Adventure vacations are an exciting option. Whether you are looking for luxury adventure travel or a more wilderness experience... or both... then I look forward to sharing some fabulous options with you.
This section includes African safaris... ski and winter sports ... an exotic beach... luxury train travel... an Iceland adventure... a South American getaway... and majestic mountains.
All of the options here would also make for great family adventure travel. You'll also find some excellent opportunity for luxury discount travel.
A wild animal safari is definitely one of the most exciting forms of adventure travel. And if you're looking specifically for an African-safari, there are quite a few to choose from. Possibly the most popular are the Kenya safaris and the South Africa safari. But there's also a Tanzania safari and a Botswana safari.
I myself did the Kenya luxury safari... at Governor's Tented Camp in the Masai Mara. This was almost like stepping onto the set of "Out of Africa"! Any moment I expected Robert Redford or Meryl Streep to appear out of nowhere. Alas, they didn't!
However, this kind of safari could be compared a bit to the glamping trend of today. But much more old-world.
These tented camps are very spacious... with a bed -- complete with old-fashioned mosquito net -- a writing desk and chair -- and separate tent at the back for private bathroom.
Each morning hot tea and miniature scones were delivered to the front door of the tent by a courteous staff member. At lunchtime and in the evening there was a beautiful open-air buffet, with chef cooking hot dishes in front of you. In between, there were 3 game runs, where you stand or sit on the back of a jeep as you go exploring a huge reserve, looking for a multitude of different animals.
I never expected to be so excited, as I was, at the sight of these beautiful wild creatures... just like this cheetah in the photo above... who had several young cubs with her.
You'll want to take your safari binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens, to show everyone back home your safari pictures.
So this is a good start for adventure vacations.
If you're looking for ski and winter sports, and excellent ski resort deals, then this could be the perfect adventure vacation for you. And Canadian ski resorts come highly recommended.
Firstly, two of the more well-known ski regions in the country are Mont Tremblant in the east, and Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort in the west.
Mount Tremblant, in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, is about 90 minutes drive from Montreal, and is like stepping into a charming European-style picture postcard, by day or by night. Whistler is approx. 90 minutes from Vancouver, the capital of the beautiful province of British Columbia.
The third largest ski resort in Canada is also in British Colombia, just 45 minutes drive from Kamloops. This is Sun Peaks Resort, an alpine village -- with 3 mountains, 135 ski runs and over 4,000 acres of ski-able terrain. It also prides itself on having over 2,000 hours of sunshine per year!.
Great for family ski vacations!
Each of these centres are year-round resorts, not just for snow sports but also for hiking, spa time, shopping and great dining.
The ambience in each of these ski regions won't disappoint.... log fires are the order of the day, and of course there's always the joy of the apres-ski after a great day out on the slopes.
A Canadian ski vacation is a popular choice. It then just comes down to which side of the country works best for you as a destination.
Zanzibar is one of those exotic destinations. This adventure vacation will take you to the east coast of Africa. Zanzibar is actually an archipeligo of islands, and is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania.
This option really is a combination of many things: white sandy beach holiday, water sports, historic buildings, cultural tours and colourful spice markets... but in a slightly more "wild" environment.
Because of the close proximity, you could consider combining this beach time with a Tanzania safari. The perfect destination to blend both these activities.
An Iceland adventure is a complete change of temperature!
This will take you into the land of glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, ice tunnels, breathtaking scenery and, of course, the northern lights. So, if you are keen to see what the popular Iceland "buzz" is all about these days, then this is one of the true exhilarating adventure vacations.
People who travel to this part of the world also describe it as an immensely spiritual experience. Here's what Lynda from Canada had to say:
“Iceland is a treasure and a source of great serenity. You adjust quickly to the wide open minimalist landscapes and feel your place in the grand scheme of the universe.
Iceland is a perfect place to happen upon the Northern Lights. The displays I have seen were in the north, around the beautiful Goðafoss waterfall, and outside the pretty town of Akureyri. When you see the Aurora, I hope you will as mesmerized as I have been and still am each time. Be sure to look up at night."
Small groups and super jeeps are the perfect combination in this part of the world. A company called "Extreme Iceland" operate all kinds of tours, including nature & wildlife, hiking and camping, hot springs and black sand beaches. You'll be looked after by experienced guides who know the terrain.
For all you fans of luxury train travel, this one is, in my view, the ultimate. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is one of those sumptuous experiences where you will be bathed in luxury all the way.
Starting in London, on to Paris, then Milan... and ending in Venice, you may like to make it a 9-day tour, spending time in each city, before returning to London.
You'll enjoy a magnificent blend of comfort, fine dining, art, culture and stunning architecture as you travel through picturesque countryside. And the 3 continental stops along the way are truly the most romantic cities in Europe.
But if you are looking for something more rustic and off the beaten track, then maybe you want to do the Trans-Siberian Express, from Beijing to Moscow (or Vladivostok to Moscow). I myself took this train back in the early 80's. I'll share more of my experience with you soon. It was definitely an adventure vacation back then!
South America goes hand in hand with adventure vacations.
For starters, you might be fascinated by Inca culture and want to visit Machu Picchu in Peru. These ancient ruins stand at an altitude of 8,000 ft. To get there, you first need to fly into Cusco, which is actually higher, at an altitude of 11,000 ft. It is usually recommended to proceed directly to Machu Picchu first, to help acclimatize you, before returning to the higher altitude of Cusco after.
Alternatively, Argentina has a sizzling component... and not just because of those fabulous churrascarias! It's also the home of the Tango. Prepare to be mesmerized by one of these dance performances. Combining both these elements would ensure a great night out :)
Argentina is also home to the stunning Iguazu Falls. The reason why this is on many travellers' list is: these falls are nearly twice as high as Niagara and nearly three times as wide. That's beyond impressive.
Then of course, there is beautiful Brazil. Post-Olympics, Rio will be less crowded. I have to say that some of the best food I've ever eaten was in Rio. Fabulous grilled seafood and meats, full of flavour... and of course, the notorious caparinhas, packed with fresh limes. I remember another equally delicious local cocktail, abundant with passionfruit.
If you are a fan of Brazilian bossa nova and the strains of Antonio Carlos Jobim, then a visit to Ipanema beach is an absolute must. There'll you'll find cosy intimate night clubs with the most superb musicians, keeping Brazilian folk and jazz music alive and well.
Last but not least, a visit to the Amazon jungle is an unforgettable experience. Any other rainforest in the world is dwarfed by comparison, not just in square mileage, but in density. And when it rains at night, especially if you are under a tin roof, as I was on my visit to this part of the world, the sound is indescribable, from the volume of water that pours down.
So, adventure vacations in South America are an exciting option.
If you enjoy the grandeur of being in the mountains, then this could be the best adventure vacation for you. Yosemite National Park, in the Sierra Navada mountains of California, is a nature lover's paradise.
This one is also for the hikers... whether you are experienced in this area or just want to take in the views. I'll never forget seeing these majestic giant sequoias. Ancient splendour and true survivors, these trees will have you in a state of awe.
And if you love the photography of Ansel Adams, you will have a sense of walking in his footsteps and the other famous photographers in his peer group who captured those black and white images for us to marval at.
And at the end of the day, you will return to your comfortable lodge ... maybe by a blazing fire... and celebrate your Yosemite tour.