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Lilly Graves

I'm a freelance writer, photographer, and travel planner originally from Northern Michigan, affectionately known as 'Up North'. My first gig was—a start-up travel site, now owned by TripAdvisor—who sent me to photograph and review hotels in the U.S., Caribbean, Central America, South Pacific, and South Asia. Since 2011, I've covered 500+ properties around the world.

During this time, I worked for's Personal Travel Planning team customizing honeymoons and family vacations for members of the site. Among other projects related to travel, I've helped open a restaurant in Chicago and a hotel in Brooklyn so food, wine, and hospitality are high on the list of things that make me smile.

How did you get involved in travel?

"During a trip to Australia, Asia, and Europe in my 20s, I started a blog and became hooked on travel writing and photography. A few years later, I moved to London to attend journalism school and (no surprise) stuck to the travel industry. I then completed internships with the London Times Travel Desk and the New York Times Frugal Traveler, which led to my first job out of college. From then on it's been all about travel and hospitality. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"After a 24-hour journey of trains, planes, and boats to get to the Maldives, I should have gone straight to bed. Instead, I went to the beach and pulled out my camera when a double rainbow appeared in the Indian Ocean. "

Featured trips & expertise

Spend a day in Cassis and Calanques National Park
Paris & Provence Family Adventure - 7 Days

Perfect for first-timers, this weeklong itinerary kicks off in the French capital where you'll summit the Eiffel Tower, gain skip-the-line access at Le Louvre, and sample some of Paris's best bakeries and chocolatiers. Then, ride a high-speed train to Avignon—your base for exploring the Provence region with canoeing and biking tours as well as a trip to a national park along the Mediterranean to finish the adventure

 Medellín & Los Nevados
Explore Colombia: Medellín & Los Nevados - 9 Days

The core of this adventure includes three days of trekking in the high, snowy mountains of Los Nevados National Park. With ancient ancestral pathways, your journey passes through an extraordinary ecosystem with rare species of flora and fauna that rely on the snow for preservation. You will land in the up-and-coming city of Medellín, along with taking a day trip to a coffee farm to close out your Colombian exploration.

Medellín & the Los Nevados Trek - 8 Days
Colombia Outdoor Adventure: Medellín & Los Nevados Trek - 8 Days

This active Colombian adventure includes three days of trekking in the snowy mountains of Los Nevados National Park, which sprawls across 143,000 acres of the Colombian Andes. Enjoy hiking through a unique high-elevation ecosystem, where rare species of flora and fauna thrive. You will also have time to explore the charming colonial town of Salento, the coffee region hub of Manizales, and the revitalized city of Medellín—the best of both worlds.

The UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord where you'll spend three nights
Summer Road Trip: Mountains & Fjords - 14 Days

Steer a relaxing two-week course through Norway's spectacular landscapes from Jotunheimen National Park to the depths of Sognefjord, the country's deepest fjord. You'll enjoy the freedom of setting your own pace when visiting museums and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, not to mention plenty of opportunities to get out in nature and explore.

Stop in colorful Raquira to pick up a souvenir or two or three
Colombia's Cultural Interior - 14 Days

This two-week cultural adventure is perfect for travelers who don’t mind skipping the Amazon, Pacific, or the Caribbean and want to get to the heart of Colombia's interior. Start the trip with plenty of time to explore the vibrant capital of Bogotá, and then travel north to the famous salt mines and one of the most well-preserved cobblestoned towns in the country, Villa de Leyva. You’ll then swing over to the striking metropolis of Medellín, throwing in day-trips to lakeside Guatapé and a working coffee farm before heading to Cali, the salsa capital of the world, and ending your journey in the “white city’ of Popayán.

(Photo courtesy of Nayara Springs)
5 Best Luxury Hotels in La Fortuna

This mountain town needs no introduction to those familiar with the cone-shaped Arenal Volcano and its surrounding rainforests, hot springs, and waterfalls. Indeed this is one of Costa Rica's top destinations with dozens of accommodations. So, how to skip hordes of tourists? We sought advice from our local specialists to offer the most luxurious hotels in La Fortuna.