Nature Tours and Travel Guide
Nature Attractions & Landmarks Guide
If you like being outdoors -- whether it's hiking in the hills among spring wildflowers, camping by a mountain lake, listening to the sounds of monkeys howling in the jungle, or taking a hike in the desert at sunrise -- guided tours are a great way to get you there, give you support as needed, and deepen your understanding of what you're seeing and hearing in the natural world. And naturally, Stride can help you find the right path.
Top Nature Tour Destinations
There are so many great travel destinations for getting closer to nature.
Here are the top nature tour destinations by continent
When people think of nature in the African continent, most think going on safaris. Even for people who are not animal lovers, nothing can compare to the thrill and beauty of an African safari.
Being on a safari allows for some peace and quiet, getting in touch with nature. Game Drives during sunrise/sunset allow for some of the best scenery you’ll see in your life. All that said, there is even more to Africa than going on a safari! There is a huge variety (even in a single country, such as South Africa) of landscapes, from forests and mountains, to deserts and beaches. No matter what type of nature experience you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in Africa.
There is a huge variety of destinations for nature lovers in Asia. One of the more popular destinations is Thailand, known for its affordability, great beaches in the South, and lush forests in the North. Top suggestions include: monkey beach in Phuket, and visiting ethical Elephant Sanctuaries. For those looking for a more extreme nature travel experience, head over to Nepal for a trek to Everest Base Camp.
If you’re looking to go down under, Australia and New Zealand both offer ample opportunities to get out in nature. Trips include solo adventures in Australia or New Zealand, and many include visits to both countries. In Australia, you’ll find wildlife parks where you can get your fill of Koalas and Kangaroos, and the opportunity to see the Great Barrier Reef.
Green Island is a popular destination in the Great Barrier Reef, a 6,000 year old coral cay. This premier world heritage sight offers a one-of-a-kind tropical experience. Don’t miss out on snorkeling to see the many tropical fish species and marine plant life. For those who are not to keen on swimming, there are even tours with glass bottom boats!
If you head to New Zealand, you’re met with Fjords, hiking (for all physical levels!) and wonderful thermal areas. Don't miss a trip to Milford Sound, with it’s dolphin sightings and mountain peaks towering over the fjord. Some tours offer helicopter rides over Milford Sound, making it an easy day trip from Queenstown. The South Island has some of the most incredible scenery you’ll ever see, and should not be missed.
Iceland tours are extremely popular for nature lovers. And for good reason! This country is simply stunning. Iceland offers beautiful views and a landscapes unlike anywhere else in Europe - or the world for that matter. A popular attraction is the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal-heated, mineral rich lagoon. Also found in Iceland are Fjord canyons, mountains, waterfalls and gorgeous coastlines. There is a reason so many people are traveling to Iceland, and it should definitely have a spot on your bucket list.
While many may think of mainland Europe and think castles and historical sightseeing, there’s actually tons to see and do for nature lovers. Consider Plitvice National Park in Croatia, or an invigorating stay in a mountain lodge in Switzerland, surrounded by the beauty of the Alps. The UK is full of gorgeous gardens and national parks as well. Many Europe tour packages include opportunities to enjoy these areas of natural beauty.
You can not go wrong with a North America nature tour. The North American continent is incredibly diverse in so many ways, particularly in the breadth of natural attractions available. The many different climates and landscapes in the United States and Canada - make for a vastly different experience depending on where you are. For mountains, you have the Canadian Rockies in the west, and Great Smoky Mountains in the east.
For those looking for the ocean, there are awesome beaches in Florida, Hawaii, and Mexico. Don’t forget about the lush rainforests in Washington State, or the desert in California/Arizona. Not to mention all the amazing national parks found across the continent. For those who don’t want to miss anything and are keen to make the most of their time, a North America nature tour is a great option.
While Central America is not a continent, it’s definitely worthy of its own separate category as it should not be missed. Central America also has great beaches and beautiful rainforests. One of the most popular destinations for those looking to experience nature in Central America is Costa Rica, which has an awesome mix of landscapes (and animal life!).
Costa Rica tours often include a visit to Tortuguero National Park, which offers both thrills and relaxation. A visit to Tortuguero let’s travelers see Arenal Volcano and the canals. Don’t miss a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs. Costa Rica is a great spot for travelers in search of eco-tourism.
For nature travel, no place offers incredible experiences quite like South America. From the Amazon River to Patagonia, the Galapagos to the jungles of Peru, South America is a nature lovers dream destination. If you’re looking to visit the Amazon rainforest, an Amazon river cruise is perfect for adventurous travelers.
If mountains are more your interest, look into heading to Chile to see Patagonia. While Patagonia is remote, that is part of its charm. See the beautiful fjords and glaciers in Torres Del Paine National Park. And don’t miss out on Magellanic penguins, found in Chile at Magdalena Island.
Nature Photography Tips
1. Use a wide-angle lens. This shows a broader view and can make background features pop. If you’re using your smartphone, crop your photo and make it narrow horizontally.
2. If you are near water and want to capture “moving water,” use a long exposure effect. This is best done with a tripod so the camera isn’t moving while the photo is being taken.
3. Learn about your subjects. If you’re going to be near animals, study up on the local wildlife so you’re aware of their behavior and can get a great shot. When trying to take pictures of a particular scenery, knowing the time of year to best capture it can help you plan when to take your trip. When looking for special plant photos, you want to go when the plant is in bloom!
4. Consider water reflections for a beautiful photo. If you’re up early (right around sunrise) or out later (right before sunset), the golden hour lighting makes for great photos.
5. Many smartphones have the ability to edit photos built into the camera. Use the brightening tool, or contrast tool to bring out the colors in the photo. There are built in filters that you can switch between to get different effects. If you’re unsatisfied with your phone and its editing options, there are multiple editing apps that can help you tune your picture.
6. The best filter you can use is natural lighting! Golden hours, sunrise, and sunset are the best time for photos, especially with nature. Golden hours allow for a soft, golden glow that can highlight your subject if shot properly. Brighten up your object and shoot them during sunrise or sunset, where the background is soft and hazy. This also prevents harsh shadows that come with trying to take photos during the day.
7. If you’re going on a safari and want to photograph animals, it’s best to go in the early morning or right before dusk, when the animals are out roaming. Day time brings hot heat, which the animals try to go escape. Hiding animals are difficult to photograph! Dawn and Dusk are when animals are active, so aim for a morning or evening visit for the best photography opportunities.
8. When photographing animals, be respectful of them. Remain inside the marked territories for visitors. Don’t call the animal. Don’t chase after them. Don’t feed unless permission is given. The best photographs of animals are when they are enjoying life in their natural habitat!
Things to Know Before You Go
Why go on a guided nature tour?
Depending on where you’re traveling, there is a good chance there will be little to no cell reception. Trying to connect to your GPS or internet if you get lost without cell service is a frustrating and nerve wracking experience. If you’re going to a new country, it can be difficult to navigate remote trails or national parks, especially if you don’t speak the language.
This should in no way discourage you from getting out in nature during your travels. Guided nature tours are the perfect option to take the stress out and truly enjoy the experience. The tour guides are out nearly every day, so they know the land, allowing you to just have fun without trying to navigate on your own.
Tour guides may also know unusual and interesting facts about the area that will help connect your nature experience to the local community, culture, and heritage. And they’ll often know of secret viewing or picnic spots that the average traveler would not know about . A guided nature tour can keep you safe and stress free, allowing for the best experience.
Nature Travel and Ecotourism
When traveling in nature, it’s important to be aware of the environment and try your best to not disturb the landscape. Traveling has become extremely popular in recent years, and with globalization and the ability to travel more affordably than recent years, more and more people are visiting the worlds natural attractions.
This is awesome! However not everyone is aware of the damage that can be done by some of their actions when they travel.
Here are some tips for being a respectful traveler
1. Do some research before you go so you’re aware of what’s happening in that particular environment. By being knowledgeable about your destination, you’re not only staying safe, but you’re practicing good tourism etiquette and avoiding doing damage.
2. Consider trips with farm stays, local stays, and/or camping. These options can be eco-friendly and help boost the local economy, supporting the community.
3. Wild animals are not for entertainment. Do some research and look for tours that have high ethical standards. If you’re really keen on seeing animals, look for places that allow viewing of the animals in their natural habitat.
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