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AFAR Explorer’s Beautiful places

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Strada comunale Serra, 1, 14055 Annunziata, Costigliole d'Asti AT, Italy
Winemaker Renato Ratti recently opened to the public his family’s 18th-century, 13-room villa in the Piedmont countryside. An old cellar stores decades’ worth of Ratti wines. Guided tastings can be arranged upon request, and bottles can be shipped...
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47900 California 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
$$$$
Described by devotees as the most luxurious, one-of-a-kind lodging experience in all of California, the Post Ranch Inn was purpose-built to blend in with the Santa Lucia Mountains. Opened in 1992, and designed by famed Big Sur architect Mickey...
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Carretera Federal 307, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Secluded and service-oriented are the adjectives that best describe Rosewood Mayakoba, a resort in Playa del Carmen that opened in 2008. At 1,600 acres, the resort is expansive, offering plenty of room for guests to feel that they have their own...
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Mambal, Abiansemal, Mambal, Abiansemal, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80352, Indonesia
It took three years to realize this passion project: a spa retreat built mainly of bamboo. Book a riverfront suite, or the hotel can arrange a stay in a rural family’s home. This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue.
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Osa Peninsula, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
Off the coast of Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula, spend your days at sea counting humpback whales, identifying them by their markings, plotting their movements, and recording their sounds. Your work will help to determine if the same whales...
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Barra - State of Bahia, Brazil
A few years ago I stayed in this off the beaten path beach in Brazil called Taipu de Fora. From Bahia (Salvador), you have to take a local ferry, a local bus, and then a speedboat to get to the village of Barra Grande. Allow 1 day for travel....
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Banjar Dukuh, Desa Kelating, Kerambitan, Kelating, Kec. Tabanan, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali 82161, Indonesia
Terraced like the surrounding rice paddies, Soori Bali occupies an undeveloped stretch of fertile coastline roughly 25 minutes from Tabanan, a town northwest of Denpasar known for traditional farming and artisan crafts. The resort’s modern...
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39171 Tassajara Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA
In 1967, Tassajara (already a storied hot springs resort) became the first Zen monastery outside Japan. Run by the San Francisco Zen Center, the monastery is open to the public from May through September and closed the rest of the year for...
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Lighthouse Road, West End, Negril ., Jamaica
Built on the edge of limestone cliffs, this secluded resort features 12 charming rooms, all of which have ocean views. Guests can dine on authentic Jamaican cuisine in a private grotto, or take in the scene at the candlelit Cave Rum and...
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100 Dorado Beach Drive, Dorado, 00646, Puerto Rico
The Ritz-Carlton does an excellent job of providing their guests a secluded, intimate experience with the tropical beauty of Puerto Rico—and that certainly extends to the spa. When I arrived, I was one of 4 other women and once my treatment was...
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3/2 Khao Rd, Khwaeng Wachira Phayaban, Khet Dusit, กรุงเทพมหานคร 10300, Thailand
Each of the 39 art deco rooms at the Siam hotel tells a story about Thai history. The Military Room displays 1940s cigarette cards and machetes; Connie’s Cottage is the teak house where socialite Connie Mangskau hosted such icons as Jackie...
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Tuscany, Italy
From working farms to wineries to converted B&Bs, farm stays encourage taking it slow—all the better to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings and the bounty of locavore products. They promise romance with a rustic touch, though rustic doesn’t...
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Erg Chebbi, Morocco
Going off the grid still promises breathtaking adventures, but no longer means needing to rough it with accommodations of the pitch-your-own-tent variety. Adventure outfitters continue to up the ante with facilities and tour offerings that deliver...
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Miami Beach, FL, USA
Each February the South Beach Wine and Food Festival takes over the white-sand shores of Miami Beach. Presented by the Food Network, celebrity chefs whip up delicious dishes for a star-studded audience. The next festival is scheduled for Feb....
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London, UK
Opting for an apartment stay over a traditional hotel gives couples space to truly make themselves at home, whether that means cuddling on the couch after a long day of sightseeing or whipping up a meal with ingredients fresh from the farmer’s...
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2801-N2 Lā-'ī Rd, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
Waikiki and the North Shore get most of the attention on the island of Oahu, and for good reason. Oahu is the surfing capital of the world and has something to offer every skill level, but hiking on the island of Oahu is one of its best-kept...
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São Miguel Island, Portugal
Santa Bárbara beach, on the north coast of São Miguel Island, is known by the local surfers as one of the best spots to surf – mainly because of the waves and perfect surfing conditions. Also known as Areais, it is an excellent beach break with...
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Rua Padre José Jacinto Botelho, 5, 9675-061 Furnas, S. Miguel - Açores, Portugal
The Thermal Water Pool of Terra Nostra Park is without doubt a highlight of the Azores. Built in 1780, by Thomas Hickling, the American consul who had the original idea for Terra Nostra Park, the Thermal Water Pool began to form part of the...
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Corvo Island, 9980, Portugal
Small and remote, Corvo Island is the tip of an enormous marine volcano known as Monte Gordo. Its main attraction is Lagoa do Caldeirão, on the bottom of the crater where you can observe nine islets, one for each of the Azores Islands. It was here...
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9880 Almas, Portugal
Stay in one of the historic properties that have been converted into bed-and-breakfasts on the islands. Options include Moinho de Pedra (shown), a stone windmill on Graciosa Island, and Pico do Refúgio, a 400-year-old mansion in the shadow of...
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S.Roque do Pico, Portugal
White verdelho grapes thrive in the rich soil and hot, dry microclimate beneath Mount Pico, Portugal’s highest peak. Until the mid-19th century, Pico wine was beloved by the English royal family and Russian czars, but today you’ll rarely find it...
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9680 Vila Franca do Campo, Portugal
Snorkeling at Ilhéu de Vila Franca is a unique experience: you are diving on your own private island. The water is quite warm for snorkeling, with variety of fish to see such as jelly fish, sea cucumber, etc. A crater that is just off the coast of...
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Cais da Madalena, 9950-305 Madalena, Portugal
The adrenaline sure beats the fear and makes this experience unforgettable! The experts agree that the Azores is the best place in the world to dive with sharks, which supports its’ label of “adventure destination” and they don’t lie. If you’re...
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Surprisingly, this is the literal translation for the name of one of the newest restaurants in Ponta Delgada. It opened in the summer of 2012, and the recipe for its success is quite simple: mix São Miguel and Terceira cuisine and season it with a...
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9680 Vila Franca do Campo, Portugal
Nuns of the old Convent of Santo André, in São Miguel Island, created a recipe that became one of the most wanted typical sweets from the Azores. Since the 16th century, when the Convent was built, this recipe has been enjoyed by many generations...
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Azores, Portugal
The islands of Faial and Pico are great for hiking. In Faial, the area is a natural park, and there is a hiking trail to the rim of the dormant volcano. Meanwhile, Pico (“Peak”) is the highest point in all of Portugal, built on volcanic explosions...
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R. José Azevedo 9, 9900-027 Horta, Portugal
“If you sail to Horta and you don't visit Peter, you have not actually been to Horta” Entering Peter Café Sport is like traveling without leave the same place: the walls are full of yacht flags and ensigns that make you want to depart on the next...
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9600 Ribeira Grande, Portugal
One of our guests was kind enough to share this picture with us. He stayed at our Terra Nostra Garden Hotel, and was intrigued about this beach he found during one of his wanderings across the Island.
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When Paulo Vale looked at the ground, he didn’t see just a path as others might. He saw what today is known as “Azorean Gold” – that, unlike conventional gold, is black, stony and sometimes porous, but also valuable. Inspired by the rocks on the...
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Ponta Delgada, Portugal
In the Azores, the weather and the esplanades with amazing sights to the volcanic islands ask for a cold beer. And like the saying: ‘in the Azores, be Azoren’ and ask for an Especial – the traditional beer from the islands. Especial, a Pilsener...
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Rua dos Inocentes n1, C.Branco, Horta, Faial, Azores, 9900-323 Horta, Portugal
The Azores is one of the most popular points of ocean navigation. The harbor of Horta is a mythical stop for those who cross the Atlantic from west to east. It is here that thousands of sailors are between April and September. The life and the...
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Algar do Carvão, 9700, Portugal
The Algar do Carvão is an ancient lava vent, or tube, in the centre of Terceira Island in the Azores. Reputed to be the only place in the world where you can enter the cone of an extinct volcano, the lava tube descends about 100m into the volcano...
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Sete Cidades, 9555 Ginetes, Portugal
"They say" that the 2 lagoons that make up the Lagoa das Sete Cidades used to be different colours... one blue and one green, but in recent times they have blended together and you can not longer see a colour difference. Regardless, these lagoons...
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08569 Rupit, Barcelona, Spain
In Rupit, Stone cottages with orangey-red terracotta roofs perch around a stream, half-hidden by the mountainous green hills. An hour and a half drive from Barcelona, walk around this beautiful, if tiny village (approximately 340 residents). Pose...