The Best Adventure Destinations For The Ultimate Vacations

Written By: The Planet D

While all countries offer an adventure of some kind, there are a few destinations that we have been to that seem to cater to the true adventurous spirit. We came up with a list of our top 10 favorite adventure vacations to tick off your travel bucket list.

Each of these destinations will let you do a lot of adventures in one place.

  • Is a safari on your bucket list? Check
  • What about Whitewater Rafting? Yep
  • Or how about jumping out of an airplane? Oh yeah

Adventure Bucket List Vacation Guide

Check out our favourite adventure destinations around the world that we’ve personally been to for the greatest adventure vacations on earth.

Have you got a favorite adventure destination? Share it with us in the comments. We’re planning our 2021 travels and are itching for a great adventure around the world.

1. New Zealand

whitewater rafting trip new zealand cliff jump

New Zealand isn’t called the adventure capital of the world for nothing! New Zealand is the land of adventure and you can check off most of your travel bucket list dreams here. We took part in pretty much every adventure that we could dream of trying during our trips to New Zealand and can honestly say, this is the best place on earth for adventures.

From whitewater rafting class 5 rapids in freezing glacial waters to magnificent glacier walks and bunjy jumping to skydiving it’s the adrenaline junkies dream destination. With beaches, watersports, wildlife and glaciers, New Zealand has it all.

2. Best Adventure Vacations for Wildlife – Tanzania

photography tours 2018 tanzania africa male lion
Get shots like this on safari with us.

Tanzania is the ultimate safari destination. Going on a game drive through the Serengeti is an experience you’ll never forget. Looking for the big 5 is a thrill of a lifetime and seeing a large male lion for the first time is out of this world.

There is nothing like camping in the middle of a game reserve or viewing Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees at the Gombe Forest on Lake Tanganyika. Don’t forget to cycle, we had our greatest adventure cycling through the country!

But Tanzania also is an amazing vacation destination with a tropical escape to Zanzibar where you can go scuba diving and snorkelling, take a sailing trip or enjoy the beach life. But the ultimate adventure is to climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and stand on the roof of Africa.

Check out all the things to do in Tanzania at 16 Amazing Things to do in Tanzania

3. Best Mountain Trekking Adventures in Nepal

nepal travel guide

One would think that the only thing to do in Nepal is trek in the Himalayas. While the biggest attractions are treks to Mount Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit there are so many more adventures in Nepal to be had!

Even travel through the country is exciting. The flight to Lukla is considered one of the scariest in the world making for thrills and spills in mid-air. Head out to Pokhara and try Paragliding over the valley below. There is awesome mountain biking and cycling trips are gaining speed all over the country.

Did you know that you can go on safari in Nepal as well? The Chitwan National Park offers excellent opportunities to spot Rhinos and its considered one of the best tiger habitats in the world. There is White Water Rafting and kayaking as well that we didn’t get to try unfortunately because it was the dry season when we were there, but rest assured we’ll be back.

4. Best Adrenaline Rush in South Africa

South Africa is considered the adventure capital of Africa and with good reason. It caters to thrill seekers of all kinds. From bunjy jumping the highest commercial bungy jumping the world at Bloukrans Bungee Jump on the Garden Route to cage diving with great white sharks, South Africa has it all. We’ve done sandboarding and ziplining, kayaked with hippos and flying over Durban in a microlight plane!

South Africa is also an amazing safari destination where you can see all the amazing African animals like the Big 5 (lions, buffalo, elephants, leopards, and rhinos) to ostrich and cheetahs. There’s also great caving at the Cango Caves in South Africa.

6. Peru

Facts about the Amazon Rainforest Peru

And you thought the only thing to do in Peru was to go to Machu Picchu! That couldn’t be farther from the truth. While the ruins are spectacular, Peru offers some of the most exciting adventure travel in the world. It starts with a trek on the Inca Trail and Sacred Valley, but the adventures continue with Paragliding over Mira Flores in Lima and surfing off the coast.

If you want dry land, try sandboarding in Huaccachina. But the real adventure for us was going on a wild dune buggy adventure in some of the highest dunes in the world.

And the ultimate backwater adventure vacation has to be exploring the Amazon. Explore the tributaries of the world’s largest river in search of wildlife. Or if the Amazon isn’t in the cards yet, we loved taking a boat trip to Isla Ballestas to view sea lions and penguins Peru’s answer to the Galapagos Islands.

7. Zambia

zip lining victoria falls

Spending time at Victoria Falls will satisfy the adventure bug in any traveler. Try whitewater rafting in the sky as a helicopter whisks you through the deep maze of gorges and giving you a bird’s eye view of the largest waterfall in the world. Or even better, hop on a microlight flight for a birds eye view.

If you want the real deal, The Zambezi River offers some of the most exciting rapids on earth!

Or if heights are your thing…Bungy jump on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe on the bridge spanning the Zambezi River below.   But we loved the Gorge Swing where you drop 50 meters in a matter of seconds, to be whipped across the Victoria Falls gorge at 95 miles an hour. If that’s too much for you, there’s abseiling and ziplining over the gorge as well!

There’s more relaxed adventures as well, take a day trip to Chobe National Park for some of the best game viewing in Africa and if you are very brave try Sitting in Devil’s Pool at the top of Victoria Falls during the dry season.

8. Fiji

fiji adventure travel

They don’t run the world’s toughest race in Fiji for nothing! It is paradise island destination filled with countless adventure activities! We went out to the adventure capital of Fiji on the Pacific Coast where we took part in some wild activities. Home to the eco-challenge in 2003 and 2019 this South Pacific Island is an adventure lover’s dream. From high-speed Jet boating on the Sigatoka River to riding the longest Zip Line in the world over a magnificent jungle canopy.

There’s jungle trekking and exploring caves with actual descendants of Head Hunters as your guides. World-Class diving sites, beautiful whitewater rafting on the Upper Navua River and island hopping on sailboats to explore it’s 300 islands. Oh yeah, this island paradise is a place you’ll never want to leave.

9. Malaysian Borneo 

malaysian borneo guide
pinnacles of gunung mulu borneo

This place as it all! Start in Kota Kinabalu and make your way to Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s most beautiful peak. This is a challenging 2 day climb that will take your breath away two-fold. One for the rigorous hike and another for the spectacular scenery. Visiting Gunung Mulu National Park where you can hike the Headhunter’s Trail and trek to the Pinnacles is a thrilling experience.

Continue on to Sepilok where you’ll view Organgutans in their natural habitat and then pop over to the Kinabatingan River to view wildlife along the river banks from Wild Orangutans, elephants and crocodiles to name a few.

The best diving in the world is in Sipadan where you can dive within a swirl of a school of barracuda! And it’s an amazing wildlife adventure destination. There’s more wildlife viewing where you can spot the proboscis monkey and Borneo houses one of the largest cave systems in the world where you can view 2 million bats circle overhead nightly from Deer Cave.

10. Antarctica

Antarctica Can be Cold

It’s the final frontier for adventure travel. Not everyone has the opportunity to go to Antarctica, but it is at the top of everyone’s travel bucket list. Before going on an Antarctic expedition, we thought you simply sailed through the ice, but there are amazing adventures to be had.

From kayaking around icebergs to taking zodiacs close to the mouth of glaciers and taking part in the polar plunge jumping into the Antarctic Peninsula’s freezing waters. You’ll have bragging rights for years to come!

It is also one of the best safari destinations on earth with millions of penguins wanting to say hello. Fearless whales that surface for a closer peek and leopard and Weddell seals lounging on ice flows. Antarctica is the ultimate adventure vacation.

11. Greenland

iceberg at sunset greenland

Heading to the other end of the world, Greenland blew our minds. With many of the same adventures as Antarctica, Greenland is the northern hemisphere’s final adventure frontier. We kayaked through uncharted fjiords, stood beside the world’s most active calving glacier and jumped into the freezing Arctic waters for the Polar Bear Plunge.

There’s awesome hiking, and dogsledding, zodiac tours and village visits. What unique about a visit to Greenland is all the chances to view the Northern Lights.

12. Off the Beaten Path Adventure Vacations – Kyrgyzstan

Eagle Hunters Kyrgyzstan
The Eagle hunters of Kyrgyzstan

The Stans are one of the last places that haven’t been overrun by tourists in this world, and Kyrgyzstan is made for adventurers. Issyk Kul Lake is the place to be for great adventure where you can meet the mystical Eagle Hunters, stay in yurts and trek to the fairytale Skazka Canyon.

But it is going to Jygalan that the adventures really begin where you meet up with the horse people of Kyrgyzstan. Take a horse trek high into the mountains or go trekking on foot into the mountains. Going to Kyrgyzstan is an adventure unto itself as the country is remote and wild.

14. Galapagos

adventure travel galapgaos

The Galapagos Islands are home to the world’s most unique ecostystem with many animals endemic to the islands. It is truly one of the greatest wildlife destinations in the world for unique encounters. Swim cage free with the Galapagos Sharks, or frolic in the sea with playful sea lions.

Spot the massive Galapagos tortoise and see the Galapagos marine iguana. It’s an amazing destination for scuba diving, snorkelling and bird watching. But there is some amazing hiking through the jungle and along an active volcano on Isabella Island. Explore its lava fields and cones as you hike up to overlook the caldera.

16. Costa Rica

Toucans in Costa Rica

It took us years to finally make it to Costa Rica and it did not disappoint. Costa Rica is a wild untamed land of jungles and volcanoes. We spied monkeys, sloths and toucans while searching for wildlife.

Kayaking and zodiac tours are a must and hiking through the jungle is an experience you’ll never forget. Take a tour to the cloud forest and see the incredible Arenal Volcano blowing its smoke as you stay in a treehouse. Costa Rica is the original home to the zipline and canopy tours so it is not to be missed!

17. Canada

adventure travel in canada

It’s difficult to choose an adventure destination in Canada for a vacation, because each province has awesome adventures. We have an entire breakdown of adventures in Canada, but to help you check off your bucket list, here are a couple highlights from different provinces. Read more: Best Canada Adventures From Coast to Coast

Manitoba

polar bears manitoba canada
Mother and cub polar bears

Walk with polar bears and explore the arctic Tundra on tunrda vehicles. You’ll also see wolves, bears and moose on Canada’s most epic safari. Then head to Churchill for some kayaking or snorkelling with Beluga whales.

Read all about our time with polar bears here. Walking with Polar Bears – The Greatest Arctic Safari and check out the time we went Kayaking with Beluga Whales in Churchill

Alberta

adventure travel alberta

Alberta was home to the 1992 Olympics and besides the world class skiing there are plenty of adventures to be had. See all the great adventure to be had at Things to do in Alberta Canada – The Ultimate Guide

Explore North America’s largest glacier at the Athabasca glacier, go cross country skiing deep into the back country to stay in a remote lodge, take a high mountain trail ride through the rockies or search for grizzlies, moose and caribou in Jasper National Park. The possibilities are endless.

Nova Scotia

nova scotia adventure travel
DCIM104GOPRO

The East Coast is home to the world’s highest tides and you can ride the waves while tidal bore rafting in Nova Scotia. If that’s a little too much of an adventure, you can walk on the ocean floor while the massive tide is out. There is incredible kayaking on the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, world class trekking and hiking and fantastic whale watching, boat tours and beaches. Read more: Best Things to do in Nova Scotia – The Ultimate Travel Guide

But there are so many other amazing adventures in Canada, you really need to read our full article to see them all and plan your own Canadian adventure vacation.

18. Thailand 

adventure travel thailand

Thailand has so many adventure activities it is difficult to know where to begin from sea kayaking through sea caves and entering hongs to snorkelling and scuba diving.  We’ve spent many a day rock climbing in Southern Thailand, it is one of the best sport climbing destinations in the world. There’s not only water sports, jungle trekking is a popular and mountain biking is gaining popularity. The toughest adventure we took part in was training in Muay Thai Kickboxing. It’s one awesome way to get yourself in shape.

For a less stressful adventure take a motorcycle ride to the Myanmar Border. We wound our way through steep mountain roads and witnessed hill tribes in their natural habitat. We went sea kayaking to untouched villages in the north of the country and hiked through tea plantations in Doi Mae Salong. The sky is the limit in Thailand imagine and adventure and you can probably do it here!

19. Mexico 

what to do in cancun

Sure it’s probably the number 1 vacation destination for North Americans to go and chill out on the beach, but there is so much more to Mexico than Margaritas and laying in the sun. Mexico has some of the most pristine scuba diving on the planet. It is also one fo the best places to swim with whale sharks. Which is a must on any bucket list.

For diving, there is the magnificent Palancar Reef which we still put up there as the best marine life views we’ve ever seen. And for the truly adventurous, there’s diving in the Cenotes near Tulum. Paragliding and Hang Gliding can be experienced all over the country including Tapalpa and Oaxaca. Mexico is known for its rock climbing too, there are sites all over the country most notably El Potrero Chico. There is surfing all along the Pacific Coast and mountain biking in Copper Canyon. Of course there is hiking too.

One of our greatest adventures in Mexico was kayaking through the Baja Peninsula for 10 days. It was a trip we’ll never forget. Mexico is such a giant country that it is impossible to pin down where to choose to do your vacation.

20. Alaska

Boat Tours in Alaska

Like Canada and Mexico, America is huge and has many adventure destinations, but what sets it apart is that it has Alaska, so we could easily choose! Alaska is filled with adventures from seeing glaciers up close and personal to spotting wildlife like brown bears (coastal grizzlies) to moose.

But it also has North America’s highest mountain, Denali (aka Mount Mckinley) that you can either climb if you are an avid mountain climber or take a scenic flight over. There’s amazing hiking, whale watching, more zodiac tours and kayaking. Alaska is truly the best adventure vacations in the US.

And these are our favorite adventure destinations to add to your bucket list. They have definitely created lasting memories for us.

What destination or country did we miss? Add your bucket list adventure to our list in the comments below.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

12 thoughts on “The Best Adventure Destinations For The Ultimate Vacations”

  1. EXCELLENT ARTICLE…
    WELL, ALL COUNTRIES HAVE IT’S OWN SPECIALITY & BEAUTY… & THESE 5 PLACES ARE THE BEST PLACES FOR ADVENTURES…
    I REALLY LOVE FIJI & NEPAL…

    Reply
  2. Wow this a great round up. New Zealand is my stand out. I have not been to the others but nothing like starting at the top. I think Peru would be my next, once I have been round Australia seeing that I live here.

    Reply
  3. Awesome article!! One question: when you refer to Fiji, are you referring to the largest island (Viti Levu)? Or are you referring to other islands? Would like to know cause I it would be cool to visit Fiji and participate in some of these adventures. I tend to see Fiji as a beach destination but I guess is way more than that.

    Reply
    • Hi Ruth, Good Question and yes, we are referring to Viti Levu. All of our adventures took place on the main island with an emphasis on the Pacific Coast. (the adventure capital!)

      Reply
  4. New Zealand definitely deserves that #1 spot, that’s for sure! You wouldn’t think so much adrenaline-inducing adventure could be contained in such a small country… but it is!

    I would also add the US! Plenty of adventure to be had in this diverse country of mine.

    Reply
    • Hi Candice, we are working on getting the video copied. We had friends and family record it on their PVR’s but CTV is working on getting us copies of future segments as well. We are on every Friday between 9 and Noon on CTV News Channel!

      Reply