5 Places to Run Wild with Nature

Japan is a land of great natural beauty and there are plenty of remote walking trails to get you amongst it all. The Kunisaki Trek is one of the best: you can follow in the footsteps of Monks who have wandered the mountains of the Kunisaki Peninsula for more than 1,000 years.

The peninsula is deeply spiritual and is largely unknown, even to most Japanese, Walk Japan's guided tour, called the Kunisaki Trek, follows these ancient trails for ten days. Starting in Fukuoka and finishing in Yufuin, the trail winds through little-visited hamlets and thick forests, along craggy ridges and over cliffs with walkers bedding down at night in simple Japanese inns and even a temple.

Stone Buddha statues line the way, as do caves which the monks used as shelter. Narrow ridges and bridges mean heady thrills but you'll need a reasonable head for heights to get the most out of this adventure. 

Get high in Costa Rica

Alta Garcia is a new boutique bolthole hidden away in the mountainous of Perez Zeledon, in the southern region of Costa Rica, an area hotly tipped to be the next cool destination. Here, it's all about horse riding through rainforests, zip-lining, trekking and rafting the Savegre River.

This particular property has upped the luxury stakes in Costa Rica so when you return after a day's exploring you can expect huge terraces to relax on overlooking the mountains, farm-to-table restaurants and an enormous spa.

Two wheels to see Lemurs - Madagascar

Madagascar - and specifically its forests - is home to a staggering mix of wild life. Look up in the Perinet and Berenty reserves and you'll see ring-tailed lemurs and hear the calls of the howling Indri primates. This lush island - the world's fourth largest - is crawling with colourful chameleons, praying mantis and frogs hidden among orchids and bushes.

In Ranomafana national park, in the south-east, you can find the golden bamboo lemur, the greater bamboo lemur, the black-and-white ruffed lemur and more than 120 species of frogs. 

Incredibly, about 80 per cent of Madagascar's flora and fauna is endemic. exodus has a new, thrilling eight-day cycle tour exploring Madagascar's island life and pristine wilderness. Taking in the jungle by travelling along quiet roads through highland plains and past natural swimming pools, the team will also explore local culture as well as the white sand beach of Ifaty on the Mozambique Channel.

Go wild in Brazil

The spotlight has shone on Rio and all its sporting glory this year but Brazil's wildlife and natural wonders are also a marvel. next year Cox and Kings is offering a new 11-day group tour to Brazil called wildlife and waterfalls focusing on the country's diverse natural wonders.

Vessela Baleva, Latin American product manager at Cox & Kings, says: 'This trip spends three nights exploring the wildlife-rich Pantanal, home to more than 650 bird species and one of the best places in South America to spot the elusive jaguar. Sightings are best between July and October, which are the driest months and the birds breeding season.'

Other highlights will be the thundering waters of Iguazu Falls and Rio itself for a dash of buzzy, urban Brazilian life.

Jungle fever - Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is one of the least visited countries in the world, making it irresistible for those looking for virgin rainforests and true adventure. Few can place this African nation on the map (it's on the west coast of Africa between Gabon and Cameroon) yet it boasts gorgeous white sand beaches and a huge diversity of plant and animal life.

Today, the country is growing rapidly with better roads and hotels, and a handful of intrepid tour companies are offering adventures. Undiscovered Destinations was the first UK tour operator to send travellers to the country and their ten-day Equatorial Guinea - Encompassed tour is the one to book. Highlights of the tour include watching sea turtles and Monte Allen National Park, one of Africa's least visited national parks and a true jungle experience.