The Places We Call Home
While they might seem random at first, our destinations each have their reasons for making the list, but they all share one common trait: they are the places we call home.
Here’s some insight on why we chose these locations to launch Naya Traveler.
In addition to being an incredibly attractive destination that feeds every type of traveler’s wanderlust, Argentina is Naya Traveler’s home base for Co-Founder Sofia. This warm and very much alive country just had to make the cut with its massive Patagonian steppes and glaciers, jagged Andean peaks, rough gaucho culture and seductive lifestyle. Its unique personality in South America leaves one awestruck. As a Naya destination, it offers endless opportunities for cultural immersion and authentic experiences. The key to having a real Argentine journey lies in taking part in the local lifestyle. Sofia's favorite experience in her home country is horseback riding through the Andes, a 10-day adventure that took her past glacier-fed lakes and snowcapped peaks!
In case you missed it on our About page, one of our founders, Marta, is a documentary photographer who has traveled to some of the world's most complex and beautiful corners in pursuit of stories. During her time in Asia, she went on assignment to Myanmar for several weeks to cover the diverse human landscape of this enigmatic country. On her journey across the country, she was drawn to its colorful heritage and cultural complexity, which are uniquely well-preserved thanks to decades of isolation from the modern world. 'It's almost like traveling back in time,' Marta recalls, 'there are few places left in the world that allow you to do that, and this is why I hold a special affection for this country'. Myanmar boasts a cultural purity that we at Naya Traveler strive to offer in all our journeys. As you explore Myanmar’s contrasting landscapes, discover the beauty of human diversity, spiritual syncretism and ancient traditions that make this country a unique and thrilling place to discover.
Cambodia was an obvious destination to make the list not only for its cultural and historical richness, but also for the fact that Marta spent almost a year living in Phnom Penh while working for several human rights organisations. 'The beauty of Cambodia lies hidden within instances of daily life that take place beyond the main sights, filled with fleeting moments where the past and present coexist in perfect harmony,' Marta describes as the thing that made her keep postponing her departure date. In addition, there are a few tourist attractions in the world that are worth the crowds, and the ancient temples of Angkor are one of them (although we have our ways to avoid them!). Beyond this architectural gem, we have a personal connection with Cambodia that becomes apparent through the special people you meet. This includes a meeting with Chum Mey, one of the last living survivors of Tuol Sleng Prison to discover the history and legacy of the Khmer Rouge.
When we decided to start Naya Traveler, Kashmir was always at the back of our minds as a perfect Naya destination. Our curiosity was drawn to its rich colors, intricate patterns, lush valleys and beautiful heritage. When our Co-Founder, Marta went on a three-month long journey across Kashmir, we got our confirmation: it had to be on the list. The Kashmir & Ladakh journey has an unparalleled amount of insider contacts and personal experiences, thanks to our in-depth research and friends on the ground who make the discovery richer and more profound. Some of Kashmir's most interesting things to see are hidden behind impenetrable walls and closed doors. Kashmir is best discovered with the guidance of a local who can open those doors and take you into the intimate moments of tradition, spirituality and culture. One of Marta's most cherished moments were spend with one of the last master embroiderers of pashmina at his home, sharing a glass of Khawa as he told the stories that he wove into his shawls.
Our Co-Founder, Sarah, grew up in Morocco for 20 years, and although she left years ago, she continues to call it home. This North African country has so much to offer (both in cultural and natural richness) and although it has been in the travel spotlight for decades now, it never ceases to get old. Moroccan customs and its traditional lifestyle remain alive to this day in an organic way, and its people continue to thrive proudly in their heritage. With the privileged local access and personal contacts Naya has on the ground, we are able to provide immersive cultural experiences that allow one to truly connect and learn from this fascinating destination. The moments that Sarah cherishes the most in Morocco are those spent in the homes of local Berber families over a pot of sweet tea, talking about life and sharing stories. Moroccans are a warm and welcoming people who open their doors wholeheartedly to visitors to boast their wealthy culture.
As the crown jewel of the Arabian Peninsula, this little known piece of heaven took our breath away. We ventured out by land across its desert plateaus and jagged mountains to discover a well-preserved cultural scene with a unique natural setting to complement it. Oman’s people choose to dress in traditional clothes and are extremely kind and confident of their cultural identity as Omanis. We were thrilled to learn about desert life from Bedouins themselves, and to swim in the turquoise waters of the coast and wadis. Oman is a wonderful travel destination that fits all interests. What stood out the most to us during this trip was the genuine kindness of Omanis - they were so happy to help and talk to us, always smiling and welcoming! Oman is for every type of traveler: the history buff, the culture seeker, the adrenaline addict and the nature lover.
Our founders explored Peru inside out on several journeys and it naturally made the cut. Needless to say, Peru has one of South America’s most intriguing cultures with archeological and historical wonders, unique cultural identity, vivid Qechua and world-class cuisine. Throughout our travels, we each explored the lesser-known Peru that truly exemplified it and stayed true to its traditions. We spent time on farmlands where locals grew hundreds of different kinds of potatoes, we practiced weaving with the women of Chinchero, and we hiked the Inca Trail through remote valleys and snowcapped peaks. These discoveries, paired with our extensive pool of personal contacts, make our Peru journey one of the best in the industry.
We wanted to take our travelers beyond the Rajasthan route and the Taj Mahal, to showcase India’s core: the South. Sarah lived and studied in a small town in Tamil Nadu for several months, and there she developed a sense of wonder and admiration for South Indian culture. She lived with a traditional Hindu family for 6 months, learning Tamil and adapting to their daily activities. She misses the spicy breakfasts and the morning mantras chanted by the mother at sunrise. This region of India has yet to be exploited by mass tourism and thus retains an otherworldly sense of tradition and beauty that will blow you away at every corner. This is a journey for the true traveler, the true seeker of knowledge. It is filled with visits to ancient temples that remain at the center of people’s daily lives, one-on-one family experiences, trekking through contrasting landscapes from Tamil Nadu to Kerala, and much more.