Best of CH 2022: Travel

The realization of longtime dreams and magnificent returns to much-loved places

In 2022, many of us eagerly returned to travel for inspiration and education—to destinations within the US as well as countries and continents far away. After years strict precautions, many borders once again opened to tourists. Now, as we take to the road or jettison into the skies, it’s important to consider the impact travel has on the planet and to always be respectful to locals and the land. The trips we highlight below represent the realization of longtime dreams and magnificent returns to much-loved places.

Courtesy of Tswalu

On Safari in South Africa’s Tswalu Kalahari Private Wildlife Reserve

Certain rarefied destinations do have it all—a dazzle of skeptical zebras; a pride of lions at rest after a fresh feast; a whimsical quiver tree, stretching upward beside a luxuriant, low-impact accommodation; a Michelin-starred chef serving astonishing splendors in a subterranean cavern, surrounded by nothing but nature; a conservation organization with superb anti-poaching units. All of this and more is found at Tswalu, a private wildlife reserve across 280,000 acres on the red sands of South Africa’s Kalahari desert. From industry-leading pangolin research to sunrise game drives across neighboring biomes, Tswalu exceeds the high expectations of a safari experience… Read more.

Courtesy of Bona Furtuna Farms

Road Trip: Ancient Pasts and Agrarian Futures in Western Sicily

Sicily feels like its own continent—a wild landscape of mountains that tumble into the sea, waterfront villages where fishermen cast off into an azure sea and sun-drenched farmlands rolling into the distance. The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily has an epic past and was successively colonized by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and Spanish (and that’s an abbreviated list). Layers of history await around every corner, but Sicily is also a place of thoughtful contemporary innovation. Spectacular resorts, spellbinding public art and an ever-growing community of organic wineries make this island a prime destination for road tripping. While many flock to the island’s eastern shores to explore beloved beach towns like Taormina and the volcanic landscapes of Mount Etna, you should also set your sights on the island’s western reaches—it’s here that you’ll get a glimpse of authentic Sicily that’s worlds away from the tourist crowds… Read more.

Courtesy of Rosewood

Word of Mouth: Santa Fe

Santa Fe, known as Oga Po’geh (meaning white shell water place) to the Tewa people, has a long history that imbues everything there. Located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it’s a place that was—and remains—home to Indigenous people for thousands of years, before being declared a region of New Spain, then a territory of independent Mexico, before being “gained” by the United States as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The third highest city in the country, it sits at 7,198 feet above sea level and is a true treasure within the vast, picturesque desert. Everybody has their must-see list—many of which will include The Matador (a classic dive bar with a 67-person capacity) to The Shed (famed for its red chile), the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and Meow Wolf—and while we certainly can attest to those being worthwhile spots to visit, here are our favorite experiences and places in Santa Fe… Read more.

Courtesy of SYS Sister Sounds

Pho The Girls’ Women-Empowering DJ Workshops in Hanoi, Vietnam

When night falls in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, Vietnam, an electric energy appears. Bar promoters boasting venues’ offerings spill onto the street, where large, lively groups of patrons imbibe amidst a smörgåsbord of music emitted from closely packed clubs. Behind the turntable, a growing number of women DJs are paving the way for a more gender- and sexually-inclusive scene in Vietnam’s nightlife. At the forefront of this movement is Pho The Girls—a DJ workshop for women and nonbinary people presented by collective SYS Sister Sounds. The collective is empowering girls and gender nonconforming individuals to take up space in the music and club industries… Read more.

by David Graver

Word of Mouth: Saint-Pierre and Miquelon

In the brisk North Atlantic, situated off the southern coast of the Canadian province of Newfoundland, the remote archipelago of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon embodies a charming cultural amalgam. Covered in fragrant boreal forests and sometimes mystical layers of fog, the island chain is a French territory—it’s part of France, not French Canada as one might assume from its position on a map. As such, the currency is the euro and power outlets are European. The language is French, not French Canadian, and the islands are smattered with epicurean delights associated with the Metropole (meaning the motherland, and what people from the islands call France)… Read more.

Courtesy of Tanveer Badal for Habitas Bacalar

A Tranquil Oasis in Quintana Roo, Habitas Bacalar

Bacalar—located in the southern part of Quintana Roo, not far from Mexico’s border with Belize—was founded between 415 and 435 CE by Mayan people. Its name derives from the Mayan “siyan ka’an bakjalal” meaning “place surrounded by reeds where the sky is born.” The jungle-dense, colorful and enchanting place is home to the glorious La Laguna de Los Siete Colores (Lagoon of Seven Colors) where, at any time of the day, the crystalline water might appear electric blue, turquoise, teal, emerald green or anywhere in between. The freshwater lagoon is bordered by mangroves, reeds and stramolites, and the oasis that is Habitas Bacalar provides a sublime view of it all… Read more.

Courtesy of Neighborhood Wine

Word of Mouth: Wine Bars in Melbourne’s Northside

From beloved, dependable classics that have been around for decades to those that opened within the last few months, wine bars abound in Melbourne, Australia. While there are several essentials in the city itself (including the hallowed City Wine Shop), the majority of dynamic wine bars are on the north side—in neighborhoods like Brunswick, Collingwood, Carlton and Fitzroy. More than cozy spaces to sip on thoughtfully made and carefully selected wines, these spots also offer incredible food and vibrant atmospheres that can turn a quick snack into a long, boozy lunch; a casual hangout into a romantic date; or an evening drink into an all-night adventure…. Read more.

Courtesy of Arctic Bath Hotel / Viggo Lundberg

Arctic Bath Hotel’s Luxurious Way to Reconnect With Nature

The jolt of a bracing ice bath is just one of the charms of northern Sweden’s aptly named Arctic Bath Hotel, which is about to have its first full summer season. The experience means heading outside into the frosty wilds of Swedish Lapland and facing a small hole that’s cut into the frozen Luleå river, upon which the entire hotel sits. The water that swirls underneath is most certainly not warm. (Winter daytime temperatures hover in the single digits, while evening temperatures dip as low as -28 degrees Fahrenheit.) No matter, you step onto the ice in a bathing suit and dive right in. It’s an exhilarating feeling… Read more.

Courtesy of Life House

Word of Mouth: Little Havana, Miami

Little Havana is arguably one of Miami’s most dynamic neighborhoods, yet finds itself often overlooked by out-of-town visitors who tend to default to the beach-centric revelry of South Beach. A longtime enclave for Spanish-speaking transplants from the Caribbean (namely Cuba), as well as other Central and South American countries, Little Havana flourishes as an unapologetically authentic hub of Latin culture, cuisine and tradition. Designated a “national treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Calle Ocho (Southwest 8th Street) is its iconic nucleus: a bustling thoroughfare lined with coffeehouses, cigar shops, pastelerias and landmarks like the 1926 Tower Theatre. Tap the experts at Little Havana Walking Tour for a guided excursion throughout the barrio’s best pockets or discover the neighborhood’s cherished spots on your own… Read more.

Courtesy of The Lodge at St Edward State Park

Inside Washington State’s The Lodge at St Edward Park

Several sensations vie for attention when one pulls up to The Lodge at St Edward Park, located on the banks of Lake Washington and mere minutes from Seattle, Washington. There’s the awe set off by the boutique hotel’s landmarked Romanesque Revival architecture, there’s the peace and serenity wafting from the enveloping Pacific Northwest forests and there’s curiosity over a restorative transformation that turned a decaying structure into a contemporary hospitality epicenter. And this is only the start. A stay at The Lodge at St Edward is one of comfort and discovery, underscored by access to 326 wooded acres and 3,000 feet of freshwater shoreline… Read more.

Hero image courtesy of Tanveer Badal for Habitas Bacalar