Research shows we may be losing our sense of adventure, so we’ve hand-picked 10 best adventure vacations to bring out your inner Captain Cook.
There was a time when your average traveler thought nothing of hopping into a boat, sailing off to uncharted waters, and leaping ashore tropical islands with absolutely no fear of ungodly creatures or hungry cannibals, all before returning home six months later – possibly minus a leg – with a fine set of tales and a thirst to go globetrotting again.
Now, though, it seems we’re losing our sense of adventure. Research by Sunsail into 2,000 adults has unearthed some statistics that would have the adventurers of yore spinning in Davy Jones’ locker. They include:
- 22% of adults have never slept in a tent
- Only 41% have walked 10 km or more on a hike
- Only 4% describing their ideal summer holiday as the more extreme the better
- 51% have never used a compass to take a bearing
Basically, we’ve gone a bit soft, lost our sense of adventure. Soft and unadventurous isn’t going to get us anywhere in the post-modern apocalypse, so if you want to toughen up with something more challenging than a gentle weekend away, here are 10 top adventure vacations to reignite the spirit of derring-do.
Get high and mighty in Nepal
Not even Captain Cook made it to that little old mountain range called the Himalayas, so get one up on the salty old dog by hiking the Everest trail. You’ll also get an upgrade from navy-issue rum: this trip includes a champagne breakfast and a Guinness at the world’s highest Irish pub.
Get into your uncomfortable zone in Scotland
You don’t need to go to the other side of the world to be adventurous, nor do you need an ocean to get very wet. Aquatic challenges lie here in these very isles, especially if you feel like canoeing, canyoning and abseiling through the wilds of the Scottish Highlands.
Chill, but don't chill, in Iceland
It might not have the fearsome beasties of the tropics, but frost can bite just as hard as a tiger. Well, nearly. So the glacial hiking here shows a true spirit of adventure. You can also ‘sail’ on frozen water with snowmobiles.
Set sail in the sands of Jordan
The desert is like an ocean, just drier. It’s vast, intimidating and not somewhere you want to find yourself alone at night. You won’t be alone on this trip, but you will be adventurous – it includes canyoning and hiking – and you’ll get to go to sea: floating in the Dead Sea like a fleshy sailing boat.
Go natural in Peru
If you’re one of the 22% of adults who have never slept in a tent, then this is one heck of a way to lose your canvas virginity: it involves camping in the great outdoors as you climb more than 5,000 meters to the summit of the awe-inspiring Rainbow Mountain.
Hit the skies in South Africa
Nothing tests the old nerves quite like tip-toeing your way over the rim of Table Mountain in Cape Town: aka, one of the world’s highest commercial abseils. And if that’s not enough of an adrenalin hit for you, Flash Pack’s South Africa trip also comes with surfing and paddle-boarding on the Cape Peninsula. Buckle up.
Slip and slide in Slovenia
Slovenia’s Bohinj Valley may be a spectacular patch of central Europe, with mirror-still lakes and hazy peaks, but it’s also ripe for some gritty adventuring. Canyoning here is not for the faint-hearted, as you heave your way over giant boulders and rappel down water slides deep in the mountain ravines.
Bust some river moves in Costa Rica
If there’s one river you want to get wet and wild on, it’s Rio Celeste in Costa Rica – where pigmentations turn the water a startling turquoise hue. Hop into a tube and whirl your way down the winding valley gorge in Tenorio Volcano National Park. Fourteen kilometers of wilderness tubing later, and you’ll feel ready to take on the world.
Snow-drive like you mean it in Finland
Snowmobiling doesn’t get more hardy than in the vast frozen tundras of Finnish Lapland. Rev up your machine and unleash that explorer within, as you zip over the gleaming white horizon by day or twilight. After a quick sauna (one needs a few luxuries in life), you can ramp up the adventure further with husky sledding and cross-country skiing. And, as this is Arctic territory, there’s always a chance of spotting those elusive Northern Lights.
Salute wine time in the Chilean desert
There’s nothing particularly adventurous about necking a bottle of Sauvignon on a Friday night: but when you’re deep in the heart of the Atacama desert, well, that puts a different spin on things. Forage for the best Chilean red in the Casablanca hills outside Santiago before cutting a dash to the Valle de la Luna in the north of the country. Toast to the sundown amid the strange geological formations of this one-time Nasa training ground, for a sunset you won’t forget.
Images: Flash Pack, Shutterstock