Always wanted to observe zebras on the grasslands of East Africa or sail the Rio Negro to the heart of the Amazon Rainforest? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up the 20 most adventurous trips to book now—after all, there’s no better time to venture into the wild than now, as we all emerge from nearly two years of sheltering-in-place and mandatory lockdowns. From the South Island of New Zealand to the Inside Passage of Alaska, our list covers an entire world of adventure. Read on and be prepared to ignite your wanderlust. Happy travels!
1. Embark on an ethical elephant safari in Nepal
Tigers in Nepal (image provided by Tiger Tops)
Nepal is easily the top destination for adventure travel, whether you’re interested in trekking up the famous Himalayan mountain range or exploring the underrated jungles of southern Nepal. The family-owned Tiger Tops, located in the jungles of Bardiya and Chitwan, is the originator of the first ethical elephant safari camp in the nation and offers the opportunity to trek for wild tigers (a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will want to experience over and over again).
2. Sail to the heart of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil
The Amazon River, Brazil (Adobe Stock)
Sail to the heart of the Amazon rainforest with Amazon Nature Tours, which takes you up the Rio Negro in Brazil on guided eco-expeditions. Prepare for jungle walks, morning kayaks, and nighttime safaris on motorized canoes beneath the stars.
3. Embark on a culturally immersive yoga retreat in Morocco
Yoga in the Morocco desert (Adobe Stock)
Explore Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains on a retreat with Souljourn Yoga, which combines community-oriented work promoting girls’ education around the world with a transformative yoga experience throughout the duration of your stay. If you’re looking for a vacation that’s as much of a mental adventure as it is a physical one, then Souljourn is a top option for yogis worldwide. Namaste!
Los Cabos, located in Mexico’s Baja California Sur on the western coast, is ideal for adventure travel. Whether it’s embarking on a hike in the picturesque mountains or discovering remote, picture-perfect beaches, there’s no shortage of activities to pursue on your Los Cabos vacation. We are partial to swimming with whale sharks, however, an adventure that is available in the Midriff Island Region in the Sea of Cortez. Gather up your courage and dive in!
5. Trek with mountain gorillas in the lush forests of Rwanda
Gorilla in the forest (Adobe Stock)
For the ultimate in adventure travel, pay a visit to Rwanda, where you can go on a chimpanzee safari and trek through the jungle to visit some of the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Rwanda is an undiscovered gem in east Africa and should be at the very top of your list.
6. Learn to hang ten on the island of Barbados
Surfing near the coastline (Adobe Stock)
Barbados may be famous for many things—beautiful beaches, charming hospitality, and its National Hero, Rihanna—but the fact that Barbados is one of the best spots to learn how to surf remains under the radar. Boasting the best surf west of Africa, Barbados’s position in the Caribbean island chain ensures the island has consistent waves sure to satisfy experts and beginners alike. So, why not learn a new skill on your next tropical vacation? Surf’s up.
7. Hunt for King Salmon along the Inside Passage of Alaska
Prince Wales Island, Alaska (Adobe Stock)
Book a stay at Waterfall Resort, on Prince of Wales Island off the coast of Ketchikan, for a true immersion into the wild of the Last Frontier. Expect to hear humpback whales surfacing beside the fishing boat, and prepare for early morning wake-up calls. (The sunrise alone is worth it.)
8. Go on an African safari in the Maasai Mara in Kenya
Lion in Kenya, Africa (Adobe Stock)
Kenya is one of the most spectacular countries in the world to visit for adventure travel. One of the premier spots for safaris in the entire world (and especially East Africa), Kenya offers a variety of national parks and wildlife conservancies to explore. We especially recommend the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and, of course, the world-famous Maasai Mara to view elephants, giraffes, zebras, and lions at close range. It’s truly a dream come true.
9. Sail the wonders of the Galapagos Islands
Turtle and sea life in Galapagos Island (Adobe Stock)
When it comes to adventure travel, there’s nowhere that tops the Galapagos Islands in terms of wildlife viewing and an immersive experience traveling into a land untouched by humanity. We suggest a trip to the Pikaia Lodge for a luxury-meets-wild vacation in Ecuador’s untouched paradise.
10. Snorkel with tropical fish in the Indian Ocean of the Maldives
The Maldives reliably tops travelers’ bucket list as an ultra-luxurious and relaxing destination, but were you aware that this oasis in the Indian Ocean is spectacular for adventure travel as well? The Maldives is an aquatic paradise with surfing, sailing, kayaking, and more. And although the diving is obviously spectacular, you needn’t be a certified open-water diver to encounter the schools of tropical fish that swim along the ocean’s shores, making this a wonderful destination for snorkelers and free-divers alike.
11. Go dog sledding above the Arctic Circle in Finland
Arctic Treehouse Hotel (Image provided by Visit Rovaniemi)
Lapland is an absolute must-visit for adventure travel lovers, as the entire region is a winter wonderland. We suggest booking a trip up north to the Lapland region in Finland to stargaze and witness the Northern lights, snowmobile through Arctic Forests, visit reindeer farms, and go husky sledding through the snowy surroundings. What’s not to love?
12. Dive with sharks in the South Pacific off the islands of Fiji
Now that Fiji has reopened again to tourism, you can enjoy this wonderful tropical paradise. The diving sites in Fiji are among the best in the world, and we suggest embarking on an underwater visit to The Supermarket in the Mamanuca Island Group for an opportunity to encounter sharks in the crystal clear waters—just book a stay at nearby Castaway Island. Other tremendous options include trips to Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort to the north and Kokomo Private Island to the south. Dive in!
13. Trek to the highest lodges in the world in the Andes, Peru
Trekking in Peru (Adobe Stock)
There’s no better way to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Andes mountains than by booking a trek with Andean Lodges. The journey is not for the faint of heart (or oxygen), but this adventure up to the highest lodges in the world is well worth the Diamox (an over-the-counter oxygen supplement—highly recommended). If you’re looking for a refreshingly immersive experience in nature post-two+ years of sheltering-in-place, this is the trip for you.
14. Ride in a hot air balloon above Cappadocia in Turkey
Balloon rides in Cappadocia, Turkey (Adobe Stock)
Istanbul may get all the international press but the gorgeous region of Turkey’s Cappadocia is also growing increasingly popular thanks to the region’s famous hot-air balloon rides (which fly every season of the year). Explore the fascinating history via the underground caves beneath the striking landscape and sign up for your hot air balloon ride in advance to go up, up, and away.
15. ATV the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula
ATV riding in deep snow (Adobe Stock)
Mix adventure with luxury by booking a stay at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland—now is a particularly wonderful time to visit as the usually-crowded destination will be relatively free of tourists when the country reopens this month—and book an ATV tour across the surrounding volcanic landscape. The Reykjanes Peninsula is the closest travelers can come to the feeling of landing on the moon—and who isn’t interested in intergalactic travel after prolonged periods of sheltering at home?
16. Hit the slopes in Aspen Snowmass Resort in Colorado
Elk Camp chairlift in Aspen Snowmass (Adobe Stock)
The mountains are calling, and we must go. Of all the American ski resorts, Aspen Snowmass holds a particular place in the national imagination—and for good reason. The resort celebrates its 75th anniversary this winter, so there’s no better time to hit the slopes (and enjoy some apres-ski cocktails) than now.
17. Go bungee jumping at the sport’s birthplace, New Zealand
Bungee jumping (Adobe Stock)
Go ahead, jump off a cliff (or a building) in the picturesque nation of New Zealand. Sign up with an AJ Hackett Bungy adventure in the North or South Island—AJ Hackett popularized the sport in New Zealand, and the nation has perfected the adrenaline-heavy activity via other alternatives including the catapult and the swing. For more nervous travelers, there’s a zip line option as well. But go ahead and be brave: You’re in the hands of the ultimate professionals, after all.
18. Hike in the gorgeous yet underrated Julian Alps of Slovenia
Bled Lake in the Julian Alps (Adobe Stock)
Slovenia may be the size of New Jersey, but it contains all the best elements of Europe within its national borders. Whether you’re interested in camping, hiking, kayaking, or mountain biking, Slovenia is a paradise for adventurers. We personally recommend a day trip and hike in the Julian Alps, which are sure to be a must-visit destination for mountaineers shortly (so take advantage of the inexpensive prices and available bookings, now!)
19. Try off-shore diving in the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire
Part of the ABC islands alongside Aruba and Curacao, Bonaire is famous for being one of the top dive spots in the world. The waters surrounding the island are preserved as an underwater National Park, and off-shore diving abounds along the idyllic shorelines. Expect to see pick-up trucks filled with dive gear parked along the island’s coastal roads, and get ready to dive in.
20. Go whale watching off the coast of Maui
Hawaii is the ultimate paradise for adventure lovers, and though there’s no shortage of adventure excursions on every island, the whale-watching off the coast of Maui is an absolute must-do activity for nature lovers everywhere. Maui is famous for being the best island in Hawaii for whale-watching, and if you book a trip with the Pacific Whale Foundation, you can get more insight into the behavior and evolution of the humpback whales breaching alongside your boat. We suggest a sunset dinner or evening cocktails—not to be missed.