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11 Adventures for your 2023 Bucket List

New year, new adventures! Open up exploration in 2023 with Aurora Expeditions Bucket List experiences across some of the globe’s most enticing destinations. Which one takes your pick?

From the rugged and remote polar regions to hand-picked destinations around the globe, the wildest and most scenic destinations on the planet are ready to be explored be it by Expedition, Discovery voyages or Trekking on these one-in-a-lifetime journeys.

Go trekking in Patagonia

With world-famous national parks, turquoise lakes, curious wildlife and vast glaciers, Patagonia is a go-to for the active traveller. Take to the paths and explore Patagonia on foot on a guided trek that takes you into the heart of this natural playground, from its pristine beech forests to gigantic calving glaciers. Patagonia is also a wildlife paradise – spot eagles and condors to colourful flamingos, ibis and swans on the shores of Lake Argentino.

Or get up close to the graceful guanacos, the llama’s relatives, in Patagonian Steppes’s desert. January is the summer peak season in Patagonia, with up to 18 hours of daylight, making it ideal for outdoor expeditions to add to your bucket list.

Aurora 2023 - Torres del Paine, Patagonia_ Shutterstock bucket list expeditions
Torres del Paine, Patagonia © Shutterstock

Sun-kissed adventures in Costa Rica

With spectacular marine life and pristine rainforests with colourful plants, birds, monkeys and sloths, Costa Rica is a delight for active adventurers. Hike through tropical rainforests, witness underwater panoramas on snorkelling and scuba diving excursions, and paddle amongst acrobatic dolphins.

Journey through the fabled Panama Canal, a man-made waterway that guides ships through Central America from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, on a rare daylight crossing. Experience Costa Rica at the end of the dry season in April when the crowds have left, leaving you this little paradise all to yourself.

Aurora 2023 - Colourful Keel-Billed Toucan_ Shutterstock - bucket list expeditions
The colourful wildlife of Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Soak up history in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is famed for its historic castles, quaint towns, pebbled coastlines and unique cultural traditions. May is an optimum time to visit when the countryside is blooming. Visit Cornwall, home to iconic coastal villages like Fowey, with its strong Celtic connections and maritime history. Head to the western tip of the county to Penzance and be transported to a time when pirates and smugglers were aplenty. Then head north to Scotland on the Cairngorms National Park Explorer – an eight-day trek through the heart of the country. Marvel at picturesque mountains, deep glens and charming villages with rich Scot’s heritage.

Aurora 2023 - Ana Sousa | Unsplash bucket list expeditions
Cornwall and its castles © Ana Sousa | Unsplash

Bird watching in Iceland

The Arctic’s long summer days during June and July attract millions of migratory birds, making it a dream destination for keen birders. By summer, rocky cliffs all over the Arctic are alive with the cacophony of bird chatter from Atlantic puffins, northern Fulmars, Brunich’s and black guillemots, little auks, common elders, glaucous gulls, kittewakes and Arctic terns.

It’s also a great time of year to visit Iceland to hike across the Arctic tundra, over sheer table mountains to jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords – there is so much to do. Be on the lookout for diverse birdlife, Arctic fox, mink, rabbits and reindeer that call the “Land of Ice and Fire” home.

Atlantic Puffins, Iceland, Scott Portelli bucket list expeditions
Atlantic Puffins, Iceland © Scott Portelli

Sightsee from above in Greenland

Experienced climbers will relish exploring the remote and rugged summits of East Greenland. Scale sheer granite cliffs and glacial remnants in pursuit of breathtaking views of Scoresbysund’s ice-filled fjords. Greenland’s rugged coastline is ripe for exploration in July, with its many natural secrets locked in place by drift ice for up to eight months. Witness Greenland’s long-bearded musk ox – from afar- weighing up to half a tonne with large horns and shaggy brown coats, these imposing mammals are surprisingly fast and agile. They thrive in several regions of Greenland, from the remote northeast to more populated areas in West Greenland.

Aurora 2023 - Disko Island, Greenland, Michael Baynes - bucket list expeditions
Disko Island, Greenland © Michael Baynes

Go sea kayaking in Svalbard

By August, the Midnight Sun is at its peak, and the best time to spot an elusive polar bear is when they spend long days prowling for food on ice sheets along the far northern coastlines. Arctic foxes start giving birth in July so August is the best time to witness them, and you can also find walruses lounging on shorelines across the Arctic. Expeditions to add to your bucket list should include sea kayaking in Svalbard, guaranteed to stir your soul. Come August, the ice has melted enough for paddlers to easily navigate this archipelago’s still-icy waters and access its more intimate coastlines, where you can leisurely cruise the waters and spot the abundant wildlife that calls Svalbard home.

Kayaking in Spitsbergen, Svalbard © Al Bakker
Kayaking in Spitsbergen, Svalbard © Al Bakker

See the Northern Lights and the fabled Northwest Passage

By September, the nights in the Northern Hemisphere are starting to lengthen. As the night falls, look skywards, hoping to catch a surreal light display of vibrant hues of blue, green, pink and violet dancing across the sky. Head to destinations skirting the coastline of the Arctic Circle to maximise your chances of witnessing this natural phenomenon. With optimal weather conditions, this is the best time for ships to attempt to navigate the Northwest Passage.

Meet local indigenous people who call this small wilderness home. Keep your eyes peeled for enigmatic Arctic wildlife, including walrus, beluga whales, polar bear, musk ox and the elusive narwhal.

Northern Lights, Greenland, Michael Baynes
Northern Lights, Greenland © Michael Baynes

Wildlife photography in South Georgia

Nicknamed the Galapagos of the Southern Ocean, November in South Georgia attracts the eyes and cameras of wildlife lovers from all over the globe. King penguin rookeries are nearing their peak, young seal pups are raising their heads for the first time, and mighty male elephant seals may be spotted battling it out for supremacy. November is the best month to spot the wandering albatross, with the largest wingspan of any bird in the world, stretching up to 3.5 metres across.

Attempt to retrace the epic 1916 crossing of Sir Ernest Shackleton, trekking or skiing for up to three days across South Georgia from King Haakon Bay to Stromness.

Aurora 2023 - Elephant Seal, South Georgia, Tyson Mayr bucket list expeditions
Elephant Seals in South Georgia © Tyson Mayr

Explore Antarctica

Did you know a whopping 90% of icebergs are tucked away below the surface in Antarctica? It makes it the ultimate February getaway for scuba dive fans. Diving in Antarctica reveals a world of breathtaking ice and unique water wildlife as sea ice has retreated to the maximum level. Be awed by icebergs and curious marine life that thrives in its icy depths. Come March, humpback, orca and minke whales at their most playful. It’s the best time to enjoy unforgettable encounters with these gentle giants.

Skiing or snowboarding in Antarctica

Whether you’re a backcountry pro or an experienced resort skier seeking your first touring adventure, Antarctica offers a new world of ski and board possibilities. By October, the pristine slopes are ready for first tracks by skiers and snowboarders. But first, you must earn your turns by skinning up the mountain. As you begin your run, the iceberg-filled Antarctic waters will come back into view. It’s the most dramatic ski-scape on earth and one ski lovers must do!

Aurora 2023 - Skiing, Holly Lipson, Antarctica_ Tarn Pilkington
Skiing in Antarctica © Tarn Pilkington

Festive fun in Antarctica

December is your last chance to camp on the ice for the season – literally! Penguins may stand while they sleep, but you don’t have to – sleeping mats and bags are provided. Enjoy the ultimate white Christmas, surrounded by like-minded travellers. Experience the Midnight Sun – when the sun stays above the horizon 24 hours a day – while listening to the ice crack and shift around you in this serene yet epic location.

Discover world-class experiences of the best bucket list destinations and experiences for adventure seekers with Aurora Expeditions in 2023. Download your free e-book now.

This article was produced with content supplied by Aurora Expeditions and is a Signature Luxury Travel & Style digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the enewsletter.