Cheetah mother and cub in Kenya (Dreamstime)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 30 December

12 surprisingly big adventures that cost less than £1,000

Go on an African safari, visit Machu Picchu or trek to Everest Base Camp – without breaking the bank. Here’s how to get a surprisingly big adventure for less than you'd expect

1: Masai Mara safari

Masai Mara cheetahs (Dreamstime)

Masai Mara cheetahs (Dreamstime)

This epic safari takes you through the Great Rift Valley to Kenya's famous Masai Mara

After a day of game drives in search of Africa's Big Five, you'll head to Lake Naivasha for a hippo cruise and a close encounter with the lake's legendary flamingos. 

Finally, it's back to Nairobi and a visit to Sheldrick's Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Park.

Who: Absolute Africa

When: Regularly throughout 2017

How long: 4 days

How much: From £610 (excl flights)

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2: Trek to Everest Base Camp

On the trail to Everest Base Camp (Dreamstime)

On the trail to Everest Base Camp (Dreamstime)

Got your trekking trousers on? Good. This 12-day trek to the foot of mighty Everest is one of the ultimate mountain hikes. 

After flying from Kathmandu to Lukla, your face pressed up against the glass to look down on the giants of the Himalaya, you'll set out on foot for the world's highest mountain. 

Along the way you'll check out Namche Bazaar, bliss out in the coolest monastery in the world and encounter prayer flags, spicy chai, sacred cows, momos, and tongba, until you reach your goal: Everest Base Camp.

Who: Gecko Adventures

When: 7 Jan, 11 Feb, 18 Mar, 1, 29 Apr, 6, 13, 27 May & 23, 30 Sep 2017

How long: 15 days

How much: From £940 (excl flights)

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3: Experience Brazil's Pantanal

Dinner time in the Pantanal (Dreamstime)

Dinner time in the Pantanal (Dreamstime)

With few people and no towns, the Pantanal in Brazil is the largest wetland area in the world, an area of sweeping tropical flood plains bigger than England and Wales. 

Travelling by private vehicle with a local naturalist guide, you'll journey into the wetlands to witness the region's myriad flora and fauna and to learn more about this fascinating and biologically diverse ecosystem. 

Night safaris and canoe trips give you the chance to spot endangered Giant River Otters, Red-bellied Piranhas and even jaguars.

Who: Peregrine

When: Daily throughout 2017

How long: 4 days

How much: From £570 (excl flights)

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4: Explore Machu Picchu

A lama at Machu Picchu (Dreamstime)

A lama at Machu Picchu (Dreamstime)

This affordable Incan adventure offers the chance to discover South America's ancient ruins, explore colonial sights and wander through vibrant markets, without breaking the bank. 

You'll enjoy unsurpassed views from the Vistadome train as it makes it winding journey through the steep Urumbamba Valley to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu, the ancient 'Lost City' guaranteed to take your breath away.

Who: Intrepid

When: Throughout 2017

How long: 3 days

How much: From £545 (excl flights)

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5: Botswana wildlife safari

Mokoro safari in the Okavango Delta (Dreamstime)

Mokoro safari in the Okavango Delta (Dreamstime)

With game drives in the Chobe National Park, river cruises along the Chobe River and a mokoro (wooden canoe) safari deep into the Okavango Delta, this Botswana safari offers it all. 

You'll witness huge herds of elephants, wetlands teeming with birdlife, and stars that look close enough to touch when you explore this vast beautiful wilderness and camp in the bush under immense African skies.

Who: Absolute Africa

When: 27 Jan, 8, 31 Mar, 6 Apr, 31 May, 20 Jul, 10 Aug,  17 Sep, 14 Oct,  6 Nov & 1o Dec 2017

How long: 5 days

How much: From £460 (excl flights)

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6: Easter Island

Moai sunset (Dreamstime)

Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is one of the most mysterious and isolated islands on earth, famous for its iconic moai head statues scattered across the eerie landscape. 

From the petroglyphs of Orongo Village and the Puna Pau quarries to Rano Kau volcano and the caves of Ana Tapahu, you'll explore all the important archaeological sites, villages, volcanoes, caves and beaches, and stand in awe of these amazing, mysterious creations.

Who: Tucan Travel

When: Throughout 2017

How long: 4 days

How much: From £669 (excl flights)

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7: Backwaters and beaches of Kerala

Varkala Beach (Dreamstime)

Varkala beach, Kerala (Dreamstime)

From its Indian Ocean beaches to the highest peaks of the Western Ghats, Kerala is a land of surprises, with a distinctive culture, near-tropical climate and great south Indian cuisine.  

You'll explore it all, from the coastal city of Kochi to the tea plantations of Munnar, staying in a famous Kerala houseboat and trekking through forests in search of elephants, sambur deer and giant squirrels. 

Your journey ends at a resort on one of Kerala's finest beaches at Varkala, the perfect end to your South Indian adventure.

Who:  KE Adventures

When: 2017 TBA

How long: 12 days

How much: From £995 (excl flights)

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8: Dragon hunting in Flores and Komodo

Komodo dragon (Dreamstime)

Komodo dragon (Dreamstime)

Get ready for a journey to the wild side of Indonesia, a land of volcanoes and dragons that will leave you breathless. 

You'll spend much of this nine-day trip on Flores, climbing Mt Kelimutu, a volcanic crater full of vibrantly coloured water and experiencing first hand the traditional ways of life amongst the local people. 

Finally, on a boat trip to Komodo and Rinca, you'll get the chance to meet the legendary Komodo dragons, an encounter you'll never forget. 

Who: G Adventures

When: 29 Apr, 27 May, 10, 24 Jun, 8, 22 Jul, 9, 23 Sep, 7, 21 Oct, 12, & 26 Nov 2017

How long: 9 days

How much: From £999 (excl flights)

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9: Sri Lanka in a nutshell

Dambula cave temple (Dreamstime)

Dambula cave temple (Dreamstime)

Sri Lanka is one of the world's most diverse and beautiful destinations, and this trip is designed so that you experience many of the highlights. 

Climb the rock fortress at Sigiriya, explore the beautiful lakeside town of Kandy, and see elephants in the wild. Whether you're cycling through a historic city or unwinding on a tropical beach, it's an country that will stay in your memory for ages.

Who: Exodus

When: 12 Feb, 19 Mar, 15 Apr, 30 Jul, 22, 29 Oct & 24 Dec

How long: 9 days

How much: From £849 (excl flights)

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10: A week In Uzbekistan

The streets of Samarkand (Dreamstime)

The streets of Samarkand (Dreamstime)

Want to follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Genghis Kahn and Marco Polo, but you've only got a week? This seven-day trip to Uzbekistan could be just what you're looking for. 

The country just announced they were relaxing visa restrictions for people from 15 countries, including the UK. 

On this trip, you'll wander the 2000-year old streets of Bukhara, experience Tashkent's lingering Soviet charm and marvel at Samarkand's blue-tiled Islamic buildings. 

Finally, a night in a traditional Yurt will give you a real taste of nomadic life in Central Asia

Who: Exodus

When: 13, 27 May, 10, 24 Jun, 15, 29 Jul, 5, 26 Aug, & 16, 30 Sep

How long: 7 days

How much: From £749 (excl flights)

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11: Classic Costa Rica

A Red-Eyed Tree Frog in Costa Rica (Dreamstime)

A Red-Eyed Tree Frog in Costa Rica (Dreamstime)

On this classic Costa Rica trip, you'll stay with a local family in Santa Rosa de Pocosol and get your hands dirty on a nearby farm. 

Uncover jungle gems in Tortuguero and Sarapiqui, hot springs, waterfalls and a sleeping volcano in La Fortuna, and white sandy beaches at Quepos

In short, you'll experience this charismatic country's real way of life, all set to a sizzling salsa beat. 

Who: Intrepid

When: Throughout 2017

How long: 15 days

How much: From £888 (excl flights)

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12: A taste of local Cuba

Cuban farmer in Vinales (Dreamstime)

Cuban farmer in Vinales (Dreamstime)

See another side of Cuba on this this week-long tour through the island's famous 'Garden Province'.  

As well as treks through the pincushion hills, wandering amongst orchids and lush mountain coffee plantations, you'll get the chance to snorkel crystal clear waters full of colourful coral and search for the pirate treasure along the Guanahacabibes Peninsula.

Sleeping in homestays, you'll soak up local culture and enjoy a truly immersive experience. 

Who: G Adventures

When: Weekly 2017

How long: 8 days

How much: From £764 (excl flights)

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Main image: Cheetah mother and cub in Kenya (Dreamstime)