7 Hot Destinations for Your Next Adventure
Looking for adventure? Don’t worry — we’ve got a few suggestions.
Sure, you could book a trip to New York, London, Tokyo or Paris. But if you’re leaning toward somewhere more exotic, it’s the perfect time to try something different. Read on to discover seven perfect destinations to expand your travel comfort zone this year.
Morocco is a dream destination if you’re a particularly sensory traveler. From the fragrant aromas of Marrakesh spice vendors to amber and pink desert sunsets to the bustling din of the historic Medina of Fez, there’s no shortage of spectacular smells, sights, and sounds to take in. And don’t forget taste — Moroccan food is world-renowned, and there’s nothing quite like getting it from the locals. Casablanca, the county’s major port and largest city, is a perfect place to sample the cuisine, offering a tantalizing blend of customary Moroccan and European-influenced fare in traditional souks and high-end eateries alike. Finally, if architecture is your thing, you can’t turn around in Morocco without catching sight of one of the country’s stately and stunning Moresque-influenced mosques, kasbahs, squares and palaces.
Tourism is Nepal’s largest source of foreign revenue, and for good reason: the rooftop of the world is one of the most breathtaking places on the planet. Nestled snugly within the Himalaya Mountains, Nepal houses eight of the world’s 10 highest peaks, attracting adventure-seekers, hikers, mountaineers and Instagrammers alike. Mountains aren’t the only draw. The country’s topography offers outdoor-oriented travelers bungee jumping, hang gliding, hot air balloons, safaris and kayak trips. Nepal is also a cultural haven, with some of its mountain villages unsullied by modernization. And of course, enlightenment seekers flock to Nepal for its historic importance to Eastern religion. Lumbini — the birthplace of the Buddha — is in the south-central region of Nepal, while the Pashupatinath Temple, the world’s largest temple to Hindu deity Shiva, brings pilgrims from around the world to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu.
From one pinnacle of the world to another, Peru is likewise famous for its mountaintop attractions, including the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. The ruins at this World Heritage Site attract more than 1.4 million tourists annually, and has become so popular that the Ministry of Culture enacted daily limits on the number of visitors and lenghth of visits to protect against overtourism, so plan ahead. If you’re looking for a similar experience without the crowds, check out Choquequirao, another Inca site some 30 miles away. Accessible only by a multiple-day hike, this destination only gets dozens of visitors per day, not the thousands who visit Machu Picchu. Peru is more than just Inca ruins. Lima is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in South America, with lively nightlife, beautiful beaches and museums that offer pre-Columbian history without a trek up the Andes.
Is it tiring you out just thinking about rambling up a mountain? How about a leisurely East African safari instead? Pack your camera and sense of adventure to Tanzania (or neighboring Kenya, for that matter) and tour the Great Rift Valley from the comfort of a safari vehicle. Africa’s cast of large savannah mammals await your discovery at Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The latter is the home of the Ngorongoro Crater, one of the world’s most untouched wildlife sanctuaries and populated with elephants, zebras, wildebeest and lions. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot an ultra-rare black rhino there — just over 5,000 exist on Earth, with 26 living inside the crater’s caldera. If you are looking to stretch your legs, there’s always Mount Kilimanjaro. Africa’s highest peak has a national park surrounding it with seven official trekking routes for serious climbers. Further away from the plains, Tanzania offers plenty, like the pristine, azure-watered beaches around the Zanzibar archipelago.
Exotic Iceland? Okay, hear us out. No, there won’t be any tropical jungles to traverse, but there’s plenty to explore in the Nordic island nation. Iceland’s small land area has been sculpted by the elements to the extreme, offering icy glaciers, plunging waterfalls, sweeping black sand beaches and hot springs bursting from the rocky ground. All of it is accessible via Route 1, an approximately 830-mile ring road encircling the country. Over a few days on the road, take in awe-inspiring scenery and chat with the hospitable population, many of whom are pleased to share the island nation’s proud Norse roots, rich folklore, lively music scene and progressive history of gender equality. Reykjavik, the northernmost capital city on the globe, is extremely walkable and has a vibrant shopping scene. No wonder Iceland has been in the top five of the U.N.’s World Happiness Report since 2012.
This tiny island nation — or rather an archipelago nation of more than 1,000 coral islands, to be precise — is perennially on lists of the best-kept travels secrets on Earth. Tourism is the country’s biggest industry, growing from three hotels in the early 1970s to more than 100 resorts today. Many islands are occupied wholly by tourist resorts, but an industry of local guest houses is growing thanks to new legislation in the last decade. The Maldives might be paradise for water lovers. The clear blue waters surrounding Maldivian atolls host swimming, windsurfing, water-skiing, fishing, and many other maritime recreation activities. Snorkelers and scuba divers flock to perhaps the Maldives’ most inviting feature: its dazzling coral reefs. Be wary that climate change and overtourism are threatening the reefs, so get there sooner rather than later, and don’t forget to be a responsible tourist while you’re there.
Cambodia’s charisma is wholly immersing. Amidst its lush forests, golden beaches and ancient temples, it’s easy to leave home behind and get lost in your surroundings. Siem Reap, a popular resort town with architecture influenced by the French and Chinese, is chock-full of tourist activities like souvenir shops, silk farms and performances of traditional dance. It’s also the gateway to Angkor Wat, the legendary temple complex that was once the crown jewel of the Khmer empire. You could spend days marveling at Angkor’s sculptures and stonework, but more culture can be found nearby. The shores of Tonlé Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake, are where you’ll find the Prek Toal bird sanctuary and several floating villages like Kampong Phluk, accessible by boat and offering a peek into traditional Cambodian life.
–Written by Arnie Aurellano