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10 great places to explore the world’s best-kept secrets

Isla de Margarita 


One of the largest islands in the Caribbean remains largely undiscovered by Americans. Yogerst says it offers a huge variety of landscapes and culture in a small area. “It’s all of Latin America on one island. It has rainforests, deserts, fabulous beaches and little Spanish colonial towns.”

Colca Canyon 


The “Grand Canyon of South America” is more than twice as deep as its Arizona counterpart. It’s also one of the best places to see Andean condors. “You can go and watch them ride drafts up the canyon wall. It’s a majestic desert landscape that goes on forever and ever,” Yogerst says.

Wrangell-Kluane Wilderness 

Alaska and Canada 

Head north to explore one of the world’s largest protected areas, the combined lands of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Canada’s Kluane National Park. Taken together, they reach from the Gulf of Alaska to northern boreal forests and cover about 20 million acres. “It’s some of the most spectacular wildlife viewing I’ve had anywhere in North America,” Yogerst says. In one trip, he spotted grizzly and black bears, caribou, mountain goats, Dall sheep, and dolphins. 907-822-5234; OR

Salt Mission Trail 

New Mexico 

Before the Pilgrims arrived, Spanish missionaries were settling the Southwest. But the desert landscape in one corner of what later became New Mexico proved to be too challenging. “What’s left now is red-brick adobe ruins,” Yogerst says. “People will be surprised by how big some of these missions were with very large churches.”

Brimstone Hill Fortress 

St. Kitts  

Once called the Gibraltar of the West Indies, this former British colonial fort dominates a flat-topped seaside mountain. Abandoned 100 years ago, it has been restored and offers views of a volcano on the nearby Dutch island of Sint Eustatius. “It’s the most impressive of all the British forts I’ve seen in the Caribbean,” Yogerst says. 800-582-6208;

Tsitsikamma Trail 

South Africa 

This 40-mile path is laced with streams and heavy subtropical forests that reminds Yogerst of the Pacific Northwest. He hiked it over the course of five days staying in unstaffed, basic huts along the route. “It is a wild part of Africa. There are monkeys and baboons and leopards there.”

Galle Fort 

Sri Lanka 

Now that Sri Lanka’s civil war has ended, visitors are again discovering this charming fortified colonial city. Built on the Indian Ocean in the 16th century, its tall stone walls protected it from the tsunami that ravaged the region in 2004. “It’s preserved almost intact,” Yogerst says, and now even has a chic boutique resort. “It’s unexpected and not too well discovered.”

Small Museums of Tokyo 

Like New York, London and Paris, Tokyo has many major museums, but Yogerst suggests seeking out more obscure galleries, such as the Sumo Museum, devoted to the unique Japanese sport, or the Ota art museum. “It’s probably the best collection of Japanese wood block prints on the planet,” Yogerst says. Another highlight: the Mingeikan Folk Crafts Museum with more than 17,000 objects. “In some ways these say more about Japanese culture than the big museums do.” 212-757-5640;


Suffolk, England 

Yogerst says it’s just a coincidence that the Tudor town where his mother-in-law lives makes his list. “It’s the epitome of a quaint English countryside village.” There’s a cobblestone square with pubs, and no sign of “twee shops,” he says. It also has England’s largest collection of half timber buildings. “It’s the real deal.” When he visits he likes to take half-day hikes through the countryside that surrounds the town.

Ta Prohm temple 


This Southeast Asian ruin near the more famous Angkor Wat reminds Yogerst of something out of an Indiana Jones movie. “The stone ruins are literally wrapped in the branches and roots and arms of jungle trees.” He says visitors have the feeling they are discovering the site for the first time. “It’s cleared enough so you can walk through, but that’s all.”

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