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12 Destinations for the Adventurous Traveler

While some see vacations as a time meant to relax and restore, others crave adventure and excitement. Of course, it’s possible to strike a balance between the two, but choosing the right destination is everything. From scuba-diving to cave explorations and long hikes, these 12 destinations offer plenty of thrilling options for visitors. Whether you’re looking to unwind or wind up, we’ve got the right place for you:

Namibia, Africa

The Africa Adventure Company

“Spot wildlife, hike the world’s tallest sand dune, and meet Himba tribesmen on a beginner-friendly mountain biking safari from H&I Adventures. You’ll ride to the starkly beautiful Skeleton Coast and inland watering holes frequented by elephants, lions, and endangered black rhinos.”—Travel + Leisure

Yellowstone National Park

National Geographic Expeditions

“Explore the Serengeti of the American West. Raft the Yellowstone River and ride horseback into the Absaroka Mountains.” —Travel + Leisure

Lake Louise, Banff, Canada

Escapism Magazine

“Surrounded by six glaciers, this icy blue lake in Banff National Park beckons ice-skaters in winter, paddlers in summer, and visitors year-round who stand on the pine-lined shore mesmerized by the Canadian Rockies’ backdrop. See it all from 6,850 feet (2,088 m) by riding the Lake Louise Gondola (May–September).”—National Geographic

Patagonia

Cascada

“Though its attractions for serious trekkers and climbers remain undiminished, this region east of the Andes is now enticing a new set of travelers: those who prefer 500-thread-count sheets to drafty tents. A handful of luxury lodges have opened—most recently Awasi Patagonia—and tour operators are adding itineraries for comfort seekers.”—Travel + Leisure

Chile

Knowmad Adventures

“Trek through the Andes along the Futaleufú River, then switch to kayaks to reach the Pacific Ocean.”—Travel + Leisure

Moab, Utah

The Carefree Traveler

“Biking slickrock brings great bragging rights among mountain bikers, while marathon runners take in the alpine mountains in the distance and the earthy tones of canyons along the Colorado River. The Old West is alive and well here, as cowboys still work the land and Native American influence is abundant.”—National Geographic

New Zealand

Flying Kiwi

“The latest tour by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations is a highlight reel of South Island landscapes, from the soaring mountains of Nelson Lakes National Park to the pristine beaches along the Abel Tasman Coast Track.”—Travel + Leisure

Costa Rica

Austin Adventures

“Zipline through a forest canopy, hike an active volcano, and learn from locals about their country.”—Travel + Leisure

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Lonely Planet

“With neon pink, yellow, and blue fish, green turtles, and dozens of species of coral, Grand Cayman offers up a constantly changing aquatic feast. The sandbar known as Stingray City is one of the world’s few places to get intimate with stingrays in their natural habitat.”—National Geographic

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Kumutu

“Hang gliding from atop Pedra Bonita for a soft landing on São Conrado Beach brings two landscapes together in a matter of minutes. While you are in the air, Sugarloaf Mountain looms within reach, and Corcovado Mountain is in sight, with the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.”—National Geographic

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