My top travel destinations for 2017
Is it just me or is travel becoming more and more like fashion with destinations going in and out of style every year?
If Iceland was 2016’s choker and Tulum was 2015’s crop top, I have no doubt that Cuba is going to be this year’s joggers.
Since I know none of you want to be behind on the top travel trends, here’s my round up of the hot list for 2017.
The Philippines is long overdue for its moment in the sun. While Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam have reigned supreme in terms of Southeast Asia destinations the past few years, I’m here to say that the Philippines will be Southeast Asia’s 2017 hotspot. The Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands, all edged in pristine white sand, monumented by stunning limestone cliffs and surrounded by crystal clear turquoise waters featuring the world’s most diverse marine life. Not to mention many of these islands remain largely unexplored, with only 1,000 being inhabited at all. One of the most popular is the Philippines’ Palawan island, which was ranked #2 on Conde Nast Traveler’s Most Beautiful Islands in the World, and is home to idyllic resorts, world-class diving and breathtaking views. The Philippines redefines remote… everything your deserted island dreams are made of.
2. Sayulita, Mexico
Sayulita, a beautiful small fishing village on the Pacific coast of Mexico, is Mexico at its best. It’s the Mexico of 20 years ago, without the big resorts and tourist traps, and with a hipster/surfer scene all its own. But, given it’s gringo appeal and prime location on the Riviera Nayarit (a 200 mile stretch of beach along Mexico’s West Coast), Sayulita won’t likely stay the hidden gem it is for long. Just 20 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, the sleepy town has three main streets within a five-minute walk to the beach, all lined with colorful shops, restaurants and cafes that make it a perfect weekend getaway for long days spent sipping margaritas and playing in the waves. The boho-chic vibes are half Mexico, half Malibu, and you wouldn’t want it any other way.
Hurry! Get to Cuba before it’s ruined! seems to be the general consensus among travelers this year. As the largest, and arguably most exciting, island in the Caribbean, Cuba has amazingly remained the least commercialized in the last century. And, with the US travel ban lifted last year, everyone is rushing to get to it before the big-time tourism developers do, and while the country exists in its old-fashioned charm. With white sand beaches, tiny, tucked-away towns, colorful architecture, 9 (yes, 9!) UNESCO world heritage sites, and of course, the best cigars in the world, Cuba is like stepping back in time to the 1950’s. Cuba’s one-of-a-kind magnetism is a product of its mix of Spanish and African roots, creating an exhilarating culture of expression and creativity.
Singapore, with its cosmopolitan feel and tropical appeal, is going to be the spot to visit this year. From the stunning 55-story rooftop pool deck of Marina Bay Sands, to shopping up a storm on Haji Lane, to ogling the supertrees in Gardens by the Bay, to the buzzing beach clubs in Sentosa, it’s almost impossible to imagine Singapore was just a simple fishing port just over a century ago. Today, it is one of the world’s most affluent cities, a beautiful blend of cultures, foods, architecture and natural beauty.
Portugal, which used to be considered Spain’s younger and poorer brother, is becoming a top destination in its own right. With the beauty of the city of Lisbon, the show-stoppingly gorgeous sunny coast, the medieval castles, and the fresh-caught seafood, Portugal should be at the top of your 2017 travel list. Not to mention it’s a fantastic year to visit Europe, with the American dollar stronger than ever, and the European Euro going through a rough patch. While a strong dollar may not mean a cheaper plane ticket, it converts to more money to spend on everything from activities, hotels, restaurants and shopping while overseas… I’ll cheers some port to that.
Canada is having a major moment. The second largest country in the world, Canada is known for its friendly people and its beautiful, diverse landscape, ranging from the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies to the stunning lakes of Banff National Park, to the urban buzz of Toronto and Vancouver. Canada has a little bit of everything sprawling across it’s gorgeous terrain. After all, how many countries can you swim with beluga whales, go heli-skiing and walk under the stars through a canyon full of frozen waterfalls?
Last year may have been Cartagena’s rookie year, but I have no doubt 2017 will be the year all of Colombia knocks it out of the park. While older generations still tend to have an unsafe connotation with this country, due to its rocky past (what’s up, Narcos fans), this leaves nothing but opportunity for the beautiful and lively country’s tourism future. I have no doubts that 2017 will be the year savvy vacationers sweep aside stereotypes and begin to explore all this country has to offer. Which, frankly, is everything. From Colombia’s lush Amazonian jungle, to its beautiful tropical islands dotting its coastline, to its bustling cities with colonial cobblestone streets and rich Latin American culture, to stunning snow-capped Andes mountains, this destination has it all.