TripAdvisor’s Top Hotel in the World Is Home to a Sloth Sanctuary

iStock.com/tomalu
iStock.com/tomalu

Beautiful weather, lush rainforests, and white-sand beaches are just a few of the reasons why Costa Rica is well worth adding to your bucket list. But just in case you needed another excuse to travel there, it's home to one of the best hotels in the world—where you just might meet a sloth on your visit.

As Insider reports, Tulemar Bungalows and Villas in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica was recently named the best hotel in the world by TripAdvisor users. No doubt voters were swayed by the fact that the resort offers guests the exclusive opportunity to sign up for its “sloth walk,” an $18 guided hike led by researchers from the Sloth Institute Costa Rica. The tour gives attendees the chance to see plenty of sloths, colorful birds, and monkeys up close.

Since 2014, the Sloth Institute has been rehabilitating and releasing orphaned sloths back into the wild while also tracking wild sloths to learn more about their ecology. Although other wildlife centers in Costa Rica handle sloths, the Sloth Institute is one of the few facilities that releases the animals back into the wild—something that has traditionally been risky for the animals. (You can learn more about how researchers prepare them for life in the wild in Slothlove, the book Sloth Institute cofounder Sam Trull wrote about her work with sloths, as well as in our 2017 feature on Trull.)

Of course, the Tulemar resort probably received a Travelers' Choice Award for reasons other than sloths, too—its private villas, verandas overlooking the ocean, and large infinity pools are pretty impressive, too. It doesn’t hurt to have a few adorable two-toed and three-toed neighbors, though.

Not ready to head to Costa Rica? Hotels in Italy, Cambodia, Taiwan, and Austria also made the top five of Trip Advisor's list this year. As for U.S. hotels, users rated the French Quarter Inn in Charleston, South Carolina the top hotel in the nation and the No. 6 hotel globally.

[h/t Insider]

Florida to Open Its First-Ever Snow Park

Zuberka/iStock via Getty Images
Zuberka/iStock via Getty Images

Millions of tourists flock to Florida each year to ride roller coasters, meet their favorite cartoon characters, and lounge on the beach. The state isn't famous for its winter activities, but that could soon change. As WESH 2 reports, Florida's first-ever snow park is coming to Dade City in 2020.

At Snowcat Ridge, guests will be able to take part in the same snowy fun that's up North. The main attraction of the park will be a 60-foot-tall, 400-foot-long slope packed with snow. A lift will transport visitors to the top of the hill, and from there, they'll use inner tubes to slide back down to ground level. Single, double, and six-person family tubes will be provided to riders.

Guests can also check out the 10,000-square-foot play dome, where they'll use real snow to build snow castles and snow men. The area will even feature a small hill for young visitors who aren't ready for more serious snow-tubing. And because the best part of playing in the snow all day is warming up afterwards, Snowcat Ridge will be home to an Alpine Village, where guests can nibble on snacks and sip cocoa in front of a bonfire.

Dade City is located in Central Florida, an area that hasn't seen snow in nearly 43 years. The arrival of the new park will mark the first time many locals can get a full winter experience close to home.

Snowcat Ridge is expected to open in November 2020.

[h/t WESH 2]

The New York Times's Latest Book on Travel Will Help You Plan the Perfect Weekend Getaway

TASCHEN
TASCHEN

Getting a full sense of a new city while traveling can be tough—especially if you only have a weekend to explore it. But since 2002, The New York Times’s "36 Hours" column has been breaking down destinations all over the world into bite-size pieces, allowing travelers to see the big attractions while still experiencing the city like a local. Now, you can get the best of the column's North American destinations with the fully updated and revised edition of 36 Hours: USA & Canada for $40 at TASCHEN or on Amazon.

Even if you have the original, it’s worth purchasing this updated copy, as this version features 33 new itineraries from Anchorage, Alaska; the Berkshires in Massachusetts; Boulder, Colorado; Miami; Oakland, California; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and many more.

36 Hours: USA & Canda from the New York Times
TASCHEN

The 752-page book also offers more than 5400 hours of travel itineraries, 600 restaurants to dine at, and 450 hotel options. Each city featured includes a brief history, a list of popular destinations, and tips on how to experience it all like a local. For example, the New Orleans guide encourages travelers to start at the French 75 Bar for happy hour and order a Sazerac, a cocktail close to an Old-Fashioned that's a local favorite. Whereas the Miami guide takes you to the Buena Vista Deli, a bistro known for its take on classic French dishes. The travel book also features detailed city maps that pinpoint all the stops, and it's accompanied by nearly 1000 photographs.

Once you've picked your destination, check out some tips on how to craft the perfect itinerary.

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