Five up-and-coming adventure travel destinations - Page 2

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 8, 2006. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: adventure travel, China, Croatia, destination, Erica Silverstein, Nicaragua, vacation package.

A wide range of activity options doesn't hurt, either. India provides adventurous spirits with opportunities for trekking, rappelling, rock climbing, river rafting, kayaking, wildlife viewing, skiing, and cycling. You can learn to dive in Goa, white-water raft in Rishikesh and Darjeeling, and go for a backwaters cruise in Cochin.

Two trekking hubs are Ladakh in northern India and Sikkim, located between Bhutan and Nepal in the east. Atwal refers to these locations as "Little Tibet" and "the new Nepal," respectively. Ladakh is one of the few places where you can see authentic Tibetan Buddhist culture, and it's considered safe, despite being in the troubled Kashmir region. And its Himalayan location provides many opportunities for hiking and exploring. From the mountain trails of Sikkim, you can catch glimpses of Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world.

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So many adventure tour companies offer trips to India that you'll be hard pressed to choose just one. Mountain Travel Sobek, World Expeditions, KE Adventure Travel, and Intrepid Travel run trekking and other adventure tours in India. Aquaterra Adventures and Snow Leopard Adventures focus solely on India travel and also offer a wide range of trips including rafting, trekking, fishing, and wildlife safaris. For even more options, you can request a copy of the "Adventure Sports Directory" from the India's Ministry of Tourism.

Nicaragua

Central America is hot but Costa Rica and Belize are now well-established destinations. Next up: Nicaragua. "So many expats are moving there," explains Weeden, "and everything is still cheap and not homogenized." Between the Caribbean and the mountains, the country presents a plethora of adventure activities in a somewhat untouched setting, and the growing infrastructure provides a safe way for Americans to take advantage of the offerings.

Adventure lovers can get the thrill of hiking across active volcanoes, and Tours Nicaragua offers a seven-day, 21-volcano trek through the Maribios Volcanoes. Or, you can ocean kayak in the Juan Venado mangrove estuary reserve, take a canopy tour in the cloud forest of the dormant Mombacho Volcano, or mountain bike on Ometepe Island to see pre-Columbian petroglyphs. Little Corn Island is the place to go for snorkeling and diving, and San Juan del Sur provides a haven for surfers.

Although Nicaragua's tourism infrastructure is growing, it's still a good idea to plan your vacation with a tour company. Tours Nicaragua and Nicaragua Adventures are two companies that can provide day, overnight, and package trips. For a more relaxed adventure, Morgan's Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge offers luxury bungalow accommodations, meals from organic and locally grown food, and a range of activities from kayaking to fishing, nature walks, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Nevada

Most people think of gambling or nightlife when they think of Nevada, but in the past few years, adventure travel has been added to that list. The most mountainous state in the U.S. with 314 ranges, Nevada is finally gaining popularity as a vacation destination for outdoors enthusiasts. To drive the point home, in the next few years, three of the biggest outdoor gear and sporting good outfitters will come to Reno: Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, and Scheels.

The beauty of Nevada is that you have a choice of staying in the casino-hotels or roughing it in tents on your active vacation. "Day trips are really big," says Bethany Drysdale, spokesperson for the Nevada Commission on Tourism. "People come to Reno or Las Vegas and do their gambling and partying at night. Then they go out and get all dirty during the day." From the huge Vegas resorts, you can explore the Red Rock Canyon or Valley of Fire. You'll find hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife opportunities not far from the Strip.

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