Best adventure vacations for 2018

Best adventure vacations for 2018
Mirihi Island via CNN
Diving with whale sharks is the highlight of underwater adventures in the Maldives.

Precious vacation shouldn’t be squandered on revisiting the same old destinations and doing the same old things.

Instead, fill days off in 2018 with new, exciting travel experiences on one of these adventure vacations.

Here are 12 of the best for 2018:

Sailing for non-sailors in the Philippines

A chance to hoist the main sail and set out to sea on an adventure designed to turn landlubbers into salty seadogs, this trip involves sailing a skippered “paraw” trimaran around uninhabited islands near Borocay in the Philippines.

Intrepid travelers are given daily challenges to complete, with the aim of learning seagoing skills and meeting local people. This jaunt is the ultimate sailing trip for non-sailors.

Prices start from $1,840 per person, flights not included, with Large Minority.

April 21-29, 2018

Mongol Derby — the toughest horse race in the world

A 1,000-kilometer course through some of the most remote country in the world, the Mongol Derby offers a challenge for those who have plenty of vacation and a serious dose of gumption to boot.

Recreating Genghis Khan’s horse messenger system, experienced riders will travel up to 160 kilometers a day, herding horses between 25 traditional morin urtuus (horse stations). A huge support team of medics and veterinarians is on hand throughout.

Prices from $12,995 per person with The Adventurists.

Swimming with whale sharks in the Maldives

Whale sharks are abundant just off the Maldives’ South Ari Atoll. Local experts lead expeditions from the Mirihi Island Resort on a 55-foot wooden yacht, with the opportunity to strap on a mask and snorkel and swim alongside the largest fish in the world.

These gentle giants are often surrounded by other fish and sea creatures looking for protection from predators, making entering the water with them a truly stunning spectacle.

Excursions start from $125 per person. Nightly rates at Mirihi Island start from $600 per night.

Mirihi Island Resort, South Ari Atoll, Maldives; +9 606 680500; Trips throughout 2018

Cycling from Mount Fuji to Kyoto

Rather than zipping straight to Kyoto from Tokyo in a matter of hours on the shinkansen high-speed train, intrepid travelers can saddle up and take the slow road on this 12-day trip.

Following an e-bike tour of Tokyo, things take a more strenuous turn on a ride around Fuji Five Lakes, with Japan’s most iconic mountain as a backdrop.

The route also takes in traditional villages near Lake Biwa, before ending in the ancient capital of Kyoto, with its abundance of peaceful temples and traditional ryokan, or inns.

Prices from $5,773 per person with Saddle Skedaddle.

Trips throughout 2018

Kayaking and piranha fishing in the distant Amazon

Traveling in a dugout canoe through some of the most remote parts of the Amazon in Colombia, Peru and Brazil, this trip is not for the faint of heart.

Bedding down in the middle of the jungle, there’s the opportunity to fish for piranhas, meet indigenous tribes and trek through the forest at night, when the wildlife is at its most vociferous.

Prices start from $2,000, flights not included, with Large Minority.

March 16-23, 2018

A 1,000km tuk-tuk challenge across Sri Lanka

On this 10-day trip teams of travelers are challenged to find local hotspots and glean information from locals, all in the name of friendly competition. Covering a massive 1,000 kilometers in notoriously unreliable tuk-tuks makes things more interesting.

Support teams are on hand throughout, while there’s a chance of encountering local wildlife, including elephants. A portion of the trip’s cost is donated to local charities.

Prices start from $1,740 per person, flights not included, with Large Minority.

April 20-29, 2018

The Ice Run: Motor biking across frozen Lake Baikal

With a Russian motorbike and sidecar for transport, the Ice Run is a dream trip for adventure fiends.

Starting and finishing in Irkutsk, this challenging ride follows remote forest tracks and long routes over the snowy, open steppe, before taking to the icy expanse of Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world. 4×4 support vehicles are on hand, as is GPS to help find essential stops for food and fuel. There are classes on ice riding and motorcycle maintenance before the trip sets out.

Prices available on request from The Adventurists.

March 2018

Glacier walking in Norway

Adventure company Flash Pack’s singles trips put together like-minded individuals on exciting jaunts, with the chance to meet fellow travelers before hitting the road.

Its Norway adventure requires some stamina, with guests strapping on crampons and wielding ice axes for a hike across the vast Haugabreen glacier. Nerves settled, there’s then the chance to go sea kayaking among towering fjords and hike through the spectacular Jostedalsbreen National Park.

Prices from $2,015 with Flash Pack.

May 27-31, 2018

Cave diving in Tuscany

A luxury Tuscan villa might not seem the most obvious place for adrenaline junkies to find their fix. But then Grotta Giusti isn’t your average luxury Tuscan villa.

Beneath its stunning rooms is an underground thermal hot spring lake, where guests can try cave diving.

After clambering down a cleft in the rock, instructors lead adventurers through crystal-clear water, past stalagmites and stalactites via a network of labyrinthine tunnels to a series of large caves.

Prices start from $237 per room per night.

Grotta Giusti, Via Grotta Giusti 1411, 51015 Monsummano Terme; +39 0572 90771; trips throughout 2018;

Dive to Lanzarote’s Museo Atlantico gallery

It’s not often culture and adventure holidays mix, but just off the coast of Lanzarote, the underwater Museo Atlantico is the perfect place for those who want to indulge their love of art and adrenaline simultaneously.

The brainchild of sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, its 60, life-size sculptures are slowly being altered by the currents of the Atlantic.

The Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort offers guided trips down to the sculptures for both new and experienced divers.

Princesa Yaiza’s PADI course, including a dive to the Museo Atlantico costs $559.

Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel Resort, Av. Papagayo 22, Playa Blanca, Yaiza, Lanzarote; +34 928519300; trips throughout 2018‎

Rhino trekking in Namibia

Setting off before sunrise in 4x4s from Namibia’s remote Desert Rhino Camp, this trek takes searching for endangered rhinos to another level.

With experts from Save The Rhinos, travelers can join trackers on foot to get up close to these majestic creatures once they’ve been located.

Prices start from $6,942 for a six-night trip to Namibia, including three nights at the Desert Rhino Camp, with Wilderness Safaris.

Trips throughout 2018

Heli-exploring the Canadian Rockies

A week-long adventure in the Canadian Rockies is likely to be many outdoor types’ idea of a dream vacation.

Throw in a private helicopter to allow access to some of the range’s most remote passes, meadows and peaks and it’s hard to imagine a better break.

After two days spent acclimatizing in Banff National Park, the chopper takes travelers into the high country of the Purcell Mountains for a 72-hour adventure, with experts leading hikes across snow fields and valleys.

Prices start from $5,568 for a seven-day trip, including all meals, helicopter rides and use of mountain equipment, with Tauck.

Trips throughout 2018