Written by Lindsay Mahaney, Good Life Expeditions Marketing Associate.
Ring in the New Year with resolutions to travel. Whether you want to climb the highest mountains or explore the deepest corners of the jungle — we have prepared a list of Top 10 Travel Experiences of 2019 just for you!
Keep reading for our top picks, and contact us to start planning your next adventure today!
Top 10 Travel Experiences of 2019
Pass through the Inti Puku Sun Gate at Machu Picchu
Crossing through the Inti Puiku Sun Gate, you’ll catch your first glimpse of the iconic citadel Machu Picchu. The Sun Gate was once a fortress of the sacred Inca city. You can pass the gate’s threshold on the final day of the Classic Inca Trail trek. This four-day journey follows the footsteps of the Inca through sub-tropical forests and high mountain passes, testing your stamina against the elements. You’ll discover several ruins along the way, only accessible along the Inca Trail, including the mysterious and beautiful Wiñay Wayna archaeological site. Surrounded by natural beauty along the way, the trek finishes with the pinnacle site: Machu Picchu.
Once you’ve arrived, engage in the rich history of Machu Picchu and tour the ruins to visit important sites such as the Intihuatana Sun Stone, the Sun Temple, and the Room of Three Windows. Dating back to around 1450, the majestic mountain-top Machu Picchu is considered one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”
Snorkel with Sea Lions in the Galapagos
One of the best parts of any Galapagos trip is spending time in the water. Playful sea lions swim all around you! A wealth of snorkeling opportunities are available with any itinerary – whether you choose a land-based tour or a cruise. A whole new world awaits underwater – filled with sea turtles, manta rays, sharks, and more.
Known by locals as las islas encatadas, or the enchanted islands, the Galapagos Islands consist of 6 main islands, 12 smaller islands, and over 40 islets, all teeming with rich natural wonders. The archipelago is a hub of biodiversity with the highest concentration of endemic plant and animal species in the world. However, many of the species are endangered or severely threatened. So make sure your trip is as low impact as possible. Our expert travel team can guide you on how to travel responsibly.
Spend a Night Under the Stars in the Andes
Imagine spending the night on a remote mountain peak with no electricity and practically no other people for miles. Look up at the Milky Way painting the heavens above. Millions of stars dot the night sky. If you’re lucky, you might even see a shooting star. Spend 5 days and 4 gorgeous nights trekking through the wilderness on an Ausangate lodge to lodge trek. Throughout your entire adventure, you will be secluded from the noise pollution and activity of your day to day life.
Navigate around hanging glaciers and turquoise lakes among the isolated Quechua communities that herd alpacas and llamas in the highlands. Breathtaking sights delight at every turn on the Ausangate Trek. Take the Palomani Pass – it is surrounded by stunning panoramic views of snow-covered Andes peaks. Red and green valleys flank both sides of the pass, and Mariposa and Caracol Mountains can both be spotted in the distance. This trek is perfect for travelers who want long adventurous hikes but also all the comforts of a hotel at night.
Discover a New Species in the Amazon Rainforest
Spanning over 2 million square miles (5.5 million square meters) of South America, the Amazon Rainforest is the most biodiverse place on Earth. Brimming with incredible wildlife, there are many species yet to be discovered. The Tambopata Research Center (TRC) is one of the most remote lodges in all of the Amazon, and the only one that’s actually within Peru’s Tambopata National Reserve.
As the name suggests, this rainforest lodge started as a research station for scientists studying macaws in the Amazon. While it’s still a base for important research and conservation work, it’s also open to visitors. During your stay, you can moonlight as a jungle scientist. As part of the Wired Amazon Citizen Science program, guests have the opportunity to study jungle insects side by side with TRC’s researchers. On average, a new species is discovered every month at the Center!
Traverse the Highest Tropical Mountain Range in the World
Immerse yourself in majestic mountains, the Cordillera Blanca and Negra of Huaraz. The highest tropical mountain range in the world, some of the treks in the region allow you to camp higher than any peak in the continental United States. The vistas will take your breath away as snow-capped peaks contrast deep turquoise lagoons.
Visited by avid trekkers and not many others, the region is still relatively free of tourism. This means less development in the area and only a small selection of accommodations, but it also means a rich feeling of Peru’s past. The natural wonder hasn’t been damaged by over tourism, leaving only pristine mountain beauty for those who choose to visit. And if you do make your way to the destination, you will undoubtedly be rewarded with endless incredible views on day treks and overnight treks alike.
Summit the World’s Tallest Freestanding Mountain
What’s a trip to Tanzania without the massive Mount Kilimanjaro towering in the distance? Discover the wonders of Mountain Kilimanjaro yourself. Embark on a 6-day expedition up the formidable mountain. You will hike a diverse array of ecosystems – from dense rainforest to high moorland. Discover beautiful glaciers and rock formations along the way.
The journey is long and often times arduous, particularly on the final day as you climb for 12-15 hours straight. You’ll reach the crater rim at Stella Point right as the first rays of sunlight peak over the horizon. Take in the incredible views of the jagged Mawenzi as the sun spills into the crater. Once you’ve reached the Uruhu Peak — the very top of Mount Kilimanjaro — you’ve earned a lifetime of bragging rights.
Join a Worldwide Movement
Working hand in hand with communities on a week-long Service Learning Trip to create a world free from the constraints of poverty is a life-changing experience. Our partner nonprofit MEDLIFE‘s mission is to build a worldwide movement empowering the poor in their fight for equal access to healthcare, education, and a safe home. Join them on a Service Learning Trip to do your part to empower impoverished communities.
Throughout the course of the week, you will take part in Mobile Clinics and Development Projects in rural communities in the destinations we work with. The Mobile Clinics bring free, high-quality healthcare directly to communities who lack access to basic health services. And the Development Projects improve the infrastructure throughout the community – from staircases to water reservoirs. But perhaps the most important component of this week is that you will be working side by side with local community members every step of the way.
Safari alongside a Parade of Elephants
Home to the largest elephant population in northern Tanzania, Tarangire National Park is brimming with wildlife. Numbering over 3,000 elephants during peak months, herds congregate in the reserve along with other incredible species – from giraffes to wildebeests to lions. Admire them all as they graze in the grasslands and sip from the watering hole on a quintessential African safari.
Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, located in Manyara Region. It is for the Tarangire River that crosses the park. The park is a hidden gem. Often overshadowed by the nearby Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire has an exceptionally high concentration of wildlife from July through October and a fraction of the visitor numbers of any of the other Northern parks.
Design a Flower Arrangement at an Ecuadorian Fair Trade Rose Farm
With a selection of over 100 varieties of roses, Doña Natalia by Agrogana rose farm is the perfect spot to design a beautiful bouquet. Located a few hours outside of Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, lies this hidden oasis. The farm is 100% fair trade, prioritizing the health and happiness of workers and the quality of the flowers above all else. Tour the farm with an expert rose grower, who will accompany you and your guide as you explore the property. Your host will explain the different types of roses, as well as their export and marketing strategies – from the unique naming of flowers based on current events to the seasonality of rose purchases by country.
Peruse the patch of flowers that are Michelle Obama’s favorite, which Agrogana mailed to the White House many times during her husband’s presidency. The tour will also include background on the farm’s fair trade standards, which made them one of the top providers of roses for Whole Foods in the United States. Following the tour, create your own arrangement of flowers from the farm, with the stylistic and design advice from the team at Doña Natalia by Agrogana. The bouquet will be shipped to your home so you can show it off to your friends and family!
Feel the Mist from Iguazu Falls
Bordering Brazil and Argentina, these waterfalls are beyond striking. On average, 1,500 cubic meters of water thunder down the falls every second. Whether you’re sailing into the thick of things or admiring from a distance, you’ll be sure to feel the mist kiss your skin. Located in Iguazu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the gorgeous ensemble of waterfalls range between 40 and 80 meters in height.
The National Park is much larger on the Argentinian side, with more trails to walk along and some that lead you right into the open water. On this side of the falls, you’re also much more likely to get wet. The walkways take you within arm’s reach of some of the falls. While on the Brazilian side the walk along the falls is shorter, you can get a better overview. From every angle, you can see the entire panorama of the cascades. You also have the option of taking a helicopter ride – a feature only available on the Brazilian side. You can also take trails from the base, ending right in the Devil’s Throat with water spraying in every direction. The power and beauty of this landmark is a breathtaking sight.
What else should we add to our list? Let us know! Contact our expert travel team at [email protected] today with suggestions, or to start planning a trip.
Good Life Expeditions carefully crafts authentic itineraries to create an unforgettable experience for you that also gives back to the places you visit. Read more about our travel philosophy.