As if the freefall isn’t enough of a pucker-factor, freefalling over this North Island skydiving mecca includes overhead views of 3 of the world’s most active volcanoes, Mount Ngauruhoe, Ruapehu and Tongariro, which sit in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Tongariro National Park. New Zealanders pride themselves on their daring and innate desire to grab life by the horns, and Taupo is a city built on adrenaline. The only training required is the ability to fall in the grasp of gravity. Not enough? Hike to Lake Taupo, take on the world’s highest water dip by bungee in the Waikato River, jet boat to Huka Falls, or pretend to slow down with some world-class fishing.
There are two death-defying man-thrills here: You can drop 167 feet over the famous falls in a barrel; or live to tell your Mancation story with a more brag-worthy drop of 12,500 feet. You won’t get wet on this Niagara Falls experience. No crowds of tourists. No rental raincoats. Nope, your view of Bridal Veils Falls will be altogether different than the post cards. Sign up for the Accelerated Free Fall course over several days and go through 7 levels of free falling mastery. Between jumps, Niagara Falls has Mancation written all over it with great golf, fishing, boating and collection of true local bars to boast about your ability to fly.
See Pearl Harbor from the point of view of a WWII Kamikaze pilot while skydiving Hawaii-style. The island of Oahu is stunning from the air, so shell out the extra dollars to drop from the highest altitude so you get a nice long look at Diamond Head, Kaena Point, and if you’re there from January to April, passing humpback whales along the coast. When you start to hear Don Ho being played as the land rushes up to meet you, it’s probably time to pop the chute and do it again. Post jump, you can catch a few waves off Waikiki or keep the blood rich with thrills and jump in a cage with sharks off Haleiwa.
Sea, sand and a relaxing hammock to wile away the day with a Nora Roberts novel and, God forbid, some kind of watermelon martini? Not on this Mancation. From 14,000 feet you’re rubbing elbows with Polynesian gods and goddesses, and you’ve got a good minute to soak up an albatross’ view of this strategic WWII, hotly contested island paradise, as well as contemplate the curvature of the earth. After you’ve filled your gullet with tropical-infused stimulation, ride that high and head over to Guam’s original beach bar, Jeff’s Pirate’s Cove, where $2 beers, exotic honeys, live music and the best cheeseburgers in the north Pacific await.
Men love to brag. And we should if we’ve just done the world’s highest skydive jump, over Monterey Bay, CA. Mancation yourself into the stratosphere with this experience. Even first-time jumpers step out at 18,000 feet. What that translates into is 90 seconds of freefalling. You won’t slow down until you’ve reach 124 mph, which is terminal velocity, and with this jump, you’ll definitely need to bring gloves. Once you finish the dive, head a little south to Carmel and eat ice cream as you swagger down the street like local favorite Clint Eastwood.
A skydive Mancation requires a man to get a little crazy, face the gods and feel that electric ripple up your spine that means you’re alive.