The source of the Nile, the land of the Queen of Sheba, and home to some of the earliest and greatest Christian archeological sites. It is also the only African country to never have been colonized by European powers, hence it has retained much of its unique heritage. Time your winter trip to coincide with the country’s most important festival in the Ethiopian Orthodox Calendar, Timkat. Timkat (which means Baptism) is held annually between Jan 19-20 in celebration of the Epiphany of Jesus Christ. It is the ritual re-enactment of Jesus’ baptism ceremony by the Ethiopian pilgrims. Weather wise, it is also the best time to visit this endlessly surprising country!
So you want to go on an epic adventure to Antarctica but don't have your sea legs or don’t have enough vacation time, or both? Well, worry no more because a handful of enterprising and ingenious operators offer "Fly & Cruise" itineraries which will allow you to skip the notoriously rough Drake Passage and reach Antarctica in less than 2 hours instead of spending 2 whole days at sea. This will also give you enough time to explore the highlights of mainland Chile and/or Argentina, pre- or post-Antarctica. Once you reach the South Shetland Islands by plane, these expeditions will only take smaller groups of travelers on their ships. This allows for ease of logistics for all the guests to enter less explored bays and passages, paddle up next to towering peaks and icebergs, and best of all, board kayaks and Zodiacs all at the same time. This is crucial so you avoid losing those precious split-second moments in capturing those unpredictable wildlife encounters, as some of them can get pretty up close and personal!
Voted best city in the world for the second year in the row by Travel + Leisure, the enchanting San Miguel de Allende is the birthplace of Ignacio Allende, hero of the Mexican independence movement. It’s only fitting that this quaint, picturesque town also lead the charge in the country’s design, arts and handicrafts offerings as the quality and variety of the work its resident and visiting artists produce are equal parts creative and impressive. Buildings in bright orange, fuchsia, cobalt blue and red ochre dot the landscape, and charmingly rustic cobblestones line the streets. A perennial favorite place to stay in is the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende. This exquisite art-filled property is so welcoming of everyone, from couples & honeymooners, to parents with small kids (they have a Kids Club on site) — and best of all, some of the more (or most) cherished members of the family, their household pets!
4. Sri Lanka
The hospitality arena in booming Sri Lanka is dominated by international players, but if you want to support a local, homegrown company, check out Uga Escapes. This growing brand is expanding quickly so that all the lodges can complete a circuit of the whole island. Chena Huts is the fifth property by Uga Escapes. It is a small, luxury safari lodge located on the edge of Yala National Park, the most visited national park in Sri Lanka. It is renowned for its diverse birdlife, wild water buffalo, elephants, Sambar deer, the very rare and endangered sloth bear, and the saltwater crocodile, the largest of all living reptiles. Big bonus: Yala also has one of the highest Leopard densities in the world.
Sometimes it helps to disconnect in order to reconnect. The award-winning Freycinet Experience Walk in Tasmania is just the right journey for those who want to escape from such 21st century distractions as mobile phones and internet access! Covering 37-39 km over a four-day period, each day allows the traveler to embark on a brand-new adventure — from exploring the local culture and indulging in fresh-off-the-boat and farm-to-table cuisine & wine, to scaling mountains, and hiking down to pristine powder-white sand beaches such as the aptly named Wineglass Bay. Expect encounters with local wildlife such as dolphins, wallabies, wombats, and of course, the infamous Tasmanian Devil. This walk can only be done during Tasmania’s warmer months, between October - April.
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