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Category: Lifestyle

The Insider’s Guide: 5 Ways to Get to Know the Real Morocco

If Morocco represents the kind of exotic travel you’ve always dreamed of, your dilemma may be deciding on how best to spend limited time in a country that is so diverse. Morocco is vast and distinctive, from the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert, from the magical blue town of Chefchaouen to the fishing village of Essaouira, which has become a modern surfing destination. What is the “real” Morocco? Here are five suggestions.

Dine with a Berber Family

Some Berber mountain villages welcome visitors and it’s possible to visit a family for mint tea, a simple meal, or even an overnight homestay. An ideal way to experience the unique culture of indigenous Moroccans, such visits are included in some tours. If you plan to be near Tagounite Village at the edge of the Sahara desert, inquire about visiting a Berber home at Draa Oasis.  

Visit the tanneries in Fez

Take your pick from three major tanneries in the city — all of them manually strip the hair from animal hides and dye them with color created from natural pigments, the way it’s been done for centuries. It’s “pungent,” done with natural ammonia (from pigeon poo), but tannery visitors are supplied with sprigs of mint to help temper the stench. Mint is used to produce green dye as well. The red comes from poppies, the blue from indigo, and saffron creates the rich yellow. Marvel at the colorful array from your vantage point on nearby rooftops. 

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Experience a Hammam

This is a cultural experience, not simply an invigorating soak and massage for tired muscles. The cleansing and rejuvenating ritual has its roots in an era when private plumbing was unavailable, and both men and women went to public baths. It’s a pampering experience that no visitor should miss, whether you go solo, with a partner, or with a group of friends. Enjoy a steam bath, hot and cold plunges, skin exfoliation, therapeutic argan oil massage, or a rejuvenating full-body clay treatment, and emerge relaxed and refreshed. 

Roses — in Morocco?

You bet, the Kelaat M’Gouna Rose Festival is unique to Morocco, held for two days on the second weekend in May. At other times of the year, the valley is worth a visit to see its palm trees, clay homes, and traditional mosques, all with the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains. The scenery is breathtaking and, if you’re lucky enough to visit when the roses are in bloom, you’ll never forget the scent — or the sight — of the spectacular pink flowers that are used both in Moroccan cuisine and for world-renowned lotions and cosmetics.

Make Time for a Prayer

The Hassan II Mosque, on the Atlantic seawall in Casablanca, the largest in Africa, has a striking minaret stands 690 feet tall, and is fitted with a laser beam directed toward Mecca. Remnants of other mosques, including the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalen, the Grand Mosque of Damascus and the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh were used in its construction.

Finally, try to spend at least part of a night stargazing, whether from a peak in the Atlas range, or from the desert dunes. The stars above Morocco just seem to be closer and brighter than most other places on earth. Study the constellations beforehand so that you can recognize them! It’s an experience you won’t soon forget, and it’s worth missing out on sleep!

The Culture Guide: 5 Things You Should Not Do When Visiting Italy

Oh, beautiful Italy, home to magnificent Florence, Rome, and the Tyrolean Alps. It’s a sight to behold and the home of beautiful villages, lakes, islands, and Mediterranean beaches. Italy also has some of the craziest drivers you’ve ever seen that take pride in their Ferraris and Turbo Fiats.

Italians are proud of their culture, which is often very dysfunctional, engaging, and sometimes challenging. A few things shouldn’t be done when visiting Italy, and we’re here to clue you in.

Never Commit the Ultimate Sin; Cheese on Pasta with Fish

Throughout history, numerous Italian leaders have been exiled from the country. Italians may change their governments as frequently as most of us change our pants, but they’ll want to exile you too if you put cheese on top of pasta that includes seafood. This is a culture that touts the wonderful flavor of its food and takes the greatest of pains to ensure every bite is an experience. The chef wants to know that you found the food amazing, not committed something tantamount to the ultimate food sin of covering the flavor of the fish with cheese.

Don’t Wear Shorts to a Church

The artwork in Italian churches is legendary. Walking into the Duomo in Florence, you see some of Michaelangelos’ most marvelous masterpieces. As the origination country of the church, Italians truly value their Catholic tradition, and it is important to respect it.

Jeans are acceptable but don’t wear shorts, tank tops, or flip-flops into these hallowed places if your wish to be respectful.

Don’t Plan on the Trains Being on Time

In northern European countries, trains always run on time; that is rarely the case in southern Europe. A more relaxed approach to life results in trains that can be epically late. In fact, don’t expect punctuality at all. Many shops and restaurants will close at lunchtime when Italians slowly savor their flavorful food.

Do Not Expect English to be Spoken

Almost everyone is fluent in English in Germany, as it is a compulsory subject in German schools. This is not the case in Italy, English is not widely spoken, and Italians don’t really have no desire to do so. Thankfully modern smartphone apps are available to help.

Whatever you do, please don’t yell English words. Yelling doesn’t make them any more effective or translatable.

Don’t Cut Your Spaghetti, Ever

Yes, there is pasta etiquette, and an Italian never wants to see their famous noodles end up in pieces. You will see looks of pure terror. The proper method is to roll your spaghetti around your fork with the assistance of the plate. By doing so, the essence of this dish is fully respected.

Don’t let these tips scare you away from Italy, though. It is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, filled with incredible, iconic art, amazing views, fashion, historical places, and tasty food. It’s magical and a little crazy all at once, making for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which is also why you’ll find yourself returning again and again.

5 No-Make-Up Techniques to Have a More Attractive Face

Makeup is fantastic at helping women look their best. It can thicken thin eyebrows, cover up blemishes, brighten under eye circles, and enliven sallow cheeks. It’s one of the best tools women have for looking more attractive.

The problem with makeup is that it’s often used as a “Band-aid”. In other words, it covers up problems instead of fixing them. This means that when the makeup comes off, you may end up looking like a completely different person — and that’s not ideal.

For a myriad of reasons, it can be beneficial and advantageous to feel and look your best without having to rely on the crutch of makeup. 

Below, we’ve outlined 5 of our favorite tips for looking more attractive without the use of makeup. Here we go!

5 Tips for a More Attractive Face Without Makeup

1. Solidify a quality skincare routine.

You should have a morning skincare routine and a nighttime skincare routine. Make sure you have a cleanser and a moisturizer for both. These are the bare minimum requirements, but if you’d like, you can also add in a toner, an exfoliator, an emulsifying balm, or other products to combat things like wrinkles and acne.

2. Do some deep work

It’s a fact that more attractive faces tend to be smiling faces – if you’re happy, relaxed, and confident, your face will probably be at its most attractive. So remember to do something for yourself every so often – get a massage, play a sport that you like, make time for friends and be kind to yourself. If you feel like it’s gotten a little difficult to pick yourself up, consider speaking to your doctor or a professional therapist.

3. Perfect your eyebrows.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, the eyebrows are the curtains — and anyone who’s owned a bedroom knows that curtains can make or break the design of a room.

Many women struggle with unshapely, thin, over-plucked (or overgrown) eyebrows. Fix your eyebrows once and for all by having them sculpted by a professional eyebrow artist. Dyeing or tinting, laminating, waxing, plucking, threading, and tattooing are all options depending on what eyebrow issues you struggle with.

4. Improve the way you eat.

What you eat affects the way you look. If you don’t consume a healthy diet, you may have skin issues because of it.

To improve your overall nutrition, try to cut out as many processed foods and sugars as possible. Move toward more whole foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, seafood, and healthy fats and oils. 

Finally, drink more water. Yes, you can actually hydrate your skin from the inside out!

5. Protect your skin from the sun.

Lastly, don’t let your skin succumb to sun damage, including lines, wrinkles, sunspots, and discoloration. Every day, whether it’s sunny or cloudy, use sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend at least an SPF 50 protectant. Additionally, whenever possible, cover your face with a hat and sit in the shade. You’ll enjoy beautiful skin for years to come this way.

While makeup certainly has its place in a woman’s beauty arsenal, it goes without saying that every girl wants to feel attractive without having to cover up blemishes, dark under eye circles, patchy skin, and other skin issues. Use the tips above to help you achieve skin you can feel confident about — even without makeup.

A Beginner’s Guide to Breaking into Backpacking

Do you enjoy the outdoors? Are you looking for a new great adventure? Or, are you looking for a way to convince yourself to spend more time in nature? Backpacking might be just what the doctor ordered.

Backpacking is a super fun sport that allows you to really escape and enjoy nature at a different level. It can be a fantastic mix of relaxing, invigorating, and adventurous. But before you strap on a pack and hit the wilderness, there are some things you’ll want to know — especially if you’ve never gone backpacking before.

1. Start Short and Comfortable 

Backpacking is an extremely rewarding outdoor experience, but there is a level of risk involved that needs to be taken seriously. 

You are about to carry everything you need to basically survive in nature for a few days on your back, and you’re walking away from society. You’re also walking away from your car, from restaurants, from emergency services, from reliable cell phone service, and from the protective structure that is a house. 

For beginners, we recommend choosing a destination that is close to your home and that is short — just an overnight trip or two to get started. You’ll learn a lot about your comfort level, your gear, and your level of preparation during these few days. 

2. Do Your Research and Invest in Your Gear

There are a ton of backpackers in the world, and there are thousands upon thousands of how-to guides, blogs, gear reviews, and entire stores like REI that have experts available to help beginners. Don’t be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS!

Backpacking involves hiking for miles upon miles each day in all sorts of weather and across different types of terrain, so you want clothing and gear that’s appropriate for your hiking trip.

Two essential gear investments are going to be the backpack you want to carry and your shoes. 

You’re also going to want to think about the level of shape you’re in and how much weight makes sense. When you’re carrying food, water, overnight gear, etc. that adds up quickly and you’re going to feel those pounds as you’re hiking. 

A general rule of thumb for beginner backpackers is that a loaded backpack should not be more than 20% of your body weight.  

3. Plan Your Trip and Create Checklists

If you’re a beginner, one of the most important aspects of backpacking is actually making a plan. Making a plan though is not just figuring out where you want to go, where you’re going to park, how long you’re going to be gone, and how far you’re going to hike.

Planning also includes the following aspects:

  • Weather predictions
  • Water access throughout the hike (and the gear you need to ensure clean drinking water)
  • Meal planning (this is not just how many calories you’re going to consume during your backpacking trip, but ensuring you have the cooking gear, including a heat source)
  • Touching base with a service like the National Park, for example, to see if your hike needs a permit for being in the backcountry (for example, parks like Yellowstone have limited backcountry permits for safety reasons and tracking, so you just cannot show up)
  • Purchase a physical trail map if needed because things like cell phone batteries are not always reliable 

This is just a set to get you started thinking through things. 

4. Find Someone to Go With You and Always, Always Let Someone Know Where You’re Going and When You’ll Be Back 

We’re not trying to intimidate anyone, but backpacking is one of those things that you should communicate to your friends or loved ones. Shoot them a text or an email or even leave a physical note explaining what you’re doing, where you’re going, what your timeline is, and text them when you get to the trailhead and when you’re back to your car. Simple as that. 

The Insider’s Guide: 5 Ways to Get to Know the Real Egypt

Egypt today is unique and endlessly fascinating, and you’ll want to spend some time getting to know the 21st-Century personality of this ancient land. Yes, the pyramids and Sphinx are larger than life and certainly worth a visit. So, too, is the Temple of Karnak, near the site of ancient Thebes. But, forgive us — that’s ancient history.

Here’s how to achieve some balance — and breathe in the true spirit of this modern nation that once represented the center of civilization. Egypt’s modern face is at least as interesting as its past. 

Take a ‘Revolution’ Tour in Cairo

Imagine the passionate clashes between millions of protestors and Egyptian security forces during the 2011 protests that resulted in the overthrow of then-President Hosni Mubarak. Start your walking tour at Tarik Square. Imagine it being filled with thousands of “non-violent” protestors before the scene turned ugly. Dramatic street art on nearby buildings tells the story. The “25 January Revolution” that started here lasted only two weeks and three days, and spread quickly throughout the country before nearly 850 people were killed and 6,000 injured. It’s a sobering experience.

Visit a Koshari Restaurant

These eateries serve only Koshari, a traditional mix of brown lentils with rice and macaroni, topped with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions. It may be an “acquired taste treat,” but once you’ve had it, you’ll want to have more. That’s almost a guarantee! Also, don’t hesitate to try Egyptian “street food” whenever you can — and sample traditional desserts like Umm Ali, basbousa, or baklava. 

Enjoy a Traditional Cairo Coffee Shop

Strong, sweet and foamy, Egyptian coffee is an experience you won’t want to miss. Even if coffee is not your drink, this thick blend of fine sugar and fragrant coffee beans is a palate-pleaser. Sip it and just watch the throngs of people from a sidewalk table. If you need an energy boost after a day of sightseeing, it’s traditionally served with a side of sugar cubes.

Catch the Sunset at Siwa Oasis

It can be a long drive through the desert, but once you reach Siwa Oasis, it’s a bit like entering heaven. With groves of palm and olive trees, mineral springs, and salt lakes, this is a place to refresh both mind and body. Plan your visit during fall or winter months — summer heat can be brutal. But it is said that Alexander the Great visited here and Cleopatra herself swam in the pool that bears her name. Book a guided safari, but return to your lodgings in time to watch the sunset over the western desert. It’s magical.

Go to the Beach

Sharm El Sheikh is where you’ll find young, modern Egyptians, along with coral reefs, kite surfing, sky-diving, and any number of other active sports adventures. You can also easily book a Sinai safari or a visit to the magnificent St. Catherine’s Monastery from this resort on the Gulf of Aqaba. 

When you visit Egypt, make an effort to talk to the people wherever you go. You’ll find them friendly and willing to tell you about their country’s historic past as well as its future. 

The Insider’s Guide: 5 Ways to Get to Know the Real Greece

Most visitors arrive in Greece via Athens, and Athens has plenty to offer travelers, from the stunning Acropolis to its lively taverns. It is, after all, known as the birthplace of democracy, and one of the oldest cities on earth. You’ll find great street food and a modern high-speed Metro, with a line that runs directly from the airport to downtown. But it’s a big city with four million people! So, get out of town, and get to know the rest of Greece!

Visit a Quiet Island

The number of inhabited Greek islands is disputed — it’s somewhere between 119 and 227, but only 54 have more than 1,000 residents. To find the “real” Greece, limit your time on Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini, and head instead to a smaller, lesser-known island. Tinos is the third largest of 24 islands that comprise the Cyclades Group. It boasts more than a dozen picturesque mountain villages, along with beautiful beaches, hiking trails, scores of churches, shrines, and monasteries, a tradition of marble crafting, and distinctive dovecotes or pigeon houses. Other unique small islands are Iraklia, Schinoussa, and Andros.

Take a Sail

Greece is an island nation, and there’s no place better to experience it than from the sea. Embrace the symbolism of blue and white, the colors of its flag, as you take a day sail in a blue-hulled boat and watch billowing white sails and the clouds in a blue sky. Book your excursion from any seaside village, or charter a boat to visit the Cyclades Islands, where the law, since 1967, has mandated that whitewashed buildings be trimmed only in blue!=

Eat, Eat, Eat — and Drink

There’s more to Greek food than souvlaki, baklava, and gyros — much more. It’s simple and healthy, prepared with olive oil and loaded with fresh vegetables. Desserts tend to be sweet, honeyed, and delicious! Ouzo, flavored with anise and typically served with water and mezedes (appetizers or finger foods) is the “national drink” of Greece, but you’ll find distinctive wines and strong black coffee everywhere! Be sure to stroll an open market and sample street food!

Enroll in a Cooking Class

Take some of Greece home with you, in the form of new recipes and the confidence to prepare taste-tempting meals for friends and family. There’s a wealth of opportunity, from gourmet instruction and a rooftop dinner with a view of the Acropolis in Athens to a small-group class taught by a Greek “grandma” in a family kitchen on one of the Greek islands. It will be a lasting, usable memory with meaning. 

Celebrate!

Celebrations are part of everyday life in Greece. There are so many celebrations — religious and otherwise throughout the year — that you’re not likely to miss the fun. Party like a Greek during the celebration of Epiphany on January 6, at Carnival in February or March, Independence Day on March 25, Easter, World Heritage Day on April 18, the various panigiria — holy days that celebrate various patron saints, OXI Day on October 28, or during Christmas season. A bonus is free admission to museums and historical sites on many of the holidays.

How to deal with predators on your homestead

If your homestead is in a fairly rural area and if you have animals, you are very likely to have predators. Even if you are an urban homesteader, you could still have some predators lurking about. Here’s what you need to know about dealing with predators on your homestead.

Types of Predators on a Homestead

There are many different types of predators that can invade a homestead and wreak havoc. The types depend largely on your geographic area. Certain predators tend to be more prevalent in some areas more than others.

  • CoyotesA single coyote will tend to go after animals that are small to medium-sized, including livestock like lambs, ducks, young goats, chickens, and pigs. However, a pack may target larger animals like adult goats and cattle.
  • Bobcats  – Bobcats are somewhat larger than a housecat, but they are still rather small compared to other wild cats. They are nocturnal hunters and tend to prey on whatever happens to be nearby such as sheep, poultry, goats, rabbits, and even small pets. Bobcat attacks often leave just the body of poultry with the head missing. Other prey will have claw marks and bite marks on the head and body.
  • RaccoonsRaccoons are way too smart for their own good. They can open simple locks and open unlocked doors. They usually leave plenty of evidence that they have been there, leaving body parts of animals scattered about, especially in the chicken coop which is where their prey of choice is contained.
  • FoxesFoxes attack quickly and with very little warning so they rarely leave much if any evidence behind. They typically prey on poultry, rabbits, young livestock, and rodents, but will also invade a henhouse and crack the eggs, licking the inside and leaving just the shells.
  • HawksHawks hunt from the air and tend to prey upon smaller animals like chickens, rabbits, ducks, and even small dogs and cats. They will watch from tree tops or as they glide high in the air and then swoop down to suddenly snatch up their prey.
  • OwlsOwls are nocturnal hunters so poultry is fairly safe as long as they are put up at dusk. Owls may also go after snakes and rodents which can be beneficial to the homestead. However, they do hunt small pets like cats and dogs as well.
  • WeaselsWeasels will kill for food, but they also kill for sport, stacking the bodies of their prey often after decapitating them. They are persistent and will continue attacking animals on a homestead until they have no animals left to prey on, they get bored, or they are scared away. And chicken wire does not deter them.
  • OpossumsOf all homestead predators, opossums are probably the laziest. They usually won’t attack anything unless it is very easy such as an animal that is injured, sick, or very young. They can spread the neurological disease equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) to animals by leaving their feces on the property and livestock eating it. In rare cases, the disease can be transmitted via opossum bite.

Deterring Predators on Your Homestead

The best way to deter predators on your homestead is by using a multi-deterrent approach. For instance, get a couple of dogs to guard your place, and have a high, secure fence you can keep predators out.

Electrified fencing either wire or net can help keep predators out. Fladry, a wire fence that has red flags attached to it works well for wolves and coyotes. Guardian animals work quite well and they extend beyond the Great Pyrannese canine to include donkeys, geese, mini-donkeys, and llamas.

You can also use flashing lights and noise devices as long as they are not continuous and are moved often. Painting predator eyes on your barn roof or the roof of your chicken coop can deter aerial predators like hawks and owls.

Keep all young animals and poultry in a predator proof area at night. When an animal gives birth on your property, quickly clean up the area and get the biological waste off your property – the same goes for animals that die on your property. Remove them or bury them.

Do not leave dog food and cat food out at night and don’t put meat, dairy, and eggs in your compost. Keep your garbage tightly closed, preferably in a locked area. And make sure that all locks are two-step locks to deter clever, curious raccoons.

It is possible to greatly reduce the presence of predators on your homestead. You may have to try a few things to find out what works, but eventually you should find the right combination.

Building Responsibility: How To Motivate Kids To Do Household Chores

Struggling to keep up with work around the house? Want to get your kids to take on a larger role in doing their part to keep things clean? If you’re struggling to motivate your kids to do their chores, you’re not alone. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some top tips to get your kids to pitch in. 

Do It With Them

There’s no need for your kids to do all of their chores on their own. Your child might enjoy doing their chores with you. For example, putting away laundry as soon as your child folds it can be a great way to get something done together while also taking some time to catch up. Drying dishes after they wash them can also be a fun way to incorporate teamwork into a daily chore routine. 

Make a Schedule

There’s no right or wrong way to make a chore schedule. The key, no matter what schedule you choose, is consistency. Writing out a weekly chore list can help your child stay aware of what chores are expected each day. Posting the list in a place they pass often (such as on the fridge or on their bedroom door) can help to ensure that they stay on top of what needs to be done. 

Consider Incentives

It’s up to you whether you think your child should earn an allowance for doing chores. Instead of providing kids with money for chores, some parents allow kids to exchange their chores for screen time or other special activities. If you do decide that you’d like to give your kid an allowance, you might want to think about giving it only for going above and beyond (completing additional optional chores after their bottom-line chores are complete). 

If your child is too young to understand the concept of an allowance, giving them stickers each time they do a chore can also be effective. If you’re feeling fancy, create a sticker chart for your child to place their stickers on, and after they get a certain number of stickers, allow them to participate in a special activity or win a special prize. Give your child the chance to choose the incentive themselves, and see how creative they can be with their reward. 

Compliment Your Kids

It can be tough for kids to get the hang of a new chore, and it’s important that you compliment their efforts no matter what the outcome. If there’s an issue that’s easily fixable (such as a shirt that was put away inside out), quickly show your child how to fix it. If the issue is more complicated (such as not mowing the grass in a pattern), take some time next time the chore rolls around to show your child how to do it correctly, while also complimenting them on how hard they tried the last time. 

 

Is Your Dog Getting Enough Exercise? What You Need To Know

It can be tough to know if your dog is getting enough exercise, especially if your furry friend has only recently become a part of your family. Here, we’ll take a look at what you need to consider to figure out whether your pooch is getting enough time to run and play. 

Talk To Your Vet

No matter what you notice at home, your vet is the expert on your pet’s health. Talk with them about how much exercise your dog is getting, and ask them for suggestions if they tell you your dog needs to move more. If your dog is older or has joint problems, as your vet for suggestions on how to reduce their discomfort while increasing their level of activity. 

Keep an Eye on Their Weight

Weighing your dog every few months can give you a good idea of whether they’re getting enough physical activity. If your dog is a puppy, keep an eye on your vet’s recommendations for weight gain. If your dog is older, be sure to mention any unusual weight gain to your vet. While some weight gain is typical with age, too much weight gain can put stress on your dog’s joints.

Keep an Eye on Behavior

Many not-so-great puppy and older dog behaviors are simply due to not getting enough exercise. If your dog is feeling bored and full of energy, there’s a good chance they’ll find a way to take that energy out on an object within your home. If you’re noticing that your dog seems to have a lot of pent-up energy that’s tough to get out with daily walks alone, think about adding a second walk or taking them to a dog park so that they can socialize while also running off some energy. If your dog seems hyperactive, you may be tempted to put them on medicine to curb their behavior. Trying an extra daily walk can often fix the issue. 

Excessive energy isn’t the only behavioral sign that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise. If your dog becomes withdrawn or shows other behaviors that signify a change in personality, it’s possible that they simply need to get outside for extra physical and mental stimulation.  

 Lack of Endurance

When you do get your dog out for a walk or a jog, pay attention to whether they have trouble keeping up. In the event that your dog is huffing and puffing the whole way, or needs frequent breaks, you’ll want to get your dog on an exercise program that helps them build up their endurance. Taking your dog on shorter daily walks can be a fun way to help them build up to longer walks, and playing fetch with them in your yard can help them build endurance through short bursts of energy followed by periods of rest. 

For Your Bucket List: Five Islands To Visit Before You Die

The salty air, the feel of the sand on your feet–there’s not much better than getting away to an island vacation. Whether you love lounging on the beach or you’d prefer to soak up local culture, taking island vacations is a fantastic way to take a break from your day to day life. Here, we’ve compiled a list of five islands you’ll definitely want to add to your vacation bucket list. 

1. Maldives

If you’re into ocean scenes, there’s a good chance you’ve set your computer background to a photo of the Maldives without knowing it. Known for gorgeous wildlife, inviting locals, and crystal clear waters, the Maldives are known as some of the most beautiful islands in the world. The chain of islands consists of 26 natural atolls which poke just above the Indian Ocean’s surface. Currently, the Maldives is the lowest-lying nation on the planet, and due to global warming, it sinks a bit lower every year. Surfers and beachcombers alike love the island’s relaxed vibe and wide variety of wildlife.

2. Palawan, Philippines

Ready to jet set to paradise? You’ll love Palawan’s white sand beaches and pristine coral reefs. Known for offering divers some of the best underwater spots in the world, you’ll want to be sure to sign up for a snorkeling or scuba trip to ensure that you get to see all that Palawan has to offer. When you’re on the island, be sure to book a day trip to Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. You’ll be amazed as you make your way into the limestone cave system, complete with an underground river. 

3. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

From the beautiful turquoise waters to the wide variety of wildlife that swim just below the surface, both people seeking to become one with nature and those who are looking for a chill place to kick back and relax love all that Bora Bora has to offer. Many people spend time diving and snorkeling, while others prefer to hike through the palm trees in the island’s many forests. 

4. Seychelles

Located just East of Kenya, this stretch of 115 granite and coral islands seems to go on forever. Powdery beaches make lounging near the water a dream, while the rich variety of fish in the surrounding waters make the Seychelles an angler’s paradise. Be sure to sample some local spicy Creole cuisine when you’re in the area.  

5. Santorini, Greece

The rich history of Greece combined with the beauty of a shining sea make Santorini the perfect place for anyone who wants to relax while also getting to learn more about Greek culture. The island’s signature blue-topped churches are gorgeous against the blue and green sea below, and tourists love trekking through the islands’ mountainside neighborhoods to get a better view of the ocean.