Does lying on a beach not cut it for you when it comes to vacation? Does the idea of wandering around city museums and urban entertainments not fill you with excitement? If you want your vacation time to be action packed and full of adrenaline adventure, here are some ideas that will get your heart racing:
If you're looking for adventurous travel experiences with a difference, why not start right at the top - the top of a volcano that is. Trekking into the bowels of the Earth just like Jules Verne's famous fictional explorers is an amazing experience. Trekking excursions vary with the type of volcano you're about to explore. In Hawaii, on Haleakala for example, you'll get a pretty docile volcano that's been snoozing for the last few centuries. However, Mount Etna or the picturesque but grumpy peaks on Java are a very different matter. Active, growling and dangerous, they offer a thrill of a life-time to adventure seeking gals.
Sticking with the Jules Verne inspired theme: maritime adventurous travel experiences don't necessarily have to involve a fight to the death with a deadly kraken monster. Scuba diving into cave systems is one of the most amazing and dangerous things a gal can do. You'll need an advanced certification and specialized diving equipment before you can explore the sea's mysterious tunnels and caves, but it's an experience that is well worth the cost and effort. Cave divers are regarded as real-life explorers, not just tourists with a snorkel and net. Go where only the fictional captain of Nautilus has gone and explore some "20,000 leagues under the sea" - failing that, try the sinkholes of Mexico's Riviera Maya.
Ordinary marathons are far too pedestrian to make it onto this list, but running an Ice Marathon puts an adventure-hungry girl into quite a different category of badass females. Yep, you'd be running in Antarctica. While the marathon may be taking place in summer, you should bear in mind that arctic summers typically involve wind-chill factors of around - 20 degrees Celsius. Founded originally to allow marathon-obsessed runners to pound the ground on all seven continents, the Ice Marathon takes place just a few hundred miles away from the South Pole, starting at the foot of the Ellsworth Mountains. Imagine a killer penguin's on your trail: you'll be running your personal best all the way to the finish line!
Invariably, the most adventurous travel experiences involve meeting unusual animals. What could be more awesome than coming eye-to-eye with a whale? Sea kayaking in Kodiak, Alaska, allows you to get friendly with passing seals, otters and puffins, but you may also be able to wave at a passing bear or tickle an inquisitive whale that coming up for air. It's one of the most remote and gorgeous places in the world, so what if it's a little colder than the Caribbean?
It takes a life time to develop the skills, stamina and perhaps even courage to tackle the world's highest peaks, but the rewards of all that hard work and bruises are the finest views anyone could ever have without visiting the International Space Station. Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, is one of the easier mountains to climb for budding mountaineers. Even amateurs can do it, provided they keep fit and can admit to suffering from altitude sickness before becoming a threat to the rest of their mountaineering group.
If you prefer to jump off cliffs in Europe instead of falling off mountains in Africa, go to Mallorca, but for something a little more dramatic and an adventurous travel experience that will stay with you for a long time, go to Palawan in the Philippines. For those still wavering whether or not jumping from a cliff is a good idea, there's always Rick's Cafe in Negril, Jamaica. To jump or not to jump - debate this question over a drink or two until you instill some "Dutch" courage into your veins. Consider how stunning you look in your new swimsuit, which is all you need by way of equipment, and let gravity do the rest.
There are many different types of shark diving experiences. You can swim along a docile whale shark or allow a great white to scare the bikini pants off you, while you're floating in a cage. One of the best places to visit, if you're looking for adventurous travel experiences that you can dine out on for years to come, is Seal Island near Cape Town in South Africa, which offers some of the best cage diving with great white sharks on the planet. Although visibility under water isn't so good, it probably works in your favor, since the great white jaws with its rows of razor sharp teeth will be just a few feet away from your face. Watch these relentless hunters go after Cape fur seals, their preferred lunchtime snack.
Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, prize or even the glory. You may be too young to remember the famous Cannonball Run, but imagine a crowd of mad-cap people hurtling along in rickety vehicles and you're half-way into the race already. The 3,500 km race uses squeaky rickshaws, comes totally without maps or directions, just a start and a finish line and a cheery "off you go"! Most participants will purchase their auto-rickshaws, otherwise known as the Indian Disaster Machine, from the race organizers, the Adventurists. Be sure to decorate your rickshaw to your own fantastic design before setting off across the Indian Subcontinent. You don't want to let the show down.
Over the past few years bungee jumping has become so popular that one can do it practically anywhere. Although the landscape below you won't matter quite so much when you're dangling off a bridge, one of the most stunning destinations and certainly one of scariest jumps on Earth can be found at the Nevis, close to Queenstown in New Zealand. Take a deep breath before you jump from a cabin that's suspended over a deep and terrifying gorge. You won't breathe again during your 8-second freefall!
Free climbers are always going on about their exploits, scrambling up or down sheer cliff faces like Yosemite's El Capitan. But where do these people sleep, where they're climbing for several days. Do they glue themselves to the rock face over night? Nope, they use a hanging tent system called a portaledge. If you want adventurous travel experiences without the threat to life and limb, try a slightly less scary venue. Waldseilgarten in Bavaria, Germany, offers great opportunities to get a portaledge tent experience without having to climb for days on end. You can hang off a cliff or remain closer to terra firma, simply sleeping suspended from tree tops like a gorilla. That's human evolution for you.
The trouble with summer, as far as skiers are concerned, is that there are precious few opportunities to tumble down a mountain in an awe-inspiring, controlled way that looks so good in the movies. Never fear, you can still have adventurous travel experiences in the mountains. Go mountain bike racing and there's every chance you'll fall off, slide down a mountain side and break a leg. It's exhilarating and hugely demanding, but also enormously entertaining. Arguable, the Colorado Trail Race is one of the best mountain bike races on the planet. There's no need to register, it's an unofficial race and you won't win a trophy, you'll just return home with an inflated ego, after doing the 500 miles through the Colorado Rockies. Incidentally, this involves some 70,000 feet of elevation gain and some of the best views on Earth.
The Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide are probably the USA's finest long-distance hiking trails, covering some 7,900 miles in total and involving around one million feet of vertical gain. Crossing through 22 states, you'll be joining the exclusive club of Triple Crown Hikers. Only some 200 members have ever completed all three long-distance trails. You'll need to ask your boss for a sabbatical on this one - a two-week holiday won't be enough to hike all three trails.
Solo sailing a major body of water shouldn't be attempted without plenty of training. Before you can master a boat powered by nothing but currents and wind, you'd better start training somewhere. Equipment hire can be expensive, unless you happen to own your own yacht. However, places like Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis in Maryland are a good place to start training for your solo Atlantic or Pacific crossing. You'll find plenty of training instructors and affordable equipment for rent there.
You can still feel the wind in your hair and the spray on your face, but without the threat of drowning or being eaten by a great white shark. Instead of crossing the desert on a spitting camel, how about crossing it on a sandboard? If you're good at snowboarding, you'll have no trouble learning sandboarding. Benefits: a) you can wear sexy shorts instead of having to hide your lovely legs under layers of clothing; b) you're calf muscles will get very shapely, because there are no lifts, so you'll be doing a lot of walking up dunes. Sandboarding is permitted on unprotected dunes. Erg Chigaga in the Moroccan Sahara is one of the greatest challenges for sandboarding fans, but you can combine this with volcano trekking, if you go to Cerro Negro in Nicaragua, for an extra thrilling travel experience.
No matter if you call it caving, potholing or spelunking, it's one of the most adventurous travel experiences a gal can have, provided she chooses her destination wisely. A spelunking trip involves the exploration of caves and while this could mean an incredibly easy guided walking tour into the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky - which a toddler could do - a real spelunking fan wouldn't ever be caught in one of those. No, they would be slithering through spooky caves in Chapada Diamantina in Brazil, one of the best places for spelunking. Here you can hike down into the Lapão Cave, take a refreshing dip in an underwater pool, before hiking out again and climbing up to the cave roof. Now hurl yourself off the roof, suspended from a bungee rope. Hello, you're back down in the mouth of the cave again!
Do these ideas thrill you or make you feel slightly sick? Tell us about your idea of a great adventure holiday.
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