Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Top 5 Countries You've Never Heard Of (But Should Visit)

Working at Word Travels, you have the privilege of discovering corners of the globe you never knew existed. Since I started here I've added many destinations to my bucket list, including the Plain of Jars in Laos, the Avenue of Baobabs in Madagascar, and the huge caverns of champagne at Epernay in France.

But I didn't expect to find entire countries that were completely new to me! Here are five countries you're never heard of from around the world:

Meaning 'good air' in French, Bonaire is nestled in deep in the Caribbean. With a perfectly consistent tropical temperature, which is moderated by Atlantic trade winds, Bonaire is the ideal playground for lovers of all things aquatic. From scuba diving, snorkelling and fishing to sea kayaking, wind surfing and kite boarding, this little slice of tropical paradise will provide beautiful memories to be relived for years.

A tiny country in the Himalayas guided by a policy called Gross National Happiness, Bhutan is at times a wonderfully strange place: the walls of many buildings are emblazoned with drawings of giant penises - an invocation of good luck and fertility. All new structures must follow the ancient style and people are obliged by law to wear traditional dress in public. Monks have broadband access, and cigarette sales are illegal. And, uniquely, 70 percent of the land is owned by women as inheritance is matrilineal.

Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) may be a tiny nation in the central tropical Pacific Ocean, but its 33 atolls, mostly surrounding turquoise lagoons and barely rising above the surrounding ocean, span a whopping 1.4 million square miles (3.5 million sq km) of the Pacific Ocean. Many people come here to sunbathe on one of the countless sandy white beaches, sip on an exotic cocktail and watch other beach goers partake in volleyball, surfing, kayaking and jet skiing.

Most famous as a tax haven sandwiched between Spain and France, the tiny independent Principality of Andorra has some of the best skiing in the world. If skiing is not for you, however, Andorra also offers plenty of hiking opportunities, horse riding, golfing, relaxing in some fine restaurants and cafes, and of course some excellent duty-free shopping.

Curaçao is an ideal holiday destination for underwater lovers, as the excellent visibility, warm water, active reef conservation and variety of dive and snorkelling sites ranks the island among the best dive locations in the Caribbean. On land there are also several interesting sites to visit, including the 'living' Hato Caves where centuries-old stalagmites and stalactites are still being formed; the protected wildlife preserve of Christoffel Park with bent divi divi trees and blue iguanas; and the dramatic limestone caverns within Shete Boka National Park.


  1. That's stupid... everyone's heard of Andorra, especially if you live in Europe.

  2. I don't know about that Anonymous, a lot of Americans think Africa is a country, for example, so I think this article is aimed at those without your exhaustive grasp of geography.

  3. Bhutan sounds awesome!