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Just Back: Arctic Circle

arctic circle

When I had the chance to take a bucket list trip to explore the pristine beauty of the Arctic Circle I jumped at the chance (after cobbling together frequent flier miles). First stop: the world famous IceHotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, where the walls, tables, beds, and everything else are made of ice and snow.

While spending a night on ice in 23° F degrees is a big part of the IceHotel’s draw, a thrilling daytime excursion by snowmobile (booked through the hotel) was the main event for me.

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Russian Scientists Reach Lake Under Antarctica

Associated Press |  After more than two decades of drilling in Antarctica, Russian scientists have reached the surface of a gigantic freshwater lake hidden under miles of ice for some 20 million years—a lake that may hold life from the distant past and clues to the search for life on other planets.

Reaching Lake Vostok is a major discovery avidly anticipated by scientists around the world hoping that it may allow a glimpse into microbial life forms, not visible to the naked eye, that existed before the Ice Age. (...)

"It's like exploring another planet, except this one is ours," Columbia University glaciologist Robin Bell told The Associated Press by email. (...) "There is no other place on Earth that has been in isolation for more than 20 million years," said Lev Savatyugin, a researcher with the AARI. "It's a meeting with the unknown."

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Seeking Nominees: T+L's 2012 Global Vision Awards

global vision awards

We're looking for a few good visionaries.

Travel + Leisure is now accepting applications for our annual Global Vision Awards. Do you know of a travel company or organization that's changing the world for the better—preserving cultural heritage, saving environments, or giving back to the communities we travel through? Please drop us an email at tlglobalvision@aexp.com or encourage a representative to fill out this year's application, available here (travel companies) and here (other organizations), and return it to us by April 6, 2012.

For last year's winners, see travelandleisure.com/responsibletravel.

Illustration by Gracia Lam

Williamsburg, Brooklyn To Get a Green Hotel

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Oppenheim Architecture + Design recently won the bid for the Williamsburg Hotel.  Between the Williamsburg Bridge and the domed Neoclassic Williamsburg Savings Bank, a 21st-century tower is set to rise over 400 feet.

What exactly does the prospect of a LEEDS Platinum-certified green building, set in the bustling bohemian enclave of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, say about New York's ever-changing tale? We'll have to wait and see.  For now, check out these interesting photo renderings:

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Antiresorts’ New Green Hotel in Mexico

green hotels: Endemico Resguardo Silvestre

What: Encuentro Guadalupe
Where:
Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Opened:
December 2011

This eco-friendly retreat is set in Mexico’s emerging wine country, just 40 minutes from Ensenada. The 20 mountainside bungalows—part of a 99-acre gated development—have minimal impact on the rugged terrain, and are steps from a winery run by a Napa Valley enologist, plus a Slow Food restaurant. Doubles from $200.

Photo by Luis Garcia

Ecuador to Limit Number of Visitors to Galapagos Islands

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Travel Weekly |  New rules are to be imposed to limit the number of cruise passengers visiting The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

Tour operators have until February 1 to incorporate the Galapagos National Park Authority’s new regulations, which are designed to protect the local animal and plant life, into travel programmes.

The rules will allow travellers to stay for a maximum of four nights and five days per ship, with a frequency of four landings within any 14-day period.

The archipelago’s 150,000 annual visitors have been mainly concentrated on the three islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal for the past 14 years. (Photo credit: T+L Photo Contest)

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Guess Where? Canyon Road

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This is a great area for camping, hiking, and winter activities once all this luscious greenery fades away. Can you guess where it is?

Log in and leave your guesses below. Check back on Monday for the answer.

UPDATE 11/07/11: We stumped you! Maybe this was too hard because of its remote location, but this photo was snapped driving through south from Hansen, Idaho through Rock Creek Canyon into the South Hills. Beautiful, isn't it?

Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of T+L's Photo Contest

A Meeting of the (Green) Minds at T+L's First Global Vision Awards Luncheon

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In our November issue, which just hit newsstands, you’ll find our seventh annual Global Vision Awards, which recognize the new leaders in responsible travel. This year, our winners included everything from Misool Eco Resort, a visionary property that’s responsible for setting up the first shark and ray sanctuary in Indonesia, to Rancho La Puerta, a luxury spa in Baja, Mexico that’s championing ecological restoration and education in the local community. In their own unique ways, these progressive thinkers represent the travel community’s best, most innovative solutions to some of the world’s most vexing problems: climate change, environmental degradation, cultural erosion, and economic inequality.

Last Friday, we invited our jurors and winners to New York City for our first-ever Global Vision Awards luncheon and round-table discussion, which took place at The Lambs Club in midtown’s Chatwal Hotel. Read on to see how the conversation unfolded.

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Cool Eco-Friendly Travel Gadgets

green travel devices

When it comes to the environment, technology can be a double-edged sword. New devices use up energy and precious resources, but they also offer exciting ways to travel green. These days, the best are doing this while also lightening their footprints. Take the Android-powered Samsung Replenish smartphone ($50), made from recycled plastic and without many of the toxic chemicals found in other phones. It is loaded with a bundle of eco-friendly apps (Treehugger; National Audubon Society) and can be powered using a solar battery charger. Music lovers, meanwhile, can take comfort in knowing that the new Etón Soulra XL ($300) iPod dock, which is designed to resemble an old-school boom box, not only charges while it plays but lasts up to five hours on a single solar charge—perfect for the beach. Unfortunately, most travel-size solar chargers are still not strong enough to power your laptop. In the meantime, though, there’s the Energy Star–rated IDAPT i1 Eco ($24.99). Constructed of recycled materials, it lets you charge nearly any device on the go. The green edge: when a gadget is fully powered, the IDAPT turns itself off—conserving essential electricity.

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We Want Your Job, Diego Felix, Nomad Chef

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Is ordering delivery to the office your idea of going locavore? Do your culinary travels consist of drive-thru windows after a long day of work?  If yes, then we invite you to put down the plastic fork and check out this different kind of job: meet Diego Felix, nomad chef.

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