TOP 10 DANGEROUS ZONE WHERE NOT TO TRAVEL IN 2019

Travel at its best can be exciting, stimulating, thrilling and breathtaking. Discovering new places, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures often requires an effort to break out of your comfort zone, and, in doing so, travel becomes a learning experience.

Some of that education may come from things going wrong: A bus breaking down in a remote rainforest in Mexico for five hours or an airline losing your luggage for a week-long vacation to London can teach you a lot about patience, how to make the best of a bad situation, and to travel lighter.

Travel can also be dangerous, especially if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. The U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories keeps tabs on the world’s “danger zones,” listing the most dangerous countries you should avoid.

Here, we take a look at the most perilous of them, so you can skip the dangerous places and keep the exhilaration of travel on the positive side.

10. Middle East: Watch Out for War-Torn Countries

Unrest in the Middle East has been a way of life for quite some time, with Americans urged extreme caution in Iran, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, where wars continue to rage and religious freedom is not commonplace.

Terrorist groups in the region have been known to target government facilities, public sites, shopping areas and transportation hubs in Yemen.

Kidnappings, hostage-taking, suicide bombings, and insurgent and terrorist attacks are at “critically high levels” in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. In Iran, the arrest and detention of U.S. citizens is a frequent occurrence, the State Department warns.

Middle East

9. Keep an Eye Open in South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe

Although much of South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are safe and welcoming to travelers, these countries do still come with their own cautions.

Tanzania is targeting and attacking members of the LGBTI community with harassment, unwarranted examinations and detention, and charges of unrelated crimes.

Zimbabwe and South Africa are experiencing crime and civil unrest as well, so if you visit you should monitor the news for breaking events and stay away from political rallies, demonstrations and crowds.

South Africa

8. Use Precaution in Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Congo and Sudan

Besides the countries marked absolutely unsafe to visit, there are several countries that have higher security risks, which Americans are urged to reconsider visiting.

The government warns of any travel to Sudan’s Darfur region, Blue Nile state and South Kordofan state; also be aware that other parts of the country are experiencing civil unrest and terrorism.

Niger is experiencing higher levels of crime and terrorism, and armed robbery is common. This is also the case in neighbouring Nigeria, where civil unrest and piracy are on the rise. Do not visit Borno and Tobe states or the northern Adamawa state of Nigeria due to terrorism.

Minefields along the borders of Libya and Sudan make Chad unsafe, along with its carjackings, muggings and crime, also found in Mauritania.

Sudan, Africa

7. Africa: Watch Out for Countries of Unrest

The State Department views a number of African countries as unsafe for American travel.

In Somalia, there are reports of “schools” being used as “cultural rehabilitation facilities,” holding people against their will with physical abuse rampant. In Mali, terrorist and armed groups have targeted night clubs, hotels, restaurants and other places frequented by visitors with attacks and kidnappings.

Kidnappings and murders of civilians are common in the Central African Republic, while political and ethnic fighting in South Sudan is so escalated, journalists have been killed in the line of duty. U.S. citizens and government officials are especially targeted in Libya, where kidnapping for ransom is commonplace.

Africa

6. Use Precaution in Brazil and Colombia

Brazil is a popular place for vacations, especially to Rio de Janeiro. However, crime can be a big issue in Brazil, including Rio. The State Department warns tourists to steer clear of the areas that border Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and other countries due to higher crime than the coastal cities. You should also be cautious at night and stay away from Brazil’s informal housing developments known as favelas, Comunidades, vilas or conglomerates.

Although Bogota is booming, you should exercise caution in Colombia, avoiding Arauca, Cauca, Choco, Narino and Norte de Santander due to high crime and terrorism. Popayan, Nuqui and Cucuta in these areas are safe if you can travel directly to them.

Brazil

5. South America: Watch Out for Venezuela

There is political upheaval currently taking place in Venezuela, which lands a top spot on the State Department’s “Do Not Travel” zone. The country is experiencing high violent crime rates, poor health infrastructure, and political rallies and demonstrations, not to mention the arbitrary arrest and detention of Americans.

With food, medical supplies, water and electricity shortages, the situation in Venezuela is so dire, thousands of residents are seeking asylum in neighbouring countries.

Venezuela

4. Use Precaution in Central America

In Central America, the State Department urges Americans to reconsider traveling to Nicaragua, which has limited healthcare availability and arbitrary enforcement of laws that lead to more crime, while San Salvador has a higher level of violent crimes. Honduras has a heightened alert due to crime, but it isn’t widespread across the country and tourist-centric zones may be safer than off-the-grid travel.

If you do decide to visit these countries, stay aware of your surroundings, avoid walking and driving at night, keep expansive jewellery and signs of wealth hidden, and only use certified tourist authority companies and guides.

Central America

3. Use Precaution in Turkey and Lebanon

Lebanon’s coastal areas are safer than its borders. An advisory remains not to visit the borders of Syria, due to terrorism, and Israel, due to armed conflict. Refugee settlements from Syria also carry heightened concerns for conflict.

Borders are an issue in Turkey, as well, where Syria and Iraq have been plotting terrorist attacks in highly populated areas such as shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, churches, sporting events, airports and more. The risk is so great, even cruise ships have alerted routes to skip the Turkish coastline and Istanbul.

Turkey

2. Asia: Watch Out for North Korea

Spanning more than 57 million square miles in size, Asia offers endless travel possibilities. The only Asian country the U.S. wants you to steer clear of is North Korea.

The U.S. does not have any official diplomatic relations with the country to assist with emergencies, and U.S. passport holders are not allowed to travel to, in or through North Korea without special validation from the Department of State, and these special validations are limited.

North Korea

1. North America: Watch Out for Mexico

Stories of travelers catching a taxi to be whisked off somewhere remote and left stranded after being robbed in Mexico circulate in the news, as do reports of bloody cartel wars. The dangers are real.

In fact, a U.S. Department of State “Do Not Travel” advisory is in effect for the Mexican states of Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa and Guerrero due to widespread violent crimes that include homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery.

Mexico

TOP 10 BEST TRAIN TRAVEL IN THE WORLD

Air travel has changed travelers’ habits, but there are those who prefer to travel by train to enjoy the facets of the landscape and make an eco-sustainable journey. Almost no matter the destination to reach, landscapes, suspension bridges, deserts, mountains, lakes, unique and pleasant the journey. In our list, we have chosen ten of the journeys to be made by train that travel through fabulous territories to be able to contemplate while sitting comfortably.

10. The Ghan, Australia

Three days, two nights and 3000 kilometres to cross and explore the heart of Australia from north to south thanks to the Ghan Train. A journey with different perspectives with extreme and unusual landscapes. From the lush green hills of Adelaide to the wild Outback, from the Red Center of Alice Springs to Darwin and from the aboriginal sites at the slow pace of the city of Darwin.

The Ghan, Australia

9. The Golden Chariot, India

The train that promises to show many worlds in a single journey is the Golden Charion that crosses the state of Karnataka in India. A luxury train with an Indian touch that travels from the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, to the famous beaches of Goa, in southwestern India. During the journey, beautiful landscapes and nature reserves will surprise you. Onboard, however, you will experience an atmosphere of other times with cabins equipped with all comforts, a restaurant with tasty Indian dishes and 2 salons dedicated to massages and Ayurvedic therapies.

The Golden Chariot, India

8. Belmond Hiram Bingham, Peru

With Belmond Hiram Bingham you will travel in an elegant and exclusive way. From Cusco to Machu Picchu, to make your journey magical will be the view from the window of the Sacred Valley, the Andean countryside and the Peruvian landscape. In the bar carriage, the journey will be punctuated by Peruvian music played live and a tasty cocktail.

Belmond Hiram Bingham, Peru

7. Trans-Siberian, Moscow / Mongolia / China

The Trans-Siberian is the railway line for those who love adventure travel and out of the ordinary as well as being the longest in the world with its 9000 kilometres. It departs from Moscow and reaches Beijing or Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan. From metropolises like Moscow and Beijing you will be fascinated by the endless Mongolian steppes, swamps, rivers and the Gobi Desert. But what will make your trip unmissable is the chance to meet a variety of people, meet countless looks, capture the existence of a myriad of cultures and ways of life and make new encounters.

Trans Siberian Railway, Russia

6. The Shinkansen Bullet Train, Japan

In Japan, you can plan long journeys without being afraid of missing connections with the Skinkansen Bullet Train. Defined bullet train travels on a single trunk at high speed while maintaining high standards of punctuality. The Shinkansen network connects Kyoto to cities like Osaka, Niigata, Nagano, Shin – Aomori to be reached in complete silence if you choose the “absolute silence” carriage where no one speaks and the stops are not even announced.

View of Mt Fuji and Tokaido Shinkansen, Shizuoka, Japan

5. Rovos Rail, Africa

Traveling by Rovos Rail is like spending a holiday in a five-star luxury hotel that runs on rails starting from Cape Town to reach Pretoria and Johannesburg with the possibility of arriving also in Zambia, Tanzania and Namibia in July. The train, furnished in the classic style of the Twenties and Thirties, has two lounges, two restaurant carriages, sleeping cabins with private bathrooms. “Big Five” in the heart of Africa (elephants, rhinoceroses, buffaloes, lions and leopards).

South Africa, the coffee bar of the Rovos Rail luxury train travelling between Cape Town and Pretoria

4. Red lizard, Tunisia

The stretch from the Station of Métlaoui to the terminus Redeyef, central west of Tunisia, is recommended for lovers of quiet and desert. The Red Lizard, a diesel locomotive, travels for 43 kilometres, rocky fractures, small oases at the sides of the mountains, Chott el Djerid (the largest saline in the Sahara) and the Selja Gorges, a narrow peak that creates an amphitheater natural where the water goes down and goes to spray a bed of sand. The railway was built in 1906 to transport phosphates from the fields to the industries, today the train has been completely restored.

Tourist train in Tunisia

3.  Tunnel of love Train, Ukraine

If you have intentions to make sincere promises so that love will come true, you must reach Klevan where there is the most romantic rail track in the world to the west of Ukraine. The Tunnel of Love is a tangle of trees and vegetation, about 3 kilometres long, a stretch crossed by a train that transports timber to a local factory. A true hymn to freedom and love with an incredible atmosphere that changes according to the seasons and the color of the leaves.

Train running in Natural tunnel.

2. Historic Sulmona train – Roccaraso, Italy

Vintage coaches and breathtaking views will make your journey from Sulmona to Roccaraso unique thanks to the historic steam train that still today crosses the Majella Park. The train retraces the tracks of the Italian Siberian Railway and reaches a height of 1,268 meters. With a stop in Palena, Campo di Giove and Roccaraso you will immerse yourself in the woods and vegetation of the Abruzzo highlands.

Historic train approaches the Pescocostanzo’s railway station

1.California Zephyr Train, United States

With the California Zephyr, the longest train in the Amtrak, crossing the United States of America is possible. It joins Chicago to San Francisco through 52 hours of travel, two nights and 37 stops that will make your trip incredible. With your eyes glued to the window, you’ll go through rocky mountains, the Utah desert, Salt Lake City and Nevada. You will discover America by sitting.

Railroad, Central California Coast

TOP 10 BEST TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN ITALY

But Italy’s top attractions for tourists are not all art and architecture; the country is blessed with lakes, mountains, and a dramatic coastline that give it outstanding natural attractions, as well. This list of top places to visit is only the beginning of outstanding things to see and do in Italy 

10. ROMAN FORUM

The Roman Forum may require a little imagination to understand exactly what this area once looked like. However, its historical significance as the heart of the Roman Empire cannot be overstated. Pillars, partial structures, and foundations of former temples, market halls, courts, and public buildings pay tribute to Ancient Rome, which stood here for a thousand years. 

Roman Forum

9. ST. MARK’S BASILICA

One of the most important tourist sites in Venice is St. Mark’s Basilica. Most visitors in Venice will find themselves in the famous square, Piazza San Marco, in front of the basilica, looking at the main west-facing facade. Next to the basilica is the Doge’s Palace, also filled with priceless masterpieces of Italian art. 

St Mark’s Basilica, Venice

8. CINQUE TERRE

Cinque Terre is a lovely coastal region with steep hills and sheer cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean. The five picturesque villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore can be reached by several means, joined to each other by walking paths, a railroad that tunnels through the headlands to emerge at each town, or a scenic narrow road high on the hillside above. 

Cinque Terre

7. FLORENCE DUOMO SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE

Regarded as one of the finest cathedrals in the world, the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, dominates the Florence skyline. The cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th centuries, with the most famous piece being the extraordinary dome, completed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1434. The cathedral’s bell tower stands close beside the cathedral in Piazza del Duomo, covered in the same patterned marble typical of Tuscan Romanesque architecture. 

Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

6. AMALFI COAST

The Amalfi Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a stunning stretch of coastline along the Sorrentine Peninsula, south of Naples and Sorrento. Hillside towns are built precariously along the steep mountainsides that cascade down to the sea. You can tour the coast by road or hop between towns by boat for different perspectives of the dramatic and almost vertical shore. 

Amalfi Coast

5. LAKE COMO

Lake Como is one of Italy’s most scenic areas, surrounded by mountains and lined by small picturesque towns. A haunt of the wealthy since Roman times, the lake has many opulent villas and palaces along its wooded shores, many of them surrounded by gardens that are open to the public. The mild climate that makes the lakeshore ideal for gardens is also a draw for tourists, with characteristics similar to that of the Mediterranean.

Lake Como

4. THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually just one of many attractions in the city of Pisa, but its fame, gained from its flaw, is world renown. Work began on the tower in the 1100s, and the sinking, which led to the lean, began by the time the tower reached the third story. Prior to restoration work in the 1990s, it was predicted to topple over by the year 2000. Today, visitors can climb up the stairs of the tower for a fabulous view of the city. 

The leaning tower, Pisa

3. POMPEI

The still smoking volcano of Mt. Vesuvius looks down on the remains of the city it destroyed in AD 79. But that same eruption also preserved many of the city’s art treasures: frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures that were encased in the lava as it cooled. Visitors can tour the site, walk along the old streets scarred by the tracks of chariots, and see the engineering used by Romans more than 2,000 years ago. 

Pompei

2. VENICE CANALS

A gondola ride through the canals of Venice is a tradition that travelers have been enjoying for centuries. Venice is a city of islands, and the canals have long been the city’s main streets, connected by a labyrinth of narrow passageways. Lining the canals are old buildings that have remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years, adding to the romantic charm.

The best way to see many of the grand palaces, whose fronts face the water, is from a Vaporetto ride along the Grand Canal. 

Venice Canals, Venice

1. COLOSSEUM

For travelers making their way through Italy, the Colosseum is a must-see. This huge Amphitheater is the largest of its kind ever built by the Roman Empire and has remained a model for sports facilities right up to modern times. Built as a venue for public spectacles and shows – even mock sea battles, it had a wooden floor that was 83 by 48 meters. It’s a prominent reminder of ancient times and the extensive history of Rome.

Colosseum, Rome

SUPER TOP 10 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN JAPAN

Japan is the perfect location for your holidays. From modern skyscrapers to undisturbed bamboo forest and neon arcades to peaceful temples, it’s like nowhere else on the planet. 

Discover some incredible places with this our top 10!

10) Hiroshima

A Peace Memorial Museum at Hiroshima is a deep experience for pay respects to the victims of the atomic bombing.

It’s an attractive stay to explore the modern city that was almost entirely rebuilt after World War 2. Visit the Miyajima island and trying the delicious local specialities.

Hiroshima, Japan

9) Nara

Nara is full of historic treasures including many UNESCO world heritage sites.  During the Nara period, Nara was the capital of Japan. 

The Daibutsu-den (Hall of the Hreat Buddha) at Todaiji is the main sight. Inside is the 15-metre tall gold and bronze statue of Buddha. 

Tame sika deer (or Japanese deer) roam through the town, especially in Nara Park. They have learned to bow in order to receive senbei (crackers) from visitors.

Daibutsu-den, Nara, Japan

8) Tsumago

A picture-perfect traditional mountain village in the Kiso Valley is Tsumago.  You’ve stepped back in time in the traffic-less streets of wonderful restored wooden inns.

The panoramic view during spring is very impressive. 

The Nagiso Museum of History contains information on the areas history, the preservation of row houses and data about row houses throughout the country.

Tsumago, Japan

7)Koya-San

Mount Koya is one of the most interesting places in Japan to experience the traditional side of the country. 

The sacred temple town is located in the forest-covered mountains of Kansai and is one of the best places to get a taste of life as a monk. 

Koya-San, Japan

6) Nikko

You could visit Nikko as a day trip from Tokyo, but it’s worth spending a night or two to explore one of the most beautiful places in japan including lakes, waterfalls and hot spring. 

Nikko is a temple town and UNESCO world heritage site in the mountains a few hours north to Tokyo.

Nikko, Japan

5) Kanazawa

Kanazawa grows in popularity for a quieter place to experience geisha districts with preserved gardens in the country, a stunning castle, and many art museums to explore. Don’t miss visit Kenroku-en Garden, one of the top three gardens in Japan.

Kanazawa, Japan

4) Hakone

In the evening from the lake, there are unforgettable sunsets with Mount Fuji to enjoy.

This place is perfect for admire Mount Fuji View, the Japan landmark.

Then Hakone is fun to visit because you can do a loop of the sight on different modes of transport, for example, a pirate boat!

Don’t forget eating a black egg cooked in the hot sulphur springs at volcanic Owakudani.

Mount Fuji, Hakone, Japan

3) Takayama

The historical centre is full of traditional wooden houses and colorful shrines. Is very gorgeous small town on the edge of the Japan Alps. Can see the extravagant floats at the Festival Floats Exhibition Hall and Hida Mountains. 

Takayama is known for its local foods, including sansai (mountain vegetables) and was kana (river fish)

Takayama, Japan

2) Tokyo

One of the 47 prefectures of Japan, has served as the Japanese capital since 1869. As of 2018, the Greater Tokyo Area ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world. Will host the 2020 summer Olympics and 2020 Summer Paralympics. 

Tokyo is also home to some of the weirdest activities ever done. From themed cafes (cats, owls, maids, robots) to sensory-overload shows and arcades to play go-karting. 

Don’t forget visiting beautiful Shinjuku and walking across the famous Shibuya Crossing.

Tokyo, Japan

1) Kyoto

If Tokyo is ultramodern, Kyoto is the heart of traditional Japan counterpart.

This is traditional Japan as you imagined it—geisha, kimonos emerging wooden teahouses, forests of bamboo, temples and shrines in gold and silver and scarlet, Zen gardens, intricate feasts served on lacquered plates, graceful tea ceremonies, and markets full of intriguing but unidentifiable ingredients. 

Don’t miss getting your fortune from a vending machine at Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Temple).

Golden Temple, Kyoto

TOP 10 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN 2019

The world keeps getting bigger.  So how to decide the places to visit in 2019? I put those questions to experts at several high-end travel companies. These super-agents knows what they’re talking about, keeping their ears on their clients’ interests and their eyes on the adventures they themselves have in every corner of the world. 

10) Colombia

In 2017, the president received the Nobel Peace Prize, and the country has “quickly gone from one of the most dangerous places on the planet to a nation on the verge of discovery,” says Biggs Bradley. “Tourists have not yet arrived en masse, and the guarded optimism of the Colombian people is palpable. Bogotá doesn’t have the breezy appeal of Cartagena or the financial might of Medellín, but it has been home to artists and creative sorts for decades. You see a spirit of celebrating life in the street art, the weekend cycling parades and frequent family celebrations. Bogotá is also one of the most exciting culinary destinations in South America.” 

Colombia

9) Ethiopia

This East African nation is stepping on to the world’s stage as a crucible of ancient culture, where travelers have the opportunity to experience the intersection of Christianity, Judaism and Islam through unparalleled cultural immersion,” says Biggs Bradley. “The country is home to rock-hewn churches built into incredible landscapes, rare 4th- and 5th-century antiquities and tribal villages that have lived the same way for centuries. 

Ethiopia

8) Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico

This longtime weekend escape for Los Angelenos is no stranger to luxury resorts, with dozens of five-star properties, including the new Montage Los Cabos and Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos,” says Biggs Bradley. “But over the next two years, the destination will welcome new properties, including the Nobu Hotel and the 1 Hotel, that will secure its place on the luxury travelers’ map. Perhaps the two most exciting openings are the Four Seasons Costa Palmas, which recently welcomed Gwyneth Paltrow and her friends, and Amanvari, set to debut in 2020.” 

Los Cabos, Mexico

7) Eastern Bhutan

“International tourist numbers to Bhutan are creeping up every year but the majority of travelers visit the well-known areas of Western and Central Bhutan,” explains Brent Olson a destination specialist for the luxury adventure travel company GeoEx. “Eastern Bhutan is opening up, and there is quite a bit that is truly off the beaten track. I’m organizing a trip focusing on these more remote regions for November, including a short trek in Merak Sakten and a visit to the ancestral village of the Royal Family. We will also be looking at some of the many worthwhile projects funded by the Bhutan Foundation and meeting the Bhutanese involved in facilitating them.” 

Eastern Buthan

6) Rwanda

“This East African country has emerged as a leader in conservation in recent years, notes Biggs Bradley. “In addition to intimate wildlife experiences, including gorilla trekking and tracking golden monkeys in Virunga, the luxury lodge offerings are impressive: Wilderness Safaris’ Bisate Lodge has views of Volcanoes National Park; One & Only Nyungwe House, on the edge of Nyungwe Forest National Park, opened recently; and Magashi, another Wilderness Safaris lodge, will open soon in northeastern Akagera.” 

Rwanda

5) Pakistan

“Explore the valleys of Hunza, Shigar and Khaplu via the renowned Karakoram Highway,” suggests Sara Barbieri, another specialist with GeoEx. “This little-visited region in the far northeast of the country offers the kind of startlingly striking scenery that compels you to gaze from the window of your 4WD without blinking, for fear of missing a moment of the majesty of the landscape—or one of the astounding suspension bridges that cross the surging rivers filled with snowmelt. Add to this the warm welcome of the people, the glacial blue of Attabad lake, the centuries of history, the juxtaposition of granite to greenery, the chance to walk through an age old-apricot orchard along water channels cut by hand, and the blazing snow-covered glory of Rakiposhi, and you must acknowledge there is a grand adventure to be had.” 

Pakistan

4) Mongolia

“With its wide-open spaces, dramatic landscapes, and warm nomadic culture, Mongolia has long held a special place in our hearts,” says Tina Liadis, an Asia specialist with GeoEx. “Traveling there still feels like visiting the ends of the earth! Our custom journeys provide ample opportunities to hike, bike, rock climb and stay in welcoming comfortable ger camps. We love arranging remarkable Mongolia adventures for our travelers, lining up access to authentic experiences, such as time with nomads, outings with Kazakh eagle hunters and visits with local shamans.” 

Mongolia

3) Turkish Riviera

“Open-minded travelers are slowly returning to Turkey, parts of which had been no-go zones for the past few years,” explains Biggs Bradley. “The chic beach resort of Bodrum has been enjoying a moment in the spotlight, with the recent opening of the Six Senses Kaplankaya and the Bodrum Edition. These stylish properties are situated on the beautiful Aegean coastline—which has been likened to that of the South of France—and days here are best-spent sailing, visiting ruins and scuba diving. Plus, you can fly directly to Bodrum from Berlin and London.” 

Turkish Riviera

2) The Azores, Portugal

“Resembling the otherworldly landscapes of Avatar, the Azores islands, an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, are topping the lists of adventure travelers for 2019,” says Melissa Biggs Bradley, the founder of the members-only travel company Indagare. “With new direct flights from New York—the journey takes just five hours—the islands have volcanic crater lakes, natural hot springs and black-sand beaches. The high-thrill activities include scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, whale watching, birding, surfing and more. And while five-star luxury isn’t easy to find, there are some lovely hotels such as the contemporary-chic Furnas Boutique Hotel, urban Azor and minimalist White Exclusive Suites & Villas.” 

Azores, Portugal

1) Madagascar

“The world’s fourth-largest island feels more like an unexplored planet than an unchecked item on your bucket list,” says Norman Howe, president and CEO of the luxury walking and biking company Butterfield & Robinson, which has recently begun offering bespoke trips to the country. “This wondrous world has so much biodiversity to discover, both in terms of natural beauty and unique terrains. For flora and fauna, with more than 90% of the wildlife endemic to Madagascar, it’s unbeatable.” The famous lemur is only the beginning of the weird and wonderful biodiversity. 

Madagascar