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Extreme thrills to try in South America

Published September 9th, 2013

If you’re a lover of free falls, extreme speeds and crazy thrills in general, then you’ll probably know all too well about the adrenaline-pumping fun that happens in South America. A continent that boasts all that an adrenaline junkie could need to get their kicks and then some. From soaring mountains to ski fields, thick jungle, volcanoes and numerous hiking trails, South America is practically immune from witnessing dull moments with the following extreme thrills as living (and screaming) proof.

 

Cycle down the world’s most dangerous road in Bolvia

With a name like ‘The Death Road’ you know that this gravity-defying strip in Bolvia is no joke. Officially known as North Yungas Road, the infamous 61 kilometre road runs from La Paz to Corocio in the Amazon Rainforest region of Yungas in Bolivia. Due to the remote nature of the area, the road is notorious for its difficult terrain, winding around very steep hillside and through difficult conditions such as rain and fog, causing the track to be muddy in winter and dusty in summer. With pretty much a perfect storm of super-dangerous conditions, the road has long been the source of much attention with Top Gear and the History Channel profiling the road. The most popular way to experience the stretch is to mountain bike down it, with many tour operators offering guides, information and equipment. While it may be popular, the road is still incredibly dangerous and has taken the lives of numerous cyclists. Peddle with caution.

 

 

Swim with sharks in the Galapagos

Swimming with sharks at an aquarium or theme park is a little different to swimming with sharks in the Galapagos. These scary fish are the real deal. Wild and untamed. While you’ll head out there on a tour with an instructor, once you’re in the water you’re on your own. Man verse wild. Don’t be surprised if your instructor gives you a lesson in hitting a white-tip reef or nurse shark with one of your flippers if it gets to close. Because it just might happen.

 

Sandboard in Death Valley, Chile

Sandboarding may not sound so extreme, but when it takes place in Chile’s curiously named Death Valley, it takes on a bit more meaning. Boasting an apocalyptic desert terrain, the valley’s name developed out of legend that many people would die trying to cross is. Today though, instead of crossing it and carking it half way, the valley is a tourist hotspot for sandboarding. To our knowledge no one has died riding the steep sandy hill, but I’m sure there have been plenty of sandy face plants that haven’t been too fun.

 

 

Walk on a glacier in Argentina

There a plenty of hikes to take in South America, but the most extreme would have to be on the glaciers of Patagonia. Giving the word ‘icy’ a whole new meaning, the chilly ice field of Chile (get it!) and Argentina are home to some incredible hiking terrain. While the glaciers are plentiful, the easiest to access is Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier, located near the town of El Calafate. Spanning 250 square kilometres, the mammoth glacier may be easy to access but it isn't without its dangers – rupturing regularly, the latest of which occurred in January 2013.

 

Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.