5 exotic destinations that speak English

Published On: Jul 08 2011 03:52:30 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 14 2011 03:47:30 AM EDT

Robert Louis Stevenson, the renowned novelist and travel writer famous for books such as "Treasure Island" and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," once said, "There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign."

If you have ever traveled to an exotic land with a language you do not speak, you know just how foreign and alien the language barrier can make you feel.

Unfortunately, not understanding the local language can also steal from you one of the greatest joys of traveling: meeting new people and making friends from different cultures and backgrounds. So what can you do if you enjoy visiting exotic destinations, want a taste of the local culture, but don't have the time to learn the language of every country you visit on a two-week vacation?

Simple. Find exotic destinations where the locals already speak English. Pure genius. Check out our list of five exotic destinations where, surprisingly, language will not be of a problem.

First up: Dónde se habla Inglés en América Central?

Belize

Welcome to Belize, the only English-speaking country in Central America.

The country is home to stewed chicken with rice and beans, the red-footed booby bird, endless white sand beaches and the largest coral reef in the Western hemisphere. All of which makes it a natural destination for nature lovers, beach bums, snorkelers and scuba divers.

Culture enthusiasts will enjoy Belize's 900-plus Mayan archaeological sites. If you visit only one Mayan ruin, make it the Mayan Pyramids of El Caracol. The view from the top of its 140-foot pyramid over an endless sea of emerald-green high-canopy jungle is something you will not forget in a hurry.

However, maybe Belize is just not exotic enough for you. How about the farthest East country you can visit before you run into yesterday?

Are you ready to time travel?

Kiribati

Kiribati is the easternmost country in the world. Travel east from Kiribati and you will cross the International Date Line and run into yesterday. The official languages of Kiribati are English and Gilbertese.

This isolated nation was untouched by foreign influences until the 18th century, when American and British ships first landed on its shores. Since then, Kiribati has established itself as a world-class destination for travelers looking for classic Pacific beaches, a tranquil and serene way of life, game fishing, surfing and World War II relics.

However, if you are planning to visit Kiribati, don't waste time. Tragically, Kiribati is set to be the first country to disappear due to rising water levels caused by global warming.

Our next destination takes us to one of the cradles of civilization where, happily for us, English is widely used.

Have you got a safari hat handy?

Kenya

The official motto of Kenya is Harambee, which in English means "all pull together."

It is a fitting motto for a country consisting of more than 70 tribes that speak more than 30 languages and countless dialects. Fortunately for you, English is the official language along with Swahili, both of which are used as a trade language between the melting pot of cultures that make up Kenya.

So, forget your phrase books and translation phone apps. Climb Mount Kenya, go on a safari, trek along the Rift Valley, visit a genuine Masai village or relax at one of Kenya's popular beach resorts without worrying (too much) about the language barrier.

Our next stop takes us to South America. We know what you're thinking: an English-speaking country in South America?

Is the rainforest calling your name?

Guyana

If you want to visit South America, explore the Amazonian rainforest and follow in the footsteps of famous explorers such as Sir Walter Raleigh and David Attenborough, but the only words you know in Spanish are "fiesta" and "siesta," Guyana is the destination for you.

The republic of Guyana has one of the largest unspoiled rainforests in the world and a huge wealth of animal and plant diversity. This small and sparsely populated South American country is the only mainland English-speaking country on the continent.

Guyana was a British colony from 1841 to 1966, and still preserves its colonial heritage. For instance, 90 percent of its population speaks English and all drive on the left side of the road.

Our next exotic English-speaking destination does not only have English as its official language, it is (surprisingly) one of the top five countries in the world with the largest English-speaking populations.

Does it get more exotic than the Far East?

Philippines

Although there are more than 76 major languages and 500 dialects in the Philippines, English is the country's official language. It is the language used in schools and universities as well as by most newspapers, radio and TV programs.

The Philippines has been a popular destination for foreigners for centuries, although, until recently, it was rarely with peaceful goals.

First, the Spanish colonized the Philippines in the 16th century. In 1898, it became the United States' first and only colony. In the 1940s it fought for its survival against Japan and finally, in 1946, regained its independence.

Now, this huge archipelago of more than 7,100 islands attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists in search of its famous beaches, its picturesque high altitude rice terraces and Old-World cities, which still retain 18th century architecture from the Spanish conquistadors.

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