x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Travel Deals: Greenland, Maldives and Costa Rica

Spend a week spotting whales around the coast of Greenland or soak up the sun on a beach in the Maldives.


Aqua-Firma has an eight-day "Disko Bay Whale Safari" off the western coast of Greenland in June. The voyage starts in the western Greenland town of Ilulissat, before sailing along the Jakobshavn fjord, known for its enormous icebergs. Highlights include a cruise around the Hunde Ejland, a group of islands in the mouth of Disko Bay, for whale sighting opportunities; species include minke, humpback, beluga and fin. In spring, the area is favoured by the endangered bowhead whale, named for its bow-shaped mouth. Also included is a trip to Flakkerhuk on the eastern side of Disko Island, with stops at Narujuk and Modder Bay, home to colonies of Arctic birds such as the Long-tailed Skua, Turnstone and Grey Phalarope.

The seven-night expedition, from June 7 to 14, costs from Dh1,690 for a twin porthole cabin, based on two sharing, full board, and includes airport transfers from the ship, lectures by naturalists, all shore excursions, and return chartered flights from Reykjavik to Illulissat. International airfare not included. Visit www.aqua-firma.com for details.

Costa Rica

Escape to a private eco-lodge in Costa Rica, set in a 280-acre private reserve with rainforests and overlooking the South Pacific near the coastal town of Playa Dominical, famous for its superb surf spots. Choose from three plush lodge suites, a large cabin with a wooden viewing deck set on the edge of the jungle, three smaller cabins (each with jungle or ocean views and a covered wooden deck), and a one-bedroom cottage with ocean views (located farther up the hill above the lodge).

Facilities on the estate include a large infinity pool with a sunken bar, an alfresco dining area, a spacious library and wireless internet. Activities available in the area range from hiking in the forest, either solo or with a guide and daily walks down the trails within the property to riding, bird watching, and swimming in the Magnolia River, which runs through the estate. Farther downstream is a hydroelectric plant that provides power to the entire property. Guests can avail of the complimentary shuttle services to Playa Dominical, several beaches in the area and nearby tourist attractions. Airport transfers can be arranged on request.

Double rooms at the lodge cost from US$150 (Dh550) per night, based on two sharing, including breakfast, appetisers at sunset and a three-course gourmet dinner each day. International air fare is not included. Book through www.responsibletravel.com.


The newly opened Dusit Thani Resort on the Maldivian island of Mudhdhoo has a special introductory package starting from US$919 (Dh3,376) per night for two in a beach villa with a private pool, including breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi, snorkelling equipment (first day only), and taxes. Encircled by private beaches, a rich house reef and turquoise lagoon, the resort boasts spacious, airy villas and pavilions - some come with a private pool and outdoor shower - on the beach or by the lagoon. On the premises are a 750-sq-m swimming pool, two floodlit tennis courts, a children's club, a library and well-equipped dive centre. The resort also has its own sea plane terminal and is a 35-minute flight from Malé airport. The offer is valid from March 1 to April 30. Visit www.dusit.com to book.

Lucerne, Switzerland

Take a short break in the Swiss city of Lucerne with the Radisson Blu's "Romance in the City of Lights" offer. The package costs from 340 Swiss francs (Dh952) per person, per night, with accommodation in a spacious lake-view double room, including breakfast, strawberries, drinks and chocolates upon arrival, evening drinks, a three-course gourmet candlelit dinner at Luce restaurant, complimentary Wi-Fi, access to the steam room, sauna and gym, and taxes. Visit www.radissonblu.com for more information and to book.