5 amazing holiday destinations to visit before they're famous

The road less travelled is getting awfully crowded these days. With once-remote countries such as Myanmar and Mongolia now on heavy rotation in our Instagram feeds, finding an under-the-radar holiday destination has become something of a challenge. If you are longing for a location that the rest of the world hasn’t discovered, try one of these far-flung destinations on for size. 

Go green in Nicaragua
In the 25 years since its civil war ended, the world has largely ignored Nicaragua. However, adventurous travellers are starting to discover this Central American country, with its pristine jungles and massive lakes, active volcanoes and pretty colonial towns such as Granada and Leon. Allow plenty of time for kick back time by the seaside: there are lovely beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. 

Be amazed by Ethiopia’s monuments 
There’s no other way to put it: Ethiopia is a land of marvels. Where else can you see one of the tallest obelisks on earth and an ancient temple older than the Parthenon; wander through the ancient palaces of an abandoned royal capital; or take a boat between serene island churches, where colourful frescoes vividly depict both the tortures of hell and beatific flocks of Ethiopian angels (each topped with a mini-Afro)? It’s hard to pick just one highlight from Ethiopia’s storied past, but the astonishing stone churches at Lalibela are mind-blowing. 

Travel back in time in Oman 
Oman is old-school Arabia. In contrast to the skyscraper silhouettes of its glitzy neighbour, Dubai, Oman is low-rise towns, desert oases and spectacular mountain ranges. Start your trip in Muscat, where you can snorkel on the reef before getting lost in the spectacular, perfume-scented Mutrah souk. Visit the ancient town of Nizwa, where Bedouin still bring their goats to market, and the nearby Jabrin castle, dating back to the 17th century. Add in a stroll through desert sands and a stay at the lush oasis of Salalah, and you will begin to get a feel for Oman’s surprising diversity. 

Go tribal in Sulawesi
A country made up of thousands of islands, Indonesia is home to hundreds of diverse cultures. Few, however, are as fascinating as the people of Sulawesi’s Toraja Highlands. Set amid lush teak forests, the Toraja villages are remarkable for their distinctive houses, with extravagantly patterned exteriors and swooping roofs, as well as their traditional cliff and cave graves. Best of all, the Toraja are immensely hospitable: if they are holding one of their three-day funerals, you’ll be invited to join in.

Take the plunge in Baja California
Don’t let the name fool you. Baja California is actually part of Mexico: specifically, the narrow peninsula that runs down the country’s west coast. It’s the waters on either side of the thin spit of land that are Baja’s big attraction, teeming with astounding marine life. On the Pacific side you will find dense kelp forests and massive schools of sardines; the real action, however, is in the warmer waters of the Sea of Cortez, which are home to sensational sea life: think turtles, sea lions, hammerhead sharks and even mighty whale sharks.

 

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