The Top 10 Places to Travel in 2016

We're rounding up the list of places we're dying to visit this year. 
Consider this our 2016 bucket list.

1. ICELAND

iceland-blue-lagoon

Everyone is talking about Iceland. The island's landscapes are so interesting and strange that it could pass for another planet. Iceland is pretty much the only place in the world where you can visit glaciers, fjords, volcanoes, hot springs, and the northern lights all in the span of one short weekend. To top it off, airlines like Wow Air have made it easy and cheap to travel to Reykjavík, the country's ultra-modern capital that's a perfect home base during your stay. Plan your trip using our Iceland Travel Guide

PERFECT FOR: Adventure seekers, nature lovers

TOP EXPERIENCES: Soaking in the blue lagoon, seeing the Northern lights

BEST TIME TO GO: All year round! Peak season is June to August.

TOP HOTEL PICK: Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel (Selfoss, Iceland)

WILD TERRAINS GUIDE >> ICELAND

 

2. BELIZE

Photo by The AntiSocialite

Photo by The AntiSocialite

Belize takes all of our favorite things about Central America and the Caribbean - the laid-back culture, the tropical food, the beaches, the adventures - and packs them into one small country. It's home to the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, and you're pretty much guaranteed to find on over-the-water beach bungalow to crash in for a few days. 

PERFECT FOR: Divers and people who love hanging out in beach bungalows

TOP EXPERIENCES: Snorkel the reef off of Caye Caulker, dive the Blue Hole

BEST TIME TO GO: November to April

TOP HOTEL PICK: It's not open yet, but we've got our eyes set on Itz'ana Resort in Palencia

 

3. ISLA HOLBOX, MEXICO

Super cool shot taken by Inside Elsewhere

Isla Holbox is still a secret (shhh don't tell a soul). It's a little island off the Yucatan peninsula (3 hours north of Cancun) thats only 16 miles long and home to only 2,000 lucky residents. This is the place for those of you complaining that Tulum has become too much of a scene. No big resorts, no fancy meals, no shoes required. Plan your trip with our Isla Holbox Travel Guide

PERFECT FOR: Those who want to get away from everything

TOP EXPERIENCES: Swimming with the whale sharks, noshing on the fresh catch of the day

BEST TIME TO GO: December to April

TOP HOTEL PICK: Casa Las Tortugas is hands down our top pick! 

WILD TERRAINS GUIDE >> Isla Holbox

 

4. MADAGASCAR

We love this shot by Tanveer Badal of Compass & Passport

We love this shot by Tanveer Badal of Compass & Passport

Madagascar is a large island filled with natural wonders that's located in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. It's a dream destination for outdoorsy types who love to explore new landscapes, climb mountains, and trek through rainforests. You'll feel like you're on the set of a Jurassic Park movie. 

PERFECT FOR: Wildlife enthusiasts and avid Planet Earth viewers

TOP EXPERIENCES: Witness a Famadihana ceremony, walk the Avenue of the Baobabs 

BEST TIME TO GO: April to December

TOP HOTEL PICK: So many budget and luxe options to choose from. We've heard good things about Tsara Komba Lodge

 

5. MYANMAR (BURMA)

bagan-pagodas-burma

It's a rare treat to get to visit such a culturally rich place before tourism (and Starbucks) takes it over. We're seeing that window begin to open for places like Cuba right now, but that window is beginning to close for Myanmar. The country opened it's doors to tourists a few years ago after emerging from decades of military rule and isolation. While you can still have a very authentic cultural experience here, Myanmar is changing drastically and the time to visit is now! 

PERFECT FOR: Culture lovers and peace seekers

TOP EXPERIENCES: Visiting the temples in Bagan

BEST TIME TO GO: November to February

TOP HOTEL PICK: Hotels are trying to keep up with tourist demand so they are not a bargain! Our top pick in Yangon is the Governor's Residence

 

6. NEW ZEALAND

Stunning shot of Lake Tekapo by Jason Law

Stunning shot of Lake Tekapo by Jason Law

Who doesn't want to go to New Zealand? It's consistently considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it's got the friendliest people on the planet. We've been dreaming of taking a 2-week road trip that starts in Auckland in the north and ends in Queenstown in the south. We'd stop at Airbnbs along the way and spend a ton of time exploring the outdoors and getting to know the locals. One can dream...

PERFECT FOR: Friendly, outdoorsy types (who also love vino)

TOP EXPERIENCES: Exploring Fiordland in the south, swimming with rare dolphins in Akaroa, 

BEST TIME TO GO: Pretty much anytime depending on what you want to do! Peak season (and summer) is December to February.

TOP HOTEL PICK: We think Airbnb is the way to go in New Zealand since the locals are so friendly, but we're tempted to stay at the Hotel DeBrett in Auckland.

 

7. COLOMBIA

We adore this photo taken in Cartagena by Richard Bernabe

We adore this photo taken in Cartagena by Richard Bernabe

Colombia is having a moment. It's a country with such a dynamic culture, you'll wish you were Colombian by the end of your trip. There's something for everyone - spend your night salsa dancing in it's dynamic cities, tour the archeological ruins of pre-Colombian civilizations, chill out on tropical beach, and learn how to make coffee at a jungle coffee plantation. Most importantly, maybe don't watch Narcos before you visit - the country is actually perfectly safe to travel to now. 

PERFECT FOR: Caffeine addicts and all night partiers

TOP EXPERIENCES: Eating fresh mango on the colonial streets of Cartagena, stay on a coffee farm in the highlands

BEST TIME TO GO: Year round! Though December to March and July to August are the top months for travel.

TOP HOTEL PICK: BOG hotel in Bogota and Casa San Agustin in Cartagena

 

8. DOMINICA

Aerial view of Secret Bay hotel

Aerial view of Secret Bay hotel

Craving a place where no one will find you? Dominica is your place. It's a Caribbean island like no other - there are no direct flights and no big resorts - meaning fewer crowds and unspoiled nature. The main attraction is not white sandy beaches (which are non-existent here), but the island's dramatic cliffs, lush forests, and volcanic waters.

PERFECT FOR: Down-to-earth soul-seekers

TOP EXPERIENCES: Snorkel through volcanic bubbles at Champagne Reef

BEST TIME TO GO: December to April

TOP HOTEL PICK: Secret Bay 

 

9. MOZAMBIQUE

Beautiful shot of local fisherman by Skyhawk photography

Beautiful shot of local fisherman by Skyhawk photography

Mozambique isn't easy to get to, but it's well worth the trip. The country is nestled between South Africa and Tanzania and has a gorgeous coastline that's still pretty undiscovered by tourists. Spend some time soaking up the culture in it's capitol city Maputo and then head out to the islands in the Indian Ocean for some beach time and water sports. 

PERFECT FOR: Those looking for a trip of a lifetime

TOP EXPERIENCES: Sea fishing in Bazaruto

BEST TIME TO GO: August and September

TOP HOTEL PICK: Azura Retreats for super upscale luxury and Coral Lodge for a more reasonable price point

 

10. ECUADOR

Pikaia Lodge in the Galapagos

Pikaia Lodge in the Galapagos

Ecuador is for anyone looking for variety. Trek the Andes mountains, visit central colonial towns, shop outdoor markets for local crafts, and spot wildlife as you tour the Galapagos Islands. You can pack a ton into a week long trip here.

PERFECT FOR: The easily bored

TOP EXPERIENCES: Galapagos Islands, hunting for treasures in the local markets

BEST TIME TO GO: June to September and December to January

TOP HOTEL PICK: Pikaia Lodge in the Galapagos Islands (pictured above)

 

Lauren Bates

Lauren is the Creator of Wild Terrains and Head of Marketing at UrbanStems. She is a storyteller, brand builder and digital marketing expert. She currently lives in Washington, DC.