9 of the best adventure tours for 2023

24 March 2023 | Updated 17 April 20238 min read

A red rock-hewn temple in the desert in Petra on a sunny day

Please note: this article is sponsored by our partners at G Adventures. The links on this page will take you directly to the G Adventures website.

Ever wanted to explore the best bits of the world without the effort of organising it yourself? Perhaps you want to dip a toe into solo travel but don’t know where to start? Keen to travel sustainably and help local communities? Adventure travel tours are the answer.

Not only can you visit the once-in-a-lifetime destinations you’ve been dreaming about, but you’ll also have the peace of mind that comes with joining a group of like-minded travellers led by a local expert guide, with free time built into all itineraries to explore as you please. Plus, you’ll have your accommodation, local transport and most meals included in the cost of your trip.

Itineraries aren’t created just for the Bear Grylls types among us either. Whether you have seven days or thirty, or prefer local hotels to camping, you’ll find a tour to suit your style – so you can simply enjoy immersing yourself in a new destination knowing that the experts have all the important things covered.

Sound good? We think so too. That’s why we’ve tapped our partners at G Adventures for nine of the best tours to dip your toe into adventure travel. On these unmissable tours, you can expect small groups, tons of flexibility and authentic experiences fuelled by community tourism, so you can do your bit to support the people and places you travel to.

1. Iceland

Holidays in Iceland are bucket-list standard. It’s one of the best destinations in the world to see the Northern Lights, hike breathtaking glaciers and melt away your stresses in bubbling geothermal hot springs – and you can delve into all the action on the Iceland Northern Lights & Golden Circle tour.

This jam-packed five-day trip covers all of southern Iceland’s must-see spots, including the sensational Skógarfoss waterfall and the glittering ice sheets of Sólheimajökull glacier. Activities range from lava caving to aurora borealis hunting and the chance to meet Icelandic horses. You’ll stay in comfortable, tourist-class accommodation and a fair amount of your meals are included.

The tour also boasts a Ripple Score of 98, a G Adventures transparency initiative out of 100 that evaluates the amount of expenses that stay within the local communities visited. Good for you, good for those who call where you visit home.

2. Costa Rica

Tiny Costa Rica may not seem like much on the map, but this incredible Central American nation is huge for adventures into nature – in fact it’s one of the most biologically diverse places in the world.

Immerse yourself in it all on this epic 16-day journey, where highlights include night walks through Monteverde’s cloud forest – an atmospheric woodland almost always blanketed in low-hanging clouds – and a cooking demonstration in the Sarapiquí Rainforest. You’ll also visit the G Adventures-supported Mi Cafecito Coffee Cooperative to learn exactly what goes into making your morning brew.

The tour’s flexible itinerary provides a great balance between guided excursions and free time, and allows you to choose optional activities that suit your travelling style. Hotels make up the majority of your accommodation, with an unforgettable jungle lodge stay also included.

3. Jordan

One of 2023’s hottest holiday destinations, there’s no better time to get a trip to Jordan on the calendar. Whether you’re after fascinating ancient sights, stunning scenery or once-in-a-lifetime desert experiences, you’ll find it here.

Get a culture fix unlike any other on the eight-day Highlights of Jordan tour. Starting in Amman, you’ll visit the ancient town of Jerash and take a dip in the Dead Sea, before journeying on to the Red Sea city of Aqaba. Stop offs along the way include the iconic Rose City of Petra and the Wadi Rum desert, where you’ll spend your day out on a 4x4 tour and your night under the stars at a traditional Bedouin camp.

Led by a local Chief Experience Officer (CEO), this highlights tour is a great way to tick Jordan off your travel wish list, led by those who know it best.

4. Cambodia and Vietnam

If you’re after a taste of culture, beautiful landscapes and sumptuous cuisine, the 17-day Essential Vietnam & Cambodia tour is the perfect introduction.

In Vietnam, prepare for the thrills of a junk boat cruise in Halong Bay, enjoy a guided tour of the Imperial Citadel in Huế and be enchanted by the lantern-festooned streets of Hoi An, where you’ll get hands on at a community-led noodle making demonstration. Head on to Cambodia for visits to the iconic Angkor Wat temple and sobering Killing Fields. You’ll finish up in Bangkok, so you’ll get a chance to explore Thailand’s crazy capital, too!

Rest easy by night in standard-class hotels and know you’re getting great value for money with over 20 meals and an internal flight included.

5. East Africa

Always dreamed of travelling to Africa’s extraordinary Serengeti but want to go beyond tourist-trap safaris? Enter the Classic Serengeti & Zanzibar tour. Combining both wildlife-spotting safari drives and the opportunity to learn about local communities, this 13-day adventure offers a special insight into East Africa – earning it a Ripple Score of 100.

Beginning in Nairobi, you’ll travel to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania where your days will be filled with spotting the 'big five', integrated with amazing activities such as visiting a traditional Maasai village. Simple accommodation and transport enhances the tour’s authentic feel – you can expect basic hotels plus a spot of camping.

Your adventure ends in the idyllic island of Zanzibar. Enjoy a guided walk of historic Stone Town by your CEO before kicking back on glorious golden beaches.

6. Canada

Boasting forest-filled national parks, awe-inspiring mountains and glistening glacial lakes, Canada’s natural beauty is as sublime as it gets.

Experience it for yourself on the Canadian Rockies Express tour. This well-rounded eight-day trip catapults you into western Canada’s mountainous landscapes and offers a snapshot of some of its most scenic spots as route from Calgary to Vancouver, including picturesque Banff and picture-perfect Lake Louise. Highlights include wine tasting in the great Okanagan Valley and an interactive visit to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler.

With so much packed into your adventure, you can rest easy at the end of busy sightseeing days with comfortable hotel-style accommodation and the majority of your breakfasts included.

7. India

India’s alluring mix of mega cities, historic temples, luscious jungle and unbeatable food make it a bucket list destination for many adventurers. For those wanting a taste of classic India with the peace of mind of travelling within a group, the Golden Triangle tour is the one for you.

Short but spicy, this eight-day tour will take you from the chaotic metropolis of Delhi to the rural countryside of Rajasthan. Phenomenal architecture is what it’s all about here, and you’ll visit some of the most famous with stops at the Taj Mahal and Jaipur City Palace. En route, you’ll spend a night camping as part of a local village stay in Dhula.

Accommodation is provided in hotels and transport mostly via private vehicles, although prepare to embrace a rickshaw ride or two – your experience wouldn’t be the same without one!

8. Peru

Peru is proper once-in-a-lifetime. Home to outstanding landscapes, former Inca Empire and one of the world’s New Seven Wonders, Machu Picchu, its adventurous reputation makes it one for active travellers.

The best way to experience it is The Inca Trail tour. This seven-day award-winning trip combines the cultural highlights of Cusco and the Sacred Valley with the opportunity to hike the Inca Trail. The four-day trek passes through beautiful ruins and cloud forests, concluding with a guided tour of Machu Picchu.

Hiking is a major part of the itinerary, so be prepared for a good climb, but your CEO and local porters will be on hand to help you enjoy the experience.

9. Central America

The 100 Ripple Score-rated Mayan Encounter tour brings you up close and personal with some of Central America’s most iconic Mayan ruins, all while giving you an authentic taste of Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Over 12 days you’ll journey from Antigua, Guatemala to Playa del Carmen in Mexico staying primarily in hotel-style accommodation. Delve into Mayan culture with a guided tour of the remarkable ruins of Tikal and have the chance to explore almighty Tulúm.

Throw in a community-based bike tour, a jungle lodge stay and a scenic boat ride, plus plenty of free time to enjoy the likes of Antigua's cobblestone streets and the turquoise waters of Caye Caulker, and you’ll find this is one adventure you’ll want to write home about.

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