Top 18 Expert Adventure Picks for 2020

By: Kate Abderholden

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November 4, 2019 | Adventure Experts

We asked our MT Sobek staff to do an impossible task: to pick a favorite 2020 trip. Each one of their passport books are full and bucket-lists endless. But fear not! They’ve overcome indecision, narrowed their lists down to 1 (or 2), and are just itching to share their advice. Check out our top picks below – some we’ve had the joy to experience and were unforgettable, some we’ve been longing to do and are on our wish list, and some that we are about to embark on!

1. Horse Trekking in Mongolia
“I’ve heard time and time again that Mongolia is working its way to being one of the top undiscovered tourist destinations for 2020. People always come back thoroughly enchanted by the destination like nothing they’ve ever seen. This trip highlights the best parts of the country the most authentic, traditional way: on horseback. I love this trip because the skill levels range from complete beginner to being a bronze medalist for riding! It’s a perfect trip for being active while getting to experience Naadam and the culture of this breathtaking country.” – Adventure Coordinator, Madison Knutson

2. Treasures of Indochine
“I am beyond thrilled to be joining this trip in February to experience 3 countries and cultures in one immersive experience. We’ll be traveling via land and boat savoring the region’s unique foods, gorgeous waterfalls, pristine beaches, and stepping foot in temples and ruins built over 1,000 years ago. To top it all off, I’ll be fulfilling a lifelong dream to visit Angkor Wat and ride a cyclo (3-wheel bicycle taxi)!” – Director of Sales & Client Services, Lauren Frei

3. Trekking in Chile’s Lake District
“Top of my “dream trip” list for 2020 is Trekking in Chile’s Lake District! As a geology nerd, exploring the volcanic region around Pucon has always appealed. Top it off with full-day hikes and camping around lagoons in Villarica and Huerquehue National Parks plus special overnight access at Termas Geometricas for a soak in the hot springs? Yes, please!” – Adventure Coordinator, Kathryn Gritt

4. Hiking the Via Dinarica
“This trip is unlike any other trip we offer. Spending 3 weeks hiking along Eastern Europe’s longest trail that spans more than 1,200 miles! Not only do you hike across Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and down to Albania! But you also whitewater raft down Europe’s deepest canyon – Sign me up!” – Regional Specialist, Erick Malver

5. Ancient Passes of Nepal
“Get away from the crowds in this perfect alternative to the Everest Base Camp trek. Walk through high-mountain villages and make your way to Gokyo Valley to find glacial emerald lakes considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists (and also the highest freshwater lakes in the world). Summit Gokyo Ri at 17,575’ and on a clear day get a chance to see Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu, some of the world’s highest mountains. Challenge yourself by crossing Rinjo-La Pass and take in views of the Tibetan Plateau, ending your trip with a helicopter flight back to Lukla!” – Regional Specialist, Gabriela Gutierrez

6. Rwanda Primate Adventure
“There truly are no words that can express just how amazing this adventure is. As a wildlife lover and photography enthusiast, this would be a trip of a lifetime. The close encounter with the mountain gorillas is unlike any experience one can have. It is incredible to me that we have established such an interaction with these amazing creatures within their natural habitat, directly contributing to their protection! Let’s help save the mountain gorillas!” – Regional Specialist, Ashley Pacelli

7. Trekking the Pamir Mountains in China
“This is the perfect trek for those who are running out of new off-the-radar options. In addition to being a hard trek, it has interesting cultural elements—like the ancient Silk Road crossroads of Kashgar—which still boasts a great Sunday bazaar, our Uighur guide and Kyrgyz and Tajik shepherds, who we will meet along the way. Finally, the mountains are spectacular in this cool border area where China borders Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.” – Program Director for Asia & the Middle East, Julie McCormack

8. Dolomites Hut to Hut Trek
“I’ve been to the Dolomites and they are jaw-droppingly gorgeous when you visit you won’t want to leave. I can’t think of a better way to experience these mountains than to stay within them. On our hut to hut trip, you can immerse yourself in the region and stay in refugios that are tucked away, accessible only by foot. There’s nothing better than unwinding after a long days hike in a cozy inn with delicious food and beautiful view.” – Adventure Coordinator, Kate Abderholden

9. Morocco Camel Trek
“This trip showcases the diversity and awe of Morocco’s cultural and natural wonders. The ancient souks are just as advertised, and when you experience it first hand—with all your senses on overload—you cannot help but be captivated and overwhelmed. And the food…wow! Chances are you’ll be blown away, whether it’s savoring a Tagine or Bastilla. The electric blue skies, the Atlas Mountains, the dunes of the Sahara are breathtaking. But the absolute peak experience was spending nights ‘off the grid’ in the desert on the camel trek. The night skies, our Berber herders, and the feeling you get from being ‘out there’ is something I’ll never forget.” – General Manager – Custom Travel, Mark Campbell

10. Sacred Lakes & Mountains of Northern Japan
“This trip explores a realm of fable and flora in parts of Japan that are still mysterious and mystical. As you walk among the famous Dewa Sanzan mountains, you will experience a blend of Shugendo, Shintoism and Buddhism that reflects a perfect harmony between man-made and nature. You may even encounter the Yamabushi, the ones who worship and lie in the mountains, along the way. This sense of wonder and tranquility is not to be missed!

I just love that there is a whole religion on mountain worship! How more perfect could that be for us! As I understand it, the three mountains represent the cycle of life with birth, death and rebirth. Each mountain has a shrine on top where pilgrims go through a ceremony symbolic of those three stages and supposedly the trails are designed in symbolic ways too. The cool part is that pilgrims are asked to not talk about or take photos of the ceremony in the last shrine about re-birth as symbolism for how no one really knows what happens. And so far, no one has said anything!” – Manager of Operations & Partnerships, Courtney Dunagan

11. Three Kingdoms of South Africa Adventure
“South Africa is an incredible destination with so much to offer for all traveler types. In true MT Sobek “off-the-beaten-path” style, Our Three Kingdoms of South Africa tour is the perfect blend of all this country has to offer. From fine dining to trail hiking, cultural interactions to wildlife watching, you will be fully immersed in the unique highlights of the region. A true African adventure!” – Regional Specialist, Ashley Pacelli

12. Caves & Castles: Hiking France’s Dordogne’s Valley
“France has such a wide array of regional cultures and taking a deep dive into the Dordogne Valley for seven days is a perfect way to immerse yourself in a unique part of this diverse country. Blending hiking and a canoe trip down the Dordogne River with history, local food and wine, and beautiful countryside this trip ticks all the boxes for me!” – Adventure Coordinator, Susannah Starr

13. Hiking New Zealand’s South Island
“New Zealand is a country I have always wanted to visit. I am drawn to the beauty and wonder of the diverse landscape and learning about the Maori culture. The opportunity to explore this country by land, sea, and air would be an amazing adventure.” – Staff Accountant, Cassie Chu

14. Classic Galapagos Adventure Cruise with Machu Picchu Extension
“Oddly, the trip I’d like to do most is one (or rather two) that I’ve done before. Years ago when I visited the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu on two separate MT Sobek trips, I was enchanted from beginning to end. In the intervening years, I’ve gotten married and would absolutely love to share these two awe-inspiring places with my wife. So “Classic Galapagos Adventure Cruise with Machu Picchu Extension” is definitely at the top of my list for 2020.” – Art Director, Chris Bettencourt

15. Borneo Family Adventure
“Friendly people, pristine jungles and beaches, and incomparable wildlife make Borneo an ideal destination for a family adventure. Our itinerary gives you the chance to experience it all while also giving back to local communities. It’s an adventure that is sure to be a transformative experience for everyone in the family, and for children, the gift of travel is even more meaningful when they have the opportunity to explore – and help preserve – one of the most incredible places on Earth.” – Regional Specialist, Brian Allen

16. Zimbabwe Family Safari Adventure
“A safari is one of the most exciting vacations a family can take together and this trip offers that classically thrilling experience with the heat turned up. Experience Zimbabwe’s incredible animals through game drives, horse-back rides, walking safaris, bike rides, and an open-air train ride in addition to meeting local communities and assisting with conservation projects. Zimbabwe is sure to win the heart of every family member!” – Adventure Coordinator, Susannah Starr

17. Explore Romania: Bucharest to Transylvania
“Our new trip to Romania will take our guests into a wonderful landscape, still unspoiled by mass tourism. You’ll have the chance to explore the capital city of Bucharest, rich in history, then you will head north into the Carpathian Mountain Range and Transylvania. Vast expanses of meadows, forests and rolling hills await you in Transylvania. Enjoy stays in comfy guesthouses, and explore ancient villages such as Sibiu and Viscri and feel the warmth and hospitality of the Romanians and their culture.” – Program Director for Europe, David Martin

18. Hiking the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia
“You’ll take in breathtaking landscapes, come face to face with gentle baboons, learn about a fascinating cultural and religious traditions that both astound and surprise, meander through ancient churches and historical sites, and meet warm and friendly people. There’s so much to discover about the country, it’s people, and yourself along the way.” – Program Director for Africa & Pacific, Hilary Walters

Interested in one of these trips? Click on the images to learn more.