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Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Photo: iStockphoto

Sometimes, a quiet vacation is just what the doctor ordered. Other times, a good shakeup is what you need. In the case of the latter, thundering falls and booming volcanoes are inspiring opportunities to absorb some action.

Drive less than three miles from San Jose, Costa Rica, and see the jaw-dropping Arenal Volcano, set within Arenal Volcano National Park. The youngest and most active volcano in Costa Rica is prone to eruptions, some of which may be seen—and heard—from the comfort of posh Nayara Hotel Spa and Garden. If you can swing it, book a casita with an outdoor shower and hot tub overlooking the conical wonder.

Consider, too, a trek to Mount Semeru, the highest mountain on the island of East Java, Indonesia. It’s known for both lava flows and pyroclastic flows, which are comprised of rock fragments and gases. If you plan to hike in the area, plan ahead, though, since permits—and precautions—are required. Prefer safer ground? It routinely belches out steam and smoke for all to see.

Volcanoes and lava are one thing. However, plummeting waterfalls have an allure of their own.

Among the sights to behold is roaring Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Owing its origins to a tiny stream, the Zambezi River gathers force before spilling a million-plus gallons of water from 328 feet in mere minutes. Rainbows and an impressive cloud of mist ensue.

Impressive, too, is mighty, pounding Sutherland Falls in New Zealand. It features three cascades that tumble a total of 1,904 feet and spills vertically down a mountain wall into a valley carved by ice.

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Jennifer Olvera

Jennifer Olvera

Jennifer Olvera is a culinary travel writer, recipe developer and author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Chicago. Find her on Twitter at @olverajennifer.
Jennifer Olvera

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