I flew out of my seat and a rush of adrenaline shot up my legs as the ATV tossed its passengers around — twisting, turning and trucking over seemingly unsurpassable rugged rocks and deep pools of muddy water. That was the best part of my “adventure” day.
There are a handful of things to do in and out of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico — adventures tours with ATV rides and ziplines, for example. We have seen locals with their ATVs loaded on the back of their trucks coming here; I can tell they sure love the trails.
And of course there is the conventional tourist fare as well: old buildings and forts, beaches, and tacky tourist shops. It’s the perfect Spring Break destination, especially if you only have a few days or so.
After a couple of days of sight-seeing and walking down the colorful, narrow streets of Old San Juan, my boyfriend and I changed the pace of our itinerary and signed up for a zip-lining and cave rappelling tour with EcoQuest.
At 8 AM we hopped into the EcoQuest van (they pick you up at your hotel!) Squished between an oversized couple, we glanced at our fellow adventure companions in the van and quickly came to the realization that the trip wouldn’t be as physically demanding as we had hoped. Out of shape parents lathered with sunscreen and their lanky sons with safari caps and cargo shorts painted the picture of our ensuing afternoon.
Take what I say with a grain of salt though; my boyfriend and I are outdoors enthusiasts and are probably harder clients to please than most. Although the tour was not exactly what I expected, I appreciated EcoQuest’s obvious effort to make the tour accessible to all participants. Provided that all of your appendages are in tact and functioning, anyone can go on these “adventures”.
The 2,300-acre plantation of Hacienda Campo Rico, full of exotic flora, plantain trees, lagoons and mountains in the backdrop, misleadingly screamed adventure. Although the ATV ride was fun, the rest was slightly dull. The “hike” to the rappelling drop off was about three minutes up a few rocks. And the zip-lines could have been a bit faster.
Safety was evidently more important than adrenaline for this tour.
The group leaders, (Wili, Jose, and Ivan) fortunately made everything more entertaining and interesting. They were a mixture of young and old. They cracked jokes, provided assistance and by the end of the day they knew all of our names.
After the last zip-line, the leaders congratulated everyone on surviving and served us a homemade Puerto Rican meal consisting of rice, beans, chicken, and canned pineapple. All I wanted was a Medalla — which they served at their mojito bar!
Although this adventure tour was not what I anticipated, it was still a great program for families and those less physically active. Be aware that the EcoQuest website is slightly misleading; if you’re an active person looking for more extreme adventure, this is not the right tour for you. The company does offer an off-road vehicle tour that might be more exhilarating as they cater to the adventure level of those in the group.
Check out their EcoQuest Puerto Rico site for more information.
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