Your kids have all moved out and you and your spouse have suddenly become empty nesters. You have never had this much time, or this much money, to just do whatever it is that you want to do. Now is the time to enjoy each other’s company and remember just why you fell in love in the first place. And where better to do that, than on a trip of a lifetime.
An expedition cruise to Antarctica should be at the top of your list. Traveling on an ice class ship to the Antarctic Peninsula with a team of experts who offer engaging presentations should, in itself, be worth it. But throw in icebergs, penguins and whales and you have an adventure. Most companies have a fleet of zodiacs and kayaks for you to use and there are endless opportunities for spotting and photographing the wildlife, as well as hiking, biking, and walking the beaches. The best time to visit is between November and March when the ice breaks up enough for the ships to slip through and the wildlife are at their busiest. I would highly recommend joining a National Geographic Expedition.
French Polynesia is another great destination for that once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Bora Bora is the most luxurious of the islands with its pristine beaches and clear blue water. It is also a small island, it is only 30 km², made up of three villages. The island remains quite isolated, which reduces the number of tourists that are there at any given time. You do not have to worry about saving a sun lounger early in the morning here. The water is full of fascinating fish, manta rays, eels, turtles, and small reef sharks, which makes snorkeling and scuba diving popular activities. Matira Beach, located in the southwest part of the island is known as one of the best beaches in the world and is particularly good for watching the sun set. Plus, you can stay in an overwater bungalow. There is no doubt that you will remember why you fell in love with your significant other while staying here.
Check out the St. Regis Bora Bora here.
Egypt is at the crossroads between Africa, Asia, and Europe and has one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations. Because of this, the country is full of interesting things to see and do. The best, and safest way to see the country is on a private tour with your own personal guide. These guides are extremely knowledgeable about the history of the country, they know where to eat and they know exactly when to see the most famous, and busiest sites. Make sure not to miss the pyramids at Giza, the Valley of the Kings and Queens at Luxor, Abu Simbel, Aswan, and many more amazing archaeological feats. The Nile is the lifeblood of the country and the area around the river is very fertile, unlike the arid desert in the rest of the country. A cruise down the Nile River is required activity when visiting Egypt but ensure you will be traveling on a five-star cruise line. Although, if you are feeling adventurous, you can travel on a traditional Felucca and sleep under the stars. The food in Egypt is also marvelous. From fresh seafood to traditional Egyptian fast food, you will not go hungry. Kensington Tours puts together some great private Egyptian tours.
The Galapagos Islands are a biosphere reserve in the Pacific Ocean with nineteen main islands. They are well-known for their unusual animal life as some of the islands are virtually untouched by humans. This has led to unusual evolution patterns and species of flora and fauna that can only be found on the islands, such as marine iguanas, giant tortoises, and giant daisy trees. There are two distinct ways of visiting the islands. The first, and probably most popular, is touring the islands on a live-aboard boat. The boat becomes your accommodation and provides your transportation from island to island. Most of the traveling is done at night so you wake up in a different place each day. The second way to visit the Galapagos is to stay on one of the three inhabited islands and take day trips to the different islands. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages so it will really depend on what you want to do and see while you are there. You will probably need between five to eight days to see what you should see.
If you only have time to visit one country in Africa, then Tanzania is a great option. Tanzania is home to the Serengeti National Park where you can see the Big Five (elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo). It is also the location of Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the few high mountains that can be climbed without an extensive training regimen. The Ngorongoro Crater used to be a giant volcano but after its collapse it became one of the most beautiful wildlife havens in the world. Having breakfast on the crater floor is not to be missed while in the area. And you can always end your trip at the beach with a visit to Zanzibar, just off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. The best way to visit is on a wildlife safari. The luxury camping experience, or glamping, cannot be measured. The accommodations are superb, the food is exquisite, and the guides will take you to the best places to view the animals you have only seen in books up until now. Check out this lodge on the edge of the crater.
Whichever one of the top five that you choose, you cannot go wrong. There are adventures to be had and bucket list items to cross off. Just take that first step and contact your travel advisor.
Text by Heidi Lawrie, B-Side Travel