Adventurous destinations


NOT COOL, JUST REAL

For some people, just going camping with their kids is different enough. But others yearn for an odyssey. For these travelers, adventure is all about the place. They don’t need to kayak, climb or cycle for miles. They just want to have their senses awakened by spectacular and often extreme landscapes, untouched cultures or, quite simply, wilderness.
Adventurous destinations call for responsible vacation companies that have spent years getting to know these places and the people who live and work there. They ensure that you have quality places to stay, excellent local guides, good transport and plenty of good food, before they embark on creating vacations that bring small groups of tourists here.

What’s not cool this year?


The media is always jumping on board the ‘best new destination’ bandwagon. But at Responsible Travel, we like to highlight ‘different’ destinations because they are in a position to bring high quality, exciting responsible tourism offerings to the table. Not just because it appears in the latest blockbuster movie, or because some celeb has opened a hotel there. So, before you search, think about whether you are jumping on the cool bandwagon, or just going in search of something real.

Daring to be different


In Mongolia you can discover the dramatic steppes landscape of the Zavkhan province on horseback, as equine excellence is at the core of Mongolian culture. Or spend time with the Kazakhs in their homelands , the dramatically beautiful Altai Mountains.
Haiti, in the Caribbean, is also daring to be different. Which is admirable, given that Haitians suffered the most tragic loss after the earthquake that hit in 2010. So, they could just try and pull in the Caribbean cruise ship liners or all inclusive resort conglomerates. But thankfully, local companies are offering trips that include swimming in waterfalls, whale and dolphin watching, hikes or horse treks up to Cap-Haitien’s magnificent Citadelle, or visits to artists and artisans in its vibrant, and so not clichéd Caribbean capital city, Port au Prince.
Alaska is an astronomic adventure. Forgo the vast cruise ship invasions and go camping in this glacial wilderness, guided by people who really get Alaska’s extremities and exquisiteness. Such as in Wrangell St-Elias NP, a giant of glacial gorgeousness, where you can trek on glaciers or go ice climbing. Or Denali NP, home to the USA’s highest mountain, Mt. McKinley, and habitat for impressive populations of grizzly bears, caribou and wolves. And there is no better place to savour the whales, of course, than Alaska.
Patagonia will always pull adventurers. With phenomenal trekking in Aysén, Tierra del Fuego and Torres del Paine, horse riding with gauchos and, of course, trips to see whales and calving glaciers, Patagonia is at the end of the world, and out of this world.
There are also some traditional beach vacation destinations that hide their inland treats under a bushel. Such as Montenegro, where Lake Skadar is kayaking heaven, and the surrounding mountains and national parks are some of Europe’s best kept secrets. In Cuba you can hike the Sierra Maestra and go horse riding in the Pinar del Río. Or travel just an hour inland from the French Riviera to go hiking through the Alps in the Mercantour National Park with a donkey to carry your bags. And life is not always a beach in Croatia, as there are seven inland national parks with lots of ups and downs. Hiking and cycling up. White water rafting and kayaking down. Slavonia in the far east of the country is still totally untouristy too.
Photo credit: [Top box: ss_ZM_Photo] [Daring to be different: Bernd Thaller] [Haiti: Feed My Starving Children (FMSC)] [Alaska : Malcolm Manners] [Kayaking in Alaska: Wildnerdpix] [Last paragraph: Delpixel]
Written by Catherine Mack
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