For seasoned travellers who don’t want to lie on the beach in the company of a hundred or so other Canadians, or simply for those who are curious about the southern hemisphere, here are some utterly spellbinding tropical destinations – from Asia to Africa, spanning three oceans.
Already popular in English Canada and the United States, the unique location of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific gives it many advantages. It has the best value for money in the region – especially since the New Zealand currency is currently favourable to Canadian travellers.
The locals are easy to approach and very friendly, and the tourist infrastructure is also excellent. In addition, a stay in the Cook Islands can easily be combined with New Zealand on the way or returning, for visitors interested in a long stay.
A paradise for honeymooners and lovers of diving, the 115 atolls of the Seychelles in the northeast of the island of Madagascar are decorated with topaz waters typical of the Indian Ocean and lined with luxurious hotels. Granted, the destination is not for light wallets, but it is ideal for big celebrations or special occasions that happen only once in a lifetime. A gem of a tropical island!
These rare geological formations can be admired due to the granite soil, especially on the famous Anse Source d’Argent beach on the island of La Digue. Several wildlife experts call it the ‘Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’ because of the immense diversity of wildlife that flourishes there – both on land and in the sea. Bird Island is a strictly protected area that’s home to 112 species of seabird.
What better way to complete a safari in Tanzania than a sunny holiday in Zanzibar? The archipelago of the Indian Ocean, bordering the Tanzanian coast, is partially surrounded by coral reefs, forming numerous lagoons.
Zanzibar City is the nerve centre of the region and has a labyrinth of alleys with undeniable charm, shaped by the presence of many peoples over the centuries. Interestingly, the location of the islands of Zanzibar close to the equator means that they’re able to avoid most cyclones.
Literary enthusiasts will be interested to note that Jules Verne makes Zanzibar the starting point of the expedition to the source of the Nile in his 1863 novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon.
The Spanish archipelago off West Africa is, in a way, the closest thing Europeans have to the Caribbean. There are many seaside resorts similar to those of Mexico and Cuba, with a hint of the Old Continent.
Unique in the world, these islands combine beautiful arid deserts, relaxing beaches, volcanic views and fascinating culture for a stay focused on the five senses. Other attractions include the plains of the snow-capped El Teide volcano on the island of Tenerife (and its black sandy beaches), the subtropical vegetation of La Gomera National Park, the lava fields of Lanzarote and the islands’ plentiful golden sand.
Literally on the other side of the world, the Indonesian island of Bali seduces with its cultural heritage and lush tropical landscapes. Its status as a dream destination is enhanced by the attitude and hospitality of its locals.
From the rice terraces to the temples, to the yoga retreats and the many beaches – not to mention the panoramas of mountainous jungles – Bali makes you dream. And thanks to its low prices (apart from the airfare) it’s accessible to all types of travellers needing a break.