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The Best Unique Bucket List Travel Ideas

Hanging out with penguins in South Africa, Santa Claus in the Arctic Circle and turtles in the Galápagos Islands – does it get more bucket list?
Jo Fernandez
21 Mar 2022
Looking to embark on a life-changing adventure with people just as curious as you? These TRIPS by Culture Trip, led by Local Insiders, cover the best unique bucket list ideas. If whale watching in the capital of South Africa and gawping at the elusive Northern Lights sound good, just wait until you see the rest.
1 . Paddleboard with penguins, hike Table Mountain and see the Big Five in South Africa

On our 10-day scoot through South Africa, you’ll see the sights you’ve always wanted to, in a thoroughly authentic way. Table Mountain hike, check. Stellenbosch winelands visit, check. Did you even know you could go stand-up paddleboarding with penguins? Do just that – and take a marine safari to spot whales, sharks and dolphins – in Hermanus, on windswept Walker Bay. And there’s more – optional adrenaline-fuelled activities include bungee jumping, tubing and kayaking at Storms River in Tsitsikamma National Park. End your trip on a high, photographing the Big Five in the Amakhala Game Reserve.

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3 . Snorkel, kayak and hike alongside the unique wildlife of the Galápagos Islands

This remote group of volcanic islands are home to species of wildlife that are actively protected – we humans are the visitors in their ecosystem. Our five-day trip weaves in ways to witness the amazing wildlife, including snorkelling among sea lions, turtles and marine iguanas, plus kayaking along the Itabaca Channel. Keep your camera close as you hike through cactus forests spotting red-chested frigatebirds. Everyone loves the most famous residents: the protected giant tortoises lumbering among the moon-like landscapes.

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4 . Climb an active volcano and ride a speedboat to a tiny island in Bali

We’re betting Bali is on your travel bucket list. Our trip devotes 12 days to the idyllic Indonesian island, designed for you to see as much of it as possible. Climbing Mount Batur as the sun rises will be a highlight, as will bronzing on balmy beaches and hiking jungle-clad mountains. An exhilarating speedboat ride to tiny Gili Trawangan island is tempered by a soulful snorkel with sea turtles. Your last day will include a blessing on the beach before a group dinner; recreate the fragrant dishes once home with the knowledge gained from your cookery class in Ubud.

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5 . Soak in the Blue Lagoon and take a jeep through the Golden Circle in Iceland

You asked for unique bucket list ideas and this five-day adventure delivers. Pinch yourself on a private jeep journey through the Golden Circle – a route known for its rich landscapes connecting Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir blow holes and Gullfoss waterfall. You’ll bond with your tripmates while soaking in hot springs as the Northern Lights hopefully play across the night sky above. For another dip, head to the Blue Lagoon – nature’s own spa – and for a bite to eat, enjoy the warm bread made in the ground of a geothermal bakery.

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