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Each year provides an opportunity to review your bucket list and decide what outdoor adventures to pursue next. Get a head start planning your globetrotting for 2020 with our list of this year’s best outdoor holiday destinations. From new historical treks to extreme sports and exclusive wildlife encounters, these places around the globe will help make your travel aspirations for 2020 a reality.
Home to many famous Inca ruins, including the iconic Machu Picchu, Peru has made a lasting impression on trekkers around the world for its challenging trekking routes through scenic and historic lands. Spending time in the Peruvian Andes offers numerous options for outdoor enjoyment including climbing, camping, paragliding, and mountain biking. Even more enticing is the opportunity to immerse in Andean culture as you explore the Inca Trail (which is only open to 500 visitors per day) and Sacred Valley. If trekking isn’t your thing, explore Peru’s other precious gem, the wild Amazon, which provides unmatched opportunities for exotic wildlife exploration, canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddling in the lush rainforest.
Australia offers some of the most biodiverse terrains in the world. From the remote Aboriginal lands in the Outback to the world’s largest coral reef, this country offers some of the best adventure vacations for all types of travelers. Essential activities for your itinerary include four-wheeling and boating through Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, bushwalking in Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park in Australia’s Red Center, surfing and hiking through fern gullies along the Great Ocean Road, and scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef.
Adventure trips are the hallmark for travel to this country. Multiple pristine rainforests, postcard worthy beaches, accessible active volcanos, and abundant, diverse wildlife keep this country a favorite among nature enthusiasts year after year. A popular multi-sport route encompasses the most popular national parks of the country; Tortuguero National Park, Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, and Manuel Antonio National Park.
Trekking in Patagonia is only one of the highlights of this rugged country. Adventuring through some of the world’s southernmost lands, expeditions here can also include climbing, skiing, and snowboarding. A journey out to see the most stunning glacier in the world, Perito Moreno Glacier, is an absolute must-do. An epic voyage passes onward to Tierra del Fuego National Park for mountain biking and fishing. Go-getters should consider combining Argentina with a tour to Chile to see two of the best holiday destinations in one trip!
Volcano and glacier trekking, skiing, cycling, caving, sandboarding, kayaking, and sailing are just some of the treats waiting in this extremely diverse terrain of mountains, plains, and coast. Torres del Paine National Park is among the most highly regarded destinations in the world for its incredible scenery of glaciers, lakes, and soaring mountains alongside rare wildlife encounters. Chile’s Lake District offers an opportunity for diverse adventure trips amongst lakes, rainforests, rivers, and volcanoes. Or hit the road to the Atacama desert for a unique off-roading adventure through the largest salt flat in Chile.
For over a hundred years, Mount Everest, the Earth’s highest mountain, has kept adventure aficionados aspiring to the once-in-a-lifetime goal of completing one of the most notoriously dangerous climbs to its summit. The climb is so infamous that starting this year, a new rule is being enforced that climbers must be accompanied by a local guide. While summiting Mount Everest requires tough training and endurance, taking an organized tour to Everest Base Camp is a great way to experience the earth’s tallest mountain. Other world-class treks in Nepal include the Annapurna Circuit and the Poon Hill Trek. Aside from trekking and climbing, Nepal is a haven for adventure sports and a great spot to go river rafting, paragliding and cycling.
If you want to catch a glimpse of the unique phenomenon of the Northern Lights, might we recommend you do it from Iceland? This amazing, under-the-radar country boasts incredible outdoor scenery perfect for volcano trekking, waterfall hikes, ice climbing and camping beneath an intriguing sky. Make sure to add Skaftafell National Park, Thingvellir National Park, Dimmuborgir, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, and Dettifoss Waterfall to your trip plan.
One of the top holiday destinations if you’re looking for a ‘wild’ time, South Africa offers incredible opportunities to encounter endangered wildlife, such as rhinos and elephants in Kruger National Park and several other amazing national parks. Coupled with other adventures, such as white water rafting in the Breeds River, shark diving in the Western Cape, caving the Cango Caves, and hiking the Drakensburg Mountain Range, this is sure to be one of the most thrilling adventure vacations of your life.
New year, new national park? That’s the theme of outdoor travel to Canada this year. Enjoy hiking in Akami-Uapishku-Kakkasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park, one of Canada’s newest and eastern Canada’s largest national park. Take a voyage to Prince Rupert and observe black and brown bears or head out on boat tours for whale watching. Or take a new spin on a classic adventure by trying out the trending heli-tours flying throughout the Canadian Rockies.
Tanzania takes the lead in adventure destinations supporting wildlife conservation. Responsible tourism here helps to fund preservation activities while engaging your adrenals. Safari through the Serengeti or Ruaha National Park to witness the vulnerable lions and cheetahs, whose populations have declined 90% in the past century. Other regional activities include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, diving alongside whale sharks off the shore of Zanzibar, and surfing in Jambiani.
A true winter wonderland, Switzerland offers exquisite mountains and countryside perfect for outdoor venturing. The towns of Bern, Lucerne, Interlake, Bernese Oberland, and Grindelwald will keep you plenty occupied with backpacking, hiking, snowboarding, skiing, canyoning, biking, and paragliding. Alternatively, you can trek the Swiss Alps and or take a Tour du Mont Blanc walk. However, nothing beats a day of skiing the Matterhorn, followed by a little indulgence at a Swiss spa and tastings of Swiss Chocolate.
The Jordan Trail, a new 643 km hiking trail that follows ancient trading routes, is just one of the many incredible options in Jordan for adventurers seeking to combine a passion for the outdoors with a fascinating history. Be one of the first to enjoy this minimally accessed world wonder before heading to some of Jordan’s timeless destinations. We recommend floating in the Dead Sea, canyoning and rappelling through Wadi Mujib, and cycling among interesting wildlife through Dana Biosphere Reserve and Wadi Rum.
Following this guide of the best outdoor holiday destinations, we are hoping that 2020 will be your best year of travel yet. Whether you visit just one or all twelve of these destinations this year, checking these places off your bucket list is a must!