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A Plan for All Seasons

The advantages of going somewhere during the off-season are simple—better deals, smaller crowds —and they derive from the premise that off-peak travel must involve lowered expectations and certain compromises. A few rare places, however, hold hidden allure in the quiet months: castles on a rainy day, fishing-boat fairy lights, the braying of amorous penguins. As local experts make clear in the following year-round selection, you don't need to go peak to hit the heights.

PHOTO BY VISUAL & WRITTEN SL/ALAMY

OCTOBER
Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

The green sea turtles that come here during the rainy season to lay their eggs don’t stay long. Emma Harrison, scientific director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, on the other hand, has been studying these fascinating creatures for nearly a decade.

“In October it’s getting toward the end of the nesting season. You’re out on the beach at night, under the moonlight, and these giant turtles crawl up the beach, dig the pit where they’re going to lay their eggs, deposit the eggs, cover them up and go back into the sea, without any further interaction.

“You’re witnessing something that’s been going on for over 100 million years. You’re not in a zoo; it’s not controlled in any way. People are simply very, very inspired. I’ve had people literally crying over their first encounter with a sea turtle. It’s that emotional.”

One Response to “A Plan for All Seasons”

  1. Sydney Says:
    December 6th, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Port De Grave, my hometown! So many wonderful childhood memories, and my favorite of all was the first boat lighting, the whole community was in awe. Love that our tradition has become so well known!!

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