27 Best Water Sports Around the World

Earlier this spring, we asked our readers to name their favorite water sports. What should the next position on our to-do list be? We were torn between kitesurfing or kayaking, so we needed some help. Ultimately, we decided to go kayaking and embarked on a 10-day sea kayaking trip in Croatia.

As we always look forward to our next adventure on the water, we came up with a list of our favorite water sports from all over the globe.

Water Sports Around the World

These thrilling adventures will allow you to visit breathtaking places around the world and add excitement to your next travels.

1. Kayaking in Antarctica

Although we have made many kayaking trips, nothing compares to Antarctica. One of our most memorable experiences during this adventure was kayaking through brash ice and seeing leopard seals, humpback whales, and gentoo penguins.

If you are careful and paddle silently through this last frontier of earth, you can even get close enough to touch the animals that live there. You will feel like you are in heaven as you paddle through fields of giant glaciers and icebergs while admiring the stunning coastline.

2. Whitewater Rafting Class 5 Rapids in New Zealand

Many water sports are available in New Zealand, the world’s adventure capital. But nothing can quite compare to whitewater rafting on New Zealand’s class 5 rapids. It is a great way to boost your adrenaline levels while spending time on the water.

Although expert guides can help you navigate the dangerous waves, you still need to do your homework. To make it to the end, you must focus and paddle hard. You must also be ready to listen to your guide and brace yourself when you hear “get down!”. One wrong move could land you in the freezing glacial waters. Amazing water sport!

3. Swimming With Whale Sharks in Mexico

This is one of the most amazing experiences you will ever have. You can swim with whale sharks and get up close to the world’s largest fish!

Man Swimming with Shark

These graceful giants can reach forty feet in length and are very fast. Swimming alongside them can be exhausting, but it is worth the effort. It allows you to watch their fins cut effortlessly through turquoise waters, which is a spectacular sight to witness.

4. Swimming With Horses in Jamaica

This is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing things we have ever done. And we would gladly do it again!

Jamaica is known for its swimming-loving horses. You don’t have to worry that your horse won’t like to swim — it isn’t being forced to do it. In fact, it probably loves it! Jamaican horses enjoy cooling off in the water, so it is an excellent opportunity to get on them and go for a swim.

5. Kite Surfing in Maui

Kite surfing is one of the most exciting water sports and an excellent way to add excitement to your travels. It was great fun to learn how to kite surf in Maui. Kite surfing is a great sport that you can participate in all over the globe. If you can master it, you will be able to kite surf anywhere you go during your travels!

6. Self-Drive Zodiac Adventure in Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska, is a fantastic place for a trip where you can spot humpback whales. It also has a large population of bald eagles. There is no better way to experience these amazing creatures than by piloting your own zodiac.

You can zip through the bay in your driver’s seat and follow your Alaskan guide along the rugged coastline. Here, you will see salmon farms and totem poles. And you’ll experience the life of a true pioneer by stopping for an outdoor cookout to roast marshmallows over an open flame.

7. Canyoning in Jordan

Imagine rappelling down a waterfall 30 meters high and then sliding down massive boulders in the middle of a swift river. Now, this is a water sport! This is what canyoning in Jordan is all about.

You can take a break from the Dead Sea by heading over to Wadi Mujib, where you can hike through a breathtaking canyon system. You can walk along the river there, climbing over rocks and floating in the current. This trek might get you wet, so remember to bring a waterproof camera!

8. Kayaking With Beluga Whales in Canada

Most people visit Churchill, Manitoba, to look at polar bears and other wildlife. However, there are also other fantastic water adventures to be had in this region.

You can take a kayak out to the harbor and see some of the thousands of adorable beluga whales that migrate through the area. They are curious and playful and will stop by your boat to say hello. It makes for an unforgettable experience.

9. Whitewater Kayaking in Canada

Whitewater kayaking is one of the most exciting water sports you can do. After you learn the ins and outs of this sport and complete your first adventure, you can proudly say: “Yes, we have run rapids in kayaks and are proficient at the roll!”

Photo of Man Paddling Kayak in Raging River

Canada’s Madawaska River is a great place to learn. It is also where our Canadian kayak team trains. We have conquered this course with great pleasure and highly recommend it if you have the time.

10. Helmet Walk in Australia

Scuba diving is a fantastic water sport, but the most fun and unique way to do it is to wear a helmet and walk through the Great Barrier Reef.

Relax — no corral was hurt during our helmet walk. We kept to sand and stayed in the cage while having fun under the water.

11. Great White Shark Cage Diving in South Africa

Cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa was one of the most amazing underwater adventures we enjoyed. The sighting of the world’s most frightening predator is a great way to spread awareness about the importance of protecting these magnificent creatures. It was an unforgettable experience to watch them swim by the cage.

12. Cage Diving with Great Whites in South Australia

Another cage diving adventure of ours took place in South Australia. It was quite a unique experience. While people chum the water in South Africa with fish guts to attract sharks, they use entirely different methods in Australia. There, sharks are attracted by sound. While we waited for the sharks, we played air guitar and blasted loud music from the boat — it was fun.

13. America’s Cup Yachting in New Zealand

Have you ever wanted to sail a multi-million dollar yacht? It’s romantic! You can now book a tour aboard a genuine America’s Cup yacht that actually won the first prize in America’s Cup event in New Zealand. While on board, it’s possible to experience every aspect of this magnificent vessel, including doing some hard work on the deck.

14. Surfing in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is the best place to learn how to surf. Even if you are scared of huge waves, surfing in calm waters near the coast is worth trying out.

Man Surfing on Waves

Surfing in Sri Lanka is a favorite activity of ours, with perfect conditions for beginners as well as high enough waves for rodeo competitors. Local guides will show you the ropes and help you succeed in your first surfing adventure. Before you notice, you will spend hours on the Hikkaduwa beaches!

During our trip, we were able to catch some actual waves, unlike other places where all we did was try to keep balance on the board. With a gentle break and sandy beach, we only had a few bruises and cuts throughout the learning process.

15. Outrigger Canoeing in Hawaii

Outrigger canoeing in Hawaii is similar to your everyday canoeing experience but with an added twist. At the place, you’ll be able to sink your teeth into the local culture and eat tasty dishes in restaurants and bars. You will also learn how ancient Polynesians navigated through the stars and how to paddle a unique ocean canoe. It is one of the most unusual water sports you can try in the United States.

16. Taking the Polar Plunge

Jumping into freezing water, whether it’s in Antarctica or the Arctic, is the ultimate way to earn bragging rights. We know it’s true because we have taken the polar plunge at both ends of the globe. It is hard to one-up someone who has bravely jumped into sub-zero waters. Note that salt water freezes at -2 degrees Celsius.

17. Canoe Safari in Canada

Although there are many canoe routes in Canada, our favorite place to portage is Algonquin Park, Ontario. However, don’t think it’s because the path is a piece of cake. Navigating the Canadian Wilderness can be difficult, and you will almost always encounter a moose.

You can make your trip as long as you want. With 1200km of streams and rivers connected to 2400 lakes, it’s an excellent adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. You can find campsites scattered across its 7653 square km, where you can get away from everything while enjoying its natural beauty.

The stunning landscape of Algonquin Park is so beautiful that the Group of Seven, an association of famous artists, dedicated their lives to painting it.

18. Parasailing in Key West

Parasailing is the ultimate couch potato-friendly water sport. You just need to strap on a parachute and let the captain take you out to sea. Doing it in Key West has extra appeal, as you can experience its fantastic views.

People Parasailing on the Beach

Parasailing can be a lot more fun than you think. If you have never done it before, try it! Seeing the beach from the air will amaze you.

19. Exploring Mexico’s Underground Rivers

Swimming in an underground cave in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is unbeatable. Cenotes (the name of the caves) are unique underwater systems that are constantly being discovered.

You can do many things with cenotes — dive into them, snorkel in them or rappel and even cliff dive into them. When traveling to Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, you cannot miss exploring these caves!

20. Cliff Jumping in New Zealand

Whitewater rafting trips are an excellent occasion to try cliff jumping. You’re required to wear your life jacket so that you can jump safely. It’s incredible, and landing in the freezing glacier water will, quite literally, take your breath away.

21. Swimming with Dolphins in Australia

After cage diving with great white sharks in South Australia, we went to the ocean the next day to swim alongside dolphins. It was somewhat unsettling to realize that we were in water where great white sharks were found. Even our guide strapped a shark-repellent device to his ankle. But, as it turns out, sharks don’t like to be around dolphins. It was our best dolphin encounter to date!

22. Snorkeling in the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands, known for being one of the best places to spot underwater wildlife, is a well-known tourist destination. Its marine life is abundant and healthy thanks to a diverse ecosystem. And, because there is plenty of food, you don’t need to be concerned about swimming with the Galapagos Shark. They won’t even pay attention you are there!

Diver Swimming Underwater

Scuba diving with wildlife in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands is unlike anything else. You will be able to swim with sharks, play with sea lions, and see marine iguanas feeding. The sea lions love to have someone to play with, and turtles glide along without even realizing you’re there.

23. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding in Costa Rica

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is an excellent thing to do in your free time. We had the ultimate pleasure of paddling in the turquoise waters of Costa Rica. It was the ideal spot to explore the landscape as we traversed the calm waters of these isolated islands.

24. Jet Boating in Iguazu Falls

Jet boating is a thrilling activity, regardless of where you do it. But it’s even more exciting to get in a boat and go under the world’s largest waterfalls. The most adrenaline-pumping jet boat adventure we’ve ever experienced is at Iguazu Falls, Brazil. Go there, try jet boating in these gorgeous waters, and you will not regret it!

25. Niagara Jet Boat Tour

The Niagara Jet Boat Tour comes in a close second. It takes you to the Niagara River’s unnavigable Class 6 Rapids, which are located just below Niagara Falls. Believe us when we say it will make your heart beat like it’s about to jump out of your chest. It is terrifying to imagine that if the motors fail, you will be swept under the surface with almost zero chance of outside help.

26. Exploring the Hongs of Thailand

You can even better appreciate the stunning karst formations in Southern Thailand if you travel in a small sea kayak. And, if you are agile enough, you can even enter one of the caves to reach the heart of the Andaman Sea island by paddling through a narrow tunnel.

From where you emerge in the darkness, you’ll be able to see the beautiful lagoon. It is surrounded by lush jungles and high cliffs, which makes it all the more impressive. It would be best to paddle at night to see the phosphorescence algae glow with every stroke.

27. Felucca on Egypt’s Nile

The mystical Nile River is a place full of legends. Nothing feels more timeless than hiring a Felucca to traverse this historic passage.

You’ll have the opportunity to steer the boat as you travel by ancient marvels. Yes, it is possible — if you rent your private Felucca Tour in Aswan! Still, you should be aware that if the wind dies down, you will be helping the captain return the boat to the dock by rowing.

These are some of our favorite water activities and adventures all over the globe.

What other water sports should we try next?

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