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The Catskills, Vietnam, Barcelona, and More: Frommer's Announces the Top 10 Up and Coming Destinations For Summer 2005

Looking for an insider recommendation on the next must-see place? Frommer's polled their hundreds of outspoken experts around the world for their top picks on up and coming destinations near and far.

Baltimore: If you've never considered Baltimore, now is the time. It's undergoing a cultural renaissance that goes beyond baseball and steamed crabs. Check out the fascinating medieval art, suits of armor, and Egyptian mummies at the Walters Art Museum. Then, fast forward to the American Visionary Art Museum where the offbeat and funky works will engage your imagination. Go "down under" at the always popular National Aquarium in its new wing devoted to "Animal Planet Australia" opening this fall. Top off your day by visiting one of the new ethnic restaurants that have been popping up in neighborhoods like Fells Point, Mount Vernon, and Little Italy that make dining an event unto itself.

A Must: Shop 'til you drop on Antique Row, where you'll discover silver, porcelains and chairs of all sizes and shapes.

Barcelona: These days, it's hard not to spend a pretty penny when visiting Europe, so be sure to choose a place that's worth the splurge. Barcelona certainly is! This happening city is not only situated in a scenic location but it's exploding with new hip restaurants and attractions. From the newly renovated National Art Museum of Catalonia to the always eye-popping works of Gaudi and Picasso, Barcelona is an art lover's city. But don't spend all of your time inside. The warm climate and unique outside spaces throughout the city make wandering an adventure. Be sure to take the funicular up to Tibidabo Mountain where you'll discover the finest views.

A Must: Dine on the freshest seafood and produce at Jean Luc Figueras, located in the former studio of Balenciaga.

Belize: For those looking to pack a lot of variety into their trip without spending a lot of time traveling, Belize is the perfect choice. Its compact size allows you to watch the sun rise from a hammock, spend the night in a Mayan ceremonial city, and snorkel into Shark-Ray Alley for a guaranteed close encounter with stingrays and nurse sharks, all in just a few days. Explore the extensive network of very accessible caves throughout Western Belize, which are believed by the ancient Mayans to be a mystical realm. Or, if you'd rather be above ground, visit the Cayo District on horseback and check out the breathtaking jungle waterfalls, plunge into cool swimming holes, and view nearby Mayan ruins.

A Must: Stargazing from a deserted beach or a rural mountain getaway.

Cambria, California: Not quite Northern Californian and not quite Southern, Cambria has a personality all its own. A longtime artists colony, it abounds with quirky but charming seaside inns (many of which accept pets, making this the best place in California to vacation with Fido) and friendly, down-home restaurants. A colony of elephant seals at a vista point called Piedras Blancas frolic and sun themselves on the rocks all year long; knowledgable docents are always on hand to answer questions. Cambria is also the perfect base from which to explore nearby Hearst Castle (one of the premier tourist sites in the state), and the central coast vineyards (some of which were featured in the hit film "Sideways").

A Must: Spend a Friday or Saturday evening at Hearst Castle, where living history players give you the closest glimpse possible of what life might have been like in Hearst's Day.

The Catskills, NY: "America's First Wilderness" is boldly beautiful and remote -- and only 100 miles north of New York City. The Catskills offer world-class fly-fishing, and sheer cliffs for rock climbers. Climb to the tower of Skytop where you'll see six states on a clear day. Take an outing to Kaaterskill Falls where the rush of the highest waterfall in New York State will leave you awestruck. If you left your fleece at home and would rather shop, the towns of Saugerties and Phoenicia offer stylishly creative shops, worthwhile antiquing, pick-your-own co-ops, dairy farms, and a growing number of gourmet restaurants.

A Must: For a taste of the groovy days of the 70's, peer through a 60-foot tall kaleidoscope at the Kaatskill Kaleidoscope Theater.

The Cook Islands, South Pacific: Boasting the beauty and far-away feel of neighbors like Bora Bora and Tahiti but with significantly lower price tags, these picturesque and vibrant gems are the next hot spots of the South Pacific. The Cook Islands enrapture all who step foot on its white, sandy, coconut-studded beaches, hike its mountainous interiors, and explore its azure lagoons. While there, be sure to meet Pa, a local tour guide who will lead intrepid explorers on the Cross Island Track, a hike that winds along a stream high up to the base of "The Needle". Along the way hikers will discover unique plants, animals, and learn some of the fascinating local lore.

A Must: Take part in the hip-swinging, colorful dances and dine on traditional foods during An Island Night Feast.

Hoi An, Vietnam: Although the entire country deserves exploration, don't miss the charming town of Hoi An. Once an important ceramic trading post, today it is a vibrant town with over 800 historical landmarks. Wander through historic homes and temples, ride a sampan down the lazy river, or head to the beach for a little refreshment. On top of all this, Hoi An is a shopper's mecca. Visit the spice ladies at the central market, take home some handicrafts or indulge in the gorgeous, colorful silks that represent the best selection in the country. For under $40 US you can have a luxurious custom-tailored suit made in just 24 hours.

A Must: Witnessing the candlelit lantern procession along the riverfront during the full moon of every month.

Paraty, Brazil: Once the main shipping port for gold on its way to Portugal, Paraty faded into oblivion at the end of the 19th century, when the gold rush ended, and the abolition of slavery put an end to the local coffee industry. Thousands abandoned the city, and it became a virtual Brigadoon, a city trapped in time. Today, visitors are greeted by a perfectly preserved Colonial City (it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which has been reclaimed by artists, many of which have set up fine local galleries. Paraty also boasts some of the finest restaurants in Brazil. The city is surrounded by coastal rainforest on one side and a turquoise bay on the other, dotted with 65 small, mostly uninhabited islands.

A Must: Rent a boat and driver for the day, for just $45, and island-hop at will, visiting pristine beaches and tiny island restaurants.

Puerto Rico: For a great warm-weather getaway without spending big bucks, leave the mega beach resorts behind and visit Ponce on the south side of the island where you'll encounter a wealth of history, culture and nature. With gas- lit lined streets and horse-drawn carriages clattering along pink marble streets, it's easy to recall the colonial days gone by. Ponce is also home to the Museo de Art, the finest collection of European and Latin American art in the Caribbean. Mix in the lively street festivals and colorful marketplaces and a trip here is sure to be a rich one. For a taste of nature, head west from Ponce and discover over 750 plant and tree species and unique birds that live in one of the best-preserved sub-tropical eco-systems on the planet.

A Must: Meet the giant iguanas and endangered sea turtles on a day trip from Mayaguez to Mona Island.

South Africa: Everyone knows about the big game parks but there are many extraordinary non-safari experiences to found throughout the country. Head east from Cape Town and explore the freshwater coastal lakes, magnificent caves, waterfalls and indigenous forests of the Wilderness National Parks and the breathtaking coastline of the Garden Route. It's here that you can visit an ostrich farm, encounter a white shark, and explore the dusty towns that showcase a very distinct architectural style. In Plettenberg Bay be sure to find some time for the beaches, the best in the area, and don't miss the magnificent homes that overlook them. From "Plett" you can go on marine safari where you'll come face to face with humpbacks, dolphins and coastal birds.

A Must: In the spring head to Namaqualand to witness thousands of wild flowers bursting into spectacular bloom.