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Remote, Under-the-Radar Destinations to Visit in 2020

January 10, 2020

Avoid the masses by visiting emerging places that are more accessible than ever, from a small island off the coast of Africa to the country of Guyana.

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Photo: Aqua Expeditions

Travel Deeper in 2020

It's usually with great reluctance that we reveal destinations that haven't yet been "discovered" by the masses, since an absence of crowds is a large part of the appeal. With that said, those who wish to explore further afield before everyone else catches on can do so at the following places (although the hope is that tourism remains limited to those in-the-know). Factors influencing 2020 inclusions include new flights, hotels and cruises; new attractions and major events.

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Photo: St. Helena Island

St. Helena Island, British Overseas Territory

If you’ve never heard of St. Helena Island, you’re not alone. This blip of a volcanic island is all of 47 square miles and 1,200 miles from South Africa — the nearest land mass. As a British Overseas Territory it’s home to about 4,500 people, and the sliver of buildings pictured represent the capital of Jamestown. St. Helena’s claim to fame is that the island once housed an exiled Napolean Bonaparte following the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, and yes, you can visit his former home. This is also the place to swim with whale sharks, hike among rolling green hills and golf at one of the world’s most remote courses. An airport opened on St. Helena in 2017; before that, visitors had to rely on the island’s now-defunct Royal Mail ocean liner from Cape Town. Other factors making St. Helena more accessible? United Airlines just launched direct flights from New York to Cape Town on December 15, and South African Airways has added seasonal flights to St. Helena through Feb 25, 2020.

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Neighboring Venezuela and Brazil have long overshadowed the South American country of Guyana, which is now emerging as an eco-friendly destination. What the country lacks in wealth it makes up for in natural bounty, like Kaieteur Falls (pictured), considered the widest single drop waterfall in the world. Forest covers about 87 percent of this English-speaking country with ties to Caribbean, British and Dutch cultures. Base yourself at a community-run eco-lodge, such as Rewa Eco-Lodge, as the lodges benefit local Amerindian communities. There are new eco-lodges in the works in Karasabai and Moraikobai, while Mapari Wilderness Camp and Wichabai Ranch and Guest Houses have also joined the eco-friendly lodging ranks. New flights make it easier than ever to experience a country opening up to tourism. American Airlines added a daily non-stop from New York’s JFK as of December 2019, while JetBlue will start offering non-stop flights on April 2, 2020 from JFK.

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Photo: Visit Scotland

Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Most visitors who venture beyond Edinburgh and Glasgow tend to stick to Scotland’s mainland. But just off the northwest coast is a string of 119 mostly uninhabited islands known as the Outer Hebrides. This is where you’ll find long stretches of empty white sand beaches, turquoise waters, fresh seafood, the Scottish version of Stonehenge — minus the hordes — and puffins and seals. Not that more incentive is needed, but as of 2019 there’s a new Hebridean Whale Trail from the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust. The site details 18 different whales, dolphins and porpoises that ply the waters, along with tips and 33 places for spotting them from land. (There’s a handy app too.) Getting here involves either an hour-long flight from one of Scotland’s airports (Glasgow offers the most options), or an hour-long ferry ride; note that there are multiple route choices.

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