January getaways around the globe

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Best of the Adventure Adviser
Week of December 25-31, 1997

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January getaways around the globe

January getaways around the globe
Question: We have the month of January to take an extended adventure trip anywhere. We both have lots of frequent-flier miles that need to be used up. We are very independent and have lived in Latin America on and off for years. Where would be a good place for us to go in January? We like to hike and mountain bike, etc., and are looking for something totally off the beaten path. Thanks!

Marcia and Dan
San Antonio, TX

Adventure Adviser: You opened the floodgates with this question. There are zillions of awesome adventures in January, but your decision will depend on the kind of experience you're looking for.

If you don't mind going with an adventure travel company that can tackle the nasty details, you could kayak the Upper Moho River in Belize (Island Expeditions Co., 800-667-1630), dive the Spice Islands of Zanzibar (Africa Adventure Company, 800-882-9453), mountain bike Thailand's Golden Triangle (Asian Pacific Adventures, 800-825-1680), or raft the Río Upano in Ecuador (ROW, 800-451-6034).

Or, if you're somewhat adverse to the tour-group thing, New Zealand is the perfect answer. The country is completely benign when it comes to politics, which means safe travel for tourists, and it has more beauty packed into its 103,000 square miles than the rest of the world combined.

As January is mid-summer in New Zealand, you'll be able to hike to snow-capped peaks that plunge into lush rainforests, sea kayak into fingerlet fjords, and bike farmhouse to farmhouse, staying with friendly sheepherders who have turned their homes into bed-and-breakfasts. From all accounts I've heard, you won't find friendlier folks anywhere else on earth.

The only downfall is the lack of zesty food. Plan to bring your own spice kit and this could be the trip of a lifetime. For better information on how to do this trip on your own, invest in a Lonely Planet guide to New Zealand. If you don't want go it alone, try Wilderness Travel's, "Serious Fun in New Zealand," a 17-day trip that offers everything from hiking to bungee jumping. The land cost starts at $2,795. Call 800-368-2794.

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