We know how you feel. It’s still winter in Toronto and you’re in vacation daydream mode – time to start planning (and saving) for your next big trips of 2012. But if you’ve already done the all-inclusive resorts and R&R stays on the beachside, you may be sick of them by now. So take the leap (literally), try something new and venture into some heart-pumping adventure travel.
Why would I spend my days off in terror, you might ask? Because they’re not as bad as you think. In fact, these adventure sports are super exciting but newbie-friendly – once you get addicted to them, you may want to schedule more trips to kick it up a notch.
Canyoning in Goa, India (Adrenaline Scale: 8-9): If you’re afraid of jumping off of waterfalls, sliding down canyons or abseiling down slippery cliffs with a rope tied to you, this may not be for you. Canyoning is a mixture of all these activities in one. But once you get over the initial anxiety, it’s literally like playing in a natural water park. You decide how far you would like to take it. Jump three metres down or 40 metres – trust your guide and don’t think about anything else in the world.
Check out Jungle Goa Adventure in Palolem for daring excursions deep in the jungle.
Snowboarding in Tremblant (Adrenaline Scale: 7): Scaling down snow-capped hills is probably the best feeling on earth. Tremblant’s hills vary in length and steepness so you choose which path to take. After a few runs, reward yourself by heading to the village for a Bailey’s hot chocolate, beaver tail or fondue madness.
DC Events organizes fantastic trips up to Tremblant. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wakeboarding in Muskoka (Adrenaline Scale 6-7): It’s like snowboarding on water… except it isn’t. Main difference? You’re attached to a speedboat. Wakeboarding can really wear out your arms the first few runs and it may be tricky to actually get up on the board. After you get the hang of it, you can start playing around with small jumps and swinging over the wake like a pro. Plan a wakeboard trip in Muskoka with a bunch of girlfriends of the awesome variety and it’s a guaranteed gongshow.
Muskoka Watersports will be replacing my favourite go-to wakeboard spot, Basecamp. Check out muskokawatersports.com for details.
High-Altitude Trekking in the Everest region, Nepal (Adrenaline Scale: 6): The Adrenaline Scale may seem low, but this trip tops my list as the hardest, most rewarding adventures I’ve ever taken. You’re walking every day between 5-8 hours for 14 days as the Himalayan landscape morphs before you. From bright green pastures and cascading streams to monstrous yet majestic mountains, your eyes (and calves) will never be the same again. Expect yak traffic jams and Sherpas, young and old, with super human strength.
Check out Travel Ways International to get you started on various trekking trips across the Himalayas. Ask for Sherpa Pema, the coolest guide ever.
Bungy Jumping in Minakami, Japan (Adrenaline Scale: 11): Looks easy. Bungy jumping doesn’t really take a lot of work – you simply have to jump…right? When you’re all tied up, standing on a bridge above rushing waters, trust me it’s not going to be easy – your adrenaline levels will shoot through the roof even before you jump. Once you muster up the courage, the five-second, 42-metre freefall is simply indescribable. Put this on your bucket list.
Check out Bungy Japan with adventure combo packages and accommodation also available.
Scuba Diving in El Nido, Philippines (Adrenaline Scale: 8-9): I never expected scuba diving to be up there on the Adrenaline Scale but to tell you the truth, the first dive was terrifying. But I took in what I learned during the brief Diving 101 (Remember to pop those eardrums!) and plunged into the deep. The second dive, however, was when I was able to overcome my inhibitions and truly enjoy the experience. I was in a whole different universe – bright corals, exotic creatures co-existing with giant sea turtles, schools of gorgeous alien fish. Listed as one of National Geographic’s Best Trips of 2011, El Nido on the island of Palawan is clearly the perfect adventure getaway to escape the winter blues.
There are tons of scuba diving operators in El Nido, but we went with Sea Dog Diving for its day packages and great instructors.
~ Desiree Gamotin