Travel & Outdoor
National Geographic Traveler

National Geographic Traveler December 2017/January 2018

National Geographic Traveler is the world's most widely read travel magazine. With captivating storytelling and beautiful you-are-there photography, National Geographic Traveler brings you the world’s best destinations. Experience the same high-quality articles and breathtaking photography contained in the print edition.

United States
National Geographic Society
Back issues only
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in this issue

2 min.
editor’s note by george!

For those about to embark on a new year of enlightened wandering—and I hope this includes us all—I’d like to share my two-step algorithm for deciding where to go next. I learned it from filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dereck Joubert, who has the storyteller’s gift of distilling clarity from chaos. “The two most important questions to ask are: Will it be fun? Will it make a difference? And go from there.” So simple! A journey of a thousand miles starts with a spark of joy and ends with a gleaming of meaning. Our seventh annual BEST OF THE WORLD issue features 21 destinations that will inspire your wanderlust, ignite your itinerary, and invite you to make meaningful discoveries large and small. The notion that travel can make a difference is…

1 min.
into the white

Snow is the stuff of imagination. It blankets the landscape, muffling hard edges in a frozen clime that seems to slow time. In the case of dogsledriding Greenlanders, winter expands their realm, sealing channels between islands and inviting exploration. Bays become byways as dogsleds, still a main method of transportation between isolated coastal communities, glide freely over the thick sea ice that connects islands like Uummannaq (pictured) to the mainland and the vast ice cap that crowns 81 percent of the country. It’s no wonder local tykes believe that Uummannaq, which dwells under a heart-shaped granite mountain far north of the Arctic Circle, is the part-time home of Santa Claus. Though his stone-and-turf hut may have been built for a Danish TV production, the fantasy surely warms hearts during the…

2 min.
taking the plunge

“Queen of Mantas” Andrea Marshall has studied the graceful swimmers for more than a decade. From her base on Tofo Beach, Mozambique, this Nat Geo emerging explorer and manta ray ambassador shares her preferred places to spot and dive with mantas—in, it turns out, some of the world’s most beautiful locales. Travelers looking “to give back and aid us in protecting these amazing animals,” she notes, can become citizen scientists on one of the trips organized by Ray of Hope Expeditions, which Marshall founded in 2012. For upcoming trips, visit queenofmantas.com. 1 Indonesia Marshall describes this nation as a “manta pub crawl” for the sheer variety of places to spot rays, from the flourishing reefs around Raja Ampat to the island of Komodo, known for its “dragon” lizards, to tiny Nusa Penida,…

3 min.
road trip

Miles: 49 ● Days on the Road: 1 ● Great Snorkeling Site: Devil’s Grotto ● Local Shopping: Farmers and Artisans Market at Camana Bay Beach bums and bankers. Lobster soaked in truffle butter and spicy jerk chicken. White-sand beaches and crystal blue waters. Conventional wisdom regarding Grand Cayman is, well, conventional: It’s an island paradise. But beyond the tourist meccas of capital city George Town, teeming with day trippers off cruise ships, and the famed Seven Mile Beach, with its sunblock-slathered holiday makers, there’s a whole host of sites to see. On the other side of the island and tucked into the undeveloped interior, discover blue iguanas, hidden beaches, shipwrecks, blowholes, and surprising sculpture. Despite its name, Grand Cayman, mostly unaffected by recent hurricanes, is easy to explore in a daylong…

1 min.
mini guide

“ We are all citizens of Los Angeles because we have seen so many movies. ” —Writer D. J. Waldie Los Angeles’s long association with celebrity culture often has it portrayed as a place of sun-bleached swimming pools populated by stars and starlets. But there’s much more to this city than stage-managed settings and fleeting fads. The settlement of Los Angeles stretches back to 1781, when the town of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles was founded as a Spanish colonial outpost. Soon a thriving frontier town and trading center, it became part of the U.S. in 1848. The entertainment industry took root in the early 1900s, attracting what may be the largest concentration of creative professionals in history. Beyond movie studios and theme parks, L.A. brims…

1 min.
big sleeps

● NEW ● CLASSIC ● TRENDY Woods and bright cottons decorate the 167 guest rooms and 59 bunk-bed studios at downtown’s FREEHAND HOTEL ( ● ), the most recent incarnation for the 1924 Commercial Exchange Building. Part of a collection of “communal” hotels, the Freehand also has that most L.A. of hotel amenities: a rooftop pool with a cocktail bar, the award-winning Broken Shaker. The BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL ( ● ) first welcomed guests 105 years ago, but L.A.’s “Pink Palace” is as much a celebrity as ever. You won’t spot Marilyn Monroe or John Wayne lounging by the pool, but you still can stargaze as you stroll the pink-and-green hallways. That is, when you’re not downing the Polo Lounge’s famous McCarthy salad, sipping a mai tai at Bar Nineteen12, or luxuriating at…