Travelling to an idyllic holiday destination doesn’t have to be all fly and flop. Delve into your location and explore its nooks and crannies with a day out to remember. Whether you’d like to try a unique water sport (Snuba, anyone?) in the Caribbean, go off the beaten track with a land adventure like no other in Mexico, or try something the thrill-seeker in you would be proud of in South Africa, we’ve got you covered with these epic travel experiences.
1 Delve into Jamaica’s lush forests on a raft cruise
Jump on a two-seater bamboo raft and discover the stunning forests and tropical plants of Jamaica as you cruise along the Martha Brae River. A guide punts over the green waters, where mango and breadfruit trees, mangroves and palms create a peaceful haven, with just tropical birds heard overhead. The guide will tell you about the rafts, which were originally used to ferry sugar cane to the coast as you sail the river. It is a gentle cruise that is ideal for nature lovers and couples as a priceless holiday experience in the Caribbean.
2 Walk underwater in Mauritius
Ever imagined walking the bottom of the ocean? On the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, you can enjoy a fascinating underwater walk to see the magnificent marine life, beautiful fauna, corals and a wide variety of tropical fish, all in their natural habitat. A guide will take you along the underwater walking trail in the north of Mauritius, where you will explore a crystal-clear lagoon. It is a unique experience and a once-in-a-lifetime activity for non-diving travellers.
3 Bungee jump off South Africa’s Bloukrans Bridge
Adrenalin junkies who wish to tick off the ultimate adventure off of their holiday bucket list should look no further than the 216-metre-high Bloukrans Bridge near the Western Cape, where you can leap from the highest commercial bungee jumping bridge in the world. Found along South Africa’s scenic Garden Route, the arch bridge offers one of the most breathtaking bungees around and has hosted the likes of Prince Harry and Jack Osborne.
4 Marvel at Thailand’s James Bond Island from a longtail boat
Thailand conjures up images of needle-shaped rock formations jutting out of the sea and traditional longtail boats bobbing on the gentle waters that are best enjoyed at a lazy pace. For a scenic and relaxing visit to the spectacular Ao Phang-Nga Marine National Park, travel through this ‘jewel of the Andaman’ by longtail boat to discover ancient limestone caves and mangrove forests that freckle the sea and pass James Bond Island, the unusual rock formation that starred in The Man with the Golden Gun.
5 Venture underground to one of the Seven Wonders of Barbados
Famed for its stunning stalactites and stalagmites, Harrison’s Cave is a gigantic limestone underworld of subterranean tunnels and emerald-green pools. Travel by solar-powered tram as you witness the cascading water, sparkling streams and deep pools illuminated by orange mood-lighting. You’ll glide through the cave for a mile before reaching its highlight, the Great Hall. It is as impressive as it sounds – a 100-feet-high chamber, complete with a tumbling waterfall.
6 Ride a horse through Cuba’s jaw-dropping Vinales Valley
Lush tobacco fields, tall palms and unusual limestone hills make up the outstanding scenery of the Vinales Valley, where you can escape to the countryside and experience a horse riding adventure through the ‘real Cuba’. On a tour of this splendid corner of the Caribbean island, you can explore the ancient Indian Cave and its underground river, visit a tobacco plantation to see how the leaves are rolled for Cuba’s famous cigars and sample delicious rum as you relax with the verdant valley as your backdrop.
7 Hike around Costa Rica’s majestic Arenal Volcano
Towering at over 1,600 metres above the rainforest at its base, the dramatic Arenal Volcano is Costa Rica’s most famous natural landmark and a must-see in Central America. While it is not possible to climb to the active volcano’s summit, visitors can hike the superb trails and get the closest view of Arenal while taking in the rainforest, wildlife including howler monkeys, parrots and tapir, and former lava fields. At the end of your active day, lounge in one of the hot springs at the base of the volcano for quality relaxation.
8 Swim with manatees in Florida
The warm Gulf waters of the Crystal River and Kings Bay area offers truly enchanting manatee viewing like nowhere else as it is the only place in Florida where visitors are permitted to swim up close to these gentle giants. A popular sanctuary for endangered manatees in the winter months, Citrus County offers manatee tours for wildlife lovers to snorkel alongside the magnificent creatures as they eat, play and socialise for a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.
9 Release your inner Lara Croft in Cambodia
A bucket list adventure for many a traveller, ‘tomb raiding’ in Angkor, one of the world’s most fascinating archaeological complexes, is an absolute must-do to discover the ancient sights of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Srah Srang and Ta Prohm. Angkor Wat is easily the most famous and best-preserved of all temples within the Angkor complex and as you approach it, five towers seem to rise majestically out of the moat providing the most magical view. At Angkor Thom, visit Bayon and its 54 towers decorated with over 200 enigmatic smiling faces, before raiding the haunting Ta Prohm jungle temple, which featured in the Angelina Jolie movie Tomb Raider.
10 Spot the world’s largest creature by whale watching in Sri Lanka
Home to the largest animal that has ever lived, the blue whale, Sri Lanka is THE place for an exciting whale watching tour. Wildlife lovers should keep a keen eye out for any spurts of water in the distance – a sign that one of the ocean giants is near. The deep waters off the southern tip of the island make it one of the best spots to see the whales close to shore and you will hear them a mile off, as their songs reach almost 200 decibels – that’s louder than a jumbo jet.
11 Get sprayed by India’s Dudhsagar Falls
Perched in the high peaks of the Western Ghats, the 1,000-foot-high Dudhsagar Falls is a sight to behold and a must-visit attraction on a trip to Goa. The waterfall’s name translates as ‘sea of milk’ and ancient Indian legend says it was created by a princess who poured a golden jug full of milk over herself while bathing in the lake above. Swimmers can enjoy splashing around under the pearly-white cascades while watching monkeys swing from the trees and hikers will love trekking through the forest trails surrounding the falls.
12 Snuba the waters of the Dominican Republic
For your own James Bond-style adventure, get behind the wheel of a speedboat before turning the engine off for some Snuba time. A Snuba system allows you to scuba dive without the use of tanks as you breathe in air through long hoses which are secured to air canisters on pontoon rafts above the surface of the water. It allows you to just slip into the snuba mask and plunge straight into the sea, snorkelling among colourful fish and diving as deep as 20 feet. Punta Cana is the perfect place to Snuba the crystal-clear water of a protected reef and explore the bottom of the ocean.
13 Go off road in Mexico
Take to the forest-covered Sierra Madre Mountains in an open-sided, military-style truck as you make your way through streams and across terrain that only this type of vehicle can handle. On an off-the-beaten-path tour of this awe-inspiring landscape, you can stop at a traditional village casa to see how the locals live sustainably and go on a hike through the jungle while spotting the flowers and animals that thrive here.
14 Glide through Namibia’s vast desert on a quad bike
Experience the thrill of riding a four-wheeled motorbike through Namibia’s boundless expanse of shifting sand dunes on the ultimate African desert adventure. From the Swakop River Mouth, you can twist and turn down the river bed, feeling the freedom of riding through one of nature’s great wilderness areas as you cut through the plains and head to the dunes. As you ride the wildest of the dunes and spirals of the Namib Desert, you can stop for the best photo opps and see the most exhilarating views.
15 Experience deep sea fishing in St Lucia
Home to some of the best fishing grounds in the world, St Lucia has deep waters and varied fish species, from yellow fin tuna to blue marlin. On a deep sea fishing trip, you’ll be guided to the best places where the fish are running to try and land the catch of a lifetime. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a complete beginner, this is one water experience you’ll never forget.