2011 is coming to an end. Thank you so much for making TravelHyper even better this year. This site wouldn’t be anything without the thousands of you who supported us. We’re working hard to make 2012 the best year yet so make sure to stop by regularly. To give you a glimpse at 2012 holds in store, we’ve decided to name our Top 12 Countries for 2012. Today I’ll introduce them all and why they make the list. Each month we’ll have an in-depth profile of these countries and some hot spots to visit there.
Argentina is a large country in the southern part of South America. The geography of this country varies so much that you can find mountains to ski on and penguins at the coast or in the valleys you can find vineyards. We think the bustling pace, the amazing food and wine culture, and the influence of sports on the culture make Argentina a top place to visit in 2012.
Bulgaria is a country where you get more bang for your buck. The country is a great place to unplug and just enjoy the simpler life. Just because you’re going simple doesn’t mean you can’t have lots of fun. Bulgaria is known for its skiing, rock climbing, mountain villages, and even an old castle and fortress. Less is so much more in 2012.
Curacao recently became an independent country after being part of the Lesser Antilles till 2010. Curacao is in the Caribbean just off the coast of Venezuela, so you get the tropical feel without the crowds or most of the storms in the sea. This is a beautiful place with European influences, great places to snorkel, and gives you a chance to explore a variety of cultures.
We love Croatia and even did an entire series on the country. For 2012 we think Croatia is a top attraction. There’s so much history in the country and so many different ways to experience it, from national parks to museums to Roman ruins to Mediterranean beaches. We’ll be sharing the quick ways to enjoy the coastal cities later this year.
You either do or you don’t believe the idea that the Mayans have predicted the end of the world for 2012. Either way, 2012 is the year of the Mayan influence and Guatemala is no exception. While Mayan ruins may dot other countries Guatemala still has a strong population of Maya people living among the mountaintops. You can explore ruins, marketplaces, volcanoes, or even volunteer here in 2012.
When The Lord of the Rings came out New Zealand’s popularity rose. Now that The Hobbit is due out in 2012 New Zealand is about to see a boom yet again. Tours are already popping up to take you to filming locations for the new movie. Beyond locations that will double for a shire, there’s honeymoon spots, beaches, hiking, and history.
2012 is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s fateful journey. The grand ship was made in Belfast, Ireland which is part of why we’re featuring Northern Ireland in 2012. Many exhibits and tours will be venturing to Belfast for the anniversary. Beyond the Titanic Northern Ireland offers rugged natural landscapes, stone city walls, marinas, and history.
You might not know much about Oman but it’s had settlements since the Stone Ages. The country is famous for historic forts, beautiful beaches lined with sea turtles, royal palaces, amazing food, and desert sand dunes. Another great reason to visit Oman are the amazing festivals held throughout the year.
Panama is growing in popularity once again. Americans have always had close ties to the community of Panama since the building of the Panama Canal but Americans are heading there once again to study abroad or even retire. You should look to Panama for more eco-tourism, adventures in the mountains, relaxing by the beach, enjoying cities or even exploring ruins.
Sweden is a country associated with a high quality of living so you would hope you’d pick up some good vibes from a visit here. In the summer you can benefit from the endless sun (okay, it’s closer to twilight all night long) and in winter you can enjoy plenty of skiing. Sweden is a vast country with history museums, castles, hockey, and plenty of outdoor fun.
Switzerland is far more than just chocolates. The country has the Swiss Alps, castles, vineyards, a glacier, and even waterfalls. If you love luxury goods like Swiss chocolates, you’ll love the cheeses here or even the cutlery or watch markets. This is a great month to visit at the end of the year because of its German influenced Christmas markets.
Knowing the economy is still sour all over the world, Thailand’s tourist authority notified its destinations that tourism may be down. The good news for you is that there are many deals to be had to encourage you to choose Thailand for your destination. If you love golf, Thailand is counting on tourists for $2 billion USD worth of revenue. If golf isn’t your thing, Thailand offers plenty of beachfront resorts with or without golf to help you relax.