For a few years now, I’ve been attending The New York Times Travel Show, and each year, it fuels my travel dreams and reignites my desire to get back on the road. Normally, it’s been a few months between my travels and the show, but this time, fresh off my trip to India, I was even more excited to see where I could end up in the new year.
There’s really no place else better for travel inspiration than the show and this year, it has me dreaming of a few new places. Since I was used to India’s warm weather and have come home to the cold, it seems that the destinations I am dreaming about have a common theme: warm weather and beaches. Normally, I get to a tropical destination every few years and stick to more adventurous travel, but this year, I have palm trees, the sounds of waves, and sun kissed beaches on my mind.
So what’s currently on my list after the show? Here are just a few of the places I have been daydreaming about and hope to visit soon:
To be completely honest, while I had heard of Guadeloupe Islands, I realized I knew almost nothing about the country aside from its location. The French archipelago is located between Dominica and Antigua in the Caribbean and is made up of five islands: Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, Les Saintes, and La Desirade. There are hiking trails through the rainforest, volcanoes, white sand beaches lined with palm trees, turquoise waters, and a rich, diverse culture. Since the islands are only four and a half hours from New York, it would be a getaway that’s not far from home, but one that will also give me the opportunity to explore a new culture. I’ll get some adventure and relaxation all in one trip, plus a destination that’s still a little off-the-beaten-path, which puts Guadeloupe Islands at the very top of my list.
I’ve been dreaming about Belize for the past year now, and my desire seems to only increase the more I learn about it. Activities seem endless from caving to sailing and uncovering the country’s rich culture. There’s also the famous Great Blue Hole, the world’s largest ocean sinkhole, which is supposed to be one of the best places in the world to dive. While I’m not sure diving is for me, I am so intrigued by this place, that I just need to see it for myself. The country is also rich in Mayan culture and there are ruins of temples that seem to be less crowded than other places around the globe. All of these reasons are drawing me in to visit the Central American country sooner rather than later.
Tahiti has been on my mind for years, especially after my best friend spent her honeymoon in Bora Bora and Moorea (the photo above is hers). I have always wanted to visit the country, but it used to be a place I said I would set aside for my honeymoon. Now I am thinking, why wait? Made up of 118 islands in the South Pacific, I’m sure I could discover some off-the-beaten path finds and prove that it’s not just for couples. Along with some adventure and exploration of culture, I can also see myself completely unwinding and relaxing in an overwater bungalow.
Grenada is a country I knew very little about, but the more I uncover, the faster I want to get myself to the Spice of the Caribbean. Diving intimidates me a bit, as I am claustrophobic, but a visit to Grenada may just be enough to get me exploring underwater, since there’s an underwater sculpture park. It also seems like the perfect place to explore in nature, and I can get in one of my favorite outdoor activities: hiking. After exploring some of the island’s national parks and waterfalls, I can see myself relaxing on the beaches and taking in the natural beauty of the Caribbean.
Saint Lucia has been on my list since my friends honeymooned on the island back in 2010. Previously, I had written it off as just any other island in the Caribbean, but after seeing my friends’ photos and doing a little research on my own, I saw how wrong I was. What I love most about the island is that it offers great hiking on Gros and Petite Piton peaks, as well as relaxation by the sea. It includes the perfect balance of adventure and down time that I rarely get on my travels.
One of my favorite ways to see a new place is to discover it through nature and a sense of adventure, and Curacao seems to have a lot of adventures to offer. There are hiking trails, jeep safaris, rock climbing, and plenty of places to go snorkeling and diving. But the fun doesn’t stop there, as there are plenty of places to experience the island’s nightlife, shop, and relax. The island seems to have a healthy balance of everything I like when I travel, making it a place I’d love to get to this year.
As with each year, my list of places to visit gets longer, as there’s so much I hope to experience. The New York Times Travel show always inspires me to see new places, but this is the first year that those places seem to be tropical with a healthy balance of adventure and relaxation. That seems to be the current theme because I barely allow for relaxation in most of my journeys and I think it’s time to change that up a bit.
What about you: where do you see yourself heading in 2016? What do you want most from your travels this year?