13 PLACES TO BE IN 2013
If, like so many of us at this time of year, you’re fighting the back to work blues by pondering where to take your itchy feet next, Exodus is here to fire your imagination and satisfy your wanderlust.
In the weeks running up to the New Year, our team of experts put their heads together to come up with a list of 13 Places to be in 2013. After much debate, at times heated, and taking into account a combination of the destination’s off the beaten track credentials, its opportunities for adventure and its unique cultural customs, we finally came up with this globetrotting compilation…
1 - Burma
Now firmly back on the map, adventure travellers who’d longed to explore this enigmatic gem are now finally getting the chance to realise their Burmese dream. With democracy comes change, but for now Burma’s tourism threshold has barely been touched. So for now you can enjoy the tranquil serenity of Inle Lake, the shimmering Shwedagon Pagoda and the Thousand Temples of Bagan without the company of a thousand tourists.
2 – Colombia – Book by 7th February 2013 & save £50 per person
Colombia is one of the least visited Latin American countries, but with increased stability, a burgeoning economy and a new free-trade agreement with the EU, this undiscovered jewel won’t remain quiet for long. Sleep in a hammock on laid-back Caribbean beaches, explore undulating coffee plantations and wander around cities steeped in colonial history. Get there before the crowds do!
3 - Iceland
Any lover of the great outdoors who yearns for the chance to marvel at the raw power of nature needs to be in Iceland this year. Tumbling waterfalls, groaning glaciers and black volcanic beaches, and for the privileged ones, a glimpse of the mesmerising Aurora Borealis. If the dancing lights are on your agenda, there’s no time like the present – this winter is witnessing some of most spectacular sightings in 50 years.
4 – Galapagos Islands
There are more ways to discover these enchanted isles with Exodus than ever before, so animal lovers should make 2013 the year they discover this unique wildlife haven. Our flexible itineraries now include shorter voyages and the extended fleet enables you to follow in Darwin’s footsteps just the way you want to.
5 - Ethiopia
Perhaps not for first time visitors to Africa, but for those who have had a taste of the mighty continent and want to go back for more, this secluded pocket of East Africa offers a very different experience. With few other tourists around, stretch your legs in the Simien Mountains, delve into the unique culture with the Omo Valley tribes and go in search of the country’s population of wolves. And few people know, Ethiopia is a gourmet delight for vegetarians!
6 – Cuba
Although already a long-term favourite with Exodus travellers, Cuba looks set to change in the coming years as relations with its American neighbour relax, notably allowing foreign car imports. So if you want to enjoy this vibrant, hot-headed Caribbean isle in all its faded colonial splendour, make your way sooner rather than later to see the sun glinting off the bonnets of the classic motors before they are replaced with modern imports.
7 – Slovakia
Europe is often overlooked by those in search of remarkable wildlife encounters, but high in the Tatra Mountains, unbeknown to many, Brown bears pad in and around Slovakia’s alpine forest. Bears are not the only faunal stars here: during time on remote mountain trails you may spot chamois, marmots, wolves, lynx, and numerous birds of prey that patrol the skies.
8 - Laos
Tread a path less travelled in South East Asia’s steamy, enigmatic Laos and become immersed in the embroidery of culture and jaw-dropping scenery of lush paddies, limestone karsts and dense bamboo jungles. Awaken your senses with mouth-watering cuisine, learn about the intriguing indigenous hilltribes and discover sleepy colonial cities studded with glittering Buddhist temples.
9 - Algeria
A new addition for our 2013 collection, Algeria is a lesser-visited jewel in the North African crown. Rubbing shoulders with Morocco and Tunisia, Africa’s largest country harbours a rich tapestry of cultural and scenic splendour. This trip is one of archaeological discovery: Algeria abounds with UNESCO cultural wonders and ancient relics that speak of the country’s rich Roman history.
10 - New Zealand
Welcome to the real Middle Earth: the recent big screen release of The Hobbit has reignited interest in the spectacularly dramatic Land of the Long White Cloud. Adventure is never far away, where jade lakes dot the mountains like beads spilled from a necklace and the Milford Sound fjord is a glorious parade of jewel-like colours and unexpected reflections.
11 – Madagascar
Tucked up beside Africa’s south east coast, Madagascar is an ecologically unique island with 80% of its flora and fauna endemic, from the playful Ring-tailed lemur to the tiny Leaf chameleon. In addition to its array of indigenous residents, Madagascar boasts a staggering landscape comprising the limestone pinnacles of Grand Tsingy, the iconic avenue of the Baobab trees, pristine coral beaches, spiny deserts and fauna-rich forests.
12 - The Azores
Rising from the sapphire depths, this remote mid-Atlantic archipelago is an untouched paradise for walkers, a marine marvel for wildlife enthusiasts, and a photographer’s delight. Volcanic peaks meet rolling vineyards, dolphins frolic in the surf and blue hydrangea blooms tremble in the sea breeze. For the lucky ones, the highlight of a trip to the Azores is a sighting of the world’s largest animal, the Blue whale.
13 - South Georgia
If you really want to push the boat out in 2013, we have the perfect opportunity: our first exclusive South Georgia expedition. This King penguin pilgrimage will be led by TV presenter and zoologist Mark Cawardine and our very own wildlife expert, Paul Goldstein. Spending a full week here is a rare treasure not included on most Polar journeys – and one well worth pursuing.