Adventure travel doesn't always mean having to stay in tents or remote cabins. Quite the contrary in fact, as there are actually some spectacular lodges, in amazing settings, that can serve as the perfect base camp for your next outdoor adventure. Blending comfort, unexpected luxuries, and unique experiences for travelers, these are the absolute best adventure lodges in the world.
From its stunning views of the surrounding landscape to its fantastic selection of food and wine, the Tierra Atacama is a comfortable haven for visitors to the driest place on the planet — northern Chile's Atacama Desert. Comfortable rooms, an on-site spa, and a design the deftly blends into the surrounding environment are just some of the amenities that travelers will find here. But visitors to the Atacama come for the adventure and the all-inclusive resort can help organize those too. An onsite adventure concierge can help guests organize twice-daily escapes to go mountain biking, hiking, climbing, horseback riding, or on a jeep tour to soak up the local scenery. And when the sun goes down, you may never see a more spectacular night sky in all of your travels.
Located in the Kalahari Desert, Jack's Camp is a legendary location that has been welcoming adventure travelers to Africa for more than 25 years. The site has just ten luxury tents where visitors can stay, but those tents will redefine how you envision a remote campsite. The rooms are decorated with local art and are furnished in a very comfortable and appealing fashion. There is even an onsite pool and an elegant dining area that provides fantastic views of the surrounding landscape.
Best of all, Jack's Camp offers access to the Makgadikgadi Pan, an arid self flat located in a remote area of Botswana that is home to a stunning array of wildlife. Visitors can experience that setting for themselves on walking safaris, game drives, and by off-road ATVs. This is an African safari that is very different from what you'll find elsewhere, with a fantastic lodge to serve as base camp for the adventure.
Spotting the Northern Lights is at the top of every traveler's bucket list, with some going to great lengths to witness the celestial phenomenon first hand. Thanks to the glass igloos found at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland however, it is possible to witness this amazing display while snuggled comfortably in your bed. The transparent ceilings found in the igloos make for perfect stargazing without ever having to venture out into the cold. And when the Northern Lights put on their frequent displays, there is nothing quite like drifting off to sleep while bold green, red, and yellow auroras dance across the sky overhead.
During the day, visitors to the lodge can busy themselves with reindeer safaris through snow covered landscapes or go dog sledding through the backcountry. Other activities include options to go ice fishing, skiing (both alpine and nordic), or take a ride on the nearby Sampo Icebreaker. No matter how you slice it, Arctic Europe is a virtual paradise for active adventure travelers.
The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is a dream destination for many adventure travelers and it also happens to be home to one of the world's great adventure lodges. The Como Uma Paro has everything you look for when it comes to selecting adventurous accommodations, including a remote and secluded setting, integration with the surrounding environment, and access to some unique and inspiring activities. This 29-room resort has all of that, and so much more.
Nestled into the heart of the Himalaya, Como Uma Paro provides a setting that is perfect for relaxation and meditation, while also offering up plenty of things to do too. For instance, visitors can learn the art of archery, which happens to be Bhutan's national sport. They can also take a hike to the famed Eagle's Nest Monastery or go mountain biking in one of the most pristine landscapes on Earth. And at the end of a busy day, they can return to the lodge for a spa treatment and a gourmet meal too.
One of the best ways to experience Peru's spectacular Sacred Valley is from inside one of the suites at the epic Skylodge. These glass and metal capsules are suspended at the top of a 1,200-foot mountain, affording visitors some of the best views of the surrounding landscapes. Travelers can spend the night in one of these unique rooms, which are 24-feet in length and feature panoramic windows that stretch the length of the interior, while still maintaining plenty of privacy at the same time.
As you can probably imagine, just reaching the Skylodge is a bit of an adventure in and of itself. Visitors can elect to climb a 400-meter Via Ferrata or can take an alternate route that involves hiking and zip lining instead. Either way, once there they'll be treated to gourmet meals, local wine, and the opportunity to spot the legendary condor as it soars through its natural habitat in the Andes.
The Ger has been the traditional mobile homestead for Asia's nomadic people for centuries, but at the Three Camel Lodge these simple shelters are transformed into elegant accommodations that will enchant any visitor. Located in the heart of the Gobi Desert, this lodge is not only inviting and modern, it is also incredibly eco-friendly. Built to live in harmony with the surrounding landscape, while still providing a glimpse into Mongolian history and culture, the lodge is a serene and idyllic place to escape modern life for awhile. Visitors won't have to go without amenities however, as there is an on-site restaurant, masseuse, and gift shop.
Visitors to the Three Camel Lodge can choose to go on day trips into the Gobi or book a more involved tour with Nomadic Expeditions. Conversely, they can also elect to just relax and soak up the surrounding landscapes, enjoying a pleasant stay at a location that few people ever get the chance to experience.
Located deep inside Alaska's Denali National Park the Denali Backcountry Lodge requires visitors to travel six hours on a bus just to reach its grounds. Alternatively, travelers can elect to fly in via a bush plane, which may be shorter but is no less dramatic. Once on the premises they'll discover 42 rustic cabins, a full-service restaurant and bar, and a spa — not to mention and some of the most spectacular views this side of its namesake mountain. Activities include excellent mountain biking through the surrounding landscape, guided trail hikes led by certified naturalists, morning yoga, and guest lecturers and presentations throughout the evening. There is even an option to go panning for gold.
Wildlife is in abundance near the lodge as well, with bear, moose, wolves, and other animals often spotted near by. There is no television or cell phone coverage however, so be prepared to leave your devices behind.
Safari lodges are common throughout Africa, but few can compare to the Chem Chem Lodge in Tanzania. Located on the edge of Lake Manyara — and not far from the spectacular Tarangire National Park — Chem Chem is an oasis of serenity and luxury nestled in an environment that is overflowing with wildlife. Visitors will get the opportunity to visit both locations as they embark on daily game drives, spotting elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, zebras and countless other creatures.
The lodge itself consists of traditional safari tents with some surprising amenities. Those include an on-site spa, swimming pool, sitting areas, and a dining hall. All activities — including walking safaris — are organized and led by the staff, with excursions into the African bush to track the famous Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants and Cape buffalo).
A stay at Chem Chem isn't just an unbelievable travel experience, it is also an opportunity to give back. All of the proceeds raised from visitors goes to support projects within the community, job training for locals and combating poaching activities in the region too.
Hacienda El Porvenir (Ecuador)
Located in the shadow of Cotopaxi National Park in Ecuador, what Hacienda El Porvenir lacks in luxury it more than makes up in adventure. That isn't to say that this lodge isn't comfortable and charming, quite the contrary in fact. Travelers will find that it is warm and accommodating to all. But located above 11,800 feet, it isn't just the amazing views that can take a visitor's breath away. The thin mountain air is part of the allure however, as this is the perfect place for a digital detox.
The simple farmhouse is unique and cozy, providing travelers with good food and a warm bed each night. During the day however, they'll have access to an array of outdoor experiences, including horseback riding and mountain biking in the High Andes, trekking excursions into the national park, and even mountaineering expeditions to the summit of the 19,347-foot Cotopaxi itself. The active volcano dominates the horizon, beckoning the most adventurous travelers to explore its flanks.
What can you say about a jungle lodge that allows visitors to arrive in either a 4x4 vehicle or via a day of whitewater river rafting? That's exactly what you get at the Pacuare Lodge in Costa Rica, where travelers will stay in their own private bungalow while monkeys play in the trees overhead. The lodge's on-premises amenities include a lovely infinity pool, a full-service kitchen, and quiet sitting areas to relax and commune with nature. After all, the philosophy behind the Pacuare is to enjoy the spectacular natural setting while seamlessly integrating into the environment there.
Adventure opportunities abound at the Pacuare Lodge. In addition to the aforementioned whitewater rating experiences, visitors can also go canyoneering in the jungle, or go zip lining through the canopy overhead. They'll also have the chance to interact with the indigenous locals through cultural encounters and rainforest hikes, as well as enjoy wildlife treks to spot colorful birds, unique reptiles, and possibly even a jaguar.