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Walking with the Beasts: Outdoor Romantic Getaways

by Rowena Carr-Allinson

Romantic Getaways and honeymoons are about spending time together and getting away from it all. Here are six stunning places where nature still rules supreme. Disconnect from the real world and get back to basics in the truly great outdoors.

Nicaragua: Going Eco

Nicaragua may not be on everyone’s obvious romantic destination list, but as it emerges as a safe tourist destination, Morgan’s Rock, a splendid luxurious eco-lodge is leading the way in the eco tourism game.

Wedged between the Pacific and Lake Nicaragua, the resort is set in 1,800 hectares of private tropical forest. From the main lodge, stunning views stretch across a picture perfect pool and a spotless half moon beach below where dramatic sunsets add to the romance. Getting to the sleek eco-designer cabins is a chance to indulge in your Indiana Jones fantasy: walk the wooden hanging bridge in the canopy, 22 meters above ground! Tree house style cabins are a vision of wood and copper with netting instead of glass so nature is omnipresent. Howler monkeys growl in the distance, an orchestra of birds twitter and the waves crashing below remind you where you are. And of course, not a phone or T.V. in sight.

South African Safari

South Africa is a fantastic place to safari and the private game reserve of Phinda in Kwazulu Natal is the ultimate sophistication in the wild: the perfect place to live the ‘Out of Africa’ dream of silver service in the bush.

The private reserve is blessed with seven different eco systems in 43,240 acres making wildlife viewing all the more fun. Africa’s Big Five all roam freely: lion, leopard, elephant, black and white rhino and buffalo. What’s more there are cheetahs, zebras and 380 bird species ensuring game drives are plenty of surprises: a leopard lounging in a path at night, a pair of cheetahs basking in the sun or hippos running across ground…

At night, the walk from your room to the lodge for dinner is an adventure in itself, you’ll even be provided with an armed escort… just in case!

Winter Wilderness in the Canadian Rockies

Thinking of going skiing for a winter getaway and quite fancy a remote log cabin? The solution lies near Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. From November to March, the snow falls thick on the stunning Rocky peaks, and the beauty of it is that it’s considered low season: better rates and no crowds! Baker Creek is a family run lodge tucked away in the forest where Wapiti and Elk wander.

For a real winter wilderness experience head out to Canmore near Banff where Snowy Owl Dog Tours run dog-sledging. Setting off through a Christmas picture postcard pulled by a team of dogs is quite a surreal feeling. But be warned even tucked under a duvet in the sled, with temperatures reaching –31C it’s absolutely freezing!

Rainforest Retreat in Costa Rica

Lapa Rios is hidden away in the Osa Peninsula which is home to the ‘who’s who of endangered species’, from puma to ocelot and tapir. The rainforest is teeming with wildlife: 150 types of butterflies, 400 types of birds, iguanas, spider monkeys, poison dart frogs and more…

Set in 1000 acres of private rainforest, the fourteen bungalow lodge was built to prove that “a forest left standing is worth more than one cut down”. The lodge is luxurious with excellent food, service and well appointed bungalows, though of course there are no TVs or phones available. The total immersion in nature makes it a better match for those in search of adventure and exercise. Living amongst the critters sets your body clock to an early start to get the most out of the day: coffee at 6am is indispensable before exploring the jungle by foot or on horseback.

California dreaming in Big Sur, California

The coastline between Monterrey and Carmel is known as one of the United States’ most scenic routes. Amazingly, the highway is almost deserted. National Parks and State Parks mean this is the wildlife’s protected domain.

Humans keep to tiny coastal hamlets like Lucia where once there was a gas station and a post office, now remains only the remote Lucia Lodge, which sits alone on the cliff’s façade. Ten tiny blue and white beach style cabins, without TV’s or phones, look lost in this unspoilt corner of California. Inside, the whitewashed wooden walls, pine furniture and glowing fireplace all set the scene. The grand bed with its white linen overhang entwined with white roses is incredibly romantic.

As for encounters of the furry type, deer and foxes are often sighted while the shy and elusive cougar is also at home here. Above, California condors and Peregrine falcons soar while down below, local residents include sea otters and sea lions with the occasional migrating whale.

Five more wild romantic vacations…

  1. Mahout Camp on the Mekhong in Thailand
  2. Horse Riding in Camargue France
  3. Swimming with dolphins in Jamaica
  4. Diving in Oman
  5. Safari in Tanzania


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