Striking out on the open road at least once or twice a year helps all of us live better lives. But where to go? The world is vast and full of a seemingly endless list of choices. Over at US News they conduct a yearly survey to parse the best places for adventure around the world. Hopefully it’ll help you find the perfect destination to escape to this year.
This year’s survey asked “a total of 21,372 individuals from 36 countries” (note how surveys about tourism and soda seem to be way more thorough than 99% of scientific studies) about how they traveled, which countries were awesome, and why. The countries they deemed the best for adventure had the highest marks for being “friendly, fun, pleasant climate, scenic, sexy.”
Let’s jump right in. Here’s your visual tour of US News’ top ten ‘Best Countries For Adventure.’
Argentina is a country of multitudes. You can traverse the high Andes, cruise the rolling lowlands visiting vineyards, or surf the endless beach breaks. If cold weather and wild tundra is your thing, you can travel to the icy sub-antarctic. It’s a big country, is what we’re saying.
Australia — the beaches, the reefs, the outback, the crocodiles — is extra. It’s everything. It has one of the best food scenes on the planet. And the population density is so low, you can go days without seeing another soul as you traverse one of the world’s most wild corners.
Where to begin with Mexico? The country is enormous and varies widely. You might spend months just exploring the ancient world of the Maya in the Yucatan before you consider heading to the agave fields of Jalisco or turning north for surf and street taco in the Baja. Even after all of that, you’ll have only scratched the surface.
7) COSTA RICA
Costa Rica may be small, but it’s full of adventure. Take a zip line through the jungle, save turtles on idyllic beaches, or just kick back in a hammock and watch the world go by while all that tension of real life melts away. Also, this is a nation where you can chill with sloths. That deserves a mention.
6) NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand is that magical land that’s a over the hills and far away, but worth the long journey. Epic mountains fall precipitously towards churning seas. In between you’ll find great pubs, amazing food, and some of the purest adventure anywhere.
Have you heard of the glow caves of Waitomo? You should hear about them. Then you should visit them.
There are over 6,000 islands to explore in Greece. And then there’s ancient history and culture, great food, and breathtaking Mediterranean beauty around every corner just waiting for you to explore it.
Alternate adventure: Sit on crates in the Athenian plaka playing tavli and eating gyros for a month. It’s not wild, but it’s blissful nonetheless.
Thailand is a traveler’s mecca. There’s a reason it’s so popular. A lot of reasons, in fact. The food and drink is dirt cheap and delicious. The jungles, beaches, and countryside are idyllic and safe. The country really has everything you’ll ever want in a vacation spot at prices that are hard to beat anywhere else in the world.
Ah, Spain. There are so many great cities to eat and drink your way through. The people are impossibly beautiful, inside and out. Then there are the plains of La Mancha, the beaches of the southern coasts, the islands of the Med, and the drastic mountains of the north. There’s something for everyone and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad meal.
Italy is a food capital of the world. It’s also ready for adventure with the Alps to the north and beach after beach as you head further south. In between is one of the best cities to eat and drink in the world: Roma!
Brazil is massive. There’s the Amazon, the Caribbean, the Bahia coast, the megalopolis of Rio, and a culture that puts socializing, eating, drinking, and having a good time at the top of the priority list. Also, lots of cool butts.