Dakhla, Morocco. Tajikistan. The Haida Gwaii Islands. These are a few of the world’s most overlooked destinations and they also happen to be on Intrepid Travel’s just released Not Hot List.
Designed to address and combat over-tourism which is increasingly becoming a global issue, the annual list from the world’s largest B Corp certified travel company contains lesser-discovered countries, regions and cities that are worth the jaunt. All of them can be accessed through some of the tour company’s itineraries in a sustainable way that enriches communities instead of overwhelming them, led by local leaders who can offer rich insider info and take travellers off the beaten path.
Here are 10 places that made this year’s Not Hot List.
The white sand dunes and beaches on the edge of the Saraha in Dakhla, Morocco were largely inaccessible until a few years ago; a new Marrakech & Dakhla Adventure lets you spend the night in a traditional Bedouin camp and enjoy freshly-caught seafood.
Gambia has been trending in Google searches, yet the smallest nation on the African continent receives far fewer visitors than South Africa and Kenya; see the country’s birdlife, beaches and tropical woodlands on the Senegal & The Gambia Expedition.
Sudan’s archaeological sites, ancient ruins and fascinating cultures have long remained a secret to most Westerners; the new Northern Sudan Expedition melds the old and the new with visits to ancient cities and necropolises and modern Sudanese souks, chai houses and nomadic settlements.
The 160,000 visitors that Moldova receives in a year is the name number that Croatia sees every single day. But this tiny country nestled between Romania and Ukraine has a vibrant and ancient wine culture – including the biggest wine cellar in the world with more than 120 miles of underground passages and two million bottles. Swirl and sip at Milestii Mici, see the Soviet breakaway republic of Transnistria Orheiul Vechi, a fourteenth-century cave monastery and UNESCO site on the Moldova, Ukraine & Romania Explorer trip.
Nicaragua’s unrest has been followed by a surge in visitors; on the Best of Nicaragua you’ll experience the rainforests of Ometepe Island, formed by two volcanoes that rose from Lake Nicaragua; glean insight into the country’s revolutionary past in boho Lean and beach it on the Pacific coast in laid-back San Juan del Sur.
Want to check out unexplored Asia? Northeast Cambodia is the sustainable alternative to over-visited Sihanoukville, which Intrepid removed from its itineraries; the new Cambodia Expedition: Elephants & Jungles takes visitors on a hike at the Elephant Valley Project that puts the animals’ welfare and treatment first.
Sulawesi proves that there is much more to Indonesia than the beaches of Bali. Included in the Sulawesi Expedition: Tana Toraja Trek is a hike through dense bamboo forests, stays in traditional villages and a boat ride in rice paddies; most fascinating is learning about the Ma’nene death ritual, a 900-year-tradition of digging up corpses and spending time with the dead.
Intrepid predicts that Tajikistan’s Silk Road could become the next region to increase in popularity. Uzbekistan is the fastest growing destination in the region and Tajikistan could become the next destination to surge; the Tajikistan Discovery is a unique experience with an immersive five nights in homestays.
The Haida Gwaii Islands
Whether you’ve already ticked off the Galapagos Islands from your bucket list or haven’t made it there yet, consider Canada’s Haida Gwaii Islands, referred to as the “Galapagos of the North” because of their complex ecosystem and diverse wildlife; uncover their beauty in the Haida Gwaii Islands Expedition, which takes you to local villages and to meet the First Peoples in Naikoon Provincial Park.
Finally, Greenland is a less-visited place to see the beauty of the Arctic Circle than the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard; the Greenland Expedition is Intrepid’s first dedicated land-based tour of the world’s largest non-continental island, one of the only truly wild spots left on earth with only 60,000 residents.