5 Places to Visit Once the World Opens UpMay 9, 2020 | By Go Galavant
After being in hibernation for several months, there are signs you’ll be able to come out of your cave before long and start exploring our great, big world again. So where will you go when Mother Earth opens her arms and travelers are able to move around the world again? The opportunities are endless, but here are five considerations perfect for late 2020 and early 2021.
1. New Zealand for Breathtaking Landscapes
You’ve probably been captivated by the island country’s sweeping landscapes without realizing it. New Zealand has been the backdrop for many epic films, which are perfect to serve as our compass.
The fantasy adventure The Lord of the Rings used Matamata and Queenstown to transport viewers to a magical world. Matamata, located on the north island, is lush farmland with green rolling hills. (And yes, you can take a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set™.) Queenstown, by contrast, is on the south-most end of New Zealand and is highlighted by Lake Wakatipu and the dramatic backdrop of the Southern Alps. Queenstown is known for its endless outdoor sporting adventures, like biking, hiking, boating, rafting, and jumping from unimaginable heights!
Parts of The Chronicles of Narnia are set in New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. The unspoiled mountainous landscape has rainforests and white-sand beaches throughout. You can kayak through one of the world’s most picturesque locations, Cathedral Cove, or dig your own hot spring at Hot Water Beach. The Lost Spring Geothermal Spa offers a tranquil escape that’s second to none.
Wellington can be seen in the 2005 blockbuster King Kong. This charming sea-side village allows you to indulge in food, fashion, fun, and drink. You can catch live music almost any night of the week, and trolley trains make it easy to get around town.
December-February is New Zealand’s summer months, making it a great time to visit. Additionally, you’ll experience Lupin season during this time — a colorful burst of purple, pink, yellow, and blue flowers that cover the south island.
2. Ghana for Festivals and Cultural Celebrations
2019’s “Year of the Return” in Ghana felt like a cultural revolution for African-Americans and African descendants worldwide. Ghana is aiming to keep that same energy with “Beyond the Return”- a 10-year project to continue connections with people of the African diaspora and further promote Ghanaian culture and the country as a tourist destination.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to visit Ghana in 2019, don’t worry there’s plenty to see and do in 2020 and beyond. Barring any COVID-19 limitations, Afrochella will take place late this year, and the This Is New Africa (TINA) Festival is set to launch January 2021.
If you make it to Ghana, be sure to venture out of Accra to get a sense of the country as a whole. Kumasi, the center of Ashanti culture, is rich with the history of the Akan people. You can visit the Palace of the Asantehene (monarch of the Ashanti people) and the adjacent museum to explore the deep Ashanti heritage. The Kejetia Market with its 11,000k+ stalls is a must-see, and if you’re timing is right you can witness the Akwasidae Festival where the Ashanti people celebrate their king.
For a laid-back vibe, be sure to visit Ada and enjoy beautiful beaches at Aqua Safari Resort, while sipping on locally distilled apateshie — the national spirit of Ghana. Spend the evening lounging at Norman’s Folly Cigar Club, a secret gem, where hard to find whiskeys and cigars abound.
3. Greece for Architecture and History
In addition to great food and beautiful beaches, Greece offers some of the world’s most captivating architecture. Athens gets the most attention — as it’s well deserved with awe-inspiring feats like Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Seeing these structures in person immediately transports you to another time.
A few hours north of Athens in the town of Kalampaka you’ll find the Metéora Monasteries. These structures were carved out of the steep, rocky landscape of the Thessaly plains reaching up more than 600 meters. Several of the monasteries are still in operation at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Once you’ve had your fill of time traveling head to Santorini for some modern, yet traditional sites. Many of the houses there are built of volcanic material and follow the look of typical whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches.
4. Bolivia for Outdoor Adventures and Explorations
If outdoor adventure and exploration is your thing, head to Bolivia where you’ll be met with mountains, lowlands, and semitropical valleys.
What happens when a prehistoric lake goes dry? You’re left with the world’s largest salt flat. Salar de Uyuni, amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia, is home to this instagrammable location.
Looking to take your outdoor activities to the extreme? Try biking Bolivia’s Yunga Road, known as the “world’s most dangerous road”. It’s about 60km long and links the city of La Paz and the Yunga region. Its steep slopes, lack of guardrails, narrow single track, and fog contributed to its “Road of Death” nickname.
For fun, without the fear of death, you can try your hand at sand surfing. It’s just like it sounds: surfing or snowboarding down sand dunes. Just one hour from the city of Santa Cruz is the beautiful Lomas de Arena, the perfect place for this activity.
5. Colombia Offers the Best of Both Worlds
Famous, or rather infamous for its troubled drug past, Colombia is more than what you know from Narcos. It offers the best of both worlds with bustling metropolitan cities and breathtaking natural landscapes. Among the different regions in Colombia, distinguished by their mountain ranges, you’ll find variations in not only the landscape but also culture, people, and cuisine. Colombia has much to offer.
Medellin, Cartagena, and Cali all provide the comforts & excitement of city living with their own flair. Medellin has plenty of museums to learn about its past, botanical gardens & parks for relaxing, and is known for its year-round spring-like weather. For more tropical weather head to Cartagena, Colombia’s 2nd oldest city where castles and colonial plaza can keep you busy exploring for days. Then head to Cali, the Salsa capital of Colombia for endless nights of dancing.
Once you’ve tired of city living you’ll find there’s more to see than you have time for. As the third-largest producer of coffee, you can visit Colombia’s coffee country to see how this daily staple gets from the farm to your cup.
Hire a guide to take you to the Lost City of Teyuna in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where four indigenous groups, the Wiwa, Kogi, Arhuacoa, and the Kankuam, live and protect the land. Your guide will most likely be from one of these groups and will give you a good history lesson on the Lost City and the people who protect it.
On Isla Múcura you can take a nighttime dip among the coastal mangroves and watch as the pitch-black water lights up with millions of blue-green plankton in these bioluminescent waters.
And lastly, try to snag a peek at Pink Dolphins in Amazon River!
Check here to find group trips to these destinations