GOAT Trips are the huge emerging travel trend for 2022, from swimming with sharks in The Bahamas, to whale watching in Mexico, or from sailing the Galapagos, to island hopping in the Dutch Caribbean, here’s our list of a few adventures you should explore.
Sail the Galapagos with Ecoventura
Intimate and exclusive for just 20 guests, the identical luxury expedition yachts, Origin & Theory by Ecoventura are named after Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Origin of Species. They are managed like floating boutique hotels and are the only Galapagos vessels to have joined the ranks of the esteemed Relais & Chateaux collection. The seven-night itinerary includes daily excursions and educational briefings led by two certified naturalists — the most favorable passenger to naturalist ratio in the Galapagos. Daily activities include beautiful snorkeling opportunities, kayaking, beach walks and hiking tours that bring you up close and personal to the destination’s most fascinating species. Wildlife wanders freely and fearlessly throughout the archipelago, so travelers frequently find themselves swimming with sea turtles, sun bathing with sea lions or face-to-face with the famous blue-footed boobies. Take the experience to another level with Origin & Theory by Ecoventura’s “Private Moments” package, which includes a personal naturalist for the most curated way to travel through the Galapagos. Or, charter one of the yachts, for a fully curated experience. Cruise rates for 2022 start at $8950 per person based on double occupancy. www.ecoventura.com
Shark, Shipwrecks, & Stingrays, Oh My! | Bimini, Bahamas
When visiting the closest Bahamian island to the U.S. sitting just 50 miles off the coast of South Florida, all ocean lovers will find their paradise in Bimini, Bahamas. Home to the expansive Resorts World Bimini complex with a private marina, ocean access is easy; and the island’s surrounding waters are filled with exploration opportunities. Hop on your private vessel or embark on a guided tour with Bimini Blue Adventures (whose office is located right in the Resorts World Bimini complex) and head out to sea, where three dive and/or snorkeling spots are just a short boat ride away — and each stop is guaranteed to cross a different item off your bucket list! Stop first at Triangle Rocks to swim with reef sharks in their natural habitat, then to the S.S. Sapona shipwreck (a former rum runner ship that ran aground during a hurricane in 1926) to spot vibrant and diverse coral reefs and marine life (maybe even a turtle!) among the ruins. End the adventure at Honeymoon Harbor to say hello to friendly nurse sharks and feed the local stingrays their favorite snacks — shrimp and squid. Head back to the Hilton at Resorts World Bimini for an action-packed night at the casino, then rest and fuel up for another day of Bimini bliss. www.rwbimini.com
Island Hop Your Way Around the Caribbean
In the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten, all visitors can find their place under the sun. With 37 sundry beaches — some ideal for relaxing and others great for snorkeling and watersports — white sand beauty is of absolutely no shortage. For those who want to explore the Caribbean in the new year and cross different islands off their bucket list, consider St. Maarten the perfect home base. Due to its central location, St. Maarten is a Caribbean hub that provides easy access to its beautiful neighboring islands. Take a day trip (or two!) to enjoy a quick change of scenery and immerse yourself in the culture of Anguilla, St. Barths, Saba, and St. Eustatius, to name a few – which are all just a quick flight or ferry ride away. Then head back to the SXM mainland to experience all of its adventure, historic and culinary offerings… and trust us when we say there’s plenty of those to be had! With anything from the world’s steepest zipline, a wide selection of luxury private villas, munchies ranging from roadside shacks to chef’s tables, a newly-emerged art scene in the capital of Philipsburg and more, St. Maarten presents quintessential island vibes galore.
See the Northern Lights at Hotel Rangá in Iceland
To experience this majestic world wonder in its full glory, South Iceland offers good odds and optimum viewing and Hotel Rangá is arguably the best place to stay given its secluded countryside location providing darker skies, less artificial lights, and even Northern Lights wake up calls. Plus, Hotel Rangá is also home to an advanced stargazing observatory with a roll-off roof, two high quality telescopes, and an astronomy expert, perfect for nights when the Aurora Borealis may not make a visit. Pro tip: opt for one of the hotel’s continent-themed suites – featuring décor from Africa to Antarctica. Adventurous eaters can also dine at the acclaimed Restaurant Rangá to cross smoked puffin and reindeer carpaccio off their interesting foods bucket list.
Surf’s Up! | Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
A chic beach resort located on one of the best surf breaks in Mexico’s coveted Riviera Nayarit, W Punta de Mita pays homage to the area’s local surf culture with decor touches like beds with headboards made of surfboards and amenities that include an incredible on-site surfing program. This unique program is available for all guests whether they’re pro-surfers or beginners. Those who want to practice their paddle can visit the resort’s beachside WAVE Surf Shop, which offers private and group surf lessons. The best part is that surfing is not only limited to the resort’s programming. W Punta de Mita is conveniently located near two beautiful surf spots, El Faro and La Lancha, for those that want to venture out and explore with their surfboard in hand. For travelers searching for multiple salt-life during the winter, they can head over to Punta Mita Adventures for a private Whale Watching tour and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Sea the Sights and Touch the Sky in Curaçao
Recognized for its colorful colonial architecture, rich history, diverse culture, more than 35 beaches to choose from and some of the Caribbean’s most iconic dive sites, Curaçao is an adventure-lovers paradise that must be experienced to be fully understood. The Dutch Caribbean island makes the perfect backdrop for thrill-seekers looking for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. From visiting the remote, uninhabited island Klein Curaçao, known as “Little Curaçao,” which is only accessible by boat or helicopter ride, to hiking Mt. St. Christoffelberg, the highest peak on the island, offering infinite views and a feeling of being alone “on top of the world,” Curaçao’s natural beauties will leave you in awe. Also a scuba diving haven, the island has 65 distinct dive sites perfect for exploring the expansive underwater reefs and ecosystem. Meanwhile, history buffs can enjoy Curaçao’s capital city, Willemstad – which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site more than 25 years ago. Many of the designs, materials and craftsmanship have been meticulously preserved and protected on historic buildings and monuments, scattered throughout this paradise.
An Ultra-luxe Getaway at Jade Mountain in St. Lucia
For a truly over-the-top luxurious experience, look no further than St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain Resort. Notably one of the most high-end resorts in the Caribbean, the property is immersed in the destinations lush tropical environment with uninterrupted views of the famed twin Pitons and Caribbean Sea. Travelers will stay cliff side in a three-walled open-air ’sanctuary’ (you won’t find average guest rooms!), which are named after the galaxies (i.e. sun, moon, star, sky) and feature touches like private en-suite infinity pools, 24/7 butler service and giant four-poster canopy beds. While the sanctuary itself creates an iconic getaway, the resort offers an abundance of amenities to keep travelers entertained for days on end. From chocolate making with the property’s very own Chocolate Alchemist, scuba diving in the striking blue waters of Sourfriere Bay to vegan cooking classes at the resort’s Emerald Estates Regenerative Farm and hiking the famed Gros Piton with your very own Hiking Butler, opportunities for adventure and indulgence are everywhere at this one-of-a-kind Caribbean resort.
Experience the Day of the Dead in Mexico at Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa
To enjoy one of Mexico’s most sacred holidays, head to Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa to experience Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), widely celebrated throughout the country on November 1 and 2 to honor the dead with colorful parades and long held cultural traditions. In Puerto Vallarta, the famous Malecon (boardwalk) is decorated with elaborate altares and enormous Catrinas while visitors can also observe the personal offerings, marigold petals and candles on display at the historic 5 de Diciembre cemetery, the city’s oldest graveyard. The “Death is Alive” parade, featuring a procession of dancing skeletons and colorful floats throughout the cobblestoned streets of downtown, is also a favorite festivity. However, visitors can also experience the local traditions of Dia de los Muertos at Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa without even having to leave the property. Nestled nearby downtown, alongside the Banderas Bay and framed by the Sierra Madre Mountains, Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa shares its local culture with guests with a Celebration Beyond Life Dia de los Muertos Dinner on-site. Guests can learn the long-held traditions involved with the holiday through the staff’s own altars and enjoy live music entertainment, and a special menu while connecting the present with the past to remember loved ones. Additionally, November is Turtle season in Puerto Vallarta, which means guests can celebrate life in a whole other way, by playing a role in the resort’s Ridley Sea Turtle protection program by releasing newly hatched turtles into the ocean, to help the species thrive.
Explore Bahamas’ Blue Holes | Caerula Mar Club
Located on the sleepy island of South Andros lies the new boutique luxury resort Caerula Mar Club. The postcard perfect location sits on 10 acres of beautiful turquoise beaches where you won’t spot a single footprint. While relaxation is a key aspect of immersing yourself in the resort’s offerings, there is also plenty of opportunity for exploration. Home to more than 200 Blue Holes (the most in the world!), with four being just a few minutes from the resort, the underwater caves are a must see when visiting Andros, Bahamas. Best known for their insane depths that have yet to be recorded and cave formations such as stalagmites and stalactites, these underwater cave systems are a diver’s mecca. For a chance to learn the folklore of the island, healing aspects of many plants in the area, as well as a guided hike of a cave all culminating with a swim in the elusive blue holes, guests of Caerula Mar Club can sign up for the bucket list worthy Blue Hole Excursion package (from $80 pp).