Sightseeing is so last decade. It’s time to go full adventure mode. We look at the Global Playboy’s top adventure travel destinations to get your thrill fix…
First things first, what do we mean by adventure travel? Well, an adventure travel destination is a country or region where you can experience either extreme sports, or indulge in a spot of outdoor activity. This could be anything from hiking or wild swimming, to base jumping or ski touring.
We’re all about sustainable and eco-friendly travel here at GP, so we won’t be mentioning anything like hunting animals. And, as part of this remit, we also suggest that your adventure respects your local environment and that you take only epic memories.
So, where can you go in the world for an epic adventure travel experience?
There’s no doubt that when India is one of the most thrilling destinations for adventure tourism opportunity. The sub-continent has a huge variety of terrain, offering adventure travel choices from the Himalayas in the far north, to Kerala in the south.
It’s not exactly marketed as an adventure travel destination at the moment, which is odd as there is plenty to see and do.
- Safari in Corbett National Park
- Hiking the Himalayas in Manali
- Motorbike touring in Goa or Ladakh
- Desert safari in Rajahstan
- White water rafting in Rishikesh
East Africa isn’t short of adventure, but Tanzania is probably the most attractive place to explore (sorry Kenya). What singles Tanzania out is the range of choice for safari plus places like Zanzibar and the fantastic diving opportunities of the Indian Ocean coast. Mafia Island is one of the best places to scuba or snorkel in Africa, with a huge and diverse range of marine life visiting it’s waters.
There is also plenty of rain forest to explore and Africa’s tallest mountain, which dominates the north of the country.
- Kilimanjaro national park
- Ngorongoro crater
- The Serengeti
- Mafia Island
The world’s most visited country, by tourist arrivals, actually offers more than just beaches and sangria. Away from the Costas and the iconic cities you’ll find so much to do that you won’t know where to start. From the seemingly endless choice of random festivals, to walking trails, surfing meccas and skydiving hotspots.
If you’re looking for a dynamic adventure travel destination, Spain offers a ton of opportunity.
- Running the bulls at Pamplona (San Fermin festival)
- Fallas festival in Valencia
- Camino de Santiago in the north of Spain
- Surfing in Galicia or Pais Vasco
- Skydiving in Seville
7. Costa Rica
This tiny Central American nation has climbed steadily up the list of adventure travel destinations, with a lot packed into it’s borders. Costa Rica is a wildlife hotspot, with some of the richest density of flora and fauna in the world. If nature spotting ain’t your thing, no worries. There’s surfing, volcano climbing, scuba diving, rainforest trekking and hippy communes everywhere…
If you’re looking to cram as much adventure into your next break as possible, put Costa Rica on top of your travel tick list.
- Monteverde Cloud Forest
- Volcano hiking in La Fortuna
- Chirripo National Park rainforest hiking
- Surfing at Tamarindo Beach
6. South Africa
Yes, safari is probably the number one thing people think of to do in South Africa. But, beyond spotting the Big 5, there is a TON of stuff to do down here. In fact, South Africa is easily Africa’s adventure travel destination hot spot.
From road trips along the garden route, surfing and kitesurfing on the miles of coast, or diving with sharks, to simply relaxing on the beach in Durban or Cape Town or sampling great food in this stunning country. If you’re looking for adventure, South Africa delivers in spades.
- Kruger National Park for the safari of a lifetime
- Addo elephant park
- The Garden Route from Knysna to Stellenbosch is one of the great road trips
- Surfing at Jefferies Bay
- Hiking Table Mountain in Cape Town
The wilderness of Canada is huge and varied. From the rugged ocean coastlines of Newfoundland or the icy tundra of Nunavut, to the impressive peaks and lush forests of British Colombia.
Yes, Canada is an adventure travel dream destination, for good reason. The wildlife in Canada is also another great reason to visit – and yes you can do a safari to spot polar bears. And, if you’re lucky, you might see the Northen Lights too.
- Ski or snowboard at Whistler/Blackcomb, one of the world’s best ski resorts
- Sailing around Vancouver and British Colombia
- Explore the Arctic tundra in Churchill (and spot polar bears)
- Hiking, kayaking or rafting in the Canadian Rockies
South America isn’t short of adventure travel hotspots – but Peru probably takes the crown. Yes, Machu Picchu is the best known adventure travel route, and the reason most tourists come to the country. But there is so much more to this incredible country.
Head to Nazca and fly over the mysterious lines drawn in the plateau desert. Or take a trip deep into the Amazon to explore this huge and still (mostly) untouched pristine rainforest.
Peru’s indigenous culture is also fascinating, and a trip to any of the provincial cities such as Cuzco will be a cultural experience.
- Machu Picchu… Obviously
- Or, Choquequirao for the most adventurous off-the-beaten-track explorers
- Going wild in the Galapagos Islands
- Explore Manu National Park in the Amazon
- The colourful Vinicunca mountains near Cusco
Oz is a backpackers favourite because the opportunity for adventure is everywhere. This huge country is mostly outback, the huge arid landscape the dominates the interior. And it’s here that many people come to enjoy the wild beauty of Australia.
Of course, there is also plenty of adventure travel to explore on the coasts. The cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are hubs of culture and activity. And if you’re looking for a party, Oz sure knows how to party…
- Visit Uluru
- Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef
- Surfing and partying in Gold Coast or Brisbane
- Take a road trip in Victoria to sample wine, and spot koalas and kangaroos
You’ve seen it in the movies. But the good ol’ US of A certainly packs in plenty for adventure visitors. In fact, whatever adventure you’re looking for is probably right here. No really.
From the urban jungles of New York City, San Francisco, New Orleans and Las Vegas; to the awe inspiring nature of the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon or the California coast.
In fact, the highlights list here barely even scratches the surface of the adventures you can have in the USA.
- Take the road trip of a lifetime on Route 66
- Hiking or skiing in the Rocky Mountains
- Discover wild west ghost towns from Colorado to Montana
- Explore the Florida Everglades
If you’re based in, or visiting the USA, we strongly recommend adrenaline.com. They offer great deals on experiences from skydiving to sports car racing. You’ll find some great deals, check them out!
1. New Zealand
Maybe it’s predictable that New Zealand is the number one adventure travel destination, but there is a reason for that. The country packs so much into it’s relatively small frame that you could be adventuring here for years and still not cover it all.
Trekking glaciers? White water rafting? Skydiving? Kayaking immense fjords? Skiing and snowboarding? Look, we could go on, but if you’re looking for a place where you can indulge all manner of thrills and spills, put New Zealand right at the top of your list.
- Thrill seeking in Queenstown (the adventure travel capital of the world!)
- Mountain biking, rafting and hiking around Rotarua and Taupo
- Cruise the fjords of South Island (especially Milford Sound)
- Skydiving and bungee are both big here… In fact, bungee jumping originated in New Zealand!
Planning adventure travel
There a plenty of places where you can search for travel experiences and tours – so take a browse in your preferred destination.
Planning your adventure travel trip can be tricky, which is why we recommend G-Adventures. They take care of the details so you can pack in as much as possible in your trip. Check out their offers for some serious inspiration… And travel FOMO.
Oh and if you’re looking for flights, check out our handy widget here…
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