Discover the best vacation spots in the world
Short on travel inspiration? No longer. Bursting and teeming with wanderlust-stoking ideas, this guide to the best vacation spots in the world shouldn't disappoint. It'll direct you to Europe's cobbled hill towns and monument-rich cities. It'll take you through primeval rainforests in Costa Rica. It'll go to the ends of the Caribbean, past volcano-topped isles where beaches of sugar sand await the lovers. And it's got some hints on the various types of vacation rentals you can expect to find all over.
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There are countless reasons why Mexico magnetizes globetrotters. Just to scratch the surface, you've got the Pacific-front condos and sleek Puerto Vallarta rentals that line the Bahía de Banderas in the west, one foot in the Riviera Nayarit and its chilled surf towns, another on a vibrant Malecon that's packed with spring break bars. Over in Cancun, you can live the good life on sugar-soft Caribbean beaches – think snorkeling by morning, cocktail mixing by afternoon, and the occasional jaunt to vine-strewn Mayan temples. And in between? Well, how about cobbled colonial cities like San Miguel de Allende? How about the spicy cuisine of Oaxaca? How about long-lost volcanos and deserts that sprout cacti? There are oodles of Mexican adventures waiting to happen.
Rocky Point – known locally as Puerto Peñasco – is the first port of call on the Mexican coast for 1000s of Arizonans looking to escape the scorching heat of the desert each summer. It beckons with two long beachfronts, punctuated in the middle by a traditional whitewashed fishing village that's famed for its rich seafood buffets and shrimp market. You can seek out ocean-view Rocky Point rentals along Playa Mirador to the east, where wave-washed sands sit near the restaurants. Or, you can get something more secluded and luxurious on long Playa Hermosa to the west.
There are all sorts of houses in Spain out there for the vacationer who's feeling a European adventure coming on. Head south to the iconic Costa del Sol for ray-soaked beaches that run into glitzy marina towns like Marbella. Hit the hills and you'll catch whitewashed villas with swimming pools perched on Wild West sierras. Go north for Basque Country's high peaks, and remote cottages amid the vines of Rioja. And then there are the islands. Surf cottages sit on Lanzarote, while sleek apartments mingle with the super-clubs of Ibiza, and family homes straddle the coast of Majorca. There's so much to be tempted by in the realm of flamencos.
College goers, office workers, snowbirds – all sorts of folk have been going AWOL to Aruba since anyone can remember. There are lots of reasons for that. First off, this speck on the far south-western edge of the Caribbean is blessed with warm and reliable weather for much of the year. Yes, storms do come, but they are much, much rarer this close to the Venezuelan coast. And then you spy the shimmering powder of gold-tinted Baby Beach – one of the finest in the world, they say. And you find the flamboyant flamingo-colored buildings and bars of Oranjestad, the capital. It all adds up to create a place where Aruba timeshare rentals and Aruba villa rentals are in high demand.
Costa Rica is leading the charge on the ethical travel front. Hailed as the happiest country in the world, but also the most biodiverse, it magnetizes wildlife lovers with the promise of humid-soaked cloud forests filled with sloths and quetzal birds. Other Costa Rica house rentals can whisk you out to the smoke-spluttering volcano of Arenal. Whitewater rapids swirl around it, jungle treks are in abundance, and a great lake spreads out behind for kayakers and wild swimmers. Meanwhile, down on the coasts – there are two – you can crash over the boarder breaks of Tamarindo and Santa Teresa, by booking surf shacks mere meters from the swells, or snorkel in pristine Caribbean reefs.
A tight travel budget doesn't have to end your dreams of leaving footprints in the powder of a lonely beach on a tropical isle. You might need to pass on a trip to one of the more classy and upscale destinations – rain check Turks and Caicos for the honeymoon, perhaps. But there are stacks of options open to those with less to spend. Jamaica is a doozy. Its north shore is easily linked to the US by countless low-cost flights to Montego Bat, and it has sumptuous villa resorts with pools and white-sand beaches for less. Punta Cana, the jewel at the tip of the Dominican Republic, is also worth a look in. It flaunts turquoise seas and lanky palms. Cheap Caribbean vacations carry on down in Mexico, too. The Yucatan Peninsula is a treasure trove of reefs and rum bars, where spring breakers have been letting their hair down in the shadow of mystical Maya temples for decades.
There are just so many Caribbean vacation rentals out there, in so many amazing destinations, that it can be a little tricky to know precisely where to begin. You'll need to start thinking about where you want to go, that's for sure. Take chic Barbados vacation rentals, which could have you treading the cobbled streets of handsome Bridgetown before enjoying sizzling fish fries on Oistins' award-winning beaches. Or, you could zero in on St Lucia vacation rentals, which huddle between the great Pitons peaks in secluded and romantic bays backed by high volcanos and bubbling hot springs. Grenada, the spice isle, is an option, too – think swinging in porch hammocks while the scents of cardamom and nutmeg roll down to meet the white-sand coast.