At these destinations, nature tours rise to new heights
The jungle-clad highlands that rise above Caribbean coastlines provide a memorable alternative to water time, immersing visitors in rainforest realms where birdcalls and butterflies replace the sound of lapping waves. At select destinations, a visit to these green havens need not require hiking boots and a map, and instead involve high-flying activities that include both calming nature tours and adrenaline-filled aerial action.
Soaring Over St. Lucia
Discover St. Lucia’s forest reserve by boarding a cable tramway that carries open-air gondolas on a soaring flight through the rainforest canopy. The Aerial Tram and Canopy Tour from Rainforest Adventures carries passengers past towering chatannier and gommier trees, and through groves of giant ferns and resplendent heliconia. Onboard guides identify the calls and plumage of the resident birdlife, and tell of oddities such as the strangler ficus. In addition to this 74-minute aerial tour, visitors to the reserve can hike the Fern Nature Trail, and the more adventurous can take flight on a series of zip lines that weave through the forest canopy.
Costa Rica, Like a Bird
A short drive from the capital of San Jose, Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica offers exclusive access to a 1,200-acre private ecological reserve bordering the Braulio Carrillo National Park. This region of Costa Rica is a favorite with bird watchers, who can discover more than 800 species. Aerial tram rides, suitable for all ages are a centerpiece of the experience, while an extensive network of zip lines is also available. Guests wanting a longer visit can book a room at the on-site Rainforest Lodge, discover a night sky filled with stars, and fall asleep to the sounds of the rainforest.
High in Jamaica
Somehow, it’s not surprising that the only Caribbean nation to muster a bobsled team is also home to a ski-slope style chair lift. The Rainforest Sky Explorer carries passengers up 700 feet above the Jamaican rainforest at Mystic Mountain Park, providing magnificent views of nearby Dunn’s River Falls along the way. After taking in the views from the elevated slopes, and relaxing in the butterfly and hummingbird gardens, visitors can up the excitement quota with zip lines, waterslides and the only bobsled ride in the tropics. The park, which is rated as one of Jamaica’s best eco-adventures, is located just outside of Ocho Rios.