We’re recapping the best of our travels this past year to help spur your wanderlust and get your own countdown started!
Highlighting the HCTC team’s favorite places they visited in 2016:
In August, I was given the opportunity to travel to Argentina. South America hadn’t really been on my bucket list, and I was very nervous about traveling without anyone I knew…but I felt like it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. That trip turned out to be one of the most amazing and unforgettable experiences of my life.
I spent time in three very different areas of the country: Buenos Aires – where I danced the tango and went horseback riding; Iguazu Falls – where I saw some of the most breathtakingly beautiful sites in the world; and Mendoza – where I drank some of the best wine I’ve ever had (and saw more beautiful sites).
I ended up meeting some awesome people that I shared a lot of laughs with and made memories that will never fade. I ate delicious food and discovered a culture that is friendly, welcoming, passionate and basically just a whole lot of fun. To sum it up, I came back home a different person than I was when I left…and I can’t wait to get back to Argentina again some day!
My favorite thing I did this year was visiting Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is one of the most sacred temples in all of Thailand, and therefore, one of the most visited. Always looking to avoid crowds, I wanted to go at sunrise, but transportation options were limited before 6:00 am. We took a private tour with Untouched Thailand that allowed us to watch the sunrise over the city of Chiang Mai, hear the monks praying and chanting at dawn, and participate in the alms offering.
We were also lucky enough to be blessed by the abbott’s assistant before exploring two more sacred sites and heading back to the city proper. It was one of the most meaningful activities from our entire three-week trip to Southeast Asia, and truly something I’ll never forget.
The first place that popped into my mind was Lanai, Hawaii (a very close second was Siena, Italy!). It’s always been hard to put a few days on this tiny island into itineraries when I have first-timers on the islands, but now I’ve got a few new ways to get more of you there, whether it’s your first or tenth trip!
What drew me in was how it felt like I was in a rural and non-commercialized part of paradise, with the conveniences of American familiarities (e.g. US Dollars, knowing how to read the menus and drive, and I don’t have to change my cell phone plan). There are two areas to Lanai – the mountains and the beach!
Four Seasons has two properties there, the Lodge at Koele (that will re-open soon!) and the Manele Bay hotel;
both are stunning, and the only major hotel chains to occupy the itty bitty island. Otherwise, there are a few small B&B properties or house rentals (having to bring everything over via ferry immediately made me not
want to do that), and the Hotel Lanai on the mountain side.
It’s a great and easy day trip from Maui. You can walk right up to Manele Bay to snorkel and then have lunch at the Four Seasons before taking an afternoon ferry home. I can also assist in getting you a tour of the island to see the Garden of the Gods (as featured in my photo below) along with spending about an hour wandering though the few boutiques they have – where I had no problem spending money. 🙂
Another reason to fall in love with the Aloha islands!
We can’t thank you enough for letting us be a part of your vacations over the last seven months!
Cheers to 2017!