One-of-a-kind luxuries

Gone are the days when luxury was measured in gold. This century places far more value on the pleasures of everyday life, leisure time, exclusive events and unique adventures, the kind of experiences that stay with us forever. Here are our picks.

Text: Rodrigo Barría / Mariano Tacchi  @playeroycasual |   illustrations: Óscar Chávez

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Indulge in guiltless pleasures

Imagine spending the whole day on your couch, eating pizza and watching a House of Cards marathon on Netflix, without anyone to bother you. Taking the time to relax this way is, for some, the ultimate luxury. However, having the chance to let leisure fully take over your day is a gift seldom valued. So grab your computer and go on eBay. Buy the book Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto, a novel by the creator of True Detective. It will be the best US$15 you’ve ever spent. Then, head over to the wine section. Here, you can splurge a little on wines from all over the world, mostly Spanish and French, although you can also find several Latin American selections, for around US$50, depending on the vintage. Now picture this in your future: reading a good novel with a decadent glass of wine in hand. What a great way to invest your time.



Experience carnival



Anyone who has had the chance to experience Rio de Janeiro’s Sambódromo in full swing or attend a masked ball on the canals of Venice – both usually held in February – knows that there’s nothing like it. However, other options are available to travelers looking for unforgettable experiences on par with these two celebrations.

Based on the festivities held by the conquistadors (and later the slaves) in Cartagena de Indias, the Carnaval de Barranquilla is an explosion of joy. In Colombia today, the celebration has been transformed from a modest holiday into a massive celebration where music, dance, theater, parades and costumes collide.

On a more alternative front, there’s Burning Man, a cultural festival held in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, which ends with the burning of a giant wooden statue. Founded in California in 1986 to celebrate the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, the festival is held yearly during the last week of August and the first week of September.



Escape the everyday

Few things are indicators of a real billionaire, and owning an island is one of them (which is far better than boasting an airplane or a yacht). Possessing a piece of land in the middle of the sea is synonymous with exclusivity, status and glamour.

There’s a small, heavenly island that serves as a very exclusive resort for the lucky few who come to stay in its magnificent villas. This is Kuda Hithi, in the Maldives, and more specifically the Coco Privé hotel. Want to escape the modern world? This small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean can only be reached aboard a yacht, sailing across turquoise waters and above corals reefs. Coco Privé boasts white sands, palm trees, a superlative sea and the feeling of being the only person on the planet.



Take a space vacation

Since man first walked on the moon, only about 500 human beings have been to outer space: just a handful of lucky individuals.

At this very moment, there are fewer than a dozen people in orbit, watching us from high above. However, all this will change in a couple of years, with the advent of space tourism. The industry is still in the test stages, but it will inevitably allow thousands of people to appreciate Earth in a way few have done before. And flights to outer space may begin by the end of this year.

A number of entrepreneurs have started projects aiming to dominate a market that, when up and running, will transport an estimated 4,000 people within the next decade. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo will be the first to depart from a specially built spaceport in New Mexico. The vessel will carry four passengers and two pilots, and the two-hour flight will reach an altitude of 62 miles. The passengers will even be able to experience five minutes of weightlessness. So far, there are some 700 names on the reservations list, including Stephen Hawking, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lady Gaga.




Visit an endangered destination

You’ll have to hurry to tour what will, most likely, be the first country in the world to disappear as a result of global warming. Those who have been to the Republic of Kiribati, a collection of 33 islands – 21 of which are uninhabited – in the middle of the Pacific Ocean will be able share their photographs of a paradise that will almost certainly be swallowed by the ocean before the century ends, making its 100,000 inhabitants the first refugees displaced by climate change.

Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, is comprised of a single, unnamed street (known by the locals simply as “the street”). Turquoise waters, menacing and beautiful, surround the city. The maximum altitude of the country barely reaches 100 feet. People half-jokingly call the hill “Mount Kiribati.”

Fishing, scuba diving and water sports are the main activities. There are various lodging options, most of which are very simple and cost around US$40 a night. What really draws people to Kiribati is the breath-taking scenery and dreamlike islands of Biketawa and Ouba, just a few hours away by boat.

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