The top wonders of the world and other over-marketed holiday hotspots are branded so heavily that nearly everyone is tired of seeing them at this point! I’ve compiled a list with secret sites around the world that you might not see on social media.
Travel influencers take snapshots of the same destinations despite the world being 24 THOUSAND miles across (40,000km) from pole-to-pole. There’s a lot more to see than the Eiffel Tower, Maldives bungalows, and the Sydney Opera House.
Don’t get me wrong – these are all beautiful places. But if you’re like me, you prefer the secret sites around the world. Some of the best hidden travel destinations aren’t the ones you see on your favorite Instagrammers profile. Check out these 6 sites around the world fit for all kinds of international explorers (yes, these are real places!).
1. The Lovely Banana Beach, Costa Rica
This spot is actually a restaurant called Banana Beach, in a palm tree forest, in the little town of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Located on the Pacific Ocean side of the country lies a town that you can only access by (mostly) bumpy dirt roads.
In fact, I got STUCK for several hours on the side of a mountain during a rainstorm trying to get to Santa Teresa. Two cars had a little fender bender. But don’t let the journey discourage you. The destination is worth it.
As they say: the best things in life don’t come easy. *Wink*
Santa Teresa is less developed than Costa Rica’s tourist hotspots such as Tamarindo and Jaco. There is more of a natural charm to the point that monkeys casually hang out in the trees and cables above you as you walk the street!
Now back to Banana Beach. This secret site is located RIGHT on the beach. It’s one of the best hidden travel destinations I know of. You can order your mango daiquiri and veggie burger while looking off into the Pacific Ocean.
Lunch is served while you relax in your coushiony lounge chair gazing upon the sparsely populated beach. The meals are decently priced and make your taste buds dance! This secret site is a little piece of heaven.
2. Gates of Hell, Turkmenistan
Leaving heaven we make our way to hell… The name is crazy dramatic. I know. The photos kind of does it justice though. In the middle of the Turkmenistan desert is a ginormous burning crater. It has been burning for half a century with no sign of fizzling down!
When geologists visited the desert landscape in search of oil they were met by natural gas that then toppled their whole operation. The earth beneath them opened up and caught fire. This happened around 1970. Now tourists visit the site named by locals as “The Gates of Hell.”
Yes, this place exists! This secret site has become more and more popular over the years as more tourists begin to book day trips to visit this new world wonder.
It’s located just a few hours from Turkmenistan’s capital so a quick trip is totally doable. Viewing the burning crater at night is recommended to get the full effect of just how spectacular the site is!
3. The Small Town of Szentendre, Hungary
Further out from the eccentric city of Budapest hides a small town called Szentendre. It can be a pain to reach the town as traffic can achingly delay your journey. However, once you finally reach it you’ll be amazed by how cute the little town is! The people are charming as they sell their crafts and tell you about their home.
There are plenty of shops from fashionable clothing to glitzy jewelry and handmade goods. The cobblestoned streets are decorated with huge hanging lamps and umbrellas. You’ll find plenty of locals enjoying the day and few tourists discovering the small town just as you are.
Here you can grab a coffee, ice cream, or simply sit by the famous Danube River. There are also churches and galleries to marvel at if you want your dose of Hungarian culture.
4. Water Sports Destination – Kralendijk, Bonaire
Kralen-WHO?! Most people don’t know where Bonaire is, let alone their capital Kralendijk. It is in the Caribbean just 60 miles east of Venezuela. Bonaire has heavy Dutch influences as it was a part of the Netherlands Antilles for many years. While still a part of the Netherlands, it is now considered a public body.
The small island (it’s only 24 miles long!) holds tons of natural beauty because much of it is legally protected. Many reefs are deemed national park sites while the island works to restore and sustain their reef populations around the capital and the rest of the island.
If you’re into water activities then Bonaire is your place to go. With heavy conservation efforts put into place, they have some of the prettiest and best-kept reefs in all of the Caribbean. (Yes, even rivaling those in Honduras and Belize!).
Scuba diving, snorkeling, kite surfing, windsurfing, boating, and sailing are among some of the most popular sports. The best part of underwater sports is that there are so many undiscovered beautiful places.
Any particular dive or snorkel site might have many visitors but you can easily find little nooks and crannies under the ocean that many have overlooked.
5. Ancient Kushite Pyramids, Sudan
The dazzling ancient pyramids of Egypt are heavily featured on every traveler’s Instagram. What’s less talked about are the untouched pyramids dating back to 300 B.C. Located along the Nile River in the northern part of Sudan are a string of ancient pyramids where ancient Kushite pharaohs were honored and buried.
Underwater archeology, a dangerous feat, has only just recently begun in 2019. Archeologists have discovered artifacts suggesting the burial chambers at the Nuri Royal Cemetery have gone untouched since rulers were buried from 600 to 300 B.C. T
here are many other pyramids along the Nile that are many hundred centuries-old to choose from. Such secret sites come at a cost though…
These pyramids are far off the beaten path and one of the best hidden travel destinations jam-packed with history. Because of the civil unrest and domestic issues happening within Sudan, most travelers choose not to visit.
This undermines the beauty the country has to offer. More seasoned travelers are the ones who really get to experience beauty by visiting secret sites around the world.
If you’re looking for an undiscovered beautiful place in the world then the pyramids in Sudan are for you.
6. Smurf Village, Spain
On a lighter note – Smurf Village is a cute and easily accessible destination fit for any traveler! Located in the Málaga Province is the cute little town of Juzcar. The Smurfs was filmed and promoted there which is why EVERY building (yes, every single last one) is painted blue. There are tons of smurf paintings and even a huge smurf statue in town.
This attracts tourists of course but it is not as talked about as the famous Hobbit Village in New Zealand. Smurf Village changed its name to the Blue Village due to legal issues with the Smurf trademark. But, you can still find all types of smurf branding all around town.
The town is just so cute! Plus, the location makes this one of the best hidden travel destinations. From this town, you can get to other cool Spanish holiday spots like Málaga, Seville, and Granada. You can also visit nearby national parks for hiking or drive to the southern coast for some beach action!
Where do you plan to go next?
Of these six sites which is on the top of your list? Are you more of a water sports kind of adventure traveler, cute and calm sites loving traveler, crazy and alluring destinations sort of traveler or just someone in between? Each site listed something for every kind of traveler from complete beginner to advanced!
Have you heard of any of these places before? Were there any that you wouldn’t dare visit or any you can’t wait to see in person?
Did you know I’m a travel agent? You can message me to book your own vacation to these secret sites around the world. For more information head over to my travel agent section.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think about these six secret sites around the world. I can’t wait to chat with all of you crazy travelers! x
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Khadija Collins offers virtual solutions to individuals, businesses, and nonprofits. When she’s not helping people produce results for their company, she loves to travel and hang out with her pup! She assists with everything from content creation, social media management, marketing, lite website management, and more. To see all the services she offers and how she can help you, check out her website here: khadijacollins.com