30 Eco/Adventure Travel Ways to Explore the World

by Julia Zaremba

Feeling a little bit lost in life? Drowning in the mundane day-to-day? Perk yourself up and find the direction of your inner compass with an adventure program abroad!

Expand your horizons, hike to new heights, dive to new depths, and battle the mighty beasts of boredom as you gain invaluable experience and grow into a fearless fighter. From snorkeling around the Galapagos to trekking famous Inca trails in Peru, there are adventure opportunities in nearly every country to combine an adventure of a lifetime with meaningful travel. However, like all things in life, some do it better.

Choose to explore cultures, traditions, landscapes, and culinary scenes with an experience that will get you away from the cities, out of your shell, and into the thrill of the moment, in one of the following adventure destinations. Tighten your masts, pick your course, and set sail in the direction of the country (and adventure program!) of your dreams.

Cinque Terre Italy

Cinque Terre Italy

Italy

As well as being a top destination for high school programs abroad and study abroad, Italy is also the most popular eco/adventure destination searched on GoAbroad! Adventure opportunities in Italy are as plentiful as its strikes and as tasty as its focaccias: volunteer at a dolphin conservation in the Italian Riviera, sample the slow food movement with a cooking homestay in Tuscany, or go find (more-fit versions of) George Clooney around Lake Como with a hiking program in the Alps. Whether it’s your feet, heart, or stomach that you want to exercise, pick the adventure program in Italy that appeals most and say arrivederci!

Particularly Awesome Programs: GoEco, The Experiment in International Living, Travel for Teens

Argentina

From the spectacular hikes in Patagonia to desert tours around Salta, Argentina has an adventure for any palette and setting. When you’re not white water rafting, tagging penguins, or preserving howler monkeys, seep into the seductive rhythm of Argentine culture with a tango and a big, fat steak. Find out with wine variety most tickles your tongue with an adventure program in Argentina.

Particularly Awesome Programs: Mente Argentina, Travellers Worldwide, Earthwatch Institute









Elephants at a safari in Kenya

Hop on a safari tour in Kenya!

Kenya

There’s a lot more than lions, meerkats, and stinky bugs here. The geography of Kenya is as rich and diverse as the people who call it home. From the savannah grasslands to the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya, this is a country that will amaze. Revel in these sights while living with a local Maasai community, hopping around on a safari, or practicing your wildlife management skills with a diving tank on your back. See which adventure program in Kenya awakens your inner buzzard.

Particularly Awesome Programs: Frontier, Global Adventure Safaris, CrossContinental

Australia

With so many diverse regions, Australia has numerous opportunities to get involved with the environment and sustainability efforts. Have you ever thought of exploring the Great Barrier Reef? Or maybe sneaking up on a long-nosed bandicoot in the lush rainforests of North Queensland? Or perhaps you wanna soak up the sun and surf that Eastern Australian Current with Crush? Whichever ecosystem you’d like to run around in, Australia has it all, with a hearty serving of vegemite and wallaby on the side. Pick an adventure program in Australia and start planning your wild escape to the land down under.

Particularly Awesome Programs: Loka, Pacific Discovery, Broadreach









Keel billed toucan in the Costa Rican rainforest

Participate in an animal conservation project in the rainforests of Costa Rica

Costa Rica

From its year-round tropical climate to its fresh cuisine, Costa Rica boasts a variety of unique adventure programs. It has been deemed the “greenest” country in the world, slightly smaller than Lake Michigan, Costa Rica accounts for only .03 percent of the world’s landmass but boasts 5% of its biodiversity! Trek into volcanos, screech around with monkeys, zipline through cloud forests, or explore marine conservation as you delve into the country’s rich history and landscapes. Make friends with some Ticas and Ticos when you pick an adventure program in Costa Rica and learn to bask in pure vida.

Particularly Awesome Programs: Outward Bound Costa Rica, The Experiment in International Living, GapForce

England

It’s not all tea parties and pub crawls in England. Explore the vibrant city of London, then head north to marvel over ancient Roman ruins that date back two millennia. Follow the footsteps of Robin Hood as you get your forest exploration, trekking, and archery on, and then head over to some majestic coastal cliffs on the Western Coast. Put an active spin on the Jane Austen classics and Charles Dickens settings as you discover the real, dirty character of the country with an adventure program in England.

Particularly Awesome Programs: Earthwatch Institute, Westcoast Connection, Host Teacher International

Thailand

“The Land of Smiles” is no stranger to travelers from all over the world, known for attracting expats with its affordable, laidback lifestyle in an impressive setting. With its white sands, blue skies, and golden sunsets, Thailand will steal your heart and stimulate your senses (and not only with its spicy peppers!). Whether you choose to volunteer in an elephant and wildlife rescue program, meditate with some monks, partake in the Monkey Buffet, or get to know indigenous tribes and bamboo forests in Northern Thailand, there is an adventure program in Thailand with your name on it.

Particularly Awesome Programs The Bamboo Project, Stray Asia, Pacific Discovery









Biking along the Malaga harbor in Spain

Take a bike ride along the coast of Malaga, Spain

Spain

Why not combine Spanish language lessons with scuba diving? Or practice your imperatives while taming whales off rocky cliffs? From the misty Galician eucalyptus forest to the scorching beaches of Tenerife, be prepared to feast on more than just paellas and tapas. Soak up the culture, partake in fútbol fiestas, and learn to tame the flame of flamenco as you discover the crazy side of Spain. Treat yourself with some sangria after you book your adventure program in Spain.

Particularly Awesome Programs: ELE USAL Mallorca, Centro Mundolengua, BEST Programs

Brazil

If you’ve ever been eager to explore a unique martial arts and dancing program, capoeira lessons are among Brazil’s cultural offerings. If you want something more artsy, opt for semba or forro classes. For the truly brave, try surfing the waves or overcoming a jungle survival challenge. If you opt to incorporate your adrenaline-filled activities with some environmental and social work in traditional villages, your resume is gonna shine with style. Set out on your own unforgettable journey by exploring all of the adventure programs in Brazil!









Hippie van in Brazil

Take a ride on the fun side while studying in Brazil

Particularly Awesome Programs: Fronteering, Travellers Worldwide, Frontier

Nepal

You might think you’re ready to leave, but then say, namaste! If you’re looking at an adventure program that will take you to new heights, Nepal will not disappoint. Located in the Himalayas, it has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains (including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest). Whether you’re volunteering around Kathmandu or polishing your hiking boots for a conservation project near Base Camp, expect any down-time to be filled with picturesque hikes, surreal summits, and plenty of hidden treasures in the land with the highest density of world heritage sites. Take the first step toward teahouse trekking with an adventure program in Nepal!

Particularly Awesome Programs: Twin Work & Volunteer, Putney Student Travel, Passage Inernational

If you’d like to get even more off-the-beaten-path, check out additional eco/adventure travel destinations abroad. Wherever you end up, you can be sure to gain more than just another stamp in your passport; learn invaluable knowledge about places, people, and adventure projects that will last you long after that visa expires. Travel with a purpose as you satisfy your inner (wild) child and get your heart racing.