My Five Favorite Places Around the World

I think my friends can attest to the fact that I can never shut up about all the beautiful places that I have been to and how they’ve made an impact on me. Indeed, it’s true. The world just has that much to offer that my amazement is boundless.

However, I’ve decided to pick five that are my favourite places in the world.

Number 5. Los Roques, Venezuela

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Years before when I was in Caracas I was told about Los Roques, a small archipelago off the northern coast of Venezuela that at the time I was told was a popular destination. I knew nothing about it, of course. Nevertheless, I boarded the small plane, that flew me to a small island, where I got on a small boat, that took me to a much smaller island. There were very few people on this beautiful island. Just myself, my companion, another couple, and a handful of people who prepared the food, served as snorkelling guides and set up the hammocks. The island was very small, so small that there were only a few palm trees. There was nothing else around, no other land in view of the naked eye. It was one of the most tranquil and solitary moments of my entire life. I highly recommend that you should try to find yourself on a tiny island at least once.

Number 4. Camiguin Island, Philippines

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Last year, at the very start of our island hopping adventure in the Philippines, our first stop was the island of Camiguin. From the port of Baligoan, the island was in clear view. It was an incredibly amazing spectacle. The small island had a volcano in the middle and therefore managed to give a very picturesque, very island look. The island is only about 9 kilometers in diameter, though it is quite full; full of people, of life, of culture and of wonder. There were several waterfalls, numerous choices for snorkelling, giant clam farms and scuba diving, hot springs and cold springs, plenty of beautiful beaches and even a sunken cemetery. This is one of my favorite places in the world because it feels very much as if, Mother Earth has so much to show us, even in just a very small space.

Number 3. Angkor Wat, Siam Reap, Cambodia

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I will forever be fascinated by the ruins that that been left behind and sometimes forgotten. I feel that these majestic temples are a testament of the wonder of humanity. Empires are built and empires fall but we persist. We’ll build magnificent empires and enormous symbols of our ingenuity and prowess but we are human so we will err, we will be conquered, destroyed, forgotten at times, but we persist. We are still here. We move, we fight we run away and we take back. This is what these ancient beauties say to me when I walk through their halls.  Just a few kilometres from the town of Siam Reap in Cambodia, Angkor Wat is a magnificent complex of many different but equally majestic temples. I spent a couple of days going from one to another, exploring every dark corner and dusty corridor while my mind begins to imagine what they walls could have said if they could talk.

Number 2. Machu Picchu, Peru

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Nothing can ever equal to the feeling of being at Machu Picchu. At some 8000 feet on top of a mountain surrounded by mysterious peaks, sits Machu Picchu. A marvelous human achievement, Machu Picchu is a stone city designed with precision and offers only a hint of the might of the ad    ncient Incas. At the end of my tour, the guide told us that the Incas considered the mountains to be very sacred and powerful. And perhaps we should take some time and talk to the mountains. I wandered away from the crowd and gratefully found myself in a quiet and deserted area. I sat on the ledge, stared at the beautiful mountains that surrounded me and possibly for the first time in my life, I felt truly connected to the Pacha Mama, the people in my life, and I felt somehow that I was precisely meant to be exactly where I was, at that exact moment; sitting at Machu Picchu talking to the apus.

Number 1. Cabo Polonio

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Sitting at the table with the friends of my friend in Montevideo our talk turned to travel and where might I, the yanqui spend my time in Uruguay. It was, I remember clearly, unanimously decided that I must simply go to Cabo Polonio. So, I did. I discovered that Cabo Polonio is a very small beach town on the coast of Uruguay and part of what is known as the Uruguayan Riviera. It is isolated and separated from everything else by 7 miles of sand dunes and accessible only by dune buggies. It is beautiful. The sun was always bright and with the absence of artificial light we are bathed in moonlight in the evenings. The air tastes fresh, the water enticing, and in the distance a colony of sea lions play. This is my most favorite place in the entire world. I hope it is more or less the same the next time I go back.

Click here, to read more about Cabo Polonio. 

*It seems I really like places that are far and isolated from everything

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Cabo Polonio

There are very few moments in our lives that allows us to separate ourselves from our daily lives. It is in fact a struggle to do so. There are very few places in this world that allows us to isolate ourselves from the world. It is in fact a struggle to find it. One of these places is Cabo Polonio and it gave me one of those rare moments of utter solitude.

Cabo Polonio lies on the eastern coast of Uruguay. It is a small fishing town, separated from the world by 7 kilometers of sand dunes. There are only about 80 people living in Cabo Polonio, with only about 100+ houses (little shacks) most of which lie abandoned most of the time. A lighthouse stands tall and adds a picturesque feel to the already ‘picture perfect beauty’ of it’s beaches and simplicity.

The town perhaps depends on the tourism for it’s economy. Most of the establishments exist for the accommodation of the visitors. Restaurants, a bar, a club, souvenir shops, and hotel & hostels. Fishing to feed the locals and visitors might be the second biggest industry in this tiny, tiny place. It is very detached from the world, that they live simply to survive.

As such, there is no electricity, and no running water. Electricity is generated by gas generators and water is obtained by catching rainfall or from a water well. As a result, there is very little to do.

When I arrived I was instantly impressed by the simplicity of everything. As I walked down a sandy path towards my hostel I couldn’t help but notice the small size of the homes. They were possibly no bigger than a normal sized living room of an apartment in Boston. When you think about it, there really is no need for more. When you take away the inessential, what you get is a life in Cabo Polonio.

The beauty of the place is enough to keep you captive. The lifestyle is what pushes the envelope and truly chains you down. An endless shoreline fronts the town, sea lions sunbathe on a rocky island several kilometers off shore and some stay on the rocky shores of Cabo Polonio, and sand dunes surrounds the town and traps us next to the sea.

Life is simple.

During the day, time is spent walking along the beach, watching the sea lions, climbing and sliding down the dunes, lying on the beach or reading on a hammock and waiting for the fishing boats to return with their catch.

The nights are filled with bonfires, a dark sky where moon illuminates the town and where the stars truly twinkle, dinner is with candlelight not because it’s romantic but because there is no other way, the guitars are taken out,
Spanish songs are sung, and near midnight the drinking commences or simply continues.