For those of you who have a longing in your heart for adventure, we have the perfect locations to satisfy your wanderlust. If you’re still in the planning phase for your upcoming summer holidays, we’re here to help you out. Skip the standard spots that everyone else floods to with our pick of the best exotic summer destinations you should visit instead!
Top 5 exotic destinations you shouldn’t miss this summer:
The lost city of Petra has an aura of mystery about it and is definitely one of the world’s most exotic summer destinations. Located in the desert of Jordan and surrounded by mountains and canyons, this ancient Rose City (named after the colour of the sandstone) was carved directly into a pink cliffs. Just imagine how impressive it would be to cross through the narrow Siq canyon at night, flooded with lit candles. You can meet the Bedouins, who will share wondrous stories about Petra and its histort. If you want to do some discoveries of your own, you can go hiking to Little Petra or up to the stunning, rocky viewpoint of the High Place of Sacrifice.
There are many museums and temples you can visit here but if you’re interested in other nearby places, consider heading to Amman, the capital city of Jordan. This city has various ancient ruins too, like the Roman Theater that was built in the 2nd century CE entirely out of stone. Be aware that the mosquitoes can get really bad here, so be prepared and bring mosquito repellent to protect yourself. You can have brunch at a quaint café, or dinner at a luxurious restaurant when you’re done visiting. This contrast of old and new is a baffling experience since the architecture in the west part of the city is very modern and full of glass-and-steel towers.
The Great Blue Hole, Belize
This world-class diving destination is located 100 kilometres off the coast of Belize in the middle of the Lighthouse Reef. This sinkhole has an impressive diameter of almost 300 metres across and is over 100 metres deep. It’s popular with divers who flock to swim in its clear blue waters and explore its submerged caves.
The Great Blue Hole is a significant geological wonder that takes you back millions of years. You’ll get a glimpse of the quaternary glaciations that formed it and enjoy the look of its eerie stalactites. You’ll explore the reefs, swim with various species of fish and even get a glimpse of some sharks. The limestone walls are impressive and host dark caves full of interesting sea life. These flooded caves are known as cenotes and take you underground to other cave systems.
Apart from scuba diving, Belize offers a host of other interesting sites such as the Ruins of Tikal. This is an ancient Mayan site and an archaeological complex that’s now become a National Park. You can also go ziplining in Belize if you’re seeking a more active adventure, or visit the Art Galleries of San Pedro for a contemporary, cultural experience.
Cappadocia is located in the central part of Turkey in Central Anatolia, a semi-arid area famous for its moonlike landscape. The region’s unique ‘fairy chimneys’ (the effect of millions of years of erosion) are the chief attraction of the area. Another interesting geological site in the region is the Ihlara Canyon. This canyon is approximately 100 metres deep and houses the ruins of numerous churches that were built inside the rocky walls. In fact, the whole area was used for refuge, either by early Christians or by the Bronze Age inhabitants.
Of course if you’ve made it this far, we recommend visiting Mount Nemrut, which hosts the royal tomb of Antiochus I Theos, an alleged descendant of Alexander the Great. Also don’t miss Istanbul, where there are many restaurants for fine wining and dining, as well as good nightlife experiences.
Colca Canyon, Peru
Active adventurers who enjoy trekking will surely fall in love with the landscape of Colca Canyon in Peru. You’ll be taken back to the world before the Incas and get an idea of how those civilizations lived, thanks to the green and fertile river valley which provided plenty of resources. Spend your time visiting traditional villages or go rafting on Colca River. The various archaeological sites such as the Uyu Uyu ruins, will take you all the way back to pre-Inca times. At the end of the day, rest those weary legs and soak away at the nearby La Calera Hot Springs.
Image by Pedro Szekely, Flickr
Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Puerto Escondido in Mexico is another of the world’s exotic summer destinations. This port town is located on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Enjoy its beaches with clear waters, palm trees all around and quaint bars with thatched roofs. This region has a vibrant nightlife scene, with many restaurants and clubs around. But don’t worry, there are lots of daytime activities too. Go surfing (either on La Punta Beach if you’re a beginner, or on Zicatela Beach if you like the challenge of bigger waves) and explore the cliffs near Carrizalillo Beach.
If you’re looking to venture further afield, Mexico City is a good pitstop. You can marvel at various Aztec temples, or step inside majestic cathedrals built by the Spanish conquistadors.
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Where have you decided to travel this summer? Let us know in the comments below!