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17 Activities to Experience in 2017
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VIP Journeys / Travel  / Adventure  / Our 17 Activities to Experience in 2017
caribbean snorkel tours

Our 17 Activities to Experience in 2017

It’s our 17 Activities to Experience in 2017 list, and it’s chocked full of our absolute favorite travel activities, as well as our favorite places to enjoy them:

Adventure awaits in 2017, as active tours gain in popularity for U.S. travelers.

While some active tours fall into the more extreme category (hang gliding, kitesurfing and SCUBA diving, perhaps), others are more soft active excursions designed to be fun for the whole family (for example, cave tubing, zip lining and deep sea fishing). Still others can be just about as heart-pounding or as relaxing as you (and the destination) choose to make them (think whitewater rafting, kayaking and dune buggying). There are even active tours (like dance lessons, golf trips and stargazing) that are sure to get your heart rate up without getting you much out of your comfort zone.

Last week, we gave you our Top 17 Cities to see in 2017 to use as inspiration in planning your upcoming vacations. This week, we’re inspiring you with activities instead of destinations.

It’s our 17 Activities to Experience in 2017 list, and it’s chocked full of our absolute favorite travel activities, as well as our favorite places to enjoy them:

Zip Lining

costa rica zip lining

There’s just something about whizzing through the air attached only to a cable via carabiner clip that gets us giddy. There are lots of wonderful places in Central and South America to try your hand at zip lining, but the granddaddy of them all (for sheer size and speed) has got to be SkyTrek at Arenal Park in Costa Rica.

Ice Trekking

ice trek patagonia

Ice trekking in Patagonia remains one of our founder’s (Mike) most talked about and beloved trips. Attach those crampons, and set out across the ice fields and glaciers at the End of the World with one of our guides for a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll never forget. Finish it off by sipping a bit of vodka poured over glacial ice to warm up.

River Rafting

pacuare lodge whitewater rafting

There aren’t many places in Latin America where river rafting isn’t available within an easy day trip. When the temperatures are right, it’s a refreshing and exhilarating activity for almost any age. One of our favorite whitewater rafting trips is en route to the Pacuare Lodge in Costa Rica. There’s only one way to get there, and this is it, so life jacket up and enjoy the ride.

Cooking Classes

latin america cooking classes

Our other founder (Carol) has regaled us many times of her favorite cooking class she’s ever taken. It was at Finca Aldalgisa in Mendoza, Argentina, and chef Cristina Bring led an intimate, relaxing and immersive evening that was as tasty as it was enjoyable. Other great destinations for cooking classes include Peru, Colombia and Brazil.


caribbean snorkel tours

One of the most amazing activities in the world is getting a taste of the underwater ecosystem. Floating along in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, in particular, is simply mesmerizing. Many don’t think of Colombia as a beach destination, but Tayrona National Park has some of the best snorkeling and beaches in all of Latin America. Hol Chan in Belize is another favorite.


atacama desert stargazing

You may not think of lying on your back staring at the stars as particularly active, but in the Atacama Desert, you need to do some walking to get to the very best spots away from it all and completely devoid of ambient light. Let our guides drive you part way and then lead you to your very own corner of paradise to spend some time. What could be more romantic? Just don’t forget your blanket and maybe some wine.


kayak tour amazon

Like river rafting, you can pretty much always find somewhere to get in a bit of kayaking (or canoeing depending on your fancy). Whether on a local river or off shore in the ocean, kayaking is not only a great way to see the local scenery, it’s also great exercise. One of our favorite places to get up close and personal with the native flora and fauna via kayak is the Amazon rainforest. It will really take your breath away.

Dance Lessons

south america dance lessons

Forget the local Fred Astaire studio or some Catskills resort where nobody keeps Baby in a corner. You want real dance lessons? Head to Buenos Aires, Argentina and learn to tango in a place where literally everyone trips the fantastic at studios, nightclubs, shows, milongas, festivals and even in the streets. Tango is not easy, so we suggest taking a lesson before hitting the town. Some instructors will even go along with you.

Dune Buggy Excursions

dune buggy tour

Huacachina, Peru made our list of places to visit in 2017 for its Star Wars ‘esque desert oasis vibe. One chart topping activity available there are some pretty outstanding dune buggy tours. Just be sure to wear your goggles! Another destination we love for dune buggying (and sand boarding too) is Uruguay.

Kite Surfing

brazil kitesurfing

Kitesurfing (sometimes called kiteboarding) is an increasingly popular water sport that combines aspects of surfing, wake boarding and, well, kite flying into one very exciting extreme sport. There is perhaps no place better to get your feet wet in the activity than Buzios, Brazil, where kitesurfing has become so popular you’re unlikely to go to the beach without seeing at least one.

Deep Sea Fishing

deep sea fishing tour

Many of the destinations with the most stunning marine ecosystems don’t allow deep sea fishing, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some pretty outstanding places to get in a bit of trolling. The Pacific coast of Panama is one of our favorite spots for deep sea fishing tours (especially around Coiba), but be sure to go with a reputable guide who knows local regulations around what you can keep and what is catch and release.


best golf in south america

There are many outstanding golf courses dotted throughout Central and South America, but one of the most visually stunning we’ve yet to find is Terravista Golf Course along the shores of Brazil. This former World’s Best course, is located in Porto Seguro Bahia and boasts truly magnificent views of the Atlantic. You’ll play through the rainforest, atop the coastal cliffs and along the beach before hitting the 19th hole at the club.

SCUBA Diving

galapagos scuba diving

For first timers, SCUBA diving in the clear, azure waters of the Caribbean is highly recommended (places like Tayrona, Colombia, Hol Chan, Belize and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica will be hits). For those with a bit more experience, there is no better place than Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands to witness firsthand the magnificent array of underwater life. We recommend getting on board a small 16-passenger yacht for the very best experience.

Cave Tubing

belize cave tubing

Grab some rum punch, a head lamp and inner tube and set sail into the underground Maya world of the Crystal Caves near Jaguar Paw resort. This activity is fun for the whole family and kids of all ages (or just kids at heart) so long as they can swim or are comfortable in a life jacket. The beauty of this area is truly electrifying and well worth the jungle trek and mini cliff jump to get there. Bonus points for the adorable little bats that dot the cave ceiling.

Hang Gliding 

hang glide brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is well known for its hang gliding culture, and there truly is no better place in all of Latin America for your first foray into this exhilarating adventure sport. Take a deep breath and launch with your tandem instructor then let it all out as you glide over the Brazilian coast with Sugar Loaf mountain in the distance and the amazing beaches far below. Trust us, you’ll want to experience this again and again.

Climb Mayan Ruins

belize ruins, guatemala ruins

The relics of the great Maya civilization are spread throughout Central America and can be seen in many destinations. Where you’re staying should determine which Mayan ruins you visit on your trip, but some of our absolute favorites are Tikal in Guatemala (one of the largest) and Lamanai and Xunantunich in Belize. When you reach the top of these behemoths, sit a spell and admire the surrounding landscape. It’s akin to meditation.


surfing in central america

Chasing the endless summer is a favorite pastime of at least one of the VIP team, and there are plenty of stellar places to hang 10 in Latin America. To get the most bang for your surfing buck, head to Costa Rica or Nicaragua. Other off-the-beaten path and virtually unknown places include Mancora, Peru and La Paloma, Uruguay. Now, grab that board and hit the waves!

See an activity (or three) you’d like to try this year? We can build these into most itineraries or tailor an activity-specific vacation to suit your personal needs. Contact us today to begin planning your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Latin America.