Fodor’s go list 2019

November 21, 2018, 10:35:05 AM EST

For some of us, travel is a necessity. A luxury, a break, an adventure–yes, but what’s more, it is our true reality. Because when we travel, we are awake. Travel, its ethos of wonder, curiosity, and open-mindedness: it truly makes us alive.

Here at Fodor’s, we spend almost all of our professional time and much of our personal time thinking about where we want to go next. The beauty of the world is immeasurable and its people inimitable. Our annual Go List helps focus our wanderlust. Because travel is more than movement, greater than sightseeing. It is our sustenance and our substance. Here are 52 places that inspire us to get going in 2019.

Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

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A stunning sacred landscape harboring thousands of years of Native American history.

Why it’s Wonderful: One of America’s newest national monuments, this spectacularly rugged landscape is an ancestral crossroads for the Navajo, Ute, Hopi, and Zuni tribes. At its center are the Bears Ears, two sandstone buttes that rise above Cedar Mesalike the ears of a curious bear, which can be seen up to 60 miles away. When it was created in 2016, Bears Ears National Monumentwas nearly 1.5 million acres of deep canyons and flat-topped mesas, ancient ruins, and rock art. A year later, the Trump administrationreduced the protected area by 85 percent,putting its ecological and cultural resources at risk and angering Native American leaders who consider the land sacred. The remaining core of Bears Ears National Monument, fortunately, includes some of the area’s most stunning natural beauty including the northeastern Indian Creek Canyon and its towering Sixshooter Peaks, the southern Valley of the Gods and the Dark Canyon Wilderness to the west. Scattered among these ecological wonders are more than 10,000 archaeological sites dating back 13,000 years like the Monarch Cave Ruin and House on Fire Ruin, ancient cliff dwellings on Comb Ridge.

Where to Stay:At night, the inky skies above Bears Ears National Monument, some of the darkest in the country, are aglow with the light of millions of stars. With no hotels or restaurants within the boundaries of the National Monument, it’s an unearthly performance you can only see by campingin the park overnight. In the Indian Creek region, there are several developed first-come-first-served camping areas including Indian Creek Falls, Hamburger Rock, Creek Pasture, and Superbowl. If you prefer to spend the night in a bed, the nearby towns of Mexican Hat, Bluff, and Blanding offer a handful of accommodations including the updated motel the Hat Rock Inn, the handsome resort the Desert Rose Inn, and the quaintly rustic Valley of the Gods Bed and Breakfast.

Insider Tip: For an extraordinary Bears Ears experience, hoist your pack and spend the night in the backcountry. Bureau of Land Managementbackcountry camping permits cost only $8 per person and will give you a chance to see a side of the monument few people outside of the local indigenous communities have ever seen.

When to Go: In the summer months, extreme heat and flash flooding make Bears Ears National Monument inhospitable. In spring (March through mid-June) and early fall (September through October), temperatures are far more comfortable.

What to Read: Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Earsedited by Jacqueline Keeler

Puerto Rico

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On the enchanted isle of Puerto Rico, the 2019 forecast is sunny and inviting.

Why it’s Wonderful: With rebuilding comes opportunity, and Puerto Rico is making the most of theirs in the wake of fall 2017’s devastating hurricanes. Capital city San Juan mostly bounced back in time for winter’s peak-travel season, as did beach towns like Condado and Isla Verde. All are enjoying new and renovated hotel and restaurant openings and welcoming travelers back with open arms. Activities also have rebounded in full force, from historic tours, coastal sailing trips, and kayaking in San Juan Bay, to Bacardi Distillerymixology lessons, and Farjado’s bioluminescent-bay excursions. Near the Museo de Arte de Puerto Ricoin Santurce, a lively cultural and culinary district has taken root. There, La Placita market serves as a food and nightlife hub, flanked by renowned restaurants like Jose Enriqueand Santaella. La Penultima lounge serves primo cocktails indoors or on the patio, while an array of flavors awaits at the Lote 23“gastronomic park.” Smaller cities across the island continue their recovery in 2019, all part of Puerto Rico’s comeback as one of the Caribbean’s best year-round destinations.

Where to Stay: Old San Juan is home to smaller hotels hopping with urban nightlife, shopping, and dining. But beach lovers may prefer Condado. Its centrally located San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casinohas spacious balcony rooms, plus both a pool area and swath of shore with restaurant service, and live evening salsa music. Early 2019 brings the opening of Condado’s new O:LV Fifty Five, a boutique hotel with a tiered rooftop pool and 26 designer guestrooms with panoramic balconies.

Insider Tip: Old San Juan holds many great attractions, but with a rental car, travelers can explore scenic coastal towns, like Rincon and Arecibo, for dining and adventure. Head east into El Yunque National Forestfor rainforest hikes, bird watching, and waterfall gazing.

When to Go: Winter and spring weather is pure paradise on the island—just reserve far ahead for the best peak-season rates. Atlantic hurricane season is June to November, but intense storms remain rare and good deals await.

What to Read: The House on the Lagoonby Rosario Ferre. And don’t forget to listen to Despacitoby Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi.

Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor’s Puerto Rico Guide

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