by Megan Duncan
There’s no doubt the travel industry took a hard hit when the whole world came to a screeching halt due to the corona virus pandemic. As things are slowly starting up again, it’s clear that adventure travel will be among the first to bounce back under the “new normal”, particularly those companies who offer smaller group sizes and take travelers off the beaten path.
Smaller groups make it easier to practice health and safety precautions, an added bonus on top of the ease of transportation and getting into lesser known sites and attractions. By heading to less tourist-ed spots, you not only get a more authentic view of the place you’re visiting, but you also avoid the large crowds of packed tourist sites.
As many travelers will be avoiding crowded resorts and cruise ships and looking to more sustainable and thoughtful forms of travel, adventure trips will tick off all the right boxes by keeping travelers active, healthy, and out of crowded and enclosed spaces, typically while out in nature.
Here are five incredible bucket-list trips to check out as soon as it’s safe to do so!
Japan has something for everyone, from the avid traveler to someone planning their first trip. It combines the traditional and the modern seamlessly to create an atmosphere unique to the country. Visit a thousand-year-old temple surrounded by neon lights, skyscrapers, and delicious street food; catch an incredibly fast bullet train between cities to enjoy a geisha dance steeped in tradition; or browse the multi-storied arcades and shopping districts before spending the night in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn with paper walls and tatami mat floors, and meditating with monks at sunrise.
While being a fairly small country, there are so many different facets to Japan that many travelers make more than one journey in order to see it all! From tropical islands in the south to snow-covered mountains in the north, with forests, traditional villages, and modern cities in between. A country you can visit all year round, with each season offering something different, Japan is a must-visit for any interest – culture, food, nature, shopping – the opportunities for adventure are endless!
From the Sahara Desert to the Atlas Mountains, and the rugged coastline and ancient cities in between, Morocco is a truly exotic and varied destination. Winding historical city centers take you past intricate mosques, bustling markets, and street cafes where you can enjoy the local favorite, mint tea, or indulge in a staple couscous dish. Nothing compares to a day of browsing the souqs (markets) for spices, trinkets, and traditional patterned area rugs, surrounded by the smells of burning incense and the sounds of salesmen and snake charmers. Enjoy a camel trek over the breathtaking desert dunes at sunset, and stay in a boutique riad with palace-like architecture surrounding a peaceful and ornate open-air courtyard.
A relatively inexpensive and small country, it’s easy to see most of Morocco in a shortened amount of time. Many adventure tour companies offer trips that take travelers all over the country in one to two weeks, so no matter how much vacation time you have available, you can make sure to get the most out of your travels to this must-see destination!
Postcard-perfect landscapes emerge from the Aegean Sea, bright white buildings contrasted against the vibrant blue sea and sky. Greece is a global favorite vacation destination and it’s easy to see why. Cobblestone streets wind past cafes and art galleries, while ancient ruins and olive groves are scattered across the country, and stunning beaches fringe the islands. Enjoy a fresh Mediterranean meal on a patio overlooking the sea, with a local wine or ouzo, and then take in a cultural drama at an ancient outdoor theater.
If you love being at sea, consider a multi-day sailing trip around the islands on a yacht that only carries about 8 guests, creating an intimate and unique experience without the crowds and lineups of a massive cruise ship. You’ll see some of the islands from a different and awe-inspiring perspective, while still having time to explore each one individually, not to mention having the amazing opportunity to spot local marine wildlife like dolphins and turtles!
When you think of Rwanda, a brutal past may be the first thing that comes to mind, but this small, almost undiscovered country is much more than that. Deemed the “land of a thousand hills’, its lush mountainous landscape with rain forests and inland beaches, teeming with wildlife, make it a nature-lover’s dream destination. The capital, Kigali, is a safe and welcoming city, and has been named one of the cleanest cities in the world. Visit the Kigali genocide memorial and museum, where you can pay your respects and learn more about the country’s somber past.
One of the biggest draws of Rwanda is of course the bamboo forests which are home to some of the last-remaining mountain gorillas on earth. In order to witness the gorillas in their natural habitat, you need to apply well in advance for a sometimes hard-to-get permit, as only a small number of people are allowed to visit each day. Many adventure tour companies include these permits with the cost of your tour, making the process much simpler for travelers wanting this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Now is the perfect time to plan ahead, save up, and snag your spot for 2021 or beyond!
It may seem odd to find Mexico included in a list of adventure trips, but if you look beyond the tourist packed resorts along the coastline, you’ll find a whole world of nature and colorful culture to explore. Travelers can find almost every type of landscape spread across the country – lush jungles, harsh deserts, stunning beaches, bustling cities, and even snow-capped volcanoes. Thrill-seekers will have no shortage of entertainment, with surfing, snorkeling, diving, white water rafting, hiking, and zip lining all on offer.
For those more interested in culture and history, check out some of the extensive archaeological sites featuring ancient pyramids and temples from a rich history that stretches across thousands of years. Visit beautiful Spanish colonial towns and quaint indigenous villages, chat with the friendly locals, and of course indulge in the deliciously unique cuisine, from spicy and flavorful dishes to agave-based liquors. If you’re looking for a warm winter vacation but want to avoid the crowds and monotony of a resort, try a small-group adventure tour of authentic Mexico and see the country from an entirely new perspective!
We may not be able to travel as much as we want right now, but we are getting closer every day. In the meantime, keep dreaming and planning those bucket-list adventures until we can experience the world again safely!
Plan you trip with Travel Gurus & get rewarded!