Daytripper: Ziplining at Vuelo Extremo
by Blake Nelson
Enjoy heights? Simulated falling? Spacesuits get you all claustrophobic? Zip-lining at a nearby coffee finca will show you how the Mayans should have traveled from temple to temple.
Upon arrival at Vuelo Extremo, enjoy the view from the cafeteria before hiking with a guide over swaying bridges and dirt trails to the first of eleven launch points. Make sure to wear pants (or pack bug spray), otherwise while waiting your legs will suddenly belong in the punch line of a leprosy joke.
The guides will carefully explain rules and guidelines while harnessing you up. If your Spanish is rusty, nod and hope they’re not asking a question. And then, before you know it, you’re 45 meters up and gaining speed. The coffee plants below you and the rolling highlands around you make for a stunning vista that lasts for miles.
On one of my first runs I realized my brake wasn’t functioning. The guide waiting to receive me frantically motioned for me to stop. I squeezed the line harder, cried lo siento and drove my extended foot into his gut. I could not think of how to translate “internal bleeding” so settled for avoiding eye contact while he unhooked me.
Some of the longer zip-lines (they call it canopy) allow for a bit of day-dreaming. As you launch over a waterfall, flail like Harrison Ford in The Fugitive. As tree branches slap at your legs, you’re fighting that crazy lady in Crouching Tiger. As I leapt off the first wooden dock I felt like a ballerina, but that only reminded me of Black Swan, which made me to burst into tears.
Line length and speeds vary, but the overall vibe is relaxed and enjoyable – no near-death experiences here. Directions are simple: from Central Park walk down 12th towards the gas station, and hop in a micro that’s heading towards Las Rosas (Q1.25). Once you get to Las Rosas wait for a chicken bus going to Reu (Q10 – 15). After forty or so minutes of small children staring at you, hop off when you see a massive waterwheel out front. The ayudante should also be familiar with the name Vuelo Extremo. To use all eleven lines is around Q160.
Enjoy the view!