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Travel & Leisure

by Brandi L. Brower, Travel Editor

"Pura Vida!" was my greeting as I stepped off the escalator at the Liberia airport, the driver offered to take my small carry-on and guided me into the waiting vehicle where a cold drink and chilled towel were offered to wipe away the air travel. The 30-minute drive passed by quickly as I appreciated the landscape of the Guanacaste Province, in a country that I had never been to before. As we made our way to the main entrance of the Papagayo Peninsula, I asked my driver to stop immediately. He didn't act surprised by my request, as I doubt that I was the first person who was struck by the breathtaking view from the top of the bluff. Equally striking, four large stone sculptures called Life Archipelago by Jorge Jimenez Deredia, a series of art pieces illustrating a drop of water turning into a woman holding the earth. Framed by a row of soaring palm trees, this served as a stunning gateway, welcoming me into a dream destination.

by Brandi L. Brower, Travel Editor

"There are other places where the water is blue and clear, but there is nothing like it is in the Bahamas. It is so expansive and so absolutely beautiful, " Astronaut Scott Kelly claimed after passing over it in space for an entire year. "I think one of the reasons why we know that aliens have never come to Earth is because they would've all been here in the Bahamas. If you're going to land in the most appealing place from space," he joked, Well, if it's that beautiful from space, it's even more gorgeous in person.

by Brandi L. Brower, Travel Editor

Geographically challenged? I was before visiting the Bahamas, then I discovered that the Caribbean country is made up of around 700 individual islands and islets over more than 100,000 square miles of ocean, 30 of which are inhabited and more than 2000 cays (coral reefs). The Cat 5 Hurricane Dorian, which slowly churned for 24 hours straight, over the area just over a month ago, the record-breaking 185 mph sustained winds contributed to 61 dead, hundreds still missing, an estimated 70,000 needing shelter, and colossal damage left in her wake. 

After hearing news reports about the destruction and death toll rising, I questioned whether I should travel to the country at all. It wasn't until I arrived that I realized the hardest-hit islands of Great Abaco and Grand Bahama were the only communities effected. The hurricane eye was relatively small at 25 nautical miles. Still, because it stayed in place for an entire day, crawled at just one mile per hour, it brought colossal damage and devastation to the people living on the two hardest-hit areas.

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