Need inspiration for your next trip and keen to try something new? We asked the experts to share their tips on the locations to visit next year…
Best for health and wellness
Says Paul Joseph, Co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel
Escape to Costa Rica for a taste of pura vida (the pure life). It’s a rapidly rising destination for coastal wellness retreats, where you can combine adventurous jungle activities with relaxing yoga classes and invigorating surf lessons. From white-water rafting through a volcanic national park, to zip-lining in the rainforest, and wildlife-watching on a jungle safari, Health and Fitness Travel’s exclusive Costa Rica Discover Recover holiday allows you to tailor-make your wellness adventure from a choice of tours and excursions, before recovering at a luxury wellness retreat. Costa Rica is also a world leader in their eco-friendly approach to tourism, making it a popular destination with green-conscious travellers in search of a health retreat that is as kind to nature as it is to them.
Best for adventure
Says Adventurer Laura Bingham
Straddling the Andes, Bolivia is one of the lesser-visited countries in the region, but with incredible scenery and a rich heritage, this magical country is sure to capture your heart, just as it did mine. One of my must-sees is Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt fl at spanning over 4,000 sq miles in the south-west of the country. I recently crossed South America by bicycle with no money and only the equipment I could fit in my panniers, and I arrived in this place after over three months of cycling. Cresting a hill with excitement bubbling in my stomach, I was moved to tears by its beauty. Climbing off my bike and kneeling on the ground, I went in for a lick. Yup, it is definitely 100 per cent salt! A friend of a friend let me stay in his incredible Salt Palace, Palacio de Sal, on the banks of the salt fl at – the world’s first hotel made of pure salt. Of all the places I have visited on my adventures over the years, this place and its happy and kind people are, without doubt, the most beautiful.
✻ Laura will be speaking at the Adventure Travel Show at Olympia London on 21 January 2017
Best for all-round experience
Says Tamara Heber-Percy, founder & CTO, Mr & Mrs Smith
For me, 2017 is the time to visit India. We’re hoping to add around 40 hotels there by the end of the year, and there’s so much excitement about the country. It’s so varied, too – lounge by the regal, marble-lined pool at Bujera Fort outside Udaipur; sample safari, Indian-style, at Jawai Leopard Camp; soak up the sounds of the city at Raas in Jodhpur… and that’s just Rajasthan! In the south, you can drift decadently down Kerala’s backwaters on The Lotus, a luxuriously modernised rice-barge; or head to Pench National Park and sleep under the stars at Jamtara Wilderness Camp. So yes, it’s definitely an Indian summer for me!
Best for couples
Says Rosalind Sack, Editor of Exclusive
What could be more romantic than snuggling up together in the snow, staring up at the Northern Lights snaking across the sky, or taking a dip at the otherwordly Blue Lagoon open-air geothermal spa? For a true taste of this incredible country, stock up on thermals and visit in winter – the hours of daylight are limited, but the sun rises and sets are long, slow and utterly beautiful. Reykjavik is a great base for taking trips to see Iceland’s ‘Golden Circle’ of sites, which include Geysir, Gullfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park. I would also recommend hiring a car and staying at the luxury Ion Hotel – an hour’s drive from the city – which juts out from the side of mountainous lava fields and gives you a night-time wake-up call when the Northern Lights are active. In fact, so romantic was this setting that I got engaged there earlier this year!
Best for families
Says Imogen Hall, Lonely Planet Kids Spokesperson
For robot-loving, game-playing, techhappy teens, a trip to Japan is a dream come true. Add some cerebral pursuits – discover manga and anime together or visit ancient temples and shrines – and include a visit to one of the national parks or island beaches for when everyone needs to breathe out. Before you know it, you’ve got a trip to please even the most reluctant adventurers in your family. Kyoto International Manga Museum is child-friendly; Tokyo’s Akihabara district has games.