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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 AwardsThe best destinations, trips, companies, and products 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.
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.
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 teararoa.org.nz.
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.