I'm beginning a new series today, called 'Top Ten'. I'll compile these lists from time to time with input from many sources, including members of my travel network worldwide - cruise lines, tour operators, and other suppliers in the industry - so the criteria for inclusion will be many and varied, and the items will not be in order of 'best to worst'. If a fave place of yours doesn't show up on a particular list, please don't be offended; there are as many favorites in the world as there are people. My goal is to give you new ideas of places to visit and make new memories.
Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. Welcome to the “Enchanted Isles”! A once rarely-visited destination, open only to scientists and locals, the spectacular landscapes and ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands transport you to a world of truly remarkable wonders. The pristine waters and lush forests of this marvelous archipelago are the essence of raw nature. Snorkeling in the pristine waters alongside sea lions is easily one of the highlights of the whole trip.
Mallorca, Spain. Defined by its soaring mountains and azure seas, Mallorca is a beach-loving cyclist's wonderland. Its hilly terrain and cove-studded coastline allow for the perfect combination of two-wheeled adventure and beach time relaxation. You'll fall in love with Mallorca's island charm and sunny disposition as soon as your wheels hit the island's scenic backroads.
Greece: Santorini and Crete. The Greek Isles have an island vibe of their own. With a dry and consistently hot landscape, life naturally congregates at the water’s edge, where the cool water and ocean breezes refresh body and soul. Relax on a lounge chair in the shade, sink your feet in the sand, sip a cocktail at a beachside café, or stroll through one of Santorini’s famous whitewashed villages. Sun, sand and beauty all in one.
Bali. Make Bali's white sand beaches your base, and set off on any number of adventures from rafting the Ayung River to cycling on a volcano and watching ancient and modern art forms unfold before your eyes. Discover Bali in all of its rich and colorful depth.
Santa Barbara, and Ojai, California. It’s Southern California—'nuff said. Live the beach lifestyle of bikes and boardwalks, only slightly upgraded with luxury hotels, wine-tastings and spa visits. From hip Santa Barbara to quaint Ojai, there’s something to suit every taste in this stretch of the California coastline. Take your time on the bike rides—the beach isn’t going anywhere. And when you smell the sea and feel the breeze in your hair, you might not ever want to go home.
Costa Rica. Central America's adventure sport capital, where white water rafting, surfing, hikes through the rainforest, and zip-lining are on the agenda, as are infinity pools and white sand beaches. This Costa Rican adventure is as much about the adrenaline as it is about the down time in a well-positioned hammock. Your toughest decision in this slice of paradise will be where to begin first.
The Caribbean. The islands here are both bustling and tranquil you won't stray far from the white sands and turquoise waters on any of these islands during your Caribbean adventure. Warm tropical breezes and calypso beats will follow you as you hike, explore, and immerse yourself in West Indies culture. You'll go home feeling refreshed, pampered, and like you may have discovered heaven on earth. Start on any island and vow to check all of them off your list.
Corsica and Sardinia. Not quite France, not quite Italy, not quite like any other part of the Mediterranean. The islands of Corsica & Sardinia are immersed in nearly as much European history as they are in crystal clear turquoise water that envelops its sandy shores. Whether you’re in the mood for glittering seaside towns or empty pristine beaches awaiting your solitary footprints, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Provence to the French Riviera. If there's ever a time to slow down and savor the moment, it's while in coastal Southern France with its sparkling seas, glowing sunsets, glamorous beaches, and dazzling culture. Your days will be spent sipping crisp rosé, walking cobble-stoned streets, and feeling the warm Mediterranean breeze on your skin. To relax and appreciate are your only responsibilities while visiting this alluring seaside locale.
Tuscany by the Sea Tuscany is famous for its fine wine, rolling vineyards, and surreal countryside landscapes but there are also pristine beaches, bustling fishing villages, and alluring blue-green lagoons to enjoy. An unforgettable stroll along the seaside, a ride through the painted Tuscan hills, and up to stunning ocean viewpoints...priceless.
That's it. First 'Top Ten' in the bag. Pick one, or all ten and let's plan your next awesome getaway.
'til next week