Active Adventures is sponsoring this look at adventure trips for the 50+ traveler.
Travel and adventure are two things that Alan and I enjoy more and more as we age. Our active boomer travels teach us a lot about ourselves, how the world works and what we really want out of life.
When it comes to travel experiences, we seek out incredible sights, a comfortable night’s sleep and good food—but we crave more. It’s the experiences that we remember, the people we meet and the feeling of achievement that comes from trying something new that make a trip outstanding. You won’t get that from looking out a bus window.
I’m always on the hunt for the next travel adventure. Do you have a list of “what to do next”? I’m adding these five Active Adventures to mine:
1. Take a cultural hiking journey in Bhutan
“The land of happiness”—”The Kingdom above the clouds”—”The land of the Thunder Dragon”—Bhutan has gained a few names over the years. But none of the names truly capture how epic it is to visit. From the rich subtropical lands of the South, to the world’s biggest mountain range in the North, the Bhutanese are genuine, content, and generous. It’s one of the most forward-thinking countries on Earth. If the culture, political outlook, and history aren’t enough, you’ll also find some of the world’s most breath-taking landscapes.
Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
The Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Paro Takstang) is in one word, extraordinary. The buildings are perched on the side of a cliff, 10,000ft above sea-level. It was built in 1692 and still functions as a monastery today with monks living on the mountain.
Experience a green country
Bhutan is way ahead of the game when it comes to environmentally friendly practices. The country’s carbon negative quest, which they have achieved, began in 1999 with the banning of plastic. Bhutan is aiming to be 100% organic by 2020. You’ll not only experience an epic adventure here, but you’ll leave with an appreciation of all things green.
Attend a Nepalese festival
There are many festivals in Bhutan but two of the biggest are the Paro Tshechu in March and the Thimphu Tshechu in October. During both festivals you’ll see incredible traditional outfits, dance, food, and arts. It is arguably one of the best ways to witness Bhutanese culture. You’ll be overwhelmed with wonder.
2. Explore more than the Tour du Mont Blanc
Strap on your best pair of hiking boots—this is one for the boomer bucket list! Spanning a total of 110 miles across France, Switzerland and Italy—the Tour du Mont Blanc is the crown jewel of Europe’s multi-day hiking trails. But you don’t have to restrict yourself to only hiking, there are other ways to see this incredible part of the world.
Experience Aiguille du Midi
This cable car leaves from downtown Chamonix and ends at a granite needle peak building at 3841 meters (12,604 feet). Aside from marveling at an incredible feat of engineering, you’ll be blown away when you find yourself so close to the summit of Europe’s highest peak, taking in once-in-a-lifetime views of the Alps from a high altitude perspective.
Hike to the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice)
You can catch a train to a little spot called Montenvers. From here hike up through trees and boulder fields to Le Signal Forbes—a lookout point affording unsurpassed views of the Mer de Glace Glacier, with its huge granite spires that rise sharply from the moraine walls. Before boarding the train back to Chamonix, take the gondola down to Mer de Glace’s Grotto de Glace (Ice Cave). Every year, a new ice cave is dug into the bowels of the glacier, enabling you to walk inside this incredible sea of ice.
Walk the quaint streets of Courmayeur
Roman monuments, medieval castles, vineyards, and quaint villages define the Aosta Valley, one of Europe’s quintessential mountain regions. Although the steep snow capped peaks provide an incredible backdrop, the small village of Courmayeur serves up its own charm. Spend a day exploring the eateries, art galleries and vineyards to recharge your culture batteries.
Active Adventures offers a 12-day Tour du Mont Blanc adventure
3. Combine adventure and luxury in New Zealand
Kiwi’s are passionate about their backyard. But the best places to visit can’t be seen from the window of a tour bus. To experience New Zealand, boomers need to put their feet on the ground, hop on a bike, or settle into a kayak. You can also expect to find extremely high standards throughout the country when it comes to its tourism industry (with a splash of luxury available throughout the country).
Check out Milford Sound
Situated in the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound has been described as one of the Natural Wonders of the World. The beautiful scenery of this famous fiord is hard to forget, including the awe-inspiring Mitre Peak and stunning waterfalls that crash down into the serene waters. Wildlife such as dolphins, seals and penguins are often seen in their natural environment.
Indulge in great food and fine wine
That’s right, New Zealand is about more than just fish and chips and lamb (although they’re both fantastic). In New Zealand you’ll be able to taste fresh seafood, including the famous bluff oysters, more cheese than you can name and some of the tastiest wines in the world. You won’t have to go far to find a quaint farmers market. And you can rest assured that the majority of what you’ll eat is produced locally.
Do something crazy in the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown
Queenstown is a little town with a big personality. Sitting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath the majestic Remarkable Mountains, the city has firmly established itself as the adventure capital of the world. In this small but mighty part of the world you’ll find some of the best skydiving, jetboating, ziplining, bungy jumping, skiing, paragliding, and white water rafting in the world. And if that’s not really your thing, there are world-class golf courses, amazing day hikes and stunning hot pools to keep you busy.
4. Search for wildlife along the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Known as the Jewel of the Kalahari, the Delta is considered to be one of the greatest wilderness spectacles on the planet, unsurprising since the Okavango is one of Africa’s largest rivers. Did you know it never meets the sea? The resulting inland delta, comprising 15,000 square kilometres (that’s 5,791 square miles) of water channels, lagoons and islands, is one of the most concentrated areas of wildlife on earth.
Explore the reed-lined channels in a Mokoro
A Mokoro is a traditional canoe, used for gliding along the winding waterways and getting up close to some of Africa’s fascinating wildlife. The canoe is pushed along by your guide who stands at the rear with a long wooden pole. Not only is this a traditional and special experience, but you’ll be on the lookout for elephants, hippopotamus’ and buffalo.
Camp remotely on the banks of the Delta
Mobile safari camping is more glamping than camping with everything you’d want for a great night’s sleep. Everything is set up for you and all food cooked for you by a friendly group of staff. Team that with a night-time game drive, the sound of elephants thudding as you fall under a star-filled sky and you have an unforgettable experience.
Take a walking safari in the Kopano Conservation Area
Safaris in the wilderness of Botswana are very different from one day to the next so it pays to stick with the experts. The local guides are the best at deciding which areas of the wilderness area to focus on, and at which times of the day. Opting for a walking safari is an entirely unique experience, it allows you to follow animal tracks, watch them completely unnoticed, and see smaller animals you may have missed in a jeep.
Spend 11 days with Active Adventure on a Okavango Delta Safari Mokoro
5. Hike off-the-beaten path in Northern Patagonia
Northern Patagonia is still relatively sheltered from tourism, but that won’t last forever. It is a vastly different landscape to that of the south, dotted with pristine lakes, dramatic volcanoes, swaths of untouched forest and massive mountains. Add to that more natural hot pools than you could soak in in a lifetime, and you’re really onto a fun, boomer travel adventure.
Hike Osorno Volcano
Osorno Volcano stands tall on the edge of Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. The hike begins through the barren, tortured volcanic landscape that gradually transforms into lush woodland and finally reveals an astonishing view of Lago Todos Los Santos.
Stay at the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve
If you opt to stay here, you’ll wake up feeling like you’re part of a fairy tale, as you stare out at the forest and volcano. Whoever thought a mushroom-shaped hotel could be so cozy? And you have an extraordinary walking trail right on your doorstep. Stretching along the banks of the Fuy River, a stunning trail weaves its way through lush Valdivian temperate rainforest with abundant birdlife, crystal clear tributary streams and picture-perfect waterfalls.
Sea kayak Reloncavi Fiord
Hit the waters of Northern Patagonia on sea kayaks for a paddle in the calm waters of Reloncavi Fiord. Here the clear waters of the Petrohué River meet the saltwaters of the Gulf, passing snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls and oftentimes the occasional visitor in the form of a sea lion or dolphin.
Active Adventures offers a 14-day Northern Patagonia Explorer Puma
I’m not sure which adventure is more perfect. It will be a challenge choosing which one to experience first.