From African safaris and treks to Machu Picchu, from island hopping through French Polynesia and cycling in New Zealand, these 9 trips of a lifetime are more popular and accessible than ever, thanks to the adventure packages available with Xanterra’s active travel companies. Many of the trips include bucket list wildlife viewing experiences and immersive destination exploration. Are you ready for a vacation that will change your life? It’s time to pack your bags and make memories that will last forever.

1. Trek to Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu - Peru - ninitta - iStock
The 11-day trek to Machu Picchu is one trip that you’ll never forget. Photo Credit: ninitta (iStock)

Why Machu Picchu is Amazing

There’s no better way to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu than by hiking the fabled Inca Trail. On award-winning, active travel company, VBT’s 11-day “Peru: Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley” small-group walking tour, you’ll follow centuries-old mountain paths formed that lead to the “Lost City of the Inca,”. (Talk about a wow moment.) Share up-close encounters with local Peruvians at village markets and scenic towns and learn about their arts, crafts, and religious traditions. You’ll also have the chance to ride through the Sacred Valley by train, marveling at its archaeological sites and sprawling vistas.

For more travel experiences to Beautiful Places on Earth™ available from Xanterra Parks & Resorts and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.

2. Cycle through Cape Town, South Africa and Beyond

Twelve Apostles mountain in Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
Twelve Apostles mountain in Camps Bay near Cape Town in South Africa. Photo Credit: spooh (iStock)

Why South Africa is Amazing

This 12-day bike trip begins in Cape Town, South Africa, considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities. You’ll wind your way through the Little Karoo Valley before ending on the iconic Garden Route. Along the way, take in the spectacular coastline, dramatic mountain scenery, and glorious wine country on this “Cycling South Africa: Cape Town and the Garden Route” tour from VBT. Special experiences include visiting the summit of iconic Table Mountain, touring an ostrich farm, visiting a penguin colony, dining with a local family, and sampling delectable South African vintages at the source.

3. Bike and Walk New Zealand’s South Island

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View near Church of the Good Shepherd near Lake Tekapo, on New Zealand’s South Island. Photo Credit: simonbradfield (iStock)

Why New Zealand is Amazing

Explore the world-famous landscapes of the South Island by bike, foot, and kayak on this 12-day tour from VBT, “Bike and Walk the South Island, New Zealand.” Cycle and trek from mountainside to seaside, taking in waterfalls, forests, and snow-capped Southern Alps. Hike along a massive glacier, paddle a coastal lagoon, and ride the TranzAlpine on a spectacular rail journey. There are opportunities for cultural immersion too: enjoy a traditional lunch at a Kiwi sheep ranch and sample wines at a vineyard.

For more travel experiences to Beautiful Places on Earth™ available from Xanterra Parks & Resorts and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.

4. Discover Ancient  Vietnam and Cambodia

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The jungle has reclaimed the temples at the Ankgor Complex near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo Credit: Nikada (iStock)

Why Vietnam and Cambodia are Amazing

The highlight of this nine-day guided walking tour from Country Walkers, known for world-class active travel, is undoubtedly the astonishing 12th-century architectural wonder of the Angor Temple Complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia, home to Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. On this “Vietnam and Cambodia: Trails of Indochina” tour, you’ll explore two countries on foot. Walk through traditional cities and towns — from evocative Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, to bustling Siem Reap in Cambodia, called “the Great Gate to Angkor,” to historic Hoi An, a bustling Vietnamese port city. You’ll also explore tiny villages, serene rice paddies, quiet beaches, and even sail by private junk in the waters of Halong Bay, Vietnam.

5. Explore Japan, “Land of the Rising Sun” 

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Buildings - Kyoto Skyline - Japan - TommL - iStock
As Japan’s imperial capital for more than 1,000 years, Kyoto is home to rich culture and scenery. Photo Credit: TommL (iStock)

Why Japan is Amazing

Gain a rare insider’s look into the Land of the Rising Sun on this eight-day walking tour, “Japan: Kyoto, Nara & the Kumano Kodo” from Country Walkers. Explore immaculately preserved temples and their serene Zen gardens. Follow the sacred path of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail through forests punctuated with ancient cha-ya teahouses, and learn about the little-known Shugendō faith from a yamabushi priest. Immerse yourself in the shogun splendor of a country castle, and stroll through the gardens, palaces, temples, and traditional neighborhoods of Kyoto, Japan’s imperial capital for more than 1,000 years. And along the way, you’ll stay in ryokan lodgings, replete with tatami floors and hot spring baths.

6. Sail Through the Islands of French Polynesia

Bora Bora Island - French Polynesia - Mlenny - iStock
The waters surrounding the French Polynesian islands are some of the most stunning. They’re full of wildlife and unmatched beauty. French Polynesia. Photo Credit: Mlenny (iStock)

Why French Polynesia is Amazing

The trip begins when you settle in to the comfort and luxury of your four-masted sailing yacht. Soon, sails billow and your dream adventure is underway.

Like a box of crayons gone mad, the brilliant blue water, the lush greenery, and fragrant native flowers provide unmatched scenery. During award-winning Windstar Cruises seven or 10-day sail through the exotic islands of Tahiti, you’ll relish the relaxation as impossibly pink sand massages your feet and soothing warm waters welcome you like an old friend. Snorkel or dive in Rangiroa’s huge lagoon filled with fanciful fish and stunning coral, and explore the rich ecosystem of Fakarava, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with brag-worthy diving. At day’s end, fall asleep, cradled in the arms of gentle trade winds.

For more travel experiences to Beautiful Places on Earth™ available from Xanterra Parks & Resorts and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.

7. Discover Tropical Treasures in Costa Rica & Panama

View of Papagayo Bay - Costa Rica - Terraxplorer - iStock
View of Papagayo Bay, Costa Rica. Photo Credit: Terraxplorer (iStock)

Why Costa Rica and Panama are Amazing

Capture a glimpse of the richest and most biologically diverse ecosystems in Costa Rica’s Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Rio Frio, home to monkeys, iguanas, sloths, and turtles on this tour with Holiday Vacations. Visit butterfly gardens, steaming lakes, cloud forests, and pulsing volcanoes. Experience the history and geographical wonder of the Panama Canal as you journey through the locks, lakes, and rivers that traverse this famous waterway. The culture, music, and architecture along with the rich tropical diversity of the region will combine to create memories to last a lifetime.

8. Hike Australia’s Great Ocean Walk

Twelve Apostles - Port Campbell National Park - Victoria - Australia
Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell National Park. Victoria, Australia. Photo Credit: DrRave (iStock)

Why Australia is Amazing

Lace up your boots and visit the land that invented the walkabout. On this eight-day self-guided tour from Country Walkers, be one of the first to hike the remote and recently completed Great Ocean Walk in the southern Australian state of Victoria. Pick your own route from a path that splits between beach walks alongside crashing surf and hilly trails over sea cliffs. While trekking some of the most remote and remarkable terrain on Earth, you can spot wild kangaroos, koalas, peregrine falcons, kookaburras, and more as you pass through wildlife reserves in the Otway National Park. You’ll also find waterfalls, shipwrecks, the iconic Twelve Apostles sea stacks, and some of the most spectacular ocean vistas in Australia.

For more travel experiences to Beautiful Places on Earth™ available from Xanterra Parks & Resorts and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.

9. Go on Safari in Zambia

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Giraffes on the savanna in Zambia. Photo Credit: fotogaby (iStock)

 Why Zambia is Amazing

Prepare for thrills as you enter the wild heart of southern Africa on this exclusive nine-day game-viewing safari with the expert guides from Country Walkers. Sip sundowners to the sound of hippos splashing in their wallow. Dine under the stars as elephants stride by. Hear the music of a thousand birds by day, and by night a serenade of mysterious forest sounds. This is the Africa you’ve been searching for, and you’ve found it on this exceptional walking adventure through Zambia’s iconic South Luangwa National Park. Your adventure begins at award-winning Mfuwe Lodge, a luxurious point of entry from which you venture deep into the bush on daily game drives. Continue to three remote yet deluxe bush camps for an intimate wildlife experience in one of Africa’s last unspoiled regions. This is the real Africa—with all the challenge, beauty, mystery, and excitement that a walking safari promises.