The Stories Behind our National Monuments 

By Tauck

What’s the difference between America’s national parks and national monuments? Storied sites all, both share tales of treasured sights in public lands protected for the enjoyment of generations of visitors.

Designated by a legislative act of Congress, our national parks are areas of natural beauty, federally conserved due to their scenic, inspirational, educational, and recreational value. National monuments are established by presidential proclamation to preserve a place of historical, cultural or scientific interest.  

There are currently 133 national monuments throughout the United States, a number which can change with each new president under the 1906 Antiquities Act which gives the president the sole authority to designate and protect federal lands and resources quickly. We shine a spotlight on three of them here, giving you a glimpse of the stories behind these popular monuments. 

Sequoia Big Tree
Photo courtesy of Tauck

Protecting the noblest tree species in the world 

In 1908, President Roosevelt declared Sequoia National Forest a protected landscape, where giant sequoias some 3,000 years old and 300 feet high, lay claim to being the oldest living and largest trees on Earth. The trees live in only about 70 native groves in the middle elevations of the Sierra Nevada and have a history that dates back 10,000 years.  

Naturalist John Muir was enamored of the big trees from the moment he first saw them in 1868, calling them Nature’s forest masterpiece and the greatest of living things, and vowing to protect them after seeing loggers fell them indiscriminately. He wrote, “No description can give any adequate idea of their singular majesty, much less their beauty. The great age of these noble trees is even more wonderful than their huge size, standing bravely up, millennium in, millennium out, to all that fortune may bring them. God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.” 

While the ancient Sequoias have been federally protected since the establishment of Sequoia National Forest in 1908, thanks to John Muir and President Roosevelt, it wasn’t until April 2000, under the direction of President Bill Clinton, that all the giant sequoia groves within the forest boundary were declared a national monument.  

Rainbow Bridge from 1,500 feet
Photo courtesy of Tauck

Immortalizing a sacred rainbow of stone  

President William Howard Taft declared Utah’s Rainbow Bridge a national monument in 1910 as a site of geological and cultural importance. A naturally sculpted sandstone arch standing 290 feet tall and 270 feet wide on the edge of Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge is revered as a sacred place by the tribal people who live in the region, inspiring origin stories, ceremonial rites and pilgrimages dating back thousands of years and still relevant today. Its name is said to have originated from the Puebloan people’s name for it, Nonnezoshe, which translates to “rainbow turned to stone.” 

Up until the early 1950s, the site was only accessible after an arduous multi-day hiking and rafting adventure into the wilderness, keeping all but the daring at bay. Much to the chagrin of the Navajo who still pray for rain and conduct ceremonies here, the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam made it easier for travelers to get to it by boat and a one-mile walk. While visitors today can view Rainbow Bridge on a flightseeing excursion, those who visit on foot are asked to treat it respectfully and honor its role in the on-going religious ceremonies of the Navajo. As the locals will tell you, the true significance of Rainbow Bridge extends beyond the obvious, standing as a bridge between cultures. 

Statue of Liberty
Photo courtesy of Tauck

Where freedom rings: The Statue of Liberty 

A gift from France, she stood as a symbol of hope and refuge for generations of immigrants on Liberty Island in New York City harbor since 1886.  During the dedication ceremonies of the Statue of Liberty, President Cleveland vowed “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.” He made those works into an official promise as he declared the Statue of Liberty a national monument in 1924 protecting the shared ideals of our nation and the one that gifted her to us. Learn more about the stories behind Lady Liberty from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns by watching The Statue of Liberty, available on PBS. 

To visit these monuments in person is to stand with the visionaries who protected them just for this moment, gifting you a chance to become part of the stories that memorialize them. 

About Tauck

Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2025, Tauck is a world leader in upscale guided travel, with more than 150 land tours, safaris, river cruises, small ship ocean cruises and family travel adventures to 70+ countries and all seven continents. In each of the last 26 years, Tauck has been honored in Travel + Leisure magazine’s annual “World’s Best Awards” celebrating the very best in luxury tours, cruises, hotels and more.  


Kauai: A Day in the Life of Hawaii’s Oldest Island

By Dale Myers, Pleasant Holidays 

The islands of Hawaii are diverse: Maui is a mecca with its Seven Sacred Pools. The Island of Hawaii is bigger than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined, is the most ecologically diverse and has one of the most active volcanoes on Earth. Oahu, the “Gathering Place,” draws the most visitors, due in no small part to world-famous Waikiki Beach.  

However, one of Hawaii’s smallest main islands packs one of its biggest punches and was the genesis of it all. Primordial Kauai, the “Garden Island,” was the first Hawaiian island to form approximately five million years ago and is home to the largest canyon of any island in the Pacific and Hawaii’s only navigable river.

9:30 a.m. 

Wailua River, East Side of Kauai 

“There are sharks in Wailua River so keep your hands inside the boat at all times,” the captain of our low-lying vessel only half-jokingly says. “Seriously though, we do see sharks here occasionally,” he adds, which prompts every passenger on the slow boat to the fabled Fern Grotto to look overboard.  

The banks of the Wailua River, which is fed from rains on Mt. Wai’ale’ale (one of the wettest spots on Earth), once served as the sacred capital of ancient Kauai and the birthplace of its ali’i (royalty). We dock at a small pier on the river and are let loose in the jungle. A well-trodden path winds its way through a dense rainforest and the faint melody of Hawaiian music beckons. We are greeted by a troupe of musicians performing the Hawaiian Wedding Song in front of the Fern Grotto, where couples are told they can now consider themselves married in the Hawaiian tradition. This evokes laughter in most, but terror in others. The jade-colored ferns of the amphitheater-like grotto appear to be swaying to the Hawaiian rhythms bouncing off the acoustically sound black lava rock from which they sprout upside down. 

2 p.m. 

Waimea Canyon, West Side of Kauai 

From the town of Waimea (Hawaiian for “reddish water”), I ascend Waimea Canyon Drive. In the distance is Hawaii’s privately owned “Forbidden Island,” Ni’ihau. Waimea Canyon, aka the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” is a 14-mile-long, one-mile-wide gorge that is more than 3,600 feet deep. From the Waimea Canyon Lookout (mile marker 10), the red layers of the canyon’s walls appear stained by the “reddish water” of the Waimea River, which helped carve the canyon in centuries past. In fact, however, the canyon walls are red due to lava flow that pooled and throughout the years turned from black to red. Across the canyon Waipoo Falls plummets 800 feet while wild goats cling to the cliffs. 

The road from Waimea Canyon ends at the Pu’u o Kila Lookout (mile marker 19), with its panoramic views of Kalalau Valley, the largest valley on the Nāpali Coast. Although only 11 miles across to Ke’e Beach, there is no more road, thus making circumnavigation of Kauai impossible unless on foot, so it’s back in the car for more than 80 miles of driving to see its paradisiacal lagoon. 

5 p.m. 

Hanalei, North Shore of Kauai 

I stop briefly in storied Hanalei to visit the 19th-century Wai’oli Hui’ia Church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The helicopters from Waimea Canyon beat me to the other side of the island and are swarming near the silver-threaded waterfalls cascading from the sheer cliffs behind the green church.  

6 p.m. 

Ke’e Beach 

Eight miles from Hanalei driving past some of the most scenic land on Earth and I land at Ke’e Beach. Ke’e, ironically, means “avoidance,” but is rather so enticing I sprint to the shore and immerse myself in its warm-water lagoon as the sun starts to dip below the cathedral-like Nāpali Coast mountains. The heavy surf pounds the protective reef and washes over the lagoon as the trade winds ruffle the palms. I can see the beginning of the Kalalau Trail, which traverses the Nāpali Coast and is perhaps the most famous hike in all of Hawaii. I don’t know if I’m more amazed by this quintessential tropical setting straight out of a Melville novel or the fact that I experienced all this majesty in just one day.   

Find your dream vacation to Hawaii at https://ustoa.travelstride.com/trip-list/hawaii

About Pleasant Holidays

Founded in 1959, Pleasant Holidays is one of the largest tour operators in the U.S., offering vacation packages, flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals, travel protection and related travel services to the world’s most popular destinations including Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Central America, Las Vegas, Orlando, New York, Canada, Fiji, Cook Islands, Tahiti, Bora Bora and French Polynesia. The Company’s portfolio of travel brands includes Pleasant Holidays, Journese, Air By Pleasant and Pleasant Activities.  

Dale Myers is the Digital Content Editor for Pleasant Holidays. He has traveled extensively throughout Hawaii and Europe.  


By Tanveer Badal

I’ve visited Rome twice before, so I’ve already experienced much of the city’s treasure trove of sights—though seeing mind-blowing ancient structures like the Colosseum never gets old. But for my third visit, I was determined to experience Rome like a local. My goal was to literally live out the classic phrase “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” for over a week. So I based myself in the cuore (heart) of Rome’s centro storico at Hotel Rinascimento, where I could fully immerse myself in the culture and lifestyle of this timeless city.

To kick things off, I joined Perillo’s Learning Journeys’ immersive “Live Like a Roman” tour. Italy has a rich tradition of food and Rome is filled with some of the country’s best gastronomic delights, so eating and drinking is of a major part of the hands-on experience. On the itinerary was a Twilight Trastevere Food Tour, a cocktail crawl of Rome with local expert and influencer Maria Pasquale (a.k.a. Heart Rome), lunch at the Palazzo with the Italian countess Violante, and even a pizza- and gelato-making class. And, of course, in between activities I had plenty of opportunities to try every kind of Italian delicacy—from delectable supplì (fried risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella) to the city’s famed gelato—all on my own.

The following is a photo journey of some of my favorite dining and drinking experiences in Rome:

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Da Enzo Trattoria, a busy Trastevere neighborhood restaurant frequented by both locals and in-the-know tourists, served up one of my favorite dishes of the trip: Pasta Amatriciana. Hungry Romans arrive in droves for lunch, as you can see here. I went on a weekday without a reservation and was fortunate snag a table after waiting only about 15 minutes.

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An Italy fact I’d never known: Different types and shapes of pastas come from different regions of the country. Da Enzo Trattoria’s Pasta Amatriciana is a classic dish named for the Italian town of Amatrice with a spicy sauce based on guanciale (cured pork cheek). The cured meat has a taste similar to bacon–and is absolutely delicious.

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At the counter stands Stefania Innocenti, the fourth-generation owner and baker behind Biscottificio Innocenti in Trastevere. At one point, as our group surrounded her while sampling a platter of delicious cookies, she almost seemed to tear up while talking to us. Our guide, Rishad Noorani from Eating Europe Tours, translated: “Seeing all you people enjoying my food just makes me so happy. I don’t do it for the money. I do it for this!”

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Sipping an Aperol spritz while people-watching at a sidewalk cafe became my daily indulgence in Rome.

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I learned to make Roman-style pizza via InRome Cooking classes–and I can’t wait to test out my new skills at home.

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On the Trastevere Twilight Food Tour, we stopped at the Antica Caciara salumeria (delicatessen) to sample buttery porchetta washed down with beer. This old-school deli has been operated by the Polica family since 1900 and is a Trastevere institution. 

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During one magical afternoon, lunch was served up with one of the best views of Rome. This airy terrace tops Palazzo Taverna, the family house of chef and entertainer, Violante Guerrieri Gonzaga.

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One of the most exciting nights out on the town was with Rome local expert Maria Pasquale, also known as Heart Rome. Here, Maria sips an experimental cocktail served in a tea cup at the boutique hotel DOM.

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If you’re looking for nightlife away from the well-trodden tourist path, head across the river to Trastevere and follow the crowds–Trastevere locals party late into the night.

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The Jerry Thomas Project, an intimate speakeasy that’s been named one of the 50 best bars in the world, capped off our tour. Reservations are a must and it’s worth it, I promise!

Interested in learning more about Tanveer’s journey? Read more about it on AFAR.com, the USTOA Blogand check out Perillo’s Learning Journey Live Like A Roman itinerary.

Tanveer is a travel, hotel, and lifestyle photographer who has explored more than 50 countries. Some trips have led him to photograph luxury hotels on the Amalfi Coast or the Riviera Maya, while others have taken him on long treks in the Bhutanese Himalayas or in search of lemurs in Madagascar. Follow his ongoing travels on Instagram or check out his travel portfolio.


By AFAR Ambassador Tanveer Badal

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As a travel photographer, I’ve had the privilege of visiting over 50 countries. And as I’ve become a more experienced traveler, I’ve found myself no longer interested in just crossing places off a bucket list or filling my passport with as many stamps as possible. Instead, I’m more interested in getting to know my favorite places more intimately. For example, I’ve been to India multiple times and would go back in a heartbeat. A few months ago, I re-visited Morocco on another Afar + USTOA assignment, and recently, I had a chance to return to Italy for the third time.

On previous trips, I’d only spent a couple of days in Rome before moving on to other parts of the country such as the Amalfi Coast or Venice. I’d breezed through the must-see sights such as Vatican City and the Colosseum. So this time, I wanted to do Rome differently and really try to dig a little deeper into this beautiful city. I joined Perillo’s Learning Journeys, and the company created a custom itinerary for me to actually “live like a Roman.”

Through Learning Journeys, I signed up for week-long Italian language lessons at Scuola Leonardo da Vinci. Later, I discovered this was the same school that Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, had attended and wrote about in her well-known memoir. After experiencing the school myself, I understood why. Each morning, I would stand shoulder to shoulder with other Romans and order my cappuccino and cornetto from a cafe and then walk into class in an actual Italian palazzo (i.e., a palace). How cool is that? My class of a dozen included a range of foreigners, from a 19-year-old Thai student to a 70-year old retired Australian man. And within this spectacular setting, our teacher, Marta, seemed straight out of a classic Italian movie–she was intelligent, beautiful and charming.

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Scuola Leonardo da Vinci

And actually I did visit the Vatican Museum and the Colosseum again. But this time, Perillo’s Learning Journeys set me up with guides that could have been art history professors at Ivy League colleges. I felt like I experienced these sights for the very first time, and in my mind I could envision ancient Romans living in the city as the stories and paintings were explained. I learned, for example, where Michelangelo had painted a self-portrait in the Sistine Chapel (as St. Bartholomew, a saint who’s identified as being skinned alive) and that Julius Caesar once walked across the same Ponte Cestio bridge that I nonchalantly crossed into the Trastevere neighborhood. I have a whole new appreciation for “tour guides” after this trip. The word “guide” barely does their job justice. They’re more like historical storytellers.

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Another reason I wanted to live like a Roman was simply to take better photographs. People love to say “you can’t take a bad photograph in Rome.” But what they really mean is you can’t take a bad postcard photo. That’s not something I was interested in — taking the same beautiful photo that everyone else has taken a million times over. In fact, taking a good, original photo in any famous city is incredibly difficult. Instead, I wanted to capture a slice-of-life scene of Rome, moments that would invoke a sense of mood or texture and take me right back to the city. You can’t do that if you’re just in Rome for 24 hours following the well-beaten tourist trail.

Each day after my Italian class was over, I’d go on long walks with my camera in hand, and try to capture Romans going about their daily lives — reading a newspaper in a sunny square, walking their dog, drinking espresso… Through these walks, I discovered that my favorite part of Rome is the Trastevere neighborhood, a place I’d only casually visited during my previous trips.

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Ultimately, I found myself not even needing to look at my Google Maps app to find my way around. Instead, I would look for “that Osteria” where I needed to take a left, which would then take me to Piazza Navona; or I realized that if I followed Via di Torre Argentina, a street lined with Italian leather goods shops, it would ultimately lead me to the Pantheon.

What I’m mostly excited about after my Roman experience with Perillo’s Learning Journeys is that the next time I come back to Rome (and I certainly hope I do) I’ll have all these lessons and experiences under my belt, and will feel at least a little bit more like a local. I’ll know how to get from the airport to the city center and then how to find that amazing restaurant near the Trevi Fountain where I had the best cacio e pepe of my life. I’ll know how to make my way between Trastevere and Rome’s historical center without consulting a map constantly. That, to me, makes travel so much more rewarding that crossing another place off the bucket list.

 

Interested in learning more about Tanveer’s journey? Read more about it on AFAR.com, the USTOA Blogand check out Perillo’s Learning Journey Live Like A Roman itinerary.

Tanveer is a travel, hotel, and lifestyle photographer who has explored more than 50 countries. Some trips have led him to photograph luxury hotels on the Amalfi Coast or the Riviera Maya, while others have taken him on long treks in the Bhutanese Himalayas or in search of lemurs in Madagascar. Follow his ongoing travels on Instagram or check out his travel portfolio


By Ben Schuyler, AFAR Ambassador

I’ve often found that when you mention visiting Cuba to someone, it’s undoubtedly the case that you will be asked about a combination of the following things – communism, cigars, rum, music, and classic cars.  It’s not without good reason that these are common topics, but the diversity of this unique Caribbean island avails so much for adventurous souls looking for new paths to explore.

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My time traveling to Cuba with smarTours began at the heart of the country’s biggest city – Havana. Greeted by a local guide and expert on the history of the surrounding architecture in Old Havana, we walked cobblestone streets and learned about the Spanish influence on the colonial-era buildings. I was fascinated by the information being shared, yet I couldn’t help but be distracted as I watched locals navigating their morning. A young couple walked by drinking café cubanos, carrying a newspaper and briefcase. A group of construction workers hauled materials in a wheelbarrow for a restoration project. An old man swept in the park. Each little vignette revealed a more intimate reflection about what daily life as a Cuban could look like. Capturing these moments in my photographs became a theme of how I enjoyed my travel experience.

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The next step in the journey with my travel companions brought us from Havana to the city of Sancti Spíritus, one of the oldest settlements in Cuba and the capitol of the Sancti Spíritus province. We arrived at our hotel to find it perfectly positioned on the edge of Parque Serafín Sánchez, the central park of the city and a meeting place for visitors and locals alike. Late into the evening children gleefully chased one another around a fountain positioned in the middle of the park. Nearby speakers pulsed familiar songs as karaoke patrons did their best to sing along and entertain the on looking crowd. The recent addition of Wi-Fi to the location has made it a popular spot for people to connect for a moment to search the Internet or communicate with loved ones. The pleasant warm breeze paired with a delicious Cuba Libre made for a relaxing time of reflection and people watching.

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Rich in cultural history, Cuba is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of those, we had the pleasure of visiting Old Havana, Cienfuegos, Camaguëy, and Trinidad. A town that thrived in the boom of the sugar cane industry, Trinidad sits adjacent to the Valley de los Ingenios and is now known for producing tobacco. Breathtakingly preserved, I found myself transcendently returning to a time when the sugar trade drove life in the colonial town. The Afro-Cuban influence can be felt and experienced through art, music, and dance in Trinidad at Palenque de los Congos Reales. The performance center exhibits centuries old traditional folklore performed to the steady beat of conga drums. Volunteers keep these stories alive while working other jobs in different fields.

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It’s without question that one of my favorite moments during my time in Cuba was visiting the home and studio of Bernardo Valeriano Casanova Fuentes – ceramic artist based in Camagüey. He spoke only a few words, instead allowing his son to share his story, as he attentively formed piece after piece at his workbench and potter’s wheel. In a matter of ten minutes, Bernardo produced a diverse collection of artifacts from single slab of clay. His property was modest, well lived in, and beautiful. It wasn’t flashy or showy, but encapsulated the sustainable life he has found doing what his loves everyday.

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Cuba has something to offer to all kinds of visitors – classic car enthusiasts, cigar aficionados, history buffs. More than anything, I found for myself that the daily life of the Cuban people was the most intriguing and beautiful facet to my visit.

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Interested in learning more about Ben’s journey?  Read more about it on AFAR.com, the USTOA blog and check out check out smarTour’s The Best of Cuba tour.

A Pacific Northwest native, Ben has spent his life drinking coffee, hiking the Cascade Mountains, and breathing the salty air of the Puget Sound. Ben’s inspiration includes dirt roads, flora, and fauna, and his photographs capture a sense of adventure in warm colors that produce an ambient nostalgia. He recently traveled America to document mobile living: When the Road Is Home.


By John Newton, AFAR Ambassador

Collette's Canada Winter Wonderland

In almost 20 years of working as a travel writer and editor, I’ve often been reminded that a good strategy for experiencing any destination like a local is to visit in the off-season. Paris in July is wonderful, no doubt, but there’s also something appealing about it in November, when the museums and restaurants are less crowded; waiters and shopkeepers are less harried and have more time to stop and chat. It is part of why I jumped at the chance to join the Collette Winter Wonderland trip to the Canadian Rockies in January. While I know that Banff and Jasper Park in the summer must be unbelievably stunning (they are in the winter too), I’ve also heard that along with long summer days come long queues of buses and tourists outnumbering the bears. Here are six lessons in traveling like a local from this trip which I intend to practice on my next one too.

1)     Let a Local Be Your Guide. While the guide on this Collette trip, Daniel Boghen, is Canadian he isn’t from Alberta itself (he’s from Montreal). But having repeatedly led trips in the Canadian Rockies, he knows all the right people. He was able to arrange experiences that aren’t available to most travelers, like an off-hours visit to the Alberta provincial legislature, and knew the best places to stop for postcard perfect shots along the Icefields Parkway.

2)     Opt for Local Transportation. Traveling by train or bus is often a better way to experience a destination the way residents do than exploring in your own rental car. In Alberta in the winter, traveling like a local means putting on a pair of snowshoes or hopping in a dog sled. A snowshoe walk through the woods on this Collette trip was a chance to experience Jasper National Park in all its majesty without any crowds.

Dog Sledding on Collette's Canada's Winter Wonderland

3)     Do Your Homework. Having some context for the sights you see makes every trip richer, and I try to make time to read a history of any country I’m visiting, as well as fiction by one of its leading writers. Daniel made the homework part of traveling easier, providing us with printouts on the geology of the Rockies and explaining, in his lively way, aspects of Canada’s culture and history.

4)     Try Local Foods. From Nanaimo bars (a custard bar with a chocolate base) at the Bear’s Paw Bakery in Jasper to Alberta bison at the elegant Fairview at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, the trip offered a number of opportunities to try local specialties. Sample them, though you may want to beware of eating too many maple candies and desserts unless you follow them with some cross-country skiing or a glacier hike.

5)     Join the Party. Alberta’s winter calendar is crowded with events to help residents get through the cold days till spring returns. Visitors are definitely welcome and our trip coincided with Banff’s SnowDays, complete with illuminated ice sculptures including a castle that served as the entrance to an ice-skating rink on frozen Lake Louise.

Ice Sculpture Collette's Canada's Winter Wonderland

6)     Get Up Close with the Locals. In winter, you won’t be able to see one of the Rockies’ most famous residents, its bears (as they are hibernating), but it becomes easier to spot many other animals—elk, foxes, wolves, mountain sheep, and mountain goats among them—thanks to the white backdrop of snow. Just remember to keep a respectful distance.

Elk Collette's Canada's Winter Wonderland

Interested in learning more about John’s journey? Read more about it on AFAR.com, the USTOA blog and check out Collette’s Canada’s Winter Wonderland itinerary.

John has almost 20 years’ experience in travel, both on staff at Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure and writing for other magazines, newspapers, and websites. He is AFAR’s Branded Content Advisor and the founder of Signal Custom Content, a travel branded content consulting company. His 2016 plans include Ireland, Manitoba, Japan, Netherlands, and California.


From mountains to deserts, from city to sea, Peru’s diverse landscape is as rich as its culture and has had many stories to share since ancient times. Join Kelley Ferro, travel expert and video journalist as she journey’s through Peru with USTOA tour operator Travcoa.

Known as a culinary capital of South America, Peru is the perfect travel destination for foodies. USTOA tour operator member Travcoa introduces travel expert and video journalist Kelley Ferro to local cuisine, markets, restaurants, bartenders and chefs.

Join travel expert, video journalist and contributor to Tripfilms.com Kelley Ferro, as she explores the culturally rich and historic capital city of Lima, the first stop on her private journey through Peru with USTOA tour operator Travcoa.

For more on USTOA’s Travel Together campaign in Peru, click here.


Croatia offers jaw dropping landscape, picturesque towns, incredible local food and a living history that’s felt throughout. Explore Croatia with travel expert and video journalist Kelley Ferro as she cycles through this dynamic country with USTOA member, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.

Ready to explore more? Watch the videos below to experience the incredible culture, landscape and food of Croatia.

Food of Croatia

Local Products in Croatia

The Locals of Croatia

Explore Croatia

Being Active in Croatia


Travel expert, video journalist and contributor to Tripfilms.com, Kelley Ferro picked Taiwan for her first trip to Asia. The island nation has so much to offer; from the energy of the big city to the serenity of postcard-worthy beaches. Explore Taiwan alongside Ferro as she tours its vibrant landscape, culture, history and food with USTOA member Ritz Tours.

Ready to explore more? Watch the videos below to experience the incredible culture, landscape and food of Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Culture

Tropical Countryside

Taiwan’s Cultural Food

Ritual Ceremony

Taiwan’s Street Markets


by Nina Dietzel, AFAR Ambassador

To me, South Africa is one of the most fascinating countries to visit. It is furiously multi-cultural; a young democracy struggling to grow up fast to meet the country’s many challenges.

When I was invited to join Collette’s tour back in April, I was overjoyed, and at the same time I was a little hesitant to accept my assignment. The charge was to ‘travel like a local’ and I wasn’t quite sure how to accomplish that in a group, dashing from highlight to highlight across South Africa.

Tesse Easingwood on top of Table Mountain, Cape Town

T