Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers
Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Scale New Heights in Patagonia
For adventure seekers looking to scale new heights in 2023, Patagonia should be at the top of your list. This remote region shared between Chile and Argentina offers some of the most dramatic and awe-inspiring landscapes on the planet. From soaring mountain peaks to expansive ice fields, Patagonia is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise.
One of the best ways to experience the magic of Patagonia is by trekking through Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. This UNESCO biosphere reserve features the breathtaking Torres del Paine massif, a group of towering granite peaks that pierce the Patagonian sky. Hiking the world-famous "W Trek" takes you through pristine wilderness, past glacial lakes, and up close to the vertigo-inducing spires of the Towers. Standing beneath these giants and gazing up at their snow-covered facets is an experience that will stay with you forever.
For a more challenging trek, the “Circuit” is an 8-10 day route that circumnavigates the entire Paine massif. You’ll traverse high mountain passes, push through relentless winds, and camp under the glow of the Southern Hemisphere night sky. Completing the Circuit is a true feat of physical endurance and mental grit – the rewards come in the form of sunrises over unimaginable mountain vistas that will steal your breath away.
On the Argentina side of Patagonia, Los Glaciares National Park beckons. Home to the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, this park presents opportunities for ice hiking and glacier trekking that are unmatched anywhere else on Earth. Strapping on crampons and roaming the blue-hued labyrinths of Perito Moreno Glacier is an almost otherworldly experience. You’ll witness the raw power of nature as massive chunks of ice calve from the glacier and crash into the waters below. It's a humbling reminder of humanity's fragility in the face of Mother Nature's immense power.
For hardcore mountaineers, the prize summit of Patagonia is Cerro Torre. Located along the Chilean-Argentine border, Cerro Torre is one of the most technically challenging and dangerous mountains to climb on the planet. Rising over 10,000 feet almost straight into the sky, Cerro Torre is considered by many expert climbers to be their ultimate dream summit. The difficulty stems from rime ice that coats the upper reaches of the peak, creating a maze of mushrooming spires and unstable overhangs. Summiting Cerro Torre takes expert-level rock and ice climbing skills, along with fortitude and determination forged over years of experience. Standing on the top of this nearly-vertical tower of rock and ice is a mountaineering achievement matched by few peaks worldwide.
What else is in this post?
- Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Scale New Heights in Patagonia
- Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Dive Into Australia's Great Barrier Ree
- Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Ride the Rapids Through the Grand Canyon
- Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Trek the Mountains of Nepal
- Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Safari Through The Serengeti
- Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Hike Iceland's Dramatic Landscapes
- Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Surf Bali's Legendary Waves
Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Dive Into Australia's Great Barrier Ree
Stretching 1,400 miles along Australia’s northeast coast, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. For scuba divers and snorkelers, this underwater paradise offers boundless opportunities to experience dazzling coral gardens, encounter curious sea turtles, and come face-to-face with an astonishing diversity of tropical fish.
The north and central sections of the reef feature some of the most vibrant and pristine dive sites. Ribbon Reefs, a string of ten submerged tropical islands, offer incredible visibility up to 65 feet. Drift diving along these outer reefs allows you to float effortlessly through labyrinths of coral formations in every color of the rainbow. Keep an eye out for giant clams over four feet wide nestled amongst the coral. Some dive sites around Ribbon Reef #3 contain the most significant green sea turtle rookeries on the reef. Witness these gentle giants going about their business undisturbed in their natural habitat.
Further south, the Whitsunday Islands provide access to fringing reefs teeming with marine life. One standout is Blue Pearl Bay, repeatedly voted one of the top dive sites in the world. Sheer wall dive sites give way to gardens of branching staghorn corals and fields of free-moving feather stars. Schools of barracuda, batfish, and snapper swarm around you as you descend into the blue. Look closely at the coral for shy reef octopuses and well-camouflaged stonefish tucked into crevices.
The iconic Heart Reef, only accessible by liveaboard dive boats and scenic flights, features a perfectly heart-shaped coral formation. While its beauty is jaw-dropping from the air, the only way to fully experience its magic is by slipping below the surface. Diving here, you’re immersed in an alien world of brilliant coral structures and kaleidoscopic tropical fish. It’s the pinnacle of Great Barrier Reef diving experiences.
For divers seeking the ultimate thrill, a trip out to Osprey Reef promises shark action and big animal encounters. Diving with schools of grey reef sharks and massive potato cod is not for the faint of heart, but the adrenaline rush is unparalleled. Keep your eyes peeled for passing whale sharks and manta rays, which frequent these waters. Witnessing these gentle giants glide gracefully by will take your breath away.
Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Ride the Rapids Through the Grand Canyon
For adventure seekers looking for their next thrill ride, strap on a helmet and life jacket and get ready to brave the raging rapids of the Grand Canyon. Riding the Colorado River through the depths of this natural wonder is a bucket list experience like no other.
The Colorado River cuts straight through the heart of the Grand Canyon, carving out deep gorges and canyons as it makes its way from source to sea. This turbulent river drops thousands of feet as it winds through the endless rock layers, creating some of the most intense whitewater rapids in the world. Running these rapids on a rafting trip takes you through the very belly of the Grand Canyon for an up-close perspective you just can't get from the rim.
Tackling the mighty Colorado River is not for the faint of heart. Legendary rapids like Lava Falls, with its 15-foot wave, and Hance, where rafts plunge nearly 30 feet over a waterfall, will test your mettle. But riding your raft through the churning madness and coming out the other side soaking wet and triumphant is a thrill unlike any other. Your experienced rafting guides will navigate the biggest drops and keep you right-side up in the roughest stretches. Just hold on tight and let that adrenaline surge!
In between pounding your heart out in the rapids, drifting through the tranquil stretches of river allows you to gaze up at towering canyon walls streaked with red and orange. You’ll wind your way past soaring pinnacles, imposing buttes, and hidden side canyons few will ever explore. Camping on pristine beaches along the riverbank under endless stars is the perfect way to end an epic day battling the rapids.
Running this storied stretch of river follows in the brave footsteps of early pioneers like John Wesley Powell who first dared to conquer its fearsome rapids. A successful Grand Canyon rafting trip proves your mettle as a modern-day adventurer. It's sure to bring you even closer together with raft-mates who together share the thrill of living to tell the tale of riding the rapids of the Colorado.
Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Trek the Mountains of Nepal
Of all the places on Earth to trek, few can compare to the hypnotizing heights of the Himalayas. And no country provides access to the roof of the world quite like Nepal. With eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, Nepal is a mecca for adventurers seeking to explore legendary peaks. Trekking through these mountains brings you into the core of the Himalayas to experience the full force of nature’s grandeur.
The Annapurna Circuit has long been considered the ultimate Nepal trek. This legendary route immerses you deep within the Annapurna mountain range, circling the Annapurna massif and crossing a staggering 17,770 foot pass. As you trek, the snow-capped Annapurna peaks tower above, SA dazzling giants keeping watch over your journey SA The ethos of walking the Annapurna Circuit is taking the time to properly acclimate and savor the unfolding views. Give yourself 10-15 days to complete the 100 mile circuit. Starting from lush foothills, each day takes you higher into alpine terrain with views more staggering than the last. Reaching the Thorung La Pass after a week’s trekking will literally take your breath away. You’ll stand at the pinnacle surrounded by Himalayan giants, with the Kali Gandaki Valley plunging away beneath your feet. Complete the circuit by descending into misty jungles bursting with rhododendron in full bloom.
Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Safari Through The Serengeti
Of all the iconic African safari destinations, few capture the imagination quite like Tanzania's Serengeti. This vast national park encompasses 5,700 square miles of boundless savannas, acacia woodlands, and rocky outcrops called kopjes. The annual Great Migration of over a million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles courses through the Serengeti in an endless loop. This natural spectacle provides unparalleled wildlife viewing and quintessential African safari experiences.
Witnessing the drama and scope of the Great Migration in person is an emotional experience that connects you viscerally to the primal rhythms of the natural world. Joining a mobile tented camp allows you to follow the migration's path and position yourself in the heart of the action. My recent stay at Nomad's Serengeti Safari Camp provided front row seats to river crossings with thousands of wildebeest plunging into crocodile-infested waters. We watched prides of lions seize wildebeest calves as the frenzied herds raced by. Sightings of cheetahs on the hunt, their lithe forms camouflaged in the tall grass before exploding into a blur of speed, left us breathless.
A hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti plains provides a unique perspective on the landscapes and wildlife patterns below. Floating silently above herds scattering across an endless golden grassland elicits a profound sense of tranquility and connection to the natural world. As your balloon descends, a champagne breakfast awaits on the savanna - complete with roaming wildlife.
For close encounters with some of Africa's most charismatic species, central Serengeti is prime habitat for leopards, elephants, giraffes, and more. Game drives with expert guides provide the thrill of tracking these elusive creatures across the savanna and woodlands. You'll venture deep into the heart of lion country - the Moru Kopjes area teems with prides lazing on kopje boulders and cubs learning to hunt in the grass. Leopards stake out territories in giant fever tree forests, where guides use their expert tracking skills to spot these masters of camouflage.
Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Hike Iceland's Dramatic Landscapes
Of all the stunning landscapes on Earth, few rival the raw natural beauty of Iceland. This volcanic island rising from the North Atlantic wows visitors with its kaleidoscope of dramatic terrain forged from fire and ice. Hiking across Iceland’s dreamscapes feels like wandering through the pages of a fantasy novel. Prepare to be awestruck by exploding geysers, calving glaciers, and thundering waterfalls pouring off the edge of the world.
Trekking the Laugavegur trail showcases some of Iceland’s most dazzling highlights. This 34 mile route follows the natural hot springs and fuming fissures of geothermal areas between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk. Soak in volcanic hot springs colored by vivid mineral deposits. Peer into the boiling, sulphuric cauldron of Stórihver geyser shooting jets of steam 60 feet into the air. Traverse fields of glittering obsidian rock formed by ancient lava flows. Gaze upward atyscale="1"> the misty Fimmvörðuháls Pass cascading with waterfalls plummeting off imposing cliffs. Completing this landscape-lover’s dream hike feels like stepping through the pages of The Lord of the Rings.
Vatnajökull National Park provides opportunities to get up close and personal with Iceland’s powerful glaciers. Europe’s largest ice cap blankets over 8000 km2 of Iceland’s interior. Guided glacier hikes outfit you with crampons and ice axes to traverse crevassed blue ice and gaze deep into glacial ravines. Watching hunks of ice break off the glacier’s leading edge with a thunderous crack keeps you alert for sudden shifts. The glacial lagoon at Jökulsárlón floats with glistening bergs calved from Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. Kayaking between the bobbing ice formations as they make their way to sea is an experience that far surpasses any nature documentary.
The Landmannalaugar area’s kaleidoscopic volcanic rhyolite mountains look almost painted onto the landscape. Hot springs cut through the brightly-hued hillsides, with minerals swirling through shallow pools in dazzling oranges, yellows and greens. Excellent day hikes radiate from Landmannalaugar’s mountain hut base. Climbing to the summit of the rainbow- streaked Brennisteinsalda rewards with panoramic views across multicolored mountains and black lava flows. The hike back down into the geothermal valley glows in the soft evening light. Soaking tired muscles in the natural springs under the midnight sun is the perfect way to end the day.
Chase Thrills in 2023: 10 Epic Destinations for Adventure Seekers - Surf Bali's Legendary Waves
With epic surf breaks and warm water, Bali is a legendary destination for surfing enthusiasts from across the globe. The island’s beloved beaches attract everyone from pro surfers to beginners looking to ride their first wave. Surfers make pilgrimages to Bali for life-changing experiences riding barrels along the Bukit Peninsula and discovering hidden surf breaks down remote jungle tracks.
The surfing mecca of Uluwatu on Bali’s southern Bukit Peninsula boasts world-famous breaks like Padang Padang, where the Billabong Pro is held every year. These powerful reef breaks churn out some seriously hollow barrels for experienced surfers. The cave-like waves suck you deep inside the tube just inches from the razor-sharp reef. Surfing Padang Padang means having the skills to make split-second takeoff decisions and navigate sections. Wiping out can slam you onto shallow reef, making these advanced waves better left to the pros.
Down the coast at Balangan, the waves break over a sandbar instead of reef, making the long left barrels much more forgiving. Surfers of all levels flock here for the chance to get shacked by a crumbling tube. Take off under the Balangan sea cliffs and race along smooth walls, angling to stay centered in the barrel as it spits you out in a cloud of offshore spray. Even expert surfers sometimes get bucked off mid-tube ride when the Balangan barrel decides it’s had enough fun. Looking back at the beach packed with scores of surfers cheering you on makes any wipeout worth it.
Venture to Nusa Lembongan island’s east coast beaches for a back-to-basics surf experience away from crowds. Local boatmen will drop you off for solo surf sessions at empty breaks with waves peeling down the reef. Tidal conditions create temperamental waves - going out at the wrong tide means paddling in vain over flat reef shelves that barely break. But catch a high tide at spots like Shipwreck or Lacerations and you’ll score fun, punchy walls tearing over shallow reef shelves.
Nothing beats discovering your own hidden surf spot off the beaten track in Bali’s lush jungle interior. Track down rumors of waves at nameless rivermouths and stash your motorbike under palm trees. Paddle out on faith until that first set wave rises from the blue. Trading tales with friendly local fishermen and sampling their fresh catch on the beach after a session makes for an immersive surfing experience.