Posts tagged with "snorkeling"

JA RESORTS, 360 MAGAZINE, TRAVEL

JA Manafaru Resort Team Cleans Up Nearby Island

in Support of Parley Maldives Initiative

JA Manafaru Resort in the Maldives collaborated with local partners, guests and the community to undertake a plastic removal and sustainability initiative on a neighboring island

JA Manafaru Maldives recently collaborated with a local school and their ocean activity partner, Best Dives Private Limited, to collect more than 23 jumbo bags of waste from a neighboring island and Marine Protected Area; Gallandhoo for recycling through Parley Maldives. 

Parley Maldives is the Maldives branch of Parley for the Oceans, a global collaboration network with a new approach to environmentalism. The mission of Parley is to end today’s major ocean threats through creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation. The private island resort of JA Manafaru itself is spectacularly beautiful and unspoilt, sitting in the crystal-clear waters of the most northern point of the Haa Alifu Atoll. Although the ocean and beach areas surrounding the award-winning resort are pristine examples awe-inspiring nature, other islands in the Maldives have issues with waste, particularly non- biodegradable materials like plastic.  

Best Dives Maldives, a local diving, excursion and ocean activity company partnered with the JA Manafaru Resort and a local school – Hoarafushi School, to undertake a monumental task in cleaning up the western coastline of Marine Protected Area (MPA), Gallandhoo. The JA Manafaru Environmental & Sustainability team planned the clean-up with Best Dives, informed guests and arranged resort boats to collect volunteers heading to the island to clean the area. Together more than 50 staff, guests, students and parents filled over 23 jumbo bags of waste in one hour. Marine biologists asserted that Gallandhoo Island looked strikingly different after the team efforts and considerable potential damage to marine life was averted. All the plastic waste collected will be sent to Parley.

To address the fast-growing threat of marine plastic pollution, Parley have devised a strategy that can be scaled across private households, schools, businesses and governments: Parley AIR — Avoid, Intercept, Redesign. Guided by these pillars, they advocate avoiding the use of single-use plastics and promoting responsible disposal of single-use plastics. The goal in the Maldives is to boost the protection of the marine ecosystem through collective change. In collaboration with plastic interception partners, Parley has now exported 48 containers of plastic waste from the Maldives, preventing over 800 tons of plastics from entering the oceans. These plastics are recycled and upcycled to help create a new economy of eco-innovation and collaboration, beginning with reducing the use of raw virgin plastics in production processes.

School students and guests were presented with certificates of appreciation for their participation in the JA Manafaru event, and when asked why there was such an issue with plastic waste on Gallandhoo, the students explained there are low levels of understanding for many people regarding the disposal of plastic waste and of the environmental damage it causes. New General Manager, Karen Merrick commented;

JA Manafaru in collaboration with our ocean activity partner Best Dives is committed to improving upon and reducing our environmental footprint here in Haa Alifu, one of the most uninhabited atolls in Maldives. We are honored and humbled to live and work as custodians of this beautiful part of the world and assist with such initiatives whenever/wherever we can.  Every day we continue our internal mission to ensure education and awareness play a part of life here at JA Manafaru’.

In order to preserve the coral reef, beautiful beaches and sea life, the JA Manafaru team has an ongoing commitment to environmental awareness and sustainability. The hotel no longer uses plastic bottles for drinking water and instead have their own glass bottling plant, which results in a huge reduction in plastic waste. The JA Manafaru ‘House Reef Cleaning’ also invites guests to give back in a fun snorkelling and underwater reef-cleaning exercise, which certified divers can join. All items collected are logged so that any notable pollution can be immediately addressed. Other initiatives in planning at JA Manafaru include upgrading the water desalination plant for residual water to be used for landscaping, solar panel installation and a campaign for associates that raises awareness about reducing energy consumption.

JA Manafaru Maldves Hosts Island Clean Up.jpg
Plastic debris in the protected area.jpg

About JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru is an idyllic 5-star luxury island resort fringed with exquisite powder beaches in pristine, lagoon-ringed Haa Alifu Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives. Accessed by private seaplane, the chic tropical hideaway features 84 luxurious beachfront and over-water villas and bungalows, each with their own private plunge pool. Seven scenic dining destinations provide a culinary journey with traditional Indian Ocean cuisine, international fare and seafood feasts. China’s most renowned chef, Da Dong, brings his Michelin acclaim to White Orchid Asian restaurant with a collaborative menu launched in 2019. World-class recreational facilities include Calm Spa, a fully equipped dive, water sports and excursion centre, plus a Marine Research Centre to conserve local ecology. Once-in-a-lifetime wedding and honeymoon celebrations are also a specialty at JA Manafaru, which has been recognised as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon Resort (2019 World Luxury Hotel Awards). ‘Legend’ hotels by Preferred Hotels & Resorts are the ultimate collection of extraordinary properties in the world’s most remarkable destinations and JA Manafaru is the only property selected in the Maldives. Ranked among the World’s Ten Best Hotels (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2019), JA Manafaru is a tropical paradise where unique experiences can become unforgettable memories.

For more information on JA Manafaru, please visit;

https://www.jaresortshotels.com/en/maldives/ja-manafaru

About JA Resorts & Hotels

A legacy UAE brand, JA Resorts & Hotels was born in 1981 and has a widely recognised reputation for excellence, in the management and operation of award-winning resorts and hotels. Taking its name from the original Jebel Ali (JA) Beach hotel, JA Resorts & Hotels portfolio now features 8 distinct properties across the UAE and Indian Ocean, each dedicated to curating unique experiences and creating unforgettable memories. Tropical escapes include JA Manafaru, the idyllic luxury island resort in pristine, lagoon ringed Haa Alifu Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives and JA Enchanted Island Resort, an ultra-luxurious hideaway of 10 exquisite villas on a private island, in the middle of the protected Saint Anne Marine Park. Within the UAE, guests can choose from the five-star JA Ocean View Hotel, as well as the deluxe hotel apartments of JA Oasis Beach Tower, both located along ‘The Walk’ in Jumeirah Beach Residence.  Other attractive options include the acclaimed JA The Resort – Dubai’s largest experience resort, with 1 million square metres of thrilling activities and 3 unique hotels offering 795 suites and rooms between them– JA Beach Hotel, the all-suite JA Palm Tree Court and JA Lakeview Hotel, a stunning new Golf Course adjacent property due to open in September 2019. The JA Hatta Fort Hotel completes the portfolio as Dubai’s only mountain resort, a secluded getaway amidst the stunning Hajar Mountains landscape. JA Resorts & Hotels is a member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, bringing together more than 30 brands with over 550 hotels in 78 countries.

For more information on JA Resorts & Hotels, please visit;

www.jaresortshotels.com 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jaresortshotels

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jaresorts

Instagram: https://instagram.com/jaresorts 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JAresorts

Huba-Huba Cambodia

By Alexandria Baiz × Vaughn Lowery

Cameron Michael Parkes was born in Vancouver, Canada (in British Columbia). He graduated from the University of Calgary, majoring in chemical engineering with a minor in petroleum. While working at a consulting firm, the oil prices dropped and he used his severance package to travel the world.

Throughout his two year journey in Southeast Asia, he found himself at Koh Rong Samloem – a small island just off the coast of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Two main places to stay are Saracen Bay (dense more modern filled with tourists) or Mpei Bay (rustic village area with tons of locals). After a few weeks in both places, Cameron decides to trench through the hot and sticky jungle (with snakes, wild monkeys and insects) to the most desolate yet serene part of the island, Sunset Beach. He quickly becomes acquainted with paradise and decides to plant his feet at Huba-Huba where he enjoys perfect sunsets with unobstructed sea views.

After a brief trip to Sri Lanka, he returns to Huba-Huba to discover that the owner’s husband had passed in a tragic motorcycle accident. The widow offered to sell and Cameron decided to purchase. Looking back he says, “I like the beach-jungle vibe which isn’t perfect. I love this spot. Right on the beach, beautiful bay, monkeys come around, geckos.”

Huba-Huba Cambodia

Situated at the end of the beach, it contains 4 bungalows, 1 family bungalow, 4 private double rooms and 1 dorm – 8 beds and 3 tents. Their kitchen is armed with one of the best cooks on the entire island. Their “BBQ Nights” serve up sensational samplers of pork ribs, tofu, prawns and chicken. Polite waitstaff, heavy handed mixologists and free painting station where you can repurpose instruments as well as pieces of wood to build a sculpture from scratch. Snorkeling gear is available for rental.

Sleeping Trees owned by Yves Chalot

Yves (a notable bartender from Brittany) came to Sunset Beach as a dive instructor and fell in love. One day after speaking with his bosses, he discovers a beachfront property for rent. Then he invites his brother (a carpenter) and they decided to erect ‘Sleeping Trees.’ The name derived from only having tree tents and the idea of ‘sleep in’ trees arose. The vacation area has two newly renovated bungalows, four tipis and four tree tents. Each space can accommodate up to two people. In addition, there’s a 4-room dorm which can host eight. At the present moment, both owners want to focus on better gardening and overall aesthetics of the property. Best attributes are their crepes, homemade rum shots and Reggae Night on Saturdays.

Robinson Bungalows

Sebastian Straub, former social worker in Switzerland, has now owned the property for 5 years alongside of his wife Julia. Their location is pet-friendly and includes 7 bungalows and 7 tipis. Each bungalow is constructed from wood with straw rooves perfect for a cozy and tropical stay. Their reimaginged family bungalow or ‘Cozy Kikki Lu’ is an ideal choice for guests seeking modern-like amenities. Tents make for a perfect glamping experience since they’re about thirty feet from the ocean. We enjoyed soaking up the sun in one of the 20 hammocks on the premises. Take advantage of the full bar and $1 beers during happy hour. The onsite restaurant takes advantage of seasonal local produce and fresh catches when possible. Our favorite menu items were the English breakfast, hearty fruit bowls, red snapper and barbecued pork & chicken skewer. You may enjoy meals upstairs (two-stories high) in an outdoor covered dining patio and/or at the beach bar. Every morning, a taxi boat for guests cost $10 to go to the city and is easily accessible.

Sunboo Beach Bungalows

Karlo and Parisa Zahipour Moarefi both came from Austria, borrowed money from friends and invested in Sunboo. There are 6 Bungalows and a dorm with 8 beds. The beach or garden bungalows have ceiling fans and newly renovated bathrooms and sinks. With a strong Italian influence, everyday dining is delightful. For breakfast they make french toast, pancakes, crispy bacon and homemade baguettes. For lunch fresh gnocchi, burgers and triple fried french fries. The dinner menu is westernized with our favorite thin crust pizza. And of course the Sunboo beach bar is the party area where we sip and socialize. One of the only establishments which serve wine on Sunset Beach.

Sunset Adventures Dive Shop

They offer a full array of outdoor activities on the island with two locations – Saracen Bay and Sunset Beach. We took their half-day diving class (for all levels) and their master instructors were extremely attentive. The rock climbing experience offers amazing views of the sea. Kayaking trips are a must-try with a guide to discover the wonderful island and underwater world. The most intriguing activity on the island is the nighttime plankton tour which allows one to witness and capture their bioluminescence.

Lazy Beach Resort

A private tropical hideaway on Koh Rong Samloem. The vacation area has 1 private beach, 22 bungalows and 1 guest house. The wooden bungalows all have two large double beds, en-suite bathrooms and a spacious balcony offering waters edge views of the warm tropical ocean. Paddle boarding is one of the most popular activities to do, but also board games, snorkeling and dive sites. The infamous bar is a must visit with the number one drink being the ‘Bahama Mama.’ All sorts of signature drinks like brown and white rum malibu, grenadine and juices. This private beach getaway is breathtaking.

Koh Rong Samloem Lighthouse

The most amazing experience on the island and also its highest point. We recommend you take a taxi boat to the drop-off or trail which leads up to the lighthouse. Rumored to have been an old military watch tower, the views are spectacular. Be prepared to climb at least 7 to 8 stories to the top. The smell inside the lighthouse is a tad overwhelming and rancid. Be willing to pay at least $1-3 USD for the private tour. That price does not include the taxi boat.

Vaughn Lowery, 360 magazine, Huba-Huba cambodia

Vaughn Lowery on a taxi boat to Mpei Bay

Huba-huba Cambodia, 360 magazine, Cambodia

Ping pong at Huba-Huba Cambodia

Koh rong samloem lighthouse, Cambodia, koh rong sanloem lighthouse, 360 magazine

Koh Rong Samloem Lighthouse

Sunset adventures dive shop on sunset beach, koh rong samloem, Cambodia,  360 MAGAZINE

Vaughn Lowery dives w/ Sunset Adventures

Koh rong samloem, Cambodia, southeast Asia,  360 MAGAZINE

Sleeping Trees at Sunset Beach

Koh rong samloem, Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Sunset at Sunset Beach

Sunset adventures dive shop on sunset beach,  koh rong samloem,  Cambodia,  360 MAGAZINE

Sunset Adventures Dive Shop on Sunset Beach

Sleeping trees, sunset beach, koh rong samloem, Cambodia,  360 MAGAZINE

Inside Sleeping Trees newly renovated bungalow

Sleeping trees sunset beach, koh rong samloem, Cambodia,  360 magazine

Sleeping Trees tipi

Owners of sunboo bungalows, koh rong samloem, Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Owners of Sunboo Beach Bungalows

Sleeping trees sunset beach, koh rong samloem, Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Sweet & sour tofu at Sleeping Trees

Huba-huba Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Tempura battered chicken at Huba-Huba Cambodia

Robinson bungalows, 360 MAGAZINE

English breakfast at Robinson Bungalows

Huba-huba Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Huba-Huba Cambodia staff member

Huba-huba Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Tents at Huba-Huba Cambodia

Cameron Michael Parkes, Huba-Huba Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Cameron Michael Parkes of Huba-Huba Cambodia

Huba-huba Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Outdoor area at Huba-Huba Cambodia

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Travelers Experience Both Jungle & Beach With New Experience At Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Travelers Experience Both Jungle & Beach with New Experience At Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Native Spa Treatments, Indigenous Foodie Experiences, Snorkeling, Scuba, Eco-Tours & More Complement Accommodations with Both Ocean and Jungle Views

Guests visiting Mexico no longer need to choose between a breathing taking beach front view or serene jungle suite thanks to Grand Velas Riviera Maya’s new Zen & Grand Class Experience. The “Beyond All-Inclusive, Beyond All Compare” resort includes both water and land activities to complement nightly accommodations in both the Mayan jungle and oceanfront with views of the Caribbean Sea.
 
Set in the natural landscape of the Yucatan Peninsula, the AAA Five Diamond resort’s Zen suites offer a private terrace overlooking the native flora and fauna of the jungle. These elegantly exotic suites with over 1,100 square feet of living space are surrounded by lush trees, koi ponds and landscapes. After taking in nature, guests will be packed up by their concierge and moved to the adults-only Grand Class ambiance. These ocean-front suites, all over 1,300 square feet, feature a private plunge pool on its terrace overlooking the turquoise Caribbean. 

Also included in the experience are activities that highlight the best of both the land and sea. For the ocean lover, Waverunners take guests adventuring out to an underwater reef off Maroma Beach to observe its natural diversity. Certified divers will also enjoy a diving tour in Cozumel which regularly ranks among the top scuba diving destinations in the world. Additionally, kayaking off the resort’s pristine beach provides day-long fun. Back in the jungle, the resort’s ecological tour gives guests the chance to experience the unique environment, learn about the native flora and fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula and understand the resort’s conservation efforts. During the activity, Grand Velas Riviera Maya invites participants to plant a tree in their name and watch it grow from home on Google Earth.
 
Gourmet palates and spa aficionados are also cared for in the Zen & Grand Class Experience with a special tasting dinner for two at the resort’s Yucatecan restaurant, Chaká, nestled amid the tropical jungle foliage of mangroves, Salam, Chechen and Chaká trees of the Zen section. Helmed by Mayan Chef Humberto May Tamay, guests can expect to enjoy a superb meal the region’s traditional cuisine paired with a selection of fine wines. If oceanfront dining is on the menu, a luxurious seaside picnic awaits filled with wine, four varieties of salads with house-made dressings, smoked salmon, French cheeses and charcuterie, fresh baked artisanal baguettes, and a selection of fresh roasted turkey breast, roast beef and duck terrine made from a special recipe of Michel Mustiere, MaÎtre Cuisinier de France and Culinary Director of Mexico’s Velas Resorts. Inspired by the jungle and natural water pools of the Yucatan Peninsula, the award-winning SE Spa will relax guests with a Coffee & Cocoa Treatment. The 50-min. treatment includes a coffee exfoliation followed with a body massage with cocoa oil intended to activate blood circulation. 
 
Rates for the Jungle & Beach package start at $2,144 USD per person per night based on double occupancy. All-inclusive rates at Grand Velas Riviera Maya always include luxury suite accommodations, à la carte gourmet meals at a variety of specialty restaurants, premium branded beverages, 24-hour in-suite service, taxes, gratuity and more. Roundtrip transportation and all necessary diving equipment for Cozumel scuba trip included. A three night minimum applies. For more reservations or more information on Grand Velas Riviera Maya, please email reservations@velasresorts.com, call 1-888-407-4869, or visit here.

 
About Grand Velas Riviera Maya:
Set on 206 acres of pristine jungle and mangroves and with the finest white sand beach in the Riviera Maya, the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya is an ultra-luxury all-inclusive resort. Guests can choose among three separate ambiances in this Leading Hotel of the World, including adults-only oceanfront, family-friendly ocean view and a Zen-like tropical setting, embraced by the flora and fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula’s jungle. All 539 designer-like suites are exceptionally spacious, more than 1,100 square feet each, all with balconies, and some with private plunge pools. All feature fully stocked mini bars, plasma TVs, Wi-Fi, L’Occitane amenities, artisanal tequila, and Nespresso coffee machines. Bathrooms deserve special mention with walk in glass shower, deep soaking Jacuzzi tubs and marble interior. Eight restaurants, including five gourmet offerings, present a tour through Mexico, Europe and Asia. Cocina de Autor, at the hands of world renowned celebrity chefs Bruno Oteiza, Mikel Alonso and Xavier Pérez Stone, holds the AAA Five Diamond Award, the first all-inclusive restaurant in the world to win this prestigious distinction. Se Spa, a Leading Spa of the World, is the region’s largest spa sanctuary at more than 90,000 square feet, known for its authentic Mexican treatments, offerings from around world and signature seven-step water journey. Other features include 24-hour Personal Concierge; 24/7 in-suite service; three swimming pools; two fitness centers; water sports; innovative Kids Clubs and Teen’s Club; Karaoke Bar; Koi Bar; Piano Bar, and business center. The resort offers more than 91,000 square feet of meeting space and outdoor areas for events inclusive of a 31,000-square-foot Convention Center, able to accommodate up to 2,700 guests. The resort has won numerous awards from Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today and several other magazines and major companies worldwide, including World Luxury Spa Awards and TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame. Grand Velas Riviera Maya was built and is operated by Eduardo Vela Ruiz, founder and President of Velas Resorts, with his brother Juan Vela, Vice President of Velas Resorts.

Natural Habitat Adventures

Natural Habitat Adventures Announces New Galapagos & Machu Picchu Trip Linking Two South American Icons in One Seamless Journey 

Natural Habitat Adventures, the world’s leader in nature-based travel, introduces a new 15-day expedition that pairs Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands with Peru’s Machu Picchu.

 

“These are two of South America’s quintessential destinations,” says Natural Habitat Adventures founder and president Ben Bressler. “This is a rare opportunity to combine two coveted UNESCO World Heritage Sites in one exclusive itinerary, traveling in a small group with top guides and unprecedented access.”
Galapagos & Machu Picchu: Icons of Nature & Culture combines two of Nat Hab’s most popular trips on a single itinerary. A week of live-aboard Galapagos exploration by private chartered yacht is followed by a land-based journey to Machu Picchu and the Inca ruins of the Sacred Valley.

This comprehensive itinerary adds time for more exploration, circumventing logistical hassles of trying to piece together distinctly different destinations. A professional naturalist Expedition Leader leads guests from start to finish on a rich, interpretive dive into the natural and cultural history of these diverse locations. Small groups ensure a personalized experience.

 

The trip begins in Quito with a transfer to Ecuador’s Andean Highlands. During a 2-night stay at the deluxe Hacienda Zuleta, guests are immersed in 400 years of colonial history, enjoying locally grown food from the 4,000-acre estate as they look for rare spectacled bears, pumas, condors and owls in habitat protected as part of the estate’s conservation mission.

 

After a flight to the Galapagos, guests explore the islands aboard the Ocean Spray, a 113-foot luxury motor catamaran. With just 16 passengers accompanied by two Expedition Leaders, this is the best guide-to-guest ratio in the islands. Travelers split into smaller groups for daily snorkeling, panga excursions and walks among iguanas and boobies. Guests also have the option to overnight at Nat Hab’s exclusive private Tortoise Camp, sleeping in a raised canvas safari-style tent or treehouse while ancient tortoises roam freely on the grounds.

 

On the final leg, travelers fly to Cusco for a 5-day discovery of ancient Inca civilization. Luxurious accommodations include Palacio del Inka in Cusco, the award-winning Sol y Luna boutique hotel in the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, set among orchid gardens along the Urubamba River.

Four departures, capped at 16 travelers each, are offered in 2018: March 29-Apr. 12, June 7-21, Aug. 2-16 and Nov. 8-22. The per-person double rate is $12,995 ($2000 single supplement). Included are activities, accommodations, land transportation as detailed in the itinerary, round-trip train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, airport transfers when using Nat Hab’s preferred hotels, snorkeling gear and wetsuit, all but two meals from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 15, guiding by Natural Habitat Adventures’ professional Expedition Leaders, most gratuities, taxes and service charges. Internal airfare and park fees are not included.

For complete details please see: http://www.nathab.com/galapagos/machu-picchu-galapagos-adventure/ 

For information about all of Nat Hab’s trips, including descriptive itineraries, availability and reservations, call 800-543-8917 or visit http://www.nathab.com/. Click HERE to order a copy of the new 2018 catalog.

 

About Natural Habitat Adventures

Natural Habitat Adventures is a world leader in responsible adventure travel and nature-based ecotourism. Since its founding in 1985, the company has offered eco-conscious expeditions and wildlife-focused small-group tours to the planet’s most remarkable nature destinations. Inspired and created from years of scouring the planet for the singular and extraordinary, Nat Hab’s itineraries are artfully crafted experiences that are far from “typical.” Trips are guided by professional naturalist Expedition Leaders, and Nat Hab enjoys a longstanding reputation for hiring some of the world’s best guides. Conservation is at the forefront of everything NHA does, and its philosophy is simple: tourism must work with and benefit local communities, which will in turn find value in protecting natural resources and wildlife. NHA is proud to be the travel partner of World Wildlife Fund, sharing a mutual commitment to travel as a means of helping to protect the world’s wondrous natural places. Nat Hab has donated more than $2 million to WWF and will continue to donate 1 percent of gross sales plus $100,000 annual through 2018 in support of WWF’s mission.