10 most overlooked countries people need to travel to

Female tourist walking through a busy city street

It’s time to rethink your travel plans. We know Covid-19 has made a huge dent into your dream holiday. So, we thought we’d share some of our favourite destinations from around the world just to keep you dreaming along. Have you thought about the places you’d like to go to when everything starts working again? Be it long days on a tropical beach or a bustling city or something to tick of your bucket list. And then there are those singular experiences where you put away the camera and fully immerse yourself at the moment. We’ve looked far and wide, dug deep into our treasure cove of adventures and came back with experiences without the scourge of over-tourism but with an abundance of journeys, safaris, beaches, culinary adventures, indigenous music and more.

 

View of Panama City with traffic

Panama

Get your innermost desires for adventure revved up with these remote islands and untouched forests. Often referred to as the hub of Central America, Panama is also overlooked as a vacation destination. Instead, it’s the Panama Canal that takes centre stage in a country where two oceans collide with two continents, scenes to breath-taking beaches, rich culture heritage, tropical wonderland packed with mountainous cliffs. Many tourists make the mistake of passing off Panama for Costa Rica, its highly rated neighbour to the north. In many ways, Panama is one up on Costa Rica in many categories. There are more mountains and island retreats like the San Blas Archipelago which houses a labyrinth of over 400 islands, almost all of which are unnamed, uninhabited and are surrounded with coastline made up of entirely coral.

 

Panama maintains a higher level of internet connectivity with its business-friendly city, Panama City. When you venture outside the city, musicians and dancers take part in regional festivals throughout the year. Here you will discover that the culture is reflected in traditional products, architecture, cuisine and festivals. If you decide to venture into Panama City during the festive season, you’ll be greeted with the Christmas parade known as El Desfile de Navidad celebrated with floats, a full marching band and women dressed in dresses called pollera and men wear the traditional montuno. You can’t leave Panama out of your dream trip as it will certainly surprise you with its treasures.

 

Beautiful architecture of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Taiwan

Taiwan gives you a surprise quick-fire introduction into eastern cuisine, culture and nature. If you’re travelling to East Asia, then Taiwan should be high up on your list of places to visit. It’s one of the great culinary delights of the world with over 300 buzzing night markets to feast from. The Shilin night market is the largest of its kind and you’ll find it the capital city Taipei, where Taiwanese cooking takes a whole new turn in flavours and experiences for street food. Enjoy the taste of fried milk balls, pork paper, charcoal meatballs or even something out-of-the-box? Try The Modern Toilet restaurant where food is served up in mini toilet bowls.

 

Taiwan is served up to guests with just the right mix of attractions to its size, small enough tour comfortably but just large enough for nature to expand into. Its infrastructure is modern and the high-speed network of trains will get you around effortlessly to explore the near 700 000 exhibits from China’s imperial collection at the National Palace Museum. Whilst you at it visit the ultra-modern National Kaohsiung Centre for Arts, the world’s largest performing arts centre. If you want to relax and destress, there are never-ending geothermal hot springs to take away aches and pains or find peace and harmony amongst the nine national parks.

 

Fisherman on boat of the island Caper Verde

Cape Verde

The beautiful warm beaches provide a great backdrop to music and multiculturism. The Cape Verde islands seem like they are adrift at sea some 350 miles off the coast of Senegal. If it’s an idyllic tropical paradise you’re after, then Cape Verde ticks all the boxes with its sweeping mountain vistas, sparkling beaches, colonial towns, shipwrecks and whales in its crystal-clear waters. For any traveller, it’s the multiculturalism that gets the top spot of interests. It’s hard to believe that these lands were once arid and uninhabited when the Portuguese landed there in the 15th century.

 

Cape Verde certainly had its struggles to maintain and grow to forge a truly modern society and culture across its 10 beautiful islands, each as unique as can be with their own character. Nowadays, it’s where you’ll find the rich and warm goulash of Senegal, the colonial past of the Portuguese, the festive spirit of Brazil, the egalitarian ideology of Ghana and wine mastery of French. And this is all set to Morna, a soundtrack of the national music style that combines joy, sorrow, struggle and celebration.  This music suffuses the complex beauty of the islands singing to the struggles of its past and the light of its future.

 

Yurts with mountain backdrop

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is probably the most beautiful mountainous country you’ve never heard of. And once you’re there, you’re probably on top of a mountain. About 80% of the country is covered by a range called the Tian Shan or ‘Heaven Lake’ in Mandarin Chinese and most of it is at least 1000 metres above sea level. The Tian Shan and its geological features vary from peak to peak but somehow all of this a held together by its exquisite beauty. You can choose to roam the countryside by foot or by horse and embrace then nomadic lifestyle by living in a yurt and feasting and warm stews. You discover how mystical and wonderous this country truly is.

 

This central Asian country from its capital Bishkek to the never-ending landscapes rewards exploration and effort. Kyrgyzstan is home to the World Nomad Games which is an international competition the mimics the Olympics with sports like Horse racing, belt wrestling and Kok-Boru – in which horse riders fight for a goat carcass. It’s unlike any sporting event you’ve ever seen. Lake Issyk-Kul is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kyrgyzstan with numerous hotels, resorts located along its northern shore.

 

Woman at festive parade

Ecuador

This magnificent landscape is known for its diversity despite being a small country. Ecuador’s neighbours, Peru and Colombia took advantage early on to promote themselves in a tourism race for over two decades with the former renowned for its award-winning restaurants and Columbia for its white sandy beaches. Ecuador found itself in a rather unique situation of being sandwiched between the two countries whilst boasting its own style of ceviche and gorgeous inviting coastlines which are super easy to manoeuvre. The local currency is the dollar and the language is Andean Spanish, to be spoken nice and slow for clarity.

 

The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve will take your breath away with its natural beauty of the floating forests together with its towering peak of Cotopaxi or taunt your tastebuds at the sprawling indigenous market of Otavalo and the quaint architecture of Quito. Ecuador can be best described as a compact country with diverse landscapes and ideal for people who have a fear of missing out. You won’t be missing out with activities like swimming in the Amazon basin watching blue-footed boobies and enjoy the delights of munching on beef empanadas in their dozens. Indulge your senses with a deep dive into one of the smaller cities like Cuenca or even a little village town of Loja where you can breathe in the splendour of an Ecuadorian plaza or visit historic buildings from pre-colonial times or even enjoy a hike in the surrounding countryside.

 

Montenegro

This place can be best described as a stunning mini version of Italy with some of Europe’s most stunning beaches. Its neighbour, Croatia gets a lot of the attention and tourists, but Montenegro is as beautiful as a blue diamond and is every bit as gorgeous but without the crowds. Just of the Adriatic Sea, this tiny country feels huge but is slightly smaller than Connecticut, meaning you can get a lot more done in a shorter period of time. The lush coastline harbour some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches in Europe where parts of it rival the party scenes of swanky Ibiza or Cancun.

 

Caper between the ancient Venetian like towns of Budva, Kotor and Perast sporting its armour and fortifications, alluring red roof tiles and sumptuous seaside restaurants. There’s more to Montenegro than its sun-filled sandy white beaches, try and head out to the country’s less travelled inland regions with its pristine mountain ranges, crystal clear lakes and old wild forests. The great Tara river canyon feels like it’s been purpose-built for white water river rafting down its iconic river or you could choose to hike through the Biogradska Gora National Park – a haven for skiing during the wintertime.

 

City of Sighisoara

Romania

Now, most people think of Dracula when it comes to Romania or its wacky underground theme park for those who are in the know. Let’s be clear, there much more to Romania than Count Dracula and its mystical misty Transylvania. Take a tour through its medieval towns, World Heritage sites and mysterious architectural wonders, Romania is a treasure trove for any wannabe archaeologist. But not surprisingly most tourists target in on the myth of Dracula and vampires instead of its rich cultural history, leaving Romania somewhat of the map of places to visit when compared to other Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic or Hungary.

 

Romania is a relatively inexpensive place to visit with endless adventures to explore, like a visit to Salina Turda, an underground theme park situated in the world’s oldest salt mines with the added wellness benefit. There’s space for sports underground too, like Badminton, soccer and mini-golf, a museum and a 180 seater amphitheatre alongside dry and wet saunas, sunbathing and joy rides. Sighisoara Citadel is a well-preserved UNESCO medieval town and you simply can’t afford to miss. This town is inhabited to this day and boasts original medieval architecture, cobble lined streets and ancient landmarks that will make you feel like you’ve travelled through time

 

Lebanon village and mountain

Lebanon

You’ll be surprised at what you can do, ski, jet ski or just party. Once you visit Lebanon, you’ll discover a vast amount of pleasures to explore that you could pack into your itinerary that seems almost unreal and you’ll also discover just how diverse the country is. Just visiting Beirut on your own could keep you busy for days on end. If it’s your first time in Beirut, then a must-see is the Beirut National Museum with its collection of relics pre-dating recorded history up until the Arab conquest. You don’t have to go so far back in history when you visit Biet Beirut, a bullet-marked museum which shares its past memories of the civil war the derailed the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ from its decadent reputation.

 

Beirut takes art overs on an epic journey of enchantment with its growing roster of galleries of which the opulent Sursock Museum should be the one you visit. But move further out the Beirut bubble, the rewards are even greater. Get it right and you could be skiing in the mountains in the morning and skiing in the Mediterranean by the afternoon. Take a tour to one of the sustainable wineries like award-winning IXSIR in the hills of Batroun or explore the Grand Sofar Hotel which is an abandoned retreat for the rich and famous. The hotel now stands as a grand monument after it was restored as an art exhibit. Feel like partying the night away? You’d have to leave the city for that and head of into the mountains. 6000 feet up, the Frozen Cherry will keep you going from dusk till dawn.

 

Buddhists with orange clothing in Nepal 

Nepal

Go to the world’s rooftop and let that journey enlighten you on the way there. Nepal is wedged between India and China making the beautiful little Himalayan dominion more than just a quick stopover but land you’d want to pay a little bit more respect to. International currencies like the dollar go far and relationship with tourists are lukewarm to friendly while nearly half of the locals speak English which eases you into the culture as you drop into the cultural cauldron of Kathmandu. The country inherits a strong spiritual vibe from India and although most people are Hindus, Buddhist culture permeates throughout the countryside giving travellers a chance to meditate on its strong spiritual vibe.

 

Bhaktapur is an ancient city not far from the bustling capital where a stunning range of religious sites can be toured in a day trip for quiet reflection. Later, you can explore the rural dwellings of the Annapurna mountain range, drink tea with Yak butter, trek around the city of Pokhara or give it a serious go to get to the base camp of Mount Everest. The Chitwan National Park offers tourists an alternate to trekking to Mount Everest to view the one-horned rhinos, monkeys, leopards and tigers – all the while riding on top of an elephant.

 

Worlds deepest sinkhole in Belize

Belize

If you’ve never heard of it, you will now as it has the best scuba sites in the world amongst a jungle paradise located in Central America. Wake up to the chirps of exotic birds in your bungalow as you wake up to endless possibilities and adventures. Swim in hidden waterfalls or test your skills in the Great Blue Hole, an underwater sinkhole visible from space or explore decaying Mayan ruins and get blessed by a shaman. You will find yourself hiking amongst jaguars and monkeys.

 

And the best part is that all your guides and operators speak English. Silk Caves offers a great spot for snorkelling which is a tiny island 22 miles offshore with only palm trees and grill. There’s a wide variety of coral and tropical fish around the Belize Barrier, the largest reef system in the Northern Hemisphere where you bound to find nurse sharks loggerhead turtles.

 

So, now that you have discovered more places to travel to you can now reserve your seat and book your tours to some amazing spots around the world.  www.lowpriceflights.co.za

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