5 destinations for nature addicts
Updated: Feb 21, 2020
When it comes to choosing a travel destination, nature is always a key element in my decision. Cities can be nice, but as far as I am concerned, they do not trigger strong emotions like nature does. I do find some monuments to be real masterpieces, but I don’t think that there is anything more powerful and impressive than nature. If your favorite artist is also Mother Nature, keep reading to discover 5 top destinations all nature addicts should have in their bucket list.
Costa Rica is a classic and could not be left out of this ranking of the best destinations for nature addicts. A real Mecca for nature lovers from all over the world, the country based its entire tourist reputation on its natural resources, being one of the first countries in the world to adopt a sustainable tourist approach. It is the perfect destination to travel in a relaxing, stress-free and friendly environment while enjoying unspoiled landscapes, from the postcard beaches of the Caribbean to the wild Pacific Coast, without forgetting active volcanoes, a dense jungle and an incredible wildlife variety. Meet some playful (and noisy) howler monkeys in Cahuita’s National Park, watch the turtles lay their eggs in Tortuguero or spot the tiny colorful frogs in Monteverde!
New Zealand is a real playground for all outdoor enthusiasts. Be warned, the country is a lot bigger than it looks on a map! One of the most popular ways to explore its wilderness is by campervan, which is a very cheap option if you travel outside of the local summer. On the North Island, you will be surprised by the geothermal activity in places like Rotorua or the hot water beach on the Coromandel Peninsula, a natural heaven. Make sure to visit the Tongariro National Park, and to join a Tongariro crossing excursion if you are fit enough: one of the best day hikes in the world!
The South Island is the most popular with gorgeous glaciers and alpine beauty around Mt Cook, and mystic places like Milford Sound or the remote Catlins. Marine life lovers should head to Kaikoura, a dreamy place between a sparkling blue ocean and snow-capped mountains where whales, dolphins, penguins and seals meet. Live one of the most unforgettable experiences of your live and swim among hundreds of wild dolphins or playful seals!
Norway has it all: high mountains, unique fjords, picturesque countryside and one of the most beautiful seashore in the world. No wonder it has become of the most popular European destinations for nature addicts despite its high cost of living. It is however possible to discover Norway on the cheap as camping is permitted pretty much everywhere. The fjords region is by far the most visited, but in my opinion not the nicest, especially with dozens of large cruise boats in summer.
Northern Norway is much more interesting, with hidden treasures such as the Lofoten Islands, one of the most beautiful places on earth in my humble opinion. Imagine white sandy beaches, a turquoise ocean and rugged peaks in the background, and you will get an idea of what I mean. Add Northern Lights in winter for an out of this world scenery. Hikers will not be disappointed with some of the most challenging and rewarding hikes and treks in the world, such as the Bessegen in Jotunheimen National Park or the Troll’s tongue, a funny-shaped piece of rock overlooking a fjord.
The United States feature some of the most impressive natural wonders on earth, such as the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Yellowstone, the Everglades, the Sonora desert or Muir Woods. Of course, these tourist sites should not be missed, but if you want a real taste of the wild, my advice is to make it to the Last Frontier: Alaska. You will get a feeling of remoteness like nowhere else, especially if you go off the beaten track, with a glacier trek in the mighty Wrangell St Elias National Park or taking a road trip beyond Fairbanks, where the concrete road stops. Spot a moose or a grizzly in Denali National Park, watch a black bear have an all you can eat salmon bake in Valdez, or go killer-whale watching in the Kenai Glacier National Park, around Seward.
Canada is a huge country. If this is your first visit, I recommend the West Coast, combining British Columbia and Alberta. Vancouver Island is a natural paradise with inspiring activities like kayaking with killer-whales in a silent, misty inlet, spotting purple sea stars at low tide or hike in the dense and virgin rainforest.
Mountaineers and hikers will be spoiled with choice in Alberta’s many national parks, such as Jasper, Yoho, Glacier NP and the incredibly photogenic lakes and glaciers of Banff National Park. If this is not remote enough for you, head north to the Yukon, the North West Territories or Churchill and its polar bears. Difficult to get to, these wild territories are ignored by most visitors and offer the ultimate wilderness experience.
I hope you got some inspiration for your bucket list. Feel free to share YOUR list of destinations for nature addicts in comments! Ready to take a walk on the wild side?