10 Off the Beaten Path Places You Must Visit in Your Lifetime!
Posted on 03 June 2017
By: Sarah & Erin
The thing about “Off the Beaten Path” destinations is that they’re not for everyone. They aren’t very easy to get to, they’re not on your regular travel itineraries, and sometimes they are located in remote places that don’t have a lot of the normal luxuries that we take for granted (like running water, sewage, and electricity). But, this is what makes traveling and exploring these places so much fun! It’s about taking those risks, extra long and bumpy bus rides, and being able to discover a place you never knew existed.
We’ve created this list just for you, to share some of our “Off the Beaten Path” favorites. We’ve traveled and lived each of these experiences first hand, so this exclusive information comes directly from us. It was extremely hard to narrow it down to just 10 of our favorites!
1.Mrauk-U, Myanmar (formerly Burma):
Mrauk-U is a wonderful place to visit in Myanmar. There is so much history here, with many temples and ruins around the town and just outside it. If you want to get a glimpse into the normal life in Myanmar and check out amazing temples, give Mrauk-U a visit. There are significantly less tourists than Bagan, so you can roam around the ancient sites on foot or bicycle without bumping into flocks of tourists. It’s also quite a trek to get there since the infrastructure isn’t the best, but you can fly or take a boat, or a long (but memorable) bus ride. Don’t miss visiting the Chin tribe, which is a canoe ride away. The Burmese king used to take beautiful women for himself, so to protect their children, the Chin began tattooing their faces with lines like spiderwebs. This tradition is no longer practiced, so when the older Chin ladies pass on, so will this custom
2. Cabo Polonio, Uruguay:
There are no roads to get to Cabo Polonio, and it’s located about 7 km from the main highway. The only two routes to access this town are by walking through the sand dunes with all your stuff, or by 4×4 vehicles, which is a service offered by the national park. The region has no electricity or running water for the few hundred houses in this town. There is wind power and a few generators that are used to power some of the posadas and grocery store. Visiting this town is a step back in time, and a great place to relax and “unplug” (since you won’t be able to pick up cell service anyways).
3. San Agustín, Colombia:
The main draw to San Agustín is it’s archaeological sites. Many Colombians come to visit these sites as well. The San Agustín Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, but when I was there, I didn’t see more than a handful of tourists. The site contains the largest collection of religious monuments in Latin America. They are quite impressive! The town itself is quaint, full of motorcycles, and there is a hustle and bustle even though the town is pretty small. The coffee is delicious and the atmosphere is pretty laid back.
4. Jiquilillo, Nicaragua:
This small fishing village in the Northern part of Nicaragua is a place to escape and being “tranquilo”. It’s great for deserted beaches, swimming, and even learning how to surf. It’s a place to relax and read a book in a hammock! It’s a little further north in Nicaragua, so there aren’t as many tourists that will make the trek. It’s a great place to unwind and get away from the hustle and bustle. There’s not much to do, but you’ll appreciate the peaceful atmosphere of this village.
5. São Miguel dos Milagres, Brazil:
This place is a hidden gem! There are unspoiled white sand beaches and tranquil pousadas. There is so much nature to explore, including visiting the manatees in their natural environment, walking through deserted beaches, and taking a midnight stroll with the only light being the moon. The best thing to do is to rent a bicycle and ride through the small surrounding villages where it seems as though time has stood still. The people are friendly and laid back. More and more people are discovering this paradise, so go mid-week to get it all to yourself!
6. Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador:
Isabela island is the least developed out of the three main islands in the Galapagos. It has no paved roads and you walk almost everywhere. There is affordable accommodation on this island if you wish to spend the night in this beautiful tropical paradise. White sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, and unique animals found nowhere else in the world is what you’ll find on this island. The most memorable experience was my boat tour of Los Tuneles (the tunnels in English). They are amazing natural lava tunnels that were formed centuries ago and now have an incredible ecosystem thriving in these waters. You take a magical boat ride weaving through the tunnels and exploring these quiet, calm, and enchanted passages. It’s a unique experience that many people might not take the time to explore, but if you give this little boat tour a chance, you will be pleasantly surprised.
7. Asilah, Morocco:
This town is a cheap 45 minute taxi away from Tangier and is a quiet piece of paradise. I discovered this town because it has a beautiful mosaic hostel that I couldn’t resist, and it was far enough away from your typical tourist destination. During my short 4-day stay in Asilah, I didn’t see a single tourist. There isn’t much to do in the city besides walk the streets with breathtaking scenery all around you. From the ocean spanning for miles or the bright whites and blues painted all over town, you will be amazed at the architecture and stunning beauty of a small local town. I suggest going and exploring the local market on Thursday, and a hammam is a must! It’s a local traditional bathing option that I will let you discover for yourself. Walking around town like a local is the most memorable experience in this small Moroccan town.
8. Rarotonga, Cook Islands:
This tiny island in the South Pacific is not to be ignored. It’s worth the short flight over from Australia or New Zealand and it holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the many places I visited on my first backpacking trip. The island is yours to explore! You can rent a bike and even make it around the whole island in a day or two. Walk or snorkel across to a small sand bar not far from shore, and enjoy the pristine white sand beaches and a cocktail. There are tourists on this beautiful island, so don’t think you will be alone. But, sharing paradise on this island is worth it. From kite surfing, scuba diving and hiking you can find many things to keep you entertained for a week or two. The locals are friendly, and if you feel like a rest, sit back in your hammock and read a book while listening to the ocean waves beneath you.
9. Cape Maclear, Malawi:
If you speak to any Malawian or tourist who has been to Malawi, you will surely hear about Cape Maclear. For those who have never ventured to Africa, Malawi is not even a country people think about visiting. This small, peaceful African country has many beautiful places to share. One of my particular favorites is Cape Maclear. Imagine a lake so big you think it’s the ocean, you stare out from your beach chair to beautiful lush islands with local fisherman in their boats made of tree trunks. Take an inexpensive boat trip to one of the nearby islands and snorkel with unique species of fish that do not exist anywhere else in the world. Take a walk down the beach and you will see villagers living their day to day life. It’s a great balance of beauty and local culture mixed with great restaurants.
10. Bassin Bleu, Haiti:
When you research the best places to see in Haiti, Bassin Bleu is always in the top 5. However, there still aren’t very many tourists who are willing to go to Haiti, which makes the visit that much more meaningful. The locals eagerly wait to meet you once you finally make your way down the dirt roads, with no actual signs telling you that you’re going the right way. They hold a long rock climbing rope, as they guide you through the bush. There are three waterfalls to see, but Bassin Bleu will take your breath away. Once you scale the side of a rock with the help of your guide, you have finally made it. All you have to do is jump in the water and swim up towards this beautiful waterfall in the middle of a jungle. You are all alone, as if you were the one to discover this incredible little place where you could cool off, take a swim, and sit under and feel the powerful force of this waterfall. There is a lovely hotel not far from Jacmel called Haiti Surf Guest House, which was a great find and a wonderful place to sit back and relax with the ocean views in the distance.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our top “10 Off the Beaten Path Places”. Hopefully, you’ve been inspired to visit one of these places, or just go on an adventure to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Never stop traveling and discovering new places!
If you’ve been to an “Off the Beaten Path” destination, we want to hear about it (and maybe add it to our list). Send us your favorite destination in the world and you could be featured as one of our guest bloggers! Don’t forget to #globalcitizendesigns1 on your next adventure.