As spring brings warmer temperatures, it’s time to get out and explore beyond the beach – from mountain biking down a volcano in Ecuador, to touring formal gardens in Russia or visiting remote birding sites in Iceland. Farther south, you can spring forward all the way to fall, when the fishing is great in Patagonia. Here are seven alternative spring breaks:
1. Mountain bike Cotopaxi: The Andes highland region of Ecuador sees spring-like weather all year, making a mountain biking tour of the foothills around Cotopaxi National Park with Adventure Life ideal. Ride to waterfalls, lakes and Inca ruins during the day, and stay in classic haciendas each night. Finish with a descent of Cotopaxi Volcano into the valley.
2. Escape to St. Petersburg: Visit St. Petersburg – Peter the Great’s cultured capital – with MIR Corporation as the Russian city comes to life after the long winter. At Peterhof, Peter’s summer home, admire the famous gilded fountains and gardens. Also, explore the lavish Catherine’s Palace, the more modest Alexander’s Palace or the world-class collection of art and artifacts at the renowned Hermitage Museum.
3. Go birding in wild Westfjords: Tour the remote towns and narrow, winding dirt roads of the wild Westfjords of Iceland with Big Chill Adventures to see the large puffin colonies of the Latrabjarg Cliffs. In late spring, the birds are building nests and roosting, and you’ll have them to yourself before summer crowds arrive.
4. Fish for bonefish in Belize: Join Frontiers at Belize River Lodge, a world-class property set among tropical greenery and colorful flowers, and enjoy both fly fishing and spin fishing the flats and river systems for bonefish, tarpon and permit. Other activities include snorkeling, birding, ziplining, cave tubing and visiting Maya ruins.
5. Snorkel and kayak Thailand: On this Adventure Life trip, snorkel the clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand, home to abundant coral and marine life, and spend a day exploring the uninhabited islands of Angthong Marine Park by kayak. There’s also plenty of time to relax on the idyllic beaches of Koh Samui or celebrate Songkran, the new year according to the Thai calendar, in April.
6. Bike across Provence: Join Ride & Seek on a tour of eight of the most beautiful villages in the Provence region of France, as ordained by the group Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Visit classic destinations such as St. Remy de Provence and the Vaucluse, and sip the sophisticated wines of Cotes du Rhone. You can also challenge yourself with the climb up Mont Ventoux.
7. Bag trout in Patagonia: Argentina’s Limay River Lodge has the unique distinction of being the only destination fishing lodge on the banks of this tail water with exclusive put-in access. With Frontiers, you’ll mesh big-water drift fishing and walk-and-wade opportunities for larger-than-average river rainbows, browns and fall migratory brown trout.