Years ago I wrote a post about having to choose between returning to a past destination you loved versus visiting a new one, but since it’s been so long, I thought I’d write an updated one, specifically about five destinations I would love to return to. So here they are in no particular order.
1) Costa Rica
I cannot believe it’s been over a decade since I studied abroad in Costa Rica. What’s funny is that even though there was only a year between my semester abroad in Costa Rica and my semester abroad in Spain, the latter feels so much fresher in my mind. I’m sure a lot of that is due to the fact that my semester in Costa Rica was a lot more stressful (host family issues, classes, not as safe a neighborhood). During the three months I lived there I saw quite a bit of the country, my favorite spots being Manuel Antonio and the Arenal region (nothing tops glorious beaches and an amazing volcano). The thing is, during my semester abroad there was probably the only time I lived the life of a backpacker in terms of budget (somewhat easy to do in Central America). While only a few of the accommodations I stayed at were iffy, most were nice. However, Costa Rica has some incredible lodgings, i.e. luxury ones, and those are the ones where I would love to stay when I return. I’m ready to be pampered in the land of pura vida. Oh, and make it to a coffee plantation for a tour. That’s one thing I still regret not doing.
One of the quickest and most convenient cities for American travelers to get to, and still it’s been 11 years since I was last there. I guess some of this is due to the fact that during my last visit I was lucky enough to be there for over two weeks (I was on an interim abroad program between the end of the fall semester and start of the spring one back in college). London is a city I felt comfortable in, at home in even. I love that all interspersed into one you have rich cultural and global diversity, strong Britannia influences still found, and a cosmopolitan city that can offer you just about anything. The things I’d like to experience most on a return trip include having high tea at somewhere incredibly posh, visiting the Imperial War Museum, and FINALLY getting on the London Eye (on my last trip there it was closed for refurbishment).
3) Colonial Williamsburg
This is one spot that may not be as familiar for non-American readers, but Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum in the state of Virginia. Its historic area includes buildings primarily from the 18th century (when the city of Williamsburg served as the capital of Colonial Virginia), along with structures from other time periods too. I visited here numerous times as child but I would so love to return as an adult and take fresh, digital camera photos. For me, the charm of going here is simply walking along the unpaved streets (as was the norm centuries ago), admiring the beautiful colonial era buildings, and most importantly, dining at one (or all) of the four restored taverns that serve the same food you would have eaten as a resident back in the 1700s.
All I can say is don’t try to travel to Rome somewhat last minute during a peak time (with less than a month to go) and when you’re on a budget. That spells a recipe for disaster, or in the case of travel, you’re not going to have the greatest time, as was the case with me. When I don’t have the greatest meal at a restaurant, I’m willing to give it a second chance. The same goes for travel destinations. My trip to Rome wasn’t completely horrible, it just wasn’t the Rome I had always dreamt about. But I know advance planning, having more money to work with, and better travel companions can make all the difference. As Rome is quite the culinary locale, I’d like a return trip there to really be food centered-a food tour, a cooking class, and eating as much as I can, gelato included.
Barcelona was one of the cities I visited on my first ever trip to Europe at the tender age of 18. As such, it wasn’t the greatest visit ( a guided tour with other high school kids). While I still remember the incredible details of Park Güell, there was so much more I missed and didn’t get to experience (basically everything-a pitfall of guided high school tours is that you do a lot of touring from the inside of your motor coach bus). Visiting more Gaudi-designed buildings, along with a visit to the awesome sounding La Boqueria Market, are the things I’d want to do the most.
Needless to say the list in my head of destinations I’d like to return to is a lot longer, but these are the ones at the top.