Want to really get to know a destination? Hop in a kayak! This sporty mode of travel takes you quickly into remote coves, hidden beaches and tucked-away villages. You’ll navigate giant icebergs and narrow canyons easily and see your destination from a whole new perspective. Here are our favorite 10 ideas for your bucket-list kayaking vacation. 

Sea of Cortez & Baja, Mexico


Watch the horizon closely when you’re kayaking amidst the islands of the Sea of Cortez - you might glimpse a whale. Sunny weather and warm water make this gorgeous area ideal for a kayaking trip. Camp on the rugged and secluded coastline of Baja, Mexico, or on the desert landscapes of the islands, snorkel with sea lions and paddle alongside playful dolphins. The Sea of Cortez is home to 31 different species of marine mammals, including sea turtles and jumping manta rays. You can even make a three- or four-day kayaking trip out of it by paddling around and camping on the white-sand beaches of Espiritu Santo and Partida islands. 

Vancouver Island, Canada

Photo: Tofino Sea Kayaking

A wonderland of wildlife, both on land and at sea, the northern coast of Vancouver Island is a dreamy place for a sea-kayaking excursion. It remains one of the world’s top kayaking destinations for its many small islands and passageways, as well as its protected waters and serene sense of seclusion. Look for humpback whales, eagles, river otters, black bears, seals and porpoises. Look for trips in the Broken Group Islands, part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, or in Clayoquot Sound. 

Amazon Rainforest 

Far from civilization, deep in the rainforest, down one of the world’s mightiest rivers, you’ll kayak past villages of indigenous people and exotic wildlife. Fish for piranhas and peacock bass, while you listen to the sounds of primeval nature. Go night kayaking and look for monkeys and white herons. Hike to a bat cave and look for little caimans at the base of waterfalls. The Amazon provides a staggering number of waterways and ecosystems to explore. 

Dalmatian Coast, Croatia 

Photo: Adventure Dalmatia

A picture-perfect Dalmatian Coast sea kayaking holiday should definitely be at the top of your list. You’ll paddle around rocky headlands and craggy bluffs enroute to sandy beaches and ancient towns awaiting your exploration. The stunning turquoise waters between Croatia and Montenegro boasts more than 1,200 islands and islets, hidden coves, grottoes and incredible reefs. Explore the Elaphiti Islands and its caves, stopping at Sipan, for its vineyards and olive orchards. 

Belize Barrier Reef

Explore more than 450 palm-fringed cayes are available to kayakers in Belize. A massive barrier reef connects them, home to nearly 100 different types of coral and 500 species of fish. Combine sea kayaking and snorkeling as you paddle the Moho River, visit remote Mayan villages and discover Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve.

Galapagos Islands 

Meet blue-footed boobies, giant tortoises, sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas and more in Charles Darwin’s paradise. Sea kayaking allows visitors to get special access to places tour boats may not be able to go, due to regional rules and regulations. Find out-of-the-way places to go ashore and remote beaches where you can get to know the unfettered wildlife of this incredible chain of volcanic islands. 

Halong Bay, Vietnam 

Photo by Marcus Marlowe on Unsplash

Get to know the areas of mystical Halong Bay that cruise ships cannot access. Paddle through floating fishing villages and meet local residents. Kayak around tall limestone islands topped with rainforest. Explore hidden caves and lagoons of emerald-hued water. Look for trips that include paddling to Luon Cave, Vung Vieng Fishing Village, Trinh Nu Cave and the Tung Sau area. 

Sermilik Fjord, Greenland

Watch from your kayak as icebergs break loose from Greenland’s massive ice shelf. Paddling around the calm waters of Sermilik Fjord is a heady experience, as you navigate ice floes and keep your eyes open for whales and seals. Traveling by sea kayak is one of the most authentic ways to explore the Tasiilaq region of Greenland - highlights include the idyllic village of Tiniteqilaaq, the abandoned settlement of Ikateq and the Pupik archaeological site with its earth houses. 

Patagonia, Chile 

Photo by Marc Thunis on Unsplash

Kayak in full view of snow-capped peaks, glacial valleys and rainforest in Chilean Patagonia. Spot dolphins, sea lions and penguins, and, if you head far enough south, penguins as you wind your way through fjords and icebergs. There are several destinations to choose from, including kayaking in Torres del Paine and Bernardo O’Higgins national parks. 

Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears, December 29, 2009

Set off on a half-, full- or multi-day kayaking trip through the crystal-clear waters and along the golden-sand beaches of Abel Tasman National Park. Spend a day paddling from Marahau along the southern stretch of the Abel Tasman to Anchorage. Explore the wonders of Tonga Island Marine Reserve and the Magical Marine Reserve. You can combine kayaking with walks along the famous Abel Tasman Coastal Track, too.

Ready to get paddling? Let’s talk.