The hottest international destinations this summer
The most popular international destinations this summer are really hot.
A new exclusive customer survey by travel agency Embark Beyond reveals that travelers plan to flock to destinations known for warm summer temperatures – and more relaxed COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“This year’s hot list is very different from most years,” says Jack Ezon, managing partner of Embark Beyond. “This reflects both our clients’ strong desire to explore beyond our borders this year and the changing destinations by which borders appear to be open to Americans this summer.”
Note: Between now and early summer, things can – and probably will – change.
In fact, shortly after Embark finished this list, the US State Department tightened the list of “level 4” countries it recommended avoiding. This is all the more reason to work with an experienced travel counselor and purchase an industry-grade travel insurance policy. And if you still need help, you can always ask my non-profit organization for a helping hand.
Still, we can dream this summer, can’t we? Here are the top 10 vacation spots for summer 2021:
Almost a third of Embark’s summer business this year goes to Greece. “Greece is our most popular European destination this summer as it was the first to announce the opening of borders to Americans,” says Leo Sorcher, who oversees the agency’s Living World division. In fact, long before COVID-19, people dreamed of partying at Scorpios Beach Club in Mykonos and watching the sunsets from the picturesque village of Oia in Santorini.
Earlier this week, Greece announced that the country will officially open to tourism on May 14. It will join Croatia and Montenegro as the only Mediterranean countries to accept Americans this summer. Turkey is already open.
It is really hot: The seaside resort of Santa Marina. In addition, the new Kalesma in Mykonos and Canaves Epitome in Santorini feature high on the must-see list, according to Embark. “Our clients are also obsessed with the new Nafsika Estate, a private villa managed by the famous Mystique in Santorini,” adds Sorcher. Embark offers a Greek and Ottoman summer program that will let you experience some of the hottest places in Greece and Turkey this summer with confirmed upgrades and flexible cancellation policies.
Coming from close, Turkey remains a big draw for American visitors. But a recent outbreak of COVID-19 has put some activities on hold, according to Bridget Cohn, senior luxury advisor and founder of Bee Hospitality, the private subsidiary of Embark Beyond. “While Turkey’s borders are open and the country accepts Americans who provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival, the country is currently under strict lockdown, curfew and restrictions due to a very recent increase in cases, ”she notes.
It is really hot: Maçakızı. The new edition “has a fabulous new vibe,” while the Mandarin Bodrum and Amanruya are the “ultimate luxury sanctuary,” Cohn says. For a more private experience, Bee rents private luxury gulets – traditional Turkish wooden sailboats – to take guests on personalized week-long excursions to unspoiled areas of the pristine Turkish coast accessible only by boat.
Tanzania represents 10% of Embark’s activities in Africa. And for good reason. “This is probably the only year in your life when you can find a privileged space for the Great Migration,” says Limor Decter, an expert in Africa at Embark Beyond. “It’s called the greatest spectacle in the world. There will be few other tourists.”
It is really hot: All over! “Guests take the opportunity to experience the splendor of the Serengeti, climb the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro without the crowds, or relax on the beaches of Zanzibar,” says Decter. “This year there will be few crowds and vehicles vying for the spectacular wildlife viewing at Ngorongoro Crater, so it won’t look like Disney World.” Decter recommends the renovated Singita Sabora, which she calls the world’s most over-the-top glamping experience.
Iceland was one of the first countries to reopen to American visitors, and it remains a favorite, especially for relieving the summer heat. “Summer is a great time to visit Iceland. There has never been a better year to see it without being overwhelmed by tourists – or being left out of some of the few luxury properties often booked eight months away. ‘advance,’ says Kim-Marie Evans, a family and adventure specialist at Embark Beyond. Remember that the sun does not set from May 21 to July 21.
It is really hot: Reykjavik. Try the retreat at the Blue Lagoon, the “ultimate place if you want a base camp and exclusive access to the famous waters,” according to Evans. “For the more trendy set, the new edition adds a new layer of freshness to Reykjavik.” Still too hot for you? Take a snowmobile ride to the top of the Langjökull Ice Cap, the largest ice cap in all of Europe.
Turks & Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Islands are only a three-hour flight from most destinations in the Northeastern United States. Lately, travel experts have started calling it the “new spring break destination” for Americans. “It’s family-friendly, with apartment-style resorts and eco-adventures around white sand beaches and electric blue seas,” says Deborah Gellis, Travel Expert at Embark Beyond.
It is really hot: The Shore Club and Beach Enclave Long Bay, ideal for the warmer months of July and August. Being on the windier side of the island provides the perfect climate, according to Gellis. Meanwhile, across the island, families flock to the Grace Bay Club, all right by the sea.
It looks like Saint-Barthélemy is the closest most Americans will be to the French Riviera this summer. Although closed now, the island says it will be open to vaccinated Americans by May. “Jetetters love the authentic French flavor, the stunning coastline, trendy boutique hotels and fantastic beach clubs,” says Dawn Oliver of WellXplored, a wellness affiliate of Embark Beyond. “Bookings for this July are like the peak season of March as it’s the closest thing to Saint-Tropez that most Americans will have this summer.”
It is really hot: The emblematic duo – Eden Rock and Cheval Blanc Ile de France. “Always at the top of the list for our customers at Embark Beyond,” says Oliver. “I also love Le Barthélemy, another boutique hotel with a great atmosphere in the center of everything, or Le Toiny for privacy and seclusion.”
Specifically, Los Cabos, at the southern tip of the Mexican peninsula of Baja California. This is where Embark currently sends 8% of its international customers. “Los Cabos is a spectacular destination that is a beautiful blend of sophisticated, relaxed, luxurious and authentic,” says Laura Worth, art expert at the agency. “It has become the Hollywood playground of 2021 and even more in demand.”
It is really hot: The new “sexy” Zadun is a favorite of honeymooners. Ideal for families? The new Four Seasons, says Worth.
Anguilla has announced that it will open on July 1 to vaccinated Americans who will be exempt from current restrictions on “bubbles”. It was known as one of the safest places to visit during the pandemic, with less than 30 documented cases. “Today, Anguillan enthusiasts are taking their winter vacation in Anguillan this summer,” says Cindy Salik, Travel Advisor at Embark Beyond. “Aside from the best beaches in the world, what makes Anguilla unique is its selection of excellent restaurants, which are hard to find in the Caribbean. The weather is always incredible, the food and service are incredible and the beaches consist of miles of white sand and turquoise water. “
It is really hot: Belmond Cap Juluca is the ultimate romantic escape, with just 95 rooms spread over the island’s most beautiful 1.6 km beach. For families, Salik also recommends the Four Seasons Anguilla.
Croatia is one of the best values in Europe this summer. Located on the Adriatic Sea, it also takes a nice photo. “It is considered one of the most beautiful destinations in the world,” says Kari Angelo, Travel Advisor at Embark Beyond. “In addition to sailing in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic, the country offers a full range of activities.” They include exploring and hiking in national parks and waterfalls and a vibrant nightlife. A few minutes by speedboat from the city of Split, you will find the famous Blue Cave of Biševo, considered one of the wonders of the Adriatic Sea.
It is really hot: Villa Dubrovnik, the Excelsior and the seaside resort of Monte Mulini.
“This summer is a unique opportunity to visit Peru and see Machu Picchu without hordes of other travelers,” says Kate Sullivan, South America expert at Embark Beyond. But Peru has even more to offer: world-class restaurants such as central Lima, the Paracas National Reserve along the coast and, of course, the Amazon.
It is really hot: The new Explora Valle Sagrado, a haven for hikers who wish to explore the Sacred Valley to explore archaeological sites. Board the new Belmond Andean Explorer train to see Peru in style.
For many Americans, this summer will be the first real opportunity to travel abroad in over a year. This list of the 10 best places to vacation is a useful starting point, showing your best options for a quick getaway.