Glamping Is Reaching A New Audience

It looks like television shows have caught on to the evergrowing trend of glamping. If you didn’t know, now you know, glamping is becoming increasingly popular and a couple of TV series are taking their stars on glamping retreats. Whether it is for the mere fun of it all or to generate inspiration, maybe we should all take the hint and give it a try ourselves.

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The comedy show called New Girl recently aired Season 6, Episode 3 called “Single and Sufficient”, where most of the crew goes glamping. The group of friends stay in luxurious yurts, go horseback riding, and sing together around the fire pit. Those are only some of the many advantages of glamping, not having to pitch your own tent and getting straight to business… meaning having fun and taking in the stress-free peacefulness of nature.

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Project Runway featured a glamping night on Season 12, an episode called “Let’s go Glamping” and took their designers out of their windowless studios and into the woods for some fresh air and inspiration. The crew enjoyed outdoor activities such as zip-lining and river rafting, then retreated to their glamping tents after a chef prepared dinner. With comments such as “It’s fabulous”, “I like glamping, it’s my favorite thing to do now”, and “I love it and I never want to leave”, viewers will be drawn to trying an experience alike for themselves.

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Both shows have at least 6 seasons under their belt and I can’t deny having watched both on planned occasions and while skipping through channels. The number of viewers who have just caught a glimpse of glamping for the first time through television has obviously increased the number of people who now have a better idea of what glamping is all about. We only hope the word keeps spreading, inspiring property owners to share their hidden natural gems and non-campers a way to experience the outdoors in comfort.

Mey Martinez

Meyling “Mey” Martinez is a travel and outdoor enthusiast born in the tropical island of Cuba and raised in Las Vegas, NV. Consumed by wanderlust and inspired by nature and the fascinating world outside of her doors, she has set sail to visit new destinations. Mey enjoys hiking new trails and visiting national and state parks along with other wonders of the world. Forever an explorer at heart with an adventurous soul, she enjoys sharing her experiences and the latest on travel and glamping through blogging.

To Cuba, and why we love it

I don’t know whether it’s the architecture, the burst of vibrant colors, the Caribbean climate or the warmth of its people, singing and dancing every chance they get, but Cuba, the alligator shaped island just 90 miles South of Florida, is the most captivating place I’ve ever been. And I don’t say this because everyone else does. It just is.

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My love affair started in 2014, when as an American citizen, I joined a people-to-people tour journeying from Havana all the way to Guantanamo, the easternmost province. Despite initial doubts, the structured tour afforded me the opportunity to meet some incredible artists and communities I wouldn’t have otherwise met as a tourist: music students, ballet dancers, cuentapropistas (Cuba’s self-employed entrepreneurs) and more; the common thread, unrelenting passion. It was an intense 13 days that opened my eyes to the magic of Cuba and the intricacies of its history, starting with the allure of Havana and on to the artists of Camagüey, the Afro-Cuban vibe of Santiago de Cuba, and lush remoteness of Baracoa.

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This summer, as Cuba further nurtured diplomatic relations with the United States, I excitedly returned to the island. This time, I traveled west to Pinar del Rio, and then on to Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Bay of Pigs. The biggest difference, aside from the changes occurring on the Caribbean nation, was entering with my Romanian passport. I wanted a different perspective, which proved just as valuable. While I missed some of the first-hand interaction with Cuban communities on my previous visit, this time around I was free to go wherever I wanted, whichever beach or museum. I stayed in casas particulares (privately-owned houses open for tourists) instead of hotels. I went local, still, in a different way. I loved the mogotes (limestone formations) and guajiros (farmers) of Viñales and swimming in the Bay of Pigs. Looking back, this trip was just as rich as my first.

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But most importantly, I realized that regardless of my passport or the two eventful years that passed, Cuba remained in essence the same: vibrant, welcoming and wholehearted. Yes, there’s some real change to be seen: better, cheaper Wi-Fi in hotspots around the country, landmarks refurbished, new hotel sites and ever-booming tourism. Frenzied energy is palpable on the streets of Havana, and so are higher prices. But Cuba, at its core, with all its controversies and irresistible pull, won’t be changing any time soon. Go now, go whenever. Cuba is, and will remain, unrelenting passion.

Monica Suma

Monica Suma is a Romanian-American freelance travel writer and blogger, always on the hunt for art, good food and all things Cuba. Through storytelling and an insatiable pursuit for whimsy, she contributes to a variety of publications such as Lonely Planet, BBC Travel, Business Traveller and more. Follow her adventures live on Instagram and Twitter.

Dreamy Ometepe & Finca San Juan

Our ferry boat sailed towards Ometepe Island: twin volcanoes that rise out of Lake Nicaragua, sloping down to lush forests and sandy beaches. We always heard about Ometepe during our Central American travels, and it sounded like a mythical place…volcano trekking to sky-high lagoons, wild horses galloping the shores, kids riding to school on ox carts, and community farms growing organic vegetables. We disembarked and drove around the base of Volcano Concepción and reached the lush grounds of Finca San Juan de La Isla, and thought this may be paradise after all.

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The “driveway” went on for over a mile through orchards, pastures, and banana plantations, until we reached the historic Spanish-hacienda-turned-hotel. The reception was in the former stables and the original house was now the lobby that flowed out to the open-air restaurant, twinkling with lights.

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Walking through the gardens of papaya and frangipani trees, the bellman showed us to our room: a stilted suite with a spacious porch on the lakeshore. Outside looked like a classic log cabin and inside was freshly designed with minimalist décor and a luxurious bathroom.

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We got a great night sleep and went down to enjoy the complimentary breakfast. I had the Finca (eggs, gallo pinto, plantains, and homemade cuajada cheese) and I had the French toast with fruit. When we heard most of the ingredients on the menu were grown on their 160-acre farm (with 40,000 fruit trees!), we had to hike the grounds. Wandering between the forest of fruits, we stopped by the horse stables, a bubbling spring, and the farmhands’ house–where we got invited in for a special stew!

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Each afternoon at San Juan presented us with tons of things to do: horseback riding, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming, or a guided hike up the active Concepción or the lagoon-topped Maderas volcano.

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The hotel helped arrange a motorbike so we could cover the most ground and adventure in a short stay. We headed toward Maderas, the smaller of the two volcanoes (still an impressive 4,573 feet tall) and enjoyed local life along the slopes. We stopped at the historic coffee plantation of Finca Magdalena, had picnic on the beach with the horses, and joined the fanfare at a Balgue soccer game.

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From Finca Magadalena, we followed one of the hiking trails to an ancient petroglyph in the forest. Ometepe has a rich pre-Columbian history with over 73 different sites scattered around the island.

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For our final night at San Juan de la Isla, we took a private cooking class with their head chef Ernesto. He wanted to show us classic Nicaraguan cuisine with an Indio Viejo soup. This recipe is said to date back to pre-Columbian times and made with ingredients, like the achiote plant, that are native to the region. We had a blast chopping, chatting, and sampling our way through the class and ultimately eating a delicious meal together.

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When the owners of San Juan de La Isla, saw this historic finca, they weren’t hoteliers or farmers at the time, but dreamers with a vision for a lodge to match Ometepe’s mystical reputation.

Anne & Mike Howard

Mike and Anne Howard left on their honeymoon in 2012 and have been traveling the world ever since. HoneyTrek.com chronicles their adventures across 7 continents, 44 countries, and counting! Their writing, photography, and the story of the “World’s Longest Honeymoon” can also be found on Condé Nast Traveler, BBC Travel, The Knot, Los Angeles Times, CBS, and dozens of other international publications. Connect with @HoneyTrek on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.