Travel

The 11 Most Dangerous Vacation Activities Around The World

When it comes to cutting loose on vacation, there are two kinds of crazy: there's "Whoa, we raged waaaay too hard last night and now have sweet Ace of Base tattoos", and then there's the, "Yea, I can totally dive off that cliff, why wouldn't I want to swim with sharks" kinda nuts. Some lead to regret, others just lead to the hospital. Or at least to a new pair of underwear.

These are 11 of the latter. Crazy outdoor activities that, while they may not kill you -- okay, some of them actually could kill you -- will definitely seem like it at the time.

Drive the Guoliang Tunnel Road

Taihang Mountains, China
All you need to know about one of the world’s steepest roads is its nickname: “The road that tolerates no mistakes.” Its narrow "tunnel of death" was chiseled into the mountain in the 1970s by 13 local villagers, who shrewdly opted for the path of least resistance and thus cut a trail with a lot of twists and unexpected turns.

Whitewater rafting in the DMZ

Cheorwon, South Korea
Who cares what class the rapids are on the Hantangang River (they top out around a moderately challenging Class III, btw), the real danger here is that you're paddling a stone’s throw from the North Korean border.

Ride a bull at Lyle Sankey's Rodeo School

Branson, MO
While their disclaimer states that they’ll match the livestock with the student’s age/ability, it also notes: “We are not dealing with trained animals and cannot make you an athlete or change your physical condition or your mental state in only a three- or four-day training session.” That said, these dudes will let anybody mount a live bull.

Bike down Death Road

La Paz, Bolivia
North Yungas Road, also known as “Death Road,” is a 35mi stretch between La Paz and Coroico, Bolivia, that's weirdly popular with tourists, despite the fact that 200 to 300 of them die annually biking/driving down its hairpin turns.

Cliff dive at La Quebrada

Acapulco, Mexico
Did you know that cliff diving is also known as "tombstoning"? Well, it is. And it also should be left to professionals, like La Quebrada Clavadistas: a group of expert divers who've been throwing themselves off Acapulco's 148ft cliffs since 1934. Talk about perfect timing: the depth of the water below swells between a deadly six feet and a comfortably safe 16ft in less than five seconds, and the divers have to nail it.

Sandboard down an active volcano

Leon, Nicaragua
The most active volcano in the country, Cerro Negro has erupted 20 times since 1850, most recently in 1999. If you're daring, though, you can sandboard or sled down its black pebble surface, which it should be noted is not at all soft like sand or snow. After a 45min hike up the volcano, boarders usually slide down the 1,600ft slope at around 50mph.

Do the Death Drop

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Called the Death Drop, the world’s first gorge swing plunges riders into a 160ft free fall at 111mph before catching them inches away from what must feel like certain death.

Cage-dive in Shark Alley

Gansbaai, South Africa
Nicknamed 'Shark Alley’ for a reason (it's a favorite hunting ground for great whites), this small fishing town is a prime cage-diving destination. Think that metal cage is gonna protect you, though? This video of a shark crashing into the cage might make you think again. 

Hike the world's most dangerous trail

Huayin, China
There’s nary a rusty chain to cling to as you sidle across Hua Shan’s “plank walking path." Although calling it a 'path' is being generous -- think rickety slats of wood, precariously nailed together and affixed to a 7,087ft mountain. In some spots, the planks disappear entirely and hikers are left to navigate divots carved in the rock. While stats on falls are nonexistent, many claim that around a hundred people die attempting this hike each year -- probably guys like this dude.

 

Skydive off Mt. Everest

Himalayas, Nepal
Billed as the “World’s Most Elite Skydiving Adventure,” the experience involves hurling yourself out of a helicopter from the planet's highest drop zone (29,500ft) while waving to the folks climbing up the mountain.

Cross the Quepos Bridge

Quepos, Costa Rica
This rickety structure -- named the "Bridge of Death" by some, the "Oh My God Bridge" by others -- is made up of wood and steel that's visibly falling apart. What looks like a bridge that can barely tolerate the weight of a single person somehow carries full car traffic every day, though, shaking and creaking loudly under the load. It's only a matter of time before the music stops, and somebody finds a seat -- in the water below.


Sophie-Claire Hoeller is Thrillist's über-efficient German associate travel editor, and has had frequent flyer status since she was born in a Lufthansa terminal. Follow her @Sohostyle