3 Countries To Visit In 2015 If You Don’t Want To Be Lame
Lonely Planet recently named Singapore their number one county to visit in 2015, which in it of itself is fine, except for the fact that it’s technically a city/state, right? That’s like saying my favorite food in the world is gum. While technically correct, it’s not exactly a satisfying an answer. (Actually, I don’t really chew that much gum — I’m more of a Werther’s Original guy, but that’s besides the point).
They have some other good suggestions on the list as well, including Namibia, The Philippines and Nicaragua, all of which are worthy contenders for your next trip. However, none of them happen to be places that Contiki is highlighting on their “New Destinations” page (except for Morocco, the idea of which I’m pretty sure Lonely Planet stole from Contiki). Weird, right?
That being said, I’d like to highlight three of the countries they offer tours to, not because they made the cut for this list, but because I actually would love to go there (or return to in two of the three cases).
What else can you say about Colombia? It’s hard to turn on the Facebook without someone mentioning how they’re grabbing the next 5-hour flight to the country to take in the splendor of a country that just a couple decades ago was persona non grata to most of the outside world.
When I was there a few years back, I made a number of videos from around the country in which I traveled to Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena, among other cities, and which I got many comments about how I wasn’t playing the correct music in the background for each particular city’s video. Oh yeah, Colombians are very particular about their music (which is a good thing in my opinion).
What do I remember most about the country though? Probably how much I loved it there, including the food, the weather, the beaches, the people and the absolute insistence too many people had back home that I shouldn’t go. Man, that felt good to go anyways.
My friend and and contributor to this site, Luke Armstrong, is either from South Dakota or Guatemala, I keep forgetting which. What I do know is that when I went down there a few years ago to visit him and his group of ex-pat friends, he was certainly not treated like a Gringo at all. In fact, I think he was affectionately known as “The Man That Wears Shoes Made of Goats,” and was treated like a local.
Under his mastery of the Spanish language, including the many colorful ways to swear, we traversed the country, including stops in the always amazing Antigua, the stunning Lake Atitlan, scenic Semuc Champey and wondrous Tikal. Guatemala is usually my go-to country to suggest when people mention they want to visit Central American but don’t know where to go, and I have fond memories of visiting the county and almost getting burned alive on an active volcano (surprise, I made a travel video from there too!).
I haven’t been to Portugal yet, but if there was ever a time to go there, it’s now. Why? Well, try having a conversation with anyone with absolutely any taste or insight into the pulse of “what’s cool” around the world, and I guarantee you will hear the line, “Lisbon is the place to live now,” or “Lisbon is the new Berlin.”
Something about the economic crisis a few years ago, the country’s unwavering attention to its proud culture and the fact that Portuguese sounds so good to the ear makes it perennially one of the best places in the world to travel to.
Portugal is also home to the biggest wave ever surfed (in Nazare), a video of which may be the most frightening thing I have ever seen in my life.
Matt Stabile is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheExpeditioner.com. You can read his writings, watch his travel videos, purchase the book he co-edited or contact him via email at any time at TheExpeditioner.com.