Follow Your Passions

The best travel makes you feel alive. It sparks curiosity and stimulates the senses, especially when you’re doing what you love. Whatever you’re into—cooking, surfing, music, yoga—travel can connect you with people who share your interests, and with your deepest self. Here are 25 trips to feed your soul.

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1. Red Cliffs, White Water

Commemorate the 100th birthday of Grand Canyon National Park by rafting the 225 miles of Colorado River (pictured above) that carved it. From the put-in at Lees Ferry to the take-out at Diamond Creek, OARS’s 15- to 16-day guided adventure will have travelers white-knuckling their paddles as they cut through some of the country’s wildest Class IV and V rapids. There are moments of relaxation, too, as the raft floats past limestone caverns, waterfalls, fern grottoes, and the odd bighorn sheep. Challenging hikes—to the Puebloan cliff ruins of Nankoweap and the cascading turquoise pools of Havasu Canyon—are also built into the itinerary. From $5,502. Departures in September and October 2019 and 2020. BECCA BLOND

2. Ski Off-Piste. Way Off-Piste.

Kyrgyzstan’s craggy terrain, pristine scenery, and off-the-beaten-path location make it one of the world’s most exhilarating and unspoiled adventure destinations. Remote Lands offers eight-day skiing and snowboarding itineraries in the country’s northeastern Tien Shan range. By day, travelers carve powder at elevations ranging from 7,500 to 12,000 feet above sea level; at night, they stargaze from the cozy confines of traditional Kyrgyz yurts. Guests acclimatize in the town of Karakol, where they can tour the Dungan mosque and visit a Russian sauna, and finish their trip in Bishkek, home of the epic Osh Bazaar. From $7,500. Departures from December 2019 through March 2020. LINDSAY LAMBERT DAY

3. Explore Patagonia’s Wilds in High Style

See Chile’s glaciers, lakes, and granite peaks on Butterfield & Robinson’s seven-day Patagonia expedition. Guests spend four nights at the Awasi Patagonia lodge, where 14 private villas look out over Torres del Paine National Park. Travelers can choose their adventures: Ride horses with gauchos, hike the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers, bike along the Señoret Channel, or study 25 million-year-old fossils at La Cumbre-Baguales Geo-Paleontological Park. Awasi’s wood-fired hot tubs await at the end of the day. From $7,995. Departures from Nov. 2019 through April 2020. —AUDREY BRUNO

4. New Zealand on Two Wheels

With its dramatic, varied landscape and zero traffic on the 22 designated bike trails known as Great Rides, New Zealand is a cyclist’s fantasy world. Adventure South NZ’s two-week, 375-mile “South Island Triple Trails” package takes riders on three of the most iconic routes. The trip starts with a spectacular spin from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Coast, passing snowcapped Mount Cook, the turquoise waters of glacier-fed Lake Pukaki, and the odd limestone formations known as Elephant Rocks. The route then ambles inland through Central Otago’s rugged mining country and alongside merino sheep pastures before cruising past wetlands and native bush on the West Coast Wilderness Trail. From $3,705. Feb. 27–March 11, 2020. —BECKY DALZELL

5. The Ultimate Surf Boot Camp

The high from those first euphoric seconds standing atop a surfboard, with a curl of saltwater acting as nature’s propeller, quickly becomes addictive. Chasing that feeling is the specialty of Terry Simms Surf. Intimate weeklong retreats at Nihi Sumba, a Robinson Crusoe–esque luxury resort on Indonesia’s Sumba island, are the ultimate environment to hone your skills. The surf playground, which sits on the surreally cerulean Indian Ocean, is home to the superlative private surf break known as God’s Left. At the start of each retreat, Simms analyzes his six novice-to-intermediate surfers (prerequisite: 15 days’ surfing experience), pieces together a customized surf plan for each traveler, and cherry-picks waves for his students while dropping nuggets of wisdom from 45 years in the curl. From $11,955. March 29–April 5, 2020, with private retreats available year-round.KATHRYN ROMEYN

Food and Drink

6. A Peruvian Feast

From the capital city to tiny Andean villages, Culture Xplorers’ nine-day “Food, Art, and Adventure in Peru” trip offers unparalleled access to the nation’s celebrated culinary community. Travelers attend guided coffee tastings with master roasters, tour fields of native tubers along ancient Inca trails, and forage for seaweed and succulents along the Costa Verde with staff from Barra Lima—one of Lima’s best cevicherías, where they later indulge in a tasting menu from chef John Evans Ravenna. The food-centric exploits are rounded out with a sunrise hike to Machu Picchu and a visit with an indigenous weaving cooperative founded by Peruvian textile expert Nilda Callañaupa. From $5,497. Departures year-round.—NICHOLAS GILL

7. The Cheese Stands Alone

When you hit the road with an operator called Cheese Journeys, things are bound to get cheesy. On the 12-day tour “Alpine Regions of France and Switzerland,” travelers are fully immersed in the taste of place. You explore the centuries-old process of making Reblochon from the milk of cows that grazed on high-mountain wildflowers and grasses. You visit the cave where more than 100,000 wheels of France’s popular Comté cheeses are aged. And you witness the preparation of L’Étivaz—a prized mountain cheese made in copper cauldrons over wood fire—and taste samples with its maker. The trip includes accommodations in a restored château in the French Alps and visits to vineyards and wineries working with grapes native to the region. From $6,950. Sept. 9–20, 2020. —SIMRAN SETHI

8. The Many Flavors of Iran

Fresh cheese with seasonal jam, coal-fired lamb skewers with tangy yogurt, rosewater ice cream—this is just a sampling of the dishes that tempt food obsessives to join Wild Frontiers’ 10-day “Tastes of Iran” culinary tour, led by U.K.-based food writer Simi Rezai-Ghassemi. Groups of no more than 12 meander through lively bazaars, family-run farms, and private orchards to learn about the culinary traditions of Persia. Rezai-Ghessemi hosts two cooking classes during the trip, so you can learn a few techniques to apply back home. Also on the itinerary: visits to Karim Khan Castle in Shiraz, the breathtaking Sheikh Lotfollah mosque in Isfahan, and the ancient ruins of Persepolis. From $4,345. September 2020.—ASHLEA HALPERN

9. Italy for Wine Lovers

Oenophiles with a penchant for Italian vino get an inside track to some of the country’s most exclusive wineries when they call on Access Italy. The family-owned, Rome-based company offers customized itineraries in classic and emerging winemaking regions. In Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia, for example, join vineyard walks and tastings at Podere le Ripi, a biodynamic winery known for its brunello di montalcino—one of Italy’s most prestigious reds. The winery is also celebrated for its bonsai vineyard, which owner (and espresso heir) Francesco Illy planted using an innovative high-density method that yields higher-quality grapes and fewer bottles. Access Italy can even get its guests in the door at Tenuta di Trinoro, a closed-to-the-public winery near Sarteano whose rich reds, made from cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot, only get better with age. From $7,300 for seven days. Departures year-round.—LINDSAY LAMBERT DAY

10. A Chef’s Take on Japan

New tour company Modern Adventure taps leading-edge VIPs in the culinary and wellness realms to plan and helm dream itineraries. Naomi Pomeroy, the James Beard Award–winning chef behind the restaurants Beast and Expatriate in Portland, Oregon, has designed a seven-day whirlwind tour of Japan that takes travelers to a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, a vegetable-foraging experience on a farm outside Osaka, and an unforgettable evening at Tokyo’s wacky Robot Restaurant. With just 14 spots available, the intimate trip ensures you get plenty of time with Pomeroy as you go from fish auctions to izakayas to pizzerias given the Bib Gourmand “good quality, good value” award by Michelin. And although the itinerary leans hard on food experiences, Modern Adventure has deftly woven in visits to a sumo wrestling gym, a serene Buddhist shrine, and an Instagram-famous bamboo grove. From $9,000. Nov. 3–9, 2019.—ASHLEA HALPERN

Health and Wellness

11. An Outback Pilgrimage

Release pent-up stress and reprioritize your life on World Expeditions’ three-day, 21-mile Larapinta Goddess Walk, a women-only walking tour that follows a sacred Aboriginal trail through West MacDonnell National Park in Northern Territory, Australia. Most days begin with sunrise mediation, yoga, and a morning walk through bush or forest, followed by a picnic lunch. Shorter afternoon walks offer the chance to spot black-footed rock wallabies, Spinifex pigeons, and other wildlife. In the evening, retire to a semipermanent wilderness campsite or continue your introspective journey with a solitary stroll set against the backdrop of the Northern Territory’s ancient Red Centre. From $1,246. Departures in August and September 2019. —KELLY MAGYARICS

12. Hike and Heal in the Himalayas

Shakti Himalaya has long ventured off the beaten path in the Indian Himalayas, designing culturally immersive walks through the quiet Kumaon foothills and the desert of Ladakh. Now it’s partnering with Ananda in the Himalayas—a renowned spa overlooking the Ganges River—to double down on the rejuvenating effects of these remote, spiritually rich locales. Its new “Inner Journey to Himalayan Wellbeing” trips start with a week of trekking and digital detoxing. Meeting local healers along the way, travelers stay in traditional houses that Shakti has transformed into comfortable lodging. This is followed by seven days of guided meditation, pranayama breathing, and Vedic philosophy at Ananda, plus personalized Ayurvedic pampering—Shirodhara oil therapy and all. From $11,000. Departures from Ladakh May 2020 through September 2020, and from Kumaon October 2019 through April 20, 2020. —CHRISTINE AJUDUA

13. Recenter Yourself in Baja

Bask in the sun and saltwater of Baja California Sur on a six-day wellness retreat with MT Sobek. The collaboration between legendary health resort Canyon Ranch and yoga instructor Adrea Richmond keeps travelers moving. Some mornings blend yoga sessions with surfing, kayaking, or standup paddling; others focus on snorkeling with dolphins, manta rays, and whale sharks in the Bay of La Paz and the UNESCO-listed Espíritu Santo Archipelago National Park. Each day’s adventure wraps up with Mexican fare prepared by local chefs. From $4,995. Nov. 7–12, 2019, and Jan. 4–9, 2020.—JILL K. ROBINSON

14. Yoga on the Rocks

Robbers Roost, a maze of undulating plateaus and narrow canyons just outside Capitol Reef National Park in Torrey, Utah, isn’t your typical backdrop for a yoga retreat. The setting is raw, ancient, and thrillingly remote. (Parts of the wilderness epic 127 Hours, starring James Franco, were filmed here.) But that’s exactly what keeps yogis coming back for more. A special “solitude” classification from the Bureau of Land Management limits how many people can be in the area at once and where they are allowed to go. For a decade, Get in the Wild co-owners Christopher and Melissa Hagedorn have led yoga and meditation classes on the bare slickrock (no mat needed). In addition to daily meditation on their five-day “Yoga in the Wild” tours, guests experience a canyoneering excursion, day hikes, hot tub soaks, and evening activities centered around mindful living. From $1,499. Oct. 23–27, 2019. Private retreats (minimum four guests) available year-round.—ALEX SCHECHTER

15. A Tropical Detox

Costa Rica’s diverse landscape, which in some places seems untouched by modern life, is a magnet for wellness-minded travelers yearning to unplug. G Adventures offers guests a chance to do just that on eight-day, small-group tours that include sunset yoga classes, surf lessons, meditation sessions, therapeutic mud baths, soaks in natural thermal springs, and other outdoor activities in La Fortuna, Rincón de la Vieja National Park, and Playa Carrillo, the latter home to a blissfully undeveloped beach. Prior to setting off for Costa Rica’s more remote reaches, travelers will also visit Mi Cafecito Community Coffee Plantation, a G for Good project that currently supports 285 local farmers. From $1,699. Departures in July, October, November, and December 2019 and throughout 2020.—LINDSAY LAMBERT DAY

Art and Culture

16. Dig Deep into History

When the 3.2-million-year-old Lucy skeleton was discovered in Ethiopia, it changed the way humans thought about our history. On Abercrombie & Kent’s 11-day tour “Ethiopia: Historic Route and Simien Mountains,” a visit to see Lucy is just one of the many highlights. Travelers also marvel at the engraved obelisks of Axum and the churches of Lalibela, carved from stone monoliths in the 12th century; search for walia ibex and gelada baboons in Simien Mountains National Park; hike to Blue Nile Falls; and cruise along Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile. From $7,495. Oct. 19–29, 2019. —LINDSAY LAMBERT DAY

17. A Classical Music Cruise

Many great composers—Mozart, Beethoven, Bartók, Schubert, Liszt, Strauss, and Haydn, to name a few—hailed from Central Europe. Follow in their footsteps on Tauck’s “Musical Magic Along the Blue Danube” river cruise. For 12 days, passengers explore Prague, Vilshofen, Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest, and Salzburg, visiting opera houses and palaces and attending music and dance programs, onboard workshops, and talks. The trip kicks off in Budapest with a reception and music at the Akadémia Klub in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. From $6,490. Departures in May, July, August, and October 2019 and 2020. —LINDSAY LAMBERT DAY

18. The Crafts of Colombia

At the teeming Expoartesanías de Colombia fair in Bogotá, aisles overflow with Colombian crafts: tightly woven Wounaan basket vases in round and hourglass shapes, striped Zenú reed hats, and sunny-hued Wayúu bags. Overwhelmed? Stephanie Schneiderman is here for you. The Havana-born, Mexico City–raised evangelist for Latin America runs Tia Stephanie Tours and guides or directs weeklong trips yearly. The journey celebrates native artisans—many of whom produce traditional crafts that have earned government Designation of Origin protection—before moving on to Medellín to meet Colombia’s contemporary fashion designers. From $2,785. Dec. 3–10, 2019.—ELAINE GLUSAC

19. Cambodia’s Creative Renaissance

It has taken decades for Cambodia’s arts to recover from the horrors inflicted by the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. But now you can meet the people both reinvigorating traditional art forms and pushing creativity in new directions. Open Studio Cambodia founder Lauren Iida leads intimate 10- to 14-day trips that include studio tours with emerging and renowned artists—such as bamboo sculptor Sopheap Pich—and visits with women who spin “vegan silk” from lotus fibers. At night, enjoy family-style meals and dance and circus acts alongside artists, curators, and other fans of Cambodia’s arts. From $3,000. Departures year-round. —LORA SHINN

20. Bauhaus Birthday

Modern architecture lovers are flocking to Germany this year for the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus design school. British company Travel Editions runs a six-day jaunt to the school’s three locations, with guide Mike Hope, a historian of art, architecture, and design. In Weimar, travelers tour the new Bauhaus Museum and Haus Hohe Pappeln, built by art nouveau pioneer Henry van de Velde. At Walter Gropius’s Dessau campus, Hope discusses the innovative use of reinforced concrete and glass curtain walls before guests dine at the Bauhaus-style Kornhaus restaurant. The tour ends in Berlin with visits to buildings by Hannes Meyer and Mies van der Rohe. From $2,010. Dec. 5–10, 2019. —BECKY DALZELL

Nature and Wildlife

21. Arctic Dreams

Cracking blue ice, a sun that never quite sets, and the chance to see polar bears in their natural habitat: This is what wildlife worshippers can experience in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago just south of the North Pole. Scandinavian adventure specialists Off the Map Travel can take you there on a new five-day trip focused on seeing some of nature’s most elusive animals. Guests spend two nights on a glacier at the secluded Nordenskiöld Lodge—the world’s northernmost commercial cabin—looking for walruses, polar bears, beluga whales, and other Arctic wildlife. Additional highlights include dogsledding, a guided glacier climb, kayaking, and ending each day with a sweat session in a Nordic wood-fired sauna. From $8,450. Departures June through September 2019 and 2020. DEVORAH LEV-TOV

22. Cuba Is for the Birds

Cuba may conjure visions of salsa dancing and cigars, but the island’s protected natural areas make it an excellent destination for bird-watching, too. On this 11-day “Flyway Expedition” from the Audubon Society and Holbrook Travel, a local ornithologist will guide travelers through Cuba’s mangrove, dry scrub, wetland, and coastal ecosystems to observe zapata wrens, white ibises, belted kingfishers, and countless other birds. Travelers also talk to conservationists about projects to preserve the wetlands, visit the limestone cave that once served as the revolutionary Che Guevara’s secret headquarters, and check out the former home and farm of artist Nils Navarro. From $4,245. March 1–11, 2020. AUDREY BRUNO

23. Where Eagles Soar

The Kazakh people of western Mongolia have been living and hunting with golden eagles for centuries. But by the late 1990s, fewer than 40 families upheld the tradition. That number is now around 400, thanks to the Golden Eagle Festival, an annual showcase established by Jalsa Urubshurow, the Mongolian American founder of Nomadic Expeditions, in collaboration with the nomadic community. The event, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2019, has not only preserved the tradition but reinvigorated it, inspiring a new generation of hunters—including young women. Travelers on Nomadic Expeditions’ 12-day “In Search of Dragons and Eagles” tour enjoy insider access, thanks to Urubshurow’s personal relationships with the eagle hunters and their families. Nomadic Expeditions can even arrange homestays to learn about the Kazakhs’ daily lives and how they train their birds. From $7,550. Oct. 2–13, 2019, with additional departures in 2020. —BILLIE COHEN

24. The Citizen Scientist’s Holiday

At Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, travelers can combine their passion for service with a love of the outdoors. Led by Earthwatch, participants pair up with scientists and volunteers from the neighboring Blackfoot tribal lands to collect data and gain insight into the relationships between fires, wolves, bison, elk, aspen trees, and native prairie. Participants hike up to 10 miles a day to measure tree growth, track wolves, and record animal sightings that help conservationists understand this complex ecosystem. From $2,495. Departures May through August 2019 and 2020. NORA WALSH

25. The Big Cat Bonanza

Cuba may conjure visions of salsa dancing and cigars, but the island’s protected natural areas make it an excellent destination for bird-watching, too. On this 11-day “Flyway Expedition” from the Audubon Society and Holbrook Travel, a local ornithologist will guide travelers through Cuba’s mangrove, dry scrub, wetland, and coastal ecosystems to observe zapata wrens, white ibises, belted kingfishers, and countless other birds. Travelers also talk to conservationists about projects to preserve the wetlands, visit the limestone cave that once served as the revolutionary Che Guevara’s secret headquarters, and check out the former home and farm of artist Nils Navarro. From $4,245. March 1–11, 2020. AUDREY BRUNO

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