Take your passion for the outdoors overseas this year with these awesome destinations for the adventure nerd in all of us. Each of these off-beat destinations offers inspiring experiences that will satisfy your adventure cravings.
Trek in the Jungle in Tayrona National Park, Colombia
Colombia is home to some of the world’s best jungle trekking, but no one knows about it. Not experienced in the jungle environment? Tayrona National Park on Colombia’s Caribbean coast is the perfect spot for self-guided jungle treks. No problem! The trek to Cabo San Juan offers a chance to spot howler monkeys, poison dart frogs, leopard prints, and much more. Nearby hiking opportunities include hilly vistas, a walk to an ancient tribal settlement, and several pristine beaches. Spend the night at a beach camp and sleep in a hammock. The camps offer basic amenities, such as a restaurant, bathroom, lockers and showers. Afterwards, you can relax along nearby sleepy beach towns, or continue onwards towards one of Colombia’s many towns such as colonial Cartagena or the quiet mountain town of Minca.
Walk with the Elephants in Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang is nestled high in the steep jungle mountains of Laos along the Mekong River. This quiet town is bursting with charm. Not only is Luang Prabang UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a hotbed of outdoor activity as well. Visit the Kuang Si waterfalls or stay with locals in a mountain village. One particularly unique experience is trekking with the elephants. Mandalao, the only non-riding elephant sanctuary in the region, offers the chance to spend a day walking through the jungle with elephants. Hike to a high ridge and greet your new-found friends. Take a jungle stroll and feed these amazing creatures. The day ends with a bath in the river and a delicious locally-sourced meal. Remember, do not engage in elephant riding, as the methods used to train these gentle giants is extremely inhumane.
Watch the Sunrise Over Mount Everest in Gokyo Ri, Nepal
Sure, it takes eight days of walking to arrive in the small semi-permanent settlement of Gokyo Ri, but it’s well worth the effort. A far cry from the pedestrian highway that is the trail to Everest Base Camp, Gokyo Ri boasts the most stunning vista in the Himalaya. Situated next to the bases of Gokyo Lakes, this tiny town is one of the highest settlements in the world. After following the Everest Base Camp trail for several days, diverge into the smaller, less-crowded trails just outside of Namche Bazar. Get up before the sun and hike up Gokyo Ri a 17,575’ tall peak in the Himalaya. Enjoy a chance to watch the sunrise over Mount Everest. The vista includes four 8,000m peaks. You can see all the way to Tibet.
Dive, Hike, and Snorkel in the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Looking for your own slice of paradise? Take a boat to the Perhentian Islands off of the East Coast of Malaysia. Tropical blue waters and sugary, white sand await you on this island paradise. Roads don't exist here and travel is done by boat between Pulau Kecil (Small Island) and Palau Besar (Big Island). A network of trails connects small, family-run resorts and hidden beaches. The islands are dotted with wildlife including flying lemurs, dusky leaf monkeys, and monitor lizards. Explore the underwater regions with world-class SCUBA diving. Sugar Wreck offers plenty of opportunities to spot nudies, clown fish, baby sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and more. Alternatively enjoy other activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and some good old-fashioned rest and relaxation.