(Image: Wild Frontiers)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 24 October

Top 9 trips with the world's best guides

Travel with the world's best guides, as recommended by you! We've highlighted the best adventures to have with some of this year's Wanderlust World Guide Award shortlisted guides

1. Ethiopia

Wander historical lands on foot

Drenched in old Christianity and rugged landscapes, Ethiopia’s historical north is little known to foreigners. Wild Frontiers’ Ethiopia: Northern Explorer puts this right.

Guided by Dario Ghirlanda you’ll begin your adventure in Gonder with its sprawling complex of palaces and churches before driving up into the Simien Mountains. Then, tour the rock churches and intricate masonry of UNESCO-listed Lalibela before hitting what for many will be the centrepiece of the trip – a three-day village walk through the awesome Lalibela highlands, staying with local families. The tour climaxes in Bahir Dar for a stroll beneath the Blue Nile Falls and a boat ride on Lake Tana.

By mingling with the local communities you’ll be supporting a charity – TESFA (Tourism in Ethiopia for Sustainable Future Alternatives), which helps with general income and protects their culture.

Who: Wild Frontiers
When: 23 Feb, 13 Apr, 02 Nov, 21 Dec 2014
How long: 14 days
How much: From £2,850 (incl flights)

2. Honduras and Nicaragua

Unearth ancient secrets

Mysterious Maya sites, volcanic views and pristine beaches are all revealed on Tucan Travel’s Scenic Granada tour. Led by Neil Williams, you’ll get to explore little-seen Central America. Highlights include the ancient Hieroglyphic Stairway and statues at the Copán archaeological site, diving and snorkelling off Roatán Island and the shady gardens and plazas of colonial León, famous for its rocky volcanic backdrop.

Who: Tucan Travel
When: Various dates year-round
How long: 15 days
How much: From £1,039 (excl flights)

3. Egypt

Old worlds and warm welcomes

Combine cultural insights with travel icons on Intrepid’s Discover Egypt tour. Guided by Hossam Moussa you’ll experience the country’s ancient essence; gawp at Giza’s Great Pyramid and Sphinx, travel by donkey to the royal tombs in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings, and enjoy sailing down the Nile on a traditional felucca. Gain an understanding of Egyptian hospitality as you enjoy a home-cooked meal with a local family and bed-down in a traditional homestay.

Who: Intrepid
When: 9 March 2014 (subject to Intrepid resuming Egypt tours)
How long: 15 days
How much: From £830 (excl flights)

4. India and Nepal

Drive, walk and sail the sights

G Adventure’s Delhi to Kathmandu Adventure journeys on foot, van, rickshaw and boat. Guided by Bhupendra Sharma, you’ll enter a kaleidoscope of culture as you visit the Taj, cruise the Ganges and jeep safari across Chitwan NP. The trip ends in Kathmandu, where an optional Everest flight is possible.

Who: G Adventures
When: Various dates year-round
How long: 15 days
How much: From £849 (excl flights)

5. Iceland

Whales and wondrous lights

You can often spot orca from the shore of Grundarfjordur and Discover the World’s is the only operator to offer a stay at this harbour town. Guided by Cathy Harlow, the Killer Whales & Northern Lights trip includes two whale-watching trips and nights aurora hunting (extra cost applies).

Who: Discover the World
When: Departures Jan-Mar 2014
How long: 4 nights
How much: From £1,121 (incl flights)

6. Guatemala

Get high and low

Guided by Carlos Vivar, Viaventures’s Adventurous Guatemala trip combines well-known sites with off-the-beaten path experiences. You’ll bike through villages and past active volcanoes, see Maya temples, zip-line through trees and horseback ride through the jungle. Phew!

Who: Viaventure
When: Various dates
How long: 11 days
How much: From $9,416 (2 ppl, excl flights)

7. North Korea

Go behind the ‘last iron curtain’

Guided by Carl Meadows, Regent Holiday’s Pioneering North Korea trip begins with a week in capital Pyongyang before visiting more remote areas not usually accessible to travellers – Daehongdan Country, Hoeryong and the Mt Kumgang region. You then return to the capital to celebrate a national holiday.

Who: Regent Holidays
When: 25 Aug 2014
How long: 18/19 days
How much: From £3,125 (excl UK-Beijing flight)

8. Antarctica

The Ice’s greatest hits

Less time at sea, more time exploring. Taking in penguin colonies, scientific bases and nature-filled waters, on Aurora Expedition’s Antarctic Peninsula trips – guided by Don McFadzien – you’ll spend more of your time on the icy continent thanks to a charter flight cutting out one of the lengthy Drake’s Passage sea legs.

Who: Aurora Expeditions
When: 2014 dates tbc
How long: 9 nights
How much: From £4,175 (excl flights)

9. Nepal

Trek a cultural trail

Following guide Deana Zabaldo on Mountain Madness’ Mustang Trek you’ll journey across plateaus, past cliffs and monasteries, and wander through little-seen villages and mountain passes. Usually protected by special permits, this visit is a rare travel opportunity.

Who: Mountain Madness
When: Custom dates, 2014 tbc
How long: 24 days
How much: tbc