🇦🇷SOUTHERN ARGENTINA

Bariloche, ArgentinaFrom the cultural buzz of Buenos Aires to the mountainous view from the Seven Lakes drive, from the whales of Peninsula Valdez to the magnificent hiking in El Chalten – this vast area of Argentina is one of the most photogenic places you’ll ever see. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Southern Argentina itinerary:

Luxury Buenos Aires, Argentina
1 ✈To Buenos Aires (Book >) Dep: Evening   🏨 In flight!  
2   Arr: Morning 🏨Alvear Palace (Book >) All hotels >
Have a relaxing first day recuperating from jet lag. I suggest you find a cool café in Palermo and enjoy a delicious medialuna.
3 Visit Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, grab lunch at Mercado del Progreso and admire the city architecture on a walking tour. Extend your trip with a couple of days in Uruguay, a short ferry ride away.
4 ✈Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn flight (Book >)
🚌Puerto Madryn to Puerto Pirámides bus
Dep: Morning
Dep: 17:00
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 18:30
🏨Hotel Las Restingas (Book >) All hotels >
Take a taxi to the bus station in Puerto Madryn and catch the 17:00 bus to Peninsula Valdez.  You’ll need to pay an entry fee to the peninsula – someone will board the bus to collect the fee.
5 Whales. So many whales. You can see them on a boat trip from Puerto Pirámides, or even from the shoreline. If you want to see orca then you’ll need to take a tour to Punta Norte. Take motion sickness tables for the whale watching trip.
6 🚌Puerto Pirámides to San Antonio Oeste bus
🚌San Antonio Oeste to Puerto Madryn bus (Book >)
🚄San Antonio Oeste to Bariloche train (Book >)
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 17:35
Dep: 22:20
12:30
Arr: 21:10
🏨Train  
Return to Puerto Madryn and pay a visit to the wonderful Museo Oceanográfico. If you’ve a couple of hours to spare walk along the beach to Punta Cuevas, where Welsh pioneers first settled. Take the bus to San Antonio Oeste and wait to board the train (which only departs on Friday nights). Get your Tren Patagonico ticket as soon as possible – up to 2 months before departure – on the Plataforma 10 website. For sleeper cabins select ‘Camarote’. 
7 🚗Bariloche to Villa La Angostura drive (Hire car >) Dep: 14:00 Arr: 12:28
Arr: 15:50
🏨Luma Casa de Montaña (Book >) All hotels >
In the morning sit back and watch the vast landscapes of Patagonia roll by. Hire a car in Bariloche and enjoy the start of the spectacular Seven Lakes road to Villa La Angostura. Once you’ve arrived drive a little way on to the shores of Lago Correntoso. You may want to allow more time to drive the Seven Lakes road as there are many scenic spots to stop at.
8 There are many incredible hikes to enjoy here, my favourite was to Cajon Negro.  The ViewRanger app was really useful for hiking in Argentina.
9 🚗Villa La Angostura to San Martín de los Andes drive Dep: 16:00 Arr: 18:30 🏨Río Hermoso (Book >) All hotels >
For a more sedate hike drive down to Puerto Angostura and get a ferry to Bosque De Arrayanes Embarcadero for the glorious walk through the Los Arrayanes National Park back to the dock. The first ferry leaves at 11am and the journey takes about one hour.
10 San Martín also has a number of enjoyable hikes in the vicinity, including the unmissable walk to Mirador Bandurrias and La Islita. Take some cash because you’ll pay a small fee to pass through Mapuche territory.
11 🚗San Martín de los Andes to Bariloche drive Dep: 10:00 Arr: 13:00 🏨Hotel Charming Luxury Lodge & Private Spa (Book >) All hotels >
Return to Bariloche and then drive on to Villa Llao Llao for a great walk along the lake before returning the car and taking a taxi to your hotel. Not a hiker? No problem. Your hotel is in a spectacular location so why not just enjoy the views from the luxury of your own spa room.
12 Board either bus 50 or 51 to Villa Catedral. Here you can enjoy a number of hikes or even a cable car ride. My favourite hike here is to Refugio Frey. Take a filter water bottle with you so that you can top up from streams along the way.
13 ✈Bariloche to El Calafate flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Xelena Hotel & Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Another few hours in which to enjoy your luxurious hotel before departing for El Calafate. Arrange tomorrow’s trip to the glacier in advance.
14 Take a day trip to the Perito Moreno glacier, where a boat will take you up close to the face of the glacier. There are also some excellent walkways from which to admire the glacier from various angles. It can be expensive to get cash out of ATMs in Argentina.
15 🚌El Calafate to El Chalten bus (Book >) Dep: 08:00 Arr: 11:00 🏨Destino Sur Hotel & Spa (Book >) All hotels >
Welcome to one of the best places for hiking in the world. Start with a relatively easy walk to Lago Torre – about 4 hours round trip. When you arrive into El Chalten the bus will stop at the park visitor centre where you can figure out which walks you want to do.
16 Devote today to walking to Lago de los Tres. This is a truly spectacular route that ends with a steep incline (so be sure to have some spare energy!) When you arrive you’ll be surrounded by immense, photogenic mountains and lakes. The final climb on today’s hike can be very busy and you may be stuck behind slower walkers – be patient and give yourself plenty of time.
17 🚌El Chalten to El Calafate bus (Book >)
✈El Calafate to Buenos Aires flight (Book >)
Dep: 08:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 11:00
Arr: Afternoon
🏨Alvear Palace (Book >) All hotels >
If you happen to be in Buenos Aires on a Sunday then you can get some great souvenirs at the San Telmo Feria. Bus tickets are usually only available to buy up to 2 months before departure.
18-19 ✈Buenos Aires to home Dep: Morning Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Southern Argentina itinerary with the Northern Argentina, Brazil, Northern Chile or Southern Chile itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.
Mid-range Tren Patagonico, Bariloche, Argentina
1 ✈To Buenos Aires (Book >) Dep: Evening   🏨 In flight!  
2   Arr: Morning 🏨Carles (Book >) All hotels >
Have a relaxing first day recuperating from jet lag. We suggest you find a cool café in Palermo and enjoy a delicious medialuna.
3 Visit Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, grab lunch at Mercado del Progreso and admire the city architecture on a walking tour. Extend your trip with a couple of days in Uruguay, a short ferry ride away.
4 ✈Buenos Aires to Bariloche flight (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Bungalows Buena Vista (Book >) All hotels >
Once in Bariloche spend some time in the many chocolate shops, or maybe take a trip up to Cerro Otto, using bus 50 or 51. Take those same buses or a taxi on to Villa Llao Llao and your hotel. It can be expensive to get cash out of ATMs in Argentina.
5 Board either bus 50 or 51 to Villa Catedral. Here you can enjoy a number of hikes or even a cable car ride. My favourite hike here is to Refugio Frey. Not a hiker? No problem. Your hotel is in a spectacular location so why not just enjoy the views from the luxury of your own spa room.
6 🚗Bariloche to Villa La Angostura drive (Hire car >) Dep: 15:00 Arr: 16:30 🏨Hotel Alma Andina (Book >) All hotels >
On your last day here enjoy a great walk along the lake from Villa Llao Llao. Take the bus to Bariloche, hire a car and enjoy the start of the spectacular Seven Lakes’ road to Villa La Angostura. Once you’ve arrived drive a little way on to the shores of Lago Correntoso. You may want to allow more time to drive the Seven Lakes’ road as there are many scenic spots to stop at.
7 There are many incredible hikes to enjoy here, my favourite was to Cajon Negro.  The ViewRanger app was really useful for hiking in Argentina.
8 🚗Villa La Angostura to San Martín de los Andes drive Dep: 16:00 Arr: 18:30 🏨Monte Verde (Book >) All hotels >
For a more sedate hike drive down to Puerto Angostura and get a ferry to Bosque De Arrayanes Embarcadero for the glorious walk through the Los Arrayanes National Park back to the dock. The first ferry leaves at 11am and the journey takes about one hour.
9 San Martín also has a number of enjoyable hikes in the vicinity, including the unmissable walk to Mirador Bandurrias and La Islita. You’ll need to take some cash because you’ll pay a small fee to pass through Mapuche territory.
10 🚗San Martín de los Andes to Bariloche drive
🚄Bariloche to San Antonio Oeste train (Book >)
Dep: 12:00
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 15:00 🏨Train  
Return to Bariloche and then board the train for San Antonio Oeste. Once on board sit back and watch the vast landscapes of Patagonia roll by. Get your Tren Patagonico ticket as soon as possible – up to 2 months before departure – on the Plataforma 10 website. For sleeper cabins select ‘Camarote’. 
11 🚄Bariloche to San Antonio Oeste train
🚌San Antonio Oeste to Puerto Madryn bus (Book >)
🚌Puerto Madryn to Puerto Pirámides bus
Dep: 09:40
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 07:14
Arr: 13:05
Arr: 18:30
🏨Hotel Las Restingas (Book >) All hotels >
Transfer to the bus to Puerto Madryn where you can grab lunch whilst waiting for the bus to Peninsula Valdez. You’ll need to pay an entry fee to the peninsula – someone will board the bus to collect the fee. Tren Patagonico only departs on Sundays. The bus to Puerto Madryn departs a few blocks north of the train station – ask for directions.
12 Whales. So many whales. You can see them on a boat trip from Puerto Pirámides, or even from the shoreline. If you want to see orca then you’ll need to take a tour to Punta Norte. Take motion sickness tables for the whale watching trip.
13 🚌Puerto Pirámides to Puerto Madryn bus
🚌Puerto Madryn to Esquel bus (Book >)
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 20:15
Arr: 12:30 🏨Bus  
Pay a visit to the wonderful Museo Oceanográfico in Puerto Madryn. If you’ve a couple of hours to spare walk along the beach to Punta Cuevas, where Welsh pioneers first settled. Pack ear plugs and an eye mask for the overnight bus journeys.
14 🚌Puerto Madryn to Esquel bus
🚌Esquel to El Chalten bus (Book >)
Dep: 16:00 Arr: 06:30

 

🏨Bus  
With your almost 12 hours in Esquel take a ride on La Trochita – the old Patagonian Express. Walk to Laguna La Zeta or in Parque Nacional Los Alerces. Bus tickets are usually only available to buy up to 2 months before departure.
15 🚌Esquel to El Chalten bus   Arr: 10:00 🏨Latitud 49º (Book >) All hotels >
Welcome to one of the best places for hiking in the world. Start with a relatively easy walk to Lago Torre – about 4 hours round trip. When you arrive into El Chalten the bus will stop at the park visitor centre where you can figure out which walks you want to do.
16 Devote today to walking to Lago de los Tres. This is a truly spectacular route that ends with a steep incline (so be sure to have some spare energy!) When you arrive you’ll be surrounded by immense, photogenic mountains and lakes. The final climb on today’s hike can be very busy and you may be stuck behind slower walkers – be patient and give yourself plenty of time.
17 🚌El Chalten to El Calafate bus (Book >) Dep: 17:00 Arr: 20:00 🏨MadreTierra Patagonia (Book >) All hotels >
Several more hours during which you can hike to Chorrillo del Salto and/or to Los Condores. Take a filter water bottle with you so that you can top up from streams along the way.
18 Take a day trip to the Perito Moreno glacier, where a boat will take you up close to the face of the glacier. There are also some excellent walkways from which to admire the glacier from various angles. Arrange your trip to the glacier in advance.
19 ✈El Calafate to Buenos Aires flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Carles (Book >) All hotels >
Relax before the flight to Buenos Aires. Enjoy one last evening in the Argentine capital. If you happen to be in Buenos Aires on a Sunday then you can get some great souvenirs at the San Telmo Feria.
20-21 ✈Buenos Aires to home Dep: Morning Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Southern Argentina itinerary with the Northern Argentina, Brazil, Northern Chile or Southern Chile itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.
Budget Whale
1 ✈To Buenos Aires (Book >) Dep: Evening   🏨 In flight!  
2   Arr: Morning 🏨Selina Palermo Soho (Book >) All hotels >
Have a relaxing first day recuperating from jet lag. We suggest you find a cool café in Palermo and enjoy a delicious medialuna.
3 Visit Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, grab lunch at Mercado del Progreso and admire the city architecture on a walking tour. Extend your trip with a couple of days in Uruguay, a short ferry ride away.
4 ✈Buenos Aires to Bariloche flight (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hospedaje Penthouse 1004 (Book >) All hotels >
Once in Bariloche spend some time in the many chocolate shops, or maybe take a trip up to Cerro Otto, using bus 50 or 51. It can be expensive to get cash out of ATMs in Argentina.
5 Board either bus 50 or 51 to Villa Catedral. Here you can enjoy a number of hikes or even a cable car ride. My favourite hike here is to Refugio Frey. After all that hiking enjoy the incredible views across lake and mountains from the hostel.
6 🚌Bariloche to Villa La Angostura bus(Book >) Dep: 14:30 Arr: 15:45 🏨Hostel La Angostura (Book >) All hotels >
On your last day in Bariloche take the bus to Villa Llao Llao for a great walk along the lake. Take the bus along the spectacular Seven Lakes road to Villa La Angostura. Once you’ve arrived walk a little way on to the shores of Lago Correntoso. Bus routes along the Seven Lakes road are weather dependent.
7 There are many incredible hikes to enjoy here, my favourite was to Cajon Negro.  The ViewRanger app was really useful for hiking in Argentina.
8 🚌Villa La Angostura to San Martín de los Andes bus (Book >) Dep: 14:45 Arr: 17:00 🏨Rukalhue Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
For a more sedate hike walk down to Puerto Angostura and get a ferry to Bosque De Arrayanes Embarcadero for the glorious walk through the Los Arrayanes National Park back to the dock. The first ferry leaves at 11am and the journey takes about one hour.
9 San Martín also has a number of enjoyable hikes in the vicinity, including the unmissable walk to Mirador Bandurrias and La Islita. You’ll need to take some cash because you’ll pay a small fee to pass through Mapuche territory.
10 🚌San Martín de los Andes to Bariloche bus (Book >)
🚄Bariloche to San Antonio Oeste train (Book >)
Dep: 09:45
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 13:15 🏨Train  
Return to Bariloche and then board the train for San Antonio Oeste. Once on board sit back and watch the vast landscapes of Patagonia roll by. Get your Tren Patagonico ticket as soon as possible – up to 2 months before departure – on the Plataforma 10 website. For sleeper cabins select ‘Camarote’. 
11 🚄Bariloche to San Antonio Oeste train
🚌San Antonio Oeste to Puerto Madryn bus (Book >)
🚌Puerto Madryn to Puerto Pirámides bus
Dep: 09:40
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 07:14
Arr: 13:05
Arr: 18:30
🏨Hospedaje La Posta (Book >) All hotels >
Transfer to the bus to Puerto Madryn where you can grab lunch whilst waiting for the bus to Peninsula Valdez. You’ll need to pay an entry fee to the peninsula – someone will board the bus to collect the fee. Tren Patagonico only departs on Sundays. The bus to Puerto Madryn departs a few blocks north of the train station – ask for directions.
12 Whales. So many whales. You can see them on a boat trip from Puerto Pirámides, or even from the shoreline. If you want to see orca then you’ll need to take a tour to Punta Norte. Take motion sickness tables for the whale watching trip.
13 🚌Puerto Pirámides to Puerto Madryn bus
🚌Puerto Madryn to Esquel bus (Book >)
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 20:15
Arr: 12:30 🏨Bus  
Pay a visit to the wonderful Museo Oceanográfico in Puerto Madryn. If you’ve a couple of hours to spare walk along the beach to Punta Cuevas, where Welsh pioneers first settled. Pack ear plugs and an eye mask for the overnight bus journeys.
14 🚌Puerto Madryn to Esquel bus
🚌Esquel to El Chalten bus (Book >)
Dep: 16:00 Arr: 06:30

 

🏨Bus  
With your almost 12 hours in Esquel take a ride on La Trochita – the old Patagonian Express. Walk to Laguna La Zeta or in Parque Nacional Los Alerces. Bus tickets are usually only available to buy up to 2 months before departure.
15 🚌Esquel to El Chalten bus   Arr: 10:00 🏨Hospedaje Mi Rincon (Book >) All hotels >
Welcome to one of the best places for hiking in the world. Start with a relatively easy walk to Lago Torre – about 4 hours round trip. When you arrive into El Chalten the bus will stop at the park visitor centre where you can figure out which walks you want to do.
16 Devote today to walking to Lago de los Tres. This is a truly spectacular route that ends with a steep incline (so be sure to have some spare energy!) When you arrive you’ll be surrounded by immense, photogenic mountains and lakes. The final climb on today’s hike can be very busy and you may be stuck behind slower walkers – be patient and give yourself plenty of time.
17 🚌El Chalten to El Calafate bus (Book >) Dep: 17:00 Arr: 20:00 🏨Folk Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Several more hours during which you can hike to Chorrillo del Salto and/or to Los Condores. Take a filter water bottle with you so that you can top up from streams along the way.
18 Take a day trip to the Perito Moreno glacier, where a boat will take you up close to the face of the glacier. There are also some excellent walkways from which to admire the glacier from various angles. Arrange your trip to the glacier in advance (your hostel can help).
19 ✈El Calafate to Buenos Aires flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Selina Palermo Soho (Book >) All hotels >
Relax before the flight to Buenos Aires. Enjoy one last evening in the Argentine capital. If you happen to be in Buenos Aires on a Sunday then you can get some great souvenirs at the San Telmo Feria.
20-21 ✈Buenos Aires to home Dep: Morning Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Southern Argentina itinerary with the Northern Argentina, Brazil, Northern Chile or Southern Chile itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.

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Island hopping

I’ve long wanted to try island hopping in the Caribbean. When I started researching my trip there I was happy to see that it is possible to get a ferry between St Lucia, Dominica and Guadeloupe. However, I also wanted to see Barbados and so managed to find a cheap flight from Ecuador, via Florida and then another flight between Barbados and St Lucia.

These islands all felt very different. Barbados was relatively flat and had a plethora of incredible beaches. St Lucia had more variety; a few amazing beaches, mountains and rainforest. Dominica wasn’t great for beaches but offered a magnificent, verdant interior, as well as whale watching opportunities. Guadeloupe had good and easy hikes in the mountains, a large choice of beaches and a distinct French flair.

I knew that it would be easy to create a Luxury version of the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, the Mid-Range version was also pretty simple to put together. The Budget version was, however, more of a challenge, but it is entirely possible to see this part of the world without spending a fortune (partly thanks to the low cost airlines which fly there from the US).

We stayed in a range of accommodation, my favourite being the luxurious hotel on the side of a hill overlooking St Lucia’s dramatic pitons. The lowlight? Dominica’s incredibly disorganised border at the ferry port. It was so bad I nearly dropped this island from the itinerary, but its an amazing place and so worth going through immigration pain.

🇧🇧🇱🇨🇩🇲🇬🇵EASTERN CARIBBEAN

Sugar Beach, St LuciaIn the Eastern Caribbean you’ll find picture-perfect beaches, but also adventure in the form of rainforest hikes, swimming beneath waterfalls, snorkelling over reefs and much more. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Eastern Caribbean itinerary:

Luxury Barbados
1 ✈To Barbados (Book >)
🚕Airport to Durants
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Afteroon
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 40 mins later
🏨The House by Elegant Hotels (Book >) All hotels >
You’ll arrive at your hotel in time for dinner and a relaxing evening after your flight. Arrange your transfer in advance for a smooth arrival.
2-5 You’re staying by one of the best beaches in Barbados, a great place to swim as well as to snorkel out to reef filled with colourful fish. During your time here I recommend a visit to the manor house, steam train and rum distillery at St Nicholas Abbey. In nearby Holetown there’s good shopping, a lively nightlife and the Holetown Monument which commemorates the 1625 English landing. Hurricane season runs from June to November.
6 ✈Barbados to St Lucia flight (Book >)
🚕Airport to Soufriere transfer
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 1hr 30mins later
🏨Jade Mountain Resort (Book >) All hotels >
The transfer to your hotel takes an hour and a half, but once you arrive you’ll quickly realise you’ve come to somewhere special. Use an eco-friendly sunscreen and help protect the reefs.
7-10 Apart from spending time on those exquisite beaches and in the crystal-clear sea, pay a visit to the Sulphur Springs close to Soufriere, hike through the rainforest or embark on a sailing trip. All beaches in St Lucia are public – don’t let anyone try to kick you off!
11 ✈St Lucia to Dominica flight (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Morning 🏨Jungle Bay Resort & Spa(Book >) All hotels >
You’ll need to make an early start for the one flight a day to Dominica. Once you arrive, collect your car and enjoy the drive over the mountains to your hotel. Water in Dominica can be unsafe to drink, buy a filter water bottle and avoid using plastic.
12-14 Dominica is more about adventure than beach, so take yourself on the 45-min hike to Middleham Falls where a cool pool beneath a high waterfall is your reward. Much easier to get to are the twin waterfalls at Trafalgar Falls. From Roseau you can arrange dolphin and whale watching tours. Swim in the bubbling waters of Champagne Bay, or snorkel at spectacular Scott’s Head. Insect repellant is recommended when heading into the rainforest.
15 ✈Dominica to Guadeloupe flight (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Evening 🏨La Toubana Hotel & Spa (Book >) All hotels >
One you’ve landed at Pointe-a-Pitre airport collect your car for the 30-min drive to your hotel. Guadeloupe is a French territory and therefore in the EU.
16-18 You’ll be staying on the island of Grande Terre, where most of the best beaches are located. If you want to get active then drive to Basse Terre – you’ll find a good guide and maps here. Learning some French words and phrases will be appreciated by the locals.
19-20 ✈Guadeloupe to Home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr:
Morning (next day)
Connect this Eastern Caribbean itinerary with the Cuba, Costa Rica or Eastern USA itinerary
Consider adding on a day or two in New York or Paris to break up the journey home.
Mid-range Dominica
1 ✈To Barbados (Book >)
🚕Airport to Speightstown
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Afteroon
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 1hr later
🏨Sugar Cane Club (Book >) All hotels >
You’ll arrive at your hotel in time for dinner and a relaxing evening after your flight. Arrange your transfer in advance for a smooth arrival.
2-5 You’re hotel offers free transfers to one of the best beaches in Barbados, a great place to swim as well as to snorkel out to reef filled with colourful fish. During your time here I recommend a visit to the manor house, steam train and rum distillery at St Nicholas Abbey. In nearby Speightstown there are some great beachside restaurants. Hurricane season runs from June to November.
6 ✈Barbados to St Lucia flight (Book >)
🚕Airport to Soufriere transfer
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 1hr 30mins later
🏨Stonefield Estate Resort (Book >) All hotels >
The transfer to your hotel takes an hour and a half, but once you arrive you’ll quickly realise you’ve come to somewhere special. Use an eco-friendly sunscreen and help protect the reefs.
7-9 Apart from spending time on those exquisite beaches and in the crystal-clear sea, pay a visit to the Sulphur Springs close to Soufriere, hike through the rainforest or embark on a sailing trip. All beaches in St Lucia are public – don’t let anyone try to kick you off!
10 🚕Soufriere to Castries taxi Dep: 20:00 Arr: 21:30 🏨Harbour Vista Inn (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy one last day at the beach before transferring to Castries, where you’ll stay the night before catching the early ferry tomorrow. Castries isn’t much fun at night and so I’d recommend arriving here later.
11 ⛴️St Lucia to Roseau ferry  (Book >)
🚌Roseau to Calibishie bus
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 12:30
Arr: 11:15
Arr: 14:30
🏨Wanderlust Caribbean (Book >) All hotels >
An early start for the ferry to Dominica. Once you arrive walk to River Bank road where you can catch a minibus to the other side of the island. Water in Dominica can be unsafe to drink, buy a filter water bottle and avoid using plastic.
12-14 Dominica is more about adventure than beach, so go on the 45-min hike to Middleham Falls where a cool pool beneath a high waterfall is your reward. Much easier to get to are the twin waterfalls at Trafalgar Falls. From Roseau you can arrange dolphin and whale watching tours. Swim in the bubbling waters of Champagne Bay, or snorkel at spectacular Scott’s Head. Your hotel can help to arrange tours of the island with Nigel – a guide I can highly recommend.
15 ⛴️Dominica to Pointe-a-Pitre ferry (Book >) Dep: 11:30 Arr: 13:45 🏨Le Rayon Vert (Book >) All hotels >
One you’ve arrived in Guadeloupe collect your car for the 1-hour drive to your hotel. Guadeloupe is a French territory and therefore in the EU.
16-18 You’ll be staying on the island of Basse Terre, where there are some great beaches as well as a plethora of inland activities – you’ll find a good guide and maps here. Learning some French words and phrases will be appreciated by the locals.
19-20 ✈Guadeloupe to Home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr:
Morning (next day)
Connect this Eastern Caribbean itinerary with the Cuba, Costa Rica or Eastern USA itinerary
Consider adding on a day or two in New York or Paris to break up the journey home.
Budget Guadeloupe
1 ✈To Barbados (Book >)
🚕Airport to St Lawrence taxi
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Afteroon
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 25 mins later
🏨Southern Surf Beach Apartments (Book >) All hotels >
You’ll arrive at your hotel in time for dinner and a relaxing evening after your flight. You can find an official taxi stand in the airport, just outside the arrivals doors.
2-5 St Lawrence is a lively part of Barbados, with a good choice of rum shacks and beautiful beaches. During your time here I recommend a visit to the manor house, steam train and rum distillery at St Nicholas Abbey. In nearby Bridgetown there’s good shopping and a charming boardwalk. Hurricane season runs from June to November.
6 ✈Barbados to St Lucia flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Sérénité Vigie Saint Lucia (Book >) All hotels >
Your hotel is a short walk from the airport and is a great place from which to watch the sun go down. There are plenty of minibuses running from near your hotel to the airport in Barbados.
7 🚌Castries to Soufriere bus Dep: 10:00 Arr: 12:00 🏨Serenity Escape St Lucia (Book >) All hotels >
You can either take the bus directly to Soufriere, or stop off along the way at a rum distillery. Use an eco-friendly sunscreen and help protect the reefs.
8-9 Apart from spending time on those exquisite beaches and in the crystal-clear sea, pay a visit to the Sulphur Springs close to Soufriere, hike through the rainforest or embark on a sailing trip. All beaches in St Lucia are public – don’t let anyone try to kick you off!
10 🚌Soufriere to Castries bus Dep: 17:00 Arr: 19:00 🏨Harbour Vista Inn (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy one last day at the beach before transferring to Castries, where you’ll stay the night before catching the early ferry tomorrow. There are only a limited number of decent restaurants in Castries.
11 ⛴️St Lucia to Roseau ferry (Book >)
🚌Roseau to Soufriere bus
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 12:30
Arr: 11:15
Arr: 14:30
🏨Soufriere Guesthouse (Book >) All hotels >
An early start for the ferry to Dominica. Once you arrive walk to River Bank road where you can catch a minibus to Soufriere (not the one in St Lucia!) Water in Dominica can be unsafe to drink, buy a filter water bottle and avoid using plastic.
12-14 Take a minibus to Roseau and then another to the twin waterfalls at Trafalgar Falls. From Roseau you can arrange dolphin and whale watching tours. Swim in the bubbling waters of Champagne Bay (close to your guesthouse), or snorkel at spectacular Scott’s Head. Insect repellant is recommended when heading into the rainforest.
15 ⛴️Dominica to Pointe-a-Pitre ferry (Book >) Dep: 11:30 Arr: 13:45 🏨Gîte bois Cannelle (Book >) All hotels >
One you’ve arrived in Guadeloupe collect your car for the 1-hour drive to your gîte. Guadeloupe is a French territory and therefore in the EU.
16-18 You’ll be staying on the island of Basse Terre, where there are some great beaches as well as a plethora of inland activities – you’ll find a good guide and maps here. Learning some French words and phrases will be appreciated by the locals.
19-20 ✈Guadeloupe to Home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr:
Morning (next day)
Connect this Eastern Caribbean itinerary with the Cuba, Costa Rica or Eastern USA itinerary
Consider adding on a day or two in New York or Paris to break up the journey home.

Living the high life

In 2008 we set out to travel from London to Nepal without taking any flights. We celebrated reaching that goal atop Poon Hill, 3200 metres high and with a view of several 7000+ metre-high mountains. What a stupendous country Nepal is.

Of course, if hiking isn’t really your thing then there are other ways to view those magnificent Himalaya; on a white water rafting expedition (which I can also highly recommend), from an aeroplane, from an infinity pool in your luxurious hotel… Then there’s the fascinating city of Kathmandu, friendly hill-top villages and the wonderful wildlife of Chitwan National Park.

The Nepal itinerary was one of those few where Luxury, Mid-range and Budget travellers all, at one point, stay in the same accommodation. When you’re on a remote trek there isn’t much choice but to stay in a teahouse and they’re all pretty basic. But they’re also an enjoyable part of the trekking experience and, after a day of hiking up steep hills, any bed is welcome!

I chose to include a trek in the Annapurna region rather than nearer to Everest. This is because I have direct experience of this trek and know that it’s one of the best you’ll ever do. Plus, if you’re short of time, you can still see Everest on a special flight. If you do have more time then I would absolutely recommend trekking up to Everest Base Camp – flying between Kathmandu and Pokhara is the best way to make up that time.

🇳🇵NEPAL

Poon Hill, NepalYou’ll need to be somewhat fit to tackle the magnificent treks in Nepal, but the reward for all that effort is a front-row view of the world’s highest mountains. Back where the oxygen is less thin are fascinating cities and incredible wildlife-spotting opportunities Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Nepal itinerary:

Luxury Chitwan National Park, Nepal
1 ✈To Kathmandu (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hotel The Dwarika’s (Book >) All hotels >
Relax in your beautiful hotel and go for a stroll around the old city.
3 Explore the Thamel District, visit the Pashupatinath Temple, famous Boudhanath Stupa, beautiful Taleju Temple, the Patan Museum and, if time, climb up to up to the ancient Swayambhu temple for breathtaking views. Mid-afternoon head over to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur. Visitors from most countries can obtain a visa on arrival.
4 ✈Kathmandu to Pokhara flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨The Pavilions Himalayas (Book >) All hotels >
You have a little more time this morning to see any sights you missed out on yesterday before the breathtaking flight to Pokhara. Once you’ve arrived, dropped off your bags and got your trekking permit, head to the lake for a serene paddle over the water. You will need to get a trekking permit (details here) – head straight to the Nepal Tourism Board office when you arrive in Pokhara or ask your hotel for help.
5 🚕Pokhara to Nayapul taxi
🚶Nayapul to Ulleri hike
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 09:00
Arr: 08:45
Arr: 16:00
🏨Super View Guest House
From Nayapul walk to the Birethani checkpoint and get your permit checked. Then onwards and upwards, through valleys and past rivers. Along the way you’ll pass tea houses where you can stop off for food and drink. It isn’t necessary to book guest houses in advance – if those I’ve recommended aren’t available then be assured that standards don’t vary much.
6 🚶Ulleri to Ghorepani hike Dep: 07:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Super View Lodge
3,767 stairs to Ghorepani, stopping at beautiful Ulleri village. About halfway through the walk you’ll start getting glimpses of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Once in Ghorepani leave your bags at the teahouse and take a couple of hours to rest, before ascending Poon Hill (about 45 mins away). From the top is one of the best views you’re ever likely to see. These trekking times allow for a slow pace and many rest stops!
7 🚶Ghorepani to Tadapani hike Dep: 08:30 Arr: 17:30 🏨Fishtail Lodge
Awake at 04:00 and trek back up Poon Hill for a spectacular sunrise. Return for breakfast then enjoy today’s walk through forests, over rivers, up to the highest point on the trek (about 10,000 ft) and yes, more steps. Tadapani has amazing views – including of the fishtail peak of Machhapuchhre – which you can admire over a recuperating drink. Plastic water bottles can’t be bought on the trek – buy a filter water bottle. You’ll also need to bring your own sleeping bag, liner and towel.
8 🚶Tadapani to Birethanti hike
🚕Birethanti to Pokhara taxi
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 15:00
Arr: 14:30
Arr: 17:00
🏨The Pavilions Himalayas (Book >) All hotels >
A relatively easy walk, descending to Birethanti and stopping off at Ghandrung village. Back in Pokhara treat yourself to a well-earned massage. Do you need a guide for your trek? I don’t think so, at least not for this one which is a pretty obvious route.
9 🚗Pokhara to Bandipur drive (Book >) Dep: 11:00 Arr: 13:30 🏨Depche Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Meet your guide and enjoy the drive to Bandipur. This well-preserved medieval town boasts old temples and shrines, as well as superb views of the Himalaya from Tudikhel hill. Be wary of the signs of altitude sickness.
10 🚗Bandipur to Andrauli drive Dep: 08:00 Arr: 11:00 🏨Barahi Jungle Lodge(Book >) All hotels >
Drive on to Chitwan National Park where you will spend today and tomorrow seeking out tigers, rhinos and wild elephants. Take a power bank with you on treks and safaris.
11 More time to see wildlife, including deer, monkeys, crocodiles, wild boars and many species of birds. Do not ride elephants! They are often mistreated.
12 🚗Andrauli to Kathmandu drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨Hotel The Dwarika’s (Book >) All hotels >
Back in Kathmandu you’ll have plenty of time to see any sights you missed on days 2-4. In need of souvenirs? Pick them up at Mangal Bazaar. You can’t take Nepalese rupees out of the country; exchange before you leave.
13 Today you’re going on a flight to see Mount Everest. The flight starts early and has you back on the ground in an hour, during which time you’ll see the world’s highest peak from your guaranteed window seat. If you want to extend your trip then consider travelling to Lukla on day 13 for a ground view of Everest.
14 ✈Kathmandu to Home (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening Connect this Nepal itinerary with the China or India (Rajasthan) itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.
Mid-range Kathmandu, Nepal
1 ✈To Kathmandu (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Tibet International (Book >) All hotels >
Relax in your beautiful hotel and go for a stroll around the old city.
3 Explore the Thamel District, visit the Pashupatinath Temple, famous Boudhanath Stupa, beautiful Taleju Temple, the Patan Museum and, if time, climb up to up to the ancient Swayambhu temple for breathtaking views. Mid-afternoon head over to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur. Visitors from most countries can obtain a visa on arrival.
4 ✈Kathmandu to Pokhara flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
You have a little more time this morning to see any sights you missed out on yesterday before the breathtaking flight to Pokhara. Once you’ve arrived, dropped off your bags and got your trekking permit, head to the lake for a serene paddle over the water. You will need to get a trekking permit (details here) – head straight to the Nepal Tourism Board office when you arrive in Pokhara or ask your hotel for help.
5 🚕Pokhara to Nayapul taxi
🚶Nayapul to Ulleri hike
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 09:00
Arr: 08:45
Arr: 16:00
🏨Super View Guest House
From Nayapul walk to the Birethani checkpoint and get your permit checked. Then onwards and upwards, through valleys and past rivers. Along the way you’ll pass tea houses where you can stop off for food and drink. It isn’t necessary to book guest houses in advance – if those I’ve recommended aren’t available then be assured that standards don’t vary much.
6 🚶Ulleri to Ghorepani hike Dep: 07:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Super View Lodge
3,767 stairs to Ghorepani, stopping at beautiful Ulleri village. About halfway through the walk you’ll start getting glimpses of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Once in Ghorepani leave your bags at the teahouse and take a couple of hours to rest, before ascending Poon Hill (about 45 mins away). From the top is one of the best views you’re ever likely to see. These trekking times allow for a slow pace and many rest stops!
7 🚶Ghorepani to Tadapani hike Dep: 08:30 Arr: 17:30 🏨Fishtail Lodge
Awake at 04:00 and trek back up Poon Hill for a spectacular sunrise. Return for breakfast then enjoy today’s walk through forests, over rivers, up to the highest point on the trek (about 10,000 ft) and yes, more steps. Tadapani has amazing views – including of the fishtail peak of Machhapuchhre – which you can admire over a recuperating drink. Plastic water bottles can’t be bought on the trek – buy a filter water bottle. You’ll also need to bring your own sleeping bag, liner and towel.
8 🚶Tadapani to Naya Pul hike
🚌Naya Pul to Pokhara bus
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 15:15
Arr: 14:45
Arr: 17:15
🏨Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
A relatively easy walk, descending to Naya Pul and stopping off at Ghandrung village. At the end of the trek you’ll need to wait for a passing bus back to Pokhara. Back in the city treat yourself to a well-earned massage. Do you need a guide for your trek? I don’t think so, at least not for this one which is a pretty obvious route.
9 🚌Pokhara to Dumre Bazaar bus
🚌Dumre Bazaar to Bandipur bus
Dep: 10:30
Dep: 13:30
Arr: 13:00
Arr: 14:30
🏨Gaun Ghar (Book >) All hotels >
The well-preserved medieval town of Bandipur boasts old temples and shrines, as well as superb views of the Himalaya from Tudikhel hill. Ask your hotel about transport from Dumre and to book your bus ticket to Sauraha.
10 🚌Bandipur to Dumre Bazaar bus
🚌Dumre Bazaar  to Sauraha bus
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 10:30
Arr: 09:30
Arr: 13:30
🏨Green Park Chitwan (Book >) All hotels >
Drive on to Chitwan National Park where you will spend today and tomorrow seeking out tigers, rhinos and wild elephants. Ask your Chitwan hotel to collect you from the bus stop.
11 More time to see wildlife, including deer, monkeys, crocodiles, wild boars and many species of birds. Do not ride elephants! They are often mistreated.
12 🚌Sauraha to Kathmandu bus (Book >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨Tibet International (Book >) All hotels >
Back in Kathmandu you’ll have plenty of time to see any sights you missed on days 2-4. In need of souvenirs? Pick them up at Mangal Bazaar. You can’t take Nepalese rupees out of the country; exchange before you leave.
13 Today you’re going on a flight to see Mount Everest. The flight starts early and has you back on the ground in an hour, during which time you’ll see the world’s highest peak from your guaranteed window seat. If you want to extend your trip then consider travelling to Lukla on day 13 for a ground view of Everest.
14 ✈Kathmandu to Home (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening Connect this Nepal itinerary with the China or India (Rajasthan) itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.
Budget Mount Everest
1 ✈To Kathmandu (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨WanderThirst Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Relax in your beautiful hotel and go for a stroll around the old city.
3 Explore the Thamel District, visit the Pashupatinath Temple, famous Boudhanath Stupa, beautiful Taleju Temple, the Patan Museum and, if time, climb up to up to the ancient Swayambhu temple for breathtaking views. Mid-afternoon head over to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur. Visitors from most countries can obtain a visa on arrival.
4 🚌Kathmandu to Pokhara bus (Book >) Dep: 07:30 Arr: 15:00 🏨The Mountain House (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve arrived in Pokhara, dropped off your bags and got your trekking permit, head to the lake for a serene paddle over the water. You will need to get a trekking permit (details here) – head straight to the Nepal Tourism Board office when you arrive in Pokhara or ask your hostel for help.
5 🚌Pokhara to Nayapul bus
🚶Nayapul to Ulleri hike
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 09:00
Arr: 09:00
Arr: 16:00
🏨Super View Guest House
From Nayapul walk to the Birethani checkpoint and get your permit checked. Then onwards and upwards, through valleys and past rivers. Along the way you’ll pass tea houses where you can stop off for food and drink. It isn’t necessary to book guest houses in advance – if those I’ve recommended aren’t available then be assured that standards don’t vary much.
6 🚶Ulleri to Ghorepani hike Dep: 07:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Super View Lodge
3,767 stairs to Ghorepani, stopping at beautiful Ulleri village. About halfway through the walk you’ll start getting glimpses of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Once in Ghorepani leave your bags at the teahouse and take a couple of hours to rest, before ascending Poon Hill (about 45 mins away). From the top is one of the best views you’re ever likely to see. These trekking times allow for a slow pace and many rest stops!
7 🚶Ghorepani to Tadapani hike Dep: 08:30 Arr: 17:30 🏨Fishtail Lodge
Awake at 04:00 and trek back up Poon Hill for a spectacular sunrise. Return for breakfast then enjoy today’s walk through forests, over rivers, up to the highest point on the trek (about 10,000 ft) and yes, more steps. Tadapani has amazing views – including of the fishtail peak of Machhapuchhre – which you can admire over a recuperating drink. Plastic water bottles can’t be bought on the trek – buy a filter water bottle. You’ll also need to bring your own sleeping bag, liner and towel.
8 🚶Tadapani to Naya Pul hike
🚌Syauli Bazaar to Naya Pul bus
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 15:15
Arr: 14:45
Arr: 17:15
🏨The Mountain House (Book >) All hotels >
A relatively easy walk, descending to Naya Pul and stopping off at Ghandrung village. At the end of the trek you’ll need to wait for a passing bus back to Pokhara. Back in Pokhara treat yourself to a well-earned massage. Do you need a guide for your trek? I don’t think so, at least not for this one which is a pretty obvious route.
9 🚌Pokhara to Dumre Bazaar bus
🚌Dumre Bazaar to Bandipur bus
Dep: 10:30
Dep: 13:30
Arr: 13:00
Arr: 14:30
🏨Hotel The North Face (Book >) All hotels >
Meet your guide and enjoy the drive to Bandipur. This well-preserved medieval town boasts old temples and shrines, as well as superb views of the Himalaya from Tudikhel hill. Ask your hotel about transport from Dumre and to book your bus ticket to Sauraha.
10 🚌Bandipur to Dumre Bazaar bus
🚌Dumre Bazaar  to Sauraha bus
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 10:30
Arr: 09:30
Arr: 13:30
🏨Hotel Rhino Land (Book >) All hotels >
Drive on to Chitwan National Park where you will spend today and tomorrow seeking out tigers, rhinos and wild elephants. Ask your hostel to collect you from the bus stop.
11 More time to see wildlife, including deer, monkeys, crocodiles, wild boars and many species of birds. Do not ride elephants! They are often mistreated.
12 🚌Sauraha to Kathmandu bus (Book >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨WanderThirst Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Back in Kathmandu you’ll have plenty of time to see any sights you missed on days 2-4. In need of souvenirs? Pick them up at Mangal Bazaar. You can’t take Nepalese rupees out of the country; exchange before you leave.
13 Today you’re going on a flight to see Mount Everest. The flight starts early and has you back on the ground in an hour, during which time you’ll see the world’s highest peak from your guaranteed window seat. If you want to extend your trip then consider travelling to Lukla on day 13 for a ground view of Everest.
14 ✈Kathmandu to Home (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening Connect this Nepal itinerary with the China or India (Rajasthan) itinerary
Ask your hostel for help flagging a meter taxi to the airport.

“I will not let you go into the unknown alone”

Travelling through Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria was one of the first holidays I took with my girlfriend (who became my wife). It’s therefore been a while since I was there but, having done a lot of research, it seems as though (thankfully) the sights you have to see haven’t changed. Not surprising, considering many of these sights are centuries old.

Budapest is a destination in its own right, as evidenced by the many tourists who come here for a weekend break, but it’s also a great place to start this itinerary and enjoy an overnight train to Romania. Waking up in Transylvania is a special treat – fortunately the only things which seem immortal around here are the remote, well-preserved castles, which are especially atmospheric.

Although taking the train can be a comfortable way of travelling, it isn’t necessarily the fastest and this is true in Romania. This itinerary therefore incorporates a bus journey to speed luxury, mid-range and budget travellers to Sofia in Bulgaria.

My abiding memories of Sofia are the golden dome of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the military artifacts on sale at Bitaka Flea Market (hand grenade anyone?) and the astonishingly delicious ice cream. I have tried to pack in as many amazing, unforgettable sights into this 11-day Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria itinerary. My only challenge was trying not to mention Dracula too much…

🇭🇺HUNGARY, 🇷🇴ROMANIA & 🇧🇬BULGARIA

Bran Castle, RomaniaThree countries, 11 unforgettable, action-packed days. Beautiful cities, medieval towns, ancient castles, huge forests and wild mountains – this itinerary has it all. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary:

Luxury Budapest, Hungary
1 ✈To Budapest (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Aria Hotel Budapest (Book >) All hotels >
Upon arrival into Budapest, visit the immense St Stephen’s Basilica. If you’re not up for much walking, buy a public transport pass at the airport.
2 Walk over the chain bridge and marvel at the views from Fisherman’s Bastion, including over the impressive Hungarian Parliament Building, then continue on to Buda Castle (under which is The Hospital in the Rock) and Heroes’ Square. Try to catch a performance at the beautiful Hungarian State Opera House. There are many interesting free walking tours in Budapest (don’t forget to tip!)
3 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train (Book >) Dep: 23:10 🏨Train
Begin your day with a tour around Vajdahunyad Castle then go for a soak in the healing waters of the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train Arr: 11:06 🏨DoubleTree by Hilton (Book >) All hotels >
Sighișoara’s well-preserved old town walls encircle the 12th century citadel in which you’ll find the clock tower (good views form the top), the Monastery Church, the bust of Vlad Tepes and the Covered Staircase which leads to the Church on the Hill. If you have a little more time then hike or bike into the Transylvanian countryside and up to the Breite plateau. This is the town in which Vlad Tepes (aka Vlad the Impaler/Dracula) was born – his birth home is now a restaurant (Casa Vlad Dracul).
5 🚄Sighișoara to Braşov train (Book >) Dep: 11:08 Arr: 13:46 🏨Hotel Kronwell (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve dropped your bags at the hotel walk to the medieval Catherine’s Gate and then along the city wall. Squeeze down String Street (Strada Sforii) – at 4ft wide reputedly the narrowest in Europe. Visit Saint Nicholas Basilica and admire the ornate interior. Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas and larger train stations.
6 Take a taxi to Bran Castle – one of several deemed to be the home of Dracula, but certainly the most photogenic. Consider adding a day to explore other castles in the area including Corvin Castle, where Vlad Tepes was allegedly held prisoner for several years. Learn a few basic Romanian words and phrases.
7 🚄Braşov to Bucharest train
(Book >)
Dep: 11:20 Arr: 14:05 🏨Hotel Epoque (Book >) All hotels >
The immense Palace of Parliament – one of the world’s largest buildings – is a good place to start in Bucharest. Stroll around Cișmigiu Gardens and the cobbled streets of Old Town (don’t miss Stavropoleos Church). Although cheaper, Romania’s R-trains are slower – spend just a little more to make the most of your time here.
8 🚄Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo train (Book >) Dep: 12:40 Arr: 20:41 🏨Agusta Spa Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
In Bucharest go to Revolution Square (Piața Revoluției) – an important place in Romania’s history. This site has useful Bucharest public transport info.
9 🚌Veliko Tarnovo to Sofia bus
(Book >)
Dep: 16:15 Arr: 19:15 🏨Sense Hotel Sofia (Book >) All hotels >
Bursting with history, the Bulgarian mountain city of Veliko Tarnovo has a wonderful old town which is best explored on foot. The Tsaravets fortress is a must-see. Bus travel is faster than train travel in Bulgaria.
10 Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the National History Museum, the Sveti Georgi Rotunda are all must-sees. If you’ve some spare time then the National Palace Of Culture often has great events and fascinating exhibitions. Pick up souvenirs at Bitaka Flea Market. Learning some basic Bulgarian Cyrillic can help you get around, especially if you stay in the country for more than a few days.
11 Sofia to Home (✈Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary with the Slovenia & Croatia, Western Turkey or Austria & Munich itinerary
Not ready to go home? Visit Bulgaria’s beautiful Black Sea beaches.
Mid-range Brasov, Romania
1 ✈To Budapest (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hotel Bo33 Family & Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Upon arrival into Budapest, visit the immense St Stephen’s Basilica. If you’re not up for much walking, buy a public transport pass at the airport.
2 Walk over the chain bridge and marvel at the views from Fisherman’s Bastion, including over the impressive Hungarian Parliament Building, then continue on to Buda Castle (under which is The Hospital in the Rock) and Heroes’ Square. Try to catch a performance at the beautiful Hungarian State Opera House. There are many interesting free walking tours in Budapest (don’t forget to tip!)
3 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train (Book >) Dep: 23:10 🏨Train
Begin your day with a tour around Vajdahunyad Castle then go for a soak in the healing waters of the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train Arr: 11:06 🏨Casa Savri (Book >) All hotels >
Sighișoara’s well-preserved old town walls encircle the 12th century citadel in which you’ll find the clock tower (good views form the top), the Monastery Church, the bust of Vlad Tepes and the Covered Staircase which leads to the Church on the Hill. If you have a little more time then hike or bike into the Transylvanian countryside and up to the Breite plateau. This is the town in which Vlad Tepes (aka Vlad the Impaler/Dracula) was born – his birth home is now a restaurant (Casa Vlad Dracul).
5 🚄Sighișoara to Braşov train (Book >) Dep: 11:08 Arr: 13:46 🏨Casa Veche (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve dropped your bags at the hotel walk to the medieval Catherine’s Gate and then along the city wall. Squeeze down String Street (Strada Sforii) – at 4ft wide reputedly the narrowest in Europe. Visit Saint Nicholas Basilica and admire the ornate interior. Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas and larger train stations.
6 Take a 35-minute bus journey from terminal #2 to Bran Castle – one of several deemed to be the home of Dracula, but certainly the most photogenic. Consider adding a day to explore other castles in the area including Corvin Castle, where Vlad Tepes was allegedly held prisoner for several years. Learn a few basic Romanian words and phrases.
7 🚄Braşov to Bucharest train
(Book >)
Dep: 11:20 Arr: 14:05 🏨Hotel Christina (Book >) All hotels >
The immense Palace of Parliament – one of the world’s largest buildings – is a good place to start in Bucharest. Stroll around Cișmigiu Gardens and the cobbled streets of Old Town (don’t miss Stavropoleos Church). Although cheaper, Romania’s R-trains are slower – spend just a little more to make the most of your time here.
8 🚄Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo train (Book >) Dep: 12:40 Arr: 20:41 🏨Gurko (Book >) All hotels >
In Bucharest go to Revolution Square (Piața Revoluției) – an important place in Romania’s history. This site has useful Bucharest public transport info.
9 🚌Veliko Tarnovo to Sofia bus
(Book >)
Dep: 16:15 Arr: 19:15 🏨InterContinental Sofia (Book >) All hotels >
Bursting with history, the Bulgarian mountain city of Veliko Tarnovo has a wonderful old town which is best explored on foot. The Tsaravets fortress is a must-see. Bus travel is faster than train travel in Bulgaria.
10 Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the National History Museum, the Sveti Georgi Rotunda are all must-sees. If you’ve some spare time then the National Palace Of Culture often has great events and fascinating exhibitions. Pick up souvenirs at Bitaka Flea Market. Learning some basic Bulgarian Cyrillic can help you get around, especially if you stay in the country for more than a few days.
11 Sofia to Home (✈Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary with the Slovenia & Croatia, Western Turkey or Austria & Munich itinerary
Not ready to go home? Visit Bulgaria’s beautiful Black Sea beaches.
Budget Sofia, Bulgaria
1 ✈To Budapest (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨The Lazy Muggle Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Upon arrival into Budapest, visit the immense St Stephen’s Basilica. If you’re not up for much walking, buy a public transport pass at the airport.
2 Walk over the chain bridge and marvel at the views from Fisherman’s Bastion, including over the impressive Hungarian Parliament Building, then continue on to Buda Castle (under which is The Hospital in the Rock) and Heroes’ Square. Try to catch a performance at the beautiful Hungarian State Opera House. There are many interesting free walking tours in Budapest (don’t forget to tip!)
3 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train (Book >) Dep: 23:10 🏨Train
Begin your day with a tour around Vajdahunyad Castle then go for a soak in the healing waters of the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train Arr: 11:06 🏨Burg Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Sighișoara’s well-preserved old town walls encircle the 12th century citadel in which you’ll find the clock tower (good views form the top), the Monastery Church, the bust of Vlad Tepes and the Covered Staircase which leads to the Church on the Hill. If you have a little more time then hike or bike into the Transylvanian countryside and up to the Breite plateau. This is the town in which Vlad Tepes (aka Vlad the Impaler/Dracula) was born – his birth home is now a restaurant (Casa Vlad Dracul).
5 🚄Sighișoara to Braşov train (Book >) Dep: 11:08 Arr: 13:46 🏨Hostel Mara (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve dropped your bags at the hotel walk to the medieval Catherine’s Gate and then along the city wall. Squeeze down String Street (Strada Sforii) – at 4ft wide reputedly the narrowest in Europe. Visit Saint Nicholas Basilica and admire the ornate interior. Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas and larger train stations.
6 Take a 35-minute bus journey from terminal #2 to Bran Castle – one of several deemed to be the home of Dracula, but certainly the most photogenic. Consider adding a day to explore other castles in the area including Corvin Castle, where Vlad Tepes was allegedly held prisoner for several years. Learn a few basic Romanian words and phrases.
7 🚄Braşov to Bucharest train
(Book >)
Dep: 11:20 Arr: 14:05 🏨Podstel Bucharest (Book >) All hotels >
The immense Palace of Parliament – one of the world’s largest buildings – is a good place to start in Bucharest. Stroll around Cișmigiu Gardens and the cobbled streets of Old Town (don’t miss Stavropoleos Church). Although cheaper, Romania’s R-trains are slower – spend just a little more to make the most of your time here.
8 🚄Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo train (Book >) Dep: 12:40 Arr: 20:41 🏨Hikers Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
In Bucharest go to Revolution Square (Piața Revoluției) – an important place in Romania’s history. This site has useful Bucharest public transport info.
9 🚌Veliko Tarnovo to Sofia bus
(Book >)
Dep: 16:15 Arr: 19:15 🏨Hostel Mostel (Book >) All hotels >
Bursting with history, the Bulgarian mountain city of Veliko Tarnovo has a wonderful old town which is best explored on foot. The Tsaravets fortress is a must-see. Bus travel is faster than train travel in Bulgaria.
10 Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the National History Museum, the Sveti Georgi Rotunda are all must-sees. If you’ve some spare time then the National Palace Of Culture often has great events and fascinating exhibitions. Pick up souvenirs at Bitaka Flea Market. Learning some basic Bulgarian Cyrillic can help you get around, especially if you stay in the country for more than a few days.
11 Sofia to Home (✈Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary with the Slovenia & Croatia, Western Turkey or Austria & Munich itinerary
Not ready to go home? Visit Bulgaria’s beautiful Black Sea beaches.

Not just your imagination

Close your eyes and imagine Indonesia. When you see this country for yourself you’ll realise that what you pictured is probably pretty accurate. In fact, the reality will likely exceed expectations. 

There’s the well-preserved temples of Borobodur, the alien landscape of Mount Bromo and the perfect, serene rice terraces around Ubud. And then, of course, there are glorious beaches.

Waking up before dawn to see sunrise at Bromo was both exhausting and incredibly rewarding. We only used buses to get about, but the railway on Java seems as though it works well and therefore a good option for travellers. 

For these itineraries I’ve tried to avoid the crowds in Kuta, but there are great luxury, mid-range and budget options available and so, after the idyll of Lombok, it seemed a good and sensible place in which to end this journey. Just a word of warming if taking bemos; hold on tight and prepare to have many conversations with locals.

🇮🇩INDONESIA

Borobudur, IndonesiaThis busy 18-day itinerary gives travellers an amazing journey through the islands of Java, Bali and Lombok. Got some spare days? Spend longer at the beach in Lombok and Bali. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Indonesia itinerary:

Luxury Mount Bromo, Indonesia
1 ✈To Yogyakarta (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Morning 🏨The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta (Book >) All hotels >
You’ll have most of the day to relax by the pool in your hotel, if you’re feeling refreshed in the afternoon then visit some local Batik makers, the Taman Sari water castle and the opulent Kraton Palace.
3 Arrange a driver for with your hotel, because it’s all about the temples today, starting with Prambanan and ending with incredible Borobudur. Visitors from most countries can get a visa on arrival or are exempt.
4 🚄Yogyakarta to Surabaya (Book >) Dep: 09:56 Arr: 15:27 🏨Hotel Majapahit (Book >) See all hotels >
Built in 1910, your hotel is a part of the history of this city. But make time to get out and see the out-of-place submarine monument. Seat 61 has excellent tips for buying Indonesian train tickets (I recommend paying a little more for first class AC).
5 🚄Surabaya to Probolinggo train (Book >)
🚕Probolinggo to Cemoro Lawang taxi
Dep: 15:27
Dep: 18:15
Arr: 18:14
Arr: 19:15
🏨Bromo Terrace (Book >) All hotels >
Spend a couple of hours in Surabaya’s fascinating House of Sampoerna before travelling to Cemoro Lawang. Keep small denominations of cash on you for food, taxis, drinks etc.
6 Awake before dawn to witness sunrise over the incredible Mount Bromo landscape. Then go on a guided hike over this barren terrain and get close to the volcano itself. You’ll need to pack for the cold – it’s freezing before sunrise!
7 🚕Bromo to Probolinggo taxi
🚄Probolinggo to Banyuwangi train
(Book >)
⛴️Banyuwangi (Ketapang) to Gilimanuk ferry (Book >)
🚕Gilimanuk to Pemuteran taxi
Dep: 10:00
Dep: 11:04
Dep: 16:00
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 11:00
Arr: 15:20
Arr: 16:45
Arr: 17:30
🏨Matahari Beach (Book >) All hotels >
Descend the Bromo area and take the train on to the end of Java. At Banyuwangi hop in a taxi to the docks at Ketapang. Be prepared for departure times to be unreliable.
8 See Bali Barat National Park, which is full of forests, mangroves and rare wild animals. The Tegal Bunder Trail is highly recommended, as is a visit to Menjangan Island if you want to see some amazing marine life. Save the environment by using a filter water bottle.
9 🚐Pemuteran to Gunung Batur drive (Book >) Dep: 12:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Volcano Terrace Bali (Book >) All hotels >
After a relaxing morning in your hotel, meet your guide who will drive you through northern Bali to the rim of Gunung Batur volcano. Dress conservatively when visiting temples.
10 🚐Gunung Batur to Ubud drive Dep: 10:00 Arr: 11:30 🏨The Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah (Book >) All hotels >
Another early start for another stunning sunrise, before driving on to the vibrant town of Ubud The Ubud Art Market is a great place to pick up souvenirs – bargain hard!
11-12 Meet the animals at the Ubud Monkey Forest, walk through the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, visit the Goa Gajah temple complex, Pura Taman Saraswati temple and Puri Saren, take in the air along the Campuhan Ridge Walk. Bluebird taxis are the recommended way of making short trips. Download the app on Google Play or Apple.
13 🚐Ubud to Padangbai minibus
⛴️Padangbai to Lembar ferry
🚐Lembar to Mataram minibus (Book >)
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 11:00
Arr: 08:00
Arr: 10:35
Arr: 11:45
🏨Hotel Oberoi Lombok (Book >) All hotels >
This is a day on which to enjoy the journey. From the greenery and bustle of Bali, to crossing the Bali Sea, to driving along the verdant hills of Lombok. Arrive in time for sunset at the beach. You may want to get a taxi to Denpasar and fly to Lombok, which could be faster but much less enjoyable.
14-15 Snorkel with giant sea turtles, walk beside Mount Rinjani, take a horse and cart to Tanjung Village and enjoy the exquisite beach. Protect the reef and wildlife by using an eco-friendly sunscreen.
16 🚕Mataram to airport taxi (Book >)
✈Lombok to Denpasar flight (Book >)
Dep: 13:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 15:00
Arr: Evening
🏨The Samaya Seminyak Bali (Book >) All hotels >
Fly back to Bali and relax on the beach when you arrive. If red flags are flown on the beach do not swim – there are dangerous undercurrents here.
17-18 ✈Denpasar to Home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Indonesia itinerary with the Malaysia & Borneo or Australia itinerary
Soak up the sun before returning home.
Mid-range Ubud, Indonesia
1 ✈To Yogyakarta (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Morning 🏨The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta (Book >) All hotels >
You’ll have most of the day to relax by the pool in your hotel, if you’re feeling refreshed in the afternoon then visit some local Batik makers, the Taman Sari water castle and the opulent Kraton Palace.
3 Arrange a driver for with your hotel, because it’s all about the temples today, starting with Prambanan and ending with incredible Borobudur. Visitors from most countries can get a visa on arrival or are exempt.
4 🚄Yogyakarta to Surabaya train (Book >) Dep: 09:56 Arr: 15:27 🏨Hotel Majapahit (Book >) All hotels >
Built in 1910, your hotel is a part of the history of this city. Spend a couple of hours in Surabaya’s fascinating House of Sampoerna. Seat 61 has excellent tips for buying Indonesian train tickets (I recommend paying a little more for first class AC).
5 🚄Surabaya to Probolinggo train (Book >)
🚌Probolinggo bus station to Cemoro Lawang bus
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 11:30
Arr: 10:56
Arr: 13:30
🏨Bromo Terrace (Book >) All hotels >
Go on a guided hike over the barren Mount Bromo terrain and get close to the volcano itself. You’ll need to take a bemo to Probolinggo bus station (Banyuangga).
7 🚌Bromo to Probolinggo bus station
🚄Probolinggo to Banyuwangi train
(Book >)
⛴️Banyuwangi (Ketapang) to Gilimanuk ferry (Book >)
🚕Gilimanuk to Pemuteran taxi
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 11:04
Dep: 16:00
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 10:30
Arr: 15:20
Arr: 16:45
Arr: 17:30
🏨Amertha Bali Villas (Book >) All hotels >
Rise early for sunset, then descend the Bromo area and take the train on to the end of Java. At Banyuwangi hop in a taxi to the docks at Ketapang. You’ll need to pack for the cold – it’s freezing before sunrise!.
8 See Bali Barat National Park, which is full of forests, mangroves and rare wild animals. The Tegal Bunder Trail is highly recommended, as is a visit to Menjangan Island if you want to see some amazing marine life. Save the environment by using a filter water bottle.
9 🚌Pemuteran to Gunung Batur bus (Book >) Dep: 11:00 Arr: 15:30 🏨Volcano Terrace Bali (Book >) All hotels >
After a relaxing morning in your hotel, wait for a passing bemo to take you through northern Bali to the rim of Gunung Batur volcano. Dress conservatively when visiting temples.
10 🚌Gunung Batur to Ubud bus Dep: 09:30 Arr: 11:30 🏨The Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah (Book >) All hotels >
Another early start for another stunning sunrise, before taking a bemo to the vibrant town of Ubud The Ubud Art Market is a great place to pick up souvenirs – bargain hard!
11-12 Meet the animals at the Ubud Monkey Forest, walk through the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, visit the Goa Gajah temple complex, Pura Taman Saraswati temple and Puri Saren, take in the air along the Campuhan Ridge Walk. Bluebird taxis are the recommended way of making short trips. Download the app on Google Play or Apple.
13 🚐Ubud to Padangbai bus
⛴️Padangbai to Lembar ferry
🚐Lembar to Senggigi bus (Book >)
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 11:00
Arr: 08:00
Arr: 10:35
Arr: 12:00
🏨Puri Mas Boutique(Book >) All hotels >
This is a day on which to enjoy the journey. From the greenery and bustle of Bali, to crossing the Bali Sea, to driving along the verdant hills of Lombok. Arrive in time for sunset at the beach. You may want to get a taxi to Denpasar and fly to Lombok, which could be faster but much less enjoyable.
14-15 Snorkel with giant sea turtles, walk beside Mount Rinjani, take a horse and cart to Tanjung Village and enjoy the exquisite beach. Protect the reef and wildlife by using an eco-friendly sunscreen.
16 🚐Sengiggi to airport transfer (Book >)
✈Lombok to Denpasar flight (Book >)
Dep: 10:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 10:30
Arr: Afternoon
🏨Villa Bali Asri Batubelig (Book >) All hotels >
Fly back to Bali and relax on the beach when you arrive. If red flags are flown on the beach do not swim – there are dangerous undercurrents here.
17-18 ✈Denpasar to Home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Indonesia itinerary with the Malaysia & Borneo or Australia itinerary
Soak up the sun before returning home.
Budget Lombok, Indonesia
1 ✈To Yogyakarta (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Morning 🏨Snooze Guesthouse (Book >) All hotels >
You’ll have most of the day to relax in your hostel and, if you’re feeling refreshed in the afternoon, visit some local Batik makers, the Taman Sari water castle and the opulent Kraton Palace.
3 Arrange a driver for with your hotel, because it’s all about the temples today, starting with Prambanan and ending with incredible Borobudur. Visitors from most countries can get a visa on arrival or are exempt.
4 🚄Yogyakarta to Surabaya train (Book >) Dep: 09:56 Arr: 15:27 🏨Krowi Inn (Book >) All hotels >
Spend a couple of hours in Surabaya’s fascinating House of Sampoerna. Seat 61 has excellent tips for buying Indonesian train tickets (I recommend paying a little more for first class AC).
5 🚄Surabaya to Probolinggo train (Book >)
🚌Probolinggo bus station to Cemoro Lawang bus
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 11:30
Arr: 10:56
Arr: 13:30
🏨Cafe Lava Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Go on a guided hike over the barren Mount Bromo terrain and get close to the volcano itself. You’ll need to take a bemo to Probolinggo bus station (Banyuangga).
7 🚌Bromo to Probolinggo bus station
🚄Probolinggo to Banyuwangi train
(Book >)
⛴️Banyuwangi (Ketapang) to Gilimanuk ferry (Book >)
🚌Gilimanuk to Pemuteran bus
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 11:04
Dep: 16:00
Dep: 17:30
Arr: 10:30
Arr: 15:20
Arr: 16:45
Arr: 18:30
🏨Bananaleaf (Book >) All hotels >
Rise early for sunset, then descend the Bromo area and take the train on to the end of Java. At Banyuwangi hop in a taxi to the docks at Ketapang. In Gilimanuk wait for a bemo going to Pemuteran. You’ll need to pack for the cold – it’s freezing before sunrise!.
8 See Bali Barat National Park, which is full of forests, mangroves and rare wild animals. The Tegal Bunder Trail is highly recommended, as is a visit to Menjangan Island if you want to see some amazing marine life. Save the environment by using a filter water bottle.
9 🚌Pemuteran to Gunung Batur bus (Book >) Dep: 11:00 Arr: 15:30 🏨BlackLava Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Wait for a passing bemo to take you through northern Bali to the rim of Gunung Batur volcano. Dress conservatively when visiting temples.
10 🚌Gunung Batur to Ubud bus Dep: 09:30 Arr: 11:30 🏨Green Paddy Hostel Villa (Book >) All hotels >
Another early start for another stunning sunrise, before taking a bemo to the vibrant town of Ubud The Ubud Art Market is a great place to pick up souvenirs – bargain hard!
11-12 Meet the animals at the Ubud Monkey Forest, walk through the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, visit the Goa Gajah temple complex, Pura Taman Saraswati temple and Puri Saren, take in the air along the Campuhan Ridge Walk. Bluebird taxis are the recommended way of making short trips. Download the app on Google Play or Apple.
13 🚐Ubud to Padangbai bus (Book >)
⛴️Padangbai to Lembar ferry (Book >)
🚌Lembar to
Kuta Lombok bus
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 11:30
Arr: 08:00
Arr: 10:35
Arr: 13:00
🏨Pipes Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
This is a day on which to enjoy the journey. From the greenery and bustle of Bali, to crossing the Bali Sea, to driving along the verdant hills of Lombok. You’ll need to wait for a bemo in Lembar port and negotiate the price to Kuta Lombok.
14-15 Snorkel with giant sea turtles, walk beside Mount Rinjani, go surfing and enjoy the exquisite nearby beaches. Protect the reef and wildlife by using an eco-friendly sunscreen.
16 🚐Kuta Lombok to airport transfer (Book >)
✈Lombok to Denpasar flight (Book >)
Dep: 10:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 10:30
Arr: Afternoon
🏨Pudak Sari Unizou Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Fly back to Bali and relax on the beach when you arrive. If red flags are flown on the beach do not swim – there are dangerous undercurrents here.
17-18 ✈Denpasar to Home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Indonesia itinerary with the Malaysia & Borneo or Australia itinerary
Soak up the sun before returning home.

Small but perfectly formed

One of my most amusing and abiding travel memories comes from when a friend and I travelled through Central America. We were in Monteverde, Costa Rica and decided to take the aerial tramway, which turned out to be an incredibly sedate ride through the canopy – so sedate that we were given blankets to put over our knees and the ride stopped at a little window for tea. Not quite the adrenaline rush two young lads were looking for.

I’m very happy to see that the tramway is still there, as are most of the amazing things we saw and did in Costa Rica. I wanted to pack in as many of these sights as possible in the two-week itinerary and to ensure that the luxury, mid-range and budget versions got to see everything. This isn’t a cheap country and, with shuttle buses being the easiest way to get between places, it was a challenge to get public transport info.

Finding the perfect, most convenient beaches at the end of the itinerary was key. It would be a shame, after all, to visit Costa Rica and not relax on some of the most scenic sand along the Pacific Rim.

We entered Costa Rica from Panama and departed into Nicaragua. When I get around to building itineraries for those countries I’m going to have to link them to this one, because an extended journey through Central America is highly recommended. However, if you had to pick just one country to see here then Costa Rica – with all its beaches, forests, wildlife and volcanoes – is an excellent choice.