This is a guest post by Mark from Kayakguru.com
Portugal is a beautiful country, with rich and diverse natural environments. With a warm-to-hot climate that is convenient for year-round outdoor activities, the Portugal coastline is perfect for exploring by water. If you prefer convenience, you might consider a boat tour. These are often narrated, and can offer restrooms, snack bars and other amenities that a casual tourist will find useful.
But if you are a more adventurous type of person, and prefer to do things for yourself, you may find that a kayaking trip is more your style. There are several advantages that paddling a kayak has to offer.
Kayaking Is Relaxing
One of the biggest advantages that kayaking has over a boat tour is peace and quiet. Most of us spend our time in urban environments, surrounded by the sounds of engines, noisy crowds and notifications from electronic devices.
There are many benefits to escaping the stress of the modern world and spending time in nature, including:
- Decreased stress and anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
- Pumping up the heart rate
- A general sense of well-being
With the noise of the engine and the other people on a boat tour, you might find that you aren’t getting the escape that you were looking for. Kayaking, by contrast, eliminates all of these factors. Leaving behind the engine and the crowds, you are left with your ‘yak, the sounds of your paddle in the water, and maybe a close friend or two (human or otherwise!). Paddling with a tandem kayak can be really fun if you’re not alone.
It Brings You Closer To Nature
In addition to relaxation, the relative silence and increased maneuverability of a kayak, also allows you to see more of the nature that you are looking for. On a boat tour, you are limited to a pre-planned route. You may see wildlife from a distance, but a larger boat can only get so close before the size and the noise of the engine potentially chases them away.
Kayaking is a completely different story. The compact size leaves you free to explore coves and small creeks, circle islands, and even land on shore and walk around when you see something interesting. When you do encounter wildlife, you are less likely to disturb their activities, because you can stop paddling and drift. This lets you get much closer, and really see nature in action. If you are planning to fish from your kayak, you will find that the decreased noise and disruption will improve your catches.
Kayaking Provides Beneficial Exercise
If the benefits of being truly within nature aren’t enough for you, there are also the advantages of the physical activity of kayaking. Some of us need to find time for more exercise anyway, and this is a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone (not literally!).
Kayaking is a full body sport that offers many health benefits, including:
- An excellent upper body workout
- Weight loss
- Increased core strength
- Toning of the legs
- Improved cardiovascular health
But don’t let this scare you; kayaking is not the same as trying to squeeze a workout into an hour at the gym. You can set your own pace, so you won’t have to be pushing yourself the entire time! Even at a casual speed, the exercise offered by kayak is a whole lot better than nothing.
It Is Better For The Environment
As well as the benefits to you, kayaking is also better for the environment you are exploring. Kayaks, in addition to not using a motor, are easy to clean, and don’t require water resistant surface paints that can leach chemicals into the water. With all of these factors to consider, kayaking is often a better option, for your health, and for your overall experience.
If you are thinking about exploring Portugal in a kayak, you can choose from many planned tours, or you can simply grab your paddle and explore on your own. See you out on the water!