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Christopher P Baker

A veteran adventure traveler, motojournalist and Cuba specialist, Christopher P. Baker—the Lowell Thomas Award 2008 'Travel Journalist of the Year'—has written and photographed almost 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Moon, National Geographic, etc.; been published worldwide, from CNN Travel to National Geographic Traveler and Playboy; and has led more than 100 tours for such companies as Lindblad Expeditions, National Geographic Expeditions, and Edelweiss Bike Travel.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Cuba foremost. But also Costa Rica, Colombia, and California."

How did you get involved in travel?

"I participated in two Sahara research expeditions and an exchange program in Krakow, Poland, while studying geography at University College London. That gave me the travel bug. I made frequent visits to the Greek Islands and in 1978 taught summer camp in the USA before spending six months hitchhiking around North America. In 1980 I settled in Berkeley, California, and began work in the adventure travel business. Two years later I launched my career as a full-time freelance travel journalist and tour leader."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"In 1996 I shipped my BMW R100GS motorcycle to Cuba and traveled more than 7,000 miles over several months while researching the Moon Cuba handbook. It was my christening in the world of adventure motorcycle touring--now one of my absolute passions. Adventure motorcycling lets you explore parts of the world that are virtually inaccessible by any other means, and with absolute freedom. "

Lavender fields in Provence
Ultimate France Itineraries - 5, 7, 10, & 14 Days

Our researchers traveled throughout France. Our experts chipped in with their insights. Then we listened to what travelers themselves had to say: where they most want to go, what they most like to see, and what activities most turn them on. Finally, we assessed all their advice, studied all destinations and combinations, and factored in how much time average travelers to France are likely to have. The result? The following ultimate itinéraires française.

The Monastery, Petra
Petra in December: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

By December, there’s no doubt that winter has arrived. Jordan is at its coldest, the rainy season has begun, and even the first flurries of snow can blanket the land. However, on most days the sun shines brightly in a deep-blue crystal-clear sky. And this is the quiet low season, making a visit to Jordan’s most popular attraction all the more personal.

The Treasury, Petra
Petra in November: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

November marks the arrival of winter, with relatively high-elevation Petra now distinctly chilly, especially at night. The rainy season also begins at the end of November and continues through March, although chances of it raining on any given day are still slim. But the "Pink City" still holds plenty of charms, with great hiking to keep you warm, and a last chance to hike certain routes before increasing rains make them off-limits.

The Monastery, Petra
Petra in October: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

October weather is as agreeable as any time of the year in Petra, with mild temperatures, although you may want to put a warm jacket back in your bag for cool evenings. And the first light rains of autumn often add a splash of much-needed green. Savvy travelers also know to come now, and the trails can crowded. But there are still fewer visitors than in springtime.

Al Kazneh Temple in Petra
Petra in September: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

The short-lived autumn arrives in September—a lovely time to visit Petra as temperatures fall, rain remains totally absent, and you can still take advantage of off-season prices. The end of the month is especially kind for hikers, with neither too hot nor too cold Goldilocks temperatures. But visitors numbers begin to surge.

View of monuments from ruins of ancient church, Petra
Petra in August: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

The hot, dry summer is at its peak, with August being the hottest--and very hot!--month, when colors get bleached out of the landscape. But don’t let this put you off. You get to explore Petra in virtual solitude, as the tourist hordes shun the heat. Plus, the dark desert nights provide a pitch-black canvas for watching the annual Perseid meteor shower.