My Top 20 Unique Travel Experiences
There is so much to see and do in the world and in my position, as a part-time traveler, I’ve just touched a small portion. With that said, I’ve still experienced some amazing and unique things during my travels. If you’ve visited my site before, you’ll notice that I’m not the type of traveler that likes to lounge beside a pool or on a crowded beach. All-inclusive resorts are useless for me since I’m definitely wandering the countryside. There is nothing wrong if travelers prefer to spend their holiday this way. I prefer to spend mine as an Expedition. Not just sightseeing but to experience the culture and the countryside. If you treat a holiday this way, you will have a book full of wonderful memories. Five years ago I put together a list of my more unique and adventurous experiences, my top 10 unique travel experiences. Those five years have produced additional experiences so I’ve updated my list to my top 20 unique travel experiences.
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January 2012, Expedition Palawan transported me to heaven on earth, my paradise, the town of El Nido. This amazingly picturesque beach town filled with multiple islands off its shores filled with secluded beaches and lagoons reminiscent of the location of the movie “The Blue Lagoon.” I hired a boat to take me to one of these lagoons and for that day I was the lord and king of paradise as I had the lagoon all to my self.
Iceland is the land of fire and ice and in 2017 I was able to experience what the fire created in the form of a hot spring. The island was created by volcanos and they in turn created some amazing hot springs that will make you forget about the ice and the cold of the island. I visited My’vatn Nature Baths which also has a great view of the surrounding landscape.
I love anthropology and learning about unique cultures. But, tribes are usually to hard to visit, geographically, and frankly they don’t like visitors. My visit to Panama in February, 2018, alloyed me to visit the Kuna tribe in Playon Chico where I stayed at an island resort run by the Kuna and I was able to visit the village, along with a guide of course.
Hiking isn’t unique but hiking in one of Africa’s national parks is. For the safety of all travelers, hiking in a park is prohibited but in Hell’s Gate National Park, Kenya, you’re able to hike along a dirt road as giraffes, zebras, and warthogs roam the landscape. You can also extended the hike with a canyon section that does required a guide.
When you stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon, you acquire a large amount of respect for this landscape and the effort and time it took the Colorado River to create this wonder of the world. You also think to yourself “if I could float down that river, I would.” During my visit to Page, Arizona, I was able to take a slow rafting trip down a portion of it, around the famed Horseshoe Bend and back.
Waterslides are fun, no one can argue with that. But, have you tried a natural waterslide. During my trip to Australia in 2018, I did a short hike to a pool that had a natural waterslide, a slippery boulder with water streaming down it and flowed into a cool water pool. My day in the Atherton Tablelands is still one of my favorite single days ever.
Never heard of it? Well, your not alone. It is an out of the way location in Siargao, Philippines. In 2019, I made the long trek to the cove that’s made up of the most pristine lagoons that I’ve ever seen. One lagoon is filled with harmless jellyfish that you can swim with. Unfortunately, I limited myself to one photo per experience so I can’t truly give you a picture of how unique and beautiful this far corner of the world is. Click the lick for additional photos.
March 2014, running of the reindeers is a light-hearted version of the Running of the Bulls in Spain. Thousands of people take their turn running in snow with the reindeers in a large party atmosphere.
October 2012, the Amazon holiday yielded a fishing trip only possible on the Amazon River. It doesn’t take much to catch one of the most notorious species but be very careful when you try to take one off the hook.
October 2012, during my Amazon Expedition I was not only able to see the pink dolphins, the only fresh water dolphins in the world, but I was able to touch them. These are wild dolphins that have become accustomed to human contact after one of them befriended a little girl. That little girl is grown now but this pod of dolphins come back everyday to interact with people.
July 2013, America’s last frontier, Alaska, is full of adventure and the location for my first class V river rafting run. The river was flowing with cold glacier melt water which made the run a little more dangerous and adrenaline inducing. We wore a dry suit to help with the freezing water but the water was still cold and made the swim test very difficult.
March 2016, In the 3rd portion of my Expedition Africa, in the country of Namibia, I took part in the exciting sport of sandboarding. The beautiful coastal dunes were an ideal location for this thrilling event. The fact that I never surfed or skied made the act that much more exciting.
March 2016, the 2nd part of my Expedition Africa took place in the enchanting island of Zanzibar. Here, I was able to swim with wild dolphins. An experience more difficult than swimming with dolphins in a pool but a hundred times more fulfilling as these are wild and worth the effort.
Africa is such a unique place. The people, landscape, and animals are so captivating that I had to do as many safaris as I could while I visited Africa in 2016. I did a five day safari in the grasslands of Kenya and four days in the harsh desert of Namibia. An experience I will never forget.
Machu Picchu, need I say more. Wandering around the grounds of the mountain top attraction brought out my love for archeology and my inner Indian Jones. Getting here just adds to the experience as you travel to Cusco and through the sacred valley, consuming the culture and history as well as the beauty of the area. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do the multi-day Incan trail during my visit in October, 2019.
March 2016, Expedition Africa was full of adventure as I crisscrossed the continent on a four country excursion. During my time in Kenya, we visited a Maasai village and the men of the group were able to take part in the Adumu, the jump dance. I had seen this millions of time on television and now it was my turn to participate. Can you blame me for smiling the whole time.
It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t want to experience the norther lights (aurora borealis). Imagine traveling around Iceland and witnessing this. Most people see it for 15 to 30 minutes before it disappears at 2 a.m. During my experience, It appeared at 7 p.m. and lasted past midnight while I was in the eastern part of the island. The next two days would also produce these lights but with a significant cloud cover. I only wish I’d brought my tripod to take a better long exposure photo of the lights.
October 2014, Expedition Galapagos was full of unique species I never imagined I’d see in person. When I put together my itinerary for this holiday, I just hoped to see the one of a kind Galapagos Penguin. Never did I think I would be able to swim with them in the wild. They were curious and playful, often attracted to my GoPro, and a joy to swim with.
July 2016, My Yucatan expedition brought me off the coast of Mexico, one hour boat ride off the coast of Cancun, near the island of Isla Mujeres, where the currents create a feeding ground of plankton and the occasional fish eggs numbering in the millions for the extraordinary whale sharks. Swimming among the thousands-of-years old species of gentle giants, 30 feet and weighing 10 tons, was a unique encounter and I wish everyone can experience it first hand.
My original list can be viewed at: My Top 10 Unique Travel Experiences
During my South America trip in 2019, I was blessed enough to visit Easter Island. I was able to learn about the culture of Rapa Nui first hand from the descendants of the original inhabitants. I could feel the history and plight of the people as I walked among the moai, monolithic human figures. The mystery of the people and how they created and moved the moai is stilled debated and it was an amazing experience to see it first hand.
photos not enough, see my videos on Youtube: Expedition Hobo
The world is full of experiences and I’ve been able to get a small taste of what’s out there. My expeditions will continue to create memories and definitely expand this list. I’ve had many wonderful experience during my travels and this is my 20 most unique experiences. We all have a different definition of unique and my list is no greater than yours. With that said,
What’s your most unique travel experience?