Last updated: 09:47 AM ET, Mon May 11 2015

An Adventure Travel Sampler

Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | May 05, 2015

An Adventure Travel Sampler

PHOTO: The Wild Atlantic Way is being explored by CIE Tours. (Courtesy of Tourism Ireland)

According to research by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), in 2012 some $263 billion was spent on adventure travel, and that was up from the $89 billion spent in 2009. Clearly, the age of adventure travel is upon us. The following adventure opportunities are just a sample of the products out there now for those who want to take a walk on the wild side.

The ATTA defines adventure travel as needing to have at least two of these three components: physical activity, authentic culture and/or nature. The average land-only cost of a 10-day adventure journey rose from $593 in 2009 to $947 in 2012.

International Nature & Cultural Adventures is offering a 10-night Origin of Species program from June 18 to 28 that explores Peru and the Galápagos Islands and which will be led by cinematographer and director Louie Schwartzberg. The itinerary includes two nights in Quito, an overnight on Santa Cruz Island to see giant tortoises in the wild and a seven-night cruise through the Galápagos Islands of Floreana, Isabela, Fernandina, Santiago, North Seymour and Baltra aboard the luxury yacht Integrity.

The journey costs $6,795 per person double land only and is limited to 16 travelers. Last September, Schwartzberg's short film "What's Possible," opened the UN’s summit on climate change. A sought-after speaker who has appeared on Oprah and whose Ted talks have garnered more than 9.5 million viewers, Schwartzberg believes by focusing on nature's beauty, people can experience a deeper connection with the world.

Zegrahm Expeditions will celebrate its 25th anniversary in expedition travel in 2015 with an epic Polynesian adventure. Departing Oct. 29, the 21-day Tahiti to Easter Island adventure explores the Marquesas, Tuamotu, and Pitcairn Islands, visiting remote atolls, lagoons, and beaches, as well as Pitcairn Island, home of the descendants of the HMS Bounty crew.

Priced from $18,480 per person double, the journey will be joined by a team of naturalists, ornithologists, and marine biologists, along with Zegrahm cofounders Mike Messick, Jack Grove, Peter Harrison, and Shirley Metz.


Even on non-adventure itineraries, look for an adventure component to add the extra dimension.

The Wild Atlantic Way, running 1,500 miles along the west coast of Ireland from Donegal to West Cork presents an amazing landscape where land meets the ocean and where myth meets history. CIE Tours' 13-day Wild Atlantic Way escorted tour begins in Dublin before heading off to such coastal sites as Giant's Causeway. The journey, priced from $2,496 per person double, includes stays in Kinsale and Dingle Harbor Towns.

Wilderness Travel is offering an Alpine package that allows travelers to hike across the borders of four countries on foot on a largely vertical, instead of horizontal, trajectory. It all begins in the foothills of the Alps in Bergamo, Italy, and travels through a remote national park across the border into Switzerland. Hikers then cross into Liechtenstein, which Wilderness Travel's Barbara Banks calls "a lush, verdant, beautiful postage stamp of a country," and finish in Innsbruck, Austria in just 12 days.

The trip, designed by a hiker and chef, also features mountain cuisine with paired wines. It is rated a level-three moderate hike with moderate to steep trails, 3-5 hours a day, van support (for luggage or tired feet) and a team of up to three trip leaders. Pricing starts at $5,995 per person double with two departures July 14 and Sept. 9.

SpiceRoads’ new 14-day Remote Vietnam and Laos by Bike goes from Hanoi to Luang Prabang passing through small villages and stunning landscapes along the way. The tour cycles on paved roads, alongside rivers, through paddies and karst landscapes. Rides vary between 18 and 40 miles per day with the option of cycling 60 miles for one day.

The journey takes a route less frequented, and therefore some overnight stays at guesthouses will be basic (but clean), with shared facilities. The tour cost is $2,950 with an additional $180 for bike rental. The tour cost is inclusive of accommodation, the majority of meals, support vehicle, and drinks and snacks while riding.

SpiceRoads’ nine-day Mongolian Steppe package covers 130 miles across a variety of terrain with cycling on dirt trails used by wild animals and local herdsmen, hiking through dense pine forest to conquer the majestic 2,656 meter high Altan Olgi Mountain and horse riding through gorges alongside gushing rivers.

Other highlights include a tented camp stay. Such Mongolian traditions as sampling horse milk and cheese, and staying a night in a “ger,” a traditional felt-covered tent are included. The tour features 72 miles of cycling, 36 miles of horse riding and 23 miles of hiking. The tour costs $2,250 and there are two departures planned for 2015: June 7 and Sept. 6. 


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