It’s 10 p.m. on the banks of the Macal River, a whitewater stream in the mountains of Belize, and Carlos Quiterio has a rhyme to tell: “Black and yellow, kill the fellow; yellow and black, kill the jack.”

Quiterio is leading a night hike at Black Rock Lodge, an eco-resort in Belize’s
Cayo District, and we’re alone in the inky night, clouds shifting on a
pale moon. Spider eyes pop from the grass like blue sparks, irises
ignited in the swoop of a flashlight beam. His rhyme—a mnemonic device
culled from a childhood of jungle play—was made to aid in the
identification of deadly snakes. “Let’s watch for the fer-de-lance,” he
says, referring to an aggressive viper recently seen on a riverside

Nighttime hiking—or biking, skiing, or kayaking—can make for the
ultimate adventure, as well as a great way to experience a destination.
Fortunately, whether you want to go on your own, hire a guide, or catch
up with a local group of enthusiasts, there’s no shortage of
opportunities to have an experience where adrenaline shares space with
the sublime.

Take the San Juan Islands Kayaking Weekend, a program offered by REI Adventures. After a day of sea kayaking in Washington’s
Puget Sound, paddlers have dinner and then suit up again for a
late-night tour. The objective is to see a luminous species of tiny
creatures called dinoflagellates that glow in the cold waters of the
San Juans. “It’s like silver sparklers in the water,” said guide Clark
Casebolt, who has experienced the bioluminescence phenomenon dozens of
times while leading the REI trip. “The water drips, glowing like molten
metal onto a spray skirt.”

Land-lubbers, too, have no shortage of moonlight options. At Quebec’s Mount Sainte Anne
resort, for example, there are 17 trails lit up and open each night on
a 2,625-foot mountain, letting skiers schuss under the stars. Bikers
can do races like the 24 Hours of Moab, an annual competition in Utah that features participants pedaling straight through the night.

But not all moonlight adventures are so hard-core. In Singapore,
the Night Safari Zoo, opened in 1994, is touted as the “world’s first
wildlife park built for visits at night.” The zoo, open 7 p.m. to
midnight, is illuminated mainly by starlight, and guests can see more
than 1,000 nocturnal animals in vast naturalistic habitats.

So whether you’re in the urban jungle of Singapore, the slopes of Quebec, or the desert of Utah,
you can revel in the oddity and thrill of a nighttime adventure. Read
on to discover 10 unique after-dark activities that happen on the dark
side of the planet.