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. "
Featured trips & expertise
Whether you have five days or an entire month, you'll have an epic experience in Bhutan with a bit of planning. Five days is just long enough for a quick Himalayan trek or for exploring the major monasteries and other sites around Thimpu and adjacent valleys. With a week or longer, you can branch out to far-flung locales or enjoy an in-depth experience such as spending 10 days checking off species of birds on a birding itinerary. With two weeks or more, you can explore the full breadth of the country.
Two weeks is the perfect amount of time to spend in Malaysia, allowing you to explore the region's top wilderness venues and experience many of its cultural highlights. However, you can still enjoy Malaysia with far fewer days: five is long enough for a wildlife-rich rainforest experience, including time for relaxing on white sand beaches and snorkeling the Sulu Sea, while in a week to 10 days, you can dive deeper and experience multiple regions.
Namibia is a year-round destination, but above all else, its distinct rainy and dry seasons determine the best (and worst) time to visit. Whether you want to see the Sossusvlei dunes of the Namib Desert, spot game in the wildlife-rich Caprivi Strip and Etosha Pan, or explore the flower-strewn Kalahari Desert and shipwreck-strewn Skeleton Coast, there's a best season for you. Read on to learn more about Namibia's weather, travel tips, and the ideal time to visit.
Despite spanning the Arctic Circle, Finland is a fantastic destination at any time of year. Summer (June-August) draws visitors for vibrant cultural festivals, sunny days and warm temperatures, and the endless daylight of the midnight sun. Winter is equally stunning for its snowy landscapes and snowsports and a chance to see the northern lights and meet Santa on his home turf. And spring and fall are ideal if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy a temperate climate.
Travelers with 12 days to spend in Iceland have plenty of options. You can circle the entire island on a grand tour or focus your time on an in-depth exploration of two or three regions, such as the Westfjords, Snæfellness Peninsula, and Golden Circle. Perhaps you want a winter adventure, or an active adventure combining kayaking, hiking, and riding e-mountain bikes in West and South Iceland. These five itineraries show you how to make the most of your visit.
You can explore diverse regions in 11 days, providing enough time to check off many of Iceland's most iconic as well as popular sites and plenty of lesser-visited destinations. Maybe you want an experiential tour focused on hiking, such as around the Golden Circle and South Coast. Or, pack in active adventures in these two popular regions, plus more off-beat destinations such as Westfjords and Snæfellsnes Peninsula. And if you love to drive, follow the Ring Road from beginning to end.