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Jamaica


There is more to Jamaica than reggae, Rastafarians and honeymooners. Fringed with white-sand beaches, the island has year-round sunshine, misty mountains, a lush rainforest, and superb coffee. In the west, lazy Negril showcases its long beach, coconut groves, and clear waters. Partygoers gravitate to Montego Bay with its colonial architecture, bars and nightclubs. Cruise ships dock at Ocho Rios for its golf courses and water park, while Port Antonio's proximity to the lush Blue Mountains appeals to eco-lovers.


South Pacific


Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa, Rarotonga, and Tonga have conjured up romantic images of an earthly paradise since European sailors brought home tales of their tropical splendor and uninhibited people in the 1760s. My own love affair with the South Pacific doesn't go back quite that far, but when I did wash ashore, I quickly understood why these remote outposts came to have such a reputation. These are some of the most beautiful islands in the world -- if not the most beautiful. They are blessed with some of the most gorgeous beaches the planet has to offer, and their lagoons offer some of the globe's most fabulous diving and snorkeling.


Hawaii


There's no place on earth quite like this handful of sun-drenched, mid-Pacific islands. The Hawaii of South Seas literature and Hollywood films really does exist. Here you'll find palm-fringed blue lagoons, lush rainforests, hidden gardens, cascading waterfalls, wild rivers running through rugged canyons, and soaring volcanoes. And oh, those beaches -- gold, red, black, and even green sands caressed by an endless surf. The possibilities for adventure -- and relaxation -- are endless. Each of the six main islands is separate, distinct, and infinitely complex. There's far too much to see and do on any 2-week vacation, which is why so many people return to the Aloha State year after year.


Alaska


In contrast to many places you might choose to visit, it's Alaska's unformed newness that makes it so interesting and fun. Despite the best efforts of tour planners, the most memorable parts of a visit are unpredictable and often unexpected: a humpback whale leaping clear of the water, the face of a glacier releasing huge ice chunks, a bear feasting on salmon in a river, a huge salmon chomping onto your line. You can look at totem poles and see Alaska Native cultural demonstrations, and you can also get to know indigenous people who still live by traditional ways. And sometimes grand, quiet moments come, and those are the ones that endure most deeply.


Europe


Geographically, the countries of Eastern Europe are blessed with breathtaking scenery, deep-seated history, and a menu of natural wonders that offers something for everyone. Croatia's crystal-blue Adriatic seacoast, Romania's snowcapped Carpathian peaks, and Poland's lush forests and golden farmland are just three examples of the countless treasures found there. Add Roman ruins, sophisticated metropolitan areas, medieval castles, and Kremlin-era architecture and you have a recipe for a singular adventure.


Costa Rica


Despite the boom in vacationers, Costa Rica remains a place rich in natural wonders and biodiversity, where you can still find yourself far from the maddening crowds. The country boasts a wealth of unsullied beaches that stretch for miles, small lodgings that haven't attracted hordes of tourists, jungle rivers for rafting and kayaking, and spectacular cloud- and rainforests with ample opportunities for bird-watching and hiking. In addition to the country's trademark eco- and adventure-tourism offerings, you will also find luxury resorts and golf courses, plush spas, and some truly spectacular boutique hotels and lodges.


Asia


To the Western visitor, Southeast Asia is an assault on the senses, an immersion into a way of life utterly unlike that to which we're accustomed. From bustling cities like Bangkok, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur to tiny fishing villages and thatched rural hamlets, from the jungles of Malaysian Borneo to the deluxe resorts of Bali, from the temples of Luang Prabang in Laos to the bacchanal of Patpong in Thailand, Southeast Asia offers a glimpse of the extraordinary, an explosion of colors, sounds, smells, textures, and life that will send you home with a wider vision of the human experience.