Extreme adventure tourism is the latest fashion trend amongst the adrenaline junkies. Cheapflights.com, flight search and comparison website, has named the most extreme destinations topping the ‘if I’m brave enough’ lists of 2014.
Swimming with Sharks - Fiji
There are no cages protecting divers on this extreme adventure dive with sharks at Beqa Island in Fiji. There’s just a rope separating the diver from ‘the arena’ of feeding sharks. Eight species of shark, as far as the goggled eye can see, including huge bull sharks, reef sharks, grey nurse, silvertip and the tiger shark. Beqa Island, a favourite with honeymooners, is home to Aqua Trek, who offer the ultimate shark encounter which includes two shark dives, in case once wasn’t enough.
Volcano Bungee Jumping – Chile
Turn up the heat on bungee jumping and dive head first into an active volcano near Pucon, Chile - from a helicopter. The helicopter flies into the caldera of the volcano where you bungee jump within 700 ft of molten lava. After the jump, you stay suspended from the helicopter and travel around 130km, hanging more than 100 metres underneath the helicopter.
Cycling Death Road - La Paz, Bolivia
This is the ultimate downhill mountain biking adventure, on the road dubbed “the world’s most dangerous”. There’s 64kilometer of continuous downhill riding, a couple of flat stretches and only one short uphill section. Riding along a single lane road, shared with traffic, there’s a 3.6 kilometer drop down a sheer cliff face on the downhill side of the road. With this extreme ride, comes an extreme contrast in conditions starting from snow-covered high altitude plains, riding down to the steaming Amazonian jungle.
Base Jumping – Mexico
This extreme base jump, into the mouth of a cave deep enough to house a high-rise building, is the ultimate challenge for adventure hounds who like to jump off static objects with a parachute. The Cave of the Swallows in the rainforest of San Luis Potosi in Mexico has a 333 metre drop - and while the opening of the cave is only 48 metres wide, it opens to an area of 300 x 120 metres at the bottom, leaving plenty of room for a parachute. Without a parachute it takes around 10 seconds to freefall from ground level at the mouth of the cave to the floor.
Tour a War Zone
If you really want to go one up on your friends in bragging rights and see where the action is, then War Zone Tours should provide your dose of extreme adventure. Don’t expect your tour guide to be holding a coloured flag or umbrella - these tour leaders are called high risk environment guides and are former military special operations personnel. Tour locations include Iraq, Beirut and Africa.
Trekking - Dolomites, Italy
The most extreme way to check out the Italian Dolomites is Via Ferrata - a walking track equipped with steel cables, ladders, wooden walkways and suspended bridges. This system, originally constructed to assist soldiers to safely cross the Alps, has been a saviour for holidaymakers big on adventure but lacking in hiking and climbing experience.
Sandboarding – Oman
Some of the desert dunes in the Wahibi Sands, a two hour drive from Muscat, the capital of Oman, are 100 metres high. This is the perfect place for some extreme boarding action, snowboard style, without the snow. Not so extreme adventurers can enjoy the dunes toboggan style. Combine sand-boarding with quad bike riding through the desert dunes for the ultimate sandy adrenaline rush.
Surfing Jaws Break – Hawaii
When it comes to extreme surfing adventures, Jaws Break in Maui, Hawaii tops the daredevil’s list. From December to March, on a storm swell, wave height can exceed 18 metres. The waves here are too big to paddle out, so surfers need to be towed on to the wave by a jet ski. For those more accustomed to swimming between the flags, the Pe’ahi lookout provides the perfect vantage point for spectators.
Powerful White Water - Iguaza Falls, South America
The Iguaza Falls are taller and twice as wide as the Niagara Falls. While you can view these falls from a lookout or a helicopter - real adventurers head to the water for a boat ride into the heart of the dump zone. There are 275 waterfalls along a 2.7kilometer stretch of river, which can be accessed from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, but most people enter the national park from either Brazil or Argentina with two thirds of the Iguaza Falls are on the Argentina side. On full moon nights, from September until December a silvery rainbow forms over the water, turning this extreme adventure destination into something quite surreal.
Serengeti Annual Migration – Africa
The ultimate safari experience as millions of zebra, wildebeest and antelope gather their young and start their trek from Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. The incredible scene of hungry crocodiles lying in wait for the weaker member of the herds as they cross the Grumeti River in Tanzania and the Mara River in Kenya is on parallel with the spectacle of the mass of animals on the plains. Lions, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs follow the herds, offering safari seekers some action packed moments.