5 Destinations That Are Hidden Travel Gems

Category:  

Bucket List Worthy  

 Ciudad de Maldonado, Uruguay (Photo Credit: ciiiro via WikiMedia)
Ciudad de Maldonado, Uruguay (Photo Credit: ciiiro via WikiMedia)

Has Paris become passé? Is Rome missing the allure it once held? Have you already sailed the Nile, hiked the Inca Trail, and relaxed on the beach in Fiji? Are you looking for new travel options to destinations that remain off the radar, but still offer plenty of unique experiences, along with deep cultural immersion? If so, here are five hidden travel gems with plenty to offer the world traveler who is looking to escape the crowds, and explorer new places, before the word gets out.  

Uruguay In terms of South American destinations, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Argentina seem to get the bulk of the attention. But, there are several other countries that are on the rise, not the least of which is Uruguay. The country has a laid-back vibe that is very welcoming to visitors, and its travel infrastructure has been seeing significant investment recently, which has made for more options in terms of accommodations. A burgeoning wine country make for a romantic and relaxing escape, while active travelers will appreciate the opportunity to partake in activities on the beach, or in the mountains.

Photo Credit: Vince Alongi
Photo Credit: Vince Alongi

Poland Considering all of the classic destinations in Europe, it is understandable that some great places often get overlooked. Take Poland for example. With its long history and deep culture, the country offers visitors plenty to enjoy, and it does so at a substantially reduced cost when compared to most of Western Europe. Travelers will find Warsaw to be a surprisingly metropolitan city, with a vibrant art scene, fine dining, and plenty to see and do. Travel to Krakow for a bit of the Old World charm, and venture into the countryside to explore ancient castles, go hiking, or just relax in a quaint village.

Krakow, Poland (Photo Credit: Diether via WikiMedia)
Krakow, Poland (Photo Credit: Diether via WikiMedia)

Ethiopia Many travelers have the mindset that Ethiopia remains a deeply troubled nation, that struggles to feed its population. That isn’t the case, and the country has become a wonderful destination for travelers looking for a travel experience that is unlike any other. Ethiopia is unique for Africa in many ways, including the fact that it was never colonized, and it has a deep connection with Christianity. In fact, its 900 year old churches at Lalibela, which have been dug out of the ground itself, are nothing short of extraordinary. Ethiopia also offers otherworldly-landscapes, world-class trekking, centuries-old monasteries, and a cup of coffee that is famous world-wide. If local rumors are to be believed, the country is also home to the legendary Ark of the Covenant as well, although tourists aren’t allowed to see that relic.

Underground churches in Ethiopia (Photo Credit: Bernard Gagnon)
Underground churches in Ethiopia (Photo Credit: Bernard Gagnon)

Nicaragua Nicaragua is another overlooked travel gem that is located in Central America, where countries like Costa Rica and Belize receive most of the attention. But over the past decade or so, a solid travel infrastructure has been built there, granting visitors access to some beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and even active volcanoes. Travelers can explore the country’s long history in places like Granada, take in fine cuisine and night life in Managua, or relax in the surf culture of  San Juan del Sur. The adventurous will want to trek to the top of one of the aforementioned volcanoes, or visit Ometepe Island for hiking, cycling, and other active pursuits.

Nicaragua (Photo Credit: Matt Kingston)
Nicaragua (Photo Credit: Matt Kingston)

Sri Lanka Located in the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of India, Sri Lanka is an island country that is both strikingly beautiful, and rich in culture. With its fantastic surfing, wild whitewater rafting, and opportunities for scuba diving, the country holds a great deal of appeal for adrenaline junkies. But beautiful hotels, breathtaking beaches, and ancient culture are captivating for anyone who visits. Boutique hotels offer romantic getaways for travelers, who will fall in love with the relaxed atmosphere.  Other attractions include eight amazing UNESCO world heritage sties, elephant sanctuaries, ancient temples, and amazing food, all with crowds that remain mostly nonexistent.

Sri Lanka (Photo Credit: Astronomyinertia via WikiMedia)
Sri Lanka (Photo Credit: Astronomyinertia via WikiMedia)

About the Author: Kraig Becker

Kraig Becker is a freelance outdoor and adventure travel writer who covers extreme sports, mountaineering and active travel. Based out of Austin, TX he writes about his own travels while encouraging others to seek their own opportunities for adventure where ever they go.

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