For discerning travelers, the question is always where to go next. We’ve searched the world for the best itineraries that offer unparalleled access in places both close to home or farther afield.
Go on safari in Chile Carlos Jasso/Reuters
In the mountains and grasslands of Patagonia, track the largest puma in the world.
For six days with Quasar Expeditions, wildlife and photography fans focus on the largest land carnivore in Chile: the Patagonian puma. In Torres del Paine National Park, these mountain lions stake out home ranges of 100 miles that stretch from deep within forests to mountain caves. A pair of experienced trackers helps guests observe these magnificent predators. You won’t waste any time waiting around, either — a dedicated tracker will radio in when a puma is spotted.
Daily game drives usually lead to many other animal sightings. You might see guanacos — mammals related to the Andean llama and the African camel that are among the puma’s food sources; other notable species include gray foxes, red foxes, hairy armadillos, hog-nosed skunks, and birds such as Andean condors, Chilean flamingos, Austral parakeets, and crested caracaras.
The best times to lay eyes on pumas — dawn and dusk — are also optimal times to admire some of the park’s best features. Watch the sun hit the granite towers of the Torres del Paine, make a halo of a guanaco’s furry coat, or illuminate Sarmiento Lake’s otherworldly blue.
Tracking the World’s Largest Mountain Lion: The Patagonian Puma From $6,250. Departures year-round.
Pick up a paddle in Oregon Dado Ruvic/Reuters
Go with the flow through river rapids in the Pacific Northwest.
Fifty years ago, when the Rogue River became one of eight rivers in the United States protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the surrounding rugged, complex canyon landscape in southwestern Oregon was protected, too. ROW Adventures makes the region accessible to voyagers of all levels with three- or four-day rafting excursions that don’t even require you to sleep in a tent. Splash through white water during the day and unwind at riverside inns every night.
The adrenaline flows as you pass through no fewer than 80 rapids over the course of more than 40 miles, looking out for wildlife such as black bears and river otters along the way. Rare plants, including the endemic Rogue River stonecrop, a flowering succulent, bloom on the slopes of the surrounding Siskiyou and Klamath mountains, and trail hikes and walks to historic homesteads break up your time on the water.
Rogue River Rafting From $895. Regular departures through October 2018.
Venture to Eastern Greenland Bob Strong/Reuters
Discover the glacial beauty and customs of the world’s largest island. Natural Habitat Adventures leans on more than thirty years of Greenland expertise, and it shows: It runs the only luxury base camp (outfitted with safari-style tent cabins that have private verandas) in East Greenland, and its expedition leaders are among the most experienced in the business.
During the nine-day summer excursion, a helicopter or boat delivers travelers to the camp on the shores of East Greenland’s Sermilik Fjord. By then, the snow has melted, giving way to plentiful berries and Arctic wildflowers. The views — of icebergs as large as buildings, of the Greenland ice sheet (which stretches over 1,500 miles from north to south), and of seals at play in the frigid waters — are unparalleled. Guided kayak excursions allow visitors to take an even closer look.
Despite harsh conditions most of the year, traditional living still thrives. Meet artisans who make handicrafts of stone and bone in Tasiilaq, drink tea with a local and learn about traditional beadwork in the village of Tinit, and watch a traditional drum dance in Kulusuk. A final perk: Natural Habitat Adventures offsets 100 percent of the carbon emissions from its trips.
Discover Greenland: The Natural Habitat ExperienceFrom $10,995. Seasonal departures begin in July 2018 and July 2019.
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