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Ashton McClearin′s Wishlist
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Little Cayman, Cayman Islands
by Christopher R. Cox Despite its size (10 square miles) and population (fewer than 170 permanent residents), Little Cayman enjoys a worldwide reputation among serious divers. The island is renowned for its exceptional underwater visibility and...
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Boulevard Kukulcan km 15.3, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Under the waters of Cancun's coast, hundreds of statues are on display. Part unique art display and part artificial reef habitat, it's an environmentally friendly addition to the beach city. The Cancun Underwater Museum is best enjoyed on a...
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Yardie Creek Rd, Cape Range National Park WA 6707, Australia
It doesn't get much better than snorkeling from the gorgeous white-sand beach of Turquoise Bay through crystal-clear waters to Ningaloo Reef, one of the greatest places on Earth for snorkeling! We saw a sea turtle, a shark, rays, eels, and all...
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Maui County, HI, USA
The best snorkeling in Hawaii may be found in the Molokini Crater. Snorkelers and divers find pristine water and great visibility in this small crater off the coast of Maui. Not only is the water amazingly clear, the number and variety of fish in...
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México 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Tulum, Mexico, is a magical place that has never yet seemed to be to crowded or overrun. It is the smaller sister of Playa Del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. The whole area is made of limestone and lowland jungle with amazing, crystal-clear...
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Technically part of Tahaa in French Polynesia, Vahine Private Island Resort is an escape from reality. The hotel features three beach bungalows, three self-contained beach suites and three overwater bungalows, all with beach views and designed...
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George Town, Cayman Islands

As part of a cruise shore excursion I had the opportunity to go snorkeling with the Sting rays in Grand Cayman. I had managed to convince one of my co-travelers to go with me. She had never been snorkeling before and was a little nervous about...

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Curaçao
Bask in the beauty of the brilliant pastels of Curacao while walking across the Queen Emma Bridge. Just be aware-this "Pontoon Bridge" swings open across the water to welcome ships into port.
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Cairns QLD, Australia
The gateway to Queensland’s tropical north, Cairns is a stylish city, which is also renowned for its relaxed, tropical climate and laid-back ambience. With islands, rain forests and, reefs on its doorstep, you can swim, snorkel, dive, and sail the...
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Tuamotus Islands, French Polynesia
Ninamu resort is the newest resort in Tikehau. The resort is the only establishment on the island and consists of just 6 bungalows, a common area, bar, restaurant,kitchen, boutique, and equipment room. Ninamu is the place to go if you really want...
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Cayman Islands
While Grand Cayman’s waters harbor legendary coral reefs, there’s another treasure waiting to be discovered below the surface in a marine park off Seven Mile Beach. About 60 feet down rests the intentionally submerged Kittiwake, a...
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Mabinay, Negros Oriental, Philippines
Sea turtles—one after another—first in the shallows less than 20 meters off the beach; and then a couple more sightings 18 meters underwater, totaling nine in less than two days! It's a heart-stopping experience that this tiny island in the...
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Nibbs St, Road Town, British Virgin Islands
Stars are not only in the heavens - also in the BVI's Janie and I went on a fantastic 7day SwimVacation in the British Virgin Islands last month. We lived/sailed/swam on/off a tri-maran ! We sailed through incredible waters to exciting locations...
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Landhuis Blaauw z/n, Willemstad, Curaçao
My trip to Curaçao was a reprieve from too much overtime and a desire to warm up while checking out the scenery under the water to my heart's content. I arrived at Blue Bay with a group from my hotel for a day of sun soaked snorkeling - and I was...
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Playa Diamante, 33000, Dominican Republic
At Diamond Beach (playa diamante) in Cabrera, Dominican Republic, you can walk out into the water 200ft before it even gets above your knees. A natural hot spring runs beneath the cove and warms the sand under your feet. Pull up a chair underneath...
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Lower Bight Road, Grace Bay, Providenciales TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
With 21 suites, all of them larger than 1,000 square feet, set among grassy dunes on a less-developed swath of Grace Bay, Beach House is both intimate and roomy. Condo-like in their dimensions and layout, every suite has a kitchenette and a large...
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San Pedro, Belize
Belize by far as the most amazingly crystal clear blue water and breathtaking aquatic life in the most swim-able stretch of ocean I have ever encountered. Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, it is no wonder that scuba divers and...
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2520 Peniche, Portugal
Hire a boat out of Peniche, Portugal, when available, and travel six miles offshore to the pristine Berlenga Islands. Then hike, kayak, snorkel, and swim the day away. Pack a picnic lunch and feast on the beach. The perfect day in paradise.
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Ambergris Caye, Belize
Rent a golf cart in San Pedro, grab a towel, and head off on a day of adventure. Locals will likely send you to the island's "Secret Beach" when asked where to head for a quiet day on some pristine sand. Bring a map and $10 Belizean ($5 U.S.) to...
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Santa Cruz, Aruba
Turquoise waters and reclusive snorkeling conditions sound both ideal and cliched, but Mike's Reef in Aruba offers that definitive postcard-worthy aquatic experience. "My father started Tranquilo Aruba in 1977," says the son of founder Captain...
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Carretera Federal Cancún-Tulum, km 1266.8, Puerto Aventuras, 77734 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Swim in a mystical cenote believed to be the gateway to the Underworld by the ancients. These subterranean rivers, formed by the last Ice Age, are said to be sacred and are guarded by aluxes, or elves whose permission is needed to enter their...
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Sandys Parish, Bermuda
Bermuda is located along the northernmost coral reef system in the world and offers a variety of shipwrecks and colorful reefs for aquatic adventurers. PADI-certified diving professionals at Fantasea Diving and Watersports, near the Royal Naval...
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Provincia de Puntarenas, Cantón de Aguirre, Costa Rica
Africa has its "Big 5" but Costa Rica boasts its own cast of critters. I saw dozens of white-faced monkeys and lizards in Manuel Antonio as well as some tropical raccoons scavenging on the beach. The highlight of the day was spotting two sloths...
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Budapest, Hungary
The year 2015 marked the maiden voyage of the Mouse (a.k.a. Disney) into river cruising, and this all-inclusive 8-day, 7-night voyage through Europe is a winner. Sailings are operated by AmaWaterways, and stop in Vilshofen, Germany; Vienna, ...
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This beautiful one-mile stretch was donated to the people of the Virgin Islands by Arthur Fairchild, a benefactor of the islands who'd made his fortune on Wall Street before retiring here. The usually calm waters of the heart-shaped bay make the...
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Quintana Roo, Mexico
If you are staying anywhere near Tulum, Mexico, plan a visit to Sian Ka’an Reserve, a 1.5 million acre protected UNESCO World Heritage site. The company that runs the Reserve offers several different tours. We signed up for the canal tour. After...
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Carretera Federal & Cancún - Chetumal Km 230 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
A visit to old Mayan Ruins is a must when you are vacationing in Tulum. It's a perfect trip to sneak in some history and activity without too much effort and without loosing sight of ocean and the beach. Being built in 13th century Tulum Ruins...
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If you are in search of flawless Mexican cuisine prepared with perfectly fresh ingredients, there’s no need to venture outside Rosewood Mayakoba. If you are, however, on your way to or from the Sian Ka’an biosphere or visiting Tulum for a morning,...
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Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
What combats humidity and sweltering air that feels like it's being expelled from a jet engine? Paletas! At less than a dollar and in a range of bright juicy flavors, these little Mexican popsicles offer a melty respite from the summer heat. Try...
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Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Just about a 5 minute walk from the Amansala resort in Tulum, Mexico there is a great restaurant/coffeeshop/juice bar that overlooks the beach. They have great coffee but my favorite treat was the Pink Flamingo which was watermelon juice, basil...
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Av. Tulum 879, Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Eating in Tulum's Pueblo is a more inexpensive way to load up on calories and enjoy some authentic Mexican cuisine. El Camello Jr, is a seafood restaurant located at the far south end of the main highway that runs through Tulum. It is a decent...
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Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
As is the case with many hotels in the Tulum section of Riviera Maya, Casa de las Olas shies away from the “luxe” label, preferring to promote itself as a simple, eco-friendly retreat where intimate spaces and five-star service are...
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Edgartown, MA, USA
Martha's Vineyard is an Island of the Coast of Cape Cod. You can get there by boat within an hour. There are several lighthouses to see on the Island and some offer tours during the Summer. This one is in a town called Edgartown. You take a short...
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120 Meshacket Road, GPS: 290 West Tisbury Rd, Edgartown, MA 02539, USA
If you're in a rental house in Martha's Vineyard and want to cook a feast, head to Morning Glory Farm to find locally grown produce, organic meats, global cheeses, and expertly baked pies. After a day of lounging in the sun—and before a night of...
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5932, 270 Upper Main St, Edgartown, MA 02539, USA
While it's not in Edgartown's bustling center, Bad Martha is one of the best places to hang out post-beach or pre-dinner in Martha's Vineyard. It's a fully functional brewery and tasting room, offering about a dozen beers made on-site and...
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2181 N 3rd Ave, Napa, CA 94558, USA
Although only about 15 minutes from downtown Napa, by the time you get to the gates of Meteor Vineyard, you may wonder if you are still in Napa Valley. Where are the balloons and crowded tasting rooms and stretch limos? Not in Coombsville. One of...
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7856 St Helena Hwy, Oakville, CA 94562, USA
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Take advantage of the Mediterranean-like climate in Napa Valley (it rarely rains between May and October) and pack a picnic — without compromising on the quality of your cuisine, of course. The Oakville Grocery on Highway 29 has been supplying...
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755 Silverado Trail N, Calistoga, CA 94515, USA
Swimming pools should be mandatory in a place with as many sunny days and awesome views as Napa Valley. Solage resort in Calistoga, on a vast swath of valley floor, has one of the very best. From the expansive pool deck and lounge area—where you...
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4411 Redwood Rd, Napa, CA 94558, USA
Wealthy vintners in Napa Valley love to wax on about their love of and appreciation for wine and art: as if one serves as a vessel for the other. While it often feels that the connection is fabricated — its main intention to sell either the former...
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875 Rutherford Rd, Napa, CA 94558, USA
Located in the heart of Napa Valley, Round Pond isn’t your average winery. Their philosophy is the creation of fresh and expressive wines and foods that delight the senses. They are also expert producers of olive oils and vinegars. Instead of a...
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1275 McKinstry St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
If you guess this to be an explosion of delicious sweetness in the form of tiramisu cloaked in milk chocolate, then you're right. No, it didn't come from a countryside baker in Italy, but rather aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. Touristy as it...
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201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA
FREE
Every June hundreds of internationally renowned blues musicians rock Chicago for 3 days and 4 nights in the world's largest free blues festival. Did I mention it’s free? 3 solid days of music for free! Food vendors flock to Millennium Park for...
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401 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
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I have two pieces of advice for you regarding the Doughnut Vault: 1. Go early. They open at 8am Tuesday-Friday and 9:30am on Saturdays and if you want a breath of a hope of a chance of getting a doughnut before they sell out, you want to be there...
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1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
Steeped in history, loved my many, loathed by some, and sorely in need of a championship, Wrigley Field is a true cornerstone of the always controversial sporting world. No trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to this monument to to...
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1520 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
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The first rule of the speakeasy is that it can’t be easy to find. The Violet Hour’s door is directly across the street from Big Star. Look for the handle on the wall and the light above it, because the door mural changes frequently and...
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449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
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Rick Bayless opened his upscale Mexican restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in the late 1980s and then won a litany of James Beard Awards, including Outstanding Restaurant (in 2007 and 2017). He took the top spot in the first season of Top...
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1850 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
The sign says “New Antique Store,” which might seem like a misnomer but is in fact a very accurate description of what Urban Remains offers. They sell reclaimed architectural artifacts from old buildings, mostly in the Chicago area and mostly from...
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1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
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The Chicago History Museum examines Chicago’s local history as well as its position in the larger scope of American history. The engaging exhibits cover a wide range of subjects such as Abraham Lincoln’s life and presidency, the first locomotive...
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1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
It’s difficult to design a museum suitable for both kids and adults, but Adler makes it look easy. Children will love the area known as Planet Explorers, where they can play astronaut with space rovers and rocket-launch simulators, peer...
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1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
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My three year old was fascinated by the Jellies Exhibit—one of many engaging displays—at the Shedd in Chicago. What a joyful moment, capturing the wonder of a young mind.
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113 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
The skeleton of the new Chicago Soho House once belonged to a belt factory—and though the space has been luxuriously renovated and fit with plush leather chairs, over 250 pieces of art, chandeliers, and beds with Egyptian cotton sheets, the...
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Old Dock St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
You know a carousel must be quite special if it is the first to make the National Register of Historic Places. Jane's Carousel, located in Brooklyn Bridge Park in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, is truly unique. The fully-restored antique carousel...
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Franceville, Gabon
During a trip to West Africa, my wife, daughter, and I arranged to visit to a rather unknown gem in Gabon called Lekedi Park. Lekedi Park is a relatively new animal reserve on the eastern side of the country near the Republic of Congo. The park...
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South Africa
Changing location every evening means waking up to a different but equally spectacular view. The ‘eco-loos’ are a bit questionable and the hot bucket showers take some getting used to, but you can sleep happy knowing your presence will go...
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NE Entrance Rd, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190, USA
When snow blankets the meadows and outlines the spewing hot pots of Yellowstone National Park in winter, bison and elk head to lower ground where grasses can still be reached beneath the powdery forest floor. Wolves follow, primarily to the Lamar...
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Megalochori 847 00, Greece
If you want to get away from the crowds in Santorini, try Megalochori - one of the prettiest, quietest little villages on the island. The town's location further inland, away from the caldera cliffs, removes it from the typical tourist itinerary....
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Derrybawn, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Glendalough, or Gleann Dá Loch in Irish (which means “valley of two lakes”), is a quiet, picturesque valley near the Wicklow Mountains. Its 6th-century monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin is one of the most...
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307 Commercial St #1, Provincetown, MA 02657, USA
Ever since our boys were old enough to look through a pair of binoculars, we’ve been going on whale watching excursions every chance we get. Our fascination with whale’s tails started in the summer of 2001 when we took our first outing off the...
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Orcas Island, Washington, USA
At the strong recommendation of people familiar with the region, we were told the San Juan Islands are a "must." It didn’t take long to see why. Just the 75-minute ferry ride from Anacortes (90 minutes north of Seattle) to Orcas Island was one of...
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RT 8, Morondava 619, Madagascar
Having driven from Morondava to this remote row of Baobabs 45 min out of town, I took this picture at sunset as the day came to an end. I thought why not come back tomorrow for sunrise so at 4 in the morning we arranged a driver to take us in the...
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Southern Asia
The Veerabhadra temple in Lepakshi, India (also simply known as the Lepakshi Temple), isn't the easiest place to get to. It's a 120 km journey north of Bangalore through rural villages. Your best bet for getting there is to hire a driver for the...
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Turistično društvo Gorje, Podhom 80, 4247 Zgornje Gorje, Slovenia
There is nothing like the power of water. What it's done along the one mile trail through the Radovna River gorge is an engineering masterpiece. Built on wood scaffolding, the trail winds its way down river, crisscrossing the current in the...
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Tuamotus Islands, French Polynesia
The Tuamotu archipelago – 78 coral reef atolls spread north and east of Tahiti – are just remote enough they’ve not been spoiled by excessive tourism. There are a few high-end hotels, but just a few. Instead of tourism, the local economy is still...
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Dynjandi, Iceland
Twenty kilometers east of Hrafnseyri, at the point where Route 60 weaves around the northeastern corner of Arnarfjörður, the impressive Dynjandi waterfall plunges over a 100m-high clifftop into the fjord at Dynjandisvogur inlet, forming a...