Pacific Rim Glamping at Wya Point Resort

One of the many reasons I’m gaga for glamping is because it offers an all-access pass to nature, and at Wya Point Resort, perched on the cusp of Canada’s West Coast, this access is VIP.

Located a few hours from Vancouver, BC, via car and a trip aboard BC Ferries, connecting the mainland to Vancouver Island, I arrived at Way Point Resort with my family in the early evening. The sun was starting to set, bathing the resort’s private beach in a pink, blue, and golden-hued light so complex it would be difficult for Pantone to capture it in a color chip.

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So taken by the way the light was peeking through the old-growth trees towering over the Pacific Ocean, we dashed out of our car and ran to the resort’s sandy cove before even setting foot in our yurt. Once the sun sank into the horizon, we walked a few steps to our “glampsite” and realized we could have witnessed the kaleidoscope sky from the lounge chairs topping the cedar deck circling our yurt.

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Built strong and sturdy by the Ucluelet First Nation—the original inhabitants of the land—to withstand their position at the edge of the Pacific Rim, the 15 beach-access yurts at Wya Point Resort are far from fair-weather. Indoor wood-burning stoves provide heat in the winter, while the pop-up rooftop skylight cools in the summer. Small indoor kitchens—intended to complement the outdoor grill—provide just enough space to prepare a coastal feast.

At 8:00 p.m. the tide rolled in and with it, waves so powerful, their froth dusted our yurt’s window with millions of micro bubbles. The sound of the waves juxtaposed against the quietness of nature soothed my soul into a sleep so deep I awoke the next morning to the cry of eagles.

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After an obligatory sunrise beachcombing session where we checked out tide pools teeming with sea anemones and starfish, we headed into the nearby town of Ucluelet. Locally-roasted coffee from The Foggy Bean Coffee Co was on our menu, as was a coastal hike along the 5.5-mile Wild Pacific Trail.

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Before returning to our woodsy hideaway, we felt it was our duty to the destination (and our inner foodies) to pick up salmon and halibut caught that morning for an evening cookout.

Barbecuing local fish under a canopy of ancient cedars, I was struck by the privilege of Pacific Rim glamping, and the front-row seat Wya Point Resort gives you to the Pacific wild.

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Know this:

– Well-equipped bathrooms are a few steps from each yurt.
– In addition to yurts, Way Point Resort also features campsites, as well as a collection of nine beachfront, timber-frame lodges.
– The region is famous for fishing, surfing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing, so there’s no shortage of activities.

High Above the Panamanian Pacific

Are you a mountain or beach person? Why choose when you can have both. Set at an elevation of 3,116 feet above the Pacific Ocean in a forest with rivers and lakes, Luxury Camping: Altos del Maria has the best of the mountains with panoramic views to the seas. Altos del Maria is an exclusive community 60 miles south of Panama City that has recently opened this boutique Glamping property for those looking for a taste of the good life.

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Luxury Camping: Altos del Maria is set on 7,000 acres in the El Chamo region with trails ascending its peaks and dipping into the cloud forests of the Continental Divide. The average temperature here is a pleasant 75 degrees keeping the flowers in bloom and the wildlife thriving year-round. The Audubon Association even gave a nod to the area for its incredible biodiversity and 276 species of birds! Bird watchers get your binoculars ready!

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Keeping the property intimate and maximizing guests’ contact with nature, Luxury Camping: Altos del Maria has five free-standing suites. The luxury tents open up to views of the Valle Maria and the Pacific. Two double beds and an en-suite bath make them ideal for families.

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Perched on its own little hill and garden, the Camping Suite. Tucked away on its own little hill and garden, the Premier Camping Suite is a yurt for the modern nomad.

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The Yurt’s circular walls with lattice pattern and woven cupola make for a truly stunning space. Further enhanced by chic furnishings and a luxurious bath, it’s where every couple wants to be.

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Walk out to the private terrace for 360-degree views of the Valle Maria, mountain peaks, and ocean. Add coffee and it’s the perfect way to wake up.

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Senderos Restaurant is the culinary heart of Luxury Camping: Altos del Maria. The name translates to “trails” and is the pinnacle of international cuisine in the area. The menu takes inspiration from Europe, Asia, the Americas, including the surrounding region. Panamanian dishes to try are the Sancocho stew and a dessert of wine-marinated pears.

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Take a picnic to one of the six panoramic viewpoints or take nature walks along the property’s five trails, including one to the impressive El Chorro waterfall. Tennis and mini golf are also available if sports are what you crave. Plus, rappelling is coming soon!

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If the beach beckons you closer, the Panamanian Rivera is only 30 minutes away, starting with the curving coastline of Coronado Beach.

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Easy to access from Panama City airport, but a world away, Luxury Camping: Altos del Maria makes choosing between the exotic beaches and lush mountains of Central America an easy decision.

Anne and Mike Howard are creators of the around-the-world honeymoon blog HoneyTrek.com and Long Term Travel Coaches for anyone looking to travel the world safely, affordably and off the beaten path. You can follow @HoneyTrek on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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.

Yurts Go Global

For most people, the term “glamping” is associated with luxurious tents, and for good reason.  From Africa to the American West, savvy travel outfitters have been offering ready made safari-style tents to discerning travelers for many years now.

The art of glamorous camping, however, is no longer limited to just canvas tents.  Today, everyone from alpine skiers to birdwatchers seeking access to the great outdoors can choose between yurts, tipis, airstream caravans, and cabins to get closer to the action. Options can range from rustic, no-frills shelters to luxurious, temperature controlled enclosures offering up more resort-style amenities.

The Marine Corps Times recently published a story, Yurts Take Camping to  the Next Level, about one increasingly popular choice among glamping enthusiasts: yurts.  The following is an excerpt from that article:

First made famous by Genghis Khan’s fabled cavalry of Central Asian nomads who conquered Eurasia some 2,000 years ago, these circular domed tents still serve as homes for thousands of modern-day Mongolians.  These days, most yurts used for camping have at least plywood floors, canvas-and-lattice sidewalls and a skylight, and are typically equipped with at least beds, chairs, a table and cooking equipment. The higher-end yurts can rival fancy hotel suites.

Few people in the U.S. know yurts better than Alan Bair.

He fell in love with their simple, intrinsic beauty entwined with rugged, functional design about 40 years ago, so he built is own yurt in Oregon and lived in it through the mid-70s while working on reforestation projects.

It wasn’t long before word got out and requests began to pour in. Today, Bair’s Pacific Yurts not only is the original U.S. manufacturer, but it’s also one of the biggest, supplying everyone from resorts and state and national parks, to even the military.

If you stay in a yurt, chances are it will be one of Bair’s.

Over the years, he’s added plenty of improvements, while staying true to same basic design used by Central Asian nomads for thousands of years.

“The traditional yurt’s encircling rope or woven tension bands are now a steel aircraft cable sitting neatly on top of the lattice wall,” he says, while the latest in modern architectural fabrics have “replaced the outer covering of felted wool or canvas, and NASA-developed insulation provides lightweight but effective temperature control.”

Some of Bair’s favorite yurt getaways:

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1. Orca Island Cabins, Alaska

Comfortable “off-grid” rental yurts located on a small private island in Resurrection Bay, just nine miles from Seward. Rates start at $239 per person per night and include round-trip water taxi to Orca Island, use of kayaks, rowing skiffs and stand-up paddle boards, fishing gear, binoculars and firewood.

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2. Cliffside Park, Wash.

Yurt rentals for active-duty and retired service members and their families on beautiful Whidbey Island. Overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Peninsula, this Navy-run campsite offers six furnished 16-foot yurts with twin-over-queen bunk beds and a full-size futon. Rates: $25 per night in summer/$20 per night in winter.

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3. Oregon State Parks

“Yurt rentals are scattered throughout the state, but the majority are … along the beautiful Oregon coastline,” Bair says. With more than a dozen campgrounds now offering yurts, you can choose from rustic rentals situated near a central bathhouse or deluxe yurts with indoor kitchens and bathrooms. With its sandy beaches and towering sea cliffs, eight-person rustic yurts at Sunset Bay, for example, range from $36 to $50 per night.

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4. Treebones Resort, Calif.

This 16-yurt resort includes “comfortable accommodations perched on Big Sur hillside with breathtaking ocean views,” Bair says. Enjoy the heated pool and outdoor sushi bar. An ocean-view yurt for two with a queen-sized bed starts at $255 per night and includes a breakfast buffet and morning yoga classes. All yurts are located near a central bathhouse.

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5. Fort Tuthill Recreation Area, Ariz.

Near Flagstaff and operated by Luke Air Force Base, Fort Tuthill is the perfect launching pad for a slew of outdoor adventures that range from whitewater rafting to skiing and snowshoeing. Yurts include two twin bunk beds, a wood-burning stove, as well as a refrigerator and microwave. Take in the views from each yurt’s large deck. Rates: $25 per night in winter, $50 per night in summer.

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6. Summit Mountain Lodge, Utah

A secluded luxury venue, the lodge offers 14 tastefully decorated yurts in southern Utah near several major skiing venues. Some include bathrooms, while others share a large bathhouse. Rates range from $75 to $225 per night. Be sure to ask for the 10 percent military discount.

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7. Cypress Valley Canopy Tours, Texas

What Bair describes as “one of the most unique yurt rentals” you’ll likely find, these accommodations are built high in a Cypress tree and accessed by suspension bridge. You’ll have your own private bathhouse with a waterfall-filled tub that overlooks the ravine below. Located near Spicewood, Texas, overnights for two adults start at $300.

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8. Maine Forest Yurts, Maine

Located 30 minutes from Portland, this 100-acre wilderness property includes comfortably furnished yurt rentals and plenty of tent sites. Best yet, stays are free for all active-duty service members and veterans.

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9. Savage River Lodge, Md.

These luxurious yurt rentals come complete with radiant floor heating, oversized shower, fully plumbed bathroom and king bed. Located near Frostburg, Md., double occupancy rates start at $225 per night.

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10. Killington Resort, Vt.

If you enjoy a good meal after a full day on the slopes, consider the Ledgewood Yurt at one of Vermont’s most popular ski resorts. Enjoy a snowcat-drawn sleigh ride to a comfortable heated yurt, where you’ll feast on a five-course meal. Prices start at $59 per night.