Yes, it is camping but with a very definitive and plentiful brushing of glamour and luxury. It is a chance to stay in style in places where there is very little infrastructure or where accommodation needs to be moved to suit the sensitive environment, the seasons or wildlife. It will always be a spectacular location but just because the walls are not made of brick or stone, there is no reason at all to compromise your creature comforts.
I love camping – perhaps from wonderful experiences as a child on exciting adventures and even sleeping under the stars on occasion in my younger days of travelling the world. I will admit here and now that in Africa they are the undisputed kings of the ‘glamping’ experience.
However, the Latin Americans are catching on quick and there are some truly fabulous experiences out there if you like a slice of adventure served up with your luxury. There is nothing quite like the ultimate escape, sleeping in the great outdoors in a vast wilderness under a carpet of stars.
Here are some of my favourites:
Luxury Yurt Tents in Chilean Patagonia:
Think of the most sublime and dramatic scenery in southern Patagonia of blue glacier lakes, jagged granite peaks and deep green forest and then picture yourself enjoying a delicious glass of Chilean wine on the terrace of your huge yurt accommodation overlooking the lake, adorned with cosy woven local textiles.
Savour incredible cuisine and wines from their northern vineyard after a day spend exploring Torres del Paine with their amazing expedition guides. The hiking in particular here is superb. The views sell it but the day explorations and fine dining really are the icing on the cake.
Vintage Airstream Campervans in Bolivia:
There is nothing vintage about the interiors of these campervans in Bolivia though – instead a luxurious contemporary bedroom and bathroom is your home for a few nights. The Salar de Uyuni is perhaps one of the most truly breath-taking scenes on the planet as a dazzling white crust of salt peppered with geometric formations stretches out to the horizon to meet an azure blue sky and the spectacular cones of surrounding volcanic peaks.
Journey through this high altiplano desert exploring vividly coloured lakes, spotting rare birdlife and the occasional camelid. Spend a day or two crossing the salt flats where only being on a campervan allows you to stargaze in the clearest skies in the world and dine and sleep on the Salar itself, looked after by your fabulous guide and personal chef.
Safari Style Camps in the Galapagos Islands:
The Galapagos Islands are famous for their superlative and unique wildlife. The traditional (and still excellent) way to get to see the wildlife is aboard a small yacht that gets into small bays and inlets on lots of different islands.
However, being on a boat for up to a week isn’t always for everyone. It doesn’t always suit families with younger children or give you as much quality time to relax. Look no further for a delightful alternative or addition to a Galapagos cruise to these famed islands.
High up in the cooler hills of Santa Cruz Island sits a safari camp with stunning views over the coast, giant tortoises lumbering around in the lush vegetation close by and a diverse range of land-based, boat and diving excursions on offer. Cocktails and appetisers are served on a stunning sunset terrace overlooking the forest hills to the ocean.
Neighbouring Isabela Island has a similar delightful tented camp with access to superb snorkelling to see the famous Galapagos marine life, white-sand beaches, fishing and great hikes to the huge Sierra Negra volcano crater.
Trekking Expeditions in the Peruvian Andes:
Peru offers some of the most spectacular multi-day hiking in the South American continent, not least because of the Andean backdrop as well as the chance to explore famous and obscure Incan cities alike along ancient pathways, chatting casually with local people as you pass through their villages.
The Inca Trail is famous and of course busy (although strictly controlled) but the end in sight is the mighty Machu Picchu, whose dramatic structure and location never fails to strike you speechless despite all the photos you may have seen before.
Less visited trails such as Lares or Salkantay and the short but challenging hike to the archaeological site of Choquequirao or even the tiny communities and jaw-dropping mountain scenery of the Cordillera Blanca are all possible to explore with a camping experience like no other.
Top notch cuisine (of course) is complemented by huge spacious tents, private bathroom with hot water shower, toiletries, personal masseuse, even chocolates on your pillow and hot water bottles. We’ve thought of everything!
There are lots of other luxury camping experiences that you might like to discuss, from private camps on the shores of Baja California in Mexico to look out for whales to camps deep in the jungle in Guatemala in the shadow of a Mayan temple and hosted by a local community.
Experience the off-beaten path treasures of Colombia in fabulous tailor-made private camps in the Llanos savannah or the Tatacoa Desert. Let us know where you wish to go and we can make it happen, however remote.