Ah, 2016. What a year!
As 2016 comes to an end, it is time to look ahead at what amazing countries are tipped to be the places to go in 2017…..
From Through an Aussie’s Eyes
G’day mate. Welcome to the land down under! You wanna cuppa or a beer before you sit down to read where your next holiday will be? This list will make sure you won’t have a blue (argument) with your travel partner on your next destination!
Okay, well I may be slightly bias towards Australia but I really think it is a beaut; one of the most diverse and interesting countries to explore and experience. Australia does have a bit of everything. Bloody oath (it is certainly true) they all say!!
Want to see fashion? Check out Sydney.
Food? See Melbourne.
Beautiful beaches? The Whitsundays.
The feeling of being in the most isolated city in the world – head over to Perth.
Be worried about a lot of animals that could kill you –maybe (or maybe not!) go to Darwin. Well it isn’t entirely true that all Aussie animals are out to get you. But please remember, if you are in Darwin; avoid a lot of the swimming holes and the beach. There are saltwater crocodiles that lurk around and they aren’t exactly the friendliest creatures around.
Be in the outback and experience the Aboriginal culture – Uluru which is near the town of Alice Springs in the red centre.
Natural bushland and wildlife? Try Canberra – it is a tad bit different as it is the capital city but it is surrounded in beautiful bushland with plenty of roos to spot. There are also plenty of nature reserves that you can hike through and spot koalas and the elusive platypus.
Australia really is fair dinkum (the real thing), from rainforests in Queensland down to the prehistoric forests in Tasmania. If natural landscapes aren’t really your thing, than consider step out in to Australia’s cities. Everyone has heard of Sydney and Melbourne, so why not try some of the smaller cities like Brisbane or Adelaide aka the City of Churches. Australia may cost big bikkies (can be expensive) but it is totally worth it. The food, the culture, the language, the atmosphere really won’t disappoint any travel fanatic or newly swept-up wanderluster. Just make sure you come visit us in the land down under in 2017 for a little bit of everything.
P.S. We definitely have the best coffee in the world!
I have been to Guatemala three times already, and I still feel the urge to go back and explore more of it, and see once again all the gorgeous places that I fell in love with. Guatemala is a great mixture of ancient culture, archaeology and natural attractions that make it a fabulous travel destination.
To me, Uganda epitomizes Africa as you’ve always imagined it in your fondest fantasies.
In Queen Elizabeth National Park and Murchison Falls National Park, you’ve got the wide open savannah teeming wildlife straight out of safari fiction. Lazy lions yawn under the setting sun, deceptively dangerous hippos wallow in the waters of the Nile, elephants and giraffes strut about with self-importance, and a motley assortment of antelope live in a seemingly perpetual state of anxiety.
The Nile finds its roots in Uganda, and it is beautiful in both its broad, sluggish expanses and the violent rapids that churn through narrow gorges.
Venture across to Kibale Forest National Park and man’s closest relative rules the roost. Chimpanzees fling themselves with reckless abandon between impossibly tall trees while forest hogs and elephants snuffle about in the undergrowth.
Farther south, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to the almost human mountain gorillas. The trek up muddy hillsides and through tangled jungle is worth it to spend one hour in blissful communion with these gentle giants.
All of this is set against a backdrop of imperfect perfection. The roads are so rough that the fabled ‘African massage’ feels more like all-out assault, but there’s almost unfathomable beauty to be found in Uganda’s landscapes.
Its hills and valleys are impossibly green beneath skies so blue that you’d swear the two were in competition. While red dust seems to be your nearly permanent companion, it’s hard not to smile at the hospitality of an ice cold glass of juice and a warm, wet towel when you eventually arrive at your destination.
Far from the trappings and pretense of more popular safari destinations, Uganda offers up the beauty of Africa and the comfort of the west without having crossed that line to being entirely too touristic.
I’ve been twice and only found more to fall in love with. I’ll be going back again in 2017 for a longer visit.
From Traveling Honeybird
Republic of Georgia
From Escaping Life
A tiny country sandwiched between the continents of Europe and Asia, barely anyone has heard of/or had the chance to visit. This is exactly where the east meets the west. Even its inhabitants wonder which side they actually belong to. To its north lies Russia; to the south is Turkey and Armenia, Azerbaijan to the east and the Black Sea to the west. Over the past few years, the countryhas been increasingly growing popular with backpackers and budget travellers, trekkers and mountaineers but is yet to hit that major tourist boom like the rest in its region.
Known as one of the most invaded nations on Earth, even with its tough past, this nation has managed to keep its distinct identity secure.It has a cosmopolitan mixof the Eastern European, Persian, Arabic and the Mediterranean. A rich cuisine and a culture that is a strange fusion yet preserves something unique of its own and perhaps it’s most important contribution to the world is the winemaking that is almost 8000 years old. High mountains to the lush green meadows, old cobbled towns to the rising urban cities, to ancient cave settlements; there is something for all kinds of travellers here and could well be one of the most underrated travel destinations in the world.
The locals call it the ‘Balcony of Europe’ and maybe its time you visit Georgia.
From Tara Lets Anywhere
The Philippines is perhaps one of the most overlooked countries in Southeast Asia by foreign travelers, but in recent years it’s starting to establish itself in the international tourism scene.
With more than 7000 islands, this small archipelago is naturally gifted with world-quality beaches and other water attractions. Palawan of course tops this list, with Coron a personal favorite. It’s a municipality with picture-perfect lagoons and Asia’s cleanest lake. There’s also El Nido with its limestone karsts and Tubbataha Reef National Park, a vast marine and coral sanctuary. Boracay is a party island, with a great beach and very fine sands. Other provinces offer more than just beach bumming. For instance, Cebu has various watersport activities including canyoneering (jumping from a series of waterfalls), whale shark watching, snorkeling, diving and sardine run.
Aside from being a tropical beach haven, the Philippines also has culturally unique destinations. Though the capital city of Manila is modern with Western tendencies, various provinces not only has exotic views but are also home to indigenous tribes.
Benguet and Kalinga feature rice terraces, which were manually carved by local farmers from decades ago for cultivating crops. Kalinga is also culturally diverse and currently the residence of the oldest mambabatok (hand-tap tattoo artist) in the country, where visitors can get an opportunity to get inked with a traditional tribal design. Batanes is an island famous for its rolling hills, boulder beaches and stone houses of the local Ivatan tribe. South Cotabato features the enormous Lake Holon and home of the T’boli community, which is famous for its indigenous weaving industry. There’s also Antique, which offers the experience of native hot bath in a large kawa (wok), heated by firewood.
These are just some of the established attractions in the country. With its rich natural resources and diverse population, the Philippines is definitely a must-see for every world traveler looking to discover more rich experiences this 2017.
From Where is Tara?
Cuba is no stranger to controversy. But there is so much more to Cuba than its rocky political history. I visited Cuba in 2015 and was blown away by the COLOUR. Everything is bright and bold; the buildings, the people and their iconic cars. GOD, THE CARS! I thought I was going to see the cast of Grease get out of every single car that I came across. If it’s R &R you’re looking for then Cuba is ideal. There are plenty of gorgeous all-inclusive resorts in the Varadero. They also arrange day trips to Havana if you find yourself wanting a bit more.
You can see the world’s longest cigar (81.8m), ride in one of the vintage cars and drink some Havana Club. The sunsets in Cuba are second to none, so bring your camera. If you want a change for dinner, make sure to visit a paladare. These are private restaurants that people run in their homes. The feel is very intimate and the food is incredible (plantain, spices, beans, meat etc). Or just grab some street food. The coconut pie is to die for. Like the night life? Then make sure you check out the local music scene. La Zorra y El Cuervo is a a famous jazz club and the perfect place to sip on a cuba libre. Cuba is also the place to learn a little salsa and lose your heart to beautiful local. Honestly, you could spent days wandering around Havana just people watching and snapping photos and you would still have the time of your life. No matter what you like, there is something for everyone in Cuba. And really, you should get over there sooner than later before it gets “Americanized” and loses its charm.
From The Crowded Planet
In 2016 I believe I spent more time in Finland than in my hometown. I was lucky to visit several times throughout the year and enjoy Finland in different seasons, each of them offering something special.
Finland in winter is a fairytale land – yes, it is cold, but you can get out into the nature to enjoy some awesome adventure activities, like reindeer and husky sleigh rides, snowmobile safaris and night tours in search of the elusive Northern Lights. The best place to enjoy Finland in winter is Lapland, but even if you can only visit the southern part of the country you won’t be disappointed, as there is a lot to do around Helsinki in winter, including visits to the winter wonderland of Nuuksio National Park.
In spring and summer, Finland is just stunning. In June and July the sun almost never sets, the weather is usually sunny and dry and the whole country seems to live outdoors, enjoying nature as much as they can. In Helsinki you can spend time on one of the city’s many islands, or get out to the Finnish Archipelago off the southern coast of the country, where you can have wonderful experiences like sleeping in a lighthouse or joining locals celebrating Juhannus, the Midsummer’s night celebration.
During the autumn, which in Finland starts around end of August, the country’s forests turn multicoloured and crowds decrease. It’s the perfect time for landscape photography and to explore Finnish national parks throughout the country before freezing winter starts once again. In Autumn, if you travel north enough, you might also be very lucky and catch the Northern Lights. I know some people that were able to see them in late August!
I believe 2017 will be the perfect year to visit Finland – the country celebrates 100 years of independence, so there will be plenty of parties!
From A World to Travel
Forget everything you think you know about Mexico (unless you are a serious Mexico lover already, then please skip this paragraph). This country is not what you might have heard in the media. Well, it is sometimes but not exactly. Let me explain this to you.
- Mexico is NOT as dangerous as they tell us.
- Mexico is MUCH MORE than Cancun and its turquoise Caribbean beaches.
- Mexico people are some of the MOST WELCOMING you will encounter across the world.
- Mexico authentic food is NOT as spicy as some people thinks and Mexico delicacies go beyond tacos, enchiladas and guacamole.
The list goes on, as you can imagine.
Luckily, there is a way of experiencing these 4 facts and many more: putting this country on your list of must-see places for 2017.
From white water rafting the rivers of San Luis Potosi to tasting the unbelievable dishes of some of the best chefs in the country in Mexico city, diving in cenotes, dancing in Merida, checking out Veracruz, experiencing Chiapas’ wild side, wandering around countless archaeological sites, picturing some world class street art and more. Mexico is as diverse as a continent and, as such, needs to be explored with enough time and curious eyes.
I dare you to make Mexico a priority in 2017. Thank me later!