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AFAR Explorer′s Wishlist
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Carrer de la Marina, 253, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
The art nouveau buildings of Antoni Gaudí, the 19th-century architect whose works are some of Barcelona’s most iconic sights, can be seen throughout Catalonia, but Barcelona has the best examples of his genius at work. Former...
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You'll have never seen a place more green. Hundreds of shades of it, with waterfalls and babbling brooks. Gleninchaquin is something out of a dream—yet it's the beautiful reality in Southwest Ireland. This family-owned park, overseen by Donal and...
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Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand
This huge, single-day hike is in the running for the "Best Day Hike in the World" contest. If you're spending time in Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand and you love a challenging hike with unbelievable topography, be sure to give yourself a...
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Utah, USA
As its biblical name implies, Zion National Park has the appeal of a place out of time. Established on November 19, 1919, the canyon and its surrounding landscape feel like a natural temple, full of arches, hoodoos, and imposing walls, some of...
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Florida, USA
This is your view from the top of the Diamond Lake Hike, which starts about 12 kilometers outside of the town of Wanaka. The views are so beautiful from the summit that it's nearly impossible to ever head back down the mountain. The track starts...
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Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, USA
Golden Gate Park was formed out of an expanse of sand dunes to the west of the city in the nineteenth century—a history that is still discernible in the rolling topography of much of the park’s more than 1,000 acres. Over 13 million...
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Lake Matheson, West Coast 7886, New Zealand
Lake Matheson is a magical little spot near Fox Glacier. It's a great place to take a walk at sunset, before enjoying dinner and some local wine at the Matheson Cafe. On a clear day, the reflection in the lake proudly displays all the reasons to...
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Castle Hill 7580, New Zealand
This 10-day tramping (that's Kiwi for "hiking") trip on the South Island of New Zealand is hard to beat. This will be your first hike of many, all of which connect you to a land so beautiful that it's impossible to ever leave. Kura Tawhiti is a...
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Agert Pakhuis Pass, Clanwilliam, 8135, South Africa
This is the trip of a lifetime—there's no better way to describe it. Beginning in the dynamic and colorful city of Cape Town and finishing at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in Sabi Sand—the very pinnacle of animal-viewing experiences—this trip is...
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California, USA
“We wanted to go to Yosemite, but didn’t have time.” I’ve heard this refrain from several San Francisco visitors and they all have said it with regret. Yes, the reverent national park is outside of a short-drive comfort...
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Terrebonne, OR 97760, USA
Even on a cold, gray day in winter, this state park is something to be celebrated. (The last time I was this impressed with a six-mile hike I was in the diverse and mind-blowing landscape known as the South Island of New Zealand.) Smith Rock State...
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US-101, North Bend, OR 97459, USA
This is a hike that, on a day when the weather is cooperating, is a transformative experience—it's just that beautiful. I lucked out when my arrival to the John Dellenback Dune Trailhead coincided with a break in the rain and clouds I'd seen all...
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Row River Trail, Dorena, OR 97434, USA
On a recent road trip hiking and biking my way through Oregon, I fell hard for the entirely car-free, 17 miles of paved biking/walking trail just outside of Cottage Grove called the River Row Trail. Pine forests, roaring rivers, Dorena Lake—it was...
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Multnomah Falls, Oregon 97014, USA
Even a day spent only hiking through and along waterfalls, can't quite prepare you for the beauty of the 642 foot Multnomah Falls. You can hear it as you approach on foot and the first glimpse leaves you needing to plant your feet firmly in one...
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Jackson, WY, USA
Hop on your bike in downtown Jackson and ride 20 absurdly scenic miles to Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. The mountains watch over you as you pass through the National Elk Refuge. You can also stop off at the National Museum of Wildlife...
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Peru
The easy way to get up to the entrance of the citadel at Machu Picchu is to take a bus. It's can be a pretty scary ride with all the hairpin turns. So instead, hike up There are cut-troughs will help. It won't take more than an hour, and it will...
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Situated not far from Meknes, between Fes and Rabat, the Roman ruins of Volubilis stand as a testament to a culture that changed the world forever. In the fertile area that the ruined city is located, it's difficult to remember you're in Morocco....
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Orkney, UK
The flight into the Orkney Islands was amazing. Many of the neolithic ruins can be seen from the air, dotting the land. I visited several of the sites including Skara Brae, and Maeshowe, but the Ring of Brodgar was the highlight of the sites I...
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Woodstock, NY, USA
About forty minutes after you start Overlook Mountain trail in Woodstock suddenly without any warning the ruins of Overlook Mountain House rise in their most haunted and cryptic look in front of you. Only four outer walls and main staircases of...
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Jendouba, Tunisia
I discovered a couple years ago that if you have a penchant for ancient Roman ruins, it’s far better to go to Tunisia than Italy. The quality of preservation is far superior to many Italian sites and the lack of tourists is more refreshing than...
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Kranggan, Bokoharjo, Prambanan, Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Go back in time with these partially ruined temples from the 9th century. Celebrating the hindu trinity (Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh, Creator- Sustainer-Destroyer), these temples have seen their cycles of creation and destruction more than once.
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Montezuma Castle Rd, Camp Verde, AZ, USA
As Anglo settlers arrived in the 19th century, several sites throughout the Southwest desert were named, erroneously, for the Aztec emperor Montezuma (Moctezuma). The most famous one—and the one to keep this name officially—is Montezuma Castle...
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Mueang Pak, Pak Thong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30150, Thailand
Though it pains me to say this - prior to traveling to Thailand, I had never heard of Ayutthaya. How could such a historically significant and architecturally fascinating place have completely evaded me?!? In case you're in the same boat as me,...
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Ürgüp/Göreme/Nevşehir, Turkey
On any tour of Cappadocia in central Turkey, you'll find ruins of cave homes, churches carved inside the cliffs, and outdoor museums like the famous one near Goreme. However, just a short bus ride away is another open air museum with far fewer...
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Hamzalısüleymaniye Mahallesi, Akropol Cd. No:6, 35700 Bergama/İzmir, Turkey
“The ruins of himself! now worn away, with age, yet still majestic in decay.” —Homer. The best way to see the Acropolis of Pergamon is to take the cable car up (they will try to sell you a return ticket, but insist on one-way) and then walk down...
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Ollantaytambo, Peru
Wandering around the ruins of Ollantaytambo, an ancient Peruvian town about two hours from Machu Picchu, we looked up as dusk settled in to see this ancient Incan granary. It was wedged into the side of an intimidatingly steep mountain to store...
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Viale della Stazione di Ostia Antica, 00119 Roma RM, Italy
Hop on the commuter train at Lido Station (next to the Piramide Metro stop) and make the 25-minute trip to Ostia Antica, Rome's ancient port town and administrative center. The teeming city of up to 100,000 residents is relatively well preserved...
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Crowds may swarm upon it daily from sunrise onwards, but exposure hasn’t dulled the impact of the largest religious monument in the world. Commissioned by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century as the centerpiece of the mighty Khmer empire,...
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Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico
A brilliant work of architecture and astronomy, the Pyramid of Kukulkán at Chichén Itzá is so precisely engineered that on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the sun casts shadows that slither like snakes and seem to descend...
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Delos, Mikonos 846 00, Greece
Delos is an ancient Greek city near Mykonos that holds mythological significance as the sunny birthplace of Appollo and Artemis. A guided tour explains ancient metropolitan life and there is also a museum that displays excavated artifacts found...
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La Goulette Road, 7016, Tunisia
January is a lovely time to visit the Roman ruins at Carthage. Fewer people. Cooler temperatures. And, if you are lucky, beautiful blue skies over the adjacent sea. While the ruins themselves are quite small (especially in comparison to Pompeii or...
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Jaffa Port, Tel Aviv-Yafo
For a nice calm break from the modern pace of Tel Aviv, spend some time in Old Jaffa. You can walk along the Mediterranean beach and get here. Some nice little artisan shops can be found in the nooks and crannies.
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Black Rock City, NV, USA
Burning Man conjures up all kinds of images for those who’ve never been. Naked new agers dancing till dawn. Polyamorous pursuers fueled by ecstasy. Yes, the Playa (the desert stage where the Man, the temple, and much of the art is located) is a...
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Kampung Selayang Permai, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Landing in heat-soaked Kuala Lumpur after being on the road for 24 hours can be disorienting. Incessant chanting (“vei vel shakti vel”), monkeys screeching, wafting incense, a glorious moon, and a million people. Thaipusam falls on a full moon and...
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Nong Han, San Sai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand
One of my favorite festivals in the world is the Loi Krathong / Yi Peng ‘festival of light’ in Thailand. Both occur at the same time and although differing slightly, both represent the cleansing of sins. Yi Peng takes place mainly in Chiang Mai in...
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Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh 471606, India
For such an amazing place, Khajuraho was surprisingly tourist free. We went early to avoid the heat of the day, and found just a handful of devotees walking the temple grounds. Oh, and don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for the kama sutra...
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Subhash Chowk Station road malakhera, Alwar, Rajasthan 301406, India
Neelkanth, meaning the blue-throated reincarnation of Lord Shiva, is located inside Sariska National Park, about 45 mins from Amanbagh (http://www.amanresorts.com/amanbagh/home.aspx). It situated on a plateau high in the hills and the drive up...
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Better known as the Tomb Raider Temple since its starring role in the Hollywood movie of the same name, Ta Prohm has at least as much star quality as Angelina Jolie. Cloaked in dappled shadow and locked in the embrace of the vast root systems that...
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Delphi 330 54, Greece
The belly button of the world lies eighty miles northwest of Athens, where the southern slope of Mount Parnassus, cut deeply by cascades feeding the River Pleistos, drops precipitously into the Gulf of Corinth. High above the ravine in a cleft...
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Lake Chūzenji, Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture 321-1661, Japan
The Chuzenji Temple in Oku-nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, was originally founded in 784 by a Buddhist monk known as Shodo-shonin and is located on the shore of Lake Chuzenji, which is approximately 1,300 meters above sea level. In the middle of the...