Nat Geo’s 2017 Best Travel Photos

When it comes to the outdoors and photos, it’s hard to come close to the contributors for National Geographic. We look at our own DSLR cameras and wonder if they working properly! Cheers to all the amazing photographers who have the patience and eye to catch such beauty in a single frame.

“Our photo editors chose the most the striking travel photos from the past year. Board the longest train ride in India, sail on the world’s largest cruise ship, and venture to the Nevada desert for Burning Man.” (National Geographic) 

VIEW THE BEST TRAVEL PHOTOS OF 2017

 

Bún Chả – A Taste of Hà Nội, Vietnam

Bún chả is a Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and noodles, thought to have originated from Hanoi, Vietnam and not found many other places in Vietnam. Bún chả is served with grilled fatty pork over a plate of white rice noodles and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce. Many places also include Nem, which are fried spring rolls – always say yes to Nem.

Bún chả is RIDICULOUSLY GOOD and relatively simple to make. Food is the way to people’s hearts, so here’s a step-by-step way to influence people and make friends!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZJzTScgB-c

 

Hiking Concepción – Ometepe, Nicaragua

Concepción is one of the tallest volcanoes in Nicaragua. Located on Ometepe Island, in Lake Nicaragua, this volcano sits at 5,280 feet above the lake. This active volcano hasn’t had a major eruption in the last 50 years, but did shoot out an ash cloud in 2010.

The hike starting in La Flor is very rocky, which makes for a challenging descent and long overall trek. The first part of the hike leads through farmland and into the jungle. As you break the tree line and approach the summit, the trail becomes very steep and you’ll feel a strong, cold wind. From the top of the volcano, you’ll gaze into the middle and feel warmth, with a panoramic 360 degree backdrop of Nicaragua from the Pacific to the Caribbean coast. Otherwise, you’ll be in the middle of a perpetually spinning cloud that circles the peak of the volcano. We had both and each contributed to the overall amazing feeling we all shared!

When planning this challenging climb, we suggest not drinking heavily the night prior, we weren’t hungover until several hours in and then it was rough. It can totally be a 9-10 hour climb roundtrip, I think we did it in about 8, but we were trailblazing and passing people the entire time.

PACK LIST

  • Hiking Boots
  • Water (plenty of it)
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Lightweight jacket – it can be windy at the top

On the way up, ask you guide to find you some red bananas, they can be found on the hike and our guide had some stashed for energy. They are dense and super tasty, we welcomed the energy near the halfway point.

Everyone in our group was fit and experienced hikers, and pretty much dismissed other people’s accounts of it being really challenging – but it was a legit challenge so be prepared. You’ll be handsomely rewarded once you hit the summit.

 

5-Days in Hanoi

Sometimes referred to as “Paris of the Orient”, Hanoi is equally as exciting and lovable with every cafes on every corner and street food in-between. There are so many things to do and see in Hanoi, we thought it best to create a must hit list with museums, unique food, and cultural experiences.

  • Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Restored Sword), take some nice pictures on the Red Bridge, enjoy some ice-cream on Trang Tien Street
  • Water puppet show, 57b Dinh Tien Hoang Street (show time: 3:30, 5:00, 6:00, 8:00, 9:15 pm)
  • Tran Quoc Pagoda, oldest Buddhist pagoda in Hanoi
  • Museum of Ethnology, Nguyen Van Huyen Street (a must if you want to see a broader picture of Vietnam’s 54 peoples. Closes on Mondays)
  • Temple of Literature (first university of Vietnam)
  • Tan My Design, 66 Hang Gai Street (3 generations of Hanoi’s finest silk and embroidery products) Hillary Clinton bought a scarf here
  • Hoa Lo/Hanoi Hilton prison, Pete Peterson the first ambassador to unified Vietnam and Senator John McCain used to be prisoners here
  • Drink some ‘Bia Hoi’ in Ta Hien beer street. Remember to cheer others with ‘Mot, hai,ba dzo’ (1,2,3 bottom up!) if you want to be like a local
  • The Hung Snake Restaurant – cobras are selected and cooked for you 10 different ways
  • Bun cha Huong Lien, 24 Le Van Huu Street (famous diners include Barack Obama and chef Anthony Bourdain)
  • Giang Cafe, 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street (famous for egg coffee) (a must)
  • Pho Thin, 13 Lo Duc Street (very famous for noodle soup with chicken)
  • Cha Ca La Vong (grilled fish)
  • Book a cyclo tour if you want (make sure to bargain and agree on the number or hours and price before getting on one)

 

The Food of Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires literally has it all, gorgeous people, sultry underground jazz clubs, spectacular architecture, and heavenly meat.

A Few Terms You Should Know Prior to Eating 

Parrilla: Translates to both steakhouse and the actual grill
Bodegones: Classic Buenos Aires neighborhood eateries serving local comfort foods like grilled meats, pastas, and beef or chicken
Asado: Barbecue, also the shortened term for tira de asado, short or long ribs
Puerta Cerrada: Closed door restaurant, by reservation only, generally in the chef’s home, serving a fixed tasting menu
Cenar: To eat dinner, typically quite late, around 9 p.m. to 11 p.m

Here’s some spots that we drooled over and you shouldn’t miss.

Don Julio

When people around the world talk about eating meat, they are all talking about Don Julio – Carnivore Heaven. While Don Julio is no longer a secret, the upscale steakhouse still captures the hearts and stomachs of locals and travelers. This is the place to experience what the Argentine parrilla is all about: top grass-fed sirloin, rump, and skirt steak, crispy sweetbreads, and Malbec by the bottles. Since eating here, we wake up with drool on our pillow and steak on our minds many mornings…

I Latina

If you’ve eaten enough beef to get the “meat sweats”, yes that’s a thing, then I Latina will round you out with some balanced nutrition that is absolutely delicious. With a refined spin on Caribbean flavors, a seafood-rich menu that features Colombian, Peruvian, and Argentine ingredients, the contrasting flavors will delight your palete. Standout dishes include a tropical play on ceviche served with mango, fresh coconut, and lychee and a deconstructed arepa—pulled beef and citrus avocado salad on top of a crispy patacón—showcasing varying temperatures and textures.

Cafe Rivas

Café Rivas feels like it would be the corner spot that you’d always go to for comfort food, if you also wanted a serious wine selection. Located in a beautiful two-story building on the corner of a cobblestone street in San Telmo, it has an old world ambiance accompanied by live piano music on weekends. It’s an awesome chill spot to grab a bite.