Why you should care

Because skydiving in Dubai is so last decade.

Destination: Oman. First stop? Google maps — to figure out where the hell it is and how likely it is to politically implode. (Three hours from Dubai, and not likely.) Not to be confused with its more volatile neighbor Yemen, Oman is where we were headed. Why? To go canyoning, of course.

A man at bottom of frame with a beautiful canyon seen in the background.

Canyoning through Snake Canyon in Oman

Source Oman Trekking

Canyoning? Oh yes: think bouldering meets bungee jumping meets the high dive; as scary as it may sound, it’s arguably simpler than all three. And though you can canyon anywhere from Utah to New Zealand to Costa Rica, there’s nowhere more majestic — or remote — than the craggy, mountainous terrain sprawled between Oman and Dubai, its glitzier/tackier neighbor. Which is why adrenaline-junkies like me, in seek of a new rush (and a new place), are heading to this unsung country in the Middle East.

We jumped 20 feet into clear, cold, water. Again and again, and again.

What does canyoning entail, exactly? Well, we scrambled over big rocks, small ones, too, until we got to one that looked really fun to jump off of — and into clear, cold, blue waters, 10 to 20 feet below. Then we did it again. And again. And again. Every so often, we swam through a cave before we found a new rock to climb.

We canyoned until we couldn’t canyon anymore – and then we took off for the Musandam peninsula, a serrated coastline with fishing villages where pirates once clashed and dolphins still play in the fjords of the Straits of Hormuz.

We also trekked into our guide’s mountain village, witnessed breathtaking starry skies (no light pollution for miles and miles), and browsed a bustling morning souk in Nizwa. And for anyone whose main relationship to cows involves ketchup and a side of fries, seeing the animals paraded through the Nizwa market to be bought and sold is pretty cool. (I mean, for a non-vegetarian). Oman? It’s another world. In a good way.

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