This unprecedented second year of non-stop travel has brought us roaming around six different continents and 27 different countries for a total of over 65,000 miles while completely circumnavigating the globe.
We’re often asked about our favorite places, which is difficult to pin down because each country we visit has its own unique charms.
Instead, we’ve attempted to cull together our top 20 favorite travel experiences from the past year. We had a tough time narrowing them down to 20 experiences and have even gotten into some fierce debates between the two of us about which to include and what should be omitted.
Without further ado, here are our top experiences from 2015, presented in chronological order.
Drum roll please!
1) Trekking Across Patagonia
Where: Patagonia, Chile & Argentina
Why: Experiencing some of the rawest natural beauty we’ve ever seen.
The Experience: It’s been a dream to hike the snow-capped Andes way down in the Southern tip of South America. The overnight trekking through this vast mountain range surpassed any expectations we had of Patagonia. We hiked from volcanoes to glaciers, from lush forests to barren alpine, and from iceberg-filled lakes to rushing waterfalls. This rugged wilderness was awe-inspiring.
Lesser-known treks such as the “Rio Comacho Valley” and “Al Cajon de Rio Azul” rivaled the big guns like Argentina’s Cerro Fitz Roy and Chile’s Torres del Paine. Yet it was probably the famed 4-day “W” trek in Torres del Paine that became the most memorable.
We never anticipated spending so much time in Patagonia or doing so much backcountry camping in the rugged wilderness. But we became absolutely addicted. We’re not hardcore trekkers and weren’t sure that we were up for some of these very physically demanding ascents but we managed to conquer every one without too much pain. With such spectacular natural vistas around every corner it became difficult to refuse embarking on that next trail!
If You Go: Fly into Santiago and transfer to Puerto Natales, where you’ll find numerous companies to provide you with all the gear needed to accomplish the 4-day W trek in Torres del Paine. The Erratic Rock hosts a free information-filled 3:00 talk every day to help prepare you for the trek, although we found their gear to be slightly overpriced compared to other vendors.
2) Exploring the Grandeur of Iguazu Falls
Where: Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Why: It captivated two people who aren’t typically wowed by waterfalls.
The Experience: Getting to Iguazu Falls would add three full days of bus rides (and costs) to our already aggressive journey through Southern South America. We almost decided to skip it for practical reasons. We’ve seen many waterfalls during the past two years of travel, eh, what’s the big deal about this one?
Well, it was a big deal and the payoff was worth every sleepless bit of those long bus rides we endured to get there. We simply couldn’t get over how enormous it all was. There are literally hundreds of waterfalls spread across several miles! It’s one of those places that pictures don’t quite do justice to and you’ve just got to experience it for yourself.