No matter what the calendar says, it’s never too early to start thinking about spring, especially if there’s an international vacation in your future. A new survey of travel advisors has some great ideas for a getaway.
Mexico leads the list of top international non-cruise destinations for consumers in a poll conducted by Travel Leaders Group of 1,000 of its North American travel advisors. Rounding out the top five in the Travel Trends Survey are Italy, the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas and Jamaica.
Cancun and Riviera Maya are two of the most popular spots for travelers to Mexico, with miles of beaches, outdoor activities, nightlife and accommodations to meet every budget. Discover Cancun’s marine life by going snorkeling or taking a tour on a glass-bottom boat. Take a day trip to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. Or, head to Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya, where you’ll find palm-lined beaches, coral reefs and blocks of shops, bars and restaurants.
If you’re thinking about a springtime trip to Italy, consider putting Florence and Venice on your itinerary. Two of the country’s most historic cities, they’re about two hours apart by train. Florence is home to priceless artwork, like Michelangelo’s marble statue of David, and the Duomo, the city’s grand cathedral. Venice’s canals make it a magical place to visit. The Venice Biennale, the art world’s global extravaganza, begins there on May 11.
In the Dominican Republic, the resort area of Punta Cana has one of the Caribbean’s longest coastlines of white sand beaches. Travelers will find a variety of upscale hotels and resorts, including beachside lodging that’s perfect for a romantic getaway. The Dominican Republic is also a great destination for a golf vacation, with courses designed by some of the sport’s biggest names.
From March 25-31, Punta Cana will host a PGA Tour event.
Travelers who want to get into the water will find lots of activities in The Bahamas, from kayaking and snorkeling to deep-sea fishing and swimming with the dolphins. In Nassau, the capital, there are historic sites to explore, like the imposing Fort Charlotte, which offers a commanding view of the area, and food tours where you can sample Bahamian cuisine. Annual events include the Pineapple Festival on the island of Eleuthera, scheduled this year from June 6-8, with cooking contests, eating competitions, athletic events and entertainment.
While it’s known for beaches, Jamaica has much to offer nature lovers. The Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is one of the largest migratory bird sites in the Caribbean, with dozens of species. Take a coffee tour at the Holywell Recreation Area to learn all about Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountain Coffee. Montego Bay, on the north coast, is a bustling city with shops and clubs lining Gloucester Avenue and swimming at Doctor’s Cave, one of the island’s most famous beaches. In June, the resort area of Ocho Rios hosts an international jazz festival.
For help planning a trip to any of these destinations, contact Travel Leaders / Destinations Unlimited.