I don’t know many people who truly relish the idea of lying on a beach or beside a pool doing absolutely nothing for 6 or 7 days, do you? Most of us get ants in our pants after a day or two of relaxation.
For those of you who prefer a more active vacation experience, let’s talk about adventure travel.
Adventure travel means something different to everyone. Does your idea of adventure demand a cultural element? There are a multitude of culturally educational excursions found all over the world.
In Mexico the Mayan ruins offer a fascinating introduction to the Mayan civilization. My favorite is the Coba Adventure that includes zip lines, rappelling, kayaking, having lunch in a Mayan village, swimming in a cenote after a purification ceremony by a Mayan shaman, then climbing the Mayan Pyramid at Coba, and celebrating at the end of the day with a Corona and free guacamole.
In Costa Rica a wildly popular excursion is one that allows you to bathe in thermally heated pools (the underground water source is hot due to the close proximity of volcanic magma). That excursion also includes horseback riding in the jungle, zip lines, and a fabulous luncheon enjoyed in view of the volcano.
In Hawaii the traditional Luau is a great way to experience the Hawaii of old. A surfing class pays tribute to an authentic Hawaiian sport, and of course you pay tribute to our own history by touring the Memorial to the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.
In Italy a pizza cooking class is a fun way to dive into local cuisine, and in France the wine tasting opportunities are endless.
In Edinburgh you can visit the haunted underground tunnels and I guarantee your guide will make a believer out of you. In Ireland you can plan an entire itinerary around Irish Folklore (I know, I did that back in May).
In Germany the Oktoberfest celebrations will leave you dazed (and hung over) and in Spain the Camina de Santiago will introduce you to hardship and humility. Speaking of Spain, why not run with the bulls in Pamplona?
You could try snow skiing in the Swiss Alps, or a hike in Austria. Maybe taking a train through the Swiss Alps is all the adventure you’re looking for.
Religious themed cultural/adventure opportunities abound, especially in Europe (The Footsteps of St Paul, The Protestant Reformation, A Catholic Tour of Italy), and of course I can’t imagine a greater adventure than a tour of the Holy Lands.
In South America my first choice for adventure is Machu Picchu, and a walk down the Great Wall of China is pretty amazing as well.
Those of you who are straight up thrill seekers can dive with sharks just about anywhere there’s an ocean, you can experience a huge variety of theme parks, or you can just ride an ATV as fast as possible through a jungle. Zip lines, rock climbing, rappelling, swimming in cenotes, been there done that and you should, too!
Hot air balloons have become available in lots of areas in the world, closest to us is the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, and you can even rise in a hot air balloon and follow the herd migrations across the Serengeti.
Whatever adventure travel means to you, believe me it can be arranged, enjoyed, and then bragged about for years to come.
Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns The Joy of Travel. Contact Joy at 918-339-4805