From destinations on the rebound, to places where events, new infrastructure and political changes are making it more exciting or accessible to visit, the adventure pros at G Adventures have come with its forecast for the 12 hottest spots to experience adventure travel in 2019.
“We think of this list as the essential Adventurer’s Dozen, places to put on your short list for vacation consideration in the new year,” says Canadian marketing director Aizaz Sheikh. “The list blends lesser-visited places like Bolivia and Central Asia this year, with long-trending hotspots like Italy, Jordan and Iceland that we think deserve a new look. In each case, our message to travellers is: now more than ever, as boundaries blur, cultures connect and the need to spread good vibes grows, the world deserves more you. Here’s a list to kickstart your planning.”
- Japan – In 2019, Japan plays host to the Rugby World Cup, and hot on its heels is the summer Olympics in 2020.
For 2019, G Adventures has revised its popular Tokyo to Kyoto tour, which will now go further off the tourist trail to Tottori and Hagi. Travellers will visit a new ‘G for Good’ social enterprise, the Hagi Homestay Association, which creates purpose and an income for the aging population of Hagi City. An 11-day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto is priced from $3,999 p.p., with departures beginning in January.
- Uzbekistan – In 2018, Uzbekistan relaxed its visa entry requirements by introducing a new e-visa for 51 countries, including Canada.
G Adventures has seen a 72% increase in travellers to Uzbekistan over the past five years, and interest in exploring the ‘Stans shows no sign of slowing down.
In 2019, adventurers can check out two new trips into the heart of the region, including Best of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is an entirely new destination for the tour operator. A 13-day trip is priced from $2,399 p.p., travelling from Tashkent to Ashgabat. Departures begin next May.
- Senegal – Fortunately, West Africa is recovering from a dramatic dip in tourism following the Ebola crisis of 2014, and G Adventures is leading the way by introducing land-based trips in Senegal and its neighbouring country, The Gambia.
Senegal is hoping to further stimulate tourism, with its recently constructed new airport near Dakar. A new 10-day tour Senegal and The Gambia trip is priced from $2,599 p.p., with departures from Dakar starting in June.
- Taiwan – Another new destination for G Adventures in 2019 is Taiwan, which is one of the lesser-visited and most underrated countries in Asia.
The New York Times recently proclaimed it as “Asia’s most food-obsessed country.” A 10-day Taiwan tour from Taipei return is priced from $3,249 p.p., with first departures next September.
- Northern Sri Lanka – With G Adventures seeing global sales to Sri Lanka up 58% year-over-year, the jewel of the Indian Ocean is fast becoming a must-see for the adventure inclined traveller.
The tour operator first launched sailing trips along the country’s southern coast last year, and introduced an eastern itinerary after the first trips quickly sold out.
This month, Sailing Sri Lanka – North Coast joins the offerings, taking travellers to the lesser-traveled region that was previously isolated from tourism due to civil war. Now, it is open for business. A seven-day trip from Jaffna return is priced from $1,999 p.p.
- Bolivia – Beginning in January, travellers will have new opportunities to take advantage of Bolivia’s major investments in highway infrastructure and connectivity improvements, while experiencing its mind-bending landscapes like the famous Uyuni Salt Flats.
G Adventures’ new Highlights of Bolivia tour with National Geographic Journeys invites adventurers to learn about the country’s rich cultural heritage, plus visit La Paz, one of the world’s highest-altitude capital cities. Visitors will also get a taste of hacienda life among the indigenous Jukil community in a G for Good social impact project. An upgraded eight-day trip starts at $2,549 p.p.
- Galápagos Islands – When it comes to confronting the growing crisis of ocean plastics, the eco-archipelago has been demonstrating proactive leadership in its regional policies – banning plastic bags, plastic straws and non-returnable single-use plastic bottles.
To support these efforts, G Adventures will offer all its travellers to the Islands a complimentary, reusable, stainless steel water bottle for trips beginning Jan. 1. The tour operator also added a fifth yacht to its fleet of chartered vessels (called Eden), following 22% growth in global bookings over the past year. A seven-day cruise with shared cabin through the Central and Northern Islands, for example, is priced from $3,839 p.p.
- Jordan – With year-over-year traveller growth of 71% for G Adventures, it’s probably safe to say that Jordan’s tourism is back, mainly as a result of stability in neighbouring Egypt.
In recognition, G Adventures has introduced a new tour for 2019, as well as two new “G for Good” social impact projects; the Jia Community Restaurant which supports local women in Souf, and the Al Numeira Environmental Cafe helping water conservation near the Dead Sea. The new “18-to-Thirtysomethings” tour to Israel & Jordan is priced from $1,799 p.p. for an eight-day trip travelling from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.
- Iceland – Winter is Coming, and so is enthusiasm for destinations in the storied North as the final season of Game of Thrones will again cast its filming locations into the spotlight.
Iceland is no exception. G Adventures continues to see growth in tourism here, with trip sales up 127% over the past two years. Its new ‘G for Good’ social impact project, the Solheimar Ecovillage, supports Icelanders living with disabilities and helps spreads travel dollars further afield.
G Adventures’ new Wellness Iceland tour also makes its debut in 2019, with seven-day trips priced from $3,649 p.p. and departures beginning in May.
- Ethiopia – The Horn of Africa has been in the news in recent months for all the right reasons. A new peace accord between neighbouring Ethiopia and Eritrea offers strong potential for improved prosperity and tourism for both countries.
G Adventures experienced a 98% increase in bookings to Ethiopia over the past year – a trend that will hopefully continue among female travellers especially, following the prime minister announcing half the country’s cabinet will be women.
A 10-day Ethiopia tour from Addis Ababa is priced from $3,199 p.p., with departures beginning in January.
- Italy – In May of 2019, Italy will celebrate the 500th anniversary of artist Leonardo da Vinci’s death, and a host of Renaissance-themed celebrations are planned throughout the country.
Despite some of its main sites coming under pressure by over-tourism, there are still plenty of lesser-visited regions to explore, such as on G Adventures’ new Local Living Coastal Tuscany tour, where travellers will stay in a former G Adventures staffer’s family home in Capalbio. Priced from $1,999 p.p. for a seven-day trip from Rome, with departures beginning in May.
- Patagonia (Argentina) – Demand for G Adventures’ trips to Argentina have been steadily rising over the past five years, with sales up 15% in 2018 compared to 2017.
Visitors to parts of Argentina in July will be treated to a solar eclipse on the 2nd of the month, and beginning in October, G Adventures’ will offer a health-focused trip from its new Wellness travel style, featuring morning yoga sessions and afternoon excursions in Patagonia. An eight-day Wellness Patagonia trip is priced from $2,999 p.p. with departures from Buenos Aires starting next October.