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Travel provides opportunities for discovering new things and learning how others live. It is a chance for amazing adventures. Instead of visiting the same common tourist locations, consider one of these exciting and unique destinations.

Panama Canal

Admire one of the world’s largest man-made engineering structures with a day-long boat trip through the Panama Canal. Begin at the Visitors Center for background on the history and how this modern wonder operates. Traversing from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean you will journey through multiple locks, alternating with huge ships. Enjoy local flora and fauna as you cruise by Gamboa Rainforest and Monkey Islands en route to Gatun Lake. If you desire a more extensive trip, there are longer multi-day all-inclusive cruise packages that explore Panama and nearby Latin American destinations.

Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands offer inspiration in a more natural setting. Whether viewing by boat or on land, you will see a wide variety of plants and animals within this stretch of islands off the coast of Ecuador. Known as the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, many of the organisms found here are unique to this habitat. You may have the opportunity to swim with sea turtles and sea lions. Among a myriad of other wildlife to look for are colorful marine iguanas, whale sharks and flightless birds.

African Safari

The options for safari adventures are diverse. Ranging from passive tours to active pursuits, you can observe a variety of wildlife during an expedition. A couple of top destinations are Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, Okavango private reserves in Botswana and Kruger National Park in South Africa. Depending on the location and your focus of interest, you may travel by boat, plane, four-wheel-drive or a combination of vehicles. Whether it is watching animals gather at a waterhole, following a mama and baby elephant or observing a leopard hunting prey a safari is certainly a thrilling exploration.

Mt. Everest

There is nothing like getting out in the open air and enjoying some exercise while appreciating the landscape around you. If you are ready for a challenge, try tackling one of the world’s tallest peaks. Mt. Everest Base Camp in Nepal is a mecca destination for serious climbers. The 14-day guided trek provides an appealing cultural experience, along with the physical challenge. Your success is rewarded with visual beauty and a genuine feeling of accomplishment.

Machu Picchu

Another multi-day hike with a huge endgame reward is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. This trekking adventure also requires a certain fitness level, although traveling by train from Cusco is an alternative option. Dating to the 15th century, the Lost City of the Incas lies 8,000 feet above sea level. Getting to the site is an exhilarating scenic excursion across the Andes. Visiting the diverse archaeological ruins is an awe-inspiring and insightful exploration of architecture and cultural history.

Great Barrier Reef

There are endless places for scuba divers to explore the undersea ecosystem, but the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is one of the best. Encompassing 133,000 square miles, the coral formation display is breathtaking. There is a vast array of fish species and other creatures to see while diving the Reef. Lessons and testing are widely available for those who are not yet certified for diving.

Blue Lagoon

Everyone appreciates a relaxing spa, especially if it is outside surrounded by a beautiful landscape and immersed in a different culture. Located near Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon sits in a lava field. Soaking in the incredible blue waters of this steamy, geothermal spa is an exceptional rejuvenating experience. The water and mud are rich in minerals reported to have a natural healing effect. With naturally heated temperatures that always remain constant, you can plan your trip for anytime of the year.

Getting out of your comfort zone and embarking on extraordinary travel excursions can be enriching. Next time you plan a vacation, consider sparking a sense of adventure with a trip to a unique destination that offers incredibly satisfying rewards.

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