As we usher in another brand-spanking, shiny New Year, it's time to write down those annual resolutions. This time around, there's one thing at the top of our to-do list: travel. While our previous travel bucket lists have been dominated with the usual suspects (we heart you forever, Paris), there are a few destinations that haven't made it on the list, and they should.
Last year, our go-to countries included Australia, Japan, and Brazil, among others, but this year we've thrown a few wildcards into the mix along with some you know but might not have visited yet—you might want to add these natural wonders too. Ready to fuel your wanderlust? Take the visual tour through our top seven destinations, pin them to your 2017 bucket list board, and start planning your next dream vacation. We'll see you there.
If it's a cultural coastal escape you're craving, put Holbox Island on your list stat. It's the next Tulum—we're calling it. Chill all day in the sun with a margarita in one hand while you watch the crystal-blue waves roll in on the sandy white beaches, or grab a bike and explore the historic region island-style like Lucy Williams of Fashion Me Now (the entire island is only 26 miles long). Located to the northwest of Cancun, Holbox Island is also a sanctuary for exotic animals like whale sharks and flamingos. The beauty of this unspoiled island is its inaccessibility so exclusivity and privacy reign supreme here. Stay at the Casa Sandra and eat at the Casa Tortugas, Williams's favorite lunch spot.
Namib Desert, Namibia
If you really want to do something different this year, take a trek to Namibia's Namib Desert. Despite being one of the oldest and largest deserts (it's about 55 million years old), this arid landscape actually supports a diverse number of plants and animals, many of which are unique to this region including mountain zebras and desert elephants. The Namib is famous for its crescent-shaped dunes that span 311,000 square miles.
If you think the photographs are beautiful, they can't compare to the experience of seeing the desert in person. According to the TripAdvisor reviews, it's like you're on another planet. Aside from being a photographer's dream, there are a ton of tours and quad biking trips you can do too. Watching the sun rise over the famous crimson dunes is definitely a bucket list experience to do before you die.
Palawan Island, The Philippines
If the desert doesn't do it for you, perhaps the breathtaking Palawan Island will. The Huffington Post called it the most beautiful island in the world, and it topped the list of Travel + Leisure 2014 World’s Best Awards for The Best Island in the World, and for good reason. This under-the-radar piece of paradise is a sight to behold. The Philippines might not be on your typical tropical hot spot list, but this remote island will change your mind. Only accessible via plane or boat, Palawan is unspoiled and brimming with activities and natural wonders from jungle-covered cliffs to blue-green lagoons with the clearest water you've ever seen. Heaven on earth.
Heading somewhere remote seems to be top of mind for 2017 as we all look for safe havens to escape to and seek out solitude. If there's one place where that's guaranteed, it's Patagonia, Chile. This secluded wilderness will romance you with its icy glaciers, emerald lakes, and fjords. Its dramatic and breathtaking landscapes will make your jaw drop, and we guarantee you'll run out of memory on your camera. Don't miss the Torres del Paine National Park and the enchanting Tierra del Fuego brimming with green-hued lagoons and an abundance of wildlife.
If we had to name only one experience everyone needs to have in their lifetime, it would be to go on safari. The sheer abundance of wildlife in this region of Kenya is beyond comprehension. We can only imagine how humbling it would feel to be in the presence of these creatures, from the wise elephant to the elegant giraffe. They live here in Samburu, Kenya, among their big-cat cousins and hyenas. Take a tour on a four-by-four, or head out on camelback and witness the mesmerizing 360-degree views. There's nowhere in the world quite like it.
Mù Cang Châi, Vietnam
This rural district in northeastern of Vietnam is heaven on earth. The terraced rice fields span the hillsides offering rich green panoramic views for miles that are truly some of the most heart-stopping scenes you will see in your life. To take it all in, rent a motorbike and tour it on two wheels. This will also allow you to get up to the peaks of these rice fields and capture the outlook in all its glory. But the enchantment doesn't stop at nature; it extends into the local culture and the people who live there too. It's a trip that's totally worth every penny.
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
From tropical islands to the desert, this bucket list has something for every adventurous jet-setter. But Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, is for the traveler who craves a historic injection. This ancient utopia is UNESCO World Heritage site featuring monumental stone stairs that climb up to a granite peak about 180 miles high. The famous Citadel of Sigiriya, aka Lion's Rock, can be seen for miles around and is definitely a must-see landmark. Be sure to climb the Pidurangala Rock for a bird's-eye view of the bygone region.
Are you planning a trip in 2017? What's your must-see country for next year?