If you’re looking to go somewhere new in 2012 and want to get a little off-the-beaten-path, check out these up-and-coming vacation destinations. These emerging vacation spots offer many of the same conveniences of the larger, well known destinations while maintaining their own distinct untouched charm.
Roatan, Honduras: Divers from around the world flock to Roatan to experience some of the best coral reef in the world but with a little exploration you’ll find much of the island mostly untouched by tourism. The Island’s hot spots are located in West End and West Bay. West End is home to a fun beach-side strip of bars, restaurants and dive shops while West Bay holds the more upscale resorts and the island’s best beach. The road heading east takes you up onto a ridge of mountains separating the north and south coasts. Passing beautiful ocean views and small villages, the paved road eventually turns to dirt and leads to incredible secluded beaches.
Guilin, China: In the world’s most populous country, Guilin is a welcome change of scenery. Known for it’s hiking, biking, river boat tours and all-around unique scenery it’s a must-see in southern China. Guilin has a main railway station and airport but once you arrive consider traveling the extra hour or so to Yangshuo, a village that was established in 590 AD but dates back to ancient times. Yangshuo is off the beaten track but don’t expect to be alone, as it’s a traveler’s paradise. It’s main street is busy day and night with deal-seeking shoppers but Yangshuo’s real gem is it’s river scenery and bike paths. Explore the countryside on a rented mountain bike or take a relaxing river tour and admire the incredible mountain formations around you.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina: Argentina has long been a popular vacation destination and thanks to a favorable exchange rate between the US dollar and Argentine peso, 2012 is a great year to explore some of the country’s scenic treasures. Fly into the capital city of Buenos Aires, affectionately known as the Paris of South America. Take some time to watch impromptu tango in La Boca and enjoy delicious Argentinean steak and wine. Then, leave the bustling city behind and head north to Iguazu Falls- the 2nd largest waterfall in the world. Iguazu Falls is nothing short of spectacular. The park offers miles of trails each with unique and equally beautiful panoramic views. For a closer look, take the Iguazu speed boat tour that literally brings you under the falls! Iguaza Falls is a 90 minute flight or a long but surprisingly comfortably bus ride from Buenos Aires.
There is no shortage of great up-and-coming destinations to explore in 2012. What’s on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments.