North America and South America, the combined continental landmasses that make up the Americas, provide travelers with some of the best opportunities in the world to enjoy adventures of all types. From the far reaches of the north up in Arctic Canada down to sub-Antarctic Patagonia, the continent features everything from wildlife encounters, breathtaking scenery and iconic natural wonders, through to places to dive, abseil, hike, swim, cycle, and canoe. Read on for a selection of just some of the fun adventures in the Americas you should put on your bucket list.
Check Out Wildlife on the Galapagos Islands
When it comes to seeing wildlife, one of the places that regularly hits the top of people’s wishlist is the Galapagos Islands. These volcanic islands, which became Ecuador’s first national park and were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the late 1970s, are located a bit over 600 miles off the South American coast.
They first became really talked about in 1835 when Charles Darwin visited the region for a few weeks and was so inspired by the wildlife he saw there that he went on to produce his groundbreaking book, Origin of Species. Ever since then, the archipelago has been known as one of the top destinations in the world for wildlife watching, and hundreds of thousands of tourists visit each year. Here, all sorts of diverse and exotic creatures reside (many of which aren’t found anywhere else on the globe), including iguanas, giant tortoises, Sally Lightfoot crabs, the Galapagos penguin, the blue-footed booby, and the Galapagos sea lion.
On a visit to this region, sign up for a tour which will take you between some of the islands which make up the animal hot spot, as you look out for glimpses of as many native animals as possible. You should also consider enjoying some diving or snorkeling in the area, to get a glimpse of life under the water.
Zipline Over Niagara Falls
Seeing the natural wonder that is Niagara Falls is on the bucket list of millions of people too. There are many different ways you can see the phenomenon, such as from your room. The Marriott Niagara Falls and other hotels nearby have rooms with windows looking right at the waterfalls. Or you can see the falls from a boat tour like the Maid of the Mist, or from the top of a Ferris wheel in Clifton Hill.
However, if you want to have fun on an adventure activity at the same time as you get a unique view of Niagara Falls, consider ziplining over the top of a section of them. For this, head to WildPlay Niagara, an attraction that boasts the popular “Whirlpool Adventure Course.”
Buy a ticket to complete this suspended-obstacle course and you will find yourself flying across space on multiple ziplines, some of which reach up to 220 feet above the ground. During this experience you will have the chance to whiz across the gorge and whirlpool of Niagara Falls, and reach speeds of over 40 miles per hour.
Hike the Inca Trail
If you’re fascinated by history and ancient civilizations, another destination you should plan a trip to is Peru. Here you can hike the famed Inca Trail and then see the once-lost city of Machu Picchu. This trek is one of the most popular in the world, and covers around 23 miles. It climbs from the Urubamba River, part of the Amazon, and takes hikers through mind-boggling scenery such as cloud forests, Puna grasslands, mountain passes that soar up to 2.6 miles high, and, of course, ancient Incan ruins.
At the end of the Inca Trail you will arrive at the breathtaking archaeological site of Machu Picchu, where you might want to spend the night so you can explore the ruins at dawn before hordes of other tourists arrive. Keep in mind that the Classic Trail takes approximately four days to complete and requires a certain level of fitness. A permit, which you must apply for ahead of time, is also necessary; numbers are limited to 500 per day.
Explore the Grand Canyon by Raft
Lastly, if the U.S.A.’s Grand Canyon has always been somewhere you dreamed of seeing, or if you have seen it before but only from up high, it’s worthwhile planning a more adventurous option here: rafting through the Canyon’s waterways.
You can choose either motorized rafts or those equipped with oars or paddles, and explore the world below the rim of the famous landmark for days or weeks. If you really want to push yourself, book in for a tour that will have you rafting the entire 270-plus-mile section through the Canyon. Alternatively, there are three shorter sections of up to approximately 100 miles which can be completed in around four to nine days.