Travel Hot Spots

Travel Hot Spots
ESSENCE.COM Aug, 19, 2009

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Everybody deserves a little R&R, and the Obamas are no exception. There was a lot of speculation about where they would spend their vacation next week, and when the President and First Lady chose Martha’s Vineyard, it seemed to be right up their alley.

Here are ten other hot spot travel destinations traditionally loved by African-Americans. Kck off your shoes, sip on a cocktail and take a trip around the world for a jet-setting experience of some of the most beautiful places you’ll ever want to visit.

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The Obamas are heading off to Martha’s Vineyard on Cape Cod in Massachusetts this weekend, where they will stay at Blue Heron Farm in the town of Chilmark. This isn’t “Little House and the Prairie.” The farmhouse rents for an estimated $50,000 a week and comes with a swimming pool, basketball court, and an apple orchard.

However, traditionally, African-Americans tend to settle in one of the oldest “Black” vacation destinations in the country. Oak Bluffs has welcomed the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., director Spike Lee and Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates. It was also the setting for the 1994 coming of age film, The Inkwell featuring Larenz Tate and Jada Pinkett Smith.

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Consider Hilton Head the ultimate family-friendly seaside getaway. Home to West African enslaved workers, the Gullah people have become arguably one of the most culturally unique groups in the U.S., with some living in isolation for more than 100 years. They even have their own language known as Geechee or English Creole.

Only 12 miles by 5 miles, Hilton Head has more than 250 restaurants, 200 stores and outlets and 24 golf courses. So there’s plenty to do.

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When headed to Brazil, get ready to explore the country’s African ancestry in Bahia. Thousands of African-Americans (albeit men and women typically visit for different reasons) are journeying to Bahia where slave plantations and religious relics have been well-preserved. It’s even said that Feijoada, Brazil’s national dish, a stew made of beans, beef and pork is the country’s answer to soul food.

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What’s so special about Ibiza? Let’s start with it being in the middle of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain. Known as a “sexy party town,” it’s where the beautiful people go to have a good time. So if you want to rock a tiny two-piece like Naomi Campbell, who was recently spotted vacationing there, then this is the first place you need to go. Then throw on colorful caftan and head to one of Ibiza’s world-renowned restaurants where you can dine right by the ocean.

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Want to be part of the “in” crowd? Head to Ipanema located in the South of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. This place is so fly they even wrote a song about it.

Going back to the swanky days of the 1960’s, Ipanema Beach is said to be where the very first “wedgy” or thong bikini was worn, making its mark in men’s minds all over the world. African-Americans who are used to bringing everything with them to the beach will like the amenities Ipanema offers. You can get everything from bathing suits to food to even jewelry right on the beach itself.

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It’s the ultimate weekend getaway spot for the grown and sexy in the Tri-State (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) area. The resort community is located on Eastern Long Island in New York and comprised of several quaint villages and towns. While the Hamptons has been the go-to summer local for Whites for years, we have to give it to Sean “P.Diddy” Combs for putting it on the map for us with his now-infamous “White Parties” every summer.

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This is where you will surely receive the most exclusive experience of your life. Considered the premiere destination for European royalty, world leaders, rock stars and a certain pro golfer named Tiger, Sandy Lane in St. James parish in Barbados is a premiere luxury resort where your every whim is taken very seriously by the staff. The spa facilities are some of the finest in the world and the accommodations include Italian marble floors, large private verandahs, flat-screen televisions and a personalized private bar. If you’re interested in playing a few holes, Sandy Lane boasts one of the most manicured golf courses in the Caribbean.

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It’s every jet-setters dream to make a pit stop in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Known in business circles as the commercial hub of the Middle East where Asia, Europe and Africa meet, Dubai combines the stimulation of a major city with the charming appeal of a luxury resort. Although fairly new to the tourism sector, Dubai is rapidly becoming one of the most anticipated new places for those adventurous types to come and visit. If you’re a shopnista, you must run to the Dubai Mall, which hosts around 600 shops, making it the largest mall in the world.

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French is the official language in St. Barths (also known as St. Barts) located in the French Caribbean near St. Martin and Anguilla. Best suited for the low-key vacationer, St. Barths doesn’t have casinos, big resort or cruise liners stopping by for day trips. It’s a simple place with simple pleasures—serenity, top restaurants and a beach to get lost on. Just ask Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, who hosted a bunch of friends including Beyoncé, Jay-Z , LA Reid and designer Marc Jacobs in St. Barths last year.

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Everyone is made to feel like a celebrity when vacationing on the Mexican Riviera or Tulum, Mexico. Quickly becoming the new honeymoon spot, Tulum is actually the perfect combination of pristine beaches and Mayan history with large ruins scattered across the coastline. Nothing like the party hard fever in Cancun, Tulum is much more laid back in style and character.

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