Got those ‘after the holidays, back to reality’ winter blues?

Here’s a Top Ten Travel List guaranteed to lift you out of the doldrums

Got those ‘after the holidays, back to reality’ winter blues?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

If you’re a Margaret Mead wannabe, Papua, New Guinea should definitely be tops on your bucket list. With untouched wildlife, a diverse culture and stunning scenery, you might also be the first to discover an indigenous new species of bird. Mountain Travel Sobek has a special April departure where you will experience, first-hand, a unique festival of 8 different clans.  With a live volcano, as the backdrop, the Duk Duk festival cannot be missed.

Picture: Courtesy of David Kirkland


When it comes to travel, ‘boutique’ no longer applies to hotels. With only 74 flat-bed seats in an all business class cabin, La Compagnie flies from New York to Paris and London. In- flight service includes individual Samsung Galaxy Pro tablets, chilled champagne, rare wines and French delicacies, anti-allergenic pillows and a glam crew.  Who said bigger was better?!
Photo-tourism is the newest trend in Africa and beyond.  Wild Eye will guide you from the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania to the bushveld of the Sabi Sands in South Africa to Svalbard, Norway, the white world of the polar bears. You’ll enjoy the moment while Wild Eye records your adventure of a lifetime.

Standing with the owners of Wild Eye: Gerry van der Walt & Marlon du Toit


National Parks are becoming popular again, but no need to worry about crowds since Capitol Reef National Park is the best kept secret! It’s the least visited of Utah’s National Parks, but one of the best and a photographer’s paradise. Henry Mountains is the last major mountain range to be mapped by the U.S. Government and the world’s largest herd of free-ranging bison can be found here. Utah is for real cowboys!

Stockholm is oh-so sophisticated, progressive and underrated. Their bakfickaor ‘back-pocket’ restaurants are the bistro versions of a more gourmet/fine dining restaurant – same chefs, same owners, similar menus, but a more casual atmosphere and pocketbook friendly. They are usually next door to each other (Speceriet is the back pocket restaurant of Gastrologik), but, as in life, there are exceptions:  the back pocket Erik Bakficka is located in Östermalm with the main restaurant, Gondolen in Södermalm. If you’re a 1-percenter or a millennial foodieStockholm should be on your bucket list!


Picture: Courtesy of Eriks




The Ida Blue Hotel,  situated on the slopes of Mount Ida in Western Turkey, is a beautifully kept secret..until now.  Located in the 4000 year old Adatepe village which dates back to the Greeks and Ottoman Empires, the hotel is comprised of 3 stone houses with a total of 9 rooms that have been lovingly restored to its original splendor.  The gardens have over 120 species of plants and flowers , all the food is suplied by local farmers , the nearby villages are authentic and  untouched and the surrounding mountain and sea make for a truly intoxicating journey. According to ancient mythology, the gods charmed, seduced, tricked, married and betrayed one another in Mount Ida—is that where ’Housewives’ got their inspiration ?!

Ida Blue Hotel




’Luxury’ and ’all-inclusives’ don’t have to be an oxymoron! Family friendly and fabulous, a new Grand Velas Resort will be opening in Los Cabos, Mexico in Fall 2016 near Las Ventanas al Paraiso.  Rumor has it, they are working on a swimmable beach (we all know that swimmable beaches in Caboare few and far between), but the project is hush hush!!!  This is one brand that doesn’t disappoint!


You can’t go to Peru without visiting Machu Picchu, but, for a truly authentic experience, it doesn’t get better than Lake Titicaca. There are 42  floating islands  where the Uros tribes pre -date Incan civilization and continue to hunt and fish the way they used to. They use totora reed roots to construct their foundations, boats and homes and each tiny island is approximately the size of NYC’s new ’pod’ apartments! For the sheer beauty and luxurious setting, stay at the 18 room Titilaka  which gets my vote as a ’Wonder of the World’ hotel!

I had the pleasure of meeting some of the Uros people


There’s a new frontier in the Wild West and it ain’t in Wyoming!  Jackson Hole is a resort community in China replicating  the American dream—everyone lives in timberframe homes with large back yards (some with year round Christmas trees). Their clubhouse is decorated with Navajo art and wagon-wheel chandeliers and the dress code for Sunday is American casual; flannel shirts, sweatpants and sneakers .Their car of choice is the Buick Excelle, the Volkswagon Jetta and the Ford Focus. Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day  are celebrated and they even have a boy scout , baseball and knitting club or ’dream-gathering’ tribes  as they call it.  If you happen to be in Beijing and you get homesick, Jackson Hole is only 90 minutes away!

Jackson Hole, BEIJING!


I would be remiss if I didn’t include Havana, Cuba on this list. There have been so many articles written about what to see and do, but to get a real sense of what this vibrant city is about, there are neighborhoods and private access experiences one does not read about and these are the things that make Havana so special:  go to Lanchita de Regla and explore the other side of the bay rarely visited and still undiscovered, experience a genuine Santeria ceremony, not only visit a private villa that was built before the Revolution, but stay in one , lunch at one of the best, and local, paladars. Travel is sometimes about not what you know, but who you know!


I’m cruising in Cuba!

Posted by Jody Bear at 1:50 PM