Relaxing by the pool, a cocktail in one hand and a good book in the other is a great way to unwind. Surely there can be nothing better than a great, relaxing vacation...But there is. Leave the cocktail dress and minimalist bikini behind and embark on the trip of a lifetime to one of these three adventurous vacation destinations. Relaxing is for the weekend
Patagonia – Travel to the end of the world
Partly in Argentina, partly in Chile, Patagonia is a land of contrasts. Towering mountains and wide flat plains run side by side until both descend into the ocean. Then you will know you have reached the end of the world.
The age of the explorer may have ended decades ago, but that does not mean you can't explore for yourself. Patagonia has the ability to transport you back to a time when civilization was, well, less civilized, casting you in the role of a great explorer investigating new lands. The wide, never-ending plains give you a sense of freedom unrivaled by anything else. Patagonia is a land that rewards curiosity and effort with breathtaking sights. Here, you will appreciate the true beauty and power that nature has over our souls.
How to get there?
Fly from Santiago, Chile, to either Puerto Natales or Punta Arenas. To reach the Argentinean side, take a plane from Buenos Aires to Calafate and Ushuaia. During the tourist season, a daily flight runs between Buenos Aires and Calafate.
Once you arrive, you'll need to rent a car, or more likely a 4x4. Southern Patagonia is simple to navigate, with road connections all the way down to Tierra del Fuego.
What to do?
Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park are the two major destinations. Take a closer look at those national park names and you can be sure this is all about adventure. Explore the Towers of Paine in Chile, before graduating to the glaciers of Argentina. The glaciers, the incredibly shaped rocks, the mountains, the forests, the fjords, they can all be overwhelming. Patagonia has so many beautiful sights and experiences to offer and yet can be rather unappreciated. That does leave you more room to explore and experience this wild, untamed land in peace, though.
One great way to see more of Patagonia is by taking a hot air balloon ride. From up above, you will really be able to appreciate its beauty even more.
Before packing and booking your trip to Buenos Aires or Santiago, read an in-depth guide to traveling to Patagonia.
Lencois Maranhenses, Brazil – A wet desert?
There are hundreds of reasons to visit Brazil, but nothing comes close to Lencois Maranhenses. At a first glance, this looks like a typical desert, but look closer and you will find sparkling blue lagoons scattered among the dry sand. The rainfall that accumulates in the valleys between the dunes is trapped and creates little lagoons inside the desert. Lencois Maranhenses is a unique spot on the globe and you will never find something quite like it. It is best to visit between May and August as these months see the most rain and many ponds will be filled with water.
Vehicles are not allowed in the park, so you will have to explore by foot. There are hundreds of lagoons scattered around and you have the freedom to explore each and every one of them. It is easy and recommended to hire a guide because the sheer size of the park can be a bit overwhelming.
The easiest way to reach Lencois Maranhenses is from Sao Luis, which is well connected with the rest of the country through its international airport. From there, you can take a bus to Barreirinhas. There, you will find lodging and many tourist agencies with professional guides that will help you explore the park. The city, although small, is quite busy. There are more remote options for accommodations in the nearby villages of Atins, Caburé and Santo Amaro in case you want to get away from the commotion.
What to do?
The most popular lagoons are Azul and Bonita near Barreirinhas. Make sure to visit them in the afternoon to catch the sunset. At sunset, "the wet desert" transforms into a rainbow of colors. You will never see such a spectacle anywhere else. In the morning, take a raft trip on the quiet and calm Formiga River. Return to Barreirinhas to eat and enjoy a few drinks after a long day of trekking.
To explore other villages, you can take a boat trip on the Preguicas river with stops at the Preguicas lighthouse ad at Cado. Atins is a small village in the north. There, you will find two beautiful, but not as popular, lagoons - Verde and Mario.
The Galapagos Islands – Reconnect with nature
You will find The Galapagos Islands mentioned on every list of traveling destinations, but that is simply because of their sheer beauty. Here, you will not find bustling crowds of tourists waiting to get a photo. The Galapagos shine through their calm and serenity. Sail the crystal blue waters to a magical place that has fascinated many great minds.
The Galapagos may not be the most adventurous vacation destination, but it is easily one of the most impressive. The best thing about Galapagos is their pristine and virgin condition. You will not see signs of human habitation here. Many of the remote islands are only accessible by boat, so booking a cruise is the best way to explore the archipelago. The Galapagos also make for a great yacht travel destination. This way, you will get the best of both worlds: adventure and comfort.
How to get there?
The best way to explore the Galapagos is by boat. There are many resources that will help you plan your trip and book a cruise. You can join a large cruise ship or hire a small private yacht, for a more intimate and romantic experience. Please note that the number of visitors on each island is limited and there are only a few spots designated for landing. Also, you will have to follow the guide and not stray from the route. These measures are enforced to protect the wildlife. Many animals are so tame that they will barely react to tourists.
What to do?
The main activity is going on a cruise to visit the islands and observe the nature and animals. There are many interesting species of animals on every island – the same animals have inspired Darwin to come up with the theory of evolution.
Besides going on a cruise, you can scuba dive to explore the sea life. Diving in the Galapagos is an incredible experience and has been often named one of the best diving spots in the world. You can see shoals of hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, Galapagos sharks, giant mantas, eagle rays, sting rays, huge schools of jack and tuna, sea turtles, sea lions and much more.
Surfing, kayaking and even horseback riding all are activities that you can enjoy in the Galapagos Islands.
Some travelers crave adventure and excitement. These adventurous vacation destinations are remote, but not impossible to get to and most important, not as crowded as other major attractions.