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December 28, 2023

Where to Go in 2024: 24 Destinations on Our Travel Bucket List

Filed under: Fitness — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:54 pm

Despite inflation and rising stress about the uncertain state of the economy, Americans are traveling at record numbers, with no signs of slowing down. According to data from Mastercard, global travel grew 25 percent year-over-year from 2022 to 2023, and is now above pre-pandemic levels. On top of that, travelers are increasingly seeking unique experiences, spending 65 percent more this year on experiences.

As travel writers, this comes as no surprise. Airports were chaos this year, perhaps more than ever. Everyone, it seems, is looking for an escape—and we’re here to help make your next trip one of the best. 

Why You Should Trust Us

Andy Cochrane spends nearly half his life on the road, in airport lounges, sidestreet cafes, noisy taxis, and odd hotels, chasing stories about interesting places and unique people. Moreover, Austa Somvichian-Clausen is a travel journalist, published author, and hospitality entrepreneur.

After years of globetrotting, it’s time for us to give back. Here are our recommendations for the trips you should to take in 2024. We put an emphasis on thoughtful tour operators with an eye on sustainability and community development, as well as adventure travel (it’s the Men’s Journal way).

Argentine Patagonia

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Izzet Keribar/Getty Images

Where to Book: Black Tomato Mitre Peninsula Trek

For the intrepid traveler, the Mitre Peninsula in Argentina should be at the top of your bucket list. Incredibly remote and preserved, it’s not the kind of destination you journey to solo, or without scrupulous planning and the right permits. Luckily, luxury travel group Black Tomato is adding the far-flung destination to its catalog in 2024, with a never-before-done expedition as part of its new “See You in the Moment” collection of trips. Because the most memorable bits of travel hinge upon the shared experience of an outstanding meal, formative event, special journey, fulfilling challenge, or milestone celebration, these ~30 itineraries are meant to be embarked upon in a group—with family or friends—and categorized by The Meal, The Event, The Challenge, The Journey, and The Celebration. This expedition to the Andes falls under The Challenge and will test your endurance in a thrilling way—whether hiking, sailing, or riding on horseback, staying in nomadic campsites along the way.

What to Do

The expedition begins in Ushuai, and what happens next depends on the needs and desires of your group, since Black Tomato expeditions are highly tailored. Helicopter and sail boat transportation could combine with sections of hiking and horseback riding to the tip of Tierra del Fuego, encountering snow-capped peaks, dense evergreen forests, glaciers, and glistening fjords. Extra experiences can also be added, such as history and geography lessons, a private yacht voyage to Isla de los Estados, and flying in a chef for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Val d’Orcia, Tuscany

Monteverdi Tuscany is a cyclist’s paradise as it’s set on a medieval hilltop.

Andy Cochrane

Where to Book and Stay: Monteverdi Tuscany

For those looking for the perfect balance of adventure, relaxation, and food, Monteverdi Tuscany is a top pick. Set atop a medieval hilltop in the Val d’Orcia region of Tuscany, this boutique hotel is surrounded by rolling vineyards and immersed in art, architecture, and the very best local food and wine. Monteverdi Tuscany brings in world-class musicians and chefs to amplify your experience even further.

What to Do

An ideal stay includes cycling the winding roads around Tuscany, home to the famous Strade Bianche, paired with time at the on-site spa and wellness center to rest and rejuvenate. The center offers massages, cryotherapy, and IV treatments, along with access to saunas, underground pools with a waterfall, and cold plunges.

Amazon River

Delfin Cruises operates three vessels in its fleet: Delfin I, II (shown), and III.

Courtesy of Andy Cochrane

Where to Book and Stay: Delfin Cruises

Unlike most cruise ships that are floating theme parks, Delfin operates three small vessels on the Amazon River in northeastern Peru, providing a luxury experience for a few dozen guests at a time. Cruises travel through the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, the largest flooded forest in the world, connecting with local communities and exploring one of the most ecologically diverse places on earth.

What to Do

With opportunities to explore the rainforest on short hikes, guided excursions, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, bird watching, night safaris, and canopy walks, there’s something to do for everyone in the family. Inside the boat there’s a full exercise room, spa, and world-class restaurant with 5-star Peruvian cuisine.

Jaco, Costa Rica

Seeking surf? A restorative wellness retreat awaits at Surf Synergy.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Where to Book and Stay: Surf Synergy

Based in Jaco, Costa Rica, on the Pacific side, Surf Synergy is a resort like no other. Home to some of the safest beaches in the world, with no rip tides, sandy bottoms, and year-round water temps of 82 degrees Fahrenheit, you can learn to surf and SUP in an ideal setting. Surf Synergy provides one-on-one coaching with expert instructors, helping guests learn the basics or improve the surf skills they already have.

What to Do

The resort has small personal bungalows as well as a guest house for larger groups, and focuses on wellness and holistic experiences. It offers guided bodywork, nutrition classes, breath and recovery techniques, and the property has a large yoga studio and dining area with healthy and delicious meals.

Almont, Colorado

A short trip from Crested Butte yields a backcountry retreat for those looking to get off the grid.

Courtesy of Eleven Experience

Where to Book and Stay: Taylor Ridge Lodge

Unplug and recharge while staying domestic at Taylor Ridge Lodge in Colorado. Situated just a few miles south of Crested Butte, this off-the-grid hideout is a tranquil oasis. The lodge offers six cabins, two single-family homes, a gym, spa, game cabin, bathhouse with pool, steam room, sauna, and hot tub. Plus, the main lodge has a dining area, bar, fireplace, and lounge.

What to Do

The lodge’s secluded and wild location offers a prime backdrop for outdoor adventures of all types, from snowshoeing to nordic skiing. Days are filled with fun winter excursions, while relaxing evenings are filled with locally inspired cuisine and s’mores around a fireplace.

Manitoba, Canada

Capture the northern lights at their peak in Manitoba.

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Where to Book and Stay: Frontiers North

In 2024, the sun will be reaching the peak, or solar maximum, of its 11-year cycle. That means the northern lights viewing potential will basically be off the charts during high season, between October and April. Capturing quality images of this mind-blowing natural occurrence is obviously a must, and a multi-day itinerary from Frontiers North Adventures is centered around exactly that. Bonus: Frontiers is the only tour operator in Canada with B-Corp Certification.

What to Do

The trip takes off from Churchill, in the subarctic, where participants are led by a dedicated photo specialist guide, and cruise around in style on all-electric Tundra Buggies™—massive vehicles that transport guests in comfort. Besides chasing the lights, guests can also dogsled through the tundra with an indigenous guide, and enjoy dinner on a frozen lake. For those who can’t make the trip during peak season, Churchill actually has 300 days per year when the aurora borealis is visible. 

Todos Santos, Mexico

Todos Santos Boutique Hotel is Baja’s only “pueblo mágico.”

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Where to Book and Stay: Todos Santos Boutique Hotel 

An hour north of Los Cabos lies the hidden oasis of Todos Santos. Known for its natural beauty, amazing surf and gallery-filled cobblestone streets, the small town in Mexico’s Baja California Sur is a tranquil reprieve from its highly trafficked neighbors. Todos Santos is also recognized as a “pueblo mágico,” or magic town, by the Mexican government as part of a program to promote lesser known villages in the country. February 2024 will also mark the opening of a new luxury property there, Todos Santos Boutique Hotel, which will join the town’s growing hotel ranks, including Paradero and San Cristobal Hotel.

What to Do

A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the 10-key boutique hotel set within a renovated historic estate will make you feel like you’re in a world of your own, whether swimming in a secluded heated pool or reading a book on the rooftop terrace.  

Ubud, Bali

A window into Balinese culture in Ubud.

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Where to Book and Stay: Viceroy Bali

Bali’s beachy coast is well-known as an internationally acclaimed destination for sunbathing and partying, but many are unaware of the rich culture, beautiful temples and lush terraced rice paddies just a few hours inland. Balinese culture, in the region of Ubud, is a vibrant tapestry woven with intricate rituals, colorful ceremonies, and traditional arts, deeply rooted in Hindu-Balinese spirituality. What makes it truly unique is the seamless integration of daily life with spiritual practices, evident in the ornate temples, elaborate dance performances, and communal ceremonies that showcase the island’s profound connection among art, religion, and community.

What to Do

At boutique hotel Viceroy Bali, set on the edge of a stunning ridge overlooking the lush Valley of the Kings, visitors next year are able to book bespoke experiences to peek (respectfully) into the unique culture and rituals of Bali. Through Viceroy’s Cultural Balinese Vacation Package, guests can book trips between three to five days in a luxury suite or pool villa. That includes two half-day tours of the sights you want to see around Ubud, exclusive cultural and gastronomic adventures, a walk or ride through the iconic rice paddies, and an hour-long Balinese massage.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Ski touring in the Swiss Alps.

Photo by © Outdoor Switzerland AG

Where to Book: Outdoor Switzerland 

For any ski enthusiast, a trip to the Swiss Alps is already a dream come true. So, journeying to the charming apine village of Grindelwald, in the Jungfrau Region, is the cherry on top—providing not only cozy accommodations and cheesy ways to warm up (raclette, anyone?), but also adventure opportunities. Bungee jumping from a suspended gondola over alpine lakes is an option, as well as canyon swinging across a scenic gorge as powder falls around you.

What to Do

Take your alpine adventure to another level by booking through Outdoor Switzerland, which offers everything from beginner ski lessons to multi-day itineraries. Its Bernese Oberland Haute Route, for instance, includes four days of ski touring in some of the most stunning and remote locations in the world. During your tour, you’ll try your hand at epic glacier skiing by day, and spend nights warming up and celebrating in huts in the Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage area. It helps that Jungfraujoch, aka the “Top of Europe,” is bathed in 365 days of powder every year.

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Wilderness meets luxury in the Okavango.

Peter Adams/Getty Images

Where to Book: Natural Selection

The Okavango Delta, a unique seasonal wetland area of Botswana known for lush biodiversity, might sound like the kind of place you only get to see through the pages of National Geographic. Once that might’ve been true, but lately it’s been opening up as the frontier for a new kind of safari from thoughtful operators that are rooted in sustainability and a community-oriented approach. One such operator is Natural Selection, which is launching a brand new program in May 2024 within Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve.

What to Do

The program was born from a partnership with Chief Tawana Moremi, the chief of the Batawana tribe—ensuring the safeguarding of the delicate ecosystems while providing opportunities for members of the tribe. Accommodation at the camp can be booked a la carte, or serve as your jumping off point for one of the Botswana-based safaris offered by Pristine Wilderness, with concentrations on anything from conservation to wellness to cycling.

More Destinations We Love

Scottish Highlands

Paul C Stokes/Getty Images

Where to Book and Stay: Vacations by Rail

If the crosshairs of luxurious leisure and adventure are where you usually like to find yourself, consider taking this journey by rail through the breathtaking landscapes of Scotland. The journey commences in the enchanting city of Edinburgh, with its historic architecture and vibrant atmosphere, setting the perfect tone for the adventure that lies ahead. As the train meanders through the breathtaking landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, passengers are treated to panoramic views of mist-covered mountains, serene lochs, and picturesque glens, creating a cinematic backdrop that encapsulates the rugged beauty of Scotland.

What to Do

A curated itinerary seamlessly integrates iconic landmarks and hidden gems, bringing intrepid travelers to visit ancient castles and taste Scotch whisky. The journey is eight days in its entirety and includes all train travel aboard standard and heritage trains, along with overnight accommodations, excursions, and most meals. It takes the guesswork and stress out of your adventures, allowing you to focus on the task at hand: sighting the Loch Ness Monster.

Central America

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Where to Book: Lindblad Expeditions Belize to Tikal

This new journey by National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions launches January 2024, and will take adventurous travelers by both land and sea to discover the wonders of Central America. For nine days, you’ll voyage through picturesque Belize and Guatemala, snorkeling the Northern Hemisphere’s largest reef system, exploring ancient temples and shrines, and hiking through the rainforest to waterfalls.

What to Do

The trip is perfect for travelers who love seeking and sighting wildlife, and desire the kind of adventure that’s more nature-based than thrill-seeking. Also the ideal voyage for history buffs, one of the main attractions of the itinerary is visiting Tikal’s sprawling grounds of ancient pyramids, temples, and shrines ensconced by the rainforest canopy—providing a window into the lost Mayan society.

Western Australia

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Where to Book: Aboriginal Culture Expedition

Aboriginal culture, and the rights of aboriginal individuals, are finally gaining exposure and making headway in Australia—leading to important legislative milestones. This unique expedition seeks to educate travelers on the First Nations, with unique and rich experiences that also expose participants to the rugged beauty of the Western Australian coastline.

What to Do

The five-day, four-night itinerary includes stunning treks, a cultural cruise along the coast, intimate storytelling sessions, and more. Aboriginal guides combine history, culture and nature in unique ways on guided walks, demonstrating hunting and gathering techniques while you traverse mangroves, paperbark forests and salt plains, and drink from a sacred freshwater spring.

Scottsdale, Arizona

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Where to Book and Stay: Mountain Shadows Resort Scottsdale

Scottsdale has garnered a rep as one of the bachelor party capitals of the country, but beyond the noise of the city it’s actually a tranquil desert paradise, where rugged mountains and saguaro cacti paint a striking panorama against the Southwestern sky. Mountain Shadows Resort, tucked into the shadow of Camelback Mountain, leans fully into the relaxation potential of the location and surroundings.

What to Do

In 2024, the resort is offering a Moon and Stars Sleep Package perfect for a relaxing couples’ retreat, with goods delivered in-room nightly for a serene slumber. For max relaxation, couples are also able to book a Bath Butler Experience, in which a bubble bath with chocolate-dipped strawberries, tea light candles, and a bottle of wine are set up in your room. When you finally decide to leave, there are two palm tree-shaded pools to swim in and the desert and mountains beyond if you desire a hike.

Japan

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Where to Stay: Oku Japan

For foodies, this gastronomic journey through Japan is an actual dream. Over the course of 11 days, travelers are provided a unique opportunity to explore the diverse flavors and traditions that define Japanese cuisine, from the bustling markets of Tokyo to the serene tea fields of Uji. Knowledgeable guides bring you and a small group to witness the meticulous craftsmanship behind sushi-making in Tsukiji, savor the delicate nuances of regional specialties, and partake in exclusive dining experiences that showcase the essence of Japanese culinary artistry.

What to Do

We love that Oku, a company also well-known for its Japanese hikes and tours, factors in food-focused activities that go beyond visiting markets and restaurants. Hunting for wild vegetables with an expert and learning traditional cooking methods with the Gokayama community is just one touch point that makes this journey different, as well as learning the art of earth-oven cooking in Hida-Furukawa.

Negril, Jamaica

Buena Vista Images/Getty Images

Where to Stay: Rockhouse

Jamaica has been on the map for decades thanks to its sandy beaches and warm, welcoming culture. Rockhouse, in Negril, offers a different kind of experience that’s focused on slow travel and thoughtful experiences. Situated on a rocky cliffside over Pristine Cove, looking down onto bright turquoise waters, the boutique property provides a less-than-typical view of the island. Here, guests stay in rooms and suites scattered around eight acres of tropical garden.

What to Do

Guests are able to book experiences that require no extra travel, from snorkeling to candle-making. One of the unique offerings from Rockhouse is its psilocybin (magic mushroom) sound baths, thanks to legality on the island. In between relaxed days spent at the pool, you can book a two-hour session that incorporates a small dose of locally made psilocybin chocolate with meditation, breathwork, and immersive live sound therapy.

Madagascar

Artush/Getty Images

Where to Book: Wild Expeditions Blue Lagoon Madagascar

For those seeking a truly remote experience in 2024, here’s your opportunity. This packed 11-day trip takes adventurous travelers to the tip of Madagascar’s Masoala Peninsula—a destination so removed it’s only accessible by boat from the Masoala Forest Lodge, and guests can only stay at the lodge as part of the expedition.

What to Do

During the journey, walks are led both during the day and at night in search of endemic wildlife, from lemurs to chameleons to colorful bird species. Kayaks through mangrove channels, visits to local villages known for their vanilla production, boat voyages, and whale watching are all part of this exciting itinerary by Wild Expeditions.

Panama

Getty Images/AndamanSE

Where to Book: Pacific Adventure Tours

For those already feeling the call of the ocean in 2024, we suggest embarking on a multi-day boat journey along Panama’s Veraguas Coast. A highly underrated Central American gem, Panama offers everything from biodiverse cloud forests to white sand beaches and the bustling nightlife of Panama City, its capital.

What to Do

On this three-day excursion with Pacific Adventure Tours, you’ll make your way through both fresh and oceanic waters, starting in the diverse ecosystem of the Gulf of Montijo Wetland and making your way out to islands renowned for its white sand beaches, reefs of multicolored corals, and rich marine fauna. The itinerary combines moments of relaxation on secluded beaches with activities such as snorkeling, diving, sport fishing and whale watching, allowing participants to connect with the raw, unspoiled essence of Panama’s coastal treasures—from the sea turtles of Granito de Ora to the surfing culture of Santa Catalina town. Pacific Adventures’ commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism is also a draw, with the tour designed to minimize environmental impact and promote conservation efforts for Panama’s delicate ecosystems.

Mongolia

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Where to Book: GER to GER

Rugged and authentic, this nomadic journey across the vast Mongolian steppes is not for the faint of heart (or for those who don’t know how to ride a horse). For the travel enthusiast seeking a unique and immersive experience, though, it’s a must. After days of exploration on horseback and riverside camping, you’ll reach the remote natural hot springs in Terelj National Park, providing an opportunity to unwind in therapeutic waters amidst scenic wilderness.

What to Do

Besides the scenic journey through untouched wilderness, what sets this experience apart is the opportunity to delve into the heart of Mongolian culture through nomadic homestays, where travelers share stories and daily life with hospitable families. It’s a chance to step into their world, gaining insights into traditions that have withstood the test of time. The entire experience is less than $500 for 9 days of guided journeying, food, and accommodations.

Yukon

Courtesy of Andy Cochrane

Where to Book: Nahanni River Adventures

For those willing to skip the high-end amenities, Nahanni River Adventures is worth consideration. Guiding trips on the 20 most iconic whitewater rivers in northern Canada and Alaska, Nahanni River Adventures has led thousands of guests through one of the last truly wild places on the planet: the Arctic.

What to Do

Founded in 1972, Nahanni River Adventures teach visitors about the unique wildlife, geology, and history of the area, as well as whitewater and camping skills. Trips range from seven to 23 days, using both rafts and canoes, all in small groups. With state-of-the-art gear, baked goods at breakfast, and fresh produce for dinner, Nahanni adventure vacations are unlike any other.

Uganda

Courtesy of Andy Cochrane

Where to Book and Stay: Volcanoes Safaris

As the pioneer of great ape eco-tourism in Uganda and Rwanda, Volcanoes Safaris has been the premier way to experience gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild for the last 25 years. Its lodges take a different approach than many ostentatious newcomers, with refined architecture, sensitivity to local cultures, connection to local communities, and a commitment to conservation of the species. In May 2024, Volcano Safaris will open its fifth location, Kibale Lodge, which is perfectly located for chimp trekking in nearby Kibale National Park in Uganda.

What to Do

With a community of over 1,500 chimpanzees in the park, Kibale Lodge guarantees the opportunity to see chimps in the wild. For those looking to see any of these rare species of great apes, Volcanoes Safaris is the perfect partner to help make it a reality.

Italian Dolomites

Courtesy of Andy Cochrane

Where to Book: Dolomite Mountains

Looking to explore northern Italy’s high peaks but don’t have the time to plan a trip? Dolomite Mountains curates unique outdoor itineraries, customized for your needs. The team has decades of experience exploring the vertical walls, narrow valleys, and complex network of trails in the Dolomites. It partners with hotels, B&Bs, and mountain top refugios to provide guests with personalized, unique experiences.

What to Do

Dolomite Mountains offers a variety of trips for hikers, bikers, climbers, and skiers, with an emphasis on high quality and good value. As one of the few local tour operators in the Dolomites, it has connections with high-alpine huts, local restaurant owners, and families who’ve lived here for generations, which creates a more authentic experience for all its guests. See our full guide to trail running in the Dolomites to see where to go and stay.

Morocco

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Where to Book and Stay: Desert Luxury Camp

If you’ve ever dreamt of riding camels in the desert as the sun sets on sand dunes, or sleeping in glamorous tents with a blanket of stars above you, 2024 might be the year to book a desert glamping experience in Morocco. Starting in Casablanca and ending in Marrakesh, the four-day Traversing to South adventure led by Desert Luxury Camp is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What to Do

The itinerary includes everything from leisurely activities such as enjoying a Moroccan tea ceremony in the shade to exploring the rich forest of palm trees and earthen architecture of the Draa Valley. Other stops include the UNESCO protected Ksar of Ait BenHaddou, where Game of Thrones was shot, and an overnight stay in a restored ancient Kasbah.

British Columbia, Canada

Courtesy of Andy Cochrane

Where to Book: Northern Escape

Winner of the World’s Best Heli Ski Operator for 2022 and 2023, Northern Escape has established itself as one of the best in the business. Based in the Skeena Range of northern British Columbia, the outfitter is a stone’s throw from the Alaskan Panhandle. Lesser known than some of the long-tenured operators in the south, Northern Escape likes it this way. Instead, it focuses on what actually matters: skiing.

What to Do

With one of the largest exclusive heli ski areas in the world and a wide variety of terrain from big mountains, immense glaciers, steep couloirs, and tree skiing, Northern Escape is able to accommodate guests of all levels. Using Agusta Koala helicopters to access remote places, guests can maximize their vertical at an affordable rate. Plus, they have one of the planet’s deepest, driest, and most reliable snowpacks.

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