Travel

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Travel to a UNESCO biosphere reserve

Words by Keven Amfo

29 February 2024

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Take your escape into nature a step further by visiting one of UNESCO’s 738 biosphere reserve locations – these are our picks.

Most city dwellers are quick to acknowledge the benefits of escaping to nature for a break from the chaos and bustle of urban life. However, why not take it a step further and visit a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve? There are 738 of these unique locations – officially described as ‘learning places for sustainable development’ – around the globe. Each of our recommendations below strongly focuses on conservation and is committed to maintaining the healthy ecosystem of the biosphere reserve so you can feel good about supporting these essential zones, too.

Pantanal, Brazil

Quintessentially Travel’s 14-day Brazilian itinerary begins in São Paulo, exploring the city’s vibrant arts scene before plunging into nature. Beginning with Iguassu Falls with a stay at the luxurious Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas – situated in a prime position overlooking the falls with exclusive private viewing hours – you’ll journey to Pantanal National Park.

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Pantanal, Brazil

This vast tropical wetland is home to a diverse array of birds and mammals, plus many varieties of tropical flora and fauna: the conservation experts at Caiman Ecological Refuge Hotel, our recommended stay, will help you get up close and personal with all of them. Explore via horseback or 4x4 vehicle; don’t miss the Onçafari – this memorable experience will bring you up close and personal with jaguars in their natural habitat.

Komodo Islands, Indonesia

One of the nearly 20,000 islands that make up Indonesia, this incredible destination is the only home to several thousand Komodo dragons. The only way to visit is with the accompaniment of a park ranger – it’s forbidden to walk around alone – via guided tour. You arrive via boat; we recommend a private yacht charter, as it is quite remote. 

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Komodo Islands, Indonesia

The Silolona private charter is transportive to a fairytale, with wood construction and billowing sails. The boat is fully staffed with a local crew and can accommodate up to 12 additional passengers. Make sure to ask them to stop at the pink sand beaches, and to advise where is best to swim amongst the giant manta rays.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

If a safari has been on your list, a trip to the northern Serengeti will scratch the itch – and then some. Sayari Camp is located close to the Great Migration route; at different points in the year, you’ll see herds of animals making their annual commute from north to south. Once they’ve gone, big cat sightings, as are those of elephants and rhinos, are frequent. Game drives with their team of expert guides are catered to what you want to see, and they’re true pundits, knowing exactly which corners to explore to see the most animals.

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Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The camp is a beautiful retreat in which to relax between visits to the desert, with individual accommodations and an infinity pool overlooking the plains. Quintessentially Travel’s itinerary goes beyond the stunning wildlife, immersing travellers in local life: visiting markets and coffee plantations and spending a day with a Maasai community.

Yellowstone-Grand Teton National Park, USA

One of the most picturesque parts of America, Wyoming and Montana are home to the Rocky Mountains, Big Sky, and parts of Yellowstone National Park. Amangani is our preferred base from which to explore – located in the peaks of Grand Teton National Park near Jackson Hole, it’s ideally situated for discovery. Snow or sun, there is much to see; during summer, the resort can arrange guided wildlife safaris that venture through the surrounding flatlands, wetlands, valleys and forests to see animals like moose, bears, wolves, and deer up close and personal. 

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Yellowstone-Grand Teton National Park, USA

Winter is a haven for skiers and snowboarders; however, if winter sports aren’t your thing, you can explore via snowshoe or by helicopter or snowmobile – there are even dog sledges. You might even spot a deer from the large picture windows in your room; we recommend booking the Gros Ventre Suite with a balcony (and a fireplace!) for the best views.

Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert in Chile is a favourite destination of our in-house travel team, beloved for its striking lunar landscapes and never-ending salt flats. With an itinerary that touches Santiago, Patagonia, Easter Island, and the Maipo Valley wine region, it’s an experience that offers a taste of the incredible diversity of this region.

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Atacama Desert, Chile

With Atacama Lodge as your base – an understated but luxurious property just outside the village of San Pedro – the hotel is designed to blend seamlessly with adobe-style structures that reflect the desert surroundings. Boasting some of the clearest skies in the world, it’s the perfect vantage point from which to stargaze. The expert staff leads explorations into the desert, hiking, driving, or horseback riding through the region to uncover intense beauty, archaeological wonders, Mars Valley, the Valley of the Cacti, Tatio Geysers, and more.

Ecuador and the Galapagos Archipelago

One of the globe’s most coveted destinations for explorers, the Galapagos Islands are a bucket-list journey. The incredible Pikaia Lodge is the ideal home from which to explore. Completely reliant on alternative energy and featuring consciousness at every environmental and social level, it’s centrally located in the archipelago, allowing for exploration via both land and sea. 

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Ecuador and the Galapagos Archipelago

Each accommodation offers floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the stunning vistas whilst at the hotel. Offsite, visitors will be stunned by the giant tortoise reserve, tiny Galapagos penguins, abundant shark population, and many fish species. If you’re dive-certified, you’re in luck: the turquoise waters are home to the most varied marine life on earth. Embark on an adventure led by National Park guides for the most rewarding experience.

Think you’ve seen it all? Think again. Our global network of dedicated travel specialists plans one-of-a-kind, tailor-made travel experiences to make every trip your best yet. Find out more about Quintessentially Travel here.

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Keven Amfo

Keven is a writer, editor, and creative living between London and NYC – she's been the Global Editor of Noted since 2019. She is passionate about luxury in its myriad forms, and commissions, writes, and edits many of our features.

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