Where to Travel in 2021: Our Top Picks
Next year is ripe with potential.
Bursting at the seams with desire, travelers are dreaming big and planning ahead for standout adventures in 2021 (and beyond). Meanwhile, guides have been honing their expertise, trip planners have been crafting new itineraries and researching unexplored corners of the world, and the volume of travelers at any given destination has slowed to a trickle.
The past year has given travel a global reset, a chance to be better on every level. With everything in place to begin anew, we are very excited to take you to new places in 2021. It will be an extraordinary year for travelers.
Here are our experts’ top choices for travel in 2021.
Congo & Central African Republic
When compared to the safari destinations of southern Africa, Congo is already off the beaten track, and Central African Republic seems completely off the map. We enlisted the help of famed African explorers and adventurers Kingsley Holgate and Brad Hansen to craft an exclusive journey that reveals the incredible wildlife of these countries. Launching in 2021, we will offer 2 departures of this extraordinary trip, each limited to 6 guests.
“I will be grateful for my entire life that I had the opportunity to visit the Congo. The trip changed my life and the way I think about forests, wildlife, conservation, and discovery. And now that the Central African Republic is included, I’m thinking maybe it’s time to go again! If you choose to visit the Congo Rainforest, thank yourself, because you will visit the lungs of this planet, explore a fragile and precious area and meet its wildlife, and contribute to one of the world’s great conservation projects. And it’s also one of the most genuinely fun trips I’ve ever taken. Nothing bonds a group like staring into the eyes of a skeptical silverback or holding your breath and staying perfectly still when you come upon a surprise forest elephant in your path. Our group departed with actual tears in our eyes when we hugged at the airport.”—Jessica Silber, Trip Designer
Far less known than its neighbors Peru and Chile, Bolivia holds on to tradition and offers an authentic sense of discovery. To complement the handcrafted custom journeys we already arrange, GeoEx is excited to launch our first small group here in 2021; highlights include staying in an art-filled 16th-century hacienda, exploring spectacular landscapes, and immersing in native culture.
“Bolivia is the wild, wild west of South America!”—Kate Doty, Trip Designer
“There is so much to explore in Bolivia, from spectacular high desert landscapes and the surreal salt flats at Salar de Uyuni, to the less-traveled eastern side of Lake Titicaca. We can arrange glamping domes in the wilderness, where you can have endless stars all to yourself. Cultural experiences in and around La Paz are another highlight—there is a lot more to Bolivia than meets the eye.”—Natalie Crow, Trip Designer
In 2021, Japan is likely to host far fewer visitors than in previous years, offering the singular opportunity to see some of the most popular national treasures without the usual crowds. Alternatively, travelers can avoid crowds altogether on a new trip that supports traditional craftspeople and celebrates time-honored ways of life in remote western Honshu. This journey will be led by author and Japanophile Don George.
“Japan’s cultural treasures entice at any time, but this year, we’re excited about the opportunities for off-the-beaten-path immersions in little-visited regions of the country. We’re especially exhilarated about our first-time tour of the pristine Japan Sea coast area in the western part of the main island, Honshu. There we’ll be meeting traditional pottery-makers, sake-brewers, and indigo-dyers, dining with innovative local chefs, and staying in traditional accommodations, including an exquisitely renovated samurai house and a rare funaya boathouse-residence.”—Don George, GeoEx Trip Leader
Soul-stirring landscapes, exhilarating hikes, top-notch cuisine and soothing spas make Chile the ultimate destination to recharge and reflect after a tumultuous year. Our experts can arrange anything from private villas where you can sip wine with views of stunning countryside, to an ambitious hiking adventure into the wilds of Patagonia.
“If wide-open spaces call to you, then Chile is the answer. You can hit highlights from the northern Atacama Desert, south to the serrated peaks of Torres Del Paine all in one trip. Get off the beaten path exploring some of the Route of Parks—17 national parks all connected by road, river, and ferry—through incredible pristine wilderness with changing landscapes. Stay in a spectacular Chilean lodge and top off a day of glorious hiking with outstanding food and wine. What could be better?”—Natalie Crow, Trip Designer
Now open for travelers and meeting the requirements for the World Tourism and Travel Council’s Safe Travels rating, Costa Rica has many ecosystems ready to be explored. Boutique lodges and private properties can be reserved for the exclusive use of small groups, allowing families and friends to reconnect in splendid surroundings.
“Costa Rica has just the right ingredients for a magical holiday: intimate accommodation options in remote locales; ample hiking and wildlife-viewing experiences free of crowds; expansive beaches on the Pacific or Caribbean side that invite one to relax and unwind; private water-sports like white water rafting, diving, snorkeling, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, mountain biking, and zip-lining—there are no limitations, whether you are looking for an adrenaline rush or a zen state of mind.”—Linda De La Torre, Trip Designer
“Costa Rica reopened with an eye on sustainability. There are so many places to explore outdoors—on the beach, in the forest—that you can have very private experiences in all kinds of remote locations. If this is not your first trip to Costa Rica, see what’s new and visit a different area than before. For example, there is a brand new property on the Caribbean side I’d love to tell you about!”—Natalie Crow, Trip Designer
Travel in Bhutan tends to be a serene experience, with gorgeous scenery, few people, and a deeply spiritual side to the culture and architecture. A 2021 pilgrimage to cast wishes across the Himalayan mountaintops via the fluttering of prayer flags and to soak cares away in a traditional hot stone herbal bath seems like just the trip many of us are seeking.
“Bhutan is one of those places that makes the heart sing. The spectacular mountain landscapes and lovely and welcoming people of an uncrowded Himalayan kingdom have inspired GeoEx travelers for decades. I can’t think of a better place to renew the spirit than Bhutan.”—Tina Liadis, Trip Designer
GeoEx took a chance launching a new trip to this far-flung destination back in June. The first departures sold out in 2 days, reconfirming that our travelers are first and foremost, adventurers. Since then, we have added more departures to this alluring country, with an optional extension to neighboring Tunisia for more in-depth exploration of the area.
“A country that boasts seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, Algeria is a crossroads of culture with impressive architecture, delightful cuisine, and fascinating history. With so many outstanding experiences, it’s actually surprising that it’s still off the beaten path for most travelers. We’re excited to dive in and show our guests the sights and flavors of this incredible place on our new group trip.”—Kim Keating, Trip Designer
A classic destination, Egypt in 2021 will afford visitors the chance to admire pyramids and temples with fewer fellow travelers and a fresh perspective. Explore the signature sites along the Nile River or travel further afield to the cafes and beaches of Alexandria or the reefs and wrecks of the Sinai Peninsula—there is always more to discover.
“While much has changed in 2020, the allure of Egypt remains timeless. And what better way to explore the country than sailing up the Nile and soaking in the sights? The history of Egypt is incredible and interactive, the food amazing, and the shopping even better. Egyptians themselves are warm and welcoming. It’s impossible to leave without more friends than when you arrived, which is the real treasure of visiting Egypt.”—Kim Keating, Trip Designer
Each island offers a different experience, but one that stands out for 2021 is Bali for its intimate resorts and healing spas. The rejuvenating waters of a flower-filled bath, the soothing sounds of traditional gamelan music in the distance, and the resonant riches of deeply spiritual daily rituals make a winning combination for post-stay-at-home travel.
“The archipelago of Indonesia has much to offer the curious traveler, from jungles to volcanic landscapes, and ancient temples to traditional villages. Our experts can design the perfect escape. Sail between jewel-like islands by private boat charter to underwater landscapes, relax at an exclusive wellness retreat with gorgeous views of terraced rice paddies, or wander temples and monuments edged by tropical jungle.”—Tina Liadis, Trip Designer
A destination to delight travelers anew in 2021, Namibia reveals astonishing scenery to be explored on hikes among towering dunes, uplifting hot air balloon rides across seemingly endless sandscapes, and classic overland safaris in search of desert-adapted wildlife. And it’s open to travelers now.
“In 2020 we craved wide-open, healing spaces. I argue that no country delivers this quite like Namibia. The desert is so vast that it defies contemplation. The stars seem to divide and multiply into new constellations before your eyes. Every view seems like it should be accompanied by an orchestral score. Even after you leave, Namibia is like a portable cure for mental messiness. Close your eyes and picture it whenever you need a moment of meditation. If this seems too out-there, no worries. It’s also a pretty down-to-earth place: barbecues around the fire at camp, barreling down desert dunes in your 4×4 vehicle, and a beer on top of a sand dune with 360-degree views of the entire world.”—Jessica Silber, Trip Designer
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To start planning your adventure to these top 10 travel destinations in 2021 or any of GeoEx’s other far-flung locales, give us a call at 888-570-7108.