Yesterday, in Palma de Mallorca (Mallorca), a small group of Crystal Serenity guests ventured far beyond the beaten path of the charming dockside island town favored by international celebrities for its posh beaches and eateries. The description outlined for this tour in the Crystal Adventures brochure specified “strenuous” activity and adventure, which indicated what would be in store for those of us who fancy ourselves intrepid travelers once we reached the trailhead in Le Reserva Natural Park, set in the spectacular Tramuntana Mountains.
What was unexpected was the fact that the off-road trek via impressively outfitted 4×4 Land Rover to even reach said trailhead would be among the more thrilling experiences most of us had had.
The road – which is a generous term – has been painstakingly cleared over the past decades by donkeys, indigenous black goats and cows in an effort to allow for such adventures by visitors. However, preservation of the land and its flora and fauna is paramount, meaning only what absolutely must be disturbed will be. This adds up to quite a ride! After about 45 minutes weaving around hairpin turns along the mountainside, being careful to dodge the goats that wander there and laughing with the kind of nervous joy that overcomes one at the top of a rollercoaster, another 45 minutes of hiking seemed like a respite.
Any exhaustion along this route was mitigated by the vistas, which stretched all the way to the ocean and were massively impressive, even in the rainy weather. More goats, along with several animals not native to the island that reside in a rescue refuge there, greeted us as we hiked. Falcons, eagles, peacocks and several other bird species were undaunted by our presence.
We traded the weaving turns of the truck for weaving through the front and back of waterfalls and natural springs. Finally, we landed at what seemed like a misplaced bar and grill at the end of the trail, where we were served local barbecue and the sweetest sangria I had ever tasted.
Most of the global tourism community knows and covets Mallorca for its pristine beaches and glamorous scenery – both natural and human, but today, we learned that this posh scene is just a small portion of the island’s identity. Indeed, more than 75 percent of the land is occupied by lush forest and rugged limestone peaks that reach far into the mist and are dotted with the masonry and remaining relics of the Spanish and Roman occupations more than twelve centuries ago.
Crystal Serenity visits Mallorca on several upcoming 2015 voyages, while dozens of rugged adventures around the world await Crystal guests throughout the year.