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Planning a winter vacation can be hectic even for a seasoned traveler, especially when it comes to choosing the right destination to visit and the right activities to take part in while there. But deciding to take a leap of faith and travel in winter could be the best decision you’ve made yet. There are many places in the world that are surreal but are known too many people which takes the uniqueness right out of it.

Winter might be the most magical time to kayak the Swedish archipelago. The Argentine Puna, on the other hand, is mesmerizing in any season, just remember that daytime temperature differentials are extreme in this eerily remote, high-altitude desert.

December marks the onset of the holiday season and winter. If you are looking forward to planning a luxurious holiday with an easy travel loan, you can explore countries that are bustling with activity this time of year. While you can do so within your country, you can also consider visiting an international destination.

The holiday is that the whole family dream. But sometimes it can be difficult to agree on what and where, a destination that makes everyone happy. Anyone wanting to experience as much culture as possible, someone loves sports and some just want to relax on a beach. Today we give you tips on destinations where many different interests can be combined.

Football matches, golf, shopping, sunbathing or sightseeing - find the favorite to suit everyone in the family.

Top Places to Visit in Winter

Here are few destinations you can consider for your winter holidays.

1. Bora Bora, French Polynesia


Bora Bora is an island in French Polynesia located north of Tahiti, 260 kilometers from the capital of Papeete. If you want to enjoy a show of Polynesian dances, forget about those organized by the hotels. Throughout the month of July a Festival of Polynesian dances is organized throughout the country called Heiva, which you can attend for free. Discover it in Bora Bora. Possibly it is the most beautiful lagoon in the world.

One of the most beautiful and photographed motus of Polynesia is the Motu Tapu. From Bora Bora you can see the nearby islands of Tahaa, Raiatea and Maupiti. Do not forget the drinks, the delicious cocktails such as maitai (rum mix, fresh pineapple and Cointreau) and Banana Coralia (fresh bananas, lemon juice, strawberry syrup and coconut).

Luxury hotels abound, with Polynesian-style bungalows built on the waters of the Bora Bora lagoon, where breakfast can arrive on board a canoe. In addition, the national television channel also broadcasts Heiva live, so if you fall far or do not coincide you can see it quietly from the hotel room. In Tahiti rent a car and go around the island.

The best season to travel to Bora Bora is during the months of May to October. Hurricane storms are common during the rest of the year. For scuba diving in Bora Bora, the best months are from April to June.

The Rangiroa Atoll is the second largest atoll in the world and is a spectacular place to dive. A perfect place to drift dive, the tropical waters are full of dolphins, sharks, and green sea turtles. Very few people come here, making it the perfect place to get away from hordes of tourists and enjoy a truly unique dive.

2. Peru


Peru is ideal for a holiday in December, especially if you’re planning for a foreign trip for its impressive coastline. Popular beach stretches include Punta Hermosa, Punta Negra and El Silencio. Peru is ideal for those who love the surf and sand, but also has a lot to offer to those who wish to explore the Amazon.

However, as some parts of Peru may be rainy during December, remember to pack clothes and gear accordingly, especially if you wish to go on hikes!

3. Noumea, New Caledonia


South Pacific is known by tropical islands that feature sandy beaches, turquoise waters, an abundance of the underwater world and not so many people around. Noumea, on the contrary, is the capital city of New Caledonia located on Grand Terre Island that enjoys the status of the fastest growing city in the region.

If you’re looking for a comfortable vacation with your family where everything is just minutes away from your resort, then Noumea might be the place for you. All major beaches are just a walk away from the city and you can expect nice infrastructures such as plenty of water activities, beach bars, and cozy restaurants.

If you’re looking to do some snorkeling or diving, heading to Amedee Island and exploring the crystal clear waters and coral reefs is a perfect choice. Looking for an adrenaline boost? Check out Rainforest Canopy Adventure which features a zipline ride through diverse Koghis Forest.

4. Bhutan


Why not head to the happiest country in the world? Bhutan is home to a world of scenic Himalayan landscapes and rich culture. Entrenched in traditions while also embracing the changes in the world, Bhutan is known for its highly sustainable tourism, which protects its environment and its cultural identity. Soak in a bath after a long day of exploration, visit the monasteries, and even brave Tiger's Nest. Pack your bags to unpack the secrets of this happiness!

Popularly known for being the happiest country in the world, its people will definitely make you feel that way. Your journey begins with the stunning, clear view of the majestic Himalayan range. Take a trip to one of the many monasteries that the country has, including one of the most daring treks to Tiger's Nest.

Or head to Dochula Pass, from where one can see 108 shrines overlooking the gorgeous valley. Take a walk on the longest suspension bridge near Phunaka Dzong, for some amazing photographic options (and if you're a fan of unique art, then you have to see the fertility temple at Phunnaka). Adventurous folks can even enjoy white water rafting!

Bhutan is a country that strongly protects its culture and traditions. Some consider it to be the last Shangri La, with an impressive landscape of illustrated fairytale, where the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas rise over shady gorges lined with virgin forests, and dzongs that rise like majestic forts and monasteries.

Bhutan is famous for having created Gross National Happiness as opposed to Gross Domestic Product based on 4 pillars of sustainable tourism, preservation and promotion of local culture and traditions. In few countries of the world such great importance is given to the local culture, conservation of the environment and good governance.

Bhutan has only one international airport that is in Paro, the third city in the country. Paro is 1 hour by car from the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. It usually appears on lists of the most dangerous airports in the world, although there are no records that there have been accidents in it since 1950. Only two airlines fly to Bhutan and both are local with Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines.

In Thimphu, the great Buddha Dordenma, from the top of a hill, leads the whole valley. Tamchhog Lhakhang, a small private temple accessed through a suspension bridge, and the Tashichho dzong, Buddhist monastery and fortification, imposing and harmonious, are essential visits.

The national animal of Bhutan is called Takin and is a interesting mammal that looks like a mixture between a goat and a cow. The trip to climb the Temple of the Tiger's Nest takes around 4 hours. It can only be accessed on foot or horse, after a long and intense road, but it is definitely worth it. The Tiger's Nest, called Taktsang Monastery, was built in 1692 around a cave in which a monk named Padmasambhava meditated.

This monk was the one who supposedly introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. The temple is spectacularly built on a cliff above 900 meters above the Paro Valley and 3120 meters above sea level. A few hours away from Paro by the highest passable road in the country, the little frequented Haa valley houses magical hermitages nestled in the rock, ancient temples and charming villages.

The Punakha Dzong fortress is the most impressive in the country and the second oldest. Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility, is a beautiful traditional architecture and colorful decoration inside. Go through the Phobjikha valley and see the black-necked cranes that migrate from Tibet, one of the birds most valued by the Bhutanese. Trek the Dochula mountain pass, with its 108 stupas and the temple on top of the hill.

The routes of Bhutan are physically demanding but at the same time very rewarding like Bumthang and Jomolhari and are ideal for day trips. While on a road trip, Phuntsholing is the official entry and exit points to Bhutan from India.

5. Cambodia


If Southeast Asia is on your mind, consider Cambodia. December is an ideal time to visit this destination as there’s not much rainfall and you can enjoy clear skies and temperatures of around 20 degree celsius. Like other destinations in Southeast Asia, Cambodia boasts of pristine beaches such as Koh Rong Samloem and offers many water activities such as kayaking and snorkelling.

Cambodia is also famous for the Angkor Wat temple complex and the best part is that a holiday here is relatively pocket-friendly.

6. Lesotho


This is the only country in the world situated entirely over 1,000 metres above sea level, and one of two where the average altitude is more than 2,000 metres. Hence, it’s often referred to as the Kingdom of the Sky.

Lesotho is called the kingdom of heaven, home of the traditional Basotho people, where the shepherds take care of the sheep on the slopes and riders wrapped in mantles ride through the mountains. Lesotho is a tremendously undervalued destination. It is safe, cheap and very accessible from Durban and Johannesburg. In addition, it offers excellent opportunities for hiking and the infrastructures of its national parks progressively improve.

In the low lands (above 1000 m) the simple way of life of its people takes place, and in the ​​Teyateyaneng and Maseru area there is magnificent craftsmanship but we must not stop exploring the valleys and mountains crossed by streams that once were a playground for the dinosaurs.

Sani Top is on top of the pronounced port of Sani, on the only reliable (albeit sinuous) road that crosses Lesotho through the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg mountain range, in KwaZulu-Natal. Sehlabathebe National Park, the most undervalued reserve in the country is as remote as it is steep and beautiful. Katse houses the highest dam in Africa (1993 m), whose serene reservoir, surrounded by steep green hills, is a good place to make a stop.

Nestled in the bowels of the rugged Maluti mountains, Ts'ehlanyane National Park protects a beautiful area of ​​unspoilt nature at high altitude, which covers the only native forest in the country. The Maletsunyane waterfalls are an hour and a half walk from Semonkong. Mokhotlong is the main town north of the port of Sani and evokes a Wild West style environment.

7. Madagascar


Excluding Antarctica, Madagascar was the second-last significant landmass to be reached by humans - it was only settled at around 500 AD. And despite it being less than 400 km off the African coast, African colonists were beaten to the island by Austronesians from across the Indian Ocean!

With an area of over 587,000 square kilometres, Madagascar is the fourth-largest island in the world, after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo. This large island off Africa was isolated from the landmass for 88 million years, and is home to an abundance of plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet. It is nicknamed the 8th continent.

There are paradise spots on the coast that are equipped for tourism, but the inland is only for the adventurous, as conditions are rough.

Madagascar possesses species of animals and plants unique in the world as a result of the isolation produced after the separation, millions of years ago, from the rest of the African continent and later from India. This fact favored that the evolution of flora and fauna there has been different from that of any other part of our planet and hence its exclusivity.

Can there be a better reason to visit a country than to see species that you have never seen before? This guide is designed to help the independent traveler who is planning his trip to this country. The visa can be obtained on-arrival at the Ivato airport. What to see in Madagascar?

The grand Tsingy de Bemaraha is known for its pointed rock formations, karstic mountains molded by the underground waters that have eroded it to give it that peculiar shape, so seen in the Madagascar guides. Undoubtedly one of the most famous places in Madagascar is this avenue in which the protagonists are the baobabs.

The avenue is very close to Morondava. The Anja reserve is very close to the town of Ambalavao. In this small reserve enjoy the catta or ring-tailed lemurs, the best-known animals of this island of Africa. Very close to the small town of Andasive is the Analamazaotra reserve, one of the parks where you can see the indri, the largest lemur of all.

Unusually, all the rodents on Madagascar belong to a single African family - the nesomyids. The most well-known would be the Malagasy giant rat, pictured, which has the size and appearance of a rabbit, and can jump a metre into the air. Another interesting one is the beautifully named bastard big-footed mouse.

Among its bird-life are many beautiful feathered friends, such as the Madagascar blue pigeon. Madagascan fish-eagle is possibly the rarest species of raptor in the world. Vangas are a group of birds which are typically black and white, resembling shrikes. However, there are several interesting variations and outliers - namely, the helmet vanga, which has a thick, bright blue bill, the sickle-billed vanga, which uses its thin, curved beak to probe soil, and the brilliantly coloured blue vanga.

The cuckoo-roller, a single species which has an entire order to itself, the Leptosomiformes. It’s quite strange for many reasons - it has an oversized head, with a stout beak and eyes set back far. Its feet are zygodactylous, with two toes facing forwards and two backward. Also, they’re unique among birds in that they are sit-and-wait ambush predators.

The asities are some of the planet’s most beautiful perching birds. The males of most species have brightly coloured fleshy wattles on their faces. The colour of these wattles is created by arrays of collagen fibres which reflect light in a specific way - in fact, no other animals have this. Additionally, asities have some of the shortest tails of any birds.

As well as mammals, Madagascar is also well-known for its chameleon fauna. In fact, about half of the world’s chameleon species live in this one island. Among them is the world’s largest chameleon, the Parson’s chameleon. As well as the world’s smallest, Brookesia micra. At around an inch in length, it’s also one of the world’s smallest reptiles.

And there’s also Labord’s chameleon, which has the shortest lifespan of any land vertebrate. It lives for only 4–5 months! They always hatch in November, then reach adulthood in January, mate and lay eggs in February, and die shortly thereafter. Because of this life cycle, there is an annual 7-month period when the species is extinct in the wild.

Coincidentally, Madagascar is also the only home of the world’s longest-lived land vertebrate, and it too is a reptile - the radiated tortoise. Tu’i Malila, a captive individual, died in 1965 at the age of 188. This makes it the oldest tetrapod whose age has been determined with certainty. That being said, there is currently a living Seychelles tortoise who might be 187, and one Aldabra giant tortoise died at an unverified 255, so it might lose its crown in time.

The two Madagascar blind-snakes, which are the sole species in the family Xenotyphlopidae. As its name suggests, it is completely blind. The head has a tough shield, used for burrowing, which makes it appear almost perfectly vertical. Sadly, it’s critically endangered, and may inhabit only about 10 square kilometres of land.

The also critically endangered Madagascan big-headed turtle. As its name suggests, its most noticeable feature is its very large head. Evolutionarily, it’s highly unique, having diverged from all other turtles 80 million years ago. Because of this, it is the highest land vertebrate on the EDGE list, which ranks species based on their endangerment as well as their uniqueness.

There is a near-endemic family (also found in Mayotte, a small island) known as the mantellas, which are essentially the Malagasy answer to Latin America’s poison dart frogs. Another example of convergent evolution at work. Another notable group are the tomato frogs, in which the females are very large and bright red.

The giraffe weevil, a favourite of many a macrophotographer. As you’ve probably guessed, the reason it’s called the giraffe weevil is because of its huge, extended neck. Males, which are 3 times bigger than females, use it for fighting other males, whereas females use it for building nests. They do this by rolling leaves into a tube.

There are many species all over the world in this group, but Madagascar has an especially high number of them. They’re famous for their macabre habit of drinking the blood of their own larvae in lean times. One Madagascan species, Mystrium capillae, can snap its jaws shut with dumbfounding speeds of 90 metres per second.

Mayflies are usually a few millimetres in length, but the larvae of this genus reach seven centimetres. They’re aquatic, and have rows of feathery gills on each side, which ripple in an almost mesmerizing way. Madagascar is a hotspot of mayfly diversity, with around 200 species (of which all but one are endemic).

The Madagascan fire millipede is the most beautiful myriapod in the world. Scientifically termed Aphistogoniulus corallipes, its carapace is scarlet red and black, while its legs are a fiery orange colour. Because of their attractive colours, they are popular as pets.

The Madagascar shell-squatting spider, Olios coenobiticus uses threads of silk to hoist snail shells off the ground, creating a home for the spider which is sheltered and safe from predators. This could even be seen as tool use. Unfortunately, very little is known about the shell-squatting spider, and the photos we do have of them aren’t of the best quality.

Darwin’s bark spider, even more amazing than the previous arachnid. The webs they build are the largest in the world, with 2.8 square metre surface areas. These webs span across entire rivers! The silk they use to build these webs is the toughest biological material in the world by a factor of two, ten times stronger than Kevlar. They also have fascinating mating habits, but that’s a story for another day.

To top it all off, there are many unique plants in Madagascar, some of them entire unique families. Baobab trees are an absolute icon of the island, and six of the world’s nine baobab species are only found on Madagascar. This includes by far the largest and most spectacular one, Grandidier’s baobab. There’s also the bizarre-looking octopus tree, which is 10 metres tall and densely covered in spines.

Madagascar periwinkle might look normal enough, but it’s the only source of the important drugs vincristine and vinblastine, used in the treatment of cancer.

And that’s just the extant wildlife of the island. During the last Ice Age, there were lemurs as big as gorillas, giant eagles, giant fossas, giant tortoises, and the largest birds of all time, all on Madagascar. Living alongside them were dwarf hippos (the only ungulates ever to inhabit the island) and crocodiles.

From the point of view of animals and plants, Madagascar is one of the most unique and interesting places in the entire world. And that’s not to mention some of its amazing landscapes, such as the world’s largest stone forest.

The Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is located about 20 kilometers from Andasive. The main protagonist is the dreaded fossa, the largest predator in Madagascar. Visit the Grand Tsingy de Bemaraha. There’s even a muskrat-like aquatic species. Surprisingly, tenrecs are more closely related to manatees than they are to any of these animals - a great example of convergent evolution. The fastest option is to go by road to Belo-sur-Tsiribihina and from there to Bekopaka.

Embark on the adventure of descending by canoe down the Tsiribihina River, camping on the river bank and being surprised discovering the wildest fauna. Antsirabe is located in the central area of ​​the country. Ambositra is the capital of craftsmanship in Madagascar, a town in the central lands where you can find wood carvings, raffia baskets or marquetry.

Morondava is a quiet coastal town in western Madagascar famous for being only a few kilometers from one of the most visited places in the country, Avenue of the Baobabs. Morondava is divided between the coastal town and the area of ​​Nosy Kely, near the beach of Bethany. Despite being the capital of the country, Antananarivo is not what one imagines and has nothing to do with a big city.

8. Seychelles


Seychelles islands are often perceived as one of those destinations unattainable by elitists and very expensive and an Eden reserved for patricians or wealthy newlyweds eager to celebrate love by spending money in handfuls. This being true, it is also true that there are ways to travel to Seychelles for a couple of weeks for much less.

Well, the first thing is to get to Mahé, where the international airport is. In it you can find the highest peaks of the islands of the Morne Sychellois and the Trois Frères. The capital of the Seychelles, Victoria, is located in Mahé. Continuing down Benezet street you can reach the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market, which on Saturdays offers a special spectacle of color and bustle in the middle of the different stalls.

The Francis Rachel street is known for the many shops that are located in it, by Kenwyn House, traditional style house and by the bust of Pierre Piovre who encouraged the cultivation of spices in the islands. Beau Vallon is the most popular beach in Mahé with three kilometers in the shape of a half moon. This beach has fairly swell waters so it is ideal for windsurfing.

In Seychelles, the world famous, top-ranked beach Anse Source d'Argent alone is enough to catapult Seychelles near the top! But there are even better, lesser known oceanfront areas including Anse Intendance and Anse Georgette!

Anse à la Mouche is much quieter and you can practice swimming and water sports with complete peace of mind. Baie Lazare is a pleasant fishing village with a beach shaded by trees that grow near the shore. Punta Noroeste, with its typical rocks and its exuberant vegetation, is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.

The Baie Ternay Marine National Park is also very pleasant, less congested by tourists than Sainte Anne and in a better state of conservation.

Praslin is the second largest island in the Seychelles. Perhaps the greatest attraction of Praslin is the Vallée de Mai. In this valley the Coco de Mer, one of the symbols of the Seychelles, is preserved. Even quieter than the previous ones, La Digue is full of pink granitic rocks that have given it worldwide fame. On this island you can see great constructions of Creole style.

Anse Patate is a good bay to bathe before entering the wild coast where the wind blows with great force as in Anse Gaulettes, Anse Grosse Roche, Anse Banane and Anse Fourmis.

The islands are expensive and do not stand out for their great gastronomic offer. There are, of course, fish and fruits. But everything else is imported. So spending on food is as flexible as you want.

9. Kyrgyzstan


Cholpon Ata is one of the best-known towns of Issyk-Kul, the second largest salt lake in the world after the Caspian Sea and, the highest, after Titicaca. Issyk-Kul Oblast is located east of Bishkek and occupies an important part of the national territory. The fact that in Kyrgyzstan there is no sea beach makes the Issyk-Kul is chosen by the vast majority of the Kyrgyz (and even Kazakhs or Russians) as a destination to spend a few weeks on vacation.

Another one of the busiest is Bosteri. To go from Cholpon Ata to Bosteri we took a marshrutka that took us to Bosteri in 10 minutes. The marshrutka was going to Karakol but we asked if they could leave us there. Upon arrival we find the craziest site in the entire Issyk-Kul.

Bosteri is full of beach bars of all kinds of food, in addition to the corresponding street vendors. There is everything, even souvenirs, but mostly what you will find is typical food from Kyrgyzstan, such as manti or pelmeni, since it is a food that is eaten a lot. You can also find places to buy hamburgers, frankfurt, kebabs, shawarmas, soft drinks, etc. And all at an incredibly cheap price.

In the whole country you will find ice cream street stalls, written Морoженое in Russian. Yes, buying kumis in Bosteri is also possible.

10. Armenia


Armenia is tucked away and is unknown to most of the world but it is very surreal and is an ancient country with a long history and rich culture. The natural landscapes are so beautiful and are dotted with churches that are almost 2000 years old and other structures that date back to antiquity. Armenia is an open air museum and is unknown to the rest of the world but has some very surreal places that will impact you forever.

In the central part of Yerevan is the opera and ballet theater. A symbolic historical attraction is the Erebuni fortress. For hundreds of years, the city was the capital of the prosperous city of Urartian. Nagorno-Karabakh could be an independent country, except that no member of the United Nations recognizes it as such.

Although recognized by the United Nations as part of Azerbaijan, in practice the only way to get to Nagorno-Karabakh is by Armenia. Artsakh is mountains, for something it is called Nagorno.

Tatev Monastery built over a thousand years ago into the cliffside was a huge walled monastery complex in medieval Armenia. You can get there by taking the longest aerial cablecar in the world extending around 6 kilometers!

Echmiadzin Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the world and was built in 303 AD in the holy city of Vagharshapat. It has been repaired and rebuilt subsequently in history.

Temple of Garni is the only Hellenistic Temple in the entire post Soviet Union area.
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