“I need a holiday! I want to switch off and get away from the daily grind.” – All of us.
You book your days off, promise yourself a lovely relaxing holiday, finally arrive at your dreamy destination, and within hours find yourself lying on the beach, sipping a refreshment… browsing through your work emails or your arch-enemy’s Instagram feed. We’ve all been there. So what does it take to disconnect completely? Where do you have to go to leave the hustle and bustle of daily life behind, to resist the pressure of being constantly connected, to be so taken aback and engrossed by your environment that you forget to pick up your phone?
Here are 5 beautifully remote yet accessible places that are ready-made for a digital detox…
Explore Bolivia’s famed salt flats
1- Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia Bolivia is to South America what Tanzania is to Africa: a country of superlatives filled with jaw-dropping natural wonders. One such place is Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Not only is it extremely remote (a bumpy, overnight bus ride away from La Paz), very high (perched at 3,600m), but it’s also as bare as a landscape can get, only interrupted by the occasional baby llama running by or giant cacti colony. It’s hands down one of the most unforgettable and overpowering landscapes you’ll ever visit. So put your phone away and get your shades out as you experience a sea of bright white or, if you visit during rainy season, a huge reflective canvas where the sky melts into the ground.
Go really wild in Kilimanjaro National Park
2- Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania You’ll struggle to find a better place to unplug than Kilimanjaro National Park. Not only is there no phone network, but there are no roads, no stores, and little to no electricity or running water in the higher camps. When was the last time you didn’t handle money for an entire week? Or didn’t have to worry about food shopping or any kind of shopping for the matter? Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, whether you make it to the Uhuru Peak or not, is a truly elevating, mind-clearing experience. After your second day trekking, you’ll be completely cut from any noise or light pollution, meaning you can practically touch the stars at night. You’ll adopt a true pole pole (slowly, slowly) lifestyle as you melt into the environment with all your electronic devices safely tucked away in your backpack.
Discover Brazil’s secret natural wonder
3- Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil Picture pristine sand dunes, turquoise water, and clear blue skies as far as the eye can see. The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in northern Brazil, or mega-amazing-desert-beach as it should really be called, is without a doubt one of the most well-preserved natural wonders that you can easily access and enjoy. After a short jeep ride through a jungle-desert-like landscape, your guide will help you haul yourself up a sand dune – and from then on it’s all fun and games as you sprint down sand dunes before diving into sweet-water pools. This unique desert, 10 times the size of London, is so beautiful that you’ll forget to blink and remote enough for your cell reception to be patchy at best.
Meet Morocco’s sandy heartland
4- Erg Chebbi, Morocco Some landscapes seem to be the stuff of fairy tales or movies. Erg Chebbi is both. Close your eyes and be transported to Aladdin or Lawrence of Arabia, open them and be blown away by a perpetual sunset-like landscape consisting of massive wind-blown dunes. Hike up to the top of the dunes, which can tower 150m, venture on a camel ride, or spend the night glamping in the desert. After visiting Erg Chebbi, you’ll have nothing more to wish for.
Tick the Grand Canyon off your bucket list
5- Grand Canyon, USA Who doesn’t have the Grand Canyon on their bucket list? It’s one of those natural wonders that we’re familiar with from Westerns, postcards, and National Geography cover pages. While it may attract 5 million visitors per year, the sheer size of the Grand Canyon ensures you can let go of all your city troubles away from the crowds, no matter if you’re hiking, rappelling, rafting or even taking a helicopter tour.
Witness one of the most spectacular glacial formations in the world by taking a 45-minute boat cruise up close to the 200-foot south glacial wall. Then walk along the footbridge in front of the glacier for panoramic views of the sublime landscape.
Explore the sights and wildlife in the Galapagos Islands on this full-day yacht tour from Santa Cruz. Visit Tortuga Bay Beach, La Lobería, Canal del Amor, and Playa de los Perros to see sea lions, marine iguanas, reef sharks, and other marine animals.
Fly over one of the “Seven Wonders of Nature” on a thrilling helicopter flight above the Iguazu Falls with an experienced guide. Learn about the region’s unique flora and fauna, and get breathtaking views of Brazil’s Iguaçu National Park.
Discover the wonders of the Amazon rainforest with a 3-night stay at the Juma Eco Lodge in the Juma River reserve. Famous for its primary rainforest, the reserve provides endless opportunities to see wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, river dolphins, alligators, spiders and snakes.
Experience life on the largest lake in South America on a 2-day tour of Lake Titicaca, widely considered a major cradle of civilization in the Andes. Explore the rich history of the lake and its indigenous groups, including the Inca and Aymara people.
Snorkel among the fish and coral gardens of the outer Great Barrier Reef. With over 24 brand new locations to choose from, you can enjoy a tailored itinerary based on the weather conditions. The destinations will be chosen from sites on Flynn and Milne reef or further north at Norman and Hastings reefs.
Experience the extraordinary natural beauty of Uluru (Ayers Rock) on a half-day tour from Ayers Rock Resort. Drive around the base of the monumental rock, visit the Mutitjulu Waterhole, see Aboriginal rock art and watch a sensational sunset.
See Australia’s most spectacular coastline along the Great Ocean Road. Experience the rock formations of the 12 Apostles. Watch as the bushland meet the sea from the comfort of a small personalized coach with a local driver/guide.
Whether you see it from above by helicopter, below by boat, or choose to tour its hiking trails by foot, Arizona’s Grand Canyon is one of North America’s most breathtaking sights. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how it came to be!
This one-way tour from Banff to Jasper takes you through some of the most spectacular mountain landscapes in North America. Following the spine of the Canadian Rockies, view a never-ending procession of mammoth mountains jagged peaks and glaciers.
Glide across a river of grass on a small airboat and experience the Florida Everglades without the crowds. Get up close to wildlife in their natural habitat, discover a landscape untouched for years and get spectacular panoramic views.
Escape San Francisco to enjoy California’s pristine nature on this half-day tour to Muir Woods National Forest. This tour features extended time inside the park, giving you plenty of time to marvel at the beautiful ancient redwood trees.
Experience the incredible scenery of Yosemite National Park and a Giant Sequoia Walk all in 1-day on this tour. You’ll have hours to explore, marvelling at the Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and amazing Giant Sequoia trees before returning to San Francisco.