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Places to be and see in 2018 from our friends at G Adventures.

Consider this your introduction to your upcoming year of travel. This list leads the way to the most exciting, fascinating, and intriguing destinations you might not have thought to visit before. Get ready – it’s a whole new world out there.

EGYPT
History, still in the making.
Egypt might be an age-old place, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of things to discover. Though ancient tombs and pyramids are the main draw here, there’s so much more to this North African country. Don’t forget to stop by Egypt’s plethora of beaches, or try some delicious local cuisine. And, if you really want it to feel like ancient times, there’s always sailing on a felucca (a traditional Egyptian sailboat) down the Nile River.

WHY NOW? The Grand Egyptian Museum, described as the largest archaeological museum in the world, will be partially opening in May 2018.

MUST-SEES AND DOS
• The Grand Egyptian Museum
• Pyramids of Giza
• The Valley of the Kings
• Safari in the Sahara
• Sail a felucca down the Nile
FACT SHEET
• Population: 97 million
• Capital: Cairo
• National dish: Koshary, a mix of Egyptian rice, lentils, and macaroni with spicy tomato chile sauce.
Best time to visit: October to April, for pleasant temperatures.

SRI LANKA
Big skies, big forests, and even bigger beaches.
When you think of Sri Lanka, what first comes to mind? It could be the lush forests, the widely-grown Ceylon tea – or how about the abundance of colourful wildlife? Don’t forget to watch for marine life like whales and dolphins while sailing the southern shoreline, or glimpse the kaleidoscope of birds in Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary.

WHY NOW? Sri Lanka’s growing more popular for travellers. And with a new G Adventures sailing trip here, the country’s south coast has never looked better.

MUST-SEES AND DOS
• Sail the southern coast
• The historic port city of Galle
• Snorkel at isolated beaches
• Spot whales and dolphins
• Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress
FACT SHEET
• Population: 21.2 million
• Capital: Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
• National dish: Rice and curry
Best time to visit: December to March for the west and south coasts. April/May to September for the east coast.

COLOMBIA
All the colours. All the possibilities.
This South American nation is in the midst of an exciting time. Art and culture are coming to the forefront, and the country’s natural beauty is ripe for discovery. It’s a place where past meets present in bold city streets, lush Amazonian landscapes, and bright coastlines that look like the dreamiest of beach vacations. Don’t underestimate Colombia – you’ll only regret it.
WHY NOW? There’s a new access point to Gotsezhi, a Wiwa community and G Adventures for Good project where you can learn about the area’s Indigenous history and culture. Find it on the Lost City trek in the Sierra Nevada.

MUST-SEES AND DOS
• Street art in Medellín
• Cartagena’s historic old town
• Make coffee in Salento
• Remote beaches in Tayrona National Park
• Trek to the Lost City
FACT SHEET
• Population: 48.65 million
• Capital: Bogotá
• National dish: Bandeja paisa. It’s made with rice, plantain, arepa (corn cakes), avocado, and various meats.
Best time to visit: All year-round, though tourist season peaks from December to February and the week before Easter.

OMAN
The hidden gem of the Middle East
Towering desert sand dunes, glittering beaches, impossibly intricate architecture – everything about Oman has more than a dash of drama. This ancient land remains one of the lesser-known parts of the Middle East, but that’s all about to change. Composed of both archaeological fascinations and opulent luxuries, Oman is sure to be top of mind for any traveller looking for an adventure that borders on the ethereal.

WHY NOW? Oman’s uniquely warm culture is just one of many reasons it’s becoming a hot destination. Hurry, before the rest of the world catches up.

MUST-SEES AND DOS

• The capital city of Muscat
• The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
• Swim in a wadi
• Climb dunes in the Wahiba Sands desert
• See green turtles nesting in Ras al Jinz
FACT SHEET
• Population: 4.43 million
• Capital: Muscat
• National dish: Shuwa, slow-roasted meat cooked and served for the Muslim holiday of Eid.
Best time to visit: The temperate winter season, which covers October/November to February/March.

KYRGYZSTAN
Where the grass kisses the sky
Thousands of years ago, Kyrgyzstan regularly welcomed traders along the ancient Silk Road. A lot of time has passed, but the people here aren’t any less hospitable to travellers. Known for hunting with eagles, horseback riding, and an iconic nomadic culture, relatively few tourists visit this landlocked country of rolling grass plains and boundless sky. That’s about to change though. The locals have worked hard to improve infrastructure, making Kyrgyzstan an easy pick for those eager to try something a little non-traditional.

WHY NOW? In 2018, Kyrgyzstan will be hosting the World Nomad Games, so they’re ready to roll out the red carpet for visitors from around the world.

MUST-SEES AND DOS
• Song Kul Lake
• Overnight in a traditional yurt
• The valley of Chong-Kemin
• Burana Tower
• The Soviet-influenced town of Karakol
FACT SHEET
• Population: 6.08 million
• Capital: Bishkek
• National dish: Beshbarmak, made of stewed horse meat that’s served over homemade noodles.
Best time to visit: July to August. It will be hot, but it’s the ideal season to explore the mountains.

PORTUGAL
Steeped in tradition. Fuelled by passion.
In the land of port wine, sun-drenched beaches, and Cristiano Ronaldo, would you expect anything less than a country filled with passionate people? In Portugal, they’ve always taken their traditions seriously, especially when it comes to food like pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) and Fado, a genre of folk music popular in the city of Lisbon. What results is a culture that’s vibrant and memorable – perfect for a sunny European vacation.

WHY NOW? Slightly off the beaten path of more well-travelled destinations, Portugal is great for all that European flavour, minus the crowds and sky-high costs.

MUST-SEES AND DOS
• Explore the seven hills of Lisbon
• Try Porto’s famed wine
• Listen to Fado music
• The picturesque town of Sintra
• Try dried and salted cod, a local staple
FACT SHEET
• Population: 10.32 million
• Capital: Lisbon
• National dish: Bacalhau, dried and salted cod which is used in large variety of dishes.
Best time to visit: Spring, from February, or early autumn beginning in October.

MOROCCO
In living colour
Everything feels a little bit brighter in Morocco, and it’s not just the sunshine. From bustling souks to winding paths in the old medina, this country is alive with history and culture that combines multiple influences (like Islam, the Berbers, and the French, to name a few). Situated between the desert and the sea, a visit can have you surfing both dunes and waves. And that’s the sure thing about Morocco – it’s unlike anywhere you’ve ever been.

WHY NOW? This North African country is only growing in popularity, and in no small part because of its uniquely diverse culture and warmly welcoming people.

MUST-SEES AND DOS
• Wander the streets of ancient medinas
• The blue city of Chefchaouen
• Camel trekking in the Sahara
• Stand in the shadows of Todra Gorge
• Take in the dramatic view at Ait Ben Haddou
FACT SHEET
• Population: 35.28 million
• Capital: Rabat
• National dish: Couscous
Best time to visit: Spring, which begins around April and May.

THE BALTICS
Estonia, Latvia, & Lithuania
Europe under the radar
The Baltics have long been on many must-see destinations lists, and there’s no surprise why. Rife with a history and heritage that stretches back to the Middle Ages, this region has a story for every cobblestone you step on. And despite a plethora of medieval castles, tall pine forests, and centuries-old architecture, this hidden gem of Europe attracts less tourists than others (for now) which keeps prices low and lines short. Get there before things change.

WHY NOW? This year, the Baltics are celebrating their 100th year of independence. In an area that has a long history of occupation, this emotional anniversary will colour the entire year.

MUST-SEES AND DOS
• Live like a local on a farm in Estonia
• Bike the coastal dunes of Lithuania’s Curonian Spit
• Tallinn’s medieval old town
• Gauja National Park
• Vibrantly artsy Riga
FACT SHEET
• Population: 6.11 million
• Capital: Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania)
• National dish: Piragi, a Latvian pastry filled with onions, bacon, and meats. In Estonia, it’s valmistusained (sauerkraut). Lithuanians enjoy cepelinai, potato dumplings filled with meat, cheese curds, or mushrooms.
Best time to visit: Late spring or summer, when there are good temperatures for being outdoors.

HAWAII
You’ll want to stay on this side of paradise.
In Hawaii, get closer to Polynesian culture, ogle soaring mountaintops coated in lush terrain, and walk on an active volcano – without ever stepping onto a resort. Hawaii isn’t just catching waves and learning to hula (though there’s definitely plenty of that). It’s a place that’s home to vibrant people, wildlife, and natural wonders; a place that stands as a spiritual mecca for the adventurous and laidback alike.

WHY NOW? With new G Adventures tours that travel to Hawaii, connect to the islands – without the hassle of planning it yourself.

MUST-SEES AND DOS
• Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
• Waikiki Beach
• Na Pali Coast State Park
• Learn to hula at a luau
• Taste fresh pineapple at the Dole Plantation
FACT SHEET
• Population: 1.43 million
• Capital: Honolulu
• National dish: Lomi-lomi salmon, a cold salad made with raw salted fish, onions, and tomatoes.
Best time to visit: Spring, the beginning of the “dry” season.


BOLIVIA
A land of contrasts
Landlocked in the High Andes, way above sea level, Bolivia is a place of extremes. Stark salt flats stretch as far as the eye can see, rugged spires and stalagmites huddle in the Valle de la Luna, and deep blue waters sweep the coastline of Lake Titicaca. To say that Bolivian landscapes are surreal would be an understatement. Take your time taking in the views. You’ll need it.

WHY NOW? Get an even closer look at life in the Uyuni Salt Flats with a visit to the Jukil Community Lodge, a G Adventures for Good project.

MUST-SEES AND DOS
• Uyuni Salt Flats
• Lake Titicaca
• Valle de la Luna
• Take La Paz’s subway in the sky
• Explore the colonial city of Potosí
FACT SHEET
• Population: 10.89 million
• Capital: Sucre
• National dish: Picante de Pollo, a spicy fried chicken dish served with potatoes, rice, and salad.
Best time to visit: Between May to October. This is the tourist high season, but features the best weather
HONORABLE MENTION

RUSSIA
It’s impossible to describe this country in less than the length of a Russian literature novel. Covered in epic landscapes that are best seen by train, and dotted with iconic architecture like fairy tale palaces and concrete Soviet construction, Russia’s depth is perfectly matched by its vastness. Discover a land that holds thousands of years of history, both dazzling and dizzying.

WHY NOW? This summer, Russia will play host to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a battleground for football/soccer teams from all around the world. Start getting acquainted with the country early on G Adventures’ new Russia tour.

UGANDA
Landlocked in East Africa, Uganda is famed for the world-renowned mountain gorilla sanctuary, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Here, visitors can see gorilla on foot, letting them observe the size and power of these animals for themselves. Uganda isn’t just about gorillas though. Trek to observe chimpanzees, or catch a glimpse of other primates, hippos, and elephants when visiting Queen Elizabeth II National Park.
Read more about Uganda on our blog.
WHY NOW? Historically, neighboring Rwanda has been the place to see gorillas in the wild but, as they have doubled their pricing for permits, the spotlight now shifts to Uganda.

 

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