3 Luxury Travel Experiences For Animal Lovers

Endangered animals need you... and you need a vacay.

Bravolebs and other stars love to travel with their pups — in fact, some wouldn't dream of excluding a furry family member from a vacay getaway. But serious animal lovers who want to take it even one step further should check out these travel opps, available for booking now, that work to improve the lives of all creatures great (rhinos) and small (parrots).

1.  Unique Garden

Jetsetters flock to the aptly named Unique Garden, one hour from Sao Paulo, for the sophisticated tranquility of its 27 lodges and indulgent spa. But the hotel has a conscientious ethos that runs far deeper than that of many luxury-focused retreats.

Set on 81 acres of protected forest reserve within Brazil’s Cantareira State Park, the property bursts with lush greenery, waterfalls, ponds, orchids, hibiscus, and bougainvillea. This sense-stimulating trait is no accident: Businessman Victor Siaulys built the hotel for his daughter, who was born blind, to stimulate and heighten her senses. The family then built a community center for local residents, and opened an on-property animal rehabilitation center, which houses all manner of mistreated and abandoned animals, including more than 200 rescued dogs and more than 20 former circus horses, as well as endangered birds seized at customs, wolves, and monkeys — all looked after by the hotel’s dedicated staff. 

If you fall in love with one of the rescued pups, Unique Garden will help facilitate the adoption process. And if you bring your own, dogs are welcome to hang out with you in your room and most common areas.

2.  andBeyond

With the aim of mitigating the threat posed to rhino by poachers, who are hunting them close to extinction for their horns, luxury travel operator andBeyond, best-known for its African safaris, partners with Great Plains Conservation in its Rhinos Without Borders program. The program relocates at-risk rhino from poaching hotspots in South Africa to safe, undisclosed areas in Botswana (which has one of the lowest poaching rates in Africa) where they may be able to breed in safety. Last fall, one of the relocated rhinos gave birth to an adorable baby rhino in her new home.

The project began in 2013 when andBeyond translocated six white rhino from their Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa to Botswana’s in what was the first ever private game reserve donation of rhino to another country. The tour company continues to play a critical role by providing intensive tracking and monitoring training for game scouts from Botswana, and by helping to raise the vast amounts of funds required to undertake such projects. If you book a trip with andBeyond, whether to Africa, Asia, or South America, you can feel assured that you’ll be contributing toward a vital cause.

3.  Four Seasons, Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru

While enjoying the incomparable Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, a lush, remote hideaway located in the Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, you can lap up the luxury safe in the knowledge that your stay is doing a small part for the Maldives’ aquatic community. Committed to conservation, the resort’s Marine Discovery Centre is home to The Maldivian Manta Ray Project, one of the world’s longest running manta ray research and conservation initiatives, and fosters respect and understanding of local marine life by offering guests a variety of conservation-minded experiences.

You can swim with manta rays and snorkel coral gardens, and "plant" your own coral reef by attaching coral fragments onto specially designed coral frames to boost existing reef habitats and generate new ones. Other activities include diving the deep-sea ridges and helping collect valuable data that will aid in conservation efforts, and assisting resident Marine Biologists to hand-rear hawksbill and green turtles, injured by ghost fishing nets, in the resort’s Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.

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