Looking for something out-of-the-ordinary? Check out our top five destinations, handpicked by G Adventures as the best of 2015.
Whittling down the list to five was harder than ever this year, so we ended up considering destinations that were notable for a certain quality or offered something special for travellers of certain stripes. How did we choose them? Perhaps it’s because they’re undeniably up-and-coming. Maybe there is something special in store for them this year. Or perhaps, we just love these places so much we can’t stop talking about them!
So get out your map, block out some time on your calendar, and make this a year for adventure. We promise at least a few of these places to go next will surprise you. From Bogota’s frenetic energy to the weirdly wonderful Reykjavík, here are the must-visit travel destinations of 2015.
A musician plays in Cartagena, Colombia.
A country transforming
If there were ever a country that suffered from a case of seriously bad press, it’s Colombia. It’s not well known by travellers, so the border feels like crossing one of the last frontiers of travel. Colombia is ripe for discovery, and there is a little of everything: green valleys, golden beaches and snow-capped mountains, colonial fortresses and Bogota’s frenetic energy… everything, it seems, except tourists. From intellectual Medellin to Cali’s salsa clubs (birthplace of both Cumbia and Gabriel Garcia Marquez) Colombia is musical and literary in equal measures. Welcoming and hospitable, the spicy, fun-loving Colombians too may surprise you. And while it is true that travel in Colombia demands some extra awareness, care, and preparation, the extra energy is rewarded a hundredfold.
Did you know?
Bogota, Colombia’s capital, has a lower murder rate than Washington DC, Caracas, São Paulo, Mexico City, Panama City, and Rio de Janeiro.
Witness the revitalization of this welcoming country firsthand, savour the meld of Latin-Caribbean flavours with Colombia’s world-famous cuisine, and climb 1,200 steps to reach the Lost City of Teyuna. Check out our small group tours to Colombia here.
More about Colombia
Preparing a very sweet and delicious Haitian dessert called Dous Makos.
Explore the Caribbean’s hidden gem
Haiti is a place where tourists don’t go, but where real travellers venture. A place that is off the beaten path, this seductive island will have you changing your perception of this country the moment you touch its soil. Haiti is full of natural beauty with its white sandy beaches and mountains that gently graze the sky. But it also has hidden gems that few know about, like Bassin-Bleu—a secluded oasis where you can jump off waterfalls and soak in turquoise basins. Known as the “Pearl of the Antilles,” this rugged country offers up an alluring personality rich in music, art, vodou, and of course, rum.
Did you know?
Haiti is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean—Hayti is the Indian name for the country and means “land of the mountains.” The island nation’s peaks reach over 8,000 ft.
Five years on from a devastating earthquake that shook the world’s largest Creole community, Haiti continues to rebuild. This coming February, you can take part. In 2015, G Adventures–in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)–will debut a revolutionary new trip to this fascinating and enduring nation. Check out our Highlights of Haiti tour here.
More about Haiti
- Haiti’s Port-au-Prince: Vibrant and Exciting
- Jacmel, Haiti: A living urban art gallery
- Haiti’s Citadelle le Ferrière
Tanah Lot, a famed temple on a huge slab of rock off the shore from Beraban village.
A mosaic of cultures
Lying stretched along the equator, steamy and volcanic Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, home to over 230 million people. In recent years, “Indo” has had a string of bad luck, from tsunamis to earthquakes, fires and political instability. Being a country of islands, though, it is by nature regional, and it would be a mistake to write off this massive area because you’d miss so much. Lush green rice terraces line mountainsides, jungle animals roam freely, and pristine beaches and lakes abound. Behind the headlines, this mosaic of cultures remains a land of stunning beauty, friendly people, and one of the best values in Asia. Not to mention the language is easy to pick up, and the food is excellent. Selamat jalan (“Bon voyage”)!
Did you know?
Indonesia is huge. Composed of 17,508 islands covering approximately 1,919,440 sq km, it takes over 12 hours of flying time to get from one end of the country (Northern Sumatra) to the other end (West Papua Guinea). So, get ready to reset your watch—Indonesia covers three time zones!
Discover Javanese culture, encounter orangutans up close and personal, trek in the shadow of Mt Bromo, travel through beautiful rice terraces, and chill out on Lake Samosir. Let G Adventures show you Indonesia in a way you’ve yet to see!
More about Indonesia
- 5 Fascinating Facts About Sumatra’s Flora and Fauna
- Must-Try Indonesian Foods
- Visual Adventure: Java’s Bromo & Borobudur
A country of rugged, harsh beauty.
The kingdom of kingdoms
Egypt is a country of rugged, harsh beauty mixed with reminders of what was arguably the most impressive ancient civilization history has ever known. The awe-inspiring treasures and stunning landscapes of this country are perfectly complemented by the warmth and hospitality of its people. You can’t travel back in time (at least, not yet), but exploring Egypt is close enough.
Did you know?
An Egyptian father named his newborn daughter “Facebook” to commemorate the role the world’s most ubiquitous social network played in the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Her full name? Facebook Jamal Ibrahim.
Embrace the culture and meet remarkable people as you sample some traditional fare in a local village. Feel the buzz of vibrant bazaars in Aswan and Luxor, but still manage to relax and watch life unfold as you sail the Nile in a traditional felucca. Check out our roster of small group trips to this mesmerizing land.
More about Egypt
Iceland’s Seljalandsfoss Falls.
A little slice of Valhalla, right here on Earth
Small on the map and enormous in person, Iceland barely feels like Earth at all. Isolated in the frigid North Atlantic and forged through centuries of volcanic upheaval and tectonic shifting, Iceland is staggering to look at and otherworldly to explore. The outdoors provide all the action you need: towering mountain peaks scratch the sky, massive glaciers scrape the earth, sprawling icefields stretch beyond the horizon, and gorgeous fjords dazzle the eye. And when you’ve had enough, head inside in weirdly wonderful Reykjavík and discover how the people lucky enough to live here full-time live.
Did you know?
Icelandic telephone directories list Icelanders by first name alphabetically. To reduce the huge amount of ambiguity, directories also list people’s professions.
Sleep on a sustainable farm in the eastern fjords region, marvel at the largest ice cap in Europe, gape at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon with seals floating on icebergs, and photograph black-sand beaches and gushing waterfalls around this island nation. Check out our small group trips to Iceland here.
More about Iceland
- Five Ways to Make the Most of a Layover in Reykjavik, Iceland
- Top 5 Things to See in Iceland
- 48 Hours in…Reykjavik
Where to next?
So, where to next? Share your travel plans below. If your favourite destination didn’t make the list, join in the comments and let us know where you want to see yourself in the coming year. Safe travels!