Working out may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about vacation. But, fitness activities can help you experience a destination in a new and memorable way. Since Aaptiv can be used globally and workouts can be downloaded and used in wifi-free zones, working out while you travel is easier than ever. You can combine two things you love, cardio and travel, with epic hikes, magical dives, climbing volcanoes, multi-day treks, and catching gnarly waves.
Most of us don’t have the time in our daily lives for outdoor adventures so what better way to recharge than experiencing nature and breaking a serious sweat? We’ve gathered ten bucket list, cardio-centric experiences for fitness travel. Consider one of these wanderluster-approved destinations if you’re planning a fitness travel escape.
If you love to spin:
Book a trip to France in July to participate in the cyclosportive event, L’Etapue du Tour. You won’t exactly be competing in the Tour de France but you will have a chance to join other amateur cyclists to ride one stage of the tour during the professional racer’s day off. The 100+ mile path can be difficult so only avid cyclists should attempt this feat. Cycling can burn around 470 calories per hour if you weigh around 130 pounds. You won’t feel so guilty after this epic ride when you reward yourself with a fresh baguette, brie cheese, and champagne.
If you love to take risks:
Travel south to attempt the hardest hike in the Caribbean on Mount Nevis. Oh, it’s also a potentially active volcano. Adrenaline will be pumping through your veins as you head up 3,233 feet and take in the spectacular scenery around you. This ain’t your grandma’s hike—you will have to climb ropes and roots to reach the top of the mountain. The island also boasts waterfalls and the chance to swim across the 2-mile channel between St. Kitts and Nevis.
If you like mixed terrain:
Head to Patagonia, a bucket list travel destination for nature lovers around the globe. A visit to the southernmost tip of Chile wouldn’t be complete without trekking in Torres del Paine National Park. The challenging W Trek will show you beautiful sights, all while keeping up your heart rate. Your blood will be pumping as you trek through the forest and French Valley. You’ll kayak around the Grey Glacier, visit Milodon Cave, and climb to the base of the Towers. The trek takes seven days so put in your request now for a week of endorphin-boosting paid time off.
If you want to tone:
They don’t call Muay Thai the Art of Eight Limbs for nothing—it takes some serious muscle and gusto. Practice the sport in its homeland of Koh Samui, Thailand, where you can find numerous week- to month-long camps lead by masters. Get ready to power through several hours of training a day that will make your kickboxing class at home look weak. Punches, kicks, jumps, and jabs will leave you shredded. Oh and don’t forget upwards of 300 sit-ups and 100 push-ups. After you train, show off your toned bod at any of the gorgeous beaches around the island.
If you seek new heights:
If just thinking about an elevation of 19,340 feet makes you feel excited, not dizzy, then grab your hiking boots and book a flight to Tanzania for the adventure of a lifetime-climbing Africa’s tallest mountain—Kilimanjaro. It takes several days of hiking and climbing to ascend to the mountain’s summit. Pretty much every single muscle in your body will get strengthened. You don’t need to be a mountaineer to conquer this feat—all of the paths are walking paths.
If you love to get your stride on:
Strap on your sneakers and don’t forget your camera for a memorable power walk at one of the Wonders of the World, the Great Wall of China. The wall is seriously long, over 5,000 miles, which would take around 18 months to finish. That’d be like walking from Seattle to Chicago. If you have that kind of vacation time, we’re seriously jealous. If not, opt for the Jinshanling segment of the wall. The route from Jinshanling to Simatai will take around three hours walking on the half restored—half wild wall. It’s also regarded as the most beautiful section of the wall. If you seek a steep trek head to the Jiankou section where you’ll log some serious steps over four hours.
If you want to catch a wave:
Surfing retreats have gained popularity world-wide but some favorites include Surf Berbere in Taghazout, Morocco, and Camp Poe in Sri Lanka’s Gold Coast. Surfing is an awesome, challenging exercise. An hour on the waves burns almost 200 calories. Pick out a fashionable rash guard and head off for a vacation that will give you a boost of sunshine and get you in shape. Typical days at surf camps include four or more hours of private surf lessons. As the sun begins to set you can unwind with some beach-front yoga. If you’re already a seasoned surfer, rent a board and head out into the waves on your own. Surf’s not up? Get your cardio in with other beach sports such as kayaking, stand-up paddle board, or volleyball.
If you’re looking to log some serious miles:
Check off two European nations when crossing the Camino de Santiago from St. Jean Pied de Port in France, to northern Spain at Santiago de Compostela. The full trail will take around a month to complete but you can join in at any spot along the path if you have less vacation time. Go full speed ahead and try some sprint intervals during the 500-mile long journey. Ten thousand steps a day will be a piece of cake after this fitness travel experience.
If you wish you had fins:
Belize is home to the world’s second largest Barrier Reef, located in Placencia. The ocean here is a treasure trove for aquatic lovers. If you’re dive certified and experienced you can enjoy endless underwater wonders up-close-and personal. It’s even possible to dive with whale sharks! Snorkelers will also enjoy spotting a colorful array of coral, fish, turtles, and dolphins. Hours of constant swimming will go buy in a splash. You’ll be distracted by the incredible aquatic life that you’ll barely even noticed the 346 calories you burned in an hour.
If you’re feeling extreme:
Fitness travel experiences can be found in our own backyards in the States. If you’ve been dreaming of trying canyoneering visit Moab, Utah. There are numerous canyoneering routes in the south-western gem. Ephedra’s Grotto and Chamisa Canyon are both considered moderate paths but will push you to your limits as you explore sandstone carved canyons, hike and rappel through the scenery. A weekend in Moab can also be enjoyed by partaking in the world-class mountain bike trails and rafting on the Colorado River.
None of these fitness travel experiences will feel like work, instead, they’ll be an awesome adventure that will make your holiday memorable. Do you like to be active on vacation? What’s the best travel fitness experience you’ve ever had? Tell us in the comments below!