You never know what wonders await you on an afternoon walk through New Delhi. Visit temples, snap photos of ancient mansions, or haggle with street vendors. Plan your experience for March if you want to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, but be sure to bring old clothes; you'll see what we mean when everyone starts throwing handfuls of colored powder!
EXPLORE MACHU PICCHU
Lace up your hiking boots and hike the four-day Inca Trail from Cusco to reach Machu Picchu’s sun gate just in time for a once-in-a-lifetime sunrise over the nearly 600 year-old Incan ruins. You can also choose the one-day hike or take the train, but be sure to allow yourself a couple of days to explore the entire complex. Wander through the ruins of the temples and see for yourself why Machu Picchu is one of the new wonders of the world.
VISIT A VOLCANO
Journey just outside of Guatemala City to experience some of the most impressive of Guatemala's 37 volcanoes, including Pacaya and Volcán de Fuego. These are also two of Central America's most active volcanoes, so trade in your flip flops for a pair of sturdy shoes and climb each volcano to snap some photos in front of the slow-flowing lava. You'll want to remember to pack a stick or two, because where's the fun in an active volcano if you haven't got marshmallows to roast?!
SEE THE CHEFCHAOUEN FALLS
Hike the waterfalls and enjoy the beautiful blue-washed walls of Chefchaouen. This small city winds its way up the mountains of the Rif range and is rich with Berber culture and famous for its stunning blue-washed architecture; a definite must-see. Snap some photos as you weave your way through the azure architecture and around the local waterfall. Take a hike around the Rif mountains and end your day back in the medina - city center - with a warm cup of mint tea.
SAFARI IN SERENGETI
If you're not yet familiar with Africa's "Big Five," study up. Soon you'll be reciting this list of the five most sought after animal encounters on command, and after a visit to Serengeti, you'll have your own stories to share. Watch as water buffalo graze along a river's edge, herds of elephants walk out of the African night and into view, leopards zip across grassy flats, rhinos wander between shady oases, and lions sun themselves on rocky outcrops.
EXPERIENCE THE TAJ MAHAL
Travel just a few hours outside of New Delhi to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. Spend the day exploring India’s sparkling jewel, but get there early to avoid crowds. Let the transformation of the white marble of the Taj Mahal hypnotize you as it transforms from a pale yellow at dawn, to a deep gold at sunset. Return after dinner to catch the Taj Mahal in the blue light of the moon.
Cusco is more than just the gateway to Machu Picchu and a convenient stop on the way to the Amazon; it’s also an incredible historical and archaeological treasure. Visit Choquequirao to explore the ruins of this small Incan City, then head back to town to check out Spanish cathedrals and chow down on some of the amazing cuy -- guinea pig, a Peruvian delicacy. Take a photo or two of the “White Christ” statue watching over the city with arms outstretched.
HANG TEN IN ESSAOUIRA
Save a day or two to visit this low-key coastal town, and you’ll immediately appreciate its charm — and forget why shoes are a “thing.” In Essaouira, you’ll encounter barefoot travelers enjoying the sand between their toes, local woodworkers, and surfers chasing the break as you wander the strand along the shore. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Essaouira during June, you may just catch the annual Gnaoua Festival, featuring world music and drawing crowds by the hundred thousand.
HIKE IN MONTEVERDE
Home to one of the world’s premier cloud forests, Monteverde invites you to indulge your inner nature-lover. Hike through clouds on platforms suspended in the treetops. Enjoy a unique glimpse into a rare and diverse ecosystem, including the nearly 500 species of wild orchids housed at a nearby orchid farm.
TAKE AN ELEPHANT RIDE
The pink streets and buildings of Jaipur, Rajasthan's state capital, are enchanting. Enjoy authentic Rajasthani cuisine and ride an elephant through the Aravalli hills just outside of Jaipur, and up to the stunning Amber Fort. On your way back down, stop at the Nahargarh Fort for a nighttime view of the Pink City.
SUMMIT MT. KILIMANJARO
Whether you opt for a day trip or the more rigorous week-long summit, Kilimanjaro is right in your own back yard, so take advantage! Climb to the top and count yourself among those few adventurers who have summitted Africa's highest peak. If you're interested in a day hike, the site of the Tanzanian landscape from 8858 feet will be worth it.
SWIM IN KO CHANG
Vacation like a local with a trip down to Ko Chang and its neighboring islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Enjoy beaches less-traveled, hike to the tops of spectacular waterfalls, and splash around in natural pools. Give your legs a rest with an elephant ride through the island’s jungles; wear your swimsuit under your clothes so you can recline on the elephant’s back while it bathes itself in rivers, but watch out for its trunk or you might get a shower too!
TRAILBLAZE THROUGH SOUTHEAST ASIA
You won't find a better gateway to Southeast Asia than Bangkok. Get off the typical tourist track and bike the backroads along the Mekong River, marking the border between Thailand and Laos, and check out the awe-inspiring Bay of Islands. Head south to Cambodia, home to Angkor Wat, the largest Hindu temple in the world. Follow the southern circuit through the rugged jungles of Malaysia, or splurge on a night’s stay at a hotel in Singapore.
ROOT, ROOT, ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM
If you think soccer fans are fanatical, just wait until you experience cricket in India! With the Himalayas as a backdrop, the Dharamsala stadium is one of the most unique in the world. Root for the team alongside 20,000 adoring fans. They'll be thrilled at the prospect of sharing their pastime with a traveler; that's you! If you choose to stay for the entire match, you may just leave the stadium with a few new local friends.
ENJOY THE CARIBBEAN
Perched at the very edge of Guatemala's northeastern coast along the Amatique Bay and surrounded by jungle to the south and west, Livingston is unlike any other place in Guatemala. Sail down the city's namesake river to a 19th century settlement for emancipated West Indian slaves and take in the rich Caribbean influenced culture of the Garifuna. Nibble fresh shrimp along the waterfront and let the sounds of local musicians' bongos and turtle shell drums ease you into a Caribbean state of mind.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
From traditional Thai massage parlors to unparalleled cuisine ranging from national dishes like pad thai, to incredible fusion cuisine, you'll never go wrong spending your free time right in your own backyard. Join the crowd for a Muay Thai boxing match, or spend a day getting lost in the city's famous markets; whether you’re looking to stock up on Thai spices, or handmade trinkets, there’s a market for that! If you’re in search of some serenity, relax at a Thai spa.
EXPLORE THE AMAZON
You’ll need at least an extra week for this one, but it's well worth it. Knock "visit the world's largest tropical rainforest" off your bucket list with a few days trailblazing in the Amazon. Boat down the world’s most voluminous river, swim with pink dolphins, or hike through lush forests in search of rare wildlife. Be sure to make your Amazonian adventure a win-win by choosing a tour provider that contributes a portion of the profits to rainforest preservation efforts.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
Peru’s largest city is the perfect place to practice your Spanish. Sing a duet with new friends at a karaoke bar downtown, or join in with the local kids as they splash around in the fountains of the Parque de la Reserva. Once you've toweled off, be sure to hang around for the nightly light and water show that starts after dark.
SPA DAY AT A HAMMAM
A visit to the hammam is not your typical day at the spa. Trade in your usual mani/pedi for a Moroccan steam, scrub, and shower, and you won’t be sorry. These traditional bathhouses are not just a great place to unearth that youthful glow, — you’ll be shocked when you see what a little elbow grease and exfoliation can do — they also serve as a very interesting window into Moroccan culture and will likely debunk any preconceptions that you may harbor about the role of women in Morocco.
CAMEL RIDE IN THE SAHARA
Cross one more item off your bucket list when you climb atop a camel for a ride into the desert expanse. Once you reach the Berber campsite, you'll enjoy a traditional dinner of tagine -- all sorts of delicious things made even more delicious when cooked together in a clay pot -- and sip tea as the sun sets behind the dunes. Whether you choose to spend the night in a tent or under the Saharan stars, the most important part is waking up in time to catch the sunrise; trust us.