The New, New Places

Go here now—before the secret gets out

Feb 20, 2007
Outside Magazine

Surfing Rosie Bay near Tofino, British Columbia    Photo: Bob Herger

Azuero Peninsula
It seems everything is expanding in Panama. A $5.25 billion upgrade will more than double the Panama Canal's capacity by 2014, tourism nationwide has nearly doubled in the past six years, and in 2005 alone more than one million visitors spent upwards of $1 billion in this tropical destination. The Azuero Peninsula, four hours southwest of Panama City, on the Pacific coast, is a direct beneficiary of the cash infusion. The still-uncrowded peninsula has been getting increasing attention, thanks to its surf-filled beaches and world-class tuna and marlin fishing. Popular digs for foreigners include Villa Camilla, a classy seven-room hotel built mostly from local materials (doubles from $300; meals, $50 per day; 011-507-232-6721,

Take a province with more than 16,700 miles of coastline and a few hundred thousand snowboarders itching to embrace the coming summer and you get the British Columbia surf scene. Tofino, a sleepy town of 1,711 on Vancouver Island's Pacific side, explodes into a mini-metropolis every season as a horde of surfers descends in pursuit of consistent beginner and intermediate breaks. For the student who wants to mix surfing with celebrity, there's Bruhwiler Surf School, owned by one of Canada's renowned big-wave riders, Raf Bruhwiler (two-and-a-half-hour group lessons, $75; 250-726-5481, At the Wickaninnish Inn, every room has an ocean view (doubles, $208–$398; 800-333-4604,

Beijing may be the center of the 2008 Olympics universe, but the heart of China's adventure-sport community sits more than 1,000 miles to the south, near Yangshuo (pop. 298,000). Climbers first began setting routes in the myriad karst peaks here in the 1990s; today there are about 300 established climbs. (Last fall, Briton Neil Gresham set the region's first 5.14b.) After climbing, there's caving, hiking, and mountain biking. And anglers can hire a guide—who'll use a trained cormorant—to catch fish at night. Get on belay with China Climb ($40 per half-day with guide; 011-86-773-88-11-033,, then crash at the peaceful Yangshuo Mountain Retreat (doubles from $40; 011-86-773-87-77-091,

Get a piece of the Pirin Mountains while you still can. Bulgaria's January 2007 admission to the European Union will only bolster its booming vacation-home market. Towns like Bansko—where property values have more than doubled in recent years—are where everyone's buying. It's no wonder: One of the most modern ski resorts in Bulgaria is nestled below 9,000-foot peaks with Jackson Hole–style off-piste steeps. Even if you don't have a couple hundred grand to snag a condo, the resort's multi-million-dollarupgrades make it visit-worthy. The new Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena (doubles, $213; has a mod Swiss-chalet vibe and a primelocation at the base of the gondola.

Madhya Pradesh
Last November, Taj Hotels and CC Africa generated big-time adventure travel buzz when they opened Mahua Kothi, the first of five upscale resorts in central India, marrying the African safari with Indian hospitality. Bandhavgarh National Park, abutting the Mahua Kothi, is one of the most famous tiger habitats on earth, with centuries-old man-made caves that now serve as big-cat dens. After a day exploring the sal forests and bamboo jungle, guests chill out in one of 12 suites on the 40-acre property, which offers all the best amenities of a conventional luxury safari—but with hookah pipes in the common area, private butlers in traditional costume, andin-room Ayurvedic massages ($600 per person, all-inclusive; 011-91-11-26-80-77-50,

Filed To: Snow Sports

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