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6 Opulent Ways to Explore the Southern Hemisphere

Trip planning is often top-heavy, with most itineraries staying in the Northern Hemisphere. No wonder trips to the Southern Hemisphere always feel more adventurous and exotic. Here are a few ways to explore the other half of the world in over-the-top luxury.

1. Go on an Antarctic Odyssey on a Ponant Expedition Ship

Ponant is offers a 17-day expedition cruise to the southernmost waters of our planet, where you can explore the continent of superlatives. The landscapes in this other world transform daily, and the polar light will leave you feeling peaceful and serene.


As you depart from Tierra del Fuego, you'll be greeted by the wild beauty of the Falkland Islands, featuring breathtaking white-sand beaches, jagged cliffs, windswept moors, and swaying grass. Your ship will then head towards the mountainous island of South Georgia, where Sir Ernest Shackleton famously ran aground during the Endurance Odyssey in 1916. You'll have the opportunity to delve into the fascinating history of this time and discover the black-sand beaches dominated by snow-covered mountains.


As you travel further south, you'll come across the South Orkney Islands and pass above the mythical Screaming Sixties. The Scotia Arc, which forms the mountain range that rises on the horizon in the Antarctic Ocean, will take your breath away. If you're lucky, you can explore Laurie Island, where the Orcadas research station is located in a former whaling station.


Finally, you'll reach Antarctica, the frozen and nearly inaccessible White Continent. You'll be mesmerized by the white shades covering the icebergs, glaciers, mountains, and frozen sea all around you. As one of the privileged few who have laid eyes on this legendary land, you'll witness the greatest expeditions and the most extraordinary adventures.


Throughout your journey, a team of naturalist guides will share with you the secrets of these distant lands inhabited by unique wildlife. From penguins of different species to albatrosses, numerous seal species, and majestic whales blowing on the horizon, you'll encounter a wide variety of animals. However, please note that landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed, as they vary from day to day, making each Ponant cruise a unique experience. The Captain and Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible while complying with safety rules and instructions imposed by the IAATO.

2. Explore Machu Picchu With Belmond

The most incredible part of Belmond's saturation in Peru is that you can take a luxury train directly to Machu Picchu. Fly into Cusco and stay at Belmond's Palacio Nazarenas, a former nunnery, or Monasterio, a former monastery. Overcome jet lag, and soak in the views and incredible Peruvian cuisine before catching the Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu.

The Hiram Bingham, A Belmond Train, Voyage to The Heart of The Inca Empire

Embark on a thrilling expedition into the Inca Empire as guests journey from the historic city of Cusco through the Sacred Valley and up to the entrance of Machu Picchu aboard the Hiram Bingham. Offering a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with stunning open-air views, passengers can indulge in luxurious Peruvian cuisine while enjoying the vintage cocktail bar's signature Pisco sour. Upon reaching the citadel, a professional guide accompanies passengers as they marvel at the awe-inspiring ruins before taking a break at the Sanctuary Lodge, A Belmond Hotel, for a restorative afternoon tea. Passengers must reserve enough energy, however, for their return journey aboard, where a lively party featuring live music and a festive atmosphere animates the carriages.

The Sanctuary Lodge, A Belmond Hotel, Steps Away From Machu Picchu

If you want to stay overnight at Machu Picchu, stay at Belmond's Sanctuary Lodge. Located just steps away from Machu Picchu, the Sanctuary Lodge offers guests the opportunity to avoid crowds and enjoy a stylish retreat. As the only hotel near the ancient Inca citadel, visitors can be the first to enter at dawn. Guests can savor breakfast while admiring the mystical ancient ruins and revel in the innate tranquility of the area. The lush subtropical nature surrounding Sanctuary Lodge provides a serene setting, while the rainforest cuisine is sure to tantalize taste buds. With local guides and storytellers, the hotel takes pride in being custodians of this sacred land. Visitors can participate in ancient rituals and cultural ceremonies and experience authentic Peruvian hospitality while indulging in delicious food. Sanctuary Lodge extends a warm invitation to all to join them at their table.

You can catch the Hiram Bingham back to Cusco from the Sanctuary Lodge or continue your Peruvian adventure at one of the many other Belmond Properties, including Rio Sagrado. Rio Sagrado is a short trip from Machu Picchu in the heart of the Sacred Valley. Enjoy close encounters with Alpacas, a calming spa, and a rural setting providing travelers with the perfect venue for rest after a long journey.

A Belmond excursion in Peru can be customized indefinitely to satisfy all your requirements for a perfect visit to the former Incan Empire.

3. Venture into the Galapagos on The Celebrity Flora (A Forbes Four-Star Expedition Ship)

Experience the ultimate luxury getaway in the Galapagos Islands aboard Celebrity Flora, the world's first ship designed exclusively for this unique ecological wonderland. With a sleek and stunning design, the vessel boasts 50 spacious suites that can accommodate up to 100 guests, cared for by attentive attendants. Embarking on an expedition? Prepare for twice-daily shore excursions guided by certified naturalists from the Galapagos National Park, as well as a variety of onboard activities.


Celebrity Flora is committed to sustainable tourism, actively protecting sea floors by refraining from dropping anchors. Additionally, the ship has established a local fishing co-op to provide fresh produce for guests to enjoy onboard. Guests are also provided with S'well bottles and filtered water stations throughout their stay, minimizing plastic waste.


Combining eco-friendliness and luxury, Celebrity Flora offers an unforgettable travel experience without compromising access to the magnificent archipelago. Ecuadorian designer Adriana Hoyos has brought nature to life within the cabins and public areas, incorporating natural accents. The Seaside Restaurant offers rotating breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes infused with Ecuadorian flavors, while the Ocean Grill provides a more casual dining experience. Relax and take in stunning views through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the Observatory or unwind in one of the library's oversized chairs.


For a truly unique experience, try glamping-at-sea! Spend an evening in teak-slatted cabanas on the top deck, sipping campfire cocktails and indulging in s'mores and a meal under the stars while a naturalist points out constellations. Don't miss out on this hassle-free travel experience that combines luxury and sustainability.

4. Experience Africa's Big Five at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

Deep in the heart of the world's most celebrated wildlife reserves, visitors can join for a unique experience where the Big Five – the lion, the leopard, the buffalo, the elephant, and the rhinoceros – roam freely on the vast, untamed landscape.

The Lodge is perched on a series of elevated platforms and walkways, located adjacent to an animal watering hole, providing guests with a front-seat view of a family of elephants coming for their morning drink while enjoying their own from the private balcony in their room.

With constant protection from local Maasai tribespeople, visitors can enjoy an exhilarating game drive or take to the skies on a hot-air balloon safari. After a day of adventure, the Lodge's Spa is available to help rehydrate, restore, and re-energize for the next day's activities. Visitors have the option of starting their day watching the savannah come to life from a hot-air balloon, followed by a Champagne breakfast in the bush.

For a private photo safari led by acclaimed wildlife photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks, groups of two to six people can embark on a Connected Souls tour to reconnect with friends and family. Additionally, visitors can join the resident naturalist, Maasai guides, and park rangers for a 90-minute walk to gain an intimate understanding of the subtle features of the Serengeti and help install a "camera trap" for recording large creatures. The Lodge's only question - where would you like to begin?

5. Journey to the Remote Island of Seychelles and Stay at Six Senses Zil Pasyon (Forbes Four-Star)

Located on the private island of Félicité in the Seychelles archipelago, Senses Zil Pasyon is an eco-friendly luxury resort that seamlessly blends with its natural surroundings. The resort is built atop and between giant granite boulders smoothed out by the sea, providing guests with stunning views of the ocean and dramatic vegetation. Private villas come with secluded plunge pools, large decks, and are connected to the main "house" by four miles of paved paths.


The resort also features an outdoor cinema, a Six Senses spa, and an assigned guest experience manager who can arrange activities such as hiking, paddleboarding, and even cooking classes. Sustainability is a major focus at Zil Pasyon, with efforts made on the island's ecology and coral reefs, the use of solar energy, and eco-friendly cleaning and bath products.

Getting to Zil Pasyon requires a 20-minute speedboat ride or helicopter transfer from a neighboring island. While the pescatarian restaurant Ocean Kitchen offers a special dining experience, meat lovers can head to Island Café. The resort also welcomes families with children ages 4 to 11, offering activities like coconut painting and beach scavenger hunts at the Trouloulou kids club.

6. Stay in an Over Water Bungalow in the Maldives at One&Only Reethi Rah (Forbes Five-Star)

Located in the Maldives, One & Only Reethi Rah is a sprawling luxury resort that offers guests a truly remarkable island getaway. The resort's unique shape, created by augmenting the island, is nothing short of spectacular and adds to the natural paradise-like atmosphere that surrounds it.


Spanning over 109 acres with 12 beaches, which is uncommon for the Maldives, each villa has sections of private sand, ample ocean views, and large verandas. The island is divided by a small bridge connecting the two pieces of land, one of the most Instagrammed locations on the property.

Getting to the resort is a unique experience, as guests can choose between a seaplane or a 56-foot luxury yacht. With 700 staff members catering to each guest's needs, visitors can expect exceptional service that has previously hosted celebrities such as Madonna, Tom Cruise, and the Beckhams.


The resort's impressive KidsOnly kids club and its jam-packed activity calendar give children from ages four to 11 a pampered experience rivaling that of their parents. ClubOne Beach Club, located on the southernmost beach, offers Latin American cuisine with stunning lagoon views.


One&Only Reethi Rah's Grand Sunset Residence, the resort's most extravagant villa, boasts over 26,000 square feet of beachfront property, the largest private stretch of beach on the island, two swimming pools, an outdoor cinema, and a private chef.


With bikes available for every guest, exploring the island is made easier, and the Epicure Wine Cellar houses thousands of bottles of wine priced between $50 and $15,000, making it a wine lover's dream come true.

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