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5 Epic Adventure Lodges to Discover Around the World

If you like the idea of booking a stay at a cozy lodge, surrounded by wilderness, with a range of activities to choose from, here are some of the most epic adventure lodges around the world.

Killary Lodge – Leenane, Co Galway, Ireland

killary lodge
Image courtesy of Killary Lodge

Set on the beautiful Killary Harbour, a natural fjord in Ireland’s west coast on the borders of County Galway and County Mayo, this luxury adventure lodge is surrounded by trees and nature. The self-catering lodge has 10 bedrooms and sleeps up to 36 people, so it’s perfect for a small group or families. The lodge is a peaceful retreat, but the best thing about it is that you don’t have to go far for adventure, as the lodge is owned by Killary Adventure Company, so there are up to 20 different activities to choose from.

There are water-based activities like kayaking on the fjord, raft-building, or paddleboarding. On land, you can try the aerial park or high ropes course outside the lodge, or try gorge walking, clay pigeon shooting, or archery. After your adventure, make sure to book a session in the Killary Fjord Sauna—a private wood-fueled sauna set on a small beach right on the edge of the fjord, where you can take dips in the cool water between sessions and then relax in the heat as you admire the magnificent views along the fjord.

Rios Lodge – Pacuare, Costa Rica

This tropical paradise on the Pacuare River is an ideal place to escape into nature. What’s unique is that the adventure starts before you arrive, as you reach the lodge either by rafting on the river, which takes between three or four hours, or via a guided 1.5-km hike along the Pacuare River trail, which takes around 45 minutes. Luggage is transported in by raft, and some people choose to raft in and hike out.

Founded by three friends in 1985 as a camp for river rafters and kayakers, sustainability has always been at the heart of the ecolodge—it was built using reclaimed wood and has its own hydroelectric power. The lodge also has a reforestation program, planting thousands of trees in the rainforest. Rooms overlook the river and are surrounded by everything from howler monkeys to toucans. From the lodge, you can watch the tropical birds, do yoga on the deck, or just chill in a hammock. Adventures from the lodge include a zipline, tubing, rappelling, horseback riding, or a hike on the trails before soaking in a waterfall.          

Wickaninnish Inn – Vancouver, Canada

adventure lodge
Image courtesy of Wickaninnish Inn

Travel to the northwest of Vancouver Island and along the rocky shore and you’ll find the romantic Wickaninnish Inn, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Surrounded by huge trees, the inn is at the end of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and uses driftwood in much of its furniture.

The lodge has super ocean views—people come here in winter for storm watching, to see the storms rolling in across the Pacific (the glass in the rooms is hurricane-proof) as they are tucked up under a blanket. On less stormy days, you can try surfing on the nearby Cox Bay beach or just stroll the sands. There’s plenty to do in the area, with walking trails and biking opportunities (the hotel has complimentary bikes), before returning to the inn for yoga and spa treatments in the Cedars Spa, to read some of the library’s books, admire the art and sculptures dotted around, or tuck into seasonal dishes like poached brill sole or truffled sourdough cavatelli.

Denali Backcountry Lodge – Kantishna, Alaska, USA

Denali Backcountry Lodge
Image courtesy of Denali Backcountry Lodge

This is another lodge where arriving is part of the adventure—it’s a fly-in lodge, so you can’t get here by road. You will arrive by helicopter after taking a trip over the scenic Alaska Mountain range and hopefully seeing Denali itself, the highest mountain in North America at 20,310 feet high. The lodge is set on Moose Creek and made up of 42 cozy log cabins. It is surrounded by wilderness and offers the opportunity to go off-grid, as there are no TVs and no cell signal. 

Sign up for tours with naturalist guides who will take you for meadow strolls or hikes to mountain summits, where you might spot local wildlife like bears, moose, caribou, and gray wolves. You can also sign up for a mountain bike excursion, go fishing on Wonder Lake or in Moose Creek, or go kayaking or paddle boarding on Wonder Lake to take in the incredible mountain views from the water.

It wouldn’t be a river experience in Alaska without a spot of gold panning, so you can even try to find some sparkles in Moose Creek with the lodge’s gold-panning equipment. The lodge also has a sauna and can arrange spa treatments and massages. Hearty meals are included, plus trail lunches, snacks, baked goods, and coffee.

Kingfisher Creek Safari Lodge – Guernsey Nature Reserve, South Africa

This safari lodge with luxury tented suites is located in the Guernsey Private Nature Reserve, the ideal place to experience the bush with the peace and quiet of nature and the South African wilderness. There is plenty to do, too. Most people come here for the safari drives in Kruger National Park. You can do a full day’s drive, a morning bush walk or game drive, or a half day in Manyeleti Game Reserve on the edge of the national park. A highlight is the Big Five game drive to see lions, cheetahs, elephants, leopards, and other game.

The lodge is surrounded by the Blyde River Canyon,  so there are other activities on offer, with quad bike safaris, ziplines, hot air ballooning, a horseback riding safari, helicopter flights over the canyon, boat cruises, and hiking. You can also take a tour of a wildlife rehabilitation center, which contributes to the rehabilitation and conservation of endangered species—with lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, servals, lynx, honey badgers, eagles, wild dogs, and vultures.

More relaxing experiences on offer include cooking classes of traditional South African food, a roots of rhythm tribal dance show, and, back at the lodge, there’s a range of spa treatments to choose from with massages, manicures, pedicures, and facials.

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