From examples of astonishing human achievement to the incomparable splendor of the natural world, these 23 travel experiences for 2023 showcase our curated collection of some of the most unforgettable experiences available across the globe.
1. The Coral of the Story
Rising sea temperatures have caused many problems around the world, including in the world’s largest coral reef. But while a significant amount of bleaching has plagued Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in the past several years, things might be turning around. In 2022, the largest amount of coral cover, which is the amount of live stony coral that makes up a reef’s infrastructure, was recorded. Looks like it might be the perfect time to grab your fins and head down under!
2. Light Up the Night
Havelock Island, part of India’s Andaman Island, draws travelers to its white-sand beaches and numerous scuba diving opportunities, including the coral reefs just off of Elephant Beach. Kayaking at night allows visitors to experience waters teeming with bioluminescence caused by the phytoplankton that live there. Each paddle stroke makes the waters around you literally glow! thegreatnext.com
3. Surf the Perfect Wave
Waco, Texas, doesn’t exactly conjure up images of surfboards, sand, and endless summers, but after riding sets of perfect waves at Waco Surf, it just might. Everyone from beginners to experienced surfers can challenge themselves throughout the resort, riding waves made using theirPerfectSwell technology. Waco Surf also has a wakeboarding cable park, slides and a lazy river that provides every member of the family a way to get wet.
4. Talk Yurty to Me
Think luxury can’t happen in the great outdoors? Staying in a yurt not only offers the ultimate glamping experience, it also allows guests to experience a unique style of architecture used by many different cultures throughout the ages. The Big Sur coast is the star of the show at the yurts at Treebones Resort. Each yurt features a redwood deck that allows guests to take in every breathtaking inch of scenery.
5. Ice, Ice, Brrrrraby
As if building a hotel out of ice isn’t impressive enough, the creators of the Icehotel let their creation thaw completely each spring, only to build a new version the next winter! Icehotel has also expanded to offer year-round accommodations, including their Icehotel 365, where guests can sleep on ice no matter the season, and hotel rooms and chalets that are more traditional in nature. icehotel.com
6. Oh Captain, My Captain
The Caribbean has some of the calmest ocean waters on the planet. Chartering a sailboat allows travelers to hop from island to island, enjoying one charming harbor after another or opting for longer blue water passages to get their hearts racing a bit.
7. Sleep with the Fishes
While overwater bungalows got their claim to fame in the South Pacific, they are popping up in many other regions. Stay closer to home with a stay in one of the seven overwater Lagoon Sunset Pool Villas at Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. banyantree.com
8. Hit the Open Road
Thousands of RVs are listed for rent on sites like RVShare.com. Take one for a spin to the local state park for an overnight camping experience or across the country on your next family road trip.
9. High Times
From spectacular vistas of nature to dizzying views of cities from the tops of the surrounding skyscrapers, skywalks afford visitors views of their surroundings that no other structure could. Conquer new heights at the Skywalk X Macau Tower in China or Edgewalk at the CN Tower in Toronto.
10. Bring the Outside In
Thanks to technology innovations and increased popularity, the sport of indoor skiing is now available in 20 different countries. Perhaps the most well-known is Ski Dubai, where skiers can test their skills on five different runs, including the world’s first indoor black diamond run.
11. Explore a Cenote
If you’re traveling to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula this year, taking a dip in a cenote is an absolute must. Cenotes are natural sinkholes formed in limestone bedrock that expose groundwater underneath. Tourists and locals alike visit cenotes like the Ik Kil cenote to cool off with a swim or to go scuba diving and explore. cenotesmexico.org
12. Go Tankless
Experience the undersea world firsthand without scuba diving: A submarine ride in the Caymans lets you explore one of the top diving destinations in the world without strapping on a dive mask.
13. Watch Your Step
Tread carefully across the Shahara Bridge in Yemen. Built in the 17th century to connect two ancient cities, it was also built to be destroyed quickly if those places were under invasion.
14. Swing Over a Cliff
Take on the Giant Canyon Swing at Glenwood Caverns adventure park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, which was named as one of the most extreme rides in the United States by USA Today.
15. Pilgrim’s Pride
The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is made up of several medieval routes originating all over Europe with the same destination: the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the city of Santiago in northwest Spain. While caminoways vary in size, with several of them much longer than 200 miles, one of the most popular is the final 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the Camino Frances From Sarria to Santiago. Pilgrims who take this trek typically do so over seven days and can either have a guide or go it alone.
16. Seek Guide-ance
Guided trips allow travelers to experience destinations on a more intimate level. After years working as a professional tour leader, Emily Rose, aka “The Wanderlust Rose,” now spends her days leading groups on curated trips to destinations such as Cuba, Peru, Iceland and Jordan.
17. Experience Eastern Europe
Dating back to 1257, Main Market Square is the biggest medieval plaza in Europe. Known as Krakow, Poland’s city center, the 40,000-square-foot space is still used as a trade center and bustles with activity every day.
18. A Dear Abbey
Visit the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, a Benedictine abbey perched on the craggy rock face of Montserrat mountain, to realize just how important religion is to the Catalonian people.
Ever wonder where filmmakers get their inspiration when they create their mythical movie worlds? Located in the Hunan Province of China, the Tianzi Mountains‘ tower-like peaks were created by millions of years of erosion. It was these peaks, which seem to jut straight up in the air from the forest below, that inspired James Cameron’s epic movie Avatar.
20. The Base is the Place
While climbing to the peak of Mount Everest may be the definitive bucket list item, getting to its base camp is a feat in itself. Known as the hardest base camp trek in the Himalayas, the climb to Mount Everest base camp is legendary among the base camp crowd. Not a trekker? No problem. Take a helicopter to experience the ice peaks, meltwater pools and camaraderie of climbers at the camp.
21. A Real-Life Fairy Tale
Scotland is a land filled with mythic tales and folklore. One such story is about its fairy pools. Located on the Isle of Skye, the fairy pools are famous for their vivid blue water. Legend has it that once upon a time, fairies were spotted frolicking in the pools.
22. Truly Gorge-ous
The Baatara Gorge Waterfall in Lebanon is around 160 million years old, and tourists can gain access to it from one of three natural bridges. The best time to visit is in the spring (typically March or April), when the snowmelt is at its peak fueling the waterfall.
23. Get Ice-olated
Take an epic cruise to Antarctica to see a part of the world teeming with wildlife and offering truly majestic scenery. cruiseplanners.com
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