Everyone’s idea of what makes a location exotic is different and deserted tropical islands likely top your bucket list of places to go. But if exotic encompasses the strange and the unusual, then you can see how the entire world opens up.
In no particular order, here is our list of the top 3 most exotic getaways in the world that you probably didn’t know about:
This destination favorite is a South Pacific archipelago first put on the map by British explorer, Captain James Cook. The remote location of the nation’s nearly 900 islands and islets (with neighboring New Zealand being some thousand miles distant), is part of its draw, but it’s really Fiji’s picture-perfect beaches and warm tropical climate that attracts visitors from across the globe.
Fiji is more than just perfect white-sand beaches, of course. You can hop on cruises or take day trips to islands, including Monuriki, the one made famous by Tom Hanks in his movie “Castaway.” From trekking through mountainous tropical forests or participating in traditional village life on Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu, there is no limit to what you can do in this piece of paradise.
Really? We know the world may think Alabama is exotic for other reasons, the fact is its becoming a diving paradise! When you find out that southern Alabama has more than 17,000 artificial reefs, you begin to understand why the area is a magnet for divers. Last year, the state’s first whole-ship artificial reef, called the LuLu, was created with the sinking of a 271-foot retired coastal freighter. The bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, will see more ships go down for reef building, providing future opportunities for divers and snorkelers alike.
In a National Geographic article, the president of the Alabama Gulf Coast Reef and Restoration Foundation, Vince Lucido, explains what divers can expect to see 115 feet below the surface of the ocean: “Nature has coated the LuLu with a layer of algae, the basic food source for many marine organisms. The interior is covered with thousands of baby scallops; the hull is dotted with spiny sea urchins; and the whole ship is swarming with snapper, grouper, triggerfish, and clouds of baitfish looking for an opportunistic meal.”
For something very different, why not go on a sun safari? You need to plan your visit in spring through mid-summer when the sun never sets in the Arctic Circle. Norway’s archipelago called Lofoten is in the Norwegian Sea, and is one of the best departure points for the midnight voyage, sailing away from small fishing hamlets dwarfed by towering mountain peaks, past colonies of seal and cormorant to open water. The tours are only a couple of hours long, but deemed to be unforgettable.
Once you’ve been on the cruise, you can try your hand at rock climbing and mountaineering, learn to surf at Unstad (with after-surf saunas and hot tubs ready to warm you up), or join the locals in their passion for cycling. They have a dedicated cycling ferry to avoid steep climbs and feature tunnels that go straight through the mountains.
Other exotic getaways of course include well-known destinations like Bora Bora, Easter Island and Hawaii, to name just a few. But by comparing famous getaways, like Fiji, with places you may not immediately think of (Norway and Alabama), it might just spur your imagination so that you can ultimately go off the beaten path.