The 27th of March is our birthday and we have been lucky enough to have had 31 years of taking people to some seriously special destinations. It got us thinking about our top travel experiences. It’s a big world out there and there are just so many incredible adventures to be had. We have come up with our 31 top travel experiences but if there are any you think we have missed, comment below!
1. Hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Peru is home to a huge amount of experiences of a lifetime. Spending the night in the Amazon Jungle, visiting Lake Titicaca, or exploring the sand dunes in Huacachina, the list is endless. However, one of the main reasons for people wanting to travel to Peru, is to see the legendary citadel of Machu Picchu. Some people get the train, some take the Lares Valley Trek, but for us, the top way to get to Machu Picchu is by following in the footsteps of the Incas on the Inca Trail Trek. Four days of hiking and camping along the way, is all worth it when you reach the Sun Gate and see Machu Picchu spread out in front of you.
2. Watched the Wildebeest Migration
If like us your favourite film is the Lion King, or you simply want to see wildlife in all its glory then the Wildebeest Migration in Kenya and Tanzania is the experience for you. Occurring between June and September thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles migrate between the Masai Mara and Serengeti National Park, risking their lives on the dangerous river crossings. Huge Nile Crocodiles lie in wait for the poor herbivores as they cross in their herds.
3. Saw the glow of the Northern Lights
One of the world’s most attractive phenomenon, Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights has to be seen to be believed. From Norway to Iceland, the lure of the spectacular colours dancing in the Arctic night sky is a magical sight to see. It is extremely hard to predict when they will occur but the best time to see the Northern Lights is between September and April under a clear night sky.
4. Said hello to the Mountain Gorillas of Uganda
Deep in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda live a number of endangered mountain gorillas. Trekking in search for them is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you with very special memories. It is a challenging hike, with steep ascents and descents and it could take you anywhere from an hour to eight hours to find the gorillas. All of this will quickly be forgotten as you catch your first glimpse of a Silverback and his family in the wild.
5. Danced the night away at Rio Carnival
Often known as the World’s Greatest Party, Rio Carnival is for anyone who wants to add a little fiesta to their life. For months Samba Schools are fiercely preparing for their biggest event of the season – Rio Carnival, held at the Sambadrome in February. Watch the spectacular parade, with huge colourful floats and dancers shimmying their way down the catwalk. Aside from the parade itself there are a huge amount of street parties (blocos) to enjoy a caipirinha or two. Grab your best costumes, pack your dancing shoes and get ready for the party of a lifetime!
6. Snorkelled with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands
One of the most incredible wildlife experiences to be had , the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador are home to a huge amount of wildlife species, many endemic to the islands themselves. A highlight here are the playful sea lions, who inhabit a number of the islands. Snorkel in the water and you will often be joined by a number of inquisitive sea lions as well as other marine life.
7. Reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro
Have you climbed the highest mountain in Africa? Not for the faint-hearted, there are several treks that will take you to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. People generally spend months training for this experience, where they will ascend to 5,895 metres above sea level. This is one of the most challenging experiences on our list, but that feeling of victory when you reach the summit will be unlike any other.
8. Swam in an underground cenote in Mexico
Mexico is known for its sun-kissed beaches and epic Maya ruins but have you experienced the incredible underground cenotes? Found across the Yucatan Peninsula, these underwater sinkholes are filled with freshwater which you can swim in. Some are open, others are deep within the ground, but all of them are absolutely fantastic when you want to cool down from the Mexican sun.
9. Climbed to the top of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka
Known as ‘Lion’s Rock’ for the huge stone paws that guard the stairway, Sigiriya in Sri Lanka was a former fortress of an ancient king. The top of the rock was home to the palace and gardens which you can explore today. Ascend the steps and reach the top for incredible views over Sri Lanka.
10. Felt the spray of Iguazu Falls
Photos do not do these falls any justice. Bordering Argentina and Brazil, these mighty falls have to be seen in real life. Made up of 275 falls, Iguazu is a beast, the tallest of these called Devil’s Throat with a drop of more than 80 metres. You can visit both sides of the falls and even take a boat out. Just remember to pack your poncho.
11. Saw the sunrise over Angkor Wat
Is there anyone who has been to Cambodia who hasn’t been to Angkor Wat? This incredible temple complex is the world’s largest religious monument and one of the most important archaeological sites. The whole temple is breath-taking and incredibly detailed with beautiful carvings and intricate icons to uncover. One of the most iconic views is when you first arrive and the sun rises over the ponds in front of the temple.
12. Cruised on a junkboat in Halong Bay
Known as the ‘Bay of Descending Dragons’ Halong Bay in Vietnam boasts spectacular landscapes with huge limestone cliffs and hidden caves. Board a Chinese sailing vessel known as a junkboat and spend the night soaking up the tranquility. You will be able to explore the caves, take a dip in the bay and even practice a spot of tai-chi on board.
13. Swam in Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls
Forget fancy hotels, Zambia is home to the ultimate infinity pool. Attracting thrill-seekers who want to peer over the edge, Devil’s Pool is a natural pool on the top of Victoria Falls. You can take a dip between August and January when the water levels are low enough.
14. Climbed to the top of Dune 45, Namibia
This beast of a sand dune is located in the Namib Desert and stands over 80 metres high. Visitors who want to get their breath pumping can climb it and be rewarded with spectacular views at the top. You have to go before sunrise before the sun becomes unbearable but those who reach the top can enjoy breathtaking views across the desert.
15. Rode a camel in the Sahara Desert
Another desert, a different experience. A highlight for anyone visiting Morocco is riding a camel deep into the Sahara Desert. You can stay overnight with a Berber community, a nomadic group who inhabit different parts of Morocco. Stay the night in their camp, gazing at the clear night sky.
16. Saw ice calve off the Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno is special for a number of reasons. Not only is it one of the only glaciers still growing, it is situated in one of the most beautiful regions in the world, Patagonia. Spanning over 240 feet above the water you can stand on the viewing platforms and if you are lucky, see a huge chunk of ice calve off into the turquoise water below.
17. Posed for photos on the Uyuni Salt Flats
The magical Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia are a must-see for anyone visiting South America. The largest of the world’s salt flats, they stretch out as far as the eye can see and tend to be a photographer’s dream. It is perfect for an optic illusion photo, with the reflections and the light bouncing off the floor of the salt flats.
18. Climbed a volcano in Nicaragua
As well as some pretty spectacular lakes (looking at you Lake Nicaragua), Nicaragua is also home to an abundance of volcanoes. Some of these active, some dormant, many offer spectacular opportunities to hike upon them or even swim in crater lakes. Ometepe Island is a perfect place to do this. Located in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, travellers have the chance to hike up Volcano Maderas or Volcano Concepción.
19. Saw Venice’s canals on a gondola
Oh Italy. A country that boasts decadently delicious food, ancient ruins and beautiful cities. One of these is picture-perfect Venice. Not a hidden gem by any means, but a constant lure to travellers wanting to see the city from its iconic gondolas. Cruise the canals and soak up the romance before enjoying sunset with a glass of ice-cool limoncello.
20. Discovered the beauty of the Taj Mahal
A jewel of India, if not the world, the Taj Mahal is the ultimate declaration of love. Shan Jahan built this mausoleum for his wife who sadly passed away. It is the most exquisite of designs, built with marble and precious stones. Have you been lucky enough to get a photo in front of the reflecting pool?
21. Paddled a mokoro through the Okavango Delta
Have you been to Botswana’s unique wetland? The Okavango Delta is made up of a number of small islands which are home to huge amounts of flora and fauna. Glide slowly through the waterways on board a traditional mokoro, a canoe-like boat. Keep your eyes peeled for hippos, elephants and more.
22. Cycled around the ruins at Bagan
Bagan in Myanmar is one of the most impressive ancient archaeological sites in the world. It is home to over 2200 Buddhist temples and the best way to see them is own two wheels. Cycle around the ruins and discover each unique structure, the interiors of which are free for you to explore.
23. Went white-water rafting down the Nile
Perfect for adrenaline-junkies, the Nile offers fantastic rafting opportunities. In Jinja, Uganda you can grab a raft and tackle the grade 3-5 rapids – but prepare to get wet! It is a must for anyone that wants a heart-pumping experience in one of the world’s most famous rivers!
24. Saw sea turtles come to nest in Tortuguero
Between the months of July and October something seriously special happens in Costa Rica. If you happen to be there you may be lucky enough to see the Green Sea Turtles arrive at the beaches to lay their eggs on the sand. If not, wildlife-lovers needn’t worry – there are plenty of fantastic national parks to spot an abundance of wildlife in Costa Rica.
25. Walked along the Great Wall of China
The longest wall in the world, the Great Wall of China could not have been missed off this list. Originally a structure built for defense, it is a winding trail that is also home to fortresses and watchtowers. Hundreds of thousands of tourists have explored the wall and admired the impressive views from atop.
26. Swam in the Great Barrier Reef
Known to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world, The Great Barrier Reef is more than just the standard on every keen travellers bucket list but is a location (did you know it gets approximately 2 million visitors each year?) worthy of visiting if you’re in sunny Queensland, Australia. The reef itself consists of hundreds of mini islands that are home to thousands of different species of fish and thirty specifies of whales, dolphins, and porpoises that you can come face-to-face with on a snorkelling or diving trip.
27. Visited the Sydney Opera House
Almost everyone who visits Australia makes it their mission to visit to the iconic Sydney Opera House. Located by Sydney Harbour, the World Heritage Site hosts an array of exciting annual events that are not to be missed, including the famous Vivid Sydney festival which is celebrated in an explosion of light and colour. Get your phones and cameras ready and prepare to be mesmerised by creative outdoor lighting displays projected on to the Opera House itself, alongside an incredible musical set-list.
28. Explored the Acropolis in Greece
A visit to Athens simply wouldn’t be complete without the age-old Acropolis added to your list of experiences. Step into Ancient Greece and explore the ruins of the centuries old citadel overlooking the city. Originally built for the Greek goddess Athena, the Acropolis is also home to its very own museum which contains an impressive ancient collection of sculptures and artwork dating as far back as the 5th Century BC.
29. Gazed over the rim of the Grand Canyon
Not only is it another major travel experience that you should be ticking off your bucket list, but it’s the ultimate USA experience. Hiking the mighty Grand Canyon in the US state of Arizona brings you face-to-face with incredible natural beauty where photos simply do not do it justice. The best part is that you don’t necessarily need to be an experienced hiker as there are a variety of day hikes and trails that can be done at your own pace.Trails are based on both the North and South Rim of the Canyon (a popular one being the Bright Angel trail).
30. Trekked to the Lost City in Colombia
If you’re reading this you’ve heard of the Inca Trail, the trek to Kilimanjaro and the many trails of Yosemite National Park to name a few…but an undiscovered gem that is not to be missed is the 4-5 day hike to the Lost City in Colombia. Take off on an unforgettable 28 mile adventure through the jungles and river valleys of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and learn about the sacred indigenous culture of the Wiwa community. It’s not for the faint hearted, but well worth it for the experience and sense of accomplishment hat you get when you reach the top of those lush jungle views that can only be reached by foot.
31. Got close to icebergs in Antarctica
How many people do you know that have had the opportunity to go to Antarctica? If the answer is not many, then it’s time to pack your bags and be amongst the first of your circle of friends to visit this icy paradise. From stunning views to unbelievable wildlife, a cruise-ship expedition to the great arctic really is the trip of a lifetime, and one to consider experiencing to learn more about everything from climate change to glaciers.