4 BEST NEW BUCKETLIST BUDDY TRIPS
SEEKING ACTION AND UNFORGETTABLE THRILLS? LOOK NO FURTHER.
EAT LIKE A CAVEMAN MENDOZA, ARGENTINA FLY INTO MDZ
Come for the steaks, stay for the wine. In a nation famous for its beef, Mendoza shines. The asado—fire-grilled local meat served with vineripened tomatoes—is the country’s signature dish and experience. Other beef specialties include stew and empanadas. Wash it down with a local Malbec or lighter-bodied Torrontés. We recommend Azafran, a fine restaurant in town, where the sommelier maintains a 500-bottle wine list. After you’ve gotten your fill, head west out of town to the Parque Provincial Aconcagua. There you’ll find gentle hiking trails and picturepostcard scenery—and the imposing, 6.9km Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. Scaling it requires serious fitness and permits (short treks start at SGD$136), but you can also explore the trails that
lead to the basecamp.
STAY Huentala Hotel, SGD$122+, huentala.com
RIDE THE WAVES OFF AFRICA CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA FLY INTO CPT
The potential for fun in this bustling South African port city is unparalleled. Surfing is popular, and surfers of all skill levels will feel comfortable riding the waves. Beginners should hit Muizenberg and its gentle rollers while daredevils will enjoy Dungeons, an offshore reef where waves crest as high as 18m. If climbing’s your thing, hike up 1km Table Mountain for sweeping vistas of the region below. (Not a climber? There’s a “cableway.”) And if you’re a sports fan, be sure to catch a cricket match at the Newlands Cricket Ground, home to the Cape Cobras. You might even see the famous (for South Africa) batsman Hashim Amla work his magic. The region is also known for its vineyards; we recommend Groot Constantia and its world-class sauvignon blanc. Cape Town’s Mediterraneanstyle climate means the weather is comfortably warm in summer and cool-but-not-freezing in winter, so you can plan your visit for any time of year.
STAY Victoria & Alfred Hotel, SGD$332+, newmarkhotels.com
PARTY ALL NIGHT CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA FLY INTO CTG
Jetting off to the Caribbean for perfect weather and pristine beaches is all well and good, but you’ve been there and done that. For a more cultural Caribbean experience, Cartagena’s your port of call. Situated on Colombia’s coast, this 16th-century seaside city is drawing visitors thanks to its nightlife, burgeoning art scene, and new crop of luxury hotels. Recover from your late-night shenanigans by checking out Cartagena’s daytime diversions. The beaches are as stunning as the best in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for exclusivity, you can rent a speedboat or snorkel in the coral reefs at Isla de Rosario. There you’ll also find Oceanario outdoor aquarium, which has lively dolphin shows.
STAY Bastión Luxury Hotel, SGD$550+, en.bastionluxuryhotel.com
PEDAL INTO THE WILD GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA FLY INTO PHX
Seeing the Grand Canyon on a family vacation is one thing, but biking the rim of this natural wonder with your friends is pretty exceptional.
Bright Angel Bicycles offers two different tours, both of which yield panoramic payoffs while a professional guide provides background on the area’s geology, anthropology, and wildlife. If you prefer to hoof it on the trails, hiking equipment is also available — and you can grab sandwiches and soups on the go from the coffee shop. (Don’t set off without plenty of water, of course.) Or consider taking to the skies: Just south of the canyon, Maverick Helicopters offers bird’s-eye tours of America’s grandest and most iconic beauty.
STAY El Tovar, SGD$289+, grandcanyonlodges.com
JOURNEY TO PARADISE TAVANIPUPU ISLAND RESORT, SOLOMON ISLANDS FLY INTO RUS
Regarded by many as the last paradise on earth, the Solomon Islands are nearly 1,000 specks of sand and palm trees in the Southwest Pacific. Once a coconut plantation, this getaway was purchased and developed by a British designer back in the 1970s. Today, Tavanipupu Island Resort is both wild and luxurious. Since the island has only a handful of private bungalows, you’ll be treated royally. (Curious about how exclusive, exactly? This is where Prince William and Kate Middleton chose to stay during their visit to the Solomon Islands.) The closest airport is Marau, 15 minutes away by boat. During the ride you’ll pass many small, uninhabited islands, each more idyllic than the last. This is quintessential tropical bliss: Spend your time exploring the island, snorkelling the reefs, kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddleboarding around the turquoise lagoon, or just kicking back in a hammock. As for food, you’ll enjoy island-grown fresh vegetables and seafood, served at the water’s edge, before you retire to your secluded digs.
STAY Tavanipupu Resort, SGD$206+, tavanipupu.com.sb
SWIM WITH SHARKS ISLA GUADALUPE, MEXICO FLY INTO SAN
One thing’s for sure: This trip is not for the faint of heart. For a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, sign up for a multiday excursion with Guadalupe Great White Sharks, known as the world’s top shark-cage diving destination, and its fleet of Nautilus vessels. You’ll head to Ensenada, Mexico, where you’ll have the chance to descend 30 feet into the crystal-clear depths off Isla Guadalupe to get up close with big ocean predators in their natural environment. After you come up for air, sip cocktails on the boat’s sun deck, kick back in the hot tub, or enjoy an evening open-air film screening.
STAY In a cabin on the Nautilus; trips last five, 10, or 15 nights. SGD$3,726+, guadalupegreatwhitesharks. com
View of cape town city with table mountain, cape town harbour, lion's head and devil's peak, South Africa.
TRAIL BLAZE: Drink 473 to 936ml of water per hour when hiking the Grand Canyon.