For most people, the idea of a great vacation is a beach, a sun lounger and a tropical drink filled with more alcohol than we’d normally consume in a week – but not every traveler shares this idea of fun. In fact, some vacationers travel not to relax, but to be entertained.
Some travelers are of a different breed entirely, and these brave individuals scour the globe looking for their next adrenaline fix. More and more travelers are catching the extreme bug, and adventure tourism has seen a massive boost over the past five years. In fact, the adventure travel market has seen a 65% yearly increase since as recently as 2009. The adventure tourism market is worth an estimated $263 billion, indicating that travelers are happy to spend a whole lot of money for an exotic adrenaline fix. Going off the beaten path to experience nature and the great outdoors is one of the modest cornerstones of adventure tourism, but the strong willed simply won’t stop there: Hiking, bike tours and even sky gliding just don’t do it for diehard adrenaline junkies.
If you’re one of the most committed thrillseekers and want to experience the most extreme tourist activities the world has to offer, then this list is the one for you. However, if you’re new to extreme adventuring you should know that travel insurance will not cover you if something goes wrong in the following 10 situations, as extreme sports are considered a high risk activity and are typically excluded from your common-or-garden travel insurance policies.
10. Skiing into a Volcano in Japan
For extreme skiers there are few things more exciting than barreling down the side of the snow-covered peak of a tall mountain, but skiing into an active volcano gives this thrilling activity an adrenaline injection. Located on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, Mount Yotei offers an unprecedented level of high-risk skiing. On this expedition, skiers actually ski into the crater of the volcano itself. The climb to the top of Mount Yotei is a grueling six to eight hour trek and a mere 20 people a year are successful in skiing into Mount Yotei’s crater.
9. Zorbing in New Zealand
The Kiwi’s are known for their adventurous spirit: Leave it to Southern Hemisphere’s most extreme sports lovers to invent this bizarre and thrilling pastime. Invented in 1994 in Rotorua, New Zealand, Zorbing is an extreme sport where participants are encased in an inflatable plastic sphere and then rolled down a hill. Extreme adventurers can take the plunge solo or with multiple people. Zorbs come in both a harnessed and non-harnessed variety and each offers a different experience. Longer Zorb courses are typically half a mile long. While extreme, Zorbing is surprisingly safe considering the staggering speeds of up to 50 kilometers per hour. Of course, like any self-respecting extreme sport, there have been a number of deaths associated with this activity.
8. Offroading in Oregon
If you have a need for speed then renting a dune buggy or ATV and letting the sand fly up behind you as you travel along the Oregon coast is one of the world’s best ways to fulfill that compulsion. Speed demons will revel in the off road experience. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area has proven popular with adventurers, and the site stretches a whopping 40 miles.
7. Bungee Jumping in Macau
At 233 meters and 61 floors, the “Skyjump” from Macau Tower is one of the tallest bungee jumps in the world. Jumpers plummet towards the ground at 200 kilometers per hour and experience a freefall lasting 5 seconds. For a mere $320 USD anyone can experience the thrill of bungeeing off of Macau Tower. But be warned, this is certainly not for the faint of heart. Those without the resolve to take the jump are better off simply walking around the tower’s outer rim on the “Skywalk.”
6. Longboarding in Norway
Longboarding, a type of skateboarding common in downhill racing, is becoming increasingly popular with skateboard enthusiasts. Not content to shred it up in an urban environment, longboarders gravitate towards open spaces and long curvy roads filled with hairpin turns. Enter Troll’s Path in Norway. This mountainous road features an impressive 11 hairpin turns – in a row.
5. Hang gliding in Brazil
Soaring though the air and experiencing the stunning views of Rio De Janeiro below is something few extreme adventurers would pass up. Sugarloaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue will be just a view of the sites you’ll be able to get an aerial view of. The wind in your face and the fresh air might even soothe any fear of heights you may have… But maybe not.
4. Skydiving in Africa
Skydiving is one of the world’s most popular extreme sports, and tourists and thrill seekers often put this feat of determination on their bucket lists. Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular wonders of the natural world, so why not experience such beauty as your falling out of a plane. Skydivers can take off from Livingstone, Zambia, ascend over Victoria Falls and then take the leap.
3. Shark diving in Mexico
Getting up close and personal with one of the most deadly killers in the deep blue sea is not something most of us would choose to do for fun. But for those curious adventurers, off the coast of Isla Guadalupe is one of the best places in the world to catch a glimpse of a magnificent great white shark. It’s here that you’ll have the opportunity to swim with the magnificent beasts – while you’re safely encased in a cage of course. Freediving with great white sharks is reserved for only those with a death wish.
2. Base Jumping in Dubai, UAE
Imagine jumping off the tallest structure in the world with nothing more than a parachute strapped to your back. Earlier this year, French base jumping duo Fred Fugen and Vince Reffett set a Guinness World Record when they jumped off of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa tower, which is the tallest building in the world. Others have accomplished this feat before them, but they had a special platform built which added an extra 500 feet to their jump. Of course, only extremely experienced base jumpers will ever attempt a feat like this; the duo are part of an organization called Soul Flyers, which sets up base jumping, skydiving and paragliding events throughout the world.
1. Ice climbing in Nepal
More than 2,200 people have climbed the tallest peak in the world, but almost 200 people have died while attempting this feat. Reaching the pinnacle of Mount Everest is one of most difficult feats of man’s endurance on earth, and adventurers with an insatiable appetite for thrills will almost certainly have this one on their bucket list.
Despite advances in mountain climbing technology and experienced guides, the risk in climbing Mount Everest is beyond extreme. Earlier this year, sixteen Nepalese guides were killed following an avalanche. And it doesn’t get easier the more people do it; each year, guides must find new paths to the peak because of shifting ice. The Khumbu Icefall is one of the most dangerous routes on the climb to the top of Mount Everest. Climbers often try to make the pass during the early morning hours before the sun has risen to lower the risk of falling ice debris.