As 2015 draws to close many of us reflect on the year that has been and set our goals for the brand new year. Typical resolutions include spending more time with family, improving health and of course our favorite here at Vision, travel! If you are one of the many who are looking to travel more in 2016, here are the Top 10 Destinations for 2016 from Virtuoso to get your imagination percolating with possibilities.
SOUTHERN INDIA – Beyond the Taj Mahal
If you’ve visited India, you’ve probably done its Golden Triangle in the north: Mumbai and Udaipur to Jaipur and Agra on the way to Delhi. The south, however, is the connoisseur’s darling. Rare Royal Bengal tigers roam Mysore’s Nagarahole National Park. Kerala’s Kolukkumalai Tea Estate is the world’s highest. And the region is a natural gateway to another destination on the rise, Sri Lanka, home to a stunning pair of Aman resorts.
CON DAO, VIETNAM – Secret Island
It’s known as Vietnam’s untouched archipelago, but it won’t be for long. Under French colonial rule, the 16 velvet-green islands off the mainland’s southern shore were cut off in order to sequester prisoners. Today, Con Dao is a much happier destination – a haven for snorkelers (and idlers) and a throwback to tranquil Asian outposts of yore. On the serene island of Bay Canh, day-trippers wander through tropical rain forest to a nineteenth-century lighthouse. Protected hawksbill and green sea turtles come to nest on 13 local beaches from May through October. Heaven is a day spent zigzagging through the picturesque seas by catamaran.
NORWAY – Arctic Allure
Fjord cruisers have always loved the area in and around Bergen and Geiranger, but those in the know are heading above 66 degrees north latitude.
SICILY – Little Italy
Since Homer’s time, the Mediterranean’s largest island has lured travelers questing after coastal views, ancestral villages, and, OK, maybe the perfect cannoli. But lately Sicily is drawing a high-flying, globe-trotting crowd. Explore fortified hill towns such as Erice, Agrigento’s Doric temple ruins, Michelin-starred restaurants in Ragusa, and rich Greek history in once-grand Siracusa. With splashy views to Mount Etna and two gorgeous Belmond properties – Grand Hotel Timeo and Villa Sant’Andrea – seaside Taormina is Sicily’s answer to the Amalfi Coast.
JOSE IGNACIO, URUGUAY – South American Hamptons
Two hours from Montevideo and just outside Punta del Este, it’s the ideal spot to combine an estancia (ranch) and beach stay at the posh Vik properties. Daily workshops help guests find their flow while painting or taking photos, and those craving a deeper escape can book Vik’s seven-day yoga retreat.
NEPAL – Better Than Ever
Last year’s devastating earthquake could not shake the indomitable spirit of this sacred country in the Himalaya, and tourism matters now more than ever: Visitor numbers in 2015 were down 40 percent from the previous year. For visitors who want to go beyond bolstering the economy with their dollars, volunteering even for a day can complete an itinerary and provide a rewarding experience like no other.
NEWFOUNDLAND – Far and Away
“Off the grid” is easier said than done these days, but the enchanting Fogo Island Inn is far-flung enough to be unplugged in the best ways. Newfoundland is hard to get to, sure, but that’s part of the mystique of a region with seven seasons (“ice,” “berry,” and “trap berth” are the other three). Some even call it the next Patagonia. Guests of the ultramodern inn are paired with “Fogoers” based on interests, and those locals serve as community hosts. Activities are distinctly analog: making bread, rowing punts, watching caribou, skipping stones. Social media can certainly wait till you’re home.
MOZAMBIQUE – Safari Bonus
Beginning this year, more high-end hotel brands will establish footholds in the country’s Bazaruto Archipelago. The additions will complement existing properties such as the Azura Retreats on Bazaruto’s Benguerra Island and on Quilalea Island in Quirimbas National Park. Everywhere along the coast, the water is fabulous. Dive sites aren’t crowded. You can see dolphins, humpback whales, whale sharks, manta rays, and giant turtles. Most intriguing, though, are the elusive, curious-looking dugongs, related to manatees – and elephants.
SCOTLAND’S WHISKY TRAIL – Dram Trip
Specialty tours bring wonder to the most familiar places. Seeing Scotland with a whisky ambassador combines science, history, flavor, and a few drams of grown-up merrymaking. For a journey like this, the party begins with a private tasting at Edinburgh’s Balmoral hotel, which stocks representative bottles from every distillery in Scotland under lock and key – more than 500 in all. The next morning, a piper plays you downstairs to Waverley Station, where you board the train with your whisky guru for a journey to all the best glens and lochs. It might sound clubby, but the trip is full of surprises.Those who want more can extend the trip with a few days of golf, horse trekking, or R&R at any of Scotland’s grand hotels.
CABO SAN LUCAS -Baja is Back
This popular destination got even better with major revamping in the wake of 2014’s Hurricane Odile, which left $1.2 billion in damage. The upgrades have brought extra luster to already luxe oceanfront hotels. Two new golf courses also opened: Quivira Golf Club (designed by Jack Nicklaus) and El cardinal at Diamante (designed by Tiger Woods). The local economy will thank you for teeing off.
Original Article published in Virtuoso Life January 2016