Let 'Er Rip! The World’s Most Scenic Places to Skydive
Skydiving’s popularity is as much about the adrenaline as it is the view (Photo: Digital Vision)
From niche sport to a bucket-list staple, skydiving has grown in popularity for many reasons: the street cred, the triumph of looking death in the face, temporary insanity. Extreme sports enthusiast Marshall Rockey, a former Recon Marine who now specializes in BASE (building, antenna, span, and Earth) jumping, believes people leap from high places because of the “massive adrenaline dump.” One oft-overlooked facet? The view.
Consider this: when dropping out of the sky from up to 15,000 feet, you’re typically in for a 60-second free fall and then another 4 to 5 minutes of flying under the parachute. That’s a lot of time to ponder the curvature of the Earth and gain a perspective on life like no other.
So while skydiving may be a thrilling sport, no matter what — and relatively safe for newbies, since they’re strapped to an instructor in a tandem jump — a beautiful drop zone (DZ) can enhance the experience. We interviewed a handful of prominent skydivers, from world record holders to world-travelling fun jumpers, and compiled a list of the most scenic drop zones in the world.
From the green caterpillarlike islands of Palau to the futurescape and dunes of Dubai to the snowcapped peaks of the Swiss Alps, here are 10 DZs that will take your breath away.
Skydiving over the Palm Jumeirah is an amazing view (Photo: Skydive Dubai)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Skydive Dubai
Even though Skydive Dubai has only been around for a few years, it has already staked its claim as one of the nicest DZs in the world. Peter Shankman, author, adventurist, and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., says he “fell in love with Skydive Dubai for the amazing sand views all around the Desert Campus, and the incredible city views of their city campus [at The Palm].”
The Palm Drop Zone, best known for its starring role in Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” video — and the only Dubai site that offers tandem jumps — affords views of Dubai’s most famous sites: its palm-shaped artificial island, the sail-like Burj Al Arab hotel, and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, all from 13,000 feet over the sparkling, blue Arabian Sea.
The Palm: Open September until the end of May
The Desert Campus: Year-round