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Get in on the ActionFebruary 1, 2007 By: Jennifer Merritt Home-Based Travel Agent
Active tours to fit every client
Your vacation this year could consist of savoring succulent meals and lounging by the sea—but even though you're on vacation, you don't have to let those healthy New Year's resolutions fall to the wayside.
Plenty of itineraries—dubbed active tours—exist to get everyone from couch potatoes to fitness fanatics in motion on vacation.
Active tours abound for just about every destination from Burbank to Beijing, and the level of difficulty of such trips varies just as greatly.
Travelers closer to the couch potato category will enjoy a more relaxed and low-key guided tour, such as spending three-and-a-half hours tubing down the White River in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, or an hour-and-a-half "Horse Back Ride 'n' Swim" through Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.
These two tours are offered through Chukka Caribbean Adventures, which also operates tours in Montego Bay, Belize and Grand Turk.
The Wayfarers offers hiking tours in Europe, the United States and New Zealand. If you're looking for a quick respite with family, the tour operator has mother-daughter hikes through New Mexico. The for-women-only "Land of Enchantment" tour takes mother-daughter teams through Santa Fe over a four-day period, with stops at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the Santa Fe Trail, Chimney Rock—which provides unforgettable views of the desert—and Pedernal, the inspiration for a number of Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings. Don't worry about roughing it: The Wayfarers makes sure that you're set up with comfortable accommodations. Country Walkers offers similar tours, including family, private, women's and snowshoe tours.
Cycling enthusiasts can head to BikeToursDirect, which represents 150 guided and self-guided tour companies in close to 30 European countries. Agents work with the company to secure competitive rates. Bookings aren't comissionable, so some agents do add a service fee.
Alternatively, you could book perhaps one of the most intense tours of all—a trip through France's Loire Valley following the same route as Lance Armstrong and other Tour de France cyclists. Such a tour is offered by Cadence Cycling & Multisport Centers, which caps off your vacation by presenting you with a custom-designed Cyfac bicycle frame signed by Cyfac founder Francis Quillon. The company has produced bikes for Tour de France participants and Olympic gold medalists.
If you're fit and looking to test your strength (and courage!), why not try climbing Mt. Kinabalu, Southeast Asia's highest peak? You'll consequently get the chance to come face-to-face with orangutans. The Great Canadian Travel Company offers a two-week package, "Borneo Revealed," that takes you through the villages and hot springs of Mt. Kinabalu, as well as the rainforest canopies of Sukau and the local market of Sandakan, to experience such animals up close and in their natural habitat.
Mountain Travel Sobek, a company that also specializes in adventure travel to fairly remote areas, just expanded their trip roster for 2007. The 47 new destinations include an inn-to-inn trek to Machu Picchu, sailing trips in Antarctica and Fiji and desert adventures in Egypt and Mali.
Finding ways to keep that New Year's resolution while on vacation shouldn't be an adventure in itself. With all these options offered at various degrees of difficulty, all walks of life can have a happy and healthy vacation in 2007.