Tag Archive for: black travel experience

Redefining The All-Inclusive

Cheap, cookie-cutter, loud, and wasteful. These are just a few of the descriptors used to describe the all-inclusive experience. You may have your own experiences; foam parties gone awry, unruly children running about, average food, and too many watered-down rum punches. Whatever your past experiences may have been or your perception, the All-Inclusive concept has evolved over the years to a point where luxury and convenience are no longer mutually exclusive, nor are they confined to heavily trodden destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean. Local communities are architecting innovative tourism initiatives, driving locally-based spending, and creating culturally-focused luxury experiences. It’s time to expand your definition of the ‘all-inclusive’, and learn about these dream-worthy, luxurious all-inclusive experiences. 

Redefining The All-Inclusive
The Singular Patagonia

Patagonia, Chile

For adventure-seekers, the amphitheater of the Andes mountains offers up heart-pounding expeditions by day and a luxurious alpine respite by night. The Singular Patagonia is one of Chile’s most exclusive mountain escapes. Nestled on 30 spectacular acres, guests are treated to the “Complete Experience,” which includes award-winning cuisine, local wines and spirits, daily horseback riding and kayaking activities, and various other excursions. With only 57 well-appointed rooms, the ambiance is rugged, intimate, and delightfully remote.

Redefining The All-Inclusive
Pikaia Lodge

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

After you’ve cruised the Galapagos, leave some time in your itinerary to drop your anchor for a few days at the ultra-luxurious Pikaia Lodge. This 100% carbon-neutral resort lies at the heart of the Galapagos Islands on Santa Cruz Island. Situated between two dormant volcanoes on a private giant tortoise reserve, this sustainable eco-lodge offers guests the unique opportunity to experience a land-focused initiative in one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Rates include luxury accommodations, all meals, local wines, land excursions, and expeditions on the resort’s private yacht.

Redefining The All-Inclusive
Four Seasons Tented Camp

Golden Triangle, Thailand 

A geographical and spiritual tripoint, the Golden Triangle is a dazzling, bustling intersection one can’t miss if they’re ever visiting Thailand. The Four Seasons Tented Camp offers sprawling, verdant green landscapes, elephant encounters, breathtaking jungle trails, and the meticulous service you would expect from a Four Seasons property. Guests have various all-inclusive options to choose from, including elephant safaris, and curated cultural experiences. “Chaan Baan” is the land located around a traditional Thai home and where guests of the Four Seasons can observe, help plant rice, and watch the ritual of buffalo bathing. Guests can also participate in traditional clay making, indigo tye-dying, and of course Thai cooking classes. Northern Thailand has long been a choose-your-adventure type destination, and the Four Seasons provides plenty of experiences to choose from.

Redefining The All-Inclusive

World Famous 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, Hurawalhi

Hurawalhi Island, Maldives 

We would be remiss not to mention the Maldives, one of the world’s most beloved luxury, all-inclusive destinations. Despite its popularity, the various islands and atolls never feel overrun or crowded with tourists. For those seeking a more exclusive, ultra-luxurious Maldivian escape, a fort-minute seaplane flight will whisk guests from the busy capital of Male, to the tranquil Lhaviyani Atoll. There are no bad views in any of the five category villas at Hurawalhi Island. Guests can spend their nights being lulled to sleep by the warm Indian Ocean. By day, guests have access to snorkeling equipment, kayaks, yoga classes, sunset dolphin cruises and daily biodiversity excursions. Various meal plans are included, including a fully-inclusive option.

Redefining The All-Inclusive
Daily Game Drives in the Masai Mara

TanguliaMara Camp, Kenya

Steps away from the mighty Mara River, on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, the TanguliaMara Safari Camp invites guests to experience Africa in the most authentic, heartfelt way. The camp was founded by Dominic Nchoe and Jackson Looseyia, businessmen, passionate conservationists and members of the Maasai community. As one of the most prominent Black-owned, operated and staffed safari camps in the region, guests can enjoy African led safaris, game drives, bushwalks, visits to local Maasai villages. With only eight luxury tents, the atmosphere around camp is intimate with a sense of community. Guests are nourished with locally sourced, handcrafted meals and treated to the most spectacular sunsets in the world on nightly sundowners. This style of all-inclusive safari camp focuses on nature and culture, without sacrificing comfort and connection.

Staying at an all-Inclusive doesn’t have to crowded and impersonal. Many of these resorts, eco-lodges, and safari camps are located in some of the most remote places on earth, meaning you have the opportunity to interact with landscapes you’ve only dreamed of. Luxury all-inclusives are also highly customizable, cater to a broad spectrum of travelers, and can also offer a blissful respite, heart-pounding adventure, or an in-depth focus on local biodiversity and culture.

Ready to start dreaming? It all starts with a conversation, so let’s talk.

I’ve been a travel advisor for twenty years, but I’ve been an active Black traveller since I was a young girl, and for the first time in my life, I find myself seeking out destinations where I  feel safe, well, and welcome. Mexico hasn’t always been that place. I think back to a trip I took with my parents when I was sixteen years old. My family was somewhat adventurous in the way they travelled. Instead of flying in for a quick all-inclusive beach stay, my parents rented a car and took a road trip. It wasn’t the local people who side-eyed my blended family. It wasn’t the locals who commented about my braids, nor did they ever ask what a Black child was doing travelling with a White family. I fell madly in love with Mexico, its art, its culture, its food, its music, its grand cities, and its history. But it was how I was treated by white travellers from Canada, the United States, and Europe that prevented me from feeling safe and welcome, ultimately delaying my return to this beautiful nation for over a decade.

Hilton Playa Del Carmen – Adults-Only Resort

Last week, I flew into Cancun to embark on a seven-resort site inspection tour of the Playa Resorts portfolio. Now, this wasn’t my first return to Mexico since I was a child; there have been several visits since. In fact, I spent my 40th birthday in the Mayan Riviera this past February. But this would be my first time travelling with fellow travel advisors. These familiarization trips give us an opportunity to take a peek behind the scenes, chat with staff, explore the properties, learn about the amenities and gain essential knowledge we can pass on to our clients. For my clients, their health, wellness, accessibility, and safety are what are most paramount to them. I want them to feel welcomed, tended to, nourished, and seen.  Playa Resorts did not disappoint.

On Nourishment  

I once flew to New York for thirty-six hours just to dine at all my favourite spots. First, a small Italian eatery in Brooklyn. Next, the Theatre District to sip a Manhattan at my favourite martini bar. The next day, I took the 4 Train up to Harlem to gorge on Jerk Chicken at a hole-in-the-wall spot because it was made by a husband and wife who’ve lived there for fifty-seven years and poured as much love into their 100-year-old jerk chicken recipe as they did their blissful marriage. Food is one of my main inspirations for travel. Food is life. But that’s just it. Food is life. No one should ever have to compromise their nutrition and health by eating food that does them harm. And this is especially true when you’re enjoying precious, much-needed time away.

Five years ago, I developed an auto-immune disease that changed the way I ate when I travelled. I’m now a lactose-intolerant, anti-inflammatory-seeking, vegetarian-leaning foodie; I need LOT’S of options. Every single resort I dined at on my tour (and I dined at all seven!) accommodated every single food sensitivity, preference, and allergy we had amongst our group of fifteen. From gluten intolerant, shellfish allergies, pineapple allergies, veganism, and vegetarianism, every single one of our nourishment needs was not just met, but the chefs went above and beyond. No one was ever made to feel their dietary needs were burdensome, there was no judgment, just a warm smile, a hand over the heart (the Playa credo), and plates filled with beautiful, healthy, delicious food.

Alchemy Classes at the Zen Spa (Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun)

On Wellness

Most think of wellness as directly related to health. Gym facilities, yoga programs, healthy food, and beautiful spas. And yes, every Playa Resort, from the Hyatt Ziva Cancun with its alchemy room where you can learn to mix your own essential oils and healing lotions to the Hyatt Zilara’s exclusive off-property Zen spa that can only be likened to bathing outdoors in the jungles of Ubud, luxuriating is easy here. But as someone with sensory sensitivities, the softer colours, the preference for natural light over artificial, open spaces with plenty of airflow, and quiet spaces to escape when it all feels overwhelming, these are features I look for when I’m looking for wellness-focused resorts.  At one point on our tour, I suffered a debilitating migraine and had to retire to my room. It wasn’t until I closed my curtains at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Maya that I noticed they were a soft ombre blue, mimicking a beautiful Mayan sunset. I may not have been able to enjoy it from the beach that evening, but it was with me nonetheless. Wellness is a state of being, not merely an hour-long massage at the spa.

On Accessibility

Travel is an ableist industry and always has been. The grand cities of Europe, the ancient sites of the Middle East, and the verdant green rice patties of Southeast Asia; These landscapes are never imagined with travellers with accessibility challenges. Qmooniti and Storied Lands Travel are working hard to change the narrative, blast open spaces, and align ourselves with destinations, hotels, tour companies, and travel brands that cater to and support people with disabilities, both visible and invisible.

Plenty of Zero-Barrier Beach Access at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun

I was pleased to see resorts like the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Maya with beach-specific wheelchairs so not only can wheelchair users enjoy the beach, they can enjoy the surf. Ramps, elevators, wheelchair-accessible rooms, zero-entry pools, barrier-free beaches, and open dining and common spaces make navigating and enjoying these resorts a guarantee and not merely a possibility. There are also a number of companies based in the region that rent out specialized equipment for those with mobility issues. And to make things even easier, this equipment can be delivered directly to the resort.

The Hyatt Ziva’s and Wyndham Alltra’s Welcome & Cherish Families of All Ages

On Safety

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if Mexico was safe, I’d never have to work again. Everyone has their own definition of safe, and admittedly, mine has been rather loose over the years. I’ve travelled to some destinations and participated in some activities that would likely make some peoples’ hair stand on end (like running around in the wild with African lions or hiking deep into the Sumatran jungle alongside tarantulas the size of dinner plates, giant monitor lizards and whooping gibbons out for my lunch). However, since becoming a mom, my need for safety has increased exponentially. But my definition has also expanded to include places that are not only light on crime but also make me feel welcome as a woman of colour. Yes, Mexico has its issues. Yes, there has been a significant amount of drug-related crime, but rarely is it ever directed at tourists, and if it is, it’s almost always because they have been involved in the drug trade. I’m not justifying it; just providing context. I have yet to feel unsafe as a traveller in Mexico. More importantly, I felt warmly welcomed by the people of Mexico and by the myriad travellers I met along the way.

My brief stays at the Wyndham Alltra in Cancun, and Hyatt Ziva Riviera Maya may not have been as relaxing as I would have liked (to be expected on a dizzying resort inspection tour), but I still felt an overall sense of calm and serenity, something this busy, single Mama needed desperately. A final point I wanted to highlight is that the all-inclusive culture in Mexico has changed dramatically. If you’re looking for that typical Americanized, homogenous all-inclusive experience, you won’t find it at Playa Resorts. Mexican culture has taken centre stage at the dining table, in the spa, on the walls, and in the meticulous service, they provide. Playa Resorts ‘service from the heart’ never once felt like a forced, corporate gimmick but rather an authentic reflection of Mexico’s distinct hospitality, pride, and warmth.

Black history is world history, and here at Qmooniti, we honour it all day, every day. We honour it by acknowledging those who marched before us, by proudly standing alongside those who fight with us, and by joining the chorus of change so that today’s work lays the foundation for tomorrow. Learning about our own history is both a traumatic and profound healing experience. For many of us, this journey provides insight into who we are and why we are the way we are. Our stories, languages, traditions, and music stretch to the furthest reaches of this planet. When you’re ready, there are Black history travel experiences around the world that will not only educate us but celebrate and cherish our history. 

Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Chatham-Kent, Ontario 

After the Bible, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom was the second best-selling novel in the 19th century. And though it’s been held up as one of the most significant books of its day, it’s also one of the most confronting and controversial books ever written about enslaved people. The story was written by a white Puritan who intended to criticize and rally support from her white counterparts. What it did was birth an ugly caricature and fan the flames of internalized racism brought on by staunch systemic racism. What you may not know is that the character in the story was inspired by a real person. Reverend Josiah Henson, a former slave, was an outspoken advocate for the Black community in Canada. The Reverend escaped to Canada through the Underground Railway and established a 200-acre refuge and settlement specifically for former slaves. He was devoted to education, literacy, and creating a community that supported and nurtured Black people. The Reverend’s two story-cabin and surrounding grounds are aptly located on Freedom road in Dresden, Ontario. The site offers visitors a narrative of how slavery deeply impacted Canada.

The Big House – Whitney Plantation

The Whitney Plantation – Louisiana 

Located an hour’s drive from New Orleans, alongside the mighty Mississippi, lies the Whitney Plantation, one of the world’s first museums dedicated solely to the history of enslaved peoples and their legacy. While other plantation tours in the area focus on the ‘great families’ who stalked the halls of great houses, Whitney’s Big House, church, surrounding memorials, and rotating exhibitions share first-hand accounts of those who worked the plantation. Visitors can read stories of love, illness, new life, and death across generations of Africans and their descendants.

Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour, which will take them through several cabins, into the Big House, across the property, passed the enslaved quarters, and through several art installations. But for the full experience, a guided tour with an onsite expert will help you understand timelines and help you understand family and community dynamics across the plantation. Set aside at least two hours for this visit. 

The Black Heritage Trail Includes 200 Sites Across the State of Massachusettes

The Black Heritage Trail – Boston, Massachusettes 

A 19th-century neighbourhood synonymous with opulent mansions, wealthy business owners, poverty-stricken immigrants, and wide-eyed social activists, the northern slope of the iconic Beacon Hill neighbourhood sits at the heart of the Black Heritage Trail. In 1638, Boston saw the arrival of the first Black slaves. After the American Revolution, slavery was legally abolished across Massachusetts, and Boston saw a migration en masse of newly freed slaves across the state and beyond. Northern Beacon Hill quickly became a safe haven for those fleeing slavery on the Underground Railroad and abolitionists who participated in helping them. This Black history travel experience will take you to dozens of historic sites, including Abiel Smith School, the first school for Black children in the neighbourhood and fertile ground for the fight against education and inequality. Another stop you’ll want to make is at the home of Lewis Hayden and Ellen Craft, owners of one of the most prominent Underground Railroad safe houses in the entire country. 

Black History Walking Tours – London, UK

If you’re heading to the United Kingdom in October, you’ll be just in time for Black History Month. Black people have been in the United Kingdom, specifically London, for well over 3000 years, and there are several incredible black history walking experiences that will transport you through the millennia. For a look at comparative history, take a journey into the heart of Brixton from 1950 to 1980, and learn about the Civil Rights Movement through the lens of Black Brixton women who, like their American sisters, marched, protested, and demanded change. Your historian and host will share insight into life as African and African- Caribbean women who led the fight for equal employment, education, housing, and everywhere else Black people were excluded and marginalized. Stepping back further in time, learn about the stolen Ashanti gold artifacts, to the presence of Black royalty in and amongst the iconic William Wallace Collection. Or find how Africans and African-Caribbean people settled and became a part of the fabric of London’s most prominent neighbourhoods.

black history travel experiences

Quinta do Mocho, Sacavém, Portugal

While the United States, Britain, and other nations are well understood to have a deep involvement in the history of enslavement, it was the Portuguese who stole the first African slaves and brought them to Europe in 1444 CE. However, if you’ve travelled throughout Portugal, this significant historical fact, nor the scope of Portuguese involvement in the slave trade is apparent. Quinto do Mocho, a neighbourhood located just outside of Lisbon is home to a significant population of African diaspora from former colonies like Angola and New Guinea. It should come as no surprise, given Portugal’s past relationship with Africa, that this community was one of the poorest in Lisbon. It was built as a social housing project in the 1990s and suffered from high crime and a poor quality of life. Today, you’ll find dozens of incredible murals, art installations, and community historians eager to take visitors on a walk-through to point out and share the rich collective story of the Afro-Portuguese people who now call this place home.

According to the Trust for Public Land, of the 95,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Sites, only 2% of the sites are Historic Sites dedicated to Black Americans. While there are tens of thousands of Black history sites and monuments around the world, they’re often not featured on popular blogs, magazines, or guidebooks. One of the best things you can do to spread awareness is to share your experience with others when you return home. Keep an eye out for upcoming features on Black historical sites and experiences here on the blog and in our newsletter.