The amount of trekking, walking and exploring within any adventure holiday can vary significantly. Some holidays may include no more walking than brief bits of sightseeing on foot around towns and villages, like a Moroccan urban-desert crawl. Whether you prefer the lunar landscapes of Djibouti, sculpted volcanic mountains of Rwanda, wind-swept lakes of Ireland or the vast plains of the Mongolian steppe, action is the name of the game for the lion-hearted traveler. The best holiday adventures might include mountain trekking, underwater sightseeing, mushroom foraging or rock climbing into hidden Peruvian valleys. One way or the other, the controlled chaos of guided thrill-seeking makes for great memories and adventures of a lifetime. Regardless of your chosen pathway to fun and dynamic frolic, the following 12 destinations are sure to excite your sense of adventure and fill your memories with sights and sounds and your body with echoes and tremors of the most electrifying experiences you might ever have:
1. Spanish Pyrenees
A delightful, lively and adventurous vacation to the Spanish Pyrenees includes trekking your choice of over 200 miles from the Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay) to the Mediterranean Sea. Filled with white water rafting and canyon surfing down mountain rapids, your heart will be filled with exhilaration and renewal. Or take rock climbing lessons and safely rappel down cliffs surrounded by stunning scenery. For rest and rejuvenation, try a few nights at a restored farmhouse in the delightful medieval village of Berdun in the soul-center of the Pyrenees.
2. Bali, Indonesia
Bali offers all the mountain highs and breathtaking beaches to make you want to stay. Take a guided hiking tour of the paradise island of Bali with its spectacular volcanic mountain ranges, then relax and enjoy traditional Balinese culture, food and music. Spend some time on the renowned Bali coast with its sun-drenched beaches and visit the renowned Tanah Lot Temple for a sense of timeless seaside spirituality. Exotic adventures to Bali are designed to deliver you and your partner the best of both worlds, from rarefied elevations and cliffs to the sea, sand and sun Indonesia is famous for.
3. Jungle Journeying in Costa Rica
This action packed holiday invites you to investigate delightful Costa Rica with a balanced variety of adventurous days on the water, miles of rainforest trail and pictures in the sky. Enjoy white-water rafting down the river through deep gorges in the heart of the jungle. River trekkers are rewarded with an array of monkey and scarlet macaw activity along the shoreline canopy. The famous Pan-American Freeway escorts you into a central volcanic elevation where guided horseback tours navigate visitors through Costa Rica’s picturesque tropical forests. You climb to a height of 70 meters and dip into fresh natural fountains at La Fortuna waterfall. Photo-brilliant coastlines, colorful jungles rich with abundant wildlife, diverse vegetation, warm conversational locals and hip-grinding Caribe rhythms will bless you with an array of adventures, sights, sounds and smells that only mountainous Caribbean treks can provide.
4. Moroccan 2 Wheeled Trekking
Through tradition a Moroccan bike tour is a great vacation for the adventurous, combining cycling and hiking across the Atlas Mountains and into the Djebel Sahro. Increasing popularity of Moroccan tours is expanding cost-friendly flights to Marrakech, making it an irresistible adrenaline getaway. Trekking through the moon-like landscape and ancient pillars of Bab n’Ali will be eye-opening. Or take a day adventure outing to the Draa Valley or check out the Kasbahs at Ait Ben Haddou and Telouet. Try extending your curiosity and head off to the coast. Here you will find a joyful coastal fishing town at Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast. Stay a day or two at the beach, explore Medina or the watch the fishing boats coming and going in the harbor.
5. Magical Peru
A 360 degree head spinning adventure through Peru gives you legendary biking, unforgettable foot tours, and a taste of the ancient, the mystical and the mesmerizing scenery around the Sacred valley of Peru’s highlands. Packages can include a rafting adventure on the Urubamba River, a picturesque descent on mountain bike in the Sacred Valley and a hike along the infamous Inca Trail on your way to the indelible ruins of Machu Picchu. No doubt about it, this action packed Peruvian adventure is possibly the hottest Andean trip you will ever experience.
6. South Africa, Ancient Rugged Beauty
South Africa is one of the oldest and richest-with-life destinations on the planet. To make sure you see it all, choose an ambitious hiking tour adventure to make sure you experience as much of the variety as this ancient land has to offer. Not for the weak hearted or the tender-footed, this epic walking adventure provides among the best photo opportunities of any in the world. It is the only tour where you are guaranteed to see the ‘big 5’. Drakensberg Park is where you will be close up with the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino, and capture photos of the most majestic creatures on earth. A visit to the land of the Zulu with its rich cultural heritage, and Kruger National Park will ‘take you there’. Then wrap up this adventure of a lifetime while giving your feet a rest with a bus tour of one of the most brilliant and stunning cities in the world, Cape Town.
7. Active Vietnam
How can you describe Vietnam if not, colorful, bustling, refreshing, exquisite, charming, delicious…all bursting with vitality and optimism. Vietnam has become a major tourist destination since the 1990s because it is never, ever, dull and packs a high octane punch of adventure for those that like a full-contact getaway. Some of the options you have at your fingertips here are meeting the hill tribes of the north, Kayak trips in Ha Long Bay, cooking classes in Ho Chi Minh City, cycling the coastline to Hoi An or adventure boating along the Mekong Delta. Viet Nam will provide picturesque foot trails, villages and some of the richest culture anywhere. This trip is all about de-mystifying Vietnam and discovering the friendliest, most resourceful people with what many say is the best cuisine and vivifying culture in the world today.
8. Sri Lankan Treasures
Color-rich Sri Lanka is a treasure showcased against the backdrop of the legendary Indian Ocean. A diverse and multicultural country, Sri Lanka is home to many religions, ethnic groups, and languages with an incredible variety of landscapes and culture to rival many places on Earth. This is guaranteed to be a storied adventure holiday exploring age-tested spectaculars and hidden treasures. Due to its small size, it is easy to cover a lot of territory here in a relaxed manner. The Sigiriya rock fortress is a must-see. Visit Sri Lanka’s world-renowned green tea plantations, then take a trek through lush jungle and onto the hustling city of Kandy. Visit the golden-roofed temple of the tooth and Sri Lanka’s serene National Park system. With the right package and guides, you can also enjoy a wide range of relaxing and physical activities from cycling and motorbike touring, to white-water rafting and city hiking in Galle. This scenic and venerable fort town has red brick streets and many sophisticated galleries and cafes to rest your travel-weary feet.
9. Transylvania, Romania
Everyone wants to see the famous castle of Dracula but there’s so much more to take in here than the digs of Bram Stoker’s beast. There is the beautiful Peles Palace at Sinaia in the Carpathian mountains. This mountain range was home to Ármin Vámbéry who was a Hungarian writer and traveler, and whose dark stories are certainly among the likely inspirations for Stoker’s Dracula. Then take a cable car ride up the mighty Bucegi Mountains, and explore Sphinx Rock and its stunning mountain views. Forest zip-lining through the Adventure Park or a walking tour to the medieval walled city of bohemian Brasov will edify your Transylvania adventure. You might be tired when you complete this tour but the memories of elevated forests, mountains and river valleys of wild Transylvania are guaranteed to provide both the means and the rewarding ends to a once-in-a-lifetime draculian adventure.
10. Kyrgyzstan Journey of the Celestial Mountains
The incredible landscapes of central Asia cannot be described in words. They must be experienced and one of the best ways to live it is to journey through the Tien Shan, the “Celestial Mountains”, of Kyrgyzstan. Tour the spectacular peaks of the Tien Shan, try a few star-gazing nights and panoramic days in a Yurt village and dance with friendly Kyrgyz nomads. On this ancient Silk Road stopover, study the Golden Eagle hunters or take traditional watercraft across Incredible Issyk Kul lake and trek your way along trains of traditional Silk Road caravans. Kyrgyzstan has some of the most breathtaking alpine scenery in the world. The forested valleys of the Ala Archa National Park, with surrounding mountains reaching up to nearly 5,000 meters, are the home of the legendary Snow Leopard. But the most amazing memories you might ever have could be the jaw-dropping Tien Shan Mountains, truly one of the most striking and wondrous destinations you will ever know. Finish with a visit to the ‘Stone Garden’, with its ancient petroglyphs, dating back to the 7th century A.D.
11. South American Trinity (Bolivia, Chile, Argentina)
If you plan it right and select a worthy tour company, you can treat yourself to an a couple of weeks of breathtaking and hard-trekking journeys through Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. A rare visit to Argentina’s wild Quebrada del Toro – part of the ancient and all-but-forgotten 15th century Incan Empire – will leave you amazed. Then move through Bolivia’s pink salt flats before venturing into the arid Atacama Desert in Chile. For the true trail-blazer, you will love this trip more than others. This adventurous travel triumvirate is an adventure vacation that almost none of your friends will have even heard of. The warmth and hospitality of the local people will color your trip with conversation and stories that warm the heart. The historic trails of the Kollas and Incas will conjure up mysteries and knowledge of times past. Your heart rate will slow down nicely to the pace of locals in Quebrada, where you will visit tiny villages dating back to pre-Hispanic times. Then head for the lagoons of Altiplano where you will enjoy a leisurely time looking for flamingo and vicuna, amongst other Andean wildlife. And one fine morning you will wake up from a dreamy mountain sleep to realize you have been living, breathing and trekking your heart’s dream, but wide awake and in vibrant color for the past two weeks. And your adventurous friends will be jealous of you forever… or at least until they are lucky and intrepid enough to venture to the Argentine overland and her neighbors themselves. We promise.