Adventure 101: A Quick Guide to Coasteering

Explore a region’s coastline through a combination of hiking and swimming.  
Coasteering Zip lining
Coasteering has its perils, but with adequate protective gear and the guidance of trained professionals, it is relatively safe. Children over the age of 12 are allowed to participate on many coasteering locations, making it a popular family activity. Photo: Gail Johnson/Shutterstock

Coasteering is an adventure on slow burn. It has the adrenaline rush of an extreme sport but requires the patience of a marathon runner. The activity involves travelling along a region’s coastline through a combination of sporting feats like hiking and swimming.

What is it?

Coasteering entails exploring an area that is full of seaside cliffs, rock formations, and tidal pools. Participants traverse or climb slippery rock faces, hike over uneven surfaces and through caves, zip line between cliffs, and wade through or jump into the sea to make a crossing. The expeditions are a great way to explore places that are full of natural wealth but usually inaccessible. Easier routes can be attempted by anyone with a reasonable amount of stamina, but tougher ones are best left to those who are very fit and possess basic rock-climbing skills.

Getting started

Participants usually require a wet suit, climbing shoes, life jacket, helmet, and protective gear like knee and elbow pads. Since expeditions cover rough terrain and choppy seas, it’s best to go with experts.


Coasteering has become popular with thrill seekers along the rocky coasts of the United Kingdom, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and the United States. Pembrokeshire on the Welsh coast and Cornwall in southwestern England are considered the foremost coasteering destinations in the world. A number of adventure companies all over the U.K. run daily expeditions (from £40/ ₹4,100) that last from a few hours to a full day.

Appeared in the July 2014 issue as “Between A Rock And A Wet Place”.


    Tushar Abhichandani is a freelance journalist, struggling stand-up comedian, and former Assistant Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. He prefers travelling to places that are devoid of hipsters.

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