T H E T R AV E L O G
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S O U T H PAC I F I C
W H Y T R AV E L W I T H K E R & D OW N E Y The heart of the matter when traveling with Ker & Downey is more than just traveling in luxury and style: it’s all about those little ineffable moments, beholding the beauty of the world the way you always imagined. These experiential moments — a breath of fresh mountain air, the rush of adrenaline, the peace of a calm beach, the taste of a new cuisine — whatever it may be for you, you’ll know it when you experience it. And it comes standard on every Ker & Downey journey.
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TA K I N G A I R TO N E W H E I G H T S When reserving your custom land arrangements with Ker & Downey, please ask about our incredible airfare rates. Our experts partner with the best to ensure a comfortable and luxurious journey in transit. Forget the hassles: obtain premium seating at great rates, accrue mileage where available and get the peace of mind of lenient cancellation policies.
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A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
“Making lives better one trip at a time.” Our motto refers not only to our clients, but also the people of the villages around the world where we travel. In this issue of QUEST Magazine, you’ll read about how The Bushcamp Company in Zambia is using tourism dollars to help school children stay full and in school, and how the Cayuga Collection in Costa Rica is leading the charge in sustainable luxury travel. After traveling to Kenya and Uganda over the last ten years on our annual Nets for Africa medical mission, I took last year off. In my place, we sent Amy Willis, our in-house graphic designer and philanthropy manager, to gather some first-hand experience. In this issue, she shares thoughts from her journey. Not long ago, I was invited to the wedding of one of the men we’ve put through college. Even though I wasn’t able to attend, we have kept in touch. He and his wife had a little boy recently, who they said is named after me. I am humbled and honored they chose to name him David. It’s also a good reminder of why we continue to provide support to the people of Uganda. This continued support from Nets for Africa isn’t just affecting one generation — we are now starting to see the positive effects in the second generation of Ugandans whose lives we have touched. An insecticide-treated net might be a simple net to us, but to them it is a lifesaver. We are honored you choose us as your preferred travel partner, and that you collaborate with us on these philanthropy projects. Our aim this year is to be more engaged with you after you return home from your trip. We want to hear about your adventures, what you loved and where we can improve. So don’t be surprised when you hear from director of client engagement Zach Jones following your trip. In the meantime, if there is anything that we can do to assist you in your travel plans, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Marek President
K E R & DOW N E Y
THE LATEST TRAVELS AND EXPERIENCES FROM OUR TEAM
E VAN JON ES
C ONC I E RG E
R E G ION A L B U S I N E S S DE V E LOP M E N T M A N AG E R
Where were you last? Botswana
Where were you last? China, including Beijing, Chengdu, Lijiang and Shanghai
What was your most amazing experience? Daily game drives, riding in a small helicopter with open sides, zooming through the Okavango Delta by motorboat, chasing a pack of 30 wild dogs, gliding through the reeds in a mokoro while a herd of elephants crossed the channel. What would you recommend from your trip? Go on the helicopter ride. It’s exhilarating flying so low above the delta. It’s a unique view not available from bush planes.
Hyangwonjeong pavilion in Seoul
What was your most amazing experience? My most enriching experience came in the foothills of the Himalayas within the UNESCO site of Lijiang, home to the Naxi people. I hiked onto Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to meet villagers and a shaman from the tribe. What would you recommend from your trip? Be adventurous and unafraid of trying the street food and the spicier dishes in Sichuan province. Also see rural China, where you can connect with the culture and people.
HOT TOPIC: G LO B E T R OT T E R With so many countries to choose from, it’s hard to know where to go. Here’s our short list for your next adventure. By Rina Chandarana
S OU T H KOR E A South Korea is for travelers seeking both the ancient and the avantgarde. Seoul, the bustling capital, is nonstop high energy. Known for its natural beauty, the countryside is home to hundreds of traditional Buddhist monasteries nestled in its mountains.
MON T E N E G R O This tiny Balkan country has rugged mountains, medieval villages and pristine, destination-worthy beaches on the Adriatic coastline. Montenegro’s cultural mix runs deep; here, mosque minarets mingle with domed Orthodox churches. Often overlooked in favor of Croatia, Montenegro is just as charming — minus the crowds.
MOZ A MB IQU E Arab and European sailors stumbled upon Mozambique before the Portuguese colonized it in 1498. The result: a vibrant mélange of architecture and cuisine unique to this East African nation. Throw in perfect beaches and the Quirimbas Archipelago’s thriving underwater world in the Indian Ocean and you have an Africa you never imagined. KE R & DOWN E Y
GIVING BACK Travel that gives back across the globe
10 ARRIVALS Openings, revamps and the latest travel news
18 THE GUIDE Insider secrets of luxury travel
THE SHOT One memory captured by photographer Esther Havens
89 JOURNEYS Top itineraries from Ker & Downey
Experience the wildlife of Ecuador and the Galapagos on this 11-night journey. See page 92
DESTINATIONS 24 EA ST AFRICA
30 SOUTHERN AFRICA
36 NORTH AFRICA & MIDDLE EA ST
42 A SIA
48 NORTH AMERICA
56 LATIN AMERICA
64 EUROPE NORTHERN & WESTERN
72 EUROPE EA STERN & SOUTHERN
FEATURES 26 FORGOTTEN LANDS ETHIOPIA
32 WALK OF LIFE ZAMBIA
38 JOURNEY TO NORTH AFRICA MOROCCO & TUNISIA
44 A DIFFERENT WORLD UZBEKISTAN
Read more about the Icelandic ponies in the Mythical Journey article on page 66.
80 SOUTH PACIFIC
CO PY E DI TO R LESLEY MCKENZIE A R T D I R E CT I O N & DESI GN AMY WILLIS CO N TR I B U TO RS E D I TO RS N IC K Y B R A N D ON DAV I D M A R E K W RI T ERS HALEY BEHAM M A RT I N E B U RY R I N A C H A N DA R A N A ELIZABETH FRELS K AT Y H E E R S S E N P H OTO G R A PHERS A N DR E W H A NC O C K E S T H E R H AV E N S
50 WANDER WELL ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA & UTAH
58 SUSTAINABLE STYLE COSTA RICA
LETâ€™S CONNECT O N TH E WEB
66 MYTHICAL JOURNEY ICELAND
FAC E B O O K facebook.com/ KerandDowney
74 ISLAND MUSES GREECE
TW I TT ER/ I N STAGRAM @kerdowney
ON THE COVER: Icelandic pony by photographer Andrew Hancock
E DI TO R I N CHI EF M A RT I N E B U RY
82 DEEP DIVE AUSTRALIA
E M AI L email@example.com
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B OTSWA N A
RWA N DA
CA MB ODI A
SOUTH A FR I CA
EAST A FR I CA
When you travel with Ker & Downey, you become a force for good across the globe. These are some of the initiatives and partnerships we’re proud to support.
CAMBODIA A portion of every custom Asia journey goes to ABOUTAsia, an organization founded with the aim of changing local communities in the Siem Reap Province through education. Ker & Downey clients have helped close to 53,000 children across 110 schools with upgraded libraries and new water wells.
R WA N DA OmniPeace lifts Rwandans out of extreme poverty through education and music. So far, nine primary schools educate more than 15,000 kids. The Rwanda Rocks! Music centers located in refugee camps offer hope to children in dire situations. Ker & Downey is pleased to join forces with Hollywood stars (Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox, to name a few) to support this worthy cause.
W I L DA I D We support WildAid’s mission of ending the illegal wildlife trade through stateside events. At the yearly star-studded gala, a Ker & Downey journey to New Zealand was auctioned off for $33,000, raising funds for WildAid’s antipoaching campaigns.
E C UA D O R Ker & Downey clients traveling to South America support the Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation’s local library, scholarships and summer camp projects in remote, rural Ecuadorian communities where access to these services may not otherwise be available. Eco-conscious travelers will feel good knowing that their trip helps kids learn about preserving the forests’ biodiversity. 8
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Fill your lungs with fresh air at the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in South Africa’s Western Cape. This year, Grootbos hopes to plant 1,000 trees in addition to the already 5,403 as part of their milkwood reforestation project. These vulnerable forests are carefully protected by the Grootbos Foundation, which plants a tree for every Ker & Downey client traveling to South Africa.
Passing out insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Lira, Uganda
EAST AFRICA F I ELD NOTES
N E T S FOR AFR IC A
Amy Willis, Ker & Downey’s philanthropy manager, recently headed to Uganda to provide thousands of people with insecticide-treated nets and medical care through Nets for Africa. Yearround, our company matches donations for every net purchased, helping us stop the devastating spread of disease through mosquito bites. Malaria is a major threat in Uganda and one million people die yearly from the disease in Sub-Saharan Africa. Each of the 6,000 nets we donated in 2018 can protect up to four children and lasts for three years.
this was my inaugural trip to east africa and the first time being on the front lines witnessing extreme poverty. There I was, shaking hands with the recipients of our mission and hearing their stories while looking into their eyes. I was often overwhelmed by the struggles and pain. It was emotional and exhausting, but incredibly rewarding. For the past ten years, Ker & Downey — along with a team of doctors, nurses, volunteers, translators and churches — has kept Nets for Africa thriving. We went to Lira, a part of Uganda that has not benefited from a medical mission in the past. Many of the 9,000 people we met have never seen a doctor or dentist. We spent six days visiting villages, setting up a place to pick up prescriptions, providing HIV and blood testing, arranging doctor and dentist visits and offering reading glasses to the seniors. We also handed out the life-saving nets. Ninety percent of the supplies we distributed were bought in Uganda in an effort to directly contribute to the local economy.
Photos courtesy of iStock | Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation | ABOUTAsia Schools | Grootbos Private Nature Reserve | Nathalie Bonnette
During my time in Uganda, we witnessed plenty of cases of malaria and sickle cell anemia, as well as babies with epilepsy and seniors suffering from tuberculosis.
Photos: Left: A young girl waiting to be treated; Right: A woman seeing a doctor during Nets for Africa
Africa is where Ker & Downey was born and the continent enriches our lives in so many ways, holding a big space in our hearts. With your help, Ker & Downey will continue to contribute to this part of the world that is so dear to us.
At one point during the week, I thought to myself, “This was all made possible by people they don’t even know all the way in the United States.” This simply cannot be done without the support of generous donors. Just $7 purchases a net, which can save four lives. If you have been touched by Africa’s magic or simply want to do good in the world, please consider helping us make even more of an impact this year in preventing the deadly transmission of malaria. Donations can be made at: kerdowney.com/nets-for-africa
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Open in g s , Revamps a nd th e L a test Tra vel News
& BEYON D T E N GI LE RI VE R LO D G E, S O U T H A F R I C A In a country known for its outstanding lodges, this property on the bend of the Sand River sets itself apart with its environmentally-conscious design and spectacular views of the Sabi Sand Reserve. Crafted with sustainable materials and nestled in the riverine forest, nine thatched suites (complete with private lap pools and decks) reflect the natural beauty of their surrounds. Open, interactive spaces boast locally-sourced patterned fabrics, art and furniture.
BY RINA CHANDARANA 10
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ON E & ON LY G ORILLA’ S N EST, R WA N D A One&Only offers
Photos courtesy of &Beyond Tengile River Lodge | One&Only Gorilla's Nest | Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel | Ker & Downey Botswana
you the chance to get up-close to mountain gorillas roaming in the breathtaking Virunga Mountains. Grab a front-row seat to one of Africa’s most scenic displays of elephants, lions, exotic birds and primates. And your own kingdom at this lavish property is just as spectacular, with every creature comfort you could desire.
STANLEY & LIV ING STONE BOUT IQUE HOT EL, Z IMBABWE One of Africa’s most beloved destinations is further enhanced by this 16-suite property. The raw beauty of Victoria Falls is a stark contrast to these polished interiors, replete with white subway-tiled en suite bathrooms, botanical-inspired prints and a fresh color scheme. Wind down with an in-room full-body massage after a hard days’ work visiting the majestic falls and observing giraffes and other area wildlife.
KANANA, BOT SWANA The ever-popular Okavango Delta tented camp on the Xudum River has undergone a fancy refurbishment. Taking cues from an explorer theme, seven tents exude the glamour of the 1920s, reimagined in shades of warm gold, deep greys, rich creams, turquoise and crisp whites — and topped with modern-day amenities such as splendid walk-in showers. Annual floods turn the landscape into wetlands dotted with palm islands, best explored by traditional canoes knows as mokoros.
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T HE NEST AT SOSSU S, NAMI B I A
M B A N O MA N OR HOTEL, ZIMB A B W E Victoria Falls has some new competition vying for your attention. This 19-suite boutique property is just down the road from the entrance to the world wonder. Discerning travelers will welcome the high windows, open ceilings and timbered rafters. A veranda places you in the midst of an ancient teak forest where you can spot birds and beasts as you commune with nature.
J AO, BOT SWANA Located on a remote island, the revamped camp is keeping all the good stuff like the high-stilted main area hovering in the trees, with additions such as a spa tucked into the palms for extra seclusion. Plunge into a private pool from one of the two villas or five twins, each outfitted with indoor and outdoor showers. With 150,000 acres of private wilderness, thereâ€™s plenty to see here, including lions, hippos, antelope, and excellent birdwatching too. Twenty minutes from camp, a raised hideout offers you the chance to sleep under the stars and immerse yourself in the sounds of the bush.
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Photos courtesy of The Nest at Sossus | Mbano Manor Hotel | Jao | Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana | Four Seasons | MV Theory
Namibia is already an otherworldly experience and now even more so with the opening of this retreat in the Namib Tsaris Conservancy, conceived by South African designer Porky Hefer. The handiwork of social weaver birds inspires the unique nest-like shape of the exclusive-use villa, eight years in the making. Suites are covered in reeds collected from the Zambezi River, while the interiors are cocoons of comfort and style. If these luxury surroundings arenâ€™t already reason enough to head out there, how about sightings of spotted hyenas, leopards and cheetah at the on-site watering hole?
AROUND THE WORLD
FAIRMONT RIO DE J ANEIRO C OPAC ABANA, BRAZ I L Escape to Brazil’s internationally renowned playground, known for its bronzed bodies and sugary fine sands. Remodeled to Fairmont standards, the stylish 13-floor property offers unrivalled views of Sugarloaf Mountain. Pick up some samba lessons and soak up some rays on the iconic Copacabana beach before kicking back in the luxury spa.
F OU R S E A S ONS A STIR PA L A C E, G RE ECE It’s only 25 minutes from the city center, but this seaside enclave on the Athenian Riviera feels like a world away. Retro-chic rooms open to vistas of the pine-clad peninsula and shimmering seas that would delight even Poseidon. Opt to sail to the ancient Greek god’s temple on the southernmost tip of the Attica Peninsula or dive into his underwater world from one of the property’s three private beaches.
MV T HEORY, G ALAPAG OS The best way to follow Darwin’s footsteps in these famed islands is by luxury yacht. Named after the naturalist's Theory of Evolution, the vessel lives up to its namesake by immersing its guests in nature with panoramic windows (there's even one in the bathroom) and glass-bottom boat excursions to islands inhabited only by sea lions, penguins, and tortoises. Dig into Ecuadorian cuisine on the sundeck; vegetarian and gluten-free travelers will not go hungry thanks to special menus. KE R & DOWN E Y
AROUND THE WORLD
All aboard on AmaWaterways’ newest riverboat AmaMagna, plying the storied waters of the Danube River through Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia. Feel like the captain of the ship from your suite’s private balcony. Exploring storied cities along the route will transport you to simpler times, but expect to find every modern amenity on board, from spacious accommodations with walk-in showers, to a sundeck pool and two spas. Kick off your voyage with a glass of rosé from the wine bar as a musician strums on a violin. Cheers to that.
M A N D A R IN ORIEN TAL WA N G FU J IN G, CHINA Imagine yourself in the stylish shoes of a Beijing socialite at this boutique hotel surrounded by enviable shopping choices. Classic Chinese décor mixes with the contemporary aesthetic in 73 rooms and suites. And while the Mandarin Oriental’s first property in the city is a sparkly reminder of Beijing’s modernity, you don’t have to go far to experience the city’s heritage — the Forbidden City is only a short walk away.
BENSLEY C OLLEC T ION – SHINTA MANI WILD, C AMBODIA Glamping goes to a whole new level as you arrive Indiana Jones style by zip line over a river and waterfalls into Bensley Collection’s luxury tented camp, complete with personal butlers. Inspired by an imaginary safari with Jackie O’ you will feel like one of the first to explore this hidden paradise. Enjoy a range of creative luxury adventure activities, feast on delicious cuisine including local freshly foraged ingredients, relax at the Khmer Tonics Spa and join the Wildlife Alliance anti-poaching rangers and researchers as they check camera points and study the untamed forest and its wildlife inhabitants. 14
K ER & DOW N E Y
Photos courtesy of Amamagna | Mandarin Oriental | The Bensley Collection-Shinta Mani Wild | Alila Villas Koh Russey | Capella Bangkok | Canaves Oia
AMAMAG NA, DANUBE RIV ER
CANAVES OIA, GREECE We don’t really need to give you more excuses to go to Santorini, but this luxury getaway’s brand new villas located in the picturesque village of Imerovigli will give you more of a reason. Prepare to be dazzled. Private infinity pools glisten against the whitewashed palette set against a backdrop of the sparkling blue Caldera and Aegean Seas and fuchsia bougainvillea. Indulge in a candlelit meal on your balcony then drift off into dreams of soaking up more sunshine tomorrow from your king size bed.
C APELLA BANG KOK, T HAI LAND Bangkok’s bustle becomes a distant memory when you are lounging al fresco in this urban oasis. Each suite and villa presents a front-row seat to the Chao Phraya River — a rare feat in such a packed city. The neighborhood, one of the oldest in town, burgeons with a vibrant local arts and restaurant scene. Kick your tension to the curb with a traditional treatment at the Auriga Wellness spa, and savor Thailand’s best cuisine presented by a Michelin-starred chef.
A LILA V I LL A S KOH R U SS E Y, CAM B OD IA Running away from your problems doesn’t sound like a bad idea when the destination is a far-flung island. To reach your ikat-and-hardwood ecoretreat, you’ll have to hop on a boat. There are only 63 pavilions and villas, each with a private pool cocooned in lush jungle. It’s the perfect setting for living out your castaway dreams. KE R & DOWN E Y
PE RU By Elizabeth Frels
MACHU PICCHU’S 15TH-CENTURY INCA CITADEL IS ONE OF THE MOST HEART-STOPPING ATTRACTIONS IN THE WORLD AND CONTINUES TO BE THE MAIN REA SON WHY MANY TRAVELERS VENTURE TO PERU. But given the recent threats to place the ancient site on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger, as well as the country’s continued efforts to limit daily foot traffic, it’s high time you discover Peru for what it really is: a one-stop-shop for every wonder a traveler seeks. Between the Amazonian rainforest and Andes Mountains — not to mention its deserts, beaches, world-class cuisine and pisco liqueur — Peru is a superstar destination beyond its Machu Picchu fame.
The coastal view in Lima from Belmond Miraflores Park
Peru's most famous attraction, Machu Picchu
C A P I TA L C O O L Lima used to be the forced stopover en route to Cusco, but it’s now a must-do during any visit to Peru. Beyond the city’s culinary reputation and internationally lauded restaurants (of which there are many), it’s the back-to-tradition Limeñan taverns, cutting-edge museums and galleries, and graffiti artists that are contributing to Lima’s reinvention as a hip, sophisticated hub. Take in Pacific Ocean views from high-rise accommodations at Belmond Miraflores Park. Stroll with the locals along the El Malecón promenade, visit the recently refurbished MALI (Museo de Arte de Lima) and soak up the trendy vibe of the Barranco neighborhood. True adventurers won’t want to miss the transformational street art in Lima’s seaport of Callao.
SACRED MOM E NT S
The pool at Belmond Palacio Nazarenas in Cusco
The Sacred Valley is a prerequisite for anyone traveling through Peru, especially as it helps acclimate travelers to the impending heights of Cusco. But its importance goes well beyond utility. Encircled by the imposing Andes Mountains, the mysterious valley is a feast for the senses. In the morning, feed the resident baby alpacas of Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado before setting out on a quad-biking adventure through the deserted trails of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Stop for a picnic in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the magnetic energy of the mountains. It’s the perfect place to awaken the spirit with a kintu coca leaf reading or an offering ceremony to Pachamama (Mother Earth).
INTO THE MIS T If Machu Picchu is on your bucket list, there is no better way to travel there than by the glamorous Belmond Hiram Bingham train. If an overnight stay is in order, then Belmond Sanctuary Lodge places you in prime position for being the first in line to experience the morning mists rising over the awe-inspiring ancient city at dawn.
Photos courtesy of iStock | Belmond Hotels
W HITE CITY W O NDE RS Volcano-framed Arequipa — known as the White City — awaits down south. This is the land of alpaca wool, condor-filled skies and epic landscapes. That includes Colca Valley and its renowned canyon, said to be twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States. Travel there by the Belmond Andean Explorer train, South America’s first luxury sleeper train boasting the highest routes in the world. Pisco sour in hand, gaze out the window to trace the shores of Lake Titicaca at sunrise. Make a luxury Casita at Belmond Las Casitas in Colca Canyon your launching point for spotting Andean condors and exploring the valley with its charming villages.
Views of Arequipa, known as the White City.
C O LO R S O F C U S C O Step out from your luxe accommodations at Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, housed in a former convent, to behold the energetic buzz of Cusco, once the capital of the Incan empire. The town of Chinchero is the place to go for beautiful, quality textiles. A local weaving workshop known as Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco (Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco) empowers women to preserve the ancestral art of weaving. Health food lovers will be drawn to the bounty of the colorful Peruvian markets, from Andean grains to Amazonian fruits.
N OT ES F R O M T H E N O R T H Not to be outdone, Northern Peru is equally rich in living cultures and natural wonders. Don’t miss the mighty Amazon, which contributes to Peru’s ranking as one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. From a resident research center or luxury cruise ship, uncover a plethora of pink dolphins, river otters, jaguar, anaconda and 30 species of primates. The true hidden gems of the north, however, are the untouched beaches of Mancora — perfect vantage points for whale watching and indulging in ceviche.
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THE GUIDE Ins ider S ecrets of L ux ury Tra v el
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WIT H GRATI TU D E Everything you ever wanted to know about tipping, but hesitate to ask.
One of the gifts of travel is making connections with the kind and gracious people who go the extra mile to make your trip comfortable, memorable and joyful. One of the most confounding issues — especially on a long trip — is when and what to tip. Like the multitude of customs and cultures you might encounter, etiquette around gratuities varies from country to country. Learning the ins-and-outs of tipping ahead of your journey is an important part of pre-travel prep. Thankfully, Ker & Downey clients receive a personalized tipping sheet, outlining each included service and the suggested tip for that service. It’s important to note that tipping is a very personal decision. America has some of the highest tipping standards in the world, and our guidelines are only a suggestion for your convenience. Always ask your Ker & Downey designer for their insights and tipping advice, so you know what to expect. Here’s a handy guide to some of our most popular destinations.
Photos courtesy of Stanley Livingston Boutique | The Bensley Collection-Shinta Mani Wild
KENYA In Kenya, tipping in USD is acceptable. Most lodges do not convert cash, so be sure to bring enough to cover any gratuity. We suggest tipping $10-$15 per day for game drivers, guides and lodge staff. Most safari properties will distribute tips through a pooled tipping box, usually located in the common area, but personal delivery for exceptional service is also kindly received.
SOUTH AFRICA With a mix of sophisticated urban centers, wine country idylls and some of the world’s most upscale safari lodges, be prepared to match what you’d pay at home for world-class service, usually between 10% and 20%. Tips are preferred in ZAR, the South African Rand.
MOROCCO AND EGYPT After days spent shopping Morocco’s colorful bazaars or adventuring in the desert, you’ll be spoiled with the most exquisite service, including lavish multicourse meals capped by lavish tea service. In Egypt, you’ll get equally amazing treatment as well as total immersion into the country’s history and customs by knowledgeable docents, whether you’re sailing the Nile in a traditional Dahabiya
boat or touring the great pyramids. In Egypt, giving a $10-$15 gratuity is the appropriate way thank your guides, servers, porters and butlers. Moroccans prefer Dihrams, converting to 100200 MAD per day.
TIPPING ON SAFARI OR TREKKING EXPEDITION
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
Going into the wild in style is one of travel’s most gratifying experiences. Often, you’ll bond with guides and staff, making the journey richer with these treasured human connections. When preparing for your bucket list adventure, expect to spend 10% of your overall costs in tips. Here’s a rough guide in US dollars.
Gratuities are not customary. In a fine dining establishment or luxury lodge, you can tip 10% for exceptional service, but it isn’t expected.
INDIA While USD is accepted, it’s a good idea to have some Indian Rupees (INR) on hand for gratuities. Depending on the service, plan on 500-2,000 INR per day.
JAPAN Tipping is simply not a part of Japanese culture. An effusive thank you will suffice. Here are three ways to say it: Arigatou = Thanks (very casual). Doumo arigatou = Thanks a lot (also casual). Arigatou gozaimasu = Thank you (recommended usage, more polite).
CHINA AND HONG KONG Tipping is expected and customary in China and should be done in Chinese yuan (CNY, ¥). Service charges are generally added on to high quality restaurant bills so be sure to check your bill. In global hub Hong Kong, tipping is not customary and may in fact be refused.
GUIDE: $15–$20 per day COOKS: $10 per day PORTERS, BUTLERS: $3-$8 per day TRACKERS, DRIVERS: $3-$10 per day
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SOUTH KOREA As a rule, tipping is not expected whether you’re in Seoul, Jeju Province or bustling Busan. Showing appreciation for exceptional service is often well-received, $5-10 USD per day.
UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND If a service charge appears on your bill in a restaurant or hotel, you needn’t tip. If it doesn’t, 10% to 15% is appropriate for good service. The range is the same (10% to 15% of the fare) for drivers of black taxis and licensed mini cabs. Locals simply round up the nearest £1, telling the driver to keep the change. This is acceptable for you, too.
CROATIA, FRANCE, GERMANY, GREECE Provide a 5% to 10% gratuity for good service, as is customary.
SPAIN Things get a bit confusing in the land of flamenco and mighty fortresses. Spain boasts being one of Europe’s oldest and most diverse cultures, but cultural norms around tipping boil down to one rule—always tip, between 7% and 10%, even when there is a service charge. (Yes, in addition to the service charge.) Gratuities are preferred in Euros.
ICELAND, FINLAND AND SCANDINAVIA A fee for service is usually included in these lands of the great Viking sagas. Tip 10% if there is no service charge.
SECRET S HOP P E R Find the best of the best in the Eternal City.
A high point of any Roman holiday is strolling cobblestone streets in search of treasures, ranging from incredible antiques and artworks to artisanrun boutiques, where you’ll often see makers handcrafting their wares through storefront windows late into the night. Just off-the-grid from heavilytouristed piazzas, D.O.M. Hotel Roma — built by the Gonfalone Fraternity in 15th-century papal Rome — on Via Giulia makes it easy to discover the neighborhood’s most exclusive retail addresses via private shopping, whether you’re looking for the perfect bauble at the Chopard boutique in Via del Babuino or a colorful, bespoke leather handbag at by-appointment-only Maison Halaby on hidden gem Via Monseratto (lined with charming shops like beautifully-curated, must-visit Chez Dede and Poltrone Couture). The boutique’s proprietor, Lebanese designer Gilbert Halaby, offers a warm welcome with tea, coffee or an apertivo, and regales you with stories as he gets to know your taste in the cozy salon decorated with his paintings, textiles and collections. Then he custom-makes the perfect purse. That elevated style of personalized service extends to the hotel, where your retail finds are hand-delivered, so you have ample time to enjoy the on-property resto and bar, Achilli al D.O.M., serving classic Roman dishes as an outpost of Michelin-starred restaurant Achilli al Parlamento. As a rite of summer, the restaurant moves up to the rooftop terrace for the warm season, offering views of the Tiber River and Gianicolo hill, as well as fun cocktails and fresh, farm-to-fork meals.
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SILV E R S T RE AK
Photos courtesy of Away | Zero Haliburton | Tumi | Rimowa | D.O.M. Hotel Roma; StefanoDelia | Guinness
An instant classic calling to mind the travel-worn steamer trunks of yesteryear, aluminum luggage is all the rage. The sturdy material will shield your belongings, but it’s prone to dents over time. Don’t fret: dings and divots are considered the cool traveler’s badge of honor.
Guaranteed for a lifetime of use at a price point ideal for building a set. Created especially for frequent fliers, this roomy scene-stealer meets every airline criterion.
AWAY The Bigger Carry On: Aluminum Edition $495 | awaytravel.com
Tumi 19 Degree Aluminum Short Trip Packing Case | $1,195 | tumi.com
A piece designed to last generations from the company that started the aluminum trend. Rimowa Original Trunk S | $1,600 | rimowa.com
Channel your inner James Bond with this sleek number by a brand whose cases carried moon rocks from the Apollo 11 mission. Zero Halliburton Geo Aluminum 3.0 International Carry-On | $950 | zerohalliburton.com KE R & DOWN E Y
H OT PLATES Foodies are flocking to Mexico, where one of the most beloved global cuisines is reaching new heights with celebrated chefs and bold, local flavors. These are the dining experiences we’re craving right now.
MANTA, THE CAPE HOTEL Cabo San Lucas When Mexico City–born chef Enrique Olvera opened Pujol in his hometown in 2000, he immediately garnered acclaim for his innovative contemporary takes on his country’s traditional fare, making it one of the top restaurants in the world. Now with restaurants throughout the city as well as New York, his first foray into resorts has been at The Cape Hotel in Los Cabos. He has handled all of the property’s food and beverage offerings since its opening in 2015, including its signature restaurant, Manta. The 114-seat space was designed by architect Javier Sánchez and interior designer Marisabel Gómez Vázquez to provide a modern, view-focused backdrop for Olvera’s ever-changing menu based mostly around the local seafood. Expect traditional regional fare with flourishes inspired by Peru and Japan, such as sashimi with aji Amarillo, sesame, and wasabi and mushroom ramen with epazote, beans, and pasilla mixe. Whether seated inside next to the floor-to-ceiling glass windows or outside on the patio, each seat takes advantage of the stunning coastal backdrop and ocean views. Since the property is centrally located
among the region’s other fine resorts, it’s an easy jaunt from any of the area’s other properties for dinner or casual cocktails and tapas.
CENTENA CUATRO, HOTEL CARTESIANO Puebla Founded in 1531, Puebla has roots as the first “perfect” colonial city in the Americas. Located at the center of the country and surrounded by three volcanoes and 365 churches, it’s the ideal spot to take in a combination of art, history, culture and the renowned Poblano cuisine, some of which is best discovered at the Hotel Cartesiano’s signature restaurant Centena Cuatro. Chef Antonio Trillo oversees the international menu, which considers the culinary traditions of the four centuries since the city was founded. The space serves meals throughout the day, starting with breakfast items like Hidden Eggs, featuring baked tortillas stuffed with eggs and covered with beans, chorizo, and local cheese, and dinner items like Rib Jack barbecue and mole-wrapped stuffed chicken with toasted sesame.
Photos: Top: Coastal views from Manta; Middle left: Mushroom ramen from Manta; Middle Right: The patio at Centena Cuatro; Bottom: Minimal Mexican accents decorate Careyes Club & Residences
The hotel is one of the latest properties from the Hamak Hotel group, known for their bespoke properties that merge luxury with culture, such as the Chablé Resort and Spa in the Yucatán and Casa San Augustine in Cartagena.
Careyes Ever since the El Careyes Club and Residences debuted in 2017 after an extensive renovation that saw a total redevelopment of its accommodations, common areas, and grounds, Careyes — celebrating its 50th year — has been attracting a new slew of bohemian-minded visitors flocking to its coast. They're coming for the stunning beaches, pristine rainforests, the community’s remarkable signature architecture and music and spiritual festivals like Ondalinda, happening each November. With the new attention, the region’s best restaurants are also making names for themselves. The private Restaurant at the El Careyes Club features a broad mix of Mexican-influenced dishes in the quiet, beachfront setting of the hotel. Just outside the gates of the community, Pueblo 25, with its bright pink façade, offers global cuisine using local ingredients from the nearby farms and fresh catches of the day. Hosting just 24 guests, the intimate venue also boasts a boutique wine cellar and tasting room. Finally, further away from the town, in a setting all its own, Casa de Nada offers a rustic experience in a secluded beachfront setting to dine on a range of options, from Mexican to Mediterranean to vegetarian. Go at sunset, dine by torchlight and mingle with chic Careyes locals. 22
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Photos courtesy of The Cape Hotel; Maureen Evans | Hotel Cartesiano Caryes: Bibiana
RESTAURANT AT CAREYES CLUB AND RESIDENCES, PUEBLO 25, AND CASA DE NADA
DESTINATIONS T he Wor l d of Ker & Downey
Taj Mahal, Agra
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AFRICA REPUBLIC OF CONGO Go where so few have been in search of the western lowland gorillas.
K E N YA Go horseback riding at Solio Lodge in Laikipia or quad biking at Sasaab in Samburu National Reserve.
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REPUBLIC OF CONGO
M A DAG AS C A R
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S E YC H E L L E S
TA N Z A N I A U G A N DA
U G A N DA Cruise along the Nile in Murchinson Falls on a boat safari.
TA N Z A N I A
Photos courtesy of iStock | Odzala | Blue Safari
Fly high over the Serengeti on a scenic hot-air balloon ride.
M AU R I T I U S Swim with dolphins in the turquoise waters surrounding this island paradise.
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A tribesman in the Omo Valley
FORGOTTEN LANDS Long overlooked by tourists, Ethiopia’s rich history, architecture, wildlife and rugged landscapes make it a destination not to be missed. By Rina Chandarana
ith undeniable mystique, Ethiopia’s history is one of the planet’s most profound and captivating tales, matched only by the country’s deeply diverse natural gifts. Old customs remain unchanged in tiny villages dotted with thatched-roof huts — a stark contrast to the frenetic pace and traffic of the capital city, Addis Ababa. In the Omo Valley alone, there are 18 different tribes, each with unique painted body art, beaded jewelry and garments. Close to 100 different languages are spoken across this landlocked nation. It’s also home to “Lucy,” one of the world’s most renowned early human ancestors whose 3.2 millionyear-old skeleton was found in the Awash Valley in 1974. According to local lore, ancient Ethiopia’s Queen of Sheba bore King Solomon a son, Menelik I. In the 10th century B.C. he established the first Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia, which lasted until the 1974 deposition of Emperor Haile Selassie. Legend also has it that the stolen Ark of the Covenant, said to contain the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, now resides in Aksum’s Chapel of the Tablet. Despite the unknown validity of this claim — and the fact that no one is allowed inside to see the revered relics — the site is still a pilgrim magnet. Though Ethiopia is predominantly Christian, a number of faiths live here side by side.
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UNESCO-listed 13th-century Biete Ghiorgis
Photos courtesy of iStock
he shadowy interiors of ancient rock churches are a canvas of frescoes. A pre-dawn Amharic prayer lilts into the sky, along with the billowing smoke from jangling gold incense burners swung by wizened priests. Flickering candles cast a warm glow on worshippers dressed in flowing, white robes, as they bow to touch their foreheads to golden Orthodox crosses. Strength of faith is as sturdy as the crossshaped 13th-century Biete Ghiorgis, one of 11 UNESCO-listed hand-carved rock churches in the northern town of Lalibela. It’s nearly a miracle that men (or angels, as the story goes) were able to chisel such magnificent and massive places of worship, each one linked by narrow tunnels.
More than 300 slender, pastel-hued alleys wind through the fortified city of Harar, where a towering wall shields more than 100 mosques, some dating back to the 10th century. Because of its proximity to the Arabian Peninsula, this city was once a center of Islamic learning. At dusk, hyenas scavenge for food in the city streets, but by the day the lanes are a hive of activity. Peddlers squat behind sacks overflowing with paprika, lentils and chickpeas, and colorfully clad women carry equally vibrant woven baskets on their heads. An old man, cane in hand, lounges on a stoop near a mosque topped with four mint-hued minarets, as a bajaj, or motorized rickshaw, darts past. The sound of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer and the whirring of a tailor’s sewing machine both add to the cacophony.
The colorful city of Harar
The rounded turrets of the northern city Gondar’s castles rise towards the heavens. Emperors and princesses called this royal city home for nearly nine centuries, earning it the nickname of Ethiopia’s Camelot.
PRO TIP! Go in January to experience the celebration of Ethiopia’s Timkat festival. You will see singing, dancing and Orthodox priests carrying vibrant umbrellas and replicas of the Ark of the Covenant. - Jamie Bell, Designer
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Ethiopia's famous gelada monkey
The Ethiopian Rift Valley cuts through the country from the Red Sea to Kenya, and contains some of the world’s oldest lakes. In the northwest highlands, Lake Tana, a UNESCO site, is the source of the Blue Nile. The region is also home to important 13th-century Ethiopian Orthodox churches and monasteries. Erected in the 18th century, the Narga Selassie church on Dek Island is simple on the outside, but stunningly ornate inside. A uniquely African take on Christianity abounds in its depictions of lions, ibex, acacia trees and negarit drums, alongside tanned images of angels and saints. Visitors are in for a surprise at Ethiopia’s wealth of wildlife. Social troops of gelada monkeys screech in the high grasslands. Elusive Ethiopian wolves, antelopes and African leopards roam the lichen-laden rocks, streams and blankets of wild flowers carpeting Bale Mountains National Park in the Ethiopian Highlands. Even more mysterious is the blackmaned lion prowling the misty Harenna Forest. Whatever you do, don’t miss the country’s distinct and delicious cuisine. Gently tear and roll up a delicate, spongy injera — a staple flatbread — and wrap it around a big mouthful of mesir wat (lentil stew). You are going to need some serious sustenance to get through all of Ethiopia’s offerings.
The Nubian pyramids in Sudan
ADD A VISIT TO SUDAN Geographically, Ethiopia and Sudan are next-door neighbors, but they couldn’t be more different. We suggest pairing the two countries in one journey, allowing you to also dig into Sudan’s ancient history. Built during the ancient Kushite kingdom, the Nubian pyramids are sparsely visited, leaving you as one of the few — aside from archaeologists — to marvel at the remarkably preserved tombs. KE R & DOW N E Y
B O T S WA N A
B OT SWA N A Bring generations of family together on an ultra-private safari at an exclusive-use camp.
NAMIBIA Visit the Himba people, an ancient, indigenous tribe known for intricate hairstyles and traditional jewelry.
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M OZ A M B I Q U E Dive, snorkel and swim in the aquamarine waters surrounding the Bazaruto and Quirimbas archipelagoes.
Photos courtesy of San Camp | Nuarro Beach Lodge | Lion Sands
Count zebras, lions and hippos on a guided walking safari in South Luangwa National Park.
SOUTH AFRICA Enjoy a delicious private dinner in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.
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On a walking safari in Zambia
WALK OF LIFE A Zambian company invests in the protection of South Luangwa National Park and its surrounding communities, all while creating the premier destination for wildly authentic walking safaris. By Haley Beham
here is scarcely a place in Africa as simultaneously wild and untamed as Zambia. The nearly 300,000-square-mile nation boasts 20 national parks, yet only a fraction of the tourists seen in its neighboring countries. With plentiful wildlife and a reputation for the continent’s top guides, a safari in Zambia is as authentic as they come. South Luangwa National Park is relatively untouched by man and employs fierce conservation practices. As a result, it’s teeming with wildlife. The Luangwa River is the lifeblood of the park, with large numbers of a variety of species, including zebras, lions, elephants and Africa’s highest concentration of leopards gathering around its tributaries and oxbow lagoons. The best way to experience this pristine corner of the world is on a walking safari. Here in one of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries, the wilderness is so unspoiled, it’s as if you’re blazing trails for the first time. And no one delivers a better walking safari in this unsung destination than The Bushcamp Company.
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Local elephants walking through the lobby at Mfuwe Losge
Founded in 1999 by Zambia native Andy Hogg and Italian-Malawian Andrea Bizzaro, The Bushcamp Company offers intimate safaris spread throughout the southern portion of the park in remote locations far from other tourists. From a main lodge to six exclusive bush camps (each accommodating no more than eight guests), the result is a highly personalized experience. Mfuwe Lodge is The Bushcamp Company’s award-winning 18-chalet heart, set in an area of the park renowned for its prolific game. Giraffes, hippos, buffalo, antelopes and crocodiles are frequent visitors to Mfuwe’s lagoon, just below the lodge. But it’s best known for a group of local elephants that walks up the stairs and through the lobby every November to get to the wild mangoes growing nearby. Herds of these curious and seemingly friendly elephants can reach up to 70 strong, a number that speaks to the park’s conservation practices.
Walking safari through South Luangwa National Park at sunset
Each of The Bushcamp Company’s six unique bush camps tastefully blends luxury with a traditional aesthetic that celebrates the spirit of safari pioneers. Chamilandu’s chalets, for example, are set on stilts, while Bilimungwe’s lie under majestic mahogany trees and embody the feeling of a slow safari. Chindeni is set on the edge of a permanent lagoon and has won awards from Condé Nast Traveler as a top resort, not only in Africa, but the world. The camps are stylish, but the main focus is on the guides and safari experience itself.
GREY MATTERS “Wear an Ele. Help save an elephant.”
Created by Andy Hogg, The ELE Collection was inspired by the elephants that walk through Mfuwe Lodge each November in search of wild mangoes. Each pendant can be customized with ethically-sourced diamonds, rubies, Zambian emeralds, silver and gold. Proceeds from the jewelry sales fund two different projects: Conservation South Luangwa’s wildlife programs, including anti-poaching programs, de-snaring, aerial surveillance and detection dogs; and The Bushcamp Company’s “Commit to Clean Water” project in the local community. 34
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Bottom photos: Left: Chamilandu's chalet with a view; Right: Africa's highest concentration of leopards can be found in Zambia
"from a vehicle you see africa. on foot you feel, hear and smell africa ."
The camps all lie within 60 miles of Mfuwe Lodge. They’re the only properties in the area, so you won’t see any other vehicles traversing the region. Intrepid travelers can also make a walking circuit between the camps. South Luangwa National Park offers a diversity of experiences from canoeing to night drives. And while game drives are on offer to round out your experiences at each camp, the main event takes place on foot. Their motto, "From a vehicle you see Africa. On foot you feel, hear and smell Africa," shapes their approach to the safari. The guiding principle of The Bushcamp Company is a commitment to the wildlife and the people in South Luangwa. Since its beginning, The Bushcamp Company has made it a priority to provide tourism’s benefits to the people of Zambia and to educate them on the benefits of conservation. Currently, The Bushcamp Company sponsors, funds and organizes projects that promote better education, health and employment for the people living in the remote areas around the properties. They sponsor students, pay teachers’ salaries and have built classrooms and staff housing. In addition to sponsoring 350 local schoolchildren, they feed more than 2,000 students each day, which has contributed to improved concentration, energy and overall health. They even take local children on game drives. Is there a better way to teach children about the benefits of conservation than showing them the purpose? The company’s commitment to Zambians doesn’t end there. In 2014, it started the “Commit to Clean Water” project to drill boreholes in remote villages to provide safe, clean drinking water. They support a tree-planting program which adds approximately 500 trees a year; they raise funds to assist anti-snaring patrols through the sale of curios made by local craftsmen from snare-wire retrieved from the bush; it employs solar technology throughout its properties; and it donated a light aircraft used for surveillance and monitoring to Conservation South Luangwa, a privately-funded charitable organization that works with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to reduce the conflict between humans and wildlife.
Photos courtesy of The Bushcamp Company
Download The Bushcamp Company's app before your trip for photographs, sounds, and facts about the wildlife of South Luangwa National Park. dykapp.com
The Bushcamp Company’s impact on the local wildlife and communities of South Luangwa National Park is far-reaching, resulting in a wildlife sanctuary that continues to offer an unrivaled safari experience for generations to come.
- Haley Beham, Web Marketing Coordinator KE R & DOWN E Y
NORTH AFRICA & MIDDLE EA ST U N I T E D A R A B E M I R AT E S As the sun melts into the horizon, set out in search of nocturnal desert creatures while learning about astronomy.
E GY P T Enjoy a traditional Nubian dinner aboard a private felucca sailboat, followed by a drum-and-dance performance on shore.
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Q ATA R
S U DA N
J O R DA N
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M O R O CCO Dip fresh bread into amlou (an almond, argan and honey spread), then wash it down with fragrant mint tea.
Photos courtesy of iStock | Qasr Al Sarab | Sanctuary Sun Boat IV
Wander through picturesque villages in Wadi Bani Khalid and climb the vast sand dunes outside Muscat.
J O R DA N Explore Petra and Wadi Rum while mountain biking through the desert.
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A woman exploring Hassan II Mosque
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NORTH AFRICA Discover Morocco and Tunisia on a voyage deep into their colorful cultures, captivating cities and sweeping deserts. By Rina Chandarana
MOROCCO From mountains to deserts and sea, Moroccoâ€™s geography is blessed with diversity. Its cities entice with modern museums, flavor-packed cuisine and maze-like medinas.
CITY S TR EETS Start your journey in Casablanca, made famous by the film of the same name in which Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman left an indelible mark on our imaginations. Today the city is a modern commercial center, yet a stroll along downtownâ€™s Rue Mohammed V will lead you to a world of Art Deco colonial-era buildings. The seaside Hassan II Mosque, which can accommodate 25,000 worshippers, is worth a visit for its soaring minaret and grandeur.
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Shop for colorful textiles in Marrakesh’s legendary Souk.
"Get lost in technicolor lanes chock-full of tiny shops selling everything from rugs to bulbous brass lanterns that glimmer in dustspeckled light." The legendary city of Marrakesh is known for its bold colors and boisterous markets. Get lost in technicolor lanes chock-full of tiny shops selling everything from rugs to bulbous brass lanterns that glimmer in dust-speckled light. Tall wicker baskets overflow with dried cactus flowers in shades of turquoise, yellow and red. Have your hands adorned in swirling henna at a local party, where artists will tell you the patterns are symbols of good luck for your journey onwards.
B ER B ER CULTUR E
Once Morocco has whetted your appetite, move on to Tunisia.
TUNISIA PRO TIP! For at least one meal, ask your guide to take you to a truly local place in Marrakesh. It’s a completely different experience than any tourist restaurant will provide. - Tiffany Dunn, Sales Manager
Tunisia has a split personality, but in the best of ways. Culturally, this nation has one foot in Europe and the other in the Maghreb, and a coveted spot between the Saharan sands and the Mediterranean Sea.
PRES ENT MEETS PAS T Gazing at the grandeur of Tunisia’s Art Deco buildings, you’ll feel like you’re in France — the country was a French protectorate in the first half of the 20th century — but wandering the UNESCO-listed medina transports you into an alluring world of Islamic architecture and culture. This combination makes the capital city of Tunis a feast for the senses. Banter in French and Arabic, and search the fragrant souks for decanters of jasmine oil and babouches, the traditional leather shoes with pointed, curved toes. Follow the tanta-
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lizing scent of shisha wafting from tiny cafes, where pine nuts and sprigs of fresh mint bob on the surface of piping hot cups of tea served on arabesque trays. Dare yourself to eat just one almond-stuffed baklava. Find the studded arched doors and the angular minaret of the 8th-century Ez-Zitouna Mosque within the labyrinth of twisted streets. History buffs will make a beeline for the Bardo National Museum in the suburbs of Le Bardo, home to one of the world’s largest collections of Roman mosaics. Just outside the city is Carthage, an ancient seaside city on a hilly peninsula and the former capital of a powerful trading empire. Established by Phoenicians and revived by Romans under Julius Caesar after its destruction in the Punic wars, the crumbling ruins offer views fit for a king.
Photos courtesy of iStock | Andrew Littmann
Tucked in the palm-fringed Skoura oasis between the Atlas Mountains and the southern desert, the 19th-century kasbah-turned-luxury hotel Dar Ahlam is just the spot for escaping the modern world. Five acres of Edenic gardens entice you to take a stroll, or indulge in a leisurely picnic fit for a sultan.
The coastal town of Sidi Bou Said
N AT URAL AP PEA L Tunisia’s compact size makes it easy to shift from sea to sand. The dunes of the Sahara undulate across a large expanse of the country. As the sun sets, the rippling sands transform into an endless canvas of varying shades of apricot. The best way to witness this glorious display is from a desert tent under a blanket of twinkling stars. It may be difficult to get your bearings in the endless Sahara, but the desert nomads seem to have an internal compass embedded in their DNA. Tiny towns sprout up in the oases. Freshwater springs trickle from canyons. Crack open a freshly plucked pomegranate in Touzeur, a green jewel of fig trees and banana groves. Thousands of palm trees form a natural shield against the scorching sun. Painted ceramics dry on red rugs. Leaves are crushed into thick henna paste. Life is beautiful, even in harsh places. The country’s postcard-perfect coast is hard to ignore. You’ll want to quickly free your feet from shoes and frolic in the gentle surf. The town of Sidi Bou Said in northern Tunisia is an idyllic haven of blue shutters, azulejo-tiled restaurants and bright bougainvillea climbing whitewashed walls, all with dazzling seascapes. The clifftop village, arguably one of Tunisia’s most beautiful, still bears the influence of Moors who fled from Andalusia between the 15th and early 17th centuries. When you arrive, you’ll never want to leave.
"Tunisia’s postcardperfect coast is hard to ignore. You’ll want to quickly free your feet from shoes and frolic in the gentle surf."
B H U TA N
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M YA N M A R
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K A Z A K H S TA N
JA PA N Sample traditional dishes with a multicourse kaiseki dinner in a luxurious ryokan.
INDIA Relax with Ayurvedic treatments in Kerala while enjoying one of the many local festivals.
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S R I L A N KA Visit one of the national parks for birdwatching or wildlife viewing and catch glimpses of Asian elephants and leopards.
N E PA L Soar over Mount Everest during a scenic, hour-long light aircraft flight.
Photos courtesy of iStock
Take in the Naadam festival of traditional sports in the summer.
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Kalta Minor Minaret in Ichan Qala, Khiva
A DIFFERENT WORLD Take a detour away from the average vacation destination and head to Uzbekistan, once the epicenter of the Silk Road. Ker & Downey Designer Nicole Porto explains why you should embark on an enchanting journey to this Central Asian country.
As told to Rina Chandarana
Open a page of One Thousand and One Nights and it is not outlandish to imagine that Scheherazade's tales of flying carpets, princesses in opulent palaces, and genies trapped in lamps are set against Uzbekistan's magical landscapes. My wish was to see it all with my own eyes. My journey started in Uzbekistan’s capital of Tashkent and continued by private transfer to each of the country’s many Silk Road stops — a luxurious option compared to those of days gone by, when traders would have traversed the terrain by camel and horse.
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Photos courtesy of iStock: UlyssePixel | Ozbalci|
Photos: Top: Necropolis of Shah-iZinda in Samarkand; Bottom left: Walking to the Poi Kalyan square in Bukhara; Right: Crafting a traditional rug by hand
erchants traveling through Uzbekistan on the ancient Silk Road that connected Asia, Europe and Africa not only brought sugar, spices, gemstones and rugs, but also the cultures and beliefs of faraway lands which converged in the cities of Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva. It was this merging of civilizations that made Uzbekistan’s centers important to trade, while philosophy, mathematics and religious studies flourished in the schools known as madrasahs. Famous invaders dreamed of controlling this geographic bull’s-eye, including Ghengis Khan and Alexander the Great. But it was the indomitable Turco-Mongol conqueror Tamerlane (known as Timur), founder of the Timurid Empire spanning Persia and Central Asia, whose influence is apparent in the county’s 14th-century Islamic-influenced architectural delights: think mosques with rounded minarets rimmed with tiled bands, and a plethora of bulbous domes dotting city skylines. On one Samarkand arch I spied an inscription left behind by Timur, “If you have any doubt about our power, look at our buildings.” Uzbekistan’s architectural know-how was so impressive that its influence carried into Iran and India, where Timur’s descendants formed the Mughal empire and built the world-renowned Taj Mahal. Even in death, the conqueror is surrounded by opulence. His final resting place, the UNESCO World Heritage site Gūr-i Amīr (which translates to “Tomb of the Commander”) in Samarkand, is a stunning design feat boasting gold inscriptions on its walls and an aquamarine tiled dome. Stalls spilling over with jewelry, silk carpets and pottery offer a glimpse into what these markets throughout the country must have looked like so long ago. Sellers call out from behind heaps of dried nuts and bolts of brocade-patterned and paisley fabric colored with saffron dye — not only to haggle, but to also to share their pride in Uzbekistan’s profound history.
The copious swirls, arches and restored geometric patterns seen in the country’s distinct architecture vie for my attention and lead me into some type of daze. Looking closely, I spot a Chinese dragon and Persian bird, symbolic of Uzbekistan’s cross-cultural influences, plastered in tile in Bukhara’s Abdulaziz-Khan Madrasah. To this day, students still learn about Uzbekistan’s rich heritage of ceramics, textiles and miniature paintings. At one of the city’s markets I unfurl a 1912 black-andwhite photograph of tradesmen in long robes, white turbans wrapped around their heads, the Kalyan minaret rising behind them. The city’s voluptuous blue domes, cloaked in delicate tulips and lotus decorations, punctuate the sky, creating a swath of turquoise, aqua, azure and cobalt. Immersing myself in local customs, I pay a visit to newlyweds in Bukhara. Wearing a long red tunic embroidered with golden threads and a beaded hat atop her dark hair, a new bride greets me at the door of her home with a welcoming hug. She leads me towards a table covered in a spread of nuts, candies and dumplings. There’s also freshly baked bread to sop up steaming bowls of home-cooked stews ladled onto dill-covered noodles. The ingredients in these dishes — cumin, cinnamon and Persian barberries — are symbolic of the many cultures that have passed through this land. The bride and her relatives perform a traditional dance as I clap and sip on a cup of green tea served in a glazed cup painted with blue and white curls — a typical Uzbek design depicting powdery puffs of cotton, the country’s main cash crop. It seems nothing in this land is without a punch of pattern and color. This place is vivid, living history — a glorious kaleidoscope of life.
Leave plenty of time to wander the open-air museum that is Khiva and enjoy a pot of ginger-lemon tea in Terrassa Café. - Nicole Porto, Designer
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UN I TED STATES
A R I ZO N A
H AWA I I Learn how to make a lei, the traditional flower garland used to welcome visitors to these Pacific Islands.
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Photos courtesy of iStock | Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Goodman
Take a walk amidst the otherworldly landscape of Sedonaâ€™s Vermilion Cliffs.
N E W YO R K Soar above the city that never sleeps in a private helicopter.
WYO M I N G Witness a birds' eye view of Jackson Hole National Park in a private hot air balloon ride.
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Exploring the Sedona desert
WANDER WELL America’s iconic destination spas are the perfect complement to rugged exploration. Go west for your next reboot. By Katy Heerssen
Nothing deepens your earth-body connection like a journey blending the best of nurture and nature. Pack your bags for a spa getaway amid the Southwest’s celebrated natural landscapes.
ARIZONA “The desert does something to me!” is something I’ve been known to exclaim whenever I visit Arizona. It might be the clear, dry air, or the landscape of dramatic monuments — or maybe it’s just the quiet vibe of the ancient lands and stones with millions of years’ worth of stories to tell. It’s the kind of place that begs you to get back to basics and find your bliss.
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MII AMO | SEDONA Secluded in the shadow of Sedona’s famous red rock spires, Mii amo’s awardwinning spa treatments offer decadence in the desert. Boynton Canyon is the backdrop for soulful therapies, meditation and yoga practice. Included on the menu: Native American-inspired arts, Reiki healing techniques, aural photography and hypnosis.
PRO TIP! Go inward in the great outdoors. Taking a shaman-led hike not only connects you to Native American culture, but also offers immersive walking meditation. - Catherine Brown, Designer
Relaxing spa treatments await at Miraval
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DON’T MISS | Pair your Arizona spa getaway with an exclusive visit to the Grand Canyon. We recommend the easy access of a private helicopter and the fantastic views of multicolored, timeworn ridges seen from above. Touch down to explore, taking a canyon-rim hike or a biking tour with your private guide — transformative experiences set against the backdrop of this magnificent natural wonder.
MIRAVAL | TUCSON Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and the stunning Sonoran Desert have informed the Life in Balance spa menu at Miraval, a luxurious retreat near the Santa Catalina Mountains. Try the Qi Grounding treatment, a melding of acupuncture and craniosacral therapy designed to return your mind and body to its true center. Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon
CALIFORNIA In the United States, California is the mecca of look-good, feel-good culture. Forgetting the Golden State’s renowned celebrity glamour (and celebrity doctors), we suggest cruising up the storied coastline to embrace nature at its most spectacular. Santa Barbara and Monterey County are well-known havens of spa luxury, where you can pair good vibes with great views.
SALT CAVE | SANTA BARBARA Descend into a shimmering underground cave clad top-to-bottom in pink Himalayan salt imported from Pakistan. From the finely ground salts covering the floor to the micro-particles that permeate the air, this entire space promotes healing through body treatments and yoga practice. Slip into a sound therapy session featuring crystal singing bowls and gongs, designed to resonate deep into your heart and soul.
POST RANCH INN | BIG SUR
Photos courtesy of Unsplash_ivana Cajina | Mii amo | Miraval | Post Ranch Inn
The emerald hills and azure waters surrounding Post Ranch Inn beckon you to surrender to serenity. Ker & Downey Designer Devon Chapman describes the property as “the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.” The inn’s spa menu features intuitive healing arts therapies, fire ceremonies and skin treatments with ingredients sourced from the California coast. Try the wildflower face-and-body treatment, infused with local lavender, rose, jasmine and calendula essences.
Views of the Pacific from Post Ranch Inn
DON’T MISS | A scenic drive along Pacific Coast Highway connects Santa Barbara to Big Sur and beyond, and will further immerse you in the beauty of the region. Take a private marine wildlife cruise through the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the country's largest federally protected marine sanctuary. When your coastal explorations are through, head inland to explore Yosemite National Park's towering granite cliffs, dramatic waterfalls and old-growth forests of giant sequoias.
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SET ON 600 ACRES OF PRIVATE LANDS, THE WILD WONDER OF THE DESERT SURROUNDING THIS PROPERTY IS ALL YOURS.
The sprawling desert emcompasses Amangiri
Inside the massage room at Amangiri
UTAH The quintessential Wild West allure of Utah’s natural wonders inspired filmmakers like John Ford and John Wayne time and again. Sweeping landscapes and alien rock formations still hold plenty of secrets, if you’re adventurous enough to seek them out.
AMANGIRI | CANYON POINT Much of the magic at Amangiri comes from its incredible access to Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Slot Canyon and Monument Valley. Set on 600 acres of private lands, the wild wonder of the desert surrounding this property is all yours. This ancient Navajo land has inspired the Amangiri Spa, with treatments rooted in the Earth’s four elements of earth, fire, wind and water. Yoga practice is illuminated by candles (or moonlight for special evening sessions), while immersive wraps made with local red clay and blue aloe are designed to nourish your skin. In all, some 25,000 square feet of spa space awaits, including a separate water pavilion lined with stones and positioned as if hewn directly out of the canyon rock.
DON’T MISS | Your close proximity to the nearby national parks and natural lands means ample outdoor activity. Float down the Colorado River through Glen Canyon or hop in a Hummer to discover the soaring sandstone cliffs and sacred slot canyons of the region. With Ker & Downey, you are invited on a horseback ride to Raven's Nest for a private dinner and reception with a Navajo tribal elder.
Contact the designers at Ker & Downey to tailor your vision of a customized wellness journey through the American West.
Photos courtesy of Amangiri
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LATIN AMERICA CHILE Float right out the front door of your riverfront fly-fishing retreat, set along the banks of the Rio Palena.
PA N A M A Connect with Panamaâ€™s Congo culture and discover its African roots in Portobelo with a percussion workshop alongside a local drumming troupe.
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C O S TA R I C A
N I C A R AG UA
PA N A M A
G A L A PA G O S
U R U G U AY
CO LO M B I A
G U AT E M A L A
BRAZIL Paddle down Ushuaia’s Lasiphashai River into the Beagle Channel in your own inflatable canoe to view stunning wildlife.
Visit a tobacco farm and watch a cigar-rolling demonstration while sipping on locally distilled rum.
E C UA D O R
Photos courtesy of iStock | El Otro Lado | Rio Palena Lodge
Catch a bird’s-eye view of the mainland during a stunning helicopter overflight between Quito and the Andes Mountains.
BRAZIL Hop onboard a private boat charter around the Bay of Paraty to see its 365 islands — one for each day of the year.
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Guests prepare for a rainforest walk at Lapa Rios Lodge
SUSTAINABLE STYLE Find smart luxury close to home. By Elizabeth Frels
As a leader in luxury travel, Ker & Downey is constantly scouring the globe for new trends. Here, we uncover a true ecological leader in the sustainable luxury hotels of the Cayuga Collection. Not too long ago, sustainable luxury was the buzzy term of the travel industry, with a slew of green credentials, LEED certifications and towel-reuse programs riding in its marketable wake. Eco-friendly resorts popped up in droves, and farm-to-table cuisine became the norm. While sustainable luxury is here to stay — and for good reason — we at Ker & Downey believe in providing experiences that are bigger than a catchphrase, and more transformative than a trend. What we pursue for our travelers is a kind of intelligent luxury that means adopting innovative practices — even when they’re not the easiest or the most lucrative — and breaking the barrier between guest and host to create truly authentic interactions. But where can one find this type of intelligent luxury in its most purest form? We have searched high and low for the answers and have found a perfect example right under our noses.
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An airy suite at the Harmony Hotel
Enter The Cayuga Collection. The Cayuga Collection has been leading the way for sustainable travel in Central America for more than 15 years. It didn’t jump onboard when came into style; it paved the way for it.
There are no surprises here, as the current global trend seeks to eliminate plastic straws. Yet the Cayuga Collection banned single-use plastics more than a decade ago and has been utilizing compostable bamboo straws ever since. What’s more, at Latitude 10° Resort in Santa Teresa, you are encouraged to take a hotel beach bag and use it to collect plastic, not shells. You can then exchange your bag of collected beach plastic for a cocktail at the hotel bar. That’s what we call a feel-good drink.
We had the chance to experience many of the Cayuga Collection’s conservation practices firsthand in Costa Rica this year. What we saw went well beyond green technology and organic food. We discovered intelligent luxury at its most refined and a paradise found for today’s environmentally conscious traveler. Here are the many ways the Cayuga Collection is “walking the talk” and defining intelligent luxury for the rest of the world. 60
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Bamboo straws have replaced plastic
Photos courtesy of The Cayuga Collection
Cayuga’s nine luxury eco-lodges and hotels are some of our favorites in the region. Tucked away in the most isolated corners of Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, each hotel is committed to protecting and preserving the communities and ecosystems surrounding it.
No Plastics Allowed
"We discovered intelligent luxury at its most refined, and a paradise found for today’s environmentally conscious traveler."
Sunsets light up the sky at Pacaya
Reforestation Fun Twenty years ago, Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort in Manuel Antonio was a plantain farm — far from the lush rainforest it is today. That’s because the hotel has successfully reforested the area, planting 7,000 native trees and thousands of endemic plants. The complimentary Plant a Tree program at Arenas del Mar encourages staff and hotel guests to contribute to this ongoing reforestation initiative. Guests of all ages can plant a tree to aid in reforestation
Behind-the-Scenes Green There are no staff-only areas at Cayuga hotels. In fact, you’re encouraged to interact with the staff (who are all local) and to witness how we’re all a part of something bigger. Whether it’s the family of biogasproducing pigs at Lapa Rios Lodge, the 100-percent Costa Rican biodegradable bath amenities or the many onsite organic gardens, you will experience firsthand how the staff’s responsible tourism practices are actively contributing to the sustainable development of rural areas across Central America, and hopefully, the world.
Local organic famer at the Harmony Hotel
Dock to Dish If you see a restaurant in the tropics serving “fresh” salmon or blueberry pancakes, you’re right to be suspicious. In Central America especially, you’re encouraged to ask for local specialties with local origins. The Cayuga Collection goes a step further with its Dock to Dish programs by connecting you with the fishermen who bring in the catch of the day. In this way, local farmers and fishermen can live sustainably, while you enjoy gourmet meals in between rainforest adventures.
Fish tacos at Arenas del Mar
Sea turtle conservation program at Lapa Rios Lodge
Conservation at its Core The sea turtle conservation efforts of Lapa Rios Lodge on the Osa Peninsula are something out of a childhood dream. Guests are welcome to travel by open-air vehicle to a secluded beach and help weigh, measure and release the sea turtles as they hatch and race to the ocean. You can practically hear David Attenborough’s voiceover from here.
Water World Even in a country of seemingly abundant water like Costa Rica, water conservation is a high priority. Yet very few hotels choose to pursue it. All Cayuga hotels have small-scale water treatment plants onsite, allowing them to clean gray and black water for reuse to irrigate their organic gardens. They are also establishing rainwater collection systems, with the goal of having sustainable laundry in the coming year.
Outdoor showers at the Harmony Hotel
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“Have you ever wondered where your bath products go once they disappear down the drain? With our ocean and its creatures in mind, Cayuga properties provide organic bath amenities so you can leave yours at home.” - Christine Guild, Concierge
These projects are just a drop in the ocean considering what travel can do to promote conservation and community. We at Ker & Downey look forward to highlighting many more of these changemakers as we shed a spotlight on intelligent luxury worldwide. Contact Ker & Downey to incorporate the Cayuga Collection hotels into your next journey to Central America. We have no doubt you will leave inspired.
THE ULTIMATE SYMBIOSIS OF SUSTAINABILITY AND LUXURY
T he Cay u g a Co l le c tio n co n s is ts o f 9 Award -win n in g s us tain able ho te ls a n d l o d ges in Co s ta R ica, Nicaragua an d Pan am a. We are tucke d away in t he m o s t in c re d ible co rn e rs , co m m itte d to pro te c t an d pre s e r v e the c o mm un itie s an d e co s ys te m s that s urro un d us . Contact Ker & Downey or your travel specialist to include the Cayuga Collection in your next custom journey. +1 800-423-4236 | KERDOWNEY.COM
NORTHERN & WESTERN
FRANCE Go wine tasting along Bourgogne’s Route des Grands Crus.
THE NETHERLANDS Visit the iconic Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the world’s largest trading center for plants and flowers.
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AUSTR I A
GR EEN LA N D
N ETHER LA N DS
B ELGI UM
I CELA N D
DEN MA R K
I R ELA N D
SCOTLA N D
EN GLA N D
ESTON I A
LI ECHTEN STEI N
SWI TZER LA N D
FI N LA N D
LI THUA N I A
FR A N CE
LUXEMB OUR G
GER MA N Y
GERMANY Marvel at the acoustics inside Hamburgâ€™s Elbphilharmonie concert hall while soaking up perfect Elbe River views.
Photos courtesy of iStock | Cris Toala Olivares-Rechtenvrij | Flickr-Garry Knight
Put your horsemanship to the test with a ride around Hyde Park, the former hunting grounds of King Henry VIII.
SW E D E N Make your way to Sigtuna, the oldest town in the country, for a glimpse of the ancient runic inscriptions.
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MYTHICAL JOURNEY Trading in her safari attire for winter gear, Ker & Downey’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing Nicky Brandon explores the spectacular Land of Fire and Ice.
As told to Haley Beham
A Texas transplant by way of Tanzania and Botswana, I’ve grown accustomed to the warmth of Africa and the Lone Star State. But in November 2018, I packed a bag of the warmest clothes I own and flew to Iceland to discover why everyone is flocking to this Nordic island nation in the North Atlantic. Even though Iceland has become a very popular destination in the last decade, Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport is small by international standards — about 10 million visitors passed through the airport in 2018 compared to Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport, which saw 33 million. It’s modern and easy to navigate, and a welcome change from larger, crowded airports. Like its airport, Reykjavik’s population is small for a capital city; only 330,000 people live here, so it’s no surprise that the locals are warm and very friendly. You’ll find that most people speak English fluently, and menus at many restaurants are written in both English and Icelandic. But Iceland’s biggest draw is its natural beauty.
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Photos courtesy of iStock | Andrew Hancock | Nicky Brandon
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"the weather can change at a moment’s notice, and with it, the itinerary. to truly enjoy your time, flexibility is key."
everyone wants to see the golden circle in southern iceland, and for good reason. It combines the best of the country — beautiful landscapes, geysers and magnificent waterfalls. As such, it can be crowded. But there’s much more to see and do beyond the Golden Circle. Iceland offered me so many ways to explore: a private helicopter ride over the glaciers for a panoramic view of the landscape; puffin viewing and whale watching from a luxury yacht; caving in a lava tunnel; and scuba diving in the clear waters at Silfra, the only place in the world you can touch two tectonic plates at once. I traveled to the Valley of Thor (Thórsmörk) via Land Rover. The valley is a striking landscape, surrounded by high mountains, glaciers and birch forests. Once there, I set off on a hike into the long and narrow canyon of Stakkholtsgjá and was rewarded with a beautiful waterfall at the end. On the edge of the valley I stopped by the Lava Centre, Iceland’s brand-new interactive museum which dives deep into the history and creation of Iceland over millions of years. It’s a fascinating way to learn about the country’s distinct geology and includes both an earthquake simulator and a fog of smoke designed to resemble volcanic ash.
Photos clockwise from top left: Icelandic ponies; Land Rover transfers; Snowmobiling; Whale watching
Trading in the Land Rover for something a little bigger, I jumped into a Super Jeep — a massive, yet surprisingly comfortable mountain vehicle created specifically for traveling off-road, over glaciers and through glacial rivers. After traversing the icy landscape, I hopped onto a snowmobile to explore a private concession on the Mýrdalsjökull glacier in the southern Icelandic highlands. Beyond the blanket of white snow on the glacier, you can see both the stark black sand beaches of the southern shore and Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Wanting to explore the scenery at a slower pace, I saddled up on an Icelandic pony. These small, but sturdy equines are famous for the tölt, a special trot unique to Icelandic ponies. To keep the breed pure, no other members of the horse family are allowed into Iceland, a practice dating as far back at 982 A.D. And once ponies leave the country, they aren’t allowed back in. With so many ways to see Iceland, you’ll want to spend at least five days here. Just note: the weather can change at a moment’s notice, and with it, the itinerary. To truly enjoy your time, flexibility is key.
ln southern Iceland, plan to have lunch at Friðheimar, a tomato greenhouse serving up just about anything you can imagine — with tomatoes. - Nicky Brandon, Vice President of Sales & Marketing
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"the famous lagoon draws crowds, but a stay at the retreat will allow you to experience the healing waters in a more personal and secluded way."
Photo courtesy of The Retreat at Blue Lagoon
where to stay In Reykjavik, stay at the Sandhotel, a charming boutique hotel combining three houses that date back to 1929, with a bakery run by descendants of the original shop. It’s located on a lively street in Reykjavik’s entertainment, cultural and culinary center. For a true local experience, make your base at Skálakot Manor Hotel, a working farmturned-hotel in southern Iceland. Surrounded by stunning countryside and views of the North Atlantic Ocean, the manor, run by seventh-generation family members, feels like home. Without a doubt, spend the last night of your journey at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon. As the name suggests, it’s located in the heart of Iceland’s iconic Blue Lagoon. The famous natural pool draws crowds, but a stay at The Retreat will allow you to experience the healing waters in a more personal and secluded way. Don’t miss dinner at the famous Lava Restaurant. It’s built into the side of an 800-year-old lava cliff overlooking the lagoon and serves up seven courses of Icelandic dishes paired with wine.
See suggested itineraries: Iceland’s Southern Shores and Southern Iceland Summer Adventure on kerdowney.com KE R & D OWN E Y
EASTERN & SOUTHERN
EUROPE Pedal through Corfu Town on a bicycle, discovering the islandâ€™s unique history and Ionian blue seascapes.
I TA LY Stay in one of the romantic Sassi caves of Matera, one of the 2019 European Capitals of Culture.
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GEOR GI A
R OMA N I A
A R MEN I A
R USSI A
A ZER B A I JA N
HUN GA RY
SER B I A
B OSN I A &
I TA LY
SLOVA KI A
HER ZEGOVI N A
SLOVEN I A
B ULGA R I A
MON TEN EGR O
SPA I N
CR OATI A
POLA N D
CZECH R EPUB LI C
UKR A I N E
Photos courtesy of iStock | Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita Matera
CO R F U
A LB A N I A
ALBANIA Venture off the beaten path to shop in KrujĂŤâ€™s Old Bazaar and take a scenic drive along the Albanian Riviera.
PORTUGAL Go whale watching in the Azores, where 24 different species of cetaceans can be spotted year-round.
B U LG A R I A Take part in the creation of Bulgarian rose oil at a distillery in the Rose Valley.
KE R & D OWN E Y
One of Milos' many secluded beaches
Explore Greece, off the beaten path. By Elizabeth Frels
My love for greece runs deep. Greek mythology played a strong role in my early education, and the goddess Athena became my heroine. Embodying wisdom, courage, creativity and strength, she represented everything I aspired to be and was the chief impetus for many of my travels to Greece. Iâ€™ll never forget the first time I saw the Parthenon, the windmills of Mykonos or the cliffs of Santorini. Their popularity is not without reason, even as crowds threaten to ruin their mystique. Yet I felt I was doing Athena a disservice by playing it safe and only going where everyone went. Where was the courage in that? Where was the adventure? What was lurking beyond if I just looked hard enough? The truth is that Greece is filled with hidden gems when you venture away from the masses. These secret spots arguably surpass their better-known counterparts. Plus, you can rest assured that the staff at Ker & Downey has uncovered each one firsthand. Welcome to our secret Greece.
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The stunning Nafplio cape
Nafplio Just an hour-and-a-half drive west of Athens, Nafplio is the perfect base from which to explore the greater Peloponnese region of southern Greece. The Corinth Canal lies en route, and Mycenae and Epidaurus are well within reach, but it’s Nafplio’s enduring history, natural flavors and seaside beauty that keep me swooning. Yes, cruise ships stop at Nafplio’s port for day trips to the nearby sites, but you’ll find few passengers in the streets or on the beaches (most of which are frequented only by locals). My favorite experiences here were the ones involving the fewest people: ouzo and honey tastings with local producers, bike rides through the vineyards of Nemea, private cruising and fishing outings to Spetses Island and a treasure hunt inside the castle of Monemvasia.
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White-washed homes at sunset
A beekeeper checking for honey
Thessaloniki Northern Greece is fascinating, yet it remains relatively undiscovered by tourists. The region’s crown jewel, Thessaloniki (“Salonica” to locals), is the second-largest city in Greece, but it’s still under the radar. Explore its streets and you’ll find a young, culturally vibrant atmosphere of coffee shops and artists’ spaces alongside an ancient identity defined by Ottoman, Roman and Byzantine occupations. As a bonus, the lack of tourists means that locals are just that much more excited to greet you. Highlights of Thessaloniki include an evening stroll along the Promenade, a dive into the city’s many 5th-century monasteries and day trips to the archaeological sites of Vergina and Dion. This is the land of Alexander the Great, after all. For truly adventurous types with an interest in the gods, nearby Mount Olympus — the highest mountain in Greece — is ready to be conquered.
The Promenade in Thessaloniki
Photos courtesy of iStock
View of Seville from the Cathedral
PRO TIP! Be sure to pack closetoed shoes if you opt for a beekeeping experience. Walking around The Promenade
- Elizabeth Frels, Product Manager
KE R & DOWN E Y
Bright flowers color Milos' villages
Milos Islands like Santorini are worth a visit, without a doubt, but with the droves of tourists who flock there, it can be difficult to have a genuine experience. That’s why I love Milos. This tiny volcanic Greek island is an off-thebeaten-path paradise offering the same stunning sunsets, inviting beaches, and Instagram-worthy waters as its more popular neighbors — just without the mobs. Only a 25-minute flight from Athens, Milos promises flower-filled villages and more than 70 beaches. Firiplaka, Klima and Kleftiko are gorgeous, but lunar-like Sarakiniko is the one you simply cannot miss. History buffs will love exploring the ancient Roman theater where the Venus de Milo was purportedly discovered, while sun-seekers will revel in a private sailing charter to the secret coves, beaches and uninhabited islands surrounding Milos. You’re guaranteed a beautiful, applause-worthy Aegean sunset, even if you’re one of the few to witness it.
Photos courtesy of iStock | Blue Palace
Explore Crete aboard Blue Palace's traditional Caiqueca.
Friends enjoying a traditional Greek meal and wine
Crete You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Mediterranean cruise ship that doesn’t make a stop in Crete, but few of the passengers venture beyond a day trip to the Palace of Knossos. If you spend a little more time here, you’ll find — much as I did — a heavenly land blessed with natural beauty, history and fresh cuisine. The city of Chania is a trove of ancient monasteries and Venetian mansions, while the White Mountains hide an array of secret sandy inlets. Sure, the trip is worth it for the endless stretches of beaches, majestic gorges, holy caves and plains planted in olive and citrus trees. But the food and the people leave the lasting impression. We particularly love Emilia’s Tavern, a small family-run spot hidden high in the mountains where the food is 100% seasonal and locally foraged, as well as the sweet and savory bougatsa found in the bakeries of Chania. For a taste of history, visit the Agia Triada Monastery to savor the wines, vinegars, syrups and olive oils produced by the resident monks.
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AUSTR A LI A FI J I FR EN CH POLYN ESI A N EW ZEA LA N D PA PUA N EW GUI N EA
AU S T R A L I A Sip on Riesling at one of the many vineyards in the Barossa Valley, known for its rolling hills.
K ER & DOW N E Y
Photos courtesy of Tourism Western Australia | Seppeltsfield | Dolphin Island
Feel like a castaway on one of the archipelagoâ€™s hundreds of islands and islets dotting the South Pacific Ocean.
F R E N C H P O LY N E S I A Walk around the massive carved stone moai statues, Easter Island’s mysterious archaeological wonders.
NEW ZEALAND Experience Te Whakarewarewa's geothermal landscape of steam vents, boiling mud pools and spectacular geysers.
AU S T R A L I A
Take a private technical lesson with a golf pro on the greens at Kauri Cliffs on North Island.
Explore the West Coast’s UNESCO-listed Ningaloo Reef, a treasure trove of underwater creatures.
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Shark diving off the coast of the Neptune Islands
DEEP DIVE Go further. Get closer. Discover Australia’s amazing waterworlds. By Haley Beham
Exploring the blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, is a bucket list item for many visitors to Australia. But beyond the planet’s largest reef system, there’s so much more to see and do in the waters surrounding the Land Down Under.
The rocky coves of the Neptune Islands off South Australia are a top breeding site for long-nosed fur seals, a favorite food source of the great white shark. As a result, the waters around the islands are a prime location for cage diving with great whites, and the only place in Australia where this is permitted. It’s the stuff of dreams for extreme adventurers and adrenaline junkies. Often accompanied by pods of dolphins or the occasional whale, boats depart from Port Lincoln and cruise past the beautiful coastline before reaching the put-in point. Dressed in a full wetsuit and snorkel gear, you enter a cage suspended from the boat that accommodates eight people. Once the sharks arrive, you’ll have about 30 to 45 minutes to witness these underwater goliaths up close for a once-in-alifetime experience.
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AT BONDI BEACH AND THE ICEBERG CLUB
Sydney’s Bondi Beach is an Australian landmark. Surrounded by cliffs, cafes and smoothie bars, the country’s most popular beach is also one of the best places for first-timers and experienced surfers alike to catch some waves. But if the open water isn’t your thing, just off the beach you’ll find the Bondi Iceberg Club Baths, home to Sydney’s most Instagrammed pool. Around for more than a century, the outdoor, Olympic-size saltwater lap pool is open to the public year-round. From here, you’ll have the best view of the iconic shoreline, coupled with frequent doses of sea spray.
Surfing in Bondi Beach 84
K ER & D OW N E Y
The sun in Australia is severe. When choosing a sunscreen, opt for an ocean-friendly sunscreen like Stream2Seas. The biodegradable and organic mineral-based formula won’t harm marine life or the coral reefs when it washes off. - Catherine Brown, Designer
Photo courtesy of iStock | Ben Knapinski | Tourism Western Australia | Tourism Australia
The isolated northwest coast of Australia is the historical center of the pearling industry. In the late 1800s the world’s largest and rarest pearl oyster species, Pinctada maxima, was discovered in the tropical waters around Broome. Originally harvested for its nacre-coated shell, the pearlproducing mollusk was used to make mother-of-pearl buttons and fine cutlery. As the value of Australian South Sea pearls was recognized, the modern pearling industry in Australia was born. About three hours north of Broome, at the top of the Dampier Peninsula and where the outback meets the sea, Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm provides a hands-on experience for guests who make the journey to the isolated coast. It was here that founder Dean Brown and his son first mastered the technique of harvesting pearls from wild oysters in the 1960s. Since then, Cygnet Bay has been at the forefront of pearl cultivation. In 2009, the Browns opened their doors to visitors for an inside look at a working pearl farm and the effort that goes into producing some of the world’s most exquisite pearls.
HELI-FISHING FOR BARRAMUNDI IN THE KIMBERLEY REGION Barramundi is the “it” fish in Australia right now for chefs and sport fisherman alike. They’re prolific across the Northern Territory and Western Australia’s Kimberley coastline. Known locally as barra, they have a reputation as fighters with strong runs and high leaps, which makes them thrilling to catch. Take the excitement to the next level via heli-fishing. Soak up the stunning scenery from above as you fly to otherwise inaccessible locations, touching down to cast a line in some of Australia’s most pristine wilderness.
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"BETWEEN JUNE AND NOVEMBER, AROUND 30,000 HUMPBACK WHALES MIGRATE ALONG THE NINGALOO COAST."
SWIMMING WITH HUMPBACK WHALES AND WHALE SHARKS The Ningaloo Reef on West Australia’s mid-to-northern coast is a true ocean paradise with a kaleidoscope of marine life. It’s one of the most biologically diverse marine environments left on the planet, with more than 250 species of coral and 500 species of fish. The fringing reef here is one of the longest in the world, running close to the shoreline (unlike the Great Barrier Reef, which is located off the coast). In some locations, such as the Sal Salis safari camp, it’s mere footsteps from the beach. But the marine park is most famous for the gentle giants who pass through its crystal blue waters. From approximately March through August, it’s possible to swim with the massive and harmless whale sharks. Another highlight is swimming with humpback whales. Between June and November, around 30,000 humpback whales migrate along the Ningaloo Coast, breeching, lunging and slapping the water as they go.
Photo courtesy of Sal Salis
A family of humpback whales in the Ningaloo Reef
NORTHERN T E R R I TO R Y
NINGALOO REEF DAMPIER
NEW SOUTH WA L E S
BONDI BEACH CANBERRA
V I C TO R I A MELBOURNE
TA S M A N I A HOBART
IN FOR THE
LONG HAUL Take advantage of your time in the skies with our suggestions to pass the time.
Streaming on netflix.com
WATCH Chasing Coral It is estimated that 90% of the world's coral will be lost by 2050. In this documentary, a team of divers, photographers and scientists set out to discover why coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate.
READ The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific by Paul Theroux This book captures a healing journey for author and intrepid traveler Paul Theroux, who paddled through the South Pacific to 51 islands in a one-man collapsible kayak. Amazon.com | $21
Horizon Line This podcast from Atlas Obscura tells four stories of daring adventurers of the past. podcasts.apple.com
KE R & DOWN E Y
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE JUNGLES OF
B EN S LEY C O LLEC TION â€“ SHINTA M ANI W IL D Shinta Mani Wild luxury tented camp is nestled in a wilderness amongst lush tropical rainforests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls. Discover this sacred, secluded area like an explorer from a bygone era. Contact Ker & Downey or your travel specialist to include Shinta Mani Wild in your next custom journey. +1 800-423-4236 | KERDOWNEY.COM
JOURNEYS Ker & D owney 's Top Itinera ri es
Siem Reap, Cambodia Photo by Austin Mann
KE R & DOW N E Y
C U L I N A RY A DV E N T U R E S
I T I N E R A RY
A SOUTH AFRICA C U L I N A RY TO U R
10D AY S / 9 N I G H T S During this luxe, 10-day culinary tour, foodies will discover the gourmet pulse of South Africa, from Cape Town and the Winelands to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve. Featuring reservations at the countryâ€™s most exclusive tables and accommodations at only the finest hotels and lodges, this gastronomic exploration savors every last drop of the magnificent Cape. 90
K E R & D OW N E Y
S U G G E S T E D J O U R N E Y AT A G L A N C E : DAY 1-3: CAPE TOWN | BELMOND MOUNT NELSON DAY 4-6: WINELANDS | GRANDE PROVENCE DAY 7-9: SANBONA WILDLIFE RESERVE SANBONA DWYKA TENTED LODGE DAY 10: CAPE TOWN | DEPARTURE
The stunning 325-year Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate is nestled near the beautiful village of Franschhoek, her lush vines spread across 47 acres. Grande Provence Estate is a destination in its own right, offering a series of unique experiences — exquisite cuisine, complemented by award-winning wines at The Restaurant, tastings at The Winery, South African art at The Gallery and The Shop with boutique accommodation at The Owner’s Cottage and La Provençale. Contact Ker & Downey or your travel specialist to include Grande Provence in your next custom journey. +1 800-423-4236 | KERDOWNEY.COM
I T I N E R A RY
WILDLIFE OF ECUADOR
1 2 D A Y S / 11 N I G H T S From the Amazon to the Galapagos, see Ecuadorâ€™s spectacular flora and fauna from a completely different perspective. This 11-night journey kicks off with a comfortable cruise along the Ecuadorian Amazon's Napo River and concludes with a land-based experience in the Galapagos in search of the region's iconic blue-footed boobies, sea lions, reef sharks and more.
K E R & D OW N E Y
S U G G E S T E D J O U R N E Y AT A G L A N C E : DAY 1-2: QUITO | ILLA EXPERIENCE HOTEL DAY 3-6: NAPO RIVER | ANAKONDA AMAZON RIVER CRUISE DAY 7: QUITO | ILLA EXPERIENCE HOTEL DAY 8-12: GALAPAGOS ISLANDS | PIKAIA LODGE
The Galapagos is nicknamed the "Enchanted Islands" and described as the "Last Paradise on Earth.â€?
THE PIKAIA LODGE concept is a luxury land-based ecoadventure with the highest level of comfort and services. Providing an experience like no other on the GalĂĄpagos Islands, The Lodge offers guests some truly fascinating encounters and unforgettable moments. Designed for physically active adventure travelers who seek close contact with incredible wildlife, stunning views and the unspoiled beauty that surrounds this UNESCO World Heritage destination, The Lodge offers all-inclusive three- to seven-night packages, complemented by half/ full-day land-and-marine explorations aboard the exclusive private yacht, Pikaia I.
Contact Ker & Downey or your travel specialist to include Pikaia Lodge in your next custom journey. +1 800-423-4236 | KERDOWNEY.COM
C U LT U R A L J O U R N E YS
I T I N E R A RY
C A M B O D I A PA N O R A M A
9 D AY S / 8 N I G H T S Rich history, genuine hospitality and an abundance of awe-inspiring temples make Cambodia a destination like no other. Explore the cultural legacy of the Khmer Empire in Angkor Wat, the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and the untouched rural villages awaiting discovery along the Mekong River.
K E R & DOW N E Y
S U G G E S T E D J O U R N E Y AT A G L A N C E : DAY 1-2: PHNOM PENH | ROSEWOOD PHNOM PENH DAY 3-5: MEKONG RIVER | AQUA MEKONG DAY 6-9: SIEM REAP | AMANSARA
CAMBOD IA & VIETNA M
Luxury river cruising aboard the
AQUA MEKONG Charting a luxurious passage on Asia’s Mekong River across Cambodia and Vietnam, the 205-foot Aqua Mekong showcases award-winning modern design with comprehensive amenities such as a spa, gym and riverfacing plunge pool. The vessel’s 20 spacious suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows that offer panoramas of the ever-changing Mekong scenery. For off-shore excursions, Aqua Expeditions owns and operates Mekong’s only fleet of private tenders that bring guests on highly personalized day trips to landmarks, temples and villages where tradition, spirituality and craftsmanship reside. The cultural journey continues on board with a locally inspired dining experience crafted by Michelin-starred consulting chef David Thompson. Contact Ker & Downey or your travel specialist to include the Aqua Mekong in your next custom journey. +1 800-423-4236 | KERDOWNEY.COM
SHOT ONE PICTURE, ONE MOMENT, ONE MEMORY CAPTURED BY PHOTOGRAPHER ESTHER HAVENS
In 2009, I was on assignment capturing the water situation in the rural areas of Ethiopia. The organization I was working with was raising support for a cleanwater project in the area. It was one of my first trips to the country and I was mesmerized by the joy and hospitality I encountered. In this shot, a mother and children walk with their yellow Jerry cans to collect water at sunset from a nearby spring in a remote village of Ethiopia. Like many countries in Africa, rural communities in Ethiopia lack access to clean drinking water. Women and children, particularly girls, spend hours each week collecting water. Itâ€™s time the children should be spending in school. A few months after my initial visit, I returned to this community to find that the organization with which I was working had raised funds and provided the village with a clean water project. Now the women and children can work or go to school instead of searching for water each day.
Esther Havens is a humanitarian photographer capturing stories that transcend a person's circumstances and reveal their true strength. For many years she has worked on socialawareness campaigns with organizations such as charity: water, TOMS Shoes, Warby Parker and Malaria No More. Her images compel thought and challenge action. She has traveled to over 60 nations in the last 10 years â€” and she'll keep going until she sees that every person on the planet has access to education, clean drinking water and a job to provide for their families. estherhavens.com |
@estherhavens KE R & DOWN E Y
THE PROBLEM MALARIA KILLS MORE THAN
ONE MILLION PEOPLE
E AC H
9 0 % O F FATA L I T I E S O C C U R R I N G I N S U B - S A H A R A N 7 5 % O F T H E S E D E AT H S O C C U R I N C H I L D R E N U ND E R 5 .
OUR GOAL TO P R OV I D E
TO C O M M U N I T I E S TO H E L P R E D U C E T H E
R I S K O F L I F E -T H R E AT E N I N G D I S E A S E S .
C A N P R OT E C T F O U R
C H I L D R E N F O R U P TO T H R E E Y E A R S .
DONATE F O R E V E R Y N E T P U R C H A S E D K E R & D OW N E Y W I L L D O N AT E A N E T. D O N AT E S E C U R E LY O N O U R W E B S I T E AT K E R D OW N E Y.C O M / N E T S F O R -A F R I C A A N D T Y P E
“NETS FOR AFRICA”
S P E C I A L I N S T R U C T I O N S " TO T H E S E L L E R .
TOGETHER WE CAN STOP THE STING OF MOSQUITO BITES
EXPERIENTIAL. T H E L U X U R Y M A G A Z I N E F O R W O R L D T R AV E L E R S
L U X U R Y. T R AV E L .
Dar Ahlam, Morocco
Forget group tours, long lines or packaged experiences; with Ker & Downey, everything is a completely tailored fit, and our artistic signature is threaded throughout. Let us offer you the opportunity for something rare and exotic, an exclusive journey that no one else can duplicate, and a one-of-a-kind adventure filled with the thrill of experience and the luxury of privacy. This is Ker & Downey.
K E R D O W N E Y. C O M | L U X U R Y @ K E R D O W N E Y. C O M | 8 0 0 . 4 2 3 . 4 2 3 6
K E R D O W N E Y. C O M
C O N T A C T Y O U R T R AV E L P R O F E S S I O N A L O R V I S I T U S O N T H E W E B A T