What a rush: Top 10 best spots around the world to get your adrenaline pumping

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceMay 26, 2013 

It’s always great to experience a new location in a unique way. For those bold travelers who enjoy testing exhilarating stunts, rides, and thrills, the members and editors of virtualtourist.com compiled a list of the “Top 10 Best Spots to Get an Adrenaline Rush.” Here are their recommendations:

1. Paraglide above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland

Multiple members suggest getting a thrill while on the road by seeing your location from up above — way up above. In Switzerland, one member departed Interlaken, which already is quite high at 1,870 feet, by van and drove up to the village of Beatenburg at 4,400 feet. Taking off from a meadow high above Interlaken, paragliding provides thrills and unparalleled views of Lake Brienz, Lake Thun, and the town. For bigger thrills, paraglide from the top of Schilthorn, which is 9,744 feet high.

2. White-water rafting in Africa

Multiple members suggested white-water rafting in different areas of Africa for an extreme thrill. One popular spot is on the Zambezi, just downriver from Victoria Falls along the border of Zimbabwe. This area has Class 5 white-water rapids and the best time to attempt them is from July to January. Another member suggested the rapids along the Nile River near Jinja, Uganda.

3. Running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain

Running with the Bulls is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill that many adrenaline junkies include on their bucket lists. Popularized by Ernest Hemingway’s novel “The Sun Also Rises,” the Running of the Bulls occurs during the San Fermin Festival, which is from July 6-14, celebrating San Fermin, the patron saint of Navarra. The actual Running of the Bulls occurs every morning of the week and serves a distinct purpose — the bulls must get from outside the city to the bullring. Just being a spectator to this event is an adrenaline rush.

4. Zip lining in Costa Rica

The jungles and animals of Costa Rica are a thrill in themselves, but the vantage point and excitement of a zip line takes the entire experience to another level. A zip line, which is gaining popularity in tropical resorts, combines a series of cables and platforms at different heights that allow visitors to travel through the rainforest canopy and over rivers and water features safely. While they are a total adrenaline rush, they also serve as a unique way to see ecology, botany and animals up close in the wild. Zip lines can be found throughout Costa Rica; some of the best areas to find them are Monteverde, Arenal, and Manuel Antonio.

5. Surfing Tavarua Island, Fiji

For those who want their adrenaline on the water, few spots in the world are as remote and filled with guaranteed great waves like Fiji. Tavarua Island, a heart-shaped spot located off the Western coast of Fiji near Momi, is an island resort encircled by coral reefs and the unique wave breaks that accompany them. The fantastic surf spots near Tavarua include the notorious Cloudbreak and Restaurants, a 200- to 300-yard ride right off the island.

6. Bungee jumping at the Macau Tower, China

Most bungees are built into gorges or natural settings, so how about jumping off of a man-made structure into a booming metropolis harbor beneath you? This is just the case at the Macau Tower, the world’s second-highest bungee jump, dropping 765 feet from a platform around the tower. The views are incredible, but also terrifying. You’re dropping hundreds of feet from a steel tower with cars driving beneath you and it’s enough to terrify even the most confident daredevil. If you get up there and aren’t ready to jump, the tower has other offerings. Via skywalks, you can walk the perimeter of the tower on the rim, but with a harness. They also offer a Tower Climb — a 328-foot ascent to the tower’s summit at 1,108 feet.

7. Heli-skiing in Valdez, Alaska

Many of us think skiing is risky enough as is, but if you’d like to turn up the volume, try heli-skiing. One spot growing in popularity is Valdez, Alaska, which is incredibly vertical.

8. Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp near Kathmandu, Nepal

One of the most popular adrenaline treks among members is the trip to Mount Everest base camp. While making it to base camp requires training and planning beforehand, few experiences can top the view from the Nepalese side, which is at an altitude of 17,598 feet. Some travelers also consider trekking the Annapurna Circuit, and members of VirtualTourist.com can advise you about whether you should trek on your own, with a guide or porter, or with an organized group.

9. Ledge jumping in Queenstown, New Zealand

New Zealand has long been a hot spot for adrenaline junkies and extreme sports enthusiasts. A great spot for both is Queenstown, where visitors can experience the Ledge Urban Bungy. After taking the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak, you can luge down concrete tracks, hike the mountain-top trails or jump from the Ledge Urban Bungy. Be warned, it has a “runway,” so you gain a bit of speed, and the unique harness allows jumpers to do flips, twists and other such stunts 1,312 feet above Queenstown.

10. Rappelling in St. George, Utah

A few of our suggestions will have you attached to a rope, but none probably as risky as rappelling and canyoneering in St. George, Utah. Rappelling is best described as controlled descent down a rock face using a rope. St. George is conveniently located near many amazing rock formations areas, including Zion National Park, Snow Canyon State Park and slot canyons, making this the area where “canyoneering,” or hiking, climbing and rappelling in narrow slot canyons, was born. St. George is a playground for adrenaline junkies with outstanding mountain biking, ATV trails and an abundance of rock climbing.

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