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Executive Edge Art of Travel

We end 2014 with the December edition of The Art of Travel dedicated to the ultimate PURE Destinations. After attending PURE, the world's defining experiential travel trade event held annually each November in Marrakech, Edge Director Yvonne Verstandig has chosen 10 of PURE's most inspiring creators of life enriching travel experiences. Only the finest and PUREist suppliers have made the cut. Cultural, active, natural, social or even spiritual journeys – everything that defines PURE as a trade show and the very principles of the PURE movement.

We've done The Art of Travel a little differently this time. We are showcasing destinations and the powerful, immersive experiential travel experiences that are possible in 10 off-the-beaten track places, through the insider local connections of these extraordinary suppliers. In this edition, we feature sample itineraries from Morocco, Greece, Uruguay, Myanmar, Puglia, the Arctic, Ethiopia, Cuba, Sri Lanka and the American West. If a particular destination strikes your fancy, then your Edge Advisor will work with these PURE suppliers to devise a bespoke itinerary that specifically suits your interests. For now, get 'PURE' and discover the ultimate transformational and experiential realm of travel in destinations that will blow you away.

SRI LANKA IN STYLE Cuba

SRI LANKA IN STYLE

Sri Lanka

A country with a long and proud history, Sri Lanka's range of landscapes, climates and activities will surprise and delight. Sri Lanka is a cradle of Buddhism, a tea industry mecca and one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. There are 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle alone - scattered ruins from the ancient world’s greatest civilizations… Indiana Jones eat your heart out!

Extraordinary wildlife awaits with Sri Lanka boasting the planet's largest density of leopards in Yala National Park. On safari also spot monkeys, crocs, elephants, innumerable species of birds, lizards and deer. The Horton Plains in the mountains at 1800 meters mimic the African savannah whilst Uda Wallawwe National Park is ripped by the Wallawwe River where you swim by the campsite every morning as the sun rises. Sri Lanka's beaches all offer something uniquely different - view whales and dolphins in Kalpitiya and Mirissa, explore the wide open beaches of Bentota or the shell-shaped coves in Tangalle, dive to the depths of the ocean to wander through reefs and shipwrecks or surf in Hikkaduwa or Arugam Bay.

13 night Exploration of Sri Lanka
sample family itinerary

ESENCIA GROUP

Cuba

Off beat salsa music floating out of a crumbling Cadillac, a ruined colonial cityscape which hasn't changed in 50 years, street corners plastered with Socialist slogans - these are slices of the real Cuba. The largest Caribbean island, Cuba is famed for its passionate display of history, music, culture, art and dance.  Journeys with Esencia ensure priceless insights into what everyday Cuban life is like with unique access to curators, artists, musicians and chefs to see what most tourists miss.  What's the real deal behind the 1950's American automobiles, cohibas and mojitos? What about a private dinner with a famous Cuban actress, or a master class with a virtuoso musician? A cooking lesson with a celebrated chef, an insider's glimpse of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba practicing, or front row seats at the boxing? 

Outside Havana, the provincial capitals and unspoiled countryside reveal a slow-paced rural lifestyle that the rest of the Caribbean struggles to remember.  After more than half a century of living the glories of "The Triumph of the Revolution", the country still clings to Communism by a hair, but a gentle breeze of change is also blowing in Cuba. With travel restrictions finally lifted, it's time to soak up a mix of sun, sea, salsa, cocktails, music and all the wonders of the most romantic and infectious country in the Caribbean.

10 Immersive Days in Cuba - sample itinerary

Ethiopia Artic Kingdom

ETHIOPIAN QUADRANTS

Ethiopia

Ethiopia - an African country off the beaten track and rich with truly authentic lifetime travel experiences. There are no iconic, luxury lodges like in Southern and Eastern Africa, therefore the ability to totally immerse into raw culture becomes possible. Ethiopia was never colonized (Mussolini tried between 1935-1941 but never managed to control the countryside), so culture and custom are intact. It is much safer than most African destinations, enabling visitors to venture out at night to small, traditional music houses, for example, and interact with ordinary people in ways not possible in most of the rest of Africa.

With Ethiopia Quadrants, explore not only the Historic Route but helicopter into the isolated Afar Region and the Danakil Depression with its salt mines, strange mineral formations and the volcano at Erta Ale. Set up camp on the caldera of the volcano and by night watch the lava bubbling like soup, with the occasional eruption which throws gobbets of lava shooting into the dark sky. Via boat voyages visit the ethnic communities of the Omo Valley to witness their body painting, scarification, and the insertion of lip plates.

A runner? You can partake in Africa's biggest road race, the annual Great Ethiopian Run with 35,000 of the world's sports elite for a 10km race through the capital Addis Ababa each November.

Ethiopia by Helicopter - 12 day sample itinerary

ARCTIC KINGDOM

The Arctic

The Arctic - a photographer's dream. In fact, our extraordinary cover photo was taken by Arctic Kingdom Expedition Leader David Briggs.

Imagine a land of perpetual sun. Imagine boundless tundra, frozen fjords, great heaves of broken ice gleaming in the sunlight. A herd of migrating caribou seen in the distance, their heads silhouetted dramatically against the sky. Along the ice edge, the air is filled with the raucous sound of walrus and the cries of sea birds. Far out along the sea ice, dark cracks and holes have opened up, providing breathing holes for seals. A lone polar bear stalks along the ice, hunting her next meal. The arctic is vast, with natural wonders spread throughout its great expanse.

Arctic Kingdom's unparalleled experience, local knowledge of the people and land, relationships with logistical providers and world’s best field equipment enables navigating once-in-a-lifetime adventures in the Arctic safely and comfortably. From dog sledding, igloo building, wildlife safaris, expedition cruising, arctic char fishing to glacier scuba diving to seeing the Northern Lights, there’s an action packed getaway for all seasons. Polar dreams come true.

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island

Northern Lights Fly-In Lodge

Baffin Island Scuba Dive Safari

Puglia Myanmar

SOUTHERN VISIONS TRAVEL

Puglia, Italy

Puglia is the sun-drenched heel of the boot that spans the Adriatic and the Ionian Seas. An agricultural region with abundant olive trees and a tradition of fishing that is still very much intact, Puglia's rustic charm is reflected not only the personality of the locals but also in the sharing of food. Pugliese pastas (home of the orechiette) and breads are handcrafted from locally grown durum wheat. Sauces feature an abundance of fresh vegetables like eggplant, fava beans and broccoli rabe. Hand-crafted burrata and fiordilatte are cheeses that typify the region while Puglia's trees drip with cherries, figs, almonds, and of course, olives. Puglia's climate is perfectly suited for growing grapes producing varieties of Primitivo, Negroamaro, Malvasia, Fiano, Chardonnay and others.

This culinary and cycling tour of Puglia combines the adventure of biking through the olive groves whilst gathering local produce and ingredients at provincial markets and organic farmsteads to create delectable evening meals. Your home during the sojourn is a beautifully restored farmhouse, Masseria Gelso Bianco - a trullo, an architectural form found only in Puglia.

7 day Cycling & Culinary Adventure at Masseria Gelso Bianco

INSPIRATION MYANMAR

Myanmar

Perhaps the last unspoiled destination in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is a jewel, well-preserved and unencumbered by mass tourism. Sharing a common border with India, Bangladesh, Laos, China and Thailand, Myanmar is one of the largest countries in Southeast Asia.

Myanmar has a wide range of beautiful attractions including Bagan temple and Mrauk U, where centuries-old edifice of religious monuments silently show off historical treasures and scenic Inle Lake in the eastern mountains is famous for its charming tribes, where you can find the famous leg rowing fishermen. The northernmost part of the country has Southeast Asia's highest peak, Mt. Khakaborazi (5881 meters) with its rich flora and fauna, whereas the southern Mergui Archipelago comprises over 800 unspoiled islands. Myanmar's coastline skirts the India Ocean with long and white sandy beaches such as Ngapali and Ngwesaung. What defines Myanmar even more so than its beauty and authenticity is the friendliness of its people.

Through Inspiration Myanmar, exclusively designed itineraries allow guests spiritual, cultural, culinary and local experiences which provide memories of a lifetime.

13 days in Myanmar - sample itinerary

Morocco Uruguay

MOUNTAIN VOYAGES

Morocco

Morocco has been a favorite holiday spot for the European elite of aristocrats, politicians, artists and intellectuals since the beginning of the 20th century with its luxury properties, particularly in Marrakech and Fes, which will take your breath away.

The country itself exhibits a curious blend of tradition from a rich and complex history of cultural and ethnic diversity, which reflects upon all aspects of Moroccan everyday life from the music to world-renowned craftsmanship to cuisine. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Sub Saharan Africans, Andalusians, Jews, Arabs, Spanish, Portuguese and French contributed to the shaping of the national character - all co-exist peacefully in a country defined by its religious tolerance.

In medinas, the ancient indigenous quarters, life still goes on in pretty much the same way as it went on in the middle ages. The Atlas mountains, with its verdant valleys dotted with Berber hamlets and snow-capped peaks; the arid regions of the South, punctuated by palm oasis and the Sahara dunes; or the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of the country with hundreds of miles of unspoiled, golden-sanded beaches and beautiful fishermen towns all afford magnificent chances for photography, trekking, bird watching, camel or horse riding, quad and other outdoor activities.

10 day Private Tour of Morocco - sample itinerary

LARES URUGUAY

Uruguay

Uruguay is a virtually unexplored destination for traditional tourism. Within short distances in this small and peaceful country you can find cultural and historical cities, quaint fishing villages, wetlands and hills, native forests and palm groves, sandy and rocky beaches, rivers and streams, coastal lagoons and savannahs - all filled with an enormous diversity of birds.

Discover the highlights of Uruguay - wines in Carmelo, UNESCO World Heritage architecture in Colonia del Sacramento, the vibrant capital Montevideo, the seaside beach village Jose Ignacio and more...

Situated on the undefined frontier between the Spanish and Portuguese empires, Uruguay has always been a region of passing influences; thus the hospitable character of its people. First conquerors and then the immigrants, who arrived from Europe in large waves during the first half of the last century, have enriched the native traditions forging a very particular cultural identity different from the majority of Latin American countries. Indigenous remains, fortresses of the colonial period and traces of the gaucho’s life have combined with a rich urban architectural heritage.

Uruguay - A Country of Experiences
10 day sample itinerary

Peloponnese, Greece American West

ORIGINAL SENSES

Peloponnese, Greece

Peloponnese is one of the most important regions of Greece, full of history, culture, tradition, ancient monuments, towns and beautiful sceneries. It is surrounded by the sea and separated from the northern part of the country by the Gulf of Corinth. Be amazed by the contradictory landscapes driving from North to South. The mountainous and fertile landscapes of the north give their place to rocky formations sliding into the sea at the south. Sights and smells of the orange trees turn to green as the land surrenders to the domination of olive trees.

Anything you desire can be found in Peloponnese from seaside luxury resorts, small traditional cottages with homemade breakfast, cliff hanging settlements and farmhouses with agricultural activities. For the adventurous, enjoy trekking expeditions, river rafting and cycling in the countryside. If you want to delve deep into history, travel from antiquity to the Byzantine era. Mycenae, Ancient Olympia, Megalopolis, Naflpion, Mystras, Monemvasia and Pylos are few of the places to admire. Charming villages with the stone built houses and the narrow quarters will seduce with their simplicity and hospitable inhabitants. Variable fresh tastes combined with succulent wines will please palates with the secrets of Mediterranean Gastronomy.

15 days in the Undiscovered Peloponnese -
sample itinerary

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

American West

With its postcard perfect rivers, mountains, forests, lakes, and big sky, the Rocky Mountains region is one giant outdoor playground. Mix the rich history, stunning scenery, and multiple National Parks, visitor's find this large area able to entertain travelers of all ages… the only requirement is curiosity and a desire to connect with the outdoors.

Saddle up at a luxurious western dude ranch, take a scenic flight over the Bob Marshall Wilderness, visit Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and more with private camps, white water rafting, hiking, horseback riding, archery, fly fishing amidst abundant wildlife and some of the most jaw dropping scenery in the country.  All that is left to do is gather up your camera and binoculars, Off the Beaten Path provides the road map.

15 day Classic American West Adventure
The Rockies sample itinerary

Puebloan Mystery

Yellowstone for Fun

 


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