Would You Sleep In A 300-Year-Old Ceibo Tree In The Galapagos Islands?

cave On San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands, you can find a unique accommodation that is part treehouse, part underground cave. Known as El Ceibo, the property is located in the El Progreso neighborhood and features the largest tree on the entire island at 48 feet high. Moreover, at $20 a night, it’s also one of the best deals in town.

Ceibo is actually the name of a tree, and there are only three of the species on the island. While this particular tree is 300 years old, the cabins were added 22 years ago, with the bar and restaurant addition being only 15 years old. An overarching theme in the Galapagos Islands is ecotourism, and El Ceibo compliments this with the walls of the bar being made of thousands of recycled glass beer bottles. In the yard, you’ll find metal and stone statues, hammocks and tropical plants.

The treehouse accommodation has a surprisingly cozy atmosphere. There’s a small kitchen and bathroom, as well as a loft where the bed is. You can choose from an array of entry and exit methods, like a precarious swinging bridge and ladder, ropes or a fireman’s pole.

The cave is less comfortable, but surprisingly nice for being made at the bottom of a tree. You enter through the tree trunk and go down a steep ladder (shown above). The room has a bit of a musty feel, and the kiddie-sized toilet will make you laugh. The bed, however, is pretty comfortable. Likewise, some wall art and a vase of fake flowers help to add a kind of homey ambiance to the room.

The price is $20 per night to sleep in the treehouse or cave, or $5 to camp. If you’d like to just explore the property, the price is $1.

The future of camping: portable floating tents

treehouse tent For rustic travelers who can’t decide if they’d rather sleep in a tent, a hammock or a treehouse, Tentsile has a product for you. Their portable and floating “tentsile” relieves campers of problems like sleeping on pebbles and wet ground or waking up to creepy crawlers squirming in their stuff. According to the website, you’ll also be able to safely avoid flooding, earthquakes and sandstorms. Best of all, you get the unique experience of hanging from a tree like a spider monkey. Can you get any closer to nature than that?

To set it up, the tentsile should be attached to three trees. I’m not quite sure how you get it up there, but hopefully you’ve been practicing those spider monkey skills. Once it is successfully constructed you can expect a restful sleep. Because the tentsile uses tension forces and not poles, “the most comfortable and flexible range of accommodation can be achieved.” Additionally, eco-travelers will love that the product leaves a minimal carbon footprint.

For more information, visit the Tentsile website.

10 of the world’s most unique vacation rentals

unique vacation rentalImagine sleeping in the renovated fuselage of a vintage 727 airplane in Costa Rica. Or how about feeding giraffes over the breakfast table at a castle in Kenya? These one-of-a-kind lodging experiences, and others, are available through online vacation rental websites like Airbnb, and often for less than the cost of a shoebox room in a budget hotel in downtown Manhattan.

Take, for example, the following sampling of Airbnb’s unique vacation rental listings:
  • Boot and Breakfast (pictured at right). A childhood tale comes to life in Tasman, New Zealand. $225/night.
  • Romantic Igloo. Temperatures in Igloo Village Krvavec in Slovenia hover around 0-5 degrees Celsius – perfect for cuddling. $189/night.
  • Alone on your own Fiji Island. Really get away by booking the private Fijian island of Nanuku. $350/night.
  • Ecopod Boutique Retreat. A low-carbon pod designed in partnership with Zendrome, Berlin, in the woods of Appin, United Kingdom. $241/night.
  • Aircamp Furillen. A vintage Airstream on tiny Furillen Island in Sweden. $204/night.
Airbnb also groups their most notable listings into fun collections, like “Trees and Zzz’s” for treehouse lodgings, “Grape Expectations” for wine country accommodations and “I’m On A Boat” for, well, boats.

For 10 of Airbnb’s most unique vacation rentals, check out the gallery below.

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Six new Virginia tourist attractions to visit in 2012

Demonstrations by skilled artisans, Civil War attractions, an amazing new treehouse, and a historic home that will make you feel (or at least sing) “crazy;” visitors to Virginia in 2012 will find several new vacation experiences. Throughout the next year, here are some of the new reasons to travel to the state.

Heartwood
Abingdon, Virginia
Billed as “Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway,” this new facility adjacent to I-81 is home to regional artisans working in music, crafts, food and wine. There are also galleries and interactive exhibits, a shop, restaurant, and coffee/wine bar.
Winchester, Virginia
If Patsy Cline makes you “fall to pieces,” then this new historical site is worth the trip. The modest white house that the music legend lived in from ages 16 to 21 is now open to the public. Furnished with period pieces and some originals, it has been revamped to look almost exactly as it did when Patsy Cline lived there. Guided tours are available for those who want to know all the details on where Patsy Cline lived while beginning her music career.
Hampton, Virginia
After more than 150 years as an army post, the largest stone fort ever built in the United States officially became part of the National Park System on November 1, 2011. Nicknamed “Freedom’s Fortress,” the fort provided a safe haven for hundreds or runaway slaves during the Civil War. In 2012, walking tours of the fort will be available during the summer.

Appomatox, Virginia
The buzz surrounding the 150th anniversary of the Civil War brought new opportunities for the Museum and White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, which will expand its presence with a secon facility in Appomattox set to open in Spring 2012. The $7.5 million museum will focus on the end of the Civil War, the surender at Appomattox, and the reunification of the country.

Williamsburg, Virginia
Known simply as “the Pottery,” Williamsburg Pottery has been a shopping destination since 1938. This April, the site will be reborn with a half-mile of new buildings–including a new cafe, restaurant, and bakery.

Meadows of Dan, Virginia
One of the world’s top treehouse architectural firms has designed a new, unique lodging experience at Primland Resort. Built on the boughs of one of the resort’s oldest and most beautiful red cedar trees (without the intrusion of a single nail), the treehouse overlooks the Dan River Gorge. Inside is a king bed, enormous deck, and other luxurious amentities.
The state will also host several new exhibits, including welcoming the Space Shuttle Discovery at the National Air & Space Museum in Chantilly and hosting a show of Andy Warhol Portraits at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach.

Luxury gone wild: Top treehouse hotels around the world

Who said luxury was limited only inside four walls? In the backyard of hotels and resorts we frequent around the world are miles of lush landscapes just waiting to be explored and slept in. Look up the next time you’re walking through the woods and imagine a space in that tall tree, complete with all the amenities you would find at home.

Treehouses are treasures that embrace our childhood and indulge our adventurous side, and they have a lot more to offer than a bird’s nest and an old carpet from your Mom’s garage. Below are some of the most unique treehouse hotels around the world worth exploring… are you game?

Parrot Nest Lodge, Belize: Spend the night under a 100-foot guanacste tree in a thatched treehouse in Parrot Nest Lodge. Surrounded on three sides by the Mopan River, you’ll watch fireflies swarm at eye level and make friends with a few parrots from your hammock on the porch of the tree. Make sure you have plenty of battery life in your camera – the Parrot Nest Lodge is one of the best places to play with the wildlife that inhabits the exotic gardens on the grounds. The best part? It’s only $40 a night for double occupancy and children under 12 stay free. www.parrot-nest.com

Tree Houses of Hana, Maui: These tree-top rooms are pretty basic, but if you’re looking for rustic romance they’re worth the climb. The rooms in these trees lack electricity (read: candles set the mood) and when the sun goes down, tiki torches and candles light the way through the wooded path to your secluded treehouse. Treetops, House of the August Moon and Pavillion all provide guests with ocean views and camp-style in-tree kitchens. This cost of this adventure will cost you $120 per night. hanalani.maui.netThe Aviary, Lenox, Massachusetts: Not your typical treehouse, The Aviary is a two-level suite with a private covered terrace located on 22 acres of parkland in the Berkshire Mountains. The “treehouse” comes complete with a living rooms, antique soaking tub, and a full entertainment system. The circular stairs lead you to the second floor sleeping room ‘in the trees’. The lap of luxury in the woods will cost you $2100 a night, but it’s sure to be the best time you’ve ever had in a treehouse. www.wheatleigh.com

Tranquil Resort, Wayanad, Kerala, India: Imagine waking up to the smells of vanilla wafting through the air and coffee beans roasting in the sun. The 500-square-foot treehouse at Tranquil Resort is set on a private 400-acre estate complete with a working coffee and vanilla plantation, meant to relax and rejuvenate. The treehouse is set 35-feet off the ground and come with king-sized beds, full baths, and a veranda. Insect screens protect you from the outside elements and if you get bored of the panoramic view of the estate, you can turn on the TV or pop in a DVD, conveniently wired in the tree. Nightly rates were unavailable on the website, but you can email the resort directly for information. www.tranquilresort.com/treehouse.html

Tree House Lodge, Limón, Costa Rica: Located on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica lies a small eco-lodge with four treehouses on pristine ocean-front property. A true mesh of nature and harmony, the treehouses are located in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and feature solar heating, two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a shower. To add to the ambiance of these wooden digs, you access your treehome via a hanging steel bridge. Access to the bridge. Rates start at $300 a night. www.costaricatreehouse.com