10 brand new active adventures for 2020

Ready to cycle, sail, trek and drive your way around the globe? These unforgettable active adventure trips are guaranteed to get your adrenaline flowing, muscles pounding and heart soaring...

3 mins

1. Go green in Arctic Norway

Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights, over Svalbard, Norway (Shutterstock)

Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights, over Svalbard, Norway (Shutterstock)

As temperatures rise in the Arctic, it’s easy to see why ‘green’ travel is a subject high on the global agenda.

But for those of you who still dream of seeing the northern lights in Svalbard, Off the Map Travel’s Truly Green All-Day Aurora trip lets you satisfy those desires in a sustainable fashion.

Head to Longyearbyen and hop on e-snowmobiles powered by Arctic winds, let yourself be pulled under the aurora on a thrilling dog sled ride, and snowshoe into glittering ice caves. A trip right on the cutting edge.

Who? Off the Map Travel (0800 566 8901)

When? Flexible dates from November 2020 to January 2021

How long? Three nights

How much? From £1,095 (excluding int’l flights)

2. Zip through wild Costa Rica

Sulphur lagoon in Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Costa Rica (Shutterstock)

Sulphur lagoon in Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Costa Rica (Shutterstock)

Squeezing maximum action into a week-long break, Exodus Edits – the new specialist for busy professionals – has created a rip-roaring adventure through the Rainforests & Restful Retreats in Costa Rica.

You’ll brave white-water rapids on a Rio Celeste tubing trip, swoop through pristine jungle on zip lines and seek out sloths and tapirs on wild forest hikes – before flopping into the mineral-rich thermal pools of Rincon de la Vieja.

Then, from the Bounty-advert beaches of Nicoya Peninsula, you’ll go dolphin-spotting and beach-barbecuing on a catamaran jaunt – plus paddleboarding, surf lessons, and sorbet-hued sunsets every night.

Who? Exodus Edits (0203 733 5244)

When? 4 April, 16 May, 18 July, 14 November

How long? Seven nights

How much? From £1,499 (excluding int’l flights)

3. Find an undiscovered gem in Brazil

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil (Tucan Travel)

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil (Tucan Travel)

Tap into a seldom-seen side of Brazil where diverse landscapes reign supreme. Tucan Travel’s Northern Brazil tour is your vehicle to this remote wedge, beginning in the pristine Portuguese heritage of Sáo Luís.

The otherworldly lagoons and mangroves of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park soon come calling, as well as the sleepy village of Atins.

Continue down the coast to protected Parnaíba and its wildlife-rich waters, finishing among the flour-white dunes of Jericoacoara – just two more natural wonders squeezed into this tiny strip of coastline.

You’ll wonder why others haven’t yet discovered this part of Brazil, but you’ll be glad you did.

Who? Tucan Travel (0800 804 8435)

When? Year round

How long? Nine nights

How much? From £2,939 (excluding int’l flights)

4. Get active on the Adriatic in Croatia

Lopud, Croatia (Shutterstock)

Lopud, Croatia (Shutterstock)

Dotted along the Dalmatian Coast, Croatia’s idyllic Elaphiti Islands just north-west of Dubrovnik are best explored by both sea and land. Enjoy an active getaway on Artisan Travel’s Dubrovnik and the Elaphiti Islands Highlights trip.

Paddleboard through the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, then cycle through the countryside on Šipan island where you’ll be staying, taking in churches, chapels and olive groves along the way.

Catch the ferry to Lopud for a day of hiking through the woods and then walk the city walls as you sight-see in historic Dubrovnik. Glide through hidden coves and caves as you go sea kayaking in Koločep and then watch out for pods of dolphins as you take a sunset catamaran cruise.

Who? Artisan Travel (01670 785085)

When? Selected dates between 18 April and 10 October 2020

How long? Seven nights

How much? From £690pp (excluding int’l flights)

5. Go green in Georgia

Davit Gareja caves and monasteries, Georgia (Shutterstock)

Davit Gareja caves and monasteries, Georgia (Shutterstock)

At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia finds itself in an enviable position for travellers wanting a gateway to the Silk Road.

But before you head off exploring that ancient trade route, make the most of your Georgia getaway on Wanderlust Journeys’ Discover Georgia trip with former Wanderlust World Guide Awards winner, Dario Ghirlanda, who promises a whirlwind walking adventure through Tusheti’s sprawling mountain scenery, cosmopolitan capital Tbilisi, Davit Gareja’s centuries-old monasteries and Kakheti’s celebrated vineyards.

If that’s not enough, Wanderlust editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes said that last year’s trip to the region more than lived up to her expectations – especially the wine!

Who? Wanderlust Journeys (020 3553 9934)

When? 25 July 2020

How long? 10 nights

How much? From £1,895 (excluding int’l flights)

6. Amp up the adrenaline in Cuba

Havana, Cuba (Shutterstock)

Havana, Cuba (Shutterstock)

Ditch the classic car (or bus) window on G Adventures’ Cuba Multisport: Bike, Kayak and Hike and see the country as nature intended: through your eyes and with raw muscle power.

Trade a vintage Cadillac for a bicycle and pedal Havana’s streets, as well as two-wheeling it through the lush Viñales Valley.

Switch from bike to hike through the emerald Mile Cumbres reserve and the waterfall-striped scenery of Topes de Collantes, then swap for a paddle to kayak the calm ripples of Cienfuegos Bay.

It’s not all go go go, though, with mid-trip relaxation stop at Playa Larga scheduled in too.

Who? G Adventures (020 7313 6944)

When? 1 October 2020

How long? 11 nights

How much? From £1,449 (excluding int’l flights)

7. Relish a peaceful paddle in France

Sailing along the Dordogne, France (Shutterstock)

Sailing along the Dordogne, France (Shutterstock)

Headwater’s Canoeing on the Dordogne trip proves a multi-day meander can be a delightful paddle rather than a demanding slog.

Your glide along the calm and flat waters of the Dordogne passes blush-coloured cliffs, charming riverside chateaux and the Périgord region’s truffle woods.

Pit stop along the way in historic boltholes to recharge your batteries, taking the time to explore the area’s villages, like Carennac’s fairy tale cluster of cottages, gravity-defying Rocamadour’s medieval steeples and evocative atmosphere and the Benedictine abbey at Souillac.

Who? Headwater (01606 369121)

When? Flexible dates

How long? Eight nights

How much? From £1,625 (including int’l flights)

8. Self-drive the Pacific Coast in Panama

The Bridge of the Americas, Panama (Shutterstock)

The Bridge of the Americas, Panama (Shutterstock)

Panama City is a buzzing metropolis, but beyond the capital the country’s lesser-known routes offer diverse landscapes from beautiful beaches to highland cloud forest and dense rainforest.

If you want to see a different side to the Pacific Coast, why not get behind the wheel on Journey Latin America’s Discover the Pacific Coast self-drive. As well as historic Panama City and the Panama Canal, you’ll discover soft white sands and Spanish-colonial towns along the Azuero Peninsula.

See turtles come ashore on the crescent-shaped Playa Venao, cowboys on horseback in Boca Chica and take in coffee plantations and cloud forest in Boquete. Then board a boat to spot monkeys, sloths and toucans on Lake Gatún near Soberanía NP.

Who? Journey Latin America (020 8747 8315)

When? Flexible

How long? 12 nights

How much? £2,776 (excluding int’l flights)

9. Go walking in a Japanese winter wonderland

Drift ice walking in Shiretoko, Hokkaido (Shutterstock)

Drift ice walking in Shiretoko, Hokkaido (Shutterstock)

During winter, Hokkaido transforms into a frozen playground, making it a must-visit if you’re travelling to Japan in 2020.

KE Adventure Travel’s Winter Hokkaido: Japan’s Frozen North trip gives you an insight into the country’s wildest island. Learn all about the Ainu way of life with folk performances, then hunt for frost flowers on frozen Lake Akan.

Explore the drift ice around the Shiretoko Peninsula, then go on a wildlife cruise on the Nemuro Strait in search of Steller’s sea eagles and foxes hiding in the snow.

Your icy adventures conclude with snowshoeing in Daisetsuzan National Park and a wintery spectacular at the Ice waterfall festival. Delve into Japanese culture by tucking into Kaiseki dinners, soaking in a traditional onsen and hitting the neon-lit Sapporo.

Who? KE Adventure Travel (01768 773996)

When? 16 Feb and 20 Feb 2020, 14 Feb 2021

How long? Nine nights

How much? From £2,495 (excluding int’l flights)

10. Find a trekker’s paradise in Nepal

Makalu Base Camp, Nepal (Shutterstock)

Makalu Base Camp, Nepal (Shutterstock)

Up for a challenge? You’ll certainly find one on a Makalu Base Camp Trek with Mountain Kingdoms, which takes you through remote mountain passes and river valleys to reach the base of Mount Makalu, the world’s fifth highest peak.

Avoid Everest’s crowds and trek into the real heart of Sherpa country, passing cardamom plantations, small farms and rhododendron forests on your way – before crossing Shipton La to find epic views over the Himalayas, including the snow-dusted summits of Everest and Lhotse.

Experience some local hospitality by staying in teahouses along the way, gaining an authentic insight into the villagers’ way of life.

Who? Mountain Kingdoms (01453 844 400)

When? 18 April and 31 October

How long? 21 nights

How much? From £2,795 (including int’l flights)

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