Saddle up for the ride of a lifetime through Iceland.
In the month of June, the sun hardly sets on Iceland, and summer can unfurl to longer than 20 daylight hours. Marked by intense geological activity, Iceland’s name confounds. The Nordic island country is the land of fire and ice, shaped by gorges, fjords, waterfalls, hot springs, and smoldering volcanoes—including a famous one that erupted twice in two years, after which the world got a primer in how to pronounce Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.
It sounds rough, but rugged is more like it. And if nosing up to nature is what you’re after in this country—and you should be—go by horseback. There will literally be nothing between you and the gorges.
Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country, so they’re a breed unto themselves: pure, sure-footed, compact, hardy, and have a unique gait that makes for a smooth ride while traversing the unpaved terrains of Iceland’s highlands and beaches. Going by horseback is also the truly Viking way.
Forgo hotels for a guesthouse at a farm. (Paul Taggart/Herd In Iceland/Redux)
If the rain lets up, that is.
Sorry it's raining, Instagram-happy New Yorkers. Tuesday, and again on July 12, Manhattan will experience its solstice—the time of year when the sun aligns perfectly with the street grid, casting a magnificent glow on the city’s skyscrapers as the sun sets over the Hudson River. This phenomenon will happen at 8:15 p.m. (although arriving a half-hour early is recommended), and two of the best viewing spots are 34th Street and 42nd Street, where the light will reflect off of the Chrysler and Empire State buildings ... if the weather cooperates.
Wall Street cash and global plutocrats are driving rents in the Hamptons to record levels.
by Robert Frank
If you think your rent is high, consider summer rentals in the Hamptons.
Brokers say there are now at least a half dozen homes and estates in the Hamptons that are renting for around $1 million—just for the summer. That works out to $9,803 per day, or $408 an hour. And the $1 million lease doesn't include utility bills or other charges, which can run in the tens of thousands.
Brokers say the number of million-dollar rentals marks a new record.
Cabo San Lucas is filled with glitz and drunken college kids—so drive right past it and head to Todos Santos for some of the most exciting art, music, and beaches in Mexico.
You’ve heard of Los Cabos, right? While it's the official name of the southern corner of Baja California, it's most famous for its popular resort town Cabo San Lucas, Mexico’s premiere spring-break destination. The birthplace of Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo, with its trademark Cabo Wabo Tequila. Home to pricey condo complexes and over a dozen golf courses. And, of course, a frequent cruise-ship stop and coed party spot.
It’s the perfect place for an all-American vacation, that is. But if you want to avoid the crowds, go off the grid, and have a more authentic experience, but still be on the beach, consider other alternatives. First, keep driving on the (mostly) four-lane Highway 19, past the desolate mountains, dazzlingly beautiful beaches, and tiny and remote taco stands, until it turns into a dirt road with a few stop lights (seriously, watch out for those stoplights—they come out of nowhere). Welcome to Todos Santos, population just over 5,000.
It’s one of only 30 communities in Mexico to receive the honor of a “Pueblo Magico,” or “Magical Town,” a designation awarded for retaining its authentic historic and artistic charm. There are at least 20 art galleries on these dusty streets, such as the Galeria Logan, Gabo, and the Faces of Mexico Ethnic Art Gallery, which features some of the area’s traditional masks.
A surfers’ haven, there’s still plenty of places to have a drink—in a more relaxed fashion than the crazed nightlife up the road in Cabo. Take the Hotel California (no relation to the popular song, despite what so many tourists believe) located on the main drag, Calle Juarez. The hotel is home to two restaurants, La Coronela and Santo Vino Bistro, and even makes its own Hotel California Tequila. Founded in 1947 by a Chinese immigrant named Mr. Wong, “El Chino” brought ice from nearby La Paz to serve the only cold beer to Todos Santos. Along with the lobby and the restaurants, the hotel’s 11 rooms are decked out floor-to-ceiling with artwork, representing the true feel of the town.
There’s something for music lovers too—in 2012, Peter Buck of REM started the Todos Santos Music Festival with the Hotel California to benefit the Palapa Society, a nonprofit that benefits local children and their families. The 2013 festival, which ran for three weeks in January, included the Minus 5, the Posies, the Baseball Project, the Elected, Jon Langford, Joseph Arthur, and Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys.
Stick around for February, and there’s the Todos Santos Art Festival, five days of folk dancing, music, and theater performances. There are also workshops teaching local music and folk dancing, and guest speakers on everything from turtle conservation to domestic-violence prevention.
Tourists Kayaking near El Arco in Mexico. (Danny Lehman/Corbis)
Besides art and music, don’t forget the beaches. And oh, are there are beaches in Todos Santos. The town is located just near Playa Pescadero, near the tiny town of El Pescardo. Take a left at the Pescadero Pemex station at the beginning of town, and you’re there, with a long stretch of sand and waves perfect for surfing. There’s also the new upscale hotel Rancho Pescardo, with a restaurant, bar, two outdoor pools, and surfing lessons.
For seasoned wave riders, there’s also Playa San Pedrito and Playa la Pastora. Whale watchers—a popular activity in the first three months of the year—can check out Playa la Cachora.
Taco bars, boardwalks, and tons and tons of freshly-sifted sand. Along the East Coast, towns hard hit by Superstorm Sandy are kicking off summer. By Eliza Shapiro and Josh Dzieza
In Far Rockaway, Queens, the beloved Rockaway Taco is open again, peddling $3 fish tacos and fresh watermelon juice. Some 75 miles south, in Belmar, New Jersey, a new 1.3 mile boardwalk sports a fresh coat of “spiced rum” colored paint, courtesy of Captain Morgan. And in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, the rickety Jet Star rollercoaster, dramatically submerged in the ocean after Superstorm Sandy, has been demolished to make room for swimming and surfing.
Repairs and construction of building at Beach 97th that houses concessions, public restrooms and offices in Rockaway Beach. (Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks )
It’s the official kickoff of summer, and up and down the East Coast, tourism-dependent towns devastated by Sandy are declaring themselves back in business. But while a great deal of money and time has been spent to make the beaches appear normal again, from enormous new lifeguard towers tugged in by barges to food carts set up where storefronts remain shuttered—some things will be noticeably different. In Rockaway, for example, only the concrete supports remain from its once-busy boardwalk. Elsewhere—and you might not notice this at first—the sand itself could look a little off.
That’s because Sandy washed away not just homes and boardwalks, but entire beaches. Dunes were leveled and millions of tons of sand were plowed inland. The shore from Bay Head to Sandy Hook eroded more than 100 feet and lost about seven feet of elevation.
With the load factor on U.S. airlines at a record, passengers are facing higher prices for fewer seats for summer travel. The good news: there’s WiFi now! By Daniel Gross.
It’s summer tourism season and there’s some bad news.
Flying this summer is going to be more of a hassle than it has been in recent years. Why? Airlines have gotten smarter and the economy has improved.
American Airlines passengers wait in line at O'Hare Airport on April 16, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty)
After years of losses and ruinous competition, airlines in recent years have gotten religion about controlling costs and managing assets. They’ve merged, shut down unprofitable routes, and used information technology to get a better handle on everything from luggage to filling seats. Good for them.
After their picnic spot floated from shore.
Note to future tourists in Iceland: a glacier is no place for a picnic. Four Americans learned that lesson the hard way this week when the piece of ice on which they decided to set up their table and chairs for dinner began to drift away from the shore. Luckily, one of the picnickers was able to jump back to land and call for help. “When we arrived it was quite comical to see them sitting on chairs and with a table on an iceberg,” said Páll Sigurður Vignisson, part of the team that rescued the floating dinner party. In all seriousness, Vignisson told the Iceland news service RUV, the situation could have turned dangerous. “We never know how ice will behave, if it rolls over and when—we just don’t know.”
Hot air balloons collided in mid-air over Cappadocia, Turkey on Monday morning, a fatal accident during the common tourist activity. A Brazilian man was killed, and 24 more were injured.
When travel writer Paul Theroux returned to his hometown after the marathon bombing, he found the mood of the city transformed, unified by a trauma, which he has seen elsewhere in the world.
For several decades, starting in the early 1970s, I traveled regularly from London, where I lived as a resident alien, to Boston, where I grew up, and each time it was like a tumble through the Looking Glass. Boston was so mild, so confident, still the joyous and even innocent city of my youth. The noteworthy Boston tragedies, vividly recalled by my father—the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 (21 killed), the Cocoanut Grove nightclub inferno of 1942 (492 killed)—were over, and such infernalities seemed unrepeatable.
A message written on a banner seen during a vigil on the Boston Common on April 16. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)
Arriving in Boston was like landing upon the bosom of serenity from the derangement of a war zone. Britain at that time was in the grip of a bombing campaign by well-funded and feuding nationalists in Ulster, who were driven by spite, folklorism, and religious bigotry and were tribalistic in their antique grudges, absurd in their speechifying.
London was weary and anxious, and by the mid-1970s there had been a number of bomb outrages: the Old Bailey bomb of 1973 (1 death, 200 injured, shattered buildings), the Guildford bombing of 1974 (5 killed, 65 wounded), the pub bombings in Birmingham (21 killed, 182 injured), the Regent’s Park nail bomb of 1982 (the deaths of 7 musicians playing selections from Oliver! and many injuries), the Chelsea Barracks cluster bomb on the same day (11 deaths, many dismemberments, seven dead horses), the bombing at Harrods department store at Christmas 1983 (six people killed); and 5 people dead and many injured in an attempt on Margaret Thatcher in Brighton in 1984.
With a celebrity-studded party in Marrakech, Morocco, the former social-networking site has transformed into a members-only travel and lifestyle club. Lizzie Crocker reports on the perks of being a world-class traveler.
Imagine jet-setting around the world like a VIP, with guaranteed access to premier nightclubs and exclusive cultural events, deals at five-star hotels and luxury spas, and a group of well-traveled, glamorous people eager to befriend you at the farthest corners of the earth.
That’s the premise of ASmallWorld (ASW), an invitation-only social network that relaunched Monday as a subscription-based travel and lifestyle club. Long known as a Facebook for the rich and famous, ASW is slashing its membership size from 850,000 to 250,000 and operating on an annual member fee of €80, or $105, instead of relying on advertising.
All members will have access to deals and discounts from hundreds of global travel, lifestyle, and fashion partners including Cathay Pacific Airlines, Mandarin Oriental Hotels, David Barton Gym, Uber car service, and Derek Lam.
He’s a photographer who was lucky to grow up during Australia’s surf revolution. The pioneer talks to Josh Dzieza about his new book.
Kara Cutruzzula combs the beaches—and blackjack tables—of Puerto Rico for the meaning of ‘vacation.’
In ‘Mapping Manhattan,’ explore the city via 75 New Yorkers’ personal geographies. By Allison McNearney.
Travel writer Sara Wheeler, famous for her stories of polar expeditions, returns home to her city: Bristol.
Need to plan your next grand adventure? From Burma to Cuba, 12 places to see this year. By Nina Strochlic.