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DREAMWORTHY DESTINATIONS

 
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Brazil

From its verdant mountainscapes, tumbling waterfalls, lush rainforests, and crystalline beaches to its rhythmic mega-cities, charming cobblestoned coastal towns, and a kaleidoscope of culture, Brazil is one of those destinations that stays with you, long after you’ve returned home. A nation that comprises half of continental South America and is often hailed as the ‘lungs of the planet’ for its exquisite biodiversity, you’ll want to bring your sense of adventure, wide-eyed wonder, and curiosity.

 

The juxtaposition of the glitz and glamor of Rio de Janeiro and grittiness and modernity of Sao Paulo with the wildness of the Pantanal, or the alluring isolation of Fernando de Noronha is what makes Brazil a place that will leave you wondering why you waited to so long to get here. Whether you’re a thrill-seeking nature warrior, a pair of star-crossed lovers, or a beach-worshiping socialite, Brazil is waiting with open arms to welcome you to your next adventure.

Highly Recommended Experiences:

  • Go beach hopping on Ilha Grande, a car-free island that is home to some of Brazil’s most spectacular beaches and beloved by locals 

  • Explore and immerse yourself within the heartbeat of Afro-Brazilian culture, Salvador

  • Stroll the cobblestone streets amidst the baroque architecture of Ouro Preto or Paraty. 

  • Use Manaus as a jumping-off point for your adventures into the Amazon

  • Take a walking tour of Sao Paulo’s iconic Vila Madalena 

  • Sip a caipirinha, listen to live music, and experience sunset as a formal affair in Rio de Janeiro 

  • Visit Chapada Diamantina National Park, a national reserve teeming with natural swimming pools, caves, epic hikes, and staggering views

Best Time To Visit

While some locations in Brazil can easily be enjoyed all year round, others are practically inaccessible so it depends on what you want to experience. Brazil’s summer months fall between December and March, and winter is between June and September. A key thing to remember is that the more north you travel, the hotter and more humid it gets. The gateway to the Amazon is hot year-round, but from January to May makes it considerably more difficult to access on foot because of floods. September and October have no major holidays so factor that in when you’re planning a trip.

 
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Colombia

Take everything you know about Colombia and spin it on its head. Ancient lost cities, taken back by the jungle; underwater playgrounds for the world’s most accomplished divers; sky-high capital cities, and snow-capped mountains; Colombia is a feast for the eyes, medicinal for the soul, and unexpectedly nurturing for the mind. Colombian cultural epicenters like Bogotá, Cartagena, and Medellín each provide a piece of the country’s national identity and furnish an abundance of museums, colonial architecture, churches, and cobble-stoned city squares. For those who want to leave the hustle and bustle of big towns behind, consider a visit into the Amazon to search for the elusive and endangered Pink Dolphins. And for beach lovers, Colombia is world-renowned for surfing, sailing, and diving. 

Highly Recommended Experiences:

  • Head to Salento, take a plantation tour, and learn about why Colombia is home to some of the world’s best coffee

  • Soak up the local culture, explore museums and admire street art in what was once the most controversial city in South America - Medellín 

  • Explore incredible sunken wrecks in Tayrona National Park, and enjoy an abundance of sea life in the warm Caribbean waters 

  • Take a boat up the Amazon river, visit with local indigenous communities, and trek in Amacayacu National Park 

  • Get your heart racing in San Gil, the outdoors capital of Colombia with activities including paragliding, caving, rafting, rappelling, and more

  • Take a self-directed photography tour of Cartagena’s picturesque flowered balconies, historic plazas, and colorful homes

Best Time To Visit

Like most South American countries, the time you travel there will depend on what you want to do. The best window is between December and March when the Andes are the driest. But it’s important to keep in mind that December, January, and Easter are peak travel times for Colombians and international travelers. Another option is July through to September when Colombia gets a bit of a dry window. If you want to include a foray into the Amazon on your itinerary, aim for a visit between November and February.

 
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Turkey

Otherworldly landscapes, white sandy beaches, jaw-dropping archeological ruins, ancient bazaars, and cuisines at the confluence of Europe and the Middle East, Turkey is perhaps one of the most underrated melting pots in the world. The remnants of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empire touch all corners of this fascinating landscape. And while Turkish is the predominant language here, you also might hear Arabic, Kurdish, Greek, and Caucasian dialects, along with 90 other languages and dialects. Cozy up in charming cafes, venture into traditional bathhouses, and wander stone streets dated well before Biblical times - Turkey’s cities are a wonder. And when you want to escape the bustle of city life, escape to the coast where crystalline waters await, or into the mountains where village life is charming, vibrant, and welcome.

Highly Recommended Experiences:

  • Visit the Grand Bazaar, the oldest covered market in the world, and the best place to peruse traditional handwoven rugs, stained glass artwork, and Turkish delicacies

  • Head to the beautiful port city of Bodrum and take a sailing tour around the turquoise waters of the Aegean

  • Get out your camera and take a bucket list balloon ride over Cappadocia

  • Explore the Lycian Rock Tombs, an incredible archeological site where Persian, Greek, and Lycian architecture collide and you’ll feel like you’re on the set of Indiana Jones

  • Take a warm bath in the stunning Pamukkale Thermal Pools

  • Admire the Historic Churches, Mosques, and Museums

Best Time To Visit

For the intrepid traveler, Turkey is a destination that can be enjoyed all year round, depending on what you want to do and see. For the most pleasant weather, September and October, and April through the end of May are perfect. These are also times when the nation’s archeological sites are open to the public. If you’re looking for a low-key beach or pool-bound type vacation, the temperatures sizzle from June to September on the southern coast. November through to March sees frigid temperatures and many shuttered hotels, but this can be a great time to explore sites that are usually overcrowded.

 
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Spain

The Spanish are wildly romantic, expressive, and passionate about their culture. The language is full of wisdom, proverbs, and catchy sayings. Spend enough time there, and you may find yourself saying, “De músico, poeta y loco, todos tenemos un poco,” meaning, “we all have a bit of musician, poet, and craziness in us.” To enjoy the full Spanish experience is to take a swan dive into a world of soul-stirring landscapes, and architecture, music, and art that stretches the imagination far more than you thought possible. Food becomes a full-sensory sojourn that will quite possibly ruin your palate for the better for the rest of your days. Madrid’s sultry nightlife will have you dancing and celebrating until dawn; Seville’s gothic resplendence will take you on a medieval journey through time; And Gaudi’s Barcelona is chic, artsy, and edgy. From Basque Country to the Costa Del Sol, Spain is a destination of contrasts, boldness, and unspeakable beauty.

Highly Recommended Experiences:

  • Take yourself and your travel companion on a rooftop crawl in Madrid 

  • Go on a bus or road trip through the Bardenas Reales, a moon-like landscape nicknamed Spain’s ‘Grand Canyon’ 

  • Trek the most traveled pilgrimage route in Europe, the Camino de Santiago 

  • Learn more about the ‘King of Catalan’, Antoni Gaudi, while viewing his masterpieces around Barcelona (Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, and Parc Guell)

  • Wander the palace walls of the Alhambra castle complex in Andalusia

  • Catch a live Flamenco performance in the Gothic city of Seville - Flamenco was added to the world UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010

Best Time To Visit

Spain can be a destination enjoyed all year round, depending on what you’re looking to experience. If you want to avoid heavy crowds, the best months to visit are April to May and September to October. If it’s hot weather, festivals, and a more lively environment, June to August attracts travelers from across Europe and around the world, flocking to Spain’s beautiful beaches. The winters can be wet and cold in the north, but warm and pleasant in the south.

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