We caught up with three globetrotting travel advisors on our AFAR Travel Advisory Council, and asked for the emerging destinations they’re obsessing over now. Plus: how to travel like an AFARian in each place.

1. Cuba

Why? “The new openness between the U.S. and Cuba is unprecedented, and travelers can experience Cuba before the big impending development that’s set to occur. Cuba has been in a time warp for the last 50-60 years, but the destination is so much more than the 1950s cars driving down the street or the Cuban cigars. For one, there are pristine UNESCO Biosphere Preserves that are largely unexplored. Ferry service between Florida and Cuba was recently approved, and in July, JetBlue is launching round-trip flights from New York City.”
How to Travel Deeper: “Che Guevara’s youngest son, Ernesto, started his own private Harley Davidson tours inspired by the movie The Motorcycle Diaries. How often do you get to have a former revolutionary’s son take you through the country, giving you access to all his hidden insider spots?”—John Clifford, President, International Travel Management

2. Colombia

Why? “Visit Cartagena and spend a couple of nights in Bogotá. Cartagena is an atmospheric city that feels similar to New Orleans: it’s set along the coast and has this old-school, walled-in feeling. There’s so much to do. You can have a historical experience by taking a carriage ride to dinner, or you can go out on the water to snorkel and sail. Bogotá is a hotspot for young clothing designers right now. Every Sunday, the city closes traffic on the main drag, which makes it easy to explore the city on foot or ride around on bikes.”
Travel Deeper: “About an hour outside of Cartagena, you can visit Volcan del Totumo. Basically, you pay $2 to descend down into the crater of an old volcano and float in the mud. It’s fun, feels really good, and it’s great for your skin!”—Lauren Maggard, Consultant, Jet Set World Travel

3. New Zealand

Why? “It might take 24 hours for U.S. travelers to get there, but New Zealand offers some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes and a slew of adventure activities—perfect for those who have been to the Atacama and Patagonia and Chile and are looking for that next far-flung adventure. The lodges are some of the world’s most beautiful, ranging from the North Island’s 6,000-acre Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, with its postcard-perfect views of the ocean and world-class golfing, to the intimate, six-room Whare Kea, along the South Island’s azure Lake Wanaka.”
Travel Deeper: “One of the best parts of these lodges is the sense of community. You sit around the dinner table at night with a bunch of strangers, swapping stories about your day, and often become friends at the end of the meal.”—William Kiburz, VP, Coronet Travel Ltd.

Want more? Check out our guide for where to go this year.


Photo by David Netzer