Adventure runs thick in the veins of a special group of people. These are the adventurers, the thrill-seekers, the modern-day buccaneers who demand the surge of adrenalin only found at dizzying heights or breakneck speeds.
Unlike others, these rush-junkies actively seek adventure in places and ways most of the rest of us will never understand. For this special group of adventurous travelers, the world is one big playground with all the attractions they need to push their experience-seeking nature to the very limits. If you happen to know someone like this, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most extreme adventures and amazing experiences, all of which make unforgettable gifts to keep the adrenalin coursing wildly through their veins and their emotions on a knife-edge
Ice diving in France
To call this amazing experience breath-taking is not just an overused cliche, but a fact. Diving beneath the ice of France’s Lac de Tignes – the location for segments of the movie The Big Blue – presents the ultimate adventure gift for anyone who plays the game of life by different rules. Close to the village of Tignes, high in the Parc National de Vanoise and a buzzing hub for winter sports enthusiasts, the glacier-fed Lac de Tignes is the location for a unique and unforgettable adventure.
Once fully kitted out in your dry-suit, mask, and aqua-lung, and in the company of a highly-experienced and professional diving guide, you will slip beneath the ice and begin your roped-in exploration of a whole new world. As the sun dapples, explodes, and dazzles through the ice – which can vary in thickness from 30cm to 150cm – you will experience a uniquely mesmerizing waterscape like no other. It may not be the warmest of adventure experiences, but having the opportunity to accomplish something so few others get the chance to do is reward enough. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the moment for friends and family and allow them to share in this truly mind-numbing once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Mountain biking down the world’s most dangerous road
The Bolivian name, La Carretera de Los Yungas, doesn’t sound quite as thrilling as its name in English – ‘The world’s most dangerous road’. Located at over 4,760 meters high in the mountains of Bolivia, 50km from the bustle of the country’s capital, La Paz, the route is a true test of courage, stamina, and perhaps even foolhardiness. Forget your paved and concrete roads – although the ‘Camino de la Muerte’ does start out that way – and instead, imagine dirt and gravel mountain tracks, shrouded in mist and fog and with the added ‘bonus’ of sheer drops of thousands of feet falling away to the canopy of the Amazon rainforest far below.
With literally hundreds of deaths due to traffic accidents on this mountainous rollercoaster every year, this bicycle adventure is not for everyone. That’s why groups attempting this test of nerve and resolve are accompanied by professional guides, and at all times by a support vehicle in case of an accident, emergency, or a simple case of failing nerve. However, the reward for this do or die ride-of-a-lifetime are the stunning views across the mountain range and the spectacular snow-covered plateaus (if you’re brave enough to take your eyes off the road). This is definitely a gift for the most adventurous among us, and just in case they still feel in need of an extra rush of adrenalin, the downhill craziness can be supplemented by finishing the route courtesy of a 3-zipline course which will take you to your finishing point, the La Senda Verde wildlife park and rehabilitation center.
Volcano boarding in Nicaragua
Nicaragua, the land of volcanoes, and the land of amazing adventures. How about this for a unique experience gift for the adrenalin-junkie in your life – Volcano Boarding. Most of us probably didn’t even realize that this was a real thing, but it is. Think of snowboarding, then think of snowboarding on a tropical volcanic mountain replacing the snow with volcanic ash, that’s Volcano Boarding.
Your ‘piste’ of choice will be the active volcano – we said it’s for the adventurous – Cerro Negro, situated in the lava-sculpted mountains of the Cordillera de Los Maribios. You will be taken from a meeting point in Leon before hiking a further 45 minutes to the summit where your guide will instruct you on all aspects of safety and technique. The views from the summit are simply spectacular and the perfect setting to record your adventure on film for posterity. Then it’s time to don your board and let gravity do the rest. Volcano Boarding is similar to snowboarding, minus the sub-zero temperatures, but with the added bonus of descending the slopes of an active volcano that has erupted as recently as 1999. Are you ready for the thrill of thrills?
15,000-foot skydive in Seville, Spain
There are adventure gifts and there are beyond adventure gifts. Set in the skies above the stunning Spanish Andalucian city of Seville your thrill seeker will get the totally mind-blowing experience of a tandem skydive from 15,000 feet (4,570 meters). This is the highest exit altitude for skydiving in Europe, and the location couldn’t be more special, above Seville one of Europe’s most stunning and historic cities.
Before taking to the Andalucian skies skydivers are be issued with all the necessary equipment, jumpsuit, helmet, and googles. Then, it’s time to meet your instructor and get your training underway. Having learned the ropes it’s time to hop aboard a specialist fast-climbing aircraft which will take you to the drop zone in double-quick time. Once at the drop zone, you will be strapped to your instructor for this high-octane tandem experience, and then it’s time to jump. Your freefall will last approximately one full minute of exhilaration before your dive partner pulls the rip-cord and it’s time to drift slowly, and serenely towards earth, admiring the views as you descend for over five minutes in one of Spain’s most iconic landscapes.
Kawarau Bridge bungee jump, New Zealand
It’s no secret, but extreme sport and adventure lovers simply adore New Zealand. The modern bungee jump may have been born in the UK – with the Oxford Dangerous Sports Club on April 1st, 1979 – but the whole evolution of the sport belongs to New Zealand. For adventure lovers, there is probably no bungee location more sacred than the hallowed heights of the Kawarau Bridge bungee jump. Located close to Queenstown (Māori: Tāhuna) New Zealand’s South Island gateway to a whole world of adventures, the Kawarau Bridge became synonymous with bungee jumping back in 1988 when A.J. Hackett started his first commercial bungee jump operation.
Kawarau is still regarded as being the granddaddy of all bungee jumps worldwide and attracts those who have jumped one hundred times and those who want the experience the thrill first-time for themselves. It may not be the highest or even the scariest bungee jump in existence, but this iconic location is probably on the bucket list of most thrill-seekers, plus, the bridge straddles the Kawarau River allowing jumpers to ‘take a small dip’ to enhance the entire experience. This is the ultimate adventure and experience gift for anyone with a head for heights and a fascination with sporting history.
Linas Ceikas is CEO and Founder of Tinggly. Tinggly is an experiential gift company offering you the chance to give unique experience gifts in lieu of material possessions, ideal for all discerning travel-lovers.