Getting away from the crowds is a major vacation consideration these days.  In a world where “over-tourism” has become a harsh reality in many beautiful destinations such as Barcelona, Amsterdam, Dubrovnik and even Mount Everest, there is a growing longing among travelers for remote destinations.  More and more people are actively looking for off the beaten path destinations that are away from it all.  Non touristy hidden gems that are still somehow undiscovered and uncrowded.  Indeed there is no more of a vacation vibe killer than traveling – sometimes across the globe – only to walk right into a giant tourist trap.

Happily, we have some tips on how to find the secret places to go.  And sometimes, even the best uncrowded and little known destinations are easier to find – and certainly more luxurious – than you might imagine.

An island resort is a natural barrier that keeps the crowds away. And island experience in Lake Nicaragua.

Rule Number One.  Most importantly and before anything, avoid the peak season.  That means Christmas, New Year’s, President’s Week in February and Easter Week are out.  Over these dates you will most certainly run into crowds throughout the country and service will be sloppy – hardly the authentic experience you were looking for.  If you can’t get vacation other than during those dates, go remote.  Consider secluded hotels and resorts located at the far ends of their beaches.  Even private islands for some guaranteed exclusivity.

Spending the sunset with your loved ones watching the sunset. No applause. Just the waves and the sounds of the rain forest.

Avoid big sprawling resorts like the plague.  If like so many of us you can’t bear the daily pressure of rushing down first thing in the morning to put your towel out by the pool, or the thought of fighting the dinner buffet lines fills you with dread, go small and boutique.  How about an 8-room couples only resort where there will never be more than 16 guests?  What’s more, you’ll likely leave all the other tourists long behind on your way up the rugged mountain to get there.

We are tucked away in the most incredible places. Only six guest rooms. A beachfront experience in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

Don’t get scared of a little rain.  Warm tropical rain showers are very different to rain in London or Philadelphia.  In fact, most locals would tell you that the dry season is not necessarily the best time of the year to visit the tropics.  Take a chance and consider visiting between April and August.  You might just find that a few tropical showers make the Costa Rican rainforest experience all the more authentic.

In Costa Rica, head south.  Add a little bit of travel time to your journey and try to reach the Uvita and Osa Peninsula areas on the Pacific Coast.  Don’t shy away from an additional 60 minutes of driving or hitting some dirt roads.  It makes all the difference.  Look for hotels and lodges located within their own nature reserves too – acres upon acres of raw nature tend to keep the crowds out and the wildlife in.  Double win.

Can you spot the guest in this picture? Travelling in the off season is your best bet to avoid the crowds.

How about instead visiting a nearby, equally exotic, but underrated country where the tourism scene is only just starting to hot up?  If you really want to get away from the crowds, try Nicaragua.  We’ve been operating an island lodge in Nicaragua for almost ten years and our guests love the feeling of being remote, secluded and truly “away from it all”.

And then there’s the ultimate ‘getaway’ in the truest sense of the world.  Escape everyone to a 400-acre private island just off the Pacific Coast of Panama.  Drastic perhaps, but don’t we all dream of having a Robinson Crusoe style adventure now and then?

Beachfront Casitas at Isla Palenque Resort in Panama.

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Andrea Bonilla

Co-Owner & VP Operations