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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s safe to say 2020 has been a frustrating year, particularly when it comes to travel with all those best-laid plans and inspirational itineraries having been put on hold.

We’re hopeful that 2021 will see some change when it comes to travel, with each vaccination bringing us closer to something resembling normality, and a more open world where you can start dreaming of getting far away from our little island to an exotic corner of the world.

With this in mind, the team at Not In The Guidebooks has put together a rundown of just some of our most inspirational itineraries. From self-drive epics through the deserts and savannah of Namibia, tuk-tuk adventures around beautiful Cambodia, to all-encompassing journeys around the jungles and coastlines of Costa Rica, here are our inspirational itineraries designed to give you some ideas for your next great adventure.

5 Day Marrakech to Tangier Tour

man pointing at ancient fortress morocco

Soaring, snow-capped mountains, crackling campfires under a thousand stars, vibrantly buzzing souks and atmospheric mountain fortresses – all this awaits as well as incredible food, culture and hospitality on this once in a lifetime tour of Morocco.

Starting from the maze of streets that make up Marrakech, and ending in the fascinating capital, Tangier, this tour starts by traversing the beautiful High Atlas Mountains, before exploring the famous Ait Ben Haddou, backdrop to countless TV and film productions.

Each night you’ll stay in unique, authentic accommodation, where you can swim in beautiful rivers or relax in stunning riads, and on your second night, enjoy a once in a lifetime experience in a traditional Berber camp in the Sahara.

You’ll explore the historic city of Fes, and the deliciously laid back, blue-tinted town of Chefchaouen. All of this will be interspersed with local experiences, real, authentic Moroccan food, and will eventually become five days you will never forget in this North African tapestry of stunning cultures, cities, deserts, mountains and cuisine.

Cambodia Tuk Tuk Adventure

cambodia as an eco friendly destination

This eight-day inspirational itinerary gets you exploring this gem of a country in South East Asia on its most quintessential form of transport – the trusty tuk-tuk.

Starting in the north of the country in the vibrant Siem Reap, you’ll explore world-famous temple complexes, drink in perfume-scented sunsets over vast lakes, visit pagodas shrouded in incense smoke, and get far off the beaten track in the beautiful Cambodian backcountry and jungle.

You’ll stay in a combination of beautiful bespoke hotels picked out by our hosts, and in incredible local homestays that represent a chance to get a taste of true Cambodian culture.

After all, this inspirational itinerary is all about getting you under the skin of Cambodia, so that you can see what it’s really like to be a local here. Authentic food, isolated communities, unique local experiences like ice-cold beers and a barbecue at the home of a local, this tour shows off Cambodia’s greatest commodity – its people – so that you enjoy a truly local, truly unforgettable adventure that ends in the madness of Phnom Penh.

Costa Rica’s North Pacific Coast

person relaxing in a natural pool in costa rica

The ultimate exploration of Costa Rica’s North Pacific coast, this ten-day tour of this sliver of paradise sandwiched between the Caribbean and the Pacific allows you to totally relax and focus on yourself, with all transfers, ferries, accommodation and activities organised with you in mind.

Whether it’s exploring mangrove forests or jungles on the lookout for wildlife, catching the Pacific waves on a stretch of pristine beach, glamping on your own tropical island for the night, or getting to know the locals at an eco-farm, you’ll be able to end each day safe in the knowledge that there is a beautiful eco-lodge or comfortable room in a stunning location waiting you at the end of the day.

As well as gorgeous hikes to picture-perfect lagoons and waterfalls and exploring a country that prides itself on ecotourism and sustainable practices, this inspirational itinerary also helps you get to know the real Costa Rica, on unique excursions like spending a day with local fisherman at the islands of the Nicoya Gulf, or cooking up a wonderful authentic meal at Betty’s house.

And after all the exploration, you will be transferred back to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, and your flight home, so that you can look back on the perfectly organised, adventurous, yet relaxing break in this beautiful little country.

Our Inspirational Itineraries

Highlights of Namibia

Namibia

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8 Day Adventure in Northern Vietnam

Vietnam, Northern Vietnam

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8 Day Adventure in North Vietnam

Vietnam’s mountainous northern region is regarded as one of the most spectacular natural areas on the planet, and this inspirational itinerary is designed to get the very best out of it.

Starting in the vibrant weave of alleyways and heaving streets in Hanoi, where you can kick back and prepare for your off the beaten track adventure by relaxing in a roadside bar, sipping an ice-cold beer as a train comes rattling through the ancient street, you’ll visit the world-famous Ha Long Bay and it’s dramatic limestone karsts, before getting right off the beaten track in the mountains that run to the border with China.

You’ll visit isolated villages such as Mai Chau, where you’ll stay in local homestays to get a real flavour of Vietnamese culture, cuisine and hospitality. The evening in the homestay is most of our guests most memorable of an unforgettable trip, as they meet the real Vietnamese people and get to know the real culture, the real food, and not the watered-down version of Vietnam most tourists experience.

Discover ‘Ha Long Bay on land’ at Ninh Binh, relax in incredible retreats and wander through the quiet rice paddies, past slowly turning water wheels and lazily winding streams, as you feel life slow down in this incredible part of the world. Eventually return to Hanoi, after a unique exploration that will feel as if you lived the last week or so in a dream.

Self-Drive Across Nambia

walking on a sand dune in namibia

For the more adventurous travellers out there, you might be dreaming of that sense of freedom that comes from your own vehicle, the open road, and thousands of miles of wilderness to explore. With this two week tour of Namibia, you can achieve this as you cross vast tracts of desert, endless savannah and views that stretch on forever.

You’ll spot incredible wildlife like lion, white rhino, elephant, giraffe, as you pass through the stunning Etosha National Park, and encounter otherworldly landscapes as the sandy desert clashes with the Atlantic Ocean along the Skeleton Coast.

Stay in stunning lodges that offer security that at the end of a long, strenuous day of driving and exploring, there is a luxurious place to stay and great food awaiting you at the end.

As well as the obvious attractions, you’ll also enjoy off the beaten track sites such as 5000-year-old rock art in stunning Damaraland, petrified trees in Sossusvlei, 300m high sand dunes in some of the driest corners of the earth, it’s an inspirational itinerary that, as you roll back into the characterful capital of Windhoek, you certainly won’t forget in a hurry.

Iceland Fire and Ice Experience

kirkjufell mountain with northern lights

Ancient lava fields, mighty glaciers, black sand beaches, distant snow-capped mountains, bubbling hot springs, the aurora borealis snaking its way across a pitch-black sky… these are just some of the things awaiting you on this incredible experience in one of the most spectacular countries on earth.

Once you arrive in Reykjavik, you’ll get to know the vibrant capital like a local with your guide, and rest in great accommodation laid on for you by your host for the trip. Head out on a night time cruise into the pitch darkness to spot the northern lights, a true once in a lifetime experience, and explore the famous Golden Triangle, to see where continents are pulled apart, where steaming shoots of water come bursting from the earth, and where dramatically thundering waterfalls plunge into jaw-dropping gorges.

And that’s all in the first two days. You’ll also get to know Iceland’s unique, up and coming food scene, wander through a mind-blowing ‘lava tunnel’, and hike upon the rugged Sólheimajökull Glacier.

By the time your time in Iceland comes to an end, you’ll feel as if you have experienced as much as you possibly can on this action-packed little island in the time you have had, and will return home itching for another trip to the land of fire and ice.

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