THE WORLD IS A HUGE PLACE WITH PLENTY OF DESTINATIONS TO DISCOVER. HERE ARE 12 THAT HAVE SOMEHOW BEEN ABLE TO STAY UNDER THE RADAR AND BE TOTALLY OFF THE BEATEN PATH.
With 7.8 billion people in this world, it can be hard to find quiet, untouched places. It seems with the advent of the internet, social media, and geotagging in particular, beautiful places that were once unknown are now fully on the tourist circuit. Luckily, there are still (somehow) places that have avoided the crowds, have kept their natural beauty, and are perfect for an off the beaten path adventure.
Here are 12 truly off the beaten path destinations that will give you all the amazing views, adventures, and excitement as other popular tourist places - just without the crowds.
LET'S GET OFF THE BEATEN PATH: 12 DESTINATIONS TO DO IT
1 | Madagascar
As the world’s second-largest island nation, Madagascar has a lot to offer travelers. In fact, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot - over 90% of its wildlife (including the popular and very cute lemur species) are found nowhere else on Earth. While it is not exceedingly difficult to reach, Madagascar rewards visitors with diverse landscapes, national parks, and beautiful beaches.
Head out on a dirt road and be prepared to be amazed at the giant trees that await you - you have found the Avenue of the Baobabs, a road framed by dozens of rare and ancient baobab trees, creating a setting so beautiful and unique that it may become the country’s first official natural monument. And then there is Isalo National Park, home to sandstone massifs that have been wildly eroded by wind and rain into bizarre ridges (known as “runiformes”). You can also find impressive gorges and canyons and tiny stalagmite pinnacles, as well as animals such as ring-tailed lemurs, brown lemurs, sifakas and 14 other nocturnal lemurs that hide along the stream beds.
2 | French Polynesia
Composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls, which together stretch over an expanse of 2,000+ kilometers, French Polynesia is actually separated into 5 different groups of islands - including the Society Islands archipelago, home to Tahiti, the most populous island of them all (69% of the total population resides there). With so many islands to explore (and amazing waterfalls to adventure to), you really can spend weeks there and not see it all.
Explore the island of Moorea - the more rugged sister island to Tahiti (and home to an amazing rainforest for exploration). Other things you shouldn't miss is a guided walking tour of Tahiti’s Old Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, and exploring the Lagoonarium on Bora Bora, where you can discover dozens of top-notch snorkeling spots.
3 | St. Maarten
Part of what is known as the Dutch Caribbean, St. Maarten is a small island nation: the country is only 34 square kilometers(!). This stunning tropical island was hit hard by Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 storm, in 2017 and has been rebuilding ever since. Though, surprisingly, the country has the 14th largest GDP per capita in the world (including territories) when measured by purchasing power parity - three times as high as its French counterpart (the island is half French and half Dutch).
Mullet Pond, a section of Simpson Bay Lagoon, is home to 70% of Saint Maarten's mangrove population on the Dutch side of the island. Also don’t miss Mullet Beach, an awesome white sand beach nearby. Similarly, no trip to the island would be complete without stopping at Maho Beach - famous for its proximity to the airport and very low flying planes.
4 | Samoa
This small island nation is made up of two main islands: Savai'i and Upolu (home of the capital and 75% of the population). As well as two smaller inhabited islands, Manono and Apolima, and several smaller uninhabited islands. Samoa lies about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. Like many islands in the area, it was created due to volcanic activity - though only Savai'i, the westernmost island in Samoa, remains volcanically active. That has led to iridescent seas, jade jungles, and crystal waterfalls - aka plenty of adventures to be had.
You really can’t go wrong in Samoa in terms of adventure and exploration. But some of the best places to check out are Apia and Aleipata, especially if you are into snorkeling.