Kayaking is one of the most exciting ways to more intimately explore the world’s remote destinations. While it’s possible on nearly all expeditions, these are some of our favorite places to paddle.
In the land of ice and penguins, the views are breathtaking from any angle, but paddling kayaking along the glaciers and coves of the Antarctic Peninsula allows you to see the White Continent from an entirely unique perspective. More importantly, it allows you to completely immerse yourself in the sounds of calving and crackling ice, without the chatter of any motors. There is also the added benefit that most penguin colonies are situated along the coastline, meaning that it is possible to get up close and personal and even watch penguins porpoise through the water as they return to land or leap from the rocks into the water in search of food.
Along the coastline of the world’s largest island, kayaking can be an important cultural connection to the region. Kayaking is an ancient tradition perfected over a thousand years by the Thule people, the ancestors of modern-day Greenlanders, or Inuit. Today, hunters on the northern and west coast of Greenland still hunt by kayak, passing on these traditional skills from generation to generation. It’s a sport perfectly designed for the Arctic environment, and the perfect way to experience the breathtaking beauty of this remote coastline.
Whether it’s the brown bears or the humpback whales, the wildlife of Southeast Alaska is what sets it apart from any other destination. In the summertime, brown bears can be found in the highest densities anywhere in the world, foraging along the intertidal zone and hunting in the salmon streams. Meanwhile, in the coastal waters, groups of humpback whales cooperatively feed in a behavior called “bubble netting,” where groups of upwards of 20 whales can be seen working together to feast on herring. In both cases, the intimacy of a kayak allows for some of the most up close and personal views of these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.
Raja Ampat is the beating heart of the Indo-Pacific’s Coral Triangle. It’s home to some of the most abundant reefs anywhere in the world; 1,000 species of coral fish and 700 different mollusks can be found there, making it the single most diverse marine ecosystem for underwater life. This includes manta rays, reef sharks, pygmy seahorses, and the elusive walking shark, too. So during surface intervals between dives or as an alternate activity to snorkeling, kayaking provides a perfect window into this world, allowing you to look down from above through the crystalline tropical waters.
The calm, clear waters of the Galapagos provide an ideal entry for kayakers of any level to explore the islands’ abundant coastline. Much of the iconic wildlife that draws visitors here, from the Sally lightfoot crab to the charismatic sea lions to the thousands of bird species, can all be found along the shoreline and viewed easily from the comfort of a kayak.