Top 5 Paddling Destinations of 2024
With the start of a new year comes new adventures! There’s no better time to start planning a trip, fresh from a holiday break and with renewed excitement for the coming months.
To help inspire your travels, we’ve put together a list of our top 5 paddling destinations to explore in 2024. It includes both legendary sea kayaking destinations and a couple of unexpected places that are rapidly becoming new favorites.
So get your calendar out and start planning the adventures that will make 2024 a year to remember.
While the majority of Cuban visitors explore Havana, Trinidad, and the Viñales Valley, few venture into the island’s eastern reaches, which Christopher Columbus described as “the most beautiful that human eyes have seen”. It’s here that you’ll find the Afro-Cuban stronghold of Santiago de Cuba and the lushly vegetated mountains of Turquino National Park, as well as breathtaking beaches that remain well off-the-beaten tourist track.
Slowly paddling your way along Cuba’s sun-drenched Caribbean coastline is an enchanting way to discover the island, combining memorable wilderness experiences with wildlife sightings and insightful encounters with local people. Our Eastern Cuba kayaking tours include two to four hours of kayaking each day, with plenty of time to discover cobblestoned towns and scenic hiking trails throughout the trip.
Over eight days, you’ll kayak the idyllic coastlines of Holguin and Gibara, marvel at Cuba’s largest waterfall, and discover the journey that inspired Buena Vista Social Club’s iconic song “Chan Chan”. This responsibly run Support for the Cuban People tour collaborates closely with locals and small businesses to ensure it brings economic benefits to the region.
- Unspoiled and remote Caribbean coastlines
- Discover little-visited Cuban towns
- Hike to Cuba’s largest waterfall
- Follow in the footsteps of “Chan Chan”
Famed for its spectacular scenery and more than 15,000 miles of coastline, British Columbia is one of the world’s best destinations to explore by kayak. Canada’s westernmost province is a paddler’s wonderland, with huge tracts of wilderness that can only be accessed by the most adventurous travelers.
A kayaking trip in British Columbia could mean paddling alongside some of the 200+ orcas that congregate in Johnstone Strait each summer, lured by the abundance of salmon found in the sheltered waters. Humpback whales, otters, and a multitude of seabirds are also spotted along the strait’s forested shores, making it a playground for wildlife lovers.
Discover the rich Haida culture in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve (whose remote isles are often referred to as the “Canadian Galapagos”) or the striking beauty of Broughton Archipelago Marine Provincial Park. Located just off the coast of Vancouver Island and backed by old-growth forests, this magnificent marine park provides a habitat for Steller sea lions, porpoises, and humpback whales.
- Discover fascinating indigenous cultures
- Paddle alongside old-growth forests in remote wilderness areas
- Spot orcas, humpback whales, and Steller sea lions
- Venture to the wildlife-rich “Canadian Galapagos”
While kayaking might not be the first activity that comes to mind when visiting Turkey, its abundance of hidden coves and blissful beaches make it ideal for a paddling holiday. It’s an opportunity to discover a different side of this East-meets-West nation, without missing out on its archaeological wonders or legendary hospitality.
On a kayaking tour of the Carian Coast, you’ll explore sunny shores that were once home to the former epicenter of Hellenistic Greece, Halicarnassus. Spend your days paddling through the warm Mediterranean waters surrounding the Bozburun and Datca peninsulas, backed by rocky outcrops and charming villages where you’ll spend the night.
A paddling trip in Turkey is perfect for those who love active exploration and ancient history as you follow in the footsteps of Herodotus and Eudoxus. All of our Turkey trips are accompanied by exceptional cuisine, resulting from a fusion of tastes and influences cultivated during the Ottoman Empire.
- An intoxicating mix of history and adventure
- Paddle through hidden coves and along stunning coastlines
- Feast on delicious Ottoman cuisine
- Experience the legendary Turkish hospitality
If there’s one global destination that wildlife lovers shouldn’t miss, it has to be the Galapagos Islands. Long isolated from the rest of the world, this volcanic archipelago off the coast of Ecuador is home to a fascinating array of endemic species that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
While small-scale cruise ships are the most popular way to explore the Galapagos Islands, a kayaking trip offers a far more intimate experience. Sea Kayak Adventures is the only company that offers overnight camping on the archipelago’s beaches, allowing you to enjoy unique interactions with the coastline wildlife.
For something a little different, we also offer a multisports adventure, which offers a combination of beachside camping and stays in small, locally run lodges. Aside from kayaking, you’ll embark on snorkeling excursions and guided walks to discover the Galapagos Islands from all angles. Scale active volcanoes, come face-to-face with playful sea lions, and snorkel alongside sea turtles during what is a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
- Discover one of the world’s most famous wildlife destinations
- Overnight on remote and uninhabited beaches
- Experience the Galapagos from a different angle
- Come face-to-face with wildlife while kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking
Pacific Side of Baja California Sur
It’s no secret that sea kayaking is an incredible way to explore Baja California Sur, with most trips focused on the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) side. For a truly unique experience, consider heading to the Pacific coastline to kayak alongside gray whales in Magdalena Bay.
Protected from the open ocean by the barrier islands of Isla Magdalena and Isla Santa Margarita, this secluded bay provides an important birthing lagoon for gray whales. Here, we have an incredible whale-watching camp, from where adventurous travelers can get up close to these majestic creatures.
Unlike the Sea of Cortez, which is prone to sometimes challenging winds, Magdalena Bay offers a more tranquil paddling experience. By day, you’ll glide alongside magnificent mangrove forests that are teeming with life, from juvenile fish to nesting seabirds. At night, we’ll camp amidst the undulating dunes, accompanied by unbelievable starry night skies. Our Magdalena Bay trips run from late January to early March, following the arrival of gray whales on their Arctic migration.
- Paddle alongside gray whale mothers and calves
- Experience the tranquil beauty of Magdalena Bay
- Overnight in blissful beach camps
- Explore wildlife-rich mangrove forests
Paddle into “slow travel” in 2024
Simply put, kayaking is a wonderful way to discover the world and epitomizes the rise of the “slow travel” movement. It’s an opportunity to explore at a more leisurely pace and really immerse yourself in the landscapes and cultures you are paddling through.
If 2024 is the year to try something new or journey to a different corner of the globe, then consider adding an unforgettable sea kayaking trip to your vacation plans.