Free-falling from Denmark’s Sky Tower

Forget bungie lines and safety ropes as you drop unencumbered towards the ground at Tivoli Friheden, a theme park in Aarhus that operates Europe’s only SCAD (suspended catch air device) tower. Strapped into a padded harness and helmet, you might feel secure as you take in the gorgeous sight of the bay, but all bravado will leach away as you dangle at the mercy of an operator and a distant net. Basically, you’ll be dropped to plunge 30 metres to your bouncing lifesaver below in just three seconds. If hitting 4G forces while falling at 90 kilometres an hour doesn’t sound terrifying, learning that researchers use these structures to simulate near-death experiences should be enough to shake you.

Learn about the birds and the bees at a sex machine museum

If you thought that electric ear cleaner you found in Aunt Vera’s knickers drawer all those years ago was a frightful gizmo, Prague’s Sex Machine museum will blow your, er, mind. Get your rocks off exploring the museum’s three floors bursting with more than 200 erotic mechanical appliances. There’s a contraption to titillate every taste and sordid fantasy. How about a brass vibrator circa 1869, an electric anti-masturbation machine from gay Paris (1915), or an 1880 voyeuristic chamber pot, complete with mini peep mirror?

If voyeurism is your thing, bypass the pleasure contraptions and head straight to the cinema for your fill of old erotic films, then saunter through the art gallery. It’s one of the few galleries in the world where you don’t have to hide the fact you’re staring at the nudie bits.

Almonds and Corals Hotel

Considered one of the most stunning spots in Costa Rica, Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge boasts more allure than just powder-white sand. On one side of its beaches you’ll find wetlands and lush rainforest, while the other side borders the Caribbean Sea, with its thriving coral reefs, manatees and dolphins. Scattered through the forest are 24 tents raised on wooden platforms. Walkways wind through the trees – look for howler monkeys, sloths and tapirs – and lead down to the beach.


During the day, book a massage at the Jungle Spa Pavilion or choose from a range of excursions offered nearby, including horse riding, canopy zip-lining, kayaking and diving. If the company of nature isn’t entertaining enough, you can relax in your personal hammock and hot tub.

Tree House Lodge

Experience pura vida (the happy life) Swiss Family Robinson-style when you visit the villas of Tree House Lodge, set in a lush jungle with the Caribbean at your doorstep. The super eco-friendly guesthouses were built using recycled materials (the wood is sourced only from fallen trees), and are solar powered.


Check out the Beach Suite, decked out with a massive bathroom that’s a psychedelic mix between a space pod and a seashell. Spend your days snorkelling and practising yoga on the beach, or hang out in a hammock with monkeys and sloths perched nearby.

Make like Tarzan and Jane on a jungle canopy mega swing

Give your zip-lining mates the look. You know, the one that says, “That is seriously lame.” While they spend their days zooming horizontally across the lush tropical canopy near Monteverde, you can get in on the original King of the Jungle act.

Beat your chest, grab the rope (alright, we know you’re wearing a harness) and fling yourself off the platform built 45 metres above the jungle. There’s no dismounting on the next tree though; modern-day Tarzans (and Janes) make like a human pendulum, swinging 150 metres before being deposited softly on the ground.

Anantara Xishuangbanna

Tucked between banana palms and the curving Luosuo River rests Xishuangbanna’s first five-star retreat. Its elegant design bows to neighbouring Thailand, blending ornate gold and wood with all the comfort of a modern hotel. Built over tranquil ponds and fronting the river, the hotel’s spa honours the water revered by the local Dai culture. Select an Anantara specialty or Chinese remedy and melt into your surrounds.


Explore the tropical forests of Xishuangbanna – search for elephants, and visit Dai villages and tea plantations – or stay on site to join a cooking class, Tai Chi or traditional tea ceremony and indulge in some gastronomic delights. Each private villa has its own plunge pool, providing instant relief from the heat, while you can also opt for a cocktail under the shade of a brolly by the central pool and deck.

Diving with Hammerhead Sharks

Shark diving is one of those activities some people think is awe-inspiring and the rest of the population considers completely bonkers. For those who want to get outside the cage, observing a mass schooling of hammerheads should provide just the thrills and I-can’t-believe-I-did-that moments for a lifetime of dinner party conversations.

Easily identified by its T-shaped nose with eyes at the extremities – all the better for searching out its prey – these big fish (they grow up to six metres long) tend to hang out together during daylight hours and hunt solo after dark. Uninhabited Cocos Island, 550 kilometres off the coast of Costa Rica, is one of the best places in the world to dive with hammerheads, especially around June when the water is relatively calm and sharks far outnumber divers. You’ll have to jump on a live-aboard dive boat though, since it takes more than a day to reach the island from Puntarenas on the west coast.

Piedras Bayas Basecamp

Yes, this tiny camp is in the Atacama Desert, but it’s also on the coast, making it a completely unique destination for adventurous souls. There are just three dome tents on wooden platforms – plenty of space between each for maximum privacy – with attached bathrooms and a shared service centre with kitchen and indoor and outdoor dining spaces.


The tents themselves have everything you could need, including a comfy bed, storage and, thanks to solar panels, around-the-clock electricity and hot water. From there, though, it’s every traveller for him or herself. You’ll need to hire a 4WD to get here – it’s pretty much overland for the final four kilometres of your journey (the camp is about 90 kilometres from Copiapó) – and bring in all the food you might require since there’s nothing nearby.

The landscape around here – dunes, beach and rocky headlands – is completely arresting and you could easily spend a few days just exploring on foot, swimming in the ocean or taking out the kayaks and getting an eyeful from the water. There’s every chance you’ll feel as though you’re the only people on earth while you’re visiting.

Patagonia Camp

Bunking down in one of the 18 yurts at this campsite in Chile’s south is sure to induce a certain serenity. From every angle – whether you’re lying in bed or sitting at the wood table – you can view the wilderness or, at night, the endless stars through the skylight, out the windows or from the private terrace. And an impressive wilderness it is too, located at the edge of Torres del Paine National Park with Lake Torro in the foreground and a backdrop of the snow-capped Paine Massif.


Each of the mini marquees features locally produced artworks, a private bathroom and, importantly, central heating. There’s also a communal area – all buildings are connected by elevated walkways to protect the environment – where you’ll find the bar and restaurant.

If you’re a hiker, in particular, be prepared for some amazing adventure. There are a number of treks you can take from the camp, including the eight-hour Torres Base Trek. Never fear if you’re not quite so sporty, since there are plenty of other walks to waterfalls and viewpoints where you can observe condors and other birds of prey. There’s also the opportunity to go kayaking and fishing.

Alto Atacama

Put your wallet away and surrender to this all-inclusive oasis in the desert. Isolated enough to capture the tranquillity of this lush valley in the Salt Mountain Range, 1600 kilometres north of Santiago, it is still only a short bike ride from the tiny town of San Pedro. The design of the resort, including its 42 luxurious rooms, is inspired by local village architecture.


Fill your days with the guided tours on offer – journeys to the El Tatio geysers or mountain biking the Inca are just two of the 30 options – escape the heat in one of the hotel’s six pools set to varied temperatures, or visit the llamas in their stable.