airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
 © Rana Sawalha / Unsplash
© Rana Sawalha / Unsplash
Save to wishlist

A Year in Travel: The Best of 2017

Picture of Nikki Vargas
Travel Editor
Updated: 21 December 2017
For more on the year’s cultural happenings, check out some more of our 2017 In Review round-ups.

This year has been one of storytelling for Culture Trip, as our Travel Editors have flown around the world—from Colombia to South Africa—in pursuit of their next headline.

Whether retracing a family murder in Colombia, investigating how South Africa can save its wildlife from poachers or answering difficult questions like what airlines are doing about on-board sexual assault, the following stories inspire, challenge and explore the world of travel and all it encompasses. These 10 articles from our Travel Editors, Nikki Vargas and Alex Jordan, are our best travel articles of the year for both their prose and passion.

Retracing a Family Murder in Colombia

The jungles of Colombia | © Pedro Szekely/Flickr
The jungles of Colombia | © Pedro Szekely/Flickr

Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of its violent past, Colombia’s historic decision to sign a peace deal with the FARC has promised to usher in a new era of peace. For Travel Editor Nikki Vargas, the momentous treaty stirred up memories of a mysterious family murder that she had always blamed FARC for. Deciding to go investigate the murder herself, our Travel Editor flew to Colombia to learn more about her ill-fated great aunt, meet with an ex-guerilla from the FARC and understand what the FARC peace deal means for the country she was born in.

Read the story

South Africa’s Wildlife Is Under Threat and This Might Be the Only Way to Save It

d6a7621
A coalition of cheetah relaxing before a hunt | © Culture Trip

South African wildlife faces a huge threat from poachers, with the rise in demand for ivory increasing every year. Travel Editor Alex Jordan traveled to South Africa’s Kwandwe reserve to explore how private game reserves just might be the answer to saving Africa’s animals from being killed off.

Read the story

The Ultimate Road Trip to Iceland’s West Fjords

img_6634
Iceland’s West Fjords | © Nikki Vargas

In recent years, Iceland has grabbed the spotlight and become a coveted destination for travelers to visit. Thanks to affordable airfare and easy layovers for Europe-bound travelers, it has never been easier to cross a trip to Reykjavik off the bucket list. Most Iceland trips are devastatingly similar: the same Icelandic hot dogs enjoyed by the Reykjavik Marina, the same tourist trail to the Golden Circle taking in Vík, Jökulsárlón and Selfoss. To explore a side of Iceland not often seen, our Travel Editor ventured on a father-daughter road trip to the country’s West Fjords far off the tourist trail.

Read the story

Why Don’t Airlines Know How to Deal with Sexual Assault on Flights?

© Michaela Pointon / Joe Brooks

This year, horrific tales of sexual harassment have snagged headlines as emboldened women continue to come forward across a plethora of industries—from film to politics—to reveal the identities of their assaulters. The news has caused long overdue introspection, including in the world of travel where airlines are re-evaluating how they handle on-board sexual assault cases. In this story, Alex Jordan investigates how airlines are tackling this difficult issue head-on.

Read the story

Dog Meat is Showing Up On More Menus Across Bali

Rescued dogs at the BAWA Adoption house in Ubud | © Nikki Vargas
Rescued dogs at the BAWA Adoption House in Ubud | © Nikki Vargas

Home to scenic beaches, rolling rice paddies and a colorful culture, Bali is widely regarded to be paradise for many travelers. In this story, Nikki Vargas traveled to the small Indonesian island to explore a darker side of Bali that often goes unnoticed: the dog meat trade. Unbeknown to many, more than 70,000 dogs are slaughtered in Bali each year, many of which end up on the plates of unwitting tourists. Meeting with the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), Culture Trip spent an afternoon with dogs rescued from restaurant cages to shine a light on the blatant animal abuse happening under travelers’ noses.

Read the story

Who Do You Think You Are? The Rise of DNA Travel

© Michaela Pointon / Joe Brooks

“Taking a DNA test taught me that the big decisions that have led to who I am today weren’t taken by me, but by those who came before me—starting with my parents and going back thousands of years,” wrote Alex Jordan in his article about DNA travel. In a story that both challenges preconceptions about one’s own history, and explores travel’s latest DNA trend, Alex Jordan took the ultimate intrinsic journey into his past by working with DNA Unwrapped, to retrace his ancestry.

Read the story

Inside the French Presidential Celebration at the Louvre

Macron rally at the Louvre | © Nikki Vargas
Macron rally at the Louvre | © Nikki Vargas

For better or worse, politics is an integral part of travel as it can shape the way we access other countries and embrace different cultures. Under President Trump, the United States has been slapped with revision after revision of travel bans, a fate that seemed as though it might be mirrored in France with the election of Marine Le Pen and her xenophobic rhetoric. Thankfully, France did not vote their version of Donald Trump into office, choosing instead to usher in a new era with Emmanuel Macron. For this story, Culture Trip traveled to Paris to report on the French election and cover the historic celebration from inside the Macron rally at the Louvre.

Read the story

Vertical Cities are Cleaning Up One of the World’s Most Polluted Cities

Courtesy of M.90º

As much as politics has impacted travel, so too has the ongoing debate of climate change and mankind’s environmental impact on our planet. No matter your beliefs or political leanings, the fact is that some of our world’s most beloved cities are wrought with pollution, while climate change is forever defacing some of the planet’s natural wonders. In this story, Alex Jordan explores how São Paulo in Brazil is paving the way for “environmental compensation” by creating vertical gardens amid an urban jungle.

Read the story

A First Taste of Ethiopian Food with Chef Marcus Samuelsson

On the original Culture Trip series, Hungerlust, Nikki Vargas takes viewers around the world by exploring the various cultures that call New York City home. In this episode, Nikki met with celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson of the popular Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem, to have her first bite of Ethiopian food and learn about Ethiopian culture.

Read the story

Inside Maboneng, Johannesburg’s Answer to Shoreditch and Dumbo

Places in Johannesburg You Need To See Before They Get Too Expensive_Street Art
Mural of Jan van Riebeeck in Maboneng | © Adamina/Flickr

Johannesburg’s Maboneng precinct, roughly 10 minutes from the city centre, is being touted as South Africa’s answer to London’s Shoreditch and New York’s Dumbo neighborhoods. Culture Trip traveled to Johannesburg to explore how food, art and the creation of public spaces are reshaping Maboneng.

Read the story