Collected by Stephanie Zeiter
AFAR Explorer′s Wishlist
71895 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
For such a remote region, Big Sur has more than its share of amazing places to stay. One of the most unique is Treebones Resort, nestled high in the foothills of South Big Sur overlooking the Pacific. The off-the-grid property offers 16 signature...
by Maria Finn Each tented villa consists of a living room, a bathroom, and a teak-furnished bedroom that opens onto a porch and Madivaru’s mosaic-walled infinity pool. After a day of diving or snorkeling, you can arrange for a private dinner on...
72 Holt Rd, Garners Beach QLD 4852, Australia
I have an affinity for sleeping in trees. Particularly when those trees are in a rainforest and even better when those trees end at a secluded beach. In my opinion, tree houses should be an unobtrusive part of the forest, and my footprint while...
Kaihalulu Beach, Hana, HI 96713, USA
This was the end of the Hana Highway in Maui. Our guidebook told of a red sand beach, but it specifically left out information on how to get there, in an effort to keep people from spoiling it. Before our trip, I printed out some instructions from...
2520 Peniche, Portugal
Hire a boat out of Peniche, Portugal, when available, and travel six miles offshore to the pristine Berlenga Islands. Then hike, kayak, snorkel, and swim the day away. Pack a picnic lunch and feast on the beach. The perfect day in paradise.
21 Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Hoehyeon-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Dumplings are delicious. That's not much of a secret. But snacking on dumplings in one of the world's busiest and most atmospheric night markets? That's an entirely different experience. Namdaeumun Night Market, located smack dab in the heart of ...
Crijevićeva ul. 9, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Climb the grand baroque staircase and pass the Jesuit church, cross Gundulić Square, and follow the COLD DRINKS WITH THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW signs. Then, yes, walk through the walls. Buža translates to “a hole-in-the-wall,” and a...
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Severely dehydrated, severely under-dressed, severely cold (the sum of these parts means, of course, that I am severely stupid) my travel partner and I dragged our sorry carcasses through the woods and over rocks in the dead of night in search of...
Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Crowds may swarm upon it daily from sunrise onwards, but exposure hasn’t dulled the impact of the largest religious monument in the world. Commissioned by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century as the centerpiece of the mighty Khmer empire,...
Zurriola Ibilbidea, s/n, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Zurriola beach is slightly off the radar, or at least as much off the radar as one of a city's three beaches can be. The only tourists that typically venture over are of the surfing persuasion, and sitting to watch the sunset on the wall that...
Playa Sucia, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Five years ago, my friends and I found a secret beach near the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse. To this day, we've never seen anyone else there. Ignore the beach's misnomer—Bahia Sucia (dirty bay)—and plan on an 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. outing to this natural...
Anse Source d'Argent, Seychelles
Home to an abundance of wildlife, La Digue is the third largest inhabited island in the archipelago. Towering granite rocks surround the sparkling blue ocean, and green foliage and sprawling palm trees add to this unspoiled natural environment....
Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria
For exquisite natural beauty and unparalleled serenity, I love Agaja Beach. This beach is awesome. It is sublime. A well kept secret of well-heeled Lagosians. Most of the inhabitants of this little slice of paradise are Ghanaians, however. And for...
Rio de Janeiro - State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio’s beaches are famous. Sometimes too famous. For a more tranquil experience, seek out the solitude of Rio’s lesser-known shores. The secluded cove of Prainha Beach offers travelers a bigger patch of sand and clearer waters than Copacabana. At...
ROUTE NATIONALE, PIGEON 97132, Guadeloupe
Plage Anse Thomas is a petite-pebbled beach located in the south of Bouillante on the island of Basse-Terre. It is a secret spot for locals and often uncrowded. What makes this tiny gem so special? It is the site of one the many natural hot...
Rottnest Island WA 6161, Australia
Rottnest Island is only a short 30 minute ferry ride from Fremantle. It's regarded as one of Western Australia's best kept secrets, and I agree. It is home to some of the most beautiful and relaxing beaches. Trip to the island can be filled with...
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
This photo has not been retouched. And ironically, when we pulled into Secret Lagoon (yep - that's the actual name), no one was there. I expected hordes of tourists, but it lived up to its name. You can book a 3-day boat tour with several...
Fitzroy Island, QLD 4871, Australia
Known as where the reef meets the rainforest, Fitzroy Island is one of those secrets in Australia that you want to keep to yourself. A 45 minute Fast Cat ferry ride from Cairns, the journey is as dreamy as the destination. Once on the island...
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to explore far-flung islands and experience life as a castaway or something like it. My fantasies became reality when I discovered Tao, an organization in the Philippines offering adventures to the...
Agonda Beach, Agonda, Goa 403702
In Goa, India, Agonda beach is a small but beautiful beach that attracts the laid back traveler who isn’t interested in the party scene. It is a restful place to take a vacation from your vacation, which might be necessary when traveling amidst...
Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland
Iceland’s largest and most famous geothermal spa lies around an hour outside Reykjavik, quite close to Keflavik Airport. With a dramatic setting amidst large black lava boulders, the steam-filled, creamy-blue pool area is a striking and...
39171 Tassajara Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA
In 1967, Tassajara (already a storied hot springs resort) became the first Zen monastery outside Japan. Run by the San Francisco Zen Center, the monastery is open to the public from May through September and closed the rest of the year for...
1 Chome-31-１ Asamaonsen, Matsumoto-shi, Nagano-ken 390-0303, Japan
At the new Kai Matsumoto inn, located in the historic town of Matsumoto in the Japanese Alps, the spa offers 13 different traditional Japanese bathing rituals in its eight baths. The alkaline water is drawn from nearby Asama Hot Springs, which...
No. 18, Zhongbu Cross-island highway, Xiulin Township, Hualien County, Taiwan 972
These beautiful hot springs are located several kilometres into the gorge. To get there you must drive or cycle to the parking lot and then walk down a long wooden staircase built into the cliffside. At the bottom you'll find a quaint...
Ruta Provincial 82, Km 38, M5507 Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
If you’re looking for a day of grape-free respite in Mendoza, head off-the-grid to the hot springs of Cacheuta. The Terma Spa welcomes guests with an assemblage of thermal baths overlooking the scenic Mendoza River flowing downstream from the...
The thermal hot springs in Rincón de La Vieja at Rio Negro (Black River) may not be as well known as those in the Arenal area, but we had the pools and surrounding forest to ourselves. From where we stayed at the Hacienda Guachipelin Rincón de La...
52068 W Fork Rd #38, Dolores, CO 81323, USA
Among the most lauded hotel openings in recent years, Dunton Hot Springs is a glitterati mainstay, with its batch of former mining community cabins that look straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalogue. You don’t have to book a pricey stay at...
The Guanziling Hot Springs (關子嶺) are located in the foothills of the mountains of Taiwan, about 70 km northeast of Tainan City. These hot springs produce a fine, silty mud which is found in only three places in the world. It's said to be...
Loc. Follonata, Saturnia, 58014 Manciano GR, Italy
The Maremma region of southern Tuscany, about an hour south of Siena, is an area of olive groves, wooded valleys, and ancient legends. One such tale, dating from the days of the Etruscans and Romans, chronicles an epic battle in which Jupiter...
Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia
A visit to the Perhentian Islands is a must if you find yourself in Malaysia and want some beach time! If you want a nice quaint island stay on Perhentian Besar. If you are looking for more action then stay on Perhentian Kecil, but even Kecil is...
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