If you're looking for something different—really different—and you are feeling adventurous—really, really adventurous—then do we have some exotic vacations to suggest to you.
We're not talking Yellowstone or Yosemite—not that there is anything wrong with visiting those iconic national parks. The exotic vacations we're talking about range from Antarctica to the Arctic with an element of danger and/or thrill-seeking mixed in between.
So without further adieu, GrindTV Outdoors presents 5 exotic vacations for adventure seekers:
Exotic Vacation #1: Emperor Penguin Camping Tour, Antarctica
Travel to Union Glacier in Antarctica and camp with the emperor penguins at what is described as the only facility of its kind in Antarctica.
The nine-day tour begins by flying from Chile to Antarctica by private transport jet, landing on an ice runway, and staying at Union Glacier Camp in the remote southern Ellsworth Mountains. From there, guests are flown by ski aircraft to sea ice near the emperor penguin rookery where guides will set up came for the five-day stay among thousands of penguins.
"Watch adults display and feed their young," the Adventure Associates website says. "Listen to trumpeting and whistling calls as parents and chicks search for one another. If lucky, we'll photograph Weddell seals lazing by tide cracks. And at each step we'll marvel at the magnificence of where we are. Each night, fall asleep to the mingled calls of thousands of Emperors."
Adventure Associates also offers a ship voyage that uses helicopters to get to the Snow Hill penguin colony in the Northern Weddell Sea. It also has flights to the South Pole.
"As the photos hint, being in that setting with the emperor penguins is a powerful, otherworldly experience," Greg Mortimer of Adventure Associates told GrindTV Outdoor. "It is an overwhelming place to get a real sense of raw natural power."
Departures are in November, and price includes a round-trip flight from Punta Arenas, Chile, meals and accommodations, and guided treks and climbs.
Exotic Vacation #2. Inside the Volcano, Iceland
Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world because it sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where Eurasian and North American plates are moving apart. In the middle of this sits Thrihnukagigur volcano, which last erupted 4,000 years ago. Fortunately, it gives no indication of erupting in the near future.
A tour operator called Inside the Volcano offers tourists the chance to be lowered into the dormant volcano that features various colorations, is big enough to fit the Statue of Liberty inside, and has a one-of-a-kind magma chamber.
"The magma chamber is often referred to as the heart of a volcano," Inside the Volcano website says. "It's there that the liquid rock waits to find a way through to the surface, causing a volcanic eruption. In most cases, the crater is usually closed after the eruption by cold, hard lava.
"Thrihnukagigur volcano is a rare exception to this, because the magma in the chamber seems to have disappeared. It's believed that the magma solidified in the walls or quite simply retreated to the depths of the earth."
The tour, which includes transportation from Reykjavik to near the volcano, starts with a 2-mile walk to get to the crater. There, tourists are lowered to the bottom of the volcano with an open cable elevator. Tours are five to six hours with up to 40 minutes inside the volcano. They run from May to October.
Price: $315 ($628 for the helicopter tour)
Exotic Vacation #3. Via ferrata climbing at Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
The best part about this adventure is that you don't need to be an experienced climber to get a feel for high-altitude mountain climbing.
A via ferrata is a climbing route that has a steel cable fixed to the rock running along the route, and often features iron rungs, ladders, bridges, and carved steps allowing otherwise dangerous routes to be easily accessed by inexperienced climbers.
The via ferrata made by Mountain Torq is 12,388 feet at its highest point and 11,191 feet at its starting point. It offers spectacular mountain surroundings and summit views.
Three alpine sport climbing courses are available: Beginner Alpine Sport Climbing, Advanced Alpine Sport Climbing, and Alpine Sport Climbing—Lead climbing.
"Mt. Kinabalu is truly an alpine playground offering hikers and adventure seekers the ability to experience a range of mountaineering activities from hiking, via ferrata climbing, sport climbing, rock climbing to mountaineering expeditions," Mountain Torq writes.
Price: $340 (includes mandatory one-night accommodation)
Exotic Vacation #4. Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking, Bolivia
No matter what the weather conditions, the World's Most Dangerous Road, a.k.a. the Death Road, is always open for the clients of Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking in Bolivia.
From La Cumbre at 15,400 feet, mountain bikers descend more than 11,800 feet over 40 miles of mostly downhill riding, including the World's Most Dangerous Road.
"This infamous narrow dirt road is cut precariously into the side of the mountain and descends 2,000m (6,500 feet)," the Gravity Bolivia website says. "With 1,000m+ (3,300 feet) sheer drops off to our left and hulking rock overhangs and cascading waterfalls to our right, we ride through mist, low cloud and dust."
Here's a YouTube video describing the ride:
The entire ride takes four to five hours, and while it is potentially dangerous (there have been a reported 21 biker deaths on this road), it is not a difficult ride.
Exotic Vacation #5. Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, Nunavut, Canada
For the first time starting in 2015, Quark Expeditions is offering a land-based adventure in partnership with Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, Canada's most northerly lodge located 500 miles above the Arctic Circle on Somerset Island in Nunavut.
Quark Expeditions, a leader in Polar adventures, is billing this as its most intimate Arctic program.
The Arctic Watch is a five-star wilderness lodge that has a world-class beluga whale observation site. Polar bears, muskox, Arctic fox, snowy owls, peregrine falcons, ring and bearded seals, and hares are among the Arctic wildlife tourists can expect to see.
The 10-day expedition includes locally sourced gourmet dining and fully guided activities such as hiking, kayaking, river rafting, zodiac cruising, and exploring the Arctic tundra in all-terrain vehicles and four-wheel drive trucks.
"This will be a truly raw and untouched Canadian Arctic experience for nature enthusiasts around the world, all accessible within a short flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories," Quark Expeditions said.
The adventure can be scheduled between the end of June to the middle of August. Maximum occupancy is 26 guests.
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