With the world slowly showing signs of recovering, our expert guides are looking forward to planning a year of adventure in 2021. But where do they want to go first? We asked our veteran guides, some of whom have spent the last two decades travelling the world with Exodus, what’s the first place they want to go back to when the world is fully open to travel again and what are the top highlights they’d recommend seeing when you’re there.
Johnny Villalobos – Exodus Conservation Guide in Costa Rica
Top Pick Destination for 2021 – Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known for its biodiversity and is the perfect location for nature lovers. Johnny is no stranger to the country’s hot spots, so he’s cherry-picked some of his favourite Costa Rica locations which can be can be explored on our Discover Costa Rica trip and are worthy of adding to your 2021 travel wish list.
- Tortuguero is known for its abundance of green turtles, and from November to January, you’ll see beaches carpeted with baby turtles as they head down to the ocean.
- Home to the Costa Rican cloud forest, Monteverde is alive with thousands of species of plants and animals including hummingbirds, howler monkeys, sloths, and coatis.
- Via the rainforest of Arenal National Park, a hike to Arenal Volcano leads you among lava fields, waterfalls, and hot springs.
Take me there: Discover Costa Rica
Claudia Jeannie Randrianasolo and Armel Razafimahatratra – Exodus Guides in Madagascar
Top Pick Destination for 2021 – Madagascar
Both Claudia and Armel have chosen Madagascar as their 2021 travel favourite for its unique culture, stunning landscapes and its wildlife watching opportunities. They particularly love meeting the Malagasy tribes and experiencing their local traditions, as well as “the quick changes in the landscapes while driving within ten minutes”.
- Ranomafana National Park is one of Madagascar’s greatest highlights with its dense, hillside forests and magnificent wildlife, including various species of lemur, chameleons, and mongoose.
- Blessed with the most diverse and beautiful landscapes, Isalo National Park is made up of immense canyons, natural pools, and rock formations.
- A trip to the fortified village of Ambohimanga and its Royal Palace gives you an insight into the history and traditions of the Malagasy people.
Take me there: Highlights of Madagascar
Sujan Weerakoon and Ruwan Balasooriya– Exodus Guides in Sri Lanka
Top Pick Destination for 2021 – Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is one country that packs an almighty punch with its ancient history, disparate topography, and welcoming people, so it’s no surprise that Sujan and Ruwan have added it to their 2021 wishlist. The Discover Sri Lanka trip takes you deep into the heart of the country where you can go wildlife spotting in national parks and experience local cultures. Ruwan and Sujan managed to whittle down their extensive list to just several of their country highlights…
- A bike ride through the villages and countryside of Giritale gives you the chance to spot the many species of birds such as egrets, kingfishers and Brahmany kites, as well as visiting a local family for lunch and gaining an insight into how they live.
- Known for its monsoons and wet weather, Kitulgala is the perfect place to go white water rafting down its high-grade rapids. On an optional rafting expedition, you’ll even get to see the film location of “The Bridge on the River Kwai”.
- A trip to Sri Lanka wouldn’t be complete without meeting the local elephants and because Minneriya has the largest gatherings of elephants in the world, it’s one of the best places to see them. On an optional game drive, you can see up to 300 of these incredible animals.
Take me there: Discover Sri Lanka
Paul Goldstein – Wildlife photographer and Exodus Guide
Top Pick Destination for 2021 – Kenya
There are few experiences as thrilling as witnessing magnificent wildlife species in their natural environment and where better to do this than at Kenya’s Masai Mara. Award-winning wildlife photographer, Paul Goldstein has his finger on the pulse when it comes to seeking out the best wildlife destinations.
Paul says: “I have spent much of my life in these priceless Conservancies and although many would say I am biased, I can assure you there is nowhere better to enjoy cats and huge herds than on these fabled Rift Valley plains”. Eager to return to Kenya in 2021, he adds: “A day in one of these Conservancies is worth a week almost anywhere else…there is frankly nowhere like it.” Some of Paul’s highlights from the Kenya and Tanzania Adventure include:
- An exhilarating game drive through the plains in the Masai Mara
- Game drive at Lake Nakuru National Park to search for flamingos, endangered rhinos, and the elusive leopard.
- A two-day exploration around the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest unbroken caldera
Take me there: Kenya and Tanzania Adventure
Andrew Appleyard – Archaeologist and Exodus Guide
Top Pick Destination for 2021 – Jordan
Archaeologist and guide, Andrew Appleyard is enthralled by the natural and archaeological wonders of Jordan. From its desert landscapes and Nabatean cities to the valley of Wadi Rum, he says: “Whether you’re looking to hike, enjoy a cultural tour or explore on two wheels with our Petra & Wadi Rum by Bike trip, Jordan is just brilliant”. Andrew also helped create our Hidden Treasures of Jordan trip, which lets you explore deeper into the country’s history and culture. A few of Andrew’s highlights include:
- The UNESCO city of Petra, also known as the “Rose Red City”, is an architectural phenomenon carved into a huge pink rock face and is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. As Andrew explains, “Expert guides are essential when it comes to really exploring this area. Don’t short change yourself either by trying to do Petra in anything less than two days”.
- Camping beneath the stars at Wadi Rum is one of the best experiences you can have in Jordan as you’ll get back to nature and experience first hand the nomadic Bedouin lifestyle with a traditional Zarb dinner.
- The Dead Sea sits 434 metres below sea level and is known for its high concentration of salt. On both of these trips to Jordan, you’ll have the chance to float in its healing mineral waters.
If our tour leader’s wishlists have inspired you to make one of your own, you can do so with our Exodus Wishlist. Not only does this allow you to plan ahead for upcoming adventures in 2021, but it also means that you’ll be notified by email when one of our destinations opens up for travel!