After ranting enough about history, mythology and all things antique, today my heart speaks for my kamikaze “bros” who are seeking adventure. I know the post-COVID world has bound us in the confines of our homes and cities, but it definitely couldn’t dampen our daredevil souls which are yearning to leap off that high cliff or dive down that deep trench.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – said the great Albus Dumbledore. Taking cue from one of the greatest sorcerers of all times, let me be your guiding light to some of the greatest adventures you can experience on this planet. And though they don’t involve Platform 9 ¾ or the legendary Hogwarts, they are the best we mortals can endure in this ordinary muggle world. So read on, Seekers!
Adventure Destinations Around the World
- Interlaken, Switzerland – This place is like nowhere else! Surrounded by the Bernese alps and overlooked by the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, this town offers everything an adventure seeker could ever ask for. Amazing mountain views, crazy cable car ride, rafting in grade 4 glacial melt waters, canyoning in one of the best canyons in the world – the famous Chli Schliere, where you will be jumping off 30ft waterfalls and rappelling off 50ft cliffs. From paragliding, skydiving, bungee jumping, canyon swings, high ropes, kayaking, surfing on the lakes, helicopter rides, skiing, climbing craigs and snowboarding in the winter, this town offers everything to test your limits. Refer to this blog for a detailed guide on the city and the adventures it has to offer.
- Grand Canyon Arizona, USA – Rafting the Grand Canyon is one thing that must be on your bucket list. To be able to appreciate the spectacular canyon that was carved by the Colorado river billions of years ago, it has to be observed from the water level. The official launch point for a full run is Lees Ferry, at the north-east of Grand Canyon National Park; the end is at Lake Mead, 443km further on. En route are side canyons, Puebloan sites, swimming holes and sandy beaches, not to mention plenty of wild water. The best time to raft the Colorado is May to October, so book your trip then. Overall, the river is graded IV (intermediate), with many I to III rapids, plus some Vs.
- Phong Nha, Vietnam – Home to the largest cave in the world (Hang Son Doong, a gargantuan underground cavern that was only discovered in the 1990s), Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is an adventure wonderland of ancient karst mountains and jungle. These mountains are around 400 million years old and also contain a network of caves to explore. One can take a guided trek, looking out for macaque monkeys and rare birds.
- Livingstone, Zambia – While it’s mainly visited en route to Victoria Falls – the largest waterfall in the world – Livingstone is also an adrenaline-seeker’s paradise. The rapids thundering out of the Falls provide some of the world’s best whitewater rafting, which one can often combine with a camping trip or a nature safari. You can also bungee jump over the bridge spanning between Zambia and Zimbabwe, go canoeing, abseiling or ziplining. But the most unmissable experience of all is taking a dip in the Devil’s Pool; this shallow, calm pool is located literally inches from the edge of the top of the Falls, where rainbows form in the mist.
- San Ignacio, Belize – San Ignacio is one of the most popular ecotourism destinations in Belize, and also home to an extensive network of caves and rainforest. Explore this underground world containing stalactites that resemble melting candles, and honeycomb fossil formations, before taking to the region’s cascading rivers in a white water raft or kayak. It’s worth spending several days here, so that you also have time to horseback ride to nearby ancient Mayan temples and – if you’re feeling brave – go potholing down one of the many dark limestone sinkholes.
- San Gil, Colombia – For a small city in the Colombian Andes, San Gil has a huge array of available adventure experiences, including whitewater rafting, kayaking, paragliding, bungee jumping, skydiving and horseback riding. As a launchpad for exploring the Parque Nacional de Chicamocha, San Gil’s surroundings make a sublime setting for all of these thrilling activities. Don’t miss the chance to paraglide over the extraordinary Chicamocha Canyon, involving running and jumping off a steep cliff to float down to the bottom of this 6,500 feet-deep natural wonder.
- Longyearbyen, Norway – Located on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, it is the world’s most northerly town. 60% of the polar desert tundra is filled with glaciers that are perfect for trekking adventures, or you can snowmobile and dog sled past polar bears, arctic foxes and puffins for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Hungry for more ? Go further afield by quad biking up and down the region’s snow-covered mountains.
- Leh, India – With its bare rocky mountains offset by jade-green rivers and lakes, the landscape around Leh is one of India’s most surreal. Aside from its natural beauty, it’s also a popular destination for daredevils. Partake in one of the many adrenaline-pumping activities available in the high-altitude and rough desert terrain, including mountaineering, cycling and river rafting. But perhaps the best way to appreciate the scenery is on foot, via the hundreds of pristine hiking trails covering the mountains and dotted with Buddhist gompas (monasteries or shrines).
- Waitomo Caves, New Zealand – It’s a labyrinth of caves hidden beneath fern-covered hills and waterfalls. These 30-million-year-old limestone rock formations were first explored in 1887 by local Maori Chief, Tane Tinorau, accompanied by English surveyor, Fred Mace. The caves are lit by thousands of glowworms that cling to the walls and ceiling; you can take a guided tour including a boat ride illuminated by these bioluminescent bugs. There are also dedicated ‘black water rafting’ tours, which involve floating along underground rivers in an inflatable rubber ring.
- La Fortuna, Costa Rica – It sits at the base of a popular national park and an active volcano, making it a very convenient base for nature and outdoor adventures. From this humble local town, you can white water raft Class 3 and 4 rapids, zipline over 600 feet above the rainforest, stand up paddle in the lake with a stunning view of the volcano and rappel down 200 foot waterfalls in the jungle.
- Maui, Hawaii – It has everything an adventure lover could ever want. Surfers can brave 80 foot-high skyscraper-sized waves at Jaws on the north shore. Underwater enthusiasts get to snorkel and scuba dive with tropical fish and Hawaiian sea turtles at Molokini Crater in crystal-clear waters near the beach town of Kihei. Just driving around the island can be a feat in itself, with the treacherous Road to Hana that boasts 59 narrow one-lane bridges and 620 hairpin curves.
- Ushuaia, Argentina – Sitting at the tip of the Tierra del Fuego, the archipelago at the very bottom of the South American continent, this “City at the Edge of the World” is the apex of any trip to Patagonia and is a fantastic destination for hiking, wildlife watching, and exploring history. It’s located along The Beagle Channel, named for the HMS Beagle on Darwin’s voyage, and here travelers can navigate the waters, observe penguins, or learn from one of the city’s well-curated museums. For those looking for adventure, take a minibus out to Tierra del Fuego National Park or Laguna Esmeralda for incredible hikes and unforgettable views.
- Cape Town, South Africa – Cape Town, South Africa is about all things adventure! From surfing, hiking, cage shark diving, skydiving, safari, this city has so much to serve on the platter. Cage shark diving is a unique experience available in Cape Town, not often heard of in many places. Shark cage diving is underwater diving or snorkeling where the observer remains inside a protective cage designed to prevent sharks from making contact with the divers. Sharks may be attracted to the vicinity of the cage by the use of bait, in a procedure known as chumming.
- Thrihnukagigur volcano, Iceland – Ever wondered what it’s like inside the Earth ? Well, you can have that firsthand experience here by descending into this volcano. Clipped on to what’s essentially a window-cleaner’s lift, you’re slowly lowered 120m into another world – a magma chamber uniquely drained of its magma. Lights reveal a cavern of many colours – bruise purples, Sulphur yellows, blood reds. Water drip-drips from above. Thrihnukagigur is dormant, last erupting over 4,000 years ago. Interested in more volcanoes ? Check out this post by The Guardian.
- Antarctica – is one of those rare places where the destination is an adventure in and of itself. From the minute you begin crossing the world’s most treacherous sea to your last iceberg sighting, you’ll feel like an intrepid explorer. Antarctica’s ecosystem remains remarkably pristine, boasting spectacular glacial lagoons, dramatic icebergs, and incredible wildlife that includes breaching whales, penguin colonies, and deep-diving seals. Checkout this post to see all the fun you can have in this frigid paradise.
- Queenstown, New Zealand – The extreme sports capital of the world seems like an obvious place to start the list of adventure destinations. This incredible city is an adventure destination all year round. Take a helicopter ride over Milford Sound and Mitre Peak or jump out of the helicopter with skis strapped on for a more extreme experience. Ear round you can go bungy jumping, whitewater rafting, skydiving or jet boating. For an adventure at a slower pace, you can head up over the mountains in a hot air balloon or check out one of the award-winning wineries.
- Kathmandu, Nepal – Nestled between the Himalayas, Kathmandu is the ideal adventure destination for anyone up for a challenge. The obvious USP of Kathmandu is Mt. Everest- the highest point in the world and the ultimate challenge for any avid mountain climber. It is however only one of many summits that can be reached in the mountainous region. For those wanting to see the mountain tops without the climb, mountain flights and hot air balloon rides are another way to experience the beauty of the ranges. There are some great spots to go white water rafting or grab a mountain bike and hit the trails.
- Burlington, Vermont. USA – Sitting in the northwest corner of Vermont, on the shores of Lake Champlain, is Burlington. The city thrives on outdoor adventures. No matter what season you visit Burlington in, you will find something to ignite your adrenaline. Biking on the Burlington bike path, cliff jumping at Red Rocks, and kayaking through the waters of Lake Champlain are just a few of the things to do within Burlington city limits. You can hike up Mt. Philo here. It is a state park 20 minutes south of Burlington, and is easily manageable for any fitness level.
- Rotorua, New Zealand – Rotorua is a popular tourist town known for its geothermal features and cultural Maori villages. Dig a little deeper and you will find yourself in an adventure haven. You don’t have to look too far to find zip-lining, bungee jumping, zorbing, luges, mountain biking, jet boating, and rock climbing. The most adventurous part about this town is its whitewater sports. You can make your way down the Okere River (Kaituna) not only on a raft but actually in the water hanging onto nothing but a board, similar to a boogie board. Known as hydrospeed or sledging, it’s a must try. The Okere River is also home to Tutea Falls, which is the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world.
- Big Island, Hawaii – The Big Island of Hawaii is an all-time favorite for tropical souls. If you enjoy both soft recreational activities as well as scary adventure experiences, this is the place for you. From scuba diving to snorkeling, sailing to surfing, hiking to horseback riding, a variety of thrill-seeking activities are at your disposal here.
- Whistler, Canada – Known better as a ski resort, this pedestrian-friendly village sits at the bottom of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain and offers a whole heap of adventurous activities such as: Bungee Jumping, Rafting, Kayaking, Hiking, Glacier Hiking, Via Ferrata, Mountain Biking, a ‘peak to peak’ Gondola, zip lining and Off-Roading.