American World Traveler Spring 2022 Issue

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Traveler Spring 2022


20 Years!

Istanbul, Turkey

C o m e

W i t h

U s


S e e

T h e

W o r l d !

Published by:

Welcome to World Traveler

World Traveler Canadian World Traveller American World Traveler Tel: 1-855-738-8232 Publisher Michael Morcos

A l r e a d y 2 0 Ye a r s !

Editor-in-chief Greg James Contributing Editor David J. Cox Graphic Depar tment Al Cheong Adver tising Depar tment Leo Santini Marketing Depar tment Tania Tassone Distribution Royce Dillon

Senior Travel Writers: Susan Campbell Steve Gillick Regular Contributors: Habeeb Salloum Jennifer Merrick Olivia Balsinger Mike Cohen Ilona Kauremszky Natalie Ayotte Jasmine Morcos Daniel Smajovits Cherie DeLory Lisa TE Sonne Alexandra Cohen Jessica Percy Campbell Mathieu Morcos Gregory Caltabanis Anne-Marie Macloughlin Janice Mucalov

Disclaimer: World Traveler has made every effort to verify that the information provided in this publication is as accurate as possible. However, we accept no responsibility for any loss, injury, or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from the information contained herein nor for any information provided by our advertisers.


his year, 2022, marks a very special anniversary for World Traveller as we celebrate 20 years of our multiaward-winning publications, and we are as passionate about travel as ever. When we began, our print issues were spread far and wide. It was not long until we launched our website:, which has recently merged both American World Traveler and Canadian World Traveller. In the following years we introduced new media: eMagazines, eNewsletters and World Traveler Social Media pages. Today we find ourselves with a vast reader base and electronic presence which has been growing exponentially in the past three years. In this issue, the second of a full year of special issues, we will bring back some of your favourite articles from the past 20 years as well as some memorable front covers and a sample of amazing photographs. So let’s go! We start our world-wide odyssey in the Far East as we travel to Jodipan, Indonesia to discover ‘Java’s Rainbow Village’. Next, we go to China to learn all about some delicious Sichuan Cuisine. We then jet off to Europe, first on a cruise with Ponant’s handsome L’Austral to rediscover the wonderful Greek Islands. While in the

Mediterranean, we head to the beautiful islands of Malta and find out why this is ‘The Crown Jewel of the Mediterranean’. While so close, we head to Tunisia, ‘A Country with a Heart of Gold!’ Still in the Mediterranean, we visit fabulous Spain and the ‘17 Unique Destinations to Experience’ while there. To the extreme north of Europe, we travel to Iceland and rediscover the ‘Land of the Vikings’. Onwards to the Americas. First stop, we go to find the wonderful uniqueness of the Atlantic island nation of Bermuda. In the Caribbean, we find ourselves in Puerto Rico and partake in some Afro Culture in the Town of Piñones. To Mexico we travel for two different experiences. In the state of Oaxaca, we find ‘Adventures in Teotilán, Tlacolula and San Martin Tilcajete’ before we head on a cruise ‘Down the Mexican Riviera with Carnival Panorama’. In the USA, we head to Nevada and discover the ‘Seven Weirdest Wonders’ this state has to offer the traveler. To the very far north of Canada, in the Northwest Territories we get treated by Mother Nature’s amazing Northern Lights show. Finally, we jet-off to Hawaii and yet another cruise. This time with UnCruise Adventures’ Safari Explorer and participate in the best of this ships maritime activities and wonderful wildlife sightings these islands have to offer. Happy Travels!


Crusing Section


Bermuda 8 Oaxaca 10

Tunisia 12 Spain 64 Cr uise News Cranival Cr uise UnCr uise Adventures Accessibility Travel Celebrity Edge Review Ponant Cr uise

Stay & Play - 54 Sichuan Cuisine 6 6

Malta 68

A u r o r a B o r e a l i s , N o r t h w e s t Te r r i t o r i e s

A ro u n d t h e Wo r l d 1 4

Sheraton Buganvilias Resort


Uniquely Bermuda


his is Bermuda, an autonomous island nation in the Atlantic a short flight from the Carolinas. Bermuda is very special in its cultural composition. With a little bit of British, some Caribbean and a hint of American influence, its people are warm, inviting, soft spoken and well educated. The land they call home is spellbinding, with amazing aqua blue waters, secluded golden sand beaches and a green landscape out of a fairy book tale. Having spent a week there, I could best describe this island as being as unique as anywhere else I have ever visited. Bermuda is filled with mysteries that no one knows if they are real or fake, and some things that are just unknown: yes, there is such a thing as Bermuda shorts, no this is not a tax haven for millionaires because Bermuda is tax free and does not have illicit money, and still not sure if the Bermuda triangle is real!

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

Article and photography by Michael Morcos

Scuba and Snorkeling

Outdoor activities are a must in Bermuda, so early in the morning on the first day, we would do what is so well known here, underwater activities. On a relatively small boat, we navigated out past the jagged shores of the inner harbor to the south shore of the island to experience the simply magnificent: colorful exotic fish, healthy coral formations, and something truly unique - a couple of the over 300 shipwrecks including the Mary Celeste dive site. Captain Dave and his crew at the Blue Water Divers made this an outstanding and memorable day of sun, surf, and an amazing introduction to the best of Bermuda. The indoor sea

From the waves we visited an interactive ocean experience, the Bermuda Underwater

Exploration Institute, a great way to understand the history of this island paradise. Since it is a secluded, its history revolves around maritime travel and the significance of Bermuda to explorers of the day. These facilities highlight its geography, climate, the America's Cup that was held here and even the phnomena of the Bermuda triangle. Blue Hole Park

With such little area on a small island, Bermuda still has reserved space to call a park. At the Blue Hole Park, we would find the many beautiful indiginous plant life as well as those introduced to this island from other countries. Exceptional to this park are the many water caves including one of the best known which we would explore with our guide. We would also have the opportunity of swimming in some of the fascinating, hidden saltwater cave pools.

Sail boarding

I now really appreciate people who sail board. They sure make it look easy. On this day, we would head out for lessons. Long story short; it was very difficult at first to just stand on a board. But after numerous falls, and with the help of a good instructor, we were navigating the beautiful shores of Bermuda in a matter of two hours. This would be one of the highlights of my visit, not so much the surf boarding bit, but more with the beautiful back drop of blue ocean and sand beaches. Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art

The Bermuda art scene is well and thriving. This is what I would say after a visit to the Masterworks Museum that is found in the capitol of Hamilton. This was an initiative to promote local artists and define the arts scene of Bermuda. Many international renowned artists have their works on display as well. It is a pleasant surprise to see how important a place art has in the Bermudian way of life and culture. Middle road

Nothing could give a visitor more of a snapshot in Bermuda than its main artery, the Middle Road. It is the backbone of the island that crosses from one side to the other. Life revolves around this central avenue. Although it has many different names, this magnificent road is incredibly green with lush vegetation and includes amazing ocean views, simple humble dwellings, posh estates, resorts and connects Hamilton to all cities east and west. Town of St. George

A UNESCO World Heritage site, St. George is the former capitol. Found at the most eastern part of the island, it is a laid-back town with many historic sites that include forts and stately mansions. An electric bike ride through this area clearly reveals the charm of the small streets and harbor area restaurants that tend to a mixed crowd of both local Bermudians and international visitors. Royal Naval Dockyard

On the opposite end of the island are the Royal Naval Dockyards. Here we would find the historic and imposing stone buildings the British built as part of their route to the Caribbean. There is a festive atmosphere here as this area is a great place to meet friends and families can

enjoy a day of fun activities. This area also welcomes several ocean liners with plenty of foreign visitors. It is also a good place to shop and eat as there are local artist displaying there homemade products as well as micro-breweries and specialties restaurants. It is a highlight to anyone looking for another side to Bermuda.



You will never go hungry in Bermuda, and as a matter of fact you might just put on a couple of pounds as you can indulge in just about any kind of food you might want. Eating ranges from haute cuisine served at quaint restaurants and luxurious resorts to mouthwatering local dishes found in the side streets of town. On this trip we did both and loved ever last bite. Traditional Cod fish breakfast

Nothing could explain Bermudian food more than fish. Much to my tastebuds’ joy, the island nation offered an amazing treat in the morning – a Cod fish breakfast that would include the salted Cod fish itself, potatoes, stewed tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, onions, avocados, bananas, sausages, and other delicious ingredients that make this the national dish. Having this meal explained why it was so popular; it was hardy and a perfect food for the start of a full day of island life. Accommodations

Bermuda has a long list of possible accommodations as this nation thrives on hospitality. The range of properties is long and varied but for the most part, visitors tend to choose the opulent resorts that can be found everywhere throughout the island. Each resort has its specialties, some tend to the golfers, and others are into beach and sea life. Our stay at the Grotto Bay Resort had been located directly on the water and had its own caves where we could swim in sea water. As the saying goes, ‘time flies when you are having fun’ and a week in Bermuda past by in a flash. So much to see and do that we had very little time to just sit and enjoy this paradise in the Atlantic. I will return, and next time I will promise myself to read the books I bring with me while sipping a cool one on the beach.

American World Traveler Spring 2022


Adventures in Oaxaca: Teotilán, Tlacolula and San Martin Tilcajete Article and Photography by Steve Gillick


hroughout Mexico, December 12th marks the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Festivities commemorate the appearance of the Virgin Mary to the Aztec peasant Juan Diego on December 9th and 12th, 1531, and serve as symbols of religion, courage, and Mexican identity. However, I’ll remember this important day from my visit to Oaxaca in 2021 for four reasons.

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

Firstly, we were unaware of the significance of the day as we entered the small village of Teotitlán del Valle in the early morning of December 12th. With only one day to explore the areas outside the city of Oaxaca, and with several options to consider, we decided on Teotitlán. The village is about a one-hour drive from Oaxaca in the foothills of the Sierra Juárez mountains, and in fact, the name of the local people, the Zapotecs, literally translates as “at the

foot of the mountain”. Zapotec textiles and rugs, made on looms, using natural dyes, are made in Teotitlán and found in handicraft markets and specialty stores throughout Oaxaca State and beyond. Plus, the rivers and mountains in Teotitlán turn the scenery into visual magic. There is a second reason for remembering this day. An acquaintance had recommended Willy Miguel as a driver, with the

caveat that Willy only spoke a few words of English (and we only spoke a few words of Spanish). In addition, Willy was not a birding or nature guide, per se, but he knew the ‘good’ areas to visit. We said, “perfect”. We met Willy at 6:00 am at our hotel in Oaxaca and ended up having one of the most enjoyable days ever! The third reason we remember December 12th was that when we arrived in Teotitlán, the Virgin of Guadalupe procession had already begun. As photographers and lovers of culture, we walked very quickly on the rough cobblestone street to catch up to the dozen or so musicians, and costumed men and women wearing elaborate headdresses, as they made their way to the Iglesia Preciosa Sangre de Cristo. Cobblestones were used to prevent thoroughfares from getting too muddy or dusty and provide horses and mules with traction. But they obviously didn’t anticipate a Canadian photographer in well-worn New Balance sneakers. As I hurried, I tumbled, and my camera hit the ground. But without missing a beat, I recovered and followed the procession to the church. I wondered if this was the true meaning of ‘memories carved in stone’. And the fourth reason to remember this day was the additional visit to the Mercado Tlacolula and then the Alebrijes of San Martin Tilcajete. After my cobblestone tumble, we headed in the warm sunshine to look for birds, in a remote area, alongside perfect mountain scenery. We were rewarded with photos of Green Kingfishers, Vermilion Flycatchers, House Finches, a Gray-breasted Woodpecker, a Loggerhead Shrike, a Curve-billed Thrasher, and a Cinnamonrumped Seedeater, along with Warblers, Phoebes, and Grebes. And during our avian bliss, a herd of shy, thirsty cattle tentatively crossed the dirt road to access the river, just as a farmer passed by, walking his two dogs, three donkeys, and a foal. The only sounds were the farmer’s “Hola”, the cows’ ‘moo’, the birdsong and the scenic silence.

On the main street of the village, we stopped at Conchita’s Comedor for brunch. This rustic restaurant oozed friendliness from the staff, as well as curiosity from Claudio, the nosey, resident dining room Rooster. We enjoyed coffee “panela y canela” (with brown sugar and cinnamon) and Huevos Rancheros (fried eggs with salsa on a corn tortilla). So fresh and tasty!


After an excursion down another dirt road of small agave plantations, wild cactus, and more breathtaking mountain views, we headed about 30 minutes south to Tlacolula de Matamoros. This city is famous for the Sunday Open-Air Market (or Tianguis). The majority of the 1000 or so vendors come from rural villages. Many wear traditional dress, such as the rebozo, a long garment similar to a shawl. The market stretches around several city blocks, encircling the church, Santa Maria de la Asunción, and continuing into a building. And what was for sale? Pottery, weaving, textiles, crafts, housewares, bread, fruits, vegetables, chilies, flowers, meats, chickens, moles (traditional sauces and marinades), crickets, and other crawly things. As for ready-to-eat foods? Barbacoa (stewed lamb and goat), Chicharrón (deep-fried pork rind or pork belly), Carne Asada (grilled meat with vegetables, cactus, and chilies), Nieves (a water-based ice cream), and more. It’s an amazing sensory experience! But we still had one more stop for the day, about a 90-minute drive back toward the city of Oaxaca. The Zapotec town of San Martin Tilcajete is an open folk and modern art gallery filled with fantastical, colorful carvings and paintings known as ‘alebrije’. We visited the workshop of Jacobo and María Ángeles, where tours showcase skilled local artists. It may take weeks to complete an elaborate painting of a carved owl, fish, lizard, rabbit, jaguar, human figure, mask, or the Mastretta MXT (a Mexican-built sports car) that was on display. The tradition dates back to a time when animal carvings were used as hunting decoys, toys, and even sacred totems. It

is said that in the 1930s, Pedro Linares of Mexico City experienced fever-induced hallucinations of fantasy creatures, and he made up the name “alebrije’ to describe them. The name is now applied to all aspects of this art. A drive through the backstreets of San Martin Tilcajete, as well as a walk along the main street, reveals paintings on entire building walls: skeleton figures (based on Día de los Muertos), flying lizards, gryphons and jaguars; multi-colored owls, armadillos, dragons, parrots and hummingbirds; figures from the pre-hispanic era, and modern dream scenarios. Behind many of the walls are family workshops, where all generations contribute to the production and sale of the art. It’s absolutely astounding. But our day with Willy Miguel had to come to an end. We had great animated discussions and laughs, and it was only late in the day, when we stumbled over communication, that we brought out Google Translate on our cell phones, and then happily shared more stories. The city of Oaxaca is a great place for history, culture and food but if the opportunity presents itself to ‘escape’ to the country for a day, grab it! For us, it was one great experience after another!

American World Traveler Spring 2022


Tunisia – A Country with a Heart of Gold! Article and photography by Michael Morcos


ourth time lucky? That sounds funny but if it was true, then I would be four times lucky to visit this incredibly beautiful and diverse country of Tunisia. Everything is always just fine in this Mediterranean paradise. The destinations and attractions are varied, going from the lush mountains by the sea in the north to the beautiful but arid climate of the Sahara Desert. As always, the food is fantastic, we always eat well in Tunisia with culinary delights that have influences from North Africa, the Middle East and even a hint of French gastronomy. And the people, they have a heart of gold, always polite and friendly.


Having already discovered the four corners of Tunisia, I would now retrace some of my favorite places and revisit many great sites and see if life has changed in a rapidly changing world. On this journey, I would stay mostly in the north and not far from the sea.

ings all along the way. And that is exactly what I did, admiring the atmosphere of locals in their everyday life. Looking for a break and with a growing appetite, we would have a great lunch at the well-known seafood specialty restaurant Le Barberousse.


Le Barbarossa, located on the ramparts of the old medina, offers a great dining experience with some local favorites and Mediterranean and Tunisian cuisine. The setting also offers a glimpse into the past of the city and is a wonderfully romantic spot overlooking the bay of Hammamet. My senses and my stomach were both filled to bursting!

Hammamet has proven to be one of my alltime favorite seaside cities. With an eye on tourism, there is a historic fort, fascinating marina, opulent resorts on the sea and the compact but wonderful old medina. This is where a visitor can lose themselves in endless winding narrow allies with whitewashed build-

Nabeul Ceramics

El Jem

Years of perfecting their art has made this family run business a little gem. With so much pottery coming from industrial factories, it was refreshing to see how this place still produces simple works of art by loving, caring and talented hands. Just about anything made with clay can be found here on the two levels of their store. The basement is where the shaping, painting, and firing of the ceramics takes place. If you can, try to enjoy the demonstration that harkens back to simpler days.

The Amphitheatre of El Jem is the main draw in sleepy city, and their Roman coliseum is one of the best preserved in the world. I loved the visit here. What I can appreciate the most was that there was practically no one on site, this city being a little out of the way. We had this colossal space all to ourselves to explore and discover. This is a gem to any fan of ancient sites and well worth a half day visit.

Although I have bought many such items in the past, most of which still adorn by home and friends’ places and still I could not resist adding to my collection. After all they were beautiful and all so affordable.

While in Sousse, a visit to the Archaeological Museum is a must. It has some of the bestpreserved roman mosaics anywhere in the world. As in the other cities, a visit through history is in the offing while walking through the medina, the Great Mosque of Sousse, the Souk District, the Ribat and the Kasbah will round out your trip. A little further out the wonderful beaches of Port el Kantaoui with its white sands and blue waters and access to chic boutiques, golf courses and shoreside restaurants on the central Tunisian coast.


Kairouan is considered the fourth most important religious cities for Muslims after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Here we would visit the Great Mosque of Kairouan, the Basins of the Aghlabids, and walk along the walls of the fort and experience local life at the souk. I was taken away by the majestic Great Mosque, incredible detail in its architecture. Dating from the early ninth century, this masterpiece shares much with ancient Roman lighthouses, and is something to behold. It is also one of the highest structures around and offers a great view. I am always taken aback in these historical locals by the feats of engineering and construction that stand the test of time. Here it’s the impressive Aghlabid Basins, a massive feat of engineering built during the 9th century by the Aghlabid Dynasty. It has provided water for townspeople in Kairouan who would otherwise be in perpetual drought. It’s considered the largest hydraulic installation of the Middle Ages. The souk is a place of marvels and wonders. To fully appreciate it, put aside several hours to explore the boutiques that line the streets selling everything you could imagine. Filled with life, bright colors and a festive vibe, the shop keepers are helpful and a joy to deal with.




As an international city, the capitol is the heartbeat of this great country. Tunis has it all, from its old quarters and small streets to grand boulevards, world class museums, exceptional cuisine, landmark buildings, souks, and markets. It deserves an article of its own, and this vibrant city should be a must for any Tunisian tour. Sidi Bou Said

The best for last and a great place to end our tour. Sidi Bou Said is a small hilly town on the meditereanean and is popular with both the locals and visitors alike. Its laid-back atmosphere makes for a comfortable and relaxing trip. One could have a meal and refreshments at a number of establishments, but my favourite is the Cafe des Delices that overlooks the harbour and offers unbelievable sunsets. One visit to Sidi Bou Said is never enough just the same one visit to this beautiful country is only the start to many more lucky returns to the country with a heart of Gold!

American World Traveler Spring 2022


A r o u n d T h e Wo r l d

(in 26 pages)

You can experience one of the seven natural wonders right in Canada’s backyard Only a small percentage of people get the chance to experience the spectacular natural wonders this world has to offer. But what many Canadians might not realize is that witnessing one of these phenomena is more accessible than one would think! Canada’s Northwest Territories are home to the best Aurora in the World, with the top viewing conditions to gaze at this natural wonder. Yellowknife sits directly under the Auroral Oval, a concentrated area for the most intense Aurora activity anywhere on Earth. This means travelers get a front row seat to the dancing light show unlike anywhere else. The vibrant colours of the dancing Aurora literally fill the crystal-clear open skies. With low humidity and light pollution, these mesmerizing light performances are brighter and last longer than any other area in the world. Plus, your chances are greater for catching the Aurora since the NWT experiences 240 viewing nights a year. Besides being awe-inspiring, the Aurora are believed to offer a deeper connection in the Indigenous community. “I was told that when the Aurora’s dancing is very strong and moving very fast, those are the spirits of the people that just passed on recently,” says Joe Bailey, Indigenous owner of North Star Adventures. “They're telling you that they're OK now, that there’s no need to be sad, and that, one day, we will meet again.” Visiting the Northwest Territories changes you. Kristen and her husband got the chance to see the Northern lights in action on their recent travels to Yellowknife. “O-M-G is all I can say. It was actually out of this world. I felt like we were sucked into another dimension. Nature is truly amazing.” says Kristen. The Northwest Territories are definitely the best kept secret for places to visit around the world.

American World Traveler Spring 2022

Jodipan, Indonesia J a v a ’ s R a i n b o w Vi l l a g e by Gregory Caltabanis Travelling through Malang, Indonesia and stumbling upon Jodipan could be quite the experience for any traveller. This riverside village was initially on the point of extinction due to increased levels of crime and sub-standard living conditions. In fact, it was even identified as one of the 11 most run-down villages in the country. A group of students from the Muhammadiyah University of Malang, however, noticed the town’s potential and decided it could use some colour. Collaborating with a group of local painters, the students completely reinvigorated the village and added spice to an otherwise desolate place in the summer of 2016. Today, Jodipan is a touristic hub in Java putting its dark past behind it, supporting the local economy in the process. Jodipan, itself, is split into two places, one on either side of the Brantas River. The two villages are joined by an iconic yellow bridge overlooking the town. If you hadn’t thought of it already, the bridge is prime real estate for all you photo afficionados as both towns are visible from this vantage point. Inside the painted walls and under the multi-coloured umbrellas, you will find local merchants selling their hand-crafted goods as well as carefully-constructed murals with traditional Javenese figures such as wayang. It’s also not uncommon for locals to live there!

Photos courtesy of Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel Brings Back Women’s Expeditions with New Trips and Experiences

The trip range will feature hallmark experiences from the company’s original tours in addition to brand-new activities and destinations, in support of women in tourism affected by the COVID-19 pandemic


and equal from the COVID-19 crisis, policy, investment and action must be shaped by women and girls and deliberately target them.”

Not only will these trips include some of the signature experiences from past trips – they will also introduce new destinations, experiences, be led and hosted by new women, and seek to help support and empower communities that have been deeply affected by the pandemic.

Each Women’s Expedition trip will be guided by local female tour leaders and were created to break the barriers of traditional tourism, offering a deeper understanding of female culture in more conservative destinations that wouldn’t typically be feasible in mixed gender settings, and to challenge traditional gender boundaries in tourism, with the overall aim to encourage female empowerment and connect women from all walks of life.

ntrepid Travel – the B Corp certified world-leader in responsible travel – is reimagining its beloved Women’s Expeditions tour range, which has been on hiatus since early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic ceased international travel, by launching several new and newly redesigned tours for travelers.

This was an important consideration as Intrepid worked to bring this tour range back. A recent CSR Journal article noted: “Every crisis impacts women and girls differently than men, because of existing gender norms and inequalities. To build back better

After initially launching as a limited-edition range in 2018 with tours in Morocco, Jordan and Iran, the trips became some of the most popular in the company’s 30+ year history, prompting Intrepid to add tours in Turkey, Kenya, India and Nepal in 2019. Now in 2022, Intrepid will reintroduce them in countries that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Intrepid’s newly reimagined Expeditions will include:


India Women’s Expedition

Visitors will travel by public transport in the female-only carriage of the Delhi Metro and World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

explore the colorful bazaars and architectural delights of Old Delhi. They’ll head out into the remote dunes of the Thar Desert to spend a night under the stars with traditional food and dance performances by the local women – while the men go off and cook dinner. They’ll also jump on board the eyecatching pink rickshaws of Pink City Rickshaw Co, a non-profit, for a city tour. Not only did more women lose their jobs in India due to COVID-19 than men, but fewer are returning. Data shows there are 22% fewer women employed in India in 2021 than in 2019. The tourism industry in the country has long been male-dominated, and it is important to continue advocating for more opportunities for women in travel and tourism. Iran Women’s Expedition

Travelers will step inside the hidden world of an Iranian beauty salon, wander through a women-only park, and travel by public trans-

port in the women-only carriage of the metro, local buses and an overnight train. They’ll experience rural nomadic life with Qashqai people, meet female entrepreneurs and learn secret recipes from those in the know. This trip will expose visitors to a range of fascinating local women – young and old, religious and secular, conservative and liberal. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women in Iran, where women’s economic participation has dropped 20%. This trip shows the power of tourism as a force for good and as an economic driver in Iran’s recovery. Jordan Women’s Expedition

Travelers will spend a night in Wadi Rum and learn the traditional art of henna with Bedouin women, and discover how kohl has been used for years not just as a beauty product but to protect the eyes from the harsh desert sands. They’ll spend an afternoon at a local female-only beach, discover the Dead Sea, and visit stunning Petra. Visitors will also learn the art of Arabic cooking with their local host in her home and join a local female shepherd for a mezze breakfast where they’ll learn about her life, what a day as a female Jordanian shepherd is like, and how it has changed over the centuries.

will learn about traditional techniques and the importance of weaving to the women of the Umasbamba community in the Sacred Valley, and dine at Mama Seledonia's in Cusco, a restaurant that supports single mothers from underprivileged backgrounds by providing employment and culinary training. “Relaunching Women’s Expeditions is a significant and exciting step forward for Intrepid Travel, enabling us to continue our support for some truly inspirational women who rely on tourism to support themselves, their families and their communities – many of whom suffered greatly because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are eager to welcome tourists back,” said Erica Kritikides, General Manager of Global Product at Intrepid Travel. For more information on Intrepid Travel’s Women’s Expeditions, visit:


About Intrepid Travel Intrepid Travel is a world leader in sustainable experience-rich travel that has been taking travelers off the beaten track to discover the world's most amazing places for more than 30 years. The company offers more than 800 trips on every continent and every trip – whether closer to home or further afield - is designed to truly experience local culture. Travelers eat, sleep and get around the local way, going where the bigger groups can’t. With its own network of destination management companies in 23 countries, Intrepid has unique local expertise and perspectives. Globally renowned as a leader in responsible travel.

Morocco Women’s Expedition

On this trip, travelers will make their way through the ancient medina of Marrakech, getting lost in the labyrinth of pathways, shops and riads, until they arrive at Zineb’s doorstep for a home-cooked meal. Before the pandemic, Zineb was using her hospitality and passion for food to experience some financial independence and is now finally ready to welcome travelers into her home again to share a meal with her family. Travelers will also break bread with Berber families in private homes in remote areas, see how an artist co-op is empowering female rug-weavers in small villages, take in the verdant beauty of the far-flung M’goun Valley, and enjoy the singing and dancing of Moroccan women in cultural ceremonies in small villages. Peru Women’s Expedition

Travelers will follow in the footsteps of the Incas as they spend four days trekking the iconic Inca trail, accompanied by female porters, a role traditionally held by men, to visit Machu Picchu, hearing how history unfolded here from a female perspective. They’ll also take a walking tour of downtown Lima and visit a food stall, meeting the female owner to hear how the business has supported her children’s education. Visitors American World Traveler Spring 2022

chrome car accessories. Forget the velvet ropes of a traditional museum – visitors are encouraged to step right into these pieces of art.


Garnet Hill – Think semi-precious gemstone treasure hunt meets an extinct volcano. This incredible public recreation area has drawn national attention for its beautifully rich, dark red garnets, which were scattered after a volcano erupted 32-40 million years ago. While these garnets may not be the kind you find in your favourite jewelry store (with a correspondingly hefty price tag), the chance to hand-pick gems scattered atop high-desert dirt makes for fun memories — and free souvenirs! Alien Research Center – Almost everyone has

Travel Nevada Releases Inaugural "Seven Weirdest Wonders" List


ravellers looking for a super strange or off-the-beaten-path trip idea, look no further. Ahead of National Plan for Vacation Day 2022, a day that encourages people to plan their well-earned time off, Travel Nevada is releasing its inaugural list of the state’s Seven Weirdest Wonders. Just like the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are proof of humanity’s ingenuity, Nevada’s Seven Weirdest Wonders are definitive proof that the Silver State is filled with abundant unique places. However, these locations aren’t just fun to see and talk about – experiences like these can transform vacationers by opening their eyes to things they never imagined. The list was curated by the Travel Nevada team of experts who have travelled to every corner of the state. It includes historic, manmade, and natural places that have to be visited to be believed, all destinations specifically chosen for 2022 – as travel is expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, these locations will help visitors make up for lost time.

Republic of Molossia – Want to experience

international travel but not ready to really travel overseas? The Republic of Molossia has you covered. Just a few minutes east of

Nevada’s capital (Carson City), Molossia has been an official, independent, sovereign country inside of Nevada for more than 40 years. With 6.3 acres, Molossia has its own bizarre laws, as well as currency that’s tied to the value of cookie dough. Visitors can even have their passport stamped, as it’s recognized as a micronation. International Car Forest of the Last Church –

Rethink any preconceived notions of a typical forest with trees and greens. This open-air gallery comprises more than 40 graffitied cars, each a unique masterpiece. The “forest” has no artist statement or bulletin, so visitors are free to interpret the surrounding art in limitless ways. Clown Motel – If you haven’t stayed in a hotel since… well, who can even remember? – make the first overnight one you’ll never forget. The Clown Motel in Tonopah is the perfect place to get over your fear of clowns — or maybe make it worse? We’ll let you decide. No matter your goal, this motel has arguably the largest private collection of clown-themed memorabilia and is a landmark that makes Nevada unique. Oh, and did we mention it’s situated right next to a historic (allegedly haunted) cemetery? Of COURSE it is! Goldwell Open Air Museum – Among some

of the world’s most distinctive pieces of experiential art is the Goldwell Open Air Museum. More an “experience” than a “museum,” Goldwell boasts seven colossal structures, including a ghostly, life-size version of Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper; a 25-foot pink woman constructed of cinder blocks; and a gleaming tangle of American World Traveler Spring 2022

heard of Area 51. While you definitely can’t storm it (seriously, you’ll be arrested before you can say “ET”), you can go inside the Alien Research Center and get a feel for what those little green creatures might have found after crash-landing in the area. As the gateway to the world-famous Extraterrestrial Highway, the Alien Research Center is the perfect way to start your own alien hunt. Extraterrestrial enthusiasts and skeptics alike won’t want to miss stopping at the gift shop to stock up on various alien-related knick-knacks at this oneof-a-kind Nevada experience. Fly Geyser – Imagine digging a hole in the

middle of the desert and suddenly getting sprayed by hot water as if you hit a pipe. You walk away, only to learn that years later, that hole is still spewing, but is now a 12-foot geyser with a rainbow of coloured rocks surrounding it. That’s essentially how Fly Geyser came to be, and, after more than 100 years since the first “pipe” was hit, people can still come see this ever-spewing natural fountain in all its beauty. Whether visitors experience one or all seven of Nevada’s Weirdest Wonders, they’ll leave with a travel story that will forever remind them of the Silver State's unanticipated allure. Travellers are reminded to bring a charged phone to take photographic evidence of what they’ve seen and encountered. To share stories with others who’ve experienced the Seven Weirdest Wonders, visitors can tag #WeirdNevada.

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Tasting your Way Around Versalles, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Article and photography by Steve Gillick


ersalles is a friendly, relaxed, walkable neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta, located across the main boulevard from the Hotel Zone. This culinary paradise is known for its trendy restaurants and bars that feature upscale taste at reasonable prices. Certainly the line-ups testify to the drawing power of taste bud bliss. And a great way to meet the chefs and sample the food is to sign up, with Vallarta Food Tours. Miel Garcia met us at Abulón Antojeria Del Mar (Abalone, craving of the sea), the first of several stops we would make. The specialty is Chef Sebastian Bautista’s Shrimp Taco Al Pastor where his personal touch includes a dollop of avocado sauce, fresh cilantro, pickled red onions, pineapple, salsa negra and hot chile arbol, served in a hand-made blue corn tortilla. Miel explained that “corn has been in our lives for thousands of years. It’s part of our intangible heritage. Sauce is the flavour

American World Traveler Spring 2022

enhancer and, well, Mexicans care about Salsa”. It was a great taste sensation. El Puerco de Ora, the Golden Pig, is a short walk away. The menu features one food item: Pork Belly Tacos. After you order your choice of carnitas style (pulled pork), pork with salsa verde, or pork with bean and cheese, you add your own toppings: Chile Morita, Cremosa, Salsa Verde, Habanero Pepper, plus a selection of fresh onion, coriander, cabbage, radish, pickled onion, cucumber and japapeno pepper. Facebook reviews give El Puerco de Ora 4.8 out of 5 with the typical comment, “the best pork belly tacos you’ll eat in Puerto Vallarta”. (We agree) Down the road is Grill El Chinelo, where Chef Jose Gonzalez, led us through the ‘make your own tortillas’ exercise. He told us that the rule of thumb was to press hard on the handle of the tortilla press and then throw the tortilla on the grill. “If the tortilla

puffs, it means the corn dough is fresh…if not, then change your corn”! We had the marinated Longanza taco (beef, pork and cured meat), along with Horchata, an agua fresca (fresh water) drink blended with fresh fruit. The tastes were remarkable! And then we headed for Cervecería Los Cuentos. The three featured beers include Biguidibela (Bat), a Chocolate Stout, Kumúkite (Wolf People), a Tropical IPA, and Atotolin (Pelican), a Lager Dorada. Patrons can scan the label of each bottle on the app, to learn about local legends. Fascinating! The snacks at the bar are pretty amazing too. The Shrimp Broth is thick and tasty, and the Guacamole with optional dried crickets, is creamy, crunchy and scrumptious. To add to the ambiance, Chef Noe Gonzalez and Beer Sommelier Diego Castillo are very friendly. Highly recommended! The restaurants we visited were only a sample of the culinary bliss found in Versalles. It’s definitely an area to explore when in Puerto Vallarta.

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by Anne-Marie Macloughlin

Waterfalls, Wilderness and Eyjafjallajokul With a less than tropical climate and the eruption of Eyjafjallajokul in 2010, Iceland is not your typical destination. Still, there is something about it that is appealing in a Lord of the Rings way. Icelandair flights to many European cities make regular stop-overs in Reykjavik, my recent trip to Sweden providing the perfect opportunity to schedule a whirlwind detour to this mysterious island. The Viking Horse At 8am, the jeep arrived, driven by Hlynur, our cheerful English-speaking guide. Shortly after departing the city, we saw tourists enjoying a horse-riding excursion. The Icelandic Horse is the purest in the world, and no other breed exists on the island. They are often referred to as ponies, due to their diminuitive size - and the lack of an Icelandic word meaning ‘pony’). Legends and the Falls Pointing out a distant peak, Hlynur informed us this was Eyjafjallajokul , pronounced ayafa- yatta-yo-koot-l . Helpfully abbreviated by the media to E15, there have been no significant eruptions since 2010. Iceland is also famous for its waterfalls . As a contrast to the drama of a belching volcano, we stopped at the 40 metre high Seljalandsfoss waterfall, near E15. Behind the American World Traveler Spring 2022

falls lies a path; legend has it that this is a popular spot for a lady to propose marriage. If her paramour declines, then it’s a wet goodbye. Hlynur could have been joking, but it made for a good story. Skogafoss Falls is a good 20 metres higher than Seljalandsfoss, with a 400-step hike to the top (Note: bring comfy shoes). From the summit I glimpsed Reynisdrangar , the black sand beach, and our next destination. Three tall stacks of basalt rock rise out of the sea; legend has it, they are the remnants of three trolls that tried to drag a ship ashore, then turned to stone as the sun came up. Observing the roiling surf, it was easy to see how such legends took flight. The Gullfoss waterfall is actually two separate waterfalls originating from the Hvita River, visible only by standing right at the edge of its banks, and one of the famous stops on the Golden Circle, along with the original geysirs and the rift valley of Þingvellir. Heading into Þingvellir National Park, we saw scrubby vegetation and a landscape more suited to an alien planet. This was ‘No-man’s Land’, where the tectonic plates shifted, separating North America and Eurasia. Iceland’s first national park, it remains an important part of the country’s heritage. Letting off Steam Next stop - the geysirs (to use the traditional

spelling). From the Norse word geysa, meaning to gush or rush forth, the Great Geysir, which others were named after, has been dormant for decades. Little brother Strokkur, however, belches steam and boiling water approximately every five minutes, up to 100 feet in the air. The geyser park is fun to walk through, with its bubbling streams and multicoloured mineral –rich paths. Remember – this IS boiling water we’re talking about, so no paddling. A Furry Farewell Heading back to Reykjavik, I mentioned that I’d wanted to see the horses, but wasn’t able to fit it into this trip. Spotting a nearby paddock, our wonderful guide pulled over, where several of these beauties trotted up to the fence, happy to see us. As an unusually friendly one nuzzled my shoulder, I made a promise to myself and my equine friends: to return to this magical place and ride off into the wilderness – Lord of the Rings style.


Qatar Air ways Qsuite Sets Precedent in Air Travel by Olivia Balsinger


alavanting around the world just got a whole lot easier–and a whole lot more glamorous. Qatar Airways has proved that travel–even luxury travel–does not have to break the bank. Further, the airline is an industry leader in aviation travel that doesn’t create extra headaches or grievances.

My Qsuite Journey

And with direct flights to Doha from more than 150 destinations on every inhabited continent, Qatar Airways is genuinely connecting the world. As one who typically loathes flying, I was disappointed when

I was fortunate to travel Qsuite -the first of its kind in business class-which provided me complete privacy when I wanted it, along with ambient mood lighting and a fully flatbed. I have flown business or first

the flight attendant woke me up as we descended into Doha’s dawn on an overnight from New York City. Qatar’s Qsuite (Business Class) was undoubtedly the finest flying experience of my life Here’s why:

class on many airlines, but Qatar Airways sets the new standard. The lovely stewardess who greeted me as I stepped onto the flight showed me all of the (countless) amenities travelers with this airline class receive. Afterward, she smiled and told me I had the option to close my curtains, which ultimately sealed my belief that I wasn’t on an airplane but in the comfort of my cozy living room. Even better, had I been traveling with my husband or other family members, we could have even chosen seats amenable

metropolis? The possibilities were endless. The most difficult decision I made was to commence with a French onion soup or escargot (of course, my answer was oui to both!) The Quite menu adheres to the structure of a four-course meal - with soup, appetizers, and desserts – with a post-sleep 'breakfast' (starters and mains) as the final destination is in sight. Of course, there are lighter options available that can be enjoyed at any time during the flight. The stewardess went out of her way, surprising me with champagne and chocolate when landing in Doha and with Maha Gold Service (meet and greet’ service) both during arrival and departure. I felt like royalty in the air. Stopover Program

It gets even better. Until discovering oil in 1939, Qatar cultivated its most significant profit and recognition from pearl diving. But it has since grown, making its considerable mark on the tourism map. Typically, accommodation is one of the costliest expenses on vacation. However, travelers can alleviate this cost when they transit via Doha for a few days with Qatar Airway’s Stopover Program. This generous program waives visa fees from eighty countries. It also provides accommodation at luxury four or five-star hotels, such as InterContinental Doha or Souq Waqif Boutique Hotel for two nights—for a mere USD 100 booking fee! to a four-person work area or even a double bed. Imagine that-flying with a partner and given the luxury of a double bedheck, airplanes become more comfortable and luxurious than home! And how often do we dread long airplane rides simply due to the pit of hunger that manifests after barely being able to digest airplane food? The airline also provides business class passengers an “a la carte” dining option, making my constant hunger more manageable. Was I on a flight or in a five-star restaurant in the center of a

A Whole New World

Once landed in Doha, I was equally blown away. Indeed, Doha itself has proven to be a significant tourism draw. The city is significantly smaller than Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which allows it to keep its slightly provincial feel. While travelers can still find modern high-end innovations, such as Doha Festival City with an Angry Birds theme park, Qatar stays true to its heritage in several ways. I visited the Souq Waqif, one of the most traditional in the

Middle East, to find pearl shops and 27 tea shops where men still gather to play Dama’s classic game. Whether eating traditional Qatari food or getting whimsically bewildered in the labyrinth of people watching, the Souq is not to miss. Qatar is also equally modern, as it is timeless. The sheer decadence and luxury found within Qatar’s hotels are reason enough to visit. Take The Mondrian Doha, in Doha’’s West Bay Lagoon neighborhood. The property’s 270 rooms have views of the human-made Pearl Island. I enjoyed a luxurious detoxing massage much-needed swim in the penthouse pool. The hotel epitomizes dual elegance and creativity, described as Alice in Wonderland in real life, the whimsical architecture by famed Dutch designer Marcel Wanders. One misconception among Western tourists is that because Qatar is primarily governed under Sharia Law, there are zero legal drinking opportunities. However, five-star international hotels are allowed to sell alcohol to foreigners. Two Qatari hotspots are found in The Mondrian, Masaharu Morimoto's new Morimoto Doha, and the bespoke Black Orchid club. Finally, there are only two countries where the desert sand meets Qatar and Namibia’s ocean. Few things spike adrenaline more than a safari in a 4X4 through Qatar’s vast desert, about an hour and a half ride from Doha city center. The radio is blasting Arabian-French techno music as a white Land Cruiser picks up speed. The experienced guide smiles slightly mischievously and revs the engine before accelerating through this stunning natural oasis as the sound of sand descending the slopes overwhelms. Q-Explorer Tours is a professional tour operator that handles individual and group guided arrangements, catering to specific itinerary desires and budgets. In addition to dune bashing, the company provides many other opportunities to explore Qatar’s culture, gastronomy, and natural beauty.

American World Traveler Spring 2022

Travel personality Steve Gillick’s book tells of worldwide explorations

Gillick eating a crunchy cricket at a Raicelleria in Puerto Vallarta

'A Symphony Of Camels' was decades in the making by Ian Stalker, reprinted courtesy of Travel Courier


fter over 40 years of hitting the road and to date setting foot in 84 countries while doing so, Toronto travel personality Steve Gillick has decided to use the written word to share his love of travel with others. Gillick, well known in travel agent circles, has just completed A Symphony of Camels, which recounts many of his travel experiences over the decades.

opened the eyes of many people to the beauty of nature. There is a need to spend more time outdoors and in many cases, this translates into an exercise in healthfulness, wellness and the need to expend some energy: doing something physically satisfying; getting off the beaten track; adding to those social media postings, and making the traveller feel

The unusual name recalls Gillick’s visit to an Egyptian camel market, where a man waved a baton-like stick while directing the camels to a water trough, doing so in a manner suggestive of an orchestra conductor guiding musicians. And unusual experiences like that have led Gillick to believe that seeing the world and its disparate cultures is “unbelievably enriching! Using some of today’s marketing terminology, travel is regenerative, transformative, aspirational and inspirational. And in the context of the COVID pandemic, I like to note what nature-historian David Attenborough has said: That the pandemic has actually World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

that they have accomplished something. This can be as simple as walking or riding a bicycle to explore a city, as opposed to taking a coach or a taxi. “And then there is the whole foodie phenomenon where travellers want to taste the destination and pamper their taste buds. In food terms, Umami is often used to describe the incredibly satisfying mouth-feel and sheer pleasure of eating something. Umami can also be used to describe how enriching the travel experience can be.” The at-times humorous book deals with both mundane travel issues like folding a map, crossing streets and bargaining in markets, and more non-mainstream ones, such as different ways to gaze at mountains and “planning a travel-regenerative experience in one of the five cities that soothe the soul.”

About to embark on a very wet motorized dinghy excursion in Witless Bay, NL to photograph the Puffins.

Gillick says readers will be better prepared to travel when they see the possibilities of “what else” they can do in a destination, adding travellers can get more out of the place they’re visiting by engaging with locals. “Even in countries where you don’t speak the

language, you can have a blast,” he advises. “I just returned from a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, where, through one of our connections, we hooked up with a guide for a day trip outside the city to photograph birds in Teotitlan, visit the Sunday market in Tlacolula and explore the street art in San Martin Tilcajete. The guide spoke no English. I don’t speak Spanish. But it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had anywhere. “I often cite the opening line of the song Wooden Ships, sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: ‘If you smile at me I will understand, cuz that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language.’ “It’s so true. My precious travel memories involve the people I’ve met. I want to use this in the sense of ‘infectious-enthusiasm by example’ to prepare other travellers for great memories. “I love to try to open people’s eyes to get the most out of the travel experience and in my mind that includes conversations with locals, throwing caution to the wind from time to time and interacting with a destination, rather than just observing it. This book is my attempt to convey my passion for travel to those who already travel, as well as those who haven’t started to travel yet.”

Gillick — who admits to being passionate about travel writing — actually decided to pen the book while waiting for the ticket office to open in Istanbul’s Dolmabace Palace. “I was alone in the city after an ‘interesting’ guided tour and I thought up a phrase to describe what I was feeling: Determined and positive action always counters apprehended fear. I started to write some thoughts down. That was in 1989. Every few years I would read what I had written, edit it, add to it and well, 32 years later, the book was ready. My next book will probably not take that long to finish.” Meanwhile, Gillick says his enthusiasm for travel hasn’t waned after over four decades of wandering the world. “I was in the Yucatan in November, then Puerto Vallarta, San Blas, San Pancho and Oaxaca in December,” he reports. “As more countries open, our options will expand. A return to Japan in 2022, is a definite go! And there is a whole slew of new countries to add to my list, that I will be exploring this year and beyond.”

“Buy the book in paperback or as an ebook! ” he suggests. “For those who travel, it’s a great ‘hey I did that too…thanks for reminding me’-type read, and for those who are waiting to travel, it’s an excellent way to get those travel endorphins all stirred up. As I say in the book, ‘it’s time to get stoked again about travel!’ A Symphony Of Camels is available at

And he hopes his book will inspire others to pack their bags and explore our planet.

American World Traveler Spring 2022


Afro-Puerto Rican Culture: Town of Piñones


nown as Libertos, Puerto-Ricans of African lineage were transported to the island dating back to the first arrival of Kingdom of Kongo born Juan Garrido in 1509. Today, you can visit the town of Piñones where its rich culture, music and art is attributed to enslaved ancestors from hundreds of year ago. Piñones is a picturesque ocean drive from Carolina to Loíza where you can enjoy local dining experiences and practice what Puerto Ricans call chinchorreo. Sample delicious specialties while you hop from food stand to food stand and go back and forth to the beach. Enjoy the peaceful waves at La Pocita or Vacía Talega, two secluded beaches where you can go swimming or soak in the sun. Food

Food is an integral part of Puerto Rican identity. It's the centerpiece of most celebrations, it brings family and friends together, and is the ultimate expression of love. Traditional criollo cuisine reflects the Island's cultural and historical heritage, and as the modern culinary scene evolves, it also reflects the changes in modern Puerto Rican society.

The Piñones neighborhood of the town of Loíza is where you'll find several miles of openair restaurants serving local fritters known as frituras, fresh fruit frappe stands, and a handful of beachfront seafood restaurants. Try the alcapurrias, empanadillas (also known as pastelillos), and arepas which can be stuffed with ground beef, chicken, fish, or seafood. Save room for bacalaítos, a fried codfish dough, and piononos, ground beef wrapped in sweet plantain. Dance, Music, Arts, and Culture

Before there were styles like salsa and reggaetón, there was bomba. The name does not only refer to the ancient music genre, but it is also the name of the instruments and the dance that accompanies the music. Bomba is everything. Brought to Puerto Rico by enslaved ancestors hundreds of years ago, most of the Island’s cultural expressions evolve from it. The music can be an upbeat holandé, which is played and danced with great enthusiasm or a yubá, which is more somber and spiritual. It was the enslaved Africans’ method of expressing themselves and, although it originated in Puerto Rico, it echoes across the Caribbean. The songs, many of which are still sung today, showcased the lamento among the sugarcane plantation workers, who bared their collective souls during gatherings There are many places where you can learn this Puerto Rican tradition and immerse yourself in a complete cultural experience. Schools like the Don Rafael Cepeda School of Bomba or El batey de los Hermanos Ayala are now

American World Traveler Spring 2022

teaching bomba drumming and dancing to new generations. Meanwhile, you can enjoy a night of live percussion, songs, and dance at places like La Terraza de Bonanza in Santurce, El Boricua in Río Piedras, La Vergüenza in Old San Juan, and others that offer weekly performances. One of Puerto Rico’s newest African art exhibitions, NEGRO/A/X Art Exhibit at Casa Afro in Piñones, highlights 20 Afro-Puerto Rican artists. Landmarks

At Aviones beach, you can enjoy a swim in a naturally occurring tide pool. If you feel like exercising, rent bikes or walk along the boardwalk through the Piñones State Forest. The Pinones State Forest features a wood trail, diversity of trees and animals, and a breeze of fresh air is the perfect combination for a day in the outdoors and what you'll find at the Bosque Estatal de Piñones. In this state forest, you'll find the most extensive natural system of mangroves in all of Puerto Rico. Additionally, while enjoying the trail, you’ll also find reefs, seagrass meadows, salt flats, islets, and dunes. This natural wonderland is home to animals like crabs, sea turtles like the leatherbacks, and birds.

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Bamboo Forest ,Kyoto

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Masai Mara, Kenya

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Venice, Italy

Mt Cook, New Zealand

Feluccas on the Nile

Hornbill Featival, Nagaland, India

Church of the Holy Scapular, Jerusalem

Red Lizard Train, Tunisia

Sea Turtle, Caribbean

Perfume river, Vietnam

Dubai Skyline

Long-tail boats, Thailand

Snorkeling Fun

Warrior, Flores, Indonesia

African Elepants

Santorini, Greece

Salt Caravan, Djibouti

Rice Fields, Ubud, Indonesia

Peruvian Family

Dim Sum, Hong Kong

Li River, Guilin, China

Mount Fuji, Japan

Skiing, the French Alps

Top Reasons to Visit Malta Malta and its sister islands Gozo and Comino, an archipelago in the Mediterranean, boast a year round sunny climate. In addition to Maltese, English is spoken and it is a safe destination, much less crowded than mainland Europe. From it’s remarkable 7000 years of history, diverse culinary offerings, and an endless calendar of events and festivals - there is truly something to suit all interests in Malta. Malta is a member of the EU and the currency is Euros.

Valletta: The European Capital Culture 2018, travelers will find themselves engulfed in the rich history and religious attractions that make up this Maltese Capital. Built by the Knights of St. John, the city that is bustling by day and now by night, will transport you back in time with its historic architecture and old world atmosphere. The narrow streets will lead you to historical landmarks, quaint coffee shops and elaborate churches.


A Diverse Culinary Experience: Malta

Gozo and Comino: A trip to Malta

isn’t complete without a visit to Malta’s two sister islands, Gozo and Comino. The more rural island, Gozo, is a perfect change of pace for those looking for authenticity and a more relaxed and quaint stay. The island also comes complete with historical sites, forts and amazing panoramas, as well as one of the archipelago's best-preserved prehistoric temples, Ġgantija. Situated between Malta and Gozo, is a water lover’s paradise. Home to the most spectacular diving, snorkeling and boating experiences, the car-less island is home to the magnificent Blue Lagoon and the one single hotel on the island offers guests the most tranquil getaway.

offers travelers a diverse culinary experience, from the traditional plate of eclectic Mediterranean food curated by a relationship between the Maltese and the countless civilizations that occupied the island, to the never-ending vineyards delivering the finest wine. Malta has been put on the gourmet cuisine map with five Michelinstarred restaurants and award winning chefs with a total of 31 restaurants listed in the Michelin 2021 guide including 3 Bib Gourmand and 23 Michelin Plates. Not to be missed, the local street foods including the famous Maltese Pastizzi (cheese or pea filled pastries).

Film Location Tourism: In recent

Year Long Events /Festivals Calendar:

years, Malta has become one of Europe's most popular film and television locations - dubbed "the Mediterranean's mini-Hollywood" by the London Times. The Maltese Islands are home to countless blockbusters like Gladiator, Popeye, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Most famously, the city of Mdina was home to the filming of HBO’s Game of Thrones, as the fictional city of King’s Landing.

With a year long calendar of events and festivals, there is rarely a dull moment in Malta with a unique, culturally immersive experience always waiting around the corner. With events like the Malta Arts Festival to Classic Car Races and the Rolex Middle Sea Sailing Race, there’s a niche for everyone.

The Dive Trail: Coming in as the third

best diving destination two years in a row, all three Maltese islands offer unique diving experiences with an abundance of reefs, caves and wrecks each dive proves itself to be a momentous experience. For the ultimate diving adventure, take on the Dive Trail. Travelers can use this trail map as an underwater guide highlighting the most unique characteristics of Malta from underneath. Discover the Azure Reef, The Blue Hole and Coral Gardens as your swim past shipwrecks while swimming through Malta’s clear blue water.

Health and Wellness: The Maltese Islands are the perfect place to take time for your health and wellness, including state of the art, luxury spas. The fresh island air gives travelers the energy to walk or cycle through the beautiful scenery, or embrace some more adventurous activities like rock climbing or paragliding.

About Malta

Luxury for Less: Malta delivers the ulti-

mate recipe for luxury, featuring a diverse range of luxury accommodations from five star properties, luxury boutique hotels, to historic palazzos and farmhouses. Visitors can also enjoy curated experiences from after hour tours of historic sites to chartering a yacht. All this luxury for less in Malta compared to similar accommodations and exclusive tours in mainland Europe. Nightlife: Typical of the Mediterranean

lifestyle, locals' approach to life is to enjoy it as much as possible, giving Malta a lively and cheerful nightlife constantly. From clubbing and DJ’s, to classical orchestras, to traditional band music; nights on the Maltese Islands are never dull.

Religion: With more than 360 churches and chapels scattered across Malta and Gozo, these religious sites form an integral part of the country’s history, landscape and skyline – they are at the heart of Maltese social and cultural life. St. Paul brought the Christian faith to Malta when he shipwrecked in A.D. 60, as his steps can be retraced through the shrines, grottos, catacombs, and more. Jewish travelers will also find a fascinating Jewish history and heritage on the Maltese Islands. Malta is home to religious experiences far beyond the ordinary and is a mustsee religious destination.

The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nationstate anywhere. Valletta built by the proud Knights of St. John is one of the UNESCO sights and the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta's patrimony in stone ranges from the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire's most formidable defensive systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military architecture from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.

American World Traveler Spring 2022


A Journey of the Senses

At the crossroads of Europe and Asia is Istanbul, with a rich history spanning over two thousand years. Strategically located on the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul is a vibrant city where east and west meet to create this unique cultural capital. Istanbul is home to an estimated 15 million inhabitants, built on seven hills, and topped by the minarets of over 3,000 mosques including the worldfamous Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia.


Mouth-watering tastes worth travelling for

It is the food that leaves the greatest impression. Traditional Anatolian staples such as doughy manti (dumpling), freshly squeezed juices sold on every street corner and sesame covered simit rolls, perfectly accompanied by Turkish çay (tea). The smell of fresh fish or rich Turkish coffee are often in the air.

Take flight in a hot air balloon at sunset

On everyone’s bucket list should be a hot air balloon flight at sunrise. People travel to Cappadocia from all over the world to take part in this spectacular sight of hot air balloons making their gentle flight over the valleys and fairy chimneys, lit up by the rising sun. Accommodation ranges from cool and rustic cave hotels to elegant and luxurious houses. Traditional Turkish baths (hamams) in which to relax and unwind is also a highlight. During your stay, venture into underground cities, cave churches and the outdoor museums to learn more about the history of this special place. Cappadocia is also famous for its wine, and a must experience element of your meal. The colourful Aegean coastal city of Izmir

In Western Anatolia on a bay of turquoise water is the Aegean coastal city of Izmir, where archaeological sites remind visitors of a rich history set against a backdrop of the hilltop Kadifekale castle. Spot one of the most famous landmarks of Izmir, the Clock Tower designed by French architect Raymond Charles Pere dating back to 1901. To enjoy the view and save your legs from the 155 steps connecting city streets, use the public elevator known as Asansör. Another alternative is the modern

European-style quarter of Karşıyaka which also offers excellent sea views. Notable nearby highlights are the enchanting ancient ruins of Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The nearby village of Çeşme is a charming gastronomic paradise with its whitewashed houses and blue painted windows. Turkish food in Izmir has many influences and flavours for every palate. Izmir meatballs, called köfte, are enjoyed across Turkey, made lovingly with local spices and served in a tasty tomato sauce. Try local specialty Kumru, the perfect on-the-go snack of sausage, cheese and tomato served in bread, or the delicious pastry Boyoz, which can only be found in Izmir and should not be missed!

The luxurious ancient port city of Bodrum


Rugged, rolling mountains meet the shores of the crystal blue Aegean Sea in the small city of Bodrum. The Aegean coastal city is spread across a double bay, mixing ancient and modern history. The city is home to the ancient Greek city of Halicarnassus, site of the Tomb of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Along the coastline is the well-preserved medieval Bodrum Castle which offers superb views and is home to the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Renowned for its unique "sugar cube" houses, Bodrum is one of Turkey’s gems and is fast becoming the first choice for holidaymakers the world over. Escape to small villages or enjoy the extravagance of its many five-star hotels and bustling nightlife, Bodrum is the place where the green of the forest meets the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Make sure your flight is part of the vacation

Vacation time is precious, so make every minute count by starting your trip the moment you step onto the plane. The award-winning products and services of Turkish Airlines’ Business Class provide an unparalleled experience with the utmost elegance. Prior to take off, passengers can benefit from extra baggage allowance, priority check-in and boarding, and access to Turkish Airlines Lounges. Relax in exclusive seats, with massage functions, that convert your seat into a 188 cm flat bed. Delight in gourmet dishes prepared and cooked to your taste by Flying Chefs, and enjoy comfort kits to maximize your wellness on-board. Business Class also offers a cutting-edge in-flight entertainment system, films in different languages, a wide assortment of audiobooks, a great range of music and much more. It boasts award-winning catering designed for any palate where you can enjoy international cuisine and local Turkish specialties such as ‘pide’ and ‘börek’ with fresh fruit juices and tea.

Going Further With

Tu r k i s h A i r l i n e s lowing reviews and exceptional food are the order of the day for this up-and-coming airline!


Part of the Star Alliance network, Turkish airlines (THY) offers service to Canadians from Toronto and Montreal, and connections to destinations all over the world from their hub in Istanbul. Building on their international reputation, THY has been climbing the ranks as a top provider and doing very well in Canada. With 321 destinations, and adding new ones at a rapid pace, THY welcome travellers with smiles and a friendly hello, though often with a charming accent! Their aircraft include A330s, A340s, B777s, B737-800s and B727-800s, all well maintained and laid-out with the customer in mind. Each section is designed with creature comforts taking front and centre. The seats throughout the plane are comfortable and the facilities are kept impeccably clean and

organized. Most Business Class passengers can expect either fully lie-flat seats or angled lie-flat seats that brings relaxation to a higher level. Comfort Class is Turkish Airlines' premium economy section is highlighted by slightly larger seats configured in two-by-three-bytwo rows, a large video screen and entertainment system with an iPod outlet and a laptop power outlet for each seat. Even passengers traveling in Economy Class can enjoy an above average trip, as all passengers enjoy the famed THY complimentary meal. Though multi-course meals are provided in Business Class on extended range flights, all passengers are treated to the award winning food served on board. Considering that THY deals with one of the world’s biggest (maybe the biggest) catering service and are partners with Do & Co., there is no surprise in the quality THY can offer!

Whether you are enjoying the wonders of Turkey for several weeks or only a few days as part of the Turkish Airlines Stopover Program, Turkish hospitality and wonder awaits. Are you ready to Widen Your World?

American World Traveler Spring 2022


Tr o p i c a l Ti d b i t s by Sue C Travel

Post pandemic paradises in the Caribbean

I won’t lie. It was no easy feat island hopping around the Caribbean recently with all the protocols. It was exhausting. But I was delighted to discover that so many islands took advantage of the enforced downtime to improve their tourism offerings on so many fronts. And now that restrictions are falling away everywhere, it’s time to book your tropical revenge trip. Let’s look at what’s new …

Aruba’s new elevated & interesting culinary venues

The number of exciting new dining locations is really on the rise. Literally. Now you can enjoy elevated private catered dining experiences at the very top of the iconic California Lighthouse brought to you by Experitours. And you can now dine once again at the top deck of the legendary historic big red windmill (De Olde Molen). Also elevated is the The Vue Rooftop Bar, a trendy supper club on top of the Cove Mall. And nearby, Radisson Blu’s Sunset Bistro is set upon a rooftop infinity pool. And though not in an elevated location, it’s the cuisine that’s elevated to the max at Chef Urvin Croes’ new Infini Chef’s Table experience in Eagle Beach. His culinary artistry is not to be missed.

Other new interesting venues downtown include the hip, cool affair of Patio 15 set around a historic restored monument building. And for the best freshly caught fish, Taste My Aruba has recently moved to a gorgeously restored century-old heritage house, too. Also new is Bochincha, a multi-story collection of food and drink food truck type kiosks made from old shipping containers. And speaking of food trucks, seek out the new one draped in Aruba flag colors near the airport called Big Poppa’s BBQ. Or dine wherever you like with Picnic Aruba that will set up a lavish spread on a beautiful beach. For more new, visit: Curaçao explodes with new art, cuisine, & culture

Punda Vibes festival is back! It’s a weekly Thursday night outdoor street party that ends with spectacular fireworks display over the water. And new outdoor art murals and installations have sprung up all around the historic barios (neighborhoods) of Willemstad. Seek out the latest in Scharloo and Otrobanda where you’ll also find trendy new cafes and bars settling in to enhance the newly minted cultural scene. Find Bario specializing in urban street food including dishes made with lionfish, or Ceviche 19 Gastrobar in the historic Rif Fort. Try their Blue Curaçao ceviche full of fresh fish and seafood, and yes, it is blue! World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

And now completed is the building-sized labyrinth Cathedral of Thorns, made entirely by hand using thorns. You’ll find it on the grounds of Landhuis Bloemhof. For new immersive experiences for foodies seek out the intimate backyard dining venue of Tableau Food Garden, or Vittle Art that offers truly special sensory encounters out in the countryside. And health and wellness fans will be happy that the annual yoga retreat is back, visit: On the new accommodation front, Zoëtry Curaçao Resort & Spa now offers guests a sophisticated and intimate all-inclusive experience. And the brand-new family-friendly Mangrove Beach Corendon Curaçao AllInclusive Resort also offers a great waterpark for kids. Read all about it on page 63. And for Curaçao’s underwater news year-round, visit: Bonaire rebounds with new attractions & resorts

Ever heard of “Blokarting”. It’s an adrenaline filled adventure of driving a wind powered wheeled cart with a sail on land. New Bonaire Landsailing Adventures has one of the longest tracks in the world, and they also offer a great combo adventure tour where you can also explore and snorkel in the island’s ancient caves. Then, there’s the unique Piedra So golf course where the greens are really red sand and there are meandering goats and donkeys as “hazards”. For new food and drink outlets seek out Hofi’s lovely urban garden setting or Tiki & Co for killer exotic hand-crafted cocktails. Also, exotic is the new dining spot at Delfins Beach Resort called Senang specializing in Asian delights. And an exciting new annual festival called Bonaire Rum Week will take place this June. On the accommodation front, Chogogo Dive & Beach Resort Bonaire is a brand-new sprawling complex near downtown and offers day passes to their property that includes a lazy river ride. And the new Senses Boutique Hotel and Apartments now offers a high-end luxurious urban stay for discerning travelers. New villa rentals continue to abound, too. SunRentals Bonaire has 30 villas to choose from. visit:


Crop over is back in Barbados!

Barbadians are jumping up for joy to learn that their beloved summer festival that celebrates the end of the sugar cane growing season will be back after a two-year hiatus. Historically, it has attracted thousands of visitors from across the globe who come to enjoy local heritage, culture, music, food, and dance. Events begin in May, but it’s the first Monday in August that’s the big-blow party when throngs of revelers hit the streets in carnival style. It’s called Grand Kadooment, and Barbadian born Rihanna often joins the parade. For a full calendar of the events, visit: New Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club Opens

Formerly the Resorts & Residences by CuisinArt before recently reopening as Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club, this stylish legendary collection of 178 spacious guestrooms, suites, and villas set upon 300 acres along the romantic Rendezvous Bay promises to continue to deliver the type of sophisticated barefoot luxury for the type of well-heeled and discerning travelers that this property has always been renowned for. They continue to add their own unique touches and refreshes but have not forgotten to remain down-to-earth to incorporate the island’s welcoming and friendly local style and experiences, and they continue to use the historic on-site hydroponic garden and orchard to help fuel the new American menu helmed by their culinary team. Remastering of the iconic 18-hole signature design championship course has also been done and overseen by Greg Norman Golf Course Design, and a serene sanctuary is discovered at the Sorana Spa with forward-thinking health and wellness programs and treatments. Visit: Sweet new Anguilla secret escape

If getting all fancy is not in your budget, then Anguilla also has a cute and charming new petite cottage style-studio called The Hummingbird available through Airbnb. Ensconce yourself in Caribbean comfort with a wonderful super host Trudy Nixon who

knows the island inside out as the publisher of True Anguilla, and operator of a new island TV channel for tourists. She has also authored two fun fiction books based on her life on and off the island. Nixon knows all the best spots to guide you to a stellar holiday there, and you have full access to all the spectacular beaches without the exorbitant price tag of the high-end resorts. Go shark tagging in Grand Exuma

As if there wasn’t enough to do at Grand Isle Resort & Residences, like playing golf at a championship course, swimming and sailing in emerald waters, luxuriating at the spa, indulging in gourmet dining, or simply enjoying the grandeur of their spacious villa accommodations… now, they’ve added something new. Shark tagging! They’ve teamed up with Beneath the Waves (BTW), to offer guests the opportunity to safely participate in this important initiative that helps to conserve marine life. BTW will also soon offer snorkelling with marine biologists as another environmentally mindful excursion. Both great ways to give back and feel good about being so pampered there. Visit:

Award-winning travel journalist Sue Campbell is based in Montreal but makes it her business to be on top of everything cool, hot, and new under the sun throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. World Traveler welcomes her as a regular columnist. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @suectravel American World Traveler Spring 2022








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C R U I S I N G SECTION Cruise News -

pages 42 - 43

Cruising Down the Mexican Riviera with Carnival Panorama - page 46 Aloha UnCruising in the Hawaiian Islands - page 48


How Cruises are Becoming More Accessible for Travelers - page 50 Celebrity Edge Review - page 51 L’Austral: Small ship delivers big perks - page 52


This Photo: Valletta, Malta

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Wo r l d ! American World Traveler Spring 2022

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Silversea’s Flagship Silver Nova℠ Takes Discerncing Travelers to New Horizons on 71-Day Grand Voyage to South America



Holland America Line’s ‘Alaska Up Close’ Programming Delivers Authentic Cultural, Culinary And Shoreside Experiences

Recently, Silversea Cruises® has launched its all-new 71-day Grand Voyage to Central and South America aboard Silversea’s latest ship Silver Nova℠. Setting sail on January 4, 2024, Silversea’s guests will journey deep into 38 destinations in 18 countries, travelling in the luxury cruise line’s trademark level of service aboard the soon-to-be-launched Silver Nova. For the first time, and for all subsequent Grand Voyages across the fleet, the Grand Voyage South America 2024 will include roundtrip business-class flights.

Hurtigruten Expeditions Announces New Epic Pole-to-Pole Expedition Cruises Close to 100 adventure-packed days; four continents and more than 100 landing sites; ever-changing climate zones and waters; world wonders both at sea and on land – all packed into one lifechanging expedition from the Arctic to Antarctica. The Pole-to-Pole Cruises combine iconic bucket-list destinations such as Alaska, Iceland, Greenland, the Northwest Passage, South America and Antarctica – with crossings such as the Arctic Circle, the Panama Canal and the Drake Passage. Two of the Pole-to-Pole itineraries are offered by the world’s most sustainable cruise ships, the small-sized battery-hybrids MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen. The third Pole-to-Pole expedition is offered by the custom-build expedition original, the then fully upgraded MS Fram. All the three epic adventures set sail in August 2023.


Travelers craving a tropical escape will have more options as new-luxury brand Celebrity Cruises® takes its 2023-2024 Caribbean season to new heights with the addition of its newest ship, Celebrity Ascent℠. With eight ships navigating the idyllic island region, including three from the award-winning Edge® Series, and itineraries ranging from 412 nights, guests will have more options to choose from when planning their dream vacation.

Alaska-focused workshops, presentations, interactions, shore excursions and more offer immersive perspective of The Great Land Holland America Line has been exploring Alaska since 1947, and the premium cruise line is putting 75 years of expertise into new “Alaska Up Close” programming — a 360° experience that immerses guests in The Great Land in a way that only Holland America Line can deliver. Through authentic experiences on board and ashore that focus on culture, cuisine and immersive adventures, “Alaska Up Close” allows guests to discover, taste and experience the real Alaska. Guests won’t just cruise Glacier Bay, they will discover its ecosystem from native tribe members and National Park Rangers. Guest won’t simply eat seafood, they will taste the salmon they caught that day and have it prepared by Holland America Line chefs. Alaska Up Close features local experts and personalities leading workshops and lectures, Explorations Central (EXC) Talks revealing the stories of real Alaskans, tours highlighting the best of each destination, Port to Table culinary immersion and local cuisine served in dining venues throughout the ship. EXC Talks Focus on History and Culture: Elevating the shipboard lecture, EXC Talks offer insight into local culture through the eyes of Alaskans with vivid imagery, compelling interviews and authentic stories.











Holland America

The Viking Mississippi Touches Water in Louisiana Beginning This Summer, Viking is Bringing Modern River Voyages to the Mississippi

Aqua Expeditions’ Aqua Blu to Resume Sailing in Indonesia this Spring Expedition Vessel to Kick Off BaliKomodo National Park Itineraries on April 30

43 Hurtigruten

Discover the Sunny Rivers of Southern Europe on a CroisiEurope Cruise



All Outside Staterooms: Guests can choose from an unparalleled seven spacious stateroom categories that range from 268 sq. ft to 1,024 sq. ft.

Explorers’ Lounge & The Bow: Familiar to Viking’s ocean guests as one of the most popular onboard public spaces, the Viking Mississippi will also feature an Explorers’ Lounge near the bow of the ship.

Aqua Blu’s Bali-Komodo National Park itineraries include off-the-beaten-path adventures, such as visiting the legendary Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, snorkeling with gentle whale sharks, and kayaking along the remote bays and stunning landscapes for which Komodo National Park is known.







Viking Suites: The Viking Mississippi will have some of the largest true suites and the firstever wraparound private verandas on the river.

Aqua Blu will kick off this year with groups and private charters in April and May; guests will be able to embark on Aqua Blu directly upon international arrival. Individual travelers and FIT bookings will begin sailing on June 4. Guests will enjoy full access to the expedition vessel's amenities, immersive five-star culinary experiences, and daily waterbased excursions on private tenders.


In Italy, Venice and its lagoon, a gourmet cruise of 5 days, including excursions: San Marco Basilica, Murano, the island of glassmakers and its art craftsmen, gourmet discovery of the hidden districts of Venice, Padua, the emblematic city of Saint Anthony. Every day, the Chef creates delicious menus with local, authentic Italian flavours: Liguria, Puglia, Tuscany, Veneto, Roman Emilia and Lazio.

Hosting 386 guests in 193 all outside staterooms, the new state-of-the-art Viking Mississippi is inspired by Viking’s award-winning river and ocean ships and will feature elegant Scandinavian design, as well as public spaces that are familiar to guests but reimagined for Mississippi River voyages. Purpose-built for the Mississippi, the five-deck ship’s cutting-edge design, expansive windows and comfortable amenities will make it the largest and most modern ship in the region. Highlights of the new ship include:


In Spain, an exclusive 8-day cruise in the heart of Andalusia and its traditions, gastronomy and flamenco along the Guadalquivir. The must-sees: Seville, steeped in history, Cordoba and its mosquecathedral, Cadiz, the cradle of flamenco, a visit to an Andalusian horse stud farm, Jerez, migratory bird watching in a natural park, tasting of regional products in a bodega with a special highlight: Granada and the Alhambra Palace.

The Viking Mississippi

Aqua Expeditions, a global leader in luxury small ship expeditions, announces the return of the Aqua Blu in eastern Indonesia. On April 30, 2022, Aqua Blu will resume operations in Indonesia, offering seven-night voyages from Bali to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Komodo National Park.


In Portugal, a new 8-day itinerary to discover the soul and gastronomy along the Douro. There are many places to visit: Porto and its azulejos, the fishing village of Afurada, the traditions of the sea, Penafiel and its museum, a land rich in history and nature, the Douro Museum in Regua, Favaios and the Bread Museum, the quintas producing Port and olive oil, with a special highlight: the centuries-old estate and gardens of the Quinta da Aveleda.

Viking® has recently celebrated that the new 386-guest Viking Mississippi® was “floated out” in Louisiana, marking a major construction milestone and the first time the ship has touched water. Set to debut in June 2022, the Viking Mississippi will sail Viking’s highlyanticipated voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi River, between New Orleans and St. Paul.


Head south to the sunny rivers with CroisiEurope to take advantage of the mild climate. The Douro in Portugal, the Guadalquivir in Spain and the Po in Italy are available to travellers in search of the good life. From March onwards these cruises, operated on intimate-sized ships, will enable travellers to take full advantage of the spring with a launch offer.


Cruising Down the Mexican Riviera with Carnival Panorama by Olivia Liveng


y husband, Jonathan, kept anxiously asking me a variation of the same question over and over as we drove to Long Beach Cruise Terminal in anticipation of our voyage aboard Carnival Panorama: “But isn’t Carnival for families? What will we do to entertain ourselves the whole time?”

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

His whining questions were almost immediately quelled, however, when we arrived at the dome-shaped terminal. Yes, there were families with little children and Disney suitcases scurrying towards the entryway. But, more so, there were couples like the two of us: young, eager to explore diverse new ports with open minds and relax with a cocktail on the forward lounge deck on

sailing days. We sailed from Long Beach, California, on a seven-day cruise winding down the Mexican Riviera. Carnival may be stereotyped as the most “family-friendly” of the other ships in the Carnival family–namely Seabourn and Princess–but, boy, were we in for a treat in terms of luxury, service, and quality.

in Long Beach a few hours early to explore this more laidback beach town. Long Beach is home to The Queen Mary, a historic floating hotel conveniently based adjacent to the cruise port. I suggest any history buffs arrive at the dock early to have time to explore Her Majesty and meander the sleepy beach town. After the sail away ceremony, the ship begins its journey down the Mexican Riviera, with three unique ports planned. The first Puerto Vallarta allowed Carnival guests to be as busy or lowkey as desired. This beachside paradise is especially famed for its myriad of water activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, jetskiing, and lazily swimming in the crystal turquoise waters. Jonathan and I enjoyed strolling the cobblestoned streets, searching for the most authentic street tacos (and yes, we were successful in our endeavors!) Other cruise patrons enjoyed more exhilarating adventures, including excursions to the jungle with ziplining, hiking, and even waterfall-repelling some of the possibilities.

Long Beach to the Western Coast of Mexico

Sailings out of Long Beach are not only convenient for southern Californians but provide ample opportunity to first explore Los Angeles for travelers flying in. Jonathan and I opted to arrive in The City of Angels a day before the cruise to see all the touristy hotspots that had been on our bucket lists: selfies at The Hollywood Sign, star viewing at The Griffith Observatory, and celebrity spotting on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The day our cruise commenced, we arrived

tequila tasting, tortilla making, and 47 even a camel ride on the beach. Jonathan and I instead opted to find comfy couches on the Havana Deck (the exclusive deck only for guests staying in a Havana suite on deck five) and drink a margarita while witnessing the jaw-dropping surroundings of the port. After all, we were only a few hundred meters from sites like the Arch of Cabo San Lucas, a distinctive rock formation that the city is famous for. However, we were assured by all our friends onboard that exploring on land was equally stunning and fulfilling. As we sailed back to Long Beach a little more sunburnt and a few pounds heavier (thanks to all those delicious Mexican street tacos!), we enjoyed our last days aboard Carnival Panorama. We saw magic shows and cheered on our favorite singers in karaoke competitions. We participated in a silent dance party and got so close with our nightly waiter, Emilio, in the dining room that I vowed to see him again something, wherever it may be.

The cruises’ day in Mazatlan, a lively and romantic town with equal parts historical and natural draws, is another favorite for passengers, Jonathan and I included. We enjoyed a Carnival excursion on this day, hiking as a group to the top of El Faro Lighthouse, one of the highest lighthouses in the world (and thank goodness we left early in the morning because the sun gets hot quickly!) The city has only recently been reintroduced to cruising itineraries, but this “tropical neoclassical” hotspot, with over 20 kilometers of pristine beach, certainly contributed positively to our Mexico experience. It felt less charted by Western tourists, thereby being more authentic and less gimmicky.

But then Jonathan, the King of Doubt before the voyage, said something that surprised me. “Why can’t we keep that promise to them by booking another Carnival cruise? What about that next voyage Emilio will be on? Let’s look at our schedule and see if we can make it happen!”

That saying about saving the best for last? It was pretty on target for our final stop aboard Carnival Panorama. We sailed into Cabo San Lucas early in the morning, just as the light started making shadow puppets on the beige rocks that surround the town’s harbor. Carnival guests had the option for cultural excursions at this port, including

I laughed. “You’re not the same pessimistic husband who pulled up to Long Beach not even a week ago.” He shrugged his shoulders as a smile escaped. That’s all I needed to see: it took one week aboard Carnival Panorama to convince my husband that he could be a big cruise person, but this may be his preferred type of travel in the future.

American World Traveler Spring 2022


Aloha UnCruising in the Hawaiian Islands Article by Lisa TE Sonne, photography courtesy of Uncruise Adventures


es, a one-week vacation can make a difference to your physical, spiritual, and mental health. It can shed stress like flinging off a winter coat and smiling at the sun. It can remind you that the world is full of beauty and joy and wonder. To “test the waters” on such thoughts, I headed to Hawaii as a guest on a quest with UnCruise Adventures, hoping for a health retreat and rejuvenation. On the first morning of the one-week, small-boat trip through the Hawaiian

Photo: Lisa TE Sonne

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

Islands, 10 of us breathed deeply, our arms reaching up in a yoga stretch toward white clouds. Paul, our full-time "wellness coach," was leading us in poses on top of the threedecker Safari Explorer, with the lush greens of Hawaiian islands and the deep blues of the Pacific Ocean in view. We were exhaling fully when, 150 yards ahead of us, a geyser of water spouted upward — a humpback whale showed us its own exhalation. Then the multi-ton creature of grace dove and flipped its tail, so it

looked like black and white wings gliding into the depths of the sea. I've been to Hawaii many glorious times for work and play, but I had never seen the islands from the perspective of a sea traveler. I liked the idea of going from one volcanic dollop of paradise to another by water — without lots of packing and airport time. I wanted to wake up off-shore in the whale's home, not onshore with tourists. And I've learned from past voyages, in other parts of the world, that when nature

is the entertainment, I appreciate the intimacy of a smaller ship. We island-hopped from the Kona coast of the "Big Island" of Hawaii to Maui, to Molokai, to Lanai — with each day offering water and land activities between wholesome meals that were wickedly delicious. (There was a full-time pastry chef onboard, so we had to exercise.) The enthusiastic crew members were the counsellors you wanted for a summer camp you could only dream about — one with sea turtles, tropical fish, and daily expeditions to go look for whales. Also one with a free healing massage for each guest, suites with Jacuzzi bathtubs, and restaurant-quality food from surf and turf options to desired dishes without meat, dairy, or gluten. I loved that the playtime (aka, "exercise") was fun in the natural playground and cultural context of Hawaii and its great weather. Paddling

My favourite paddling was off the historic town of Lahaina on the island of Maui. For a slice of an afternoon, we could pretend we were ancient Hawaiian seafarers, as we tried digging our paddles into the sea in unison from a long double-hulled canoe. The Hui O Wa’a Kaulua nonprofit centre carries on traditions that honour the ancient Polynesian "wayfinders," who navigated by the stars and smells of the sea to travel vast, impressive distances in the Pacific Ocean. For current day paddling experiences, the Safari Explorer carried kayaks as well as paddle boards for SUP (Stand Up Paddling). The crew was happy to drop some in the warm waters and teach various paddling techniques. Hiking

Walking rules, for both health benefits and

up-close access. The week offered daily opportunities from shopping and history tours in the charming village of Kona, to cliff-side trails and windswept promontories full of Hawaiian lore told well by the guides. On the island of Molokai, we were invited into the sacred Valley of Halawa, which may be the first Hawaiian settlement by the Polynesians more than 1,400 years ago. The blowing of a conch shell announced our arrival and a return blow welcomed us to walk further in. Our hike took us through taro terraces, sacred lands, and tropical forests with hibiscus flowers, to a 76-metre waterfall with a natural pool that invited swimming. Snorkelling

The second night aboard, we nightsnorkelled above a manta ray feeding station. Mostly we hung onto surfboards and watched the giant winged creatures below glide between the large lights placed to attract their supper of a sea soup of tiny organisms. The biggest splash for the "Wow Meter" was off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. We were on our way to Captain Cook's Monument in Kealakekua Bay, a renowned snorkelling location where spinner dolphins often play, when someone spotted whales. In an inflatable boat, we zoomed toward some spouts on the horizon, then respectfully stopped the boat at the legal distance. The humpbacks, however, were not aware of those limits. Within what seemed just moments, we were in the centre of humpback activity for an experience that truly rates the word "awesome"! I handed my trusty GoPro in its underwater case to a boatsman named Buddha, who hung over the edge to get video of a mother and baby swimming under our boat! And at the same time, I photographed topside while an enormous


male escort "spy-hopped" — thrusting his sleek mass vertically to the sky to check us out as we shouted and gasped and clicked away. My Aloha UnCruise trip was both breathless and great for deep breathing. I went home a bit healthier and happier — something I wish for all travellers, all trips. This award-winning, small-ship adventure cruise line, offers its Hawaiian voyages November to April. If you don’t want to wait to get out to sea, the company is renowned for its Alaska trips and has expanded to include UnCruise sea ventures featuring other gems off Belize, Costa Rica, the Galapagos, Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, Panama, and the San Juan Islands in the northwest of the US. Its “Rivers of Wine and Adventure” trip on the Columbia and Snake Rivers includes hiking, e-biking, kayaking, river rafting, as well as winery tours and an onboard sommelier. Lisa TE Sonne, author of “My Adventures: A Traveler's Journal” has previously written and produced Discovery Channel’s “Extreme Hawaii” and Hawaiian segments for a TV series called “Your Mind and Body.” She also helped with the video history project of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens based in Kauai. The book she was working on while on this Hawaii cruise is “The Happiness Handbook: Simple Steps.” For more go to

American World Traveler Spring 2022


tomers with the means to traverse these venues freely. Our service offers greater freedom to passengers by allowing them to navigate the platform without the need for a push service. We’ve conducted successful trials at major airports across the globe, including Toronto Pearson, Dallas/Fort Worth, Abu Dhabi, and Haneda Airport in Tokyo. In the future, this service can be expanded to make other public spaces – such as hospitals, museums, and malls – more innovative and more accessible.” Scootarounds’s Solution to Cleaner Cruising

Cruises have the reputation of not being the cleanest forms of transportation, often getting compared to a “floating Petri dish.” Of course, various companies are trying to find ways to mitigate the spread of germs in such condensed spaces, including using gloves at buffets, sanitization efforts, and soap and sanitizer dispensers around every corner. But the folks at Scootaround have found another way to maintain hygiene on vessels, especially larger ones carrying thousands of people.

How Cruises are Becoming More Accessible for Travelers by Olivia Liveng


etween the exotic destinations, the unlimited buffets, the waterslides, and the camaraderie with fellow cruisers, all travelers can enjoy the many aspects of cruising. And now, cruising is becoming even more accessible for all types of travelers. Scootaround, a Tokyo-based company with headquarters in the San Fransisco Bay area, has a wide range of cruise mobility rentals, including scooters, wheelchairs, and powerchairs. With a fantastic turning radius, the ability to control via the app, and the customization options, Scootaround’s mobility assistance devices make travel (and everyday life) more accessible and enjoyable for so many people who want to experience cruising.

How Scootaround is Aiding the Cruising Industry

Scootaround already provides a wide range of cruise mobility rentals at nearly 50 major ports throughout the US, Canada, and Europe and can be seamlessly booked for cruisers, no matter what their disability is. In fact, for cruisers of all ages and abilities, the mobility devices serve as a more manageable way to navigate the many floors of a cruise boat, from stern to bow. From the beginning, WHILL’s mission has been to transform the traditional wheelchair experience and improve people’s personal mobility through innovative technology,” said Kerry Renaud, Chief Executive Officer at WHILL and President, CEO & COO at Scootaround.

American World Traveler Spring 2022

“Along with designing and selling mobility products, we are also integrating Mobility-asa-Service (Maas) solutions in offering autonomous transportation services that help make venues like airports, hospitals, personal care facilities, and other public spaces more accessible.” “The ultimate goal is to improve the worldwide landscape for mobility device users by providing them with greater freedom and independence, particularly as our population ages and the requirement becomes more profound. While the Mobility-as-a-Service (Maas) concept is not new, the WHILL/Scootaround MaaS Model fills that short distance gap in the market for people with reduced mobility, providing a unique transportation solution that is more inclusive of the entire population.” How Scootaround Differs From Traditional Wheelchairs on Cruises

Traditionally, airline or cruise staff push passengers with mobility limitations in a manual wheelchair. This service is not only time-consuming and costly but also limits the user’s overall independence. “WHILL’s service allows passengers to hop on a power chair and use it to navigate the airport or cruise terminal independently,” explained Renaud. “The user can either drive the chair themselves or autonomously depending on the program application and the particular use case.” “With the proliferation of immense size and scope facilities, it is becoming more critical than ever to provide passengers and cus-

The folks at Scootaround have decided to pair with PURE Portal Delivery Vehicle Introduction on certain cruise lines to roll out sanitization vans that clean the mobility assistant devices, thereby maintaining a safe and clean environment post-pandemic and beyond. This sanitization partnership alleviates worries and scares about everything from the flu to bacteria and is part of a 360-degree safety guarantee that makes travel (and scooting!) more worry-free. In fact, The World Health Organization confirms and supports the use of real-time active sanitization verse mechanical air cleaning. The Future of Cruising

Cruising is one of the most popular and dynamic ways to travel and see a myriad of ports and places in a short amount of time. Scootaround and WHILL are attempting to make this popular form of travel more accessible for all humans, regardless of their age, size, or ability. And that’s something we are quite onboard with–figuratively and literally.

Infinite Veranda rooms, cabins that can 51 function as an ocean view with solarium with floor-to-ceiling views and air conditioning or as a quasi-traditional balcony with the push of button to lower the top window. (The innovation also gives you more space.) Hungry? Celebrity Edge Menus Range from Sushi to High-Tech French Fare

Restaurants on Celebrity Edge are straight out of any big city, from a grab-and-go gourmet deli and a reservations-only sushi spot to a high-tech French bistro with an animated dining experience you have to see to believe. While Kids Are Allowed, Celebrity Edge Is Best for Adults Looking for Lively Sophistication

Celebrity Edge Review by Cruise Critic Staff


elebrity Cruises set out to design its newest and most technologically advanced ship, Celebrity Edge, to make a statement. Not with titles - it's not the largest, nor the most luxurious; it doesn't have the most water slides or the biggest suite at sea. But it is one of the most unusual and appealing cruise ships we've seen in a decade, and it was very much built to appeal to the contemporary traveler. (Note we didn't say cruiser.)

From Its Deck Plan to the Magic Carpet, Celebrity Edge Stays True to Its Name

The draw of Celebrity Edge is within its name: It's edgy. The Celebrity Edge deck plan focuses on entertainment and maximizes views over the surrounding landscape. Entertainment in the theater is loud and influenced by today's top hits. The cocktails you'll find in the ship's three-deck spiraling restaurant/lounge/theater called Eden are mindbendingly one-of-a-kind, and enjoyed while performance artists wander around, drawing people into the show. The Rooftop Garden on the top deck combines the best of Celebrity’s

Millennium-class and Solstice-class designs, with a stage for live bands and metallic trees for performers to perch in. Celebrity Edge didn't just revolutionize entertainment. The ship has turned tendering - that often unpleasant experience where you have to board a small boat to get to a port - into an infinitely more pleasant experience. The Magic Carpet is a tennis court-sized moveable deck, kitted out with an open-air lounge and bar. From there, it's a breeze to get onto the tenders, or you can stay to get a drink and watch others get on and off -- talk about people-watching. It's somewhere people actually want to go, rather than escape. And the Celebrity Edge Magic Carpet isn't just a tender platform. It can be positioned on Decks 5 and 14, where it serves as an eatery or bar. On special days, it climbs to Deck 16 for exclusive brunches and dinners "on the Edge." Additionally, the Celebrity Edge captain is Kate McCue, who is the first – and currently only – American female to captain a major cruise ship.

With all these changes, there's a good chance past Celebrity cruisers, expecting the quiet sophistication that they've come to know and love from the line, are not going to be thrilled. In fact, many traditional cruisers may have a hard time with the ship. There are no quiet lounges for casual evenings of light music and a drink with friends, and for those who like to eat at the same table and time every night with the same tablemates, space is set aside in only one of the four main dining rooms. But those who appreciate stylish, contemporary design will fall in love. In a few short years, Celebrity Edge has become a favorite for many adult cruisers seeking a sophisticated experience. 4.5 / 5.0 Editor Rating Pros: Beautiful and innovative with outstand-

ing accommodations and extensive dining choices Cons: Expensive upcharge restaurants, spa and drinks; nighttime entertainment lacks variety Bottom Line: A hip-at-heart ship that could

challenge the expectations of experienced cruisers

The Infinite Veranda and Sky Suite Top the List of Celebrity Edge Cabins

The experience on the ship also blends edges - between indoor and outdoor, between stage and audience. There's so much greenery through Celebrity Edge interiors -- and so many massive windows - it's easy to feel as though you're outside, even when sitting inside Eden or in your cabin. It's especially true if you're in one of the Celebrity Edge 918

American World Traveler Spring 2022


e m pl er ay 20 13 m


L’Austral: Small ship delivers big perks by Rebecca McCormick


hinking about Greek food made my mouth water last fall when I answered a phone call from a mellifluous voice in New York City trying to sell me on the idea of cruising the Greek Islands aboard a luxury super yacht called L’Austral. “We understand you’re not much of a cruise fan,” suggested the polite voice on the other end. “Have you been stalking me on Facebook?” I asked, halfway not kidding – mostly because my singular experience on a cruise ship up until then was more like a sale day at the livestock barn than a relaxing vacation I’d want to repeat. “We’d like an opportunity to change your mind,” the suave salesperson continued, describing how L’Austral’s small capacity preserves a sense of intimacy for her passengers and enables the ship to maneuver mythical ports of call and secret harbors inaccessible to larger vessels.

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

“What’s more, because this excursion is themed as a classical music cruise, we will be hosting a string quartet, a pianist and a clarinetist to perform for our guests each evening after dinner,” she said. Bingo. I’m a cellist. I was hooked. Ponant’s Themed Cruises

While my new friend was still speaking, I searched the Internet for Compagnie du Ponant, the ship’s parent company. They specialize in “small capacity luxury yachts, fivestar comfort, state-of-the-art technology, fascinating encounters and intensely emotional moments” in destinations like the Poles, the Antarctic Peninsula, the mythical White Continent, South Georgia and of course, the Greek Islands. New destinations include South America and the Caribbean. I also discovered Ponant’s other themed cruises include golf, opera, bel canto, cinema, gastronomy, and family cruises – each of which is appropriate for amateurs and experts alike.

By the time we had concluded our introductory conversation, I was simultaneously drooling on the computer keyboard and emailing my mother, who ended up sharing this dream trip with me. From the moment we landed in Athens, representatives from Compagnie du Ponant handled every detail with precision and professionalism – from airport transfers and hotel accommodations the day before departure to ship boarding. Fleet of Super Yachts

“We want each passenger to feel as if he or she is cruising on their own private yacht,” said Captain Jean-Philippe Lemaire. We did. Especially because of the butler service, available round the clock on all six decks. Somehow, breakfast tastes best when someone else cooks it and delivers it for your dining pleasure at sunrise on the balcony of a super yacht sailing the Mediterranean.

With only 132 staterooms and suites, L’Austral is small enough to be intimate, but large enough to allow privacy. The ship’s elegant, sophisticated décor creates a unique ambiance somewhere between chic and relaxed casual. Gourmet Dining

Dining aboard L’Austral is a delight, particularly if you like French and international gourmet cuisine and don’t get bored with a variety of freshly baked breads, a smorgasbord of cheeses and a sinful selection of desserts. (Don’t worry: You can work it off in the fitness center.) In addition, complimentary fine wines are served during meals. (Yes, the coffee is spectacular, too.) What’s more, a discreet yet attentive crew will make you feel like visiting royalty, no matter what you’re doing. Shore Excursions

Each day, many of us took advantage of the opportunity to go ashore for optional excursion on the Greek islands. Others among us chose to stay on board to indulge in treatments at Sothy’s spa or to lounge around the pool. Prehistoric Island

On the aristocratic little island of Sifnos, for instance, we toured Kastro, a village inhabited since prehistoric times. Built on steep sidedcliffs with a panoramic view of the Agean Sea, Kastro stands staunch like the fortified village she once was. Still, she charms her guests with flickering lanterns, intimate chapels and balconied wooden houses identified by coats of arms carved above her decorative doors. Shopper’s delight

On Simi, we wandered squiggly roads between tile-roofed homes where fuschia bougainvilleas hang like giant corsages on diminutive front porches, fishermen are more common than mailmen and bargains beckon the best boutique shoppers. Mastic and Mosaics

On Chios, we visited a grove of rare mastic trees to learn about “the tears of Chios.” Harvested as a liquid resin, the mastic is sundried into hard, translucent drops, or tears. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a white, opaque gum – bitter at first, but eventually refreshing and slightly piney. Over the years, mastic has been marketed for a variety

of commercial uses, with applications in the food, pharmaceutical and photographic industries.

“Do you have a map?” I asked like a good Girl Scout when we got out of the cable car.

The cypress- and pine-rich island of Chios is also home to Nea Moni Monastery. A jewel of 11th century Byzantine art, the monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site where intricate mosaics are valued among the most beautiful in the county.

“Map? No! All we’re going to do is follow the spine of this mountain ridge until we get to the end of the island,” she said, forging ahead on the pebble path.

Divinely Inspired

The island of Rhodes comprises another UNESCO World Heritage site, partly because of the Knights of St. John, who ruled the island from 1310 to 1522 and built the impressive city walls and picturesque gates. On Patmos, we stirred the sacred in us to walk steep steps to a monastery established in 1088 to commemorate the site where Saint John the Divine wrote the Apocalypse. For some in our tour group, the scope of Greek history was almost overwhelming. But thanks to our amazing excursion guide, Dionysia Sklavourakov, centuries of history were distilled and fed to us in portions we could assimilate in the limited time we had available. I especially appreciated Dionysia’s patience to give us a few extra minutes to post pictures and text to social media outlets wherever we had available WiFi. Sensual Santorini

My favorite experience of the trip happened on the day we visited Santorini when Kristi, one of my new ship friends, asked if I’d like to hike to the north end of the island with her. Sensing my hesitation, Kristi assured me this was not her first Santorini experience; and even if I didn’t go with her, she still planned to do the hike solo. “By late afternoon, we’ll end up in a little town called Ammoudi,” Kristi explained patiently. “We’ll walk down some steps to the water’s edge where fisherman will have parked their boats in front of three restaurants. We’ll choose a fish for them to grill, and we’ll eat it while we watch the sun melt into the horizon. How does that sound?” Sold again. The next thing I knew, we were standing in line with hundreds of other people waiting to ride cable cars to the top of the cliff, where Kristi indicated we would start our hike.


“Seriously?” I questioned again, realizing I had watched entirely too many television crime dramas. “All we have to do is keep the water on our left and we’ll get there, no problem,” she insisted. “The one thing we must do is return to the ship before it leaves at 8:30.” Three and a half hours plus seven miles and several mountains later, we made it to Ammoudi and the 500 steps leading down to the water’s edge. The donkeys were there, just as I had heard they would be. But my friend Kristi said we didn’t need to ride down the steps; we could just walk. Through the donkey poop. We finally got to the water about 30 minutes before sunset, just as Kristi promised. Looking way back up the cliff, hundreds of people were perched like birds nesting for the night. But we were eye level with the boats. Golden, glittery light bathed us in the glory that is Greece at sunset. Lovers kissed. Fish sizzled on the open grills. Cats nudged against our ankles. And my eyes filled with tears. Grace For The Journey

Once again, I bowed my head in gratitude, drinking deeply of the mystery in that moment. And I thanked God one more time for the privilege to travel, for a world to explore, for a phone call from New York, for a captain and crew and a very cool ship, for my family and for new group of friends – especially Kristi, who encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone in Santorini long enough to expand the borders of my life. After dinner, I also thanked God for the taxi driver who hurriedly delivered us back to the ship only moments before departure. Bravo, Kristi! Bravo, L’Austral! Bravo, Compagnie du Ponant! And bravo, Greece!

Stay & Play


Luxury Hotels...Grand Resorts...Charming B&B...Opulent Villas...Quaint C

Photo: Palacio del Inka

S w e e t D r e a m s A r o u n d t h e Wo r l d


Five Luxury Hotels in Peru to Add to Your Bucket List The last two years have felt like a never-ending Groundhog Day, where every day is the same as the one before it. After many months of hunkering down at home, most of us are itching to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences again, or at least start planning them. With its incredible natural beauty and diverse landscapes, Peru offers would-be travelers the opportunity to do just that. Here are five hotels that should be on every traveller’s bucket list with experiences to match. 1. Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Cusco - Travelers can live like royalty while staying at the Palacio del Inka. The five century-old mansion is replete with a number of historic artifacts throughout. Guests can take advantage of guided tours, Indigenous spa treatments, meeting baby alpacas, cocktail classes and much more. 2.Titilaka, Puno, Lake Titicaca - Guests can experience all Lake Titicaca has to offer without lifting a finger at this all-inclusive resort on its own four-acre private peninsula. Available excursions include exploring the Uros floating islands, sailing trips, cycling tours, constellation observations and much more. Titilaka also invests heavily in the community, employing over 75 percent of its staff from the local area. 3. Cirqa, Arequipa - With only 11 rooms on the property, a stay here will be one few others get to experience. Designed to honour the era in which the city of Arequipa was built, the hotel’s structure showcases original Arequipena volcanic rock with incredible architectural details. The property offers a wide variety of excursions, including longer ones to the Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca, as well as shorter ones around Arequipa, such as touring monasteries, colonial history tours, and more. 4. Las Casitas, Colca Canyon - Visitors can experience the beauty of one of the deepest canyons in the world from their own Casita, or “little house” in Colca Canyon. This property is surrounded by verdant valleys and agriculture that preceded even the Inca. Guests can watch the sun set from their very own plunge pool after a day of horseback riding or treks through the valley and end it with stargazing by a campfire. 5. Sky Lodge Adventure Suites, Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley - Sure to be an unforgettable experience, guests with an adventurous side can spend a night in these polycarbonate and aluminum pods clinging to a granite slope above the Urubamba Valley. After a 90-minute drive from Cusco, another 60-minute hike takes guests to the top of a 1,200-foot mountain where they can experience a 300 degree view of the majestic Sacred Valley.

The Goring, London, England Located on a quiet street in London’s elegant and prestigious Belgravia neighborhood, a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, The Goring is London’s most elegant familyowned luxury hotel. Impeccably English with a subtle streak of wit and wonder, The Goring was opened in 1910 by Otto Goring and is still run by the same family today. The hotel has witnessed some of London’s most historic events, hosted renowned political figures, reigning monarchs, and heads of state from around the world. The Goring is the only hotel to be granted a Royal Warrant by Her Majesty The Queen, and this year is preparing a program of events to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee in June. The hotel has received a Forbes Five-Star rating, has 69 luxurious rooms and suites, a Michelin-starred Dining Room, and is well-known for its exquisite afternoon tea. The Goring is the only hotel in London to have its own spacious private garden.

Bora Bora One Bora Bora One takes secluded luxury to new levels in French Polynesia. Set on a quiet idyllic islet along 7.5 acres on Motu Piti A’au, Bora Bora One is a family-owned, five-suite estate that can accommodate up to 10 guests. This secluded estate offers the intimacy and personal touches of a private residence surrounded by a forest of palm trees overlooking cinematic views of a sparkling turquoise lagoon and towering lush mountain peaks. Learn more about its recent enhancements and five-star resort amenities that turn this estate into a true tropical sanctuary of worldclass comfort and luxury.

New York London Paris Tokyo Hong Kong Bali Rome Thailand Monaco Amsterdam Berlin Ibiza Montreal Tanzania Hawaii Rio Madrid Ca Manila Singapore Mumbai Chicago Jerusalem Moscow Egypt Bora Bora China Japan Santorini Osaka Los Angeles Barcelona Santiago Washi o Iceland Orlando Beverly Hills Melbourne Mallorca San Diego Crete New York London Paris Tokyo Hong Kong Bali Rome Thailand Monaco

Country Inns...Luxary Safari Camps...Ecolodges...Ice...Cave...Treetop... Hotels

Sheraton Buganvilias Resort, Puerto Vallarta, México Article and Photography by Steve Gillick


uring our stay at the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort and Convention Center, we commented on the beautiful Palm Trees and the variety of colorful birds by the pool. Jesus Langarica, the hotel’s Sales Executive, enthusiastically explained that this ‘Botanical Garden’ was one of the attractions that made this property, in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Hotelera Las Glorias, so desirable. The 473 room resort features beautiful views of Banderas Bay, the Western Sierra Madre Mountains and, closer to home, a sandy, 300-meter, ‘Blue Flag’ beach. The two pools and pool bars add to the comfortable, resort feel. In addition guests can gaze at Deluxe, Ocean Terrace, Sunterrace, or Garden Views

from their spacious, pleasant-to-return-to, four-star hotel rooms. And the location of the Sheraton gets better. It’s a short walk to Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon, the boardwalk that hugs Banderas Bay, treating visitors to interactions with the renowned sculptures and statues, the colorful Puerto Vallarta City Sign, restaurants, bars, art galleries and shopping, along with the pure pleasure of strolling and people watching. Plus the Sheraton is only a short walk to the trendy Versalles neighbourhood, where lineups can often be seen outside the restaurants and bars. This is great news for those on one of the Sheraton meal plans: European, Bed and Breakfast, and even All-Inclusive (you can head out, between meals, to expand your taste horizons). The All-inclusive plan includes the Sheraton’s Gaviota Restaurant, an AAA Four-Diamond Fine-Dining establishment, so you won’t want to venture too far. Still, there are lots of great restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, as well as supermarkets and convenience stores within a short walk from the hotel.


vide food, drink and shade to the people. One of the unique treatments is the 10-step massage that includes a swiss shower, plunge pool, pool of sensations, and hydro-reflexology pool. There are both indoor and outdoor versions of Maiavé for those looking to be pampered or attend a ‘sparty’ (spa party). You can leave the kids at the Sheratoons Club while you indulge your senses, explore the six restaurants, grab a Starbucks in the lobby, or pamper your tastes at Embarcadero, the gastro bar that features 80 Tequilas and celebrates the art of Mixology. You can even take Fido for a walk at this pooch-friendly resort. I’ve stayed at the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort on two occasions and found the quality of the services and the welcoming attitude of the friendly and helpful staff to be consistent. It’s a comfortable, relaxing, place to unwind and enjoy Puerto Vallarta.

And with ‘comfort’ as the watchword, there is Maiavé Spa named after the legend of Mayahuel, a Mexican goddess who transformed into an agave plant, in order to pro-

pe Town Beijing Sydney Vancouver Ecuador Malaysia Crete Stockholm Maldives Peru Miami Shanghai Tahiti Riviera Maya Las Vegas Toronto B ngton Jakarta Marrakesh Boston Botswana Copenhagen New Delhi Dubai Sao Paulo Bangkok Auckland Boracay Uganda Banff Guangzhou Casa o Amsterdam Berlin Ibiza Montreal Tanzania Hawaii Rio Madrid Cape Town Beijing Sydney Vancouver Ecuador Malaysia Crete Stockholm M



Accommodations Puntacana Resort & Club is the Caribbean’s leading resort community on the eastern shore of the Dominican Republic. Tortuga Bay is member of the Leading Hotels of the World and the only AAA Five Diamond awarded hotel in the Dominican Republic, offering understated elegance, privacy and unparalleled personal service. Located at Playa Blanca is The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club, guest enjoys all of Westin’s signature amenities and Don Queco Cigar Bar. Our Four Points by Sheraton is situated at Puntacana Village, few minutes away from Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ). The Estates Become a part of our magnificent paradise community with the purchase of a vacation home in the elite The Estates at Puntacana Resort & Club, where Julio Iglesias, Mikhail Baryshnikov call home. An exclusive lifestyle of relaxation, excitement and understated elegance, prospective buyers can choose among elegant homes perched above the Caribbean Sea or overlooking scrupulously manicured golf courses in Corales, Tortuga, Arrecife, Hacienda, Hacienda del Mar and Marina. Home and apartments are also available at Puntacana Village.

With 45 holes of championship golf, Puntacana Resort & Club is the Caribbean’s premier golf & beach destination. The P.B. Dye designed La Cana Golf Course, consisting of 27 holes across Tortuga, Arrecife and Hacienda, was declared the number one course in the Caribbean by Golf Magazine. Designed by Tom Fazio and set between rocky cliffs, coral reefs and the expansive Caribbean Sea, the Corales Golf Course features six oceanfront holes, multiple lines of approach and picturesque canyons, making for an exhilarating experience. Activities & Spa Puntacana Resort & Club offers a wide range of adventures for guests of all ages including golf, tennis, kite boarding, scuba diving, horseback riding, fishing and numerous excursions by sea, land and air. The leading spa in the Caribbean, Six Senses Spa at Puntacana Resort & Club presents a range of innovative packages, Signature treatments and Asian therapies. Visit Galerías Puntacana to enjoy an assortment of shops, restaurants, playground, and our spirited nightlife. Dining Puntacana Resort & Club is home to 6 world class eateries with an indigenously delectable cuisine. Tucked inside Tortuga Bay, the AAA Four Diamond awarded Bamboo blends modern cuisine with Mediterranean influences. Specializing in local seafood, The AAA Three Diamond Award La Yola is located at the Marina. At La Cana Golf & Beach Club is The Grill, an American style grill offering views of the sea. The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club provides a variety or restaurants and bars from Ananí to Brassa Grill. Next door is Playa Blanca, a beachfront tropical restaurant. Our Dine Around Program offers the best sampling of our finest culinary experience. All restaurants offer complimentary shuttle service within the resort. More dining options are available at Puntacana Village.

Corporate Social Responsibility We believe that in development there needs to be equilibrium among the economic, environmental and social components. Our non-profit Grupo Puntacana Foundation serves both natural and social resources, while contributing to the sustainable development of our Dominican Republic. These practices have been guiding principles of our company, and along with vision, hard work and perseverance, the key to our success. Punta Cana International airport Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), built, owned and operated by Grupo Puntacana, the resort’s developers, and located within Puntacana Resort & Club, is just minutes away from check-in at any of our hotels or private homes. Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) has direct service from 98 different cities around the world, making Punta Cana the most accessible destination in the Caribbean. Our VIP terminals service the needs of guests flying in private aircrafts.

The Caribbean’s Premiere Golf & Beach Resort Community


Eco Hotel Maraica, San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico Article and Photography by Steve Gillick


n the indigenous Huichol language of Mexico, ‘Maraica’ translates as “The passing breeze is the source of life”.

The Eco Hotel Maraica offers this calming philosophy/accommodation to travelers looking to chill out. And under a thatched palapa roof, our spacious, comfortable room certainly complemented these tranquil thoughts, with a natural wood design, a King bed, an airy bathroom and shower, and a gentle hammock swinging over the large ocean-view balcony. In the evening, the soothing sound of crashing waves helped lull us to sleep. San Pancho (also known by its formal name, San Francisco) is a friendly, quiet, ‘neighborhood town’, 45 km northwest of Puerto Vallarta on Nayarit’s Pacific coast. Ana Gabriela Ramos Lozano, the Receptionist and Groups and Events Assistant, enthusiastically gave us a tour of the property.

When we asked about the use of the word “eco” in the hotel name, Gabriela noted that the food was sourced locally “from our farm”. Wastewater was used to irrigate the lush foliage on the property. Solar panels helped conserve energy, and the soaps and shampoos in the rooms were environmentally friendly. But sustainability extended to the community at large. The Maraica is an active member of Entre Amigos, with its three pillars of Education, Environment and Community. The hotel is also involved with Circo de Los Niños de San Pancho, created by Cirque du Soleil co-founder Gilles Ste-Croix and his wife Monique Voyer, with a mission ‘to encourage the holistic development of youth and young adults in the Bandaras Bay area’. Gabriela explained that “there’s not much internet here” and that “people with home offices (happily) know they can’t work here”. So they swim and surf, walk on the beach, attend yoga retreats, enjoy the silence, and dine on the property at Muvieri (Cuisine of the Wind), where the slogan is “Eat, Chill, Disconnect”. Guests can also choose to wander the 10-15 minutes into town to enjoy shopping, restaurants, and bars. By the pool, where internet is available, we happened upon Mizu, the playful hotel cat, curiously studying a melon-sized toad. And with beautiful yellow-bellied Citreoline Trogons in the trees surrounding the hotel,

World Traveler - Already 20 Years!

along with Rufous-bellied Chachalacas and Great Kiskadees in the trees just outside our room, it was evident that nature contentedly embraces San Pancho. The estuary on the sandy beach in town is the main place to go for birdwatching. Before a stunning golden-red sunset, and then a shockingly gorgeous sunrise, we marvelled at a Little Blue Heron dancing on the water to stir up the fish, with an audience of Blacknecked Stilts, Snowy Egrets, White Ibis, Green Herons, Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Northern Jacanas and a committee of Black Vultures. As we departed this laid-back atmosphere, Gabriela explained that people looking to party, head seven kilometers south to Sayulita. But those looking to relax, enjoy nature and feel the breeze, come to San Pancho and stay at the Maraica. We did, and we loved it!


La Noria Centro Histórico, Oaxaca, Mexico

museums, the Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman, trees full of Cinnamon Hummingbirds, and more!

Article and Photography by Steve Gillick


hen Mephiboseth Padilla Villaseñor, “Mephi” for short, tells you that a stay at La Noria equates to living in a Oaxacan home, he’s simply stating fact. In the true spirit of “Mi Casa es su Casa”, the Manager at the Hotel La Noria explains that the owner didn’t want to have an impersonal hotel with numbered clients. “He wanted clients to have names”, and La Noria practices what it preaches. In his knowledgeable, affable and caring manner, Mephi took us around the amazing boutique property that had become our home in Oaxaca for three nights. He emphasized the family spirit of the establishment in noting that when the hotel had to close for six months during COVID, none of the 35 employees lost their jobs. And Mephi also related that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter chose La Noria in 1998 for a family stay and stunned the guests when he

walked into the breakfast restaurant on the first morning. La Noria is a beautiful converted home dating to 1810. The second and third floors were added, and the courtyard garden was transformed into a small deck with chairs next to a swimming pool. The name of the hotel harkens back to the early days when milk from the village of La Noria was delivered by horse to the original home in Oaxaca. “La Noria” specifically refers to a water wheel, where donkey-power drove the mechanism that drew water from a well. Located at the corner of Hidalgo and Fiallo, the hotel is in an ideal location for appreciating Oaxaca’s historic, UNESCO World Heritage status. The Zocalo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the bustling public square with market stalls, restaurants, bars and people watching, are only two blocks away. And the three main markets, featuring produce, goods and mouth-watering Oaxacan dishes, are also a short walk. This includes Mercado Benito Juarez, Mercado 20 de Novembre, and the sprawling Mercado de abastos.

La Noria fits into this historic setting perfectly. Accommodations in the 50-room, 4-5 star property are spacious, with beautiful antique Mexican and Spanish furniture, comfortable beds, large bathrooms and local works of art. In fact, venturing through the colonial columns, along the tiled corridors, is a mesmerizing experience, with an art collection that includes many colourful works by Oaxacan native Fernando Andriacci. Mephi noted that “when we bought the paintings, he was a painter, now he’s a renowned artist”, and Andriacci’s art has become part of “the awe-inspiring vista of life in Oaxaca” that the hotel inspires. La Noria is one of those special experiences; a destination unto itself, where many guests equate a return to the pleasures of exploring Oaxaca, with the comfort of a homecoming. La Noria is certainly where I will stay on my next adventure in Oaxaca.

North of the hotel, are beautiful colonial buildings, great restaurants, Mezcalerias (tasting bars), souvenir shops, art galleries, American World Traveler Spring 2022


Stay and Play in Luxury at the Whimsical Merrill House by Jennifer Merrick


s much as I appreciated the period décor of historical B&Bs I’ve stayed at in the past, I must admit there were times I felt like I was sleeping over at a library, as I tiptoed and whispered my way around creaky rooms. But this was definitely not the case at the Merrill House in Prince Edward County. Owned and managed by Justin Martin de Rosales and his husband Evert Rosales Gomez de Martin, this newly renovated hotel was as playful as it was luxurious. Even the history of the property was presented in a comic book format. And what is its history? Built in 1878, this Gothic Revival-style mansion was originally the home of Edward Merrill, a magistrate and mayor of Picton with ties to Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald. The boutique hotel here today began its latest reincarnation in 2018, when Martin De Rosales bought the property. Having worked

globally in the luxury brand hospitality business and traveled extensively, he wanted to bring his vision back to his hometown. In 2019, he completed a major restoration of the Merrill House that reflected his passions for interior design, art, history and wine. Can you describe the space? The 14 guest rooms each had their own individuallythemed décor from the surreal, which-wayis-up design of the Future Room to the florals and French flair of the Parisian Room. We stayed in the elegant Dreaming Suite, which featured its original floors, a four-poster bed and eclectic mix of antiques and contemporary pieces. The piece-de-resistance was the wood-burning marble fireplace. It did indeed feel like a dream, as we gazed at the dancing flames, while relaxing with a nightcap on the sofa.

Shared spaces included a conservatory, drawing room and study as well as inviting nooks throughout the house. Like our suite, all the spaced had curated collections of antiques artfully combined with contemporary design features. This creative juxtaposition between the two created a whimsical and playful atmosphere. What about the dining? Sublime! Chef Michael Sullivan offered up elevated French cuisine with a choice of three, four or five courses on a prix fixe menu. Our exquisite

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dining experience began with the foie gras en torchon, followed by seared arctic char and sea scallops and finished with Lindt warm molten chocolate cake. Each course was perfectly paired with wine from their Wine-Spectator-awarded cellar. Breakfast was complimentary and included freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh pastries and fruit as ‘a breakfast appetizer’ followed by a hot gourmet item. And the amenities? True to the hotel’s character, they ranged from the playful like the Polaroid welcome photo, a barrel sauna and pillow-scenting service to the luxe, like wine education and yoga classes. We especially loved our wine course and tasting that invited guests to discover the county’s vineyard treasures. As we learned about ‘viscosity’ and ‘terroir’ and tasted the chardonnays and pinot noirs from local wineries, the sommelier threw in an unexpected wine. The sparkling gamay from Long Dog Winery had all the flavours and rich notes of a traditional red wine, but the bubbles added a spark of fun. Just like the hotel.


Curacao’s New Comprehensive Family-Friendly All-Inclusive by Susan Campbell


t’s called Mangrove Beach Corendon Curaçao All-Inclusive Resort, Curio by Hilton. Yes, that’s a lot to say, but it has a lot to offer. It’s a seriously comprehensive complex of family-friendly and adult-focused indulgent fun of 399 rooms and suites, and a welcome addition to the island’s accommodation scene. Opened in 2020 as a Corendon Hotel, then joining the Hilton Curio Collection in 2021, it provides an ideal escape for many different types of travelers beyond families. Kids and parents will love it however for the massive water park and playground/arcade, four pools, kid’s activities, and their signature King Cobra slide- the only of its kind in the Caribbean. (And no, I didn’t try it.) But I did try just about everything else there, which was no easy feat in a two-day stay.

Yet, I did my best to diligently work my way through the maze of 11 different food and drink outlets, including one massive buffet, and I personally enjoyed the escape from the children at their cigar and high-end spirits deck bar that affords spectacular sea views and overlooks their lush signature mangroves. But my real Achilles heel was the Perla Lobby Bar & Patisserie. Their pastry chef is a true master. And this alfresco lounge also proved ideal for tropical cocktails. However, the real danger there is that it’s open 24/7! (Don’t even ask me about their mile-high Dutch apple pie!) Putting on the pounds there is unavoidable. Fortunately, there's a lot of ways to work off those calories, even if you don’t have children to run around after. They have a modern fitness centre and offer plenty of organized activities around the grounds like water aerobics, beach volleyball, and even hip hop, dance courses. And you’ll have a hard time staying seated when their nightly entertainment like the mini carnival I witnessed swirls in like a steel band storm. But I am a sea, sand, and snorkel baby, so I got most of my exercise off their beach. They have a stand-alone on-site dive operator that also rents snorkel equipment. The fish finding was fruitful as their beach is surrounded by a rocky man-made breakwater where lots of colorful marine life hang

out. There is also a cool over-sea swing contraption (great for Instagram), and if you’re feeling creative, there’s a colorful little kiosk on the beach with a resident artist that helps you make your own unique painted driftwood souvenirs. I was alone on this trip, so I stayed in one of their new spacious King Bed Deluxe roomsit was bright, fresh, and modern with a partial sea view and a great view of the Royal Oasis cruise ship docked right beside the resort. I did, however, also have a chance to tour some of the snazzier split-level presidential suites, and I loved the heavenly private plunge pools on their balconies, they are magical when lit up in neon at night. I would’ve liked to indulge in a beach cabana spa treatment, but I ran out of time. But I still left feeling very well-sated and relaxed, and vowing to return another time for a much longer stay. Another plus for this spot is that they are an easy ten-minute walk to downtown and only a five-mile drive to the airport.

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Albarracín, Aragon

Spain - 17 Unique Destinations to Experience


pain is full of charming villages, especially in rural areas. These postcard places encourage you to get lost in their small streets, discover their architectural treasures and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere and traditions of their people. With more than 8,000 towns, it would be impossible to name them all, but this list contains 17 of the most beautiful places, one for each region.

Capileira, Andalusia

In the heart of La Alpujarra and within the Sierra Nevada National Park, this small village in Granada province is 1,500 metres above sea level, with spectacular views of the Poqueira gorge and the peaks of Cerro Mulhacén and Pichacho Veleta from its viewpoints. The town is notable for its traditional whitewashed Andalusian houses and

several heritage buildings such as the church of Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza and the Pedro Antonio de Alarcón museum house. Albarracín, Aragon

This unique place, nominated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, is 1,182 metres high. The typically reddish houses in the old part of this town create narrow streets that frequently open up to improvised viewpoints where you can see the landscape. The village of Albarracín has been built on the side of a mountain and its peculiar hanging houses look out over the Gualaviar river, which almost completely surrounds the town. The protected landscape of the Pinares de Rodeno and several areas of cave paintings surround the town.

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Tejeda, Canary Islands

This town is situated inside one of the largest volcanic craters in the Canary Islands. It is notable for its spectacular scenery, including Roque Nublo, one of the symbols of Gran Canaria. This is a monolith that was created during the volcanic processes that took place on the island. Just a few kilometres from here is Roque Bentayga, a larger natural monument which was once a sacred place for the native people of the Canary Islands. Its natural beauty is combined with the historical aesthetics of its white buildings and traditional roofs to make Tejeda one of the places where the aesthetics of the Canary Island villages are preserved.

Trujillo, Extremadura


Liérganes, Cantabria

Liérganes, Cantabria

Chinchón, Region of Madrid

This village contains valuable classicist architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries and is located at the foot of two small hills: Marimón and Cotillamón, commonly known as “Las Tetas de Liérganes”. Its old town, known as “El mercadillo”, has vernacular mansions, palaces and churches. It also has a famous spa, which uses water from the Miera river.

Despite being only 50 kilometres from the capital city, Chinchón is one of the most picturesque villages with the most personality in the region. Its Plaza Mayor, with its irregular shape and medieval style, together with its urban landscape of intricate alleyways and clusters of houses grouped together on hills, makes it an essential trip. Its most notable tourist attractions include the church of Nuestra Señora de La Asunción, with a Goya canvas in pride of place over the main altar; the Clock Tower, the Lope de Vega Theatre, the castle of Los Condes, the monastery of San Agustín and the convent of Las Clarisas.

Almagro, Castilla - La Mancha

The history of this city, whose Arabic name alludes to the red clay used to construct some of the buildings, is tied to the theatre. The Corral de Comedias is the only theatrical courtyard that has remained intact and active, providing interesting dramatised tours, since the early 17th century. It is worth visiting the National Theatre Museum and attending the International Classical Theatre Festival, which attracts hundreds of tourists every year. The Plaza Mayor is also exceptional, and is one of the most beautiful squares in Spain with its columns and green-painted windows. Frías, Castilla y León

Situated on a rock on the edge of the Ebro river, Frías is the smallest village in Spain. The village is outlined by the Humión peak, the tallest in the Montes Obarenes Nature Reserve. Its architecture mixes Roman and Medieval elements, most notably on Los Velasco castle and the church of San Vicente Martír. In between these buildings, its hanging houses crowd together.

Ujué, Navarre

Visiting this village situated in the Ujué sierra is like travelling back in time. Its narrow, labyrinthine streets and houses made of limestone transport visitors back to medieval times. In the centre of the old town is the Santa María Church, where the Romanesque and Gothic styles are mixed together. Not far from there is the Castillazo, where the Carlos II University was once located, and where remains of ancient fortifications can still be found.

Chinchón, Region of Madrid

that the water from the Mediterranean seems to spit), and other notable monuments including the parish church and the Portal Fosc. Peñiscola also has a coastal part which can be discovered by visiting its fantastic beaches, the port and the Sea Museum. Trujillo, Extremadura

This town is in the heart of Extremadura and is known as a “cradle of explorers”. Francisco Pizarro (discoverer of Peru) and Francisco de Orellana (discoverer of the Amazon) were born here. The town centre is on Cabeza de Zorro hill, where you can wander around the alleyways that lead to the Plaza Mayor, which is surrounded by colonnades and crowned by an impressive statue of Pizarro on a horse. After visiting the Plaza Mayor, it is time to start climbing up to the highest part of Trujillo, where you will find its famous castle. A good amount of the defensive wall has been preserved and it provides amazing views of the surrounding areas. See full article here:

Peñíscola, Region of Valencia

This medieval city, located on a rocky peninsula, is a fortress in the sea that is protected by a proud Templar castle, the Papa Luna. The old town is made up of narrow streets that conceal surprises such as the “bufadores” (erosions in the stone so

Frías, Castilla y León

Peñíscola, Region of Valencia American World Traveler Spring 2022

20 Y Fa ear ll s R 2 0 ep 1 9 l ay

Sichuan Cuisine

Travelers Know They Have reached China Af ter They Indulge in the L ocal Delicacies by Habeeb Salloum, M.S.M.

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The Sichuan kitchen, one of the world’s great kitchens and one of the most emphatically flavoured cuisines in all of China, was for centuries well hidden to the outside world. However in China it has always been legendary for its sophistication, richness and diversity, boasting a variety of at least 5,000 different dishes. Strangely, chilli pepper has had a great hand in making the Sichuan Cuisine a much sought after food. It is believed that the red pepper is so popular in this part of China because Sichuan has a humid climate that encourages people to eat strongly spiced foods, hence helping to reduce internal dampness.


ichuan food, also known in the West as the Szechuan Cuisine, is one of the most famous of China’s regional culinary arts. Emphasizing the use of chilli, it is renowned for its pungent and spicy flavours. Sichuan cooks enhance their kitchen further by the use of chilli pepper oil, Sichuan peppercorn, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, as well as fermented soybeans and vegetables, adding a myriad of tastes to their dishes. It is said that one who has not enjoyed Sichuan food has never reached China. Located along the Yangtze, Sichuan, isolated by mountains has developed a regional identity. A land of beautiful lakes, hot springs, deep ravines, limestone caves and waterfalls, it is known in China as ‘the land of plenty’. Sichuan is very fertile and the land produces abundant agricultural crops and a profusion of strong herbs and herb-like spices. As well, its cuisine is the spicy hottest in China. This has given the inhabitants the reputation for being a bit spicy - local women are known as la mei zi, ‘spice girls’.

However red peppers were not native to Sichuan. They were introduced to China in the 17th century from the Americas. How these peppers reached Sichuan, a landlocked region in China, is not clear but it is believed they were introduced from India when Chinese merchants met Portuguese and Spanish traders along the historically renowned Silk Route. However, this does not mean that the Sichuan housewife had no way of producing ‘the hot’ before the discovery of the Americas. Even before the introduction of the chilli, through the centuries, the people of Sichuan had developed what is called: the Sichuan peppercorn, also known as pepper flower, Chinese pepper and fagara. Not a pepper at all, it is a reddish-brown fruit produced by the prickly ash tree and locally known as huajiao. It gives zest to any dish in which it is used without overpowering the natural taste of the food. A little different then the chilli introduced from the Americas, this pepper gives certain numbness to the mouth, which imbues a unique taste.

boiling to roasting, simmering, steaming and stewing. However, a complete list would include more than twenty distinct techniques. Among the most important spicy dishes, renowned in the region are: hot pot, Sichuan style; Kung Pao chicken fried with peanuts; spicy crab; smoked duck; mapo tofu; Sichuan pepper beef; and twice cooked pork - pork is first boiled then stirfried. Beef is, to some degree, more common in Sichuan cooking than in the other sister Chinese cuisines. Stir-fried beef is often cooked until crisp and tender, while steamed beef is, at times, coated with rice flour to produce rich gravy. If novices wish to experiment in preparing the hot dishes of Sichuan, they will come to appreciate the notable characteristics of Sichuan cooking and its dazzling variety of flavours.

With the many food condiments used in the Sichuan kitchen that has been evolving for at least a thousand years, it is no wonder this fine cuisine has become so important in the world of hot culinary dishes. Colour, flavour, nutrition, shape and smell are carefully balanced to make the dishes not only look pleasant and appealing but also nutritious. Yet, even though hot mouth-burning food is what comes to mind when Sichuan dishes are mentioned, at least one-third of the Sichuan cuisine is barely spiced or not spiced at all. The balancing of taste, no doubt, also contributes to the fame of this important part of the Chinese cuisine. Sichuan cooks employ numerous cooking methods – from braising, stir-frying and American World Traveler Spring 2022


Malta – The Crown Jewel of the Mediterranean Article and photography by Michael Morcos


ur guide said he could sum up Malta in one sentence: ‘where else in the world can you see an ancient megalithic site, visit a historic walled town, go to the beach, get unbelievable ocean views and visit a worldclass winery in the same day’? The answer, as we would find out, was nowhere else. Our first day of a weeklong tour of Malta was nothing short of spectacular. Always on the run, we would enjoy the best that Malta had to offer, but then, as we would find out, there is still plenty more to see and do on this small island nation. Marsaxlokk Bay On our first night, we would take a short trip, (most places in Malta are a short distance away) to enjoy a fabulous seafood meal at the

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Tartarun Restaurant. Situated on the waterfront, the food was almost secondary, as it offered a view of one of the most magnificent harbors I have ever seen. Imagine this... a perfect, starfilled night with a warm breeze and perfect temperatures plus a view on hundreds of colorful little fishing boats known as luzzu. If this was amazing at night, then I had to come back when the sun was up, and that is exactly what I did. In the morning I was hypnotized by the beauty of what looked like a professional postcard. This was an essential Malta moment that I had dreamed about for decades! Corinthia Palace I can only describe this beautiful hotel as a ‘Grand Dame’. It has an imposing look at first glance but within a very short time, she warms you up to feeling like a home away from home.

The Corinthia Palace is part of a chain of Corinthia hotels that span the world, and the brand always offers high quality stays and a great attention to detail. This hotel would be our base for four days and we enjoyed the large, posh rooms that come with balconies that gave a view of the lush private gardens surrounding us. Our meals were superb and included both full breakfast buffets and gourmet suppers at the Villa Corinthia. All the meals were memorable as we feasted like royalty and were served by an attentive staff. In keeping with Malta’s British heritage, afternoon tea was served daily in a private room, the tea was top rated and the canapes were so delicious that I kept on asking for more. Athenaeum Spa This is the perfect fit to a tiring day of touring.

The newly renovated Athenaeum Spa was exactly what would soothe our bodies, calm the mind and rejuvenate the soul. Their services ranged from facials to full body treatments. My message was better than most others and Dmitri, my masseur, was even able to get a kink out of my neck. What followed was access to the workout room, Spa facilities that included two pools, a sauna, steam room, multi jet showers and a private garden where we were served tea, water and small tasty amusebouches. I made full use of this but reluctantly left so as to keep with the program. Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples On top of a lovely hill overlooking the sea is the small temple of Hagar Qim. Even though it is a very small site, the history and complexity of it took a good half-hour to fully take in. But in all honesty, it is also the surroundings that are just as much of an attraction as the temple itself. A few steps away is another UNESCO World Heritage site, Mnajdra. These 3 buildings, dating back some 5000 years, are filled with mystery that even today’s archeologists are still learning about. Facing each other in an oval forecourt, they each have several irregularities which have been the focus of many studies and theories on their possible meaning. Luckily there is a visitor centere that offered us information on these theories in an interactive and fun way. Blue Grotto One of the most popular tourist attractions in Malta is the Blue Grotto and I could see why once I was there. This side of the island had sheer limestone cliffs that literally dropped straight down to the aqua-blue waters. Besides the viewpoint from on top, visitors can take boat rides and even descend to walk along the rocky beaches and waves. Mdina Also known as the ‘silent City’ Mdina is a gem on its own. Touring here at night was magical! This former capital city was charming, impeccably clean and the well-kept historic architecture mesmerizing. The entire night we felt a relaxed, happy feeling. I could almost feel the presence of the Knights of Malta. Mdina offers visitors many treasures, including a Natural History Museum with an impressive collection with over 10,000 items. The 17th century Carmelite Church and Priory both have impressive works of art that can be admired for hours and the Palazzo Falzon, which dates back to 1495, it has an incredible collection of antiques.

Markus Divinus Winery Wine was not something I thought had any significance in Malta but a stop for wine tasting at this small boutique winery proved me wrong. Not only was wine good, but the total of all bottles also processed on the island are mostly consumed locally, and Malta still has to import wines. Owner Markus would be our host and enthusiastically explained how he turned a hobby and his love of wine in to a wine business. He would serve us seven different wines, red, white and even sparkling wines made from many different grape varieties. Served with a multitude of tasty local finger foods, the atmosphere was joyous as we learnt all about the operations, the growing season, and harvest and even about the island of Malta.


Palazzo Parisio Over the course of my years writing for Travelers, I have come to appreciate historical monuments, castles and homes. The Palazzo Parisio is a walled compound and has for centuries been one of Malta’s finest private residences. Grand statues, a magnificent marble staircase and an opulent ballroom highlight this destination for weddings, celebrations, fine dining, and tours. Valletta At first glance, I could not tell that Valletta had once been heavily bombed. As a strategic point in the shipping routes of the Mediterranean, who ever held Malta was to have a great advantage in business and battle. But Valletta was not only restored to its former beauty, it has also been built up with fantastic new buildings that complement this historic and charming destination.

Valletta is Malta’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage City. There are so many looks to Valletta that it would almost seem like many towns were put together in one small space. There is plenty to see and do here that to do it justice one must allow enough time. Our visit started with the dramatic City Gate, an amazing recreation of the 1633 original, which allowed us to have the impression of crossing a real bridge to the past. The gate is framed by a pair of huge metal blades that look like knights' sabers. Those swords were in honor of the Order of the Knights of St John, a Catholic Military Order established in 603. By

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1530, they settled in Malta, after being given the island by the King of Sicily and they ruled and built up the island for 250 years. St. John’s Co-Cathedral Although the outside of the building was very simple looking with hardly any art work or sculptures on its façade, I would find out that this was by design so that its riches would not stand out to any on looking invaders. But amazing, over the top opulence, was my first impression when entering this grand cathedral. There was not a single inch of space on any of the four walls to add even an additional religious décor. Its richness was beyond comparison to anything I have ever seen and I stood there for long periods of time trying to take it all in. Gondola ride If you have ever seen a Venetian gondola, then you will understand what a traditional Maltese dghajsa gondola might be. We would traverse the two sides of Valletta on such a boat. The ride was short but it gave another perspective on the beautiful city. Caffe Cordina In the heart of town, we enjoyed an alfresco lunch in a small square with magnificent views of the surrounding historic buildings. Over the generations, this Maltese icon, Caffe Cordina, has surely made its mark in Valletta and is a local favorite as it has traditional as well as international servings. Their take out counter was perfect for gifts, where I would stock up on locally made jars of olives and tapenades to bring home. Shopping One can spend the whole time in Malta just on shopping, there are many offerings here that are not only unique to the islands but are an absolute delight to visit. On this tour we did just that and naming just a few of the outstanding boutiques would include: Stephanie Borg Studio Boutique: Charles & Ron Maltese fashion designers and Stephen Cordina Aroma & Therapy Perfume Atelier. Each one was different from the other and made our trip that much more complete as we would buy those all so charming gifts and souvenirs. Gozo This island, the second biggest of the three Maltese sister islands, was in complete contrast to the main island of Malta. It was laid back,

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more open land and greenery, had outstanding vistas, charming small towns and villages and generally speaking felt like a retreat from it all. We would cross the busy channel by public ferry and return on an exhilarating small but powerful boat that brought us to the spectacular Blue Lagoon that is both famous and well visited. Comino and the Blue Lagoon As a fan of blue water and sandy beaches, Malta is a marvelous example of both, the best of it being the Blue Lagoon. You’ll have to visit it, as it is one of Malta‘s top locations and anyone who visits the Islands will have to explore it. It’s rightfully been called a paradise on earth and it has some of the clearest waters I have ever seen. Rabat (Victoria) What a site to see. Rabat (or Victoria) is the capital of Gozo and what a spectacular place to visit. This charming little town has historic architecture to drool over. Our starting point was at the delightful Cathedral Square with its imposing yet comforting lime stone buildings that had steps that lead in two directions upwards. From on top was one of the most breathtaking panoramas on the island that even photos cannot describe. L-Ghar tal-Mixta (Mixta Cave) Another day and another outstanding site. This time we would head down a farmers road, down a cave like entrance to an unforgettable and spectacular opening in the cave that gave way to the surrounding sea, beaches and hills of Gozo. Needless to say the Mixta Cave is a popular place, a must see and you should prepare yourself to take turns getting a selfie.

This compact little gem in the Mediterranean is a special place in Europe. So much so that it has been conquered by many major powers from different continents over the centuries. They all knew it was a truly unique island and placed it in their empires. Be forewarned, once here, you will be reluctant to leave, might stay longer or will eventually return to the ‘Crown Jewel of the Mediterranean’.

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