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Where To Go This Fall

Saying goodbye to summer is never easy. And this year it’s particularly strange, with so much still in flux due to COVID-19. And while your options for destinations are a bit more limited than last year with border closings, the idea of a fall getaway—and even an extended one—is still doable, thanks to the growth in remote work options. Here are some of our favorite destinations for a fall vacation, each of which is open to international arrivals and enacting helpful health measures to ensure safety.

Contact Indagare to book your fall vacation. Our team of expert trip designers can recommend the best hotels, restaurants, activities and more just for you.

Indagare members can also see our curated list of Indagare’s favorite destinations open to U.S, passport holders now: Coronavirus Travel Information: What’s Open To Americans

The Fall Foliage Fantasy: Rural New England

Why Go Now: From Maine’s rugged coast to the Berkshires in Massachusetts, nowhere does fall like New England, where maple trees transition from green to yellow to crimson on rolling hills interrupted by quaint towns and stately farmhouses. Peak leaf season varies by the year and the latitude (and altitude), but usually you can find it between late September and mid October.

Where to Stay: Twin Farms, in Central Vermont, is a perennial favorite, but fills up early. Another option we love is Hidden Pond, a relaxed resort with standalone cottages in the woods near Kennebunkport, Maine. The adults-only bungalows are removed from the larger, kid-friendly two-bedroom houses, though both areas showcase classic Maine touches like stone fireplaces and spacious porches.

Local Entry Requirements: Maine allows residents of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont and New Hampshire to enter without restrictions, while travelers from other states can either show a negative test result from within 72 hours prior to arriving or quarantine for 14 days.

Vermont is requiring travelers who arrive via a personal car or private plane to certify that they either come from a county with low rates of active Covid cases (the state updates its list of accepted counties each Friday); or that they have completed a 14-day quarantine in their home state; or that they have a negative PCR test result after a seven-day quarantine in their home state. (Travelers who arrive by commercial plane or train must quarantine in Vermont for seven to 14 days.)

Related: Our Favorite U.S. Hotels with Private Cottages or Villas

A Safari Adventure: Rwanda

Why Go Now: Rwanda was an early adapter to coping with coronavirus, imposing Sub-Saharan Africa’s first lockdown in March in a—so far successful—bid to save its citizens and endangered primates from the worst of the pandemic. It reopened—first to private charter flights and then to commercial airlines—and is now allowing gorilla-trekking at a much reduced capacity, with just six visitors per gorilla family. The mission was twofold: protect the primates from the virus while bolstering the local tourism industry, which raises critical funds for gorilla conservation. And the effect, so far, has worked, creating an even more intimate experience for the lucky visitors, who now have the option to take over some of the country’s top lodges. October and November mean springtime in Rwanda, and the daily, but brief downpours make the landscape a vibrant green with beautiful flowers, ensuring that it’s also one of the most photogenic seasons to see gorillas.

Where to Stay: Bisate Lodge, from Wilderness Safaris, opened in 2017 on a hillside near Volcanoes National Park. Its six thatched huts are a study in luxury meets local, high-design meets low-footprint. The thatch itself is recycled plastic, yet resembles the natural kind perfectly, and decór draws on traditional elements from Rwanda: colorful fabrics of the Great Lakes region, geometric patterned tiles and volcanic stone walls.

Local Entry Requirements: All visitors must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to arrival. Visitors must then take a second COVID-19 test prior to visiting any tourist attraction.

Related: Travel to Rwanda with Melissa Biggs Bradley on our brand-new Insider Journey this November!

The Extended Island Getaway: Hawaii

Why Go Now: If you have the option to work remotely, this fall presents an unprecedented opportunity to experience Hawaii for multiple weeks without the crowds. It’s one of few states actively enforcing its 14-day quarantine requirement, which is keeping the vast majority of visitors away. And Hawaii in September through November is gorgeous, with clear blue skies and the same warm weather the archipelago enjoys all year.

Where to Stay: A private villa is ideal for the first two weeks of your trip, letting you pass quarantine with your own kitchen—not to mention pool and tropical views.

Local Entry Requirements: All individuals, both residents and visitors, arriving from out-of-state to Hawaii are still subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Beginning October 1, proof of a negative test result—likely from within 72 hours prior to travel—could replace the need to quarantine, but no details have been announced.

The European Option: Croatia & Montenegro

Why Go Now: Croatia and its southern neighbor, tiny Montenegro, are two of very few European countries currently open to U.S. passport holders. Conveniently, they share a particularly gorgeous stretch of the Adriatic coast, and are both home to incredible beaches, historic towns and a rugged interior with excellent hikes.

Where to Stay: On a picturesque peninsula jutting into the clear blue Adriatic, Aman Sveti Stefan occupies a former fishing village in Montenegro, complete with fortifications (and a dreamy stretch of sand). Each red-tile-roofed-house or shop has been turned into a hotel room or shared space, and the resort contains a restored church as well as pools, a taverna, enoteca, pizzeria, bakery and antipasti bar.

Local Entry Requirements: International arrivals to Croatia must present a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours (starting from the time of taking the swab until arrival at the border crossing). For Montenegro, visitors must show negative PCR test results not older than 72 hours.

The Place to Disconnect: Alaska

Why Go Now: Alaska is at its most dramatic in the fall, when the leaves change colors—blueberry bushes transform into a red carpet; birch trees become yellow; the tundra turns a russet brown—and the Northern Lights begin their dance across the night skies. Wildlife-viewing is excellent this time of year as well, as it’s migration season for a diverse group of fauna including caribou, beluga and gray whales and many species of birds, including cranes.

Where to Stay: Accessible only by helicopter, Sheldon Chalet is a stylish, five-bedroom retreat on the only privately-owned land in the mountains of Denali National Park. Panoramic windows provide unobstructed views over the national parkland, and guests are able to be wholly present in the unique Alaskan wilderness—no WiFi means no distractions here. And instead of scrolling on their phones, visitors enjoy activities like glacier trekking, crevasse exploring, mountain climbing and snow-cavern spelunking.

Local Entry Requirements: Travelers must show proof of a negative result from a test taken within 72 hours before the trip departure.

The Culinary Trip: Sonoma & Napa

Why Go Now: In the wake of devastating fires in August, Napa and Sonoma—and their wineries—are once again open for visitors. It’s harvest time, so those who make the easy drive up from San Francisco will find vineyards bursting with ready-to-pick grapes. And new social distancing protocols have actually improved the guest experience at wineries, where everything is now reservation-only, private and outdoors. Likewise, dining is now exclusively al fresco, with the region’s top restaurants making full use of its sunny, warm fall climate.

Where to Stay: Meadowood is a sprawling estate in the Napa hills, with a low-key aristocratic charm. It’s also home to the triple Michelin-starred Restaurant at Meadowood, a destination in itself from Chef Christopher Kostow. Nearby, we also love Calistoga Ranch, a standout example of rustic luxury. The resort is tucked into 157 acres of lush reserve in the green canyon between Calistoga and St. Helena in Napa Valley, and its cedar cottages include indoor and outdoor space, with a terrace, a fireplace and plenty of privacy.

Local Entry Requirements: California has no entry requirements.

Related: Indagare Special Offers with the Wall Street Journal: Calistoga Ranch

The Far-Flung Beach Escape: The Maldives

Why Go Now: Rainy season in the Maldives extends through October, but that shouldn’t stop you from heading to this cluster of more than a thousand tiny islands off the southern tip of India. Fleeting storms usually pass by quickly—and actually create optimal conditions for surfing—and both air and water temperatures hover at an idyllic 80 degrees. Following a complete lockdown in March, the country reopened to travelers mid-July, making it one of the only destinations in Asia currently welcoming U.S. passport holders.

Where to Stay: In a move to protect both locals and visitors, only resorts on private, non-residential islands can host guests for the time being. We love LVMH’s Cheval Blanc Randheli, with 45 ultra-chic villas designed by Jean Michel Gathy on the Noonu Atoll. And, says Indagare’s Sasha Feldman, “snorkeling and scuba diving in the nearby reefs feels like The Little Mermaid come to life.”

Local Entry Requirements: Starting September 10, travelers must have proof of negative PCR test results from 72 hours prior to departure. (Previously, travelers underwent temperature checks and screening measures for symptoms upon arrival).

Related: Global Conversation with Sonu Shivdasani: The Pioneer of Eco-Luxury

The Exotic Wildlife Adventure: The Galápagos

Why Go Now: In the Galápagos, September to November is the driest, coolest season, when daytime temperatures drop to the mid-70s, rainfall is virtually nonexistent and the Humboldt current is at its peak, bringing colder, nutrient-rich waters to the archipelago. What that means for visitors: swimming and snorkeling might warrant a wetsuit, but this is also the best time of year for seeing marine life like green sea turtles and endemic penguins, sea lions and seals. On land, bird-watchers will be able to see nesting blue-footed boobies and albatrosses.

Where to Stay: With a chic, minimalist design, the lava-built Pikaia Lodge, reopening November 1, offers unparalleled comfort with a conservationist focus on Santa Cruz island. For earlier trips—and for those looking to maximize their time at sea—yachts are the way to go. Indagare has several favorite operators for both private and semi-private sailings.

Local Entry Requirements: To enter Ecuador, travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken within 10 days before entering the country. To continue to the Galápagos, new regulations require travelers to take a second PCR test upon arrival to Quito or Guayaquil, and to stay there for at least 48 hours to await negative test results before continuing to the remote archipelago.

Related: Explore our 2021 Impact Insider Journey to the Galápagos

Contact Indagare to book your fall vacation. Our team of expert trip designers can recommend the best hotels, restaurants, activities and more just for you.

Indagare members can also see our curated list of Indagare’s favorite destinations open to U.S, passport holders now: Coronavirus Travel Information: What’s Open To Americans

– Peter Schlesinger on September 8, 2020

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