Those who think they’ve seen it all, think again. The Indagare Travel team reports on far-flung alternatives to some of the world’s most celebrated destinations.
Even as everywhere on the planet becomes interconnected and modes of transportation make long distances less daunting, there still remain pristine pockets in relatively unexplored regions. For intrepid travelers who have hit most of the tourist high points, Indagare offers off-the-beaten-path counterparts to six notable destinations. These up-and-comers are blessed with magnificent landscapes, rich cultures and tons of activity options waiting to be discovered.
Just Back from: LA | Next Stop: Melbourne
Destination Requirements: Cultural offerings, art scene, beautiful coastline
Los Angeles is beloved for its fusion of visionary design and culture with a laidback Californian lifestyle, but among creative, coastal cities, the spotlight is now on Melbourne. Declared the world’s most livable urban environment, Melbourne is also Australia’s cultural capital, boasting a diverse population, a vibrant arts scene and a rich history. Stylish shoppers will make a beeline to boutiques that stock local avant-garde fashions, while foodies will be delighted with the eclectic selection of global cuisines. Its hosting of events like the Australian Open, AFL Grand Final and Spring Racing Carnival has also made the city a buzzing spot for diehard sports fans. Need a respite from the flurry of activity? Retreat to Melbourne’s miles of beach and peaceful parks with indigenous trees.
Just Back from: Cabo | Next Stop: Mozambique
Destination Requirements: Romantic resorts, privacy, breathtaking beaches
Cabo, with its dramatic rock formations and long stretches of beach, has long lured those seeking tranquility and rest to its bevy of pampering properties. Those yearning for truly secluded beachfront luxury, however, will fall for Mozambique’s tropical splendor. The intimate &Beyond Benguerra, with only thirteen beachside bungalows, invites guests to relax while enjoying the island’s white sand beach edged by turquoise waters and extensive coral reefs filled with tropical fish, as well as the lush palm groves that envelop the property’s casinhas and cabanas. Couples will adore the privacy of these thatched-roof hideaways, which come with plunge pools, spacious decks and beach palapas, and offer the option of dining on the beach surrounded by lanterns.
Recommended Hotel: &Beyond Benguerra
Just Back from: New Zealand | Next Stop: Norwegian Fjords
Destination Requirements: Dramatic landscapes, wilderness activities, mountainous
New Zealand’s twin islands, with their wide range of spectacular terrain — from plunging cliffs to serene beaches to snow-capped mountains — tops the bucket lists of many adventure and nature lovers. Those who have checked this item off but still crave dramatic landscapes should venture north to the Norwegian fjords. Created by glaciers, the fjords are awe-inspiring. Imposing mountains descend into these icy inlets, which offer magnificent vistas at every twist and turn. All along the rugged coastline are tiny fishing villages and seafaring communities worthy of a close look. Thrill seekers can kayak, ski, hike and cycle between glaciers amid the majestic scenery, while those favoring less rigorous pursuits can cruise among the fjords to take in the spectacular views from a more luxurious vantage point. The charming port city of Ålesund is an excellent base from which to explore the mystical peaks and valleys of the region.
Recommended Hotel: Storfjord Hotel
Just Back from: Peru | Next Stop: Bhutan
Destination Requirements: Lush landlocked country, religious sites, remote
Peru’s stunning topography of verdant valleys and Andean mountains, plus its sacred Incan sites, of which Machu Picchu of course is the most famous, have drawn intrepid travelers for decades. In contrast, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, nestled between its massive neighbors India and China, has staved off tourist throngs while preserving its Buddhist heritage and incredibly varied landscape. A trip here combines visits to religious and cultural sites with adventurous exploration of the breathtaking scenery. Days can be spent hiking to hushed mountaintop monasteries, visiting lively villages and river rafting through deep valleys and alongside rice paddies. The government has imposed restrictions on tourism and development, but luxury brands, including Aman and COMO, have serene lodges and resorts throughout the country, so comfort is never sacrificed for seclusion.
Recommended Hotel: Uma Paro by COMO
Just Back from: South Africa’s Winelands | Next Stop: Mendoza
Destination requirements: Vineyards, stunning valleys, foodie scene
Just forty-five minutes outside of Cape Town, the South African winelands offer miles of rolling green hills dotted with renowned wineries, as well as an excellent culinary scene, but oenophiles willing to go off the beaten path should discover Mendoza. Irrigated by glacial melt from the Andes Mountains, Mendoza and the expansive Uco valley are among the premium sites for the production of Malbec, a robust and fruity red wine. Many of the region’s 1,500 wineries are family owned and boast spectacular settings, their vineyard and orchards standing in neat rows against a dramatic Andes backdrop. Winery tastings and tours, often hosted by the owners themselves, can be coupled with elaborate menus featuring the finest Argentinian cuisine. Besides Mendoza’s sophisticated varietals, the region offers a host of activities like horseback riding between the vines, biking through the foothills and whitewater rafting down glacial streams.
Recommended Hotel: The Vines Resort and Spa
Just Back from: Jackson Hole | Next Stop: The Dolomites
Destination Requirements: Fantastic skiing, incredible mountain vistas, small-town charm
Despite an influx of luxury properties and fine restaurants, Jackson Hole’s quaint downtown and thousands of acres of rugged landscape still evoke an authentically Western atmosphere. For adventurous skiers and purists who appreciate striking landscapes and well-preserved villages, the next region to explore is the Dolomites. Occupying the northeastern corner of the Italian Alps, the Dolomites are endowed with steep slopes and soaring peaks that attract athletes year-round. The region’s fascinating fusion of Germanic and Italian cultures is on full display in Cortina, a tourist hotspot with high-end shopping and dining, but venturing farther afield presents even more rewards. Charming towns stud the region, and the vast Dolomites Super Ski resort encompasses almost 1,000 miles of skiable terrain. A stay at Rosa Alpina, an exquisite retreat that tempers Italian chic with Alpine coziness, is the best choice for exploring this unique destination.
Recommended Hotel: Rosa Alpina