- Hike the Inka Trail: It’s more of a workout than you’d expect, but wow. The views are stunning, the history is amazing…it’s the most rewarding hike I’ve ever been on.
- Adventure through Alaska: Climb a glacier, explore an ice cave, go on a few hikes. Alaska is wild and beautiful…not to be missed.
- Marvel at Igauzu Falls: I’ve been to many waterfalls around the world (Niagara, Victoria), but none of them compare to Iguazu. Surprisingly, it’s not very touristy and still feels extremely authentic. The towns near the falls are very backpackerish and laid back. And you can spend hours upon hours walking around the falls – every view is different.
- Go on a safari in Africa: Self-explanatory. Search for the Big Five – lion, elephant, water buffalo, leopard, and rhino (but please don’t kill them!)
- Party at Yacht Week Croatia: Disclaimer – I’m not much of (read: not at all) a partier, but Yacht Week Croatia is SO. MUCH. FUN. Everyone is fun and down to earth. It’s a great way to meet friends from around the world. Added benefit – it’s not all partying, and Croatia is gorgeous. Also, cliff jumping is a great hangover cure.
- Take a roadtrip through the Southwestern U.S.: Go see the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Bryce Canyon, Zion, if you’re lucky enough to get a permit – the Wave. It’s amazing how many beautiful and diverse places there are in this area.
- Find your inner peace in Nepal: Go on a trek, do some yoga, there’s something spiritual about Nepal and you can feel it even in the bustling city of Kathmandu.
- Take a trip back in time in the Middle East: The Middle East has history like nowhere else. And people are more friendly than American news would have you think. Oh, and go sandboarding!
- Take a roadtrip up Highway 1: U.S. roadtrips really are something else. And California is simply gorgeous. The towns and cities along Highway 1 are laid-back, beachy, and everything you would expect of California.
- See…everything in Brazil: From the party see in Rio to the stunning lagoons at Lencois Maranhenses, Brazil truly offers a little bit of everything.
- Explore Turkey: Spend some time in Istanbul – it’s one of my favorite cities. Then check out Pamukkale and Cappadocia. Don’t forget to take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia!
- Take a roadtrip around Ireland: Drive the Ring of Kerry. Go to Northern Ireland to see the beautiful volcanic formations at Giant’s Causeway. See the Cliffs of Mohr. Irish people are so friendly! And if you happen to be in Macroom, check out my dad’s cousin Con’s shop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKLHqREAFR8 He is one of the sweetest and most knowledgeable people I know! He’s sure to tell you a good story or…ten. Haha.
- Check out the Virgin Islands: From the tranquility of St. John to the hustle-and-bustle of St. Thomas to the the baths at Virgin Gorda…the Virgin Islands are diverse and it’s easy to get from one to the other.
- Go to Yellowstone: See Old Faithful erupt. Swim in the Boiling River. Check out the Grand Prismatic Spring. Watch wolves run down the hills. America’s first national park is not to be missed. Bonus: Grand Teton is close by, and well worth the visit.
- Scuba dive the Blue Hole in Belize: It’s a deep dive (130 feet), and you’ll likely feel a little out of it, but wow it is gorgeous! Make sure your underwater camera is made for the depth though. I learned that lesson the hard way. The other dive sites close by are equally amazing. I’ve never been around so many sharks while scuba diving.
- Hike in Vermont and New Hampshire: New England is a special place and the hiking is outstanding. If you’re a skiier or snowboarder, check out this area in the winter.
- See more green than you’d ever imagine in Hawaii: Hawaii is lush, to say the least. Go on a few ridge hikes, relax on the beach, drive the Road to Hana in Maui, cage dive with sharks – or swim with sea turtles if that’s more your style, surf…Hawaii is a wonderful place.
- Walk around Amsterdam: Go look at the IAmsterdam sign. Walk around the red light district at night. Check out the house Helen Keller hid in. I’m not a city person, but I LOVE Amsterdam.
- Explore Switzerland: Go hang gliding in Interlaken. See some small towns. Switzerland is stunning and those Swiss Alps can’t be missed.
- Hike Gros Piton in St. Lucia: St. Lucia is one of the more pristine islands I’ve been to. It has a reputation of being romantic, but I went alone and had the time of my life. I met two incredibly sweet girls hiking Gros Piton, went ocean kayaking with locals, saw a black sand beach, and ate amazing food.
Martinique is beautiful. It’s one of the more untouched and pristine islands I’ve been to. Drive along any road and you will past stunning scenic view after scenic view. There is a lot of green and not many hotels. However, the relative lack of tourism has its drawbacks. Restaurants are never open. And I mean ever. I don’t know how these people pay their rent. We tried going to one place 3 different days at 3 different times and had no luck. Customer service is subpar. You will likely have trouble getting by if you don’t speak French. But it is beautiful and there is plenty to do.
We got a little lost going to Mount Pelée. Somehow we ended up in fields of sugar cane. Talk about beautiful… Obviously we took advantage of the opportunity for an impromptu photoshoot.
We drove by a sign for this place and decided to stop. Château Dubuc is a gorgeous old sugar mill on the water. The history is fascinating and the views are stunning.
Watch the sunset at Le Diamant. It is STUNNING.
It’s cold outside. Winter is a great time to get away to a tropical destination. If you need a warm getaway, but can’t decide where to go…I’ve got you covered:
- For the Scuba Diver: Belize. So, it’s pretty cool to scuba dive the Blue Hole. I’m pretty sure that’s on most diver’s bucketlists. The Blue Hole is an awesome dive, but don’t forget about the other dive sites in the area. After I dove the Blue Hole, I went to a dive site where I was surrounded by about 10 sharks. Remember that the Blue Hole is deep. Really deep. So be careful with your underwater camera. I learned that lesson the hard way…
- For the Nature Lover: Maui. If you love nature, go to Maui and drive the Road to Hana. It’s so incredibly diverse. From bamboo forests to red sand beaches, the Road to Hana has it all.
- For Pristine Beaches: St. Lucia. St. Lucia is still relatively unaffected by tourism compared to other Caribbean destinations. The roads are unpaved and there are potholes everywhere. It is still very lush and there aren’t hotels upon hotels like other islands. I know St. Lucia has a reputation for being a romantic destination, but I went alone and had the time of my life. Also, make sure to hike the Pitons. Gros Piton is the taller and easier Piton. The views are incredible.
- For the Partier: Aruba. Aruba is filled with bars and casinos. People in Aruba like to party and it’s definitely one of the more lively islands I’ve been to.
- For Diverse Experiences: Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands – both U.S. and British – have a lot to offer. The hustle-and-bustle of St. Thomas is a stark contrast with calm St. John. The Baths at Virgin Gorda are absolutely stunning rock formations. And you can easily take day trips from one island to the other – they are all relatively close.
- For the Family: Bahamas. The Atlantis in the Bahamas could not be a better destination for families. Children can be entertained for days on end with the water parks, and parents can have fun in the casino and at the new adult-only pool. Plus there are plenty of excursions and day activities.
I just got back from a wonderful week in Brazil. It was Carnaval week, but I’m not much of a partier, So I opted for a more laid back trip.
I found very reasonably priced flights direct from DC to Sao Paulo. I spent the week in Lencois Maranhenses, Salvador, and Sao Paulo. I certainly wish I had time for Rio, but I’ll check it out next time I’m in Brazil!
Lencois Maranhenses is a national park in northern Brazil with water-filled sand dunes that are truly out of this world. It’s a bit tricky to get to – I flew into Sao Luis then took a 5 hour bus to Barreirinhas, but the journey is well worth it. This place looks drastically different based on the season – the water level changes. July/August is the best time to visit Lencois Maranhenses, because the dunes fill up with bright blue water, but I believe it is still beautiful anytime of year. A plane tour of the dunes is an absolute MUST! The beautiful photos you will see if you search for Lencois Maranhenses are taken from a plane. Plus, the flight is pretty cheap – about 300 Reals per person.
Salvador is a cute city on the coast. A boat tour to some of the islands in the bay is a great way to see some pristine and untouched beaches. A walk around the old city is also a lot of fun.
Sao Paulo is bigger and much more expensive than other areas in Brazil. You won’t need much time here – a day or two should be enough. Renting a bike in Ibirapuera Park is a great way to start the day. Then make sure to head up to the Italian building for a cocktail at some point and get a beautiful city photo.