11 of the world's most incredible journeys

Up for an extraordinary expedition? Whether by foot, car, boat or train, these adventures will fire up your wanderlust

6 mins

1. Trek with creature comforts, Peru

Lares Adventure, Rainbow Tours
When? Flexible
How long? 12 days

Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Peru (Shutterstock)
Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Peru (Shutterstock)

Sleeping under canvas isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, on Rainbow Tours’ Lares Adventure, hikers keen to explore the Sacred Valley don’t have to. On this route, you can swap tents and hostels for high-quality lodges, hot showers and tasty meals. After each day’s amble in the postcard-perfect Andean valley, you can retire to a comfy bed. You’ll get to visit Machu Picchu and other highlights of the Inca heartland too.

Walking the Lares Trek, Peru | Visiting Andean communities on the journey to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail travel guide | How to plan your trip

5 things I wish I'd known about Machu Picchu | Read this before you go!

2. See Africa in style, South Africa, Zimbabwe & Botswana

African Cruise Safari, Aurora Expeditions
When? 16 Apr 2015
How long? 14 nights

Victoria Falls (Shutterstock)
Victoria Falls (Shutterstock)

Explore the great plains by plane, boat, bus and jeep on Aurora Expeditions’ opulent African Cruise Safari. Whether you’re searching for the Big Five, watching wandering wildebeest, ooo-ing over Victoria Falls or sipping sundowners amid the baobabs, you’ll be doing it in style. Top it all off with a float aboard the Zambezi Queen, the most luxurious way to appreciate the wild Chobe River.

7 ways to see Victoria Falls | Make the most of your trip!

The Wanderlust guide to African safaris | All you need to know – in one place

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3. Take a path less travelled, Argentina, Uruguay & Brazil

Buenos Aires, Uruguay & South Brazil, Journey Latin America
When? 8 Oct 2015
How long? 16 nights

Participant in the annual festival "Patria Gaucha", Uruguay (Shutterstock)
Participant in the annual festival "Patria Gaucha", Uruguay (Shutterstock)

Explore off-the-beaten track South America on Journey Latin America’s Buenos Aires, Uruguay & South Brazil trip. A local favourite rather than a gringo trail, the route runs from electrifying Buenos Aires across the River Plate into Uruguay – where you can try your hand at riding and gaucho-ing on an estancia. Next, follow the coast up to Brazil to see the canyons and waterfalls of the Aparados da Serra NP, finishing with a ride on the historic Serra Verde train into the Atlantic forest.

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Brazil travel guide
| All you need to know about Brazil

4. Tackle the 'Maya Trail', Guatemala

Maya Trek to Tikal, Explore
When? 18 Apr 2015
How long? 11 days

Ancient Mayan pyramid and ruins in Tikal (Shutterstock)
Ancient Mayan pyramid and ruins in Tikal (Shutterstock)

Fancy a Latin hike that isn’t the Inca Trail? Then try Explore’s Maya Trek to Tikal. Rather than arriving at the Mayan temples by coach, you’ll trek through the wildlife-infested jungle for four days, wild camping, where you’ll be woken by howler monkeys, discover hidden ruins and duck the crowds. The trip also includes a hike up Pacaya volcano for sunrise and navigating Lake Atitlán by boat to meet the indigenous peoples that live on its shores.

El Mirador, Guatemala: lost city of the Maya | Discover the pyramids of Tikal

Travel blueprint: The Maya Route | All you need to know to plan your trip

5. Swash your buckles, Nicaragua

Pirates of the Caribbean, Steppes Travel
When? 15 May 2015
How long? 16 nights

Little Corn Island Beach (Shutterstock)
Little Corn Island Beach (Shutterstock)

Feel part pioneer, part buccaneer on Steppes Travel’s Pirates of the Caribbean trip. Trace the Rio San Juan – a once-infamous pirate passageway – as it cuts through the jungle, passing tombs and 17th-century forts en route. Then sail the Indio River, its forested banks rich in wildlife, to reach Indio Maiz Biological Reserve – 3,000 sq km of pristine rainforest harbouring big cats, manatees, macaws, toucans, monkeys and more. Finish with some R&R on the Corn Islands, a stay on the shores of Lake Nicaragua and strolling colonial Granada.

Revolutionary trails in Nicaragua
| The revolutionary spirit stays strong...

Nicaragua travel guide | Discover volcanoes, beaches and colonial treasures

6. Explore the Andes, Bolivia & Chile

Andes Majesty, HighLives Travel
When? Tailormade
How long? 13 days

High mountains in Bolivia (Shutterstock)
High mountains in Bolivia (Shutterstock)

Duck the spray from erupting geysers, pass vibrantly coloured lakes, hike over snow-dusted volcanoes and cross salt flats that stretch as far as the eye can see. Using a private 4WD, HighLives’ Andes Majesty trip visits the lesser-known national parks that straddle the Chile-Bolivia border – a combination of jaw-dropping landscapes, Aymara villages, alpaca herders, giant geoglyphs, Inca ruins, flamingo flocks and old adobe churches. And once you’ve exhausted both yourself and your camera’s memory card, you can enjoy the Pacific coast beaches of Iquique.

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7. Make a musical roadtrip, USA

The Great British Invasion, Abercrombie & Kent
When? 9 April 2015
How long? 10 days

Skyline of downtown Nashville, Tennessee (Shutterstock)
Skyline of downtown Nashville, Tennessee (Shutterstock)

Abercrombie & Kent’s The Great British Invasion – a Deep South roadtrip accompanied by legendary rockers, Sons of Royalty – is the ultimate celebration of North American music heritage. Fire up your Harley (or car, if you prefer) in Nashville to start your journey through the Mississippi Delta. Visit the Jack Daniel Distillery, Tupelo (birthplace of Elvis), Memphis – home to Graceland, Beale Street and Sun Studio – and the Delta’s Rock ’n’ Roll Museum. Even better, this epic drive raises money for the NSPCC too.

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The USA's wildest national parks | Wilderness – on an epic scale

8. Reach for the stars, Chile & Bolivia

Ultimate Stargazing Adventure, Rainbow Tours
When? Flexible
How long? 14 nights

Camping at Titicaca Lake in Isla del Sol (Shutterstock)
Camping at Titicaca Lake in Isla del Sol (Shutterstock)

Chile’s inky-skied Atacama Desert and Bolivia’s remote and sparkly Salar de Uyuni salt flat are two of the planet’s best places for gazing up at the great beyond. In the Atacama especially, high altitudes and extreme dryness keep the weather clear; it’s no wonder that so many world-class observatories are located in the area. Rainbow Tours’ Ultimate Stargazing Adventure makes the most of the astronomical opportunities you can find here, travelling the altiplano, skirting Lake Titicaca and visiting the Atacama’s ALMA Observatory, which will be open for public tours in 2015.

7 things to do for free in Santiago, Chile | How to do the Chilean capital for free

10 roads you must ride in Chile & Argentina | Roadtripping? Don't miss these beauts

5 reasons to get friendly with Bolivia | As if you needed an excuse!

9. Hunt for treasures, Taiwan

Taiwan Uncovered, Wendy Wu Tours
When? 16 Mar, 28 Sept 2015
How long? 11 days

Taroko National Park (Shutterstock)
Taroko National Park (Shutterstock)

Taiwan is a marvellous mishmash of Chinese, Japanese, Western and indigenous influences. Take in its best, and most off-the-beaten-track, bits on Wendy Wu Tours’ Taiwan Uncovered trip. Eat well – and cheaply – in lively Taipei; find natural beauty at peak-fringed Sun Moon Lake and dramatic Taroko Gorge; feel a gold-rush thrill in the mountain-side mining town of Jinguashi, home to the Gold Ecological Park; experience the verdant landscape of volcanic Yangmingshan National Park; and lie back on the glorious beaches of Kenting National Park.

Taiwan's most spectacular hiking trails | Don't miss these epic trails

Made in Taiwan: Hi-tech temptations and majestic mountains | Discover it all

Taiwan: Isle of the unexpected
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10. Ride the trail, Thailand & Burma

Railways Old & New, Selective Asia
When? Flexible
How long? 18 nights

Thai railway (Shutterstock)
Thai railway (Shutterstock)

Selective Asia’s Railways Old & New trip is not your average train journey, taking you along a variety of rails, including rarely used tracks. Starting from Bangkok, you’ll journey to Kanchanaburi to learn about the Burma-Siam Railway; then, thanks to the new Hti Khi border crossing, you can continue west into Burma to see more of this infamous track. Other train rides include the Yangon circle (a lively commuter ride) and the overnight journey to Mandalay. The trip also includes a cruise on the Dutawaddy River, a cycle tour of Mandalay and a dramatic drive through the Gokteik Valley.

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Burma/Myanmar travel guide | All you need to know before you go

11. Seek out snow fun, Svalbard

Svalbard: The Land of our Arctic Dreams, Sunvil Discovery
When? Flexible, departures to 17 May 2015
How long? 5 nights

Polar bears, Svalbard (Shutterstock)
Polar bears, Svalbard (Shutterstock)

Don’t fear winter: embrace it! Sunvil Discovery’s Svalbard: The Land of our Arctic Dreams trip heads Pole-wards to have fun in the snow. Based in Longyearbyen – the world’s most northerly permanently populated town – you can zip across the frozen tundra on a snowmobile, explore by dog-sled or discover what it’s like to live up here at the fascinating museum. Plus the 24-hour darkness provides the perfect canvas for the northern lights.

5 tips for a successful Svalbard trip
| A once-in-a-lifetime trip worth saving for...

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Main image: Motorcyclist on mountainous highway (Shutterstock)

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