As the temperature begins to rise, so does the anticipation of planning that perfect summer vacation. Each year, swarms of travelers flock to the shores of the Caribbean, set sail along the French Riviera, or hit the urban streets of their favorite metropolis.
This year, if you plan on thinking outside the box and traveling to a locale truly unique and exciting, we suggest taking a cue from Black Tomato. As an authority in luxury travel, Black Tomato has been creating bespoke travel experiences worldwide for more than six years, and has recently put together 10 of its favorite alternative vacation ideas for the summer.
When it comes to adventure travel, it is no surprise that Indonesia often tops the list. However, if the thought of Indonesia’s flawless beaches are not quite enough to make you leap out of your seat and book a trip this summer, then we have got quite a few (well lots really) other ideas to tempt you to this mythical paradise.
The islands of Java, Lombok, Bali, Flores and Sumbawa are a veritable treasure trove of experiences just waiting for you to discover. Fire breathing dragons? Well sort of, Rinca and Komodo Islands are two of the only places on earth to see these 3 metre long, man eating lizards living out of captivity – yikes. And finally the smoking volcanoes of Flores and in particular the stunning Mount Kelimutu crater lakes will have you wandering why you didn’t visit Indonesia sooner.
Swooning Over Samoa
Journeying to Samoa may already be taking a step off the beaten track for many but we have been scratching under the surface (quite a bit) and want to tell you about some of the things we have uncovered. Arriving into the capital Apia, on Upolu Island, you will immediately be struck by the local’s infectious spirit and willingness to share and educate on their culture.
Mon Dieu Here Comes Montpellier
We think Montpellier is how the south of France should be: a stylish unassuming place exuding the best that our Gallic neighbours have to offer – great wines, amazing seafood and of course that je ne sais quoi. Summer is the perfect time for a quick weekend break or even a weeklong sunshine sojourn.
Nestling quietly on the river Lez, between neighbours Perpignan and been-there-done-that Nice, Montpellier is the fast becoming the hot spot in France so we are desperate to share our discovery with you before it is too late.
All Praise for Panama
This uber cool pais continues to impress and we simply can’t wait for our next trip to go hang out with the Panamanians. June sees the temperatures soar into the mid-thirties ensuring you come back with that killer tan; and with almost 3000 kilometres of coastline, you won’t have any trouble escaping the crowds here.
Turkey’s Not Just for Christmas
This summer don’t miss out on visiting little known Cesme, our hidden outpost far from the masses of Izmir. This gem is home to many of the most ancient historical sites in Europe as well as some of the prettiest coastline we have ever come across. Cesme (literally meaning ‘fountain’ in Turkish) has already soaked us with its good vibes for this summer and we can’t wait to take you there.
More Than Just Southern Dandies
It’s going to be a sizzling summer in the Palmetto State. Having seen Charl Schwartzel triumph at the Masters in Augusta over the weekend, we’re out to show you some of the delights on offer if you stray off the beaten track.
There are some weird and wonderful things out there; South Carolina is the world capital of miniature golf, has the smallest police station on earth and is home to 90’s rockers Hootie and the Blowfish…interested? …well there is a little something out there to grab everyone’s attention.
Island Hop the Philippines
Encompassing 7107 islands, the Philippines is high on our list of must go to destinations this summer. It really is a great place to combine that Robinson Crusoe beach experience with a foray into virgin rainforests with a splash of adventure thrown in. If beaches are your thing, soft powder white sand and warm electric blue waters are the norm here, so you won’t be disappointed.
A Dreamy Italian Summer in Basilicata
On the Tyrrhenian Sea lies an undiscovered land of picture postcard rolling hills, tiny fishing villages and miles of white sandy beaches. Visit the Basilicata this summer and the promise of long balmy evenings on a vine-covered terrace with Pinot in hand is not one that will be broken easily. Our idea of heaven is to set up camp in one of the charming mountain villages of the Lucanian Dolomites and rent a vintage car for exploring the surrounding Mezzogiorno. We recommend basing yourself in the Maratea district, a real hideaway for those few in the know.
Escape to Ethiopia
Our new favourite, Ethiopia is a colossal highland complex intertwined with dramatic valleys and vast placid lakes that are sure to thrill. Explore architectural relics in Lalibella, trek the rugged Simien Moutains before skimming across great lakes dodging crocodiles. And for an unforgettable way to round off your African experience, soak up the hospitality of one of the untouched tribes residing outside Jinka. Live like the locals with an overnight stay in an indigenous village learning the customs of skin painting and lip disking. Throughout Ethiopia we have got a number of traditional accommodation options lined up just for you all with a dusting of western luxury…naturally.
Going Cuckoo for the Cook Islands this Summer
All of the Cook Island’s 15 gems lie at the centre of the Polynesian triangle. Whilst the hand full of tourists who do visit this tiny nation usually head for capital Rarotonga, we have been exploring what else is on offer. Our favourite paradise is Aitutaki in the southern group of islands endowed with powder white sands and thousands of swaying palm trees. The island is nothing short of perfection with a turquoise blue lagoon; we especially loved checking out the outlying motus (islands) including the legendary One Foot Island, regularly voted as the best beach in Australia and the Pacific.
Mad about Mexico
Mexico is our hot tip for this summer and it’s easy to see why. Away from the somewhat overwhelming capital city, Oaxaca is a charming colonial town in the stunning Sierra Madre Mountains. Be sure to stop by Mina Street where the smell of raw cocoa bean hangs thick in the air before heading to the Iglesia de Santo Domingo for a spot of culture in this 16th century beauty. High in the Michoacan Mountains, Lake Patzcuaro is considered the doorway to heaven by the indigenous Purepecho Indians, and with good reason. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface, and can’t wait to reveal all this summer.
To book any of these fabulous summer vacations, be sure to visit Black Tomato.