For many Americans, the summer of 2022 is revenge travel season.
They’re willing to go the extra mile and spend a little more than they normally would on a summer vacation to ensure they have an unforgettable trip. The journey of revenge is all about making up for lost time and missed opportunities due to the pandemic.
I’ve identified the best places Americans can do it. These are places that won’t appear on the average person’s bucket list, but they each offer a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.
Each of these destinations are open to tourism and are looking to welcome visitors back now.
1. Turks and Caicos Islands
There’s no better place to have a post-pandemic luxury travel experience than the Turks and Caicos Islands. This chain of sandy cays in the Atlantic Ocean offers total relaxation in the form of white sand beaches, cerulean waters and a laid back island atmosphere. It’s all just a quick flight from Miami.
In addition to postcard-worthy beaches, Turks and Caicos has a pristine coral reef that’s perfect for scuba diving. You can practice almost any water sport here, from parasailing to paddleboarding, or spend your time exploring the territory’s 32 uninhabited islands by small boat or yacht. Deep waters are just minutes from shore. For anglers looking for big game, this is a dream destination.
Turks and Caicos is undeniably a place to indulge, with world-class resorts, acclaimed golf courses and spas, and top-notch dining. All of this luxury comes at a cost, though: A couple’s week-long stay at a resort, including dinner at a restaurant, horseback riding and a half-day boat trip, can cost $9,000. US.
But a lesson of the pandemic has been to seize opportunities when they arise, and for those looking for a total escape, the Turks and Caicos Islands are hard to beat. Right now, Americans must be fully vaccinated with two doses of an approved vaccine to come here.
2. Azores and Madeira, Portugal
Two alternatives to the most touristy beaches in mainland Portugal are the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira. Located 870 and 600 miles respectively from Lisbon, these unique islands almost force you to disconnect while you immerse yourself in the raw nature.
Known as the “Hawaii of the Atlantic,” the landscape of the Azores is dominated by green-sheathed peaks and valleys. A cornucopia of natural attractions is available on the nine islands that make up the Azores, from geysers to waterfalls, from sandy beaches to thermal baths. Portugal’s highest mountain, Mount Pico with its 7,700 foot peak, is located here.
Madeira, on the other hand, is known as “the floating garden of the Atlantic” due to the lush laurel forests and exotic flowers that grow in abundance. Madeira has won the award for best island destination in the world more than a handful of times, while this year Porto Santo Beach and Seixal Beach were ranked among the best in Europe.
On these two archipelagos, all kinds of outdoor recreation opportunities are at your fingertips. Hike along Madeira levadas (stone irrigation canals built as early as the 15th century), bird watching, fishing, sailing, scuba diving and whale and dolphin watching are just some of the activities you can practice.
Due to the current strength of the dollar against the euro, Americans have increased their purchasing power in the euro zone this summer.
To visit the Azores you will need to present proof of vaccination, a negative test (either a 72 hour PCR test or a 48 hour rapid antigen test) or a COVID-19 recovery certificate if you are arriving directly from the Azores. ‘foreign. Madeira imposes no entry restrictions on visitors.
3. Kotor, Montenegro
Just down the coast from Dubrovnik, better known in Croatia, is the small town of Kotor, Montenegro. Nestled at the foot of a steep cove, overlooking the sparkling Adriatic and backed by towering mountains, the views of Kotor alone are worth the trip.
The town itself offers Old World charm in spades. Surrounded by ancient walls, it has a concentration of historic buildings that make it the best preserved medieval town in the Mediterranean. The old town, full of narrow cobbled streets, squares and markets is a UNESC
Modern marinas and a geography suitable for adventure sports (hiking, rafting, etc.) are also available from Kotor. While more tourists will head to Croatia this summer, Montenegro is more affordable with similar views and an Adriatic vibe.
Montenegro has removed all COVID-19-related entry requirements – no vaccines, tests or health exams required – making travel easier at this time.
4. Ceara, Brazil
Brazil is a country of beach lovers. While most international visitors flock to Copacabana and Ipanema, Brazilians vacation in Ceará, a northeast Brazilian state with 370 miles of soft, sandy coastline.
You’ll find a beach here for everyone, from city beaches with amenities to secluded outposts backed by tall white sand dunes to windswept strips where you can kite or windsurf.
Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará, is the epicenter of cultural activity in the state. It is the fifth largest city in Brazil, with 2.7 million inhabitants and famous for its vibrant nightlife. Yet it retains that quintessential Brazilian beach town feel, especially along the Beira Mar Avenue promenade where you can watch fishermen selling their daily catch or ever-active Brazilians playing futsal on the sand.
For those looking for a more laid-back atmosphere than Fortaleza, there are quaint fishing villages along the coast of Ceará. Canoa Quebrada is a seaside resort with a wide beach backed by red cliffs. It was discovered for tourism by the hippies of Europe in the 70s and has retained that free-spirited feel to this day.
Because Ceará is an inland tourist destination, prices are low for visitors from North America who generally have more purchasing power. The current strength of the US dollar against the Brazilian real is further bolstering American savings.
To enter Brazil as a tourist, you must be fully vaccinated. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from getting vaccinated, you will need to present a negative PCR or antigen test within 24 hours before boarding your flight.
Malta is one of the smallest countries in Europe, but it is packed with fascinating history and culture, unique attractions and stunning natural scenery, as well as a packed calendar of summer events.
Its capital, Valletta, is the smallest in Europe at less than half a square mile. Still, it’s a historical treasure with a landmark or monument around every corner. It received a facelift when it was crowned European Capital of Culture in 2018, which saw the restoration of many of its oldest buildings.
Beyond the capital, the rugged coastlines of Malta, Gozo and Comino (the three main islands that make up the country) hide sandy Mediterranean beaches, secluded bays, dramatic cliffs and picturesque fishing ports.
Malta ticks a lot of boxes: that’s for sure, with friendly locals and a pleasant climate, and English is one of its official languages. During the summer months it comes alive with events like the Malta International Wine Festival (in June) and the Malta Jazz Festival (in July).
To come to Malta this summer you will need to be fully vaccinated or provide a COVID-19 recovery certificate or a negative 72 hour PCR or 24 hour rapid antigen test. If you cannot meet these requirements, you will need to self-quarantine upon arrival for 10 days.
6. Salta, Argentina
Salta, a province in northwestern Argentina, stands out for its Mars-like desert landscapes, strong Andean culture, high-altitude vineyards, and picturesque capital, also called Salta. Known as “Salta La Linda” (“Pretty Salta”), the capital has some of the most striking Spanish colonial architecture in the country, including well-preserved parks, churches and plazas.
It is a cultural center, a place where you can enjoy delicious regional cuisine and learn about local art, history and archeology in the many museums. Attend a pena— a traditional folk music concert — is an unforgettable way to connect with local culture. These involve Spanish guitars, drums, fiddles and audience participation in the form of applause and stomping.
If you are here in August, you can also witness the Pachamama celebrations, dedicated to Mother Earth and based on Andean mythological belief.
With its wide open spaces and incredible rock formations, the province of Salta attracts lovers of outdoor recreation. Hiking, biking, horseback riding, white water rafting and more can be enjoyed in this rugged landscape. The start of summer in the United States matches the start of winter in Argentina, but temperatures are milder here than in other parts of the country, so the weather outside is always pleasant.
Argentina recommends visitors get tested 24 hours before arrival, but it does not impose any vaccination or testing requirements. You will need to complete an electronic declaration with information about your vaccination status and declare if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
7. Caño Cristales, Colombia
Known as “the liquid rainbow”, a visit to Caño Cristales is an experience you won’t soon forget. This technicolor river flows red, green, yellow, blue, and black in various places due to algae growing along the river bed.
To make the experience even more special, the seaweed only blooms at certain times of the year, which means timing your visit is key. The good news is that this summer, especially from July to October, is the perfect time to go.
Caño Cristales is in La Macarena National Park, a densely forested area where you can sample the megadiversity that Colombia is famous for. While kayaking in the river, you can observe up to 400 species of birds that inhabit the park, as well as monkeys and pink dolphins.
Part of the reason Caño Cristales is a once-in-a-lifetime experience is that it’s not easy to get to. This involves an arduous multi-day trip over land or more likely a charter plane from Bogotá. Currently, Americans can enter Colombia with a vaccination pass or a negative 72-hour PCR or antigen test.
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