Qualified film-maker Michaela, is the newest member of the team and uses her creative eye when working on sales, marketing, operations and social media for Distinctive.
Operations manager Anna’s hard working attitude and an eye for detail ensures our holidays operate seemlessly. She is always on hand to answers queries big or small.
Midway between the Andes and the coast, just over an hour from Guayaquil. Accommodation at Hacienda La Danesa provides a unique experience; situated on a 500 hectare cacao farm, surrounded by fruit plantations, owed to its year-round tropical climate. This comfortable and sustainable 6 bed guesthouse offers guests an idealistic rural retreat. La Dansa has an onsite bar, lounge and restaurant serving high quality, locally sourced offerings.
Just 3.5 hours from Rio de Janeiro, Ibitipoca Reserve is an inspiring, ambitious 4,000 hectare private conservation and sustainability initiative. The centrepiece is Fazenda do Engenho, one of Brazil’s finest small hotels. Dating from 1715, the traditional farmhouse was rebuilt in 2006 and has eight sumptuous guest rooms, restaurant, Spa, sauna and hydro-massage pool. The stable has Mangalarga and Anglo-Arabian horses and guests set off on horse, foot or 4 x 4 vehicle to explore the extraordinary natural surroundings.
Located 5,000ft above sea level, and surrounded by coffee fields and with amazing views to four volcanoes, the entire Central Valley and part of the Gulf of Nicoya, Chayote Lodge is strategically located to discover a Costa Rica off the beaten track. Its 12 suites are designed after coffee receiving stations with a unique decoration to provide a sense of local exploration.
Nim Li Punit is a small Maya ruin found in the jungle of the Toledo District. It is not as big as other sites found in Belize, however what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in beauty, artefacts found there, and shade!!
In the small museum you can find a range of pots, jewellery, and magnificent stones, or carved stelae illustrating the ancient city’s rulers. These rulers can be seen sporting rather fetching ‘big hats’ which gives the site its name – Nim Li Punit means Big Hat in Kekchi Maya.
The site has become famous due to one of its most stunning findings, a beautiful, and large, jade pendant found in 2015. Sadly the pendant can not be seen here, however we got the opportunity to speak to the team of archaeologists who were currently working on the site. Digging and sifting in the heat was no easy task, I think the archaeologist was quite grateful for the distraction our questions gave him. Being a smaller site, and a lesser known one, the archeology major from the US was able to enjoy the wonderful opportunity to dig here. He told of the secrets the site had already revealed, and the many secrets still to be solved. It is easy, in an area so rich in Maya history, to overlook these smaller lesser known sites. Especially with the likes of Xunantunich and Caracol in the Cayo District, however these smaller sites can afford quieter and more serene visits, and as we found, can sometimes offer fantastic opportunities.
With the best dive shop on the island, this resort is a mecca for all things water related. The rooms, nestled in tropical gardens, are styled after the Tahitian cottages on the Polynesian island of Bora Bora, and have been built from native materials. The service is warm and the beach is beautiful. It is the perfect place to relax after a day diving or snorkelling on the glorious reef. The resort is also fantastically located for exploring San Pedro, with its shops, restaurants and bars just a short walk away.
This beachfront resort is situated on the pristine and unspoiled northern coast of Ambergris Caye, one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Portofino is a remote and peaceful resort, mainly accessible by boat. The pace is unhurried, the beaches are white and the water amazingly azure. This small, boutique resort offers just 17 beautifully appointed rooms, ranging from charming beach cabanas to spacious suites, dotted amidst swaying palm trees.
This small hotel, consisting of just six rooms, enjoys a wonderful jungle setting, superb hosting and delicious food. The rooms are simple, yet still elegant and wonderfully comfortable. Enjoy self guided jungle walks, cool off in the splash pool or relax on the veranda with a cool drink while listening to the resident Howler Monkey troop.
The drive up to Kura Design Suites was unnerving. 400m up a mountain side is not something that would normally phase me, but I am not normally driving a brand new Hyundai 4×4 that has only 9km on the clock and I had not appreciated how steep and uneven the terrain would be. And it was dark.
Finding the understated electric gate was a relief, but also a slight concern. Was this it? Where had I brought us? I definitely did not want to retrace the track down!
But then the gate opened and the wonderful haven hidden behind reassured us that we were unmistakably in the right place. Arriving at Kura at night meant that the view the following morning was the true sense of breath-taking. We woke up in our brand spanking new Junior Suite, perched on the edge overlooking the immense Pacific: 180⁰ ocean to the front, 180⁰ rainforest to the back, and toucans crossing playfully between the two. Nothing more. Utter privacy. We had had intentions to explore Bahia Ballena (Whale Bay) down below in the town of Uvita, but with the suite’s private heated infinity pool and cocktails and snacks being brought in (without us even noticing), we decided to stay put and watch the bay from our private paradise.