After you’ve canoed, sailed, scuba dived, and visited the resort’s sanctuary for the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, you’ll be ready to recline on your patio for a view of the extinct 2,300-foot Mount Otemanu volcano. —Brendan Brady
Le Méridien Bora Bora, French Polynesia. (800) 543-4300, starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien, from $605. Photo courtesy of lodging. This appeared in the September/October 2010 issue. See more overwater bungalows.
Places Where I'd Like To Have A Beer
Always nice to have a view with your drink.
In the summer, take at least a couple of days to drive the North Cascades Loop--four hundred miles of alpine splendor just to the Northeast of Seattle, just south of the Canadian border. At Diablo Lake, pull off the highway and check out the view; glacially-ground rock 'flour' suspended in the water gives the lake its jade color. There are limitless hiking opportunities in these mountains, but if your time and/or mobility is limited, this is one of the most beautiful drives in the country...
I can remember every smell from my first Stay in Morocco... I landed and walked into the Marrakech-Menara airport where Huge Arabic script greets you from the wall... I presume saying Welcome Weary Traveler, or something along those lines. I stepped into the heat outside and saw camels, mercedes, vendors and taxis, all the taking their time in a Casablanca kind of vibe! Our destination was to get out of the bustle, and make our way to the Atlas Mountain range, and visit some of the Berber Tribes in the expansive range.
We traveled for a few hours through winding roads and small villages, on our way up to Kasbah du Toubkal for our mountain stay at the base of the highest Peak in North Africa, (Jbel Toubkal). Kasbahs are the Guest houses or refuges, in Morocco. Ornate red velvet tapestries lined the walls. We were immediately served some mint tea, and were welcomed into this...
Driving into Yosemite National Park, you make your way through a narrow tunnel. When you emerge, this is the view that greets you. It was winter time, and a blizzard had just blown through. While driving into the park, I had slipped on the ice, and crashed my car. I was desperately trying to not be in a terrible, disheartened mood. This view made everything ok again, and put me in the correct frame of mind to have an amazing trip. It rescued me.
I've learned that some of the best times to be had when traveling, are when you wake up before anyone else. This, fortunately, is made easier when you travel towards the West. We decided that we just had to see the sun rise over the famous Easter Island Moai (these big, enigmatic statues). We woke up well before sunrise to take the 45 minute drive across the Island to this sacred stand. While the sun rose, we enjoyed a small breakfast picnic. The company was excellent; the view was magnificent.
The night I spent in Egypt’s White Desert, the moon shone so brightly that the rocks towering over our campsite cast shadows on the sand. The White Desert is known for its stunning rock formations, made of pure-white “chalk rock” that the wind and sand have sculpted into an incredible array of shapes. A trip here is like an afternoon of cloud-gazing. (There’s a mushroom! And that one’s a chicken!) In pre-historic times, a sea covered the area, and you can still find fossilized sea shells imbedded in the rocks. In the evening, a serenity settles over the sands. After a gourmet dinner cooked over an open fire, and we sat for hours, enjoying the cool air and each other’s company. I went for a barefoot midnight stroll and then curled up on my mattress under the stars.
The only way to see the desert is in a 4x4 and preferably with a Bedouin guide who knows how to navigate the terrain. Most...
I’m an urban creature. I live and breathe in the hustle and bustle of city life every day. But when I travel, I often like to escape outside my comfort zone and head to remote parts of the world where little is familiar to me. On one of those trips, I stood on a mountain bluff and took in views of a very stark and stunningly beautiful landscape. Something so dramatically different from what passes before my eyes in my everyday life that I had to pinch myself to remind me it was not in my imagination.
This is Yamdrok Yumtso, a mountain lake nestled high up in the Tibetan plateau. The lake sits at an elevation of 4488 meters and is located about 100 km southwest of the city of Lhasa.
The waters of the lake really were this magnificent shade of turquoise blue! Barren hillsides framed the lake and the fluffiest of white clouds hung above in a steel blue colored sky. The air was crisp,...
You know the feeling.
As the sun sets and closes the door on a beautiful, relaxing day, you secretly say to yourself "Sun, don't go...just stay a little while longer". That was this moment. Spent snorkeling in the cove, watching people on their yachts, boys competing in an impromptu stone-skipping contest (which I'd take a gander is a regular event around here). You can't help but want to stay forever.
We're crazy about waterfalls, and rarely give up a chance to see one.
2011 had been a hot, dry summer in West Virginia. There was a chance that Mill Creek Falls would not be flowing. Along the rail trail leading to the falls, we passed an old trestle bridge, the remains of an old water tower, and a side trail leading to an old mine.
We were quite happy when we heard the water flowing as we came across it on the trail. It didn't look too easy to get to, as there was no trail. The way was steep, with just some pushed down dirt, but we grabbed and hung on to trees on the way down. It was a good place to relax, eat, and take photos.
Arriving at the gate at 6:30am, I was extremley excited to see and explore this amazing place. I have been planning this trip for over ten years and the moment was finally here!
After entering, the entire mountain range and ruins were covered in a white mist. I was a little disappointed since I wanted to capture the beauty surrounding me on film but it was impossible through this very thick cloud. As the sun rose , the mist started to dissipate and the majesty that is Machu Picchu revealed it's self to me like the start of a magic show. After about 30 minutes the mist was completely gone and only blue skies remained. Simply Amazing!
The Antarctic weather was unpredictable and often inhospitable throughout our 1-week expedition cruise. Dramamine came in really handy the last day as we sailed the Gerlach Straight. I popped them like candy before cautiously eating dinner. Just a third of our 42 shipmates were at the tables; most took just one bite of their delicious Argentine steak before calling it an early night.
But just the day before, the sun was beaming, water was glassy smooth, and I comfortably shed my upper layers down to a tank top during a hike to a viewpoint over Paradise Bay. Our captain joined us and mentioned that it was the most beautiful day he’d seen in at least 10 years. It was a beauty so vast and still, that the exuberant sense of joy of that moment felt deeply imprinted within me.
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: This is my favorite hike by far! Cueva Ventana ("Window Cave") is a beautiful, scenic hole in the side of a mountain that opens up to a lush, green valley down below. You'll trample through mud, hunker down under low hanging stalagmites, dodge around stalactites and never look up (there are bats, of course) while wandering through the cave.
All this winding around through two caves leads you to one of the most spectacular views in all of Puerto Rico (but I may be bias).
The hike to this cave is half the fun - how about climbing down into a small opening under enormous ancient tree roots??? You certainly get the feel of a tomb raider! But, if you're claustrophobic or don't feel up to lowering yourself down a small cave wall, there's an additional path that bypasses the first cave and leads you straight to the easier hike to Cueva Ventana. There's something for...