Seasoned wayfarers and adventures alike know how life-changing a solo journey can be, from offering ample time for self-reflection and personal grown to providing moments of introspection and awe amidst the world’s most wild and rugged landscapes. When you’re able to travel how you want, when you want, and where you want, something magical happens. A transformational shift in perspective ensues when you venture into the unknown, especially when you’re outside your comfort zone and are immersed in deeper communion with nature and a culture different from your own.
But regardless of your age or income, a solo adventure can feel daunting at the outset, especially for first-timers, but it can also provide one of the most thrilling, liberating experiences of your life. Before you go, there are a few things to keep in mind. Whether you prefer to travel solo for the entire journey or enjoy meeting up with likeminded travelers on group tours or in communal lodgings like hostels, it’s best to keep your family or close friends informed about your whereabouts. It’s also wise to learn a few phrases in the local language in order to ask for advice and connect with the culture.
The 7 Best Sustainable Safari Adventures to See the Wildest Places on Earth
Whether you seek to get off-the-grid in the windswept deserts of the Namib, the world’s oldest desert, on a private safari offering views of crashing ocean waves and cascading sand dunes, or prefer to hit the sun-soaked shores of Sri Lanka’s South Coast on a solo sojourn where your days are filled with made-fresh juices, surfing, and daily CrossFit classes, there’s an ideal solo adventure for you.
1. Sri Lanka’s South Coast
Skip a solo sojourn to Bali. Instead, opt for an under-the-radar adventure to Sri Lanka’s low-key southern coast, where ethereal paddy fields and verdant jungle collide. Here you’ll find the best surf in the country on the sandy shores of Ahangama, as well as plenty of remote bays and craggy outcrops to climb and explore. Make PALM your base. It’s a stilted hotel with two suites and six luxurious A-frame cabanas offering cool concrete interiors, open-air rainfall showers, and private patios replete with swinging hammocks. If you’re in need of a reset, the property makes it easy to prioritize wellness, with fresh juices and smoothies made in an all-day kitchen specializing in local dishes. Between surf sessions, swim laps at the property’s 45-foot pool; or join fellow travelers for workouts in the hotel’s CrossFit gym, fully equipped with medicine balls, kettlebells, and a wall of squat racks.
Mihidum Jayasinghe / Shutterstock 2. Manitoba, Canada
Tick off a bucket-list adventure during a journey to Churchill in the Manitoba province of Canada, a diminutive town situated on the southwestern shores of the Hudson Bay. Known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” Churchill is the premier location to see the predators when they congregate in the area from July to November. (They like to spend the summers here until the water freezes.) Book a journey with Frontiers North Adventures. You’ll board the Tundra Buggy Lodge, a remote, space-like compound situated on the Arctic tundra with fellow travelers. It’s equipped with camp-style bunk beds, a lounge cart for happy hour, and detachable all-terrain vehicles made for exploring the network of trails within the Churchill Wildlife Management Area. After you’ve spent ample time viewing Arctic wildlife in their natural environment, drop in the new facility by Polar Bears International, where you can learn how the non-profit benefits polar bear preservation.
Don Laidlaw / Shutterstock 3. Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Situated on Mexico’s central Pacific Coast, Zihuatanejo was once overlooked for bohemian enclaves like Tulum and Sayulita. But while these towns are rapidly changing due to overcrowding, Zihuatanejo remains a reprieve. Seek out its quaint beaches, like Troncones, a former fishing village with a three-mile-long stretch of sand nestled along the point where water from the Pacific Ocean meets the mountains of the Sierra Madre del Sur. Long beloved by in-the-know surfers from around the world, the sleepy beach town is home to Lo Sereno, a 10-suite design hotel featuring terraces, an infinity pool with an ocean view, and an open-air dining patio with a handcrafted pergola. Explore nearby Mayan ruins at Xihuacan or hike to isolated jungle hot springs. For a solo wellness journey, opt for a stay at nearby Cala de Mar Ixtapa, an intimate property perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. Choose to design your own wellness experience combining yoga, spa treatments, healthy eating workshops, and shaman-led
temazcals, a pre-Hispanic healing ritual and sweat lodge ceremony for detoxification. Bruce Raynor / Shutterstock 4. Namibia
From learning cultural traditions of the semi-nomadic Himba tribe to glimpsing the striking horns of a lone Oryx in an endless sea of rolling sand dunes, Namibia enchants as one of Africa’s most extreme destinations. Embark on a solo journey with A2A Safaris to explore the Namib, the world’s oldest desert. Here, nature drives are about exploring landscapes where crashing ocean waves merge with a cascade of sand dunes and dead-tree valleys. As one of the most otherworldly destinations on the planet, Namibia’s Skeleton Coast can’t be missed at outposts like Shipwreck Lodge, an iconic 10-room property constructed to resemble the shipwrecks that line the coast. Extend your stay at Serra Cafema, a luxurious camp set in the lunar-like wilds of northwestern Namibia, near the border of Angola, where you can rest in one of eight chalets set on the banks of the Kunene River. Or, venture to the all-new Habitas Namibia near Windhoek, the country’s capital. The conservation project is set in over 50,000 acres where you can partake in communal yoga and meditation classes and join fellow travelers on two daily game drives led by local San people.
Kanuman / Shutterstock 5. Sardinia
On an adventure to northern Sardinia, Italy’s second-largest windswept island in the Mediterranean Sea, join fellow travelers on a hike of the Selvaggio Blu with Dolomite Mountains. This journey takes you along Orosei, the island’s eastern Mediterranean coastline, where narrow gorges, imposing chalk rocks, wide plateaus, and hidden canyons run in an uninterrupted stretch of natural beauty. Marvel at archaeological sites and ancient villages while hiking along the famous Pedra Longa spire and limestone formations within the Grotta del Fico cave. Relax on a private yacht while savoring local wine and delicacies like rock lobster and local
malloreddus and fregula pastas topped with heaps of freshly shaved pecorino cheese. An adventure for travelers who prefer challenging treks by day and lounging on remote beaches by afternoon, this trek is often regarded as one of the toughest in all of Italy. Gaspar Janos / Shutterstock 6. Antarctica
Want to make a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Antarctica even more spectacular? Book a fly-and-sail expedition with Antarctica21. Skip the perils of sailing through the Drake Passage—an eruption where sub-polar and polar waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern Oceans clash—and fly directly to Antarctica to board the brand’s all-new Magellan Explorer, a modern expedition vessel built with suite-style cabins (some boast private balconies and lounge areas). With a low passenger-to-crew ratio, flying solo with Antarctica21 will be a delight. Antarctica is home to 90 percent of the Earth’s land ice, which plays host to some of the rarest wildlife species on the planet, from majestic black-browed albatross to white-bellied gentoo penguin. The crew will know you by name and join you on adventures to discover the continent’s incredible landscape, either while kayaking near leopard seals resting on icebergs or snowshoeing up remote mountaintops.
Song_about_summer / Shutterstock 7. Jackson Hole, WY
Jackson Hole, WY, is naturally alluring. There’s an impressive amount of wildlife at both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and one of the world’s top ski resorts (Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has the longest continuous vertical rise of any ski area in the U.S.). Now, thanks to the opening of Cache House, the town is also host to its first high-design hostel, a convivial outpost featuring two shared living quarters with 50 bunks and a spacious lobby (bunks have thoughtful details like ergonomic ladders, custom light fixtures, and outlets for your devices). Perfect for meeting up with fellow solo travelers, the property is the ideal base to partake in winter sports or guided summer hiking tours by Jackson Hole EcoTour Adventures, where you can view elk, bison, wolves, and trumpeter swans in their natural habitat.
Jason Sponseller / Shutterstock 8. Central Asia
See the windswept steeps and snowcapped peaks of the ancient Silk Road of Central Asia on a 16-day adventure with Nomadic Expeditions, a perfect journey for solo travelers seeking to meet new people and get immersed in nature. Some trips are even led by a National Geographic photographer, who can provide tips on how to document your experience through dedicated photography lessons. The adventure begins at Almaty and ends in Ashgabat. There are countless stunning landscapes and unique cultural experiences to be found along the way, from visits to traditional Uzbek villages on the outskirts of Samarkand to exploring a medieval site in Tajikistan filled with historic wall paintings and a Zoroastrian temple. The journey includes stays in eco-lodges and camps along the route, and even a stop at the famous Palace of the Moon and Stars in Uzbekistan, an ornate residence that was once the summer residence of the last Emir of Bukhara.
Rudra Narayan Mitra / Shutterstock 9. Southern Oregon Coast
Whether you prefer to soak in a hot tub with views of the Pacific Ocean’s rolling waves or hike along a secluded scenic river, Oregon’s South Coast is an ideal oasis in the state’s Banana Belt. This lesser-known coastal region offers plenty of natural locales for introspection with a dose of adventure. Take a guided sea-kayaking adventure, where grey whales, seals, and birds of prey are common sights; or hike the 12-mile Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor to enjoy the stunning coastal landscapes along Oregon’s famed Highway 101. Stay at Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, a newly opened contemporary camping resort that’ll provide you with all the gear you need for seaside clamming and crabbing excursions.
Paula Cobleigh / Shutterstock 10. Northwest Colombia
Framed by the snowcapped peaks of the Andes mountains, Antioquia, Colombia, is an undiscovered region set near Medellín, a city known for its charming colonial buildings and year-round temperate climate. If you’re aiming to get off-the-beaten-path on a multisport adventure or birding expedition, True Colombia Travel offers custom tours for travelers seeking to explore the Andes mountains of Antioquia by way of hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, and paragliding. Visit the coffee fields of Cocondo—the only certified-organic farm in Antioquia—for a tour of the farm, a tasting, and a swim in a waterfall-fed mountain spring near the property. Relax at Cannúa, a new boutique property with 10 rooms and eight private cabañas set in a protected forest near Arví Park, an ecological nature preserve with archeological sites set within the verdant slopes of Aburrá Valley.
doleesi / Shutterstock
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