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Best In Travel 2017

Strike out across the planet in the coming year for pink sand beaches, underground trampoline parks, solar eclipses and much, much more
Glacial runoff colours the waters of Peyto Lake an icy blue, in western Canada’s Banff National Park

1 » DON’T MISS

The best way to experience Canada’s wilderness is via its impressive national parks system. (Banff National Park is pictured here.) Admission to all 47 parks is free in 2017.

CANADA

Bolstered by the wave of positivity unleashed by its energetic new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and with dynamic cities that dominate global livability indexes – plus its reputation for inclusiveness and impeccable politeness – the world’s second-largest country will usher in its sesquicentennial in 2017 in rollicking good health. Marking 150 years since confederation, the birthday party promises to be heavy on bonhomie and highly welcoming to international gate-crashers. The weak Canadian dollar means visitors should have plenty of pocket money to spend on Canada’s exciting fusion food and mysteriously underrated wine. For more on Canada, see our feature on the Yukon (p44).

2 » DON’T MISS

Wander the walled Old Town of Cartagena, with its sun-soaked streets, Spanish-built churches and bougainvillea-draped courtyards.

COLOMBIA

Decades of civil war and violent crime meant Colombian passport stamps were once for hardcore travellers only. Fast-forward to the present day, and the lost years seem but a dust speck in Colombia’s rear-view mirror. There are no world wonders here, but the country’s mix of vibrant culture, nature and hospitality is a rich tapestry woven by welcoming arms. More than a decade into its dramatic aboutface, this South American jewel is even expecting a visit from the world’s No. 1 Catholic. When Pope Francis kisses Colombian soil in 2017, it will mark the Andean nation’s first papal visit in 30 years. Turn to our Great Escape feature (p59) for more.

4 » DON’T MISS

Feel the mist from a pounding waterfall on a rainforest walk along the 115-mile Waitukubuli Trail; each of its 14 segments is designed to be done in a day.

DOMINICA

Locals joke that if Christopher Columbus rose from the grave and returned to the Caribbean, Dominica is the only island he would still recognise. One glimpse of its prehistoric ferns and deserted shores, and you’ll see what they mean. For decades, an absence of shiny white beaches has helped keep at bay the resort development that has swept through other parts of the Caribbean. Coconut palms are the only skyscrapers you’ll see here. Visit before Dominica gets its first large-scale chain resorts in 2018, which will pave the way for a new era of tourism.

Blueberry-picking in Finland. ABOVE RIGHT The historic church of San Pedro Claver in Cartagena, Colombia. BELOW RIGHT A beach near Portsmouth, Dominica
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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - December 2016
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