As an active vacationer, possibly you’re tired of the same old, same old. Maybe you seek adventure not in the sense of danger and physical challenge, but in simply choosing to think outside the cartographic grid. Here, four emerging destinations that provide exciting, far-less-discovered alternatives to corresponding old favourites.
Instead of Las Vegas: Macau
With a decades-rich history yet still somehow ever under the radar, Macau truly is the Las Vegas of Asia. Nonetheless, with the post-millennium concerted, tourism-driven revivification of Macau’s gambling culture, the student is quickly becoming the teacher: On the still-being-built Cotai Strip, the region’s anchor hotel, the Venetian Macau, already out-produces the entire Las Vegas strip. Add to this puddle-jump proximity (well, coastal) to Hong Kong, and the applicable category becomes “world class.” Bonus, if this is your thing: one of the highest bungee jumps in the world.
Instead of Costa Rica: El Salvador
Infamously racked by a terrible Civil War, El Salvador is emerging as one of Central America’s prime eco-destinations, including but far-from-limited-to touring some of the world’s most historic coffee plantations. It’s a compact country — they call it the “country of half an hour,” because you can get to a lot of places in that short time. The fantastic, opportunity-laden Rutas de las Floras is a destination road that straddles a ridge famous for bursting with wildflowers in the spring, and is lined with bustling colonial towns, beautiful churches and some of the best views of volcanoes to be found anywhere in the world. Green agendas aside, enthusiasts can also do some hard-core — but very safe — war tourism in El Salvador.
Instead of safariing in Kruger or the Serengeti: Etosha [pictured]
Namibia is fast emerging as a hot tourist destination, with a solid infrastructure, good democratic government and truly welcoming people. Etosha National Park is a true wonder: more than half the size of Switzerland, it teems with animal life, and leaves visitors to explore on their own. No radio transmissions and jeep traffic jams, here: You navigate left to your own devices (GPS included — rimshot!), making your discoveries uniquely your own, and established without the rigid infrastructure and restrictions of typical safaris.
Instead of Jamaica: Anguilla
Located near St. Maarten in the Lesser Antilles, the tiny British protectorate of Anguilla shuns cheesy all-inclusive in favour of exclusive — as in, posh seaside spots, white-glove service and five-star dining. Since its brief moment in the limelight when Brad dumped Jennifer there way back when, Anguilla has faded back into sunny, stylish anonymity, which is exactly what the island’s discerning guests want.
Image courtesy of enricod.