All travel is great, and I firmly believe that any trip is an important trip. That being said, there are some destinations so amazing and so unique, that they should be firmly planted at the very top of all of our travel bucket lists. Of the many such extraordinary places around the world, I think these five are some of the most amazing to experience.
Great Barrier Reef
Natural wonders are great too, and one of the best in the world is the massive Great Barrier Reef. Found off of the coast of Queensland in Australia, this massive natural formation can even be seen from space. For a twist on the normal experience, spend the night next to the reef on a Reefsleep. Guests take a boat ride out to the reef where they'll explore it during the day before spending the night camping out under the stars on a specially designed (and massive) permanently moored pontoon. You'll have the once in a lifetime experience to snorkel almost alone along the reef, discovering what makes it so very special for yourself.
The great Inca city in the clouds, Machu Picchu has been fueling wanderlust since it was rediscovered early in the 20th century. Getting there is part of the fun though, slowly meandering from Cusco through the Sacred Valley until you finally reach Machu Picchu itself. The best way to explore the city is by hiring a local guide and spending a couple of hours learning all about this architectural wonder. Bring a picnic lunch, and then enjoy it afterwards on one of the many Inca terraces found around the site. I guarantee you'll never find a more unusual picnic spot in your life.
Another archeological wonder lost to time, Petra has a spot on our collective bucket lists thanks in large part to Indiana Jones. But Petra is so much more than just one building, and exploring this large ancient city will take all day, and more if you have the time. Be sure to return in the evening for a very special event that takes place every night. Petra by Night leads visitors through a kilometer long slot canyon, lit only by candlelight until you reach the famous Treasury building itself. There you'll see thousands more candles creating an eerily beautiful scene that you'll never forget.
While a travel style and not a destination per se, this is an experience that I think everyone should have at least once in their lives. Great safaris can be found in many African countries including Tanzania, Kenya Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, and more. One unique variation I tried was a luxury safari cruise on the Chobe River straddling the border between Namibia and Botswana. There, next to a marshy part of the river, I saw herds of elephants, hippos, and more all leisurely enjoying the summer sun just as I did.
This is a little more unusual, but is so spectacular I really think that it belongs on this list. Truly the last frontier for the modern traveler, voyaging down to the 7th continent is a travel experience unlike anything else in the world. Spend a week cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula, walking along the icy continent itself next to seals and more penguins than you thought ever existed. For something a little more unusual, try swimming in the unusually warm lagoon waters of Desolation Island. The lagoon is actually the caldera of a somewhat active volcano, which is what keeps it warmer than surrounding waters.
What other destinations or experiences would you add to this list?
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