The Best Places to Travel in August
If Bust-a-Move Month were a thing, August would be it. From Argentina's tango dancers to Mustang's horse riders to Tanzania's wildebeest, creatures great and small—even trippy river algae!—see the coming weeks as go time, and travellers are the lucky beneficiaries. To see what we mean, head to any of these seven spots.
Grip a red rose between your teeth and make your way to the Tango Festival and World Cup in Buenos Aires (Aug. 8–21). The dance’s birthplace is the obvious spot for this off-the-charts annual celebration, with free concerts, talks, and lessons, among many other tango-related treats. The excitement peaks at Mundial de Tango, the dance-off to end all dance-offs. If you fancy your chances as a world champion, apply here—you could end up performing at Luna Park Stadium for the finals. In the meantime, you'll find plenty of #dancespo (and ideas for fabulous outfits) at Hotel Faena’s Rojo Tango show. Kick back with a glass of Malbec, feast on beef tenderloin with truffled mashed potatoes and keep your eyes peeled for dance-obsessed celebs. Everyone from Bono to Katy Perry has turned up here.
This pristine archipelago in the Arctic Ocean is a veritable polar bear playground—and August is one of the best months to spot them. Cute and fuzzy as they may seem, polar bears are actually the world’s largest terrestrial carnivores, with adult males weighing in at a monstrous 1,500 pounds. Bearing that in mind (no pun intended), it’s worth taking care when picking a guide. An extended cruise is the safest—and surest—way to see them. Take Natural World Safaris’ 11-day arctic expedition and you have a good chance of spying walrus, reindeer, and whales, too. Either that, or hone your snapping skills on a Svalbard Polar Bear Photography Safari with award-winning photographer, David Yarrow.
Some things are worth travelling around the world for—like, watching one and a half million wildebeest and friends migrate across the Mara River. Though the Great Wildebeest Migration happens throughout the year, the river crossings (considered the pièce de résistance by many a wildlife fanatic) are generally best viewed in August. But old softies, take note: You'll likely have to avert your gaze during the occasional alligator ambush. Check into the award-winning Asilia Sayari Camp for easy access to the river. Here, you can join a 4X4 game drive, or get your pulse racing on a hot air balloon safari over the Serengeti. While you’re at it, why not double your bucket list bragging rights with a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro? August is one of the best months to climb Africa’s tallest mountain thanks to dry, clear skies (still: brrrrrrr).
Strap on your helmet and kneepads. It’s time for Summer X Games (August 1-4): probably the best BMX and skateboarding competition on the planet. Music comes courtesy of Diplo, Wu Tang Clan and Incubus. And the XIP Experience pass gives you access to behind-the-scenes tours, athlete meet and greets, and complimentary beer and wine for the full four-day duration. Need a break from the action? Never fear. It’s a ten-minute stroll to Hotel Emery: a brand-new mid-century-style hotel with some serious Don Draper-esque glam. At the rooftop restaurant – Giulia – grab a negroni and a plate of chef, Josh Hedquist’s signature blueberry panna cotta. Then head into town to sample the city’s choicest summer offerings: Minnesota Fringe (August 1-11) and Minnesota State Fair (August 22 – September 2).
If you think Canadian cuisine is all about crispy bacon and maple syrup, think again. Bison, arctic char and elk are just some of the exotic foods on offer at Yukon Culinary Festival (August 1-4). The signature event – Feasting and Foraging – sees local chefs cooking outside over an open fire, while lucky guests (that’s you) relax with Yukon beers and craft cocktails. Why not stay for the entire long weekend? There’s a Fifties-themed shindig on the paddle steamer S.S. Klondike; cooking demos at the outdoor Fireweed Market; and a welcome party with live music and gourmet nibbles at the newly-renovated MacBride Museum. By happy coincidence, August is also the perfect month to paddle the Yukon River. Now’s your chance to take a four-day canoeing trip from Whitehorse to Little Salmon Village, visiting gold rush towns, and spotting eagles, beaver and moose along the way.
If ancient rituals, thrilling horse races, and all-day parties seem a winning combination, the Yartung Festival is for you (Aug. 15-18): probably the most raucous summer celebration in Nepal. As the monsoon season ends and the weather becomes drier and warmer, thousands gather in the the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Muktinath. In this fairy tale town, surrounded on all sides by majestic, snow-capped mountains, you’ll witness all manner of Himalayan hijinks, including drunken dance troupes, archery contests, and a high-speed horse race through the winding streets. Most hiking tours start in Kathmandu, so while you’re here, be sure to check out ‘Freak Street’ (Jhochen Tole) – a favorite of The Beatles in the late Sixties. Grab a slice of freshly-baked apple crumble at Snowman Café, then skip around the corner to Janakpur Dahi Lassi Bhandar for a cooling glass of lassi.
How about cooling off with dip in a liquid rainbow this August? Every summer, the crystalline river – Caño Cristales – blooms with multi-coloured aquatic plants known as ‘macarenia clavigera’. You’ll need a guide to access this red, green, blue, and yellow marvel of nature. Three-day tours include hikes to waterfalls, picnic lunches by psychedelic streams, and a chance to splash around in bizarrely beautiful Willy Wonka-esque ponds. While you’re here, try a night or two at Wayabero Lodge. You can soothe your jet lag in the infinity pool, then take a guided hike in the Sierra de la Macarena National Park (stay on the alert for iguanas, eagles, jaguars and toucans). Luckily, most tours to Caño Cristales go via Bogotá – the perfect excuse to join the capital’s back-to-back summer celebrations: Carnival de Bogotá (August 5-6) and Festival de Verano (August 4-12).