In all my recent travels, my husband and I find ourselves looking for more adventure activities wherever we travel. We never thought that we would ever be on an adventurous journey and take flight on a hot air balloon ride in Arizona or hike a glacier in Iceland. I collaborated with some other travel writers to list some of the best worldwide travel bucket list adventures. If you are an adventure world traveller looking for some bucket list vacations, then keep reading about these bucket list places to visit on your next adventurous journey.
World Travel Bucket List Adventures
PIN FOR LATER! BUCKET LIST TRAVEL ADVENTURES
EUROPE BUCKET LIST ADVENTURES
1. Hiking a Glacier in Iceland
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be hiking on a glacier in Iceland. This trip is still one of our most talked about destinations and experiences. This has been one memorable adventurous journey we will not forget.
We haven’t experienced anything like glacier hiking in Iceland in March. Not many destinations offer hiking up a glacier, but it’s a must do experience in Iceland. We hiked Sólheimajökull glacier with a knowledgable guide who had us safely set up to hike the glacier. This tour also includes stops at some of the most breathtaking Iceland waterfalls as well as the famous black sand beach. Check here for up to date pricing on the tour.
Tip: please don’t try to hike this glacier on your own unless you are an experienced hiker with the proper equipment. Dress appropriately in a winter coat, boots, hat and gloves.
2. Exploring Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany
Creating a thorough bucket list of destinations can be difficult, but I strongly recommend Zugspitze if you’re planning on exploring Germany or Austria. Zugspitze is Germanys highest mountain, nestled in the Alps on the German border connecting to Austria. Due to its location, it can be accessed from the German side or Austrian side. The reason why this is such a great place to see is because of the stunning views that are hard to come by elsewhere.
Visitors get to take in a truly remarkable view from the peak of the mountain and what’s most important, is that it’s accessible by anyone, not just hikers. The mountain has cable cars that go from the base of the mountain, all the way to the peak. If you’re not a fan of dangling from a cable car, there is also a nice cozy train ride all the way to the top. The view is the main attraction of this peak (as it is with most mountain ranges) and getting access to a glorious view of the alps is usually hard to come by without having to trek and hike for hours. But the view isn’t all there is!
There are ski and snowboarding slopes on the Austrian side, just short of the peak of the mountain. Adding in the winter fun activities, there are a few restaurants and eateries to relax and truly enjoy the view of the German Alps.
3. Adventure Bucket List Ziplining in Omis, Croatia
Omis in Croatia is a real paradise for adventure lovers. It makes a great day trip from Split, as it is only 30-minutes south of the town. However, there are so many things to do in Omis, that you can easily spend a whole week there. Going on a rafting trip is an absolute must! Not only it is a lot of fun, but you will have some lovely views along the way as you paddle down the Cetina River. The trip also has some canyoning elements, so you will have the chance to do cliff jumping and rope swing into the water. The highlight, however, is exploring a hidden cave, behind a waterfall! It is a really cool experience! Literally!
As the water temperature in there is really cold, but the goosebumps are well worth it for the experience! Another way to see the Cetina Canyon is from above. One way to do this is by going zip lining. All 8 zip wires will offer fantastic views to the canyon below you!
You should estimate 3 hours for this experience and book ahead, as it is a popular activity and tours tend to fill up quickly in high season! But don’t worry if you miss out on zip lining. You can still enjoy the views from above if you hike up to Starigrad Fortress. The 4 km round trip hike takes about 2 hours. Start early in the hot summer months and then go for a swim at the beach to cool yourself off!
4. Hiking in Montenegro
Montenegro is one of the best destinations for adventure in Europe and is getting more popular every year. However, most tourists go to the coastal towns for a beach holiday, while the real adventure lies beyond.
Montenegro can be translated as the black mountain and certainly lives up to its name. It is a country of mountains with wild nature where beers and wolves still roam around. With some of the best mountain sceneries in Europe, Montenegro is a hikers paradise with plenty of things to do for the adventurous soul.
Durmitor National park has the best hiking options. Some easy paths bring you to meadows and lakes, but there are also more difficult trails to mountain peaks with beautiful views. Durmitor is a great place to be if you love nature whether you are a family with kids or a professional hiker.
Durmitor is not the only place to go hiking. Montenegro has 5 national parks that all have incredible nature and besides hiking, there are other adventurous activities available. The Tara river gorge is the longest and deepest canyon in Europe where you can go rafting and zip lining. In winter the mountains are perfect for skiing and snowmobiling and imagine hiking through a winter wonderland.
There is no shortage of adventurous things to do in Montenegro, whether you visit in summer or winter. If you love nature and adventure Montenegro should be at the top of your bucket list.
5. Road Tripping Through Italy
Do you think road tripping is not really adventurous? Then you haven’t probably road tripped through Italy.
While Southern Italy is probably even more adventurous, driving in Northern Italy also has its challenges and exciting moments.
Northern Italy is extremely mountainous – especially in the Dolomites, in the very northern part, driving can be tricky.
The mountain streets are narrow and windy and the Italian drivers are…let´s say, they tend to drive quite fast, love to overtake even on very narrow roads and love driving on two lanes of a streets – which makes it harder for anyone who isn’t used to that kind of driving and those kinds of streets.
However, road tripping Northern Italy is still amazing and so much fun – while, I would not mind having less adventure on the streets, there is still loads to do besides driving like the Italians.
One of the best things to do is hiking: The Dolomites have some pretty amazing hiking paths. Some easier, some more adventurous (like hiking to Lake Sorapis which is absolutely breathtaking). The scenery is one of a kind and probably one the most stunning in the world – if you fancying more adventurous stuff than driving in Italy, then you can climb in the Dolomites, mountain bike, raft- in the winter – ski in the region.
Though Northern Italy, with destinations like Milan or Lake Garda, might seem not to be like the best destination for an adventurous trip, you can be sure that Northen Italy holds quite a lot of adventure for you.
6. Faroe Islands Road Trip
One of the most incredible places that everyone should add to their bucket list is a road trip through the Faroe Islands. The Faroes is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Europe and it is becoming easier and easier to get to for an affordable price. The scenery in the Faroe Islands is dramatic and otherworldly and it just lends itself to the perfect road trip.
You can base yourself at one of the Faroe Islands hotels in Torshavn and drive to anywhere in the islands as a day trip from there. You can head to the northern islands where the scenery is rough and rugged- such as the infamous Kallur Lighthouse hike on Kalsoy or the remoteness of Kunoy.
You can circumnavigate Streymoy, the main island and find yourself on the black sand beaches of Tjornuvik or in the charming capital of Torshavn. From there, you can hop back in your car and head to Vagar for waterfalls that flow into the ocean or lakes that give an optical illusion. Every island in the Faroes has something incredible to offer and I highly recommend adding the Faroe Islands to your adventure bucket list.
7. Climb a Via Ferrata in Scotland
8. Hiking the Emerald Isle, Ireland
No adventure bucket list is complete without a hike in the beautiful Emerald Isle, a land of tales, rugged mountains, and green-hued landscapes. From the Slieve League Cliffs to Cork, the narrow roads will take you to mystic castles, mountains, and hills. And all of them make up for the perfect scenery while exploring Ireland on foot.
Venture on a fantastic day trip to the Cliffs of Moher, and when you reach the O’Brien Tower take in the breathtaking view. Literally. It’s pretty windy at the cliffs, so be sure not to stand to close to the edges.
For those who don’t want to travel far away from Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains National Park is a little over an hour from the capital, and totally worth the trip. There are nine spectacular hikes in Glendalough Valley, and most of them are relatively easy, so no excuses not go to.
However, the most scenic (and oldest) trail in Ireland is the Wicklow Way. A strenuous hike that starts at Marlay park about 6 miles to the south of Dublin and goes 80.7 miles down Wicklow county until its southern border. Hikers take between 4 and 7 days to finish it.
For whatever trail you choose, remember to take snacks, water, hiking gears, a waterproof and windproof jacket, and comfortable shoes with you. And to leave nothing behind, but footsteps.
9. Cycling the Wild Atlantic Way
The West Coast of Ireland stares into the Atlantic ocean, and the rugged coastline shows the damage over the years. The Wild Atlantic Way is the route that hugs the coastline from North to South for 2500km. The fact that Ireland is less than 500km long from top to bottom will tell you just how winding this route is.
The route is incredibly well signposted, you just follow the wavy signposts that are all along the route. There are really touristy spots like the Cliffs of Moher on the route, but when I cycled through the historic Céide Fields in North Mayo, I didn’t see a single soul.
The Wild Atlantic Way lives up to its name, and the weather can change in a heartbeat, but that’s part of the charm.
For accommodation, you can do this on a budget or as pricey as you want. You can choose between camping sites, 5-star hotels, and everything in between. Hostels are plentiful and have the added advantage of a kitchen where you can prepare food for the following day.
The main piece of advice I have is to cycle from south to north. The prevailing winds in Ireland mean that if you cycle from the top down, you’ll be fighting the wind most of the way. With the severity of some of the climbs, especially in Kerry, you’ll be thankful for having the wind at your back!
Cycling Ireland Wild Atlantic Way is a great way to discover all the beauty. There are so much natural and man-made beauty all along the route, so here’s a list of some of the unmissable things along the Wild Atlantic Way. You can also bike the Wild Atlantic Way
10. Lake Bled, Slovenia
Slovenia is the ideal European country for those looking for a thrill-seeking adventure. The picture-perfect country neighbours Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. Although Slovenia is small in size, it continues to attract visitors from all over the world due to its startling beauty and adventure driven activities. Slovenia is becoming an increasingly popular spot for those travelling Europe by train or bus and is 100% one for any bucket list.
Lake Bled is one of the most famous spots in Slovenia, not only does the lake offer an extensive range of activities right on its front doorstep. It is also the getaway destination for those wanting to explore the outstanding beauty of the Julian Alps and 3glav National Park. Some nature highlights close to Bled consist of the Vintgar Gorge, the Emerald River and Bohinj.
It the summer months, Bled is the ideal adventure resort, offering phenomenal adventure experiences such as canyoning, paragliding, caving, white water rafting and much more. The resort is popular among photographers, outdoor activists and hikers alike.
In the winter months, Bled turns into a winter wonderland, offering activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating and more.
I would recommend Bled to anyone looking to part take in adrenaline run activities, enjoy nature and hike around some of the world’s most amazing alpine beauty.
North America Bucket List Adventures
11. Hot Air Balloon Ride in Arizona
Are you ready for the most amazing hot air balloon ride Arizona that you will ever experience? We were lucky to experience a hot air balloon ride Arizona with Hot Air Expeditions. We were first-time ballooners and had no idea what to expect. To be completely honest, we were terrified. After speaking to a few people who have already been, they put me at ease and ensured me that we would love it. This has always been a big bucket list items so I knew we had to do it.
12. Chasing Wildflowers in California
In a good bloom year, wildflower displays in California can be astounding. The carpets of colour are so dramatic that they can even be seen from satellites in space! Wildflower displays occur in many parts of the state, and in a super bloom year, chasing the bloom is a fun bucket list adventure activity if you love nature or photography.
Some of the earliest vibrant displays can be seen in the desert national parks or state parks in southern California. If you visit Anza-Borrego State Park, Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park in the spring, you will be awed by the breathtaking displays and come away with tons of great photos. Anza-Borrego and Joshua Tree can be done as convenient day trips from Palm Springs.
A little later in the season, the wildflower bloom takes over in large swathes of hillsides and valleys all over southern California. From the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve, where the bright orange colour brightens up the landscape, to the bright yellows and purples of Carrizo Plain National Monument, you can chase peak bloom all over.
Coastal areas such as Big Sur and Half Moon Bay are also good spots to see lots of different kinds of wildflowers, even if the displays are not as dramatic in size.
Be warned though: travellers and photographers from all over the world congregate at these spots in great bloom years, so go at non-peak times to avoid the worst of the crowds. A weekday morning is your best chance of being able to enjoy the colour in relative solitude.
13. Swim with the Sharks in Exuma Bahamas
Never did I think that I would swim with sharks. One of the top things to do in Exuma Bahamas is to swim with the sharks. It actually wasn’t as scary as it looks. I was mesmerized by the crystal clear waters as Compass Cay. When we arrived I immediately ran over to see people swimming with the sharks.
If there was no one in the water, I likely wouldn’t have decided to swim with the sharks. I didn’t even hesitate. I dropped my bags and slowly climbed in as these creatures curiously swam around us crazy humans. These sharks were more like puppies than sharks. There was someone feeding the sharks off the dock. The sharks would swim up to the dock, and literally jump right on the dock, to be fed.
I was a little terrified at first but found the courage to pet and touch the sharks. Their skin feels like hard, rough sandpaper. Swimming with nurse sharks in Exuma is definitely one of my most memorable experiences. I think I have a new love for sharks (at least the Nurse Sharks).
14. Hike Hawaii Volcanos National Park, Big Island Hawaii
If you’re a fan of the U.S. national parks, add Hawaii Volcanos on the Big Island to your adventure bucket list! You can see Volcanos as a day trip, but it also makes a perfect overnight stop if you’re headed to Hilo for waterfalls and rain forests next. Plus, you can ask at the park where to best see the lava flowing under the night sky. (It’s constantly shifting.) Kilauea, here at the park, is the world’s most active volcano.
You can choose from dozens of incredible hikes at the park depending on your time constraints and level of fitness. We packed a picnic lunch and hiked the moderately challenging Kilauea Iki trail, a four-mile loop that took us 2.5 hours. It’s a Hawaii Bucket List experience for sure: We descended first through a misty rain forest and then walked across the moonscape that is the Kilauea Crater lava Lake. It’s a hard surface, but still steaming!
Other popular trails here include Devastation Trail (for viewing the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea summits), the Halema’uma’u Crater Trail (more rain forest and crater floor with some switchbacks thrown in for good measure), and the Crater Rim Trail, which winds around the rim of Klauea Caldera. Wherever you hike, don’t miss the Thurston Lava Tubes. In just 20 minutes, you can walk through a real lava tube and imagine the river of red lava that rushed through a few hundred years ago.
15. Feed the Pigs in Exuma Bahamas
Swimming with the pigs in Exuma has become a very popular excursion. I would recommend this excursion as it is only one of the many stops along the way. Although feeding pigs isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly is an interesting experience that you will only have the opportunity to experience in Exuma, Bahamas. This is one of the best things to do in Exuma. The one question I have been asked is can pigs swim? They absolutely can!
There are various different stories as to how these pigs actually got to the island. There’s an island in the Bahamas where feral pigs play in the sand, lay in the sun (that’s the life), and swim out to boats to be fed by tourists. These pigs and piglets live on the uninhabited island of Big Major Cay, in Exuma, the Bahamas, (AKA Pig Island Exuma) on what is called “Pig Beach.”
These celebrity pigs will be very excited to see you. Don’t leave your bag lying around or you might find a snout pickpocketing your bag.
16. Snorkel at Thunderball Grotto Bahamas
If you love anything James Bond then you will have to snorkel the Thunderball Grotto in Exuma, Bahamas. The movie Thunderball was filmed here as well as Never Say Never Again, Splash starring Tom Hanks and Into the Blue with Jessica Alba and Paul Walker made it even more exciting.
This was my first snorkel excursion ever so as you can imagine, I was terrified as I did not know what to expect. After putting on flippers and a snorkel, for my first time ever, we swam towards the opening of the grotto. As we entered the cave, we were greeted by a burst of light that was shining from the above opening. The water is extremely clear so get ready to see some beautiful colourful fish swim around you.
17. South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona
There are few places on Earth that can get your adrenaline pumping quite like the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. That’s why watching the sunrise here should be on everyone’s bucket list, from the adventure-curious to full-on adrenaline junkies. Over the course of an hour, the sun slowly creeps over the canyon, illuminating the ever-changing colourful, striated walls of the gorge, which gets increasingly more stunning every moment that passes.
For an exquisite sunrise view, head to Yaki Point, either a two mile walk from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center or catch the Orange Route shuttle to the Yaki Point stop. Once you’ve arrived, you can find a comfy spot to watch this natural spectacular and sit on the rim’s edge, letting your feet dangle some four thousand feet over the canyon’s floor.
For an even more adventurous start to your day, take the popular South Kaibab Trail down under the rim some 600 feet so that you can catch the sunrise at Ooh Aah Point, which offers unparalleled panoramic views of the canyon’s rainbow-hued buttes and mesas. Winding down South Kaibab’s ridge line into the canyon below in pure darkness (using a headlamp, of course!) will certainly get the blood pumping, but nothing will ever take your breath away quite like the sunrise over this natural wonder. Check out the vegan’s survival guide to the Grand Canyon.
18. Whitewater Rafting in Utah
Whitewater rafting is an exciting experience anywhere in the world but the otherworldly landscapes of Utah’s high dessert take river running to a new level. Not only can you test your mettle against world-class rapids but you’ll be camping in some of the most beautiful spots in the world. A week-long raft trip on the Green River through Desolation Canyon will reset your internal clock and refresh nerves frazzled by modern life. Or maybe you prefer a shorter, more serene float through Labyrinth Canyon with the added benefit of stargazing in one of the least light-polluted skies in the United States.
The pinnacle of Utah river trips is a voyage of discovery following in the footsteps of John Wesley Powell for a monumental expedition through the canyons of the Green and Colorado Rivers. This 18-20 day trip cuts a diagonal swath across Utah from Dinosaur National Monument in the northeast, through Labyrinth Canyon and Desolation Canyon into Canyonlands National Park and culminating in Cataract Canyon in the southwest, where the convergence of the Green and Colorado Rivers create some of the most challenging whitewater in North America. This is an adventure of a lifetime that will raise your adrenaline level to new highs. Make sure to check out the other fun things to do in Utah.
Central American Bucket List Adventures
19. Surfing in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Learning to surf in Costa Rica has got to be on your adventure bucket list! Santa Teresa, a beautiful surf town on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica is the perfect place to get started. The Pacific coast of Costa Rica is well known for surfing and yoga retreats. With a laid-back and friendly atmosphere, Santa Teresa welcomes surfers of all levels.
There are lots of different surfing programs to choose from. We went with Ollie’s adventures for our surfing lessons and I would highly recommend them for your trip. Perfect for beginners, they went through all of the groundwork on dry land first before we went out into the open water. Once on the waves, I was so proud to be able to stand up for the first time! We may not have been the most graceful crew, but we loved learning just how tough it is out on the water!
Don’t be fooled, learning to surf is a full body workout and I was sore for days after this adventure!! When you’re not surfing, be sure to check out the rest of the beautiful Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. The restaurants and food selection here is out of this world! We had the most mouthwatering dishes with some of the most spectacular views of the coast while visiting this amazing spot. Add this to your bucket list, because it’s an experience you aren’t going to forget!
Australasia and Oceania Bucket List Adventures
20. Reef Sleep – The Great Barrier Reef Adventure
The Great Barrier Reef is a favorite on many people’s bucket lists, but for a really unforgettable adventure experience, I can highly recommend sleeping under the stars on a reef pontoon. Due to the location of this natural wonder of the world, it usually takes a couple of hours by boat to get there and most day trips only allow a short time to explore the reef itself. Reefsleep a tour by Cruise Whitsundays entails spending a whole 24hours on a floating pontoon.
It departs from Airlie Beach in Queensland, and the Heart Pontoon is situated by Hardy Reef. During the day you can scuba dive, take a helicopter ride, enjoy the underwater observatory, or take a trip on the semi-semi-submersible boat. However, the real magic happens once the day tourists depart. The tranquillity and remoteness of this location make it a completely unique experience.
You can snorkel till your heart’s content without other people’s flippers getting in the way. The late afternoon or early morning is considered to be the best time for snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, and I can vouch that the ocean was teeming with life. Swimming with the turtles and large grouper fish was daunting at first, but it soon became apparent that they were happy for us to be in their company.
Dinner is a three-course meal to be enjoyed while the sun sets across the horizon and the night sky after dark is genuinely magnificent. We were able to clearly see constellations such as Scorpio and the milky way was glorious in all its colors. Sleeping in a swag under the stars was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve encountered on my travels, and I’d highly recommend it as a bucket list travel adventure. You can read more about this unique tour here.
21. Black Water Rafting in New Zealand
New Zealand is the hub for those who are looking for an adventure. Although most people think of Queenstown in the South Island when they think about adventure but the North Island also has amazing adventure bucket list items and so many great things to do in New Zealand.
One of the coolest things one can do in New Zealand is Black Water Rafting in one of the Waitomo Caves to see the glow worms. Glow worms are a type of insects that emit lights to attract their prey during the larval stage of their lives. Most tourists take a boat tour to see the glow worms but it’s actually possible to do black water rafting to see them instead.
What is Black Water Rafting? Black Water Rafting is using a black tube to float in an underground river inside one of the glow worm caves. The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company in Waitomo runs 2 types of adventures: The Black Abyss and the Black Labyrinth. Both adventures involve jumping from small waterfalls, navigate in the water in an underground cave in the dark in order to see the glow worms.
For those who are less adventurous, the Black Labyrinth is perfect since it is shorter and less physically demanding. The Black Abyss is a 5-hour adventure involves abseiling, zip lining and waterfall jumping in one of the Waitomo Caves. If you are visiting New Zealand then you simply cannot miss this adventure bucket list item.
22. Visit an Active Volcano Mt. Yasur on Tanna Island
Visiting an active volcano is something many have on their bucket list. A Tanna Island day trip to Mt. Yasur is what you must do. On Tanna Island, Vanuatu, you’ll find the most accessible active volcano on earth where you get within meters of erupting lava. Vanuatu itself is also a bucket list destination which can be reached from Australia, New Zealand, or Fiji. Once in Port Vila, it’s another 45-minute flight to Tanna Island. Be prepared for delays and don’t schedule your Tanna Island flight the same day of arrival. On Tanna Island, there is budget accommodation but also the luxury White Grass Resort which is highly recommended. They can also book the tour to Mt. Yasur volcano.
The drive to Mt. Yasur takes 3-4 hours which is long, but the magnificent scenery makes up for this. There is a small rest area at the foot of the volcano where you can use the toilets but do not expect to be able to buy food or drinks. To be safe, bring your own. The reason Mt. Yasur volcano is the easiest one to reach is that a 4×4 car will drive you up the volcano. You just have to walk the last 100 meters or so to the crater rim.
While walking up you’ll hear thunder every 15 minutes which is a large eruption of lava. You’ll notice small rocks flying high up in the air. At the first stop, you’ll see mostly ash and smoke go up. Your guide will not take you further up the rim from where you can see the lava at the bottom of the crater. If weather permits go for the sunset tour when you can see the lava glow much better. From the high point up the rim you can see the lava up close, but still far enough away to be safe. It’s magnificent to see nature at its best. Follow the instructions of the guide carefully and you’ll have a memorable Tanna Island day trip for sure!
South America Bucket List Adventures
23. Mount Fitz Roy Hike Patagonia Argentina
Mount Fitz Roy is located in Patagonia, Argentina, and when it comes to adventure travel and hiking nothing can beat it.
The hike to Laguna de Los Tres, which goes to the base of Mount Fitz Roy, is – to say the least – epic. It’s a long hike, for the most part, easy to medium, but there is one km, shortly after Campamento Poincenot camping site – that is a steady 40% incline uphill and incredibly strenuous. You have to walk back down on the same trail and it’s even harder to walk down, actually! Yet, it’s incredibly rewarding and the views you get once you reach the top absolutely breathtaking.
You can get the first view of Mount Fitz Roy from the Mirador Piedras Blancas. At km 5, you can take a detour and walk to Chorrillo del Salto waterfall. There is no marked trail, but you can follow the roar of water to get to the waterfall, which is a perfect spot to relax for a while before continuing the hike.
Make sure to spend a few days in El Chalten, the best access point to hike to Laguna de Los Tres. Indeed, the weather in Patagonia can be unpredictable and you want to make sure that you have perfect visibility on the day you decide to walk up!
24. The Atacama Desert, Chile
The Atacama Desert is located in the Northern part of Chile in South America. It is considered one of the driest places in the world and is made up of sand, salt mounds and stones and felsic lava. Extreme heat during the day followed by freezing temperatures at night, The Atacama Desert has a challenging yet magical climate and landscape. The easiest way to reach the desert is to fly into the Calama Airport and then take a shuttle to San Pedro, Atacama, the main town to find accommodation in. The city of San Pedro in itself is a treasure to explore but the real adventures lies outside the city limits.
If you are into bicycle riding you can rent a bike and ride from San Pedro to the El Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) to watch the sunset.
In addition, to Valle de la Luna you can go for a great mountain bike ride in La Garganta del Diablo (the throat of the devil). This ride is in a canon between some mountains in the deserts. Be ready to go fast downhill and exert a lot of effort to make it up the hills.
Another great attraction is exploring Las Cuevas de Sal Canon (Salt Caves). You can go into the caves and around them to see the different minerals all over the walls. Be sure to bring a headlamp because there are parts of the caves where you are in complete darkness. You can also explore the salt lakes to get a chance to see Flamingos, one of the rarest birds on earth.
The best way to see the salt caves and lakes is to hire a bus for the day and go around to the different attractions. If you start with the lake in the morning then the caves will be a refreshing activity in the afternoon and you can end the day with the sunset at El Valle de la Luna, which is the famous spot used to inspire the Wile Coyote running off a cliff while chasing the Road Runner in the famous cartoon.
Adventure seekers and explorers should look no further than Guyana as a must-see destination to discover in 2019. Recently named the number one ecotourism destination in the world, Guyana has lush rainforests, spectacular waterfalls and vast, open savannah to explore for those looking for an off the beaten path location. Often overlooked by more well known South American destinations, Guyana tours offer deep excursions into the Amazon, ATV rides through the savannah, authentic cowboy life at Guyanese ranches, 4×4 trails across the countryside and more waterfalls than you could possibly visit in your travels.
Start your adventure in the capital Georgetown. From there you can trek across the country in a bumpy 4×4, or take to the skies in a light aircraft to reach some of the most remote travel locations in all of South America. Jump on a horse, ATV, 4×4 or kayak to travel even deeper into the country. Along your travels, you’ll come across small villages that are hours, if not days, away from cities. The isolation and unexplored territory makes travelling top Guyana a real adventure. It feels like an untouched territory, that just beckons you to go further and uncover more amazing mysteries. In all our adventure travels, Guyana still stands out as one of the best countries to truly feel like an explorer!
Asia Bucket List Adventures
26. Mount Everest Basecamp Trek
One of my greatest adventures so far was a 3-weeks trek to the Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
Unlike most people, I didn’t fly from Kathmandu to Lukla to start the trek but took one of the famous chicken buses to Jiri. Jiri is a small town around 200 kilometres east of Kathmandu and the starting point of the old route to the base camp.
From Jiri I trekked one week to reach Lukla. The days were really long, we trekked up to 7 hours per day! During the whole week, we only met a handful of other tourists.
The trek to the Basecamp is really popular and therefore every year thousands of people hit the trail. For that reason I recommend you to start at the end of the season when it is slowly starting to get colder.
We reached the basecamp at the beginning of November and had the place all for us! We also haven’t had any problems finding a place to sleep and could enjoy nature and breathtaking views without hundreds of people around us.
Did I mention that we did the trek without a guided tour? Yes, that’s possible but you have to prepare well and get some information about hiking in these altitudes. Trust me, you don’t want to get sick at high altitudes.
27. Motorbiking the Karakoram Highway in North Pakistan
Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan’s northern area, sees the Himalaya, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush mountain ranges connect. There are no other regions in Asia boasting a similar collection of staggering peaks that soar well above 7000mt, and it’s a real adventure playground. What about the security situation? Well, the Pakistani government has just started a new e-visa procedure to boost tourism in the country. Both security and political situations are stable, and Pakistan is poised to become South Asia’s next big thing for backpackers and adventurous travellers.
It’s also home to the Karakoram Highway, the highest road in the world, also known as the “8th wonder of the world”. It’s extremely well paved and maintained by both the Pakistani and Chinese government, and pass through an ancient fork of the Southern Silk Road between West China and Hindustan. The best way to travel independently is by renting a motorbike in Gilgit, and ride for about two hours to the viewpoint of Rakaposhi, one of the world’s steepest ascending mountains. Your first stop will be at Karimabad to see the two ancient forts of Altit and Baltit, two UNESCO Heritage Sites.
Up next is the turquoise Lake Attabad, born out of the tragic 2010 floods. You will continue riding through Passu and its impressive rock cathedrals, the “Cones”, via Sost and up to the Khunjerab Pass, the highest border in the world with China. Unless you can arrange an expensive guided tour on the Chinese side, this is the end of the ride, and you will have to return to Gilgit.
28. Calauit Safari in Coron, Palawan, Philippines
Coron has been named a few times as one of the best islands in the world. Not only it is blessed with paradise islands, marvelous rock formations, and pristine white beaches, Coron was also home to few wildlife mammals located on Calauit Island to where you can spend a day with yourself or your partner while embracing the glorious sunset.
Calauit Safari Park is also recognized as a piece of Africa in the Philippines. It’s located on a separate island two (2) hours drive away from the main town of Coron. On this island, you would find giraffes, wild boars, deer of various types, turtles/tortoise, zebras, and a few other more animals of the wild. You could interact with these animals and feeding them is a worthwhile activity.
You also have access to a nearby beach where you can spend the entire night and sleep under the stars. If you and your partner are both animal lovers, you will definitely find this place worthwhile. Most people who go here as casually dating lovers often ending up as engaged partners. Not only the animals are the main attraction of why you should visit the place but also the tranquil and serene beaches that surround it.
29. Angkor Wat Sunrise in Cambodia
The mystical Angkor complex in Cambodia is one of the very best places you can explore in Asia. Following the steps of the Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Rider will reveal to you a land forgotten in time, a land where the ancient Khmer empire used to rule for hundreds of years and built marvels that stun even the modern 21st-century traveller.
Exploring the UNESCO recognized Angkor complex is an adventure of a lifetime, the biggest highlight of which is the main temple – Angkor Wat. And do you know what the biggest highlight of Angkor Wat is? It’s not the detailed storytelling ornaments, neither are the lotus-shaped towers. It’s the sunrise hour! Watching the sun, lazily rising behind the ancient temple’s spires, painting the sky in lovely pink shades while creating a mirror-perfect reflection in the lily pond outside, is a view very few places in the world can rival.
To experience the Angkor Wat sunrise adventure is not an easy task though. The secret of this magical place has been revealed a long time ago, and tourists are flooding to the temple from 5 AM in the morning. If the Angkor sunrise adventure is already on your bucket list and you want to enjoy this mystical experience to the max, you can check out Global Castaway’s Angkor Wat Sunrise Guide for more details.
30. Driving the Roads of Bagan, Myanmar
Bagan is an ancient city of thousands of temples, pagodas and stupas in Central Myanmar. The area is home to the highest concentration of Buddhist structures in the world, some dating back over one thousand years. Estimates for the number of structures range from more than 2000 to over 3000.
Travel in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is the embodiment of adventure in itself. Getting to Bagan is no leisurely task. The only buses are local buses, which are usually packed like a can of sardines. Roads in Southeast Asia can be terrifying, to say the least, and the fearless drivers in rural Myanmar make no exception. Roads are winding and bumpy, with plenty of unpaved stretches. And forget about traffic laws. If the driver wants to pass the vehicle ahead, the oncoming traffic and cows off the side of the road are just another obstacle. Expect your heart to stop once or twice.
After finally reaching Bagan, travellers are largely left to themselves. The archaeological park is hardly monitored and sits empty for half of the year, leaving visitors free to wander and explore. There are few signs in the area. Following random dirt paths leads through thick, overgrown brush that dominates structures not visible from any road and forgotten in time. The best method for adventuring through Bagan is via scooter or motorbike. The area is too large to cover on foot, and the oppressive Southeast Asian heat is a notch warmer in Central Myanmar.
A visit to Bagan is an adventure from start to finish. Transportation off Myanmar’s main roads is a heart-stopping endeavour, and wandering Bagan’s ruins feels like taking a step back in time to a forgotten civilization.
31. White Water Rafting in Nepal
For adventure lovers, Nepal is a must-visit and bucket list destination in South Asia. You can enjoy many adventurous activities here besides Everest Base Camp trekking. If you’re visiting beautiful tourist destination Pokhara in Nepal then don’t miss to take the adventure of white water rafting on the Trishuli River. On the way to Pokhara this beautiful river you’ll pass and find many rafting points for the beginners to experts. You’ll love the extreme landscape and the rapid of the Trishuli River. It’s most popular in Nepal and many travellers every year visit this particular spot for enjoying white water rafting.
You can try one hour to three hours rafting in a group, and all precautions appropriately are taken, so no worries of safety. You’ll also get proper instructions from the instructor before starting this adventure. I had a cool experience and enjoyed three hours rafting for the first time. Trishuli River Side Resort arranged it. After lunch, we started and crossed four levels full of fun and adventure. The best part is the mountainous view, and there is also one spot like a sandy beach. You’ll even cross many suspension bridges while rafting. The best time is the month of November to try this ultimate adventure on the land of Himalayas.
32. Freediving in Nogas Island, Antique, Philippines
Freediving in Nogas Island is one of the adventures that people should do when travelling in the Philippines. It is located on the western side of the country and belongs to the province of Antique. Its size is only 24-hectares with 4.8 km shoreline, its an uninhabited island known for clear water with turquoise swirls of sea colour in a delightful terrain and abundance of a variety of sea creatures on a tiny island. Thus, this makes as a bucket list to many because learning and having a freediving session in underwater with this sea colour and lively creatures will definitely make it the top adventure.
Apart from which, there is no one living on the island, that being so, the quiet and peaceful place stands it’s own surrounded with different types of trees, flora, benthic fauna which is all abundantly share what beauty this island offers. Since the size of the island is tiny, people tend to ignore it, but only a few know that this is the best place to do so many underwater activities. If you are seeking a journey to a little paradise, this one suits the best paradise there is in the country.
33. Chopta Chandrashila Trek, India
Chopta is a gorgeous region in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It sits on the hip of the Himalayas and is surrounded by vast mountain ranges, beautiful greenery, and blue skies that stretch for miles, The Chopta Chandrashila trek is one of the most stunning hikes I’ve experienced. This 3-hour trail is along the side of the mountain, giving visitors the most incredible view of the valley below.
There are very little people. Once in a while, horseback riders and locals would appear from behind the undulating hills. In addition to the paved walkway, those who don’t mind breaking a sweat can also opt straight for the mountain roads.
The walk will lead towards a small community on top of the hills. There are options to stay overnight at the few guesthouses sitting by the cliffs. The handful of locals that maintain its operations also prepare delicious sabzi and aloo tikki. Do make a visit to Tungnath, the highest Shiva temple in the world. At night, you can participate in the prayers that happen at this holy space.
In the morning, make sure to climb the last leg of the Chandrashila Peak. Spend half an hour before sunrise to hike this summit, and position yourself somewhere for the sunrise. We were mesmerized by our surrounding-especially when the sun reflected its orangish-red rays off of the snow peaked mountains.
34. Diving with Thresher sharks in the Philippines
The Thresher sharks are not only unique with their long, beautiful tail, they are also hard to spot. In fact, there is only one dive site in the world where you will be sure to see these incredible creatures, and that is Monad Shoal near Malapascua island in the Philippines.
Thresher sharks are nocturnal and hunt on extremely deep waters, up to 500 meters below sea level. However, in the early morning, they swim up to about 30 meters at the sunken island Monad Shoal. They use this as a kind of cleaning station where they let a tiny fish called Cleaning Wrasse to eat up dead skin and bacteria. For this reason, divers can go there to see these gorgeous sharks up close every morning.
It is totally magical to witness these remarkable sharks swim slowly around with their long tails swaying in the water. They seem so serene and I honestly felt a bit like in trance during my dive. The big, round eyes make the shark look cute and curious at once. This is definitely an experience every diver should have in their lifetime.
There are plenty of dive centers at Malapascua, so all you have to do is to choose which one you want to go with and have the time of your life.
Africa Bucket List Adventures
35. Hiking in the Dogon Country in Mali
Trekking along either the top or the bottom of the Bandiagara Escarpment through the Dogon Country in Mali is a unique off-the-beaten-track cultural experience, and you’ll also see lots of beautiful scenery along the way. Centuries ago, the Dogon people fled to the Bandiagara Escarpment out of fear that they would be forced to convert to Islam. Even today, they remain quite isolated from other ethnic groups and have managed to keep their ancient religion, language and culture intact.
The Bandiagara Escarpment is a sheer cliff that rises out of nowhere and stretches for about 150 kilometres. All the traditional villages inhabited by the Dogon people run along the escarpment, either at its base or on the top. With my husband and a group of travellers we had met up with, I spent three days walking along the base and visited several villages on the route. It took us three days to cover about 70 kilometres, but you could also spend a week or more if you wanted to hike the entire escarpment.
The main highlights of the trek are the villages’ unique architecture and the scenery, and of course the chance to meet the Dogon themselves. Dogon houses are small, conical dwellings with thatched pyramidal roofs. However, the most impressive buildings are the ones built by the Tellem people, well before the arrival of the Dogon.
Their clay houses and granary towers are so far up the escarpment that they seem completely inaccessible. The Dogon believe that the Tellem knew how to fly, and that’s how they were able to build so high up. Simple accommodation and traditional African food is available in some of the villages, though it’s definitely a good idea to bring some hiking snacks with you.
36. Tanzania Safari Safari Adventure
If seeing animals in their natural habitats is your type of adventure, then head to Tanzania to go on a safari. Tanzania offers three major circuits to see wildlife – Northern, Southern, and Western areas. We suggest going on the Northern Circuit due to its popularity and recommend spending a minimum of 3-4 days. The route includes Lake Manyara, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and/or Tarangire National Park.
During your safari, you’ll ride in a Jeep Land Cruiser with an open rooftop and your driver (who also acts as your guide) will drive you around the areas. Look for the Big 5 animals – lions, African buffaloes, elephants, leopards, and rhinoceroses (although may be very challenging to find). Otherwise, you’ll see lots of beautiful wildlife from cheetahs, jaguars, zebras, impalas, giraffes, hippopotamus, warthogs, ostriches, birds, and much more.
While a safari is very safe, expect to see the unexpected during your trip. During our time in Serengeti, we saw thousands of wildebeests and zebras along their Great Migration trail. It was incredible to see them walking in a line to their next destination. In addition, we saw a pride of lions eating a wildebeest for breakfast. Although gruesome to see the wildebeest’s head dragged around, it was quite the sight to observe the hyenas and jackals strategizing to get scraps while also not getting in the male lion’s path. We also experienced a herd of elephants, including adorable babies, crossing the road of our driving path in Tarangire. Definitely add a safari to your adventure bucket list and visit Tanzania.
37. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is definitely one of the most exciting adventure bucket list things to do out there. Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world and is known as “the roof of Africa” as it is also the tallest mountain in Africa. Climbing Kilimanjaro is an awesome addition to anyone’s bucket list because it is doable by the average person! With a little bit of fitness and a lot of determination- I was able to make it to the top.
If I could make it to the summit, anyone can! Mt. Kilimanjaro is located right outside the Tanzanian town of Moshi. To climb the mountain, you must hire a tour company with a guide as the mountain cannot be climbed without one. The tour company will give you a list of different routes for you to choose from to take up the mountain. They will also completely take care of all of your gear, food, and permits. You can also rent any and all hiking gear/clothing that you would need from local operators in Moshi. I would recommend the only thing you bring from home is well broken-in hiking boots and some base clothing made of wicking material.
I would love to hear about your most memorable adventurous journey or your favourite go-to vacation activities. I have so many destinations on my worldwide travel adventure bucket list and am always on the lookout for new getaway adventures and adventure expeditions.
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