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It may be New Zealand’s top-notch topographical features – majestic mountains, gliding glaciers, rushing rivers – that have made its geology so apparently astounding, but the country’s stunning natural wonders continue straight on through to its cavernous core. The tiny town of Waitomo serves as headquarters for some of New Zealand’s most extraordinary cave adventures, with some 300 regional limestone caves and a network of sinkholes and underground rivers lying just underfoot.
Just back from a two-day tour of Waitomo, I’ve rounded up three choice cave experiences guaranteed to shine new light on your perceptions of such depths – and not just because of the luminescent glowworms that light up these sunken limestone landscapes! Read more
If you have yet to experience Costa Rica, the Central American country that’s one of the most world’s most enviable outdoor adventure playgrounds, here’s a can’t-miss deal to consider: a four-day, three-night package that includes hotel, transport within the country, most meals, and adrenaline-packed activities such as canyoneering, zip lining, rafting and horseback riding – all for just $599 (based on double occupancy).
That stellar price represents a savings of 33 percent offered by the outfitter, Tropical Adventures, along with its re-launch. The nonprofit organization, which was founded by Scott Pralinsky, an American adventure travel enthusiast who’s called Costa Rica his home since 2004, also has received plenty of praise for its authentic, volunteer-based programs, including a nod from National Geographic Adventure magazine as a Top 100 Volunteer Vacation in 2009.
On July 26 – give or take a day or two, depending on weather conditions – about a dozen two-person teams will take the helms of small wooden boats called punts and row 10 miles across open ocean off Newfoundland, Canada. The race – officially called the Great Fogo Island Punt Race To There and Back – represents three centuries of tradition on the quaint, rugged islands of Newfoundland, as well as bragging rights for the hardy souls who undertake the endeavor.
The race itself is only open to residents of Fogo and/or Change islands, just off the main island of Newfoundland, but it’s a thrill to watch. And just as exciting is the abundance of opportunities for any traveler with adventure on the agenda – not to mention the fact that the region remains deliciously undiscovered by mass tourism.
Here’s a quick roundup of adventure options around Fogo Island and Central Newfoundland, which are ideal to visit in late summer through fall. For more information, check out the superb adventure guide put out by Adventure Central at www.adventurecentralnewfoundland.com.
For a brief few months each year, warm weather, long days, and generous vacation time conspire to open up a world of travel possibilities. From climbing the top of remote mountains to exploring breathtaking river gorges to biking quiet back-country roads, Smart Luxury Travel has selected 10 spectacular outdoor adventures. And to make sure there’s a trip to suit every taste, we’ve included a splurge option (for those who absolutely must have the most exotic and/or pampered voyage) as well as a great value (for those who don’t mind roughing it). Read on to discover our top picks – think kayaking through arctic waters, horseback riding in the Rockies, and catching waves in Costa Rica.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, packages, and more travel deals.
Forget about spa days or breakfast in bed. Today’s moms are adventurous, bold, and sexy. So this Mother’s Day, we’ve unearthed packages that will have moms throwing axes, rappelling off cliffs, sitting for their own portrait painting, and going to a Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camp. Celebrate with mom by taking her on one of these thrilling escapades that will make her feel great, embrace life, and celebrate the ways she inspires her family every day.
Ax Throwing, Hauling Lobster, Riding Harleys: The New England Inns & Resorts Association offers over 20 action-packed “bucket list” packages, from zip-lining in Vermont to rock climbing in New Hampshire. There are also activities like hauling lobster in Maine and ax-throwing in New Hampshire – for moms who want to channel their inner lumberjack (or jill). The full selection gives moms plenty of new ways to explore New England. Overnight rates start at $139; Mother’s Day weekend overnight rates from $152.
Considering all the brands of extra-soft, ultra-cushioned toilet paper on supermarket shelves and junk mail stuffed in mailboxes these days, and it’s no surprise the world’s forests are shrinking at alarming rates. Every year, according to the United Nations, the world loses 13 million hectares of forest. So, in order to raise awareness on sustainable management and conservation of these leafy (and pine-y and jungle-y) paradises – which are beloved destinations for adventure travelers – the UN has designated 2011 as International Year of the Forest.
And with spring in full bloom and Earth Day 2011 (Friday, April 22) on the horizon, this is an ideal time to visit one of the world’s most majestic forests. Even if you arrive by car or plane, try to explore them with minimal impact by walking, hiking, or biking.
Travel news these days is peppered with trips and deals centered on the memoir-turned-movement Eat Pray Love. Agencies are hawking women-centric, yoga-filled sojourns to Italy, India, and Indonesia, the destinations author Elizabeth Gilbert visited over the course of a year. Hotels – even ones where Gilbert didn’t stay – are offering EPL-themed discounts.
Hey, if all this hype inspires people who rarely venture out of the easy chair to dust off the suitcase, great. But I have to admit all the hoopla has me wanting to say, “Eat Pray Ugh.”
And I’m not the only one. Some of the locals in the EPL destinations are already annoyed by the hordes of tourists clamoring for Gilbert-esque enlightenment. One entrepreneur in Ubud, Bali (Gilbert’s final destination) has already come up with a T-shirt that has a mock book cover that reads, “Eat Pay Leave.”
So if the idea of a quest for personal fulfillment sounds appealing, but not so much the crowds of Gilbert devotees (or the unoriginality of following in the footsteps of someone else’s personal journey), then here are some suggestions where you can eat, pray, and love in peace. And not to mention, get a dose of adventure far beyond what a meditation class could offer. Read more
Every year, more than 275 million people visit U.S. national parks, with the heaviest crowds descending between June and August. Which means if rafting through the Grand Canyon, hiking in Utah’s Zion National Park, or scaling the Half Dome at Yosemite are on your adventure agenda in the upcoming months, you should definitely keep reading – unless you like battling for a campsite, dodging video cameras, or sharing a trail with shrieking kids.
Still, with some savvy planning, you can still find a way to carve out a slice of solitude during your visit. Here, a few tips on how to avoid the masses at national parks this summer. You’ll leave refreshed, not rattled – just like nature intended. Read more
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