For 2017, here are 10 of my all-time favorite spots – places you have heard of and maybe even already visited. But not like this, I promise you!
In one week you can sail to UNESCO sites of Halong Bay, sleeper train up to the Chinese tribal mountain villages of Sapa, walk in the footsteps of the Vietnam War, and sampan through the vast and magical Mekong Delta.
But what about getting to know a local family by joining them for a shop at their village market and then cooking dinner with them in their home.
Or getting BEHIND the street stall and making your own Vietnamese pancakes?
Or riding ON the sampan with the noodle gal as she works her route through the Mekong’s floating market.
Don’t just go on the big whale watch boat – kayak out from the Glacier Bay NP lodge and paddle amongst whales as they “call” to each other.
Don’t just take a photo of a glacier – helicopter to the top and ride a dogsled! Or join the glacier school out of Juneau for a morning in crampons.
Don’t just see Denali – hike off-piste to sense the unfathomable vastness of the wildness.
Don’t stay in the tourist traps – floatplane out to Katmai NP for a day that will change your life, surrounded by the grizzlies of Alaska!
And remember… Rare Finds is escorting a small group to Alaska in July! Email here for details.
#8: Private island in Honduras
Forget the big resorts of Central America. Instead, escape to you own private island – just your family or group!
Buy fish and lobster, fresh off the reef, from visiting fishermen. Enjoy local meals created by the island caretaker. Spend your days snorkeling in the marine reserve, kayaking or fishing, playing games, building bonfires, and chillin’.
#7: Parks of the American West
Some of our country’s most dramatic canyons and buttes are visible from your car window.
But put on a pair of hiking boots and even novice walkers can stand beneath immense Redwoods, feel the spray of a wilderness waterfall, or commune with a herd of wild elk.
My favorite adventure, hands-down? Hike (or helicopter) down to Supai Falls in the far reaches of the Grand Canyon. It’s only about 5 hours from the Las Vegas airport but you’ll feel a world away.
If you haven’t seen the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, let’s do that.
But then, go to dinner in the home of a local French family or into the kitchen of a chocolatier and learn to make truffles.
Hire an angel specialist to learn about architecture, do a flea market walks, go to Versailles on 2 wheels, and sleep on your own barge, docked on the banks of the Seine in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
Side trips can take you on barge trips past small villages of the Midi du Canal, or west to Mont Sainte Michele for a walk across the bay.
If you’re anything like, me, you’ll be overwhelmed by the magic of Mumbai.
Meet my guide for a wake-up Mumbia tour where you meet the city’s unique newspaper marshalers, tour a city open-air laundry, see the massive sidewalk morning vegetable street market in action, and sleep in a Taj palace.
Dine in a local Shiite’s home at a unique and unforgettable 5-course artisanal Bohra meal.
Or follow your local guide through the beehive to Dharavi, Mumbai’s biggest slum, and eat a dinner in a local woman’s “home” there.
The differences – and the similarities- will astound you.
#4: An island in Maine
Looking for that escape that will take you back to simpler time? I love Monhegan Island, accessed by ferry, mailboat, or private vessel.
There are no cars, no police (only 1 constable), no hard liquor.
But there are blazing sunsets, fresh lobster, fairy villages on forest trails, homemade rootbeer, and traditions that have been cherished for generations!
That’s right – you don’t need to go far for adventure.
I have discovered hidden speakeasies, unique history walks, jazz venues, free walks, an authentic oyster schooner-turned-raw-bar, food from sake to duck, a host of rooftop hideaways, an interactive Shakespeare experience, and even an Under-NYC tour (that’s right, you start by crawling down into a manhole, but oh! the hidden tunnels and passages that await you!).
#2: Sleeping with the sloths in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is often disparaged as the Disney of Central America.
But you can escape those crowds with a treehouse crawl, designed by Rare Finds Travel, that takes you from one monkey-surrounded aerie to another.
#1: Sleep in a remote lighthouse in Croatia
This sparkling spot in the Adriatic is a candy store of otherworldly-blue waterfalls, truffles and fresh fish, an a dramatic maritime history.
But to get a sense of its dramatic maritime history, venture out to one of its offshore lighthouses and let your imagination go wild. With zero distractions, you can write, think, photograph, learn, beachcomb, sail and swim, and soak in a piece of truly wild Europe.
Rare Finds specializes in the unique and the unknown.
If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind adventure, or want to bond with your family or friend, we can make that happen!
Head to our destinations page to get inspired,
or just pick up the phone: (609)923-0304.