Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Cabo. But Mexico has so much more to offer outside of these main tourism hubs. Four hours away from the Cancun airport resides the colonial town of Merida.
Since it was built more than 500 years ago, this town has a rich history and it was even voted the Cultural Capital of the Americas. The town is also a living monument with many of its Spanish-style churches, city plazas and colorful buildings still intact from the city’s earliest years.
You can learn everything about Merida’s colonial history as well as its Mayan roots in the city’s sprawling museums. And once you’re done touring museums, you can fill up on Merida’s famous Mexican cuisine that even impressed the likes of Martha Stewart in recent years.
You can splurge on fancy restaurants like Ku’uk, or find large plates of traditional Yucatanean food at a number of hole-in-the-wall locations around the city. The city is also full of local markets stocked with tropical fruits and vegetables, and even ceviche.
Merida is also perfectly situated to tour ancient Mayan ruins, spend the day at the beach 30 minutes outside the city or take a swim in the local cenotes, which you can only access by taking a horse-drawn wagon.
4. Accra, Ghana
2023 is the year to travel to Ghana.
While we should all explore all of the 54 nations of Africa, this is best time to witness the rebirth of Ghana. The New York Times named Accra “the coolest city in Africa.” This is due to the cities’ numerous festivals like Chale Wote, which is the largest street art festival in West Africa, and takes place each August.
Accra is also home to major events like The Garden Party and Afrochella, which brings together musicians from the diaspora and around the world every December. Ghana is the perfect backdrop to be reunited with the history and culture of the Motherland, get a healthy dose of shea butter, celebrate our freedom, and honor our ancestors.
Vietnam has too many notable places to limit our advice to just one city. Instead, we recommend that you tour the entire country if you can to explore the country’s rich colonial history, which has elements from China, Japan and France, since each country once occupied Vietnam. In addition to its mixture of influences, Vietnam has a diverse landscape with lush rice fields, caves ready to be explored, mountains and even beaches.
The most popular reason to head to Vietnam is to live like a king or queen with very little money. The cost of living is nothing compared to major cities in the US so it’ll be easy to check out all that the country has to offer on a budget. The first thing you should do is savor the Vietnamese cuisine. You can fill up on authentic pho, spring rolls and bahn mi sandwiches to your heart’s content.
Next, we recommend taking in the ancient Vietnamese history by touring ancient ruins from previous dynasties. You can take a bike tour of some of the most popular ancient ruins and towns all over the country.
If you want to go a bit faster and see even more sights around the country, you can rent a scooter and live like the locals. Scooters are an inexpensive way to see all the nooks and crannies of Vietnam, and you’ll fit right in with the locals. If you’re in a main city like Ho Chi Min, however, you should opt for a tuk-tuk, a passenger scooter-like vehicle with a driver who can zig and zag you through the crazy traffic to your destination.
Hopefully, you can add one or all of these destinations to your 2023 travel plans. But what we care about most is that you see some world!
Sharita Jennings is a fitness and travel enthusiast and creator of Get Fit Like That, LLC. She is a health policy attorney and ACE certified group fitness instructor and fitness nutrition specialist. She provides online fitness plans and leads group fitness classes in Washington DC. Check out her fitness tips and workouts at GetFitLikeThat.com.