Zegrahm travelers are some of the most adventurous on the planet. Those looking for a spine-tingling, life-changing experience this year will discover it in our new guide, Top 5 Destinations for Adventure in 2016.
We consulted with Zegrahm's team of expert field leaders to find out what's on their radar. Leading the list were perennial favorites Antarctica, Polynesia, and the Galápagos, along with the emerging destinations of Iceland and the Philippines.
Why these particular places, and why now?
Antarctica—aka “The Ice”—has long topped many travel bucket lists, especially for wildlife lovers. Some 100 million seabirds make their summer home here; around 20,000 pairs of Adelie penguins, along with hundreds of gentoo, live at the Brown Bluff colony alone. (BTW: Our 22-day expedition visits during the height of penguin mating season.) Yet the ever-growing number of tourists arriving each year, as well as the already-visible effects of climate change, add to the urgency of exploring this icy empire.
Another cool pick that made our list is Iceland. Far from what its name implies, this country warms everyone's hearts with its Viking tales, endearing puffins, and iconic Geysir hot springs, which spouts every six to eight hours. (Strokkur geyser, also located along the popular “Golden Circle” route out of Reykjavik, erupts every five to ten minutes.) Iceland's economic success, as well as its challenges with climate disruption, make this country a must-do for intrepid travelers.
To really heat things up, our experts named exotic Polynesia among this year's top destinations. Famed for inspiring romance and the HMS Bounty's rowdy mutineers, these island groups are a favorite for scuba divers and birdwatchers. (The Marquesas' tropical forests host too many terns to count, along with numerous endemic and endangered species.) World explorers also enjoy the rare treat in visiting Tonga, the last remaining South Pacific kingdom—and, unfortunately, the second most-susceptible place on earth to climate change.
Balmy waters are a big draw for the Philippines, as well.Scuba enthusiasts can dive year round at a number of sites, including naval wrecks and the 370-square-mile Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the famed Coral Triangle. Sadly, those sea waters have risen faster around this island republic than anywhere else on the planet, making it all the more imperative to visit now.
Rounding out the list are the Galápagos, whose isolated islets are home to approximately 5,000 species, almost half of them endemic and all of which are unafraid of humans. “Nature's Classroom” never fails to impress, whether visiting giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island, visiting Fernandina's massive colony of marine iguanas, or swimming along sea lions and penguins. Such amazing encounters come at an expense, however, as tourism skyrockets, threatening to upset the biosphere's delicate balance.
So, is your heart racing yet? Luckily, you can download a copy of our Top 5 Destinations for Adventure in 2016 here for free. Happy exploring!