5 of the best off-the-beaten-track destinations to visit this year

If you're looking for a left-of-centre travel destination, we've got you covered.

With every person seemingly jet-setting off on an incredible escape towards the northern hemisphere, we were inspired to unearth the most unusual, underrated destinations to visit in 2019. Already having done a bit of the groundwork, Topdeck Trip Leader Brittni Phillips has shared some unparalleled tracks to adventure this year and let’s just say, we’re more than tempted. Here are her top five extraordinary must-dos:

Isla Holbox: Yucatan, Mexico

"Close your eyes and paint this picture in your mind... white sandy beaches that extend to make the roads in the small village below. The ocean breeze refreshes your face and the sky-blue ocean seems to go on for kilometres. Above its shallow waters are ocean hammocks, which keep their occupants graciously afloat, swaying with the tide. Uniquely, this island is completely car-free, allowing you to hear uninterrupted sounds of the ocean, music from the local bands and more! One of the most noteworthy interactions at Holbox is with the local plankton, which glow when disturbed. These magical creatures truly come alive at night and create a bioluminescence tour along the beach."

James Ranch, Durango, Colorado

"Nestled in the beautiful Animas River Valley, James Ranch is a 400-acre, 100 per cent grass fed, all organic cattle and dairy farm that values quality over quantity and is family-owned and run. Dave James and his wife Kay moved to Durango with big dreams of owning a high-quality cattle farm in the mountains of Colorado. After purchasing their herd of cattle, they began to expand their family and have a herd of kids! Each child grew up at the ranch, moved away and returned with skills to help expand the ranch. They now have a chicken coop, vegetable and flower garden, make their own cheeses, a market to browse through and a farm-to-fork restaurant that ties it all together."

Monument Valley, Navajo Nation, Arizona

"The Navajo will always have an ‘other-worldly’ connection with Monument Valley. Jump in a jeep and let the team take you on a wild ride through their land! Don't forget to show your mittens as you marvel at the large sandstone buttes, called West Mitten and East Mitten, as they tower above you. Undoubtably, the name comes from their appearance, although being more than 300 metres tall! The viewpoints look like an oasis of colours. From reds, oranges, and magentas to some pinks, stretching as far as the eye can see. The Navajo expertly guide visitors through the valley with stories and lessons, but they also share a traditional Navajo Fry Bread that is simply delicious."

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

"As America's first national park, Yellowstone National Park is considered one of its crown jewels – and for good reason. Nothing can match the grandeur of its geothermal activity. There are over 500 geysers located around the park, but Old Faithful is by far the one to see. People flock from all over the world to see this natural beauty. When erupting, Old Faithful can reach an average height of about 40 metres but has been known to get up to 54 metres, expelling up to 31,800 litres of water at 96 C. Now, Old Faithful erupts regularly but can stop at any minute. So, take a moment, sit back and revel at the wonder of this gift of nature."

Illuminated Monument Tour, Washington DC

"This is a bucket-list experience flipped on its head. Many people are taken aback by these American monuments generally, but nothing compares to seeing them at twilight in all their glory. From one American leader to the next, including the World War II, FDR and Lincoln Memorials and ending at the White House, the experience is one of the most in-depth, yet eerie opportunities, to witness the popular moments at night."

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