More and more people are putting “visiting all seven continents” on their bucket list. Here is a sampling of some of the fun expeditions you could do on each one.
Europe - Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is hot right now, and for good reason. Along with the country’s fjords, ice fields, geysers and geothermal pools, the capital of Reykjavik is a hip little city with a thriving culinary scene, funky shopping and year-round festivals. This eclectic city of craft shops and museums, cutting-edge street art, and music ranging from symphonies in the honeycombed-glass Harpa concert hall to unplugged folk at Café Rosenberg is sure to have something for everyone. With near 24-hour sunlight during the summer, the nightlife (or “jammith,” as the locals call it) never seems to end. For the active travelers who truly want an expedition-style getaway, be sure to get out into the countryside for hiking, snowmobiling, dog sledding, horseback riding and much more.
Africa – Tanzania’s Rooftop
Ever since German geologist Hans Meyer’s first recorded summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1889, thrill seekers have dreamed of scaling the “Roof of Africa.” The continent’s highest peak is located in Tanzania and rises up 19,341 feet. Climbers from across the globe willingly endure weeks of training and the risk of altitude sickness for bragging rights at Uhuru Peak. On the ascent, they get to experience four different climate zones: rain forest, low alpine, high alpine and glacial. Trekkers, supported by local guides, can chose from seven official routes that lead to the top. If trekking Kilimanjaro is on your bucket list, email Pique Owner, Linda Bendt. Linda led a women’s trek last year and summited the mountain!
New Zealand – Sauvignon and Scenery
With the help of some favorable exchange rates, Australia and New Zealand are a great choice for international travel right now. And for many, culinary and wine pursuits are often a draw to these regions of the world. In fact, it was Sauvignon Blanc that propelled New Zealand onto the international wine scene in the 1980s. Today, the fruity white wine accounts for 85 percent of the country’s wine exports and is joined by merlots and pinot noirs in popularity. The vineyards are set within breathtaking backdrops of mountain peaks, glacial lakes, rolling hillsides and some of the best scenery in the world. A perfect destination for most any type of traveler.
South America – Ecuador’s Culture
Mainland Ecuador is often overlooked by adventure travelers, who simply pass through on their way to the Galápagos. A closer look, however, reveals a mélange of cultures as diverse as the islands’ famous wildlife. While the majority of Ecuador’s population identifies as mestizo, with a mix of indigenous and Spanish ancestry, the country is home to more than a dozen distinct native peoples, including two groups of Afro-Ecuadorians. Immersing yourself in that unique culture is possible when you visit indigenous river communities, walk local markets and artisan shops, and overnight in a historic hacienda in the Otavalo region.
North America – US National Parks
Many US citizens and visitors from afar think of the United States for its amazing cities – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC and others. What travelers often overlook is how eclectic and beautiful the national parks are – all 58 of them. Read here to learn more about the Top 10 Most Visited National Parks.
India – Inner Journey Buddhists consider Bodh Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar to be the holiest place on Earth, for it was here that the young Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha while meditating beneath a bodhi tree. Making a pilgrimage to this spot can be an amazing experience for those looking for solitude and happiness. It’s truly a walk on the sacred path to enlightenment. Several of Pique Travel’s Virtuoso partners have private journeys that explore holy sites across India, Nepal and more.
Antarctica – Wildlife, History and Majestic Scenery
Antarctica has gone from an exotic ‘someday’ destination to a common bucket list item for many people. Travelers often go for the penguins, but come back awe-inspired by the ice formations and mountainous scenery. The majority of visitors venture only to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, but for a small group of adventurers crossing the Antarctic Circle is the goal. Reaching the icy milestone is well worth the extra distance involved, if only to see the large pods of minke and humpback whales that migrate there during the summer months. There is a limited number of expeditions that head that far south, but the rewards (other than bragging rights) include riding a Zodiac past a huge gentoo penguin colony in Neko Harbour and visiting the Ukrainian-operated Vernadsky Research Station.
Want to learn more about any of these journeys, or have some ideas of your own you want to discuss? Email Linda at LindaB@piquetravel.com.