Five iconic trips to take in 2022, from Egypt to Ecuador

From walking the ancient trails of Cappadocia in Turkey to marvelling at the endemic species of the Galápagos Islands, these five iconic adventures offer something for every type of traveller.

Filled with ancient caves, river valleys and crumbling cliffs, the sprawling region of Cappadocia in Turkey is a sight to behold, particularly from the sky.  

Photograph by Exodus Travels
By Exodus Travels
Published 29 Apr 2022, 16:00 BST

1. The Ancient Trails of Cappadocia, Turkey

Best for: active travellers

Turkey has long been renowned as a destination for culture, history and cuisine, yet the continent-straddling country also offers incredible trekking for travellers seeking an active break. The otherworldly valleys of Cappadocia, where aeons of volcanic activity have sculpted vast mineral monuments, curious pastel folds and undulations into the Anatolian landscape, are virtually ‘built’ to be hiked (and later marvelled at from the bird’s-eye view of a hot air balloon). Intrepid explorers are rewarded as meandering trails — and knowledgeable local guides — reveal the hidden secrets of the region with glimpses into ancient cultures and civilisations, be it the underground city of Kaymakli, carved into the rock by early Christians, or the numerous rock-carved cave churches of the Goreme Valley. While the Cappadocian caves have offered places to worship, they’re also refuges to rest, with several stylish cave hotels to be found, like the Yunak Evleri cave hotel where you can stay on Exodus Travels’ Walking the Ancient Trails of Cappadocia Premium Adventure.

The Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor, Egypt, comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, colossal columns and chapels.

Photograph by Exodus Travels

2. Nile Cruise & Aswan, Egypt

Best for: historians

With a history that needs little introduction, Egypt is a country famous for its ancient sights. It’s what brings history lovers from all over the world to marvel at the pyramids of Giza or to stand in silent awe, dwarfed by the colossal columns of the Karnak Temple Complex. Should visitors choose to follow, the Nile itself will guide them all the way from Luxor and the Valley of the Kings — where some 63 magnificent royal tombs saw pharaohs and nobles, including Tutankhamun, into the afterlife — to the magical city of Aswan, once a centre for Nubian commerce. Exodus Travels’ Nile Cruise & Aswan Premium Adventure gives history obsessives the chance to immerse themselves in the wonders of Ancient Egypt, with a four-day Nile Cruise built into their itinerary and the added bonus of an expert Egyptologist local guide to share both wisdom and insights.

The UFO Camp at Wadi Rum, Jordan, is a premium desert camp set against a staggering backdrop of golden canyons. 

Photograph by Exodus Travels

3. Kingdoms of Jordan

Best for: culture seekers

For a small country, Jordan certainly packs a cultural punch. While today it’s a modern and vibrant kingdom, every turn in the Middle Eastern nation reveals evidence of a storied past where millennia of empires have left their mark — or, in some cases, quite literally hewn them into the mountains themselves. The awe-inspiring, pink sandstone palaces, temples and tombs of Petra, built in 150BC by the Nabataeans, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that brings millions of visitors to Jordan each year. But when you explore a little further along, you’ll also find the historic King’s Highway and  the crusader-built Kerak Castle, as well as the beautifully preserved, ancient Roman ruins such as the Roman Theatre in the bustling capital of Amman. For an accommodation option as unforgettable as the sights themselves, you can stay at the incredible UFO Camp located in the heart of the Wadi Rum during Exodus Travels’ Kingdom of Jordan Premium Adventure. This premium desert camp offers remarkable views of staggering  golden canyons by day and — at night — gives you a front-row seat to a sky awash with stars.

The actively volcanic islands of the Galapagos are home to some of the highest levels of endemism on the planet, including marine iguanas, giant tortoises, flightless cormorants, and a diverse variety of finches.

Photograph by Exodus Travels

4. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Best for: nature enthusiasts

Scattered around the equator around 600 miles west of Ecuador, the Pacific archipelago of the Galápagos Islands has enthralled nature lovers since the days of Darwin, whose 1835 observations of the islands’ remarkable endemic species would prove crucial to the development of his evolutionary theory. Shaped by 20 million years of volcanic activity, yet still largely preserved from the more dramatic effects of the human footprint, the biodiversity here gets to show off. From cliff-faces teaming with blue- and red-footed boobies, Storm petrels, the rare lava gull and the waved albatross (the world’s only tropical albatross) to cactus-carpeted isles where giant tortoises, land and marine iguanas feed, and crystalline waters where snorkelling among sea lions, various ray species and green turtles is all in a day’s play, visitors will find it here on Exodus Travel’s Galapagos Voyage: Back in Time Premium Adventure. To make the most of this natural paradise, try island hopping on a smaller capacity vessel, such as Exodus Travels’ premium 32-guest capacity yacht, the MV Evolution.

With their slow and gentle demeanour, sloths have become the symbol of Costa Rica, with its 'pura vida' outlook on life mirroring the country itself. Manuel Antonio National Park, the Osa Peninsula and Tortuguero National Park are the best places to spot these slow-moving, rainforest residents.

Photograph by Exodus Travels

5. Pura Vida, Costa Rica

Best for: those seeking a wellness retreat

In Costa Rica, the secret to happiness comes down to two words: pura vida or ‘pure life’. It’s a reminder to slow down and a credo to guide any trip to the Central American paradise. Here, a leisurely hike might mean ascending into the hazy mists of the Monteverde cloud forest to discover a verdant, natural dreamscape where over 400 orchid species thrive, or exploring the lava fields and rainforests around the Arenal Volcano before a soothing soak in a geothermal spring. Taking it easy is no issue when the gently babbling waterways and chorus of birdsong in the Tortuguero National Park, a haven for nesting turtles, provide a soothing soundtrack for meandering boat rides under the leafy canopy (though don’t be surprised if you catch the distinctive call of a howler monkey in there, too). For those after a touch more action, Exodus Travels’ Pura Vida Costa Rica Premium Adventure begins wrapping up at surfers’ favourite Tamarindo beach on the Pacific coast, famed for its postcard views, dramatic sunsets and laidback atmosphere.

Plan your trip

Exodus Travels is dedicated to putting nature first and providing the utmost care, consideration and respect to the communities and destinations they visit. To do so, the company is reducing its carbon footprint and supporting rewilding projects and conservation efforts in each of the destinations it visits, to ensure that the wilder frontiers they make accessible through their Premium Adventures stay wild. For more information on each of these unique tours or to book your trip, visit exodus.co.uk

Follow National Geographic Traveller (UK) on social media

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

Read More

You might also like

Travel
The travel kit list: rock climbing essentials for 2022
Travel
Five reasons to visit Bruges in 2022
Travel
Where to go wildlife-watching in Morocco
Travel
How Britain's ancient sites are in the spotlight for 2022
Travel
Three of the best adventure itineraries in Morocco

Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us

Subscribe

  • Magazines
  • Newsletter
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2021 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved