Adventures in paradise
April 27th 2012
Trek, ride, swim or sail your way to some of the most beautiful spots on earth
Canoe the Grand Canyon
Don’t let the fate of Burt Reynolds and his crew in Deliverance put you off a canoe trip in America. Leave the banjo at home, hire a local guide and enter a world that landbased excursions can not reach. Some classic white water can be found on a 90-mile stretch of the Colorado River, between Lees Ferry and Phantom Ranch. The six-day itinerary with O.A.R.S. takes in some of America’s finest natural wonders – the Canyonlands National Park, Cataract Canyon, and reaches its climax at the mighty Grand Canyon. There are 161 electrifying rapids to navigate through the Grand Canyon itself. The scenery looks even more breathtaking from the river than the canyon rim, especially as you’ll enjoy Mother Nature all to yourself rather than grappling for camera space with other tourists. You get to appreciate the play of light and shadow on canyon walls, and you can also access remote side canyons and caverns that are inaccessible by foot. Another favourite itinerary is to canoe on the San Juan River out of Bluff, Utah. As well as incredible canyon scenery, you can also hike to Native American ruins and camp in style on sandy beaches.
Ride the mountains of Cyprus
Cyprus receives more than three million tourists each year, but few of them make it beyond its sandy Mediterranean beaches to explore the rugged interior. Which is good for you, because the island’s Troodos Mountains are a playground for action and adventure, where you can ski in winter, and climb, hike or ride the rest of the year. A favourite one-day mountain-biking trip starts at the summit of Mount Olympus, the highest peak in Cyprus, and you have to negotiate 50 kilometres of single track back to the coastal resort of Paphos. Hardcore riders might want to spend their entire holiday exploring the area, riding through sweeping forest trails, quiet country roads and even down ski pistes and rally stages. Some of the terrain is technically demanding, with loose rocks, gruelling climbs and steep descents to negotiate. By night you can stay in remote mountain villages that remain a world away from the coastal development. After the journey, rejuvenate your weary limbs by checking into The Londa, a stylish boutique hotel in Limassol. As well as award-winning service, guests can expect elegant clean lines, white marble and black wood accents with traditional touches of Cyprus style, such as Cypriot lace and antique filigree silver.
Trek to lost kingdoms in Bhutan
The hermetic kingdom of Bhutan, which has a population of just 700,000, is regarded with reverence by discerning travellers in search of spiritual fulfilment. It is also the only country in the world that measures its progress not in terms of Gross Domestic Product but by the level of happiness of its citizens, or “Gross National Happiness”. Until 1972 outsiders weren’t even allowed into Bhutan. Unlike neighbouring Nepal, which was quickly overrun with backpackers as soon as it threw open its borders, the kingdom has maintained a cautious and high-end approach to tourism. Travellers are required to obtain visas and book with an authorized tour operator (independent travel is not permitted), and they must pay a daily fee of up to $200, which covers guides, transport and basic accommodation. Yet, contrary to popular myth, Bhutan is not as difficult country to visit, and you do not have to be a guest of the royal family to enter. Tour operators such as Abercrombie & Kent include both trekking and cultural trips to their offerings. Intrepid travellers will be rewarded with a land of astonishing beauty that is best discovered on foot. Highlights include Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched precariously on the edge of a 3,000-feet-high cliff In the past couple of years, mountain biking has also taken off here. The king is an avid rider, and is often spotted winding along the valley roads. Last year, a “Tour of the Dragon” race was held, tracing a mountainous path over 267km.
Wind Horse Tours: www.windhorsetravel.com
Abercrombie & Kent- World’s Leading Luxury Tour Operator : www.abercrombiekent.co.uk
Sail in style in Tobago
The classic Caribbean ingredients of warm clear water, secluded bays and predictable trade winds have turned the nation of Tobago into one of the world’s great sailing hubs. The island hosts an annual carnival regatta which attracts some of the top pros to its paradise waters. For the leisure sailor, a host of tour operators charter boats of varying sizes and budgets. A favourite is to sail along the coast, stopping to snorkel, swim and have a beach barbeque. On land, Tobago offers a mesmerising combination of smooth rolling hills and stunning palm-fringed beaches, and even residents of sister island Trinidad fly here on weekends to enjoy the beach life. The sand doesn’t come much finer than at Pigeon Point, a long coral beach on the leeward northwest coast. For the best diving head to Buccoo Reef. The oldest protected rainforest reserve in the western hemisphere is sheltered by the steep rising peaks of the eastern side of the island. At the other end of the island you’ll find the vibrant fishing villages that brim with character For a taste of timeless luxury check into Coco Reef Resort & Spa, set amid lush tropical gardens.
Coco Reef -Caribbean’s Leading Hotel
Climb one of the Seven Summits
The Seven Summits, the highest mountains of each of the seven continents, range from the relatively easy (Kosciuszko in Australia) to the strictly hardcore (Everest). Kilimanjaro offers the challenge of scaling Africa’s highest peak against a backdrop of one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. What’s more, as a non-technical mountain, it can be climbed by anyone with a good level of fitness. The most popular trail for climbing
Kilimanjaro is dismissively known as the “Coca Cola Route”. It has comfortable huts for tourists to sleep in, food and drink is for sale and the paths are rammed with climbers. It’s infinitely more rewarding to tackle a less travelled route, such as the Grand Traverse, which passes rainforest, moorland and glaciers. Add on a safari, including game drives, as the perfect way to unwind after the
climb. Tanzania is home to 31 game reserves, including the Serengeti, the most magnificent park in Africa and one of the closest to Kilimanjaro. For a true purist experience stay in one of the semi-nomadic camps so you can track the animal migration.