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Where to Travel in 2020: 13 Destinations on Our Radar

From an indulgent Italian island off the beaten path to an icy wonderland offering once-in-a-lifetime adventures, these places are stepping into the spotlight as the most exciting travel destinations for next year. Whether you’re searching for untouched nature reserves or an art and culture hotspot, Indagare’s in-the-know picks will help you plan where to travel in 2020.

Contact Indagare to plan a trip to any of these destinations—and beyond—in 2020. Our specialists can book you at the hotel that is right for you and plan guided tours, great meals and activities.

1.  Zimbabwe

Long overlooked after years of upheaval, Zimbabwe is enjoying a resurgence as one of the best safari destinations in Africa. The country’s treasures—which can be experienced at a lower price tag, compared to destinations like Botswana and South Africa—include Victoria Falls, UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites like Matobo and natural wonders such as Mana Pools—plus knockout luxury camps like Singita Pamushana, which employ some of Africa’s finest safari guides and are pioneers in conservation. In the words of Indagare COO Eliza Harris, who recently returned from scouting in Zimbabwe: “Because most of the country’s top camps are under canvas in startlingly productive game areas, the sounds of the bush are with you day and night. It is a marvelously immersive safari experience. Once you get used to being part of the conversation of the wilderness, being ‘in the room where it happens,’ it is hard to imagine any other way of being on safari.”

Related: Indagare’s Ultimate Bucket List Hotels: The 52 Most Luxurious Hotels in the World

2.  Japan

The 2020 Summer Olympics—which will take place in Tokyo—is just one of the reasons why Japan is one of the Indagare community’s most sought-after destinations for travel in the new year. While a host of luxury hotel openings in major cities—including the remarkable new Aman in Kyoto—are jumping to the top of design-lovers’ wish lists, travelers in-the-know are also venturing further off the beaten path to places like tropical Okinawa and snowy Niseko, which offers some of the finest powder snow conditions in the world, as well as an impressive food scene. Just a two-hour flight from Tokyo, Niseko is also experiencing a hotel boom, with the 2020 opening of the Park Hyatt—a sprawling ski-in/ski-out property on par with the resorts of Aspen or Vail—being one of the most anticipated.

Related: Travel to Tokyo and Kyoto with Indagare and Architectural Digest in 2020 – Insider Journeys

3.  Dakar, Senegal

With a vibrant contemporary art scene and a growing number of international travelers—attracted by improved infrastructure and political stability—Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, is one of the top destinations to know in 2020. While the summer 2019 opening of Kehinde Wiley’s impressive new artist residency, Black Rock Senegal, has been the spark for much of the attention lately focused on the city, Dakar offers many more interesting, smaller galleries (like OH Gallery and Loman Art) that are currently preparing for the 2020 biennial exhibition DAK’ART. Beyond the art world, Dakar also stands out as the westernmost port in Africa and, therefore, one of the most historically significant centers of the colonial slave trade. An essential experience on any Dakar itinerary is a visit to Gorée Island to see the preserved Maison des Esclaves, or House of Slaves, where captured Africans were held until they were sent into slavery in the Americas. Beyond Dakar, adventurous travelers will also find some of the best surfing in the Atlantic, charming beach towns like Saly and Saint Louis, which are known for their seafood and French Riviera-esque lifestyles, and, further inland, even opportunities for safari. 

Curious about travel to Senegal? Contact us to join the waitlist for our 2020 Insider Journey itinerary (coming soon).

4.  Uzbekistan

Frozen in time for decades while it was a part of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan was once the thriving crossroads of the ancient world as a major center along the Silk Road. In recent years, the country’s rich heritage has been resurfaced and made accessible to western travelers—thanks, in part, to the easing of notoriously difficult customs processes—who come here for dazzling mosaics and architecture, authentic, one-of-a-kind textiles and a blend of Asian, Russian, Islamic and Mediterranean cultural influences that cannot be found elsewhere. This fall, Indagare hosted an incredible Insider Journey to Uzbekistan with textile designer and Asia aficionado John Robshaw, and we will be hosting a return trip to the country in 2020.

Indagare Tip: For an extended Central Asian adventure, add on time in Georgia to experience the up-and-coming food-and-wine scene, or venture to neighboring Kazakhstan, where outdoor adventurers can explore ski slopes, canyons, lakes and forests, and highlights include marveling at Buddhist rock carvings and excellent bird-watching.

Related: Hunting for Treasures with John Robshaw

5. Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Indonesia is home to thousands of miles of white-sand beaches, crystalline waters and lush jungles—but few areas are more precious and untouched than Raja Ampat, a remote and astonishing collection of over 1,500 islands rarely visited by travelers. In 2020, you can discover one of the most pristine and biodiverse marine areas on earth aboard the first luxury expedition yacht to offer cruises through these islands—the Aqua Blu—and you can do so with an itinerary created exclusively for Indagare. Our 2020 trips feature access to some of the best snorkeling and diving sites in the world, within the incredibly biodiverse Coral Triangle; trekking to find mangrove forests filled with rare birds of paradise, hidden jungle caves and giant sea caverns; and the chance to learn about ancient Papua traditions with a visit to the Arborek Village—plus, you can add time to explore the indulgent private island retreat Bawah Reserve, which opened in 2018, or relax in Bali at the atmospheric Capella Ubud, which also opened last year.

Related: Travel to Raja Ampat with Indagare in 2020 – Insider Journeys

6.  Antarctica

The world’s last frontier was once only traversed by pathfinders and scientists willing to risk their lives, but now travelers can sail through Antarctic waters for once-in-a-lifetime wildlife and nature-viewing and adventure activities, with responsible tour operators like Quark, whose newest vessel, the World Explorer, began sailing earlier this fall (a second luxury boat will set sail in 2020). In the words of Indagare Trip Designer Colin Heinrich, who just returned from scouting in Antarctica earlier this month: “It was my favorite trip I’ve ever been on. Antarctica is the most gorgeous place you can possibly visit on this planet; it is the most pristine natural environment we have left. At the same time, it is critically threatened by climate change. Travel here is completely regulated to avoid overtourism, so explorers can feel good about going. It’s a destination that needs support and tourism more than anywhere else, and it needs it right now.”

Related: Indagare Member Event: Supporting Conservation in Africa and Preserving “Nature’s Strongholds”

7.  Ischia, Italy

In a country that is becoming increasingly overrun, it is hard for travelers to find a corner of Italy that still feels like a secret—but the southern island of Ischia, which sits just an hour’s ferry ride west of Naples, can change that. This small volcanic island offers the same romantic beauty, delicious food and wine and cerulean blue waters that can be found on the Amalfi Coast, without the crowds of scene-seeking tourists (though Ischia has long been a summer destination of choice both for Italians and for prominent public figures and creatives, who have ranged from Truman Capote and Elizabeth Taylor to Angela Merkel). This more relaxed vibe has also begun to draw wellness-seekers (as it did in ancient times), who come to soak in the island’s natural thermal hot springs; they can be enjoyed while staying at a stylish and pampering hotel like the historic Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa, which re-opened earlier this spring after an extensive renovation spearheaded by Il Pellicano’s Marie-Louise Sciò. 

Related: Indagare’s Top 21 Most-Booked Beach Resorts of 2019

8.  Ladakh, India

This isolated, high-altitude region in the Indian Himalayas has historically been inaccessible six months of the year, but now, intrepid members of the Indagare community are falling in love with Ladakh through Shakti, a trekking experience that winds through rural villages and enables travelers to walk and hike through mountain landscapes dotted with lush valleys, alpine rivers and lunar deserts; meet with locals for authentic immersion in their ancient, self-sufficient culture; and reflect in the monasteries of one of the last refuges for Tibetan Buddhism in the world. In the words of Indagare Membership Director Elise Bronzo, who scouted Shakti Ladakh last year: “This is one of the last places you can go where you do not see any other tourists and do not have access to WiFi. There is nothing fabricated about the experience. The community is not paid to spend time with you; the locals are genuine and spontaneous in their interactions. An experience like this can only exist in a community like this—where there is an open-door policy and neighbors rely on each other to survive: all are welcome; love thy neighbor. Shakti is a surreal and privileged travel experience.” For a spiritual travel experience in 2020, Ladakh should be at the top of your list.

Related: Travel as a Spiritual Quest: A Journey to the Himalayas

9.  Mozambique

A warm, chic and exciting post-safari beach destination, Mozambique is back in the international spotlight thanks to an increase in conservation initiatives, which have attracted Africa’s best safari brands. In 2020 and beyond, the opening of several new luxury properties will provide unprecedented access to Mozambique’s miles of white-sand beaches and picturesque islands—where there is some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world—as well as grassland and rainforest reserves like Gorongosa National Park, where travelers can see Big Five game like lions and elephants. One of the most anticipated openings of 2020 is Royal Gorongosa, the latest luxury tented camp from Liz Biden’s The Royal Portfolio, which will offer eight tents located on the eastern edge of the park. 

Related: Indagare Matchmaker: Post-Safari Beach Destinations

10.  Slovenia

Slovenia consistently tops the list of the most sustainable countries in the world, and, in recent years, it has helped set the gold standard for sustainable tourism. In 2020, it promises to be one of the top destinations for travelers looking to hike and bike along pristine alpine trails, explore fairytale-worthy castles and charming cobblestoned streets in the capital city of Ljubljana, snap photos on Lake Bled and sample the region’s food-and-wine scene, which has gained increasing international acclaim.   

Related: 7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions to Visit in 2020

11.  Ethiopia

“This East African nation is emerging as a destination for travelers in search of a truly unspoiled place on the verge of a tourism discovery,” says Indagare Trip Designer Janine Yu. Located in the Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia is stepping on to the world’s stage as a crucible of ancient culture, where travelers have the opportunity to experience the intersection of Christianity, Judaism and Islam through unparalleled cultural immersion. The country is home to rock-hewn churches built into incredible landscapes, rare fourth- and fifth-century antiquities and tribal villages that have lived the same way for centuries. In the last few years, new lodges (such as Limalimo Lodge and Lale’s Camp) have opened and flight connections are being added to previously out-of-reach locations like the Omo Valley. Indagare founder and CEO Melissa Biggs Bradley recently returned from hosting our inaugural Insider Journey to the country, and the itinerary will be offered again in 2020.

Learn More: Discover Ethiopia with Indagare in 2020

12. The Azores, Portugal

Resembling something akin to the otherworldly landscapes of Avatar, the Azores, an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and a region of Portugal, is continuing to top the lists of adventure travelers for 2020. The islands have volcanic crater lakes, natural hot springs and black-sand beaches and offer high-thrill activities including scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, whale-watching, birding, surfing and more. And while five-star luxury isn’t easy to find here, there are some lovely hotels such as the contemporary-chic Furnas Boutique Hotel, urban Azor and minimalist White Exclusive Suites & Villas.

Related: The 15 Best Romantic Winter Getaways for a Couple’s Trip

13.  Rwanda

“Twenty-three years after a genocide, during which one in 10 people were killed, this East African country has emerged as a leader in conservation and a beacon of hope. Its positive progress is drawing everyone from luxury tour operators and wildlife lovers to world leaders and conservationists, all of whom are visiting to learn lessons and get a dose of inspiration,” says Indagare founder and CEO Melissa Biggs Bradley. In addition to intimate wildlife experiences, including gorilla trekking and tracking golden monkeys in Virunga, Rwanda now offers some impressive accommodations, with six luxury lodge openings over the past two years: the stunning Bisate Lodge, the first luxury property in Rwanda, launched by Wilderness Safaris; One & Only Nyungwe House, on the edge of Nyungwe Forest National Park; Magashi, another Wilderness Safaris lodge, which opened in northeastern Akagera; two Singita properties in Volcanoes National Park, Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House; and One & Only Gorilla’s Nest, which opened most recently in the foothills of the Virunga Volcano Range.

Related: Rwanda Reborn: Why Travel to Rwanda Now

Contact Indagare to plan a trip to any of these destinations—and beyond—in 2020. Our specialists can book you at the hotel that is right for you and plan guided tours, great meals and activities.

– Elizabeth Harvey on November 25, 2019

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