A communist nation that has long held an aversion to Americans would not necessarily be at the top of my “Must Go To” travel list, but apparently some people think it should be.
Then again, I’m only one traveler and what doesn’t work for me could be the Mona Lisa to someone else.
Travel website TripAdvisor announced this week that Havana, Cuba, has topped “Travelers Choice” list of international tourist destinations on the rise. The explanation is a cultural renaissance has been taking place in recent years and cites salsa clubs, mojitos, the tropical sun and cigar factory tours as some of the things you can enjoy in Havana.
Just don’t bring any Cuban cigars back with you because it’s still illegal.
Now, if you prefer natural beauty, then you’ll probably prefer the No. 2 selection, La Fortuna de San Carlos in Costa Rica. It’s geological array of waterfalls, hot springs and the Arenal volcano are what was cited as pluses for this location.
Rounding out the list are:
• Kathmandu, Nepal
• Jerusalem, Israel
• Cusco, Peru
• Ambergris Caye, Belize Cayes
• Sapporo, Japan
• Hanoi, Vietnam
• Corralejo, Spain
• Fortaleza, Brazil
And if you’re looking for a domestic vacation, there is a list of top 10 U.S. destinations on the rise as well. Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, tops the list with its history as the home of pre-American Hawaii’s kings.
I might challenge this one though because while Honolulu may have always been everyone’s view of Hawaii, the island chain as a whole has been a popular destination for years. Is it really on the rise when the whole state has been popular for years?
Coming in at No. 2 is Anchorage, Alaska, which is noted for its natural beauty. It’s followed by the Spring Break paradise known as Destin, Fla., at No. 3.
Rounding out the rest of the list are:
• Bar Harbor, Maine
• Santa Fe, N.M.
• Jackson, Wyo.
• Galveston, Texas
• Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Moab, Utah
• Gettysburg, Penn.
Sorry folks, but Jonesboro and McDonough just couldn’t make the cut this year.
When taken as a whole, it would appear places where nature’s beauty can be enjoyed are the majority of places that are on the rise in the United States, as opposed to mostly up-and-coming urban centers for the rest of the world.
Sure, Brooklyn is no paradise to look at. Trust me, one whole side of my family tree came through the Park Slope area of Brooklyn in the 20th century. Outside of Prospect Park, it really is no paradise to look at.
Here’s what I recall as attractions from going there every summer for the first 12 years of my life — Prospect Park, Coney Island and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. The rest of it is mostly brownstone after brownstone after brownstone.
It’s also a misnomer, like Kailua-Kona. You see, the area that we know as New York City is actually five boroughs. Brooklyn is one of those buroughs. Are we really supposed to believe any part of New York City (except maybe Staten Island) should ever be considered “on the rise” as a tourist destination?
As far as up-and-coming urban areas go, I think we as travelers can do better. This is, in my opinion, a sneaky way for travelers to get New York City on the list. Either that, or they don’t realize Brooklyn and New York City are basically the same place.
At least two of the other cities on the list, Galveston and Gettysburg, have something going for them. These are smaller communities which may not have the spectacular vistas of Santa Fe, Jackson or Moab. However, they do have their own unique attributes. Galveston has its location on the Gulf of Mexico. Gettysburg has its Civil War significance.
But, then again, that’s just the opinion of this humble traveler.