Letters | May 2010
I was thrilled to see the Belizean coastline on the cover of your March issue, but let me extol the virtues of traveling inland, too. My husband and I spent a wonderful week at the Ka’ana Boutique Resort (doubles from $450), in the rain-forested Cayo District. The location is perfect for hiking, spelunking, and exploring some of the world’s most beautiful Mayan archaeological sites—all arranged by a warm and welcoming staff. —Sumbul Chai, Baltimore, Md.
Return to Sender
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed Guy Trebay’s “The Future of the Postcard.” An unexpected postcard from a faraway place is a treat for both the eye and the soul. My work has allowed me to travel to many exotic destinations around the world, and the first thing I do in each place is seek out unique postcards. Then I find a local bistro or coffee shop and write to family and friends. I also make sure to send a card to myself at home, so I’ve collected wonderful souvenirs of all the places that I’ve visited over the years! —Gretchen Mayes, San Antonio, Tex.
Reader Tip Sheet
After reading about travel nightmares in your March issue
[Mail: T+L Asks]
--->, I must say that some of them could have been easily avoided. A tip for Trevor Smith, who was “Bedridden in the Big Apple”: Before going on an extended trip, you should purchase travel insurance that covers your emergency medical expenses as well as your travel costs. As a general rule, the younger you are, the cheaper it is. And here’s another simple solution I’ve learned: For cruises or guided excursions, plan to arrive a day before embarkation. That way you’ll have some extra cushioning in case of flight delays, and it’s also just a more relaxing way to start your vacation. —Hugh Stevenson, Washington, D.C.
In the Hot Seat
I just read Mark Orwoll’s Smart Traveler article about how the days of reserving airline seats for free are numbered. I understand that everyone has to make a profit, but all of this “à la carte” pricing is driving me crazy. Like the flying public does not have enough hassles already. Just raise the price of the ticket and give us a break! —Teresa E. Winkler, Taylorsville, Ky.
Hot Topic: Romantic Destinations
The Isles Have It
Unfortunately, Santorini, Greece, did not make your list, but I’d highly recommend it—the islands have amazing ambience. Also, you can’t go wrong with the French Caribbean. —Travelandleisure.com member lingtsui
More Royal Treatment
For romance and adventure, your suggestion of Mihir Garh—the palace-style hotel that offers safaris on horseback in Rajasthan, India—looks amazing. —Travelandleisure.com member alishaoutridge
Making a Como-tion
Thirty places listed with 20 more online, only two in Italy—and neither of them was Lake Como? —Travelandleisure.com member infamazz
Editor’s Note: Italy often tops our list of romantic destinations, which are chosen based on a variety of factors—including hotel news. We’ll consider Lake Como for a future issue.
Love is in the Air
Just don’t forget that a romantic moment can happen anytime, anyplace. —Travelandleisure.com member jchoi
Readers’ Finds: Another Top Adventure Outfitter
I’m surprised that Zegrahm & Eco Expeditions (14-day tours from $6,980) wasn’t listed as one of your “World’s Top Adventure Trips.” With Zegrahm I circumnavigated the Black Sea and explored Melanesia by snorkeling from Fiji to New Guinea—the two best trips of my life. —Karen Carlson, Corona Del Mar, Calif.
Cozy B&B on the California Coast
My husband and I recently took a road trip from San Francisco to Mendocino. Late one night, we arrived at the Agate Cove Inn (doubles from $179, breakfast included), with 10 cozy cabins on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Upon waking, we found spectacular ocean views from every window in our room. One of our most lasting memories of the weekend was of watching the sun descend into the water from the front lawn. It was a magical ending point to an amazing journey. We will definitely return. —Wendy Zacuto, Playa Del Rey, Calif.
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T+L Asks: If You Were Offered an All-Expenses-Paid Trip Anywhere in the World, Where Would You Go—and Why?
Tokyo, for the contrasts: sakura-tree contemplation and cutting-edge technology, Shinkansen rides and Fuji trekking, tea ceremonies and fugu sashi, shodo calligraphy and Superflat postmodern art. —Carlos Felipe Rodríguez Velázquez, Puebla, Mexico
Let’s pretend the eastern rim of Africa is just one place: wine country in Cape Town, safari in Kenya, ancient rock cathedrals in Lalibela, Ethiopia, and a luxury cruise up the Nile to Cairo. —Lynn Pitts, New York, N.Y.
The original Orient-Express route from Istanbul to Paris, to get the East-meets-West experience. And then I’d return home on the Concorde. It no longer exists, but it’s still a dream. —Gabriella Berenyi Crosby, Pasadena, Calif.
With UNICEF, wherever needed, to help disadvantaged children around the world. —Evelyn Spencer, Philadelphia, Pa.
The island of Capri. Beautiful seascape, good food and wine, handmade sandals, gorgeous scenery. Bellissima! —Gina Feddersen, via Facebook
A two-week family fishing trip along the coasts of British Columbia and southern Alaska, moving between lodges by floatplane. —John Thornberry, Wichita, Kans.
Space. I’d love to experience weightlessness and to see planet Earth from up above. —Dan Sakaue, Renton, Wash.
Coming Next Month: If you could live at any hotel in the world, which one would you choose—and why? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter.
The T+L Hit List
Here, the most searched terms on TravelandLeisure.com at press time.
Ka’ana Boutique Resort
Set just down the road from the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich and the Guatemalan border, Ka’ana—Mayan for “heavenly place”—opened in 2007 as the first luxury resort in Western Belize. The resort’s main hacienda has five Balam rooms overlooking the infinity pool; 15 larger, semi-independent casitas are tucked among the property’s shade palms and lush tropical foliage. All have interiors that combine local craftsmanship with contemporary cool—furnishings made from indigenous wood and stone share space with plasma flat-screens, iPod docking stations, and personal espresso machines (in a unique twist, the Mayan-inspired wall art from local painter Jorge Landero is switched every four days). The restaurant makes use of local ingredients, many from the resort’s own organic garden.
Adventure travelers who like a little luxury on the side book with Zegrahm for exclusive, small-ship cruises and land-based travel to far-flung destinations. Founded in 1990, the company is known for environmentally and culturally responsible exploration, led by scientists, naturalists, and historians. Clients pay top dollar for off-the-beaten-track visits with remote indigenous populations, photo ops with exotic wildlife, and scuba diving adventures in pristine marine environments. A trekking-and-rafting expedition to Uganda in search of primates, hippos, and Nile crocs is currently a hot trip. Two-week to three- week trips cost between $8,900 and $45,900—prices include transportation, accommodations, meals, and activities.
Agate Cove Inn
Set 125 feet on a bluff above the Pacific, this farmhouse and collection of cottages are well guarded from the occasional 25-foot wave that crashes into the cliff below. The rugged, temperamental beauty of the Mendocino coast contrasts with the sublime wildflower gardens on the grounds of the 10-room bed-and-breakfast. Nature lovers will relish in the abundance of cypress and redwood trees, while wildlife enthusiasts should book a room between December and April for the chance to see whales passing by in the waters below.
Insider Tip: An in-room massage service is available, and if you still need help winding down after that, the inn can arrange to have a bucket of chilled, locally brewed beers delivered to your cottage.