Glamorous Alternatives to Camping
Both in the UK and abroad, a trend towards more luxurious interpretations of the camping experience has given a glamorous makeover to the simple charms of a night under canvas. Latin America is no different, and today you can get up close and personal with some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable without sacrificing personal comfort. From Costa Rican tent camps to eco-domes shadowed by the granite towers of Torres del Paine, the unique options below look to camping for inspiration, while of course the reality couldn’t be further away from fighting a losing battle with the elements in a soggy tent! Read on as we invite you to redefine your idea of camping.
On Costa Rica’s pristine Osa peninsula, La Leona Tent Camp offers a completely immersive natural experience. With tent-cabins on the beach front or set high up in the rainforest, the remote location (a 45-minute walk along a palm-fringed beach provides the only access to the lodge) means that the opportunities for wildlife spotting opportunities are unrivalled. Enjoy them either from the comfort of your veranda or from within the Corcovado National park, a short walk further along the beach.
There’s not even a whiff of canvas in the elegant and luxurious bungalows and treetop Jacuzzi suites of Chaa Creek Lodge, located within the beautiful Mountain Pine Forest Reserve of Western Belize. But take the forested path from the lodge to the nearby Mayan ruins of Tipu and Xunantunich and along the way you’ll discover Chaa Creek’s Macal River Camp set high on the river’s lush banks. This is an ideal and more affordable option for people looking for a genuine jungle experience with the added bonus of the luxury facilities back at the main lodge, but it also comes into its own as an adventurous treehouse base for children during the special Eco Kids programmes organised by the lodge.
Our 7-night Baja California sea kayaking trip departs from the pretty town of La Paz and explores the area’s deserted bays and coves by day, setting up camp by night on the beach beneath a star-flecked sky. Come between January and early April and you may well spot birthing whales as you paddle along. We’ve a full account courtesy of writer Robin Barton and his article Paddle Power.
The staggering vistas of South America’s southern tip have long attracted campers to its string of national parks and it’s easy to see why: this is a wild and thrillingly remote land, ideally suited to the freedom of camping. And now with the addition of the Eco Camp Patagonia, visitors can enjoy an eminently cosy base set amidst what is perhaps the very finest of Patagonia’s scenic highlights, Torres del Paine, where twin granite towers pierce the brooding Chilean sky. Just below these mountain towers nestle several sustainably managed domes, offering a haven of warmth and comfort with a proximity to nature unmatched by any traditional hotel. Find out more by reading our Eco Camp article by freelance travel journalist Sarah Siese.
Better known for cruising, the Galápagos Islands can be seen from a completely new perspective by those who choose instead to stay on dry land. Our favourite option for landlubbers is the Galápagos Safari Camp, modelled on African safari camps where guests experience nature in total comfort. Glimpse the islands’ world-famous wildlife from a hammock on the deck of your palatial tent or swim in an infinity pool in the middle of the wilderness – ‘roughing it’ has never been so enjoyable.