Posts tagged with "Costa Rica"

Hikers via Exodus Travel for use by 360 Magazine

Exodus Travel Voted Best Operator

Multi-award-winning small group and self-guided tour experts Exodus Travels have been named the Best Operator in National Geographic’s Traveller Magazine’s sixth annual Reader Awards. The awards acknowledge and celebrate the destinations, experiences, tour operators, personalities, and destinations that continue to make traveling truly great.

The 15 award categories were shortlisted by National Geographic judges and voted on by readers. Voters were asked to champion the locations and organizations that have supported their travel aspirations over the past 12 months. The companies that have provided exceptional customer support, retained consumer trust, and have continued to have a positive impact on the entire travel community during challenging times.

The Best Operator category celebrates the remarkable people behind the scenes ensuring travelers feel safe, inspired, and secure when turning their adventure dreams into realities. The reader votes were resoundingly in favor of Exodus Travels.

“We are thrilled to receive this award, and to have the support of the National Geographic Traveller Magazine judges, and our far-reaching travel community,” says Robin Brooks, Marketing & PR Director of Exodus Travels North America. “It’s a privilege to share this award with all the winners and to see the incredible people and places that continue to inspire global exploration and discovery. I’d like to congratulate the incredible local guides, teams, and travel industry partners we are privileged to work with across the globe. They have kept us smiling through the past 19 months – this win truly belongs to them!”

For close to 50 years, Exodus Travels has been providing a vast range of award-winning holidays across seven continents. Now, with over 250,000 people hosted, and more than 600 trips in 100 countries, the adventure travel company has the perfect travel itinerary for solo travels, couples, groups, or families, all ages, activity levels, and interests.

Here are a few of the many Exodus Travels itineraries that continue to inspire travelers year after year:

Italy: Walking The Amalfi Coast

Exodus’ best-selling tour with hundreds of happy travelers to prove it. Live like an Italian and be immersed in the land of La Dolce Vita’s famous Amalfi Coast. From walking the “Path of Gods,” unveiling the secrets of Pompeii and swimming in secret coves, to discovering Roman ruins, the isle of Capri, picnic lunches, and unparalleled cuisine. This trip has been running for over a decade, with guests staying at the beautiful Hotel Due Torri. The hotel is run by the Acampora family, providers of genuine Italian hospitality who embody the beauty of Italian living.

Costa Rica : Discover Costa Rica

Take a large dose of exotic animals, river cruises, stir in jungle hikes, expert local naturalist guides, the country’s most famous volcano, beach time, lava fields, hot springs, and an abundance of fresh local cuisine and you’ll get this spellbinding immersion in Costa Rica. Spot monkeys, sloths, sea turtles, giant butterflies, and more. Includes village visits, coffee and fruit plantations, day and night hikes, eco-lodges, and expert guides. Pura Vida!

India: In Search of Snow Leopards

Recognized as one of the most elusive animals on the planet, the snow leopard is one of the world’s most mystical and hard-to-spot mammals. In the winter, when they need food, they descend from their homes in the mountainous regions of Central Asia and can be spotted by the rare few who make the annual pilgrimage to this remote region of India. In addition to the ever-elusive snow leopard, Himalayan trekking guide Valerie Parkinson will ensure travelers take in all of the unique wildlife that can be spotted in this special, and rarely traversed, part of the world. There will also be visits to Himalayan Buddhist communities, which adds to the truly transcendent feel of this unique adventure.

Croatia: Cycling the Dalmatian Coast

Go beyond the expected and bike through the playground of the Adriatic. Ideal for cycling enthusiasts of every level, this adventure by two wheels mixes alfresco thrills with cruises, landscapes from Game of Thrones, historic vineyards, local farms, UNESCO Sites, and even time for R&R on the beach. Tour Hvar, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Mljet and the Peljesac Peninsula. And for those who prefer–E-bikes are available upon request!

Egypt: Alexandria to Aswan

Treasures half as old as time, camel rides, felucca sailing, Nile cruise, and expert local Egyptologist guides are just the start of this classic adventure through the land of the pharaohs. Immerse yourself in the myths of this epic ancient civilization as you tour the Pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian Museum, and Khan el-Khalili night bazaar in Cairo. Be transported back millennia as you discover the wonders of iconic Alexandria. You get to cruise the eternal waters of the Nile and discover Luxor, Valley of Kings and Queens, Aswan, and more. Complete with delicious cuisine, internal flight, and memories to last a lifetime.

Peru: Inca Trail Moonstone Trek

Between Cuzco and the Sacred Valley lies a small rural valley, that is where this quest begins. From there, adventures will trek seven miles from the beginning of the Inca Trail, discovering rarely visited Andren towns, relics, and snowcapped peaks. Wildlife, breathtaking scenery, ruins, and true isolation make this bucket list adventure especially rewarding.

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Illustration By Alex Bogdan for use of 360 Magazine

Mon Laferte – Amigos Simplemente

Mon Laferte premiered the video for “Amigos Simplemente” today, exclusively through Facebook. It’s a universally relatable love song as Mon sings of that moment when friendship begins to transform, and that simple affection you once felt becomes stronger.

“I want something with you, more than being friends… Let me love you or at least try. It is no coincidence to love you; it is not an accident,” the Chilean artist sings.

The latest single from Mon’s recent album Seis, “Amigos Simplemente” focuses on a young couple who slowly displays to us that there is something more to their relationship than being just simply friends. The premiere of the new video takes place ahead of Latino and Hispanic Heritage Month (LHHM), which is celebrated from September 15 to October 15. Throughout the month, Facebook will highlight stories from diverse artists and personalities from Latino and Hispanic communities that shape the culture of the United States. This year, Mon Laferte is one of the singers honored for her diverse contributions and achievements in America.

SEIS is an intensely personal album inspired by a documentary about Mexican-via Costa Rica singer Chavela Vargas, who is best known for revolutionizing Mexican ranchera music. The songs were born during the global pandemic and heavy isolation, and include carefully crafted lyrics, brought forth from self-reflection, allowing Mon to explore her deepest feelings, leaving nothing but vulnerability at this rare time.

Billboard calls SEIS, “Vulnerable and commanding” and VICE says, “It gives you chills, requiring no knowledge of Spanish to communicate its emotion… a gut-stomping triumph.” BBC Music says, “SEISis her most intimate and courageous yet; tackling complex topics such as misogyny, repression, and injustice, inspired by her lived experiences.”

Tickets are on sale now and a full list of tour dates can be found below.

Mon Laferte Tour Dates:

Oct 11 — Washington, DC — The Fillmore

Oct 13 — Brooklyn, NY — Kings Theater

Oct 15 — Raleigh, NC — The Ritz

Oct 16 — Charlotte, NC — The Fillmore

Oct 17 — Atlanta, GA — Tabernacle

Oct 19 — Miami, FL — The Fillmore

Oct 22 — Houston, TX — Bayou Music Center

Oct 23 — San Antonio, TX — The Aztec

Oct 24 — Dallas, TX — House of Blues

Oct 27 — Las Vegas, NV — House of Blues

Oct 28 — Tucson, AZ — Rialto

Costa Rica illustration created by Allison Chritstensen from 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

MARRIAGE RETREATS IN COSTA RICA

Revitalize your relationship in romantic Costa Rica. “Popular Getting the Love You Want” marriage workshop expands to Central America. 360 Magazine is pleased to hear about this amazing retreat as many people need a break from the world as this pandemic has caused many changes.
Costa Rica is a popular honeymoon destination and now thanks to The Marriage Restoration Project’s, “Getting the Love You Want” couples retreats, it’s now the destination helping couples save and revitalize their marriages.
Starting in October 2021 and throughout 2022, these successful marriage retreats will be held at the Autograph Collection’s El Mangroove beach resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Based on Imago Therapy, which focuses on transforming conflict into healing and growth by examining the early childhood experiences of each person, during the five-day retreat couples will:

  • Be deeply heard by their spouse through a process that feels truly safe
  • Discover and shed personal triggers that undermine the connection
  • Comfortably talk about any issue in the relationship and remain connected
  • Satisfy needs for physical and emotional connection
  • Learn how to ask for what you want
  • Remove negativity, retaliation, reactivity, anger, and blame through the Imago dialogue process
  • Establish new rituals for re-romanticizing
  • Shift the negative energy in 5 minutes or less!

Twenty years ago Rabbi Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin’s own marriage was hanging on by a thread and Imago Therapy helped revitalize their relationship. Wanting to help other couples save their marriages too, they went on to study and specialize in Imago Therapy, founding TheMarriageRestorationProject.com; authoring books, and offering this unique workshop that is based on the work of the co-founder of Imago Therapy, Dr. Harville Hendrix.
Costa Rica retreats launch October 13-17, 2021 with certified Imago Therapist, Jill Wolf, LCSW leading the program. Each day couples will work on their relationship while having downtime to reconnect over beach walks, spa services, and local excursions.
Currently, there are four additional dates in early 2022, each led by dynamic, results-oriented Imago Therapists from The Marriage Restoration Project team.

For more information visit Rabbi Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin.

house on a beach illustration by 360 Magazine

New WELLNESS WELL PACKAGE at Las Catalinas

Dedicated to creating a way of life that is healthy, sustainable, fulfilling, and fun, Las Catalinas is pleased to invite guests to experience it as a Wellness Well with a new package by the same name that will undoubtedly deliver a remarkable sense of wellbeing and rejuvenation while enjoying Las Catalinas and all that this seaside gem of a (car-free!) town has to offer.

This 4-night package includes fresh green juice daily from Copper & Stone Gourmet Market;  a $100 credit at Pots & Bowls Food Truck, which opened this year and offers a fantastically fresh, healthy new twist with true farm-to-table cuisine and extensive raw vegan options; an all-access pass to CORE by ChakFitness, which also just opened and offers an exciting array of classes, including Beach Boot Camp, Bosu Boot Camp, Core Conditioning, Flinstones-esque free weights in the “Sand Box” (literally on the beach) and more; one complimentary matcha latte (almond and soy milks available) with all bike, SUP and kayak rentals at Pura Vida Ride; and a $50 credit at Wake Day Spa, which offers some of the best spa services on earth and also features an especially lovely boutique.

The Wellness Well package also includes a day trip to a secluded and magical farm surrounded by the lush Costa Rican rainforest and waterfalls on the slopes of the Rincón de la Vieja volcano, where you can wade in the remarkable “blue lagoon” whose spring water comes directly from the volcano and is naturally tinted an electric turquoise. During the farm visit, taste delicious homemade cheeses, traditional tortillas and Costa Rican coffee, and finish the day with lunch at a beautiful restaurant nestled in the middle of the jungle beside the lagoon. Rates for the Wellness Well Package start at $1500, including airport transfers and private accommodations with breakfast daily at the Santarena Hotel and all else noted above. All Las Catalinas reservations can be made via its preferred travel partner, Beach Town Travel; to book this package please visit Beach Town Travel.

Las Catalinas is designed to be a place to maintain or regain one’s physical and mental equilibrium and provides an ideal environment for feeling comfortable, healthy and happy. It is a place to rediscover the freedom of one’s own two feet and the joy of exploring. Whether wandering the streets, hiking through the forest, or strolling the beach, it’s easy to connect with nature, oneself and others in Las Catalinas. The beautiful natural world and charming town provide ample opportunities to ease the body and mind: Set out in the early morning mist on a paddleboard or kayak; engage in sunrise or sunset yoga on the beach; enjoy hiking and mountain biking through stunning coastal terrain. In conjunction with Pura Vida Ride, Las Catalinas offers one of the best playgrounds in the world for water sports and trail fanatics. Specializing in the rental and sale of standup paddle boards, mountain bikes, kayaks and other ocean and mountain sports equipment, Pura Vida Ride is located on Playa Danta in the heart of Las Catalinas and not only offers lessons and expeditions, but is also a full service bike repair shop and general store serving coffee, pastries, drinks and snacks. Las Catalinas together with Pura Vida Ride provide a special and truly unique place where people can enjoy first class sporting activities with ease.

About Las Catalinas

The conscious community of Las Catalinas is taking shape as Costa Rica’s newest desirable beach town. This highly walkable destination on Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Coast is well underway with 21 acres of land under development, a Beach Club and several full-time residents. When complete, there will be approximately 180 residences, 10 restaurants (four currently operating), several thousand square feet of office space, a town hall, over a dozen plazas and various other merchants. The town’s core values and beliefs include environmental stewardship, connection to one another and to the rhythms of nature.

Airplane illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL PLANNING

By: Andrew Shibuya

As the world has remained in their homes this past year and a half, traveling abroad seems to be the light at the end of a very long tunnel for many. While globetrotters stayed home bound and planned their trips for the second restrictions lifted, the travel industry underwent a rapid and drastic transformation. As such, many experts claim that travel – and particularly global travel  – will be forever changed.

In the midst of the pandemic and the ubiquitous desire to be anywhere but home, travel destinations have begun to accommodate traveler’s concerns in the face of the virus. In some cases, it was changing the distance between tables in a restaurant or limiting the capacity of occupants in a hotel. In other cases, however, the only changes were claims of improvements or safer accommodations. While many hotels and restaurants truly began taking necessary precautions, some did not adapt – despite claiming to.

And such, in the age of the internet and modernity’s obsession with bureaucracy, innumerable COVID safety certificates – some valid, and some pure and simple money grabs – were born. Resultantly, the great saturation of these valuable assurances ultimately renders them to be valueless. For even the avid travelers and eagle-eyed among us, such certifications will likely prove to be a nuisance at best, and a health concern at worst.

In the travel industry, the remaining agencies have sought various solutions to this issue of verifying credibility. What happens when someone who is particularly at risk for COVID is infected by the virus at a supposedly safe hotel? Why even take these risks at all?

This past week, 360 Magazine attended an event with several travel experts who discussed this very issue and presented potential solutions. Though the situation is troubling and promises to only get worse, experts are beginning to craft plans and act against this rubber-stamping.

Terrence Suero of Buffalo-based travel agency Toca Travel has a promising and apt response to this new strain of scammers. While he is confident that the world will never return to its pre-pandemic state, Suero understands that travel is an essential part of many people’s lives. Even now, just months after the commencement of vaccine distribution, Americans have started to travel. While most are now staying within United States’ borders, some are wandering to more distant corners of the globe.

But, every new strain and ensuing restriction springs new doubts and trouble for the average traveler. And for travel agents, their work has only gotten more difficult–not only in the face of these conditions, but also regarding the endless onslaught of dubious safety certifications. To this end, Suero has started Safe Travel Pathways – a new endeavor that he hopes will eradicate, or at the very least assuage, travelers’ health concerns related to COVID.

Safe Travel Pathways at its core is an open-source directory of vetted hospitality companies. The company hopes to begin its directory abroad in Costa Rica, and if successful, to gradually expand globally. Behind Safe Travel Pathways is Suero’s ethos as a travel agent: to treat travelers as adults. His aim is simply to provide helpful and accurate information, with the goal being that travelers can make their own informed decisions.

The main criteria for Safe Travel Pathways’ approval includes adherence to internationally accepted health standards, a third-party audit system that can determine the provided level of safety and strict governance. Safe Travel Pathways uses a grading system from one to five that considers various accreditations, verified safety precautions, and guidelines to evaluate companies. The idea behind this system evinces once more Suero’s desire to allow travelers to choose their own itinerary in light of the safety information provided. While certain places may receive lower scores than others, Suero acknowledges that some people are more comfortable than others regarding COVID safety precautions.

However, Suero has more than just coronavirus in mind. His future offerings likely will include restaurants and other accommodations that have been vetted for specific allergens and other necessary health considerations. Suero was careful to note that most travel agents are not health specialists. With these future additions, he hopes to assuage as many health concerns as possible, for both travel agents and travelers. Such other future additions may highlight businesses that are accessible, sustainable, or accommodating for similar travel concerns.

Safe Travel Pathway’s test run is starting soon in Costa Rica to gain a greater understanding of its capability and viability as an international travel database. Suero hopes to soon expand into Europe and South America with the help of travel bureaus, which validate businesses on a local level. The database is free and accessible to all, with certain features limited to travel agents or agencies.

As the world reopens, much is still left unclear. With each new strain and constantly shifting guidelines, creating travel plans can be unnecessarily convoluted and stressful. Though the world may never return to “normal,” tools like Safe Travel Pathways can hopefully move us in the right direction.

 

Airplane illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Medjet Partnership with Luxury Card

Pioneer in Air Medical Transport & Travel Security Memberships Now Available with Exclusive Pricing for Luxury Card’s Mastercard Gold Card, Mastercard Black Card and Mastercard Titanium Card Members

Medjet, the industry leader in air medical transport and travel security memberships for travelers, has announced a new partnership with Luxury Card, a global leader in the premium credit card market. Luxury Card’s Mastercard Gold Card, Mastercard Black Card and Mastercard Titanium Card members are now eligible for discounts on the company’s two membership options: MedjetAssist and MedjetHorizon.


“Medjet offers unparalleled professionalism and peace of mind,” says Marina Kissam, Vice President of Customer Experience at Luxury Card. “Safety while traveling is a growing priority, so we are pleased that our Cardmembers will be able to take advantage of exclusive savings on Medjet memberships before they embark on their next adventure.”

An industry forerunner, Medjet provides travelers hospitalized more than 150 miles from home with premier air medical transport to a hospital of their choice at home. Most travel insurance medical evacuation coverage is only to the “nearest acceptable” hospital. In October of 2020, Medjet was the first program of its kind to announce transport benefits for its members hospitalized with COVID-19 in the contiguous United States, Canada, Mexico and Belize, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Bermuda at no additional cost to members. That was followed shortly thereafter with the addition of Costa Rica and, just this month, Medjet added all of Central America (including Panama, Guatemala, and Honduras) to the list of countries from which members can be transported, if hospitalized with COVID-19.

“Even before the pandemic, statistics showed that one in 30 trips end in a medical emergency,” said Mike Hallman, CEO of Medjet. “We hope this new partnership, and Medjet protection, can bring a little more confidence to travelers, knowing that if the worst happens, they have someone to call.”

Since 1991, Medjet has upheld the highest service and standards in the industry. With the partnership between Luxury Card and Medjet, Luxury Card members can now receive 10% off all annual MedjetAssist memberships, which start at $265 per year for an individual, $359 for a family (two adults and up to five children). Additional security and crisis response protections are available with the MedjetHorizon membership for just an additional $149 per year for individual memberships or an additional $179 per year for family memberships. This discount is available to Luxury Card members until December 31, 2021. 

Medjet Website

Luxury Card Website

World Art Day illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

World Art Day Travels

In honor of World Art Day on April 15, 2021, here are some of the best destinations and hotels for curated art experiences from around the world. Whether it be an outdoor mural scene, a hotel’s private art collection, an artist-in-residence program, or new exhibits scattered throughout a country, there are many ways to celebrate World Art Day! And while safe travel may not be possible yet for everyone, virtual experiences are a great way to show appreciation and support. 

DOMESTIC

Hamilton Princess & Beach Club – Hamilton, Bermuda

Known as “The Pink Palace” from its iconic pastel exterior since 1885, it’s the interior of Hamilton Princess that is inside the hotel that makes it fit for royalty. A little-known secret is that the property is home to one of the most comprehensive contemporary art collections in the world. The vast and ever-evolving collection has an estimated multi-million dollar value. There really is no other resort where you can see an 18 ft tall KAWS sculpture or an original Banksy up close. Hamilton Princess has created the Escape Artist Package which includes a private tour of the contemporary art collection including pieces by Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Banksy, KAWS, Julian Opie, Yayoi Kusama, and Ai Wei Wei ,  complimentary passes to the island’s art museums with private tours upon request, complimentary Twizy electric car rental to get to and from the museums, and an assortment of art-inspired amenities and gifts, including a limited edition Mari Andrew print. 

St. Pete/Clearwater

Quickly becoming a museum mecca with 30+ museums in the destination, downtown St. Pete also boasts over 500 outdoor murals created by local and international artists throughout the hip Central Arts District. The newest additions are showcased during the annual mural festival SHINE St. Pete and can be experienced with a guided walking tour. This alfresco art experience has also been modified for COVID-19 safety as travelers can now discover them independently with this comprehensive, ever-growing list and through the app, PixelStix. And not to be forgotten, the most popular museum in the destination, The Dalí Museum, will continue to host the immersive Van Gogh Alive exhibit through June 13, 2021. The exhibition features more than 3,000 Van Gogh images at an enormous scale, viewed through high-definition projectors and synchronized to a powerful classical score. Advanced-purchase, timed-tickets are required to visit. 

Providence, Rhode Island

Known as Rhode Island’s creative capital, Providence is one of the country’s most diverse and vibrant cities for the arts, due in large part as the home to The Rhode Island of School of Design (RISD) which cultivates a creative community. Providence’s artistic offerings are best experienced on foot via Avenue Concept, Rhode Island’s first privately funded public art program. They offer two self-guided tours offering comprehensive stops with dozens of murals and sculptures to visit in Downtown and South Side/West End. As of August, a new latinx-led public art banner project honoring the healthcare workers who have helped manage the COVID-19 crisis has launched throughout the city. 

New Orleans – The National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum’s newest special exhibit “SOLDIER | ARTIST: Trench Art in World War II” explores the unique military pastime of creating art, souvenirs and tools out of the discarded materials and waste of war. Featuring more than 150 artifacts, many of which have never been exhibited, the collection also includes a background on the creators, providing a rare glimpse into the circumstances of war and the ingenuity and resourcefulness of servicemembers in the field. Such items range from souvenirs, such as ashtrays and jewelry made by servicemembers for their loved ones at home, to forbidden items like radios and musical instruments made by prisoners of war. The exhibition will be open to the public through January 2, 2022.

Daxton Hotel (Birmingham, MI) 

Opening in April 2021, Daxton Hotel features a monochromatic palette in rich, saturated color to showcase avant-garde lighting and furniture in bold shapes. This backdrop is juxtaposed with an art collection of over 400 pieces curated from across the world by Saatchi Art. The thoughtful collection is inspired by the street art found throughout the city of nearby Detroit and reflects the movement and energy of Motor City’s local scene. In addition to the distinctive art originating from across the world including Peru, Macedonia and South Korea, each guestroom is outfitted with a custom headboard backdrop from local floral muralist, Ouizi. Art in public spaces includes the restaurant Madam’s large-scale painting series of 12’ portraits in a feminine, a suspended wire installation in the conference room encouraging dialogue, a full-sized mechanical horse and 9’ pink metallic bunny. Art tours for the building are offered the first Friday of the month, providing the opportunity to engage and experience some of the Daxton Hotel’s significant works. 

The MC Hotel – Montclair, NJ

Located just 45 minutes outside of NYC, the 159 room MC Hotel is at the intersection of culture and community in the heart of Montclair’s thriving artistic community. With art curated from established and up-and-coming artists in every room, the hotel is part art gallery, part meeting place. Currently on display are pieces from painters Ryan Chin and Siona Benjamin-Kruge as well as mixed-media artist Basia Goszczynska to name a few. At guest check-in, travelers will be met by a sculpture of a flower from Karen Kimmel that stretches across two walls. The sculpture features textiles that were meticulously hand-punched then painted onsite. On the lobby wall of the bar, guests will see a sculpture from Goszczynska which is made from salvaged oyster farming bags, marine rope and steel wire. He also continues this unique interpretation of upcycling to shelves of the bar which displays Rainbow Collections, a piece featuring crowdsourced microplastics and salvaged baby food jars.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – Atlantic City, NJ

Within a two-hour drive of New York and an hour drive of Philadelphia, head toward the Las Vegas of the East Coast known for its bustling boardwalk, glitzy high-rise resorts, five-star restaurants, four-mile-long boardwalk, and six-mile-long beach. In search of an indulgent escape, this fast-paced resort is an art lover’s dream. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa features numerous extravagant glass sculptures that seem to drip effortlessly from the ceiling and rise majestically from the resort’s floor. Those colorful works of art are none other than world-famous Chihuly glass, created by master craftsman Dale Chihuly, and some of our guests come to our resort just to take in the signature pieces by the American artist. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa houses a number of stunning Chihuly pieces across the property, from the main entrance of the casino to the corridor connecting Borgata to The Water Club. Take a look at the gallery of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s Chihuly, and the next time you visit, play a game of trying to find all of the signature artwork throughout the resort. As the artist himself one said, “Glass has the ability, more than any other material, to bring joy and a certain happiness to people.” Chihuly, who was born in Washington in 1941, has had countless exhibitions of his work across the globe, from Venice to London to the Netherlands, and blew his own glass until he had a tragic car accident in 1976. Afterwards, due to challenges with his eyesight, Chihuly began serving as a director of a team of artists, who have created hundreds of massive glass installations found in buildings across the globe. 

Fitler Club, Philadelphia, PA

Fitler Club is Philadelphia’s ultimate “work/stay/play” destination, where hotel guests are granted exclusive access to all the club’s amenities for the duration of their stay. The club encompasses 136,000 square feet and includes a world-class gym and spa, a 14-room boutique hotel (The Rooms at Fitler Club), collaborative workspace (Offsite), indoor pool and a movie theater. Art lovers will enjoy the Fitler Club’s Collection, which has works by famous artists featured throughout the property. The collection includes pieces by Damien Hirst, Alex Katz, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Pamela Hanson, Mel Bochner and more. Fitler Club’s Artist In Residence program, bringing the work of Philadelphia artists, acclaimed and up-and-coming, to people’s everyday lives. Fitler Club assembled a vast collection by local artists, within a non-traditional gallery space that is Offsite, Fitler Club’s expansive workspace. Artists include King Saladeen, Eileen Neff, Elizabeth Osborn and more. Each of the artworks are on loan by the artists and every piece is for sale. In addition, those who are unable to visit the gallery in person can still enjoy the collection through an interactive virtual experience on the club’s website, which gives information on each piece located throughout the property. 

California

California is gearing up for a culturally enriching year, as various art happenings are slated to open throughout 2021. Peppered across the state, here are some key art events that visitors may enjoy for a uniquely artistic and local experience, showcasing the history and vibrancy of California:

  • Desert X + Outdoor Art in Greater Palm Springs: The third installment of the internationally acclaimed biennial art exhibition, Desert X, returns in 2021, starting March 12 through May 16. The 2021 artist lineup includes a diverse group of 13 artists ranging from locals like Kim Stringfellow to international representatives like Zahrah Alghamdi. Visitors can explore these new outdoor art installations across the desert region for an exciting socially distant experience. While in the region, be sure to check out the region’s booming art scene by walking or driving through various neighborhoods to check out artworks like the “PS I Love You” Sculpture, permanent pieces created for Coachella Music Festival, like “Etherea” and more. Find additional outdoor art in the Greater Palm Springs area here
  • The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA): The OMCA will unveil its newly refreshed garden and outdoor amphitheater space in spring 2021 as part of its multi-phased campus improvement project. This beautiful renovation will include updated outdoor sculptures, revitalized landscaping with native California plantings, new ADA accessible ramps and a permanent stage for outdoor performances- encompassing the Bay Area’s natural beauty. 
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art:The Santa Barbara Museum of Art will reveal a new, multi-floor wing in spring 2021 that will be home to new photography and contemporary art galleries, as well as renovated galleries, as part of its multi- year, $50 million renovation. The museum hired Kupiec Architects’ Bob Kupiec, who is known for his projects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Times Square, Bryant Park and more. 
  • Carmel Mission:To mark Carmel Mission’s upcoming 250th anniversary, the Carmel Mission Foundation is renovating the Mission’s main entrance and restoring a 100-year-old adobe museum that sits adjacent to the renowned Basilica. Additionally, The Harry Downie Museum at Carmel Mission is also planned to open in October 2021, showcasing “the Evolution of Carmel Mission” photography exhibit.
  • San Francisco Music Hall of Fame:Slated for this spring, the halls of the music-themed Music City Hotel will feature a gallery of transcendent local musicians including a curated collection of photographs from Getty Images, The San Francisco Chronicle and numerous local, respected photographers. A dozen local and national music writers were hired to create original one-of-a-kind gallery text that accompanies each photo. Visitors can listen to a playlist of songs by artists featured in the gallery, which includes a guided audio tour with local DJ Mike Waterman.

Texas

The art in Texas is top notch, specifically noting the art of the major cities along with other safe havens for creatives such as Marfa and which have recently gained traction. A few examples of the major cities and more of the unknown include: 

  • San Angelo, an oasis in West Texas off the beaten path, has quickly grown as a Texas art hub, with a lot of the art outdoors and accessible to the community at all times. Highlights like the Chicken Farm Art Center, where local artists are set up in refurbished farm buildings, as well as Paintbrush Alley, where over 50 artists have donated their time to create artwork in the downtown alley, are stand-alone destinations worth checking out when in San Angelo. Lastly, the Pop Art Museum which is also outdoor murals has been positively received by the community, with 31 pieces done by local artists throughout a former bowling alley, including a piece from James Gill who worked directly with Andy Warhol at the forefront of the Pop Art movement. 
  • The diversity and affordability of Houston has created an internationally acclaimed art scene, home to graffiti parks, modern museums and everything in between. Highlights include: 
  • James Turrell’s Skyspace Structure, an interactive installation which will test your perception of light and color. Wednesday through Monday weekly, the “Twilight Epiphany” sequence will take place, changing colors of lights from the built-in LED system. Guests can peer through the roof’s square-shaped aperture and into the darkening sky. Admission is free and seat reservation can be made in advance
  • Sawyer Yards, a creative campus located in Houston’s historic First Ward is set in a working train yard and made its home in a former industrial complex with several rice silos at the complex’s center. On the second Saturday of each month, the warehouses are open to the public allowing for individuals to meet the artists and explore their work, varying from paintings to sculptures to jewelry. 
  • Many people don’t often think of Dallas as an art-centric destination, but the cosmopolitan city is home to the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation. Though to experience art in Dallas one never has to enter a gallery; during a quick trek through any of the city’s walkable neighborhoods murals and iconic sculptures will reveal themselves. Here are a few:
  • Fair Park is home to many well-known works of public art, but the Crystal Chandelier at the Music Hall, by artist William Martin is often cited as a favorite.
  • Dallas City Hall Plaza boasts the large bronze sculpture The Dallas Piece by renowned British sculptor Henry Moore. It was given to the City in 1978 by W.R. Hawn in memory of his wife.
  • Deep Ellum is known for its eye-catching murals. The murals give life to otherwise mundane walls and buildings and reflect the life and times of the residents. As a result, Deep Ellum has evolved into its own exhibition of sorts and visitors have enjoyed exploring and discovering them all. Click here for a look at some of the murals and this map provides directions.

Sensei Lāna’i, A Four Seasons Resort

Set within the secluded island’s 90,000 acres, Sensei Lāna’i, A Four Seasons Resort is a one-of-a-kind wellness retreat, founded by Larry Ellison and Dr. David Agus, with the goal of helping people live longer healthier lives. At the heart of the retreat is the Sensei Way, which distills preventive health science, data and research into three simple paths for everyday living: move, nourish, and rest. These principles go beyond just healthy eating and exercise, encouraging guests to nourish their mind, body and soul, starting with an extensive art collection that inspires a creative spirit and enhances relaxation. With design envisioned by Todd-Avery Lenahan of TAL-Studio, the resort blends a sense of seclusion with wide open spaces surrounded by the forests in the spiritual uplands of Lāna’i. Intentionally placed among expansive garden foliage, the retreat houses a premier outdoor sculpture garden that includes larger-than-life pieces from renowned artists like Botero, Plensa, Lobo and more. As guests venture further, Ju Ming’s “Tai Chi Arch” opens to an onsen garden and Robert Indiana’s iconic “Imperial LOVE” sculpture ignites a sense of joy and rejuvenation. The artwork throughout the hotel was commissioned expressly for the retreat and here, art-loving guests will encounter these pieces for the very first time, stimulating thought and reflection. Other featured artists include David Ellis, Miya Ando, Haure Shimomoto, Sky Pape, Brooks Shane Salzwedel and Lauren Collin.


Rapid City, South Dakota

In the small town of Rapid City, South Dakota, where there’s no shortage of bucket list outdoor art experiences, you’ll find Art Alley,a functioning alley that was transformed into a place for artists to create and share their work with the public. The walls are covered in pieces from local artists, many anonymous, and are constantly changing as new works pop up, providing a new experience every visit. Before this area became known as Art Alley, local artists used to hang canvas artworks on the walls and eventually this evolved into painting murals. It wasn’t until a group of passionate artists and community members worked with city officials to nurture this organic art form into the Art Alley we know today. Other art-centric experiences in Rapid City include the City of Presidents, a collection of life-size bronze sculptures of past presidents placed along the city’s streets and sidewalks, the Dahl Arts Center and more.

Hewing Hotel(Minneapolis, MN)

Since opening its doors in 2016 the 124-room luxury lifestyle hotel has provided an unmistakable all-Minnesotan experience in the bustling North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. The former farm implements showroom and warehouse built in 1897 has been reborn as a cultural center for the community retaining its original brick and timber rustic charm. Immersing guests in Minneapolis, the hotel offers unique experiences with Minnesotan flair such as a monthly music series, Alley KAT! Perkins Pop Up Concert in the adjacent alley with season 6 The Voice semi-finalist Kat Perkins. The visual art of the area is on display through regularly rotating installations of local artists. The current collection includes works from Minneapolis-based artists Roko and Toni Gallo reflecting the beauty and talent within the area. 

INTERNATIONAL

Costa Rica

Mesoamerican, South American and Indigenous influences are reflected in Costa Rica’s rich art history and colorful culture. Visitors can explore Costa Rica’s capital city and cultural hub of San José which is home to some of the country’s most important art museums, consisting of diverse collections of painting, drawing, sculpture, pottery, wood carvings and more. 

  • Museo de Arte Costarricense: The Costa Rican Art Museum offers free admission and boasts a permanent fine arts collection of over 6,000 pieces from Costa Rican artists, spanning almost two centuries. One of the most intriguing displays at the museum is the outdoor sculpture garden, where visitors can see works by renowned Costa Rican artists like Jorge Jiménez Deredia, Edgar and Francisco Zuñiga, José Sancho and Max Jiménez. 
  • Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo: Costa Rica’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MADC) is situated on the site of the country’s old national liquor factory. MADC has four exhibition rooms for rotating and permanent collections of contemporary hispanic art, an auditorium and an open-air terrace for performances and events. There are approximately 900 pieces housed in the museum’s permanent collections. Currently on display at MADC is the “Inferno Tropical” special exhibition, which consists of works by six Latin American women artists from Costa Rica, Cuba, Venezuela, Panama and Brazil. Inferno Tropical is part of a series of exhibitions called “Female Voices of Latin America,” representing the largest mega-exhibition of living Latin American women artists in recent times.

Dominica

Presented by The Waitukubuli Artist Association (WAA) “WhoOosh!! 2” virtual exhibit is the first of its kind in Dominica, showcasing photography, sculptures and paintings created by local artists. The exhibit was filmed using a 360° camera in the abandoned Roseau Anglican Church, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The exhibit is an immersive experience that allows the audience to experience this real place from afar. Just like in a video game, virtual attendees can look around in any direction, interact with objects and people and examine the art up close. The exhibition is themed around the impacts that recent hurricanes have had on the artists’ way of life, interpreting their very own experience of resilience in various artistic forms. To attend, head to kubuliarts.com.

Victoria, Australia

With its brightly-colored bustling laneways, world-class theater district and inspiring art and cultural museums, Melbourne is a city fit to fulfill any art-lovers dreams. The city’s laneways are works of art in themselves while also leading inquisitive city strollers into quirky bars, old-school restaurants and hipster eateries, and hidden art galleries where there’s even more art to absorb. Those looking for a grander stage can find jaw-dropping performances in Melbourne’s theater and musical stages like the Princess Theater and Her Majesty’s Theatre in the East End Theatre District, or the inventive Malthouse Theatre. Melbourne’s art museums span the gamut – from Aboriginal art at the Birrarung Gallery or Ian Potter Centre, to modern and contemporary art at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art or National Gallery of Victoria. When it comes to art – whether it be public, modern, Aborginal or performance – there’s always something inspiring to view in Melbourne, Australia.

Argentina

Known as South America’s capital of culture, Buenos Aires, Argentina, was appointed as UNESCO’s first City of Design with the opening of the Metropolitan Design Center.  Not only that, but the city was also the birthplace of Tango, which first originated in Buenos Aires dance halls in the 1880s. Now, travelers can witness world-class tango each year during the city’s International Tango Festival and World Cup. In 2013, Argentinian artist Alfredo Segatori painted what was then the longest mural in the world, located in Barracas. And, finally, if you didn’t need more artistic inspiration to visit this lively city, Buenos Aires also hosts the world’s most important collections of Latin American art. The Museum of Latin American Art is home to the Fundación Costantini art collection which consists of 400+ masterpieces including paintings, sculptures, photography, and engravings by famous 20-century Latin American artists. 

Isabelle Fries makes a brief splash inside 360 MAGAZINE

ISABELLE FRIES

At 22 years old, Isabelle Fries has started to make a name for herself in the music industry. Not only is she gifted in her art, she has an extremely large heart.

Born in Sydney, but raised in Denver, Colorado, Fries found her inclination for singing at a young age. “I knew I wanted music to be a part of my life since I was about 7, but as I got older I was able to recognize that it is a labor of love for me,” she expressed. “I have never searched for fame through my music.” 

Not long after, she discovered her heart had room for another love, philanthropy. At just 15 years old, Fries became the first youth board member and youth leader for the Global Livingston Institute (GLI) an NGO in Uganda who’s mission is to educate students & community leaders on innovative approaches to international development and empower awareness, collaboration, conversations and personal growth. 

Through working with this organization, Isabelle travelled to Uganda to teach, perform and empower. In 2017, Fries performed in front of 20,000 people in Uganda at the annual iKnow HIV Awareness Concert Series along with other musicians from around the world, using music to breakdown barriers, bring people together and provide free medical testing and awareness for HIV for over 8,500 Ugandans.  

“I became a part of GLI when I was 15 and fully threw myself into their mission and their work. It is what opened my eyes to one of my passions I am now pursuing in international education. They really focus on young voices and drawing on perspectives from all types of individuals which is why I was asked to be on the board at such a young age. GLI is truly one of the most important things in my life so I could not be more thankful to be a part of it.” 

This wasn’t the only organization Fries carried out philanthropic work with. She volunteered in Haiti with The Road to Hope, an International Affairs Intern with Creative Visions in Malibu, California and a community worker with CEPIA in Costa Rica.

Isabelle still wanted to do more for Eastern African communities. She founded the “Bulamu Raise Your Voice Community Foundation (BCF)” and was able to draw on inspiration from one of her other life-long devotions: swimming. 

For twelve years, she swam competitively breaking records, winning State Championships and being a leader on her teams until complications from several autoimmune disorders forced her out of the water. This was never a part of her plan, but she was able to alter her life’s path and kept pushing through

“It is not something that I let control my life or hold me back from living. I take care of myself in every way I can and find strength in what I am able to do and learn new ways to improve my way of life,” she expressed. 

One of Fries’ missions with both GLI and BCF is to raise awareness for water safety on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda by teaching swimming to prevent drownings. By working closely with GLI and the headmaster of the Kazi Primary School, Fries has been able to carry out this initiative, as well as implementing academic, music and sports curriculum.  

She said that the community of Lake Bunyonyi changed her life by seeing how they are such powerful and driven people. “I don’t go for my own benefit or to be a ‘white savior’ ,” she asserted. “When I work in Uganda, I give the individuals I work with support and resources and they truly do the rest.”

Isabelle was fortunate enough to meet one of her long time role models, Michael Phelps. Fostering a relationship with someone who has shaped her life in so many ways in and out of the water has been such a blessing, says Fries. This lead to her working with the Michael Phelps Foudation (MPF), where she took the opportunity to become certified in their “IM Water Safety Program” which is implemented in The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

When given the opportunity again to combine her music and philanthropy through the MPF, she couldn’t resist. Isabelle was asked to open for country singer, Eric Church, at a MPF benefit concert in Chicago at the iconic Arcada Theater. “Swimming is an incredibly big part of my life as I was a serious competitive swimmer from the ages of 5 to 18, therefor having the chance to combine my music with my love and passion for swimming and water safety was very special and meaningful.” 

Now a recent graduate of The University of Southern California, Fries splits her time living between Denver and Los Angeles, continuing to pursue her passions: music and philanthropy, while working in Denver at a non-profit dedicated to mentoring students. Isabelle holds a degree in International Relations with minors in Spanish as well as  Non-Profits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism. 

While studying at USC, Isabelle was fortunate enough to catch the eye of Grammy-winning, multi-platinum producer/mixer Rob Chiarelli, who she’s fostered an incredibly close relationship with. 

She began releasing music signed with Chiarelli’s label Streetlamp records this year, already finding a widespread and loyal audience across all music platforms using her rich, soulful vocal that could be compared to the sound of Lauren Daigle or Adele. She recently released her 6th single, a raw piano ballad called “All We Had. When people listen to her music, Fries always wants to make them truly feel – whatever that feeling may be. Through channeling lyrics with her songwriters from her own life experiences, the emotions she is able to elicit are special to her. 

While the music may be interpreted differently for each unique individual, her raw style is something she hopes help guide those listeners on whatever journey they want to take. “I’ve always said, I love music because it lets you feel something you didn’t think you could.”

This is definitely something she mirrors artistically with one of her musical inspirations, Amy Winehouse. Growing up performing jazz music, Fries describes this genre as a big part of her musical identity, so she was instantly drawn to Winehouse’s style which she catalogs as “authentic, raw and groundbreaking. Amy created music unapologetically.”

But Fries’ number one music icon is Sir Elton John. “His music was always around me when I was growing up. My parents loved all music from that time and exposed me to it at a very young age which is one of the reasons it is the type of music I love the most. 

However, Elton John’s music was different for me, it felt like poetry and real emotion. His sound and songs are like stories that you never want to end. When I began to listen to him more I realized this is the type of music I want to sing and be a part of.” 

Feeling very blessed to have found such a supportive team, guiding her in finally being able to put her own original songs out there into the world, she is excited to evolve using her music to help create change, perform live again, and continue to build upon her body of work. While she’s away in the studio recording, we’ll be out here patiently waiting for more music, while she continues to use her voice to make the world a better place. 

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Western River Explorations Supports 2020 Traveling

Where in the world – and how – will families vacation this summer?

Given months of pandemic-driven lock-down orders, stay-at-home summer vacation won’t be high on many lists. What will be attractive will be vacations that embrace fresh air and the healing powers of nature that can work wonders on family spirits and recovery.

For nearly 60 years, Western River Expeditions has operated top-quality river rafting vacations for individuals, families, and friends. This year they are also applying their decades of professionalism to pandemic-related challenges. Here are some of the many steps this company is taking to counter COVID-19 fears.

  • Screening Employees: Every day before work, each employee must pass both a temperature and pulse oximeter screen, and then answer a detailed questionnaire.
  • Screening Guests at Check-in: Guests exhibiting temperatures of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed to travel with Western River Expeditions at the time they planned; instead, they will receive an “Adventure Credit” which allows the guest and any members of the group who were currently living at the same physical address during any of the 7 days prior to the trip to use the full paid value of their trip as a credit for a future trip at a later date.
  • Screening while on Multi-Day Trips: All trip participants and guides will have a daily temperature and pulse oximeter checks and fill out a daily review of symptoms questionnaire.

In addition, there are new protocols in place should someone experience COVID-19 symptoms during a trip. In such a case, steps will be taken to protect other guests from exposure during the remainder of that trip. There also will be protocols for toilet facilities, hand washing stations, and social distancing (when feasible) as well as reduced number of guests per raft.

The company will also implement specific guidelines that address everything from life-jacket use and sanitation to meal prep and service, use of shuttle vans, number of people per shuttle vehicle, sanitation of rafts, dry bags, cots, sleeping bags, and all associated equipment. For more details on Western River Expeditions’ specific protocols please see https://www.westernriver.com/covid-19.

Western River Expeditions hopes to still operate late spring and summer 2020 trips, subject to the easing of government-mandated closures. Three suggested trips ideal for families are:

  • Desolation Canyon, a five-day trip through breathtaking Desolation Canyon and Gray Canyon on the Green River in central Utah. Trips are scheduled to depart June 7 through Aug. 12 with a minimum age of five years old. For details see https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon
  • Southwest Sampler, a four-day adventure that includes an off-road Hummer Safari, Arches National Park tour, and overnight rafting trip as well as a stay at Moab’s Marriott SpringHill Suites. Departures are scheduled May 26 through Aug. 26. If National Park closures affect the operation of the Arches National Park tour, guests will explore another stunning location in Moab. For details see  https://www.westernriver.com/moab-utah-vacation-sampler
  • Grand Canyon, the three-day option still has some limited space on certain dates from June 21st through September. Conveniently departing and returning to Las Vegas, NV, this 100-mile journey is suitable for families with kids as young as nine. For details see: https://www.westernriver.com/grand-canyon-river-trip

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2020/2021 catalog, questions, availability, and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

About Western River Expeditions

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center.

Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past sixteen consecutive years (2004-2019).