Is a trip minus any sort of pulse-quickening activities too much of a bore for you? Then leave the poolside naps to the laggards and get busy making plans to go somewhere far more exhilarating! Adventure vacations are bigger than ever with more and more people opting to stare down their fears and having the times of their lives doing so — and more outfitters and professionals are stepping up to the challenge of making sure you’re safe and properly attended to once you’ve decided to go for it!

Are you ready to embark on your biggest escapade yet? Here’s an adrenaline-pumping look at a daring dozen set of destinations that are exactly where you need to be to start collecting those memorable spills and thrills!

Antarctica

If you dream of extremes and a cold blast of amazement, an expedition to Antarctica might be just the thing for you. Cruises to this far south continent leave from the southernmost parts of Argentina and Chile and offer the opportunity to visit remote islands, encounter wildlife (penguins! whales!), and see planet Earth in its most pristine and un-peopled state.

Belize

The Central American country of Belize might be pint-sized but it punches way over its weight when it comes to big adventures. Top of the list of things to do here is the Belize Barrier Reef. At 300km, it’s the second-largest coral system on the planet. Just off the coast, it’s a breeze to reach whether you’re planning to go diving or snorkeling. Back on land, be sure to make time to admire Mayan ruins, search for jaguars in dense jungles, and book activities such as zip-lining and waterfall jumping.

Borneo

Be ready for plenty of cave exploration, interactions with traditional cultures, jungle treks to view orangutans in the wild, and tons of exotic fun. The third-biggest island in the world and home to one of the oldest rainforests, Borneo is shared by the nations of Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Chile

The long sliver of Pacific coastline that is Chile runs along the west of South America with the Andes Mountains as its eastern frontier. In between the ocean and the mountains, Chile boasts volcanoes and high plains deserts, vast unpopulated beaches and some of the best vineyards in the New World. At the country’s (and the continent’s) southern tip is Torres del Paine National Park, the rugged and gorgeous gateway to Patagonia. The enigmatic Easter Island (which is a territory of Chile) is only a five-hour flight from the capital city Santiago. Its bizarre and massive stone heads await those seeking more mystery and adventure in their vacations.

You may also like: Don’t Make These Mistakes When Planning Your Solo Travel Adventure

Ecuador

From the top of the Andes to the depths of the Amazonian rainforest and the big waves of the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador yields a variety of thrills within a relatively short distance of each other. Although the small nation has many bucket-list-worthy adventure vacations, it’s most famous is a visit to the Galapagos Islands archipelago about 1,000 miles off Ecuador’s coast. There, you can marvel at the evolutionary adaptations of native species as Charles Darwin did when coming up with his Theory of Evolution.

Iceland

When’s the last time you caught a glimpse of the Northern Lights atop an active volcano after a day of hiking in the snow or danced a summer’s night away while getting a tan at the same time? Odds are it was when you were in Iceland. The friendly and remote Nordic nation is an ideal choice for achieving epic winter wows or having a blast under the midnight sun come the summer when this North Atlantic island sees days of 24-hour sunlight.

Las Vegas

Find excitement and take some risks without ever even entering a casino. Las Vegas is an excellent location for all sorts of outdoor activities, such as mountaineering, skiing, and biking to name but a few (all at nearby Mount Charleston). The Grand Canyon is within easy reach as well for unforgettable rafting and hiking. Vegas also has a number of professional-level racetracks for NASCAR or Formula 1 aficionados to get behind the wheel of high-performance vehicles. A number of attractions in and around the area offer some of the best thrill rides in the country.

Namibia

The nation of Namibia features a surreal desert landscape with open skies and broad horizons alongside hundreds of miles of unspoiled wild beaches; big game wildlife dotted throughout; and a well-maintained network of roads connecting the the country’s towns, best beauty spots, bush camps, and luxury lodges. There’s little else to encounter here, except for warmhearted locals, nighttime skies that glow with stars and vast stretches of true wilderness.

New Zealand

Ever since Bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand in 1979, the Kiwis haven’t let up trying to find new and exhilarating ways to shock themselves out of their usually very chilled-out ways. One of the most naturally beautiful places in the world, New Zealand is a nature lover’s dream come true, and presents travelers with a vast array of outdoor and extreme adventures to pursue. One must-do? A bungee jump off the Kawarau Bridge — the site of the world’s first bungee jump.

Peru

Nuzzle up close with your arms wrapped around the wooly neck of a llama while admiring the panoramic view from atop Andean peaks. No, you’re not the first explorer to discover the secrets of the Incan Empire or ponder the ancient puzzle of the Nazca Lines. Still, when you take a moment to reflect on the amazing time since getting off any flights to Peru, be proud of your intrepid sense of wonder, order another Pisco Sour, and dream about the incredible itinerary still ahead of you.

South Africa

Big game, big surf, big mountains, and a big welcome add up to the perfect getaway for anyone seeking big adventure. With the chance to dive in a cage surrounded by great white sharks, track lions through Kruger National Park, or hike across vast uninhabited expanses, South Africa’s a top choice for all the adventure vacation you could ask for.

Sri Lanka

Kitesurfing, whitewater rafting, jungle expeditions, elephant safaris, and mile upon mile of untouched wilderness to explore all add up to a terrific tour of this large Indian Ocean island. Even the extra spicy local cuisine means exciting adventures for your taste buds when you visit the lush island nation of Sri Lanka.

Do you think adventure travel is appealing or exhausting? Where’s the most exciting place you’ve ever ventured? Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Gesmay Paynter

    They are all great destinations but Borneo take my fancy.
    I deserve a holiday soon. I’ll see what I can do about that?
    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Chris Osburn
      Chris Osburn

      Thanks Gesmay! Good looking planning your next holiday. Keep us posted 🙂

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    Jared

    Good looking list here! If you want an easy way to search, compare, and read reviews for adventure travel experiences, check out Stride Travel

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Yahya

    Nice review Chris….
    I am glad to see my casa nayafana/shutterstock image of Magnificent Kawarau Bridge…featured in your list….
    casanayafana.blogspot,com

    Reply

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About The Author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.