Another blog post about countries you should visit. All under the mindset that you have to stay save through the time of the Virus and take in account the travel restrictions.
A dozen nations vie for the title of real-life Shangri-La, but Bhutan’s claim has more clout than most. This tiny piece of Himalayan paradise operates a strict ‘high-value, low-impact’ tourism policy, compelling travellers to pay a high daily fee just to set foot in its pine-scented, monastery-crowned hills. The pay-off for visitors is a chance to walk along mountain trails unsullied by litter, in the company of people whose Buddhist beliefs put them uniquely in tune with their environment. Bhutan punches well above its weight when it comes to sustainability. It is already the world’s only carbon-negative country, and the kingdom is set to become the first fully organic nation by 2020, so it’s only going to get more beautiful. And with the daily fee, it won’t be getting any more crowded.
2. North Macedonia
‘Best of’ travel lists brim with anniversaries and airport openings. Rare is the opportunity to celebrate the rebranding of a country. Such is the case for North Macedonia – a place most known simply as Macedonia – which claimed a fresh moniker after decades of political debate with bordering Greece. The agreement, signed in 2018, provided a feel-good moment of neighbourly love and a revamped international image for the tiny nation in the heart of the Balkans. It’s already renowned for gastronomy, ancient tradition and nature, but culture junkies and adventurers will find new excuses to visit in 2020 with the addition of flight routes to Unesco-protected Lake Ohrid and the recently launched High Scardus Trail, a 495km trek along the region’s most dramatic peaks.
In Aruba’s south, the cultural hub of San Nicolas, known as Sunrise City, is relishing a colourful and creative revival, with international and local artists adorning street walls and pop-up carnival experiences extending the happy vibes beyond the annual festivities. Equally important and worth celebrating are the country’s ambitious sustainability efforts. Aruba has offered the island to be a testing hub for other countries’ renewable energy solutions and is working to implement a ban on all single-use plastics and reef-destroying sunscreens in 2020. With a flurry of new home-sharing accommodation and experiences on offer, an authentic, more affordable, and sustainable Aruba awaits among its palm-fringed and pristine beaches.
Petite, pleasant and packed with culture, adventure and legendary wildlife, the newly named Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) is one of Southern Africa’s most underrated (and least visited) destinations. A new international airport, as well as improved road infrastructure between it, conservation areas and the capital, are aimed to increase visitor numbers in the years ahead – get here in 2020 to ensure yourself a front seat. The varied landscapes within its parks and reserves provide one exciting revelation after another, whether it’s zip lining, trekking, whitewater rafting or mind-blowing rhino encounters. Mix in a pervading sense of peace and enthralling cultural festivities and you’ll be smiling all the way home.
5. Costa Rica
Costa Rica flies the flag for sustainable tourism. This small country’s vast biodiversity attracts visitors keen to spot sleepy sloths in trees, red-eyed frogs paralysing their predators, and whales in the Pacific. Costa Ricans understand the importance of preserving their slice of tropical paradise and have found a way to invite others in while living in harmony with their neighbours – from leafcutter ants to jaguars. Ninety percent of the country’s energy is created by renewable sources, and it could become one of the first carbon-neutral countries in 2020. Adventure lovers can hike volcanoes or ride a zip line, while those craving ‘me time’ can enjoy yoga retreats and spa experiences. The catchphrase pura vida (pure life) is more than a saying, it’s a way of life.
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