via Time Magazine
Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
Defined by stunning geodiversity, the UAE’s fourth largest emirate continues to attract thrill seekers with its superlative outdoor adventure offerings.
Earlier this year Jais Sledder, the region’s longest toboggan ride, debuted, whizzing through the mountains at close to 25 m.p.h. Named after Jebel Jais, the highest peak in the Hajar Mountains, the attraction joins Jais Flight—the world’s longest zip line–as one of the Middle East’s top adventure activities. Also not for the faint of heart, the newly launched RAK Airventure is a tethered hot-air balloon experience—the 10- minute flight soars nearly 100 ft. high, capturing a breathtaking panorama of the region’s natural and urban landscape. Later in the year, Jebel Jais will unveil Jais Wings, which allows visitors to paraglide above spectacular scenery. Next year, Jais Swing will offer a different perspective on the same views; and Jais Yard, a culinary village with food trucks, an open-air movie theater, and children’s play areas, will welcome guests.
Fresh additions to Ras Al Khaimah’s hospitality scene, like the InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Mina Al Arab Resort and Spa, and the Movenpick Resort Al Marjan Island, will provide travelers with luxurious enclaves where they can recharge.
Park City, Utah
“If you build it, they will come” seems to be Park City’s mantra. The charming ski town rose to fame hosting the annual Sundance Film Festival, a star-studded celebs-in-snow-boots event, but is now growing into a major winter and summer destination on par with Aspen.
Recent additions to the area’s luxury resort collection include the Pendry Park City—its location in the center of Canyons Village is a harbinger of greater things to come for this oft overshadowed area. And over in Deer Valley, the iconic boutique Goldener Hirsch debuts 40 residences, joining the Auberge Resorts Collection. Restaurants Tupelo Park City and KITA (at the Pendry) boost the city’s culinary chops.
To see and protect
One of the most biodiverse destinations on the planet has recently secured even more stringent environmental protection. Late last year, the leaders of Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Panama ratified the more than 20,000 . Hermandad Marine Reserve. The reserve extends the existing protected zone around Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands to encompass marine areas in several neighboring countries, including Cocos Island National Park in Costa Rica and the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary in Colombia, creating a marine migratory corridor that will curb commercial fishing in that area. Overall, the new reserve expands the protected area of the Galápagos archipelago by more than 40%.
For visitors to see the flora and fauna of the territory, a couple of new cruises have launched this year. Luxe outfit Aqua Expeditions began operating the Aqua Mare, a 163-ft., three-passenger-deck, seven-suite superyacht in June. In February, Silversea christened the Silver Origin, a ship designed specifically to tour the Galápagos. The cruise line’s significant sustainability efforts on this innovative vessel include a 15% reduction in fuel consumption and a dynamic propulsion system designed to reduce damage to the seafloor.
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