Belize - Some of the most breathtaking scenery anywhere in the region: thick tropical forests envelop much of the country’s southern and western regions, stretching up towards the misty heights of the sparsely populated Maya Mountains, while just offshore, dazzling turquoise shallows and cobalt depths surround the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the longest such reef in the Americas, as well as the jewels in Belize’s natural crown: three of the four coral atolls in the Caribbean.
Colombia - Home to a traumatic but rich history, stunning scenery and some of the continent’s most welcoming and sophisticated people, Colombia is a natural draw for travelers to South America. Despite its four-decade-long civil war and reputation for violence, improved security conditions have led to a sharp increase in tourism. Foreigners and Colombians alike are now far more able to explore this thrilling paradise of cloud forested mountains, palm-fringed beaches and gorgeous colonial cities. The only country in South America to border both the Pacific and the Caribbean, Colombia offers a huge range of ecosystems, from the Amazon rain forest near Leticia to the snow capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the tropical islands of San Andrés and Providencia.
Italy - One of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes in Europe; the world’s greatest hoard of art treasures (many on display in fittingly spectacular cities and buildings); a climate that is on the whole benign; and, most important of all for many, a delicious and authentic national cuisine. The country is not perfect – its historic cities have often been marred by development, and beyond the showpiece sights the infrastructure is visibly straining – once you’ve visited, you may never want to travel anywhere else.
Morocco - For Westerners, Morocco holds an immediate and enduring fascination. Though just an hour’s ride on the ferry from Spain, it seems at once very far from Europe, with a culture – Islamic and deeply traditional – that is almost wholly unfamiliar. Throughout the country, despite the years of French and Spanish colonial rule and the presence of modern and cosmopolitan cities like Rabat and Casablanca, a more distant past constantly makes its presence felt. Fez, perhaps the most beautiful of all Arab cities, maintains a life still rooted in medieval times, when a Moroccan kingdom stretched from Senegal to northern Spain, while in the mountains of the Atlas and the Rif, it’s still possible to draw up tribal maps of the Berber population. As a backdrop to all this, the country’s physical make-up is extraordinary: from the Mediterranean coast, through four mountain ranges, to the empty sand and scrub of the Sahara.
Nicaragua - Wedge-shaped Nicaragua may be the largest nation in Central America but, despite recent growth, it remains one of the least visited. Still, many travelers who spend any time here find that Nicaragua’s extraordinary landscape of volcanoes, lakes, mountains and vast swathes of rain forest helps make it their favorite country on the isthmus.
Panama - A small country about the size of South Carolina, Panama has a wide variety of world-class attractions: exotic tropical rain forests, stunning mountain refuges, a Caribbean and Pacific Coast with 1500 islands, seven living Indigenous cultures , a Miami-style sophisticated capital city, a vibrant nightlife, Spanish colonial historical sites, world class golfing, diving, sport fishing, and surfing, not to mention that 8th wonder of the world the Panama Canal. It's hard to think of any other destination that has such a variety of attractions close by and so easy to get to.
Singapore - “The handiest and most marvelous city I ever saw”, wrote the natural historian William Hornaday of Singapore in 1885. Elegant temples to fragrant medicinal shops to grand colonial buildings. Much of Singapore’s fascination springs from its multicultural population, a mixture of Chinese, Malay and Indian, which can make a short walk across town feel like a hop from one country to another, and whose mouthwatering cuisines are a major highlight of any visit. The city also rejoices in a clutch of fine historical museums that offer a much-needed perspective on the many successes and sacrifices that made Singapore what it is today, plus a lively arts scene featuring no shortage of international talent and local creativity.
Spain - This is a country that fast becomes an addiction. You might intend to come just for a beach holiday, a walking tour or a city break, but before you know it you’ll find yourself hooked by something quite different – the wild celebration of some local fiesta, perhaps, or the otherworldly architecture of Barcelona. Even in the best-known places to visit – from the capital, Madrid, to the costas, from the high Pyrenees to the Moorish cities of the south – there are genuinely surprising attractions at every turn, whether it’s hip restaurants in the Basque country, the wild landscapes of the central plains, or cutting-edge galleries in the industrial north.
Turkey - A mesmerizing mix of the exotic and the familiar, Turkey is much more than its clichéd image of a “bridge between East and West”. Invaded and settled from every direction since the start of recorded history, it combines influences from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, the Balkans and Central Asia. Mosques coexist with churches, Roman theaters and temples crumble near ancient Hittite cities, and dervish ceremonies and gypsy festivals are as much a part of the social landscape as classical music concerts or football matches.