6 countries it’s now safe to visit
Rwanda, Sri Lanka and the birthplace of Stalin
We’re adventurous sorts. We backpacked through Europe (by ourselves). We went to Istanbul before your mom and her entire bridge club did. But we draw the line when it comes to safety. If it’s dangerous, we won’t go.
Luckily, more and more formerly sketchy destinations are now becoming safe. We checked in with New York-based travel concierge Obliko Morale to find the top six emerging countries to visit right this second.
In the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s, Sri Lanka was embroiled in a bloody civil war. But ever since 2009 (when Tamil Tiger separatists were overthrown), it’s become a burgeoning tourist destination known for uncrowded beaches, tropical rain forests and centuries-old ruins. If you need us, we’ll be staying here.
Gone are the days of roadblocks and transit strikes. This once crime-ridden South American country has seen a recent economic rise, leading to more infrastructure and better law enforcement (though you should still use common sense). A great and inexpensive spot for adventurous sorts, Bolivia boasts Andean peaks, epic salt flats and jungle birding galore. Direct flights leave daily from Miami.
It has been two decades since the 1994 civil war and genocide, and this East African nation has since transformed into a tourist destination that’s (relatively) politically stable and safe. Getting around on your own still isn’t the easiest, so your best bet is a guided safari to see the 600-pound gentle-giant mountain gorillas in their natural environment.
Colombia, once plagued by prevalent cartel violence, is now quickly becoming a popular vacation destination. Cartagena was selected as one of the New York Times’ 52 places to visit in 2015, and is notable for its open plazas, pastel-colored homes, lively nightlife and budding culinary scene. (You gotta try the ceviche.)
This once U.S.S.R. territory is mostly known for, um, Stalin. But these days it’s not only safe and modern but also home to some of the most exciting vineyards in Eastern Europe. Come for the picturesque castles and monasteries, stay for the Kindzmarauli, a semisweet red with hints of blackberry.
Lest you forget, this formerly off-limits communist country is also a Caribbean island. Now that the U.S. travel ban has been lifted, it’s swiftly becoming a de rigueur spot for arts, beaches and--on a less virtuous note--cigars and rum. Get your tickets before the Señor Frogs and sorority girls descend.