travel writers tales home pagenewslinkscontact Jane Cassie and Margaret Deefholtssign up for travel writers tales newsletter
travel articles
sign up to receive our email newsletter
freelance travel writers
 

 

BECOMING A SUPERHERO IN PUERTO RICO
By Donna Yuen
For Travel Writers' Tales

"You are going to fly." the park guide says with a grin.

I enthusiastically raise one arm high in the air. "Yes! Like Superman!"

"No. More like Ironman-arms by your side, head first like a human missile at 120 kilometers per hour!"

I gulp, hesitate for a second, then smile and say, "Okay, let's do it."

This zip-line has been affectionately named The Beast as it is one of the highest zip-lines in the Western world. At 260 meters high and 1446 meters long, this sport is definitely not for anyone who fears speed or heights.

Located only an hour from San Juan, the Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park in Puerto Rico offers a variety of heart-pounding aerial adventure activities. The large ecotourism park is 316 acres in size and has challenges for all levels of fitness: zip-lining, traditional rappelling and open-air rappelling, a series of hanging bridges, and mountain biking. Visitors seeking an extreme adventure will not be disappointed.

To begin with the guides introduce me and a group of travel writing colleagues to three zip lines and a series of wobbly suspension bridges. With each plank hung individually from a cable, at a height of approximately 40 meters, these bridges that criss-cross the nature park are tricky. Hesitant and cautious, I step onto the first board as it swings beneath me. Sweat streams down my face, and I frantically grab the safety line to balance myself while swinging in the air. I had no idea that I would be trying out for a Cirque du Soleil gig on this extreme sport adventure trip in Puerto Rico. The second bridge is made up of narrow moving planks that are half the width of my foot; I find it surprisingly easy despite the fact that the boards are swaying. When I arrive on the third, my heart really begins to race as I approach our guide who is standing next to a hole in the middle of the bridge.

I look at him and then through the hole to the forest canopy, far, far below.

"Oh, no!"

"Oh yes! Here is where you go down. Welcome to open-air rappelling!"

"Open-air rappelling?" In an attempt to stall the inevitable I ask, "How high are we?"

"About 40 meters up."

Even though I know there is no turning back, I try again.

"Seriously? You are going to drop me through this hole to the ground?"

"Yes, here is where you go down," he says, and hooks me onto the safety line as I hold onto the rope with a death grip. Now dangling through the hole in the bridge, I look up at him pleadingly.

"Don't worry," he says shaking his head. "Trust me, we can't afford to lose a journalist, it is bad press!" Looking down, he smiles at me and adds, "Let go."

Reluctantly I do and begin my rapid descent. The ride is invigorating. I break through the opening in the trees, and a series of small waterfalls welcome me as I approach the ground. I land on the mossy forest floor unharmed. After surviving this thrilling challenge, I figure I am ready for The Beast.

It is a misty, overcast day in Puerto Rico by the time we reach the top of the park. As the guide checks my safety gear, the cloud cover is just beginning to dissipate and the scene before me unfolds. Surrounded by the beauty of nature and a copper-colored river flowing below, the view is stunning.

Propelled in a horizontal position, this zip-line is unlike any I have tried before. After the guide confirms I am secure, he lets go. I pierce the misty fog as the wind rips through my hair. The carabiner whistles along the cable at lightning speed as I glide effortlessly downward. Like an exuberant child, I shriek with joy. From peak to peak, the ride is not long enough!

By the time I approach the landing platform I know what it feels like to be a human missile. I have converted: forget Superman...Ironman is who I want to be!

IF YOU GO:

Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park www.toroverdepr.com/index_eng.html
Tel: 787- 867-7020 / 787- 867-6606
Address: Bo. Cat, Road 155, Km 33, Orocovis, Puerto Rico

Where to stay:
The Verdanza Hotel
www.verdanzahotel.com/
Telephone: 787-253-9000
8020 Tartak Street
Isla Verde Carolina, PR 00979

Getting there:
Westjet offers weekly non-stop service from Toronto to San Juan, with two trips per week from November to April. www.westjet.com

Sightseeing information:
Puerto Rico Tourism Company
http://www.seepuertorico.com/

Photos: by Donna Yuen

1: A visitor leaves the platform
2: An easy zip-line ride
3: A visitor crosses a narrow suspension bridge
4: Crossing the gorge
5: Flying in to land after the Beast

Travel Writers' Tales is an independent travel article syndicate that offers professionally written travel articles to newspaper editors and publishers. To check out more, visit www.travelwriterstales.com

 


travel articles by travel writers featuring destinations in Canada, Europe, the Caribbean Islands, South America, Mexico, Australia, India, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific Islands and throughout the United States
travel writers tales mission
partnership process
editorial line up
publishing partners
contributing writers
writers guidelines
travel articles
travel articles archive
travel themes - types of travel
travel blog
travel photos albums and slide shows
travel videos - podcast
helpful travel tipstravel writers tales home page

 

freelance travel writers Jane Cassie and Margaret Deefholts

All material used by Travel Writers' Tales is with the permission of the writers and photographers who, under national and international copyright law,
retain the sole and exclusive rights to their work. The contents of this site, whether in whole or in part may not be downloaded,
copied or used in any manner without the explicit permission of Travel Writers' Tales Editors, Jane Cassie and Margaret Deefholts,
and the written consent of contributing writers and photographers. Travel Writers' Tales