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Destination Pick of the Year: Mountain

Colombia
While Venezuela's Hugo Chávez has been busy stealing headlines, his once crazy Andean neighbor is quietly settling down—and tourism is heating up. With its vibrant colonial cities, whitewashed mountain villages, mist-laden coffee country, and rapidly developing tourism infrastructure, Colombia could one day give Costa Rica a run for its money.

YOUR PLAN: Visit the resurgent cities of Medellín and Cartagena, then hit a local finca along the mountainous coffee highway on a 16-day trip with Wild Frontiers ($4,050; wildfrontiers.co.uk). EcoTurs Colombia offers two-week birding forays within the spectacular Fundación ProAves nature reserves, home to a bevy of endemic species like the endangered blue-billed curassow ($200 per day; ecotours.com.co).

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