6 off the beaten track stops you've never heard of
Think a tour means sticking to the straight and narrow? Adventure tours are all about taking you off the beaten track – whether that’s sidestepping into a back alley no other traveller could find in a middle of a bustling capital or turning down a dirt path into a remote village nestled in the mountaintops.
With a guide who knows the way, has all the boring (but essential!) logistics sorted and a fun crew of peeps to get out and explore with, how could you not?
Here are our favourite off the beaten track stops that you never even knew existed, inspired by the adventures of our friends over at Contiki, Topdeck and Intrepid.
Ranthambhore National Park, India
You’ve heard of Delhi, Agra, Goa and Kerala. But Ranthambhore? This national park is THE place to go for your once-in-a-lifetime chance to spot tigers. IN THE WILD. Think safari trucks, lush forest and all senses tuned for any sign of movement to the description of big, furry, with whiskers and orange with black stripes. All in time for sunrise. Like the sound of colourful local handicrafts? Ranthambhore has that too.
Do it on Contiki’s Indian Getaway, 12 days (Yep! Contiki just launched a BRAND NEW India itinerary!)
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Get a piece of Lawrence of Arabia IRL. A four-hour jeep safari into the rugged lands of lunar-like rock formations, sand dunes and domineering sandstone mountains will make you feel as though you’re being transported to another planet. Hence why Wadi Rum is aka The Valley of the Moon. Fascinating traces of ancient civilisations can also be found. The best way to make it last? Sleeping over in a desert camp – either in a camel hair tent or splayed out beneath the blanket of stars.
Do it on Intrepid’s Jordan & Egypt Express, 9 days
It’s one of the largest towns in the one of the largest valleys in the world – so when you’re standing on the edge of the Colca Valley looking down, Chivay can seem so, so small. It’s easily lost amidst all that visual drama. Snap it for Insta and then snap some more from the bottom; the beautiful views continue once you arrive. Wander the streets and see what you find. The numero uno thing to do? Jumping into Chivay’s hot springs. This is the ultimate chill stop.
Do it on Contiki’s Peru Uncovered, 14 days
Got them travel feels? More inspo right here:
Blouberg, South Africa
Like to meet real locals on the road? Blouberg is where it’s at – tucked away at the base of a mountain in South Africa’s Limpopo province. Home to the Hanawa people, enjoy a slice of the traditional life. Hear the locals’ stories, roam the Blouberg Mountains and duck in to a missionary village. The local village taverns complete the scene – the place to sample local cuisine and more importantly, their traditionally brewed beer.
Do it on Intrepid’s Vic Falls to Kruger, 9 days
Suchitoto, El Salvador
Colourful houses. Cobbled streets. One stunning church. Suchitoto in El Savador doesn’t seem so obvious. But actually, it is the cultural capital of the country. There are art galleries and handicrafts, plus Mayan ruins and one mysterious ancient volcano. There’s also a beautiful freshwater lake (kayaking anybody?) and the Cinquero rainforest on its cusp. Boom! Suddenly this hidden colonial gem got rep.
Do it on Geckos’ Epic Central America, 46 days
Kandy, Sri Lanka
We know. It sounds tasty. But the closest thing you’ll get to sweet is a mouthful of spice at an aromatic spice garden on your way here. So what’s the deal with Kandy? It’s the proud stomping ground of Sri Lanka’s most important shrine, called the Temple of the Tooth (or Dalada Maligawa)! What’s more is that it’s the launching point for day trips to the aww-worthy ancient rock fortress of palace of Sigiriya and the Dambulla Caves Temple, a World Heritage cave monastery with 22 centuries of worship cred.
Do it on Geckos’ Sri Lankan Adventure, 11 days
Go island hopping around Thailand, finally check out Cuba or go all out and trek Everest Base Camp.
More like this
More like this
How does travel affect perception and identity - as told by professional travellers
When I started doing research for this story, I began by looking through different online journal articles and psychology studies, of which there are many, because I wanted to get to the core of what exactly it is about travel that affects our perceptions.