The best travel destinations for outdoor enthusiasts

If you love being outdoors in nature, you probably also prefer a vacation that allows you to explore and enjoy all the natural beauty the destination has to offer. From exotic rice paddies to mountainous regions that take you to seventh heaven, here are the best outdoor vacation destinations you should put on your travel bucket list.

New Zealand

With breathtaking stretches of coastline and snow-capped mountains to shimmering lakes, if you love the outdoors, one trip to New Zealand won’t be enough. There are few places in the world where you can experience ancient forests, stunning coastlines and mountain vistas in the space of a day. With many national parks to explore, volcanic and geothermal active areas and stunning landscapes that seem to go on for days.

Head to Queenstown to do a bit of everything from water sports to hiking and rock climbing. It’s also the birthplace of bungee jumping, so travelers looking for an adrenaline rush can be sure to get one.

South Africa

South Africa is truly a destination for nature lovers. Offering some of the most diverse landscapes on the entire African continent – with forests, mountains, deserts, grasslands and savannas some of the landscapes you can expect to encounter. Besides the incredible natural environment, there are also plenty of wildlife – with over 700 public reserves, 200 private reserves and 19 national parks. It’s time to tick “going on an African safari” off your to-do list.

A trip to South Africa is not complete without a trip to Africa’s largest game reserve, Kruger National Park. Be sure to keep an eye out for the “Big Five” – ​​lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhino.

Argentina

Argentina’s sheer size virtually guarantees incredible natural diversity. Argentina’s natural beauty has been attracting nature lovers for many years. From the tropics to the Andes, each region of the country has a different ecosystem to discover. Taking a trip through Argentina is like traveling through multiple countries – with its famous UNESCO-listed Iguassu Falls and unique jungle landscapes home to a wide variety of species of different flora and fauna.

Head to Patagonia in southern Argentina to enjoy one of the most spectacular hikes in the world – the W Trek, which includes the peaks of Torres del Paine. You can also explore clear lakes, dense forests and mountain passes on horseback or by bicycle.

Iceland

Iceland’s natural beauty is easily the highlight of the whole country. From shimmering glacial lagoons to bubbling hot springs, the island’s unspoiled, otherworldly charm captivates travelers at every turn. And whether it’s lit seasonally by the Midnight Sun or the Northern Lights, the lighting is guaranteed to up the ante. Iceland offers adventurers plenty of opportunities to explore volcanic landscapes, hot springs and mighty waterfalls.

Many people don’t even know that it is even possible to dive in Iceland, in the Silfra Rift, located between the North American and Eurasian Plates. How’s that for a once in a lifetime outdoor experience!

United States

The United States is an incredible destination for nature lovers – with the National Park System encompassing 423 national park sites across the United States. Spanning 84 million acres, with parks in every state, and extending into US territories (including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), no matter where you head in the US, you’re guaranteed of a small corner of paradise in the open air.

Why not head to California’s infamous national park, Yosemite? With over 750 hiking trails to choose from, rafting trips and, of course, beautiful scenery, Yosemite is a place every outdoor adventurer should see at least once.

Swiss

Do you want to conquer mountains and valleys, dive into turbulent waters and discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Switzerland’s landscape is more varied than almost any other place on earth. And once you set your sights on its breathtaking natural landscape – crystal clear lakes framed by snow-capped mountain scenery – you’ll find that not all the postcards do it justice. Switzerland will take your breath away.

And the best part is that it’s a year-round destination. Whether you opt for hiking in the Jungfrau region, skiing in the Alps or rafting on the Lütschine Rive, there is something for everyone.


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Costa Rica

Located just north of the equator, Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet (and is a leader in ecotourism). In fact, there are few places on earth where you can find so many different habitats in such a small space. More than half of Costa Rica is covered in forest, much of which is primary and virgin tropical forest. Add to that the country’s 800 miles of coastline and 28 national parks (three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites) – and you have a natural haven on your hands.

Costa Rica’s incredible national parks allow visitors to enjoy exciting activities like rafting, canyoning, and zip-lining, as well as discover incredible wildlife.

Ecuador

Another incredibly species-rich small country, Ecuador is known for its lush, sprawling landscapes. In other words: a nature lover’s paradise. The tropical nation is home to greater diversity than temperate countries, making it a haven for so many species. Its ecosystem includes the peaks of the Andes, mangroves, cloud forests, coastal regions and the Amazon rainforest. Ecuador is a true paradise for birdwatchers, with 1,500 species, with excellent weather conditions for birdwatching all year round.

Head to Mindo Cloud Forest just outside Quinto to see hundreds of bird species, ride a cable car through the valley or hike to one of the many waterfalls where you can refresh.

Indonesia

Indonesia’s size, tropical climate and archipelagic geography support one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. There’s so much to explore in the world’s largest island country, from the ancient temples of Java to the enchanting rice paddies of Bali. More than 17,000 islands make up an incredible landscape home to volcanoes, jungles, lakes, mangroves, grasslands, snow-capped mountains and beautiful coral gardens.

One of the best destinations for adventure seekers is on the island of Lombok – the active volcano in Mount Rinjani National Park is an exciting activity for any adventurer.

From Iceland to Indonesia, the world is full of destinations that would delight any nature lover. Let me know in the comments which of these destinations (or others) are your favorite outdoor destinations.

Efrat Sagi-Ofir is CRO and founder of Air Doctor. Air Doctor is a startup that connects travelers to a global network of 20,000 local doctors through an easy-to-use app, to receive appropriate medical care from anywhere in the world.

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