BreakingModern — A little bit of sunshine can instantly lift a bleak mood, magically melt away your worries. But a summer holiday can come in different packages. For some, it’s about glistening waters within exotic isles; for others, it conjures up images of scorching desert days and mysterious Arabian nights, while still others simply crave hedonism in balmy weather. Whatever your idea of a summer vacation is, I know just the destination for you.
Trinidad and Tobago
“We bussin’ a lime tonight,” roughly translates to, “Party time!” and it’s the first of the local parlance I picked up in the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Little wonder this Caribbean nation throws one of the best bashes in the world — the Carnaval. Drop in here during Carnaval season — Monday, Tuesday before Lent — and the roads of the capital city (Port of Spain) morph into a catwalk with graceful dancers, gigantic floats and the cacophony of steel pans.
But on a recent trip, I saw more than the islands’ hedonistic avatar; I glimpsed a side that reveres nature. Trinidad comes with the Asa Wright Nature Centre, home to 14 types of hummingbirds in iridescent shades of blue, green, purple and more. I signed up for a boat tour of the Caroni Swamp where I was greeted by boa constrictors wrapped around trees, flying fish dipping in-and-out of the water, and the most magnificent sight of all, the national bird — the glowing Scarlet Ibis. At sunset, the fiery birds flock to their nests and appear like little red bulbs illuminating the trees.
While Trinidad is green, Tobago holds the big blue. If you’re looking for soft adventure, try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding at Pigeon Point. I experienced a Robinson Crusoe-like moment on Cotton Bay, an island so secluded no roadways lead there; only the water.
Save the best for last with the Nylon Pool, the “original fountain of youth.” The sea-bed was formed of crushed corals and is loaded with antioxidants. Could you ask for more from this tiny nation?
Pro tip: To experience Trinidad and Tobago like a local, sign up for a tour at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t miss: Doubles, a local dish made of fried flat bread and stuffed with curried chickpeas and sweet-tangy sauces.
When it’s cold everywhere, it’s warm Down Under. To experience the best of the Australian outdoors head to Queensland. Because this Aussie state offers everything from the opportunity to sky-dive from 15,000 feet in the air, to white-water rafting to breakfast on a hot air balloon.
But what Queensland has that no other part of the world can stake claim to is the only living organism visible from space — the Great Barrier Reef. Even a timid swimmer like me couldn’t resist the lure of these waters. In tow with a guide, I set out to snorkel in the middle of the reef. Conquering my fear came with many rewards — colors brighter than I’ve ever seen, exotic fish, psychedelic pink corals and other fascinating under-sea life forms.
Pro tip: Scout for package deals that offer an itinerary of multiple adventure sports
Don’t miss: Tim Tam, an Australian chocolate biscuit.
Featuring 365 days of summer and an oh-so-romantic desert-scape. But let’s face it; the heat is a bit much. Thankfully Salalah offers respite with desert rain. That’s right, this spot in the Middle East has a monsoon season (khareef) from mid-June to mid-August.
Although the showers are scant, a light mist fills the air and greenery greets me everywhere. Get drenched under the largest waterfall in the region, (Wadi Darbat), which pours down forcefully on the arid land. Spend all day watching the almost mystical blow-holes at Mughsayl Beach.
For a bit of history I headed to the Land of the Frankincense Museum which showcases Oman’s past as a prosperous trading port for Frankincense, in the 12th century. The museum stands in the heart of a UNESCO heritage site, Al Baleed, where remnants of the ancient Islamic port city were discovered.
To bring back mementos, visit the Al Husn Souq, where every blind turn reveals more shops, which lure you in with everything from delicious dates to drapery. Dig a little deeper and you may chance upon the genie’s lamp.
Pro tip: Discover the best of Oman with Dunes Adventures and Tours.
Don’t miss: Just outside Salalah lies Khor Rori, an archeological site where the remnants of the palace of Queen of Sheba still stand.
Granitic boulders, clear blue waters, lush green forests, giant turtles and delicious cuisine. That’s what greeted me in the Seychelles. This archipelago of 115 islands glistens in the midst of the Indian Ocean and can easily be mistaken for heaven.
Seychelles boasts of the world’s only oceanic islands made of granite. The phenomenon was the result of a violent natural disaster.
The island of Mahé holds the capital city Victoria, a metropolis with a laid-back vibe; one where business and pleasure go together. I managed to go scuba diving in the morning, followed by a meeting. If you’re looking to completely leave the city behind, head to La Digue, where a dazzling beach awaits. String up your hammock or enjoy a beach barbecue.
If you’re looking for island luxury, head to Praslin, the chosen hide-away of the rich-and-famous. Not long ago, it was the honeymoon destination of Prince William and Kate Middleton. With the seal of royalty, Seychelles has it all.
Pro tip: Accommodation in Seychelles can be expensive, especially in the Victoria. Glacis Heights Villa is a cosy bed-and-breakfast with warm hosts. Rates start at 2,000 SCR per night. Inquire at email@example.com for more information.
Don’t miss: On Wednesday evening, head to Bazar Labrin, Beau Vallon Beach, Mahé, and enjoy shopping and eating at the local market. Don’t forget to try some of the home-made local delicacies.
For BMod, I’m Kiran Mehta.
All Screenshots: BMod Staff