Where to go in 2023

The best destinations to visit in 2023

We’re a restless bunch at Black Tomato; forever devising new ways to see and experience the world. Having unearthed the secrets of almost every single country on earth, this curiosity helps us to spin the globe in new and exciting ways – be it about supporting local economies, protecting the natural world, or building bridges of cultural discovery. Getting close. Getting real.

The fruit of all that curiosity? Our ‘where to go’ selections for 2023. A heady combination of emergent destinations and familiar favorites (albeit seen through a new lens). It’s our hope that the luxury travel experiences that these destinations give life to will spark your own travels over the years ahead.

Below, Black Tomato’s picks for where to travel in 2023.

1. Patagonia, Chile
2. Canada’s Northwest Territories & The Yukon
3. Guatemala
4. Madagascar
5. Isaan, Thailand
6. Napa Valley, California
7. Sea of Cortez, Mexico

Chile Atacama
Orsorno volcano patagonia chile

Patagonia National Park, Chile

Why you should visit

Home to mesmerizing lakes, towering peaks, and glittering glaciers, the beautifully untamed wilderness of Patagonia awaits.

This year, with the largest private land donation ever to be made by a private entity to a country and the conservation effort of the Tompkins Conservation Foundation, this breath-taking Chilean National Park reaches new heights. Now covering over 750,000 acres in the austral region of Aysén, its rugged wilds, dense forests, and turquoise-tinted lakes will leave you breathless – in the best possible way. Here, tranquil remoteness and undisputed beauty go hand in hand in delightful harmony.

Put simply, this is one of the best destinations to leave you utterly spellbound. Squarely under-the-radar, you’ll feel like you’re being let in on a secret known only to the flora and fauna themselves.

Our favorite luxury experiences

To celebrate this spirit of exploration, we’re developing an exclusive new Chilean trip, where you’ll be amongst the first to pioneer the new wilds of Patagonia National Park. Including a host of luxury travel experiences, this first of its kind trip will be a study of contrasts – from horse-riding through Patagonia’s wilderness to taking in the mystical, seemingly endless salt flats of the Atacama Desert and getting wrapped up in the cultural buzz of Santiago. This sensitive and impactful luxury trip will acutely showcase a narrative of active conservation throughout Chile and its captivatingly contrasting landscapes.

Where to stay

Surrounded by the gentle hum of nature and flanked by soaring mountains and surging waterfalls, you’ll kick off your Chilean adventure in the extraordinary Explora Lodge. Nestled right in the heart of a UNESCO biosphere reserve, you’ll breathe in the purest air as you explore some of the best hiking trails in the world.

In Santiago, you’ll post up at the newly opened and discreetly elegant Hotel Magnolia and in the Atacama at the stylish oasis of Tierra Atacama. Alternatively, add on a night in a new signature Black Tomato Blink glamping setup, gazing out under the endless stars above.

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northern lights in canada
Canada mountains

Canada’s Northwest Territories & The Yukon

Why you should visit

Stemming from a desire of our travelers to experience more off-the-beaten track discoveries – and also lifeways – we’re exploring Canada’s Northwest Territories and The Yukon, an unfettered and mostly undiscovered part of Canada.

The Northwest Territories and the Yukon are a reminder of why we travel – for the thrill of the unexpected, the joy of an epic adventure, and the desire to experience lifeways that we’re unaccustomed to. Teeming with wildlife, Indigenous-owned lodging, and exceptional positioning to witness the majesty of the Northern Lights, it’s no wonder the Northwest Territories make the cut as one of the best places to travel in 2023.

Next up, The Yukon. Marked by historic landmarks, rich culture, and dazzling landscapes, what makes this land particularly special are the native peoples you will meet along the way.

Our favorite luxury experiences

On a new, exclusive journey taking in the best of the Northwest Territories and The Yukon, our travelers will start off in Yellowknife before boarding a wheel plane to a rugged, Indigenous-owned lodge on the shores of Great Slave Lake (one of the best destinations for lake trout fishing in the world). The rest of the journey is marked by intrepid outdoor activities in abundance, wildlife trekking, an epic plane ride into Nahanni National Park – the world’s first UNESCO Heritage Site – and a traditional land and fire feeding ceremony with a Dene Elder, replete with stew and bannock, drumming and stories of the Dene way of life.

In the Yukon, follow in the footsteps of historic Gold Rush prospectors, learn about the land with the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, soak in mineral-rich hot springs, take to the skies over a sprawling icefield, and hike in atmospheric Tombstone Territorial Park. Along the way, meet the warm and welcoming people of the Yukon, including Indigenous Elders who’ll share captivating stories of their ancestors stretching back thousands of years.

Where to stay

In the Northwest Territories, stay at Indigenous-owned and operated Frontier Lodge, within a true fishing mecca and gateway to Thaidene Nëné, Canada’s newest National Park Reserve. In Fort Simpson, stay at Lady Slippery Lodge, where luxuriously appointed guestrooms outfitted with antique furniture and cozy interiors give way to peaceful views of the Mackenzie River. Then, explore Nahanni National Park, searching for herds of bison along the way before finishing it off with a spot of R&R at The Explorer Hotel.

In Yukon, stay at Aurora Inn, a historic property located just a stone’s throw from the curling blue ribbon of the Yukon River. Then on to Whitehorse, or ‘The Wilderness City’, idyllically situated a couple of hours away from Kluane National Park. Settle into a traditional waterfront log cabin, or cosy up in an Aurora Chalet to watch the northern lights from the comfort of your bed.

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antigua guatemala
Guatemala, Semuc Champey


Why you should visit

While it has long been in the shadow of its more widely visited Latin American counterparts, it’s time for Guatemala’s moment in the spotlight. Offering a veritable ‘best of’ without the masses and being one of the most culturally rich Latin American destinations – this is the perfect place to experience luxury travel, Black Tomato style.

Whether you’re visiting Guatemala expressly to absorb the magnificent natural beauty of the surrounds or more pointedly, to connect deeply with its people – you’ll experience authentic charm in abundance. And with Antigua’s newly-opened, luxurious and intimate Villa Bokeh – one of the most elevated luxury hotels we’ve encountered to date – there’s never been a better time to visit this truly wondrous part of Latin America.

Our favorite luxury experiences

Guatemala is all about discovery, especially between the confluence of ancient cultures and modern life. That’s why we’ve developed an extraordinary new archaeological helicopter adventure (Lara Croft Tomb Raider style) to newly discovered ruins. With special access to captivating archaeological sites like Holmul and Naranjito, deep in the jungle, far from the touristed path, this makes for the perfect family trip for those seeking adventure thrills in untapped gems. Exploring Holmul’s newly uncovered tunnels with local guides and expert archaeologists really brings this luxury travel experience to life.

But that’s not all. Additionally, you’ll explore the archaeological site of San Clemente near the Belize border, so undiscovered that most locals are unaware it exists. Finally, our travelers will visit Naranjito archaeological site, at the heart of the jungle, with temples so enveloped by dense foliage that you can only see the very top.

Where to stay

In the lush outskirts of Antigua, we’ll invite you to a luxury hacienda nestled in the heart of a garden oasis. Or Villa Bokeh, as it’s otherwise known. A newly-opened Relais & Chateaux hotel, this peaceful haven marks true luxury and is a great base from which to explore. Additionally, we’ll organize an optional helicopter to stay overnight in a bespoke base camp set-up in Uaxactun. The choice is yours.

Explore Guatemala

baobab trees in Madagascar
Lemurs in Madagascar


Why you should visit

Madagascar is one of the world’s most biodiverse and conservation-minded areas, with a richness of endemic flora and fauna. And with an improved infrastructure and accessibility, it’s becoming the next great place to harness travel to educate a future generation. To help combat threats to the ecological makeup of Madagascar, responsible travel plays a key role in funding and educating travelers, importantly the younger generation, through new first-hand experiences that give back. Madagascar is also perfectly suited to family travel as there are no age restrictions or dangerous wildlife. Naturally, we can’t stay away.

Our favorite luxury experiences

We’re currently developing new conservation-focused experiences on the Island of Nosy Manampaho to see the most important breeding grounds for native seabirds (Sooty Tern) in Madagascar that haven’t been accessed before – a critically important new conservation experience.

Additionally, a new trip will include multiple days spent aboard a fully crewed catamaran around the beautiful archipelago of Nosy Be. Take part in responsible sports like fishing and diving and explore blissfully remote beaches and vibrant coral reefs.

Madagascar is well known for its conservation efforts for lemurs, but we rarely talk about the possibility of blue safaris – until now. Recently discovered sightings mean we can now take you on the search for Whale Sharks (from September to December) and on the hunt for Humpback whales (from August to October). So if you’re unsure of where to go on vacation this year, why not dive deep into Madagascar’s enchanting islands (or the surrounding waters, at least).

Where to stay

New openings in Madagascar are largely concentrated to the capital of Antananarivo, where large international brands such as Novotel are now present for the first time. While not 5-star luxury, they are an excellent base from which to explore the capital’s chic street cafes, elegant royal grounds, and open-air markets bursting with locals (and the enticing scent of vanilla and spices).

Seeking another option? As family travel is a major center of gravity at Black Tomato, a recent scouting trip revealed Time + Tide Miavana is an extraordinary place for families, particularly those with young children. Between treasure hunts on the island, cooking classes, searching for lemurs in the forest, introductions to scuba gear, and even spa treatments – the team really goes the distance to keep kids engaged on this beautiful private island.

On another note, we’re also currently exploring a quad-biking safari through Baobab Alley for the more adventurous travelers amongst us. Here, otherworldly landscapes, wild and untamed, are waiting to be explored – you can see why we’re excited.

Explore Madagascar

Phimai Thailand, luxury travel Thailand

Isaan, Thailand

Why you should visit

Isaan, a Laos-bordering region, covers a huge area and represents the lesser-known Thailand, ideally placed for a return visitor or someone who wants to see Thailand differently, away from the throngs of tourists. This is the beating heart of Thai music, food (it’s featured in the Michelin Guide), and traditions, with deep-rooted cultural customs, unfathomable views, and some really epic experiences. Hike through luscious tropical rainforest filled with native deer and elephants, watch the golden hues of the sunset at the Mak Dook Cliff with a glass of chilled champagne in hand, and release lanterns amid the ancient festival of light.

We’re also currently developing a new trip to uncover a less traversed but vibrant side of Thailand’s Isaan, including exploring Phimai, an ancient Khmer site and Thailand’s answer to Angkor Wat, with privately guided tours with expert archaeologists and historians. Between uncovering the ancient wonder of Prasat Hin Phimai, a beautifully preserved palace, and the Serpent King’s (Nakaracht’s) Bridge, believed to symbolize the connection between heaven and earth – we’ll take you on an unforgettable journey through Thailand’s enticing past.

Our favorite luxury experiences

As part of our immersive Field Trip portfolio, we’ll be unveiling a new luxury travel experience here. The 3,000-year-old folk craft of the Ban Chiang Community is waiting to be discovered. Between pottery and painting workshops and private lunches in the home of a local Thai Puan ethnic group – you’ll be an expert in no time. Given the cultural significance of textiles here, we’ll arrange a stop at Sakon Nakhon, famous for their brilliant indigo dye, with a private 4-house village tour to see different stages of textile production and dyeing, each house dedicated to perfecting the craft for more than a century.

But that’s not all. Our travelers will also be able to cruise peacefully on Red Lotus Lake (Bua Daeng) in Udon Thani, in complete solitude, while the sun rises over the lake of infinite pink lotus blossoms. For the intrepid, we’ll arrange a trip to Bueng Kan, one of the most densely forested provinces in Isaan and typified by surreal temples and geological formations. Heading to its most stunning locations, we’ll take you on a ranger-led trek in the early morning along lesser-known nature trails up to the 75 million-year-old rock formations of Three Whale Rock. Here, you can view the winding Mekong river and the rugged mountains of Nam Kading National Park. A relatively new site open to travelers, you’ll take to the skies for a thrilling four-point helicopter adventure over these striking landscapes. Additionally, we can arrange for exclusive access to go jet skiing on the Mekong River – an experience that requires special permission and is not possible otherwise. Just say the word and our luxury travel experts will make it happen.

Where to stay

To the south, stay at the glamourous InterContinental Khao Yai Resort. Opened in August 2022 and designed by award-winning architect Bill Bensley, it is located on the fringes of the UNESCO Khao Yai National Park (an easy 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok) and is inspired by the golden age of rail travel, with lots of the vintage details you’d expect of a Bensley property. To the north, relax in an exclusive use royal Thai villa on the banks of the Mekong River. It’s your choice.

Explore Thailand

Private hot air balloon over Napa Valley
Napa Valley

Napa Valley, California: not the Napa you know

Why you should visit

Napa Valley’s endless acres of rolling vineyards mean it is already established as America’s top wine destination, and it may come as a surprise to see this make our list of where to travel in 2023. But hear us out.

In recent years, wildfires and climate change have threatened the vineyards and terroir, big corporations are buying up wineries from the families who founded them throughout the 70s-90s, and virtually all plantable land is spoken for. But happily, a fresh flux of F&B personalities have flocked to the region and re-energized the area. Which is why now more than ever, it’s time to support this iconic wine-growing (and wine-loving) destination and the independent spirits who are driving the future of Napa Valley.

On top of this, a host of fantastic new luxury lodgings have opened or are primed to open in 2023, and this makes it the perfect time to see a different side of Napa and meet the personalities redefining an icon.

Our favorite luxury experiences

We’re developing an exclusive new food and wine trip to celebrate Napa, including unheard of behind-the-scenes access to vibrant winemakers and personalities who are changing the game, including Darioush Khaledi, Eden Foley of Realm Cellars and many more.

We’ll also be organizing privately guided tours of the Napa Valley Vine Trail, due to be completed by mid-2023, which will open with 8 miles along Napa Valley’s most beautiful stretch from Calistoga to St Helena, safely away from cars. Winding through its tranquil backroads, you’ll sip and cycle your way round, marveling at beautiful sunsets and picturesque panoramas on this luxury trip.

What else is happening? Darioush Winery celebrates 25 years with a series of Michelin-star-worthy, elaborate food and wine dinners at the estate winery. Here, you’ll hear stories of Darioush Khaledi’s personal journey to the Napa Valley, the wines that shaped his story and memorable releases from over the last 25 years.

Next up is one of Napa Valley’s newest tasting rooms, Faust. Housed in a historic Victorian building, it features bold design and unexpected elements such as a hand-drawn mural by Parisian based Italian artist Roberto Ruspoli. Then one of Napa Valley’s top Cabernet estates, Realm Cellars, will reopen its doors for the first time in years, but with unconventional and immersive ‘tasting experiences’ at its two estates in Stags Leap & Pritchard Hill. Finally, the Oxbow (a renowned marketplace) has become a beloved food and wine destination in the heart of Napa. It is here that Chris Kostow – one of Napa’s top chefs – recently opened Loveski, a Jewish deli (which blasts hip hop) and where San Francisco’s Mourad will bring a Moroccan street food addition in 2023.

Where to stay

The newly opened Stanly Ranch (Auberge Resorts Collection) is the perfect place for a setting steeped in winery estate tradition. With gorgeous suites, pristine pools beneath the colors of the California sky, and vineyards aplenty – wine lovers will have no doubt about where to go on vacation this year.

But we thought we’d give you a few other options – just in case. Nestled within the grapevines and only opened in 2021, a stunning wine country retreat called Four Seasons Calistoga awaits your arrival. Not only this, but another Auberge property is set to open in February 2023; keep your eyes peeled for The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern.

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whale in sea of cortez in Mexico
hacienda mexico

Sea of Cortez, Mexico

Why you should visit

The Sea of Cortez is becoming one of the best destinations for conservation efforts and we’re pioneering a new family-focused conservation trip in this stunning part of Mexico, naturalists in tow. In the Pacific Ocean, and separating the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland, the area hosts several incredible hotel properties and boat charters, along with exceptional opportunities to experience whale shark season, from November to April, and Gray Whale season, from early February to mid-March.

Central to the importance of conservation are the coral reefs, which offset carbon fixation, prevent beach erosion and provide food, housing and shelter to many important marine species. And the time to visit these vibrant seascapes is now. On this luxury family trip, exhilarating adventure and blissful beachside relaxation will be the order of the day.

Our favorite luxury experiences

We’re creating a novel 10-night family trip in the Sea of Cortez with an acute focus on meaningful conservation efforts, further expanding our Field Trip repertoire in a big way. This will include a hands-on experience with a major non-profit Coral Reef Restoration Project, building and cleaning the racks for corals and snorkeling to observe the coral gardens and witness the impact of this work first-hand.

On this luxury trip, families will then take a private boat ride and meet up with a local whale shark researcher and private naturalist guide for a La Paz Private Whale Shark Snorkeling and Espiritu Santo Island (a UNESCO site) experience. Learning about their role in the ecosystem, mating and migratory habits will make for an unforgettable experience – especially when swimming side by side with these gentle giants in beautiful turquoise waters.

After a gourmet picnic lunch on a secluded beach, you’ll then head to the local sea lion colony, where you can jump in the water to snorkel with these playful creatures. This adventure will also include 3 nights exploring the Sea of Cortex aboard your own private Turkish Sailboat.

Where to stay

Named by Jacques Cousteau as “the largest aquarium in the world,” hop aboard a traditional Motorsailer Turkish schooner for a breath-taking cruise on the Sea of Cortez. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for families and will include ample opportunity for hiking, snorkeling, paddleboarding, zip-lining, sailing, and much more.

You’ll also have the chance to stay at the charming Baja Club Hotel in the historic center of La Paz, an impeccably restored villa, and One & Only Palmilla, one of the finest properties around. Home to an abundance of sea life and a reef system thought to be around 20,000 years old, from here you’ll board a private panga-style boat and head out to the glittering ocean to explore the Cabo Pulmo Marine Park. With such incredible natural beauty, it’s no surprise we’ve selected this eco-tourism haven as one of the best places to travel in 2023.

More Mexico

Looking for somewhere else?

The world is a wide, wild place. To browse all the destinations we recommend for 2023, head to our constantly-updated travel calendar.

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