Sky high with Rainforest Adventures St. Maarten
By Kerry Biddle on 28th November, 2017
Tearing down a steep cliff face with our hair streaming out behind us and the wind in our faces, strapped into a canvas chair. That was how we spent the morning just before the official opening of the Rainforest Adventures zip line – the steepest in the world.
Adrenalin rush with a view | Photo credit: Mark Yokoyama
The morning had started ordinarily enough with the Destination team and other media teams arriving at the check in point to get weighed, sign in and get our wrist bands. No need to be too concerned about the weight limits. Unless a person is very large or under 100 pounds, they will not be able to take the zip line, but everyone else in between will be fine.
Next, we took a tour of the beautifully restored grounds of the old Emilio Wilson Estate. What used to be rather a rundown homestead has been restored with the advice and guidance of Dr. Jay S. Haviser, Director of SIMARC, and has been turned into a museum with story panels about life on the island in the past and artifacts that have been found on the estate.
The Great Salt Pond, Philipsburg, and Great Bay in the distance with St Barth’s towards the horizon | Photo credit: Mark Yokoyama
The barn has been restored and turned into a restaurant and bar, which will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Reservations are recommended for dinner.
After that we made out way up to the chair lift station where we were asked to stand on the painted green feet on the concrete skirt and wait for the chair to come around. The speed was quite slow and there was plenty of time to get our butts in the chair and our feet up. A safety bar was lowered before we set off up the hill.
Once we got part way up the hill, one of the highest points on St Maarten/St Martin, suddenly we noticed how quiet it was up there and how beautiful the vegetation. As we got higher, so the air cooled ever so slightly.
Going up | Photo credit: Mark Yokoyama
Finally we arrived at the first level where we hopped off the chair and scuttled out of the way to the next chair lift that would take us to the very top.
Once there we were in awe of the view. Three hundred and sixty degrees of view of the other islands plodding across the Caribbean Sea, the island itself, and the beauty of sea on one side and ocean on the other. A series of sturdy platforms affords a safe, comfortable place to take in the spectacular views.
A series of sturdy platforms creates a safe place to enjoy the views | Photo credit: Mark Yokoyama
Then it was time for the adrenalin rush. Those who didn’t care for it could take the chairlift down again, but most chose to take the zip line. First we had to get ourselves into the canvas chairs and get the safety harnesses clipped up. With four chairs going down at a time on four separate zip lines, it took a bit of time to get us all ready. The gates were opened, we were asked if we were ready, and before we knew it we were flying through the air over cliffs and rock formations, which quickly gave way to lush vegetation. At the end of the lines there were a series of long springs that broke the speed and brought us to a stop. We were breathless from laughing at the end, some from relief and some from pure joy.
We vowed that we would go again!
Sliding down | Photo credit: Mark Yokoyama
To find out more about the Rainforest Adventures zip line and other attractions, check out their website rainforestadventure.com
For a more in depth look at the history of the island, have a look through the St Maarten Museum’s site museumsintmaarten.org
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