Exploring the finer things in life in Costa Rica, Peru, and beyond
Latin America—that hefty swath of the Western Hemisphere south of the United States—is packed with upscale destinations that are about as complex and alluring as they come. Ancient civilizations, colonial architecture, and breathtaking natural beauty abound from Mexico to Patagonia, and the romance and charisma of Latin culture offer up plenty to lure luxury-loving vacationers—whether for world-class cuisine, outdoor adventure, or just a little rest and relaxation somewhere off the beaten path. If you’re looking to bask in Latin luxury, you can easily travel to these destinations with Avianca, which was named South America’s leading airline at the 2015 World Travel Awards. With 100 destinations in 27 countries, chances are that no matter where you want to travel to in Latin America, you can get there with Avianca.
Costa Rica is rightfully touted as an eco-minded destination, but being an environmentally friendly traveler doesn’t have to mean roughing it. Head to a chicly sustainable hotel deep in the cloud forest or near a secluded beach to experience the country of pura vida in style. More than a quarter of Costa Rican land is protected, so this is the perfect place to get back to nature. Outdoor activities abound, but there’s a laid-back vibe here, too, meaning that you can nnzip-line through the trees after riding horses to a jungle waterfall one day and work on your yoga poses before an invigorating coffee body scrub the next.n
Arrange for a one-on-one surf lesson, go diving with dolphins, or charge down white-water rapids with an experienced guide. Golf aficionados can practice their swing at Hacienda Pinilla’s 18 oceanfront holes, and hikers can feel the burn with a trek through Manuel Antonio National Park, where three-toed sloths and capuchin monkeys hang out in palm groves bookended by bone-white beaches. Arenal Volcano no longer gushes fiery flows of lava, but you can still soak in natural thermal hot springs and pools like those at Tabacon. Of course, if exotically flavored cocktails are more in line with your idea of adventure, then an afternoon spent lingering in an infinity pool with a view is a perfectly acceptable way to put Costa Rica’s eco-minded ethos into practice.
Romantic Cartagena leads Colombia in historic appeal and is luring increasing numbers of luxury-minded travelers searching for the next great place. Here, you can browse world-class art galleries, shop for fashionable clothing by up-and-coming Colombian designers, and seek spa-like serenity in chic boutique hotels—all with the added pleasure of knowing that you’re not just following the crowd. Off-the-radar Cartagena is a city on the verge, and with upscale hotels opening their doors by the minute, there’s no excuse for jet-setting explorers not to make their way south to explore its undiscovered charms.nn
Roam the candy-colored colonial streets in the afternoon heat, and welcome nightfall over cool mojitos in a see-and-be-seen bar where you can feel the breeze off the sea. To take advantage of Cartagena’s coastal perch, charter a private yacht for a luxe getaway to a Caribbean island. Tranquility seekers can soak in the restorative mud baths of the Sofitel Santa Clara’s zen-inducing spa, or take the mud idea outdoors with a trip to the El Totumo mud volcano. While all of Colombia brims with a palpable sense of magical realism (anything could happen in these fantastically beautiful surroundings), Cartagena in particular truly enchants. nn
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Cartagena, check out the Movich Hotel Cartagena de Indias. This luxury boutique hotel has an incredible rooftop terrace where guests can enjoy sweeping views of the city. Grab a seat to watch the sunrise over coffee or the sunset over mojitos.
Lima, the cosmopolitan City of Kings, has drawn everyone from the ancient Incas to Spanish conquistadors to its sun-soaked shores over the centuries. Here, you can wander by the Plaza Mayor’s colorful colonial buildings and travel back in time at cathedrals that date to the 16th century. This atmospheric metropolis is a must-visit locale for luxury-loving vacationers, and is packed with aesthetic delights to appeal to travelers interested in the finer things in life.nn
Take a private city tour to get a lay of the land while roaming the gardens of Miraflores as well as the archaeological site of Huaca Pucllana. Pop into the art galleries of bohemian Barranco, and spend some time at the Gold Museum and the Museo Larco, which showcases pre-Columbian artifacts. It’s no surprise that in Machu Picchu opportunities for hiking are plentiful. Reward yourself after a few days spent trekking in the Sacred Valley with a hot-stone massage at the Zest Spa in the Belmond Miraflores Park hotel or a facial at the aptly named Heavenly Spa by Westin, and then kick back at a seaside bar with a pisco sour in hand.
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