If your definition of vacation means you’re usually checking in with the office and never quite getting your mind off your work, disconnect in a big way with an adrenaline-packed vacation. An adrenaline rush tweaks the mind’s perception, causing it to block out things it normally wouldn’t — like business, money and everyday problems. Your dopamine-infused brain instead heightens your senses and focuses on your daredevil adventure.
To get away from the bustle of everyday life, check out some of the most adrenaline-drenched activities available to the wealthy daredevil. Some option might be pricey, but the memories are worth the cash.
Skydive Mount Everest, Nepal
If you’d like to see the top of Mount Everest but you can’t escape the grind for six to nine weeks to make the climb, here’s another option: Jump out of a AS350 B3 helicopter from 23,000 feet in the air and enjoy a view of Everest as you skydive a mere 17 miles away. You can take the sights as you free fall without worrying about a selfie to commemorate the event. You’ll get a video of your jump and a professional picture in the air.
The $22,000 solo dive travel adventure involves more than just flying in, catching the helicopter and jumping. The 11-day experience includes sightseeing in Kathmandu, acclimatization and a 12-mile, three-day trek to the drop zone in Syangboche, plus rest days. Or take an extended 17-day travel adventure for $30,000. Instead of flying back to Kathmandu on day 10, you’ll spend several more days trekking to Everest Base Camp.
This adrenaline activity in Nepal only takes place from late October through early November.
Raft a Wild River in Futeleufu Valley, Chile
Pound through Class 5 rapids in Chile on a trip with Momentum River Expeditions. At night, pamper yourself in luxury.
The Futeleufu River — known as the Futa or just Fu for short — drops an average of 47 feet per mile. By contrast, the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon has a gradient of only 35 fpm. The Fu is at its peak from December through early March.
The heart-pounding rapids ramp up in intensity each day. Experience hydraulics that could swallow a bus and haystack wave trains towering 15 feet above river level. And don’t worry, you’ll get time for hiking, horseback riding, cultural experiences, dancing and other activities.
Kick back in the riverside hot tub, savor some wine and gourmet cuisine, and get a massage at the end of the day. Sink into a real bed each night in your private walk-in platform-tent. Pricing starts at $3,600, plus airfare to Puerto Montt.
Free Climb Mount Thor, Canada
Ascend the tallest uninterrupted rock face in the world at Auyuittuq National Park in Canada. Mount Thor reaches 5,505 feet above sea level, with a 105-degree overhanging cliff comprising more than 4,100 feet of its height.
Book a private guide through the park in advance, or set out along the well-marked Akshayuk Pass to reach the base of Mount Thor. Large rock cairns known as inukshuq mark the route, and an emergency shelter and outhouse at Thor’s base let you know you’ve arrived. July through September is the best time to climb, but avoid the last week of July and first week of August when snowmelt flooding can close the park and make Thor inaccessible.
Admission to Auyuittuq National Park is free during 2017 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation, saving you $150. You’ll need a backcountry excursion and camping permit, however, costing $24.50 per day or $147.20 annually.
If you want a wilderness adventure but aren’t a climber, you can still get an adrenaline thrill hiking in Auyuittuq’s back country. Ten-day hiking tours start at $4,171.
Wild Animal Encounters, Africa
Get face to face with some of Africa’s most dangerous predators on the 28-day This Is Africa! Guided scuba and safari tour.
Kick off the adrenaline rush by camping in the middle of Kruger Park and enjoy the night sounds of hyenas, lions and elephants. Spot lions, rhinos and more during the day on the first of two safaris, then venture below the ocean’s surface to come face to face with crocodiles, manta rays and sharks. You’ll swim among great whites and Nile crocodiles in dive cages. Swim with 20 to 30 sharks at feeding time completely cage free in Umkomaas.
The tour is geared to advanced scuba divers and you’ll need a PADI Advanced certificate to dive with the free-swimming sharks and manta rays. You can opt to complete this course during your tour.
The scuba and safari package costs $3,962. You’ll find add-on adventure travel at each destination for additional fees of up to $105 for each experience.
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Ski the Wilderness, Greenland
Forget standing in lift lines. Glide down pristine powder after being dropped off on a remote slope by helicopter. There’s no better place to heli-ski than Greenland. Seemingly endless miles of wilderness let you zip down first runs and journey to peaks far from human habitation.
Stay for a week aboard the Kisaq with a group of up to 10 people on one of Greenland’s scenic blue fjords for a one-of-a-kind experience. Whale-watch and look for wildlife such as arctic fox from the boat’s deck before day’s end, then listen to the lullaby of lapping waves at night as they gently rock you to sleep after a day on the slopes.
Transfer directly to your helicopter without having to take a shuttle. The $4,900 package includes a heli-skiing guide and six hours of flight time for every four skiers. You’ll also have use of the latest avalanche safety technology, including an ABS airbag pack and avalanche transceiver.
Surf Monster Waves, North Shore, Hawaii
Tackle waves up to 30 feet high along Oahu’s North Shore. The expert-only winter waves roll highest from November through February. Pit your skill against other advanced-level surfers at one of several surfing competitions, including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing at Ehukai Beach, Waimea Bay and Haleiwa Beach in November and December.
The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational’s competitions happen between late November and February, but only if waves reach 40 feet. “The Eddie” has only run nine times since it started in 1985.
Grab your board and walk to the waves from luxury home rentals along the seven-mile stretch of these famous beaches. You can even live like a king in Elvis’ former 5,700-foot Sullivan Estate on a hill overlooking the Pacific for $15,000 a night.
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Wingsuit Fly Off the Eiger, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
If you ever dreamed of flying like Superman, you’ll love soaring over the Swiss countryside in a wingsuit. The adrenaline-injected flight starts with a single step off a mushroom-shaped rock perched 5,400 feet above terra firma on the infamous North Face on Switzerland’s Eiger. Hike and scramble up the west flank to the mushroom in about two hours, or hire a helicopter to fly you up in mere minutes for around $250.
If you’d like some experienced advice before you leap into the abyss, contact local coaching service Base Dreams. They’ll also take photos and videos of your feat for a fee so you can add more camera angles to your GoPro footage. Fees start at $100 per jump or $400 for the entire day.
The certification education, experience and equipment you’ll need to make the jump will cost you about $16,000.
Mush the Yukon in Fish Lake Valley, Canada
Like dogs? Spend 15 days in the Yukon learning all aspects of dog-sledding and heading out on the Yukon Quest Trail.
You won’t waste any time — day one is when you get to meet the dogs, learn how to harness them and get your first driving lesson. By day three, you’ll be mushing the dogs up MacIntyre Mountain for panoramic views of Fish Lake and the valley.
Don’t get too comfortable at the ranch, though. On day five, you’ll start 10 days of journeying between base camps, trapper wall tents, cabins and hotels by driving challenging trails through alpine landscapes where you’ll see caribou, moose and other wildlife along the way.
Schedule your trip between mid-November and mid-April. The $2,810, 15-day adventure includes meals and accommodations, but you’ll have to pay for your own airfare to Whitehorse.
Underground Expedition in Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
Journey into the bowels of the earth when you spend the better part of the week exploring Son Doong Cave in Vietnam. The enormous cave is so large a 747 jet could fly through.
Bring your camera and plenty of digital storage space. You’ll have plenty of photo opportunities like the dinosaur-like Green Gours, fossil formations and underground lakes and jungles. Keep in mind that you’ll need to rock-scramble, paddle, hike through rivers and do some bouldering while carrying your camera equipment.
A team of 25 porters and guides and a safety expert accompany your tour of up to 10 spelunkers. The porters will pack your overnight belongings, giving them to you each day. The $3,000-per-person expedition sells out more than a year in advance and doesn’t include airfare or transportation to Dong Hoi. Tours operate from February through August.
Fast Cars and Fine Food, From Milan to Paris
Feel like James Bond as you zip through scenic mountain passes in Italy, Switzerland and France in a sports car. Stay in luxury hotels at night, enjoying Michelin-star cuisine and — if you like — sipping your martini shaken, not stirred.
Ultimate Driving Tours’ Beautiful Cars and Michelin Stars tour lets you navigate the roads driving Ferraris, Bentleys, Porsches, Lamborghinis and other luxury sports cars. Your entourage includes a luggage transport, and you’ll have two-way communication with the lead and sweep cars in your entourage. Savor a gourmet lunch at a Reims estate, sip a bit of bubbly at boutique champagne houses and marvel at the 13th-century icon, Notre Dame de Reims.
Get the full VIP treatment along the way, including exclusive seating at a Crazy Horse burlesque show in Paris and an exclusive tour of Milan. The four-day, three night European Supercar Tour starts at $12,250.
Sail Around the World
Keep the adrenaline rush pumping for nearly a year on a travel adventure that will take you around the world. Join the Clipper Round the World race and circumvent the globe by sea, beginning and ending in London and covering more than 40,000 nautical miles.
The race’s organizers supply 12 identical yachts captained by experienced skippers to oversee the crew. Apply to participate for the full race or just one leg of the journey. Hone your skills at a four-week, mettle-testing course before you embark. It covers everything from sailing basics to racing techniques.
The grueling four-hours-on-four-hours-off schedule takes you to ports including Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, New York City and Qindao in China. You’ll get time off at each port to see the sights.
Spending a full year sailing on a yachting team in the race costs $60,321. You’ll also pay for your own airfare to attend training and to reach your starting race port, as well as for dry bags and other personal equipment you’ll need for the trip.
Kayak Through the Amazon in Lima, Peru
Paddle through the Amazon jungle on a 14-day kayaking and motorboat journey on the Huallaga and Maranon rivers. Follow the flow from Yurimaguas, heading downstream along the two rivers to the headwaters of the Amazon River, then float the Rio Huallaga from Yurimaguas to its confluence with the Maranon.
The rivers flow beside Pacaya Samira National Reserve. Take a two-night break at the Pacaya Samiria Lodge to relax and explore the jungle on days 10 and 11.
The journey ends in Iquitos, a busy metropolis that is only reachable by river or air. Savor the city’s contrasts of mud houses and mansions, cruise ships and canoes, on your last night in the jungle. The two-week trip runs $5,297, plus airfare to Lima.