Here are a list of Wilderness Travel’s top 10 destinations to see in 2020 with some of their one-of-a-kind itineraries that delve deep into a region’s culture, landscapes and cuisine.
1. Pantanal Wetland, Brazil
Located in Brazil, this is the world’s largest tropical wetland and a UNESCO biosphere, offering opportunities to see extraordinary wildlife. Jaguars top the list, but you’ll also see capybara, caiman and a phenomenal range of bird life. It is a fascinating world of its own and an incredible wildlife experience - but to get the most out of the experience, it is important to do it right, according to Barbara Banks, director of marketing and trip development for Wilderness Travel.
2. Azores, Portugal
An archipelago of stunning volcanic isles just five hours from the U.S. East Coast, these beauties in the Atlantic offer excellent hiking, fantastic landscapes, fresh seafood, and a culture all their own. The Azores are truly a world apart, and one of Europe’s least-known destinations.
“Namibia has the greatest conservation story ever told,” says Banks. “The country is a beacon of hope and an example of what can be done when people work together.”
Ethiopia is one of Africa’s most fascinating up-and-coming destinations with its ancient history, rich cultural heritage and dramatic natural scenery. The “land where coffee was born” is made for adventure and discovery.
5. Tasmania, Australia
A hiker’s paradise Down Under, Tasmania offers gorgeous beaches, exotic wildlife, including the famous Tasmanian devil, national parks brimming with soaring peaks and coastal views, and a wonderful food and wine scene that has to be tasted to be believed, says Banks.
6. Salta, Argentina
The Salta region of Argentina, in addition to becoming a popular wine-growing region that has attracted many American winemakers, offers exquisite red rocks ideal for hiking; colonial-era towns with whitewashed buildings, plazas and red-tiled roofs; and unparalleled clear skies crystal blue in the day and filled with stars on cool desert nights. “Visiting this area of Argentina is like stepping into the American Southwest 80 years ago,” says Banks. “It feels like such a discovery.”
7. Ha’api Islands, South Pacific
Swim with magnificent humpback whales in the remote Ha’apai Islands. It is an up-close wildlife experience unlike anything else on the planet. Underwater adventures can be complemented with authentic cultural experiences in this tropical paradise.
8. Corsica, France
Of all the islands in the Mediterranean, Corsica is one of the least discovered, yet this French isle offers a hiker’s paradise through its craggy cliffs with sea views, as well as fascinating ancient sites and delicious cheeses. “Corsica and Sardinia are enchanting Mediterranean isles, each so distinct in its culture and cuisine,” says Banks. “Experience them in spring and fall, the perfect seasons for hiking and for encountering the local culture without the heat or crowds of summer.”
With a reputation as the happiest place on earth, Bhutan is a country seemingly untouched by the modern world. Get there before everyone else discovers its simple charm.
Greenland is a great alternative to the increasingly crowded Iceland with even more dramatic landscapes and a far more remote feel with no roads connecting its far-flung villages. “Interest in Greenland is definitely strong, and it offers a phenomenal travel experience,” says Banks, noting that the company’s Hiking Eastern Greenland and Iceland’s Westfjords itinerary has already sold out for 2020, and a new date is being added for 2021.