Lonely Planet US Staff Reveal ‘Bluelist’ aka ‘Hot Picks’ for 2007

  • 17 January 2000
  • USA

To inspire travelers’ adventures in the new year, Lonely Planet has just published “BLUELIST,” a 260-page compendium of top places to go and things to do around the world, compiled from our globe-girdling staff, authors and on-the-road travelers. In addition to profiles of 30 hotter-than-ever countries, the book contains 40 bluelists of recommendations in such categories as “Best Adventure Travel Ideas,” “Dining on the Wild Side,” “Best Music & Place Combinations,” “Most Deserted Islands,” and “Tourist Traps Worth the Stay.”

With these in mind, we asked our U.S-based staffers to choose their three top hot spots for 2007.  We compiled their responses and came up with our collective bluelist. Wondering where to go in the new year? Here are our recommendations, along with staffers’ comments.

Number ten: three-way tie among Cuba, Mexico and India.

Cuba: “The days of Cuba under Fidel are numbered; this makes the country more than ever a must-see for culturally and politically curious travelers.”

Mexico: “Mexico offers a vibrant culture and delicious regional cuisine far beyond the American taco-burrito-tostada staples; it’s tropical, easy to get to, and cheap. Music-lovers should be sure to check out Mexico City’s thriving underground music scene.” 

India: “From the Taj to Kerala, Darjeeling to Rajasthan, India is one of the world’s treasurehouses – if you want to change your perspective on life, go there!”

Number nine: Greece. “After the obligatory course in Ruins 101 – the Acropolis, Delphi, etc. – savvy travelers are heading off the beaten track to islands like Amorgos, rich in windmills and monasteries, or the Peloponnesian region of Arcadia, which offers an alluring and relatively unexplored combination of medieval mountain villages, Mycenean palaces, Frankish fortresses, precipitous ravines and picturesque plateaus. Urban lovers should be sure to visit Thessaloniki, too, the country’s number two city with a cuisine and character all its own.”

Number eight: Spain. “Be sure to visit San Sebastian on the northern Basque coast. From Art Nouveau architecture to world-class restaurants – would you believe 13 Michelin stars? – this place is definitely hot! If you’re a foodie, treat yourself to a feast of new Basque cuisine at Arzak.”

Number seven: Nicaragua. “Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in which to travel in Central America; it has the wonderful cities of Leon and Granada, the Isla de Ometepe, rainforests, beaches, the famed Miskito coast and the Corn Islands, and a distinctive national identity. Go!”

Number six: Turkey. “I love Turkey for the numerous ancient sites, gorgeous coast and unique architecture – and the spice markets, mosques, and Turkish coffee in tiny cafes.”

Number five: Brazil. “Tropical, sexy Brazil has always had its lures — pristine beaches, music-filled cities with pulsing nightlife, the lush Amazon rain forest, wildlife-watching in the Pantanal. But the tourism scene in Brazil is really taking off now. Top-end boutique hotels — including the new Philippe Starck creation, the Fasano in Rio de Janeiro — are springing up to meet the demand. The dining scene in Rio and especially São Paulo is fantastic. Carnaval is always popular, and this summer’s Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro (July 13-29) are expected to draw 500,000 tourists and 5000 athletes from 42 countries.”

Number four: Argentina. “The country’s got fabulous food and wine, culture and countryside; it’s warmly welcoming to travelers, safe and still very affordable due to exchange rates. And American visitors don’t even have to adjust to halfway-around-the-globe time zone changes. Argentina offers a bounty of glories at bargain prices.”

Number three: Morocco. “Scenic landscapes and exotic cities such as Marrakech and Fez, rich history and culture, great adventure and beach activities, and easy access from Spain will combine to make this the travel hit of 2007.”

Number two: USA. From Hawaii (“tropical, safe, great culture and natural beauty”) to New Orleans (“people want to see what has become of their beloved place and still want to enjoy its fruits, or help it return to its full glory”) to Brooklyn (“hot art and restaurant scenes, still with neighbourhood intimacy”), the USA is poised for a great year..

Number one: And the winner for the 2007 hot spot is — China! “For its diverse landscapes, amazing culture, world heritage sites and general affordability – not to mention its accelerating emergence as a power on the world stage – China is the place to visit this year. Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong all warrant some travel time, but travelers who really want to understand China should get out into the rural areas where 70 percent of the population still lives. There the old foundations of the new China are poignantly revealed.”

That’s our bluelist for 2007. What’s yours? Share your picks for 2007 at lonelyplanet.com/bluelist.  And happy travels in the new year!