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Adventure travel is good for the soul. It allows you to enjoy a more authentic travel experience for which you really get to know the local people, perhaps up your fitness level a notch, and almost always offers the chance to truly leave all of your worries behind. If you aren’t sure where to go or what to do, one or more of these very cool travel adventures is sure to fit the bill.
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For those who love dogs and have always wanted to experience a true winter wonderland, this may be your adventure of a lifetime. Team up with gorgeous huskies and guide a sled across the snow-covered landscape of Sweden and Norway, traversing ancient traveler’s routes and passing traditional settlements with the majestic Norwegian mountains as the backdrop.
New Zealand offers some of the most impressive scenery on earth, from soaring snow-capped mountains filled with jewel-like lakes to brilliant turquoise waters along the coast. Taking it all in from 12,000 feet above is not only the ultimate heart-pounding adventure, but it also provides an extra special, unforgettable dimension of this incredibly beautiful nation. There are many skydiving operations throughout the country, all offering tandem jumps over scenes like this one, a secluded beach on Tapou Bay.
Visiting the exotic city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand provides the opportunity to embark on a very unique journey: an elephant trek. For a true adventure, you’ll want to be sure to avoid touristy “elephant camps” and instead ask a tuk-tuk or taxi driver to take you to one of the smaller camps about 45 minutes outside of the city, further up in the hills. While here, be sure to sample the delicious native foods like banana coconut pudding and fish curry.
Sea kayaking Johnstone Strait off Vancouver Island in British Columbia offers one of the most amazing adventures of a lifetime. The area is home to the largest concentration of orca whales on the coast, and the sheer thrill of viewing these magnificent creatures in the wild is incredibly awe-inspiring. You’ll also see lots of bald eagles soaring overhead and perched on treetops along the shore.
If you prefer to head down south for balmier weather to see whales, you can view gray whales and help weigh, tag, and release endangered sea turtles in Magdalena Bay. Many tours combined snorkeling for viewing thousands of beautiful reef fish as well as kayaking the waters in search of dolphins.
If you’re looking for a more “gentle” adventure that includes lots of outstanding vino and phenomenal cuisine, you may want to consider a bike tour through France’s wine country. Ride through the Chablis district’s lush forests and farmland, picturesque lakes and charming villages, explore centuries-old winemaking traditions at the acclaimed Clos de Vougeot, a restored medieval chateau and vineyard, and much more.
For those who have been and done almost everything there is to do, this adventure might just be the opportunity to add something new to your list. You’ll paddle across one of the clearest lakes on the planet, Lake Hovsgol, also known as the “Dark Blue Pearl of Mongolia,” and then travel to Gobi where you’ll saddle atop two-humped Bactrian camels. Spend dark-starry nights in traditional felt tents with wood-burning stoves.
Exploring the Galapagos Islands and its surrounding waters, about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, provides the opportunity to experience one of the most unspoiled places on earth. This nature lover’s paradise is home to sea turtles, whales, penguins, sea lions, iguanas, tropical birds and much more.
While getting to the tiny African nation of Seychelles is an adventure in itself, once there you’ll experience fishing that’s become legendary among saltwater enthusiasts. Bonefish numbers are unmatched, with larger numbers found here than anywhere else on the planet at the famous St. Francois Lagoon in the Seychelles’ remote St. Joseph’s Atolls.
Take a mountain bike tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu where you’ll enjoy biking on the “roof of the world.” You’ll explore temples like Potala Palace, known as the spiritual center of Tibet, visit monasteries, and bike through some of the most spectacular vistas on earth, including Mount Everest and the majestic Himalayas.
There are few better places in the world to hike than Switzerland. Join treks through wildflower-filled meadows, past thundering waterfalls to high mountain passes with breathtaking panoramic vistas of Gornergletscher, a glacier with brilliant blue pools and deep crevasses, and the iconic Matterhorn. Along the way, hikers can feast on fabulous fondue paired with regional wines.
Take a guided bike tour through the beautiful countryside of County Cork and County Kerry in southwest Ireland. You can journey from Tralee to Dingle along Conor Pass, the highest mountain pass in the country. Take in some of the most jaw-dropping views you’ll ever see with panoramic vistas including lakes, mountains, beaches, ocean, boglands and farmlands. Adventurers will also get to explore spectacular Killarney National Park and the famous Blarney Castle. If you’d prefer to head out on your own, you can always rent a bike in Ireland and choose one of the many routes available.
Horseback riding in Patagonia, Chile’s Futaleufu Valley often follows the old cowboy trails among old-growth forest and gorgeous mountain overlooks of the pristine, remote river valley.
Take a tour in Iceland’s famed Thingvellir National Park. Explore the hidden world of the lava field underneath its magnificent landscape, walking into the cave to discover an incredibly magical scene the volcanic activity has created. Snorkel the Silfra fissure to take in an otherworldly vision internationally known for its amazing shades of blue.
Viewing polar bears in the wild is probably not something you want to do on your own, but tours can allow you to safely and comfortably enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The adventure takes place during the fall when the greatest concentration of polar bears in the world convenes at the edge of Hudson Bay.
A trip to Kenya offers a chance for a unique safari. You can go sand-surfing, camelback game viewing, and helicopter touring in a very remote, seldom seen region of Africa. You might even spot cheetah, lion, zebra, giraffe, crocodiles, endangered black rhino, hippos and so much more.
Fishing Montana’s pristine rivers should be on the top of any fly-fishing enthusiast’s list. Go head-to-head with wild rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout in the heart of Yellowstone River Valley. Experiences are catered to people of all skill levels and abilities.
What better place to learn how to sail than the dazzling waters of the Caribbean Sea? Excursions offer a hands-on learning experience while exploring the beautiful islands of the Grenadines. By the time you complete the course, you’ll not only have had an unforgettable adventure, but you’ll earn a certification that allows you to charter your own sailboat anywhere in the world.