Traveling with your kids and introducing them to new cultures is an enriching experience for the whole family. But it also presents an obstacle course of logistical challenges. So at some point this year, leave behind the juice boxes and baggies of cheerios. Go somewhere adventurous with just you and your partner– somewhere it would be impractical to bring the whole family, and book luxurious accommodations that cater to your grown-up tastes.
1. Sky Lodge Adventure Suites, Peru
You can’t simply stroll in the front door of Sky Lodge Adventure Suites. These suites are in cushy pods that are fastened to the side of a cliff, suspended 1,312 feet (400 m) above the Sacred Valley of the Inca in Peru. Visitors come to these pods for unparalleled views of the valley and breathtaking stargazing.
To reach your accommodations you’ll climb up a via ferrata, which is an Italian term that translates to “iron road” in English. It’s even more exciting getting down from the suites – you’ll take a zipline from the rocky cliff to the valley below. Highly trained Sky Lodge staff members will always be present to help you with your gear and lead the way.
Don’t fret – you ‘ll feel quite secure in your aluminum nest. The 24-foot (7-m) long pods are divided into dining and sleeping quarters. During your stay the staff will deliver gourmet meals, including a wine pairing.
2. Homestay on Lake Titicaca, Peru
Take a break from hotels and resorts with this personal, cultural experience. On Amantí Island in Lake Titicaca you can meet the indigenous people who have lived here since the Inca conquered their territory in the 15th century. Some families have opened their homes to visitors, and offer comfortable accommodations for a night on the lake.
During a stay on Amantí Island you’ll get to eat a communal meal with the villagers, and participate in a traditional dance. You’ll get to see the textiles that they knit themselves, and get to know how daily life works in this isolated landscape.
While you’re staying here you can hire a local boat (which will have been constructed out of reeds) to take you to other islands in the area. The Uros Islands make a particularly interesting stop – they are also made out of reeds, and are maintained by the diligence of the Uru people.
3. Guanidup Island, Panama
You can’t get further from traffic and PTA meetings than this. Guanidup Island is part of the Guna Yala island chain. It’s hard to believe these thatch-roof cabins, white sand beaches, and brilliant blue waters are real, so settle in for a night and try to adjust to the incredible beauty of the surroundings.
Indigenous people called the Guna live on these islands, and they serve as stewards of the environment. They will be your tour guides and show you the tools they use to survive on the island.
You can find all-inclusive packages that include transportation to the island, as well as meals during your stay. Lobster is one of the most commonly served meals on Guanidup, and the Guna have no shortage of these crustaceans in the water surrounding the islands.
This is for travelers who don’t mind basic accommodations. There are a total of 12 huts on this small island, and they are equipped with only modest conveniences. But you’re not coming here for the silk sheets and room service – the effect of the landscape here is undeniable.
4. Laguna Lodge, Guatemala
Laguna Lodge is on Santa Cruz Island in the middle of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala’s legendary lake, and is bordered by three volcanoes. It is only accessible by boat. The hotel provides private boat service to anywhere else on the lake you’d like to explore, and is surrounded by hiking trails that will take you through protected rainforest.
This is an eco-lodge, so the amenities are designed to use as much clean energy as possible. Instead of using air conditioning, the rooms are built out of volcanic material that keeps the interior cool. Hike along trails on the island and stop at some of the incredible vistas along the way.
Zotz restaurant serves intensely local food. They get their produce, eggs, and coffee from either the hotel’s gardens or from local farmers. All of their bread is freshly baked in the restaurant’s kitchen.
You can take on-site yoga and pilates classes, and visit the Hummingbird Spa for a massage. In addition to a nice selection of wine and cocktails, you can refresh yourself with their freshly pressed juices.
5. Royal Palm Island, the Galápagos, Ecuador
This resort is in the highlands of Santa Cruz, one of the islands of the Galápagos. Set on a hill, this resort still has views of the sea. Santa Cruz is home to the town of Puerto Ayora, which is one of the most important hubs for visitors to the Galápagos.
It is often misty and overcast in the highlands. This hotel does not offer a sunny, idyllic beach vacation, but puts you in the midst of one of the most bio-diverse places in the world. Come here when you’re ready to see evolution in action. This hotel has its own 480-acre (190-ha) reserve. On the grounds you can find interesting formations caused by volcanic activity. Walk through the lava tunnel near the main lodge.
On Dragon Hill you can visit the healthy colony of transplanted iguanas. Santa Cruz also has a tortoise conservation center where you can sometimes see baby and adolescent tortoises. Visit Playa Tortuga Playa de Perros to see a huge colony of iguanas. Typically these animals lounge casually on the beach, but during the mating season you may see the males butting heads. There is a pond where white-tipped sharks swim in jewel-green water.
There are small villas dotted throughout the property, overlooking the rolling hills and the ocean in the distance. The main building has a free-form design and polished interiors. You can’t always rely on power in this isolated territory, but the hotel has rustic amenities, like a clay oven in the dining room that burns firewood.
Zach Smith is CEO of Anywhere.