Thrill seekers take note: these tried and true vacation adventures will get your heart pumping.
Whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is on many a bucket list and you might dream of hiking and camping in this ultimate American national park, but you may not think of its burnt orange crags as a home to whitewater rafting. The Colorado River cuts a path through the United States’ greatest natural wonder and makes for a unique way to explore its every nook and cranny. On these waters, you’ll find a tremendous variety of rapids for all skill and experience levels. Expeditions range from a few days to a few weeks and many offer extras like guided hikes and helicopter flights to give you a more complete experience. A week on the water will run upwards of $2000 per person.
Ziplining in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is home to some of the most impressive biodiversity on the planet and when you’re looking to get close to the country’s unique flora and fauna, there are plenty of canopy tours to choose from. In fact, this means of getting a birds-eye-view of the rainforest is practically a rite of passage for Costa Rican vacations. Lose yourself in the lush green treetops of Arenal or Monteverde as you fly over the jungle with only a steel cable and harness keeping you airborne. Tours can cost as little as $50 and many operators offer add-ons to enhance your experience, like aerial tram rides, hanging bridge walks, tarzan swings, and even horseback rides.
Shark cage diving in Cape Town
So the excitement of your average deep sea dive has worn off, has it? Try getting nose to nose with a Great White Shark and see if that gets your heart racing. Lovers of the ocean’s top predator flock to Shark Alley on the coast of South Africa where a fin cutting through the waves is hardly an uncommon sight. There are a variety of operators in the Cape Town area offering the baddest and the bravest of the tourist set the chance to put their guts to the test with a shark cage dive. Hop on a boat tour from Simon’s Town for about $100 and prepare to get up close and personal with a razor-toothed beast from the safety and comfort of a galvanized steel cage.
Riding a motorcycle taxi in Bangkok
Navigating the chaotic streets of Bangkok is excitement enough for most travelers, but true daredevils can show off their cojones by heading to the nearest congregation of neon orange-vested bikers and flagging down a motorcycle taxi. Even with a helmet, this ride is not for the faint of heart. Drivers reach breakneck speeds and won’t shy away from taking to the sidewalks and opposing traffic lanes to get around gridlock. But if you don’t mind flirting with death for a few minutes, there’s no quicker way to reach your destination in town with fares starting at 10 baht.
Bungee jumping in Queenstown
Queenstown, New Zealand holds a well-deserved reputation as the world’s adventure capital and there’s no shortage of spine-tingling activities to choose from. First and foremost, however, is the king of adrenaline rushes: bungee jumping and it was, in fact, Kiwi AJ Hackett himself who introduced the sport to a commercial market in the mid-1980s. Strap on a harness and swan dive off Nevis Bungy, the highest in the country with over eight seconds of free fall before the trademark elastic cord pitches in. Taking the plunge costs just shy of $300, but if you’d prefer to hang out on the sidelines you can purchase a spectator ticket for $50.