As the nights draw in and the winter chill seeps into the Rickshaw office we have to ensure our noggins are working extra hard to generate body heat. Luckily we had the tricky task of deciding our top picks for 2016 to keep us busy. Grab a cuppa and check out the countries we predict will top the travel charts and more importantly, the reasons why…
1. Costa Rica – with no stops along the way!
We’ve had our beady eyes focused on Costa Rica for a while now, but since British Airways announced the launch of a new direct route from London Gatwick to San Jose we’ve been predicting even bigger things for the destination in 2016. Taking just over 11 hours, the direct flight will enable a stress-free journey directly to the capital – avoiding the notoriously long transit in the US and leaving travellers with more time to explore the national parks and beaches! The new route will begin flying in May 2016 and is available to book now.
Rickshaw Recommends: Costa Rica in a Nutshell
San Jose – Tortuguero – Arenal Volcano – Monteverde – Samara Beach – San Jose
2. Peru – extra time to acclimatise
British Airways is the airline that just keeps on giving, and less than a fortnight after announcing its new direct flight to Costa Rica, they confirmed a non-stop route from London Gatwick to the Peruvian capital of Lima – the first direct flight from the UK since 1982! What does this mean for travellers? If you’re keen to climb the mighty Machu Picchu then you’ll no doubt need a couple of days to acclimatise to the higher altitude, and with the flight time around 12 hours it will add precious time to itineraries. With the new flight route kicking off in May 2016 it comes just in time to catch the peak trekking season which runs May – September.
Rickshaw Recommends: A Taste of Peru
Lima – Arequipa – Colca Canyon – Puno – Lake Titicaca – Puno – Cusco – Inca trail to Machu Picchu – Cusco – Lima
3. Indonesia – escape the bustle & head to Lombok
In 2016 we predict adventurous beach-lovers will be enticed to the beautiful Indonesian island of Lombok, just a 25-minute flight or 3-hour ferry trip from Bali (via the blissful Gili islands). Our newest itinerary takes travellers on a tropical adventure from bohemian Ubud in Bali to the quiet beaches and towering volcanoes of Lombok before relaxing on the white sands of the Gili islands for a scenic finale. The British pound is currently very strong against the Indonesian Rupiah which means you’ll be able to indulge in a few more luxuries such as a massage on the beach…
Rickshaw Recommends: Treasures of Lombok
Ubud – Senggigi – Tetebatu – Sembalun – Rinjani Volcano – Senaru – Gili Islands – Sanur
4. Borneo – giving the people what they want
We’ve noticed Borneo becoming increasingly popular throughout the last year (especially the region of Sabah), so our product team put their heads together and created a brand new 11-day itinerary which includes climbing Mount Kinabalu – a once in a lifetime experience! Sabah is one of the only remaining regions in the world where you can spot orangutans in the wild, so keep your eyes peeled in Tabin National Park!
Rickshaw recommends: A Taste of Sabah
Kota Kinabalu – Mount Kinabalu climb – Tabin National Park – Manukan Island
5. Chile – no longer in Argentina’s shadow
We’re predicting that 2016 will be the year for Chile to shine as a destination in its own right – after years of being seen as simply an add-on to Argentina. Skinny it may be, but Chile certainly packs a punch in terms of extreme landscapes and also boasts one of the best wine scenes in South America (bonus!). Our Product Team Manager, Jennifer planned a Christmas with a difference a couple of years ago, hiring a car and pootling through the bohemian hills of Valparaiso, passing towering volcanoes and finishing in the mighty Torres del Paine National Park. She came back raving about the dramatic scenery and colonies of waddling penguins and if that’s not reason enough to pack your bags and head to Chile then you’ve got more willpower than us!
Rickshaw recommends: Through Volcano Valleys to National Parks
Maipo Valley – Pucon – Puyehue – Puerto Varas – Punta Arenas – Puerto Natales – Torres Del Paine – Valparaiso