Best Adventure Destinations in the World

August 18, 2010 · 19 comments

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.

Lake Baikal

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New Zealand

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.

Mount Cook, New Zealand

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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.

Mexico

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Alaska

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.

Mount Denali

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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.

Gros Morne National Park

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Tanzania

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.

Mount Kilimanjaro

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Antarctica

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.

Antartica

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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.

East Alligator River

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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.

Los Glaciares National Park

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Bhutan

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.

Bhutan

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Amiee August 18, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Thanks Rob – All these places are on my list now. I’ve been to Alaska though – but want to go back!

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AdventureRob August 19, 2010 at 12:53 AM

Yes, they are well and truly on my list too :-)

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Natalie LoveYouPlanet August 18, 2010 at 6:31 PM

Brilliant choices, but I would add Kamchatka in list with its unspoiled Valley of Geysers)

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AdventureRob August 19, 2010 at 12:55 AM

You are a wise lady, I can see this post turning into extensions on a few peoples bucket list.
AdventureRob´s latest blogpost – Ancient Crete Joins The Digital Age

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Tim August 19, 2010 at 2:22 PM

You should really add the Gulf of Chiriqui in Panama to your list of adventure destinations. There are many opportunities for snorkeling, sailing, whale watching, sport fishing, diving, and island hopping from Isla Palenque to Isla Coiba. On land, there are hiking and jungle trek adventures waiting for travelers, too. I’ve visited before and it was a truly memorable experience.

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AdventureRob August 20, 2010 at 1:04 PM

That sounds like a stunning place Tim, it should be on the list :-) I bet filling a top 100 list of destinations will actually be fairly easy to do.
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Luis February 20, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Dear Tim,i agree with you that Panamá is one of the best places to go and visit, because you have a lot of thincks to do and discover and because is a small country so you can visit in few days coast to coast. You have caribean islands wich most of the time you are alone over there, its a paradise.

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Candice August 20, 2010 at 2:33 AM

Woohoo, pumped to see Newfoundland on the list!
Candice´s latest blogpost – Seriously Off the Beaten Track- Hiking to Mash Gush Falls

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AdventureRob August 20, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Well we all know who the expert is on Newfoundland ;-)

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Matt August 21, 2010 at 4:07 AM

Glad to see NZ made the list.

On another note, nice sponsored post. I typically find them somewhat annoying yet this one was good – in line with what your readers want which is important in a sponsored post I think.
Matt´s latest blogpost – Reaching 25 Countries by the Age of 25- Experiences Along the Way Part 5

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AdventureRob August 23, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Yes, I must say when I received it I was pleasantly surprised by the content. Shame I haven’t been to them all to write this from experience!

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Alex August 31, 2010 at 7:06 AM

Fantastic post man, every word about New Zealand is 100% correct too! :D

Plus some great well sourced photos right there!

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AdventureRob September 1, 2010 at 10:31 PM

Yeah, shame I never had the money to spend some time in NZ, someday!
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Sal@Town Car Service November 16, 2010 at 1:30 AM

The photos are fantastic, but no offense, who travels to Antarctica?

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AdventureRob November 16, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Well I’d love to go someday. I think most people find it prohibitively expensive though.

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Jaco December 8, 2010 at 4:05 AM

Jaco Costa Rica has some good adventures to offer – ten world class surf beaches within 40 minutes, mountains that reach right to the beach, tropical dry forest and rainforest for hiking and wildlife viewing, 2 hours to Manuel Antonio National Park and 30 minutes to Carara, and lots of organized tours of this incredible and diverse region where two ecosystems meet.

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Alex Quinn September 28, 2011 at 3:35 AM

Rob, your blog is great! Thanks for sharing your passion for travel with all of us. I like how Antarctica was chosen as a place for adventure travel, because I feel that people forget that you are able to visit there, and the water in the New Zealand picture is amazing looking! I took a Patagonia vacation a few years back, and I must say it was a life changing trip for me, so I am glad that was included as well!

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AdventureRob October 4, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Thanks for the comment Alex!

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