The idea of Life and Ventures was born a few years ago, just after I was done with a season in Raftrek, one of the largest adventure agencies in Croatia. I was guiding adventure tours the whole summer without a day of rest. And I liked it. I liked it so much that I started to think about concept of adventure tours but applied to a place where I come from – city of Ploče and its wider area. Ploče is not a touristic place, it’s a small industrial town and second-largest seaport in Croatia. But its surrounding is something you’ll rarely find in Croatia. In just 20 kilometers radius you’ll find lakes, rivers, the sea, and the mountains. Perfect place to start an adventure agency. And at that time there was just one agency doing something similar in a place where dozen of them could make business in adventure tourism. That was it. All of the savings made during the summer in Raftrek were spent on kayaks. A year later we started with our adventure project. And we love it!
Along with the guided adventure tours we run adventure travel blog so check it out if you need any adventure tips and places for Croatia. Since the start, we use every occasion to promote adventure tourism in the Ploče area. Currently, we are writing adventure travel articles for the largest Croatian outdoor magazine. We have cooperation with the Balkanvibe portal which main goal is to promote active travel all around Balkans. Cooperating with Tourist Boards of Ploče and Gradac proved to be successful as well.
Since we are photographers, we try to combine adventure and weddings too. With its beautiful nature, Croatia is a perfect country for elopements and small intimate weddings. You can check more about our elopement adventure photography on our Love and Ventures website.
My first serious touch with nature was some 15 years ago when I started to hike with my best friend. It was during high school days and we spent every weekend exploring some part of the mountains near city of Ploče in Dalmatia and wider area. It went on for almost a year and we climbed a lot of peaks together. Tried some projects as well such as Biokovo’s wolf – hiking the 100 kilometers of Biokovo mountain under the snow. We participated in adventure races in Croatia with first being Cetina adventure race with more than 100 kilometers of kayaking, cycling and trekking combined.
Soon it was time for University so I went to Zagreb for a studies. My hiking sessions continued, not every weekend but pretty often. During the University years I joined “Željezničar” hiking club and climbed some of the highest peaks so far with some of them being GrossGlockner, GrossVenediger, Triglav. Also did a 7 days tour in Swiss alps with 5 days spent above 3000 meters and Punta Gniffeti being the highest climbed peak (4554 m). Met a lot of cool people and made some nice friends during my time in Željezničar.
With peaks becoming higher and higher I felt it was a time to learn something new in the field of alpinism. I joined the alpine club in Željezničar and finished a 2 months climbing school. I imagined it as a way to learn some new techniques but soon enough I fell in love with rock climbing. During the University years I was occasionally traveling home and started to climb some routes back home, again with a best friend I used to hike with in previous years. Few more friends who shared our passion toward being outdoors joined us and it was time to start something new.
With extensive love toward being outdoor we felt the next logical move was to form some kind of an outdoor club back home. And so we did it. After dealing with some paperwork, city of Ploče finally had it’s own adventure club called Forca. We participated in many activities and did a lot of rock climbing, hiking and kayaking projects. We also put up a climbing site in Drvenik for local Tourist Board.
With few more years of studies left I was more in Zagreb than back home. At the final years of University I started to train kayaking in Kayaking club Jarun. Spent a year training it and really loved it as an activity. It became my favorite water sport up to this day. I was paddling whether it was raining, snowing, name it… And that’s how the kayaking years started.
The end of my studies was approaching and it was time to work somewhere. One day I stumbled upon an ad put up by largest Croatian outdoor travel agency which stated that they need employees in a form of adventure guides. That was it. Two months of intense training for an adventure guide and one of the busiest summers was to follow. I liked the intensity and dynamic of this job. I thought to myself: “This is it! Found a perfect job for a summer.” At the end of the season I spent all of my savings to buy some touring kayaks, first ones in Life and Ventures fleet.
After the season at Raftrek the idea was born to found what will become Life and Ventures project. Guided adventure tours during the summertime and adventure travel blog during the whole year. We were traveling a lot and we always took our cameras with us so we decided to blend it and write about all these places we visited. Before we founded L&VE we needed to get some certificates making us able to guide adventure tours. So we did it, finished some education courses, got few papers and founded our company afterwards.
We did our first guided adventure tours during the summer of 2017. With our equipment being a little bit late we started in the mid of July. Nevertheless we had some serious fun and it was becoming clear that we can make a real thing out of it. In an area where adventure tourism never existed. During this season we had kayaking and rock climbing tours with Bacina lakes kayaking being the most popular tour. After the season ended we started to explore our surroundings and design new tours for the upcoming years.
In the season of 2018. we introduced some new things into our tours and changed the concept of some thus making them much better experience for our guests. We decided that each tour will have some kind of extra content such as snorkeling during our sunset kayaking tour. We bought some bikes and introduced new cycling and wine tasting tour in Stasevica valley. First one was done in September of 2018. It was the first organized cycling tour in that area ever. It showed to be a really good tour with huge potential, especially during the preseason and postseason.
Second season proved to be a success with many plans and new tour designs to implement in 2019. Firstly, we designed a new tour – hiking & picnic above Gradac, Dalmatia. A nice and short hike to a place with a most stunning view ideal for picnic and glass of wine. One of the biggest plans we have for the upcoming year is buying a passenger van which will provide us with enormous opportunities for a future tour design and organization. Soon enough we plan to design multi day adventure tours in Croatia and passenger van is one of the main things we need to have in order to make multi day experience. We are currently doing further explorations of Ploče area and discovering new adventure tourism potentials as well as cooperating with Tourist Boards of Ploče and Gradac in promotion of adventure tourism in this area.
We finally bought a van at the beginning of year of 2019. It was the best investment after the equipment we use during our tours. We were looking for a van for a long time but couldn’t find anything. Finally, at the end of the 2018. we stumbled upon an ad that was selling the van we have today. We weren’t reluctant for a second and our adventure arsenal soon become bigger. Buying the van gave us enormous opportunities we lacked before. Transporting the equipment was much easier, we could transfer our guests from an ending points of the tours and so on. Season 3 was hard working. We redesigned some of the tours, introduced some new things to existing tours and made everything just a bit better and that’s what we plan to do in the future as well.
After the third season we gave ourselves a month of rest after which the conservation of equipment began. We have washed every kayak and piece of equipment we have and stored it to wait for the upcoming season. During the winter months we redesigned our website a bit. We were thinking about the ways to improve our tours even further. We came up with some new and interesting challenges to implement in our Bacina lakes kayaking tour. Next step for the upcoming season will be buying equipment for colder months in order to widen our operating months.