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Archive for adventure travel

A Cathedral of Limestone

By Linda Tancs

Tsingy is the Malagasy word for “walking on tiptoes,” quite appropriate for the limestone cathedral dominating Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve. Its otherworldly, needle-like rock formations hundreds of feet tall draw tourists not only for the views but also for a chance to see amazing endemic flora and fauna. Decken’s sifaka, the red-fronted brown lemur, fat-tailed dwarf lemur, grey mouse lemur, Cleese’s woolly lemur and the Sambirano lesser bamboo lemur are only found here. You might view some over the several hanging bridges kissing the karsts. The park is only open during the dry season (April through November).

One Scary Walk

By Linda Tancs

Touted as the world’s deadliest walkway, Spain’s El Caminito del Rey (The King’s Little Path) is a king-sized fright for those daring enough to walk this narrow pathway over 300 feet above a dizzying gorge. Re-opened just a few months ago since its closure in 2001 after a series of deaths, the refurbished 110-year-old walkway features new wooden planks and safety lines. Located in the village of El Chorro (northwest of Málaga), the route’s royal association came when it was inaugurated in 1921 by King Alfonso XIII.

A Rocky Ride in Nicaragua

By Linda Tancs

Forty-five minutes from León, Nicaragua, stands Cerro Negro (Black Hill), Central America’s youngest volcano.  A mere child at nearly 165 years, its crater offers amazing views of volcanic chain Los Maribios, not to mention the sensory overload of heat and sulfur gas owing to its active nature.  In recent years, it’s found favor beyond avid hikers and volcanologists:  the adventure set have taken to boarding down its rocky, ash wall.  Thanks to Nature’s thinly-milled rock, thrill seekers can opt for a modified snowboard ride down a forbidding slope at even more forbidding speed (50 miles per hour or more).  Wear long pants, and prepare for a hard landing.

Macedonia From the Top

By Linda Tancs

Over 50 percent of the Republic of Macedonia is mountainous.  Among the highlights are the majestic peaks of Mount Korab, the forestal landscape of Jakupica, the glacier lake on Pelister and the constantly rising peak Dobra Voda on Celoica.  Imagine viewing the mountain dynasty from the top.  Paragliding, that is.  Clubs abound in this Balkan nation, particularly in Skopje (the capital), Prilep, Mavrovo and Krusevo.  Professional guides and tandem flights are available.

The Most Fun Place on Earth

By Linda Tancs

Wales just might be the most fun place on Earth.  Snowdonia, to be precise, is where Europe’s longest and fastest zipline debuted.  Now, hold on to your hats–or bottoms, as the case may be–the same site has unveiled the world’s largest underground trampoline.  A special train transports adventurous souls into the depths of the former Blaenau Ffestiniog slate mine, where three huge trampoline-like nets are hung at varying levels, linked together by walkways and slides.  Participants in this first-of-its-kind experience are outfitted with cotton overalls and a safety helmet.  Granted, an abandoned mine can be a bit drab, so LED lighting has been added to the walls for a more illuminating experience.  Are you ready to put a little bounce in your step?

The Big Zipper

By Linda Tancs

What is one mile long, 500 feet high and flies at speeds up to 100 miles per hour?  Answer:  The Big Zipper, Europe’s longest and fastest zipline.  Located at an abandoned quarry in Snowdonia, North Wales, this adrenaline-boosting tourist attraction offers spectacular mountain views–if you keep your eyes open long enough to enjoy it!  Are you ready to fly like an eagle?  If not, no worries.  The Little Zipper might be just the ticket for you.

The World’s Largest Cave

By Linda Tancs

Spelunkers, take note.  Beginning this year, there’s a new cave to explore in Vietnam’s Quang Binh province.  Known as the Son Doong, it was fully explored for the first time in 2009 despite being discovered in 1991.  Over five miles long and nearly 500 feet high at its peak, the passage is the world’s largest known cavern, a title previously held by Deer Cave in the Malaysian section of the island of Borneo.

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