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Spectacular Destinations to Explore by Water

Article by Virginia Van Zanten

Set sail along the shores of Georgia’s Lake Oconee, enjoy a yacht excursion in Southern California or explore the Mediterranean Sea by boat in Israel.

1. A Journey from the Bosporus to the Princes’ Islands

Many travelers to Istanbul make a cruise along the famed Bosporus a central part of their itinerary, and with good reason: It’s a brilliant vantage point from which to take in some of the city’s most striking sights. But wise travelers should plan to continue their cruise a bit farther southeast to the cluster of nine islands known as the Princes’ Islands. Guests at The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul can charter a private yacht to the archipelago and, over the course of the seven-hour tour, explore the lush wooded islands, hike to the 6th-century Hagia Yorgi Church for panoramic views and take in the many impeccably maintained Ottoman mansions from a horse-drawn carriage (no cars are permitted on the islands).

2. Kayak on Georgia’s Lake Oconee

Bring your waterproof camera and set out on a kayak from the dock at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee where the shoreline stretches 30 miles. Set out for an early morning excursion to make the most of the glass-like stillness of the lake perhaps punctuated by only a bass jumping out of the water, a crane swooping down, or a red-tailed hawk soaring in the sky. As the day wears on, the lake fills with action: wake boarders performing tricks, jet skis zooming by, and boats of all kinds on the move. Be sure to paddle over to the beautiful bridge adjacent to the 18th hole of The Oconee Course for a particularly stunning place to snap a picture.

3. Whale Watching in the Canary Islands  

In addition to the rugged beauty of Tenerife itself — the largest of the Canary Islands — guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Abama also have the unique opportunity to witness the native marine life firsthand. Visitors can board a private catamaran for a three-hour excursion from Puerto Colon to discover one of the largest communities of pilot whales in the world. Around 1,000 short-finned pilot whales visit the water off the island’s southwest coast. The journey is almost as breathtaking as finally laying eyes on the flukes of the whales; along the way, guests will sail past the 800-meter sheer Los Gigantes Cliffs, often while dolphins playfully cruise alongside.

4. A Submarine Tour in Aruba

Dive 130 feet below the Caribbean Sea aboard a submarine to explore the vibrant habitat that exists beneath the waves. Guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba can arrange for an almost two-hour tour on the vessel, which is U.S. Coast Guard-approved and fully air-conditioned. Through the portholes, expect to see wildlife like turtles and colorful schools of fish, coral reefs, and even a shipwreck.

5. Explore the Mediterranean

Board a yacht from the Herzliya Marina adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton, Herzliya for an adventure on the Mediterranean along Israel’s stunning coast. Hit the water for a short excursion of just one hour or spend up to five hours taking in the views of old Jaffa Port, Tel Aviv marina, Apollonia National Park and more. Want to take the wheel? The resort can also arrange sailing classes.

6. A Kayak Adventure Among Grand Cayman’s Mangroves

Known as the “forests of the sea,” mangroves cover large swaths of the Grand Cayman Island and are home to all manner of species, from parrots to barracudas. Guests at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman can take to the water in special glass-bottomed kayaks for a two-hour tour to explore the habitat up close. For an even more heightened experience, guests can embark on a kayak excursion to take in the habitat as the sun sets — and cap that off with a glass of sparkling cider.

7. A Yacht Tour Along the California Coast

Just steps from The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey is a fleet of yachts and sailboats moored at the marina and available for private charter through the hotel. Arrange a full-moon cruise complete with a three-course meal, whale watching to catch a glimpse of the California gray whales that migrate up and down the coast, a tour of the lush Catalina Island, and more.


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  • Istanbul

    Location Istanbul, Turkey

    Experience The historic city that bridges Europe and Asia.

    • Overlooks the stunning Bosphorus
    • Contemporary design with Turkish accents
    • Signature Mediterranean cuisine
  • Reynolds, Lake Oconee

    Location Lake Oconee, Georgia

    Experience Enjoy fishing, waterskiing, jet skiing, paddle boarding & more

    • 75 miles from Atlanta on 30 acres of shoreline
    • Lakeside cottages, championship golf, locally inspired cuisine
    • Recently renovated infinity pool and spa
  • Abama

    Location Tenerife, Spain

    Experience A beachside retreat where sea, land and resort blend seamlessly.

    • Overlooks the brilliantly blue Atlantic
    • 13 restaurants and bars to experience
    • A 72-par, Dave Thomas golf course
  • Aruba

    Location Palm Beach, Aruba

    Experience Crystal blue Caribbean waters and the powdery sand of Palm Beach.

    • Rejuvenating island-inspired spa treatments
    • Roll the dice at a world-class casino
    • Accommodations feature a private balcony
  • Herzliya

    Location Herzliya, Israel

    Experience A luxury hotel experience at the foot of the Mediterranean sea.

    • Guestrooms reveal seaside views
    • Most elegant Kosher restaurant in Herzliya
    • An authentic Turkish Hammam spa
  • Grand Cayman

    Location Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

    Experience The natural beauty and soft sands of Seven Mile Beach.

    • Turquoise waters blend with a cerulean sky
    • Decadent seafood at Blue by Eric Ripert
    • Greg Norman-designed Ritz-Carlton Golf Club
  • Marina del Rey

    Location Marina del Rey, California


    • Newly renovated rooms and suites
    • Locally sourced cuisine and regional wines
    • Luxury Sisley Spa