Destinations to Watch in 2012
The world is big and the travel possibilities nearly endless. So each December, we look ahead and highlight destinations that will shine in the coming year. From a country that's looking to host the world in 2012 to a region celebrating the end of the world as we know it, these hot spots are worth a look when planning your travel adventures in the New Year.
England is preparing to take a great big bow on the world stage in 2012 as it hosts the Summer Olympic Games, celebrates the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and, just for good measure, throws in a bevy of additional attraction openings and festivities.
The Olympics kick off on July 27 and run, jump, and flip their way through August 12. The celebrations begin well in advance of the Summer Games, though. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Weekend takes place between June 2 and 5 and marks her 60th year as monarch. Events include the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, a procession of 1,000 boats on June 3; and a formal carriage procession through London on June 5. And cities around England, as well as the world, will be celebrating Charles Dickens' 200th birthday.
The end of the world or the dawn of a new era? These are just the sort of questions to ponder in the Mundo Maya, or the Mayan World, this year. Events in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico mark the end of the current Maya "Long Count," a 5,125-year calendar cycle, and usher in the dawning of a new age. Celebrations, themed tours, and ceremonies throughout the year offer a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the ancient archeological sites and modern culture of the Maya people. In Belize, Maya cultural festivities include traveling exhibitions, a solstice sleepover at Caracol, and a large festival on December 21, the estimated last day of the calendar.
Even major cities need the occasional burst of serious renewal, and that's exactly what visitors will find in