ADVENTURE TRAVEL GUIDE
By Jerome Greer Chandler
dventure travel is A 60-year old’s trip to Trinidad &
accelerating across Tobago to visit a bird sanctuary
the planet. People can be adventure of the first rank.
are probing new cultures, new “The mindset is all subjective,”
experiences, and new modes of says Doyle.
thinking. They are, in a very real sense,
the “new adventurers.”
Adventure is triggered when you look inside, and
While the classic definition of adventure travel
press your own personal comfort levels – physical,
is still true — catapulting down Class Five
psychological, cultural. “Your mindset shifts,” says
Rapids, for example — that old construct is also
Doyle. “You’re becoming an adventurer because
far too constricting. “More and more, the definition
you’re pressing your own internal boundaries.”
of ‘adventure travel’ is broadening,” says
Chris Doyle, director of the Adventure Travel
The trick is, of course, knowing what boundaries
Trade Association www.adventure.travel to push, and knowing when not to push too hard.
(no dot-com in the address). “Travelers are Contrary to popular perception, you don’t have to
saying, ‘I have a different consciousness now. overtax your pocketbook to embark on an
I’m aware of climate change, am aware there are extraordinary, life-altering adventure.
struggles in the world, and that environments are
threatened.” Once content to check out the latest Such sojourns are far closer than
theme park, or pack a camper for the beach, you think. And if you do have
people are saying, “I can go explore another the money, there are far-away
region of the world, and take those lessons places with strange sounding
home.” Lessons need not be perilous. names in abundance.
Perceptions can be widened in other ways.
o that end, Cheapflights offers ten out there that can help. One of them is Medex
alternatives – adventures both close-to- www.medexassist.com. The internationally-
home, and entirely exotic. I traveled to respected firm operates 24/7, and is adept at
Whistler, British Columbia for the 2007 providing help when, and where, it’s needed.
Adventure Travel World Summit,
and chose what I believe are USI Travel
among the best of the best. Insurance Services
www.travelinsure.com has 30-plus years in
Before we begin, a mild
the international travel insurance market.
admonition: things can go
It specializes in cultural exchange, educational,
awry out there. Depending
youth and student travel insurance.
on the adventure, ankles can
occasionally get sprained, wrists Just to make sure you’re up on your shots before
can get broken and other things can go you embark to places whose names you’re having
bump in the night. “Receiving medial assistance trouble pronouncing, pay an online visit to Sanofi
while away from a home country can be pretty Pasteur www.sanofipasteur.com. The vaccine
daunting and confusing,” says Alexandra Koerte, company produces a neat little booklet called
program coordinator of Work & Travel USA, The Travel Booster – Your Guide to Healthy
InterExchange, Inc. Travel. It tells you what germs lurk where, and
how to prepare for them.
What most travelers don’t realize
is that often standard medical The best way to prepare for the adventure itself
insurance plans actually is to go to the Adventure Travel Trade Association
exclude coverage while (ATTA). ATTA provides a glossary of terms, right
traveling aboard, or only cover there online. “There’s a lot of jargon we use in
expenses on a reimbursement basis. And most of the industry,” says ATTA’s Chris Doyle, “and
these plans don’t provide for emergency we’ve distilled it for the consumer.” The Web
medical evacuation.There are companies site is www.adventure.travel. You’ll also be able
to search by region, and inclination – finding Here, then, are precious pieces of that land,
the perfect adventure to suit your personal serene swaths of that sea – places both near
boundaries. Doyle says the site is set up for, “the and far where your personal adventure awaits:
novice and the seasoned traveler. It’s a starting
Close to Home
1) Sea Caves by Kayak.
nd an unbiased one at that. “You don’t
You don’t have to travel to another continent to
book travel there,” says Doyle. “We’re
kayak. The Channel Islands, just off the coast
not trying to make money off bookings.
of southern California, offer breathtaking cliffs,
We just want the consumer to have a trusted place
abundant wildlife, and eerie sea caves. Aquasports
to go,” a place populated by tour operators and
www.islandkayaking.com offers an array of guided
adventure travel companies that, by virtue of their
kayaking trips, with prices ranging from $165 to
association with the ATTA, are both reputable and
$335 and up. You don’t need special skills to book
committed to sustainable environmental practices.
a passage to this very special place.
That’s increasingly important these days in 2) Bioluminescent Beauty.
adventure travel. The companies the Adventure For a surreal adventure, something out of
Travel Trade Association deals with don’t ravage The Lord of the Rings, consider heading to
the land. They revere it. Florida’s Space Coast, near the east side of
the peninsula. During the warm winter months
the waters of Indian River Lagoon come alive
with bioluminescence. Every dip of your paddle
produces a light show – so too the swirl of a
speeding mullet, or the ghostly passage
of a gentle manatee.
3) Behold , British Columbia. 4) Galapagos Getaway.
On my drive north from Vancouver to cover Trace the tracks of Charles Darwin, and venture
the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s to a land unlike any other. The Galapagos Islands
2007 Summit, I was struck by the unabashed offer insights into the evolution not just of the
beauty of British Columbia. I had to be about species, but of ourselves. Hike lava trails, walk
my business and come back home. You don’t solitary beaches, horseback, mountain bike or
have to. Stay awhile in this extraordinary salient backpack along pristine paths. If you think you’ve
of North America and behold some of the most surfed them all, here’s one beach we’ll bet you
breathtaking juxtaposition of land, sky, and sea haven’t touched – the one that graces
on earth. One of the most fascinating forays San Cristobal Island. Inclined to
is a tour along the Northern Coast & Caribou the underwater? The Galapagos
Chilcotin Coast. Jetboat down the Fraser River, are recognized for some of the
and discover how the Sikani First Nations used best diving in the world, be you
it as a highway of commerce and culture. Track beginner or pro. For information
the legendary Spirit Bear in coastal rainforests. contact Ecuador Adventure at either
Something more leisurely? Travel the fjord-like www.ecuadoradventure.ec,
Inside Passage aboard BC Ferries. or www.galapagosadventure.com.
5) Breathtaking Brazil.
For lot of folks, Brazil conjures up visions of Rio’s
Copacabana Beach – rows of bodies basking,
In search of something in the Western
occupying every nook and crevice of the crowded
Hemisphere that’s exotic, but has become
sand. That’s not the Brazil we’re talking about.
relatively easy to get to. Consider these three
This Brazil is in the south of Bahia State, on the itself takes a couple of wet, wild hours. Next time
Maraú Peninsula. There you’ll your friends regale you with pale tales of sloshing
find a place torn from the down streams in north Georgia, tell them about
pages of a late 19th-century Brazil.
novel, with 50 kilometers of
primitive beaches, pools in
7) Green, Green.
coral reefs, waterfalls, islands,
Thought Greenland was just a snowy swath on
and rain forest. Flora and fauna are diverse – and
the map? Think again. It is the accessible arctic
devastatingly beautiful. The local hotels are rustic,
– stark and uncompromising. The Inuit culture
and specialize in serving up heaping platters of
still thrives here, as does an amazing abundance
regional seafood. This is sustainable tourism
of wildlife – humpback whales, reindeer, musk
at its best, and you can tap into it by contacting
oxen, and spectacular seabirds. Their call mingles
Ambiental at www.ambiental.tur.br.
with the wind as it whips around
this remote island, the largest on
6) Rio Rafting.
earth. If you want to see one of the
If you’re headed to Rio de Janeiro anyway, but
planet’s most spectacular glaciers,
don’t have a lot of time to really delve into the
venture to Greenland’s west coast, to
deeps of this magnificent country, that doesn’t
Illuissat, 150 miles north of the Polar Circle. You’ll
necessarily axe opportunities for adventure. Two
be astounded at how fast the ice moves on its
hours away from the city is the Macaé River, in
way to the sea, where the massive melt spawns
the Atlantic Rainforest. That’s where experienced
gigantic icebergs. See this, and you’ll understand
guides from Rio Hiking
‘global warming’ in a visceral way. Air Greenland
www.riohiking.com.br will take you
www.airgreenland.com now flies you to this once
down Level 2 through four rapids.
remote island, and does it nonstop from Baltimore/
You’ll be prepped before heading
Washington International Airport (BWI). Four-day,
down river, and issued instructions
three-night adventures from BWI start at $2,690
and safety gear. The waterborne part of the trip
Far Away Flights of Fancy Go to www.fjordnorway.com.
Fjords are fascinating. And if Greenland’s are
9) Big Butterflies.
fast, Norway’s are fantastic. Something warmer?
Because Madagascar is an island, plant and
Make tracks to Madagascar – the island, not the
animal species found in no other place on the
planet thrive here. Insects too. Butterflies may
8) To Ponder, and Preserve. not be free, but they flourish on this island just off
It’s tough to find four sites on the United Nations Africa’s east coast. The Comet, purportedly the
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s world’s largest butterfly, is a national treasure.
(UNESCO) www.unesco.org World Heritage List So too is the scenery – stark, and untamed. It’s
in so close proximity to one another. Travel to the perfect place for cross-country biking. The
Norway, and you will. Four of the planet’s most Sainte Marie Biking Tour is exhilarating, but not for
spectacular fjords are there, surrounded by large, beginners. It skirts the coast, cuts across
practically unspoiled vistas. Some of those vistas startling countryside, and slithers
are best beheld from the side of a mountain, and up challenging slopes. Pull over
Norway’s Romsdal Mountain Range rates as for a while and take a pull from
among the top in Europe. Trollveggen is known to the requisite bottled water. While
virtually every rock climber in the world. In the late you rest, smell the orchids. There
1960s, a team of French climbers took 20 days to are ten species of them on this singular island.
ascend its heights. The local folks, however, are The best time to behold them is from July through
all too happy to show you an September. One great way to get there is Air
easier route. The Puffins Madagascar www.airmadagascar.com.
have already figured
10 ) African Access.
out local logistics.
The stereotype adventure traveler is the Great
The area sports
White Hunter: a mustachioed guy armed with
high-powered rifle after big game. You envision
him on the Serengeti, in Tanzania. But now - Give back to the area. Buy local goods,
Africa is bent on preserving wildlife, lest tourists find a local health clinic or school and
stop coming. Photo safaris have supplanted that donate to it;
stereotype as the country strives to attract an - Conserve natural resources. Don’t buy
increasingly conservation-conscious clientele. anything produced from rare or
The animals are still there, and every whit of the endangered species. Try to offset carbon
excitement. It’s just that your trip to Tanzania emissions from land and air travel.
www.tanzaniatouristboard.com these days
leaves far less permanent a footprint.
Push those boundaries Chris Doyle got it right when he said it’s
– cultural, personal, and physical. Explore the a consciousness-heightening exercise
options at www.adventure.travel. But before in self-exploration. The lessons you learn
you travel make sure that your destination is on this road less traveled will stay with
committed to sustainable adventure travel. you for life.
Sustainable Travel International
www.sustainabletravel.com suggests you:
- Research alternatives so you can help
support environmental conservation, and
protect the cultural heritage of the place;
- Be culturally sensitive about the place
you visit. Respect the values, customs,
and beliefs of local people;
- Make meaningful connections with those
people, not just peripheral passings;