Footloose Adventure Tours
, an offshoot of Trek America
bills itself as "Active Adventure for all Ages" - minimum age is 18 (16 with a parent or guardian), but median traveler age is 25 to 55. Don't let that stop you - one of my fondest travel memories was a group tour consisting of folks from 18 to 65 (me being the 18 year old). Imagine what travel tales of the world you could hear from a 55 year old adventurous enough to mountain bike through the Canadian Rockies? And one of the best parts? Groups are kept to 13 people, max. You'll get to know everyone and hear many
travel tales. Trek America aims its tours at a younger crowd (18 to 38) and travels to Australia, Central and South America - but hey - take some chances with a more diverse gang with Footloose although the tour destinations seem less exotic (they're not!). Learn a few things from seasoned international travelers. I recently snorkeled off the Pacific Mexican coast with a 70 year old man - boy, did I get some tips on the world's finest snorkeling spots that a student might not know who just hasn't the years (or money) to gather that kind of info.
Footloose trips are tightly organized tours - your needs are met, you travel in one of a fleet of well maintained buses and your tour guides are pros. The loose part is up to you - you can choose to camp in Mexico or hike through the desert near Las Vegas (that one is literally a trip - you'll go from the calm serenity of the desert, meditating under the stars, to the "New Age" capital of the world, Sedona, Arizona, where people are waiting for the spaceships to land while they meditate - talk about two sides of one coin).
Click on the links to see the trips and itineraries, get prices, gear needs and all the rest of the goodies.
Camping - USA, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and Latin America
Walking (hikes optional) - USA, Canada
Lodging - USA, Alaska, Canada, Mexico (adventure in comfort!)
Mountain Biking - Canadian Rockies and USA Southwest - yum
"Pirates and Pyramids"
I confess I chose this sample because I love the Yucatan and Belize. And if I weren't a starving writer, I'd be on this 19 day trip.
Leave Cancun and head for the ancient Mayan ruins of the once fabulous city Chichen Itza
Off to inland Merida - awe inspiring Mexican colonial history; lose yourself in the cobblestone streets while your imagination carries you into the past
Dive into the idyllic waters of Belize next - English is the language but the clear ocean is the common traveler's tongue as evidenced by the smiles on the beach
Enter Guatemala to visit Tikal, another Mayan ruin - climb a pyramid and wonder how they did it (well, a guide can tell you - smile)
Camp deep in the Petan jungle at Poptun - a working farm where you can hike, bike, swim and horseback ride
Board your chartered sailboat at Lago de Izabal for a leisurely tour of the coast with a few stops, including a chance to soak under a hot springs-fed waterfall
Back to Belize to hop a canoe for a trip into the jungle where you'll make a base camp from which you can visit wildlife reserves and plunge into cenotes
On to the area of the Caribbean Sea which the Mexican government has dubbed the "Mayan Riviera" - stay on a private beach in hammocks strung between coconut trees; if you tire of all that shade and relaxation, slide into the clear water for a leisurely swim or an interesting snorkel
Your About Guide's recommendation - ask Footloose to take you to Tulum while you're in this area. My humble opinion - Tulum is the eighth wonder of the world (maybe the first). This Mayan ruin is drop dead beautiful. Ask your guide to show you the clever hole the Mayans built in a wall which shows a hole in the reef - I'll say no more. Except get there early to avoid sweaty lines of tourists!
The Bottom Line
Okay, Footloose Tours are a bit spendier than the average student tour - but what a wealth of info you can gain from older travelers. What have you got to lose? (Probably not your backpack!) Enjoy, my friends.