Fusion Safaris: Top 12 Fitness And Food Vacations For 2015

Food loving travelers, rejoice! If you want a guilt-free way to enjoy the best wines, seafood and regional cuisine around the world, choose from these food-fitness safaris, active trips that will have you burning calories without even realizing it. In addition to exploring new places and foods through wine tastings, food pairings and cooking classes, these food-fitness safaris also expose you to local wildlife, whether it’s on the slopes, in the sea or in the rainforest. Get ready for immersive adventure travel, where even your taste buds will enjoy the trip.

Note: If you missed last year’s edition you can check out here, Adventure Travel: Top Food And Fitness Fusion Safaris For 2014.

Domestic

food vacations

Salmon River Canyon with ROW Adventures. Photo Courtesy of Chad Case.

1) River Rafting, Wilderness Cooking Lessons & Wine Pairings (Idaho/ Oregon)

Explore the best of Northwestern United States with a whitewater rafting trip, wine pairings and gourmet meals with ROW adventures’ Culinary Whitewater Rafting Series. Raft down either Salmon River Canyons in Idaho or Rogue River in Oregon and enjoy intermediate rapids, warm water and green-forested canyons. During the day, split up rafting with swimming and wildlife watching for deer, black bear, river otters and a variety of birds. You can also get off the river with walks to historic homesteads and hikes on superb trails. End your days with gourmet meals, which you can help prepare or just enjoy. You can chose a trip with hands-on cooking lessons where you learn to make gourmet wilderness meals using the campfire or a Dutch Oven cooking. On other trips, a guest chef will prepare Northwest Regional Fare paired with local wines.

This 4-6 day trip costs $1,255 to $1,585. Click here for more information.

food vacations

Fish to Fork Eating. Photo courtesy of Omni Amelia Island Plantation.

2) Dock-to-Dish Dining With Dolphins (Amelia Island, Florida)

Visit Amelia Island, Florida for an unforgettable fishing and hunting experience. Work up an appetite by reeling-in redfish (a popular Florida sport fish), skates and rays (delicious to eat), sharks and more. During the annual “Fish to Fork” chef showdown, local fishing captains expertly guide you down back-country salt marshes of Amelia Island or the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean for a true dock to dining experience. While hunting for your dinner, spot hundreds of species of local birds, dolphins and manatees. See how your own meal compares to a professional concoction at weekend’s main event — the “Fish to Fork” chef showdown. At this live battle, chefs will turn the catch of the day into a signature dish using a mystery ingredient. Visitors, like you, will sample the salty bounty and decide the winner.

Click here for more information about Omni Amelia Island Plantation and click here to read more about last year’s Fish to Fork Culinary weekend.

food vacations

Woodboat Winter appetizers. Photo courtesy of AJ DeRosa

3) Snowshoeing & S’Mores (Jackson Hole, Wyoming)

Join Woodboat Tours for Snowshoe with Tipi Dinner in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Take off on a four-day snowshoe hike in the shadows of the Grand Tetons. As you move silently through the Cottonwood forest on the banks of the Snake River, your guide will interpret moose, elk, deer, coyote and river otter tracks in the snow with occasional glimpses of the animals. As the temperature drops, you’ll arrive at Tipi camp just in time for sunset and a custom dinner. Dine on wild-caught salmon or buffalo and regional side dishes before climbing into your cozy tipi, if you elect to spend the night.

Prices start at $1,375 for 1 to 6 guests and include land use fee, snowshoes, poles, binoculars and a meal. Click here for more information.

International

food vacations

Gourmet Adventures in the Galapagos. Photo courtesy of Opuntia.

4) Beachside Biking, Deep-Sea Fishing & Sushi Making (Ecuador)

Join Opuntia Eco Journeys & Hotels for “Galapagos Wildlife for Active Foodies,” where island exploration is synced with the preparation and enjoyment of endemic, gourmet meals. This program provides an invaluable opportunity to learn, stimulate your senses and savor the finest products of one of the best-preserved islands on earth. Snorkel with marine iguanas, kayak with sea lions, visit a tortoise rearing center and stay at a lodge where giant tortoise roam freely. You will deep-sea fish with locals and turn the catch of the day into fresh sushi and sashimi, as well as search for edible plants on a primary forest walk. Feast on wild pig in a southern style BBQ, grilled snapper on a tropical beach, organic beef, Galapagos coffee and Ecuadorian chocolate at a highland farm.

This 8-day trip starts at $3940 per person. Click here  for more information.

5) Cave Swimming & Chocolate (Belize)

Join Adventure Life for an active, cultural and culinary immersion trip in Belize. Kayak, river tube and zip line through Mayan jungle, potentially encountering tropical birds like woodpecker, trogons, parakeets and toucans along the way. You will also hike half an hour to mouth of Blue Creek cave, then swim upstream inside to a point where the river cascades from a fissure in the cavern wall. Your creative side will also get a workout with drumming lessons from a master teacher and craft lessons from the Chiacs family who make functional crafts out of materials gathered by hand from the surrounding jungle. You will leave their village with an appreciation for the hard work that goes into regional baskets, hammocks, shoulder bags, palm fans and rosewood carvings. A Belizean chef also takes you on a tour of the nearby street market before heading into her kitchen to prepare a traditional local meal. Before you leave Belize, visit the Ixcacao Mayan Chocolate facility in nearby San Felipe village and savor a cacao-infused lunch. This boutique factory is known for its delectable, sustainably-produced, environmentally-conscious chocolate.

This six-day tour starts at $1575 per person. Click here for more information.

Dresden by Bike. Photo courtesy of VBT Adventures & DMG/Dittrich

Dresden by Bike. Photo courtesy of VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

6) Pedaling & Pickles (Germany)

Bike your way from Baroque Potsdam to resilient Dresden and keep yourself fueled with German fare along the way. Bike paths allow you to get intimately acquainted with the castles, windmills, and Karst mountains of the Swiss-Saxony region. You will follow the scenic shores of the Havel and Elbe rivers, with close view of boars and elk in a Wildpark Forest. You will also visit Sanssouci Park, which includes a baroque flower garden with lawns, flower beds, hedges, trees and 3,000 fruit trees including oranges, melons, peaches and bananas. You will learn about the process of creating fine porcelain in Meissen and get lost in the dense forests of Spreewald. Here, enjoy a meal with a German family at a pickle and sauerkraut factory.

This 10-day tour starts at $3,745 including international airfare. Click here for more information.

food vacations

Namib Nakluft National Park, Namibia. Photo courtesy of Kent Redding.

7) Springbok & Sandboarding (Namibia)

Join Africa Adventure Consultants for their Namibia Ultimate safari, a fitness and meat-lover’s dream. Each day, you’ll work up an appetite as you climb some of the world’s highest free-standing sand dunes, hike through Sesriem Canyon, sea kayak with seals and walk with cheetahs at the Big Cat Research Centre. If that’s not extreme enough, you can choose to go quad biking and sand boarding on the rollercoaster shaped dunes of the Namib Desert. Game drive experiences include tracking for desert-adapted elephants, exploring Etosha National Park, the fourth largest National Park in the world, and sleeping in tree tops near one of the most productive waterholes on the Onguma Private Game Reserve. Each night, you’ll feast on gourmet meals featuring local specialties like, kudu, zebra, ostrich, and springbok — all expertly paired with South African wines.

This 10-day safari costs $3495. Click here  for more information.

food vacations

Photo of a lionfish courtesy of Kristina Vackova via Shutterstock.

8) Diving & Dining On Lionfish (Curaçao)

Dive into tropical waters to get up close and personal with Curaçao’s thriving corals, tropical reef fish and the invasive lionfish species that threatens the entire Caribbean reef system. Join Ocean Encounters for an add-on safari to any dive to hunt and eat the invasive lion fish. During their Lionfish Scuba Dive Experience, receive a short presentation on the predator’s anatomy and its effect on local reefs before you make a 50-minute dive and assist the divemaster in spearfishing lionfish. After the hunt, watch how the lionfish is transformed into sashimi dockside and travel into town for an island-style lionfish fry. Your visit not only benefits Curaçao by actively removing lionfish from the reefs, but also teaches people how to continue to combat the problem responsibly.

The half-day Lionfish Scuba Dive Experience for certified divers starts at $72. Click here for more information.

food vacations

Howler monkey courtesy of Jess Kraft via Shutterstock.

9) Hike With Howler Monkeys & Sip On Shade-Grown Coffee (Panama)

Explore Panama’s beach, volcanoes, cloud forests and indigenous communities with Backroad’s hiking and biking tour. Start surrounded by sand and sun with snorkeling in Chiriquí Gulf National Marine Park among dolphins and colorful fish. Then delight in cooler temperatures as you hike and bike at the base of Boquete’s Barú Volcano, keeping an eye out for howler monkeys. Here you will tour and taste famous shade-grown coffee at Finca Lérida plantation. Then, take a scenic flight to David in western Panama for a journey into the vaulting Cordillera Central mountain range. Throughout this trip, you will encounter layers of Spanish colonial and San Francisco gold-rush history, seven indigenous tribes and a jazzy Afro-Caribbean vibe. Dining highlights include fish and seafood dishes on the coast, local beef and trout in Boquete and a visit to Panamonte restaurant, home to the award-winning Chef Charlie Collins.

This six-day trip starts at $3,798 per person. Click here for more information

food vacations

Hike the legendary path from Cusco to the Lost City.  Photo courtesy of RealWorld.

10) Paragliding & Pisco (Peru)

Join Realworld Holidays in their “La Vida es Dulce” tour of Peru, a country with some of the best food and most amazing nature in the world. Start in Lima where you will paraglide over the cliffs of Miraflores, then meet a chef to pick up some ingredients at the local market for a private cooking lesson. Next, head down the coast to the desert oasis of Huacachina for a dune buggy ride and sandboarding. Spend your afternoon relaxing at Peru’s best vineyards for tasting sessions of wine and Pisco brandy. From the coast, you will head into the Andes to Arequipa, for a bike ride in the countryside before enjoying an enormous asado barbecue at one of the local haciendas. End your trip in the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco. From here, you will do a full-day trek through the mountains to reach Machu Picchu, before heading down to the gourmet restaurant at the Sumaq hotel where you can gorge yourself on some of the finest novo andino (New Andean) cuisine.

This trip costs about $3000. Click here for more information.

Cooking Lessons in Jordan.  Photo courtesy of

Cooking Lessons in Jordan. Photo courtesy of WANT Adventures.

11) Buzzards, Baklava & Bedouin Breakfasts

Join WANT Expeditions for a culinary and wildlife adventure through Jordan, where you will experience the best of Bedouin hospitality and millennia of history.  You will actively explore Roman ruins, crusaders castles, the Dead Sea and the Read Sea with opportunities to get intimate with Jordan’s key attractions in a way that not many do.  For example, you will tour Petra at night by candlelight, an amazing experience only offered on special days.  You will also don life vests to explore the deep Wadi Mujib gorge through hiking trails and swimming trails, past waterfalls.  This gorge enters the Dead Sea at 410 meters below sea level and provides a remarkable opportunity to see incredible wildlife, at the lowest nature reserve in the world.  You’ll get close to the rich vegetation in the wadi beds where you’ll find palm trees, wild fig and Tamarix trees.  The steep mountain slopes support highly adapted mammals such as the Rock Hyrax, Eurasian Badger and the Nubian Ibex (a large mountain goat).  The gorge is also an internationally important passageway for migratory birds including storks, buzzards, honey buzzards and levant sparrow hawks.  Your stomach will also enjoy the adventure with culinary events planned throughout the trip.  You will visit a local pastry shop to sample local specialities (like baklava), learn to cook traditional dishes from a professional Jordanian chef and feast on Bedouin breakfasts throughout.

This ten-day trip starts at $4999.  Click here for more information (search for Jordan under country list).

Skiing the Ortler Circuit.  Photo courtesy of Borealis Mountain Guides.

Skiing the Ortler Circuit. Photo courtesy of Borealis Mountain Guides.

12) Skiing, Semmeln & Speck

If you are a strong backcountry skier with an appetite for adventure and good food, consider the Ortler Circuit trip brought to you by Borealis Mountain Guides. You will ski from hut to hut along the Ortler range, which straddles the border between Italy and Austria. The location allows you to take advantage of the best of both county’s culinary traditions: homemade pasta and delicious wines in Northern Italy and hearty Austrian breakfasts of semmeln (bread rolls), ham (sometimes a smoked bacon called speck or cut sausages called schinkenspeck), cakes, pastries and jam. When you’re skiing, you will also be exposed to new things. Along your journey, you may catch sight of foxes, chamois (a goat-antelope species), and the chouca bird, identifiable with a vivid yellow beak and jet-black plumage. Barbed wire and other relics will remind you of the high alpine skirmishes fought here during World War I.

This 6-day trip costs $2200 per skier. Click here for more information.

 

Which food and fitness fusion adventure would you love to go on in 2015? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

By Katie Foote

Featured image courtesy of nito via Shutterstock

Also Check Out:

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Wellness Travel: World’s Top Boozy Yoga Vacations

 

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Katie Foote may be a physicist by trade but she travels the world any chance she can get. After four years of semi-nomadic life as she finished her PhD, she's recently moved to Auckland, New Zealand. Despite beginning a more traditional life, she has insight on how to travel the world on a graduate student budget (cheap!), explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and authentically experiencing new places by connecting to locals. When she's not doing physics or globe-trotting, she likes to swim, do yoga and hike (or "tramp" as they say in New Zealand). Check out Katie's blog to follow her adventures around the world.

1 Comment

  1. @Zak: I’d followup with them directly on that, as I don’t want to give you the wrong information.

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