Travel Favourites by Pro Intel
At Merit Travel our Travel Specialists are extremely well-travelled and are constantly planning their next adventure! Here are some of our favourite staff picks!
Colombia: A true hidden gem of South America. From the lush coffee region, to the culture and architecture of Cartagena, to the serene and incredible beaches of Tayrona National Park…Colombia has it all. History, culture, food, outdoor activities – check you preconceptions at the door and get there before everyone else does.
Mongolia: With a fascinating nomadic culture, a countryside like nowhere else on the planet, the vast Gobi desert, and diverse wildlife, Mongolia should be on travellers’ list of to-dos! A great time to visit would be to check out the Naadam festival in the summer; a huge traditional Mongolian sports festival with wrestling, horse riding, and even falconry!
Iceland: Picture narrow waterfalls, erupting geysers, relaxing hot springs, majestic glaciers, and rocky emerald shores. Cycling, farm stays, and guest houses are popular ways to mingle with locals and experience traditional Icelandic hospitality. And don’t forget to get your camera ready as this is a photographer’s dream destination. Iceland can be explored in a week, and is a nice short flight from much of Canada.
Peru: It’s hard to ever take Peru off our list! This is the quintessential adventure destination with fascinating history and culture, the famous Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, and some lesser-known gems like Colca Canyon, the Amazon, the Ballesta Islands, the Nazca Lines, and the eclectic neighbourhoods of Lima. No one is ever disappointed with a trip to this diverse destination!
Hawaii: Hawaii offers some fantastic outdoor adventure options! From surfing to volcanoes; culture to breathtaking scenery, there’s something for everyone. We suggest getting off the tourist path to the smaller towns where the locals will treat you with great hospitality and traditions like Mahi Mahi and Kona coffee for breakfast. Explore this destination as an adventurer and see it in a whole new light.
Uzbekistan: The crux of the Silk Road, this is the perfect destination for those who want to experience true local culture without crowds of tourists. Highlights include: the ancient walled city of Khiva, the exquisite Islamic architecture of Samarkland, Bokhara, and Tashkent, and the influences of Turkish, Soviet, and Chinese cultures. Central Asia is incredibly welcoming and impressive and shouldn’t be missed!
Croatia: A small place with so much to offer. Visit Zagreb’s museums and cafes, go hiking in Plitvice Lakes National Park (one of eight National Parks), or take an incredible sailing trip from Dubrovnik to Split. If you can travel in October, why not check out Croatia’s famous truffle festival where you can hunt for truffles before indulging in some incredible culinary delights.
Galapagos: If nature and wildlife is what you want, the Galapagos always delivers! Swimming with adolescent sea lions, chase dolphins playing with your boat, and pose with marine iguanas that get up close and personal. Be sure to check out a great hidden gem at Playa Tortuga, a stunning beach with rays, birds, mangroves, and iguanas everywhere you look. With options to explore these islands by boat or by land, everyone can discover the islands in their own way.
The Canadian Arctic: If some of this planet’s most majestic landscapes and unique wildlife sound interesting to you, then this is your trip! You’ll view rugged mountains and towering icebergs while spotting polar bears, walrus, narwhales and thousands of birds. The culture and intriguing way of life of the people of the north will fascinate even the most savvy travellers. One of the best ways to explore is by boat as you’ll cover the most ground in a shorter amount of time.
February 7, 2013