Extreme tourism: would you dare?

People travel to discover new lands. People travel to widen their own horizons. People travel to get new emotions. People travel to be thrilled. Some are searching for lazy holidays with sun, beach and cocktails. Some are waking up early in the mornings, walking around with maps in their hands, counting numbers of visited museums and spending hours on buses or trains to travel the new land. Some are renting cars and heading for a long road trips, crossing many borders, circling mountain paths, experiencing wild animals’ safaris or enjoying ocean views along the way.

But some are searching for something more thrilling, more exciting, something that stops their breathing, and, in unlucky moments, even can cost the life. There I am turning towards the extreme tourism.

As in today’s world we have nearly all possibilities for everything, so travelling people start segmenting their discoveries. Instead of going on beaten path together with a popular, massive tourism, they are searching those exact things in which they are particularly interested. So, now it is easily possible to distinguish various niche types of voyages. I am sure that nearly everyone heard about agritourism, pilgrimage or backpacking, but what about even more special ways of travelling, like war tourism, ghost tourism or extreme tourism?

Extreme tourism is considered as an extreme way of travelling, when a traveler is getting involved in activities, facing danger. And, there is nothing related with Rollercoasters or skydiving. I mean, the real danger. It is clear that in today’s life people are searching for deeper, even shocking experiences. Having modern tidy offices, working the whole day with computers, sitting comfortably in restaurants and enjoying classy dinners is not enough, if hearts are longing for adventures. Such people on their holidays really want to run away as far as that is possible from safe regular daily life.

***

I didn’t try any extreme tourism yet. Some things maybe were extreme, but nothing that I could put in the shelf of such niche tourism as real candidates. However, I got so thrilled about this topic that decided to write down the post considering it: with the hope that my readers may find out something new, and with the willing that when you start speaking loudly about things, according to some, they get bigger chance to happen.

So are you ready for some really breathtaking moments? There’s my collected list of extreme ways to travel!

Volcanic tourism

Paradise for this flaming type of tourism is Hawaii, and most activities are related with Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Every year around 2 mln of fearless travelers are risking their lives for various unique experiences. Just imagine that you become surrounded by flaming lava river, but instead of insane trying to put a step on the safe land you chillax and bake your marshmallows over the burning flows! People really do so, and that sounds extremely exciting!

Prices for volcanic tourism vary from 90 eur to 1700 eur per person. That depends on chosen type of activity: short or long-term trips, places, helicopter sightseeing and so on.

However, accidents do happen. And, reasons for that usually are toxic gas from lava, exposure to lava which can reach +2000°C, too thin lava benches and tubes. Mass volcanic tourism is the main danger because it is simply complicated to control more than 20 people at one time.

Bungee jumping from helicopter into the active volcano in Chile

I do not think that any comments are needed there as the video shows everything more than clearly.

Price for this unforgettable jump into the smoking mountain is calculated about 7800 eur per person.

Swimming on the top edge of the waterfall

Can you face yourself walking on the very edge of the waterfall, where water cascades nearly 100 meters down? Can you imagine yourself taking this risk, when even with professional guidance deaths happen due to accidental slipping down? Here I am speaking about the naturally formed Devil’s pool, located in the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. When the water level in Zambezi river is really low and allows safe swimming, what usually happens from late August to early January, extreme tours to Devil’s pool are being organized. During the right season rock barrier prevents the streams, so it becomes relatively safe swimming there.
I started speaking about this adventure with hyperbolization, however, fatal accidents occur rarely with around 1 death per year, and usually, due to carelessness by swimmers themselves.
Price for 1,5-2 hours tour to Devil’s Pool with professional guide can be approximately 45 eur per person.

Diving with sharks

This type of activity is very popular in South Africa. Adrenaline seekers can even choose among cage diving and free diving.

Prices? For such adventure with cage protection one can expect to pay around 120 eur per person, and for a free one – around 280-930 eur, depending on the number of people.

Even if it sounds really extreme, at the end it is not that much. Someone once counted that the risk to die is bigger while going by car or diving by boat to a diving place than on free diving with sharks.

There is no precise statistics about shark attacks during shark diving, but usually around 65 yearly accidents happen, and only less than 1% are fatal.

Ice-diving in the White sea

Can you imagine some diving in the waters, where temperature is –1.9 °C? In the White Sea that is possible! Each dive lasts about 30-40 min because later human starts losing dexterity on hands and begin to suffer the chilling effects of the cold throughout the body. However, no information about deaths, related to this activity, could be found.

Got interested and wondering about prices? Trip from Moscow, one week of training and guided ice-diving could cost around 1350 eur.

Extreme hiking in China

Mountain lovers and passionate adventure seekers may consider the Mt. Huashan Hiking Trail in China. It is considered as one of the most dangerous hiking trails in the whole world with a height of around 2000 meters. Accidents there occur, but no official data about injuries or deaths is provided.

In order to experience this extreme activity, adrenaline-hungry travelers should pay just the entrance fee to Huashan of around 12 eur per person.

Crossing the Death Road

Narrow steep road, officially named as the most dangerous in the world, kilometers above the sea level, abyss down the edge. Despite such extreme details, this way is the only connection between several villages, so people anyway are frequently using it. Here I am referring to the Death Road, running in Andes Mountains in Bolivia.

Today this route is not anymore just the dangerous necessity for locals to get from one village to another, but as well as an extreme part of the journey for adrenaline-seeking travelers. They come there from all around the world just to pass the Death Road.

Statistically, around 200-300 deaths per year occur on the road. By the way, interesting fact is that in case of accident calling for help is barely possible, as mobile phones doesn’t work and there are no emergency services on the roadway.

Visiting Pripyat ghost town, close to Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

Visiting the place where some decades ago a huge radioactive catastrophe had happened can be taken as one more example of extreme tourism. And, here I am not speaking about adrenaline. Risk is hard to measure, as there are no immediate effects, but one must understand that the higher dose of the radioactivity may be taken, what could have serious consequences in the future.

In April 1986 the system test in the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, located close to the Pripyat town in Ukraine, finished catastrophically. In the Reactor No. 4 occurred an explosion and huge quantities of radioactive pollution were released to the atmosphere. Consequences of the incident were tragic…

Today, nearly 30 years later, place of the catastrophe became a spot of interest. Each year around 6000 visitors come there to visit the ghost town of Pripyat, which remained absolutely the same, like in that moment, when people left their homes after the accident, and take a look at Reactor No. 4, covered under the sarcophagus.

Experts are saying that nowadays visiting Chernobyl and areas around it is not dangerous anymore. According to them, during 6 hours trip amount of radiation taken is less than during 2 hours flight. However, they do not hide that there are holes in sarcophagus, spreading radiation. Due to this reason the nearest point to see sarcophagus is within the 200 meters of distance.

Some interesting facts about the area of Pripyat:

  • Zone will not be safe for living next 60 years;
  • Zone will not be safe to grow food next 200 years.
  • Rule No.1 – one cannot ouch anything the area and can walk only on the road.
  • People are strictly forbidden eat and drink unless they reach 10km distance from the place.
  • Cameras and bags can never touch the ground.
  • Visitors must wear special shoes, fully covering feet.

Prices of the Chernobyl tour are around 90-240 eur, depending on the chosen type of the journey.

Information collected and text prepared by Gintarė Adamonytė

 

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