People always ask us where should they go on an exotic beach vacation.
Our first response if they do not have a passport: Puerto Rico (officially an unincorporated territory of the United States).
But just because you do not have a passport (but really, why don’t you?), there are several other places in the world that will give you a global view.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as a United States’ citizen, you won’t need to bring a passport to visit these exotic places:
As previously mentioned, it’s an unincorporated territory of the United States. Its citizens are citizens of the USA and vote for President. It also uses US currency.
Yet it’s a Caribbean island with mountains, waterfalls and the tropical rainforest. It has one of the largest cave systems in the world. It has white-sand beaches and coral reefs. In San Juan, the capital and largest city, the Isla Verde area boasts beach bars, nightclubs and casinos.
We will be calling on this grand island this month during our Holland American Cruises vacation aboard the MS Nieuw Amsterdam.
United States Virgin Islands
Not far from Puerto Rico by plane is the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, plus other smaller isles, comprise this island group that does not require a passport. Some 2.6 million visitors each year come for beaches, shopping and let’s not forget, rum.
Northern Mariana Islands
Since Fletcher visited Kosrae, Micronesian, in 1997, he’s spoken highly of the nearly perfect coral reef system that thrives here. The Mariana Islands have been governed by Spain in the 16th century, the Japanese during WWII, and now, the United States since the Battle of Saipan in 1944.
Tourism is an economic staple, drawing visitors from Japan and Korea as well as the United States. The largest island of the Marianas, known for its connection to WWII, is Saipan, where SCUBA divers seek out not only war markers but the Grotto, a limestone cavern whose 70-foot-deep waters are home to sea turtles and reef sharks.
Akin to the Northern Marianas, to the south, Guam was colonized by the Spanish, changed hands during WWII, and is now a tourist destination for Japanese and U.S. citizens. Today, US navy, coast guard and air force bases make up about one-third of Guam’s total land area. Tourism represents the 2nd largest source of income for the island.
Another unincorporated territory is American Samoa, comprised of five volcanic islands and two atolls between Fiji and the Cook Islands. It’s an off-the-beaten-path destination, where are only a handful of hotels on Tutuila and the neighboring islands accommodate tourism, but it calls to those who want to find a truly exotic location. While we were visiting Fiji in 2001, we heard stories from fellow travelers about diving with whales during birthing season here, and one day hope to find our way to its waters to witness this for ourselves.
Passport or not, the world awaits. For these destinations and more, seek out a travel professional to help you book your passport-less getaway, and consider consulting SmarterTravel.com for expert guidance.