Heli-surfing in Chile? Private picnics above Angel Falls in Venezuela? A tailored-to-you luxury safari honeymoon in Africa? Jacada Travel prides itself on originality with its luxury adventure trips. The founder, Alex Malcolm, started life in Oxford in the United Kingdom, but found his passion for unique travel in Brazil. Since founding Jacada Travel in 2008, he has aspired to share some of the best of South America and Africa with personally crafted trips. He shares recommends and trends in this cyber interview with Luxury Travel Maven Sonne while he was in the Amazon.
Q: How do you define luxury travel?
A: Where one has space and time. Settings and experiences which take us far from the everyday as such to renew and replenish us. The ability to experience something completely unique and beyond the reach of the crowds.
Q: How is South America different than other continents for discriminating travelers?
A:I am a great fan of the landscapes of South America. There’s such variation, even within each country. However, what I think really makes South America stand out as a destination is how one can really interact with people and the cultures of the area. The people of South America really are open to outsiders, so it’s a great place to engage with the local people.
Q: What are the unique luxuries in South America for travelers?
The variety of experience, being able to stand atop a glacier one day and to be in a tropical rainforest the next. Remote private lodges tucked between mountains where one can experience true solitude.
Q: What shouldn’t be missed in South America?
A: Taking a more private experience of Patagonia and visiting the glaciers where the crowds don’t visit. Experiencing the unique atmosphere of Trancoso in Brazil, or flying over the Amazon by hydroplane to reach your luxury riverboat deep in the pristine rainforest.
Q: What are some of your favorite luxury memories in South America?
A: Watching the sunset in the Colca Valley of Peru on my own with not a sound around me. Flying over the amazing landscape of the Pantanal wetlands in Brazil, a lattice of green and blue with brilliant white light shimmering on the top.
Q: What are some of your favorite luxury moments elsewhere In the world?
A: Outside of Latin America, it has to be my time in Africa. Lying in my large tent in the Okavango Delta listening to the sound of the elephants right outside of the tent or watching the sun set from a coppice in the Samburu area of Kenya, joined by the local Samburu people as I relaxed and took in the landscape.
Q: What’s still on your dream list of luxury experiences in the world?
A: I would really very much like to get up close with the gorillas.
Q: What does Jacada offer that other travel services don’t?
A: An amazing attention to detail, from start to finish. We’ve all lived in the places that we work with, so we have a unique insight into the way the country works and how to genuinely get the best out of your time there. It’s very much like plugging into a vast network of friends.
We’ve always felt that travel is a very personal experience so we listen well and ensure our guests have the trip they are looking for. We hand pick our guides and select the right guide for the right client. We know many of the lodge/hotel managers personally and are in touch before the arrival of every client to ensure they get a special welcome on our behalf.
Q: Your company sent out a press release predicting that your Travel Designers will be the future of luxury travel. What is a Travel Designer?
A: We put together a complete experience from an intimate, personal knowledge of the area the guest will be travelling to. There’s so much detail involved, from choosing the correct guide, to selecting a restaurant you will like for your trip. Or even adding in little touches and surprises.
Q: How is it different than a travel agent?
A: First of all we are not selling an “off-the-shelf product” and are really not just a booking service. The knowledge and the depth of planning that is involved from our end is exhaustive. We go the extra mile to ensure our guests have a trip that is perfect for them and it is something that we can personally vouch for on a first-hand basis.
Q: What do you predict is a trend in South American and African luxury travel?
A: We are trying to push the boundaries ourselves for our clients, creating brand new ways of experiencing the most remote, pristine, and beautiful areas away from the crowds for a privileged few.
Q: What will be offered within five years that isn’t now?
A: I think more “experience-based” properties are likely to spring up in remote locations, where clients can experience comfort in a unique, pristine environment.
Q: What are the three most popular Luxury Jacada trips?
A: In South America
- Luxury Peru Explorer, which takes in the Amazon, Machu Picchu and Cusco
- Luxury Argentina Explorer, which takes in Patagonia, the wine Region, and Buenos Aires
- Safari Wine and Waterfalls Tour, which takes in Cape Town, Wine Lands, Safari and Victoria Falls.
Q: Do you have any stories to share about how a Jacada trip changed someone’s life?
A: We had a couple on their honeymoon in Argentina. They were actually lodge managers of a safari lodge in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. After their trip, they enjoyed Argentina so much that they moved there!
by Lisa TE Sonne for Luxury Travel Mavens
Photographs provided by Jacada Travel