More than a billion people celebrate Earth Day – April 22 – every year. From festivals and parades to coordinated community cleanups, nature enthusiasts around the world use Earth Day as an opportunity to appreciate the wonderful world we all share.
And what a wonderful world it is. From mountain peaks rising high above Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park (pictured above) to the Aurora Borealis dancing across the Icelandic sky, there’s a whole world of natural wonders out there waiting for you. So, in honor of Earth Day, we’ve put together this list of five exceptional destinations you can visit on one of our small group tours.
Costa Rica and conservation go hand-in-hand. Despite the country’s modest physical size – Costa Rica is smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia – it is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Forest land comprises almost half of Costa Rica, with one-quarter of its landmass being protected. Plus, the beauty of its nature reserves – especially Monteverde Cloud Forest – is incomparable.
Take a deep dive into the ecology and biodiversity of Costa Rica on our Costa Rica’s Natural Heritage small group tour.
Can you name anything more inextricably linked to a region than how big game is linked to Africa? Africa's wildlife – from giraffes and hippopotamuses to the “Big Five” (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, and buffalo) – draw millions of tourists annually. However, while many of the earliest safaris were hunting trips, today’s tours focus on viewing these incredible creatures in their natural habitats on protected reservations.
See the Big Five and other amazing wildlife up close on our Africa’s Wildlife, Classic Safari, and Tanzania Adventure small group tours, as well as the optional Kruger National Park post-tour extension on our Southern Africa Odyssey tour.
With its waterfalls, volcanoes, ice caves, glaciers, hot springs, and more, Iceland truly is unlike any other place on earth. That – coupled with its relatively close proximity to the U.S. – makes it an ideal travel destination, particularly for Americans. Iceland is also one of the best places in the world to view the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights.
Visit bubbling mud flats, astonishing waterfalls, lunarlike volcanic craters, and other unspoiled swaths of nature on our Exploring Iceland small group tour.
Spanning parts of Chile and Argentina, Patagonia encompasses the southern tip of South America, bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Here, you’ll find some of the most stunning natural beauty on earth, including glaciers, fjords, rainforests, mountains, and many species of indigenous wildlife – think penguins!
The Galapagos Islands are perhaps best known as the inspiration for 19th-century naturalist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection. Today, this Ecuadorian archipelago remains a premier destination for thousands of nature lovers annually. The wide range of plants and animals endemic to the Galapagos Islands – from the giant tortoise and the lava cactus to the marine iguana and the gray matplant – offers visitors a unique perspective of the natural world.
Interested in exploring one (or more) of these locales on an Odysseys Unlimited small group tour? Click the links above to start planning today.