Sure, you'd love to sea kayak around Africa, cycle across Canada, and hike the Pacific Crest Trail this year, but limited vacation time kind of negates those plans. The following trips may not land you a featured spot on the Discovery Channel, but any one will take you on a whirlwind sports extravaganza—and get you out of the office long enough for you to consider never going back.
Costa to Costa
It's a masochist's dream—crossing an entire nation by muscle power in less than 15 days. (OK, it's slim-jim Costa Rica, but it still counts.) The 145-mile west-to-east adventure mixes five glute-burning days threading a mountain bike through the dense cloudforests fo the Tapanti National Wildlife Refuge, with four days hoofing it up the steep, winding passes of the central Cordillera de Talamanca and over the 7,600-foot Continental Divide, and winds up with four days' careening down to the Caribbean finish in a raft on the Class III-IV Pacuare River. But it's not all uphill drudgery—there's a leisurely stopover at a coffee plantation for some rich local java, time to soak in a steaming hot spring, and a splashing champagne celebration in the surf at journey's end.
Outfitter: BikeHike Adventures, 888-805-0061, www.bikehike.com
When to Go: Year-round
Do It All
Tahiti: Hiking, Sailing, Kayaking, and Snorkeling
At the start of this 11-day outing, you'll hike to see the triple waterfalls of Fa`arumai and the black-basalt sand beach of Matavai. Then it's time to cast off for four days aboard a 57-foot catamaran, from which you'll take kayak expeditions around Tiputa Pass's most remote lagoons, snorkel in the translucent waters of Rangiroa, the world's second-largest atoll, and gawk at towering tropical volcanoes and Day-Glo coral outcroppings throughout the island chain.
Outfitter: Wilderness Travel, 800-368-2794, www.wildernesstravel.com
When to Go: May–June, October
Austrailia: Mountain Biking, Bushwalking, and Rafting Northern Queensland
The faint of heart might be tempted to pass this trip over—the 15-day itinerary includes trekking around croc-infested swamps. Don't let the reptiles scare you away. As a multisport nirvana, Australia's sporting opportunities outweigh the risks ten times over. You'll sleep in a hammock near a 100-foot waterfall, mountain bike over gritty gravel roads in Danbulla State Forest, bushwalk two days through the lush rainforests of the Mulgrave Valley, raft the pumping Class III-IV Russel River, sail and scuba dive among Great Barrier Reef sea turtles and dolphins, and sea kayak between the uninhabited Barnard Islands.
Outfitter: REI Adventures, 800-622-2236, www.rei.com/travel
When to Go: May–November
Wyoming: Canoeing, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, and Rafting through the Tetons
This trip is lodge-based, so your only after-dark exertions will be nursing blisters and chowing down on buffalo steak. The days are a different story: First you'll hike the Hermitage Point Trail beneath the shadow of eight of the grandest Tetons. On day two, you'll either canoe mirrorlike Jackson Lake or take a rock-climbing courseat Cascade Canyon on Jenny Lake. Day three, thread the smooth singletrack up Cache Creek Trail and then down rugged Game Creek Trail. Dessert? A half-day horseback ride through the Gros Ventre Wilderness and an overnight whitewater-raftingtrip on the Class III Snake River.
Outfitter: Tahoe Trips and Trails, 800-581-4453, www.tahoetrips.com
When to Go: July
Iceland: Hiking, Biking, Rafting, and Horseback Riding in the South
Iceland's combination of volcanic activity and Arctic climate makes for unparalleled multifaceted terrain—glaciers calve and re-form with alarming frequency, earthquakeshave opened cracks in the earth as recently as 1998, lava nearly always flows, and there are hundreds of bubbling hot springs. For six days, you'll visit geothermal vents, raft Class II rapids on the icy Hvítá River, and ride Icelandic steeds over a surreal, lava-encrusted moonscape. To shock your senses after that monochromatic landscape, you'll chase the horseback ride with a hike and mountain-bike ride through the Heidmörk Recreational Area, carpeted with thousands of poppies.
Outfitter: Borton Overseas, 800-843-0602, www.bortonoverseas.com
When to Go: June–August
Price: $1,690 (includes international airfare)