Tag Archives: Adventure

Ten Off-The-Beaten-Sand Beaches

1. Konkan coast, Maharashtra, India

Pure white sand, backed by thick, lush forest, characterizes a string of gorgeous beaches running along a 370-km stretch of coast between Vasai and Vengurla. Hedvi, Velneshvar, Takarli, Harihareshwar and Ganpatipule, with its wonderful, red wooden 400-year-old temple, are among the delightful beaches awaiting the traveler ready to go the extra mile to find them. You can get to the coast from Mumbai by train or by air from Goa.

2. Nicoya peninsula, Costa Rica

Reef snorkelling, horseriding, jungle trekking and viewing the forest canopy from a zip-wire, along with the usual beach activities such as surfing, are treats on offer in this fairly remote, far northern region of Costa Rica. The wildlife is extraordinary: half a million turtles lay their eggs on the sand at Ostional beach, every two or three weeks from August to November, and the forests are full of howler monkeys, anteaters, coatis, armadillos and an array of spectacular birds, including the Resplendent Quetzal, with its shimmering green plumage, scarlet belly, white tail feathers and green tail, the rare and rapacious Harpy Eagle and over 50 species of hummingbirds and 75 different flycatchers.

3. Koh Mak, Thailand

Palm trees and the clearest of waters along a stretch of shore 25km long, as well as peace and quiet away from the crowds, are what you can expect on Thailand’s so-called ‘family island’. Set in the Gulf of Thailand, a little less than 50 km from the Cambodian coast, it’s reachable by boat from Trat on the mainland. You can stay here in a bamboo hut, a guesthouse, a thatch and rattan cottage or a good, but budget-priced hotel, and with luck you’ll see no one on the bit of beach you choose.

4. Obzor, Bulgaria

The Black Sea coast of Bulgaria has taken off lately as a destination for beach tourists, and nice and clean the beaches are too. Crowded during high season, however, they may not appeal to those who want something more secluded, who may instead look to Obzor, roughly halfway between Bourgas and Varna, where the E87 highway emerges from forested hills into a brief, open coastal stretch. Despite its convenient location and 6-km-long sandy beach (the largest between Golden Sands and Sunny Beach), this remarkably pleasant spot can be almost yours for the taking, even during peak season.

5. Vik, Iceland

Not a place for sunlovers, the remarkable, 10-km-long, black-sand beach at Vik was named one of the ten most beautiful beaches on Earth by Islands magazine in 1991. It is no less beautiful now, with its setting on the crisp-coloured south coast of Iceland, its bird visitors from a nearby colony and the Reynisdrangar, black lava columns sculpted by the sea, nicknamed The Three Trolls. The sea off this coast is rather wild and stormy: even in summer, it feels cold, it looks cold, it even sounds cold! But it is a marvel and a place of glorious seclusion.

6. Ile Sainte Marie, Madagascar

Ile Sainte Marie is a granite island 57 km long and lies 8 km off the eastern coast of mainland Madagascar. Frequented by pirates between the 17th and 18th centuries, it is now a tourist destination, with enchanting beaches, bordered by coconut palms and backed by rainforest. A long, white beach at Pointe des Cocotiers features a marvelous tropical garden and a 20-bungalow hotel. On the eastern coast’s peninsula of Amphanihy are more beautiful beaches. Between July and September, the island is a fabulous place for viewing humpback whales, which pass through the channel that separates the island from the mainland between July and September. Go later in the year, October to December, and you can enjoy scuba diving near two wrecks. This tropical paradise has one significant drawback: it rains a lot, even in the ‘dry’ season.

7. Wild Coast, South Africa

Relatively untouched, the Wild Coast of Eastern Cape is a well-named wild and rocky, typically African haven, where waterfalls tumble into the sea along a stretch of nearly 100km. Its beaches, open spaces and pristine forest areas provide an opportunity for the adventure traveller to discover a variety of leisure options, including fishing, abseiling, snorkelling, diving and trekking in the hinterland. Tourist accommodation is sparse but intimate, which helps to guarantee a memorable holiday there.

8. Angra dos Reis, Brazil

Tourism is highly developed here, but then with a mainland coastline and 365 islands to choose from, you are always bound to find a wonderful beach to yourself, with pristine waters perfect for swimming – among rainbow-coloured fish, if you like – or scuba diving. The town is 151 km from Rio de Janeiro, from where you can take a coach day tour. Better still, stay in the town and do your own exploring of the 2000 beaches. If you can’t find one to suit you, you’re not looking.

9. Hilton Dahab Resort Beach, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

OK, you won’t be the first to discover it, but if you want nothing more than a beautiful beach at a comfortable resort with a quiet, remote, end-of-the-world atmosphere, this beach may be the place for you. The mountains of Arabia face you across the water, and the beach itself offers good opportunities for swimming and snorkelling.

10. Cote de Massa, Morocco

A 90-km strip of golden beaches between Agadir and Tiznit, this coast is still almost untouched, with just one recently opened hotel, sited on the dunes that rise away from the sea. To the far right of the beach at Sidi Moussa d’Aglou, there are three prehistoric fishermen’s cave dwellings, but you need to be pretty hardy to visit them. Beware: strong currents make swimming hazardous. The wetland reserves of Souss-Massa National are within near reach.

Uncover the Outdoor Adventurer in You

As a young person you were fascinated by the articles in National Geographic magazine and you yearned to be like the individuals in the articles. Even now, as you are older, you enjoy watching Discovery channel and Animal Planet and secretly wish you were one of the characters in the show, taking part in an outdoor adventure. Despite these desires you never seem to have the outdoor adventures you yearn for.

Limited finances, pressures of work, family responsibilities are the reasons you give yourself for not being able to explore the outdoors. None of these should be reasons to prevent you from uncovering the outdoor adventurer that lies within you. Instead of seeking the big adventure you can have a series of small outdoor adventures that will fulfill the yearning for adventure

The question some may ask is where and how do I experience these smaller adventures. The opportunity for an outdoor adventure exists in every location. Every locality usually has a local hiking club and the majority of these clubs are usually happy to have non-members along for a small fee. In addition to hiking clubs there is sometimes a local field naturalist club that organises field trips that non-members can participate in. Hiking is a good way to experience nature and at the same time provide the body with valuable exercise. Some people may think that the years of sitting in front of the television will prevent them from undertaking the rigors of a strenuous hike. Most hiking clubs rate their hikes with a scale ranging from Easy to Challenging. You can start with the easy hikes and over time build to the challenging hikes.

Many hikes are day hikes so you can take one day out of your weekend to be an outdoor enthusiast and still have time for your family responsibilities. An advantage of participating with a hiking club is the safety and security of being with an organised group that knows the trails, thus preventing you from getting lost.

Another great way to experience the outdoors is kayaking. When the term kayaking is used, many immediately think of fast rushing water , navigating large boulders and the heart stopping adrenaline rush of white water kayaking. Kayaking is not however only white water, there are many slow moving rivers, large lakes and sheltered bays where a pleasurable morning or afternoon can be spent paddling. In most areas where there is a sizable body of water, local kayak shops or outfitters can be found. These kayak shops will often have boats available for rental and sometimes organize kayaking expeditions on weekends.

Some individuals are scared of kayaks because they have never used them. Learning the basics of kayaking is however very simple and can be done with a few minutes of instruction. Once the basics have been learned and equipped with a personal flotation device (life jacket) an entire realm of nature viewing is opened up along streams, in ponds and in sheltered bays.

An overnight or weekend camping trip is yet another opportunity for the outdoor enthusiast to awaken that adventurous spirit. You may think that camping requires having plenty of camping equipment, but that is not applicable in every situation. A very good article, Surviving Camping Equipment Overload – How to Manage on a Small Budget, can be found at the Outdoors Trinidad web site. A camping trip is also an opportunity to have other family members participate in your outdoor adventure.

Another opportunity for having family members participate in outdoor activities is a cycling trip. This can be a weekend trip or just a day spent cycling along country roads. One of the great things about a family cycling outing is that you proceed at your own pace. If an interesting bird or animal is seen you can stop to observe and then resume your ride.

So go ahead and organize your mini adventures and uncover the outdoor adventurer in you.