Villarrica

Your next extreme holiday challenge: volcano bungee jumping

Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to extreme tourism, most people would settle for a night’s stay in a haunted hotel or even an assisted skydive. Now there’s a new thrill seeking activity on the scene: volcano bungee jumping

Yes, one organisation in Chile is actually offering you the chance to leap headfirst into the mouth of an active volcano. You just need to sign a waiver on Bungee.com, then you’re free to be catapulted to within 200 feet of molten lava. 

Villarrica, also known to some as Rucapillán, is one of only five volcanoes worldwide that has an active lava lake within its crater. Since records began, it has erupted over 70 times, most recently in March 2015. So it’s fair to say that would-be jumpers do so at their own risk.

Given the uniqueness of the location, you can’t descend from a carefully measured, static tower like normal bungee jumps. The only way to take the plunge is by leaping from a helicopter with a bungee cord that is about 350 feet in length. Not only that, but once the jump is over, the leaper will be flown back to the airport suspended underneath the helicopter. It certainly gives a whole new meaning to “trip of a lifetime”.

It’s not a stroll in the park for the pilot, either, who has to keep the helicopter on target so that passengers can complete the jump safely. If they fly too low, the leaper might get a little too close to the volcano’s bubbling magma. Time is of the essence, as there is only a small window to get everything right.

© Youtube // Jonathan Gibbs

As if all that wasn’t enough to put you off, it doesn’t come cheap, with the company providing this experience as part of a package costing around £12,000. As well as the jump, you’ll get to spend six days/five nights in the Pucón area, which includes a day of white-water rafting, a visit to the local hot springs, all-inclusive meals, drinks and a commemorative t-shirt.

Got volcanic fever but don’t want to jump?

Visitors to the region also have the chance to hike up Villarrica’s crater and look down into the lava from the top. The climb isn’t technically demanding and shouldn’t prove too difficult for people in good physical shape. The walk takes about five hours, and part of the way includes a ride on a chairlift. If you visit on a cold enough day, you can even return to the base of volcano by bobsled, and it’ll only take you 20 minutes or so.

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09 2016 The Red Bulletin

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