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December 14, 2010

Top 10 Cities, Top 10 Experiences...Yep, We're On The Lists!

Readers of this blog and visitors to Iquitos will agree with Lonely Planet's recent announcement of the Top 10 Cities for 2011!  Upcoming Veterinary volunteer trips to the Amazon feature more Eco-tourism components, the addition of a small number of non-veterinary volunteers, and even opportunities to bring a partner that can sight see while the volunteers work!  Several Eco-tourism lodges are helping to make these opportunities possible;  Explorama and the Heliconia Lodge.
"Who doesn’t love a city? Lonely Planet has scoured the globe for next year’s hottest cities. Our top picks show that a city doesn't need to be a heaving metropolis to get on the list. Then again, sometimes it helps. One of our favourites is the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road. And there are even a couple of European cities that remain criminally underrated. Here they are, Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities for next year, ranked in order:"  

Here they are: 
1. New York
2. Tangier
3. Tel Aviv
4. Wellington
5. Valencia

"After days forging by boat along rain forest-fringed rivers, Iquitos, mighty megalopolis of the Peruvian Amazon, comes as a shock to the system. Pulsating with life, the city’s latest boom is tourism: visitors may flock to reconnoiter the rain forest but taking time to imbibe Iquitos itself is imperative too. This is a sultry slice of Amazon life: Brazilian, Colombian, indigenous and ex-pat. Clubs bounce to salsa and rock until the early hours with the vigor you’d expect of Peru’s jungle capital, but Iquitos is also a cultural hub: expect works by Peru’s top artists, opulent rubber-boom mansions and a museum on Amazon ethnography for starters. As a trading post for rain forest tribes, market mayhem and riverboat bustle are part of the package, all conspiring to fill the city with an addictive, round-the-clock energy."
7. Ghent
8. Delhi
9. Newcastle
10.  Chiang Mai

In addition to this recognition, Lonely Planet has also granted the Amazon rain forest some needed attention!

"Punctuate this year with meaningful experiences. Choose from options that girdle the globe – from cricket bats and birthday parties to sobering memorials or a copy of Led Zeppelin IV. Here’s our pick of the 10 best things to do next year, fresh from Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2011."

1. Hug a tree in the Amazon

The UN is declaring 2011 the International Year of the Forest, with events planned from El Salvador to Bulgaria to help promote and preserve the globe’s forests. Sounds like a good time for the ultimate forest, the Amazon. The region, which is about as broad as the continental USA, is filled with opportunities, even in the wake of deforestation. Brazil’s main hub for the Amazon is Manaus, reached by plane or a five-day boat ride inland from BelĂ©m, where you can book tours to hike in the jungle, spot dolphins, toucans and monkeys, fish for piranha, and opt for luxury cabins on stilts. Try going in June and July when high tide means ‘hikes’ are done by canoe. Trips can also be arranged from places like Leticia, Colombia or Iquitos, Peru.