Seeing the World in 2020; Top Travel Destinations for the New Decade | Yampu Tours

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Can you believe it’s already a new year, let alone a whole new decade? Time sure flies when you’re having fun exploring the world! To get you inspired for your future travel adventures in the new decade, Yampu’s travel experts have put together a list of their top destinations to add to your travel list in 2020!

 

General Sales Manager, Karolina Guilcapi Picks…

 

Cuenca, Ecuador

A real jewel of the mainland, Cuenca is overflowing with culture under the shadow of the famous blue cathedral domes. Smaller than Quito, and harder to get to, Cuenca’s location allows the city’s authenticity to be kept intact without that touristy, backpacker vibe.

So many beautiful galleries, music venues, European style gardens, and tiny museums pepper the windy streets. Home of the famous Panama Hat and the magical Cajas National Park, Cuenca is a must for any distinguished traveler who appreciates culture and the arts (and is still okay with guinea pig being on the menu)

 

Antigua, Guatemala

While in Antigua, visitors can climb a volcano, admire handwoven indigenous art, and snack on cacao pods all in one day. With the beautiful cobblestone streets, brightly painted houses, and ancient ruins scattered throughout the city, Antigua is easily the most charming town in Central America. Teeming with markets, adventure, rich cultural interactions, and culinary delights all blended into one condensed city, Antigua has something for all travelers.  Some come to study Spanish; some set up Antigua as a base for exploring the rest of the country while others come and choose to never leave.

 

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Hnappavellir, Iceland

Picture it, Hnappavellir. It’s cold. The winds are bending the thick glass windows as you eat dinner. Someone that morning loses a car door to an especially persistent gust. Everything on the menu is smoked, charred, or pickled, it seems. The map is a maze of strange names with what seems like an impossible number of consonants. Did I mention it’s cold? But then you look outside and see them – the northern lights dancing against the dark skies. That’s when you know this strange land has so much to offer.

The next morning you run your hands through the warm mane of beautiful Icelandic horses that pop up just when you need a smile. Later on, your travel partner gets down on the black sand and offers you a diamond iceberg just before a double rainbow appears over your new favorite waterfall. Just as the sun sets, a super jeep whisks you to the top of the glacier where you learn what silence truly sounds like.

The farther you get away from the city lights of Reykjavik, the more magic Iceland unveils. Just bring your thermal underwear.

 

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Regional Sales Manager & Groups Coordinator, Stephanie Rudolph says…

 

Namibia

The starkly beautiful country of Namibia is a world of its own with a desert coastline teeming with wildlife and some of the most amazing sunsets you will ever encounter. The country takes its name from the Namib Desert, which stretches along its entire coastline. With only a few tribes making up its demographics, Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world, after Mongolia.

The only country in the world to specifically address environmental protection in its constitution, Namibia is a top-rated eco-tourism attraction with its distinct landscapes and wildlife conservancies. Aside from vast safari opportunities, one of my favorite experiences in Namibia was discovering abandoned buildings within the Namib desert as the sands slowly reclaim the land.

 

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South Africa

Wine / food / luxury / wine / food / luxury / Wine / food / luxury

Okay, let me explain.  While I was in South Africa last year, I, of course, had amazing wildlife experiences (you can go on a safari, whale watch, shark cage dive, and swim with penguins in a span of a couple of days) but I was also wined and dined all over the country.

I better understand now why South African wine is one of the fastest-growing in popularity. Explorers can see some of the best winemakers in the country with several tastings and private cellar tours for an in-depth experience. The Winelands region is also incredibly beautiful, with the vineyards woven through spectacular mountain ranges. Pro-tip, stop for lunch at one of the many excellent restaurants in Franschhoek to soak up the surroundings while enjoying some first-rate cuisine.

 

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Peru

How often do you visit a destination that has so much to offer that you wish you had more time to experience the things you missed out on?

Peru’s most popular tourist attraction and one of South America’s most prominent sites, Machu Picchu, is a bucket list item for all travelers of every age. Whether one chooses to take one of the luxury train options to its base or trek to the 4-day Inca Trail, the visit will be one to remember for a lifetime.   Aside from visiting Machu Picchu, families can opt for numerous add-ons, including interacting with the Huilloc community and working with local school children.

Peru is one of those destinations that you have to pay multiple visits to in order to appreciate everything it has to offer.

 

 

Yampu Founders, Jose and Monica Irauzqui recommend…

 

Morocco

A culturally diverse country with Spanish, French, and Arab influences, Morocco is a truly unique destination that deserves to be on the list of every devoted traveler.

Located in Northern Africa, situated along both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, bordering Spain, Algeria, and Mauritania, Morocco has a unique history. With such a confluence of cultural nuances, the region transports visitors to an entirely different world filled with ancient relics, highly regarded cuisines, and astonishing landscapes.

From sipping a mint tea and indulging in the renowned cuisine of Morocco to spending some time by the beach in Agadir or exploring the Sahara Desert on camelback, there is so much to see in this majestic country!

 

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Laos

Laos is an unspoiled gem embedded in South-East Asia full of stunning scenery, warm and welcoming locals, fantastic gastronomy, and mesmerizing sights. Although less traveled and relatively undiscovered, it has an extensive and intriguing history of royalty, colonization and a struggle for independence. While we were scouting the country, we enjoyed the views of the jaw-dropping wats (temples) that are a unique mixture of French colonial and traditional architecture.

During our trip, we visited this remote Hmong village in Laos. The Hmong, who speak their own dialect, arrived in Laos hundreds of years ago from China. We were lucky enough to educate ourselves on these beautiful people and make a small contribution to better their lives.

Also, while in Laos, we stopped by the Mandalao Elephant Conservation. This unique and intimate non-riding experience focused on education and elephant welfare. This is a must for every Yampu itinerary to Laos.

 

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Panama

We recently returned from a scouting trip to Panama, where we explored both the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts and stayed at two upscale boutique lodges: colorful El Otro Lado in Bahia Portobelo and Isla Palenque.

El Otro Lado is a totally unexpected, beautiful private art retreat on the bay of Portobelo. Once the most significant Spanish port city in Central America, Portobelo is entirely off the tourist radar which provides authentic experiences galore.

Isla Palenque is a new sustainable luxury retreat on a private island in the Gulf of Chiriquí. With fun experiences like rum tasting, cooking lessons, yoga, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and picnics on the beach (just to name a few), we highly suggest capping off your Panama trip with a relaxing stay in the beachfront casitas.

 

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Japan

We cannot get over the kindness, warmth and beauty of Japan and its people. Despite their millions of rules that American visitors may find daunting, everyone in Japan is so polite, helpful, giving, and simply wonderful!

While exploring the cities and small villages of Japan during our visit, it was difficult to pick our favorite in this unforgettable adventure. Not only visiting Tokyo, Mount Fuji, and Kyoto, we also made stops in less frequented places like Takayama, Shirakawa and Furukawa.

We also suggest doing as we did and try every possible version of Japanese food (yes, there is more than sushi!), including a Kaiseki, the traditional multi-course Japanese dinner.

 

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The Mekong Delta

Some of the world’s most exotic and fascinating destinations are touched by the Mekong. The immense waterway rises in the Tibetan Plateau and runs through China’s Yunnan province, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam before emptying in the South China Sea. Some of Southeast Asia’s best destinations can be reached on a boat through the Mekong including Siam Reap for the Angkor Wat ruins and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s cosmopolitan metropolis.

Last year we experienced the Mekong with our first cruise on the Aqua Mekong. The Aqua Mekong is one of the first five-star cruise ships to sail both up and down the Mekong River between Vietnam and Cambodia. The vessel is also the first on the delta to offer a fitness center, library, screening room, observation deck, and floor to ceiling windows for each room.

Both land and water-based activities are offered, including daily cycling, kayaking, swimming, daily guided meditation at sunrise, so guests enjoy an exhilaratingly diverse experience.

 

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Have any of these destinations made it onto your travel list for the new year? Let us know in the comments where you plan on traveling to in 2020! Before you forget, be sure to signup for our newsletter for more travel tips, tricks, and deals.

 

 

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