As 2010 begins, make a New Year’s resolution to take a real vacation and visit or experience one of these ten amazing destinations before the end of the year—you won’t regret it! The TripAtlas.com team has brought together their top things-to-see-and-do-before-you-die trips from the past year just for you.
1. Seeing polar bears face-to-face in Churchill, Manitoba is not cheap but is hands-down TripAtlas.com’s Editor’s favorite “bucket list” trip from the past year. This little town on the coast of the Hudson Bay becomes the Polar Bear Capital of the World every late October and thousands of visitors from around the world come to see thousands of polar bears who are milling around, waiting for sea ice to form to begin hunting season. Read Gizelle’s four-part series: Visiting Churchill, Manitoba: Polar Bear Capital of the World .
2. Trekking to Machu Picchu through the Lares Valley is no easy feat, but TripAtlas.com’s own Jeremy fought through cold sleepless nights and hot days of hiking to conquer the elements to reach Machu Picchu, Peru’s most popular attraction. Read his thrilling account of his journey: the Lares Valley to Machu Picchu .
3. Offroading on Grand Bahama Island is every thrill-seeker or man’s man’s must-do. Here on the quiet landscape of Grand Bahama Island, you can get into a 4.0L Wrangler Sport Jeep and cruise through rough terrain, beautiful landscape, past mangroves, and find yourself at ancient indigenous burial caves and deserted beaches.
4. Diving into a cenote in Mexico is not just any regular swim. TripAtlas.com’s Michelle braved swimming in a cenote: an underground freshwater pool inside a limestone cave. The underground cenotes on the Yucatan peninsula near Chichen Itza was an underground world used by the Mayans.
5. Tasting Morocco at the Djemaa el Fna night market in Marrakech is another experience of a lifetime. Here in Marrakech at one of the world’s largest markets, you can sit, watch, and soak in the busy, buzzing, exotic atmosphere while tasting authentic Moroccan dishes like lamb’s head or lentil soup.
6. Camping on the Great Wall of China is truly the best way to see the Great Wall of China. TripAtlas.com’s Steve travelled from Beijing for a trekking and camping trip to the Great Wall of China where he slept at one of the wall’s ancient guard towers. Find out more about Steve’s journey: Climbing the Great Wall of China & spending the night .
7. Sunset chasing in Puerto Vallarta is easy, says Gizelle, Editor of TripAtlas.com, when the sun sets and lights up the sky in light bright pinks, oranges, and purples above the bay and the Sierra Madre Mountains every single evening. Not only is Puerto Vallarta great for sunsets, but it’s one of Mexico’s top spots for authentic dining. Find out more: Culinary getaways in Puerto Vallarta on any budget .
8. Winter getaways to Quebec. Whether you’re interested in adventure or spa, winter is the best time to visit Quebec, Canada. You can go spa hopping at Quebec’s Nordic spas for a taste of Scandinavia like our spa expert, Anne Dimon did. On the other hand, for an adrenaline rush, our eco-adventure expert Bryen shares about his experience Ice canyoning at Mont Sainte-Anne.
9. Staying with a Maori tribe in New Zealand is one of the most authentic cultural experiences you can have. Our own Liz Fleming tells about her trip to New Zealand and the true Maori welcome that she experienced – not to mention how she survived a night sleeping in a traditional Maori marae.
10. Girl’s adventure getaway to Kauai doesn’t stop at just manicures, pedicures, and relaxing on the beach. In Kauai, pampering is only half the fun on an island filled with adventures and activities to be experienced. From surf lessons at Hanalei Bay, one of the best beaches in the world, to going on a zipline safari through the exotic jungles of Kauai, it’s the ultimate girl’s getaway.
Originally published on TripAtlas.com