5 December 2019 by Emily Newton-Smith
As we look forward to another exciting year in travel, one which marks Wexas’s 50th anniversary, our specialists have picked out their must-visit destinations for the months ahead, and it’s a truly globespanning mix. Whether you're seeking adventure, history and culture, or an escape into nature, there's something for everyone.
To start, we’ve got a pair of Wexas favourites – Sri Lanka, with its unique blend of history, wildlife and Indian Ocean charm, and Japan, a country looking forward to an Olympic summer. Then, having followed in the bow waves of Wexas honorary president Sir Ranulph Fiennes with a cruise to Antarctica, we continue the wildlife theme in Rwanda among gorillas and chimpanzees. Both trips offer the ultimate blend of wilderness and luxury.
The theme of nature continues in Chile, where we shine a spotlight on two all-inclusive lodges – one in the Atacama, one in the Andes – and look forward to the total solar eclipse in December. And, lastly, there’s a fresh take on the Italian Lakes, as we venture beyond the likes of Como, Maggiore and Garda to bring you some lesser-known gems.
Despite the challenges of 2019, Sri Lanka continues to dazzle with its mix of cultural intrigue, sun-soaked sands and superb accommodation, making it one of our ones to watch for the second year in a row. There's everything from tea plantations to pristine beaches here – all set against a backdrop of breathtaking scenic beauty. And, there's plenty of wildlife to watch too; head out on safari to seek leopards or on a boat tour to spot whales. Whatever you choose to do here, it's sure to be memorable.
After the success of the Rugby World Cup and with the summer Olympics on the horizon, now is Japan’s time in the sun. And with so much to see and do, it's no wonder it's on our hot list for 2020. Ride the world-famous bullet train, cruise across lakes and explore grand temples on itineraries that piece together some of this special country's highlights. From standing in the shadow of Mount Fuji to viewing Tokyo from atop the world's tallest tower, you'll have a wealth of experiences to choose from.
To commemorate Sir Ranulph’s ground-breaking expedition 40 years ago, the ‘white continent’ simply had to take its place on our 2020 hot list. At almost twice the size of Australia, Antarctica is truly vast. And, despite holding 70% of the world’s fresh water, it’s also our driest continent – a great desert of glaciers and ice sheets surrounded by the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean. Of course, aside a handful of hardy scientists rotating stints at remote research stations, its otherworldly terrain is largely uninhabitable. But still, it remains a must-see destination for intrepid travellers keen to follow in the footsteps of the world’s exploring pioneers.
Chile’s topography spans everything from arid grasslands and volcanic rock formations to dense rainforests and glacial rivers. It’s all big, beautiful and begging to be explored, particularly the jagged might of the Andes and the scorched red sands of the Atacama Desert. And, in December 2020, Chile will witness a total solar eclipse; fitting for a country that boasts some of the best sky-gazing on Earth.
While the Sicilian coastline and wine regions of Tuscany remain favourite destinations for Wexas clients every year, the Italian Lakes deserve just as much attention. Beautifully temperate in spring, summer and autumn, there’s plenty of opportunity for travel even during low season – and in 2020, hotels and tourist attractions will open earlier and close later to maximise availability. Everything seems slower- paced, even in the tourist hotspots, but nowhere is this more apparent than on the quiet shores of the smaller lakes.
Once overlooked in favour of Africa’s Big-Five big hitters, the rare chance to come face to face with the mighty mountain gorilla, as well as the emergence of some seriously stylish accommodation, have brought our last hot list destination Rwanda firmly into the spotlight. And its moniker, the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, only hints at how impressive Rwanda’s landscapes are; misty rainforests roll into green hills and valleys dotted with villages and quiet, beach-fringed lakes, all set against a backdrop of still-smoking volcanoes.