One of the best things about being a travel influencer is discovering hidden gems along the way. Visiting places that are away from it all, that are less frequently visited by tourists, is one of my favorite vacation pastimes, and I love to share my experiences with others. Here are 4 underrated countries you should visit:
This former French colony is found on the West coast of the Motherland and is full of culture, history, stunning landscapes, and top-quality hospitality.
Whether you visit Le Pantheon Negro Et Africain in Porto Novo and remember the victims of the African child slave trade worldwide, or spend time canoeing down the Black River in Adjara, there is so much to see and learn in Benin.
Take some time to stop in at a Vodun (Voodoo) village, or journey through the floating village of Ganvié, where the entire population of 25,000 live their lives above water, using boats to travel between their stilted homes, churches, markets, and shops.
When staying in Benin, check out the ART Residence in Porto Novo, or Le Kare Ebene, a boutique hotel located in the heart of Cotonou, for outstanding service and gorgeous facilities that will ensure Benin is one place you never forget!
Another West African gem, Côte d'Ivoire is also a former French colony with a diverse culture thanks to the many ethnic groups who call Ivory Coast home and some of the most exquisite scenery you will see anywhere in the world.
Le Jardin Botanique de Bingerville is a massive 55 hectares of gardens suitable for walks, picnics, functions, and even meditation. With an entrance fee of just $1.64 USD, this century-old landmark full of lush gardens is the perfect backdrop for those “wish you were here” vacation shots.
For an experience like nothing else, spend a day in the middle of the Abidjan lagoon, on a floating island made of 700,000 plastic bottles. Pay just $25 per person for roundtrip boat transportation, a meal, and an eco-friendly day with access to a hotel, restaurant, karaoke bar, and two swimming pools, all designed to raise awareness about recycling and cleaning the environment.
While you’re in the Ivory Coast, do not miss your chance to stay at La Maison d’Akoula in Assinie. With access to beautiful beaches with palm trees, pristine white sands, and tranquil water just a 5-minute ferry ride away, this property is a slice of Côte d'Ivoire paradise!
This flat Caribbean island is a short 20-minute ferry ride North from St. Martin (don’t forget your passport), and at just $30pp (+ $5 departure tax), a ferry is a perfect way to get yourself to this haven of beautiful beaches and delicious food.
Shoal Bay Beach is on the northern coastline of Anguilla and is beyond beautiful with white sand, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. If you’re visiting for the day, making your way from Shoal Bay Beach west along the coastline will take you to Sandy Ground Village, where Johnno’s Beach Stop serves some of the freshest seafood and best cuisine around.
Top off a day of sun and sandy beaches with a visit to Mead’s Bay for drinks and dancing. Locals and tourists alike enjoy music, good food, and great cocktails here, but make sure you don’t miss your ferry!
If you know you won’t bear to pull yourself away from the tranquility and stunning surroundings after just one day, there are some excellent accommodation options you can arrange before you travel.
The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua is often overlooked for its Southern neighbor, Costa Rica, but don’t be fooled - there is a vibrant mix of music, food, and activities that offers something for everyone.
If you love city life, the colonial cities of León and Granada offer incredible architecture, and music venues featuring familiar sounds such as merengue and salsa. There is a thriving street food culture in most cities, and the national dish, Gallo Pinto, is the breakfast of choice for most locals and is delicious with plantains or maduros.
For outdoor adventures, you are spoiled for choice. The Nicaraguan lowlands offer hiking, kayaking, climbing, and sand skiing, while the North Central highlands offer unique ecotourism experiences, many run by local families. Whatever adventure looks like for you, you will find it in Nicaragua.
Whether you’re looking to return to the Motherland and enjoy the colorful culture of West Africa, head to the sun-soaked Caribbean for a quick getaway, or discover the diverse charms of Central America, these are 4 underrated countries you should visit.