Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and El Salvador are Lonely Planet’s top destinations for 2023.

(CNN) — Travel guide company Lonely Planet has released its 18th annual “Best in Travel” list, featuring several destinations in Latin America.

The 2023 edition has a slightly different design than previous years. Instead of a simple list, the destinations are divided into five categories: Eat, Learn, Travel, Relax and Connect.

“This year, we really wanted to try something new, and how we looked at travelers who want to travel is about the destination, but also about the experience,” explains Nithya Chambers, executive editor and SVP of Lonely. Planet..

Teachers begin working on the list in early April. Chambers says that, as much as they’d like, not all employees can personally visit every location on the list.

Instead, Lonely Planet reaches out to a wide network of contributors around the world and asks them to recommend places they think should be on the list.

From there, Lonely Planet editors begin asking more questions, working with their sources and narrowing down options until the November release.

Chambers summarizes the exact goal as “expected but unexpected.”

You might get an opportunity in a new country like Malta or Guyana that all your friends have never visited. This may mean choosing a less-visited location over a favorite such as Marseille over Paris or Fukuoka over Tokyo. All four places are among the 30 places on the 2023 list.

Lonely Planet’s journey began in 1972, when Maureen and Tony Wheeler traveled from England to Australia and subsequently published a guidebook to recreate their overland adventure.

Culinary delights

Lima, Peru: Paddington Bear will recognize all the love given to his home country, especially since Lima’s food scene is gaining global acclaim.
Greg Vaughan/Alamy Stock Photo

It’s no surprise that Lima appears as one of the options in the “eat” section of Lonely Planet’s list: Peru’s capital has earned recognition on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for years.

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However, its South American sibling, Montevideo, another “eat” entry, isn’t quite as upscale. Visitors to Uruguay’s capital will recognize dishes popular in other parts of the continent, such as dulce de leche, fried steaks and yerba mate.

Uruguay is also becoming a wine destination with both reds and whites on offer. Plus, it’s more affordable and less crowded than Argentina’s Mendoza wine region.

Montevideo, Uruguay: South America’s second-smallest country has no shortage of delicious food and wine.
Mark/Adobe Stock

Street food lovers should visit Kuala Lumpur. The capital is the perfect place to introduce dishes from all over Malaysia, such as nasi lemak (the unofficial national dish), Penang-style curries and Peranakan classics, chowder.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to find Italian cuisine that isn’t loved.

Stanley Tucci visited Umbria in an episode of his show “Looking for Italy,” feasting on black-fed pigs, wild boar ragout, and braised pigeon. It is also on the Lonely Planet list.

Connect again

As the world opened up after prolonged Covid-19 restrictions, many travelers felt the need to connect or reconnect with others.

One way to do this is to look in our own backyard.

Boise, Idaho’s capital, is home to the world’s largest Basque community outside of Spain and is on Lonely Planet’s “connected” list. Some locals still speak Basque, learn traditional dances, and make bella big enough to feed an entire town.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Sydney is also on the list. The Australian city is known for its friendly locals, its beautiful beaches, its world-class food scene, and… oh, a great opera house.

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People of African descent may want to visit Accra, Ghana for their own sense of connection. The country on the list also observed the Year of Return in 2019, which attracted people from across the diaspora to Ghana for fellowship and community.

Just because the year is over doesn’t mean the sense of connection is gone: Ghana wants to hit its target of eight million tourists a year.

leave it

The pandemic has also fueled another powerful desire: the stress of working from home while educating children via Zoom, leaving many commuters wanting to take longer breaks.

According to Lonely Planet, island destinations in the Caribbean like Jamaica and Dominica are perfect places to relax.

The former is high on Chambers’ personal list for 2023.

“There’s only one chance (in the summer) with our kids to spend more time, immerse and experience living in a place where you can feel truly transformed and transformed by being a part of another place.”

While 2022’s summer “revenge cruises” seem to be overflowing with tourists in Europe, another “vacation” destination, Malta, is a little-known gem with the climate of Italy and the landscape of the Middle East.

And in Asia, the Indonesian archipelago of Raja Ampat may be one of the last remaining paradises on Earth.

Located in the country’s West Papua province, the site is a favorite for ecotourism and is home to a highly successful coral restoration project.

Learn the lesson

Did you take up baking or learn a new language during the lockdown? If you want to keep the spirit of learning alive beyond the pandemic, Lonely Planet recommends visiting a place to deepen your knowledge.

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This includes New Mexico, the US state nicknamed the “Land of Enchantment,” where visitors can learn about Native American history and the country’s Spanish heritage while munching on red and green chili and delicious cookies.

A visit to some of Europe’s second cities will broaden your horizons. Learn to say more than “Mercy Beaucoup” while soaking up the sun on France’s Mediterranean coast in Marseille. In the UK, Manchester is an underrated cultural destination, offering art galleries, performances and an annual cultural festival.

The destination is the journey

Ultimately, whether you’re in search of a perfect meal or a stunning cityscape, travel is as much about exploring along the way as it is about your itinerary.

With this in mind, Lonely Planet has designated six “go-to” destinations—places where travelers tend to wander.

Not surprisingly, the Central Asian kingdom of Bhutan won. In 2022, the country finally reopened to tourism and unveiled its crown jewel: the Trans-Bhutan Trail, connecting nine dzongkhags (districts), 28 gewogs (local governments), two municipalities, a national park, and 400 historical and cultural sites.

Another “travel” destination, Zambia is best known for Victoria Falls.

Although not a compelling reason to visit the world’s most fascinating waterfall, the wild diversity of animals – giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, leopards and more – makes it a perfect choice for a safari holiday.

Here is the full list of 30 locations:

Lonely Planet’s Best Trips 2023 List

to eat

Umbria, Italy

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Fukuoka, Japan

Lima Peru

South Africa

Montevideo, Uruguay

to travel

From Istanbul, Turkey to Sofia, Bulgaria

Nova Scotia, Canada



Western Australia

Natural National Park, Colombia

Parque Nacional Naturales, Colombia: The South American country has more than 50 national parks that range from lush jungles to white-sand beaches.
traveler1116/iStockphoto/Getty Images

Be cool

Halkidiki, Greece



Raja Ampat, Indonesia






Accra, Ghana

Sydney, Australia


Boise, USA

to learn

Manchester, United Kingdom

New Mexico, USA

Dresden, Germany


El Salvador: The country’s small size allows you to easily visit its many beaches along the Pacific coast and still have time to explore the capital, San Salvador.
CharlieK/Alamy Stock Photo

Southern Scotland

Marseille, France

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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