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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

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 who know the cone-shaped (and currently dormant) Arenal Volcano with a surplus of 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. Don't forget your swimsuit.

A road to Arenal Volcano
Driving in Costa Rica: Road Trip FAQ

Costa Rica has a way of igniting the adventurous spirit within. This is, after all, one of the world's most biodiverse countries loaded with rainforests, wildlife species, beaches, outdoor activities, and 28 national parks—3 of which are UNESCO-listed. If you're planning on exploring some (or all) of what Costa Rica has to offer, you'll likely want to consider renting a car. Read this driving guide for the inside scoop.

Photo courtesy of Hacienda AltaGracia an Auberge Resort
8 Best Luxury Hotels in Costa Rica

Epitomizing laid-back travel, Costa Rica has hundreds of hotels but only a few make the list for luxury. With the help our local specialists we've narrowed the best down to these eight unique options that choose quality over quantity, simplicity over opulence. Pick one or more and make your next trip to the land of 'pura vida' extra special.

The ocean and rocks from Tayrona National Park
Cartagena, Carnival & the Caribbean Coast - 10 Days

This fun itinerary hits the highlights along Colombia’s northern coast, balancing colonial history, beaches, hiking, and relaxation. Wander Cartagena's pretty Old Town and take a speedboat to the Rosario Islands. Drive to Barranquilla, where a raging carnival celebration is held each year. You'll also spend two active days exploring Tayrona National Park and visit a coffee farm in the rolling hills of Minca.