Cliff jumping is a spectacular and often dangerous past time that involves leaping off giant cliffs into the ocean or other body of water. A sport born in Hawaii, it has gained popularity over time both for spectators and participants. Some locations are more dangerous than others and the most dangerous ones often are also the most spectacular. Following are eight of the most dangerous and beautiful cliff jumping locations in the world ranging from the tropical beaches of Mexico to crystal clear pools of water in Switzerland.
Cliff diving has been a tradition in Acapulco since the forties and it is currently one of the most famous cliff jumping locations in the world. The jump is off a 45 foot cliff into the ocean. Divers must consider the wind and the timing of the ocean waves to hit the water when there is at least four and a half meters of water covering the jagged bottom. Cliff divers can be watched by paying an entrance fee to gain access to a viewing platform.
Located on the southern end of the Lanai island in Hawaii, a location often credited with the birth of the sport of cliff diving, the Kaunolu cliff jump is a 82 foot drop into the ocean. Called Kehekili’s Leap, native warriors would perform the dive to show their bravery in this sacred spot. In 2002, it was also the home of the third annual Red Bull Cliff Diving event.
3. Polignano a Mare
Located in Italy, the Polignano a Mare cliff jump take-off spot is a roof top terrace 26 meters above the Adriatic sea. To access the terrace, one must walk through a private living room. It has been a site for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series for several years in a row due to its unique location.
A popular holiday destination in Croatia, the cliffs of Dubrovnik are popular among recreational cliff divers. Cliff jumpers can be watched from a series of bars also situated along the high cliffs.
5. La Quebradas
Another popular cliff jumping spot in Mexico, the La Quebradas cliff divers are world-famous for jumping 135 feet into the Pacific Ocean. Tourists can watch the divers climb the cliff, pray at the shrine at the top and then jump. With a shallow landing, divers must time their jump so they hit the water when the waves are at their highest or risk hitting the bottom. There are also night shows with divers making the leap while holding torches. A popular viewing spot for the spectacle is the patio of the Hotel El Mirador which is available for $5.
Mazatlan is a lesser known cliff jumping location in Mexico. It is in the Parque Glorieta Rodolfo Sanchez Taboada oceanside park and divers jump off a high platform into shallow water. Like other shallow locations, divers must time their jump with the incoming waves to avoid hitting the water when the depth is only six feet deep. The Mazatlan cliff diving performances are generally held around noon and then again in the late afternoon. Unlike some other performances, these can be viewed free of charge.
7. Ponte Brolla
Unlike many of the other cliff diving locations, Ponte Brolla involves a dive into a natural lake in Switzerland. This location has been used for the Swiss Open, European and World Cliff Diving Championships because of its spectacular natural setting. Divers climb a series of ladders to gain access to the 20 meter tall cliffs.
Located on the Atlantic coast of southern Portugal, the Algarve cliffs are popular among cliff jumping enthusiasts. Several large rock formations along the Lagos beaches are ideal for cliff jumping and the landing area for many of these rock formations are deeper than some of the landings in Mexico. There are a variety of heights and difficulties to choose from in the area.