Wondering where to go on vacation in 2019? We’ve got you covered.
In the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Maria, this destination once frequented by U.S. travelers for its abundance of culture, diversity of landscape, and luxury hotels is making a comeback. Must-visit properties have taken the opportunity to rebuild as a way to revamp, making improvements to their offerings and investments in their rooms and grounds. Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, has updated over 100 guest rooms, and the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort underwent a $60 million renovation, which included the update of 139 rooms and suites. The historic El San Juan Hotel restored some its oceanfront villas and grounds, after a $65 million renovation pre-Maria.
Another reason to fly down, aside from the super-luxe resorts? You might just get to see the show you’ve been dying to in New York City, but haven’t managed to score tickets to. Lin-Manuel Miranda has taken residence in San Juan from January 8-23 for a fundraising tour of Hamilton at the Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré, reprising his original role in the award-winning musical. In only 24 performances, the lofty $5,000 ticket price will be donated to launch the Flamoyan Arts Fund, to support the arts and arts education community in Puerto Rico.
The Andaman Islands
For anyone who’s ever fantasized about running away to a remote island, the Andaman Islands are the stuff of dreams. A chain of more than 300 islands (some sources cite as many as 572) strung between India and Thailand, they seem almost too perfect to be real, with unspoiled beaches, clear water, coconut trees, and tropical mangroves. Many of the archipelago’s islands are uninhabited or off-limits in order to protect the tribes who live there. But one, Havelock Island, became more accessible this March, when Taj Exotica Resort & Spa — the Andamans’ first five-star resort — opened on Radhanagar Beach. Spread out over 30 acres, the property comprises 75 luxurious villas inspired by the huts of the indigenous Jarawa tribe, three restaurants serving local specialties and global cuisine, and the tranquil Jiva spa. It joins Havelock’s other main draw, the charming boutique hotel Jalakara, which opened in late 2015 with just three rooms, three suites, and a private villa on an old banana and betel nut plantation. Days here are spent swimming and diving amid the coral, kayaking in the mangroves, hiking in the forest, and relaxing on the beach. For now, the Andamans remain far less developed than the Maldives, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Go before that changes. —Laura Itzkowitz
This past spring Armenians voted in a new, more liberal government. The resulting energy has made the country all the more inviting to travelers. The Alexander, part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, recently opened in Yerevan, giving the capital its first world-class hotel. And a number of new restaurants in the city, including Sherep, are breathing new life into Armenia’s ancient cuisine. Armenia has a famously beautiful countryside landscape, and there’s no better way to see it than on foot. The Transcaucasian Trail passes the spa town of Dilijan, the bucolic Dilijan National Park, and a pair of 10th-century Christian monasteries. —Peter Terzian
Most visits to Cambodia are centered around exploring Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor Wat — but now there’s a reason to head much further south, to an area that more accessible than ever thanks to the December 21 opening of Shinta Mani Wild. Set inside the remote South Cardamom National Park (a three-hour drive from Phnom Penh), this all-inclusive luxury camp with 15 tented suites is the brainchild of hotel designer Bill Bensley, who made it a priority to protect hundreds of acres of surrounding land and the wild elephants, gibbons, and other wildlife that call it home. Guests will be able to join experts on guided hikes, explore Southeast Asia’s last wild estuarine ecosystem on custom expedition boats, and relax in a spa that uses natural, chemical-free products. Feeling extra adventurous? Instead of driving, you can opt to enter the property via a 1,247-foot-long zipline. —Brooke Porter Katz
Flying in a Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia
Experience the magic of a balloon ride while floating over beautiful Cappadocia. We fly throughout Cappadocia and our personal touch and professional experience will make your flight a memorable event. We schedule flights once a day, every day, all year round.
Cappadocia is known around the world as one of the best places to fly with hot air balloons. The spectacular surrealistic landscapes combined with excellent flying conditions allow the balloons to gently drift over and between fairy chimneys, pigeon houses hewn into the unique rock formations, orchards and vineyards – through impressive valleys, each with distinctive rock formations, colors and features – and then float up over rippled ravines for breathtaking views over the region.