Everyone always asks, “Where is your favorite place to travel?” Choosing one favorite is an impossibility but narrowing it down to 10 is, well, at least a little easier. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
The four words you need to know about Menorca? Go. There. Right. Now. (Here are a few pictures to convince you as to why.)
The country that suffered an unspeakable genocide in the early 1990s is now a leading example in not only Africa but the world as to how countries can and successfully do rebuild themselves. While many cities in the US and Europe cannot get it together to do something as simple as ban the plastic bag, Rwanda was the first country in the world to do so. Couple this type of ingenuity with amazing people, gorgeous landscapes and Rwanda being one of the few remaining homes of the Mountain Gorillas and really if you do not love it there, I don’t think you will love it anywhere.
3. Costa Brava, Catalonia
Costa Brava is the Mediterranean coastal area that starts a bit north of Barcelona and ends at the border of France. Many unknowing visitors to Costa Brava stick to the bigger (and still beautiful) beaches of the area, but the secret is in getting to Costa Brava’s tiny beaches or ‘calas’. These calas often require a little easy hiking to arrive at them, but when you do you find a small beach, in a tiny cove waiting for you, your snorkel and the very few others who ventured off the beaten path.
Getting to the calas requires renting a car. Car rental prices are reasonable but be wary of the gas prices (around 7 US dollars a gallon). Hefty gas prices are one of the reasons so many Catalans drive small environmentally friendly cars such as the Smart Car Brabus and why you should definitely try to rent a car-ito while there.
4. The Galapagos, Ecuador
Imagine snorkeling with penguins and scuba diving with hundreds of hammerheads, schooling turtles (yes, who knew there was such a thing), eagle rays, manta rays and oh hell, was that a killer whale that just breached? Yes it was. While you are at it imagine sea lions nipping at your head, dolphins giving you an underwater stare down and iguanas that swim. All of this is only experienced by those brave enough to put on a full head to toe wet suit and enter the not-even-close-to-warm waters and their very strong currents, but for those who are willing there is an underwater paradise that shows all of what nature can be when protected and reveered. Whale shark sightings very possible June thru November!
5. Sipadan, Malaysia
You know that footage you see in Natural Geographic specials of underwater worlds where you think no one short of a film crew with a Hollywood mega-budget could ever witness? That is Sipadan.
6. Yellowstone National Park, United States
Yellowstone National Park is to dry land what the Galapagos and Sipadan are to the underwater world. On a recent trip to see the wolves we were stopped countless times on our way by herds of buffalo, elk and antelope. It is not uncommon to see bears (grizzly and brown), coyotes or eagles. And of course, this is just the wildlife. Yellowstone is also the world’s largest collection of geysers. Try to go in the spring or fall to avoid the tourist hysteria.
7. Masai Mara, Kenya
Just as people go to Yellowstone National Park to see the wildlife and are stunned by the land the same happens when people visit the Masai Mara in Kenya. My opinion? Go to the Masia Mara to see the land and consider it a bonus when the lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes and baboons interupt your view of it.
8. Telluride, Colorado, United States
The Western town you thought no longer existed complete with old saloon-like architecture, a feeling that the place lives by national laws at its discretion and an outdoor lovers happy place as it is surrounded by the giant walls of the Rocky Mountains (complete with a waterfall cascading down right at the end of town). People think of Telluride for skiing, but if you want a real slice of Telluride go for the 4th of July Parade.
9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
A major European city with all of the fixings – stunning architecture, wonderful and diverse people, culture, music and art — all of which happens at the speed of 30 year old rusty bicycles.
10. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan, United States
Located in the upper pennisula of Michigan an 11 hour drive from Detroit, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is perhaps even more appealing than other National Parks and areas as is its remoteness is a practical guarantee in maintaining its natural wonderland. Imagine walking through pristine forest to arrive at sandstone cliffs that plummet into Caribbean blue freshwater AND not a soul around. It is far north and the temperature of the water is quite far north-ish, however many of these sandstone cliffs have ledges that jut out about 12 to 24 inches below the water. With the sun heating the underwater rock ledges and those ledges then heating the nearby water your only sign that you are not in the Caribbean is there are no cruise ships and there zillions of passengers around.
What is on your list of best places to travel? Give me some tips for future travel plans in the comments section below!