- “I could hear the music before I could see the huge stage at the Old Fort. The echoing sounds guided me through the maze of streets that is Stone Town, Zanzibar, where the four-day festival Sauti za Busara — the Swahili name roughly translates to ‘sounds of wisdom’ — celebrates traditional African heritage through tribal dance and song...
- “Bamboo is taking over St. Lucia. I’ve seen it used to make vases, chairs, walls and (hit the brakes!) bicycle frames. But nowhere does it get my attention like it does on the massage table at the Jalousie Plantation. Not the bamboo cabinets or the bamboo light shades, but the bamboo club in the hands of a masseuse named Lucita. ‘What have you been doing?’ she asks, rolling the bamboo over my hamstrings. I start to tell her, just as something kicks loose from my legs...
- Three journalists share their mis-adventures while traveling around Cuba.
JOE YOGERST: On assignment in Cuba, I rented a car and was driving from Moron to Santa Clara, and the map was unclear. It was late in the day and I was running low on gas. I picked up this young guy at a round-about, hoping he could give me directions. Right away he pointed at a road, and off we went. But as it started getting dark (and my gas needle kept dropping), I began to think I’d been duped. About 90 minutes out, we came upon this tiny village, where he asked me to stop: This was his home. He leapt out of the car without a word—wouldn’t tell me if I was even close to Santa Clara. I headed back to Moron, running on fumes and cursing my trickster hitcher the whole way.
JAD DAVENPORT: After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Cuba lost $6 billion in Soviet subsidies, and the public transportation system died. There were so few private vehicles and buses running between towns that people formed orderly queues at underpasses, offramps, etc. I stopped at an underpass outside Havana driving a Hyundai made for ﬁve small people. We crammed in 12. The cops waved me over and said, "Hey, you know it’s illegal to pick up hitchhikers?" I panicked; I was already in the country illegally...
- Celebrate Earth Day, April 22, with a free visit to a national park. The National Park Foundation is lifting entrance fees to every inch of its 84 million acres of National Parks not just for the day, but for an entire “Earth Week,” April 21 to 29, 2012.
More than 100 national parks usually charge admission fees, so plan on taking advantage of the free week to celebrate the great outdoors at one of these ISLANDS’ favorites:
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Christiansted National Historic Site, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Keys
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
- Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Hawaii
- San Juan National Historic Site, Puerto Rico
RELATED: Get some expert photo tips for capturing the perfect image at Haleakala National Park.
News from our friends at Ladera Resort on St. Lucia:
Ladera, the legendary Caribbean hotel known for its pioneering open-air architecture, luxury hospitality and eco-friendly practices at 1,100 feet above the Caribbean Sea, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with a generous and extraordinary "Anniversary Package" promotion, launching today.
The first 1,100 people (or 550 couples) who book a Hilltop Dream Suite or Luxury Villa under the "Anniversary Package" promotion will receive all of their meals, every day during their stay, at no extra charge, valid on stays taking place now through December 21, 2012. The offer includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Ladera's legendary restaurant Dasheene, one of the Caribbean's most highly regarded tables. A selection of beverages with meals is included. The full details can be found on Ladera.com.
- The broad strokes are indelible: Teenager eludes authorities for two years—stealing cars, boats, even planes.
In The Barefoot Bandit, ISLANDS contributor Bob Friel didn’t just report on Colton Harris-Moore’s crime spree; he lived it. Bob is a resident of the San Juan Islands, Colton’s home and the place where he escalated from local nuisance to international outlaw. The vulnerabilities of small island communities, the resilience of a bright but troubled teen and the failure of a child-welfare system are told from the inside as this page-turner unfolds. Did Colton really re-steal a bike from the police to return it to its owner? How did he teach himself to ﬂy? Why ﬂee to the Bahamas?
Exclusive interviews with his mom, victims and friends reveal the true Barefoot Bandit, and a life of missed potential. But boy, what a ride.
- My room number has ﬁve digits.
As in, room number 11-544. Can I tattoo this number onto my hand? You know, so I can ﬁnd my room, or simply remember to keep looking for it? I’ve been distracted by a Maya temple, Chihuly glass sculptures, underwater ruins, 12-foot manta rays, shopping malls, slot machines and thousands of smiling kids — slipping and skipping through miles of water slides, rivers and aquariums.
Of course, all this is Atlantis, visionary Sol Kerzner’s take on the mythical sunken city, raised from the depths as a modern-day, semi-sunken resort. Perhaps the world’s most ambitious. I’m here for a travel conference. It’s an odd setting for one. Atlantis is decidedly not the Bahamas, nor travel. It’s a fantasy. A megasize one.
Now, if only I could locate my room in it all ... whoa, a race-car track?!”