1. Pantanal Wetland, Brazil
Located in Brazil, this is the world’s largest tropical wetland and a UNESCO biosphere, offering opportunities to see extraordinary wildlife. Jaguars top the list, but you’ll also see capybara, caiman and a phenomenal range of bird life. It is a fascinating world of its own and an incredible wildlife experience—but to get the most out of the experience, it is important to do it right, according to Barbara Banks, director of marketing and trip development for Wilderness Travel.
Jaguars of the Pantanal and Hiking in the Chapada Dos Guimarães, Departure in July
The new Wilderness Travel trip, for which one departure in 2020 is already sold out, another added to meet demand, and four departures coming in 2021, follows in the footsteps of Wilderness Travel’s renowned wildlife-focused expeditions to see the desert lion, snow leopards of India and to help save giraffe in Namibia. Travelers will experience jaguar sightings along the Cuiaba River with a comfortable expedition ship as their home base, getting to locations far from the crowds. The trip also includes stunning hikes through red rock canyons and swimming below waterfalls in a beautiful, yet under-the-radar national park.
2. Azores, Portugal
An archipelago of stunning volcanic isles just five hours from the U.S. East Coast, these beauties in the Atlantic offer excellent hiking, fantastic landscapes, fresh seafood, and a culture all their own. The Azores are truly a world apart, and one of Europe’s least-known destinations.
Hiking in the Azores, Wilderness Travel, Departures May, August and September
Wilderness Travel’s “Hiking the Azores” adventure offers caldera and crater rim hikes, a walk through Europe’s only tea plantation along with whale-watching, cheese and wine tasting at ancient vineyards, soaking in the thermal waters and enchanting accommodations. Phenomenal and guest favorite Trip Leader Skye MacDonald leads this excellent adventure, with four departures in 2020.
“Namibia has the greatest conservation story ever told,” says Banks. “The country is a beacon of hope and an example of what can be done when people work together.”
Namibia Expedition, Wilderness Travel, Departures April-September
Wilderness Travel’s Namibia Expedition includes tracking cheetah on foot, behind the scenes experiences with conservationists at Save the Rhino Trust, hiking the extraordinary Sossusvlei Dunes and an unforgettable three days hiking the Tok Tokkie trail and sleeping in dune beds under the stars of Namibrand Nature Reserve, Africa’s first Dark Sky Reserve. Skies are so clear here, you can see other galaxies with the naked eye. “It is an adventure like no other,” says Banks.
Other safaris in Namibia:
- In the Realm of the Desert Lion, tracking the elusive desert lion
- Ultimate Namibia and Botswana for thrilling wildlife encounters
Ethiopia is one of Africa’s most fascinating up-and-coming destinations with its ancient history, rich cultural heritage and dramatic natural scenery. The “land where coffee was born” is made for adventure and discovery.
Ethiopia: From Ancient Rock Churches to the Simien Mountains, 1 departure October 1-12
The brand new WT expedition highlights many amazing sites in the country, including hiking in the Simien Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where adventurers will see Ethiopia’s exotic wildlife, including troops of Gelada baboons and the delicate Walia ibex. At the rock churches of Lalibela, “carved by angels,” travelers will join worshipers at morning prayers and explore the castles and churches of medieval Axum, which claims the original Ark of the Covenant.
Lost Worlds of Ethiopia, Departures in January, September
Travelers visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the medieval city of Gondar; see the tribal villages of the Karo, with their body painting, and Bume and Mursi tribes; watch a Karo dance performance; visit Axum, Ethiopia’s ancient holy city; and make a stop at an island monastery on Lake Tana.
5. Tasmania, Australia
A hiker’s paradise Down Under, Tasmania offers gorgeous beaches, exotic wildlife, including the famous Tasmanian devil, national parks brimming with soaring peaks and coastal views, and a wonderful food and wine scene that has to be tasted to be believed, says Banks.
Wild Tasmania, Departures February, March and November
Wilderness Travel’s Wild Tasmania journey offers the best of this exotic island, including hikes through National Parks, fresh seafood and sundowners on the beach, and a yacht cruise with overnights in charming lodges and nights beneath the stars of the Southern Cross.
6. Salta, Argentina
The Salta region of Argentina, in addition to becoming a popular wine-growing region that has attracted many American winemakers, offers exquisite red rocks ideal for hiking; colonial-era towns with whitewashed buildings, plazas and red-tiled roofs; and unparalleled clear skies crystal blue in the day and filled with stars on cool desert nights. “Visiting this area of Argentina is like stepping into the American Southwest 80 years ago,” says Banks. “It feels like such a discovery.”
Adventures of Salta and Jujuy, Departures in April, October and November
On this adventure, Wilderness Travel provides access to hidden hikes among the red rocks and wind-sculpted canyons. Guests enjoy wine tastings and visit some of the highest vineyards in the world, explore the surreal salt flats and multicolored hills of Purmumarca, and stay at historic estancias, savoring local cuisine and learning about gaucho culture.
7. Ha’api Islands, South Pacific
Swim with magnificent humpback whales in the remote Ha’apai Islands. It is an up-close wildlife experience unlike anything else on the planet. Underwater adventures can be complemented with authentic cultural experiences in this tropical paradise.
Swimming With Humpback Whales, Departures in September
Snorkel alongside the majestic humpback whale off the coast of these South Pacific islands, while also observing their fascinating behaviors including breaching, spy-hopping and mothers interacting with their calves. The adventure also includes kayaking, snorkeling through coral reefs and an opportunity to meet friendly locals ﹘ all while staying in beachside accommodations.
8. Corsica, France
Of all the islands in the Mediterranean, Corsica is one of the least discovered, yet this French isle offers a hiker’s paradise through its craggy cliffs with sea views, as well as fascinating ancient sites and delicious cheeses. “Corsica and Sardinia are enchanting Mediterranean isles, each so distinct in its culture and cuisine,” says Banks. “Experience them in spring and fall, the perfect seasons for hiking and for encountering the local culture without the heat or crowds of summer.”
Corsica and Sardinia Hiking, Departures April, May, September and October
Discover the French island of Corsica and its neighboring Italian island of Sardinia on this hiking adventure that takes travelers up mountains, along coastal trails, to ancient cities, historic ports, and into tiny fishing villages. The hikes are invigorating, and travelers will also indulge in wine tastings, picnics and lunch at a local goat herder’s farm.
With a reputation as the happiest place on earth, Bhutan is a country seemingly untouched by the modern world. Get there before everyone else discovers its simple charm.
Hiker’s Journey to Bhutan, Departures March, September-December
Wilderness Travel’s Hiker’s Journey to Bhutan ventures through this remote Himalayan kingdom and along ancient trails to pilgrimage sites, monasteries and temples. Each departure is timed to include attending a Tibetan Buddhist festival, and overnights are in charming traditional lodges.
Greenland is a great alternative to the increasingly crowded Iceland with even more dramatic landscapes and a far more remote feel with no roads connecting its far-flung villages. “Interest in Greenland is definitely strong, and it offers a phenomenal travel experience,” says Banks, noting that the company’s Hiking Eastern Greenland and Iceland’s Westfjords itinerary has already sold out for 2020, and a new date is being added for 2021.
Greenland Wildlife & Nature Safari, Departures in July
The 9-day excursion, which completely sold out in 2019, takes travelers through three very distinct areas of the country into environments and cultures seldom seen and full of otherworldly landscapes, abundant wildlife and plentiful Inuit and Viking history. Travelers explore the western fjords, which have the oldest rocks on earth, hike on the Greenland Ice Cap (an experience unique to Wilderness Travel), experience a musk ox safari and a midnight sun boat ride across the face of Kangia Ice fjord with its massive icebergs.
For more information about any of these trips, visit WildernessTravel.com or call 1-800-368-2794.
About Wilderness Travel
Wilderness Travel, founded in 1978, is still run by Bill Abbott, a consummate traveler, and offers more than 200 trips every year to more than 75 destinations around the world. The company is known for its one-of-a-kind detailed itineraries that take travelers deep into an area’s culture, wildlife and cuisine. AFAR magazine selected the company as having the best walking and hiking trips in the world in 2019, as well as named Wilderness Travel the 2017 World’s Best Tour Operator. Outside Magazine also declared the company the World’s Best Tour Operator in 2016.
There are five ways to travel with Wilderness Travel: Small Group Adventures; Private Journeys; WT Expeditions; Special Events; Journeys By Rail; and Small Ship Cruises. Constantly on the look-out for new adventures and ways to improve existing journeys, the company focuses on quality, design and the uniqueness of its trips. Nearly 70 percent of individuals who travel with Wilderness Travel are repeat guests or direct referrals from past travelers. For more information, visit www.wildernesstravel.com or call 800-368-2794.