Hikers on a ridge trail on New Zealand's South Island
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10 experiences for an extraordinary 2020

Our 10 most uncommon and unexpected travel experiences,
each one pretty much guaranteed to make 2020 your best year yet

1. Pedal the Galapagos: Ride fat bikes to giant tortoises

"Seeing the amazing creatures of the Galapagos in the wild exceeded my expectations—it’s like stepping into Jurassic Park. Giant tortoises ambling along the bike trail, iguanas sunning on the rocks, paddling with penguins, and being chased down the sidewalk by a sea lion!" – Solo Traveler, Galapagos Islands Multisport

2. Dive into Costa Rica: Rappel down a rainforest waterfall

"The activities were amazing, and all held under pristine backdrops: zip-lining through a small canyon, hiking to a hidden waterfall and admiring breathtaking vistas along the way, paddle boarding and kayaking in the warm ocean water..."– Andrew, Costa Rica Escape

3. Step up your coffee game: Go straight to the source

"Loved the extra activities along the way: visiting a working potato farm, seeing a coffee plantation, observing a Quechua blessing ceremony, riding in a two-person cable car across a ravine, buying woven goods from an REI-supported women's craft center, and cooking lunch in an outdoor firepit."– Cleo, Machu Picchu Lodge Trek – Salkantay

4. Bask in Vietnam’s beauty: Stand up paddleboard at sunset

"Vietnam proved to be a beautiful country with a wonderful blend of mountains, coastline and jungle. This exceedingly well organized trip greatly surpassed our expectations as both an athletic and cultural experience."– Scott & Ann, Vietnam Cycling

5. Feel Earth’s warm embrace: Soak in soothing thermal waters

"The scenery is otherworldly beautiful and the landscape was so varied: lush and green, stark and rugged, icebergs and glaciers, geysers and hot springs, it has it all!"– Anonymous, Iceland Hiking

6. Descend the Grand Canyon: Dip your toes in the river that carved it

"This is definitely a strenuous trip—and TOTALLY worth it! All kinds of weather, all kinds of terrain, amazing people, spectacular sights, highly qualified and awesome guides. I would do it over again, exactly as it was, in a heartbeat!"– The Selliers, Grand Canyon Backpacking – South Rim – Women's Hermit Rapids Loop

7. Meet a mountain sculptor: Visit a glacier up close

“The glacier walk was my favorite—I mean, we ate lunch while drinking water off the top of a glacier. Does it really get any better?"– Donna, Iceland Winter Adventure

8. Trek through Tanzania: Hike with a Maasai guide across their ancestral lands

"We had fabulous guides that not only helped us through the adventures, but instilled in us an appreciation for the culture and the environment in Tanzania."– Julie, Tanzania Ultimate Adventure & Safari

9. Savor the brilliant hues of earth and sky: Catch a sunrise at Rainbow Mountain

"Peru was a dream...I will never forget it as long as I live"– Annie, Peru Multisport – Machu Picchu to Rainbow Mountain | Under 35

10. Explore bays, bridges and beaches: Go island hopping by bicycle

"The country we biked through was beautiful on many different levels, from tiny countryside roads and ancient farms to forested and waterfall-dotted parks to the Adriatic Sea and its turquoise water."– Sara Bella, Croatia Cycling