South of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
January 3, 2010
For Christmas our friends Ron and CJ offered to take us to do a Canopy tour.. Now most of you might think this is some sort of eco tour where you explore the rain forest canopy. Well……what it really is, is an adventure tour involving Heights and speed! PJ and I had done a similar tour with Ron when we came to visit here in PV on our 10th anniversary some 6 or 7 years ago. PJ (who really isn't fond of heights) decided she would stay with Capaz, while Jamie decided to stay with Totem to get some projects done. The girls on Totem weren't old enough to go so that left Behan, Niall, Bryce, Austin and myself to go on this adventure. Ron's very good friend, Mike Spear, is also down visiting, so he came along with host Ron as well.
Ron picked up the gang at 7:45am and we crammed into the car and headed for Nuevo Vallarta to the Vallarta Adventure tour company headquarters. You see, a canapy tour is typically a joy ride. Several "zip" lines are strung over long distances and heights. The "zipper" dons a climbing harness and attach themselves to a pully that allows the rider to zip across the line at great speed. Given this I didn't expect the adventure to really start until we reached the zip lines themselves. Boy was I wrong. The adventure started when we arrived at Vallarta Adventures.
Vallarta adventures is a very large operation running many different tours each day. Included in what you can do there is swimming with dolphins. When we arrived a half hour early, we went to see the dolphins. They have a very large pool with 6 dolphins in it. We arrived before the public swim started and had a chance to see the dolphins just goofing off. The pool had several basketballs a fender and a large foam pad in it. The dolphins loved playing with this stuff. They would push the foam pad up on shore and then jump up onto it to hang out and look around. They would also hit the balls with their snout. For a while one of the dolphins played a round of catch with one of the staff. It was fun to watch.
At 9am the first leg of our adventure began. We boarded a 40' rib "dinghy". No really it was just like our dinghy only 4 times as long, it sat 35 people, had 400 horse power and could go 60 mph. We put on those silly looking orange life jackets that say "yes I am a tourist" and rocketed across the bay on a very smooth ride.
The second leg of the adventure began at a beautiful well protected cove where we transferred to an open air army type transport trucks for a ride up into the mountains.
Once we arrived at the base camp, our tour guide team geared us up, ran us through the ins and out of riding a zip line and generally whipped us up. They did the usual are you going to have fun? I didn't hear you, you can do better than that routine, so we would shout louder. I can't say enough how good this team was. We had I believe 6 guides to get us through the tour.
After donning the gear and doing the pep rally we headed to the next leg of our adventure, the Mule Ride. I've ridden horses but never a mule. The kids had a ball. It was fun to watch Bryce Niall and Austin controlling their animals up the steep and often treacherous trail. Heck I had a ball. On the ride up you could take a moment to look around at the lush jungle conditions we were traveling through. There were many interesting plants to look, flower, hanging vines etc.
After the Mules we hiked another kilometer or so to the summit and the real reason for the adventure, zipping. Niall was the first to go as we all watched him fly off into the distance. If you haven't done this I highly recommend it. We wound our way through the canopy. I lost count of how many lines we rode, but it was many. We also did some repelling. I was the first to go this time around. The repel was easily a good 50' down the dry part of a waterfall. It's a little dicey as you hang out over the abyss but I quickly got the hang of things and repelled down. I even bounced out a little while lowering myself, nothing like the guides, mind you, who made the whole repel in 3 bounces!
We did another repel which involved no cliff, called a free repel. We also rode a zip line straight into a pool of water and capped off the canopy tour with side by side zip lines that allowed you to race. I raced Austin. The Guides gave him a head start and I just couldn't catch up.
During the trip I snuck a few photos with our new waterproof camera. We weren't supposed to have cameras, because they wanted you to purchase the photos taken by the guides during the tour.
On our way back down the mountains in the truck we stopped at a Tequila distillery for some tequila tasting, very good and smooth tequila, also very expensive. So given that we are on a cruiser budget I decided to pass on purchasing any booze. I did learn a bit more about how tequila is made. Did you know that no yeast is added when making tequila? The natural yeast in the agave plant does the trick.
This trip was definitely a highlight of our stay here in PV and we owe a big thanks to Ron and CJ for including us on this trip.
Mike and Bryce repelling
Austin and Mike zipping together
Niall, Bryce and Austin
Austin on the trail
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