Quehueche Rio and Livingston, Guatemala (October, 2004)

While You Are There: The one must-do is to learn about Garifuna culture. Beyond that, there’s not much to do and that’s the point. Guatemala is often about the bustle of Antigua and viewing Mayan ruins, but when you need to stop, sit in a cafe, and look out at the ocean for awhile, this is your place. Here are some good links to find out more.

http://overyonderlust.com/livingston-guatemala/

http://uncorneredmarket.com/livingston-other-side-of-guatemala/

Why It’s On My List: This is not your mother’s Guatemala, and possibly it’s not worth a special trip. But I was living on the Caribbean coast of Honduras at the time and this was the perfect place to disappear from life for a few days. I ended up going here three times. It was also a good jumping off point for more touristy activities on the Rio Dulce.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Pools of Mud in San Jacinto, Nicaragua (May, 2008)

San Jacinto 1San Jacinto 2

While You Are There: Hang out in León for a few days, see the ruins, go to the beach, go sandboarding, and drink some rum. There’s no shortage of activities in this part of the country. León is easily my favorite place in Nicaragua (although Ometepe is pretty great too!) and this quote from Lonely Planet captures my feelings well:

Intensely political, buzzing with energy and, at times, drop-dead gorgeous (in a crumbling, colonial kind of way), León is what Managua should be – a city of awe-inspiring churches, fabulous art collections, stunning streetscapes, cosmopolitan eateries, fiery intellectualism, and all-week, walk-everywhere, happening nightlife. Many people fall in love with Granada, but most of them leave their heart in León.

Why It’s On My List: Because you feel like you are defying death when you go. You don’t know if the ground beneath your feet is suddenly going to collapse and send you plummeting into a scalding, muddy death. There aren’t exactly closed off, safe walkways like you find in such a place in the States. It’s also on my list simply because I had a great experience staying in León. I made some wonderful friends and the San Jacinto mud pools was one small day trip we took together in the car I had rented. Then we went to a little restaurant nearby and sipped cervezas in the Nicaragua heat. It was a good day.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

(Isla de) Ometepe, Nicaragua (July, 2008)

While You Are There: If you can arrange your trip while there is a festival going on in Altagracia, which we did unintentionally, stay there a night and enjoy it. Otherwise, hop on a long, slow bus ride to Merida and stay at the Hacienda Merida. They can arrange a bunch of activities for you or you can use the bicycles and explore on your own. The dinner buffet is tasty and provides an opportunity to swap stories with fellow travelers; however, food poisoning is possible. And because the rooms, including bathrooms, are open air, when a lot of people get food poisoning, the night air is filled with all sorts of special sounds that aren’t coming from wildlife or the ocean waves.

Why It’s On My List: It’s a “something for everyone” kind of place. If you are going to Nicaragua but don’t have much time to spend, you can go here to enjoy beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes, petroglyphs, and wildlife. Plus, you can take a ferry to get there.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Nenagh, Ireland and the Ashley Park House (September, 2014)

While You Are There: Be romantic. Roam the grounds and imagine you are in a Bronte novel. Or maybe you should pick an Irish writer. Either way, you get the image. Enjoy the lavish breakfast spread and find out what travels your fellow sojourners are on. Take the rowboat onto the lake and pretend you are the Lady of Shalott. The only activity I wouldn’t recommend is jogging on the narrow lane. There is no shoulder and cars come whipping around those turns are rapid rates of speed that will send you diving into hedges.

Why It’s On My List: It’s another lodging post of a place I didn’t take pictures of. But do check it out here and spend a night or two if you can.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Mt. Everest, seen from Nagarkot, Nepal (November, 2000)

Mt EverestNawakot Park (2)

While You Are There: Chances are slim to none that you’ll only be going to Nagarkot. You’ll probably be in Kathmandu and there is plenty to do there. But if you’ve been living in India for the past four months on a vegetarian diet, I strongly recommend against gorging yourself on a steak at one of the delicious steakhouses. Your digestive system will not be happy. You’ve got to ease yourself back into it. But the German bakeries – go for it!

Why It’s On My List: I didn’t have much time to spend in Nepal and have no plans of ever conquering Sagarmatha, so I stopped here. And I saw the mountain, the highest point in the world, with its majestic and mythical peak floating in the sky. And checked out the terraced farming. I had never seen anything like before going to Nepal.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Las Pozas, Xilitla, Mexico (April, 2002)

Las PozasLas Pozas Xilitla - CopyLas Pozas Xilitla

While You Are There: Bring a sketchbook or a notebook and spend the day being inspired.

Why It’s On My List: The artist describes it as a Garden of Eden and I agree. It’s a surreal, magical, and romantic place that I stumbled across in a guidebook when I lived in Mexico and decided I had to see. Also, I had quite the adventure getting there. My friend and I got on a bus in San Luis Potosi in the early dark morning and then the driver told us to get out deep into a jungle road with no buildings or people in sight. I spoke Spanish well at the time but was certain I hadn’t heard him correctly. I asked again and he insisted, so we hopped off and stood there by the side of the road, in the dark, all alone waiting for guerrillas to kidnap us. Didn’t happen, but the connecting bus did come along after half an hour, true to the first driver’s word. Maybe it’s easier to get to now, but I hope not.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Kachemak Bay State Park, Alaska (July, 2015)

While You Are There: Hike. And try not to get eaten by a bear. And if you make it back to Homer, enjoy the restaurants on the spit.

Why It’s On My List: Everything I saw in Alaska was stunning, but this park has the added bonuses of having to take a water taxi (or plane) to get there and having to a use a hand tram, which is really heavy and difficult to pull, to get across parts of trails. The water taxi driver dumped me off at the trail head and basically said “Good luck, I’ll meet you at the pickup point at 5pm.” And then I was off into the wilderness. You have to figure out where the pickup point is and how much time you are going to need to get there. And, of course, the glacier views were magnificent.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Jeju and Seongsan Ilchulbong Crater, South Korea (August, 2002)

While You Are There: Hike in the crater and get drenched in sweat. That’s what I remember about it – the humidity inside. It’s its own microclimate. It’s a steamy tropical jungle. Clearly the volcano inside is not active, but it’s so hot that you get the sensation it might erupt at any moment. Or maybe I was just there on a really hot day. So, hike in the crater and then explore the rest of Jeju Island. Check out the bonsai and drive on Mysterious Road. See airplane hangers from World War II in the middle of the countryside. Walk around beautiful Jeju City and then head south to the beaches. But be forewarned, if you sleep on the beach you might get an early morning visit from the police (see picture above).

Why It’s On My List: Where else do you get to walk inside a volcano?

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Indian Step Wells (August, 2000)

While You Are There: Bring a book and hang out for a few hours in the cool escape from a hot day. Play with the local children. Imagine the women in their brightly colored saris lounging and chatting. Soak up the history.

Why It’s On My List: I had never read about or heard of such a thing until I saw my first step well in Ahmedabad. The university I attended was in Gujarat, where there is a large concentration of these wells, or vav as they are know. Some of them are fantastically intricate and beautiful. They are all mysterious to me.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.

Hurricane Turn Train, Talkeetna, Alaska (July, 2015)

While You Are There: (Caveat: Warren Redfearn is no longer the Hurricane Turn conductor, so I’m not sure how many of these activities are still an option because many of them seemed to be based on his connections with the people who live along the line. Also, the train was only about 20% full the day I went, which allowed a lot of time to stop and chat with people.) Take in the views of Denali, stop and chat with the fisherman catching salmon, take a tour of the property (including vast greenhouses and woodsheds) of a woman who lives on the route completely off the grid, meet an author who lives on the route, check out Conductor Warren’s excellent photography, hear the tale of the abandoned Curry Hotel, sit in the viewing car for a bit, and just about lose your lunch when you reach Hurricane Gulch and realize how very little there is preventing the train from plummeting straight down 296 feet.

Why It’s On My List: Everyone says to take a train ride while you are in Alaska, but this one isn’t like the rest. I’m sure the others are beautiful, but how often do you get to ride on a flag stop railroad? This train offers all the best views of Alaska and so much more!

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.