Where should you go in 2019? I spoke with 10 adventure travel companies about the trip they’re most excited about. They came back with a global cornucopia of trips designed for exploration and personal expansion.
J.W. Powell 150th Anniversary Trip
O.A.R.S., the adventure outfitter, is offering an anniversary trip that retraces a portion of John Wesley Powell’s historic first descent of the Green and Colorado Rivers in Colorado and Utah. In 1869, Powell set out to explore the uncharted Green and Colorado Rivers from Green River Station, Wyoming to the “impassable” Grand Canyon. Now, 150 years later, OARS is offering a limited number of guests the opportunity to relive this monumental expedition with a 466-mile, 28-day, fully-outfitted river trip by raft and dory from Flaming Gorge to Lake Powell, just upstream from the Grand Canyon. Highlights include a hike to the abandoned ranch where Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch stayed, a chance to run 50+ Class II-III rapids in Desolation and Gray Canyons, and travel through Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyon in Canyonlands amidst ancestral Pueblo ruins and seasonal waterfalls. Launching in June of 2019, there are three trip options: a 13-day trip on the upper section from Flaming Gorge to Sand Wash, a 16-day trip on the lower section from Sand Wash to Hite Crossing, and the full 28-day trip from Flaming Gorge to Hite Crossing. The J.W. Powell 150th Anniversary Trip is priced from $1,899 per person.
Amazon Awakenings with Gordon Hempton
From Explorer X comes Amazon Awakenings with Gordon Hempton, a trip to the Ecuadorian rainforest with acclaimed acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton. This trip is designed to “reawaken your senses and reconnect not only with Planet Earth but with your human birthright.” Members of the indigenous Cofan tribe will guide guests through their homelands, interpret the natural history, share their knowledge of edible plants and animals in a rare, still-pristine nature setting. The trip goes from Quito and into the Amazon Basin, with travel by motorboat, canoe, and on foot. The experience concludes with an evening float trip down the Zabalo River with a acapella performance by recording artist Aida Shahghasemi. Upon returning to the Zabalo Village jungle base camp, guests will have the option of remaining at the village to learn more about Cofan culture or to camp alone far within the jungle for two nights. Amazon Awakenings with Gordon Hempton is from $3,985 per person (all prices based on double occupancy).
Japan Bike Tour: A Cultural Journey in Temples and Tea Leaves
Japan Bike Tour is the first Asian departure for DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co., which has made its reputation with luxury bike tours in Europe. On this seven-day departure, riders go through Japanese villages, past temples, tea fields and bamboo groves. Traveling to Nara, Kyoto and Mount Koya, riders stay in traditional ryokans, meditate with Buddhist monks, and can look forward to sake tastings. The first departures will coincide with cherry blossom season. The roads are car-free and shared only by pilgrims making their way on foot to a temple or shrine. There are departures in April, May, June, September, and October. The Japan Bike Tour: A Cultural Journey in Temples and Tea Leaves is priced from $8,795 per person.
England: Coast to Coast Self-Guided Walking Adventure
A self-guided walking adventure along the path of northern England’s Coast-to-Coast Walk is what Country Walkers has put together for travelers with an independent mindset. The walk starts with a ritual boot dip in the Irish Sea and concludes nine days later with a toe touch in the North Sea. Legendary British walker Alfred Wainwright devised this scenic route linking two seas in 1972. Country Walkers provides detailed maps and route notes for this walk through the mountainous Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Not to mention a few taxi transfers to get walkers through the less scenic bits. The trip includes those transfers as well as nightly accommodation at boutique properties, daily breakfast, luggage transfers and some lunches and dinners. Available May 1 through September 30, 2019. England: Coast to Coast Self-Guided Walking Adventureruns from $4,098 per person.
Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park Trip
Closer to home, Trek Travel’s Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park Trip has departures from January through March. It features an architectural biking tour through Palm Springs and explores Joshua Tree National Park. Two of the departures coincide with Palm Springs Modernism Week from February 14-24, 2019. The four-night, five-day trip is based at The Colony Palms Hotel and is part of Trek Travel’s One Collection. Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park Trip is priced at $3,399 per person.
Iceland Volcanoes & Viking Adventure Tour
This trip is all about waterfalls, glaciers, and black sand beaches, not to mention lava fields and the Northern Lights. Classic Journeys has put together this six-day getaway, a multisport trip offered year-round. Each season offers unique experiences that can include exploring ice caves and “tectonic snorkeling” in waters between the Eurasian and American tectonic plates. There’s also horseback riding, spectacular coastal and countryside walks, and puffin watching. Iceland Volcanoes & Viking Adventure Tourcosts from $5,395 per person.
Diving into Immortality Adventure in India
Join Wildland Adventures founders, Kurt and Anne Kutay, on a deep dive passage into the soul of India in February 2019. More of a spiritual adventure than a physical one, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover the true spirit of India culminating at the Ardh Kumbh Mela, the largest spiritual gathering on Earth. From the comfort of a luxury tented camp in the heart of the Kumbh, guests are shepherded through the spiritual gathering of more than 50 million sadhus and devotees by the trip’s host. Lakshmi Singh, a princess of the last Maharaja of Tikari, and a spiritual disciple of two great Hindu Advait philosophy masters is the guide. The 10 day Diving into Immortality Adventure in India trip costs from $6,395 per person.
Balkan Explorer, Hiking the Albanian Alps
BikeHike Adventures has put together this nine-day hiking tour that begins and ends in the Albanian capital of Tirana. With departures from June to September, this trip includes many visits to small villages and farms. One highlight is a hike on one of Albania’s classic routes, along a 1,760-meter pass that for many centuries has connected the glacier valleys of Valbone and Thethi. The Balkan Explorer, Hiking the Albanian Alps is priced from $2,699 per person.
Tanzania Safari Multi-Adventure Tour
Backroads is offering a new Tanzania Safari Multi-Adventure Tour that travels through the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater & Lake Manyara. It includes biking and hiking as well as classic safari game viewing. This is a chance to stay active while viewing some of the most dramatic wildlife on the planet. Guest visit remote villages, tour a coffee plantation and go on interpretive walking safaris. Lodging is at some of the most remote luxury wilderness camps and lodges in East Africa There are November and December departures in 2019. TheTanzania Safari Multi-Adventure Tour runs from $10,499 per person.
Southern Africa Mountain Biking & Safari – Zululand to Mozambique
On this new trip from REI Adventures, you spend nine days mountain biking from South Africa’s Zululand to the wild beaches of Mozambique. Along the way, you explore biodiversity hotspots from the Valley of a Thousand Hills to the subtropical “sand forest” and iSimangaliso wetlands. There’s a Big 5 safari included and luxury beach time in Mozambique. The nine-day Southern Africa Mountain Biking & Safari – Zululand to Mozambique runs from $8.999 per person.