Guest Blogger

Naughty and Nice: Krampusnacht

If the yuletide season has seemed more like Halloween of late, it’s because a contingent of horned, long-tongued beasties is slowly making its way west from the forests of Germany. Make way for the Krampus, the dark counterpoint to the benevolent St. Nicholas.

Among leaf scenes, New York’s is one of the best—especially upstate in the glacier-carved region known as the Finger Lakes. Here’s the scoop on visiting the region and soaking up the autumn color show.

When I arrived in Kyrgyzstan, I wanted to see what remained of the Silk Road that snaked through that spiky Central Asian country for centuries, bridging the vastness of Asia and the West with caravans bearing silk, gems, and spices. Here’s what I found.

To experience Kobayashi Kiyochika’s woodblock prints depicting a 19th-century Tokyo in flux is to experience the foreshadowing of film noir.

Ever since I read Bruce Chatwin’s “In Patagonia,” I’ve wanted to follow in his footsteps. And at the end of 2012, I was poised to realize my dream when Conservación Patagonica hired me to teach English at the nascent Patagonia National Park. My plan was to stay for three months; I ended up staying nearly five times that long. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at this remarkable park in progress.

Whether you’re a traditionalist or in search of a modern take on Montreal’s culinary landscape this winter, here are seven ways to get a taste for this vibrant French-Canadian city.

The Perks of Going Rental

During their yearlong round-the-world journey, Larissa and Michael Milne rented flats and cottages on six continents to save money. But they soon discovered an unexpected benefit: cultural immersion.

My girlfriend, Jenny, and I decided to escape the creeping New England cold by heading south on a road trip that would combine the travel ingredients we like best: a sprinkling of history, a heaping portion of outdoor adventure, and plenty of food.

Very Presidential D.C.

Guest blogger Erin Gifford offers ten tips on how to learn more about American presidents during inauguration weekend and beyond.

Food Fridays: Tastes of Morocco

Lisa T.E. Sonne has braved Arctic cold and remote jellyfish waters for Intelligent Travel. Now she faces her “inner chef” and finally learns to cook in savory Morocco.

Burning the Devil in Guatemala

Every December 7 at 6:00 p.m. sharp, Guatemalans “burn the devil,” building bonfires outside their homes to mark the occasion. The tradition has special significance in Guatemala City because of its association with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception which honors the city’s patron saint.

But where did the tradition come from, and how is it changing?

A Royal Cremation in Ubud

Lisa Niver Rajna and her husband kicked off what would be a year-long trek through Southeast Asia by spending two months exploring Bali with no set itinerary. Their stay in Ubud happened to coincide with an extravagant cremation ceremony for a member of the Balinese royal family. Read about what it was like to witness this sacred Hindu ritual firsthand.

By Odysseas Papadimitriou Growing up in Athens, I suppose it was inevitable that I’d take the city’s natural beauty and historic significance for granted. But now — years after moving to the U.S. for college and starting my own business — my biannual trips back to Greece to visit friends and family have allowed me to…

China is the world’s most populated country. Find out how to avoid offending the 1.3 billion people who live there (and even make friends) by following cross-cultural guru Dean Foster‘s advice on how to navigate this vast and fascinating nation.

Baby On Board: How to Fly +1

When Tiffany Hawk told her pediatrician that her son isn’t in daycare, the doctor, astoundingly, said, “He’s not seeing very much of the world then is he?” As a travel writer and a former flight attendant, she cringed. Not seeing the world? Because he doesn’t go to daycare?

She promptly booked flights to visit family and friends, then, just as promptly, began to panic. She would be *that* mom. The one carrying armloads of overstuffed bags, venting noxious odors into the cabin, subjecting an entire plane to the ear-piercing screeches of a teething five-month old. Fortunately for all, she had a brain trust of flight-attendant mothers to tap for advice.

Rocky Mountain Blitz

When it comes to places that give you a feeling of discovery, America’s national parks top the list. But Rocky Mountain National Park took that vibe to the max last month when it hosted a BioBlitz within its borders.

A Change of Pace in Paraty

Paraty on Brazil’s Costa Verde — the halfway point between São Paulo and Rio — has become a center for laid-back artsy types and nature lovers looking to explore the rainforest-covered mountains and turquoise waters that surround the colonial town. Guest blogger Liz Behler offers a few tips to help you plan your visit.

Tomorrow’s full moon offers us a luminous chance to pay tribute to Neil Armstrong, the man who redefined long-distance travel when he became the first person to step foot on the moon in the summer of 1969. In a statement, his family expressed a wish that the next time you see the moon smiling down at you, to think of Neil and give him a wink.

Eating Local…in Alaska

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Treasure hunting for edible gems might be the trend du jour for chefs lately — Danish super chef and scavenger René Redzepi finds and fries moss and plucks sea cabbages, while baristas at Durham, North Carolina’s Scratch Bakery infuse milk with backyard honeysuckle and lavender to spice up their espresso specials — but it’s been a long-time tradition for Native Americans.

Then there’s Alaska.

Traveling with Celiac Disease

In September, my mom will be doing something we used to find unthinkable: she’ll be traveling to Italy. What makes this trip such a monumental achievement? She has celiac disease, which means she can’t eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. That’s a tall order for a traveler to the Land of Pasta!

Or is it?

Halfway up a mountain in northern Nicaragua, between the steep streets of Matagalpa and the deep valley of Jinotega, lies a 1,500-acre organic coffee farm called Selva Negra. It’s a place where the trees hang heavy with giant lemons, papayas, and passion fruit. Roosters crow, hawks ride the breeze over the hills, hummingbirds flit, and the cows are milked by hand every morning. Oh yeah, and the shade-grown coffee tastes like chocolate.

By Jennifer Pocock, former assistant researcher at National Geographic Traveler magazine. The peak cherry tree bloom has already come and gone, carpeting the sidewalks of America’s capital city with a layer of pink and white petals. For the Japanese, this blossoming is a metaphor for life: a brief and brilliant burst, followed by a certain fall. Yet…