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    Alta is a town in eastern Salt Lake County, Utah, United States. It is part of the Salt Lake City, Utah Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 383 at the 2010 census, a slight increase from the 2000 figure of 370. Alta is centered in the Alta Ski Area, a ski resort that has 500,000 annual visitors. It is known for its powder skiing and its decision to not allow snowboarding.
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    InspirationRediscover AmericaTravel Tips

    The top 10 most budget friendly ski resorts in the USA

    With the cold air starting to nip at our nose and the holiday season upon us, what better time to start planning your next winter getaway. But which ski resorts are the best bang for your buck? Holidu, the search engine for vacation rentals, decided to carry out a study to determine which US ski resorts offer the least expensive trips without having to sacrifice on the slopes this season.1. Powder Mountain, Utah $74 (Average per person per day; ski pass + accommodation) Coming in at the top of our list is snowy Powder Mountain in Utah. Located in Eden, Utah this slope comes in with a whopping 135 km, and has the most skiable acreage of any other resort in the United States. Open 9AM to 9PM daily and with 9 operational lifts, you are sure to get your money’s worth on this mountain. On Powder Mountain there are 154 runs, 25% of which are best for beginners, 40% are designed for intermediate, the remaining 35% is reserved for the advanced. With over 500 inches of annual snowfall, Powder Mountain should be at the top of any ski enthusiast list. Total Ski Area: 135 km ///// Recommended For: All levels ///// Cost per km of slope: $1.83 2. Schweitzer Mountain, ID $78 Considered some of the best skiing in Idaho, Schweitzer Mountain, located in Sandpoint, comes in second for the most affordable places to ski in the United States. Considered the largest ski area in Idaho, there is truly something for everyone at Schweitzer Mountain. From Nordic Skiing trails to Terrain Parks you are sure to find something that suits you within its 95 km of slopes. With 10 lifts carrying a whopping 15,900 riders every hour, Schweitzer Mountain is sure to impress. Schweitzer Mountain also offers many other fun experiences such as twilight trails and even tubing! Total Ski Area: 95 km ///// Recommended For: All levels ///// Cost per km of slope: $1.21 3. Mt. Hood Meadows, OR $103 Next on our list is Mt. Hood Meadows in Oregon coming in with 90 km of ski slopes. Located in Mount Hood, Oregon this resort is only 90 minutes from Portland. With a special permit, this resort operates in the Mt. Hood National Forest and intern has some of the most stunning views! Check out some of their specials or events including Breakfast with Santa on December 22 + 23, or get your ski on this New Year’s Eve and check out their extra special celebratory dinner presented by pFriem. No matter the reason for your trip, make sure to check out Mt. Hood Meadows for all your ski and snowboarding needs this winter season. Total Ski Area: 90 km ///// Recommended For: All levels ///// Cost per km of slope: $0.87 Mt Hood Wilderness, Oregon. Photo by Laura Brown, Budget Travel 4. Alta, UT $109 Celebrating its 84th winter, the next on our list is Alta in Utah. With 85 km of skiable slopes, this resort packs in 105 trails and 12 lifts. Alta offers everything from ski school for the kids to mountain adventures and helicopter skiing for the thrill seekers. Alta also has 19 restaurants, 5 of which are even directly on the mountain for all your apres-ski needs. So what are you waiting for! Plan your next winter wonderland trip to this snowy mountainside. Total Ski Area: 85 km ///// Recommended For: All levels ///// Cost per km of slope: $1.12 5. Purgatory Resort, CO | $110 5. Purgatory Resort, CO $110 Head on down to the charming ski town of Durango, Colorado for our next top pick, Purgatory Resort. With 116 km of ski slopes, this resort is equipped with 119 runs and 6 lifts. Ski through the wide open mountain or check out one of their more challenging tree trails, Purgatory has so much to offer. Nestled along the San Juan Mountains you are sure to get your ski fix in this snowy town! Total Ski Area: 116 km ///// Recommended For: All levels ///// Cost per km of slope: $0.77 Purgatory Resort in Durango Colorado 6. Mt. Baker, WA $112 Mt. Baker is located in the North Cascades of Washington nestled on the border of Canada, this resort gets a whopping average snowfall of 663 inches, making it the perfect place for your next ski adventure. This expansive resort has a variety of 38 widely ranging trails on its 100 km of slopes, making it perfect for any type of skier. If you are looking for a ski season without having to break the bank, look no further than Mt. Baker! Total Ski Area: 100 km ///// Recommended For: All levels ///// Cost per km of slope: $0.89 7. Sugarloaf, ME $117 Sugarloaf is located in the heart of Carrabassett Valley, with 162 trails & glades on its 87 km of skiable slopes. Maine's Western Mountains surround this gem that holds the title of the second-tallest mountain in Maine! With 57% of its mountain dedicated to intermediate and beginner skiers, this is a great place to bring family and still be able to enjoy the 43% reserved for advanced and experts! Get ready for a trip of a lifetime that won’t leave holes in your pocket. Total Ski Area: 87 km ///// Recommended For: All levels ///// Cost per km of slope: $0.74 8. Mission Ridge, WA $125 Open since 1966, Mission Ridge is located 12 miles from Wenatchee, Washington. It is home to 100 km of skiing slopes on the Cascade Mountains. With only 10% of the trails labeled as easy, this is definitely not a mountain for the faint of heart. The chair lifts are equipped to carry over 4,900 skiers every hour to its 36 designated trails. Grab your skis and polls for a winter packed of skiing on a budget! Total Ski Area: 100 km ///// Recommended For: Intermediate to expert ///// Cost per km of slope: $0.80 9. Mt. Bachelor, OR $132 As the 6th largest ski resort in the US, Mt. Bachelors has 4,300 acres of terrain accessible by ski lift and 100 km of skiable slopes. Located in Oregon’s Central Cascades, Mt. Bachelor is actually on top of a shield volcano, making it a super unique skiing destination. This mountain has 101 runs and gets an average of 462 inches of snowfall every year. With over half its trails focused on more intermediate to expert slopes, Mt. Bachelor is definitely the place to go to get your ski on if you are a more seasoned skier. Total Ski Area: 100 km ///// Recommended For: Intermediate to expert ///// Cost per km of slope: $0.76 Mt. Bachelor, Oregon. Photo by Bobbushphoto, iStock. 10. Winter Park Resort, CO $135 With over 80 years of history, Winter Park Resort is the state's longest continually operated ski resort. Located in Winter Park Colorado about 66 miles from Denver and is argued the closest major destination resort to Denver’s International Airport. This resort has 23 lifts, 166 trails, and a summit of over 12,000 ft. With 26% reserved for beginner to intermediate and the remaining 72% for advanced to experts, Winter Park skiing is no joke! But with its expansive slopes covering 143 km the whole family is sure to find suitable slopes. Look no further than Winter Park Resort for your next snowy adventure. Total Ski Area: 143 km ///// Recommended For: Intermediate to expert ///// Cost per km of slope: $1.06 Winter Park, Colorado. Photo by bauhaus1000, iStock -------- Methodology: Holidu surveyed over 500 ski resorts in the United States and selected all with over 80 kilometers of slopes for the 2021/2022 Ski Price Index. The vacation rentals data was collected on 11/23/2021 from the Holidu database. The travel period 12/06/2021 - 12/27/2022 (high season) and 03/28/2022 - 04/25/2022 (low season) were considered. For the price analysis, an average was taken from the median weekly price of vacation rentals per person per night. The prices for ski passes were taken from the official websites of the ski resorts. Where seasonal prices for 2021/2022 were not available, prices for 2020/2021 were used as a reference. Ski resorts could not be considered if no ski pass prices were available for the ski resort. About Holidu Holidu’s mission is to finally make the search and booking of vacation rentals easy. Its search engine for vacation rentals allows travelers to book the ideal accommodation for the lowest price. The company also helps vacation rental owners multiply their bookings with less work through its software and service solution under the Bookiply brand. Brothers Johannes and Michael Siebers founded Holidu in 2014. The high-growth startup is headquartered in Munich and has local offices in the most attractive travel destinations in Europe and the US. For more information, see https://www.holidu.com and https://www.bookiply.com.

    Road Trips

    Road trip the Rockies on a budget

    Of course a tour of the Rocky Mountains is on your to-do list. Whether it’s your first or umpteenth visit to America’s definitive mountain range, there’s always more to see. With that in mind, we’ve curated essential must-sees in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming that offer red rocks, black rocks, and views for days, along with a manageable itinerary that maximizes the wow factor. Grand Junction Your Rocky Mountains road trip begins in Grand Junction, Colorado. The town’s name is a tribute to its location, west of the Grand Mesa, in the Western Slope region with its exceptional wines, and smack in the path of the Colorado River. Before you hit the road, spend some time exploring Grand Junction’s galleries and boutiques, plus one of America’s biggest outdoor sculpture displays. And save time for the Museum of Western Colorado’s history exhibits and dinosaur collection. For something a bit wilder, try rafting the river, with options ranging from gentle to class IV rapids. Grab a bite at Bin 707 Foodbar, which focuses on locally sourced meats and produce. Reliable hotel chains offer rooms starting under $150/night. One of the USA's lesser-known national parks, the Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park features a steep-sided canyon formed by the Gunnison River © AlexeyKamenskiy / Getty Images Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park From Grand Junction, head east on US-50 for the 80-minute drive to one of the National Park Service’s most sublime “secrets,” Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Here, you’ll discover a world of unique black rock formations rising 2000ft over the beautiful Gunnison River. Stay a day, a week, or more exploring the canyon’s South Rim trails, opportunities for fishing and climbing, and ranger-led programs. The most affordable lodging is found at the park’s campsites; if you choose to camp, first pick up food and water in nearby Montrose. If roughing it isn’t your style, book a room at the Double G Guestranch, in Montrose, with rates starting under $150/night. Moab is an excellent jumping-off point for exploring nearby Arches National Park © JFunk / Shutterstock Moab From Montrose, head west on I-70 for the three-hour drive to Moab, Utah. In addition to its own considerable charms, Moab happens to be the gateway to two of Utah’s “Mighty Five,” Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. You’ll want to spend plenty of time hiking their distinctive red rocks, and you’ll also reconnect with the Colorado River in Moab. Save some time to discover nearby Dead Horse Point State Park (we promise it’s way more beautiful than its name). Grab breakfast at the Jailhouse Cafe, and unwind at the end of the day at Moab Brewery. Book a room at Expedition Lodge, starting under $150/night. Discover Salt Lake City's unique blend of cultures at Temple Square © Allison J. Hahn / Shutterstock Salt Lake City For a dose of big-city style in the midst of your mountain sojourn, head west out of Moab on US-6 for the four-hour drive to Salt Lake City. A visit here offers such a variety of experiences, you’ll want to customize your itinerary to your personal tastes. Nature lovers will want to continue with their hiking and exploring at Antelope Island State Park, Sugar House Park with its trails and lakes right within city limits, and a day trip to nearby Park City. History buffs will love strolling downtown around Temple Square and learning about the city’s unique cultural mix and stories. Foodies – and, honestly, everybody else – should get a taste of SLC’s culinary scene at Ruth’s Diner with its legendary biscuits (since 1930), and the city’s favorite Mexican eatery, Red Iguana. Great lodging is available at The Kimball at Temple Square starting under $150/night; motel options under $100/night abound near the airport. Iconic sites like the historic John Moulton Barn await you in Grand Teton National Park © Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock Grand Teton National Park Before you leave Salt Lake City, pick up a dozen of the justly famous bagels and cream cheese at Bagels and Greens, then head north out of I-15 for the nearly five-hour drive to Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. The distinctive Tetons will look familiar to anyone who’s seen the classic black-and-white images by photographer Ansel Adams, and capturing the stunning landscapes and wildlife for posterity (or for the ‘gram) is a must. If you want to pay tribute to Adams by attempting to imitate his work, ask rangers for directions to the marker of the exact spot where Adams shot “Tetons and the Snake River,” in 1942. Hungry? The Chuckwagon Breakfast at Dornan’s is legendary, and you can also grab deli sandwiches there. Bunk down at Targhee Lodge in nearby Alta, with rooms starting under $150/night, or book a campsite in the park well in advance of your visit. (And don’t forget you can enter adjoining Yellowstone National Park for no additional fee!) Dubois, Wyoming, is surrounded by spectacular scenery, such as the Wind River © Edwin Remsberg / The Image Bank / Getty Dubois From Grand Teton, it’s about an hour’s drive on US-26 East/US-287 South to Dubois. Here, on the Wind River, you’ll find a cool town where Friday nights in summer mean rodeo and any day is a good day to take a wildlife tour of the nearby National Bighorn Sheep Center. Grab a burger at the Cowboy Cafe, and book a room at Stagecoach Inn & Suites for under $125/night. The statue entitled "Breakin' Through" that stands in front of War Memorial Stadium at the University of Wyoming in Laramie © C5 Media / Shutterstock Laramie From Dubois, it’s about four-and-a-half hours on US-287 South and I-80 East to Laramie. The Snowy Ridge Range is one of the star attractions in this region of Wyoming, with 12,000ft Medicine Bow Peak just begging to be photographed. Spend some time at the University of Wyoming’s renowned art museum and pay a visit it its geology museum’s allosaurus (“Big Al”), which was discovered outside of Laramie. Fuel up at Coal Creek Coffee & Tap, and get a good night’s sleep (with visions of the Rockies and Tetons dancing in your head) at the Holiday Inn, starting under $125/night.

    Inspiration

    5 Ski Resorts Under an Hour from Major Airports

    That first moment standing atop a mountain, goggles clear and skis waxed, can be the ultimate winter bliss. But there’s a whole lot of transportation leading up to that snowy perch. Not to mention travel pitfalls like long drives in rough weather, missed air connections, and baggage claim snafus. Luckily, several of the country’s best summits aren’t far from major runways, where you can find yourself schussing from plane to slope in no time. Check out these prime ski resorts, all within an hour’s drive from well-served international and regional airports. 1. Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah From Salt Lake International Airport (SLC), skiers and boarders will love the bevy of world-class mountains all within a tight 60. (They don’t call this town “Ski City” for nothing!) Even better, SLC is a major hub for Delta Airlines, and serves nearly a dozen more carriers big and small – including United, Southwest, Alaska, jetBlue, Frontier, KLM, American, and other airlines. You don’t have to ski to recognize some of the area’s famous winter destinations, like Park City, Deer Valley, Alta, and Snowbird. But head to Big Cottonwood Canyon to check out Solitude Mountain Resort, home to eight chairlifts, 80 runs, three bowls, and 500 annual inches of snow. Historic Solitude has been going strong since 1957, and now encompasses 1,200 acres; condos and townhomes; plus a Bavarian ski-in/ski-out lodge with heated outdoor pool and hot tub, spa, and easy access to shops, bars, and restaurants. Don’t miss the special dining experience of trekking via snowshoe to The Yurt, where chefs serve a four-course dinner inside a Mongolian yurt in the forest. 2. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Fly into Nevada’s Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), drive southwest about 55 minutes into California, and find yourself at one of America’s largest ski resorts. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is home to 42 total lifts, and 270 trails across 6000 acres – plus a Scenic Aerial Tram that climbs 2000ft high to an altitude of 8200ft, yielding magnificent mountain and Lake-Tahoe panoramas. Known for its lengthy ski and snowboard season and daily sunshine, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows earned fame when it served as the host site of the entire 1960 Winter Olympics. 3. Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont Vermont may be small, but Burlington International Airport (BTV) stays busy year-round, thanks to direct flights from about a dozen cities on a variety of airlines. From there, access to slopes around Mount Mansfield is a cool 55 minutes, either to Smugglers’ Notch, or luxurious Stowe Mountain Resort. Stowe stands out for its 11 lifts and a sightseeing gondola, which take riders up to Vermont’s highest peak (Mt. Mansfield) and sister mountain Spruce Peak. The base lodge anchors Stowe’s New England–village vibes, complete with spa, performing arts hall, ice skating, and an indoor rock-climbing center. 4. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming The only airport within a national park, Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) is just 21 miles/35 minutes from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. And what spectacular site for each, boasting views of the Teton Mountains in the south end of Yellowstone National Park. Skiers, boarders, and other winter-sports fanatics may find a bit of frosty heaven here. There are 17 lifts and 130 runs over 2500 skiable acres and 3000 backcountry acres; plus loads of other sports and leisure activities on the slopes and in posh downtown Jackson Hole. Easy access comes year-round, with directs on several airlines from a dozen major cities into its regional airport. 5. Aspen Snowmass, Colorado So you want a quick ride from the airport to the slopes? Central Colorado’s Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) may have them all beat with a speedy seven-mile, 15-minute drive to Colorado’s Snowmass Village. True, Apsen/Pitkin is a smaller regional airport, but nonstop service from major US hubs make it an easy port even in winter. (You also can opt for the Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), about 80 minutes north, which also serves Vail and Beaver Creek mountain villages). Among the more vibrant Rocky Mountain resorts, Aspen Snowmass is a sprawling resort that draws skier, boarders, and other snow lovers from around the world. From its prime location in Snowmass Village, the resort offers 40 lifts and more than 330 runs over 5,300 acres, plus access to a town rich with events, dining, and nightlife.

    Travel Tips

    It's Ski Season! Check Out Strategies for Cheaper Lift Tickets

    At certain U.S. ski resorts, you could pay over $100 for a single day's lift ticket. Do you really have to pay that much to ski? No way. The New York Times recently rehashed a handful of the best ways to trim lift ticket costs. The list includes classic advice such as buying a package with lodging and lift passes bundled together, skiing midweek rather than the weekend, and choosing multi-day passes over single-day tickets. The gist is that you'll pay through the nose if you don't plan ahead, and instead just arrive on a Saturday and stroll up to the ticket counter and ask for a day pass. Do that at a resort like Vail and you'll pay as much as $106! In fact, the way to save the most on lift tickets is by planning far, far in advance. As the Times points out, the ski pass-discounting website Liftopia works best for skiers comfortable booking months before they'll hit the slopes. The average discount through Liftopia is 33 percent for skiers purchasing tickets at least 14 days in advance, and it's possible to save a lot more by booking further out and being flexible with ski days. For a scant few days at Mount Snow, in Vermont, for example, a single-day lift ticket in costs as little as $24 via Liftopia. A standard midweek ticket, meanwhile, runs $75 at the resort. The downside with purchasing tickets through Liftopia, or similar services like LiftTickets.com, is that passes are totally nonrefundable. So if your plans change, or the weather doesn't cooperate, you're stuck paying for a lift ticket you don't use. That's the tradeoff for snagging lift tickets on the cheap. If you ski as a family, it's well worth checking out if your state, or a state where you plan on skiing, has a ski passport program for kids. With these programs, children in the prime ages for learning to ski (generally, fourth, fifth, or sixth grade) get free or discounted skiing all season long, so long as they're accompanied by a paying adult. Some processing and handling fee is usually required, but other than that, the savings potential is huge. With the "Winter Kids" program in Maine, for example, after a family pays $25, eligible kids can ski for free or at major discounts at 50 mountains and outdoor recreation areas for the duration of the season. Under the Passport program in Utah, fifth graders get three free lift tickets at each of the state's 14 participating resorts. Sixth graders, meanwhile, get one free day pass at each of the mountains too. Vermont, Colorado, and New York are among the states with similar programs. Among the other lift ticket savings strategies worth checking out is opting to ski only part of the mountain. Beginners rarely venture beyond a resort's novice areas, so why pay for access to trails you'll never see? At Alta in Utah, for instance, a lift ticket in the beginner area, with access to three different chairlifts, costs $38. By contrast, a full-access day pass costs $72. Finally, if you're traveling with skiers at either end of the age spectrum, choose your resort carefully. While many mountains offer lift tickets for free to skiers around 5 and under or 75 and older, some resorts are far more generous with freebies than others. At Big Sky Resort in Montana, for instance, up to two kids 10 and under skis for free when accompanied by a paying adult. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: Ask Trip Coach: Ski Vacations Shut Up and Ski: 10 Best Old-School Ski Resorts in the U.S. In Search of the Perfect Ski Village

    Budget Travel Lists

    Top 8 Places to See the Northern Lights

    This article was written by Zoë Smith on behalf of Viator.com's Travel Blog. One of the world’s most dazzling natural phenomenons, few vistas can top the Northern Lights, officially known as the Aurora Borealis (signifying the meeting of Aurora, Roman goddess of the dawn, and Borealis, the Greek North Wind). Created by solar winds interacting with charged particles in the earth’s magnetic field, the Lights appear as otherworldly streaks of green, red, yellow, and purple light dancing across the arctic skies. Visible throughout the so-called ‘Northern Lights Oval,' countries lying in the far-northern latitudes, optimally between 10 and 20 degrees from the magnetic North Pole, are most likely to catch a glimpse of the spectacle, which occurs predominantly between late-September and late-March, often close to midnight. While travelers flock to the world’s northernmost countries for a glimpse of the Northern Lights, seeing them is no exact science and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a good look. From the snow-enveloped wilderness of Siberia to the northernmost tip of Canada, here are some of the best places to see the Northern Lights. So wrap up warm, pick a crisp, clear night, and cross your fingers. IcelandWith its stark beauty, starry skylines and magnificent frosted landscapes, Iceland’s unique backdrop makes it a favorite place for photographers to capture the Lights. Auroral activity is greatest during the mid-winter months and the lights are visible from locations all over the country (on clear nights, you might even catch a few glimmers in Reykjavik). Two of the most popular watching areas are the ‘Golden Circle’—encompassing the Thingvellir National Park and the Haukadalur geothermic valley—and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, home to the famous Snaefellsjokull glacier, both easy trips from Reykjavik. For some of the clearest views and viewpoints away from the crowds, head to the northern coast on the brink of the Arctic Circle—the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula and the northern city of Akureyri are both great choices. Browse Northern Lights Tours from Reykjavik and read more about Things to Do in Iceland in Winter. AlaskaIn the far north of the United States, Alaska’s vast snowy wilderness casts an eerie shadow beneath the glow of the Northern Lights and the further you venture out of the cities, the brighter the lights seem to shine. Fairbanks, Denali, and the Yukon Territory are all popular locations for watching the lights (the Fairbanks Visitors Bureau claims an 80 percent chance of seeing them if you stay there for three nights), or else, you can hire a knowledgeable guide and just head north. Alaska also offers some of the most unique ways to see the lights, meaning that you’re guaranteed a memorable experience with or without the lightshow. Take an arctic cruise from Fairbanks, Anchorage, or Ketchikan and view the lights from the water; go ‘flightseeing’ for a chance to get up close to the lights by flying over the Arctic circle; take an overnight train over the snow covered Alaska Range; or stave off the frostbite by soaking in the Chena Hot Springs while you wait. Read more about When to Visit Alaska. LaplandThose looking for a dose of wintertime magic will find plenty to fuel their imagination in Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region and Santa Claus’ official European base. Along with visiting the home of Mr. Claus and whizzing over the snow on a husky-driven sled, viewing the Northern Lights is a right of passage for visitors to Lapland. In Finland the lights are known as Revontulet, meaning ‘Fox fire’, named after the local fairytale featuring a fox whose swishing tail sent sparks flying across the North sky. Northern Lights tours are everywhere in Lapland with in-season viewings occurring on an average of two out of three nights, and there are a plethora of viewing options. Take a reindeer safari, climb to popular lookout points on a snowmobile, stay overnight in an igloo or visit the world’s first Northern Lights Observatory atop the 904-meter Haldde Mountain. RussiaThe Northern Lights still hold special significance for the Russian Saami tribes, who gather to watch the lights from the shores of the vast Lake Lovozero and read their fortunes in the colored streaks. Perhaps one of the lesser-visited Northern Lights regions, Russia is the go-to place if you want the wilderness to yourself, with a mammoth stretch of the country lying close to the Arctic Circle and almost all of the northern regions offering great views. The Kola Peninsula, snaking towards Scandinavia in Northwestern Russia, is one of the principal Lights-watching areas thanks to its prime location on the Northern Lights’ belt and a number of guided excursions run from the Arctic city of Murmansk. Get there in December or January and you’ll be gifted with pitch-black days and nights, as the sun disappears from view for around six weeks. Alternatively, Severodvinsk is renowned for having some of the brightest lights in Russia, with red and green glows even visible from inside the city and Salekhard is the world’s only city located on the Arctic Circle putting it firmly inside the superior viewing zone. DenmarkThe most southern country in Scandinavia might be a bit far away from the Arctic Circle, but there are still opportunities to see the Lights on Danish shores. Greenland’s Inuit population have been enjoying some of the clearest views of the Northern Lights for centuries, believing that the eerie illuminations are the lost souls of the dead, and today the territory retains one of the highest hit rates of Aurora sightings. Head to the popular town of Kangerlussuaq or take a cruise along the sparsely populated East coast, with a backdrop of towering icebergs. Alternatively, Denmark’s Faroe Islands, a remote archipelago stranded halfway between Iceland and Norway, are likely one of the most unique locations to experience the Lights, with regular flights from Copenhagen. SwedenEach Scandinavian country has its own stake in Northern Lights tourism, but Sweden boasts its own unique claim to fame. Jukkasjarvi was home to the world’s first ice hotel and bar, fashioned entirely out of the cold stuff, inspiring dozens of imitations around the globe, and remaining one of the most atmospheric places to base your Northern Lights excursion. Abisko National Park is another one of Sweden’s highlights, where you can head to Torneträsk Lake, renowned for its unique micro-climate which affords weatherproof clear skies or visit the legendary Aurora Sky Station where you can take a chair-lift up to the summit, explore the special Northern Lights Exhibition and watch the night sky from the open-air observation deck. There are plenty of other prime spots, too—the Tornedalen region, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Laponia and the far northern town of Luleå are all popular choices. Time your visit for the darkest part of the year, between November and February, and if you’re lucky enough to catch the sky ablaze, make sure you keep quiet—local Sámi mythology dictates that it’s bad luck to make a noise during the Aurora Borealis. NorwayWith its wild landscapes blanketed with snow and ice-capped fjords glistening beneath the stars, Norway offers one of the most otherworldly backdrops for watching the Northern Lights. With the northern half of the country stretching into the Arctic Circle and more viewing locations than anywhere in Scandinavia, Norway has some of the brightest and most frequent sightings in the world. The Lofoten islands, Alta, Svalbard, and Finnmark all have high rates of Lights spottings, but Tromsø remains one of the most popular destinations, so much so that Hurtigruten ships even run Northern Lights cruises along the rugged Norwegian coastline. And there’s plenty to pass the time while you’re waiting for the midnight lightshow—Norway is one of Europe’s premier winter sports destinations, with skiing, snowshoeing, dog-sledding and snowmobiling all popular ways to enjoy the snow. Read about more Winter Activities in Norway. CanadaWith the north of the country lying within the North Magnetic Pole and the western Yukon Territory crowned as one of the world’s best viewing spots, there are plenty of good reasons to take your Aurora quest to Canada. Make the most of snow while you’re there, by learning the popular local sport of dog mushing (riding husky-driven sleds) and exploring some of the most stunning winter landscapes in the Northern Hemisphere. Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador offer plenty of opportunities to see the Lights, as well as being snowmobiling hotspots home to over 1,500km of trails; or spot two winter wonders in one trip, with a visit to Manitoba, on the cusp of the Aurora Oval and a popular place to witness polar bears in their natural habitat. For a real adventure though, take a boat or plane to Iqaluit, a natural paradise tucked away on Baffin Island, where you’ll be in the heart of the Arctic and far away from the lights of the city. Book a 3-Day Northern Lights Tour in Whitehorse from Vancouver.

    Adventure

    Amazon Adventures in Tarapoto, Peru

    No trip to Peru would be complete without a visit to the jungle, and one of the most beautiful places to visit on such an adventure is Tarapoto, otherwise known as "City of Palms." Located in the San Martin region of Peru, Tarapoto sits on a high jungle plateau (la selva alta) between the Andes and the Amazon Basin. Tarapoto can act as a base for light jungle excursions in the surrounding areas, or can serve as the jumping-off point for more hardy expeditions deep into Amazon rainforest. Climate and When to GoAs you might expect, Tarapoto is warm and humid all year round. Rainy season lasts from approximately January to May, which means that travel around this time may be wetter, muddier, and more mosquito-ridden than usual, but not impossible, or even unpleasant. Just be sure to bring with you a rain poncho, strong bug repellant, and a bit of patience! Things to See and DoThere is not much to see in Tarapoto City itself, although this is not to say that it's without its attractions. Popular day trips from the city include visits to the local waterfalls, such as El Ahuashiyacu, where visitors can swim in the lovely lagoon at its base. Another popular trip goes to Laguna Azul, a picturesque lake located in a volcanic crater in the nearby town of Sauce. The drive from Tarapoto takes about an hour, and requires travellers to get out of their means of transport while it's loaded onto a wooden barge that travels across a fast-moving river—a big part of the fun, in my opinion! Once at Laguna Azul, travellers can take a boat around the lake, stopping at points of interest along the way to swim, take photos, and eat. Travellers can make these trips with one of the many tour companies operating out of Tarapoto or negotiate their own trip with a local taxi or colectivo driver. Where to stayThere are a number of options for lodging in and around Tarapoto. A cheap, clean, and safe option for those wishing to stay in town is Hostal San Antonio, located around the corner from the Plaza del Armas, where a simply room with private bath (and WIFI!) will set you back around 15 dollars. The staff is friendly and helpful. A slightly more upscale option is Hostal Casa de Palos, located uphill from the Plaza del Armas. This boutique, minimalistic jungle-themed hotel has WIFI and a restaurant on site. For those wishing to have a jungle lodge experience, try El Shimiyacu Amazon Lodge, located 3 km from the city center and 5 km from the airport. Private baths, a kitchen, and internet access are available. If you want to stay the night at the Laguna Azul, there are a number of accommodation options in Sauce, including the posh El Sauce Resort, and the rustic Hotel Lago Lindo. ShoppingThe handicraft market is a wonderful place to purchase locally made goods such as coffee, liquors purported to improve virility, dream-catchers, hand-carvings, jewelry, hammocks, and other items. In the Plaza de Armas proper, you'll usually find shipibo women selling beautiful, hand-woven fabrics depicting themes relating to the jungle and ayahuasca, the entheogenic plant medicine that forms an important part of their culture. La Immaculada is a grocery store located on the lower right-hand corner of the Plaza de Armas. This is a great place to buy locally-made food items, such as honey made from the flowers of the jungle, chocolate made from cocoa grown in the region, coffee, andajis (hot sauces) made from special Amazonian peppers. For something different, try the mermelada de cocona (cocona jam), jam made from the small, yellow cocona fruit native to the region. Tara Leigh has traveled extensively in South America, where she had a wonderful time enjoying the food, taking in the sights, and meeting the people of that fantastic continent. This article was written on behalf of the Tambo Blanquillo, a family-owned Amazon jungle lodge.

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