Africa is one of the most exciting regions in the world for the adventurous tourist; and Tanzania is a jewel in Africa’s considerable crown. Whether you are here to enjoy fun in the sun or thrills on safari, you will find yourself rewarded again and again for your decision to venture into this diverse, unique, and stimulating land.

How can you maximize your time in Tanzania? Hit these hotter than hotspots:

Mount Kilimanjaro. One of the colder “hotspots” to be sure, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak. If you’re fit, have some proper clothing and gear, and take plenty of water, you can conquer the mountain in about a week. Unlike Everest, you don’t need special equipment like oxygen – and, after, you get to say you’ve tackled one of the most famous mountains in the world. You’ll trek through five climate zones while seeing the world from a new perspective.

Serengeti National Park. If you’d rather traverse more flat land, opt for the Serengeti, one of the best spots in all of Africa for safari. If you time your visit right, you can witness the incredible migration of millions of zebra and wildebeest, as well as catch a glimpse of the predators that follow them. This is your chance to capture (in picture and in memory!) the Big Five and the Little Five, great beasts that most see only in zoos. Start your day with a hot air balloon ride – you can climb to great heights in the Serengeti as well!

The Selous. Magnificent as it is, the Serengeti can get a little crowded! If you want more space to see cheetah, black rhino, elephants, hippos, crocs, and African hunting dogs, try the Selous. Africa’s largest preserve offers walking, night driving, and boat safaris.

Zanzibar. Take a break from safaris and climbing by relaxing on some of the world’s best beaches. If you’ve room in your travel budget, you can escape the crowds and visit private islands or the glorious Mnemba Island. If you’ve less room in your budget, you won’t lack for sun, sand, and dazzling water on the public beaches. Zanzibar also has great historic centers and thrilling festivals. After a day of lounging, hit the nightlife, clubs, restaurants, and theaters for a full Zanzibar experience.

Whether you’re yearning for sun or snow, wildlife or nightlife, you will find it all in Tanzania.

New Zealand’s Maori name is Aotearoa, which means “Land of the Long White Cloud.” It is also oftentimes referred to as the “God zone.” In both cases, the names paint a vivid picture of this gorgeous island nation. The beauty of the landscape is equaled only by the hospitality and warmth of its people.  A visit to New Zealand is no mere vacation; it is the experience of a lifetime.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was not set in Middle Earth but amidst the valleys, mountains, and coastlines of New Zealand. Chosen for its unique and unparalleled physical features, fans of the movies fell in love with the scenery as much as with the characters! The geography is an integral a part of the country itself. It is remote, about 900 miles from Australia, and is one of the last areas of the world to be settled. Because of this isolation, New Zealand has remarkable biodiversity and a number of endemic species. Visitors can treat themselves to prime bird watching and the best whale watching in the world.

New Zealand is separated into the North and South Islands, and has a number of smaller islands in its archipelago nation. Long and narrow, it has a tremendous stretch of coastline, and thus lots of opportunity to spot marine life. The geography also varies from sandy beach to soaring peaks. This, again, has informed life on the islands.

Bungee jumping, for instance, was born here, and visitors can embark on any number of adventures, including whitewater rafting, rainforest trekking, tandem paragliding, nearly vertical mountain biking, ATV rides, horseback rides – forget the romantic beach, you’ll be riding through raging rivers! – and much, much more.

You’ll need a vacation from your vacation! But luckily, New Zealand can relax as well is it can play. Lounge on a beach, take in the historical sites of capital Wellington, shop, dine, soak in the culture, and, don’t forget to take a ferry or car ride to Marlborough. This region has over 100 vineyards and produces some of the best sauvignon blanc in the world. Sample the passionfruit-infused wine in cellars and pair them with fresh seafood. If you are there in the spring, you can catch the renowned Marlborough Wine Festival.

New Zealand loves to entertain, and you can participate in lively festivals, including the Wellington Cup Racing Carnival, the Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta, the Rhythm & Vines Festival, or a Māori kai food festival. Bring your appetite for this last as they showcase the best local foods.

A country like no other, New Zealand is a destination that will leave you with indelible memories – and a desire to come back again!

Stunning architecture, cosmopolitan atmosphere, the latest fashions and trends, intimate side walk cafes, a prized destination for savvy world travelers: it’s no wonder that Buenos Aires is often called the South American Paris. But this sophisticated Argentine city is not concerned with imitating the inimitable French city; its people would much rather celebrate their own rich culture and live up to their hot, steamy reputation!  Visitors will enjoy European charm, South American warmth, and unique Buenos Aires vibrancy.

One of the most influential and populous cities in South America, Buenos Aires is a cultural hub. The thriving theater industry draws visitors from the continent and beyond, as does the famous Teatro Colon. The opera house is considered one of the best concert venues in the world; from the Marriage of Figaro and international orchestras to ballet performances of Swan Lake, Cinderella, and the fanciful Alice in Wonderland, there is, indeed, a wonderland of culture to enjoy. Culture buffs will also enjoy museum after museum, galleries, and bookstores you can get lost in for hours.

Outdoors is just as enthralling. The Buenos Aires Zoo is not the largest in the world, but it does feature 89 species of mammals, 49 species of reptiles, and 175 bird varieties. Visitors with children will appreciate the Farm at the Zoo exhibit, where you can feed the local residents, and everyone will marvel at the big cats, indoor waterfall, and aquarium. In addition, there are beautifully landscaped parks throughout the city, perfect for picnicking or people watching. Remember, Buenos Aires is a major fashion capital, so you’ll get some great tips on what to wear and how to wear it!

Buenos Aires is renowned for many aspects of its wonderful culture, but perhaps none so much as Tango. In 2009, UNESCO declared Tango part of the world’s cultural heritage – but Argentina already knew that! The dance moves were so sensuous and scandalous that they were not deemed respectable enough for Europe until the 1920s. They were missing out! But visitors won’t. Take in performances, or better yet, take a lesson from one of the many schools.

There is much to explore in Buenos Aires: whether you love history and architecture, dance and music, or clubbing with a cold drink on a hot night, this Argentine city promises the trip of a lifetime. If you were hoping for Paris of South America, you will get much more than you ever expected!

With all the wonderful vacation destinations clamoring for your attention, why choose Panama? Why choose white sandy beaches with achingly blue water? Why choose charming Spanish-inspired, cobblestoned streets? Why choose one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, teeming with wildlife that you can see nowhere else? Why choose fresh fruit and seafood, delicious empanadas and tamales? Panama offers travelers wonderful and unique sights, sounds, and tastes. Why Panama? Why not!


Aside from the Amazon Basin, Panama has the largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere. Rivers criss-cross the land, providing a rich and fertile habitat for countless species. Many, including Geoffroy’s tamarin, can only be found in this region. Other residents of the dense forest include two-toed sloths, capuchins, anteaters, bush dogs, and capybara.

Life in the sea and air is just as rich. Dolphins, reef sharks, humpback and sperm whales, and an abundance of fish teem under the surface, while an array of bright parrots, parakeets, and toucans patrol the skies. Visitors can enjoy the wildlife and incomparable scenery while hiking, biking, trekking, diving, swimming, and lounging on a beach!

Manmade Wonders

Panama City is every bit as diverse as the country’s terrain. It blends multiple cultures from all corners of the globe, and is home to one of the most famous structures in the world: the Panama Canal. You can watch ships sail by from Miraflores Locks or take a cruise yourself. After you’ve had your fill of the Canal, explore the historic center of the city, Casco Viejo. The Colonial architecture is complemented by an expansive mix of entertainment, music, theater, dining, and fashion. There is something for everyone in this unique city, from high end shopping and bargain hunting to nature trails and parks.


As with everything else in Panama, its cuisine is quite diverse and eclectic. It brings together Spanish, American, Afro-Caribbean, and indigenous elements. Staples include corn and flour tortillas, meats, seafood, vegetables, including yucca, rice, beans, coconut, plantains, bananas, and banana leaves. The national dish is Sancocho, a thick, hearty chicken stew that is served steaming hot with a good serving of rice. Visitors can also try authentic French, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Thai, Italian, and Japanese food in the cities.

Panama is a fast-growing tourist destination. Before the crowds get thicker, make your way to this Central American paradise and discover its many treasures.

You may have eaten at, or heard about, Mongolian Barbeque, or Mongolian stir fries that are made in flaming pans right in front of you, sizzling with spicy vegetables and beef. This, however, is not authentic Mongolian cuisine; it’s more akin to Japanese or other regional Chinese options. Mongolian food is much different. It is very heavily influenced by Mongolia’s geographical location and the types of ingredients that are readily available. So, while you won’t find barbeque or spice, you will find tradition and custom. That, and a lot of mutton!

Mongolian food blends Chinese and Russian culinary styles and relies heavily on meat and dairy. Vegetables do not as often make it to the table. Why? The short growing season is one reason; the long, cold winters are another. Traditionally, Mongolians wanted hearty, filling foods to endure, and they turned to their herds of cattle, goat, sheep, horse, and camel. Meat is rich in protein and minerals, which staved off hunger and provided sufficient nutrition. Traditional cuisine does use native fruits and plants, but meat and dairy are certainly the stars of the show.

One of the most popular and common dishes is the simple buuz. Dough pockets are filled with minced beef or mutton with a flavoring of garlic and onion. Some people prefer to add mashed potato or cabbage. Very similar to a pierogie, the buuz is steamed. Khuushuur, another Mongolian favorite, is essentially prepared the same way and then fried.

Dairy products are used to make cheese, curds, creams, sour creams, butter, sour yogurt, and even vodka. It is common for Mongolians to consume tsagaan idee, or white food, in the summer to “clean the stomach.” A popular drink is airag, fermented mare’s milk. Another favorite is milk tea. Salted water with a sprinkling of tea leaves is brought to a boil and a heavy dose of milk is added. The tea is agitated with a ladle so it foams and froths, and it may be mixed with rice, flour, cream, or even meat for a heartier drink.

During the “white season,” dairy products are preserved for use in the winter, as is meat. Often, the meat will be cut into strips with fat removed and hung to dry for months. In the winter, it can be reconstituted with a good soak in water for use in soups, stews, and, of course, buuz and Khuushuur.

Mongolian food may not incorporate spices or a rainbow of vegetables, but it does incorporate history, culture, pragmatism, nutrients, and hearty, filling taste.

Just seven? There are natural wonders, manmade magnificence, rich cultures, vibrant cities, ecodiverse forests, gorgeous beaches, soaring mountains….any one of which is reason enough to visit! Here is a look at our favorites, just some of the best of the best.

  1. The Great Blue Hole, Belize. A scuba diver’s dream, the Great Blue Hole was made famous by Jacques Cousteau. Measuring 300 meters across and 124 meters deep, the Blue Hole is a series of caves which started forming 153,000 years ago. Ocean levels rose and flooded the caves; today, divers can explore the stalactites and rock formations while marveling at the deep blue water.
  2. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Pristine mountain air and stunning scenery make this a top destination for hikers and nature-lovers. Day trips are available, but the fit visitor might want to try a 9-day trek. National Geographic calls it the 5th prettiest place in the world. See if they’re right!
  3. Amazon Rainforest. One of the most ecodiverse regions on the globe, the Amazon is a canopied world of wonder. Even a simple hike offers adventure and the opportunity to see rare, bright, and brilliant forest inhabitants – but if you’re thirsting for a bit more, why not try a canopy zip line? Hold on tight!
  4. Galapagos Islands. It may seem cliché- but it won’t once you get there. Off the coast of Ecuador, the Islands have a wealth of endemic species. See Galapagos Turtles, Penguins, and other creatures great and small that only live here. Dive, hike, swim, and gawk!
  5. Machu Picchu, Peru. The Sacred Valley of the Incas, this site is home to some of the most beautiful, significant ruins in the world. Nestled in misty mountains, the site features ruins of palaces, plazas, and temples. Take the train, or better yet, hike in. Stay hydrated and keep your camera at the ready.
  6. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. Incredible. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported to a different planet. In fact, you’re on the world’s largest salt plain. White fields of dried salt contrast with the sharp blue sky. You’ll even see a train cemetery! A fantastic, weird experience.
  7. Santiago, Chile. This list is heavy on nature, but South America’s cities are as rich, diverse, and gorgeous. Santiago features wonderful cultural centers, restaurants, shops, nightlife, entertainment, salsa dancing, and much more. Other “must visit” cities include Buenos Aires, Cusco, San Pedro de Atacama, Rio de Janeiro, and Bogota.

Find your own amazing sites and scenes in South America. There is no limit to the excitement you will encounter.

Indonesian culture is heavily influenced, as is any culture, by its geography. It lies along ancient trade routes that connected the Far and Middle East. Religions, practices, traditions, cuisine, and tastes traveled with the ships and traders and created a rich, vibrant culture. In some pockets, indigenous culture lives on as it has for thousands of years.  Home to over 300 ethnic groups, 700 languages, and some 240 million people, the Indonesian archipelago is as diverse as its 6,000 islands.

Some treasures of Indonesian culture:

  • Baliem Valley. Located on the second largest island and nestled in the mountains is a 70 km long, 20 km wide valley. Undiscovered by the western world until the 1940s, this area has remained lush, fertile, and incredibly beautiful. Wamena, the main city of the valley, features life the way it has been lived for thousands of years. Some tribes, including the Dani, interact with visitors who are willing to make the journey by air, since Wamena is not accessible via road. For those who do, the reward is a glimpse into living history. In August, Wamena hosts the Baliem Valley Festival, complete with dances, pig races, feasts, music, and a mock tribal war presentation.
  • Borobudur Temple. Constructed in the 8th or 9th century, this Buddhist temple has a pyramid-like structure, five square terraces, circular platforms, a grand stupa, reliefs, and other architectural embellishments. It is the single largest Buddhist structure in the world, and all the more stunning because active volcanos form a dramatic backdrop. Of special note is the Vesak Festival, honoring Buddha’s Birthday. Held on the night of the full moon in May, the multi-day festival draws pilgrims from across the world. Tranquil yet vibrant, the festival offers great insight into Indonesian and Buddhist culture.
  • Palembang. This is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia, and it features a number of historical sites and attractions. What is remarkable about Palembang is that it blends contemporary and ancient cultures. You also have the chance to sample another aspect of this culture: its food. Try Pempek, a true Indonesian dish. It is a fried fish cake in a sweet vinegar soup with noodles or diced cucumber. Watch out for the chili paste!

Indonesia is one of the most culturally diverse regions in the world; from contemporary cities to ancient villages, from Islam and Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism, from mist-shrouded mountains to smooth sandy beaches, the archipelago and its people offer a fascinating study of contrasts.

The Land of the Rising Sun is much more than a tourist destination. It is a chance to experience how ancient traditions can coexist with contemporary life. It is a chance to see how one of the older civilizations in the world is also one of the most modern and cutting-edge. Japan is a study of contrasts, and yet, these contrasts manage to coalesce into a unified, balanced identity. Japan should not only be on your bucket list; it should be at the top!


There is no corner of Japan which is not touched by history, even when you are walking down a street lined with state-of-the-art skyscrapers and haute couture shops. You can travel back in time, for instance, with a trip to Himeji Castle. Perched atop a hill, it looks like an elegant bird poised for flight. The castle is renowned for its architecture and its stunning white walls.

Sites all over Japan celebrate its history and culture, including the Eiheiji Temple, a training center for Zen priests for centuries, the impressive stone Buddhas of Usuki City, and Ritsurin Park in Takamatsu City, a famous garden created by feudal lords hundreds of years ago. Each provides the opportunity to see how life was, and how traditions continue to influence life today.


From ceremonial teas to Sumo matches, visitors can experience traditions that have been thousands of years in the making. The images we have of sliding rice paper walls, straw mats, and highly structured rules of etiquette play out in front of us. You can visit ryokan, or traditional inns to participate in a tea or learn calligraphy. Venture to Gion, Kyoto’s entertainment district. Here you will find the Minamiza Theater, the country’s oldest kabuki theater, and the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater. Get tickets early!

You didn’t go all the way to Japan to go to a theme park – but try Okinawa World. Not your typical theme park, this offers history, culture, nature, traditional dances and crafts, and more. The best part is Gyokusendo, a cave featuring hundreds of thousands of stalactites and awe-inspiring views. No Disney ride compares!

But there’s more…

There’s always more to Japan. If you want the world’s best shopping, latest trends, and most up-to-date amenities, you will be more than accommodated. If you want to sample some of the best food in the world, you will find it here. If you want to experience teeming cities and peaceful nature, Japan offers you both. If you want to meet hospitable, friendly people who seamlessly blend old world manners with new world experience, Japan should be at the top of your bucket list.

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