Adventurous tourists go for daring action in Toro Negro

POSTED: 04/14/16 5:31 PM


toro negrowwwAdventurous tourists at work in the Toro Negro Rain Forest in Puerto Rico. Photo

St. Maarten News – If an adrenaline rush is what clients seek on a Caribbean vacation as an alternative to flopping on a beach, several Caribbean resorts can suggest daring activities that leave the comfort zone behind, Gay Nagle Meyers reports on the electronic newsletter travel weekly. St. Maarten is not in the mix yet, but Rain forest Adventures is working on it.

Guests at the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, for example, can book the Toro Negro Rainforest Adventure through local tour operator Acampa Nature Adventures.

The full-day tour begins with a hike through a coffee plantation to the Quebrada Rosa, a tributary of the Toro Negro River. Participants rappel up a small waterfall, followed by a 100-foot rappel down a larger waterfall. Tourists wear helmets and are harnessed the entire time with ropes and are assisted by expert guides.

The Toro Negro Rainforest is Puerto Rico’s highest rainforest reserve, located in the second highest mountain in the Cordillera Central.

Next is a steep hike up the mountain to the 3,000-foot mark, a rappel on ropes down a rock wall into a ravine, then another steep hike on a single trail using rocks, roots and trees trunks to grab onto to reach the site of the zip line adventure, a series of four rides that cross above waterfalls, canyons and valleys.

The day finishes with a swim in a water hole and a lunch of authentic Puerto Rican mountain dishes prepared by a local family.

“Our company owns the private lands by Toro Negro Rainforest, which is on a federal reserve,” said Tashia Howard, Acampa’s reservations manager. “It cannot be built on, and it’s not shared with any other company, so it is a very prized and special area.”

The tour is $159 per person, including transportation, lunch and all activities.

Daredevil clients can swim with sharks in the Hammerhead Shark Encounter offered at Resorts World Bimini on North Bimini in the Bahamas. Bimini, 50 miles from the Florida coast, is known as “shark diving central” with more species of sharks than anywhere else in the Bahamas.

The shark gurus at Bimini Undersea take guests by boat to Triangle Rocks, home to a local community of Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks, known for being unaggressive, even shy. Guests swim alongside the sharks and are not in shark-protected cages.

Our shark encounter is an amazing opportunity to see these unique creatures up close,” said Pablo Aviles, sales and marketing manager for Bimini Undersea.

The tour is priced at $269 per person and includes scuba gear.

To overcome a fear of enclosed spaces and tight squeezes, the folks at Crystal Cove resort in Barbados suggest a Bajan rum punch at its open-air Cave Bar, tucked behind a manmade waterfall, to help muster up the courage to take on the limestone caverns at Harrison’s Cave, 10 minutes away.

Guests don yellow helmets and board an underground tram to travel through freshwater streams, passing crystallized formations along the way. The tram tour is priced at $30.30 for adults, $15.15 for kids.

Harrison’s Cave is a natural wonder, unique because the cave is still very active, and is ideal for adventurous travelers to enjoy nature in a new way,” said tour coordinator Jolene Gibson. “The dripping water creates striking crystal buildups. Guests love seeing the growth process right before their eyes.”

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