9 incredible water-based trips

Travelling on the water – be it river voyage, sea journey or coastal kayak – opens up a whole new world. These trips are among the best...

3 mins
Watery travel gives you a different perspective on our planet, and reveals the abundant treasures of our seas, streams and oceans not accessible by land. From immense icebergs, to mighty whales, thousand-year-old corals and the communities that cling to life-giving shores, here are nine watery trips to kick-start your life aquatic…

1. Canada

Befriend a whale pod
There’s nothing quite like spotting the snow-white flash of a pod of beluga whales. Each summer, thousands of these charismatic cetaceans return to Manitoba’s waters; on Discover the World’s Belugas of Hudson Bay trip – which can include whale-watching by Zodiac boat, kayak and even snorkel – you’ll get so close to these canaries of the sea that you can hear their quirky clicks and whistles.
Who: Discover the World (01737 214 291)
When: Jul-Aug
How long: 5 nights
How much: From £1,518 (excl flights)

2. Egypt

Propel yourself back in time
Built in 1885, and boasting wall-mounted phones, brass bedsteads and its original pistons and paddle wheels, the Steam Ship Sudan – offered by Audley – is one of the most unique vessels cruising the Nile. Hop aboard (as Agatha Christie once did) to float through Ancient Egypt in 19th-century style. Highlights will include stopping off at Luxor’s temples and sitting on deck with a cocktail, watching riverside life glide by.
Who: Audley Travel (01993 838 400)
When: Year round
How long: 7 days
How much: From £2,415 (incl flights)

3. France

Combine canoes, cliffs and culture
Headwater’s Canoeing on the Dordogne trip wends from hotel to hotel via one of France’s most celebrated rivers. Calm and wide, this southwestern waterway is ideal for canoeing beginners and those keen to explore postcard-perfect hillside villages, troglodyte cave dwellings and graceful châteaux.
Who: Headwater (0845 527 7075)
When: 2 Jun-24 Sept 2014
How long: 8 nights
How much: From £1,477 (incl flights)

4. Svalbard

Sail Arctic waters
Exodus’s Spitsbergen in Depth – Photographic Special trip heads to the edges of this far-flung Norwegian archipelago, under the midnight sun. Led by pro-snapper Paul Goldstein and wildlife expert Ian Stirling, you’ll traverse the seas in an expedition vessel in search of polar bear, Arctic fox, walrus and seabirds.
Who: Exodus (0845 287 3647)
When: 13-25 Jun 2014
How long: 13 nights
How much: From £3,839 (excl flights)

5. Panama

Discover an engineering marvel
A revamped Panama Canal marks its 100th birthday this year with new locks, wider lanes and bigger ports. Journey Latin America’s Hats Off To Panama trip includes a full-day ocean-to-ocean transit through the canal as well as the chance to ride the vintage Panama Canal Railroad. The August departure coincides with the centenary festivities.
Who: Journey Latin America (020 8622 8444)
When: 15 Jun, 13 Jul, 10 Aug, 14 Dec 2014
How long: 8 days

How much:
From £2,399 (incl flights)

6. Indonesia

Cruise coral-rich seas
About 70% of the planet’s coral species are found in the Raja Ampat archipelago. See some of them on Undiscovered Destinations’ West Papua Voyage of Discovery which ventures through mysterious caverns, around jungle-clad Batanta island and into Mayalibit Bay aboard a wooden Buginese schooner.
Who: Undiscovered Destinations (0191 296 2674)
When: 5 & 14 Nov 2014
How long: 12 days
How much: £3,970 (excl flights)

7. Russia

Float through the far east
Exploring remote Kamchatka’s Commander Islands, Naturetrek’s Russia’s Ring of Fire trip promises close encounters with sea otter, fishing owl, Arctic fox, brown bear and majestic orca as well as visits to thermal springs, flower-filled meadows and coastal bays. A really alternative Russian adventure.
Who: Naturetrek (01962 733051)
When: 23 Jun 2014
How long: 15 days
How much: From £6,995 (incl flights)

8. Azores

Study the smartest cetaceans
Summer is sperm whale season in the Azores and Wildlife Worldwide’s Sperm Whales & Bottlenose Dolphins tour gives you the chance to help researchers gather information on these big-brained cetaceans. You can study dolphins and dive with blue sharks too.
Who: Wildlife Worldwide (0845 130 6982)
When: Jun-Sept 2014
How long: 6 days
How much: From £1,340 (incl flights)

9. Burma (Myanmar)

Glide down the Chindwin River
Wild Frontiers’ Burmese River Expedition sails along the 1,210km Chindwin River, through some of Burma’s remotest landscapes. Meet riverside communities, pass untamed jungles, moor at Bagan’s pagodas, discover the old elephant camp at Mawlaik and delve into the history of Yangon and Mandalay.
Who: Wild Frontiers (020 7736 3968)
When: 9 Nov 2014
How long: 15 days

How much:
£3,495 (excl flights)

In search of a watery adventure? The May issue of Wanderlust (on sale now) is our 'islands special', featuring Canada, Falklands, Vietnam, Tasmania...  and more!

Know when you want to travel but don’t know where? Got an activity you long to try but not sure how? Try Wanderlust’s Trip Finder...

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