Joelle Mentis, Writer
Most of us are never taking travel for granted again, and we’re planning to hit it when we’re vaccinated. We have five spots that you can visit now to ease gently back into the world, over the summer when you’re feeling more confident to take this show international, for a fall getaway when you’ll need a break from work and for a real blowout holiday vacation as a grand finale. Because you’re always planning the next trip.
With the recent news from the CDC that vaccinated passengers have the green light to travel, we know you’re rearing to hit all the places you’ve been dying to get to for the past year. But we want to let Europe take its time to get back to pre-Covid travel. Instead, these places have been letting travelers in for months and have their Covid-19 protocols down pat. These places have lower infection rates so far, so while you’re there, you can venture from your resort and really explore. And even without a vaccine card — with a simple negative test — for most of these spots, you won’t have to do the long quarantine, which for some people ends up being the whole vacation.
Costa Palmas, Los Cabos
If you’ve about had it with the cold weather and mask-wearing, then consider heading out to the East Cape on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico where you’ll find the incredible Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos in an unexpectedly calm corner of the world. After arriving at the famous Los Cabos International Airport, you’ll take a surprising turn away from the bustling corridor, which has seen no shortage of pandemic travel, toward a more laid-back, but no less sunny, East Cape region with sweeping desert landscapes and the soaring Sierra de la Laguna mountains. Although most resorts are located on the Pacific side, the Sea of Cortez has some of the most swimmable waters in the world, and Costa Palmas is one of the nicest places to stay. Its luxury seaside rooms offer infinity pools and hot tubs, as well as access to members-only organic farms, an Aman spa and a Robert Trent Jones II golf course. Enjoy horseback riding, kite surfing and hiking, and dine in any of the newly opened restaurants. The East Cape is also a perfect place to buy if this pandemic has made you more committed to real estate. Costa Palmas and next-door neighbor Amanvari have custom residences with all the luxuries and amenities included.
Isla Secas, Panama
If Covid-19 has taught you that we have one earth and we need to take care of her, then Islas Secas is your go-to destination. Not only has the resort developer protected all but one-quarter of the archipelago, but the whole nine-casita eco-lodge is environmentally low impact and dedicated to conservation. The resort is entirely solar powered, all water is recycled at an onsite plant, food scraps are used as fertilizer and all buildings are made from reclaimed wood. They are moving toward no single-use plastics, which given that we don’t go seconds without touching plastic, is huge. The experience is truly about getting away. While there is Wi-Fi, other typical luxury amenities are absent. In lieu of a jacuzzi, there is a library stocked with family-oriented games like Apples to Apples and Twister. But what the Islas Secas experience lacks in extras, it more than makes up for in rich, personal engagements with the surrounding marine ecosystem and local cuisine. Perfect for families, Islas Secas is the place to go for diving, snorkeling, whale watching and spending time with loved ones on your own private beach.
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Keeping in line with trips for the fam, Soneva Fushi is the perfect place for fun and play for the kids and a romantic escape for the parents. A huge water slide and a round-the-clock chocolate room are well-known features, and the Robinson Crusoe-style villas and dreamy activities like sailing and bike riding are favorites of visitors. The above-water, sustainable villas at Soneva Fushi are what you’d expect of the Maldives, and the butler service — including free artisanal cheeses, charcuterie and chocolates — will keep you feeling fed and cared for after a long, hard year of pandemic living. When you come to Soneva Fushi, you come for the sunrise and the sunset, and the amazing activities like wakeboarding and waterskiing. What really makes your stay, however, are the incredible, larger-than-life villas that you’ll never want to leave. A two-bedroom suite for you and your family has a private pool, an outdoor bathroom, a wine fridge and a private gym. The architecture is clean and comforting, highlighting warm, wooden hues and the surrounding majestic landscape. An almost 10,000-square-foot, bilevel, over-the-water villa has a retractable ceiling and comes with the option of an ocean discovery package.
Singita Kwitonda, Rwanda
After spending the past few months cooped up at home, it’s probably time to go on a real adventure, and nowhere offers adventure better than Singita Kwitonda. When thinking of a tropical or remote vacation, especially after Covid-19, Rwanda probably doesn’t jump out as an obvious choice, but the country has been allowing visitors for several months and has created a seamless Covid-19 system. Not to mention, when you’re that remote — out in the national park — you’re in one of the most Covid-safe places. Kwitonda Lodge is a whole different kind of experience. Singita is devoted to gorilla conservation. Your whole stay revolves around the unbelievable creatures, and you can have one-on-one encounters with them. The incredible national park next door, which has volcanoes and lush greenery, offers scenery that is soul cleansing. The lodge is low-impact and built to be gentle with nature, ensuring no resource goes to waste or isn’t repurposed. The eight rooms are furnished with imigongo artwork and feature floor-to-ceiling windows with curved, bamboo-crested ceilings and heated soaking tubs. Farm-to-table food is local, mostly plant-based and served by a private chef. Daily activities include wilderness hikes and gardening lessons tailored to you and your crew. When looking to refresh and rejuvenate after the most wild year ever, Singita Kwitonda is perfect.
COMO Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos
Perhaps the most luxurious of all, Parrot Cay is truly the “I deserve this” trip you need for the end of a grueling pandemic. The remote private island, which is favored by the likes of Christie Brinkley, Keith Richards and Donna Karan, is truly the place to get away from it all. Of course, because you’re in Turks and Caicos, so the white sand beaches are as pristine as you could imagine and the water is crystal clear for miles. COMO Hotels and Resorts are known for being among the top of the line in the Caribbean, and Parrot Cay has a Balinese vibe that is centered around wellness and healing, which is perfect post-pandemic. Though the organic, locally grown food can be made as healthy as you like and spa treatments and a gym can keep you on your workout regimen, a trip to Parrot Cay is nothing short of completely indulgent, and there is no shortage of sun loungers or private pools. Expansive grounds are perfect for couples or families looking to hide away for a while, and water sports and the world-renowned spa offer something for everyone. Because 2020 was hard enough and the beginning of 2021 was no easier, a trip to Parrot Cay is exactly what your post-vaccine plan calls for.