For anyone bored with the average beach vacation, extreme travel options offer a much more adventurous way to get around the world and have fun. Adrenaline will probably be a major ingredient of some of the following ideas.
White water rafting has always been one of the more exciting extreme travel options, but how about rafting down the Río Futaleufú in Chile, for an even more hectic ride.
The river starts out in the Los Alerces National Park in Argentina, flowing west into Chile. The landscapes it flows through offer everything from snow-capped volcanoes through to lush rain forest.
The name “Futaleufú” means “Great River” in the local dialect, and the reason is clear to see. As the beautifully clear water flows through the wilderness, traversing deep canyons, an untamed and explosive white water experience builds, more extreme than anywhere else in the world.
While extreme travel is the order of the trip, the rafter is surrounded by the magic and sheer beauty of Patagonia along the way. The image above left shows the river at a rather tamer spot along its route. However, the video below shows kayakers thoroughly enjoying the white water experience:
Still on the water, but just a tad colder, the next extreme travel trip is to Antarctica. Take a cruise of a lifetime to explore the fascinating Antarctic Peninsula with its huge glaciers, sheltered bays and narrow fjords. While cruising around, make regular landings to view the penguin rookeries and seal colonies of Deception Island, Paradise Bay, the Lemaire channel and the Gerlache Strait. Along the way, many Minke and Humpback Whales can be seen in their natural environment, often surfacing right near the boat.
For those who can brave the environment, it is possible to go ashore and camp out for the night or climb the icy mountains and glaciers. Of interest is the chance to visit various historic sights of Antarctica as well as scientific stations. It may be very cold in Antarctica, but the sheer beauty is just amazing.
Take a short, time lapse cruise through Antarctica in the video below:
For something rather different, take a motorcycle tour of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. In what can be described as a ride of a lifetime, these tours take the adventurer off the beaten track and out into the vast open steppe, through mountain and desert landscapes where only the odd nomadic family resides.
Throughout the journey, sandy trails and rough rocky tracks are the order of the day in an environment more normally traversed by camels, yaks, sheep and goats.
The terrain varies from grasslands and mountains, to endless sand, as can be seen in the video below.
While visitors will find the locals fascinating along the way, they should bear in mind that locals are also interested in the visitors and their strange clothing, motorcycles and gear. Most tour operators suggest that visitors carry photos of their home environment to show the locals their side of the world.
While traveling might be a tad rough, nights are spent in reasonable comfort in well set up “ger” tents with as many mod cons as possible. Anyone interested in making this extreme travel trip even more energetic, can also try the mountain bike equivalent.
These are just a few suggestions to get that big adrenaline rush. Whether out in the dry and arid desert, traversing dangerous waters or sailing in icy weather, extreme travel is, indeed, the more adventurous way to vacation.
By Anne Sewell
Patagonia Adventure Travel
White Water Rafting Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Rob Chandler
Río Futaleufú CC by-SA Kaaty.7
Gobi desert photo CC by-SA He-ba-mue
Antarctica CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Guillermo Avalos