France. Italy. Mexico. Jamaica. The U.S. There are countries that are simply ubiquitous with tourism and travel, welcoming upwards of 84 million travellers through their borders each year (as was the case in France in 2013!)
Fast-paced metropolitan centers and well-known beach retreats are usually our go-to options when it comes to planning a getaway. But what about the rest of the world? Seasoned travellers have long-championed many out-of-the-ordinary locations as their personal favourites, preferring less popular destinations as a way to truly experience a new culture and interact more with locals than fellow tourists. Here, we list a few unconventional travel destinations!
This Central American country is home to some seriously beautiful beaches, stunning volcanoes and overall natural beauty. Friendly people abound and there’s a laid back atmosphere much like its more-popular neighbouring country, Costa Rica, but with less tourists giving you more opportunity to immerse yourself in true Latin food, music and culture.
Dubbed “the nature island,” this small Caribbean nation is home to gorgeous wildlife, warm weather and cooling ocean waters. Rainforest covers much of the island, and the terrain is perfect for a true adventurer ready for treks, hot springs and snorkelling.
Sao Tome and Principe
This dual-island nation off the coast of central Africa is not only overlooked because of the massive land mass directly next to it, but the lack of direct flights to the country, but a connecting flight from Lisbon, Portugal can bring you to this warm paradise. Portuguese and African influences blend and add flavour to the sights, sounds and tastes of the country, and their still blossoming travel industry is developing in an organic, locally-run way to provide visitors with a true experience of the culture.
This European country is often called the continent’s “best kept secret”. From the lush, largely undisturbed wilderness and beaches, to the rich culture and historical monuments dating back to the middle ages, Latvia has something for everyone. Plan your trip around New Year’s Eve to partake in traditional Latvian celebrations, or in February for the International Ice Sculpture Festival.
With a fee of $250 per day applicable to all tourists, the price to visit the South Asian nation of Bhutan is steep, but worth it. Staying largely isolated from outside influence, Bhutan has been able to maintain their culture in ways other countries have been unable to; giving visitors a truly authentic experience when they go there. It’s home to some of the highest unclimbed mountains in the world, spicy cuisine, and art and cultural traditions steeped in Buddhist philosophy. The most important attraction is the cliffside monastery, Taktsang Monastery, or Tiger’s Nest, nestled 914 feet above the countryside surrounding it.
As always on any of your travels, being well-prepared and well-packed using great luggage like one of our Rise Gear bags is the first step to making the most of your travels to these hidden gems around the world.