If you still haven’t quite figured out how to spend your summer vacation but are looking to try something a little different, adventure travel might be just the ticket. Adventure travel – a type of tourism that involves exploration or travel with perceived or actual risk – is a path to exploring new parts of the world and getting your adrenaline pumping.
Here are some cool ideas for adventure travel that will challenge you, provide a break from your everyday existence and be tons of fun.
Antarctica. Did we say cool ideas? How about freezing ideas? Antarctica is the world’s coldest, highest, windiest and driest. It’s a land of extremes, and not for the faint of heart. And it’s more than just icy landscapes, with five different species of seals and a variety of seabirds, as well as, of course, penguins. If you think you’re tough enough, know that seasons in the southern hemisphere are the opposite of what they are in the United States. In other words, it’s winter there now, which means it’s at its coldest – an average low temperature of -81 degrees.
Cuba. We can warm things up with an adventure of a different kind. Now that Cuba is open to Americans for the first time in more than 50 years, it’s a chance to experience Old Cuba before it gets too Americanized. When you’re zooming down the autopista in a 1958 Thunderbird convertible, you’ll feel like you stepped into a time machine.
Mongolia. We bet you didn’t see this one coming. Mongolia is not often mentioned as a possible destination for American travelers, but it’s beginning to get notice as an adventure travel destination. The windswept grasslands and desert steppe evoke images of Genghis Khan. You can bring those images to life (within reason, of course) with a trip that mimics the nomadic lifestyle of long ago, riding horses as the only mode of transportation. Or, you can visit the capital of Ulaanbaatar for the annual Naadam festival to see people compete in the “three manly games” of wrestling, archery, and cross-country horse racing.
Namibia. If you’ve always dreamed of going on safari in the wilds of Africa, Namibia is considered the go-to hotspot these days. Namibia has become known for being eco-friendly; a full 40 percent of the country’s land is now under government protection, and local bushmen tribes have been hired to serve as guides and help protect the wildlife. Consider a self-driving safari to catch a glimpse of desert rhinos, elephants, gazelles, lions and the largest free-roaming cheetah population in the world. You might also want to make a side trip to the “Red Sand Sea,” where you can slide down the world’s tallest sand dunes.
Patagonia. At the tip of the Andes Mountains in South America, Patagonia is a rugged place inhabited by strange creatures and featuring unpredictable weather. The wilderness crosses several climatological zones, from mountains to steppes to glaciers. A week of hiking across this terrain is an unforgettable experience, and likely the great challenge that you’re looking for.