With new trails and lodges opening all around the globe, there’s never been a better time to lace up your hiking boots and set out for adventure in some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Whether you seek to summit South American mountains, thru-hike in the European wilds, or march side-by-side with Antarctic penguins, now is the time to get acquainted with the world’s most rugged and pristine lands. Here, the top adventurous destinations every woman should visit in 2017.
Beginning in the capital of Lima, stay at the new Ātemporal in the luxurious Miraflores district, before flying to Cusco, the base town for all treks to the country’s most beloved ruins.
For culture seekers and avid hikers, the new Lares Adventure by Mountain Lodges of Peru should top your list. Opt for this lodge-to-lodge trek over the traditional Inca or Salkantay trails if you wish to weave through local, Andean communities while staying at boutique properties on your way to the illustrious Machu Picchu. If you prefer cycling in lieu of hiking, opt for an adventure to the ruins with Duvine DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. While you’re traversing the Urubamba Valley, stay at the new Explora Valle Sagrado to experience local culture firsthand. Here, visit Cervecería del Valle Sagrado to sip brews from the region’s first craft brewery. From the mountains, head straight for the Peruvian jungle, where you can cruise the area with Delfin Amazon Cruises.
Spend your days drinking pisco sours from the boat’s open-air, rooftop bar in between daily excursions aboard skiffs: Every twist and turn along the Amazon River is almost guaranteed to lead to a caiman, anaconda, or pink dolphin sighting.
To round out your Peruvian experience, head south to Puno with Intrepid. Visit Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, and learn local customs during a homestay on the floating Uros Islands.
The 2016-2017 Antarctic season marks the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of the continent’s four highest peaks by members of the American Antarctic Mountaineering Expedition, and to commemorate the climb, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions is leading travelers on five fully guided trips up Mount Vinson. If you favor a ship expedition, begin in Ushuaia in Argentina to set sail on an Intrepid Travel adventure with Quark Expeditions: Begin by crossing the infamously choppy waters of the Drake Passage, before landing in the South Shetland Islands, home to rare birds like the snow petrel and albatross and a plethora of thriving penguin colonies, including the adélie, gentoo, and chinstrap varieties. If your hope is to see the emperor penguin, the largest of the penguin species, then head to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia with Lindblad Expeditions. Watch as thousands of emperor penguins march in legions, while herds of elephant seals nap on outlying icebergs. If your dream is to reach the South Pole but you don’t have the same grit as legendary explorers like Roald Amundsen, Robert F. Scott, and Ernest Shackleton, fly to the South Pole with Polar Quest to stand where all 360 lines of longitude meet.
Travelers often arrive to Australia with hopes to visit the famed Great Barrier Reef, but, unbeknownst to most, the country is also home to the Ningaloo Reef located in the Coral Coast region of Western Australia. Just a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Perth, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to 250 species of coral, 500 species of fish, and it’s the world’s largest fringing reef—meaning you can tip-toe right from the sand and snorkel over the reef, no boats necessary. During a visit, stay at Sal Salis, a remote, beachside safari camp nestled in the dunes of Ningaloo Reef. The 16-room glamping site operates its own boating adventures: Sign up for exclusive excursions to swim with whale sharks and humpback whales. After an aquatic adventure, head south to Margaret River to hike the Cape to Cape Track with Walk into Luxury—explore a coastline brimming with pristine beaches, limestone cliffs, coastal bush land, and the Boranup Karri Forest.
Finland is as perfect as you’ve heard: Snowy-white birch trees are the backdrop to an idyllic winter wonderland, where frozen lakes glisten in the heat of the northern sun. In 2017, the country celebrates its 100 years of independence, making now the perfect time to visit. To commemorate the occasion, Finland is set to announce the opening of Hossa National Park in June, Finland’s 40th national park. Thanks to its crystalline waters, Hossa is a popular destination amongst divers and fisherman, and it’s also host to the notable Värikallio rock paintings. While in northern Finland, visit Rovaniemi, the “hometown” of Santa Claus. Take a snowmobile safari and a husky tour before departing to the Arctic Circle for a stay at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, where you can admire the Northern Lights from your very own glass-domed igloo. To get the most out of your trip to Finland, Smartflyer’s Leslie Fineman suggests visiting in March, as heavy snowfall will be a guarantee and daylight hours will prove long. Fineman curates experiences for guests to ice-fish, attend reindeer races, and meet the indigenous Sami, a warm-hearted, semi-nomadic group of reindeer herders with rich shamanic traditions.
Next year marks Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, and to celebrate, Parks Canada is offering free entrance to all national parks for 2017. Begin with an exploration of western Canada during a hike along the West Coast Trail in British Columbia’s Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, later visiting neighboring Alberta to experience the all-new Banff Gondola in Banff National Park. Visit Newfoundland and Labrador on the East Coast to experience Gros Morne National Park before departing to Fogo Island Inn, where you can chase icebergs and spot whales on the high seas in summer, or amble across hiking trails, hills, and berry patches during fall, learning jamming and lassie-tart baking along the way. Even adventurous eaters can get in on the fun when booking a spot on Edible Canada’s Across the Top of Canada trip. Sixty passengers charter a private, 737 jet from western to eastern Canada, beginning in Vancouver and heading straight into the northern Canadian wilds, stopping in locales like Churchill in Manitoba and Whitehorse in the Yukon. At each of the stop, guests are treated to exclusive dinners with Canada’s top chefs, including Jeremy Charles, Michael Smith, Derek Dammann, and Ned Bell.
If you whisper the words Via Dinarica in a room of adventure travelers, heads will turn. In 2017, the official map completion of the 1,200-mile Via Dinarica will be finalized, creating a reliable, graphed system for travelers to self-hike through the western Balkans. The trail begins and ends in Slovenia and Macedonia, respectively, running through Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania along the way. Trekkers can experience the rich, cultural heritage of the region during homestays in local villages and mountaintop or seaside huts. On a trip with Mountain Travel Sobek, carve out 22 days to explore six of the eight Via Dinarica countries. The 128-mile route weaves through the unexplored region, where limestone peaks meet the Adriatic Sea and views of glacier-fed lakes prove frequent. If you prefer to cycle the Balkans, opt for a spot on The Odyssey with TDA Global Cycling, a seven-week tour from Athens to Amsterdam that stops in Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia.
In 2015, Nepal was rocked by a devastating, 7.8-magnitude earthquake, upending the local population, killing more than 8,000, and putting the tourism infrastructure the country relies on in dire circumstances. The earthquake triggered avalanches on Mount Everest and in the Langtang Valley and had long-lasting effects on the Kathmandu Valley through 2016. The adventure travel community responded, and many companies like G Adventures, Adventure Travel Trade Association, and Intrepid Travel began fundraising programs, enlisting the help of travelers to aid in on-the-ground rebuilding efforts, animal rescue and conservation, and empowerment of local women and children. More than a year later, Nepal is poised for a prodigious 2017. During a visit, opt for a lodge-to-lodge trek with REI Adventures, or go beyond the traditional Everest Base Camp and Annapurna routes on Intrepid Travel’s new Tamang Heritage Trail Trek, which explores sacred Tibetan culture while winding through verdant midlands and local villages, culminating in overnight stays with locals. Interact with one of the oldest tribes of Nepal, all while trekking alpine terrains, meadows, and rhododendron forests.
There’s a reason Matt Damon’s hit movie The Martian was filmed in Jordan: The country encompasses a lunar-like, desert maze and larger-than-life sandstone formations that are the closest most of us will ever get to experiencing life on Mars. The country is fast becoming an adventure hub in the region, given the diverse landscapes and wide array of activities available. During a trip, traverse the recently erected Jordan Trail, which crosses through the entire country, from top to bottom, and offers nearly 400 miles of trail. Hike through the rolling wooded hills of the north, the salty waters of the Dead Sea, and colorful corals of the Red Sea. For a culturally immersive experience, opt to explore the country with Absolute Travel. Begin with a hike past waterfalls and oases in Wadi Mukheiris, journey along the King’s Highway past crusader castles, and end with a candlelit exploration of Petra. The experience culminates with a safari through the Wadi Rum, where you can explore local Bedouin life during a stay in a traditional tent.
Kenya If you’ve always dreamed of visiting Africa and experiencing the wildlife and cultures that make the continent so special, then a trip to Kenya’s newest safari lodge is in order. At Angama Mara in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, call one of 30 tented suites home while peering out over the Siria-Oloololo Escarpment above the Mara Triangle, the same land where Out of Africa was filmed. The property sits in the heart of Maasailand and provides tailor-made experiences, ranging from sunrise hot-air-balloon safaris to visiting a Maasai family in their home. If you would like to see the Great Migration firsthand and witness the marvel of millions of animals thundering through the plains, opt for an adventure with Rothschild Safaris to the Chyulu Hills to see the rescued elephants of the David Sheldrick Trust. Here, travel from reserve to reserve by aircraft, stopping for bush walks along the way. To see the best of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park all in one trip, book with Kensington Tours to explore the region while lions, leopards, and hyenas walk alongside your jeep. Visit the Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera, to see thousands of mammals congregate at its base: It’s a chance to sight more than 20,000 mammal species, like cheetahs, giraffes, and rhinoceroses.