Continuing on with the blog series looking at Off Track Planet‘s list of the Top 10 Backpacking Travel Destinations for 2010 , I hope to shed more light on the destinations selected this year by searching the GoNOMAD archives of feature stories.
The best backpacking beach destination according to their list is the San Blas Islands, Panama. According to the writer Anna Starostinetskaya, picking the perfect beach means having privacy. “Very few destinations can offer the seclusion from tourists necessary to have a perfect beachgoing experience. We think the San Blas Islands near the coast of Panama come the closest.”
Associate editor of GoNOMAD, Stephen Hartshorne has the same idea in his feature Touring the Real Panama: Wildlife, Beaches, and Tribal Villages. Overall, he highlights the sites to see, and how to soak in the beauty and culture of Panama. When it comes to beaches, he too believes the San Blas Islands are the best in the world.
“The San Blas Islands — 378 of them — have been described as “a string of pearl coral atolls marching like emeralds to the horizon, surrounded by crystalline aquamarine water blending to bright blueberry.”
They are inhabited by the fiercely independent Kuna Yala, who run the islands as an autonomous province with little interference from the central government. They have maintained their style of dress, their legends and their dances; and they have avoided the pitfalls of tourism development.”
He continues on to say “The San Blas islands, with their myriad coral reefs, offer some of the most beautiful beaches and the best snorkeling and diving in the world.”
For sightseeing, Off Track Planet selected Italy. Since I’ve traveled to Sicily twice before, I can definitely vouch for this statement “From Sicily to Milan, ancient Roman ruins are sprawled out in this land of history for you to see. Every corner of Italy will have your camera in overdrive.”
For my trips there I was studying photojournalism and was able to make a beautiful portfolio mostly in part due to the natural beauty of the country and it’s people. Another former student, Jennifer Kim, who took the same class during a different year, also interned at GoNOMAD and wrote a feature article Benvenuto! Sicily’s Warm, Friendly Welcome. Her diary entry style article portrays her excitement to be there, and her awe with the culture.
“The antique and novel appearance of the stores and owners themselves gave off an aura of character and old world tradition. Now, take a moment and imagine forty-five anxious Americans shuffling about in these small towns like paparazzi and reporters, intrigued with every miniscule thing.
Despite dire warnings from the guidebooks, our group experienced one magnificent gesture of hospitality after another during our eight-day stay.”
Many other articles about Italy have been written for GoNOMAD, so it is easy to see, it is a favorite destination with plenty to write home about.
Continue reading this blog series in Part 3: A deeper look at Off Track Planet’s Top 10 Backpacking Travel Destinations for 2010