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We may only be a few months into 2017, but we already feel the travel bug itching for a big yearly getaway. To make it a truly memorable one, let’s tick off one of those bucket list items! The world is filled with powerful, awe-inspiring and adrenaline-pumping experiences, so why wait to make the most of these opportunities?!
With a whole lot of 2017 left to love, here are a few of our top travel choices to add to your travel bucket list and ensure your year is one you’ll remember forever.[listicle]
See the northern lights in Iceland
Reykjavik is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination, and one of the main reasons is it’s unparalleled views of the Aurora Borealis. Combined with Reykjavik’s thriving music and arts scene, and a host of natural wonders including geysers and the Blue Lagoon, the Northern Lights are a stunning highlight of any fulfilling Icelandic adventure.
Ski yourself silly in Canada
Home to two Winter Olympics, some of the world’s best mountain resorts and plenty of experienced instructors, Canada may just be the best place on the planet to hit the slopes. If organising accommodation, gear and lessons sounds like a logistical nightmare, you can book a tour which includes almost everything you’ll need. If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s a little more laid-back, have a go at dog-sledding – and yes, there’s plenty of time for cuddles after the ride through the snow.
Watch the sun rise at Angkor Wat
If you’re looking for an experience that’s as spiritually satisfying as it is visually appealing, Angkor Wat is the place for you. The largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat was built in the twelfth century by the Khmer king Suryavarman II, and was dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu. Stake out a vantage point in the early morning on the hill at Phnom Bakheng and watch as the sun rises over the temple – a once-in-a-lifetime sight.
Learn Spanish in Buenos Aires
With over 400 million speakers worldwide and official language status in 21 countries, the Spanish language is a traveller’s best friend. The easiest (and most fun) way to learn the language is by immersing yourself in it – and there’s no better place to do it than Argentina. The cultural melting pot of Buenos Aires, with its historic European architecture and renowned nightlife, is a hugely popular destination for those seeking to learn the language. Not to mention an ideal spot to soak up the local culture at the same time.
Eat escamoles in Mexico City
Does the idea of eating ant larvae make you squirm? Mexicans have been doing it since Aztec times, so it might just be the best place to face your fears. This particular delicacy, known as escamoles, is best eaten fried with butter and spices.
If you’re ready to plunge even deeper into Mexican fare don’t stop at escamoles. There’s a whole host of insects to try including crispy beetles, green caterpillars and even tarantulas. If you’re feeling especially brave, head to Taxco for the famous jumiles – stink bugs that are best eaten alive and wriggling in your mouth. At the very least, you can say you did it!
Admire nature at The Blue Grotto
We know, we know: you’ve seen the breathtakingly beautiful Blue Grotto, the tourism jewel in Capri’s Crown, all over Instagram. But trust us, it’s a natural wonder that really has to be seen to be believed.
A sea cave located on Capri, an hour-long ferry ride from Naples, this popular tourist attraction is known for its luminescent water, which glows a brilliant blue thanks to sunlight streaming down through an underwater cavity. And hey, if you take an Instagram shot (or three) while you’re there, we won’t judge.
Sleep beneath the stars at Yosemite National Park
With striking sequoia-covered mountains, elegant waterways and spectacular glaciers, Yosemite in California will convert anyone against ‘roughing it’ into a happy camper. It truly is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Yosemite was one of the first national parks as we know them today, informing conservation movements across the globe. With more than four million visitors to the park every year, there are camping options at all levels of comfort, from basic tents to luxury glamping.
Black bears call the Park their home, but fear not: so long as you keep your distance you’re in for a real treat.
Bungee jump in Queenstown
In 1986, Queenstown’s Kawarau Bridge became the home of the first commercial bungee jump, so it makes sense to visit the original site of this favourite extreme activity. For a bigger jump in the region, try the Nevis Highwire too – one of the most dramatic bungee experiences around. It all starts with a rocky 40 minute 4WD journey up the mountain, followed by a cable car across the highwire to a square platform, where you jump. Once you’re safely harnessed in, the 134 metre plunge is among the most thrilling adrenaline rushes of your life. We promise!
Photo: Kawarau Bridge/Flickr
Visit the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
A visit to China’s famed Terracotta warriors won’t disappoint. Built on the orders of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang in the third century BC, the life-size terracotta army originally included more than 8000 soldiers and over 150 horses, built to guard the emperor in his afterlife. The terracotta soldiers remained buried in the emperor’s mausoleum until they were discovered by accident in 1974 by local farmers digging a well. When you have the opportunity to gaze upon the intricate sculptures that have stood the test of time, you’re likely to be as awe-struck as they were.
The ultimate travel bucket list may take a while to tick off, but there’s always something for every traveller in us. Head to Contiki.com for more inspiration and to take the plunge to make 2017 a year you’ll remember forever, To learn more click here.
Chelsea McIver is a freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia. She’s slowly spreading her arms around the world in one giant hug so she can experience it all. Her work appears in places that include VICE, Junkee, Broadsheet, Intrepid Travel and The Big Issue. Tweet her @ChelseaMcIver.