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Our Team on The Best Destinations Without Crowds

In the past year, it’s felt that every season is “high season.” And while we’re all grateful to be traveling again, the throngs of people crowding our favorite cities, sites and hotels have stirred in many Indagare members a longing for the untouched, unspoiled and uncrowded.

Our team of intrepid travelers are sharing their personal experiences with some of the best places in the world to find just that, from the mythic moai of Rapa Nui to the misty mountains of Bhutan.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to start planning a trip to some of the world’s best destinations without the crowds. Our team can help match you to the accommodations and activities that are right for you and answer questions about logistics, transportation and more. 

North America


Ancient cultures and ice reign in Greenland, the world’s largest island. Glaciers cover nearly 80 percent of its landmass, which is home to both the Inuit people and wildlife like polar bears and muskoxen (offshore, unicorn-like narwals swim the freezing waters). The swaths of wilderness are best explored by cruising the coastal fjords, where travelers can view wildlife and staggering glaciers shedding ice chunks, embark on dogsledding or kayaking adventures and learn about the history of the island and its people. “Greenland is such a unique destination,” says Indagare Operations Manager Catherine Happ. “I'll never forget bobbing in the zodiac among the seemingly endless icebergs in Disko Bay or hiking up to viewpoints where the frozen vistas appear to go on forever. It’s a supremely special location that not many have to opportunity to experience, but you definitely won't forget!”

North America

Lanai, Hawaii

Recent years have seen headlines about overtourism in Hawaii, especially Oahu and Maui. But for those anti-crowd travelers still seeking that lush volcanic islands and rich underwater worlds of the most far-flung U.S. state, Lanai may be the place for you. With only three paved roads and not a stoplight in sight, Lanai is the second-least touristed Hawaiian island, with 18 miles of unspoiled beach, plus green forests and windswept, orange rocky terrain nicknamed the Garden of the Gods. Outdoor adventures like hiking, horseback-riding and whale-watching can all be paired with the luxury at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai: “It has all of the trappings of a resort without feeling like too large of a resort,” says Indagare Associate Producer Bridget McElroy, who scouted the island in late 2021. “No beaches in Hawaii are technically private, but the island is so sparsely populated and visited, and this beach is tucked away and quiet, with excellent snorkeling. The food is fabulous (I recommend the tuna poke!), the views are dreamy and the staff, most of whom hail from the tiny island, are all so perfectly exemplifies laidback luxury.”

North America

Fogo Island

“Fogo Island is convenient for no one and close to nowhere, and that’s part of what makes it so special,” says Indagare Contributor Amelia Osborne Scott. “The tiny Newfoundland island could be a subject of a study in remoteness, particularly in how it creates an incomparable sense of community among its population. The chance to see this firsthand would be a draw on its own, but the world-class Fogo Island Inn can also stand up to hotels of excellence. Go, as I did, in late spring to see icebergs float past your room’s windows. Depending on the season, hiking and boat excursions whenever possible are definite highlights.” An architectural wonder on an island just off Newfoundland’s northern coast, Fogo Island Inn is currently celebrating its ten year anniversary. The experience is what is important here, and in addition to the many activities available, a community host is assigned to each guest to help acquaint them with the island's history—reaffirming the property's commitment to nature and the island's local culture.

North America


The Caribbean Islands are as known for their expansive resorts as they are for their aqua waters and sandy beaches, but a few islands have managed to stay more under-the-radar. “The sense of wild nature is ever present on Nevis,” says Indagare Founder Melissa Biggs Bradley. There is one Four Seasons on its western side, as well as several charming inns and cottages, like Relais & Chateaux's boutique Montpelier Plantation Inn or Golden Rock Inn. These two are nestled further inland, where the lure of unspoiled nature is at its strongest. Unlike much of Central and South America, Nevis is one of the few destinations home to a rainforest that is actually expanding, and it is ripe with adventure— "You can hike [and zipline] in mountains filled with vervet monkeys," Melissa says, or eve ntrek up the dormant volcano. Despite the many available activities, the island is imbibed with a laidback spirit, and days can just as easily be spent wandering through gardens, indulging in fresh cuisine and sunning on the sand.

South America


“The Galápagos are a slow-burn destination,” says Indagare's Associate Director of Global Impact, Colin Heinrich. “They’re not like the Sistine Chapel and the Eiffel Tower, confronting travelers with their startling beauty. The Galápagos creep up on you. They lull you into a false sense of familiarity—here a cactus, there a seagull—and for a second, you wonder if all those years of anticipation were mistaken…But that’s when the slow burn kicks in. Once you’ve acclimated to the landscape, you begin to see the subtle otherworldliness of the place… There might be a sea lion sleeping on a bench by the waterfront, unremarked by the locals walking past, or crabs so bright and uncamouflaged that they seem to defy the laws of natural selection for which this archipelago is known. Once you get used to these small glitches in your perception of nature, the Galápagos really turns it on… During my trip, we saw the red cliffs of Rabida, swam with penguins off Sombrero Chino, walked with giant tortoises on Santa Cruz, hiked over the lava fields of Santiago and snorkeled with dolphins and sea lions. But even on that first day, by midafternoon, any semblance of disappointment had disappeared like a reef shark into the deep.”

Read Colin’s Story: Just Back From…My Galápagos Trip

South America

The Pantanal and The Amazon, Brazil

“Many travelers to Brazil stick to the coastline,” says Indagare's Associate Director of Digital Content, Peter Schlesinger, who ventured into the South American wilderness in 2021. “But the country's interior is home to two of the world’s natural wonders: The Amazon, obviously, but also the Pantanal, the planet’s largest wetlands. Heading to the Pantanal, which is 95 percent privately-owned, is a unique opportunity to witness how locals work to coexist alongside wildlife, including the massive jabiru stork, adorable capybara and critically endangered jaguar. The Amazon, on the other hand, is a chance to witness one of the last remaining true wilderness areas, largely untouched by human forces. It is a striking (and tragically shrinking) place to marvel at nature on her own terms. Both regions are a trek to get to, but that’s partly the point.”

South America

Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile

Rapa Nui was incredible,” says Indagare’s Associate Director of Sales Development, Kial Church, who scouted the far-flung island in January 2023. “I remember thinking the first time I saw Easter Island as a kid on a clip on the Today Show’s ‘Where in the World is Matt Lauer,’ how unique of a place it was…Since it is a solo island and not part of a greater archipelago, it is considered one of the most (if not the most) remote, inhabited islands in the world, and its small size means you can cover the whole island in a meaningful way with just four or five days. Rapa Nui’s Chilean influence combined with the island’s Polynesian roots and one-of-a-kind history gives it an identity that is unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. The morning of our departure, we woke up at 5 a.m. to see sunrise at Ahu Tongariki, the site of 15 upright moai statues. By this point, we had seen nearly 100 moai statues—there are over 800 on the island—and learned about their mythical nature. But sitting in the long shadows of the moai, watching the stars fade and the sun rise along the horizon, illuminating the island and the massive statues slowly, you can't help but feel the magic. The mystery, uncertainty and awe that is Rapa Nui sinks into you as daylight approaches, leaving you with a feeling of pure wonderment.”

South America


"The landscape of Salar de Uyuni is an etherial Mad Max fantasy," says Indagare's VP of Sales, Elise Bronzo. "Part-moon, part-post apocalypse, it offers the perfect canvas for photographers and otherworldly adventure for wilderness lovers. A famous Bolivian artist and Indagare Insider works with our team to surprise our members with land art installations throughout the salt flats—as you rip through the terrain in a Toyota, a colorful felt cactus might appear, seemingly out of nowhere. Most travelers come for the salt flats and are surprised by Bolivia's ecological and cultural diversity. I spent 24 hours in La Paz, one of the highest cities in the world, and visited the witches' market, hiked the Valle de la Luna and enjoyed one of my most memorable meals rooted in ancestral indigenous cuisine at Gustu, co-founded by Noma co-founder Claus Meyer."



A champion of sustainability, Slovenia is a natural wonderland that has yet to accumulate the crowds of other European destinations. “It’s great for hikers who are interested in new, beautifully designed hiking and biking trails with stunning views of glacial, turquoise lakes and rivers,” says Indagare’s VP of Business Development, Diana Li, the first staffer to scout the country. “The natural beauty and island castle of Lake Bled has attracted visitors for centuries and is worth the trip, as is a morning hike on winding wooden bridges and walking paths through the waterfalls and cascades of Vintgar Gorge. Slovenia’s charming capital Ljubljana has a lovely cobblestoned Old Town and a hilltop castle, and less than a two-hour drive away are the romantic coastal towns of Piran and Portoroz. Piran resembles a smaller, more intimate Dubrovnik thanks to its Old City protected by fortress walls—but without any crowds.”

Read Diana’s Story: Why Go Now: Slovenia Related: Explore Our Upcoming Indagare Departure trip to Slovenia


Madeira, Portugal

With a newly relaunched direct flight on Azores Airlines between JFK and Funchal Airport, this unassuming Portuguese archipelago 320 miles off the northwestern African coast is shockingly accessible. “Madeira is still largely undiscovered by American tourists,” says Indagare Travel Operations Assistant Wellsley Lowther, who traveled there in summer 2022. “While that means some experiences could use a polish, it also means you’ll have a chance to explore an island that has been largely untouched by the luxury traveler. Belmond’s Reid's Palace is a stunning historic property—I could easily have spent all my days relaxing by the pool or in the loungers on the ocean’s edge, reachable by cliffside steps. But the option for exploration is endless. A highlight for me was the sunrise jeep tour of the 6,000-foot-high Pico do Ariero, Madeira’s third-highest mountain, followed by a picnic breakfast, which is not to be missed! Though most people might think of it as a summer destination, Madeira is also home to one of the best New Year’s Eve fireworks displays in the world.”


The Azores, Portugal

An Avatar-esque archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores beckon the adventurer with its volcanic crater lakes, hot springs and black sand beaches paired with adrenaline-inducing activities like scuba diving, hiking and surfing. Not yet a player in the luxury market, the Azores have a more undiscovered quality—and are accessible via a five-hour flight from New York. “Winding through roads lined with endless electric blue and white hydrangeas sometimes made the drives through the Azores just as magical as the dramatic coastline hikes or the breathtaking views from the top of the famous Sete Cidades,” says Indagare Travel Operations Assistant Lauren Walston. “Soaking in the Poca da Dona Beija thermal baths in Furnas (near the Furnas Boutique Hotel) is a must, as is trying the local cheese—fifty percent of Portugal’s cheese is made in the Azores. Surfers should definitely head to Praia do Areal de Santa Bárbara.”

Related: Why Go Now: Portugal


Faroe Islands

Explorers who dream of traipsing the Scottish Highlands and sailing the Norwegian Fjords will relish the remote natural wonders of the Faroe Islands, an archipelago midway between Iceland and Norway. Its isolation has allowed this self-governing Norwegian territory to preserve its cultural roots and rich oral linguistic tradition. Visitors may be just as enchanted by the lyricism of ancient hymns and an immersive schooner journey as by the striking gorges and cliffside waterfalls, grottos and colorful villages scattered across a dramatic landscape. “The Faroe Islands are the kind of place where you wouldn't be surprised to see a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow—it's just that magical and mysterious and wholly otherworldly,” says Indagare Contributor Amelia Osborne Scott, who scouted the North Atlantic island cluster. “This magic translates especially well to film; it’s a photographer’s dream, the islands ripe for stunning landscape shots, complete with shaggy sheep in the foreground.”


Aeolian Islands

The Mediterranean’s islands are no secret. Every year, people flock to spots like Capri, Santorini and Mykonos  (and, after the wildly popular second season of White Lotus, Sicily), flooding the beaches and villages. But those aren’t the only islands, and for those seeking solace from the crowds, this archipelago off the coast of Sicily may be the answer. “The Aeolian Islands, and specifically the island of Salina, are one of the most beautiful, wild and undiscovered island groups in Italy,” says Indagare Travel Operations Assistant Victoria O’Leary, who traveled here in spring 2022. “This is a destination whose name many travelers won’t recognize, but when you mention that you are visiting to nearly any Italian, their reaction is immediate awe followed by expressions of love for the island and its beauty. From the moment you step off the boat onto Salina, it is like entering an oasis of lush vegetation, striking mountainous terrain and sparkling blue waters. Take advantage of your time here by renting a scooter to traverse the island, and explore the various pebble or black sand beaches, quaint coastal villages and rugged green peaks.”



Namibia is home to one of the driest deserts in the world and is one of the least-populated countries per square mile—though it has been inhabited by the indigenous San, Damara and Nama people since prehistoric times,” says Indagare's VP of Sales, Elise Bronzo, who ventured to the southwest African country in 2022. Here, towering ochre sand dunes, Mars-like red rock landscapes and coastal deserts are home to desert-adapted elephants and lions and smaller critters like gerbils and weavers. “In my time here, I felt as though Namibia had entered my system intravenously…The extreme elements, the expanse, the colors and the topography had blended into a tincture that downshifted my thoughts and nervous system, enabling an ease that I hadn’t felt—maybe ever."

One her most powerful recollections is of her experiences with the people. “While in Swakopmund, we visited a local Himba market, where women had traveled from the nearby countryside to sell their craft to support their communities…we began connecting with the women, giggling as we tried to pronounce each other’s names, curiously studying facial features, reactions and hairstyles. We stood together, mirroring each other’s movements until someone initiated a clap, then a stomp, a spin, followed by the hum of a song. As we drove back to the lodge, we realized we hadn’t asked a single question from the list we had made. Instead, we had learned something far more important: how to be utterly present.”

Read Elise’s Story: Just Back From: A Road Trip Safari in Namibia



“Tunisia was my last trip before the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020, so my memories of it feel like they exist in a time capsule,” says Indagare’s Brand Content & Creative Consultant, Simone Girner. “I had read a tremendous amount about the country—both distant history (Roman and Phoenician) and more recent (French colony and Arab spring). And still, every day, Tunisia managed to utterly surprise me. First of all, its varied landscapes—around Tunis, there are parts that look like Ireland; down south, you have the gateway to the Sahara. Tunis was more cosmopolitan than I had pictured, and it has one of the world’s oldest medinas.

But as on so many journeys, what stayed with me the most were the people met and conversations had, especially about the country’s burgeoning democracy. There was a sense that especially young people recognized how fragile it was, how much it would take to protect and nurture it. On my last day, I told one restaurant owner how beautiful I had found his country, and he threw his arms wide open and said, ‘But Madame, it is your country, too.’ It was a reminder of how connected we are—as travelers, as global citizens, as humans—a lesson of hope that I returned to time and again in the coming months when the world as we knew it ceased to exist.”

Read Simone’s Story: Tunisia Rising

Related: Explore Our Upcoming Insider Journey to Tunisia


Off-Season Safari

Safaris, by their very nature, are designed to be an immersive wilderness experience. Still, peak wildlife-viewing seasons often bring with them full camps. But every African country with safari has its off-season—that time of year the crowds don’t target because of the interpretation that safari is “worse” during these times. But many members of the Indagare staff have experienced off-season safari, and they have a different take:

Lizzie Eberhart, Indagare Trip Designer: “I often make the argument to our members that you can travel on safari most months out of any year. While there’s a lot to be said for traveling in the peak season, my experiences on safari in Botswana, Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe during ‘green season,’ or the shoulder seasons, have been nothing short of extraordinary. Not only did I avoid the crowds and multiple vehicles in the national parks (and airports), I also had the opportunity to experience the incredible natural encounters on game drives that often occur during these times of year: I’ve seen mating lions and leopards; antelope, wildebeest and giraffes giving birth and more newborn animals than I can count. There are few things more joyful than a weeks-old elephant calf clumsily trudging along behind its mother.”

Rose Allen, Indagare’s Senior Director of African Safari: “Off-season on safari means that the bush is thicker and water sources plentiful, so the animals are more spread out than during the dry season, when they must congregate around watering holes to drink. This means, instead of stumbling upon sighting after sighting without really having to try, you have the opportunity to learn to track animals with your guide. You learn to use your eyes to look for footprints, dung or even other animals in the area—impalas that are spooked have likely recently seen a predator. You learn to use your ears to listen for alarm calls from birds, monkeys, antelope and more. When properly tracked, lion footprints on the road will eventually lead you to a pride of lions resting near a termite mound a few hundred feet into the bush. You feel like you’ve worked for and earned such a great sighting. You feel proud! And at the same time, you become more in tune with nature and come to appreciate its wild way of working.” Another plus: instead of drought-stricken landscapes, expect beautiful, verdant scenery, teeming with migratory birds.



Between the wintery tundra of Siberia and the plains of northern China, Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world—a frontier of grassy steppes, arid desert and snowcapped mountains where nomadic traditions live on. “The cosmopolitan capital Ulaanbaatar allows one to rest up (at the luxurious Shangri- La Hotel) from their overseas flight before setting off for the countryside,” says an Indagare traveler on our 2022 Insider Journey to Mongolia led by Indagare’s Diana Li. “It has an energy to it and a rawness that sets the stage for things to come…The Three Camel Lodge was just far enough away from the town we flew into to make one feel immersed in the beautiful Gobi Desert…The excursions were a blast, and just the drive across the steppes getting to the different excursions was so much fun. Stargazing at night delivered an unbelievable show. The second half of the trip was just as memorable. The camp was more rustic, but the view even more scenic. Meeting the different nomadic people was truly an opportunity of a lifetime, and they could not have been more hospitable! This trip is an adventure. It is a bit rustic and so not for everyone, but for those who love being outdoors and having safari-style dirt road drives and adventures, this is the trip for you!”

Read About the Trip: Why Go Now: Mongolia | Just Back From an Insider Journey Related: Explore Our Upcoming Indagare Departure to Mongolia


Komodo Islands, Indonesia

“As you sail out into the Komodo Islands, you can almost feel your worries being swept away with the breeze,” says Indagare Travel Operations Lead Jenny Schroder, who traversed the islands of Indonesia in October 2022. “Reaching the outermost tip of the archipelago, all you’re left with is the expanse of the horizon, the flourishing ocean below and an immense sense of peace and tranquility. The boats do technically have WiFi, but connection is spotty at best, forcing you to really disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself and with nature. While I knew to expect spectacular diving and unique landscapes (and the destination certainly doesn’t fall short here), my trip to Komodo was so much more than that. There are few places left on this earth that feel as removed and untouched, and there is something truly magical about getting to experience a place like this firsthand.” Travelers seeking additional stops to their unspoiled Indonesia itinerary should consider the vibrant underwater world and jungles on the archipelago of Raja Ampat or the rugged natural beauty of Sumba, home to rescued wild horses and the sustainability-focused Nihi Sumba.

Related: How Remote Island Retreat NIHI Sumba is Setting the Standard For Sustainability



The beginnings of Bhutan’s history are shrouded in myths of flying tigers and battles with demonic spirits—a fitting start for a country that for so long has been cloaked from the outside world. Today, Bhutan has some of the strictest tourism regulations, enforcing a daily tourism fee in an effort to protect its culture and sites from the gradual destruction seen in places like Peru’s Machu Picchu and Italy’s Roman Forum. And this makes the experience feel all the more untouched and special for those who commit to the fees and arduous hikes of this epic country. “From the moment I stepped off the plane, my senses were immediately tested by the magnitude of the Himalayas that surrounded me,” says Indagare Trip Designer Caroline Hansen. “The aroma of the impossibly crisp air; the sounds of an unfamiliar language, lovely and gentle…It was a place whose people could not be more humble or welcoming; a place comprised of beautiful scenery, mainly still untouched by tourists; a place that challenged my beliefs and a place that made me believe in magic.”

Read Caroline’s Story: Finding Serenity in Bhutan Related: Explore Our Upcoming Indagare Departure to Bhutan


Chiang Rai, Thailand

Thailand has topped many travelers’ bucket lists for years with its temples and ruins, serene beaches and delectable cuisine. But not all of Thailand is overrun with crowds the way Bangkok and Phuket are. “Chiang Rai, in the far north of Thailand, is the most magical untouched corner,” says Indagare’s Associate Director of Industry Partnerships, Sarah Minges, who has spent an impressive 51 months in the country. “Traveling to this area is a step back in time and is the perfect contrast to any trip with bustling Bangkok. In Chiang Rai, you can visit with rescued elephants, see some of the most unique temples, hike up mountains and through jungles and even receive a treatment in a jungle spa treehouse to reconnect with nature.” And despite the unspoiled nature of the region, travelers here can still relax in luxury at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, an Indagare Index property. According to Sarah (who has ranked this as one of her top five hotels of all time), “If there is one place to splurge on a Thailand itinerary, this is it.”


Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a place that packs a major punch for such a small island,” says Indagare Trip Designer Samuel Doran. “Beautiful Indian Ocean beaches, inland wonders of nature like Sigiriya, the highlands tea country, historic relics and abundant wildlife can all be found within a few hours drive of each other. It is the perfect introduction to the Indian subcontinent for those not sure if they want to take the full plunge into an India trip.” Sri Lanka is a destination in and of itself that requires around ten days to do properly. Indagare’s Lauren Walston’s favorite memory from her trip “was hiking up the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya to find a solo Buddhist monk praying amidst abandoned palatial remains, surrounded by incredible views of the Sri Lankan countryside.”

The Final Frontier: Antarctica

It doesn’t get more untouched than the great white continent at the bottom of the world. Most travelers to the icy frontier will explore via a boat-based itinerary with zodiac safaris, sea-kayaking and ample opportunities to view the landscapes and wildlife. But boat or land-based, Antarctica is not just about the activities. “Antarctica demands everything you have physically, mentally and spiritually,” says Indagare COO Eliza Scott Harris, who embarked on the only available land-based Antarctic experience with White Desert in late 2022. “In return, you have access to a holy place that few have gone or will ever go, a beauty and grandeur that are unsurpassed, a deeper understanding of yourself and your place in the world…It’s also incredibly fun, and we laughed pretty much all day. The myriad activities reconnect you with your inner child. I thought the trip would be about the landscape, but it was just as much about the bonding and camaraderie with my fellow travelers and the extraordinary staff. There are certain precious days in your life where you are confronted with the full mystery and majesty of the world, leaving you overcome and emotionally fulfilled. White Desert gave us those moments every day. We felt everything so intensely: intimidation and relief, joy and awe, our own fragility and above all, a profound sense of just being so awake and so alive. What a gift.”

Read Eliza’s Story: Just Back from Antarctica with White Desert

Published onMarch 9, 2023

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