15 Totally Scary Adventures for Daredevils All Around the World

If these adventures don’t get your heart pounding, then nothing will.
Last updated April 3, 2023 | By Cat Lafuente Edited By Ellen Cannon
highliner goes on a sling above the clouds

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If you love the thrill that only the shock of adrenaline can bring, then you’ve come to the right place. The following list details 15 of the most heart-pounding, thrill-seeking activities found around the globe, from swimming with apex predators to jumping out of planes in exotic locales. 

And, of course, you’ll need to use the best travel credit cards on your adventures to maximize your travel budget, making room for more epic experiences.

Climb Mt. Everest

jakartatravel/Adobe twilight over the famous Mt Everest

Let’s get this out of the way first: Is there any adventure more worthy of bragging about than climbing the highest mountain in the world? 

If you scale Mt. Everest, you join an elite club of adventurers who have both the strength and the fortitude to conquer one of the longest and toughest treks in the world.

Scale El Capitan

Marcy/Adobe rock climber at Yosemite national park

If you have climbing ambitions but are looking to stay domestic, try your hand at scaling the famous El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in California. 

This famous rock has a 3,000-foot granite face that takes serious skill to summit. If you’re feeling extra spicy, you can try conquering the dawn wall, one of the toughest hikes out there.

Hike an active volcano

Thorir/Adobe small volcanic eruption started at the Reykjanes peninsula

Looking to add a little lava to your hiking experience? If so, then put exploring Cerro Negro on your bucket list. 

This active volcano in Nicaragua attracts daredevils who want to both summit a volcano as well as “volcano board” back down at up to 30 mph. That’s two adrenaline-inducing adventures in one.

Bungee jump Mount Villarica

esalienko/Adobe extreme athlete tied to a safety rope jumped into the void

If you want to turn up the volume on your volcano experience, suit up and prepare to bungee jump over Mount Villarica in Chile. 

All you need to do is pony up the cash and you can leap out of a helicopter into the active crater, which is known to belch on occasion. Its most recent eruption was back in 1971.

Explore the Grand Canyon Skywalk

Bruce Grubbs/Adobe Skywalk Eagle Point Grand Canyon West Arizona

Arguably one of the tamer activities on this list, this will still get your heart pumping at one of the most iconic sites in the world. 

The Grand Canyon Skywalk takes you 4,000 feet in the air over the rim of the canyon, giving you eye-popping views of the landscape below. The walkway juts out 70 feet from the face of the rock.

Hike the Tianmen Mountain

Thongchai S./Adobe winding road of Tianmen mountain national park

Looking for something like the Skywalk but on steroids? Consider walking the Tianmen Mountain path, located near Zhangjiajie city in China. 

This dizzying trek will literally take you to “heaven’s door,” with 99 twists and turns and sections of glass walkways along the way. Softer folks may opt for the cable car ride, which is the longest of its kind.

Base jump in Angel Falls

davide bonaldo/Adobe below forest of Angel Falls in Venezuela

Base jumping certainly isn’t for the faint of heart in and of itself, but try throwing yourself off of Angel Falls in Venezuela, the highest waterfall in the world. 

Keep in mind you’ll need to secure a permit for this, as well as either ride a horse or hike to the jumping-off point. The views will be well worth the effort, though.

Skydive in Victoria Falls

Abdelrahman/Adobe Victoria falls Africa's most famous landmark

Speaking of waterfalls, just sitting on the edge of Victoria Falls — which straddles Zimbabwe and Zambia — is enough to get your heart racing. 

Why not combine that experience with skydiving over this wonder of the world? You can dance along the edge of the Devil’s Pool one day, then leap out of a plane the next. Talk about a double shot.

Cliff dive at La Quebrada Cliffs

frenta/Adobe famous diving cliff La Quebrada and Pacific Ocean

Think you have what it takes to keep up with locals honoring generations of daredevil tradition? Try your hand at cliff diving off the 135-foot La Quedabra Cliffs of Acapulco. 

Time it wrong and you’ll meet an unfortunate end. Time it right and you’re in for the adrenaline dose of a lifetime.

Climb Machu Picchu

SCStock/Adobe Machu Picchu Peru

If you’ve made enough money moves to boost your bank account, you can finally take that bucket list trip to Machu Picchu in Peru. Make sure to set aside about a week to explore this archeological wonder that is thought to have been a royal estate in the Inca empire. 

FYI, be prepared to acclimate to the altitude before hiking the Inca Trail to the top of this marvel.

Conquer the CN Tower Edgewalk

NAN/Adobe downtown Toronto skyline with famous CN tower at night

You may be tethered, but the feeling of walking on the CN Tower Edgewalk in Toronto will still leave you with goosebumps. 

Your harness will be the only thing securing you to the building that towers 116 floors above the Canadian metropolis. You can even lean over the edge without holding on if you have the gumption.

Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

Marco Brivio/Adobe Great Barrier Reef Australia

Snorkel enthusiasts absolutely can’t miss the chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia, the largest coral reef in the world. 

This unique ecosystem is home to countless species of flora and fauna, including some — like sharks — that are sure to get your pulse racing when they swim under you.

Go cage diving with sharks

Sasha/Adobe great white shark at Guadalupe Island

While we’ve come a long way since “Jaws” panic was a thing, swimming with sharks is still a surefire way to remind yourself that you could be something’s lunch. And while you can dive with these predators sans cage, we recommend the steel bars just in case. 

If you can swing it, a dive off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, is an excellent option.

Surf Pe’ahi, Hawaii

EpicStockMedia/Adobe Man surfing in blue ocean water

If surfing is your thing, as opposed to snorkeling or diving, then catching a wave at Pe’ahi, Hawaii, is as exhilarating as it gets. Some of the largest giant waves in the world arrive here each year at a surf break known as Jaws, and it draws daredevil surfers and breathless spectators alike. 

Bear in mind that some of the waves are so intense that surfers need to be towed in via jet ski.

Dare the Sydney Bridge Climb

bennymarty/Adobe Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge

Bridges do more than connect point A to point B, and that’s certainly the case with the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. 

For a reasonable price, you can scale this iconic bridge from base to summit, taking in stunning views of the Australian metropolis from the top. Unlike some of the activities on this list, this activity is accessible to most.

Bottom line

antonpedko/Adobe group of skydivers above the clouds

If this list has you looking for ways you can make extra money for traveling, then we’ve done our job in making you hungry for the craziest daredevil experiences. After all, you only live once.

But remember, there may be hidden jewels in your backyard that can raise your pulse just as much as one of these epic adventures. So keep your ear to the ground in your community.

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Cat Lafuente Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.