If you’re thinking about creating unforgettable memories this year, here’s our guide to the adventure and extreme sports you must try in 2023.
1. Glacier Hiking
One of the best ways to explore the remote parts of our world is on a glacier hike.
With the help of a guide and specialized gear, including a climbing harness, crampons, rope, and an ice axe, anyone can experience this thrilling adventure.
As the earth warms, these majestic beasts continue to recede. So this the year that you walk across a glacier.
One unforgettable glacial experience can be found in the Los Glaciares National Park.
In Argentinian Patagonia, this jaw-dropping glacier is 30 kilometers long, 5 kilometers wide, and stands at 75 meters tall. After picking your jaw from off the floor, it’s time to embark on an epic journey.
While many see the glacier from afar or boat close to its face, nothing beats putting on a pair of crampons and climbing it yourself.
Trekkers will have two options, a “mini trek” and a “big ice trek”.
The former is a short and sweet 60-minute trip, the latter lasts for five hours.
After each, revel in the memories and stunning photos as you sip on whiskey cooled by glacial ice.
2. Volcano Boarding
In 2006, Darryn Web impatiently stood at the summit of Cerro Negro, a volcano in Nicaragua.
In no mood to hike all the way back down, he instead invented the extreme sport of volcano surfing.
Similar to sandboarding (another sport that has gained popularity in recent years), volcano boarding allows you to skim down the face of active volcanoes on a plywood board using your heels to both brake and steer.
Unlike sandboarding, however, there are only a few unique destinations around the world where you can go “lava surfing”.
This is because riders need a recent eruption to create the required surface. With that in mind, here are two places you can go volcano boarding:
The O.G., Cerro Negro, is an active volcano in the Cordillera de los Maribios range in Nicaragua.
A short drive from Malpaisillo, this volcano is the youngest in the country.
There are plenty of organized lava surfing tours making this the top volcano boarding destination.
On the island of Java, in Indonesia, Mount Bromo is one of the newest volcano boarding destinations.
It is, in fact, a volcanic plateau evoking the sensation that you’re boarding on a crater on Mars, not Earth.
When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, if you are a thrill-seeker, heli-skiing takes things to the next level.
Rather than battle moguls, the odd tree runs, and using ski lifts (as you will find on planned ski slopes), you will instead be dealing with pure and untouched terrain.
Heli-skiing is not for novice skiers!
Some of the adrenalin-pumping adventures on this list can still be experienced in relative safety. But with heli-skiing, you’re on your own!
After getting dropped off on the backcountry peaks, you’ll have to navigate steep and unforgiving terrain.
Heli-skiing is not as common around Europe as it is around the world.
However, one amazing spot can be found at the top of 4600m giant, Mount Rosa in Switzerland.
The top heli-skiing destination in the world is in British Columbia, Canada. But for something off the charts, head to Himachal Pradesh in India.
4. Swim with Sharks
Now, this extreme sport may be more mainstream than others.
But unless you’ve swum with sharks in the waters off Palau, then this is an activity in a location you must experience.
Upon arriving at the remote archipelago in the Pacific, each guest has to sign a pledge to leave nothing but footprints. It’s a pledge that is ingrained in the local way of life.
Eighty percent of the water surrounding each majestic island is a protected marine sanctuary.
In fact, it’s recognized as one of the richest ecosystems on earth.
It helps to protect 700 types of coral and over 1,300 fish species. Several of which are sharks.
While there’s never a bad time to go diving in Palau, when it comes to sharks, travelers should arrive between November and April.
The best sites to see white and blacktip sharks along with grey reef sharks include Blue Corner, the German Channel, and the Deep South.
5. Trek El Camino de Costa Rica
From one side of Costa Rica to the other, if there’s one extreme hike on your bucket list, make it this one.
The 280km trail guides you from coast to coast, showcasing a side of the island that tourists never see.
The trail is broken up into 16 sections guiding you by remote communities and charming towns, through incredible protected landscapes and lands belonging to the native Cabecar.
The trail was designed to help spark tourism and the economy in remote regions on the island.
You will find lodging and food along the way in towns well off the beaten path.
But between those welcoming experiences, as a hiker, you will venture through rainforests above the clouds, traverse several surging rivers and over towering peaks.
Take your time to complete the El Camino de Costa Rica, with your days off spent white water rafting along the top-notch rapids on the Pacuare River.
6. Base Jumping
For the skydivers among us, base jumping is the next step on the extreme sports ladder.
While we don’t recommend base jumping if you are completely new to sky diving, for those ready to take the leap, base jumping is a must!
Documentaries and movies have only created a snowball effect as more people seek to push the envelope and find new and creative ways to challenge gravity and seek freedom.
Base jumping continues to evolve and grow in popularity.
Base jumping often gets confused with other extreme sports, but the one it’s most like is bungee jumping. But rather than a rope base, jumpers have a parachute.
While the major difference between base jumping and skydiving, is base jumpers have less control when they release the parachute.
Although base jumping is illegal in many destinations around the world, there are a few places where you jump without worry, from the cops, of course.
The top destination is Norway, which has embraced the sport with open arms.
7. Ice Climbing
Using ice axes, screws, and crampons, ice climbing involves making your way up a frozen wall that may not even exist in the weeks to follow.
It’s the fleeting nature of the ice that helps to make ice climbing as much of a spiritual adventure as it is a challenge.
Although thrilling in nature, ice climbing is one of the most accessible extreme sports.
Standing at the bottom of a sheer ice wall, as smooth as glass, it may seem impossible to reach the top.
But using some similar techniques to those found in regular rock climbing, even us mere mortals can unleash our inner ice climber.
There are two types of ice that climbers embark on.
For experts, they often chase the alpine ice commonly found on ascents to the summit of famous mountains around the world.
But for those starting out, climbing water ice is the way to go.
These are running streams that are frozen in the winter. With a guide, begin with a top rope climb as you learn the necessary skills.
8. Cheese Rolling
If there was ever one extreme sporting event to mark on your calendar, then the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling competition is it.
The competition takes place in Brockworth, Gloucester, and is held annually towards the end of May.
The event itself is quite simple. But keep in mind that it’s not for the faint-hearted and injuries are common.
Essentially, the competition involves hundreds of participants hurling down an extremely steep hill chasing after a 4kg wheel of cheese.
It’s believed that cheese rolling began in pagan times, but the first record of the event was in 1826.
From the get-go, participants rush down the hill and rarely get down without a fall or three. All the while, the cheese roll races along at over 100kph.
9. Whitewater Rafting
An extreme sport that anyone can potentially try (as long as you can swim), whitewater rafting is an adventurous sport that welcomes beginners with open arms.
You’ll find rapids perfect for whitewater rafting all over the world.
The size of the rafts makes it a fun family-friendly extreme sport, with low-grade rapids perfect for newbies and younger kids.
But to make this year the most memorable yet, why not chase the stoke along Grade IV and V rapids, on the world’s most gnarly rivers?
If you’re up for the challenge, one place to visit is the Zambezi River, where whitewater rafting first flourished.
Below the phenomenal Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River is considered the best in the world for whitewater rafting.
In between the intense III to V rapids, are tranquil pools, giving you time to appreciate the stunning Batoka Gorge before the hair-raising adventure begins again.
10. Chase the Silk Road
Over a thousand years ago, the Silk Road became the first to link Europe and Asia.
While a lot has changed, today the road is a pilgrimage for motorcyclists and a mecca of adventure.
The original route began in China and traveled along the Gan-Su corridor over soaring mountains into Central Asia and Afghanistan all the way to the Mediterranean.
The road measures over 7000 kilometers long, and through the centuries rose to great heights and fell into disrepair, before rising again.
Completing the Silk Road is one of the top overland adventures in the world, and it’s not one to do without prior planning.
Part of the challenge is not only navigating treacherous conditions and barely used roads but also inter-nation conflict and visas.
Some even ride from Germany to China, an epic 12,500km journey.