Rugged Couples Retreat: Travel Guide for the Adventurous Pair

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and for couples who might be looking for slightly unconventional ways to rekindle the romance, why not consider a retreat where Mother Nature takes centre stage. Choose from a number of challenging hikes or plan a visit to some of the world’s most remote locations. Whatever you decide, you and your partner will have memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. Here are a handful of trip ideas for adventurous couples.

Trip Ideas for Adventurous Couples

Explore the Landscapes of the Scottish Highlands

You’ve seen them in films from Braveheart to the Harry Potter series. Towering peaks, graceful valleys, and stunning lochs are the highlights of the Scottish Highlands. Add in medieval castles and incredible landscapes and you’ve got the perfect romantic setting. Consider visiting the chambered Cairns of Caithness, some of the oldest pre-historic structures in Scotland that gives evidence to their skills or hike towards one of the many cragtop castle ruins like Ardverk Castle near Loch Assynt and Eilean Donan located in the Western Highlands. Visitors to the Highlands will also have plenty of opportunities for bird watching, fishing, and hunting. Make sure to bring a raincoat, durable hiking boots, and your best camera to capture every bit of scenery.

Adventurous Couples Trip Ideas: Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands, Scotland
Eilean Donan Castle: Photo Loris Paleari / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Watch Nature’s Fury in Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano

If you’re a couple with an adventurous streak, plan your next getaway in scenic Costa Rica, more specifically in the Guanacaste region that houses the Arenal Volcano National Park. Prominently in the background, Costa Rica’s most active volcano, Arenal, has fascinated volcanologists and naturalists for decades. They have taken their curiosities as far as organizing eco hikes near the volcano’s base to witness it spew red hot boulders and see its spectacular lava flows. Unfortunately, due to numerous fatal incidents, said hikes were banned. You can however, still take in this spectacular force nature from afar, in conjunction with other tours that explore the nearby forest.

Costa Rica’s weather is typically made up of wet and dry seasons, just as it is with any tropical country so remember to pack layered clothing and plenty of insect repellant.

Adventurous Couples Trip Ideas: Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano: Photo Scott Ableman / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Get to Know Peru’s Colca Canyon

When you think of Peru, your first thoughts on where to go for your rugged couples retreat will be to the sacred ruins of Machu Picchu. I’ve been there and can speak for its breathtaking beauty, but for an even better appreciation of the splendor of the Peruvian Andes, head further south towards Colca Canyon, which sits in Peru’s Arequipa region. Considered one of the deepest canyons in the world (deepest part is 13,648 ft.), it also has some of the most difficult and dizzying hiking trails you’ll likely ever trek in your life. In addition to its astounding scenery, Colca Canyon is also deeply rooted in history and culture. Over a dozen indigenous families still inhabit the area, some of which even offer home stays. The canyon is also home to the Andean Condor, a number of pre-Inca agricultural terraces, and natural hot springs that are available for tourist use.

If you’re planning on visiting and trekking the Colca Canyon, consider the town of Chivay as your initial home base. It has a number of accommodation, food, and high-quality artisan craft options.

Adventurous Couples Trip Ideas: Colca Canyon, Peru
Colca Canyon, Peru

Hike the Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada, covering an astounding 2,650 miles of pathway that traverses desserts, forests, and mountainous peaks. Hiking the entire route takes several months and a steadfast commitment that will challenge you physically, emotionally, and mentally. Fortunately, the trail can be broken into segments making it suitable for a weeklong rugged couples retreat. Oregon’s volcano section is arguably the easiest and most scenic, with peaks of Three Sisters, Three Fingered Jack, Mount Washington, Mount Jefferson, and Mount Hood all viewable from the relatively flat trail. The most popular one however is the Central California section that merges with the John Muir Trail. It cuts through the picturesque Yosemite National Park and is easy to get to from Reno or San Francisco. Pack clothes for every suitable weather condition should you decide to take on this challenging hike.

Adventurous Couples Trip Ideas: Pacific Crest Trail, Mexico and USA to Canada
Pacific Crest Trail: Photo Bureau of Land Management Oregon / CC BY 2.0

Absorb the Beauty of Utah’s Trio of National Parks

The expansive Grand Canyon in Arizona dominates the American Southwest landscape but Utah’s trio of national parks stun with sceneries of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike anywhere else in the world. Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks are best explored on foot so it makes for a perfect rugged couples retreat. Consider renting a motorhome to make the most out of each park. Some of the highlights include the Delicate Arch, the pristine and soaring peaks of Kolab Canyon, and the largest collection of hoodoos in one spot.

Adventurous Couples Trip Ideas: The Delicate Arch, Arches national Park, Utah
The Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah: Photo Airflore / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

About Iris A


Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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