Made up of 700 islands—some busy and bustling, some isolated and inhabited by no one but hermit crabs and seagulls—the Bahamas offers an alluring mix of land and sea activities. From Nassau to Eleuthera, you can play golf on a seaside fairway, dive dramatic wrecks and reefs, and sail in crystal clear water. Accommodations run the gamut from simple inns to sophisticated retreats, from practical fishing lodges to romantic honeymoon hideaways. And for those who look a little closer, there's a fascinating and diverse culture to be explored.
Jamaicans define enthusiasm. Whether the topic is track and field or politics, the spirit of this island comes out in every interaction. Although the country is well known for its tropical beauty, reggae music, and cuisine, you may find that your interactions with local residents are what you truly remember.
The island is rich in beauty, but a quick look around reveals widespread poverty and a disparity between the lives of resort guests and resort employees that is often staggering. Where vacationers opt to stay in Jamaica depends on factors ranging from vacation length to personal interests.
The beaches of Cancun, the golf courses of Los Cabos, the nightlife of Puerto Vallarta: Mexico offers enough seaside fun, splashy resorts, and piña coladas to fulfill anyone's sunny dreams. But travelers who dig a bit deeper discover a multifaceted country of ethereal cloud forests, colorful coral reefs, and stark deserts. From ancient archaeological sites and colonial-era cities like Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende to the pulsing modern metropolis of Mexico City, the country presents thoUSAnds of years of history and abundant up-to-the minute style.
A visit to the land of Homer, Aristotle, and Sophocles is a journey to the dawn of classical civilization, with archaeological splendors from Athens to Crete. The towering monasteries of Meteora and soaring Mt. Olympus inspire awe, while relaxing islands like Corfu and Santorini invite simple pleasures and a taste of the good life on the Aegean Sea. The Greek countryside presents the perfect coda with idyllic landscapes of cypress groves, vineyards, and olive trees, as well as dramatic coves with sparkling white sand and rugged mountains that plunge into the sea.
Tradition and modernity share space in this island nation where ancient shrines bump up against skyscrapers. Castles and palaces whisper of history, and bullet trains shuttle you through spectacular landscapes to cities packed with world-class restaurants and shopping. From Tokyo’s urban sprawl to the peacefulness of Kyoto, from boisterous Osaka nightlife to Hiroshima's contemplative spirit, Japan’s big attractions never fail to dazzle first-time visitors. What keeps people coming back is astoundingly delicious food, a unique culture, and warm hospitality.
The six emirates that are the United Arab Emirates could not be more different from one another; each has a magic and mystery all its own. Glittering Dubai is an action-packed, futuristic powerhouse and Abu Dhabi, with its Louvre Abu Dhabi, is certainly the capital of culture. Sharjah has a charming Old Town and sleepy Umm Al Quwain offers a peek at life in the pre-oil days. Tiny Ajman has a pretty palm-lined beach and the best swimming and diving can be had in Fujairah, just over the beautiful Hajar Mountains.