Discover Unique Vacations: Hidden Gems Around the World

08 July, 2024 | Blog

In an ever-globalising world, the quest for unique vacations has become a paramount pursuit for those looking to diverge from the well-trodden tourist trails and immerse themselves in the unexplored and untouched corners of the globe. With an increasing emphasis on sustainable travel, discerning globetrotters are now seeking destinations that offer not just a break from the mundane but an opportunity to connect with nature and cultures in a meaningful and responsible manner. These unique vacations provide experiences that are as enriching as they are exhilarating, inviting travellers to partake in journeys that resonate with their quest for adventure and sustainability.

This article will explore three hidden gems around the world that promise to transform the way one perceives travel. From the volcanic grandeur of Kyushu Island in Japan, through the evolutionary marvels of the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador, to the diverse ecosystems of La Reunion Island in France, each destination offers a unique vacation experience steeped in natural beauty and cultural richness. Highlighting the essence of sustainable travel, these selections aim to inspire a deeper appreciation for destinations off the beaten path, where the allure of discovery and the spirit of conservation go hand in hand.


Kyushu Island, Japan

Kyushu Island


Overview and Cultural Significance

Kyushu Island, known as the “Onsen Island,” is the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands. Rich in history and culture, it has been a significant site for Shinto legends and the birthplace of many aspects of Japanese culture, including kabuki theatre. The island’s diverse history features interactions with the Dutch East India Company and a poignant history marked by the events of World War II in Nagasaki.


Popular Sites to Visit

Visitors to Kyushu can explore a variety of unique sites that highlight the island’s rich cultural tapestry and stunning natural beauty. The historic towns of Kitsuki and Hirado offer a glimpse into the samurai era with beautifully preserved architecture. The spiritual centre of the island, Udo-jingū, set against dramatic coastal cliffs, provides breathtaking views and a deep cultural connection. For those interested in natural landscapes, the volcanic activity of the region has created numerous hot springs, with Beppu being one of the most famous destinations.


Tips for Travel

Travelling around Kyushu offers a blend of experiences, but it’s advisable to rent a car for easier access to the more remote attractions. The best times to visit are May and November, known for their mild weather and scenic beauty, free from the typhoon season. While Japanese is predominantly spoken, navigating the island is feasible for non-Japanese speakers, especially in larger cities and tourist spots. Budgeting approximately ¥10,000-25,000 per day should cover daily expenses, with cash transactions still being predominant across the island.


Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Galápagos Islands



The Galápagos Islands are renowned for their exceptional biodiversity, featuring a variety of unique ecosystems. Home to iconic species such as the giant tortoises and marine iguanas, the islands boast a high level of endemism—species that are not found anywhere else in the world. This includes 80% of the land birds, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, and over 30% of the plants. The diverse habitats, from coral reefs and highland forests to sand dunes and scrubland, contribute significantly to the islands’ biological diversity.


Travel Activities

Visitors to the Galápagos Islands can engage in numerous activities that highlight the archipelago’s natural beauty and wildlife. Popular activities include snorkelling and scuba diving in the vibrant underwater world, hiking through varied terrains, and wildlife watching, where one can observe seabirds, sea lions, and other unique species in their natural habitat. Most activities require the accompaniment of a Naturalist guide, and it is essential to book tours at least one day in advance to secure a spot.


Best Times to Visit

The Galápagos Islands can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit depends on the activities you are interested in. The warm and wet season from December to May offers calmer seas and excellent conditions for snorkelling and diving, with the chance to see green turtles and other marine life. The cool and dry season from June to November is ideal for hiking and observing migratory wildlife such as whales and dolphins. Each season provides unique opportunities to experience the islands’ rich natural offerings.


La Reunion Island, France

Reunion Island


Adventure Activities

La Réunion Island offers an array of thrilling adventure activities, catering to all levels of thrill-seekers. The island’s varied landscape of volcanic mountains is ideal for canyoning, with over 70 equipped canyons and 131 kilometres of courses. For those who prefer the skies, paragliding over the Saint-Leu region offers breathtaking views of turquoise lagoons and lush vegetation. Additionally, the island’s steep slopes provide perfect conditions for downhill mountain biking, offering a unique way to experience its stunning scenery.


Landscape and Scenery

The landscape of La Réunion is dramatically diverse, featuring everything from lush forests and black sand beaches to rugged mountains and waterfalls. The island is renowned for its volcanic peaks, such as the highly active Piton de la Fournaise and the dormant Piton des Neiges, the highest peak in the Indian Ocean. These natural wonders are complemented by the spectacular cirques and ramparts, which have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, making La Réunion a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.


Tips for Travelers

Visitors to La Réunion should be well-prepared for the island’s variable weather, which can change rapidly, especially in the mountainous areas. It is advisable to pack appropriate gear for both wet and cold conditions. Exploring the volcanic landscapes requires caution; stay informed about any volcanic activity, particularly at Piton de la Fournaise. For those planning extensive hiking, ensure you have a good understanding of the trails and consider hiring a local guide for the best experience.



Galápagos Islands

Throughout our exploration of Kyushu Island in Japan, the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador, and La Reunion Island in France, we’ve journeyed through some of the world’s most distinctive and less trodden paths, offering a deeper insight into the beauty and unique experiences our planet has to offer. From the volcanic landscapes and hot springs of Kyushu, the unparalleled biodiversity of the Galápagos, to the rugged terrains and adrenaline-pumping activities of La Reunion, each destination showcases a commitment to preserving their rich natural and cultural heritages while providing travellers with sustainable ways to explore and connect with the world around them.

As we conclude, it’s evident that these hidden gems epitomise the essence of adventure and sustainability, presenting opportunities not just for exploration but for gaining a profound appreciation of the Earth’s immensity and diversity. The journeys to these exceptional locales not only promise unforgettable experiences but also invite us to play a part in the global effort to travel more responsibly. By choosing paths less travelled, we open our eyes to the wonders beyond conventional tourism, fostering a deeper connection with nature and cultures that continue to thrive in harmony with their surroundings, and encouraging a thoughtful approach to our explorations across the globe.