If ever Americans were eager to go extra big on their vacation plans, 2022 and 2023 will be defining moments. Two previous years of pandemic lockdown have inspired passionate travelers to now book bolder, broader trips. The term bucket list has never been more popular. For globe-trekkers who aim for above-and-beyond adventures, Art In Voyage, a boutique travel curator based in South Africa and the United States, has set itself apart from other top-tier operators by creatively weaving together an epic 28-day, around-the-world itinerary, Magellan Odyssey (named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan), scheduled for March 4 – 31, 2023. Its impressive price-tag starts at $98,384 per person.
Aboard a private, all-business-class jet, a maximum of 48 guests will be transported to an extravaganza of spectacular spots in 10 countries on five continents. Bonus: Along the way, customization is encouraged, so much so that no two guests will have the exact same experiences, explains Mikael Audebert, CEO and founder of Art in Voyage, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary by launching this extraordinary getaway.
With dedication to personalized service, Art in Voyage provides a full-time business concierge to assist its executive travelers whose work is never far from their thoughts, by coordinating communications with their offices. Luxury ground transfers, as well as private helicopters where applicable, facilitate ease of movement. VIP luggage handling includes shipping for wardrobe changes en route. For collectors of art, wine, fashion, jewelry and other keepsakes, a personal shopper sources requested select goods and arranges purchases to be mailed to customers’ homes. Ace accommodations are distinctive and sophisticated. A professional photographer and videographer will capture desired images of guests and present a post-trip photo album. Massages and other spa services are offered throughout. Perhaps most reassuring of all, this lavish, logistically complicated itinerary is managed by a singular agency; Art in Voyage handles a tapestry of demanding details, including travelers’ visas, COVID-19 tests (if necessary) and other country entry requirements.
“Magellan Odyssey was designed with the intent to escape the usual destinations by focusing on exclusive experiences, and avoiding crowded cities and overdone areas,” explains Audebert. “We put a great deal of care into identifying and studying destinations guests might not visit on their own — because they are remote or hard to reach or because other tour companies don’t offer the same level of luxury access.”
Here, favorite highlights, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Peru: Sacred Valley, Archaeological Gems, Deluxe Train
Among the Andes Mountains of Peru, near the colorful Inca capital of Cusco and the 15th-century citadel of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley unveils memorable undulating scenery. Important archaeological sites and charming communities are still graced with ancestral spirit. Relish the romance of riding the rail aboard posh sleeper train Belmond Andean Explorer (all cabins with en suite bathrooms) through Colca Canyon. Sip a heady Pisco Sour. On a boat excursion, observe brilliant blue Lake Titicaca, which is 12,500 feet above sea level, the highest navigable lake in the world. Survey ambitious agricultural terraces. Connect with artisans. Dance to Peruvian songs. Feel Peru’s mesmerizing rhythms.
Chile: Atacama Desert, Stargazing, Horseback Riding
In this far-flung yonder, ponder towering volcanoes, steep ravines and a grand white salt pan. Chile’s inimitable Atacama Desert is the driest stretch of land on Earth — with an otherworldly essence. (Since its soil is similar to samples from Mars, NASA performs some instrument testing there.) Atacama is a stargazer’s dream with a gloriously wide, ink-black night sky that is dazzled by thousands of twinkling celestial lights. Witness Tatio Geysers at sunrise. Gallop on horseback through desert dunes. And float in Cejas Lagoon’s salt-rich water. Stay at peaceful Tierra Atacama Hotel, designed by some of Chile’s most accomplished architects.
Tanzania: Serengeti National Park, Sundowner Cocktails
Safari in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania’s oldest game reserve, site of the Great Migration, during which two-million wildebeests, as well as zebras, gazelles and impalas annually transition to Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve. Anticipate exhilarating game drives, spying the Big Five: lion, leopard, buffalo, African elephant and rhinoceros. Interact with villagers. Opt for a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Kick back, too, imbibing Sundowner cocktails at sunset, while contemplating the abundance of the savannah — where the land seems to extend forever. Stay at elegant Singita Sasakwa Lodge, styled as an Edwardian manor house, or at Singita Explore Camps, with glamorous sleep-under-canvas accommodations.
Jordan: Ancient Petra, Bedouin Tent, Arabian Desert
One of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, Petra — in the middle of the Arabian Desert of southern Jordan, between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea — was once a thriving trading post, built by Nabataean Arabs during the 4th century B.C. It prospered selling frankincense, myrrh and spices. Conquered by Romans in 106 A.D. (when it was bestowed the Greek name Petra) and later ruled by the Byzantines, it is largely thought by historians that earthquakes, as well as a marked shift in commercial, political and cultural power, led to Petra’s abandonment. Forgotten for centuries, then rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer, this rose-red archaeological marvel today boasts buildings carved directly into vibrant sandstone cliffs, a startling sight to behold, especially of the Treasury, when seen from the opening of a long canyon pathway. Thrill to a helicopter transfer by the Royal Jordanian Air Force, then stroll past ancient buildings on a candlelit evening, savoring a private dinner. Stay at Al Matal Bedouin Tent, on a hilltop with panoramic views of the desert valley.
France: Bordeaux Vineyards, Exquisite Cuisine, Castles
Magnifique! Bordeaux is both an outstanding region and a city — and beloved for gourmand pleasures. La belle vie. Revel at stellar restaurants, as well as at tastings in lauded wine estates of Saint-Estèphe, Saint-Émilion, Margaux and Graves. Learn about the making of Armagnac. Swoon over elaborate platters of cheese. Nibble prime farm produce. Then, for a drive to remember, steer a polished vintage car on a countryside outing. Surrounded by the vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, stay at five-star Les Sources de Caudalie, which serves up a two-star Michelin star restaurant and Vinothérapie Spa.
Finland: Northern Lights, Reindeers, Sleigh Rides
Ethereal green Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) swirl across the sky above Finland’s Lapland. On-the-ground opportunities also abound in this wonderland. Ride snowmobiles and sleighs. (Winter-warm coats are furnished.) Tour Siberian husky and reindeer farms. Roll up your sleeves for a gingerbread-baking masterclass. Opt for backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking or simply refresh in a Lappish sauna. Overnight in northern Finland’s incredible Arctic Treehouse Hotel.
Bhutan: Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Happiness Quests
In the Himalayas between China and India, the remarkable Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, which was closed to the rest of the world until the 1960s, is a fascinating place that today emphasizes its citizens’ happiness quotient. Art in Voyage has crafted two itineraries, focusing either on spiritual immersion and wellness or on ancient cultures and the outdoors. For those seeking inner growth, the path will include mindfulness teachings at a monastic school; garb-wearing festivities; and a sunrise hike to revered Tiger’s Nest. Accommodations are at Six Senses Paro with awesome views of the valley. For those whose interests veer toward more in-depth cultural knowledge, choose to see Thimphu Valley as well as Tiger’s Nest; attend a traditional cooking class; meet farmers, artisans and yak herders; and participate in authentic music and dances. Stay at the zen-inducing Amankora Paro Lodge, hidden within a pine forest.
Thailand: Cooking Class, Massages, Elephant Sanctuary
In the Golden Triangle region, where northern Thailand borders Laos and Myanmar (Burma), a three-countries-in-one-view expanse unfolds amid picturesque hilly terrain and snaking rivers. An eye-opening elephant sanctuary in Thailand is a highpoint. Delight in biking, riding long-tail boats and visiting coffee, tea and rice fields. Fish with residents. Take a Thai cooking class. Reflect at temples and recharge with yoga instruction. A welcome gala is fashioned at the jungle-setting Four Seasons Tented Camp. The sublime Anantara Golden Triangle resort features the signature Chiang Rai spa; private open-air terrazzo tubs are available for soaking in lingering views across the valley that include Laos and Myanmar (Burma).
New Zealand: Natural Highs and Notable Heights
Keen attention to travelers’ preferences continues in New Zealand, where three cultural routes are orchestrated: Falls, Volcanoes and Maori; Food and Wine; or South Island Force of Nature.
The first option heads to Taupō, formed from a volcanic eruption; today, its steaming craters, bubbling-boiling mud and ample geysers intrigue visitors. Beaches are serene; warm geothermal water currents welcome swimmers. Taupō region is a fishing haven for ardent anglers. Hike Tongariro National Park’s Alpine Crossing. Or ski at Turoa and Whakapapa. On the Waikato River, with its powerful Huka Falls, stay at Huka Lodge in private parkland.
The second option lifts off via helicopter, heading to Waiheke Island. Its white-sand beaches and azure waters please aplenty. Touch down at Stonyridge vineyard, for lunch and tastings. Also fancy an evening champagne cruise aboard a private yacht and a welcome dinner back on land by locally acclaimed chefs. In addition to days of abundant culinary and wine indulgences, consider biking or golfing, as well as perusing art galleries. Stay at the Korora Estate, replete with tennis court, or the Te Rere Estate with 21 acres of private gardens and vineyards.
The third option zooms in on one of New Zealand’s riveting refuges: Milford Sound — a fjord with rainforests, cascading waterfalls, as well as wildlife, such as dolphins, whales, fur seals and penguins. Ideal for athletic travelers. Via helicopter, the flight travels over glaciers and fjords; then guests board Fiordland Jewel, a private three-deck catamaran. Partake in kayaking, Zodiac excursions, nature walks and stargazing.
French Polynesia: Bora Bora, South Pacific Pleasures
Ooh-la-la! Magellan’s Odyssey slates its last destination in French Polynesia’s unrivaled tropical beauty. Fragrant floral gardens and swaying palm trees flourish. Intoxicatingly tranquil, Bora-Bora rises within a turquoise lagoon protected by coral reefs and encircled by sandy islets. Snorkel, scuba-dive, sail, jet-ski and picnic on a private motu. Or just float on the sapphire sea. Peak bliss, ultimate relaxation.
Stay at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. Its idyllic overwater bungalows each sport a section of glass-bottom floor in order to watch marine life swim below. This ultra-chic yet eco-friendly hotel was brainstormed with environmental-engineering innovations, such as the world’s first private Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC), a sustainable technology that implements cold deep-sea salt water to cool the hotel. The property also developed French Polynesia’s first spa that commingles deep-sea nutrients into healing treatments.
“We have designed a bespoke journey,” says Audebert, “that does not fall within the one-size-fits-all category.”