Pura Vida, Golfo Dulce
The Destination: In Costa Rica, near the border with Panama, the Osa Peninsula juts into the Pacific and creates the aptly named Golfo Dulce, the “sweet gulf.” National Geographic called Osa one of the most biologically intense places on Earth and Jacques Cousteau considered the waters of this gulf the most pristine of the world’s four tropical fiords. With an end-of-the-road feel, the people are friendly and the region is alive with animals — birds, monkeys and butterflies in the rainforest; Humpback whales, dolphins and sea turtles in the water.
The Action: To get a taste of the region’s various environments, Seascape Kayak Tours assembled an eight-day, lodge-based, multi-sport tour dubbed Azul y Verde. After an exciting flight from San Jose down to Drake Bay, the next three days are spent paddling along the surf-swept coast, playing in the ocean swells and watching for marine life. Then, it’s immersion in the calm waters of Gulfo Dulce, exploring mangrove swamps, river estuaries and snorkelling in the warm sea. The trip ends in the jungle of Corcovado National Park, haunt of several wild cats — including jaguars.
The Details: Eight days; March 2015; $3,995; seascapekayaktours.com
Walk With a Llama
The Destination: To reach Mallard Mountain Lodge, BC’s newest backcountry lodge, you must fly by helicopter for a half-hour south of Valemount, right into the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Bumping against the remote western border of Jasper National Park, craggy peaks, sprawling meadows and jewel-like lakes are a short walk away.
The Action: When not working on Mallard, owners Derek and Barb McManus raise llamas; during the summer, they bring them up to the lodge to schlep for guests. The sure-footed South American pack animals carry lunch, water and clothing as the people pioneer new day-hikes around a historic area where David Thompson and legions of Voyageurs once trekked.
The Details: July through mid-September; three days from $1,530; canadianadventurecompany.com
Ski a First Descent
The Destination: No one goes to the Stockdale Range of the Purcell Mountains. Not because the skiing’s bad: it’s full of glaciers, high passes, open trees and big, skiable peaks. No, it’s just remote — a 20-minute flight from Radium, BC, sitting between the iconic Bugaboos and the 3,300-metre peaks of the Jumbo Glacier area. (Both are visible from up high on a clear day.)
The Action: Every winter, the Alpine Club of Canada picks a different location for its annual ski trips, setting up a sturdy tree-line camp with a heated wall tent for eating and après socializing, a dedicated kitchen and sleeping tents for skiers. It’s always somewhere good, but this season’s, at Stockdale, is better than usual. The goal is to ski hard according to the conditions. And to never cross another track.
The Details: March 22 to 29; six nights; $2,050; alpineclubofcanada.com