Travelling the world is something many people dream of. The culture, cuisines, architecture, wildlife, and natural attractions are just some of the reasons why we put aside money and make our ways to various destinations around the world. Sometimes though, we travel with our preconceived ideas of what we’ll be getting at our destinations and when we arrive there, we find something completely different.
Take, for instance, five-star hotels and resorts. Most people associate these with rich countries but you’d be pleasantly surprised at the beautiful and luxurious gems that are in developing countries. While some people may feel a little uncomfortable staying in luxury villas while the people in the country aren’t that well off, others have noted that you spending money in these countries is ultimately helping the country and its people. It is also great to see developing countries holding their own in the tourism business and showing the rest of the world that there is more to them than struggle.
If you’re planning a trip soon and are considering going to a smaller and less developed country, take a look at the list below of some of the unexpected luxurious places you may come across while out there.
25 Banos, Ecuador
When one thinks of travelling to South America, there are many things that come to mind including, the different cultures and interesting cuisines that one can find there. Ecuador is the South American country that doesn’t disappoint a tourist. If you’re into adventure sports, then you’ll definitely love this place and the highlight of the town is the natural heated thermal baths in the area. There are an abundance of waterfalls and hot springs, all nestled in the beautiful landscape of the mountains. One visit there and you’ll be wanting to go back again and again.
24 Casa Grande Hotel, La Paz, Bolivia
We have yet another South American place on this list and this time, we bring you a hotel that is nothing short of “stunning”. Nicknamed as “the most luxurious business hotel in La Paz”, there is no wondering why this stunning hotel in Bolivia, one of South America’s developing countries, has made its way onto our list. The hotel is located in the south of Bolivia, near many of the country’s attractions such as La Valle de La Luna and Stadium Hernando Silles.
23 Ifaty, Madagascar
Ifaty can easily be described as a little gem in Madagascar. This southern region has two small fishing villages. If you’re really into the water and being in a laidback place, this is definitely the spot for you. Natural World Safaris highlights perhaps the most spectacular aspect of visiting Ifaty, “Throughout the months of July and August, it is also possible to spot migrating whales as they pass”. If you’re into palm beaches covered in white sands, Ifaty will be a pleasant surprise.
22 Karkloof Safari Spa, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
South Africa is one of the most toured countries in Africa so it is definitely not a surprise to have it featured it here. Besides visits to Cape Town and Soweto, many people go to South Africa for the Safaris as the country has all the big five animals at various game parks in the country. If you’ve dreamt of experiencing an African Safari while also being pampered in luxury, then Karkloof Safari Spa should be way up in your radar. You’ll be nestled in the five-star villas they have to offer with the wildlife just outside your doorstep.
21 Ksamil, Albania
The Ksamil beaches of Albania have paradise hotels that can rival any first world country. If you’re looking for an unforgettable beach holiday in a luxurious place but can definitely not afford the price tag attached to it in a rich, European country, then Ksamil could be just what you’re looking for. The best part is that it is not yet a popular tourist destination, as Swedish Nomad explains. “There are still plenty of secluded places left if you are looking for peace and quiet on your holiday”.
20 Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
Indonesia has long been a favorite holiday spot for many people and if you’ve been there recently, you’ll definitely understand why. The country is well known for Bali, which is a very popular tourist destination in Asia. If you’re wondering what else Indonesia has to offer, then you’ll be happy to know that it has a lot more beaches for the beach-holiday enthusiast. The Mentawai Islands are comprised of about 70 little islands, all filled with exotic wildlife, making it the perfect blend of beach holiday and natural wildlife.
19 Victoria Falls & Zambezi National Park, Zimbabwe
Just like the Karkloof Sarafi Spa in South Africa that we mentioned earlier, this amazing National Park in Zimbabwe will definitely not disappoint. Victoria Falls is a spectacular site which has been named as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Imvelo Safari Lodges highlights that “the falls of the Zambezi River are among the world’s largest, spanning more than a mile and dropping 355 feet”. If you’re keen on seeing this World Heritage Site in luxury, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of fancy lodges that will offer you that dream African stay you’re looking for.
18 Macleod Island, Myanmar
Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar is a Southeast Asian country that is packed with bustling markets, lakes, Buddhist relics, and numerous parks. It also has more than 100 ethnic groups so it is the ideal place to visit if you’re looking for an authentic, Southeast Asian cultural experience. If you also want luxury while you’re out there, then Macleod Island would be the perfect place to get that. The Myanmar Andaman Resort on Macleod Island will offer you pristine white sandy beaches and also a private island experience.
17 Zanzibar Beaches, Tanzania
All the way east of Africa in the beautiful country of Tanzania is a little gem called Zanzibar, which clearly proves that white sandy picturesque beaches can also be found in Africa. Probably the best part of a holiday here is that you don’t have to dig much into your pocket to enjoy this beautiful place. As one of the popular destinations in East Africa, African Budget Safari explains its appeal. “These islands offer a kaleidoscope of sights, smells, and tastes which feed your soul and leave you wanting to return again”.
16 Cricova Winery, Moldova
While on vacation, there is certainly nothing wrong with a glass or two of some good wine. Of course, we’re sure you enjoy viewing the natural wildlife and viewing the picture-perfect white sandy beaches that we’ve already mentioned but taking some time out and enjoying those perfectly matured grapes cannot be a bad move. Cricova Winery, one of the largest wine cellars in the world, will offer you the opportunity to just lay back and enjoy that much-needed rest while in the beauty of all the vineyards and cellars.
15 Botanical Garden Of Curitiba, Brazil
Brazil has much more than just gorgeous beaches to offer the world. Of course, the beaches are stunning and lively and rival many rich country’s beaches, but if you’re heading to the South American country soon and want to know what else there is to marvel at, then the Botanical Garden of Curitiba should not be overlooked. The garden was created in the style of French Gardens and has lakes, fountains, and waterfalls to lure in the many tourists it receives each year.
14 Koh Rong, Cambodia
If you enjoy learning about different cultures and are considering going to Asia soon, then you might have a visit to Cambodia already on your itinerary. Cambodia has a lot of temples and natural wildlife to offer and Koh Rong is another addition to the beauty of Cambodia. The island is home to about 1 000 residents, which is perfect, for someone who is looking for an isolated and quiet experience on an island. Long Beach on Koh Rong has possibly some of the most beautiful beaches in Asia and you won’t be disappointed for stopping by from your ferry.
13 Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Yet again, Indonesia gives us another stunning place on the list and those who have been to the Asian country are not surprised by this. Indonesia truly does offer some of the best tourist destinations in the world. If you’re looking for interesting jungle-covered islands with lots of beaches and marine life to explore, as well as serene ancient rock paintings, then the Raja Ampat islands should be your go-to destination in the Indonesian archipelago. The exciting thing is that there are hundreds of little islands here so you’ll be spoilt for choice about what to explore.
12 The Corn Islands, Nicaragua
One look at the image above and you know that you’ll be in for the perfect island vacation. Anyone who’s seeking a beach holiday with the serene white sandy beaches will be happy to be in The Corn Islands of Nicaragua. While those who have been there had noted that the islands’ accommodation can be a little “rough around the edges”, we’ve added this place onto our list because it has amazing water sports to offer and the beaches are simply some of the best in the Caribbean.
11 SunCity, South Africa
Number 11 on our list is a South African gem that not many tourists know about. SunCity is one of the places that you will hear about from locals when you’re already in the country and if your itinerary is already packed with lots to do, you might not get the chance to see it. We certainly don’t want that to happen, which is why we’ve added it onto the list for you. From the fun water parks to the world-class golf courses and the man-made beach, not forgetting the five-star hotel at the Resort, you’ll be spoilt for choice for all you can do at this luxury resort.
10 Havelock Island, India
It is safe to say that many don’t go to India for its beaches. The country has lots of cultures, wildlife, textiles, temples and so much more to explore, that it is understandable to forget or not be aware of the amazing beaches that it also has to offer. Havelock Island will give you a trip of a lifetime. Perhaps one of the most exciting things about the Havelock Island beaches is the fact that one has the opportunity of seeing not only marine life but also elephants on the beach. Who wouldn’t want that?
9 Black Sea Coastline Beaches, Bulgaria
Lonely Planet explains the fascination with the Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria, "Bulgaria's long Black Sea coastline is the country’s summertime playground, attracting not just Bulgarians but tourists from across Europe and beyond. The big, purpose-built resorts here have become serious rivals to those of Spain and Greece, while independent travelers will find plenty to explore away from parasols and jet skis”. As a developing country in Europe, it is beautiful to see this colorful country holding its own on the tourism front.
8 Acapulco Villas, Mexico
Mexico has long been a fun, colorful, culture-rich country to explore. Those who have already been to the country might tell you about the stunning beach resort town of Acapulco. Those who are heading there soon, might have already heard of the place and have already added a stop by there on their itinerary. The villas there offer stunning views and you’ll be spoilt for choice as there are quite a number of luxury villas in this popular Mexican town that has more to offer that the unfortunate news that often surrounds it.
7 Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
Anyone who is in the mood to experience a once in a lifetime experience that will have you mesmerized forever will definitely not be disappointed if they take a trip to the Kaieteur Falls. As the world’s largest single drop waterfall by the volume of water flowing, you know you will be enchanted by the beauty of this little thing called Mother Nature. Guyana is another developing country in South America and a lot of tourists to the country can’t stop raving about the marvel of these falls.
6 El Nido, Philippines
Okay, so we’ve mentioned beautiful white sandy beaches in developing countries quite a number of times on this list and we might have convinced you to add a couple of them to your travel wish list. If you’re crazy about tropical islands, then trust us when we say that El Nido in the Philippines deserves a spot on your list as it is nothing short of picturesque. Nestled on Palawan Island, you will undoubtedly fall in love with the clear waters that many of the islands are famed for.
5 White Pearl, Ponta Mamoli, Southern Mozambique
Africa makes yet another appearance on this list and this time, it is through the Southern African country of Mozambique. If you’re in Africa and you’ve just enjoyed yourself a spectacular Safari and are in the mood to relax on a beach and take in all the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer, then White Pearl Resorts in Mozambique will offer you that as it simply gives visitors the ultimate experience in beach luxury life in Africa. Visitors often rave about the stunning sunsets and sunrises of the place.
4 Komodo, Indonesia
Yes, we’ve added Indonesia one more time on this list and there is no wonder why. The country simply has some of the best and most unbelievably stunning places in the world. This time around, we have added Komodo Island to the list and this is more for the wildlife-seeking travelers out there. From the name, you might have guessed that you will find yourself Komodo Dragons on the island so a trip here will be exciting and riveting to view these unique creatures.
3 The Prskalo Waterfall, Serbia
Starting off the top 3, we have the Prskalo Waterfall of the European country, Serbia. Just like in the previous item on the list, this is perfect for travelers who are looking to appreciate Mother Nature while on their journeys across the different lands. Not only will you marvel at the stunning site of the mesmerizing waterfalls, you will also be able to appreciate all the greenery in the area that is sure to have any nature lover enchanted by its beauty.
2 Royal Chundu, Luxury Zambia Safari Lodge, Zambia
The fact that Africa has made quite a number of appearances on this list should remind everyone that it has a lot to offer to the world. We’ve already covered the unbelievable safaris and the beaches that one can find there and now, we offer you a tranquil place to enjoy and take it all in. Royal Chundu is near the previously mentioned Victoria Waterfalls and this Zambian country’s gem is the ideal place for you to experience luxury while nestled in an African wonderland.
1 Itacare, Bahia
You might have already heard about Itacare and if not, you can thank your lucky stars that you have read all the way down to number 1 on this long list. By now, you must already be convinced that the developing countries in this world have a lot to offer the tourism industries and if you’re looking for an experience of a lifetime, then you will definitely visit a few of them. Itacare is home to gorgeous beaches, waterfalls and a lush tropical forest that will you have you enchanted.