Our Favourite Adrenaline Pumping Adventures to Have in 2021

Let’s face it: a boring life would be the worst. Even when it comes to travel, just walking around a city can get a bit tiring – so what better than a unique adventure to spice things up?

Something that gets your heart pumping in your throat, leaves you breathless, and makes you feel truly alive. These are our favourite adrenaline-pumping adventures to have in 2021.

River raft through Madagascar jungles

Photo credit: Frank.Vassen via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Madagascar is one of the most diverse, fascinating countries in the world, with thousands of animal species and stunning scenery. The brilliance of the island doesn’t stop there though; you can river raft through its jungles which is a thrilling way to discover the landscape. The most popular rivers for visitors are the Mangoky, Haute Matsiatra, Manankazo and Mazy.

Zoom on the fastest zip line in the world

Photo credit: Zipworld

Head to Zip World in Penrhyn Quarry, Wales, where this zip line isn’t built for distance, it’s built for speed (yet it is actually still the longest in Europe). As you zoom along the wire, prepare for your heart to catch in your throat as this is a truly exhilarating experience.

Swing over the Oribi Gorge in South Africa

Photo credit: JohnGore via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Who doesn’t like swings? Well, this isn’t any ordinary swing like the kind you’d get in the playground growing up. In Oribi Gorge in South Africa at Wild Gorge Swing, you drop down 165 metres and then swing across the gorge for the wildest, most scenic ride of your life.

Walk the Plank in China

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Otherwise known as one of the most dangerous trails in the world, at Mt Huashan in Xi’an, China, this is not for the faint-hearted. The mountain is a sacred site and for centuries has been a pilgrimage path for monks and Taoists. It just so happens one route is a hike on narrow walkways and staircases at 7,000 feet up. Not only are the heights, wobbly paths and tight spaces a challenge, you also have to do it with large numbers of two-way foot traffic!

Hike the Half Dome in Yosemite

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The most challenging day hike in Yosemite, the feeling is unrivalled once you reach the summit. To give some perspective, your elevation gain is 4,800 feet (that’s a lot, by the way) with a distance of 22.7km round trip and takes 10-14 hours. You have to enter a lottery system to be able to attempt this hike, but all that pain is well worth the effort and picture from the top.

Travel to: Hiking in USA

Swim with Humpback Whales

Photo credit: Simon K Ager via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-ND

Imagine swimming with a creature so large that their sounds vibrate your whole body. Swimming with humpback whales is an extraordinary but safe experience, given they’re gentle giants. There are a few places in which you can do this responsibly, such as Tonga, Tahiti, and Australia. The season lasts from late June to October.

Ride a Volcano in Nicaragua

Photo credit: Giåm via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

It most likely didn’t occur to anyone to put the words “volcano” and “boarding” in the same sentence before this weird and wonderful trend in Nicaragua came about. On Cerro Negro, near the city of Leon, adventurous souls have the chance to hike up the volcano for an hour and then hurtle down in the most fun way possible: on a slab of wood in a jumpsuit (it gets pretty dirty with that black surface).

Dive in Shark-Infested Waters

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Around the world, there are tonnes of scuba diving sites, and some have become legendary among enthusiasts: Cocos Island in Costa Rica and Malapascua in the Philippines are two of them (that’s right, we couldn’t choose one). In the Costa Rican waters of Cocos Island, you’ll see schools of hammerhead sharks swimming right above you, and in the Philippine’s Malapascua, you can see the unique Thresher Shark, with its extremely long tail fin cruising behind it.

Bungee jump by Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Photo credit: Ryan Kilpatrick via Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND

Bungee jumping is an oldie but a goodie when it comes to kickass adrenaline junkie adventures, so every year is a great year to consider putting it on your list. Your mind might automatically go to New Zealand for this, but we say Victoria Falls is where it’s at. Get an amazing view of the Falls and the river as you race down through the air – somewhat like the waterfall itself, you might say.

Go Canyoning in Jordan, Wadi Mujib

Photo credit: Giåm via Visual hunt / CC BY

When you think of Jordan, canyoning might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But trust us, it’s a highlight of not only Jordan but adrenaline adventures everywhere. If you’re having trouble picturing the Wadi Mujib, it’s similar to being inside the Grand Canyon, with sheer cliffs on either side. The best part? Cooling off when you abseil down the waterfall.

Travel to: Jordan

Ski off a mountain in France

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Sure, you could go heli-skiing or snowboarding, but how about this unique twist? Paraglide on skis in Courchevel – that is, start on skis down a mountain as the parachute fills with air and lift off! Take in the breathtaking view of the French Alps as your breath literally gets taken away.  

Cycle along Death Road

death road bolivia
Photo credit: jimmyharris via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

This one is only for the most enthusiastic cyclists out there! The North Yungas Road is a 60-km stretch of road in Bolivia that leads from La Paz to Coroico and is considered the “world’s most dangerous road” due to its sharp turns, extremely narrow roads (sometimes as narrows as three metres wide) and staggering drops of 600 metres — no guard rails here!

There’s no way to sugar coat this: hundreds of lives are claimed every year and the trail should only be attempted by the most confident of cyclists. But don’t feel completely dismayed because the views of the Andes and rainforest are worth the danger!

Swim with wild dolphins in New Zealand

Photo credit: Alessandro Loss via Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

In New Zealand, you can live out your childhood dream of swimming with dolphins (no? Just me?), in the wild, no less. In the town of Kaikoura on the South Island, Dolphin Encounter takes you out to see large pods of dusky dolphins, and if their behaviour allows it (this is a very ethical tour), you swim with them at barely an arm’s length away as they frolic around you.

Learn to Mush in Canada

Dog Sledding
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Although it seems like you’re just standing on the back of a sled, dog sledding is an incredibly exhilarating experience. With the wind rushing through your hair and maintaining diligent awareness despite picturesque surroundings, learning to mush is something you’ll be gushing about to your friends for years to come.

Not to mention the cute huskies you become besties with for the day. There are loads of places to take part in this activity, but Canada – whether that’s Ontario or Alberta – is the place to be.

Kirsten is a travel-obsessed Brit who, ever since studying in Australia, is always plotting her next adventure, from surfing in Bali and swimming with sharks (and pigs!) in The Bahamas to searching for the Northern Lights in Iceland (she didn't find them) and cruising around Norway. You can follow her adventures at Kirst Over the World

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