Six of the Best Climbing Destinations on Earth for Climbing Lovers

Best Climbing Destinations on Earth – A World to Travel

There is a wide variety of climbing destinations and vacations to choose from all over the world and during virtually every season of the year. From bouldering right next to the ocean in the British Virgin Islands to climbing high above the forests of New Zealand, you are bound to have an adventure you will never forget. Keep reading to uncover some of the best climbing destinations on earth.

Whenever we have time off of work to travel, we are always looking for a new place to take a vacation where we can also find great climbing. Over the years we have visited some really amazing places and so it is really hard to narrow the list down to just six, but if you are looking to take a unique climbing vacation you won’t be disappointed visiting any of the suggestions listed below.


Virgin Gorda Island, BVI

Best Time to Climb: November – January

Type of Climbing: Bouldering

Tucked away in the Caribbean, lies an island called Virgin Gorda where you will find crystal clear blue waters, a slow island-life tempo, and amazing bouldering. Climbing at Virgin Gorda Island in the BVI is unlike any other climbing destination you will ever visit.

The island is littered with beautiful, big, granite boulders and you’ll find yourself adapting to island life fairly easily as you spend time exploring the climbing. At many of the places you can stay on the island, you can even find climbing right outside of your doorstep.

Most of the climbing is easy to get to and doesn’t require a lot of planning or preparation. And since you won’t spend your time traveling to the boulders each day, you can fully embrace the island lifestyle by sleeping in, taking a dip in the ocean, snorkeling with all the beautiful tropical fish that flourish in the waters, and climbing right along the beach at your own leisure.

This is the perfect place to take a true vacation but also push yourself climbing on some amazing, granite boulders.

Just be sure to pack extra sunscreen because you’ll want to spend almost all of your time here outside in the sun.  

Pro Tip: Stay in one of Guavaberry Spring Bay’s adorable bungalows where you can find boulders to climb right outside where you’re staying and the beach is only a few minutes walking distances away.

They also provide crash pads for rent for the rock climbers who stay there and have a little market on site you can buy groceries and alcohol at. Also, avoid climbing during the hottest times of the day and keep an eye out on the rain forecast.


New Zealand

Best Time to Climb: November – February

Type of Climbing: All types (sport, trad, bouldering)

You can’t go wrong planning a climbing vacation in New Zealand. If you are cruising around the North Island sampling the epic sport climbing available, or bouldering on the unique limestone boulders of Castle Hill and Flock Hill you will have a fantastic time.

Traveling in New Zealand, in general, is like traveling in a foreign exotic land. Every location is unique and stunning in its own right, and the climbing, in particular, takes you to some beautiful locations throughout New Zealand.

The bouldering at Castle Hill is world class and lends itself to a very technical style of bouldering testing one’s skills at mantling and climbing on slopey routes. In the North Island, you can find yourself climbing in lesser traveled locations, sometimes having long approach hikes through the beautiful terrain of New Zealand to get to the climbing areas, such as the climbing in Kawakawa Bay near Lake Taupo.  

So whether you’re 90 ft above Lake Taupo right where the lake meets the rock or bouldering in Castle Hill an area that could easily be the set of one the scenes from Lord of the Rings, you will be transported to a different world when you climb in New Zealand and it’s an adventure you will always remember.

Pro Tip: Travel, climb, and explore the island in November to experience great temperatures, fewer crowds, and cheaper prices. Plan ahead and rent a camper van to travel the island from North to South to experience the island in an even more unique and personal way. Also, make sure to get some fish and chips and plan a day to explore the amazing glow worm caves in New Zealand!


Bishop, California, USA

Best Time to Climb: November – February

Type of Climbing: Bouldering

Bishop, California is one of the best bouldering areas in the United States and could easily be considered a world-class climbing destination.

With over 2000 bouldering problems in the Bishop area, one could spend a lifetime climbing here and never climb all that it has to offer. People come to climb here from all over the world to test their skills on the sharp, but beautiful granite and volcanic rock.

The approach hike to the climbing can either be short, if you stick to popular areas such as “The Happys”, “The Sads” and “The Buttermilk” areas, or you can take a longer approach hike out to some more secluded areas such as “The Druids” or “The Pollen Grains”.

The town of Bishop is small, but it is a friendly area that accommodates adventurous minded people such as climbers, mountaineers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. You will enjoy your time here if you are excited to focus on some challenging climbing and are happy to spend your time with the beautiful snowcapped peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains as your daily backdrop.

Pro Tip: The winter months are the best months to climb here, but with the colder temperatures be sure to bring plenty of layers and possibly a thermos of hot tea or coffee to stay warm in between climbs. The rock here is also pretty sharp, so be prepared to take some rest days to grow back skin and rest your fingers. Spend your rest days exploring the Sierra Nevada’s and possibly take a dip in one of the area’s natural hot springs or make your way up to Mammoth Lakes, California for some ski town fun.


The Rocklands, South Africa

Best Time to Climb: May-August

Type of Climbing: Bouldering

The Rocklands in South Africa should be high on any serious boulderer’s list of places to climb.

The area is still in its infancy of being developed, but there are already over hundreds of amazing problems developed and the area just continues to grow more and more each year. Pros from all over the world travel here to put up new climbing routes and develop the area into an even more magical climbing destination.

The bouldering here is a very playful style of bouldering. You will find yourself on many fun roof styled problems and climbing with lots of dynamic movement. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself climbing in close proximity to local African wildlife like baboons and Springbok. In contrast with the high energy that can be associated with Cape Town, you will experience a much slower and friendlier pace in the Rocklands.

The Rocklands is about three hours North of Cape Town in a region called Cederberg near a small town called Clanwilliam. There are lodging locations closer to the climbing, but the closest area to get groceries is in Clanwilliam.

When you come to boulder in South Africa you will find that your downtime from the climbing will be spent mostly with other climbers, taking it easy, cooking dinner with new friends, and planning your next day’s climbing goals.

Pro Tip: Fly to Cape Town with British Airways, where they allow you to have “oversized” baggage for free as your checked bag option, this will allow you to pack your crash pad for no extra expensive fees.

Also, plan on taking an evening to drive to a restaurant on the coast called Muisbosskerm for the most epic feast of coastal cuisine you will ever experience and a fantastic way to celebrate all the awesome climbing you will be doing.



Best Time to Climb: November – January

Type of Climbing: Sport Climbing

Planning a climbing vacation in Thailand is a great way to experience some great coastal sport climbing while also traveling on a budget. The vibes in Thailand are laid back, the people are extremely friendly, and the climbing routes are very unique.

While climbing along the coast in popular areas such as Ton Sai and Railay you’ll find yourself stemming between unique rock features and hanging onto beautiful limestone tufas.

Even if you end up traveling here for a solo climbing trip, it will be easy to find someone to climb with as it is a very popular climbing destination.

For a fun and different climbing experience, find a guide who can take you out by boat to do some deep water solo climbing over the ocean. With no ropes needed you’ll feel freer than ever, climbing up the limestone faces above the ocean and dropping into the water when you’re tired or have climbed too high. Also, consider traveling to lesser-known climbing spots such as Ko Lao Liang for fewer crowds and a more intimate island-style experience.

Pro Tip: You can’t go wrong with the food in Thailand, even the cheapest joints can have some amazing fare. Also, treat yourself to the occasional Thai massage as well to work out the kinks in your muscles from the time spent climbing at the crag.


Hueco Tanks, Texas, USA

Best Time to Climb: November – March

Type of Climbing: Bouldering

Last but certainly not least is another world-class bouldering destination in the United States, Hueco Tanks, which is often referred to as the birthplace of modern bouldering. The climbing at Hueco Tanks State Park is so good that even though it is far away from any major travel destinations and is located in middle-of-nowhere Texas, you won’t regret planning a visit here.

Boulderers of all skill levels travel here to test their skills on Hueco Tanks classic climbs and challenge themselves on some of it’s well know roof-styled bouldering problems.

When planning a trip to visit Hueco Tanks, make sure to do a bit of pre-planning beforehand because reservations and guides are required in order to climb in the different areas because of their historic significance in Texas’s Native American culture.

One of the upsides to having a permit system in place here though is that it helps keep the crowds down, unlike areas like Bishop, California which can become very congested on busy winter weekends. Come to Hueco Tanks to test your strength and climb hard, but be sure to stick around at the end of the day to watch the beautiful Texas sunsets.

Pro Tip: El Paso is only about 30 minutes from Hueco Tanks and is a fairly big Texas city. You will find plenty to do and explore on your rest days here and it has a lot of good food options. For an extra adventure, drive a little further out to White Sands National Monument to explore some of New Mexico’s beautiful white sand dunes.