Sometimes, we need a break. A proper break, from our lives and stresses, but also from activity. We need to lie by a pool for hours at a time, sipping cocktails and reading easy books. We need slow walks across the beach and afternoons in the spa. We need time to do as little as possible to recharge our batteries and catch up on our rest.
Sometimes, it’s good to be lazy, to chill out and to give ourselves time to relax and unwind. These kinds of vacations are ideal after a busy period of work, or when you’ve got a lot on your mind, and you need to take some time just to think. You can come home feeling refreshed and ready to get back into things.
But, these kinds of a trip aren’t for everyone all of the time. Sometimes relaxing by the beach all of the time feels like a waste. When you’ve got energy to burn you might want to spend your time being more active. Some people even find it easier to clear their minds when their bodies are moving. They find it easier to think and to sort through their thoughts when they are moving, seeing new sites and enjoying all that the world has to offer.
Active vacations are fantastic. The activities on offer in different locations aren’t the same as what you can do at home. Visiting different places is often your only chance to try new activities. To learn new things, meet new people and have new experiences. You might try something in one place that you’ll never be able to do again, but you might try other things that become lifelong hobbies.
Active holidays help you to see more of your destination, meet new people, and gain new experiences. They also help you to keep fit, pushing your body in new and different ways. They help you to relax and unwind, putting life into perspective and they help you to come home feeling positive and refreshed. Let’s take a look at some of the best active vacation destinations from around the world.
When you think of the Azores Islands, you probably imagine one of those relaxing beach breaks. You might picture long sandy beaches, deep blue seas, gorgeous scenery and popular tourist attractions — the kind of place that you’d go for fruity cocktails, to work on your tan and to enjoy some peace and quiet. It’s true. You can get all of that in the Azores. But, there’s also so much more to do too.
The Azores is made up of 9 volcanic islands. Some areas, look like a beach in Hawaii, others, New Zealand greenery. The scenery is vast and changing. You could lose days just exploring and hiking. But, there’s also snorkeling with dolphins, whale watching, kayaking on crater lakes. You can bathe in thermal pools and take a jeep tour of the volcanic walls. There are loads to see and do, and when you’re ready to relax, there’s a beautiful sunset and a fabulous glass of wine waiting for you.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
If you really want to get in touch with nature, the Galapagos is the place to be.
The unique geographical history of the islands means that a wide range of animal species has flourished and grown. You’ll see giant tortoises, flamingos, Galapagos penguins, iguanas, sea lions and more. You’ll get to walk in Charles Darwin‘s footsteps and look at the birds that first inspired his theory of evolution.
If you want to get closer to the animals you can hike, snorkel, dive, go out on boat tours and trips, and you can even try surfing or explore with a forest walk.
Even when you think you’ve had enough in the islands, there are so many things to do for you while backpacking in Ecuador.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
More than 40% of Namibia is under conservation management. The country is committed to conservation, which makes it a very attractive destination for active holidayers. Visit Etosha National Park to see free-roaming black rhinos, Cheetahs, lions, and elephants.
On the skeleton coast, you’ll see dramatic sand dunes running into the ocean. For something different, you can try sandboarding or sand sledding.
Machu Picchu is an ancient city in the Andes mountains in Peru. For the ultimate active vacation, hike the Inca trail to get there. It’s a four-day hike, and if you book on to a tour, you’ll get to paddle board and zip line along the way. Then, when you get there, you can spend time exploring the city and taking in the culture.
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe, you can swap a jeep for a walking tour. Take a walking safari through the Hwange National park, and you’ll get up close to lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and much more. These tours and guided and in small groups, so it really is an experience to remember.
Australia is another great place to visit if you want to mix everything up.
You’ll be able to surf, to snorkel and to dive. You can try beach sports like beach volleyball, and you can have a go at water sports like jet-skiing and surfing. But, you’ll also be able to get some culture with visits to museums and galleries and do some shopping in the bigger cities.
Visit Ningaloo Reef which attracts over 500 species of sea life, and you might even spot some humpback whales and loggerhead turtles.
Of course, there will also be plenty of chance to relax and get some sun if you can make time in your hectic, and active schedule.
Baffin Island is the largest island in Canada. But, due to it’s harsh climate and proximity to the arctic circle, the population is low and it’s certainly not an easy or a particularly comfortable place to visit. But, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
You might want to hire a local guide to keep you safe and make sure you are able to make the most of your trip. But, it’s your chance to see polar bears, arctic foxes, and wolves in their natural environment. You might also see orca and beluga whales off the coast.
If you can’t imagine anything worse than sitting on a beach for hours at a time, then perhaps you’d enjoy the complete opposite. Kilimanjaro is 19340 feet tall, and takes about 8 days to conquer as part of a tour. You’ll have a guide to help you, and people to carry your heavier gear but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be a massive physical test.
It’s well worth it though. Climb Kilimanjaro and you’ll see some of the greatest landscapes going. You’ll have time alone with your thoughts, but you’ll also make firm friends. You’ll push your body, and your mind and you will learn a lot about yourself.
The climb is difficult, but non-technical. So, while you might want to work on your fitness and stamina, you don’t need to be an expert climber or shell out on expensive equipment.
Sailing in the Philippines
If you fancy trying a different sport, while still getting to see some breathtaking sights and enjoy a relaxing trip, sailing in the Philippines can be perfect. Especially if you’ve never sailed before.
You can book a course sailing around uninhabited islands near Boracay. You’ll learn the basics, and then get challenged as your skills improve. You’ll also get plenty of chance to meet local people and enjoy the area.
Large active holidays like these can be expensive, and are usually once in a lifetime opportunities. But, that doesn’t mean that they are the only ways to be more active when you are away. Wherever you are, take the time to look for local classes and activities, and try to see as much as you can.