While the vibe in Mexico's beach resorts is decidedly "pump up the volume," the country's diverse natural assets are primo for pumping your adrenalin — a playground for extreme adventure sports that take you to the edge (and sometimes over it).
Pick your poison: diving with great white sharks, desert dune bashing in a souped-up 4x4 or summiting a snowcapped volcano, exploring jungles where jaguars still roam or hiking Mexico's version of the Grand Canyon — there are plenty of high adventure options.
At 18,491 feet, Pico de Orizaba is one of the highest mountains in North America and the granddaddy of Mexican outdoor adventure. People have been summiting the snow-covered volcano since the 1930s.
Underground Mexico also offers extreme adventure. Beneath the Yucatan Peninsula is a network of water-filled limestone caves called cenotes. In days gone by, the Maya would toss human sacrifices into the caverns. Nowadays the cenotes are a mecca for scuba enthusiasts who explore the underground world with waterproof lights.
Another way to up your heartbeat is cage diving with great white sharks off Baja's Guadalupe Island. You don't need to be an experience diver because the cage sits right below the surface, with air provided by tubes that run from a compressor aboard the ship. But you definitely need your sea legs: It takes 18 hours on a live-aboard boat to get to this remote location and you'll be at sea for five to seven days. www.seesharks.com
Mexico's most extreme hike is Copper Canyon, a massive fissure in the earth's crust in the Sierra Madre mountains of western Mexico. In addition to spectacular geology, the hike offers a chance to visit the Tarahumara people, who have lived in the canyon for thousands of years.http://coppercanyontrails.org
Although the chasm can be hiked solo, its rugged terrain is best tackled with experienced outfitters like Copper Canyon Trails. Another desert escapade is racing motocross bikes or dune buggies. Go Baja Riding offers a several motoring experiences, from a four-day desert ride to a full turnkey race program for the annual Baja 1000 off-road race. www.gobajariding.com
— Joe Yogerst