If adventure travel is all about the pursuit of new experiences, guided adventure trips are all about the pursuit of those experiences with a little help from your friends. This year, some of the world's most renowned adventure tour operators have unveiled brand-new guided group trips that embrace that spirit. Here are 10 that stand out from the rest with unique itineraries around the world in a comfortable small-group setting.
Expedition: Svaneti, Georgia (Intrepid Travel)
"Is there anywhere genuinely new left to discover?" That was the question posed by Intrepid Travel to its more than 1,000 staff members worldwide last year. The answer comes in the form of 2015's new Expedition trips, a series of excursions that focus on undiscovered destinations ranging from Albania to Papa New Guinea. My favorite of these new trips is the 10-day Svaneti, Georgia, expedition. Here's a place so rugged that neither the Mongols nor the Soviets ever held any real sway over its people. It's a land where tribal traditions run strong even today, and where the wheel made its first appearance less than 100 years ago. Dotted with stone watchtowers and craggy valleys, it's ridiculously scenic. The lone departure for this year's trip is in August.
Price: $1,570 for 10 days
Provider: Intrepid Travel
Eastern Greenland Ice and Mountains (Mountain Travel Sobek)
The Vikings arrived in Greenland sometime in the 10th century CE. Roughly a thousand years later, much of Greenland's remote wilderness remains the same. This year, you can explore that rugged frontier with a new tour offered exclusively by Mountain Travel Sobek. You'll sleep under the Arctic sky in a fjord-side hut, visit remote Inuit settlements, hike high passes with panoramic views of Greenland's dramatic granite peaks, and boat through fjords glittering with ice—all in a region with no roads and no commercial ferry service. There are six scheduled departures this year in August and September. (You'll save money by going this year, because the price is set to increase by $700 per person in 2016.)
Price: $5,495 for 11 days
Provider: Mountain Travel Sobek
Highlights of Haiti (G Adventures)
There are two Caribbeans: the one with crowded beaches, overpriced all-inclusives, and chintzy tourist shops … and the one without any of those things. New for 2015, G Adventures is offering a "Highlights of Haiti" small-group trip that focuses on that other Caribbean: the one with secret waterfalls, massive caves ripe for exploration, and a vibrant local culture; the one where the only high-rises are the natural kind—rugged green mountains that scrape the clouds. Departures are offered in July, November, and December this year; additional departures are available for 2016.
Price: $2,499 for 10 days
Provider: G Adventures
Lewis & Clark Canoeing (Adventure Women)
Adventure Women's new women-only expedition along the Missouri River in Montana retraces the route of the famous adventurers Lewis and Clark. Travelers float through the badlands of the old American frontier on replica canoes that harken back to the age of exploration. Days are filled with paddling and "views that are nearly unchanged from the early 1800s," while evenings are spent in comfort at private camps with a kitchen, two-person tents, and self-inflating sleeping pads. The trip departs in September.
Price: $2,995 for 7 days
Provider: Adventure Women
Bergamo to Innsbruck Hiking (Wilderness Travel)
One of the unique pleasures of European alpine hiking is the opportunity to pass between multiple countries on foot, sometimes in a single day. This year, Wilderness Travel is unveiling a small-group hiking trip that cuts a brand-new path between four of them (Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein) with a new route that isn’t offered by any other adventure travel operator. And this trip, "designed by an experienced hiker and chef," offers the added pleasure of mountain cuisine served with perfectly paired vintages. There are two departure options, one in July and a second in August.
Price: $5,995 for 12 days
Provider: Wilderness Travel
Mozambique: Ibo Island Dhow Safari (CW Safaris)
A dhow is a traditional sailing vessel used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. CW Safaris' new-for-2015 excursion through Mozambique's Quirimbas Islands combines traditional dhow sailing with snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking on a private-island hopping "dhow safari." Guests on this small-group guided trip will explore coastal areas and villages by day, then overnight on uninhabited tropical islands. Departures are available throughout the year.
Price: $3,498 per person for 8 days
Provider: CW Safaris
Taiwan Bike Tour (Bicycle Adventures)
Bicycle Adventures' new Taiwan Bike Tour welcomes all levels of cyclers—but that doesn't mean it's easy. This new trip introduces Western travelers to one of the world's most iconic climbs, Tianshiang to Wuling, in the mountains of Taroko National Park. It allows travelers to explore tropical gorges, major urban centers, and exotic beaches. But it's not all about biking: It also mixes in a visit to an aboriginal village as well as shopping at traditional night markets. And while some parts of the trip may be challenging, Bicycle Adventures describes the tour as "quite do-able by both new and experienced cyclists." Departures are available in October and November.
Price: $3,945 for 11 days
Provider: Bicycle Adventures
Related: World's Most Beautiful Bike Trails
Croatia Island Hopper (AdventureSmith Explorations)
If you like Europe and you like yachts, you're going to love the new Croatia Island Hopper trip offered this year by AdventureSmith Explorations. (And if you like getting a luxurious trip for cheap, you'll love it even more when you see the price.) AdventureSmith Explorations, a small-ship cruise outfitter, is utilizing a 150-foot yacht to sail the 1,100-mile Dalmation Coast with a full crew and expert guides. Highlights include visits to Roman ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Mljet National Park.
Price: $1,440 for 7 days
Provider: AdventureSmith Explorations
Italian Alps to Lake Garda Cycling (Breakaway Adventures)
Breakaway Adventures' new self-guided Italian Alps to Lake Garda tour is perfect for first-time long-distance cyclers looking to travel independently … but with a safety net. The itinerary takes you through mountain villages and fortified medieval towns while sticking to a laidback pace that follows well-maintained cycle paths along an old Roman route "with an ever-changing backdrop of mountains, lakes, castles, vineyards, and orchards." Departures are available on Saturdays between May and September.
Price: $2,088 to $2,297 for 9 days
Provider: Breakaway Adventures
Turkey Diving Week (Exodus)
If you can swim, you can join Exodus' new Turkey Diving Week trip in the town of Kas on the Turquoise Coast. It's open to all skill levels. Beginners can earn a PADI Open Water Diver certification while more advanced divers can opt for a 10-dive package or earn an Advanced Open Water Diver certification. The clear and calm waters of the Turkish Mediterranean make for ideal diving conditions for exploring local wrecks and sea life. Kas is a good base from which to take in additional activities on your free days, such as paragliding, canyoning, mountain biking, and sea kayaking. Departures are available June through August this year.
Price: $1,425 for 8 days
You Might Also Like:
- 10 Best New Adventure Travel Trips of 2014
- 10 Best New Adventure Travel Trips of 2013
- 10 Best New Adventure Travel Trips of 2012
Read the original story: 10 Best New Guided Adventure Travel Trips, 2015 Edition by Josh Roberts, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.
(Photo: Upper Svaneti, Georgia, Europe via Shutterstock)