It simply isn’t summer without a getaway. So pack your bags and leave your worries behind as you embark on an unforgettable journey to one of our top three favorite international locations. These destinations offer a lively mix of culture, leisure, nature, and sightseeing, so no matter what your ideal vacation involves, you’ll find the perfect escape for you.
Image courtesy of Hotel Nacional de Cuba.
With its antiquated architecture and pops of color, Havana is the perfect backdrop for an Instagram-worthy getaway. Soak up the bygone glamour of Old Havana with its cobblestone streets, classic cars, and vintage wares for sale in the plazas. Stay at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba for elegant, old-world accommodations; dine at the luxurious restaurant Comedor de Aguiar; indulge in the Cuban buffet at La Veranda, or try local food prepared in clay pots at al fresco Creole restaurant La Barraca. Average summer highs are in the upper ‘80s and low ‘90s, so pack plenty of cool clothing like the Betty Drawstring Dress, perfect for a sunset walk down El Malecón, a five-mile sea-side promenade.
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Image courtesy of Fogo Island Inn.
If you want to beat the heat, head north, WAY north, to Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, where temps hover in the ‘60s during the summer months. Huge cliffs, massive waves, and brightly painted row houses make this a quaint but vibrant seaside vacation destination. As a newcomer to the island, you should partake in a tradition known as “screeching” or “kissing the cod.” Essentially, you do just that – kiss a cod fish – and drink a shot of Screech, a local brand of rum.
Wildlife in this province is breathtaking, and your trip won’t be complete until you’ve peeped the epic icebergs, humpback whales, and adorable puffins. History buffs will enjoy the area’s many lighthouses and thousand-year-old Viking settlements. At the end of the day, unwind in a suite at the architecturally stunning Fogo Island Inn. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer an instantly relaxing view of the North Atlantic coastline, and amenities include an art gallery, library, gym, movie theater, wood-fired saunas, and outdoor hot tubs. You’ll be tempted to stay inside, but the surrounding island’s footpaths will beckon you outdoors, where you’ll be able to pick berries and take deep invigorating breathesof the fresh air.
Image courtesy of Fogo Island Inn.
If you’re a Sloane Crosley fan, you’ll recognize Cotopaxi as the snow-capped Ecuadorian volcano at the center of her essay Up the Down Volcano. And if you don’t read her, no big deal, the point remains the same: if a prim East Coast writer can climb one of the country’s highest, most active volcanoes, you can, too. Oh, yes, you can. Your journey begins in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, where you’ll arrange transportation to Cotopaxi state park. En route, drivers may stop at a local village for you to stock up on snacks and last-minute gear (a parka, gloves, and hat are recommended). Make sure to drink a cup of coca tea for energy and to ease altitude sickness before you continue on.
Once you arrive at Cotopaxi state park, you’ll hike to almost 16,000 feet elevation where you’ll find the rustic Jose F. Rivas refuge. There, you’ll meet a diverse array of international adventurers, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in front of the fireplace, and get some shut-eye in one of 50 bunks. Lockers, electricity, and toilets round out the amenities. In the morning, if you’re brave, you’ll continue on to the summit, a steep six-hour ordeal. If you know ahead of time that you’re not up for that intense of a hike, you should arrange with a tour company to ride a mountain bike back down. When you return to Quito, stay at the La Casona de la Ronda Heritage Boutique Hotel, a gorgeously restored colonial hotel in the heart of Quito’s historic district, and enjoy a full night rest.