Why Now is the Time for Wellness Travel (in Peru!)

Equador Nature.jpg

Wellness travel inspires. It invigorates. It lets you experience a part of the world while taking care of yourself inside and outside. Whether that trip involves a hike in the Andes mountains or the Atacama desert, or a yoga session oceanside in Costa Rica or the Sacred Valley of Peru, wellness travel, taking on any form is proven to enhance your life. Add in meditation and healthy farm-to-table cuisine and vacations focused around improving your wellbeing are nothing but positive for your self self, your self esteem… and your worldliness.

There’s another side to wellness travel that involves connecting with nature, and disconnecting with daily stresses of life. We read about this benefit mentioned by popular wellness blogger, Jules Hunt, in a recent article saying, “When you give your brain space to think without the distraction of technology, then you open your mind up to more creative possibilities,” Hunt says. “You can really start to dig in to who you are.” We agree, and it made us think about wellness travel as a whole. There’s the obvious health benefits, the interaction with the landscape around you, but those are just the beginning of the benefits. Make your wellness trip an experience with Craft Travel and cater to every one of your ultimate vacation needs.

Is your primary goal self-care that is physical, mental, emotional or are you looking for a total mind-body-spirit reset? Do you want to go on a solo trip or plan a getaway with a friend or partner? Whatever the purpose for your trip and however all encompassing you approach wellness in your life outside of your vacation there are a handful of easy ways to make your travel exciting, indulgent, luxurious, and healthy! Here are some tips and a couple of our favorite packages to plan your perfectly crafted experience.

  • Pick a place you’ve never been, but that you’ve thought about going for a while. This is the mental/spiritual wellness that gets you excited and energized before you’ve even started the journey.

  • Decide on an amount of time that you know works with your schedule. When is your least busy time at work or with family? What has been your ideal amount of vacation time in the past, where you feel like it was long enough but you’re ready to get back to your routine. Mine is around 10 days to 2 weeks depending on how far but 3 weeks I’ve learned makes me miss my normal day to day!

  • What is your favorite thing to do activity-wise? Bike? Hike? Yoga? All of the above?

  • What type of cuisine is your favorite and makes you feel amazing and healthy?

  • What weather are you looking for? In addition to location, look at the weather for different times of year in your destination and pick the time of year that fits when makes you feel most invigorated, or relaxed. If you don’t like heat, make sure you try Peru or other South American destinations in their off-summer season, which don’t forget, doesn’t align with ours in North America.

  • Last but not least, let us plan it. Part of wellness is removing stress and what better way to reduce and remove stress in travel than having all of the arrangements taken care of and having your trip be exactly what you’d like it to be, no detail left uncovered!

Check out a couple of our Wellness Travel packages, with all itineraries able to be crafted and personalized for you by our incredible team at Craft Travel, starting with our favorite in Peru, which is 25% off right now through September.

  • The Lima, Peru and Macchu Pichu Luxury Wellness Retreat lets you experience the best of everything Peru has to offer, and gives you the mind, body, soul immersion you can expect with a crafted luxury wellness vacation. Hike, bike, zen and dine on the region’s finest valley-to-table ingredients on this 5 day adventure. Dates are November 9-14 for this exclusive 25% off rate; however, an incredible Sacred Valley trip can be planned at your convenience at any time.

  • The Ecuador Escape lets lets you explore nature and culture beginning in the beautiful city of Quito and ending in the serenity of the cloud forests of the Andes. Halfway through, sip a cup of coffee with the locals in the morning and a glass of wine with the butterflies in the evening. Add in guided excursions and tours throughout and you will see Ecuador like no other.

Are you ready to plan a Wellness Vacation today? Craft Travel provides personalized custom travel for the most unique experiences. Speak with one of our Travel Designers to create the perfect combination of exploration, adventure, and rejuvenation.

Luxury Lodges in the Atacama Desert

Luxury Lodges in the Atacama Desert

The salt flats of Atacama

The salt flats of Atacama

When one thinks of a desert, the following comes to mind: a vastness of sand and dunes with no end in sight. It wasn’t until my trip to the Atacama Desert that all these stereotypes were put aside; Atacama is not your average desert. It is a veritable explosion of nature, boasting a cornucopia of rich minerals, lagoons, flora, fauna, snow peaked mountains and volcanoes. How can one fathom so much nature and life in one of the driest places on Earth? For the first time as a seasoned traveler I felt the earth’s heartbeat pulsating. And with reason. Atacama is an international hotspot, rivaled only in Chile by Patagonia and Easter Island.    

Apart from the epic and mesmerizing landscapes, Atacama is home to some of the best lodging experiences in South America, equipping you for the bountiful adventures that await.  During my visit, I had the privilege of staying at four of the most incredible lodges anywhere, each with warm hospitality, world-class cuisine, views, and, of course, excursions. All of these lodges will guarantee you peace of mind since they are full-board, including unlimited excursions, all meals and transfers.

The area surrounding these hotels is unique and diverse. You will find salt flats visited by flamingos, natural hot springs, deep canyons and impressive volcanoes (2 of which are still active!). The Atacama’s altitude, remoteness, minimal light pollution and arid atmosphere make it one of the best stargazing experiences on the planet. What more could you want for an easy adventure? Whether you are into sightseeing, hiking or wildlife, you will never be short of places to visit in the Atacama Desert.


Awasi – Luxury Boutique Hotel

Looking for the most absolute boutique luxury lodge experience? Awasi, located in the remote oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, is the only Relais & Chateaux lodge in town that will know how many spoonfuls of sugar your coffee will take; their attention to detail is impeccable. Being at this lodge makes you feel immersed in the desert as the design is inspired by the local culture and environment, using indigenous materials (stone, adobe and wood) and cacti plants along the pathway. The villas are spacious, quaint and cozy, each with its own private patio and outdoor shower. 

Awasi is the only lodge in Atacama that offers a private guide and vehicle assigned to each villa and will tailor each traveler’s experiences to their desires. You no longer need to feel like the turtle in the group excursion (I’m guilty of this!) or a frustrated explorer if others drag their feet.  Also, this is the only lodge in Atacama that has a 4x4 vehicle, so their excursions can get as daring and adventurous as you’d like as they can take you off the beaten path. Want to beat the crowd at El Tatio Geysers? This is a must-see at Atacama, with the moon-like field of steam-spitting geysers. Awasi will make sure you arrive before or after the tourist’s bus so you can experience this magical place in solitude and take great pictures without any photo bombers.

As a lover of photography, Awasi was the perfect match for my soul. My guide was able to meet all of my odd requests, such as stopping various times along the road and climbing the vehicle to capture great shots, as well as stargazing on a peak at 12:30AM right after my pickup at the airport. If something tweaks your interests, which is bound to happen, your guide will stop and allow you to savor those magical moments; the adventure never sleeps at Awasi.

v6nqWmcX.jpeg
642IgALv.jpg

Explora - For the true adventurer

The name Explora sells for itself; this is the perfect luxury adventure lodge, with modern and bold design, that will provide endless optional excursions to the curious explorer and will take you to places that no other lodge has access to. Just outside of the Chilean village of San Pedro, Explora presents to you the real importance of active exploration as well as a unique philosophy - leave your hotel! Unplug from technology, as wifi is only available in the main lobby, and connect with nature. Rooms are comfortable and sleek, but your stay at Explora is all about getting out of your room rather than staying in, so do not expect to lounge on a balcony looking out to the views. 

After checking-in to the lodge, you immediately meet with your guide to start planning the next few days of adventure as the guide gauges your level of physical ability. Each meeting table is adorned with a map of the region with different specifications, such as the altitude, terrain and distance. Explora offers over 30 different excursions to choose from, of which 8 are full day excursions and vary from light physical activity to strenuous hikes, such as summiting the 18,000 feet-high volcano. Excursions are operated on a small group basis with a maximum of 8 travelers. The lodge has a private observatory for nightly star viewings when skies are clear and owns the nearby Puritama hot springs, which guests from Explora have exclusive access to. It is also the only lodge on site that has a horse stable home to 20 beautiful horses, providing horse-back riding on the sand dunes of the Moon Valley (not to be missed!). The lodge also offers indoor and outdoor dining options, featuring delicious 3 course meals inspired by local tradition with an edgy international twist. The food and service are five star and make your stay worth it, but the guides and unmatched adventure are what truly make Explora Atacama unique.

_U9A9213.jpg
_U9A9430.jpg

Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa - The Perfect Getaway

This luxury boutique hotel is the perfect getaway to experience both the iconic attractions of Atacama as well as sit back and relax to enjoy the impressive views and amenities of the hotel. One can sense that this hotel was carefully placed in the Atacaman desert, as the Andean mountains frame this rustic yet chic lodge. The hotel ensures that the guests can experience delight at every turn, as secluded nooks are found around the premise, as well as a terrace pit to enjoy the exceptional views of the Licancabur volcano or the blanket of stars. Local indigenous culture is visible everywhere in this hotel, from the desert-inspired art to the minimalist, unique local flair. 

Tierra Atacama is known for their “adventure spa” philosophy - explore by day and recuperate by night. After participating in one of the many excursions offered, visit their first-class spa, Uma, to de-stress and escape. Uma spa offers locally inspired treatments, as well as both an indoor heated pool to relax those muscles and outdoor pool to enjoy panoramic views of the desert.  Looking to add a romantic twist to your Atacama adventure? Tierra Atacama may be the best option for you as guests can retreat to the romantic atmosphere of the “Oriente Rooms”, where sliding doors lead to a private terrace to view the sun turn the mountains deep red, and ensuite bathrooms have both indoor and outdoor showers. All of the main excursions are offered on a small group basis, but your evenings could be spent unwinding with the soul-soothing treatments offered by the spa.   

_U9A8751.jpg
_U9A8730.jpg

Alto Atacama - Desert Immersion

Located in the Catarpe Valley of the Salt Mountain Range, Alto Atacama is the only lodge that is completely wrapped around by its natural surroundings; it is tucked into a red rock canyon and the stillness of the desert can be heard. The lodge blends in beautifully as the eight-acre ground features native plants, such as cacti, and a field of llamas. The design of the hotel was influenced by local village architecture, blending effortlessly with its terracotta colors.  As the lodge is farthest away from the town of San Pedro, there is less light pollution in this area, so the blanket of stars can be better appreciated. An elevated stargazing platform with lounge seats is found next to the lodge, so there is no need to leave the premise for the stargazing excursion.  

Traveling with children? The lodge amenities sells for itself as the perfect fit for families, as you can find six outdoor pools of different temperatures, jacuzzis, pool and restaurant bar, a lounge area and spa. The atmosphere at Alto Atacama is friendly and laid back, further making this hotel very family friendly while never falling short of its 5-star service. 

Although it is hard to leave the premise due to its surrounding beauty, Alto Atacama does encourage its guests to explore the local culture and the varied landscapes by foot or bike. Over 30 excursions are offered, with set excursions scheduled per day, led by highly trained local guides and with a maximum of 8 guests per group. 

_U9A9504.jpg
_U9A9007.jpg

Are you considering at stay at the Atacama Desert? Craft Travel provides personalized custom travel for the most unique experiences. Speak with one of our Travel Designers today.





A Client's Adventure through Chile and Argentina's Patagonia

Comment

A Client's Adventure through Chile and Argentina's Patagonia

We consider ourselves lucky at Craft Travel to have well-traveled, adventurous clients who come back year after year challenging us to up the ante. One client who always keeps it entertaining for us is Paul, a globetrotting architect from New York who has a passion for all things off the beaten path. On his most recent trip with us, he and his wife Sandi explored the best of Argentina and Chile, heading from Mendoza to Buenos Aires, and then south to Patagonia, crossing from El Calafate on the Argentinean side into Chilean Torres del Paine. He enjoyed the journey so much that a local New York newspaper featured his incredible account of the trip.

Comment

Namibia Self-drive Safari

Namibia Self-drive Safari

In February of 2019 we had the opportunity to embark on a week long self-drive safari through the beautiful country of Namibia. Our nights were spent in unforgettable lodges like Little Kulala and Damaraland Camp while our days were full taking advantage of breathtaking landscapes and wildlife.

Driving from lodge to lodge in our well-outfitted 4x4 truck, we covered almost 3,452 kilometers (2,100 miles) most of which was a mix of sand and dirt roads. It was an adventure filled with all the comforts one could possibly hope for! Namibia is remarkably easy to navigate and we enjoyed the independence for which having our own set of wheels allowed.

As you can see from the video above, Namibia is full of changing landscapes from mountains to ocean to deserts and everything in between. We hope you enjoy this this video as much as we enjoyed shooting it!

Reserva do Ibitipoca: an exciting new eco lodge in Brazil's Cerrado countryside

Comment

Reserva do Ibitipoca: an exciting new eco lodge in Brazil's Cerrado countryside

Some may know the state of Minas Gerais for its famous cheese, while others may have heard of (or even traveled to) its enchanting colonial cities like Ouro Preto and Congonhas, both of which are UNESCO Heritage Sites. What is perhaps lesser known outside of Brazil however is the natural beauty this region possesses. The Cerrado of Minas Gerais is visually breathtaking, providing the perfect respite from city life and backdrop for the ultimate encounter with nature. The smell of freshly brewed coffee, bread just out of the oven, the feeling of being at home defines mineiros and their traditions. Now thanks to the recent renovations of the lodge at Reserva do Ibitipoca, you can experience the mineiro charm for yourself.

Comment