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April 04, 2018

Fiji

When you think of an exotic vacation, Fiji might be the first place that comes to mind, and for good reason. It is located right in the heart of the South Pacific–-the perfect place for a private getaway.  

The Fiji Islands are made up of 333 islands, so trying to choose where to visit can be overwhelming. Visit Viti Levu for its vastness and ability to partake in many different outdoor activities or go to Yasawas for a bit of privacy and to see more of the Fijian culture. Make a point of visiting Taveuni, for its national parks, lush rainforests, variety of exotic birds and spectacular mountain hikes. Each island has its own personality – which one will you discover?

Language: English, Fijian, and Fiji Hindi

Where to stay: Enjoy your vacation at the The Likuliku Lagoon Resort if you’re looking for peace and quiet. Located on Malolo Island, you won’t believe your eyes when you see the pristine scenery. As a bonus, get ready to listen to ancient Fijian mythology and folklore while you’re there – you’re staying at a place that’s a known for its storytelling!

If you want to be in the middle of all the action, go to the Warwick Hotels and Resorts in Viti Levu. With everything from a relaxing spa day to archery available at this resort, you'll never be bored. It's also only 10 minutes away from some of the best local dive sites so that you can see turtles, sharks, and over 1,500 species of reef fish.

What to do: Fiji caters to a range of people, whether you’re in the mood to dive in the “Soft Coral Capital of the World” or came to simply enjoy the beaches and spas available. Take the chance to parasail over the South Pacific Ocean, surf through Fiji’s waves, and canoe through the coastline. For the sports lovers, Fiji is home to incredible golf courses and make sure to go horseback riding before you go home.

Climate: year-round tropical island climate (30 C – 86 F)

Eat: Ignore the dilapidated entrance and step into Savusavu’s best restaurants, Surf ‘N’ Turf. With its breathtaking views, Surf ‘N’ Turf boasts its menu with the freshest fish in town and its homemade ice cream. If you’re in the mood, the piece de resistance is a six-course menu where the food is prepared right in front of you. Make sure to take plenty of pictures and videos. 

Packing tips: Since Fiji has year-round tropical island climate, pack casual clothes and don't worry about sweaters. Make sure that you pack your bathing suit and sun block, and don't forget something a little classier for nights out.

Two chairs on a beach

Tahiti

Travelling to the Tahitian islands will raise your standards for every future vacation that you take. The beauty of Tahiti is unparalleled. You can drink out of a coconut, explore a coral reef, and swim under a waterfall, all without travelling more than 50 miles. Situated halfway between Los Angeles and Sydney, Tahiti is truly a tropical paradise.

Language: French

Where to stay: The Manava Suite Resort in Tahiti sits along the beach with a scenic view of the lagoon. Don't forget to take a trip to the Manea Spa, have a few drinks at the Punavai Lounge Bar, and tan by the deck during your stay at The Manava. No matter what else you do in Tahiti, you’ll never forget the feeling of relaxing in the infinity pool at this picturesque resort. 

What to do: Tahiti is the place to explore both your adventurous and relaxing sides. If you want a day trip, choose from hiking a mountain, scuba diving or surfing in the intense waves at Teahupo’o. Need a day to rest? What better place to lounge around than in an overwater bungalow. Don’t forget to catch a Tahitian dance show and soak in a little of the Tahitian culture.

Where to eat: Fine dining and authentic Tahitian cuisine combine forces at Le Grillardin in Papeete. With a welcoming atmosphere and some of the best food on the island, expect to find some of the best fish you've ever tasted in your life here.

What to bring: Due to its tropical climate, pack the usual swimsuits, sandals, and sunscreen. However, you'll want a dress or suit for nights out at one of the many five-star restaurants in Tahiti.

Alaska

Welcome to The Last Frontier – where the summer is primetime to visit the magic of Alaska. You’ll be able to see bears, glaciers, and even a few killer whales if you're lucky. This destination is one you won't soon forget.

Language: English 

Where to stay: You will love staying at The Hotel Captain Cook, a hotel with a wonderful view right in the middle of Anchorage. If you need to recharge in between day trips, make sure you hit the onsite jacuzzis and steam rooms.

What to do:  Known for its stunning wilderness, the best things to do in Alaska involve the great outdoors! Whether thats a hike, checking out a glacier or kayaking, you'll never be bored. If you're lucky, you'll get to see the Northern Lights.

Where to eat: There is no fresher place to eat smoked salmon than Alaska’s own Bridge Seafood Restaurant. Dine with a stunning view of Anchorage while you taste some world-famous Alaskan Oysters, Alaskan King Crab Legs, and local Halibut. 

If you're looking for something a little higher end, look no further than the Seven Glaciers Restaurant. With a wine list second to none and a view of both the ocean and a glacier, you're sure to enjoy your time here. 

What to bring: Although it’s summer, Alaska can still be chilly. Bring plenty of warm layers and some boots for playing in nature.

Iceland

Northern Lights, geysers, and lagoons are only a small portion of what makes Iceland one of the best exotic destinations to take in this year. Look up at the night sky to see the bright dancing lights of the aurora or take a road trip and explore every corner of the country.

Language: Icelandic, English

Where to stay: Very few people can say they’ve slept in a bubble in the middle of a forest – but in Iceland can you stay in a Buubble. You can lay in bed and count the stars-- sure to be a highlight of your trip.

What to do: With so many things to see and do in Iceland, there are quintessential must-dos. Enjoy relaxing at the Blue Lagoon, the geothermal spa with an outdoor lagoon that is considered one of the wonders of the world. If you can, you should also drive through the Golden Circle and experience the world-famous Geysir Geothermal Area, Pingvellir National Park, and the Gullfoss Waterfall. 

Where to eat: The Food Cellar has dishes such as Duckleg Confit, Icelandic Langoustine, and the Fish of the Day. The restaurant also has a Secret Menu so when you stop by, you’re in for a surprise and a treat. Later in the night, the restaurant turns into a cocktail lounge with live music to enjoy.

What to bring: To prepare for your trip to Iceland, bring clothes that will keep you warm while you explore the country. Ironically, you’ll also need a swimsuit for the lagoon-- Iceland has it all.

Woman swimming in the blue lagoon in Iceland

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is the perfect place for anyone to visit. Offering everything from swimming with Great White Sharks to a world-class food scene, Cape Town has an experience for everyone. 

Language: Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, and English

Where to stay: Look no further than Cape Grace Hotel-- it features stunning views of Table Mountain or the harbour from every window. Only a few minutes walk away from Cape Town waterfront, the hotel is perfectly placed for a little bit of serenity. Don't miss the whiskey tasting in the underground bar!

What to do: Cape Town is has an incredibly versatile range of activities to choose from. If you’re in the mood to explore the city, Cape Town has plenty of historical areas to keep you interested. You can’t leave without hiking Table Mountain to get a 360 view of the beautiful city and coastline. If you'd like to experience a safari, there's one nearby in Hazyview. If you prefer surfing, you can head to Durban-- and you may even see penguins on the beach! Cape Town is also known for its wine in Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek, which is best enjoyed from November to April.

Where to eat: Truly a foodie's paradise, there are plenty of restaurants to try in Cape Town. Your trip would not be complete without enjoying Bunny Chow, which is Malay-style chicken or lamb curry, or game meat at several restaurants that will cook up a crocodile for you. If you can, include a trip to The Backyard Grill, which serves up South African barbeque, or Braai. It’s the only way to really taste South African cooking.

What to bring: If you’re planning on hiking, bring appropriate shoes to make sure you don’t get hurt climbing Table Mountain. Due to Cape Town’s proximity to the equator, you’ll need sunglasses and sunscreen more than you think. For those planning on surfing, bring your favorite bathing suit and above all else, a camera to document your incredible vacation.

Thailand

Palaces, ruins, and temples, oh my! Thailand is not only exotic, but full of wonder as one of the most interesting countries in Asia. Explore the food culture, learn about the Thai history, or enjoy the vibrant nightlife that Thailand is famous for. With many islands to tour through, the question isn’t be “what to do” but “how do we do it all?”

Language: Thai

Hotel: The definition of Thai magic lies in the atmosphere at The Siam. This green paradise is filled with fountains, plenty of foliage, and an unmatched serenity. The place oozes luxury the way only Thailand knows how to do. Enjoy your time in one of the suites, the Pool Villa Courtyard, or the several restaurants and bars to entertain yourself.

What to do: Tap into your luxurious side and visit the Grand Palace to see how the residence-turned-museum palaces used to house the royals of Thailand. After sightseeing through Thailand, cruise to the Phi Phi Islands to relax by a cabana on the beach and scuba dive in the Andaman Sea. Take your trip to Lopburi, only two hours north of the capital, to hang out with Thailand’s monkeys. If you’re there on the last Sunday of November, partake in the Lopburi Monkey Festival and monkey around at the Khmer ruins!

Where to eat: Thailand boasts a spectacular culinary scene – when you’re not exploring the street food and night markets, enjoy fine dining at La Table de Tee. Recently voted the Top Restaurant in Bangkok, its Franco-Thai cuisine changes daily, so you'll always find something new and delicious. Fun fact: Thai food is eaten with a fork in your left hand and a spoon in your hand right, so start practicing your etiquette.

What to bring: Due to Thailand’s culture of taking off one’s shoes before entering a temple, someone’s house, or even a café, packing slip-on shoes is a must. Other than that, pack your warm weather clothes, and a swim suit or two for your trip to the Phi Phi Islands. 

Easter Island, Chile

If your goal when traveling is to go where no one else does, then Easter Island is your answer. Famous for its monumental Moai statues, the island has been a World Heritage Site since 1995. Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world – and the next stop on your travel bucket list.

Language: Spanish

Hotel: When on an island, the only appropriate place to stay is in a cabana or a bungalow. Stay right on the beach at the Te Ngahu Bungalows allows you to wake up with a waterfront view, and end your day with a spectacular sunset on your own private balcony. If cabanas are more your style, then Cabañas Tautira is the solution. Only three minutes away from the beach and surrounded by gardens, you have easy access to all of the restaurants, cafes, and pubs. 

What to do: Easter Island is home to multiple beaches and volcanoes, but its main treasure is the Ahu Tongariki. These famous statues face the sunset during the Summer Solstice and seeing them during the sunrise is a real treat, even if it means waking up extra early. Although an earthquake caused the statues to topple in 1960, the statues have been restored to their former glory. 

Where to eat: Indulge in Chilean food at Te Moai Sunset with its local beer and food on hanging wicker chairs while watching the sun go down. The restaurant features Chilean staples with a modern twist so you can still enjoy an authentic experience. For a more colorful experience, stop by Makona, where each plate features a different colorful flower, accompanied by even more colorful drinks. The portions are huge and the food is divine, so come with an empty stomach.  

What to bring: Bring your hiking shoes and sandals to enjoy all that the island has to offer. Easter Island boasts its tropical climate, so pack accordingly, though the nights get a little chilly, so a sweater might be your best friend.

Maldives

Take the time to visit the smallest Asian country with a big reputation – the Maldives. Made up of 1,000 coral islands, the Maldives have an incredible lanscape with beaches, lagoons, and reefs everywhere. Be prepared to relax by the water and indulge in all the seafood your heart desires.

Language: Dhivehi

Hotel: The best place to stay in the Maldives has to be Gili Lankanfushi for its romance and privacy – it’s the #1 Luxury Resort in Asia, tucked away on a private island. Get ready to wine and dine right above waters that are so clear, you’ll need to swim in them to believe it. Relax at the spa or go on an excursion and explore the underwater world of the Maldives-- you’ll love all of it.

What to do: Due to its many islands, the number one thing to enjoy in the Maldives is snorkeling. Pick from Maafushi, Meeru Island, or Hulhumalé – or visit them all! At Ari Atoll, you’ll be able to see manta rays and even whale sharks on your scuba diving trip. By the end of your trip, you might consider living on land an underwhelming experience.

Where to eat: Go to Ithaa Undersea Restaurant for an experience like no other. It has been rated as “the most beautiful restaurant in the world” by the New York Daily News and it’s not surprising. Here, you can dine inside a tank where the fish swim above you in a 180-degree see-through glass.

What to bring: Swim suits, swim suits, swim suits! The Maldives is all about water adventures, so bring enough swim suits to enjoy them all. However, the Maldives are also a Muslim country, so when you’re not in the water, make sure to dress conservatively out of respect.

Always on the hunt for great places to stay? Take a look at our roundup of the 9 best luxury vacation rental properties


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