Rickshaw Travel highlights top 6 ‘must-see-now’ destinations on the verge of dramatic change

New pension changes that give over-55s more freedom to manage their money could mean more pensioners choosing to spend on travel and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Rickshaw Travel has created a shortlist of 6 ‘must-see-now’ destinations that are on the verge of dramatic change and should feature top of any avid travellers tick list.

With a passion for supporting local economies and a focus on meaningful travel, Rickshaw Travel is a tour operator with a twist, taking travellers off the beaten path like no one else can. Through homestay experiences, each trip encourages travellers to not only meet the locals, but get to know them personally and understand each destination through local cultures and traditions.

Rickshaw Travel recommends getting behind the scenes of the following destinations before they change forever.


Where: Nicaragua
Why now:
Plans to introduce a new canal across Nicaragua will change the landscape and lifestyles of the people in the country dramatically. After a century-long controversy, the government has given the go-ahead to the Nicaragua Canal, a project that plans to link the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and is proposed to be three times as long and almost twice as deep as the Panama Canal. Construction of the canal began in December 2014 with a completion date in 5 years. It’s an earth-changing engineering venture of epic proportions. Environmentalists have warned of the canal’s irreversible effects on the local environment especially Lake Nicaragua, the only freshwater lake in the world that contains oceanic animal life, including sharks, swordfish, and tarpon.
See it the Rickshaw Travel Way
Rickshaw Travel’s ‘Land of the Volcanoes’ Nicaragua itinerary encompasses the soaring volcanoes, gorgeous colonial towns, lush rainforests and wide sandy beaches of this beautiful country. It begins amongst the colonial facades of Granada before taking time out on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua. From there travellers journey north to the coffee plantations of Matagalpa and Experience life ‘at home with the Nicos’ in San Ramon. During this homestay option guests spend the night with a local Nico family in their modest house and encounter the local culture and food. In the evening guests roll up their sleeves and help prepare the family meal before everyone sits down to eat together. The homestay is also part of a community based project, which puts much needed funds back into the local area. The next stop in Leon allows travellers to experience the art and culture of the city before flopping onto a beach at San Juan del Sur and finally experiencing the grandeur of Masaya volcano on a unique evening excursion.

This 13 night trip with Rickshaw Travel costs from £1385 per person and includes transfers, accommodation with breakfast and excursions. To build an individual Nicaragua holiday, travellers can choose from a range of bite-size Nicaragua trips or combine with trips to Panama and Costa Rica

Where: Indochina and The Mekong River
Why now:
Experience life along the Mekong River and the surrounding landscapes of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam before the construction of the Xayaburi hydroelectric Dam in Laos is completed. The dam is seen by many as a threat to fish spawning, food supply, wildlife and a way of life in parts of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
See it the Rickshaw Travel Way:
Rickshaw Travel provide the opportunity to combine three or more bite-sized trips to create a very special voyage along the mighty Mekong River. From Vietnam’s floating markets and a Vespa tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s delicious street food vendors to ‘Lending a hand in Hue’ where guests can try their hand at traditional fishing on the Perfume River and cook lunch with the locals. It’s also possible to stay with a remote Cambodian Hill tribe and experience life on the Tonle Sap Lake with a Khmer family in a traditional, simple stilt house. Rickshaw Travel offer many wonderful ways to experience life along the river with the people that live it and know it best.

Combine three or more bite-sized trips to create an individual voyage through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos or select from a series of recommended Indochina itineraries.

Where: Cuba
Why now
: The new rules and eased restrictions on travel and access to Americans has raised questions and concerns on the impact this will have on Cuba’s old world charm and character. It can’t be said for sure what the future of tourism will hold in the country but those that wish to see Cuba ‘as we know it’ should travel soon.
See it the Rickshaw Travel way:
Mi Casa Tu Casa. What better way to experience Cuban culture than stay in a Casa Particular – the home of a Cuban family. The family prepares breakfast in the morning and guests have their own key so they can come and go as they please. The trip begins in Havana where guests are transferred by classic American car to their hotel in Latin America’s largest colonial city centre. The vintage cars, abundance of music in the air and bustling plazas make it feel as if you’ve stepped back into the 1950’s. From Havana travellers head to the rolling tobacco hills of Vinales, hike through the coffee fields of Las Terrazas and take in the colonial colour of Trinidad before spending some lazy days on the beaches of Varadero.

This 14 night trip with Rickshaw Travel costs from £1015 per person and includes transfers, accommodation with breakfast and all tours.

Where: Tibet
Why now:
The unique culture of Tibet, set high in the Himalayas, has been disintegrating since the country came under Chinese control in the 1950s. Despite high profile activists campaigning to free Tibet from Chinese occupation it’s said the language and various traditions are quickly being eroded. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the autonomous region of Tibet being formed and it’s expected the culturally sensitive date will result in even tighter control on permits for those wishing to visit.
See it the Rickshaw Travel Way:

For those that want to experience the Tibetan atmosphere but are concerned about restricted access or the high altitude, Rickshaw Travel recommend a visit to Zhongdian. ‘At the Foot of the Himalayas’ bite-size trip takes travellers from Lijiang to Zhongdian through the foothills of the Tibetan Himalayas. Here they can rent a bike and ride through the stunning landscapes where they’ll see rice fields, meadows and rolling grasslands with farmers and their yaks. During the Zhongdian tour guests will also visit a Tibetan monastery at an altitude of 3200m. The trip remains in China but allows travellers to experience all the culture of Tibet without the uncertainty of whether they will be able to gain access to the region. This trip can also be done in reverse; starting in Zhongdian and travelling back to Lijiang and is ideal for those wishing to acclimatise before venturing into Tibet.

This bite-sized trip costs from £95 per person (based on 2 sharing) and includes 2 nights accommodation in a simple hotel in Zhongdian and transfer. The trip can also be combined with other China and Tibet trip options.

Where: North India – the Taj Mahal and The Tigers of Rajasthan
Why Now:
The Taj Mahal currently draws more than three million visitors a year but all that foot traffic is eroding the structure and some preservations groups are pushing for the landmark to be closed to the public. In recent years cars were banned from driving too close to the beautiful mausoleum because of pollution concerns, and many believe it won’t be long before the celebrated structure can only be enjoyed from a distance. It’s also a distinct and unsettling possibility that the tigers of Rajasthan could become extinct in our lifetime. In 1900 over 100,000 tigers lived in India but their natural habitats have been reduced by 93% and now as few as 3,200 remain. Travel soon to get a rare glimpse of them in the wild.
See it the Rickshaw Travel Way:

The Taj Mahal is best viewed at sunrise or sunset. Rickshaw Travel’s ‘Sunrise at the Taj Mahal’ bite-size trip encompasses a number of World Heritage Sites that all rank amongst the most amazing places on Earth. Bharatpur, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort, and (last but not least) the Taj Mahal can all be appreciated on this rare journey between Jaipur to Agra. During this India trip guests will visit the mystical monkey temple of Galta, watch huge flocks of birds fly across the Bharatpur wetlands, wander through the abandoned ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri and explore the magnificent Taj Mahal.

This bite-sized India trip costs from £145 per person and includes 2 nights accommodation with breakfast, private transport and a guided tour of the Taj Mahal and Agra fort.

Combine this bite-size trip with Rickshaw Travel ‘Tigers and Turrets.’ Ranthambore National Park is one of the few places in the world to see tigers in the wild. It is also one of the most attractive nature reserves in Northern India. In 2012, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that no new tourist attractions could be created in the tiger areas and only 20% of the tiger habitats can be open to visitors so the area has become a coveted landscape. The park has a nostalgic atmosphere, with hideouts that once belonged to maharajas scattered throughout the reserve. These hideouts overlook the lakes used as watering holes by sipping gazelles and occasionally patrolled by majestic tigers on view for a lucky few.

This bite-sized India trip costs from £225 per person and includes 2 nights accommodation in a luxury tent with breakfast and two game-drives.

Where: Peru, Machu Picchu
Why Now: Next year a 3.5km cable car is planned to link the village of Tingo Nuevo to the ancient pre-Inca city of Kuelap, coined as ‘the second Machu Picchu.’ Tourism is expected to explode in the area impacting local lives and making the remote settlement accessible to all. Kuelap is considered one of Peru’s most significant archaeological sites after Machu Picchu and development will greatly affect the remains of this ancient civilization. The intended cable car aims to ease the burden on Machu Picchu, which limits the number of visitors and requires reservations to hike the famed Inca Trail, but this new development will draw many thousands more tourists bringing both opportunity and loss.
See it the Rickshaw Travel Way:
For Machu Picchu tours Rickshaw Travel work exclusively with reliable partners that work actively to preserve the environment, the trail, the ruins and the local population. Rickshaw offers a host of Machu Picchu and sacred valley trekking options that can be combined with other experiential trips in Peru and Bolivia. They guide travellers towards the best option for their level of fitness and interests ensuring they not only experience this world famous destination but also get an insight into the lives and culture of the local people. Prices for Machu Picchu Trek options with Rickshaw start from £458 per person (based on 2 sharing) including 2 night’s accommodation, transfers, a guide and Machu Picchu entrance fee.

For more information visit: www.rickshawtravel.co.uk, email hello@rickshawtravel.co.uk, or call +44 (0) 1273 322 399