5 places to stopover in 2018

    5 places to stopover in 2018

    Certain destinations are the first to come to mind, legendary stops known the world over for their history, the beauty of their landscapes, and the magnificence of their wildlife.

    And then there are others about which one talks less, destinations that are unique, secluded, and unknown. These are the sites that conceal hidden treasures, and that offer the promise of pristine nature and sincere encounters. Far from all the usual sea routes, they provide visitors with the ultimate in authentic travel experiences.

    True to our pioneering role of finding the world’s most unexplored areas for our guests, we’ve come up with our top 5 secret destinations for 2018.

    1. Durban, seaside capital at the gates of ancestral lands !

    Durban, capitale balnéaire aux portes de terres ancestrales !

    Cradled by the waves of the Indian Ocean, Durban is a multicultural city in South Africa where you can not only get a feel for Africa, but also for Europe and Asia. It takes less than an hour to get from this seaside town to the Valley of a Thousand Hills, ancestral land sheltering verdant hills and the Zulu people.

    With each step taken in the traditional round hut villages, visitors are immersed a little bit more into the fascinating local culture. A unique journey, one in search of ancient beliefs, rituals, and more...

    A stop in Durban will allow you to discover the extraordinarily rich heritage of a region where the modern world and indigenous African tribes coexist.

    2. The Gulf of California, aquarium of the world

    La mer de Cortez, aquarium du monde

    Located between the Baja California Peninsula and Mexico, the Gulf of California is surrounded by paradise-inspiring beaches sheltering the most amazing marine wildlife. This pristine region, which for many years was isolated from the rest of the world, boasts no less than 900 species of fish and marine mammals.

    Nicknamed “the aquarium of the world” by Captain Cousteau, the Gulf of California is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the home to sea lions, dolphins, whale sharks, turtles, barracuda, rays, and many other species found nowhere else in the world!

    Discover the region’s incredibly abundant animal life during an underwater excursion with PONANT.

    3. Port Lockroy, little port at the end of the world

    Port Lockroy, petit port du bout du monde

    Welcome to Port Lockroy, a small natural port located on Goudier Island in Antarctica. Discovered by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot in 1903, this port at the end of the world served first as an emergency and repair base for whaling ships, then as a British military base, and finally as a scientific base.

    Today, a few rare souls live here between November and March to welcome visitors and to operate the southernmost post office in the world!

    Discover the history of this authentic destination and the sheer beauty of its icy surrounding landscapes during a cruise of the White Continent.

    4. Mindelo, Cape Verdean capital of music lovers

    Le Groenland avec ponant

    Far off the beaten path, the unusual city of Mindelo welcomes those few brave visitors looking for adventure on the secret island of Sao Vincente in Cape Verde. La Morna, the local music made famous by the singer Cesária Évora, resonates in the picturesque streets of this cultural capital, the pride of the archipelago.

    And while the most beautiful architecture of the colonial buildings only becomes apparent as you make your way into the historic district, the Mindelo market, with its sweet tropical aromas, invites you to spend some time wandering its aisles. Traditional pastel-colored homes highlight the unique flair of this secret Atlantic island destination, where a festive atmosphere reigns all year round.

    Enjoy all the treasures of this wild and remote island during a PONANT cruise.

    5. Banda Neira, secret island of the Pacific

    Banda Neira is one of the “spice islands” of the Banda Archipelago in Indonesia. Its capital’s one-of-a-kind architecture, with its Dutch, British, and Portuguese influences, is evidence of the long colonial past of this archipelago, which for centuries was the site of a booming spice trade.

    An unspoiled island with very few tourists, Banda Neira is known for its friendly residents, who are always happy to welcome visitors with a smile, and for its white sand beaches and outstanding coral reefs, which are particularly popular amongst scuba diving fans.

    The myriad colors and flavors of this small volcanic island will be yours to relish during a cruise through the heart of the Pacific Ocean.

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