Top 10 Unusual Adventure Vacations

authentic adventures into the unknown

Unusual adventure vacations aren’t for everyone, but they give travelers every chance to live like a local, enjoy a truly unique adventure and give something back, both culturally and financially, to communities located outside of more popular regional resorts. Sounds good? Read on! Our top 10 of unusual and adventurous vacations will tempt you into the unknown.

1. Salsa dancing in Cuba

You can’t visit Cuba without a spring in your step and sway in your hips, so why fight it? Give your mind, body and soul to salsa as part of a Cuba vacation and you’ll not only gain a deeper respect for Caribbean culture, but you might also unlock a few moves that you never knew existed.

When to go: March to April and December to February
Our top selling trip: Cuba salsa dance vacation
See all our trips: Unusual vacations in Cuba
Read more: Cuba travel guide and Cuba cultural guide

2. Sea kayaking in Indonesia

Sea kayaking is exciting as it is. Throw in the world’s largest lizards and you’ve got an unforgettable activity vacation in Indonesia. Experienced guides lead you between islands, beaches and stilt villages, with unique access to Komodo National Park, the only place in the world you can see these creatures in the wild. No experience is necessary, just decent fitness and the ability to swim.

When to go: April to November
Our top selling trip: Kayaking vacation in Indonesia
See all our trips: Sea kayaking vacations
Read more: Komodo travel guide and Sea kayaking travel guide

3. Swimming with dolphins in the Azores

The Azores provide a stunning natural playground for wild dolphins; and we think small group boat trips, accompanied by an expert aquatic guide, offer the safest and least intrusive way to swim and snorkel with these playful creatures in a spectacular scenic setting and on their own terms.

When to go: May to October
Our top selling trip: Azores family adventure vacation, whales and dolphins
See all our trips: Unusual vacations in Portugal
Read more: Azores travel guide and Portugal travel guide

4. Homestays in Kerala

Tailor a tour of Kerala to include a night or two in homestay accommodation and you’ll be struck by the hospitable nature of local Keralites, but also the intense beauty of areas such as the Western Ghats, Periyar National Park and the maze of backwaters spreading out from Cochin.

When to go: September to November and February to May
See all our trips: Vacations in India
Read more: Kerala travel guide and South India travel guide

5. Walking & learning Spanish in Spain

Head to Northern Spain to learn Spanish the immersive way and go hiking away from the crowds on the Costas. Wildly rugged mountains, Atlantic high rollers and a series of Spanish lessons all add up to a truly unique experience of Spain; one rarely glimpsed by package vacation makers.

When to go: May to September
Our top selling trip: Spanish course & walking vacation, Picos de Europa, Spain
See all our trips: Unusual vacations in Spain
Read more: Picos de Europa travel guide, Walking in Spain travel guide and Camino de Santiago travel guide

6. Multi activity vacations in Montenegro

Montenegro is brimming with forested mountain slopes, shimmering glacial lakes and underground spring rivers, all providing an exciting adventure playground for hikers, bikers and kayakers. Durmitor National Park, the Tara River and Lake Skadar are just some of the superb settings for a small group activity vacation.

When to go: April to October
Our top selling trip: Activity vacation in Montenegro
See all our trips: Unusual vacations in Montenegro
Read more: Montenegro travel guide and Montenegro family vacations guide

7. Cycling in Jordan

Cyclists should take note of Jordan’s extensive asphalt road systems, which lead south from Jerash and the fertile foothills of the Rift Valley towards Madaba, Mount Nebo and the fabled city of Petra. This is perfect terrain for pedalling, en route to Wadi Rum and the Red Sea.

When to go: March to June and September to December
Our top selling trip: Petra and Wadi Rum by bike, Jordan
See all our trips: Unusual vacations in Jordan
Read more: Jordan cycling vacations guide and Petra & Wadi Rum travel guide

8. Northern lights in Iceland

Wild stretches of fjord-filled coastline and vast open spaces are Iceland’s incredibly atmospheric calling card and, at certain times of the year, the Northern Lights are visible, too. Come here to scan the night sky and glimpse one of the world’s most breathtaking natural phenomena.

When to go: September to October and February to March
Our top selling trip: Northern Lights photography vacation in Iceland, coast & ice
See all our trips: Unusual Vacations in Iceland
Read more: Iceland short breaks travel guide and Iceland travel guide

9. Vacations in Mongolia

Unleash your inner eagle hunter in the shadow of the Altai Mountains as you experience Mongolia as part of a small group, discovering the traditional lifestyles of modern-day Mongolians. Camping in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park is amazing and meeting local Kazakhs always sends hearts aflutter.

When to go: March to October
Our top selling trip: Western Mongolia tour, the Altai Mountains & eagles
See all our trips: Unusual vacations in Mongolia
Read more: Mongolia travel guide

10. Vacations in Chad

From camping amongst the savannas and subtropical grasslands of the Sahel to meeting and buying supplies from semi-nomadic Mbororo cattle herders, an adventure vacation in Chad offers unforgettable cultural encounters against an exciting and authentic central African backdrop.

When to go: September to March
Our top selling trip: Gerewol festival vacation in Chad
See all our trips: Unusual vacations in Chad
Read more: Chad travel guide
Photo credits: [Multi activity in Montenegro: Pavlo Hryhorash] [Northern lights, Iceland: swishlade] [Mongolia vacations: Bernd Thaller] [Helpdesk: Wildnerdpix]

Written by: Chris Owen
Guianas tour, small group

Guianas tour, small group

A unique tour of Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana

From £7895 15 Days ex flights
Kayaking holiday in Indonesia, Komodo Dragon tour

Kayaking vacation in Indonesia, Komodo Dragon tour

Sea kayaking to some of the most remote beaches on earth

From £2395 10 Days ex flights
Oman small group tour

Oman small group tour

Ancient spice trails, Wahiba Sands, superb coastal scenery

From £2395 8 Days ex flights
Ivory Coast small group tour

Ivory Coast small group tour

Explore the little known but welcoming Ivory Coast

From £3195 13 Days ex flights
Western Mongolia tour, the Altai mountains & eagles

Western Mongolia tour, the Altai mountains & eagles

Culture and adventure in the landscapes of western Mongolia

From US $2365 12 Days ex flights
Pacific Islands tour

Pacific Islands tour

Discover some of the world's smallest nations

From £13195 27 Days ex flights
Tailor made tours of Oman

Tailor made tours of Oman

Privately escorted mystical trip of stunning Oman

From US $1999 8 days ex flights
Activity vacation in Montenegro

Activity vacation in Montenegro

An active villa vacation at stunning Lake Skadar, Montenegro

From £745 7 Days ex flights
Cuba salsa dance holiday

Cuba salsa dance vacation

Learn to salsa with the pros in Santiago de Cuba, tuition, day trips and nights out

From £1750 15 Days ex flights
Thailand adventure holiday, self drive Tuk Tuk

Thailand adventure vacation, self drive Tuk Tuk

A Tuk Tuk Adventure in the stunning mountains of Thailand

From £1395 11 Days ex flights
Photo credits: [Page banner: Paul Vinten]