surrounding vineyards. If the rooms aren’t quite enough, you could instead choose to make use of the full spa which offers treatments using vine and grape extracts or enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Cavas Wine Lodge can also book activities for guests such as horse riding, zip lining and white water rafting, making it an excellent base from which to explore this pretty region.

2. The Vines

A little further afield, just less than 2 hours from Mendoza, visitors to the Argentine wine region will find The Vines. As extraordinary property which boasts a long list of awards and titles, and is by far one of the best hotels not just in Mendoza but the whole country. Sat in the middle of an astonishing 1500 acres of private vineyards, and with views over the Andes, it’s location could not be better. All this space means that guests can enjoy features such as an expansive (and well stocked) wine cellar, 5km jogging track, large swimming pool and plenty of privacy.

There are only 22 private villas which are a charming mix of rustic features and contemporary styling. Each has both underfloor heating and air conditioning, a private patio, host concierge, complimentary Wi-Fi and an iPad which is regularly updated with e-newspapers and music. For those wishing to upgrade, extra features include hot tubs on the patio and private plunge pools. As with many of the hotels in the region, the staff will happily help organise tours to explore the surrounding area.

3. Casa de Uco

Our third entry is another property close to Mendoza, as this is where the main hub of wine related tourism can be found. Casa de Uco is located in the Uco Valley – the region world famous for its outstanding Malbec grapes. This estate is outstanding in many ways, including the fact that guests can cultivate their own grapes and create their own wines, or perhaps it’s because the hotel oozes sophistication and cutting edge design.

A particular highlight for people who decide to stay here is the restaurant, which serves a tasty local menu every day using ingredients from the hotels very own organic garden. Whilst you enjoy your meal, a sommelier will guide you through the long list of wines on offer, many of which are made on site. The accommodation itself is spacious and very comfortable, with a balcony or terrace from which guests can enjoy the surrounding scenery of sprawling grape vines and the distant Andes mountains.

4. Grace Cafeyate

Located close to the small town of Cafeyate and within the grape growing region of Calchaqui Valley, the Grace is an elegant hotel which prides itself as being one of the best boutique wine hotels. This luxury option has a stunning open kitchen and terrace, a large swimming pool and full spa. Inside, the facilities also include a cigar bar, and, an impressive wine bar.

The rooms themselves come in a variety of options, from deluxe up to suites and villas, which would be ideal for families or groups travelling together. Each features air conditioning, nespresso, free Wi-Fi, walk in rain shower and luxury bed linen. The culinary offerings from the onsite restaurant will suit all different tastes – from the highest quality cuts of beef to traditional tamales and humitas. If you chose to stay here rather than Mendoza, you won’t be disappointed – the scenery of the region is quite special. Large canyons and multicoloured rock formations are both fascinating and exciting to explore, alongside a variety of other outdoor activities.

5. Entre Cielos

Back in Mendoza, our final recommendation is the quirky 5-star Entre Cielos wine resort. Just 16 rooms are spaced throughout the contemporary hotel all of which have fabulous facilities including private terrace with mountain views, air conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, flat screen TV, robe and slippers. If you want an extra special visit, upgrades can be made to the superior rooms or suites.

However, if you are after an unforgettable experience, the ‘Loft Suite’ is the ultimate option. This unique creation is a large pod on stilts in the middle of the vines. This protective cocoon has everything you could wish for including a bathtub on the terrace for star gazing, daily complimentary snack and cocktail deliveries and access to the hammam. Talking of which, Entre Cielos is the only property in the whole of Latin America which has a full hammam spa – something to consider if relaxing is of high priority.

Simon Williams is Director of Bespoke Latin America. Bespoke Latin America is a luxury travel company specialising in tailor made holidays to Latin America.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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Luxury and adventure at the foot of the Andes

A trip to South America’s Andes is undoubtedly a challenging adventure. This mountain range that crosses the continent is the longest on Earth, with its vastness matched only by the enigmatic and imposing beauty of its landscapes. Its crystal-clear lakes, snow-capped peaks, endless deserts, lush forests, breathtaking highlands, awe-inspiring glaciers, small indigenous communities and colorful markets… all of these form the perfect setting for adventure lovers to discover this new and fascinating world.

In this unique natural environment, a first-class tourist infrastructure has been developed to accommodate all tastes and budgets. Therefore, if you’re seeking accommodations where you can fully enjoy the Andean world without sacrificing comfort and convenience, here we present five of the best lodges and luxury hotels for experiencing Andean adventure, excitement and pure pleasure.

Hotel Llao Llao: The Patagonia (Argentina)

With a privileged location in the most southern region of South America — Patagonia — Hotel Llao Llao is situated on the edge of a crystal-clear lake and amidst bright snowy mountains, where this five-star lodge is categorized as a luxury Andean accommodation possessing exceptional services.

Fusing the classic and the contemporary to create a dreamlike image, Llao Llao was built in perfect harmony with its rustic surroundings, but with modern facilities and first-class services.

The hotel has 162 rooms spread over two wings, where both the luxury suites and standard rooms are inspired by the warm landscape surrounding the hotel. The hotel’s design emphasizes the intense light of Patagonia, which turns the hotel’s rooms into elegant, bright and welcoming spaces. All of the guest quarters have beautiful views of either Lake Nahuel Huapi or Cerro Tronador Mountain. For families and small groups of friends, there are rooms that are connected or contiguous.

In the lodge’s spa, you can pamper yourself with an anti-stress massage or a treatment with herbal wraps, while the outdoor activities offered to guests range from swimming in a large heated pool, to playing golf on an 18-hole course, mountain biking, birdwatching, rappelling, skiing, sports fishing, tango lessons, yoga, windsurfing and other options. Added to this are the hotel’s exquisite dining (their specialty is meat dishes), accompanied by the best wines of Argentine and other regions.

Cavas Wine Lodge: Mendoza (Argentina)

This lodge, with personalized services and only 18 rooms, possesses a very special feature: it was the first created in Mendoza (Argentina) with a spa featuring wine-based therapies, while its rooms are charmingly situated between vineyards.

Nestled in a region known as Alto Agrelo de Luján, this luxurious hotel is accessed down cobblestone roads that wind through centuries-old vineyards. Cavas Wine Lodge’s facilities and services earn it the distinction of a luxury inn, ideal for those who enjoy pleasures such as gourmet food and an excellent selection of wines. All of this can be found in a magical natural environment surrounded by 35 spectacular wine cellars, which can be reached by bicycle, car, on horseback or as part of the “Wine Safari” organized by the hotel.

Visits to the wineries are fascinating and informative, ideal for those who wish to discover the secrets of fine wines and enjoy sampling them. In addition, there are the “stars” of the lodge: the spa’s scientifically-based anti-aging wine treatments.

Finally, there’s the food. As no trip is memorable without a good meal, the dishes served in the lodge’s charming restaurant are prepared with the best local organic vegetables and fruits. In addition, meats, homemade pastas, and the best fish are combined in a varied menu that changes daily. Breakfasts come with homemade yogurt, different egg dishes, freshly squeezed juices and more – a great way to start the day at Cavas Wine Lodge. And vegetarians have nothing to worry about, since the options for them are just as good and varied. Food tasting and cooking classes with products from the garden complete the culinary experience at the hotel.

The terrace overlooking the vineyards, with mountains in the background, is one of the favorite places for guests at this hotel, located just one hour from the city of Mendoza.

Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort (Peru)

Have you always dreamed of hiking the Inca Trail …but with the comforts of cozy and comfortable lodging?

This possibility exists at the first-class Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort. The lodge provides a series of itineraries of varying durations, though each allows travelers to experience the enriching experience of traveling this ancestral route while spending the night in a luxury lodge.

The resort offers luxurious mountain huts that while built in a contemporary style use ancestral techniques that coexist in perfect harmony with the environment. In addition, these guest quarters are equipped with all the services and facilities required to ensure a comfortable and pleasant stay.

Explora Atacama Lodge (Atacama, Chile)

Located in the stunning Atacama Desert (Chile), between the Pacific Ocean and the snow-capped mountains of the Andes, the Explora Atacama Lodge is situated on the outskirts of the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama.

This luxurious hotel, also built in perfect harmony with its surroundings, is the perfect “center of operations” for those who want to experience and explore the driest desert in the world while enjoying a comfortable stay with first-class service.

The Atacama Lodge has 50 rooms (33 square meters each), all with spectacular views of the desert, snowy mountains and/or surrounding volcanoes. In addition to a Jacuzzi, a living room and designer furniture, the floors of each room are tiled and the bedding is of the highest quality.

The hotel’s exclusive restaurant serves up sophisticated international dishes as well as plates with special local touches. The bar and lounge are the perfect spaces to relax, socialize and meet other travelers while sharing the impressions of the day. Atacama Lodge also offers a variety of excursions with expert private guides. These daily outings include mountain biking, horseback riding over sand dunes, desert stargazing, volcano climbing, cultural outings, Moon Valley sunset watching, and visits to the lodge’s private hot springs, which are just some of what you can experience in this famous Chilean desert.

In short, Explora Atacama Lodge is the ideal destination for those seeking the perfect combination of adventure, natural landscapes and luxury accommodations, which makes it the perfect place to rest and relax after intense days of desert exploration.

Hacienda Zuleta (Ecuador)

The US tourism magazine Outside has rated Hacienda Zuleta as one of its “ten best finds.” Located in the Andean mountain range at 2,800 meters above sea level, Zuleta is the perfect fusion of comfort, nature and history.

The lodge was built at the end of the 16th century and, though situated only two hours from the Ecuadorian capital city of Quito, it exists in its own particular universe. It is a place where the traveler can disconnect from the noise, stress and hectic routines of the city.

Owned for more than 100 years by the family of former Ecuadorian president Galo Plaza Lasso, the estate covers over 4,000 acres (2,000 hectares). The imposing hacienda’s main house consists of 14 spacious rooms, all decorated in a classic style and each possessing its own fireplace.

The dining room, one of the most beautiful spaces of the hacienda, offers meals with a homemade touch with products from the region and the hacienda itself …including Zuleta dairy products, trout fishing and organic vegetables.

The common environments such as living rooms, gardens and reading rooms, complement the serene surroundings of this historic building, perfectly adapted for providing comfortable, hospitable and warm services that focus on great attention to detail. And though these detailed services may be simple gestures, they can make all the difference in your stay (imagine the staff preparing your room for the evening while you dine, placing hot water bags in your bed and lighting the fireplace).

However, staying in Zuleta is more than sitting by the fireplace, savoring a steaming coffee or strolling through the meadows. The hacienda offers a variety of activities that range from horseback riding through the Andean highlands to mountain biking, walks, cow milking and the enriching experience of sharing life in the local community.

The surroundings of the hacienda, framed by pine trees and eucalyptus forests, make the Zuleta Valley a paradise for outdoor activities and an ideal place to be at peace with yourself and nature.

Alfonso Tandazo is President and CEO at Surtrek Tour Operator.

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5 of South America’s most romantic spots

For those in search of a romantic experience that’s different from what’s found in a typical vacation package, South America offers some of the most amorous destinations in the world.

These getaway havens not only mean dinners by candlelight, long dreamy-eyed walks on the beach, and accommodations with all the creature comforts, they stand apart for their own special romantic appeal …where there’s something inimitable yet somehow unidentifiable in the air.

Steeped in romance, these South American retreats are places where you can cuddle up under the stars, samba across the dance floor or look into each other’s’ eyes while dining by flickering light. As your cupid, we our pointing our bow and arrow toward five of the continent’s most romantic spots.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Cidade maravilhosa (“The Marvelous City”)

With its magnificent views, year-round tropical sunshine, pulsing nightlife, and famously good-looking locals, the tropical setting of Rio oozes excitement and passion – the perfect romantic getaway.

Though known for its endless white-sand beaches and cool tides wherever you might wander, couples trying to decide between “sun and surf” or bright lights and big city action can find all of the above. Indeed, this tropical city provides a full slate of vibrant culture, sumptuous dining, hip nightlife and fantastic shopping. For a romantic getaway with that special someone, Rio will ensure you’re never come up short for ideas for truly memorable romantic moments.

Its main tourist attractions boast some of the greatest landmarks in the world. A cable-car ride up Corcovado mountain to marvel at the Christ Statue and the jaw-dropping view of the “Sugar Loaf” – a romantic indulgence that even the unavoidable crowds can’t ruin.

You or your mate might actually be the famed “Girl from Ipanema” as the two of you stroll along that beach or others like Copacabana or Leblon. Similarly, you can time your visit to experience one of the world’s most sensual festivals: Carnaval – an annual event that crosses the line between what’s romantic and what’s categorically sexy.

In addition to Rio’s own host of attractions and experiences, there are scores of other unspoiled nearby spots that offer lovers an escape from the crowds. If the two of you have time to spare, be sure to take a short trip to the beautiful “Costa Verde” (Green Coast). This captivating stretch of pristine beaches, paradise islands and the well-preserved 17th-century port town of Paraty is well worth the journey.

All and all, Rio is a city that will have your senses tingling and your pulse racing. As a destination for a romantic getaway, it’s hard to beat.

Buenos Aires: Dubbed the “Paris of South America,” you might find that it’s better

Buenos Aires… The very name of this Argentine capital city evokes images of sensuous tango dancers, fine Malbec wine world-class opera and thick juicy steaks.

Though these classics alone make for a formidable romantic cocktail, this thriving cultural center provides even more opportunities to ramp up the passion. Possessing an astounding variety of hues, aromas, styles, traditions and architecture, it’s easy to see why Buenos Aires has made it as one of the most popular destinations in South America.

By day, a traveling duo with a passion for urban life will find all the romance they need. Lovers in Argentina’s capital can spend their days strolling through the city’s bohemian neighborhoods, visiting cutting-edge art galleries, checking out the city’s upscale boutiques, or gazing up at the neoclassical, Greco-Roman and Art Deco architecture.

In the evening, you can set down to what is arguably the best cuts of meat in the world, and later head out to tango your way to romance. In glamorous clubs such as Rojo Tango or Tango Porte you can watch professional dancers perform the world’s sexiest dance, while on Sunday afternoons, you can even join in the fun in clubs and plazas scattered about the old San Telmo barrio.

It’s easy to get swept away by Buenos Aires’ diverse culture and colorful nightlife, and it’s equally easy to understand why the city has been dubbed the “Little Paris of South America.”

Galapagos Islands: Follow Darwin’s footsteps in the “Enchanted Isles”

A romantic getaway should be one that’s outstanding …one you will never forget. Many couples follow the crowds to more traditional spots like Hawaii or the Bahamas, though a vacation in the Galapagos Islands will take out of the cliché as you travel to a place of extraordinary wildlife and untouched landscapes. The Galapagos will leave the two of you feeling like you’ve been transported to another world.

Located 600 hundred miles off the South American coast, these “Enchanted Isles” are easy to reach, filled with extraordinary populations of unique wildlife, and — with less than 200,000 visitors annually — one of the more intimate destinations in the world.

In these islands, you can relax and enjoy the amenities of a luxury hotel combined with exotic wildlife and the mesmerizing sunsets. Rent a bike, ride the waves, snorkel the seas, dive the blue deep, kayak tandem or hop on horseback. Add candlelit dinner overlooking clear blue waters, gorgeous white-sand beaches, and pure relaxation to the mix – not to mention snorkeling together alongside sea lions, tropical fish, sea turtles and rays – and you’ve got all the ingredients for a perfectly romantic trip.

Retreat to your luxurious cabin in a sleek white catamaran, or to charming accommodations in one of the island’s fun little port cities, then the next day begin the romance all over again. It’s a romantic experience you won’t get anywhere else, and might not have the chance to do ever again.

Cartagena, Colombia: “Your only risk will be wanting to stay”

A celebrated destination for romantic vacations in the Caribbean, the old city of Cartagena is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved cities in South America.

Just a 5-hour flight from New York City, this tropical Caribbean city possesses all the makings for your perfect fairytale getaway. Here you’ll find colorful colonial mansions with 360-degree ocean vistas, cobblestone streets framed by bougainvillea in bloom, the unworried atmosphere of palm-frilled plazas, and of course screen-saver-worthy beaches that likely exceed your expectations.

Most visitors stay in Cartagena’s walled “Old City,” the stunning historic quarter that’s ripe for romance with dreamy ocean breezes, charterer-brimming boutique hotels and vibrant nightspots year-round.

For couples seeking a bit of romance, Cartagena beckons. In the evenings, the Old City is at its best as the hawkers roll away and allow plazas to turn into dance floors for locals and visitors alike. For foodie couples, note that the Old City is king when it comes to ceviche. At any of the restaurants, you can try the Colombian specialty fish and rice dish cooked in coconut with plantain – simply subline when enjoying the sunset and the ocean breezes. In the clubs and bars, you’ll discover that the bartenders are wildly creative, infusing their liquors and masterminding daily drink specials.

Amazonian Riverboat Cruise: Romance in the rainforest

How can you really impress the one you love for a honeymoon, anniversary Valentine’s Day or just as a treat? What not go beyond the usual greeting cards and roses to dazzle your soulmate with a journey deep into the heart of the exotic Amazonian rainforest? Named as one of the world’s “New Seven Wonders of Nature,” the Amazon is an almost mythical ecosystem whose richness and wonder continues to lure adventurous travelers from all walks of life.

For couples, as an alternative to luxury cabaña, consider an all-inclusive riverboat cruise. On these, you can sit back, relax and drink your complementary glass of champagne while watching the Amazon rainforest pass by. But don’t worry at all about getting bored – from dawn till dusk you have the option of participating in various Amazon jungle excursions and activities: from spotting sloths and monkeys and watch brilliantly colored tropical birds overhead, Pink dolphin watching, piranha fishing, kayaking, jungle trekking, visits to remote indigenous communities and more! Of course, all of these activities are optional; so if you prefer a day of relaxing on deck or in your guest suite, you can simply enjoy the view and each other.

After a full day taking in the rainforest sights and sounds you can savor pisco sour with the setting sun from the top deck roof or lounge before sitting down to delicious a romantic candlelight meal in the ship’s restaurant (or privately in your honeymoon suite), before finally snuggling up under plush Egyptian cotton sheets.

Your soulmate, a passport and the yearning for romance and adventure are all you need to turn your dream getaway into reality!

Endowed with an unequaled variety of natural wonders and an amazing array of stunning destinations, South America is the perfect place for couples seeking their romantic getaway. Take long walks on sun-kissed beaches, explore quaint colonial towns, sip a Pinar sour amid cool breezes on the Caribbean coast, or enjoy the sensual delights of tango with a candlelit dinner. Amazingly amorous shared adventures are plentiful on this enchanting continent.

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Some of the best heliskiing experiences around the globe

My winter months are spent in Meribel, in the French Alps, running our catered chalet business. I have been skiing for many years and my husband, Ed, is a ski instructor in the resort. When time permits, we enjoy nothing more than strapping on our fat skis and exploring the fabulous off piste that the Three Valleys have to offer. Very occasionally, we get the opportunity to take our skiing one step further and have the special treat of a bit of heliskiing.

Heliskiing is often seen as expensive and the preserve of the wealthy (and it isn’t cheap), but as with all things in life, you get what you pay for and it is an exceptional experience that everyone should try.

Heliskiing Experience

There are numerous heliskiing companies in the Alps, but I thought I would spread our wings a bit further afield, to find something truly superb and so I have looked more globally at the best heliskiing on offer.

Some of the greatest heliskiing can be found in South America in Argentina and some spectacular parts of Pategonia in Chile. There are a number of operators who can supply a memorable six day package which will typically include about 10 hours of flying time over the six days and luxury accommodation. You’ll have to add on your airfares and transfers but the heliskiing packages generally cost between €10-15,000 per person.

Iceland is also considered an excellent location for that ‘get away from it all’ experience. There are a number of operators who can look after you well if you are looking for something totally different and skiing to the water’s edge is on your bucket list. Again, a six day package will be in the region of €10-15,000 not including flights to Iceland.

However there are some heliskiing options that have to be the peak of luxury adventure travel and that is combining yachting and heliskiing. As the guys from Viking Heliskiing who are based in Iceland say, ‘Imagine the possibility you have with the sailboat and the helicopter ready to take you wherever you want to ski!”

Patagonia is served by the Nomads of the Sea, a 45,7 meter long expedition yacht, where you’ll find a Bell 407 helicopter, a Hurricane 920 R.I.B. Zodiac Boat, 6 jet boats, 2 SOLAS rescue boats, 6 portable zodiac boats for shell fishing excursions and 2 jet ski motorboats for special operations. The price if booked individually is between US$10-20,000 per week, or taking the boat as a private charter will set you back in the region of US$400,000.

Nomads Helikiing

But for the ultimate in yacht heliskiing look no further than Cloudbreak, a 72.5m super yacht that offers extreme exploration in the world’s most remote regions. Accommodation onboard is for 12 guests in 7 sumptuous suites, and includes an onboard spa area that has to be the ultimate space for winding down after a day of exploration and adventure, featuring a sauna, pool, massage room and gym. The only drawback? Well it’s €750,000 for a week’s charter and that probably doesn’t include the fuel for the helicopter!

Cloudbreak Superyacht

Wherever you choose to go this winter, whether on piste or in the back of beyond, stay safe and have fun.

Anne Wooley is Owner at Ski Cuisine.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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The 5 best ski resorts in South America

When considering which destination to choose for your next luxury ski trip, it is likely you will think of Europe, Canada and the USA as potentials, however, it is also worth considering South America. Ski resorts are becoming an increasingly popular choice in this vast continent, and with the increase in popularity comes much better facilities and options. The high altitude Andes mountain range runs through both Chile and Argentina, and each country has a few different options for snow seekers, particularly those wanting the thrill of off-piste, back-country and heli-skiing. Here are our top 5 resorts and accommodation options;

1. Portillo

High in the Andes, and located very close to the Argentina-Chile border, Portillo is one of the best-known ski locations in Latin America. Less a town and more like an exclusive resort, there is only one place to stay whilst here – the bright yellow, and unmistakable, Ski Portillo Resort. Close to the peak of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere, there is no denying that there are some fantastic slopes in this region.

This exclusive hotel offers everything guests could want and provides a wonderful place to relax after a day at the slopes. Portillo is at a high altitude and boasts over 25ft of snowfall annually. It has many different runs for all levels of ski or snowboard enthusiast and there is also the option to heli-ski some of the less accessible areas.

Recommended accommodation: Ski Portillo Resort

2. Cerro Catedral

The bustling city of Bariloche is a world-class destination year-round for any travellers looking for outdoor adventure. In the summer, due to its fabulous location in the centre of the Argentine lake district, it attracts people with its outstanding hiking, kayaking, horse riding and rock climbing. The long and warm summer days make this an ideal active holiday location. In the winter, little changes, as the ski season begins and a new wave of tourists flock to its slopes. Just 20km outside of the town centre, is an area known as Cerro Catedral – the name is given due to the spiky mountain tops that can be seen here.

This is the main ski resort in Bariloche, and the whole of Argentina. From July onwards it offers an incredible 37 lifts and a wide variety of runs, alongside some fantastic off-piste opportunities. As an added bonus, Bariloche has one of the best nightlife and apres-ski scenes in the whole of Latin America. The town is filled with cosy pubs selling locally crafted beers, there are chocolate shops on every corner, and the restaurants serve delicious hearty meals such as traditional lamb stew and, of course, excellent steak.

Recommended accommodation: Hotel Edelwiess

3. Nevados de Chillan

This large and popular resort has some of the highest snowfall in Chile, making it perfect for a variety of runs for both skiing and snowboarding. It has the longest run in the whole of South America, named ‘Tres Marias’, it is over 13km in length. This resort has a reasonable number of bars, shops and restaurants, but not the party-centric feel of Bariloche, making it perfect for families.

Many of the resorts here only offer an all-inclusive package, and there are plenty of areas that are excellent for children or learners. For those still seeking some thrills, the area is also great for off-piste adventures and backcountry exploration.

Recommended accommodation: Gran Termas Hotel

4. Pucon

If you are looking for something which is more of an experience than your average slope, Pucon in Chile has the perfect ski destination. The small town is overshadowed by the impressive (and active) Villarica Volcano – which is almost constantly capped in snow, even in the summer. During the winter season, it is possible to enjoy the 17 different runs that spread across the side of the volcano.

The only downside is that there are few lifts that are actually in working order during the snowy months, meaning that a lot of walking and hiking is needed to get to the best patches of snow. However, the rewards are great – if you hike all the way to the top it is likely you will see the red glow of the lava inside the cone of the volcano, and when you reach the bottom, you have the charming town of Pucon ready to welcome you back. With a selection of German influenced bars and restaurants, plus some fantastic shops and a laid-back vibe, this is the ideal post-ski town.

Recommended accommodation: Hotel Vira Vira

5. Cerro Castor

The longest ski season on the continent belongs to Cerro Castor – a ski resort in the far south of Argentina, close to the ‘city at the end of the world’, Ushuaia. From June through to October this remote location enjoys good snow coverage and some world class off-piste options. With a total of 26 different runs, there is plenty to keep both skiers and snowboarders amused for a few days.

Most people lodge in small homestays nearby, but there is a wealth of luxurious accommodation in Ushuaia. This small and slightly run-down town holds a certain ‘frontier’ charm about it, and has some fantastic restaurants serving local delicacies such as king crab and lamb.

Recommended accommodation: Arakur

Simon Williams is Director ofBespoke Latin America.

If you would like to be a guest blogger onA Luxury Travel Blogin order to raise your profile, pleasecontact us.

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Discover the ‘camels of the New World’


When thinking about the Andes, many people picture snow-capped mountains, vast green plains, indigenous peoples ?and herds of llamas. And yes, these are some of the main characteristics of the mountainous South American region ? including those llamas. In fact, American llamas ? and their close cousins (alpacas, guanacos and vicunas) ? inhabit the immense and frigid plains along the entire mountain range. Possessing both beauty and elegance, with their thin necks and slender legs, they are placed in the same family as their more distant relative, the camel ? from which they get the name ?camelids.?

1 Camelids

In fact, these South American camelids are the only relatives of the camel in existence today, which raises the question as to how they got to South America? There are several theories about this, though studies on the question remain incomplete. The best-known theory asserts that these animals first appeared in North America some five million years ago. From there, due to the adverse climate resulting from the advance of glaciers, they emigrated over time, some wandering as far as Eurasia, where they in turn evolved into the two species we know today: the two-humped camel and the one-humped dromedary. Other ancestors of today?s the ?Lamini? (humpless) species of camelid made their way to South America, crossing the Panama isthmus some three million years ago. The paradox is that, over time, they eventually disappeared from their place of origin, perhaps due to the extreme weather conditions or because of the arrival of a new predator: human beings.

In South America, there are four species of camelids: llamas, alpacas, vicu?as, and guanacos. Llamas and alpacas are domesticated species, while vicu?as and guanacos are found only in the wild. The four share some characteristics, for example their ability to breed with each other and their sexual dimorphism (which means it?s not easy to distinguish their gender). Alpacas, llamas and vicunas have another common feature: they live in highlands, while guanacos can live at sea level.

Llamas: the sacred animals of the Incas

Among the Andean camelids, the llama is the largest. Its most striking feature is that it?s not a natural species, as it is a ?creation? of human beings. Specifically, the people of the highlands began domesticating guanacos some 5,000 years ago. The animal?s geographical distribution is now wide since it became a trade commodity during the Inca Empire. Nonetheless, they are found principally in the Andes of Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina. Llamas have traditionally been used as beasts of burden, though they are also used for their wool and for meat. As their wool is thick and strong, it?s highly valued ? particularly because it?s not chemically treated.

2 Llamas

The economy of the Inca Empire was based on the exploitation of llamas, not only for their wool and meat, but also for their bones (used for making musical instruments), their leather (for footwear), their fat (for medicines), and their excrement (for fertilizer).

For the Incas, the llama was a sacred animal. They believed that each llama on Earth had its ?mirror? in the ?Celestial Llama?: a constellation that could be seen from certain sacred places.

The alpaca: an endangered species

The alpaca is a smaller species, though like the llama (and camels) it has the habit of spitting as a method of defense. Alpacas differ from llamas, though, in that they are not used as beasts of burden; however, they have been domesticated for thousands of years as these animals are highly valued for their wool ? considered the finest among camelids. Alpaca wool is used to make products as diverse as blankets, ponchos, scarves, vests and sweaters, while its meat is considered a delicacy by some peoples of Andes. These camelids stand at between 0.94 and 1.04 meters high and weigh between 50 and 55 kg. They are found mainly in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, although countries such as Australia, the USA and New Zealand possess small numbers and are making great efforts to increase their populations.

3 Alpacas

The alpaca is a smaller species, though like the llama (and camels) it has the habit of spitting as a method of defense. Alpacas differ from llamas, though, in that they are not used as beasts of burden; however, they have been domesticated for thousands of years as these animals are highly valued for their wool ? considered the finest among camelids. Alpaca wool is used to make products as diverse as blankets, ponchos, scarves, vests and sweaters, while its meat is considered a delicacy by some peoples of Andes. These camelids stand at between 0.94 and 1.04 meters high and weigh between 50 and 55 kg. They are found mainly in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, although countries such as Australia, the USA and New Zealand possess small numbers and are making great efforts to increase their populations.

The alpaca is a smaller species, though like the llama (and camels) it has the habit of spitting as a method of defense. Alpacas differ from llamas, though, in that they are not used as beasts of burden; however, they have been domesticated for thousands of years as these animals are highly valued for their wool ? considered the finest among camelids. Alpaca wool is used to make products as diverse as blankets, ponchos, scarves, vests and sweaters, while its meat is considered a delicacy by some peoples of Andes. These camelids stand at between 0.94 and 1.04 meters high and weigh between 50 and 55 kg. They are found mainly in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, although countries such as Australia, the USA and New Zealand possess small numbers and are making great efforts to increase their populations.

The vicu?a: sedentary and ‘ecological’

The vicu?a, a patriotic symbol of Peru, is a smaller herbivorous camelid. Reaching a length of 80 cm and weighing between 40 and 50 kg. These sedentary animals have long legs and, in a sense, are ecological because the soles of their feet have a kind of pad that prevents them from digging up vegetation, in this way not contributing to erosion. In addition, they have a very structured and organized social system: adult males live with a harem of two or three females and their young. The wool of the vicu?a is some of the best of its type since, in the world of haute couture, a square meter can cost up to $3,000 USD. High fashion labels, especially Italian and French companies, use vicu?a wool for the production of exclusive clothing. However, due to the intense hunting of these animals since ancient times, vicuna are now in danger of extinction. Like alpacas and llamas, they live mainly in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

4 Vicunas

The vicu?a, a patriotic symbol of Peru, is a smaller herbivorous camelid. Reaching a length of 80 cm and weighing between 40 and 50 kg. These sedentary animals have long legs and, in a sense, are ecological because the soles of their feet have a kind of pad that prevents them from digging up vegetation, in this way not contributing to erosion. In addition, they have a very structured and organized social system: adult males live with a harem of two or three females and their young. The wool of the vicu?a is some of the best of its type since, in the world of haute couture, a square meter can cost up to $3,000 USD. High fashion labels, especially Italian and French companies, use vicu?a wool for the production of exclusive clothing. However, due to the intense hunting of these animals since ancient times, vicuna are now in danger of extinction. Like alpacas and llamas, they live mainly in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

The elegant guanaco

Elegant, possessing fine bones, and a fast runner (reaching up to 64 km per hour), the guanaco is also a threatened species of camelid, even scarcer than llamas. The animal is sociable, especially when young, though later they become more aloof in relation to humans, as they roam in large herds in semi-desert areas. They have thick and soft coats that protect them from the cold, which is helpful in that they live mainly in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. Guanacos can weigh up to 140 kg and measure 1.70 m in height. Their coats are of three shades: beige on the upper body, white on their stomach areas and gray on their heads. Their wool and leather are used to make fine and highly valued garments.

5 Guanaco

Camelids: the ?camels of the New World?

These four species of South American camelids are called the ?camels of the New World.? Like their humpbacked relatives in Asia and Africa, they have certain characteristics that have allowed them to adapt to arid regions, while they themselves also serve as important resources for the populations with whom they coexist. According to several studies, of the 9 million camelids in South America, many alpacas and llamas still serve as the main source of income for certain farm communities of the region.

6 Camelid

They are, without a doubt, curious and interesting animals. Those who study them describe them as ?diurnal and social,? although if they get angry, they release a secretion of mucus through their nose ? not aggressively, but rather to defend themselves when they feel threatened.

But in addition to their historical role in providing meat and wool to Andean peoples, certain camelids are currently used for novel therapies. What is known as ?alpaca-therapy? or ?lama-therapy? has been developed in Germany as a variation of the treatments that use dogs, horses and dolphins. It is claimed that children with autism, people who have suffered traumatic experiences, those afflicted with high levels of stress, and people with psychiatric problems can all benefit from this treatment. This approach is based on a unique characteristic of camelids: they are said to be the only animals that really look into the eyes and observe humans, as they are sensitive, curious and project a calming presence. As they are also docile and serene ? which add to their beauty and magnetism ? they exert a kind of fascination by those who look at them.

In short, there is much to discover about these animals. When traveling through the Andes, it?s worth seeing them close up in the landscapes in which they reign. Look into their eyes and find out if it is true that they can peer into your being. But of course, for your sake, be very careful not to disturb them…

Alfonso Tandazo is President and CEO at Surtrek Tour Operator.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on?A Luxury Travel Blog?in order to raise your profile, please?contact us.

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10 exceptional wildlife experiences in Latin America


It doesn’t matter what type of holiday or trip you are looking for; Latin America has something to offer everyone. There are idyllic beaches, fascinating historical sites, exciting adventurous activities, off-the-scale luxury hotels and award-winning restaurants to name but a few. However, if you are interested in wildlife, the options are endless. From sweeping mountainous valleys, to coral reefs and thick rainforests to some of the driest deserts in the world, this unique continent has an incredible array of habitats that support an even more astounding concentration of wildlife. Take a look at our recommendations for the best wildlife experiences;

1. Birdwatching in Colombia

With just under 2000 species of bird, there is no other country in the world which has as many bird species as Colombia. The variety is spectacular, colourful and unique – much like the country itself. Now, it is possible to visit this incredible part of the world in luxury, and enjoy areas such as the ‘Coffee Zone’, Tayrona National Park, the Tatacoa Desert and the Guajira coastline in style – all of which offer an abundance of birds and other wildlife.


Recommended place to stay: Hacienda San Jose


2. Watching bears in Peru

The spectacled bear of South America is one of the rarest bear species in the world – second only to the giant panda of Asia. This shy and solitary creature is not easy to spot, as they live far out in the forests of the Andes mountains and rarely stray close to human settlements. However, recently, there has been an increase in the number of bears being spotted at Machu Picchu – Peru’s most popular tourist attraction. With a selection of luxury hotels now close to this UNESCO World Heritage site, why not take a visit to the historic ruins and keep your fingers crossed for a glimpse of this enigmatic bear.


Recommended place to stay: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo


3. Snorkelling and scuba diving in Fernando de Noronha

Latin America is not widely known for scuba diving sites, but the small archipelago of islands off the coast line of Brazil are fast becoming one of the best in the world. This jewel in the Atlantic Ocean is another of Latin America’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, and also boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – Baia do Sancho. Visitors to this paradise who wish to dive or snorkel can expect to see spinner dolphins, turtles, rays, groupers, huge shoals of multicoloured fish, various corals plus nurse, reef and lemon sharks.


Recommended place to stay: Pousada Maravilha


4. Whale watching on the Valdes Peninsula

Argentina certainly isn’t at the top of the list when people think of whale watching, however, it is one of the best places in the world to see southern right whales. Every year hundreds of these gentle giants migrate up the coast to nurse their young in the shallow bays here, making it possible to see these wonderful creatures from the beach! In addition, the peninsula is also home to pods of orca, who prey on the pups from the many sealion colonies along the shores.


Recommended place to stay: Hotel Territorio


5. Penguin spotting in Antarctica

The 17 species of penguins that we share our world with can all be found in the southern hemisphere. A luxury cruise to Antarctica and the surrounding islands of the Falklands and South Georgia will allow visitors to spot some of these charming and charismatic birds at very close quarters. Of course, there’s not only penguins to be seen in this remote and unspoilt wilderness, there are also whales, dolphins, seals and plenty of airbourne birds to keep any wildlife enthusiast happy.


Recommended luxury cruise: National Geographic Orion


6. The Amazon Rainforest

Arguably the continent’s most famous natural wonder and one of the most biologically diverse regions on earth, the Amazon rainforest needs no introduction. Spanning across 9 countries, there are many different options for visitors. There are hundreds upon thousands of species to spot here, including some unusual species such as poison arrow frogs, tapir, ocelot, arapaima, tarantula, caiman and many species of parrot. In recent years the standard of accommodation has increased dramatically and it is now one of the most sought-after luxury holidays.


Recommended lodge: Juma Amazon Lodge


7. Costa Rica

It’s very hard to pin point a single place to visit when it comes to Costa Rica and areas in which to see wildlife. The whole country is small than Lake Michigan in the USA, yet it holds a mind-boggling 5% of the worlds biodiversity. Due to its tiny size, it is an extremely easy place to travel around, and if you have 2 weeks to spare, there are plenty of opportunities to see a wide range of animals and birds. Some of the best wildlife encounters include humpback whales, nesting sea turtles, hundreds of colourful butterflies, sleeping sloths and the elusive but beautiful quetzal.


Recommended places to stay: El Mangroove


8. Jaguar safari in the Pantanal

For those who wish to see a truly majestic creature up close, look no further than a jaguar safari in the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil. A boat trip downriver will get you within a stone’s throw of this impressive big cat, an experience that is not easily forgotten. Between July and October jaguar can be frequently seen along the river bank, along with other wildlife including capybara, caiman, tapir, giant anteaters and hundreds of bird species. Seeing this wildlife bonanza should absolutely be on your travel bucket list.


Recommended places to stay: Caiman Ecolodge


9. Puma tracking in Torres del Paine National Park

If you want to continue the big cat theme, you could head to the southern cone of South America and take a trip to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. If you can manage to drag your eyes away from the breath-taking scenery, this pretty part of the world is also home to puma. This shy cat, which feeds on guanaco (the wild cousin of the llama), is notoriously hard to spot – but a real treat for wildlife enthusiasts could be to take part in the new puma tracking itineraries that some hotels offer. Living alongside the puma’s which call this remote landscape home, are other interesting species such as grey fox, huemel deer, rhea, skunks and armadillo.


Recommended luxury hotel: Tierra Patagonia


10. A luxury cruise in the Galapagos Islands

Last, but certainly not least, the Galapagos Islands are a timeless classic for anyone wishing to see a multitude of bird and animal species on land, in the sea and in the skies. This collection of islands is home to some of the rarest and most unusual creatures on earth, and what better way to witness this spectacle than on a luxury cruise? Many yachts offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime liveaboard experience which will allow guests to see famous residents such as blue footed boobies, marine iguanas and giant tortoises.


Recommended luxury yacht: Sea Star Journey


Simon Williams is Director of Bespoke Latin America.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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Top 5 luxury estancia experiences in Argentina


Gauchos on horseback galloping across the pampas is an iconic image of Argentina that many of us would love to witness first-hand. Their unique way of life in the rural areas of this vast country has changed very little, and the culture remains strong. In recent years, the traditional farming of sheep has taken a backseat as many of the farms, known locally as estancias, have begun to welcome guests to stay and experience what life is like in the country. Although gauchos enjoy a gloriously simple lifestyle, don’t think you’ll be expected to muck out the horses and sleep in a hay strewn barn – the estancias in Argentina offer comfortable luxury and a vast array of exciting activities to keep both adults and children entertained for a 2 or 3 night stay. Here is our guide for 5 of the best estancias for a fully immersive (and luxurious) adventure:

1. Los Potreros

Situated within 6500 acres of rolling countryside close to Cordoba, the estancia of Los Potreros is secluded and beautifully rustic. This fully working cattle farm sitting atop the Sierras Chicas region of Argentina is well respected and welcomes guests from all over the world. The land has been farmed by the Begg family for four generations, and dates back to 1574. Today, Kevin and Louise Begg delight in welcoming guests to share their home and lifestyle, providing a unique and unforgettable stay whilst experiencing the rural traditions of Argentina. With space for just 12 guests, warm hospitality awaits everybody, along with an unrivalled personal attention to detail. The main house is filled with antique furniture which goes hand in hand with the white washed walls and authentic decoration, with each guest room matching this elegant style. There are small wood burning stoves, comfortable beds and hand woven textiles which add a sense of cosiness to the property. Food is provided, with each meal being lovingly created using mostly homegrown and organic items, and the beef is from the estancias own herd – of course a traditional Argentine asado can also be arranged. Lastly, there are plenty of options for guests to get involved in the gauncho experience, including horse riding at all levels, photography or even lassoing the cattle!

Los Pots

2. El Colibre

Not only has this estancia been listed in the ‘1000 Places to See Before You Die’ but it is also a proud member of the Relais and Chateaux luxury chain. Boasting excellent service and a pretty terracotta tiled lodge, families and couple alike will experience the unforgettable during a stay at El Colibre. The 170 hectares of forest which surround the property, and nearby mountain ranges, offer exciting excursions such as horse riding and hiking, plus a chance to try your hand at the traditional sport of dove-hunting. Children can learn all aspects of life on an estancia through activities such as helping to herd the livestock, milking cows and collecting eggs. If food and drink is more your thing, fear not, as there is the chance to enjoy the farms own meat cooked on an asado, taste items from the properties very own gardens, and wash it all down with a selection of fine wines from the cellar. At the end of each day, guests can relax in charming rooms which are decorated in a unique style and feature bronze pieces from the old English railroads.

El Colibre

3. Estancia Peuma Hue

The term ‘Peuma Hue’ means ‘place of dreams’ in the native Mapuche language, and it’s not difficult to understand why they chose this name. Located on the edge of Lake Gutierez and surrounded by mountains, the location of this estancia is simply stunning. The focus of this beautiful property is very much on sustainable tourism, and the owners work hard to support and involve the local community. This ethic filters through to other areas including the restaurant which uses vegetables from the organic garden and greenhouse, plus a selection of goods from the nearby farmer’s market. In addition to this, guests can enjoy activities such as horse riding, trekking, kayaking, fishing and bird-watching or for those wanting to relax, programs of yoga and meditation. The decor throughout the property is rustic, in keeping with the Patagonian culture, and there have been several large panoramic windows installed through which guests can enjoy the fabulous scenery. Just 8 rooms are split over 2 different buildings, and there are also 3 private villas. As this estancia is situated less than an hour away from the bustling town of Bariloche, it is easily accessible and perfect for a short break in the Argentine wilderness.

Peuma Hue

4. Dos Lunas

This small, boutique farm house has a charming and unique style, nestled within almost 6000 acres of natural land. The original building is over 100 years old, and a sympathetic restoration project has enhanced the stunning beauty of this attractive property. With a motto of ‘Outside, adventure. Inside, peace’, guests can expect a wonderful stay filled with both adventure and relaxation. If you are a keen horse rider, this is the place for you, as there are outstanding opportunities to explore on horseback including an unusual night-time riding experience. Alternative activities include trekking and bird-watching, or simply lounging by the pool and soaking up the sun. Each room has been tastefully decorated, with comfortable beds and private bathrooms, allowing guests to enjoy a secluded escape.

Dos Lunas

5. Estancia Helsingfors

With glaciers, mountains and sweeping valleys on its doorstep, the Helsingfors estancia is ideally positioned in the far south of Argentine Patagonia. The name dates back to the early twentieth century when Alfred Ranström, a Finnish adventurer, fell in love with the area and decided to settle there with his wife and family. The history of the estancia, the magnificent views and the home-from-home luxury have created a delightful and traditional experience for any guest lucky enough to stay here. There are just 9 rooms, ensuring guests receive a personal and individual service, which are decorated with elegant simplicity and windows which boast fabulous panoramic views of either Lago Argentino, Mount Fitzroy or the Andes mountains. The area surrounding the property is part of the Los Glaciares National Park, and there are a variety of excursions available out into this beautiful landscape including horse riding, hiking and bird-watching. At the end of an unforgettable day out in the elements, what better than to come back to the quaint restaurant which serves fine Patagonian cuisine such as lamb and trout, complete with a selection of wines from the cellar.

Gäste beim Ausritt auf der Estancia Helsingfors

Simon Williams is Director of The Bespoke Travel Group.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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