Lonely Planet Releases Top 10 Cities for Travelers

Lonely Planet recently released its Best in Travel 2014, which includes a list of the top 10 cities for traveling. These cities are spread across the globe and include classics as well as cities that are just coming into their own as traveler destinations. The Lonely Planet list includes some obvious choices like Paris, Cape Town, Zurich, Shanghai, Vancouver, Chicago, and Auckland but it also includes less obvious choices like Trinidad, Cuba, Adelaide, Australia, and Riga, Latvia. Check it out here and then let us know, which cities would you add to the 2014 list?Lonely Planet Downsizes

Sports Map Of America


The talented illustrator Jess Fink over at Slate worked with Chris Kirk on interactive design to create the sports map of America. The map shows which sports are most popular in individual U.S. states with graphics. The full sports map, which can be seen here, includes information on each state, like its official state sport, if there is one, and other sports that were considered when making their decision. Most picks don’t come as a surprise -– mountain climbing goes to Colorado, skateboarding to California, and ice hockey to Michigan – but others are less obvious.

Go click around, have some fun and learn a thing or two about the athletic tendencies of Americans by state.

Time is Running Out for the Maldives, a Country That Might Not Be Around for Much Longer

Timo Newto-Syms, Flickr

You may have heard of the Maldives. It’s a tropical travel paradise, with white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. An island nation in the Indian Ocean, it is composed of 26 atolls that are home to some of the world’s best diving. The Maldives is a place that’s beautiful, exotic and remote.

It’s also a place that might not be around for much longer.

This week marks the release of the new report by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, which by Friday should give a prediction of how much, and when, sea levels will rise. For the island nation of the Maldives that isn’t just a warning, it’s an expiration date.Mohamed Nasheed, the former freely elected president who was expected to be re-elected until accusations of poll fraud suspended the vote, has long been a voice for the threats of climate change to his nation (he’s the guy that held an underwater cabinet meeting), warning that if the world stands by and does nothing, the Maldives will exist no more.

Tourism is one of the Maldives’ main industries, and many of the small islands are set up as luxury resort destinations. While today you can calmly walk, dipping your toes in the calm waters, the risk that these islands will become submerged is on a not so distant horizon.

The effects of climate change are already being felt here, and in an economy that depends on tourism, storms and freak weather can have a significant impact. From erosion to coral reef degradation, the islands are changing, and in big ways.

What’s the future of the Maldives? Only time will tell, but for now, the future does not look bright.

Cave Divers To Explore Unmapped New Mexico Cavern

cave divers
A crack team of cave divers will explore New Mexico’s famed Blue Hole underwater cave system this weekend.

The Advanced Diver Magazine Exploration Foundation will send a team down Blue Hole cave in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. The cave has already been partially mapped down to a depth of 225 feet, but it’s believed to be much more extensive and the team is carrying equipment allowing them to go as deep as 350 feet.

Every member of the team is an expert cave diver with at least 15 years experience. Each brings their own specialty in biology, survey, photography, cinematography, equipment, logistics, multimedia, or other skills in order to fully document the cave and produce material for a proposed documentary. The ADM team holds records for exploring the two deepest and longest underwater caves in North America with depths below 450 feet and linear passages of over seven miles.

Blue Hole is a popular spot for scuba diving but the entrance to the caves has been barred by a grate for decades due to the deaths of two cave divers who were exploring the system.

Cave diving is a dangerous sport that requires extensive technical knowledge and physical endurance. While I enjoy caving and will happily go to Iraq and Somaliland on vacation, you won’t see me cave diving. It’s too hardcore for me. Best of luck to the ADM crew!

Marietas Islands: The Mexican Government’s Bomb Testing Created This Unreal Hidden Beach

The Marietas Islands (Islas Marietas) are located off of the coast of the state of Nayarit on Mexico‘s west coast, just above Puerto Vallarta. The islands are uninhabited and flush with marine life since hunting and fishing is forbidden on the islands. While staying at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit over the weekend, the manager of the resort’s restaurant, Lucca, relayed his appreciation for the hidden beach located on one of the islands to me. A quick Google image search left me jaw-dropped and eager to get over to the Marietas Islands at the next possible opportunity.

The travel agent at the hotel would have been able to assist me in getting to the island if my schedule had allowed, but I unfortunately didn’t have enough hours left on my trip to make the island visit dreams come to fruition. I’ll go back to Riviera Nayarit, though –- even if for the sole purpose of spending some time on this hidden beach.Originally formed by volcanic activity, the islands are entirely uninhabited. The Mexican government began military testing on these islands in 1900 and continued testing for more than half a century. Large explosions and bombings of different kinds took place on the Marietas Islands and as a result, many unusual cave and rock formations decorate the already innately dramatic landscape. The hidden beach looks particularly peculiar with a giant hole seemingly cut out from the earth, revealing a sandy beach and lapping turquoise waters below.

The footage of the island is like nothing I’ve ever seen and I look forward to one day seeing this hidden beach in real life.

A Travel Guide to Riviera Nayarit, Mexico