Adventure tourism is all about having fun and seeing beautiful sites in Mother Nature. If you prefer being in a city or building to enjoy yourself, then adventure tourism may not be for you. In this particular type of tourism, one usually needs to be at a certain fitness level (though not in all cases) and they must not underestimate nature. Nature can be fun, but also dangerous. If you can respect nature, then you will have no problem finding fun. Here I will provide 5 different types of adventure tourism and then I will provide 3 locations for that type. Be sure to research these places if you decide to go. Now go out and find an adventure (after reading, of course)!
Going into a cave has a certain excitement about it that many people find alluring. Be sure to find out if the cave you want to visit is for spelunking or touring.
Cave of the Swallows (Aquismon, San Luis Potosi, Mexico)
This cave is very popular with cavers who want to rappel or BASE jump. It is also popular with people who want to come out and see the many species of birds that call the cave home. The birds, mostly white-collared swifts and green parakeets, have nests in the sides of the cave walls. As for the size of this pit, have you ever seen the Empire State Building? Well, picture that inside of this cave, with plenty of room. This cave is over 400 ft. deep, which makes for 400 ft. of adrenaline rush when you attempt to get to the bottom.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves (North Island, New Zealand)
Ethereal is the best way to describe the Waitomo caves. These caves are inhabited by millions of glowworms (Arachnocampa luminosa) that live on the walls and ceiling. They are no bigger than a mosquito and completely illuminate the caves. People can take a small boat tour down the waterway that runs through the cave to get a close up look of the glowworms. This may be on the less extreme side of adventure tourism, but being in this cave will make you feel like you have traveled to another world.
Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves (Werfen, Austria)
Yes, not all caves are made of rock and limestone. The Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves in Austria show just how gorgeous ice can be. The caves hold many natural ice formations inside that visitors can go and see. Be sure to wear warm clothing, though, as the temperatures inside the cave are below freezing (obviously, it’s an ICE cave). A round-trip through the cave and seeing the ice formations will take you roughly about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Definitely worth getting out in the cold!
Being amongst a large school of fish, seeing a large reef of hundreds of species of coral, having absolutely no breathable air except what is inside a tank strapped to your back. There is something about scuba diving that just gives people a sense of calm, while also giving them an adrenaline rush at the same time. Being underwater may be terrifying to some people, but for those who aren’t afraid of the water, it is an experience one can’t pass up.
The Great Blue Hole (off the coast of Belize City, Belize)
This massive sinkhole is a world-famous scuba diving site. People come here for the crystal clear water (which is excellent for scuba diving), the many species of fish, and the underwater caves that are within the Great Blue Hole. The presence of rock formations in the caves suggests that the sea level was a lot lower when they were forming. When you see them, you can tell they are slightly angled. Take a boat ride out to the Hole and see for yourself!
Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos)
There are many companies that are willing to take visitors around the coast of Grand Turk to go scuba diving. The island has a very wide variety of aquatic species and coral reefs. Who wouldn’t want to go to a gorgeous island, go scuba diving off its coast, and have the chance to see turtles?!
Punta Gorda (Costa Rica)
This is a very popular diving spot on the Pacific coast side of Costa Rica. The water here is popular due to the fact that it is warm year-round. Divers can see large aquatic species, like the whale shark, very regularly. Punta Gorda is also famous for having large schools of eagle rays. Seeing these majestic creatures “fly” through the water is entrancing, to say the least.
This, in my opinion, is the classic adventure. Going on a long hike for days with just enough provisions to last the trip. Trekking is a prime example of what adventure tourism is and is a true test of fitness. Now channel your inner Bilbo Baggins and go on a trekking adventure (luckily there are no dragons involved………..maybe.)!
The Routeburn Track (South Island, New Zealand)
This popular trek starts on the Queenstown side of the Southern Alps (on the north side of Lake Wakatipu) and ends on the Te Anau side of the Southern Alps. The trip is about 32km (20mi) and provides trekkers with a view of the beauty of New Zealand. Expect to see gorgeous views of mountains, rivers, and forests along this trail.
The Haute Route (France-Switzerland)
This is an extremely scenic trek. The trail begins in Chamonix, France and takes trekkers all the way to Zermatt, Switzerland. There are also many variations of this trek. There is the ski route, which can take 7+ days to complete. There is the original walking route, which is for people who are very fit and expert trekkers, that takes 12+ days to complete. And there is the easier route, mostly for beginning trekkers and people who don’t want to go high up into the Alps. The easy route also provides huts along the way, instead of camping on the other routes.
The GR20 (The island of Corsica, France)
The GR20 is considered one of the best and most scenic treks in the world. It is also one of the most difficult treks. The trail is 180km (112mi) in total, but is split into two parts. The first part starts in the north at Calenzana and goes down to Vizzavona. This part is the hardest part of the trek and involves high elevation trekking. The second part starts in Vizzavona and goes down to Conza. This is the easier part of the trek and the part that many people tend to do instead of the whole thing. If you are up for a true challenge and test of fitness, try and conquer the whole GR20.
When one thinks of whitewater rafting, one thinks of being in a raft full of people yelling and trying to keep afloat as the rapids of a river try to overturn you. This is the epitome of an adrenaline rush for many people who partake in this part of adventure tourism. Go give it a try and you will probably agree.
Futaleufu River (Chile)
This river is fed by glacial and snow melt runoff in Argentina and flows down into Chile from the Andes Mountains. The Chilean part of the river is famous for the variety of rapids that people can enjoy. These rapids range from class II all the way up to class V rapids. When you are not battling the rapids, be sure to take in the beautiful Chilean scenery.
Magpie River (Quebec, Canada)
This is one of the top whitewater rafting destinations in the world. As you go down this monster river, the strength of the rapids increase all the way up to class V. A popular side activity of rafting on the river is to actually camp along the shore. If you decide to, then you can look forward to getting a view of the Northern Lights.
Ganges River (Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India)
Nearly all of the whitewater rafting done on the Ganges River is done from the city of Rishikesh. Rafters can expect to battle class III and class IV rapids constantly from this point in the river. This is popular with people that want an adrenaline rush, but don’t want to go head-to-head with a class V rapid.
Climbing has always been a popular part of adventure tourism. If someone sees something really tall, you can bet that the thought of climbing it has crossed their mind. Climbing can be done with a ton of equipment or, if you are feeling brave, with just hand and foot. Know your skill level before attempting any climb (train on a rock wall at the gym).
The Matterhorn (near Zermatt, Switzerland)
This mountain is easily the most recognized peak in all of Europe. Climbing to the summit can be difficult, so it is best if you go with someone who is experienced. Very important attributes to have for climbing this mountain are great fitness and good footing. You don’t want to be unsure of yourself on a climb. If you do reach the summit, you get a fantastic view for miles.
Devil’s Tower (Wyoming, USA)
This massive stone tower, near the Belle Fourche River in Wyoming, has attracted climbers for years. Devil’s Tower is known as America’s first national monument and is also considered a sacred site for many Native American tribes. Climbers can find spots all around the tower to climb, with and without the need of bolts.
The Peak District (United Kingdom)
This area in the UK is covered in rock formations that are just begging to be climbed. The Peak District is a great place for beginners to learn and for experts to test their skills. Some popular climb spots are the Stanage Edge near Sheffield and the Roaches in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
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(If you have any places that didn’t make this list, please share them in the comments!)