2018 starts and you know what that means: "new year, new me!" But what about "new year, new places"? Because personal development and growth do not arise in the gym or with a juice cure, but can also be the result of a trip. And since the world is filled with great places to visit, here Voyage Nomad suggested top ten destinations to go in 2019.
1. Petra, Jordan
The Middle East is filled with wonderful places and Jordan is no exception. You can float effortlessly in the Dead Sea or explore the desert in Wadi Rum, but Jordan is best known for its architectural masterpiece: Petra. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was carved into a stone wall around 312 BC and only discovered again in 1812 by a Swiss traveler. If you like history and archeology, then Petra must be at the top of your travel list for 2018.
2. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
There are more than 1400 miles (2253 kilometers) of coral reef off the coast of Queensland in Australia : the largest on the planet. That means that it must of course be on your mustsee list. This world heritage site is known as the Blue Outback and houses thousands of fish, molluscs, hundreds of species of birds, sharks, stingrays and dozens of species of dolphins, whales and porpoises. Just by writing this, I get overwhelmed, so imagine what it's like to see all those animals in real life! If you are not a certified diver, it does not matter. Also by snorkeling you can see more than enough of this beautiful part of the seven original natural wonders of the world.
3. Kauai, Hawaii, United States
Kauai is a champion: it is pretty much the rainiest place in the world. And although all that rain may not be great for frizzy hair, it does create a true tropical paradise. Just think of beautiful hikes, deep blue swimming spots, fantastic cycling routes and fascinating diving at the colorful coral reefs. For me and the Huffington Post , the best hike in Hawaii is perhaps the Awaawapuhi Trail on Kauai. The route winds its way over the high cliffs along the Pacific Ocean and contains some of the most breathtaking views you'll ever see.
4. Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe
If you go to Victoria Falls, you can check off two countries for the price of one. This beautiful waterfall separates Zambia from Zimbabwe, is also called the "thundering smoke" and is not the highest or widest in the world, but it is the waterfall with the largest surface in the world. The Zimbabwean side seems to be the most beautiful of the two, but why not look at both sides to judge for yourself? Thrillseekers can go to the Victoria Falls Bridge to zip along, bungee off or jump off to rock the Zambezi River. Because hey, YOLO, right?
5. Zhangye Danxia, China
Anyone who thinks of China probably thinks of the Great Wall and pandas, but that's only because you've never heard of the Rainbow Mountains. Although weathering and erosion are normally rather boring things, in this case they have created beautiful colored tracks over the mountains of Zhangye Danxia. And although you probably won't see any unicorns, seeing red, green and yellow mountains is a cool experience in itself.
6. Yosemite National Park, California, United States
When people think of California, they usually think of sunny, palm-fringed beaches full of celebs. And I know the sunny California beach lifestyle is really great, but if you dare to look further and take a look at the Sierra Nevada mountains, you'll discover a whole new side of California that you would never expect. One of those places is Yosemite National Park. This mecca for climbers, hikers and campers is surrounded by impressive mountains, whispering waterfalls and endless forests. The North Face brand, founded in San Francisco, has even based its logo on the famous shape of Yosemite's Half Dome. The park has hundreds of hikes and climbs to choose from and is not only available for every active person, regardless of level, but it is also bizarre photogenic. Just look at yosemite for a taste of all that natural beauty.
7. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
I must add that I really love nature and hiking, which is why I have added a national park to this list. But hey, it's 2018, right? Most likely one of your good intentions was to move more this year, so you will be grateful to me for this. Anyway. It's good to know that in the Magallanes region of Chilean Patagonia you will find more sheep than people, plus emerald green valleys, fast-flowing rivers, clear blue lakes and a whole world of glaciers and icebergs: it's beautiful here. But nature here is also harsh, unforgivable and it is one of the worst habitable places in the world. That is why I also advise you to go there in January or February. The rest of the year it is probably too cold, wet, windy and simply sad to have a good time.
8. Rome, Italy
Although many people consider Paris the "City of Love", I think that is Rome. The Italians call Rome Roma, which you play backwards as "Amor", the Spanish word for love. Apart from that: which place is more epic than the Eternal City? Rome is not only one of the oldest occupied cities in Europe, but is also seen as the birthplace of Western civilization. There is so much history here! The Pantheon, the Trevi fountain(my personal favorite), the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, the Vatican ... in just a few hours you can see some of the world's most famous architectural masterpieces and after seeing the Vatican, you can even brag about being have visited the smallest country in the world. And then we haven't even talked about all the delicious gelato and carbohydrates that you handle.
9. Costa Rica
Nothing makes such a good night's sleep as the sound of a group of howler monkeys at your window. But yes, you will of course not come to Costa Rica to sleep, do you? Start surfing the amazing waves of Tamarindo here, then zip line through the high rain forests of Arenal and then into the dense jungle of the Corcovado National Park: in Costa Rica there is no end to all the action. Thanks to the great biodiversity, hiking, mountain biking, birds, surfing and beaches, Costa Rica has more than enough reasons to end up in these top ten destinations for 2018, but the most important is the pura vida lifestyle of Costa Rica. "Pura vida" is the national motto, means something like "pure life" and is the heart beat of the Costa Ricans. It means hello, goodbye and a lifestyle that gives great value to the people and activities that are important to you. If you keep that in mind, you will understand why a few weeks of “Tico time” in 2018 would do you good.
As I write this, outside of a mix of snow, I see a rain falling from the sky. That probably affects my daydream about warm, tropical places, but anyway: Mauritius don't get enough credits. This island is often overshadowed by the Seychelles and the Maldives, but I simply cannot explain how beautiful Mauritius is. The white sandy beaches, the great surfing and diving and the breathtaking sunsets really make Mauritius a magical place. It's not for nothing that African sunsets are so famous. You can go hiking and kite surfing in the south. The British have had a lot of impact on Mauritius, so don't be surprised if you see people driving on the left. I say this because I strongly advise you to rent a car so that you can leave the coast and drive inland, where you can enjoy meals that are 25 times cheaper and 10,000 times more authentic and tasty. What else do you want?
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