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Sundance Travel celebrates travel to all the Sunny places in the world. Sometimes these places are hot and sometimes they are quite cold and sunny even though that seems to be a contradiction in terms. This will be an overview of some of your options!
Sunny and Hot
Pretty much anywhere near the equator counts unless it also happens to be high altitude. You have your choice of tropical rain forests, veldts, deserts, whatever suits your fancy. Sometimes it could be all on one trip.
Most people know the US options fairly well. You have the beaches and amusement parks such as Disney World in Florida, along with the Everglades, Kennedy Space Center and other attractions. More on the hot and humid side. Moving across, you have New Orleans with the great restaurants and night clubs and Mardi Gras. Also hot and humid. Then you move across to Texas with coastal areas being humid and inland frequently dry. Houston being a big hub for the oil and gas industry as well as home to NASA Space Center.
Dallas and Fort Worth with a wide range of businesses and cultural attractions. San Antonio with its famed Riverwalk and El Paso with parks with cactus, coyotes and golden eagles. Now you are in the really dry area with the lovely stark landscapes in New Mexico and Arizona with amazing rock formations and desert flora. There is Carlsbad Caverns, Albuquerque, Taos and Santa Fe in New Mexico and the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Saguaro National Park and Phoenix in Arizona. Finally we come to Southern California with San Diego and its Hispanic flavor and the coast area and the influence of the Navy base. And then there is Los Angeles. The more we have gone there, the more we have liked it (except for the traffic). There are so many things to do and see there that that will be for another time.
This is dominated by Mexico in terms of geographic size. What many people think of when they think of Mexico are the beach resorts such as Cancun. Then you have Mexico City built on top of the capital of the Aztecs with all its colonial Spanish architecture. But you also have Aztec and Mayan ruins in a number of places around Mexico. The Mayan ruins match anything you find in Egypt or other areas of the world. There are fabulous Mayan ruins in other Central American countries as well.
A perfect place to take a sailing vacation, such as the British Virgin Islands. Great snorkeling and scuba diving and sail boarding on many of the islands. Some are flat and some are mountainous and/or volcanic. There are many resorts. Just a lovely place to spend time and many different places to visit.
The north part of South America has a variety of climates and terrain and also in places troubles with drugs. Brazil is a huge country with possibly as many climates as the US. The most dominant influence is the Amazon whose size is hard to comprehend unless you can see it. Especially in the rainy season. Although on the southern end of the country, Rio de Janeiro and its beaches are still sun spashed. Then you have Peru with the Incan ruins, the most famous of which is Machu Picchu, along with older civilizations such as the Chico, Nazca, Moche and Wari.
Africa is further north than you might think. The equator runs through the middle of it, below the bulge at the top and below the Sahara desert. The countries along the Mediterranean Sea are probably the best known and most visited. Morocco with Casablanca and Marrakesh is etched into our minds thanks to the movies. The coast has a lovely climate. As you go inland and get to the Sahara it gets desolate but no less beautiful. Algeria and Libya haven’t been vacation spots because of political turmoil but Tunisia has an interesting and generally more moderate history. Ancient Carthage, an important port for the ancient Greeks and Romans is close to modern Tunis, the capital. And then, of course, there is Egypt with the pyramids, sphinxes and other amazing buildings of the ancient Egyptians. Some of the countries are very poor and the amenities not very good. Some countries don’t even have a hospital and have significant political unrest. Kenya is one country that stands out in a positive way along with its southern neighbor Tanzania. Tanzania has Mount Kilimanjaro and both countries have a number of big game parks which attract people from around the world.
Although it is well north of the Equator, the countries along the Mediterranean have a lovely sunny climate. Spain, Portugal (although it is actually on the Atlantic), southern France, Italy, Greece and Turkey all have a plethora of things to see and do. These will also be the subject of other posts.
We doubt anyone is hankering to go to Syria right now. Unfortunate because of its rich history, in more stable times it would be a wonderful place to go. Beirut used to be an absolutely wonderful city and Lebanon was one of the nicest countries to visit. Civil war for 20 years kind of did that in. It is more stable now but the State Department still has a warning about it. Being next door to Syria doesn’t help. Saudi Arabia is a possibility as is Jordan, but basically most of the Middle East is not the greatest place for Americans and Europeans to vacation. The one exception would be Israel and even that has problems with terror attacks.
India and Sri Lanka
In the north of course are the Himalayas, but India is a huge country and in the south is quite sunny and tropical. The most famous site is the Taj Mahal. There are many other things such as the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Wind built so royal women could look at what was happening in the outside world without being seen by anyone outside the palace. There are national parks with tigers and elephants. With long coasts there are many beaches such as Varkala beach. Qutb Minar is the second highest minaret in the world and is build of red sandstone and marble bricks with inscriptions from the Koran on them. Mysore Palace is actually 7 different palaces and is absolutely incredible. Then there is the Lake Palace which is built in the middle of a lake and has been converted into a 5 star hotel.
Asia and Australia
There are wonderful resorts in Thailand. The younger crowd has made Viet Nam a destination. Then there are the many islands such as Bali that are popular. Probably the biggest draw though is Australia. There is not much going on in the interior except Ayers Rock and Alice Springs. Then there are all the coastal cities such as Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and of course Sydney with its famous Sydney Opera House. And of course all the beaches and the sailing.
Sunny and Cold
If we are getting cold, might as well go whole hog. Trips to Antarctica are not cheap but people rave about the experience. Typically ships are taken from the tip of South America to the Palmer peninsula area. Plenty of ice bergs and also penguins and various types of seals.
Unless you are a fan of Sibera, not a good choice.
Alaska and Northern Canada
Nothing much going on in Northern Canada unless you are going on a hunting or fishing expedition. You can experience the sun 24 hours a day or close to it in the summer in much of Alaska. Taking a cruise along the coast is absolutely spectacular. There are many other natural wonders further inland as well such as Denali National Park.
Scandinavia and Iceland
For cold and sun, Scandinavia and Iceland can’t be beat. Although when it is sunny it really isn’t all that cold. Quite the experience to go into a night club when it is light out and come out and it is still light. Scandinavians know how to enjoy the sun and the summer. (They also have really good window blinds for when they want to sleep in the summer.) We are convinced the Finns invented the sauna because that is the only way anyone would go into the water. Jumping into the water during or after a sauna is breath taking. Helsinki is a wonderful city but also get to Turku, Finland the ancient capital. Of all the capitals, we like Stockholm the best. Lots of things to do and see. In Norway, Oslo is great but for an amazing train ride take the train from Oslo to Bergen. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. Don’t forget Copenhagen in Denmark. Touring the Carlsberg brewery is fun.