The sunny South shore of the island of Kauai (known as the “Garden Isle”) in the tropical state of Hawaii in the United States is home to Poipu Beach. Poipu Beach is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top 10 beaches due to its pristine white sands, swaying palm trees, and sparkling blue waters. The activities to be enjoyed in the area are seemingly endless and include kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, surfing, mountain biking, deep-sea fishing, horseback riding and ATV tours. There are also two 18-hole golf courses. The classic beach is popular for weddings and honeymoons. There is a large variety of accommodation in the area, including the exceptional Villas at Poipu Kai. The Villas at Poipu Kai is a new boutique condominium resort with 3-4 bedroom poolside villas, 2-4 bedroom garden villas, and a stunning private home on the villas property.
Officially a collectivity of France, the island of Bora Bora lies in the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. With its amazing reef, fantastic white sand beaches, and laid-back local population it is easy to see why Bora Bora is considered by many to be paradise on Earth. The island itself features an extinct volcano in the center and is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. Bora Bora is a tourist hot-spot and many resorts and over-the-water bungalows have been built on the island. The population of locals is just under 9,000 with Tahitian, French, and some English spoken. Visitors can enjoy world-class diving and snorkeling, as well as sunset catamaran cruises, fishing trips, and jet ski rentals.
In Arizona, near the border with Utah, in the United States, you can find a stunning sandstone rock formation called The Wave. The Wave is on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes, which are in turn located in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, on the Colorado Plateau. This formation is actually sand dunes calcified in vertical and horizontal layers, and the fascinating color bands are iron oxides, hematite, and goethite. The Jurassic-age Navajo sandstone making up The Wave is estimated to be 190 million years old. Getting to The Wave requires a moderately difficult 3 mile hike from the Wire Pass Trailhead. Due to the delicate nature of this formation, visitors must arrange a day permit in advance and pay a $7 fee per person. Only 20 of the highly sought-after permits are issued for each day. More info on permits can be found on the Bureau of Land Management website. Camping is not allowed in the permit area, and the closest accommodation can be found in the small towns of Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona.
The incredible moonscape hills and the impossibly beautiful cities of Turkey’s Cappadocia region are a sight to behold. Located in the center of Turkey, the Cappadocia region includes the towns of Avanos, Göreme, Nevsehir, Ortahisar, Uçhisar, and Ürgüp. Popular activities in the region include visits to the underground cities, viewing the ancient Christian cave art, exploring numerous hiking trails and volcanos, seeing the “fairy chimney” rock formations, and taking sunrise hot air balloon rides for a view of the breathtaking landscape from above.
Built between 802 CE and 1220 CE, the stunning Angkor Wat temple complex includes hundreds of temples stretching over an area of 400 square kilometers (249 square miles). The most popular temples are Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Phrom (setting of the Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider movie). Recommended activites include exploring the temples, watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat, watching the sunset at one of the west-facing temples, and for those more adventurous types: getting in a hot air balloon or a helicopter for a breathtaking view of Angkor Wat from above. Visitors to the temples are required to buy a 1 day ($20), 3 day ($40), or 7 day ($60) temple pass. In the last decade Angkor Wat has exploded onto the tourist scene. 15 years ago the nearby town of Siem Reap had only 1 hotel, now there are hundreds.