Adventure travel is all it's cracked it to be. With global travelers looking to push the envelope more and more each year, tour operators are answering the call with scintillating trips focusing on hiking, biking, rafting, climbing, and sometimes all four in the same package. Whether you want to go extreme camping in the Grand Canyon or kayaking in Panama, there's a trip for you and your friends or family.
For the kayaking Panama trip, Gap Adventures (tel. 800/708-7761; www.gapadventures.com) is currently offering an eight-day trip starting in Panama City that specializes in kayaking and rafting on the snake-like rivers that slice into Panama's jungles and coastline. After flying into Panama City, you'll be whisked off via four-wheel drive vehicle to the town of San Cristobal where you'll embark on your journey through the wild regions of inner Panama. Along the way you'll stop in native Indian villages, the San Blas archipelago, and the jungles of the Chagres National Park. Cost of the trip with ongoing departures beginning on November 19, 2006 is approximately $995 without airfare. Maximum size of the group is twelve with a physical grading of three out of five bars. All kayaking and rafting expeditions are fully guided by experienced water lovers intimate with the territory. Accommodations are in tropical tents and hotels, one of which is an over-water lodge. While on the San Blas islands, all meals are also included. Gap suggests you bring only $80 for additional food. Additional nights are available in Panama City starting at only $20 per night for a shared room. With Gap Adventures, you can select the kind of trip you want to take from a pull-down menu to search their extensive database of adventure getaways.
For an eco-friendly camping combination trip going deep into the Grand Canyon, Green Earth Travel (tel. 888/246-8343; www.greenearthtravel.com) has a three-night four-day hiking and biking tour of one of America's greatest natural wonders. The trip costs $795, and departs on September 1, 2006. Included in the package: three nights camping, big tents, hot showers, all meals, professional guides, bike rentals, bike equipment, and a special mountain biking clinic to hone your downhill skills. Biking distances don't exceed 12 miles and hiking distances range between three and nine miles. Gourmet dinners cooked outside fill your stomach after long days trekking through the Canyon's belly. This trip has two guides to meet the needs of each traveler. Shuttle service accompanies the bike trips for tired people who want a rest. Highlights include a bike trip across the Rainbow Rim Trail. The sunsets and sunrises are so spectacular you will never forget them. True to its name, Green Earth offers a smattering of vegetarian vacations including a PETA-sponsored protest of the running of the bulls where participants streak through the streets of Pamplona.
Costa Rica lovers will enjoy a discounted "Total Rafting Adventure" from Latin Escapes (tel. 800/878-9986; www.latinescapes.com). Starting at $889, this eight-day/seven-night tour must be booked by August 31, 2006, with travel good through November 30, 2006. The main site of the trip, the Pacuare River, is regarded by rafting professionals as one of the top five rivers in the world for rapids and scenery. The $889 price is for departures out of Miami with departures from New York costing $929 and $969 from Los Angeles. Breaking the trip up into three areas, you'll stay two nights in San Jose, two nights on a 1,000 acre nature preserve near the Pacuare River, and three nights in Puerto Viejo at a bed and breakfast-style lodge with wooden bungalows near the beach.
For day trips or overnights on a kayak, raft or canoe, Northern Extremes (tel. 877/722-6748; www.northernextremes.com) has trips in and around the Mount Washington, the White Mountains, and other New Hampshire country highlands. The trips range in length from nine miles to 40 miles with overnights in camping facilities with fire pits and bathrooms. Prices for canoe rental start at around $50 for two days with transportation to your embarking point also included. For group rates, the more canoes or kayaks you rent the less you'll pay for your rental fee. In the wintertime, Northern Extremes offers snow mobile rentals and trips with mapped out routes through its winter website at www.northernextremessnowmobiling.com. Guided snowmobile tours start at $55 for a midweek two-person trip. Locations for the snow mobile fun are Bretton Woods and North Conway, both in New Hampshire. You can rent either a single sled or a double sled to cruise around the over 900 miles of maintained snow trails.
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