Wanderlust

Literary journeys for the discerning traveler

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Places We Love: Top Destinations for 2019

By GeoEx Staff | 11/13/18

Safari vehicle at sunrise in Kafue National Park in Zambia

We at GeoEx are passionate about exploring the world and introducing others to the wonders we find. Every year the company sends virtually all of its staff to far-flung corners around the globe with a two-fold mission: to field-test and spiff up our current offerings, and to discover amazing new places and activities for our custom and group trips. We asked our destination specialists which destinations they are especially excited to share with our travelers in 2019. Here are our top 10 picks.

Egypt

Camels gaze across the desert sands of Giza to the famed Egyptian pyramids outside Cairo

“From the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx to Luxor's ornate tombs of kings and queens, Egypt’s monuments are staggering in their grandeur. But modern-day Egypt is equally stunning, and with social stability and traveler safety restored, this culturally rich and complex country is poised for a grand comeback in 2019. In honor of this comeback, we've just designed a special, women-only group trip for 2019 (stay posted for the announcement). And we still love to tailor our custom trips in Egypt to our travelers' individual interests (they often include weeklong Nile cruises aboard luxurious dahabeyas, something I had the pleasure of experiencing earlier this year).” –Kim Keating


Eastern Bhutan

Lhuentse Dzong with rainbow overhead in eastern Bhutan

“As lovers of beautiful, untouristed corners rich in Buddhist culture, we're thrilled that eastern Bhutan is opening. Thanks to a new airport, the area is accessible without days of driving, and extraordinary textiles, birding, temples, and hiking await. Our Brent Olson is already developing a new journey to eastern Bhutan to deeply explore its traditions and meet its people. His decades of experience in Bhutan and inside connections are sure to bring very special access and interactions travelers won't find anywhere else.” –Errin Mixon


Turkey

The ornate interior of the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

“European and Asian travelers are beginning to return to Turkey for its sensational mix of storied ruins, fascinating culture, and tantalizing cuisine. Cruising along the Aegean coast in a comfortable gulet is one wonderful option. Others include floating by hot-air balloon over Cappadocia's otherworldly rock formations, wandering Istanbul's colorful bazaars, and sharing meals with locals in their villages. We felt safe and welcome everywhere and were the only Americans in sight. We recommend visiting soon!” –Kim Anderson


Rwanda

Elephant sighting on Lake Rwanyakazinga in Akagera National Park, Rwanda

Travel in Rwanda has always been associated with gorilla trekking through the jungles of Volcanoes National Park, but the country is diversifying. One notable offering in this regard is Akagera National Park, Rwanda's only savannah/plains ecosystem national park. After the 1994 genocide, the park was reduced in size by two-thirds, and much of the wildlife was hunted out. Happily, it’s now flourishing. Lions were reintroduced in 2015, and their population has more than doubled since then. Eastern black rhinos were reintroduced in 2017, officially making this a Big Five park. On top of all this, Akagera's first luxury accommodation is set to open this December.”  –Starla Estrada


Colombia

Horseback riding at Corocora Camp in Los Llanos, Colombia

“Not only is it home to some of Latin America's most progressive cities and passionate people, Colombia is also one of the world's most biodiverse nations, filled with tropical rain forests, rambling mountain ranges, multiple coasts, and nearly 2,000 bird species. For 2019, we’re excited about sharing our discovery of idyllic mountain towns like Barichara, as well as about the just-emerging opportunities we’re uncovering to explore the country’s wildest backcountry treasures—from an ancient lost city to remote tribal villages to stealthy pumas—by helicopter, horseback, four-by-four, and safari-style luxury camp. Colombia is on the precipice of a travel transformation, and we’re excited to be blazing new trails there.” –Jennine Cohen


Sri Lanka

Buddhist monks on a stupa preparing for a ceremony at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

“Emerging from India’s shadow, Sri Lanka is coming into its own as a land of innovative cuisine, complex culture and artistic creation, rich history, and exhilarating landscapes. There is so much to see and do, from spotting Asian elephants and gray langurs on safari to hiking in Tea Country and beholding amazing hilltop fortress ruins and UNESCO-acclaimed Buddhist art. As its economy steadily grows after a longtime civil war, now is the time to see it before mass tourism and high-rises arrive.” –Jesse Knight

Oman

Muttrah Harbor and Old Town at dusk in Muscat, Oman

“An oasis of peace with excellent travel appointments, Oman is the perfect destination for first-time visitors to the Middle East, especially for family and multi-generational travelers. Highlights range from exploring quaint villages, fertile farmlands, and Muscat museums to meeting Bedouins and learning about their nomadic lifestyle. Visitors can savor elegant Islamic architecture and immerse themselves in souks, sand dunes, and stunning coastlines. Oman offers an invitingly comfortable introduction to the Middle East’s marvels and mysteries.” –Linda de la Torre


Zambia

Leopard basking in late afternoon sunlight in Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

“This blissfully off-the-beaten-path country offers all the amazing wildlife and top-notch lodgings of the famed African safari locales, but with far fewer visitors. On my recent Zambia safari, I was blown away by the quality of animal sightings, safari guides, camps, and landscapes. Whether it's your first or fifth safari, Zambia is a fantastic safari destination for game viewing and active bush-exploring options, like wonder-filled walking safaris. And the fact that it's not-your-everyday safari destination gives you even more to talk about with your friends.” –Jessica Silber


Mongolia

Stars over Three Camel Lodge ger camp in Mongolia's Gobi Desert

“This geographically gorgeous and culturally rich area remains off most travelers’ radars, yielding an immensely rewarding journey for the intrepid few who venture to Mongolia. One special highlight is experiencing the thrilling Golden Eagle Festival. Another is spending time at an incredible ger camp set on the sprawling steppe, where you can get a taste of nomadic lifestyle, learn about the ancient world empires that have sprung from this region, and soak up the exquisite landscapes in a range of ways: riding Mongolian horses, going for hikes, taking polo and archery lessons, kayaking, swimming, doing yoga, even rock climbing and mountain biking.” –Tina Liadis


Pakistan

Trekker crossing a bridge en route to K2 and Broad Peak Base Camp, Pakistan

“The Hunza Valley and Karakoram Highway are among our favorite off-the-beaten-track regions, with spectacular scenery, welcoming people, and a grand sense of adventure. Now, we’re offering another epic adventure—trekking to K2! Our expedition to the Broad Peak Base Camp and the K2 Gilkey Memorial winds across streams and meadows and past rock and ice to reveal some of the most jaw-dropping alpine scenery on the planet, including awe-inspiring Concordia, the 'Throne Room of the Mountain Gods.' It will be led by veteran trekker and legendary trip leader Vassi Koutsaftis.” –Corinne Edwards

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To start planning your adventure to these destinations or any of GeoEx's other far-flung locales, give us a call at 888-570-7108.

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