Rafting the Yampa through Dinosaur National Monument Provider: O.A.R.S. Length: Four or five days Price: $702 to $990
A rafting trip down the Yampa River through Utah and Colorado's Dinosaur National Monument promises exhilarating whitewater and wilderness, and a chance to travel through time. The river slices deep through layers of sedimentary rock, revealing evidence both from the age of the dinosaurs and from human settlements dating back 10,000 years. History unfolds as you pass by 1,000-foot-tall canyon walls and side gorges containing fossils, ancient rock art, and Native American ruins.
O.A.R.S., the premier rafting company in the West, runs four- and five-day Yampa trips in May, June and July, when the river swells with whitewater from snowmelt that's made its way down from the Rockies. On the trip, you'll traverse the park from East to West, rafting from Deerlodge Park in Colorado to Split Mountain Canyon in Utah. This includes Class III and IV rapids; breaks for swimming and hiking to see hidden waterfalls, ruins, and fossils; and camping on sandy river beaches.
Trip costs include all meals, rafting equipment, guides, and transportation from Vernal, Utah. Five-day trips accompanied by a professional geologist cost $990 (May 13 and 23, June 6) while regular five-day trips cost $835 (June 29 and July 6 and 11). One four-day trip departs June 25 and costs $702. You must provide your own transportation to and from Vernal, as well as your tent and sleeping bag (or rent them from O.A.R.S. for an additional cost).
Hiking, biking, and surfing in Costa Rica Provider: G.A.P Adventures Length: Nine days Price: $949
Central America's undisputed adventure mecca, Costa Rica offers so many quality options, from zip lining and volcano hiking to wildlife watching and surfing. It can be hard to choose which activities to make the focus of your trip. G.A.P Adventures attempts to solve this dilemma with its new Volcanoes & Surf tour, which packs a wide range of activities into one affordable nine-day journey.
After meeting your group in San Jose, you'll start with a hike around the active Arenal Volcano, which is surrounded by lush rainforest. "If travelers are lucky they may see the top [of Arenal] glowing an eerie red, set to a soundtrack of monkeys and the rumblings of the volcano," says G.A.P Adventures' Kira Zack.
Then, you'll take a boat across Lake Arenal and go mountain biking along its shores and over gently rolling hills. Later, venture into the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, where you can see 320 different species of birds and 100 types of mammals. The trip is capped off with two days at the Zopilote Surf Camp on Playa Hermosa de Cobano, a laidback beach town on the Pacific Coast with great year-round surfing conditions. No experience is necessary: Beginners get a two-hour lesson each day and free use of boards throughout their stay.
This trip departs monthly through 2010. The price includes accommodations, two breakfasts and two dinners, activities, ground transportation, and guides. Most meals, optional activities, and airfare to San Jose are extra.
Cycling the Maine coast Provider: Summer Feet…Maine Coast Cycling Adventures Length: Three days Price: $725