Start 2017 by adding these destinations to your bucketlist

Let’s start 2017 fresh and positive! We believe that traveling makes you richer and makes you appreciate all the beauty in this world. Let’s start by adding these destinations to your bucketlist and putting your travel plans on paper. Where will you go this year?

The Philippines
I’m happy to say that I’ve finally managed to cross this country off my bucketlist because it had been on there for a while. I flew over to Manila last December to continue my way over to Cebu, Bohol and Palawan. So why visit The Philippines this year? Unlike Thailand, this country doesn’t have a lot of tourist, yet. But The Philippines are becoming more popular with couples, friends and backpackers. It’s Asia, so it’s cheap and there are more than 7000 islands for you to enjoy. The people here aren’t ruined by tourism and almost everybody speaks English which makes it much easier to communicate. Planning to go this year? The best time to visit is between november and March when the typhoon season is it’s lowest. For tips about where to go and what to do check out my articles about The Philippines.

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Elke relaxing in the Philippnes

Iceland
This country may not have the long stretched beaches you are longing for but this year it’s time for something a bit different maybe? Iceland is a place full of untouched nature. Located in the North-Atlantic ocean close by the Arctic Circle, Iceland has a lot of options to feed your wanderlust. Many bloggers have visited Iceland last year and all of them were stunned. You may not know this but this country enjoys refreshing summers and surprisingly mild temperatures in winter. Visit the amazing Blue Lagoon or the Gullfoss waterfall located in the canyon of the Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. Check out WOW Air for cheap tickets to Reykjavik.

Iceland

Colombia
For the world mostly known for the Farc (a guerrilla army) and drug trafficking by the cartel of Pablo Escobar (in the eighties responsible for 80{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} of the drug traffic to the US). But there is so much more to this country: a stunning countryside, a passion for salsa, amazing beaches and an artistic heart. Grab your backpack and start exploring this beautiful country that is so worth adding to your bucketlist this year. To read more about Colombia and get some inside travel tips, check out Jolien’s story here.

Colombia
Photo by Jolien Klazinga

Let’s make 2017 the year of new chances and exiting travel destinations

Papua New Guinea
Visitors should note that travelling in PNG is challenging to say the least. Paved roads are rare to traveling is quite bumpy and sometimes you’ll need to cross a few rain-forests and rivers. The weather can be quite unpredictable so it’s difficult to say when it’s the best time to go but May to October would be your best bet. But once you get there you will be rewarded with the most amazing rugged ecological beauty, little known dive sites, stunning peaks and sleep in real rainforest villages where you’ll meet the tribes. The best part of this country has to be the amazing Raja Ampat, located just off the northwest tip of West Papua. Raja Ampat is a cluster of over 1,500 small islands which lay in the province of Indonesia. Get your diving gear ready because Raja Ampat is called the amazone of the ocean. To get there you must fly over to Sorong in West Papua (flight go from Bali for example) after that you’ll have to make your way to Waisai, which is the capital of Raja Ampat.

Liss Connell
Raja Ampat. Photo source by Liss Connel

Oman
We haven’t been but we sure wanna go! With more and more flights going to Oman, the opportunity is bigger than ever. This Arabian jewel has lot’s of luxury accommodations available to make this trip unforgettable. Oman is not just for couples or adventurers though. A family futuristic theme park is set to open this year called the Majarat Oman. Check the best rates to Oman via Skyscanner.

oman
Find oasis in Oman Source

Canada
If we must believe the Lonely Planet’s judgement, Canada is the number one destination for 2017. Why? “Canada is always popular with us,” said Lonely Planet‘s Canada destination editor Alex Howard, in an email. “But there are several things going on in 2017 that made it number one. First, it’s the country’s biggest birthday party in recent memory with the sesquicentennial next year, and they won’t be shy about celebrating. Also, international travelers can expect their money to go further due to the weak Canadian dollar, so now is the time to start planning a trip.” Sounds good to us!

Canada

Are you adding any of these destinations to your bucketlist this year?

Love,

Wander-Lust

Colombia: many faces, one country!

My sister inspired me to travel to Colombia. A country with so many faces. For the world mostly known for the Farc (a guerrilla army) and drug trafficking by the cartel of Pablo Escobar (in the eighties responsible for 80{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} of the drug traffic to the US). But there is so much more to this country: a stunning countryside, a passion for salsa, amazing beaches and an artistic heart.

Bogato
Let’s start at the beginning. When I landed in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, I was really surprised about the brightness of the city. Everywhere you look you see art, especially street art. A guide (from a free walking tour that you can book here) explained that this form of expression is important in Colombia, by this way local people express how they feel about the government, corruption and freedom. I was moved by the way these paintings show an urge for peace, freedom and happiness. The city is developing into a beautiful cultural capital with a voice, a strong voice, against corruption and suppression.

Colombia Street Art
Streetart

Central Colombia
I met some great people to travel with and we went up to Villa de Leyva, the Zorro town. You literally feel you are in a Zorro movie. Who doesn’t want that? Definitely worth visiting. Tip: Stay at Colombian Highlands, a hotel on top of the hill with a stunning view. From Villa de Leyva I took a night bus to Salento: a long ride of 8 hours. There it was time to see the tallest palm trees in the world. The place was full of locals and no tourist to be seen. But there it was: Salento, a little town surrounded by thin high palm trees. I stayed at a great place on top of the mountain in an eco-farm La Serrana Eco Farm. The food is great and they offer a variation of tours (also a great coffee tour). This area ‘’Eje Cafetero’’ is also known for one of the best coffee productions in the world. The next day we started hiking in Valle de Cocora. Suddenly you are surrounded by impressive palm trees and hummingbirds.

Vila_de_levya
Villa de Leyva aka Zorro Town

North from Salento, you have the second biggest city of Colombia: Medellin. Medellin is the party city of Colombia and believe me: that’s true. A lot of clubs and bars but also the place for good healthy food. It’s a very trendy city but mainly the city of Pablo Escobar. There are a lot of tours, who will tell you everything about the ‘’Medellin cartel’’. My highlight was something totally different: Guatape. An amazing view close to Medellin that I will never forget. I think the picture will speak for itself, just stunning!

“This country is definitely one of my favorites. Viva Colombia”

gautape Colombia
Stunning views over Gautape

North West Colombia
This country kept on amazing me. So many different faces. For example: Cartegena, so different than all other places I had seen in Colombia. A town full of flowers with a big passion for salsa. You can feel the salsa, the passion for dancing everywhere. A good place to relax. A bit touristy but lovely. After Cartegena we went to Santa Marta. I had my favorite Colombian snack here! Grilled bread with warm Guacamole: yum! This town is not really special but a perfect base for a hike to the Lost City. First it was time to visit the most famous National Park of Colombia: Tayrona National Park.

The photo you see on the cover of the Lonely Planet, the photo of Colombia, is a photo of the most famous beach in Colombia: Tayrona beach. You need to see it! When you enter the park you have to walk 2 hours in the heat to get to the beach. There is no car access, only a walking route. There is one restaurant, some camp sites and hammocks. Really cool to stay a night and sleep in a hammock. I chose to skip it, because I wanted to do the Lost City track and I didn’t have enough time. I would definitely recommend it though!

National Parl tyrona Colombia
Part of Tyrona National Park

Tyrona beach Colombia
Panoramic view of Tyrona Beach

On top of the lost city Colombia
On top of the lost city

The Lost City
Sleeping in the open air in the middle of the park underneath the stars. Let the beauty of the world surround you.

For me no amazing night underneath the stars, but time for some real exercise: a hike to Ciudad Perdida  the “Lost City” in Spanish. The Lost City is an archaeological site and a unique place to see. There are still people living there without electricity, far away from the world we live in. Some people say it’s more beautiful than the Machu Picchu. This area is still untouched and not really touristy. The way to get there is though, really though. It was one of the hardest tracks I had ever done. I already heard that this track was hard work: 3 days of hiking, through the mountains, in the heat. The track is not the problem, but the heat! You might feel as if your body isn’t going to make it, so bring plenty of water. This was a journey I will never forget. I felt like I was in a movie, in a jungle full of magic. I don’t really have words to describe it. It was just magical. How the light shines through the jungle, the stairs partly covered by nature, the little waterfalls, the old rituals and ruins of the city, the lost city.

Hike to the palmtrees Colombia
Made it to the top! 

This country is definitely one of my favorites. Viva Colombia!

Love,

Jolien

*Jolien is one of our guest bloggers living in the Netherlands. She has traveled all over the world and seen countries like India, China, Sri Lanka, Australië and Colombia. You can read about her adventures and tips every 2nd Monday of the month!