It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost over, but here we are, ready to say goodbye to another year and to start planning our adventures for 2016. So, what’s hot for 2016? Which adventures should be on our bucket lists? I have a few suggestions for your New Year’s adventures, in no particular order.
2016 will be an interesting and exciting year for Myanmar; after the election of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s future is looking brighter than ever. This country, still relatively new to tourism, is the perfect mix of off-the-beaten path adventures, and crowded backpacker haunts. Make backpacking friends in Bagan, revel in the peace and beauty of solo exploration in northern Myanmar, meet friendly locals, and devour as much tea leaf salad as you can!
Responsible tourism is an ongoing trend, and more backpackers are realizing that they have the power to discourage damaging tourism practices like riding elephants. When travelling to countries in Southeast Asia, opt to visit an elephant sanctuary that discourages the riding of elephants. A good choice is Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand.
With the 2016 summer olympics taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil should definitely be on everyone’s new year’s bucket list — even if you have no desire to actually see the olympics. Rio will be crowded and crazy during the olympics, so if you’re not into crowds and wild parties, consider visiting just before, or shortly afterward. Either way, this is sure to be an interesting year in Rio de Janeiro.
Forget Iceland, Scotland’s Isle of Skye is where #natureporn is at it’s finest. The best time to visit is in the spring, May in particular, when the foliage is green, the weather is good, the flowers are blooming and the fairy pools are calm and crystal clear. Of course, autumn and winter are also beautiful times of year in this magical paradise.
Now open to US travellers, 2016 is the perfect year to visit Cuba before commercialism rolls in and starts to change things. As tourism increases, classic Cuba will disappear, now is the time to explore the streets of Havana, admiring the classic cars and the architecture, learning about the culture, and possibly stuffing your bags full of hand-rolled cigars.
It’s been several months since an earthquake destroyed villages in Nepal, and while the country is still rebuilding, it’s important for tourism to return. Consider joining a rebuilding project — Global Volunteer Network is a very reputable organization and offers a 2-week or 4-week placement programs — and gain a greater understanding of the Nepalese people and culture. If voluntourism is not your cup of tea, consider booking treks with local companies and suppliers where your money will directly help the local economy, rather than giving your funds away to big businesses with minimal local impact.
Hiking the Camino de Santiago is not an easy task, but it’s one of the more rewarding ones. In 2014 over 230,000 people made the pilgrimage to Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. There are several routes to the cathedral, many start in Jaca or Pamplona. Some start in France, others in Portugal. Whichever route you choose, be prepared for hard days, blisters, wine, and interesting stories.
The oldest city in Canada, travelling to Québec City can feel as though you’re travelling to Europe. In the old city the buildings have a mixture of British and French influences. Unlike the rest of Canada, Québec City goes by the 24-hour clock, and uses comas instead of periods when displaying prices. Croissants and chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) are bountiful. Speaking French is not a prerequisite for visiting, as many locals who work in the old city, and some of the surrounding neighbourhoods, speak English. That being said, making an effort in terms of speaking French will always have a positive impact.
A no-go country for many years, tourism in Iran is slowly opening up, and you’ll be delighted to know that it is not as horrible as the media would have us believe! Couchsurfing is a big deal in Iran, and a great way to meet locals and learn about their culture. Venture into the outer reaches of the country, visit the old silk road cities, make time to talk to the locals. Iranians are quite friendly and hospitable.
Oaxaca is quickly becoming a new backpacker and digital nomad hotspot, with several travel bloggers relocating to the city in early 2016. Known as one of Mexico’s top culinary cities, Oaxaca is also rich with culture and history. It’s location guarantees warm days, but also cooler nights, something that is a welcome gift for those who don’t wish to sweat day and night. When visiting Oaxaca be sure to visit the ruins of Monte Albán, and the villages near the city (each one has a different specialty or craft; like black pottery, weaving, and more).
Which destinations are on your bucket list for 2016? Tweet us @bootsnall