“To boldly go where no man has gone before.” It’s the popular phrase spoken at the beginning of many Star Trek episodes, the spirit of which sums up the reason why many of us travel to faraway destinations. It’s also the perfect response when a friend looks at you quizzically and says, “Iceland… really, why do you want to go there?”
Travel is always an adventure; you never know what’s going to happen when you leave the comfort of home. However, an adventure vacation is something different. It taps into our primal need to explore, to quest like a modern knight in search of the Holy Grail. Whether it’s hiking wave-battered headlands or pedaling through vineyards, flying in a single-engine plane over the Serengeti or fishing for marlin from the deck of a charter boat, adventure travel allows us to escape into the wild. The wild has way of deepening our sense of purpose and connection in the world. The following adventure vacations are guaranteed to get your blood pumping.
Go Viking in Iceland
Iceland used to be a remote outpost, a hidden gem tucked away on the volcanic fringe of the Arctic Circle and familiar only to those travelers who love Bjork, Norse sagas. Until recently, Iceland was a layover destination, a place visited for 24 hours when in route to Denmark, Norway or some other Scandinavian country. In a strange and unlikely twist of fate, Iceland’s 2009 financial collapse, coupled with a volcanic eruption and ash plume that caused the most serious interruption of plane traffic in the history of air travel, put the small country on the must-see map. From 2015-2016, the number of tourists grew by 39%. Iceland is still a gem; it’s just a lot less hidden.
Iceland’s beautiful, mythical-looking landscape is like something out of “Game of Thrones.” There are glaciers, mighty waterfalls, craggy mountains, deep-blue fjords, volcanic lava fields and geothermal hot springs. Wild and untamed, it’s the perfect landscape for adventure. If you want to release your inner adrenaline junkie, you can go snowmobiling on the Langjokull glacier, hike the Porsmork valley and scuba dive in the Silfra Fissure, a rift between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. Excursion groups offer whale and puffin tours, day trips to the black sand beaches of the South Coast, and expeditions to view the Northern Lights.
Go Green in Costa Rica
Lush jungles. Cloud forests. Untouched beaches. Giant green sea turtles the size of a Mini Cooper. Costa Rica is an eco-travel paradise. What do you expect from a county that more or less invented ecotourism?
After 50 years of unrestricted deforestation, Costa Rica’s “green era” started in the 1970s. An extensive national park system was created. Bird and wildlife areas were protected. Costa Rica’s political stability attracted entrepreneurs who set up lodges and adventure tours that promoted the fact the country contained 5% of the word’s biodiversity. First, the hardcore trekkers and birders arrived and then the environmentalists traveled to Costa Rica to save the turtles and explore the forest canopy on ziplines. Today, tourism is the country’s top revenue-producer, surpassing coffee and banana production.
In order to explore Costa Rica, you don’t need to be a science geek you just need to love a little adventure. While the country has the highest density of species in the world, in order to see a howler monkey, an iguana climbing a hibiscus or a crocodile sunning itself on a riverbank, you have to trek through jungle or shoot the rapids in a rainforest.
Go Horseback Riding in Turkey
Considered the intersection of Europe and Asia, Turkey is a vast country. Cappadocia, a historical region in Central Anatolia, is a whimsical, geological oddity. The area’s topography is comprised of honeycombed hills, accordion-ridged valleys, cavern architecture and lunar landscapes. The Anatolian plains look like something out of a fairytale. The Persians named Cappadocia. It means “the land of the beautiful horses” and the stark, fantastical landscape is the perfect place for a horseback riding adventure.
Saddle up and canter along Cappadocia’s valley floors. Visit remote villages and rock-cut churches, dine cross-legged on traditional kilims (tapestry-woven rugs) and spend the night at one Cappadocia’s famous cave hotels. While the region is ideal for horseback riding, its hiking trails also excite adventurous travelers. Start in Gerome, Cappadocia’s most popular backpacker town. Gerome National Park is home to several spectacular hiking destinations, including Pigeon Cove, the Sword Valley, the Red Valley and the Rose Valley.
Get Your Adrenaline Pumping in Thailand
Known as the “Land of Smiles,” Thailand is home to beautiful beaches, pristine waters, forests, hills and wildlife. There are endless opportunities for exploration and adventure, from jungle trekking to caving and scuba diving.
For those who crave something adventurous, try spelunking in the Pang Mapha District of the Mae Hong Son Province. The area is famous for its ancient caves, caverns, and rich geological history.
Thailand has over 3,000 miles of tropical coastline and a beach for every occasion. While it’s easy to laze away the days in the hammock, you need to take to the water because Thailand’s reefs and marine life is legendary. Grab a snorkel or sign up for an open-water diving lesson and explore the underwater beauty of Hin Muang and the Similan Islands.
Ready to book your next adventure vacation? Visit go-today.com today to start planning your next getaway. We’ll help you plan everything so you can relax and enjoy your trip.