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West Palm Beach, Florida
February 13, 2010
January 24, 2006
We took the canopy tour with Vallarta Adventures, and it was definitely the highlight of our trip. We met at their office near the marina at our designated start time, and because we arrived a bit early, we enjoyed coffee in their little palapa snack bar until our guide was ready for us. We met up with the other folks who had signed up for the tour and proceeded to board a big, open off-road vehicle with roll bars and no seat belts.
The trip to the mountainous rain-forest region took nearly an hour, and everyone was extremely quiet, wondering what they'd gotten themselves into. The truck made its way through dusty villages and winding, rutted roads until we reached the staging area. When we arrived, we stored our personal belongings and got into our harnesses and helmets while being instructed on safety considerations. Then off we went, hiking a short distance to the first platform. We had several guides who helped us, encouraged us, and entertained us throughout the day. Each participant was snapped into the zipline that would take us from the platform we were standing on to the next platform several hundred yards away. Oh, did I mention that the platforms are all above the treeline, in what is called the canopy? And that we're zipping through the air 10 to 30 feet above the rain forest floor using our hand as our brake? Yeah, it was awesome, scary at first, but after two or three zips, you start to relax and enjoy the views. I say that because that was my experience. However, my partner had some trust issues and forgot to follow directions. She ended up coming in too fast on one tree and body slammed it. It shook her up, but the guides caught her and she was fine, finishing all 10 platforms and repelling down at the end with everyone else. By the way, there were kids in our group (the youngest was 8) as well as a gentleman in his 30s with a developmental delay, and they all did a terrific job and seemed to have fun. That's why I said it's all about trust and following directions.
After the excursion was over, we headed back to town in the same truck, but the funny thing was that this time we hardly noticed the long, boring trip because we were all so busy talking about the experience with one another. We had bonded with people who we didn't know several hours earlier. They became a part of our experience. We arrived back at the office and went our own way, but it was definitely a memorable time in each of our lives.Here's the particulars if you're interested: Vallarta Adventures Canopy Tour--I believe we paid $65 per person, but if you book on their website (www.vallarta-adventures.com) ahead of time, they'll discount it 10%. Also, expect to pony up a tip for the guides to share and money for a video of your adventure if you choose. Have fun!
From journal Puerto Vallarta R&R
February 1, 2005
Forty minutes after leaving Puerto Vallarta, we arrived at our destination. We were shown a how-to and safety video and were outfitted with harnesses, helmets, and sunglasses. Each of us received a pulley, and then we had two practice runs on shorter zip-lines close to our start point. These practice runs enabled the guides to determine whether we would be able to complete the rest of the tour without incident.
The first time was exciting and scary at the same time. At each zip line was a guide at either end to assist us with our pulleys and guide us to a stop. We were shown how to "brake" by rotating our pulley and swinging our legs to the sides. Too much braking and we would not make it all the way to the end of the zip line; too little braking would cause us to smash into the platform at the end of the line. We were a group of 15 ranging in age from the early 20’s to late 60’s—there was even one great-grandmother. In all, there were about 12 zip lines, and once we got going, it was absolutely exhilarating to be zipping through the treetops swinging over valleys, waterfalls, and rivers. One line was 400m long, and we were told the we traveled up to 50 miles per hour. For some people, the climbing up the paths and steps to get to the higher up zip lines was a bit challenging, but there were plenty of opportunities for breaks and there were water stations along the way.
At the end of our tour, we were offered a small bottle of beer and shots of different tequilas, which were also available for purchase. There was a waterfall and small freshwater pool, and some of the people from our group elected to take a quick dip in the cool water. Also on the premises were a restaurant, a small souvenir shop, washrooms, and vendor stands. On our tour was a videographer who filmed the whole expedition, and you could buy the video for $40. Since you could not take your camera with you, it was the only way to show your friends back home what you did on your vacation!
From journal Puerto Vallarta