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Get your life list out—here are some of our all-time favorites

Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.

Your dream vacation is waiting. Ski Antarctica, fly-fish Alaska, beach-hop in Cuba, and cross four more adventures off your bucket list with our picks for the best classic trips.

The 2012 Outside Travel Awards

The best <a href="">destinations, trips, companies, and products</a> of the year

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Machu Picchu and the Galápagos


Hit Machu Picchu and the Galápagos in one adventure with REI’s new multisport itinerary. The 14-day trip includes rafting Peru’s Class I–III Urubamba River, a train ride to Machu Picchu with a guided hike among the ruins, and hiking, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and cycling in the Galápagos. From $5,799.

Float the Grand Canyon in a Dory

Much more elegant than a raft


A classic 87-mile trip from Lees Ferry to Phantom Ranch with OARS, the grandfather of Colorado River running. Pass the cliffs of Marble Canyon, hike to Native American ruins, camp on sandy beaches, and ride 19 major rapids in a storied wooden dory, which holds four guests and is much more elegant than a raft. Six-to-eight-day trip from $2,943.

Ski-Trek Antarctica

Re-create Shackleton’s 1916 route


Twelve skiers pull their own 70-pound sledges from Antarctica’s King Haakon Bay more than 20 miles to Fortuna Bay, re-creating portions of Shackleton’s famed 1916 route. The precipitous alpine route, with hazardous crevasses and high winds, makes for an unforgettable journey. From $14,630, Oceanwide Expeditions.

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

See the Big Five


This journey starts with a ten-day climb of Kilimanjaro via the Grand Traverse, a little-traveled route that virtually circumnavigates the famed 19,341-foot peak. Add on a 12-day safari, including game drives in the most wildlife-rich area of northern Tanzania and three days walking in the Great Rift Valley. $14,500, Thomson Treks.

Fly-Fish Alaska

All about the fish


Rainbow King Lodge, on the shore of Lake Iliamna, the largest lake in Alaska, has always been the gold standard for serious fishermen. Under new ownership, the rustic, seventies-era cedar-log lodge underwent a makeover with major upgrades. But it’s still about the fish. With three DeHavilland airplanes and private leases to more than 98,000 acres, fly-fish for trophy king in the morning and deep-sea-fish for halibut in the afternoon. $7,500 for six nights all-inclusive, except for air transfer.

Trek New Zealand

A new long-distance trail to get lost in


After ten years of trail building, New Zealand’s Te Araroa—the Long Pathway—is open. The 1,864-mile path starts at Cape Reinga, at the northern tip of the North Island, requires a ferry ride across the Cook Strait, and ends on the southernmost tip of the South Island. For routes and map notes, go to

Explore Cuba


Driving through Havana
Driving through Havana (Photo: Kamira /

Take advantage of thawing relations between the U.S. and Cuba with Austin-Lehman's 100 percent legal, nine-day, total-immersion trip, which includes visiting a tobacco plantation, an organic farm, artisan cooperatives, and a tour of Old Havana led by the city's official Historian's office. Dine on traditional meals in private homes, stay at the five-star Melia Cohiba, and cruise the seaside Malecón in classic American autos from the 40's and 50's. $4,498.

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From Outside Magazine, Apr 2012
Filed To: PeruGrand CanyonAntarcticaSnow SportsKilimanjaro National ParkAlaskaNew ZealandCuba
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