Esoteric Adventures

Been there? Done that? Well yes, and so have most family and friends. There’s nothing more rewarding than returning from a holiday and regaling the tale of a quirky experience, to a captive audience enthralled by the details of a unique adventure.

 But of course, one shouldn’t have to sacrifice certain popular experiences that have always been a must on the tourist trail, so the key here is reading the fine print and asking tour operators lots of questions, which might just uncover some esoteric activities already on the itinerary. Off to trek the Inca Trail? How about a bit of camel conservation en-route? Heading out to Costa Rica to relish in its varied topography, or get up close to some turtles? Well what about spending a bit of time with one of the laziest and loveliest animals around; the Sloth. Or maybe impress friends at home with a superior knowledge of fruits, having completed a tropical fruits course?

Here’s a couple of ideas, to spark holiday maker’s imaginations in 2012.

Conserving the Camels

Visitors to Peru in 2012 have the chance to visit the home of the Inca civilization, the breath-taking peaks of the Andes and its native camels! Those visiting Peru in the New Year can visit the world famous Machu Picchu site and also partake in a week’s camel conservation. i-to-i volunteering offers life changing travel trips including the experience of feeding and caring for these native animals as well as learning ancient Andean traditions such as weaving camel wool, set in an awe-inspiring landscape.

Prices start from £899 per person for 2 weeks land only. Accommodation is provided in a homestay and guest house, spending time and eating meals with local families. The trip also includes breakfast and dinner whilst volunteering, airport pick-up, in-country orientation and 24 hour support. For more information call i-to-i volunteering on 01892 883 106 or visit

Kung Fu Monk

China’s Martial Arts Academy allows visitors to train in Kung-Fu at their own pace with the very best in Chinese martial arts masters whilst enjoying the backdrop of the picturesque Fujian mountains that surrounds the academy. Time away from training allows travellers to discover the untouched surrounding landscape of South East China and partake in group activities such as Bamboo rafting. Mandarin lessons are also a memorable inclusion, giving the opportunity to learn about traditional Chinese cultures, as well as the chance to experience calm and tranquillity whilst meditating with Monks.

Prices start from £899 per person land only for 4 weeks. 27 nights’ accommodation is provided staying on site at the academy, with most rooms boasting stunning scenic views of the surrounding area. The rooms are basic, with one to two single beds with very firm Chinese mattresses and a simple wardrobe for clothes and personal possessions. All meals are provided at the academy and are prepared by the academy cooks. Meals are made in the local style and with local produce; however, some Western dishes are served occasionally, airport transfer, orientation and 24hour support is included. Also included is martial arts training five days a week, meditation five days a week and Mandarin classes. For more information call Real Gap Experience on 01892 883 106 or visit

Chilling with the Sloths

Travellers can make a real difference to orphaned Sloths (ahhh) in Costa Rica. Real Gap Experience offers a trip allowing visitors to stay within a Sloth sanctuary, getting up close and personal with the laziest but loveliest animals in the wild. Highlights of the trip include caring for the endangered creatures and nursing them back into health. The sanctuary, with the help of volunteers, has already returned many injured and orphaned Sloths back in to their natural environment. This trip also allows volunteers to visit the nearby unspoilt Cahuita Beach as well as participate in the unusual activity of tropical fruit lessons.

Prices start from £719 per person for 3 weeks land only. Includes accommodation within the rescue centre (so that volunteers can keep a close eye on their new furry friends at all times), all meals, airport pick-up, details orientation, airport accommodation and 24 hour support. For more information call Real Gap Experience on 01892 883 106 or visit

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