• By: Heather Shoning

    11/26/2015

  • It’s an exciting time to travel, and there are some amazing destinations topping our must-see list for 2016. Here we outline four favorites with destination highlights and travel tips.

    Brazil Travel Tips

    One of our newest destinations is getting a lot of press because of the upcoming Olympics, but there’s so much more to this lush country. Of course, you want to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Rio de Janeiro, but outside the city the countryside is teeming with life, too. From Rio, take a 2.5-hour plane ride to the Mato Grosso state to a 7,000-acre private reserve in the Pantanal, where you’ll see hyacinth macaws and capybara among the 1,000 bird species — not to mention the hundreds of types of mammals and reptiles that call this place home.

    Travel tips: A wonderful way to engage in the culture is by joining a local chef to prepare a traditional meal. And don’t miss the chance to explore Tijuca National Park — a 12-square-mile rainforest within the city of Rio — by zip-line to get up close to Ocelots and howler monkeys!

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    Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast Travel Tips

    The Dalmatian Coast is a favorite for its sweeping vistas, relaxed culture and mellow pace. It’s so easy to engage with the locals here such as the family that invites us into their home to see how they weave local silk into lace. Be sure to visit Koločep, one of 1200 islands off the coast of Dubrovnik. The island is uninhabited, but definitely not boring! There are botanical gardens, peacocks and some of Dalmatia’s best rock beaches. And did we mention the waters are clean and clear up to a depth of 30 feet?

    Travel tips: You’ll want to make this trip before the buzz attracts the crowds. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit a working olive mill and see a demonstration of an ancient pressing technique.

    Croatia
     

    Cuba Travel Tips

    As the climate between the U.S. and Cuba warms, it will become easier to visit the island. However, since we’ve been embarking on this trip for years, we know the best places to visit and the locals who make Havana hum. For instance, Le Patio de Pelegrin, where painter and instructor, Mario Pelegrin Pozo, turned his patio into a gathering place for local artisans and inspiring artists; Callejón de Hamel, a huge community project with shrines and sculptures considered the heart of the Afro-Cuban culture; and Hector Higüera, who will describe the trials and tribulations of running Le Chansonnier, one of the city’s finest privately run restaurants.

    Travel tips: Don’t miss the chance for a walking tour to discover the architecture of the Vedado district with Julio César Pérez, an architect/urban planner and adjunct professor at the School of Architecture in Havana, or the orchid gardens of Soroa, where 700 species of the delicate flowers grow — some from the 19th century.

    Morocco Travel Tips

    From a luxury, contemporary hotel featuring a Givenchy spa to nomadic tents made of hand-woven camel and goat hair, the accommodations in Morocco will not be the only surprises you encounter. You’ll visit a walled city with small workshops where craftsmen create wares from copper and brass and a tannery where leather has been created for centuries. You’ll wander apple orchards and olive groves — a stark contrast to the vast desert oasis and huge dunes you’ll explore on a camel. And no trip to Morocco would be complete without a visit to the Djemaa el-Fna square to see snake charmers, monkey tamers, magicians, acrobats and more.

    Travel tips: Be sure to visit the ceramic district where artisans create exquisite tiles and intricate mosaics. While sleeping in a tent might sound rustic, we assure you you’ve never experienced something like a stay in a Berber encampment complete with colorful fabrics, kilims, carpets from local tribes and lanterns that create a surreal glow in the desert — it’s not to be missed.

    Morocco

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