Are you looking for a unique and unforgettable vacation? While popular cities like Paris or London are fantastic, escape the beaten path and visit unique travel destinations under the radar gems. These types of adventures are perfect for anyone with a sense of adventure who love to dive into the local culture or want to avoid bustling crowds.
From sending a postcard at a post office that relies on travellers to exploring a village that seems frozen in time, there are so many under-the-radar places you’ll want to see for yourself.
Bahia Post Office, Floreana
On the island of Floreana in the Galapagos archipelago is a unique post office rooted in the island’s nautical history. In the 18th century, whalers would leave mail to their loved ones in a barrel placed on the shores of Floreana. Other sailors passing by would collect letters heading to their destination and hand-deliver them.
Today, the tradition lives on. Visitors can leave their letters and collect any headed to their next destination to hand deliver. So, who would you send a letter to? Book a seven-night Galapagos Southern Loop cruise with Celebrity Cruises if you’d like to see Post Office Bay.
Half Moon Island, Antarctica
Do you want to see adorable seals for yourself? Then you’ll want to discover the world’s last frontier, Antarctica, on Viking Cruises‘ Antarctic Explorer. On this trip, you’ll visit Half Moon Island to see Weddell and Elephant Seals. The area is also home to Gentoo penguins and a large Chinstrap colony with around 3300 breeding pairs.
But that isn’t all; the area is filled with breathtaking landscapes, so you’ll want to keep your camera ready. You’ll sail past giant icebergs and awe-inspiring snow-covered landscapes.
In Kalaallisut (Greenland’s most spoken dialect), ‘Uummannaq‘ means heart-shaped, and the area is named after the heart-shaped mountain on the island. So how do you reach this area of central-western Greenland? One effortless way is with Hurtigruten’s Greenland Summer Explorer, which allows you to experience all Uummannaq has to offer. You’ll get to see giant glaciers and glistening fjords up close. As the island is almost 600 kilometres above the arctic circle, you may also experience the midnight sun between June and August.
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Covering 14,600 square kilometres. Hwange is the largest of Zimbabwe’s national parks. Known as the land of the giants for its elephant herds, the park is a wildlife photographer or animal lover’s paradise. In fact, Hwange National Park is home to over 40 animal species and roughly 350 types of birds.
To see it for yourself, African Travel Inc. offers an incredible Wild Kingdoms of Southern Africa itinerary. On it, you’ll enjoy a three night stay in the park, and ranger guided walks and drives to see some of the wildlife that calls Hwange home. The park’s experienced rangers will take you on guided safaris to see the animals that roam in the daylight and those that prefer the dark.
Angkor Ban, Cambodia
Visiting Angkor Ban is like taking a step back in time. This rural, riverside village has remained primarily unchanged in the last hundred years. So how do you get there? You can visit Angkor Ban and the colourful markets and villages along the Mekong’s shores with a Charms of the Mekong river cruise from AmaWaterways.
Angkor Ban is nicknamed the “Lucky Village” because it managed to escape flash floods along the shores of the Mekong. The result is that the culture and history of Angkor Ban have been kept alive by the villagers, who still live in houses on wooden stilts in the shade of banana trees.
Ouarzazate is Morocco’s door to the desert. The region combines the stunning greenery of surrounding oases with desert landscapes. It is also the filming location of several movies, including Prince of Persia and The Mummy. You can join the Colours of Morocco tour from Member Choice Vacations to see it for yourself.
On tour, you’ll explore the fortified cities (ksars), where you can explore ancient markets and enjoy a relaxing stay at the Kasbah Xaluca, which combines traditional Moroccan architecture with a luxury spa and wellness accommodations. Then you’ll take in the awe-inspiring views of the Sahara Desert.
Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Sarapiqui is an eco-tourist dream. The Sarapiqui River runs through this unique Costa Rican town, resulting in thriving local agriculture and unmatched biodiversity. Sarapiqui is home to countless nature reserves, national parks, and protected areas. It is also one of the last places in the world to see the endangered Green Macaw.
With Trafalgar’s Costa Rica Eco Adventure tour, you’ll experience the heart of Sarapiqui agriculture and cuisine. Meet the Tico family on their palm plantation to learn about the region’s agriculture and sample a heart of palm. You will also enjoy a barbecue dinner at Hotel La Quinta Sarapiqui, prepared by your hosts.
Along the Caribbean coast of Panama, at the entrance of the Panama Canal, you’ll find Colón. This hub of colourful culture and calypso music is your gateway to the Caribbean. As the capital city of the Colón region, Colón is a popular port of call for cruise ships, which you can see on an unforgettable voyage on Holland America Line’s Panama Canal Sunfarer cruise. The area is also perfect for anyone who loves to shop, as it is home to one of the largest duty-free ports in the world.
Baranagar is one of India’s oldest municipalities and the world’s fifth most densely populated city. Here you can discover old-world architecture mixed with a bustling cityscape.
One top way to see it is on an India’s Golden Triangle and the Sacred Ganges cruise with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. On this adventure, you’ll get many unforgettable experiences, like riding a horse-drawn buggy to the impressive Katra Mosque or visiting an 18th-century temple where friendly goats roam.
Rotorua, New Zealand
Rotorua is a hub of Māori culture and geothermal activity within New Zealand. There are endless things to do in Rotorua, from discovering the Māori Arts And Culture Institute to a 30-meter-tall geyser in the Whakrewarewa Valley.
You can see all Rotorua offers with The Long White Cloud guided tour from Luxury Gold. On it, you’ll explore the Waimangu Volcanic Valley to see the steaming geothermal features, hot springs, and native birds. Then, visit a Kiwi bird hatchery and nursery and learn about New Zealand’s national bird before enjoying an evening of Māori arts, culture, and traditions in Te Puia.
Situated along the Nile River, Aswan is a not to miss destination while touring Egypt. It is home to local quarries that helped supply the granite for many of Egypt’s ancient artifacts and monuments.
Get ready for a wide-ranging adventure showcasing the region’s natural wonders and fascinating cultures, offering the perfect combination of guided excursions with free time to explore at your own pace. On the Egypt and Jordan Adventure with G Adventures, their expert local leaders will share with you the archaeological and historical secrets of the ancient sites of Petra, Luxor, and the Great Pyramids of Giza. Whether it’s haggling in Cairo’s bustling bazaars or snapping a desert sunset, Egypt and Jordan will be etched into your memory like a hieroglyph.
In Northern Columbia, along the Brazo de Loba branch of the Magdelena River, you’ll find Magangue. This bustling city is surrounded by Colombian wildlife thanks to its large wetland, Ciénaga Grande.
To get here, tourists can join the Wonders of Colombia cruise from AmaWaterways. On it, you’ll enjoy bird watching around the Ciénaga or head off on a guided hike to admire the many water pools in Magangue’s Ciénaga Grade.
Guayaquil is an amazing city that deserves to be visited by everyone! It offers a variety of attractions around the city, such as historic plazas, cathedrals, and colonial architecture. We recommend visiting this area with Globus Tour’s Independent Galapagos itinerary. What makes them great is they will take care of the accommodations, travel plans and included sightseeing with a naturalist but also give you the freedom to explore the Galapagos islands and Guayaquil at your own pace.
So, if you are looking for amazing cityscape views, you can head to Las Peñas Neighborhood, an iconic site in Guayaquil known for its brightly coloured houses and narrow cobblestone streets. While if you rather see iguanas, you can head to Iguana Park, where you can see different types of iguanas in their natural habit.
Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for culture, adventure or cuisine. One of the top activities in Papeete is the downtown market, Le Marche, where you can buy local crafts, souvenirs, and goods, including Tahitian vanilla beans. Then when the sun starts to set, head to Vai’ete Square to live like a local. At night the square comes alive with food trucks lining the waterfront promenade, serving everything from pizza to Chinese food and even crepes.
A graceful sailing or all-suite yacht is the perfect way for you to experience the true wonder of Tahiti in ways that are personal, authentic, and unscripted. Windstar Cruises’ friendly, casual, and fun-loving spirit will make you feel as if you are a guest on a private yacht, even when you go ashore. Windstar’s luxurious Dreams of Tahiti cruise takes passengers to Tahiti’s must-see destinations, including Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora. On the cruise, you can experience a range of activities, from swimming in lagoons to snorkelling in crystal-clear waters and biking along lush trails.
Ready to cross one of these unique cities off your book-it list? Book an appointment with a CAA Travel Consultant to start planning.