|FOR THIS SEASON’S TEN BEST WINTER GETAWAYS:|
|Jemaa el Finaa, a UNESCO site main square located in the heart of Marrakech's medina.|
National Geographic picks ten great winter getaways and your favorite online magazine Pillar to Post picks a great foodie, wine, beer or coffee locations in the same destinations.
Coffee House: La Cabra Coffee (above) is currently the Nordic spot to find retails Costa Rican coffee in a low key yet sophisticated coffee house setting. CR coffees include Honey Nery (hints of apple, brown sugar and hazelnut; La Roca (mandarin, vanilla and toffee); and Altos (blueberry, cream and chocolate).
Restaurant: House Dedo Pene (www.dedopene.com) has been operating since 1820 in this ski region in the south of Bulgaria.
It’s a B&B as well as a traditional restaurant serving local regional specialties like Kapama (pot cooked combo of meats, spices, rice and sauerkraut): Chomlek (spiced beef shank stewed in wine with new potatoes); Kavarma (meat stew in white wine with leeks, onions, peppers and mushrooms).
Bocas del Toro, Panama
Private Island Hotel: Five sea cabins to choose from on Urraca Private Islands: www. http://bocasdeltoro.travel/urraca-private-island/ in the Bocas del Toro archipelago. Intimate private isle among a collection of small islands each boasting wonderful out of the way accommodations. This destination is worth exploring.
Galle, Sri Lanka
Yoga Spa: A short distance from Galle is Sri Yoga Shala, a Yoga studio along Unawatuna Beach, Sri Lanka. The spa (above) is first rate and priced right and nearby are a surprising number of tourist activities, including a must visit to the Saturday Good Market for organic produce and local made goods; pedal biking is popular as is a walk on the ramparts of the Galle Fort at sunset.
Shopping: Before we send you to the souk in the media, an organized yet very chaotic network of stalls that sell God’s plenty from cooked snails to exquisite rugs in one bazaar, visit Café France. From the terrace of this wonderful restaurant you’ll view Jemaa el Finaa, a UNESCO site main square located in the heart of the medina. It will put you in the mood for the souk and the most amazing shopping experience this side of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.
Quebec City, Canada
Winter Carnival: The annual Quebec Winter Carnival in Old Quebec City is one of the most attended events of its kind in the world. Events include parades, snow slides, snow sculptures, ice canoe races, sleigh rides, skating, snow sculptures combined with the charm of this remarkable Canadian heritage city. Set for January 27 thru Feb 12, 2017, the theme of the hugely popular snow sculpture contest is Canada’s 150th anniversary. https://carnaval.qc.ca/carnaval/sites
Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), Vietnam
Bar: One of the best views in this ancient Asian capital is the Chill SkyBar, 25 stories tall in the AB Tower, downtown. Drinks are a bit expensive but no charge to come see the view. http://www.chillsaigon.com/drink-decor-space
St. Petersburg, Russia
Museum: Hermitage State Museum (above) is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852.
Tonga, South Pacific
Botanical Garden: Eneio Botanical Garden and Beach Café is in the Kingdom of Tonga on the island of Vava’u along Ene’io Beach. This 22 acre garden paradise is home to 550 different plant varieties. The restaurant boasts the best fish and chips (above) in the South Pacific and is open every day. The Botanical Garden offers three tour packages and is also a center for snorkeling and swimming. The gardens are located on Vava’u island, which is 260 kilometers north of the main island of Tongatapu, which is the site of Fu’amotu International Airport. Get air and sea connections in advance to and from all the Tongan islands.
Craft Beer: Go to 220 East Broadway Boulevard in Tucson, Arizona and discover Thunder Canyon Brewery & Distillery (above), one of the newest craft beer food and beer making emporium’s in this dry and dusty college town. Located downtown it’s as good a place as any to start thinking about signing up for the annual craft beer crawl, February 18, 2017.