Visit Trending Destinations Without Sacrificing Adventure
May 2019 | By Alexa Wheeler | 6 minute read
It’s no secret these destinations are current “hot spots.” But if you’re an adventure seeker looking to maintain the thrill minus the tourists, here are 10 lesser-known experiences that’ll ensure your vacation is anything but cookie-cutter.
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Instead of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:
Visit Lake Titicaca and experience the culture of the indigenous people who inhabit the Uros floating islands. Located three miles from Puno, Peru, the 62 islands rest at 12,500 feet above sea level. The islands are considered an extraordinary feat of engineering, made from interwoven totora reed roots. Aside from exploring the Uros’ unique traditions and culture, visitors can stay on an island overnight as a guest of a local family. Access to running water and electricity is limited. However, the Uros do embrace modern technology using solar panels to power TVs and cellphones, so you won’t be entirely off the grid.
Instead of flying from Bangkok to Phuket:
Train to the Hua Hin District where a former fishing village has transformed into a fashionable escape for Bangkok residents wanting to avoid crowds. If you’re looking to explore Thailand’s lush landscape, Khao Daeng View Point (only an hour south of Hua Hin) offers incredible vistas accessible by a short hike and relatively unexplored by tourists. But if you’re looking to experience one of Thailand’s most mystical and mysterious landmarks few travelers get the chance to see, the Phraya Nakhon Cave (known as “the temple inside a cave”) is reachable via boat ride followed by a 470-yard hike along uneven and steep steps. The trek isn’t easy, but the stunning view is unparalleled.
Instead of staying in Lisbon or Porto:
Visit the “under-the-radar” Madeira Islands which are often compared to Hawaii. Located 750 miles southwest of Lisbon, the islands boast six unique climate zones and ancient volcanic cliffs that dominate the landscape and are perfect for hiking. But the archipelago – also known for fine wine, exceptional cuisine, big-game fishing and old-world charm – is a destination fit for any type of traveler.
Instead of temple hopping:
Dare to go volcano trekking at night and fire up your trip (literally). Lempuyang Temple, among many, is a true sight to be seen, but tourists flock to these landmarks in search of “Insta-worthy” photo opportunities. If you’re in for a thrill that’s more magnificent to the eye than your phone’s camera, consider volcano trekking from Java to Bali. You might just find yourself climbing into craters, trekking slippery slopes and edging close to sulphur flames in the pitch-black dark to witness the magical blue fire of one of Indonesia’s volcanoes.
Instead of going on a safari:
Take a balloon safari instead. Let’s face it, seeing the African wildlife up close and personal is a once in a lifetime experience everyone should check off their bucket list. But if you’re searching for a way to magnify the adventure and do things a bit different, you can observe the animals from a bird’s eye view by taking flight in a hot air balloon high above the Serengeti Plains. The price of the flight can be a bit steep, but the adventure is extraordinary with enchanting scenery and roaming wildlife directly beneath you.
Instead of sailing to the Galapagos Islands:
Climb Mount Chimborazo, aka the closest place on Earth to outer space. The inactive volcano stands at more than 20,000 feet high and last erupted in approximately 550 AD. Although lower than Mount Everest, Mount Chimborazo claims fame to outer space proximity due to its position on Earth’s surface making its peak the furthest spot from the center of the earth. If you’re like most people, you won’t travel to space in this lifetime, but you can still out-venture your friends and come closer than anyone else.
Instead of snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef:
View the Aurora Australis in Tasmania, also known as the Southern Lights. Although not as well-known as the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, the Aurora Australis also occurs when the sun releases a burst of solar wind and magnetic fields into space which then collide with Earth’s magnetic field. Tasmania is the perfect place to view the phenomenon because of its proximity to the South Pole paired with its open sky and unpolluted air. The best time of year to see the Southern Lights is from July to August.
Instead of soaking in the Blue Lagoon:
Hike the Laugavegur, also known as ‘Iceland’s Inca Trail.’ Relatively unknown to tourists, the four-day hike is roughly 33 miles long and covers a vast array of landscapes requiring you to be quite fit and well-equipped. Sights to be seen and experienced include: lava fields, rainbow mountains with complementing valleys, bubbling pools, a canyon crossing above the Markarfljót River, glacial ice, black-ash desert, green woodlands of the Thorsmörk, and the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Local guides are available, or you can take the trek independently if you dare.
Grand Canyon, USA
Instead of extending your trip to tour Antelope Canyon:
Explore The Wave along the Arizona-Utah border situated among the slopes of the Coyotes Buttes. This unique landscape consists of sandstone rock formation that resembles a continuous orange wave. To navigate the six-mile long unmarked trail leading to The Wave, hikers are given a map of landmarks making the trek feel more like a scavenger hunt. The only downfall to this natural beauty is only 20 hikers are permitted each day by a random lottery: 10 walk-in hikers and 10 hikers who submit applications online or by mail. But if you’re able to snag a permit, you’ll be one of only a few who get to experience the natural wonder.
Instead of hiking the Swiss Alps:
Go hydrospeeding through glacial runoff, also known as river boarding or water sledging. The hydrospeed is an unsinkable and highly maneuverable foam board that allows you to protect your body while navigating river currents. Despite the two prominent dangers – glacial waters flowing into deep crevasses and large ice and debris crashing into water channels – hydrospeeding has become both a sport and a hobby. If steering your way through fast rapids, swift currents and unexpected whirlpools sounds like your idea of a grand time, hydrospeeding is the perfect way to experience the thrill you’re in search of.
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It’s no secret these destinations are current “hot spots.” But if you’re an adventure seeker looking to maintain the thrill minus the...