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Our favorite all-inclusive American resorts

Ecuador: from Andes to Galápagos

 Explore every day 







4 Mini Guides: LA, Toronto, London & Barcelona

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Contents Fall 2017 / Volume 3 / Number 3


p. 36

p. 62

At the southernmost end of the Japanese islands, Okinawa is a place where sun, local culture and long life are specialties.

Between the Northern Ireland cities of Belfast and Derry, a growing food scene is a quiet point of pride.

p. 48

p. 74

A self-drive safari in Zambia gets to the heart of the African country’s living, breathing, ear-flapping wilderness.

Dancers, boxers, barbers, cooks and printmakers: Havana’s soul lives in its citizens.

The Secrets of Okinawa

A Wild Drive

Culinary Renaissance

Discovering Cuba’s Capital

p. 85

Great Escape /

Ecuador Ecuador may be one of South America’s smallest countries, but its appeal is vast: from the riches of the Spanish Empire in its capital, to its cloud forests, traditional markets, Andean landscapes and incomparable Galápagos Islands.

p. 97

The Photographer’s Story /


// Ursa Minor Bakehouse in Northern Ireland

All prices correct at press time. Prices for hotel rooms are for double, en suite rooms in low season, unless otherwise stated. Flight prices are for the least expensive round-trip ticket.



Travel to a unique folk festival in the Balkan Mountains.

LONELY PLANET / Spring 2017

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NO 07

An island’s not deserted when it’s all yours for the day.


Islandology is our way of life. It’s forgetting about phones and recharging your body for a change. Because simple pleasures like putting your toes in the sand or listening to the waves shouldn’t be interrupted. Plan your trip at

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Contents Fall 2017 / Volume 3 / Number 3

Globetrotter p. 9

p. 26

Travel News Happenings, openings and discoveries around the globe. Postcards Reader images: street scenes in India and Turkey, and more. Insider Knowledge Packing a travel camera kit; tipping etiquette abroad.

p. 22

World’s Favorite Beers Best-selling brews, just in time for beer-tasting season. Amazing Places to Stay All-inclusive luxury resorts.

A Taste of Portland, Oregon Bonnie Morales of Russian restaurant Kachka on what to eat, see and do in the city. 7 New Ways How to make the most of a trip to São Paulo, Brazil. Travel Icon Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Easy Trips p. 31

Ideas for quick fall getaways in Tennessee and Mississippi, Arizona and Aruba.

Mini Guides p. 102

Los Angeles / Bars, clubs, cinemas and theaters. Toronto / World food in Ontario’s capital. London / Cinematic sights and experiences. Barcelona / Architecture, museums and shopping.

p. 35 // Clockwise from top left: Galeria Melissa in São Paulo, Brazil; rye pancakes with huckleberry-maple compote at Coquine in Portland, Oregon; Tlaquepaque arts district in Sedona, Arizona

Meet a Traveler p. 112

An interview with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A folding kayak! p. 21

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Gear Luxuries and necessities for adventure.

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// Aruba’s California Dunes

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p. 34

Aruba / 34 Brazil São Paulo / 26 Bulgaria / 97 Canada / Toronto / 105 Cuba Havana / 74 Ecuador Quito / 86 Cloud Forest / 88 Otavalo / 90 Ibarra / 92 Galápagos Islands / 94 England London / 107 India Pushkar / 13 Japan Okinawa Islands / 36 Northern Ireland Belfast / 64 Ballycastle / 67 Derry / 70 Glenarm / 67 Portrush / 67 Spain Barcelona / 109 Turkey Istanbul / 14 United Arab Emirates Dubai / 28 Zambia / 48

United States Arizona Sedona / 35 California Los Angeles / 103 Malibu / 18 Minnesota Detroit Lakes / 19 Mississippi Natchez / 32 Montana Greenough / 19 New York New Paltz / 19 Oregon Portland / 22 Pennsylvania Hawley / 19 Tennessee Nashville / 32 Walland / 18 Texas Austin / 19

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OUR STORY A beat-up old car, a few dollars in the pocket and a sense of adventure. That’s all Tony and Maureen Wheeler needed for the trip of a lifetime, across Europe and Asia overland to Australia. It took several months, and at the end – broke but inspired – they sat at their kitchen table writing and stapling together their first travel guide, Across Asia on the Cheap. Within a week they’d sold 1,500 copies, and Lonely Planet was born. Founded by the Wheelers in 1973, Lonely Planet has gone on to become the world’s leading travel media company, inspiring and informing travelers across the globe. Our expert writers go in search of the best experiences, sharing award-winning travel information in more than 130 million guidebooks printed so far – covering almost every destination on the planet – as well as on, on social channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, in our Guides app and in this magazine.

FOLLOW US Website |

Group Editor Peter Grunert Art Director Kristina Juodenas Operations Manager Scott Toncray Copy Editor Cindy Guier Designer Dustin Johnson ADVERTISING

VP, Client Solutions, U.S. José Barreiro, Advertising Sales, U.S. Cathy Allendorf, Britta Bakos, Hannah Karns, Max Silverstein, Director, Account Management Jennifer Pentes Senior Manager, Ad Operations Emily Acker PUBLISHED BY LONELY PLANET GLOBAL, INC.

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Director of Global Communications Laura Lindsay Director of Marketing, U.S. Katie Coffee Senior Public Relations Manager, U.S. Natalie Nicolson Marketing Manager, U.S. Ashley Garver Sales & Marketing Coordinator Emily Fredette CONSUMER MARKETING: CIRCULATION SPECIALISTS, LLC

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Direct all inquiries, address changes and subscription orders to Lonely Planet, PO Box 37520, Boone, IA 50037-0520. You may also access customer service via the web at, via email at or by phone at 800-829-9121.

2016 min’s Magazine Media Awards, Best New Magazine 2016 Folio: Eddie Award, Series of Articles Member of Alliance for Audited Media Printed in the United States

Lonely Planet is published by Lonely Planet Global, Inc. (part of the Lonely Planet Group). The words “Lonely Planet” and the Lonely Planet symbol are trademarks of Lonely Planet Global, Inc. © Lonely Planet Global, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without permission. Where you see the word “PROMOTION” this indicates that an article is a commercial feature paid for by the advertiser, not an editorial piece produced by Lonely Planet. All articles marked are subject to regulation by the Federal Trade Commission.

Editor’s Note


@peter_grunert @petervg73

The research trip for this issue’s Great Escape to Ecuador allowed me to embrace adventure in the most active, traditional sense – one that courses through Lonely Planet’s 44-year heritage. It asked for me to pull on rain boots and trek through vivid jungles. It carried me aboard a local train that snaked around – and sometimes right through – extinct Andean volcanoes. It coaxed me off an expedition ship, into Pacific waters that whirled with rays, turtles, pelicans, flightless cormorants and tropical penguins (p. 85). In the true spirit of adventure, there were surprises along the way. I had my first taste of guinea pig (deep fried, so if I closed my eyes I could have imagined it emerging from a KFC family bucket). I learned that when I came too close, marine iguanas like to violently sneeze out the salt they absorb after diving to feast on seaweed. And I confirmed that playing a tune on the panpipes is nowhere near as simple as it seems. Adventure can just as easily arrive through boundaries pushed or perceptions challenged – and whether near or far from home. Elsewhere in the pages of this issue, adventure in all its forms arrives as we taste a relic of Soviet culture frozen in time in Portland, Oregon (p. 22), and hit a road less traveled between Nashville, Tennessee, and Natchez, Mississippi (p. 32, and also see below). We head beyond the crumbling facades of Havana, Cuba’s capital, to hear a diverse group of locals share their love of a city still open to American visitors, though in more restricted circumstances (p. 74). And we meet a new generation of food pioneers reshaping the reputation of Northern Ireland, where some of the world’s best produce emerges from a fertile hinterland and pristine shores (p. 62). Our exploration of the definition of adventure includes attending a folk festival in the fairy-tale forests of Bulgaria (p. 97); hopping between the Japanese islands of Okinawa that shelter the secrets to a long and happy life (p. 36); and renting a 4x4 for a self-driven camping trip in the countryside – albeit one that plays host to Africa’s top predators: lions, leopards and crocodiles (p. 48).

Lonely Planet's unique logo was hand drawn by our founder Tony Wheeler 44 years ago. Check out its updated style on the cover of this issue.

About the Cover: Trekking through the jungle in Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park on Okinawa’s Iriomote Island. With untouched jungles, mangrove swamps, coral-fringed beaches and clear turquoise waters, the Okinawa archipelago is a subtropical paradise. Photo: Ippei + Janine Naoi Lettering: Joseph Ernst

Peter Grunert, Group Editor


Philip Lee Harvey

Photographer “Take a Drive on the Wild Side” p. 48 “Backstage Havana” p. 74 Ecuador Great Escape p. 85

Photographing three features in this issue led to some memorable encounters, from meeting Olympic-standard boxers in Havana to leopards in Zambia. A particular honor for me was to benefit from the knowledge of guide José Napa in the cloud forests of Ecuador. Napa has built up an incredible knowledge of the wildlife of this fragile environment. With his help I was able to capture a pair of emerald-green hummingbirds performing their courtship display.

Trisha Ping

Destination Editor “Nashville to Natchez” p. 32

As the Lonely Planet Destination Editor for the eastern U.S., I am always eager to spread the word about the incredible places in my region. The Natchez Trace is especially close to my heart because it starts in my adopted hometown of Nashville. The history, culture and jaw-dropping scenery along this winding two-lane highway make it one of my favorite road trips of all time, and fall is the best season to experience it. Enjoy the ride.

Fall 2017

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A brown pelican paddles past shores of lava on the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador.



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Job No:


• 692 Mendelssohn Ave N • Golden Valley, MN 55427 • 612.767.3455

Epson SureColor P7000

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Discover how to be at



Buried within this jungle is the 3000-year-old Maya metropolis known as Lamanai. Here, you can scale the High Temple and imagine life in ancient times. It’s a perspective you can only find in Belize.



Explore the Brazilian metropolis of São Paulo, seen here in a view from atop the towering Banespa Building

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Travel News

Step 1

Step 2

Customer steps up to camera; photo is captured

Photo is transmitted to U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)

Step 3

Step 4

CBP matches image to passport photo in database

Customer gets the go-ahead to board the plane

Put on some lipstick and strike a pose: soon you could be using a selfie as a boarding pass. In a move designed to cut passenger wait times, JetBlue was set to begin trying selfie self-boarding over the summer on flights from Boston’s Logan airport to Aruba’s Queen Beatrix airport.



Social media is full of people who have ditched the standard 9 to 5 to live the #vanlife. If you’re feeling the call of the road, Native Campervans, of Denver, Colorado, makes it simple for you to test out your fantasy. The company rents stylish converted two-person vans in two sizes – perfect for traveling to the region’s national parks. Bedding and cookware are included. Ready to hit the road? Campervan rental companies are available from coast to coast. Check out one of these:

Native Campervans

Location: Denver, Colorado Cost: From $85 daily Good to Know: three-day

minimum rental period

Vintage Surfari Wagons

Location: Costa Mesa, California Cost: From $129 daily Good to Know: also offers

camping tours in California

For daily travel news updates from around the globe, see


The first waterpark for people of all abilities opened over the summer in San Antonio, Texas. Morgan’s Inspiration Island, part of Morgan’s Wonderland theme park, has five fully accessible play areas and a boat ride. // Waterpark admission from $12;

Leaving behind the soap in your hotel could help save lives.

Orlando, Florida-based Clean the World has been working since 2009 to help recycle hotel soap bars and redistribute them to impoverished people around the world in an effort to combat hygiene-related illnesses. The company partners with more than 4,000 North American hotels toward the effort. //


Locations: Various cities Cost: From $80 Good to Know: Airbnb-style service

rents campers and private campsites


Globetrotter /


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DON’T LOOK DOWN! (BUT, REALLY, DO) Situated atop NYC’s Arlo NoMad Hotel, a new rooftop bar, aptly named The Heights, offers a spectacular view of Manhattan, including the Empire State Building. The bar’s transparent glass floor allows you to have a bird’s-eye look at the city from 31 stories high. Between the see-through floor and the entirely glass railings that enclose the area, the space feels as if it is suspended among the madness of Midtown. // Cocktails from $14;

An exhibition honoring and inspired by songwriting giant Leonard Cohen (1934–2016) is set to open November 9 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal, Cohen’s hometown. The exhibit will include installations by 40 artists from 10 countries. // Admission $12;

America’s dream destinations ranked Travel Leaders Group conducted a nationwide survey and found that Australia remains the top dream destination for Americans. Here are the 2017 survey’s top 5 results:



Trips and happenings inspired by the songs and shows we love

#1 Australia

#2 Italy #3 Bora Bora #4 Ireland #5 New Zealand

SEOUL’S FLOATING PARK Built on an old highway, the recently opened Seoul Skygarden extends for over a half-mile, connecting the city’s central train station, Namdaemun Market, and the neighborhoods of Malli-dong, Jungnim-dong and Cheongpa-don. Destined for demolition, the 1970s highway was salvaged as part of a plan to make the city more pedestrian-friendly. It will have no less than 24,000 different trees, shrubs and flowers, many of which will grow to maturity in the years to come.

Travel company Black Tomato has created a set of tours based on the TV series Game of Thrones, The Crown, Westworld, The Young Pope and Twin Peaks. Excursions include private tours of film sets and visits to area sites, such as Iceland’s Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon on the Thrones tour. // From $4,219; The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is hosting an exhibit celebrating Rolling Stone magazine’s 50th anniversary. Audio interviews, famous magazine covers and letters to the editor from celebrities are among the items on display at the Cleveland, Ohio, museum through November. // Admission $23.50;

Fall 2017

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hike look listen find play eat breathe swing recharge share

fall for QuĂŠbec

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Globetrotter /


> Where you’ve been and what you’ve seen


Held each November at the time of the full moon, the Pushkar Camel Fair is a spectacle on an epic scale, with farmers and tribespeople selling tens of thousands of camels, cattle and horses from all over the country in a period of 14 days. Here, in what is just a stretch of desert, a city appears for two weeks with a giant carnival, games, food stands and all kinds of camps for the animals. One night, as I was walking back from the fair to

my tented hotel, I came across this pop-up barber shop. I was drawn to the scene because of the vibrant, contrasting colors. I walked over and quickly took just this one shot. It is one of my favorites of the festival. Laura Grier, a self-proclaimed jet-setter, lives in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles.

Fall 2017

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY STRE E T LIGHTS I spent the day exploring and photographing the city of Istanbul. My tour included admiring beautiful mosques, wandering through street markets, viewing the Bosphorus waterway from the rooftop of a warehouse, watching a metal worker at his trade, and stepping into this streetside lighting shop. The store included a small street-level room and a tiny basement, both of which were packed full of countless beautifully colored lights. It was a mesmerizing place. After browsing for a few minutes, I took some shots. This picture now reminds me of the unique energy and color of Istanbul. James Joel Harris, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, spent four days in Istanbul.

SEND US YOUR BEST NEW TRAVEL PHOTOS at 300 dpi, along with the stories behind them (in 100 words or less), and a photo of yourself to postcards



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From our global community of travelers

Follow us on Instagram for the chance to be featured here. » @lonelyplanetmags | This issue’s theme: serenity

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk – Queensland, Australia

Blue Lagoon – Grindavík, Iceland

Cramond Island – Edinburgh, Scotland


Aman Sveti Stefan – Montenegro

Museo Maya de Cancún – Cancún, Mexico

Finger Lakes – New York

Inca Trail – Machu Picchu, Peru

Cathedral Cove – Hahei, New Zealand









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Globetrotter /

Insider Knowledge

How to Build a Road-Ready Camera Kit MaSovaida Morgan, Lonely Planet destination editor

If you want to level up your Instagram game with quality images beyond the typical smartphone snap, follow our tips for packing a travel photography kit. Camera bodies // Digital single-lens reflex cameras by big brands like Canon and Nikon have long been the go-to choices for serious shooters, but lighter and smaller mirrorless options are gaining traction with hobbyist and professional photographers alike. Mirrorless systems such as the Fujifilm X Series ( or Sony Alpha (alphauniverse .com) have the advantage of being compact and many models host interchangeable lenses for an image quality that’s superior to pointand-shoot cameras. Lenses // In general, opt for wide-angle lenses (35mm and lower) for landscapes and telephoto lengths (70mm or higher) for shooting faraway subjects. A versatile zoom lens that shoots from wide angle to telephoto can capture a variety of travel scenes and situations. On the other hand, prime (fixed focal length) lenses often are more compact and an overall better choice for their faster optics and broader aperture settings. Select primes that cover a range of bases: 50mm offers a field of view that closely resembles the human eye; 35mm is a good wide length for landscapes, street scenes and architecture; and 85mm is a solid choice for portraiture. When shooting wildlife, pick primes between 300mm and 600mm.

Filters // Thanks to digital editing, the use of filters on camera lenses to modify an image isn’t as necessary as it used to be, but there still are a couple of useful ones. UV filters cut atmospheric haze and protect your lens. Circular polarizer filters are good for landscapes; they can boost color saturation, reduce glare and cut reflections. Flash // A flash can be beneficial when there isn’t enough indoor ambient light or when you're trying to capture quickly moving subjects outdoors at night. Compact hot shoe-mount flash units pack with ease. Travel tripods // Tripods are necessary if you plan to do any kind of long exposures. Choose a compact model to minimize weight and bulk. Some feature flexible, rubberized segments and can be set up like a traditional tripod or wrapped around available structures like trees or light poles. Memory cards and storage // Bring at least two or three memory cards (in case one gets corrupted) and a card reader to regularly transfer images off your camera. If you can’t bring a laptop with you, offload images onto an external hard drive using a portable memory backup device. Other supplies

» Pack a squeeze-bulb blower, a retractable brush (never touch the bristles), and a microfiber lens cloth to keep your camera clean.

» A remote shutter release controller is great for setting up selfportraits and minimizing vibrations caused by physically pressing the camera’s shutter release during long exposures. » Pack plenty of batteries, especially if you’re shooting in situations where it will be tough to find a power source and recharge.

What to Tip





Tipping customs vary the world over. Get up to speed with the tipping etiquette of these popular destinations.










15% service charge by law, 5% optional








Not customary

Not customary

Not customary




10% or round up to nearest pound

For more tipping customs and other expert travel advice, see Best Ever Travel Tips ($9.99), by Lonely Planet Editorial Director Tom Hall.





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A Season for Beer Tasting

Dust off your lederhosen: fall brings Oktoberfest back to Munich for two weeks of beer-swigging revelry. Whether you intend to join the throngs at the Bavarian capital’s annual folk festival or plan to toss back a few brews closer to home, join us in taking a look at some of the world’s most popular beers.

Budweiser Canada

Imperial Costa Rica

Snow China

Victoria Bitters Australia


Oettinger Germany

For lovers of good beer, there’s never been a better time to be alive. It’s not just that Oktoberfest

Tusker Kenya

is around the corner (beginning September 16 in Munich, Germany). Craft beer – the type of amber nectar made by small, independent and traditional brewers – is in the throes of a revolution. There are now 5,000 craft brewers in America, an all time-high, with thousands more breweries set to open across the country in the next few years. But old habits die hard: despite the craft beer boom, the most popular beer in the U.S. today is none other than old friend Bud Light. Around the world, the stats tell the same story: from Kenya to Canada, Costa Rica to Germany, light, easy-drinking lagers clinch the No. 1 spot among thirsty beer drinkers.

Look beyond the Bud and discover more about the craft beer scene with Lonely Planet’s Global Beer Tour, our guide to beer tasting at the world’s best breweries ($19.99).

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Globetrotter /

Amazing Places to Stay | All-Inclusive

Blackberry Farm Walland, Tennessee A stay at this stunning luxury resort is on the bucket list of most everyone we know. Set on 4,200 scenic acres in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm is renowned for its cuisine and awardwinning wine program. A variety of wellness choices make it an ideal destination for spa enthusiasts, too. The resort’s 68 accommodations are spread among the main house, cottages and multibedroom guesthouses. Daily meals, snacks and nonguided activities, such as biking, fly-fishing and hiking, are included in the rate. In the evenings, guests converge on the lawn, for spectacular rocking-chair views of the sunset. From $645 nightly for a double-occupancy room, and from $3,800 for a multibedroom home; The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu, California Don’t call it a spa. It’s day after day of tough love. Nothing is optional: not the predawn wake-up calls for yoga, not the 10- to 13-mile hikes, not the four hours of fitness classes, and not the super-strict but nutrient-rich diet (no meat, wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine, alcohol or processed foods). Participants may have a tough time on the trail, but still the instructors push them to keep going. The results: nearly everyone loses unwanted pounds and feels better leaving than they did when they arrived – partly from the detox diet and partly from having survived. From $3,900 for a four-day program or $7,200 for one week;



Embrace a slower pace this fall by taking a restorative break at a refined, all-inclusive property. Leave the stress of decision-making behind as you relax – or get energized – at one of these splurge-worthy destination resorts.


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Travaasa Austin Austin, Texas Tucked away in the heart of Texas Hill Country, at the edge of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Travaasa Austin is known for outdoor adventures and culinary experiences. Take your pick from activities such as horseback riding, hatchet-throwing and guided nature walks, then relax later in the day with a wine-tasting class and maybe a Texas two-step lesson. The resort also offers an assortment of healing and rejuvenating spa treatments. All-inclusive packages include three chef-prepared meals and a $175 resort credit per person per night’s stay, good toward spa treatments and classes. From $875 per night for two adults (à la carte packages are $375 nightly per couple);

From Family Cabins to a Victorian Castle Fair Hills Resort Detroit Lakes, Minnesota If sleeping in cozy cabins and participating in sandcastle contests, scavenger hunts, outdoor sports and a weekly “Hootenanny” talent show sound like your perfect vacation, then this popular, family-friendly resort on Minnesota’s Pelican Lake is the place for you. From $149 nightly/$896 weekly for adults, kids’ rates vary; The Lodge at Woodloch Hawley, Pennsylvania This luxury adults-only spa resort is set on 500 acres in the Poconos, with miles of nature trails. Meals, fitness activities, classes and lectures are included in the rate. Accommodations overlook the property’s 15-acre lake or the rock garden waterfall. From $329 per person, per night;


Mohonk Mountain House New Paltz, New York Dramatically perched on a ridge overlooking Lake Mohonk in the Hudson Valley, this Victorian castle resort offers rooms, suites, and cottage and lodge accommodations. It’s great for families, with loads of outdoor activities included in the rate, from ice skating and cross-country skiing in the winter to tennis and boating in the summer. From $330 per person, per night; The Resort at Paws Up Greenough, Montana This swanky ranch resort is located on a 37,000-acre working cattle ranch. Luxurious accommodations include 28 vacation homes and 30 “glamping” tents. Guests can ride horses, go snowmobiling, participate in a cattle drive and more. Choose from a variety of all-inclusive packages. From $1,218 per night for two people;

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Globetrotter /


Cotopaxi Teca jacket: This eye-catching windbreaker, made using remnant fabric, is a great just-in-case layer for hikers and campers. Ultra lightweight and packable, it’s built to block wind and light precipitation. From $80,

The Tech Highly porous ceramic removes 99% of lead and arsenic, and 97% of chlorine and fluoride

Gear | Accessories for Adventure

GoPure Pod: This ingenious device purifies water on the go. Just drop it in your bottle or glass and let it works its magic. One pod will last for six months and purify 264 gallons of water. From $25,

Ungrip This nifty strap attaches to the back of any smartphone to make it more secure in your hand – and less likely to drop down that ravine when you’re snapping #outdoors selfies. From $12,

The Voyage pillow Wear this microbead travel pillow over your eyes, around your head or hand, or any other way that helps you get your beauty sleep. It’s 50% smaller than traditional travel pillows, so you’ll save precious packing space, too. From $28,

Basu eAlarm: Yank the plug free from the device to set off a 120-decibel siren that will deter bears, or sound the alarm if you need rescuing – in the wilderness or the city. From $15.99,

Oru Kayak: This brand draws inspiration from Japanese origami to build fold-up kayaks. It takes just minutes to convert one from box to boat. From $1,299,

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Globetrotter /

A Taste of | Portland, Oregon

From far left: Chef Bonnie Morales at Kachka; the restaurant’s iconic “herring under a fur coat”(bottom plate) is a layered salad of pickled herring, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, mayonnaise and eggs; tvorog vareniki (top) are scallion-topped dumplings filled with farmer’s cheese.


with Bonnie Morales of Kachka

parents emigrated from the USSR. It’s interesting because my parents’ understanding of what it means to be “Russian” or “Soviet” stopped in 1979. So everything I understand about our culture is based on 1979 and earlier. I wanted the restaurant to express that.

Q Describe the experience of dining at Kachka. A We want people to have fun! We have a thing on the menu about “How to eat like a Russian,” which is meant to get people to think about food and drink as two parts of a whole. We encourage toasting and clinking glasses and eating, and repeating that over and over. That gets guests to relax and not be so serious about dining. We keep the music upbeat and distinctly Russian. The whole thing makes for a very memorable night.

Chef Bonnie Morales has started a Russian food revolution with Kachka, her lauded Portland, Oregon, restaurant. This fall, she’s preparing for the opening of a second location in the city and the November release of her cookbook, Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking.

Q Is there a specific travel moment or memory that influences the way

As told to Cindy Guier | Photographs by Rush Jagoe

A No matter where in the world you go, I find that the best meals are

Q How did Kachka come to be? A When my husband, Israel, and I were dating, he absolutely fell in

always at someone’s home. So I think about that a lot when designing a dish. I want to make food for people that they crave and that feels real, but with the execution of a trained cook. I try to not let ego get involved. Kachka is here to feed people, not for accolades.

you approach food?

love with the food my mom would make at home. We’d stay up nights talking about opening a restaurant serving that kind of food, and eventually we pulled the trigger. The concept is all about honoring the cuisines of the former Soviet Union and the dishes served around my family table. The aesthetic of the dining room is mid-20th century Soviet Union. I wanted it to feel like a freeze frame from before my


Q What dish (one of yours or someone else’s) sums up the city for you? A For me it’s not really a dish as much as an ingredient: Hood strawberries, u-picked in the warm sun on Sauvie Island. It is the reason we moved to Portland. Not an exaggeration.


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IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK Morales says Americans have “tons of misconceptions” about Russian food. “People assume it is heavy, that there are no vegetables, that everything is drab and limp. I think that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even Siberia has summers!”

CHEF MORALES’S TOP PICKS “At FIFTY LICKS, I recommend either the vanilla or the coconut lemon saffron sorbet. I don’t typically go for vanilla, but theirs has such an intensity that it will haunt you – and they put a drop of raspberry jam at the bottom of the cone.”

“BETSY & IYA is my favorite jewelry store. They sell their own pieces as well as a nicely curated selection from other local jewelry designers. They also sell really great bath products and some clothing.”

Hazelnut and cocoa nib granola with cherries, anise hyssop and yogurt at Coquine, a neighborhood café serving French-inspired farm-to-table fare. At left: a view from Portland’s Mount Tabor Park

“I love everything at COQUINE, but my favorite time to go there is for breakfast mid-week. It’s a refuge. And absolutely everything is executed just perfectly. Take a walk in MOUNT TABOR PARK after eating here to get a great westward view of Portland.”

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A Taste of | Portland

SIDE TRIPS These three destinations are less than an hour’s drive from downtown Portland.

1 “Though it is a pretty

“Walk across ST. JOHN’S BRIDGE and grab a pint of beer at OCCIDENTAL BREWING. This is the most beautiful bridge in Portland and it just happens that one of my favorite breweries is at the base of the bridge. Two birds, one stone.”

“The owner, Joel, is a chemisty wiz and has applied his smarts to engineering the perfect canelé.”

» “We have such great coffee in Portland, and COURIER COFFEE is an absolutely fantastic small coffee roaster. Getting outstanding coffee is already victory enough in my book, but they happen to also make the best canelé around.”

popular hike, and therefore can get a little crowded, I think a hike to Angel's Rest is an absolute must. It's a quick drive from the city for a gorge hike with expansive views. If you're not into hiking or are strapped for time, stop by the Portland Women’s Forum [State Scenic Viewpoint] or Vista House instead for similar views.” >> >>

2 “Sauvie Island is an

agricultural enclave within city limits. There are some lovely u-pick farms for berries in the summer and fun pumpkin patches in the fall. After a good rain, I've seen some of the best rainbows here.” >>

3 “Drive down to Oregon

wine country for some wine tasting. There's more to wine country than wine, if that's not your thing. Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery makes delicious beer. Stop by their tasting room in an old barn on their property. Visit the Kookoolan Farm Store for some of the best chicken and fresh milk. Mosey around the town of Dundee while you're at it.” >> >> >> >>

For more:,,,,,,,

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7 New Ways to See | São Paulo

São Paulo, Brazil, can be an overwhelming experience, even for seasoned travelers. The large and diverse South American city is filled with cultural offerings, fascinating architecture and culinary hot spots. Here are some ideas on how to make the most of a visit to this pulsing metropolis.




Go beyond traditional caipirinhas (Brazil’s national cocktail) to cutting-edge concoctions at the alluring speakeasy SubAstor, a bar that focuses on inventive takes on classic cocktails as well as boundary-pushing libations. // subastor


See some of Brazil’s best art in the Pinacoteca do Estado, a museum dedicated to the country’s most notable artworks from the 19th century to the present. The neoclassical building itself is lovely and worth a look, too. //

3 New York City has the Empire State Building and São Paulo has the Banespa, a 528-foottall skyscraper with one of the most impressive views of the city. Bonus: there’s no cost to ride the elevator to the topfloor observation deck. // Rua João Brícola 24

See the Mosteiro São Bento, one of the city’s oldest churches, in a whole new light by having a top-flight brunch with the monks. Book well in advance to partake in this unique feast, offered every other Sunday. //

5 One of the best ways to get a sense of a place is to eat where the locals do. There is no better spot to do this than the Mercado Municipal, a belle époque-style covered market filled with gastronomic delights from the region. // oportaldomercadao


Walk through the city’s nearly 500 years of history on a free tour and learn about historical buildings, street art and more. Stops along the way offer discounts on any purchases that you make. // spfreewalking

7 This temple to highend plastic footwear offers bold and unique designs by an international potpourri of creative folks, like Vivienne Westwood and Jeremy Scott. Each new shoe line brings a different storefront. //


Globetrotter /


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Lonely Planet Issue: Fall/Aug 2017 Full page w/bleed trim: 9”w x 10.875”h Due: 06.26.17

BITE SIZE BEACH LIFE, URBAN VIBE Oahu’s urban playground and renowned surfing spots is a perfect environment for an energizing vacation. Situated in the heart of Waikiki, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club is a new hotel featuring collaboratively designed spaces that are reminiscent of vintage 1960s Hawaii with an emphasis on local culture and art. Home to Mahina & Sun’s, Chef Ed Kenney’s latest restaurant, the hotel truly embraces Hawaii’s contemporary culture.

INSPIRING LANDSCAPES Boasting 4 out of the 5 major climate zones in the world, Hawaii Island is sure to inspire. The historic Volcano House is the only hotel within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park offering once in a lifetime experiences such as The Rim restaurant. With the billowing Halemaumau Crater as your backdrop, chefs create flavors unique to the Pacific region.

LEISURE & PLAY Maui is equal parts thrilling and relaxing for spur-of-the-moment fun and Aston Kaanapali Shores is the perfect oceanfront retreat after a day of

OFF THE BEATEN PATH captivating island adventures. Relax at their Beach Club Restaurant and Bar while enjoying expansive views of the Pacific Ocean.


For those seeking lush foliage and a true departure from the crowds, Kauai is your garden paradise. Perfect for those looking to unplug from the day-to-day race, Aqua Kauai Beach Resort is a secluded full-service oceanfront haven with idyllic lagoon swimming pools and cultural endeavors for

an immersive experience. Joining the locally sourced movement, Executive Chef Rodman Machado has unveiled a farm-to-fork dining experience- teaming up with local farmers to bring his passion for authentic flavors to his new seasonal menu presenting a “taste of place” that is Kauai.

Discover Aqua-Aston Hospitality’s fine collection of hotels and resorts - each with its own distinct personality. Hawaii is a multi-faceted destination with a diverse culinary scene. So isn’t it time for a Hawaiian vacation with benefits? Sign up to unlock exclusive A-List Insider member perks and benefits at Or call our Hawaii-based destination specialists at 855.945.4077

Globetrotter /

Travel Icon | Burj Khalifa

01. Atop the building is a 656-foot-tall steel spire. Hydraulic jacks were used to raise the spire through the inside of the tower to the top. The building is nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building and more than two and a half times taller than the Eiffel Tower.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates At 2,717 feet, the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai is the tallest building and freestanding structure in the world. The $1.5 billion super-scraper opened in 2010 after more than six years of construction.


2 3

02. It has 200 floors, with 160 habitable stories; the highest occupied floor is 1,918 feet above ground.


03. On the 148th floor,

at 1,821 feet above ground level, is the world’s highest observation deck.

04. Around 26,000 hand-

cut glass panels clad the towers and annexes. Coatings on each side of the panels reflect UV and infrared light.


05. Architect Adrian Smith’s design was inspired by the sixpetaled hymenocallis, or spider lily, a regional flower. Building the Tower

The structure contains 31,400 metric tons of rebar, which, if laid end to end, would extend more than a quarter of the way around the world.

The building’s foundation includes a 12-foot-thick concrete mat and 192 concrete piles that extend more than 164 feet deep.



About 22 million work hours were required to build the tower. During the busiest construction period, 12,000 workers and contractors were on the site daily.


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Cala Junco, a small beach on Panarea, one of the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily.



We are offering a trip for two to Italy to discover the country’s undeniable flavors and secret marvels. One Lonely Planet magazine reader and a guest will get to explore Italy, including culinary fare in Sicily and the firebreathing island of Stromboli (one of Lonely Planet’s Secret Marvels of the World). Accommodations, airfare, language skills and tours provided, with special thanks to, Rosetta Stone and Food52 for putting together this marvelous trip!


PRIZE INCLUDES • A $2,800 hotel voucher from • A $2,000 airfare voucher from Lonely Planet • Two 24-month Rosetta Stone subscriptions • $200 toward dinner at one of the restaurants featured in Lonely Planet’s Italy From the Source • A Taormina Food and Wine Walking Tour, courtesy of Viator • An Aeolian Islands day trip from Taormina to Stromboli and Panarea, courtesy of Viator • A one-year subscription to Lonely Planet magazine • Complimentary copies of Lonely Planet’s Italy and Sicily travel guides, Secret Marvels of the World and Italy From the Source Conditions apply. Refer to Terms and Conditions for details.

HOW TO ENTER • To enter, fill in your details online at • Competition closes at 11:59 p.m. (CDT) on October 27, 2017. • Special conditions and blackout dates will apply. This competition is open only to U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older. For the full terms and conditions, please go to Fall 2017

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Delivering distinctive experiences that anticipate the desires for guests of all ages, Barceló Hotel Group is a renowned upscale resort brand featuring stylish urban-centric hotels and multi-resort, all-inclusive complexes. Specializing in imaginative and surprising moments, the brand’s affordable, upscale resorts offer exclusive experiences, and surprising and delightful concepts.

$1,000 USD Resort Credit is valid for travel through Dec. 31, 2017 at select Barceló Hotel Group properties, and will be granted to the guest in discounts of up to 25% off. Resort Credit discounts are only applicable upon the acquisition of different services or products within the resort(s), up until the stated limit is reached. Resort Credit Discounts have no cash value and no unused portion may be refunded. Terms, conditions and restrictions may apply. Offer, inclusions, blackout dates, and availability are subject to change without prior notice. Not responsible for errors or omissions.



A splendid fall sunrise along the Natchez Trace Parkway, just outside Nashville Take a scenic drive on the historic route

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Also featuring: Aruba // Arizona Fall 2017

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Stretching from the rolling hills of Tennessee to the bluffs of the Mississippi, the Natchez Trace Parkway is one of America’s most scenic and historic drives. It’s also one of the most tranquil: semi trucks are banned from all 444 miles of the two-lane parkway. Today’s Trace was built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration along a well-trod route that carried wildlife, Native Americans and European settlers for centuries. With the blaze of summer behind us and autumn’s blazing foliage ahead, it’s the perfect season to discover the fascinating history, music and culture along this storied route.

444 miles from Nashville to Natchez

Clockwise from top left: A meal at the Loveless Cafe in Nashville; biscuits at the Loveless; the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge, near the parkway’s northern terminus





Music City is as hot as its famous chicken these days. If you’re wondering what Nashville was like before the tourism boom, hit up Bobby’s Idle Hour ( This no-frills dive has live music, a menu featuring pot pies and Vienna sausages, and a craftfree beer list that starts with Budweiser and ends with PBR. Another iconic favorite: The Station Inn (stationinn .com). This famous bluegrass venue stands its ground amid towering high-rises in the middle of the city’s stylish Gulch neighborhood.

You’ll join the Trace in west Nashville, where it meets up with state Route 100. Before setting off, fill up on satisfying Southern fare at The Loveless Cafe (, a classic diner that’s been fueling hungry travelers since 1951. The fried chicken is a beautiful thing, but don’t miss the famous biscuits and peach preserves.

The Trace’s northern section offers some truly glorious scenic overlooks. But there’s one place where the view is equally impressive from below: the double-arched bridge, at mile marker 438. The arches of the 1,500foot bridge, which won a Presidential Award for Design Excellence in 1995, rise 155 feet over Birdsong Hollow. At the bridge’s north end, there’s a shoulder where you can take photos from above. After driving across, take the state Route 96 exit to admire the soaring concrete arches from below.

The Trace offers several chances to see Native American archaeological sites, but one of the best and biggest is Pharr Mounds, at mile marker 286.7 about 30 miles northeast of Tupelo, Mississippi. Dispersed over 90 acres are eight sloping burial mounds. Nearly 2,000 years ago, nomadic tribes returned here to cremate or bury their dead. Copper from as far away as the Great Lakes has been found in these mounds, proof that the tribes were part of a complex trading network.

For More: See Lonely Planet’s Epic Bike Rides of the World ($35.00) or download the “Americas” chapter at ($4.95).



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Clockwise from top left: Elvis Presley at home with his parents; the Neon Pig; a selection from the Neon Pig butcher shop; cypress swamp; the home of Medgar Evers

STAY Historic Oak Hill Inn, Natchez, Mississippi This B&B in a restored 1835 mansion features antiques in the rooms and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Your stay also will include a dose of Southern charm: visitors are greeted with homemade iced tea (from $160;

5 Take a break in Tupelo to tour Elvis Presley’s tiny, two-room birthplace (elvispresleybirthplace .com) or the Tupelo National Battlefield (nps .gov/tupe), where Union forces won a decisive victory in July 1864. Stay for a legstretching stroll through downtown Tupelo and some farm-to-table fare from Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen ( Before hitting the Trace again, pick up some picnic supplies and local beer at The Neon Pig (





As you continue south toward Jackson, Mississippi, stop in French Camp Historic Village, at mile marker 180.7, to discover what life was like on the Trace for settlers in the mid-19th century. A handful of original cabins remain to be toured, and if you’re lucky, you might see the sorghum mill at work. Five miles down the road, Cole Creek offers a chance to explore one of the Trace’s most singular landscapes. A short boardwalk trail takes you through a bald cypress and water tupelo swamp.

Mississippi’s capital, Jackson, has a blend of energy and history that might surprise you. Don’t miss the home of assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers, now a museum (visitmississippi .org). Wander the Fondren District, one of the city’s hippest, and savor a vegetarian meal at High Noon Café (rainbowcoop .org), inside the organic produce and Rainbow Co-op grocery store, where you can pick up healthy road snacks.

No trip on the Natchez Trace would be complete without walking part of the “sunken trace,” the original trail blazed by Native Americans, European settlers and buffalo. Mile marker 41.5 near Port Gibson, Mississippi, is a good place to stride in the footsteps of history.

Your trip ends in Natchez, on the bluffs of the Mississippi. This small city was one of the wealthiest in the world before the Civil War. In late September and early October, the annual Fall Pilgrimage (natchezpilgrimage .com) gives visitors the opportunity to tour some of the city’s finest antebellum homes. End your trip with a meal in King’s Tavern (, the oldest standing building in Mississippi (built in 1789). – Trisha Ping

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Perched just north of the Venezuelan coast, Aruba is a beautiful Caribbean one-stop shop: a desert island ringed with stunning marine life, this little jewel serves as an ideal destination for divers, beach bums, adventurers and history buffs alike. Why visit in the fall? Aruba is located outside of the main hurricane belt, so while you may see a few showers in the rainy season, big storms are unlikely.

2 Foodies looking for a taste of Aruban fare will be greatly rewarded when they make the trip to Zeerover, a fishing cooperative near Savaneta (Savaneta 270A). This place isn’t fancy and the menu is short, but you’re guaranteed the freshest catch on the island. Settle in at a waterside picnic table, dive into your meal, and watch the sunset turn the sky tangerine.


Volcanic rocks at the edge of Aruba’s Natural Pool, an area accessible only by 4x4, foot or horseback

Small and sweet, Aruba’s capital, Oranjestad, is home to several colorful Dutch colonial buildings, hip boutique hotels, and several top-notch restaurants. The city is a popular stopover for cruise tourists. For a bit of the area’s history, check out the Archaeological Museum of Aruba downtown, which has a collection of more than 10,000 Amerindian artifacts dating to 4000 BC (free admission;

For More: See Lonely Planet’s Discover Caribbean Islands guidebook ($29.99) or download the book’s “Southern Caribbean” chapter at ($4.95).


4 Aruba’s paradisiacal sands keep beach bums coming back year after year, and for good reason. Soak up southern Caribbean rays at pearly tourist darlings like Eagle Beach or find solitude on the golden sands of Andicuri Beach on the east coast. If you’re keen to get your heart pumping, head to breezy Boca Grandi, the best place to hop on a kiteboard and flit across the waves.

5 While Aruba may be home to pretty-as-a-picture resorts, its eastern and northern coasts are as wild as they come. Arikok National Wildlife Park (aruba, an arid, cactus-filled desert along the craggy shoreline, contrasts sharply with the surrounding sapphire water.

STAY Relax at Beach House Aruba, a collection of eight beach hut apartments (from $130; beachhousearuba .com) perched on the island’s northwestern shore, just south of Malmok Beach.

– Bailey Freeman



The crystalline waters surrounding Aruba offer Technicolor undersea views, and many sites are easily accessed by casual snorkelers. Marvel at the mangroves and peruse the vibrant reef at Mangel Halto, a small sandy beach with clear waters, or pop into the calm waters of Malmok Beach.


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Nearby, Cathedral Rock’s sunset-red spires rise sharply out of the evergreen forests of the Coconino National Forest. Among many of Sedona’s purported vortexes, where people say the earth’s energy can be felt, Cathedral Rock is said to be one of the strongest. Take the short trail up to the plateau between the middle and northern spires, or head to Crescent Moon Recreation Area for excellent views of Cathedral Rock from a distance.

Featuring landscapes straight out of a Hollywood Western, communities where New Agers revel in spiritual vortexes, and the Southwest’s most unexpected wine region, the Sedona area has a way of capturing the imagination. This easy, 76-mile loop takes in the best sights of the region.


1 Nestled in the red sandstone and conifer landscapes of Coconino National Forest, Sedona nurtures a community of artists, outdoor enthusiasts and spiritual seekers. Stock up on gifts and souvenirs at the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village ( For dinner, swing by Elote Cafe ( for some of the most authentic Mexican food this side of the Rio Grande.

2 Tucked between two massive red-rock boulders 4 miles south of Sedona, the Chapel of the Holy Cross beckons both the spiritual and the agnostic (free; chapeloftheholy Designed by local sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude in the 1950s, the chapel’s modern architecture contrasts with the surroundings. Inside, floor-to-ceiling windows offer an arresting perspective on the landscape.

Top: Coconino National Forest Bottom: Chapel of the Holy Cross, a church built into the Sedona area’s red rocks

The well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling at Montezuma Castle National Monument dates to AD 1100. Built by the Sinagua people, the structure is tucked into a recess in a white limestone cliff, thereby protecting it from rain and erosion. The main dwelling can be seen from a short, easy trail. Although entry to the castle is prohibited, a museum displays the history of the Sinagua people ( /moca).

5 Central Arizona might not be the first region to come to mind as wine country, but over the last decade the lush Verde Valley has had a boom in wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms. Stop by Page Springs Cellars for a winery tour and tasting ($34; Friday through Sunday only; Hang out in the tasting room and peruse the menu of appetizer-style foods.

6 Circling back toward Sedona, head north to check out Slide Rock State Park’s central attraction: an 80-foot natural waterslide worn into the sandstone banks of Oak Creek. Afterward, dry off with a stroll through the recreation area past a historic homestead, an apple orchard and spectacular views of Oak Creek Canyon (

STAY Base yourself in El Portal, a luxury, 12-room adobe inn (from $230; elportalsedona .com) located in the heart of Sedona’s art district.

– Alexander Howard

For More: See Lonely Planet’s Southwest USA and Grand Canyon National Park guidebooks ($29.99 each) at

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OKINAWA’S SECRETS for a Long & Happy Life

Japan’s sunny southern islands see a remarkable number of 100th birthdays. In fact, residents of Okinawa are among the longest lived people on Earth, and they stay healthier longer, too. Why the long lifespan? Scientists say it’s partly due to genetics, but diet and lifestyle also have a lot to do with it. We traveled to meet some of Okinawa’s healthy centenarians and discover what longevity lessons we can learn from them. BY RORY GOULDING @RGOULDINGTRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHS BY MATT MUNRO

Tofu chanpuru (a stir-fry) at Tofuno-Higa restaurant in Ishigaki. Tofu is a staple in the Okinawan diet.

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Mrs. Toyo Kajigu used to get up at 5 a.m. Now that she is 104, she allows herself to sleep in, except for the two days a week when she rises early for the shuttle bus that circuits the small island of Taketomi, bringing together the older members of the community. Japan has the world’s highest share of centenarians, but in the southern islands of Okinawa, people live long even by Japanese standards. Sitting in her spacious tiled-roof house, with carved wooden angama masks on the walls, Kajigu offers a tray of sweet-potato cakes and downplays the significance of her age. “In Okinawa, 97 is when we traditionally have a big party,” she says. “For my 100th birthday, I just celebrated with my family.” The main island of Okinawa lies 1,000 miles southwest of Tokyo; the Yaeyama group, to which Taketomi belongs, is another 240 miles toward Taiwan. Taketomi is just one corner of this subtropical archipelago, which has health researchers poring over their data. It’s clear talking to Kajigu that the key to long life is not a one-size-fits-all approach: “I eat anything,” she says. “When I get together with friends, I do karaoke, even though my voice isn’t what it used to be.” An island-hopping tour around Okinawa is a chance to pick up small clues about what goes into this famously healthy lifestyle.

Get some sunshine

Getting enough vitamin D, produced by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, is rarely a problem in Okinawa. Just one degree north of the tropics, the Yaeyama Islands are especially blessed with sunny days. On the island of Ishigaki, Taketomi’s larger neighbor, fields of sugarcane checker the flat land between the jungle-cloaked mountains and the coral-fringed shore. The light has the kind of brilliance that sends painters rushing to their easels. What’s good for the banana plants and mango trees also is a charm – when it’s taken in moderate doses – for the 49,000 people of Ishigaki: having adequate levels of vitamin D is associated with numerous health benefits, including better bone strength and possibly a lower risk of cancer.

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Mrs. Toyo Kajigu in her house on the island of Taketomi

Japan has the world’s highest share of centenarians, but in the southern islands of Okinawa, people live long even by Japanese standards.

On the main islands of Japan, custom as much as weather limits the beachgoing season to July and August, but in Okinawa this stretches from April to October, or longer. While their northern compatriots are busy with cherry blossoms or early autumn leaf-peeping, beachgoers here have ample time for summer pursuits such as suikawari – a Japanese version of the piñata, in which blindfolded participants wielding baseball bats take turns trying to split a watermelon. Driving from Ishigaki town, a circuit of the island takes about four hours. This being Japan, there are vending machines for cold drinks even on sleepy back roads, but thirst is not yet an issue at an early-morning stop by the little white lighthouse at Uganzaki. Just off the point is a rock shaped like the kind of slipper you change into when entering a Japanese home. A crackling in the bushes on

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the hill to the side announces a party of hunters and their dogs, moving through the thicket in search of wild boar. Farther east along the coast, two fishermen with cone hats and nets cross the road that leads to Sukuji Beach. This broad sweep of sand curves around a bay of uncanny stillness.


With one solitary hotel nearby, it’s usually a peaceful spot. Today the only movement is a woman doing yoga on the sand, the only noise the frenetic chatter of cicadas. On many other beaches around the Yaeyama Islands, finger-sized stubs of whitened coral lie scattered across the sand, left there by the

tide, making a glassy sound when crunched together under walkers’ shoes. Locals sometimes use the pieces in garden wind chimes, or as paperweights or chopstick rests. Nearby Kabira Bay, on the north coast of Ishigaki, offers an easy chance to see living coral. Glass-bottom boats reveal an undersea


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Kabira Bay, renowned for its white sands and turquoise waters, forms part of the IriomoteIshigaki National Park.

geography of canyons and defiles more intricate than any on land, if on a smaller scale. Beneath the turquoise surface of the bay, clown fish and Moorish idols flit between brain corals and toaster-sized clams, two species for which a hundred years is no great record.

Eat to 80% full (and don’t skip the seaweed) In any region famed for its number of centenarians, diet gets the most excited attention. And in Okinawa, as with other places, not everything in the local cuisine

seems an obvious recipe for good health. Among the best-known dishes here is rafute: cubes of fatty pork belly simmered in a stock that contains several spoonfuls of black sugar. This kind of food, though, would have been a rare indulgence in times past, when most islanders lived by the saying “eat every bit of the pig except its squeal.” Even now, in more prosperous times, mimigaa (chopped pig’s ears) is a staple dish. Another motto, still repeated here today, is “hara hachi bu” – “eat until you are 80 percent full.” Traditions matter at Funakura-no-sato, a restaurant in a cluster of old buildings by the sea outside Ishigaki town. It is run by Den Motomura. “Okinawan food had influences from other parts of Asia,” he says. The Yaeyama Islands are closer to the Philippines and even Vietnam than they are to Tokyo. Chanpuru, a kind of stir-fry, takes its name from a similar dish in Indonesia called campur. Chinese cooking inspired tofuyo: cubes of tofu soaked in awamori (rice grain spirit) and fermented, a dish akin to a creamy blue cheese, and a former favorite of Okinawan royalty. “We eat tofu very often,” Motomura says. “And also a lot of seaweed compared to the rest of Japan. There’s a bigger variety here.” He singles out one kind in particular: “I think mozuku helps us to live longer.” This type of seaweed is farmed in huge beds just offshore from the islands, and is harvested by divers holding what are essentially giant vacuum cleaners. While mozuku has a goopy texture (vinegar gives it more kick), sea grapes, another local delicacy, have a satisfying pop to them. At Hitoshi restaurant back in Ishigaki town, chef Shimoji Hitoshi serves them alongside sliced raw tuna. “My father fished for tuna and my mother sold it,” he says, standing in front of a photo of his parents. “When I go home, though, I like to have ramen.”

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Yusei Taba, 83, has been making carved wooden masks, used in celebratory dances, since he was 27.

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Keep a little bit busy Yusei Taba sits cross-legged behind his low worktop, and picks a chisel from more than 50 tools lined up on a lazy Susan. He has been a mask-maker for 56 of his 83 years, crafting wooden angama worn by dancers in festivals. Most are displayed in pairs, one with a frown and one with a smile. “The one with a single tooth represents an old man,” Taba says. “The one without teeth is an old woman: people thought that the more children a woman delivered, the more teeth she would lose.” He points at the male mask with a chuckle: “I look like him now. But my upper body is very good at least.” In his workshop in Ishigaki town, Taba helps to preserve a craft that was nearly abandoned after WWII. “I see fake masks from Taiwan and I’m disappointed,” he says. “I feel a responsibility to keep our traditional ones.” It used to take him three days to make two masks, but now he has it down to one. “I’m getting quicker all the time.’” The mask-maker is a good advertisement for the idea of continuing to hone one’s talents beyond standard retirement age, and many researchers also believe that a habit of sitting on the floor, with all the getting up and down involved, is a lifetime benefit to bones and muscles. In Okinawa, craftspeople gain more respect with each year under their belts, but there’s still room to add a personal touch to an ancient method. Until the 1870s, these islands were part of the Ryukyu Kingdom, a state that played a nimble diplomatic game between Japan and China. Its people paid their taxes in cloth, and Ishigaki’s variety, called Yaeyama jofu, was prized. Woven from fibers of ramie, a plant related to nettles, this textile made kimonos light enough to be worn in the Okinawan summer. Sachiko Arakaki is one of the few practitioners of the craft today. For more than

Sachiko Arakaki works with Yaeyama jofu, a traditional cloth used for lightweight kimonos worn in summer. Below: Ramie fibers, used to make the cloth.

30 years, she has researched historic color patterns to feed through the looms in her workshop on the outskirts of town, but her inspiration is not limited to the past. “The island is so rich in plantlife,” she says. “I wanted to make dyes from what I could find in my garden and in nature.” Meanwhile, 3 miles up the west coast from Kabira Bay, an even bigger island icon is getting a radical makeover. The shisa, or “lion-dog,” is a guardian spirit statue seen on rooftops and beside gateways across the islands of Okinawa. At his roadside pottery studio, Hisashi Katsuren has turned the shisa’s usual bombastic scowl into a zany grin, with a Technicolor paint job to match. “The traditional statues are for protection from disease and other misfortune,” he says. “But I think of mine as being like people. That’s why they have a big smile. It’s like I communicate with them as I make them.”

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Children at the Tanadui celebration on Taketomi Island

Practice your moves The ferry from Ishigaki to Taketomi crosses 4 miles of sea, and seemingly several decades. In the center of Taketomi, wooden-walled houses of an earlier era sit low behind coralstone walls bursting with flowers. Villagers sweep the sandy streets every morning, but on the eve of Tanadui, the annual seed-planting celebration and the biggest cultural event of the year, preparations are even more diligent. Kajigu has witnessed a century of Tanadui festivities, since the days when she walked to school barefoot. “I still remember some of the dances,” she says. “Now my granddaughter will be up on the stage.” On the lane outside, one of her neighbors practices her steps in the evening light. Farther on, some two dozen men stand in a semicircle, with paper cutout horse heads fixed to their midriffs. Drummers behind them start to play, and the mock horsemen launch into a high-kneed dance, as a 10-year-old boy keeps time with a sharp-pitched chime. Other


rehearsals can be heard from a distance, the sound carrying well over the flat island. The festivities begin by honoring four residents who have turned 77 (another symbolic age here). What follows may only fully make sense to islanders: a series of costumed performances whose names are written on a flip chart to one side. “Red Horse” is followed by “Quick Talking.” One dance might involve a woman in a yellow kimono and tasseled headdress moving with measured grace; another celebrates the arrival of iron tools on the island. When the board announces the fortunebringing Yuhiki dance, the backing curtain tweaks open and a man with a walking stick, strap-on beard and bushy eyebrows is guided onstage by two boys in red robes and mintgreen turbans. Then two more men appear, pulling a miniature cart loaded with sheaves of millet. The ritual movements are enacted, ending with the youngsters doing their bit to great acclaim, the crowd throwing money onstage. In spirit, the dance brings together three generations.


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Performers in traditional costume for the Red Horse dance, a highlight of the Tanadui festival

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Explore your wild side Kai-kun is in his element, and that element is water. His job is to take sightseers across a short, shallow channel to Yubu Island, a botanical garden. The water buffalo uses his 1,500-pound bulk to pull a passenger cart. “He doesn’t need directions. He knows the way,” says the driver, Tsutomu Takamine. While his bovine autopilot wades on at an unhurried pace, Takamine picks up his sanshin – the Okinawan three-string banjo – and begins to play and sing along to the folk song “Asadoya Yunta,” the perky rhythm of the chorus at odds with the slow, rocking motion of Kai-kun’s haunches. The cart reaches the far shore and Takamine calls out “stoppu” to the buffalo. “He knows Japanese and English, and I’m teaching him Mandarin.” The garden, filled with subtropical plants, lies just off Iriomote, Japan’s jungle frontier. This island is larger than Ishigaki, but has less than 5 percent of its population. Even those few inhabitants are concentrated in a handful of villages along a single coastal road. Stray not far from this tenuous ribbon of civilization, and you’re in the realm of humid forest, mangrove-thick riverbanks and the endangered Iriomote wildcat, unique to this island. Most of the interior is inaccessible, and for people like Naoya Ojima, this is a good thing. He has worked as a guide for 12 years, sharing his natural knowledge in those parts of Iriomote that humans can just about reach. Today he leads a party of kayakers up one of the creeks through the mangroves, pausing his paddle from time to time to keep the group together. “Mangroves create five to six times more oxygen than a normal tree,” he says. “Fish can hide among the roots, and it holds the mud in place. People used to cut them to make charcoal. Now Japanese firms are paying to plant more of them in Southeast Asia.”


A pine tree, a Japanese symbol of longevity, on a headland on Funauki Bay

Pinaisara Falls can be seen up ahead, white spray plunging nearly 200 feet off a cliff face and disappearing into the forest below. The final half hour is uphill on foot, past trees that are buttressed with giant roots. By the pool at the foot of the cascade, walkers eat packed lunches while resting on giant boulders. The fine mist from the waterfall is suddenly replaced by a near-tropical downpour, and everyone returns from the trek thankful for the raincoats they brought, which steam gently when the sun returns. Five miles west of the falls, the coast road ends at the tiny port of Shirahama. Beyond lies another settlement, but it must be reached by water. The heavens have opened again, and it seems unlikely that the glassbottom boat about to cross Funauki Bay will provide much in the way of sights. But soon into the short trip, the water beneath the

rain-pitted surface becomes clear. Coral gardens unfold beyond the viewing window, yellow and bright blue. A sea turtle glides past and the rain subsides. The boat’s pilot, Mr. Ikeda, guides his craft into the small harbor at Funauki, a village of 50 people and seemingly 500 butterflies. At the wharfside restaurant, also Ikeda’s home, his uncle stops by with a bucket of sardines, and slices one into sashimi. Mrs. Ikeda appears with a warm smile and a tray of soba noodles, papaya salad and rice flavored with fragrant pipachi pepper. She is keen to demonstrate a traditional dance from the village. It’s tempting to linger, but the boat must head back. As Shirahama port draws near, a headland comes into view. Standing atop the golden rock and spreading its branches wide is a pine tree – the Japanese symbol of longevity.


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Pinaisara Falls can be seen up ahead, white spray plunging nearly 200 feet off a cliff face and disappearing into the forest below.

Pinaisara Falls on Iriomote Island is said to look like a white flowing beard, hence its name: pinai (beard) and sara (hanging down).

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GETTING THERE & AROUND FLIGHTS Ishigaki Painushima Airport is the gateway to the Yaeyama Islands, with connections to Okinawa’s main city, Naha; Tokyo; and other Japanese cities, as well as Hong Kong and Taipei. With a layover in Tokyo, flights are 16 or more hours from Los Angeles and 19 or more hours from Chicago. Visitors to Japan can get discounts on internal flights with All Nippon Airways’ Discover Japan fare and Japan Airlines’ Japan Explorer pass, or by booking a hotel and air package ( TOUR OPERATORS Hirata Tourism specializes in travel around the Yaeyama Islands and has English-speaking guides ( The company offers set tours, such as a snorkeling trip from Ishigaki (about $55 per person), and also can arrange custom itineraries. PUBLIC TRANSIT Ferries provide inter-island transportation, and prices for the main operators are largely the same (, and The Ishigaki-Taketomi ferry takes 10 to 15 minutes (from about $10 round-trip). Iriomote’s two ports, Uehara and Ohara, are about 40 minutes from Ishigaki (from about $25 roundtrip). Local car rental companies, such as Yamaneko Renta-Car on Iriomote, charge about $40 per day (an International Driving Permit is needed). Bus routes cover most of Ishigaki island (one-day pass $9, five-day pass $18).

WHEN TO GO Temperatures reach around 85°F in July and August, and dip into the mid-60s in December and January. Beach season tends to run from April to October, though November still can be hot and usually is the month when the Tanadui festival is held on Taketomi.













On a circuit of Ishigaki, check out the shisa figurines at Mr. Katsuren’s Yoneko-yaki studio (yonekoyaki and fine angama masks at Mr. Taba’s workshop, Maruta Kogei (Hirae 80-2; 81-980-827392). Then it’s time to take a ferry ride to Taketomi. Many visit this island as a day trip, but Villa Taketomi, with its individual cottages, is a pleasant place to stay (from $195;

Map Key Funakura-no-sato Funauki Ishigaki town Kabira Bay Pinaisara Falls Sukuji Beach Taketomi Uganzaki Yoneko-yaki Yubu Island

Hotels 1 ANA Intercontinental 2 Eco Village Iriomote 3 Villa Taketomi




Start on Ishigaki island with an introduction to Okinawan cuisine at Funakura-no-sato (set meals from $15; In town, Hitoshi specializes in maguro tuna (dishes from about $3; Okawa 197-1; 81-980-88-5807). Meanwhile, at the cozy Nakamuraya, the Japanese favorite “kare raisu” is given a twist with island herbs and vegetables (curries from $8; Ishigaki 215; 81-980-87-5075). Just outside town, the ANA Intercontinental has spacious rooms by its own beach (from about $215; anaintercontinental

6 4 9

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


The autumn festival on Taketomi, called Tanetori in standard Japanese and Tanadui in the local language, usually is held each November over two days that vary according to the old Chinese calendar (the 2017 event, however, is scheduled for October 30–31). The island is picturesque yearround, and its beaches include one that’s known for its “hoshizuna” – starshaped shells the size of sand grains.


The final island is the wildest of all: Iriomote. Get a feel for the subtropics among the palms and hibiscus in the gardens at 37-acre Yubu Island (access by buffalo cart $12; Then take a kayak trip into the jungle to reach towering Pinaisara Falls on a guided excursion (half-day tour about $50;

For More: See Lonely Planet’s Japan guidebook ($29.99) or download the “Okinawa & the Southwest Islands” chapter at ($4.95).



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by Lonely Planet

Trips by Lonely Planet is a beautiful and simple way to record your travel experiences. Upload photos and videos, create inspiring stories and share your adventures with friends, family and fellow travelers.

Set off on a self-drive road trip beneath the big skies of Zambia, roaming among big game by day, camping under the stars at night and casting off in a canoe at the road’s end. BY OLIVER SMITH @OLISMITHTRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHS BY PHILIP LEE HARVEY @PHILIP_LEE_HARVEY_PHOTOGRAPHER

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the s in South rk s e rd of Pa opa tor nal A le fu sec Natio a Nse angw Lu

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Rules 47–54 of the Zambian Highway Code concern animals. They offer considered advice, including “Do not carry animals on vehicle rooftops,” “If you have an animal in your car . . . make sure it cannot disturb you” and, most concerning of all, “Be careful around larger game animals [which] may charge your vehicle, causing damage and endangering your life.” For further study on this last point, an excellent resource is YouTube. There, you can carefully identify hazards such as monkeys prying windshield wipers off a Land Rover, a rhinoceros enthusiastically sinking its horn into a Renault hatchback, and an elephant flipping a minibus on its side. This is all required homework if, like photographer Philip Lee Harvey and me, you are about to set out on an 800-mile road trip across Zambia in a Toyota Land Cruiser, driving unsupervised among the big beasts of the African bush. “The important thing is to respect all animals,” advises Mark Geraghty, who works for the 4x4 service Safari Drive, as he hands me the keys to said Land Cruiser in the parking lot of the Lusaka airport. “The animals were here before you. Remember: in the wild anything can happen!” Where most safarigoers travel in the company of a knowledgeable guide, who knows how to deal with difficult situations, on a self-drive safari you are your own guide, driver, navigator, cook, emergency medical technician and engineer. Some would say self-driving heightens the best elements of a safari, including the dizzying sense of being truly alone in the wilderness. There are few places better for such an adventure than Zambia, one of the most sparsely inhabited countries in Africa, with remote swathes of forest and grassland bisected by mighty rivers and arrow-straight highways that stretch to the horizon.



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We set out on one such highway, the Great East Road, bound for the wilderness country of South Luangwa National Park. Soon the chaotic traffic jams of the capital, Lusaka, retreat behind us. Potholes appear in the road: big craters that jolt the car, send loose items airborne and instantly scramble any eggs stored in the on-board fridge. These potholes are all the more difficult to dodge when you’re distracted by an exquisite landscape. At first, low forested hills rise on all sides, growing taller as the road skirts the border with Mozambique, before lapsing into infinite green plains on the cusp of the Luangwa Valley. Homewardbound schoolchildren shuffle along the roadside, heading for villages where bonfire smoke swirls about thatched roofs. In the market town of Chipata, people sell peanuts through the car window. A policeman flags us down at a checkpoint for a symposium on British soccer player Wayne Rooney. Most of the time, however, we are alone on the road. Now and then freight trucks from Malawi, Congo and Zimbabwe barge past; seemingly unsure if Zambians drive on the left or on the right side of the road (it’s the left), most go for a compromise and drive down the middle with the horn blaring. Night descends swiftly, and soon the vehicle’s headlights pick the shapes of sleeping villages out of the gloom. An owl swoops into the glare of the beams. It is many hours before we arrive at the gates of the national park and the last hiccups of pavement give way to rusty-brown earth.

g lon to g a acks ngwa n i r v Dri ush t th Lua b ou S

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Like any highway, the bush tracks of South Luangwa National Park have their own particular set of rules. For instance: you should slip the clutch delicately when approaching a leopard snoozing on a log; when attempting a three-point turn on a riverbank, you should check the rear-view mirror for oncoming hippos; and, above all, you should be respectful to other road users. Soon after arriving in the park, I have to make an emergency stop as a young bull elephant lumbers onto the road. It becomes clear he is the inconsiderate driver of the Luangwa traffic system, honking angrily at our vehicle and anything else hoping to overtake him. Keeping a sensible following distance are a convoy of giraffes, their heads gently bobbing above the tree line. It’s often said that safari is one long drama – and in driving yourself you soon realize you are, if not exactly a starring cast member, at least a nonspeaking extra in the production. Upon accidentally bashing the car horn to reach for a sandwich, I send about 20 tons of panicked hippo pods bundling into a lagoon. Finding your way around requires skill in South Luangwa, a labyrinth of tangled foliage and oxbow lakes where water lilies grow. It means that even self-drivers are advised to sometimes park at lodges and enlist the services of an experienced guide, such as Yona Banda, a local who, ever since he was president of his high school wildlife club, has honed a Superman-like ability to spot animals at long range. With Banda at the wheel, we soon happen upon a herd of 40


e fuw s, e M ir cub sed r h t f e ha e es o h th g c riv ess e wit bein in the n o n Li prid a lio iles d ing oco tch by cr a w


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more elephants crossing the Luangwa river, their trunks raised like periscopes as they slowly wade through the current. “When you look into the eyes of an elephant, you can see they are thinking like us,” says Banda, studying the herd through his binoculars. “They mourn like us too. I’ve seen elephants returning to the place where their friends have fallen just to hold the bones in their trunks.” He soon scouts a group of 14 lions and cubs, all watching intently on a riverbank as one of their pride swims across the water, three crocodiles in pursuit. Transfixed by the plight of their comrade, the lions don’t seem to register our vehicle, and they come close enough to us that their whiskers brush the car door. That evening, we are the only visitors at our bush campsite, arriving just as the sun slips beneath the canopies of sycamores and tamarind trees. We pitch the SUV’s built-on roof tents (complete with mattresses and soft pillows), shaking 500 miles of dust off the outer sheet. Cape turtledoves coo in the ebony trees, and tufts of wild cotton drift through the evening air. Logs are chopped, sausages are grilled, beers are clinked, and stories are shared. Each day on safari is essentially a harvest for tales around the campfire. Then the last embers crackle and die, and it is time to climb the ladder to my rooftop bed. At this point, tales laughed over by the warm glow of the fire acquire a new, sinister resonance in darkness.

My Teflon-coated poly-cotton ripstop tent can repel rain, sleet and snow. It can stand firm in raging winds. But its all-season outdoor performance specifications do not extend to withstanding a sharp feline claw. Lying inside the tent at night, you soon realize that only a few millimeters of fabric separate you from all the animals you have seen on the road, and that for all you know, all the elephants, lions and crocodiles you’ve spotted could be standing just outside. It takes about 45 minutes for the human eye to fully reach maximum sensitivity in darkness. I poke my head out of the tent into the inky blackness, and 10 minutes pass before I spot bats flitting through the patch of sky around Orion’s Belt, and another 15 before I spy baboons stirring in the high branches of nearby fig trees. But compared to most mammals, the nocturnal vision of Homo sapiens leaves much to be desired. It takes a full nine hours before I climb out of my tent in the slanting morning sunshine, yawn, reach for my toothbrush and see the footprints of a leopard crossing the tracks of the Land Cruiser on the far edge of camp.

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m fro ks wn e ban a d h t at off p on i ing cam mbez t s Ca wild e Za a f th o



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For all the off-road capabilities of our SUV, some Zambian bush highways cannot be reached in a 4x4. These are the tributaries and sandy lagoons of the Lower Zambezi National Park – thoroughfares for hippos, crocodiles and elephants, and, at certain times of the year, Anthony Elton and Tavengwa Kangwara. Elton and Kangwara pioneered canoe expeditions on the Zambezi three decades ago and now lead clients on multinight canoe journeys through the backwaters, sneaking past hippo pods by day, camping on uninhabited river islands by night. And these trips are not without incident. On one outing long ago, Elton awoke one morning looking up at the underside of an elephant. On another, he pretended to be asleep as a pride of lions peed on him, one after the other, to mark their territory. “Some people in Zambia think a canoe safari is dangerous,” says Kangwara, stocking the boats with tents and supplies. “But I have been paddling here for 21 years. I still have all my arms and legs.” We drift with the current on its slow procession to the Indian Ocean, listening to the slosh of the paddles and the calls of fish eagles from the treetops. The Zambezi changes character with passing each mile. At first it’s wide and serene, with woods of acacia and winter thorn forming the boundary between water and sky. Then it turns into a muddle of channels with large crocodiles basking on the sandbanks, and hippo pods blocking the way, bearing their tusks.

Kangwara soon spies a herd of elephants watering upstream. We paddle against the current until the folds of their metallic gray skin are just yards away. There is nothing more likely to restore a childlike sense of smallness than seeing a herd of elephants from a canoe, your body measuring only 2 or 3 feet tall from the water line, while gazing up into a forest of legs. Among the elephants are juveniles spurting water over each other and a matriarch, perhaps 50 years old, ponderously scratching her backside against the bark of an acacia tree. In the decades since this herd’s matriarch was born, the number of elephants in Africa has plummeted by an astonishing two-thirds. Most recently, a poaching epidemic has annihilated elephant populations across the continent. The Lower Zambezi population is healthy, but not far away, poachers have targeted elephants by lacing waterholes with cyanide, a poison that will shut down a heart the size of a car engine. The current takes us out of sight and the sound of faraway pachyderm trumpeting carries downstream. At moments like this, safari feels like an experience more precious and profound than seeing millennia-old pyramids, or wandering around museums filled with centuries-old artifacts. For the big beasts of the Zambian wilderness are masterpieces of evolution hundreds of millions of years in the making. They are Mother Nature’s Mona Lisa, its Michelangelo’s David, Taj Mahal and Angkor Wat – but living, breathing, roaming the bush highways of Africa and scratching their backsides on acacia trees.

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e n ors n a er Hamp o bezi v i R c m er a ing Za t ov canoeng the e s Sun afaris d alo S slan i

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Map Key 1 Chipata 2 Chirundu 3 Lilongwe 4 Lower Zambezi National Park 5 Lusaka 6 South Luangwa National Park





While no direct flights to Zambia are available from North America, a good option is South African Airways, which offers daily flights to Johannesburg; from there, it’s about a two-hour flight to Zambia’s main international airport, in Lusaka. Other airlines flying from the U.S. to Lusaka include Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines. An increasing number of international airlines also fly to the airport at Livingstone (for Victoria Falls), and some fly to Mfuwe (for South Luangwa National Park) and Ndola.


A tourist visa, generally issued upon arrival, is required ($50 for single entry).




If you plan to do the driving yourself, an International Driving Permit is required; you can obtain one for $20 through AAA ( or the American Automobile Touring Alliance ( Public transportation infrastructure is limited in Zambia, though long-distance buses run between major towns, such as Lusaka and Chipata (around $13).


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Your first step is organizing a suitably equipped vehicle for a road trip across Zambia. A number of companies rent 4x4s; one of the most comprehensive is Safari Drive. Its heavily customized Land Rover Defenders and Toyota Land Cruisers come with a fridgefreezer, gas cooker, satellite phone, navigation system and roof tents. The tour operator organizes custom itineraries that allow guests to choose the balance of lodges and rooftop camping. A 13-night itinerary based on the locations in this article costs from about $6,700 per person (


Once you’re fully acquainted with your vehicle, set out from the Zambian capital, Lusaka. It takes roughly three hours to drive south to the Zambezi Breezers camp near the town of Chirundu, where canoe trips depart. Canoeing the Zambezi requires no previous experience, though you need to be reasonably fit. River Horse Safaris is among the operators running trips from March to December. The company offers twoto five-night itineraries, paddling in canoes by day and camping in the wild at night. Rates include three generous meals each day, use of camping equipment, transfers back upstream and local guides experienced in dodging hippo pods (two-night Zambezi canoe trail from about $490;


When you return from your canoeing trip, follow the same road back to Lusaka. It takes roughly nine hours to drive northeast to South Luangwa National Park’s Milyoti Gate (park fees $25 per person per day, $30 per person per day for self-drives). Nsefu Camp is the oldest safari lodge in Zambia; it’s close to the gate, in one of the most wildlife-dense parts of the park, with a huddle of circular cabins set by a bend in the Luangwa River. Be sure to spend some time in the well-concealed hide overlooking a small watering hole (from $590 per person, including meals, drinks and game drives;


One hour’s drive from Nsefu Camp in a remote tract of bush outside the South Luangwa National Park, Kalovia is a communityrun campsite for self-drivers. Facilities include a campfireheated bush shower and toilet. Close to the camp is the Changwa Channel, home to one of the largest hippo populations in Africa; it’s reached from the camp via a bumpy 45minute drive (camping from about $70;


Not far from Kalovia, Chikoko Camp is an excellent base for the walking safaris for which Zambia and South Luangwa National Park are renowned. It’s accessible only by foot. Guests park their vehicles, cross the Luangwa by canoe, and take a 10-minute stroll; porters carry luggage and supplies. Accommodations are stilt houses that are rebuilt from scratch every year using bamboo and thatch. Visitors take game walks with a guide and an armed ranger (from $570 per person, including meals, drinks and guided walks;


Getting to Luangwa River Camp involves some fairly advanced map reading. However, it’s the perfect place to spend your final night in the park, with handsome villas, knowledgeable guides and a lawn frequented by mischievous monkeys (from $460 per person, including meals, drinks and game drives; robin


Zambia’s peak wildlife viewing season runs from May to October, coinciding with the dry weather. Be aware that many lodges are closed for the rest of the year, and some bush tracks may be impassable.

For More: See Lonely Planet’s Zambia, Mozambique & Malawi guidebook ($26.99) or download the “Zambia” chapter from ($4.95).

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Portrush Harbour is lined with seafood restaurants and the fishing boats that supply them. Opposite: Will Abernethy churns butter using a traditional technique.

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& SHORE Northern Ireland is a fresh addition to the visitor map. Take a road trip to meet a new generation of food producers who are drawing the best out of the country’s epic landscapes.


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It’s Saturday morning at St. George’s and the market in central Belfast is thick with competing aromas: crisping baco, rich coffee and the sweet fragrance of dahlias on a farm stall laden with rhubarb, black currants and a rainbow of fruit juices. Nearby, a band plays “Here Comes the Sun” and, as if on cue, the daylight filtering through the Victorian glass roof intensifies. At an open door behind the seafood traders, a gull waits for scraps. A young fishmonger holds up today’s haul: a gleaming, pinkish-orange slab of salmon. Next to him, Alan Coffey, a mustached old hand in his yellow fisherman’s wellies, shucks oysters for a buyer who can’t wait until he’s home to try them. “We’ve always been spoilt for seafood, with all the loughs [lakes] and the Irish Sea,” says Coffey, surrounded by evidence of this: heaps of crabs, lobsters, mussels and winkles. Over the three decades that Coffey has run a stall, the market has transformed along with the nation, which long was plagued by violent conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. When Coffey started, St. George’s predominantly sold fresh produce to the neighborhood. In 1999, a year after the Good Friday Agreement signaled peace for Northern Ireland, the market reopened following an extensive restoration, and alongside the butchers, fishmongers, and fruit and vegetable sellers sprang vendors selling hot food as well as artisanal goods. “During the Troubles, if there


Seafood at St. George’s Market in Belfast, Ireland’s oldest continually operated market, built in 1896

was a bomb in Belfast, no one came that day,” recalls Coffey, referring to Northern Ireland’s violent 30-year conflict. “Now people travel 50 miles to the market and make a day of it.” One of the new wave of stallholders that helped make St. George’s a destination is Suki Tea ( From selling a handful of flavors at the market in 2005, including its signature kick-you-out-of-bed Belfast Brew, the boutique blender now exports worldwide. The company also runs a tea academy from its warehouse located along the Peace Line, a barrier built in 1969 to separate clashing Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods, now covered in murals and messages. “We’ve seen the


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market blossom. It’s a real springboard for food and drink entrepreneurs,” says Suki Tea founder Oscar Woolley, as he balances managing the stall and cradling his young son in his arms. St. George’s is a microcosm of the city as a whole. People once feared going out after dark. Now, areas like Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter are crammed with busy restaurants and pubs. Throughout Northern Ireland there is confidence growing in the culinary scene as a new generation experiments with the raw materials that always have been at hand.

BEYOND BELFAST “There’s an insane amount of produce here,” says Mike Thompson, slicing car-wheel-sized rounds of cheese in preparation for one of the regular tasting events he hosts at bars in and around Belfast. After training at the School of Artisan Food in England, at age 26 he launched Mike’s Fancy Cheese ( with the help of a crowdfunding platform. Sourcing from a farm 4 miles from his workshop in Newtownards, he created Northern Ireland’s first raw-milk blue cheese, christening it Young Buck. Wearing skinny jeans and spectacles, Thompson is aware that had he grown up somewhere else, he might have been an artist or musician. “It’s not difficult to see why creative people are drawn to making food here,” he says. “It’s so easy to work directly with farmers.” In this predominantly rural country, no one is more than a few miles from farm fields. Not far from the soils where Comber spuds grow – a varietal with the same protected status as Champagne – Barbara and Stuart Hughes hit on a novel idea: the first modern-day Irish potato vodka. “Perhaps we liked eating them too much to use them for alcohol,” jokes Barbara, offering an explanation for why no one in Ireland had attempted this before. In a small warehouse in Lisburn, the two hand-fill each bottle; they sell the spud-based spirit under the name RubyBlue ( Here they also create natural liqueurs using berries and host “Pimp my Bellini” cocktail classes. Sometimes the connection between farm and final product is even closer. In Armagh, the orchard county southwest of Belfast, a long road colonnaded by pines leads to the white manor house of fifth-generation growers Philip and Helen Troughton. They used to send their 80 acres of apples to southern cideries; now they



blend their own “from blossom to bottle” Armagh Cider ( A tang fills the room where they press the year’s harvest. Outside, lowpruned trees quiver in the breeze as guests arrive for one of their open farm days. “This new artisan food and drink culture – it’s all part of the nation growing up,” Helen says. It helps that the country has a long, bucolic history to build upon. While in the rest of the U.K. new farms of more than 200 acres have become the norm, in Northern Ireland, most remain small-scale, managed by one family that has been on the land for generations. Ruddy-faced and strong-armed, Will Abernethy looks like he’s stepped straight out of a pastoral scene from the 19th century as he enters his barn in Dromara, County Down. He winds the handle of a century-old churner and in five minutes the butter is ready to nudge into a Swiss roll-like shape with a pair of wooden paddles. “Our butter is the most yellow in the world because we’ve got so much good grass in Northern Ireland,” says Abernethy, the cows outside offering a lively moo. Though the technique behind it is traditional, Abernethy Butter ( made a name for itself through 21st-century marketing. Abernethy’s wife, Allison, caught famed British chef Heston Blumenthal’s attention on Twitter and now their butter is served in his and fellow celebrity chef Marcus Wareing’s Michelin-starred restaurants. A 30-minute drive away, past more vivid green fields, stands another spot known to top chefs: Hannan Meats in Moira. Owner Peter Hannan checks chambers lined with Himalayan salt blocks that look like pink marble. Through aging, well-reared local beef is made even better, the flavors concentrated and the tenderness increased. The standard aging time is 28 to 45 days, but they also age beef 80, 100 or even 400 days. Hannan Meats used to sell only direct to restaurants, but when dozens of people started turning up at the company’s warehouse unannounced, Hannan opened The Meat Merchant (, a shop for the general public. “We’ve always been doing things well in Northern Ireland,” he says in a lilting accent that gives away that he’s originally from the South, though he’s lived across the border since 1982. “We were a well-kept secret. Now the world’s waking up to it.”

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Fisherman David Mulligan claims lobster caught near Portrush Harbour tastes better thanks to the area’s cold waters.

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ALONG THE COAST North of Belfast and into Country Antrim, the landscape swells in waves like the Irish Sea beside it, forming a series of nine glens. Quilted with fields and seamed with hedgerows, one of these valleys, Glenarm, is where Hannan picks up his choicest cuts of meat. “It’s not just about saying we’re organic,” explains Adrian Morrow, the estate manager at Glenarm Castle (glenarm, as he tends to his prized chestnut-colored herd. “By not using artificial fertilizers, we allow clover to grow with the grass. You can taste it in the meat.” Glenarm Shorthorn beef used to sell only wholesale, but after constant requests, it was added to the menu of the estate’s tearoom, a simple, happy space. After sating themselves on home-baked cakes and sandwiches, visitors amble through the castle’s beautiful and historic walled garden, admiring the stately 500-year-old yew hedge and the vegetable patch, where artichokes and honey-scented sweet peas grow to “Jack and the Beanstalk” proportions. Continuing along the coast, the bounty of land and sea is evident in the roadside honesty boxes, selling everything from fresh eggs to seaweed. The trail leads to Ballycastle, a seaside town known as a food destination, with its regular Naturally North Coast & Glens artisan market. Among those leading the culinary charge here is Ruairidh Morrison. In his North Coast Smokehouse (, whiskey and wood perfume the air. The scent gives away his technique. Using beech or chips from old wooden barrels from the Bushmills Distillery, he smokes sugarand salt-cured salmon and dulse seaweed. “People here had a rough old time,” Morrison says. “But since the peace process they’ve been able to explore the finer side of Northern Ireland – the beauty of the landscape, the quality produce.” Dara and Ciara O hArtghaile are living this ideal. Having moved back to Ballycastle in 2012 after living in New Zealand, the couple founded their own bakery/ café. They named it Ursa Minor (ursaminorbakehouse .com), referencing their son’s “Little Bear” nickname, and painted the walls baby-blue and yellow. While Dara kneads the sourdough, Ciara bakes sweets such as bilberry tarts. “Because it’s rural here, you make your own jobs,” Dara says. “We’d be more successful in a city, but you can’t beat being by the sea.” They often combine work and pleasure, heading to White Park Bay, a beach beside a hillside where Ciara forages for meadowsweet and wild thyme for her cakes. “The other day we went collecting and saw porpoises,” she recalls.

Charlie Cole, of Broughgammon Farm, harvests seaweed in White Park Bay, where he hosts foraging classes.



On the other side of the bay from where Ciara picks flowers, cliffs loom over a ragbag of tide pools. It’s here that Charlie Cole, of Broughgammon Farm (brough, hosts seaweed harvesting courses, guiding students through specimens from kelp (which he describes as having a molasses-like flavor when dried) to sea spaghetti (“the Italians pickle it”). Cole loves the shoreline but he’s found mostly on the farm. A few years ago, he convinced his parents to raise male kid goats, which if born in the dairy industry would have been killed at birth. Though Broughgammon’s Billy Burgers are novel for the country, Cole insists he’s building on a long-running tradition that emphasizes what the animals are eating and the environment they are raised in. “There’s a beautiful honesty to Northern Irish food,” he says. “It’s not tarted up like French cuisine; it lets natural flavors speak.” Fisherman David Mulligan also claims the ecosystem is responsible for the taste of his catch. Most mornings he boards his boat in Portrush, a harbor that’s a 20-mile drive from Ballycastle, past the striking pillars of the Giant’s Causeway and the ruins of Dunluce, the real-life location of Pyke Castle in television’s Game of Thrones. Today’s commute is soundtracked by pounding waves, tinkling halyards and crying gulls. Checking his lobster pots, Mulligan is in luck: a 6-pound whopper that’s twice the size of his normal catch, royal blue on its back, pale orange on its underside. In previous decades, Mulligan sold most of his lobsters abroad; now most of them end up in eateries within 100 yards of the harbor. “There’s a growing appreciation here of taking time over a restaurant meal,” he says, “of slowly cracking the shells.”

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James Huey, owner of Walled City Brewery, works at the beer vats on display in back of the Derry restaurant and brewery.

Outside a pub at Commercial Court, a cobbled alleyway in Belfast’s historic Cathedral Quarter

Becky Cole helps look after the goats at Broughgammon Farm, which she runs with husband Charlie Cole.


Peter Hannan’s aged steaks are sold to some of London’s top restaurants.


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At Ursa Minor, a bakery in the seaside town of Ballycastle, Dara O hArtghaile makes sourdough bread, in an artisanal process that takes 36 hours.

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DEEP INTO DERRY Crossing from County Antrim to County Derry, there’s one final 7-mile stretch of sand before the coast curves inward to form Lough Foyle. Beside the grass-covered dunes at Castlerock is the green truck of Braemar Farm Ice Cream (, which tempts dog-walkers, swimmers and surfers making their way to the waves. This is as fresh as it can get: the creators source milk from their own cows, which graze 3 miles from the beach. “There’s a lot of farms diversifying like us,” says Ruth Pollock, who milks the herd, prepares the ice cream, and serves the handmade treat behind the van. “People like to understand where their food came from, to meet the makers,” she says. Nearby at Broglasco Farm, Dave and Leona Kane also are used to fielding questions from curious customers. Their ivy-clad farmhouse has been converted into a working museum showcasing how their Broighter Gold ( rapeseed oil is made. In the former pig enclosure turned gift shop, there’s bread for dunking into samples of their product – liquid sunshine, infused with garlic, basil or lemon. Outside, a sea of rape plants undulates in the wind, the flaxencolored pods starting to reveal the black seeds within. The Kanes have grown rape for generations but it was only recently that they tried cooking with it. “I thought Richard was mad,” Leona says. “It turns out rapeseed is one of the healthiest oils around.” They began selling the oil six years ago, naming their brand after the Broighter Hoard, an Iron Age stash discovered on their land in 1896 that’s now on display in the National Museum of Ireland. “With our oil it feels like we stumbled on a pot of gold,” she says, pointing out the numerous awards they’ve garnered. “We’re surrounded by the world’s best produce. Why wouldn’t you want ‘grown here’ over ‘flown here’?” says Kevin Pyke, a chef who uses Broighter Gold, alongside other homegrown ingredients at Pyke ’N’ Pommes (, his converted sea containercum-food-stand beside Derry’s River Foyle. Inspired by his global travels and the bounty of his local area, Pyke hawks dishes such as “Today’s Catch” fish tacos and “Legenderry” burgers made from beef raised 10 minutes away. Launched in 2013, Pyke ’N’ Pommes is emblematic of the wider regeneration taking place in Derry, a city with a long history of division, with Catholics living on one side of the river and Protestants on the other. Built two years before Pyke opened his




doors, the Peace Bridge, a graphic steel swerve of a footpath over the water, has helped connect the two communities. “I’ve got a really diverse group of customers,” Pyke says. “Food brings people together.” Across the bridge, Walled City Brewery (walledcity proves that drinks can do the same. Lodged inside a former army barracks, this bar, with its craft beers, has drawn crowds from both sides of the city since opening in 2015. A hoppy scent hangs over the wood-beamed space. Chalkboards announce regulars, such as Derry Milk, a chocolate stout, as well as specials such as Forager, a lager made with nettles picked nearby at St. Columb’s Park. “When I left the city in 1996, I never thought I’d come back,” says owner James Huey, a Protestant who worked in Dublin before returning to Derry with his Catholic wife. Now, where once there was the whir of army helicopters, there is only the hum of brewing tanks.

Opposite: Dave Kane checks on the rape crop at Broglasco Farm in County Derry; the black seeds are pressed into award-winning Broighter Gold oil.

This page: Fish tacos at the Pyke ’N’ Pommes street food stall and craft beers at Walled City Brewery are among the draws of the emerging food scene in Derry City.


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7 14 DERRY















1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Map Key Abernethy Butter Armagh Cider Ballycastle Belfast Broighter Gold Broughgammon Farm Castlerock Derry/Londonderry Giant’s Causeway Glenarm Castle The Meat Merchant Mike’s Fancy Cheese Portrush Portstewart Strand RubyBlue



In the heart of Belfast’s historic Cathedral Quarter, in a palatial building that once housed the Ulster Bank, The Merchant Hotel has 26 rooms in the original Victorian wing and another 36 in the new art decothemed wing. The rooftop spa’s hot tub has unrivaled views of the city, and the gilded columns and cupola in the Great Room make for a grand backdrop for breakfast (from $205; For a guided visit to the Peace Line and murals, Black Cab Political Tours provides background and context on the years of conflict (from $45;


Enjoy a Michelin-starred meal at OX restaurant (from $58 for a five-course tasting menu or $21 for an entrée;, where the Belfast-born and Paris-trained head chef, Stephen Toman, transforms local ingredients such as mussels and wood pigeon into artfully presented dishes. A top brunch choice is General Merchants, with options including sumac-spiced poached eggs and coconut- and caramel-topped waffles (dishes from $7; Deane’s Meat Locker is the place to sample steaks from Hannan Meats (steaks from $22;


Wind up the coast until you hit Ballycastle, a seaside town with a thriving food scene, best when the Naturally North Coast & Glens artisan market is on (naturallynorth Beside the marina, get in line at Morton’s (028 2076 1100), an old-school fish-andchips shop where the fish arrives daily from the family boat. Down a country lane, North Coast Country B&B is run by an affable couple who serve a mean breakfast, with eggs from their own hens and locally sourced ingredients (rooms from about $100; northcoastcountry

For More: See Lonely Planet’s Ireland guidebook ($24.99) or download the “Belfast,” “Counties Down & Armagh” and “Counties Londonderry & Antrim” chapters from ($4.95 each), and visit




Arrange to be in the capital, Belfast, on Saturday morning, when St. George’s Market, one of the city’s oldest attractions, is at its best (on Fridays, a traditional fruit and vegetable market is held, while Sundays feature a more arts and crafts focus). Belfast Food Tour guides lead groups on a gourmet crawl along the market’s stalls, meeting producers and sampling everything from pastries and freshly ground coffee to artisanal sausages before moving on to traditional bars, delis and a final lunch stop in a top restaurant in the lively Cathedral Quarter ($65;


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Northern Ireland is served by Belfast International Airport, George Best Belfast City Airport and City of Derry Airport, although Dublin, Ireland, about 100 road miles south of Belfast, is the primary point of entry for most visitors to the island. Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta and United Airlines are among the carriers flying from the U.S. to Northern Ireland.

If you’re traveling from elsewhere in the U.K., you also can take the ferry to Belfast from Liverpool, England, or Cairnryan, Scotland (from about $150 per car;

Public transportation outside Belfast can be patchy. To get to the more remote areas in this feature, you’ll need a car. Various companies offer car rentals at the airport (from about $32 per day;




Continue west to explore the Causeway Coast, one of the world’s most beautiful drives, passing the cliffs and long sandy stretch of White Park Bay, the nerve-jangling rope bridge across to Carrick-a-Rede island and the UNESCO-listed Giant’s Causeway, with its otherworldly rock columns (discovernorthern



Part of the United Kingdom along with England, Scotland and Wales

An independent nation that is part of the European Union

LAND MASS: 17% of the island

LAND MASS: 83% of the island

ROAD SIGNS: Speed limits indicated in miles per hour

ROAD SIGNS: Speed limits indicated in kilometers

CURRENCY: Pounds sterling



Stop at Portstewart Strand, a National Trust-owned beach that’s overlooked by Harry’s Shack, a laidback restaurant run by a Heston Blumenthal-trained chef, serving perfectly executed staples such as cider-braised mussels and lightly battered fish and chips (entrées from $18; shack). Nearby, At the Beach is a B&B with sea views and touches such as soft terry robes and a Nespresso machine in every room (from about $150;


If you’re in Derry for a weekend, book a four-hour Saturday Made in Derry tour to meet local producers and chefs sampling more than 20 foods and drinks, from craft beer to local cheese ($60; madeinderryfoodtours .com). A short stroll from the Peace Bridge, Browns in Town serves hearty dishes such as braised lamb shoulder and seafood chowder with homemade bread (entrées from $18;


Situated beside the historic walled city, in an Edwardian building that once was a private members’ club, Derry’s Bishop’s Gate Hotel has 30 individually styled guest rooms. Afternoon tea, including finger sandwiches and homemade scones, can be enjoyed in leather armchairs beside the fireplace in the library room (from about $130; bishops and

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Cuba’s capital appears as a city-sized film set, with its crumbling colonial buildings and its classic cars belching bluish exhaust fumes into the air. But behind the pastel-painted facades and ornate wrought-iron grilles, there is a whole world to be discovered. Just pull back the curtain . . . BY CHRISTA LARWOOD @CLARWOOD PHOTOGRAPHS BY PHILIP LEE HARVEY @PHILIP_LEE_HARVEY_PHOTOGRAPHER

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TAKE A SPIN DOWN THE STREET OF ART & DANCE Callejón de Hamel is less a street than a kaleidoscope of color. A famed center of Havana street art, its walls are covered in bright murals the size of tennis courts, and every corner is filled with sculptures made from engine parts, horseshoes or bathtubs. Music fills the air. It’s the rhythmic chant of voices singing to the tippity-thump of a double-ended batá drum and the rasping rattle of a shekere, a polished gourd strung with cowrie shells. In a small courtyard off the Callejón de Hamel, a young woman in a headscarf is twirling in a dress of

“They represent a god, an element of nature.” red, black and white. She stamps her feet on the rough-paved ground, her face alive with an infectious grin. Soon she’s swept up in a circle of fellow dancers. They all spin in their silken dresses, raising their arms in the air. This foot thumping and drum beating is much more than a simple performance. Callejón de Hamel is a center for Havana’s Afro-Cuban community, and this display is a fervent prayer, a communion with the orisha, the gods brought to Cuba in the 16th century by slaves from what is now Nigeria. Thairumy Rangel Chirino emerges from the dance and sinks into a plastic chair, happily out of breath. “You see here,” she says, “in this dance each person is not just a person. They represent a god, an element of


Thairumy Rangel Chirino prepares to dance as the goddess Yemayá.

Callejón de Hamel runs between Espada and Aramburu streets in Old Havana. It’s best to visit on Sunday afternoons for music and dancing.

nature. For example, my blue color represents the water of the sea.” She indicates her sapphire skirt and towering headdress – she is Yemayá, the mother of all living things and goddess of the ocean. Chirino’s grandmother and mother passed down these sacred songs and rhythms to her when she was just 3 years old, as part of her Santería religion, a unique Cuban meld of the West African Yoruba faith and Roman Catholicism. The music draws curious passersby to peer through the courtyard’s wrought-iron gate. Chirino beckons them inside. “I love to share this with people,” she says. “This dance is my life. How can I explain it? It makes me so angry when people dance without heart, without passion. When I dance, I feel it singing in my blood.”


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A batรก drum, a sacred instrument used in religious ceremonies

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DINE IN A HIDDEN RESTAURANT La Guarida is easy to miss. The entrance to the legendary restaurant is a cavernous, crumbling foyer of a once-grand palace now empty, with nothing but a chipped marble staircase and a forlorn goddess statue whose arms and head were lost long ago. But up two flights of stairs is one of Havana’s best dining spots. La Guarida is a paladar, a private restaurant sanctioned by the Cuban government in the 1990s. It has become renowned for infusing traditional Cuban dishes with techniques imported from France, Italy and Spain. Artistically arranged plates emerge, perhaps with longfin tuna in a sugarcane-laced sauce, suckling pig drizzled with zesty orange-lemon reduction, or a tender tarte tatin made with mangoes and coconut.

“We are slowly reviving the heart of Cuban cuisine.” The restaurant’s creator, Enrique Núñez, grew up in this vast, marble-clad palace when, after the 1959 revolution, it was converted from the residence of a well-to-do doctor into apartments for local families. “When I told my friends that I wanted to make a restaurant in an area of Havana that is not touristy, they said I was crazy,” Núñez says with a little laugh, nodding to the crowded tables. “It was a good decision, but at that time it didn’t look like it at all.” The restaurant business in Havana is far from easy. Shortages of basic foods are a constant battle: one day, there may be no eggs to buy; the next day, no salt. To combat this, Núñez sends three staff members to scour markets across the city daily. “After the revolution, all of the buildings, the cars, became stuck in time – and gastronomy was the same,” he says. “Until 1996 we were not allowed to have private restaurants; everywhere was the same food. Now the city has 500 paladares, we have competition, and we are slowly reviving the heart of Cuban cuisine.”


The staircase leading up to La Guarida

Entrées from $14 (


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To book a haircut at Papito’s, email him at proyectoartecorte@ or call 011-53-7-801-5102. MEET OLYMPIANS AT HAVANA’S HISTORIC BOXING CLUB It’s a mild day in Havana, but Emilio Correa Bayeux Jr. is slicked with sweat. It beads on his face and chest, running in rivulets down his spine. After a 7 a.m. start, he’s just completed his morning training session – the first of two for the day – and he catches his breath, leaning against a chipped blue wall in the Gimnasio de Boxeo Rafael Trejo (Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym). This boxing gym in the heart of Old Havana is no stuffy indoor affair; it’s an open-air space where crowds gather to watch bloody bouts on Friday nights, lining the bare wooden benches that rise in grandstands along either side of a well-worn boxing ring. There’s no fight today, but pairs of young boxers take turns sparring and pounding at bags, practicing their feints and jabs with small, noisy huffs of breath.

“Boxing is a way of life in Cuba.” The gym first opened in the 1930s, and has barely changed since. Every surface is mottled with dampness or shows evidence of a dozen repaintings, and the ropes around the ring are patched and frayed. But despite its humble appearance, this gym is a beloved Havana icon and a pilgrimage site for boxing enthusiasts from around the world. Cubans are fervently passionate about the sport – and successful, with a world-beating haul of 38 Olympic gold boxing medals. Many of Havana’s champions have trained in this ring, and Correa is one of them. The 31-year-old is an Olympic silver medalist, following in the footsteps of his father, Emilio Correa Vaillant, who won welterweight Olympic gold in 1972. “Boxing is a way of life in Cuba, it’s so special for us,” the younger Correa says. He is an imposing figure – almost 6 feet of solid muscle capable of lightning

Olympic silver medalist boxer Emilio Correa Bayeux Jr. in the Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym

The Gimnasio de Boxeo Rafael Trejo is located at Calle Cuba 815. Prebookings are not possible; instead, just inquire (nicely) at the door.

ferocity within the ring – but he believes it’s his bonedeep defiance that has made him a champion. “Cuban people are adapted to struggle,” he says. “From the time we’re very small, we know that we have to fight for our future. We live with passion and we fight for principles, fight for pride – and that’s true not just in boxing, but for every Cuban.” The gymnasium is a fitting stage for his pugnacious words: it was named after a Cuban revolutionary martyr, Rafael Trejo, who was shot in a student protest in 1930. As Correa packs away his gloves and prepares to leave, a group of young men wanders in, each perhaps 14 or 15 years old. They nod with respect to the veteran Olympian, and then begin their squats and stretches, all lithe and light-footed – even with the weight of their country’s reputation for boxing glory resting squarely on their shoulders.

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“The most important inheritance in Cuba is our people and our culture.” Papito cuts a client’s hair in his ornate barbershop.

Mechanics in Cuba have restored and maintained vintage vehicles, like this Chevrolet Impala, for decades.



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Yet it is the barber’s passion for his community that’s driven the fortunes of this formerly run-down corner of Havana. The paved lane outside now is known as the Callejón de los Peluqueros (Barbers’ Alley) – a streetlong ode to hairdressing, lined with themed sculptures, murals and red, white and blue-striped barber poles. What started as a small business in Papito’s living room in the 1990s has become a broad-ranging social project. There’s a free hairdressing school for disadvantaged local kids, a funky café and restaurant, small artisan shops and weekly mini-fiestas featuring “son cubano,” a mix of Latin and African dance. “I am a barber, but I am also a dreamer,” Papito says. “The most important inheritance in Cuba is our people and our culture. So we must focus on it to bring prosperity. Six years ago this was one of the ugliest streets in Havana. Now look.” He gestures at the street, alive with young barber apprentices and coffee-drinking visitors, while kids stream down to the nearby playground to clamber over slides shaped like razors and seesaws like scissors that open and close as the children play. A hand-painted sign outside Papito’s barbershop/salon

GET YOUR HAIR CUT ON THE BARBER’S STREET A young woman sits stock-still, eyes shut, as a barber slides his scissors across her brow, neatly trimming her bangs. She is surrounded by a glinting trove of 19thcentury artifacts. Antique trimmers are scattered on shelves among pewter-backed brushes, rusty razors and steampunk-style blow-dryers. This is Papito’s, one of Havana’s most famous salons, which doubles as a unique museum and gallery. Papito himself – known formally as Gilberto Valladares – wields the scissors, pulled from a custom leather holster on his belt. He peers down at his client before carefully trimming a hair here and there, as though finishing a masterpiece. “Barbers are artists,” he says. “To cut hair is to make a sculpture, with form, texture, color. It’s a means of expression.” Papito’s inclination toward the artistic is writ large on the walls, where colorful paintings fill every inch, all inspired by hairdressing – from swimming stylist mermaids to conquistadors dueling with scissors instead of swords.

To book a haircut at Papito’s, email him at proyectoartecorte or call 011-53-7-801-5102.

BUY ART IN THE LITHOGRAPHY LAUNDRY Rafael Perez Alonso’s face is intent, his curly dark hair falling forward as he guides a fine crayon over a rectangular slab of limestone. One deft stroke follows another until a picture emerges. He is drawing a shark with the face of a vintage car; its bumper-and-grille mouth gives the impression of comical yet ferociouslooking teeth. The sketch is the first stage in lithographic printmaking, the complex process of creating art with solid stone. Once Perez Alonso has put on his finishing touches, fellow artist Max Delgado Corteguera paints the limestone with a layer of gum arabic and coats it with ink, ready to be covered with paper and wound by hand through a press like a mangle. The resulting prints capture all the style and lines of the original car-shark drawing, but each has small imperfections caused by the patterns of the gum, making each unique. When all of the prints are done, the artists wipe the limestone clean, ready to be used for a new creation. Lithography is dying out across the world, perhaps because of its complexity and the skills required to master it, but in Havana artists create lithographs with fierce devotion and a sense of national pride. The art form first was brought to Cuba from Europe in the 19th century to create custom labels for the

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country’s finest cigars. A number of those original stones have been handed down through the generations and are still in use today, including the one used to create Perez Alonso’s car-shark. Its setting is hardly historic, however: the lithography press stands in the middle of one of Havana’s most dynamic modern art studios, La Lavandería. The name is literal: this huge white-walled space under a corrugated-iron roof once was an industrial laundry. It is part workshop, part gallery and filled with playful works, from a giant purple gun and a billiard table shaped like the Americas, to a couch made of barbed wire and decorated with cushions inspired by the Cuban and American flags. As Perez Alonso and his fellow artists work, the radio blares with Puerto Rican rap music.

“It’s part of the history of my country, and I am part of a continuum.”

La Lavandería, on Calle 54 in the Playa district, is open daily. Visitors can wander the gallery and buy art prints (from $19); email la_lavanderia or call 011-53-7-209-6737 for details.

Art at La Lavandería

2 PLACES TO STAY Casa Habana 1932 The home of an art deco aficionado, this friendly B&B pays homage to the 1930s in three rooms laden with antique signs, toys, furniture and with plenty of stained glass (from about $25; Hostal Peregrino Consulado Run by pediatrician Julio Roque and wife Elsa, both fluent in English, this casa particular (private home) offers three rooms a block from Paseo de Martí (Prado) and is one of the most professionally run private houses in Cuba (from $50;

“People ask, why do you use this technique of 200 years ago?” says Delgado Corteguera as he gently scrubs down the limestone. “And I say, I am working with the energy of this stone that’s 2 million years old. It’s part of the history of my country, and I am part of a continuum.” “Can you imagine how many hands have worked on this stone?” Perez Alonso asks him. “How many artists?” They grin at each other and pat the stone dry. It’s now ready for a new vision, and the process begins again.



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A tourist visa is required; usually available from the airline or cruise ship you book with, it is good for a 30-day trip and can be extended for 30 days.

Cuba remains accessible to American travelers, despite tighter new U.S. government restrictions that reverse some of the travel policies put in place by the Obama administration last fall. The Obama administration’s policies eased travel and trade restrictions that had been in place for decades. Under the new policy, announced in June, individuals no longer will be permitted to travel to the island nation on a self-designed “people-to-people trip,” which was a popular way for Americans to travel. Instead, such trips will be allowed only for groups, and they must be organized by a licensed tour operator and consist of a full schedule of educational activities. Some other categories of travel, including family travel to visit relatives in Cuba, and professional research and meetings, will remain available to independent travelers.





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Cuba requires visitors to have non–U.S. medical insurance; health insurance may be included with airfare, or it can be purchased at the airport upon arrival.


Availability and frequency of flights has fluctuated in the last year. At press time, American Airlines, JetBlue and Delta were among carriers flying from the U.S. to Cuba. José Martí International Airport in Havana is the largest of Cuba’s international airports. Flights are about five hours from Los Angeles, three hours from New York and an hour from Miami. Several cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival, sail to Havana. Under the new Cuba policy, Americans still will be able to travel to Cuba on authorized cruise ships or passenger vessels.

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Map Key 1 Café Madrigal 2 Callejón de Hamel 3 Gimnasio de Boxeo Rafael Trejo 4 La Guarida 5 La Lavandería 6 Papito’s


Some transportation options, including renting a car or riding Cuban buses, may not be available to Americans once the new regulations take effect. At press time, taxis are most visitors’ go-to option in Havana, with fares starting at $1. Bici-taxis (cycle pedicabs) have become popular.


November to March is the best time to visit, with cooler, drier weather – albeit peak season prices. July and August also are popular, though there is a risk of hurricanes between June and November. The shoulder seasons of April (except Easter) and October offer better value.

When I arrived at Café Madrigal I was looking forward to tasting homegrown cocktails like mojitos, daiquiris and Cuba Libres (madrigal barcafe.wordpress .com). But I fell under the spell of an entirely different drink: the canchánchara. Created in the 19th century, this mix of rum, honey and lemon originally was imbibed hot as a way to ward off illness. These days, it’s served on ice, and is both sweet and refreshing. – Christa Larwood


There are several tour operators that will coordinate Cuba trips. Cuba Travel Network, specializing in customizable tours, has several trips, including a four-day Havana Long Weekend, with a private city tour (from $990 per person; Cuba Travel Services offers a four-night Havana Getaway focusing on architecture, history, community projects and more (from $2,793;

Recipe for the perfect canchánchara Add 3 teaspoons of clear honey to 4 teaspoons of lemon or lime juice and two shots of quality white Cuban rum. Mix well, until the honey dissolves, add ice and enjoy.

Where to Stay 1 Casa Habana 1932 2 Hostal Peregrino Consulado

For More: See Lonely Planet’s Cuba guidebook ($24.99) or download the “Havana” chapter from ($4.95).

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K E N YA experience thE

M AG I C The best trips are the ones with the most compelling stories. In Kenya you’ll be sure to ďŹ nd a treasure-trove of them to take back home with you.

7 DAYs withAIR





Visit *Price includes airfare from New York, fuel surcharges, airport taxes and fees. All prices are per person based on twin occupancy. Additional baggage charges may apply. Refer to for further details.

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Great Escape E C UA D O R This South American country may be small, but it has a dazzling array of wonders. Explore the colonial capital, Quito, before delving deep into the cloud forest, where hummingbirds flit and pumas stalk. Next, head high into the Andes and meet the indigenous craftspeople of Otavalo, then set out from Ibarra on a scenic train ride. End your adventure among the unique wildlife of the Galápagos. BY PETER GRUNERT @PETER_GRUNERT PHOTOGRAPHS BY PHILIP LEE HARVEY @PHILIP_LEE_HARVEY_PHOTOGRAPHER

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Meet local shopkeepers among the colonial-era buildings of Quito, the world’s highestelevation capital city.

Take a walk deep into the cloud forest, one of the planet’s most biodiverse environments.

The Andean market town of Otavalo is home to weavers, flute makers and the best roast pork in Ecuador.



Pass through volcanoes and over canyons on the la Libertad Train, departing from Ibarra.

Fly across the Pacific to the Galápagos to view marine iguanas, giant tortoises and sea lions.

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Quito Start your journey by exploring grand colonial monuments and tiny local shops. The piercing blue light of a high-altitude dawn breaks over the old town of Quito, as dogs chase pickup trucks carrying produce to market. The trucks clatter over rambling streets cobbled with stones taken from the slopes of the Pichincha volcano looming above. Shopkeepers lift shutters, waving to one another as their wares are set out: sackfuls of cumin and cinnamon; aluminum pans; teetering piles of cows’ hooves; piñatas in the shapes of unicorns, Minnie Mouse and SpongeBob SquarePants. Layers of commerce take place on these steep, narrow backstreets. In front of the shops, women in felt hats and woolen ponchos roll mats across sidewalks. From these they offer corn on the cob, potatoes and avocados grown in the villages they commute in from each day. “All around us you can hear chismes,” says Paola Carrera, a guide to the San Roque neighborhood. “This is our word for the secrets – the news and the gossip – shared by these vendors, brought to our capital from across Ecuador.” Carrera’s mother runs a shop selling agua de vida, the water of life. This intensely sweet tonic is made from 25 plants, including the amaranth flowers that give its bright pink color, and herbs from as far away as the Amazon forest. “I’ve always enjoyed living here, above the shop,” Carrera says. “The buildings in the neighborhood are so traditional; they have such character. The people who belong to San Roque have strong ties to it, and it has always drawn visitors.” Like most locals who pass the nearby whitewashed church of San Francisco, Carrera makes the sign of the cross as she enters the church’s massive wooden doors; some also touch the sculptures of sun gods at its entrance, an action said to give energy.



STAY // Enjoy considerable comfort at Casa Gangotena, set at the edge of Plaza San Francisco and offering views far across the Centro Histórico from a rooftop terrace. The beautifully restored mansion's spacious rooms have gigantic beds and bathrooms clad in Italian marble (from about $350; Casa Gangotena has a “Live Quito Like a Local” tour for guests ($175, including lunch). The church and adjacent monastery of San Francisco are free to enter.

The church’s foundation stone was laid in 1535, soon after Spanish conquistadors arrived from Andalucía. In a pragmatic move to win local support, Franciscan monks allowed religious symbols familiar to the indigenous Quitu people to blend with the Catholicism of the invading forces. The conquistadors also brought a Moorish architectural style from Islamic North Africa, and saw their wealth reflected in the spectacular gilding of the interior; for the people of Quito, the gold reflected the everlasting power of their sun god. Walking farther into the neighborhood, Carrera introduces some of the artisans who inhabit the San Roque shops. Don Gonzalo Gallardo specializes in restoring religious effigies: he shows us a plastic baby Jesus singed in a house fire, and an armless plaster-ofParis Virgin Mary accidentally knocked from a living room shrine. César Anchala runs Sombrerería Benalcázar, a hat shop established by his father some 65 years ago. He uses the same molds and irons to form the varied styles of trilby felt hats for sale. His is a diverse business, selling masks to be worn at festivals such as Inti Raymi, with origins that can be traced to the Incas who arrived in the 15th century. The masks depict mildly terrifying demons, plus a few Ecuadorian politicians. In San Roque’s market, a line has formed outside Rosa Correa’s stall, despite the screams coming from within. A young couple emerges from behind a curtain, eyes agog. Like many of Correa’s clients, they pay $8 a week for a treatment aimed at removing stresses and influence from the “evil eye.” Correa is a fourth-generation shaman who practices a technique that involves cheerfully whipping her clients with a succession of plants; her shelves are piled with chilies, marigolds, rose petals, mint and nettles. The old beliefs continue to run deep, and occasionally sting a little.


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The Church of San Francisco and its monastery are the largest colonial buildings in Ecuador’s capital.

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Purple-bibbed whitetip hummingbirds, a South American species, perform a courtship dance. The female, at left, lacks the bright-colored throat patch.

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Leave the traffic of Quito behind on the highway toward Mindo, wending your way for two hours through heavily forested hills. You’ll turn onto an unpaved road, so rent a 4x4 – ideally with a driver.

The Cloud Forest Pull on your rain boots for a walk deep into a rainforest, offering a glimpse of mysterious creatures emerging from elaborate foliage and swirling mist. Jungle music is playing 3,900 feet up in the ChocóAndean cloud forest. Rolling thunder sets the bassline. Pelting gobs of rain increase the rhythm, splashing against creepers, tree ferns and thick, languid arms of moss. The chirruping of insects hurtles wildly up and down in pitch and pace. And then, once the squelch of boots against red mud comes to a halt, the air fills with an unfamiliar whirring. “White-whiskered hermit,” whispers guide José Napa. “Violet-tailed sylph,” he says, more excitedly. “Hmmm, brown Inca. Purple-bibbed whitetip! Empress brilliant!” Napa is now surrounded by an emerald, ruby and sapphire blur of hummingbirds, together rising boldly from the mists to approach the feeder he has just topped up with sugar syrup. A pecking order is quickly established, literally with a nip to the head for a beesized green thorntail that tries to push before a larger cousin. “They are so aggressive because they need to feed constantly,” Napa says. “They have such a high metabolism, and the flowers they prefer to feed from can be surprisingly scarce in the forest.” One bird proves its eagerness by hovering within an inch or so of a floral pattern on a T-shirt, taking a close look on the off chance. Alongside the Amazon, the Chocó is Ecuador’s other form of rainforest, watered by up to 20 feet of rainfall each year as clouds barrel off the Pacific and break against the lower slopes of the Andes. It is one of the dampest and most biodiverse environments on Earth, one threatened by the pollution of waterways, slashand-burn farming and illegal logging. Napa used to be a subsistence farmer, growing peanuts, cassava and bananas. He then joined the logging trade. Fourteen years ago a private lodge was


STAY // The contemporary rooms at Mashpi Lodge have floor-to-ceiling windows offering views far across the trees. For a bird's-eye view of the amazing ecosystem, take the 40-minute trip aboard the Dragonfly, a cable car ride that travels 1.2 miles under, through and above the forest canopy (from about $1,030, including meals and guide services for two; Nearby Bellavista Lodge offers a range of tours and more rustic, affordable accommodation options (dorm bed in research station from $21 per person, double private room from $71 per person; bellavista

built on the site of the local sawmill, so Napa came to work here instead. This became an eco-hotel, Mashpi, sitting in a 2,900-acre wildlife reserve where once there was a logging concession. The reserve is set within a 42,000-acre buffer zone for sustainable development, aimed at offering animals the corridors to migrate between pockets of rainforest. Napa has an intimate knowledge of the forest gained from having spent much of his life wandering through it. He predicts the clattering rush of a rufousbreasted wood quail by the slightest rustle of a leaf in the undergrowth. Then he reveals a glade beneath a fast-tumbling waterfall where fireflies like to gather at night. He points to a fruit loved by Chocó toucans – one that makes them a little high – and a fungus known as dead man’s fingers, which can be snapped open to release an antibiotic ointment used by locals as a cure for infected eyes. At a vantage point looking across a valley, with mist hanging low, Napa makes a whooping call, and from far away comes the response. “Howler monkeys,” he says. Teams of scientists now are permanently based in Mashpi’s reserve, researching its numerous butterfly species, planning to reintroduce critically endangered brown-headed spider monkeys, and using camera traps to film the mammals that stay so well hidden in the dense forest. Some of the footage shows just how close a guest came to a rare encounter. First it reveals the man out for a casual morning stroll, minutes from the lodge. Unbeknownst to him, a predator’s eyes are watching – soon after, a large, inquisitive male puma stalks close behind.

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Prepare for a dramatic change of scenery and climate as you drive higher into the Andes, passing indigenous farming communities. After 5 hours and 140 miles, you’ll approach Otavalo.


Near an indigenous market town in the midst of farmland on the slopes of the Andes, meet weavers and flute makers still practicing their traditional crafts. The road toward Otavalo bounces up into the Andes, past black pigs lolling in the dust and squat cows grazing on knee-deep grass. Fields of fava beans, lupines and corn are close to harvest, bordered by fiercely-spiked agave plants with their alien blooms sprouting skyward. Where the terrain becomes too steep for agriculture, pumas, spectacled bears and condors still live. As in Quito, the markets of Otavalo are gathering points for inhabitants of the surrounding countryside. Mass today in the main church is being said in Kichwa, the indigenous language that evolved from the ancient tongue spoken by the Inca invaders – who then succumbed to the conquistadors. Outside, local Imbaya people are quietly searching for paying customers, the men mostly wearing tautly sculpted felt hats over a single long, plaited ponytail, and the women with necklaces of glass beads wrapped in gold leaf, their navy blue ponchos and white blouses exquisitely hand-embroidered with flowers. The daily food market is filled with produce carted down from the fertile volcanic soils of the Andes: blackberries and tree tomatoes, plantains and alfalfa, all manner of corn and beans. In the market’s central corridor, lunch is beginning to be served. Locals savor steaming bowls of clams, chicken soup, black pudding mixed with popcorn, and hornado – whole roasted pig. Rosario Tabango proudly displays the certificate that declares her hornado the best in all Ecuador, presented by the country’s president. It is at turns crisp and chewy, and intense with salt, garlic and smoke from the wood it has been roasted over – gathered by Rosario on trips into the mountains.



STAY // Log fires crackle alongside rustic antiques and family portraits in Hacienda Zuleta, a working farm. Explore surrounding villages on horseback or visit the nearby breeding center for endangered condors, before enjoying a meal prepared with milk, cheese and organic vegetables from the farm (from $280 per person, including meals and snacks; Call 011 593 999 57 45 67 to visit the Andrango workshop ($5 donation). José Luis Fichamba’s flute-making workshop is signed from the road through Peguche (paila pipes, $5).

Although Imbaya dress is mostly worn by stallholders in Otavalo’s handicrafts market, it is hard to find for sale here. Since pre–Columbian times, their forebears have precisely fed the demands of their consumers, and right now that means offering neon polyester ponchos, Che Guevara T-shirts and Bob Marley bobble hats to tourists who are briefly passing through. Traditional crafts are far better preserved in villages northeast of Otavalo. In Agato is a low stone workshop crammed with simple looms, baskets of alpaca wool and a hutch of squeaking guinea pigs. Inside, Luz Maria Andrango weaves a guagua chumbi – a “baby belt” used to tighten an Imbaya woman’s blouse. It is colored with natural dyes made from red cochineal beetles, yellow lichen, indigo and rich, brown walnuts, and it will take her 10 days to finish. In nearby Peguche is the flute workshop of José Luis Fichamba, established in 1969. “I made my first pipes at the age of 10, and soon gave them to my friends so we could form a band,” he says. The son of a weaver and grandson of a musician, Fichamba still makes the paya (small panpipes), the rondador (larger panpipes that play two notes at once) and the gaita (a long wooden flute typical of Otavalo, most frequently played at the Inti Raymi festival). As he offers a tune on a rondador, he says, “When I play these, I feel a very special man – there are not too many people who play the rondador in Ecuador now. Once they were heard all over the Andes.” Fichamba’s music is exceptionally heartfelt, all the more softly beautiful for its village setting with snow-capped volcanoes beyond – and far removed from the tune most commonly played on panpipes in bars back in Quito: Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”


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Luz Maria Andrango weaves with a backstrap loom, a type dating from Inca times.

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Local traders and brakemen await the Tren de la Libertad’s departure from Ibarra.



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The drive is short but jarring between Otavalo and Hacienda Piman, in the high country northeast of Ibarra. Much of the 1½ hours and 22 miles is over ancient cobbled roads.


Hop on a train from a colonial mountain city to an Afro– Ecuadorian community set among sugarcane fields. Your route passes near – and sometimes through – volcanoes. The Tren de la Libertad (Freedom Train) is in no hurry to leave. A team of brakemen uniformed in double denim check the two red carriages, preparing for a sharp descent through the Andes. The morning rush hour has never quite arrived in Ibarra, the largest city north of Quito. Wooden stools are set at the edge of the rails, coffees are shared, and papayas, newspapers and boiled sweets are hawked to the passengers who mill about nearby. This former colonial mountain outpost has a troubled history. Imbabura volcano is said to be the sacred protector of the region, but an earthquake in 1868 devastated Ibarra. At the base of the volcano is Yahuarcocha lake – its name means “lake of blood,” in memory of 30,000 indigenous Caranqui warriors killed here in the 15th century by forces of Incan emperor Huayna Capac. Bells clonk and horns blare as a squall of activity erupts. Children are pulled from staring into the driver’s cabin, and bags are loaded. The departure ceremony becomes more dramatic with the arrival of two motorbike outriders, dressed like superheroes in coveralls and body armor. They ride ahead of the train for the first half of its route, grandly shooing livestock off the tracks and forcing trucks laden with sugarcane to halt at level crossings. The train slowly clanks through the suburbs, palms swaying overhead. Its journey is to be brief but scenic. Over the couple of hours required to cover 20 or so miles, the train enters five tunnels cut by hand in the early 20th century, and crosses two bridges spanning deep canyons.


STAY // Festooned with bright bougainvillea and pelargoniums, Hacienda Piman is a former sugarcane plantation and donkey farm with origins dating to 1680. Its ornate entrance archway was one of few structures to survive the earthquake of 1868. Most rooms have antique beds, monsoon showers, and a terrace overlooking the garden (from $235; Allow six hours for the full Ibarra-Salinas–Ibarra round-trip on the Tren de la Libertad, including a bomba performance and guided walk in Salinas ($23;

As the elevation drops from 7,200 to 5,200 feet, the route passes swamps, arid plains, forests of cacti and lonesome giant bromeliads, with the temperature rising from 59°F to 86°F. The train’s occupants roughly reflect Ecuador’s population: 3 percent Afro–Ecuadorian, 25 percent indigenous, and the majority, known as mestizos, with a mix of Spanish and indigenous ancestry. The route levels out and the train passes through horizon-tohorizon fields of sugarcane, grown here since Jesuit priests first established sprawling haciendas in the 16th century, not long after the arrival of the conquistadors. The Jesuits soon realized that slaves from Africa could be forced to gather the cane more efficiently than the often smaller indigenous workers. The name of today’s train service recognizes the liberty finally given to those slaves in the mid-19th century. Milena Espinoza is a descendant of slaves who chose to remain in the quiet town of Salinas, the farthest point on the train’s route. She and her friends perform a bomba dance for disembarking passengers, one traditional to Afro–Ecuadorians; it’s party music with an easy rhythm. “I would dance bomba all the time if I could,” she says. “We are glad to rescue the old traditions. These cotton petticoats are like maids once would have worn, and we dance with bottles on our heads as our ancestors would have – they kept them there to prevent the slave owners from taking their alcohol.” When asked what the song’s lyrics mean, Espinoza says: “They are always the same. They say this woman is black and happy. She makes these movements, then gives a kiss to her friends.”

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An easy three-hour, 70-mile drive (partly via the Pan–American Highway) takes you back to Quito. From there, jump on a 3½ -hour flight bound for the Galápagos Islands.

The Galápagos Make the volcanic island of Santa Cruz your base for up-close encounters with sea lions, land iguanas, giant tortoises and many more charismatic creatures. Beneath the rich glow of a tropical sunset, a group of taxi drivers face off in a volleyball game. Little kids shriek with excitement and popcorn is eaten in immense quantities, as some unusual visitors join the cheering crowd. A Galápagos sea lion nudges its way onto a bench by the harborside of Puerto Ayora, draping its flippers over the edge and pretending to sleep – one eye open in search of a snack. From a fast-rising tide pours a horde of Sally Lightfoot crabs, their scarlet claws probing the rocks for food. They are joined by marine iguanas, with snouts wrinkling as they sneeze out the salt absorbed during dives for seaweed. The Galápagos were known as Las Islas Encantadas – The Enchanted Islands – by the first explorers to arrive here in the 16th century, and certain myths about them endure. Not everyone realizes that this archipelago of 19 islands is part of Ecuador, the country’s mainland lying 600 miles across the Pacific. And although the often unique and strangely bold wildlife captures all attention, a human population of 30,000 lives alongside – half in the town of Puerto Ayora, on the central island of Santa Cruz. Many of the Galápagos’s classic wildlife encounters can be had on Santa Cruz rather than by swiftly embarking on a cruise, as most visitors do. “Everybody is happy now, there is so much food,” says Ramiro Jácome Baño, a naturalist guide officially sanctioned by the Galápagos National Park. This is the hot and wet season, a time of plenty. Baño points to the thickets of herbs that have sprouted around Cerro Dragón, a fanglike volcanic peak that rises from ancient lava flows on the northwestern tip of Santa Cruz. “Stop!” he warns dramatically as a male land iguana swaggers onto the path ahead, with resplendent yellow skin. The endemic



STAY // Finch Bay Eco Hotel has views across Puerto Ayora’s beach and an excellent restaurant serving Ecuadorian dishes. The staff can arrange guided excursions on Santa Cruz, scuba diving and cruises to the surrounding islands (from $340; finchbayhotel .com). The Charles Darwin Research Station is near Puerto Ayora (darwin Take a taxi to El Chato Tortoise Reserve in the highlands (entrance $3). The reserve is part of the national park and a guide is required.

land iguanas and marine iguanas of the Galápagos are believed to have shared ancestors that landed here after a great sea journey. “They have evolved from the green iguanas you will find on the Ecuadorian mainland,” says Baño. “These will either have swum all the way across, or more likely drifted over on vegetation.” At the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz, a conservation success story is playing out. More than 3,000 giant tortoises have been raised from hatchlings to a size where they can resist attack from invasive species such as cats, pigs or dogs introduced by passing mariners. The adolescent tortoises are released into the wild, and can live to an age of 200. Today, in the noon heat, they lounge like majestic boulders in the El Chato Tortoise Reserve’s mud pools. Creatures with faster-paced lives bustle about them: Darwin’s finches, displaying to one another, as short-eared owls keep watch from above. The diverse birdlife of Santa Cruz also can be observed at the Finch Bay Eco Hotel, a brief taxi boat ride from Puerto Ayora. Guests share the open-air bar with Galápagos mockingbirds hunting tiny geckos, and the pool with a family of white-cheeked pintail ducks. Puerto Ayora’s beach lies just beyond; there, locals cool down by splashing on inflatable floats, or attach snorkels to search for creatures every bit as remarkable as the land-based wildlife. Within a short paddle, a Pacific green sea turtle can be seen grazing on algae, and a trio of eagle rays glide in perfect formation. The sea life of the Galápagos still surprises Baño, 20 years into his time as a park guide. “Recently I was approached by a manta ray,” he says. “She had some fishing net caught around her horns. She allowed me to lift it off, before disappearing into the deep.”


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A Sally Lightfoot crab clambers over a marine iguana.

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GETTING THERE & AROUND FLIGHTS Ecuador has two international airports. Quito’s Aeropuerto Internacional de Quito is located about 24 miles east of the city center. Guayaquil’s Aeropuerto José Joaquín de Olmedo is just 5 miles from downtown. Airlines flying direct from the U.S. to Ecuador include American, Delta and JetBlue. U.S. and Canadian citizens can visit Ecuador for up to 90 days without a visa. GETTING AROUND Buses are the staple form of transportation, linking most towns; they vary from basic to plush and air-conditioned on routes between major cities. Budget about $1.50 per hour of travel. Trains are used for sightseeing trips rather than as general transportation. Car rental outlets are mostly limited to Quito, Guayaquil or Cuenca. As rural roads often are cobbled or even unpaved, it’s better to rent a car with a driver. Expect to pay from $100 per day, plus an allowance for meals and accommodations for your driver. Latam Ecuador operates daily flights from Quito to Baltra in the Galápagos, taking just over two hours (from $365;




January to May is low season in the Andean highlands, with cooler, rainier days. That time also happens to be high season in the Galápagos, when seas are calmer and warmer, and plant growth is at its most profuse. The sunniest, clearest days in the Andes are from June to September, also when rainfall decreases over tropical areas of Ecuador toward the Amazon. For a wide-ranging tour to include the Galápagos, traveling during April and May strikes a good compromise. Ecuador has several active volcanoes, with Wolf on Isabela island in the Galápagos and Cotopaxi, 30 miles south of Quito, both erupting in 2015. Be aware that volcanic activity can disrupt flights and affect air quality in a large area.

Travel around mainland Ecuador is extremely affordable if you stay in guesthouses and use the bus network. On a daily budget of around $40 you’ll have enough left over to eat in a good restaurant each day. For about $130 to $200 a day, mid-range hotels in Quito come within reach, as do locally arranged tours based around jungle lodges or on the island of Santa Cruz in the Galápagos. For about $400 and up, options include exceptionally comfortable haciendas, jungle lodges and small cruise ships. For travelers age 12 and older, a flat $100 entrance tax applies on arrival in the Galápagos.

WATCH FOR There are ample traces of Ecuador’s pre–Columbian history, dating to 12,000 BC. These include mounds covering ancient temples in the countryside and ceramic sculptures of sun gods, volcano spirits, jaguars and shamans in Quito’s museums.


SAY “Napaykullayki!” That’s hello in Ecuadorian Kichwa, the first language of many indigenous people in the Andes.

Abercrombie & Kent’s “Best of Ecuador” nine-day journey incudes Quito, the Ecuadorian cloud forest and a cruise to a lodge in the Galápagos (from $8,860; Activities Abroad offers a 14-night “Family Activity” trip to Ecuador and the Galápagos (from $6,500 per adult;




READ Pick up Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species for his theory of evolution. After five weeks on the Galápagos in 1835, he wrote: “The natural history of this archipelago is very remarkable: it seems to be a little world within itself.”

EAT Guinea pig, or cuy, is a treat in the Andes. The rodent is roasted or deep-fried, has brittle, crispy skin, and tastes something like a cross between chicken and suckling pig. LEAVE IT THERE Be aware that there’s a ban on taking home any natural objects you might be tempted to pick up in Galápagos National Park – even a humble beachcombed shell. BRING IT BACK Much of the world’s finest cocoa is grown in the low-lying provinces of Ecuador. The Arriba Nacional variety is used to make deliciously smooth, floral-tasting chocolate.

For More: See Lonely Planet’s Ecuador & the Galápagos Islands ($24.99; The tourist website is



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The Photographer’s Story

Kit Oates Kit Oates is a portrait, travel and documentary photographer. See more of his work at and @kitoates.


FOLK REVIVAL “Every August, a folk festival takes place in the forest near Zheravna, an old village of wooden houses in the Balkan Mountains of central Bulgaria. Since the fall of communism, there’s been a real revival of the country’s heritage and folk traditions, and the Zheravna Festival of the National Costume offers a chance to celebrate this nearly lost culture. Bands play folk music, and traditional costume is worn throughout. People bring family heirlooms such as dresses, swords and old muskets, passed down through generations. In addition to a hotly contested costume competition, there are dance performances and wrestling matches, and food is cooked on open fires and accompanied by beer and rakia, a local spirit. Throughout the weekend, people dance in a huge circle in a clearing, reveling in the spiritual ambience of the forest. Bulgarian summers can get very hot, but because of its altitude, the forest stays lush and cool. Revelers come from across the country to enjoy nature in this intimate setting and escape from modern life. The festival harks back to simpler, more innocent times, and modern technology is forbidden; I felt a world away from my busy life. With everyone in traditional costume, it was like traveling back in time, and there was such a celebratory atmosphere. It was a magical, completely unique experience.”

“The village planted the forest about 50 years ago and cultivated it so people could dance around this tree in the middle. At the beginning of the festival, there’s grass growing around it, but by the end, it’s worn away.”

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The Photographer’s Story



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This page: “This boy and his friends were running around a field, being teenagers. He wears a sheepskin kalpak hat. People come from different parts of Bulgaria, and adorn their costumes uniquely, so no two are alike.” Opposite: “This picture shows a feast of shopska salad (roughly chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and feta cheese), and freshly baked bread, which you’d have before a main course, accompanied by beer. The loaf includes the name of a woman, Romanya, whose birthday is likely being celebrated.”

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The Photographer’s Story

“There’s a field behind the forest, and I noticed people would sneak off with a friend or lover to find a quiet spot to enjoy the landscape and have a bit of time out in nature.”

MAKE IT HAPPEN: The 2017 festival runs August 18–20 (three-day pass $14; Anyone who wants to attend must wear traditional dress, which can be rented on arrival. Guests can camp, or stay at historic



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“Around the clock at the festival, people dance the Daychavo Horo, a circle dance.”

guesthouses in the village (from $23; Zheravna is about 2½ hours by car from Burgas, Plovdiv and Varna, and about 3½ hours from Sofia. Bulgaria has good air links with numerous European cities.

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Mini Guides 4 tear-out themed guides to your favorite destinations




Los Angeles Nightlife

World Food in Toronto



Cinematic London

Design in Barcelona


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Dusk on Hollywood Boulevard

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On the edge of the Arts District, this microbrewery has tours Thursday to Sunday, but you can always stop by its Public House bar for beer, occasional live music and food trucks that descend with welcome flavors (angelcity; 216 S.Alameda St.; 4pm–1am Mon–Thu, to 2am Fri, noon–2am Sat, noon–1am Sun; pints from about $6, flight of five beers $9). LAS PERLAS


Los Angeles Nightlife

Central LA is bursting with vintage-inspired drinking dens, glitzy clubs and casual bars, plus theaters and cinemas galore – it’s the home of Hollywood, after all.

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The entrance to this old converted Victorian house is theatrical: follow the rickety staircase to the room of a would-be madame, who presses a button to reveal another staircase down to the living room and a courtyard. There are bars in every corner, burlesque dancers and a tightrope walker. Book a table to ensure entry (; 1727 N. Hudson Ave.; 8pm–2am; cocktails from $11).


Restaurateur and interior designer Dana Hollister has turned a rundown deli in LA’s Arts District into a dark-wood and iron den of bluesy cool. It has a salvaged bar top, vintage chandeliers, church-pew seating and an open-air patio where live blues acts perform. Pub food and late-night snacks to soak up the liquor include corn dogs and nachos (; 1356 Palmetto St.; 5:30pm–2am Tue– Fri; cocktails from $11).

West Hollywood & Mid-City

Hollywood The splendidly restored Pantages Theater is an art deco survivor from the golden age and a fabulous place to catch a play or a Broadway musical. Oscars were handed out here between 1949 and 1959, when Howard Hughes owned the building. When you visit, check out the uber-noir Frolic Room bar next door, featured in the TV show L.A. Confidential (; 6233 Hollywood Blvd.).

An homage to Old Mexico, this Oaxacan-style cantina has a chalkboard menu of more than 80 tequilas and mezcals (try a neat highland variety), and friendly bartenders who mix ingredients like egg whites, blackberries and port syrup into new-school takes on the margarita. You’ll find there are many reasons to love this bar (213hospitality .com/project/lasperlas; 107 E. 6th St.; 5pm–2am Mon–Fri, from 1pm Sat– Sun; cocktails from $5).

Sample a flight of beers from the taps at Angel City Brewery.

You can catch favorite films such as Raising Arizona at Cinespia. CINESPIA

In the summer, this pop-up cinema occupies a “to-die-for” location at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the final resting place for a galaxy of old-time movie stars. Classic films are projected onto a mausoleum wall around 9pm, but before gates open, crowds line up for picnics, cocktails and music. During the winter, screenings are hosted by historic downtown theaters (; tickets from $12).

The Abbey is a world-famous gay bar and WeHo’s bar/club/restaurant of record. It has so many different flavored martinis and mojitos that you’d think they were invented here. Enjoy a full menu, too. Match your mood to the different spaces, from outdoor patio to goth lounge (; 692 N. Robertson Blvd.; 11am–2am Mon– Thu, from 10am Fri, from 9am Sat and Sun; cocktails from $6). EL CARMEN

A pair of mounted bull heads, blackand-white posters, and lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) masks create an over-the-top “Tijuana North” look at this tequila and mezcal den, which offers more than a hundred varieties of the agave-based liquor to choose from. Tacos are served and there’s a happy hour 5pm to 7pm Monday to Friday (elcarmenla .com; 8138 W. 3rd St.; 5pm–2am; cocktails from $10).

Join the crowd at Mint for live music in a longstanding venue. MINT

Built in 1937, Mint is an intimate, historic music venue in Mid-City. Legends such as Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder played here on the way up, and axeman Ben Harper got his start here, too. Expect a packed slate of terrific jazz, blues and rock shows, and sensational sound. You’ll never be more than about 10 yards from the performance stage (themint; 6010 W. Pico Blvd.; events most nights; cover from about $9).


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MINI GUIDE Los Angeles Nightlife





Spanish Colonial style in downtown LA at Hotel Figueroa

Inside, 32 contemporary rooms sport two-tone paint jobs and some have terraces. It’s a terrific all-around value (; 7950 Melrose Ave.; from $213). It’s hard not to be charmed by Hotel Figueroa, a rambling, freshly updated downtown oasis that’s been in business since 1926. Its 268 cozy-chic contemporary rooms and suites blend tasteful pastels, exposed wooden beams and patterned carpets with hints of Spanish-influenced style (hotel; 939 S. Figueroa St.; from $360).

Whether you want to carry on the party or chill during the day, LA’s beaches have you covered. • Venice Beach Get your freak on at the famed Venice Beach Boardwalk. During Sunday’s drum circle, the bongos crescendo and dancers turn to silhouettes as the sun dips into the ocean. • Hermosa Beach Welcome to LA’s libidinous beach party, where folks get their game on over volleyball and in raucous pubs along Pier Avenue. • Zuma Enjoy 2 miles of pearly sand and mellow swells that make for perfect body surfing. • Westward Beach Malibu locals favor this wide, blonde beach (just south of Zuma) for crystal water, powerful waves, resident dolphin pods and sea lion colonies. • El Matador This small, remote spot is a popular film location thanks to its battered cliffs and boulders. The surf is wild, clothing is optional and the So Cal sunsets are superb.


LA is featured in Lonely Planet’s free Guides app, available at iTunes and Google Play. Los Angeles, San Diego & Southern California ($21.99) is Lonely Planet’s go-to guide for in-depth coverage of the city; Pocket Los Angeles ($13.99) is perfect for short breaks. LA Weekly, the city’s longtime alternative news source, has comprehensive arts and entertainment listings (



Vibe Hotel, a retro motel turned hostel near the Hollywood bar scene, has wallet-friendly dorms with TVs and kitchenettes, as well as private rooms for three. You’ll share space with an international group of travelers (; 5922 Hollywood Blvd.; from $83). We love the rustic wood-paneled exterior of Palihotel, a boutique hotel on famed Melrose Avenue.


The Know-How


The main LA gateway is Los Angeles International Airport, about 18 miles from downtown. Door-to-door shuttles from the airport are good for getting to the city; Prime Time charges about $22, $27 and $17 for trips to Santa Monica, Hollywood or downtown, respectively (prime The majority of public transportation is handled by Metro, which offers trip-planning help through its website (ride $1.75, day pass $7;



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The Toronto skyline reflected in the waters of Lake Ontario



World Food in Toronto In Ontario’s capital, flavors, aromas, sights and sounds of almost every nation converge peacefully – particularly on the plate.

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Cuba receives more visitors from Canada than from any other nation, so it’s no surprise to find this restaurant serving Cuban dishes, such as hearty ropa vieja (shredded beef in spicy tomato sauce with ripe plantains, white rice and black beans). Every effort has been made to keep the original corner store vibe (; 202 Dovercourt Rd.; 5:30pm–10pm Tue–Sun May–Oct, Tue–Sat Nov– Apr; entrees from $12).

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With its checkered tablecloths and friendly family staff, this Hungarian diner in the Annex neighborhood has barely changed in at least a generation, even after a face-lift last year. The enormous breaded schnitzels are the best in town, and the cucumber salad is a treat. Note that menu prices include tax, which is unusual in Canada (416-5365966; 450 Bloor St. W.; 11am–10pm; schnitzel sandwiches from $8).

Brunch is an institution for Torontonians and there’s almost always a line outside this café, which has a menu of cheap and cheery homemade favorites. Plop yourself down in one of the mismatched chairs and dig into dishes such as banana oatmeal pancakes or grilled brie with pear chutney and walnuts on challah. Cash only (; 74 Lippincott St.; 9am–3pm; grilled brie $5, sandwiches from $6).

Try pancakes and other brunch mainstays at Aunties & Uncles.


European As Greek as Greektown (aka The Danforth), casual Pan serves unpretentious dishes such as calamari, moussaka and chicken stuffed with spinach and feta. For dessert, try chocolate baklava or traditional loukoumades (bite-size Greek doughnuts). A band plays Thursday to Saturday (panonthe; 516 Danforth Ave.; noon–11pm Sun–Thu, to midnight Fri–Sat; entrees from $6).

They aren’t kidding: chunky Chilean empanadas (baked pastry parcels stuffed with beef, chicken, cheese or vegetables) and savory corn pie with beef, olives and eggs always sell out early at this simple Little Italy spot, in business since 1991. Try a mini empanada for about $1. Bread and salsas are homemade too (; 245 Augusta Ave.; 9am–8pm Mon–Sat, 11am– 6pm; empanadas from about $3).

An antipasti platter of salami, ham and cheese at Terroni TERRONI

The Financial District branch of this Italian restaurant (there are multiple offshoots in Toronto and more in LA) occupies a former courthouse with high, vaulted ceilings. It’s open, fun and generally packed. Reasonably priced wood-fired pizzas, rich pastas and fresh panini would make the Godfather proud (; 57a Adelaide St. E.; 9am–10pm Mon– Thu, to 11pm Fri–Sat, 5pm–10pm Sun; entrees from $13).

Dinner at acclaimed chef Susur Lee’s flagship restaurant in the downtown area’s Entertainment District is quite an experience. Servers help navigate the selection of East-meets-West delights to get the pairings right. The signature Singaporean slaw is a wonderful dance of flavors, textures and aromas (; 601 King St. W.; 5:30pm–10:30pm Sun–Wed, to 11:30pm Thu–Sat; entrees from $11). KINTON RAMEN

Ramen noodles are practically a religion in Japan and they’re now increasingly popular in Toronto. The brains behind this clever outfit leapt on the bandwagon with their distinct flavor: caramelized pork. There’s even a version with cheese. This branch (there are several in Toronto) is lively, steamy and beery, but tasteful (; 51 Baldwin St.; 11:30am–10:30pm; noodles from $8).

The soup base simmers for more than 20 hours at Kinton Ramen. QUEEN MOTHER CAFÉ

This Queen Street institution is loved for its cozy wooden booths and excellent menu of Lao and Thai specialties, including curries and dumplings. Canadian comfort food also is available. Check out the display of old stuff they found in the walls when they renovated (; 208 Queen St. W.; 11:30am–midnight Mon– Wed, to 1am Thu–Sat, to 11pm Sun; dinner entrees from $13).


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Most Canadian airlines and international carriers arrive at Canada’s busiest airport, Toronto Pearson, 17 miles northwest of downtown Toronto. Another option is the small Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, 2 miles from downtown and connected to the mainland via a pedestrian tunnel. The fastest way to get downtown from Pearson is the Union Pearson Express rail link, taking 25 minutes (upexpress .com). It costs $9 one-way or about $6.80 with a Presto card, which can be used for transportation in town ( WHERE TO STAY

In a prime location, Clarence Park is a budget find with cozy dorms and private rooms, some overlooking leafy Clarence Square. There’s a fabulous rooftop deck with a grill for lazy summer afternoons (; 7 Clarence Square; rooms from $63).



Budget option Clarence Park overlooks a quiet green space.

The 37 artist-designed rooms at Gladstone Hotel look straight from a coffee-table book. The entrance alone is a delight, with a hand-cranked birdcage elevator. The Melody Bar serves the city’s indie scene (; 1214 Queen St. W.; from $120). Sophisticated, dramatic and luxurious, The Hazelton, in affluent Yorkville, is one of Toronto’s top hotels. Design aficionados will be spoiled. Culinary master Mark McEwan is behind the hotel’s ONE restaurant (; 118 Yorkville Ave.; from $250).

Some things never change. • Patrician Grill Run by the same family since 1967, this Old York joint is packed with original decor (; 219 King St. E.). • Avenue Open Kitchen Traditional breakfasts and burgers are easy on the wallet at this cozy spot off Spadina Avenue (416-504-7131; 7 Camden St.). • Golden Diner This Greek diner in Church-Wellesley Village has natty booths and a bargain all-day breakfast (416-977-9898; 105 Carlton St.). • Gale’s Snack Bar Off the gentrified Leslieville strip, this gritty hole-inthe-wall serves cheap greasy-spoon eats (539 Eastern Ave.). • Senator Restaurant In Yonge, this diner has curved windows and original booths that will delight art deco buffs (; 249 Victoria St.).


The “Ontario” chapter in Lonely Planet’s Canada ($27.99) covers Toronto’s best sights, restaurants and drinking spots by district. Toronto also is featured in Lonely Planet’s free Guides app, available at iTunes and Google Play. The local “Foodaholic!” blog divides Toronto restaurant reviews by cuisine and budget, making it easy to navigate for inspiration ( Focusing on the immigrants who helped build Toronto in the 1900s, Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion ($21; McClelland & Stewart) is a novel worth packing.


World Food in Toronto


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An event for the 2016 film Fences at the BFI Southbank The 112-year-old Columbia Restaurant

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Experiences CURZON SOHO

This West End oldie is a landmark. It has three screens and a fantastic lineup featuring the best indy films, plus shorts and minifestivals. Regular Q&As with directors draw film enthusiasts, too. It’s possible to make a night of it at the Curzon, thanks to the Konditor & Cook café upstairs (the cakes are a highlight) and a comfortable bar (curzon; 99 Shaftesbury Ave.; tickets from $13). BFI SOUTHBANK


Cinematic London It’s not just Hollywood that basks in the silver screen glow. London’s streets are film crew favorites and many theaters in England’s capital are sights in their own right.


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Nicknamed the Gherkin for its unusual shape, 30 St. Mary Axe is the city’s most distinctive skyscraper. Built in 2003, it has become an emblem of modern London and often appears in films. Searcys restaurant on the 39th floor occasionally has public dining nights. The Gherkin is sometimes open during the September Open House London weekend (30stmary; 30 St. Mary Axe).


Although technically dedicated to British film, this museum currently hosts only one exhibition: Bond in Motion. Get shaken and stirred while browsing more than 100 items from the James Bond films, among them the largest official collection of 007 vehicles, including the submersible Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me and Bond’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 (; 45 Wellington St.; 10am–6pm Sun–Fri, to 7pm Sat; $18).

Filming Locations

Landmarks This 1770s Palladian masterpiece fronting the River Thames is home to two galleries, including the Courtauld Gallery, and is often used as a filming location: period drama Downton Abbey, several Sherlock Holmes films and action movies GoldenEye and X-Men: First Class all shot scenes here. An outdoor cinema is rolled out in its courtyard during warmer months (

Tucked under Waterloo Bridge is the British Film Institute, with four theaters that screen thousands of films each year (mostly arthouse), a gallery devoted to the moving image, and the mediatheque, where you can watch film and TV highlights from the BFI National Archive. It also has a film store for books and DVDs, a restaurant and a gorgeous café (; Belvedere Road; 9:45am–11pm; tickets from $9).

The Curzon Soho’s Shaftesbury Avenue home opened in 1959.

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From fiction to fact: King’s Cross Station and its Platform 9¾ KING’S CROSS STATION

Tourists pile into King’s Cross Station to find the departure point for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A sign for Harry Potter’s Platform 9¾ has been permanently erected in the new departures terminal, with a trolley half disappearing into the wall carrying trunks and an owl cage. Don’t miss the Victorian Gothic splendor of St. Pancras Station just next door (

“London’s Larder” always is overflowing with food lovers and wide-eyed visitors. The renowned food market’s Victorian roof, brick archways and tunnel entrances have appeared in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Golden Compass and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, though they’re most recognizable in Bridget Jones’s Diary (; 8 Southwark St.; Mon–Sat). PORTOBELLO ROAD

The Portobello Road Market trades an eclectic mix of food, antiques and street fashion. Scenes from the 2014 film Paddington were shot here, but this heaving strip of West London life is most famous for its starring role in the British romcom Notting Hill. Book to see a film at the street’s Electric Cinema (one of the U.K.’s oldest) or stop for a bite at its retro diner (electriccinema; tickets from $21).

Borough Market traces its roots back to the 13th century. HAMPSTEAD HEATH

Sprawling Hampstead Heath, with its woodlands and meadows, feels a million miles away from central London. Film crews are regular sightings; in 2016, Brad Pitt filmed scenes for Allied here. The park’s 17th-century Kenwood House includes a great collection of art and a popular café; if you’ve seen Notting Hill, you’ll recognize it from the final Julia Roberts scenes (


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MINI GUIDE Entertainment



Clink 78 is a lively 630-bed hostel occupying a 19th-century courthouse where members of punk band The Clash stood trial in 1978 (for shooting pricey racing pigeons). There are pod-bed dorms, plus private rooms – some in converted jail cells (; 78 King’s Cross Rd.; rooms from $80).





Although London has five major airports, most transatlantic flights land at Heathrow Airport (flight time is about 7 hours from the East Coast and 10½ hours from the West Coast). An increasingly popular form of transportation is the Eurostar – the Channel Tunnel train – between London and Paris (2¼ hours) or Brussels (less than two hours). London public transportation is expensive, but excellent; buy an Oyster card from any Tube station for the cheapest fares (Zone 1 single $3;


• London Film Festival The highlight

Victorian period details abound in the rooms at the Main House.

The four spacious suites at Main House in Notting Hill have vast bathrooms; the uppermost suite occupies the entire top floor. Owner Caroline is full of local knowledge (; 6 Colville Rd.; from about $80). Handsome and luxurious, The Beaumont in the affluent West End neighborhood of Mayfair is all art deco opulence. Rooms and suites are stylish, with a 1920s modernist aesthetic. Prices include local drop-offs in the hotel’s vintage Daimler (; Brown Hart Gardens; from about $490).

of London’s many film festivals, this event is held in October ( • Raindance Festival A terrific celebration of independent cinema from across the globe, this runs just before the London Film Festival ( • Portobello Film Festival The U.K.’s largest independent film competition is held in September; it’s free to attend ( • BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival This is one of the best of its kind, with hundreds of LGBT films from around the world shown over two weeks in March at BFI Southbank (


Lonely Planet’s London ($21.99) has in-depth coverage of the city; for short breaks, Pocket London ($13.99) is more compact, or try Lonely Planet’s free Guides app, available at iTunes and Google Play. Visit the Film London website for unusual film events and to download its London Movie Map of filming locations ( .uk). Read The Secret Life of Ealing Studios: Britain’s Favourite Film Studio ($25; Aurum Press) by Robert Sellers for a behind-the-scenes look at a legendary cinematic enterprise in England’s capital.


Cinematic London


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The psychedelic decor and casual atmosphere lend this avant-garde Barcelona fashion store a youthful edge. Custo presents daring new women’s and men’s collections each year, from dinner jackets to hot pants, with dazzling colors and cuts for the uninhibited. Our pick of its four Barcelona stores is the one in La Ribera (; Plaça de les Olles 7; 11am–8:30pm).

Modernista opulence at the Palau de la Música Catalana



Design in Barcelona Ever since Gaudí’s era, the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region has been a hotbed for creative free thinkers. Its independent stores, fabled architecture and museums are fantasies for design lovers.


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Joan Miró, Barcelona’s best-known 20th-century artistic progeny, bequeathed this art foundation to his hometown in 1971. Its light-filled buildings are crammed with seminal works and are considered to be among the world’s most outstanding museum facilities (; Parc de Montjuïc; 10am–6pm Tue–Wed and Fri Nov–Mar, 10am–8pm Apr– Oct, 10am–9pm Thu, 10am–8pm Sat, 10am–3pm Sun; from $7.50).


Artist Teresa Rosa Aguayo runs this textile workshop in the heart of the artsy bit of El Raval. You can join courses at the loom, admire some of the rugs and other works that Aguayo has created, and, of course, buy a piece to take home. The wood-beamed shop is beautifully presented, and the textiles available are tasteful and unique (; Carrer del Notariat 10; 11am–3pm and 5pm–8pm Mon–Fri).



Barcelona’s design museum lies inside a new monolithic building with geometric facades and a brutalist appearance that has earned it the local nickname la grapadora (the stapler). It houses a dazzling collection of ceramics, decorative arts and textiles (; Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes 37–38; 10am–8pm Tue–Sun; from $5).

A nonprofit arts organization runs this small store and gallery space in the labyrinthine streets of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter). It exhibits wild designs from artists near and far who create with discarded items. Works on display change regularly, but you might find sculptures, jewelry and handbags made from recycled products, as well as mixed-media installations (; Carrer d’En Groc 1; 11am–2pm and 5pm–8pm Tue–Fri).

Textile specialist Teranyina has been in the old town for 30 years.

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The Hope of a Condemned Man series at the Fundació Joan Miró CAIXAFORUM

This art gallery is housed in an outstanding modernista former factory designed by Gaudí contemporary Puig i Cadafalch. The building now belongs to Caixa building society, which prides itself on its involvement in art, in particular all that is contemporary. The key draws here are major international exhibitions (; Avinguda de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia 6–8; 10am–8pm; $4.50).

This undulating UNESCO-listed beast is one of Gaudí’s most madcap masterpieces. Erected between 1906 and 1912, it now houses a museum that features a modest Gaudí exhibition. The roof is the most extraordinary element, with its giant chimney pots looking like medieval knights (lapedrera .com; Passeig de Gràcia 92; 9am–8:30pm and 9pm–11pm Mon–Sun; from $23). PALAU DE LA MÚSICA CATALANA

This concert hall is a symphony in tile, brick, sculpted stone and stained glass. It was conceived as a temple for the Renaixença (Catalan Cultural Renaissance), and built by Domènech i Montaner between 1905 and 1908 (; Carrer de Palau de la Música 4–6; tours 10am–3:30pm, 10am–6pm Easter and Jul, 9am–6pm Aug; guided tour $19).

Walkways loop around the fantastical rooftop of La Pedrera. CASA DE LES PUNXES

Puig i Cadafalch’s Casa Terrades, completed in 1905, is better known as the Casa de les Punxes (House of Spikes) because of its pointed turrets. Once a private apartment block, in 2016 it opened to the public for the first time; check out its stained-glass bay windows, handsome iron staircase, and tiled rooftops (; Avinguda Diagonal 420; 9am–8pm; from $13).


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Casa Gràcia has raised the bar in Barcelona for budget stays, with dorms and doubles in crisp white. It features a terrace, a library nook, a lounge, a restaurant and a bar (; Passeig de Gràcia 116; from $65).





Most travelers enter Barcelona through El Prat airport, 8 miles southwest of the city center. Some budget airlines use Girona-Costa Brava or Reus airports. Flights from the East Coast typically take 10 to 13 hours, including a stopover; from the West Coast count on 13 or more hours, including a stopover. The quickest way into town from El Prat is via half-hourly trains (single $5;, which take 25 minutes to reach Passeig de Gràcia. Barcelona’s metro is the best way to get around; singles cost $2.50 but the Targeta T-10 card offers better value (10-ride pass $11).


Hotel Brummell is a modern space behind the 1870 facade.

Hotel Brummell is a thoughtfully designed hotel with a creative soul. The 20 rooms exude cheerful, minimalist design; the best have terraces with outdoor soaking tubs. Weekend brunch at on-site Box Social is very popular (; Carrer Nou de la Rambla 174; from $137). Overlooking its eponymous plaza, Hotel DO: Plaça Reial has handsomely designed rooms and extensive facilities, including a great restaurant, roof terrace, dip pool and spa (; Plaça Reial 1; from $320).


Lonely Planet publishes four guides to the city: the in-depth Barcelona city guide ($21.99), quick-trip Pocket Barcelona ($13.99), photo-rich Best of Barcelona ($21.99) and itineraryled Make My Day: Barcelona ($9.99). Barcelona also is featured in Lonely Planet’s free Guides app, available at iTunes and Google Play. Robert Hughes’s historical study, Barcelona ($22; Vintage) CONTEMPORARY LUMINARIES has excellent coverage of the city’s Torre Agbar Jean Nouvel’s cucumber- influential artists and architects. shaped tower (Avinguda Diagonal). Look out for BCN Més, a trilingual Teatre Nacional de Catalunya monthly magazine that covers art, Ricardo Bofill’s neoclassical modern food and more ( theater takes the form of a glassed-in Greek temple (Plaça de les Arts). Mercat de Santa Caterina A wavy, multicolored ceramic roof covers this La Ribera market (Avinguda de Francesc Cambó). La Catedral de Barcelona Laced with gargoyles and stone intricacies (Plaça del a Seu). Basílica Santa Maria del Mar A 14th-century church famous for its architectural harmony (Plaça de Santa Maria). Saló del Tinell A parade of tall arches holds up the roof of this banqueting hall, inside a former royal palace (Plaça del Rei).


Design in Barcelona


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Discover the planet’s weirdest and most wonderful sights Take a journey into the unknown to discover natural phenomena and man-made oddities.

Bajina Basta, Serbia

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Meet a Traveler

Canadian Prime Minister multicultural Toronto, from breathtakingly empty prairie skies to the warm welcome on George Street in St. John’s [Newfoundland and Labrador], and from the thrill of skiing in the Rockies to the serenity of paddling past a moose in Algonquin Park in Ontario – there’s nowhere else on earth that offers the range of adventures that await you in Canada.

our country from the ground level. Hike around glacier-fed, turquoise lakes in Banff National Park, cycle along the craggy cliffs of the Cabot Trail, kayak through the spectacular waterways of Haida Gwaii. These are just a few of the many ways to appreciate Canada’s geography, and to meet the people who cherish its vastness and beauty.

Q What might surprise people

Q Which travel experience has had

about Canada?


Youthful. Charismatic. Adventurous. Not words typically associated with high-profile politicians, but they’re often used to describe Canada’s 23rd prime minister, Justin Trudeau. From demonstrating his yoga skills in public with a tricky “peacock” pose to playing hide-and-seek with his toddler in Canada’s House of Commons, Trudeau has dared to be different. As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, we caught up with Trudeau to talk about his homeland’s broad appeal, get tips for visitors and hear what travel means to him, starting with his days as a backpacker exploring the world with a Lonely Planet guidebook in hand.

Q Lonely Planet named Canada the best

country in the world to visit in 2017 – how would you sum up its allure in one sentence?


From dogsledding in the Northwest Territories to surfing in Tofino, from the history of Old Quebec to the vibrancy of

Former Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King once said, “While other countries have too much history, Canada has too much geography.” Canada certainly does have a lot of geography, but we also have an incredibly rich and diverse history. Any proper story of Canada cannot be told in one sitting, one language, or from one perspective. That’s why I hope visitors spend some time learning about the Indigenous Peoples – First Nations, Métis and Inuit – who have lived here for thousands of years. I also hope visitors check out our national historic sites. There are almost a thousand of them across the country, in all 10 provinces and three territories. (And yes, there’s an app for that: go to

Q What’s unique for travelers this year? A As part of our Canada 150 celebrations,

we’re offering free admission to our national parks, marine conservation areas and national historic sites throughout 2017. There’ll also be unprecedented opportunities to learn about Indigenous Peoples, and to explore Canada’s rich heritage and cultural diversity through the Pan-Canadian Signature Projects (

Q Any insider tips or local secrets you can

the most lasting impact on you?


In my early 20s, I backpacked around the world with various friends for 10 months. First Venezuela and Colombia, then Western Europe, across North and West Africa via overland truck, Christmas in Helsinki, New Year’s on the Trans-Siberian Express, weeks across China and Hong Kong, Vietnam for Tet, and finally Thailand to finish up on a beach. My only constant companion? Lonely Planet.

Q What travel dream do you long to fulfill?


I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to do some serious, off-the-beatenpath adventures as a family. Paddling the Amazon, trekking in the foothills of the Himalayas, camping in the Torngats of Northern Labrador, or horseback riding in Patagonia, to name a few.

Q What does travel mean to you? A The freedom to be spontaneous, the

challenge of adapting to the world rather than expecting the world to adapt to you, and the opportunity to discover more about yourself by discovering people with totally different lives and experiences while learning to find common ground with them.

share with would-be visitors?


Maps can’t provide any idea of the real scope of Canada, and air travel doesn’t do it justice. So, I encourage visitors to explore

To read more of our interview with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, visit

Lonely Planet (ISSN 2379-9390) (USPS 18590) Fall 2017, Volume 3, Number 3. Published four times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) by Lonely Planet Global, Inc., 230 Franklin Road, Building 2B, Franklin, TN 37064. Periodicals postage paid at Franklin, TN, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Lonely Planet, PO Box 37520, Boone, IA 50037-0520. Subscriber Services, U.S., Canada and other International: Direct all inquiries, address changes, subscription orders, etc. to Lonely Planet, PO Box 37520, Boone, IA 50037-0520. You may also access customer service via the web at, via email at or by phone at 800-829-9121. Subscribers: If the Post Office alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within one year. Please allow up to eight weeks for delivery of your first issue. Subscription rates: one year $18 domestic only; in Canada, $30; other International, $45 (Publisher’s suggested price). Single copies $5.99.





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Lonely Planet Magazine (US) Fall 2017  

Special features you’ll enjoy in our Fall issue: • Secrets of Okinawa • North Ireland’s Culinary Renaissance • Discovering Cuba’s capital •...

Lonely Planet Magazine (US) Fall 2017  

Special features you’ll enjoy in our Fall issue: • Secrets of Okinawa • North Ireland’s Culinary Renaissance • Discovering Cuba’s capital •...