Recent Travel Highlights

Colombia

San Diego
StayDo
Colombia, San Diego, California
Hiking with Hummingbirds & Wax Palms
Cocora Valley or Valle de Cocora en Espanol - is a great hiking destination in the department of Quindío in Colombia. It's in the Central Cordillera and is part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park. It is the principal location of the national tree and symbol of Colombia, the Quindío wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense), which is enormously tall! There are bromeliads and orchid, especially where the trail gets close to the creek. At the end of the hike is a quaint, family-run coffee (of course) stand with hummingbird feeders. So many species of hummers dote on the feeders, buzzing in all directions! Colombia has so many cloud forest destinations. Naturalists: If you liked Ecuador and Costa Rica, you will be amazed at Colombia! (But please don't tell everyone you know, because it's not overrun by tourists yey.)
Hiking with Hummingbirds & Wax Palms
1 experience

Plaza Vieja

La Habana
EatDrinkDo
Plaza Vieja, La Habana, Cuba
Azucar Restaurant in Old Havana's Plaza Vieja
My favorite part of Azucar restaurant in Plaza Vieja isn't the trendy setting, delicious food and drinks, or perfect location. My favorite part of Azucar is that it's one of the many restaurants that began when the government allowed Cubans to open their own businesses -- plus it's owned by a woman. The setting offers a modern vibe in Old Havana, and is decorated with slick photography, reminiscent of a Miami dining experience. The food is excellent, and the drinks are some of the best in Havana. Outdoor, balcony seating is a great way to spend a night overlooking Plaza Vieja in Old Havana.
Azucar Restaurant in Old Havana's Plaza Vieja
1 experience

Las Terrazas

Las Terrazas
ShopDo
Las Terrazas, Las Terrazas, Cuba
An Artist's Refuge in Las Terrazas, Cuba
Just an hour outside of Havana, Cuba, in the Pinar del Rio province, there is a quiet town named Las Terrazas, where artistry and adventure travel merge. Las Terrazas serves as a natural refuge for city dwellers and tourists alike, and locals often vacation in the area to enjoy cookouts and zip lining along the river bank. Many artists have opened studios in the town center, and a leader among this group is Lester Campa, a revered Cuban artist with a worldwide following. During a visit to his gallery, I was most taken with one of his student's work. Signed only with the name Haned, the pictured art depicts the sensuality of the Cuban culture and captures the true essence of love on the island.
An Artist's Refuge in Las Terrazas, Cuba
1 experience

Plaza de Armas

La Habana
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Plaza de Armas, La Habana, Cuba
Old Havana's Most Lively Square
Taking a walk down Obispo street in Old Havana can be quite the endeavor. Shops line the road, and tourists seem to be everywhere. At the end of the busy street, however, one of Old Havana's best plaza's comes to life. Plaza de Armas is host to a year-round book fair, where copies of old Cuban literature can be purchased, for yourself and as souvenirs. At night, the plaza is full of life, as it sometimes is stage to evening dance and musical performances.
Old Havana's Most Lively Square
1 experience

Plaza de San Francisco

La Habana
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Plaza de San Francisco, La Habana, Cuba
Old Havana's Plaza de San Francisco
Plaza de San Francisco brings together a few of Havana's best attractions. It falls right before the Malecón's beginning in Old Havana, provides a great view for the port, and is just down the street from Havana's indoor artist market. The square is home to gorgeous architecture, making it a lively spot for travelers to visit. It's also a great location to exchange money, grab a cab, and serves as an excellent meeting point for locals.
Old Havana's Plaza de San Francisco
1 experience

304 O'Reilly

La Habana
EatDrinkDo
304 O'Reilly, La Habana, Cuba
Gin Cocktails in Old Havana
Brothers José Carlos and Julio Imperatori co-own 304 O'Reilly, an art-inspired dining experience in Old Havana. José Carlos used to work at a government bar in Havana, but always dreamed of opening his own restaurant. As soon as the government passed the law allowing Cubans to own their own businesses, the brothers opened their doors. José Carlos focuses on the day-to-day management of the restaurant, while Julio is busy traveling the country, sourcing the best produce. It is this practice that makes 304 O'Reilly one of the finest restaurants in all of Havana. I enjoyed the ceviche de pescado, empanadas, and variety of gin cocktails on the menu. The atmosphere is fun and funky, and every woman receives a flower before leaving the building. All these components make 304 O'Reilly the perfect destination for a night out in Old Havana.
Gin Cocktails in Old Havana
1 experience

Fulton Market Kitchen

Chicago
EatDrinkDo
Fulton Market Kitchen, Chicago, Illinois
A hidden gem in the West Loop
You will think you are totally lost, but this renovated warehouse in the West Loop is one of the best restaurant experiences in the area. The food is awesome, cocktails creative and the atmosphere so electric. Cabs will find it hard to locate, but use the address/GPS and you won't be disappointed. Enjoy!
A hidden gem in the West Loop
1 experience

Vesterbro

København
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Vesterbro, København, Denmark
Cykel
You may be able to guess this one quickly—cykel is the Danish word for a bike. The history of the Danish commitment to creating bicycle friendly cities dates back decades and other cities around the world have long looked to Copenhagen for guidance. The city’s bike share system, Bycyklen, has state-of-the-art models complete with carbon-neutral motors for any hills—though finding a hill to climb can be a challenge in largely flat Copenhagen. The price per hour is less than $4 making it an inexpensive option if you want to try pedaling around for an afternoon. (The city also has countless private bike rental shops.) Copenhagen’s new Bicycle Snake, an orange bridge soaring over the harbor and connecting Vesterbro with Amager Island, became a favorite of urban designers and architecture critics as soon as it opened. It also makes it easier to reach the new development of Ørestad, on Amager Island, a showcase of daring buildings from the world’s leading architects including the VM Houses from Copenhagen’s most famous one working today, Bjarke Ingels. Whether you hop on a bike to see the latest contemporary masterpieces or Renaissance castles, there is no city in the world that makes it easier to explore on two wheels. Ready to take flight? Traveling to Copenhagen has never been more convenient. Fly non-stop to Copenhagen with Scandinavian Airlines from several gateways in the U.S. including San Francisco.
Cykel
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Almanak

København
EatDrinkDo
Almanak, København, Denmark
Smørrebrød
Smørrebrød (roughly “smuhr-bruth”) literally means “butter and bread,” but on top of the bread you’ll find smoked salmon, piles of prawns, generous slices of roast beef, or some other topping. Though the sandwich is easy to find in Copenhagen, some favorite places include the Almanak at the Standard, on the Copenhagen harbor front, and the more traditional Schønneman. While the sandwich may be one of Denmark’s most famous dishes, the culinary choices range from what has often been described as the best restaurant in the world, the acclaimed Noma, to the hot dogs that are sold from pølsevogns throughout the city. (Forget your preconceptions of the lowly hot dog, the Danish version is organic, all natural, and beech smoked.) You can create your own tasting menu of Danish cuisine by wandering the 60 stalls at Torvehallerne Market, near the Nørreport Station, or the food trucks at the Copenhagen Street Food Market, open daily in the summer and on weekends the rest of the year. If you want to combine some sightseeing with a stellar culinary experience, ascend to the Tårnet (that’s Danish for “tower”) restaurant, in (appropriately) Copenhagen’s tallest tower, atop the Christiansborg Palace. Your contemporary Danish meal will be served with incomparable city views. Finally, there’s Noma, renowned as the restaurant that put Nordic cuisine on the map, thanks to Chef René Redzepi’s ingenious dishes.
Smørrebrød
1 experience, added to 1 List

Marini's On 57

Kuala Lumpur
EatDrink
Marini's On 57, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Cocktails at Kuala Lumpur's Highest Rooftop Bar
Perched on the 57th floor of Petronas Tower 3, Marini's on 57 is Kuala Lumpur's highest rooftop bar, restaurant and lounge. Situated next to the Petronas Twin Towers, Marini's offers excellent views of that iconic site, as well as a 360-degree view of the whole city through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Dress smartly and make reservations to guarantee a window table for cocktails or an Italian-style dinner. You can also take advantage of a generous happy hour by arriving in the early evening. Photo by Marek Kolesar.
Cocktails at Kuala Lumpur's Highest Rooftop Bar
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Nørrebro

København
EatDrinkDo
Nørrebro, København, Denmark
Skål
This one’s easy: skål (pronounced “skoal”) is Danish for “cheers” and a term you are likely to hear frequently in the bars of Copenhagen. The Nyhavn Canal lined with waterfront bars is a popular and central starting point, though there are many other options when you are ready to venture a little farther. The Meatpacking District of Vesterbro consists of three large buildings that were long meat processing plants—the “brown,” “gray,” and “white” buildings. The white one (seen here) now houses a number of different options—you can bar-hop without leaving the building. A new addition is a weekly market every Saturday and the first Sunday of each month with 70 food stalls selling meals you can eat at communal tables. Another neighborhood that competes with Vesterbro for the title of the city’s trendiest area is Nørrebro, to the northwest of the city center. Head to Nørrebrogade and Jaegersbroggade to check out the bars—and restaurants, cafés, and boutiques as well. Ready to take flight? Traveling to Copenhagen has never been more convenient. Fly non-stop to Copenhagen with Scandinavian Airlines from several gateways in the U.S. including San Francisco.
Skål
1 experience, added to 1 List

Rosenborg Castle

København
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Rosenborg Castle, København, Denmark
Slot
First, the Danish word slot has little to do with the English word “slot” except etymologically, sharing a common root word from centuries ago. Instead, the Danish slot is a castle and Copenhagen has several that should be at the top of your must-see list. Rosenborg Castle was built at the beginning of the 17th century as a summer palace outside the city walls, though over the years the city grew up around it. Once you enter its Renaissance gardens or visit the country’s crown jewels, however, contemporary Copenhagen may begin to feel very distant. The buildings that form the Amalienborg Palace were built a century and half later and are still used as the residence of Queen Margrethe II, though portions are open to the public. North of the city, Kronborg is another Northern Renaissance masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is more familiar to most English-speakers as Elsinore Castle, Shakespeare having used the name of the surrounding town for the castle in Hamlet. Every August, an open-air performance of the play takes place at the foot of Kronborg. Don’t be under any misapprehension that Copenhagen’s cultural highlights are all several centuries old. Near Kronborg, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a destination both as an exemplary example of Danish architecture from the late 1950s and because of its impressive collection of post-War art.
Slot
1 experience, added to 1 List

Copenhagen

Frederiksberg
EatDrinkStayDo
Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Hygge
Hygge (pronounced “hooga”) is one of those Danish words that has no exact translation in English, but is used to describe cosy social gatherings, and intimate get-togethers with family and friends. In the winter, hygge could involve that cuddly feeling in front of a fireplace after visiting a Christmas market on a cold snowy day. In the spring or summer—or whenever the sun is out—it includes gathering outside in a park, by the beach, or on the streets, seeking out every warm spot to chat, have a beer, and feel hygge while enjoying the fresh air and sun. Hygge is something Danes strive for in pubs, cafés, or during candlelit dinners with family and friends. Perhaps hygge explains in part how Denmark earned the title of the world’s happiest country, as determined in the United Nations’ World Happiness Report 2013? Whatever its broader implications, for the traveler the legendary happiness of Danes carries over into a warm welcome for visitors. Ready to take flight? Traveling to Copenhagen has never been more convenient. Fly non-stop to Copenhagen with Scandinavian Airlines from several gateways in the U.S. including San Francisco.
Hygge
1 experience, added to 1 List

Flatley Island

Westfjords
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Flatley Island, Westfjords, Iceland
Inside Men
Today, Flatley Island is home to a small village with only five year-round residents. In centuries past, however, this was one of the leading cultural centers of Iceland, focused on a monastery built in the twelfth century that once stood on the island’s highest point. The island’s cultural life will enjoy a brief renaissance when the Iceland Hangout arrives. After exploring Flatley, guests will enjoy the Lindblad Expeditions tradition known as the “recap”—a review of the day’s highlights and a preview of tomorrow’s plans—with Sven Lindblad himself as well as AFAR Cofounder Joe Diaz. You’ll be guaranteed a good time on the Iceland Hangout with Sven as the expedition leader and Joe as his backup. With their collective knowledge from exploring the world and their extensive networks, Iceland Hangout promises to be a travel experience with the ultimate insider access.
Inside Men
1 experience, added to 1 List

Hornstrandir Peninsula

Sveitarfélagið Skagafjörður
StayDo
Hornstrandir Peninsula, Sveitarfélagið Skagafjörður, Iceland
Meet the Locals
The next day, guests will continue to the even more remote Hornstrandir peninsula. As the northernmost point in the country, it’s an ideal place to experience the Arctic summer’s 24 hours of daylight—perfect for viewing the wildlife, from whales to puffins, guillemots, and kittiwakes. While you might have to rely on binoculars to spot some of these residents of Iceland, you’ll meet other locals up close. Joining the Iceland Hangout are leaders in fields as varied as energy, economics, geography, philosophy, and art. You’ll get to explore the Hornstrandir peninsula with them, or simply join them in the ship’s lounge for cocktails and conversation at the end of the day. They will also be presenting informal talks and q & a sessions on everything from the natural wonders you are seeing to the remarkable ability of Iceland to rebound, individually and collectively, from fiscal collapse.
Meet the Locals
1 experience, added to 1 List

Látrabjarg cliffs

Reykjavík
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Látrabjarg cliffs, Reykjavík, Iceland
Go West
Most visitors to Iceland see the sites along the “Golden Circle,” the name for a roughly 200-mile loop from Reykjavik into central Iceland. The Iceland Hangout, however, will venture beyond that familiar circuit to the less-visited wild western coast. This part of the country is largely a spectacular, uninhabited nature reserve accessible only by foot and by sea. Guests will board the 148-passenger National Geographic Explorer and hug the coast for close-up views of the immense Látrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point in Iceland and home to millions of birds—puffins, gannets, and razorbills.
Go West
1 experience, added to 1 List

Newport Beach

Newport Beach
EatDrinkStayDo
Newport Beach, Newport Beach, California
Newport Beach Film Festival 2015
The Newport Beach Film Festival 2015 kicked off last night with authority. Russell Crowe's "The Water Diviner", a film about an Australian farmer that travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to search for his missing sons, premiered last night. On deck are 350 films from over 50 countries ranging from action sports to horror shorts. If you are in the area, stop by. If you have the means and are just hearing about it, fuel up the jet and direct it to John Wayne Airport for our local (now internationally renowned) film fest. Stay: Balboa Bay Club, Doryman's Newport Hotel Eat: Marche Moderne, Bear Flag Fish. Drink: The Beach Ball, Blackies
Newport Beach Film Festival 2015
1 experience

The Whisky Bar KL

Kuala Lumpur
Drink
The Whisky Bar KL, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sample Scotch at Whisky Bar
Whether you're a whisky connoisseur or just enjoy the occasional wee dram, you'll find something to suit your taste from Whisky Bar's collection of 400 labels from around the world: from single malts to Irish whiskey, Japanese Whisky, and American bourbon. Even better, you can settle into one of the curved leather armchairs and explore the range more fully with a selected whisky flight. Photo by Edmund Gall/Flickr.
Sample Scotch at Whisky Bar
1 experience, added to 1 List

Reykjavik

Reykjavík
EatDo
Reykjavik, Reykjavík, Iceland
Island Cuisine
Fridgeir Ingi Eiriksson is perhaps Iceland’s most famous chef, a native of the country who honed his culinary skills during stints in Luxemburg and France. Guests on the Iceland Hangout will take the short ferry ride from Reykjavik to Videy Island—famous both as the home of Yoko Ono’s “Imagine Peace Tower” as well as the Hotel Holt, where Fridgeir presides over the Gallery Restaurant—for a meal that captures the essence of Iceland, served at a house owned by the hotel (seen here). Fridgeir’s menu for this special dinner combines the best of the produce available during Iceland’s glorious if brief summer and the bounty of the sea. Among the many courses will be his signature dish, a lobster soup made with a white chocolate crème.
Island Cuisine
1 experience, added to 1 List

Viðey

Reykjavík
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Viðey, Reykjavík, Iceland
High Notes
Björk may be Iceland’s most famous musical export, but she’s only, if you will, the tip of the iceberg. The country has a remarkably rich and varied musical scene and when you explore it with Jacob Edgar (seen here), you won’t have to sit through hours of coffee shop sitar and bongo sessions waiting for the truly talented performers to take the stage. Jacob, the main researcher at Putumayo World Music, has been retained as the ethnomusicologist for the Iceland Hangout. • He’ll take interested guests to spots like the Café Rosenberg in downtown Reykjavik, one of the island’s most popular music venues. • Jacob has already lined up Sigríður Thorlacius and Guðmundur Óskar Guðmundsson, who will join us for a private dinner in Viðey and then play an hour-long concert or so, with a focus on Icelandic music. • The new band, Ylja will play—their cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” is unexpected and very cool. And Snorri Helgson will join them in playing a concert aboard National Geographic Explorer one evening.
High Notes
1 experience, added to 1 List

No Black Tie

Kuala Lumpur
EatDrinkDo
No Black Tie, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A Jazz Evening at No Black Tie
Founded in 1998 by classical pianist Evelyn Hii, No Black Tie has become a Kuala Lumpur institution, attracting discerning jazz aficionados and curious visitors alike. Many of Malaysia’s top singers and musicians, as well as numerous international acts, have graced the stage at this sophisticated spot, which is also a favored watering hole for fans of spoken word, Brazilian funk and blues, as well as couples on a romantic night out. Photo courtesy of No Black Tie.
A Jazz Evening at No Black Tie
1 experience, added to 1 List

Sarma Restaurant

Somerville
EatDrink
Sarma Restaurant, Somerville, Massachusetts
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Tapas
Sarma is modeled after the meyhanes of Turkey, serving a menu of small plates or mezes that are designed to be shared like the tapas of Spain. The unusual cocktail selections pair perfectly with variety of dishes spiced with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. Grilled octopus, flavored with cilantro and mint melted in my mouth and was cooled with a homemade yogurt. Fried olives have the sent of cumin and seven layer humus is unlike any you have ever tasted. This type of menu encourages drawn out meals with lots of great conversation between family and friends. Each dish leaves you curious about what is coming next. The bite sized food reflects the name Sarma—wrapped or enveloped; an embrace. One of my favorite restaurants, arrive early if you don't have a reservation and enjoy the bar scene at this destination worthy spot.
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Tapas
1 experience, added to 1 List

Row 34

Boston
EatDrink
Row 34, Boston, Massachusetts
A Workingman's Oyster Bar
One of the newest darlings on the seafood front is fashionable Fort Point's Row 34. Billed as a workingman's oyster bar, the sleek, loft like space features a wide selection of oysters, smoked fish and local seafood. Decor is relaxed and casual— industrial chic. The ever-changing menu, bringing in fresh and seasonal, is paired with a multitude of craft beers, ciders and sours. Oysters come from local waters with a few additions from the west coast. Deviled crab toast delivers the perfect bite of an appetizer and the lobster tacos with spicy mango salsa is seasoned with just enough zing. Their Sunday Fried Chicken is popular with the local crowd and my best advice is to save room for the down home butterscotch pudding.
A Workingman's Oyster Bar
1 experience, added to 2 Lists

El Chanchullero

La Habana
EatDrinkDo
El Chanchullero, La Habana, Cuba
El Chanchullero: Havana's Indie Tapas Bar
If someone blindfolded me, secretly took me to El Chanchullero in Cuba, and then asked me to guess where I was... I would say a tapas bar in Brooklyn; hence my fascination with El Chanchullero in Havana. This artistic, retro-vibe the restaurant gives off is truly remarkable, and certainly gives visitors a reason to venture to Plaza del Cristo. Trendy, euro-pop plays from the Bose speakers, and the design aesthetic is symbolic of where today's Hemingway would hang out when vacationing in Havana. Restaurants like these are only possible with Cuba's new government reform, allowing residents to own private business. El Chanchullero's menu options are almost underpriced for the quality, including large portion tapas and cocktails.
El Chanchullero: Havana's Indie Tapas Bar
1 experience

Megano Beach

Santa Cruz del Norte
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Megano Beach, Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba
Where Havana Locals Go For a Beach Day
During a trip to Havana, Cuba, my cousin and I wanted to go to a beach where locals would spend a lazy Saturday. We didn't want to be surrounded by tourists, and have an unauthentic view of a life in the city. Many locals recommended we take a drive to Megano Beach, just outside of Havana, where we would find a restaurant named Tropicoco. When we found that, they said, we would be in the right spot. This was one of the best decisions we made all trip, as it was a perfect Saturday beach day. We played volleyball with locals, ate and drank, and even danced. I highly suggest a visit to this beach, in exchange for a longer drive to the more touristy Varadero.
Where Havana Locals Go For a Beach Day
1 experience, added to 1 List

Malecón

La Habana
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Malecón, La Habana, Cuba
A Walk Along Havana's Malecón
During a recent trip to Cuba, I was fortunate enough to stay a short walk from Havana's Malecón. The iconic esplanade and walkway begins in Old Havana, and runs along the water towards Vedado. While I mingled with locals and learned more and more about Havana and the new government reforms, one fact always remained the same - talks and evening walks are always meant to take place at the Malecón. It's a meeting place for many locals, and serves as an evening date spot for the young and in love. Sunsets are beautiful from the Malecón's viewpoint, serving as a perfect evening send off for an evening in Old Havana.
A Walk Along Havana's Malecón
1 experience, added to 1 List

Plaza Vieja

La Habana
EatDrinkDo
Plaza Vieja, La Habana, Cuba
The Best Plaza in Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba is home to some of the world's most beautiful architecture. Massive buildings are ornately designed, and every few blocks there is a city square where locals join together to chat away the afternoons. I was lucky enough to stay near Plaza Vieja. The square quickly became my favorite during my time in Havana, as it is host to a booming new private dining scene that was recently legalized in Cuba. Cafe Bohemia and Azucar!!! were among my favorites. I also enjoyed chatting with locals, and I even played catch with a neighborhood kid named Yudel. It was great to mingle with Havana's residents, and see the old an new world Cuba unite. Whether eating an entire meal, or just sipping a cafe con leche, Plaza Vieja is the perfect location to enjoy a relaxing Havana afternoon.
The Best Plaza in Havana, Cuba
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