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]

You Can Rent This Wizard of Oz-Themed Cottage in North Carolina

Airbnb
Airbnb

This year marks the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, the classic 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book. In addition to watching the film, you can opt for a more immersive way to celebrate the occasion. As Travel + Leisure reports, a cottage in West Jefferson, North Carolina offered on Airbnb is perfect for any traveling Oz fan—and it’s only $35 a night.

The studio cottage is considered a glamping destination and is slim on amenities—it has a breakfast nook, porch, sofa bed, and a Porta John—but the Oz-themed details more than make up for the lack of luxurious perks.

A pair of stockinged feet are visible under the home, hinting at a witch’s untimely demise; a character mural of Dorothy and her three escorts, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, appears on the side of the cabin; inside, various other decorations pay homage to Baum's books, including a pair of ruby slippers and a few stuffed Totos.

A cottage with a 'Wizard of Oz' theme in West Jefferson, North Carolina is pictured
Airbnb

If you go, you’ll have to act quickly. The cottage is open only in the spring, summer, and fall, as it has no heat.

The Airbnb listing has a perfect score across 16 reviews. You can book it here.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Visit Any National Park for Free on September 28—or Volunteer to Help Maintain Them

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Nick Hanauer/iStock via Getty Images

By the end of September—which always seems especially busy, even if you’re not a student anymore—you might be ready for a small break from the hustle and bustle. On Saturday, September 28, you can bask in the tranquility of any national park for free, as part of National Public Lands Day.

According to the National Park Service, the holiday has been held on the fourth Saturday of every September since 1994, and it’s also the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. It’s up to you whether you’d like to partake in the service side or simply go for a stroll, but there is an added incentive to volunteer: You’ll get a one-day park pass that you can use for free park entry on a different day. Opportunities for volunteering include trail restoration, invasive plant removal, park cleanups, and more; you can see the details and filter by park, state, and/or type of event here.

If you’re not sure how you should celebrate National Public Lands Day, the National Park Service has created a handy flowchart to help you choose the best course of action for you—which might be as simple as sharing your favorite outdoor activity on social media with the hashtag #NPLD.

National public lands day celebration flowchart
National Park Service

There are more than 400 areas run by the National Park Service across the U.S., and many of them aren’t parks in the traditional sense of the word; the Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz Island, and countless other monuments and historical sites are also run by the NPS. Wondering if there might be one closer than you thought? Explore parks in your area on this interactive map.

For those of you who can’t take advantage of the free admission on September 28, the National Park Service will also waive all entrance fees for Veteran’s Day on November 11.

And, if you’re wishing a free-admission day existed for museums, you’re in luck—more than 1500 museums will be free to visit on Museum Day, which happens to be this Saturday.

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