Sure, a relaxing trip to the beach is a wonderful getaway, but many a modern traveler often seeks more from a journey. For your next adventure, consider diving into an eco-educational voyage, where you can experience the grandeur of Earth, from extraordinary wildlife to jaw-dropping geography, while learning about it from experts. If you’re looking for a vacation that’s equal parts fun, informational, and adventurous, look no further than these six trips, all of which have scientists on board to enhance your trip.
1. Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic: Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falklands
When a top-notch expedition company and a legendary science institution team up, great things are bound to happen. The duo offers dozens of itineraries across the globe, but its Antarctic adventures are particularly exceptional. We recommend the 24-day , which brings travelers to some of the most interesting ecological environments on the planet. In South Georgia and the Falklands, voyagers might spot thousands of penguins in massive colonies, behemoth elephant seals, and soaring albatrosses. And, of course, there is Antarctica in all its unspoiled beauty.
2. Zeghram Expeditions: Hokkaido: Japan’s Wild Island
Your first thought of might be the bustling capital of , with all its neon lights and crowds of pedestrians. But the northern island of is a natural paradise known for its hot springs, national and natural parks, and brown bear population. Zeghram Expeditions takes travelers on that sails around the island (and even makes a stop in Russia!). Excursions inland include a trip to the “Floating Island of Flowers” in Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park, birdwatching on Teuri Island (along a seabird migratory route), and an exploration of Shikotsu-Toya National Park, a UNESCO Global Geopark.
3. Smithsonian Journeys: Wonders of the Galapagos Islands Voyage
The iconic institution has curated adventures around the world with the goal of educating travelers across a variety of topics. For a wildlife trip, what better place to visit than the ? Embody the spirit of Charles Darwin on through the Ecuadorian islands. The list of wildlife that can be spotted here can go on and on and on: tortoises, seals, bats, blue-footed boobies, spotted eagle rays, preying mantises, and iguanas, to name a few.
4. Natural Selection: Jack’s Camp
The Kalahari desert is a great place to start if you’re looking for an incredible African safari. Consider staying at in , an iconic lodging offering luxury stays for safari goers. The camp was established in the 1960s, but underwent a renovation in 2003, imbuing the property with a 1940s flair. Guests have excellent access to all sorts of wildlife, from meerkats to lions to zebras. (The second largest zebra migration rolls through the area between November and May.) Guests can see it all from above via a helicopter charter.
5. Aurora Expeditions: Patagonia Discovery Trek
is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking destinations in the world, and Aurora Expeditions takes guests into the heart of it on From the snowcapped peaks to the “pampas” grasslands, the natural scenery is practically surreal. As you hike, keep an eye out for guanacos (relatives of the llama), eagles, and songbirds.
6. Quark Expeditions: Introduction to Spitsbergen
The Svalbard archipelago, part of , is one of the northernmost destinations in the world, and in fact, polar bears outnumber humans in the area. Quark Expeditions offers adventurers around Spitsbergen, the largest island in the chain, where the landscape fluctuates between a wildflower-filled paradise to a snow-covered wonderland. Other than polar bears, walruses are a common sighting in this Arctic destination.
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