6 of the best adventure destinations

Adventure holidays no longer have to be the exclusive domain of the intrepid, young, single traveller, ready to rough it in the world’s most remote places. Many couples and families like a bit of an adrenaline rush too. Here are just some ideas for those who would like to inject a spot of action into their travels, whilst not losing out on comfort and luxury.

Costa Rica

With more protected land than any other country in the world, more bird species than the whole of North America, more butterflies than Africa and beaches on tow oceans, Costa Rica could have been put on the planet as a living classroom for natural history. A two-week trip could encompass Pacific rainforests, nights in a jungle loge, an exhilarating river-rafting trip, the impressively active Arenal volcano and the cloud forest of Monteverde where you can test your nerve on a canopy walkway high in treetops. And there’s a final wind-down at a beachfront hotel on the Pacific coast, with swimming, surfing, horse-riding and turtle watching on the menu.

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Morocco

First to Marrakech and ‘the biggest circus in the world’ on Djemma El Fna, the main square, with its daily show of juggles, acrobats, snake charmers and drummers. From there, drive to the exotic south, to Ouarzazate, the gate to the desert. You can then drive by 4WD through the palm groves of the Draa valley, visiting the kasbahs of ancient warlords who guarded the caravan routes through the Atlas Mountains, before spending the final few days on the beach of Essaouria.

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Nepal

Why not give skiing miss this year and go trekking, white-water rafting and elephant riding in the world’s greatest adventure playground? On trek in the Himalayan foothills, you can either camp o stay in warm, comfortable lodges if the rigours of life under canvas do not appeal, before running the rapids of the beautiful Seti River down to the Royal Chitwan National Park. Here you stay in lodges built on stilts, track one-horned rhinoceros and Royal Bengal tiger through the lowland jungles of this spectacular wildlife, and even get to wash your own elephant at the end of the day – animal therapy at its very best!

Nepal trekking

Thailand

A mixed bag of exotic pleasures, starting with the high-octane capital of Bangkok. After doing the hot rounds of historical sights, including the Grand Palace, a walled, magical inner city filled with a fantasia of murals, ceramics, gold-leaf and mother-of-pearl topped by dreaming spires, there’s also time for hair-raising jaunts by tuk-tuk and longtail boats. From there we would recommend heading north to Chiang Mai and up to Chiang Rai, gateway to the so-called Golden Triangle, an elephant camp and visit exotic hill tribes before spending time on once of Thailand’s fabulous beaches.

Krabi, Thailand

Oman

Arguably the most interesting of the Middle East destinations and ideal for couples and families who would like to inject a measure of education into their holidays. As well as beach, Oman reveals a rich seam of history, markets unchanged since Biblical times, nights in the desert with adventures ranging from dune bashing to camel rides and spectacular mountain scenery.

Nizwa, Oman

Peru

Woven into its geography of coastal desert, a backbone of soaring Andean peaks and Amazonian jungle are fabled archaeological sites, a vibrant Indian culture and a veneer of Spanish colonialism. Plus there’s Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world with its unique Uros islands made form floating reeds, the Inca capital of Cuzco and the classic trek to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, past waterfalls, ruins and cloud forest. Or you can take the train for ease and speed. We would also recommend, if time permits, adding a cruise of the Galapagos Islands, Darwin’s ‘Living Laboratory’.

Cusco, Peru

Nick Van Gruisen is Managing Director of The Ultimate Travel Company.

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Comments (36)

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  1. Marie says:

    There are so many beautiful places on this world of ours! It never ceases to amaze me. We’ve been to Thailand a few times and have a shot similar to yours. That cove was breathtaking! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Sophy says:

    Costa Rica is sound great for me! I want to visit there and I keep this name in my mind long time ago.

  3. Ola says:

    Great writing, would love to go to costa rica for some surfing and to nepal just to see the majestic mountains. However, I feel that Indonesia/Bali should definitely be up there. Some of the best surfing spots in the world, mountainbiking, whitewater rafting, trekking just to name a few of the activities available.

  4. Klemen says:

    One of my favourite places is Niseko in Japan! Great powder skiing and all kind of summer adventures. And great hotels for luxury adventures ;P

  5. James says:

    Thailand Looks Beautiful it is a must Visit for me. Also you should Feature Maasai Mara in Kenya especially the wild beast Migration

  6. Paul Johnson says:

    The wild beast migration?

    I’m guessing you mean the wildebeest migration, James!

    Paul

  7. James says:

    Hi Paul

    Sorry it was typo error. Yes i meant wildebeest migration. You can edit the comment for me.

  8. Nick Van Gruisen says:

    Sorry been travelling, saw some great sites in India, which I can fill you all in on at a later date! Really like all the responses here, skiing in Japan and surfing or white-water rafting in Indonesia would be good additions to this piece! Nick.

  9. Nepal might be probably the best destination for trekking. Everest Base Camp Trek, Ghorepani Poonhill sunrise trek, Upper Mustang trek, Manaslu trek are quite featured trekking trails in Nepal. Spring and Autumn seasons are quite best time for trekking. Monuments in Kathmandu, Bouddhanath Stupa, Pashupatinath Hindu Holy temple, kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Changunarayan temple are quite famous monuments for sightseeing. Jungle safari and Pokhara tours are major attractions. Rafting, Paragliding and Bunjee jumping are featured adventure sports in Nepal.

  10. Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador is a hidden gem of adventure travel locations. White water rafting, canyoning, paragliding, swing jumping off 100 m bridges, climbing and biking volcanoes, jungle tours, El Pailon del Diablo waterfall – one of many towering from high above in the Andes. Beautiful country, beautiful people, fun and adventurous!

  11. Yes as you describe! Thailand is the best place for adventure travelling!It is also the best country to visit in Asia!

  12. Rosie says:

    These places are all on the list for me to travel!
    Costa Rica, I’m visiting in about 3 weeks time; however, I do have a phobia of Butterflies, not sure how I’m going to cope if there is more than africa!!! o.O Help!?
    Great blog! Love following!

  13. We organize trips for groups and FIT. Working with international travel agencies as well. Due to natural fauna and flora, world heritage sites, Himalayas, hilly settlement, diversified cultures, good harmony among communities, people from the world love to visit Nepal.

  14. Jonny Duncan says:

    Decent list, off course there are loads of others that could be included, but then that wouldn’t be 6! I would say from Experience Ethiopia is great for adventure and culture. Take a 4wd into the Danakil Depression and sleep overnight on top of an active volcano. Go hiking into the tribal regions of the south to visit some of the most diverse tribes in Africa. Hike into the Simien Mountains etc.

  15. Amandine says:

    Great article, never thought of Maroco for adventure destination but sounds awesome!

    Just a small correction, Galapagos are part of Ecuador, not Peru. For this reason, I would replace Peru by Ecuador in this list. In addition to the excellent enchanted islands (awesome for snorkelling and diving), there is plenty of hiking, rafting and volcano climbing to do!

  16. Paul Johnson says:

    Thanks, Amandine… I think Nick is aware that the Galapagos is part of Ecuador, and he doesn’t claim it is part of Peru. He suggests a number of places to visit in Peru and simply states that it’s somewhere you might like to add to your itinerary should you have time.

  17. Marina says:

    Great list! Helpful for our travel plans 2015 :) We already had Thailand on our minds, but this has solidified the decision! Oman is especially surprising.

  18. I like travelling. However, i have to take care of my kids. Maybe someday, I can go the above destinations you recommended.

  19. Sovann says:

    Where is cambodia?? Cambodia is also the best place for adventure ….. and Peru is the most dangerous place to adventure or visit !!! The best country for adventure is Thailand

  20. Candice says:

    Good to see Oman on the list, it’s one of my favourite countries and I used to go there regularly. It’s great for outdoor activities like hiking and climbing and also has over 500 forts to explore. It’s safe, peaceful and not busy with tourists.

  21. Ah Poy says:

    hi sir !!! y you forget about the great-wall (china) ??? it’s a best place !!! and include Angkor Wat in Cambodia !!!!

  22. Wendy says:

    I strongly recommend Thailand. It is so beautiful. Last year, I had a visit to it and I was shocked by its charming scene.

  23. Thanks for everyone’s additional suggestions – China, Cambodia and Thailand are among some of our favourite ‘adventure’ destinations.

  24. Koemsie Ly says:

    I strongly recommend Thailand. It is so beautiful. Last year, I had a visit to it and I was shocked by its charming scene.

  25. Robert Mitchell says:

    Morocco – I can highly recommend not staying only in the Marrakech area but instead drive to the rural parts of Morocco south and east of the High Atlas. Gorges du Dadès or Merzouga desert are both must-visit locations.

  26. Vincent says:

    Thailand is my favorite. And my honeymoon was in Thailand. The scenery is so beautiful and amazing.If you plan your honeymoon, I strongly recommend the place.

  27. I am always intrigued by Middle East countries as they bring a very unique culture and the people are very warm and friendly.

    It amazes me though they get so much bad light. I am definitely going to visit Oman now.

  28. Sarah, let us know if you need any help planning an Oman trip – it’s a country not to be missed. Fabulous beaches, markets, adventures in the desert, almost guaranteed winter sunshine – what more could you want?

  29. yann says:

    Petra, the world wonder, is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction.

  30. Tony says:

    I’ve been to Thailand here are very nice and interesting but I like Costa Rica, I wish come to here.

  31. Kai says:

    Great idea! Helpful for my travel plans 2016. I like Nepal, this Buddhist country. I come here at later this year. Thanks for information.

  32. Allison says:

    Wow i would definitely want to go to Costa Rica, it looks so amazing and unchanged by humans hand! The other places are awesome too!

  33. Laura says:

    i really love Nepal! hope to get there someday. I’ve been to Thailand here are very nice and interesting but I like Costa Rica, I wish come to here.

  34. John Smith says:

    Morocco is really nice place to visit. It is also a biggest circus in the world. you will remember this place.

  35. Seileng says:

    Nepal is a historical place for visit. Don’t forget and don’t miss this place in your vacation’s plan.

  36. Brian says:

    I admire everything here. If it were possible, I would visit all the destinations but perhaps Thailand would be the best to start with. Thanks a lot for the useful touristic post.

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