Peter Greenberg is the
winning travel editor
for CBS News and host
of The Travel Detective
on public television
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MOST TRAVELERS HAVE favorite destinations
that offer iconic locations, experiences, museums
and attractions. But there is more to popular places
than the obvious choices. The following list includes
some of my own favorite destinations, where I’ve
found hidden gems missing from most guidebooks
When I go to Honolulu, I head northwest to the
other side of the island to Dillingham Airfield, a former U.S. Air Force Nike missile base, to go glider riding. The Honolulu Soaring Club (honolulusoaring.
com) has been operating since 1970, and the gliders
get as high as 3,000 feet, giving you a completely different perspective of Oahu as you float in the updrafts
and then gently land.
Back in Honolulu, stop by the Liliha Bakery (lili
habakeryhawaii.com). This place has been around
since 1950, and trust me, nothing has changed. It’s a
24-hour diner as well. Here’ s a secret: Go after 2 a.m.,
after they’ve fired up the ovens, and check out their
famous coco puffs (chocolate-filled pastries).
Las Vegas, Nevada
Less than a 10-minute drive from the Las Vegas
Strip is what looks like a large construction site. It is
a construction site: yours. It’s called Dig This Las
Vegas ( digthisvegas.com), and there are derricks,
huge bulldozers and other mega-size construction
vehicles at the location. At America’s first heavy
equipment playground, you get to do what you’ve
wanted to do since you were a kid: dig, push, drive
and pile over large mounds and trenches. (Caution:
One must be at least 14 years of age to operate the
“big” equipment and 8 years old to operate the skid
steer loaders and mini excavators.)
Many people visit the legendary La Boqueria
( boqueria.info) food market, in the middle of Las
Ramblas in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona.
But few tourists eat there. And that’s where my
favorite little Barcelona market comes in: It’s called
Bar Central. It doesn’t take reservations. And there
are no tables—just a small counter with about 15
stools. What this means is that no matter what time
you get there, people will already be occupying
those seats. The protocol: Stand quietly and patiently
behind them, until it’s your turn. Then, sit at the
counter and point to the type of fish you want (it’s
literally right in front of you), and they will throw it
on the grill, drizzled with garlic and olive oil.
Isla Mujeres (“the island of women”) is 15 min-
utes by ferry from Cancún. Like many other places
in Cancún, Isla Mujeres has beautiful turquoise
water and white sand beaches. Isla’s diversity, from
the fishermen to the artists and musicians, makes it
a community unlike any other. With the beauty of
the Caribbean, the heritage of the Mayans and the
friendly charm of the people, Isla has become a
haven for people from all over the world.
You can spend time in Isla Mujeres doing the
same activities you would anywhere else in Cancún:
enjoying the beach, eating, cycling or scuba diving.
Or, you can choose Tortugranja ( isla-mujeres.net).
This little turtle farm makes efforts to rehabilitate
injured sea turtles and help raise hatchlings to survive in the ocean. Tortugranja entrance is only $3 per
person for a 30-minute educational tour. The best
part of the whole tour is the sand area with the turtle
nests. The best season to go is from May to October.
Grand Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands have a long and well-deserved reputation for being one of the great dive
spots and having some of the friendliest sea life,
especially the stingrays. And if you want your own
nearly private snorkeling experience, head to
Cemetery Beach. It’s remote. Never crowded. And
while some may have heard of the beach, few know
about the great snorkeling reef just a short swim offshore. Nurse sharks, sea turtles and, yes, stingrays.
If you happen to be in the Caymans on a
Wednesday, take the 10-minute drive from Georgetown to the farmers and artisans market in Camana
Bay, featuring more than 40 shops. The locals
come here once a week for their produce. You, however, should also go for the locally crafted handmade jewelry. C
Hidden travel gems
Going beyond the guidebooks
Costco Travel offers packages
to all these destinations and
many more. To learn more,
click “Travel” at Costco.com
or call 1-877-849-2730.
Honolulu Soaring Club glider,
below La Boqueria in Barcelona
and Dig This Las Vegas.
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here to watch a video
from Dig This Las Vegas.
(See page 13 for details.)