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Select your travel style--whether it's our signature expeditions, our active outdoors adventures, or our lower-priced journeys. Our newest small-group trips, provided in partnership with G Adventures, blend fun, hands-on exploration with meaningful cultural encounters, as well as more free time and choices. Africa abounds with incredible sights, from soaring sand dunes to savannas teeming with wildlife.
Travel the world with our experts on our flagship expeditions by land, train, private jet, or on board our fleet of small ships. Explore by foot, by camel or kayak, and even by dogsled on an active adventure that combines spectacular places, physical challenge, and cultural interaction. Our newest trips, offered with G Adventures, blend fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters, and more free time and choices.
Best family adventure trips -- national geographic, Take an incredible family adventure trip this summer with 20 recommended vacations from national geographic.. National geographic traveler magazine selects its 2014, Washington (april 10, 2014)—national geographic traveler magazine today announced its annual tours of a lifetime selection, now in its ninth year.. Copyright © 2012 Autos Post, All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners. This list first appeared in the book World's Best Travel Experiences.Surrounded by six glaciers, this icy blue lake in Banff National Park beckons ice-skaters in winter, paddlers in summer, and visitors year-round who stand on the pine-lined shore mesmerized by the Canadian Rockies’ backdrop. Biking slickrock brings great bragging rights among mountain bikers, while marathon runners take in the alpine mountains in the distance and the earthy tones of canyons along the Colorado River.
Autumn colors swirl past in a roar when white-water rafting near Fayetteville on the Upper Gauley or New River in September and October. With neon pink, yellow, and blue fish, green turtles, and dozens of species of coral, Grand Cayman offers up a constantly changing aquatic feast. Every turn in the road, every crest of a hill, every sunrise over a crocodile-infested river yields a new sight.
Hang gliding from atop Pedra Bonita for a soft landing on Sao Conrado Beach brings two landscapes together in a matter of minutes. Sailing through this chain of volcanic islands off the north coast of Sicily can be intoxicating.
Not everyone gets a chance to witness the cycle of life from its unmerciful, violent side to its most breathtaking. Pick an extreme sport and imagine doing it on snowcapped mountains, in extreme weather, or with river spray in your face. Playground of the tsars"Russia needs its paradise,” Prince Grigory Potemkin, Catherine the Great’s general, wrote in 1782 urging the annexation of Crimea, and no wonder.The Crimean Peninsula, with its voluptuously curved Black Sea coast of sparkling cliffs, is paradise—with Riviera-grade vistas but without Riviera prices. France’s new capital of cultureOn a once derelict jetty, opposite the stone ramparts of 17th-century Fort St.
A vibrant historical mosaic in ItalyAt first glance, there hardly seems to be any comparison between Ravenna and Rome: Ravenna is smaller, sleepier, and without Rome’s domed skyline or ruins. The fresh face of Ecuador’s old citySurrounded by bunches of bright sunflowers and chamomile, Rosa Lagla gently performs soul-cleansing limpia treatments in a market just a few blocks from Plaza de San Francisco, hub of Quito’s restored Old Town. A spiritual awakening in MyanmarThe once isolated nation at the culturally rich crossroads of India and China is a land that imbues even the most jaded traveler with a sense of wonder.In Myanmar, government reforms since 2010 and the election of democracy activist (and Nobel Peace Prize recipient) Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament have propelled a profoundly gracious land, formerly known as Burma, onto the world stage. Nova Scotia’s treasured islandDuring the 18th and 19th centuries, fishermen and settlers from France and Scotland came to Cape Breton Island, drawn by its rich fisheries, ample timber, and the chance of a better life. Africa’s new frontierUganda, once the cornerstone of Africa’s Grand Tour, is today bypassed by most visitors. New York’s original art showNot even Rip Van Winkle could sleep through the cultural clarion of today’s Hudson Valley.
The ADVENTURE Road Trip PlannerAn online-only guide to the road with fuel-smart, adventure-packed road trip itineraries. Superchef Alton Brown's Pit StopsThe Food Network's Iron Chef America host Alton Brown took his expertise to the interstate for his new show, Feasting on Asphalt. Built by nomadic Nabataeans two millennia ago, rose-red Petra is a “lost” city well worth finding. The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are two years away, but the games are on—and accessible to all ages and fitness levels—at the Olympic venues in New York’s world-renowned Adirondack resort village. Shifting dunes, eerie shipwrecks, and a diverse array of migratory and seabirds draw ornithologists and adventure seekers to Namibia’s rugged 976-mile South Atlantic coast. Hidden within Mexico’s southernmost state are mist-shrouded jungles, volcanic mountains, thriving indigenous communities, and spectacular Maya ruins. The austral summer season along the Antarctic Peninsula brings intense midnight sun, bearable temperatures (20°F on average), and bountiful wildlife encounters to the world's coldest, windiest, highest, and driest continent. White-sand beaches, a white-hot restaurant and club scene, and nonstop festivals attract sophisticated snowbirds to South Florida’s “Gateway to Latin America” each winter.
Fernie Alpine Resort rises out of the Kootenay Rockies region at the epicenter of British Columbia’s “Powder Highway,” a 530-mile loop with over 50 ski and snowboard operators. The Coachella Valley’s stark desert landscape and 350-plus sunny days inspired “Desert Modernism,” Palm Springs' steel-and-glass-on-the-blocks design aesthetic. The 3.7-mile Preda-Bergun cross-country toboggan course is Switzerland’s first and Europe’s longest floodlit sled run. Spanning two states and 469 miles without a single stop sign or traffic light, the winding Blue Ridge Parkway unspools along ridgetops, into fertile valleys, and past the highest peak east of the Mississippi (Mount Mitchell) as it links Waynesboro, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Mountains to Cherokee, North Carolina, in the Great Smoky Mountains. Measured by chills down the spine, the twists and drops of Romania's Transfagarasan Road pack a more fearsome punch than the Transylvanian Alps' most famous former resident, Vlad III the Impaler, the Walachian prince who inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Classic BMWs and roadsters zoom around 36 curves—which climb nearly 3,000 feet to a dizzying 8,215-foot vantage in just under 30 miles—on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road between the Austrian states of Salzburg and Carinthia. In 1972, after centuries of isolation, the villagers of Guoliang decided to forge their own route to the outside world. Long ago bypassed by an interstate, the skinny two-lane Historic Columbia River Highway, poised on the side of the Columbia River Gorge, has seen little change since it was completed in 1922. Like a Formula 1 circuit without the safety checks, Morocco’s Atlas Mountain Road tests drivers’ mettle. The southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island poses the best kind of driver’s dilemma: Wide-open roads, most famously the Milford Road (aka Highway 94), beg for velocity but also demand constant rubbernecking.
For some 65 miles in the Bolivian highlands, little more than a lane separates drivers from skydivers.
On the 144-mile Icefields Parkway, connecting Banff and Jasper National Parks, the quiet of the Canadian Rockies runs as deep as the region’s many glacier-fed lakes. The Trans-Andean Highway delivers more thrills than a theme park, coiling along 226 miles of mountain passes between the booming Chilean capital of Santiago and Mendoza wine country in the foothills of western Argentina. Redemption in the Rain ForestHow does a nation overcome the gut-wrenching stigma of a genocide, now two decades past, and proclaim to the world that it is a safe and surprising place to visit? A New View From the Top“Wildly and unreasonably happy.” That’s how author Nevil Shute’s heroine felt as she arrived in Darwin in his postwar classic, A Town Like Alice.
Where Old Ways Still RuleGreeks and Goths, Romans and Normans, Byzantines and Venetians: All put their feet, and flags, in the heel of Italy’s boot.
For Whom the Bells TollThe election of the first Jesuit pope has piqued interest in Jesuit history, and there are few better places to explore it than Argentina, homeland of Pope Francis I.
Eyeing the Tigers in RajasthanOn the bumpy road to Ranthambore National Park, warden Balendu Singh says, “It takes some luck to see a tiger.”Not long after, he stops on the verge of a dusty trail inside the 151-square-mile reserve.
Defying Middle East StereotypesOne of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, Arbil will make you forget everything you’ve heard about Iraq. Experience the continent’s many wonders with our experts on trips to Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Rwanda, Morocco, and more. Our Journeys are led by knowledgeable local guides, feature small groups and accessible prices, and bring you closer to people and cultures all around the world.
The Old West is alive and well here, as cowboys still work the land and Native American influence is abundant. By contrast, just down the road a piece, on Summersville Lake, silence is broken only by the sound of an oar dipping into the placid water.
The sandbar known as Stingray City is one of the world’s few places to get intimate with stingrays in their natural habitat.
Whether zip-lining high in the canopy and seeing toucans or the flamboyant scarlet macaw, or taking an aerial tram within inches of rare orchids and bromeliads, there isn’t an inch from the Caribbean Sea on Costa Rica’s east coast to the Pacific Ocean on the west coast that isn’t a natural wonder.
While you are in the air, Sugarloaf Mountain looms within reach, and Corcovado Mountain is in sight, with the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. They offer rugged beauty, while the sandy beaches in Rothesay and the manicured gardens of Mount Stuart offer a completely different experience. Pass by the largest island—Lipari—with its crumbling fortress, watch the sulfuric steam rising from the active craters of Stromboli and Vulcano, stare into the deep waters off the cliffs of Stromboli, or explore black-sand beaches. Commune with majestic water buffalo, catch a glimpse of the menacing gaze of a hyena, and gain a deeper understanding of the roles everyone plays in this cradle of mankind—from termites to vultures. Balmy with 300 days of sun a year (“It is never winter here,” said the writer Anton Chekhov, who had a dacha near Yalta), the place served as the playground of tsars and Politburo fat cats. Jean, a new glass-and-steel building shimmers behind a lacy spider’s-web facade of finely cast concrete. But back in the fifth century, it was Ravenna that served as capital of the Western Roman Empire. The Great Bear Rainforest, the planet’s largest intact coastal temperate rain forest, is an untamed strip of land stretching 250 miles along British Columbia’s coast that harbors extensive tracts of giant hemlock, Sitka spruce, and red cedar. Rubbing handfuls of stinging nettles, sweet herbs, and rose petals into the skin drives out bad energy, she says, working the plants to a pulp. Originally settled by the ancient ancestors of the Micmac people, this island off Nova Scotia now lures visitors with its abundant wildlife, natural beauty, and assembly of French, Micmac, and Celtic cultures.One-fifth of Cape Breton is preserved as a national park, laced by 25 hiking paths and looped by the Cabot Trail, a 186-mile driving route frequently ranked among the world’s most spectacular. The nation and its people have been brutalized by dictators, battered by warlords, and negatively portrayed by viral videos.
The legendary snoozer in Washington Irving’s tale might descend from his Catskill Mountains hollow to find some of the country’s best folk musicians at the Clearwater Festival in Croton-on-Hudson. It remains one of the last urban seafronts in southern Europe not hemmed in by a giant marina. Gas prices and global warming are changing the way we drive, but not our desire to explore.
How to be a Good Co-PilotThe first mistake most people make when they settle into the passenger seat during a road trip is assuming it's nap time. Our editors have chosen ten trips that will have you gearing up for adventure or joining in local festivities—warm- and cold-weather travel that's sure to cure the winter blues. The ancient commercial crossroads chiseled from bedrock cliffs is situated between the Red and Dead Seas, about a hundred miles north of King Hussein International Airport. Host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid offers visitors the opportunity to zip down an icy bobsled run with a professional driver and brakeman, blend cross-country skiing and riflery skills in a “Be a Biathlete” lesson, and speed skate on the same Olympic Oval where legendary U.S. Only specially licensed operators, including National Geographic, can lead cultural exchange excursions from the U.S. November to April is summer here, where the ancient Namib Desert meets the cool Benguela current.
Chiapas is home to the Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque, built by the Maya between A.D. November to March, multi-week group expeditionary cruises to the ice-free coastal zones typically depart from Ushuaia, Argentina—the world’s southernmost city. Greater Miami-Dade County’s population is 65 percent Hispanic or Latino, giving the international arts, fashion, and entertainment hub a distinctive—and culturally rich—Latin vibe.
A new Polar Peak Lift to the summit gives Fernie the biggest vertical in the Rockies at 3,550 vertical feet, the most marked ski runs at 140, and the most alpine bowl skiing at 2,550 acres over five bowls. Located 110 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the all-season arts, culture, and outdoor recreation destination is home to the nation’s largest concentration of sleek, mid-century modern architecture. Overhead, griffon vultures and golden eagles circle the Alpine peaks, where rare ibex and chamois roughhouse and pudgy marmots scurry among resurgent populations of brown bears and wolves."If you have blue sky, it's just out of this world," says Johannes P.
Deep in the Taihang Mountains in northeastern China, they had long relied on a steep mountain trail sometimes referred to as a "heaven ladder." Then 12 local men hand-carved a rough recess through the mountain.
Traveling from one small Oregon town (Corbett) to another (Dodson) a mere 15 miles away, the road's most popular remaining portion takes in six state parks, seven waterfalls, and, on clear days, views of five mountain peaks, including the explosive Mount St. Carved into the spine of northwest Africa, the 117-mile route can take several hours, with two narrow and guardrail-free lanes snaking around too many blind curves to count. From Queenstown, on Lake Wakatipu, a circuitous journey on state highways proves a worthy prelude to the glacier-carved Milford Sound.
North Yungas Road, including a 25-mile pass marked with memorial crosses known as the Death Road, leads from the outskirts of La Paz—the world’s highest capital—to the small town of Coroico. From Argentina to Oz, the final lineup reflects what’s authentic, culturally rich, sustainably minded—and, of course, superlative in the world of travel today. For Rwanda, one strategy is to highlight a tract of unspoiled mountain rain forest rife with chimpanzees and a dozen other primates plus hundreds of species of birds—namely, Nyungwe National Park, in the southwestern corner of the country.Nyungwe, which became a national park in 2005, exemplifies the farsightedness of a government that is channeling aid money toward preserving the best of Rwanda’s natural beauty, while bringing in tourist dollars that benefit surrounding communities. Visit Louisiana’s filigreed, fleur-de-lis city twice or 20 times, and the scent will be as unchanging as the air is unmoving: a humid mix of confederate jasmine and fried shrimp, diesel fuel and desire. There, the region of Puglia stretches a strategic 250 miles along the Adriatic Sea (and 95 miles on the Ionian), making it a key connection between Italy and Europe’s east.Today’s conquerors?
Though the former Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio hails from Buenos Aires, the city of Cordoba, 435 miles to the northwest, contains one of the world’s richest depositories of Jesuit lore and architecture.Once the largest Spanish city in Argentina, Cordoba still rings with the tolling from more than 80 bell towers and churches.
In this ten-island archipelago, strong Atlantic winds carry songs filled with sodade, a bittersweet longing at the core of Cabo Verdean culture. Ensconced in tall grass, a male tiger, T-25, lollygags on his back in the sun, as playful as a house cat. The political capital of Kurdistan in northern Iraq is largely a world apart from the strife to its south.
Witness the annual wildebeest migration on safari in the Serengeti, or explore the sun-washed cities of Morocco through your camera lens. Just about anything goes, from heli-skiing to careening at high speeds near the rocky edge of a river in a jet boat to bungee jumping—in fact, bungee jumping was developed in Queenstown; the first trusting souls threw themselves off the town’s Kawarau Bridge in 1988. Russians practically wept when, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Crimea was pulled out of the orbit of Russian rule and became part of an independent Ukraine.A trace of Soviet hangover endures in the form of unsmiling babushkas and concrete block architecture. Poised between lapis sea and Marseille’s sun-drenched hills, the National Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM) stands at the entrance to the Vieux-Port, the city’s historic heart. In this burgeoning city, Roman rulers built monuments celebrating both Christianity and their own power—monuments famous, then and now, for their sweeping mosaics.Seven of Ravenna’s eight buildings from the fifth and sixth centuries are spectacularly decorated with examples of this ancient art. The mighty trees rise high above a moist and ferny forest floor patrolled by coastal wolves, minks, Canada’s largest grizzly bears, and rare white Kermode spirit bears.This tranquillity has recently been rocked by a proposal to send tar sands crude oil from Alberta to a terminal at Kitimat in the Great Bear Rainforest. Bordering Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zambia, Malawi is an increasingly steady presence within a dynamic continent.
With botanicals brimming from plastic bags, Lagla brings the Andean healing practice to guests of the newly restored Casa Gangotena on the plaza.


Safarigoers line up in next-door Kenya and Tanzania, with only a few coming to Uganda to see the famed mountain gorillas.The land mixes savanna, enormous lakes, rain forests, and the glacier-clad Rwenzori Mountains, one of Africa’s tallest ranges.
Instead, wooden caiques still ply the quiet bay while footpaths trace the meandering waterfront of Greece’s second largest city, some 320 miles north—and a world away—from chaotic Athens.Although the euro crisis has caused ripples of discontentment here, it’s the century-old street markets filled with ripe fruits and barrels of fresh feta that symbolize this city.
Here are great routes and resources to get you started on your own epic—because the real action begins where the asphalt ends. Follow the 3,300-foot-long, serpentine entry path—the Siq—through towering sandstone walls to Al-Khazne (the Treasury). Tours may include stops to view seal pups and penguin chicks on the Falkland Islands and the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, home to 30 million breeding birds, including the fabled wandering albatross.
January 13-15, retro-hip Miami Beach hosts Art Deco Weekend with lectures, guided tours, and a street fair along Ocean Drive amid the world’s largest (800-plus buildings) collection of Art Deco architecture. The resort and adjacent historic mountain town are favorites with Hollywood producers, serving as backdrops for films ranging from Inception to Disney’s Santa Pups, scheduled for release in November 2012. Landmarks include visionary Swiss architect Albert Frey’s Movie Colony Hotel, a favorite hideaway of Hollywood celebs from the 1930s through 1960s.
Moritz and three hours from Zurich), rent a wooden sled at the train station, and hold on tight for the exhilarating plunge down the closed Abula Pass road from Preda (5,900 feet above sea level) to the finish at Bergun (4,484 feet).
Along the two-lane road (speed limit: 25 miles an hour), drivers cross 27 bridges and aqueducts and navigate an unlit, half-mile-long tunnel—as well as around shepherds and their flocks holding up traffic. Hofer, an Austrian native who has lived in New York for decades but returns to Zell am See each year.
The Guoliang Tunnel Road (officially known as the Precipice Long Corridor) is that marvel of human will.
Like a drumroll, the final 75 miles on 94 travel through rain forests, around the perpetually white-capped Ailsa mountains, along the shores of Lake Te Anau, to the mirror-like, tea-colored water of the fjord. A nearby paved bypass completed in recent years provides a safer alternative, but mountain bikers and others who dare to take the old Death Road begin their white-knuckled adventure through the pass of La Cumbre on a barren 15,255-foot ridge.
Here, titans of the Great White North—from bighorn sheep, caribou, and moose to grizzlies and black bears—embody the beasts of childhood fantasies; then, every so often, into the scene waltzes a creature looking straight out of a Dr. As one of the major thoroughfares of the continent’s Southern Cone, the road is as seductive to sightseers as it is crucial to commerce, with semitrailers as well as international buses gunning it up 29 rapid-fire switchbacks that climb to some 11,500 feet on the Chilean side of the Andes.At Christ the Redeemer International Pass—named for a four-ton statue placed there in 1904—a nearly two-mile-long tunnel cuts through the rugged mountains to a border crossing notorious for long lines and multihour delays. An example is the USAID-funded Nyungwe Nziza (Beautiful Nyungwe) project, which recently built a canopy walkway above a forested canyon—a thrilling perspective on the park and its residents.Chimps are the star attraction in Nyungwe, though they’re not as readily watchable as the famed “in the mist” mountain gorillas farther north in Virunga National Park. The handful of cruise lines, maybe, that recently have added Puglia’s capital of Bari, once dismissed as a den of drug dealers and pickpockets, to glamorous itineraries alongside Venice and Corfu. UNESCO named the city’s historic core a World Heritage site based on its sheer density of mostly 17th-century Jesuit structures, including Argentina’s oldest university.
Melancholy marks the morna ballads that speak of islanders who left, many with whaling ships that took an entire generation across the ocean.
Visitors bypass Baghdad, arriving into Arbil’s new airport via flights from Vienna, Amman, and Istanbul. Like many before and after him, the Austro-Hungarian archduke misread the region and underestimated its people.
Visitors can tour the once secret nuclear-blast-proof Soviet submarine base in Balaklava, a piece of Cold War history, now a museum. And when it opens in May 2013, MuCEM will be a bold symbol of Marseille’s reemergence as a flourishing pan-Mediterranean hub.Cities may rise and fall, but the great ones—and Marseille is among them—always rise again.
The project would entail two pipelines crossing some of the world’s largest salmon-producing watersheds and a steady procession of supertankers plying the narrow channels.
Last year, a political transition introduced the world to Joyce Banda, a progressive new president and the second female chief of state in sub-Saharan Africa. The headwaters of the Nile originate here, then burst through a cleft in the rocks at Murchison Falls. Tucked between relics of Byzantine and Ottoman antiquity are art galleries, bohemian nightclubs, and culinary hot spots, all part of a grassroots vision turned reality by Thessaloniki’s large (about 50 percent of the population) do-it-yourself youth culture. The elaborately carved, 13-story tomb served as the final resting place of the Holy Grail in the 1989 movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Parents and kids can experience what it’s like to be an Olympic athlete in the Gold Medal Games Family Edition. From the seaside tourist hub Swakopmund, take a fly-in safari to view sand-encased shipwrecks and whale skeletons along remote Skeleton Coast National Park, or join a guided tour of Sandwich Harbour lagoon, an isolated marine sanctuary sheltered by towering sand dunes. Highlights of the World Heritage site include the rambling Palace—Palenque’s largest complex—and the Temple of the Inscriptions pyramid, housing the crypt of Pakal the Great. February’s highlights include the outdoor Coconut Grove Arts Festival, February 18-20, bringing more than 330 artists and craftsmen to the laid-back beachfront community and the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, February 23-26. Private slope-side lodging (including the same cabin—and hot tub—featured in the cult hit Hot Tub Time Machine) offer convenient ski-in, ski-out access to Fernie’s legendary powder. Here the grand prize is the otherworldly landscape seen from the Tizi-n’Tichka Pass as the road climbs more than 6,000 feet from ancient Marrakech, over the High Atlas Mountains, then back down to the desert oasis of Ouarzazate (the “Hollywood of the Maghreb,” the filming location for Lawrence of Arabia a half century ago). There, 150 or so residents live among a marine reserve for penguins, dolphins, and New Zealand fur seals.
Glimpses across the valley offer vivid reminders of their precarious position up a vertical wall. Or the Italians who come from the north, packing Puglia’s beach-lined Salento peninsula each July and August.But few visit Puglia beyond its most famous seaside towns, fewer still outside of the warm months. On the other hand, many of those grand church buildings were built by African and indigenous slaves, a point of history long obscured by Argentina’s historians. So with the songs of the rainha dos pes descalcos, or “barefoot diva” (Evora graced many a world stage shoeless), Cabo Verde came into the spotlight.It still feels like an uncharted hideaway, where tourism is nascent and blissfully small scale. Booming with oil money, Arbil—known as Hawler to Kurds—has even earned the designation Capital for Arab Tourism for 2014.A citadel, the basic structure of which is at least 6,000 years old, looms at the city’s historic center, surrounded by renovated Ottoman palaces and labyrinthine bazaars selling everything from traditional carpets to kitchen supplies.
The gunshots fired a century ago—on June 28, 1914—in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina took his life and lit the fuse for World War I.The world irrevocably changed that day. On many of our Africa expeditions, we arrange visits to National Geographic–sponsored research sites and talks with scientists in the field. Afterward, retreat to one of the briny health resorts of the west and east coasts for a therapeutic mud bath, or go for a run down to Livadia Palace in Yalta, scene of the 1945 conference that reconfigured postwar Europe.Summer is high season, crowded with Russian and eastern European tourists (North Americans are still rare). Founded by ancient Greeks, France’s second largest city was already 500 years old and a bubbling stew of many cultures when Caesar laid siege in 49 B.C. A mini-archipelago of rain-forest-clad islands, cays, mangroves, and pearlescent beaches off the coast of West Papua, Indonesia, this marine frontier brims with life.
The local First Nations and environmental groups are vehemently opposed, fearing the catastrophic effects of an Exxon Valdez–type spill.
More than a domestic shift, this turning point presents an invitation to explore Africa’s best kept secret.“When you make friends with a Malawian, they watch out for you,” says Moses Mphatso Kaufulu, a blogger from the historic British capital of Zomba. Though its Spanish colonial center has been enshrined as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1978, the area has more recently undergone a renaissance warranting longer stays. Explore empty caves, visit the archeological and Nabataean museums, and hike 800 steps up to the top of Al-Dier (the Monastery).
Easy day trips include sand boarding in the dunes and visiting Walvis Bay lagoon, home to thousands of greater and lesser flamingos.
In Chiapas’ cultural capital, Spanish colonial San Cristobal de las Casas, stroll the narrow cobblestone streets and book a guided tour of neighboring Maya-speaking Tzotzil Indian villages, including San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan, famous for traditional woolen garments woven on rustic back-strap looms.
Emeril Lagasse, Duff Goldman, and Rachael Ray are among the celebrity chefs headlining four days of classes, cooking demonstrations, parties, and tastings.
The resort celebrates 50 years of skiing in 2012, and most winter weekends bring special events like the Kokanee Snowdreams Festival, January 28-29. Tucked away in a remote corner of the country, west of Beijing, the passageway is hard to find. During the silver thaw of winter, its famous waterfalls freeze and icicles as thick as tree branches hang from the highway's graceful arched bridges. But for all the region’s eye-widening allure, it’s hard not to let your inner drag racer out to play. Local tour agent Mirit Poznansky drives the highway regularly, but a recent, rare sighting of the shy Canadian lynx, a wild cat with peculiar pointed tufts on its ears, stopped her in her tracks. And no concept of money,” says Robert Mills, spokesman for the Larrakia people, on his walks around Lameroo Beach.More than 50 Aboriginal tribes still live in the “NT,” and new government partnerships have created a respectful balance in the outback. At Galatoire’s, Uptown lawyers still get “liquor-store-robbing drunk” on five-hour Friday lunches of oysters Rockefeller and Pouilly-Fuisse, while farther down Bourbon Street, exhibitionists hooched-up on Hurricanes play to the balconies.
And—as proud as they are of their region’s ancient vineyards and medieval castles, cone-roofed trulli dwellings and white-sand beaches—many locals seem surprised by tourists’ attention.
A UNESCO-sponsored African heritage route is in the works, with stops in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.One of the locations can be found outside Cordoba, at a well-preserved former ranch town established by the Jesuits called Alta Gracia—which also happens to be where another of Argentina’s most famous sons, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, lived in his younger days.
As the first male tiger known to raise cubs orphaned by their mother, T-25 is making history.Indeed, things have changed since this temple-laden, lake-mottled, brushy expanse of land in central India served as the royal hunting ground for the maharajas of Jaipur. Though the city was marred by deadly violence in 2013, many consider it a singular occurrence, with construction continuing on high-rises, including a Marriott hotel, that overlook traffic-clogged boulevards.
But Sarajevo, which has endured three devastating wars and rebuilt under six national flags in the century since, still retains much of its character.
In autumn the air turns soft and it’s harvest time at vineyards like Massandra, built in the 19th century to supply wines for Nicholas II, the last Russian tsar. A 20th-century wave of immigrants from Algeria and some other former French colonies led to Marseille’s modern reputation as a city far removed ethnically and psychologically from the rest of France. Expect close encounters with recent discoveries such as Raja Ampat’s walking shark and pygmy seahorse, along with more familiar creatures—manta rays, leatherback turtles, and bumphead parrotfish.
In the past decade, city officials have invested nearly $500 million to make improvements to its historic quarter. At sunset, find a perch and gaze over the panorama of castle-like structures shimmering in the golden light.
In 1745 this garrison withstood a 48-day siege by New Englanders, backed by British naval support, before surrendering. Hippos graze along the shores of Lake Edward in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, while lions lounge in the trees of Ishasha, in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Bless it!”Just a couple hours north of New York City, this is a land of mom-and-pop shops, “u-pick” wildflower fields, and organic farm stands where “chain” is a four-letter word.
From Petra, head south to Wadi Rum (“Valley of the Moon”), the desert valley setting for Lawrence of Arabia, where local Bedouin guides lead rock-climbing treks, canyon hikes, jeep tours, and horseback and camel rides. People-to-people trips don’t require family ties, but do entail a daily slate of educational activities (no lounging poolside at luxury villas) such as touring the baroque Catedral de San Cristobal de La Habana and exploring the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Old Havana and Trinidad and the Valley de los Ingenios with local preservationists.
Changing wind, weather, and water conditions dictate daily itineraries; so stay flexible, and dress in layers (protected by a waterproof, windproof outer shell) to adapt quickly for any adventure. March 2-11, 70,000 attendees are expected at the Miami International Film Festival showcasing new international and Ibero-American films, filmmakers, producers, and talent at venues throughout the city.
The raucous, nonstop deck party features live DJs in the Plaza Glacier Beer Gardens and the Fernie Famous Hula Hoop contest. Wear a ski helmet and goggles for safety, and watch for riders pitched off their sleds on hairpin turns. Spring and early summer pop with blooming endemic wildflowers—including the fuchsia-and-yellow poet's shooting star and white-petaled Columbia Gorge daisy, and the Oregon ash and cottonwood trees grow dense with green. Exceeding the speed limit (62 miles an hour) is tempting, says Melissa Antonelli, a Seattleite who lived in New Zealand and learned so firsthand. Visitors can gaze at Rainbow Serpent rock art from one of the longest existing societies on Earth, while the artists can live on the land in peace. The Garden District remains quieter than sleep—the whitewashed tombs of its cemetery still shelter the dead and fascinate the living.
In the Ankawa neighborhood, one of the Middle East’s largest Christian enclaves, an imposing ziggurat-style church pays homage to the region’s Babylonian past. Thick coffee cooked in copper pots perfumes the air in Basc?arsija, the Ottoman-era bazaar. Despite recent headlines about drug-related crime, Marseille still stands tall as a world-class city.These days Marseille has every right to act the cagou (slang for a show-off) as it and the surrounding Provence region assume the role of 2013 European Capital of Culture. Not to mention three-quarters of all known coral species.The scenery proves just as spectacular above the surface.
At Quito’s heart, cobblestoned streets and pastel-colored mansions hem the revitalized San Francisco Church. In 2013, the reconstructed fortification celebrates the 300th anniversary of the founding of the French colony of Ile Royale (present-day Cape Breton). The star in Bwindi is the mountain gorilla, a species down to about 720 animals visible in their tiny habitat.Uganda has tough decisions ahead.
Between the Culinary Institute of America grads too enchanted to leave Hyde Park and the influx of NYC chefs realizing the land is greener (and apartments bigger) here, area eateries such as Blue Hill at Stone Barns are stoking locavore passions.Artists of all media find their muses here. Highlights include the Red Sand Dunes and the spectacular Seven Pillars of Wisdom rock formation, the latter named for T.E.
From February 18 to 26, watch the fastest athletes on ice compete in the 2012 Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships. Tours often are tailored to fit specific educational interest areas, such as Afro-Cuban culture and cuisine, photography and film, or music and dance. Namibia’s newest—and largely inaccessible—national park, Sperrgebiet (“forbidden territory”) encompasses 5.4 million acres of the southern Diamond Coast including the famous De Beers diamond-mining lease. Several organic coffee farms along the La Ruta del Cafe, a geotourism project in southwestern Chiapas, offer tours, hands-on activities, and lodging. Save travel time by booking flights directly into the Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook, an hour’s drive from the resort. Snowmaking equipment helps ensure a full season of sledding, but check weather conditions and operating hours before making the train trek to Preda.
It was “just me and the mountains and a beautiful running river,” says Antonelli of the largely unpopulated rural Fiordland region. At roughly the halfway point, a massive expanse of interconnected glaciers called the Columbia Icefield sits on a triple divide.
On the Argentine side, “it’s desert, with beautiful rock formations in all different colors.
Almost 300 species abide here, including showboats like the oversize, clown-headed Ruwenzori turaco.“Nyungwe stands out among Africa’s intact montane rain forests for its size and diversity,” says conservationist Bill Weber, who with his wife, Amy, pioneered the gorilla tourism project in Virunga. Private and public bus and train routes connect most cities, and taxis are readily available. Visitors admire pieces by contemporary mosaicists including Chagall, Mathieu, and Vedova at the MAR (Museo d’Arte Ravenna) or poke into cluttered bottegas (workshops) where modern artists use the same methods as their Byzantine forebears.
Many restorers of the landmark learned to apply gold leaf, inlay wood, and chisel statuary in a nearby workshop with a mission to teach skills to impoverished teenagers with an aptitude for art. Take a drive to the newly expanded Hudson River School Art Trail to see 17 sites in New York that inspired America’s great mid-19th-century landscape paintings.


Limited, permit-only guided tours are available to specific park sites like the dramatic, 180-foot-tall rock arch at Bogenfels.
Join the harvest at family-run Argovia Finca Resort, located under the jungle canopy near the Guatemalan border. Combination rail-and-sled daily passes cover unlimited train trips back to the starting point in Preda, so scope out the course—and panoramic views of the surrounding glaciated Alpine peaks—with an initial daytime run.
Abundant with monkeys, leopards, wild boars, foxes, macaques, crocodiles, and birds, Ranthambore’s exotic landscape—punctuated by a crumbling, ancient fort—evokes scenes from a Rudyard Kipling tale.
Outside the city, the landscape unfolds with mountains rich with waterfalls, lake resorts, and snowy winter ski trails.
Secessionist buildings, erected during the archduke’s empire, sit alongside minarets punctuating the skyline.
Young, multiethnic crowds gather for cutting-edge happenings at La Friche la Belle de Mai, a tobacco factory turned art and performance center. At the Parco della Pace, locals relax beside mosaic sculptures; even the city’s street signs glitter with glass fragments. End the day sleeping under the stars at one of the area’s Bedouin-style desert tourist camps. The scent of ragu floats through open doorways, blocked from the street only by hanging blankets.
Australian Shannon Skerritt, founder of travel company Kurdistan Adventures, says he tells his Western clients, “Kurdistan is really the other Iraq. And obelisk Muslim headstones lean this way and that on patches of grass scattered between the oldest mahalas (neighborhoods).Called “the world’s most dangerous city” during the war of the 1990s, Sarajevo is now among Europe’s safest capitals. Major renovations have polished up many of the city’s 20-plus museums, including the Musee Cantini, whose trove of Picassos and Miros is housed in an elegant 1694 town house.
Dusty roads connect towns, and mountains give way to plains of green maize punctuated by baobab trees. Emphasizing storytelling, Casa del Alabado arranges its pre-Columbian art and artifacts thematically to dramatize the mystery of the ancients.
But tourism dollars could provide an easier coexistence between banana-loving gorillas and banana farmers in Bwindi.
If staying in the city, take a taxi to your hotel, then walk or use public buses (purchase tokens in advance at kiosks) to visit old city historic sites centered on Plaza San Martin. The remote cluster of rustic, stone cottages is separated from the ocean by expansive, wild dunes. Visitors—no longer just postwar gawkers—stroll busy avenues to historic sites wedged between Muslim, Jewish, and Christian places of worship.
For all the new energy, Marseille’s old pleasures remain as alluring as ever: a stroll along the narrow lanes of the Panier Quarter, the lusty aromas of a good bouillabaisse, a boat ride into the fjordlike inlets called calanques. Visitors can gawk at new pieces, listen to musicians, and learn to make their own masterpieces. But the nation’s heart is a watery realm where waves lap the sand, leaving streaks of silt.
Or visit museums such as the outdoor Storm King Art Center sculpture park to see the work of contemporary visionaries.Some villages marry art and music famously. March to May is rainy, yet ideal for viewing aquatic birds (such as pelicans, egrets, and herons) and water lilies and other perennial water plants. Last year’s Mardi Gras beads will be there, too, dangling from the live oaks.The music remains unrivaled. Meals are included, as is use of the beach hammocks, where you can relax and watch sea turtles swim by. Cruise the region aboard an upscale conversion of a traditional phinisi schooner or stay at a hideaway such as Misool Eco Resort, with its swanky overwater bungalows. In the wonderfully weird and artsy Woodstock, indie performers and music icons rub elbows and grab crusty loaves at Bread Alone Bakery. The 420-acre Relais & Chateaux ranch has nine individually styled guest rooms (hand-painted wall designs, wood-burning fireplaces), and offers polo lessons and gaucho-led horseback rides through the countryside. Where to Eat or Drink: Surfing hub Santa Maria has the largest concentration of restaurants.
Independent travel within Iraqi Kurdistan is safe, but first-time visitors may appreciate the convenience and local expertise of a small-group tour operator like Kurdistan Adventures or Wild Frontiers Travel.
Tourists and locals alike, led by in-the-know guides, are rediscovering pristine hiking trails in the surrounding Dinaric Alps.Sarajevo’s reemergence is perhaps best symbolized by the National Library’s long-awaited reconstruction.
Budding musicians bring their bongos to the weekly hippie drum circle on the Village Green.Much like Rip, Hudson Valley wanderers often wake up to find this is where they long to rest their vagabond souls. How to Get Around: Fly into Alice Springs or Darwin, rent a car, and follow a designated self-drive tour. Where to Eat or Drink: Bring your appetite and cash (no credit cards accepted) to El Faro de Garrido, a traditional Argentine parrilla (steak house) where barbecue beef and kid goat are served sizzling off the grill. Menu options range from plates of chicken curry and rice at the Tam Tam Bar (owned by an Irish couple) to upscale seafood and tapas dishes (seafood paella, tartar salmon, ceviche) at Geko Gourmet, opened in 2013.
Destroyed, along with some two million books, in 1992, the pseudo-Moorish landmark is scheduled to reopen as Sarajevo’s Town Hall (its original purpose in 1896) in time for the commemoration of Franz Ferdinand’s assassination. The fictionalized chronicle of the rise and fall of brutal dictator Idi Amin was the first feature film completely shot on location in Uganda.
The Northern Territory encompasses 548,265 square miles (more than Texas, California, and Colorado combined), and 95 percent of the roads are paved. At traditional Cabo Verde restaurants like the bare-bones Blue Marlin on Boa Vista, try catchupa, a popular slow-simmered stew of corn, beans, and vegetables.
For more character (the entrance is guarded by white lion statues with tongues that light up red at night) and convenience—only a 10-15 minute walk to the bazaar and citadel—choose the independently owned Chwar Chra Hotel. Step out onto your private balcony or sit on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace for mist-shrouded views of the national park and Lake Kivu. Download helpful travel apps, including maps, GPS-triggered audio guides, and podcasts before you set out. The somewhat medicinal Fernet-Branca and Coca-Cola blend is an acquired taste, purported by many to be a remedy for hangovers.
What to Buy: Shop for local art and crafts, including woodcarvings, colorful batiks, and jewelry, in Santa Maria at Surf ‘N Soul. From New York City, drive north on either side of the Hudson River via I-87 (tolls) or U.S.
Where to Eat or Drink: Kitabi Cultural Village, located at the Kitabi entrance to the national park, offers guided tours (with samples) where guests can learn about banana beer brewing, traditional milk preservation, millet grinding, and picking and processing tea leaves.
Where to Stay: Exclusive Bamurru Plains offers safari-style accommodations (nine elevated, screened-in suites with private baths) in a remote bush setting (you can hear the buffalo splashing in the floodplains). The Crescent City has always depended on the kindness of strangers, but now they’re staying. What to Buy: On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, local artists set up stalls in Paseo de Las Artes to sell ceramics, jewelry, paintings, and other original pieces at the city’s most renowned arts and crafts market. Boa Vista artisans craft necklaces and bracelets incorporating found objects from the island, including bones, shells, and beads. How to Get Around: Culturally entrenched outfitters, like luxury Micato Safaris, can organize custom itineraries that include a stop in Ranthambore. What to Buy: Shop for original indigenous crafts, such as baskets, place mats, bracelets, and wood carvings, at the Kitabi Women’s Handicraft Cooperative.
The camp is located on a coastal buffalo station (a 25-minute flight from Darwin) and named for the local magpie geese, tens of thousands of which serenade guests each morning. Some 20,000 in the past four years have settled along the Mississippi, revitalizing whole faubourgs, or neighborhoods.
Celebrate Carnival season in Putignano, which hosts one of Europe’s oldest and longest pre-Lenten festivals (dating back to 1394 and beginning each year on December 26). Other traditional Cabo Verde crafts to look for are pottery, tapestries, and woven baskets.
Many hotels in Jaipur (where the closest airport to the park is located) can also arrange day trips to the park for guests.
Crafts are handmade using locally sourced materials, and purchases support the cooperative’s efforts to create a path out of poverty for local women. The number of daily park visitors is limited, so make safari reservations when booking accommodations.
Where to Eat or Drink: The Northern Territory is known for its fresh seafood—mud crabs, saltwater barramundi, and banana prawns—and Pee Wee’s at the Point in Darwin serves some of the best. Audubon and City Parks are replanted, and the theater marquees for the Joy and the Saenger shine again on Canal Street. Once in Puglia, travel the region aboard the national and semiprivate trains that run along the coast and into the interior. Pee Wee’s is a bit out of the way in East Point Reserve, but the secluded waterfront setting adds to the allure. Where to Stay: With its ancient tower and fortified whitewashed walls, upscale Masseria Torre Coccaro appears to be more fortress than farmhouse. What to Read or Watch Before You Go: Labyrinths (New Directions, 2007) is a representative selection of classics by Argentine short story writer, poet, and essayist Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986).
What to Listen to Before You Go: Miss Perfumado is the 1992 album that transformed Cesaria Evora into an international world-music star.
Equally posh are the Deluxe Allure Suites (each with private, stone-walled courtyard and outdoor fireplace) at Sawai Madhopur Lodge in Ranthambore.
Sit on the covered deck and wash down some wild-caught, coconut-crusted crocodile tail with a glass of NT Draught, the pale liquid gold that fills the Northern Territory’s iconic “Darwin Stubby” 2.25-liter bottles. Set among olive groves and almond trees, the seaside boutique hotel has 39 luxurious rooms and suites appointed with antiques. What to Buy: Sales at not-for-profit Aboriginal Bush Traders in Darwin support community initiatives in indigenous communities throughout the Northern Territory. Breakfast is included, and there’s an onsite cooking school and a shuttle to the nearby beach club (and the hotel’s private yacht). What to Read or Watch Before You Go: The 1988 movie Gorillas in the Mist, the biopic of slain primatologist Dian Fossey, was filmed on location in Rwanda and promoted global awareness of the endangered Rwandan gorillas.
Tower suites have the best Adriatic Sea views, and the Orange Grove Suite (a whitewashed hideaway built inside an ancient cave) with outdoor private terrace and pool is the most secluded.
Owner Sandra Borello recommends the 14-room Azur Real Boutique Hotel in a renovated turn-of-the-last-century structure in the heart of the colonial district, a few streets from the Jesuit Block. If possible, wait to purchase handcrafted souvenirs like salwar kameez (traditional pajama-like pants and tunic top), quilts, and turquoise and silver jewelry, at Govind Rajasthali Cottage Industries in Jaipur, where the no-pressure sales environment is as refreshing as the complimentary chai.
Where to Eat or Drink: Pizzeria Enzo e Ciro is a no-frills Bari favorite for its thin-crust pies baked in a traditional wood-fired oven.
Cultural Tip: Touring can be stressful if you’re not used to haggling, persistent vendors, and being dogged by enterprising “guides” who offer (for a fee) to negotiate the best deals and lead you through tourist sites. Their name is derived from the Greek word for “mutilated” since the monkeys typically have no thumbs. What’s new will just join the party, Sazerac in hand.“Goodness, sugar,” says Marda Burton, doyenne of the French Quarter.
Eat in (if tables aren’t available, there’s a stand-up counter at the back of the restaurant) or take out a whole classic pizza topped with buffalo mozzarella, tomato, and basil. When shopping, predetermine how much you're willing to spend on any item, and be willing to walk away. Northern Australia is home to approximately 150,000 saltwater crocodiles and at least 100,000 freshwater crocodiles. Insider Tip From Robert Earle Howells: At Nyungwe Forest Lodge listen closely and you can hear a distant waterfall. The Mary River has the highest concentration, with nearly 15 saltwater crocs per half mile.
Forster’s 1924 classic, A Passage to India (Mariner Books, 1965), both evoke a powerful sense of place, yet are vastly different takes on India. Forster’s Room With a View and Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s Leopard are timeless introductions to Italian life and culture.
Inside the fortress are three 12th- and 13th-century Hindu temples built with pale-red stone from Karauli in eastern Rajasthan. The fairytale landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage site, includes several trulli restored as vacation rentals. Insider Tip From Amanda Ruggeri: For the best of authentic Puglia, stay at a masseria, a working farmhouse that’s traditionally been fortified against attacks by pirates or Turks (a serious local issue until the 19th century!).
Charles Avenue, Canal Street, Carrollton Avenue, the riverfront, and Loyola Street (connecting the city’s bus and train terminal with the Canal Street line). Where to Stay: Escape French Quarter crowds, noise, and prices at Jazz Quarters in the adjacent Treme neighborhood. The collection of historic Creole cottages, suites, and guest rooms is clustered around a leafy courtyard and was extensively renovated by the new owners in 2011. Rates include daily breakfast (Saturday’s sweet potato bread pudding souffle is reason enough to stay a Friday night) and gated, onsite parking.
Continuously operated since 1840 by the family of founder Antoine Alciatore, the French Quarter landmark serves French-Creole classics, including oysters Rockefeller and pommes de terre souffles, both invented in the kitchen. There are 14 dining rooms (many decorated with memorabilia from the dignitaries and celebrities who have dined here); however, reservations are strongly recommended.
What to Buy: All things Haitian voodoo, including tarot readings by priestess Sallie Ann Glassman (appointments required), are available at Island of Salvation Botanica.
Claude, the shop stocks herbs and spiritual supplies ranging from spirit-calling sticks (made with sticks collected from the levee) to Mexican papier–mache skeleton masks. Cultural Tip: Learn about the ongoing post-Katrina rebuilding efforts in the “Lower Nine” with Ninth Ward Rebirth Bike Tours. The four-hour tour helps support revitalization efforts by connecting visitors with residents, restaurants, and businesses typically left off tourist itineraries.
The term is thought to have originated in the early 19th century on Canal Street, where the green space in the middle was considered neutral ground between the Creole and American neighborhoods. Insider Tip From Andrew Nelson: The Mississippi River is often hidden behind dock walls and levees, but not at a public park called the Fly.
At this park, located behind the Audubon Zoo in Uptown, you can sit and enjoy the play of sky and water.Learn photography from the best in the field on a National Geographic Weekend Photo Workshop in New Orleans.



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