It’s been about a month since I’ve hopped on a plane and about four months since I’ve left the country.  As an adventurous wanderluster, I am getting antsy.  Discovering new countries, cultures and people is one of my greatest joys in life, probably driven by my professional experiences as a journalist.  While I currently have my heart set on exploring Cuba, I am still curious to see what the professionals say:

TOP 5 PLACES TO VISIT IN 2017

(according to popular travel publications)

GUAYAQUIL, ECUADOR

Guayaquil, Ecuador

“As a gateway to the Galápagos, Guayaquil has seen its fair share of overnight visitors en route to the islands. But additions to the tropical port city are enticing travelers to stay longer. The just-opened Hotel del Parque sets a new standard in the city, with 44 elegant rooms in a restored 19th-century colonial complex that also includes a riverside restaurant. The massage-treatment room is in a repurposed bell tower atop the property’s original chapel, an airy mix of Gothic and Mediterranean styles where mass is still held. And the hotel’s setting on the seven-acre Parque Histórico Guayaquil makes it easy for guests to explore a wildlife sanctuary, historic structures, and a former cacao plantation. See modern Guayaquil when you visit the Malecón 2000, the city’s revitalized riverfront promenade lined with plazas, playgrounds, monuments, galleries, gardens, and two fantastic museums. Go at night for the best view, when the Ferris wheel—Ecuador’s newest toy—is backed by the twinkling lights above the hillside village of Las Penas.”

 

ZIMBABWE

“A new $150 million airport in Victoria Falls, capable of welcoming 1.5 million people a year aboard massive passenger jets, is only one of several reasons why Zimbabwe is on our 2017 list. The country is building up its tourism infrastructure despite—and, sometimes, in spite of—years of economic downturn and authoritarian governance. The same resilience is on show in the country’s conservation efforts; there’s been a clampdown on poaching and biodiversity flourishes in Hwange National Park, the country’s largest game reserve. While everyone’s booking stays in the safari parks of Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, and South Africa, we recommend scouting for the Big Five in much less-crowded (and often more affordable) Zimbabwe. A new under-$1,000 eight-night safari by Gecko Adventures, launching in the spring, will take you from Victoria Falls, through Hwange and into South Africa’s Limpopo province, making it possible to see the best of the country in a single stretch.”

Conde Nast Traveler

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CHENGDU, CHINA

Chengdu: It's all about the pandas.

 

FINLAND

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