Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

Travel is not restricted to just sightseeing. It can also be about discovery, genuine connection and life changing, bridge building moments between people with both nothing and everything in common. What better way to do this than look beyond tourist trails, and discover off the beaten path destinations? While you enjoy deeply meaningful connections, you can also look forward to thinner crowds, and less competition for the good seats in these six incredible off the beaten path destinations.From Samoan lagoons to the breathtaking landscapes of Bolivia, our experts have handpicked six incredible destinations that are sure to appeal to the explorer in you!1BhutanThis South Asian mountain kingdom is famously home to the happiest people on earth. And it’s easy to see why. With its stunning Himalayan mountains, endless forests, winding rivers, and verdant glacial valleys, Bhutan exudes an air of tranquility. The country considers Mahayana Buddhism to be its spiritual heritage; this prevailing belief system manifests itself in both the kindness of its people and the abundance of spectacular temples and monasteries here.Bhutan‘s hilly terrain promises plenty of hiking opportunities, ranging from easy to challenging. One such rewarding trek takes you to the cliffside Taktsang Palphug Monastery, or Tiger’s Nest, perched high above the Paro Valley. The moderate-level trek has a well laid-out path, and several vantage points to soak up views of the picturesque valley with its rice fields, the meandering Paro river and snow-capped mountains in the distance.A trip to Bhutan pairs well with Nepal, India or Thailand.2LaosBordered by Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, Laos is a melting pot of culture. A coming together of French and Buddhist influences, the Southeast Asian country draws you in with its distinct cuisine and mountainous landscape. The food in Laos is rich and savory, with flavorful dishes like larb, freshwater fish, and sticky rice dominating traditional menus. And if you love coffee, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Laos produces some of the best brews in the region!There’s much to see and do in the country. Go on leisurely boat rides along the Mekong River in the UNESCO Heritage city of Luang Prabang, and visit some of its monasteries and caves. Just outside of the city, you can find the magnificent Elephant Village. This elephant sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates elephants—and offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with these remarkable gentle giants.3BoliviaYou can find some of South America’s most beautiful sights in Bolivia.The alien landscape of Salar de Uyuni is as beautiful as it is bizarre. The world’s largest salt flat, it seems to go on forever. And at over 4,000 square miles, it practically does. A bright white, crackly layer of salt blankets the barren landscape, broken up only by the occasional flamingo or rock formation. Mesmerizing year round, Salar de Uyuni is at its most spectacular right after it rains. The perfectly flat ground becomes a mirror, reflecting the bright blue sky and the rare visitor.Sucre, Bolivia’s capital, is appealing in an entirely different way. Its UNESCO-listed Historic City boasts some of South America’s most striking architecture, blending 16th century Spanish and traditional local styles. In addition, Sucre is the gateway to the Yamparáez Province, home to the Aymara and Tarabuco people. Both indigenous groups have fascinating histories, which is reflected in their intricately designed textiles.In Western Bolivia, near Lake Titicaca, visitors can uncover the spectacular Tiwanaku ruins. This pre-Columbian archaeological site is one of South America’s largest, spanning nearly a thousand acres and containing decorated ceramics, monumental structures, and megalithic blocks. We recommend a visit to the Gateway of the Sun, the Pyramid of Akapana, the Temple of Kalasasaya, and the dramatic Semi-Subterranean Temple, among others.4LesothoA small nation encircled by South Africa, Lesotho is about as far off the beaten track as you can get.Malealea, a village of barely 600 people, welcomes the rare visitor with open arms. Get to know the local Basotho community, whose colorful culture is on full display across the remote village. Want to see more of the countryside? Put on your hiking shoes or strap on your biking helmet for a tour of the surrounding area. The Kingdom of Lesotho is also a mecca for lovers of the great outdoors. There is excellent hiking throughout the country, and ample opportunity for animal viewing. The towering Maluti Mountains provide amazing views, while Leribe is a great place to discover fossils. Dinosaur tracks made over 200 million years ago can be found throughout the region.5RwandaGorilla tracking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it is one of Rwanda‘s top draws. The densely forested mountains of Rwanda are home to some of the world’s last remaining wild mountain gorillas. Only a handful of permits are issued each day, giving

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

Travel is not restricted to just sightseeing. It can also be about discovery, genuine connection and life changing, bridge building moments between people with both nothing and everything in common. What better way to do this than look beyond tourist trails, and discover off the beaten path destinations? While you enjoy deeply meaningful connections, you can also look forward to thinner crowds, and less competition for the good seats in these six incredible off the beaten path destinations.

From Samoan lagoons to the breathtaking landscapes of Bolivia, our experts have handpicked six incredible destinations that are sure to appeal to the explorer in you!

1Bhutan

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

This South Asian mountain kingdom is famously home to the happiest people on earth. And it’s easy to see why. With its stunning Himalayan mountains, endless forests, winding rivers, and verdant glacial valleys, Bhutan exudes an air of tranquility. The country considers Mahayana Buddhism to be its spiritual heritage; this prevailing belief system manifests itself in both the kindness of its people and the abundance of spectacular temples and monasteries here.

Bhutan‘s hilly terrain promises plenty of hiking opportunities, ranging from easy to challenging. One such rewarding trek takes you to the cliffside Taktsang Palphug Monastery, or Tiger’s Nest, perched high above the Paro Valley. The moderate-level trek has a well laid-out path, and several vantage points to soak up views of the picturesque valley with its rice fields, the meandering Paro river and snow-capped mountains in the distance.

A trip to Bhutan pairs well with Nepal, India or Thailand.

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations
Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

2Laos

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

Bordered by Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, Laos is a melting pot of culture. A coming together of French and Buddhist influences, the Southeast Asian country draws you in with its distinct cuisine and mountainous landscape. The food in Laos is rich and savory, with flavorful dishes like larb, freshwater fish, and sticky rice dominating traditional menus. And if you love coffee, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Laos produces some of the best brews in the region!

There’s much to see and do in the country. Go on leisurely boat rides along the Mekong River in the UNESCO Heritage city of Luang Prabang, and visit some of its monasteries and caves. Just outside of the city, you can find the magnificent Elephant Village. This elephant sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates elephants—and offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with these remarkable gentle giants.

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations
Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

3Bolivia

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

You can find some of South America’s most beautiful sights in Bolivia.

The alien landscape of Salar de Uyuni is as beautiful as it is bizarre. The world’s largest salt flat, it seems to go on forever. And at over 4,000 square miles, it practically does. A bright white, crackly layer of salt blankets the barren landscape, broken up only by the occasional flamingo or rock formation. Mesmerizing year round, Salar de Uyuni is at its most spectacular right after it rains. The perfectly flat ground becomes a mirror, reflecting the bright blue sky and the rare visitor.

Sucre, Bolivia’s capital, is appealing in an entirely different way. Its UNESCO-listed Historic City boasts some of South America’s most striking architecture, blending 16th century Spanish and traditional local styles. In addition, Sucre is the gateway to the Yamparáez Province, home to the Aymara and Tarabuco people. Both indigenous groups have fascinating histories, which is reflected in their intricately designed textiles.

In Western Bolivia, near Lake Titicaca, visitors can uncover the spectacular Tiwanaku ruins. This pre-Columbian archaeological site is one of South America’s largest, spanning nearly a thousand acres and containing decorated ceramics, monumental structures, and megalithic blocks. We recommend a visit to the Gateway of the Sun, the Pyramid of Akapana, the Temple of Kalasasaya, and the dramatic Semi-Subterranean Temple, among others.

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations
Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

4Lesotho

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

A small nation encircled by South Africa, Lesotho is about as far off the beaten track as you can get.

Malealea, a village of barely 600 people, welcomes the rare visitor with open arms. Get to know the local Basotho community, whose colorful culture is on full display across the remote village. Want to see more of the countryside? Put on your hiking shoes or strap on your biking helmet for a tour of the surrounding area. 

The Kingdom of Lesotho is also a mecca for lovers of the great outdoors. There is excellent hiking throughout the country, and ample opportunity for animal viewing. The towering Maluti Mountains provide amazing views, while Leribe is a great place to discover fossils. Dinosaur tracks made over 200 million years ago can be found throughout the region.

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

5Rwanda

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

Gorilla tracking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it is one of Rwanda‘s top draws. The densely forested mountains of Rwanda are home to some of the world’s last remaining wild mountain gorillas. Only a handful of permits are issued each day, giving visitors the life changing opportunity to trek deep into Volcanoes National Park and see close-knit families of gorillas in their natural habitat. This also makes for a sustainable and crowd-free experience.

There’s more to Rwanda than gorillas. At the biodiverse Nyungwe Forest National Park, visitors can take the 197-foot-high canopy walk into the lush rainforest that is home to countless birds, leopards, over a thousand plant species, and twelve different types of monkeys. You can also spot chimpanzees, baboons, and vervet monkeys.

Rwanda has a rich culture, and you can discover its gorgeous craftwork and traditional dances at museums and villages that welcome visitors. Don’t miss the Gorilla Guardians Museum and the National Museum of Rwanda.

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations
Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

6Samoa

Samoa to Lesotho: Top Off the Beaten Path Destinations

Samoa might be the closest thing to paradise on earth. Famous for its surf, rich culture, and dazzling beaches, this French Polynesian island nation is located between Australia and Hawaii. 

Due to its remote location, Samoa rarely gets overcrowded. Swim with sea turtles or explore waterfalls, lagoons, and villages, just off the beaches. Samoa’s storied culture is a major draw for travelers. Humans settled in Samoa around 1050 BCE, and since then, their way of life has revolved around family, community, and the sea. Samoa is known for its hand-tapped tattoos and its wall-less, domed wooden buildings, lashed together with intricately patterned ropes. Samoan goods, from clothing to housewares, are made from locally sourced materials that reflect the continued role of the natural world in modern Samoan life. 

Would you like to experience some of the world’s best off the beaten path destinations? Get in touch with us for more travel tips from our experts. We can also help plan your ideal vacation — whether that includes tracking gorillas in Rwanda or hiking up the mountains in Bhutan. Our travel experts will curate your dream vacation, with an eclectic mix of experiences, tailored to meet your preferences.