From the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, the Himalayas to the Andes, check out ten of the best adventure destinations in the world.
Lake Baikal, Russia
Lake Baikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a remarkable list of credits. The extraordinary body of water in south Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast and the Buryat Republic, is 25 million years old and 1.7 km deep – no other lake comes close. Lake Baikal contains more than 20% of the planet’s unfrozen surface freshwater and over 1,000 genera of endemic flora and fauna. For a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Lake Baikal, most visitors start off in Moscow and fly to the city of Irkutsk.
Compact New Zealand stuffs more adventure per km2 than any other country in the world. Wildly diverse and spectacularly scenic, New Zealand unfurls UNESCO World Heritage fjords and remote sub-antarctic islands, alpine glaciers, volcanic geothermal mud pools and venerable Maori culture. There is also plenty of cheap airfares here from Australia.
Copper Canyon, Mexico
While Copper Canyon was made for adventure tourism, for the fleet of foot Tarahumara people – whose ultra-marathon exploits were famously chronicled in the book “Born to Run” – this brilliant landscape is home. To make the most of the canyon system, take the El Chepe, or Chihuahua-Pacific Railway, from the city of Chihuahua to Los Mochis, Sinaloa.
Way too big and desolate to tackle in one trip; Alaska provides some dramatic points of interest to explore. At over 1.7 million km2, the U.S. state is larger than South Africa, Peru, Mongolia and Iran. As a result, pick your Alaska tour wisely. There is certainly a few package deals around for this spectacular part of the world. For sheer adventure, you could do a lot worse than the Inside Passage, Denali National Park and Preserve, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and remote Aleutian Islands. Countless tourists typically travel through Los Angeles on the way to Anchorage, Alaska. Hotels in Los Angeles provide a good respite before your Alaska adventure begins.
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Newfoundland and Labrador is the most remote province in Canada. Fiercely distinct and about the size of Morocco, the Atlantic province is home to a harsh and gorgeous wilderness. Two pre-eminent points of interest to explore include the UNESCO World Heritage Gros Morne National Park, on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland, and far-off Torngat Mountains National Park, on the northern tip of Labrador near Quebec. Both offer otherworldly panoramas, extraordinary biodiversity and sublime recreation.
Adventure tour operators speak reverently about Tanzania and all the Indian Ocean nation in East Africa has to offer. From the dynamic streets of commercial capital Dar es Salaam to the fragrant spice markets and valuable cultural heritage of Zanzibar, Tanzania is a gem. For adventure tourism, check out Chumbe Island Coral Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Selous Game Reserve and Serengeti National Park.
Sustainable and educational tourism to Antarctica is on the rise, with more and more expeditions from Ushuaia, Argentina every season. However, it’s not easy to find cheap flights there! While far from affordable for the mainstream, the chance to watch whales cruise the Drake Passage and commune with emperor penguins is definitely not your conventional vacation. Trips to East Antarctica and the Ross Region set off from Hobart, Tasmania and the port town of Lyttelton, New Zealand.
Northern Territory, Australia
With the superb city of Darwin as a base, Australia’s Northern Territory is a wonderful test for avid adventure tourists. This after all, is the home of Kakadu National Park, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (Ayers Rock) and the unbelievable Arnhem Land coast. Many foreign travellers who venture to the Northern Territory commonly touch down in Sydney and take a few days to recuperate from the long flight at Sydney Airport hotels or hotels in Sydney City, for example.
Patagonia, South America
This immaculate wilderness area of Chile and Argentina in South America lures untold intrepid travelers to points of interest like Cape Horn, UNESCO World Heritage Los Glaciares National Park and Nahuel Huapi National Park. From grand Andes summits to dense temperate rainforests, glaciers to steppes, Patagonia is immense and impressive.
The insular Kingdom of Bhutan has begun to open up to the outside world in recent years. The development is a boon for adventure and ecotourists who want a pure cultural experience to go along with one of the most dramatic backdrops on the planet: the Himalayas.