Governments often issue warnings regarding certain countries that are considered dangerous at the moment, advising citizens to postpone their visit or holiday for their own safety. In most cases, it is best to treat these destinations with caution. However, our list is not about Somalia or some other countries devastated by civil wars. It is about those places on Earth where you are at risk of being attacked, or even killed by Mother Nature itself. So ask yourself: do you dare defy its power?
After all, we are vulnerable in front of the elements, and each moment may be our last. On the other hand, that’s exactly what makes certain people be attracted to some particularly unusual tourist destinations. Why would you want to visit dangerous places on your holiday? The answer is very simple: for the adrenalin rush and pristine beauty of the place.
These holiday getaways cash in millions in tourist money. They are hard to access, meaning that agencies offering guided tours can charge as much as they want for lending you their safety gear and taking you to places where few dare to set foot. Remember, these places are known for taking their death toll. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and if you insist on juggling with danger, be my guest. Consider yourselves warned. The following destinations will give you goose bumps.
10. Swimming with Jellyfish, Price: Cost to Travel to Australia
Australia is an oasis of rich and intriguing wildlife, some of which cannot be seen anywhere else on the planet. You might think that the continent’s most fearful predator is the shark, some species of extremely poisonous snakes, or the crocodile. You couldn’t be more wrong. It is in fact a jellyfish. Box Jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) can be found off Australia’s northern coast, in the proximity of river mouths. It is among the most poisonous creatures on Earth. It might seem harmless, but it has killed more people that all of the continent’s dangerous animals altogether. So go ahead, book your trip to Australia and go snorkeling with the jellyfish for a truly intense adrenaline rush.
9. Hua Shan Plank Path, Price: Cost to Travel to China
A seemingly endless set of stone stairs welcomes visitors at the base of the mountain. It’s hard to see where they end, which means that when you’ll be faced with the narrow plank path, it will already be too late. Hua Shan Mountain in the Shaanxi province in China attracts tourists with the world’s most dangerous trail, a plank path thousands of feet above the ground. The 7,087 feet high Hua Shan Mountain may not be China’s tallest, but it is definitely the most thrilling. Nobody checks or forces you to wear safety gear. However, that doesn’t mean you should venture there with nothing but your bare hands. One wrong move and it’s over.
8. Rafting the Iguassu Falls: $200 Per Person
Among the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, twice as wide and considerably taller than the Niagara Falls, Iguassu Falls are the result of volcanic activity. It seems as if the earth split in two and all the waters of the Iguassu River are trying to fill the void. There are a total of 275 waterfalls spread along a distance of 1.67 miles, some of which are nearly 270 feet tall. The most impressive, but also the most treacherous is Devil’s Neck Waterfall, boasting a spectacular 269 foot high drop. Rafting the whirling waters of the Iguassu Falls is an experience you’ll hardly ever match. At the border of the Brazilian state of Paran and the Argentine province of Misiones, agencies organize guided rafting tours on the exciting waterfall descent for $200 per person.
7. Swimming with Sharks: $300 Per Person
New Smyrna Beach in Florida is the absolute capital of sharks. Do not let yourself be fooled by the enchanting scenery. These fine white sand beaches and inviting clear turquoise waters can be treacherous. Only a few feet away, danger lurks in. Unlike most of the outdoor activities on our list, where you have to book a tour, on Florida’s beaches it is enough to go swimming too far from the shore to feel that adrenalin rush take over. For even stronger thrills, book a shark spotting tour. You’ll be submerged in a cage only a few feet from the Hammerhead, Tiger, Mako, and Bull sharks, so close you’ll be seeing your own reflection in their hungry eyes.
6. Kayaking Trip with the Whales: $300 Per Person/Day
Those lucky enough to travel to the enchanting realms of Alaska should consider booking a kayaking tour with the whales, a relatively new tourist attraction that seems to catch on pretty well. Thanks to the locals who know exactly when and where the whales can be spotted, kayaking Alaska’s waters attracts more and more tourists in search for unique sensations. Although spotting whales is not exactly dangerous because they do not hurt people, kayaking in their proximity might prove pretty risky. Just think of their size. At any moment, a huge whale could turn your kayak upside down with its tail or by producing giant waves. Kayaking with whales tours start at $300 per person, per day. Day trips are available, but most last between two to seven days.
5. El Camino del Rey: $400 Per Person
Adventure enthusiasts can choose Spain for their next holiday. In the province of Malaga they can find El Camino del Rey, or the King’s Road, the world’s most dangerous pathway. In 2000, El Camino del Rey was closed when four persons lost their lives after falling off the narrow footbridge. The concrete pathway was once very solid, but began to deteriorate over the years. Despite its missing pieces and the lack of any handrail, tourist agencies still promote it unofficially and continue to organize guided tours with safety gear. Its width varies between the maximum of 5 feet to less than 1.5 feet in some places. El Camino del Rey was named after King Alfonso XIII, who crossed it in 1921.
4. Volcano Helicopter Tours: $500 Per Person
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of looking down into the cone of an active volcano while flying in a helicopter. Sounds pretty darn awesome, but it might prove deadly. A total of 30 people lost their lives in helicopter crashes during these types of tours since 1995. This is because tourists are taken dangerously close to the mouths of restless active volcanoes spitting fire and lava that might hit the chopper, as well as thick clouds of nauseous fumes that might cause orientation issues. Hawaiian Island Helicopter Tours take tourists on a journey among the active volcanoes in the archipelago, above the rivers of red hot molten lava of the Hawaii hotspot.
3. Climbing Mont Blanc: $2,000 Per Person/Day
Mont Blanc can hardly be compared to Mount Everest, where over 250 people have died trying to reach the summit. Then again, not everyone can climb an 8,000 meter mountain. Mont Blanc is a little bit more accessible, but just as risky. It is a challenge any nature and mountain lover wants to take on. The 4,808 meter peak in the Alps is exposed to winds that can sometimes exceed 62 mph. It is one of the world’s deadliest mountains. Over 50 people died trying to reach the peak since 2008. If you are not a mountain climber for whom ascending treacherous ridges is pretty much a lifestyle, you might want to book a six-day complete guided tour package to climb the highest mountain in Western Europe, for an average $2,000 a day.
2. Climbing Mount Cook: $7,000 Per Person
Aoraki National Park in New Zealand offers some of the most spectacular scenery on Earth. It is the place to go if you are looking for an out of the ordinary vacation, make some unforgettable memories and break the bank. Rising 3,754 meters above sea level, Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its narrow snowy ridges attract mountain climbers from all corners of the world, promising an amazing climb by any route to the huge glaciated peak. Despite its inviting beauty, Mount Cook is considered one of the world’s deadliest mountains. Over 200 climbers lost their lives due to the numerous unforeseeable avalanches and steep terrain. Plus, severe weather conditions often prevent mountain rescue teams from reaching those in danger in due time.
1. Volcano Bungee: $10,000
If you happen to travel to Chile and have $10,000 to spare, I’ve got just the thing for you: bungee-jumping into the crater of an active volcano. Villarrica near Pucon in Chile is as active as an active volcano can be, breathing fire and exhaling smoke and ashes, all the ingredients of a volcano just waiting to erupt. For those who feel they can defy Mother Nature’s rage, there’s only one way to get above the mouth of the volcano, and that’s by helicopter. From there, attached to the bungee-jumping rope, simply take a plunge into the crater of the volcano. You will dive 700 feet into its depths, so close you can even smell the bubbling molten lava and feel its burning heat on your cheeks. Okay, you won’t actually be touching the lava, but will be as near as you can possibly get without scorching your whiskers.