As an avid traveler and lover of the great outdoors, I’ve spent time camping in countries across the world. My camping trips abroad have been some of my richest wilderness experiences, leaving me with indelible memories that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Of course, they’ve also been some of my most challenging trips as well, combining foreign languages, unfamiliar territory and exotic climates together in a way that’s put my camping skills and patience to the test.
Regardless, there’s not one that I regret. If you’re interested in camping abroad, below you’ll find a list of my favorite camping spots outside of the U.S.
Maya Beach, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
Just a ferry ride away from Phuket in southern Thailand, Koh Phi Phi is the jumping-off point for excursions to Maya Beach, the gorgeous uninhabited island featured in the 2000 Leonardo Dicaprio movie “The Beach.” For about $50, you can partake in a group overnight camping trip to this exotic location, which involves snorkeling, a beach-side camp-out/cookout, and Thai guides that serenade you with covers of American rock ballads on the acoustic guitar.Once the sun sets, campers can treat themselves to a dip in the cove, where glowing plankton circulate. The night ends by sleeping on the beach under the stars. Though sleeping mats are provided, it’s not the most comfy bedding, so be prepared to rough it a bit.
Penang National Park, Penang Malaysia
At about 10 square miles, Penang National Park is the smallest national park in the world, but don’t let its diminutive size fool you. This gem is flush with gorgeous trails that weave down the coastline adjacent to the water. At numerous intervals, there are open beaches, where one can stop for a swim or to just gaze out at the fishing skiffs and the skyline of downtown Penang in the distance.
Teluk Bahang Beach–about a half hour from the entrance– has a mellow little campground that’s perfect for spending a night, but the real prize is Monkey Beach, a pristine beach located on the park’s western coast that is home to the Macaque as well as a number of green turtles.
Playa Maderas, San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua
This mellow beach half-an-hour outside of San Juan Del Sur is a killer spot to pitch a tent. The beach is popular with surfers as it has a good mix of beginner and advanced swells. Tiny hostels and backpacker bars occasionally dot the area, but there are large areas of untouched coastline where one can shack up. If you get tired of sleeping on the sand, consider renting a hammock at one of the many budget hotels around.
Tofino, Vancouver Island
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino is known worldwide for its gorgeous old-growth forests, whale watching and surfing (though the water is pretty cold). It also has some stunning camping options as well. If you’re in the area, check out Pacific Rim National Park, which features a number of picturesque camping spots sandwiched between the rainforest and the beach.
Earth Lodge, Antigua, Guatemala
I visited this awesome Eco-lodge in the hills above Antigua on a backpacking trip through Central America. A perfect place to mellow out, this property features captivating views of the nearby volcanoes, great hiking trails, good food and a sweat lodge. In addition to a variety of accommodations, you’re free to pitch your tent on the grounds for somewhere around five bucks depending on the exchange rate.