MODERN ADVANCEMENTS in travel and tourism leave few places on this planet remote and removed from modern society, but the Cook Islands manage to maintain unique culture and history while preserving stunning natural beauty. Not yet affected by the ravages of overtourism, this Oceania archipelago offers visitors a glimpse into a bygone era when life was less complicated and people focused on family, community and quality of life. Adventurous travelers willing to make the trek to this Polynesian gem will find awaiting them a stunning world of timeless beauty.
You probably didn’t know you needed to visit the Dominican Republic until you learned about the new, beautiful, modern, all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana.
CHRISTCHURCH IS REBOUNDING from 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that devastated the city, destroying 80 percent of the downtown Central Business District and killing 185 citizens. When I visited in 2012, the ruins of the central city were cordoned off — I recall peering through barriers to see the fallen tower of the stately cathedral and then driving by the temporary Cardboard Cathedral built of cardboard tubes, timber and steel. As that temporary church continues to hold services, the church spire is displayed at the Quake City Museum, and plans to rebuild — not replace — the cathedral are in discussion.