I’ve listed my top five experiences of the year by region first, followed by a short mention of special places within that region.
Canada – Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario
My home and native land, where you can relax in solitude by kayaking in Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park, ride the trails through the lush forests of the Gatineau region in Quebec, or take in the nightlife of Canada’s largest and most vibrant city, Toronto. On the west coast, be sure to pack in a visit to Vancouver, the Olympic city of 2010.
Mexico – Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit
It’s all about the Riviera coastal regions in sunny Mexico. Discover the mystic Mayan ruins of Riviera Maya by day, and let your pleasures unfold in picturesque Playa Del Carmen at night. On the opposite coast you can lap up the luxury and pamper your soul at the recently opened Taheima Wellness and Spa Resort in Neuvo Vallarta, or awaken your senses at the Hanamara Retreat just outside the surf town of Sayulita.
Germany – Dusseldorf
This country is well known for its beer and related festivals, such as the world famous Oktoberfest in Munich. Discover the origins of the age-old brewing process at one of several Alt-breweries located in central Dusseldorf, the capital city of the North Rhine. Each brew master carries on the traditions from centuries past, making a sampling tour a favourite pastime of both locals and visitors. Be sure to check out the trendy Media Harbour for a more modern artistic contrast.
Jamaica – Montego Bay
Montego Bay has seen a tremendous growth in both development and visitation increases. This trend should continue as a new convention centre is set to open on the outskirts of the city January 2011, and a new cruise terminal is also planned to open the same month in the colonial town of Falmouth. Sandals Resorts continues to be one of the best luxury inclusive resort properties, with three different locations within minutes of the airport. Also, the recently opened Secrets Resort in Freeport is gaining ground as an upscale, adults-only all-inclusive destination.
United States – Tennessee, Texas, California
What more can be said about one of the most diverse nations in the world in terms of quirkiness, vastness, attractions, and unique experiences. Road trips are part of the American heritage, so why not sing and dance your way across the nation. Three of the best music and arts festivals to take in are South-By-Southwest in Austin (Texas), Bonnaroo in Manchester (Tennessee), and Coachella outside of Palm Springs (California).