December Travel | GeoEx
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10 Great Places to Travel This December

By GeoEx Staff | July 30, 2018

Since December is a popular month to travel and books up far in advance, we asked GeoEx destination specialists to share their ideas for exciting destinations and experiences that can still be arranged for 2018. One expert added this pro tip: If your schedule allows, plan your travel for the earlier part of December to have the most flexibility and choice. Happy end-of-year adventuring!

There’s Never Been a Better Time to Visit Cuba

Havana, Cuba

“Amid all the changing regulations these days, it’s no wonder that many people are unsure whether American citizens can still legally travel to Cuba. I’m happy to report that American travelers can still visit Cuba with GeoEx, and that now is, in fact, an excellent time to go. There are direct flights from the US and the crowds that had begun to inundate some sites and activities last year have since diminished, so we have the best paladares, boutique hotels, artists’ galleries, and dance studios largely to ourselves. The connections that GeoEx has been forging since 2000 are stronger than ever, and our Cuban friends are eager to welcome us and share their lives and passions. We’ve heard more than once from our returning travelers that this is a life-changing trip.” –Jennine Cohen

Mexico Is So Close & It Has Everything!

“Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, is easy to reach and has amazing culture and nature. Plenty of areas are very safe for travelers. My current personal favorite (and the destination of my most recent trip) is Mexico City. The city is hip, has a fantastic food scene, and is home to some of the best museums and art collections in the world. You can go hot-air ballooning over the mysterious Teotihuacán pyramids in the morning, behold paintings by such artists as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in the afternoon, hop from one cool bar to the next in the evening, and then finish the day off with the best tacos al pastor you’ve ever had.”  –Natalie Crow

“Baja has kept me captivated. December is when migrating gray whales start to arrive at their annual calving grounds in Baja California Sur. I visited last winter for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of meeting whale mamas and babies. We were literally almost eye-to-eye with them—the whales were so friendly and curious. It was simply extraordinary. I’d like to make that a twice-in-a-lifetime experience!” –Jessica Silber

Visit Pyramids & Sail the Nile in Egypt

“For December travel, I have to say: Go to Egypt! Tourism is returning, which is wonderful news for this resilient country, but it’s still not as crowded as it once was—which is a great incentive for travelers to go now. Egyptian history is mind-blowing and there’s wonderful food and shopping. Sailing down the Nile by classic dahabeya is an absolute must. I loved Egypt! I was just there in March and I’m already itching to go back.” –Kim Keating

Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia: See All Three or Focus on One

Drying candy products, Vietnam

“The countries once collectively known as Indochina are fantastic choices for this December. During the best weather of the year, you can discover a diverse range of attractions, from impressive temples and other historic sites to stunning scenery, great cuisine, lovely hotels, luxury cruises, and beautiful handicrafts. One of my favorite things to do is hike to traditional villages; this is a wonderful way to get off the beaten path (as long as you don’t mind roughing it a bit). Travelers often combine all three countries in one trip (our Heart of Indochina sample itinerary is a good place to start for inspiration), but you can also have an extraordinary adventure in just one: Vietnam (perhaps with silk lantern-making, Vespa riding, a private street-food tour, and a Halong Bay cruise), Laos (discovering ethnic minority villages, eco-lodges, and vibrant textiles), or Cambodia (possibly visiting beaches, crab markets, and wildlife conservation areas before beholding the glorious temples of Angkor Wat).” –Errin Mixon

Behold Myanmar’s Gilded Temples

Bagan temples at sunset, Myanmar

“December in Myanmar is the dry season, so you can expect warm temperatures and little rain. That’s one great reason to go at the end of the year. Ready for some others? Hot-air ballooning over Bagan’s astonishing Plain of Temples, cruising the Irrawaddy River, wandering the floating markets of Inle Lake alongside a chef, and meeting progressive-minded locals looking toward the future. We steer clear of areas that are experiencing unrest and believe that continuing to travel in Myanmar thoughtfully (carefully vetting our hotels and other collaborators) is a way to support the people of the country. As we know from situations elsewhere in the world, the opinions and actions of a government are not always a reflection of the opinions and desires of the general population.” –Tina Liadis

Guatemala: Mayan Ruins & Friendly People

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

“Guatemala is the perfect weeklong trip for anyone—families, couples, or groups of friends. Escaping the cold of winter, you can explore incredible Mayan ruins, charming colonial towns, and captivating textile and vegetable markets. You can go bird-watching in the jungle, hike on rural trails frequented only by local farmers, and visit rural schools. There’s even a beautiful lake surrounded by volcanoes. Best of all, the country is filled with some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.” –Natalie Crow

Commune with Gorillas in Rwanda

“Nothing compares to seeing gorillas in the wild. In Rwanda, you hike through dramatically forested jungle to find the world’s largest primate in the Virunga Volcanoes, a chain of eight major peaks that top out at 14,787 feet. For as long as I can remember, tracking gorillas has been at the very top of my bucket list, and when I came across them on my gorilla-tracking adventure in Rwanda, it was more awe-inspiring than I could have imagined: watching their human expressions and movements felt like looking back at our own biological history. Tracking mountain gorillas was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life—and so was meeting the people of Rwanda. They are incredibly friendly and it was deeply moving to learn about the genocide and how the country has moved forward. Rwanda is a wonderful country!” –Kim Keating

Go from Temples to Beach in Sri Lanka

Man walking around Stupa ancient city of Polonnaruwa, UNESCO World Heritage Site, North Central Province, Sri Lanka

“With new hotels to enjoy and the least rain of the year, December is a great time to wander Sri Lanka’s colonial villas, inviting beaches, eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, rolling Tea Country, and wildlife-rich jungles (did you know you can see leopards, elephants, and more in Sri Lanka?). I just returned from a scouting trip there and would happily go back, especially in December! I’d spend whole days hiking around Tea Country, stopping to say hello to everyone I meet and enjoying Ceylon tea and cream puffs every single afternoon. Then I’d return to Cape Weligama, so I could listen to the waves on the beach and the cries of peacocks every single morning when I wake up. How is it that more people don’t know about this little slice of heaven?” –Jessica Silber

Feel Worlds Away in Costa Rica

Black sand beach in Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica

“It’s a relatively easy flight to the capital, San José, but as soon as you land in Costa Rica, you feel worlds away! From zip-lining to surfing, bird-watching to horseback riding, to hiking among monkeys and toucans, active opportunities abound. There are also wonderful opportunities to relax at eco-lodges in gorgeous beach and rain-forest settings. I’m especially fond of the remote Osa Peninsula, where time really slows down and all kind of birds, animals, and vegetation can be seen. By day, you can paddle alongside jumping dolphins and by night your dreams are filled with the distant calls of howler monkeys.”–Linda de la Torre

Epic Landscapes Await in Chile

GeoEx travel expert, Natalie Crow, in Atacama desert, Chile

“Chile does not disappoint. There is so much to see and do in Chile, from the lunar-like Atacama Desert (dotted with snowcapped volcanoes and steaming geysers) in the north to Patagonia (home to the iconic peaks of Torres del Paine National Park, as well as lesser-known yet sensational lakes) in the south, and everywhere in between. When I go to Chile, I love to hike, taste wine, see what’s new on the Santiago art scene, and relax and disconnect at luxurious hotels and lodges. It doesn’t get any better than that!” –Natalie Crow

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For more on what’s possible in these and other compelling adventure travel destinations, call GeoEx’s specialists at 888-570-7108.

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