What do you think of when you search for your Bucket List Ideas? Do you conquer fears? Do you seek new experiences? Are these things unattainable in your present life? No matter what you write down, we believe bucket lists are special because they represent potential. No matter what your present state is, your future is still wide open.
We spoke to some of the world-class travelers to find out where they’ve been and what they think you should see. This isn’t your average catalog of bucket list ideas. It is a collective of offbeat travel destinations from real people who started off with an idea– just like you. We hope this will inspire you to seek transformative travel across oceans, rainforests, and beyond your wildest dreams.
#17 Getting Lost in Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida, the “Lost City”
Sometimes, it’s a better experience to get lost than to get led, to explore rather than listen to an explanation. This is why we think Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida is a better experience than visiting the Disney-fied circus that Machu Picchu has become.
The trek to Ciudad Perdida is a challenging three-day hike that involves sleeping in hammocks, enduring insect bites, and avoiding snakes that the guide described as only “a little bit poisonous.” However, the experience of connecting with global backpackers in a communal setting more than made up for the physical exertion and minor injuries.
While Ciudad Perdida itself may not be as architecturally impressive as Machu Picchu, its lack of grandiosity is part of its appeal. In fact, taking just a few steps off the trail can lead to getting completely lost in the sound-absorbing jungle, which was once known as “the green hell.” The nearby villages remain largely unchanged from ancient times, making the trek an authentic and unique experience.
#16 Finding a Ruin Bar in Budapest
Discovering the unconventional side of Budapest is one of the things that endear visitors to the city. The ruin bars offer a unique nightlife experience for those seeking an alternative to traditional bars. These bars are located in various ruins throughout the city, often in old communist buildings. Exploring the crumbling interiors of these bars reveals numerous rooms, nooks, and crannies to discover.
Many ruin bars have multiple bars within them, playing indie music, showcasing random scenes on tvs, and offering hookah to patrons. The adventure of finding these bars adds to their allure, as they are often nondescript and located down dark alleyways, making it easy to get lost in the city. Overall, visiting a ruin bar is a must for those looking for an unforgettable and unconventional night out in Budapest.
#15 Spending the Night at a Mayan Village in the Yucatan of Mexico
Spending the night at a Mayan village in the Yucatan of Mexico offers a unique opportunity to experience the rich culture and way of life of the indigenous people. The traditional Mayan huts, known as Palapas, offer a rustic and authentic experience, allowing visitors to step out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in the local culture.
During the stay, visitors may be invited to join in local celebrations or rituals, such as a traditional Mayan birthday party or a shaman-led cleansing ceremony. These experiences offer a chance to try traditional Mayan food and learn about the unique spiritual beliefs and practices of the culture.
#14 Bowling in North Korea
Bowling may not be the first activity that one associates with North Korea due to the negative image portrayed by the media. However, for those with an open mind, visiting this mysterious country can offer a unique and eye-opening experience.
One recommended activity is to visit local bowling alleys and mix in with the crowd. Despite preconceptions, the alleys can get quite busy and provide an opportunity to observe how locals spend their free time and interact with them. Celebrating each other’s victories in bowling games with neighboring bowlers can also be a fun and social experience.
#13 Swimming at the Natural Hot Springs – Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca
Hierve el Agua is a special destination that stands out among the many places in the world to visit. It’s a natural hot springs/rock formation in rural Oaxaca with pools that have been eroded out of the rock with incredible views of the valley. Half the fun is the difficulty of getting there (if you don’t do a tour, it requires multiple bus/taxi transfers) and the fact that it’s hidden at the top of this random valley. A magical place to add to your bucket list ideas.
#12 Getting massaged by the Blind at Omamori Spa in Hanoi
This is one of the most unusual experiences you can get in Hanoi. Not only do you get an incredible massage for less than €15, but you can also support an amazing cause. Omamori Spa on Hang Bun Street and Huynh Thuc Khang Street is run by a social enterprise called Blind-Link which offers employment to people who are blind or visually impaired. These skilled masseuses have an exceptional awareness of the body and are attentive to any aches and pains, making for a massage experience like no other.
#11 Street Racing Mario Kart in Tokyo
There have been recent crackdowns on go-karting in the streets of Tokyo, and word on the street is that go-karting and Robot restaurants might soon be a thing of the past. Who doesn’t want to relive their childhood memories of playing Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo…but in real life? The experience of driving a go-kart dressed up as Mario and going 90km per hour on the highways of Japan is something that shouldn’t be missed. It is recommended to experience it soon before it’s too late.
#10 Scuba Diving at the World’s Deepest Indoor Diving Pool in Brussels, Belgium
When looking up things to do during a stint in Brussels, many expect waffle-making classes, events in Grand-Place, and Belgian chocolate tours galore. Scuba diving is not typically on the radar. For avid divers who have enjoyed dive meccas all over the world, from the Caribbean to Thailand, Belgium is not a place that often comes to mind.
However, much to their delight, there is Nemo 33, a gigantic dive waterpark. The deepest section of the pool plunges all the way to 113 feet, and it contains 660,000 gallons of water in total. Visitors can spend the afternoon swimming around, peeping through the pool’s windows at the patrons enjoying the dive shop’s restaurant, and exploring an underwater world in a place one would never expect to find themselves scuba diving.
#9 Hang-gliding in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For those seeking an adrenaline rush, hang gliding is a must-try experience. Running off the edge of a mountain and soaring hundreds of meters above one of the most beautiful cities in the world is an unforgettable experience. The lack of control may be daunting at first, but once you get over it, the feeling of flying is incomparable. Warm winds from the ocean can lift you above the take-off point, giving you a longer flight time and incredible views of the city and its landmarks, such as Pedra de Gavea and sugar loaf. It’s one of the top bucket list ideas that have a breathtaking experience that words cannot fully describe.
#8 Volcano Boarding in Nicaragua
Sliding down an active volcano on a makeshift toboggan is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience because there is only one place in the world with the ideal conditions to do it: Cerro Negro near Leon, Nicaragua. The novelty, the idea of danger, and the sheer ridiculousness of the whole concept are what make the experience so unique and memorable.
Once you book your tour, hike up the ash-ridden volcano, and put your jumpsuit on, it’s all up to you to control your board. Go as fast or as slow as you feel comfortable and try not to wipe out. Everyone should experience this because it will be one of the unique things they have ever done.
#7 Cycle around the Aran Islands in Ireland
It’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed. A day trip to Inishmore, the largest of the three islands, can easily be done from either Galway or Dingle by taking a ferry. The ferry ride may not be for the faint of heart, but the journey is just as memorable as the destination. Once on the island, rent a bike and take the “seal colony” route to see the seals sunbathing during low tide.
The Aran Islands transport you back in time with its rock fences and small population, making you feel like you’re in Ireland. It’s recommended to leave a few days in your schedule instead of one, so you won’t feel rushed. Also, don’t forget to check out the Cliffs of Moher and the town of Dingle.
#6 Frogging, Alligators, and Eating in the Louisiana Bayou
Exploring the Louisiana Bayou offers a unique experience that many visitors to New Orleans might miss out on. While Bourbon Street is a popular destination, venturing outside the city can lead to unforgettable experiences. One such experience is frogging, which involves using a pole and net to catch frogs in the swamps. It’s important to look for the white glow of their eyes to avoid catching alligators instead.
To round out the day, a visit to a local Cajun restaurant is a must. A mixed plate of fried catfish, crawfish, alligator, frog legs, chicken wings, hush puppies, and boudin (a sausage mixed with rice) is a tasty way to experience the local cuisine. While the activities may seem unusual, the overall experience is a must-try for anyone visiting the Louisiana Bayou.
#5 Hiking Through the Pyrenees in Andorra
Growing up, many countries were never mentioned in history classes. It is fascinating to research all that we were never taught about the world. Micro-nations like Andorra are often overlooked, but once you arrive, it’s hard to believe it’s not at the forefront of everyone’s bucket list ideas. On a sunny day in July, the small mountain town of Soldeu in Andorra was breathtaking. The Pyrenees mountains were stunning, and the water was crystal clear.
Despite not being a well-known destination, the hiking experience in Andorra was unforgettable, and the air was invigorating. It’s a reminder that just because something isn’t on everyone’s radar, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on yours. You can add Andorra to your bucket list ideas to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Pyrenees mountains.
#4 Motorcycling North Island New Zealand
Traveling by motorcycle is one of the most rewarding challenges one can think of. It’s a task that requires full attention, quick wits, and attention to detail. If any of these three details are compromised, the consequences could lead to some serious road rash. But the reward of where the bike will take you and what you will see is well worth it.
Motorcycling through North Island, New Zealand, can be an exciting and adventurous experience. The island offers a diverse range of landscapes, from sandy beaches to volcanic peaks, rolling hills to dense forests, and serene lakes to bustling cities. Overall, a motorcycling trip through North Island, New Zealand, can be a rewarding and memorable experience for adventure seekers who are prepared to follow safety guidelines and respect the local culture and environment.
#3 Hiking Montenegro’s Wild Mountains
Montenegro is one of Europe’s newest countries, having been one of the last countries to separate in the breakup of Yugoslavia in 2006. It’s overshadowed by its neighbor to North Croatia, which has become a holiday favorite. While some people are starting to visit the Montenegrin coastline, where we think the country really shines, its wild, untouched mountains and national parks.
Durmitor National Park in the northeastern corner of Montenegro is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been. The geography is insanely rugged and beautiful, having been carved from melting glaciers over hundreds of thousands of years. Hiking through, you’ll pass through landscapes that alternate looking like Iceland, Scotland, New Zealand, and beyond.
You can do multi-day treks or do an epic one-day hike that brings you to the peak of Bobotov Kuk, the Durmitor range’s highest mountain at 2,525 meters. From the peak, you can see three countries all at once: Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia. On the way back, you can stop by ice caves or the famous Black Lake. This part of the world is still very much undiscovered, and hiking there is something that all lovers of the outdoors should do!
#2 Staying in Remote Jungle Hostels
Being completely immersed in nature at a remote jungle hostel can be an incredible experience! Falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of monkeys howling, birds chirping, and critters rustling through the jungle can be a mesmerizing experience. You might spot monkeys swinging through the air, toucans resting on the treetops, or lizards scurrying across the ground. But it’s essential to be careful not to step on any giant toads in the dark.
What really makes a jungle hostel amazing is having plenty of hiking trails to explore. Lost & Found Hostel in Panama is a great option for hiking enthusiasts, with trails leading to scenic viewpoints, swift rivers, and secret caves. It’s definitely worth the steep 15-minute trek with all your gear to get to this hostel. The treasure hunt here encourages guests to make new friends and have a great time hiking through the jungle to uncover clues to a puzzle.
Bolita Hostel in Costa Rica is also a highly recommended bucket list ideas for those seeking an intense jungle hostel experience. It’s located on the edge of Corcovado National Park, one of the most biologically intense places on Earth, and you need to cross two rivers to reach the hostel.
#1 Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc
One could never have fathomed how much a single trek could change the trajectory of their travel lust. The Tour du Mont Blanc is a famous world-class route that takes you 170 kilometers (or 105 miles) through the legendary Alps of France, Italy, and Switzerland. This is the first long-distance trek that many undertake and self-guide. For more details about these bucket list ideas, you can check the 7-Day Self-Guided Tour Du Mont Blanc Itinerary and What You Need To Know To Do A Self-Guided Tour Du Mont Blanc Hike.
In conclusion, these 17 bucket list ideas from world-class travelers offer a glimpse into the vast array of experiences that travel has to offer. From trekking through the legendary Alps to exploring remote jungle hostels and from motorcycling through New Zealand and many more, the possibilities are endless. By stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing new challenges, we can broaden our horizons and create memories that last a lifetime. So, whether you’re an avid traveler or just starting to plan your next adventure, consider adding one of these experiences to your bucket list and let the journey begin!