There’s nothing we love more than ticking things off our ever-growing bucket list! We’ve compiled a list of the hottest experiences and properties right now, that we think everyone should experience in their lifetime…
SOAK UP THE STUNNING ATACAMA DESERT FROM ALTO ATACAMA
A wild and desolate expanse of land close to Chile‘s border with Argentina and Bolivia, the Atacama Desert is the highest and driest desert in the world. Studded with shimmering lagoons, craggy peaks and active volcanoes, the varying terrains are truly spellbinding and will leave you totally in awe and eager to explore. Located just outside the charming oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, Alto Atacama is a superb retreat offering elegant desert living at its finest. Blending seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, Alto Atacama is one of the most remote properties in the region and a true Imagine favourite, thanks to its rustic warmth and local character. The lodge offers a fantastic desert adventure programme of over 30 cultural and adventure-based activities, allowing you to explore this spectacular region on foot, bike or by vehicle. Back at the lodge, the sumptuous spa, delicious local cuisine and fantastic stargazing activities make for the perfect way to spend your evening.
TRAVEL ON THE BLUE TRAIN THROUGH SOUTH AFRICA
You just can’t beat soaking up the stunning scenery of a country while travelling in true opulence on board a luxury train, and The Blue Train is about as indulgent as they come. Aptly named after its vivid blue exterior, The Blue Train is an iconic locomotive that weaves through South Africa’s magnificent rolling landscapes. The train operates two routes, between Pretoria and Cape Town or Pretoria and Hoedspruit (and vice versa) – the former being the route that is used most frequently by Imagine guests. Luxury suites and elegant lounges offer the perfect setting from which to watch the striking South African landscape evolve, and the food on board is to die for. From Karoo lamb to Knysna oysters, the finest local ingredients are served up in the dining car, accompanied by an extensive wine selection. The journey on board The Blue Train has previously been a one-night trip, but from 2019 it is being extended to two nights, allowing guests longer to enjoy the grandeur of the train, as well as ensuring there is time for a guaranteed stop at the diamond mine in Kimberley along the way – a true highlight of the journey.
EXPERIENCE THE HIMALAYAN KINGDOM OF BHUTAN WITH SIX SENSES
It’s little more than 40 years since Bhutan first opened its borders to foreign visitors. Since then, the country has kept hold of its mysterious allure by welcoming only a limited number of tourists each year, and invariably sweeping them off their feet with its enigmatic charm and staggering beauty. If there wasn’t already reason enough for Bhutan to be on your bucket list, this enticing destination is about to become yet more appealing, with the opening of three Six Senses properties this November (and two more to follow in March 2019). From the pure grandeur of Six Senses Thimphu in Bhutan’s capital (reminiscent of a traditional palace), to the more rustic architecture of Six Senses Punakha (built in the style of a traditional farmhouse), and the unrivalled views of Six Senses Paro (overlooking the Paro Valley at an altitude of 2,675 metres), all three of the properties opening in November offer something fabulously unique and incredibly exciting. This new network of properties means Six Senses can look after you every step of your journey through Bhutan, so you don’t need to worry about a thing.
TRACK HABITUATED CHIMPANZEES ON RUBONDO ISLAND
Located off the shore of the Tanzanian side of Lake Victoria, Rubondo Island offers a very different safari experience from Africa’s other parks and reserves. A wonderful conservation success story, the island was transformed into a game reserve in 1965, when 16 captive chimpanzees were released onto the island to live in the wild. Since then, the chimpanzee population has flourished and numerous other species have been released here, including a flock of African grey parrots. The island is also home to giraffe, elephant, hippo, crocodile and the elusive sitatunga (a rare species of antelope), as well as over 300 bird species. Comprised of eight luxury tented chalets, Rubondo Island is the only property on the island, so guests at the camp have the exclusive opportunity to track the island’s habituated chimps, while spotting the other wildlife along the way. What’s more, daily flights from the Serengeti and Kigali mean this unique experience can be combined with the Great Wildebeest Migration or gorilla trekking in Rwanda for the ultimate bucket list trip!
SLEEP ON A PRIVATE ISLAND AT SONG SAA
Straddling two private islands in the pristine Koh Rong Archipelago off Cambodia’s southern coast, Song Saa is a stylish and romantic barefoot paradise. Comprised of just 24 villas, guests here will be among just a handful of lucky adventurers to experience this beautiful untouched paradise, where nothing disturbs the peace other than the sound of lapping waves. Whether you want to lie back and soak up the sun from the deck of your overwater villa, slide into the warm turquoise water and watch exotic fish swim beneath your feet, or explore the ancient rainforest that covers much of the islands, Song Saa promises an unbeatable Robinson Crusoe escape. The property sits within a protected marine reserve, making it ideal for those who enjoy diving and snorkelling, and what’s more, the team are as committed to conservation and environmental responsibility as they are to barefoot luxury, so guests can feel confident their footprint on the islands will be kept to a minimum.
JOURNEY TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH ON AN AUSTRALIS CRUISE
With many of the most remote and stunning parts of the world only reachable by boat, expedition cruising should certainly be on your bucket list, and there’s no better place to start than the rugged regions at the southernmost tip of Argentina and Chile. We recommend a journey on board one of the modern expedition ships operated by Australis, which travel between Ushuaia in Argentina and Punta Arenas in Chile and are a great way to link these two countries on a tailor-made trip. A cruise on board the Stella or Ventus Australis allows you to visit some of Latin America’s most exclusive spots, including Cape Horn, the Magellan Straits and Tierra del Fuego’s famous Glacier Alley. Head out on daily excursions on inflatable zodiacs to spot the region’s abundant marine life, as well as penguins and other sea birds, before returning to the ship to relax with all your food and drink included. Australis is an eco-minded company and actively protects the Patagonian eco-system and its endemic species, through scientific research and advanced conservation methods.