The world is enormous, and our travel wish list grows longer every time we visit a new corner of it.
So what must you see right now, before it changes forever? Where is now safe that once wasn’t, or where is just uncovered to the world?
Below is our 2015 HOT LIST of places to visit sooner rather than later.
Mexico City has had a hard time divesting itself of a reputation for being crime-ridden, traffic congested, and highly polluted. And though traffic and air quality are ongoing problems, this sprawling metropolis of over 20 million inhabitants has successfully transformed itself into a vibrant place to visit with a great restaurant scene, world-class museums, and a sophistication befitting its position as one of the world’s top cities.
Playa del Carmen draws both luxury and boho travelers with choice reefs for snorkeling, great restaurants, and an attractive location within reach of sites like Cozumel and Tulum. You will find sparkling infinity pools, over-the-top spa amenities and for a more intimate experience, a new crop of boutique hotels. Playa (as locals call it) has become an increasingly hot foodie destination, as evidenced by exciting new restaurants like the bright and airy La Fisheria, by Mexican chef Aquiles Chávez.
Look at our fabulous Grand Haciendas of the Yucatan sample itinerary for inspiration.
After 2010’s devastating earthquake, Haiti has steadily rebuilt itself and is now emerging as a second-to-none holiday destination. It is easy to overlook Haiti and to perhaps opt for nearby Barbados, Puerto Rico or Jamaica instead. But Haiti actually holds its own against all of its neighbours, offering an alternative, raw and a close-to-the-bone look at the African roots of the Caribbean culture.
After the 7.0 earthquake that decimated this western Caribbean island, Haiti is poised for a phoenix-like rise from the rubble. In Port-au-Prince, tent cities have given way to new hotels, including a 175-room Marriott slated to open in early 2015. A push by the tourism department has inspired planned resorts and beautification projects in the southern port of Jacmel and nearby island of Île-à-Vache, and a new Cruise port in the honeymooner’s paradise of Tortuga. Haiti is a place where tourists don’t go, but where real travelers visit.
Our Haiti; A Caribbean Treasure will satiate your curiosity about this Caribbean nation.
Colombia offers a mix of culture, adventure and epic landscapes. You can explore the vibrant capital Bogota, enjoy traditional horse and carriage rides along the cobble stoned streets of historic Cartagena, visit coffee plantations and relax on white sand beaches. For curious travelers, you can savour Colombia’s authenticity; take in everything from pristine Caribbean coastlines, picturesque cobblestone streets in Cartagena, the exotic Amazon rain forest, seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, the metropolis of Bogotá and some of the world’s most vivacious people. Cartagena, the oldest port city in the Americas continues to enchant travelers with warm Caribbean breezes, Spanish-colonial mansions and Afro-Cuban rhythms.
See our Colombia & Venezuela experience for an insight into this fabulous country.
The mighty Mekong River in Southeast Asia is pulsing with new life thanks to a slew of new and amazing riverboat launches. The river’s reigning queen is the Aqua Mekong, owned by Italian-American entrepreneur Francesco Galli Zugaro, who already made a name for himself with his two luxury vessels on the Peruvian Amazon. With dedicated customers clamoring for an Aqua sequel, the Aqua Mekong riverboat was launched in 2014 with three, four and seven-night itineraries between Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Siem Reap, Cambodia. All have off-the-beaten-path excursions—biking through remote Cambodian villages, exploring Vietnam’s floating markets—planned by a cast of excellent guides
The Aqua Mekong Cruise is a sublime way to experience the Mekong Delta.
Myanmar is like Southeast Asia’s last frontier, where almost everything still feels undiscovered and off the beaten path after decades of military rule. Now is the time to visit —luxury hotels are springing up in Yangon the capital, and it probably won’t be long before tourist hordes descend on temple-studded Bagan, making it feel like another Angkor Wat in terms of the crowds.
We have an amazing fully escorted Golden Land; A Journey in Myanmar tour departing 07 November, 2015.
If you believe that travelers can be agents of change, then Iran should be your next destination. This Middle East republic is politically challenging but still incredibly culturally rewarding. All the architectural treasures and heritage sites of the ancient Persian world await—including the ruins of Persepolis, Isfahan’s cobalt-domed mosques, and imperial palace museums in Tehran. Golden Eagle’s new Jewels of Persia Rail Journey stops in all three while providing the comforts of a private train with sleeper and dining cars.
For a far more immersive experience, see our fully escorted Persian Delights journey departing September 2015.
The spectacular northern circuit, encompassing the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, first put Tanzania on the tourist map. Then there were Zanzibar’s idyllic beach hideaways like Mnemba Island and Fundu Lagoon. Now a new generation of low-impact / high-style camps in private concessions and unexplored reserves are adding conservation clout to Tanzania’s popularity; they’re helping to secure crucial animal corridors, curb poaching, and convert more hunting blocks into game-rich conservation areas. There is a new clutch of authentic tented camps in the remote eastern Serengeti, an area now teeming with cheetah and lion after being closed for 20 years. If you ever needed proof that space is the new luxury, head south to Africa’s largest game reserve, staying in eco-chic tents above the hippo-filled Great Ruaha River
Take a look at our options in East Africa.
Few people realise that Ethiopia is rich in untouched historical and natural gems, and Ethiopia’s visitor numbers are growing 10% year-on-year. While Ethiopia has historically lacked the appeal of other African destinations, it actually has countless unique treasures: among them, eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the craggy beauty of the Simien Mountains, and millennia-old history that lives on in its architecture and culture. Christianity has been practised here for over 2,000 years, making Ethiopia unique among its sub-Saharan neighbours. You can witness this history first-hand, in the ancient rock churches of Lalibela, and St George’s Cathedral in Addis Ababa. It’s also the source of the Blue Nile: an unassuming spring at Gish Abbay, in the north, which trickles into Lake Tana – the humble beginnings of one of the world’s mightiest rivers.
Our Ethiopian Northern Explorer will show you the very best of the northern historical circuit.