‘Housewives’ stars free on bond

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A star of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” and her husband were each released on $500,000 bond after making initial court appearances Tuesday on federal fraud charges.

Teresa Giudice and her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, were ordered to surrender their passports and restrict their travels to New Jersey and New York. Joe Giudice, an Italian citizen, could be deported if convicted.

The Giudices, who rose to celebrity status by showcasing their lavish lifestyle on the Bravo reality TV show, were indicted Monday on bank and bankruptcy fraud charges, among other counts.

Joe Giudice is also charged with failing to file tax returns from 2004 to 2008, when he is alleged to have earned nearly $1 million.

The couple is accused of exaggerating their income while applying for loans before their show debuted in 2009, then hiding their fortunes in a bankruptcy filing after their first season aired.

The couple did not enter pleas during the brief appearance in a courtroom packed with media and spectators. Their arraignment was set for Aug. 14. Their attorneys said both will plead not guilty.

“The investigation went on for a pretty long time and we are confident we have enough evidence to convict the defendants beyond a reasonable doubt,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said after the proceeding.

Both face hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines if convicted, but federal sentencing guidelines would greatly reduce the penalties, Fishman said.

Teresa Giudice’s attorney, Henry Klingeman, said he believes the government is prosecuting the couple because of their celebrity.

The couple filed for bankruptcy in 2009, claiming they owed $11 million, including $2.2 million in mortgages, $13,000 to Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, and nearly $12,000 to a fertility clinic.

Joe Giudice also is facing charges in Passaic County that he used his brother’s identity to obtain a driver’s license, presenting his marriage and birth certificates. He rejected a plea deal in April through his lawyer, Miles Feinstein.

“In Passaic County, where I represent him, I feel that because of his celebrity status he’s being treated differently than others are for the same offense,” said Feinstein, who did not comment on the federal case.

Teresa Giudice has parlayed her fame into cookbooks, a line of ready-made bellinis and “Skinny Italian,” a specialty food line.

On the show, she is known for her expensive tastes and combative relationship with her brother and sister-in-law. But Klingeman noted that the show helps support the couple and their four children.

“While it’s called reality TV,” Klingeman said, “I’m not sure everything you see on the show is real.”

Article source: http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/television/article/Housewives-stars-free-on-bond-travel-restricted-4694756.php

‘Housewives’ stars free on bond, travel restricted

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A star of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” and her husband were each released on $500,000 bond after making initial court appearances Tuesday on federal fraud charges.

Teresa Giudice and her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, were ordered to surrender their passports and restrict their travels to New Jersey and New York. Joe Giudice, an Italian citizen, could be deported if convicted.

The Giudices, who rose to celebrity status by showcasing their lavish lifestyle on the Bravo reality TV show, were indicted Monday on bank and bankruptcy fraud charges, among other counts.

Joe Giudice is also charged with failing to file tax returns from 2004 to 2008, when he is alleged to have earned nearly $1 million.

The couple is accused of exaggerating their income while applying for loans before their show debuted in 2009, then hiding their fortunes in a bankruptcy filing after their first season aired.

The couple did not enter pleas during the brief appearance in a courtroom packed with media and spectators. Their arraignment was set for Aug. 14. Their attorneys said both will plead not guilty.

“The investigation went on for a pretty long time and we are confident we have enough evidence to convict the defendants beyond a reasonable doubt,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said after the proceeding.

Both face hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines if convicted, but federal sentencing guidelines would greatly reduce the penalties, Fishman said.

Teresa Giudice’s attorney, Henry Klingeman, said he believes the government is prosecuting the couple because of their celebrity.

The couple filed for bankruptcy in 2009, claiming they owed $11 million, including $2.2 million in mortgages, $13,000 to Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, and nearly $12,000 to a fertility clinic.

Joe Giudice also is facing charges in Passaic County that he used his brother’s identity to obtain a driver’s license, presenting his marriage and birth certificates. He rejected a plea deal in April through his lawyer, Miles Feinstein.

“In Passaic County, where I represent him, I feel that because of his celebrity status he’s being treated differently than others are for the same offense,” said Feinstein, who did not comment on the federal case.

Teresa Giudice has parlayed her fame into cookbooks, a line of ready-made bellinis and “Skinny Italian,” a specialty food line.

On the show, she is known for her expensive tastes and combative relationship with her brother and sister-in-law. But Klingeman noted that the show helps support the couple and their four children.

“While it’s called reality TV,” Klingeman said, “I’m not sure everything you see on the show is real.”

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/housewives-stars-free-bond-travel-restricted-180920944.html

On Travel Channel, ‘Best Daym Takeout’ — but the worst way to eat it

And so again, the deeper you peruse the far regions of cable’s grid, the more gratitude for the Internet you see from its idea-strapped programmers, who happily and cheaply pluck one sensation after another off your Web browser and plop a slicker version of him (or her) onto your traditional TV screen.

The net effect of watching such shows, whether they’re about food or family or business, is the realization that we are all in some way hicks from the sticks, playing up our catchphrases and our provincialism while we “argue” about the most mundane topics, such as who has the best pizza or fried chicken.

In “Best Daym Takeout,” Daym now travels to other cities to seek out new ways to rock an electrocardiogram. The double-episode opener begins in the Chicago area, where he visits Pequod’s, a deep-dish pizza joint, has a hot dog at Superdawg and then loses his mind over a drippy sandwich at Mr. Beef.

With all the grace and dignity of the Mr. Kool-Aid pitcher, Daym walks into Mr. Beef and announces: “I’m a big guy! I don’t like a small sandwich!” To which one of two plus-sizers sitting on nearby stools replies, “Look at us; we’re not eating diet food.”

From here, “Best Daym Takeout” follows the network’s basic “Man v. Food” template: Daym befriends the owner, cracks wise while watching the kitchen process, then decides what he’s going to order.

Unlike in Travel Channel shows that focus on places and people, Daym is always itching to get back to his car. Solitude is the main attraction, where he can launch into his (already stale) routine, in which he makes loud love to gooey cheese, crispy crusts and sizzling meats. (“Don’t go too far, boo,” he tells a pepperoni that’s trying to escape, popping it into his mouth.)

His joy for the food is at once hilarious and horrifying, but after you’ve seen it once or twice, you’re full enough. And even though “Best Daym Takeout” seems to have a firm grasp on life’s simple joys, binge eaters will recognize the vibe of loneliness when pigging out in your car.

In the next episode, he’s off to New Orleans, where, at least in keeping with the Travel Channel’s commitment to the somewhat-unbeaten path, he tries a soul food joint in Treme called Willie Mae’s Scotch House, then the Freret Street Po-boys Donuts cafe uptown and a bustling Cajun seafood place in the French Quarter, the Acme Oyster House.

It’s in the Quarter, where parking has always been next to impossible, that “Best Daym Takeout’s” most glaring misstep in format becomes clear: Daym leaves his car in front without fear of ticket or tow to acquire food that is not technically takeout (or drive-through) and not meant to be. While the nosh meets his criteria in terms of cholesterol, it’s all a bit too culinary and authentic; and with all this getting in and out of the car, I worry that he’s getting too much exercise.

Which, of course, leads to my sincere hope that “Best Daym Takeout” is not something first lady Michelle Obama, our national get-up-and-go girl, alights upon the next time she’s up late and looking for something to watch. It’s like seeing all her best efforts fall into a deep, deep-fat fryer.

Best Daym Takeout

(two episodes, one hour) premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. on the Travel Channel.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/on-travel-channel-best-daym-takeout--but-the-worst-way-to-eat-it/2013/07/30/0c719152-f579-11e2-a2f1-a7acf9bd5d3a_story.html

Travel Guide: Paris for Kids

Now the good: The city is filled with lesser-known draws that are authentic, often queue-free and a pleasure to visit en famille. The secret to a successful family visit is to discover these sites at a leisurely pace, and to explore your neighborhood’s microcosm of parks, bakeries and cafes. In other words, forget the Paris you think you’re supposed to see, and you’ll get much more out of the Paris that’s actually there.

To do that, it helps to debunk some Parisian lore. First, the weather: “April in Paris” is just a song; the sun often doesn’t emerge until mid-June. Then there are the people: Paris is not a den of anti-Semitism or adultery; Parisians are generally monogamous and tolerant. (And also quite civil, so long as you preface every interaction with “Bonjour.”) And the biggest myth of all: that Paris is for lovers; it’s also for families — just ask the French, who now have one of Europe’s highest birthrates. The city is compact, safe and covered with playgrounds and kid-friendly places. Here are a few of them.

Lesson Plan

Opt for smaller museums that you can tour in an hour or so, which is about as much as most little kids (and some grown-ups, myself included) can absorb. The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, the Museum of Hunting and Nature (60, rue des Archives, Third Arrondissement), mixes art and natural history, to great effect. There are displays of antique dog collars, a gorilla posed in front of still-life paintings, and a pair of lifelike stuffed lions who appear to have wandered into a drawing room. One way to lure children to the museum: mention the wooden drawers containing the dung of various animals.

The Jardin des Plantes (Place Valhubert, Fifth Arrondissement) houses several separate, manageably sized attractions. Check out the live animals at La Ménagerie, an 18th-century zoo featuring a monkey house, reptile rooms and a Chinese panther. (It’s on the far right as you enter from Place Valhubert.) Then visit the striking collection of animal skeletons at the Grand Gallery of Evolution on the ground floor of the National Museum of Natural History. You can break up these longer explorations with dashes through the 17th-century gardens, rides on the merry-go-round and lunch.

The Pompidou Center (19, rue Beaubourg, Fourth Arrondissement) has a hands-on children’s area called La Galerie des Enfants, with rotating exhibits designed by artists (one devoted to Frida Kahlo opens in mid-October). It’s free for kids; adults need a museum ticket. Add to that a brief tour of the main collections on Levels 4 and 5, a stunning view across Paris from Level 6, a jaunt through the terrific ground-floor gift shop, and lunch next door at one of the cafes opposite the fantastical Stravinsky Fountain, and you have yourself a très bonne journée.

To show children that there was life before the Internet, take them to the Musée des Arts et Métiers, the museum of arts and trades (60, rue Réaumur, Third Arrondissement, arts-et-metiers.net). Its collections of antique movie cameras, televisions, cars, printing presses, construction materials and scientific instruments tell the story of the industrial revolution and the birth of mass communication.

Among the major monuments, Notre Dame Cathedral (notredamedeparis.fr), with its well-marked entrance and U-shaped tour, is both a speedy and awe-inspiring place for children. Make sure to take a breather at the shady little park in back. If it’s Sunday, follow the tweeting to the nearby Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux, the bird market on the Place Louis Lépine (open Sundays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.). Obviously, when you arrive, you should tweet that you’re there.

Snack Time

Let your child’s love affair with Paris start with an authentic French breakfast. Any cafe will serve tartines, sliced baguettes with butter and jam. Kids can dip the bread in chocolat chaud (hot chocolate; a bit of chocolate in the morning is supposed to fortify children for the day) or spoon on some gooey oeuf à la coque, a soft-boiled egg served in the shell. (The egg holder, called a coquetier, makes a great souvenir.) Croissants and pain au chocolat are of course on offer too, though these tend to be occasional treats for French children.

Children are welcome in non-fancy restaurants, but they’re expected to more or less behave. (Try the French habit of not letting them snack except in the afternoon; hungry children are more motivated to sit and eat.)

There are now some “kid-friendly” Parisian restaurants, a concept so new the French use the English expression. But in aesthetics-obsessed Paris, the restaurants are compatible with adult tastes, too. Les 400 Coups (12 bis, rue de la Villette, 19th Arrondissement, les400coups.eu/The-restaurant.html; closed through Aug. 21) has a play area for kids, and a weekend brunch made from fresh ingredients. It’s a good springboard to an outing in the nearby Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

Le Comptoir Général (80, quai de Jemmapes, 10th Arrondissement, lecomptoirgeneral.com) is an Africa-themed bazaar and canteen for the bourgeois-bohemian families known as bobo’s, who live near the Canal St.-Martin. It’s open daily from 11 a.m. On weekends there are mini flea markets, curiosity cabinets and, most important, brunch.

If you’ve had your fill of restaurant meals, Pink Flamingo Pizza (several locations, pinkflamingopizza.com) will deliver its exotic pizzas to your picnic blanket along the Canal St.-Martin or the Place des Vosges. You stop in, order, get the balloons, then bicycle delivery comes to find you. The Café Suédois inside the Swedish Institute (11, rue Payenne, Third Arrondissement) has freshly made sandwiches and desserts. You can eat in its spacious courtyard or walk to the grass near the playground at the nearby Parc Royale (Rue du Parc Royale, Third Arrondissement; until Sept. 1, the courtyard is closed and the Café Suédois is serving ice cream in the garden, whose entrance is on Rue Elzevir). For an afternoon snack, pick up handmade pastries from Du Pain et des Idées (34, rue Yves Toudic, 10th Arrondissement, dupainetdesidees.com). Its chausson à la pomme fraîche is actually nutritious: it contains half an apple.

Pamela Druckerman is the author of “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.”

Article source: http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/travel/travel-guide-paris-for-kids.html?pagewanted=all

The Road: 49ers to travel more — a lot more — than any other team this year

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The 49ers, Seahawks and Chargers usually duke it out for supremacy in this category, but this year the 49ers are the flyaway winners. Or losers, if you worry about how much mileage your team piles up in a season.

During the regular season, the 49ers will travel 32,948 miles to their eight road games, one of which takes place eight time zones away in London. That’s more than 6,000 miles – the equivalent of round trip from San Francisco to Halifax, Nova Scotia – beyond the second-most traveled team, the Chargers. The arch rival Seahawks cover a piddly 23,914 miles by comparison.

How far is 32,948 miles? Well, the circumference of planet earth is 24,901 miles. So it’s a pretty big distance.

Regular-season travel
1. San Francisco 32,948 miles 
2. San Diego 26,932 
3. Oakland 26,240 
4. Seattle 23,914 20. 
5. Arizona 20,620 21. 
6. Jacksonville 19,686 
7. Minnesota 17,174 
8. Houston 16,716 
9. Denver 16,506 
10. Philadelphia 15,932 
11. Pittsburgh 15,502 
12. Dallas 15,460 
13. Kansas City 15,378 
14. Indianapolis 15,180 
15. Miami 15,150 
16. New Orleans 14,510 
17. Carolina 14,278 
18. Tennessee 14,238 
19. Tampa Bay 14,186 
20. St. Louis 13,616 
21. Washington 13,578 
22. Atlanta 12,952 
23. New England 12,024 
24. New York Giants 10,944 
25. Buffalo 10,572 
26. Baltimore 9,306 
27. Cincinnati 9,020 
28. New York Jets 8,422 
29. Cleveland 7,226 
30. Green Bay 6,190 
31. Chicago 4,898 
32. Detroit 4,202 

Source: NFL Kickoff Information Package

– Matt Barrows

Article source: http://blogs.sacbee.com/49ers/archives/2013/07/the-road-49ers-to-travel-more----a-lot-more----than-any-other-team-this-year.html

Highlights of the Cortona On The Move travel photography festival – in pictures

Cortona On The Move, a photography festival held in Tuscany, Italy, showcases some of the best travel pictures in the world. Here are some of the dramatic images on show. More can be seen at cortonaonthemove.com. The festival runs until 29 September 2013, and in addition to the exhibitions, which are held in a variety of historic buildings throughout the town, there are workshops on subjects such as street photography and the creation of multimedia projects

Article source: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2013/jul/30/cortona-festival-photography-travel-pictures-italy

As Brazil economy cools, trips to Miami remain hot

Economic growth in Brazil is sluggish, inflation is stubbornly high, the real has sunk against the dollar and social unrest has roiled the country in recent weeks.

That’s not exactly a confluence of events that should bring a smile to South Florida tourism officials this July — a time when Brazilians, who spent a record $1.5 billion in Miami-Dade County last year — typically flock to South Florida.

The Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo recently did a survey of travel agencies and found that a 13-day package tour to Orlando and Miami, which cost around $4,000 at the beginning of March, was16 percent more in late June, pushing the price of a Florida vacation to its highest level in more than four years. But the Brazilians keep coming. Although mid-year international visitor numbers for Dade won’t be available for another month, tourism officials say this is shaping up to be another bang-up year for Brazilian visitors.

The flights from Brazil are full, and Brazilians still seem to be buying up a storm on foreign trips despite the 11.4 percent slide of the real to 2.25 to the dollar since last year. In May, Brazilians spent $2.2 billion abroad, the most since the Central Bank began keeping such records in 1969.

This July there are 112 weekly flights from Miami International Airport to Brazil, compared to 91 flights last summer. Brazil is by far the airport’s top international market, and MIA serves seven Brazilian cities — more than any other U.S. airport, said Greg Chin, airport communications director.

American Airlines flies to all seven cities and offers 11 daily flights — two more than last year — from Miami to Brazil. Another flight has been added to São Paulo, bringing daily service to four flights, and an extra flight has been added to Rio de Janeiro. American also offers service to Brasilia, Manaus, Recife, Salvador and Belo Horizonte.

“This speaks to the demand for Miami. Many of these flights are sold out — at premium pricing,’’ said Rolando Aedo, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the Greater Miami Convention Visitors Bureau.

“Despite what’s going on with the economy, Brazil is richer than it was five years ago,’’ said Brazilian Paulo Bacchi as he lounged on a white leather sofa at his Artefacto furniture store as a party swirled around him.

About 1,000 people packed the store at the Village of Merrick Park for the launch of Design House, Bacchi’s invitation-only annual showcase for designers. He always times the event for July to get maximum exposure among Brazilian jetsetters who are in town. Although Bacchi concedes that “Miami isn’t a bargain anymore,’’ he added, “It’s still cheaper than Brazil. The prices are a third of what they are in Brazil.’’

Cascading taxes and restrictions on imports push the price of the smart phones, tablet computers, designer purses, sneakers and name-brand clothing that Brazilians covet to sky-high levels at home. Even the price of a cheese pizza in São Paulo is $30, laments Neneto Camargo, a São Paulo executive who is buying a condominium on the 25th floor of One Thousand Museum Tower in downtown Miami. “In Miami, you pay $10 or $12 for that pizza.’’ And he added, it’s still cheaper to fly from São Paulo to Miami than from São Paulo to Recife, a port city in Brazil’s Northeast.

Article source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/29/3530322/brazils-economy-may-be-cool-but.html

Lovefilm now streaming food and travel shows in the UK thanks to Scripps deal

AMAZON’S LOVEFiLM GOES FOODIE

LOVEFiLM.com, an Amazon company, has today announced a deal with Scripps Networks Interactive that sees an exciting range of food and lifestyle-focused TV content from Food Network and Travel Channel become available on LOVEFiLM Instant.

From today LOVEFiLM’s UK members will be able to stream hundreds of must-see foodie shows from a host of celebrated culinary enthusiasts, including British favourites Andy Bates and Reza Mahammad, and many from the US including the Emmy-award winning Barefoot Contessa, competitive food show Man v. Food Nation featuring gastronomic gladiator Adam Richman, and other popular series such as Restaurant: Impossible, House Hunters International and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.

The agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive marks LOVEFiLM Instant streaming services’ first foray into the cooking and lifestyle genre and will add to the already varied catalogue of award-winning TV available to stream instantly. The agreement follows a number of other recent high-profile content deals with widely recognised film and TV studios. It also follows the first online-only subscription distribution deal for Scripps Networks Interactive announced in the US earlier this year with Amazon.com, airing hundreds of episodes from the Scripps family of leading lifestyle brands.

Simon Morris, Chief Marketing Officer at LOVEFiLM said:
“We’re delighted to announce this latest deal with Scripps Networks Interactive, which brings something very different and exciting to our members. There is no doubt that we are a nation of foodies, and it’s great that this deal will enable us to meet increasing viewer demands for this particular type of content.”

Kate Bradshaw, VP Digital UK/EMEA from Scripps Networks added: “We’re pleased to be partnering with LOVEFiLM Instant to provide consumers another platform to engage with some of our best-loved shows, wherever and whenever they want. We are incredibly proud of the fantastic content that we work hard to create and we know that LOVEFiLM members will savour every episode.”

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/07/30/lovefilm-uk-food-travel-shows/

Making travel ‘safer’ is a dangerous game

Travel is dangerous. It has been since the dawn of time. Two horrific accidents in the past few days suggest that neither railways nor roads are wholly safe. A Spanish high-speed train goes too fast into a bend and 79 people die. An Italian coach crashes through a “safety” barrier and plunges off a viaduct, leaving at least 37 people dead. Our response is instinctive. Who is to blame and how can such things be prevented?

Sympathy for the bereaved should not stop clear thinking. For a start, these are accidents. No one intended them to happen. True “blame” attaches to those immediately responsible, which short of technical malfunction means the vehicle drivers. Yet we tend instinctively to sympathise with drivers – people like us – and seek fault with machinery or someone in authority.

This is understandable but not always sensible. Speed can be made “dangerously safe”. Few would really want a 150mph train with no driver, or one with so little to do he can go to sleep. We expect some human agency to guard against the unforeseen, such as being able to override an automatic braking system in an emergency.

Built-in danger is part of safety theory. There is evidence that the more drivers are distracted by restrictions, signals and signs, the more they “delegate” risk to the regulator, and the less attention they pay to other road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians. There is a continuing argument over whether seatbelts and crash helmets merely make road users go faster and thus increase risk.

The more secure we make travel, the more we risk making it more dangerous. We must find a balance and accept that accidents will happen. We must never pretend travel can be made wholly safe because that is not true. But then, as the statistics tell us, the more dangerous place to be is in the home.

Article source: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/29/travel-safer-italy-spain-crash

Adventure travel 2013: Top new trips to emerging places

Every year new destinations open up to adventurous travelers, whether through the efforts of enterprising tour companies, better access to backcountry, or increased political stability.

Be warned: these picks aren’t for kicking back on the beach with a margarita—unless you’re rewarding yourself after a 100-mile trek from the Colombian Andes. Now, you can cycle the once forbidden island of Cuba, explore unseen corners of Patagonia, and track gorillas in the deepest rainforest.

Check out our picks below before the rest of the world catches on:

Tsavo, Kenya: Africa’s Appalachian Trail

Tropical Ice Ltd. is setting new standards for the continent’s hiking options by guiding a seriously epic, long-haul trekking trip across central Africa. The 100-mile-plus walk traverses the massive Tsavo West and East national parks, following the courses of the Tsavo and Galana rivers.

The walking safari takes 11 days, utilizing 8 of the company’s camps. As co-owner Iain Allan says: “The wonderful thing about this walk is that it follows no roads, only trails created by hippo and elephant, so we’re able to explore some really remote areas—the Africa of my youth.”

Also, Artisans of Leisure is offering new trip options in Kenya, on a broader basis.

Raja Ampat Archipelago, Indonesia

With more than 1,300 species of fish, six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles, and at least 450 species of reef-building coral, biologists have good reason to dub the Raja Ampat (or Four Kings) Archipelago the “Amazon of the Seas.”

In 2013, Asia Transpacific Journeys is pioneering a snorkeling expedition to this isolated corner of ocean, led by marine biologist guides, and Seattle-based outfitter SeaTrek Sailing Adventures provides trips in the region aboard its traditional ironwood Phinisi schooners.

The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos has been a leading model of eco-tourism for years, but even the best-laid plans can feel stale if you’re looking for a true off-the-grid adventure.

A new Ecuador-based eco-outfitter, Opuntia, is starting to offer a new alternative to the islands’ classic sailing trips with well constructed tours of the Galapagos’ rugged interiors. They offer multisport adventure tours based out of boutique hotels on three different islands in the Galapagos. Think hiking active volcanoes, mountain biking coastal wetlands, kayaking with sea turtles and sharks, and snorkeling with sea lions.

ROW Adventures offers land-based Galapagos itineraries, as well.

Nicaragua: Volcano Surfing

This small, once off-limits Central American nation has long been attracting adventurous surfers and hikers, and in 2013, with a slew of new ecolodges opening, it’s poised to draw even more travelers looking for thrills with a bit more comfort in mind. Sea kayakers are discovering its miles of pristine coastline and massive inland lake, and trekkers can explore the volcanoes and wildlife-viewing opportunities inland.

Austin-Lehman is introducing a new trip here this year that features mountain-climbing and black-sand “surfing” down Cerro Negro, and Adventure Life and Access Trips are introducing new Nicaragua tours, too.

Albania: A Trip Back in Time

As Albania’s economy grows, more of its roads are being paved and long-haul cycling trips are becoming a more appealing option. You can pedal between friendly villages, through mountain passes, to undeveloped coastline— imagine exploring Croatia by bike 20 years ago.

Freewheeling Adventures is one outfitter starting to lead tours here this year, including a nine-day trip with days spent swimming at Dhermi, the country’s most famous white-sand beach, and overnights in historic Gjirokastër, a UNESCO-protected town built around a 12th-century citadel.

If you prefer crafting your own itinerary, a number of new rental companies are cropping up in Albania’s capital city, Tirana. The Tirana Backpacker Hostel, for one, has high-quality sets of wheels for €5 a day and provides suggested routes and points of interest.

Colombia: Peaks, Paddles and Pedals

Ringed by some of the best beaches and surf breaks on the continent, with jungle-clad Andes peaks at its core, Colombia is starting to make good on its geography after years of unrest, by opening up its countryside to active travelers.

A number of outfitters are starting to offer trips here. Adventure Life, for instance, is introducing not one, not two, but three new itineraries to Colombia in 2013 that include mountain-biking through the lowland tropics, old colonial towns, and coffee plantations, rafting the white water of the Chicamocha Gorge, and hiking.

Isla Navarino, Chile

Argentina’s Ushuaia may be famous as the southernmost city on Earth, but it’s tiny, tiny Puerto Williams, Chile, on Isla Navarino, that can lay claim to being the southernmost settled community on the planet. An overnight in the wind-whipped fishing community is a highlight, but the rugged surroundings are the real draw.

From Puerto Williams, hearty hikers with navigation experience can head out on the Dientes Circuit, an unmarked track that circumnavigates the island. (A good map and working compass are musts.) There are no established campsites—this is roughing it—but the views across the water of the other mountainous islands of Tierra del Fuego are incredible. The Dientes track was developed in the late ’90′s, but only in recent years has it started to gain real traction, as the number of trekkers in other Patagonian regions continue to grow and those seeking solitude are driven elsewhere.

Now, travelers more comfortable with support can enlist one of a half-dozen or so outfits offering trips of the Dientes. Erratic Rock is one of the best guiding companies in the region.

MORE: 10 amazing new travel adventures for 2013

The Kamchatka Peninsula, Siberia

For years, the rugged Kamchatka Peninsula was off limits to tourism since it was the home base for Russia’s nuclear submarine fleet. But after the end of the Cold War, many visa restrictions were lifted, and Russia is starting to give U.S. outfitters permits to operate here.

“Very lately tourism (in particular fly fishers in the summer) have started to return to this untouched wilderness, and the Russian government is allowing summer flights directly from Alaska to Kamchatka in order to foster the area’s tourism development,” says Ted Martens, of Natural Habitat Adventures.

Nat Hab will be offering an intensive new expedition to the region: 100 miles of hiking and kayaking from the foot of the active Karimsky Volcano, across the Siberian taiga to the headwaters of the Zhupanova River, through valleys with steaming geysers and roaming brown bears, ultimately reaching the Bering Sea.

Also, Frontier Travel is introducing a salmon fly-fishing trip to the Ponoi River on the Kola Peninsula.

The Patagonian Corridor: Land’s End

For years, some of Patagonia’s most famous sanctuaries—Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park and Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park—happened to be surrounded by some of the least developed land in an already staggeringly remote region. Now that’s starting to change.

New roads and boat access are being introduced in the so-called Patagonia Corridor, the region that connects these two iconic parks with the Austral Way (the very end of the Pan-American Highway) and the base camps of Villa O’Higgins, in Chile, and El Chalten, in Argentina. That means it’ll soon be much easier for mountaineers and climbers to explore the two parks and all the glaciers, peaks, and valleys in between.

Robinson Crusoe leads exploratory itineraries across the region.

Georgia: The New Alps?

A unique convergence of East-meets-West, Georgia combines the cultural appeal of medieval villages and old-world charm with massive snow-capped peaks and vast valleys. Georgia’s 750-mile-long string of Southern Caucasus mountains, many of which top out above 16,000 feet, were long considered off limits due to political instability with neighboring Russia.

But after the first democratic election in the Republic of Georgia’s history, in 2011, the Caucasus are starting to show up on more and more mountaineers’ radars, and Geographic Expeditions and Natural Habitat Adventures are just two of the many outfitters taking notice and offering new trips here this year. Natural Habitat Adventures’ Ted Martens sums up the country’s appeal as a mix of untapped natural beauty and navigational ease.

“There’s visa-free entry and many new and modern hotels, roads, and other infrastructure have been built to facilitate tourism,” he says. “Our trips take place just south of the Russian border, an area that’s peaceful as well as stunningly beautiful for trekkers and horseback riders.”

The Azores: Hawai’i of The Atlantic

New direct flights from the States (just five hours from Boston) are making this remote volcanic archipelago newly accessible to U.S. travelers. The nine Azores Islands lie in the North Atlantic, about 930 miles west of the Portuguese coast, but their lush landscape seems more akin to something you’d find in the South Pacific. Visitors can trek between bright green peaks and geysers, bathe in open-air natural thermal pools, and spot 24 species of whales and dolphins that migrate past the Azores year-round.

Futurismo Azores Adventures offers trips from its base on São Miguel island, including diving excursions with local marine biologist guides. Hikers, meanwhile, can tackle the Azores’ signature peak, Mount Pico—at 7,713 feet above sea level, the tallest point in the islands—in a two- to four-hour round-trip trek on Pico island.

Sweden’s Arctic: Northern Lights on Skis

Seeing the Northern Lights is a bucket-list dream for many, but it’s typically a pretty elusive goal. The pale green and pink celestial spectacle comes courtesy of a complicated scientific process—when highly charged electrons from the solar wind haphazardly collide with gaseous particles in the earth’s atmosphere. In other words: Sightings are never guaranteed.

But prognosticators say that this winter may be the best in fifty-plus years for viewing the Lights, thanks to unique conditions during the 2012-2013 season. The pristine fjords of northern Sweden are one of the best places to experience the glowing show, and KE Adventure Travel is one of a few operators taking advantage. KE has a new Nordic ski tour, with husky-dog sled support and overnights in cozy mountain huts.

If you’d prefer a DIY trip, be sure to include a visit to the Aurora Sky Station, in Swedish Lapland’s Abisko National Park for your best chances at a light show.

Wales: Hiking the Wales Coast Path

All 1,000-plus miles of Wales’ dramatic coastline are now accessible to hikers and equestrians thanks to a newly completed path that rings the entire country. The new Wales Coast Path links together existing trails, taking in some of the most undeveloped stretches of cliffs and beaches, along with old-fashioned, family-owned inns.

Trekkers can hike and haul their own packs or enlist companies like Celtic Trails or Contours Walking Holidays to transfer their belongings between BBs. Horseback-riding trips are set to be introduced along the route this year, too.

Madagascar: Indian Ocean Outpost

The consistently high winds whipping along Madagascar’s northern coast have put it on the map in a big way with wind- and kite-surfers. Aficionados say the conditions are world-class, but it’s still a new enough sport here that there aren’t crowds—though you may attract curious groups of friendly locals looking on from the beach.

Madagascar shines away from its shores, too, with a fantastical mix of plants and animals. More than 90% of the island-nation’s wildlife is endemic, including playful lemurs, a long roster of bird species, and the cat-like fossa. Huge stands of native Baobabs—or monkey-bread trees—are also unique to the country.

Kensington Tours is starting to offer safaris to Madagascar this year.

Bhutan: A Pristine Kingdom

This year, access to this formerly closed-off kingdom will be easier than ever, as the only airline that services Bhutan, Drukair, will start offering daily flights from Bangkok, New Delhi, and Singapore. Internal flights are set to begin soon, too.

The country is already the host to a famed one-day, 166-mile mountain-bike race, Tour of the Dragon, and this year, Bio Bio Expeditions, Asia Transpacific Journeys, and OARS will begin leading new multi-sport itineraries here, including whitewater rafting, jungle trekking, and, of course, mountain biking.

“These are perhaps some of the finest sections of Class IV to V whitewater in the world, with beautiful scenic views and untouched forests carving through terrain that few have seen,” says OARS Trip Designer Barbara Neary. “Along the route, when travelers are not on the river, they will have a number of opportunities to interact with Bhutanese monks—who are always welcoming and engaging—at their monasteries and dzongs.”

Mongolia: Land of Genghis Khan

The real appeal of Mongolia will always be in its seemingly endless green steppe, and horseback trips will forever be the best way to experience it, but to get there, you have to first navigate the country’s capital, Ulaan Battor. And for years, a lack of infrastructure (or much of anything) limited access there.

Now, as the government introduces plans to double the country’s foreign visitors to two million in coming years, that’s changing. Foreign hotel chains are breaking ground in Ulaan B, and a new domestic airline, Mongolian Airlines, started flights last year and has plans for adding additional destinations within Asia this year.

A number of outfitters, including MIR Corp. and Nomadic Journeys are starting to lead horse-pack trips here, overnighting in traditional gers and visiting with reindeer herding families near Mongolia’s alpine Lake Hovsgol.

Uganda: Gorillas In Your Midst

Uganda’s mix of unique wildlife (mountain gorillas and chimpanzees) and natural wonders (the Nile, Murchison Falls, and the Rwenzori Mountains) is making it a big draw for 2013.

For the first time this year, Abercrombie Kent is engineering its new itinerary to include days dedicated to tracking chimpanzees with university scientists. Guests explore Uganda’s Kibale Forest, home to thirteen species of primates, including chimpanzees and mangabeys, as well as 300 species of birds. Later in the trip, there are days devoted to viewing other impressive game, on safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

“Because the region occupies the main migration corridor between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there is prolific plains game here, primarily topi and Uganda kob, buffalo, hippos, and some of the largest herds of elephants anywhere in Uganda,” says Abercrombie Kent’s Jean Fawcett. “Spotted hyenas are common and leopards are occasionally glimpsed, but the prime attraction is the large lion population.”

Deeper Africa also introduced a new primate-tracking trip to Uganda in 2012.

The Congo: Rainforest Ecolodges

Long overshadowed by the violence of its larger neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the smaller Republic of the Congo is just starting to show up on tourists’ radars.

That’s thanks in large part to two new luxury safari camps opening this year in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, which at long last will give travelers the chance to appreciate the pristine rainforest and wildlife-spotting opportunities in the RoC’s rugged Congo Basin. Visitors can track western lowland gorillas and elephants with local guides (members of indigenous Pygmy tribes) and then overnight in luxury at high-end base camps.

Boundless Journeys is offering trips here, as well as the Africa Adventure Company.

Sri Lanka: Tropical Island Hopping

An untouched trio of mountains, jungles, and white-sand beaches has put Sri Lanka on travelers’ maps for years, and now the country’s recent stability has made it a more appealing option in South Asia than ever before.

In the interior, there’s whitewater rafting, climbing, temple treks, and elephant spotting, while the coasts offer great surf breaks and kite-surfing havens. In 2013, there will be new outfitted trips here from Kensington Tours, Asia Transpacific Journeys, with another to follow in 2014 from Civilized Adventures.

Jordan: Trek the Middle East

When EasyJet added flights from the U.S. to Jordan last year, it paved the way for easier travel to this mountainous country. Now, a newly developed rural hiking route in the north of the country, The Abraham’s Path, allows hikers to meet and interact with local people in a genuine way.

Two new ecolodges, one set in a remote part of the Dana Biosphere Reserve and the other at a hot spring near the Dead Sea, are offering new-found comforts, and KE Adventure Travel is pioneering long-haul cycling itineraries across the country this year. Boundless Journeys‘ new-for-2013 trip, meanwhile, will focus on hiking.

Botswana: Safari By Paddle

The spectacle of Victoria Falls and the lions, leopards, elephants, zebras, and giraffes of the Okavango Delta have long made Botswana a top safari destination. Now, companies like Explore Africa are starting to showcase the country’s paddling options, as well, with new trips along the Selinda Canoe Trail, a four-day, three-night paddling trip through the Selinda Wildlife Reserve.

Explore Africa is also introducing a way for equestrians to experience Botswana, with a new three-day horseback-riding trip out of Camp Kalahari, a traditional tented camp on a palm-fringed island known for its vast herds of zebra. Zu/’hoasi Bushman guides live nearby. There’s also a new wildlife safari from Austin-Lehman Adventures and another from Uncharted Africa.

Cape York Peninsula, Australia

For all its fame and sea life, it’s no secret that the Great Barrier Reef is losing its luster to bleaching and tourism. Still, the further north you go from the hotspots of the Whitsunday Islands and Cairns, the two main GBR jumping-off points along Australia’s eastern coast, the more locals like to boast about the improved conditions of the GBR, and for good reason.

But none of the off-the-beaten-path beach towns along the mainland can compete with the undeveloped tracts of Cape York Peninsula, at the very northeastern tip of the continent. Even the heartiest Aussie will admit that this land is truly out there. It’s accessible only via puddle-jumper planes and dirt roads suitable only for 4x4s, but for those divers and fishermen looking to taste the waters of the GBR as they were a century ago, this is truly the best bet.

However, the clock’s ticking, as Australia’s big-money mining companies eye the remote region for possible development for bauxite mines.

Koh Phangan, Thailand: Wild Beyond The Parties

This Gulf of Thailand island has long been famous with the backpacker set for its raucous full-moon party, but this year, its first airport opens, direct flights from Bangkok begin, and a number of new eco-minded lodges open up. Koh Phangan is poised to draw a more active, less hedonistic crowd.

Just like its more famous sister island, Koh Samui, Phangan has countless palm-fringed white-sand beaches, some of them reachable only by boat; but unlike Samui, Phangan also boasts a mountainous jungle at its core, most of which is protected as national parkland by Thailand. Visitors can trek across rolling green hills to seek out secluded waterfalls and snorkel in the pure waters offshore.

Namibia: Ancient Sands

There are only a few places in the world where you can discover pristine landscapes on foot, without a marked trail, where you can sleep out under the stars, and Namibia’s NamibRand Nature Reserve is one of them.

The 200,000-hectare sanctuary hosts a number of guided walking safaris across sand dunes and lunar desert landscapes—or you can take a hot-air balloon tour above them. Sand skiing is starting to be developed here, along with sand boarding, hiking (the rim of the second biggest canyon on Earth is a popular trail), kayaking, and visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site at Twyfelfontein, which is said to hold the highest concentration of Bushmen paintings found in a single area in southern Africa.

ROW Adventures is beginning trips here, as well, including hiking in the Namib desert, tracking the elusive black rhino, and viewing desert-adapted elephants.

Ruaha, Tanzania: Safari on Foot

Since a recent boundary extension, Ruaha is now the largest park in Tanzania and, along with several adjoining game reserves, part of a massive mega-wilderness. The park has only a handful of tented campsites, all of which are concentrated in one condensed area, leaving a vast system of woodlands and rivers to explore.

This year, Ruaha wardens are making that easier than ever by opening up the major roadless sections of the park to a limited number of walking excursions. You can spot the Big Four (no rhinos) and experience true seclusion in the park. Mark Thornton Safaris seems to be leading the pack, with a few new Ruaha itineraries this year, along with Immersion Journeys.

“Often we focus on the river systems with hippos, crocs, and elephants,” says Mark Thornton, of his namesake company’s trips. “We also venture deep into the miombo woodlands for what we feel may be the deepest remote bush immersion there is.”

Guyana: The Other Amazon

Truly one of the last untouched pockets of one of the last frontiers, Guyana’s tract of Amazon rainforest is starting to open up to eco-tourism. A trio of lodges in Guyana (Iwokrama River Lodge, Atta Rainforest Lodge, and Rock View Lodge) opened in recent years with the participation of the local Amerindian peoples, and in 2012 International Expeditions piloted a tour here, including hikes through the jungle to massive waterfalls and excursions to spot 800-plus bird species at the Asa Wright Nature Center in nearby Trinidad.

International Expeditions Emily Harley says Guyana has been the company’s radar for years. “It was actually the first place that our Director of Program Development visited outside of the U.S. when he was studying biology in college,” she explains.

“He’s watched the area closely since then, but recognized that it needed some improvements to the overall infrastructure before it could support visitors. Now Guyana as a country is trying to develop its tourism base in a green and sustainable fashion, and we found a combination of activities, lodges, and guides that made this the absolute right time to offer Guyana to our travelers—there are gorgeous hikes, paddling, canopy walkways and so much more.”

Myanmar: Cycling The Land of Temples

As Myanmar (Burma) takes steps toward democracy and opens its borders to foreign tourists, travelers the world over are starting to discover its broad appeal, including 2,000 ancient temples and pagodas in the Ancient Bagan region and the deserted white-sand beaches of the Mergui Islands.

This year, a slew of adventure outfitters are rolling out trips here: everything from pagoda-to-pagoda cycling with Backroads to beach-to-beach sailing trips through the Merguis with Siam Dive N Sail. Classic Journeys‘ new Myanmar itinerary will focus on cultural immersion—lunches at a traditional stilted house on Inle Lake and workshops with lacquerware artisans—and take in the classic sites, as well.

Classic Journeys Edward Piegza says the Bagan site is a stand-out. The atmosphere is extraordinary, in the same way the Angkor complex in Siem Reap is, but with far fewer tourists, he explains. It’s not so much the pagodas themselves that are glorious, but the whole journey between them, too. It’s a wide-open setting on the plain, with no development, no shops, no commercial ventures, just miles and miles of open land and pagoda spires that have stood the test of time and isolation.

Rossland, British Columbia: Red Mountain Resort

Rossland’s Red Mountain Resort, just north of the Washington border, is undergoing a staggering expansion this year, adding nearly 1,000 new skiable acres on Grey Mountain over the next two seasons. Already, the resorts Red Mountain offers 1,685 acres of terrain, and this new boost will add a whole new peak to the mix. (To put the numbers into perspective, the expansion on Grey alone is about the same size as all of Mount Baker Ski Area in Washington.) Later in 2013, at the beginning of the next ski season, a new quad chair will open up 22 new slopes around Grey.

Meanwhile, in the summertime, Rossland continues to draw mountain bikers to its flagship Seven Summits trail, a 22-mile strip of single-track that was afforded the elite Epic Ride status by the IMBA.

Ladakh, India: Grand Canyon of the Himalayas

Journeys International is pioneering a new trip tracking snow leopards in this remote mountain region, while both OARS and Bio Bio Expeditions are breaking new ground leading trips running the Class V’s of the region’s Zanskar River.

“The Zanskar is one of the most stunning places you will ever visit,” says Bio Bio Expedition’s Marc Goddard. “Most of the real Tibetan Culture has left Tibet and regrouped in Ladakh, so not only do you have the amazing river and mountains, but you get to experience the Tibetan culture as it was before the Chinese took over Tibet.

Ibex Expeditions, meanwhile, is offering new mountaineering trips to some of Ladakh’s lesser-known, less intense 6,000-meter peaks, which provide the bragging rights of a big Himalayan ascent without the usual amount of pain.

Cuba: The Rolling Revolution

As U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba have loosened in recent years, allowing educational institutions and travelers interested in cultural experiences—or “people-to-people interactions” as the government puts it—to visit the island, active-travel outfitters have started developing their own itineraries here.

This year, a number of companies are rolling out new trips to Cuba that combine cultural interactions (hiking with local university scientists, sampling cigars at a tobacco farm) with road cycling through neighborhoods full of Colonial-era architecture, hiking in the Zapata Peninsula national park (also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve), and sailing through the limestone caves near the Sierra de los Organos Mountains. In 2013, there are new itineraries on offer from Geographic Expeditions, International Expeditions, and BikeHike Adventures, to name just a few.

“Cycling through Cuba is one of the best ways to experience this fascinating country,” says BikeHike Adventures Director Trish Sare. “The roads are paved and in good condition, and since most Cubans travel by bike, the streets are relatively car free and it’s easy to have cultural encounters with Cuban cyclists along the way.

Article source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2013/07/30/adventure-travel-2013-new-trips-authentic-places/2597459/